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The past decade has seen unprecedented growth in data creation and management. The products and services that consumers use every day – and the systems businesses, large and small, rely on – all revolve around data. The increasing frequency of high-profile data breaches and hacks should be alarming to anyone, and there’s a danger data security could worsen in the coming years. According to DataAge 2025, a report by IDC and Seagate, by 2025, almost 90% of all data created in the global datasphere will require some level of security, but less than half of it will actually be secured. Nuanced Approach To Data Security Security is a circle, not a line. Every actor involved in the handling and processing of data has responsibility for ensuring its securityThe rapid proliferation of embedded systems, IoT, real-time data and AI-powered cognitive systems – as well as new legislation like the European Union’s GDPR – means that data security has to be a priority for businesses like never before. With data used, stored and analyzed at both the hardware and software level, we need a new and more nuanced approach to data security. Security is a circle, not a line. Every actor involved in the handling and processing of data has responsibility for ensuring its security. What this means in practice is renewed focus on areas of hardware and software protection that have previously not been top of mind or received large amounts of investment from businesses, with security at the drive level being a prime example. The Importance Of Data-At-Rest Encryption In a world where data is everywhere, businesses need always-on protection. Data-at-rest encryption helps to ensure that data is secure right down to the storage medium in which it is held in a number of ways. Hardware-level encryption, firmware protection for the hard drive, and instant, secure erasing technology allow devices to be retired with minimal risk of data misuse. Data-at-rest encryption helps to ensure that data is secure right down to the storage medium in which it is held in a number of ways A recent report from Thales Data Threat found that data-at-rest security tools can be a great way to help protect your data. However, it’s important to note that this must be used in conjunction with other security measures to ensure that those that fraudulently gain access to your key management system can’t access your data. Ensuring Drives To Be Common Criteria Compliant One straightforward test any business can do to ensure its storage is as secure as possible is to check whether the drives are Common Criteria compliantDespite the clear benefits, this kind of encryption lags behind other areas, such as network and endpoint security, in terms of the investment it currently receives. The same Thales Data Threat report found that data-at-rest security was receiving some of the lowest levels of spending increases in 2016 (44%), versus a 62% increase for network and a 56% increase for endpoint security. One straightforward test any business can do to ensure its storage is as secure as possible is to check whether the drives are Common Criteria compliant. Common Criteria is an international standard for computer security certification, and drives that meet this standard have a foundational level of protection which users can build on. Providing An Additional Layer Of Security The retail industry has seen a spate of security breaches recently, with several major US brands suffering attacks over the busy Easter weekend this year. As frequent handlers of consumer card information, retailers are particularly vulnerable to attack. Data-at-rest encryption could enhance security in these instances, providing an additional layer of security between customer records and the attacker The advanced threats retailers face can often evade security defences without detection. Such a breach could grant attackers unrestricted access to sensitive information for possibly months – some breaches are known to have been detected only after consumer payment details appeared on the dark web. These types of undetected attacks are highly dangerous for retailers, which are relatively helpless to protect consumer information once their defences have been compromised. Data-at-rest encryption could significantly enhance security in these instances, providing an additional layer of security between customer records and the attacker which has the potential to make the stolen data valueless to cyber criminals. Industries In Need Of Data-At-Rest Encryption Healthcare organizations, which hold highly sensitive customer and patient information, have a strong use case for data-at-rest encryption. With the widespread adoption of electronic patient health records, that data is increasingly more vulnerable to attack. Recent research from the American Medical Association and Accenture revealed that 74% of physicians are concerned over future attacks that may compromise patient records. With the widespread adoption of electronic patient health records, that data is increasingly more vulnerable to attack The financial sector would also benefit from further investment in data-at-rest encryption, given 78% of financial services firms globally are planning on increasing their spending on critical data, according to Thales’ Data Threat Report. It’s helpful to view security as a circle in which every piece of hardware and software handling the data plays its partSMEs and enterprises are not immune to security threats either – with growing numbers of people traveling for work or working remotely, the risk of sensitive business data becoming exposed via device theft is heightened. Usernames and passwords have little use if thieves can simply remove unencrypted hard drives and copy data across. Securing Every Hardware And Software Technology vendors often focus on aspects of hardware and application security that are within their control. This is understandable, but it risks proliferating a siloed approach to data security. There is no single line for data security -- rather, it’s helpful to view it as a circle in which every piece of hardware and software handling the data plays its part. There’s a clear need for more industry dialog and collaboration to ensure data security is effectively deployed and connected throughout the security circle and across the value chain.
