Dome cameras - Expert commentary

Face Recognition: Privacy Concerns and Social Benefits
Face Recognition: Privacy Concerns and Social Benefits

News reports and opinion columns about face recognition are appearing everyday. To some of us, the term sounds overly intrusive. It even makes people shrink back into their seats or shake their head in disgust, picturing a present-day dystopia. Yet to others, face recognition presents technology-enabled realistic opportunities to fight, and win, the battle against crime. What are the facts about face recognition? Which side is right? Well, there is no definitive answer because, as with all powerful tools, it all depends on who uses it. Face recognition can, in fact, be used in an immoral or controversial manner. But, it can also be immensely beneficial in providing a safe and secure atmosphere for those in its presence.  Concerns of facial recognition With the increased facial recognition applications, people’s concerns over the technology continuously appear throughout news channels and social media. Some of the concerns include: Privacy: Alex Perry of Mashable sums up his and most other peoples’ privacy concerns with face recognition technology when he wrote, “The first and most obvious reason why people are unhappy about facial recognition is that it's unpleasant by nature. Increasing government surveillance has been a hot-button issue for many, many years, and tech like Amazon's Rekognition software is only making the dystopian future feel even more real”. Accuracy: People are worried about the possibilities of inaccurate face detection, which could result in wrongful identification or criminalization. Awareness: Face recognition software allows the user to upload a picture of anyone, regardless of whether that person knows of it. An article posted on The Conversation states, “There is a lack of detailed and specific information as to how facial recognition is actually used. This means that we are not given the opportunity to consent to the recording, analyzing and storing of our images in databases. By denying us the opportunity to consent, we are denied choice and control over the use of our own images” Debunking concerns  The concerns with privacy, accuracy, and awareness are all legitimate and valid concerns. However, let us look at the facts and examine the reasons why face recognition, like any other technology, can be responsibly used: Privacy concerns: Unlike the fictional dystopian future where every action, even in one’s own home, is monitored by a centralized authority, the reality is that face recognition technology only helps the security guard monitoring public locations where security cameras are installed. There is fundamentally no difference between a human security guard at the door and an AI-based software in terms of recognizing people on watchlist and not recognizing those who are not. The only difference is that the AI-based face recognition software can do so at a higher speed and without fatigue. Face recognition software only recognizes faces that the user has put in the system, which is not every person on the planet, nor could it ever be. Accuracy concerns: It is true that first-generation face recognition systems have a large margin for error according to studies in 2014. However, as of 2020, the best face recognition systems are now around 99.8% accurate. New AI models are continuously being trained with larger, more relevant, more diverse and less biased datasets. The error margin found in face recognition software today is comparable to that of a person, and it will continue to decrease as we better understand the limitations, train increasingly better AI and deploy AI in more suitable settings. Awareness concerns: While not entirely comforting, the fact is that we are often being watched one way or another on a security camera. Informa showed that in 2014, 245 million cameras were active worldwide, this number jumped to 656 million in 2018 and is projected to nearly double in 2021. Security camera systems, like security guards, are local business and government’s precaution measures to minimize incidents such as shoplifting, car thefts, vandalism and violence. In other words, visitors to locations with security systems have tacitly agreed to the monitoring in exchange for using the service provided by those locations in safety, and visitors are indeed aware of the existence of security cameras. Face recognition software is only another layer of security, and anyone who is not a security threat is unlikely to be registered in the system without explicit consent. The benefits In August 2019, the NYPD used face recognition software to catch a rapist within 24 hours after the incident occurred. In April 2019, the Sichuan Provincial Public Security Department in China, found a 13-year-old girl using face recognition technology. The girl had gone missing in 2009, persuading many people that she would never be found again. Face recognition presents technology-enabled realistic opportunities to fight, and win, the battle against crimeIn the UK, the face recognition system helps Welsh police forces with the detection and prevention of crime. "For police it can help facilitate the identification process and it can reduce it to minutes and seconds," says Alexeis Garcia-Perez, a researcher on cybersecurity management at Coventry University. "They can identify someone in a short amount of time and in doing that they can minimize false arrests and other issues that the public will not see in a very positive way". In fact, nearly 60% Americans polled in 2019 accept the use of face recognition by law enforcement to enhance public safety. Forbes magazine states that “When people know they are being watched, they are less likely to commit crimes so the possibility of facial recognition technology being used could deter crime”. Saving time  One thing that all AI functions have been proven to achieve better results than manual security is speed. NBC News writes, “Nearly instantaneously, the program gives a list of potential matches loaded with information that can help him confirm the identity of the people he’s stopped - and whether they have any outstanding warrants. Previously, he’d have to let the person go or bring them in to be fingerprinted”. Facial recognition can also be immensely beneficial in providing a safe and secure atmosphere for those in its presence With AI, instead of spending hours or days to sift through terabytes of video data, the security staff can locate a suspect within seconds. This time-saving benefit is essential to the overall security of any institution, for, in most security threat situations, time is of the utmost importance. Another way in which the technology saves time is its ability to enable employees (but not visitors) to open doors to their office in real-time with no badge, alleviating the bottleneck of forgotten badge, keycode or password. Saving money A truly high-performance AI software helps save money in many ways. First, if the face recognition software works with your pre-existing camera system, there is no need to replace cameras, hence saving cost on infrastructure. Second, AI alleviates much of the required manual security monitoring 24/7, as the technology will detect people of interest and automatically and timely alert the authorities. Third, by enhancing access authentication, employees save time and can maximize productivity in more important processes. The takeaway AI-enabled face recognition technology has a lot of benefits if used correctly. Can it be abused? Yes, like all tools that mankind has made from antiquity. Should it be deployed? The evidence indicates that the many benefits of this complex feature outweigh the small chance for abuse of power. It is not only a step in the right direction for the security industry but also for the overall impact on daily lives. It helps to make the world a safer place. 

