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 VIVOTEK news

VIVOTEK announces election of new Board of Directors at its 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting
VIVOTEK announces election of new Board of Directors at its 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting

VIVOTEK, a globally renowned IP surveillance solution provider, held its 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting and elected new Board of Directors. The nine new Directors elected to VIVOTEK’s Board of Directors are Bill Lo, Simon Chang, Judy Wang, Zoe Cherng, Owen Chen, Eddy Lan, Ji-Ren Lee, Sin-Hui Yen, and Chung-Yang (Ric) Huang. VIVOTEK Board of Directors Three of those elected, Ji-Ren Lee, Sin-Hui Yen, and Chung-Yang (Ric) Huang are independent directors. VIVOTEK also held the first meeting of the Board of Directors. The board elected Mr. Bill Lo, the General Manager of Delta Building Automation Business Group as VIVOTEK’s new Chairman. This new team will carry out leadership of VIVOTEK while enhancing corporate governance The VIVOTEK operation team includes: Chairman Mr. Bill Lo; President Mr. Alex Liao; Executive Vice President of Brand Business Group, Mr. William Ku; and Executive Vice President of ODM Business Group, Mr. Gordon Chen. This new team will carry out leadership of VIVOTEK while enhancing corporate governance and achieving long-term sustainability for the Company. Development of IP surveillance systems The former Chairman Mr. Owen Chen founded VIVOTEK Inc. in 2000, building on his profound experiences in Telecommunication research and development. Under Mr. Chen’s leadership, VIVOTEK moved from technology licensing to the development of IP surveillance systems and focused on 3 core technologies: video, voice, and communication. He insisted that research, development, design and manufacture all take place in Taiwan and developed practices of Own Brand Manufacture (OBM) and Own Design Manufacture (ODM) from the outset. Expanding global footprint Under his leadership of over the past two decades, VIVOTEK held its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, expanded its global footprint into over 116 countries and established branch offices in 6 countries. With deep roots in Taiwan, VIVOTEK has grown into a global company of 1000 employees. The Company has ranked as Taiwan’s top IP surveillance company and is the only Taiwanese company among the top 20 in the global security market. Global IP surveillance market Facing the fierce competition of globalisation, the company decided to partner with Delta Electronics in 2017" With regards to VIVOTEK’s long history in the field, Mr. Owen Chen said, “Over these two decades, we have strived to win this marathon. Now, this marathon has become a relay race. To overcome existing challenges, passing on the torch to reshape VIVOTEK is imperative.” Owen adds, “Facing the fierce competition of globalisation, the company decided to partner with Delta Electronics in 2017. Combining our strengths, VIVOTEK is able to advance development in technology, channel penetration and operation efficiency. I will remain on VIVOTEK’s board of directors. In this way we can retain and continue to build a sustainable business in VIVOTEK.” Partnership with Delta Electronics Bill Lo, the new Chairman of VIVOTEK, now serves as the General Manager of the Building Automation Business Group at Delta Electronics Inc. Before joining Delta Electronics in 2017, he worked at IBM for over twenty years with proven track records in international business development, customer service, and coordination capability. Mr. Bill Lo stated, “I’m very proud to serve in my new position as Chairman of VIVOTEK. Security and video surveillance are such critical aspects of building automation as they go beyond and extend diverse applications in smart cities, smart retail and smart transportation. I will work side by side with VIVOTEK’s team; together we can maximise and synergise our two companies.”

VIVOTEK partners with ENOVA Robotics’ P-Guard project to impose lockdown restrictions on citizens
VIVOTEK partners with ENOVA Robotics’ P-Guard project to impose lockdown restrictions on citizens

In times of uncertainty, as a pioneer IP surveillance solution provider, VIVOTEK is honoured to be part of the police robot ‘P-Guard’ project in Tunisia. Produced by ENOVA Robotics, the P-Guard robot has been deployed on the streets by the interior ministry of Tunisia to impose lockdown restrictions on citizens and to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The police robot, ‘P-Guard,’ was originally invented for security patrols of sensitive open areas. To deliver 360° zero blind-spot surround imagery, each P-Guard robot is equipped with 2 VIVOTEK MS9390-HV 180° panoramic network cameras. Multi-sensor camera Since its debut in 2018, this has been VIVOTEK’s most iconic multi-sensor camera. The MS9390-HV features dual 4-megapixel wide-angle lenses, seamless 180° panoramic views, and IR illuminators effective up to 20 metres, making it the ideal camera to provide superb image quality for both day and night surveillance. The P-Guard can be remotely operated to perform security missions to all corners of the city Also, the face-shaped housing design of MS9390-HV is perfectly matched to the robot appearance and makes the P-Guard robot look friendlier to citizens. With its field-beating cameras, Lidar technology and extensive network connectivity, the P-Guard can be remotely operated to perform security missions to all corners of the city, making sure that people are staying at home during the nationwide quarantine. Artificial intelligence robots “Enova Robotics’ core philosophy is knowing today what our customer needs tomorrow. We will help people to handle the most difficult, dangerous or repetitive tasks with artificial intelligence robots, ” stated Mr. Anis Sahbani, CEO of Enova Robotics. “Over recent years, VIVOTEK has aspired to become the Eye in IoT. We believe our products have unlimited potential to be integrated into a wide variety of system applications and look forward to more cooperation with cross-industry partners,” said Alex Liao, President of VIVOTEK. While the world is facing a challenge that no one has imagined before, VIVOTEK hopes to contribute to society by securing people’s safety in the smarter ways and is prepared to fight any future crisis together with all their global partners.

