Dome cameras - Expert commentary

How smart technology is simplifying safety and security in retirement villages
How smart technology is simplifying safety and security in retirement villages

James Twigg is the Managing Director of Total Integrated Solutions (TIS), an independent life safety, security and communication systems integrator, specialising in design & consultancy, technology and regulatory compliance. Total Integrated Solutions work primarily with retirement villages, helping to ensure the safety of residents in numerous retirement villages across the country. In this opinion piece, James shares how smart technology is helping security teams and care staff alike in ensuring the safety and security of their spaces, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Impact of smart technology Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives. From how we travel, to how we work, to how we run our homes. It’s not unusual to have Alexa waking us up and ordering our groceries or Nest to be regulating the temperature and energy in our homes. And while there’s a popular misconception that people in their later years are allergic to technology, retirement villages and care homes are experiencing significant innovation too. And the result is not only improved quality of life for residents, but also improved safety and security systems for management teams. Switching to converged IP systems I’ve been working in the life safety and security industry for over fifteen years. When I first joined TIS, much of the sector was still very analogue, in terms of the technology being installed and maintained. Slowly but surely, we’ve been consulting and advising customers on how to design, install and maintain converged IP systems that all talk to each other and work in tandem. I'm excited to say retirement villages are some of the top spaces leading the way, in terms of technological advancement. Improving the quality of life for residents A move into a retirement village can be daunting and one of the key concerns that we hear about is the loss of independence. No one wants to feel like they are being monitored or to have someone constantly hovering over them. One of the ways we’ve used smart technology to maintain residents' independence is through devices, such as health monitors and motion sensors. For example, instead of having a member of staff check-in on residents every morning, to ensure they are well, sensors and analytics can automatically detect changes in routine and alert staff to possible problems. Similarly, wearable tech, such as smart watches give residents a chance to let staff know they are okay, without having to tell them face-to-face. As our retirement village customers have told us, a simple ‘I’m okay’ command can be the difference between someone feeling independent versus someone feeling monitored. Simplifying and improving security systems Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents For the teams responsible for the safety of the people, places and spaces within retirement villages, smart technology is helping to improve and simplify their jobs. Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents, and ensures rapid response if notified by an emergency alert, ensuring they know the exact location of the resident in need. And without the need to go and physically check-in on every resident, staff and management can ensure staff time is being used effectively. Resources can be distributed where they are needed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those residents who need extra consideration. 24/7 surveillance When planning the safety and security for retirement villages, and other residential spaces, it’s no use having traditional systems that only work effectively for 12 hours a day or need to update during the evening. Surveillance needs to be 24/7 and smart technology allows that without the physical intrusion into people’s spaces and daily lives. Smart technology ensures that systems speak to each other and are easily and effectively managed on one integrated system. This includes video surveillance, which has also become much more effective as a result of advanced video analytics, which automatically warn staff of suspicious behaviour. Securing spaces amid COVID-19 This year has, of course, brought new challenges for safety. COVID-19 hit the retirement and residential care sectors hard, first with the initial wave of infections in mid-2020 and then, with the subsequent loneliness caused by the necessary separation of families. As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed during this time, equipping residents with tablet devices to ensure they could stay connected with their families and friends. It allowed residents to keep in touch without risking transferring the virus. Thermal cameras and mask detection And now that we’re emerging out of COVID-19 restrictions and most residents can see their families again, we’re installing systems like thermal cameras and mask detection, so as to ensure that security will be alerted to anyone in the space experiencing a high temperature or not wearing proper PPE. Such steps give staff and families alike, the peace-of-mind that operational teams will be alerted at the earliest possible moment, should a COVID-19 risk appear. Thinking ahead to the next fifteen years, I’m excited at the prospect of further technological advancements in this space. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about how complex your security system is or how you compete in the industry. It’s about helping teams to protect the people, spaces and places that matter. I see smart technology playing a huge role in that for years to come.