How Intelligent Video Surveillance Supports Smart Mobility
How Intelligent Video Surveillance Supports Smart Mobility

The ease of getting from point A to point B, the effective movement of goods and services, and the flexibility and integration of various modes of transportation are key aspects of mobility today. Smart Mobility has been a key theme in the transportation industry for a while. The idea is to keep traffic flowing and help people to get where they need to be, in a smarter way. To this end, industry players are now innovating and introducing advanced technologies and solutions. Examples include intelligent traffic management systems, free-flow tolls, autonomous driving, smart location solutions, and more.   At the same time, traffic congestion, aging infrastructure, rapid urbanization, and increasing sustainability demands are also intensifying the need for smart mobility solutions. One way to overcome these obstacles is to use intelligent video surveillance technology for improved traffic management, making the roads safer and more efficient for every user, while also reducing emissions. Perceptive Intersections Relying on intelligent video analytics, traffic video cameras identify traffic build ups at intersections by counting numbers of vehicles crossing an intersection and detecting their speed, while also counting the number of vehicles queueing in real-time. Aggregated data informs the system when to switch traffic lights to red or green. Intelligent optimization for traffic signals ensures more effective traffic flow. Aggregated data informs the system when to switch traffic lights to red or green The benefits? Improved safety on the roadways; intersection reconstruction can be avoided; drivers can be advised about the speed of their route, forecasted by traffic signals; reduced wait times and stress for commuters; reduction of harmful emissions; and positive impact on public satisfaction. Road Safety Traffic incidents can be disastrous, not merely for causing congestion on the roads but sometimes far worse – resulting in injuries and even fatalities. These incidents have many causes, not the least of which is drivers willfully violating traffic laws. Video technology can aid in detecting all kinds of events – for example, illegal parking, running a red light, wrong-way driving, speeding, and making illegal U-turns can all be detected by smart camera technology.   By using deep learning technology, cameras can recognize these events and traffic authorities can be immediately notified and take necessary actions even before traffic incidents occur. Scenarios include stopping a driver who is occupying an emergency lane, or notifying a driver who parked their car illegally. Furthermore, ticketing systems can be incorporated to further regulate driving behaviors. Benefits here include incident prevention, better driver performance, and increased safety on the roads and streets, to name just a few. Scenarios include stopping a driver who is occupying an emergency lane, or notifying a driver who parked their car illegally Public Information Sharing information is key to keeping city drivers and travelers informed. Intelligent communication about warnings and updates helps everyone save time, avoid frustration, and simplify everyday mobility. This can be done via traffic guidance screens displayed at highly visible locations, such as congested areas, transportation hubs, shopping malls, and city plazas – or even at your fingertips on your favorite mobile apps! This can be done via traffic guidance screens displayed at highly visible locations Traffic video cameras generate real-time data of traffic flow and incidents, sending it to a central platform to further fuse with data from third-party systems such as radar and GPS systems. They also disseminate traffic information, including traffic status, warning and advisory notices, as well as parking status.  The benefits are improved public awareness of traffic information, improved travel convenience, overall enhancement of mobility in the city, and more.   The Hikvision Practice Hikvision has accumulated sophisticated experience in traffic management both at home and abroad. Product lines offer versatile solutions to resolve multitudes of problems in urban traffic management, traffic incident management, highway management, and more. Going deeper, it’s essential to note that efficient signal control management is dependent on the quality of traffic data, system algorithms, and the hardware devices in use; it is also closely related to the mobile environment, such as road conditions, historical traffic conditions, and urban infrastructure. Because of this, no single solution solves traffic congestion everywhere. Hikvision believes that only by working closely with city authorities, public safety organizations, consultants, even academia and other relevant stakeholders, can applications and operational processes be developed to achieve the best possible outcomes. The possibilities for traffic video data are endless, especially now that it can employ artificial intelligence for advanced functionality. Harnessing its power will make all the difference, but the ultimate goal remains the same: safe and smooth traffic, smart mobility, and improved quality of human life.

