CCTV software - Expert commentary

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.

The role of building systems to ensure safety as employees return to work
The role of building systems to ensure safety as employees return to work

Returning to work after the global pandemic will not be business as usual, and security systems are an important asset when it comes to helping to keep occupants and buildings safe. For example, video analytics can provide insight into how spaces have previously been used and can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other or congregate. These foot-traffic patterns can inform settings for a variety of devices – like ventilation and temperature controls – and even help owners create social distancing plans and monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance. “While the ‘new normal’ is still being defined, we believe there will be a greater focus on creating healthier environments while also complying with new regulations,” says Marcus Logan, Global Offering Leader, Honeywell Commercial Security. “Temperature, humidity, energy efficiency, security, safety, comfort, productivity, and demonstrating compliance with regulations are all a part of a healthy building.” For example, social distancing is a new concept for the workplace. How do you make that happen in an open work setting, in breakrooms, elevator lobbies and meeting spaces? Optimised systems create healthier environments Anxious employees will need reassurance about returning to the workplace Building owners will need to look at how they can optimise their systems – or deploy new ones – to create a healthier environment. Building technologies, like those provided by Honeywell's Healthy Buildings solutions, provide building owners with more control over critical factors to encourage sustained compliance with changing building standards, safety guidelines, government-issued regulations, and a company's risk management policies. These solutions also provide transparency for occupants into a building's status, says Logan. Hygiene will be a critical issue: People will want to know that the spaces are ready for their return. Increased cleaning procedures and schedules will evolve, and a way will be needed to demonstrate the procedures are effective and that they have been strictly adhered to. Identifying ways to measure effectiveness of sanitisation and track compliance to the procedures will be a key challenge to solve. This is a space that will evolve significantly in the coming months and years, says Logan. Access control and video analytics Contact tracing is a new requirement in some businesses, and security technology – like access control and video analytics with advanced reporting – can help. Access control technology integrated with video analytics can be used to trace occupant movements within a facility. These technologies capture data that can be used with advanced reporting to provide a digital footprint of where a person has been within a facility and if they may have been exposed to someone identified as being infected with a contagious virus. Building owners can then proactively notify exposed individuals evolve to self-quarantine and minimise further spread of an infection. Video analytics can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other Anxious employees will need reassurance about returning to the workplace. They will not only seek confidence that the building is optimised for a healthier environment but also that processes are in place to quickly identify and respond to potential issues. Transparency and visibility into how the building works and the health of the environment will help to reassure occupants returning to the workplace. “One way to do this is to share building analytics with occupants – to help them understand factors about the indoor air quality or occupancy density,” says Logan. Controlled health, safety and security Honeywell’s solutions provide building owners with more control over critical health, safety and security factors to encourage sustained compliance with changing building standards, safety guidelines, government-issued regulations and a company’s risk management policies, Logan adds. Visibility into how the building works and the health of the environment will help to reassure occupants returning to the workplace Every day there is new information coming from the medical and scientific community about COVID-19, and the building industry is just starting to learn what it all means. Logan warns that there is no single solution that will keep every environment healthy and safe. A good strategy features deploying a combination of solutions, optimising systems and being vigilant to make sure that companies are sustaining compliance to new and changing regulations, says Logan. “Today more than ever we must be mindful of the changing culture of how buildings are managed by making apparent the need to be mindful of health and well-being in all aspects of our lives,” says Logan. Honeywell has developed outcome-based solutions that allow building owners to transparently address building quality factors while supporting their business continuity needs in the uncertain environment. “We’re giving them the data they need to confidently reassure their employees to accelerate their business operations,” he adds.

Latest CBC (Europe) Ltd news

CBC (Europe) GmbH introduces new range of megapixel varifocal lenses
CBC (Europe) GmbH introduces new range of megapixel varifocal lenses

Leading surveillance solutions provider CBC (Europe) GmbH has introduced an exciting new range of high quality megapixel varifocal lenses. These latest Computar lenses enable optical imaging performance from increasingly popular megapixel cameras, maximising their performance in a variety of operational circumstances. The lenses include IR corrected optics, maintaining sharp focus in both day and night modes, and even in otherwise tricky twilight conditions. As well as providing high contrast and sharp images, they ensure precise focus adjustment – an important advantage because setting the focus on megapixel IP cameras can be challenging, especially when facing the limited adjustment ranges and transmission delays that sometimes occur through a network. CBC’s new Computar megapixel varifocal lenses also cover a useful range of focal lengths from super-wide through to telephoto. The AG3Z3112 series, for example, allows users to capture a 105.4° overview in a 16:9 format. Telephoto models in the AG4Z1214 series, meanwhile, are ideal for various outdoor and high ceiling applications. Both manual iris, DC auto iris and P-iris models are available. The P-iris lens, combined with specialised camera software, delivers superior picture quality, enhancing contrast, resolution and depth of field. Other notable features shared by CBC’s new megapixel varifocal lenses include a compact design, built-in slip mount mechanism, and a locking mechanism for zoom and focus rings. “CBC’s new series of Computar megapixel variofocal lenses are the ideal complement for megapixel cameras, enabling users to extract the highest quality images for prevention and detection purposes, and thereby adding considerable value to this camera investment,” says Ken Ota, MD of CBC (Europe) GmbH’s UK operation.