The use of facial recognition has become a highly debated topic recently, and has increasingly and misleadingly been criticized by some for being an unethical tool used to spy on the public. The reason for such criticism is however largely due to lack of information and regulation around the technology. Used proportionately and responsibly, facial recognition can and should be a force for good. It has the ability to do a lot more to increase security in the future – from street crime to airport security, all the way through to helping those battling addiction, the technology can take security and operations to new heights. The Rise In Knife Crime Knife crime has dominated the headlines in the UK throughout the year. Recent statistics show the number of people being admitted to emergency care due to attacks by a sharp object to be up by nearly 40 per cent from two years ago, while the number of children under the age of 18 being admitted to hospitals with stab wounds is up by 86 per cent in only four years. This recent surge in knife crime has put police forces under immense pressure, and the intelligent use of facial recognition has a role to play in enabling more informed stop & search interventions. Currently UK police can stop and search an individual they suspect to be carrying drugs or weapons or both, or they can stop and search a person in a location where there have been or are considered likely to be “incidents involving serious violence.” In both cases they must do so with access to limited information, leaving themselves open to accusations of bias or discrimination. Knife crime dominated the headlines in the UK throughout 2018 Police Systems Benefiting Crime Investigations This is where facial recognition can offer up additional intelligence. These systems can memorize the faces of persons of interest, networks of gang members, wanted criminals and those suspected of involvement in serious violent crimes. Furthermore, these systems don’t need prior personal engagement to recognize an individual and see only data, not gender, age or race. The technology doesn’t take the decision away from the human police officer. However, it does bring greater transparency and context to the decision-making process of whether a stop and search intervention is justified. Similarly, the advanced technology can recognize and match an individual seen on a CCTV camera at a crime scene to someone the police encounters on the streets some time later, justifying a stop and search on that individual. Its ability to check in real time if a person is on a criminal watchlist adds an extra layer to the decision-making process prior to conducting a stop and search, lowering the likelihood of discrimination. Facial recognition thus helps eliminate both weapons and criminals off the streets and potentially prevent crimes before they have a chance to take place. Gambling Addiction And How Facial Recognition Can Help There are an estimated 593,000 people in the UK currently battling a gambling problem, making it a serious public health issue in the country. Having understood the gravity of the issue, the UK gambling commission have set limits and advice in place to help those suffering this addiction; yet as with all addictions, gambling is a tough habit to beat. In order to put effective limitations in place and make a real difference, the gambling commission needs the right technology to protect those most vulnerable in the industry. Facial recognition technology is able to keep track of customers and thus help gambling companies in protecting their customers Facial recognition technology is able to keep track of customers and thus help gambling companies in protecting their customers to a higher degree. Monitoring those entering and moving around gambling areas is an extremely difficult task for human staff to do alone, especially in large crowded areas such as casinos. Facial recognition technology installed around the premises would be able to help the company and the staff to identify people who have registered as gambling addicts, and keep record of their day’s play in order to inform staff if and when it was time for them to stop. It would also be able to ensure effective self-exclusion procedures, by identifying a self-excluded individual via CCTV as soon as they entered the venue to then allow security staff to respectfully escort them out. Utilizing Facial Recognition At Airport Security Facial recognition has by now become a normal sight at many airports around the world. Several people today hold a so-called biometric passport, which allows them to skip the normally longer queues and instead walk through an automated ePassport control to proceed to the gate faster without having to deal with control officers. Facial recognition used in this way has managed to significantly cut waiting times at the passport control, but it also has the ability to enhance security in and around airports. Facial