When it comes to the application of sophisticated security techniques in the banking environment - to keep assets, staff and customers safe and secure - financial institutions are looking carefully at how they can seamlessly integrate advances, such as High Definition CCTV and the monitoring of their cash machines, into their existing infrastructure. Pauline Norstrom, Director of Worldwide Marketing at Dedicated Micros, discusses the challenges.
A key issue for banks is to ensure that the additional security measures can be added without impacting negatively on business operations, including the ability to conduct financial transactions over their IT network. It is a reality today that many banks still will not allow transmission of any video over their LAN (Local Area Network).
High Definition CCTV
Looking at the introduction of High Definition (HD) megapixel CCTV cameras and associated recording and display solutions, this undoubtedly represents a major watershed in the capability of CCTV systems for banks - regarding, specifically, the quality and speed with which images can now be provided and the potential to accurately identify suspects and achieve successful convictions. The main benefit for banks is that they can take advantage of the image resolution and quality necessary to replace their costly and inflexible, standalone, 35-mm wet film based cameras with a more capable networked alternative.
Of course a key consideration - given the larger sizes of the HD images being captured by mega pixel cameras, in specific customer facing areas - is how to actually manage this alongside existing analogue CCTV cameras. A solution to this dilemma is to combine the ability to set up a segregated high-bandwidth network for local High Definition IP recording with low-bandwidth IP connectivity to the corporate network. For added flexibility, the soluion should offer the potential to reduce the size of the images through a transcoding process so they are optimised for transmission. The advantage of this approach is that a remote operator can call up images from the associated DVR without overloading the network and be confident that a highly detailed version has been recorded locally for evidential purposes.
An ongoing security challenge with regards to banking is undoubtedly the safe operation of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) whose accessibility makes them a convenient target. There is not just the threat of financial loss through fraudulent activities; sadly, in a number of incidents, members of the public using ATMs have spotted and removed card skimming devices only to find themselves being assaulted by the criminals who had been hiding nearby waiting to retrieve the valuable card information.
Advanced CCTV systems, specifically remotely accessible DVRs, are now the very heart of efforts to deal with this type of crime. The ability of compact networked DVRs installed in ATMs to record evidential-quality MJPEG footage locally from their associated cameras and simultaneously support low-bit rate data streaming in a bandwidth-efficient compression format by transcoding for remote viewing is extremely advantageous in terms of integration by keeping bandwidth demands on the bank's network to an absolute minimum.
The ability to manage network usage is
a key benefit for banks where financial
transactions have to be the priority
When it comes to implementing this important ATM protection measure, this ability to manage network usage is a key benefit for banks where, not surprisingly, financial transactions have to be very much the priority. Local recording also has the added advantage that even if there is a network failure, recording is not interrupted or vital evidence lost.
In terms of customer service, particularly managing customer disputes, the potential to link metadata to images and apply text search engines for post event analysis is a powerful tool for a bank. Staff can now handle customer queries regarding ATM transactions in a timely and positive manner, whether it concerns one machine or across a number of ATMs, by simply inputting specific search parameters such as the customer's account number to call up images.
An extension of this approach to
Moving forward, an extension of this approach to ATM protection is the potential to apply intelligent video analytics methods to the CCTV images, such as object left, where the analytics capabilities are able to identify the insertion of a skimming device into the card slot of a specific machine and send an alert to a remote monitoring station who can then notify the bank and the authorities.
So the message to banks when considering enhancing their surveillance capability is to look carefully at the implications of developments from High Definition CCTV to ATM monitoring and, crucially, when choosing a solution adopt one with features, such as transcoding, so images can be stored and transmitted in a size and format which best matches the available network infrastructure.
Director of Worldwide Marketing