Taking traffic technology to the next level: Introducing the Siqura® TrafficServer™
Taking traffic technology to the next level: Introducing the Siqura® TrafficServer™

At ASIS 2009, Optelecom-NKF's Siqura® TrafficServer™ was selected as a winner in the ASIS Accolades - Security's Best competition. As the industry's first ever codec module incorporating AID algorithms and storage, the TrafficServer was recognised at ASIS for taking existing technology and using it for an innovative security application. Due to its versatile nature, the TrafficServer supports efforts to improve and maintain safety and security in an array of applications. Its multipurpose uses were certainly acknowledged by the vast number of visitors calling on the Siqura booth at ASIS 2009, where Siqura personnel demonstrated the TrafficServer's strengths and features in complete Siqura solutions, engaging a large crowd and achieving several of valuable leads. The TrafficServer is the product of the rewarding partnership between Optelecom-NKF and AID expert, Traficon. It is capable of readily discovering and exposing incidents, such as stopped vehicles, speed drops, fallen objects, and smoke. The TrafficServer can also carry out traffic monitoring tasks, for example, measuring lane speed and occupancy. Additionally, this intelligent video server supervises the overall health of the system, alerting operators in instances of image loss, camera movement, or communication errors. Since the TrafficServer can simultaneously encode and stream multiple formats, including H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and MJPEG, video data can be streamlined for specific purposes. "We're pleased to have our TrafficServer recognised by ASIS International as one of the top new transformational products of the year," said Dave Patterson, President and CEO of Optelecom-NKF, Inc.  "The award will increase awareness of this cutting-edge technology and it recognizes the achievements of our team and our partner, Traficon."

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The Siqura C-60 E-MC - an encoder you can count on
The Siqura C-60 E-MC - an encoder you can count on

Video streaming just got a lot easier. The Siqura C-60 E-MC video server is an encoder you can customise to meet the requirements of any CCTV application. With the ability to simultaneously stream H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and MJPEG, the C-60 E-MC is capable of offering the best quality video while streamlining network performance for both live viewing and recording. Moreover, the C-60 E-MC can stream duplex audio, serial data, and I/O contacts over IP to ensure that all the information you need is at your fingertips, be it CD-quality stereo audio, lip-sync audio, PTZ camera control, alarm contacts, or access control. Additionally, an internal video motion detection feature allows you to establish automated event-driven security responses and recordings. The C-60 E-MC also comes with an easy-to-use, web-based user interface, allowing users to configure these devices or view video streams from a PC or even via handheld devices, such as PDAs. Through Siqura's open streaming architecture (OSA) standard, it is possible to use the C-60 E-MC in an array of third-party applications. Optelecom-NKF's Product Line Manager of Codecs and Analytics, Peter de Konink, comments: "The C-60 E-MC excels in projects where future-proof technology needs to be combined with reliability, availability, and, above all, quality." The Siqura C-60 E-MC is part of the Siqura product line, an extensive collection of video surveillance equipment offering complete solutions and reputed for quality and reliability.

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Robust encoders put users on the right track for transitions to IP
Robust encoders put users on the right track for transitions to IP

Two new video encoders, the C620E and S620E, from TKH Security Solutions now offer dual H.264, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and/or MJPEG streaming in addition to ONVIF Profile S compatibility. Each encoder is optimised for a specific security application and their multistreaming capability streamlines IP migration paths in existing CCTV systems. Reuse the legacy infrastructure The C620E and S620E video encoders can integrate into any existing CCTV system to allow users to benefit from IP technology while making use of legacy systems. Each encoder is available with an optional pluggable SFP slot in addition to the standard RJ-45 connector interface. This makes it possible to stream Ethernet signals over Cat 5, coax, or fibre optic cabling when used in combination with the Siqura XSNet SFP for either multimode or single-mode connections or with the Siqura ECO Plug for Ethernet over Coax. Based on open standards Each encoder conforms fully to ONVIF Profile S, which details the ONVIF streaming requirements. This means that each Siqura encoder supports video streaming, PTZ control, audio streaming, NTP, and relay outputs according to the ONVIF standard. By ensuring its Siqura products conform to ONVIF Profile S, TKH Security Solutions offers customers the ability to select the products that best suit their specific project requirements. For a complete list of Profile S-conformant Siqura products, please visit: http://www.onvif.org/Default.aspx?TabID=157&CompanyID=15658&Type=1 For more information about ONVIF, please see the ONVIF white paper from TKH Security Solutions: http://www.siqura.com/Optelecom_c01/default.asp?comid=6&modid=287&itemid=0  Hardened for harsh environments The C620E is NEMA TS-2 certified. This ensures that it is capable of operating optimally in extreme temperatures and despite mechanical disturbances. The NEMA TS-2 certification is a prevalent standard in the United States and is issued by the National Technical Systems (NTS), which works to guarantee that safer and sturdier security solutions are available for the transportation industry.