The post-pandemic mandate for entertainment venues: Digitally transform security guards
The post-pandemic mandate for entertainment venues: Digitally transform security guards

As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes and sporting venues open-up to full capacity, a new disturbing trend has hit the headlines - poor fan behaviour. Five NBA teams have issued indefinite bans on fans, who crossed the line of unacceptable behaviour, during the NBA playoffs. Major League Baseball stadiums have a recurring problem with divisive political banners being strewn over walls, as part of an organised campaign, requiring fan ejections. There was a brawl between Clippers and Suns fans after Game 1 of their playoff series. And, the U.S. vs. Mexico Nations League soccer game over the Fourth of July weekend had to be halted, due to fans throwing objects at players and screaming offensive chants. Cracking down on poor fan behaviour Security directors are consistently reporting a disturbing uptick in poor fan attitude and behaviour With players across all major sports leagues commanding more power than ever before, they are demanding that sports venues crack down on poor fan behaviour, particularly when they are the targets of that behaviour. Whether it’s an extension of the social-media divisiveness that’s gripped society, or people unleashing pent up negative energy, following 15 months of social isolation, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, security directors are consistently reporting a disturbing uptick in poor fan attitude and behaviour. They’re also reporting a chronic security guard shortage, like many businesses that rely on relatively low-cost labour, finding candidates to fill open positions has been incredibly difficult. Low police morale To add the third component to this perfect storm, many police departments are struggling with morale issues and officers are less likely to put themselves into positions, where they could wind up in a viral video. According to the Police Executive Research Forum, police officer retirements in the U.S. were up 45% in the April 2020 - April 2021 period, when compared to the previous year. Resignations were up 18%. In this environment, officers may be less likely to undertake fan intervention unless it’s absolutely necessary. This can seem like the worst of times for venue security directors, as they need more staff to handle increasingly unruly patrons, but that staff simply isn’t available. And, because the security guard staffing industry is a commoditised business, companies compete almost solely on price, which requires that they keep salaries as low as possible, which perpetuates the lack of interest in people participating in the profession. Digital Transformation There is only one way out of this conundrum and that is to make security personnel more efficient and effective. Other industries have solved similar staffing and cost challenges through digital transformation. For example, only a small percentage of the total population of restaurants in the U.S. used to offer home delivery, due to cost and staffing challenges of hiring dedicated delivery personnel. Advent of digital efficiency tools But with the advent of digital efficiency tools, now virtually all restaurants can offer delivery But with the advent of digital efficiency tools, such as UberEATS and DoorDash, now virtually all restaurants can offer delivery. Likewise, field-service personnel are digitally connected, so when new jobs arise, they can be notified and routed to the location. Compare this to the old paper-based days, when they wouldn’t know about any new jobs until they picked up their work schedule at the office, the next day and you can see how digital transformation makes each worker significantly more efficient. Security guards and manned guarding The security guard business has never undergone this kind of digital transformation. The state-of-the-art ‘technology’ has never changed - human eyes and ears. Yes, there are video cameras all over stadiums and other venues, but behind the scenes is a guard staring at a bunch of monitors, hoping to identify incidents that need attention. Meanwhile, there are other guards stationed around the stadium, spending most of their time watching people who are doing nothing wrong. Think about all the wasted time involved with these activities – not to mention the relentless boredom and ‘alert fatigue’ from false-positive incident reporting and you understand the fundamental inefficiencies of this labour-based approach to security. Now think about a world where there’s ubiquitous video surveillance and guards are automatically and pre-emptively notified and briefed, when situations arise. The fundamental nature of the security guards profession changes. Instead of being low paid ‘watchers’, they instead become digitally-empowered preventers. AI-based screening and monitoring technology This world is happening today, through Artificial Intelligence-based screening and monitoring technology. AI-powered weapons-detection gateways inform guards, when a patron entering the venue is carrying a gun, knife or other forbidden item. Instead of patting down every patron with metal in their pockets, which has been the standard practice since walk-through metal detectors were mandated by sports leagues following 9/11, guards can now target only those who are carrying these specific items. Video surveillance and AI-based analytics integration Combining surveillance video with AI-based advanced analytics can automatically identify fan disturbances Combining surveillance video with AI-based advanced analytics can automatically identify fan disturbances or other operational issues, and notify guards in real time, eliminating the need to have large numbers of guards monitoring video feeds and patrons. The business benefits of digitally transformed guards are compelling. A National Hockey League security director says he used to have 300 guards manning 100 walk-through metal detectors. By moving to AI solutions, he can significantly reduce the number of scanning portals and guards, and most importantly redeploy and gain further operational efficiencies with his overall operational strategy. Changing staffing strategy This changes the staffing strategy significantly and elevates the roles of guards. Suddenly, a US$ 20-per-hour ‘job’ becomes a US$ 40-per-hour profession, with guards transformed into digital knowledge workers delivering better outcomes with digitally enabled staffs. Beyond that, these digitally transformed guards can spend a much higher percentage of their time focused on tasks that impact the fan experience – whether it’s keeping weapons out of the building, pro-actively dealing with unruly fans before a broader disruption occurs, or managing business operations that positively impact fan patron experience. Digitally transforming security guards Perhaps most important, digitally transforming security guards elevates the profession to a more strategic level, which means better pay for the guards, better service for clients of guard services, and an overall better experience for fans. That’s a perfect storm of goodness for everyone.

