CCTV observation systems & accessories - Expert commentary

Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other
Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other

Human beings have a long-standing relationship with privacy and security. For centuries, we’ve locked our doors, held close our most precious possessions, and been wary of the threats posed by thieves. As time has gone on, our relationship with security has become more complicated as we’ve now got much more to be protective of. As technological advancements in security have got smarter and stronger, so have those looking to compromise it. Cybersecurity Cybersecurity, however, is still incredibly new to humans when we look at the long relationship that we have with security in general. As much as we understand the basics, such as keeping our passwords secure and storing data in safe places, our understanding of cybersecurity as a whole is complicated and so is our understanding of the threats that it protects against. However, the relationship between physical security and cybersecurity is often interlinked. Business leaders may find themselves weighing up the different risks to the physical security of their business. As a result, they implement CCTV into the office space, and alarms are placed on doors to help repel intruders. Importance of cybersecurity But what happens when the data that is collected from such security devices is also at risk of being stolen, and you don’t have to break through the front door of an office to get it? The answer is that your physical security can lose its power to keep your business safe if your cybersecurity is weak. As a result, cybersecurity is incredibly important to empower your physical security. We’ve seen the risks posed by cybersecurity hacks in recent news. Video security company Verkada recently suffered a security breach as malicious attackers obtained access to the contents of many of its live camera feeds, and a recent report by the UK government says two in five UK firms experienced cyberattacks in 2020. Cloud computing – The solution Cloud stores information in data centres located anywhere in the world, and is maintained by a third party Cloud computing offers a solution. The cloud stores your information in data centres located anywhere in the world and is maintained by a third party, such as Claranet. As the data sits on hosted servers, it’s easily accessible while not being at risk of being stolen through your physical device. Here’s why cloud computing can help to ensure that your physical security and the data it holds aren’t compromised. Cloud anxiety It’s completely normal to speculate whether your data is safe when it’s stored within a cloud infrastructure. As we are effectively outsourcing our security by storing our important files on servers we have no control over - and, in some cases, limited understanding of - it’s natural to worry about how vulnerable this is to cyber-attacks. The reality is, the data that you save on the cloud is likely to be a lot safer than that which you store on your device. Cyber hackers can try and trick you into clicking on links that deploy malware or pose as a help desk trying to fix your machine. As a result, they can access your device and if this is where you’re storing important security data, then it is vulnerable. Cloud service providers Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software in the personal computer Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software that is likely in place on your personal computer. Hyperscalers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Service (AWS) are able to hire countless more security experts than any individual company - save the corporate behemoth - could afford. These major platform owners have culpability for thousands of customers on their cloud and are constantly working to enhance the security of their platforms. The security provided by cloud service providers such as Claranet is an extension of these capabilities. Cloud resistance Cloud servers are located in remote locations that workers don’t have access to. They are also encrypted, which is the process of converting information or data into code to prevent unauthorised access. Additionally, cloud infrastructure providers like ourselves look to regularly update your security to protect against viruses and malware, leaving you free to get on with your work without any niggling worries about your data being at risk from hackers. Data centres Cloud providers provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and AI Additionally, cloud providers are also able to provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and artificial intelligence, as well as data redundancy, where the same piece of data is held within several separate data centres. This is effectively super-strong backup and recovery, meaning that if a server goes down, you can access your files from a backup server. Empowering physical security with cybersecurity By storing the data gathered by your physical security in the cloud, you're not just significantly reducing the risk of cyber-attacks, but also protecting it from physical threats such as damage in the event of a fire or flood. Rather than viewing your physical and cybersecurity as two different entities, treat them as part of one system: if one is compromised, the other is also at risk. They should work in tandem to keep your whole organisation secure.

Trends and challenges we will see in the AI-driven security space in 2021
Trends and challenges we will see in the AI-driven security space in 2021

