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 Visimetrics news

Visimetrics' FASTAR CCTV recording solution secures Napoleons Casinos
Visimetrics' FASTAR CCTV recording solution secures Napoleons Casinos

 Visimetrics, digital video surveillance specialist, is a proven quantity for surveillance systems within the casino industryLeading manufacturer of Digital Evidence Recorders™ for CCTV and surveillance applications, Visimetrics, have provided their flagship FASTAR CCTV recording solution to A&S Leisure's Napoleons chain of casinos in Sheffield, Leeds, Hull and Bradford.Operational Director of A&S Leisure Group, Mark Allen, says, "Visimetrics are a proven quantity for surveillance systems within the casino industry. With clear experience and reference projects in place, they came highly recommended by our systems integrator Zepha Security and industry colleagues alike. We needed a very high quality recording system with clear video and audio output that could be used easily by our staff on site while also providing remote access to our sites from head office. We were also keen to ensure we had a fully flexible solution that can be easily extended moving forward."While I'm happy to say the solution in practice has proved excellent, the experience of working with Visimetrics in designing and delivering our surveillance system has been invaluable. We are benefiting further from this by collectively looking at ways of using the recording systems to bring more information together. A current example is the integration of till information - linking our EPOS data with the video recordings using the data recording feature within FASTAR."Visimetrics Business Development Director, Gary James, says, "We're delighted that A&S Leisure has chosen our solution for their casinos. Our recorders are used daily to gather evidence of cheat moves, theft, barred persons, self-excluders etc. We've focused heavily on casino usage in the development of our management software, CONTROL SMS. Various tools and features have been incorporated for the management, review and export of footage by surveillance, security and compliance departments."By far the core of FASTAR's daily usage is in resolving gaming disputes quickly. While the need for high quality video is obvious it's the audio content and quality that becomes essential in these circumstances and is often the deciding factor in closing disputes satisfactorily.The implementation of the FASTAR solution at all Napoleons Casinos is now completed and the EPOS project is currently under development.

Playerbook™ Facial Recognition System debuts at IFSEC 2011 by Visimetrics
Playerbook™ Facial Recognition System debuts at IFSEC 2011 by Visimetrics

 Playerbook Facial Recognition System launch will take place at IFSEC 2011 Leading CCTV storage systems manufacturer, Visimetrics (UK) Ltd, will be launching their new Playerbook™ facial recognition system at IFSEC 2011. Playerbook has been developed to operate reliably in the lighting conditions normally found in casino environments. Powered by Omniperception's facial recognition engine, the new application is the result of a 2 year development process between the companies.Gary James, Business Development Director of Visimetrics says "The background to the development of Playerbook originated from many of our casino clients who indicated that a form of non-intrusive, reliable subject identification would be of significant benefit to them in dealing with the public. Casinos have a vested interest, for compliance and commercial reasons, in identifying certain types of visitors on entry to the venue. We knew from our experience of digital CCTV systems that the various forms of lighting within casinos create shadowing, reflection and glare. These effects have a significant impact on the reliability of facial recognition. We knew we needed to find another approach to solving the problem and identified the unique facial recognition process Omniperception developed as the core engine most likely to meet the consistency and reliability needed in casinos."Gary continues "At the heart of the system is a subject watchlist that allows security and surveillance staff to automatically detect self-excluders, barred/crime & disorder subjects, advise on entry subjects, VIP's and more. Playerbook operates in real time, providing reliable and consistent identification. The critical challenge was to develop a system, which reliably detects faces in the low or zero light conditions you find in casinos. We believe we have achieved this successfully. Playerbook works by locating the 500-600 unique facial identifiers of individuals as they pass the IR sensor. Using a unique illumination and polarisation filter system, Playerbook is able to consistently compare the detected facial identifiers with subjects already stored within the watchlist regardless of shadows, glare or reflection. The watchlist search is completed instantly. When there's a match between a subject entering the venue and the watchlist, Playerbook alerts staff immediately via the GUI, SMS or email. Playerbook has been successfully proven using ground-truth validation testing within one of the largest casinos in the UK. The invaluable input from the management and staff was critical to the development and refining process to achieve a reliable solution within such a difficult operating environment." "Playerbook operates in real time, providing reliable and consistent identification. The critical challenge was to develop a system, which reliably detects faces in the low or zero light conditions you find in casinos. We believe we have achieved this successfully..."Playerbook @ a glance: Light immune - uses a unique lighting solution designed to work in dark environment Fast - captures facial identifiers and compares these against a 'watchlist' in real timeAccurate - Playerbook is powered by Omniperception's facial recognition engineConvenient - Playerbook's non-intrusive IR sensor identifies subjects to a range of 5 metresEasy to use - simple workflow using browser based app to add individuals to watchlist Playerbook will be demonstrated at the Intelligent Integration Zone on Stand E140 in Hall 4.If you would like to arrange an appointment for a demonstration in advance of the show, please contact Gary James on e-mail or on tel: 01292 673 770.Playerbook captures facial identifiers and compares these against a 'watchlist' in real time.

