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3 reasons why you haven’t adopted AI into your surveillance operation and why you can now
3 reasons why you haven’t adopted AI into your surveillance operation and why you can now

The explosion of artificial intelligence used to enhance business processes, propel innovative products, and further automation has touched essentially every industry to date. The security sector, notable for its maturity and complexity, is not exempt from the AI tidal wave. In fact, quite the opposite, the security sector and more specifically the domain of video surveillance have seen an emergence of AI-powered solutions both hardware and software. The widespread adoption of IP cameras, cloud computing capacities, and smart sensors have paved the way for new AI products and solutions to function at scale. AI-powered video analytics  One application of artificial intelligence for the video surveillance sector is the use of video analytic solutions to analyse video streams in order to extract pre-determined objects, behaviours, or situations. To give some examples, AI video analytics can be used to monitor perimeter crossing for border control, detect fevers or masks in airports or public spaces, arms detection in casinos, or be used to filter out alarms triggered by benign movements versus real intrusions. This application of artificial intelligence leans on its specific branch, machine learning, which uses a complex series of AI models to analyse the content of the video flow, autonomously identifying and classifying the videos according to predefined rules. Adopting technology AI video analytics yields promising benefits, a reduction in operational costs, and an increase in safety and a decrease in risk When AI video analytics are used effectively, they yield very promising benefits. A jump in video flow analysis from an average of 10% by humans to 100%, a reduction in operational costs, and an increase in safety and a decrease in risk. The use of AI video analytics for surveillance sounds simple enough, however, there are several perceived factors inhibiting security organisations from adopting the technology. Adopting AI into your video surveillance operation The security industry is capital intensive, complex in its IT structure, and diverse in situational business needs. Therefore, resulting in a perception of high effort, time and costs required to successfully integrate AI into your video surveillance operation. However, these effort constraints can be debunked due to the flexibility of video analytic solutions. Three areas that deter security organisations from adopting AI Existing capital A surveillance operation contains a network of cameras that film with a range of video qualities. AI video analytics can analyse a range of videos from low to high resolution in thermal, infrared and visible formats AI video analytics often operate on smart cameras that have the appropriate video image quality for the capacity of content analysis. The costs involved in overhauling legacy camera systems, converting videos into higher quality, or waiting until the current camera network is ready to be replaced in order to integrate AI is expensive, time-consuming, and often unfeasible. However, not all AI video analytic solutions need to be deployed on edge with smart cameras. Instead, video analytics can be deployed both directly on to the camera or have server-based integration maintaining and scaling to your existing camera network. AI video analytics can also analyse a range of videos from low to high resolution in a variety of formats: thermal, infrared, visible. Complex IT structure A single central command centre or in-house security network operates in a multi-manufacturer environment. This means cameras, video management systems, and technology partners can be provided by several manufacturers therefore increasing the complexity of successful IT workflows and integrations. Theft or perimeter infringement can take place in a matter of minutes, therefore the transfer of information between solutions is required to function at top speed. To overcome this complexity, the successful integration of solutions in a multi-manufacturer environment is assured through industry enforced standards set by non-profit organisations. This allows for third-party solutions such as AI video analytics to be easily integrated into the bulk of software and hardware technologies. Diversity in security needs To obtain high performance in a diverse security setting is inherently built into AI video analytic machine  The objective of a surveillance operation can vary greatly from one organisation to another. Retailers prioritise theft detection, while city governments may be concerned about arms detection or people counting. The capacity for AI to function with high performance, meanwhile adapting to several organisation’s security needs requires algorithms to be trained accordingly. To obtain high performance in a diverse security setting is inherently built into how AI video analytic machine learning model’s function. AI can be trained to adapt to different environments and uses progressive learning to increase performance overtime. A collaborative effort between security experts, data scientists and business strategists will ensure high performance and an appropriate application of AI to fit each organisation’s specific needs. Surveillance innovation moving forward While for some video surveillance organisations, the costs and time associated with successfully integrating AI into their network may seem daunting, there are ways to adapt new technology into an existing operation with minimal effort. The emerging presence of smart cameras and IoT products will only accelerate the adoption of AI moving forward. If your organisation is looking to enhance its operation with emerging technologies, now can be the time.

