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CCTV cameras - Expert commentary

Video surveillance is getting smarter and more connected
Video surveillance is getting smarter and more connected

The global pandemic has triggered considerable innovation and change in the video surveillance sector. Last year, organisations around the globe embraced video surveillance technologies to manage social distancing, monitor occupancy levels in internal and external settings, and enhance their return-to-work processes. Forced to reimagine nearly every facet of their operations for a new post-COVID reality, companies were quick to seize on the possibilities offered by today’s next-generation video surveillance systems. Whether that was utilising motion sensing technologies to automatically close doors or switch on lighting in near-deserted office facilities. Or checking if people were wearing masks and adhering to distancing rules. Or keeping a watchful eye on streets and public spaces during mandated curfew hours. Beyond surveillance and monitoring use cases, organisations also took advantage of a raft of new Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications to undertake a range of tasks. Everything from automating their building management and optimising warehouse operations, to increasing manufacturing output and undertaking predictive maintenance. Behind the scenes, three key trends all contributed to the growing ubiquity of video surveillance observed in a variety of government, healthcare, corporate, retail, and industry settings. Video surveillance takes to the Cloud Last year the shift to digital working led organisations to rapidly embrace cloud-enabled services, including cloud-hosted Video Surveillance As A Service (VSaaS) solutions that provide tremendous economies of scale and flexibility. Alongside significant cost savings, these solutions make it easier for organisations to enhance their disaster recovery and manage their video surveillance estate in new and highly effective ways. Surveillance cameras with audio recording were used more than 200% by customers between 2016 and 2020For example, in addition to enabling remote access and maintenance, today’s cloud-powered systems eliminate any need to invest in local storage technologies that all too often fail to keep pace with an organisation’s growing data storage requirements. Indeed, data from our worldwide customer base survey reveals how in 2020 an impressive 63% of organisations had abandoned using any on-premises storage option and were instead only storing all their video surveillance recordings and data in the Cloud. A deeper review of the global stats shows that the average cloud recording retention period for this stored data was 28.2 days, with organisations in Asia topping the global average at 38 days – 33% higher than was observed in any other region. Improvements in bandwidth and scalability engendered by the Cloud have also helped boost the growing utilisation of audio recordings in addition to visual image capture. Indeed, our research found the number of surveillance cameras with an audio recording facility used by customers jumped more than 200% between 2016 and 2020. Making sense of Big Data The enhanced ease of connectivity and scalable bandwidth made possible by the Cloud is stimulating more companies to connect a lot more video surveillance cameras to their networks. The top motivation for doing so is to generate live metrics and data that can be utilised to deliver enhanced business insights and operational intelligence. In recent years, a rich choice of video analytics solutions have been developed for a variety of industry verticals. The range of functionalities on offer is impressive and covers a variety of applications. Everything from making it easy to classify and track objects and behaviour patterns in real-time, to undertaking anomaly detection, or generating predictions based on past and present events/activities. Data collected via today’s cloud connected cameras can now also be used to feed deep learning training and AI analytics, utilising the unparalleled virtualised processing capacity of the Cloud to convert Big Data into usable information quickly. By integrating this information with data from other enterprise data capture systems, organisations are now able to gain a 360-degree view of their operations – in almost real-time. IT is now in the driving seat No longer the sole preserve of on-site security staff, the wider application and business use of video surveillance means that IT is increasingly taking the lead role where the management and control of these systems are concerned. IT is asked to integrate video surveillance into key enterprise platforms to generate the data that business leaders need Aside from the fact that IT has a vested interest in addressing the cybersecurity implications that come with attaching a growing range of IoT devices to the enterprise network, they’re also increasingly being asked to integrate video surveillance into key enterprise platforms to generate the data that business leaders need. As organisations expand their integration of video with other business applications, such as point of sale, access control, process control and manufacturing systems, this trend is only set to accelerate. Looking to the future Right now, the video surveillance industry is at a key tipping point, as video systems become increasingly strategic for enabling the enterprise to boost productivity, stay compliant, and fulfil its obligations to protect employees and customers. As the technology’s contribution to enhanced data-driven decision-making and problem solving continues to increase, expect the adoption of IP connected video cameras to burgeon as organisations look to capture more data from their day-to-day business operations.

