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Digital video recorders (DVRs) - Expert commentary

The intrinsic role of lighting for video surveillance clarity and performance
The intrinsic role of lighting for video surveillance clarity and performance

The sound of sirens in the distance is commonplace, nowadays. Whether related to a medical emergency or everyday crimes, such as theft, property crimes, and so on, we’re all accustomed to hearing these sirens by now. It is worth noting that many incidents that police respond to take place at night. According to a recent report by the Sleep Judge, more than half of murders, manslaughter, sexual assaults, robberies, aggravated assaults and motor vehicle thefts happen long after the sun has set. To anyone looking to address the round-the-clock security challenge, deploying the most comprehensive surveillance solution is a must, and this means, looking at the instrumental role illumination plays in video capture. Limitations of traditional video surveillance For surveillance cameras relying on video analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver functionalities such as facial recognition, license plate reading and motion detection, nighttime crimes can pose something of a problem. Without adequate illumination, images from video cameras are grainy and unusable.If surveillance cameras can’t be used to prevent, detect and/or resolve crimes that occur in these areas, the entire security operation is obsolete Without proper lighting, potential criminals and moving objects essentially become indistinguishable, at night, thereby inhibiting even the most advanced security technologies. This limitation of traditional surveillance technology not only hinders immediate police response, but it also stops crime investigations dead in their tracks. Often, without video evidence that is clear and discernible, conviction in a court of law is next to impossible. A common response to this issue is to place security cameras near streetlights or well-lit areas. After all, according to NPR, street lights are effective in deterring crime,  as “there are people such as neighbors, pedestrians, or police, to actually see suspicious activity.” However, even if streetside and primary entrances are well lit, the areas that still need most to be surveilled are rear or side doorways shrouded by darkness, unlit back alleys, and so on. If surveillance cameras can’t be used to prevent, detect and resolve crimes that occur in these areas, the entire security operation is obsolete. Best-in-class security solutions must be able to see everything, day and night. A purpose-designed illumination solution Addressing this issue is easier than you might think. Much like a human eye needs some sort of light to “see,” so does video surveillance technology. Integrating external illuminators into a security solution can optimise camera performance exponentially, expanding a camera’s video capture and coverage abilities and ensuring the operation of video analytics, day and night. Opting for an external illuminator allows system integrators to select a device that matches the exact emission range of a camera’s field of view (FOV). The result is an evenly lit visual field, where captured images are clear and effective for security purposes. The two most common options available to integrators include infrared (IR) and white light illuminators. Each technology is built to optimise particular deployments, depending on their needs. Infrared versus white light IR illuminators emit IR light, which is invisible to the human eye and perfect for covert surveillance operations. When cameras need to be able to detect potential threats over long distances, IR illuminators are perfect for the job as they typically have longer emission ranges. IR illuminators are optimal for surveillance operations in license plate recognition, border patrol, safe cities, theme park, and medical sleep lab applications.Cameras deployed without proper illumination are rendered blind, especially at night If an end user needs to implement full-color video analytics for identification purposes, such as facial, object and license plate recognition, white light illuminators are undoubtedly an integrator’s best bet. IR illumination and traditional thermal security cameras, after all, are only able to provide black-and-white images, whereas object recognition software often identifies objects based on their color. White light illuminators installed alongside AI-powered surveillance cameras enable enhanced video image clarity, which, optimises video analytics performance. When customers want to physically deter suspicious activity, deploying white light illuminators is effective. A recent study out of Crime Labs New York found that businesses that deployed visible lights to deter crime “experienced crime rates that were significantly lower,” which “led to a 36 percent reduction in ‘index crimes’”. On top of all this, LED based white lights operate at low running costs and typically have long lifespans, saving end users thousands of dollars a year in energy costs without having to sacrifice surveillance optimisation. External versus built-in illumination Security customers looking to use lighting to deter crime and improve the performance of video surveillance may consider “all-in-one" solutions, as some cameras have LEDs (light emitting diodes) built into them. These LEDs typically encircle the lens and therefore shed light in whatever direction the camera is pointed. However convenient these may seem, built-in illumination can cause problems. First, LEDs built into cameras and next to other electronic components often cause heat to build up, which attracts insects that can trigger motion detection and obstruct a camera’s view. This heat buildup also shortens the LED lights lifespan. Built-in LEDs also tend to create “hot spots” with glare and reflection back into the camera, often because these lights only cover a 30-degree field of view (FOV), even though the average camera’s FOV is 90 degrees. This issue can severely limit a camera’s visibility, essentially rendering those remaining 60 degrees dark and unusable. All in all, when integrating lighting solutions into your security deployment, a cost-effective solution that enhances a camera’s video capture and coverage abilities, are external illuminators because they offer flexible choices of field of view and distances. Best-in-class security solution When it comes to criminal conviction in a court of law, “seeing really is believing.” Cameras deployed without proper illumination are rendered blind, especially at night, just as any security officer would be when patrolling the same unlit area. To guarantee end users the most reliable and highest performing security solution, consider integrating best-in-class illumination into your offerings.

