CCTV software - Expert commentary

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.

Get the most from investments in building security
Get the most from investments in building security

From analogue to digital, from stand-alone to interlinked, building systems are in a state of transition. Moreover, the rate of change shows no sign of slowing, which can make it difficult to keep up to date with all the latest developments. If asked to pinpoint the single biggest driver of this revolution, one could point out the growing clamour for platform convergence. A security guard in a building doesn’t want to use different systems to check video cameras, fire alarms or if someone has entered a restricted area: – it simply isn’t efficient. For similar reasons, a building manager wants a single interface to control heating and lighting to match fluctuating occupancy levels, particularly in a hybrid working model. Applying the digital glue The demand from end-users for system convergence is growing, but to achieve full interoperability you still need to apply some ‘digital glue’ and that requires expertise. Yet bringing together disparate systems from different manufacturers can be problematic. Just as you get things to work, someone upgrades their solution and your carefully implemented convergence can start to come unstuck. Managing an implementation can quickly become more complicated, today’s quick-fix can become tomorrow’s headache This is one of the principal issues with all types of new technology; not everyone will choose the same path to reach the desired goal – it’s the old VHS/Betamax argument updated for building management and security systems. Managing and maintaining an implementation can quickly become more complicated than it first appears and without proper oversight, today’s quick-fix can become tomorrow’s technical headache. Effective support for a hybrid workforce Today’s hybrid workforce is a response to the pandemic that looks set to become an established part of working life for many companies across the world. Security systems have a massive role to play in facilitating this transformation that goes beyond simple intrusion detection, access control, and video monitoring. They can identify the most densely populated areas in a building to comply with social distancing guidelines and provide efficient use of space. The insights gathered from a security system can also be used to identify patterns of behaviour, which can then be used for planning and directing the use of building space to help create the best possible working environment while also minimising heating, lighting, and air conditioning expenditures. Identity credentials can help manage compliance with industry regulations by limiting access to certain areas Similarly, identity credentials – either biometric or mobile-based – can help manage compliance to industry regulations by limiting access to certain areas only to approved employees. Creating and maintaining the appropriate level of functionality requires a combination of innovative solutions and industry experience. The complete security package It’s not just physical security that’s important – cybersecurity is a major focus, too. Bringing together both the physical security and cybersecurity realms is increasingly becoming a ‘must have’ capability. What is evident is that the pace of technological change is faster than ever. Today’s functionality simply wouldn’t have been possible just a few years ago, while today’s leading-edge developments may seem commonplace in five years.

Latest Ava Security news

Ava Security selects new America’s headquarters at Raleigh, North Carolina to span cloud computing
Ava Security selects new America’s headquarters at Raleigh, North Carolina to span cloud computing

