Network video recorders (NVRs) - Expert commentary

Securing mobile vehicles: The cloud and solving transportation industry challenges
Securing mobile vehicles: The cloud and solving transportation industry challenges

Securing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the transportation industry is multi-faceted for a multitude of reasons. Pressures build for transit industry players to modernise their security systems, while also mitigating the vulnerabilities, risks, and growth-restrictions associated with proprietary as well as integrated solutions. There are the usual physical security obstacles when it comes to increasingly integrated solutions and retrofitting updated technologies into legacy systems. Starting with edge devices like cameras and intelligent sensors acquiring video, analytics and beyond, these edge devices are now found in almost all public transportation like buses, trains, subways, airplanes, cruise lines, and so much more. You can even find them in the world’s last manually operated cable car systems in San Francisco. The next layer to consider is the infrastructure and networks that support these edge devices and connect them to centralized monitoring stations or a VMS. Without this layer, all efforts at the edge or stations are in vain as you lose the connection between the two. And the final layer to consider when building a comprehensive transit solution is the software, recording devices, or viewing stations themselves that capture and report the video. The challenge of mobility However, the transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility. As other industries become more connected and integrated, they don’t usually have to consider going in and out or bouncing between networks as edge devices physically move. Obviously in the nature of transportation, this is key. Have you ever had a bad experience with your cellular, broadband or Wi-Fi at your home or office? You are not alone. The transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility Can you trust these same environments to record your surveillance video to the Cloud without losing any frames, non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? To add to the complexity – how do you not only provide a reliable and secure solution when it’s mobile, travelling at varying speeds, and can be in/out of coverage using various wireless technologies? Waiting to upload video from a transport vehicle when it comes into port, the station, or any centralised location is a reactive approach that simply will not do any longer. Transit operations require a more proactive approach today and the ability to constantly know what is going on at any given time on their mobile vehicles, and escalate that information to headquarters, authorities, or law enforcement if needed; which can only occur with real-time monitoring. This is the ultimate question when it comes to collecting, analysing, and sharing data from mobile vehicles – how to get the video from public transportation vehicles alike to headquarters in real time! Managing video data In order to answer this question, let’s get back to basics. The management and nature of video data differs greatly from conventional (IT) data. Not only is video conducted of large frames, but there are specific and important relationships among the frames and the timing between them. This relationship can easily get lost in translation if not handled properly. This is why it’s critical to consider the proper way to transmit large frames while under unstable or variable networks. The Internet and its protocols were designed more than two decades ago and purposed for conventional data. Although the Internet itself has not changed, today’s network environments run a lot faster, expand to further ranges, and support a variety of different types of data. Because the internet is more reliable and affordable than in the past some might think it can handle anything. However, it is good for data, but not for video. This combination makes it the perfect time to convert video recording to the Cloud! Video transmission protocol One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet. ITS are in dire need for reliable transmission of real-time video recording. To address this need a radical, yet proven, video transmission protocol has recently been introduced to the market. It uses AI technology and to adapt to different environments in order to always deliver high quality, complete video frames. This protocol, when equipped with encryption and authentication, enables video to be transmitted reliably and securely over the Internet in a cloud environment. One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet Finally, transportation industry has a video recording Cloud solution that is designed for (massive) video that can handle networks that might be experiencing high error rate. Such a protocol will not only answer the current challenges of the transportation industry, but also make the previously risky Cloud environment safe for even the most reserved environments and entities. With revolutionary transmission protocols, the time is now to consider adopting private Cloud for your transportation operations.

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.

Cybersecurity: what we can do as an industry
Cybersecurity: what we can do as an industry

