CCTV software - Expert commentary

Reopening doors: What steps should be taken to ensure safety and security?
Reopening doors: What steps should be taken to ensure safety and security?

A total of £1.6 billion worth of goods are reported as ‘lost’ to in-store theft in supermarkets each year, with figures increasing steadily. The presence of self-checkout systems have increased in supermarkets, as well as other industry retailers. By 2021, we’re globally on track to have 468,000 self-checkout machines in operation, nearly double the 240,000 in existence since 2016. While this increase comes with such benefits as reduced wait times for customers and staff costs, it also comes with a risk of retail theft at self-checkouts. With the circumstances the world now finds itself in i.e. mass unemployment, financial uncertainty, the retail industry has seen an influx in these types of petty crimes, hitting retailers during an already turbulent period. While retailers are taking precautions to protect themselves and their patrons in this new era of in-person shopping, it’s important to ensure the business itself is protected. A popular method to combat these fears is to employ on-site security personnel, however, as we continue to adapt to new operating guidelines, retailers must begin thinking past the immediate future, and begin implementing long-term security solutions to prepare for life after lockdown such as strong CCTV systems with remote access. How has the security industry adapted its services to a post-lockdown world? Technological innovations like thermal recognition are key to adapting security systems for a post-lockdown world. Businesses which previously relied on facial recognition now must update their methods to account for shoppers wearing masks on-site and in-store. By 2021, we’re globally on track to have 468,000 self-checkout machines in operation, nearly double the 240,000 in existence since 2016 Biometric systems are now able to identify people with face masks, and thermal recognition such ADT’s Thermi-Scan system which can track human body temperature without the need for contact. Implementing these safe protocol procedures protect both employees and customers against virus outbreaks such as COVID-19. The need for these advances in video surveillance will reportedly increase the biometric facial recognition market by 14 per cent by 2027. Artificial intelligence has been hailed recently as the way forward for remote security needs, and whilst business-owners continue to navigate procedures of returning to work post-lockdown, having remote access to real-time security monitoring is essential now more than ever. What are the main measures stores can take to prevent or reduce theft? Strategically placing a multi-camera surveillance system to ensure clarity, eliminate blind spots, and deter thieves should be top priority. It’s equally essential to invest in a system which has an efficient playback programme, particularly in situations where reviewing important footage efficiently can offer vital information to the police force. Advances in video surveillance will reportedly increase the biometric facial recognition market by 14 per cent by 2027 As business-owners continue operating at reduced hours and with limited on-site staff, being able to access camera footage quickly and remotely is a key factor to consider. Whether owners opt to receive an alert on a mobile device allowing them to review notifications, or if their system is monitored by a remote security centre, it’s important to be able to access footage quickly for added efficiency and ease. Facial recognition and AI have been popular points of discussion in relation to security cameras and CCTV. While careful considerations must be taken prior to utilising any sort of facial recognition technology, including conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment, the benefits include being provided with real-time tracking of repeat offenders which immensely helps the prevention of in-store theft. Here are some key points to consider when choosing in-store surveillance: Assess your needs – To get the best out of your security system, it is essential to analyse what your requirements are for your business as they might have changed to adapt to a post-lockdown world Camera setup – With store layouts shifting to accommodate social distancing guidelines, it’s important to re-evaluate the current set-up of any security cameras. Depending on any layout updates, it might be important to consider operating multiple cameras in one area to ensure a peripheral view and eliminate any blind spots Camera positioning – For optimal performance, check that light sources are not obstructing your view such as glare from the sun. It is also worth considering the height at which cameras are installed to maximise surveillance Check the focus – It is worth testing camera lenses bi-monthly to ensure that lighting or weather hasn’t affected the focus of the lens, resulting in a blurry visual Remote access – As guidelines continue to evolve, ensure you’re able to access any necessary camera footage quickly and safely in case of emergency Will we begin to see a reduction of theft as new technology is implemented? We’re beginning to see incidents of shoplifting and theft being taken more seriously by law enforcement. In the coming months, for the first time in Britain nearly twenty shoplifters who were either caught red-handed or identified on CCTV will be appearing before magistrates. While currently these court cases are being pursued by a private police force, these actions come after a Government plea to high-level police to prosecute shoplifters stealing under £200. Retailers have long voiced concerns that forces have abandoned low-level thefts and these steps are small but show that businesses are being heard. As innovations in surveillance security continue, we’ll be seeing a move away from human involvement which will create a more reliable and efficient system able to rely on machine learning and analytics. While there have been wider strides made in utilising AI for surveillance, these are largely being used currently by local governments to alert police forces to threats of criminal activity. It’s not unreasonable to think that in the near future, these types of smart technology will be employed by private businesses to analyse suspicious behaviour or possible theft. However, as we see an increase in the advancement of security technology, we anticipate that those inclined to commit in-store theft will adapt their methods, therefore retailers should look to regularly evaluate their security needs to keep risks at bay.

