From humble beginnings providing bus services along the New South Wales and Queensland coasts in Australia, Transit Systems has not only gone on to become one of Australia’s biggest public transport providers, but has also made significant inroads overseas, having purchased several bus routes from the First Group London, United Kingdom, in 2013.

Employing over 2500 staff Australia-wide, Transit Systems operates from 26 depots and terminals, with a fleet of 500 buses and 40 ferries. When Quorum Security Systems were approached by the company to install an access control and surveillance system at their newest Sydney depot, they were able to develop a multi-faceted solution providing far more than just security.

More than just security

The Sydney-based security integrator Quorum Security Systems, twice named MOBOTIX dealer of the year in 2014 and 2015, are strong proponents of a consulting-based approach to design. "After a series of meetings and site visits, we created an extensive business case with the client, along with detailed ROIs. This was then developed into a totally bespoke system, which went far beyond security," explains Chris Pearson, Managing Director at Quorum Security Systems.It became clear that an integrated approach using IP surveillance cameras would best serve to improve services and cut costs

"Surveillance is fast leaving behind its traditional role of securing premises against unlawful entry,” he adds, “moving increasingly into the spheres of risk mitigation, compliance monitoring and process management." Working to identify the core needs of Transit Systems, it became clear that an integrated approach using IP surveillance cameras, along with access control and fleet tracking technology, would best serve to improve services and cut costs, whilst offering a clear audit trail along the way.

An integrated system

MOBOTIX IP cameras were integrated with a sophisticated access control system incorporated with long-range RFID readers with prox-boosters to allow dual custody-tagging of either buses and drivers, or buses and routes. Armed with a wealth of fully traceable real-time information, Transit Systems were now able to streamline and enhance their business and operational processes, saving both time and money.

Surveillance monitoring is ensuring that buses are refuelled before leaving the depot and that any vehicle damage is always reported, a comprehensive record of driver and vehicle movements is used for dispatching and scheduling purposes, and OH&S compliance is enforced, with the footage also serving as proof that due diligence has been carried out. In addition to this, payroll time and attendance has also been automated.

Transit Systems were now able to streamline and enhance their business and operational processes, saving both time and money
Surveillance monitoring is ensuring that buses are refueled before leaving the depot and that any vehicle damage is always reported

The installation also doubles up as a PA system, which is essential for mustering on a dangerous goods site and also extremely useful communicating with staff over such a large area.

Simple installation

Easy to install and configure, with low power and network bandwidth consumption, the MOBOTIX cameras offered just the flexibility, functionality, and high image quality required to achieve effective coverage throughout the depot. The versatile mounting of the S15 camera, with its dual lenses each connected to a cable of up to 2 metres, means vehicles sitting in the fuelling bays or repair docks can be monitored from all sides.

An M15 camera with a long-pass filter and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology, records the number plate of every vehicle that leaves and enters the depot, and hands-free entry and exit both increases site security, safety of drivers and reduces manpower requirements. Furthermore, the cameras provide a foolproof real-time backup of all movements recorded by the access control system for auditing and compliance purposes. The cameras provide a foolproof real-time backup of all movements recorded by the access control system for auditing and compliance purposes

A wireless solution

The MOBOTIX decentralised concept makes this easy because the recordings are compressed and stored on the SD card inside the camera, so the bandwidth required to transfer the images to the NAS is very low. Indeed a MOBOTIX system can support up to 10 times more cameras per server compared with a centralised VMS-based recording system, requiring no additional computers. Retro-fitting such a large installation into the purpose-built depot was not without its challenges:

"You’re talking about 2 foot thick concrete slabs in the bus bays throughout the whole depot. Cabling through the concrete was unfeasible from a financial and time point of view," Chris explains. "The MOBOTIX cameras were powered from existing poles inside the depot and we used a ubiquity Wi-Fi to transmit the footage back to the NAS."

