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End users can add security, safety and business intelligence – while achieving a higher return on investment at their protected facilities – with live streaming video. It can be deployed effectively for IP video, network video recorders (NVRs) and body-worn cameras. The growing use of streaming video is resulting in vast technological developments and high-end software that promotes reduced bandwidth, high scalability and lower total cost of ownership (TCO). Here’s how users can add value to security with live streaming video and what they should look for in the procurement of technology solutions. Questions are answered by Bryan Meissner, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of EvoStream. Q: What is live streaming video and how does it apply to physical security? BM: In its simplest and most popular form, video streaming allows users to watch video on PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. According to GO-Globe, every 60 seconds more than 400 hours of video are uploaded and around 700,000 hours watched. The key to effective video streaming is for the platform to be able to adapt to the limits of the internet or network connection so the viewer gets an unbridled experience without buffering or signal loss. Live video streaming in security applications leverages a variety of connected devices, appliances and services including the cloud, mobile platforms, IP cameras and NVRs, becoming an enabling technology for more effective, real-time data capture at the protected premises. It reduces bandwidth costs and infrastructure operating requirements by streaming directly from cameras, mobile devices, drones, body worn units and loT devices to browsers, phones and tablets. The best solutions optimise the experience for the user and permit image capture and retrieval from Android, iOS, browser platforms or directly from cameras or NVRs—streaming to wherever the user desires. Quality live streaming applications provide clear, real-time images and retrieve high-resolution video that can be used for evidence, identification, operations management or compliance regulation and control. The most cost-effective solutions offer minimal hardware requirements, lower overall operating expenses and promote high scalability – even integration with many legacy security management platforms. Q: What are some challenges of live streaming video and how are those being addressed by new technology? BM: Live streaming video can present challenges when a solution isn’t designed specifically for the security infrastructure. End users need to look for forward-thinking software and firmware solutions which offer reduced bandwidth requirements, high scalability and a lower total cost of ownership (TCO) or they will be disappointed with the results and costs of maintaining services for end users. The technology is changing rapidly, so only providers who focus on innovation can keep pace and future-proof the user and their facility. To be most effective, video needs to be able to stream consistently and reliably to and from a host of different devices, platforms, browsers and mediums, on-premises servers or the cloud. Video footage needs to be obtained quickly and deliver critical metadata, with built-in cyber safeguards and hardening such as automatic encryption and authentication. The most competent live video streaming lets users integrate with and run on any platform, appliance or device Q: What do end users need to look for in solutions for effective video streaming? BM: Implementing a live streaming video platform should result in greater efficiency and reduced operational costs. Live video streaming to and from a variety of connected devices, appliances and services requires sub-second latency from image capture to delivery. It also needs to be as open and agnostic as possible – spanning multiple technologies, standards and protocols and giving the user enhanced flexibility for their specification. The most competent live video streaming lets users integrate with and run on any platform, appliance or device including standalone servers, server racks, public, private and hybrid clouds and other distribution channels using the same application programming interface or API. Streaming should also support the latest codecs, such as H.264 and H.265 along with widely specified protocols for the distribution of that video. Q: What are some of the trending technological developments in live streaming video applications? BM: Traditional video streaming consumes exorbitant amounts of bandwidth and users pay for video routed through their servers. Some of the latest capabilities, such as peer-to-peer streaming, HTML5 media players, metadata integration and cost-effective transcoding via RaspberryPi enhance overall processing and ultimately strengthen the user experience. Peer-to-peer is a critical, emerging component in effective video streaming. With peer to peer, video does not go through servers but instead streams directly between the camera and the end-user’s phone, for example, eliminating that cost of bandwidth from the platform while still permitting exact control of content. Users stream live from cameras to any device, with the ability to authenticate and approve peering from the back-end infrastructure while enabling low-latency HTML5 without incurring excessive platform bandwidth costs. The explosion of live streaming video in IP video cameras, NVRs and body-worn cameras is driving a new category of high-end software offering reduced bandwidth, high scalability and lower TCO. It prepares users for new technology and the loT, eliminating the largest cost driver of hosted live streaming platforms – bandwidth. Applications that offer peer-to-peer streaming and other feature sets can help future proof the end-user’s investment and strengthen the value proposition for viewing or retrieving live or archived video effectively.
