SourceSecurity.com’s most trafficked articles in 2017 reflected changing trends in the market, from facial detection to drones, from deep learning to body worn cameras. Again in 2017, the most well-trafficked articles posted at SourceSecurity.com tended to be those that addressed timely and important issues in the security marketplace. In the world of digital publishing, it’s easy to know what content resonates with the market: Our readers tell us with their actions; i.e., where they click.

 

Let’s look back at the Top 10 articles posted at SourceSecurity.com in 2017 that generated the most page views. They are listed in order here with the author’s name and a brief excerpt.

MOBOTIX' new CEO Thomas Lausten predicts a bright future for MOBOTIX AG
MOBOTIX is increasingly positioning itself as a specialist in high-quality IP surveillance software

1. MOBOTIX Aims High with Cybersecurity and Customer-Focused Solutions [Jeannie Corfield]

With a new CEO and Konica Minolta on board, MOBOTIX is set for expansion on a global scale. But how much growth can we expect for a company like MOBOTIX in an increasingly commoditised surveillance market, where many of the larger players compete on price as a key differentiator? While MOBOTIX respects those players, the German manufacturer wants to tell a different story. Rather than competing as a camera hardware manufacturer, MOBOTIX is increasingly positioning itself as a specialist in high-quality IP surveillance software – camera units are just one part of an intelligent system. When MOBOTIX succeeds in telling this story, partners understand that it’s not about the price.

2. ‘Anti-Surveillance Clothing’ Creates a New Wrinkle in Facial Detection [Larry Anderson]

The latest challenge to facial recognition technology is “anti-surveillance clothing,” aimed at confusing facial recognition algorithms as a way of preserving “privacy.” The clothing, covered with ghostly face-like designs to specifically trigger face-detection algorithms, are a backlash against the looming possibility of facial recognition being used in retail environments and for other commercial purposes.

3. Drone Terror: How to Protect Facilities and People [Logan Harris]

Already, rogue groups such as ISIS have used low cost drones to carry explosives in targeted attacks. Using this same method, targeting high profile locations to create terror and panic is very possible. Security professionals and technologists are working furiously to address the gaps in drone defence. Compact Surveillance Radar (CSR) is a security technology addressing the problems with other types of detection. CSR, like traditional radar, has the benefit of being able to detect and track foreign objects in all weather conditions, but at a fraction of the size and cost.

Deep learning and artificial intelligence are having an increasing impact on the security industry
The last couple of years have seen a tremendous surge in research and advances surrounding a branch of Machine Learning called Deep Learning

4. Deep Learning Algorithms Broaden the Scope of Video Analytics [Zvika Anshani]

Until recently there have been minimal applications of Machine Learning used in video analytics products, largely due to high complexity and high resource usage, which made such products too costly for mainstream deployment. However, the last couple of years have seen a tremendous surge in research and advances surrounding a branch of Machine Learning called Deep Learning. The recent increased interest in Deep Learning is largely due to the availability of graphical processing units (GPUs). GPUs can efficiently train and run Deep Learning algorithms

5. Body Worn Cameras: Overcoming the Challenges of Live Video Streaming [Mark Patrick]

Most body camera manufacturers, that are trying to stream, attempt to use these consumer technologies; but they don’t work very well in the field, which is not helpful when you need to see what is happening, right now, on the ground. The video must be of usable quality, even though officers wearing the cameras may be moving and experiencing signal fluctuations – most mobile video produces significant delays and signal breakups. Video and audio must always remain in sync so there’s no confusion about who said what. Therefore, special technology is required that copes with poor and varying bandwidths to allow a real-time view of the scene and support immediate decision-making by local and remote team members and support teams moving to the scene.

