Articles by Yury Akhmetov
While US market is being sensitive about cybersecurity through their popular camera products, European countries and the UK are preparing for the new privacy regulation to apply in two months’ time. But how would these challenges affect the global security market? What are the main problems in it for the manufacturers? What should investors in security industry look at right now? We’ve all recently heard about acquisitions of market-leading companies by technological ‘monsters’ which have little experience in video security industry. Most of the market players would have thought: why don’t they give up when their businesses have just become ‘money-making machines’? One obvious potential may be that they were not prepared for the changes that are only a few months away. They have ‘milked their cow’ for as long as they could, and now it’s time to slaughter the cow and sell the meat. For instance, very few market players prepared for the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that are being applied to their key markets. Manual GDPR functions will be still cheap, but you won’t be able to control massive amounts of data with them - though automated GDPR features may become very costly Improved quality for CCTV owners Development that could fix the ‘GDPR issue’ for a manufacturer may take 2-3 years and will require millions invested. As an alternative, they would have OEMed (Original Equipment Manufacturer) the required technology from competitive manufacturers. They probably made the decision to escape a few years back or just admitted the changes too late, and thus had to leave. Meanwhile, GDPR looks like a logical step towards better human rights and privacy guarantees in Europe. Presumably, everybody wants to have a right to be forgotten or at least hidden in someone else’s footage. We never know how CCTV owners may use this information and how it would affect us. No paranoia, it just doesn’t feel very comfortable if you are watched and stored, not knowing when and where. Life quality would improve much if people could have at least some control over it. Logically, considering this, GDPR is a clever and well-thought-out improvement. However, don’t forget that government will still have access to full storage. Encrypted personal data Having all personal data encrypted may let us get rid of some undesirable advertising and spam. The remarkable fact is that GDPR doesn’t mention any encryption standard to be used. This looks strange in view of the reliability of the applied regulation, though potentially leaves a ‘backdoor’ for local EU governments, so they may decide which encryption algorithm works best for them. Hopefully, they won’t ask for too many different ones, as it could be difficult to implement in every system that requires it. Development that could fix the ‘GDPR issue’ for a manufacturer may take 2-3 years and will require millions invested How about low-cost products, you may ask? Will the prices grow as GDPR starts? Most probably manual GDPR functions will be still cheap or free, but you won’t be able to control massive amounts of data with them - though automated GDPR features may become very costly as they require complex video analysis and even deep learning. It means that only those products which have effective analytics and neural engines will be desirable for the customers. Hence, smaller manufacturers would have a chance to OEM some of these technologies to stay in the EU market. However, all of this will increase the prices in May’18. None of the manufacturers would give away analytic features. Prepare to pay for them if you have more than a hundred cameras. The more cameras you have the more features you need pay for, so overall security system cost may grow in geometrical progression. Restricted footage access policies But does privacy conflict with security? What if someone asks to be forgotten and then commits a crime? Here, another challenge comes in. Footage has to be available for police access only. So, you can just remove the part of your video archive in which privacy is requested by a citizen. You need to hide it from VMS/NVR users, but must be able to show in case the police ask for it. Let’s imagine that instantly all manufacturers have managed to sort out the GDPR problem. Though doesn’t it look ridiculous to be able to hide faces in footage in Europe while US experts report, and others confirm massive backdoor issues with market-leading camera brands? Or is it just another infowar against successful market players? Unfortunately, yes, the backdoors exist and can be self-proven by following instructions that are publicly available online. The problem is not being spied on; the problem is low cost. Safe products cost more. The choice is ours Classification of security products Conspiracy supporters claim that ‘The Product for them is our personal data!’ and ‘it’s all done only to collect data for their machine learning and learning our behavior’. Let’s be logical, would we expect low-cost products to be secure enough? Obviously, the problem is not being spied on; the problem is low cost. Safe products cost more. The choice is ours. There must be some international – presumably approved by UN – certification for security products in critical and public infrastructure. Otherwise, each country should certify security products in order to avoid privacy or safety issues for their citizens. At the same time, all end users of critical and public security systems should be trained on how to use security products. Classification of security products for ‘hackability’ would be also great to have so we would know what we are paying and how much.
