Joshua E. Phillips
Many purpose-focused stand-alone systemsaddress business goals aside from security Transportation gets passengers and goods to their destination safely and in a timely manner. Making transportation possible are purpose-focused stand-alone systems – many that address business goals and others that achieve safety/security goals. Some systems can impact both business and security goals. For example, access control can eliminate the expense and maintenance of locks and keys at many doors, and also can provide much greater visibility and management over who is allowed to go where. On the business side, train ticketing systems allow passengers to take advantage of self-service and avoid lines, while flight information display systems (FIDS) bring valuable information to passengers. Each system drives efficiency in the customer experience, and makes customers happier and more likely to return. Now consider integrating each of these with video surveillance, says Joshua E. Phillips, director of enterprise and critical infrastructure at Verint Systems Inc. The value of the video system, often considered a cost of safety and security, increases exponentially. With video, end users can verify who is using an access credential, such as a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC), at secure entry points. They can verify if ticketing kiosks are operating properly before dispatching service. If you overlay FIDS data on video at each gate, you can increase the service levels of the aircraft and make it simple to identify gate activity with associated flights, which then creates further business efficiency. “These are only some of the opportunities available for safer and smarter transportation,” says Phillips. Many transportation providers have chosen Verint as a cornerstone provider, and each is using a different configuration or combination of Verint solutions to enable their needs today and in the future Verint provides customers with a trusted path forward in expanding their video and situation management footprint. Many transportation providers have chosen Verint as a cornerstone provider, and each is using a different configuration or combination of Verint solutions to enable their needs today and in the future. Verint offerings for situation management help customers adhere to standard processes in tracking and managing incidents. Verint’s video management solution allows customers to record video in fixed positions or on mobile vehicles transporting passengers. Verint video analytics provide a means to make staff more effective in addressing both urgent and latent situations. March Networks also sees a growing trend toward using video beyond security. “We have seen this in other verticals,” says Dan Cremins, director, product line management, March Networks. “These customers are looking for ways to use video to learn more about what’s going on in their facilities.” Examples might include people counting, or the ability to determine demographics (such as gender and age) for marketing purposes. Tying video in with fare systems is another possibility— providing a new type of metadata that can be synced with video. The identity of someone on a video might be provided by their frequent rider card information, for example. Transit operators sometimes overlook how cameras can help improve operations, says John Recesso, strategic business development manager, Sony Electronics’ Security Systems Division. IP cameras can help manage equipment maintenance, ensure vehicles are operating on schedule, and protect their organisations from false incident reports. The biggest challenge in deploying these systems tends to be budget limitations, so operators often choose less expensive, low-feature-set solutions, Recesso says. However, transit operators that install robust IP surveillance equipment often find that the added security and operational cost savings mean the system pays for itself in just a few years. A challenge is how transportation operators can integrate onboard video from trains, buses and other vehicles (such as police, emergency responders, etc.) into the infrastructure command centre post, notes Recesso. Doing so would enable onboard video to be managed in conjunction with other video systems rather than as a standalone system. Currently, transportation operators that deploy onboard surveillance tend to use analogue systems, and they are just now migrating those applications to IP. Most see onboard video solutions as being distinctly separate from the video systems used to secure stations, bridges, rail/road infrastructure, parking garages and other facilities – but they should be integrated and managed as one complete system. This provides a more complete operating picture of the transportation system and how it is integrated to greater citywide surveillance.
