Video servers (IP transmission) - Expert commentary

Securing mobile vehicles: The cloud and solving transportation industry challenges
Securing mobile vehicles: The cloud and solving transportation industry challenges

Securing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the transportation industry is multi-faceted for a multitude of reasons. Pressures build for transit industry players to modernise their security systems, while also mitigating the vulnerabilities, risks, and growth-restrictions associated with proprietary as well as integrated solutions. There are the usual physical security obstacles when it comes to increasingly integrated solutions and retrofitting updated technologies into legacy systems. Starting with edge devices like cameras and intelligent sensors acquiring video, analytics and beyond, these edge devices are now found in almost all public transportation like buses, trains, subways, airplanes, cruise lines, and so much more. You can even find them in the world’s last manually operated cable car systems in San Francisco. The next layer to consider is the infrastructure and networks that support these edge devices and connect them to centralized monitoring stations or a VMS. Without this layer, all efforts at the edge or stations are in vain as you lose the connection between the two. And the final layer to consider when building a comprehensive transit solution is the software, recording devices, or viewing stations themselves that capture and report the video. The challenge of mobility However, the transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility. As other industries become more connected and integrated, they don’t usually have to consider going in and out or bouncing between networks as edge devices physically move. Obviously in the nature of transportation, this is key. Have you ever had a bad experience with your cellular, broadband or Wi-Fi at your home or office? You are not alone. The transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility Can you trust these same environments to record your surveillance video to the Cloud without losing any frames, non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? To add to the complexity – how do you not only provide a reliable and secure solution when it’s mobile, travelling at varying speeds, and can be in/out of coverage using various wireless technologies? Waiting to upload video from a transport vehicle when it comes into port, the station, or any centralised location is a reactive approach that simply will not do any longer. Transit operations require a more proactive approach today and the ability to constantly know what is going on at any given time on their mobile vehicles, and escalate that information to headquarters, authorities, or law enforcement if needed; which can only occur with real-time monitoring. This is the ultimate question when it comes to collecting, analysing, and sharing data from mobile vehicles – how to get the video from public transportation vehicles alike to headquarters in real time! Managing video data In order to answer this question, let’s get back to basics. The management and nature of video data differs greatly from conventional (IT) data. Not only is video conducted of large frames, but there are specific and important relationships among the frames and the timing between them. This relationship can easily get lost in translation if not handled properly. This is why it’s critical to consider the proper way to transmit large frames while under unstable or variable networks. The Internet and its protocols were designed more than two decades ago and purposed for conventional data. Although the Internet itself has not changed, today’s network environments run a lot faster, expand to further ranges, and support a variety of different types of data. Because the internet is more reliable and affordable than in the past some might think it can handle anything. However, it is good for data, but not for video. This combination makes it the perfect time to convert video recording to the Cloud! Video transmission protocol One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet. ITS are in dire need for reliable transmission of real-time video recording. To address this need a radical, yet proven, video transmission protocol has recently been introduced to the market. It uses AI technology and to adapt to different environments in order to always deliver high quality, complete video frames. This protocol, when equipped with encryption and authentication, enables video to be transmitted reliably and securely over the Internet in a cloud environment. One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet Finally, transportation industry has a video recording Cloud solution that is designed for (massive) video that can handle networks that might be experiencing high error rate. Such a protocol will not only answer the current challenges of the transportation industry, but also make the previously risky Cloud environment safe for even the most reserved environments and entities. With revolutionary transmission protocols, the time is now to consider adopting private Cloud for your transportation operations.

Trends and challenges we will see in the AI-driven security space in 2021
Trends and challenges we will see in the AI-driven security space in 2021

