Hikvision 2MP IR bullet network camera joins Easy IP Solution range
Hikvision 2MP IR bullet network camera joins Easy IP Solution range

Easy and secure installation  The Easy IP Solution makes installation easy and secure for all users. The PoE-equipped NVRs mean that the need for a separate power supply to each camera is eliminated, while the inclusion of the 4MP panoramic fisheye camera allows the entire coverage of store or office rather than having to deploy several fixed cameras. The recessed-mount dome cameras also enable installers to simply use existing downlight installations while cameras with motorised lens, and with PT (pan-tilt) and PTZ functionality eliminate the need for post-installation camera and lens direction positioning.  Easy connection As well as PoE meaning that just a single Ethernet cable is required for each camera, the Easy IP Solution includes a complete range of Wi-Fi cameras and NVRs featuring auto-detection, auto-connection and easy access. At the same time, the PoE NVRs automatically allocate an IP address to each camera when it is connected, completely removing any potential delays with configuring IP address forwarding and saving time in large installations.  Easy storage Featuring on-board storage on many of the cameras, Hikvision’s Easy IP Solution also offers high compression efficiency codecs to reduce the burden placed on the transmission and storage elements of the system. This is particularly significant for high-definition IP systems where bandwidth and storage costs can be a major concern - a standard H.264 camera with full HD 1080p resolution and one month of recording can result in about 1.2 TB of space consumed. The Hikvision H.264+ optimised Smart codec technology helps to reduce storage consumption by up to two-thirds, with full HD 1080p resolution for one month consuming just 462 GB.  Easy and advanced viewing and video management All Hikvision Easy IP cameras support the EZVIZ Cloud – P2P service, which enables remote access from your smartphone. This means you can view the live video and recorded video files from your house, store, office or enterprise anytime and anywhere. EZVIZ also includes Intelligent Alarm support so that any intrusion or emergency events can be precisely recognised and resolved.

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Hikvision expands DarkFighter ultra-low-light CCTV camera range
Hikvision expands DarkFighter ultra-low-light CCTV camera range

Hikvision’s range of industry-leading DarkFighter ultra-low-light CCTV cameras is expanded with six new models, including bullet, box, outdoor dome and PTZ variants. At the same time, ultra-low-light performance is also boosted with the release of the ‘DarkEye’ SLA lens, which offers a consistent ‘Super Large Aperture’ of 0.95 across the entire focal range for supreme low-light performance from close-up to maximum zoom. Quadrupling the DarkFighter network IP range All six new DarkFighter models boast industry leading low-light specifications, including large 2 MP progressive scan CMOS image sensors, full HD 1080p video at up to 60 fps, triple video streams, 3D DNR and 120dB WDR. The result is crystal-clear colour images down to as low as 0.001 Lux and B/W to 0.0001 Lux for sharp colour images in conditions that would defeat conventional low-light models. The eight-strong DarkFighter range now consists of two box cameras, two bullet cameras, two outdoor dome cameras and a pair of 23X network PTZ dome cameras, five of which come with vandal-proof housings. “DarkEye” SLA (Super Large Aperture) lens The DarkEye SLA lens HV0733D-6MP is the latest technological advance from Hikvision and significantly enhances Darkfighter performance to unrivalled levels. Featuring IR correction and up to 6 megapixel resolution, the DarkEye SLA lens is available on both DarkFighter box cameras and features a consistent aperture of f/0.95 across the entire 7-33 mm focal length range. It means that users can operate the camera at its large aperture at all times, and at any zoom setting, for maximum low-light performance. Smart solution 2.0 All DarkFighter cameras feature a host of Hikvision’s SMART technologies, which combine intelligence, efficiency, and ease-of-use into modern video surveillance. SMART technologies include face detection, intrusion detection, line-crossing detection and object counting that enables the camera to detect any progressively moving object and follow it within the camera’s area of coverage without fault. Besides, the on-board ANPR analytics further help to detect and recognize a vehicle’s license plate and send ANPR info to a Smart NVR or video management software for access management. Smart Defog and EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) are also offered in the DarkFighter range to improve image quality in challenging conditions. Coupled with Hikvision Smart NVR and iVMS-5200 Professional video management software, the complete Smart Solution is set to accelerate the security demands in versatile vertical markets, including commercial /industrial sector, transportation, banking and much more. The DarkFighter family Newly added models: DS-2CD4026FWD (-A)(P) 2MP ultra low-light box network camera DS-2CD4A26FWD-IZ(H)(S) 2MP IR array bullet network camera DS-2CD4626FWD-IZ(H)(S) 2MP IR array vandal-proof bullet network camera DS-2CD4526FWD-IZ(H) 2MP outdoor network dome camera DS-2CD4126FWD-IZ 2MP outdoor network dome camera DS-2DF6223-AEL 2MP 23X network PTZ dome camera Existing models: DS-2CD6026FHWD-(A)2 MP ultra low-light box network camera DS-2DF8223I-AEL 2MP 23X network IR PTZ dome camera

