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From satellite imagery to street views to indoor mapping, technology has disrupted our past world. This has left us dependent upon new ways to visualise large spaces. This new world has brought many benefits and risks. But what does that mean for the security professional or facility manager today and what technologies can be used to secure buildings and improve facility operations? A Brief History Of 3D Technology Starting May 5, 2007 (inception 2001), Google rolled out Google Street View to augment Google Maps and Google Earth; documenting some of the most remote places on earth using a mix of sensors (Lidar/GSP/Radar/Imagery). The mission to map the world moved indoors May 2011 with Google Business Photos mapping indoor spaces with low cost 360° cameras under the Trusted Photographer program. In the earlier days, 3D scanning required a high level of specialization, expensive hardware and unavailable computing power With the growth of 3D laser scanning from 2007 onwards, the professional world embraced scanning as effective method to create digitised building information modeling (BIM), growing fast since 2007. BIM from scanning brought tremendous control, time and cost savings through the design and construction process, where As-Built documentation offered an incredible way to manage large existing facilities while reducing costly site visits. In the earlier days, 3D scanning required a high level of specialization, expensive hardware, unavailable computing power and knowledge of architectural software. Innovation during the past 8 year, have driven ease of use and lower pricing to encourage market adoption. Major investments in UAVs in 2014 and the commercial emergence of 360° photography began a new wave of adoption. While 3D scanners still range from $20K – $100K USD, UAVs can be purchased for under $1K USD and 360° cameras for as low as $100. UAVs and 360° cameras also offer a way to document large spaces in a fraction of the time of terrestrial laser scanners with very little technical knowledge. Access to building plans, satellite imagery, Google Street View, indoor virtual tours and aerial drone reconnaissance prove effective tools to bad actors The result over the past 10+ years of technology advancement has been a faster, lower cost, more accessible way to create virtual spaces. However, the technology advances carry a major risk of misuse by bad actors at the same time. What was once reserved to military personal is now available publicly. Access to building plans, satellite imagery, Google Street View, indoor virtual tours and aerial drone reconnaissance prove effective tools to bad actors. Al Qaeda terror threats using Google Maps, 2007 UK troops hit by terrorists in Basra, 2008 Mumbai India attacks, 2016 Pakistan Pathankot airbase attacks, ISIS attacks in Syria using UAVs, well-planned US school shootings and high casualty attacks show evidence that bad actors frequently leverage these mapping technologies to plan their attacks. The weaponization of UAVs is of particular concern to the Department of Homeland Security: "We continue to face one of the most challenging threat environments since 9/11, as foreign terrorist organizations exploit the internet to inspire, enable or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist acts." Example comparison of reality capture on the left of BIM on the right. A $250 USD 360° camera was used for the capture in VisualPlan.net software What Does This Mean For The Security Or Facility Manager Today? An often overlooked, but critical vulnerability to security and facility managers is relying on inaccurate drawing. Most facilities managers today work with outdated 2D plan diagrams or old blueprints which are difficult to update and share.Critical vulnerability to security and facility managers is relying on inaccurate drawing Renovations, design changes and office layout changes leave facility managers with the wrong information, and even worse is that the wrong information is shared with outside consultants who plan major projects around outdated or wrong plans. This leads to costly mistakes and increased timelines on facility projects. Example Benefits Of BIM There could be evidence of a suspect water value leak which using BIM could be located and then identified in the model without physical inspection; listing a part number, model, size and manufacture. Identification of vulnerabilities can dramatically help during a building emergency. First Responders rely on facilities managers to keep them updated on building plans and they must have immediate access to important building information in the event of a critical incident. Exits and entrances, suppression equipment, access control, ventilation systems, gas and explosives, hazmat, water systems, survival equipment and many other details must be at their fingertips. In an emergency situation this can be a matter of life or death. Example Benefit Of Reality Capture First Responders rely on facilities managers to keep them updated on building plans A simple 