Fibre optics, telemetry receivers, transmitters, transceivers - Expert commentary

Live-streaming mobile surveillance takes cameras to the action
Live-streaming mobile surveillance takes cameras to the action

Video surveillance across the world is growing exponentially and its major application is in both public safety and law enforcement. Traditionally, it has been fixed surveillance where cameras provide live streams from fixed cameras situated in what is considered strategic locations. But they are limited in what they can see given by their very definition of being "fixed." The future of video surveillance includes the deployment of more mobile video surveillance with the benefits it offers. Instead of fixed cameras, this is the ability to live stream from mobile devices on the move such as body-worn cams, drones, motorbikes, cars, helicopters and in some cases, even dogs!Sending drones into the air, for example for missing people or rescue missions, is much more cost-effective than deploying helicopters Advantages of mobile surveillance The advantage of mobile surveillance is that the camera can go to where the action is, rather than relying on the action going to where the camera is. Also, sending drones into the air, for example for missing people or rescue missions, is much more cost-effective than deploying helicopters. The ability to live stream video from cars and helicopters in high-speed pursuits can be used to take some of the operational issues from the first responders on the ground and share that “life and death” responsibility with the operational team leaders back in the command centre. This allows the first responders in the pursuit vehicle to focus on minimising risk while staying in close proximity of the fleeing vehicle, with direction from a higher authority who can see for themselves in real time the issues that are being experienced, and direct accordingly. In addition to showing video live stream from a pursuit car or motorcycle, by using inbuilt GPS tracking, the video can be displayed on a map in real time, allowing a command chief to better utilise additional resource and where to deploy them, through the use of displaying mapping information with real time video feed. It allows police chiefs to make better informed decisions in highly-charged environments. The 4G phone network can now be used with compressed video to live stream cost effectively Application in emergency situations The same is true of first responders in many different emergency situations. Mobile surveillance opens up a new area of efficiencies that previously was impossible to achieve. For example, special operations can wear action body-worn cameras when doing raids, fire departments can live stream from emergency situations with both thermal and daylight cameras, and paramedics can send video streams back to hospitals allowing doctors to remotely diagnose and prepare themselves for when patients arrive at the hospital. How can special operations and emergency first responders live stream video from a mobile camera with the issues of weight, reliability and picture-quality being considered? H265 mobile video compression Law enforcement insists on secure transmissions, and it is possible to encrypt video to the highest level of security available in the public domain The 4G phone network can now be used with compressed video to live stream cost effectively. The issue of course is that 4G is not always reliable. Soliton Systems has mitigated this risk of low mobile quality in certain areas, by building an H265 mobile video compression device that can use multiple SIM cards from different cellular providers simultaneously. H265 is the latest compression technique for video, that is 50% more effective than conventional H264, and coupling this with using multiple “bonded” SIM cards provides a highly reliable connection for live-streaming high-quality HD video. The 400-gram device with an internal battery can be connected to a small action cam, and can live-stream simultaneously over at least three different cellular providers, back to a command centre. Latency is typically less than a second, and new advance improvements are looking to reduce that latency further. Encrypted video transmission What about security? Law enforcement insists on secure transmissions, and it is possible to encrypt video to the highest level of security available in the public domain, i.e. AES256.What about integration into existing video infrastructure at the command centre? It is not untypical for a police force to have an existing video management system (VMS) at their command centre such as Milestone System’s Xprotect. The Soliton range of products are ONVIF-compliant, a standard used by video surveillance cameras for interoperability, allowing cameras and video devices that are ONVIF-compliant to simply “plug&play” into existing video management systems. These mobile transmitters are deployed with law enforcement and first responders across the globe. Their ability to provide secure, full HD quality and highly-reliable video streaming within a small unit, and to enable it to be integrated into the current eco-system that is already installed at the receiving end, has made them a favourite choice with many companies and government agencies.

