IP cameras - Expert commentary

Edge computing, AI and thermal imaging – the future of smart security
Edge computing, AI and thermal imaging – the future of smart security

Smart security is advancing rapidly. As AI and 4K rise in adoption on smart video cameras, these higher video resolutions are driving the demand for more data to be stored on-camera. AI and smart video promise to extract greater insights from security video. Complex, extensive camera networks will already require a large amount of data storage, particularly if this is 24/7 monitoring from smart video-enabled devices. With 4K-compliant cameras projected to make up over 24% of all network cameras shipped by 2023 – there is a fast-growing desire for reliable storage on-board security cameras. The question for businesses is: do they look to break up their existing smart video network, by separating and compartmentalising cameras to handle data requirements, or do they increase its storage capabilities? As some people begin to venture out and return to work following initial COVID-19 measures, we are also seeing demand for thermal imaging technology increase. New technology like this combined with more of these always-on systems being rolled out, means organisations will need to carefully consider their smart video strategy. Newer edge computing will play an important role in capturing, collecting, and analysing data and there are some key trends you can expect to see as a result of this evolution. There are many more types of cameras being used today, such as body cameras, dashboard cameras, and new Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors. Video data is so rich nowadays, you can analyse it and deduce a lot of valuable information in real-time, instead of post-event. Edge computing and smart security As public cloud adoption grew, companies and organisations saw the platform as a centralised location for big data. However, recently there’s been opposition to that trend. Instead we are now seeing data processed at the edge, rather than in the cloud. There is one main reason for this change in preference: latency. Newer edge computing will play an important role in capturing, collecting, and analysing data Latency is an important consideration when trying to carry out real-time pattern recognition. It’s very difficult for cameras to process data – 4K surveillance video recorded 24/7 – if it has to go back to a centralised data centre hundreds of miles away. This data analysis needs to happen quickly in order to be timely and applicable to dynamic situations, such as public safety. By storing relevant data at the edge, AI inferencing can happen much faster. Doing so can lead to safer communities, more effective operations, and smarter infrastructure. UHD and storage AI-enabled applications and capabilities, such as pattern recognition, depend on high-definition resolutions such as 4K – also known as Ultra High Definition (UHD). This detailed data has a major impact on storage – both the capacity and speeds at which it needs to be written, and the network. Compared to HD, 4K video has much higher storage requirements and we even have 8K on the horizon. As we know, 4K video has four times the number of pixels as HD video. In addition, 4K compliant video supports 8, 10, and 12 bits per channel that translate to 24-, 30- or 36-bit colour depth per pixel. A similar pattern holds for HD — more colour using 24 bits or less colour using 10 or 12 bits in colour depth per pixel. Altogether, there is up to a 5.7x increase in bits generated by 4K vs. 1080 pixel video. Larger video files place new demands on data infrastructure for both video production and surveillance. Which means investing in data infrastructure becomes a key consideration when looking into smart security. Always-on connectivity Whether designing solutions that have limited connectivity or ultra-fast 5G capabilities, most smart security solutions need to operate 24/7, regardless of their environment. Yet, on occasion, the underlying hardware and software systems fail. In the event of this, it is important to establish a failover process to ensure continued operation or restore data after a failure, including everything from traffic control to sensors to camera feeds and more. Consider the example of a hospital with dozens or even over a hundred cameras connected to a centralised recorder via IP. If the Ethernet goes down, no video can be captured. Such an event could pose a serious threat to the safety and security of hospital patients and staff. For this reason, microSD cards are used in cameras to enable continuous recording. Software tools – powered by AI – can then “patch” missing data streams with the content captured on the card to ensure the video stream can be viewed chronologically with no content gaps. Thermal imaging Health and safety is the number one priority for all organisations as people return to work and public spaces. Some organisations are deploying thermal imaging to help screen individuals for symptoms as they return. Organisations that operate with warehouses, depots and assembly lines will traditionally have large amounts of cameras located outside of the entrance. With thermal imaging smart video in place, these cameras can now serve a dual purpose as a screening device. The thermal imaging technology is capable of detecting elevated body temperatures, with 10-25 workers being scanned in one shot, from one camera – making it an efficient and accurate process. This way, staff can use the information to help identify people who may need further screening, testing, and/or isolation before returning to work. There are many more types of cameras being used today, such as body cameras, dashboard cameras, and new Internet of Things (IoT) devices While this may not increase data storage requirements, it can change your retention policies and practices. Smart security today is about utilising AI and edge computing, to deliver an always-on, high-resolution video provision that can help keep people safe 24/7. These trends increase the demands and importance of monitoring, which means requirements of the supporting data infrastructure improve to match that, including the ability to proactively manage the infrastructure to help ensure reliable operation. Companies need to make sure they have considered all the storage and policy challenges as part of their smart security strategy for the future.  