Everybody has been hooked on the discussions about Analogue HD or IP systems, but shouldn’t we really be thinking about WiFi and 5G connectivity, removing the need for expensive cabling? Are wireless networks secure enough? What is the potential range? Even the basic question about whether or not the network is capable of transferring the huge (and growing) amount of data required for High Res Video, which will soon be quadrupled with the advent of 4K and higher resolutions. The future of video surveillance monitors We have seen a massive uptake in 4K monitors in the security industry. While they have been relatively common in the consumer market, they are only now beginning to really take off in the CCTV market, and the advances in Analogue HD and IP technology mean that 4K is no longer the limited application technology it was just a few years ago. Relatively easy and inexpensive access to huge amounts of storage space, either on physical storage servers or in the cloud, both of which have their own positives and negatives, have really helped with the adoption of 4K. Having said that the consensus seems to be, at least where displays are concerned, there is very little need for any higher resolution. So, where next for monitors in CCTV? 8K monitors are present, but are currently prohibitively expensive, and content is in short supply (although the Japanese want to broadcast the Tokyo Olympics in 8K in 2020). Do we really need 8K and higher displays in the security industry? In my own opinion, not for anything smaller than 100-150+ inches, as the pictures displayed on a 4K resolution monitor are photo realistic without pixilation on anything I’ve seen in that range of sizes. The consensus seems to be, at least where displays are concerned, there is very little need for any higher resolution Yes, users many want ultra-high resolution video recording in order to capture every minute detail, but I feel there is absolutely no practical application for anything more than 4K displays below around 120”, just as I feel there is no practical application for 4K resolution below 24”. The higher resolution camera images can be zoomed in and viewed perfectly well on FHD and 4K monitors. That means there has to be development in other areas. Developments in WiFi and 5G What we have started to see entering the market are Analogue HD and IP RJ45 native input monitors. Whilst you would be forgiven for thinking they are very similar, there are in fact some huge differences. The IP monitors are essentially like All-In-One Android based computers, capable of running various versions of popular VMS software and some with the option to save to onboard memory or external drives and memory cards. These are becoming very popular with new smaller (8-16 camera) IP installs as they basically remove the need for an NVR or dedicated storage server. Developments in the area of WiFi and 5G connectivity are showing great promise of being capable of transferring the amount of data generated meaning the next step in this market would maybe be to incorporate wireless connectivity in the IP monitor and camera setup. This brings its own issues with data security and network reliability, but for small retail or commercial systems where the data isn’t sensitive it represents a very viable option, doing away with both expensive installation of cabling and the need for an NVR. Larger systems would in all likelihood be unable to cope with the sheer amount of data required to be transmitted over the network, and the limited range of current wireless technologies would be incompatible with the scale of such installs, so hard wiring will still be the best option for these for the foreseeable future. There will be a decline in the physical display market as more development goes into Augmented and Virtual Reality Analogue HD options Analogue HD options have come a long way in a quite short time, with the latest developments able to support over 4MP (2K resolution), and 4K almost here. This has meant that for older legacy installations the systems can be upgraded with newer AHD/TVI/CVI cameras and monitors while using existing cabling. The main benefit of the monitors with native AHD/TVI/CVI loopthrough connections is their ability to work as a spot monitor a long distance from the DVR/NVR. While co-axial systems seem to be gradually reducing in number there will still be older systems in place that want to take advantage of the benefits of co-axial technology, including network security and transmission range. Analogue technologies will eventually become obsolete, but there is still much to recommend them for the next few years. Analogue technologies will eventually become obsolete, but there is still much to recommend them for the next few years Another more niche development is the D2IP monitor, which instead of having IP input has HDMI input and IP output, sending all activity on the screen to the NVR. This is mainly a defence against corporate espionage, fraud and other sensitive actions. While this has limited application those who do need it find it a very useful technology, but it’s very unlikely to become mainstream in the near future. