CCTV software - Expert commentary

How AI and security guards work together using video analytics
How AI and security guards work together using video analytics

How AI and humans can work together is a longstanding debate. As society progresses technologically, there’s always the worry of robots taking over jobs. Self-checkout tills, automated factory machines, and video analytics are all improving efficiency and productivity, but they can still work in tandem with humans, and in most cases, they need to. Video analytics in particular is one impressively intelligent piece of technology that security guards can utilise. How can video analytics help with certain security scenarios? Video analytics tools Before video analytics or even CCTV in general, if a child went missing in a shopping centre, we could only rely on humans. Take a crowded Saturday shopping centre, a complex one with a multitude of shops and eateries, you’d have to alert the security personnel, rely on a tannoy and search party, and hope for a lockdown to find a lost or kidnapped child. With video analytics, how would this scenario play out? It’s pretty mind-blowing. As soon as security is alerted, they can work with the video analytics tools to instruct it precisely With the same scenario, you now have the help of many different cameras, but then there’s the task of searching through all the CCTV resources and footage. That’s where complex search functions come in. As soon as security is alerted, they can work with the video analytics tools to instruct it precisely on what footage to narrow down, and there’s a lot of filters and functions to use. Expected movement direction For instance, they can tick a ‘human’ field, so the AI can track and filter out vehicles, objects etc., and then they can input height, clothing colours, time the child went missing, and last known location. There’s a complex event to check too, under ‘child kidnap’. For a more accurate search, security guards can then add in a searching criterion by drawing the child’s expected movement direction using a visual query function. A unique function like this enables visual criteria-based searches rather than text-based ones. The tech will then narrow down to the images/videos showing the criteria they’ve inputted, showing the object/child that matches the data and filter input. Detecting facial data There are illegal demonstrations and troublesome interferences that police have to deal with A white-list face recognition function is then used to track the child’s route which means the AI can detect facial data that has not been previously saved in the database, allowing it to track the route of a target entity, all in real time. Then, security guards can confirm the child’s route and current location. All up-to-date info can then be transferred to an onsite guard’s mobile phone for them to confirm the missing child’s movement route, face, and current location, helping to find them as quickly as possible. Often, there are illegal demonstrations and troublesome interferences that police have to deal with. Video analytics and surveillance can not only capture these, but they can be used to predict when they may happen, providing a more efficient process in dealing with these types of situations and gathering resources. Event processing functions Picture a public square with a number of entries into the main area, and at each entry point or path, there is CCTV. Those in the control room can set two events for each camera: a grouping event and a path-passing event. These are pretty self-explanatory. A grouping event covers images of seeing people gathering in close proximity and a path-passing event will show when people are passing through or entering. The video analytics tool can look out for large gatherings and increased footfall to alert security By setting these two events, the video analytics tool can look out for large gatherings and increased footfall to alert security or whoever is monitoring to be cautious of protests, demonstrations or any commotion. Using complex event processing functions, over-detection of alarms can also be prevented, especially if there’s a busy day with many passing through. Reducing false alarms By combining the two events, that filters down the triggers for alarms for better accuracy to predict certain situations, like a demonstration. The AI can also be set to only trigger an alarm when the two events are happening simultaneously on all the cameras of each entry to reduce false alarms. There are so many situations and events that video analytics can be programmed to monitor. You can tick fields to monitor any objects that have appeared, disappeared, or been abandoned. You can also check events like path-passing to monitor traffic, as well as loitering, fighting, grouping, a sudden scene change, smoke, flames, falling, unsafe crossing, traffic jams and car accidents etc. Preventing unsafe situations Complex events can include violations of one-way systems, blacklist-detected vehicles Complex events can include violations of one-way systems, blacklist-detected vehicles, person and vehicle tracking, child kidnaps, waste collection, over-speed vehicles, and demonstration detections. The use of video analytics expands our capabilities tremendously, working in real time to detect and help predict security-related situations. Together with security agents, guards and operatives, AI in CCTV means resources can be better prepared, and that the likelihood of preventing unsafe situations can be greatly improved. It’s a winning team, as AI won’t always get it right but it’s there to be the advanced eyes we need to help keep businesses, premises and areas safer.