360° walk-through can help first responders with incident preparedness if shared by the facility manager. Police, fire and EMS can visually walk the building, locating all critical features they will need knowledge of in an emergency without ever visiting the building. You don’t require construction accuracy for this type of visual sharing. This is a solution and service we offer as a company today. Reality capture is rapidly becoming the benchmark for facility documentation and the basis from which a security plan can be built. Given the appropriate software, plans can be easily updated and shared. They can be used for design and implementation of equipment, training of personnel and virtual audits of systems or security assessments by outside professionals. Our brains process visual information thousands of times faster than text. Not only that, we are much more likely to remember it once we do see it. Reality capture can help reduce the need for physical inspections, walk-throughs and vendor site-visits but more importantly, it provides a way to visually communicate far more effectively and accurately than before. But be careful with this information. You must prevent critical information falling into the hands of bad actors. You must watch out for bad actors attempting to use reality capture as a threat, especially photo/video/drones or digital information and plans that are posted publicly. Have a security protocol to prevent and confront individuals taking photos or video on property or flying suspect drones near your facility and report to the authorities. Require authorization before capturing building information and understand what the information will be used for and by who.There are a number of technologies to combat nefarious use of UAVs today Nefarious Use Of UAVs There are a number of technologies to combat nefarious use of UAVs today, such as radio frequency blockers and jammers, drone guns to down UAVs, detection or monitoring systems. Other biometrics technologies like facial recognition are being employed to counter the risk from UAVs by targeting the potential operators. UAVs are being used to spy and monitor for corporate espionage and stealing intellectual property. They are also used for monitoring security patrols for the purpose of burglary. UAVs have been used for transport and delivery of dangerous goods, delivering weapons and contraband and have the ability to be weaponised to carry a payload.Investigating reality capture to help with accurate planning and visualization of facilities is well worth the time The Federal Aviation Administration has prevented UAV flights over large event stadiums, prisons and coast guard bases based on the risks they could potentially pose, but waivers do exist. Be aware that it is illegal today to use most of these technologies and downing a UAV, if you are not Department of Justice or Homeland Security, could carry hefty penalties. Facility managers must have a way to survey and monitor their buildings for threats and report suspicious UAV behaviours immediately to authorities. At the same time, it’s critical to identify various potential risks to your wider team to ensure awareness and reporting is handled effectively. Having a procedure on how identify and report is important. Investigating reality capture to help with accurate planning and visualization of facilities is well worth the time. It can help better secure your facilities while increasing efficiencies of building operations. Reality capture can also help collaboration with first responders and outside professionals without ever having to step a foot in the door. But secure your data and have a plan for bad actors who will try to use the same technologies for nefarious goals.
In 1901 New York state made a pioneering regulation move and became the first US state to require automobile owners to register their vehicles. This marked the beginning of regulation on modern traffic, which - following decades of development - resulted in a multi-layer concept of regulation relating to vehicles and driver’s licenses, traffic signs and insurance mechanisms that we are all familiar with nowadays. While certain parallels can be drawn between the early days of cars and our contemporary experience with quadcopters, we are facing a new challenging era that is far more complex to organize and regulate. Integrating Drones In Existing Regulatory Ecosystem Similar to other pioneering technologies in the past, drones need to integrate into a long existing and well-balanced ecosystem, the rules of which have first been drafted some one hundred years ago and have evolved without taking vehicles such as drones into account. Yet the safety risks related to aviation hinder the quick integration of drones into that ecosystem, broadening the gap between existing regulatory landscape and the exponentially growing popularity and ever-advancing technology of drones. The safety risks related to aviation hinder the quick integration of drones into the legislative ecosystem For the past several years, governments and legislators have been trying