The increased role of video surveillance technology in our changing environment
The increased role of video surveillance technology in our changing environment

Today’s environment has evolved into something that according to some may seem unexplainable. But in the context of video surveillance, this is something that we understand. Allow me to shed some light and understanding in terms of security and why it truly is a necessity. Security is not a luxury, it is a necessity. An essential practice now peaking the interests of all businesses small and large. A video surveillance system is a cost effective option that does not require monitoring fees. As business slows, temporarily shuts down or closes, an increase in vacant properties is inevitable. This pandemic will continue to put severe pressure on many businesses around the country. With so many considered non-essential, it is really sad to see how many must shutter their doors and lay off employees. Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity using a commercial grade surveillance system that supports advanced analytics, may end up saving your potential customers thousands of dollars down the road. Demand for video surveillance and security products We can certainly draw on the conclusion that security is a “need” more so than a “want”. Times like this just further cement that thought process. In today’s economic spiral, people aren’t actively looking for lighting controls or home theaters. What they look for is a way to keep their loved ones safe, protect their homes, businesses and property. In my opinion, you will see video surveillance and security product sales skyrocket in the coming months and years. It has been reported that response times for first responders may be impacted as a result of COVID-19, leaving those with bad intent more time to ransack a property knowing that law enforcement may be slow to respond. Criminals will always take advantage of the situation. All we can do as a community is use common sense, stay vigilant and watch out for one another. For some of us that may mean mitigating risks with technology. Affordable video monitoring solutions Having a solution that can quickly and securely share video footage may be the difference between identifying a perpetrator and becoming a victim. Ella, a video search platform developed by IC Realtime, makes every second of video instantly searchable and shareable, either with the authorities or your neighborhood social apps. Plus it is compatible with any RTSP streaming device. To wrap this up, it’s not about pointing out the obvious, it’s really about bringing awareness as to how technologies can be implemented to provide peace of mind without breaking the bank. Video surveillance technology is a way to do that and provide added security for you, your family and your business.

The digital transformation of access control solutions
The digital transformation of access control solutions

The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorisation and the appropriate credentials. But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customised and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms power continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.

Latest Hikvision news

In a cybersecurity 'wild west', look for the sheriffs!
In a cybersecurity 'wild west', look for the sheriffs!

