CCTV software - Expert commentary

Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other
Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other

Human beings have a long-standing relationship with privacy and security. For centuries, we’ve locked our doors, held close our most precious possessions, and been wary of the threats posed by thieves. As time has gone on, our relationship with security has become more complicated as we’ve now got much more to be protective of. As technological advancements in security have got smarter and stronger, so have those looking to compromise it. Cybersecurity Cybersecurity, however, is still incredibly new to humans when we look at the long relationship that we have with security in general. As much as we understand the basics, such as keeping our passwords secure and storing data in safe places, our understanding of cybersecurity as a whole is complicated and so is our understanding of the threats that it protects against. However, the relationship between physical security and cybersecurity is often interlinked. Business leaders may find themselves weighing up the different risks to the physical security of their business. As a result, they implement CCTV into the office space, and alarms are placed on doors to help repel intruders. Importance of cybersecurity But what happens when the data that is collected from such security devices is also at risk of being stolen, and you don’t have to break through the front door of an office to get it? The answer is that your physical security can lose its power to keep your business safe if your cybersecurity is weak. As a result, cybersecurity is incredibly important to empower your physical security. We’ve seen the risks posed by cybersecurity hacks in recent news. Video security company Verkada recently suffered a security breach as malicious attackers obtained access to the contents of many of its live camera feeds, and a recent report by the UK government says two in five UK firms experienced cyberattacks in 2020. Cloud computing – The solution Cloud stores information in data centres located anywhere in the world, and is maintained by a third party Cloud computing offers a solution. The cloud stores your information in data centres located anywhere in the world and is maintained by a third party, such as Claranet. As the data sits on hosted servers, it’s easily accessible while not being at risk of being stolen through your physical device. Here’s why cloud computing can help to ensure that your physical security and the data it holds aren’t compromised. Cloud anxiety It’s completely normal to speculate whether your data is safe when it’s stored within a cloud infrastructure. As we are effectively outsourcing our security by storing our important files on servers we have no control over - and, in some cases, limited understanding of - it’s natural to worry about how vulnerable this is to cyber-attacks. The reality is, the data that you save on the cloud is likely to be a lot safer than that which you store on your device. Cyber hackers can try and trick you into clicking on links that deploy malware or pose as a help desk trying to fix your machine. As a result, they can access your device and if this is where you’re storing important security data, then it is vulnerable. Cloud service providers Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software in the personal computer Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software that is likely in place on your personal computer. Hyperscalers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Service (AWS) are able to hire countless more security experts than any individual company - save the corporate behemoth - could afford. These major platform owners have culpability for thousands of customers on their cloud and are constantly working to enhance the security of their platforms. The security provided by cloud service providers such as Claranet is an extension of these capabilities. Cloud resistance Cloud servers are located in remote locations that workers don’t have access to. They are also encrypted, which is the process of converting information or data into code to prevent unauthorised access. Additionally, cloud infrastructure providers like ourselves look to regularly update your security to protect against viruses and malware, leaving you free to get on with your work without any niggling worries about your data being at risk from hackers. Data centres Cloud providers provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and AI Additionally, cloud providers are also able to provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and artificial intelligence, as well as data redundancy, where the same piece of data is held within several separate data centres. This is effectively super-strong backup and recovery, meaning that if a server goes down, you can access your files from a backup server. Empowering physical security with cybersecurity By storing the data gathered by your physical security in the cloud, you're not just significantly reducing the risk of cyber-attacks, but also protecting it from physical threats such as damage in the event of a fire or flood. Rather than viewing your physical and cybersecurity as two different entities, treat them as part of one system: if one is compromised, the other is also at risk. They should work in tandem to keep your whole organisation secure.