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MOBOTIX launches new camera platform - M15
MOBOTIX launches new camera platform - M15

MOBOTIX AG recently launched the new camera platform, M15. A platform which is based on the new MOBOTIX 5 Megapixel Technology, it offers two exchangeable sensor modules and further builds on MOBOTIX‘ innovative camera platform concept. "The M15 offers the latest in MOBOTIX‘ camera system technology and follows a proud tradition that we  have started over 13 years ago with the M1 and have continued with the M10 and M12," says Dr. Ralf Hinkel, founder of MOBOTIX AG. "We are confident that the M15 will be breaking ground in many ways; technically, as a product platform concept, design-wise and because it is developed in a unique combination between end-users and MOBOTIX". The M15 is naturally developed around the MOBOTIX decentralised system technology which saves costs, management and network resources for the end-user. The M15 product platform offers two exchangeable 5 Megapixel sensor modules which are exactly the same modules as for the recently launched S15. "We have developed the M15 in close cooperation with our end-users and partners. Our end-users want a dynamic platform that can change with their current and future needs, and our partners want a platform for many different applications,“ continued Dr. Hinkel. As the sensor modules can be easily exchanged by the end-user, they will always have an up-to-date camera surveillance system regardless of original mounting place and, at that time, the intended focus of that specific camera. “The end-users and our partners can today choose up to 5 completely different sensor combinations for this platform and in the future there will be even more," said Dr. Hinkel. By using 5 Megapixel sensors for the M15 camera platform, the users will gain more than four times better light sensitivity in all conditions. The new sensor technology offers a frame rate of up to 30 frames per second and the zoom capabilities are increased by 27% in colour and by more than 200% in black-and-white. "It is important to emphasize that the M15 is a Day-and-Night camera not a day/night. The difference is huge between these two concepts, the M15 sensor modules, depending on configuration, are always able to offer one day and one night image simultaneously, which is especially important in low light conditions as well as in no light," commented Dr. Hinkel. The new M15 camera platform is IP66 certified and is successfully tested at a temperature range from -30 °C to +60 °C. Following MOBOTIX established product strategy, the M15 does not need any additional housing, fans, heating etc. “The user can take our new camera platform and literally install it wherever he or she wants to. We have people using our products in very extreme environments and they will be very happy with the M15,” said Dr. Hinkel. The M15 camera platform only needs around 5 watt to be fully functional, which both saves costs and energy for the users. “The new M15 is marked with the MOBOTIX Green IP-Video logo for being exceptionally environment-friendly, which is a social conscience initiative that MOBOTIX have taken and I feel very strongly about,” concluded Dr. Ralf Hinkel. A special advantage: The M15 is fully integrated with the new revolutionary MxActivitySensor technology for intelligent motion detection that reduces false alarms and errors considerably. The M15 is available over authorised MOBOTIX distributors and partners.

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Hikvision LightFighter ultra-high WDR camera range
Hikvision LightFighter ultra-high WDR camera range

