Milestone releases XProtect Corporate 3.1 with enhanced GUI
Milestone releases XProtect Corporate 3.1 with enhanced GUI

Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software, today announces the release of XProtect™ Corporate 3.1 with a significant new version of the user interface: Smart Client 5.0. Ground-breaking functionality like the Sequence Explorer investigation tool and independent playback significantly increase efficiency in security operations and investigations. Milestone version 3.1 of XProtect Corporate is powerful IP video management software designed for largescale, mission-critical security implementations, supporting unlimited cameras, users and sites. This release includes streamlined and optimised installation procedures for easier deployment, Management Server Failover using Windows® Server Clustering, plus Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 support. Even more important news about this release, however, is the innovative version 5.0 of XProtect Smart Client that takes a giant leap forward in usability and functionality. It is available in 20 languages including online help, which extends the software's ease of use around the world. Milestone XProtect Smart Client 5.0 also improves the user experience through an enhanced, adaptable interface that focuses on personalised usability and operational efficiency. The intuitive layout allows users to show only the dialogs preferred or needed for surveillance tasks, or hide them all for a pure full-screen mode of viewing, if desired. In addition to selecting controls on the fly, each user can choose to remove controls from the interface, so only the most relevant ones are displayed. This makes the system interface easier to understand and navigate - especially for new users. With this release, XProtect™ Smart Client features an industry first called Sequence Explorer that previews tiled video from recorded sequences or time intervals from multiple cameras. The Sequence Explorer displays a drag-and-throw wall of video preview images in thumbnails with smooth slider scrolling and easy selection of preview images for closer scrutiny of details. The Sequence Explorer is a powerful new investigation tool to browse through recorded video sequences to find incidents and evidence fast. Milestone XProtect™ Smart Client now also provides video overlay playback controls to view individual cameras in live mode. This means that operators can play back events on one camera without losing track of what happens live. This feature also works in the normal playback mode so operators can see recorded camera images in the view from different times. Overlay buttons can also be added on each camera to facilitate common actions such as triggering events and outputs, using PTZ, and other tracking tasks - all to improve surveillance effectiveness. "XProtect Corporate 3.1 with Smart Client 5.0 offers innovative new combinations of tools for improving the user's experience and efficiency on the job, which translates to more rapid response and better security. Independent playback and the unique Sequence Explorer make investigations far easier than ever before, and the adaptable GUI in particular is a game-changer in the surveillance industry that operators at all skill levels will really appreciate," says John Blem, CTO and Co-Founder of Milestone Systems. XProtect Smart Client 5.0 shows up to 100 concurrent cameras in a single view with unlimited numbers of more via carousel and HotSpot windows. Customers can ramp it up with XProtect Smart Wall for large command centre installations, and add even more value through integrated solutions with other systems offered by Milestone Solution Partners. Milestone is revealing XProtect Smart Client in a webinar today at 9 a.m. Pacific Coast time, also shown at the Milestone Integration Platform Symposium that is being held in Hollywood, California. The webinar will be made available for viewing thereafter on the Milestone website.XProtect Corporate 3.1 with the new Smart Client 5.0 will be demonstrated live at the upcoming industry trade shows this spring around the world.

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IndigoVision launches a low-cost IP-CCTV video wall
IndigoVision launches a low-cost IP-CCTV video wall

IndigoVision, the leading manufacturer of complete end-to-end IP security solutions, has released Video Wall software that allows professional fully-featured IP-CCTV control room video walls to be built to any size, at a fraction of the cost of other dedicated display products. Based on ‘Control Center', the company's Security Management Software, video walls can be constructed with complete scalability using any PC monitor type (CRT, LCD and plasma), with standard or High Definition wide-screen format. The video wall is driven using slave ‘Control Center' workstations, each of which manages up to 4 monitors. Up to 98 slaves can be controlled over the IP network from an unlimited number of master ‘Control Center' workstations. Each monitor can display up to 25 video panes, allowing video walls with up to 9,800 panes to be constructed. On large sites multiple video walls can be deployed in different control rooms, all accessing the same video from any camera or Network Video Recorder (NVR), no matter where they are located. This can only be achieved because IndigoVision's architecture is completely distributed. Monitors within the video wall can be used to display a variety of information, including live or recorded video, guard tours, salvos, site maps and alarm status. In addition, information from third-party applications can be displayed, such as the status of access control or building management systems. The video wall is controlled using standard CCTV keyboards connected to any of the master workstations. The video wall supports the ‘Control Center' black screen monitoring mode, where video is only displayed on alarm. This method of operation is recognised as providing a more efficient operator environment that leads to quicker incident response. Using IndigoVision's advanced alarm management features, content and layout of individual monitors in the video wall can be controlled dynamically from the status of alarms and events.

