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Cybersecurity: What We Can Do As An Industry
Cybersecurity: What We Can Do As An Industry

In 2017, IoT-based cyberattacks increased by 600%. As the industry moves towards the mass adoption of interconnected physical security devices, end users have found a plethora of advantages, broadening the scope of traditional video surveillance solutions beyond simple safety measures. Thanks in part to these recent advancements, our physical solutions are at a higher risk than ever before. With today’s ever evolving digital landscape and the increasing complexity of physical and cyber-attacks, it’s imperative to take specific precautions to combat these threats. Video surveillance systems Cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind When you think of a video surveillance system, cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind, since digital threats are usually thought of as separate from physical security. Unfortunately, these two are becoming increasingly intertwined as intruders continue to use inventive methods in order to access an organization's assets. Hacks and data breaches are among the top cyber concerns, but many overlook the fact that weak cybersecurity practices can lead to physical danger as well. Organizations that deploy video surveillance devices paired with advanced analytics programs often leave themselves vulnerable to a breach without even realizing it. While they may be intelligent, IoT devices are soft targets that cybercriminals and hackers can easily exploit, crippling a physical security system from the inside out. Physical security manufacturers Whether looking to simply gain access to internal data, or paralyze a system prior to a physical attack, allowing hackers easy access to surveillance systems can only end poorly. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers within the security industry are trading in their traditional analog technology and moving towards interconnected devices. Due to this, security can no longer be solely focused on the physical elements and end users have taken note. The first step towards more secured solutions starts with physical security manufacturers choosing to make cybersecurity a priority for all products, from endpoint to edge and beyond. Gone are the days of end users underestimating the importance of reliability within their solutions. Manufacturers that choose to invest time and research into the development of cyber-hardening will be ahead of the curve and an asset to all. Wireless communication systems Integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future Aside from simply making the commitment to improve cyber hygiene, there are solid steps that manufacturers can take. One simple action is incorporating tools and features into devices that allow end users to more easily configure their cyber protection settings. Similarly, working with a third party to perform penetration testing on products can help to ensure the backend security of IoT devices. This gives customers peace of mind and manufacturers a competitive edge. While deficient cybersecurity standards can reflect poorly on manufacturers by installing vulnerable devices on a network, integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future. Just last year, ADT was forced to settle a $16 million class action lawsuit when the company installed an unencrypted wireless communication system that rendered an organization open to hacks. Cybersecurity services In addition, we’ve all heard of the bans, taxes and tariffs the U.S. government has recently put on certain manufacturers, depending on their country of origin and cybersecurity practices. Lawsuits aside, employing proper cybersecurity standards can give integrators a competitive advantage. With the proliferation of hacks, malware, and ransomware, integrators that can ease their client's cyber-woes are already a step ahead. By choosing to work with cybersecurity-focused manufacturers who provide clients with vulnerability testing and educate end users on best practices, integrators can not only thrive but find new sources of RMR. Education, collaboration and participation are three pillars when tackling cybersecurity from all angles. For dealers and integrators who have yet to add cybersecurity services to their business portfolios, scouting out a strategic IT partner could be the answer. Unlocking countless opportunities Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organization is the first step Physical security integrators who feel uncomfortable diving headfirst into the digital realm may find that strategically aligning themselves with an IT or cyber firm will unlock countless opportunities. By opening the door to a partnership with an IT-focused firm, integrators receive the benefit of cybersecurity insight on future projects and a new source of RMR through continued consulting with current customers. In exchange, the IT firm gains a new source of clients in an industry otherwise untapped. This is a win for all those involved. While manufacturers, dealers and integrators play a large part in the cybersecurity of physical systems, end users also play a crucial role. Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organization is the first step. Commonplace cybersecurity standards Below is a list of commonplace cybersecurity standards that all organizations should work to implement for the protection of their own video surveillance solutions: Always keep camera firmware up to date for the latest cyber protections. Change default passwords, especially those of admins, to keep the system locked to outside users. Create different user groups with separate rights to ensure all users have only the permissions they need. Set an encryption key for surveillance recordings to safeguard footage against intruders and prevent hackers from accessing a system through a backdoor. Enable notifications, whether for error codes or storage failures, to keep up to date with all systems happenings. Create/configure an OpenVPN connection for secured remote access. Check the web server log on a regular basis to see who is accessing the system. Ensure that web crawling is forbidden to prevent images or data found on your device from being made searchable. Avoid exposing devices to the internet unless strictly necessary to reduce the risk of attacks.