Hikvision, the global leader in innovative video surveillance products and solutions, is set to reach new heights in extremely high contrast imaging with the launch of the LightFighter series of 2MP SMART IP cameras. Each of the seven new LightFighter cameras incorporates Hikvision’s ultra-high 140 dB WDR technology for exceptional, industry-leading visibility in brightly lit or high contrast environments. The result of this cutting-edge advance is clear, detail-rich images in lighting conditions that would defeat conventional WDR cameras. LightFighter – 7 cameras The LightFighter series consists of seven 2 megapixel cameras featuring Hikvision’s ultra-high WDR technology to overcome the pitfalls of imaging extreme backlight and high contrast scenes. The new models include a Smart IP Box camera, two outdoor Bullet cameras, two outdoor Dome cameras, and a pair of Network PTZ dome cameras with 36X zoom. All seven LightFighter cameras are also capable of rendering Full 1920 x 1080 HD images at a consistent 60 frames per second, and boast low-light capability for night time surveillance needs. 140dB WDR overcomes extreme backlighting and high contrast The key to the performance of the LightFighter cameras is the industry-leading WDR system that allows the camera to record greater scene details even where the intensity of illumination varies considerably, such as backlighting when very dark and very bright areas appear simultaneously in the field of view. Although a common feature in CCTV cameras for this reason, the 140 dB WDR in the LightFighter offers 100 times more powerful enhancement than the 120 dB WDR systems of conventional cameras. LightFighter is particularly suited to intense backlight situations, and is the ideal camera to point towards windows and entrance doors. Smart solution 2.0 The LightFighter camera range is equipped with Hikvision’s full SMART feature set, including face detection, intrusion detection, line-crossing detection, ANPR and object counting that enables the camera to detect any progressively moving object and follow it within the camera’s area of coverage without fault. Coupled with Hikvision Smart NVR and iVMS-5200 Professional video management software, the complete Smart Solution is set to accelerate the security demands in versatile vertical markets, including commercial /industrial sector, transportation, banking and much more. The LightFighter series Specifically, the DS-2CD4025FWD-(A)(P) 2MP SMART IP Box camera also features Auto Back Focus and P-Iris. The DS-2CD4A25FWD-IZ(H)(S) 2MP SMART IP Outdoor Bullet camera features a motorised varifocal lens with SMART Focus, an IR range of up to 100 meters, SMART Heating and Input/output for both alarm and audio. The DS-2CD4625FWD-IZ (H) (S) is a vandal – proof SMART IP Outdoor Bullet camera, boasting IP66 housing and an improved IR range of up to 150 meters. The LightFighter range also includes two SMART IP Outdoor Dome cameras. The DS-2CD4525FWD-IZ (H) features an IR cut filter with an auto switch, SMART Heating, and an IR range of up to 50 meters; and the DS-2CD4125FWD-IZ with a slightly reduced IR range of up to 30 meters. Rounding off the LightFighter series are two 36X Network PTZ Dome cameras, the DS-2DF6236V-AEL, and the DS-2DF8236IV-AEL. Both are equipped with a 1/3” HD CMOS sensor, capable of rendering at Full 1920 x 1080 HD, 36X Optical Zoom, SMART Tracking and SMART Detection. In addition, both models also feature IK10 Vandal–proof housings. The DS-2DF8236IV-AEL features long range IR, capable of detection and tracking at distances of up to 200 meters.

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Hikvision expands 6MP Ultra HD SMART IP camera series
Hikvision expands 6MP Ultra HD SMART IP camera series

