Video signal devices & accessories - Expert commentary

Radar technology provides an alternative for smart home security
Radar technology provides an alternative for smart home security

In the state of the residential security market today, we see many who are offering home security packages that rely on numerous sensors and multiple devices to provide a comprehensive coverage of the home and provide peace of mind. Each individual sensor or device within the package provides a specific functionality, and the user finds himself burdened by an overwhelming amount of sensors and devices. This overload is intensified by the penetration of additional IoT and smart devices into the home, such as pet-cams or smart speakers that add to the burden of installation and maintenance. In addition, we are witnessing the rise in popularity of DIY security devices, indicating that users are looking for models and technologies that provide both contract flexibility and simplicity of use. The past years have seen major advancements in radar technology, which have brought the formerly military technology into the consumer space. Radars provide interesting prospects for home security and smart homes due to several inherent characteristics which give it an advantage over existing technologies. The resolution of an advanced radar sensor enables not only presence detection, but also provides advanced features for security, automation and well-being Advanced security and automation features Of primary importance, a consumer designed radar sensor provides the user with full privacy, but the use of radar is also beneficial because it is indifferent to environmental, temperature and lighting conditions. In addition, radar signals (at certain frequencies) are capable of penetrating through almost any type of material, enabling concealed installation, robust monitoring in cluttered spaces and even the coverage of several separate rooms with only one device. In terms of capabilities, simple time of flight 2-antenna radar sensors, which have been around for a while, do not provide much additional value in comparison to existing solutions and are not necessarily competitive in terms of pricing. However, the new generation of radar sensors are also opening up new capabilities previously achieved with optics only. Today, the resolution of an advanced radar sensor is high enough to enable not only presence detection, but also to provide advanced features for security, automation and well-being, all in one. Imagine for example, that the security sensor installed in your elderly parent’s home could also detect a fall having occurred, monitor the breathing of a baby or even leaks in your wall. Due to the unique field of view that radar provides as well as the multi-functional potential, this technology will be the key to the awaited convergence of smart home functionalities and minimisation of home devices. The security sensor installed in your elderly parent’s home could also detect a fall having occurred Secret of the consumer radar A radar sensor’s accuracy and its ability to support wide functionality and applications is determined initially by its resolution, which is based on two key factors: bandwidth and number of channels. The wider the bandwidth and the more channels the radar supports, the more accurate the data received. Imagine the difference between a 1990s television model and a 4K 2018 television model - As the resolution is ever improving, the sharper and more detailed is the image. When looking at the short-range radar sensor market, prominent companies such as Texas Instruments and NXP are offering radar-on-chip solutions supporting 2\3 transmitters (Tx) and 3\4 receivers (Rx), mainly utilising frequency bands of 77-81GHz, as they target mostly automotive and autonomous driving applications. Another company that develops such radar-on-chip solution is Vayyar Imaging, an Israeli start-up, founded in 2011, that developed a radar sensor for 3D imaging. Vayyar Imaging directly targets the smart home and security markets with its radar-on-chip, developing modules and products for intruder detection, automation and elderly care (fall detection). Providing not only chips, but complete systems, the new model makes radar technology highly available and accessible. The radar-on-chip technology opens the door to installation of security and well-being devices in locations where privacy or environmental conditions pose an issue Radar-on-chip solution The radar-on-chip solution supports 72 full transceivers, an integrated DSP and radar bands between 3-81GHz. The resolution provided by this type of specification is high enough to provide subtle information about people’s real time location posture (lying down\falling\sitting\walking), and breathing, and enables to classify pets from humans, but it is low enough as to not compromise privacy. This type of technology opens the door to installation of security and well-being devices in locations where privacy or environmental conditions pose an issue, such as in bathrooms or heavily lit environments. Moreover, utilisation of this technology allows to dramatically minimise the numbers of sensors installed in the home, as it provides full home coverage with just one or two sensors and enables using the same HW to support additional capabilities such as breath monitoring, fall detection and highly accurate automation. Using AI and machine learning, the data derived by these sensors can be leveraged to provide smarter, verified alerts on the one hand and whole new insights on the on the other. The sensor can be tuned to learn the location of the house entrances or boundaries, where the inhabitants are expected to be at night, or where they should be expected to enter from into the home, adding new logics to the traditional yes\no decision making. Home security is widely regarded as a necessity, provides peace of mind to people and is integral to people's day to day lives Additional smart home services Among the evolving home technology verticals, security is by far the most relevant and integral to people’s day to day lives. Home security is widely regarded as a necessity and provides peace of mind to people. Being a legacy industry with many well-known and well-trusted brands, security players are well positioned to introduce new technology into the home and have the ability and credibility to expand their offerings to additional smart home services by utilising existing infrastructure and channels. With technology giants entering the security arena through the smart home door the DIY security solution market expected to explode with a CAGR of 22.4% (according to a report by Persistence Market Research). Now that new pricing and service models offer minimal commitment, traditional security players will need to step up. Security companies will need to explore new technologies and expand their offering if they intend to stay relevant and competitive in a market trending on functionality converge and minimisation of maintenance and installation costs.