What Is AI Face Search? Benefits Over Facial Recognition Systems
What Is AI Face Search? Benefits Over Facial Recognition Systems

When a child goes missing in a large, crowded mall, we have a panicking mom asking for help from the staff, at least a dozen cameras in the area, and assuming the child has gone missing for only 15 minutes, about 3 hours’ worth of video to look through to find the child. Typical security staff response would be to monitor the video wall while reviewing the footage and making a verbal announcement throughout the mall so the staff can keep an eye out for her. There is no telling how long it will take, while every second feels like hours under pressure. As more time passes, the possible areas where the child can be will widen, it becomes more time-consuming to search manually, and the likelihood of finding the child decreases. What if we can avoid all of that and directly search for that particular girl in less than 1 second? Artificial neural networks are improving every day and now enable us to search for a person across all selected camera streamsWith Artificial intelligence, we can. Artificial neural networks are improving every day and now enable us to search for a person across all selected camera streams in a fraction of a second, using only one photo of that person. The photo does not even have to be a full frontal, passport-type mugshot; it can be a selfie image of the person at a party, as long as the face is there, the AI can find her and match her face with the hundreds or thousands of faces in the locations of interest. The search result is obtained in nearly real time as she passes by a certain camera. Distinguishing Humans From Animals And Statues The AI system continuously analyzes video streams from the surveillance cameras in its network, distinguishes human faces from non-human objects such as statues and animals, and much like a human brain, stores information about those faces in its memory, a mental image of the facial features so to speak. When we, the system user, upload an image of the person of interest to the AI system, the AI detects the face(s) in that image along with their particular features, search its memory for similar faces, and shows us where and when the person has appeared. We are in control of selecting the time period (up to days) and place (cameras) to search, and we can adjust the similarity level, i.e., how much a face matches the uploaded photo, to expand or fine-tune the search result according to our need. Furthermore, because the camera names and time stamps are available, the system can be linked with maps to track and predict the path of the person of interest. AI Face Search is not Face Recognition for two reasons: it protects people’s privacy, and it is lightweight Protecting People’s Privacy With AI Face Search  All features of face recognition can be enabled by the system user, such as to notify staff members when a person of interest is approaching the store AI Face Search is not Face Recognition for two reasons: it protects people’s privacy, and it is lightweight. First, with AI Face Search, no names, ID, personal information, or lists of any type are required to be saved in the system. The uploaded image can be erased from the system after use, there is no face database, and all faces in the camera live view can be blurred out post-processing to guarantee GDPR compliance. Second, the lack of a required face database, a live view with frames drawn around the detected faces and constant face matching in the background also significantly reduces the amount of computing resource to process the video stream, hence the lightweight. Face Search Versus Face Recognition AI Face Search Face Recognition Quick search for a particular person in video footage Identify everyone in video footage Match detected face(s) in video stream to target face(s) in an uploaded image Match detected face(s) in video stream to a database Do not store faces and names in a database Must have a database with ID info Automatically protect privacy for GDPR compliance in public places May require additional paperwork to comply with privacy regulations Lightweight solution Complex solution for large-scale deployment Main use: locate persons of interest in a large area Main use: identify a person who passes through a checkpoint Of course, all features of face recognition can be enabled by the system user if necessary, such as to notify staff members when a person of interest is approaching the store, but the flexibility to not have such features and to use the search tool as a simple Google-like device particularly for people and images is the advantage of AI Face Search.Because Face Search is not based on face recognition, no faces and name identifications are stored Advantages Of AI Face Search Artificial Intelligence has advanced so far in the past few years that its facial understanding capability is equivalent to that of a human. The AI will recognise the person of interest whether he has glasses, wears a hat, is drinking water, or is at an angle away from the camera. In summary, the advantages of Face Search: High efficiency: a target person can be located within a few seconds, which enables fast response time. High performance: high accuracy in a large database and stable performance, much like Google search for text-based queries. Easy setup and usage: AI appliance with the built-in face search engine can be customised to integrate to any existing NVR/VMS/camera system or as a standalone unit depending on the customer’s needs. The simple-to-use interface requires minimal training and no special programming skills. High-cost saving: the time saving and ease of use translate to orders of magnitude less manual effort than traditionally required, which means money saving. Scalability: AI can scale much faster and at a wider scope than human effort. AI performance simply relies on computing resource, and each Face Search appliance typically comes with the optimal hardware for any system size depending on the customer need, which can go up to thousands of cameras. Privacy: AI Face Search is not face recognition. For face recognition, there are privacy laws that limits the usage. Because Face Search is not based on face recognition, no faces and name identifications are stored, so Face Search can be used in many public environments to identify faces against past and real-time video recordings. AI Face Search match detected face(s) in video stream to target face(s) in an uploaded image Common Use Cases Of AI Face Search In addition to the scenario of missing child in a shopping mall, other common use cases for the AI Face Search technology include: Retail management: Search, detect and locate VIP guests in hotels, shopping centres, resorts, etc. to promptly attend to their needs, track their behaviour pattern, and predict locations that they tend to visit. Crime suspect: Quickly search for and prove/disprove the presence of suspects (thief, robber, terrorist, etc.) in an incident at certain locations and time. School campus protection: With the recent increase in number of mass shootings in school campuses, there is a need to identify, locate and stop a weapon carrier on campus as soon as possible before he can start shooting. Face Search will enable the authorities to locate the suspect and trace his movements within seconds using multiple camera feeds from different areas on campus. Only one clear image of the suspect’s face is sufficient. In the race of technology development in response to business needs and security concerns, AI Face Search is a simple, lightweight solution for airports, shopping centres, schools, resorts, etc. to increase our efficiency, minimise manual effort in searching for people when incidents occur on site, and actively prevent potential incidents from occurring. By Paul Sun, CEO of IronYun, and Mai Truong, Marketing Manager of IronYun

