IP cameras - Expert commentary

Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)
Why Visualization Platforms Are Vital For An Effective Security Operation Center (SOC)

Display solutions play a key role in SOCs in providing the screens needed for individuals and teams to visualize and share the multiple data sources needed in an SOC today. Security Operation Center (SOC) Every SOC has multiple sources and inputs, both physical and virtual, all of which provide numerous data points to operators, in order to provide the highest levels of physical and cyber security, including surveillance camera feeds, access control and alarm systems for physical security, as well as dashboards and web apps for cyber security applications. Today’s advancements in technology and computing power not only have increasingly made security systems much more scalable, by adding hundreds, if not thousands, of more data points to an SOC, but the rate at which the data comes in has significantly increased as well. Accurate monitoring and surveillance This has made monitoring and surveillance much more accurate and effective, but also more challenging for operators, as they can’t realistically monitor the hundreds, even thousands of cameras, dashboards, calls, etc. in a reactive manner. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making In order for operators in SOC’s to be able to mitigate incidents in a less reactive way and take meaningful action, streamlined actionable data is needed. This is what will ensure operators in SOC truly have situational awareness. Situational awareness is a key foundation of effective decision making. In its simplest form, ‘It is knowing what is going on’. Lacking situational awareness is often one of the primary factors in poor decision making and in accidents attributed to human error. Achieving ‘true’ situational awareness Situational awareness isn’t just what has already happened, but what is likely to happen next and to achieve ‘true’ situational awareness, a combination of actionable data and the ability to deliver that information or data to the right people, at the right time. This is where visualization platforms (known as visual networking platforms) that provide both the situational real estate, as well as support for computer vision and AI, can help SOCs achieve true situational awareness Role of computer vision and AI technologies Proactive situational awareness is when the data coming into the SOC is analyzed in real time and then, brought forward to operators who are decision makers and key stakeholders in near real time for actionable visualization. Computer vision is a field of Artificial Intelligence that trains computers to interpret and understand digital images and videos. It is a way to automate tasks that the human visual system can also carry out, the automatic extraction, analysis and understanding of useful information from a single image or a sequence of images. There are numerous potential value adds that computer vision can provide to operation centers of different kinds. Here are some examples: Face Recognition: Face detection algorithms can be applied to filter and identify an individual. Biometric Systems: AI can be applied to biometric descriptions such as fingerprint, iris, and face matching. Surveillance: Computer vision supports IoT cameras used to monitor activities and movements of just about any kind that might be related to security and safety, whether that's on the job safety or physical security. Smart Cities: AI and computer vision can be used to improve mobility through quantitative, objective and automated management of resource use (car parks, roads, public squares, etc.) based on the analysis of CCTV data. Event Recognition: Improve the visualization and the decision-making process of human operators or existing video surveillance solutions, by integrating real-time video data analysis algorithms to understand the content of the filmed scene and to extract the relevant information from it. Monitoring: Responding to specific tasks in terms of continuous monitoring and surveillance in many different application frameworks: improved management of logistics in storage warehouses, counting of people during event gatherings, monitoring of subway stations, coastal areas, etc. Computer Vision applications When considering a Computer Vision application, it’s important to ensure that the rest of the infrastructure in the Operation Center, for example the solution that drives the displays and video walls, will connect and work well with the computer vision application. The best way to do this of course is to use a software-driven approach to displaying information and data, rather than a traditional AV hardware approach, which may present incompatibilities. Software-defined and open technology solutions Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need Software-defined and open technology solutions provide a wider support for any type of application the SOC may need, including computer vision. In the modern world, with everything going digital, all security services and applications have become networked, and as such, they belong to IT. AV applications and services have increasingly become an integral part of an organization’s IT infrastructure. Software-defined approach to AV IT teams responsible for data protection are more in favor of a software-defined approach to AV that allow virtualised, open technologies as opposed to traditional hardware-based solutions. Software’s flexibility allows for more efficient refreshment cycles, expansions and upgrades. The rise of AV-over-IP technologies have enabled IT teams in SOC’s to effectively integrate AV solutions into their existing stack, greatly reducing overhead costs, when it comes to technology investments, staff training, maintenance, and even physical infrastructure. AV-over-IP software platforms Moreover, with AV-over-IP, software-defined AV platforms, IT teams can more easily integrate AI and Computer Vision applications within the SOC, and have better control of the data coming in, while achieving true situational awareness. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people, at the right time, in order to address security incidents and challenges. Situational awareness is all about actionable data delivered to the right people Often, the people who need to know about security risks or breaches are not physically present in the operation centers, so having the data and information locked up within the four walls of the SOC does not provide true situational awareness. hyper-scalable visual platforms Instead there is a need to be able to deliver the video stream, the dashboard of the data and information to any screen anywhere, at any time — including desktops, tablets phones — for the right people to see, whether that is an executive in a different office or working from home, or security guards walking the halls or streets. New technologies are continuing to extend the reach and the benefits of security operation centers. However, interoperability plays a key role in bringing together AI, machine learning and computer vision technologies, in order to ensure data is turned into actionable data, which is delivered to the right people to provide ‘true’ situational awareness. Software-defined, AV-over-IP platforms are the perfect medium to facilitate this for any organizations with physical and cyber security needs.

