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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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GSX 2018 day two: Bluetooth credentials, facial recognition, IoT devices and AI
GSX 2018 day two: Bluetooth credentials, facial recognition, IoT devices and AI

More good news for exhibitors on the second day of the Global Security Exchange (GSX) in Las Vegas. Brisk attendance continued early in the day, and then slowed somewhat in the afternoon, but most comments from exhibitors were positive. Exhibitors such as Lenel were “thrilled” with the show, and noticed the steady, good traffic and lots of sales leads. Lenel’s position at the front of the hall probably helped. New developments in mobile credentialing are a big trend at GSX, and Lenel’s BlueDiamond mobile credentials are traveling on a new path, so to speak. The access control company is introducing the idea of “Pathways” as a way of automatically signaling intent to a Bluetooth-enabled smart phone to open a door. A recognisable “pathway” is programmed into the phone, based on signals from nearby readers and locks and also geolocation signals. The system recognises when a user travels along the pathway and automatically signals the correct door(s) to be opened along the way without the user having to touch his smart phone.A recognisable “pathway” is programmed into the phone, based on signals from nearby readers, locks and also geolocation signals Providing a lightweight alternative “When you trigger a pathway, it’s signalling intent to open the door,” says Greg Berry, Vice President Mobile Credentialing, Global Security Products, for United Technologies, parent company of Lenel. “Pathways are customised to a user’s needs and are the common places you are going all the time.” A user who walks the same path daily to the door of an office will find that door opens automatically. Previously using mobile credentials has been “slightly more work than using a badge,” says David Weinbach, Manager of Identity and Product Innovation for Lenel. “Now with Pathways, it’s less work than using a badge.” Specifically, a user no longer has to take out his phone and push a button to signal intent. “Rather than trying to emulate the badge, you create an experience that is better than the badge,” adds Berry. “We want to change the paradigm and turn the market on its ear.”New browser-based clients are being released with each new version of OnGuard software Other news from Lenel includes the release of more mobile and browser-based clients for OnGuard to be used for greater convenience alongside the Window-based clients. Providing a “lightweight” alternative enables some of the functionality of the Windows client in a format that is easy to access on the go. New browser-based clients are being released with each new version of OnGuard software. Cloud-hosted systems using Microsoft Azure are also among the plans for OnGuard, which ultimately will offer on-premises and cloud options. There’s not much comment from the Lenel folks about their parent company United Technologies’ plan to acquire S2 Security, which was announced days before the show. They would only say that the acquisition is waiting for regulatory approval, and that the expectation is that the two companies’ products will be complementary, given S2’s focus on the SMB (small and medium-sized business) market and Lenel’s strength at the enterprise level. The acquisition strategy is to grow both businesses. More details to come about the new combined company. Modern network infrastructure NVT Phybridge, a PoE connections company located near the back of the hall, also reported steady booth traffic on Day 2. “There are lots of customers and partners here,” said Steven Fair, Executive Vice President. “We are pleased with the quality of people, but not overwhelmed with the quantity.” FacePRO AI facial recognition is used for real-time searches of terror suspects or criminals throughout a location NVT Phybridge, which provides IP networking products for the telephony industry as well as security, is focused on networking concepts at GSX, in particular the changing requirements for network infrastructure in the age of IoT. We are pleased with the quality of people, but not overwhelmed with the quantity.” Fair uses the term “Modern LAN” to describe the new, changing requirements and in consideration of the specific networking needs of each edge device, whether cameras, sensors, or door access control devices. “Start with the edge device — what does it need from the network? What are its needs and have there been any innovations to enable you to connect to the network more economically?” asks Fair. There is also a green aspect to designing network infrastructure. Can existing equipment, such as coaxial or single twisted-pair cabling, be used, and thus save on disposal costs of the used cabling as well as lowering installation costs? Among NVT Phybridge’s offerings that can serve the changing networking needs in the IoT era is Smart Path PoE, which offers smart power, smart network access and secure connections. The CLEER family of products provides ethernet over existing coaxial cabling to enable easy transition from analogue to IP cameras. The PoLRE products supply ethernet and power to travel over a single unshielded twisted pair cable with reach over 400 metres. The products have been used recently to transition a series of cruise ships from analogue to IP video without having to replace cabling and spending only two days in dry dock for the installs. A new focus away from AI Panasonic is looking to apply AI-based capabilities to vehicle recognition in the near future, with the ability to identify vehicle characteristics Deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) seem to be taking a lower profile at this show, perhaps signaling the end of the hype. Companies that mention AI point to specific products that use the technology and are currently available. For example, Panasonic is featuring its FacePRO AI-based facial recognition system. The system uses face images captured from video — grabbing up to 30 to 35 faces a second as video is recorded. The system saves the best of those face images, eliminating extensive duplication, as thumbnails, which are linked to the video footage where the faces appear. To find video in which a face appears, the operator merely drags-and-drops the thumbnail image and commands the system to “go fetch” video that contains that face. The system then produces a timeline showing where the face appears in the feed from each video camera on the premises, so an operator can track the movements of a suspect throughout a facility. The tool helps to simplify and shorten the workflow of locating a suspect in real-time and is affordable for a wider range of uses beyond the traditional airports or high-end applications.  The FacePRO software is offered on any Panasonic camera, and works with a separate FacePRO server that is integrated with the video recorder. The system can be added easily to existing systems and is useful for such applications as real-time searches for terror suspects or other criminals throughout a location. Panasonic is also looking to apply AI-based capabilities to vehicle recognition, too, in the near future, with the ability to identify vehicle characteristics such as color, type of vehicle and direction of travel. On the VMS side, Panasonic is transitioning its Video Insight software to a modular approach, tailoring solutions for a growing range of vertical markets, such as transportation and retail, all using “plug-ins” that enhance operation of Video Insight software. No additional license fees are involved That’s just a sampling of what I saw on Day 2 of the show. I have more to share in a final show report, including what I see tomorrow on the final (shortened) day.