This innovative surveillance and access control system has enabled Transit Systems to monitor the behaviour of vehicles and people throughout the depot, bringing a significant increase in effectiveness, efficiency and safety. With Government funded bus routes incurring penalties for failing to meet on-time targets by at least 9%, this achievement promises further financial savings.

Equally, because the video surveillance system footage provides protection against negligence claims by proving due diligence, expensive litigation proceedings can be avoided. The role of security is evolving and this example shows one of the many diverse ways in which security can be applied to modern business practices to make operations more efficient and economical.

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Live-streaming mobile surveillance takes cameras to the action
Live-streaming mobile surveillance takes cameras to the action

Video surveillance across the world is growing exponentially and its major application is in both public safety and law enforcement. Traditionally, it has been fixed surveillance where cameras provide live streams from fixed cameras situated in what is considered strategic locations. But they are limited in what they can see given by their very definition of being "fixed." The future of video surveillance includes the deployment of more mobile video surveillance with the benefits it offers. Instead of fixed cameras, this is the ability to live stream from mobile devices on the move such as body-worn cams, drones, motorbikes, cars, helicopters and in some cases, even dogs!Sending drones into the air, for example for missing people or rescue missions, is much more cost-effective than deploying helicopters Advantages of mobile surveillance The advantage of mobile surveillance is that the camera can go to where the action is, rather than relying on the action going to where the camera is. Also, sending drones into the air, for example for missing people or rescue missions, is much more cost-effective than deploying helicopters. The ability to live stream video from cars and helicopters in high-speed pursuits can be used to take some of the operational issues from the first responders on the ground and share that “life and death” responsibility with the operational team leaders back in the command centre. This allows the first responders in the pursuit vehicle to focus on minimising risk while staying in close proximity of the fleeing vehicle, with direction from a higher authority who can see for themselves in real time the issues that are being experienced, and direct accordingly. In addition to showing video live stream from a pursuit car or motorcycle, by using inbuilt GPS tracking, the video can be displayed on a map in real time, allowing a command chief to better utilise additional resource and where to deploy them, through the use of displaying mapping information with real time video feed. It allows police chiefs to make better informed decisions in highly-charged environments. The 4G phone network can now be used with compressed video to live stream cost effectively Application in emergency situations The same is true of first responders in many different emergency situations. Mobile surveillance opens up a new area of efficiencies that previously was impossible to achieve. For example, special operations can wear action body-worn cameras when doing raids, fire departments can live stream from emergency situations with both thermal and daylight cameras, and paramedics can send video streams back to hospitals allowing doctors to remotely diagnose and prepare themselves for when patients arrive at the hospital. How can special operations and emergency first responders live stream video from a mobile camera with the issues of weight, reliability and picture-quality being considered? H265 mobile video compression Law enforcement insists on secure transmissions, and it is possible to encrypt video to the highest level of security available in the public domain The 4G phone network can now be used with compressed video to live stream cost effectively. The issue of course is that 4G is not always reliable. Soliton Systems has mitigated this risk of low mobile quality in certain areas, by building an H265 mobile video compression device that can use multiple SIM cards from different cellular providers simultaneously. H265 is the latest compression technique for video, that is 50% more effective than conventional H264, and coupling this with using multiple “bonded” SIM cards provides a highly reliable connection for live-streaming high-quality HD video. The 400-gram device with an internal battery can be connected to a small action cam, and can live-stream simultaneously over at least three different cellular providers, back to a command centre. Latency is typically less than a second, and new advance improvements are looking to reduce that latency further. Encrypted video transmission What about security? Law enforcement insists on secure transmissions, and it is possible to encrypt video to the highest level of security available in the public domain, i.e. AES256.What about integration into existing video infrastructure at the command centre? It is not untypical for a police force to have an existing video management system (VMS) at their command centre such as Milestone System’s Xprotect. The Soliton range of products are ONVIF-compliant, a standard used by video surveillance cameras for interoperability, allowing cameras and video devices that are ONVIF-compliant to simply “plug&play” into existing video management systems. These mobile transmitters are deployed with law enforcement and first responders across the globe. Their ability to provide secure, full HD quality and highly-reliable video streaming within a small unit, and to enable it to be integrated into the current eco-system that is already installed at the receiving end, has made them a favourite choice with many companies and government agencies.

