Milestone XProtect 2016 VMS gives partners power and puts customers in control
Milestone XProtect 2016 VMS gives partners power and puts customers in control

XProtect focuses on partners’ needs The fast-paced changes in our world make short product development cycles a necessity. In response to feedback from the Milestone partner community, extensive enhancements have been made to XProtect software to allow for frequent product releases. Three core VMS product releases will be delivered every year in addition to the bi-monthly device pack releases for supporting third-party cameras. The multiple yearly release schedule will ensure that Milestone can rapidly respond to market demands, with a more frequent timetable enabling implementation of new features and enhancements to existing product capabilities within a very short lead time. The XProtect 2016 release is the largest-ever development effort for Milestone. Milestone has also created new beta-lab testing for Milestone Solution Partners (MSPs). This gives developers a first look at new integration options, new features in the VMS product suite and the possibility to engage directly with the Milestone development teams. This feedback contributes to further enhance the VMS and MSP integrations. “We are really excited to put even more focus on our open platform development partners, as we transition our product development to a partner and market-driven process,” says Bjørn Eilertsen, Vice President of Corporate Products at Milestone Systems. Milestone maximising VMS business value In continuation of Milestone’s ongoing commitment to maximise the business value of video management systems for partners and customers, the theme of XProtect 2016 is ‘In control like never before’. This highlights the partner and end user focus in this release. The user benefits: Improved System Performance –Hardware decoding with XProtect 2016 enables use of the latest 4K/UHD camera technology and improves video rendering performance dramatically. An extended system monitor gives real-time overview of system status to enable proactive service. New functions let users move devices between servers for seamless system expansions. “We are really excited to puteven more focus on our openplatform development partners,as we transition our productdevelopment to a partner andmarket-driven process” Optimised Incident Handling –Rich Smart Wall content from alarms, images, bookmarks, maps and more improve incident response time and operational focus.  XProtect 2016 is introducing Push Notification that notifies a remote user of an alarm (including instructions and video). Video can also be pushed from the mobile device’s own camera to XProtect, to share and document incidents wherever they are. Video Enablement - Milestone XProtect LPR and XProtect Access (formerly called XProtect Access Control Module) have been further improved. XProtect Transact 2016 for retail solutions has been further integrated with the XProtect Smart Client to make investigation of incidents more efficient.        For partners:                 Improved deployment and customer operations - License handling has been simplified to facilitate faster installation and easier updates. Off-line systems now have far more elasticity in licensing without needing to be online. Smart Connect makes it easy to set up mobile users. The Customer Dashboard online remote system monitoring enables proactive service by Milestone partners to ensure optimum operations, and this has been extended in XProtect 2016 with the ability to document maintenance history and system performance. Open platform architecture for expanding systems Because the Milestone VMS is based on open platform architecture with a focus on distributed systems, the capacity of a Milestone-based video system can be extended to cover thousands of cameras. Milestone Interconnect enables XProtect systems and Milestone Husky network video recorders be networked to form robust and reliable infrastructures. The user is able to start with a small stand-alone system and expand capacities as needed, seamlessly. “The numerous enhancements to XProtect 2016 let users harvest all the benefits of an easy-to-use, efficient video system that is able to upgrade for any future needs,” says Janne Jacobsen, Vice President of Professional Products at Milestone Systems.

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Milestone now reads license plates with XProtect™ Analytics
Milestone now reads license plates with XProtect™ Analytics

