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Insider threat programs started with counter-espionage cases in the government. Today, insider threat programs have become a more common practice in all industries, as companies understand the risks associated with not having one. To build a program, you must first understand what an insider threat is. An insider threat is an employee, contractor, visitor or other insider who have been granted physical or logical access to a company that can cause extensive damage. Damage ranges from emotional or physical injury, to personnel, financial and reputational loss to data loss/manipulation or destruction of assets. Financial and confidential information While malicious insiders only make up 22% of the threats, they have the most impact on an organization Most threats are derived from the accidental insider. For example, it’s the person who is working on a competitive sales pitch on an airplane and is plugging in financial and confidential information. They are working hard, yet their company’s information is exposed to everyone around them. Another type of insider, the compromised insider, is the person who accidentally downloaded malware when clicking on a fake, urgent email, exposing their information. Malicious insiders cause the greatest concerns. These are the rogue employees who may feel threatened. They may turn violent or take action to damage the company. Or you have the criminal actor employees who are truly malicious and have been hired or bribed by another company to gather intel. Their goal is to gather data and assets to cause damage for a specific purpose. While malicious insiders only make up 22% of the threats, they have the most impact on an organization. They can cause brand and financial damage, along with physical and mental damage. Insider threat program Once you determine you need an insider threat program, you need to build a business case and support it with requirements. Depending on your industry, you can start with regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, NERC CIP, PCI, etc. Talk to your regulator and get their input. Everyone needs to be onboard, understand the intricacies of enacting a program Next, get a top to bottom risk assessment to learn your organization’s risks. A risk assessment will help you prioritize your risks and provide recommendations about what you need to include in your program. Begin by meeting with senior leadership, including your CEO to discuss expectations. Creating an insider threat program will change the company culture, and the CEO must understand the gravity of his/her decision before moving forward. Everyone needs to be onboard, understand the intricacies of enacting a program and support it before its implemented. Determining the level of monitoring The size and complexity of your company will determine the type of program needed. One size does not fit all. It will determine what technologies are required and how much personnel is needed to execute the program. The company must determine what level of monitoring is needed to meet their goals. After the leadership team decides, form a steering committee that includes someone from legal, HR and IT. Other departments can join as necessary. This team sets up the structure, lays out the plan, determines the budget and what type of technologies are needed. For small companies, the best value is education. Educate your employees about the program, build the culture and promote awareness. Teach employees about the behaviors you are looking for and how to report them. Behavioral analysis software Every company is different and you need to determine what will gain employee support The steering committee will need to decide what is out of scope. Every company is different and you need to determine what will gain employee support. The tools put in place cannot monitor employee productivity (web surfing). That is out of scope and will disrupt the company culture. What technology does your organization need to detect insider threats? Organizations need software solutions that monitor, aggregate and analyze data to identify potential threats. Behavioral analysis software looks at patterns of behavior and identifies anomalies. Use business intelligence/data analytics solutions to solve this challenge. This solution learns the normal behavior of people and notifies security staff when behavior changes. This is done by setting a set risk score. Once the score crosses a determined threshold, an alert is triggered. Case and incident management tools Predictive analytics technology reviews behaviors and identifies sensitive areas of companies (pharmacies, server rooms) or files (HR, finance, development). If it sees anomalous behavior, it can predict behaviours. It can determine if someone is going to take data. It helps companies take steps to get ahead of bad behavior. If an employee sends hostile emails, they are picked up and an alert is triggered User sentiment detection software can work in real time. If an employee sends hostile emails, they are picked up and an alert is triggered. The SOC and HR are notified and security dispatched. Depending on how a company has this process set-up, it could potentially save lives. Now that your organization has all this data, how do you pull it together? Case and incident management tools can pool data points and create threat dashboards. Cyber detection system with access control An integrated security system is recommended to be successful. It will eliminate bubbles and share data to see real-time patterns. If HR, security and compliance departments are doing investigations, they can consolidate systems into the same tool to have better data aggregation. Companies can link