We Need To Talk About Intelligent Enclosure Protection
We Need To Talk About Intelligent Enclosure Protection

Enclosures containing electronics, communications or cabling infrastructure offer a simple attack point for cyber breaches and an opportunity for a physical attack on the hardware. Yet, many of these assets are housed within enclosures that provide minimal security features to offer a deterrent to any would-be attacker. This has always just been a pet hate. Walking down the high street of a town anywhere in the United Kingdom, you can often see open street communication cabinets. You can actually look directly inside at the equipment. And if I was a bad guy, I could quite easily just put my foot into their enclosure and quite quickly take out their infrastructure. Charged service for enclosures This seems crazy when a US$ 2 magnetic contact on a door can quickly tell you whether your enclosure is open or shut, and can be vital in keeping your network alive. Moreover, the operators of these systems, whether it is telecoms or internet providers, are providing a charged service to their customers, so they should really be protecting their enclosures. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? More sobering, if you contrast this security approach to the approach taken in the data center world, an environment that already has multiple stringent security protocols in place, you get a very different picture. For instance, security devices can capture snapshots of anyone who opens a cabinet door in a data room, so it is recorded who has opened that door. While that is just one simple example, it begs the question. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? In my mind, a lot of it boils down simply to education. Network connection, easy point of cyber attacks Our preconceived idea about cyber security is some big corporation being knocked out or held to ransom by, again in our mind, someone sitting at a laptop, probably with their hood up over their head, typing away in the darkness, attacking us through the internet. But how the would-be criminal is going to come at us is just like in sport. They attack at the weakest point. Networks can be deployed in the outside world in many ways, such as cameras monitoring the highways. That means those locations will have a network connection. And that can be a point of attack in a non-secure outside world. Enclosures can be broken into by attackers Many people think, ‘That is okay because I’m going to take that ethernet device that my cameras are connected to and I’m going to put it inside an enclosure.’ However, what people do not realize is that the only thing that the enclosure is doing is protecting the ethernet device from Mother Nature. Because, without proper security, those enclosures can be broken into pretty easily. Many of them are just a single key that is not in any way coded to the device. Twofold cyber security People need to realize that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking Therein lays the problem. People need to realize that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking into the weakest physical point. And so, a simple boot through the open door of an enclosure can vandalise the devices inside and take down a small or large part of a network. And by definition, this meets the criteria for a cyber-attack. So, how do we go about tackling this problem? Well, security is a reaction marketplace. And for enclosures, there’s not, at present, a plethora of solutions out there for to counter these types of attacks. It can be challenging to find what you’re looking for through a quick Google search compared to searching for more traditional security protection measures. Deploying smart sensors and detectors But, under Vanderbilt and ComNet, we are currently taking our knowledge and experience from system installation and compiling it together. We’re bringing different products from different parts of our business to make a true solution. For instance, we have sensors for enclosures that detect anything from gas or smoke to open doors, detectors that will tell you if someone is trying to smash open your enclosure with a sledgehammer, or that someone is trying to lift your enclosure off of its mount. More importantly, as is not really a one-size-fits-all solution, we have developed a menu structure available that allows customers to pick and choose the ones that will best fit their own requirements.