Making school safety a priority with smart technology
Making school safety a priority with smart technology

With pupils in the UK set to go back to school on 8 March, there are a number of safety measures schools need to implement to ensure the health and wellness of the staff, students, and school communities.  The first lockdown and closure of schools brought on by the coronavirus pandemic fired a “warning shot” for education facilities managers, forcing head-teachers to re-examine school safety standards. Now that a third lockdown is here and schools have been shut down for a second time, anyone behind the curve with the benefits of smart technology should get on board now before children return to the school environment. And with the ever-changing variants of the COVID-19 virus, schools can’t afford to be “late to class” when it comes to health and safety. Preventing the spread of disease Some schools in the US have been using smart technologies for a while to measure utility consumption and efficiency, streamline maintenance and enhance general school safety. These technologies are playing a significant role in keeping school buildings healthy and preventing the spread of disease. Let’s take a look at how smart technology can help schools to become safer, as well as more energy-efficient and cost-effective.   Thermal detection cameras  Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing. These cameras provide medically-accurate, real-time temperatures of individuals in real-time. If a high temperature is detected, the software sends an instant alert to the relevant party. It can also be set to deny access to those with high temperatures or to people not wearing masks.  Safer water  As the coronavirus continues to sweep through the world’s population, healthcare providers should also be on heightened alert for Legionnaires’ disease, another potential cause of pneumonia with similar symptoms. Legionella is a potentially deadly bacteria that can infect a school’s water supply and cause an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s a school's duty of care to prevent Legionella infection by monitoring the risk of the bacteria proliferating.  Particularly as schools reopen and previously stagnant plumbing and cooling systems return to use, additional Legionella cases could rear their ugly head to emergency departments in the coming months. Traces of Legionella were recently found at a Worcestershire school. The school was forced to remain shut while treatment and testing took place. Automated flushing and temperature testing Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters The Health and Safety Executive advises, “If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease… If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.” Typically, managing the risk of Legionella includes running all outlets for two minutes, taking and recording the temperature of the water to ensure that it’s not conducive to Legionella growth. This is a time-consuming process, which is why schools are looking for automated water temperature monitoring systems. This smart system with automated flushing and temperature testing reports and records water temperature data in real-time. Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters.  Cleaner air  Advisers say that improving air filtration and ventilation in schools can help mitigate the potential airborne transmission of COVID-19. Strategies include: Increasing outdoor air ventilation Filtering indoor air Using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters  Smart building technologies such as advanced HVAC controls can help facilities managers promote cleaner air with less hassle. For example, smart HVAC systems use sensors to remotely monitor and control variables such as:  Humidity Temperature Indoor air quality The level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants The technology is also energy-efficient and cost-effective.  While these solutions may be key to the reopening of schools in the era of COVID-19, they also bring long-term benefits. Although COVID-19 may have accelerated the adoption of smart technology, many of these solutions are focused on health, wellness, and security in general; which have been needed in school systems for a long time.

Will network requirements help you build your business or put you out of business?
Will network requirements help you build your business or put you out of business?

