Network Video Recorders (NVRs) - Expert commentary

Securing Mobile Vehicles: The Cloud and Solving Transportation Industry Challenges
Securing Mobile Vehicles: The Cloud and Solving Transportation Industry Challenges

Securing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the transportation industry is multi-faceted for a multitude of reasons. Pressures build for transit industry players to modernise their security systems, while also mitigating the vulnerabilities, risks, and growth-restrictions associated with proprietary as well as integrated solutions. There are the usual physical security obstacles when it comes to increasingly integrated solutions and retrofitting updated technologies into legacy systems. Starting with edge devices like cameras and intelligent sensors acquiring video, analytics and beyond, these edge devices are now found in almost all public transportation like buses, trains, subways, airplanes, cruise lines, and so much more. You can even find them in the world’s last manually operated cable car systems in San Francisco. The next layer to consider is the infrastructure and networks that support these edge devices and connect them to centralized monitoring stations or a VMS. Without this layer, all efforts at the edge or stations are in vain as you lose the connection between the two. And the final layer to consider when building a comprehensive transit solution is the software, recording devices, or viewing stations themselves that capture and report the video. The challenge of mobility However, the transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility. As other industries become more connected and integrated, they don’t usually have to consider going in and out or bouncing between networks as edge devices physically move. Obviously in the nature of transportation, this is key. Have you ever had a bad experience with your cellular, broadband or Wi-Fi at your home or office? You are not alone. The transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility Can you trust these same environments to record your surveillance video to the Cloud without losing any frames, non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? To add to the complexity – how do you not only provide a reliable and secure solution when it’s mobile, traveling at varying speeds, and can be in/out of coverage using various wireless technologies? Waiting to upload video from a transport vehicle when it comes into port, the station, or any centralized location is a reactive approach that simply will not do any longer. Transit operations require a more proactive approach today and the ability to constantly know what is going on at any given time on their mobile vehicles, and escalate that information to headquarters, authorities, or law enforcement if needed; which can only occur with real-time monitoring. This is the ultimate question when it comes to collecting, analyzing, and sharing data from mobile vehicles – how to get the video from public transportation vehicles alike to headquarters in real time! Managing video data In order to answer this question, let’s get back to basics. The management and nature of video data differs greatly from conventional (IT) data. Not only is video conducted of large frames, but there are specific and important relationships among the frames and the timing between them. This relationship can easily get lost in translation if not handled properly. This is why it’s critical to consider the proper way to transmit large frames while under unstable or variable networks. The Internet and its protocols were designed more than two decades ago and purposed for conventional data. Although the Internet itself has not changed, today’s network environments run a lot faster, expand to further ranges, and support a variety of different types of data. Because the internet is more reliable and affordable than in the past some might think it can handle anything. However, it is good for data, but not for video. This combination makes it the perfect time to convert video recording to the Cloud! Video transmission protocol One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet. ITS are in dire need for reliable transmission of real-time video recording. To address this need a radical, yet proven, video transmission protocol has recently been introduced to the market. It uses AI technology and to adapt to different environments in order to always deliver high quality, complete video frames. This protocol, when equipped with encryption and authentication, enables video to be transmitted reliably and securely over the Internet in a cloud environment. One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet Finally, transportation industry has a video recording Cloud solution that is designed for (massive) video that can handle networks that might be experiencing high error rate. Such a protocol will not only answer the current challenges of the transportation industry, but also make the previously risky Cloud environment safe for even the most reserved environments and entities. With revolutionary transmission protocols, the time is now to consider adopting private Cloud for your transportation operations.

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.

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.

