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It had been a particularly slow night. The plant security guard had just made his rounds on this Sunday evening shift. As soon as he passed the weighing scales, he could enter the guard shack and get off his feet. Challenging a curious incident However, on this night, he noticed the waste vendor’s truck sitting half on and half off the scale. He stopped dead in his tracks to see if the truck would back up and completely sit on the scale. It never did. The observant guard walked up to the truck and challenged the driver who seemed surprised. “Hey, you’re not weighing your truck properly.” The driver fumbled for a response before replying, “Sorry, I was on the phone with a friend. I didn’t notice it.” But this security guard had the presence of mind to demand the driver’s phone. The driver was caught off guard and surrendered the phone. The guard then pulled up the most recent incoming/outgoing calls and saw no calls during the last 30 minutes. “I don’t think so.” “You don’t think so what?” The security guard was frank, “You haven’t used this phone in over half an hour.” The truck driver sheepishly acknowledged the fact. It was decided to install CCTV covering the weighing area and scales – no easy feat due to poor lighting Preventing crime as it happens Knowing the driver was lying, the security guard ordered the truck back on the scale for a correct weighing and advised the driver that he would report the incident. The security guard wrote up his report and handed it off to his supervisor who, in turn, contacted the local corporate investigator. This investigator was soon on the phone with his boss at corporate headquarters on the other side of the world. Together with Security, they decided to install CCTV covering the weighing area and scales – no easy feat due to poor lighting. However, once completed, they waited. They would not have to wait long. For the next two months, the waste vendor trucks, filled to the brim with production waste, black-and-white paper and other waste products from the plant, would stop on the scale only for a moment and then drive the front half of the truck off the scale for weighing. It was obvious that the vendor was cheating the company by only paying for half the waste. After two months, it was decided to catch the next cheating driver “en flagrante.” Sure enough, the next truck went half on and half off the scale and was weighed. Security then asked the unsuspecting driver to park his truck and invited him inside the building to talk to a supervisor. The driver signed an incriminating statement about the scheme and his role therein. They sent him on his way asking him to keep it quiet Waiting for the driver in a large office was the local investigator and his close friend, the Head of Security. After a difficult interview, the driver admitted to cheating on the scales over a two-year period—he claimed that some of the scale cheating was done at the direction of the vendor’s management, while some of it he did himself by “ripping off” the vendor—which he acknowledged was dangerous. Working with authorities The driver signed an incriminating statement about the scheme and his role therein. They sent him on his way asking him to keep it quiet—they would see what they could do for him later on. In the meantime, Corporate Investigations had received a due diligence report on the vendor company which contained disturbing news—the company and its managers were associated with a countrywide waste management mafia. The report suggested that the vendor had a reputation for thefts and involvement in numerous lawsuits regarding thefts and embezzlement. Shockingly, no prior due diligence had ever been conducted on the vendor. Fortunately, the plant’s finance and audit team had maintained good records over the past 5 years and were able to re-construct the amount of waste going out the plant door and the amounts being claimed and paid for by the vendor. The discrepancy and loss stood at a multi-million dollar figure. After consulting with the local police authorities and company lawyers, it was decided to pursue a civil case against the vendor. Pursuing legal action The regional lawyer, the Head of Investigations, the Head of Security and the CFO invited the vendor to discuss the problem. Some of the evidence was shown to the vendor’s CEO who became indignant and, in order to save face, promised to fire the truck drivers and to repay any losses for the last two months. Inter-dependent entities - security, investigations, finance/audit and legal - combined their resources and agendas to form a unified front That was not enough for the company and a protracted legal battle ensued which lasted several years and resulted in the vendor’s paying almost the entire amount in instalments. The vendor was dropped from the contract and internal controls strengthened—the only plant employee dealing with the waste issue left the company and was replaced by two individuals. The plant also began paying more attention to the waste process and less to the production side. Several “lessons learned” come to mind. First, the tripwire came in the person of an astute and well-trained security guard who exhibited some of the best characteristics you want to see from men and women in that profession. The Security Department was also adept at installing the CCTV and capturing the fraud live on videotape. But a far greater lesson was learned—of what can happen when inter-dependent entities (security, investigations, finance/audit and legal) within a company combine their resources and agendas to form a unified front. The results speak for themselves.
