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.

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Hikvision’s Smart Dock Management solution helps maximise logistics performance
Hikvision’s Smart Dock Management solution helps maximise logistics performance

To meet rising consumer demands for parcel delivery, particularly for goods bought online, logistics companies need to manage their loading docks as effectively as possible. However, dock managers often lack the real-time information they need to make fast, accurate decisions. They may not be able to see, for example, which docks are available, which are in use, and which will soon be free. Without these vital insights, vehicles often wait unnecessarily, when they could be loading or unloading, causing delays and negatively impacting productivity, and the throughput of goods through the facility. As an additional challenge, managers are often unable to see which truck parking areas are available. This means drivers often simply park where they can, blocking important areas of the site, or slowing down other vehicles trying to reach their allocated docks. Dock management with intelligent video  Hikvision has built Smart Dock Management features into its logistics solution portfolio To address the challenges of ineffective and manual dock management, Hikvision has built Smart Dock Management features into its logistics solution portfolio. Using an intelligent dock camera at every loading and unloading bay, the solution provides real-time information that enables dock managers to make accurate, timely decisions across many more docks than would otherwise be possible. The Smart Dock Management feature incorporates several key capabilities that help to automate and optimise dock management operations. Key capabilities of the solution include: Dock occupation detection The Hikvision cameras can detect, in real-time, if trucks are loading or unloading at docks, or whether they are unoccupied. The solution also recognises the truck’s number plates to identify the vehicle that is occupying the dock. This information is relayed to an interactive map, giving managers instant visibility of the load and unload operations and docks that are available, 24 hours a day. Based on these real-time insights, drivers can be dispatched to available docks quickly and efficiently via a mobile app. Parking optimisation Information from dock cameras and other site cameras also provides a real-time view of available parking spaces across the site. This allows managers to dispatch trucks to available parking spaces where they can wait without blocking key corridors and routes on the site. Monitoring for truck loading and unloading Using cameras positioned inside and outside loading bays, the Hikvision solution creates a record for later reference. This is essential for determining responsibility and liability in the event of goods going missing, or if an accident occurs such as fragile goods falling from a truck or pallet. Security checks To maximise security, information for barcode scanners is cross-referenced with video records. This enhances goods tracking and provides an audit trail to ensure goods never ‘leak’ from the supply chain. Automation of inbound and outbound processes The Hikvision solution eliminates the need to calculate transport costs for parcels manually based on their weight and size. Instead, it uses product information from barcode scanners to automate the process, reducing operating costs and maximising throughput. Efficient dock management with a digital dashboard interface The solution provides a digital dashboard that displays all docks, showing if they are available or occupied. The dashboard also displays historical performance data, allowing staff to optimise operational efficiency, optimise scheduling and staffing decisions, and speed up the time between vehicles arriving and leaving. Together, these benefits serve to improve the overall operating efficiency of the logistics park. Using an intelligent dock camera at every loading and unloading bay, the solution provides real-time information that enables dock managers to make accurate, timely decisions across many more docks than would otherwise be possible. Key benefits of Smart Dock Management With Hikvision’s Smart Dock solution, logistics operations can improve their throughput and performance, while also providing far better experiences for dock managers and truck drivers. Top benefits include: Increased operational performance and efficiency With features that help managers dispatch drivers to available docks more quickly, Hikvision Smart Dock helps to maximise dock utilisation. This allows logistics operations to increase their overall throughput, and to drive revenues as a result. In addition to this benefit, throughput is increased with features that automate a range of key processes, including goods tracking, security checks, sizing, and weighing. This all helps to improve operating efficiency, delivering significant cost savings for logistics operators. End-to-end goods monitoring and security By monitoring and recording the entire goods loading and unloading process, the Hikvision solution creates an audit trail for every product passing through the site. This helps to improve the security of goods and to prevent loss of inventory, while also helping to determine responsibility where goods are lost or damaged. Information from barcode scanners can be cross-referenced with video footage to track goods and to detect and view incidents quickly and easily. Excellent experiences for dock managers and drivers Using the Hikvision solution, dock managers can handle their workloads much more easily and make the best decisions across a large number of vehicles and allocated docks. Additionally, drivers get clear instructions on where to park and where to wait and are able to load or unload much more quickly than would otherwise be possible. This gives them a far better experience and allows them to meet their demanding schedules.

Leussink uses Hikvision’s cameras, SmartPole platform to ensure hygiene and social distancing
Leussink uses Hikvision’s cameras, SmartPole platform to ensure hygiene and social distancing

Dutch franchisee Leussink Retail Groep operates 7 Jumbo supermarkets in its portfolio. They tackled the thorny issue of hygiene and social distancing with a solution made up of Hikvision cameras, SmartPole sanitizing stations, and the SmartPole platform for safe shopping. Hikvision’s comprehensive solution SmartPole Solutions, a Dutch member of Hikvision’s Technology Partner Program, stepped up to the plate, delivering a comprehensive solution based on Hikvision Dual-Lens People Counting Network Cameras (DS-2CD6825G0/C-IS), their SmartPole Sanitizers, and LeftClick software. The solution operates based on a calculation that no more than a certain number should be in a shop, depending on its size. This means that there are few enough people inside to make social distancing possible. In this way, everyone can shop for their essentials more safely.

Hikvision brings All-in-one Indoor Station product for converging security solutions in homes and offices
Hikvision brings All-in-one Indoor Station product for converging security solutions in homes and offices

Hikvision, an IoT solution provider with video as its core competency, has introduced its All-in-one Indoor Station product, a tablet device for converging security solutions in homes and offices. With the intelligent indoor station as the management center, users now can enjoy simple control and flexible linkage among various Hikvision devices, including video intercom, access control, intrusion alarm, IP cameras, NVRs, and more. Protecting home and office Through the built-in Hik-Connect application, various Hikvision devices or sub-systems can be managed and monitored by the All-in-one Indoor Station. Users can also easily check the status of their devices, network and environmental temperature Video intercom, access control, intrusion alarm, IP cameras, NVRs and other Hikvision devices can be managed with a tap on the touchscreen, including unlocking doors, using the video intercom, video monitoring, arming or disarming an alarm system, and more. Users can also easily check the status of their devices, network, battery levels, and environmental temperature to better protect their home and office. Device management application Further, with the indoor station, events from various products and sub-systems can be linked together by setting linkage rules through Hik-ProConnect, a cloud-based device management application for installers; they can be triggered by each other to implement event linkages. Installers can easily help users to create scenarios for various event types, time schedules, and triggered actions, according to their specific scenarios. For example, an alarm system can be linked with a CCTV system to create the video verification function. The indoor station is usually fixed in place at an entrance gate or other convenient location, putting the system within easy reach. Users can complete daily operations conveniently with just a tap when entering or exiting.

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