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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 while 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 centers, 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 cellphone 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 utilize 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 color 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.

Fighting Illicit Trade With Artificial Intelligence
Fighting Illicit Trade With Artificial Intelligence

AI has opened doors to many transformation opportunities and increasingly minimised many risks  -- personal and economic -- that are alarming today. And illicit trade is one of those pains AI can offer a promising solution against. Illicit trade is a serious threat and problem that affects governments and societies on every level. While governments lose financial funds in tax revenues, thriving businesses are losing potential customers, and customers are getting tricked into purchasing counterfeit, low-quality products. Transnational organized crime generates revenue of $2.2 trillion through transnational criminal organizations, complicit corrupt facilitators, and other threat areas. The list of criminal activities is long and involves such horrific crimes as trafficking of narcotics, opioids, arms, humans, fake medicines and other counterfeit and pirated goods; illegal tobacco and alcohol; illegally-harvested timber, wildlife, and fish; pillaged oil, diamonds, gold, and other natural resources and precious minerals; stolen antiquities; and other contraband or valuable items sold across streets, social media, online marketplaces, and the dark web. In short, illicit trade is a contributing cause to large-scale insecurity and instability across markets. AI-driven technologies Here is where revolutionary AI-driven technologies come in, with their capability to fight illicit trade across markets. AI technologies in this specific application promise to help build safer and more secure communities in the future. There are a few ways that AI can support the ongoing fight against illicit trade on a global scale in a tangible way. Transnational organized crime generates revenue of $2.2 trillion For financial transactions at risk of fraud and money laundering, tracking has become an increasing headache if done manually. As a solution to this labour-intensive process, AI technology can be trained to follow all the compliance rules and process a large number of documents -- often billions of pages of documents -- in a short period of time. Among these documents widely in circulation, most have an unstructured and inconsistent format -- from invoices to insurance documentation -- are a complex system to tackle; in this whirlwind of pages, the likelihood of non-compliant and misrepresented figures to go by unnoticed. But this is also where AI can thrive as solutions become a necessity, enhancing humans’ capabilities of identifying fraud risks in the early stages. Relying on natural language processing, the technology can begin interpreting the text from the scanned and digitised documents in order to process trade information at high speed. In this context, AI-powered solutions are capable of comparing, contrasting document information and identify anomalies worth looking into further. By automating a large portion of the process, AI-driven technology allows the staff to focus on more pressing, high-involvement issues that require human judgement while saving time on the time-consuming manual work of analyzing documents by hand. Identifying covert interactions between criminals As criminal networks become increasingly intricate in their illegal operations, cutting-edge AI technology is crucial in the battle against it. In 2019, EU launched a project with the goal to deploy advanced AI technology and robots to identify smuggling across the borders of Portugal, Estonia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.  With the help of AI, it will be possible to send drones and autonomous vehicles to the most dubious border areas in order to enforce border control and detect smugglers quickly and efficiently. Illicit trade triggers a chain reaction of negative impact across industries, governments and individuals The issues the EU is trying to address through the project include drug and weapon smuggling, as well as human trafficking. From tight border control tracking crossings to communication monitoring to identify covert interactions between criminals on both sides of the border, the project is one among many that will expand the scope of solutions to the illicit trade problems today. AI’s contribution is significant on many levels: from predicting crime and threats to safeguarding public health and safety (in face of human trafficking, counterfeit medicines, and toxic products), these are simply inklings of major shifts that AI technology promises for the future of the battle against illicit trade. So why is fighting illicit trade so crucial? Here are a few reasons why AI’s role in fighting this global issue is crucial. In a world where customers run the risk of being deceived and tricked into buying counterfeit products, companies who provide the original products suffer through the loss of revenue and market share. The same companies are also robbed of their intellectual property and proprietary data. Furthermore, people who are employed in these companies run the risk of losing their jobs as a result of revenue and market share loss. And finally, the last straw is the loss of brand integrity and reputation to the need to compete with low-quality, sometimes even dangerous counterfeit products. Just like a domino effect, illicit trade triggers a chain reaction of negative impact across industries, governments and individuals. And it’s time for AI to step in and stop it.

