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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.
VIVOTEK, a globally renowned IP surveillance solution provider, held its 2020 Annual Shareholder Meeting and elected new Board of Directors. The nine new Directors elected to VIVOTEK’s Board of Directors are Bill Lo, Simon Chang, Judy Wang, Zoe Cherng, Owen Chen, Eddy Lan, Ji-Ren Lee, Sin-Hui Yen, and Chung-Yang (Ric) Huang. VIVOTEK Board of Directors Three of those elected, Ji-Ren Lee, Sin-Hui Yen, and Chung-Yang (Ric) Huang are independent directors. VIVOTEK also held the first meeting of the Board of Directors. The board elected Mr. Bill Lo, the General Manager of Delta Building Automation Business Group as VIVOTEK’s new Chairman. This new team will carry out leadership of VIVOTEK while enhancing corporate governance The VIVOTEK operation team includes: Chairman Mr. Bill Lo; President Mr. Alex Liao; Executive Vice President of Brand Business Group, Mr. William Ku; and Executive Vice President of ODM Business Group, Mr. Gordon Chen. This new team will carry out leadership of VIVOTEK while enhancing corporate governance and achieving long-term sustainability for the Company. Development of IP surveillance systems The former Chairman Mr. Owen Chen founded VIVOTEK Inc. in 2000, building on his profound experiences in Telecommunication research and development. Under Mr. Chen’s leadership, VIVOTEK moved from technology licensing to the development of IP surveillance systems and focused on 3 core technologies: video, voice, and communication. He insisted that research, development, design and manufacture all take place in Taiwan and developed practices of Own Brand Manufacture (OBM) and Own Design Manufacture (ODM) from the outset. Expanding global footprint Under his leadership of over the past two decades, VIVOTEK held its Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, expanded its global footprint into over 116 countries and established branch offices in 6 countries. With deep roots in Taiwan, VIVOTEK has grown into a global company of 1000 employees. The Company has ranked as Taiwan’s top IP surveillance company and is the only Taiwanese company among the top 20 in the global security market. Global IP surveillance market Facing the fierce competition of globalisation, the company decided to partner with Delta Electronics in 2017" With regards to VIVOTEK’s long history in the field, Mr. Owen Chen said, “Over these two decades, we have strived to win this marathon. Now, this marathon has become a relay race. To overcome existing challenges, passing on the torch to reshape VIVOTEK is imperative.” Owen adds, “Facing the fierce competition of globalisation, the company decided to partner with Delta Electronics in 2017. Combining our strengths, VIVOTEK is able to advance development in technology, channel penetration and operation efficiency. I will remain on VIVOTEK’s board of directors. In this way we can retain and continue to build a sustainable business in VIVOTEK.” Partnership with Delta Electronics Bill Lo, the new Chairman of VIVOTEK, now serves as the General Manager of the Building Automation Business Group at Delta Electronics Inc. Before joining Delta Electronics in 2017, he worked at IBM for over twenty years with proven track records in international business development, customer service, and coordination capability. Mr. Bill Lo stated, “I’m very proud to serve in my new position as Chairman of VIVOTEK. Security and video surveillance are such critical aspects of building automation as they go beyond and extend diverse applications in smart cities, smart retail and smart transportation. I will work side by side with VIVOTEK’s team; together we can maximise and synergise our two companies.”
In times of uncertainty, as a pioneer IP surveillance solution provider, VIVOTEK is honoured to be part of the police robot ‘P-Guard’ project in Tunisia. Produced by ENOVA Robotics, the P-Guard robot has been deployed on the streets by the interior ministry of Tunisia to impose lockdown restrictions on citizens and to help slow the spread of coronavirus. The police robot, ‘P-Guard,’ was originally invented for security patrols of sensitive open areas. To deliver 360° zero blind-spot surround imagery, each P-Guard robot is equipped with 2 VIVOTEK MS9390-HV 180° panoramic network cameras. Multi-sensor camera Since its debut in 2018, this has been VIVOTEK’s most iconic multi-sensor camera. The MS9390-HV features dual 4-megapixel wide-angle lenses, seamless 180° panoramic views, and IR illuminators effective up to 20 metres, making it the ideal camera to provide superb image quality for both day and night surveillance. The P-Guard can be remotely operated to perform security missions to all corners of the city Also, the face-shaped housing design of MS9390-HV is perfectly matched to the robot appearance and makes the P-Guard robot look friendlier to citizens. With its field-beating cameras, Lidar technology and extensive network connectivity, the P-Guard can be remotely operated to perform security missions to all corners of the city, making sure that people are staying at home during the nationwide quarantine. Artificial intelligence robots “Enova Robotics’ core philosophy is knowing today what our customer needs tomorrow. We will help people to handle the most difficult, dangerous or repetitive tasks with artificial intelligence robots, ” stated Mr. Anis Sahbani, CEO of Enova Robotics. “Over recent years, VIVOTEK has aspired to become the Eye in IoT. We believe our products have unlimited potential to be integrated into a wide variety of system applications and look forward to more cooperation with cross-industry partners,” said Alex Liao, President of VIVOTEK. While the world is facing a challenge that no one has imagined before, VIVOTEK hopes to contribute to society by securing people’s safety in the smarter ways and is prepared to fight any future crisis together with all their global partners.
The Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA), an industry body comprised of influencers and innovative organisations from all facets of the security, safety and building automation space, announced a series of milestones achieved in the past 20 months since the Alliance opened its doors. Significant markers include the OSSA common Technology Stack and two resulting specifications, the introduction of the first OSSA-inspired digital marketplace, and the newly unveiled “Driven by OSSA” designation for the first commercially available video security devices based on the Alliance philosophy and purpose. These accomplishments roll up into the organisation’s overall vision of ‘one global approach to fuel the creation of new value within the security and safety space.’ Consistency across video security devices The OSSA-orchestrated ecosystem is designed to enhance trust, and to enable innovation and opportunity for industry stakeholders and customers. The initiative is anchored by OSSA’s first Technology Stack, which describes the fundamental thoughts on how to create harmony across video security devices to enhance trust and enable innovation. Under the umbrella of this guiding document, and further solidifying it, the Alliance is now launching the first two in a series of technical specifications, being: OSSA Application Interface Specification This technical specification (available to OSSA members only) defines a set of four interfaces which collectively enable third-party software applications to run on video security cameras following the Technology Stack. The input stream describes the video frames and messages the applications can subscribe to. The web API describes how applications can make use of the camera’s webserver to support, configuration and data upload to the application. The system APIs provide system information regarding OS version, capabilities and information about the video security camera. This is needed to understand the features and APIs that are available on the cameras to make use of device-specific functionality. The streaming application model allows applications to interact with each other. Apps can share their results, such as events and scene descriptions, with other apps on the device or (video management) software in the network. OSSA Compliant Device Definition Specification This technical specification sets the core system requirements for video security cameras following the OSSA Technology Stack to provide a basis of trust and for app interoperability across vendors. This spec is publicly available. The First “Driven by OSSA” Commercial Cameras Camera manufacturers have started to introduce to the market, devices designed to reduce fragmentation and orchestrate harmony within an open ecosystem for the surveillance industry. The first manufacturers to launch cameras based on OSSA’s Technology Stack include Topview/Qisda, Ability/AndroVideo, Bosch (through their INTEOX camera line), VIVOTEK and Hanwha Techwin. The first commercially available products based on the specifications set forth by the Alliance, OSSA will receive a signage mark for video security cameras. Companies that use this “Driven by OSSA” signage: Are full OSSA members; have signed the OSSA by-laws guiding amongst other things minimum requirements regarding data security and privacy protection. Follow the OSSA Technology Stack for video security devices that prescribes the use of an open operating system (OS). Security & Safety Things, an OSSA member company, developed the open OS and made it available to OSSA members. Ensure seamless connectivity within one centralised digital marketplace. Offer the ability to install and execute third-party apps on their cameras. One Centralised Digital Marketplace OSSA is driving the creation of one centralised marketplace to unite demand and supply in the market. Camera devices that are built in accordance with OSSA’s Technology Stack, so-called “Driven by OSSA” devices, can benefit from this marketplace which consists of (1) a development environment (2) an application store and (3) a device management portal. System integrators, using the application store, can deploy available apps across devices, in a brand independent manner, to meet specific customer requirements. App developers will find in the development environment comprehensive tools, documentation and libraries to develop new software applications. These new apps can then be offered for sale through the application store. “This is an exciting time for security and safety professionals as the main industry players pivot together in a new direction based on digital connections afforded by the IoT,” said Johan Jubbega, President, Open Security & Safety Alliance. “In these current times of global change and uncertainty, it’s of vital importance that we persist in our quest for new market opportunities and current market efficiencies, and we’re proud to be facilitating this movement that is shaping the future of the security and safety systems environment.”
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