Hikvision’s SMART IP camera ranges are being boosted with four newly added 6 megapixel Ultra HD camera series that provides a total resolution of 3072 x 2048 at full frame rate to deliver spectacular images. With this immense of view, one 6MP camera covers the area of several conventional cameras. Like the DS-2CD4065F-(A) SMART IP box camera that launched last year, all four of the new models feature industry-leading specifications and are powered by Hikvision’s signature SMART technologies. These include SMART Codec, SMART Focus, SMART IR, SMART Facial Recognition, SMART Line Crossing Detection, SMART Voice Recognition and SMART License Plate recognition, which helps to deliver a unique smart experience of unparalleled image quality and customer convenience. Full frame rate in real-time Unlike the majority of Full HD cameras that can only transmit a 2 megapixel image (1920 x 1080) at their full frame rate, all the Hikvision 6MP SMART IP cameras are capable of transmitting a full 3072 x 2048 6 megapixel image, even at full frame rate. This capability will be especially suited to applications requiring highly detailed surveillance, capturing the fine detail of license plates, clothing and faces to help law enforcement or monitoring cash handling areas, for instance. The 6MP resolution combined with user-defined ROIs and SMART detection technologies also means a single camera from this new family could monitor an entire area that would previously have required a raft of low resolution units. At the same time, the ultra-low light capability and Smart IR built into the new range adjusts IR strength to maximise image quality in less than ideal lighting conditions. Finally, all four cameras are capable of streaming three simultaneous and independent HD video streams. Smart solution 2.0 The 6MP IP cameras deliver a complete Smart Solution when combined with Hikvision Smart NVR and comprehensive video management software. With front-end cameras providing Smart Detection, backend device for Smart Playback/backup and video management software for Smart management, Hikvision Smart range well combines intelligence, efficiency, and ease-of-use into modern video surveillance, and provides maximum security efficiency for operation and post-event investigation etc. Expanding customer choice “As the global CCTV market continues to move towards HD as the de facto standard, Hikvision is leading the way towards an HD+ future with the 6MP SMART IP family,” says Keen Yao, International Marketing Director at Hikvision. “Their enhanced imaging capabilities demonstrate the cutting-edge that our investment in R&D brings to customers worldwide.” About the models: The DS-2CD4A65F-IZ (H) SMART IP Outdoor Bullet camera’s key features include a motorised VF lens with SMART focus combined with an IR range of up to 50 metres. The DS-2CD4565F-IZ (H) SMART IP Outdoor Dome camera is a cousin to the DS-2CD4165F-IZ, featuring all the industry leading specifications of the DS-2CD4165F-IZ while being adapted for use in outdoor environments.

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MOBOTIX launches S14 FlexMount  - The world’s first flexible double hemispheric camera
MOBOTIX launches S14 FlexMount - The world’s first flexible double hemispheric camera

The S14 FlexMount from MOBOTIX, the world’s first flexible double hemispheric camera, is now available. The camera, which is available in both mono (S14M) and dual (S14D) versions, features miniature lens units and offers a wide range of application opportunities. For instance, the S14D can be equipped with two hemispheric lens units with integrated microphone that are connected to the main housing via cables. This makes it possible to fully secure two rooms located next to or on top of one another with just one single S14. The slim design of the module units, which are available in white and black, permit an extremely discreet installation. Two rooms secured with one single camera The S14 FlexMount offers the option to set up two hemispheric lens units simultaneously in order to completely cover two adjacent rooms with just one single S14D. When installed in a certain way, the S14D can also see around corners or secure indoor and outdoor areas at the same time. The two sensors allow the S14 to generate two distortion-corrected, high-resolution 180° panorama images, each with a resolution of 3.1 megapixels. All other MOBOTIX lenses, from super-wide angle to tele lens, will be available in the near future as day or night versions.The S14 is the world's first hemispheric day-and-night camera. When both modules with black-and-white and colour sensors are mounted directly next to each other and cover the same area, the camera automatically chooses the best available mode depending on the lighting conditions. This provides for excellent colours in daylight as well as superb light sensitivity in dark environments. Panning and zooming into the image is done purely electronically. The user is provided with detailed views and other image sections without any mechanical movement, meaning that there is no wear-and-tear to the camera and no maintenance is required. Weatherproof, discreet and energy efficient Both module units and the separate housing with the latest dual camera board are weatherproof in accordance with IP65 and operate in a temperature range of -30°C to +60°C (-22°F to +140°F). The flat housing, including flash memory with up to 64 GB and all external connectors (Ethernet, MiniUSB, MxBus), can be installed discreetly and with optimal protection behind a wall or ceiling panel so that only the lens units in their ultra-compact protective housing are visible. Power is supplied very cost effective via a network cable (PoE). At less than five watt-hours, the energy consumption is extremely low. Wide range of application opportunities The camera's technical features and very discreet mounting open up a whole range of application opportunities. In L-shaped rooms, for example, the two sensor modules can be positioned at the corner in correct angles to each other, therefore capturing the entire room without any blind spots. Therefore, the S14 is particularly well-suited for use in hotels, banks and retail stores where the highest levels of security and discretion are required. The S14 can also demonstrate its strengths at security gates and in offices. MOBOTIX also offers the appropriate installation accessories for mounting the sensor module on thicker walls. Using several extension pieces (each approx. 40 mm), longer "tunnel holes" through a wall can also be bridged. MOBOTIX software included free of charge As usual with all MOBOTIX products, the complete software for configuration and operation of the camera is integrated directly into the camera. Additionally, professional video management software can be downloaded from the website free of charge.