We Have The Technology To Make Society Safer – How Long Can We Justify Not Using It?
We Have The Technology To Make Society Safer – How Long Can We Justify Not Using It?

While the application of facial recognition within both public and private spheres continues to draw criticism from those who see it as a threat to civil rights, this technology has become extremely commonplace in the lives of iPhone users. It is so prevalent, in fact, that by 2024 it is predicted that 90% of smartphones will use biometric facial recognition hardware. CCTV surveillance cameras  Similarly, CCTV is a well-established security measure that many of us are familiar with, whether through spotting images displayed on screens in shops, hotels and offices, or noticing cameras on the side of buildings. It is therefore necessary we ask the question of why, when facial recognition is integrated with security surveillance technology, does it become such a source of contention? It is not uncommon for concerns to be voiced against innovation. History has taught us that it is human nature to fear the unknown, especially if it seems that it may change life as we know it. Yet technology is an ever-changing, progressive part of the 21st century and it is important we start to shift the narrative away from privacy threats, to the force for good that LFR (Live Facial Recognition) represents. Live Facial Recognition (LFR) We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition Across recent weeks, we have seen pleas from UK organizations to allow better police access to facial recognition technology in order to fight crime. In the US, there are reports that LAPD is the latest police force to be properly regulating its use of facial recognition to aid criminal investigations, which is certainly a step in the right direction. While it is understandable that society fears technology that they do not yet understand, this lack of knowledge is exactly why the narrative needs to shift. We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition, we respect these anxieties. However, it is time to level the playing field of the facial recognition debate and communicate the plethora of benefits it offers society. Facial recognition technology - A force for good Facial recognition technology has already reached such a level of maturity and sophistication that there are huge opportunities for it to be leveraged as a force for good in real-world scenarios. As well as making society safer and more secure, I would go as far to say that LFR is able to save lives. One usage that could have a dramatic effect on reducing stress in people with mental conditions is the ability for facial recognition to identify those with Alzheimer’s. If an older individual is seemingly confused, lost or distressed, cameras could alert local medical centers or police stations of their identity, condition and where they need to go (a home address or a next of kin contact). Granted, this usage would be one that does incorporate a fair bit of personal data, although this information would only be gathered with consent from each individual. Vulnerable people could volunteer their personal data to local watchlists in order to ensure their safety when out in society, as well as to allow quicker resolutions of typically stressful situations. Tracking and finding missing persons Another possibility for real world positives to be drawn from facial recognition is to leverage the technology to help track or find missing persons, a lost child for instance. The most advanced forms of LFR in the market are now able to recognize individuals even if up to 50% of their face is covered and from challenging or oblique angles. Therefore, there is a significant opportunity not only to return people home safely, more quickly, but also reduce police hours spent on analyzing CCTV footage. Rapid scanning of images Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match, as a more reliable and less time-consuming option than the human alternative. Freed-up officers could also then work more proactively on the ground, patrolling their local areas and increasing community safety and security twofold. It is important to understand that these facial recognition solutions should not be applied to every criminal case, and the technology must be used responsibly. However, these opportunities to use LFR as force for good are undeniable.   Debunking the myths One of the central concerns around LFR is the breach of privacy that is associated with ‘watchlists’. There is a common misconception, however, that the data of every individual that passes a camera is processed and then stored. The reality is that watch lists are compiled with focus on known criminals, while the general public can continue life as normal. The very best facial recognition will effectively view a stream of blurred faces, until it detects one that it has been programmed to recognize. For example, an individual that has previously shoplifted from a local supermarket may have their biometric data stored, so when they return to that location the employees are alerted to a risk of further crimes being committed. Considering that the cost of crime prevention to retailers in recent years has been around £1 billion, which therefore impacts consumer prices and employee wages, security measures to tackle this issue are very much in the public interest. Most importantly, the average citizen has no need to fear being ‘followed’ by LFR cameras. If data is stored, it is for a maximum of 0.6 seconds before being deleted. Privacy Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story. It is essential we spend more time and effort communicating exactly why watchlists are made, who they are made for and how they are being used, if we want to de-bunk myths and change the narrative. As science and technology professionals, heading up this exciting innovation, we must put transparency and accountability at the center of what we do. Tony Porter, former Surveillance Camera Commissioner and current CPO at Corsight AI, has previously worked on developing processes that audit and review watch lists. Such restrictions are imperative in order for AI and LFR to be used legally, as well as ethically and responsibly. Biometrics, mask detection and contactless payments Nevertheless, the risks do not outweigh the benefits. Facial recognition should and can be used for good in so many more ways than listed above, including biometric, contactless payments, detecting whether an individual is wearing a facemask and is therefore, safe to enter a building, identifying a domestic abuse perpetrator returning to the scene of a crime and alerting police. There are even opportunities for good that we have not thought of yet. It is therefore not only a waste not to use this technology where we can, prioritising making society a safer place, it is immoral to stand by and let crimes continue while we have effective, reliable mitigation solutions.  

