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CCTV cameras - Expert commentary

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.

Optimising large-scale event security and operations with intelligent video surveillance
Optimising large-scale event security and operations with intelligent video surveillance

Large event venues spend significant resources on physical security, and the vast majority invest in video surveillance systems as a way of monitoring public areas such as parking lots, garages and seating, as well as “backstage” areas such as loading docks and offices. Even though the camera footage is often preserved for investigating incidents, for the most part, video footage goes untapped because – realistically – security staff cannot constantly and efficiently monitor cameras in real-time or review the high volumes of archived video. Video analytics powered by Artificial Intelligence Increasingly, event venues are overcoming this challenge and maximising this video data by investing in intelligent video surveillance. In this article, I will explore how the combination of traditional surveillance and groundbreaking video content analytics enables event venues to not only optimise physical security and safety, but also improve customer service, streamline operations, and gather valuable business intelligence. Deep learning and artificial intelligence-based video content analytic systems detect, identify, extract, and catalog all the objects that appear in video footage based on classes and attributes such as gender, appearance similarity, color or size. This – along with behavioral detection, such as object interactions, dwell times, and navigation paths, as well as face and license plate recognition – enables searchable, actionable and quantifiable analysis of video. The technology makes it easy for users to accelerate post-event investigations, improve situational awareness, and derive critical business insights from video data. Accelerate post-event investigations, improve situational awareness, and derive critical business insights Accelerating investigations Where there are crowds, it’s not uncommon for medical or criminal incidents to transpire. In the aftermath, security teams must quickly understand the scene and, by making video searchable, video analytics helps them efficiently gather information or evidence from multiple camera. Whereas a manual search of video footage would require hours, if not days, of valuable time and staff resources – while being subject to human error – a video content analytics system enables effective multi-video search using a variety of filters, so that post-incident investigations can be focused and, thereby, accelerated. For instance, if witnesses claim that a man in a yellow shirt caused a disturbance and then drove away in a blue pickup truck, security could filter video to review instances where people or vehicles matching those descriptions appeared, and then focus their investigation on relevant video evidence. For the same example, if the perpetrator was still at large in the venue, security managers would want to track the person’s movements and, ultimately, apprehend him. Using the same cataloged metadata that drives video search, intelligent video surveillance accelerates real-time response to developing situations from threats and suspicious behaviors to emergencies, or even any behavior that requires closer monitoring or intervention. Something as mundane as an unwieldy queue forming at a concession stand can alert logic that increases operators’ situational awareness and ability to effectively intervene. By understanding developing situations in real-time, they can respond more quickly to prevent or solve a problem. Rule-based real time alerts Users can configure rule-based real-time alerts, based on specific scenarios – such as when people counts in the defined space next to the cashier are higher than the specified threshold, indicating a queue, or when vehicles are detected dwelling in a no-park zone or sensitive security area. In the case of the offender in the yellow shirt, security could configure alerts to notify for appearances of men in yellow shirts or blue pickup trucks within the event complex. If they’re able to extract the perpetrator’s face or license plate from the video search, security officers can also identify and track the specific person and vehicle of interest. Intelligent video surveillance users can compile “watchlists” Object recognition is helpful for tracking specific, identified threats, but it can also be leveraged for locating missing persons or vehicles or offering VIP services to guests who comply. Intelligent video surveillance users can compile “watchlists” – that include persons of interest, such as past agitators, recognised criminals or terrorists, missing persons or VIPs – to be alerted when matches for these faces appear in video. Face recognition can also be used to differentiate recognised employees from visitors that are not authorised to be in certain spaces in order to prevent security breaches. Because camera conditions aren’t always optimal for “in the wild” face and license plate recognition – where lighting conditions or camera angles don’t always allow for a pristine face or plate capture – it is critical to have a comprehensive video content analysis tool for triggering alerts based object classifications and non-personally-identifiable parameters. Optimising operations based on business intelligence While having real-time situational awareness is crucial for proactive intervention to developing situations, understanding long-term activity and trends can be equally important for an events venue or stadium. With video analytics, video surveillance data can be aggregated over time to generate statistical intelligence, trend reports, and data visualisations for operational intelligence. This capability transforms video surveillance from a siloed security tool to an intelligence platform with broad value for business groups across the organisation. Marketing departments can gain visitor demographic information for targeted advertising and product placements. On-site retailers can uncover how visitors navigate their stores and the products or spaces that draw the most attention. Property management can follow heatmaps demonstrating where visitors dwell and the durations they stay at certain exhibits or areas, to base rental and leasing fees on actionable and quantifiable intelligence. Operations managers can more effectively plan and hire staff for events, by analysing visitor traffic trends, entry and exit points and occupancy statistics.   Video surveillance data can be aggregated over time to generate statistical intelligence For these reasons and more, event organisations that already rely on CCTV networks should consider how to better leverage those existing investments to deliver substantial value across the organisation. By making video searchable, actionable and quantifiable, intelligent video surveillance empowers event managers to enhance public safety and physical security, while also streamlining operations and improving customer service.