How To Choose The Right Storage Card For Video Surveillance Systems
How To Choose The Right Storage Card For Video Surveillance Systems

With increased demands being placed on safety and security globally, and supported by advancements in IP cameras and 360-degree camera technology, the video surveillance industry is growing steadily. Market research indicates that this worldwide industry is expected to reach an estimated $39.3 billion in revenue by 2023, driven by a CAGR of 9.3 percent from 2018 to 2023. Video surveillance is not just about capturing footage (to review an event or incident when it occurs), but also about data analysis delivering actionable insights that can improve operational efficiencies, better understand customer buying behaviors, or simply just provide added value and intelligence. Growth of Ultra-HD Surveillance To ensure that the quality of the data is good enough to extract the details required to drive these insights, surveillance cameras are technologically evolving as well, not only with expanded capabilities surrounding optical zoom and motion range,4K Ultra HD-compliant networked cameras are expected to grow from 0.4 percent shipped in 2017, to 28 percent in 2021 but also relating to improvements in signal-to-noise (S2N) ratios, light sensitivities (and the minimum illumination needed to produce usable images), wide dynamic ranges (WDR) for varying foreground and background illumination requirements, and of course, higher quality resolutions. As such, 4K Ultra HD-compliant networked cameras are expected to grow from 0.4 percent shipped in 2017, to 28 percent in 2021, representing an astonishing 170 percent growth per year, and will require three to six times the storage space of 1080p video dependent on the compression technology used. Surveillance cameras are typically connected to a networked video recorder (NVR) that acts as a gateway or local server, collecting data from the cameras and running video management software (VMS), as well as analytics. Capturing this data is dependent on the communications path between individual cameras and the NVR. If this connection is lost, whether intentional, unintentional, or a simple malfunction, surveillance video will no longer be captured and the system will cease operations. Therefore, it has become common to use microSD cards in surveillance cameras as a failsafe mechanism. Despite lost connectivity to the NVR, the camera can still record and capture raw footage locally until the network is restored, which in itself, could take a long time depending on maintenance staff or equipment availability, weather conditions, or other unplanned issues. Since microSD cards play a critical role as a failsafe mechanism to ensure service availability, it is important to choose the right card for capturing video footage.  It has become common to use microSD cards in surveillance cameras as a failsafe mechanism if an NVR breaks Key Characteristics Of microSDs There are many different microSD cards to choose from for video capture at the network’s edge, and they range from industrial grade capabilities to commercial or retail grade, and everything in-between. To help make some of these uncertainties a little more certain, here are the key microSD card characteristics for video camera capture. Designed For Surveillance As the market enjoys steady growth, storage vendors want to participate and have done so with a number of repurposed, repackaged, remarketed microSD cards targeted for video surveillance but with not much robustness, performance or capabilities specific to the application. Adding the absence of mean-time between failure (MTBF) specifications to the equation, microSD card reliability is typically a perceived measurement -- measured in hours of operation and relatively vague and hidden under metrics associated with the camera’s resolution and compression ratio. Therefore, when selecting a microSD card for surveillance cams at the edge, the choice should include a vendor that is trusted, has experience and a proven storage portfolio in video surveillance, and in microSD card technologies. Endurance, as it relates to microSD cards, represents the number of rewrites possible before the card can no longer store data correctly  High Endurance Endurance, as it relates to microSD cards, represents the number of rewrites (program/erase cycles) that are possible before the card can no longer store data correctly. The