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Does the monitor industry as a whole have a future? In the longer term (decades rather than years) there will definitely be a decline in the physical display market as more and more development goes into AR (Augmented Reality or Mixed Reality depending on who’s definition you want to take) and VR (Virtual Reality). Currently AR is limited to devices such as smartphones (think Pokémon Go) and eyewear, such as the ill-fated Google Glass, but in the future, I think we’ll all have optical implants (who doesn’t want to be The Terminator or RoboCop?), allowing us to see whatever we decide we want to as an overlay on the world around us, like a high-tech HUD (Heads Up Display). VR on the other hand is fully immersive, and for playback or monitoring of camera feeds would provide a great solution, but lacks the ability to be truly useful in the outside world the way that AR could be. Something not directly related to the monitor industry, but which has a huge effect on the entire security industry is also the one thing I feel a lot of us have been oblivious to is the introduction of quantum computers, which we really need to get our heads around in the medium to long term. Most current encryption technology will be rendered useless overnight when quantum computers become more widespread. So, where does that leave us? Who will be the most vulnerable? What can we do now to mitigate the potential upheaval? All I can say for sure is that smarter people than me need to be working on that, alongside the development of the quantum computer itself. Newer methods of encryption are going to be needed to deal with the massive jump in processing power that comes with quantum. I’m not saying it will happen this year, but it is definitely on the way and something to be planned for.
Today, almost every employee carries with them a smart device that can send messages, capture, and record images and increasingly live-stream video and audio, all appended with accurate location and time stamping data. Provide a way for staff to easily feed data from these devices directly to the control room to report an incident and you have created a new and extremely powerful ‘sensor’, capable of providing accurate, verified, real-time multi-media incident information. You need only to watch the television when a major incident is being reported. The images are often from a witness at the scene who recorded it on their device. It is madness that it has until now been easier for people to share information around the world via Facebook and YouTube etc, in a matter of minutes, than it is to transmit it to those that need to coordinate the response. The public as an additional security and safety sensor In the UK, a marketing campaign designed by government, police and the rail industry is currently running. Aiming to help build a more vigilant network on railways across the country and raise awareness of the vital role the public can play in keeping themselves and others safe, the ‘See It. Say It. Sorted’ campaign urges train passengers and station visitors to report any unusual items by speaking to a member of rail staff, sending a text, or calling a dedicated telephone number. Essentially, the campaign is asking the public to be an additional safety and security sensor. However, with the help of the latest mobile app technology, it is possible to take things to a whole new level and this is being demonstrated by a large transport network in the US. This organisation recognised that the ideal place to begin its campaign of connecting smart devices to the control room as an additional sensor, was by engaging its 10,000 employees (incidentally, this is approximately twice the number of surveillance cameras it has). These employees have been encouraged to install a dedicated app on their mobile devices that enables them to transmit important information directly to the control room, as well as a panic button for their own safety. This data can be a combination of images, text, audio, video and even live-streaming, to not only make the control room aware of the situation but give them eyes and ears on the ground. For the control room operator, the insights being fed to them from this ‘sensor’ have arguably more value than any other as they provide pinpoint accurate and relevant information Combatting control room information overload For the control room operator, the insights being fed to them from this ‘sensor’ have arguably more value than any other as they provide pinpoint accurate and relevant information. For example, if an alert comes in about a fire on platform 3, the operator doesn’t necessarily require any of the information from the other sensors, nor does he need to verify it’s not a false alarm. He knows that the information received has been ‘verified’ in-person (it is also time and location stamped) and that there is an employee located in the vicinity of the incident, who they can now directly communicate with for a real-time update and to co-ordinate the appropriate response. Compare this to a 24/7 video stream from 5000 cameras. It is in stark contrast to the typical issue of sensors creating information overload. The employee only captures and transmits the relevant information, so in essence, the filtering of information is being done at source, by a human sensor that can see, hear, and understand what is happening in context. So, if an intruder is climbing over a fence you no longer need to rely on the alert from the perimeter alarm and the feed from the nearest camera, you simply send a patrol to the location based on what the person is telling you. Furthermore, if the control room is operating a Situation Management/PSIM system it will trigger the opening of a new incident, so when the operator receives the information they are also presented with clear guidance and support regarding how to best manage and respond to that particular situation. Transport networks are using staff and the public as additional safety and security sensors Application of roaming smart sensors To be clear, this is not to suggest that we no longer need these vitally important sensors, because we do. However, one major reason that we have so many sensors is because we cannot have people stationed everywhere. So, in the case of the US transit company, it has been able to add a further 10,000 roaming smart sensors. This can be applied to other industries such as airports, ports, warehouse operations, stadiums, and arenas etc. Now, imagine the potential of widening the scope to include the public, to truly incorporate crowdsourcing in to the day-to-day security function. For example, in May, it was