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Cutting costs through intelligent observation
Cutting costs through intelligent observation

Every year, hundreds of millions of dollars are spent on video surveillance equipment. Most of these purchases are preventative and once a system is set up, most expect it to work. Yet, despite high-tech surveillance systems receiving regular maintenance inspections, every system is at risk of failing at just the wrong time. Efficiently ensuring successIn an effort to combat potential pitfalls, Siqura recently introduced two new VCA components into its multi-channel H.264 video servers and IP cameras: the Siqura Image Quality Monitor (IQM) and the Siqura Tampering Detector. They offer the CCTV and video surveillance industry a solution that monitors every system’s most failure-prone part, namely, the camera. The IQM measures elements of the camera image and alerts operators within seconds of malfunction. Whether changes in lighting conditions require refocusing or the iris control gets stuck, the IQM initiates an alarm to ensure that you know almost immediately if something is amiss with a particular camera’s picture.Since cleaning or mechanical vibrations can reposition cameras and a lens can become contaminated by spiders or dust or even unlawful behaviour, the Tampering Detector compares the actual camera scene with the intended one and alerts you of any unexpected changes. Therefore, despite the normal wear and tear of everyday operation, users can rest assured that their video surveillance system is recording what it needs to, when it needs to, even when using PTZ cameras. Maintenance on demand Since each of these VCA programs checks the status or well-being of the attached camera by monitoring the camera’s position and image quality, users can rest assured that their surveillance system is functioning optimally. These applications also enable operators to proactively prevent or address malfunction and damage through performing maintenance on demand rather than according to a set schedule. The advantages and applications of the camera health check programmes are described at length in the white paper,"Safeguarding your surveillance system."

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The crux of compression: Modernizing decoders to keep pace with encoding
The crux of compression: Modernizing decoders to keep pace with encoding

Decoding is one of the most important aspects of video streaming: It's the phase through which it becomes possible to view images. Yet decoding can be a tricky part of compression since there a lot of different kinds of encoders out there that can transmit video using an array of different compression standards. Moreover, each standard allows for a wide range of profiles with flexible implementation options. As a result, decoders must be able to recognise and appropriately make a quality image out of the video information they receive from a given encoder. The Siqura S-60 D-MC is a unique and cost-effective solution since it can automatically recognise and decompress both MPEG-4 and H.264 into excellent quality images for analogue viewing with very low latency. Through a user-friendly web interface, it is possible to configure an array of features, ranging from serial data streams, duplex audio, and I/O contacts over IP. With an optional SFP slot option, it's possible to use this decoder with fiber optic cable rather than the standard RJ-45 slot and twisted pair cable. These compact decoders are also standardised to commonly-known protocols, making their integration into third-party VMS systems, such as XProtect (Milestone), Omnicast (Genetec), and SkyPoint (Lenel), simple and headache-free. Furthermore, the S-60 D-MC units are part of the Siqura product line, an extensive collection of video surveillance equipment offering complete solutions and reputed for quality and reliability. The complete list of the Siqura S-60 D-MC specifications can be found at the optelecom-nkf website.

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Optelecom-NKF's Siqura® S-60, New Cost-Effective and Future-Proof H.264 Video Server
Optelecom-NKF's Siqura® S-60, New Cost-Effective and Future-Proof H.264 Video Server

Optelecom-NKF's Siqura S-60 E, is a triple-stream video server. Capable of streaming H.264, MPEG-4, and MJPEG simultaneously, the S-60 E's design makes it a cost-effective and future-proof encoder - perfect for installations intended for long-term use. The use of Open Streaming Architecture (OSA) ensures effortless third-party integration and guarantees compatibility with equipment from other vendors. The S-60 E, with a separate hardware chip dedicated to the H.264 video stream, provides video quality unparalleled by any other server available on the market today.Features of the Siqura S-60 E include:Open Streaming Architecture Simultaneous H.264, MPEG-4/MJPEG outputs Duplex stereo audio & serial data  Three encoder versionsThe Siqura S-60 encoder is available in two rack-mount versions as well as a stand-alone version. The rack-mount version has an optional pluggable SFP slot for connections via fiber optic cable (/SFP), using a range of multimode or single-mode XSNetTM SFP devices.Field upgradableThe Siqura S-60 E has a web interface and is easily upgradeable in the field, making it a future-proof encoder. Configuration, management, and live viewing functions are simplified by the access-controlled web interface. Full in-band control is available through Siqura's MX™ Configuration Tool Kit or the HTTP API. S-60 E multi-codec video servers are part of Siqura, a complete collection of video surveillance equipment and solutions. Siqura offers video codecs/servers, IP cameras, video management, network storage, and configuration software. For more information on Siqura® Surveillance Solutions visit this website