Visimetrics to launch Forensic Investigation Network Database at IFSEC 2011
Visimetrics to launch Forensic Investigation Network Database at IFSEC 2011

 The metadata extracted from the video as it is being recorded is used by FiND for creation of databaseLeading CCTV storage systems manufacturer, Visimetrics (UK) Ltd, will be launching the result of a £1M research and development project at IFSEC this year. FiND will significantly reduce the search time of large periods of CCTV recordings for key points of evidence. The R&D project team includes the DTI's Technology Strategy Board, Loughborough University, PERA and Visimetrics.Craig Howie, Commercial Director of Visimetrics, says, "Following the London bombings in July 2005, the Metropolitan Police Service reviewed over 100,000 hours of CCTV footage as part of their incident investigation. This process consumed a huge amount of operational man hours and significantly increased the amount of time required to progress the investigation. The issues faced by the police in this instance inspired a technical solution to significantly reduce the time, man power resources, (and costs) needed to review large amounts of CCTV recordings while searching for key points of evidence." "FiND - Forensic investigation Network Database - has been developed with the capability of linking to any CCTV recording system to create and index key objects of interest at the time of video capture and storage. The technology works by allowing operators to search via a powerful 'FiND' processing engine that immediately identifies relevant footage. By inputting key parameters, the system will search the database of classified objects and display relevant images using thumbnail identification, ready for review. The speed of response is derived from searching the object data index, rather than the traditional video based 'region of interest' search, using selected areas of a specific camera." "FiND will reduce the search period of days, weeks - or months - worth of digitally recorded video down to a matter of seconds..." FiND emerged from initial research undertaken by Loughborough University evaluating the most technically challenging aspects of using automated video analysis to search large volumes of existing CCTV recordings for key or 'known' objects of interest. Performing complex video analysis on recordings from public space cameras in particular is challenging and the development team had to overcome many limitations affecting image quality. These included camera position, height, skew and shake as well as common issues such as lighting, colour consistency and video interlacing. Resolving these issues is essential in order to perform accurate evaluation to reach a stage where you can analyse the video. Two areas in particular quickly became evident as barriers to progress: colour consistency and lighting/shadowing. The team developed algorithms to overcome these barriers and this dramatically improved the video consistency and the accuracy of results.The stored metadata is negligible in size when compared to standard resolution and frame rate videoGenerating colour and lighting consistency formed the foundation for the research and development of a comprehensive set of algorithms specifically aimed at resolving vehicle classification, people classification, license plate identification using CCTV cameras, text/logo detection, baggage detection, complex background processing and PTZ compensation. A number these algorithms are completely unique.FiND functions by the creation of a database of key objects of information extracted from the video as it is being recorded. This information is normally referred to as metadata and provides the source of results for all future searches. The stored metadata is negligible in size when compared to standard resolution and frame rate video. Thus, storing all key objects of interest from an entire system in this way becomes irrelevant in overall storage terms. The metadata is created in real time by processing the recorded video using the unique algorithms. This process captures all relevant objects within each video scene to give operators a wide range of search criteria for any future investigation.As an example of the scope of search the criteria can be set to 'person wearing red shirt'. Further refinement can be added to achieve 'person wearing red shirt, carrying a back pack at a specific time of day'. Searching in this way then occurs across the entire source of metadata from all cameras. This produces the most comprehensive set of results from entire recording systems using a single step process.In vehicle classification derived attributes take the form of number plates, logos, signage, etc.FiND classifies objects as part of its identification process. Object classification is based upon a hierarchical approach beginning with the determination of either vehicle or person(s). Once a person(s) or vehicle has been classified, further feature determination is performed, right down to very basic attributes such as shape, colour, location relative to the frame, time, characters etc. Basic features are then used to FiND derived attributes such as the presence of a suitcase, backpack etc. when classified as human objects. In vehicle classification; derived attributes take the form of number plates, logos, signage, etc. The derived attributes are stored alongside the basic attributes for use in all future searching.According to Craig Howie, "FiND will reduce the search period of days, weeks - or months - worth of digitally recorded video down to a matter of seconds. The range of search criteria, evidential algorithms and pre-indexed video gives users the means to view the matching images as they work. The speed and accuracy of results makes the running and re-running of searches practical as more off-line information relating to an incident becomes available. There is no need to select individual cameras, 'regions of interest 'or wait for short sections of video to be indexed on-demand before viewing. FiND searches the pre-indexed video across the entire recording system to quickly identify images matching the operators search criteria."FiND is available as an extension to existing recording systems. FiND has also been developed for true portability of the algorithms and metadata creation for use within embedded products such as IP cameras, video encoders or DVR/NVRs. FiND is also available with a software interface providing the means to integrate the search tool with legacy or third party applications and systems.

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