ONVIF Profile T and H.265: the evolution of video compression
ONVIF Profile T and H.265: the evolution of video compression

In today’s market, efficient use of bandwidth and storage is an essential part of maintaining an effective video surveillance system. A video management system’s ability to provide analysis, real time event notifications and crucial image detail is only as a good as the speed and bandwidth of a surveillance network. In the physical security industry, H.264 is the video compression format used by most companies. Some companies also employ H.264 enhancements to compress areas of an image that are irrelevant to the user at a higher ratio within a video stream in order to preserve image quality for more important details like faces, license plates or buildings. The H.265, H.264’s successor, will be increasingly used for compression in the future. Some companies are already using H.265 in their cameras and video management systems, while a host of other manufacturers are certainly preparing for its broader adoption in the years to come. Video compression technologies Reduced bandwidth and storage requirements are the primary benefits of video compression technologies Reduced bandwidth and storage requirements are the primary benefits of video compression technologies. In some cases, H.265 can double the data compression ratio of H.264, while retaining the same quality. Increased compression rate translates into decreased storage requirements on hard drives, less bandwidth usage and fewer switches – all of which reduce overall costs of system ownership. H.265 compression delivers a lower bitrate than H.264, which is relevant to end users and integrators because the lower bitrate reduces strain on hardware and can reduce playback issues. It’s very important that the compression format that is used is supported in all of the different components of a system: cameras, desktop computers on which the VMS is running and the VMS itself. It is also good for end users and integrators to understand the basics of video compression. Having a basic understanding of compression allows users to tweak settings to reduce bandwidth usage even more. Many cameras come with default settings that can be changed to ultimately reduce costs. ONVIF physical security In the physical security industry, ONVIF is working to incorporate into its specifications the use of new formats such as H.265 but is not directly involved in developing the compression standards themselves. With Profile T, the new ONVIF video profile released will employ a new media service that is compression agnostic. This means that it can support new video compression formats, including H.265, as well as new audio compression formats, with the ability to include new video and audio codecs as needed in the future without having to redesign its media service. In the physical security industry, ONVIF is working to incorporate into its specifications the use of new formats such as H.265 Standardisation organisations that are directly addressing new compression standards include the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) and a joint commission of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)/International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which is addressing the coding of audio, picture, multimedia and hypermedia information. Other compression formats on par with H.264 and H.265 are being developed by companies such as Google. H.265 compression formats Using products that employ H.265 compression will reduce costs through bandwidth reduction, as will changing default settings on cameras, which are often conservative. Having a basic understanding of compression formats and how to tweak camera factory default settings also gives integrators the ability to further reduce bandwidth for added costs savings and increased system performance. These enhancements will analyse which parts of an image are most important and adjust local levels of compressions accordingly It is also worth noting that H.265 enhancements will likely be developed by camera manufacturers to further reduce bandwidth, as was the case with H.264. These enhancements will analyze which parts of an image are most important and adjust local levels of compressions accordingly. While H.265 itself is ready for prime time, its value as a tool for IP-based surveillance systems is dependent on support for the codec in all parts of the system – the VMS, server hardware, graphics cards and camera. Though widespread H.265 adoption is predicted, providers of these components are jumping on the H.265 bandwagon at different rates of speed. ONVIF is including support for H.265 in its new video profile, Profile T, because it believes it will become the most widely used compression format and ONVIF recognises the need to anticipate that migration as a future need of the industry. The new media service, which will be implemented with Profile T, will be future-proof in that when new compression formats are released in the future, ONVIF can adopt them very quickly. That flexibility will definitely help integrators.

HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade
HD over Coax provides cost-effective video surveillance upgrade

According to IHS Market, it is estimated that there are over 60 million security cameras in the United States, and other reports say these cameras capture more than four billion hours of footage per week. Over the last decade, IP camera technology has dominated the conversation as it has provided users with a broad offering of enhanced image quality and features. With a large percentage of existing security systems relying on analogue, many end users looking for high definition (HD) video quality have been forced to take on a complete system overhaul. Infrastructure overhaul for HD video To make the switch, customers would need to change everything, from cameras to hardware to wiring– not to mention the lengthy installation process that would ensue. IP cameras also require higher Internet speeds and more cloud space. Whether constrained by budget, bandwidth or storage, many end users have been unable to adopt this new video surveillance method.Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike Thanks to technological advancements within the security industry, HD over Coax offers a viable solution for integrators and end users alike. By utilising the current Coaxial cables, this offering yields high definition video, while requiring minimal infrastructure changes and is an optimal surveillance choice for security customers. Plus, with new advancements and updates being made frequently to this technology, there is a solution for every security need. The enhanced alternative of HD over Coax has been warmly welcomed in the security industry, thanks to its simple solutions and ever-evolving features. Many new analogue HD cameras are “plug and play,” able to connect directly to existing Coaxial cables. This eliminates the need for a complete system change, creating cost-savings for the end user and an enhanced video quality offering. Easy solutions for HD video As a result, integrators can cost-effectively upgrade their customer’s surveillance solution while using their legacy infrastructure, making it an attractive option for end users and an easy sell for dealers. Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems, where even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response HD over Coax cameras themselves are always expanding and evolving to meet a wide array of security needs. With the introduction of fisheye and multi-sensor cameras, users now have a multitude of coverage options, not to mention the introduction of 4K bringing resolution options to the same level as IP. Some newer technologies are even touting 4K cameras paired with 4K digital video recorders (DVRs) made specifically for analogue systems. Longer cables grant transmission for up to 1600 feet, double the distance of standard analogue solutions, and triple that of IP systems. This single cable is able to transmit both HD video and audio. Recently, broadcast quality audio over Coax has become available in limited models, a substantial improvement over older analogue technology, which was unable to transmit audio. Stopping video delay Latency in video is another common issue with network-based camera systems. Even the slightest delay in video surveillance can hinder security response. IP cameras are forced to compress and packetise their video for transmission. The outcome of this is a reduced number of images per video, which in turn causes delay. HD over Coax on the other hand, delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity. Additionally, the point-to-point transmission delivers uncompressed video free of lag. Another touted benefit is that, unlike IP networked cameras, analogue systems provide a more secure video transmission. With so much sensitive information housed on a businesses’ network, adding another point of network access