Today ‘terrorism’ has become a word we use and hear every day. The goal of terrorism is a media product - information delivered to nearly every house in the world. So, the weapon of terrorism is information. Therefore, the way we defend and prevent terrorism must also be based on intelligent processing of information - and an early awareness of potential threats and effective preventive action may eliminate most attacks. Video analytics, automated surveillance and AI decision-making are going to change the rules of the struggle between civilians and terrorists by making attempted attacks predictable, senseless and silent. In this article, we will evaluate to what extent technology can investigate and prevent terror crimes considering the latest technology innovations. Civilian feedback helps terrorists to accomplish mission In order to achieve their main goal - loud media response - terrorists and those who order the attacks use unpredictable tactics and the element of surprise; so that after every attack, the media discusses for months the circumstances and their insanity. Unfortunately, each time it happens our society seems to be unprepared. As the media environment grows, terror attacks attract more attention, and the feedback of civilians actually helps the terrorists to accomplish their mission. Features of terrorist crimes Counter-terrorist specialists highlight, among the others, the following inherent symptoms of terror crimes: Unpredictability Public visibility Enormous social resonance The question is: Are there technological solutions that could treat these symptoms at a low level? Crime investigations are based on objective indisputable facts that can be used against suspects in a court. The facts are: Video surveillance materials Facial recognition and ANPR metadata Audio data (e.g. phone calls) Internet communication logs Other registered human actions Metadata sources and analytical systems To be able to collect and analyse that data, it needs to be in a data format that an analytical system will be able to process. Metadata can be generated by processing data of the above sources. Metadata can be stored in relational databases or in blockchain, so it can be a reference for an analytical system or law enforcement structures. Automatic or semi-automatic investigation can be based on crime scenarios, behaviour patterns, forensic search, face and vehicle recognition and synoptical search Aggregation of metadata sources could be constructive because it would significantly increase metadata availability for analytical systems and will improve metadata quality. This would surely require replacement of most of existing security systems and standardisation of new systems so to ensure maximal compatibility of metadata sources and analytical systems. Offline video analytics As these improvements are difficult to develop and implement globally, replacement solutions are being offered currently in the security market. One of them is the concept of offline video analytics, which generates and analyses metadata from any video source. Video sources may vary from ‘old school’ analogue cameras to high-resolution IP cameras recorded in any digital format. Quality of the metadata generated from offline analytical systems is almost unaffected. High quality metadata can be analysed and investigated automatically or semi-automatically for violations, crimes and terror activity. Automatic or semi-automatic investigation can be based on crime scenarios, behaviour patterns, forensic search, face and vehicle recognition and synoptical search. Fast and effective investigation of terror activities may prevent attacks and also can reduce the number of active terrorists. Human head microvibration is linked with the vestibular-emotional reflex (VER) and depends on emotional status Deep learning and neural network technologies However, realtime crime and terror prevention requires instant metadata generation and analysis. The investigation instruments mentioned above would not be of the same efficiency. Firstly, processing capabilities of analytical system must be very high because the system should be able to record data, generate metadata and analyse it at the same time in realtime conditions. Currently the most powerful server processors can run only tens of detectors so it becomes very costly. That is why these kinds of solutions are only used in critical infrastructure. However, if they were used widely they would dramatically reduce the number of criminal and terror activities. Deep learning and neural network technologies (so-called artificial intelligence - AI) are coming to the security market to replace classic video analytics. These systems are not yet much more efficient hardware-wise; however, they have greater potential and they are cheaper. Behaviour patterns, actions, sounds, speech, faces, car number plates and many other metadata types can be identified and collected and analysed by AI in realtime. Security surveillance and analytical AI systems could know about each person’s life and social background so it could make automatic decisions Emotion recognition/vibraimage technology Emotion recognition (or vibraimage) technology measures micromovements (vibration) of a person by processing video from a camera or any video source. Human head microvibration is linked with the vestibular-emotional reflex (VER) and depends on emotional status. Vibraimage systems detect human emotions by the control of 3D head-neck movements accumulated in several frames of video processing. Vibraimage is a system that detects all human emotions. Blockchain can bring awareness of different views. Imagine if the security surveillance and analytical AI system knew about each person’s life and social background so it could make automatic decisions to give more surveillance priority to those who potentially could take negative action. Although security equipment is becoming more affordable, the budgeting of security systems at a government and private level is still the biggest problem. As the global population is growing and migration is getting more intense, public and private security is becoming a natural need. Meanwhile, the security market is ready to deliver solutions that can instantly investigate and even prevent terror activities.
