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cameras can’t be used to prevent, detect and/or resolve crimes that occur in these areas, the entire security operation is obsolete Without proper lighting, potential criminals and moving objects essentially become indistinguishable, at night, thereby inhibiting even the most advanced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cameras can’t be used to prevent, detect and resolve crimes that occur in these areas, the entire security operation is obsolete.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 VIVOTEK news

VIVOTEK provides a rigorous surveillance system for Peyrelongue Chronos to prevent robbery and safeguard surroundings
VIVOTEK provides a rigorous surveillance system for Peyrelongue Chronos to prevent robbery and safeguard surroundings

For the jewellery business owner, ensuring the highest level of security has always been a top priority. VIVOTEK, the IP surveillance provider, has built up a rigorous surveillance system for Peyrelongue Chronos, a well-known luxury boutique offering high-end jewellery in Mexico, to monitor their precious products without any blind spots and to prevent robbery or theft. Peyrelongue Chronos has recently remodelled its facilities, including an overall of the video surveillance system. In search of the best solution to meet demands for both outside and inside the store, Peyrelongue Chronos found all of its requirements met by the wide range of VIVOTEK cameras. Harsh outdoor environment The 180-degree multi-sensor MS8391-EV was mounted on the facade of the boutique to maximize the field of view with 12-megapixel high-quality images and reduce the number of cameras required, thus cutting down installation costs. The camera is also ideal for the outdoors because of the robust housing that resists rain, dust and protects it from vandalism or tampering. The 180-degree multi-sensor MS8391-EV was mounted on the facade of the boutique To enhance the outdoor security of the building, two FD9360-H cameras were added to monitor the avenue in both directions and provide clear night views despite the harsh outdoor environment. Inside the Peyrelongue Chronos store, two of MS9390-HV, the most efficient panoramic network camera, were installed in the jewellery area to surveil all displays as well as all movements within them. Receiving alarm notification With its unique and stylish dual-sensor design, the MS9390-HV offers a 180-degree field of view and range of up to 20 metres, and is capable of maintaining a higher field of view (FOV) than traditional multi-sensor panoramic cameras using four sensors. Within the spacious and comfortable luxury watch area, two 12-megapixel fisheye cameras, the FE8191 and FE9191 were chosen to monitor the product showcases, delivering blind-spot-free 360-degree surround imaging of wide areas. Further enhancing performance, the FE9191 features AI-powered Video Content Analyses - Smart 360 VCA, including intrusion detection, crowd detection, and loitering detection, which enables the security staff to receive alarm notification for any notable event. Finally, for the shared area, such as aisles, entrances, and exits, the ability to capture high-quality images both in low light and high-contrast environments is a critical issue when selecting surveillance cameras. Providing quality service The most remarkable thing when working with VIVOTEK is technical support" The 5-megapixel and 2-megapixel dome cameras, FD9189-HM and FD8166A-N, were chosen precisely for this reason. The FD9189-HM is equipped with 30 metres range IR illuminators for enhanced night vision, and the FD8166A-N is armed with invisible 940nm IR illuminators and capable to see up to 6 metres in total darkness, making it a sure bet to meet all the surveillance requirements in transit zones within this renowned boutique. “Thanks to VIVOTEK’s high-level security system, we are confident that we can guarantee our clients the best experience from the moment they walk in. Peyrelongue Chronos feels secure with VIVOTEK’s surveillance solution while servicing clients,” pointed out Ana Lucía García, Marketing and PR Manager of Peyrelongue Chronos. “The most remarkable thing when working with VIVOTEK is technical support. They assisted me both pre-sale and post-sale to provide quality service to our customers. No matter what types of security issue my clients may have, I know I can solve it with VIVOTEK’s technology,” remarked Serafin Sanchez, Automatisation Server Manager and Integrator Certified by VIVOTEK.