through an IP camera can create concerns for cyber security risks. HD over Coax delivers an unlimited amount of HD images in real time, with smooth motion and impressive clarity Preventing network hacking With HD over Coax, the physical connections between the camera and DVR prevent network hacking. By keeping the video surveillance system offline, security professionals are able to direct their attention to the physical threats at hand, rather than having to focus on deterring cyber security risks. One of the primary difficulties of deploying HD video solutions is the fact that many older systems utilise a wide variety of HD standards and platforms. To make matters more complicated, after HD over Coax was brought to market, manufacturers raced to create their own version of this technology. Today, the most popular proprietary standards are HD-CVI, HD-TVI and AHD. However, integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible.Integrators and customers found that attempting to manage multiple HD technologies proved to be near impossible Diversifying surveillance through one DVR To combat these issues, manufacturers have introduced products with more flexibility to their portfolios. One example of this is the penta-brid DVR which grants the ability to seamlessly integrate multiple technologies deployed across one application. This means that systems with diverse camera brands and technologies, such as a mix of HD-CVI, HD-TVI, AHD, analogue or IP, can be connected through one DVR. For many end users with legacy analogue systems, penta-brid DVRs give them greater freedom to choose between a variety of solutions, rather than being limited to one option. With video resolution increasing, the space needed to store the footage is similarly rising. Penta-brid technology has been able to adapt to these evolving needs, giving users ample storage space to house the HD and 4K surveillance video with some of the newest models including H.265 compression.  HD casino surveillance made simple For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff While HD over Coax is beneficial to many end users and integrators, those in the casino and hospitality markets find it crucial. With a combination of high profile guests, large amounts of cash on hand, constant crowds and strict industry regulations, reliable video surveillance is a must. Deploying new IP systems comes at a stiff price. When looking to upgrade their video surveillance, casinos must also be mindful of the installation process. When moving to an IP-based system, ripping out old wires and replacing them with new is the standard practice. This practice can be both disruptive and costly, not to mention gaming regulations require casino activities be monitored at all times so a complete system shutdown would result in revenue loss. This cost can be hard to justify, especially when the current legacy analogue system remains in working condition with only the lower image resolution to date it. For these scenarios, the most cost-effective option is to leverage the legacy infrastructure, replace the existing cameras with new devices, and reap the benefits that HD video has to offer without any lapse in security. For casinos, HD images are critical for identifying unauthorised personnel and unlawful behaviours to create a safe environment for guests and staff. HD over Coax cameras now offer the same resolution as IP cameras with a plug and play approach, that cuts down on expense without sacrificing quality. For businesses and applications that are unable to adopt IP technology, whether it be cost or time prohibitive, HD over Coax now features most of the same benefits IP has to offer without breaking the bank. By providing clear images in real time, maximising existing infrastructure, and affording cyber security benefits, HD over Coax provides an attractive solution for many end users and integrators.