For decades, the nature of global safety has been evolving. From physical security threats like large-scale terrorist attacks and lone actor stabbings to chemical threats such as the Salisbury poisonings and even microbiological threats such as COVID-19, new challenges are constantly arising and the threat landscape we operate in today is constantly changing. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks. With the economic downturn, there is the traditional rise in theft, violence and other crimes. Compound this with unmanned businesses and work-at-home staff, and there is a perfect storm for a rise in security threats. Artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), was already causing widespread disruption in many industries, including the security industry. AI has been a driving force to replace labour-based business models with integrated data and actionable intelligence that is context-aware. It has become apparent that AI will play a big part in the ongoing fight against both pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other threats that we may face in the future. With all of this in mind, 2021 is poised to be a big year for AI growth. While AI is going to continue to impact our lives in dozens of ways, from smart sensors to face mask compliance detection, the following reflects a few top trends and challenges that I have my eye on for 2021 as we close out this year. The rise of smart city investments One such example is the increasing development of smart cities and how AI can be leveraged to build safe communities. To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks Typical development of a city includes standard infrastructure - roads, schools, power, water, transportation. Now, internet, data and AI capabilities are part of the standard infrastructure requirements for all new developments. AI promises to deliver increased efficiencies with the infrastructure that will accommodate growing populations while reducing our impact on the environment, resources, and communities. Global cities now account for more than half of the world’s population, and the United Nations projects the number to balloon to 68% by mid-century. Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). With an increase in population has come an increase in global spending on smart city initiatives to drive down the impact of growing urban concentration. Global spending on smart city initiatives is expected to total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, while Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York as the big spenders - expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2020. Using AI-driven technology to create safer public and private spaces Today, security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments to protect the population in a more efficient, and accurate manner. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new AI technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. One such deployment is the use of video object recognition/computer vision software that can be integrated into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. These enhanced VMS systems can be deployed both inside and outside of buildings to identify risks and flag threats, such weapons, aggressive behaviours, theft, and safety compliance. This helps to minimise the impact of a breach by an early alert to onsite security in real-time to the location and nature of the potential threat, allowing them to intervene before a loss occurs. These same AI-enabled video solutions can similarly be used to provide advanced business operations in retail, logistics, and manufacturing organisations. Multi-sensor security solutions Also, targeted magnetic and radar sensor technologies, concealed in everyday objects like planter boxes or inside walls, can now scan individuals and bags entering a building for concealed threat objects. Using AI/machine learning, these two sensor solutions combined can identify metal content on the body and bag and match the item to a catalogue of threat items, such as guns, rifles, knives and bombs. Security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments Without this advanced multi-sensor solution, it becomes nearly impossible to discover a weapon on a person's body before it appears in an assailant’s hands. This multi-sensor solution allows for touchless, unobtrusive access to a building, but allows for immediate notification to onsite security when a concealed threat is detected. The hidden technology thus empowers security staff to intercept threats before they evolve into a wider scale attack, while also maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of the public, unless, of course, they are carrying a concealed weapon or pose a physical threat. With the advent of sophisticated surveillance and technological innovation, a level of caution must be exerted. Despite the ongoing global debate, there remains little regulation about the use of AI technologies in today’s physical security space. One thing is certain; it must be deployed in the right place, at the right time, with the right privacy and civil liberty protection objectives. People don’t want to be protected by omnipresent, obstructive and overbearing security systems that infringe on their privacy and civil liberties. They want a proper balance between security and their current way of life, one that must be fused together. Technology and tracing COVID-19 Machine learning-based technologies are playing a substantial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the key purpose of surveillance systems has been to detect and deter threats, including the detection of visible and hidden weapons and abnormal behaviour. While this, of course, remains a primary focus, today we are seeing how surveillance systems defend against new invisible threats, as well as rapidly automate the process of contact-tracing to capture and contain a virus before it spreads. Again, the ability to track and trace through parsing algorithms that can manage through enormous amounts of data provides a highly scalable and rapid response mechanism to control the spread of threats. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact Although the threat may not be visible, it is just as destructive. By incorporating AI into existing technologies, government, healthcare and security professionals can monitor public spaces and environments through the combined use of digital and thermal video surveillance cameras and video management systems); just one of the solutions being explored. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By Using AI-powered video analytic software, businesses can monitor face masks, social distancing and large gathering compliance and also detect elevated body temperature. Critically, technology must be capable of both identifying and tracking the virus but also be unobtrusive. An unobtrusive system that is adaptable enough to be deployed across a range of environments where the public gathers in enclosed spaces is necessary to be effective. Security in 2021 Technology has proven itself to be a valuable ally in times of crisis. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies will help optimise security solutions in areas that are brimming with potential. As we look ahead to the future of security in a world that is impacted by such a wide range of threats, from physical to chemical to microbiological, it’s clear that new technologies, specifically AI can dramatically improve the effectiveness of security systems and help us to better defend against a wide spectrum of threats. Technology has a huge role to play in making our communities safe in 2021 and beyond, but for security systems to be effective, they must not be oppressive or obstructive. This will ensure they have the full support of the public - the key to success.

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

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

Latest CBC (Europe) Ltd news

CBC (Europe) GmbH introduces new range of megapixel varifocal lenses
CBC (Europe) GmbH introduces new range of megapixel varifocal lenses

Leading surveillance solutions provider CBC (Europe) GmbH has introduced an exciting new range of high quality megapixel varifocal lenses. These latest Computar lenses enable optical imaging performance from increasingly popular megapixel cameras, maximising their performance in a variety of operational circumstances. The lenses include IR corrected optics, maintaining sharp focus in both day and night modes, and even in otherwise tricky twilight conditions. As well as providing high contrast and sharp images, they ensure precise focus adjustment – an important advantage because setting the focus on megapixel IP cameras can be challenging, especially when facing the limited adjustment ranges and transmission delays that sometimes occur through a network. CBC’s new Computar megapixel varifocal lenses also cover a useful range of focal lengths from super-wide through to telephoto. The AG3Z3112 series, for example, allows users to capture a 105.4° overview in a 16:9 format. Telephoto models in the AG4Z1214 series, meanwhile, are ideal for various outdoor and high ceiling applications. Both manual iris, DC auto iris and P-iris models are available. The P-iris lens, combined with specialised camera software, delivers superior picture quality, enhancing contrast, resolution and depth of field. Other notable features shared by CBC’s new megapixel varifocal lenses include a compact design, built-in slip mount mechanism, and a locking mechanism for zoom and focus rings. “CBC’s new series of Computar megapixel variofocal lenses are the ideal complement for megapixel cameras, enabling users to extract the highest quality images for prevention and detection purposes, and thereby adding considerable value to this camera investment,” says Ken Ota, MD of CBC (Europe) GmbH’s UK operation.