their IT/cyber detection system with access control. Deploying a true, integrated, open system provides a better insider threat program. Big companies should invest in trained counterintelligence investigators to operate the program. They can help identify the sensitive areas, identify who the people are that have the most access to them, or are in a position to do the greatest amount of harm to the company and who to put mitigation plans around to protect them. They also run the investigations. Potential risky behavior Using the right technology along with thorough processes will result in a successful program You need to detect which individuals are interacting with information systems that pose the greatest potential risk. You need to rapidly and thoroughly understand the user’s potential risky behavior and the context around it. Context is important. You need to decide what to investigate and make it clear to employees. Otherwise you will create a negative culture at your company. Develop a security-aware culture. Involve the crowd. Get an app so if someone sees something they can say something. IT should not run the insider threat program. IT is the most privileged department in an organization. If something goes wrong with an IT person, they have the most ability to do harm and cover their tracks. They need to be an important partner, but don’t let them have ownership and don’t let their administrators have access. Educating your employees and creating a positive culture around an insider threat program takes time and patience. Using the right technology along with thorough processes will result in a successful program. It’s okay to start small and build.
Today, the world is connected like never before. Your watch is connected to your phone, which is connected to your tablet and so on. As we’ve begun to embrace this ‘smart’ lifestyle, what we’re really embracing is the integration of systems. Why do we connect our devices? The simplest answer is that it makes life easier. But, if that’s the case, why stop at our own personal devices? Connection, when applied to a business’ operations, is no different: it lowers effort and expedites decision making. Integrating security systems Systems integration takes the idea of connected devices and applies it to an enterprise Systems integration takes the idea of connected devices and applies it to an enterprise, bringing disparate subcomponents into a single ecosystem. This could mean adding a new, overarching system to pull and collect data from existing subsystems, or adapting an existing system to serve as a data collection hub. Regardless of the method, the purpose is to create a single, unified view. Ultimately, it’s about simplifying processes, gaining actionable insights into operations and facilitating efficient decision-making. Although integration is becoming the new norm in other areas of life, businesses often opt out of integrating security systems because of misconceptions about the time and resources required to successfully make the change. So, instead of a streamlined operation, the various security systems and devices are siloed, not communicating with each other and typically being run by different teams within an organization. Time-Intensive process When systems are not integrated, companies face a wide range of risks driven by a lack of transparency and information sharing, including actual loss of property or assets. For example, a team in charge of access control is alerted to a door being opened in the middle of the night but can’t see what exactly is taking place through video surveillance. Without integrated systems they have no way of knowing if it was a burglar, an equipment malfunction or a gust of wind. Without integration between systems and teams, the ability to quickly put the right pieces in front of decision makers is missing. Instead, the team would have to go back and manually look for footage that corresponds with the time a door was open to figure out which door it was, who opened it and what happened after, which can be a time-intensive process. Integrating access control and surveillance systems Theft and vandalism occur quickly, meaning systems and users must work faster in order to prevent it This slowed response time adds risk to the system. Theft and vandalism occur quickly, meaning systems and users must work faster in order to prevent it. Security systems can do more than communicate that theft or vandalism occurred. Properly integrated, these systems alert users of pre-incident indicators before an event happens or deter events altogether. This gives teams and decision makers more time to make effective decisions. Integrating access control and surveillance systems allows for a more proactive approach. If a door is opened when it’s not supposed to be, an integrated system enables users to quickly see what door was opened, who opened it and make a quick decision. Integrated solutions are more effective, more efficient and help drive cost-saving decisions. Ideally, companies should establish integrated solutions from the start of operations. This allows companies to anticipate problems and adjust accordingly instead of reacting after an incident has occurred. Security camera system Although starting from the beginning is the best way to ensure comprehensive security, many companies have existing security systems, requiring integration and implementation to bring them together. Typically, companies with established security systems worry about the impact to infrastructure requirements. Is additional infrastructure necessary? How and where should it be added? What financial or human resources are required? These concerns drive a mentality that the benefits gained from an integrated