CCTV, access control, intruder detection, audio & video analysis/processing
Round table contributions
The security industry is full of individuals who call themselves consultants. It’s a term that is thrown around rather loosely, and in some situations the term can be roughly translated as “between jobs.” But “real” consultants provide real value to their clients in a variety of subject matter specialties. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What role should consultants play in the security technology buying decision?
The world of politics, like the world of security, is an environment of constant change. But do changes in one have an impact on the other? Governments around the world are involved in buying a wide variety of physical security systems, so how those governments operate certainly affects how they spend money on security. But in a broader sense, governments (and the associated political forces at work) also impact how their citizens and those in the private sector view threats and, as a logical extension, the security systems they need to address those threats. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does the political climate affect spending on security systems?
Big data is a buzzword, and data – presumably of all sizes – is a driving force in the physical security market. As systems become more sophisticated and expand their capabilities, the result is more data; in some cases, a lot more data. But a key question is: What do we do with the data? How do we use it to provide value? How do we interpret it, and transform it into useful information and/or intelligence? We presented the topic of data to our Expert Panel Roundtable and came away with a range of thoughts on its changing – and expanding – role in the physical security market (and beyond). We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How is a greater emphasis on data changing the physical security market?
A busy trade show abounds with new products and expanded features, colorful signage and blinking video screens, all competing for attention from busy attendees. It’s a microcosm of how the security marketplace – or any market, for that matter – sells its products. But what happens if the reality turns out different to the sales pitch? What happens when product or system performance doesn’t quite live up to the claims? Some would call that hype, and it can lead to disillusioned and frustrated customers. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the negative impact of hype in the security marketplace?
IP network dependability matters in physical security and safety applications, given that a company’s assets and people are at risk. There have been strides in the areas of network dependability, fault-tolerance, reliability, and survivability. However, networks (or affordable ones, at any rate) still cannot ensure near-100 percent uptime, which is why system designers acknowledge and plan for the possibility of a network outage. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can/should an IP networked system adapt when network connectivity is lost?
Sometimes customers expect more out of a security system. A brand new security system just doesn’t perform as the customer expected it would. In fact, one might argue that the many variables in today’s complex systems make it more likely than ever that some element of a system might not measure up to a customer’s expectations. What happens then? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What happens if a customer’s expectations of system performance are greater than what a physical security system can deliver?
Does seeing video cameras at a location make you feel safer or less safe? Do you feel better to know that video surveillance is capturing everything that happens, thus discouraging crime? Or do you think: What kind of neighbourhood (or store) is this that needs a CCTV camera watching everything? Do you feel more secure when the security guard at the hotel elevator asks to see your room key? Do airport screenings ease your mind about getting on an airplane with 100 strangers? The “perception of safety” is a tricky thing, and presence (or absence) of security systems can play a role. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the impact of promoting a "perception of safety" when choosing and/or installing physical security systems? How might perception influence the choice of systems (e.g., more overt)?
Ensuring privacy is often a concern for video surveillance systems, especially in situations where a system intended for “public” surveillance could somehow, perhaps inadvertently, view private areas or situations. The classic example is an apartment building whose windows are within the range of a video surveillance camera. How can you provide video surveillance without invading the privacy of the apartment dwellers? Integrators and end users often turn to technology for a solution. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Round Table: How can smart camera features (such as privacy masking and programmable pan-tilt-zoom) address concerns about privacy?
How mobile telephones have transformed into “smartphones” is one of the great technology stories of our time. What once was a single-function device now can do almost anything – display video, pay for groceries, monitor our health. The smartphones we carry in our pockets today have more computing power than the “super computers” of yesteryear, and that power has found many uses in a seemingly endless array of “apps.” Some of them are directly related to our physical security systems. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What security applications are best suited to smartphone apps?
As more security equipment categories become commoditised, a previously rich source of income for integrators and installers – markup – is becoming harder to come by. Less expensive products with little to no perceptible value differentiation leave integrators with few options, not to mention the growth of pricing transparency that comes courtesy of the Internet. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Given the increase in commoditised hardware (i.e., lower profit margins), how should security integrators replace that profit/revenue?
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?
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?
For several years now, the video surveillance market has been involved in the “megapixel race,” with manufacturers touting ever-higher pixel counts on their shiny new models. The implication, though not necessarily stated overtly, is that a higher pixel count is equivalent to a better picture. Too simple, says this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable participants, or more to the point: Not true. But where does that leave customers? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Do manufacturers, integrators and/or customers put too much emphasis on pixel count (versus other factors) as a measure of a camera's performance? How can video quality be measured?
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?