6. QinetiQ Demonstrates New Privacy-Protecting Body Scanner for Crowded Places [Ron Alalouff]

QinetiQ has developed a scanner that can be used in crowded places without having to slow down or stop moving targets. The body scanner, capable of detecting hidden explosives or weapons on a person, has been demonstrated publicly in the United Kingdom for the first time. SPO-NX from QinetiQ – a company spun out of the UK’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 2001 – can quickly screen large groups of people for concealed weapons or explosives in a passive, non-intrusive way, without needing people to stop or slow down.

7. ISC West 2017: How Will IT and Consumer Electronics Influence the Security Industry? [Fredrik Nilsson]

A good way to predict trends [at the upcoming ISC West show] is to look at what’s happening in some larger, adjacent technology industries, such as IT and consumer electronics. Major trends on these fronts are the most likely to influence what new products will be launched in the electronic security industry. Proof in point is H.264, an advanced compression technology ratified in 2003 and adopted as the new standard by the consumer industry a few years later. By 2009, it became the new compression standard for the video surveillance industry as well.

Security is increasingly integrated into smart building management systems
By drawing data from a number of different sources and subsystems, it is possible to move towards a truly smart environment

8. Integrating Security Management into Broader Building Systems [Gert Rohrmann]

Security solutions should be about integration not isolation. Many organisations are considering their existing processes and systems and looking at how to leverage further value. Security is part of that focus and is a central component in the move towards a more integrated approach, which results in significant benefits. By drawing data from a number of different sources and subsystems, including building automation, it is possible to move towards a truly smart environment.

9. How to Use Video Analytics and Metadata to Prevent Terrorist Attacks [Yury Akhmetov]

How we defend and prevent terrorism must be based on intelligent processing of information, and an early awareness of potential threats – and effective preventive action – may eliminate most attacks. Video analytics, automated surveillance and AI decision-making will change the rules of the struggle between civilians and terrorists by making attempted attacks predictable, senseless and silent. To what extent can technology investigate and prevent terror crimes considering the latest technology innovations?

10. Next Generation Video Analytics: Separating Fact from Fiction [Erez Goldstein]

‘Next generation video analytics’ is a catchy marketing phrase, is how much substance is behind it? Video analytics as a technology has been with us for many years, but there has always been an air of confusion and mystery around it, in large part created by Hollywood movies, where every camera is connected, an operator can search the network and locate the villain in a matter of seconds. I am pleased to say that, in many respects, fact has caught up with fiction, with the newest video analytics solutions that are now on the market focusing on search and specifically real-time search. These solutions have been tried, tested and proven to help reduce search time from hours to minutes and even seconds.

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In case you missed it

What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control?
What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control?

There is a broad appeal to the idea of using a smartphone or wearable device as a credential for physical access control systems. Smartphones already perform a range of tasks that extend beyond making a phone call. Shouldn’t opening the door at a workplace be among them? It’s a simple idea, but there are obstacles for the industry to get there from here. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the challenges and benefits of mobile access control solutions? 

