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How live streaming video adds security, safety and business intelligence for end users
How live streaming video adds security, safety and business intelligence for end users

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.

Are your surveillance monitors prepared for the latest video technology developments?
Are your surveillance monitors prepared for the latest video technology developments?

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.

Mobile communications make the public an additional sensor on the field
Mobile communications make the public an additional sensor on the field

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.

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Dedicated Micros and AD Network  showcase their best at IFSEC 2011
Dedicated Micros and AD Network showcase their best at IFSEC 2011

 New products on show include additions to the CamVu IP camera range including the CamVu 720 dome cameras Dedicated Micros and AD Network Video - both part of the AD Group of Companies - are taking an innovative approach to exhibiting at IFSEC this year with the main feature of the stand being their new state of the art, articulated demonstration vehicle. The Company made the decision to invest in the new vehicle after the success of it's Closed IPTV road shows which ran throughout the Winter. Closed IPTV, IP video products are installed on the vehicle together with the latest innovations from the AD Group, and are now at the fingertips of integrators, installers, specifiers and end users in the UK all year round.New products on show include additions to the CamVu IP camera range including the CamVu 720 dome and box cameras which feature exceptional low light performance, high definition resolution with up to two megapixels of on-board recording to micro SD card, transmission on alarm and multiple video streams in MPEG4, JPEG and H.264 simultaneously at different, transcoded resolution and bit rate to meet bandwidth requirements, while maintaining a differentiated high quality record rate for use as evidence.Complementing the new HD IP camera products, is a new CamVu IP camera with in-camera de warping, which leverages the inherent de-warping capability of the Group's ChipWrights ViSP, combined with the benefit of a five megapixel sensor. Multiple independent streams are managed seamlessly, with no need for special software, within the NetVu ObserVer viewing application offering electronic zoom of each view. The NV8 joins the DV-IP, enterprise server/decoder range, boasting an impressive 300Mbits of video streaming bandwidthAs part of the NetVu Connected family of seamless video products, images from the camera are recorded and viewed alongside the images of both analogue and IP cameras deployed within the same system.The new CamVu IP cameras add to Dedicated Micros growing range of easy to use IP video products including the IFSEC Awards finalist, the SD Excel Closed IPTV, the hybrid DVR/NVR capable of recording, streaming and displaying multiple HD IP cameras seamlessly alongside a mix of analogue cameras. The IFSEC Awards finalist, the high definition NetVu Console is at work displaying multi-media video content around the stand while providing demonstration points which illustrate the seamless integration of IP and analogue cameras within a single, embedded user interface - a key capability which has been inherent in NetVu Connected products for many years.Offering high definition recording and powerful re-display performance, the NV8 joins the DV-IP, enterprise server/decoder range, boasting an impressive 300Mbits of video streaming bandwidth, delivering a flexible configuration solution operating as either a real-time HD/hybrid multi-screen decoder for high performance video wall deployment or as a dedicated real time encoder for recording and transmission or both analogue and HD IP cameras.Pick-a-Point provides seamless management of hybrid systems incorporating crucial security features such as alarm handling, video downloadStrategic partner, BBV's Pick-a-Point video management system forms part of the AD Group's enterprise video management system, which offers a user friendly, map based touch screen workstation, scalable to large enterprise solutions. Compatible with NetVu Connected video products, Pick-a-Point provides seamless management of hybrid systems incorporating crucial security features such as alarm handling, video download and evidence burning, integration with 3rd parties such as GDX, Protec, Commend and AD Group's patented Emergency Messaging System. New to Pick-a-Point at IFSEC, is the integration of Dedicated Micros Point and Go, PTZ capability which allows the operator to select the area of interest on screen with a simple click of the mouse, a perfect solution to PTZ control over IP networks.Continuing it's focus on vertical markets, AD Network Video strengthens it's Fire and Transport market solutions with new products on show which meet specific demands of each sector. The new FireVu Dome, borne out of the AD Group's D-Tec division and marketed within the AD Network Video portfolio, features video smoke detection and video transmission capability and when combined with the new FV1 annunciator, provides a solution to the growing problem to commercial property owners, of non-emergency response from the Fire Service. FireVu enables RVRCs such as AD Group's Remguard division and other ARCs with the capability to provide visually verified smoke and fire alarms which fully integrate with the existing fire alarms and building management systems, satisfying the need of fire authorities which require visually verified alarms from commercial premises.The TransVu mobile video recorder takes centre stage in an innovative motor racing displayTaking a look at the value added video solutions to the transport sector, the AD Group's TSS division is showing the mobile CCTV unit developed for Gloucestershire Constabulary, which features the award winning TransVu, mobile video recorder in the form of PatrolVu and Dedicated Micros Infiniti, ruggedised, PTZ camera with integrated IR illumination. Visitors are invited to see how a real Mobile Police unit operates in practice.The TransVu mobile video recorder takes centre stage in an innovative motor racing display, showing off it's performance in extreme conditions. Testing TransVu on AD Group's Le Mans Sportscar has played a significant part in making the product robust and reliable to meet the demands of the transport sector, and when combined with vehicle telemetry and telematics data, offers a significant return on investment to the transport operator."Our investment into a new demonstration vehicle underlines our commitment to training and education at all levels in the professional video security channel. AD Group's, hybrid and pure IP video solution..."Footage from the TransVu is on show, which was recorded during the crash which occurred at Spa Francorchamps this month. During the crash, the TransVu, which sustained an impact in excess of 40G at 180km/h, carried on recording throughout, as true testament to the suitability of the product for harsh environments.Pauline Norstrom, Marketing Director and Board Director for Dedicated Micros and AD Group, comments, "Our investment into a new demonstration vehicle underlines our commitment to training and education at all levels in the professional video security channel. AD Group's, hybrid and pure IP video solution Closed IPTV is best seen in a live deployment and the vehicle allows us to to do just that by bringing the solution, together with those of the Group to the installer and user.""Products and solutions from Dedicated Micros and AD Network Video, broadly sit in three distinct groups; video recording and management solutions for public and commercial property installations, video smoke and fire detection and visual verification solutions for the Fire market and robust, integrated solutions for the Transport market. The diversity and differentiation of our products set the AD Group apart from other manufacturers as our solutions are truly seamless."The new demonstration vehicle can be seen on Stand E10 at the entrance to Hall 4. Training and demonstrations of Dedicated Micros and AD Network Video products are available throughout the show.