Can CCTV become a more effective tool?
Can CCTV become a more effective tool?

We all know that having CCTV around your home can help to protect you and your family. Without CCTV, you could end up in danger and an intruder could get away with breaking into your house, hurting your loved ones and stealing your possessions. Similarly, without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process. In short, making sure you have CCTV is important for both home and business security. However, it can be improved to become a more effective system so that you’re better protected, and can even deter a potential intruder without having to panic. In our world of ever-changing technology, we’re able to upgrade and enhance our CCTV systems so they can become a monitored system. Remote CCTV monitoring is an ideal way to protect everyone and everything whether you’re at home or at a workplace. What is remote CCTV monitoring? For a long time, CCTV was one of the best ways to keep your home, the office and people safe. But people started to notice that it would only deter people so much of the time and often the cameras were ignored by intruders. They would just cover their faces and hope for the best as they steal from a home, office or any other premises. Remote CCTV monitoring is a system that can loop into your existing CCTV, or come preinstalled with a new system. This technology sends a feed to a control room full of trained operators that are on call 24/7. Within this control room, operators are able to respond to any sort of distress call or unauthorised movement on the property line.  How does it work? Remote CCTV monitoring works by attaching to a live feed of your CCTV system, existing or new, so that the signal and images can be passed to a team of operators. These operators are on hand 24/7 so that if there is a problem, you know that you're safe in the hands of a specialist team. The specialist team has been trained to mitigate the chances of somebody breaking into your home when the system is triggered; similarly they call the local authorities instantly so that the potential intruder has less time to flee the scene. This is especially important if an intruder is already inside your property because they have less time to steal your items and leave. Without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process One of the biggest questions that revolve around remote CCTV monitoring is the idea of operators watching the CCTV at all times. Luckily most remote CCTV monitoring systems will incorporate a motion detection system to accompany your CCTV. Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line. These motion detection systems are state-of-the-art and so, depending on the system that you choose, they can watch over your property from a number of angles. Once the motion detection system has been triggered and the alert has been sent to the control room, then and only then will the operators get involved. This means that until the motion detection system has been triggered, nobody will watch your live CCTV feed. After one of the systems has been triggered, one of the specialist operators will instantly jump into action. This means that they can take different measures to deter any potential intruder and make sure that they do everything in their power to stop any damage or theft from the premises. In addition to the motion detection system and CCTV, you are able to opt for a public address (PA) system too. This means that an operator is able to shout commands through the PA system and potentially scare away any intruder. The intruder will also be warned about the fact that local authorities have already been called to the location.  Remote monitoring versus traditional CCTV Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line Having a monitored CCTV system means that you're able to better protect yourself, your business, employees and even your loved ones. Whether you're at home or in the office, having someone looking over your shoulder protecting your every move is something that can be appreciated by everybody. The biggest problem with just having traditional CCTV, is that it is a reactive system. This means that rather than stopping crime, a CCTV system just records it. While the thought is that having a CCTV camera visible can deter some intruders, there's no real evidence to suggest that it stops anybody; anyone can simply cover their face and carry on breaking into your home, office or even your car. As mentioned, remote CCTV monitoring is going to tackle that problem and make sure that someone is on hand to protect you at all times.