5 Key Ways To Ensure End-to-end Perimeter Protection
5 Key Ways To Ensure End-to-end Perimeter Protection

Critical infrastructure facilities that must secure large areas with extended outer boundary and numerous entry points, present a particularly difficult challenge when it comes to perimeter protection. As such, true end-to-end perimeter protection calls for the utilization of a sophisticated, multi-layered solution that is capable of defending against anticipated threats. Integrated systems that incorporate thermal imaging, visible cameras, radar and strong command and control software are crucial for covering the various potential areas of attacks. Let’s look at these technologies and the five key functions they enable to achieve an end-to-end solution that provides intrusion detection, assessment and defense for the perimeter. 1. Threat Recognition The first step in effectively defending against a threat is recognizing that it’s there. By combining state-of-the-art intrusion detection technologies, facilities can arm themselves with a head start against possible intruders. An exceptionally important aspect of effective perimeter protection is the ability to conduct 24-hour surveillance, regardless of weather conditions, environmental settings, or time of day. Visible cameras do not perform as well in low light scenarios and inclement weather conditions. However, thermal imaging cameras can provide constant protection against potential intruders, regardless of visual limitations, light source or many environmental factors. In fact, facilities such as power stations located near bodies of water can use thermal cameras to create what is known as a “thermal virtual fence” in areas where they are unable to utilize the protection of a physical fence or wall. Deterring suspicious activity can be achieved through real-time two-way audio, a simple but powerful tool Critical infrastructure applications require not only continuous video surveillance and monitoring, but also a solution that yields highly reliable intrusion detection, with fewer false alarms. This need makes advanced video analytics a must for any adequate surveillance system. Features like dynamic event detection and simplified data presentation are game changing in supporting accurate intrusion analysis and facilitating a proactive response. Advanced analytics will provide multiple automated alarm notification options, including email, edge image storage, digital outputs or video management software (VMS) alarms. Incorporating high quality, unique and adaptive analytics can virtually eliminate false alarms, allowing security personnel to respond more efficiently and effectively, while also lowering overall cost for the end user. While surveillance technologies such as radar, thermal imaging and visible cameras, or video analytics work well on their own, utilizing all of these options together provides an advanced perimeter detection system. For example, ground surveillance radar can detect possible threats beyond the fence line as they approach and send a signal to pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) cameras, triggering them to slew to a specific location. From there, embedded analytics and visible cameras can further identify objects, notify authorized staff, and collect additional evidence through facial recognition or high-quality photos. 2. Automatic Response Systems Once an intrusion attempt is discovered, it is important to act fast. Organizing a response system that can initiate actions based on GPS location data, such as the slewing of PTZ cameras, automated intruder tracking or activated lighting sensors, greatly increases staff’s situational awareness while easing their workload. For instance, thermal imagers deployed in conjunction with video analytics can be used to generate an initial alarm event, which can then trigger a sequence of other security equipment and notifications for personnel to eventually respond to. Having all of this in place essentially lays the entire situation out in a way that allows responders to