Trends and challenges we will see in the AI-driven security space in 2021
Trends and challenges we will see in the AI-driven security space in 2021

For decades, the nature of global safety has been evolving. From physical security threats like large-scale terrorist attacks and lone actor stabbings to chemical threats such as the Salisbury poisonings and even microbiological threats such as COVID-19, new challenges are constantly arising and the threat landscape we operate in today is constantly changing. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks. With the economic downturn, there is the traditional rise in theft, violence and other crimes. Compound this with unmanned businesses and work-at-home staff, and there is a perfect storm for a rise in security threats. Artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), was already causing widespread disruption in many industries, including the security industry. AI has been a driving force to replace labour-based business models with integrated data and actionable intelligence that is context-aware. It has become apparent that AI will play a big part in the ongoing fight against both pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other threats that we may face in the future. With all of this in mind, 2021 is poised to be a big year for AI growth. While AI is going to continue to impact our lives in dozens of ways, from smart sensors to face mask compliance detection, the following reflects a few top trends and challenges that I have my eye on for 2021 as we close out this year. The rise of smart city investments One such example is the increasing development of smart cities and how AI can be leveraged to build safe communities. To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks Typical development of a city includes standard infrastructure - roads, schools, power, water, transportation. Now, internet, data and AI capabilities are part of the standard infrastructure requirements for all new developments. AI promises to deliver increased efficiencies with the infrastructure that will accommodate growing populations while reducing our impact on the environment, resources, and communities. Global cities now account for more than half of the world’s population, and the United Nations projects the number to balloon to 68% by mid-century. Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). With an increase in population has come an increase in global spending on smart city initiatives to drive down the impact of growing urban concentration. Global spending on smart city initiatives is expected to total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, while Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York as the big spenders - expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2020. Using AI-driven technology to create safer public and private spaces Today, security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments to protect the population in a more efficient, and accurate manner. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new AI technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. One such deployment is the use of video object recognition/computer vision software that can be integrated into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. These enhanced VMS systems can be deployed both inside and outside of buildings to identify risks and flag threats, such weapons, aggressive behaviours, theft, and safety compliance. This helps to minimise the impact of a breach by an early alert to onsite security in real-time to the location and nature of the potential threat, allowing them to intervene before a loss occurs. These same AI-enabled video solutions can similarly be used to provide advanced business operations in retail, logistics, and manufacturing organisations. Multi-sensor security solutions Also, targeted magnetic and radar sensor technologies, concealed in everyday objects like planter boxes or inside walls, can now scan individuals and bags entering a building for concealed threat objects. Using AI/machine learning, these two sensor solutions combined can identify metal content on the body and bag and match the item to a catalogue of threat items, such as guns, rifles, knives and bombs. Security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments Without this advanced multi-sensor solution, it becomes nearly impossible to discover a weapon on a person's body before it appears in an assailant’s hands. This multi-sensor solution allows for touchless, unobtrusive access to a building, but allows for immediate notification to onsite security when a concealed threat is detected. The hidden technology thus empowers security staff to intercept threats before they evolve into a wider scale attack, while also maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of the public, unless, of course, they are carrying a concealed weapon or pose a physical threat. With the advent of sophisticated surveillance and technological innovation, a level of caution must be exerted. Despite the ongoing global debate, there remains little regulation about the use of AI technologies in today’s physical security space. One thing is certain; it must be deployed in the right place, at the right time, with the right privacy and civil liberty protection objectives. People don’t want to be protected by omnipresent, obstructive and overbearing security systems that infringe on their privacy and civil liberties. They want a proper balance between security and their current way of life, one that must be fused together. Technology and tracing COVID-19 Machine learning-based technologies are playing a substantial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the key purpose of surveillance systems has been to detect and deter threats, including the detection of visible and hidden weapons and abnormal behaviour. While this, of course, remains a primary focus, today we are seeing how surveillance systems defend against new invisible threats, as well as rapidly automate the process of contact-tracing to capture and contain a virus before it spreads. Again, the ability to track and trace through parsing algorithms that can manage through enormous amounts of data provides a highly scalable and rapid response mechanism to control the spread of threats. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact Although the threat may not be visible, it is just as destructive. By incorporating AI into existing technologies, government, healthcare and security professionals can monitor public spaces and environments through the combined use of digital and thermal video surveillance cameras and video management systems); just one of the solutions being explored. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By Using AI-powered video analytic software, businesses can monitor face masks, social distancing and large gathering compliance and also detect elevated body temperature. Critically, technology must be capable of both identifying and tracking the virus but also be unobtrusive. An unobtrusive system that is adaptable enough to be deployed across a range of environments where the public gathers in enclosed spaces is necessary to be effective. Security in 2021 Technology has proven itself to be a valuable ally in times of crisis. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies will help optimise security solutions in areas that are brimming with potential. As we look ahead to the future of security in a world that is impacted by such a wide range of threats, from physical to chemical to microbiological, it’s clear that new technologies, specifically AI can dramatically improve the effectiveness of security systems and help us to better defend against a wide spectrum of threats. Technology has a huge role to play in making our communities safe in 2021 and beyond, but for security systems to be effective, they must not be oppressive or obstructive. This will ensure they have the full support of the public - the key to success.