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Optelecom-NKF reveals
Optelecom-NKF reveals

Optelecom-NKF is well known for its reliable and high-quality fiber and Siqura surveillance systems. Alongside these renowned solutions at this year's IFSEC will be a new and innovative selection of security products. Customers and prospective purchasers alike can preview the TrafficServer, an intelligent traffic monitoring solution, expected to be released later this year. The new Siqura H.264 product line, which will be introduced shortly before IFSEC will also be on display, featuring the first field-hardened quad-stream encoder available on the market, the Siqura C-60 E-MC. Last year at IFSEC, Optelecom-NKF launched the Siqura camera line. This year, Siqura will showcase two new additions to the line: the Siqura FD27 and FD28. These mini IP fixed dome cameras offer either subtle safeguarding with an audio channel for listening in indoor applications or robust but inconspicuous protection with the outdoor variant. Live demonstrations of the Siqura Traffic, Industry, and Commercial Security solutions and a static display of our Transit solution will be offered throughout the show. Regular presentations will also be provided by our professional speaker/entertainer. Our exhibition will consequently give visitors the opportunity to thoroughly discover the winning cards of Siqura solutions and Optelecom-NKF. So, let the Siqura / IFSEC floor plan guide you through the IFSEC security industry event on your way to a steadfast surveillance solution. Don't forget to relax with a refreshment along the way at the Siqura café, located across from the Optelecom-NKF booth. Siqura - the winning hand!

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Siqura helps protect people and the planet
Siqura helps protect people and the planet

You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone nowadays who hasn't heard about global warming. It's literally a hot topic. Everything from driving a car or flying in an airplane to eating a steak supposedly increases the Earth's temperature. Yet did you know that some research now shows that every second you spend reading this Web page emits 20 milligrams of CO2 into the atmosphere? While many everyday computer users are unaware of or overlook the implications that the Internet and networks have on our environment, it's no longer possible for those in the network industry to turn a blind eye. With figures coming out that the information and communication technology industry produces around 2% of the world's greenhouse gases, equaling that of the airline industry, it is now imperative to find ways to reduce power consumption. Consequently, Optelecom-NKF (the manufacturer of Siqura®) is looking for new ways to decrease the carbon footprint of its Siqura surveillance solutions.  Lowering a network's carbon footprint The recent release of the Siqura S-68 E introduces a whole new level of efficiency to the video surveillance industry. Through its intelligent design and innovative sharing of resources, the S-68 E uses a mere 0.9 watt per channel. As a result, the S-68 E is one of the most energy-efficient solutions available for video streaming. Moreover, since the S-68 E is capable of streaming up to 88 analog video channels in just one 5.25 (or 3U) x 19 inch power supply cabinet, it is the most compact solution on the market. Cutting costs Yet helping the planet isn't the only benefit of cutting power and space requirements: Due to its ecological energy expenditure and small size, the S-68 E video server also lessens both the electrical costs of operation as well as those incurred for cooling data centres. Keeping quality and expectations high In generating greener solutions, Siqura has certainly not let the necessities of excellent video surveillance fall to the wayside. The S-68 E includes all the latest features and options, making it easy to implement in any high-density professional installation. Through an intuitive access-controlled Web interface, it is possible to configure an array of features included in the S-68 E, such as the use of video motion detection (VMD) or serial data streams to control a PTZ camera or implement access control. Additionally, these compact video servers are based on an open streaming architecture (OSA) standard that simplifies their use in third-party systems. In its ultimate effort to help you maintain the safety and security of the people of this planet, Optelecom-NKF is working hard to provide you with sustainable surveillance solutions while at the same time maintaining the quality and reliability for which Siqura is reputed. The complete list of the Siqura S-68 E specifications can be found at www.optelecom-nkf.com.