Edge Computing, AI and Thermal Imaging – The Future of Smart Security
Edge Computing, AI and Thermal Imaging – The Future of Smart Security

Smart security is advancing rapidly. As AI and 4K rise in adoption on smart video cameras, these higher video resolutions are driving the demand for more data to be stored on-camera. AI and smart video promise to extract greater insights from security video. Complex, extensive camera networks will already require a large amount of data storage, particularly if this is 24/7 monitoring from smart video-enabled devices. With 4K-compliant cameras projected to make up over 24% of all network cameras shipped by 2023 – there is a fast-growing desire for reliable storage on-board security cameras. The question for businesses is: do they look to break up their existing smart video network, by separating and compartmentalising cameras to handle data requirements, or do they increase its storage capabilities? As some people begin to venture out and return to work following initial COVID-19 measures, we are also seeing demand for thermal imaging technology increase. New technology like this combined with more of these always-on systems being rolled out, means organizations will need to carefully consider their smart video strategy. Newer edge computing will play an important role in capturing, collecting, and analyzing data and there are some key trends you can expect to see as a result of this evolution. There are many more types of cameras being used today, such as body cameras, dashboard cameras, and new Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors. Video data is so rich nowadays, you can analyze it and deduce a lot of valuable information in real-time, instead of post-event. Edge computing and smart security As public cloud adoption grew, companies and organizations saw the platform as a centralized location for big data. However, recently there’s been opposition to that trend. Instead we are now seeing data processed at the edge, rather than in the cloud. There is one main reason for this change in preference: latency. Newer edge computing will play an important role in capturing, collecting, and analyzing data Latency is an important consideration when trying to carry out real-time pattern recognition. It’s very difficult for cameras to process data – 4K surveillance video recorded 24/7 – if it has to go back to a centralized data center hundreds of miles away. This data analysis needs to happen quickly in order to be timely and applicable to dynamic situations, such as public safety. By storing relevant data at the edge, AI inferencing can happen much faster. Doing so can lead to safer communities, more effective operations, and smarter infrastructure. UHD and storage AI-enabled applications and capabilities, such as pattern recognition, depend on high-definition resolutions such as 4K – also known as Ultra High Definition (UHD). This detailed data has a major impact on storage – both the capacity and speeds at which it needs to be written, and the network. Compared to HD, 4K video has much higher storage requirements and we even have 8K on the horizon. As we know, 4K video has four times the number of pixels as HD video. In addition, 4K compliant video supports 8, 10, and 12 bits per channel that translate to 24-, 30- or 36-bit color depth per pixel. A similar pattern holds for HD — more color using 24 bits or less color using 10 or 12 bits in color depth per pixel. Altogether, there is up to a 5.7x increase in bits generated by 4K vs. 1080 pixel video. Larger video files place new demands on data infrastructure for both video production and surveillance. Which means investing in data infrastructure becomes a key consideration when looking into smart security. Always-on connectivity Whether designing solutions that have limited connectivity or ultra-fast 5G capabilities, most smart security solutions need to operate 24/7, regardless of their environment. Yet, on occasion, the underlying hardware and software systems fail. In the event of this, it is important to establish a failover process to ensure continued operation or restore data after a failure, including everything from traffic control to sensors to camera feeds and more. Consider the example of a hospital with dozens or even over a hundred cameras connected to a centralized recorder via IP. If the Ethernet goes down, no video can be captured. Such an event could pose a serious threat to the safety and security of hospital patients and staff. For this reason, microSD cards are used in cameras to enable continuous recording. Software tools – powered by AI – can then “patch” missing data streams with the content captured on the card to ensure the video stream can be viewed chronologically with no content gaps. Thermal imaging Health and safety is the number one priority for all organizations as people return to work and public spaces. Some organizations are deploying thermal imaging to help screen individuals for symptoms as they return. Organizations that operate with warehouses, depots and assembly lines will traditionally have large amounts of cameras located outside of the entrance. With thermal imaging smart video in place, these cameras can now serve a dual purpose as a screening device. The thermal imaging technology is capable of detecting elevated body temperatures, with 10-25 workers being scanned in one shot, from one camera – making it an efficient and accurate process. This way, staff can use the information to help identify people who may need further screening, testing, and/or isolation before returning to work. There are many more types of cameras being used today, such as body cameras, dashboard cameras, and new Internet of Things (IoT) devices While this may not increase data storage requirements, it can change your retention policies and practices. Smart security today is about utilising AI and edge computing, to deliver an always-on, high-resolution video provision that can help keep people safe 24/7. These trends increase the demands and importance of monitoring, which means requirements of the supporting data infrastructure improve to match that, including the ability to proactively manage the infrastructure to help ensure reliable operation. Companies need to make sure they have considered all the storage and policy challenges as part of their smart security strategy for the future.  