Milestone Systems, a global thought leader and developer of open platform IP video software, has announced the release of XProtect Analytics License Plate Recognition (LPR) that transforms surveillance video into an effective and powerful business tool for improving customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as protection of assets. XProtect Analytics LPR 1.5 is a system that detects, reads and stores license plate information from a digital video stream.  It is designed to control vehicle access, as in traffic surveillance and law enforcement, toll and parking management, gas stations, transportation or any other application and situation where there is a need for registration, recognition and detection of vehicle license plates. How it worksThe system receives video streams from a camera.  This video stream is analyzed, and license plates are automatically detected.  The license plate information is then checked against the system that determines which actions are initiated automatically, such as opening a gate barrier for specific cars or sending an alarm. XProtect Analytics LPR is operated with the user-friendly XProtect Smart Client interface that enables fast searches of the historical video data to find and match specific license plates.  The data can be searched based on a certain license plate text or by a wildcard combination, date, time, or simply by browsing through recordings. "The true value from video analytics is derived through a video management system like XProtect with an open framework that can correlate feed from multiple video analytics with different behaviours - regardless of whether the video content analytics are performed in a camera - at the edge - or server based," explains Eric Fullerton, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Milestone Systems.  "Best-of-breed analytics can be integrated with the Milestone open platform to allow a combination of license plate, facial recognition and object tracking, for example, from three different vendors to be used as one comprehensive solution."Customer scenariosCustomers can leverage the XProtect Analytics in multiple ways.  One example is improving the customer experience at hotels by allowing guests to pre-register and drive directly into the hotel's parking lot.  The guests will avoid the stress of arriving at the hotel and waiting in line to check in. The system is also a powerful tool in large privately run parking lots.  Regular visitors pay a monthly fee, whereas rare guests validate tickets at pay-and-display machines.  Using License Plate Recognition enables regular visitors to simply drive to the gate, which opens automatically when the license plate is recognized. In addition, the Milestone solution allows customers to build effective loss prevention systems, such as integration with the company's transaction system to detect and track cars that are leaving without paying.  This is an effective way to address problems with gas station drive-offs.  According to the National Association of Convenience Stores, gasoline theft is a $100 million-plus problem in the US, and one in every 3,300 fill-ups is gasoline theft. "XProtect Analytics is more than a loss prevention tool.  It is also an efficient way of improving customer service and ultimately increasing revenue.  For instance, gas stations can register a license plate to a company or individual's gas credit card.  The software recognizes the license plate and allows the customer to simply drive to the pump, fuel and go," says Jan Bjerring Aabyvester, Product Manager, Milestone Systems. At the recent 2008 IIPSEC show in the UK, Milestone was a finalist for the Best Software Product of the year for XProtect Analytics.

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RealShot Manager Advance from Sony
RealShot Manager Advance from Sony

GO ADVANCEDThe demand for surveillance systems is growing, and the adoption of IP as a transport mechanism for video is ever increasing. Sony recognised this trend early on, and has been focused on developing products and solutions aligned with it.Now Sony is pleased to announce the introduction of the IMZ-NS100 Series Intelligent Monitoring Software, which can be installed on your own Microsoft ® Windows ® server to monitor and control 1, 4, 9, 16 or 32 network cameras (IMZ-NS101, IMZ-NS104, IMZ-NS109, IMZ-NS116, and IMZ-NS132, respectively).The IMZ-NS100 Series is easy to use and free from complicated operation - users find it simple to set up connected cameras and to set frame rates for recording. They can also easily monitor, search, and play back events with intuitive manipulation. A scalable security system can be set up in client/server configuration using more than one server installed with the IMZ-NS100 Series and/ or using the NSR-1000 Series Video Network Surveillance Server from Sony (which is perfectly compatible with the IMZ-NS100 Series).This system can be controlled by a common user management interface, which allows the administrator to freely set up the access level of each user. With the IMZ-NS100 Series, you can start an HD-ready video network surveillance system in the scale and configuration that's ideal for current conditions, and expand this system in the future.Sharpen your focus on security through the unrivalled image quality, design and extensive versatility of the Sony Professional security camera range. Don't miss this chance to take your video security forward with Sony Professional. Be there and be secure.

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Milestone takes openness to the next level with the Universal Driver
Milestone takes openness to the next level with the Universal Driver

Milestone Systems, the open platform company within IP video management software, has announced the release of the Milestone Universal Driver for fast, basic device support of IP network cameras in XProtect solutions. The Universal Driver matches the most standard video and audio streaming formats in the market, and it is available immediately.During more than a decade, Milestone Systems has developed device support for 650+ network hardware models from over 60 leading manufacturers - a key differentiator of the Milestone open platform that gives partners and customers the widest choice for best-of-breed solutions. The Milestone Manufacturer Alliance Partner (MAP) program ensures full innovative engineering expertise from the Milestone Device Team, and close collaboration for dedicated device support in XProtect video management solutions, providing users with such comprehensive functions as PTZ control, the ability to handle events and alarms, other device (Input/Output) connections, and much more."Milestone delivers a new device pack every two months and we have accelerated the device driver development over the years, continuing to offer the industry our software's complete support for the most network devices, with a guaranteed Quality Assurance process," explains Henrik Friborg, VP Strategic Alliances and Co-founder of Milestone Systems. "Yet demand has risen to such levels for integration with our platform that we could see the need for a Universal Driver for IP/network camera vendors who want a fast integration with basic functionality. This enables even more cameras in the global marketplace to operate with XProtect video management software."The new universal device driver is able to detect virtually any network camera responding to the ARP command (Address Resolution Protocol) for the Milestone platforms of XProtect Corporate and XProtect Enterprise. The Universal Driver matches the most standard video and audio streaming formats in the market, including JPEG, MPEG4, and H.264, plus 19 different audio codecs. The Universal Driver provides more basic camera functionality than the Milestone MAP-developed drivers, but as long as cameras operate with the listed codecs, video and audio streams are supported.The current initiatives in the security industry by groups like ONVIF and PSIA are working to agree on standards for surveillance hardware that relate to this area of development. Each camera manufacturer up to now has made products with different standards for interoperability. The Milestone Driver Team works diligently with these various standards today to ensure that XProtect IP video management software is interoperable with the different hardware models - and with a mix of these brands - so customers can manage surveillance installations with the full Milestone functionality and effectiveness."Milestone is a member of both ONVIF and PSIA and will naturally support the upcoming standards from both organisations," confirms Henrik Friborg. "For now, the Milestone Universal Driver addresses a need in the market for even more camera types to receive basic XProtect support, and the Milestone Manufacturer Alliance Partners will continue to receive the fully comprehensive, dedicated device drivers."