Despite the huge amount of video data collected, statistics show that only 10 percent of data is ever used and most loses its value within seconds of being generated. Why use such a limited amount of data? Many security organisations are focused on delivering the right information in case of an emergency or providing the correct evidence after a criminal act. Yet the fact is, a new video security system can be a large investment. Together with the service, maintenance and management costs associated with it, most video systems are currently considered overhead. So how can you maximise the value of your video system? Video analytics ensure surveillance images are continuously analysed in real-time to alert users to things that need attention. This helps organisations make sense of video data and adds an extra layer of protection by providing alerts to potential security risks before or as they occur, such as detecting loitering in a parking lot or a perimeter breach after hours.Integrating analytic alerts with other security systems enables organisations to use the data to trigger responses from other components of the security solution Video analytics can be programmed to alert on things such as line/perimeter crossing, illegal parking, loitering: people counting, speeding in areas like parking lots, colour matching alerts. These are just some of the ways video analytics can assist to enhance security and safety. Video analytics trigger system events Integrating analytic alerts with other security systems enables organisations to use the data to trigger responses from other components of the security solution. This can increase overall security, better mitigate risk, and reduce complexity for users to improve efficiency. For example, intelligent cameras equipped with video analytics can initiate intrusion detection system events when alarms are triggered. The analytic alert can immediately fault a corresponding point on the panel. This can prompt the panel to communicate the alarm to the central station or to send video snapshots to security personnel. In a retail store or warehouse environment, video analytics can also alert to an emergency exit that has been blocked by a pallet of boxes or by another object. Using an idle object rule, the IP camera with analytics can alert when an object remains in the area for longer than a pre-defined amount of time. People counting and crowd detection can also help organisations improve customer satisfaction by monitoring for long lines or people gathered in an area When this occurs, the alert can fault a point on the intrusion control panel, which can then send an email or text message with a video snapshot to the store or warehouse manager. This can help to prevent code violations and unsafe conditions. Extending beyond security Not only can video analytics detect threats, alert to security breaches, and help enforce health and safety regulations, it can also do much more. It can enable organisations to re-purpose the data for new uses for the business—offering valuable insights to other departments within an organisation, such as providing the ability to analyse behaviour in retail stores to help merchandisers create more effective display placements. How is this possible? Analytics can provide organisations with the additional information about video data that they need to re-purpose it for a business advantage. The cameras can interpret data directly at the source and re-assign it to help organisations make smarter decisions.By providing business information that goes beyond conventional security applications, new functionality can easily be added to a video security system This includes monitoring presence to reduce utility bills, identifying patterns in customer activity to improve sales, and distinguishing road blocks to optimise retail shop layout and increase customer satisfaction. Improving customer satisfaction People counting and crowd detection can also help organisations improve customer satisfaction by monitoring for long lines or people gathered in an area, indicating additional assistance may be needed. By providing business information that goes beyond conventional security applications, new functionality can easily be added to a video security system. In this way, video analytics can help organisations reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve sales. The organisation gains greater value from the system and a return on investment that can be measured in tangible business results. Then, the video system is no longer considered overhead. Overall, using video analytics as part of an integrated security system and fully using the data gained from the analytics can help you better meet your organisation’s needs for security and extend surveillance data to deliver additional business benefits. I believe that every business should be able to take advantages of these advances in technology - without the need for additional investment or a license fee. Every business is different, and new analytics solutions should be adaptaple to meet your exact needs. Thinking beyond security opens up video analytics to revolutionise how video data will be used in the future and can take data usage to a whole new level.
End users can add security, safety and business intelligence – while achieving a higher return on investment at their protected facilities – with live streaming video. It can be deployed effectively for IP video, network video recorders (NVRs) and body-worn cameras. The growing use of streaming video is resulting in vast technological developments and high-end software that promotes reduced bandwidth, high scalability and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Here’s how users can add value to security with live streaming video and what they should look for in the procurement of technology solutions. Questions are answered by Bryan Meissner, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of EvoStream. Q: What is live streaming video and how does it apply to physical security? BM: In its simplest and most popular form, video streaming allows users to watch video on PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. According to GO-Globe, every 60 seconds more than 400 hours of video are uploaded and around 700,000 hours watched. The key to effective video streaming is for the platform to be able to adapt to the limits of the internet or network connection so the viewer gets an unbridled experience without buffering or signal loss. Live video streaming in security applications leverages a variety of connected devices, appliances