Round table contributions
The security market in the United States has been in a collective state of exhilaration since ISC West. The (possibly) unprecedented success of the big trade show has left us all feeling optimistic about the year ahead. Members of our Expert Panel Roundtable are joining the chorus of compliments for the show as they answer this week’s question: How successful was ISC West 2016? Did it meet your expectations?
One of the things all security systems have in common is that they depend on human operators, to one extent or another. But how often is the human factor overlooked in product design? Sometimes, more focus is aimed at increasing the functionality of a system, even at the expense of usability. That’s how we get systems that have more capabilities, although accessing that functionality may be hopelessly complex. Creating effective graphical user interfaces (GUIs) is an ongoing challenge for the security market, and the consumer market, with its iPads and smart phones, has raised the expectations bar. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What elements are required to make an effective video system user interface?
We hear that everything is going to the cloud – or is it? Security end users can be understandably confused by conflicting claims in the market from proponents of cloud-based or server-based systems. A number of major security companies are offering cloud video surveillance solutions apart from the traditional server-based systems. At the end of the day, how do you choose? What factors should be considered? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What factors should a customer consider when choosing between a cloud-based system and a server-based security system? Their answers offer plenty of useful advice about when (and when not) to opt for a cloud solution.
A major benefit of technology innovation is more application opportunities. As video cameras become better and more versatile, new uses are emerging that extend the benefits of video surveillance, often outside tried-and-true parameters. Sometimes security camera manufacturers are on the front lines to see new ways video is contributing value to integrators and end user customers. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable participants: What is the most unusual application of surveillance cameras you have seen recently?
As the security industry continues to evolve and come up with innovative technologies, it has also thrown open the doors for competition among manufacturers of security systems and products. Price wars are emerging in the physical security market, while manufacturers and integrators are looking for new ways to offer greater value and better service. It’s one thing to fight it out for a new customer, but nobody wants to lose an existing customer based on price, or any other factor for that matter. In an industry increasingly being driven by the low cost of products, how can manufacturers and security integrators ensure their existing customers don’t defect to a new player, a new product claim or a lower price? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the best way to ensure customer loyalty (for manufacturers or integrators)?
One of the benefits of newer IP systems is the ability to store video inside the camera or in a nearby digital video recorder (DVR) at the edge of the network. Edge-based storage is unlikely to take the place of centralised storage, but it is complementary and provides some interesting new options related to system design. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the value of edge-based storage and in what specific applications?
Will 2016 see faster adoption of video analytics? Will cyber-security have more impact on physical security? Is the market likely to see greater use of cloud-based products and services? Will technology help to drive greater involvement by everyday citizens in public safety initiatives? Could the market focus shift from selling products to selling solutions? We asked this week’s SourceSecurity.com Expert Panel to look ahead to 2016, and these were some of the surprises they see in our industry’s near future. Specifically, we asked this week’s panel: What will be the biggest surprise in 2016 for the security market?
Video cameras are smarter than ever. Video analytics functionality is available inside most cameras now on the market. Smarter cameras enable a system with distributed intelligence and also help to manage bandwidth and storage – on-camera intelligence can determine what video is important enough to tie up network resources and to eventually be retained or viewed. But on-camera video analytics have their limitations, and additional video intelligence at the server can add a new range of functionality to a system. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Given the rise in edge-based video analytics, what is the continuing role for server-based analytics systems?
Healthcare organisations are an important vertical market for many security manufacturers and integrators. Like other vertical markets, healthcare has its own unique set of requirements and challenges for physical security systems. We asked this week’s Expert Panel: What are the distinctive security problems faced by healthcare organisations? What technologies are being embraced to increase security?
Software changes constantly. There’s always a new patch or fix, and our computers persistently remind us that an update is available. As a core component of today’s IP networked video systems, video management software (VMS) is also subject to the need to be constantly updated and refined. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable to elaborate: Why is it important that networked video customers keep up to date with the latest version of video management software (VMS)?
Most of today’s video surveillance cameras are capable of providing audio, but when should it be implemented? Acceptable uses of audio surveillance, as opposed to video, are a different concept in many jurisdictions worldwide. Privacy laws regarding audio may be more stringent than those for video, but both tend to centre around the concept of an “expectation of privacy,” which may mean something different in the case of audio versus video. How can system designers and end users leverage the benefits of audio surveillance without violating privacy? Specifically, we asked this week’s Expert Panel: Do privacy concerns limit the use of available audio features on video cameras? What are acceptable uses of audio in surveillance systems?