CBC launches a new range of full HD Ganz IP NVR recorders
CBC launches a new range of full HD Ganz IP NVR recorders

Leading surveillance solutions provider CBC (Europe) GmbH has launched its new range of full HD Ganz IP Network Video Recorders (NVRs). Offering four or eight channels, the NVRs provide 1080p high definition quality images along with a free app and CMS software allowing images to be displayed remotely, quickly and easily in quad or full-screen on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. Supplied in a space saving compact profile, the new Ganz IP NVR recorders work seamlessly with CBC’s PixelPro range of indoor and outdoor IP cameras to provide an optimised image/storage solution. PixelPro cameras connect simply and directly to the NVRs using a single network cable per camera. To improve the ease of installation, the NVR is capable of supplying power to each camera over PoE. CBC’s NR4HL and NR8HL Triplex NVRs (available in 2Tb and 4Tb storage versions) use H.264 compression.  Each camera can be viewed in Live mode and recorded at 25 images per second, offering numerous surveillance recording and monitoring applications both internally and externally.  Multi-site device management is also achievable using the Ganz DMS Lite software supplied free with each NVR. Up to two HDDs can be installed on each NVR. Storage expansion is achieved via e-SATA. “CBC’s cost-effective new NVRs address the increasing demand for network capable image storage and flexible means of monitoring and reviewing that make customers’ access to surveillance systems much easier and time-efficient. They’re also space-efficient and offer solutions for a variety of security-related monitoring and recording applications,” says Ken Ota, MD of CBC (Europe) GmbH’s UK operation.

CBC cameras assists Carynx Wild in protecting and observing wild life
CBC cameras assists Carynx Wild in protecting and observing wild life

CBC supplies C-AllView cameras to monitor activities at a nature reserve in Hampshire Leading surveillance solutions provider CBC (Europe) has assisted natural history/wildlife production company Carynx Wild at two outdoor filming sites, helping to observe and protect potentially vulnerable birds. CBC recently supplied its versatile and optically powerful C-AllView cameras to monitor activities at an RSPB Reserve in north Wales and a nature reserve in Hampshire. Independent specialist Carnyx Wild works with broadcasters including the BBC’s acclaimed Natural History Unit, maker of programmes including Planet Earth and Springwatch/Autumnwatch, as well as clients such as the Forestry Commission and nature reserves around the country – for example, putting real-time and recorded wildlife footage onto websites and viewing screens at visitor centres. Carnyx’s Director and co-founder, Peter Dobson, explains that having become aware of CBC’s system capabilities he discussed the potential for C-AllView’s powerful 36x optical zoom to film animals at the two sites with Regional Sales Manager Mike Barrett. The cameras were required, firstly, to observe birds including guillemots, puffins and razorbills 100m vertically down the cliff face at South Stack Cliffs RSPB Reserve in Holyhead, north Wales. Optically powerful C-AllView cameras to monitor activities at an RSPB Reserve in north Wales and a nature reserve in Hampshire Here, a unit was installed by experienced climbers and mounted on a purpose-built marine-grade stainless mount with transmission cabling to a nearby café and visitor centre. Video images from the camera are also shown live on the internet. “The Reserve and its sea cliffs are a sensitive nesting area for visiting sea birds, but licensed access to these sea cliffs is only permitted between September and February. So after being installed the camera cannot be revisited for seven months,” Peter explains. “It was therefore extremely important that we have a reliable and robust unit for this challenging task, and the C-Allview camera comes into its own for requirements including close-up shots of animals. Dome cameras have horizontal limitations in their field of view and their lenses are difficult to keep clean in these situations, whereas the C-AllView can provide a 360° field of view, has a built-in wiper unit, and is less obtrusive than a PTZ camera. The C-AllView is therefore ideal for this type of filming work and we use the cameras in conjunction with infrared lighting when light levels are low.” Meanwhile, a C-AllView camera is also being used at Hampshire County Council’s 370-acre Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve, overlooking the Solent, where it’s being used to monitor rare Avocet wader birds in a nesting area on-site. Live video images are shown in the main visitor centre. Commenting on the service provided by CBC, Peter Dobson adds that the company’s customer service and technical dept have proved “really good at resolving any issues we’ve had in the sometimes very tight schedules involved, for example by sending out equipment overnight so that we don’t lose any precious filming time. Mike Barrett has also been proactive, keeping us in touch with equipment developments so that we don’t fall behind on the available technology.”

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