reported that West Midlands Police in the UK would be piloting an initiative that is asking citizens to upload content relating to offences being committed. Leveraging existing hardware infrastructure Typically, when introducing any form of new security sensor or system, it is expected to be an expensive process. However, the hardware infrastructure is already in place as most people are already in possession of a smart device, either through work or personally. What’s more, there is typically an eager appetite to be a good citizen or employee, just so long as it isn’t too much of an inconvenience. Innovations in smart mobile devices has moved at such a pace that whilst many security professionals debate if and how to roll-out body-worn-cameras, members of the public are live-streaming from their full HD and even 4K ready phones. The technology to make every employee a smart sensor has been around for some time and keeps getting better and better, and it is in the pockets of most people around the world. What is different now is the potential to harness it and efficiently bring it in to the security process. All organisations need to do is know how to switch it on and leverage it.
The exhibition will let delegates get hands-on with some of the most innovative products in the CCTV industry A number of companies involved in the design, installation and operation of CCTV systems will be exhibiting as part of a sell-out seminar in London next week. Organised by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the event will take place at London’s Emmanuel Centre on Marsham Street – close to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey – on Thursday 12th November. The seminar will cover a variety of interesting topics including the latest changes in surveillance legislation and technology, whilst also exploring recent developments in the CCTV sector. Running alongside the seminar, the exhibition will give delegates the opportunity to get hands-on with some of the most innovative products in the industry. Exhibitors that will be showcasing their products on the day include: ATEC Security ATEC Security is a specialist security systems integrator and winner of multiple Security Excellence Awards. The ATEC Difference is about creating value not only through security innovation, but also by ensuring security projects deliver financial, operational, staff and business intelligence benefits. ATEC take time to understand your issues, your operating environment and your business, and deliver reliable integrated solutions and support built around your operational requirements. They achieve unparalleled quality through meticulous design, comprehensive documentation and rigorous project management, with processes built around Home Office best practice. The portfolio includes some of the most advanced technologies available from carefully selected manufacturers. Find out why customers such as London City Airport, The City of Westminster and First Capital Connect, choose to work with ATEC by visiting their stand. Dedicated Micros The seminar will cover a variety of interesting topics including the latest changes in surveillance legislation and technology, whilst also exploring recent developments in the CCTV sector Dedicated Micros will be showcasing their latest cost-effective high definition IP and analogue product ranges. Based on a unique architecture, these solutions provide greater reliability, connectivity, interaction and performance across a seamless operating system. Visit Dedicated Micros’ stand at the CCTV seminar to find out how their latest products can help to secure business. Bosch Security Systems Bosch Security Systems supply quality and innovative security solutions. They will be showcasing some of their latest in-camera technologies. Starlight technology offers a new quality standard in round-the-clock video surveillance. Regardless of lighting conditions, time of day or object movement, cameras deliver incredible levels of detail even in extreme low light situations. Intelligent Video Analysis (IVA) assists by alerting you when pre-defined alarms are triggered and by smartly combining up to 8 IVA rules, complex tasks are made easy and false alarms are reduced. Their Content Based Imaging Technology (CBIT) offers 3 main features: Intelligent Dynamic Noise Reduction, Intelligent Auto Exposure and Intelligent Tracking: IDNR technology intelligently distinguishes between noise and relevant information, such as movement, this reduces bitrate by up to 50%. National Security Inspectorate NSI is the first choice certification body for the UK’s leading providers of security and fire safety services. Over 1800 organisations commit to rigorous and regular checks by NSI’s national network of qualified auditors who carry out in the region of 4000 audits per year, verifying compliance with relevant Standards and industry Codes of Practice. Buyers who choose to contract NSI approved companies can be assured of security and fire safety services delivered to the highest standards by businesses committed to excellence. NSI will be delighted to talk to visitors at the CCTV Exhibition and Conference about the benefits of contracting NSI approved companies. Observant Innovations Observant’s PATROL Camera System is a vehicle mounted 360-degree panoramic video camera. PATROL enables visual documentation of everything occurring in the vicinity of a patrol or tasking, ensuring that nothing is missed. The system captures everything, in all directions, all of the time and has been built to withstand tough environmental and usage conditions. Featuring 360-degree panoramic imagery, hi-res 14 MP video and stills imagery and a rugged IP67 form factor, the PATROL Camera System provides a number of benefits including public reassurance, greater impartiality and improved dispute resolution. Also exhibiting will be Dallmeier Electronic UK Ltd and Thorn Security Limited.