Why live video streaming is critical for safer and smarter cities
Why live video streaming is critical for safer and smarter cities

The term “smart city” gets thrown around a lot nowadays, but as different technologies that strive to be defined in this way are adopted by different countries globally, the meaning of this phrase gets lost in translation. The simplest way to define a “smart city” is that it is an urban area that uses different types of data collecting sensors to manage assets and resources efficiently. One of the most obvious types of “data collecting sensor” is the video camera, whether that camera is part of a city’s existing CCTV infrastructure, a camera in a shopping centre or even a police car’s dash camera. The information gathered by video cameras can be used with two purposes in mind, firstly: making people’s lives more efficient, for example by managing traffic, and secondly (and arguably more importantly): making people’s lives safer. Live streaming video all the time, everywhere In the smart and safe city, traditional record-only video cameras are of limited use. Yes, they can be used to collect video which can be used for evidence after a crime has taken place, but there is no way that this technology could help divert cars away from an accident to avoid traffic building up, or prevent a crime from taking place in the first place. However, streaming live video from a camera that isn’t connected to an infrastructure via costly fibre optic cabling has proven challenging for security professionals, law enforcement and city planners alike. This is because it isn’t viable to transmit video reliably over cellular networks, in contrast to simply receiving it. Video transmission challenges Transmitting video normally results in freezing and buffering issues which can hinder efforts to fight crime and enable flow within a city, as these services require real-time, zero latency video without delays. Therefore, special technology is required that copes with poor and varying bandwidths to allow a real-time view of any scene where cameras are present to support immediate decision making and smart city processes. The information gatheredby video cameras can beused to make people’s lives more efficient, and to make people’s lives safer There are many approaches to transmitting video over cellular. We’ve developed a specialist codec (encoding and decoding algorithm) that can provide secure and reliable video over ultra-low bandwidths and can therefore cope when networks become constrained. Another technique, which is particularly useful if streaming video from police body worn cameras or dash cams that move around, is to create a local wireless “bubble” at the scene, using Wi-Fi or mesh radio systems to provide local high-bandwidth communications that can communicate with a central location via cellular or even satellite communications. Enhanced city surveillance Live video streaming within the smart and safe city’s infrastructure means that video’s capabilities can go beyond simple evidence recording and evolve into a tool that allows operations teams to monitor and remediate against incidents as they are happening. This can be taken one step further with the deployment of facial recognition via live streaming video. Facial recognition technology can be added on to any video surveillance camera that is recording at a high enough quality to identify faces. The technology works by capturing video, streaming the live video back to a control centre and matching faces against any watch lists that the control centre owns. Importantly, the data of people who aren’t on watch lists is not stored by the technology. Identifying known criminals This technology can work to make the city safer in a number of ways. For example, facial recognition could spot a known drug dealer in a city centre where they weren’t supposed to be, or facial recognition could identify if a group of known terror suspects were visiting the same location at the same time, and this would send an alert to the police. Facial recognition technology captures and streams live back to a control centre, matching faces against any watch lists that the control centre owns In an ideal world where the police had an automated, electronic workflow, the police officer nearest to the location of the incident would be identified by GPS and would be told by the control room where to go and what to do. Most police forces aren’t quite at this technological level yet, and would probably rely on communicating via radio in order to send the nearest response team to the scene. As well as this, shopping centres could create a database from analogue records of known shoplifters to identify criminals as soon as they entered the building. This would be even more effective if run co-operatively between all shopping centres and local businesses in an area, and would not only catch any known shoplifters acting suspiciously, but would act as a deterrent from shoplifting in the first place. Live streaming for police As mentioned above, live streaming video from CCTV cameras can help the police fight crime more proactively rather than reactively. This can be enhanced even further if combined with live streaming video from police car dash cams and police body worn cameras. If video was streamed from all of these sources to a central HQ, such as a police operations centre, the force would be able to have full situational awareness throughout an incident. This would mean that, if need be, officers could be advised on the best course of action, and additional police or other emergency services could be deployed instantly if needed. Incorporated with facial recognition, this would also mean that police could instantly identify if they were dealing with known criminals or terrorists. Whilst they would still have to confirm the identity of the person with questioning or by checking their identification, this is still more streamlined than describing what a person looks like over a radio and then ops trying to manually identify if the person is on a watch list. The smart, safe city is possible today – for one, if live video streaming capabilities are deployed they can enable new levels of flow in the city. With the addition of facial recognition, cities will be safer than ever before and law enforcement and security teams will be able to proactively stop crime before it happens by deterring criminal activity from taking place at all.