Latest Videcon PLC news

Videcon to provide mask detection feature to enhance the security of shoppers and also save penalty
Videcon to provide mask detection feature to enhance the security of shoppers and also save penalty

Shoppers in England are being told they need to cover up and wear a face covering when shopping from the 24th July, or they could face a fine of up to £100. But in many ways the responsibility to enforce this and keep the public safe is once again falling on battle wearied retailers, facilities managers, and operators of public spaces. Videcon is a British-based developer, designer, and provider of security solutions for businesses across the UK and the company has jumped to repurpose its deep learning, artificially intelligent software solutions in direct response to the Government’s announcement on Monday 13th July. Body temperature screening camera Thermi-screen, Videcon’s mass body temperature screening camera, can already pinpoint individuals in a shopping queue, or public space, containing up to 40 people, who may have an elevated temperature with ±0.3°C accuracy, but now it can also identify anyone not wearing a face covering. When triggered, the system automatically sends an alert to any designated controller or person in authority. Says Videcon’s managing director, Matt Rushall, “The message that members of the public must wear face coverings is out there but retailers and managers of public spaces are now finding, as an added burden, that they are being asked by the police and authorities to support them in upholding the law. Retailers have a duty to protect their customers and with Police, resources stretched to the limit at the moment, any technology that helps to manage enforcing the law and can make life easier and safer for all, is to be welcomed.” Crowd control camera systems Videcon is a pioneer in its field and the company already uses facial recognition and mask detection software Videcon is a pioneer in its field and the company already uses facial recognition and mask detection software in its Thermi-scan door access control panels but this is the first time deep learning AI technology has been embedded in crowd control camera systems of this type. Matt Rushall continued, “Our technology has been used by banks, airports, pharma companies and major retailers around the world and I am very excited at this new development. Thermi-Screen is an effective solution to help identify those with potentials symptoms, and our new capability for mask detection will be hugely beneficial to retailers and for the safety of staff and shoppers.” In addition to the new face coverings and mask detection feature, Videcon enhanced the system’s privacy settings which can now pixelate individuals and replace exact temperature readings with simple normal/elevated temperature messaging. Deep learning technologies This advanced privacy setting secures compliance with GDPR and ensures the maximum level of individual’s protection of information. The system comprises of a camera, a network video recorder, and a temperature calibrator. Using two camera lenses simultaneously, the system takes temperature readings from the forehead and upper region of the eye orbit. Algorithms and deep learning technologies then compare readings with other environmental factors like room temperature and direct sunlight. The accuracy of Thermi-Screen eliminates any false readings, such as a person carrying and sipping a hot drink and its fast response time reduces the need for single file detection accelerating the movement of people through a designated screening area or providing screening in public open spaces. Thermi-Screen is an effective solution to help identify those with potentials symptoms, and the new capability for mask detection will be hugely beneficial to retailers and for the safety of staff and shoppers.

Ocucon provides Aldi with Occupi technology embedded in doors to control shoppers flow in retail stores
Ocucon provides Aldi with Occupi technology embedded in doors to control shoppers flow in retail stores

Some time ago Occupi by Ocucon didn’t exist. In that time, the retail technology company has worked tirelessly to enable retailers to comply with social distancing guidelines, whilst keeping their productivity high, and shoppers’ queuing times as low as possible. Occupi by Ocucon uses technology embedded in door mounted video cameras to coordinate and control the flow of shoppers both in and out of retail stores. Aldi launched Occupi ‘traffic light’ After securing business from nearly 1,500 stores, Ocucon is surveying a market opportunity in the UK of billions. And the US, which is worth an estimated £5 billion, looks set to follow. Earlier Aldi launched the new Occupi ‘traffic light’ system in stores across the UK and Ireland in the supermarket chain’s latest measure to keep customers and their staff as safe as possible during the ongoing pandemic. Already another 150 retail multiples have contacted Ocucon in a desperate rush to place orders as crowds head to their newly re-opened stores. Authorising entry to shops Far more than a people counting system, the technology is capable of marshalling shoppers into groups as it authorises and allows entry into the store, ensuring social distancing can be followed inside. This means opening stores can accelerate the entry of shoppers in the morning before moving onto a one person out one person in strategy. The automatic shop doors will only open when the signage permits entry and the number of customers allowed in the store at any one time will be calculated based on the shop’s size and social distancing requirements – allowing people to remain two metres apart at all times. More than just people counting The system can also control the number of shoppers in a store at any one time and its deep learning algorithm is constantly analysing so it knows how many people are in store at any given time which it compares with entry and departure numbers. This results in unparalleled accuracy – something that can’t be achieved by basic in-out people counting products. Occupi by Ocucon is working with ASSA ABLOY, the UK’s supplier of physical door controls (locks, door entry and closure systems) to the retail sector, and Videcon, the UK’s manufacturer of specialist CCTV camera systems and related technologies. Solution for retail industry Gary Trotter, Ocucon’s Founder and CEO said, “We pioneered the development of Occupi by Ocucon by working together with Aldi and ASSA ABLOY. I can’t think of a time when two entirely separate, but world organisations, would throw their collective weight behind the development of a concept like this in such a short time.” He continued, “We are in the midst of an ongoing pandemic and there was an incredible spirit of collaboration and innovation in the way everyone came together. We were lucky to have a client in Aldi who asked us for help and lucky to have the technological expertise and partners to help us deliver what I believe is a truly ground breaking solution for retailers.”

