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 Videotec news

Videotec added video analysis and advanced GeoMove features to NVX video cameras
Videotec added video analysis and advanced GeoMove features to NVX video cameras

With the goal of constantly improving the performance of its products, Videotec has now added the new video analysis and GeoMove functions to its NVX cameras. This versatile compact stainless-steel camera is already well known on the market for its exceptional corrosion resistance and for providing high image quality with Full HD, super low-light, 1080p and 30x zoom, with bright clear colours in even the poorest lighting conditions. The NVX camera is used in the maritime sector onboard vessels or as part of traffic control in ports, as well as on railways, transport and industrial process environments. Accurate detection The NVX has been enhanced with Videotec Analytics technology which integrates robust algorithms to ensure accurate detection in even the most adverse external environmental conditions. It offers the operator complete situational awareness at all times. The detection algorithm even works with rain, snow, or low contrast, camera vibrations, sudden changes in changes in light or shadows and in the presence of small animals or insects. Alarm activation Depending on the rules set up by the user, an alarm is generated if an item enters, exits, appears or stopsDepending on the rules set up by the user, an alarm is generated if an item enters, exits, appears or stops for too long within an area. Any violation of these rules will activate the alarm and the other programmed actions. Up to ten rules for each preset can be quickly and easily set up. GeoMove function A particularly interesting feature is the possibility of geo-localising the NVC video cameras on maps to support the new GeoMove and GeoMove&Track features in combination with one or more Videotec PTZ cameras. The GeoMove feature is very useful in perimeter surveillance systems and for port traffic monitoring because it lets the video cameras detect and capture any object through its geographic coordinates, even in critical visibility conditions. Integrated analytics The GeoMove function can be activated via an NVX camera with integrated Videotec Analytics which provides the target’s coordinates to one or more Videotec PTZ(s) and they, in turn, use the coordinates to frame the target. Coordinates can also be sent via third-party software, such as VMS (Video Management Software) or VTS (Vessel Tracking Service) for navigation control, or via radar control systems. GeoMove&Track function GeoMove&Track provides the advantage of having a turnkey detection, positioning, and tracking solution Furthermore, if the PTZ that receives the target’s coordinates has Videotec Analytics integrated, then it can also start the GeoMove&Track function, independently recognising and autonomously tracking the geolocated target. Thanks to GeoMove&Track, the system made up of Videotec fixed and PTZ cameras provide the advantage of having a complete, turnkey detection, positioning and tracking solution guaranteed by Videotec. Marine environment The NVX camera is Lloyd's Register Type Approval System Test Specification Number 1 certified and can therefore be used in marine environments. Such as on boats and ships on open decks, in enclosed spaces, in technical areas that are subject to the heat generated by other equipment or as visual support for docking manoeuvres. Weather protected The total protection against inclement weather and the option of cleaning the camera with high-pressure and high-temperature water jets is guaranteed by the IP66/IP67/IP68/IP69 protection grades. The NVX has been tested and certified from -40°C to +65°C. Models with an integrated wiper or with a polycarbonate window are available for use in the food industry. Design and integration Mounting an NVX is quick and easy, even in confined spaces, thanks to its compact design, lightweight, practical quick-fit connectors and versatile modular support for mounting on walls, ceilings or parapets. Developed entirely by the Videotec R&D team, NVX offers the Videotec guarantee of being a reliable, cyber-safe and future-proof platform that can be easily integrated with third-party products.

Videotec launches COMB, the new polycarbonate communication box
Videotec launches COMB, the new polycarbonate communication box

Videotec has expanded its range of communication boxes with the new COMB. This product has been designed for use in non-hazardous applications and is robust with its external polycarbonate and extraordinary resistance to external agents. COMB is much more than a simple junction box. It has everything that you need for a state-of-the-art installation and correct operation of one or more Videotec IP or analogue cameras. It provides local low voltage power to connected devices. Functions and features COMB enables fast Ethernet connection thanks to the integrated Ethernet switch equipped with three RJ45 ports and an SFP port (MSA compliant) for fibre optic connection. COMB comes with an extended/industrial range of electronics. The internal board offers 2 bypasses for analogue video signals and 2 bypasses for I/O signals with multipolar connectors. COMB can manage systems that consist of a Videotec PTZ camera with or without the Videotec washing kit; up to two Videotec fixed cameras with or without the Videotec washing kit; or one Videotec fixed camera and one Videotec PTZ without washing kits. Internally, the unit has been designed with easy cable access and convenient connection operations in mind. COMB guarantees maximum protection against impact (IK10) and weather (IP66/IP67/IP68/IP69, and NEMA TYPE 4X and TYPE 6P). Obtained Lloyd’s Register Marine Type Approval certification for the maritime and naval sector. It also complies with railway application standards. COMB is the competitive integrated solution for the professional installation of Videotec cameras in industrial and marine environments.