For decades, the nature of global safety has been evolving. From physical security threats like large-scale terrorist attacks and lone actor stabbings to chemical threats such as the Salisbury poisonings and even microbiological threats such as COVID-19, new challenges are constantly arising and the threat landscape we operate in today is constantly changing. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks. With the economic downturn, there is the traditional rise in theft, violence and other crimes. Compound this with unmanned businesses and work-at-home staff, and there is a perfect storm for a rise in security threats. Artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), was already causing widespread disruption in many industries, including the security industry. AI has been a driving force to replace labour-based business models with integrated data and actionable intelligence that is context-aware. It has become apparent that AI will play a big part in the ongoing fight against both pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other threats that we may face in the future. With all of this in mind, 2021 is poised to be a big year for AI growth. While AI is going to continue to impact our lives in dozens of ways, from smart sensors to face mask compliance detection, the following reflects a few top trends and challenges that I have my eye on for 2021 as we close out this year. The rise of smart city investments One such example is the increasing development of smart cities and how AI can be leveraged to build safe communities. To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks Typical development of a city includes standard infrastructure - roads, schools, power, water, transportation. Now, internet, data and AI capabilities are part of the standard infrastructure requirements for all new developments. AI promises to deliver increased efficiencies with the infrastructure that will accommodate growing populations while reducing our impact on the environment, resources, and communities. Global cities now account for more than half of the world’s population, and the United Nations projects the number to balloon to 68% by mid-century. Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). With an increase in population has come an increase in global spending on smart city initiatives to drive down the impact of growing urban concentration. Global spending on smart city initiatives is expected to total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, while Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York as the big spenders - expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2020. Using AI-driven technology to create safer public and private spaces Today, security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments to protect the population in a more efficient, and accurate manner. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new AI technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. One such deployment is the use of video object recognition/computer vision software that can be integrated into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. These enhanced VMS systems can be deployed both inside and outside of buildings to identify risks and flag threats, such weapons, aggressive behaviours, theft, and safety compliance. This helps to minimise the impact of a breach by an early alert to onsite security in real-time to the location and nature of the potential threat, allowing them to intervene before a loss occurs. These same AI-enabled video solutions can similarly be used to provide advanced business operations in retail, logistics, and manufacturing organisations. Multi-sensor security solutions Also, targeted magnetic and radar sensor technologies, concealed in everyday objects like planter boxes or inside walls, can now scan individuals and bags entering a building for concealed threat objects. Using AI/machine learning, these two sensor solutions combined can identify metal content on the body and bag and match the item to a catalogue of threat items, such as guns, rifles, knives and bombs. Security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments Without this advanced multi-sensor solution, it becomes nearly impossible to discover a weapon on a person's body before it appears in an assailant’s hands. This multi-sensor solution allows for touchless, unobtrusive access to a building, but allows for immediate notification to onsite security when a concealed threat is detected. The hidden technology thus empowers security staff to intercept threats before they evolve into a wider scale attack, while also maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of the public, unless, of course, they are carrying a concealed weapon or pose a physical threat. With the advent of sophisticated surveillance and technological innovation, a level of caution must be exerted. Despite the ongoing global debate, there remains little regulation about the use of AI technologies in today’s physical security space. One thing is certain; it must be deployed in the right place, at the right time, with the right privacy and civil liberty protection objectives. People don’t want to be protected by omnipresent, obstructive and overbearing security systems that infringe on their privacy and civil liberties. They want a proper balance between security and their current way of life, one that must be fused together. Technology and tracing COVID-19 Machine learning-based technologies are playing a substantial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the key purpose of surveillance systems has been to detect and deter threats, including the detection of visible and hidden weapons and abnormal behaviour. While this, of course, remains a primary focus, today we are seeing how surveillance systems defend against new invisible threats, as well as rapidly automate the process of contact-tracing to capture and contain a virus before it spreads. Again, the ability to track and trace through parsing algorithms that can manage through enormous amounts of data provides a highly scalable and rapid response mechanism to control the spread of threats. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact Although the threat may not be visible, it is just as destructive. By incorporating AI into existing technologies, government, healthcare and security professionals can monitor public spaces and environments through the combined use of digital and thermal video surveillance cameras and video management systems); just one of the solutions being explored. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By Using AI-powered video analytic software, businesses can monitor face masks, social distancing and large gathering compliance and also detect elevated body temperature. Critically, technology must be capable of both identifying and tracking the virus but also be unobtrusive. An unobtrusive system that is adaptable enough to be deployed across a range of environments where the public gathers in enclosed spaces is necessary to be effective. Security in 2021 Technology has proven itself to be a valuable ally in times of crisis. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies will help optimise security solutions in areas that are brimming with potential. As we look ahead to the future of security in a world that is impacted by such a wide range of threats, from physical to chemical to microbiological, it’s clear that new technologies, specifically AI can dramatically improve the effectiveness of security systems and help us to better defend against a wide spectrum of threats. Technology has a huge role to play in making our communities safe in 2021 and beyond, but for security systems to be effective, they must not be oppressive or obstructive. This will ensure they have the full support of the public - the key to success.