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Advanced Installs An Intelligent Network Of Axis EN Fire Control Panels To Secure Ho Chi Minh City’s HaDo Centrosa Garden
Advanced Installs An Intelligent Network Of Axis EN Fire Control Panels To Secure Ho Chi Minh City’s HaDo Centrosa Garden

An intelligent network of 20 Axis EN fire panels from fire and life safety systems manufacturer, Advanced, have been installed at HaDo Centrosa Garden in the heart of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. HaDo Centrosa Garden is a 70,000 sq. m development of eight 30-story luxury residential towers and 115 townhouses, located in the heart of Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. The upscale condominium complex’s facilities will include a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts, fitness center, rooftop gardens, a park, school, library and commercial center. System with high-speed networking capabilities Vietsafe and KP Technology were confident in Axis EN’s ability to deliver the seamless networking needed A key requirement for this large-scale complex was a system with high-speed networking capabilities, to enable instantaneous sharing of communications between panels. To meet this need, fire protection companies Vietsafe and KP Technology chose 20 Advanced Axis EN fire alarm control panels, alongside 3,000 addressable devices, for installation in the eight residential towers. With many successful installations of Advanced products undertaken by both companies, Vietsafe and KP Technology were confident in Axis EN’s ability to deliver the seamless networking needed, while its ease of installation, testing, commissioning and operation would ensure minimal issues once the panels were on site. Axis EN fire alarm control panels installed Le Manh Dung, Director of Vietsafe, said “An Axis EN fire system was the clear choice for a project of this nature. Advanced is well respected in the fire industry, and its solutions are straightforward in terms of installation and operation, thanks to features such as built-in isolators for sequence addressing, which considerably reduces installation time.” Axis EN is EN54 parts 2, 4 and 13 approved and its panels can be used in single-loop, single-panel format or easily configured into high-speed, multi-loop networks of up to 200 nodes covering huge areas. Advanced’s reputation for ease of installation and configuration, as well as its wide peripheral range make its products customizable to almost any application. False alarm management and reduction Pham Thanh Phong, Director of KP Technology, said “As a key partner to KP Technology, Advanced is a fire system supplier we can trust, to deliver high-performing, high-quality solutions that are easy to install and to use. Features such as Axis EN’s false alarm management and reduction capabilities are extremely useful in high-rise residential sites, such as HaDo Centrosa Garden.” Pham Thanh Phong adds, “Repeated false alarms are not only intrusive, they can also lead to complacency and delayed reactions to real fire alarms. Having the ability to refine and configure protection so specifically, and according to the requirements of specific areas within a building, helps to keep unwanted alarms to a minimum and reduces disruption and risk for residents.” AlarmCalm software and MxPro 5 fire system AlarmCalm software comes as standard with any Axis EN and MxPro 5 fire system AlarmCalm software comes as standard with any Axis EN and MxPro 5 fire system, taking advantage of Advanced’s high-speed robust panels and networks to offer a best-in-class solution for managing verification and investigation delays to outputs. It allows the false alarm management strategy for a site to be refined precisely and to take account of occupants’ needs and area usage. It also includes the optional AlarmCalm button, a loop device that allows residents or trained staff to indicate whether they believe a signal in their area is due to a false alarm. Axis EN fire system Tin Le Than, Advanced’s Sales and Business Development Manager for South East Asia, said “As a modern, vibrant complex for thousands of people living and working in the center of Ho Chi Minh, the fire protection for the HaDo Centrosa Garden development is a key priority.” Tin Le Than adds, “As an industry-renowned solution, the Axis EN fire system will deliver complete peace of mind to the building owners and residents of the complex. I am pleased to have been able to support our fantastic partners at Vietsafe and KP Technology with the equipment needed to fulfill their requirements.” Global projects Advanced, owned by FTSE 100 Company, Halma PLC, protects a wide range of sites across South East Asia including the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, University of Macau and Hong Kong Central Library. Halma is a global group of life-saving technology companies with a clear purpose to grow a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone, every day.