Securing a sustainable future
Securing a sustainable future

The UK Government has set out an ambitious ten-point plan, known as the green industrial revolution, with an aim “to forge ahead with eradicating its contribution to climate change by 2050.” This makes our government the first major economy to embrace such a legal obligation. Green recovery Acknowledging climate change and meeting net-zero is a demanding challenge especially for those affected by the pandemic. But the UK Government, with the launch of its aspiring strategy, is investing everything in its power to promote a ‘green recovery.’ Here, Reece Paprotny, Commercial Manager and Sustainability Champion at Amthal, highlights how the fire and security industry has an opportunity to use the current recovery period to explore its own sustainable journey and embrace the significance of environment, economic and social collaboration, transparency, and accountability. Employing sustainable technologies Pressure is mounting on construction to find ways to reduce emissions and help meet net-zero targets The perception is that COVID-19 presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-write the existing rulebook. This is riding on the significance of changing public support for more environmentally friendly living opportunities, with associated cost savings, efficiencies, and cleaner industries. Innovative sustainable technologies are the key to kickstart this route to success.  Nowhere can this be seen more than in the built environment, which currently contributes to 40% of the UK's carbon footprint. Pressure is mounting on construction to find ways to reduce emissions and help meet net-zero targets. This is through the entire life cycle of a building, to reduce their impact on the environment from planning stages, through build and demolition. Building the right environment By creating the right policy environment, incentives for innovation and infrastructure, the Government can encourage companies to seize the sustainable opportunities of new technologies and value chains linked to green sectors. They can accelerate the shift of current carbon-intensive economic and industrial structures onto greener trajectories, enabling the UK to meet global climate and development goals under the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Transparent working practices Each industry sector is expected to engage and pledge its support to achieve the significant deadlines. Every company can make a difference, even with small steps towards a sustainable future. So whilst elements such as safety and security represent just one component of building the right sustainable environment, it paves the way to opening up our sector to greater efficiencies, transparent working practices, and encourages collaborative use of resources. Sustainability in security The security sector has a significant opportunity to incorporate ‘going green’ into its practices In fact, the security sector has a significant opportunity to incorporate ‘going green’ into their processes, and practices. This is right from product lifecycles to more environmentally friendly work practices when it comes to maintenance and monitoring services. When integrating environmentally friendly practices, starts with the manufacturing and production of the wide variety of systems in operation for the security sector. And some certifications and guidelines can be achieved, such as the ISO 14000 which looks into eliminating hazardous materials being used which in turn will reduce carbon footprint.  Upgrading supply chain process Observing the complete supply chain and working with partners to reduce unnecessary travel, shipments, and transportation of products, can all contribute and create sustainable processes.  In the maintenance and monitoring of products, it is essential installers and security specialists consider their own environmental impacts. Simple changes such as switching company vehicles to electric options for site visits can make a significant difference to climate change and improving air quality. Presenting sustainable ways of disposing of products at the end of their natural lifecycle is key to change in our sector. This is especially in the security industry where many customers will need a complete overhaul of outdated solutions or need systems upgrading due to changing threat levels. Sustainable evolution Progress is being made, specifically in the fire and security industry, in its sustainable evolution. Businesses are trying to develop a reputation for “sustainability” or “good corporate citizenship.” And it has gone well beyond the theory to the practical, where companies recognise activities have an impact on the environment and are also reviewing the social and economic influences. Three pillars of sustainability In a recent interview, Inge Huijbrechts, the Global Senior Vice President for safety and security and Responsible Business at Radisson Hotel Groups sees her vision to combine safety, security, and sustainability. Inge focuses on three pillars, namely, Think People, Think Community, and Think Planet. Think People means that we “always care for the people in our hotels and our supply chain.” So, in outwards communications, safety and security were always part of the Think People focus area. Think Community is caring and contributing in a meaningful way to communities where we operate. Finally, Think Planet makes sure that “our footprint on the environment is as light as it can be in terms of energy, water, waste, and carbon, and making sure that we incorporate sustainability into our value proposition.” Moving forward Apprenticeship schemes are integral to ‘think people’ and have a role to play in the social impact on the security industry There are immediate actions that can be taken by companies in the security industry to support sustainable development, working right from within a company to supporting industry-wide initiatives. From a social perspective, at a foundation level, “Think People’ can see the Living Wage Foundation as an example of a commitment to a team.  This is for businesses that choose to go further and pay a real Living wage based on the cost of living, not just the Government minimum. Apprenticeship schemes are also integral to ‘think people’ and have a pivotal role to play on the social impact on the security industry.  It addresses the sector-wide issue of finding employees with the right mix of skills to collaborate and meet discerning consumer demands for increasingly smart security solutions for homes and businesses. Impact of the full lifecycle of products From an environmental view, or ‘think planet,’ we need to collectively look at all elements of our industry, with a desire to analyse the impact of ingredients used, supply chain, or manufacturing alone, and also consider the full lifecycle of our selected products from creation to end of life. As Jamie Allam, CEO Amthal summarises, “This is a long-term, sustainable investment in our people, our products, and our business based on our values.” “When put together, a social team which feels empowers and operates in environmental optimum working conditions is in a position to provide a great experience to our customers, creating an economic positive difference. It forms the basis of a sustainable sector vision for the security industry-wide to adopt.” Taking action Amthal is taking action based on the ready-made universally agreed UN 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Also known as Global Goals, these are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member states. This agenda is a plan of action for people, the planet, and prosperity. By being an early adopter, we believe we can engage with customers, partners, and suppliers on these issues and generate opportunities to innovate for mutual and industry sector benefit. Together, we can contribute to building a more sustainable security sector and future, and contribute to the UK Government’s green industrial revolution.