and services including the cloud, mobile platforms, IP cameras and NVRs, becoming an enabling technology for more effective, real-time data capture at the protected premises. It reduces bandwidth costs and infrastructure operating requirements by streaming directly from cameras, mobile devices, drones, body worn units and loT devices to browsers, phones and tablets. The best solutions optimise the experience for the user and permit image capture and retrieval from Android, iOS, browser platforms or directly from cameras or NVRs—streaming to wherever the user desires. Quality live streaming applications provide clear, real-time images and retrieve high-resolution video that can be used for evidence, identification, operations management or compliance regulation and control. The most cost-effective solutions offer minimal hardware requirements, lower overall operating expenses and promote high scalability – even integration with many legacy security management platforms. Q: What are some challenges of live streaming video and how are those being addressed by new technology? BM: Live streaming video can present challenges when a solution isn’t designed specifically for the security infrastructure. End users need to look for forward-thinking software and firmware solutions which offer reduced bandwidth requirements, high scalability and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) or they will be disappointed with the results and costs of maintaining services for end users. The technology is changing rapidly, so only providers who focus on innovation can keep pace and future-proof the user and their facility. To be most effective, video needs to be able to stream consistently and reliably to and from a host of different devices, platforms, browsers and mediums, on-premises servers or the cloud. Video footage needs to be obtained quickly and deliver critical metadata, with built-in cyber safeguards and hardening such as automatic encryption and authentication. The most competent live video streaming lets users integrate with and run on any platform, appliance or device Q: What do end users need to look for in solutions for effective video streaming? BM: Implementing a live streaming video platform should result in greater efficiency and reduced operational costs. Live video streaming to and from a variety of connected devices, appliances and services requires sub-second latency from image capture to delivery. It also needs to be as open and agnostic as possible – spanning multiple technologies, standards and protocols and giving the user enhanced flexibility for their specification. The most competent live video streaming lets users integrate with and run on any platform, appliance or device including standalone servers, server racks, public, private and hybrid clouds and other distribution channels using the same application programming interface or API. Streaming should also support the latest codecs, such as H.264 and H.265 along with widely specified protocols for the distribution of that video. Q: What are some of the trending technological developments in live streaming video applications? BM: Traditional video streaming consumes exorbitant amounts of bandwidth and users pay for video routed through their servers. Some of the latest capabilities, such as peer-to-peer streaming, HTML5 media players, metadata integration and cost-effective transcoding via RaspberryPi enhance overall processing and ultimately strengthen the user experience. Peer-to-peer is a critical, emerging component in effective video streaming. With peer to peer, video does not go through servers but instead streams directly between the camera and the end-user’s phone, for example, eliminating that cost of bandwidth from the platform while still permitting exact control of content. Users stream live from cameras to any device, with the ability to authenticate and approve peering from the back-end infrastructure while enabling low-latency HTML5 without incurring excessive platform bandwidth costs. The explosion of live streaming video in IP video cameras, NVRs and body-worn cameras is driving a new category of high-end software offering reduced bandwidth, high scalability and lower TCO. It prepares users for new technology and the loT, eliminating the largest cost driver of hosted live streaming platforms – bandwidth. Applications that offer peer-to-peer streaming and other feature sets can help future proof the end-user’s investment and strengthen the value proposition for viewing or retrieving live or archived video effectively.
Vicon Industries, Inc., designer and manufacturer of video surveillance and access control software, hardware and components brings a new level of convenience and simplicity to its VAX Access Control solution with today’s introduction of mobile credentialing. This new feature allows VAX customers to present their smartphones, instead of cards or fobs, to specialised Bluetooth-enabled VAX door readers. Smartphone and mobile credentialing Upon installation of a custom smartphone “wallet” app and a simple authentication process that links that app to the specific phone, users enter their personal VAX credentials into the wallet. Multiple credentials can be accommodated. No additional activation steps, such as entry of personal information or Bluetooth linking, are required. To unlock doors using the mobile credentials, users unlock their phone, access the credential within the wallet app and push the “unlock” button. Credentials are uniquely linked to each smartphone and cannot be shared or installed across multiple devices. Android and iOS devices are supported. Strong AES encryption, combined with smartphone PINs or biometrics, make the mobile credentials even more secure than traditional smart cards. Two models of contactless door readers are available; one requires immediate proximity (1.5 inches) and one with read range of up to 15 feet. The Bluetooth readers can also accommodate traditional RFID access cards, providing flexibility to administrators wishing to offer both types of solutions to employees. Access Control Bret McGowan, Vicon’s V.P. of Sales and Marketing, says, “Access control is as much about convenience as it is security. If a solution isn’t easy for customers to use, doors will remain propped open and the system can’t do its job. Our new mobile solution makes it possible for employees to always have their credentials with them, even when they’re not carrying a purse or wallet. It’s another way we are using cutting-edge technology to deliver ‘advanced simplicity’ to the security marketplace.”