NVT Phybridge's CLEER24 PoE-based managed switch solution safeguards Army Aviation Logistics Center
NVT Phybridge's CLEER24 PoE-based managed switch solution safeguards Army Aviation Logistics Center

In early 2017, the Colombian government made its state-of-the-art Army Aviation Logistics Center (Spanish acronym, CLAVE), fully operational. Designed and built by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, CLAVE is an over 9,000 square meter facility designed to provide support for the transportation, storage, distribution, and security of the Colombian Army’s aeronautical equipment. To comply with international standards for aeronautical logistical activities, the implementation of a high-level security system was required, and this included deploying a complete IP CCTV surveillance system of over 100 cameras to monitor the entire centre and its surroundings. Requirement was for implementing an IP CCTV system that utilises the coaxial wiring in their new facility. However, barriers posed by long reach requirements between the cameras and surveillance control centre, and the financial costs associated with installing IDF closets to support the cameras at distances greater than those supported by standard Ethernet switches (328ft, 100m) – caused CLAVE to seek out a solution based on the principles of the Modern LAN, allowing them to deploy the new IP CCTV system quickly, efficiently, and affordably.Not only did the NVTP solution take the signal and transmit it through the wiring, but it also provided power to the camera" NVT Phybridge CLEER24 The Colombian Army was introduced to the NVT Phybridge CLEER24 (Coax Leveraged Ethernet Extended Reach) managed switch solution, by Colombian distributor SAC. The award-winning CLEER24 solution provides Ethernet and PoE+ over Coax with up to 2,000ft (610m) reach. In just 3 quick and easy setup steps, the plug-and-play switches transformed the cabling into the power-packed IP platform needed to support the new IP cameras for distances up to 2,000ft (610m) – 6Xs farther than standard Ethernet, with no need for costly IDF closets. “In our case where distance limitations were a critical issue, NVT Phybridge made all the difference when other solutions on the market could not,” said Paula Rosana Murillo, Business Development Coordinator at SAC. “Not only did the NVTP solution take the signal and transmit it through the wiring, but it also provided power to the camera.” Cost-saving security solution CLAVE was able to smoothly and flawlessly deploy 109 cameras across the entire facility, with virtually no disruption to operations and saving tens of thousands of dollars while doing so. For the integrator, this was a professionally enriching experience, “NVT Phybridge, through its Colombian distributor SAC, facilitated access to technical training and support – ensuring the proper usage of these products and allowing the integrator to have greater confidence in the implementation of NVTP technology,” commented Oscar Triviño, Project Manager in charge of the CLAVE facility construction. “The implementation of the NVTP solutions generated savings in wiring, electrical infrastructure, and manpower that were estimated at $56,000USD – with the connection of all cameras to the power source being achieved in the most effective way possible.”NVT Phybridge technology ensured the quality of all the video content, fully taking advantage of the quality, state-of-the-art cameras used in the project" IP surveillance and remote monitoring With CLEER24 technology, the customer was able to take full advantage of Modern LAN principles, fast-track their IP camera deployment, while eliminating risk and creating a robust platform that can be managed remotely: no Coax replacements, no service outages, no security risks, no network complexity, and no wasted budgets. “NVT Phybridge technology ensured the quality of all the video content, fully taking advantage of the quality, state-of-the-art cameras used in the project and providing an immensely satisfying result for the Colombian Army.”