Video intercoms for a smarter, safer workspace
Video intercoms for a smarter, safer workspace

Though many office workers across the globe have found themselves working remotely for the past year, we are seeing a bit of a silver lining, as vaccine rollouts hint at a return to some pre-pandemic sense of normalcy. However, while some of us might opt for a fully-remote work life, others are anticipating a hybrid solution. Even before the pandemic, offices were taking a new, more open layout approach—moving past the days of cubicles and small office configurations. Going forward, offices and other workspaces will be tasked with supporting a hybrid work solution, as well as increasing hygiene measures. Video intercom solution This is where an IP video intercom solution can assist. Below are four ways they can help usher in a smarter, safer work environment: Video intercoms assist in creating a more hygienic work environment - The outbreak of COVID-19 has raised awareness of germs and just how easily a virus can be transmitted by face-to-face contact. Germ barriers are popping up in many aspects of our daily lives, where we were not likely to see them before Unfortunately, the door is also the easiest of these germ barriers to breach As such, we’re becoming accustomed to seeing plexiglass barriers at restaurants, grocery stores, and even coffee shops. However, many don’t realise that one of the best germ barriers is a simple door. Unfortunately, the door is also the easiest of these germ barriers to breach. All it takes is a knock or a doorbell ring to make us open our germ barrier and be face-to-face with whomever is on the other side. Increasing hygiene safety A simple step to increase hygiene safety and visitor security in commercial buildings and workspaces is an IP video intercom. Installing a video intercom will allow staff to see and speak with visitors without breaching that all-important germ barrier. A video intercom system provides a first line of defence, enabling the user to visually confirm the identity of the person on the other side of the door first before granting access. It can also be used to make sure proper procedures are being followed before a person is allowed to enter, such as using hand sanitiser, wearing a mask, and following social distancing guidelines. Basic security needs A major topic of conversation the past year has been how to manage occupancy in all facilities Video intercoms for occupancy management and basic security - A major topic of conversation the past year has been how to manage occupancy in all facilities—ranging from grocery stores and retail shops to restaurants and commercial buildings. Workspaces and offices are no exception. A video intercom provides a quick and convenient method of seeing who, or what, is on the unsecure side of the door before opening. For basic security needs, if a business has a door opening into an alley, a video intercom would be used to ensure no one is waiting outside to force their way in when the door is opened. Personal protection equipment Such solutions can also be used to ensure a person is carrying proper credentials, or wearing proper personal protection equipment (PPE), before entering a sensitive area. For example, if a lab has a room which can only be accessed by two persons at a time wearing specific protective gear, a video intercom could ensure each person is properly equipped, before allowing access that particular room. Additionally, for office or workspaces that have shared common areas, such as a cafeteria, gym or even conference rooms, managing access to these spaces will remain a priority, especially with post-pandemic restrictions in place. Video intercoms are a comprehensive safety and security tool for any workspace Deliveries of packages, work-related materials, or even food are common in any office or workspace. Video intercoms can assist in facilitating safe deliveries by visually and audibly confirming the identity of the individual. The visitor could be your next big client, your lunch delivery, a fellow employee with a faulty access card, or your mail. Video intercoms are a comprehensive safety and security tool for any workspace. Visitor management systems Video intercoms provide a cost-effective solution in small to mid-sized office facilities - One significant advantage of video intercom systems is the variety of applications available. Systems range from simple one-to-one video intercoms, to buzz-in systems, to full-fledged visitor management systems in mixed-use buildings. While they might lack the resources and manpower many enterprises have, small-to medium-sized offices can also take steps to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. Like any business, controlling who comes into the building is a primary way of maintaining safety. Video intercoms work in conjunction with access control systems to provide an identifying view of visitors or employees with lost or missing credentials. They allow staff to both see and hear those on the unsecured side of the door to determine intent before granting access. Most quality video intercoms will provide a clear enough image to allow an identification card to be read by holding it close to the lens, adding another opportunity to verify identity. Touchless intercom activation One major trend is the option of providing a touchless door activation Video intercoms provide a touchless option - Even prior to COVID-19, one major trend is the option of providing a touchless door activation or touchless intercom activation of a video intercom for those without proper credentials. Though touchless isn’t a new solution to the access control market, the pandemic introduced a renewed focus on these types of solutions to provide hygienic access to visitors. For offices and other workspaces looking to make investments into post-pandemic solutions to assist in reopening, touchless can support these efforts. When it comes to smart, secure workspaces, many people think instantly of cameras or monitors, access control, and alarm systems. Proper access credentials However, video intercoms are often the missing piece of a building’s security puzzle. A video intercom provides an identifying view that is not always available from a camera covering a large area. They allow those without proper access credentials a method of requesting entry, and just like cameras, they can be activated by alarms to allow staff to clearly see and communicate. If a workspace or office is important enough to be secure, it’s important enough to be sure of who is there before the door is opened. In 2021, it’s not enough to ensure the physical security of your staff and visitors, but also to ensure they are accessing a hygienic environment. Video intercoms provide that security and peace of mind.