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Hikvision Darkfighter IP dome cameras provide low-light surveillance for Salford City Council
Hikvision Darkfighter IP dome cameras provide low-light surveillance for Salford City Council

When Salford City Council began upgrading its public space CCTV cameras with Hikvision's Darkfighter models, video operatives reported some unusual results: they were suddenly able to see crystal clear night time images. Previously low-light surveillance images were murky and suspicious activity hard to make out. Now, armed with Darkfighter cameras from Hikvision, Salford's control centre is able to offer true 24/7 active monitoring while simultaneously reducing bandwidth requirements. The City of Salford in England's northwest is a metropolitan borough of Greater Manchester, and includes Salford itself as well as the towns of Eccles, Swinton and Pendlebury, Walkden, and Irlam. More than 218,000 people live in the City, and Salford City Council and its partners fund 130 public space CCTV cameras which cover eight neighbourhoods. Monitoring low-light public spaces The CCTV cameras are monitored at a central control room located at Salford Civic Centre. This control room is linked to police radios so staff are aware of incidents, missing people or people wanted for questioning, and can easily pass intelligence to the police. Information provided by the council's CCTV team helped police arrest 200 people last year. In such densely populated urban environments, CCTV monitoring plays a crucial role, and not just for keeping an eye on unruly behaviour after pubs and nightclubs close for the evening. Salford City Council's cameras were key players in providing evidence for Operation Pandora, the Council's high profile crackdown on fly-tippers, illegally dumping rubbish in the City. But previous cameras struggled to capture clear and effective public space video images in low-light scenarios. This meant that operatives found it hard to offer a true 24-hour monitoring service after 10pm or 11pm, depending on time of year. Now that they've begun installing Hikvision's Darkfighter camera range, however, that is all changing. An introduction to Hikvision "Because of the limitations of the cameras we had used before, we had struggled to provide a true 24 hour, 7 day a week service", says Stephen Kearney, Salford Principal Community Safety Officer Salford Principal Community Safety Officer Stephen Kearney said the Council began using Hikvision cameras two years ago after a house building partner suggested using them to monitor a new development. "I'd never heard of Hikvision and wasn't sure about using untried and untested cameras," he said. "So we didn't install them at the development. We put them on the rooftop of one of our corporate buildings, and the next day the CCTV operatives called me and said you've got to see this - these are the best cameras we've got! "So for the past two years we haven't installed any cameras other than Hikvision, and in that time none of the Hikvision cameras have failed, which is not the case with previous cameras we've used." Challenges to overcome Kearney said that as a local authority, Salford City Council faces multiple challenges when it comes to effective CCTV monitoring. "The first of these is budget constraints," he said. "We don't have the luxury of being where we were five or more years ago when we had revenue funding available to support the growth of CCTV cameras, so we have to think extremely carefully about our ability to upgrade or replace our existing cameras when those go faulty. And the fact is that Hikvision's cameras are very competitively priced. And because of the limitations of the cameras we had used before, we had struggled to provide a true 24 hour, 7 day a week service - just because they weren't able to capture low-light images of the quality that Hikvision's Darkfighter cameras can.” "In addition, the Hikvision cameras are far less bandwidth intensive than our older cameras. So we have a better quality product, it's cheaper to buy, and it's cheaper to actually run, because the bandwidth requirements are lower. So it's win-win all round. It's almost like an invest-to-save opportunity." Enter the Darkfighters After the initial use of two Darkfighter cameras as part of Operation Pandora's fly-tipping crackdown, Kearney approached his CCTV operators and asked where the most benefit would be gained from upgrading to Darkfighter cameras. As a result of their feedback, further PTZ domes were installed in October 2015 in Eccles Town Centre to replace older cameras. "We were astonished at theclarity of the new 'Darkfighter'cameras. They really do turnnight into day and give us pinsharp images which will helpimmensely" The Darkfighter domes were supplied by distributor ezCCTV. The models used were DS-2DF8223I-AEL PTZ network domes. As well as their exemplary low-light performance, these domes have a 23X optical zoom day/night lens and feature a wide range of smart functions, including face detection, intrusion detection, line crossing detection and audio exception, are rated for tough outdoor use, and provide full HD1080p crisp video images. Kearney said the results so far have been undeniably outstanding. "We tried the product, and its performance was unlike anything we had experienced previously. It turns night into day. As and when funding permits, we will definitely be replacing more cameras with Darkfighters. In an ideal world, we'd swap out all 130 public space cameras for the new models from Hikvision!" Future installations are planned to include Hikvision DS-2DF8336IV-AEL PTZ Darkfighter domes, which feature 36x optical zoom, and DS-2CD4A85-IZS 4K Ultra HD bullet cameras, offering ultra-high resolution images for powerful and effective real-time monitoring and evidential purposes. Salford Deputy City Mayor Councillor David Lancaster said: "The CCTV cameras play a vital role in our city. Our staff report incidents to police, enabling them to respond quickly, gather evidence for prosecuting fly-tippers and have saved dozens of vulnerable missing people by alerting the authorities. We were astonished at the clarity of the new 'Darkfighter' cameras. They really do turn night into day and give us pin sharp images which will help immensely. Plus they are almost half the price of the previous cameras which is an additional bonus."