VIVOTEK collaborates with Chiyu Technology on integrated access control and IP surveillance solution
VIVOTEK collaborates with Chiyu Technology on integrated access control and IP surveillance solution

VIVOTEK, the globally-renowned IP surveillance solution provider, has in recent years been committed to offering comprehensive solutions through multiple strategic alliances. Integrated access control  Partnering with Chiyu Technology, one of the most experienced access control system provider in Taiwan, VIVOTEK rolls out the latest integrated access control and IP surveillance solution, an one-stop shopping, seamless integration, and easily managed solution to meet the market's demand. Traditional access control system requires time, budget, and third-party partners to adopt and integrate the intelligent IP surveillance technology with it. This new integrated solution, however, can be adopted in various fields at once and establishes a considerably higher level of security. Equipped with facial recognition and video tagging With facial recognition and video tagging, the new solution can accurately verify who is entering a specified area With facial recognition and video tagging, the new solution can accurately verify who is entering a specified area and then subsequently track where visitors go once they have entered. VIVOTEK also provides a wide selection of versatile network cameras to deliver high-quality imagery in diverse and changing environmental conditions. More importantly, security staff can easily manage both IP surveillance and access control systems through VIVOTEK’s VAST 2, user-friendly, intuitive video management software. All of these advanced features combine to provide an enhanced user experience while simplifying procedures of device setting and management. IP surveillance and access control integration “The integration of IP surveillance and access control has become a growing trend for Smart Security Systems. I believe this cooperation with IP surveillance pioneer VIVOTEK will build a mutually beneficial partnership, making us more competitive in the global industry,” said Eric Chang, General Manager of Chiyu Technology. From network cameras, and access control systems to backend software, VIVOTEK provides one-stop shopping solutions to create a new standard of customer service. Strategic partnership “It is our pleasure to team up with Chiyu Technology. With their profound expertise in the industry, we can reinforce our solutions' capability and realise the potentials of our products. We will be relentlessly devoted to offering more comprehensive and compatible IP surveillance solutions to unlock new possibilities for different applications and vertical markets,” said William Ku, Executive Vice President of VIVOTEK Brand Business Group.

Security & Safety Things highlighted collaborative power of open systems at inaugural escon 2020 digital Ecosystem Conference
Security & Safety Things highlighted collaborative power of open systems at inaugural escon 2020 digital Ecosystem Conference

Security and Safety Things GmbH, along with a roster of pioneers, highlighted the benefit of an open approach at the first ever escon 2020 digital Ecosystem Conference last week, discussing the current successes and future developments of smart cameras and open systems. Security & Safety Things (S&ST) also offered a sneak preview of 2021, which included the company’s positioning as the fastest growing app store for smart cameras and several pilot projects in various vertical markets. “This past year offered us an opportunity to work together with our partners to find new ways to leverage our open ecosystem and address the challenges facing the global market, using the growing possibilities and innovative use cases in AI-enabled smart surveillance,” said Hartmut Schaper, Chief Executive Officer, Security & Safety Things. Harmonisation across systems “We are looking forward to continuing that industry transformation in 2021, and leveraging the ingenuity of the collaborative developer community. In effect integrators will be able to offer flexible, customised solutions and greater device choice for end users." Harmonisation across systems, Ma said, can help the industry unlock the power of data and bring value to stakeholders In addition to S&ST, speakers from industry pioneers spoke on the importance of open systems and a collaborative approach. Steve Ma, VP, Open Security & Safety Alliance and VP, VIVOTEK discussed how the current market is too fragmented - which has caused stagnation in the industry. Harmonisation across systems, Ma said, can help the industry unlock the power of data and bring value to stakeholders. AI powered smart devices José Daniel Garcia Espinel, Global Innovation Director for Prosegur, presented on the use of surveillance cameras as AI powered smart devices to enable new capabilities in security monitoring and response. Espinel talked about how the combination of video surveillance, AI based processing and predictive algorithms will help to further automate the operational model of Security Operation Centres, reducing the unsustainable demands on operators to constantly monitor different screens for activity.  Guest speaker highlights also included: Markus Berger-de León, Coach & Business Builder, McKinsey & Company highlighted the opportunities for the security industry, post-COVID-19 - as video analytic advancements for building security, automotive and retail environments grow Keven Marier, VP Technology Partners, Milestone discussed how an open approach offers developers different ways to infuse their technology into an ecosystem - offering more choice and flexibility to customers Vincent Poty, Digital Transformation Officer, STANLEY Security presented on the importance of turning security autonomy back to end-users, and the growing demand of a more data-centric approach Business development teams Key members of the S&ST product and business development teams provided updates on upcoming ecosystem and end user projects, including new industries of focus, such as customised solutions for transportation and harbour management, parking optimisation, and healthcare and elder care facilities. S&ST also highlighted their growing Market Application Store - featuring 70+ apps designed to address more than 32 use cases that can be customised based on customer request.

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