Once upon a time, providers had end-to-end control when deploying a physical security platform, which is not the case anymore when we consider the modernisation to IP. When considering the move to IP physical security, the provider needs to ensure the customer has a robust PoE backbone to connect the IP security device back to the application. Network readiness requirements have complicated IP security deployments, making it challenging for current providers while opening the door to new competitors. Competition is increasing Network providers see the move to IP as an opportunity to expand their wallet share. As the trusted advisors to IT teams, network providers leverage their position to win over the physical security business. As the time, cost, and complexity increases to move a customer to IP; providers need to expand their offering, considering the decline in endpoint revenue margins (the "race to the bottom"). Unfortunately, PoE networks are becoming increasingly complex as IoT endpoints are continually introduced to the network. Before the IP/IoT deployment can occur, the network provider (now your competition as well) will have the opportunity to edge you out and offer an IP/IoT solution with the network. The traditional approach is outdated They have standardised this cookie-cutter solution that may work for some, but not for all While we accept that we are collectively relying on our networks to support an increasing number of devices and applications, many have not considered the local area network's evolution. Organisations no longer only connect data terminals and printers to the network - they connect all manner of intelligent devices, including Wi-Fi access points, cameras, phones, access control, lighting, intercoms, and more. Many traditionalists will recommend the rip-and-replace of existing infrastructure while layering all IoT devices on the same network. They have standardised this cookie-cutter solution that may work for some, but not for all. What if there was a better way? Create the best outcome for you and your customer Let's start by thinking about the customer's desired outcome. The customer wants new capabilities within an acceptable ROI. Given the complications surrounding COVID-19, these organisations may require solutions very quickly to operate safely and within governmental guidelines. However, these organisations first need to establish a LAN framework without high costs, disruption to business, or complexity. They do not want to compromise network security or their business. They do not want network requirements to account for the majority of their budget as there is no ROI in infrastructure. The infrastructure supports the ROI gained from the devices and applications it enables. How do we provide a network solution that addresses both the customer and the provider's needs? Customers need a network that: Eliminates competitive pressures, giving providers end-to-end control over the network and the entire digital transformation experience. Shorten sales and deployment cycles to simplify network readiness and reduce the budget allocation towards infrastructure. Focus on device and application implementation and adoption to improve the customer's ROI. Build a physically separate PoE backbone for IP/IoT applications to maximise network security and performance while simplifying ongoing management. Eliminate the dependency on other providers. Advice from Albert Einstein We cannot solve a problem using the same kind of thinking we used when we created it" To help achieve these outcomes, I encourage you to accept some advice from Albert Einstein. Einstein once said, "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education." Sometimes we are unwilling to accept new ideas because of preconceived notions about how things "ought to be done." We must embrace innovation and challenge our best practices that are based on past education. Einstein also said, "We cannot solve a problem using the same kind of thinking we used when we created it." Sometimes we must challenge ourselves to think differently by using innovations to create better outcomes for our businesses and customers. Consider this for a second: are you focused on the problem rather than finding a unique alternative solution? Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Your customers are all unique with different digital transformation challenges and objectives. The cookie-cutter, rip-and-replace method has not worked for all. If it did, every organization would have all the IP and IoT solutions they need. It's time to consider a fresh new approach that may challenge your education. Don't let our education get in the way of your learning! Looking to innovation and modern solutions The idea of The Modern LAN, introduced by Frost & Sullivan, aims to present a paradigm shift in LAN design for IP and the IoT. The whitepaper, available for free using the link above, offers an enhancement to traditional LAN design to address IP and IoT devices' specific needs. Today, we connect more than just data terminals, and we must design our networks accordingly. Instead of starting with the network, Modern LAN design suggests starting with the endpoint requirements and building a network to address these considerations. One of the foundations of Modern LAN design is to consider all networking innovations available. NVT Phybridge PoE innovations allow you to leverage different cable types, including coax, single-pair UTP, and multi-pair UTP cabling, to enable IoT devices at much greater distances than traditional switches. Aligned with Modern LAN design, you can transform the existing network into a robust and secure PoE backbone instead of removing and replacing the reliable infrastructure. PoE switch solutions PoE switch solutions leverage different core technology that vary in capability and effectiveness I know what you may be thinking: Am I compromising on network performance by leveraging these innovations? The answer is: it depends on the technology. PoE switch solutions leverage different core technology (Homeplug, VDSL, ADSL, Ethernet, etc.) that vary in capability and effectiveness. For more than 15 years, NVT Phybridge has been a global pioneer in long-reach PoE technology. We were the first company to develop a switch that delivered Ethernet and PoE over a single pair of UTP wire with up to 1,200ft (365m) reach, which is four times the reach of standard switches. We have spent the last 15 years surprising the industry with our capabilities and satisfying customers with our technology. Performance is paramount We understand that innovation is met with scrutiny and skepticism. We also know that some companies make claims that they cannot back up, which can sometimes shed a negative light on an entire industry or product category. However, our enterprise-grade networking solutions have helped thousands of customers modernise to the next generation of intelligent devices without high costs, complexity, or disruption to their business. For example, our CLEER24 switch is a 24-port Ethernet over Coax innovation that delivers Ethernet and PoE+ over a single coax cable with up to 6,000ft (1,830m) reach, which is 18-times the reach of a standard switch.  Transform network readiness requirements into an opportunity to grow your business! Be a thought leader, leverage Modern LAN design, and introduce NVT Phybridge PoE innovations to your customers. It's time to change the conversation around LAN design and improve the outcome for you and your customers.