accurately understand and evaluate a scene. Power stations located near bodies of water can use thermal cameras to create a “thermal virtual fence” in areas where they are unable to utilize the protection of a physical fence or wall 3. Deterring Suspicious Activity  After the designated auto-response mechanisms have activated and done their job, it is time for responders to acknowledge and assess the situation. From here, authorized personnel can take the next appropriate step toward defending against and delaying the threat. Deterring suspicious activity can be achieved through real-time two-way audio, a simple but powerful tool. Often, control room operators can diffuse a situation by speaking over an intercom, telling the trespasser that they are being watched and that the authorities have been notified. This tactic, known as ‘talk down’, also allows officers to view the intruder’s reaction to their commands and evaluate what they feel the best next step is. If individuals do not respond in a desired manner, it may be time to take more serious action and dispatch a patrolman to the area. 4. Delay, Defend, Dispatch And Handle The possible danger has been identified, recognized and evaluated. Now it is time to effectively defend against current attacks and slow down both cyber and physical perpetrators’ prospective efforts. Through the use of a well-designed, open platform VMS, security monitors can manage edge devices and other complementary intrusion detection and response technologies, including acoustic sensors, video analytics, access control and radio dispatch. A robust VMS also enables operators to control functions such as video replay, geographical information systems tracking, email alerts and hand-off to law enforcement. With the right combination of technologies, facilities can take monitoring and evidence collection to the next level The primary purpose of the delay facet of the overall perimeter protection strategy is to stall an attempted intrusion long enough for responders to act. Access control systems play a key role in realizing this objective. When a security officer sees a non-compliant, suspicious individual on the camera feed, the officer can lock all possible exits to trap them in one area all through the VMS. 5. Intelligence: Collect Evidence And Debrief More data and intelligence collected from an event equals more crucial evidence for crime resolution and valuable insight for protecting against future incidents. With the right combination of technologies, facilities can take monitoring and evidence collection to the next level. One innovative resource that has become available is a live streaming application that can be uploaded to smart phones and used for off-site surveillance. This app gives personnel the power to follow intruders with live video anywhere and allows operators to monitor alarm video in real-time. Geographic Information System (GIS) maps are computer systems utilized for capturing, storing, reviewing, and displaying location related data. Capable of displaying various types of data on one map, this system enables users to see, analyze, easily and efficiently. Multi-sensor cameras, possessing both visible and thermal capabilities, provide high-contrast imaging for superb analytic detection (in any light) and High Definition video for evidence such as facial ID or license plate capture. Integrating these two, usually separated, camera types into one helps to fill any gaps that either may normally have. Still, in order to capture and store all of this valuable information and more, a robust, VMS is required. Recorded video, still images and audio clips serve as valuable evidence in the event that a trial must take place to press charges. Control room operators can use data collection tools within their VMS to safely transfer video evidence from the field to the courtroom with just a few clicks of their mouse. More advanced video management systems can go a step further and package this data with other pertinent evidence to create a comprehensive report to help ensure conviction.

