Digital video recorders (DVRs) - Expert commentary

Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other
Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other

Human beings have a long-standing relationship with privacy and security. For centuries, we’ve locked our doors, held close our most precious possessions, and been wary of the threats posed by thieves. As time has gone on, our relationship with security has become more complicated as we’ve now got much more to be protective of. As technological advancements in security have got smarter and stronger, so have those looking to compromise it. Cybersecurity Cybersecurity, however, is still incredibly new to humans when we look at the long relationship that we have with security in general. As much as we understand the basics, such as keeping our passwords secure and storing data in safe places, our understanding of cybersecurity as a whole is complicated and so is our understanding of the threats that it protects against. However, the relationship between physical security and cybersecurity is often interlinked. Business leaders may find themselves weighing up the different risks to the physical security of their business. As a result, they implement CCTV into the office space, and alarms are placed on doors to help repel intruders. Importance of cybersecurity But what happens when the data that is collected from such security devices is also at risk of being stolen, and you don’t have to break through the front door of an office to get it? The answer is that your physical security can lose its power to keep your business safe if your cybersecurity is weak. As a result, cybersecurity is incredibly important to empower your physical security. We’ve seen the risks posed by cybersecurity hacks in recent news. Video security company Verkada recently suffered a security breach as malicious attackers obtained access to the contents of many of its live camera feeds, and a recent report by the UK government says two in five UK firms experienced cyberattacks in 2020. Cloud computing – The solution Cloud stores information in data centres located anywhere in the world, and is maintained by a third party Cloud computing offers a solution. The cloud stores your information in data centres located anywhere in the world and is maintained by a third party, such as Claranet. As the data sits on hosted servers, it’s easily accessible while not being at risk of being stolen through your physical device. Here’s why cloud computing can help to ensure that your physical security and the data it holds aren’t compromised. Cloud anxiety It’s completely normal to speculate whether your data is safe when it’s stored within a cloud infrastructure. As we are effectively outsourcing our security by storing our important files on servers we have no control over - and, in some cases, limited understanding of - it’s natural to worry about how vulnerable this is to cyber-attacks. The reality is, the data that you save on the cloud is likely to be a lot safer than that which you store on your device. Cyber hackers can try and trick you into clicking on links that deploy malware or pose as a help desk trying to fix your machine. As a result, they can access your device and if this is where you’re storing important security data, then it is vulnerable. Cloud service providers Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software in the personal computer Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software that is likely in place on your personal computer. Hyperscalers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Service (AWS) are able to hire countless more security experts than any individual company - save the corporate behemoth - could afford. These major platform owners have culpability for thousands of customers on their cloud and are constantly working to enhance the security of their platforms. The security provided by cloud service providers such as Claranet is an extension of these capabilities. Cloud resistance Cloud servers are located in remote locations that workers don’t have access to. They are also encrypted, which is the process of converting information or data into code to prevent unauthorised access. Additionally, cloud infrastructure providers like ourselves look to regularly update your security to protect against viruses and malware, leaving you free to get on with your work without any niggling worries about your data being at risk from hackers. Data centres Cloud providers provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and AI Additionally, cloud providers are also able to provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and artificial intelligence, as well as data redundancy, where the same piece of data is held within several separate data centres. This is effectively super-strong backup and recovery, meaning that if a server goes down, you can access your files from a backup server. Empowering physical security with cybersecurity By storing the data gathered by your physical security in the cloud, you're not just significantly reducing the risk of cyber-attacks, but also protecting it from physical threats such as damage in the event of a fire or flood. Rather than viewing your physical and cybersecurity as two different entities, treat them as part of one system: if one is compromised, the other is also at risk. They should work in tandem to keep your whole organisation secure.

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.

Latest BQT Solutions (UK) Ltd news

Ava Group to showcase its portfolio of security solutions at ISC West 2019
Ava Group to showcase its portfolio of security solutions at ISC West 2019