As the world faces new threats and challenges at the end of 2015, the security market looks more and more attractive for companies and employees around the world. Digital technology increasingly is replacing a traditional physical security approach, upgrading old-school analogue alarms and CCTV. Attractive security projects From AxxonSoft’s point of view, security projects seem very attractive because they normally can bring up to 30% profit for a standard security system installation. IT and networking professionals can install IP-based security systems, and there is a wide variety of cost-effective high-tech products available for every need. For employees, the security market offers high salaries and commissions, a stable and predictable income and a growing number of opportunities. The security market in some regions – such as Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), for example – seemed to be growing even faster by year-end 2015. The market will continue to grow in 2016, affected by multiple factors, including: The migration crisis in Europe and new border control regulations in European countries; An increase in security budgets in the European Union (EU), despite a continuous financial crisis; Growth of demand for security products in the Middle East due to the military situation. Rapid technological development Rapid technological development of security products also attracts more interest from security system users than ever before. Now a video surveillance system can contribute in new ways, such as: Automating equipment (gates, doors, lifts, etc.) in private houses and office buildings; Taking control over corporate time/attendance discipline; Investigating customer behaviour in the retail environment (heat maps, queue detection, people counting); and Optimising service costs for banks (with ATM operation monitoring). AxxonSoft is a software developer that combines physical security information management (PSIM), intelligent video analytics, video management software, facial recognition, point of sale (POS) and road traffic monitoring in an enterprise-wide integrated platform. See the full coverage of 2015/2016 Review and Forecast articles here
In the last 10 years CCTV manufacturers havebegun offering video search solutions aimedto reduce time and effort involved in searches Petabytes of security video recorded around the world every day. Obviously, we feel more secure knowing that we can “turn back time” and investigate the past – at least in situations for which video surveillance exists. However, people who have experience requesting CCTV footage would say: “This takes way too much time.” So in many situations we aren’t able to take urgent action based on information that is already recorded and accessible! Challenges in extracting and viewing CCTV video footage “The hardest part of my job begins when my manager requests a video clip from the CCTV,” says Mike, a hotel security guard from San Francisco, California. “Normally they just describe the situation verbally, like ‘a guest has lost his bag in the lobby.’ So we don’t know when it happened, which doorman helped the guest with the bag, or where the bag was placed in the lobby. So it takes me hours (or even days!) to watch the footage. Don’t forget that I must be attentive to find the bag, so during this time I can’t do anything else.” You hear similar complaints in other markets, too. “Every week we receive 10 to 20 requests mainly from ATM users and police,” says Peter, who works in the security department of a bank. “They all ask us to search in the footage. The descriptions they give are always indistinct, so we spend hours trying to export the clip. In some cases, due to low connection speed with the NVR, we have to travel to the location and sit there watching CCTV recordings for hours.” It turns out that many CCTV users record video from their cameras and then can’t even use the video because of the manual work involved. Expenditures can be easily calculated if you total up guards’ salaries, idle time cost, penalties, etc. Security video search solutions and types of searches "The hardest part of my jobbegins when my managerrequests a video clip fromthe CCTV", says Mike, a hotelsecurity guard from SanFrancisco, California However, in the last 10 years CCTV manufacturers have begun offering video search solutions aimed to reduce the time and effort involved in searches. Let’s look at five types of searches that can speed up the process and provide faster access to stored video footage. Also listed are the visual elements and the advantages and disadvantages of each type of search. 