We have all heard the sales pitch: Use of megapixel cameras lowers the camera count needed to provide adequate video coverage, thus making the overall system less expensive. Use of fewer cameras equates to less infrastructure, bandwidth and storage, according to the claims, and megapixel cameras provide enough detail that you don’t miss anything using fewer cameras. It’s a compelling pitch, but one that has sometimes been questioned in the market. To look beyond the marketing hype, we asked our Expert Panel: How effectively can megapixel cameras take the place of multiple standard-resolution cameras? Has the ability of megapixel technology to lower the required camera count been overstated (or oversold) in the market? Some of the answers may surprise you.
For many years, generally speaking, the use of video surveillance has been seen as an extension of an end user customer’s security system. However, recently, we have also heard about how video can help customers more generally, providing benefits that extend beyond security and encompass better operations and management. Easier economic justification is one important aspect of looking more broadly at the benefits of video surveillance to the enterprise as a whole. Better return on investment (ROI) means more sales. We asked our Expert Panellists to share their observations about which non-security uses of video are catching on. Their responses suggest an extremely broad range of possibilities.
Rapid technology innovation in the physical security market comes with it a commensurate need to dispose of older systems as they are replaced. Some technologies can help minimise the waste, providing, for example, the ability to use existing coaxial cable with newer IP video systems. However, absent the ability to reuse equipment, how should integrators manage disposal of systems at end-of-life? Here are some responses from our Expert Panel.
There have been a number of developments in the last year which have impacted the security industry in one way or another. As we begin a new year, we thought we'd ask our panellists to reflect back on 2014 and tell us what changes they think have made the largest impact in their areas of expertise within the security industry.
Articles by Dave Poulin
Overall, 2015 was an interesting year for the security industry and Panasonic. We’ve seen some exciting advancements in surveillance technology, including a strong uptick in body-worn cameras for law enforcement. The transition to IP cameras continues; but with economic ups and downs, we also saw customers hanging on to existing systems longer than expected, so providing support and helping them migrate at their own pace will continue to be a priority for us. From a global perspective, the influx of low-cost imports certainly impacted the overall marketplace. IP-based camera systems - a potential access point Looking ahead to 2016, we expect to see 4K camera integration into existing systems for specialised applications. Hardware and software advancements post capture, plus new encoding algorithms, will continue to improve bandwidth utilisation to support new, ultra-high-resolution cameras and ultimately true end-to-end 4K systems. I think we’ll also see an increased focus on network-level data security of video streams. As IP-based camera systems become an integral part of business network infrastructure, they can also be a potential access point, so preventing the malicious takeover of security endpoints is critical. Insights and data from analytics Another exciting area of development in 2016 will be the availability of increasingly accurate camera- and server-based analytics applications that can provide valuable data and insights for business operations, management and more. These include analytics for: Business intelligence: In the case of retail, heat maps, dwell time and age/gender demographics offer tremendous ROI beyond traditional surveillance and provide valuable data for marketing, training and operational optimization optimisation purposes. Privacy: In other applications, analytics can support specific privacy needs or real-time redaction, such as moving object removal in cases where specific objects are the surveillance priority versus people. Proactive identification: The ability to recognize recognise persons of interest or ‘banned’ personnel from businesses or campuses to assist in further mitigating threats. Being a successful security solution provider is not unlike being a successful reseller. Winners will be those companies that differentiate themselves by bringing additional value to customers beyond hardware. Software, services and technologies that are capable of delivering value beyond traditional surveillance capabilities and can be used for training, remote monitoring and assessments, distance learning and more, will provide critical capabilities now and increasingly in the future. See the full coverage of 2015/2016 Review and Forecast articles here
Remote monitoring offers a multiplying effect on security efforts The growth of IP-based networks has made it possible for security professionals to easily monitor surveillance activity from any internet-enabled PC, smartphone, or tablet anytime, anyplace. More and more, businesses are realising that remote monitoring can have a significant impact on their bottom line. Whether you’re a retail outlet, bank or hotel, remote monitoring offers a multiplying effect on security efforts and can help increase overall productivity among security staff, explains Dave Poulin, Director - Business Operations Security & Evidence Management Solutions, Panasonic System Communications Company North America. As high-definition IP-enabled surveillance devices continue to proliferate, remote video monitoring solutions will become increasingly indispensable to any business’ security efforts. By allowing end users to access and manage live video feeds in real-time, these new solutions enable administrators to mobilise their operations and streamline business management, improving situational awareness and operational efficiency. When it comes to