recognition uses algorithms to match physical characteristics against photos and videos of people's faces Earlier this year, facial recognition technology managed to catch an imposter trying to enter the US at the Washington Dulles Airport. The false passport may have been uncaught by the human eye, yet due to the accuracy of the facial recognition technology it managed to help officers catch the imposter and bring him to justice. Facial recognition thus allows officers to identify an individual faster and more accurately than the human eye. Facial recognition uses algorithms to match physical characteristics against photos and videos of people's faces, which have been collected from visas, passports and other sources. Facial recognition allows officers to identify an individual faster and more accurately than the human eye While some critics may worry about issues of privacy related to the technology, at airports the use of facial recognition has proved to both enhance security as well as speed up processes such as check-in and, in the future, even boarding proceedings. At airports the use of facial recognition has proved to both enhance security as well as speed up processes such as check-in If used correctly and proportionately, facial recognition can help safeguard the public and improve national security on several fronts. While the many benefits of facial recognition are evident, the lack of regulation and understanding of the technology has led to misconception around how it works and what it is used for. Facial recognition technology can match faces in crowded public places against criminal watch lists, and register faces that match with those on criminal watch lists – while ignoring everyone else.
Terry Gold of D6 Research has been giving “cyber in physical security” presentations at a variety of conferences, including ISC West and the Cyber:Secured Forum. We caught up with him for some insights about the intersection of cybersecurity and physical security. Q: Tell us a little bit about your background, specifically in the context of its relevance to cyber security in physical access. Gold: I started out in information security and then got involved in physical security along the way. I started really focusing on physical from a cyber standpoint about 10 years ago. I got into ethical hacking about 8 years ago, and then worked on putting it all together. There wasn’t a roadmap, so I had to build a methodology which I now share with other hackers, end users and law enforcement. I spend all my time either in the lab building success models, methods, and testing them out in some of the largest customers or agencies in the world for validation and improvement. Also, a chunk of my time is spent re-engineering security assessment and controls for end users or validating vendors on their behalf from a unique viewpoint that’s not (yet) typical in the industry. Q: How well prepared is physical security overall against cyber threats? Gold: Not well at all. While security is imperfect anywhere, much of the practices and designs have critical defects and overlook either best practice or fundamental application security principles. I’d say that the industry is very wide open for exploitation that doesn’t take much sophistication to execute. Breach disclosure laws are focused on mandatory reporting for personally identifiable information (PII) Q: What things stand out to you along your journey regarding the changes that you are seeing on this topic? Gold: Culture. Over the years, the industry (and most end users) have been dismissive of my findings. Industry culture hasn’t been aligned to embrace the topic and make requisite improvements that are needed to achieve “good security.” However, I’m finally starting to see that change – quickly and at scale. It doesn’t mean that we’re close to “good,” but rather reached the inflection point of change – and I’m rather pleased about it. Breach disclosure laws has resulted in IT getting a lot of media attention in comparison to hacks made against physical security Q: D6 does a lot of research in this area. What is the analysis behind the recent push for cyber security in physical security? Gold: First, it must be recognized that the threat isn’t new, but rather that the industry is only now coming to the table on it. Industry sentiment has been that breaches in physical security don’t happen or that there’s little impact. It must be recognised that the threat isn’t new, but rather that the industry is only now coming to the table on itBoth are false. Mainly, IT gets all the media attention with breaches for two reasons; 1) breach disclosure laws are focused on mandatory reporting for personally identifiable information (PII), and 2) there is really poor detection (mostly non-existent) against hacks in physical security, so they go unrecognized. On the other side, as physical security systems increasingly resemble an IT architecture, so does their risk profile. As it expands to mobile, cloud, IOT and intelligence - InfoSec and auditors are taking a look and are alarmed at what they’re seeing. Before you know it, the scrutiny is cutting pretty deep, pressure for alignment becomes intense, and vendors feel the pinch on the sales cycles. It’s not a comfortable position for anyone. Q: What will be the projected impact? Are practitioners seeing the whole picture? Gold: No, and this area is probably the most important takeaway of this interview. The industry is where InfoSec was about 15 years ago in their journey, except we have an additional headwind to deal with – culture change. This industry tends to rely more on trusted relationships than validating the