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MOBOTIX’s new thermal radiometry camera series helps to prevent fires
MOBOTIX’s new thermal radiometry camera series helps to prevent fires

 MOBOTIX has launched a new series of thermal camera products, equipped with a new type of thermal sensing technology to realise automatic events, based on absolute temperatures within -40°C to +550°C (or -40°F to +1022°F). This new technology is perfect to generate automatic alarms, defined by temperature limits or temperature ranges, which is vital to detect potential fire or heat sources. At the same time, MOBOTIX provides a free software update to upgrade existing thermal cameras with thermal spot metering in the image centre. Within the available temperature range of -40°C to +550°C (or -40°F to +1022°F) and a thermal sensitivity of 0.05°C (NETD=50mK), different temperature conditions can be easily defined within the new TR (Thermal Radiometry) window or over the whole sensor image with a typical accuracy of ±10°C. Up to 20 multiple temperature events can be defined at the same time. Spot metering, which measures temperature related to 4 pixels at the image centre, is also improved in the new thermal TR products with a typical accuracy of ±10°C. These new releases will help to prevent bigger damages in industrial and commercial premises, at manufacturing and logistic sites, recycling facilities, forests, etc. MOBOTIX Thermal Radiometry (TR) is available in its popular M15, and as a sensor module in the S15 dual camera system. Furthermore, TR is also available as S15 PT-mount sensor head. Both S15 thermal modules can be set up as dual thermal system for most flexible usage or as the perfect combination of thermal and optical sensor technology to ensure the most reliable detection results and visual verification at the same time.

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MOBOTIX p25 6MP indoor ceiling camera with 6MP moonlight sensor technology
MOBOTIX p25 6MP indoor ceiling camera with 6MP moonlight sensor technology

The new benchmark in lowlight for objects in motion The brand-new MOBOTIX 6MP cameras have an outstanding increase of light sensitivity of more than 100-times than the former 3MP cameras. The monochrome version reaches even a 300-times higher sensitivity than the previous series. Instead of one full second of exposure time the new 6MP systems can select only 1/100 s which results in capturing even fast moving objects in low light conditions. Short exposure times are essential In security monitoring every moment and therefore every single frame of a video recording has to be as sharp as possible. For moving objects this implies the necessity of short instead of long exposure times. Unfortunately a short exposure time of 1/100 s grabs 10-times less light than a 1/10 s. Especially in low light conditions, the lens, the image sensor itself and the image processing for sure have to be very sophisticated­ to generate a sharp and crisp image of the moving object. Only a sharp image is a proof In dark scenes long exposure times of up to 1 second create bright images and visible static objects. Perfect to acknowledge objects in darkness. But if objects are moving,­ long exposure times will create blurring or ghost images, and make verification of moving objects nearly impossible. In security applications­ moving objects are of utmost importance,­ therefore short exposure times are essential to understand what‘s going on. Some manufacturers are using a combination of technologies like adding frames to generate a brighter image (e. g. Lightfinder, HDR, etc.). However, with this adding and overlaying of subsequent frames, small details or objects in the scene could be suppressed­ or distorted, which is inacceptable in security­ applications. Optimised for best performance This huge increase in light sensitivity was achieved by several means: wider sensor with bigger pixels to catch more light, a hardware noise reduction filter directly at the sensor, a new sophisticated lens with a better light transmission, and an improved image processing software reducing the noise of low light images. This is called the new MOBOTIX Moonlight Technology.

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IP cameras - Expert commentary

We need to talk about intelligent enclosure protection
We need to talk about intelligent enclosure protection