solution aren’t worth the costs of implementation. Thankfully, this is becoming less of a problem as security providers, like Twenty20™ Solutions, work to offer adaptable solutions. With flexible options, operators don’t worry about adding or replacing infrastructure to align with a provider’s model. This allows users to monitor camera footage and gate traffic from one system If a company has an existing security camera system, but identifies a need for access control, a modern integrated solution provider can supply the gates for access points and equip the gates and cameras with the technology to connect the two. This allows users to monitor camera footage and gate traffic from one system. This model also spares operators additional costs by using a sole vendor for supplemental needs. Overall management of security While a single, unified system is beneficial for cost saving, it can also help the overall management of security. The ability to view all operating systems in one dashboard allows security personnel to manage a site from any location, reducing the expense and effort required to manage a system. The mobile world today means security directors no longer need to be in a centralized operations center to see alerts and make decisions. This simplifies processes by allowing users to quickly see an alert, pull up a camera, delete a user or check an access log from a phone. Modern networks are secure and accessible to those with permissions, without requiring those users to be physically present. Consolidating security systems is the first step companies can take toward streamlining work, information and costs. The next step is integrating all sites, both remote and on-grid. Energy and communication technology The integration of sites and systems turns mountains of data and information into actionable intelligence Traditional methods demanded two systems: one for on-grid facilities and another for off-grid locations. With advancements in energy and communication technology, the need for multiple systems is gone. Data from remote sites can be safely and securely fed into an existing system. These remote locations may gather, distribute and manage data in a different manner than a connected system due to the cost of transmission via remote connections (i.e., cellular or satellite connection). The end result, however, is a consistent and holistic view of operations for the decision maker. The integration of sites and systems turns mountains of data and information into actionable intelligence. With connected devices monitoring occurrences at individual sites, as well as events across locations, the data tells a story that is unhindered by operational silos or physical space. Identifying patterns and trends Instead of providing 10 hours-worth of footage that may or may not be relevant, system analytics can provide users with the specific set of information they need. Incidents once discarded as ‘one-off’ events can now be analyzed and data-mapped to identify patterns and trends, directing future resources to the most critical areas first. Consumers are increasingly expecting everything they need to be right where they need it – and businesses are right behind them. The current generation of security professionals are increasingly expecting the simplicity of their everyday personal tasks to be mirrored in enterprise systems, which means giving them the ability to see what matters in one place. A unified system can provide just that, a single view to help simplify processes, promote cost saving and accelerate decision making.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is improving everyday solutions, driving efficiency in ways we never imagined possible. From self-driving cars to intelligent analytics, the far-reaching impacts of Deep Learning-based technology empower human operators to achieve results more effectively while investing fewer resources and less time. By introducing AI, solutions are not merely powered by data, but they also generate valuable intelligence. Systems which were once leveraged for a narrow, dedicated purpose, can suddenly be engaged broadly across an organization, because the previously under-utilized data can be harnessed for enhancing productivity and performance. Video Analytics Software When it comes to physical security, for instance, video surveillance is a standard solution. Yet, by introducing AI-driven video analytics software, video data can be leveraged as intelligence in previously inaccessible ways. Here are some examples of how diverse organizations are using AI-based video intelligence solutions to enhance security and performance with searchable, actionable and quantifiable insights. The video intelligence software processes and analyses video to detect all the people and objects that appear Law enforcement relies on video surveillance infrastructure for extracting investigation evidence and monitoring people and spaces. Instead of manual video review and live surveillance – which is prone to human error and distraction – police can harness video content analysis to accelerate video investigations, enhance situational awareness, streamline real-time response, identify suspicious individuals and recognize patterns and anomalies in video. The video intelligence software processes and analyses video to detect all the people and objects that appear; identify, extract and classify them; and then index them as metadata that can be searched and referenced. Maintaining Public Safety For law enforcement, the ability to dynamically search video based on granular criteria is critical for filtering out irrelevant details and pinpointing objects of interest, such as suspicious persons or vehicles. Beyond accelerating video evidence