recommendations are being provided. There are too many prevailing misconceptions, that unless remediated, investments won’t be as effective as expected. Q: What do you believe are the top misconceptions? Gold: Well, this is a longer topic, but here’s a sampling that cuts across different areas. Regarding hackers: A misconception is that they’re generally not interested. Hackers are increasingly very interested. When I teach a workshop at a hacker conference, it’s usually the quickest to fill up and go to wait list (within a couple hours). Regarding attacks: A misconception is that attacks are executed directly against the target system. Example, their goal is to get into VMS and attack it directly. The reality is that they’re more commonly dynamic where physical is part of a larger attack and its role is an easier gateway to another system (or vice versa, with many hops). Regarding protective measures. The most prevalent mistake that the industry is currently making is too much focus and reliance on air-gapping networks or locking ports. This is only a slice of the attack surface and there are various ways to get around it. There’s a heavy price to pay for those that that rely too much on this strategy since its often accompanied by few mechanisms to deal with actors once they do get in (and they definitely will). Regarding the value of exploiting physical security. Too often perceived as low value. In our white paper we review many of the things that hackers can do, what they gain, and how it can impact the overall organization. It’s far broader and deeper than most. Q: What are the top things that need to change in the industry? Gold: First, culture. This can be answered by adopting the same principles as InfoSec. From an execution standpoint, the industry needs to change how they perform risk assessments. At D6, we’ve developed a stepwise methodology from ground up and it’s a huge differenceIndustry practices, including certifications, are significantly outdated and don’t reflect a methodology that accurately considers cybersecurity, actors, methods, and proactive remedy. At D6, we’ve developed a stepwise methodology from ground up and it’s a huge difference. End users that don’t re-engineer their practice, will be very limited for meaningful cybersecurity improvement. One of the changes needed in the industry includes how risk assessments are performed Q: Generally, what advice do you give to clients on steps to move their cyber security to the next level? Gold: Don’t operate like a silo anymore. Transition from industry “common practices” to best practices that can be validated. Rely less on previous relationships and more toward domain competence. Collaborate with the CISO to a principled, goal-oriented and metrics-based approach. Embed an InfoSec person on the physical team. Present priorities and risks jointly to the board within an overall risk portfolio. Invite scrutiny from auditors. Get a red team performed once a year. Until you do the last step, you don’t really know where you stand (but don’t do it until the other things are done). Last, set the bar higher with vendors to support these improvements or their products will just end up being weak link. Q: What type of challenges do you see and any advice on how end user and integrators can overcome them? Lessons learned? Gold: There are too many specific domains across cybersecurity – it’s not just a network security resourceFeedback I get from integrators is that they’re struggling to figure out how to deliver expertise to their clients in their area. They’re somewhat overwhelmed with the complexity, becoming an expert or how expensive it is to hire and maintain those skilled resources. My best advice is not to do either. There are too many specific domains across cybersecurity – it’s not just a network security resource. Not even the large integrators have the right bench, and unfortunately, they’re just further down a doomed path than smaller integrators. Form a partnership with boutique cybersecurity firms that have multiple specialists. Negotiate rates, margins, scope, and call on them when needed. It won’t come out of your bottom line, the results will be better, and the risk will be extremely low. You’ll learn along the way too. Q: Anything notable that your research is uncovering in this area that might not be on people’s radar yet? Gold: Yes, quite a bit. Our Annual Industry Assessment Report goes through every segment. We’re making pretty bold statements about the future and impact, but we’re confident. One thing that stands out is how intelligence (and the swath of subsets) will impose stringent demands on physical security due to attribute and data collection (for analysis) which will absolutely require privacy compliance, integrity, and controls. It will even shape organizations that might not care about cybersecurity but are prioritizing function. Q: Where can readers learn more about your perspectives on this topic? Gold: Blogs on the D6research.com website. Our annual report. Val Thomas of Securicon and D6 have collaborated on a three-part cybersecurity in physical white paper series. It goes into all of this in detail, as well as remedy.