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The art of media synchronisation
The art of media synchronisation

Most people tend to think that the information presented to them on the screen ought to be in sync. However, satisfying this seemingly simple expectation requires some fairly complex technology. The Siqura A-80 offers a solution to easily incorporate synchronised audio into even the most demanding video surveillance application. A complete audio and CC solution, Siqura's eight-channel Siqura A-80 offers a compact audio and contact closure (CC) solution for any existing or new CCTV system. In combination with the Siqura multi-channel video codecs, the Siqura A-80 offers an ideal lip-synchronisation solution. The audio inputs support either line-level or microphone-level with additional biasing to power electret microphones. Fitting into the network eight digital inputs can be configured to initiate CC signals, for example, to activate a network video recorder (NVR) to start recording. Four digital outputs are also available, allowing the A-80 to connect with third-party devices, such as a programmable logic controller. Moreover, the A-80 is designed to comply with the worldwide adopted standards for streaming audio, making integration easy and hassle-free. The Siqura A-80 is part of the Siqura product line, an extensive collection of video surveillance equipment offering complete solutions and reputed for quality and reliability. The complete list of the Siqura A-80 specifications can be found at www.Siqura.com.For more information about media synchronisation, please see the Siqura white paper - Being in time: An overview of media synchronisation.

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The Network’s Nucleus
The Network’s Nucleus

Streamlining commerce, cars, and safetyDubai is incontestably one of the most financially pivotal cities in the Gulf region, but any businessman will tell you that sitting in a traffic jam in the sweltering desert heat is certainly not what makes the city a success. Yet, since Dubai absorbs a good deal of the interchange between international companies, this worldly city has inevitably been confronted with growing rates in traffic accidents and congestion.However, the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has definitely not stood still while cars pile up in their seaside city. Rather, they took direct action to reduce mishaps and bottlenecks by introducing a state-of-the-art intelligent traffic system (ITS). The system has been instrumental in decreasing traffic collisions as well as improving traffic flow.FALCON in flightRTA contracted Scientechnic, a leading project engineering and system installation company, to undertake the implementation of an ITS throughout Dubai's traffic infrastructure. This system is known as the Freeway and Local Coordinated Operations Network (FALCON) and the project entailed designing a system capable of transmitting large amounts of real-time data from various sources, such as sensors and cameras, over an IP fibre optic network. Ultimately, the system has come to include a number of cutting-edge traffic technologies, including automatic incident detection (AID) and centralised traffic management.An intelligent infrastructureTasked with the construction of a robust traffic management system, Scientechnic designed a fully integrated network, incorporating the existing infrastructure, such as arterial and expressway traffic signals, as well as a plethora of new technologies into the ITS. In order to realise these plans, an IP network had to replace the existing point-to-point analogue system. This required innovative technology that could both cleverly connect the enormous number of streams involved and handle the extreme heat of the region's climate. It was clear that a smart and sturdy switch was vital to the success of this project.In general, switches are the nucleus of a network. They receive and analyse data packets so as to appropriately dispatch the information to the relevant locations. A good switch is capable of both ensuring quality network performance and conserving bandwidth. Yet with the vast and varied data packets being sent over Dubai's ITS network and the need for a switch that could function in such high temperatures, finding just the right hardware to carry out the task at hand was a project all on its own.Ultimately, the solution was made possible through Siqura, a leading global supplier of advanced video surveillance solutions, which provided the FALCON project with its Siqura® XSNet™2800 SW switches.As Scientechnic's Brijesh Moothat explains: "The Siqura switches fit seamlessly into our entire project, and the local support from Siqura provided a key resource in designing this architecture. The XSNet 2800 SW switch was chosen due to its capability of performing in a high operating temperature. The Gulf countries, being one of the hottest places during summer, require that all field equipment can endure an extended temperature range. Siqura XSNet switches have an operating temperature of up to 75° C, which makes them suitable for operation in the Middle East."Directing traffic in DubaiOnce united by Siqura switches, Dubai's ITS revolves around servers, field devices, system applications, and management and viewing software, each part helping to make traffic flow safer and more efficient.Populating the streets of Dubai are a number of sensors and cameras, which are connected to a CCTV system and servers. While, on the one hand, these devices allow operators in a control room to monitor the overall traffic situation, dedicated servers also apply incident detection algorithms to the video. These algorithms enable the system to detect an array of events, from pedestrians, stopped vehicles, wrong-way drivers, and lost cargo to queuing, speed drops, and even the presence of smoke. Detected incidents can then trigger alarms to alert operators, as necessary.From centralised control rooms, operators can then instantly evaluate the severity of a situation and respond quickly and confidently. This may entail adjusting lane control signs, variable speed signs, or dynamic message signs (DMS) as well as informing authorities, such as the police, fire department, or emergency medical services.The Dubai ITS also includes an option for traffic authorities to define and customise emergency protocols for specified events, such as a fire in a tunnel. Equipped with such precise and prepared response plans, operators can competently and consistently initiate just the right reaction to possible occurrences. In this way, traffic in Dubai can continue more smoothly and safely, despite obstructions or mishaps.Motorists themselves benefit twofold from this intelligent and integrated traffic management system. First of all, since traffic is directed effectively through DMS and variable lane and speed signs, bottlenecks in Dubai are less of a burden. Additionally, up-to-date traffic information is made available to drivers via a graphical user interface on the Web, in information kiosks, or text messaging services. As a result, travellers can plan their route so as to literally steer clear of any congestion.Reliable roadsAs business and commerce in the Middle East expand at astonishing rates, roads are jamming up almost as soon as they open. Worldwide, gridlock and traffic jams continue to detrimentally impact people's lives as well as the economy. Yet drivers hitting the highways in Dubai today can now depend on the ITS, implemented by Scientechnic and connected through Siqura switches, to make it easy to get where they're going. The ease with which authorities, operators, and travellers alike can plan and react to traffic situations reveals once more just how helpful innovative traffic technologies can be. 

