IP Dome cameras - Expert commentary

Securing your business while working remotely
Securing your business while working remotely

It's a very common purchase for people to seek a smart security camera to remotely link them to their home whilst at work. Now the emphasis has shifted, with a lot more people working from home, business owners should consider a surveillance device to deter would-be thieves, protecting valuable equipment crucial for businesses to operate successfully. A robust security camera setup can aid existing security staff, and give business owners peace of mind out of hours.    According to a recent report, police forces are having to carry out extra night patrols in empty city and town centres, as burglars target shops, pubs and other commercial premises during the pandemic. During these unprecedented times, investing in a video security system can save you and your business money – and in more than one way. In addition to preventing loss of property from inside, surveillance cameras also prevent acts of theft and vandalism by outside individuals However, technology, improved mobile connectivity, apps, and cloud technologies has changed the security market and made it easy for anyone to set up a surveillance ecosystem with easy installation and constant round the clock, cloud monitoring. Plus, you can access footage from anywhere in the world via devices and apps – just in case you have to skip the country! The best cameras for SMBs Most good cameras have the much same functionality: excellent video and audio capabilities, remote access and programming, motion and sound detection, and the ability to capture still or video images and audio and save the data to the Cloud. But the burning question is, when you're trying to find a need in a haystack, what will work best for a small to medium sized business? A robust security camera setup can aid existing security staff, and give business owners peace of mind out of hours Now you can buy cameras that come packed with features such as integrated night vision, 1080p resolution, microSD card slot for local recording, two-way audio functionality as well as the latest latest 128bit encryption. They also have wide-angle lenses allowing users to see more of their office with a single camera, and some come with free, intelligent AI-Based motion detection. The AI gives users more choices on what is captured by the camera and when they should be alerted. Users can specify what types of motion they would like to detect, such as an intruder as opposed to a dog, an object crossing a defined boundary or into a specific area. They can also define multiple zones, alerting them immediately when movement is detected in particular areas. Easy installation is crucial These security cameras should also be easy enough to install and use that you don't need to fork out for expensive expert installation, and many can work with existing CCTV and CCTV DVR systems you may already have set-up. Many of the business security cameras are Wi-Fi enabled and come with their own apps, so you can view footage on your smartphone or tablet, no matter where you are in the world. It means you don't need to pay for a security team to watch the footage at all times (though if you can afford it, that won't hurt), and you can store your videos locally with an NVR on a HD, in the cloud with mydlink or do both with a hybrid NVR/cloud recorder. The apps use Rich Notifications which send a push notification with snapshot to the mobile device the moment activity is detected. Users can react immediately without the need to log into the app by accessing the camera’s live view or calling one of two pre-assigned contacts with a single tap. Any motion-triggered recordings can be saved in the cloud, or locally on a microSD card. Indoor, Outdoor or both? Indoor cameras can be smaller, more lightweight and are usually less intrusive than bulkier outdoor cameras The primary distinction between indoor and outdoor security cameras is the types of external factors each camera has to be able to withstand. While both types of cameras usually come in similar styles and with comparable features, outdoor cameras need to be able to contend with all types of weather and varying light conditions. Outdoor cameras are also more vulnerable to being tampered with, so they are typically made of more durable materials, like metal, and may be heavier or even housed in a casing in order to discourage easy removal. Indoor cameras can be smaller, more lightweight and are usually less intrusive than bulkier outdoor cameras. Both indoor and outdoor cameras utilise features like infrared, allowing for clear pictures in low light conditions and easy transitions when there is a sudden change in light-changing automatically from colour images in bright light to black and white when it gets darker. When doing your research, features to look out for include: Wide angle lens for optimum room view or full view of the front of your property Full HD 1080p at 30fps   ONVIF compatible - Open Network Video Interface Forum - The forum aims to standardize how IP products within the video surveillance industry communicate with each other. Night vision - look at length of the night vision - 5m is about right Your options will depend on your budget and specific needs, but the above features are a great start when you come to buy.

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.

Optimising large-scale event security and operations with intelligent video surveillance
Optimising large-scale event security and operations with intelligent video surveillance