In 2017, IoT-based cyberattacks increased by 600%. As the industry moves towards the mass adoption of interconnected physical security devices, end users have found a plethora of advantages, broadening the scope of traditional video surveillance solutions beyond simple safety measures. Thanks in part to these recent advancements, our physical solutions are at a higher risk than ever before. With today’s ever evolving digital landscape and the increasing complexity of physical and cyber-attacks, it’s imperative to take specific precautions to combat these threats. Video surveillance systems Cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind When you think of a video surveillance system, cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind, since digital threats are usually thought of as separate from physical security. Unfortunately, these two are becoming increasingly intertwined as intruders continue to use inventive methods in order to access an organisation's assets. Hacks and data breaches are among the top cyber concerns, but many overlook the fact that weak cybersecurity practices can lead to physical danger as well. Organisations that deploy video surveillance devices paired with advanced analytics programs often leave themselves vulnerable to a breach without even realising it. While they may be intelligent, IoT devices are soft targets that cybercriminals and hackers can easily exploit, crippling a physical security system from the inside out. Physical security manufacturers Whether looking to simply gain access to internal data, or paralyse a system prior to a physical attack, allowing hackers easy access to surveillance systems can only end poorly. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers within the security industry are trading in their traditional analogue technology and moving towards interconnected devices. Due to this, security can no longer be solely focused on the physical elements and end users have taken note. The first step towards more secured solutions starts with physical security manufacturers choosing to make cybersecurity a priority for all products, from endpoint to edge and beyond. Gone are the days of end users underestimating the importance of reliability within their solutions. Manufacturers that choose to invest time and research into the development of cyber-hardening will be ahead of the curve and an asset to all. Wireless communication systems Integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future Aside from simply making the commitment to improve cyber hygiene, there are solid steps that manufacturers can take. One simple action is incorporating tools and features into devices that allow end users to more easily configure their cyber protection settings. Similarly, working with a third party to perform penetration testing on products can help to ensure the backend security of IoT devices. This gives customers peace of mind and manufacturers a competitive edge. While deficient cybersecurity standards can reflect poorly on manufacturers by installing vulnerable devices on a network, integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future. Just last year, ADT was forced to settle a $16 million class action lawsuit when the company installed an unencrypted wireless communication system that rendered an organisation open to hacks. Cybersecurity services In addition, we’ve all heard of the bans, taxes and tariffs the U.S. government has recently put on certain manufacturers, depending on their country of origin and cybersecurity practices. Lawsuits aside, employing proper cybersecurity standards can give integrators a competitive advantage. With the proliferation of hacks, malware, and ransomware, integrators that can ease their client's cyber-woes are already a step ahead. By choosing to work with cybersecurity-focused manufacturers who provide clients with vulnerability testing and educate end users on best practices, integrators can not only thrive but find new sources of RMR. Education, collaboration and participation are three pillars when tackling cybersecurity from all angles. For dealers and integrators who have yet to add cybersecurity services to their business portfolios, scouting out a strategic IT partner could be the answer. Unlocking countless opportunities Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organisation is the first step Physical security integrators who feel uncomfortable diving headfirst into the digital realm may find that strategically aligning themselves with an IT or cyber firm will unlock countless opportunities. By opening the door to a partnership with an IT-focused firm, integrators receive the benefit of cybersecurity insight on future projects and a new source of RMR through continued consulting with current customers. In exchange, the IT firm gains a new source of clients in an industry otherwise untapped. This is a win for all those involved. While manufacturers, dealers and integrators play a large part in the cybersecurity of physical systems, end users also play a crucial role. Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organisation is the first step. Commonplace cybersecurity standards Below is a list of commonplace cybersecurity standards that all organisations should work to implement for the protection of their own video surveillance solutions: Always keep camera firmware up to date for the latest cyber protections. Change default passwords, especially those of admins, to keep the system locked to outside users. Create different user groups with separate rights to ensure all users have only the permissions they need. Set an encryption key for surveillance recordings to safeguard footage against intruders and prevent hackers from accessing a system through a backdoor. Enable notifications, whether for error codes or storage failures, to keep up to date with all systems happenings. Create/configure an OpenVPN connection for secured remote access. Check the web server log on a regular basis to see who is accessing the system. Ensure that web crawling is forbidden to prevent images or data found on your device from being made searchable. Avoid exposing devices to the internet unless strictly necessary to reduce the risk of attacks.

Latest Axis Communications news

Videonetics & Axis Communications enhance technology partnership under Axis Application Development Partner (ADP) program
Videonetics & Axis Communications enhance technology partnership under Axis Application Development Partner (ADP) program

Videonetics, the globally renowned AI & DL powered Unified Video Computing Platform (UVCP) strengthens its technology partnership with Axis Communications, the globally renowned company in IP surveillance, by co-creating and delivering numerous integrated solutions under Axis Application Development Partner (ADP) program, to meet growing demands of different market segments. Axis ADP Program The Axis Application Development Partner (ADP) Program is designed to help software vendors streamlining their software integration for Axis range of IP Cameras and other Network system devices. Over the years, the technology alliance has benefited both the companies to expand market penetration and geographical reach, by collaborating with the industry’s largest partner network and providing innovative integrated solutions to partners and design customised solutions for end-users. Solving unique customer challenges Avinash Trivedi, Vice President (Business Development), Videonetics, stated, “We are proud to be part of Axis Application Development Program (ADP), which helped us to create many interesting solutions designed to solve unique customer challenges and also to get optimal value of their surveillance investment.” Avinash Trivedi adds, “Moving forward, I am assured that this technology partnership will give both of us an unparalleled competitive advantage in providing end users, the innovative and unified solutions that they demand.” Building integrated solutions The ADP program helps us to design best of breed solutions to reach the addressable market" According to Sudhindra Holla, Sales Director, Axis Communications – India & SAARC, “At Axis, we strongly believe that opportunities increase when you help others win. That’s why we actively work alongside software vendors to build integrated solutions to expand our market reach.” Sudhindra Holla adds, “We are a global organisation with strong a reputation of innovation, excellence, and partner commitment. The ADP program helps us to design best of breed solutions to reach the addressable market.” Videonetics and Axis technology integrations Videonetics and Axis Communications have successfully completed following integrations: Videonetics Intelligent VMS 3.0 supports AXIS Zipstream technology that reduces the cost of bandwidth, server equipment, data storage systems and lowers the complexity of the video surveillance system, along with the total cost of ownership. Integration with AXIS network speakers allow users to react immediately to suspicious situations by making a live announcement and VMS sends the alert to designated operators to deter potential intruders and they can replay audio clips as and when required. Videonetics Intelligent VMS 3.0 when integrated with AXIS Radar, provides additional visual information of the scene with help of many cameras connected to IVMS, thus providing much needed situational awareness, detects real-time threats or multiple intrusions at the same time, while reducing false alarms. Videonetics AI-enabled Video Analytics has been embedded directly to the AXIS IP cameras ‘on the edge’ enabling each camera to operate independently with real-time detection capabilities, while eliminating the need for additional hardware. Similarly, Intelligent VMS 3.0 integration with edge storage of AXIS cameras, minimise loss of video in the event of connection issues or network failure between recording servers and cameras. Last but not the least, Intelligent VMS 3.0 added a new level of secure integration with cameras from Axis, based on Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP) as a means of hardening surveillance content against cyber-attacks and unauthorised interception.