Safer Streets require real-time video analytics
Safer Streets require real-time video analytics

The UK government recently announced a doubling of the Safer Streets Fund to £45 million, as it seeks to reassure the public that safety is a top priority, as the night-time economy makes a return. More than just surveillance While this funding increase is much needed, it’s vital that the government and local councils use the money strategically, or risk missing out on a great opportunity to deliver real change and enhance safety across the United Kingdom. One of the main strategies cited by the government is to increase the current vast number of CCTV cameras installed across the country, despite the fact that the UK is already one of the most surveilled nations in the world. Investing in video analytics London alone has around 700,000 cameras, but to effectively monitor them all would be an incredibly inefficient use of manpower and require a huge number of staff. Therefore, I believe the clearest and most cost-effective way for this project to succeed in its overall mission, is by investing in smarter technology, such as video analytics. Incorporating video analytics into existing infrastructure is the clear solution This technology offers a more efficient use of resources, faster response times and enables more informed, time-critical decision making, when reacting to unfolding events in real time. Incorporating video analytics into existing infrastructure is the clear solution, as the technology enables legacy assets, such as analogue CCTV cameras, to become more than just after the fact evidence gathering tools and instead be used to help enhance real-time responses to unfolding incidents. Artificial intelligence-enabled solutions Artificial intelligence-enabled solutions are trained using vast datasets of images and video footage, in order to better understand people, objects and vehicles that are captured on film, and they continue ‘learning’ and improving, while in use. The system’s algorithms analyse and prioritise input from video data to decide which inputs are of value, automatically classifying the footage and notifying security personnel accordingly. This reduces response times by notifying CCTV operators of an incident, as it happens, meaning law enforcement and security personnel can react faster and intervene in an ongoing situation. Edge technology and real-time video streaming A key consideration should be choosing a technology that can operate at the edge and deliver real-time video streaming, even at the lowest bandwidths, so it isn’t limited to use in areas with good connectivity, which would exclude most remote areas. Quality really does matter and technology that can operate over low bandwidths is crucial for allowing operators to zoom in on areas of interest, such as a car number plate or face, and retrieve full-resolution images that can make a real difference in ongoing investigations. Analytics-based security approach Introducing an analytics-based security approach would also help curtail the rising cost of tackling crime Introducing an analytics-based security approach would also help curtail the rising cost of tackling crime. Research conducted by the UK’s Labour Party recently found that the annual cost of crime reached a staggering £100 billion. While statistics show that crime rates in general have been fairly stable over recent years, experts point to the increase in specific types of violent crime, such as knife crime which rose by over 20% during 2020. Implementing smart analytics-based technology Implementing smart analytics-based technology would help maintain staffing costs, as the system can identify incidents without an operator’s input, as well as reducing the cost of managing crime, as more incidents will be intervened in before they escalate too far. This dramatically reduces the burden on staff and allows a single surveillance operator to monitor many more cameras. On the other hand, this level of automation also reduces false alarm fatigue and operator overload, which can quickly sap efficiencies and reduce operator alertness, if left unchecked. Data driven problem-solving approach to crime prevention Procurement officials should avoid the common mistake of simply doubling down and throwing more staff and security assets at the problem to bring results. Instead, they should take a more data driven problem-solving approach to crime prevention by leveraging technologies that can enhance response and preserve their existing investments in cameras. The smart use of real-time video analytics could make the difference by preventing dangerous situations from escalating into serious incidents.