The EU called for a ban on police use of facial recognition but not commercial use. Why?
The EU called for a ban on police use of facial recognition but not commercial use. Why?

Recently, the European Parliament called for a ban on police use of facial recognition. In the US, too, some cities have restricted police use of facial recognition. The first question that comes to mind is - why ban police from using technology that is allowed to private companies? Point of difference The key difference between the way police use facial recognition and the way commercial facial recognition products work is that: The police get a picture of a suspect from a crime scene and want to find out: "Who is the person in the picture?" That requires as wide a database as possible. Optimally - photos and identities of all the people in the world. Commercial facial recognition products such as those used by supermarkets, football stadiums, or casinos answer different questions: "Is the person in the picture on the employees' list? Is the person in the picture on a watch-list of known shoplifters?" To answer these questions doesn't require a broad database but rather a defined list of employees or a watch-list of specific people against whom there is an arrest warrant or a restraining order. Use of facial recognition AnyVision helps organisations leverage facial recognition ethically to identify known persons of interest "Facial Recognition Apps Should Be Provided to the Police with an Empty Database". This is exactly the subject of the open letter sent by AnyVision, to the British Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Prof. Fraser Sampson, titled: "Facial Recognition Apps Should Be Provided to the Police with an Empty Database". AnyVision recently raised $235M from Softbank and another leading VCs is a visual AI platform company that helps organisations across the globe leverage facial recognition ethically to identify known persons of interest, including shoplifters, felons, and security threats. Ethical use of facial recognition AnyVision CEO Avi Golan wrote, "The ethical use of facial recognition is a thorny one and requires a nuanced discussion. Part of that discussion has to explain how facial recognition works, but, just as important, the discussion must also involve how the technology is used by police departments and what checks and balances are built into their processes.” “We recommend building their watchlists from the ground up based on known felons, persons of interest, and missing persons. Some facial recognition solution providers have scrapped billions of photos and identities of people from social networks, usually without their consent." "Unfortunately, this method of facial recognition has justifiably angered privacy groups and data protection agencies around the globe and damaged the public trust in accuracy and reliability of facial recognition systems.” Preventing invasion of citizen’s privacy We believe an unjustified invasion of citizens' privacy can be prevented, false arrests can be reduced" “We believe that lists of suspects should be limited and justified. In this way, unjustified invasion of citizens' privacy can be prevented, false arrests can be reduced and public confidence in technology can be increased.” Golan added: "AnyVision is willing to share its industry insights and best practices from our vast research experience with leading global players, including name-brand retailers, global hospitality and entertainment companies, and law enforcement agencies from around the world.” Balancing public order and crime prevention “If the regulations set forth by Surveillance Camera Code of Practice are committed to the principles outlined above, then law enforcement agencies can strike the right balance between the need to maintain public order and prevent crime with the rights of every person to privacy and non-discrimination before the law." Recently Clearview AI CEO told Wired; the company has scraped 10 billion photos from the web - 3 times more than was previously known.

A three-point plan for enhancing business video surveillance
A three-point plan for enhancing business video surveillance