NVT Phybridge EoC utilises Axis IP surveillance upgrade for transportation agency
NVT Phybridge EoC utilises Axis IP surveillance upgrade for transportation agency

A transportation agency needed to modernise its analogue CCTV systems and cameras to improve surveillance capabilities. But planning the coax infrastructure replacement raised many concerns and barriers, causing delays to the project. NVT Phybridge was trusted to rapidly enable the established cabling to support the new Axis IP devices exactly when and where the agency wanted them. “The NVT Phybridge technology allowed this customer to improve investigations and safety much faster and more cost-effectively than planned.” Steven Fair, EVP, NVT Phybridge. The agency wanted to upgrade its analogue CCTV systems and devices to newer, IP-enabled surveillance technology across multiple transit facilities spread throughout a vast metropolitan area. The driving requirement for the upgrade was twofold: to improve safety and security monitoring of riders 24/7, and to capture much higher-resolution video recordings for investigation of events. Ethernet over coax system The agency wanted to upgrade its analogue CCTV systems and devices to newer, IP-enabled surveillance technology  The main challenge was physically replacing the existing coax with a new Ethernet infrastructure needed to support IP. The process would be lengthy, complex, costly, and disruptive to transit operations and rider services across hundreds of sites. Additionally, physical construction to replace the cabling and address IDF closet and reach requirements would impact transit customers’ access to services, and posed safety hazards to thousands of public transportation users each day. The transportation agency learned about NVT Phybridge Long Reach Ethernet over Coax IP-enabling solutions from their savvy Axis partner. A no-obligation proof of concept was arranged at one of transit stations, and in 3 simple setup steps the award-winning, plug-and-play NVTP EoC switch transformed the existing coax into a power-packed PoE/IP platform able to connect the new CCTV and IP cameras 6Xs farther than Ethernet—up to 2,000ft (610m)—with no IDF closets required along the way. NVTP completely eliminated the complexities and frustrations that had delayed the infrastructure upgrade for too long. Because NVTP innovations use the same repeatable, predictable, and scalable deployment methodology across every location, upgrading each of the many transit facilities would be simple and fast. The NVTP EoC switches fast-tracked the infrastructure upgrade, saving significant project time and costs by avoiding coax replacement Effective IP surveillance and security The agency’s decision to trust NVTP and Axis with the extensive security upgrade was right. The NVTP EoC switches fast-tracked the infrastructure upgrade, saving significant project time and costs by avoiding coax replacement. The partner was also able to accelerate the endpoints deployments with a simple swap-out of the existing analogue cameras for the Axis IP cameras. The agency’s new, powerful IP-based surveillance capabilities were up and running in record time at each location. The combined power of NVTP and Axis innovations rapidly enabled this agency to improve investigations and safety much faster than originally planned—without disrupting transit operations, impacting riders’ services, or wasting coveted budgets. Pleased with the result of the first several facilities upgrades, the transportation agency has decided to move forward with the remaining upgrades across their entire area using NVTP switches and Axis IP devices to get the job done right.