Latest IDIS news

Customers gain from reduced liabilities as IDIS and VMI extend remote monitoring capability with deep learning analytics
Customers gain from reduced liabilities as IDIS and VMI extend remote monitoring capability with deep learning analytics

Buyers of video technology are focusing increasingly on business protocol enforcement applications, in addition to traditional security, says IDIS America and virtual guarding and monitoring service partner Virtual Management Intelligence (VMI). The two companies are working together to deliver AI-supported remote surveillance services, including business operations monitoring, in sectors such as transportation, warehousing, cannabis production, food processing, banking, and finance. Improve monitoring of vehicle safety checks In transportation, for example, IDIS video is being used by VMI to improve monitoring of 24-point vehicle safety checks which must be carried about by drivers to ensure compliance with Department of Transportation (DoT) requirements. At high-security locations such as banks, the company is helping to streamline and adhere to opening and closing protocols. And, in major industrial applications - from coffee roasting to food processing - its monitoring services are underpinning both safety and production line efficiency. Delivering enterprise-level monitoring “These are applications where customers want video technology to focus on the wider wellbeing of their business operations, and to reduce their liabilities,” says San Kim, VMI, Operations Director. IDIS Deep Learning Analytics (IDLA) to deliver enterprise-level monitoring to more customers more affordably  “Security is still a key requirement but there is a growing realisation that cameras can be used for so much more. VMI is using IDIS end-to-end video solutions, including IDIS Deep Learning Analytics (IDLA) to deliver enterprise-level monitoring to more customers more affordably,” he notes. “IDLA’s automated detection tools – including line-cross, loitering, and object detection – are taking pressure off VMI’s monitoring teams and helping them give users of all sizes access to the kind of customised 24/7 surveillance that was traditionally only available to large corporations with dedicated control room operations.” IDIS video tech “This is also helping users cut their insurance liabilities and reduce their litigation risks,” Kim adds. “Our clients can now contact any of our operators and say, ‘I had a slip in one of my lobbies. Can you back up the relevant cameras, upload the recordings to a particular folder on our FTP, send a link to the store manager, and also include it on a report to our insurers as soon as possible?” The comparatively long operational life of IDIS video tech, its straightforward maintenance and upgrade paths, along with its ease of use for VMI’s customers, are also proving to be valuable in reducing the company’s trouble-shooting workload. Offering video monitoring solutions “Compared to alternative mix-and-match solutions that we’ve tried, the IDIS end-to-end, single supply model is more cost-effective to operate and maintain,” Kim points out. However, he warns against the industry over-promising when it comes to the capabilities of deep learning analytics. “For the video sector as a whole, the challenge now is to focus on applicable solutions that work in real life. We’ve already proven that our deep learning engine is solid, we now need to look at how best to use the level of accuracy we’ve developed.” “We are working closely with VMI to offer some of the best value video monitoring solutions available, not just for security purposes but for much wider business applications, as well,” says Jason Burrows, Sales Director, Western U.S., IDIS America. “Looking ahead, we see exciting opportunities for deep learning analytics to be closely customised to solve the specific problems of individual customers.”

IDIS launches a tech-explainer eBook on video analytics to better security, safety and business intelligence
IDIS launches a tech-explainer eBook on video analytics to better security, safety and business intelligence