Next wave of SoCs will turbocharge camera capabilities at the edge
Next wave of SoCs will turbocharge camera capabilities at the edge

A new generation of video cameras is poised to boost capabilities dramatically at the edge of the IP network, including more powerful artificial intelligence (AI) and higher resolutions, and paving the way for new applications that would have previously been too expensive or complex. Technologies at the heart of the coming new generation of video cameras are Ambarella’s newest systems on chips (SoCs). Ambarella’s CV5S and CV52S product families are bringing a new level of on-camera AI performance and integration to multi-imager and single-imager IP cameras. Both of these SoCs are manufactured in the ‘5 nm’ manufacturing process, bringing performance improvements and power savings, compared to the previous generation of SoCs manufactured at ‘10nm’. CV5S and CV52S AI-powered SoCs The CV5S, designed for multi-imager cameras, is able to process, encode and perform advanced AI on up to four imagers at 4Kp30 resolution, simultaneously and at less than 5 watts. This enables multi-headed camera designs with up to four 4K imagers looking at different portions of a scene, as well as very high-resolution, single-imager cameras of up to 32 MP resolution and beyond. The CV52S, designed for single-imager cameras with very powerful onboard AI, is the next-generation of the company’s successful CV22S mainstream 4K camera AI chip. This new SoC family quadruples the AI processing performance, while keeping the same low power consumption of less than 3 watts for 4Kp60 encoding with advanced AI processing. Faster and ubiquitous AI capabilities Ambarella’s newest AI vision SoCs for security, the CV5S and CV52S, are competitive solutions" “Security system designers desire higher resolutions, increasing channel counts, and ever faster and more ubiquitous AI capabilities,” explains John Lorenz, Senior Technology and Market Analyst, Computing, at Yole Développement (Yole), a French market research firm. John Lorenz adds, “Ambarella’s newest AI vision SoCs for security, the CV5S and CV52S, are competitive solutions for meeting the growing demands of the security IC (integrated circuit) sector, which our latest report forecasts to exceed US$ 4 billion by 2025, with two-thirds of that being chips with AI capabilities.” Edge AI vision processors Ambarella’s new CV5S and CV52S edge AI vision processors enable new classes of cameras that would not have been possible in the past, with a single SoC architecture. For example, implementing a 4x 4K multi-imager with AI would have traditionally required at least two SoCs (at least one for encoding and one for AI), and the overall power consumption would have made those designs bulky and prohibitively expensive. By reducing the number of required SoCs, the CV5S enables advanced camera designs such as AI-enabled 4x 4K imagers at price points much lower than would have previously been possible. “What we are usually trying to do with our SoCs is to keep the price points similar to the previous generations, given that camera retail prices tend to be fairly fixed,” said Jerome Gigot, Ambarella's Senior Director of Marketing. 4K multi-imager cameras “However, higher-end 4K multi-imager cameras tend to retail for thousands of dollars, and so even though there will be a small premium on the SoC for the 2X improvement in performance, this will not make a significant impact to the final MSRP of the camera,” adds Jerome Gigot. In addition, the overall system cost might go down, Gigot notes, compared to what could be built today because there is no longer a need for external chips to perform AI, or extra components for power dissipation. The new chips will be available in the second half of 2021, and it typically takes about 12 to 18 months for Ambarella’s customers (camera manufacturers) to produce final cameras. Therefore, the first cameras, based on these new SoCs, should hit the market sometime in the second half of 2022. Reference boards for camera manufacturers The software on these new SoCs is an evolution of our unified Linux SDK" As with Ambarella’s previous generations of edge AI vision SoCs for security, the company will make available reference boards to camera manufacturers soon, allowing them to develop their cameras based on the new CV5S and CV52S SoC families. “The software on these new SoCs is an evolution of our unified Linux SDK that is already available on our previous generations SoCs, which makes the transition easy for our customers,” said Jerome Gigot. Better crime detection Detecting criminals in a crowd, using face recognition and/or licence plate recognition, has been a daunting challenge for security, and one the new chips will help to address. “Actually, these applications are one of the main reasons why Ambarella is introducing these two new SoC families,” said Jerome Gigot. Typically, resolutions of 4K and higher have been a smaller portion of the security market, given that they came at a premium price tag for the high-end optics, image sensor and SoC. Also, the cost and extra bandwidth of storing and streaming 4K video were not always worth it for the benefit of just viewing video at higher resolution. 