Cyber threats hit the headlines every day; however digital hazards are only part of the security landscape. In fact, for many organisations - physical rather than virtual security will remain the burning priority. Will Liu, Managing Director of TP-Link UK, explores the three key elements that companies must consider when implementing modern-day business surveillance systems.  1) Protecting more than premises Video surveillance systems are undoubtedly more important than ever before for a huge number of businesses across the full spectrum of public and private sector, manufacturing and service industries. One simple reason for this is the increased use of technology within those businesses. Offices, workshops, and other facilities house a significant amount of valuable and expensive equipment - from computers, and 3D printers to specialised machinery and equipment. As a result, workplaces are now a key target for thieves, and ensuring the protection of such valuable assets is a top priority. A sad reality is that some of those thieves will be employees themselves. Video surveillance system Of course, video surveillance is often deployed to combat that threat alone, but actually, its importance goes beyond theft protection. With opportunist thieves targeting asset-rich sites more regularly, the people who work at these sites are in greater danger too. Effective and efficient surveillance is imperative not just for physical asset protection, but also for the safety From this perspective, effective and efficient surveillance is imperative not just for physical asset protection, but also for the safety of colleagues as well. Organisations need to protect the people who work, learn or attend the premises. A video surveillance system is, therefore, a great starting point for companies looking to deter criminal activity. However, to be sure you put the right system in place to protect your hardware assets, your people, and the business itself, here are three key considerations that make for a successful deployment. 2) Fail to prepare, and then prepare to fail Planning is the key to success, and surveillance systems are no different. Decide in advance the scope of your desired solution. Each site is different and the reality is that every solution is different too. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all solution and only by investing time on the exact specification can you arrive at the most robust and optimal solution.  For example, organisations need to consider all the deployment variables within the system’s environment. What is the balance between indoor and outdoor settings; how exposed to the elements are the outdoor cameras; what IP rating to the need? A discussion with a security installer will help identify the dangerous areas that need to be covered and the associated best sites for camera locations. Camera coverage After determining location and coverage angles, indoors and outdoors, the next step is to make sure the cameras specified are up to the job for each location. Do they have the right lens for the distance they are required to cover, for example? It is not as simple as specifying one type of camera and deploying it everywhere. Devices that can use multiple power sources, Direct Current, or Power over Ethernet well are far more versatile You have to consider technical aspects such as the required level of visual fidelity and whether you also need two-way audio at certain locations? Another simple consideration is how the devices are powered. Devices that can use multiple power sources, Direct Current or Power over Ethernet as well are far more versatile and reliable. Answers to these questions and a lot more need to be uncovered by an expert, to deliver a best-of-breed solution for the particular site. 3) Flexibility breeds resilience Understanding exactly what you need is the start. Ensuring you can install, operate and manage your video surveillance system is the next step. Solutions that are simple to install and easy to maintain will always be favoured - for example, cameras that have multiple sources of power can be vital for year-round reliability. Alongside the physical aspect of any installation, there is also the software element that needs to be considered. The last thing organisations need is a compatibility headache once all their cameras and monitoring stations are in place. Selecting cameras and equipment with the flexibility to support a variety of different operating systems and software is important not just for the days following the installation, but also to future-proof the solution against change.  Easy does it Once the system is up and running, the real work of video surveillance begins. Therefore, any organisation considering deploying a system should look to pick one that makes the day-to-day operation as easy as possible to manage. And again - that is all about the set-up. Cameras can also provide alerts if they have been tampered with or their settings changed The most modern systems and technology can deliver surveillance systems that offer smarter detection, enhanced activity reporting so you learn more about your operations, and also make off-site, remote management easy to both implement and adjust as conditions change. For example, camera software that immediately notifies controllers when certain parameters are met - like motion detection that monitors a specific area for unauthorised access. Cameras can also provide alerts if they have been tampered with or their settings changed without proper authorisation. Remote management of HD footage What’s more, the days of poor quality or unreliable transfer of video are long gone. The high-quality HD footage can be captured, stored, and transferred across networks without any degradation, with hard drives or cloud-based systems able to keep hundreds of days of high-quality recordings for analysis of historical data. Finally, the best surveillance solutions also allow for secure remote management not just from a central control room, but also from personal devices and mobile apps. All this delivers ‘always-on’ security and peace of mind. The watchword in security Modern video surveillance takes organisational security to the next level. It protects physical assets, ensures workplace and workforce safety, and helps protect the operations, reputation, and profitability of a business.  However, this is not just an ‘off-the-shelf purchase’. It requires proper planning in the form of site surveys, equipment and software specifications, as well as an understanding of operational demands and requirements. Investing time in planning will help businesses realise the best dividends in terms of protection. Ultimately, that means organisations should seek to collaborate with vendors who offer site surveys - they know their equipment best, your needs, and can work with you to create the perfect solution.