Securing your business while working remotely
Securing your business while working remotely

It's a very common purchase for people to seek a smart security camera to remotely link them to their home whilst at work. Now the emphasis has shifted, with a lot more people working from home, business owners should consider a surveillance device to deter would-be thieves, protecting valuable equipment crucial for businesses to operate successfully. A robust security camera setup can aid existing security staff, and give business owners peace of mind out of hours.    According to a recent report, police forces are having to carry out extra night patrols in empty city and town centres, as burglars target shops, pubs and other commercial premises during the pandemic. During these unprecedented times, investing in a video security system can save you and your business money – and in more than one way. In addition to preventing loss of property from inside, surveillance cameras also prevent acts of theft and vandalism by outside individuals However, technology, improved mobile connectivity, apps, and cloud technologies has changed the security market and made it easy for anyone to set up a surveillance ecosystem with easy installation and constant round the clock, cloud monitoring. Plus, you can access footage from anywhere in the world via devices and apps – just in case you have to skip the country! The best cameras for SMBs Most good cameras have the much same functionality: excellent video and audio capabilities, remote access and programming, motion and sound detection, and the ability to capture still or video images and audio and save the data to the Cloud. But the burning question is, when you're trying to find a need in a haystack, what will work best for a small to medium sized business? A robust security camera setup can aid existing security staff, and give business owners peace of mind out of hours Now you can buy cameras that come packed with features such as integrated night vision, 1080p resolution, microSD card slot for local recording, two-way audio functionality as well as the latest latest 128bit encryption. They also have wide-angle lenses allowing users to see more of their office with a single camera, and some come with free, intelligent AI-Based motion detection. The AI gives users more choices on what is captured by the camera and when they should be alerted. Users can specify what types of motion they would like to detect, such as an intruder as opposed to a dog, an object crossing a defined boundary or into a specific area. They can also define multiple zones, alerting them immediately when movement is detected in particular areas. Easy installation is crucial These security cameras should also be easy enough to install and use that you don't need to fork out for expensive expert installation, and many can work with existing CCTV and CCTV DVR systems you may already have set-up. Many of the business security cameras are Wi-Fi enabled and come with their own apps, so you can view footage on your smartphone or tablet, no matter where you are in the world. It means you don't need to pay for a security team to watch the footage at all times (though if you can afford it, that won't hurt), and you can store your videos locally with an NVR on a HD, in the cloud with mydlink or do both with a hybrid NVR/cloud recorder. The apps use Rich Notifications which send a push notification with snapshot to the mobile device the moment activity is detected. Users can react immediately without the need to log into the app by accessing the camera’s live view or calling one of two pre-assigned contacts with a single tap. Any motion-triggered recordings can be saved in the cloud, or locally on a microSD card. Indoor, Outdoor or both? Indoor cameras can be smaller, more lightweight and are usually less intrusive than bulkier outdoor cameras The primary distinction between indoor and outdoor security cameras is the types of external factors each camera has to be able to withstand. While both types of cameras usually come in similar styles and with comparable features, outdoor cameras need to be able to contend with all types of weather and varying light conditions. Outdoor cameras are also more vulnerable to being tampered with, so they are typically made of more durable materials, like metal, and may be heavier or even housed in a casing in order to discourage easy removal. Indoor cameras can be smaller, more lightweight and are usually less intrusive than bulkier outdoor cameras. Both indoor and outdoor cameras utilise features like infrared, allowing for clear pictures in low light conditions and easy transitions when there is a sudden change in light-changing automatically from colour images in bright light to black and white when it gets darker. When doing your research, features to look out for include: Wide angle lens for optimum room view or full view of the front of your property Full HD 1080p at 30fps   ONVIF compatible - Open Network Video Interface Forum - The forum aims to standardize how IP products within the video surveillance industry communicate with each other. Night vision - look at length of the night vision - 5m is about right Your options will depend on your budget and specific needs, but the above features are a great start when you come to buy.

