IP cameras - Expert commentary

Edge Computing, AI and Thermal Imaging – The Future of Smart Security
Edge Computing, AI and Thermal Imaging – The Future of Smart Security

Smart security is advancing rapidly. As AI and 4K rise in adoption on smart video cameras, these higher video resolutions are driving the demand for more data to be stored on-camera. AI and smart video promise to extract greater insights from security video. Complex, extensive camera networks will already require a large amount of data storage, particularly if this is 24/7 monitoring from smart video-enabled devices. With 4K-compliant cameras projected to make up over 24% of all network cameras shipped by 2023 – there is a fast-growing desire for reliable storage on-board security cameras. The question for businesses is: do they look to break up their existing smart video network, by separating and compartmentalising cameras to handle data requirements, or do they increase its storage capabilities? As some people begin to venture out and return to work following initial COVID-19 measures, we are also seeing demand for thermal imaging technology increase. New technology like this combined with more of these always-on systems being rolled out, means organizations will need to carefully consider their smart video strategy. Newer edge computing will play an important role in capturing, collecting, and analyzing data and there are some key trends you can expect to see as a result of this evolution. There are many more types of cameras being used today, such as body cameras, dashboard cameras, and new Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors. Video data is so rich nowadays, you can analyze it and deduce a lot of valuable information in real-time, instead of post-event. Edge computing and smart security As public cloud adoption grew, companies and organizations saw the platform as a centralized location for big data. However, recently there’s been opposition to that trend. Instead we are now seeing data processed at the edge, rather than in the cloud. There is one main reason for this change in preference: latency. Newer edge computing will play an important role in capturing, collecting, and analyzing data Latency is an important consideration when trying to carry out real-time pattern recognition. It’s very difficult for cameras to process data – 4K surveillance video recorded 24/7 – if it has to go back to a centralized data center hundreds of miles away. This data analysis needs to happen quickly in order to be timely and applicable to dynamic situations, such as public safety. By storing relevant data at the edge, AI inferencing can happen much faster. Doing so can lead to safer communities, more effective operations, and smarter infrastructure. UHD and storage AI-enabled applications and capabilities, such as pattern recognition, depend on high-definition resolutions such as 4K – also known as Ultra High Definition (UHD). This detailed data has a major impact on storage – both the capacity and speeds at which it needs to be written, and the network. Compared to HD, 4K video has much higher storage requirements and we even have 8K on the horizon. As we know, 4K video has four times the number of pixels as HD video. In addition, 4K compliant video supports 8, 10, and 12 bits per channel that translate to 24-, 30- or 36-bit color depth per pixel. A similar pattern holds for HD — more color using 24 bits or less color using 10 or 12 bits in color depth per pixel. Altogether, there is up to a 5.7x increase in bits generated by 4K vs. 1080 pixel video. Larger video files place new demands on data infrastructure for both video production and surveillance. Which means investing in data infrastructure becomes a key consideration when looking into smart security. Always-on connectivity Whether designing solutions that have limited connectivity or ultra-fast 5G capabilities, most smart security solutions need to operate 24/7, regardless of their environment. Yet, on occasion, the underlying hardware and software systems fail. In the event of this, it is important to establish a failover process to ensure continued operation or restore data after a failure, including everything from traffic control to sensors to camera feeds and more. Consider the example of a hospital with dozens or even over a hundred cameras connected to a centralized recorder via IP. If the Ethernet goes down, no video can be captured. Such an event could pose a serious threat to the safety and security of hospital patients and staff. For this reason, microSD cards are used in cameras to enable continuous recording. Software tools – powered by AI – can then “patch” missing data streams with the content captured on the card to ensure the video stream can be viewed chronologically with no content gaps. Thermal imaging Health and safety is the number one priority for all organizations as people return to work and public spaces. Some organizations are deploying thermal imaging to help screen individuals for symptoms as they return. Organizations that operate with warehouses, depots and assembly lines will traditionally have large amounts of cameras located outside of the entrance. With thermal imaging smart video in place, these cameras can now serve a dual purpose as a screening device. The thermal imaging technology is capable of detecting elevated body temperatures, with 10-25 workers being scanned in one shot, from one camera – making it an efficient and accurate process. This way, staff can use the information to help identify people who may need further screening, testing, and/or isolation before returning to work. There are many more types of cameras being used today, such as body cameras, dashboard cameras, and new Internet of Things (IoT) devices While this may not increase data storage requirements, it can change your retention policies and practices. Smart security today is about utilising AI and edge computing, to deliver an always-on, high-resolution video provision that can help keep people safe 24/7. These trends increase the demands and importance of monitoring, which means requirements of the supporting data infrastructure improve to match that, including the ability to proactively manage the infrastructure to help ensure reliable operation. Companies need to make sure they have considered all the storage and policy challenges as part of their smart security strategy for the future.  