As the media often reports, the world of cybersecurity can be seen like the ‘Wild West’. There’s now a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) devices connected to the web, making this a hot topic. Among these devices are security cameras. IoT devices are computers that use software that makes them vulnerable. As the famous cybersecurity evangelist Mikko Hypponen says, "If a device is smart, it's vulnerable!" Hypponen is right. On a daily basis, new vulnerabilities are found in software, regardless of the manufacturer. In 2019, more than 12,000 vulnerabilities worldwide were made public and reported as a CVE (Common Vulnerability and Exposure) in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD). Unfortunately, vulnerabilities are a given. What really matters is how a company deals with and resolves vulnerabilities. Cybersecurity vulnerabilities Awareness of cybersecurity vulnerabilities is vitally important Awareness of cybersecurity vulnerabilities is vitally important to protect you, your business and the Internet, but it’s also important to understand that a vulnerability is not synonymous with “backdoor”, and is not necessarily indicative of “cheap quality.” But there are companies out there that are embedding safeguards into their development processes to reduce the risks. You could see them as ‘Sheriffs’, taking steps to make this Wild West a little safer.   Why Hikvision chooses ‘Secure-by-Design’ Security cameras, like all other IoT devices, are vulnerable to cyberattacks. Fortunately, manufacturers of IoT devices can significantly reduce these vulnerabilities during the production of devices, using a process called ‘Secure-by-Design’. Implementation of Secure-by-Design requires a commitment on the part of the manufacturer’s management team and a serious investment in resources and technology, which can result in a longer production process and a higher cost of the IoT device. Cost is often the reason why some IoT device manufacturers do not use Secure-by-Design (and are indeed cheaper).  Hikvision is a producer of IoT devices that takes security and privacy very seriously and has implemented Secure-by-Design in its production process. Management supports this process and has even set up a dedicated internal cybersecurity structure charged with product cybersecurity. This group is also the central point of contact for all other cybersecurity matters. The Hikvision Security Development Life Cycle (HSDLC) is an essential part of Hikvision's cybersecurity program. Cybersecurity checks take place at every stage of product development — from concept to delivery. Cybersecurity checks take place at every stage of product development For example, product testing takes place during the verification phase, the company also regularly invites well-known security companies and public testing platforms to conduct penetrating testing. Does this mean that all Hikvision products are immune to hacking? No, that guarantee cannot be given, but the HSDLC is a testament to a manufacturer that makes every effort to produce products that are as cyber secure as possible.  Source code transparcency centre In addition to the Secure-by-Design process, Hikvision opened a Source Code Transparency Center (SCTC) lab in California in 2018, being the industry’s first-of-its-kind lab to open such a centre. At this centre, U.S., Canadian government and law enforcement agencies can view and evaluate the source code of Hikvision IoT devices (IP cameras and network video recorders). It’s important to emphasise that no product is 100 percent secure. Hikvision has a Vulnerability Management Program in place when a vulnerability is discovered in a product. To date, vulnerabilities that have been reported to Hikvision and/or made publicly known, have been patched in the latest Hikvision firmware, and are readily available on the Hikvision website. In addition, Hikvision is a CVE CNA, and has committed to continuing to work with third-party white-hat hackers and security researchers, to find, patch and publicly release updates to products in a timely manner. These vulnerabilities are collected in the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) and are public. Hikvision recommends that customers who are interested in purchasing security cameras inquire about a manufacturer’s cybersecurity practices and if they have an established Vulnerability Management Program.    Cybersecurity questions to consider  The cybersecurity of IoT devices is a topic that needs to be addressed in a serious way and it should play an essential role in the product development process, beginning at the concept phase of an IoT product. This requires time, investment and knowledge.  Consider the following questions: Do I trust the manufacturer of a low-cost security camera? Does this manufacturer have a dedicated cybersecurity organisation? How does this manufacturer handle vulnerabilities?   These are the questions that everyone should ask themselves when making a purchase, be it a camera or any other IoT product.  There is no absolute 100% guarantee of security, but Hikvision has industry-leading practices to ensure the cybersecurity for its cameras. Cooperation, with its customers, installers, distributers and partners, and full transparency are key elements to successfully secure IoT devices. When you read cybersecurity news, we invite you to look beyond the headlines, and really get to know the companies that produce the IoT devices. Before you buy a security camera or any IoT device, check out the manufacturer’s cybersecurity practices, look for a company with a robust vulnerability management program, a company that aligns itself with Secure-by-Design and Privacy-by-Design and a company that employs cybersecurity professionals who are ready and eager to answer your questions. Remember, there are Sheriffs out there, as well as bandits.

