CCTV cameras - Expert commentary

Reopening doors: What steps should be taken to ensure safety and security?
Reopening doors: What steps should be taken to ensure safety and security?

A total of £1.6 billion worth of goods are reported as ‘lost’ to in-store theft in supermarkets each year, with figures increasing steadily. The presence of self-checkout systems have increased in supermarkets, as well as other industry retailers. By 2021, we’re globally on track to have 468,000 self-checkout machines in operation, nearly double the 240,000 in existence since 2016. While this increase comes with such benefits as reduced wait times for customers and staff costs, it also comes with a risk of retail theft at self-checkouts. With the circumstances the world now finds itself in i.e. mass unemployment, financial uncertainty, the retail industry has seen an influx in these types of petty crimes, hitting retailers during an already turbulent period. While retailers are taking precautions to protect themselves and their patrons in this new era of in-person shopping, it’s important to ensure the business itself is protected. A popular method to combat these fears is to employ on-site security personnel, however, as we continue to adapt to new operating guidelines, retailers must begin thinking past the immediate future, and begin implementing long-term security solutions to prepare for life after lockdown such as strong CCTV systems with remote access. How has the security industry adapted its services to a post-lockdown world? Technological innovations like thermal recognition are key to adapting security systems for a post-lockdown world. Businesses which previously relied on facial recognition now must update their methods to account for shoppers wearing masks on-site and in-store. By 2021, we’re globally on track to have 468,000 self-checkout machines in operation, nearly double the 240,000 in existence since 2016 Biometric systems are now able to identify people with face masks, and thermal recognition such ADT’s Thermi-Scan system which can track human body temperature without the need for contact. Implementing these safe protocol procedures protect both employees and customers against virus outbreaks such as COVID-19. The need for these advances in video surveillance will reportedly increase the biometric facial recognition market by 14 per cent by 2027. Artificial intelligence has been hailed recently as the way forward for remote security needs, and whilst business-owners continue to navigate procedures of returning to work post-lockdown, having remote access to real-time security monitoring is essential now more than ever. What are the main measures stores can take to prevent or reduce theft? Strategically placing a multi-camera surveillance system to ensure clarity, eliminate blind spots, and deter thieves should be top priority. It’s equally essential to invest in a system which has an efficient playback programme, particularly in situations where reviewing important footage efficiently can offer vital information to the police force. Advances in video surveillance will reportedly increase the biometric facial recognition market by 14 per cent by 2027 As business-owners continue operating at reduced hours and with limited on-site staff, being able to access camera footage quickly and remotely is a key factor to consider. Whether owners opt to receive an alert on a mobile device allowing them to review notifications, or if their system is monitored by a remote security centre, it’s important to be able to access footage quickly for added efficiency and ease. Facial recognition and AI have been popular points of discussion in relation to security cameras and CCTV. While careful considerations must be taken prior to utilising any sort of facial recognition technology, including conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment, the benefits include being provided with real-time tracking of repeat offenders which immensely helps the prevention of in-store theft. Here are some key points to consider when choosing in-store surveillance: Assess your needs – To get the best out of your security system, it is essential to analyse what your requirements are for your business as they might have changed to adapt to a post-lockdown world Camera setup – With store layouts shifting to accommodate social distancing guidelines, it’s important to re-evaluate the current set-up of any security cameras. Depending on any layout updates, it might be important to consider operating multiple cameras in one area to ensure a peripheral view and eliminate any blind spots Camera positioning – For optimal performance, check that light sources are not obstructing your view such as glare from the sun. It is also worth considering the height at which cameras are installed to maximise surveillance Check the focus – It is worth testing camera lenses bi-monthly to ensure that lighting or weather hasn’t affected the focus of the lens, resulting in a blurry visual Remote access – As guidelines continue to evolve, ensure you’re able to access any necessary camera footage quickly and safely in case of emergency Will we begin to see a reduction of theft as new technology is implemented? We’re beginning to see incidents of shoplifting and theft being taken more seriously by law enforcement. In the coming months, for the first time in Britain nearly twenty shoplifters who were either caught red-handed or identified on CCTV will be appearing before magistrates. While currently these court cases are being pursued by a private police force, these actions come after a Government plea to high-level police to prosecute shoplifters stealing under £200. Retailers have long voiced concerns that forces have abandoned low-level thefts and these steps are small but show that businesses are being heard. As innovations in surveillance security continue, we’ll be seeing a move away from human involvement which will create a more reliable and efficient system able to rely on machine learning and analytics. While there have been wider strides made in utilising AI for surveillance, these are largely being used currently by local governments to alert police forces to threats of criminal activity. It’s not unreasonable to think that in the near future, these types of smart technology will be employed by private businesses to analyse suspicious behaviour or possible theft. However, as we see an increase in the advancement of security technology, we anticipate that those inclined to commit in-store theft will adapt their methods, therefore retailers should look to regularly evaluate their security needs to keep risks at bay.

Can CCTV become a more effective tool?
Can CCTV become a more effective tool?