4K AI processing on-camera The advent of on-camera AI at 4K changes the paradigm. By enabling 4K AI processing on-camera, smaller objects at longer distances can now be detected and analysed without having to go to a server, and with much higher detail and accuracy compared to what can be done on a 2 MP or 5 MP cameras. This means that fewer false alarms will be generated, and each camera will now be able to cover a longer distance and wider area, offering more meaningful insights without necessarily having to stream and store that 4K video to a back-end server. “This is valuable, for example, for traffic cameras mounted on top of high poles, which need to be able to see very far out and identify cars and licence plates that are hundreds of meters away,” said Jerome Gigot. The advent of on-camera AI at 4K changes the paradigm Enhanced video analytics and wider coverage “Ambarella’s new CV5S and CV52S SoCs truly allow the industry to take advantage of higher resolution on-camera for better analytics and wider coverage, but without all the costs typically incurred by having to stream high-quality 4K video out 24/7 to a remote server for offline analytics,” said Jerome Gigot. He adds, “So, next-generation cameras will now be able to identify more criminals, faces and licence plates, at longer distances, for an overall lower cost and with faster response times by doing it all locally on-camera.” Deployment in retail applications Retail environments can be some of the toughest, as the cameras may be looking at hundreds of people at once Retail applications are another big selling point. Retail environments can be some of the toughest, as the cameras may be looking at hundreds of people at once (e.g., in a mall), to provide not only security features, but also other business analytics, such as foot traffic and occupancy maps that can be used later to improve product placement. The higher resolution and higher AI performance, enabled by the new Ambarella SoCs, provide a leap forward in addressing those scenarios. In a store setup, a ceiling-mounted camera with four 4K imagers can simultaneously look at the cashier line on one side of the store, sending alerts when a line is getting too long and a new cashier needs to be deployed, while at the same time looking at the entrance on the other side of the store, to count the people coming in and out. This leaves two additional 4K imagers for monitoring specific product aisles and generating real-time business analytics. Use in cashier-less stores Another retail application is a cashier-less store. Here, a CV5S or CV52S-based camera mounted on the ceiling will have enough resolution and AI performance to track goods, while the customer grabs them and puts them in their cart, as well as to automatically track which customer is purchasing which item. In a warehouse scenario, items and boxes moving across the floor could also be followed locally, on a single ceiling-mounted camera that covers a wide area of the warehouse. Additionally, these items and boxes could be tracked across the different imagers in a multi-headed camera setup, without the video having to be sent to a server to perform the tracking. Updating on-camera AI networks Another feature of Ambarella’s SoCs is that their on-camera AI networks can be updated on-the-fly, without having to stop the video recording and without losing any video frames. So, for example in the case of a search for a missing vehicle, the characteristics of that missing vehicle (make, model, colour, licence plate) can be sent to a cluster of cameras in the general area, where the vehicle is thought to be missing, and all those cameras can be automatically updated to run a live search on that specific vehicle. If any of the cameras gets a match, a remote operator can be notified and receive a picture, or even a live video feed of the scene. Efficient traffic management With