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Video servers (IP transmission) - Expert commentary

Video technology reimagined with the empowerment of IoT
Video technology reimagined with the empowerment of IoT

It amazes me how in a few short years security systems have gone from simple, dumb cameras witnessing events to intelligent eyes, ears, speech and touch solutions that boost situational awareness far beyond human capabilities. It seems the only senses missing from the equation now are smell and taste. And who knows, someone might be working on those in a lab somewhere right now. But what’s really fascinating to me is how the Internet of Things (IoT) has opened a world of possibilities for transforming security technology into something new yet again. With IoT we’re able to push and pull nuggets of intelligence from sources we never considered before: environmental sensors, pressure plates, door lock timers and much more. It’s helped us break through the constraining mindset that security systems are strictly single-purpose. With interconnectivity at the core, we’re starting to imagine myriad ways to apply these tools to challenges outside the realm of security. Here are just a few examples. Flood management assistance Network camera adds another dimension and timeliness to flood management by helping responders investigate remotely As recent hurricanes and floods have shown, water damage can be devastating to a community. That’s why some municipalities are using their city surveillance cameras in conjunction with water sensor to proactively address the problem. Water sensors collect data from multiple sources such as rain gutters, sewer systems and pump stations, in order to monitor fluctuations in water levels and water quality. If an alert triggers, having a network camera in proximity to visually verify the situation helps responders determine the best course of action. For instance, if multiple water detection sensors trigger alerts simultaneously or sequentially over a large area it’s probably due to natural runoff from recent rainfall. But without eyes on the scene, how can you be sure? Network camera adds another dimension and timeliness to flood management by helping responders investigate and identify the cause of a trigger remotely. It might be a fire hydrant spewing water, a water main break or even a chemical spill. With video streaming live to the command center, staff can remotely inspect the area, determine the cause of the trigger and decide whether remediation is required, thus avoiding the expense of dispatching an investigative crew to a non-event. Some municipalities are using their city surveillance cameras in conjunction with water sensor to proactively address the problem Environmental control assistance Data centers house the lifeblood of a business so it’s no wonder why companies work hard to protect them. We’re all familiar with the integration of network cameras with access control systems to visually verify who is actually using the credentials. Network camera adds another dimension and timeliness to flood management by helping responders investigate and identify the cause of a trigger remotely But there’s another aspect to protecting data centers and that’s environment control. Data centers need to maintain optimum humidity and temperature for the racks of electronics. When environmental sensors in the facility detect out-of-norm ranges technicians can remotely command a network camera to zoom in on the gauges and help them determine whether remediation might be necessary.  Coupling network cameras with other sensors in the data center can provide visual confirmation of other conditions as well. For instance, every time a data rack door-open-close sensor detects an event it can trigger the camera to pan to the location and stream video to security. Some data centers employ weight sensors at the doorway to weigh personnel and equipment as they enter the room and when they exit to ensure no additional hardware is being taken out of the facility or left inside without permission. Any discrepancy would trigger the camera to zoom in for a close-up of the individual’s face and send a visual alert and ID information to security. Roadway management and parking assistance Network cameras have long played a part in city-wide traffic management. Adding video analytics and integration with network sensors, makes those cameras that much smarter and versatile. They can detect cars driving in bike lanes