Thermal cameras and smart cities: Preventing COVID-19 in public places
Thermal cameras and smart cities: Preventing COVID-19 in public places

With the pandemic still in full swing and no certainty as to when exactly it will come to an end, the world has been battling anxiety for months now. And with each day, circumstances change quickly and almost make it impossible to predict what will happen next, how events will unfold, and what actions to take in light of a new situation. But one thing is certain: the world has been shut down and paralysed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way. In this situation, what is possible to control is how the world will continue reopening – and specifically, how to ensure the safest possible reopening that will ensure the return of some degree of normalcy to people’s lives and business operations, while also managing the risk of COVID’s spread in the most efficient way. Our highly digitised, technologically advanced world This is when the power of technology comes to rescue the day: what truly sets the global crisis we face today apart from other calamities that humanity has encountered over year is the fact that it has developed in a highly digitised, technologically advanced world where each day brings about innovations with a sole purpose to make daily life and operations easier and more streamlined. And among these, the star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence. The world has been shut down and paralysed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way While AI has many avenues of introducing efficiency and fast problem-solving, there is one specific application that will further fuel the reopening of the world and successfully keep the spread of the virus abate. This “collaborative security” application includes a synthesis of smart video analytics, facial recognition, object identification/detection, and thermal cameras that can support the reopening of businesses globally when installed within those facilities frequented by customers. With such a level of sophistication that can ensure uninterrupted monitoring and analysis of large public spaces, these AI technologies can ideally operate best as cloud solutions to ensure a collaborative network with maximum scalability and widespread implementation. As these technologies increase in ubiquity and find their way into daily operations of businesses globally, the cost of the smart solutions will decrease proportionally to the growth of their reach. There are some highly specific ways to create this collaborative network of interconnected safety tools in the current climate. Here are some applications that have been successful to date and will increase in usability in the foreseeable future, creating “smart cities” working together towards a safer, more secure world. Maintaining social distancing practices The most important step everyone around the world has taken to contribute to the effort of slowing the spread of the virus has been social distancing. A six-foot-distance has become a new social norm that has quickly been adopted globally and become a habit to people who are naturally used to being close to others and socialising without giving distance a second thought. The star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence So, it is natural that such distancing measures take time to get accustomed to – and it is also natural that individuals may forget about them from time to time. To help maintain the six-foot distance between people at all times and give them slight nudges to keep the rule top of their minds, AI video technology can be trained to estimate the distance between individuals in public and commercial areas and identify the cases in which people get too close to each other. By notifying local merchants or authorities about such cases, the system can help ensure the safety of everyone in the area at all times while positively reinforcing the public to gradually get more accustomed to maintaining the distance and thus helping stop the spread of the virus. Detecting the virus through facial recognition Perhaps the straightforward application of such high-level technology is using video surveillance to identify persons of interest who have tested positive for the virus. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity, making it possible to identify individuals whose records show they have antibodies from those who can be potential carriers of the virus. After the initial differentiation and identification, the system can then notify the employers and employees of the facility about the results of the conducted analysis and the pursuant results, allowing them to be more vigilant and take action where necessary to ensure a safe experience for everyone. PPE reinforcement Wearing a mask or some sort of face coverage in public spaces and especially within facilities (such as stores, for instance) has been - and will continue to be - a requirement for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for people to continue with their day-to-day lives and businesses to resume regular operations. To this extent, the object detection and identification abilities of smart cameras can further reinforce this requirement and ensure that the absence of protective equipment doesn’t go unnoticed.  Essentially, these cameras can easily identify if an individual has coverage at any given point of time or not, notifying the local authorities about any risks immediately and helping them maintain necessary safety measures without having to interrupt their workflow or worry about missing a visitor without a mask. Detecting high temperature One of the key (and the most widespread) symptoms of COVID-19 is a high fever - a certain indicator of whether an individual may have been infected with the virus or not. While identifying fever with a regular human eye is nearly impossible, AI can do so at a fraction of time by quickly scanning body temperatures of any incoming individuals and determine whether it’s above CDC’s recommended temperature of 100.4F in order to determine the risk factor and notify the local authorities to take action. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity This technology is a good tactic to objectively assess potential risks that come with elevated temperatures - and sometimes, the people themselves might not realise they might (unconsciously) be carriers of the virus and thus endanger the safety of others in their vicinity. The technology is yet another step towards ensuring a safer reopening of the global economy and a more streamlined way of getting back on track while minimising the risk of spreading the virus further. It’s not all about the theory  We have tested the described approaches in our own R&D campus in Europe. The latest release of the IREX cloud enables remote fever detection and monitoring of social isolation and mask policies with AI. We have integrated thermal cameras to detect people with elevated temperature and CCTV cameras for identification and notifying those who potentially ill. In case of any health threat, the venue manager gets an instant message with a picture and exact location. These preventive steps helped our employees return to the office months earlier than it's happening in other countries. Moreover, personnel coming back to the office by their own wish as now they feel a virus-free environment in the campus - even safer than in their own homes. Now we are launching a pilot project for a well-known pharmacy chain in Florida, USA. With the help of a Computer Vision platform, staff will be able to divide customer traffic into those with normal body temperature and those who come in with elevated temperatures, as well as effectively monitor social distance norms. The goal of our potential client is to maximise the safety of customers in the post-pandemic period. Also, IREX is already deployed across hundreds of locations in the UK and will add health monitoring capability soon.