Impact of sophisticated IT technologies on the security market
Impact of sophisticated IT technologies on the security market

Over the course of the past few months, I have discussed a myriad of topics, from Big Data, the Internet of Things and emerging video surveillance-use cases, to analytics, storage complexities and IT technologies like virtualisation and hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI). All of these trends have a significant effect on the security market, and in April they were highlighted in spades at ISC West. It’s great to talk about these trends but it’s far better to see how they are being leveraged in real-world applications. That’s really where we can all see the true value of new solutions and concepts. We’re lucky enough to work with some leading organisations that want others to benefit from their experience and I’m happy to have the opportunity to share two of these applications with you. Protecting educational facilities UCF has adopted advancements in technology, particularly video surveillance solutions, to help ensure stronger security on campus Educational institutions face an increasingly complex risk environment. Recent high-profile incidents emphasise these risks and magnify the vulnerabilities that educational facilities face. These incidents have led to more public demand for improved security solutions across campuses. The primary mission of these organisations is to deliver quality education to students, and they face the challenge of balancing between a highly secure facility and one that supports open interaction. The University of Central Florida is no different. This organisation, one of the largest universities in the country, has adopted advancements in technology, particularly video surveillance solutions, to help ensure stronger security on campus. Active shooter incidents In March 2013, UCF faced an active shooter situation in which a former student planned to pull the fire alarm in a residence hall and then attack his classmates as the building was evacuated. However, the shooter’s gun jammed, and as officers were closing in on the gunman, he took his own life. During the university’s response to the incident, accessibility to critical video data was a major issue. Educational institutions face an increasingly complex risk environment UCF had cameras in the area where the incident took place, but first responders had no way of viewing the footage without being at the physical location of the video recorder. At the time, UCF had a wide variety of standalone systems in place, including non-integrated video surveillance, access control and intrusion systems. As a result, there was no way to centralise video management, viewing and analysis. Upgrading from analogue systems Altogether, its security system consisted of older analogue platforms that were reaching end of life, 58 standalone servers, 12,000 access points and a wide variety of DVRs — all being managed in a siloed manner. UCF needed a solution that would allow officials to centralise system management, store video data more effectively and reliably, and enable the security team to deliver situational awareness to responders when needed. Security leaders sought a way to further modernise its security, surveillance, access control and IT infrastructure The university deployed an HCI solution, one that is optimised for demanding, data-intensive workloads like video surveillance. Using standard off-the-shelf server hardware, the system aggregates the storage and compute resources from multiple servers into a single unified pool that all cameras can access, which maximises performance and storage capacity utilisation. The platform also hosts the university’s video management solution, which serves as a centralised source to manage video and effectively protect its security data. Because of the growing demand for video across UCF's campuses — for both safety and business purposes — the HCI solution’s ability to eliminate the opportunity for data loss and easily scale were key components in its selection. Protecting air travel and airports In 2012, Charleston International Airport embarked on an ambitious upgrade project dubbed the Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program. The $200 million initiative was designed to modernise and expand the facility to meet increased passenger demand. While the aesthetics and amenities of the airport were under construction, security leaders sought a way to further modernise its security, surveillance, access control and IT infrastructure. The IT and security teams needed to address the challenges of their existing standalone server environment, which included siloed systems, management complexity and high administrative and equipment costs. Charleston International Airport embarked on an ambitious upgrade project dubbed the Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program Considering the high value of the airport’s video, security and IT data, it required a solution that could deliver reliable data protection, system resiliency and fault tolerance. The airport is required to store video for 30 days, but it seeks to expand its retention time to 60 days. Therefore, technology that can scale simply was key in the selection process. Storage system updates It also required a storage platform that could manage the demanding and write-intensive nature of its nearly 250 IP surveillance cameras — a challenging task for traditional video recorders. The airport deployed HCI appliances to better manage captured video data and expand its archive capability for video surveillance. Users rely on video to validate whether something did or did not happen - and this is essential in airports HCI surveillance solutions are designed to provide industry-leading resiliency. Even if multiple hardware failures occur, including an entire appliance, video management servers will remain online and recording, and any previously recorded video will continue to be protected and accessible. Reducing expenses and costs The solution also reduced total cost of operations by consolidating servers, storage and client workstations into one enterprise-class solution that is easily managed from a single user interface, without the need for specialised IT skills. These use cases demonstrate the value emerging technologies bring to these types of modern environments. And they show that solutions like HCI are no longer simply much-talked about technology trends. Video, IT and security data is critical to organisations of all types and they need to ensure their investment in capturing this data is protected. From a security standpoint, users rely on video to validate whether something did or did not happen. If that video data isn’t protected, they lose a very valuable investigative tool. That isn’t an option in today’s complex environment. That’s is why it is paramount to understand how new technologies can help expand current capabilities and evolve security operations. This can’t be left to chance.