We all know that having CCTV around your home can help to protect you and your family. Without CCTV, you could end up in danger and an intruder could get away with breaking into your house, hurting your loved ones and stealing your possessions. Similarly, without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process. In short, making sure you have CCTV is important for both home and business security. However, it can be improved to become a more effective system so that you’re better protected, and can even deter a potential intruder without having to panic. In our world of ever-changing technology, we’re able to upgrade and enhance our CCTV systems so they can become a monitored system. Remote CCTV monitoring is an ideal way to protect everyone and everything whether you’re at home or at a workplace. What is remote CCTV monitoring? For a long time, CCTV was one of the best ways to keep your home, the office and people safe. But people started to notice that it would only deter people so much of the time and often the cameras were ignored by intruders. They would just cover their faces and hope for the best as they steal from a home, office or any other premises. Remote CCTV monitoring is a system that can loop into your existing CCTV, or come preinstalled with a new system. This technology sends a feed to a control room full of trained operators that are on call 24/7. Within this control room, operators are able to respond to any sort of distress call or unauthorised movement on the property line.  How does it work? Remote CCTV monitoring works by attaching to a live feed of your CCTV system, existing or new, so that the signal and images can be passed to a team of operators. These operators are on hand 24/7 so that if there is a problem, you know that you're safe in the hands of a specialist team. The specialist team has been trained to mitigate the chances of somebody breaking into your home when the system is triggered; similarly they call the local authorities instantly so that the potential intruder has less time to flee the scene. This is especially important if an intruder is already inside your property because they have less time to steal your items and leave. Without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process One of the biggest questions that revolve around remote CCTV monitoring is the idea of operators watching the CCTV at all times. Luckily most remote CCTV monitoring systems will incorporate a motion detection system to accompany your CCTV. Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line. These motion detection systems are state-of-the-art and so, depending on the system that you choose, they can watch over your property from a number of angles. Once the motion detection system has been triggered and the alert has been sent to the control room, then and only then will the operators get involved. This means that until the motion detection system has been triggered, nobody will watch your live CCTV feed. After one of the systems has been triggered, one of the specialist operators will instantly jump into action. This means that they can take different measures to deter any potential intruder and make sure that they do everything in their power to stop any damage or theft from the premises. In addition to the motion detection system and CCTV, you are able to opt for a public address (PA) system too. This means that an operator is able to shout commands through the PA system and potentially scare away any intruder. The intruder will also be warned about the fact that local authorities have already been called to the location.  Remote monitoring versus traditional CCTV Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line Having a monitored CCTV system means that you're able to better protect yourself, your business, employees and even your loved ones. Whether you're at home or in the office, having someone looking over your shoulder protecting your every move is something that can be appreciated by everybody. The biggest problem with just having traditional CCTV, is that it is a reactive system. This means that rather than stopping crime, a CCTV system just records it. While the thought is that having a CCTV camera visible can deter some intruders, there's no real evidence to suggest that it stops anybody; anyone can simply cover their face and carry on breaking into your home, office or even your car. As mentioned, remote CCTV monitoring is going to tackle that problem and make sure that someone is on hand to protect you at all times.

The digital transformation of access control solutions
The digital transformation of access control solutions

The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorisation and the appropriate credentials. But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customised and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms power continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.

Latest OPTEX news

Optex iSeries battery-powered wireless detectors enhance construction site security by countering thefts
Optex iSeries battery-powered wireless detectors enhance construction site security by countering thefts

Multiple Construction sites in the Albuquerque area are managed by Shumate Constructors, Inc., an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based construction contractor, that is also renowned for building educational facilities. In addition to building schools from the ground up, Shumate Constructors completes school additions and remodels. Construction site thefts Three years ago, the company began having problems keeping thieves out of its construction sites during non-working hours. Unwatched construction sites are hot beds for a variety of thefts - from copper pipes and wire to hand tools to heavy-duty machinery. The loss of machinery, such as front-end loaders, would cost hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. Sometimes workers will arrive to a site in the morning only to find materials, such as copper pipe, gone along with their tools. Enhancing construction site security The sites also presented a challenge due to changing construction conditions The result is the loss of a whole day and sometimes multiple days of work. On top of the lost time, the contractor has to cover the cost of replacing materials, file an insurance claim for each theft and complete additional administrative paperwork that they weren’t planning to invest time in. The sites also presented a challenge due to changing construction conditions. Equipment or storage containers are delivered and removed, the sites are graded/re-graded and as sections of build were completed, tools, materials and supplies were moved to different areas. Flexible, reliable wireless solution At a contractor trade show a few years ago, Mark Shumate, President of Shumate Constructors met Dave Meurer, President of Albuquerque’s Armed Response Team. Meurer introduced Shumate to the idea of a flexible, reliable wireless solution that could continually monitor the entire site without the need to trench around the perimeter. “Mark [Shumate] was fed up with theft at his construction sites so we started to discuss some prevention ideas,” said Meurer, adding “I knew this was a great fit for the combined Inovonics transmitter and Optex sensor solution.” Optex sensors installed He further said, “At the Armed Response Team, we refer to this solution as the never sleeping, non-blinking eye. Shumate was not aware of any reliable solutions that could provide this type of theft prevention, but we explained that we were very confident in this application and he was definitely interested.” To install each combined sensor, the Armed Response Team attached the Optex sensors to a freestanding steel post with a base plate on it and deployed them throughout the site. This allowed the flexibility to be easily moved to accommodate site changes. Once installed, a signal was easily achieved. iSeries Optex/Inovonics sensors The amount of iSeries Optex/Inovonics sensors needed at Shumate’s sites vary The sensors in the combined solution often need to communicate as far as an entire city block and the perimeters can be several thousands of feet. The iSeries Inovonics/Optex solution was able to easily accomplish this feat. The amount of iSeries Optex/Inovonics sensors needed at Shumate’s sites vary. For some sites, it can be as few as a dozen, and others it can be as many as 30 or more. “Together, the products offer a great solution,” noted Meurer, adding “The Optex sensors can handle varying weather conditions and Inovonics’ wireless connectivity offers less signal drop and more consistent reporting signal than any of the other transmitters we’ve tried.” Efficient perimeter security solution “Between the perimeter technology by Inovonics and Optex, and the Armed Response Team’s follow-up, we have seen zero thefts for all projects since installation. With the integrated wireless solution, the construction sites are monitored on a real-time basis and immediately notify the Armed Response Team upon unauthorised access,” said Mark Shumate, President of Shumate Constructors. He adds, “We look at the perimeter security solution as a great investment. Annually, the cost of manpower, replacement of lost or stolen items and damage repairs could easily cost three times more than we spend on Armed Response Teams’ services with the Optex and Inovonics solution.”

