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 Qognify news

Qognify expands the North America Ocularis team with the appointment of two new Regional Channel Managers
Qognify expands the North America Ocularis team with the appointment of two new Regional Channel Managers

Qognify has announced the appointment of two Regional Channel Managers to its Ocularis channel team. Amanda Euler and Olga Scorobogataya will support Qognify’s extensive network of channel partners and their customers, across the Northwest and Southwest regions of the US, helping them to maximise their use of the powerful Ocularis video management software (VMS). New Regional Channel Managers Amanda Euler joins Qognify as Regional Channel Manager for Northwest from ADT Commercial and is accompanied on the team by Olga Scorobogataya, who brings a wealth of experience in the security sector to the Southwest, gained during her job tenures at ICU Technologies Inc. and Motorola Solutions. Amanda Euler and Olga Scorobogataya join Qognify’s growing channel team Amanda Euler and Olga Scorobogataya join Qognify’s growing channel team, at an exciting time, in the development of Ocularis video management software. Last month, the company launched version 6.1 of the Ocularis VMS, which includes the highest level of integration with BriefCam’s advanced video content analytics, for earlier incident detection, improved real-time response and faster investigations. It also added new capabilities to protect recorded footage against unauthorised screen recording and sharing. Integrated physical security ecosystems Jeff Swaim, the Director of Channel Sales in the US for Qognify, said “Our partners are committed to being there for customers and our channel team is there to support them in their deployment and use the openness of Ocularis, to deliver integrated physical security ecosystems, with enterprise-class requirements, the desired outcomes for their short-, medium- and long-term physical security goals.” In addition to the ongoing expansion of Qognify’s North America channel team, the company is currently recruiting for new positions in other countries, including Germany, United Kingdom and Israel, in the areas of project management, product development and professional services.

Qognify launches version 6.1 of its Ocularis video management software (VMS) for enhanced incident detection, response and video security
Qognify launches version 6.1 of its Ocularis video management software (VMS) for enhanced incident detection, response and video security

Qognify has launched version 6.1 of its Ocularis video management software (VMS), which harnesses the power of market-renowned video content analytics for earlier incident detection, improved real-time response and faster investigations. It also adds new capabilities to protect recorded footage against unauthorised screen recording and sharing. Ocularis 6.1 VMS One of the highlights in Ocularis 6.1 is the deep integration of Briefcam video analytics. This makes Ocularis one of only a few VMSs to deliver the highest level of integration (level 4) with BriefCam’s market-leading analytics platform. It is another example of the strong integration capabilities that have made Qognify products the perfect choice for integrated physical security ecosystems with enterprise-class requirements, over the past few years. Based on a flexible plugin-based architecture, the Qognify Analytics Interface (QAI) enables customers to easily connect third-party video analytics tools to their Ocularis system, thus supporting both camera and server-based applications. Integration with Briefcam video analytics The operator can now manage the entire investigation workflow from a single user interface The integration with Briefcam goes even further, as the access to Briefcam functions is directly woven into the Ocularis VMS client. The operator can now manage the entire investigation workflow from a single user interface, thereby allowing for a much quicker assessment of the situation, as well as for a faster response. Jeff Swaim, Director of Channel Sales in the US, Qognify said, “Video content analytics are having a big impact on the control room, and we are now seeing an explosion in innovation, using the latest artificial intelligence techniques, as well as a growing number of use case and vertical-specific applications.” Fast incident response and superior situational awareness Jeff adds, “In order to exploit the full potential of such tools, they need to be seamlessly integrated with the VMS. This does not only shorten the time it actually takes to detect an incident, it also allows the operator to respond quicker, based on better situational understanding.” Another addition to Ocularis that improves the effectiveness of the response is the ability to pre-define priority levels for users controlling PTZ cameras. This ensures that when an incident is detected or triggered by video analytics or sensors, or reported by security staff, the responsible operator always has immediate access and control of the relevant camera. Post-incident investigation and reporting Ocularis 6.1 version also bolsters post-incident investigation and reporting, with the ability to rapidly recall and replay past events on demand, and export them for further detailed analysis and reporting. Free text and a watermark image (such as a company logo) can now also be applied to AVI video exports, e.g. if the recordings are used by third parties, such as the media and law enforcement agencies. The new Video Protection Mode responds to the data protection, privacy and security concerns of organisations, as Ari Robinson, Head of Ocularis Product Management at Qognify, explained “Organisations need to have a robust protection in place, to prevent sensitive material from falling into the wrong hands, or from being shared across social media. Not only can this cause serious reputational and financial harm to the organisation, it also has the potential to compromise the use of an exported video stream, as evidence in a criminal prosecution.” A randomly floating on-screen overlay displays the operator‘s username, when viewing recorded video footage A randomly floating on-screen overlay displays the operator‘s username, when viewing recorded video footage. With this deterrent enabled, the risk of unauthorised camera footage being captured on a smartphone or other device, and being shared externally, is significantly reduced (also for exported video). Enhanced Ocularis capability In summary, with version 6.1, Qognify improves the capability of Ocularis, to support the entire lifecycle of an incident, from earlier detection with the integration of powerful video analytics, to more effective investigations with new functions for operating cameras, to advanced collaboration through numerous practical export functionalities. Jeff Swaim concludes, “We are developing solutions across the Qognify portfolio that focus on openness and connectivity, to maximise the outcomes for our customers, as recently seen in the advanced video content analytics with BriefCam. Ocularis 6.1 positions itself to be the open video surveillance system of choice that helps control room operators better than ever to accomplish the majority of their daily tasks.“ Ocularis 6.1 is available now from Qognify.