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XProtect Enterprise 7.0 is feature-rich IP video software with ultimate usability
XProtect Enterprise 7.0 is feature-rich IP video software with ultimate usability

Milestone Systems, the open platform company for IP video management software, announces version 7.0 of XProtect™ Enterprise.  With a new administration interface and tools such as system configuration wizards, automatic device discovery, bulk maintenance options and much more, system operators can reduce both the time and costs of managing large security installations.Milestone XProtect Enterprise is a world-leading IP video management solution that handles unlimited numbers of cameras, servers, users and sites. Distributed server architecture optimises bandwidth usage, keeping video data traffic between all the elements to a minimum. Version 7.0 will provide security system administrators with significant improvements through an intuitive new Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a series of powerful tools for ultimate usability:System configuration wizards quickly set video quality, online scheduling, frame rates, storage, archiving schedules, and moreAutomated device discovery uses fast Universal Plug-and-Play (UPnP) and broadcast detection in addition to IP range scanningSmart bulk configuration options apply to both devices and usersAdaptable application behaviour guides novices and aids experts in optimisationsExport or import system and user configuration data for backups or multi-site cloningImport off-line configuration data including camera definitionsRollback to previous configurations is easy with automatic system restoration points"Several innovations and state-of-the-art features have been developed for this newest version of XProtect Enterprise to bring customers even better ways to manage video installations. For example, you can auto-detect, find and configure 100 cameras on the network in less than 2 minutes," states Christian Bohn, Head of Product Management at Milestone Systems. "That's an amazing time-saver for larger security systems, and only one of the many great administration tools available. In short:, it makes the security administrator's work fast, efficient and flexible."

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Panasonic’s new WV-ASM970 & WV-ASC970 software provides an all-inclusive, hybrid security solution
Panasonic’s new WV-ASM970 & WV-ASC970 software provides an all-inclusive, hybrid security solution

The increasing trend in switching from analogue to IP security solutions has inspired Panasonic System Networks Europe to develop and present the new WV-ASC970 IP matrix server software and the WV-ASM970 IP control software to allow flexible, all-inclusive and hybrid security solutions. WV-ASC970 IP matrix client software The WV-ASC970 software allows a server PC to integrate multiple network components into one easy-to-manage flow of data. Allowing up to 64 recorders, 64 decoders and 2048 analogue and IP cameras to be registered, security professionals have available a huge amount of information from the monitoring terminal. Panasonic's WV-ASC970 software is designed to ensure total cost of ownership is minimised by extending the life of Panasonic analogue cameras alongside new IP technology - convergence rather than replacement. Hosting hybrid solution such as these smoothes the transition process between analogue and IP as well as making varying network peripherals available from the user interface, including WV-ASC970 software. The WV-ASC970 allows both camera viewing and camera control for up to 512 individual user registrations with 64 simultaneous users supported at once, enabling collective security and remote monitoring. WV-ASM970 IP control software The WV-ASM970 client software is installed to each client PC, which enhances operation and monitoring of the full security network. Multi-monitor function enables simultaneous use of the Operation Screen and Monitoring Screen for comprehensive supervision. Other viewing options allow up to 30 IP cameras to be displayed in a 16 split screen format in MPEG-4, 2mbps mode whilst providing full location information and maintaining optimised network usage. In addition Automated Status Change uses the monitor to display a location map when an alarm is triggered to ensure security professionals can locate and action emergency response.  In summary WV-ASC970 IP matrix server software and the WV-ASM970 IP matrix client control software are designed to smooth the transition from Analogue to IP, enhance system scalability plus extend the life of existing systems.  This makes specifying Panasonic the best choice to reduce costs and improve protection of personnel and property.