Latest OPTEX news

OPTEX and Fenix Monitoring announce strategic partnership to offer seamless and integrated Intelligent Visual Monitoring solution
OPTEX and Fenix Monitoring announce strategic partnership to offer seamless and integrated Intelligent Visual Monitoring solution

Fenix Monitoring, an approved NSI Gold Alarm Receiving Centre (ARC), has entered into a new partnership with OPTEX to support its customers in providing state-of-the-art security response services. The business, founded in 2018 by Managing Director, Carl Meason, will harness the reliability and performance of OPTEX’s Intelligent Visual Monitoring solution to extend its services to provide visually verified alarms, enhancing security by capturing genuine alarms while filtering out nuisance alarms in a diverse range of environments. OPTEX – Fenix Monitoring partnership Fenix Monitoring, which provides CCTV, intruder and lone worker monitoring solutions, has built its reputation on the principles of digital innovation, data analysis and customer-driven experience. These principles provide cutting edge security products and services to the monitoring market, culminating with being recognised as British Security Industry Association (BSIA) SME business of the year 2020. Carl Meason believes the partnership with OPTEX will enable Fenix to significantly enhance their product offering to its customers. Carl Meason said “Fenix Monitoring continues its mission of partnering with the most innovative companies out there, and delivering products and services that are industry leading. In joining forces with OPTEX, we have added another technology partner that can help us build the very best monitoring solutions for our customers.” OPTEX Intelligent Visual Monitoring solution OPTEX’s Intelligent Visual Monitoring Solution offers a number of key benefits, including privacy mode" Carl adds, “OPTEX’s Intelligent Visual Monitoring Solution offers a number of key benefits, especially in relation to its privacy mode which means we will only see a silhouette when an alarm is activated. The homeowner or end-user can then lift this privacy feature, should the alarm be genuine and the person monitoring can see exactly what is going on.” Benjamin Linklater, Sales Director at OPTEX Europe, is looking forward to the new partnership with Fenix Monitoring. He said, “We are very pleased to welcome Fenix to the network of monitoring centres offering our cloud-based visual monitoring solution. Fenix is an agile, technology-focused security company constantly looking for new solutions to solve their customers’ issues.” Intruder and CCTV technologies installed on single site The OPTEX Intelligent Visual Monitoring solution enables separate intruder and CCTV technologies installed on the same site, but acting independently, to be connected using the OPTEX Bridge and create one, seamless, integrated and intelligent visual monitoring solution. Intruder alarms can now be visually verified within seconds, without impacting the integrity of the technology installed or its grade. When an alarm occurs, a signal is instantly sent to the ARC whose operator can view images pre and post the alarm event via a dedicated portal to determine whether the alarm is genuine.