review and extraction, police can leverage video analysis to configure sophisticated real-time alerts when people, vehicles or behaviors of interest are detected in video. Instead of actively monitoring video feeds, law enforcement can assess triggered alerts and decide how to respond. In this way, officers can also react faster to emergencies, threats and suspicious activity as it develops. Video analysis empowers cities to harness their video surveillance data as operational intelligence Empowering law enforcement to maintain public safety is important beyond the benefit of increasing security: A city with a reputation for effective, reliable law enforcement and enhanced safety is more likely to attract residents, visitors and new businesses, exponentially driving its economic development. Furthermore, in cities where law enforcement can work productively and quickly, time and human resources can be reallocated to fostering growth and building community. Video Surveillance Data Video analysis empowers cities to harness their video surveillance data as operational intelligence for optimizing city management and infrastructure. When video data is aggregated over time, it can be visualized into dashboards, heatmaps and reports, so operators can identify patterns and more seamlessly detect anomalous. A city could, for instance, analyze the most accident-prone local intersection and assess the traffic patterns to reveal details such as where cars are dwelling and pedestrians are walking; the directional flows of traffic; and the demographic segmentations of the objects detected: Are cars lingering in no-parking zones? Are pedestrians using designated crosswalks – is there a more logical location for the crosswalk or traffic light? Do vehicles tend to make illegal turns – should police proactively deter this behavior, or should the city plan new infrastructure that enables vehicles to safely perform these turns? Finally, does the rise in bike traffic warrant implementing dedicated biking lanes? With video intelligence, urban planners can answer these and other questions to facilitate local improvements and high quality of life. Video analysis empowers cities to harness their video surveillance data as operational intelligence Enhancing Situational Awareness Insight into traffic trends is also critical for transport companies, from public transit services to transportation hubs and airports. By leveraging the video insights about citywide traffic, public transit organizations can make data-driven decisions about scheduling and services. Analyzing video surveillance around bus stops, for instance, can help these companies understand the specific hours per day people tend to dwell around bus stops. Correlating this information with transactional data for each bus line, bus schedules can be optimized based on demand for individual bus lines, shortening waiting times for the most popular routes. Similarly, the traffic visualisations and activity heatmaps derived from the video of major transit hubs, such as international airports and central stations, can be beneficial for increasing security, enhancing situational awareness, identifying causes of congestion, improving throughput and efficiency and, ultimately, solving these inefficiencies to provide a streamlined customer experience for travellers. Large Education Campuses Much like a city, large education campuses have internal transportation services, residential facilities, businesses and law enforcement, and video content analysis can support the campus in intelligently managing each of those business units, while also providing video intelligence to these individual groups. Campus law enforcement can leverage video data to increase situational awareness and public safety Campus law enforcement can leverage video data to increase situational awareness and public safety, driving real-time responses with the ability to make informed assessments and accelerating post-event investigations with access to easily extractable video data. When campuses are expanding or developing additional infrastructure, they can plan new crosswalks, traffic lights, roads, buildings and entrances and exits based on comprehensive video intelligence. By understanding where pedestrians and vehicles dwell, walk, cross or even violate traffic laws, the campus can inform construction projects and traffic optimization. Countless Business Operations Finally, the campus can leverage video business intelligence to justify leasing pricing for different retailers across campus, demonstrating property values based on traffic trends that can be correlated with retailer point of sale data. Whether its empowering security, productivity or decision-making, the insights generated by AI-based technology can drive significant optimization – especially when data is fused and cross-referenced across smart sensors and systems for even deeper intelligence. The campus can leverage video business intelligence to justify leasing pricing for different retailers across campus In the case of AI-backed video analytics, diverse organizations can harness video surveillance impactfully and dynamically. Whereas once video technology investments could be justified for their security value – with the introduction of AI capabilities – procurement teams can evaluate these solutions for countless business operations, because they offer broadly valuable intelligence. And video surveillance and analytics is merely one example of AI-driven solutions’ potential to disrupt business as we know it.