to tackle this problem by trying to answer two questions: how to properly integrate drones into the airspace without creating a hazardous impact on existing airborne operations, and how to enforce regulations in order to prevent the side-effects related to careless or malicious drone flights, taking into consideration public safety and physical security. Counter-UAS Measures And Regulations Up until 2018, legislators tried to tackle these two questions as a whole by introducing bundled legislation drafts covering the entire landscape of gaps they needed to address, which resulted in multi-parliamentary committee efforts both in the US and abroad to review and approve each bill - a process that is very slow by design. It was only in the beginning of this year that the issues were starting to be addressed separately: legislation related to limitations and counter-drone measures on the one hand, and legislation related to integration into airspace on the other. Let’s take a closer look at Counter-UAS (unmanned aerial systems) measures and what makes them challenging in terms of regulation. Over the past years, various counter-drone technologies have been introduced to enable control over rogue drones in order to either stop them from achieving their flight purpose or prevent them from creating safety hazards to people or property. These measures can be grouped into 3 types of technologies: Military grade solutions - including lasers and surface-air missiles Kinetic solutions - including net-guns and autonomous drones set out to catch the rogue drone and disable it airborne Non-kinetic RF-based solutions - aimed at either disabling, disrupting or accessing the drone’s communications channels in order to trigger a return-to-home function, or guide the drone into a safe landing route Aside from combat military operations, the legality of using the above technologies is questionable as they tamper with an airborne aircraft, might be considered as wiretapping and/or violate computer fraud laws. Therefore, one can conclude that unless changes to regulation are made, non-military facilities will continue to be defenseless from and vulnerable to rogue drones. One can conclude that unless changes to regulation are made, non-military facilities will continue to be defenseless from and vulnerable to rogue drones European c-UAS Legislation Next, let’s look at the state of c-UAS legislation in both Europe and US to better understand different legislative ecosystems and how they affect the possibilities of using counter drone measures. In the European Union, there is currently no uniform legislation, and the member countries rely on their own existing legal infrastructures. Roughly speaking, most countries use a method of exemptions to the communications and aviation laws to allow the use of counter drone measures after a close examination by the relevant authorities. Such exemptions are approved under scrutiny to particular sites, which provide some relief, but they do not allow broad use of countermeasures. Further discussion regarding a broader regulation change, on a country level or EU-wide, is only preliminary. US c-UAS Legislation Preventing Emerging Threats - provides an initial infrastructure for counter drone measures to be used by various DoJ and DHS agenciesUnlike the EU, in the US exemptions are not possible within the existing legal framework, and the possible violation of US code title 18 means that the hands of both the government or private entities are tied when attempting to protect mass public gatherings, sports venues, or critical infrastructure. Therefore, it was more urgent to introduce legislation that would allow countermeasures to some extent. In September, US Congress approved the FAA-reauthorization act for the next 5 years (H.R. 302), which was shortly after signed by the President and came into effect. Division H of the act - Preventing Emerging Threats - provides an initial infrastructure for counter drone measures to be used by various DoJ (Department of Justice) and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) agencies under strict limitations. However, the act avoids determining which technology the agencies should use, yet it requires minimal impact on privacy and overall safety in order to strike the necessary balance. This is the first profound counter-drone legislation and is expected to be followed by additional measures both in the US and in other countries. Updating Counter-Drone Legal Infrastructure In summary, 2018 has been a pioneering year for counter-drone legislation, and while technology already allows taking action when necessary, legal infrastructure needs further updates in order to close the existing gaps: covering additional federal assets, state-level governments, and private facilities of high importance, such as critical infrastructure sites. Legislators in the US and around the world need to continue working in a rapid tempo to keep up with the growing threat of drones. As with cars a century ago, the number of accidents will rise with the increase in time taken to regulate.