Optex secures a church in Georgia from thefts of copper wire with the iSeries detectors
Optex secures a church in Georgia from thefts of copper wire with the iSeries detectors

From simple thefts of copper wire from light fixtures, to substantial damage to rooftop HVAC systems, copper continues to be stolen from everywhere that it is readily available. When a church in Georgia began feeling the effects of copper theft, the integrator associated with the property's interior security once again turned to OPTEX for help. The church utilised both rooftop and ground level HVAC systems, with easy access to each. Changing security needs Because of labour and cost associated with wiring, along with the difficulty bringing power to the rooftops, the Regional Sales Director for OPTEX recommended the iSeries line of battery-powered, wireless PIR's. The iSeries detectors offered spot and curtain protection for all HVAC units while also securing all access points to each. For future consideration, the addition of the wireless feature also allows the integrator to relocate and easily adjust the detectors based on changing security needs. With the system in place, copper and other related thefts have been eliminated and the end user can now respond quickly before any damage is done. All of the battery-powered, wireless detectors from OPTEX come with an empty backbox and work with most manufacturers wireless transmitters. Narrow detection areas OPTEX will pre-install the batteries and an Inovonics EN1941 wireless transmitter When one selects the iSeries version, OPTEX will pre-install the batteries and an Inovonics EN1941 wireless transmitter. One less time consuming step to do for the installer! The iSeries HX-80NRAMi is an 80' x 6' high mount, battery-powered, outdoor passive infrared detector with Anti-Masking. The iSeries version comes with an Inovonics EN1941 transmitter and batteries pre-installed. The iSeries BX-80NRi is a 3' x 80' low mount, battery-powered, outdoor passive infrared detector with Pet Tolerance. The iSeries version comes with an Inovonics EN1941 transmitter and batteries pre-installed. With it's long, narrow detection areas that extend from both sides, the battery-powered BX-80NRi is specifically designed to be wall-mounted centrally on a building or HVAC unit. Passive infrared detector The iSeries VX-402Ri is a 40' x 40' low mount, battery-powered, outdoor passive infrared detector with Pet Tolerance. The iSeries version comes with an Inovonics EN1941 transmitter and batteries pre-installed, and the dual PIR's create two detection areas (upper and lower) that must be compromised simultaneously in order to go into alarm. OPTEX has addressed and met the need for a line of easy to install, stable outdoor detectors that will deter and ultimately prevent copper theft.

OPTEX installs Redscan RLS-2020S detectors to secure building perimeters of national retail stores across the US
OPTEX installs Redscan RLS-2020S detectors to secure building perimeters of national retail stores across the US

Burglaries from outdoor ‘smash and grab’ have been costing retailers millions of dollars of loss. In order to detect if someone is trying to penetrate retail store buildings, retailers need to deploy a detection system that triggers activity and activate cameras and authorities. Redscan RLS02020S detectors Utilising the OPTEX Redscan RLS02020S vertical mode detection with Genetec RSA allowed the national retail company to achieve just this. OPTEX installed first 12 stores for a total of 105 RLS-2020S detectors for the initial project. Redscan covered the sides of the buildings as well as key areas of the roofs where needed. It was integrated into the Genetec RSA plugin that unifies OPTEX Redscan detectors with cameras creating full control of video recording and security events.  Enhancing retail security Next opportunities are for installing RLS-2020S at 100’s of stores across the United States in 2020-2021. Due to the success of Redscan, the national systems integrator is now introducing the value of this application for other large retail end users.

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