Despite the huge amount of video data collected, statistics show that only 10 percent of data is ever used and most loses its value within seconds of being generated. Why use such a limited amount of data?

Many security organisations are focused on delivering the right information in case of an emergency or providing the correct evidence after a criminal act. Yet the fact is, a new video security system can be a large investment. Together with the service, maintenance and management costs associated with it, most video systems are currently considered overhead.

So how can you maximise the value of your video system? Video analytics ensure surveillance images are continuously analysed in real-time to alert users to things that need attention. This helps organisations make sense of video data and adds an extra layer of protection by providing alerts to potential security risks before or as they occur, such as detecting loitering in a parking lot or a perimeter breach after hours.Integrating analytic alerts with other security systems enables organisations to use the data to trigger responses from other components of the security solution

Video analytics can be programmed to alert on things such as line/perimeter crossing, illegal parking, loitering: people counting, speeding in areas like parking lots, colour matching alerts. These are just some of the ways video analytics can assist to enhance security and safety.

Video analytics trigger system events

Integrating analytic alerts with other security systems enables organisations to use the data to trigger responses from other components of the security solution. This can increase overall security, better mitigate risk, and reduce complexity for users to improve efficiency.

For example, intelligent cameras equipped with video analytics can initiate intrusion detection system events when alarms are triggered. The analytic alert can immediately fault a corresponding point on the panel. This can prompt the panel to communicate the alarm to the central station or to send video snapshots to security personnel.

In a retail store or warehouse environment, video analytics can also alert to an emergency exit that has been blocked by a pallet of boxes or by another object. Using an idle object rule, the IP camera with analytics can alert when an object remains in the area for longer than a pre-defined amount of time.

Video analytics can be programmed to alert on people counting
People counting and crowd detection can also help organisations improve customer satisfaction by monitoring for long lines or people gathered in an area

When this occurs, the alert can fault a point on the intrusion control panel, which can then send an email or text message with a video snapshot to the store or warehouse manager. This can help to prevent code violations and unsafe conditions.

Extending beyond security

Not only can video analytics detect threats, alert to security breaches, and help enforce health and safety regulations, it can also do much more. It can enable organisations to re-purpose the data for new uses for the business—offering valuable insights to other departments within an organisation, such as providing the ability to analyse behaviour in retail stores to help merchandisers create more effective display placements.

How is this possible? Analytics can provide organisations with the additional information about video data that they need to re-purpose it for a business advantage. The cameras can interpret data directly at the source and re-assign it to help organisations make smarter decisions.By providing business information that goes beyond conventional security applications, new functionality can easily be added to a video security system

This includes monitoring presence to reduce utility bills, identifying patterns in customer activity to improve sales, and distinguishing road blocks to optimise retail shop layout and increase customer satisfaction.

Improving customer satisfaction

People counting and crowd detection can also help organisations improve customer satisfaction by monitoring for long lines or people gathered in an area, indicating additional assistance may be needed.

By providing business information that goes beyond conventional security applications, new functionality can easily be added to a video security system. In this way, video analytics can help organisations reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve sales.

The organisation gains greater value from the system and a return on investment that can be measured in tangible business results. Then, the video system is no longer considered overhead.

Overall, using video analytics as part of an integrated security system and fully using the data gained from the analytics can help you better meet your organisation’s needs for security and extend surveillance data to deliver additional business benefits. I believe that every business should be able to take advantages of these advances in technology - without the need for additional investment or a license fee.

Every business is different, and new analytics solutions should be adaptaple to meet your exact needs. Thinking beyond security opens up video analytics to revolutionise how video data will be used in the future and can take data usage to a whole new level.

