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 Paxton Access Limited news

Paxton Access Limited enables instant access to essential tools through their Paxton Installer app
Paxton Access Limited enables instant access to essential tools through their Paxton Installer app

Paxton’s Installer app has officially gone live. The tool has been designed as a centralised platform giving installers and system administrators instant access to key information they need to install and manage Paxton products and solutions on the go. 2020 has been a productive year for the people of Paxton, despite the on-going consequences of the global pandemic. Regulatory guidelines and social distancing measures have led to essential and innovative updates for Paxton’s long-standing access control system Net2. Provides digital access Paxton’s Chief Executive Adam Stroud explains: “There are certain things, such as this pandemic, that happen outside of our direct control and where possible, I think it’s important to try to see the opportunity to do something fresh and different.” Along with rolling out these important feature updates, Paxton added their new Paxton Installer app to their 2020 agenda. The simple-to-use pocket tool provides digital access to Paxton’s Knowledge Base. Installers how have convenient access to up-to-date product specifications, technical documents, video installer instructions as well as answers to many FAQs right on their mobile device. Expert technical support team Paxton has designed the app’s search functionality with a seamless experience in mind Adam said: “At Paxton we are always looking for opportunities to improve the service and information we provide to our valued installers and their customers. Saving them time and making their working lives more convenient is why we have invested in developing the new Paxton Installer app”. To make life simple on site for their installers, Paxton has designed the app’s search functionality with a seamless experience in mind. Individual product information can be accessed within seconds via the app’s built in bar code scanner. Installers will also be able to direct dial Paxton’s expert technical support team and find a list of their local distributors to make sourcing products and getting installation advice quick and easy. Products and solutions Adam continues: “We have an ever-growing library of content about our products and solutions. Finding the right information when you need it can often be a challenge. Making this easier for our installers has been one of the key objectives of the new app. You will be able to simply scan or search for your product, and all the information is right there for you. In addition, the app gives you immediate access to our vast knowledge base that is used by our own customer support team.” Another benefit of the app for installers is the ability to favorite link documents for quick access and share information with co-workers or end users via email, text, Airdrop, or WhatsApp. All documents and videos are also available offline as they are downloadable within the app. This makes it possible to access information when internet access is a problem. Efficient for installers Adam concludes, “I am very pleased we have invested in the development of this app to make things simpler and efficient for installers. Watch this space as we have much more planned for it in the future!”. The app is available to download now on iOS and Android smart-devices. One can also check out the Paxton Installer app video that explains how installers can use the app’s functionally and how they can get the most out of the innovation.

Paxton introduces Net2 Checkpoint Control to mitigate virus transmission and safeguard employees and visitors
Paxton introduces Net2 Checkpoint Control to mitigate virus transmission and safeguard employees and visitors