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Milestone XProtect Enterprise 8 IP video management software: Seeing is believing
Milestone XProtect Enterprise 8 IP video management software: Seeing is believing

Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), presents XProtect® Enterprise 8. Setting the standard in IP VMS, XProtect Enterprise 8 is comprehensive, open platform IP VMS for medium and large-scale installations, primarily multi-site, multi-server deployments. The consolidated single-management interface provides a coherent and efficient way to view and control an unlimited number of cameras giving situational awareness for quick response and accurate investigation. Situational awareness: The Camera Navigator and other innovative features provide comprehensive visual verification of the entire surveillance installation. Scalable solution: Distributed master/slave servers support an unlimited number of cameras, servers, sites and users. Optimised performance: Expanded viewing, recording and storage possibilities increase the performance of hardware Quick and easy to set up and manage, XProtect Enterprise includes system configuration wizards and auto-detection of hardware to significantly reduce the time and cost of deploying large security installations. "XProtect Enterprise 8 features the Camera Navigator, an industry-exclusive innovation from Milestone," says Christian Bohn, VP of Product Management and Marketing. "Moving objects are easily tracked with the Camera Navigator for consistent and comprehensive visual verification to ensure easy object tracking in geographically complex security locations." XProtect Enterprise 8 provides situational awareness. Alarms are consolidated from all security devices and systems into the video-enabled Alarm Manager for immediate visual verification of alarms, which decreases the number of false alarms. Interactive, multi-layered maps provide a comprehensive overview of cameras and layouts of an entire surveillance installation for fast detection of trouble areas. Daily operations are easily executed through the XProtect® Smart Client that provides instant access to live and recorded video, with interface options in 26 languages. The XProtect Smart Client also comes with support for 64-bit operating systems to enhance performance of the system. It is delivered with the XProtect® Smart Client-Player, an intuitive video viewer for exported material from XProtect VMS systems. The open architecture of XProtect® together with the Milestone Integration Platform Software Development Kit (MIP SDK) brings endless possibilities to add functionality and create increasingly powerful, surveillance solutions. Milestone XProtect acts as the core of the system, providing the widest choice in third-party hardware components and integrations with other business systems: a foundation that is cost effective and flexible both today and tomorrow.

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Milestone Systems XProtect® Expert – Powerful control for advanced surveillance
Milestone Systems XProtect® Expert – Powerful control for advanced surveillance

Milestone XProtect® Expert is advanced open platform IP video management software (VMS) for medium and large installations. Its powerful central management interface allows large systems with multiple Recording Servers to be efficiently managed as one uniform system. Using scheduled and event-driven rules, it is easy to automate security actions and control external systems, reducing the amount of manual tasks. Ideal for daily users and operators who want sophisticated live monitoring, XProtect Expert features efficient alarm handling, multi-layered and interactive maps, and the ability to flag suspicious incidents for later review. Reduce total cost of ownership Central management: Centrally manage all aspects of the surveillance system, such as connected cameras, devices, storage and users from a single client interface Powerful management interface: A wide range of administration tools help ease the initial configuration and daily administration of large systems that are deployed across different geographical locations System Monitor: Gives instant feedback on system performance and enables proactive administration of the system Configuration reports: System integrators can document system delivery and provide a detailed listing of all configuration settings High-performance video recording 64-bit Recording Server: Users can run more cameras on fewer servers helping to save money on total system costs Unlimited system scalability: Full flexibility to add additional Recording Servers and expand the system Edge Storage with flexible retrieval: A redundancy option that ensures continuous recording of audio and video and allows users to control when recordings are retrieved from camera storage based on time schedules and events Versatile rule engine: Easily automate different aspects of the system, such as lights and doors, based on security events or time schedules, eliminating the need for manual control Real-time situational overview Alarm Manager: Single-point alarm function that provides a clear and consolidated overview of security and system-related alarms and gives instant access to cameras for immediate visual verification, decreasing the number of false alarms Bookmarking: Flag video sequences of particular interest and add descriptive notes, enabling users to easily share information and increase efficiency in investigating incidents Interactive maps: Gain a comprehensive overview of camera locations and layouts of an entire surveillance installation, allowing for quick detection of trouble areas

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Dallmeier releases new tutorial videos on viewing software Smavia Viewing Client
Dallmeier releases new tutorial videos on viewing software Smavia Viewing Client

Dallmeier has expanded its portfolio of online tutorials on its YouTube channel and introduced new videos on the viewing software Smavia Viewing Client.  Smavia Viewing Client is a powerful and intuitive software for the convenient evaluation of live and recorded image material via Ethernet. In new “How-To” videos Dallmeier shows how easy it is to use the software and what useful features it offers.  "Live View" This video focuses on live viewing of video material. In the Smavia Viewing Client the cameras are represented in a clear camera tree structure, from which they can easily be moved by Drag&Drop into various split windows. A special highlight are the “flexible split windows”: In addition to predefined split views every user can adapt the software specifically to his or her requirements and define and design split windows individually. A corridor mode can also be set up very easily, since there are no fixed default image layouts such as 16:9 or 4:3. If several monitors are being used it is also possible to start the Smavia Viewing Client in multiple instances. In addition, many other useful features are available to the operator, such as the integration of site maps, an easy-to-use zoom function or pixelisation of moving objects.  "Search and Backup" This video deals with the subject of search and backup. Here Dallmeier introduces the various search functions of the Smavia Viewing Client and explains step-by-step how to efficiently evaluate recorded image material. In addition to a simple search by date and time, other available options include a fast search with user-defined time units and step lengths, an index search for incidents and an extended search for data from external devices such as scanners of cash registers or ATMs. The most efficient evaluation is offered by a search using Dallmeier SmartFinder, a system for intelligent searches for movement within freely definable image areas. Dallmeier uses an example to clearly explain how SmartFinder works. There are also demonstrations of how to create backups of relevant sequences.  Want to learn more? The "Search and Backup" tutorial and other videos can be found online on the Dallmeier YouTube channel.   The Smavia Viewing Client is available for downloading free of charge on the Dallmeier homepage.