Hikvision Autumn Roadshow showcases innovative video surveillance products and solutions
Hikvision Autumn Roadshow showcases innovative video surveillance products and solutions

Hikvision partners, distributors & installers attended informative seminars & live product demonstrations Hikvision’s Autumn Roadshow came to a close this week after a hugely successful run of events from London to Glasgow. Hikvision partners and distributors, as well as installers gathered at each event for informative seminars and live product demonstrations. Hikvision’s UK & Ireland distribution partners ADI Global, DVS Limited, Dynamic CCTV, ezCCTV, Norbain, were all on hand to offer live demonstrations of Hikvision’s latest products. While Pyronix and WD provided the audience with some insight into the solutions their businesses are creating to support the CCTV security industry. Seminars from the Hikvision team offered an in-depth look at some of the newest technologies behind their innovative video surveillance products and solutions. License plate recognitionThe Hikvision LPR solution has achieved huge growth as it is both cost effective and high performance. In 2015 Hikvision LPR cameras were supporting license plate recognition efforts in more than 50 countries, and LPR can be added to a standard mid-range camera and recorder, license free. Darkfighter liteUnder even the poorest lighting conditions, Hikvision Darkfighter Lite Series cameras can see clearly in colour while others can only see in black and white. The patent bubble design and advanced IR solution limit reflection to keep images clear of dust and water particles, while the built-in junction box reduces installation time. Anti-explosion camerasThere was plenty of interest from the attendees for Anti-explosion cameras. The anti-explosion product family are currently undergoing certification and should be available in 2017. Each product will have an audit trail to certify anti-explosion specifications. Video IP intercomBuilding on Hikvision’s advanced video technologies and cloud services in the CCTV market, Hikvision can now provide an intelligent & simple IP Video Intercom system for customers. The Video IP product family includes Indoor, Outdoor, House and Master Stations, as well as Hikvision Intercom Switch and Power Supply. At each event attendees had the chance to win an EZVIZ S1 Sports Cameras and an incredible prize of a week-long trip to China including a stop at Hikvision’s Headquarters in Hangzhou. After the huge success of the Autumn Roadshow, Hikvision looks forward to the next event in 2017.

Hikvision UK Roadshow to exhibit latest video surveillance products and solutions
Hikvision UK Roadshow to exhibit latest video surveillance products and solutions

The autumn tour will feature live demonstrations of Hikvision’s latest technologies Following the huge success of the Go Beyond HD Roadshow in March, Hikvision, the supplier of innovative video surveillance products and solutions, is set to tour the UK with another informative roadshow in September 2016. VASP programme The autumn tour will feature live demonstrations of Hikvision’s latest technologies and present details of how to become part of Hikvision’s VASP (Value Added Solution Partner) programme. VASP promotes training, marketing, and project support to qualified installers and integrators. Hikvision has partnered with distributors ADI, DVS, Dynamic, EZCCTV and Norbain to bring the events to London, Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow in September. Informative demonstrations Among many hands-on demonstrations and Q&A sessions, Hikvision will present the new functionalities of its LPR solution. The unmissable first look includes All-in-One Blazer Express, VMS software and integration with third party LED Matrix Signs. Advanced features Turbo 3.0 is the new standard available for existing analogue CCTV infrastructure. It provides latency-free HD clarity without signal loss to analogue cameras. Hikvision will also showcase the Turbo 3.0 solution to demonstrate its higher HD image quality, longer transmission distance, a choice of new penta-brid technology (five different connection types), POC (power over coax), Loop solution, among many new features. New technologies As a global innovator in engineering and design the creation of new technologies is at Hikvision’s core. Products including 16MP PanoVu Camera, Thermal Technology, new Anti-reflection Darkfighter Lite IP camera, Hik-Connect Point-to-point (P2P) solution, IP Video Intercom products will showcase. Following its recent award win, Hikvision’s Darkfighter PTZ camera range will also be on display. Win a trip to China At each of the five Hikvision Autumn Roadshow events delegates will have the chance to win the huge prize of a weeklong trip to China including one day in Hikvision HQ, and one of 20 EZVIZ S1 Sports Cameras. Save

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