Video analytics allow users to automate the use of video and extract more value Almost anyone in the video analytics market will admit that the capabilities of the technology were initially oversold. The first generation of analytics simply didn’t work as promised, and an undercurrent of distrust of the technology in general still haunts the market. Ironically, video analytics capabilities have now matured into a robust and dependable option for a variety of applications. Suppliers are eager to get the word out. “Since video analytics were introduced to the security market, we have learned enough about customer needs and the technology to offer fully robust solutions that can provide significant value to the end customer,” says Maor Mishkin, director, Video Analytics Product Champion, DVTEL. DVTEL’s focus today is on the analytics that provide the most value such as people counting, loitering and directional, he adds. Processing power has increased to allow analytics to be pushed out to the edge, increasing use cases and reliability, adds Mishkin. DVTEL’s ioimage video analytics line is a comprehensive portfolio for outdoor perimeter protection. DVTEL’s HD cameras feature built-in analytics, enabling both edge-based and server-based flexibility. Serving a range of vertical markets, ioimage cameras help to increase the probability of detection and reduce the false alarm rate. Site View, a web-based remote live viewing and playback feature, enables operators to respond quickly in real-time and also investigate incidents after they happen. Ioimage IP analytics are available over H.264 video for the company’s HD and thermal cameras, or as a server-based video analytics solution (SVA) through DVTEL’s Latitude NVMS. DVTEL’s video analytics portfolio includes server-based and edge-based analytics to maximise the advantages of either approach, depending on the application. The smart cameras work independently or as a complement to perimeter intrusion detection sensors and other technologies. Since 2005, ioimage’s team has fine-tuned the advanced algorithm-based technology, which has increased market acceptance. The company has invested significantly in R&D and expanded system reliability and flexibility. Driving value for the user Generally speaking, video analytics allow users to automate the use of video and extract more value. Without applying analytics, surveillance systems tend to create large amounts of video that isn’t doing anyone any good. It is captured and archived using terabytes of expensive storage, and then it’s deleted after a time, having provided no value. Agent Vi has identified three types of applications for video analytics that can drive value for the user: -- Real-time event detection, allowing the user to transform the video system into a proactive detection system rather than a passive viewing system. -- Forensic investigations, cutting down on the costs of investigations by making it easier to search video based on video analytics and other parameters. -- Business analytics, providing data that would otherwise be impossible to collect, such as people-counting, and in-store behaviour analysis in the retail environment. The only alternative would be to position a person at a store entrance or throughout the store to observe activity and count customers with a “clicker.” “These days, most of the customers are comfortable that this is actually going to work,” says Zvika Ashani, chief technology officer (CTO), Agent Video Intelligence (Agent Vi). “There’s still an education process. People have heard of video analytics, but they don’t really understand or know what the analytics are. It’s not what they saw on TV. Once their expectations are well defined, they can get a lot of benefit out of it.” DVTEL’s focus is on the analytics that provide the most value such as people counting, loitering and directional Meeting diverse operational needs Verint offers multiple analytics for refining video into “actionable intelligence.” For situations that may be simple or complex, Verint Video Analytics offer a range of capabilities for security, surveillance and business applications. Security analytics are focused on opportunities to identify target individuals or vehicles, based on unique identifiers or simply discerning which video has people or vehicles within the frame of view. Surveillance analytics help in identifying crowding, loitering, or objects left behind. Business analytics seek to support pattern identification for retail merchandising and checkout excellence. Most customers are interested in some mix of these analytics to fit their diverse environments and operational needs. “The first wave of analytics met the harsh realities of customer environments and eroded confidence in all areas of the security advisory community, most notably among security consultants,” says Joshua Phillips, director of product marketing, video and situation intelligence solutions, Verint Systems Inc. Accuracy, processing load, and application guidelines have improved greatly since analytics first burst on the scene over 10 years ago, and it’s