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Dallmeier presents PService3 configuration tool for VideoIP systems
Dallmeier presents PService3 configuration tool for VideoIP systems

With PService3, Dallmeier presents a new version of its configuration and administration tool which is now even more powerful, structured and flexible.   PService3 is a powerful application for the convenient configuration and administration of comprehensive Dallmeier VideoIP systems. PService3 scans the video network for Dallmeier devices, automatically detects them and displays them in an overview. If desired, PService3 provides a list of camera previews, filtered according to various criteria. Recording systems and cameras can thus be administered conveniently. The comprehensive functions range from changing of IP addresses and updates of the integrated software to the direct opening of the configuration dialogs.  Modern and flexible PService3 is even more flexible than its predecessor version, and even more readily adaptable to the specific requirements of any user. The user interface has been revised extensively and is characterised by a completely modernised and clearly structured design which provides more clarity. It can also be adapted individually to the user's needs: Depending on the work environment, the user interface can be switched between a dark and a bright design and particular functions and views can be summarised and arranged individually within the program window. Furthermore, the users are able to add and arrange tools according to individual needs, always keeping an eye on the essentials.   Advanced representation of Panomera® multifocal sensor systems The appearance of Panomera® multifocal sensor systems has been expanded extensively in the current version of the PService3 software. Detailed information can now be viewed for each module of a Panomera® camera. Furthermore, extensive tools for the convenient maintenance and configuration of MFS systems are available. With the Panomera® AutoCalibration software tool (to be installed separately), module transitions can quickly and easily be automatically calibrated.  All in one PService3 is compatible with all Dallmeier network cameras, including the Panomera® multifocal sensor systems as well as all Dallmeier recording systems as of generation 4. The variety of integrated tools makes PService3 a central and complete service instrument.  More information in the webinar Dallmeier also provides extensive explanations and many practical examples in its "PService3" webinar. All dates & registration at www.dallmeier.com/ls/webinars

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March Networks Searchlight for Retail
March Networks Searchlight for Retail

March Networks Searchlight for Retail enables all types of retail organisations – including specialty retail, grocery stores, quick service restaurants (QSRs) and convenience stores (c-stores) – to reduce losses from theft, oversee operations, improve customer service and increase profits. The intelligent software integrates clear surveillance video with data from retail systems including point-of-sale (POS) and RFID tags to alert loss prevention staff and business owners to instances of potential theft, and reduce investigation times from hours to minutes. In addition, Searchlight’s optional business analytics (e.g. people counting, dwell time monitoring and queue length) combined with video data provide valuable insights on occupancy, speed of service, transactions conducted with no customer present, and customer interest. Available as a standalone software application, or as a hosted software as a service (SaaS) for a low monthly fee, Searchlight for Retail delivers key benefits to retailers including: Transaction Summaries. View and compare user-definable report summaries (voids, refunds, discounts, etc.) to identify potential issues based on transaction trends over time. Transaction Reports. Review transaction data integrated with video to quickly investigate instances of potential internal theft, and to evaluate employee behavior at the POS. Business Analytics. Uncover customer trends and employee Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and gain insight into overall store or restaurant operations. Operations Audits. Review snapshots from the cameras at your locations to see what’s happening, and discern operational issues like cleanliness, safety concerns, placement of promotional displays, etc. Business Rules. Detect possible fraud by reviewing lists of transactions and events that are important to you, e.g., no sales, safe drops, and transactions that exceed a certain amount, and be automatically alerted about these events via email. Security Audits. Filter by location ID and/or alarm type, and view alarm video from the vantage point of one or multiple cameras; export alarm details along with relevant video and audio evidence. Integrate your video surveillance system with leading POS and RFID software. A portfolio of POS and RFID integrations are available off-the-shelf; customised integrations can be configured as needed.