Ava Security, a unified service provider of cyber and video security, announces it has selected Raleigh, North Carolina as the location for the company’s new Americas headquarters. Ava will be investing in the region, creating new jobs, and adding to Raleigh’s rich tradition of innovation. Raleigh joins Uxbridge (London) as the company’s two global headquarters. The new Raleigh headquarters is located at 208 South Wilmington Street, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27601. “The Americas is Ava’s fastest-growing geography, representing more than 50% of our global business,” said Rick Hill, VP and General Manager, Ava Americas. Spanning cloud computing “We chose Raleigh for our new headquarters because it will allow us to attract world-class talent that will help us continue to innovate the way organisations approach security - both physical and cyber - for years to come.” Raleigh was recently named one of the most resilient tech hubs by both LinkedIn and Indeed Raleigh boasts one of the highest concentrations of tech talent in the nation -- spanning cloud computing, security, fintech, and healthcare. Long associated with innovation thanks to both corporate tech giants like IBM and Cisco and a rapidly growing local startup community, Raleigh was recently named one of the most resilient tech hubs by both LinkedIn and Indeed. “Raleigh is at an exciting crossroads, leading the country on nearly every measure of economic success,” said Adrienne Cole, CEO, Raleigh Chamber of Commerce. Expanding career options “We are honoured that Ava Security selected Raleigh for its Americas headquarters. The company joins an elite mix of global technology leaders here in the region while expanding career options for our local tech talent pool.” In a 2021 study by Wake County Economic Development (WCED), comparing the Raleigh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) with the top 100 largest MSAs across the United States, Raleigh came out No. 1 in several critical areas, which shaped Ava’s decision to select the Triangle region for its Americas headquarters. Specifically, in comparison to the 100 largest MSAs, Raleigh ranked number one in talent, the cost of doing business, and future thinking. “We are thrilled to have Ava Security as a new tenant in downtown Raleigh, especially since this will be their Americas headquarters,” said Andrew Stewart, President of Empire Properties. Unified security company Ava is the only unified security company to provide a complete solution (cyber and physical security) “It is always exciting to bring new technology innovation into the region and Ava does that with its unique cyber and video security solutions. They are a welcome addition to the diverse workforce in downtown Raleigh.” Ava is the only unified security company to provide a complete solution (cyber and physical security), giving organisations full visibility into potential multi-faceted security attacks. Ava helps organisations address this growing problem with machine learning-powered cyber and video solutions that give security professionals access to quality, timely data and insights that can be shared across the security organisation for actionable insight. Diverse industry offering “The world has clearly caught on to the fact that Raleigh is one of the most educated cities in the U.S. and has an incredibly diverse industry offering, allowing companies from across the globe like Ava, to locate here and find long-term success,” said Kyle Touchstone, Raleigh Economic Development Director. Over the past year, Greater Raleigh saw its highest amount of company expansions in history, with almost 6,000 new job announcements and more than $3.8 billion in investments. Ava officially celebrates its Americas Headquarters with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for October 21 at 3:00 p.m.

Ava’s new education sector security research report reveals 82% of schools & colleges plan to use existing video monitoring systems to keep ‘COVID Safe’
Ava’s new education sector security research report reveals 82% of schools & colleges plan to use existing video monitoring systems to keep ‘COVID Safe’