time for evolution to take its course, he adds. Video analytics can help a customer move toward a system that is easier or less expensive to operate, says Phillips. A video analytic detecting an anomaly can be programmed to set in motion a security response that has been pre-defined, such as a guard or officer dispatch to the specific area. Without the analytic, the security operations centre is relying on the operator to have the appropriate camera view open at the right time, visually discern the breach, and be able to take action to initiate the response. If the problem is clearly understood, and the analytic rules are applied, the customer in this case gets the result they want – expedited response. This simple example may require an additional means of verifying the accuracy of the analytic detection, says Phillips. The customer may have other sensors available through other systems, or cameras, which if triggered could be paired with the video analytic to create an enhanced alarm, he says. Analytics in a complex world iOmniscient specialises in video and other analytics in practical context situations – such as a crowded scene. For example, it’s easy to find a bag left behind in an empty room, but much more complex to identify that bag if there are 1,000 people in the scene. In face recognition applications, iOmniscient only requires 22 pixels between the eyes to identify a person (while some competitors require up to 300 pixels). Therefore, using iOmniscient, a standard camera can recognise people 50 meters away in an uncontrolled environment, says Dr. Rustom Kanga, CEO of iOmniscient. "Most customers don’t know what to ask for; they get things that don’t work. Where we have well-educated customers, we are the most successful. We spend time educating them about the technology in depth" “It’s a complex world, and we specialise in complex environments,” says Kanga. Many customers try to implement inexpensive systems that are “simple and trivial” to address situations that are complex, which is why many systems fail, he adds. Kanga points to the Boston bombing incident as an example of a situation where iOmniscient’s system would have been helpful. The system would have been able to identify the bag left behind (containing the explosives) amid the crowded scene. It also could have employed face recognition to identify the person who left the bomb, and it could have sent information in real-time to a nearby first responder. An automated response capability is a new development of the iOmniscient system. It locates the nearest police car or other first responder and sends an alert. The capability can reduce response time on street accidents from 25 minutes to under 5 minutes, Kanga says. The feature is also useful for applications when there is no central control room; if there are five security officers, the system can identify and notify the officer nearest the scene. Kanga attributes early problems among video analytics companies to the short attention spans of venture capitalists looking to make a quick profit on the emerging technology. “It took 10 years to develop the technology, so they didn’t have time to wait for it,” Kanga comments. “We raised our own money and built it. The technologies have taken a long time to build, but they are robust and are implemented in many places.” Video analytics keeps improving, based on improving algorithms, says Kanga. One improvement in the iOmniscient system is better people counting accuracy – now 99 percent versus the previous 95 percent. A requirement for successful implementation of video analytics is that customers ask clearly for what they want, says Kanga. If a requirement is to “find a bag,” a lower-cost system might be proposed. However, if the proposal is to “find the bag in a crowded scene if the view of the bag is obscured 50 percent of the time,” lower-cost systems would immediately be ruled out. “Customers are learning to ask for what they actually require,” says Kanga. “Most customers don’t know what to ask for; they get things that don’t work. Where we have well-educated customers, we are the most successful. We spend time educating them about the technology in depth. They become good customers. When implemented properly, the systems give you good results.” iOmniscient also combines video analytics with sound analysis and smell analysis. Sound analysis might include gun shots or people shouting. An example of smell analysis is a recent project in Asia, where the customer wanted to detect the threat of an electrical fire before it starts. The smell sensor alerts to the scent of plastic getting hot. (It’s actually a third-party sensor that enables analysis of a “chemical signature;” iOmniscient has adapted it.) An example of the benefit of multiple types of analysis can be seen in the case of a person falling down. A video analytics system can alert on the incident, and typically a security person would hurry to the scene to help the fallen person. However, if a sound analysis also indicates a gunshot at the same time the person falls down, the response would be very different.