7 steps to make VMS system design and installation easier
7 steps to make VMS system design and installation easier

For those of you old enough to remember, video matrix switchers were once the heyday of surveillance camera control. These cumbersome antiques were at the heart of every major video surveillance system (CCTV at the time) in premier gaming properties, government installations and corporate industrial complexes. They required more physical labour to construct and configure than perhaps the pyramids – maybe not – but you get the picture. And then digital video made its way in to the market and everything changed, transforming the physical demands for camera control and management from a hardware-centric to a software driven process. We’ve come a long way in a few short years, and the borders that once defined IT and security continue to diminish, if not disappear completely There’s no doubt that this migration also presented significant challenges as many security professionals often struggled with all things IT and software programming being one of the industry’s soft spots. Fortunately, we’ve come a long way in a few short years, and the borders that once defined IT and security continue to diminish, if not disappear completely. However, the complexities of today’s VMS functionality can be intimidating for anyone tasked with installing one of these systems given all of the user-defined options available from the simplest camera sequencing and bandwidth allocations to mobile management and enterprise level integration. This is where truly advanced VMS solutions need to shine on both the operations and the design/build sides of the equation. Smart VMS design There are more solutions products labelled “VMS solutions” out there than ever before. The issue is the fact that many of these “solutions” really don’t fall into the category of a true VMS by today’s standards but offer basic camera and NVR control. No doubt that there is a place for such software programs in the market. However, VMS solutions from the likes of OnSSI and other industry-leading companies offer distinct and superior management and control capabilities for demanding security and business intelligence applications. Perhaps of equal importance, these top-tier VMS solutions incorporate provisions for installers, so they have a clear and easier implementation path. OnSSI offers VMS solutions with smart camera drivers Here are seven attributes that can assist with the design and implementation of an advanced VMS solution: 1) Open architecture platform We need the ability to easily integrate with other systems and scale for future developments and physical system growth The ability to easily integrate with other systems and scale for future developments and physical system growth is largely dependent on a systems platform architecture. Here’s where VMS solutions with open architecture provide a distinct advantage. Open-architecture solutions expand functionality by facilitating greater integration between multiple systems and components. This not only makes VMS solutions with open architecture easier to implement, it makes them extremely cost-efficient by eliminating the need for proprietary solutions. Open architecture systems also provide adherence to industry standards such as ONVIF and PSIA, as well as compression formats such as H.265 and MJPEG, and help ensure system integration and support of an extensive range of manufacturers’ cameras and off-the-shelf hardware. Be wary of VMS solutions with limited camera manufacturer support. 2) Simple licensing processes and pricing Camera licenses and pricing is always a touchy subject, as any misunderstanding of a specific VMS solutions’ licensing terms can prove to be costly after the fact. And it often seems that some VMS suppliers have gone to great lengths to complicate the process as to obscure actual Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Perhaps the most direct, simple and straightforward camera licensing and pricing method is to have one license per IP address used by each camera/encoder on multi-channel devices. These should be perpetual licenses with no required annual fees or subscriptions. Additionally, the licensing agreement should be all inclusive without added fees for multiple clients, failover servers, active directory support, I/O devices, redundant management servers, technical support or security patches and updates. 3) Mixing and matching camera license types The ability to mix and match different camera license types within the same system helps facilitate a seamless and simple migration of new and pre-existing systems with minimal downtime or interruption in operation. The ability to mix and match camera licenses not only saves valuable design and installation time, it can provide considerable savings when integrating large, multi-tenant systems. Mix and match capabilities also allow system designers to apply specific feature sets to specific groups of cameras to best leverage functionality and budgets, as well as providing the flexibility to implement an on-site, virtual, or cloud-based VMS solution, without any additional cost. 4) Auto camera detection and configuration Another VMS set-up feature that eases the install process is the ability to forego device registrations or MAC address requirements Another VMS set-up feature that eases the install process is the ability to forego device registrations or MAC address requirements. This functionality allows installers to instantly locate cameras on the network and configure them centrally so they can easily replace older cameras while seamlessly retaining video recorded from them. The auto detection capability should also include the ability to detect and import CSV files, which can then be stored and used to configure camera templates for future camera installation profiles. 5) Smart camera driver technology VMS solutions with smart camera drivers offer valuable assistance during system implementation, and any time new cameras are added to the network or replace older models. Manufacturer-specific smart camera drivers expand the range of model-specific static drivers. Instead of storing the device’s information (codecs, resolutions, frame rates, etc.) statically, a VMS with smart camera drivers queries devices for their capabilities using the manufacturers’ proprietary protocol. All that is required for configuration is that the camera is available on the network. Smart camera drivers eliminate the need to wait for model-specific drivers or installation of driver packs, allowing for newly released cameras to be used immediately. Network security is an area where leading VMS suppliers like OnSSI have ramped up development efforts to stay ahead of hackers  6) Importance of network security Network Security is perhaps the greatest challenge faced by industry professionals today Network security is perhaps the greatest challenge faced by industry professionals today. This is an area where leading VMS suppliers like OnSSI have ramped up development efforts to stay ahead of hackers. New security developments to look for include TLS 1.2 encryption protocols for camera-to-server communications (SSL 3.0 supported for older cameras), as well as server-to-server communications. Additional safeguards to consider include: randomised video databases with no camera identification information to secure recorded data; support for Active Directory authentication; AES encryption between servers and clients; and AES encrypted exporting. 7) Automatic updates Regardless of the supplier you select for your VMS solution, they should be consistently providing new updates and security patches on a frequent if not regular basis. Keeping up with these updates can be a burden and are often overlooked leading to system failures and breeches. Advanced VMS solutions now feature automatic update service checks on a system-wide basis, eliminating the need to manually update individual servers and devices. This ensures that your VMS system always has the latest drivers, fixes and updates which assures overall security while reducing TCO. So next time you’re getting a demo of the latest and greatest VMS solution, remember to ask what it offers in terms of design and implementation tools. Half the battle with new technologies is getting them installed and working properly. Without the right tools to accomplish these critical first steps, all the functionality in the world will do you little good.