Four out of every five (82%) of existing CCTV and video monitoring systems are set to be extended to help keep schools and colleges ‘COVID Safe’, found a new education sector study of 91 education organisations based in the UK, US, Sweden, and Norway, carried out by video security as a service (VSaaS) provider AVA Security in March 2021. Many schools and colleges have already adapted their video monitoring systems to support COVID safety measures. For example, half (50%) of all those in charge of these systems had already adapted their existing video systems to help manage social distancing. A further 34% planned to use their systems for this purpose within the next 6 months.  Adopting video monitoring/CCTV technologies The AVA Security Education Sector Trends Report 2021 just out, provides a wealth of data and insight linked to how Operations, Security, and IT directors and managers within educational establishments in the US, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, are adapting their video monitoring or CCTV systems in the wake of the pandemic. Nearly four of every 10 (38%) educational institutions were already using their video monitoring systems to trace all student, staff, and visitor movements in, out, and around their premises and grounds to protect everyone from infection. A further 46% planned to configure these systems for this same purpose within the next 6 months. New COVID Safe-specific video analytics 29% were using their existing video systems to help provide temperature level health checks at some building entrances Nearly a third (29%) was already using their existing video systems to help provide temperature level health checks at some building entrances. A further 43% planned to enable temperature checking via their CCTV systems within the 6 months. Interestingly, 41% had already deployed their video systems for reporting on class or lecture hall occupancy levels and people density levels inside retail areas, dining facilities, and other leisure areas where students congregate. A further 41% said they were planning to add this capability via their video systems over the next 6 months. Mask and face recognition systems Mask detection analytics is also being widely deployed in US and Northern Europe’s schools and colleges: 35% had already deployed video analytics software now available for alerting security staff when teachers or students are inside a building but not wearing a mask. A further 31% planned to deploy mask detection analytics within the next 6 months. However, the Education sector is a more cautious deployer of facial recognition analytics in existing cameras to enable visual identification and contactless access control in the interests of reducing COVID infection via card touch-in gates. Only 22% of schools and colleges have deployed facial recognition to date, although this is set to more than double to 29% over the next 6 months. The biggest challenge of supporting all these changes appears to be paying for them: 31% of those in charge of video monitoring systems had already seen a significant reduction in budgets available for upgrading and improving video monitoring capabilities in the last year. A further 29% had seen a small reduction in budgets over the same timeframe. A further 8% thought fresh budget cuts were likely before the end of 2021. Cybersecurity becomes a key IT priority There has been an increased focus on cybersecurity to protect access to vital data and online learning resources As IT, operations, and security staff have had to run systems as well as teaching remotely during the pandemic, there has been an increased focus on cybersecurity to protect access to vital data and online learning resources. Just in the last few months, the University of Hertfordshire experienced a major cyberattack that led to the shutting down of key online learning apps including Zoom for students enrolled there. Over a third (35%) of educational institutions’ decision-makers questioned thought it ‘very likely that they would need to place a ‘larger focus on cybersecurity for all devices and applications that are networked’ as one impact of the pandemic. A further 48% thought an increased cybersecurity focus was ‘likely’. Linked to this, 27% of directors and managers running video security systems in schools and colleges saw an improvement to the video ‘system’s resilience and back-up systems/procedures’ as a ‘High Priority’ improvement that they needed to implement to protect video data this year, while a further 44% saw it as ‘Somewhat a Priority’. VSaaS selection criteria For the 82% of all education respondents actively considering Video Security as a Service (VSaaS) options right now, there were many criteria determining provider selection. Nearly nine out of 10 net (87%) considering VSaaS in 2021, agreed with the statement ‘It must have very strong cybersecurity, including end-to-end encryption from the camera to the cloud.’ Reduced costs and ease of use The VSaaS selected must also offer a reduction in the ‘Total Cost of Ownership of our video monitoring system’, according to 48% of educational institutions considering migration to VSaaS. Further, 45% of decision-makers questioned insisted on greater ease of use, supporting the statement ‘It must be configurable and operable by non-IT people. While 24% of education sector decision-makers considering VSaaS, said the provider needed not to be headquartered in mainland China. Integration with existing camera systems A net 80% of video monitoring system decision-makers in the education sector also considered it important A net 80% of video monitoring system decision-makers in the education sector also considered it important that the VSaaS selected ‘must allow us to continue using our existing third party cameras which we have already installed, we don’t want to rip & replace any equipment. A net 80% considering VSaaS also confirmed ‘It must allow us to view their directly attached cloud cameras alongside our third-party cameras on the same interface’. Further, the same number of respondents (net 80%) considered it net important (either ‘very’ or ‘quite important’) that the VSaaS ‘must allow us to use our existing Video Management Software (VMS) or provide the same functionality as we get from our VMS’. Video analytics An even higher number, net 84%, regarded it as important that the VSaaS selected ‘must enable us to run the latest video analytics capabilities such as occupancy levels for social distance management (in a room), noise analytics (e.g., breaking glass, screaming, yelling, etc), people and vehicle search, object searching and colour searching’. Workspace management technologies Ava Security also found evidence that the education sector is an early adopter of other workspace technologies designed to make it easier for students to manage the use of school and college facilities while minimising the risk of COVID infection. For example, 52% of educational institutions captured in the Ava study expressed interest in offering staff and students the capability of remote pre-booking of working areas in libraries, classrooms, and lecture halls and pre-registering students via mobile-ready apps. Nearly four out of every 10 people responsible for managing video monitoring in their school or college (38%) felt remote booking of extra cleaning of surfaces before or after classes would be a useful innovation. Cybersecurity is critical to VSaaS selection Education sector video monitoring system decision-makers are considering VSaaS and weighing up criteria for selection" Vegard Aas, Head of Online Business at Ava Security, commented, “The fact that four out of five education sector video monitoring system decision-makers are already actively considering VSaaS and weighing up criteria for selection is very encouraging." “There is also clearly a strong determination to adapt existing school video surveillance systems to new COVID-safe requirements. And the fact that a third (32%) confirmed that a new budget had already been allocated for moving more services into the cloud this year provides significant scope for optimism as we enhance our VSaaS offering with Ava Cloud Connector for example, which enables those running systems to plug existing third party cameras into Ava’s open Aware Cloud platform.” Video security solutions Ava Security recently launched its Cloud Connector offering to enable video security system owners easy and cost-effective transition of video security solutions to the cloud. This brings Ava’s advanced real-time video analytics and proactive security to existing surveillance cameras by integrating them with Ava’s open Aware Cloud platform. Ava’s Cloud Connector eliminates the need to rip and replace existing video security devices to directly reap the cost and operational efficiencies of a true cloud service.