rewrite operation is cyclical whereby a new stream of footage replaces older content by writing over it until the card is full, and the cycle repeats. The higher the endurance, the longer the card will perform before it needs to be replaced. Endurance is also referred to in terabytes written (TBW) or by the number of hours that the card can record continuously (while overwriting data) before a failure will occur. Health Monitoring Health monitoring is a desired capability that not many microSD cards currently support and enables the host system to check when the endurance levels of a card are low and needs to be replaced. Having a card that supports this capability enables system integrators and operators with the ability to perform preemptive maintenance that will help to reduce system failures, as well as associated maintenance costs. Performance To capture continuous streams of raw footage, microSD cards within surveillance cams perform write operations about seventy to ninety percent of the time, whereas reading captured footage is performed about ten to thirty percent. The difference in read/write performance is dependent on whether the card is used in an artificial intelligent (AI) capable camera, or a standard one.   microSD cards deployed within surveillance cameras should support temperature ranges from -25 degrees Celsius to 85 degrees Celsius Finding a card that is write-friendly, and can provide enough bandwidth to properly capture streamed data, and is cost-effective, requires one that falls between fast industrial card capabilities and slower commercial ones. Bandwidth in the range of 50 MB/sec for writes and 80 MB/sec for reads are typical and sufficient for microSD cards deployed within surveillance cameras. Temperature Ranges Lower capacity support of 32GB can provide room to attract the smaller or entry-level video surveillance deployments As microSD cards must be designed for continuous operation in extreme weather conditions and a variety of climates, whether located indoors or out, support for various temperature ranges are another consideration. Given the wide spectrum of temperatures required by the camera makers, microSD cards deployed within surveillance cameras should support temperature ranges from -25 degrees Celsius to 85 degrees Celsius, or in extreme cases, as low as -40 degrees Celsius. Capacity Selecting the right-sized capacity is also very important as there needs to be a minimum level to ensure that there is enough room to hold footage for a number of days or weeks before it is overwritten or the connectivity to the NVR is restored. Though 64GB is considered the capacity sweet spot for microSD cards deployed within surveillance cameras today, lower capacity support of 32GB can provide room to attract the smaller or entry-level video surveillance deployments. In the future, even higher capacities will be important for specific use cases and will potentially become standard capacities as the market evolves. When choosing the right storage microSD card to implement into your video surveillance system, make sure the card is designed specifically for the application – does it include the right levels of endurance and performance to capture continuous streams – can it withstand environmental challenges and wide temperature extremes – will it enable preventative and preemptive maintenance to provide years of service? It is critical for the surveillance system to be able to collect video footage whether the camera is connected to an NVR or is a standalone camera as collecting footage at the base of the surveillance system is the most crucial point of failure. As such, failsafe mechanisms are required to keep the camera recording until the network is restored.

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What are the Security Challenges of Protecting Utilities?
What are the Security Challenges of Protecting Utilities?

Utilities are an important element of critical infrastructure and, as such, must be protected to ensure that the daily lives of millions of people continue without disruption. Protecting utilities presents a unique range of challenges, whether one considers the electrical grid or telecommunications networks, the local water supply or oil and gas lines. Security technologies contribute to protecting these diverse components, but it’s not an easy job. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of protecting utilities?