or driving in the wrong direction and capture license plates of offenders. Their ability to detect anomalous traffic flow patterns can be integrated with car counting sensors, networked electronic road signs and traffic light systems to automatically redirect vehicles to alternate routes. They make great, intelligent parking lot attendants, too. Working in conjunction with weight sensors network cameras can count vehicles coming into and leaving a lot or garage and verify when the facility has reached capacity. License plate recognition and video analytics can be used to ascertain that a vehicle entering a reserved parking space doesn’t match the credentials and vehicle attributes in the database. With the addition of noise sensors and audio analytics, network cameras can improve roadway and parking facility safety by detecting and identifying specific sounds – breaking glass, car alarms, gun shots, and aggressive speech – and triggering a visual alert to first responders. Network cameras can improve roadway and parking facility safety by detecting and identifying specific sounds and triggering a visual alert to first responders Shopper experience assistance In the early days of online shopping, e-tailers designed their sites to replicate the in-store customer experience. In an ironic turn of events, today brick-and-mortar stores are trying to mirror the online shopping experience. To do so, they’re turning their security systems into adjunct sales assistance. With network video and audio system automation they can recognise and acknowledge loyal customers with personal greetings. Retailers are applying people counting video analytics to checkout activity to create rules-based consistency in customer service With heatmapping analytics they can measure how much time a customer spends in a specific department or observe how they walk through the aisles of the store. They can track shopping behaviors such as items looked at that made it into the cart or didn’t, or whether a customer actually checked out or left the merchandise behind. By capturing these shopping patterns and trends retailers can shape a more positive, more profitable customer shopping experience. For instance, integrating video analytics with point of sale systems and RFID sensors on merchandise tags can result in timely alerts to sales associates to recommend additional merchandise. This is a case of emulating how e-tailers let the customer know that other customers who bought X often also purchased items Y and Z. Or to avoid disappointing customers due to stock outages, retailers are linking weight sensors and video analytics to make sure their shelves are well-stocked and if not, quickly alert associates to what items need to be restocked. Capturing business intelligence Retailers are also using video cameras to monitor checkout queues and trigger automated announcements over the public-address system, closed system such as smartphones or other wireless communications devices that checkers are needed rather wait for a person to call for backup. IoT laid the groundwork for network security solutions to seamlessly integrate with other IP-based technologies, sensors and programs They’re applying people counting video analytics to checkout activity to create rules-based consistency in customer service. While retailers will always use their surveillance camera for loss prevention, they’re finding that integrating traditional technology in new ways can yield even bigger returns. Linking network video surveillance, video analytics, network communications system and sensors with point-of-sale systems and customer loyalty databases, retailers are capturing the business intelligence they need to get back in the game and make brick-and-mortar a greater overall experience than online shopping. A natural cross-over technology This trend towards integration has forever changed how organisations view their investment in security technology. The intelligence and versatility of a tool that can see, verify and analyse what’s happening in real-time is spurring users to tap its cross-over potential for a host of other tasks that could benefit from more astute situational awareness – everything from manufacturing and equipment maintenance to logistics, inventory control and beyond. IoT laid the groundwork for network security solutions to seamlessly integrate with other IP-based technologies, sensors and programs. How we capitalise on that connection is only limited by our imagination.