the CV52S edge AI vision SoC, those decisions can be made locally at each intersection by the camera itself Relating to traffic congestion, most big cities have thousands of intersections that they need to monitor and manage. Trying to do this from one central location is costly and difficult, as there is so much video data to process and analyse, in order to make those traffic decisions (to control the traffic lights, reverse lanes, etc.). With the CV52S edge AI vision SoC, those decisions can be made locally at each intersection by the camera itself. The camera would then take actions autonomously (for example, adjust traffic-light timing) and only report a status update to the main traffic control centre. So now, instead of having one central location trying to manage 1,000 intersections, a city can have 1,000 smart AI cameras, each managing its own location and providing updates and metadata to a central server. Superior privacy Privacy is always a concern with video. In this case, doing AI on-camera is inherently more private than streaming the video to a server for analysis. Less data transmission means fewer points of entry for a hacker trying to access the video. On Ambarella’s CV5S and CV52S SoCs, the video can be analysed locally and then discarded, with just a signature or metadata of the face being used to find a match. No actual video needs to be stored or transmitted, which ensures total privacy. In addition, the chips contain a very secure hardware cyber security block, including OTP memory, Arm TrustZones, DRAM scrambling and I/O virtualisation. This makes it very difficult for a hacker to replace the firmware on the camera, providing another level of security and privacy at the system level. Privacy Masking Another privacy feature is the concept of privacy masking. This feature enables portions of the video (say a door or a window) to be blocked out, before being encoded in the video stream. The blocked portions of the scene are not present in the recorded video, thus providing a privacy option for cameras that are facing private areas. “With on-camera AI, each device becomes its own smart endpoint, and can be reconfigured at will to serve the specific physical security needs of its installation,” said Jerome Gigot, adding “The possibilities are endless, and our mission as an SoC maker is really to provide a powerful and easy-to-use platform, complete with computer-vision tools, that enable our customers and their partners to easily deploy their own AI software on-camera.” Physical security in parking lots With a CV5S or CV52S AI-enabled camera, the camera will be able to cover a much wider portion of the parking lot One example is physical security in a parking lot. A camera today might be used to just record part of the parking lot, so that an operator can go back and look at the video if a car were broken into or some other incident occurred. With a CV5S or CV52S AI-enabled camera, first of all, the camera will be able to cover a much wider portion of the parking lot. Additionally, it will be able to detect the licence plates of all the cars going in and out, to automatically bill the owners. If there is a special event, the camera can be reprogrammed to identify VIP vehicles and automatically redirect them to the VIP portion of the lot, while reporting to the entrance station or sign how many parking spots are available. It can even tell the cars approaching the lot where to go. Advantages of using edge AI vision SoCs Jerome Gigot said, “The possibilities are endless and they span across many verticals. The market is primed to embrace these new capabilities. Recent advances in edge AI vision SoCs have brought about a period of change in the physical security space. Companies that would have, historically, only provided security cameras, are now getting into adjacent verticals such as smart retail, smart cities and smart buildings.” He adds, “These changes are providing a great opportunity for all the camera makers and software providers to really differentiate themselves by providing full systems that offer a new level of insights and efficiencies to, not only the physical security manager, but now also the store owner and the building manager.” He adds, “All of these new applications are extremely healthy for the industry, as they are growing the available market for cameras, while also increasing their value and the economies of scale they can provide. Ambarella is looking forward to seeing all the innovative products that our customers will build with this new generation of SoCs.”