Latest Oncam news

Oncam Announces The Launch Of C-Series Camera Line, Including C-12 Indoor And C-12 Outdoor Plus 360-Degree Video Cameras
Oncam Announces The Launch Of C-Series Camera Line, Including C-12 Indoor And C-12 Outdoor Plus 360-Degree Video Cameras

Oncam, the globally renowned provider of premium 360-degree video capture technologies, has announced the introduction of its powerful and compact C-Series camera line and the first two cameras of this line, the C-12 Indoor and the C-12 Outdoor Plus cameras, both featuring a 12 MP sensor and powered by advanced video technology from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. 360-degree fisheye solutions Designed to support mission-critical video surveillance and security deployments, the Oncam C-Series camera line provides the performance, resilience, scalability and ease of use required of advanced 360-degree fisheye solutions. Built on Oncam's expertise spanning more than 15 years in 360-degree video technology, the C-Series delivers higher frame rates, crisp images and bandwidth reduction technology, increasing functionality, as well as ensuring the creation of products that are both intuitive and user-friendly.   C-12 cameras Oncam C-12 cameras feature the company’s award-winning de-warping technology The Oncam C-12 cameras feature the company’s award-winning de-warping technology, seamless ONVIF implementation, and integration with the major VMS (Video Management System) platforms, with superior processing power from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. that enables this next generation of high-tech video surveillance solution from Oncam.   The company’s C-Series cameras use cutting-edge algorithms and advanced technology to deliver access to reliable, secure, and clear images that provide organizations and government agencies with enhanced situational awareness. Oncam's commitment to open solutions and the C-12 camera's advanced, intuitive user interface also delivers the freedom to configure and tailor the camera to specific requirements, making it ideal for a variety of markets. Harnessing the power of video Oncam’s C-12 cameras enable users to harness the power of video with innovations pioneered by the video surveillance company, including:   Market-renowned frame rates: Oncam C-12 cameras stream 55 fps at full resolution, significantly outperforming other 360-degree cameras in the market currently. This superior performance allows for the capability to maintain the chosen frame rate up to 30 fps on the primary stream, even with up to three other streams running. The benefit of this technology is that it offers full frame rate video without sacrificing the flexibility for secondary streams. Alternatively, users will get to experience best in class performance and image quality of 25 fps with TrueDetail HDR. StreamLite Compression: The C-series camera line comes integrated with advanced real-time adaptive video encoder enhancement technology, applied to both H.264 and H.265 video compression technologies. StreamLite reduces bandwidth and storage space required by the camera by more than 50% and in scenes with no motion, it minimizes the encoded stream by more than 90%, with minimal impact on the final image quality. Additionally, the C-series does all this without compromising on the details that matter the most. Integrated VMS (Video Management System)/NVR (Network Video Recorder) partners have access to StreamLite+ technology and they can achieve an additional 20% compression, thanks to the advanced capabilities of Oncam’s ColorMap Compression technology. This patented pre-compression color optimization technology works with other Oncam compression technologies to reduce bandwidth and storage, with no perceptible impact on the image quality. TrueDetail HDR: This feature allows both dark and light areas within the same image to be visible and captured, while also revealing critical details in both dark and bright areas of a scene. TrueDetail HDR feature facilitates capturing two frames concurrently and by minimizing the time lag between short and long exposures, it delivers bright and sharp images with minimal motion blur. Advanced Light Management Technology: Integrated with advanced light management technology, the C-series camera dynamically manages the available light to achieve the best results, in every corner of every 360-degree scene. Whether it be extreme low light or a complex mixed lighting environment, it automatically optimizes image quality with whatever light is available to produce clearer, full-color, lower noise surveillance videos, while also maintaining the sharpness of static or moving objects, even in very low-light or dark conditions. C-Series Indoor and Outdoor Plus camera models Oncam's C-Series cameras are available in the market through a network of trusted Strategic Alliance Partners Oncam's C-Series cameras are available in the market through a network of trusted Strategic Alliance Partners, including some of the largest and trusted brands across the globe. The C-12 cameras are available with multiple accessories and mounting options for both the Indoor and Outdoor Plus models. “We are proud to be collaborating with Oncam on the launch of its C-Series cameras, their first portfolio of products powered by Qualcomm Technologies,” said Jeff Lorbeck, Senior Vice President and General Manager, IoT, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Jeff adds, “As the Oncam product portfolio grows, our shared vision of delivering innovative camera solutions will enable us to continue unlocking the ‘Internet of Things’ potential for a variety of applications from enterprise, education to smart cities and beyond.” Qualcomm Technologies chosen as Oncam’s SoC vendor Qualcomm Technologies, a globally renowned video technology solutions provider with innovation and collaboration at their core, was chosen as Oncam’s System on a chip (SoC) vendor to ensure the market-renowned performance of the C-Series and beyond. “We are entering a new era for our industry so we have focused our efforts on building and nurturing a world-class team that centers on innovation through collaboration both internally and externally with the C-Series being the first tangible result of that mindset and approach,” said Scott Brothers, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Oncam. Scott adds, “Qualcomm Technologies’ investment into IoT and the ever-increasing use of IP video as a key element within the IoT ecosystem makes the Oncam/Qualcomm Technologies relationship a fantastic fit both now and in the future as we build out our product roadmap.”