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Security Center 5.0 – Genetec’s unified security platform
Security Center 5.0 – Genetec’s unified security platform

The Security Center is a unified security platform that seamlessly blends Genetec's IP license plate recognition, video surveillance and access control systems, AutoVu, Omnicast and Synergis, within a single innovative solution. Consolidate real-time monitoring, alarm management, reporting, and playback of events across all your security systems, from one interface.Here are some of the latest features of version 5.0:• Unified configuration: A single client application can now be used to efficiently configure your video, LPR, and access control systems, streamlining the whole configuration process for system administrators. • Next-generation video engine: Security Center 5.0 video performance enhancements include rendering of more cameras per workstation, an enhanced streaming engine that optimizes routes video and audio will take throughout your network, and better video fluidity over wide area networks (WANs). • Local video caching and buffering, all-frame video playback: This new function of Security Center 5.0 buffers video locally on the client workstation, reducing the amount of retransmission that is typically required for video thereby minimising bandwidth usage, as well as providing users faster access to recorded video. • Intrusion integration: Security Center 5.0 now supports the integration with third-party intrusion panels and perimeter detection systems. Users can now run reports on intrusion panel events, view video tied to intrusion events, and arm/disarm intrusion devices either through automated scheduled tasks or manually via the user interface. • Enhanced integration toolkits: The Security Center Software Development Kit (SDK) has been augmented with embedded video functionality, now providing developers with a single SDK for access control, video, and LPR. Additionally, Genetec has added a number of new toolkits to its existing portfolio, namely a web service SDK for development geared towards additional operating environments and an intrusion driver development kit (DDK) to facilitate the integration of third-party intrusion panels.Interested in obtaining more information on our products and solutions, check out our website at genetec.com or visit us at ASIS, booth 846. 

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Milestone offers Online Test Tool and XProtect Screen Recorder
Milestone offers Online Test Tool and XProtect Screen Recorder

Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), has released Device Pack 5.4 for partners and customers using Milestone XProtect® surveillance solutions. This release announces the Milestone Online Test Tool for vendors to verify the compatibility of their hardware - including ONVIF standard specifications. In addition, Device Pack 5.4 informs about the Milestone Screen Recorder, which captures screen recordings from any Windows-based PC or point-of-sale terminal to help manage loss and fraud through monitoring the use of business systems and documenting customer transactions.Milestone Online Test Tool and trainingA key parameter of the Milestone VMS open platform is providing the widest choice in hardware for surveillance installations to ensure the right technology for each customer need and to make use of the latest innovations as they become available. The rate of new camera offerings increases continually, and Milestone Systems develops both dedicated drivers with full-featured interoperability and support for the ONVIF and PSIA standard specifications, which are in progress.The Milestone Online Test Tool for manufacturers helps speed up the delivery of XProtect compatible hardware to fulfill customer demand. Milestone Manufacturer Alliance Partners (MAPs) can test the full line of models in a series after Milestone has done an initial device's dedicated driver development and testing, or they may test their products using ONVIF-supported specs that have been developed by Milestone. On the Milestone website, the list of supported devices for XProtect software indicates when the interoperability has been tested by the manufacturer.Training in the Milestone Online Test Tool is also being provided for Manufacturer Alliance Partners, with the first session at the Copenhagen headquarters June 6-10. This training gives camera vendors the opportunity to learn how to best conduct a test and helps increase the quality of product support for customers using Milestone IP video management software.XProtect Screen RecorderThe Milestone XProtect Screen Recorder is a new product that captures screen recordings from any PC or point-of-sale system. It can help improve operational efficiency through auditing staff activities or assisting with training initiatives. It is easily installed, and the view recordings are managed by the XProtect software and fully synchronised with other video data."The XProtect Screen Recorder can be used in a wide range of industries. Users can easily create evidence - captured screen recordings of transactions provide accounts of fraudulent activities. They can increase productivity through monitoring critical activities to ensure operations are running efficiently. The Milestone XProtect Screen Recorder also helps manage staff by supervising multiple computer screens, and training can be improved by using the recordings to educate staff," explains Lars Gudbrandsson, Head of Product Management at Milestone Systems.1,000 compatible modelsA detailed list of the Milestone Device Pack 5.4 newly supported network hardware is available on the Milestone website. Within a total of more than 1,000 models that are now compatible with XProtect software, the new release includes support for devices from the following manufacturers: Axis, Arecont, Black, Canon, CBC, Hikvision, Hunt, Pixor, Toshiba, Panasonic, Pelco, Samsung, Toshiba Teli, Vivotek and Zylotech.