Blind spots in surveillance coverage, incompatible video and access control systems, lack of adequate perimeter measures are some of the common issues that facility directors must address with their security teams. At the end of the day, facility executives need technology that accomplish more with less and that expand situational awareness, overall system functionality, and real-time response capabilities, while generating cost savings. By leveraging technology like thermal imaging, this is possible. FLIR Systems stresses that security directors who want to improve facility management, specifically 24/7 monitoring for heightened security and elevated skin temperature frontline screening for entry control, should consider incorporating thermal cameras into their next security upgrade or new installation project. Leveling up security with thermal security cameras By using thermal security cameras, facility directors can better protect their property By using thermal security cameras, facility directors can better protect their property and tenants from external threats. Backed by decades of successful deployment in the government and defense sector for reconnaissance, thermal imaging is a trusted technology. New innovations have expanded the use cases for thermal cameras and made them widely available to commercial and industrial facilities. Corporate offices, manufacturing plants and healthcare campuses all use thermal cameras as a core component of their security strategy. 24/7 surveillance in low light or dark settings Thermal security cameras perform in adverse conditions where standard surveillance cameras cannot. Visual cameras require a light source, and thus, additional infrastructure, to produce an image. If there’s no light, there’s no video. Because thermal cameras measure infrared radiation, or heat, they do not need illumination to produce imagery. In fact, thermal cameras can see in total darkness as well as in rain, smoke, and light fog. They truly enable 24/7 surveillance. Furthermore, thermal cameras yield high-contrast imagery, which not only enhances video analytics performance, but also situational awareness. For example, a security operator viewing a thermal camera feed can easily spot a trespasser attempting to camouflage in the foliage at night, by alerting the operator of body heat on premise. Thermal cameras also enable alarm validation. Equipped with onboard video analytics While motion sensors, laser detectors and fiber optic cables need another technology to visually verify the alert, thermal cameras already provide this function. With onboard analytics, thermal cameras detect objects, classify whether it’s a human, animal or vehicle, and provide video clips for remote operators to assess the alert. Consequently, thermal cameras minimize unnecessary dispatch of guards or police for false positives, saving valuable time, money and resource for facilities. In the event of a true alarm, thermal cameras enable superior suspect tracking. Upon receiving an intrusion alert, a long-range pan-tilt thermal camera can widely monitor the area and scan the property. The camera can then follow the movements of an intruder and if equipped with both thermal and optical sensors, provide both thermal and color video of the person. With this data, a security officer can ascertain the threat level and determine whether the person is an employee who forgot their ID or an unauthorized person trespassing on private property. Maximising intrusion detection capabilities It is important to note that thermal cameras cannot detect a specific individual or their personal information It is important to note that thermal cameras cannot detect a specific individual or their personal information, rather they classify whether the object is a human and then, further analysis is required through of the use of visual cameras for identification. For these reasons, facility directors, especially those managing large campuses or properties, should consider deploying thermal cameras to maximize their intrusion detection capabilities for stronger overall security. Streamlining entry control with temperature screening Facility executives can also improve their access and entry control security procedures by using radiometric thermal cameras for temperature screening. COVID-19, classified as a global pandemic in March 2020, has permanently changed how facility directors build security and environmental, health and safety (EHS) plans. Now, facility directors are prioritizing protocols and technologies that minimize both the risk of exposure, as well as the spread of infectious diseases among employees, visitors and contractors. Temperature checks have become one of the most widely adopted as a key component of frontline screening practices across facilities. In fact, General Motors plants and the Pentagon Visiting Center are notable examples of critical facilities deploying radiometric thermal cameras for skin temperature screening. Radiometric thermal cameras Radiometric thermal cameras for skin temperature screenings allow for a non-contact, frontline diagnostics tool that enables high throughput. These thermal cameras specifically measure skin surface temperature at the inner corner of the eye, the region medially adjacent to the inner canthus, which is known to be the best measurement spot. The most reliable thermal cameras yield accuracies of ±0.3°C (0.5°F) over a temperature measurement range of 15°C to 45°C (59°F to 113°F). Available in a handheld, tripod-mounted or fixed-mount form factor, elevated skin temperature thermal cameras are deployed inside entryways, immediately screening people as they walk into the facility. These cameras scan a person up to one to two meters (or three to six feet) away. Premium thermal cameras can scan individuals in two seconds or less. Enhanced detection of elevated skin surface temperature Thermal cameras are used as an adjunct to clinical procedures