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AD Network Video introduces enhanced high definition IP video surveillance solution
AD Network Video introduces enhanced high definition IP video surveillance solution

Security surveillance specialist, AD Network Video, has introduced its enhanced integrated HD IP video solution. The new system, Virtual NVR, delivers a solution that combines unlimited scalability with three tiers of distributed storage, offering complete security and resilience for users. Jamie Horastead, business development manager for Virtual NVR from AD Network Video comments: “We believe Virtual NVR is ideal for a range of industries such as airports, banks and retail that demand complete reassurance that footage is secure and is fit for evidential purposes.” The Virtual NVR solution intelligently distributes video storage across single or multiple locations, with IP cameras recording and storing images on the in-camera server. These will carry on recording if network outages occur as the devices operate like standalone systems, resulting in no single point of failure. The evidential recordings are easily accessible locally or from control rooms via a single user interface and are exported in compliance with police and home office guidelines. Recordings can be archived and managed from a central location driving greater efficiency and flexibility in locating and retrieving video from multiple sites. Horastead: “Virtual NVR can offer significant returns on investment. The system combines effective video transmission, alarm handling, database integration and HD storage mitigation. “For sectors such as retail it can make an immediate difference to the bottom line, combining processing systems with Virtual NVR to reduce shrinkage owing to theft and internal fraud.” Pauline Norstrom, chief operating officer of AD Network Video, part of AD Group, comments: “Virtual NVR illustrates the continuing commitment to bringing to market uniquely beneficial and effective video security management solutions. “Our in-house R & D capability continues to underpin our industry reputation for innovation. “In a vastly undifferentiated IP video market where price and not value can be attractive to buyers, AD wins out over and above the "glorified web cam" by combining effective video transmission, alarm handling, database integration and HD storage mitigation in a way that no competitor can match. We have something special here that will help clients to improve security, increase ROI and reduce cost of ownership.” AD Group has developed security surveillance solutions for more than 30 years. The latest generation includes solutions for reducing fire risk through the use of Video Smoke Detection, FireVu, and logistics losses, TransVu. Both can be used effectively in a range of industries.

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Honeywell spotlighted IP security at IFSEC 2008
Honeywell spotlighted IP security at IFSEC 2008

Honeywell focussed on integrated, IP-based security systems at IFSEC 2008.  The company showcased a range of security products and solutions including its new EQUIP™ Series IP camera family, ACUIX™ PTZ dome camera; Active Alert® video analytics suite; FUSION Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) software; Pro-Watch security management software and SmartPlus® Imprivata® Connector.  In addition, Honeywell promoted its Partner of Choice programme, which is designed to help systems integrators and installer companies leverage increasing public interest in digital and IP-based security.The products and solutions that took centre stage on the Honeywell Security stand this year were:EQUIP Series of IP cameras: Adopting the look of Honeywell's successful analogue camera line, the EQUIP Series is a new family of IP-enabled professional cameras.  The range includes indoor and outdoor pendant models, day/night body cameras and even a vandal resistant mini-dome. Crowning the EQUIP line is the new ACUIX PTZ dome camera, which features quick installation and set-up time.  The model provides superior images, faster response to events and tighter integration with Honeywell DVRs, DVM and intrusion devices.  The ACUIX dome features True Day/Night, 35X zoom lens, Wide Dynamic Range for difficult lighting situations and Electronic Image Stabilisation for improved image quality in unstable mounting situations.Pro-Watch security management software: Aimed at enterprises of all sizes, Pro-Watch management software incorporates access control, alarm monitoring, video badging and CCTV system interfaces.  The solution's wizards, shortcuts, and templates make it easy to install and use.  There are three editions of Pro-Watch - Enterprise, Corporate and Professional - which serve to meet a variety of security needs.SmartPlus Imprivata Connector: Designed for use with Honeywell's Pro-Watch system, the SmartPlus Imprivata uses OneSign™ Physical/Logical to provide a single point of authentication. It closes security gaps that exist when physical access control and IT network authentication systems live in self-contained silos.Active Alert video analytics suite: Designed to increase the efficiency of CCTV systems, the Active Alert suite automatically detects, analyses and classifies the behaviours of individuals and vehicles as they move through a scene, providing real-time alarms and search tools that enhance manned and unmanned video surveillance systems.  Active Alert also enables historic scene activity to be retrieved instantly for analysis.Fusion ANPR software: The Fusion ANPR system logs vehicles and their plate numbers in an application-rich database.  It enables the cost-effective detection, classification and retrieval of vehicle number plates in critical applications and is ideal for security and access control operations in environments including law enforcement, traffic control, car park management and access control, airports, hotels, city centre CCTV, ports of entry and military bases.Partner of Choice Systems Integrator Programme in the spotlightThe new generation of Honeywell products showcased at IFSEC will generate significant new business opportunities for the company's security installers and integrators across Europe.  Honeywell's Partner of Choice Systems Integrator programme is designed to help its installers and integrators leverage public interest in digital and IP security systems through the delivery of comprehensive product and sales training and a wide array of useful sales and marketing tools. "We want to pass along knowledge that will make our customers more successful in selling digital security," said Vineet Nargolwala, General Manager EMEA, Honeywell Systems Group.  "The security landscape is changing; it's moving from analogue to digital - and fast.  We have the solutions and training programmes in place now to enable systems integrators and installers to benefit immediately from the increasing interest."For more information visit www.honeywell.com/security/uk

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Milestone-Agent Vi integration protects logistics perimeter
Milestone-Agent Vi integration protects logistics perimeter