Dedicated Micros cost effective digital video security solution saves Sun Microsystems millions of dollars
Dedicated Micros cost effective digital video security solution saves Sun Microsystems millions of dollars

 Sun Microsystems deploys Dedicated Micros digital video security solution Digital, networked, CCTV solutions from Dedicated Micros - part of AD Group - including its high performance DV-IP Servers, are playing a key role in allowing Sun Microsystems, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, to not only enhance the security of its offices worldwide but also, crucially, to realise an impressive return on investment which, to date, has resulted in savings which run into millions of dollars.The customer challengeWith 34,440 employees spread across more than 300 offices in over 100 countries worldwide, Sun Microsystems has a massive security challenge. For more than 15 years, Sun's security organisation relied on analog CCTV systems using VCRs to capture and store video. The disadvantages of this approach were numerous, starting with the high maintenance and support costs, in addition to the labour required to change tapes, review tapes, and replace broken tapes.Steve Kruschke, Sun's Manager of New Security Technologies and Applications, led the effort to find a digital solution in 2005: "We wanted leading edge digital technology to leverage our IP network infrastructure, and we needed a matrix solution to control multiple video servers from centralised regional control rooms," said Kruschke. "Additionally, we were looking for a solution that was not reliant on Windows-based personal computers."Dedicated Micros solutionSun Microsystems chose to build its new video surveillance system around the Dedicated Micros DV-IP Server, a high-performance network Digital Video Recorder and Server developed to meet the demands of professional surveillance applications."Dedicated Micros is one the very few digital video surveillance companies that doesn't require the installation of client software on a PC," stated Kruschke. "The DV-IP Server has no problem handling our network-based, Solaris-FireFox architecture." Sun Microsystems chose to build its new video surveillance system around the Dedicated Micros DV-IP ServerWorking with global distributor and systems integration partner Siemens Security, Sun has deployed approximately 1500 plus channels of video through the DV-IP Servers worldwide to date. Sun also installed multiple DV-IP Codec units.In encoder mode the DV-IP Codec enables existing and new analog cameras to be added to an IP network, allowing Sun's legacy video surveillance systems to expand and adapt to digital without the cost and trouble of completely replacing and redesigning the installation.Pick-a-Point Digital Matrix for Regional Control Centres In late 2007, Sun's operations group began looking for ways to bring large-scale digital video surveillance to its five regional control centres, located Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. In the past, analog video was brought into the regional control centres using local A/D switches."We wanted to bring live and recorded digital video from local offices into the regional centres, and at the same time make the control interface more user friendly for operators," recalled Kruschke. "After gaining approval from our IT department to bring video across network, we decided to make the North American regional control centre in Broomfield, Colorado our first test site."At the heart of the large-scale video surveillance system is the Pick-a-Point centralised command and control workstation offered by Dedicated Micros and developed by integrator and strategic partner BBV."The unique embedded Pick-a-Point control system is ideal for Sun's computing environment because it is a dedicated standalone hardware based workstation, which eliminates reliability and training issues associated with PC based client software systems," said Kruschke.Another exciting new application is live monitoring of ongoing events. For example, Sun has about a dozen offices in the area of the southeastern United States that was affected by hurricane Gustav. Using Pick-a-Point and DV-IP Servers, operators in Colorado were able to help manage personnel during the event by checking live video feeds of office locations. Multiple DV-IP Codec units are also installed at SunReturn on investmentSun Microsystems has achieved a substantial return on its investment from Dedicated Micros' DV-IP Servers. Kruschke estimates that eliminating approximately 400 VCRs and the number of tapes required for 14-day backups saves the company $99,000 per year in maintenance globally. Even more significant is the $1.8 million in global yearly labour costs that Kruschke calculates is saved by Dedicated Micros DV-IP Servers.Said Pauline Norstrom, Director of Worldwide Marketing at Dedicated Micros: "The experience of Sun Microsystems in this case demonstrates the positive impact that, specifying and installing, an effective surveillance solution can have for a business." View full Dedicated Micros case study