OPTEX selected by Harper Security Systems to protect private residences and property in rural environments
OPTEX selected by Harper Security Systems to protect private residences and property in rural environments

Harper Security Systems, which specialises in specifying and installing smart security solutions for residential and private properties, has selected OPTEX’s range of Intelligent Passive Infrared (PIR) sensors for their reliability in detecting external threats, especially in rural environments. Three properties in the Home Counties and Lincolnshire are using a combination of OPTEX’s proven PIR sensors to protect property, people, and other important assets including horses from the dangers of vandalism and theft. OPTEX’s range includes sensors which offer panoramic 180-degree detection coverage and 12m/40ft radius to detect any intrusion around a residential or commercial building. Commercial business environments They are ideally suited for protecting larger residential grounds and flat roofs typical with outbuilding on farms and stables. “We have worked with OPTEX for a number of years and have found their range of PIR sensors to be extremely accurate and reliable, which is critical when specifying external detection,” says Alan Harper, Director at Harper Security Systems. The flexibility and versatility of the sensors is such that they are ideal for multiple environments" “The flexibility and versatility of the sensors is such that they are ideal for multiple environments,” Alan continues. “For example, we have recently installed them at a private stables in Lincolnshire to protect horses and valuable equestrian equipment, residences in rural villages in both Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire to protect property and personal items, as well as in commercial business environments.” Innovative security solutions Ben Linklater, Sales Director at OPTEX Europe, says that while the focus is often on towns and cities, crime in the countryside is a huge issue, costing the rural community in the UK more than £9 million this year alone: “Reliable external protection is becoming increasingly important not only to secure equipment and assets, but also livestock and other animals like horses. The earlier the detection the better chance there is to prevent intruders." "External intrusion detection is essential in rural environments as most assets, many of which are expensive to replace (and some are irreplaceable), are stored outside. We are very pleased to work with Harper Security who understand the benefits of early detection to keep premises, assets, people and animals secure, delivering innovative security solutions to their customers.”

Unified approach with OPTEX sensors and Genetec RSA Surveillance module to enhance airport perimeter security
Unified approach with OPTEX sensors and Genetec RSA Surveillance module to enhance airport perimeter security

One of the key problems in airport security is the sheer size of the perimeter and a large number of incidents are in fact linked to unauthorised access onto the airfield, either runways or where aircrafts are being loaded or refuelled posing an extremely high risk. Most airports will combine multiple sensors and technologies to protect the actual perimeter fence and even beyond the perimeter fence, to warn of potential threats. OPTEX LiDAR sensor integration with RSA module Some airports have found the level of information generated by the perimeter security systems quite challenging to deal with and they wanted to decrease the number of events so operators could focus on what was critical. The Airport development team at Genetec integrated the OPTEX LiDAR sensor into their Restricted Security Area (RSA) Surveillance module, an extension of the Genetec Security Center platform with the purpose to unify data from the sensor and camera to present more meaningful information to the operators.  Restricted Security Area Surveillance module The RSA module has been designed specifically with a view to providing wide area protection The RSA module has been designed specifically with a view to providing wide area protection and integrating with wide area surveillance technology, including radar, fibre optic and laser detection devices. The solution allows security staff to determine the level of threat for each area, map them, and utilise OPTEX technologies to identify and locate quickly and precisely the point of intrusion. For instance, with Fibre optic fence sensor, zones can be 100m-200m long and will identify people cutting through a fence, crawling under or climbing over. Newer fibre technologies provide point location. Another way to pin-point exact intruder location is with OPTEX LiDAR technologies or with Radar. ‘Fuse’ data into a single event A particularly intelligent feature of the system is its ability to ‘fuse’ data (known as ‘target fusion’) coming from multiple sources and confirm an event as a single (i.e. the same) activity rather than a multiple threat. For instance, using the X&Y coordinates provided by OPTEX REDSCAN sensors, RSA allows to map exactly the path of the intruders or moving vehicles, fuses the path from one camera to the other and considers it as one event, one target and tracks it precisely on the map. Intelligent tracking and event categorisation This gives a more meaningful picture to the operator and presents events in a unified and intelligent way. This helps support the security team in making the right decisions. The deeper integration of OPTEX’s technologies into Genetec’s RSA platform enables intelligent tracking and event categorisation, making it a very precise security system for airports.

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