Latest Vaion Ltd. news

Vaion develops vcore 2.2 software to support access control integrations and privacy masking
Vaion develops vcore 2.2 software to support access control integrations and privacy masking

June brings a new vcore software release. Vaion has continued to focus on features that bring more value to the user’s organisation and their security team. With the 2.2 release, they introduce the ability for anyone to develop access control integrations with the vcore video management system, as well as privacy masking to vcam devices. The new generic access control API allows Vaion, access control vendors, or third parties to develop a proxy that facilitates the integration between the systems. This proxy provides a consistent interface to vcore, but with the flexibility to integrate with the access control system as necessary. Vaion has developed an integration with OpenPath using this interface. Access control integrations What’s more, the company has partnered with OpenPath in the Safety & Wellness Solutions initiative, “to help companies create a safe workplace, adhere to government compliance regulations, and reduce liability as the world comes back to work.”  If anyone is interested in developing an interface to their access control system, Vaion can be contacted to discuss the details. Once configured on the view of a vcam device, the areas defined by privacy masks apply to Video view and Map view The company values privacy, and they aim to give customers all the tools they need to stay compliant with the rules and regulations of local or national organisations in matters concerning video surveillance. They are introducing static privacy masking in vcam security cameras so that the users can block the video, recording, and analytics of certain areas where they either don’t have the right or they don’t need to monitor it. Apply privacy masks Once configured on the view of a vcam device, the areas defined by privacy masks apply to Video view and Map view. They also apply to rules and searches, as areas that have privacy masks off cannot be searched or have rules run against them. Other vcore 2.2 features include: New counts permissions The ability to locate your cameras’ serial numbers with ease

Vaion and Jazz Networks join forces as Ava to address threat of hybrid physical, cybersecurity threats and attacks
Vaion and Jazz Networks join forces as Ava to address threat of hybrid physical, cybersecurity threats and attacks