Hikvision announces the integration of HikCentral video security platform with Nedap AEOS Access Control Solution
Hikvision announces the integration of HikCentral video security platform with Nedap AEOS Access Control Solution

Hikvision, an IoT solution provider with video as its core competency, has announced the integration of its HikCentral video security platform with the Nedap AEOS Access Control Solution to provide single-platform operations for users who maintain both Hikvision and Nedap systems. The integration, via Nedap AEOS Connector, provides event information, alarms, and person-data synchronisation of access control and intrusion events between AEOS-connected hardware and HikCentral. This integration enables operators to manage doors, detectors and intrusion areas, as well as visually verify and handle alarms in HikCentral Clients. Situational awareness “With the integration, security personnel are able to greatly enhance their situational awareness and control in large installations,” said Jens Berthelsen, Global Partner Alliance Manager of Hikvision. “The integration leverages the Hikvision Optimus framework to ensure a long lifespan for the installation. It also makes future upgrades of both systems seamless and simple – without compromising the continuous operation.” “I feel very proud having Hikvision onboard our Technology Partner Program. Hikvision skipped half-measures and created a very complete integration for both Access Control and the Intrusion part,” said Wesley Keegstra, Integration Manager at Nedap. “Linking events and alarms to HikCentral creates a single-platform solution to visualise the status of a security system with the corresponding video recordings. Besides visualising a system, users can also control it. Whether they open a door or lock one, or remotely arm or disarm an intrusion area.” Graphical user interface The Nedap AEOS Connector is developed under Hikvision’s latest Optimus framework, which enables systems integrators to easily tailor integrations to individual customers’ needs, building suitable workflows and event-to-action protocols. This is based on a very intuitive and easy-to-use graphical user interface that does not require coding. The Optimus and Nedap AEOS Connector are available for HikCentral version 1.6 and AEOS version 2019.1.5 and are ready for deployment now.

Hikvision launches Hard Hat Detection Cameras to enhance safety workers’ security
Hikvision launches Hard Hat Detection Cameras to enhance safety workers’ security

In 1919, the E.D. Bullard Company patented the ‘Hard Boiled® hat’, based on the steel helmets used by soldiers in World War One. These hats were made of steamed canvas and glue, and were designed as daily protective headgear for miners. Impact-resistant headgear Over the course of the 20th century, the hard hat evolved to become the brightly colored, impact-resistant headgear of choice for those working in hazardous environments. Many countries have legislated to ensure hard hats are worn at all times in such places – with good reason. Failing to wear a hard hat in a hazardous workplace can be fatal. In the US in 2012, more than 1,000 people died from head injuries while working. What’s more, data from the US National Safety Council suggests that such fatalities are increasing, with construction, transportation/warehousing and agriculture reporting the highest number of preventable deaths in 2016 and 2017. AI-powered solutions Not wearing safety headgear not only costs lives: it can also cost companies money in lawsuits Importantly, not wearing safety headgear not only costs lives: it can also cost companies money in lawsuits, compensation and life insurance payouts, and lost labour. In spite of the risks, enforcing hard hat use can be challenging, as people can forget or decide not to put them on. This means site managers must keep a constant lookout, but that’s not always easy in a distracting, noisy environment with vehicles, materials and people always moving around, often over multiple levels. That’s why many organisations are turning to AI-powered solutions that intelligently help identify if people are complying with hard-hat safety rules. In real life, artificial intelligence technology is being used around the world every single day to make workplaces operate more efficiently, more productively, and of course more safely. High definition cameras The latest hard-hat detection video cameras use embedded AI algorithms to ‘learn’ what a person wearing a hard hat should look like. They then apply this algorithm while scanning a site, rapidly identifying if anyone is working without a hard hat, and alerting management teams so they can take action. Of note, when a violation is detected, management teams can also send an auditory warning through the on-site speaker to remind people of the rules. Hikvision’s AI-powered Hard Hat Detection Cameras are equipped to intelligently detect if workers are or are not wearing safety headgear. The high definition cameras constantly scan the site, rapidly sounding an alert if someone is identified as breaching defined rules. Cameras can also be linked with access control systems, to ensure that members of staff are wearing hard hats from the moment they enter a hazardous location.

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