Enclosures containing electronics, communications or cabling infrastructure offer a simple attack point for cyber breaches and an opportunity for a physical attack on the hardware. Yet, many of these assets are housed within enclosures that provide minimal security features to offer a deterrent to any would-be attacker. This has always just been a pet hate. Walking down the high street of a town anywhere in the United Kingdom, you can often see open street communication cabinets. You can actually look directly inside at the equipment. And if I was a bad guy, I could quite easily just put my foot into their enclosure and quite quickly take out their infrastructure. Charged service for enclosures This seems crazy when a US$ 2 magnetic contact on a door can quickly tell you whether your enclosure is open or shut, and can be vital in keeping your network alive. Moreover, the operators of these systems, whether it is telecoms or internet providers, are providing a charged service to their customers, so they should really be protecting their enclosures. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? More sobering, if you contrast this security approach to the approach taken in the data centre world, an environment that already has multiple stringent security protocols in place, you get a very different picture. For instance, security devices can capture snapshots of anyone who opens a cabinet door in a data room, so it is recorded who has opened that door. While that is just one simple example, it begs the question. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? In my mind, a lot of it boils down simply to education. Network connection, easy point of cyber attacks Our preconceived idea about cyber security is some big corporation being knocked out or held to ransom by, again in our mind, someone sitting at a laptop, probably with their hood up over their head, typing away in the darkness, attacking us through the internet. But how the would-be criminal is going to come at us is just like in sport. They attack at the weakest point. Networks can be deployed in the outside world in many ways, such as cameras monitoring the highways. That means those locations will have a network connection. And that can be a point of attack in a non-secure outside world. Enclosures can be broken into by attackers Many people think, ‘That is okay because I’m going to take that ethernet device that my cameras are connected to and I’m going to put it inside an enclosure.’ However, what people do not realize is that the only thing that the enclosure is doing is protecting the ethernet device from Mother Nature. Because, without proper security, those enclosures can be broken into pretty easily. Many of them are just a single key that is not in any way coded to the device. Twofold cyber security People need to realise that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking Therein lays the problem. People need to realise that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking into the weakest physical point. And so, a simple boot through the open door of an enclosure can vandalise the devices inside and take down a small or large part of a network. And by definition, this meets the criteria for a cyber-attack. So, how do we go about tackling this problem? Well, security is a reaction marketplace. And for enclosures, there’s not, at present, a plethora of solutions out there for to counter these types of attacks. It can be challenging to find what you’re looking for through a quick Google search compared to searching for more traditional security protection measures. Deploying smart sensors and detectors But, under Vanderbilt and ComNet, we are currently taking our knowledge and experience from system installation and compiling it together. We’re bringing different products from different parts of our business to make a true solution. For instance, we have sensors for enclosures that detect anything from gas or smoke to open doors, detectors that will tell you if someone is trying to smash open your enclosure with a sledgehammer, or that someone is trying to lift your enclosure off of its mount. More importantly, as is not really a one-size-fits-all solution, we have developed a menu structure available that allows customers to pick and choose the ones that will best fit their own requirements.

We have the technology to make society safer – how long can we justify not using it?
We have the technology to make society safer – how long can we justify not using it?