How Do Hardware Improvements Drive Better Physical Security?
How Do Hardware Improvements Drive Better Physical Security?

New software developments have dominated technology innovation in the physical security industry for years, making more things possible to the benefit of integrators and end users. However, hardware is another important piece of the puzzle. No matter how great your software, the system doesn’t perform unless the hardware works too. In our enthusiasm over software developments, let’s not overlook the latest in the hardware world. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How do hardware improvements drive better physical security?

The Ins and Outs of a Successful Security Partnership
The Ins and Outs of a Successful Security Partnership

The only constant theme for video technology is its constant evolution. Over the last 40 years, cameras have gone from limited view, constantly monitored rarities to being one of the most populous Internet of Things (IoT) devices with a global reach. Fixed cameras with limited fields of view have been augmented with panoramic cameras with 180- and 360-degree viewing capabilities at ultra-high resolutions in the 4K and 8K ranges, a far cry from the grainy, monochrome viewing of the past. Threats have also evolved in that time, leading to a necessary evolution in security posture, moving from a series of individual programs and practices, to a comprehensive strategy designed around complex risk assessments. To ensure the successful implementation of your security stance in today’s world, you need technology to integrate seamlessly and vendors to work together to deliver coherent solutions rather than individual components. Since successful partnerships are always a two-way street, it’s important to take a look at some of the factors that vendors should offer and expect to receive when entering a beneficial partnership where technology seamlessly folds into the ecosystem of the partner’s technology offerings. Open Technology Standards If you ask any customer what the biggest negative is when it comes to new and emerging technologies, you’ll get a pretty rapid answer of “vendor lock-in.” You can have the best technology in the world, but if you don’t give a customer the opportunity to build multiple, “best-of-breed” products into a comprehensive strategy, you’re going to fall by the wayside pretty quickly. You need technology to integrate seamlessly and vendors to work together That’s not to say that you can’t have unique, proprietary or visionary technology; you absolutely can, and it is what innovation and progress thrives on. Building those technologies around open technology standards is vital if you are looking for wide-scale adoption. Using open technology standards also allows you to integrate with established industry players faster, more smoothly and with increased benefits to the customer. All of this leads to a faster time to revenue and a more rapid scaling of your presence in the market. Direct Technology Integrations Continuing the theme of open technology standards improving the ability to drive relationships with existing, complimentary technology partners, the directness and depth of integration also bears consideration. Using open technology standards also allows you to integrate with established industry players faster, more smoothly and with increased benefits to the customer One of the blights of building a security practice is getting all of your technologies to integrate together and feed information to each other. When you add the fact that each technology has its own user interface (UI) and management console, it can very quickly become overwhelming for the end user to keep tabs on each console, learn every interface and complicates building a workflow in the case of incidents or investigations. The administrators who manage the system also have to update each component individually, ensure that the integrations don’t break when an update is delivered and ensure that any new technologies don’t cause an existing piece of your solution to fail. As a technology vendor, if you have used open technology standards, and written your software with integrations in mind, you will find yourself becoming an easy solution to turn to. Camera manufacturers in particular can take advantage of this when integrating with a video management system (VMS). The deeper you integrate, and the easier you make it to manage, update, monitor and interact with your cameras for the VMS and subsequently the operator using the VMS, the more likely your technology will be designed into solutions. Open Communication and Equal Joint Development Successful partnerships are all about communication, and in my experience, having organizational alignment throughout both companies does wonders to improve the development processes. Executive support in particular is key, and a mutual understanding between leaders makes for a more successful go to market strategy. Equally as important is joint development, especially for engineering teams. Often, software engineers are just thrown the software from the larger of the two partners and told “make sure we integrate with this.”  It is then down to the engineering teams to figure out how the partner software works and figure out their integrations. This is less difficult if the partner is using open standards, but there is still a high degree of difficulty involved. It also takes longer to create, test, adjust and release software integrations in this way. Then you have to repeat the process whenever there is a software update on either side. Successful partnerships are all about communication If you work collaboratively as engineering teams with defined co-development plans and processes, this process is simplified, and a better solution is realised for the customer. Working as equals also allows you to drive technology advancement faster, especially for the longer established vendor. New technology companies are forced to innovate faster to stay alive and that is well worth remembering. Your mutual sales teams also have a large part to play here, since working together in front of customers with a connected message will deliver better feedback into the engineering teams for future developments and projects. If you build your technology partnerships on these foundations, then you are well positioned to deliver great solutions to your customers, real value when it comes to forming a major part of the wider security ecosystem and will be well on your way to becoming a mainstay in the physical security world.

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