CBC launches a new range of full HD Ganz IP NVR recorders
CBC launches a new range of full HD Ganz IP NVR recorders

Leading surveillance solutions provider CBC (Europe) GmbH has launched its new range of full HD Ganz IP Network Video Recorders (NVRs). Offering four or eight channels, the NVRs provide 1080p high definition quality images along with a free app and CMS software allowing images to be displayed remotely, quickly and easily in quad or full-screen on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. Supplied in a space saving compact profile, the new Ganz IP NVR recorders work seamlessly with CBC’s PixelPro range of indoor and outdoor IP cameras to provide an optimised image/storage solution. PixelPro cameras connect simply and directly to the NVRs using a single network cable per camera. To improve the ease of installation, the NVR is capable of supplying power to each camera over PoE. CBC’s NR4HL and NR8HL Triplex NVRs (available in 2Tb and 4Tb storage versions) use H.264 compression.  Each camera can be viewed in Live mode and recorded at 25 images per second, offering numerous surveillance recording and monitoring applications both internally and externally.  Multi-site device management is also achievable using the Ganz DMS Lite software supplied free with each NVR. Up to two HDDs can be installed on each NVR. Storage expansion is achieved via e-SATA. “CBC’s cost-effective new NVRs address the increasing demand for network capable image storage and flexible means of monitoring and reviewing that make customers’ access to surveillance systems much easier and time-efficient. They’re also space-efficient and offer solutions for a variety of security-related monitoring and recording applications,” says Ken Ota, MD of CBC (Europe) GmbH’s UK operation.

CBC cameras assists Carynx Wild in protecting and observing wild life
CBC cameras assists Carynx Wild in protecting and observing wild life

CBC supplies C-AllView cameras to monitor activities at a nature reserve in Hampshire Leading surveillance solutions provider CBC (Europe) has assisted natural history/wildlife production company Carynx Wild at two outdoor filming sites, helping to observe and protect potentially vulnerable birds. CBC recently supplied its versatile and optically powerful C-AllView cameras to monitor activities at an RSPB Reserve in north Wales and a nature reserve in Hampshire. Independent specialist Carnyx Wild works with broadcasters including the BBC’s acclaimed Natural History Unit, maker of programmes including Planet Earth and Springwatch/Autumnwatch, as well as clients such as the Forestry Commission and nature reserves around the country – for example, putting real-time and recorded wildlife footage onto websites and viewing screens at visitor centres. Carnyx’s Director and co-founder, Peter Dobson, explains that having become aware of CBC’s system capabilities he discussed the potential for C-AllView’s powerful 36x optical zoom to film animals at the two sites with Regional Sales Manager Mike Barrett. The cameras were required, firstly, to observe birds including guillemots, puffins and razorbills 100m vertically down the cliff face at South Stack Cliffs RSPB Reserve in Holyhead, north Wales. Optically powerful C-AllView cameras to monitor activities at an RSPB Reserve in north Wales and a nature reserve in Hampshire Here, a unit was installed by experienced climbers and mounted on a purpose-built marine-grade stainless mount with transmission cabling to a nearby café and visitor centre. Video images from the camera are also shown live on the internet. “The Reserve and its sea cliffs are a sensitive nesting area for visiting sea birds, but licensed access to these sea cliffs is only permitted between September and February. So after being installed the camera cannot be revisited for seven months,” Peter explains. “It was therefore extremely important that we have a reliable and robust unit for this challenging task, and the C-Allview camera comes into its own for requirements including close-up shots of animals. Dome cameras have horizontal limitations in their field of view and their lenses are difficult to keep clean in these situations, whereas the C-AllView can provide a 360° field of view, has a built-in wiper unit, and is less obtrusive than a PTZ camera. The C-AllView is therefore ideal for this type of filming work and we use the cameras in conjunction with infrared lighting when light levels are low.” Meanwhile, a C-AllView camera is also being used at Hampshire County Council’s 370-acre Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, overlooking the Solent, where it’s being used to monitor rare Avocet wader birds in a nesting area on-site. Live video images are shown in the main visitor centre. Commenting on the service provided by CBC, Peter Dobson adds that the company’s customer service and technical dept have proved “really good at resolving any issues we’ve had in the sometimes very tight schedules involved, for example by sending out equipment overnight so that we don’t lose any precious filming time. Mike Barrett has also been proactive, keeping us in touch with equipment developments so that we don’t fall behind on the available technology.”

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