It’s dangerous to compromise on safety features in search of a low-cost security solution, as it can put employees at serious risk Driving quality in the private security industry is vital to the ongoing effectiveness of the products and services that the industry provides. Figures show that, post-recession, buyers are increasingly aware of the importance of quality when it comes to choosing security providers, with 20% citing quality over price as a crucial factor in their decision. Pauline Norstrom, chief operating officer for Dedicated Micros, a CCTV manufacturer, is a strong advocate of choosing quality over price when selecting a security provider. Norstrom, who is also chairman of the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), recently delivered a speech on the subject at IFSEC, the largest event for the security industry in London. Here, Norstrom shares her views with SourceSecurity.com about the potential hidden costs of low-price solutions. The issue of quality over price is a fundamental issue for businesses, operators, buyers and security providers to consider. When we talk about quality in the security sector, we are talking about the safety of employees, the public, assets and commercial outputs. I recently watched a television show featuring a car manufacturer. Its message was about choosing quality rather than a low-cost option – the analogy it draws is someone buying a cheap parachute. The person who buys the more expensive parachute is the person who drives the car that works. Would anyone buy a cheap parachute? I certainly would not. Directors have a statutory responsibility for the safety of their employees, as compromising this is not only a threat to a company's profitability, but could put them out of business This comparison emphasises the gravity of choosing between quality and price. Choosing a security solution based solely on the latter can put the safety of your employees at serious risk. Directors have a statutory responsibility for the safety of their employees, as compromising this is not only a threat to a company's profitability, but could put them out of business. Risk assessments and mitigating recommendations Before selecting a security product or service, a formal risk assessment must be carried out in order to reveal a business's vulnerabilities. This is a necessity, as ultimately the cost of loss has a direct effect on a company's bottom line. I speak on behalf of the BSIA in urging business owners or their delegated authorities to engage with reputable security specifiers to help them develop an operation requirement specification containing key risks and mitigating recommendations. As a result, the chosen security provider must respond with the best solution to minimise risk and satisfy needs. Typically, cheap systems do not minimise risk as they use non-compliant products and have non-compliant designs, and therefore miss important events. So, while procurement teams may have achieved their purchase price target, they have put their business at risk and not fully met its needs. Low cost offerings’ safety compromises Buying cheap can also result in a high cost of replacement and increased insurance claims. When you take these risks into account, are the savings really worth it? Given that the highest quality products are available in the market, why are compromises made in the private security industry? What are the reasons? Chief factors include a lack of bank lending and Government support for British companies, the global economic crisis (which created opportunities for low cost offerings to creep into the marketplace) and a lack of working capital – in some cases, it might be about cash as opposed to price. But we do know that buying cheap must result in compromises, because cheap is usually associated with taking something out. So how exactly do you define quality in the private security industry? And why does quality often cost more? As an illustrative example, let's say you have two offerings, both of which meet the basic requirements set out in the operational requirements specification. The cheap offering may scrape through on terminology as many requirements specifications are distilled down to the lowest common denominator. But, as opposed to higher quality offerings, the added functionality and benefits are all extra and companies face having to pay more further down the line. It may also be that training and operating procedures are not provided. Security tailored to specific needs A cheap product will merely provide a “one size fits all” service that is not tailored to the specific needs of a business. A quality offering is one that not only ticks all boxes but provides additional value benefits and offers measurable return on investment (ROI). Manufacturers should not provide CCTV solutions that simply meet elementary criteria. Products must provide maximum innovation over and above the basic requirements of a security solution. An end user or installer would pay more for quality solutions than for cheap offerings because they achieve fast response to preventable loss, reduce network vulnerability and offer extensive support and expertise throughout