The Increased Role Of Video Surveillance Technology In Our Changing Environment
The Increased Role Of Video Surveillance Technology In Our Changing Environment

Today’s environment has evolved into something that according to some may seem unexplainable. But in the context of video surveillance, this is something that we understand. Allow me to shed some light and understanding in terms of security and why it truly is a necessity. Security is not a luxury, it is a necessity. An essential practice now peaking the interests of all businesses small and large. A video surveillance system is a cost effective option that does not require monitoring fees. As business slows, temporarily shuts down or closes, an increase in vacant properties is inevitable. This pandemic will continue to put severe pressure on many businesses around the country. With so many considered non-essential, it is really sad to see how many must shutter their doors and lay off employees. Keeping an eye out for suspicious activity using a commercial grade surveillance system that supports advanced analytics, may end up saving your potential customers thousands of dollars down the road. Demand For Video Surveillance And Security Products We can certainly draw on the conclusion that security is a “need” more so than a “want”. Times like this just further cement that thought process. In today’s economic spiral, people aren’t actively looking for lighting controls or home theaters. What they look for is a way to keep their loved ones safe, protect their homes, businesses and property. In my opinion, you will see video surveillance and security product sales skyrocket in the coming months and years. It has been reported that response times for first responders may be impacted as a result of COVID-19, leaving those with bad intent more time to ransack a property knowing that law enforcement may be slow to respond. Criminals will always take advantage of the situation. All we can do as a community is use common sense, stay vigilant and watch out for one another. For some of us that may mean mitigating risks with technology. Affordable Video Monitoring Solutions Having a solution that can quickly and securely share video footage may be the difference between identifying a perpetrator and becoming a victim. Ella, a video search platform developed by IC Realtime, makes every second of video instantly searchable and shareable, either with the authorities or your neighborhood social apps. Plus it is compatible with any RTSP streaming device. To wrap this up, it’s not about pointing out the obvious, it’s really about bringing awareness as to how technologies can be implemented to provide peace of mind without breaking the bank. Video surveillance technology is a way to do that and provide added security for you, your family and your business.

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

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

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FLIR Video Security And Perimeter Protection Solution Secures Africa’s Endangered Rhinos, Like Munu
FLIR Video Security And Perimeter Protection Solution Secures Africa’s Endangered Rhinos, Like Munu

