Columbia Bank, a Northwest community bank headquartered in Tacoma, Washington, sought to upgrade their video surveillance solution to improve image quality and retention time. They also wanted to maximise field of view to deliver a more forceful and expansive – yet, less intrusive – solution.

Working with Cook Security Group, Inc., Ross Armstrong, vice president of physical security at Columbia Bank, chose to overhaul video surveillance in their 150-plus branches across the Northwest, many of which included older analogue cameras.

They chose to install a mix of Hanwha Techwin models including Wisenet P series PNM-9000VQ multi-sensor / multi-directional outdoor vandal-proof dome cameras with 5 megapixel lens modules and Wisenet X series XND-8020F 5 megapixel indoor flush mount dome cameras.

Surveillance cameras managed by Omnicast VMS

The project, which started in June of 2018, has already deployed over 1,200 Hanwha Techwin cameras across 80 locationsColumbia Bank is in the process of the multi-phase upgrade that converts their existing branches to Hanwha Techwin video surveillance cameras managed by Genetec’s Security Center Omnicast Video Management System (VMS). The project, which started in June of 2018, has already deployed over 1,200 Hanwha Techwin cameras across 80 locations. They will complete another 60 sites in 2019, and 30 more in 2020.

The video cameras serve as part of an overall physical security plan and are positioned to provide expansive coverage of bank interiors including teller lines, exteriors including parking lots and surrounding areas and ATM machines.

Cameras bundled with analytics

Armstrong said Columbia Bank tested out a of variety of models before deciding on Hanwha Techwin. “I didn't know which camera vendors would give us the biggest bang for the buck,” he said. “But I settled on Hanwha Techwin for a couple of reasons. One, is the price competitiveness and, two, the fact that the cameras come bundled with so many analytics that many companies want to charge extra for those licenses.

If an individual is loitering around one of ATMs beyond the set time limit, then we have it programmed into Genetec’s Security Center to send an alert
One of the analytics features the Columbia Bank security team uses with regularity is the loitering feature, specifically at their ATM machines

One of the analytics features the Columbia Bank security team uses with regularity is the loitering feature, specifically at their ATM machines. “If an individual is loitering around one of our ATMs beyond the set time limit, then we have it programmed into Genetec’s Security Center to send an alert."

"Omnicast snaps a photo of the loiterer and emails it to everyone designated on our security team. We then can take a quick look at that photo and quickly determine whether or not somebody is utilising the ATM as a customer or if they're doing something they're not supposed to, such as trying to break into the ATM or installing a skimmer.

Health monitoring of the cameras

Armstrong said, as he tested cameras from other vendors, he noticed a consistent drop rate which he was concerned would get worse.

Even though 98 percent availability seems acceptable, any downtime creates a risk of missing critical events"

Security Center provides health monitoring of the cameras, and what I looked for was if the availability started dropping below 98 percent. Even though 98 percent availability seems acceptable, any downtime creates a risk of missing critical events. One camera model we were testing was experiencing regular outages, where we would lose 30 seconds off and on throughout the day. These short loses added up quickly and we were seeing availability times dropping somewhere around 93 to 94 percent. That wasn't acceptable.

When I reviewed the data on the Hanwha Techwin model, the average availability was consistently above 99 percent, which was so impressive. It might just be a two percent difference, but it's inevitable that the one time you need it is the one time that camera is not working as expected. Columbia Bank was unwilling to accept the risk of utilising equipment that failed to meet our standards, and decided to partner with Hanwha Techwin, who provided a much more reliable end user experience.

Utilising H.265 and WiseStream compression

Impact on network infrastructure and bandwidth were also determining factors for Columbia Bank as they chose to upgrade their video surveillance system. Armstrong said he was disappointed to find many camera manufacturers were not quickly integrating usage of H.265 compression technology into their products. He said he is impressed that Hanwha Techwin utilises H.265 in so many of its camera models, as well as the fact that Hanwha has incorporated its own WiseStream technology into its cameras, making them even more efficient.

WiseStream dynamically controls encoding, balancing quality and compression according to movement in the image
Hanwha Techwin Wisenet P and X series cameras use H.265/H.264/MJPEG with Hanwha’s exclusive WiseStream II compression technology

Hanwha Techwin Wisenet P and X series cameras use H.265/H.264/MJPEG with Hanwha’s exclusive WiseStream II compression technology. WiseStream dynamically controls encoding, balancing quality and compression according to movement in the image. Combined with H.265 compression, the bandwidth efficiency can be improved by up to 75 percent compared to current H.264 technology.