ISC West 2018 day three: Biggest-ever show highlights emerging technologies
ISC West 2018 day three: Biggest-ever show highlights emerging technologies

Activity slowed on the last day of ISC West in Las Vegas, but there was plenty of momentum remaining and plenty more to see. In the end, Reed Exhibitions declared 2018 the biggest and most successful year to date for the show. There were an additional 4,000 square feet of exhibit space compared to last year and a 6 percent growth in overall attendance, according to Reed.  The cloud, biometrics, deep learning and other technologies were among the big topics at the show, and even smaller exhibitors were pleased with the results. In particular, emerging technologies were successfully highlighted. Cloud-based video systems Cloud video company Eagle Eye Networks announced multiple new offerings at ISC West. One was the first cloud-based video system that accommodates HD-over-coax cameras using the HD-TVI protocol to operate over existing coaxial cabling. In effect, cameras connect with an HD-TVI recorder, which plugs into Eagle Eye Networks’ on-site hardware “bridge” connecting to the Internet. Eagle Eye Networks has also integrated Hikvision body-worn cameras into their cloud system; transmitting video using the Eagle Eye Bridge ensures end-to-end encryption and the evidentiary integrity of the video. Analytics in the cloud can be turned on and off at will for each camera, and could be deployed over a weekend and switched off the following week “A few years ago, fewer customers were ready to adopt the cloud,” says Ken Francis, President of Eagle Eye Networks. “Now market adoption is changing, and customers don’t want on-site hardware. End-users are driving the move to cloud systems.” He estimates the evolution is about halfway complete, and Eagle Eye Networks continues to sign up new dealers every month because their customers are asking for the cloud. Eagle Eye Networks’ third new offering at ISC West is “analytics in the cloud,” including familiar analytics such as intrusion, people counting and loitering. Francis says the economics of the cloud make implementation of analytics much more affordable – about $4 per camera. Analytics in the cloud can be turned on and off at will for each camera. For example, analytics could be deployed over a weekend and then switched off the following week. “It’s a far more economically attractive and cost-effective service than on-site,” says Francis. the economics of the cloud make implementation of analytics much more affordable Augmented identity: biometrics in security Biometrics continue to make their way into the mainstream of the security market, and IDEMIA brought its message of “augmented identity” to ISC West. IDEMIA (formerly OT-Morpho) provides systems to the largest biometrics users in the world, including big customers such as the FBI and Interpol, and large-scale government projects around the globe. “If you can handle projects that big, enterprise applications are no problem,” says Gary Jones, Vice President, Global Channel & Marketing, Biometric Access & Time Solutions. He says that the company’s technologies apply to any vertical market, and they are especially common in major airports and big financial institutions, in addition to government. The company’s MorphoWave product allows users to wave their hand, and the system captures a three-dimensional shape of fingerprints. The touchless system is also “frictionless” -- it enables fast decision-making that promotes high throughput rates. Artificial intelligence applications AI and deep learning have been big topics of conversation at ISC West, and I saw a company on the last day of the show with a different take on the subject. BrainChip uses a type of AI called “spiking neural networking” that models the operation of neurons in the human brain - in contrast to “convolutional neural networks,” which use a series of math functions to train from pre-labelled data sets. The BrainChip Studio software can search vast amounts of video footage rapidly to identify either faces, patterns or objects. Applications are in law enforcement, counter-terrorism and intelligence agencies.The BrainChip Studio software can search vast amounts of video footage rapidly to identify either faces, patterns or objects “We search for specific things,” said Bob Beachler, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Development. The software can search hundreds of live or recorded camera feeds for a unique graphic pattern on an item of clothing or on a bag carried by a person, for example. The technology only requires modest processing power and consumes little energy, so it can be used with legacy systems without requiring hardware or infrastructure upgrades.  