Vicon Industries, Inc, designer and manufacturer of video surveillance and access control software, hardware and components, announces that its SN673V-B Cruiser PTZ Camera with 20X optical zoom and 1080p HD video has been deployed in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, as part of the Coastal Conservation League’s novel project, ‘The Pelicam.’ The Pelicam is a weather-resistant Vicon camera, mounted on a pole along with solar panels, battery back-up and a wireless transmission system, on an isolated strip of land within the harbor. Wray Lemke, Founder and Vice President of electronic and security services company Mount Pleasant Radio, volunteered his time to bring this project to fruition. Conservation league The Pelicam’s location is a popular spot for pelicans and other shore birds to build nests and raise their young because it is inaccessible to raccoons, coyotes and other natural predators. The Vicon camera’s 20X optical zoom provides close-up video of the birds, allowing biologist from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the public to witness behaviours that would not normally be observable by humans. Conservation League makes use of the camera’s presets to quickly change between scenes, live-streaming on YouTube video of the most interesting wildlife The Conservation League makes use of the camera’s presets to quickly change between scenes, live-streaming on YouTube video of the most interesting wildlife on display at any given time. Video recorded to the camera’s local SD card is available for DNR biologists to review and study. Andy Hollis, Data and GIS Analyst for the Conservation League, says, “The quality of the new camera is great. It pans and zooms exactly as it should and its high magnification gets us in really close.” Building public awareness In addition to supporting the research needs of the DNR, the Pelicam is hugely popular within the community, garnering regular coverage in the local media and receiving more web traffic than any other page within the organisation’s website. Mr. Hollis explains, “As an advocacy organization working with local and state level government to enact programs and laws to support conservation, the Pelicam is one of the most highly effective tools we have for building public awareness and enthusiasm for our mission.”
Vicon Industries, Inc., designer and manufacturer of video surveillance and access control software, hardware and components, announced the launch of Valerus 18.2, the latest version of its popular thin-client VMS solution built upon true open standards. New to this release are features that include: automated NVR failover, enhanced configuration options that include an enhanced rules engine that can respond to external events, tighter controls for system access authorisations and network-wide log collection and reporting. It also offers support for Valerus SmartAnalytics, a soon-to-be-released, tightly integrated video analytics solution that offers real-time event detection, video search and business intelligence applications. Valerus’ new NVR failover option allows administrators to create ‘failover clusters’ within the network, in which one or more NVRs are identified as dedicated failover units to support primary NVRs. Failover NVRs automatically take over for primary NVRs within their cluster, maintaining all camera and system settings until the original NVR is restored to operation. Playback of recorded video remains seamless, eliminating the need for operators to know exactly when failover occurred. Valerus automatically retrieves video from the NVR on which it resides. Valerus SmartAnalytics for event detection Valerus SmartAnalytics can analyse video from multiple sources in parallel and allows for complex detection scenarios that link detection rules from different cameras The addition of Valerus SmartAnalytics as an option for users of Valerus 18.2 brings powerful, integrated analytics capabilities to the VMS platform. The Valerus SmartAnalytics engine applies detection rules based on sophisticated AI algorithms to provide live action alerts, post-event search and business intelligence trend analysis. Valerus SmartAnalytics can analyse video from multiple sources in parallel and allows for complex detection scenarios that link detection rules from different cameras. Unlimited combinations of analytics detection rules can be applied to each camera. Events and search tools appear within the Valerus interface, providing a simplified experience for system operators. Both NVR failover and Valerus SmartAnalytics support are offered through a new ‘enterprise’ level Valerus licensing tier. The Valerus SmartAnalytics modules will be available to customers running Valerus Enterprise, version 18.2, beginning in early fall, 2018. Customers currently running Valerus Pro or Core level software can easily upgrade to Enterprise without the need for camera relicensing or hardware replacement. Improving security staff’s situational awareness In keeping with the Valerus commitment to delivering ‘advanced simplicity’, Valerus 18.2 offers a simplified but more powerful system configuration user interface. Administrators can now use the Valerus rules engine to create multi-step automated actions in response to events generated by external systems. Administrators must now actively provide each user with access to Valerus resources by assigning him or her to one or more ‘roles’ – Admin, Operator, Supervisor and/or Investigator For example, an integrated LPR system’s identification of a black listed vehicle can prompt Valerus to immediately call up relevant cameras and send a text alert to specified operators, improving security staff’s situational awareness and ability to respond quickly. The configuration interface now simplifies load balancing, making it easier to move cameras between NVRs, and provides additional navigation buttons for jumping between the device and resource screens. Enhanced security through authorisation system Valerus 18.2 offers enhanced security through an updated authorisation system. Administrators must now actively provide each user with access to Valerus resources by assigning him or her to one or more ‘roles’ – Admin, Operator, Supervisor and/or Investigator. Assigned roles determine which resources are available to each user upon logging in. For support and maintenance teams, a single request can now provide system-wide software logs from all devices, making it easier to troubleshoot. “Vicon’s Valerus VMS platform has proven to be hugely popular in enterprise applications, from citywide and statewide surveillance systems, to healthcare and education campuses, to the largest Cathedral in the world. We anticipate that the features we are introducing with Valeurs 18.2 will do much to further that trend,” said Bret McGowan, Senior V.P. of Sales and Marketing.
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