Latest FLIR Systems news

Teledyne FLIR introduces Neutrino SX8 mid-wavelength infrared camera module and four Neutrino IS series models with integrated continuous zoom lenses
Teledyne FLIR introduces Neutrino SX8 mid-wavelength infrared camera module and four Neutrino IS series models with integrated continuous zoom lenses

Teledyne FLIR, part of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated introduced the Neutrino SX8 mid-wavelength infrared (MWIR) camera module and four additional Neutrino IS Series models designed for integrated solutions requiring HD MWIR imagery with size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP+C) constraints for commercial, industrial, defense original equipment manufacturers (OEM), and system integrators. High performance and imagery Based on Teledyne FLIR HOT FPA technology, the Neutrino SX8 offers high-performance, 1280x1024 HD MWIR imagery for ruggedised products requiring long life, low power consumption, and quiet, low vibration operation.  The SX8 and the Neutrino IS series models are ideal for integration with small gimbals, airframes, handheld devices, security cameras, targeting devices, and asset monitoring applications. Reduced time-to-market and development risk Teledyne FLIR provides highly qualified technical services teams for integration support and expertise The latest additions to the Neutrino MWIR camera portfolio continue to provide shortened time-to-market and reduced project risk with off-the-shelf design and delivery. Teledyne FLIR also provides highly qualified technical services teams for integration support and expertise throughout the development and design cycle. All the cameras and solutions in the Neutrino series are classified under US Department of Commerce jurisdiction as EAR 6A003.b.4.a and are not subject to International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Neutrino IS products include a Teledyne FLIR CZ lens integrated with a Neutrino SWaP Series camera module (VGA or SXGA). All four models using the Neutrino LC and two models using the Neutrino SX8 provide crisp, long-range MWIR imaging. The purpose-designed, factory-integrated CZ lenses and MWIR camera modules provide performance, cost, schedule, and risk benefits unmatchable by other camera or lens suppliers.

Teledyne FLIR announces the release of the Elara R-Series commercial ground security radars and Triton FH-Series multi-spectral fixed cameras
Teledyne FLIR announces the release of the Elara R-Series commercial ground security radars and Triton FH-Series multi-spectral fixed cameras

Teledyne FLIR, part of Teledyne Technologies Incorporated, has announced the release of new additions to its perimeter security portfolio for critical infrastructure. Teledyne’s Elara R-Series commercial ground security radars and the Triton FH-Series multi-spectral fixed cameras. Strengthening perimeter security A first for Teledyne FLIR, the Elara R-Series is the ideal commercial radar system for industrial commercial applications, increasing detection coverage, auto-tracking, dynamic mapping and position intelligence of intruders. Part of the Teledyne FLIR’s premium Triton family of cameras, the Triton FH-Series delivers both, intrusion detection and video verification, through its high-resolution thermal and visible imaging capabilities. These features plus the ability to capture vital details using 4K imagery, enables security personnel to properly identify and assess situations, significantly improving response time. Elara R-Series commercial ground security radars The Elara R-Series introduces compact ground radars that are built to work within larger security systems The Elara R-Series introduces compact ground radars that are built to work within larger security systems, in order to provide advanced warning of both, human and vehicle intrusions, beyond the fence line, while continuously tracking and precisely locating multiple targets. This series consists of two models, each designed with regional certifications in mind: the Elara R-290, which is compliant with United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines, and the Elara R-190, which is Conformité Européenne (CE)-compliant for Europe. Elara R-290 security radar The Elara R-290 features a 90-degree field of view, up to a 400-metre range for vehicle tracking, a 200 metres range for human tracking, and provides wide-area protection, as well as situational awareness beyond the fence line. The Elara R-190 offers a 300-metre range for vehicles and 125 metres for humans. These products are designed for reliable detection in all weather and lighting conditions. The radars’ auto-tracking feature helps to direct pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) surveillance sensors in the right direction. The radars also help expand coverage area and significantly minimise false alarms. In addition, both models can provide security personnel with precise and real-time data, 24/7. Triton FH-Series multi-spectral fixed cameras The Triton FH-Series are ruggedised, multi-spectral fixed cameras that integrate industry-renowned thermal imaging for detection with 4K visible imaging, in order to help identify intruders in harsh perimeter security settings. Critical infrastructure facilities will benefit from technological advancements, such as CNN-based video analytics Critical infrastructure facilities will benefit from technological advancements, such as highly-accurate convolutional neural network, CNN-based video analytics, for both thermal and visible spectrums, which minimise false alarms and aid in geo-locating threats for superior situational awareness. On-board scheduling tool The on-board scheduling tool gives the operator the ability to select the type of analytics used, in order to make detections based on time of day, business hours, and seasonality. Additionally, radiometric versions of the Triton FH-Series can be used for early fire detection applications, to help critical sites operate safely and efficiently. “Teledyne FLIR is committed to equipping security directors with technologies that empower them, to protect their facilities and personnel at mission critical sites,” said Kai Moncino, the Global Business Development Manager for Security at Teledyne FLIR. Kai Moncino adds, “The Elara R-Series and Triton FH-Series are built to enhance perimeter protection, providing accurate detection and alerting of threats. As with all of our new products, the Elara R-Series and Triton FH-Series are designed with the latest cyber-hardening features for added security and peace of mind.”