technology investments every organisation has its own set of unique concerns and challenges, therefore security professionals must consider a number of factors before selecting new equipment. A facility’s location, IP network infrastructure and existing security systems, to name a few, are some of the most common elements enterprises must consider before planning technology upgrades. Remote video monitoring solutions are no different, and it’s particularly important to carefully consider how they meet specific business needs. HD Video Quality Of all the components of an integrated security system, image quality is certainly the most important because there is only one opportunity to capture an image. Thanks to advances in HD imaging security cameras can now capture and record even the tiniest details with unprecedented precision and clarity. This includes the most minute facial characteristics, symbols, textures and other critical identifying information. As a result, HD video is rapidly improving the value of evidence in the courtroom and becoming an indispensable asset for today’s business decision-makers. Data Storage Another issue concerning security professionals is the volume of video data generated by their IP-based systems. In recent years, HD camera adoption has given a rise to an unexpected phenomenon that has turned the industry on its head. According to a recent report by IHS Inc., the daily data dump of HD cameras is expected to more than double in four years, reaching 859 PB by 2017. While having this high-quality surveillance video gives end users a greater a sense of security, it can prove to be challenging to manage, especially for operating large, multi-site video surveillance systems. To overcome this issue, security professionals are wise to adopt devices that offer compression efficiency standards that maximise bandwidth usage and multiple streaming capabilities which enable them to choose the video quality and encoding options for each data stream. With the ability to switch between full HD for local recording in the camera via an SD card or to an NVR or DVR for review later, end users are able to ensure bandwidth is utilised as efficiently as possible and improve the overall flexibility of their systems. Monitoring surveillance activity from any internet-enabled mobile device is easy with IP-based networks Device Ruggedness and Durability When most security decision-makers begin researching the benefits of remote video monitoring solutions, ruggedness may not be the first consideration on their list. However, the durability of the mobile device used for remote monitoring is every bit as important as the security system itself, so it’s important to ensure mobile devices are built to handle the environments they work in. As you might guess, drops are the most common cause of failure for a mobile device, so resistance to drops, vibrations and other stress factors should be essential requirements. For true mobility, the ability to handle water, dust and extreme temperatures is another important consideration, as is a screen that can be viewed in the daylight. By adopting solutions that offer these benefits, security personnel can ensure that they are as productive out in the field as they would be in a control room. High-speed Connectivity and Bandwidth The effectiveness of a remote video monitoring tool also relies heavily upon reliable connectivity. Whether you are using a tablet or smartphone most mobile devices require an internet connection in order to process user commands and run apps, and failure to provide your network with sufficient bandwidth can certainly affect productivity. Remote video monitoring solutions are no different. Issues related to video resolution, compression methods, frame rate and even the number of cameras deployed can clog up bandwidth and reduce the value of new equipment. While high-speed broadband is standard on mobile phones today, security professionals need to ensure their mobile devices connect reliably to their surveillance systems no matter how far from their facility they may be. As such, remote monitoring solutions featuring embedded wireless modules for 4G LTE connectivity are the best way for end users to guarantee their people, property and assets stay secure 24/7/365. Data Security More and more, video surveillance footage is being deployed for applications beyond just passive security monitoring. Today, business managers are looking to adopt systems that will also help improve business intelligence, using video analytics to improve employee productivity and targeted marketing strategies, as well as to protect themselves against issues such as theft and fraudulent liability claims. As these newer systems continue to capture and analyse more sensitive video feeds, the risks and responsibilities of managing the access to this information becomes even greater, and requires that more attention is paid to safeguarding the data itself. Thus, it is important for security decision-makers to secure their video data assets and protect them against abuse. Today, business managers are looking to adopt systems that will also help improve business intelligence, using video analytics to improve productivity and protect against theft and fraud This is particularly important for industries that handle sensitive data such as healthcare organisations. For example, a hospital must pay special attention to the security of their data to ensure patient privacy. Enterprise facilities are also prone to data breaches and must be cautious of fraud, theft, eavesdropping and other threats that may jeopardise data security. To ensure data integrity, pay special attention to your system’s security capabilities and opt for solutions that offer both hardware and software-based security features. Mobility is transforming industries in unimaginable ways, and security is no exception. By allowing end users to make timely, actionable decisions that put safety first, remote monitoring solutions enable enterprise administrators to realise a return on investment no matter where their work takes them.