Open Security and Safety Alliance announce commercial video security cameras and Application Interface Specification
Open Security and Safety Alliance announce commercial video security cameras and Application Interface Specification

The Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA), an industry body comprised of influencers and innovative organisations from all facets of the security, safety and building automation space, announced a series of milestones achieved in the past 20 months since the Alliance opened its doors. Significant markers include the OSSA common Technology Stack and two resulting specifications, the introduction of the first OSSA-inspired digital marketplace, and the newly unveiled “Driven by OSSA” designation for the first commercially available video security devices based on the Alliance philosophy and purpose. These accomplishments roll up into the organisation’s overall vision of ‘one global approach to fuel the creation of new value within the security and safety space.’ Consistency across video security devices The OSSA-orchestrated ecosystem is designed to enhance trust, and to enable innovation and opportunity for industry stakeholders and customers. The initiative is anchored by OSSA’s first Technology Stack, which describes the fundamental thoughts on how to create harmony across video security devices to enhance trust and enable innovation. Under the umbrella of this guiding document, and further solidifying it, the Alliance is now launching the first two in a series of technical specifications, being: OSSA Application Interface Specification This technical specification (available to OSSA members only) defines a set of four interfaces which collectively enable third-party software applications to run on video security cameras following the Technology Stack. The input stream describes the video frames and messages the applications can subscribe to. The web API describes how applications can make use of the camera’s webserver to support, configuration and data upload to the application. The system APIs provide system information regarding OS version, capabilities and information about the video security camera. This is needed to understand the features and APIs that are available on the cameras to make use of device-specific functionality. The streaming application model allows applications to interact with each other. Apps can share their results, such as events and scene descriptions, with other apps on the device or (video management) software in the network. OSSA Compliant Device Definition Specification This technical specification sets the core system requirements for video security cameras following the OSSA Technology Stack to provide a basis of trust and for app interoperability across vendors. This spec is publicly available. The First “Driven by OSSA” Commercial Cameras Camera manufacturers have started to introduce to the market, devices designed to reduce fragmentation and orchestrate harmony within an open ecosystem for the surveillance industry. The first manufacturers to launch cameras based on OSSA’s Technology Stack include Topview/Qisda, Ability/AndroVideo, Bosch (through their INTEOX camera line), VIVOTEK and Hanwha Techwin. The first commercially available products based on the specifications set forth by the Alliance, OSSA will receive a signage mark for video security cameras. Companies that use this “Driven by OSSA” signage: Are full OSSA members; have signed the OSSA by-laws guiding amongst other things minimum requirements regarding data security and privacy protection. Follow the OSSA Technology Stack for video security devices that prescribes the use of an open operating system (OS). Security & Safety Things, an OSSA member company, developed the open OS and made it available to OSSA members. Ensure seamless connectivity within one centralised digital marketplace. Offer the ability to install and execute third-party apps on their cameras. One Centralised Digital Marketplace OSSA is driving the creation of one centralised marketplace to unite demand and supply in the market. Camera devices that are built in accordance with OSSA’s Technology Stack, so-called “Driven by OSSA” devices, can benefit from this marketplace which consists of (1) a development environment (2) an application store and (3) a device management portal. System integrators, using the application store, can deploy available apps across devices, in a brand independent manner, to meet specific customer requirements. App developers will find in the development environment comprehensive tools, documentation and libraries to develop new software applications. These new apps can then be offered for sale through the application store. “This is an exciting time for security and safety professionals as the main industry players pivot together in a new direction based on digital connections afforded by the IoT,” said Johan Jubbega, President, Open Security & Safety Alliance. “In these current times of global change and uncertainty, it’s of vital importance that we persist in our quest for new market opportunities and current market efficiencies, and we’re proud to be facilitating this movement that is shaping the future of the security and safety systems environment.”

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