Teledyne FLIR releases FLIR MR265 moisture metre and thermal imager with MSX®
Teledyne FLIR releases FLIR MR265 moisture metre and thermal imager with MSX®

Designed to visually scan large areas for moisture issues, air leaks, electrical problems, and more, the FLIR MR265 Moisture Meter and Thermal Imager with MSX empowers professionals to quickly identify and locate water leaks and other moisture issues at the source. This dual thermal imager and measurement tool combine a 160x120 resolution Lepton® thermal camera, visual camera, laser pointer, and both pin and pinless moisture detection for faster leak identification and measurement, plus offers easy reporting through the FLIR Thermal Studio Suite™. Home inspectors, contractors, and other professionals who want to consolidate tools without jeopardising function will appreciate the multiple ways to read and report moisture levels with the MR265, as well as identify temperature anomalies that could denote issues from leaking pipes, to overheating circuits, to inefficient windows and doors. Multi-spectral dynamic imaging enhancement When compared to traditional non-thermal imaging moisture meters, inspection time is significantly decreased with the MR265. Its ability to emboss edge detail from a two-megapixel visible camera onto the thermal image, via MSX, provides the user significantly more detail and context on screen and in saved images to identify issues quickly and efficiently. Pin and pinless moisture measurement The MR265 also offers flexibility in identifying moisture issues—providing both pin and pinless capabilities. The pinless option can provide qualitative measurements through an integrated sensor for situations where a more invasive method either isn’t possible or would cause unwanted damage. Conversely, pin measurements produce quantifiable measurements using a resistive sensor that can pierce cavities and other suspected moisture spots within walls, ceilings, and floors. When used with the thermal imager, operators can scan an entire interior wall to narrow down the moisture location, use the integrated sensor to pinpoint the source of water intrusion, and then measure the exact amount of moisture without requiring unnecessary demolition. Functionality can be further expanded through six compatible accessory probes and sensors available for the MR265, such as the FLIR MR08 hammer and wall cavity probe combo and the FLIR MR05 impact pin moisture probe. FLIR Thermal Studio Suite Streamlined reporting capabilities through FLIR Thermal Studio Suite can also decrease diagnostic and reporting time Streamlined reporting capabilities available through FLIR Thermal Studio Suite can also decrease diagnostic and reporting time. Users can directly upload thermal JPEGs with the included USB cable to either FLIR Thermal Studio or a compatible reporting solution. They can also produce thermal, MSX, visual image reports, or before-and-after reports containing all three types of images through the FLIR software. This can help users more easily communicate pre-and post-repair activity, ultimately providing peace of mind that issues relating to rot, mold, electrical, or energy inefficiencies have been identified and remedied. Easy to carry “Using the MR265 is great because it can read moisture levels in a couple of different ways and using the onboard thermal camera with the laser, I can find temperature anomalies in circuit breaker boxes faster than ever.” “It’s not too big, so it is easy to carry in my satchel. It’s a tool that has more than one function, so I don’t have to carry as many different tools with me. This is a great addition to my inspection tools. I like this tool very much,” said Terry Meyer, Home Inspector, Metro Home Inspections.

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