Better, faster networking plays into the optimistic outlook for the transportation vertical Our market has plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future of security systems in the transportation vertical. “Given the advances in processing power and technology, we can only imagine what the capability of an IP camera will be in five years,” comments Anthony Incorvati, business development manager, critical infrastructure and transportation, Axis Communications. “Think about the smart phone you were holding in your hand five years ago, versus now, versus five years from now. It’s the same with IP cameras – the technology is moving that fast.” Better, faster networking also plays into the optimistic outlook. In the future, 4G communication capabilities will expand (and data costs decrease). At some point, it will make economic sense to capture continuous, real-time video streaming from moving buses and trains, says Rob Schwaber, product manager, mobile/transit products, March Networks. “We can do that today in a limited fashion,” Schwaber says. “But it’s not cost-effective for a large fleet. For a large fleet to have functionality all the time, there’s a lot of bandwidth and costs, but those technologies are getting better and cheaper.” Panasonic foresees video analytics and facial recognition tools playing an increasingly important role in security solutions for transit security. The ability to identify persons of interest, known criminals, or disgruntled employees may help to alert staff to flagged individuals who might be of concern. These capabilities, in combination with high-definition cameras, can be used to capture important details like distinguishing features of a suspect that would not have been possible with previous generation technology. The market is growing, too. As ridership continues to grow, so will security incidents, making integrated, comprehensive security solutions an integral part of the purchasing decisions a transit agency must make to provide the safety and security required for passengers and transit employees. "Technology will need to accommodate growing ridership and be able to stay ahead of criminal tactics and threats to provide the best possible solution" It is important to look at the growing rate of commuters and travellers using public transportation and how this is going to impact existing and future security solutions, says Steve Cruz, strategic transit solutions manager, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. “Technology will need to accommodate growing ridership and be able to stay ahead of criminal tactics and threats to provide the best possible solution,” he says. According to HID Global, the next big things for access control in the transportation vertical are (a) interoperability; (b) adaptability; and (c) simplicity in how identities are created, used and managed across many different applications. These are critical benefits for transportation system operators who must stay abreast of technology advances and ahead of evolving threats, says Jeremy Hyatt, director of marketing, HID Global. In order to deliver these benefits, HID Global has adopted Seosas its credential technology standard. Silicon-independent, Seos can be easily ported across different hardware devices. HID Global’s secure identities can be loaded onto a Seos card at the time of manufacture, or provisioned to a Seos-ready phone via HID Mobile Access, which turns smart phones and other mobile devices into trusted credentials that can replace keys and smart cards. HID Global secure identities powered by Seos provide an additional trust layer while enabling any smart device to become a trusted credential. As phones become trusted credentials in the near future, the industry can leverage Bluetooth and gesture technology. This, too, is an extremely promising new opportunity for the transportation vertical, says Hyatt. Bluetooth combined with gesture technology enables users to open doors and gates from a distance by rotating their smart phone as they approach a mobile-enabled reader. This improves the user experience while adding an authentication factor to the access control rule set that goes beyond something the cardholder “has” (the card) to include a gesture-based version of something the cardholder “knows” (like a password or personal identification number, or PIN). A user presents the phone to a reader, rotates it to the right, and then returns it to the original position so that the credential inside the phone can be read, and access can be granted. The smart phone knows how the screen is oriented because its accelerometer senses movement and gravity. Gesture commands speed access, minimise the possibility of a rogue device stealing the user’s credential, and give users a great deal of control over how they interact with the access control system. “Just as mouse technology revolutionised the computer interface, gesture technology is expected to change how users interact with access control systems,” says Hyatt of HID Global. "Just as mouse technology revolutionised the computer interface, gesture technology is expected to change how users interact with access control systems" What else is on the horizon for the transportation market? Analytics, analytics, analytics, says Joshua E. Phillips, director of enterprise and critical infrastructure at Verint Systems Inc. Manufacturers have started to crack the code on some of video analytics’ most dire challenges, he says. The first wave of analytics met the harsh realities of customer environments and eroded confidence in all areas of the security advisory community, most notably among security consultants. Accuracy, processing load and application guidelines have improved greatly since analytics first burst on the scene more than 10 years ago, and it’s time for evolution to take its course. March Networks is also working to further streamline the investigation process for end users and make it more collaborative, facilitating easier sharing of audio and video when an investigation is being processed. Milestone Systems agrees and is taking its sophisticated VMS solutions to the next level – case management. Using video for other purposes, such as police investigations, is becoming more typical. There are also a number of new scenarios being enabled by emerging technologies, adds David King, business development manager, city surveillance, transportation and critical infrastructure, Americas for Milestone Systems. For example, cell phone conversations can be compared with video footage of a platform, or the inside of a train car or bus. The ability to share video in real time and also after the fact enables new capabilities as well.