in the screening of skin surface temperature Thermal cameras are intended for use as an adjunct to clinical procedures in the screening of skin surface temperature. Upon detection of an elevated skin temperature, a person must then undergo a secondary screening where a medical device can determine whether the person has an actual fever or should partake in virus specific testing. By implementing these screening procedures, facility directors ensure a faster, non-invasive method to quickly detect possible signs of infection before an individual enters a populous area. This minimizes the risk of communal spread of viruses among employees in the workplace, which ultimately increases workforce health, safety and peace of mind. Implementing a total security solution A total security solution designed to detect both physical threats, as well as environmental and health hazards are one that includes thermal cameras for elevated skin temperature screening. Facility managers can strengthen their risk management plans by proactively expanding their security systems to include these solutions. Many physical security solutions are already in place at key entry points, as well as additional checkpoints, such as indoor surveillance cameras, visitor management and access control. Implementing screening stations with specific radiometric thermal cameras is a logical integration at these locations. Choosing the right solution for the facility While thermal cameras for perimeter protection and elevated skin temperature screening are valuable components to the overall security system, facility directors need to know that not all thermal is created equal. Thermal cameras need to be carefully researched and evaluated before deployment. Here are a few best practices for choosing the right thermal camera for your facility and application. Define Your Application: A thermal camera made for long-range perimeter monitoring functions differently than a thermal camera built for elevated skin temperature screening. Make sure to choose a camera designed for your specific use case. Know the Distinguishing Characteristics: Be aware of which technological features separate high-performing cameras from low-end options. For perimeter thermal cameras, resolution, detection range and integration capabilities matter. For elevated skin temperature screening cameras, resolution, sensitivity, accuracy and stability are critical. Check for Certifications: Select a thermal camera with proven interoperability. Consider one that is ONVIF compliant to ensure integration with the overall security system and chosen video management software. Additionally, for elevated skin temperature cameras, consider one that has a 510(k) filing (K033967) with the S. Federal and Drug Administration as well as one that supports other screening standards such as ISO/TR 13154:2017 and IEC 80601-2-59:2017. Work with Experienced Partners: Work with a system integrator who is knowledgeable in thermal. Choose thermal cameras from manufacturers with a solid track record of success for both security and elevated skin temperature screening deployments. Leverage guidebooks, site planning tools and online trainings that these experienced manufacturers have to offer to maximize performance.
Choosing the right interface for the machine vision application is a key decision in one’s camera selection process. The following sections provide an overview of the different types of cables and connectors available for machine vision applications along with associated pros and cons. Useful for applications where extremely high-speeds or ultra high-resolution necessitate the use of such interfaces; for example, line-scan cameras used to inspect continuous flow processes like paper or plastic film production where cameras frequently work in the kHz range. However, these interfaces tend to be significantly more expensive, less flexible and add to system complexity. Machine vision interfaces These are specialized adapter cards to receive image data and assemble it into usable images CarmeraLink (supports up to 6.8Gbit/s of data) and CoaXPress (supports up to 12Gbit/s) are dedicated machine vision interfaces typically used in such applications. In addition to the cameras, systems using these interfaces require frame grabbers. These are specialized adapter cards to receive image data and assemble it into usable images. Dedicated machine vision interfaces also use proprietary cables, making integration with other peripherals a little more challenging. CoaXPress (CXP) The CoaXpress interface was launched in 2008 to support high-speed imaging applications. CXP interfaces use 75ohm coaxial cables and support data transfer speeds of up to 6.25Gbit/s per channel, with the ability to use multiple channels to support even faster data transfer rates. A CXP cable can supply up to 13W of power per cable and requires that both the 'device' and the 'host' support the GenICam camera programming interface. While single-lane coaxial cables are inexpensive, the cost of setting up multi-lane cable assemblies and frame grabbers add up very quickly. Maximize signal integrity CameraLink The CameraLink standard was launched in the year 2000 by Automated Imaging Association (AIA) and has been upgraded progressively in order to support higher data speeds, with some versions requiring two cables for transmission. The three main configurations available include Base (2.04Gbit/s), Medium (5.44Gbit/s) and Deca/Extended (6.8Gbit/s). The base standard uses MDR ("Mini D Ribbon") 26-pin connector, while the medium/full configuration doubles capacity using a second cable. The Deca/Extended versions go beyond limits imposed by CameraLink, carrying up to 6.8 Gbit/s of data. Like CXP