Ava Security partners with Nedap to integrate their best-in-class solutions for security professionals
Ava Security partners with Nedap to integrate their best-in-class solutions for security professionals

Ava Security, the pioneer of unified video and cyber security, has teamed up with Nedap, the Dutch provider of powerful solutions in physical security, to integrate their best-in-class solutions for security professionals and integrators. Together, the Ava Aware Cloud™ intelligent video management system (VMS) and the Nedap AEOS physical access control provide the simplicity, security, and power needed for proactive physical security. Access control events By enabling the 24/7 video monitoring of access control events as they happen, Ava Security’s powerful AI analytics gives security professionals what they need to act: usable, precise data, delivered instantly, whether from a video security stream or Nedap’s card readers, door controllers, or intrusion components. The pop-up can be expanded to show more detail and allow further actions to be taken by the operators In cases of forced entry, authorisation failure, revoked credentials, or doors propped open for a longer period, notifications pop up on the Aware Cloud user interface, including a thumbnail view from the camera that triggered the rule. The pop-up can be expanded to show more detail and allow further actions to be taken by the operators. For instance, additional details can include the name of the badge holder, the image on the credential, and the exact location, provided in real-time, leading to insights and options that are just not possible if access control remains separate from video security. Gaining additional insights After an incident, fast forensic searches allow video security teams to find things quickly and reduce the burden of manually reviewing massive amounts of footage. Sam Lancia, Head of Video Engineering & Co-Founder of Ava Security, comments: “We are delighted to announce a new partnership that will enable organisations to react to security events as they unfold, connect the dots between ‘who,’ ‘where,’ and ‘how,’ and gain additional insights to streamline and take full control of their operations.” Integrations between security providers are crucial because of an increasing demand for real-time insights, cyber security protection, situational awareness, and the ability to perform accurate and fast investigations. Financial and commercial businesses, government, defence, healthcare organisations, schools and campuses, critical infrastructure facilities, and public venues can all benefit from the ability to monitor and detect access violations using the two seamlessly interconnected platforms. Amazing user experience Ava’s cloud video security solution is cyber-hardened with always-on end-to-end encryption Wesley Keegstra, Integration Manager at Nedap Security Management, says: “I’m very proud of having Ava Security joining our Technology Partner Programme. They truly bring an amazing user experience and a rich set of powerful features. By combining Ava Aware Cloud with the AEOS access control, you get strong insights on events and alarms like who accessed, where and when including the recorded videos. Aware Cloud offers features like Smart Presence, so you can live monitor where your people are. Or view Heatmaps of certain floors, areas or doors. Features you should definitely check out!”  Both companies place the utmost priority on data security, given the risks of operating in a connected world. Protecting video and data both at rest and in transit, Ava’s cloud video security solution is cyber-hardened with always-on end-to-end encryption and factory-installed certificates. Internal security processes It also provides audit trails of operator and administrator action, automatically recorded to address the full spectrum of compliance requirements. Ava is ISO 27001 certified, demonstrating its commitment to protecting its internal security processes and customers’ data. Nedap’s AEOS access control platform is designed to be secure and safe by default. Every installation is encrypted, so AEOS more than meets the access control requirements of many organisations. Nedap also supports several industry standards to ensure AEOS works with a wide range of third-party readers, including Wiegand, Nedap rs485, OSDP (secure), and transparent.

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