Paxton’s longstanding access control system, Net2, receives its latest software update. The highly anticipated new feature, Checkpoint Control, supports COVID-secure sites. This additional functionality helps Net2 users protect employees and visitors by monitoring and approving people as they enter buildings. Throughout the first half of 2020 the creation of Checkpoint Control was underway, along with the unforeseen global spread of the coronavirus COVID-19. During this time lockdown and social distancing restrictions in many countries heightened the need for the update to be rolled out globally, in a timely fashion. Since then Paxton’s Development team has worked tirelessly preparing the release alongside other vital COVID-secure Net2 updates. Thermal scanning hardware Paxton’s U.S. Senior Product Manager Jeremy Allison said: “At Paxton, people are at the heart of everything we do and this year our focus is bringing people back to work safely. Following on from the successful introduction of Occupancy Management, we are introducing Checkpoint Control. Designed to help businesses ensure their COVID-secure guidelines are being followed before staff enter a site.” Designed to help businesses ensure their COVID-secure guidelines are being followed before staff enter a site" The Checkpoint Control functionality follows on from Paxton’s successful introduction of Net2 Occupancy Management and integration with thermal scanning hardware. Both were released for Net2 in July 2020. These features work simply and seamlessly together to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 around populated buildings. Temporary access levels Jeremy Allison further explains “Net2 Checkpoint Control allows a site to assign temporary access levels to one or more users that will remain in place until they have either been manually validated or badged through a specific door. This allows Net2 system administrators to ensure all staff and visitors pass through a designated checkpoint at a frequency that can be configured to suit the business requirements." "It also offers the flexibility to split staff between multiple checkpoints to help maintain social distancing and not overrun an area”. Access permissions feature Checkpoint Control works in just two simple steps: Step 1: System Setup Specific doors or areas of a building are designated as checkpoints, such as the main entrance or reception. End users are then given access to that checkpoint using their normal access token, with the limited access point managed via the access permissions feature within the Net2 software. Step 2: A manual or automated verification takes place to validate further site access Access can be verified manually in person or by using technology to support automated validation. The automated process works by identifying a person via their access credentials, which can then be followed by a thermal scan to further increase protection against the spread of Coronavirus. Once identity, and where relevant, an individual’s health and well-being has been approved, the checkpoint will validate and grant further building access. Virtual traffic lights Paxton has produced an on-demand webinar called the definitive guide to COVID-secure buildings Net2 v6.05 also includes new functionality to further enhance the Net2 Occupancy Management feature. New virtual traffic lights can be used on screens to indicate occupancy levels with no need for integrated traffic light hardware. This will further support social distancing by informing the end user of whether the current occupancy of the area they are about to enter is safe for them to do so, working alongside Checkpoint Control to reduce bottlenecks and overcrowding. Occupancy Management override is also included in this new update. Should there be an emergency, this functionality allows selected people to enter an area that is at capacity, such as a first aider or senior manager. Checkpoint Control and the new additions to Occupancy Management functionality are available exclusively with Net2 Pro software. In conjunction with the updates, Paxton has produced an on-demand webinar called the definitive guide to COVID-secure buildings. This is an ideal starting point for installers looking to understand more about social distancing and COVID-secure guidelines.

Paxton provides free COVID-secure live webinars to be viewed anytime, anywhere
Paxton provides free COVID-secure live webinars to be viewed anytime, anywhere

Paxton is pleased to announce that their free COVID-secure live webinars are now available on demand - they can be watched anywhere, anytime at one’s convenience. In June, Paxton took the initiative to create a no-nonsense webinar based on CDC and OSHA guidelines. Paxton’s mission is to continually provide their installers with educational videos that help them reduce the risk of infection, work safely, and prepare them with the right tools to make their end user buildings more COVID-secure. On-demand webinar In addition to the on-demand webinar, Paxton has developed a dedicated COVID-secure resource page on their website to further support their installers. This page provides a centralised and easy to use platform where installers can build their knowledge and understanding through new literature, training tutorial videos, application notes and details of product integrations. Gareth O’Hara, Paxton’s Chief Sales Officer explains: “Like many installers right now, we recognise we have an important role to play in helping companies across the country update their buildings and reopen their businesses safely and securely to support the economy.” Planning future projects The online guide gives installers viewing flexibility and the potential to re-watch when needed Many installers are now retuning to site and planning future projects. This has led Paxton to create convenient and informative content on demand. The online guide gives installers viewing flexibility and the potential to re-watch when needed. The Paxton team believes this is beneficial and will consistently publish updates as changes occur to support their valued installers by helping them move forward and plan for the time ahead. Paxton’s Divisional Director of Communications Katie Millis-Ward said: “Our aim is to make life easier for our installers and customers as the situation changes. Making the tutorials on demand and opening up a dedicated area of our website gives them the tools they need when they need them. We are dedicated to developing products and content that really help make buildings and people safer during this time.” Touch-based devices Subjects covered in the free 30-minute tutorial include: Contactless access control – hygienic access for entry and exit, move away from touch-based devices Flexible access permissions – meet social distancing guidelines, limit high traffic and apply a one-way flow of movement NEW in Net2: Occupancy management – group visitors and staff to designated areas as well as monitor people numbers with alerts to support social distancing Thermal scanning – protect staff by using thermal cameras and facial recognition to ensure health & wellbeing, by identifying people that could be at risk, quickly and efficiently Since launching the webinar, Paxton has seen over 1,300 installers participate and the numbers continue to rise. Colin Todd the owner of MMV Contracting Ltd said: “Already Paxton’s Net2 could do so much to help with on-site controls, and now with the new occupancy feature, Paxton’s Net2 can do so much more.”

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