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.

Networking basics for security professionals:  Transmission limitations
Networking basics for security professionals: Transmission limitations

Transmission of video and PoE power for IP security cameras over infrastructures can be confusing. Network infrastructures are designed using twisted pair cabling that we refer to as CAT (short for Category) cable, also referred to as UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair). Security systems, coming from an analogue environment, have historically transmitted over coax cable, and with the use adaptors can transmit over CAT cabling, which can be further broken down into single pair twist and untwisted applications. Cabling shares one, often misunderstood commonality. Any physical medium has a form of resistance to any element carried on that cable. With regard to network transmission over CAT 5 and greater (5e, 6, 7), there is a distance limitation of 328 feet or 100 meters. The applicable standards state that the bandwidth applied at one end of the cable at 10/100/1000 (1G)Mbps will be realized at the other end. This is also where we find the first limitation. At this same 328-foot distance there is a loss of PoE power. 802.3af or 15.4 watts is a value realized only at the PoE source. Under the standard, after traveling through 328 feet, the power at the camera is 12.95 watts. The same is true for 802.3at which has a source power of 30 watts and 328-foot distance power of 25 watts. The advent of IP security cameras has resulted in the need to maintain existing coax cable for networking applications. The first thing to realise is there are no standards for network transmission over coax. In reality the characteristics governing coax can be considered the opposite of CAT twisted pair cable. CAT cabling for network transmission consists of 4 wire pair, 2 of which are used for signal and PoE transmission. This ability to separate PoE and bandwidth transmitting over two pairs maximises power transmission. Coax cable, when used in the same application, is limited to a single pair – centre conductor and shield. Its characteristics promote bandwidth but limit PoE transmission compared to UTP cable. I emphasize again, there are no standards for coax cable transmission. This process becomes more confusing when you realise there are various type of cables that are called either UTP or Coax. All of these cable have different characteristics that have a direct impact on their ability to transmit bandwidth and PoE. The standards for UTP transmission were set for CAT 5 (5e). Categories 6, 7 and above will tend to have lower cable resistance and longer transmission distance; CAT 3, higher resistance and shorter distance. Common types of coax cable have varying distance limitations The same applies to coax cable. Again there is no standard, the typical cable found in analogue security applications is RG-59. In general, application distance limitations ran between 750 to 1000 feet, greater than the 328 network limitation. This is why extenders are required to convert from coax to UTP and to extend the signal and power range. As with UTP cable, there are two similarities. First, there are different grades of coax; second, there are different types. All these differences generally apply to cable resistance and therefore distance performance.  The most common types of coax cable are: RG 59, RG 6 and RG 11 Why is this important? In general there are two reasons. The first is in specifying equipment for a video security system, you are generally dealing with existing wiring and a fixed performance requirement. It is important to know the type and condition of the wiring in order to know what system performance requirements can be met. Second is a function of understanding specifications for the transmission equipment that will be used in the infrastructure. As noted, when maintaining coax, the use of coax-to-Ethernet convertors/extenders is required. In many cases even when UTP is used, distances over the 328-foot limit are required. A manufacturer’s product specification sheet can truthfully state their products can perform at 100 Mbps, they can handle 802.3at 30 watts and they can transmit distances up to 6,000 feet. However these must be viewed as separate performance claims. The key word is separate. Notice in these statements there is nothing that ties 100Mbps and/or 30 watts (these are examples only) and claimed distance of 6,000 feet together. Neither is the type of cable used indicated. By themselves, each individual claim is truthful; however, applications require they work together, and this is usually not the case. Many times it is difficult to read between the lines of manufacturer’s specifications. Failure to do so can cost additional time, money and even lead to removing the infrastructure itself. There is a simple answer. Call the manufacturer and have them confirm that their solution will perform as required for your specific application. If necessary, ask for proof that they have conducted testing to support their performance claims. Infrastructure is confusing, and you don’t need to be an expert, you just need to ask the right person(s) the right questions.