Dedicated Micros cost effective digital video security solution saves Sun Microsystems millions of dollars
Dedicated Micros cost effective digital video security solution saves Sun Microsystems millions of dollars

Digital, networked, CCTV solutions from Dedicated Micros - part of AD Group - including its high performance DV-IP Servers, are playing a key role in allowing Sun Microsystems, headquartered in Santa Clara, California, to not only enhance the security of its offices worldwide but also, crucially, to realise an impressive return on investment which, to date, has resulted in savings which run into millions of dollars. The customer challenge Sun Microsystems provides network computing infrastructure solutions that include: computer systems, software, storage, and services. Its core brands range from the Java technology platform to the Solaris operating system. With 34,440 employees spread across more than 300 offices in over 100 countries worldwide, Sun Microsystems has a massive security challenge. The company needs to make sure employees feel secure, while at the same time protecting valuable assets and limiting liability. Most security cameras are placed at building entrances and exits, providing a facial view of people as they enter and leave the facility. Video footage is most often reviewed for after-the-fact investigations of personal property thefts, which may occur more than a dozen times a month around the globe. For more than 15 years, Sun's security organisation relied on analogue CCTV systems using VCRs to capture and store video. The disadvantages of this approach were numerous, starting with the high maintenance and support costs, in addition to the labour required to change tapes, review tapes, and replace broken tapes.  When security needed to find a particular event on the videotapes, they often had to review hours of footage to locate the exact time and date. Steve Kruschke, Sun's Manager of New Security Technologies and Applications, led the effort to find a digital solution in 2005: "We wanted leading edge digital technology to leverage our IP network infrastructure, and we needed a matrix solution to control multiple video servers from centralised regional control rooms," said Kruschke. "Additionally, we were looking for a solution that was not reliant on Windows-based personal computers." At Sun, all employees use ultra-thin clients called Sun Rays, which have no local operating system to manage and administer. Sun Rays process only keyboard input and screen output, leaving all of the application processing and storage to the server. Employees walk up to a Sun Ray, insert a smart card, and their desktop session appears just as they last left it. Common business applications, like word processing, email, and spreadsheets are web-based and delivered through the FireFox browser. The vast majority of digital video surveillance systems, however, are built around the Microsoft Windows platform and require users to install a client software application on the computer that will be used to view and control video. This was unacceptable for Sun. Dedicated Micros surveillance solution   Sun Microsystems has achieved a substantial return on its investment from Dedicated Micros' DV-IP Servers Sun Microsystems chose to build its new video surveillance system around the Dedicated Micros DV-IP Server, a high-performance network Digital Video Recorder and Server developed to meet the demands of professional surveillance applications. Available in 8, 12, or 16 camera input models, the DV-IP Server supports advanced MultiMode Recording to dynamically switch resolution, record rate, and compression, in either JPEG or MPEG format, from a wide range of analogue or IP cameras. Most importantly for Sun, the DV-IP interface capabilities can be accessed locally and remotely via a web browser. "Dedicated Micros is one the very few digital video surveillance companies that doesn't require the installation of client software on a PC," stated Kruschke. "The DV-IP Server has no problem handling our network-based, Solaris-FireFox architecture." Working with global distributor and systems integration partner Siemens Security, Sun has deployed approximately 1500 plus channels of video through the DV-IP Servers worldwide to date. Sun also installed multiple DV-IP Codec units. These single channel selectable encoder and decoder combination units are designed to increase the flexibility of surveillance networks. In encoder mode the DV-IP Codec enables existing and new analogue cameras to be added to an IP network, allowing Sun's legacy video surveillance systems to expand and adapt to digital without the cost and trouble of completely replacing and redesigning the installation. Siemens Security maintains a staff on Sun campuses to handle installation and service, while a global purchasing contract streamlines the process