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IFSEC Day 1: H.265, Apps And Cybersecurity Shine Through Other Security Innovations
IFSEC Day 1: H.265, Apps And Cybersecurity Shine Through Other Security Innovations

H.265 compression, apps and the inherent security of security systems were some of the themes to be gleaned on the first day of IFSEC International. Almost every video exhibitor I saw on day one of the show mentioned that many of their products use H.265 compression in these days of high definition, bandwidth-hungry cameras. Over at Vivotek’s stand, for example, Emilio Sanchez, project consultant, spoke of the company’s H.265 Smart Stream compression algorithm. He said this saves anything between 70 and 90 percent bandwidth, depending on the amount of movement in the images, compared to H.264. People are asking for higher resolution video, which requires greater recording capacity to accommodate, hence the need for H.265. 360-Degree Surveillance Vivotek also displayed its 360-degree fisheye camera with built-in infra-red illumination, and a 180-degree camera fitted with four image sensors designed to provide a single, seamless image on the monitor. The company also emphasised its products being tailored to various vertical markets, such as a people-counting camera for retail applications (which also measured the heights of people in a scene) and city surveillance products. Another exhibitor with a focus on vertical markets is manufacturer and distributor Genie CCTV. John Boorman, sales director, explains that various verticals have different requirements, as examples, fingerprint recognition, gait recognition or face recognition. The company believes in communicating with end-users as well as installers and integrators, and this approach is helped by having a full-scale demonstration facility at their headquarters. When I asked him about cutting the number of cameras or decommissioning entire public space CCTV networks by various UK local councils because of squeezed budgets, he said he is not surprised as no thought was given to maintenance budgets when the schemes were first set up. At the Y3K stand, all of its Smart-I range can be accessed through apps to control products such as PIRs, contacts and the wireless power control socket and repeater Apps Are A Major Theme At IFSEC Apps are all over the place at the show this year. One instance is the Y3K stand where all of its Smart-I range can be accessed through apps to control products such as PIRs, contacts and the wireless power control socket and repeater. Using the app, the user can control cause and effect settings and can be emailed or can receive a text alert when certain events occur. Mike Barrett, national sales manager, explains that other consumer markets drive the development of the home security market, such as camera modules used in mobile phones. “The theme is that everything is app-driven. It has existed for a long time but was expensive – now it’s much less expensive and more readily available.” Other features of Smart-I cameras include easy setup – such as using a QR code instead of having to enter a load of IP information – and easy pairing to Wi-Fi. And over at key management specialists Morse Watchmans, mobile apps as well as ease of use, integration and better technology are said to improve systems. Cyber And Physical Security What secures the security systems is another theme at the show. Bosch Security Systems, for example, has a mission to encrypt its range of cameras and recording platforms. The idea is to safely store all certificates and keys for authentication and encryption – which is part of ensuring secure communications in a network – to avoid "flashing" of firmware by hackers. Meanwhile at video management system company Genetec, Andrew Elvish, vice president of marketing and product management, was almost evangelical about the need for good cybersecurity on physical security products, especially where cybersecurity and physical security meet. “Cybersecurity has to be approached at a very fundamental level of the network. We have very unique cybersecurity features that are demanded by our enterprise customers.” After a quiet start on the first day, the aisles at the Excel exhibition centre in London became busy and the noise level rose by quite a few decibels. Tomorrow I’ll be reporting on day 2 of IFSEC, and I expect it will be busier still!

IFSEC 2010 – Home To The International Security Industry
IFSEC 2010 – Home To The International Security Industry

IFSEC is the world's leading global annual security event With representation from 112 countries at IFSEC 2009 and 31% of the 25,427 attendance (ABC Audited) coming to the UK from overseas, IFSEC has cemented its position as the key event in the international security industry calendar. 2010 is set to build on this reputation with several countries benefitting from dedicated pavilions to house leading manufacturers and suppliers from the respective countries. Supported by the US Commercial Service, IFSEC 2010 will feature its first US Pavilion. Based in hall 4, this pavilion will house a plethora of innovative manufacturers to allow visitors to source US security products and services in one concentrated location. Commercial staff from the U.S. embassy in London will also be on hand to answer any queries. In addition to the US, there will be a raft of other pavilions for visitors to take advantage of including those representing Belgium (new for 2010), China, France, Italy, Korea and Taiwan. Furthermore, IFSEC 2010 will feature its first Spain Pavilion with the Secartys association, a voluntary organization which represents more than 1,200 industries in electronics, information technology, telecommunications and solar energy across Spain, also introducing new exhibitors from Spain in the different product areas within the exhibition. James Blue, Director of Fire & Security at UBM Live, organisers of IFSEC, said: "For many years we have successfully hosted international pavilions, including China, Korea and Taiwan, to support the worldwide expansion of leading security companies from the respective countries. IFSEC provides a great opportunity for these organizations to expand their overseas trade and we are confident that these international companies will greatly benefit from their presence at the 2010 event." The pavilions will be located within the extensive exhibition at IFSEC 2010 which will be organized into the following categories: Integrated Security: IP & Network Solutions, Access Control, CCTV, Intruder Alarms, Counter Terror & Physical Security, Security Solutions and Fire Solutions. Axis, Dallmeier, Genie CCTV, Hikvision, IndigoVision, JVC, Norbain, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Tyco are amongst those exhibiting. IFSEC 2010 is running alongside Safety & Health Expo and The Facilities Show from 10 - 13 May at the NEC Birmingham, UK. Companies interested in exhibiting should contact Charlie Cracknell on +44 (0)20 7921 8069 or at charlie.cracknell@ubm.com. Further details on IFSEC 2010 will be announced in the coming weeks. Please keep visiting the website, follow us on Twitter and join our LinkedIn group for the latest information.