Surge protection for security installations: 2017 saw increased investment
Surge protection for security installations: 2017 saw increased investment

In 2017, DITEK saw how power surges from the many natural disasters that took place damaged many businesses. In a natural disaster, or even everyday business operations, a facility’s entire investment in security, life safety and surveillance systems technology can be disabled or rendered useless in a few seconds. Surge protection solutions can mitigate those risks and protect security investments. Proactive approach to risk mitigation Throughout 2017, we also witnessed a change in how enterprises view surge protection, which included how investments are being made in surge protection to protect valuable security, life safety and surveillance systems, while also reducing downtime, manpower costs, liability vulnerabilities, and possibly compliance issues that can force businesses to actually cease operations. Effective security management is about mitigating risks. But risks cannot be mitigated without a proactive approach. Enterprises and integrators, who take the time to assess risk and to develop a strategy to incorporate effective detection, deter and response criteria to protect physical assets will be successful in 2018. 2018 and beyond That strategy includes designing surge protection into new security systems, while also adding surge protection to existing systems. Enterprises and security integrators who implement a surge protection strategy during security planning processes – or after – will be exercising prevention and mitigation, and they will be successful in 2018 and beyond.  Surge protection devices have an untapped potential for enterprise surveillance and security systems In 2017, Ditek continued to offer security end users a solid surge protection solution. We also successfully educated system integrators, who are seeking value-added products or services to incorporate into their portfolios, on the importance of surge protection devices. Educating security integrators We believe that surge protection devices have an untapped potential for enterprise video surveillance and security systems, because they can and do meet safety and security challenges that have been rarely identified in the past. We are looking forward to 2018, when we will continue to develop new surge protection products – including a new product engineered to protect up to twelve individual fuel dispensers, which is critical to the financial operation of convenience stores. We will also continue to educate security integrators about the importance of including surge protection in the design/build RFP, to not only secure an enterprise’s valuable security equipment, but also to help integrators to differentiate their capabilities and knowledge from the competition.

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Advanced installs an intelligent network of Axis EN fire control panels to secure Ho Chi Minh City’s HaDo Centrosa Garden
Advanced installs an intelligent network of Axis EN fire control panels to secure Ho Chi Minh City’s HaDo Centrosa Garden

An intelligent network of 20 Axis EN fire panels from fire and life safety systems manufacturer, Advanced, have been installed at HaDo Centrosa Garden in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. HaDo Centrosa Garden is a 70,000 sq. m development of eight 30-storey luxury residential towers and 115 townhouses, located in the heart of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. The upscale condominium complex’s facilities will include a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, fitness centre, rooftop gardens, a park, school, library and commercial centre. System with high-speed networking capabilities Vietsafe and KP Technology were confident in Axis EN’s ability to deliver the seamless networking needed A key requirement for this large-scale complex was a system with high-speed networking capabilities, to enable instantaneous sharing of communications between panels. To meet this need, fire protection companies Vietsafe and KP Technology chose 20 Advanced Axis EN fire alarm control panels, alongside 3,000 addressable devices, for installation in the eight residential towers. With many successful installations of Advanced products undertaken by both companies, Vietsafe and KP Technology were confident in Axis EN’s ability to deliver the seamless networking needed, while its ease of installation, testing, commissioning and operation would ensure minimal issues once the panels were on site. Axis EN fire alarm control panels installed Le Manh Dung, Director of Vietsafe, said “An Axis EN fire system was the clear choice for a project of this nature. Advanced is well respected in the fire industry, and its solutions are straightforward in terms of installation and operation, thanks to features such as built-in isolators for sequence addressing, which considerably reduces installation time.” Axis EN is EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13 approved and its panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed, multi-loop networks of up to 200 nodes covering huge areas. Advanced’s reputation for ease of installation and configuration, as well as its wide peripheral range make its products customisable to almost any application. False alarm management and reduction Pham Thanh Phong, Director of KP Technology, said “As a key partner to KP Technology, Advanced is a fire system supplier we can trust, to deliver high-performing, high-quality solutions that are easy to install and to use. Features such as Axis EN’s false alarm management and reduction capabilities are extremely useful in high-rise residential sites, such as HaDo Centrosa Garden.” Pham Thanh Phong adds, “Repeated false alarms are not only intrusive, they can also lead to complacency and delayed reactions to real fire alarms. Having the ability to refine and configure protection so specifically, and according to the requirements of specific areas within a building, helps to keep unwanted alarms to a minimum and reduces disruption and risk for residents.” AlarmCalm software and MxPro 5 fire system AlarmCalm software comes as standard with any Axis EN and MxPro 5 fire system AlarmCalm software comes as standard with any Axis EN and MxPro 5 fire system, taking advantage of Advanced’s high-speed robust panels and networks to offer a best-in-class solution for managing verification and investigation delays to outputs. It allows the false alarm management strategy for a site to be refined precisely and to take account of occupants’ needs and area usage. It also includes the optional AlarmCalm button, a loop device that allows residents or trained staff to indicate whether they believe a signal in their area is due to a false alarm. Axis EN fire system Tin Le Than, Advanced’s Sales and Business Development Manager for South East Asia, said “As a modern, vibrant complex for thousands of people living and working in the centre of Ho Chi Minh, the fire protection for the HaDo Centrosa Garden development is a key priority.” Tin Le Than adds, “As an industry-renowned solution, the Axis EN fire system will deliver complete peace of mind to the building owners and residents of the complex. I am pleased to have been able to support our fantastic partners at Vietsafe and KP Technology with the equipment needed to fulfill their requirements.” Global projects Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 Company, Halma PLC, protects a wide range of sites across South East Asia including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, University of Macau and Hong Kong Central Library. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day.