Milestone and Agent Vi protect major logistics enterprise site against perimeter breaches Integrated with Milestone open platform VMS, the real-time alerts from Vi-System on Axis thermal cameras enabled a decrease in guards, cutting costs without lowering security. "We are very happy with Agent Vi's real-time video analytics solution. The seamless integration with our Axis thermal cameras offers excellent detection rates at all times of day, and in all lighting conditions... The real-time alerts generated by Vi-System and sent to the monitoring station have allowed us to decrease the number of security guards stationed around the perimeter, effectively cutting our costs without lowering our level of security."     Operations Manager            KDL Trans Product: Vi-System - Real-Time Video Analytics  Application: Security and Perimeter Protection Customer: KDL Trans  Location: Brussels, Belgium  Vertical Market: Enterprise Agent Vi Partners: Axis Communications - Cameras Milestone Systems - Video Management System (VMS)ESSC - Certified Systems Integrator ChallengeFounded in 1991, KDL Trans is a globally-oriented logistics provider that specializes in electronic and computer equipment, offering services such as air freight, ocean freight, packing, storage, customs brokerage, and more. The company is based out of a new 11,000 square meter facility close to Brussels airport, which offers easy access to important trans-European highways. The extensive facility is home to a fleet of some 100 trucks and vans, and includes a range of loading docks, storage warehouses and areas for sorting and other logistical activities. KDL Trans sought to provide the highest level of security at the new premises, and thereby offer the best possible service to their range of customers, comprised of both local and international high-profile businesses and organizations. Recognizing that the high value of the goods passing through the facility could attract intrusions by thieves, KDL Trans looked for the most effective way to undertake early detections of unauthorized people in their facility. KDL Trans sought a perimeter detection solution that connected with its monitoring station, to cut down costs associated with employing multiple guards stationed around the premises on weekends when the site is less busy.  SolutionAfter testing for an optimal solution, KDL Trans decided to deploy Vi-System - Agent Vi's real-time video analytics solution, with Axis cameras. The challenging environmental conditions, among them outdoor areas with natural vegetation, harsh weather and extreme changes in lighting, led to a decision to employ Axis thermal cameras, which eliminate these parameters to a large degree. Together with Agent Vi's analytics, the thermal cameras offer excellent range and deliver highly accurate detection results.  Specifically, the site's 8 Axis thermal cameras (AXIS Q1910-E and 1921-E) - which are strategically located around the building's perimeter - were enabled with Agent Vi's embedded video analytics component (Vi-Agent) to allow the following real-time detection rule to be active on each camera: Person moving in an area to detect and alert to unauthorized personnel entering the premises and moving freely in restricted areas. KDL Trans employs Milestone XProtect® Professional as their VMS recording and viewing application, which is fully integrated with Agent Vi's software. Therefore, events detected by Vi-System generate an alert which is displayed in the Milestone XProtect Smart Client. ResultThe deployment of Vi-System at the site has lifted the level of security by allowing the early detection of intruders entering the site. In fact, a number of perimeter intrusions have been picked up by Vi-System, and the lead time gained by these early detections enabled a more effective response by the security guards. Furthermore, the added layer of security offered by Vi-System has been instrumental in KDL Trans' efforts to build business relations with new and existing clients, as they can point to the superior level of security offered at their site. Jurgen De Laet, Operations Manager at KDL Trans, said that "We are very happy with Agent Vi's real-time video analytics solution. The seamless integration with our Axis thermal cameras offers excellent detection rates at all times of day, and in all lighting conditions." Furthermore, he commented on the return on investment enabled by Vi-System, saying that "The real-time alerts generated by Vi-System and sent to the monitoring station have allowed us to decrease the number of security guards stationed around the perimeter, effectively cutting our costs without lowering our level of security."Toon Eeckelaert, Co-Owner of ESSC, stated that: "We tested a range of solutions, including active infra red beams, radars and video analytics, to identify the best option for the site. We compared the products, level of security offered, added value and price. On all levels, video analytics had the highest score." As a certified member of Agent Vi's Channel Partner Program, Mr. Eeckelaert is familiar with Agent Vi. He commented that: "It's all about trust, experience and knowledge. We have found that Agent Vi has the highest level of professionalism for all three, compared to other providers."  Ariel Frischoff, VP Sales EMEA & APAC at Agent Vi said: "The installation at KDL Trans demonstrates the synergy of Axis thermal cameras with Agent Vi's video analytics, which provides the customer with some significant benefits. Firstly, the false alarm rate (FAR) is extremely low, due to the analytics software being more immune to environmental changes such as shadows, rain and snow, when using thermal cameras. Furthermore, the solution enables accurate detections at long distances without the need for expensive illuminators. KDL Trans was able to deploy a minimal number of thermal cameras to cover its entire perimeter, thereby providing the customer with the lowest cost of ownership compared with other surveillance systems."

