Surveillance cameras - Expert commentary

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.

The Digital Transformation Of Modern Access Control Solutions
The Digital Transformation Of Modern Access Control Solutions

The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorization and the appropriate credentials. The access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customized and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms powers continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.

Optimizing Large-Scale Event Security and Operations with Intelligent Video Surveillance
Optimizing Large-Scale Event Security and Operations with Intelligent Video Surveillance

Large event venues spend significant resources on physical security, and the vast majority invest in video surveillance systems as a way of monitoring public areas such as parking lots, garages and seating, as well as “backstage” areas such as loading docks and offices. Even though the camera footage is often preserved for investigating incidents, for the most part, video footage goes untapped because – realistically – security staff cannot constantly and efficiently monitor cameras in real-time or review the high volumes of archived video. Video Analytics Powered by Artificial Intelligence Increasingly, event venues are overcoming this challenge and maximizing this video data by investing in intelligent video surveillance. In this article, I’d like to explore how the combination of traditional surveillance and groundbreaking video content analytics enables event venues to not only optimize physical security and safety, but also improve customer service, streamline operations, and gather valuable business intelligence. Deep learning and artificial intelligence-based video content analytic systems detect, identify, extract, and catalog all the objects that appear in video footage, based on classes and attributes such as gender, appearance similarity, color or size. This – along with behavioral detection, such as object interactions, dwell times, and navigation paths, as well as face and license plate recognition – enables searchable, actionable and quantifiable analysis of video. The technology makes it easy for users to accelerate post-event investigations, improve situational awareness, and derive critical business insights from video data. Accelerate post-event investigations, improve situational awareness, and derive critical business insights Accelerating Investigations and Real Time Response Where there are crowds, it’s not uncommon for medical or criminal incidents to transpire. In the aftermath, security teams must quickly understand the scene and, by making video searchable, video analytics helps them efficiently gather information or evidence from multiple camera. Whereas a manual search of video footage would require hours, if not days, of valuable time and staff resources – while being subject to human error – a video content analytics system enables effective multi-video search using a variety of filters, so that post-incident investigations can be focused and, thereby, accelerated. For instance, if witnesses claim that a man in a yellow shirt caused a disturbance and then drove away in a blue pickup truck, security could filter video to review instances where people or vehicles matching those descriptions appeared, and then focus their investigation on relevant video evidence. For the same example, if the perpetrator was still at large in the venue, security managers would want to track the person’s movements and, ultimately, apprehend him. Using the same cataloged metadata that drives video search, intelligent video surveillance accelerates real-time response to developing situations from threats and suspicious behaviors to emergencies, or even any behavior that requires closer monitoring or intervention. Something as mundane as an unwieldy queue forming at a concession stand, can translate into alerting logic that increases operators’ situational awareness and ability to effectively intervene when time is of the essence. By understanding developing situations in real-time, they can respond more quickly to prevent or solve a problem. Rule-based real time alerts Users can configure rule-based real-time alerts, based on specific scenarios – such as when people counts in the defined space next to the cashier are higher than the specified threshold, indicating a queue, or when vehicles are detected dwelling in a no-park zone or sensitive security area. In the case of the offender in the yellow shirt, security could configure alerts to notify for appearances of men in yellow shirts or blue pickup trucks within the event complex. If they’re able to extract the perpetrator’s face or license plate from the video search, security officers can also identify and track the specific person and vehicle of interest. Intelligent video surveillance users can compile “watchlists” Object recognition is helpful for tracking specific, identified threats, but it can also be leveraged for locating missing persons or vehicles or offering VIP services to guests who comply. Intelligent video surveillance users can compile “watchlists” – that include persons of interest, such as past agitators, recognized criminals or terrorists, missing persons or VIPs – to be alerted when matches for these faces appear in video. Face recognition can also be used to differentiate recognized employees from visitors that are not authorized to be in certain spaces, to prevent security breaches. Because camera conditions aren’t always optimal for “in the wild” face and license plate recognition – where lighting conditions or camera angles don’t always allow for a pristine face or plate capture – it is critical to have a comprehensive video content analysis tool for triggering alerts based object classifications and non-personally-identifiable parameters is critical. Optimizing Operations Based on Business Intelligence While having real-time situational awareness is crucial for proactive intervention to developing situations, understanding long-term activity and trends can be equally important for an events venue or stadium. With video analytics, video surveillance data can be aggregated over time to generate statistical intelligence, trend reports, and data visualizations for operational intelligence. This capability transforms video surveillance from a siloed security tool to an intelligence platform with broad value for business groups across the organization: Marketing departments can gain visitor demographic information for targeted advertising and product placements. On-site retailers can uncover how visitors navigate their stores and the products or spaces that draw the most attention. Property management can follow heatmaps demonstrating where visitors dwell and the durations they stay at certain exhibits or areas, to base rental and leasing fees on actionable and quantifiable intelligence. Operations managers can more effectively plan and hire staff for events, by analyzing visitor traffic trends, entry and exit points and occupancy statistics.   Video surveillance data can be aggregated over time to generate statistical intelligence For these reasons and more, event organizations that already rely on CCTV networks, should consider how to better leverage those existing investments to deliver substantial value across the organization: By making video searchable, actionable and quantifiable, intelligent video surveillance empowers event managers to enhance public safety and physical security, while also streamlining operations and improving customer service.