Hanwha And Genetec Help Planet Fitness Boost Security And Performance
Hanwha And Genetec Help Planet Fitness Boost Security And Performance

Recently, Planet Fitness, with the help of their preferred system integrator Adirondack Direct, incorporated a video surveillance solution from Hanwha Techwin and Genetec that not only enhances security, but also improves operations. When leadership evaluated security at their 70-plus corporate run locations a few years ago, they chose to incorporate a video surveillance solution that would address security needs and would be advanced enough to help with management and operations.  Each of Planet Fitness’ corporate-owned clubs throughout North America is outfitted with approximately eight to 15 video cameras that provide around the clock coverage of the parking lot, lobby, break room, the fitness area where members workout and other key areas – without invading private areas, such as locker rooms and other intimate spaces. After issuing a Request for Proposal, Planet Fitness Senior Vice President of Corporate Club Operations Jim Esposito said they tested several of the leading camera and video management software (VMS) solutions, but ultimately decided on Hanwha video surveillance cameras managed by the Genetec Security Center platform. Esposito said they wanted to use Hanwha’s 360-degree cameras in particular because they provide more coverage, yet they save in hardware expenses because fewer cameras are needed. 360-degree fisheye camera Hanwha’s SNF-8010 5 MP 360-degree fisheye camera provides 5MP at 20FPS which captures smoother video at a higher framerate with true day and night function. Built-in on-camera de-warping allows instant access to PTZ, quad view, and panorama views. Alarm triggers for the Hanwha SNF-8010 include intelligent motion detection, audio detection, tampering detection, alarm input and network disconnection.Adirondack Direct also offers a 24-hour monitoring service and liaisons with law enforcement when needed A typical system setup at Planet Fitness includes placing cameras 25 feet from the wall and 50 feet apart which provides almost 2,000 square feet of coverage per camera. Club managers, regional managers and corporate employees manage the system via the Genetec Security Center which provides convenient bookmarks of recorded incidents so that – instead of time spent searching through video – events are already tagged. Adirondack Direct also offers a 24-hour monitoring service and liaisons with law enforcement when needed. “We knew that Planet Fitness would need thousands of video surveillance cameras for this project and it’s very important to consider reliability and functionality as well as durability,” said Adirondack Direct Director of Security and Technology, Tim Collins. “Hanwha has the lowest customer return number and that means that they manufacture products that aren’t sidelined by constant replacement and repairs.” Collins said Adirondack Direct has long recommended Genetec’s Security Center for video surveillance management because it provides the best open-architecture platform, robust features and is easy to use. Security Center blends IP security systems within a single intuitive interface to simplify operations and empowers organizations through enhanced situational awareness, unified command and control and connectivity to the cloud. When a Lunk Alarm is pressed, Genetec’s Security Center creates a bookmark of the event which provides video evidence of what preceded the alarm and how it was managed Business intelligence  While the Hanwha-Genetec solution has provided an excellent security system – as well as protection against liability for slip and fall incidents – it’s also improved operations in multiple ways by providing invaluable business intelligence, said Esposito. Planet Fitness has a judgement-free environment for individuals who want to work out, but don’t want to have to endure the negatives so often found in gyms: loud grunts, the clanging of dropped weights and aggressive behavior. Anyone engaging in obnoxious behavior will likely be the recipient of a Lunk Alarm and the flashing lights, sirens and unwanted attention that accompanies it.Use of the Lunk Alarm – or lack of use – can be an indicator of how the club is operating Use of the Lunk Alarm – or lack of use – can be an indicator of how the club is operating. In order to monitor and evaluate use of the Lunk Alarms, Adirondack Direct has integrated the Lunk Alarm into the Hanwha-Gentec video solution. When a Lunk Alarm is pressed, Genetec’s Security Center creates a bookmark of the event which provides video evidence of what preceded the alarm and how it was managed. Potential medical emergencies Gyms typically have automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the event a member suffers a medical emergency. At Planet Fitness facilities outfitted with the Hanwha-Genetec solution, once an AED is removed from its cabinet, a sensor is activated to shut off the music in the club to provide a calmer atmosphere. The system also creates a bookmark in the VMS and notifies managers and regional managers that an AED has been deployed. The Hanwha-Genetec Planet Fitness solution also provides key employee analysis that can help managers identify areas of improvement. Each facility has rubber floors that must be cleaned daily and Adirondack Direct has placed a sensor on a floor scrubber that creates a bookmark and recording in Security Center when the device is moved. Video evidence verifies whether the floor was actually cleaned or if the scrubber was just relocated. Break room sensors Each break room is outfitted with a sensor that creates a video bookmark every time the door is opened. If an employee visits too often, Planet Fitness management can reorient that employee on the proper policies and procedures. For day to day efficiencies, video analytics can be a valuable tool. If an employee is constantly leaving the front desk to go to a storage closet for a particular item, they can make changes including moving the item closer to the front desk. “If during an overnight shift the camera indicates that there was no motion at the front desk for a prolonged period of time, then that’s a problem,” said Esposito. “We expect someone to be in that position greeting and welcoming members so if someone isn’t there, the video can help us understand why.”If an employee visits the break room too often, Planet Fitness management can reorient that employee on the proper policies and procedures A big question for Planet Fitness – that can be answered via video analytics – is have they been losing sales opportunities without realizing it? “What we’re exploring now is a virtual line that counts the number of people that come and go in the club,” said Esposito. “We know how many people check in. So, if a club checks in 500 people in a day, but there are 600 people that enter the door, that can be lost revenue.” Esposito said they chose Hanwha cameras and the Genetec platform because they knew that they needed a solution that was at the forefront of technology, with the flexibility to grow with them and meet their future needs. He added the solution delivers a safe environment that is appreciate by everyone. “It’s somewhat of a security blanket for our members and employees,” he said. “They appreciate our no intimidation mantra and the fact that we have created this safe and secure environment that offers a judgement free zone where people can do their own thing.”