Ava Group (AVA), a provider of security risk management services and technology will be showcasing its portfolio of security solutions at ISC West - Las Vegas, booth 25103. ISC West is the largest converged security industry trade show in the US with the exhibition taking place from April 10-12th. The event provides a major platform for professional networking, sourcing new suppliers and introducing new products and technologies, encompassing everything from access control to unmanned vehicles. ISC West also includes the SIA Education@ISC conference programme, running from April 9-11th. Risk management services Ava Group’s technology division incorporates two well established security risk management companies - Future Fibre Technologies (FFT) and BQT Solutions, both of which will be on the booth this April. As a provider of risk management services and technologies, Ava Group offers a portfolio of complementary solutions encompassing both fiber optic intrusion detection as well as high security access control and locking. Ava Group is proud to present the latest solutions from its technology division, namely the Orca lock and latest enhancements to the Aura Ai-2 controller Ava Group is proud to present the latest solutions from its technology division, namely the Orca lock and latest enhancements to the Aura Ai-2 controller. The enhanced Aura Ai-2 from Future Fibre Technologies features unrivalled high-sensitivity detection, location accuracy, cut resilience capability and the industry’s longest linear range. Outdoor locking solution This product features new ultra-low noise optical detection electronics. This ensures a single controller can cover a distance up to 110 kilometers, accurately detecting, locating and reporting multiple disturbances to just +/- two meters. BQT Solutions will be demonstrating the new high-strength Orca lock (YG80) – providing ultimate security for all environments. Building on the success of the award winning YG10, the Orca lock is designed for securing gates, roller doors, shipping containers and any other large door or entryway. Alongside the Orca’s impressive physical attributes, a unique feature is its ability to fully integrate into an access control system, surpassing any other solutions available in the market. Orca is fully monitored, weatherproof, and user configurable - providing the perfect indoor and outdoor locking solution. Real-world projects The Ava Group team will be on hand to explain how its solutions are being used in real-world projects to address the latest threats As well as getting to know the product range, the Ava Group team will be on hand to explain how its solutions are being used in real-world projects to address the latest threats. Newly appointed Chief Operating Officer, Scott Basham commented, “We’ve seen continued growth in demand for our products in the US market and returning to ISC West provides us with a perfect platform to showcase our broad range of capabilities and explain to visitors how our product range can be applied to meet their particular needs. We always welcome the opportunity to be face-to-face with our customers worldwide and thoroughly enjoy being able to engage directly with the market in this way.” Fiber sensing technology Alongside their presence in the exhibition hall, Ava Group’s CTO – Technology, Dr Jim Katsifolis will be presenting ‘Fiber Optic Perimeter Intrusion Detection Systems (PIDS): Trends, Myths and Realities Revealed’ 10:15 am on April 9th, Sands 302. This presentation promises to cover how best to select appropriate fiber sensing technology products when specifying, as well as how to assess the true performance of such PIDS systems. With over 1,000 exhibitors and brands and an anticipated 30,000 security professionals, ISC West is a must-visit for anyone in the security risk industry.

AVA Group to showcase security solutions alongwith FFT and BQT solutions at Intersec Dubai 2019
AVA Group to showcase security solutions alongwith FFT and BQT solutions at Intersec Dubai 2019

Ava Group (AVA), a provider of security risk management services and technology will be showcasing its portfolio of security solutions at Intersec Dubai 2019, stand S3-C48. Intersec Dubai features a rich selection of exhibitors in Security, Safety & Fire Protection, attracting visitors from the Middle East, Africa, the Indian subcontinent and well beyond. Ava Group will be presenting the latest exciting solutions from its technology division - which incorporates Future Fibre Technologies (FFT) and BQT Solutions. As a provider of risk management services and technologies, Ava Group offers a portfolio of complementary solutions encompassing both fibre optic intrusion detection and high security access control and locking. Increased investment As a key event for the region and beyond, Intersec Dubai is the perfect way for security providers and buyers to start 2019" Mark Horton, Global Sales & Marketing Director commented, “As a key event for the region and beyond, Intersec Dubai is the perfect way for security providers and buyers to start 2019. Our solutions offer the very latest in security technology and the highest levels of protection, key benefits that we know are always well-received by visitors at the event.” Mark continued, “Over the last couple of years we have seen a significant growth in demand for our products in the Middle East, with increased investment in infrastructure across the region as a whole. Because of continued growth in the market, we have also invested in the expansion of our Dubai-based office and regional support team to ensure we are perfectly placed to supply and service our customers.” Reporting multiple disturbances Future Fibre Technologies will be showcasing its enhanced Aura Ai-2 controller. Featuring unrivalled high-sensitivity detection, location accuracy, cut resilience capability and the industry’s longest linear range - this product features new ultra-low noise optical detection electronics. This ensures a single controller can cover a distance up to 110 kilometres, accurately detecting, locating and reporting multiple disturbances to just +/- two metres. Also on stand S3-C48, BQT Solutions will be demonstrating the new high-strength Orca lock to the middle east market Also on stand S3-C48, BQT Solutions will be demonstrating the new high-strength Orca lock to the middle east market. Building on the success of the award winning YG10, the Orca lock is designed for securing gates, roller doors, shipping containers and any other large door or entryway. Alongside the Orca’s impressive physical attributes, a unique feature is its ability to fully integrate into an access control system, surpassing any other solutions available in the market. Security risk management Orca is fully monitored, weatherproof, and user configurable - providing the perfect indoor and outdoor locking solution. As well as the products themselves, the Ava Group team will be on hand to explain how its solutions are being used in real-world projects to address the latest threats. Mark concluded, “We are looking forward to discussing recent key examples of our technology in action, including a major military closed data network where our data network infrastructure protection solution is protecting against tapping and tampering. These projects illustrate the depth of our expertise in security risk management and highlight the level of protection which we achieve to client’s assets and infrastructure. If you are visiting the event come and have a chat with our friendly and expert team on Stand S3-C48 about your specific security needs.”