SourceSecurity.com’s Expert Panel covered a lot of ground in 2016 about a variety of topics in our Roundtable discussions. The very most-clicked-on Roundtable discussion in 2016 was about how to choose between a cloud-based system and a server-based system. Other hot topics that made the Top-10 list of Roundtable discussions included edge-based video storage, the challenges of commoditisation, and mistakes customers make when buying and installing security systems. Here is a listing of the Top 10 Expert Panel Roundtable discussions posted in 2016 at SourceSecurity.com, along with a “sound bite” from each discussion, and links back to the full articles. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Expert Panel Roundtable in 2016, including the quotable panelists named below! 1. What factors should a customer consider when choosing between a cloud-based system and a server-based security system? "Invariably the choices will be driven by security processes in place within the corporate environment and by ensuring the remote system is as impenetrable as the corporate network. Both options potentially leave the corporate network vulnerable to a determined cyber attacker, so the systems and access points to the network need to be sufficiently hardened to deter or prevent attacks.” [John Davies] 2. What is the most unusual application of surveillance cameras you have seen recently? "The most unusual application I’ve seen is the use of 360-degree fisheye cameras mounted on mobile poles for security along a marathon route. The poles were mounted on mobile units that contained power and communications infrastructure. Multiple mobile units were driven and placed along the route so that the entire route was constantly under surveillance. " [Jumbi Edulbehram] 3. What is the biggest mistake you see your customers make when it comes to buying or installing security or surveillance systems? "Too many businesses fail to take full advantage of the breadth of services available for maximising tools like remote diagnostic services, for example, which allow customer service teams to regularly and proactively check equipment quality and make repairs remotely." [Joe Oliveri] A number of major security companies are offering cloud video surveillance solutions apart from the traditional server-based systems, but which is best for the customer? 4. How many megapixels are enough? At what point does additional resolution not matter, or not make economic sense? "The industry commonly holds that 20 pixels/foot is enough for general surveillance, 40 pixels/foot is the minimum for facial recognition and licence plate identification, and 80 pixels/foot is used for higher detail like reading logos, names embroidered on a shirt, etc. " [Jason Spielfogel] 5. What is the value of edge-based storage and in what specific applications? "Recording at the edge frees up network bandwidth and PC processing power, allowing users to view and manage video feeds and store applicable images for later use or transfer to the network when necessary. " [Dave Poulin] 6. How can security integrators replace revenue in the age of commoditisation? "The integrator community needs to learn to embrace what hundreds of other contractor businesses have. They need to improve their predictable cash flow and margin by offering contracted services. Call it what you like – RMR, managed services, monitoring – the description makes no difference. The integrator community simply needs to get off their butt and make it happen. " [Bill Bozeman] 7. How successful was ISC West 2016? Did it meet your expectations? "It was unanimous that 2016 ISC West was the best show we have participated in Arecont Vision history! Activity on the first two days was especially strong with Systems Integrators, Dealers, Distributors, End Users, and A&E/Consultants. These people all came to see our new product line and were especially interested to see the product performance improvements and ease of installation and setup." [Scott Schafer] More of us are depending on social media smart phone apps as a source of information, providing new levels of immediacy that dovetail well into security, specifically in areas of emergency notification 8. What are the physical security challenges of "safe cities" applications, and how is the market meeting those challenges? "One of the challenges is, of course, to make systems from different manufacturers work together. Interoperability is important not only from an operator’s point of view, but also in how cities and their internal divisions should respond to incidents reported by the security systems. " [Per Björkdahl] 9. How should integrators/installers differentiate themselves or make themselves stand out in today’s market? "In today's market, it's all about customer service. Almost every integrator has good product – and most of these products do a lot of the same things – but what sets integrators/installers apart is the level of value-added support they are providing to their accounts. Increased support through training, follow-up, open communication and keeping them informed on emerging technologies can really speak to the needs that end users have and why they will remain loyal.” [Mitchell Kane] 10. What role can social media play in the security marketplace and/or as a tool to promote better security in general? "Social media has weaved its way into our daily lives and is an integral part of our interaction with customers in the marketplace. Social media outlets bring the human element to interfacing with our communities and customers. This humanization allows us to address sensitive topics like the recent events in Orlando and how to take preventative measures in the future." [Melissa Stenger] See the full coverage of 2016/2017 Review and Forecast articles hereSave Save