Latest Bosch Security Systems news

Global MSC to debate on the ability of AI to handle live incidents at their virtual event
Global MSC to debate on the ability of AI to handle live incidents at their virtual event

Global MSC Security will debate the ability of artificial intelligence to help Security Managers and Surveillance Camera Operators improve how live incidents are handled. Experts in facial recognition, criminal behaviour will participate in the Developing Smart Surveillance Operators free-to-attend online broadcast on 16th March at 13:00 (GMT). Keynotes will be presented by Dr. Craig Donald, Professor James Ferryman, and Tony Porter QPM LLB, with the broadcast, also featuring an in-depth Q&A panel with technology companies - Genetec, Bosch Security & Safety Systems, and Hanwha Techwin. Automatic visual surveillance Tony Porter is the former Surveillance Camera Commissioner and recently joined the facial recognition company Corsight AI as its Chief Privacy Officer, where is focused on the technological, legislative, and ethical aspects of a technology. James Ferryman is a Professor of Computational Vision at the University of Reading. He will discuss the computer analysis behind CCTV images, focusing on the latest research into automatic visual surveillance of wide-area scenes, using computational vision. Providing insight into the human factors involved in security technology integration will be Dr. Craig Donald, an esteemed organisational psychologist, with a specialist involvement in crime behavioural analysis and detection. Video management systems Technology such AI is placing intelligence in cameras and video management systems" “AI technology has the potential to support operators in making smarter decisions,” comments Dr. Craig Donald. “However, as we move to world where cameras are capable of learning, then both the camera and the operator will need good teachers, to ensure they understand crime behaviour, strategy, and dynamics.” Managing Director of Global MSC Security, Derek Maltby, states: “We are not talking about replacing operators, but enabling them to harness technology that is available right now to work smarter. Traditionally cameras have provided the lens through which operators observe, monitor, and respond to behaviours and actions. However, technology such AI is placing intelligence in cameras and video management systems, enabling them to not only see, but understand, interpret and guide the operator on the appropriate course of action.” Video analytics data A Q&A panel will provide insight into the latest technologies that enable smart surveillance operators. The speakers will be joined by Christian Morin, Vice-President of Integrations & Cloud Services at Genetec who will demonstrate how its Security Centre provides a single intuitive unified interface that enables operators to make sense of complexity. Bosch Security and Safety Systems will be demonstrating how video analytics data and alerts can be optimised by machine learning to support operators with better situational awareness, and Hanwha Techwin will explain how new technologies can enable operators to work smarter not harder. The Global MSC Security ‘Developing Smart Surveillance Operators’ Special Online Event is free-to-attend and takes place on 16th March at 13:00 (GMT).

Bosch releases a new version of AIoT video software solution supporting safe social distancing
Bosch releases a new version of AIoT video software solution supporting safe social distancing