Making school safety a priority with smart technology
Making school safety a priority with smart technology

With pupils in the UK set to go back to school on 8 March, there are a number of safety measures schools need to implement to ensure the health and wellness of the staff, students, and school communities.  The first lockdown and closure of schools brought on by the coronavirus pandemic fired a “warning shot” for education facilities managers, forcing head-teachers to re-examine school safety standards. Now that a third lockdown is here and schools have been shut down for a second time, anyone behind the curve with the benefits of smart technology should get on board now before children return to the school environment. And with the ever-changing variants of the COVID-19 virus, schools can’t afford to be “late to class” when it comes to health and safety. Preventing the spread of disease Some schools in the US have been using smart technologies for a while to measure utility consumption and efficiency, streamline maintenance and enhance general school safety. These technologies are playing a significant role in keeping school buildings healthy and preventing the spread of disease. Let’s take a look at how smart technology can help schools to become safer, as well as more energy-efficient and cost-effective.   Thermal detection cameras  Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing. These cameras provide medically-accurate, real-time temperatures of individuals in real-time. If a high temperature is detected, the software sends an instant alert to the relevant party. It can also be set to deny access to those with high temperatures or to people not wearing masks.  Safer water  As the coronavirus continues to sweep through the world’s population, healthcare providers should also be on heightened alert for Legionnaires’ disease, another potential cause of pneumonia with similar symptoms. Legionella is a potentially deadly bacteria that can infect a school’s water supply and cause an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s a school's duty of care to prevent Legionella infection by monitoring the risk of the bacteria proliferating.  Particularly as schools reopen and previously stagnant plumbing and cooling systems return to use, additional Legionella cases could rear their ugly head to emergency departments in the coming months. Traces of Legionella were recently found at a Worcestershire school. The school was forced to remain shut while treatment and testing took place. Automated flushing and temperature testing Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters The Health and Safety Executive advises, “If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease… If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.” Typically, managing the risk of Legionella includes running all outlets for two minutes, taking and recording the temperature of the water to ensure that it’s not conducive to Legionella growth. This is a time-consuming process, which is why schools are looking for automated water temperature monitoring systems. This smart system with automated flushing and temperature testing reports and records water temperature data in real-time. Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters.  Cleaner air  Advisers say that improving air filtration and ventilation in schools can help mitigate the potential airborne transmission of COVID-19. Strategies include: Increasing outdoor air ventilation Filtering indoor air Using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters  Smart building technologies such as advanced HVAC controls can help facilities managers promote cleaner air with less hassle. For example, smart HVAC systems use sensors to remotely monitor and control variables such as:  Humidity Temperature Indoor air quality The level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants The technology is also energy-efficient and cost-effective.  While these solutions may be key to the reopening of schools in the era of COVID-19, they also bring long-term benefits. Although COVID-19 may have accelerated the adoption of smart technology, many of these solutions are focused on health, wellness, and security in general; which have been needed in school systems for a long time.

