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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.  

Reopening Doors: What Steps Should be Taken to Ensure Safety and Security?
Reopening Doors: What Steps Should be Taken to Ensure Safety and Security?

A total of £1.6 billion worth of goods are reported as ‘lost’ to in-store theft in supermarkets each year, with figures increasing steadily. The presence of self-checkout systems have increased in supermarkets, as well as other industry retailers. By 2021, we’re globally on track to have 468,000 self-checkout machines in operation, nearly double the 240,000 in existence since 2016. While this increase comes with such benefits as reduced wait times for customers and staff costs, it also comes with a risk of retail theft at self-checkouts. With the circumstances the world now finds itself in i.e. mass unemployment, financial uncertainty, the retail industry has seen an influx in these types of petty crimes, hitting retailers during an already turbulent period. While retailers are taking precautions to protect themselves and their patrons in this new era of in-person shopping, it’s important to ensure the business itself is protected. A popular method to combat these fears is to employ on-site security personnel, however, as we continue to adapt to new operating guidelines, retailers must begin thinking past the immediate future, and begin implementing long-term security solutions to prepare for life after lockdown such as strong CCTV systems with remote access. How has the security industry adapted its services to a post-lockdown world? Technological innovations like thermal recognition are key to adapting security systems for a post-lockdown world. Businesses which previously relied on facial recognition now must update their methods to account for shoppers wearing masks on-site and in-store. By 2021, we’re globally on track to have 468,000 self-checkout machines in operation, nearly double the 240,000 in existence since 2016 Biometric systems are now able to identify people with face masks, and thermal recognition such ADT’s Thermi-Scan system which can track human body temperature without the need for contact. Implementing these safe protocol procedures protect both employees and customers against virus outbreaks such as COVID-19. The need for these advances in video surveillance will reportedly increase the biometric facial recognition market by 14 per cent by 2027. Artificial intelligence has been hailed recently as the way forward for remote security needs, and while business-owners continue to navigate procedures of returning to work post-lockdown, having remote access to real-time security monitoring is essential now more than ever. What are the main measures stores can take to prevent or reduce theft? Strategically placing a multi-camera surveillance system to ensure clarity, eliminate blind spots, and deter thieves should be top priority. It’s equally essential to invest in a system which has an efficient playback program, particularly in situations where reviewing important footage efficiently can offer vital information to the police force. Advances in video surveillance will reportedly increase the biometric facial recognition market by 14 per cent by 2027 As business-owners continue operating at reduced hours and with limited on-site staff, being able to access camera footage quickly and remotely is a key factor to consider. Whether owners opt to receive an alert on a mobile device allowing them to review notifications, or if their system is monitored by a remote security center, it’s important to be able to access footage quickly for added efficiency and ease. Facial recognition and AI have been popular points of discussion in relation to security cameras and CCTV. While careful considerations must be taken prior to utilising any sort of facial recognition technology, including conducting a Privacy Impact Assessment, the benefits include being provided with real-time tracking of repeat offenders which immensely helps the prevention of in-store theft. Here are some key points to consider when choosing in-store surveillance: Assess your needs – To get the best out of your security system, it is essential to analyze what your requirements are for your business as they might have changed to adapt to a post-lockdown world Camera setup – With store layouts shifting to accommodate social distancing guidelines, it’s important to re-evaluate the current set-up of any security cameras. Depending on any layout updates, it might be important to consider operating multiple cameras in one area to ensure a peripheral view and eliminate any blind spots Camera positioning – For optimal performance, check that light sources are not obstructing your view such as glare from the sun. It is also worth considering the height at which cameras are installed to maximize surveillance Check the focus – It is worth testing camera lenses bi-monthly to ensure that lighting or weather hasn’t affected the focus of the lens, resulting in a blurry visual Remote access – As guidelines continue to evolve, ensure you’re able to access any necessary camera footage quickly and safely in case of emergency Will we begin to see a reduction of theft as new technology is implemented? We’re beginning to see incidents of shoplifting and theft being taken more seriously by law enforcement. In the coming months, for the first time in Britain nearly twenty shoplifters who were either caught red-handed or identified on CCTV will be appearing before magistrates. While currently these court cases are being pursued by a private police force, these actions come after a Government plea to high-level police to prosecute shoplifters stealing under £200. Retailers have long voiced concerns that forces have abandoned low-level thefts and these steps are small but show that businesses are being heard. As innovations in surveillance security continue, we’ll be seeing a move away from human involvement which will create a more reliable and efficient system able to rely on machine learning and analytics. While there have been wider strides made in utilising AI for surveillance, these are largely being used currently by local governments to alert police forces to threats of criminal activity. It’s not unreasonable to think that in the near future, these types of smart technology will be employed by private businesses to analyze suspicious behavior or possible theft. However, as we see an increase in the advancement of security technology, we anticipate that those inclined to commit in-store theft will adapt their methods, therefore retailers should look to regularly evaluate their security needs to keep risks at bay.