the life cycle of the product. This support can prove invaluable to a business in the long run. A principal reason you pay more for a quality product is that there is more investment into that product's development, which incurs cost in time and resource. Support and care during the life of the product and contract cost money, as does the training and development of staff. In return for this investment, you are able to grasp what the product can do for you and get exactly the solution you need. Buying cheap can also result in a high cost of replacement and increased insurance claims. When you take these risks into account, are the savings really worth it? To establish whether your provider has a high quality product or service, you need to ask several questions. Do they respond to customer's needs? Do they provide continual assessment and improvement programmes? Are they members of an industry association, such as the BSIA? The answers to these questions should give you an idea of whether or not your business has invested in a cheap or high quality option. When you are using a cheap security solution, loss is not always obvious as the costs are hidden. It might be that in-house staff are covering the deficiencies, or keyholders are called out unnecessarily, resulting in increased overtime costs. The costs may not measure truly what is the impact of a service on a business, so there needs to be a holistic view taken. Those who have this view are often directors or senior managers – otherwise the cost of ownership is little understood by buyers. Market knowledge and vulnerability awareness If you are involved in procurement of services, you need to have security market knowledge. Procurement teams must understand what makes a security provider different and better and who is responsible for business loss if something goes wrong. Business leaders must ensure their procurement teams are properly apprised and make sound recommendations based on industry knowledge. In the United Kingdom, this knowledge can be found within the BSIA, as it contains 18 discreet sections covering all areas of the security market, from access control to police to public services. These sections are designed to meet very specific requirements. So to conclude, it is my view that quality is far more important than price and compromises should not be made when it comes to security and safety. These are board room responsibilities and directors must be apprised to the risks and vulnerabilities. The way that procurement teams and owners and operators can protect themselves is by choosing a company which opts into quality, best practice and standards – a company that is different and ultimately better than the others. Low quality providers get away with offering cheap solutions if business owners take no interest, but this will ultimately come back to haunt the business as they will end up footing the bill.
The event enables CCTV manufacturers and installers to showcase their latest technological developments A popular CCTV seminar and exhibition is set to arrive in London this November, and will provide an opportunity for CCTV companies to reach out to delegates from a range of organisations including local businesses, civic authorities and the Police. Organised by the British Security Industry Association (BSIA), the event will take place at London’s Emmanuel Centre on Marsham Street – close to the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey – on Thursday 12th November, and is expected to follow on from the success of a series of CCTV seminars held by the Association over the past couple of years, which have served to highlight the appetite for information regarding CCTV best practice among end-users and security buyers. A limited number of exhibition spaces are available at the event, enabling CCTV manufacturers and installers to showcase their latest technological developments, while an informative seminar will explore the latest changes in surveillance legislation and technology, while exploring recent developments in the CCTV sector. Confirmed speakers at the event include: Tony Porter LLB QPM, Surveillance Camera Commissioner Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville, Central Forensic Image Team, Metropolitan Police Pauline Norstrom, Chief Operating Officer at AD Group / Dedicated Micros and Chairman of the BSIA Simon Adcock, Managing Director of ATEC Security and Chairman of the BSIA’s CCTV section James Barrett of Safer London The event is kindly sponsored by the British Standards Institute (BSI). The BSIA expects the event to attract around 150 delegates from a number of organisations across the South East, for whom admission will be free of charge. Meanwhile, exhibitors will benefit from the following: 1 table with electrical connection Refreshments / lunch (for 2) Company logo on the programme for the day Inclusion in pre and post event promotion, including press releases, email marketing and social media activity A copy of all delegates’ contact details, sent post-event The opportunity to promote attendance at the event via the BSIA’s YouTube Channel
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