Blind spots in surveillance coverage, incompatible video and access control systems, lack of adequate perimeter measures are some of the common issues that facility directors must address with their security teams. At the end of the day, facility executives need technology that accomplish more with less and that expand situational awareness, overall system functionality, and real-time response capabilities, while generating cost savings. By leveraging technology like thermal imaging, this is possible. FLIR Systems stresses that security directors who want to improve facility management, specifically 24/7 monitoring for heightened security and elevated skin temperature frontline screening for entry control, should consider incorporating thermal cameras into their next security upgrade or new installation project. Leveling up security with thermal security cameras By using thermal security cameras, facility directors can better protect their property By using thermal security cameras, facility directors can better protect their property and tenants from external threats. Backed by decades of successful deployment in the government and defense sector for reconnaissance, thermal imaging is a trusted technology. New innovations have expanded the use cases for thermal cameras and made them widely available to commercial and industrial facilities. Corporate offices, manufacturing plants and healthcare campuses all use thermal cameras as a core component of their security strategy. 24/7 surveillance in low light or dark settings Thermal security cameras perform in adverse conditions where standard surveillance cameras cannot. Visual cameras require a light source, and thus, additional infrastructure, to produce an image. If there’s no light, there’s no video. Because thermal cameras measure infrared radiation, or heat, they do not need illumination to produce imagery. In fact, thermal cameras can see in total darkness as well as in rain, smoke, and light fog. They truly enable 24/7 surveillance. Furthermore, thermal cameras yield high-contrast imagery, which not only enhances video analytics performance, but also situational awareness. For example, a security operator viewing a thermal camera feed can easily spot a trespasser attempting to camouflage in the foliage at night, by alerting the operator of body heat on premise. Thermal cameras also enable alarm validation. Equipped with onboard video analytics While motion sensors, laser detectors and fiber optic cables need another technology to visually verify the alert, thermal cameras already provide this function. With onboard analytics, thermal cameras detect objects, classify whether it’s a human, animal or vehicle, and provide video clips for remote operators to assess the alert. Consequently, thermal cameras minimize unnecessary dispatch of guards or police for false positives, saving valuable time, money and resource for facilities. In the event of a true alarm, thermal cameras enable superior suspect tracking. Upon receiving an intrusion alert, a long-range pan-tilt thermal camera can widely monitor the area and scan the property. The camera can then follow the movements of an intruder and if equipped with both thermal and optical sensors, provide both thermal and color video of the person. With this data, a security officer can ascertain the threat level and determine whether the person is an employee who forgot their ID or an unauthorized person trespassing on private property. Maximising intrusion detection capabilities It is important to note that thermal cameras cannot detect a specific individual or their personal information It is important to note that thermal cameras cannot detect a specific individual or their personal information, rather they classify whether the object is a human and then, further analysis is required through of the use of visual cameras for identification. For these reasons, facility directors, especially those managing large campuses or properties, should consider deploying thermal cameras to maximize their intrusion detection capabilities for stronger overall security. Streamlining entry control with temperature screening Facility executives can also improve their access and entry control security procedures by using radiometric thermal cameras for temperature screening. COVID-19, classified as a global pandemic in March 2020, has permanently changed how facility directors build security and environmental, health and safety (EHS) plans. Now, facility directors are prioritizing protocols and technologies that minimize both the risk of exposure, as well as the spread of infectious diseases among employees, visitors and contractors. Temperature checks have become one of the most widely adopted as a key component of frontline screening practices across facilities. In fact, General Motors plants and the Pentagon Visiting Center are notable examples of critical facilities deploying radiometric thermal cameras for skin temperature screening. Radiometric thermal cameras Radiometric thermal cameras for skin temperature screenings allow for a non-contact, frontline diagnostics tool that enables high throughput. These thermal cameras specifically measure skin surface temperature at the inner corner of the eye, the region medially adjacent to the inner canthus, which is known to be the best measurement spot. The most reliable thermal cameras yield accuracies of ±0.3°C (0.5°F) over a temperature measurement range of 15°C to 45°C (59°F to 113°F). Available in a handheld, tripod-mounted or fixed-mount form factor, elevated skin temperature thermal cameras are deployed inside entryways, immediately screening people as they walk into the facility. These cameras scan a person up to one to two meters (or three to six feet) away. Premium thermal cameras can scan individuals in two seconds or less. Enhanced detection of elevated skin surface temperature Thermal cameras are used as an adjunct to clinical procedures in the screening of skin surface temperature Thermal cameras are intended for use as an adjunct to clinical procedures in the screening of skin surface temperature. Upon detection of an elevated