Can CCTV Become A More Effective Tool?
Can CCTV Become A More Effective Tool?

We all know that having CCTV around your home can help to protect you and your family. Without CCTV, you could end up in danger and an intruder could get away with breaking into your house, hurting your loved ones and stealing your possessions. Similarly, without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process. In short, making sure you have CCTV is important for both home and business security. However, it can be improved to become a more effective system so that you’re better protected, and can even deter a potential intruder without having to panic. In our world of ever-changing technology, we’re able to upgrade and enhance our CCTV systems so they can become a monitored system. Remote CCTV monitoring is an ideal way to protect everyone and everything whether you’re at home or at a workplace. What is remote CCTV monitoring? For a long time, CCTV was one of the best ways to keep your home, the office and people safe. But people started to notice that it would only deter people so much of the time and often the cameras were ignored by intruders. They would just cover their faces and hope for the best as they steal from a home, office or any other premises. Remote CCTV monitoring is a system that can loop into your existing CCTV, or come preinstalled with a new system. This technology sends a feed to a control room full of trained operators that are on call 24/7. Within this control room, operators are able to respond to any sort of distress call or unauthorised movement on the property line.  How does it work? Remote CCTV monitoring works by attaching to a live feed of your CCTV system, existing or new, so that the signal and images can be passed to a team of operators. These operators are on hand 24/7 so that if there is a problem, you know that you're safe in the hands of a specialist team. The specialist team has been trained to mitigate the chances of somebody breaking into your home when the system is triggered; similarly they call the local authorities instantly so that the potential intruder has less time to flee the scene. This is especially important if an intruder is already inside your property because they have less time to steal your items and leave. Without CCTV in the office, you’ll be leaving yourself open to all kinds of damage and could lose a lot of equipment in the process One of the biggest questions that revolve around remote CCTV monitoring is the idea of operators watching the CCTV at all times. Luckily most remote CCTV monitoring systems will incorporate a motion detection system to accompany your CCTV. Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line. These motion detection systems are state-of-the-art and so, depending on the system that you choose, they can watch over your property from a number of angles. Once the motion detection system has been triggered and the alert has been sent to the control room, then and only then will the operators get involved. This means that until the motion detection system has been triggered, nobody will watch your live CCTV feed. After one of the systems has been triggered, one of the specialist operators will instantly jump into action. This means that they can take different measures to deter any potential intruder and make sure that they do everything in their power to stop any damage or theft from the premises. In addition to the motion detection system and CCTV, you are able to opt for a public address (PA) system too. This means that an operator is able to shout commands through the PA system and potentially scare away any intruder. The intruder will also be warned about the fact that local authorities have already been called to the location.  Remote monitoring versus traditional CCTV Motion detection offers the ability to alert a control room if there is an unauthorised entry to the property line Having a monitored CCTV system means that you're able to better protect yourself, your business, employees and even your loved ones. Whether you're at home or in the office, having someone looking over your shoulder protecting your every move is something that can be appreciated by everybody. The biggest problem with just having traditional CCTV, is that it is a reactive system. This means that rather than stopping crime, a CCTV system just records it. While the thought is that having a CCTV camera visible can deter some intruders, there's no real evidence to suggest that it stops anybody; anyone can simply cover their face and carry on breaking into your home, office or even your car. As mentioned, remote CCTV monitoring is going to tackle that problem and make sure that someone is on hand to protect you at all times.

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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