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CCTV software - Expert commentary

Back to school: Best practices for a holistic approach to security
Back to school: Best practices for a holistic approach to security

In the past decade, we’ve seen an unfortunate increase in gun-related incidents on school campuses, making security and policy efforts a top priority for educational facilities nationwide. While the causes for this increase are hotly debated in and around the education community, the facts remain that specific steps can be taken to mitigate risks. To tackle this issue, officials from campus stakeholders, law enforcement officials, architects, and security personnel, have met to find solutions for protecting educational facilities. Further complicating matters, educational campuses are again tasked with mitigating health risks associated with COVID-19, as we head into the third pandemic school year. Video communication tools To safely reopen, new technologies and policies in many K-12 and higher education institutions have been released, with many searching for a way to leverage existing security infrastructure. Achieving both health safety and physical security requires an integrated approach—from all-around best practices, to video communication tools and enhanced security infrastructure. The simple intercom has been a security staple in the education market for many years A holistic approach is best to ensure the safety of students, staff, and visitors. The simple intercom has been a security staple in the education market for many years, but now in a pandemic-centric world, these devices provide a new set of required capabilities. Intercoms, once thought to be a basic security tool, can now be combined with video, offering users the ability to solve multiple pain points associated with COVID-19. Controlled access points In this article, we’ll discuss some best practices for educational decision-makers, as well as how video intercoms can enhance overall security architecture. A school’s first opportunity to mitigate threats lies in its ability to deter threats entering in the first place. This begins with ensuring policies, procedures, and equipment are all up to standard. Most campus shootings and other violent acts occur once the individual has made it through the front door of a building; putting the emphasis on controlled access points at key entries to add an extra barrier of safety between threats and students. While written policies help staff understand how visitors are approved for entry, they should also be informed of more simple items, such as why doors can’t be left propped open, when to lockdown, or how to evacuate during an emergency. Physical security solutions The security industry has also created effective physical security solutions for protecting a campus Another best practice would be training staff to spot signs of distressed and potentially violent students, while providing ways to get help for them. When it comes to campus security, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, which is why security integrators should also be included in planning processes to tailor a custom solution for each campus to address its unique security needs. While best practices, including mental health screenings, stricter discipline codes, and faster law enforcement responses are all crucial to campus safety, the security industry has also created effective physical security solutions for protecting a campus—which includes enhanced two-way video and audio/visual communication solutions such as a video intercom. For years educational facilities have utilised intercoms to manage access, but now, it’s more important than ever to ensure the safety of students and staff by thoroughly vetting all those who enter a building. Providing visual verification Long gone are the days of asking visitors to check in manually using a sign-in book, or simply walking into a school. Best practices now require the presence of a visitor management system (VMS), which is a more accurate and seamless way to manage access. Using a VMS, a campus could add its own custom watch list, which when properly implemented, can provide protection from abuse orders, custodial issues, and offer names and pictures of disgruntled former employees and students. Using a VMS, a campus could add its own custom watch list, which when properly implemented As security technology has become more sophisticated, so have intercom capabilities—extending far beyond what they used to be. Going further than a simple button and speaker system, when used in conjunction with an IP video system, intercoms provide visual verification that the person requesting access into a school building does indeed belong there. Contact tracing solutions Whether it’s a student, parent, or staff member, verifying a person’s identity and ensuring that the individual has proper credentials is key. Pairing an intercom with a camera allows for this important, real-time visual and audio communication between the front office and those requesting access. Additionally, intercoms can be used as contact tracing solutions by leveraging an audit trail in case of an outbreak. For example, if a number of students at a college or university all use a mobile app to gain access to a dormitory through an intercom system, in the event that someone tests positive for COVID-19, they are able to contact all students, staff, or visitors who frequent that building. IP video intercoms can assist in pandemic related and security use cases by limiting unnecessary human-to-human interaction and replacing that with remote management capabilities. Remote monitoring station Remote monitoring allows for eyes on a facility while personnel are not physically present There is increased flexibility when working from a mobile app, or remote monitoring station, especially for security directors or officers on educational campuses. For example, if a campus is not able to staff a lobby of a building or a dormitory, they can remotely manage access from a mobile device. This enables security personnel to access video feeds and directly communicate with students or staff requesting access into a building. Remote monitoring allows for eyes on a facility while personnel are not physically present, thus increasing overall security. It can also give the appearance of the building being occupied at all times, even when it’s not. Another way an educational facility can leverage their video intercom system is to shift to mobile applications that offer a touchless way to gain access. Mobile application credential A mobile application removes the need for a physical key card and eliminates the potential of loss or theft of that access credential. It also allows for easy updating to credential status. For example, if a student, staff member or visitor is added to an ‘access denied’ list, security personnel can simply revoke a mobile application credential, versus having to track down a physical key and run the risk of copies or other issues. The importance of visual confirmation cannot be stressed enough when it comes to educational campuses The importance of visual confirmation cannot be stressed enough when it comes to educational campuses. Not only for security purposes to visually confirm identity, or screen for suspicious behaviours or other anomalies, simply having the ability to have a conversation with someone requesting access is vital. Better audio feedback There’s been a shift in recent years, in some cases spurred by the pandemic, to focus on how existing technologies can meet the unique needs of students, staff and visitors. For example, intercoms allow for two-way video which is crucial for an individual who is deaf, or hearing impaired, who needs to communicate using sign language. Additionally, intercoms can be integrated with t-coil features, to allow for better audio feedback for those with hearing aids. The past few years have taught us that while best practices, attention to the mental wellbeing of students, enhanced security at main entry points, and exits are all important focuses, educational security needs to be holistic and comprehensive. From physical security risks, to potential pandemic-related outbreaks, to the regular day-to-day communication needs of all individuals, decision-makers recognise intercom systems easily address each unique need.