Uruguay’s Centenario Stadium deploys facial recognition technology by Herta
Uruguay’s Centenario Stadium deploys facial recognition technology by Herta

Violence in sports events is an important social problem in several Latin American countries. Uruguay is no exception, and in recent years there have been numerous serious episodes in the field. Due to this escalation of violence, it is in 2016 that Uruguay's security authority, the Ministry of Interior, asked the Uruguayan Football Association to implement a security system to address this problem. “This is a very important step and a great contribution to football because this system will also be a very important tool for the authorities,” said Wilmar Valdez AUF, President. Intuitive system The system is used by many people of different profiles, technical and non-technical. The challenge was to achieve a user-friendly, intuitive system with appropriate training so that both the operational staff and the police could make the most of the tools. The three stages where this system was implemented are different. The design of the project had to contemplate the Centennial Stadium, built-in 1930 with very little maintenance, the Champion of the Century Stadium, built-in 2016, and the Grand Central Park Stadium, undergoing remodelling and constant works during implementation. This was a very rewarding challenge in the management of the project to be able to meet the objectives of the project and the times committed. Access control requirements The entire system designed should be robust, scalable and in a high availability scheme, the access control system would become a key element in the stadiums' qualification. This is why extreme collections of redundancy and high availability are taken. To meet this challenge, DDBA turned to the integration of technologies from several pioneering companies in the market, such as Axis for cameras, Herta for facial identification, Wavestore as VMS, and Huawei for networking. The main approaches were: - Turnkey and robust system Design of transportable and autonomous mobile units Centralised connectivity Ticket control to reduce access time, according to FIFA regulations Video Management System without blind spots in the stands FIFA. Facial identification platform Herta uses BioSurveillance NEXT in all the cameras of the stadium access doors. This product allows facial identification in crowds with a speed of millions of comparisons per second, which makes it appropriate for the flows of people entering the stadiums. In the cases where the software detects an unauthorised person to access, in addition to the warning on the screens of the monitoring centre, it sends alerts to tablets that are used by the police located at each access door so that they can act immediately and prevent unauthorised access. A central database (BioMaster) located in the Ministry of Interior synchronises the blacklist with all stadiums and mobile stations. This central base also centralises the identification alerts of all the servers of the stadiums and mobile stations Any addition or modification in this database updates all points in real-time. This central base also centralises the identification alerts of all the servers of the stadiums and mobile stations. "The facial identification is done at the entrance of people and then there is an internal camera system that films and can recognise all the spectators who are in the stadium. It is a biometric work and its effectiveness is 99%," said Germán Ruiz DDBA Technical Manager. Forensic Tools Positions for forensic work were implemented to be able to perform subsequent analysis using Herta’s BioFinder and BioCompare. These two tools allow you to search for subjects on recordings (BioFinder) and also on the images taken by BioSurveillance of all cameras (BioCompare). These workstations were placed in the forensic analysis room of the Ministry of Interior, from where all storage servers are accessed. Positive results The system is being used since March 31, 2017. The results have been very satisfactory. Since then there have been highly positive results on four levels: Numerous people have been arrested at the entrance that was already blacklisted. It has been enlisted as subjects to identify in the blacklist people with improper behaviour (violence, flares in stands, etc.) inside the stadium thanks to the quality of the images. Subsequently, several of these people have been arrested while trying to access in later matches. At that time they were identified and the registration was made to the list of Non-Admitted with their complete data, making use of the law of admission. The behaviour within the stadiums has improved substantially and the system has resulted in a disincentive of incidents. The number of police officers assigned to the parties is decreasing. In fact, there have been no incidents of magnitude during 2017 and the number of arrests has fallen by 80% according to figures from the Ministry of Interior (Commissioner Pablo Duarte, Head of the Technology Department of the Ministry of Interior).

How have trade show cancellations impacted the security market?
How have trade show cancellations impacted the security market?

It has been two years or so since the last ISC West trade show, the biggest security show in the U.S. market. The coronavirus pandemic has caused a year’s worth of trade show cancellations, and the trend will continue for a while longer. The absence of trade shows has been transformative for the security marketplace, among others, as companies implemented a variety of alternative approaches, with mixed results. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What impact has the cancellation of trade shows had on the security industry?

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