SourceSecurity.com’s Expert Panel had a lot to say in 2015 on a variety of topics in our Roundtable discussions. Not surprisingly, the discussion topics that have generated the most interest (in terms of how much visitor traffic they generated) are the same hot topics we hear about every day in the industry. Our very most-clicked-on Roundtable discussion in 2015 was about the impact of video on privacy rights. Other hot topics that made the Top-10 list of Roundtable discussions included the Cloud (twice!), the impact of IT on physical security, and the outlook for 4K cameras. Additional well-read discussions centred on expanding the benefits of security to other departments and how to improve training. Readers also gravitated to Expert Panel Roundtable discussions of more technical topics such as the value of full-frame-rate video and the effectiveness of panoramic view cameras (compared to pan-tilt-zoom functionality). Rounding out the Top 10 is a discussion of the desirability (and legal implications) of using dummy cameras. Here is a listing of the Top 10 Expert Panel Roundtable discussions posted in 2015 at SourceSecurity.com, along with a “sound bite” from each discussion, and links back to the full articles. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Expert Panel Roundtable in 2015 (including the quotable panellists named below). 1. What are the limitations on where video cameras can be placed because of privacy? "Use of cameras in retail applications can easily be justified in general surveillance of sales floors and shopping aisles, but cameras should only be used in changing areas to address a particularly serious problem that cannot be addressed by less intrusive means.” [Mark Pritchard] 2. Are cloud-based security systems “safe?” "If the authentication principles are insufficient and weak passwords are allowed, it doesn’t matter how strong the encryption is. Because cloud-based systems are exposed to the Internet, they demand strong authentication and increased operational procedures." [Per Björkdahl] 3. How does IT affect the physical security buying decision? "Of course, we all want good value, but we must invest as necessary. If you strip everything back, the integrator's job is to deliver data. If IT and security departments can keep this objective in mind, then 'value' redefines itself." [Larry Lummis] 4. Which non-security uses of video are catching on? "While video can help with quality control across the supply chain, it will be especially useful in ensuring compliance with the international adulteration rule [for food manufacturers], the rule with the last court-ordered deadline on May 31, 2016." [Don Hsieh] 5. What is the value of "full-frame-rate" video? "I once took a client’s footage of a genuine street fight to check how many images per second were needed to prove who punched who – 25fps was fine but 12fps made the video evidence doubtful. Don’t forget, however many fps you choose, your shutter speed must be fast enough to prevent motion blur spoiling the details." [Simon Lambert] 6. When is it desirable to use 'dummy' cameras as a deterrent? "If cameras are present, there is a reasonable expectation of a secure environment in both public and private areas. If the public sees cameras and assumes they are real, they could argue that they were reliant on the protection provided by the cameras." [Dave Poulin] 7. Are megapixel or panoramic-view cameras an effective substitute for PTZs? "Panoramic cameras are usually static, so zooming into a scene’s details is done in software and limited by pixels in the sensor, lens quality and software such as de-warping, so clarity at the boundaries might disappoint. PTZ cameras zoom optically, magnifying long-range details significantly better." [Simon Lambert] 8. Is HD still the standard of resolution in the market? For how much longer? "The 720p and 1080p HDTV remains dominant today and is expected to be for the foreseeable future. The next standards-based resolution will be 4K, which represents 8.3 megapixel, but first the industry will need to improve on bandwidth with better compression and better light sensitivity." [Fredrik Nilsson] 9. What are the current limitations of cloud-based systems? "The only remaining limitations of cloud-based systems are bandwidth and connectivity to the cloud. There is more than enough bandwidth for applications like Access Control and Visitor Management, but it will take a couple more years before all high-resolution video is cloud-based.” [Paul Bodell] 10. How can security training be improved among integrators and end users? "Training should be sticky and persistent. Follow-up training such as on-line review and updated course material should be available to keep the knowledge fresh. Technology is constantly changing, as soon as training is complete the knowledge begins to go stale." [Charlie Erickson] See the full coverage of 2015/2016 Review and Forecast articles here