Videotec announces NXPTZ SERIES2, the new PTZ in stainless steel for corrosive environments
Videotec announces NXPTZ SERIES2, the new PTZ in stainless steel for corrosive environments

Videotec, a company with more than thirty years of experience in stainless steel product development for video surveillance in marine offshore/onshore and corrosive industrial environments, announces NXPTZ SERIES2, the new generation of PTZ Full HD video cameras with innovative and high-performance features for outdoor preventive security applications in the most difficult environmental conditions. PTZ product range The PTZ range has been completely revamped and expanded to include visible Day/Night Super low-light, FullHD 1080p-60fps video cameras with DELUX or SONY FCB-EV7520 technology, capable of producing impeccable image clarity even in the most difficult lighting conditions. New thermal PTZ or dual vision network PTZ models are also available for extreme precision in the detection and perimeter monitoring and high-risk environment monitoring and monitoring with poor lighting conditions. The integrated thermal video cameras also offer radiometry features for precise temperature readings, useful in monitoring industrial processes. Intrusion detection for outdoor applications Videotec analytics uses algorithms for accurate detection and precise auto-tracking in most adverse environmental conditions Advanced video analysis features are now available for these PTZ cameras, thanks to Videotec Analytics. This excellent new technology in preventive intrusion detection for outdoor applications, developed entirely by Videotec, uses very strong algorithms for highly accurate detection and precise and fluid auto-tracking even in the most adverse environmental conditions. The detection algorithm is particularly reliable even with the rain, snow, camera vibrations, low contrast, sudden changes in light or shadows and in the presence of small animals or insects. Perimeter surveillance systems The new NXPTZ SERIES2 PTZ video cameras can be geo-localised on the maps to support the GeoMove and GeoMove&Track features. The GeoMove feature is very useful in perimeter surveillance systems and for port traffic control because it lets you capture any target through geographic coordinates, even in critical visibility or offshore conditions. Video management software In a video surveillance system, the GeoMove feature can typically be activated using a camera with Videotec Analytics on board, or through third-party software such as Video Management Software (VMS), which provide the geographic coordinates of a target and use them to guide the Videotec PTZ cameras to capture the target. The coordinates can also be sent in the same way using Vessel Tracking Services (VTS - navigation control services) or using radar control systems. Video analytics SERIES2 video camera can connect the PTZ over fibre optics owing to the SFP module slot on the base unit Furthermore, PTZ video cameras with Videotec Analytics on board can activate the GeoMove&Track feature. In this case, the Videotec PTZ camera that receives the coordinates of the target, thanks to the video analytics, can also recognise and autonomously follow the geo-localised target. Compared to the previous generation, the SERIES2 video cameras can easily connect the PTZ over fibre optics, thanks to the SFP module slot installed directly on the base of the unit. Operating efficiency The NXPTZ SERIES2 PTZ cameras can operate in corrosive environments, thanks to their solid construction in AISI 316L stainless steel with micro shot-peened and electro-polished surfaces, and the extreme precision adopted during the construction processes. The IP66/IP67/IP68/IP69 grades, in addition, to guarantee total protection against inclement weather, allows the device to be cleaned with high-pressure jets of hot water and temporary submersion. NXPTZT SERIES2 maintains maximum operating efficiency with temperatures from -40°F to +149°F. Quality, cyber security, reliability Videotec owns the design know-how for all of its products and this allows total control of mechanics, electronics, positioning, networking, software and firmware. This represents a significant competitive advantage in meeting the needs of personalised solutions or integrations with third-party systems, all with the guarantee of Videotec quality, cyber security and reliability.

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