South Africa conservationist, Brett Barlow needed a robust security solution to protect Munu, a blind, South Western Black Rhinoceros, whose species is critically endangered. FLIR video solution Barlow deployed an all FLIR solution, comprising thermal cameras, visible cameras and an NVR, for around-the-clock monitoring, early detection and real-time response. FLIR technology has played an instrumental role to protect Munu’s life and livelihood. Throughout the 20th century, big-game hunters, settlers and poachers have decimated Africa’s black rhino population. In the early 1970s, there were approximately 65,000 black rhinos, and by 2018, that number was reduced to 5,630. In 2020, there are three remaining subspecies of the black rhino, one of the most vulnerable being the South Western Black Rhinoceros, also known as Diceros bicornis bicornis, of which there are only 254 left in South Africa. FLIR thermal and visible security cameras deployed Barlow teamed up with FLIR Systems to use state-of-the-art thermal and visible security cameras to act as Munu’s eyes Munu, a 20-year-old blind male rhino, is one of these critically endangered species. When Munu was in danger, South Africa conservationist, Brett Barlow stepped in to save Munu’s life. Barlow teamed up with FLIR Systems to use state-of-the-art thermal and visible security cameras to act as Munu’s eyes, detecting threats, increasing safety and enhancing his overall quality of life. In 2019, rangers working at a South African National Park found a black rhino walking in circles and visibly disoriented. They knew they had to do something. After safely tranquilizing him, an ophthalmic surgeon confirmed that the rhino, known as Munu, had suffered two detached retinas and was completely blind, likely as a result of disputes with other rhinos in the area. Protecting endangered rhino, Munu As soon as he heard about the situation, renowned South African conservationist, Brett Barlow spoke with the South African National Park and offered to permanently house and protect Munu. “Every rhino matters,” Barlow adamantly affirmed, adding “You wouldn’t put down a blind child, so why would you put down a blind rhino?” The South African National Park later transferred Munu to Barlow’s care. However, Barlow wasn’t the only one who wanted to help Munu. Relocating Munu to the Mantis Founder’s Lodge Adrian Gardiner, globally renowned conservationist famous for founding the Shamwari Game Reserve and the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in South Africa, extended the invite for Munu to stay on one of his properties, the Mantis Founder’s Lodge. Wasting no time at all, Barlow relocated Munu to the lodge, knowing it would increase his quality of life. The property, spanning 850 hectares, is home to five white rhinos, as well as other animals, including a zebra and giraffe. The White Lion Foundation, in which Gardiner and Barlow are both executive board members, donated funds to construct Munu’s boma, comprising a secure covered boma and a five-hectare open grazing area. American Humane funding Though under Barlow’s care and in a safe enclosure, Munu still faced many grave threats Additional support came from a local internet provider, who donated free internet services for the project. American Humane, a non-profit organization committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals, funded one year of feed for Munu. All donations for Munu go directly to the project with no administration costs deducted. Though under Barlow’s care and in a safe enclosure, Munu still faced many grave threats because of his highly valuable horn. He remained a prime target for illegal poaching. Much of Munu’s horn was removed to protect him, but the amount of horn that remained is still worth thousands of dollars. Experts say that one pound of rhino horn is worth at least US$ 3,000 universally and ten times that, on Asian black markets. Thus, even with much of his horn removed, Munu was still in danger. Self-harm was a risk should Munu charge into the boma. Munu’s next door neighbor, Rodney, a white bull rhino, was also a concern should a territorial fight occur. For all these reasons, Barlow looked for ways to enhance Munu’s safety. Video surveillance for enhanced security Previously, the Mantis Founder’s Lodge employed two guards for Munu’s security. However, Barlow believes guards should only be a second line of defense, a visual deterrent that responds to threats. “I wanted to go down to the electronic security system route,” Barlow said, adding “Technology doesn’t sleep.” The first security manufacturer Barlow hired charged high prices for their security products. More than this, once installed, Barlow discovered that these devices were unable to deliver quality images in extreme weather conditions, such as mist or rain, both of which are commonplace at the Lodge. As such, he decided Munu’s security required for a more robust and reliable video security system. In 2019, Wilke Pretorius, Distribution Sales Manager for Sub Sahara Africa at FLIR Systems, was working with Brett Barlow on a separate project. When Barlow told Pretorius about Munu, Pretorius informed the FLIR team who immediately got involved. FLIR end-to-end video surveillance system FLIR donated an end-to-end surveillance system, featuring thermal and visible cameras FLIR donated an end-to-end surveillance system, featuring thermal and visible cameras, in order to protect Munu from poachers. FLIR’s powerful thermal and visible imaging cameras deliver intrusion detection at much longer ranges and complete, 24-hour perimeter protection, regardless of weather conditions. "Other camera manufacturers don't compare. Their cameras can't see through mist or rain. FLIR delivers images 24/7, rain or shine, darkness or light,” Barlow said, adding “technology like FLIR thermal cameras allow for early warnings for perimeter breaches. Even though rhinos have weak eyesight, without any sight, they are basically defenseless. So, in essence, FLIR became Munu’s eyes.” Beyond FLIR’s high-performing technology, Barlow loved working with the FLIR staff. Barlow said, “What drew me to FLIR were the people involved. Wilke and the rest of the FLIR team have been so passionate and resourceful, always available and willing to help when issues arise.” “When I started working at FLIR, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Jim Cannon said our mission is to save lives and livelihoods,” Pretorius explained, adding, “These words stuck with me. Working on the Munu project, it was clear that saving lives and livelihoods are indeed a passion of FLIR employees. I am proud to be a part of a company so eager and passionate to produce solutions and technology that make a positive impact in the world.” Installation of FLIR cameras Installing the new security system was not an easy task. Merely two days prior to the arrival of FLIR cameras, in March 2020, South Africa was ordered into an immediate lockdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But Barlow was eager to begin the installation process, so he set out to do it himself. By early May 2020, a two-person crew had manually dug over 600 meters of trenching to run cable and conduit through the lodge’s hard African soil. Barlow also installed a solar array to power the system. He cut bushes, installed polling and connected the entire system to FLIR’s central network video recorder (NVR), to view the camera feeds both inside and surrounding Munu’s boma. The result is a fully functioning, comprehensive video security system. FLIR Elara FB-Series ID thermal security cameras deployed Barlow worked closely with Pretorius to strategically design and lay out the FLIR security system Barlow worked closely with Pretorius to strategically design and lay out the FLIR security system based on a two-tier model. The perimeter is shaped as a big triangle about 110 yards away from the boma enclosure. Six FLIR Elara FB-Series ID thermal security cameras, which use onboard analytics to classify human or vehicular intrusions, are installed to monitor the outer perimeter or the first tier. There are also 11 Ariel Full HD IP Bullet cameras deployed, which deliver 1080p video for high motion, complex and low-light scenes. FLIR Saros Dome DH-390 cameras deployed For effective surveillance of Munu’s boma, six FLIR Saros Dome DH-390 cameras, designed to deliver actionable alerts and alarm data, surround the enclosure. One FLIR Saros DM-Series camera is mounted inside the boma to capture every minute detail of Munu’s movement in all conditions. To manage the video from all the cameras, FLIR also supplied its Meridian TM product, a compact, all-in-one network video recorder (NVR), specially designed to support dozens of channels. Meridian also features a FLIR United VMS EZ Client web interface, which simplifies viewing capabilities and saves the cost of additional workstations. Powering, processing and managing this system are six edge servers, FLIR’s USS Edge Appliances, containing 12TB of storage and preloaded with United VMS software, built to seamlessly manage multiple, varied devices. Heightened perimeter protection Thanks to FLIR’s technology, Barlow is confident that Munu can be an ambassador for his species. He hopes Munu’s story may inspire future conservancies around the world to partner with manufacturers, like FLIR, for heightened perimeter protection. Case in point, actress Shannon Elizabeth, founder of the South Africa-based Shannon Elizabeth Foundation that is focused on wildlife conservation, was deeply moved by Munu’s story. She later asked Barlow to participate as an advisor to her foundation’s Ranger Relief Fund. Importance of early warning technology FLIR could prove invaluable to the efforts of rangers all over the African continent to protect endangered animals" In a time where conservation funding is down because of declining tourism due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ranger Relief Fund supplies money and much needed equipment to ensure conservation first responders remain employed and properly resourced. With early warning technology being more critical than ever, the need for conservancies to partner with technology manufacturers like FLIR is urgent. “FLIR could prove invaluable to the efforts of rangers all over the African continent to protected endangered animals,” Barlow explained, adding “With Munu being the proof point, FLIR could be more than Munu’s new eyes, but indeed the eyes of an industry desperate to protect the world’s natural heritage from the burgeoning poaching crisis.” Picking the optimal security solution When asked what advice Barlow would give to other conservancies considering similar security technologies, he said “Speak to the right people. Make sure you talk to someone who understands the product. See the solution in action. View a live site and see how it works. Work with the right people to implement that for yourself.” The longer Munu lives, the more good he’ll do. Barlow plans to expand Munu’s boma, once he has acclimatized to his new home. And he has already begun using the FLIR Saros DM-Series’ live stream capabilities to invite learners around the world to observe Munu up close. The plan for Munu is to mate with a female within his own subspecies, thereby directly contributing to the survival of his kind. If Munu does sire a calf, Barlow plans to donate the calf back to the South African National Park that Munu came from to help with the genetic diversity for the reserve. The future for Munu is bright and, with his new eyes, he will see through to the end.

