Network Video Recorders (NVRs) - Expert commentary

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.

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

Latest Dedicated Micros news

ContinentalAccess To Showcase New CA3000 Version 2.9 Software At ISC West 2014
ContinentalAccess To Showcase New CA3000 Version 2.9 Software At ISC West 2014

The new CA3000 software provides robust access control functionality and seamless integration with alarms ContinentalAccess, a division of Napco Security Technologies, Inc., has recently released new CA3000 version 2.9 software, that not only provides robust access control functionality and seamless integration with alarms, locking and a growing list of video systems, but offers a host of many new sought-after features including; the ability to run the CardAccess 3000 and associated applications as Windows services and the ability to control access to the CardAccess GUI using Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Support for the Continental’s new and robust Super-Speed 16 door Accelaterm controller is also available. Plus, more video integration partners have been added to their growing list, now including Pelco, HiTron, Milestone, Dedicated Micros, as well as Salient & Integral. New CA3000 v2.9 also includes many enhancements to the existing features, providing the front-end of Napco Fusion; it is the complete seamless interoperable solution for Gemini intrusion & fire systems, access control, video and wireless locks. The CardAccess 3000 version 2.9 software also provides additional support for sister division, Alarm Lock’s Trilogy Networx locks, now in both cylindrical and mortise models, with the utilization of a Door position contact and Request to Exit (RTE) button feature. Continental offers training classes across the country and free online webinars, as well as retrofit rebate programs and cost-saving software upgrade plans. See us at ISC West Booth #12043, Las Vegas, NV, April 2- 4.

Keyscan Appoints Mark Playdon As Southeast US Regional Sales Manager
Keyscan Appoints Mark Playdon As Southeast US Regional Sales Manager

Mark has over 20 years of experience in the both security and broadcast arenas Keyscan Access Control Systems is pleased to announce Mark Playdon has joined Keyscan as Regional Sales Manager, Southeast US covering North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. “It is a pleasure to welcome Mark to his new role with Keyscan,” said Steve Dentinger, Keyscan’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “Mark brings a wealth of security and technology experience to our organisation. I am confident he will continue to support Keyscan’s efforts and drive continued growth for the Keyscan brand throughout the Southeast region of the United States.” Mark joins Keyscan with more than 20 years’ experience working with technology based manufacturers in both the Security and Broadcast arenas. Most recently mark has worked with both JVC Profession Security Division and Dedicated Micros. Heading up their Eastern Regional Sales Divisions Mark was successful in developing sales growth through the development and management of effective sales channels. Prior to working in the Security industry Mark spent 15 years in broadcast equipment sales working for top companies including JVC, Vinten and Fast Forward Video, all manufacturer of high end broadcast equipment. Mark grew through the ranks beginning his career as a Broadcast Systems Installation engineer before moving to Design and then Sales. As Global Sales Director at Fast Forward Video Mark was instrumental in the continued and solid sales growth of the company’s product in new territories and countries though out the world. Mark also served in the British Royal Air Force studying engineering before beginning his career in the broadcast and security industries.

IPX360 Solutions New North American Market Agent For CheckMyCCTV Software Application
IPX360 Solutions New North American Market Agent For CheckMyCCTV Software Application

With this move, CheckMySystems aims to bring the software to an international audience CheckMySystems - the CCTV health and operation monitoring software specialist - has signed-up electronic security product provider IPX360 Solutions to act as its agent for 'CheckMyCCTV' in the North American market. This is a major step forward in CheckMySystems' desire to bring the software to an international audience following its successful UK launch. The CheckMyCCTV application, to be offered by IPX360 Solutions across the US and Canada, is designed to automatically identify and report specific video surveillance system faults as soon as they are detected. Typical issues that can be flagged-up by CheckMyCCTV include: camera failures, hard disk failures, recording issues, time accuracy problems, and network connection failures. Early detection helps to ensure that problems are resolved before they can impact, negatively, on system performance. Following the landmark deal announced recently, IPX360 Solutions is planning to preview CheckMyCCTV's advanced capabilities in a series of one-to-one meetings with security distributors and monitoring station representatives at the Security Canada Expo taking place in Toronto, Canada. The 'soft launch' of CheckMyCCTV is to be followed by the 'official' North American unveiling of the video surveillance health check software on IPX360 Solution's booth (219) during the SecureTech event (Ottawa - October 30, 31). Moving ahead, IPX360 Solutions sees tremendous potential in targeting CheckMyCCTV at American and Canadian security distributors and owners of large-scale and multiple sites. Central stations are another focus, where interest has already been expressed in CheckMyCCTV by providers, given its ability to enhance the efficiency of their operations and, crucially, the system status information that can be provided to customers. "We are very excited to be working with IPX360 Solutions Inc. in our efforts to bring CheckMyCCTV to new customers in North America.." Regis Glorieux, President of IPX360 Solutions, explains what attracted him to the CheckMyCCTV solution: "In my view there is a real need for a new approach to checking on video surveillance systems in the US and Canada. When working with, and for distributors, I regularly came across recorders that were simply not working and may have been out of action for weeks or even longer. I am certainly not alone in this. "Often the first time the customer realised anything was amiss was when there was an incident and they couldn't retrieve the video. With CheckMyCCTV in place these problems are picked-up automatically, and highlighted by an on-screen warning at a monitoring station or even via a smart phone 'app', so no one needs to be left in the dark. "Another factor which is very appealing, and differentiates CheckMyCCTV from less capable solutions, is the ability of the software to work with multiple video surveillance system brands. Traditionally, such solutions have tended to be very much manufacturer specific. This isn't very practical for customers who want to avoid the headache of trying to run four or five pieces of software simultaneously. Now with CheckMyCCTV they can access a single, convenient interface for all important status checking." Commented Darren Rewston, Founder and Managing Director of CheckMySystems Ltd: "We are very excited to be working with IPX360 Solutions Inc. in our efforts to bring CheckMyCCTV to new customers in North America. The experience we have had to date in the UK, working with monitoring stations, large retailers and other users, shows that CheckMyCCTV can make a positive difference to fault finding and how the maintenance of video surveillance systems is managed. We expect that customers in the US and Canada will soon appreciate these practical benefits for themselves. "At CheckMySystems we realize that there can be no room for complacency where the well being of video surveillance systems are concerned. The need to implement effective checks was underlined in a snapshot survey we conducted of 300 sites across the UK. Before CheckMyCCTV was implemented a worrying 75% of sites had one or more issues affecting the operational performance of the CCTV system, ranging from daylight saving time not being updated, to camera failures, recording problems, and hard disk issues." CheckMyCCTV is currently compatible with over 25 video surveillance system brands and OEMs, including: Samsung, Costar, HikVision, American Dynamics, Dedicated Micros, Xtralis, and Dahua, with more being added to this list all the time.

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