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Adjusting to any surveillance application
Adjusting to any surveillance application

DIVA, an IP-based video management solution, adds intelligence and comfort to video surveillance and monitoring. Next to the full-featured live-viewing and playback user-interface, DIVA offers built-in intelligence for facial recognition and license plate recognition for security applications. In combination with Siqura’s IP cameras and codecs, DIVA offers the perfect solution for a wide range of situations, including perimeter security, homeland security, theft/vandalism prevention, and intrusion detection. Adapting to the application DIVA is one of the most flexible VMS solutions available. Whether it’s a small operation of ten streams or a complex network of well over 1000 cameras, DIVA successfully manages the network and applies analytics algorithms to detect and recognize faces and license plates. Since operators often require different features and functionalities, it is possible to configure the DIVA user-interface and video wall layout to fit the needs of each specific user profile. This ensures that those using DIVA have an accessible and user-friendly application at their finger-tips. Easy integration It is easy to integrate DIVA with third-party systems. Besides supporting a wide range of subsystems, including access control, data synchronization, intrusion, and building management, DIVA provides flexible XML data output to communicate its events to third-party applications. Furthermore, DIVA can integrate with a matrix switch to provide a hybrid solution. This ultimately facilitates the migration from existing analog infrastructure to an IP installation. Guaranteed availability DIVA’s failover server ensures the reliability and availability of the entire system It monitors a specified list of servers. If no response is received from one of the servers, the failover server takes on the settings of that server and starts to function as that server. Several failover servers can be defined to monitor different groups of active servers. Additionally, DIVA monitors the position and image quality of connected cameras to verify the effectiveness of the applied analytics. This ultimately provides users with a truly complete management system that guarantees the dependability of the surveillance solution.

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IndigoVision opens up with SMS4™ release 5 and Camera Gateway™
IndigoVision opens up with SMS4™ release 5 and Camera Gateway™

IndigoVision, leading manufacturer of IP video security solutions, has established itself as one of the most open surveillance systems on the market with the latest release of its SMS4™ software. SMS4™ release 5 includes Camera Gateway™, which allows IP cameras from top manufacturers to be integrated into the IndigoVision SMS4™ system, making it easy to upgrade a client’s existing IP-CCTV system to a quality IndigoVision solution. Camera Gateway™ enables cameras from a range of other manufacturers to be connected to an IndigoVision SMS4™ system using their native protocols and enables users to view the cameras in IndigoVision’s Control Center. The cameras can be controlled, viewed and recorded in the same way as IndigoVision cameras. Camera Gateway™ also supports PTZ control, bookmarking and record-on-motion. Camera Gateway™ is a software service that can be installed on a Windows based server, giving customers total flexibility.  The service enables multiple clients to stream and view video from the same camera. Marcus Kneen, IndigoVision CEO, stated: “Camera Gateway™ is a game-changing product making IndigoVision SMS4™ the open system of choice. Combined with our conformance to the ONVIF standard, and our integration with other software, SMS4™ release 5 establishes IndigoVision as one of the most open IP security solutions on the market.” SMS4™release 5 also includes record-on-motion and bookmarking for IndigoVision’s own cameras and those of supported manufacturers. Record-on-motion allows users to reduce storage by configuring the system to record video only when there is activity, while bookmarking video footage makes it easier to find and review key evidence. Users can upgrade to SMS4™ release 5 through IndigoVision’s Software Upgrade Program (SUP).

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Connect instantly to surveillance from any computer with XProtect® Web Client
Connect instantly to surveillance from any computer with XProtect® Web Client

In today’s connected world, security operators expect constant access to surveillance and the ability to take immediate action when incidents occur, even when they are away from their desks. Milestone Systems recognises this need and offers the new XProtect Web Client, a streamlined, efficient web-based interface for viewing, playing back and sharing video. Designed by Milestone, XProtect Web Client works with the entire XProtect video management software (VMS) product line. With no need to install additional software on the client computer, XProtect Web Client makes it easy to monitor XProtect systems anywhere from any Internet-enabled computer or device. XProtect Web Client features a landing page with an instant live overview of cameras and access to the most commonly used functions, making it quick to learn and simple to operate for users of all levels. While out of the office, security managers can easily use XProtect Web Client from all of the most common operating systems and web browsers to investigate an incident and tell the officer on duty to take action. If an incident has occurred, users can export a snapshot or video clip directly from the client. XProtect Web Client  is compatible with the following operating systems: Microsoft® Windows®, Linux and OS X® and the following web browser versions and higher: Microsoft Internet Explorer® 9, Safari® 5, Google Chrome™16 and Mozilla® Firefox® 11.

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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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