IDIS’s latest tech-explainer eBook – The Benefits of Deep Learning Driven Intelligent Video Analytics – explores how a new generation of AI video solutions is delivering better security, safety, operational efficiency, and business intelligence. The eBook, which can be downloaded now from the IDIS website, reflects the company’s commitment to supporting its systems integrator partners as they focus on delivering advanced video solutions into growth sectors. Modern network cameras In recent years, the terms ‘intelligent’ and ‘artificial intelligence (AI)’ have been applied to many different types of security system, but without agreement on what AI means, says IDIS, so it’s important to understand that not all solutions are designed to the same standard or deliver equal value. The new eBook explains some of the differences between conventional ‘blob’ analytics - found in most modern network cameras and relatively prone to false-alarm triggers caused by environmental factors - and more powerful deep learning technologies. This newest generation AI solutions leverage neural networks made up of multiple layers of algorithms and advanced processing and can be more accurately called ‘intelligent’ video analytics. Deep learning video solutions Metadata search functions also allow users to benefit from advanced interrogation of single and multiple cameras Deep learning’s real value comes from its ability to detect events of interest and distinguish these from video data input which is just ‘noise’. But some caution is still needed, warns IDIS: deep learning video solutions can still disappoint if the engines and algorithms that drive them are not fully trained and able to recognise objects reliably and accurately. By contrast, effective deep learning video analytics can deliver multiple benefits, from preventing ‘alarm overload’ in busy security control rooms, to freeing up personnel resources and enabling security provision to be better focused. Metadata search functions also allow users to benefit from advanced interrogation of single and multiple cameras, speeding up investigations and automatically locating objects or people of interest. Face mask detection The eBook also outlines how AI video can support efficient return-to-work strategies and ensure COVID-secure facilities and workplaces using highly accurate analytics for face mask detection, social distancing adherence, people counting, and occupancy monitoring. Guidance is also provided for systems integrators, demonstrating how the same functionality will deliver value beyond the pandemic, with benefits such as facilities and workspace optimisation, and actionable insights, particularly for the retail and hospitality sectors. “The best AI offerings today add value for customers by rapidly increasing productivity and efficiency, and providing useful business intelligence,” says James Min, Managing Director, IDIS Europe. “This new eBook explains how systems integrators can get past the jargon to support end-users, building a compelling business case that both addresses immediate priorities and demonstrates long term return on investment.”

IDIS suggests users to use their fingerprint algorithm to protect the integrity of the recorded video
IDIS suggests users to use their fingerprint algorithm to protect the integrity of the recorded video

Growing concern about deep-fake videos will make it increasingly important to be able to demonstrate the integrity of video evidence, warns South Korea’s largest in-country video tech manufacturer IDIS. Rapid advances in digital video manipulation techniques, and a rise in alleged deep-fake celebrity videos being reported in the news, will put pressure on both video tech users and on prosecutors to demonstrate the integrity of any footage they use. Internal disciplinary proceedings “As we look ahead, wherever video is presented for use as legal evidence, or as part of internal disciplinary proceedings, we will see more attempts to assert that footage is not genuine. Courts will dismiss evidence where tampering cannot be ruled out,” says Dr. Peter Kim, Global Technical Consultant, IDIS. It will be vital that users can demonstrate beyond doubt that their footage has not been tampered" “Any challenge to the integrity of video evidence, if not countered, risks undermining the value of the entire video solution. This is particularly true in applications where investigating and prosecuting wrongdoing is a key function of the camera system. So, it will be vital that users can demonstrate beyond doubt that their footage has not been tampered with in any way.” IDIS, which supplies complete, end-to-end video solutions for applications ranging from high-risk critical infrastructure to commercial settings, has created protection of video footage integrity through its patented Chained Fingerprint™ algorithm. Exported video data IDIS recorders use Chained Fingerprint to ensure the integrity of the recorded and exported video data. Each frame is assigned a unique numerical ‘fingerprint’, calculated by relating its own pixel value to the fingerprint of the previous frame. This means that every single image frame of the video is linked by an encryption ‘chain’ with its neighbouring image frames. The encrypted chain is stored as part of the video data when the video is recorded or exported as a video clip using the IDIS ClipPlayer. Before playback, the ClipPlayer scans video and recalculates the fingerprint chains of the video data. If any part of the image frame is tampered with, the fingerprint chain will be broken and will not match the chain value calculated at the time of video export, prompting a flag. “As organisations look to upgrade or invest in new video solutions, protecting themselves against claims of video evidence tampering should be high on their priority list,” Kim adds.

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