Data explosion: Futureproofing your video surveillance infrastructure
Data explosion: Futureproofing your video surveillance infrastructure

Video surveillance systems are producing more unstructured data than ever before. A dramatic decrease in camera costs in recent years has led many businesses to invest in comprehensive surveillance coverage, with more cameras generating more data. Plus, advances in technology mean that the newest (8K) cameras are generating approximately 800% more data than their predecessors (standard definition). Traditional entry-level solutions like network video recorders (NVRs) simply aren’t built to handle massive amounts of data in an efficient, resilient and cost-effective manner. This has left many security pioneers grappling with a data storage conundrum. Should they continue adding more NVR boxes? Or is there another, better, route? Retaining video data In short, yes. To future proof their video surveillance infrastructure, an increasing number of businesses are adopting an end-to-end surveillance architecture with well-integrated, purpose-built platforms for handling video data through its lifecycle. This presents significant advantages in terms of security, compliance and scalability, as well as unlocking new possibilities for data enrichment. All of this with a lower total cost of ownership than traditional solutions. Security teams would typically delete recorded surveillance footage after a few days or weeks Previously, security teams would typically delete recorded surveillance footage after a few days or weeks. However, thanks to increasingly stringent legal and compliance demands, many are now required to retain video data for months or even years. There’s no doubt that this can potentially benefit investigations and increase prosecutions, but it also puts significant pressure on businesses’ storage infrastructure. Data lifecycle management This necessitates a more intelligent approach to data lifecycle management. Rather than simply storing video data in a single location until it’s wiped, an end-to-end video surveillance solution can intelligently migrate data to different storage platforms and media as it ages. So, how does this work? Video is recorded and analysed on a combination of NVR, hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) and application servers. Then, it’s moved to resilient file storage for a pre-determined period, where it can be immediately retrieved and accessed for review. Finally, based on policies set by heads of security, data is moved from file storage to highly secure, low-cost archive storage such as an object, tape or cloud. Data is moved from file storage to highly secure, low-cost archive storage Long-term storage This process is known as tiering. It allows businesses to use reliable, inexpensive long-term storage for most of their data, whilst still enabling security pioneers to retrieve video data when the need arises, such as during a compliance audit, or to review footage following a security breach. In a nutshell, it offers them the best of both worlds. Scaling your video surveillance infrastructure can be a headache. Businesses that rely on NVRs – even high-end units with 64 or even 96 hard drives – are finding themselves running out of capacity increasingly quickly. In order to scale, security pioneers then have to procure new boxes. With NVRs, this inevitably involves a degree of guesswork. Should they go for the largest possible option, and risk over provisioning? Or perhaps a smaller option, and risk running out of capacity again? Common management console Security pioneers can easily add or remove storage capacity or compute resources – separately or together As businesses add new cameras or replace existing ones, many end up with inadequate surveillance infrastructure made up of multiple NVR boxes along with several application servers for running other surveillance functions such as access control, security photo databases, analytics, etc. This patchwork approach leaves security pioneers scrambling for capacity, maintaining various hardware footprints, repeating updates and checks across multiple systems, and taking up valuable time that could be better spent elsewhere. By contrast, flexible HCI surveillance platforms aggregate the storage and ecosystem applications to run on the same infrastructure and combine viewing under a common management console, avoiding ‘swivel chair’ management workflows. Plus, they offer seamless scalability. Security pioneers can easily add or remove storage capacity or compute resources – separately or together. Data storage solutions Over time, this ensures a lower total cost of ownership. First and foremost, it removes the risk of over provisioning and helps to control hardware sprawl. This in turn leads to hardware maintenance savings and lower power use. Many security pioneers are now looking beyond simple data storage solutions for their video surveillance footage. Meta tags can provide context around data, making it easier to find and access when needed Instead, they’re asking themselves how analysing this data can enable their teams to work faster, more efficiently and productively. Implementing an end-to-end video surveillance architecture enables users to take advantage of AI and machine learning applications which can tag and enrich video surveillance data. These have several key benefits. Firstly, meta tags can provide context around data, making it easier to find and access when needed. Object storage platform For instance, if security teams are notified of a suspicious red truck, they can quickly find data with this tag, rather than manually searching through hours of data, which can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. Plus, meta tags can be used to mark data for future analysis. This means that as algorithms are run over time, policies can be set to automatically store data in the right location. For example, if a video is determined to contain cars driving in and out of your premises, it would be moved to long-term archiving such as an object storage platform for compliance purposes. If, on the other hand, it contained 24 hours of an empty parking lot, it could be wiped. These same meta tags may be used to eventually expire the compliance data in the archive after it is no longer needed based on policy. Video surveillance architecture Continuing to rely on traditional systems like NVRs will fast become unsustainable for businesses Even if your organisation isn’t using machine learning or artificial intelligence-powered applications to enhance your data today, it probably will be one, three, or even five years down the line. Implementing a flexible end-to-end video surveillance solution prepares you for this possibility. With new advances in technology, the quantity of data captured by video surveillance systems will continue rising throughout the coming decade. As such, continuing to rely on traditional systems like NVRs will fast become unsustainable for businesses. Looking forward, when moving to an end-to-end video surveillance architecture, security pioneers should make sure to evaluate options from different vendors. For true futureproofing, it’s a good idea to opt for a flexible, modular solution, which allow different elements to be upgraded to more advanced technologies when they become available.