Latest CitySync news

Andrew Davidson joins CitySync's security division
Andrew Davidson joins CitySync's security division

 Andrew Davidson's experience in the CCTV and security market is greatly valued by CitySync CitySync, leaders in ANPR solutions, is delighted to announce the appointment of Andrew Davidson as National Account Manager. Andrew Davidson comes from an electronic engineering background. He served an apprenticeship with Thorn EMI and worked there as a senior service technician for seven years. Since then, Andrew has worked in the security industry for the past fifteen years in system design and sales. Andrew has gained a great deal of experience across many products and disciplines within the security sector. Having worked for some well-known companies in the security industry including Philips, Tyco and ADT, Andrew has had the opportunity to work with some major clients. His in-depth experience covers the technical design and application of complex security systems through to the final presentation to the client.Andrew is looking forward to working with CitySync's market leading ANPR technology and further progressing his career in our growing business. CitySync's CEO, Frank Thomson says, "We are delighted to welcome Andrew to the team. His experience in the CCTV and Security market is greatly valued by CitySync and will be acknowledged by our customers."

Leading ANPR solutions provider CitySync appoints Nigel Eastaugh as Senior Project Manager
Leading ANPR solutions provider CitySync appoints Nigel Eastaugh as Senior Project Manager

  Nigel Eastaugh has extensive knowledge on design and development of ANPR infrastructuresCitySync, leaders in ANPR solutions, is delighted to announce the appointment of Nigel Eastaugh to take on the role of Senior Project Manager.Nigel joins us after a 30 year police career with the Metropolitan Police, Hertfordshire Constabulary and secondment with the National Policing Improvements Agency (NPIA), followed by support staff service as a Technical Project Manager with the Metropolitan Police.  Nigel has gained extensive experience and knowledge in the design and development of ANPR infrastructures from inception through to installation and commissioning. He was responsible for the ANPR developments across Hertfordshire, working closely with stakeholders, Local Authorities contractors, utility service providers and end users.   Nigel's career also included the planning and deployment for G8 security in 2005, acting as ground commander of the ANPR units surrounding Glenn Eagles.  Most recently he was Senior Technical Project Manager for the Metropolitan Police Olympic ICT Group responsible for delivering a significant ANPR solution for the security of venues for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Nigel worked for a number of Regional & National groups including 4 years as Secretary of the National ACPO ANPR Countermeasures Work Group.  As a result, Nigel gained valuable experience in gathering the necessary user requirements to build detailed Statement of Requirements and progressing projects through the procurement process in the public sector.  This knowledge gives Nigel a great insight in to what is required to help CitySync secure significant public sector business. CitySync's CEO, Frank Thomson says, "CitySync is pleased to welcome Nigel on board.  His experience in the strategic and tactical use of ANPR is a great asset to CitySync's Police Division and our customers.  I am confident he will play a pivotal role to the future development of the business."

Nottingham City Council installed CitySync’s ANPR solution at Broadmarsh Multi-Storey Car Park
Nottingham City Council installed CitySync’s ANPR solution at Broadmarsh Multi-Storey Car Park

  CitySync's ANPR solution is an easy-to-use and reliable system for special access areas Nottingham City Council recently installed a new Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) access control system at Broadmarsh Multi-Storey Car Park (MSCP) to provide contract parking and season ticket holder parking. This will help promote a ‘green city' with tram and bus park-and-ride schemes; it will also help generate income for Nottingham City Council. Broadmarsh MSCP is located in the city centre opposite Nottingham Crown Court. Nottingham City Council wished to introduce a designated contract parking area within Broadmarsh MSCP to provide local workers a permanent allocated parking space. For locally situated solicitors and council workers this scheme has alleviated their parking problems. The ANPR system allows them instant access to an allocated space reducing wasted downtime. The season ticket parking also allows ticket holders to come and go to find their own space. The cost of using this facility is vastly cheaper than paying each day. After having tried a number of other parking solutions, Nottingham City Council decided to install an ANPR system. Newpark Solutions won the tender process using CitySync's ANPR solution providing an easy-to-use and reliable system for special access areas.  The system eliminated ongoing costs for pass cards and the associated complications of managing them. The income generated from the scheme will be re-invested into schemes to help towards creating a green city. Paul Crawford, Nottingham City Council Car Park Manager says, "The ANPR access control system is a great way to manage the contract parking area, it has made managing the car park trouble-free. We are considering extending the facilities provided by CitySync's ANPR system within Broadmarsh car park."

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