While the application of facial recognition within both public and private spheres continues to draw criticism from those who see it as a threat to civil rights, this technology has become extremely commonplace in the lives of iPhone users. It is so prevalent, in fact, that by 2024 it is predicted that 90% of smartphones will use biometric facial recognition hardware. CCTV surveillance cameras  Similarly, CCTV is a well-established security measure that many of us are familiar with, whether through spotting images displayed on screens in shops, hotels and offices, or noticing cameras on the side of buildings. It is therefore necessary we ask the question of why, when facial recognition is integrated with security surveillance technology, does it become such a source of contention? It is not uncommon for concerns to be voiced against innovation. History has taught us that it is human nature to fear the unknown, especially if it seems that it may change life as we know it. Yet technology is an ever-changing, progressive part of the 21st century and it is important we start to shift the narrative away from privacy threats, to the force for good that LFR (Live Facial Recognition) represents. Live Facial Recognition (LFR) We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition Across recent weeks, we have seen pleas from UK organisations to allow better police access to facial recognition technology in order to fight crime. In the US, there are reports that LAPD is the latest police force to be properly regulating its use of facial recognition to aid criminal investigations, which is certainly a step in the right direction. While it is understandable that society fears technology that they do not yet understand, this lack of knowledge is exactly why the narrative needs to shift. We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition, we respect these anxieties. However, it is time to level the playing field of the facial recognition debate and communicate the plethora of benefits it offers society. Facial recognition technology - A force for good Facial recognition technology has already reached such a level of maturity and sophistication that there are huge opportunities for it to be leveraged as a force for good in real-world scenarios. As well as making society safer and more secure, I would go as far to say that LFR is able to save lives. One usage that could have a dramatic effect on reducing stress in people with mental conditions is the ability for facial recognition to identify those with Alzheimer’s. If an older individual is seemingly confused, lost or distressed, cameras could alert local medical centres or police stations of their identity, condition and where they need to go (a home address or a next of kin contact). Granted, this usage would be one that does incorporate a fair bit of personal data, although this information would only be gathered with consent from each individual. Vulnerable people could volunteer their personal data to local watchlists in order to ensure their safety when out in society, as well as to allow quicker resolutions of typically stressful situations. Tracking and finding missing persons Another possibility for real world positives to be drawn from facial recognition is to leverage the technology to help track or find missing persons, a lost child for instance. The most advanced forms of LFR in the market are now able to recognise individuals even if up to 50% of their face is covered and from challenging or oblique angles. Therefore, there is a significant opportunity not only to return people home safely, more quickly, but also reduce police hours spent on analysing CCTV footage. Rapid scanning of images Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match, as a more reliable and less time-consuming option than the human alternative. Freed-up officers could also then work more proactively on the ground, patrolling their local areas and increasing community safety and security twofold. It is important to understand that these facial recognition solutions should not be applied to every criminal case, and the technology must be used responsibly. However, these opportunities to use LFR as force for good are undeniable.   Debunking the myths One of the central concerns around LFR is the breach of privacy that is associated with ‘watchlists’. There is a common misconception, however, that the data of every individual that passes a camera is processed and then stored. The reality is that watch lists are compiled with focus on known criminals, while the general public can continue life as normal. The very best facial recognition will effectively view a stream of blurred faces, until it detects one that it has been programmed to recognise. For example, an individual that has previously shoplifted from a local supermarket may have their biometric data stored, so when they return to that location the employees are alerted to a risk of further crimes being committed. Considering that the cost of crime prevention to retailers in recent years has been around £1 billion, which therefore impacts consumer prices and employee wages, security measures to tackle this issue are very much in the public interest. Most importantly, the average citizen has no need to fear being ‘followed’ by LFR cameras. If data is stored, it is for a maximum of 0.6 seconds before being deleted. Privacy Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story. It is essential we spend more time and effort communicating exactly why watchlists are made, who they are made for and how they are being used, if we want to de-bunk myths and change the narrative. As science and technology professionals, heading up this exciting innovation, we must put transparency and accountability at the centre of what we do. Tony Porter, former Surveillance Camera Commissioner and current CPO at Corsight AI, has previously worked on developing processes that audit and review watch lists. Such restrictions are imperative in order for AI and LFR to be used legally, as well as ethically and responsibly. Biometrics, mask detection and contactless payments Nevertheless, the risks do not outweigh the benefits. Facial recognition should and can be used for good in so many more ways than listed above, including biometric, contactless payments, detecting whether an individual is wearing a facemask and is therefore, safe to enter a building, identifying a domestic abuse perpetrator returning to the scene of a crime and alerting police. There are even opportunities for good that we have not thought of yet. It is therefore not only a waste not to use this technology where we can, prioritising making society a safer place, it is immoral to stand by and let crimes continue while we have effective, reliable mitigation solutions.  

Safety in smart cities: How video surveillance keeps security front and centre
Safety in smart cities: How video surveillance keeps security front and centre