Large event venues spend significant resources on physical security, and the vast majority invest in video surveillance systems as a way of monitoring public areas such as parking lots, garages and seating, as well as “backstage” areas such as loading docks and offices. Even though the camera footage is often preserved for investigating incidents, for the most part, video footage goes untapped because – realistically – security staff cannot constantly and efficiently monitor cameras in real-time or review the high volumes of archived video. Video analytics powered by Artificial Intelligence Increasingly, event venues are overcoming this challenge and maximising this video data by investing in intelligent video surveillance. In this article, I will explore how the combination of traditional surveillance and groundbreaking video content analytics enables event venues to not only optimise physical security and safety, but also improve customer service, streamline operations, and gather valuable business intelligence. Deep learning and artificial intelligence-based video content analytic systems detect, identify, extract, and catalog all the objects that appear in video footage based on classes and attributes such as gender, appearance similarity, color or size. This – along with behavioral detection, such as object interactions, dwell times, and navigation paths, as well as face and license plate recognition – enables searchable, actionable and quantifiable analysis of video. The technology makes it easy for users to accelerate post-event investigations, improve situational awareness, and derive critical business insights from video data. Accelerate post-event investigations, improve situational awareness, and derive critical business insights Accelerating investigations Where there are crowds, it’s not uncommon for medical or criminal incidents to transpire. In the aftermath, security teams must quickly understand the scene and, by making video searchable, video analytics helps them efficiently gather information or evidence from multiple camera. Whereas a manual search of video footage would require hours, if not days, of valuable time and staff resources – while being subject to human error – a video content analytics system enables effective multi-video search using a variety of filters, so that post-incident investigations can be focused and, thereby, accelerated. For instance, if witnesses claim that a man in a yellow shirt caused a disturbance and then drove away in a blue pickup truck, security could filter video to review instances where people or vehicles matching those descriptions appeared, and then focus their investigation on relevant video evidence. For the same example, if the perpetrator was still at large in the venue, security managers would want to track the person’s movements and, ultimately, apprehend him. Using the same cataloged metadata that drives video search, intelligent video surveillance accelerates real-time response to developing situations from threats and suspicious behaviors to emergencies, or even any behavior that requires closer monitoring or intervention. Something as mundane as an unwieldy queue forming at a concession stand can alert logic that increases operators’ situational awareness and ability to effectively intervene. By understanding developing situations in real-time, they can respond more quickly to prevent or solve a problem. Rule-based real time alerts Users can configure rule-based real-time alerts, based on specific scenarios – such as when people counts in the defined space next to the cashier are higher than the specified threshold, indicating a queue, or when vehicles are detected dwelling in a no-park zone or sensitive security area. In the case of the offender in the yellow shirt, security could configure alerts to notify for appearances of men in yellow shirts or blue pickup trucks within the event complex. If they’re able to extract the perpetrator’s face or license plate from the video search, security officers can also identify and track the specific person and vehicle of interest. Intelligent video surveillance users can compile “watchlists” Object recognition is helpful for tracking specific, identified threats, but it can also be leveraged for locating missing persons or vehicles or offering VIP services to guests who comply. Intelligent video surveillance users can compile “watchlists” – that include persons of interest, such as past agitators, recognised criminals or terrorists, missing persons or VIPs – to be alerted when matches for these faces appear in video. Face recognition can also be used to differentiate recognised employees from visitors that are not authorised to be in certain spaces in order to prevent security breaches. Because camera conditions aren’t always optimal for “in the wild” face and license plate recognition – where lighting conditions or camera angles don’t always allow for a pristine face or plate capture – it is critical to have a comprehensive video content analysis tool for triggering alerts based object classifications and non-personally-identifiable parameters. Optimising operations based on business intelligence While having real-time situational awareness is crucial for proactive intervention to developing situations, understanding long-term activity and trends can be equally important for an events venue or stadium. With video analytics, video surveillance data can be aggregated over time to generate statistical intelligence, trend reports, and data visualisations for operational intelligence. This capability transforms video surveillance from a siloed security tool to an intelligence platform with broad value for business groups across the organisation. Marketing departments can gain visitor demographic information for targeted advertising and product placements. On-site retailers can uncover how visitors navigate their stores and the products or spaces that draw the most attention. Property management can follow heatmaps demonstrating where visitors dwell and the durations they stay at certain exhibits or areas, to base rental and leasing fees on actionable and quantifiable intelligence. Operations managers can more effectively plan and hire staff for events, by analysing visitor traffic trends, entry and exit points and occupancy statistics.   Video surveillance data can be aggregated over time to generate statistical intelligence For these reasons and more, event organisations that already rely on CCTV networks should consider how to better leverage those existing investments to deliver substantial value across the organisation. By making video searchable, actionable and quantifiable, intelligent video surveillance empowers event managers to enhance public safety and physical security, while also streamlining operations and improving customer service.

Latest Paxton Access Limited news

Paxton’s Net2 access control system integrates additional thermal scanners
Paxton’s Net2 access control system integrates additional thermal scanners

Paxton has released an online video tutorial which explains how thermal scanning can help buildings installed with Net2 become more COVID-secure. They have also updated the systems software and have six new thermal scan integrations available to boost installer and end-user flexibility. Developing solutions Paxton has been developing solutions throughout 2020, which help reduce the spread of the virus in sites installed with its access control system Net2. While researching relevant updates to give Net2 greater functionality against the current pandemic, Paxton established that thermal scanning upon entry to a site or designated area would be beneficial to monitor people’s well-being, reducing the risk of infection to staff and visitors. Paxton’s Global Product Manager Steve Rowlands explains “Currently in the access control industry thermal scanners are seeing a significant rise in demand. This is due to the symptom commonly associated with the virus, of a consistently high temperature.” Using Net2 access control As global scientific evidence suggests, one of the most common symptoms of Coronavirus is a fever with a temperature above 98.6F. A site being able to detect this is an efficient way to increase their building’s defence against the pandemic and help to meet COVID-secure guidelines. The way in which a site manages the process after detection can be greatly supported by using Net2 access control. Steve Rowlands continues “By utilising thermal scanning in combination with access control, we are able to further reduce a building’s risk by denying access to people with a heightened temperature.” Integration benefits The new thermal scanning integrations compliment Paxton’s recent software updates occupancy management, flexible access permissions, and checkpoint control. When these elements are combined, a system administrator can set up designated checkpoints to manage the flow of people and reduce overcrowding as well as maintain social distancing. When monitoring and approving an individual’s well-being, this can be achieved by a manual or automated validation. Checkpoints with thermal scanning detection can also be set up in multiple areas across a site and managed remotely.  Steve Rowlands explains how the thermal scanning process works with Net2 “The user presents their physical token, and their temperature is taken simultaneously by the thermal scanner. Access is permitted if their temperature is in the acceptable range and their token is valid. If a valid token is presented but their temperature is too high - their access is denied. This process takes less than a second and works in conjunction with Net2 access levels and our new series of COVID-secure feature updates.”

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.

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