Latest Hanwha Techwin Europe news

Hanwha’s Wisenet camera captures live images of volcano eruption
Hanwha’s Wisenet camera captures live images of volcano eruption

A Wisenet video surveillance camera, which might normally be expected to see installed at airports, car parks, stadia, industrial estates, or within city centres, has been deployed to monitor activity at a volcano erupting near Reykjavik, Iceland. Wisenet PTZ camera The Wisenet XNP-6040H PTZ camera, manufactured by Hanwha Techwin, is being used by media company MBL, to stream live video to the world of the eruption and despite the exposed conditions, it is proving to be more than up to the job by continuously capturing 2-megapixel colour images of the volcanic activity. The camera was installed in February 2021 following on from the start of strong seismic activity within the Reykjanes Peninsula. This included several 5+ magnitude earthquakes and thousands of smaller ones, with an eruption occurring on 19 March 2021. The last eruption was approximately 800 years ago. Reliable services The XNP-6040H, which was supplied to MBL by Hafnes EHF, Hanwha Techwin Europe’s authorised distributor in Iceland, was installed within a weather-proof housing and is powered by solar panels.   “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to provide MBL with a robust and reliable camera to help them share images of this dramatic event which has attracted viewers from around the world”, said Hafnes EHF's manager, Hafliði Jónsson. “The intention is for the camera to remain in place long term so that in addition to entertaining the general public, it can also be a valuable resource for geology students and volcanologists”.

Hanwha Techwin announces its Wisenet Network Video Recorders are now supported by Seagate high-density hard disk drives
Hanwha Techwin announces its Wisenet Network Video Recorders are now supported by Seagate high-density hard disk drives

Hanwha Techwin has announced consultants, system designers and system integrators are now able to specify Wisenet Q series and Wisenet WAVE PoE NVRs supplied with Seagate hard disk drives (HDDs). High-density HDDs “Seagate’s space-efficient, high-density HDDs (hard disk drives) are able to perfectly meet the data storage demands of video surveillance systems and equally important, they have a reputation for being ultra-reliable,” said Uri Guterman, Head of Product & Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe. Uri Guterman adds, “Our decision to collaborate with Seagate Technology will therefore enhance the ability of these Wisenet NVRs (Network Video Recorders) to robustly fulfill the requirements of virtually any video surveillance applications, other than those, which require a server-based storage solution.”  Wisenet Q and WAVE PoE NVRs Wisenet WAVE PoE NVRs provide a cost-effective way of utilising the Wisenet WAVE VMS Wisenet WAVE PoE NVRs provide a cost-effective, seamlessly integrated and optimised way of utilising the latest version of the feature-rich Wisenet WAVE video management software (VMS), without having to install a server. Wisenet Q PoE NVRs are designed to be suitable for virtually any small to medium size video surveillance applications, which require a cost-effective, robust and reliable video recording and storage solution. Retail and corporate applications As such, they are ideal for budget limited office, retail and warehouse type applications that do not need a high number of cameras, but where users wish to have the ability to record high-definition images.