Southern Fire & Security and Acctive Systems enhance security systems design with Axis Communications’ AXIS Site Designer
Southern Fire & Security and Acctive Systems enhance security systems design with Axis Communications’ AXIS Site Designer

Two renowned systems integrators have improved their ability to more effectively specify and design advanced physical security systems, using the dedicated tool, AXIS Site Designer. AXIS Site Designer AXIS Site Designer is a unique and free web application from Axis Communications, a market renowned company in network video solutions, which makes the specification and design of complex security systems quicker and easier. Having recently deployed the solution, two of Axis partners, Southern Fire & Security Ltd. and Acctive Systems, have been able to evidence a more sophisticated process and have won clients as a result. Security devices and sensors As physical security technology continues to advance, in order to keep up with the ever-evolving threat landscape, coupled with more security devices and sensors being added to IT networks, the task of specifying such systems has become more complex. The principal challenges for those working in the industry are to be able to properly illustrate to buyers the capabilities of such devices and also to demonstrate how they can work together to secure a site. This web application holds the solution. Powerful and versatile design tool AXIS Site Designer revolutionises the specification and design process AXIS Site Designer revolutionises the specification and design process, by allowing an entire solution to be mapped out to the finest detail. The powerful and highly versatile tool removes any guesswork or element of trial and error, making it easy to create the right system to fit the exact operational requirements and needs of a prospect or client. The application even allows floor plans of the target site to be added, and virtual placement of cameras and devices enables viewing of the coverage they will provide, once installed. Partner with Southern Fire & Security and Acctive Systems Sean Mcnaboe, Axis Communications’ Key Account Manager, explains “The benefits of AXIS Site Designer are numerous. It helps streamline design workflow, simplify demos of security products and accessories, and even generate quotations and change items in a bill of materials within minutes.” Sean Mcnaboe adds, “Axis has been working closely with two partners, Southern Fire & Security and Acctive Systems, to help them drive their businesses forward while meeting, and often exceeding, the evolving requirements of customers.” Security and surveillance systems specification Southern Fire & Security has recently taken on the specification of security and surveillance systems for several high value properties around the London area, so being able to accurately specify dedicated solutions is critical to secure ongoing business. Acctive Systems, a renowned integrator of electronic security systems, needed a method of specifying security systems that would allow it to demonstrate an entire setup and its component parts via digital means. Efficient designing of surveillance systems AXIS Site Designer is an empowering leap forward in the design of surveillance systems Steve Wilson, Director at Southern Fire & Security, explains “Being able to make only basic recommendations around the use of appropriate technologies has been a key challenge for us. It’s very difficult to plan some of the more involved projects in detail, so we desperately needed a way to be able to visualise an entire estate and how a solution would operate.” AXIS Site Designer is an empowering leap forward in the design of surveillance systems, allowing for greater speed and efficiency, and enabling more effective management of any project. Enhancing customer satisfaction High quality designs and other outputs create a level of professionalism that is a major plus point when vying for business, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and pointing towards greater revenue prospects. Gerry Numa, the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Acctive Systems, said “AXIS Site Designer delivers everything we anticipated, and more, setting us ahead of our competitors when it comes to slick, professional looking project design. I would encourage other businesses to reach out to Axis to find out how the application can benefit them too.”

What new technologies and trends will shape video analytics?
What new technologies and trends will shape video analytics?

The topic of video analytics has been talked and written about for decades, and yet is still one of the cutting-edge themes in the physical security industry. Some say yesterday’s analytics systems tended to overpromise and underdeliver, and there are still some skeptics. However, newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are reinvigorating the sector and enabling it to finally live up to its promise. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What new technologies and trends will shape video analytics in 2021?