Latest IDIS news

IDIS announces the release of IDIS Intelligent Video Wall Station that offers affordable and effective centralised monitoring
IDIS announces the release of IDIS Intelligent Video Wall Station that offers affordable and effective centralised monitoring

The new IDIS Intelligent Video Wall Station, designed as a simple plug-in for the cost and licence-free IDIS Center VMS, brings the benefits of video wall services to a wider market, including smaller and mid-sized customers. The new offering makes it easier for businesses to plan, design, configure, and use dynamic video walls. It lets them optimise safety and security, with centralised monitoring for single or multiple-sites, without the traditional price tag.  IDIS Intelligent Video Wall Station Integrating seamlessly with IDIS’ full line-up of network and analogue cameras and devices, as well as third-party technologies, the IDIS Intelligent Video Wall Station uses a single server and network wall controller, to manage up to 12 UHD monitors as standard. The station connects up to 4,096 cameras and lets operators monitor 64 panes simultaneously, including de-warped 360-degree fish-eye video. Now, users can easily customise their monitors to display the most critical video streams and event data, to provide a real-time visual overview. Fast and efficient incident response The new solution combines remote and straightforward configuration with batch firmware updates Advanced features enable a quicker and more efficient incident response, paired with smoother and more dynamic video search, playback, and forensic export. The new solution combines remote and straightforward configuration with batch firmware updates, simple role-based access management, audit trails, and device health monitoring. For customers, this results in increased efficiency and minimal maintenance, delivering on the IDIS promise of a low total cost of ownership (TCO). Designed for 24/7 video surveillance operations And with H.264 and H.265 dual codec fully supported, users can retain their existing and third-party screens, reducing waste and saving budgets, or for upgrades, they can also choose from the IDIS range of reliable, low power consumption monitors, designed for powerful, but economical 24/7 surveillance operations. The IDIS Intelligent Video Wall Station also integrates seamlessly with the enterprise-level IDIS Solution Suite VMS, making it easy to expand or adapt the system, as operational requirements change, giving customers the assurance of a future-proof investment. Dynamic video wall monitoring solution “It’s more important than ever for organisations to enhance situational awareness, while increasing efficiency,” said Andrew Myung, the President at IDIS America. He adds, “The addition of the IDIS Intelligent Video Wall Station delivers the benefits of advanced and dynamic video wall monitoring, without the need to design and build dedicated control rooms, or incur the costs of traditional VMS recurring maintenance agreements, or ongoing device connection fees.”

YMCA protects ‘Heart of England’ facilities with IDIS
YMCA protects ‘Heart of England’ facilities with IDIS