Jazz Networks, globally-renowned cybersecurity insider threat detection and response solutions firm, and Vaion, an end-to-end video security solutions provider, has announced that they have merged to create a unified security provider under the name, Ava. In response to the rise in hybrid attacks involving both physical and cybersecurity, the two companies have united to help organisations monitor, understand, and act on threats in real-time to protect people, assets and data. Both companies are privately held by Ubon Partners and employees. Integrated approach to cyber and physical security “Our vision is for organisations to take an integrated approach to physical and cybersecurity. When it comes to security gaps, attackers don’t discriminate, and the consequences are costly,” said Tormod Ree, CEO of Ava, adding “Yet security professionals aren’t able to see and investigate patterns across both physical and information assets because the data is overwhelming, tools are too complex, and security structures are compartmentalised.” Attackers are exploiting weaknesses in physical security systems to bypass network protections and manually dismantle cybersecurity or digital controls. Despite the availability of data, operators don’t have the insights needed to act. Machine learning-powered cyber and video solutions Ava’s machine learning-powered cyber and video solutions are easy to use Ava is now the only provider, under one roof, to give organisations full visibility into potential multi-faceted attacks. Ava’s machine learning-powered cyber and video solutions are easy to use, and give security professionals access to quality, timely data that can be shared across the security organisation for actionable insight. Initially, the combined company will continue to offer cyber and video solutions allowing for separate analysis of data from all users, cameras, and servers. The human-centric cyber solution (formerly by Jazz Networks) will continue to employ a powerful combination of policy and machine learning sensors to prevent IP theft and sabotage, improve cyber hygiene, and accelerate threat hunting. Enhancing cyber security The end-to-end video solution (formerly by Vaion) will continue to provide proactive, video security, and insight. The offering includes integrated video and audio analytics powered by machine learning algorithms, intuitive installation processes, and a range of smart cameras. “By identifying both cyber and physical security threats before they become incidents, organisations can take a more proactive security posture,” added Tormod Ree. Cross-domain security solutions Over time, cross-domain security solutions will allow for even deeper data visibility. Ultimately, Ava will offer fully converged solutions to support organisations as they move toward joint cyber/physical security operations. Converged offerings could include features such as a unified interface and common data storage and analytics engines. “We believe Ava is uniquely positioned to address this growing security challenge,” said Fredrik Halvorsen of Ubon Partners, adding “Plus, new hybrid security gaps are emerging as a result of suddenly shuttered buildings and 100% remote workforces due to COVID 19. This is an important time to re-think security.” Threat detection and intelligent video security Identifying the patterns provides heightened visibility into the potential for threats, breaches, or policy violations Jazz Networks protects organisations from cybersecurity risks within. Vaion has been changing the traditional video security landscape with computer vision capabilities that make it easier for businesses and organisations to monitor their physical assets proactively. In both cases, organisations can detect threats in their earliest stages and perform fast, effective investigations with fewer resources. Under Ava, real-time insights from the cyber insider threat detection tools or intelligent video security solutions will enable security professionals to discover patterns across their entire security ecosystem, regardless of whether the anomaly is physical or digital. Identifying the patterns provides heightened visibility into the potential for threats, breaches, or policy violations. Data infrastructure and enterprise security “Our customers are constantly asking how to best protect their infrastructure,” added Espen Riska, Director at Atea Norge AS, globally renowned IT infrastructure for businesses and public-sector organisations in Europe’s Nordic and Baltic regions. Espen added, “As a current partner to both Jazz Networks and Vaion, we have already been beating the drum about how a unified approach will benefit every customer.”

Vaion introduces loud noise detection and easier user access management in vcore 2.0
Vaion introduces loud noise detection and easier user access management in vcore 2.0

Since November 2019, when Vaion announced the general availability of Vaion vcore - the company’s video management system (VMS) - 8bh have sought to update their product with features that would make security operators and administrators more proactive, accurate, and faster than ever before. The company has launched vehicle tracking, a tool that highlights them on maps in real-time. Next, they have integrated vcore with communication tools like Slack, Webex Teams, Google Hangouts (and more) via webhooks, so that information about unusual events and alarms is shared among operators and other team members instantly. They have followed up with real-time and historical people and vehicle counting and directional audio detection and search of sound events. Detect unspecified loud noises As an administrator, the user can assign roles with a specific set of permissions, as well as access to footage and cameras With their last release, the company helps to improve collaboration and analysis with video bookmarks, as well as trigger notifications on counting areas using rules. Operators can now get immediate alerts on unidentified loud noises and identify the source of the sound. If necessary, security teams stop threatening actions before there’s damage made to properties, vehicles, or before someone gets hurt. Loud noise detection is based on the sound levels received by all microphones on the vcam device which allows it to determine the direction the sound came from. Viaon uses roles and user groups to give access to vcore. As an administrator, the user can assign roles with a specific set of permissions, as well as access to footage and cameras. They can change the role and the permission for any given number of users or groups at any point. User access management In 2.0, the user can lock and unlock user accounts and have new options for enforcing password changes using different methods. For example, force users to change passwords on the next sign-in or send user(s) a password reset link via email. This way, they ensure that whenever there is a change in the configuration of the user’s team, they remove vulnerabilities and keep the system secure.

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