skin temperature, a person must then undergo a secondary screening where a medical device can determine whether the person has an actual fever or should partake in virus specific testing. By implementing these screening procedures, facility directors ensure a faster, non-invasive method to quickly detect possible signs of infection before an individual enters a populous area. This minimizes the risk of communal spread of viruses among employees in the workplace, which ultimately increases workforce health, safety and peace of mind. Implementing a total security solution A total security solution designed to detect both physical threats, as well as environmental and health hazards are one that includes thermal cameras for elevated skin temperature screening. Facility managers can strengthen their risk management plans by proactively expanding their security systems to include these solutions. Many physical security solutions are already in place at key entry points, as well as additional checkpoints, such as indoor surveillance cameras, visitor management and access control. Implementing screening stations with specific radiometric thermal cameras is a logical integration at these locations. Choosing the right solution for the facility While thermal cameras for perimeter protection and elevated skin temperature screening are valuable components to the overall security system, facility directors need to know that not all thermal is created equal. Thermal cameras need to be carefully researched and evaluated before deployment. Here are a few best practices for choosing the right thermal camera for your facility and application. Define Your Application: A thermal camera made for long-range perimeter monitoring functions differently than a thermal camera built for elevated skin temperature screening. Make sure to choose a camera designed for your specific use case. Know the Distinguishing Characteristics: Be aware of which technological features separate high-performing cameras from low-end options. For perimeter thermal cameras, resolution, detection range and integration capabilities matter. For elevated skin temperature screening cameras, resolution, sensitivity, accuracy and stability are critical. Check for Certifications: Select a thermal camera with proven interoperability. Consider one that is ONVIF compliant to ensure integration with the overall security system and chosen video management software. Additionally, for elevated skin temperature cameras, consider one that has a 510(k) filing (K033967) with the S. Federal and Drug Administration as well as one that supports other screening standards such as ISO/TR 13154:2017 and IEC 80601-2-59:2017. Work with Experienced Partners: Work with a system integrator who is knowledgeable in thermal. Choose thermal cameras from manufacturers with a solid track record of success for both security and elevated skin temperature screening deployments. Leverage guidebooks, site planning tools and online trainings that these experienced manufacturers have to offer to maximize performance.
Choosing the right interface for the machine vision application is a key decision in one’s camera selection process. The following sections provide an overview of the different types of cables and connectors available for machine vision applications along with associated pros and cons. Useful for applications where extremely high-speeds or ultra high-resolution necessitate the use of such interfaces; for example, line-scan cameras used to inspect continuous flow processes like paper or plastic film production where cameras frequently work in the kHz range. However, these interfaces tend to be significantly more expensive, less flexible and add to system complexity. Machine vision interfaces These are specialized adapter cards to receive image data and assemble it into usable images CarmeraLink (supports up to 6.8Gbit/s of data) and CoaXPress (supports up to 12Gbit/s) are dedicated machine vision interfaces typically used in such applications. In addition to the cameras, systems using these interfaces require frame grabbers. These are specialized adapter cards to receive image data and assemble it into usable images. Dedicated machine vision interfaces also use proprietary cables, making integration with other peripherals a little more challenging. CoaXPress (CXP) The CoaXpress interface was launched in 2008 to support high-speed imaging applications. CXP interfaces use 75ohm coaxial cables and support data transfer speeds of up to 6.25Gbit/s per channel, with the ability to use multiple channels to support even faster data transfer rates. A CXP cable can supply up to 13W of power per cable and requires that both the 'device' and the 'host' support the GenICam camera programming interface. While single-lane coaxial cables are inexpensive, the cost of setting up multi-lane cable assemblies and frame grabbers add up very quickly. Maximize signal integrity CameraLink The CameraLink standard was launched in the year 2000 by Automated Imaging Association (AIA) and has been upgraded progressively in order to support higher data speeds, with some versions requiring two cables for transmission. The three main configurations available include Base (2.04Gbit/s), Medium (5.44Gbit/s) and Deca/Extended (6.8Gbit/s). The base standard uses MDR ("Mini D Ribbon") 26-pin connector, while the medium/full configuration doubles capacity using a second cable. The Deca/Extended versions go beyond limits imposed by CameraLink, carrying up to 6.8 Gbit/s of data. Like CXP interfaces, CameraLink requires frame grabbers and additionally need to be compatible with Power over Camera Link (PoCL) standard