The latest release of ‘Intelligent Insights’ from Bosch offers a software widget update that supports safe social distancing. Intelligent Insights is an ‘AIoT’ video software solution – which combines the connectivity of physical products with the application of artificial intelligence (AI) – that gives customers the power to predict based on live and historical data. Intelligent Insights taps data from Bosch video cameras with built-in AI and pulls it into a single dashboard to support informed decision-making before a potential situation occurs. Minimising coronavirus spread One of the most notable changes caused by the current pandemic is social distancing. Maintaining a precise distance and upholding a maximum threshold of people in gathering areas such as workplaces, shopping centers, and train stations has become critical to minimise coronavirus spread (COVID-19). In light of the challenges imposed by this situation, Intelligent Insights supports social distancing regulations with its latest software widget update. Intelligent Insights supports social distancing regulations with its latest software widget update The new Area fill level traffic light widget offers an intuitive graphical interface that helps users comply with social distancing regulations. The widget visualises the current and maximum number of people allowed in a particular area at a specific time. It illustrates three different states – normal, serious, and critical – as green, yellow, or red, along with corresponding info text, so the user instantly knows when to take action. Traffic light widget Users can opt to live stream the Area fill level traffic light widget on a monitor at an entrance to a supermarket or grocery store, for example, to inform customers whether they may enter the store. When a threshold is reached, the widget can activate and trigger a connected device that will inform visitors with a public announcement, simple alert, or message displayed on a monitor. Intelligent Insights uses built-in AI from Bosch cameras to interpret video images and captures camera metadata from situations involving moving objects, people counting, and crowd detection. The software tool then collects, aggregates, and displays this information using a series of pre-defined widgets enabling users to visualise and evaluate a complete scene from a simple overview screen. Intelligence beyond security Users can select the needed widgets to provide the required information to help predict unwanted situations The dashboard enables users to quickly understand what they see, which helps them respond before a potential situation occurs and delivers business intelligence beyond security. For detailed post-analysis and to help users adjust and alter future actions, Intelligent Insights offers a report function. Intelligent Insights comes with a series of intuitive dashboard widgets that enable users to evaluate a complete scene to support security, safety, and well-being in varying applications. Depending on the application, users can select the needed widgets to provide the required information to help predict unwanted situations or uncover new opportunities. Object positioning widget Area fill level, Occupancy counting, and Crowd detection offer the ability to monitor and detect crowds accurately and count individuals and objects. The user can specify the desired occupancy rate of an area by determining the maximum number of people allowed to be in that area within a given time. Intelligent Insights also offers Object counting and People counting to count objects or people accurately such as when entering or leaving a building. These widgets help identify peak and low times on specific days or over an extended period. Intelligent Insights uses only anonymous data from cameras, ensuring people’s privacy is protected at all times. With the Object positioning widget, users can get a real-time overview of all objects moving in a specific area. Based on their GPS position, which can be determined by cameras that feature built-in AI, the objects are plotted onto a map and classified with icons. Video management system Intelligent Insights, an AIoT video software solution from Bosch, supports social distancing regulations, helps customers respond before a potential situation occurs, and delivers business intelligence beyond security. Intelligent Insights is not only a powerful standalone software package but also designed for seamless integration with other software solutions like the video management system of Bosch (BVMS).

Bosch secures Granarolo plant at Soliera with their Intelligent Video Analytics system
Bosch secures Granarolo plant at Soliera with their Intelligent Video Analytics system

Situated near the picturesque small town of Soliera in northern Italy, the dairy plant of Italian food company Granarolo is anything but small: More than 600 farmers, 70 trucks for the collection of milk and 720 vehicles handle 850,000 tons of milk every year. Its dairy products such as milk, yogurt, ice cream, cheese, and lately also ham and pasta, supply several million Italian families every day. The plant’s huge production capacity is reflected in the size of the perimeter: The Soliera facility stretches out over 45,000 square metres. Furthermore, it is located near a wooded land which is important when it comes to designing a security system aimed at protecting the plant against intrusion. Video surveillance system Granarolo wanted to replace an old analogue video surveillance system by a digital one as its security challenges exceeded the limits of the old installation. The project posed several challenges. The most significant being the vast area of the factory itself, as well as the location of the perimeter near an area that can only be poorly overseen. Since the factory is located in a heavily wooded area, building an appropriate video security system is more challenging because it needs to be safeguarded against false alarms, triggered by ever-changing lights, shadows and the constant movement of trees and plants. Tackling these challenges, Naples-based Bosch partner Gruppo Sirio worked out the modernisation of the plant’s security system, with Bosch cameras featuring built-in Intelligent Video Analytics (IVA) at the heart of the system. Detecting suspicious objects Bosch provided a video surveillance system with 48 cameras of the Dinion series With the help of the security cameras’ integrated video analytics, virtual lines were drawn around the area to be protected against intrusion. When these lines are crossed by intruders, the programmed rules automatically generate alarms, alerting on-site security personnel to intervene. Whether the cameras are tasked with detecting suspicious objects or unusual movements in daylight or night-time, constant surveillance with a special focus on sensitive areas ensures security. In total, Bosch provided a video surveillance system with 48 cameras of the Dinion series. The system, which is managed on one central platform, is completely autonomous and entirely separate from any other system or network in the plant. This ensures maximum security even in the event of potential failures of other systems on site. Perimeter protection solution As a result of the modernisation process, Granarolo can now rely on a system specifically designed for its needs. The newly established, digital video surveillance and perimeter protection solution supports the security personnel in maintaining maximum levels of security through the entire area. It also guarantees that food safety standards in the protected facility are guarded against outside influences. Ultimately, the system allows the staff to fully focus on keeping the production running at all times, thereby contributing to secure the sensitive chain of the Italian food supply against interruptions.

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