Installing non-intrusive cameras

Community banks are charged with keeping employees, customers, and assets safe, but also need to present a warm and inviting environment since they are often a hub of civic activity. In-your-face video surveillance cameras in a bank can be threatening to any would-be criminal, but they are also off-putting to customers that visit banks on a day-to-day basis.

This allows us to get higher quality images – and a wider field of view – while not intruding into people’s personal space"When Armstrong and his team were evaluating camera solutions across its branches, they wanted to find a way to let customers know they were providing the latest in video security without the potentially intrusive analogue cameras that often can be found just inches away from customers during transactions at the teller counter.

Higher resolution 5 megapixel cameras

It’s a balance – you want customers to feel secure, but you don’t want them to feel like they are in a prison or a fishbowl,” said Armstrong.

He said they removed the older analogue cameras on the teller line and replaced them with the higher resolution 5 megapixel Hanwha Techwin models, which were placed off the teller line.

This allows us to get higher quality images – and a wider field of view – while not intruding into people’s personal space,” he said.

SPD-150 49 Channel Decoder for connectivity

One way to convey that Columbia Bank is all business when it comes to security was with an innovative decoder offered by Hanwha Techwin. Armstrong said they wanted to have video monitors showing surveillance camera feeds in certain higher-risk locations so that customers would know they are being recorded, and that would serve as a deterrent to any would be criminals. However, with the change in hardware, they were unable to connect monitors directly to a DVR. Armstrong said Hanwha’s SPD-150 49 Channel Decoder has allowed them to connect analogue, HDMI, and VGA.

Armstrong and his team made the decision to add video surveillance cameras to the exterior of all bank locations
Columbia Bank has provided video evidence to help law enforcement investigate a variety of incidents including drive-by shootings, traffic accidents, and arson

Being able to put one Hanwha decoder unit in a branch and run three monitors off of it – as well as the ability to hook monitors up to some cameras directly – has saved us tremendous amounts of money while adding a visual security feature.

Adding cameras outdoor to assist community

Columbia Bank has long emphasized that they are a community bank that’s community minded. When Armstrong and his team decided to upgrade their video surveillance solution, they made the decision to add video surveillance cameras to the exterior of all bank locations not only to protect their customers as they come and go, but also to assist the community and law enforcement when incidents occur in areas surrounding their branches.

We’re very pleased with the solution from Cook Security Group, Hanwha Techwin, and Genetec"

We look at it as the opportunity to give back to the community and provide assistance in a variety of ways,” said Armstrong. So far, Columbia Bank has provided video evidence to help law enforcement investigate a variety of incidents including drive-by shootings, traffic accidents, and arson.

Satisfied with the system’s performance

Columbia Bank has been well served by the Hanwha Techwin-Genetec security solution and Armstrong said they are very satisfied with the performance of the system.

Hanwha Techwin has been a phenomenal partner for us,” he said. “And that’s what I look for in a security provider – a long-term partnership. We’re very pleased with the solution from Cook Security Group, Hanwha Techwin, and Genetec and we look forward to completing all phases of the project.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Managing security during unprecedented times of home working
Managing security during unprecedented times of home working