Urban populations are expanding rapidly around the globe, with an expected growth of 1.56 billion by 2040. As the number of people living and working in cities continues to grow, the ability to keep everyone safe is an increasing challenge. However, technology companies are developing products and solutions with these futuristic cities in mind, as the reality is closer than you may think. Solutions that can help to watch over public places and share data insights with city workers and officials are increasingly enabling smart cities to improve the experience and safety of the people who reside there. Rising scope of 5G, AI, IoT and the Cloud The main foundations that underpin smart cities are 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Cloud. Each is equally important, and together, these technologies enable city officials to gather and analyse more detailed insights than ever before. For public safety in particular, having IoT and cloud systems in place will be one of the biggest factors to improving the quality of life for citizens. Smart cities have come a long way in the last few decades, but to truly make a smart city safe, real-time situational awareness and cross-agency collaboration are key areas which must be developed as a priority. Innovative surveillance cameras with integrated IoT Public places need to be safe, whether that is an open park, shopping centre, or the main roads through towns Public places need to be safe, whether that is an open park, shopping centre, or the main roads through towns. From dangerous drivers to terrorist attacks, petty crime on the streets to high profile bank robberies, innovative surveillance cameras with integrated IoT and cloud technologies can go some way to helping respond quickly to, and in some cases even prevent, the most serious incidents. Many existing safety systems in cities rely on aging and in some places legacy technology, such as video surveillance cameras. Many of these also use on-premises systems rather than utilising the benefits of the cloud. Smart programming to deliver greater insights These issues, though not creating a major problem today, do make it more challenging for governments and councils to update their security. Changing every camera in a city is a huge undertaking, but in turn, doing so would enable all cameras to be connected to the cloud, and provide more detailed information which can be analysed by smart programming to deliver greater insights. The physical technologies that are currently present in most urban areas lack the intelligent connectivity, interoperability and integration interfaces that smart cities need. Adopting digital technologies isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. Smart surveillance systems It enables teams to gather data from multiple sources throughout the city in real-time, and be alerted to incidents as soon as they occur. Increased connectivity and collaboration ensures that all teams that need to be aware of a situation are informed instantly. For example, a smart surveillance system can identify when a road accident has occurred. It can not only alert the nearest ambulance to attend the scene, but also the local police force to dispatch officers. An advanced system that can implement road diversions could also close roads around the incident immediately and divert traffic to other routes, keeping everyone moving and avoiding a build-up of vehicles. This is just one example: without digital systems, analysing patterns of vehicle movements to address congestion issues could be compromised, as would the ability to build real-time crime maps and deploy data analytics which make predictive policing and more effective crowd management possible. Cloud-based technologies Cloud-based technologies provide the interoperability, scalability and automation Cloud-based technologies provide the interoperability, scalability and automation that is needed to overcome the limitations of traditional security systems. Using these, smart cities can develop a fully open systems architecture that delivers interoperation with both local and other remote open systems. The intelligence of cloud systems can not only continue to allow for greater insights as technology develops over time, but it can do so with minimal additional infrastructure investment. Smart surveillance in the real world Mexico City has a population of almost 9 million people, but if you include the whole metropolitan area, this number rises sharply to over 21 million in total, making it one of the largest cities on the planet. Seven years ago, the city first introduced its Safe City initiative, and ever since has been developing newer and smarter ways to keep its citizens safe. In particular, its cloud-based security initiative is making a huge impact. Over the past three years, Mexico City has installed 58,000 new video surveillance cameras throughout the city, in public spaces and on transport, all of which are connected to the City’s C5 (Command, Control, Computers, Communications and Citizen Contact) facility. Smart Cities operations The solution enables officers as well as the general public to upload videos via a mobile app to share information quickly, fixed, body-worn and vehicle cameras can also be integrated to provide exceptional insight into the city’s operations. The cloud-based platform can easily be upgraded to include the latest technology innovations such as licence plate reading, behavioural analysis software, video analytics and facial recognition software, which will all continue to bring down crime rates and boost response times to incidents. The right cloud approach Making the shift to cloud-based systems enables smart cities to eliminate dependence on fibre-optic connectivity and take advantage of a variety of Internet and wireless connectivity options that can significantly reduce application and communication infrastructure costs. Smart cities need to be effective in years to come, not just in the present day, or else officials have missed one of the key aspects of a truly smart city. System designers must build technology foundations now that can be easily adapted in the future to support new infrastructure as it becomes available. Open system architecture An open system architecture will also be vital for smart cities to enhance their operations For example, this could include opting for a true cloud application that can support cloud-managed local devices and automate their management. An open system architecture will also be vital for smart cities to enhance their operations and deliver additional value-add services to citizens as greater capabilities become possible in the years to come. The advances today in cloud and IoT technologies are rapid, and city officials and authorities have more options now to develop their smart cities than ever before and crucially, to use these innovations to improve public safety. New safety features Though implementing these cloud-based systems now requires investment, as new safety features are designed, there will be lower costs and challenges associated with introducing these because the basic infrastructure will already exist. Whether that’s gunshot detection or enabling the sharing of video infrastructure and data across multiple agencies in real time, smart video surveillance on cloud-based systems can bring a wealth of the new opportunities.

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