 

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Sean Murphy Director of Regional Marketing - Video Systems, Bosch Security Systems North America

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School security benefits from advanced communication technology
School security benefits from advanced communication technology

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Communication tools have proven invaluable when a potential active shooter situation was being discussed on social media Key to these schools’ choice in technology was the recognition that while the most traumatic of threats is the active assailant, any technology investment should be just as effective in handling the more frequent day-to-day incidents. Communication technologies for incident management How have technologies such as mobile panic buttons and anonymous texting helped impact school safety? Here are a few examples: In Limestone County, Alabama, 9-1-1 Director Brandon Wallace led an effort to implement technology tools across the county to help prevent and more quickly notify personnel of possible emergency situations. Communication tools have proven invaluable especially when a potential active shooter situation was being discussed on social media. Advanced technology integration The technology not only connected directly to emergency personnel, but also ensured that school faculty were able to communicate with one another during a potential emergency and account for students. Following the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, the school superintendent Dr. Joseph V. Erardi, Jr. chose to make communication technology a part of their new safety plan. The integration of advanced technology has given staff and teachers a greater sense of safety with not only active shooter events but also events like medical emergencies that require fast action and a quick response from public safety officials. Trainings ensure that staff and students are prepared for any type of situation and be on the same page in an emergency situation Implementing enhanced safety measures What are some lessons learned from these schools that can be applied to protect students in other areas? 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New tools can then be tested to ensure that all staff and students are comfortable in the event they will need to utilise it in the future. Expand those involved in your drills to be those who will actually be involved in an incident. All too often, drills are siloed and don’t include outside agencies. Re-evaluating safety procedures Schools across the country can learn a lot from districts that have implemented and actually used new communications technologies addressing school safety, which are leading the way in how teachers and faculty are preparing to keep students safe. However, it will remain important to re-evaluate safety procedures and integrate technology to help ensure that these steps remain effective. As the tools continue to advance, the available safety measures will only continue to grow.

Artificial intelligence is changing intrusion detection dynamics in the security industry
Artificial intelligence is changing intrusion detection dynamics in the security industry

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How physical security consultants ensure cybersecurity for end users
How physical security consultants ensure cybersecurity for end users