Companies are following government guidance and getting as many people as possible working from home. Some companies will have resisted home working in the past, but I’m certain that the sceptics will find that people can be productive with the right tools no matter where they are. A temporary solution will become permanent. But getting it right means managing risk. Access is king In a typical office with an on-premise data centre, the IT department has complete control over network access, internal networks, data, and applications. The remote worker, on the other hand, is mobile. He or she can work from anywhere using a VPN. Until just recently this will have been from somewhere like a local coffee shop, possibly using a wireless network to access the company network and essential applications. CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, and collaborative communication toolsBut as we know, CV-19 means that huge numbers of people are getting access to the same desktop and files, applications and collaborative communication tools that they do on a regular basis from the office or on the train. Indeed, the new generation of video conferencing technologies come very close to providing an “almost there” feeling. Hackers lie in wait Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical servers. Less than a month ago, we emerged from a period of chaos. For months hackers had been exploiting a vulnerability in VPN products from Pulse Secure, Fortinet, Palo Alto Networks, and Citrix. Patches were provided by vendors, and either companies applied the patch or withdrew remote access. As a result, the problem of attacks died back.  But as companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on. That’s because remote desktop protocol (RDP) has been for the most part of 2019, and continues to be, the most important attack vector for ransomware. Managing a ransomware attack on top of everything else would certainly give you sleepless nights. As companies race to get people working from home, they must ensure special care is taken to ensure the patches are done before switching VPNs on Hackers are waiting for a wrong move amongst the panic, and they will look for ways to compromise critical serversExposing new services makes them also susceptible to denial of service attacks. Such attacks create large volumes of fake traffic to saturate the available capacity of the internet connection. They can also be used to attack the intricacies of the VPN protocol. A flow as little as 1Mbps can perturbate the VPN service and knock it offline. CIOs, therefore, need to acknowledge that introducing or extending home working broadens the attack surface. So now more than ever it’s vital to adapt risk models. You can’t roll out new services with an emphasis on access and usability and not consider security. You simply won’t survive otherwise. Social engineering Aside from securing VPNs, what else should CIO and CTOs be doing to ensure security? The first thing to do is to look at employee behaviour, starting with passwords. It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposed. Best practice would be to get all employees to reset their passwords as they connect remotely and force them to choose a new password that complies with strong password complexity guidelines.  As we know, people have a habit of reusing their passwords for one or more online services – services that might have fallen victim to a breach. Hackers will happily It’s highly recommended that strong password hygiene or some form of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is imposedleverage these breaches because it is such easy and rich pickings. Secondly, the inherent fear of the virus makes for perfect conditions for hackers. Sadly, a lot of phishing campaigns are already luring people in with the promise of important or breaking information on COVID-19. In the UK alone, coronavirus scams cost victims over £800,000 in February 2020. A staggering number that can only go up. That’s why CIOs need to remind everyone in the company of the risks of clickbait and comment spamming - the most popular and obvious bot techniques for infiltrating a network. Notorious hacking attempts And as any security specialist will tell you, some people have no ethics and will exploit the horrendous repercussions of CV-19. In January we saw just how unscrupulous hackers are when they started leveraging public fear of the virus to spread the notorious Emotet malware. Emotet, first detected in 2014, is a banking trojan that primarily spreads through ‘malspam’ and attempts to sneak into computers to steal sensitive and private information. In addition, in early February the Maze ransomware crippled more than 230 workstations of the New Jersey Medical Diagnostics Lab and when they refused to pay, the vicious attackers leaked 9.5GB or research data in an attempt to force negotiations. And in March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHO and healthcare organisations in general since the pandemic broke. We’ll see lots more opportunist attacks like this in the coming months.   More speed less haste In March, an elite hacking group tried to breach the World Health Organization (WHO). It was just one of the many attempts on WHOFinally, we also have bots to contend with. We’ve yet to see reports of fake news content generated by machines, but we know there’s a high probability it will happen. Spambots are already creating pharmaceutical spam campaigns thriving on the buying behaviour of people in times of fear from infection. Using comment spamming – where comments are tactically placed in the comments following an update or news story - the bots take advantage of the popularity of the Google search term ‘Coronavirus’ to increase the visibility and ranking of sites and products in search results. There is clearly much for CIOs to think about, but it is possible to secure a network by applying some well thought through tactics. I believe it comes down to having a ‘more speed, less haste’ approach to rolling out, scaling up and integrating technologies for home working, but above all, it should be mixed with an employee education programme. As in reality, great technology and a coherent security strategy will never work if it is undermined by the poor practices of employees.

How does audio enhance security system performance?
How does audio enhance security system performance?

Video is widely embraced as an essential element of physical security systems. However, surveillance footage is often recorded without sound, even though many cameras are capable of capturing audio as well as video. Beyond the capabilities of cameras, there is a range of other audio products on the market that can improve system performance and/or expand capabilities (e.g., gunshot detection.) We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does audio enhance the performance of security and/or video systems? 

How have standards changed the security market?
How have standards changed the security market?

A standard is a document that establishes uniform engineering or technical criteria, methods, processes, and/or practices. Standards surround every aspect of our business. For example, the physical security marketplace is impacted by industry standards, national and international standards, quality standards, building codes and even environmental standards, to name just a few. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How have standards changed the security market as we know it?