interfaces, CameraLink requires frame grabbers and additionally need to be compatible with Power over Camera Link (PoCL) standard in order to supply power. CameraLink lacks any error correction or resend capabilities, requiring expensive and cumbersome cable setups to try and eliminate dropped images by maximizing signal integrity. Machine vision implementation Consumer interfaces These interfaces enable machine vision cameras to connect with host systems using widely available USB and Ethernet standards. For most machine vision applications, the USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gigabit Ethernet consumer interfaces provide a winning combination of convenience, speed, simplicity and affordability. Furthermore, consumer interfaces support widely available hardware and peripherals for machine vision implementation. Most PCs, laptops and embedded systems include at least one port each of Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB and Ethernet hubs, switches, cables and interface cards can be purchased anywhere from Amazon to the local computer or electronics store at a range of price points to suit the exact requirements. Most PCs, laptops and embedded systems include at least one port each of Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.1 Gen 1. The most obvious difference between these categories of interfaces is their bandwidth. Faster interfaces enable higher framerates for a given resolution. Semiconductor wafer inspection system A faster interface enables you to capture more images each second or capture higher resolution images without sacrificing throughput. For example, a semiconductor wafer inspection system being upgraded from 8” to 12” wafers, higher resolution cameras will be required. In this case, the system designer will need to choose between keeping their existing interface and trading higher resolution for reduced throughput, or upgrading to a faster interface to maintain or improve the throughput. The user’s requirements for resolution, frame rate, cable length and host system configuration should all be considered to ensure they get performance they require without spending more than they need. FLIR’s machine visions cameras support all three trusted and widely available interfaces. Camera control protocols Universal Serial Bus (USB) USB is everywhere. Look around and count the number of USB devices and accessories around. Most USB machine vision cameras use the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface. This interface provides up to 4Gibt/s of image data bandwidth between the camera and the host system. The USB3 Vision standard helps ensure compatibility between a wide range of cameras and software by defining a common set of device detection, image transfer and camera control protocols. The 5m maximum cable length of USB 3.1 Gen 1 is generally not an issue for embedded systems USB supports Direct Memory Access (DMA). With this DMA capability, image data can be transferred across from the USB directly into memory where it is available for use by software. DMA coupled with the widespread support for USB and availability of drivers for USB controllers on virtually any hardware platform makes USB ideal for use in embedded systems. The 5m maximum cable length of USB 3.1 Gen 1 is generally not an issue for embedded systems. Active optical cables USB 3.1 Gen 1 can simplify system design by supplying up to 4.5 W of power to a camera. The recently developed USB Power Delivery specification allows some hosts to supply more power to devices like rapid-charging cellphone, this specification is independent from the base USB 3.1 Gen 1 standard and has not been adopted by machine vision camera manufacturers. High-flexibility USB cables help maximize the lifespan of cables in systems where the camera must be moved repeatedly. Active optical cables (AOCs) may be used to greatly extend the working distance and provide Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) resistance. The performance of active optical cables is dependant on the throughput requirements and the host system configuration. When using optical cables, even those that supply power via the cable, FLIR recommends using powering cameras externally via GPIO. Locking screw position Additionally, locking USB cables provide a secure connection between cables, cameras and host systems. Prior to purchasing locking cables, FLIR recommends checking the locking screw position and spacing compatibility, as several options are available. USB 3.1 Gen 1 is available on FLIR Blackfly S - Cased and Board level versions, and the tiny Firefly S. Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) GigE provides up to 1Gbit/s of image data bandwidth. Its combination of simplicity, speed, 100m maximum cable length and ability to supply power to cameras over a single cable make it an extremely popular camera interface. Ethernet cables are available with robust shielding. This is ideal for environments with high electromagnetic interference caused by proximity to the powerful motors found in some robots and metrology equipment. Software accessible memory FLIR GigE cameras also support a packet resend feature which further boosts transmission reliability. Unlike USB, GigE does not support DMA. Packets containing image data are transmitted to the host where they must be reassembled into image frames prior to being copied to software accessible memory. This process is trivial for modern PCs, though it may result in latency for some low-power embedded systems with limited system resources. The widespread adoption of Gigabit Ethernet means there is an incredibly wide range of supporting products from cables to switches, ready to meet any project requirement. GigE cameras support