Video surveillance systems have proven to not only be a deterrent to crime, but are also now being used to collect data points to actually help detect abnormal behaviours which can alert authorities of potentially evolving situations. In either case, recorded video is critical for investigations to provide all but irrefutable evidence to prove or disprove that an incident took place and the identity of the individuals involved. Sounds like a pragmatic approach that’s quite simple in theory. Not so when large numbers of cameras are deployed across multiple sites, and perhaps multiple users within the framework of a centrally managed system. Examples include a mass transit system, large university campus, mega malls, airports, gaming resorts… and more. Video Management Systems (VMS) have evolved from simply facilitating camera and recording management to a more sophisticated role Aside from the challenges presented with multiple camera feeds, recorders and control locations, and assuming that all system components are operating as they should; investigators need the right tools to find the footage they need. Today’s advanced Video Management Systems (VMS) have evolved from simply facilitating camera and recording management to a more sophisticated role within a larger video surveillance and security system ecosystem. Coordinated Response Efforts From monitoring and tracking a live situation within a facility or across a municipality, to coordinating response efforts, through forensic investigations, new VMS capabilities provide a holistic solution that improves overall protection and contributes to business intelligence. Among these capabilities, VMS forensic tools are meeting the needs of important investigation activity – both during and after an incident. For instance, while monitoring live video feeds, users can perform a basic investigation on individual cameras including playback, and digital and optical pan-tilt-zoom (for PTZ cameras), without the need to switch to a dedicated investigation mode. New VMS capabilities provide a holistic solution during the investigation process Advanced VMS solutions, such as OnSSI’s Ocularis, provide investigators with a multitude of options for accessing and enhancing video data to document incidents. Some of the most notable toolsets available include: Switching Between Live And Browse Modes As opposed to the Live Monitoring view, which displays multiple cameras asynchronously (i.e. different panes can show playback, paused and/or live cameras simultaneously), the Browse mode displays all cameras synchronously. This provides insight into events taking place at different locations at the time an incident occurred, allowing investigators to easily track an incident as it moves from camera to camera. Scalable Kinetic Timeline Any video recordings triggered due to motion detection can be automatically queued to speed up the investigation processThis provides a clear overview of recorded motion events over extended periods of time with the ability to scale the timeline to show shorter or longer time intervals. Color-coded segments in the timeline indicate whether video has been recorded at a certain time to the minute, and whether motion was detected during those periods. Any video recordings triggered due to motion detection can be automatically queued to speed up the investigation process. Once investigators isolate recorded video of interest using any of these preferences, one or multiple cameras can then be easily viewed. Synchronous Playback Synchronous playback displays all recorded video from all displayed cameras on the timeline into a Browse mode regardless of which video source is selected. This provides investigators with a comprehensive overview and fast access to all recorded video during the time intervals that an event occurred. One-Click Snapshot And Motion Detection One-click snapshot allows investigators take JPEG image snapshots of any recorded video during the review process. These snapshots have multiple applications including identifying individuals of interest. Motion detection eliminates the need to manually review volumes of recorded data Motion Detection expedites the event detection process by eliminating the need to manually review volumes of recorded video data. Motion can be detected within a defined zone, and the detection process can be configured to the exact parameters of the targeted behavior or movement. The desired time intervals to search for motion detection can be preset by operators to expedite searches. The percentage of changed pixels can also be set when searching by motion detection to match the nature of the targeted movement. For example, high value setting would be used to detect a vehicle entering a detection region down to the size of a single parking space, eliminating false detections of persons walking in the parking lot. Additionally, parameters can be set for pixel color and brightness to compensate for the amount of noise caused by ambient lighting, shadows, reflections and more.Motion Detection expedites the event detection process by eliminating the need to manually review volumes of recorded video data Slicing Capabilities Time Slicing enables users to easily and quickly access video of an incident by automatically generating equal-interval thumbnails of a specific camera view. Once the incident is evident in one of the thumbnails, investigators can create sets of thumbnails of increasingly smaller time intervals to determine the exact moment an incident began and/or ended. Motion Slicing is similar to a Time Slicer, but enables instant detection of motion events, adjusted for the duration of the event and level of motion. Alert Generators Alerts generated by the recording component in response to events such as motion detection or generic events received from external systems (e.g. access control, emergency phones, etc.) may also be used in Time Slicing. Event Sequencing provides messages generated by the recording components indicating a sequence of events. Each sequence may include one or more instances of motion, or alerts received from external sources, making this method more suitable for accessing complex incidents. Combined with the inherent video management and control capabilities provided by best in breed VMS solutions, these powerful new embedded investigation tools allow users with large surveillance systems to fully leverage the power of their investment to easily and comprehensively investigate events.
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