1. Time/date search This is the classic search type. A user is supposed to know the time period during which the event has happened. Visual elements: Time/date input field, time/date selection, calendar. Advantages: The easiest and most popular search type. Disadvantages: The slowest approach. Requires specifying start and end time. 2. Event search This search type is applicable if the video recorder can automatically identify events using video analytics or if it can receive and store events from an IP camera. The user can see the list of events, then filter and classify. Events may also come from external devices such as POS, ATM, etc. Visual elements: Event table, event filter. Advantages: Fast. Provides precise results. Disadvantages: Requires video analytics and event database. Sophisticated logic. 3. Thumbnail search This search type can break down the footage to a number of screenshots/thumbnails that have significant scene differences. The user can visually identify a particular event among the screenshots. Visual elements: Thumbnail list Advantages: Fast, easy to use. Disadvantages: Works only with large objects; inefficient for search of more than two hours of footage. 4. Smart search A user can select an area on the scene so the system will find changes in this area. Visual elements: Area selection with mouse. Advantages: Easy to use. Disadvantages: Slow; heavy CPU usage. In practice, it takes a lot of time to find an event. Low recognition level; inaccurate. 5. Forensic search (metadata search) This search type allows users to search among massive footage. A user can specify object characteristics such as human/vehicle/pet, size of object, colour, speed, etc. Search results are provided immediately. This search type is based on metadata analysis. Visual elements: Object type, virtual line, area, size, colour, vector, speed selectors, text search fields. Advantages: Fast, precise, easy to use. Requires only a video stream. Disadvantages: Requires full-time storing of metadata.
SourceSecurity.com’s most trafficked articles in 2017 reflected changing trends in the market, from facial detection to drones, from deep learning to body worn cameras. Again in 2017, the most well-trafficked articles posted at SourceSecurity.com tended to be those that addressed timely and important issues in the security marketplace. In the world of digital publishing, it’s easy to know what content resonates with the market: Our readers tell us with their actions; i.e., where they click. Let’s look back at the Top 10 articles posted at SourceSecurity.com in 2017 that generated the most page views. They are listed in order here with the author’s name and a brief excerpt. MOBOTIX is increasingly positioning itself as a specialist in high-quality IP surveillance software 1. MOBOTIX Aims High with Cybersecurity and Customer-Focused Solutions [Jeannie Corfield] With a new CEO and Konica Minolta on board, MOBOTIX is set for expansion on a global scale. But how much growth can we expect for a company like MOBOTIX in an increasingly commoditised surveillance market, where many of the larger players compete on price as a key differentiator? While MOBOTIX respects those players, the German manufacturer wants to tell a different story. Rather than competing as a camera hardware manufacturer, MOBOTIX is increasingly positioning itself as a specialist in high-quality IP surveillance software – camera units are just one part of an intelligent system. When MOBOTIX succeeds in telling this story, partners understand that it’s not about the price. 2. ‘Anti-Surveillance Clothing’ Creates a New Wrinkle in Facial Detection [Larry Anderson] The latest challenge to facial recognition technology is “anti-surveillance clothing,” aimed at confusing facial recognition algorithms as a way of preserving “privacy.” The clothing, covered with ghostly face-like designs to specifically trigger face-detection algorithms, are a backlash against the looming possibility of facial recognition being used in retail environments and for other commercial purposes. 3. Drone Terror: How to Protect Facilities and People [Logan Harris] Already, rogue groups such as ISIS have used low cost drones to carry explosives in targeted attacks. Using this same method, targeting high profile locations to create terror and panic is very possible. Security professionals and technologists are working furiously to address the gaps in drone defence. Compact Surveillance Radar (CSR) is a security technology addressing the problems with other types of detection. CSR, like traditional radar, has the benefit of being able to detect and track foreign objects in all weather conditions, but at a fraction of the size and cost. The last couple of years have seen a tremendous surge in research and advances surrounding a branch of Machine Learning called Deep Learning 4. Deep Learning Algorithms Broaden the Scope of Video Analytics [Zvika Anshani] Until recently