Genetec Unveils Security Center Transaction Finder, A POS Integration Tool With Exception-based Reporting Capabilities
Genetec Unveils Security Center Transaction Finder, A POS Integration Tool With Exception-based Reporting Capabilities

Genetec Inc., globally renowned technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations, and business intelligence solutions has announced Security Center Transaction Finder, a POS (Point of Sale) integration tool with exception-based reporting capabilities, designed to help retailers speed up their investigations. The new POS tool with exception-based analytics embedded in security platform helps retailers reduce shrink by quickly detecting suspicious transactions and correlating events with surveillance video. Security Center Transaction Finder Embedded in the security system, Security Center Transaction Finder correlates POS data with corresponding video, with the ability to bring in additional sources such as analytics as an added feature. It eliminates the need to jump between different platforms, and helps investigators filter through large volumes of transactions to quickly detect suspicious activities that might warrant further investigation. Retail shrink is increasing, and theft tactics are becoming more complex, strategic and internal Retail shrink is increasing, and theft tactics are becoming more complex, strategic and internal. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) 2019 national retail security survey, theft, fraud, and losses from other retail “shrink” continues to rise (totaling US$ 50.6 billion in 2018, up from $46.8 billion the year before). To identify theft trends and combat loss, retailers are increasingly turning to technology to put in place effective ways to work smarter and automate their processes to reduce losses and preserve valuable margin.  Theft and financial fraud detection “Working with a variety of tools and applications to reduce retail loss is a critical aspect of any retail investigator’s job. However, the enormous volume of POS transactions to review, combined with the amount of time it takes to manually find the security video associated with potentially fraudulent activity makes this a daunting task. With Transaction Finder, we solve that problem by using a single tool that makes it easy to detect theft trends, identify suspicious transactions and locate video of interest,” explains Rob Borsch, Practice Leader – Retail and Banking at Genetec, Inc. Scanning POS database Using the Transaction Finder task in Security Center, investigators simply enter relevant search criteria like date and time, employee name, SKUs involved in the transaction, void transactions, or whether motion was detected on the customer side of the register, etc. Transaction Finder will scan the POS database for activities that meet the selected criteria along with the associated video and the transaction details. Using customizable dashboards, investigators can quickly identify suspicious transactions, immediately review the associated video for more context, and flag transactions for further investigation.