YMCA Heart of England has upgraded video systems across its busy community facilities in Birmingham, Solihull, Rugby, and Coventry with a roll-out of end-to-end DirectIP technology from IDIS. Part of the international YMCA movement, YMCA Heart of England supports local people, including vulnerable groups, with services from housing to youth services. Need for end-to-end system Systems integrator Unison Integrated Technology was asked to replace YMCA’s poorly performing mix-and-match systems, incorporating elements from different vendors, with more efficient end-to-end technology from IDIS, Korea’s largest in-country video manufacturer. YMCA selected IDIS because the single-source model offers advantages including assured compatibility and ease of installation, lower up-front costs, ongoing tech support, and long-term value, all ensuring the lower total cost of ownership (TCO). IDIS was easy to implement due to the true, plug-and-play design, allowing the project to be completed  IDIS DirectIP® solution At the YMCA Birmingham centre, for example, the inefficient video has been replaced by an IDIS DirectIP® solution comprising a 32-channel NVR; 19 Full-HD vandal-resistant IR domes; and 11 Full-HD IR bullet cameras. The IDIS technology was easy to implement due to the true, plug-and-play design, allowing the project to be completed without interruption to day-to-day activity at the centre. 4k NVR box and bullet cameras The 2.8mm fixed lens 2MP dome and bullet cameras, equipped with true WDR and IR LED, were set up to capture crisp, clear images of the building exteriors, entrances and internal corridors, and communal areas day and night. And the powerful 4K NVR delivers throughput of up to 960ips real-time recording and live monitoring with no visible latency. IDIS deep learning analytics The new infrastructure will allow YMCA Heart of England to take advantage of increased video resolutions in the future Unison also opted to replace the entire legacy cabling, upgrading to a future-proofed Cat6. This new robust infrastructure will allow YMCA Heart of England to take advantage of increased video resolutions in the future, making it easy for them to adopt powerful yet affordable IDIS Deep Learning Analytics for a range of automated detection functions that trigger highly accurate alarms and notifications. The new solution is simple to use, with the license-free IDIS Centre VMS giving staff and authorised volunteers an intuitive interface to manage devices, benefitting from high-performance live monitoring and rapid retrieval of footage, while easily configuring user permissions to provide team members with appropriate role-based access rights. Cost-effective upgrade “YMCA Heart of England was so impressed with the results we delivered at their Birmingham centre they then asked us to upgrade all their premises across the whole region,” says Matthew Rodden, Director, Unison Integrated Technology. The entire project was completed in just four weeks. And reducing waste and costs further, several third-party legacy cameras were retained to operate seamlessly under the IDIS Centre VMS. “We are delighted that IDIS technology has proved to be the best solution for YMCA, with competitive up-front pricing and the low ongoing lifecycle costs,” says Reiss Spear, Sales Manager, IDIS Europe.

IDIS brings Solution Suite (ISS) version 3.5 with increased situational awareness and response
IDIS brings Solution Suite (ISS) version 3.5 with increased situational awareness and response

IDIS has released IDIS Solution Suite (ISS) version 3.5, its most powerful enterprise-class VMS yet. New features and service modules are designed around increased situational awareness, efficient response coordination, and sped-up investigations. A new Real-Time Transport Protocol (RTP) service enables seamless and stable video and voice relay to third-party devices and software without an SDK or API, increasing system flexibility and helping security teams coordinate responses to threats and incidents. Real-time monitoring Improving real-time monitoring, text-to-speech allows operators to pre-set verbal multi-lingual notifications to pre-determined events. Operatives can now also benefit from real-time pop-ups based on the GPS location of a triggered alarm, providing enhanced wide-area awareness from cameras ranging from a 10 to 100 kilometre radius. ISS v3.5 also includes instant synchronised playback, which presents operators with precisely time-synched screen views of video streams across single or multiple sites, removing the need for manual configuration, and reducing stress and complexity for operators, particularly during time-critical investigations. And the new Event Notification Center enables centralised control of multiple audio devices, giving security teams mass-and targeted-communications capabilities, which can help them to pre-empt security or safety breaches, or to issue warnings in the event of an emergency. Enterprise-class streaming IDIS person match speeds up investigations by extracting a person’s characteristics from multiple stream IDIS person match speeds up investigations by extracting a person’s characteristics from multiple streams to present a clear timeline of events and last known locations. All the new features work in harmony with enterprise-class streaming, recording, and administration functionality, and come with a fair pricing structure - no annual licence fees or OPEX burden - to make ISS significantly more affordable than traditional enterprise video management software. As a result, IDIS Solution Suite continues to cut annual costs for customers, making advanced video management available to more users, including medium-sized organisations and those with single sites. A modular solution, it allows users to choose the right service modules to meet their unique security, operational and compliance needs, meaning customers never pay for functionality they don’t use. Multi-layered failover The choice of modules includes federated architecture to manage an unlimited number of devices and sites using centralised and local command and control; multi-layered failover and redundancy offering protection against a range of fault conditions; video wall multi-stream management, and highly accurate IDIS Deep Learning Analytics (IDLA). “With our latest version of IDIS Solution Suite, we are making it easier than ever for users to manage an unlimited number of devices and sites, giving them enterprise-performance without the usual associated price tag or ongoing lifecycle costs,” says Andrew Myung, President, IDIS America.

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