Miami International Airport upgrades its incident logging system to Qognify’s Situator enterprise incident management system
Miami International Airport upgrades its incident logging system to Qognify’s Situator enterprise incident management system

The nerve centre at Miami International Airport (MIA) is its Airport Operations Center (AOC), which operates around the clock, monitoring activity, responding to safety and security incidents, disseminating information and responding to requests from stakeholders throughout the airport. Incident logging at the AOC An essential daily task for the AOC team is incident logging, with approximately 70 detailed logs being created each day, and that number is set to rise, as a result of internal process changes within the department. Rupen Philloura is the Director of Terminal Operations & AOC at Miami International Airport and he explains, “The MLS logging system was a 25-year-old custom-built application. It was familiar for our operators to use, but it was unwieldy, unreliable, and inefficient. With logging being such a critical and growing aspect of our day-today operations, we needed to upgrade to a state-of-the-art unified platform.” Situator enterprise incident management system The platform chosen by the airport was the renowned enterprise incident management system, Situator, from Qognify The platform chosen by the airport was the renowned enterprise incident management system, Situator, from Qognify, a company whose solutions are trusted by airports around the world. Miami itself was already working with the company, using its NiceVision video management system (VMS) and analytics solutions across its highly distributed video surveillance system. Currently, the AOC has six Situator-powered stations from which operators monitor the airports Honeywell/EBI fire alarm and Matrix access control systems, as well as its extensive surveillance camera network. Dynamic form functionality Rupen Philloura describes the process, stating “When an alert is raised, the operator must follow a strict set of procedures for that specific event, this might simply be resetting an alarm remotely, or the dispatch of maintenance personnel. Incidents and subsequent actions need to be accurately documented for regulatory compliance purposes, but also to help us to learn and improve how we deal with incidents and events.” The need to manually enter all details has been replaced by the dynamic form functionality within Situator. It automatically populates and logs specific information relating to that incident, saving operators valuable time, and ensuring every log is of a consistently high standard. End-to-end accounts and improved logging Rupen Philloura further stated, “Together with the input of the operator, we are assured that the logs we generate and store are comprehensive end-to-end accounts, which can be quickly and reliably searched, retrieved and reviewed.” The improved logging has also had a noticeable impact on business continuity and operational efficiency, as well as providing an additional layer of protection to the airport from a regulatory standpoint. With the AOC operating a three-shift pattern, it is vitally important that change overs can be completed swiftly and nothing is overlooked. Rupen Philloura adds, “When the next shift logs on to Situator they have instant situational awareness, there is no lag in productivity. They can see what has happened and what requires their immediate attention. During their shift they no longer need to repeatedly log into multiple systems to access information. It is all there on the screen at their station.” Reduced response time to incidents The success of Situator within the AOC has led the airport to begin exploiting its strength as a powerful platform Situator has also reduced the response time to incidents, such as door alarms, as well as access requests from tenants and airport employees, by automating the interaction with the Matrix system. With the old MLS system, both use cases needed to be handled manually. The success of Situator within the AOC has led the airport to begin exploiting its strength as a powerful platform, with higher levels of task automation, ad-hoc forms and reporting, as well as integration with airport-specific and non-specific subsystems (made easier by the API driven Situator), such as its access control system and surveillance cameras. Support for facilities management It is also evaluating its ability to support the facilities management team in ensuring the statutory maintenance of its extensive network of elevators and moving walkways. Mike Bryant is Computer Services’ Sr. Manager at Miami-Dade Aviation Department and he has been impressed not only by the reliability that the web-based Situator is providing, (demonstrated by a drop in support calls from the AOC since the implementation), but also its future potential. Enhanced Airport safety and security Mike Bryant said, “With Situator, we have a platform that we can evolve to positively impact the operations, maintenance, compliance, safety and security throughout our airport. It has opened up possibilities to integrate systems, solve problems and make improvements, without needing to make further investments in standalone solutions.” Rupen Philloura concludes, “Every airport needs a robust, reliable and easy to use logging solution and for MIA it is one of the greatest strengths of Situator. It gives us complete situational awareness regarding when and how an event transpired, who responded, how, and the result. This insight improves our decision-making and feeds a continual cycle of improvement.”

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