The security landscape continues to evolve in new, complex ways for transportation customers Dealers looking to enter – or to expand their presence in – the transportation vertical must adapt to the unique needs of each transportation agency customer. Issues such as limited budgets/resources, aging technologies, operational challenges and safety issues must all be considered when designing a system to best meet an agency’s needs. Integrators should seek to identify solutions that improve the agency’s capabilities to reduce manpower and operational costs, while providing the necessary level of safety and security for passengers and employees alike, says Steve Cruz, strategic transit solutions manager, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. Tools like video analytics and easy-to-use video management software should be considered. It is also important to find technologies that are compatible with old systems and can be easily integrated with new technologies. “By understanding an agency’s everyday challenges, integrators can provide the best solution possible for each agency’s unique needs,” Cruz says. For dealer/integrators, the non-homogeneity of the transportation market is one of its benefits, says Anthony Incorvati, business development manager, critical infrastructure and transportation, Axis Communications. He advises dealers to build business by seeking opportunities across the diverse choices in transportation. “Once they look at their own strengths and weaknesses, integrators can play off that and align themselves with a sub-segment of the market,” he advises. There are many integrators who can play in various parts of the sub-segments, some of them very specialised, Incorvati notes. For example, an integrator could specialise in specific types of work in an airport project, a seaport project or a certain scope within a transit department. “There are specialised scopes of work that have specialised integrators,” says Incorvati. Sometimes it’s hard to become successful in a transportation category for integrators more experienced with general applications. “If you haven’t done it before, and if you’ve only done static deployments – only strip malls and elementary schools – it’s a very different and challenging market,” Incorvati says. “It’s not just providing product, but working in the various environments, with unions, during hours when trains aren’t in service. It’s very demanding in terms of contract deliverables and documentation – more than just providing hardware and software. It’s important to understand what these end users require and demand from their integrators.” For example, the intelligent transportation system (ITS) market tends to be specialised with a focused group of integrators, with little opportunity for new players, Incorvati says. The security integrator, not just the security systems, is paramount to the success of any type of system implementation at a transportation entity, says Joshua E. Phillips, director of enterprise and critical infrastructure at Verint Systems Inc. The security integrator’s on-site and service staff can develop a deep understanding of the facility engineering, IT operational standards and customer personnel to identify synergies, foresee hidden obstacles and bring a wealth of experience from previous similar projects, Phillips says. But does everyone realise the value of the security integrator’s perspective? The integrator would be wise to hold regularly scheduled performance reviews where they set some or most of the agenda, and ensure that new ideas and areas of opportunity are presented against the backdrop of cost mitigation or revenue improvement, says Phillips. The customer may see these ideas as credibility-building and be willing to grant integrators one of their most important assets – trust. The security landscape continues to evolve in new, complex ways for transportation customers, says Jeremy Hyatt, director of marketing, HID Global. This evolution brings change on many levels, which can and should be interpreted as an opportunity for improvement rather than an interruption or a distraction. This concept has never been more important for integrators as they face increasing pressure to deliver greater value and solve more complex problems for their transportation customers, Hyatt says. “Integrators can help these customers to expand and upgrade their systems easily and inexpensively to meet changing needs while leveraging new technologies,” he says. With access control platforms that use dynamic rather than static technologies, security become independent of hardware and media, supporting evolution beyond current abilities with the adaptability to combat continuously changing threats. “Helping transportation customers make the right technology decisions today will also help them meet new requirements with the confidence they will be able to preserve investments in their existing infrastructure,” says Hyatt. As with any market, security integrators need to take time to cultivate a relationship with the end users, so that they can design solutions that best fit the customer’s needs, says John Recesso, strategic business development manager, Sony Electronics’ Security Systems Division. Integrators should also have a deep understanding of the transportation industry and its unique challenges, so they can speak intelligently with decision makers and act as true partners, he adds. Finally, it’s critical that they have a team with the technical experience necessary to see the installation through from beginning to end, as well as provide post-installation troubleshooting, training and support, according to Recesso.