ONSSI's new ocularis 3.5 simplifies large-scale system management
ONSSI's new ocularis 3.5 simplifies large-scale system management

The new version of Ocularis, OnSSI’s flagship surveillance and security platform, focuses on system-wide administration and optimized hardware utilization. The new version of Ocularis introduces automatic licensing, a huge time-saver for system administrators and overall cost-saver. Now, the system administrator is free to connect and replace cameras – which are immediately fully operational – whenever convenient. System-wide administration is further enhanced with a brand-new streamlined method of assigning user privileges for viewing and controlling cameras.  Ocularis 3.5 also introduces 64- and 32-bit support for its ES feature set, in addition to dual streaming in all feature sets, for much improved hardware utilisation.  “Ocularis is all about creating the most user-friendly environment for operators. Now more than ever, we’ve expanded the Ocularis experience to the system administrator,” said Gadi Piran, President and Chief Technology Officer, OnSSI. “Ocularis 3.5 streamlines the job of the system administrator in every possible way, bringing down costs while adding new functionality.”  Enhancements to Ocularis 3.5 include:  Automatic, online batch camera licensing – Camera licensing is now fully automated and performed instantly over OnSSI’s new online licensing system, with a 30-day grace period for each camera before it needs to be licensed.  Granular management of user privileges to more camera features and client functions – User privileges, per user group or individual user, can be batch-assigned to entire camera groups, with more detailed rights to view pane controls and the ability to create, delete or view a bookmark.  Camera aliasing – Cameras can be assigned aliases reflecting their function and location, such as “North Parking Lot PTZ Camera,” while retaining the naming convention used by the system administrator.  Universal privacy masking – Even on cameras that do not support privacy masking natively. New recorder components – For all four feature sets of Ocularis. Video Wall Management – Support for the Ocularis VideoWall add-on, which turns any PC running Ocularis Client into a full-fledged remote video-wall host, has been expanded to include the Ocularis IS feature set, in addition to CS and ES.  Ocularis-X – Utilising High-Definition Interactive Streaming (HDIS) technology, Ocularis-X, now included in Ocularis 3.5, allows high-quality, full frame rate delivery of multiple cameras to mobile or web clients, with complete interaction with camera controls. (Available September 2012) Dual-streaming – Camera feeds can now be recorded and viewed at two different quality levels, frame rates or compression types – e.g. H.264 for live monitoring and MJPEG for recording. Encrypted HTTPS streaming – To enable secure connection to cameras both inside and outside the organisational network. MxPEG – Ocularis now supports Mobitix’s MxPEG compression format. Axis One-Click – Ocularis ES supports Axis’ One-Click camera connection feature.  Some new features are unique to the Ocularis ES feature set, including availability in 64-bit as well as a 32-bit version, support for on-edge storage for cameras, and sun-clock scheduling.  Ocularis 3.5 is available in four feature sets – Ocularis PS, IS, CS and ES – each scalable to virtually any number of cameras at multiple sites. Each Ocularis feature set includes a complete video management system (VMS) for streaming, recording and managing an unlimited number of cameras.  Ocularis provides the broadest camera and device support in the industry, and is compatible with third-party technologies such as video analytics, access control, environmental detection and more.

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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 On-Net Surveillance Systems, Inc. news

Qognify delivers expanded product portfolio, enhanced service and support for customers and partners
Qognify delivers expanded product portfolio, enhanced service and support for customers and partners

Qognify - the trusted advisor and technology solution provider for physical security and enterprise incident management – reveals the advances that have been made since the acquisition of On-Net Surveillance Systems, Inc. (OnSSI) and SeeTec GmbH in January. The company is delivering its expanded product portfolio, complemented by enhanced service and support for its expanded global customer-base and network of channel, technology and camera partners. The new unified company will demonstrate how it is ‘Safeguarding Your World’ on Booth 13074 at ISC West in Las Vegas, April 10-12, 2019. Provider of VMS, PSIM and video analytics Qognify is dedicated to supporting and developing its portfolio of award-winning technologies, including VMS platformsQognify is one of the largest VMS, PSIM and video analytics providers for mid-market and enterprise organisations and CEO, Steve Shine states: “Our customers place a premium on their physical security strategy, either because of the complexity of their needs, or the specifics of the industries in which they operate. Therefore, our focus is to deliver the solutions they need to achieve their required outcomes.” From its research and development centres in Germany, Israel and the United States (as well as additional offshore resources), Qognify is dedicated to supporting and developing its premium portfolio of market-leading and award-winning technologies, including VMS platforms – VisionHub, Ocularis, Cayuga, NiceVision and FAST, and enterprise incident management platform – Situator. Benefits for customers   Shine adds: “Qognify, OnSSI and SeeTec have always shared a similar solutions philosophy. Thus, it was a logical step to combine these companies in order to accelerate global growth and to extend the portfolio of products and technologies available to customers, resulting in faster access to new markets and vertical industries.” Customers are benefiting from expanded professional services offering, customisation capabilities and support Customers are already benefiting from expanded professional services offering, customisation capabilities and worldwide support. Furthermore, the ability to share developments across three of the market’s leading VMS solutions such as camera integrations, gateways, analytics and mobile applications, is creating some very exciting opportunities for organisations. In addition to its headquarters in Pearl River, New York, Qognify has regional offices positioned throughout Europe and Asia, ensuring it is geographically close to all its customers and partners.