Latest Tyco International news

PSA Adds Johnson Controls’ Tyco Cloud Services To The Managed Security Service Provider Program (MSSP)
PSA Adds Johnson Controls’ Tyco Cloud Services To The Managed Security Service Provider Program (MSSP)

PSA, the consortium of professional systems integrators, announces the addition of Tyco Cloud to its Managed Security Service Provider Program (MSSP). Tyco Cloud is a cloud-based physical security management suite from Johnson Controls developed for video surveillance, access control, intelligence, and integration services on an open and modern micro services architecture. “Tyco Cloud has more than 20 years of experience providing cloud-based security services,” said Tim Brooks, PSA’s vice president of sales and vendor management. “As our industry moves more and more towards cloud-based offerings, Tyco Cloud is an important addition to our lineup of products.” Digital revenue streams Tyco Cloud provides the cost efficiency of software as a service (SaaS) with the simplicity of secure cloud connected hardware. Since its inception, Tyco Cloud has helped customers store and manage over 25 billion minutes of video surveillance in the cloud and is available in 140 countries. "PSA is a leading distributor with a powerful history of delivering best in class physical security technologies as well as the training and support their members need to take advantage of the digital transformation happening in our industry," said Martin Renkis, General Manager of Global Cloud Solutions for Physical Security at Johnson Controls. "We are focused on providing the best solutions to create new digital revenue streams for the PSA members and cost-effective value for their customers." On-Premise security infrastructure Cloud computing improves efficiency, reduces IT costs, and streamlines application management, while increasing scalability, availability, security, and convenience compared to traditional on-premise security infrastructure. Integrators in the PSA Network can leverage the power of IoT, big data, and artificial intelligence for security with Tyco Cloud. PSA’s MSSP program hinges on uniting partners in cybersecurity and cloud-based security solutions, offering training and certification opportunities and financing options with assistance from PSA.

Johnson Controls Release Illustra Pro Gen3 Bullet Camera With Smart Wide Dynamic Range
Johnson Controls Release Illustra Pro Gen3 Bullet Camera With Smart Wide Dynamic Range