FLIR Systems Unveils Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ Camera That Offers Long-Range Situational Awareness And Enhanced Low-Light Visible Imaging
FLIR Systems Unveils Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ Camera That Offers Long-Range Situational Awareness And Enhanced Low-Light Visible Imaging

FLIR Systems, Inc. has announced a new addition to its premium Quasar line of PTZ cameras, the FLIR Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ. The camera offers 4K visible resolution with 31x optical zoom paired with long-range, infrared illumination (IR) for low-light coverage up to 200 meters in challenging environments. FLIR Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ camera With an expanded operating temperature range of -40 to 60 degrees Celsius/140 degrees Fahrenheit, IP66 for water and dust protection, and NEMA-4X (salt-tolerance) ratings, the Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ camera is equipped for consistent operation in extreme weather conditions. Pan-Tilt de-icing and built-in lens wiper paired with remote-operated washer accessory systems, keep the camera functional and operational in remote or hard to access installations. Enhanced low-light visibility imaging The FLIR Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ camera is a key addition to the Quasar premium family of products" “The FLIR Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ camera is a key addition to the Quasar premium family of products, offering a longer-range option with excellent low-light visible imaging for critical infrastructure sites, remote facilities, or other large areas that require close monitoring in all conditions,” said Daniel Gundlach, Global Business Development, Solutions Business at FLIR Systems. He adds, “The camera is designed to withstand severe environmental conditions, while also providing the crisp images professionals need for real-time situational awareness and post-event evidentiary support.” Open platform compatibility Similar to other Quasar products, the Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ camera maintains open platform compatibility and can be used with a large variety of third-party VMS solutions or FLIR United VMS. The Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ camera includes industry standard security protocols and additional cyber security enhancements, including unique protection from log-in attacks, hardware and software authentication, and encryption to help keep facilities safe from cyber threats. FLIR Quasar 4K 31x IR PTZ cameras are available for purchase globally starting September 1 2020, from FLIR or authorized dealers.

How Can Thermal Cameras Be Used Effectively for Fever Detection?
How Can Thermal Cameras Be Used Effectively for Fever Detection?

The COVID-19 global pandemic continues, and more and more companies are looking for ways to continue (or resume) operations while minimizing the coronavirus’s negative impact on their workforce, or potentially contributing to disease spread among the wider population. Thermal cameras have been proposed as a solution to screen individuals for elevated body temperature since the beginning of the pandemic. However, the technology has its detractors, and there are regulatory questions. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can thermal cameras be used effectively for fever detection to screen for infectious diseases?

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