Emerging Technology Zone A new Emerging Technology Zone at ISC West included participation by around 40 companies that are startups and/or new to the security industry. The section opened an hour before the main show floor and was located near the registration area, which increased traffic. “Generally speaking some people said it was hard to find, but I think it’s better for us as someone new to the market, rather than being on the main floor where you can get lost in the shuffle,” said Jeffrey Weiner, Vice President, Networks & Business Solutions, at Mersoft. “It was really smart that they opened this an hour earlier.” Mersoft, one of the Emerging Technology Zone exhibitors, has developed a software product to help the security industry do a better job of streaming live video. The software eliminates the startup delay and lag in live video. With dedicated software, video can be consumed by a browser or mobile app more easily Live video streaming “We accomplish that in two ways,” says Weiner. “One, we don’t trans-code the video into another format. Instead, we convert a security camera’s video from RTSP (real time streaming protocol) to WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication), an open-source technology that has been used extensively in video conferencing, but not so much in security. The video can be consumed by a browser or mobile app more easily, and we don’t need a player on the client, which is another way we reduce lag.” Another advantage is that WebRTC is natively encrypted; every packet is encrypted. In contrast, applications that transmit RTSP have to be wrapped in a VPN (virtual private network) tunnel, which takes some effort to maintain and is a battery hog on a mobile device. Also, multi-casting of video is easier, even using streams of various resolutions. Mersoft works through partnerships, offering a cloud-hosted service on Amazon and a version that can be installed on a local server. They have worked with several DIY camera sellers (who use cloud services), and with some major commercial service providers. “A new partnership strategy we are exploring is with systems integrators, who can incorporate Mersoft and provide a differentiator by improving their video performance,” says Weiner. The 22-year-old company is new to security, and ISC West provides opportunities for in-depth conversations preparing for a future in the security sector. Customisable turnstile solutions Delta highlighted their new designer series turnstiles, whose colourful appearance led booth visitors to ask about customisation Even the smaller companies, located toward the back of the hall, were enthusiastic about ISC West this year. “The show has been great,” says Vanessa Howell, project manager of Delta Turnstiles. “We did get a lot of traffic. I am a niche product, so it’s not so much about quantity as quality [of leads]. I had great quality at the show.” Being away from competitors, which are grouped next to each other in the front of the hall, was an upside of the turnstile company’s booth location toward the back. Delta highlighted their new designer series turnstiles, whose colourful appearance led booth visitors to ask about customisation. “They ask: ‘Why are turnstiles only sold in basic models?’” says Howell. “’Why can’t they look like a piece of art since they are the first thing people see when they enter a building?’ People are very open to making them prettier.”  Delta Turnstiles has been coming to ISC West since 2006. “I have manufacturer’s reps, and this is one of two times I get to see them in one place, and they bring a lot of customers to me at the booth,” says Howell. “This is my only face-to-face meetings with some customers. I speak mostly over the phone.” Valuable face-to-face engagement was a benefit of ISC West, and many of those meetings will likely set the stage for continuing successes in our vibrant market. Until next year.