BQT Solutions launches weatherproof and fully integrated Orca lock for securing gates and large doors
BQT Solutions launches weatherproof and fully integrated Orca lock for securing gates and large doors

BQT Solutions, a provider of high security card and biometric readers and locks, has launched its new Orca weatherproof lock which provides industry-leading strength, unparalleled environmental durability and seamless access control integration for securing gates, roller doors, shipping containers, and any other large door or entryway. Matthew Nye-Hingston, CTO of BQT Solutions Locking division commented, “Orca is the ultimate weatherproof lock, providing the complete combination of strength, security and convenience in one solution. It encompasses the features found in premium electronic locks, with the physical strength and function required to secure doors of any shape, whatever size.” Integration into access control system Key features such as an IP67 rated design and built-in heater enable the Orca to withstand extreme weather environments including hot and cold climatesOrca lock is the latest generation of roller lock from BQT Solutions, building on an impressive portfolio that includes the YG10 – winner of the SIA New Product Showcase Award in the Lock Systems and Secure Storage Containers category presented at ISC West 2018. Along with its highly impressive physical attributes, Orca’s ability to integrate into an access control system is what elevates its abilities well beyond anything else on the market. Orca is fully monitored and user-configurable, whilst being impervious to weather or environmental challenges making it perfect for deployment indoors or outdoors. Orca’s standout features include: High Security Performance - With a holding force in excess of 50,000N, 18mm diameter stainless steel bolt pin and reinforced strike design, the Orca lock ensures the most sensitive sites remain protected from even the most vigorous methods of attack. Fully Weatherproof - Key features such as an IP67 rated design and built-in heater enable the Orca to withstand extreme weather environments including hot and cold climates, marine and desert conditions. Highly Configurable - Orca can be adapted to suit a wide range of application requirements, with user selectable fail safe/fail secure modes and three user selectable control methods. Complete Monitoring - Orca can truly become a part of the access control system, with a range of output signals including: bolt locked and unlocked position, door position, and tamper detection. Versatile Installation - A symmetrical design means Orca can be installed both horizontally and vertically, giving greater flexibility to installers looking for optimum positioning. Low Cost Running - With the heater disabled, Orca offers low current consumption, drawing as little as 30mA in standby and only 300mA in operation at 12VDC. Long-term Reliability - A high quality low voltage motor is the key to the Orca’s reliability while stainless steel and wear resistant plastic components ensure complete peace of mind for any security operator. Optimal heavy-duty monitored lock BQT Solutions is a specialist in the development, manufacture and supply of high quality, high security card and biometric readersMatthew added, “Orca is the perfect heavy-duty monitored lock for any integrated security solution. Our highly-skilled team in New Zealand has worked hard to ensure we bring a product to the market that we truly believe is the best of its kind. With several exhibitions lined up in the new year, we are looking forward to showing more customers how Orca can secure their installations.” An Ava Group company, BQT Solutions is a specialist in the development, manufacture and supply of high quality, high security card and biometric readers, electromechanical locks and related electronic security products. The company provides a wide range of both off-the-shelf solutions and purpose tailored solutions. Working with major system integrators, security consultants and end users, BQT Solutions develops tailored access control solutions to fulfil a range of access control requirements. From standalone units to fully integrated enterprise solutions, BQT access control systems are designed to provide maximum security, maximum value – and a migration path to meet present and future needs.

Related white papers

Ensuring cybersecurity of video

Security investments retailers should consider for their 2021 budget

Understanding video management systems