Hanwha Techwin expands Wisenet X PTZ PLUS range of cameras equipped with AI object tracking
Hanwha Techwin expands Wisenet X PTZ PLUS range of cameras equipped with AI object tracking

The six new cameras added to the Wisenet X PTZ PLUS range have been developed by Hanwha Techwin to enable users to capture evidence grade images of activity occurring in large open area applications. The ability of the new 2MP, 6MP and 4K Wisenet X PTZ PLUS cameras to operate effectively in environments such as airports, car parks, industrial estates, stadia and city centres, is enhanced by a long list of technically advanced features, which include AI-based object tracking, precise PTZ control and improved pre-set accuracy. The cameras, which have a lightweight, compact form factor, are also able to capture high-quality images of objects up to a distance of 200 metres regardless of the lighting conditions, with the help of adaptive IR technology which adjusts the angle of the camera’s IR LEDs to match the level of zoom. AI auto-tracking Operators can programme a camera to lock onto and auto-track a specific object with the help of deep learning video analytics An AI auto-tracking feature allows control room operators to efficiently monitor the movement of objects while remaining hands-free to control other cameras. With a right-click of a mouse, operators can programme a camera to lock onto and auto-track a specific object. It does so with the help of deep learning video analytics which detects and classifies people and vehicles. The video analytics is supported by AI algorithms unique to Hanwha Techwin. Alternatively, operators can take advantage of highly accurate manual control PTZ functionality to zoom in to see close up detail of target objects and track their movement. Other key features and functions Pre-set Accuracy: During their life cycle, most PTZ cameras are likely to be expected to ‘pan and tilt’ many thousands of times and it is not unknown for positioning errors to occur. Wisenet PTZ PLUS cameras, which have a pre-set accuracy of ±0.1˚, are able to detect if they are not precisely aimed at the specified field of view and will move within one second to the correct position. Focus Save: Applied to up to 32 pre-defined areas, focus save functionality ensures that regardless of the lighting conditions, a camera is able to rapidly come into focus when it is moved to a new position. Tilt Range: The cameras’ extended tilt range of up to 110⁰ allows any objects positioned above the cameras to be seen. Wisenet7 chipset At the heart of all Wisenet X PTZ PLUS cameras is Wisenet7, Hanwha Techwin’s most powerful chipset to date, which with extreme’ Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) functionality that utilises Local Contrast Enhancement and Scene Analysis technologies, is able to facilitate the capture of ultra-clear images from scenes containing a challenging mix of bright and dark areas. Excellent low light performance is also assured thanks to the utilisation of 3D noise reduction technology which, while minimising motion blur, uses several filters to isolate and remove pixels that are causing noise, while a new noise reduction algorithm improves the edge and colour of objects. Cyber secure Wisenet7 chipset incorporates a list of technologies that significantly enhance the cyber security credentials Complying with UL CAP and Secure by Default standards, the Wisenet7 chipset also incorporates an impressive list of ground-breaking technologies that significantly enhance the cyber security credentials of the Wisenet PTZ PLUS cameras. They also benefit from a Hanwha Techwin proprietary device certificate issuing system which embeds unique certificates into Wisenet products during both the development phase and manufacturing process. This further enhances the camera’s ability to prevent hackers from tampering with its firmware. Installer friendly Compact and approximately 65% lighter than most PTZ domes, the camera-mount installed Wisenet X PTZ PLUS cameras can be quickly and easily deployed, requiring engineers during a first fix to just ‘match 3 points and twist’. This conveniently enables them to tighten screws without having to hold onto the camera. Unlike conventional PTZ cameras which require up to 5 separate cables, the Wisenet X PTZ PLUS cameras only need a single RJ45 cable to operate and this is installed with a flexible bush to ensure the camera is waterproof. The new Wisenet PTZ PLUS cameras are as follows: Wisenet XNP-9250: 4K 25x PTZ camera Wisenet XNP-9250R: 4K 25x IR PTZ camera Wisenet XNP-8250: 6MP 25x PTZ camera Wisenet XNP-8250R: 6MP 25x IR PTZ camera Wisenet XNP-6400: 2MP 40x PTZ camera Wisenet XNP-6400R: 2MP 40x IR PTZ camera Authority comments “Our comprehensive Wisenet camera line-up offers a variety of options for monitoring wide open areas. However, I would encourage consultants, system designers and system integrators to take a close look at our PTZ PLUS range when there is a need to closely monitor and automatically track moving people or vehicles,” said Uri Guterman, Head of Product & Marketing for Hanwha Techwin Europe. “Our design, development and manufacturing teams have combined their expertise to pack these cameras with a long list of practical features and innovative technology which collectively will surely meet, if not exceed, users’ expectations.”

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