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Reliance High-Tech And AMAG Technology Form New Partnership To Promote Next Generation Unified Security Solutions
Reliance High-Tech And AMAG Technology Form New Partnership To Promote Next Generation Unified Security Solutions

Reliance High-Tech, the foremost independent security technology integrator, has announced a new partnership with AMAG Technology. It is the latest move in Reliance High-Tech’s on-going strategy to give its customers access to best-in-class security solutions that create ever more intelligent buildings while allowing organizations to effectively transform their operations and offer occupants the highest levels of protection. AMAG Technology is a global provider of powerful and diverse unified security solutions. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, at the heart of the company’s offering is Symmetry – a unique software platform that delivers a flexible end-to-end solution comprising access control and video surveillance, along with intrusion, identity, visitor and incident management. Its analytics system, Symmetry Business Intelligence also gathers and analyses reliable, actionable data to help end-users make better business decisions to mitigate risk, reduce cost and ensure compliance. AMAG also offers a mobile access control solution to companies ready to transition to smart cards or using their cell phone to gain access to doors. Symmetry Business Intelligence “Symmetry is designed to be scalable and meet the needs of organizations across a wide range of vertical sectors – from small to medium sized enterprises, multinational corporations and government through to education, healthcare, finance and banking, data centers, utilities, critical national infrastructure, and logistics,” explained Mark Williams, Director of Sales, EMEA at AMAG Technology.  “The combination of Symmetry’s pioneering technology and Reliance High-Tech’s security and IT expertise means that its customers can now benefit from a solution that offers protection for today but has the capacity to grow to meet the needs of tomorrow.” Microsoft Gold Partner AMAG Technology's Symmetry recognized as one of the Best Business Tools of 2019AMAG Technology has received numerous plaudits for its technological innovation, with Newsweek recognizing Symmetry as one of the Best Business Tools of 2019. Just as importantly, AMAG Technology is a Microsoft Gold Partner for Application Development and Symmetry, so is, therefore, able to meet the demanding expectations of IT teams that are keen to eliminate any network vulnerabilities. Although, it can be fully integrated with third-party components and has a fully open Application Programming Interface (API), one of the key advantages of Symmetry is that it is a truly end-to-end system that features a wide range of advanced applications as standard. For Reliance High-Tech this negates having to integrate numerous disparate components and platforms, and when one component is updated all other elements are taken into consideration. This ensures that the whole solution continues to work seamlessly at all times, guaranteeing reliability and maximum uptime for the end-user in an easily deployed and maintained system. Unified security solution Alistair Enser, Reliance High-Tech’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), commented, “AMAG Technology has an enviable reputation for what it has achieved with Symmetry and I’m delighted that we are now able to work together as partners.” “As the worlds of IT and security become more integrated, it allows us to fully implement our considerable expertise in both areas to provide a comprehensive unified security solution for the UK market. It is all part of our commitment to solving business challenges through the application of intelligent solutions.”

What Will Be The Security Industry’s Biggest Challenge In 2021?
What Will Be The Security Industry’s Biggest Challenge In 2021?

What a year 2020 was for the security industry! There were vast challenges that could not have been foreseen at the beginning of the year. It is safe to say that the events of 2020 defied all industry prognosticators. However, is that any reason not to hope our expectations looking ahead to 2021 will be much closer to reality? Can we possibly benefit from looking ahead and trying to plan for the challenges of the year ahead? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What will be the security industry’s biggest challenge in 2021?

Looking Back At 2020: AI Transitions From Buzzword To A Vital Tool
Looking Back At 2020: AI Transitions From Buzzword To A Vital Tool

Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than a buzzword. AI is increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives, and a vital tool in the physical security industry. In 2020, AI received more attention than ever, and expanded the ways it can contribute value to physical security systems. This article will revisit some of those development at year-end, including links back to the originally published content. In the security market today, AI is expanding the use cases, making technologies more powerful and saving money on manpower costs - and today represents just the beginning of what AI can do for the industry. What it will never do, however, is completely take the place of humans in operating security systems. There is a limit to how much we are willing to turn over to machines - even the smartest ones. Beyond video analytics "Apply AI to security and now you have an incredibly powerful tool that allows you to operate proactively rather than reactively," said Jody Ross of AMAG Technology, one of our Expert Roundtable Panelists. AI made its initial splash in the physical security market by transforming the effectiveness of video analytics AI made its initial splash in the physical security market by transforming the effectiveness of video analytics. However, now there are many other applications, too, as addressed by our Expert Panel Roundtable in another article. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning provide useful tools to make sense of massive amounts of Internet of Things (IoT) data. By helping to automate low-level decision-making, the technologies can make security operators more efficient. Biometrics with access control Intelligent capabilities can expand integration options such as increasing the use of biometrics with access control. AI can also help to monitor mechanics and processes. Intelligent systems can help end users understand building occupancy and traffic patterns and even to help enforce physical distancing. These are just a few of the possible uses of the technologies - in the end, the sky is the limit. AI is undoubtedly one of the bigger disrupters in the physical security industry, and adoption is growing at a rapid rate. And it’s not just about video analytics. Rather, it is data AI, which is completely untapped by the security industry. Bottom line: AI can change up your security game by automatically deciphering information to predict the future using a wide range of sources and data that have been collected, whether past, present, and future. That’s right. You can look into the future. Smarter perimeter protection Now, Intrusion Detection (Perimeter Protection) systems with cutting-edge, built-in AI algorithms to recognize a plethora of different object types, can distinguish objects of interest, thus significantly decreasing the false-positive intrusion rate. The more advanced AI-based systems enable the users to draw ROIs based on break-in points, areas of high-valuables, and any other preference to where alerts may be beneficial. AI Loitering Detection can be used to receive alerts on suspicious activity outside any given store Similarly, AI Loitering Detection can be used to receive alerts on suspicious activity outside any given store. The loitering time and region of interest are customizable in particular systems, which allows for a range of detection options. 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. Meeting urban needs 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. Newer edge computing will play an important role in capturing, collecting, and analyzing data. 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. In smart cities applications, the challenge of identifying both physical and invisible threats to meet urban citizens’ needs will demand a security response that is proactive, adaptable and dynamic. Optimize security solutions As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new technologies, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI and machine learning technologies have already started to help optimize security solutions. In sports stadium applications, AI’s role in getting fans and spectators back after the COVID pandemic is huge, through capabilities such as social distance monitoring, crowd scanning/metrics, facial recognition, fever detection, track and trace and providing behavioral analytics. Technologies such as AI-powered collaboration platforms now work alongside National Leagues, Franchises and Governing Bodies to implement AI surveillance software into their CCTV/surveillance cameras. AI surveillance software In many ways, it’s the equivalent of a neighborhood watch program made far more intelligent through the use of AI This is now creating a more collaborative effort from the operations team in stadiums, rather than purely security. AI surveillance software, when implemented into the surveillance cameras can be accessed by designated users on any device and on any browser platform. One of the biggest advantages of using AI technology is that it’s possible to integrate this intelligent software into building smarter, safer communities and cities. Essentially, this means developing a layered system that connects multiple sensors for the detection of visible and invisible threats. Integrated systems mean that threats can be detected and tracked, with onsite and law enforcement notified faster, and possibly before an assault begins to take place. In many ways, it’s the equivalent of a neighborhood watch program made far more intelligent through the use of AI. Fighting illicit trade Using technology in this way means that thousands of people can be screened seamlessly and quickly, without invading their civil liberties or privacy. AI’s ability to detect visible or invisible threats or behavioral anomalies will prove enormously valuable to many sectors across our global economy. Revolutionary AI-driven technologies can help to fight illicit trade across markets. AI technologies in this specific application promise to help build safer and more secure communities in the future. AI can support the ongoing fight against illicit trade on a global scale in a tangible way. For financial transactions at risk of fraud and money laundering, for example, tracking has become an increasing headache if done manually. As a solution to this labor-intensive process, AI technology can be trained to follow all the compliance rules and process a large number of documents - often billions of pages of documents - in a short period of time.

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