in order to supply power. CameraLink lacks any error correction or resend capabilities, requiring expensive and cumbersome cable setups to try and eliminate dropped images by maximizing signal integrity. Machine vision implementation Consumer interfaces These interfaces enable machine vision cameras to connect with host systems using widely available USB and Ethernet standards. For most machine vision applications, the USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gigabit Ethernet consumer interfaces provide a winning combination of convenience, speed, simplicity and affordability. Furthermore, consumer interfaces support widely available hardware and peripherals for machine vision implementation. Most PCs, laptops and embedded systems include at least one port each of Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.1 Gen 1 USB and Ethernet hubs, switches, cables and interface cards can be purchased anywhere from Amazon to the local computer or electronics store at a range of price points to suit the exact requirements. Most PCs, laptops and embedded systems include at least one port each of Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.1 Gen 1. The most obvious difference between these categories of interfaces is their bandwidth. Faster interfaces enable higher framerates for a given resolution. Semiconductor wafer inspection system A faster interface enables you to capture more images each second or capture higher resolution images without sacrificing throughput. For example, a semiconductor wafer inspection system being upgraded from 8” to 12” wafers, higher resolution cameras will be required. In this case, the system designer will need to choose between keeping their existing interface and trading higher resolution for reduced throughput, or upgrading to a faster interface to maintain or improve the throughput. The user’s requirements for resolution, frame rate, cable length and host system configuration should all be considered to ensure they get performance they require without spending more than they need. FLIR’s machine visions cameras support all three trusted and widely available interfaces. Camera control protocols Universal Serial Bus (USB) USB is everywhere. Look around and count the number of USB devices and accessories around. Most USB machine vision cameras use the USB 3.1 Gen 1 interface. This interface provides up to 4Gibt/s of image data bandwidth between the camera and the host system. The USB3 Vision standard helps ensure compatibility between a wide range of cameras and software by defining a common set of device detection, image transfer and camera control protocols. The 5m maximum cable length of USB 3.1 Gen 1 is generally not an issue for embedded systems USB supports Direct Memory Access (DMA). With this DMA capability, image data can be transferred across from the USB directly into memory where it is available for use by software. DMA coupled with the widespread support for USB and availability of drivers for USB controllers on virtually any hardware platform makes USB ideal for use in embedded systems. The 5m maximum cable length of USB 3.1 Gen 1 is generally not an issue for embedded systems. Active optical cables USB 3.1 Gen 1 can simplify system design by supplying up to 4.5 W of power to a camera. The recently developed USB Power Delivery specification allows some hosts to supply more power to devices like rapid-charging cellphone, this specification is independent from the base USB 3.1 Gen 1 standard and has not been adopted by machine vision camera manufacturers. High-flexibility USB cables help maximize the lifespan of cables in systems where the camera must be moved repeatedly. Active optical cables (AOCs) may be used to greatly extend the working distance and provide Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) resistance. The performance of active optical cables is dependant on the throughput requirements and the host system configuration. When using optical cables, even those that supply power via the cable, FLIR recommends using powering cameras externally via GPIO. Locking screw position Additionally, locking USB cables provide a secure connection between cables, cameras and host systems. Prior to purchasing locking cables, FLIR recommends checking the locking screw position and spacing compatibility, as several options are available. USB 3.1 Gen 1 is available on FLIR Blackfly S - Cased and Board level versions, and the tiny Firefly S. Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) GigE provides up to 1Gbit/s of image data bandwidth. Its combination of simplicity, speed, 100m maximum cable length and ability to supply power to cameras over a single cable make it an extremely popular camera interface. Ethernet cables are available with robust shielding. This is ideal for environments with high electromagnetic interference caused by proximity to the powerful motors found in some robots and metrology equipment. Software accessible memory FLIR GigE cameras also support a packet resend feature which further boosts transmission reliability. Unlike USB, GigE does not support DMA. Packets containing image data are transmitted to the host where they must be reassembled into image frames prior to being copied to software accessible memory. This process is trivial for modern PCs, though it may result in latency for some low-power embedded systems with limited system resources. The widespread adoption of Gigabit Ethernet means there is an incredibly wide range of supporting products from cables to switches, ready to meet any project requirement. GigE cameras support the IEEE1588 PTP time synchronization protocol, enabling