there have been minimal applications of Machine Learning used in video analytics products, largely due to high complexity and high resource usage, which made such products too costly for mainstream deployment. However, the last couple of years have seen a tremendous surge in research and advances surrounding a branch of Machine Learning called Deep Learning. The recent increased interest in Deep Learning is largely due to the availability of graphical processing units (GPUs). GPUs can efficiently train and run Deep Learning algorithms 5. Body Worn Cameras: Overcoming the Challenges of Live Video Streaming [Mark Patrick] Most body camera manufacturers, that are trying to stream, attempt to use these consumer technologies; but they don’t work very well in the field, which is not helpful when you need to see what is happening, right now, on the ground. The video must be of usable quality, even though officers wearing the cameras may be moving and experiencing signal fluctuations – most mobile video produces significant delays and signal breakups. Video and audio must always remain in sync so there’s no confusion about who said what. Therefore, special technology is required that copes with poor and varying bandwidths to allow a real-time view of the scene and support immediate decision-making by local and remote team members and support teams moving to the scene. 6. QinetiQ Demonstrates New Privacy-Protecting Body Scanner for Crowded Places [Ron Alalouff] QinetiQ has developed a scanner that can be used in crowded places without having to slow down or stop moving targets. The body scanner, capable of detecting hidden explosives or weapons on a person, has been demonstrated publicly in the United Kingdom for the first time. SPO-NX from QinetiQ – a company spun out of the UK’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 2001 – can quickly screen large groups of people for concealed weapons or explosives in a passive, non-intrusive way, without needing people to stop or slow down. 7. ISC West 2017: How Will IT and Consumer Electronics Influence the Security Industry? [Fredrik Nilsson] A good way to predict trends [at the upcoming ISC West show] is to look at what’s happening in some larger, adjacent technology industries, such as IT and consumer electronics. Major trends on these fronts are the most likely to influence what new products will be launched in the electronic security industry. Proof in point is H.264, an advanced compression technology ratified in 2003 and adopted as the new standard by the consumer industry a few years later. By 2009, it became the new compression standard for the video surveillance industry as well. By drawing data from a number of different sources and subsystems, it is possible to move towards a truly smart environment 8. Integrating Security Management into Broader Building Systems [Gert Rohrmann] Security solutions should be about integration not isolation. Many organisations are considering their existing processes and systems and looking at how to leverage further value. Security is part of that focus and is a central component in the move towards a more integrated approach, which results in significant benefits. By drawing data from a number of different sources and subsystems, including building automation, it is possible to move towards a truly smart environment. 9. How to Use Video Analytics and Metadata to Prevent Terrorist Attacks [Yury Akhmetov] How we defend and prevent terrorism must be based on intelligent processing of information, and an early awareness of potential threats – and effective preventive action – may eliminate most attacks. Video analytics, automated surveillance and AI decision-making will change the rules of the struggle between civilians and terrorists by making attempted attacks predictable, senseless and silent. To what extent can technology investigate and prevent terror crimes considering the latest technology innovations? 10. Next Generation Video Analytics: Separating Fact from Fiction [Erez Goldstein] ‘Next generation video analytics’ is a catchy marketing phrase, is how much substance is behind it? Video analytics as a technology has been with us for many years, but there has always been an air of confusion and mystery around it, in large part created by Hollywood movies, where every camera is connected, an operator can search the network and locate the villain in a matter of seconds. I am pleased to say that, in many respects, fact has caught up with fiction, with the newest video analytics solutions that are now on the market focusing on search and specifically real-time search. These solutions have been tried, tested and proven to help reduce search time from hours to minutes and even seconds.
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