Top ten security industry mergers and acquisitions of 2018
Top ten security industry mergers and acquisitions of 2018

Consolidation persisted in the physical security industry in 2018, and big companies such as Motorola, Canon and UTC continued to make moves. Also among the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) news in 2018 was a high-profile bankruptcy (that ended well), continuing consolidation in the integrator market, and the creation of a new entity called “LenelS2.” Here’s a look at the Top 10 M&A stories in 2018: 1. Motorola acquires Avigilon Motorola Solutions announced in February that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire video surveillance provider Avigilon in an all-cash transaction that enhances Motorola Solutions’ portfolio of mission-critical communications technologies. Avigilon products are used by a range of commercial and government customers including critical infrastructure, airports, government facilities, public venues, healthcare centers and retail. The company holds more than 750 U.S. and international patents. 2. UTC Climate, Control & Security buys S2 Security UTC Climate, Controls & Security agreed in September to acquire S2 Security, a developer of unified security and video management solutions. UTC subsequently combined S2 with its Lenel brand to create LenelS2, “a global leader in advanced access control systems and services” with “complementary strengths.” 3. Costar Technologies acquires Arecont Vision after bankruptcy Arecont Vision, the provider of IP-based megapixel camera and video surveillance solutions, announced in July that the acquisition by Costar Technologies, Inc. of its assets had been approved by the bankruptcy court. After the closing of the sale, the company began operating as Arecont Vision Costar, LLC and is part of Costar, a U.S. corporation that designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes a range of products for the video surveillance and machine vision markets. 4. Allegion acquires access control company ISONAS Allegion plc, a security products and solutions provider, agreed in June to acquire ISONAS through one of its subsidiaries. ISONAS’ edge-computing technology provides access control solutions for non-residential markets. ISONAS' devices – like its integrated reader-controllers – utilise power over ethernet, making them easy to install and cost effective as they utilise existing customer infrastructures. The company is based in Boulder, Colo. 5. HID buys Crossmatch for Biometrics HID Global announced that it had acquired Crossmatch, a provider of biometric identity management and secure authentication solutions, from Francisco Partners. Crossmatch’s portfolio of products includes biometric identity management hardware and software that complement HID’s broad portfolio of trusted identity products and services. 6. BriefCam announces acquisition by Canon BriefCam, a global provider of video synopsis and deep learning solutions, announced its acquisition in May by Canon Inc., a global digital imaging solutions company. The addition of BriefCam to Canon’s network video solutions products portfolio complements the Canon Group’s previous acquisitions of Axis Communications and Milestone Systems. 7. Allied Universal acquires U.S. Security Associates Allied Universal, a security and facility services company, finalised its acquisition of U.S. Security Associates (USSA) in October, further building on its position in the security services industry. This acquisition includes Andrews International (including its Government Services Division and Consulting and Investigations and International Division) and Staff Pro. 8. Johnson Controls acquires Smartvue Corp. Johnson Controls announced in April that it had acquired Smartvue, a global IoT and video provider that empowers cloud video surveillance and IoT video services. The addition of the Smartvue cloud-based video platform will enhance Johnson Controls’ offering of an end-to-end, smart cloud-based solution that can provide superior business data and intelligence to customers and added value to partners. 9. ADT acquires Red Hawk Fire & Security (and others) ADT Inc.’s acquisition of Red Hawk Fire & Security, Boca Raton, Fla., was the latest move in ADT Commercial’s strategy to buy up security integrator firms around the country and grow their footprint. In addition to the Red Hawk acquisition, announced in mid-October, ADT has acquired more than a half-dozen security system integration firms in the last year or so. 10. Convergint Technologies continues to acquire Convergint Technologies announced in August the acquisition of New Jersey-based Access Control Technologies (ACT), bringing further electronic security systems experience to Convergint's service capabilities. Convergint has strategically grown its service footprint across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific through strong organic growth and the completion of 18 acquisitions since early 2016. And it continues: Convergint announced acquisition of SI Technologies, Albany, N.Y., in November and Firstline Security Integration (FSI), Anaheim, Calif., in December. (And Convergint itself was acquired in February by private equity group Ares Management.)

Data security experts at Bosch and Genetec discuss impact of GDPR on video security
Data security experts at Bosch and Genetec discuss impact of GDPR on video security