the IEEE1588 PTP time synchronization protocol, enabling cameras and other Ethernet enabled devices such as actuators and industrial Programmable Logic Controllers to operate on a precisely synchronized common time base. High flexibility requirements The widespread adoption of Ethernet across many industries has enabled availability of many specialized cables and connectors for a wide range of use cases. For example, there are Ethernet cables designed to protect against EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), high temperature and chemical resistance, while some cater to high flexibility requirements and so on. Ethernet cables have a category number depending on their construction Ethernet cables have a category number depending on their construction. CAT5e is the most common for GigE, while CAT6A, CAT7 and CAT8 may be used for additional EMI resistance at the expense of greater cost and increased cable diameter. Some industrial devices use an X-Coded M12 connector to provide increased shielding, however, for most applications, the familiar RJ-45 connector is good enough and provides greater convince at lower cost. 3D scanning Additionally, screw locking RJ45 connectors easily add additional security to RJ45 cables. 10Gigabit Ethernet (10GigE) 10GigE builds on the strengths of GigE by increasing the bandwidth to 10Gbit/s. 10GigE is an ideal interface for high-resolution 3D scanning, volumetric capture and precision metrology. GigE and 10GigE can be combined in numerous ways. Multiple GigE cameras can be connected to a 10GigE switch to support multiple GigE cameras at full speed over a single 10GigE port on a host system. Incoming image data While CAT5e cables will work with 10GigE cameras over distances less than 30m, CAT6A or higher cables are recommended. 10Gbit/sec is a lot of data. Modern PC systems with high-speed CPUs, PCIe 3.0 and dual channel memory can handle this well, while higher performance systems can support multiple 10GigE cameras. Embedded systems with reduced system resources will generally lack the memory bandwidth and processor speed required to keep up with the incoming image data. 10GgiE is available on FLIR Oryx cameras. Both consumer and dedicated interfaces are used across many machine vision applications. Pros and cons mentioned in previous sections would eventually determine the suitability of one over another for a specific use case. However, the combination of performance, ease of use, widespread availability and low cost make consumer interfaces an attractive choice for most machine vision applications.
Acoustic imaging, or the ability to see ultrasonic sound, has emerged as an effective method for manufacturing and utility organizations to locate compressed air leaks or the existence of partial discharge (PD). It enables professionals to conduct more frequent predictive maintenance routines, to help provide a crucial first warning of impending electrical/mechanical failure that could lead to energy loss and even worse, downtime of critical systems. To help customers take advantage of the benefits of ultrasonic imaging, FLIR made its Si124 industrial acoustic imaging camera available for purchase globally. The FLIR Si124 industrial acoustic imaging camera senses, displays and records sound waves producing a precise acoustic image. The acoustic image is overlaid, in real time, onto a digital camera image all with an easy-to-use, ergonomic, one-handed camera solution weighing a little more than 2 pounds (980 grams). Detecting compressed air leaks The blended visual and sound image can be viewed live on screen to help users’ pinpoint issues from the sound source, helping staff identify issues up to 10 times faster than traditional inspection methods for common mechanical, electrical, vacuum and compressor systems. Built with 124 microphones and a high definition visible-light camera, the battery-powered Si124 can detect potential issues up to 100 meters away, even in loud industrial environments, for up to seven hours of continuous use. Two primary use cases for the Si124 include detecting compressed air leaks and partial discharge (PD) such as corona, arcing, and tracking. Compressed air is often the single most expensive energy source in factories, but air is often lost due to undetected leaks or equipment inefficiencies. Potential unplanned downtime The Si124 provides the ability to perform quick non-contact inspections from a safe distance That leaked air can be difficult to detect by the human ear or touch, particularly in loud manufacturing environments where workers are required to wear hearing protection. The Si124 can solve this issue by visually pinpointing the exact source of a leak instantaneously, especially in hard to reach places that might otherwise go unnoticed. For high-voltage electrical systems, PD can preface a catastrophic failure, creating an unsafe environment and potential unplanned downtime. The Si124 provides the ability to perform quick non-contact inspections from a safe distance. The system then immediately provides the PD type, allowing users to prioritize repairs. What sets the Si124 further apart from other cameras is the FLIR Acoustic Camera Viewer cloud service. Online cloud portal Image captures are quickly uploaded over Wi-Fi to the cloud service then immediately analyzed, providing the user in-depth information such as the size and energy cost of a compressed air leak or the PD classification and pattern of an electric fault. This information is accessible on the Si124 and through the online cloud portal. In addition, users get 8 GBs of storage and wireless data transfer capabilities, making sharing photos and data simple and efficient.
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