Johnson Controls has added to its successful Illustra Pro camera family with the Illustra Pro Gen3 Bullet, featuring new Smart Wide Dynamic Range that optimizes video quality while minimizing configuration time. Available with standard or telephoto lens and in megapixel resolutions of 3MP and 4K, the Pro Gen3 Bullet provides customers with a selection of video images to match their operational requirements and is ideal for a wide variety of deployments in both medium and large-sized facilities. Smart Wide Dynamic Range available in the Pro Gen3 Bullet reduces configuration time while greatly improving the quality of the video stream in varying lighting environments. By effectively reading the scene, the Bullet can adjust contrasting and overall scene balance without operator intervention. Setup and management costs Setup times are also reduced with the addition of configuration profiles, such as retail, gaming and indoor/outdoor scenes, where camera settings are automatically adjusted based on the environment, with a simple click of a button. The Pro Gen3 Bullet automatically adjusts settings to the desired mount for ceiling or wall for additional labor savings The Pro Gen3 Bullet also automatically adjusts settings to the desired mount for ceiling or wall for additional labor savings. “The smart technology embedded in our latest generation of Illustra Pro cameras automates picture tuning and ensures that what you see is always dynamically optimized even in changing scenes and lighting conditions. We are aiming to reduce operator setup and management costs while always delivering a perfectly configured picture,” said Ric Wilton, Director of Product Management for Illustra. “Adding intelligent, automated capabilities to our solutions is core to our product design and the Illustra portfolio.” Video Intelligence Analytics Building off the previous generation of cameras, the Bullet improves on important features such as Wide Dynamic Range, Illustra IntelliZip bandwidth management, effective failover redundancy, cyber security and Video Intelligence Analytics. Users can offload analytic streaming from network video recorders to the edge on Illustra cameras, saving time and resources. This feature, Video Intelligence Analytics, provides real-time, user-customisable event alarms that allow for quick reaction to incidents. By gathering transformative data instantly, users can better allocate human resources elsewhere. As part of the Tyco Cyber Protection Product Security Program, the new generation of Illustra Pro cameras will also have enhanced safeguards against cyber attacks. Cyber-threat resilience With cyber-threat resilience in mind, the solution includes “secure boot” which prompts the installer to change passwords upon installation. Additional safeguard controls include an enhanced security mode, which forces the use of complex, non-default passwords and encrypted communications. The Pro Gen3 Bullet is now available for order in both 3MP and 8MP form factors, with additional options coming soon.

Tyco Launches A Video Support Portal To Provide Technical Support To Its Users
Tyco Launches A Video Support Portal To Provide Technical Support To Its Users

Tyco, the security brand of Johnson Controls, launches a new video support portal which offers a comprehensive and easy to use one-stop resource for installers, system integrators and distributors who may require technical support for American Dynamics and Illustra video solutions. Visitors to the support portal are able to raise a support ticket for any product under warranty or use a Live Chat facility to instantly connect with a member of the video technical support team based at Tyco’s Centre of Excellence in Belfast. They are also able to participate in a Tyco video Q&A forum which provides the opportunity to share information with other customers, as well as register to receive regular product updates. Premium video solutions An easy to navigate technical library provides a wide range of support material An easy to navigate technical library provides a wide range of support material, such as installation and user guides, knowledge articles, ‘how-to’ guides and technical advisory bulletins, in support of American Dynamics and Illustra cameras, recording solutions and Video Management Software (VMS). “We believe that our premium video solutions should be matched with premium pre and post sales support services,” said Peter Ainsworth, VP Customer Experience Security Products for Johnson Controls. “In this respect, the launch of the new Tyco video support portal, which follows on from the successful introduction of the Software House portal, represents a giant leap forward in terms of our efforts to streamline how our customers are able to efficiently access all of our technical support resources, either from a desktop PC or via a mobile App.” Two-Way exchange of files The ability to raise a support ticket via the portal negates the need for customers to visit individual brand websites to report a troubleshooting issue or spend time queuing on telephone support lines. The portal also provides a platform for a two-way exchange of files and directories The portal also provides a platform for a two-way exchange of files and directories, which significantly enhances the ability of the Tyco support team to quickly diagnose and resolve any technical issues. Available in iOS and Android versions from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, the free to download AD Support Portal mobile App enables users to access all the portal’s features via a smartphone or tablet. Real-Time sharing of files and images When installed on an iOS device, the App offers a number of additional time saving and practical features. These include: Live Chat: With Live Chat functionality available on the mobile App, as well as on a desktop PC, customers can trouble shoot video issues in real time via intercom with Tyco’s dedicated support team. Live chat and real-time sharing of files and images whilst an engineer is on site facilitates a quick diagnose and faster resolution of customer support issues. QR Scanner: Installation and user guides can be quickly viewed by simply scanning the QR code on a product’s packaging. Camera Configuration Tool: By simply entering a camera’s IP address, a systems integrator is able to conveniently configure or adjust the camera’s settings. Highest level of technical support “We are confident customers will be impressed with the functionality and breadth of support currently available at support.americandynamics.com, regardless of whether they access it via a PC or mobile device,” said Peter Ainsworth. “However, this is only the start. Over the coming months, we will be looking to take on-board feedback from customers to ensure the portal meets their requirements and is continually improved. We will, for example, shortly be adding our exacq brand to the portal. This will enable customers to experience the same level of support for exacqVision NVRs and VMS that they are currently able to receive for American Dynamics and Illustra video solutions. It is all part of our mission to offer the highest possible level of technical support.”

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