Convenience and cost savings make cloud managed video surveillance a popular choice for many businesses
Convenience and cost savings make cloud managed video surveillance a popular choice for many businesses

Cloud-based technology can reduce IT costs, streamline application management and make infrastructure more flexible and scalable. So, it’s no surprise that cloud video surveillance solutions (also known as video surveillance as a service or VSaaS) are gaining momentum in a big way. In fact, according to recent reports, the VSaaS market is forecasted to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 10.4% by 2025. But some company owners may wonder – what services does a cloud model deliver and is such a solution right for my business? This article aims to help you determine what cloud video surveillance solution is right for your business and the benefits you can enjoy if you decide to deploy a VSaaS solution. Full cloud-based recording vs cloud-managed First, a bit of clarification on cloud video surveillance models, as definitions can vary from provider to provider. A full cloud-based recording solution is one in which both video recording and management are done offsite (for example, cameras streaming directly to the cloud). While this model can be a good option for some, many large enterprise businesses simply don’t have the bandwidth capacity or network resources required to upload all of their videos to the cloud. Even with the bandwidth capacity, this can be a cost-prohibitive model when hundreds or thousands of IP cameras are involved. A full cloud-based recording solution is one in which both video recording and management are done offsite But that doesn’t mean enterprise businesses can’t take advantage of cloud-managed video surveillance. With this solution, video recording and storage happen on your premises (with network video recorders (NVRs) or a video management system (VMS)), but the video management aspect is handled in the cloud by a third-party provider, usually as a subscription-based service. The provider hosts the central video server overseeing your on-premises devices. Some providers also allow you to back up portions of the video to the cloud, so you can store and share video evidence or select clips needed for investigations. This model combines the performance benefits of local recording with the convenience and cost savings of the cloud. Centralised video surveillance solution Perhaps the greatest benefit of using this type of cloud-managed video surveillance solution is centralisation. Because all of your devices are centrally managed in the cloud, you don’t have to travel to a distant location to update a recorder or camera’s software – it’s all done remotely by the provider from a central location. This can save you both time and money, especially since it’s necessary to consistently monitor the configuration settings on cameras and NVRs to ensure they’re correct and functioning properly. If your hardware malfunctions and it isn’t detected immediately, instances of lost video can occur. And business owners know that losing video evidence of theft or fraud could have significant consequences to the efficiency and effectiveness of an investigation. Round the clock monitoring Some providers monitor for changes in cameras’ field of view, so if a camera is blocked or moved, you’ll be alerted  With a cloud-managed model, you can rest assured that if a camera goes down or another technical issue arises, the provider will know and will handle it immediately so you can avoid unnecessary truck rolls, which can be costly. Some providers will even monitor for changes in your cameras’ field of view, so if a camera is blocked or moved, you’ll be alerted right away. This type of around-the-clock monitoring eliminates your need for an in-house data centre and the IT staff necessary to maintain the video system. This is particularly important if you don’t have the infrastructure or the personnel to host your own video networking equipment. You can also save time with the deployment of your video surveillance solution since your provider will get your system up and running quickly. There’s no need to worry about setting up or configuring the central server or any application software – it’s all taken care of by your provider. Flexible and cost-effective In many cloud-managed solutions, you can also skip the large upfront capital cost of a video surveillance investment and pay a monthly fee for all of these services. This is particularly helpful if it’s difficult for your organisation to make large capital investments. You may or may not have to invest in onsite devices (cameras and NVRs), depending on the provider you choose. Some providers will allow you to finance your hardware, while others will want you to purchase it upfront. Many cloud providers also offer robust web clients for viewing video and conducting investigations remotely Many cloud providers also offer robust web clients for viewing video and conducting investigations remotely. These do not require any local downloads, which saves you time and money by avoiding the need for additional IT resources. It also alleviates worrying about whether or not you have the latest version, as the clients are automatically updated. And if you don’t want to spend a lot of time on video analysis, some cloud-managed models offer predefined reports on what’s most important to you. For example, a list of potentially suspicious transactions matched with video – so you can quickly scan to investigate. Getting the right solution Determining whether a cloud-managed video surveillance solution is right for your business is a big decision involving many factors, including your business’s size, bandwidth, and network infrastructure, and overall budget for physical security. By considering the points above, the hope is that you can more easily determine which model is best for your business.

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