Cybersecurity talk currently dominates many events in the physical security industry. And it’s about time, given that we are all playing catch-up in a scary cybersecurity environment where threats are constant and constantly evolving. I heard an interesting discussion about cybersecurity recently among consultants attending MercTech4, a conference in Miami hosted by Mercury Security and its OEM partners. The broad-ranging discussion touched on multiple aspects of cybersecurity, including the various roles of end user IT departments, consultants, and integrators. Factors such as training, standardisation and pricing were also addressed as they relate to cybersecurity. Following are some edited excerpts from that discussion.  The role of the IT department Pierre Bourgeix of ESI Convergent: Most enterprises usually have the information technology (IT) department at the table [for physical security discussions], and cybersecurity is a component of IT. The main concern for them is how any security product will impact the network environment. The first thing they will say, is “we have to ensure that there is network segmentation to prevent any potential viruses or threats or breaches from coming in.” The main concern for IT departments is how any security product will impact the network environment”They want to make sure that any devices in the environment are secure. Segmentation is good, but it isn’t an end-all. There is no buffer that can be created; these air gaps don’t exist. Cyber is involved in a defensive matter, in terms of what they have to do to protect that environment. IT is more worried about the infrastructure. The role of consultants and specifiers Phil Santore of DVS, division of Ross & Baruzzini: As consultants and engineers, we work with some major banks. They tell us if you bring a new product to the table, it will take two to three months before they will onboard the product, because they will run it through [cybersecurity testing] in their own IT departments. If it’s a large bank, they have an IT team, and there will never be anything we [as consultants] can tell them that they don’t already know. But we all have clients that are not large; they’re museums, or small corporations, or mom-and-pop shops. They may not be as vulnerable from the international threat, but there are still local things they have to be concerned about. It falls on us as consultants to let them know what their problems are. Their IT departments may not be that savvy. We need to at least make them aware and start there. Wael Lahoud of Goldmark Security Consulting: We are seeing more and more organisations having cybersecurity programs in place, at different maturity levels. At the procurement stage, we as consultants must select and specify products that have technology to enable cybersecurity, and not choose products that are outdated or incompatible with cybersecurity controls. We also see, from an access control perspective, a need to address weaknesses in databases. Specifying and having integrators that can harden the databases, not just the network itself, can help. The impact of physical security products on the network environment was a dominant topic at the MercTech4 consultants roundtable discussion The need for standards on cybersecurity Jim Elder of Secured Design: I’d like to know what standards we as specifiers can invoke that will help us ensure that the integrator of record has the credentials, knows what standards apply, and knows how to make sure those standards are maintained in the system. I’m a generalist, and cybersecurity scares the hell out of me.We’re not just talking about access to cameras, we are talking about access to the corporate network and all the bad things that can happen with that. My emphasis would be on standards and compliance with standards in the equipment and technology that is used, and the way it is put in. It can be easier for me, looking at some key points, to be able to determine if the system has been installed in accordance. We are seeing more and more organisations having cybersecurity programs in place, at different maturity levels"I’m taking the position of the enforcement officer, rather than the dictator. It would be much better if there were focused standards that I could put into the specification— I know there are some – that would dictate the processes, not just of manufacturing, but of installation of the product, and the tests you should run accordingly. Pierre Bourgeix: With the Security Industry Association (SIA), we are working right now on a standard that includes analysed scoring on the IT and physical side to identify a technology score, a compliance score, a methodology, and best-of-breed recommendation. Vendor validation would be used to ensure they follow the same process. We have created the model, and we will see what we can do to make it work. Terry Robinette of Sextant: If a standard can be written and it’s a reasonable process, I like the idea of the equipment meeting some standardised format or be able to show that it can withstand the same type of cyber-attack a network switch can withstand. We may not be reinventing the wheel. IT is the most standardised industry you will ever see, and security is the least standardised. But they’re merging. And that will drive standardisation. Jim Elder: I look to Underwriters Laboratory (UL) for a lot of standards. Does the product get that label? I am interested in being able to look at a box on the wall and say, “That meets the standard.” Or some kind of list with check-boxes; if all the boxes are checked I can walk out and know I have good cybersecurity threat management. IT is the most standardised industry you will ever see, and security is the least standardised" The role of training Phil Santore: Before you do any cybersecurity training, you would need to set the level of cybersecurity you are trying to achieve. There are multiple levels from zero to a completely closed network. Wael Lahoud: From an integrator’s perspective, cybersecurity training by the manufacturer of product features would be the place to start – understanding how to partner the database, and the encryption features. We see integrators that know these features are available – they tick the boxes – but they don’t understand what they mean. Cybersecurity is a complex topic, and the risk aspects and maturity levels vary by organisation. That would be a good starting point. The role of integrators Wael Lahoud: Integrators like convenience; less time means more money. So, we see some integrators cut corners. I think it is our role (as consultants) to make sure corners are not cut. If you rely solely on integrators, it will always be the weak password, the bypass. We have seen it from small projects to large government installations. It’s the same again and again. Even having an internal standard within an organisation, there may be no one overseeing that and double-checking. Tools will help, but we are not there at this point. I will leave it up to manufacturers to provide the tools to make it easy for consultants to check, and easier for integrators to use the controls. Cybersecurity is a complex topic, and the risk aspects and maturity levels vary by organisation - so training is very important The impact of pricing Pierre Bourgeix: The race to the cheapest price is a big problem. We have well-intended designs and assessments that define best-of-breed and evaluate what would be necessary to do what the client needs. But once we get to the final point of that being implemented, the customer typically goes to the lowest price – the lowest bidder. That’s the biggest issue. You get what you pay for at the end of the day. With standards, we are trying to get to the point that people realise that not all products are made the same, not all integrators do the same work. We hope that through education of the end user, they can realise that if they change the design, they have to accept the liability.It’s not just the product that’s the weakest link, it’s the whole process from design to securing that product and launching it" The big picture Wael Lahoud: The Windows platform has a lot of vulnerabilities, but we’re still using it, even in banks. So, it’s not just the product that’s the weakest link, it’s the whole process from design to securing that product and launching it. That’s where the cybersecurity program comes into play. There are many vulnerable products in the market, and it’s up to professionals to properly secure these products and to design systems and reduce the risk. Pierre Bourgeix: The access port to get to data is what hackers are looking for. The weakest link is where they go. They want to penetrate through access control to get to databases. The golden ring is the data source, so they can get credentialing, so they can gain access to your active directory, which then gives them permissions to get into your “admin.” Once we get into “admin,” we get to the source of the information. It has nothing to do with gaining access to a door, it has everything to do with data. And that’s happening all the time.