Southern Fire & Security And Acctive Systems Enhance Security Systems Design With Axis Communications’ AXIS Site Designer
Southern Fire & Security And Acctive Systems Enhance Security Systems Design With Axis Communications’ AXIS Site Designer

Two renowned systems integrators have improved their ability to more effectively specify and design advanced physical security systems, using the dedicated tool, AXIS Site Designer. AXIS Site Designer AXIS Site Designer is a unique and free web application from Axis Communications, a market renowned company in network video solutions, which makes the specification and design of complex security systems quicker and easier. Having recently deployed the solution, two of Axis partners, Southern Fire & Security Ltd. and Acctive Systems, have been able to evidence a more sophisticated process and have won clients as a result. Security devices and sensors As physical security technology continues to advance, in order to keep up with the ever-evolving threat landscape, coupled with more security devices and sensors being added to IT networks, the task of specifying such systems has become more complex. The principal challenges for those working in the industry are to be able to properly illustrate to buyers the capabilities of such devices and also to demonstrate how they can work together to secure a site. This web application holds the solution. Powerful and versatile design tool AXIS Site Designer revolutionizes the specification and design process AXIS Site Designer revolutionizes the specification and design process, by allowing an entire solution to be mapped out to the finest detail. The powerful and highly versatile tool removes any guesswork or element of trial and error, making it easy to create the right system to fit the exact operational requirements and needs of a prospect or client. The application even allows floor plans of the target site to be added, and virtual placement of cameras and devices enables viewing of the coverage they will provide, once installed. Partner with Southern Fire & Security and Acctive Systems Sean Mcnaboe, Axis Communications’ Key Account Manager, explains “The benefits of AXIS Site Designer are numerous. It helps streamline design workflow, simplify demos of security products and accessories, and even generate quotations and change items in a bill of materials within minutes.” Sean Mcnaboe adds, “Axis has been working closely with two partners, Southern Fire & Security and Acctive Systems, to help them drive their businesses forward while meeting, and often exceeding, the evolving requirements of customers.” Security and surveillance systems specification Southern Fire & Security has recently taken on the specification of security and surveillance systems for several high value properties around the London area, so being able to accurately specify dedicated solutions is critical to secure ongoing business. Acctive Systems, a renowned integrator of electronic security systems, needed a method of specifying security systems that would allow it to demonstrate an entire setup and its component parts via digital means. Efficient designing of surveillance systems AXIS Site Designer is an empowering leap forward in the design of surveillance systems Steve Wilson, Director at Southern Fire & Security, explains “Being able to make only basic recommendations around the use of appropriate technologies has been a key challenge for us. It’s very difficult to plan some of the more involved projects in detail, so we desperately needed a way to be able to visualize an entire estate and how a solution would operate.” AXIS Site Designer is an empowering leap forward in the design of surveillance systems, allowing for greater speed and efficiency, and enabling more effective management of any project. Enhancing customer satisfaction High quality designs and other outputs create a level of professionalism that is a major plus point when vying for business, ultimately improving customer satisfaction and pointing towards greater revenue prospects. Gerry Numa, the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of Acctive Systems, said “AXIS Site Designer delivers everything we anticipated, and more, setting us ahead of our competitors when it comes to slick, professional looking project design. I would encourage other businesses to reach out to Axis to find out how the application can benefit them too.”

What New Technologies And Trends Will Shape Video Analytics?
What New Technologies And Trends Will Shape Video Analytics?

The topic of video analytics has been talked and written about for decades, and yet is still one of the cutting-edge themes in the physical security industry. Some say yesterday’s analytics systems tended to overpromise and underdeliver, and there are still some skeptics. However, newer technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) are reinvigorating the sector and enabling it to finally live up to its promise. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What new technologies and trends will shape video analytics in 2021?

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