of acquiring the Dedicated Micros equipment at the regional level. Pick-a-Point Digital Matrix for regional control centres In late 2007, Sun's operations group began looking for ways to bring large-scale digital video surveillance to its five regional control centres, located Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. In the past, analogue video was brought into the regional control centres using local A/D switches. "We wanted to bring live and recorded digital video from local offices into the regional centres, and at the same time make the control interface more user friendly for operators," recalled Kruschke. "After gaining approval from our IT department to bring video across network, we decided to make the North American regional control centre in Broomfield, Colorado our first test site." At the heart of the large-scale video surveillance system is the Pick-a-Point centralised command and control workstation offered by Dedicated Micros and developed by integrator and strategic partner BBV. This digital matrix solution provides an intuitive environment, allowing the display of cameras from a number of monitored sites and delivering control over any servers, DVRs, domes, and cameras in the system, while retaining all important keyboard and joystick functionality. The Pick-a-Point viewing station is a dedicated IP keyboard solution with traditional joystick control, which provides either additional control points on a Pick-a-Point system, or operates standalone to provide composite viewing and control of any Dedicated Micros NetVu Connected Server, DVR or IP camera. "The unique embedded Pick-a-Point control system is ideal for Sun's computing environment because it is a dedicated standalone hardware based workstation, which eliminates reliability and training issues associated with PC based client software systems," said Kruschke. Several Pick-a-Point features contribute to ease of use. Site maps provide a graphical representation of camera positions, allowing the operator to easily track events from camera to camera throughout the system. Using Pick-a-Point's graphical user interface, operators can simply pick and click cameras from a site's database to view images - without having to know which DVR the camera is linked to. And the unique Pick-a-Point keyboard provides intuitive easy to use camera selection and joystick telemetry control without the need for a PC "qwerty" keyboard.   Sun Microsystems also installed multiple Dedicated Micros' DV-IP Codec units Operators at the Broomfield control centre use the Pick-a-Point workstation for three primary activities. Guard tour is conducted around the clock, as live individual camera feeds are brought up together on a composite screen. Several times weekly, the system is used to check cameras remotely and review video quality. Finally, recorded video is reviewed on Pick-a-Point systems on an "as needed" basis for investigations of personal property theft and other incidents. Another exciting new application is live monitoring of ongoing events. For example, Sun has about a dozen offices in the area of the south-eastern United States that was affected by hurricane Gustav. Using Pick-a-Point and DV-IP Servers, operators in Colorado were able to help manage personnel during the event by checking live video feeds of office locations. Exceptional customer service According to Kruschke, Dedicated Micros has provided not only great customer service, but also a willingness to listen to customer requests and use customer input in product development. "Whenever we've had difficulties, Dedicated Micros has been there to help us work though the issues," said Kruschke. "When we saturated the network bandwidth sending video to the control centre, Dedicated Micros worked side-by-side with us to adjust video resolution and other settings." Return on Investment Sun Microsystems has achieved a substantial return on its investment from Dedicated Micros' DV-IP Servers. Kruschke estimates that eliminating approximately 400 VCRs and the number of tapes required for 14-day backups saves the company $99,000 per year in maintenance globally. Even more significant is the $1.8 million in global yearly labour costs that Kruschke calculates is saved by Dedicated Micros DV-IP Servers. Said Pauline Norstrom, Director of Worldwide Marketing at Dedicated Micros: "The experience of Sun Microsystems in this case demonstrates the positive impact that, specifying and installing, an effective surveillance solution can have for a business. This is especially true in terms of enhanced security and, crucially, through a more efficient use of resources to deliver concrete benefits for their bottom line. The fact that we were able to offer a robust embedded approach to CCTV, which was not reliant on a Windows PC-based platform, was also a key factor in our favour for this ambitious project."