cameras and other Ethernet enabled devices such as actuators and industrial Programmable Logic Controllers to operate on a precisely synchronized common time base. High flexibility requirements The widespread adoption of Ethernet across many industries has enabled availability of many specialized cables and connectors for a wide range of use cases. For example, there are Ethernet cables designed to protect against EMI (Electromagnetic Interference), high temperature and chemical resistance, while some cater to high flexibility requirements and so on. Ethernet cables have a category number depending on their construction Ethernet cables have a category number depending on their construction. CAT5e is the most common for GigE, while CAT6A, CAT7 and CAT8 may be used for additional EMI resistance at the expense of greater cost and increased cable diameter. Some industrial devices use an X-Coded M12 connector to provide increased shielding, however, for most applications, the familiar RJ-45 connector is good enough and provides greater convince at lower cost. 3D scanning Additionally, screw locking RJ45 connectors easily add additional security to RJ45 cables. 10Gigabit Ethernet (10GigE) 10GigE builds on the strengths of GigE by increasing the bandwidth to 10Gbit/s. 10GigE is an ideal interface for high-resolution 3D scanning, volumetric capture and precision metrology. GigE and 10GigE can be combined in numerous ways. Multiple GigE cameras can be connected to a 10GigE switch to support multiple GigE cameras at full speed over a single 10GigE port on a host system. Incoming image data While CAT5e cables will work with 10GigE cameras over distances less than 30m, CAT6A or higher cables are recommended. 10Gbit/sec is a lot of data. Modern PC systems with high-speed CPUs, PCIe 3.0 and dual channel memory can handle this well, while higher performance systems can support multiple 10GigE cameras. Embedded systems with reduced system resources will generally lack the memory bandwidth and processor speed required to keep up with the incoming image data. 10GgiE is available on FLIR Oryx cameras. Both consumer and dedicated interfaces are used across many machine vision applications. Pros and cons mentioned in previous sections would eventually determine the suitability of one over another for a specific use case. However, the combination of performance, ease of use, widespread availability and low cost make consumer interfaces an attractive choice for most machine vision applications.
Acoustic imaging, or the ability to see ultrasonic sound, has emerged as an effective method for manufacturing and utility organizations to locate compressed air leaks or the existence of partial discharge (PD). It enables professionals to conduct more frequent predictive maintenance routines, to help provide a crucial first warning of impending electrical/mechanical failure that could lead to energy loss and even worse, downtime of critical systems. To help customers take advantage of the benefits of ultrasonic imaging, FLIR made its Si124 industrial acoustic imaging camera available for purchase globally. The FLIR Si124 industrial acoustic imaging camera senses, displays and records sound waves producing a precise acoustic image. The acoustic image is overlaid, in real time, onto a digital camera image all with an easy-to-use, ergonomic, one-handed camera solution weighing a little more than 2 pounds (980 grams). Detecting compressed air leaks The blended visual and sound image can be viewed live on screen to help users’ pinpoint issues from the sound source, helping staff identify issues up to 10 times faster than traditional inspection methods for common mechanical, electrical, vacuum and compressor systems. Built with 124 microphones and a high definition visible-light camera, the battery-powered Si124 can detect potential issues up to 100 meters away, even in loud industrial environments, for up to seven hours of continuous use. Two primary use cases for the Si124 include detecting compressed air leaks and partial discharge (PD) such as corona, arcing, and tracking. Compressed air is often the single most expensive energy source in factories, but air is often lost due to undetected leaks or equipment inefficiencies. Potential unplanned downtime The Si124 provides the ability to perform quick non-contact inspections from a safe distance That leaked air can be difficult to detect by the human ear or touch, particularly in loud manufacturing environments where workers are required to wear hearing protection. The Si124 can solve this issue by visually pinpointing the exact source of a leak instantaneously, especially in hard to reach places that might otherwise go unnoticed. For high-voltage electrical systems, PD can preface a catastrophic failure, creating an unsafe environment and potential unplanned downtime. The Si124 provides the ability to perform quick non-contact inspections from a safe distance. The system then immediately provides the PD type, allowing users to prioritize repairs. What sets the Si124 further apart from other cameras is the FLIR Acoustic Camera Viewer cloud service. Online cloud portal Image captures are quickly uploaded over Wi-Fi to the cloud service then immediately analyzed, providing the user in-depth information such as the size and energy cost of a compressed air leak or the PD classification and pattern of an electric fault. This information is accessible on the Si124 and through the online cloud portal. In addition, users get 8 GBs of storage and wireless data transfer capabilities, making sharing photos and data simple and efficient.
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