OnSSI releases Ocularis 5.7 VMS with a new Recorded Video Backup function
OnSSI releases Ocularis 5.7 VMS with a new Recorded Video Backup function

OnSSI announces the launch of Ocularis 5.7, the latest release of the company’s industry leading Video Management System (VMS) solution. Key featured enhancements of Ocularis 5.7 include a new Recorded Video Backup function that allows recorded video to be saved to a secondary location on the system at no extra cost. Additionally, the new Mirrored Recordings feature, available in Ocularis 5.7 Ultimate, allows the simultaneous recording of all cameras on two recording servers, ensuring that recorded video is never lost from failure of the primary recording server. Ocularis 5.7 includes numerous enhancements to improve user access and scheduling, along with more robust cyber security protection. New data protection capabilities Additional enhancements in Oculars 5.7 provide users with greater speed of operations and convenience"“In addition to the superior VMS performance provided by Ocularis, this latest version delivers new data protection capabilities to ensure that critical video and information is always accessible,” said Ken LaMarca, VP of Sales & Marketing, OnSSI. “Additional enhancements in Oculars 5.7 provide users with greater speed of operations and convenience, further elevating their user experience and surveillance capabilities.” The new Recorded Video Backup and Mirrored Recordings features are just two of the enhancements offered in Ocularis 5.7. New updates to Ocularis allow system administrators to better control when users can access the system, including the ability to schedule when users can log in, as well as restricting user access during off hours. Ocularis 5.7 also employs enhanced TLS 1.2 encryption for stronger system security against cyber-attacks. Smooth video streaming Additional new features in Ocularis Client include: a new Export Alarm Recordings Only function for faster video export; a smooth video streaming option to improve performance when connecting to remote sites with an inconsistent network connection; faster log in times on large systems; added Smart Camera Drivers for Vanderbilt, Eclipse, Uniview and Sony Generation X imaging solutions; and two-way audio support expanded to include Bosch cameras.

A busy year: rapid mergers & acquisitions suggests more to come in 2019
A busy year: rapid mergers & acquisitions suggests more to come in 2019

A rapid string of merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions as 2018 passed into 2019 suggests the physical security industry may be on the verge of a busy year of companies buying other companies. Observers have noted a large amount of investment capital currently available to be invested in security M&A, and plenty of entrepreneurial companies are looking to be acquired. Joe Grillo, CEO of ACRE, previously hinted at upcoming M&A activity for his company by the end of 2018, foreshadowing ACRE’s late-year announcement to acquire access control company Open Options, Addison, Texas.The VaaS cloud-based image capture platform includes fixed and mobile license plate reader cameras driven by machine learning Just days later, in the midst of the holiday season, Qognify announced its plan to acquire On-Net Surveillance Systems Inc. (OnSSI) and sister company SeeTec GmbH. Then came an even larger announcement: Motorola has acquired VaaS International Holdings Inc., a data and image analytics company for $445 million. The VaaS cloud-based image capture and analysis platform includes fixed and mobile license plate reader cameras driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence. Most recently, ADT announced yet another acquisition, Advanced Cabling Systems, a technology integration company in the South, thus continuing consolidation on the integration side of the business. There are likely to be further mergers and acquisitions in the video surveillance supply base in 2019 Continuation of the trend In the case of the Qognify and Motorola deals, Jon Cropley, Principal Analyst, Video Surveillance & Security Services, IHS Global Limited, sees them as the next chapter in an M&A trend going back several years. “I think this is a continuation of what we have been seeing in recent years of video surveillance software vendors being acquired,” he says. In the face of intense price competition, vendors have found it increasingly difficult to compete based on hardware features" “In the face of intense price competition, vendors have found it increasingly difficult to compete based on hardware features and are looking at software to offer unique competitive advantages.” In short, he sees it as a continuation of a trend that previously saw Canon acquiring Milestone Systems and Briefcam, Panasonic acquiring Video Insight and Tyco acquiring Exacq. “There are likely to be further mergers and acquisitions in the video surveillance supply base in 2019,” adds Cropley. “However, a spree of large-scale mergers and acquisitions is not expected.” Memoori, another market research firm, forecasts that the value of acquisitions could actually decline marginally in 2019 in value terms but increase in number. This observation is based on Memoori’s charting of physical security deals over the last 18 years. Jim McHale, Managing Director of Memoori, says there have been four cycles of increase and decline in activity, often exaggerated by billion dollar deals in one year such as the merger of Johnson Controls and Tyco of $165Bn in 2016. Access control when combined with identity management is punching well above its weight, and this trend has continued Access control to open systems Only time will tell whether the new year pattern of M&A activity is a coincidence or a harbinger of a busy M&A year ahead “It may be too early to make judgements on the future based on the last four weeks, but there are some interesting points that can be made when compared with our 2018 analysis,” says McHale. “Access control when combined with identity management is punching well above its weight, and this trend has continued. "Acre has been a major contributor and has completed some 10 acquisitions. In general, the access control business has been slow to move to open systems, and hopefully we can expect this trend toward openness to continue as it will give additional growth to the business.” For more commentary from Memoori, see their report “Major Trends in the Global Access Control Market 2018”. Only time will tell whether the new year pattern of M&A activity is a coincidence or a harbinger of a busy M&A year ahead. While past trends may provide a glimpse of what’s coming, there are always new variables. It’s a sure bet the overall trend toward consolidation will continue but predicting the pace and timing of individual transactions is almost impossible. In any case, it will be interesting to watch how 2019 unfolds on the M&A front, among other factors in a changing industry.

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