WBE announces names of its founding partners for The Security Event 2019
WBE announces names of its founding partners for The Security Event 2019

The Security Event has built a platform which is truly designed by the industry, for the industry, with game-changing collaborations with manufacturers, distributors, service providers, associations and industry leaders, industry media and complementary events. Spearheading this approach, a truly outstanding group of global companies has been selected from a range of disciplines to help shape this game-changing new exhibition. The Security Event is proud to have support of its ten founding partners - Anixter, ASSA ABLOY, Avigilon, Comelit, Dahua, Honeywell, TDSi, Texecom, Tyco and Videcon. Comelit managing director Francesca Boeris commented: “Comelit are extremely excited to become a founding partner of The Security Event 2019. The events concept and UK focus aligns perfectly with Comelit’s aims moving forwards.” Notable security experts The Security Event will delivery exactly what the commercial security market has been waiting for"Andy Croston, Owner/Director at Videcon Ltd echos this sentiment, “As one of the first Founding Partners to come on board we saw the huge potential of this exhibition from the very beginning. We’re certain The Security Event will delivery exactly what the commercial security market has been waiting for." As Dahua’s UK & Ireland head of operations Ben Perkins puts it, The Security Event “Gives Dahua the opportunity to get in front of the UK market.” The event has already created a buzz within the industry and is expected to welcome over 6,000 visitors across the three days. Along with notable security experts and respected industry bodies, the event will also host around 100 security brands, including the 10 founding partners. Engaging with security professionals For these companies to come on board as founding partners reaffirms the goals of The Security Event as a concept, with a vision to create a dedicated platform that levels the playing field, enabling exhibitors, installers and end users alike to reconnect. “We believe The Security Event is exactly what the UK security industry needs and are excited to come on board as a founding partner,” says Gareth Ellams, ASSA ABLOY Group Sales Director. He continues, “At ASSA ABLOY, we are looking forward to the opportunity to engage directly with security professionals as well as end users, to present our solutions.” The Security Event is proud to host a tailored education programme, featuring professionally accredited seminars, designed specifically for UK security professionals in the trade and their end users. Innovation Theatre to host seminars All ten founding partners will be welcomed into our Innovation Theatre hosting seminars on a broad range of disciplines Delivered across three theatres, industry bodies, technology leaders and renowned experts will provide the latest industry developments and technology updates. As well as participating in the exhibition itself, all ten founding partners will be welcomed into our Innovation Theatre hosting seminars on a broad range of disciplines. Location is of huge importance to The Security Event and was a key deciding factor for many of the founding partners also. Gordon Morrison, Sales Director, Access & Video, GB, Tyco Security Products recognises that, “The opportunity to take an active role as a Founding Partner in an industry event at the location that so many of our customers consider ‘home’ was extremely welcome." John Davies, TDSi Managing Director also says: “We look forward to meeting our partners and customers in the heart of the Midlands again in 2019.” Excellent opportunity to showcase products The Security Event will be the first time a major security exhibition has been held at the NEC Birmingham for more than five years and many feel the NEC has always been the true home of UK Security. Texecom marketing director Clym Brown agrees: “We’re partnering with The Security Event because it gives us the chance to reconnect with our installer base in the Midlands and North of the country.” This event provides an excellent opportunity to showcase our security portfolio and enhance our relationships with installers" Mick Goodfellow, GM Honeywell Security EMEA also expresses his delight at joining: “This event provides an excellent opportunity to showcase our security portfolio and in a location that allows us to enhance our relationships with our installer base.” Connecting with integrators Jarod Booth, Strategic Relationship Manager of Anixter shows his support “There is a gap in terms of opportunities to connect with integrators, end-users and installers outside of London and the South of England, and we feel that the location of The Security Event will help bridge that gap.” With 10 of the world’s most recognised security brands supporting the development and launch of the first edition, the industry can be assured that The Security Event will be the place to do business going forward.

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