Today, more and more video security cameras are increasingly connected to the internet and transitioning into intelligent sensors that collect significantly more data than video security images alone. However, as this level of connectivity and collection of business-sensitive data becomes more widespread, the threat from cybercrime also rises. This is clearly an issue that affects everyone. After all, nobody is immune from cybercrime, not even the experts, which raises the question: What is the viewpoint of the experts when it comes to data security? Geoff Kohl, Senior Director of Marketing for the Security Industry Association, was keen to get the opinions of those who are experiencing the current situation with regard to data protection, and its impact on video security, first-hand. What follows is an outline of the discussion with Gregor Schlechtriem, Senior Vice President business unit Security of Bosch Building Technologies, a global player in video surveillance, and Pierre Racz, CEO of Genetec, who are world-renowned for their software in the safety and security domain. End-to-end security system According to the experts, data security starts with an end-to-end solution The introduction of a key statistic started the conversation: by 2025, it is expected that 75 billion devices will be connected to the Internet. Clearly, this also impacts video security as it is no longer isolated and part of a ‘closed’ system; it has become part of the IoT. Therefore, the focus cannot remain solely on image quality and the reduction of bitrates; equal prominence must be given to data security. According to the experts, data security starts with an end-to-end solution. For example, the consequences of having an unprotected computer inside your firewall are immeasurable; it’s like an open door to cyber criminals. To successfully minimise the risks the complete video security infrastructure needs to be considered, rather than single components. This is a key advantage of an end-to-end security system that eliminates potential weak links. Secure communication between trusted devices So, end-to-end data security solutions have their advocates, but what makes them so persuasive, and effective? Well, solutions such as those developed by Bosch and Genetec are designed to safeguard communication between trusted devices, ensure that video in transit (streamed) or in storage remains encrypted and any commands and configurations to control cameras and other devices are transmitted via a secure channel (HTTPS). When one side questions the design of the other we accept that the observation is accurate" To achieve this effectively requires collaboration, which is why, according to Geoff Kohl, an ecosystem of trusted partners is invaluable, “Risk is not the responsibility of one company. Everyone has to be working together. Bosch and Genetec are obviously doing this.” To support Geoff’s opinion, Pierre Racz believes that trust is a quality to be earned, not bought. A case in point is the 15-year working relationship between Bosch and Genetec, “The engineers know each other. We have a trusted relationship, so when one side questions the design of the other we accept that the observation is accurate.” Management of massive data In what ways can more focus be applied to data security? Although the basic task of video security systems remains unchanged, new technologies are consistently being introduced that offer new possibilities. An example of this is IP technology which, when combined with the increasing computation power, enables video security cameras to capture images of a quality that was previously unimaginable. GDPR instils an obligation to guarantee privacy by design According to Gregor Schlechtriem, “As the industry moves to delivering great image quality it creates new challenges, like how to intelligently manage the massive influx of data. On the other hand, video security devices connected to the internet and the wealth of their collective data is a fantastic enabler for new opportunities.” Video security has undergone substantial changes and offer limitless possibilitiesHe is also of the opinion that video security data should be viewed as business tool that provides insights to improve efficiency, increase security or create new business opportunities. It is clear that, compared to the earlier days, other departments, like marketing, are getting more interested in video security data. Meanwhile, as CEO of Genetec, Pierre Racz confirms that video security has undergone substantial changes and offer limitless possibilities. The change to a digital (IP) infrastructure enables the use of video analytics that deliver metadata. This metadata adds sense and structure to video data and provides metrics such as speed, direction, colour, size, object class and trajectory. The result of this enriched, more business-focused video data collection is a deeper level of business intelligence. Minimising risks Gregor Schlechtriem is only too aware that this level of connectivity also brings a higher level of risk, “Because there is valuable information included in videos we have to focus more on data security, and think beyond the basic tasks of a security system.” Pierre Racz agrees.A digital infrastructure and connectivity opens up countless opportunities The consequences of being hacked are clearly front of mind for him, “If we turn on the news today we can see the circus that has resulted from the global chaos caused by a recent cyber-breach.” By focusing on minimising these risks, Pierre Racz believes that IoT and the technology enabling us to collect and interpret video data will outweigh the risks and provide improvements in health, and wealth. The key learning here is that a digital infrastructure and connectivity opens up countless opportunities, as expressed by Gregor Schlechtriem, “It is the enabler to generate valuable data for your business, to understand what’s going on with video analytics at the edge and derive invaluable data for situational awareness to improve your business. If you don’t use IP, you miss out.” The change to a digital (IP) infrastructure enables the use of video analytics that deliver metadata Operational efficiency Pierre Racz agrees, “Compared to video cassettes we can provide so much more value with the kind of technology that can be initially utilised for security, but then leveraged for operational efficiency and even shared with other departments, such as marketing.” He also believes that, although the economic lifetime of analog equipment is almost double that of digital equipment, analog is a low pass filter, so image quality is limited to standards established in 1937. As Geoff concludes the interview and the various opinions are assessed, it’s clear that the end-to-end data security solutions such as those employed by Bosch and Genetec are the way forward for video data security. GDPR influence Considering the recent changes in European regulations, Geoff Kohl of the Security Industry Association now invites invited Gregor Schlechtriem and Pierre Racz to briefly share their thoughts regarding GDPR – one of the first official data protection acts – and its impact on solutions and business models. If these regulations are applied to Facebook, the resultant penalty will be $1.6b"Pierre Racz highlights the recent Facebook case, “If these regulations are applied to Facebook, a technologically savvy company with $40b of revenue, the resultant penalty will be $1.6b. There is no better example of why data negligence and fiduciary irresponsibility is simply unacceptable.” Gregor Schlechtriem’s point of view is that GDPR instils an obligation to guarantee privacy by design, therefore it should influence any business model from the moment of conception. “You have to bring the right ingredients to the table to guarantee privacy, it’s the responsibility of the system owner. That’s why we analysed our systems to ensure our technology was capable of meeting the requirements.” And, of course, trust. But the significance of this to people's everyday lives must also be considered; a sentiment which Pierre Racz captures perfectly, “Privacy is our democratic right.”