Body worn video cameras
The renowned intelligent video redaction tool, Pixelate by Ocucon, has been updated with a range of AI features that makes protecting members of the public in CCTV footage quicker and easier, while giving more control to the end-user. Pixelate 3 with auto-detection Pixelate 3 has introduced auto-detection and additional functionality, such as a zoom in/out ability, as well as improving on the existing ground-breaking features of this web-based software, including: GDPR compliance – Including auditable log of video redaction and UK processed data Intelligent automated redaction – Built on AI, this feature quickly blurs out individuals Suitable for all types of camera footage, including body-worn cameras Quick upload via easy-to-use web-based portal with new, updated user dashboard Significantly reduced redaction time compared to manual video redaction methods Intelligent video redaction service The update has come as the demand for subject access requests for CCTV footage is set to increase, with the general public’s awareness of GDPR laws continuing to rise. Any member of the public can request footage of themselves, however other individuals featured in the footage must be concealed, blurred, or pixelated to hide their identity. Whereas existing outsourced redaction services are time consuming and costly, Ocucon’s intelligent video redaction service allows users to quickly redact CCTV files via Pixelate’s secure web-based portal for a fraction of the cost, with monthly subscriptions starting from as little as £20 per month. Deploying AI technology Gary Trotter, Co-Founder and CEO of Ocucon said, “We are proud to launch this latest version of Pixelate. After listening to feedback from our clients, the team has worked tirelessly to create a smoother, quicker, and easier experience for users to redact people and sensitive information in CCTV footage.” Ocucon is currently delivering a number of confidential pilots for major supermarkets and retail chains He adds, “Pixelate truly is unique in its offering and Ocucon continues to research and develop AI technology that will only make GDPR compliance even easier and smarter in the future.” Cloud-based storage and retrieval platform Since its launch in 2018, Pixelate has redacted over 8,500 faces in 1,429 minutes of footage across 367 different videos. Customers who already use Ocucon’s powerful, cloud-based storage and retrieval platform also have full access to Ocucon Pixelate and can select video clips to redact from within the cloud. Recognized by top business awards for its digital technology innovation, Ocucon combines intelligent data analytics with the facility to store, analyze and retrieve unlimited amounts of HD video surveillance footage from within the Ocucon cloud-based portal. Since its launch, Ocucon has seen significant interest in both the UK and US, and is currently delivering a number of confidential pilots for major supermarkets and retail chains.
Axon, the globally renowned company in connected law enforcement technologies, has announced that U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) signed a US$ 13 million contract to equip 3,800 Border Patrol agents with Axon Body 3 cameras backed by Axon Evidence. Axon Evidence is a US General Services Administration FedRAMP-Authorized cloud-based digital evidence management solution available to federal law enforcement. This order was received in the third quarter of 2020 and will ship in multiple phases throughout 2020 and 2021. Incident-Driven Video Recording System The Axon Incident-Driven Video Recording System (IDVRS) will provide additional documentation during enforcement incidents and provide invaluable evidence to support agents as they do their job. These cameras will also provide a layer of transparency that benefits both the Agents and the public. This new technology will allow CBP to be more efficient and better serve the American public. Partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection Axon is proud to partner with the world-class law enforcement agency that is the U.S. Border Patrol" Beginning in the spring of 2021, the IDVRS will be deployed in phases to the following USBP sectors, San Diego, Yuma, Tucson, El Paso, Big Bend, Del Rio, Rio Grande Valley, and Swanton sector on the northern border. "Axon is proud to partner with the world-class law enforcement agency that is the U.S. Border Patrol. We will increase agent safety and allow for more accountability with our new body camera program of record," said Axon Federal Vice President and General Manager, Richard Coleman. Richard Coleman, "We look forward to continuing our support of the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection." Body-worn camera feasibility study Policies guiding the use of the IDVRS are in their early stages, and specific details regarding the rollout of the system will be forthcoming in spring 2021. CBP conducted a body-worn camera feasibility study in 2014, followed by a six-month operational evaluation in 2018. The evaluation recommended a targeted deployment to locations where cameras can provide the greatest benefit to both the public and agents.
Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions, which was established on October 1, 2019 and formally operates as Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions Corporation of America (PIPSA) in the United States of America, is changing its global brand to i-PRO. i-PRO branding The new i-PRO branding reflects a significant change in philosophy relative to the company’s go to market strategies, product and integrated system offerings, and reseller and technology partnerships. Comprised of the professional security surveillance, public safety, and medical imaging business units in the U.S., i-PRO will continue to build upon its expansive portfolio with new technologies and advanced AI-driven software and analytics that complement its best-in-class imaging technologies and edge products, and further build on a history of innovation and leadership that spans over 60 years with Panasonic. Innovative technologies and solutions i-PRO is more than just a new company name or brand. It represents a significant shift in vision for our organization globally" “i-PRO is more than just a new company name or brand. It represents a significant shift in vision for our organization globally, and the innovative technologies and solutions we currently have and will be introducing moving forward to support it,” said Bill Brennan, President, Panasonic i-PRO Sensing Solutions Corporation of America (PIPSA). “We are a more versatile and agile company that can establish and implement new strategies and market specific programs and technologies faster and more efficiently to deliver solutions that set new benchmarks in performance with higher ROI and lower TCO. This is the new i-PRO.” i-PRO is comprised of the following business units: Professional Security Surveillance, offering comprehensive IP and analog video surveillance, access control, and analytics solutions for professional applications that combine best-in-class hardware, management and control software, and deep learning AI analytics. Public Safety, providing advanced video solutions for law enforcement applications including next generation body worn cameras, in-vehicle video systems, evidence capture and management software, and intelligent analytics such as facial redaction to protect personal privacy. Medical Imaging, delivering high-performance cameras designed specifically for medical imaging devices and systems, and other industrial applications. Integrated solutions “By clearly focusing on these three core markets and working hand in hand with our dedicated channel partners, i-PRO will deliver new and innovative integrated solutions that meet today’s most demanding challenges with a forward-looking perspective to address tomorrow’s needs.” “And we will work in lockstep with our headquarters in Japan to address the specific needs of our customers in the U.S., while remaining close partners with Panasonic, a key investor in i-PRO. We hope you join us on this exciting journey and engage in the new i-PRO experience. Our future is brighter than ever,” concluded Brennan.
Aicuda Technology, a globally renowned supplier of versatile video surveillance and Smart TV solutions catering to customers from enterprise to entry level, has announced the execution of a strategic distribution agreement with CloudWalker Streaming Technologies Pvt. Ltd. (CloudWalker), one of the premier value added product distributors in India. Body worn and thermal cameras CloudWalker Streaming Technologies Pvt. Ltd. will promote Aicuda Technology’s Airyn portfolio of smart edge devices like body worn cameras and thermal cameras to its network of channel partners located throughout India. “Aicuda Technology is a young and innovative product manufacturer firm with a highly versatile solutions portfolio and a very impressive network of partnerships”, said Jagdish Rajpurohit, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CloudWalker Streaming Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Airyn smart edge device CloudWalker is a true solution company and we belief that technology is the key in integrating products" Mr. Rajpurohit adds, “CloudWalker Streaming Technologies Pvt. Ltd. is a true solution company and we belief that technology is the key in integrating products and processes into solutions. With the addition of AICUDA Technology’s Airyn smart edge devices, we can provide some of the most innovative solutions to the market today. We don’t just supply boxes, but we also supply complete solutions to our channel partners.” John van den Elzen, Managing Director of Aicuda Technology said, “CloudWalker has a strong expertise and know-how for solution sales in verticals and we are very excited about the new partnership.” Aicuda Technology – CloudWalker partnership John further stated, “CloudWalker Streaming Technologies Pvt. Ltd.’s dedication and value added approach in the market perfectly fits in our strategy to accelerate the growth in the Indian market. Deploying Aicuda Technology’s Airyn smart edge devices with CloudWalker’s high professional services will dramatically expand the company’s ability to address the demands of commercial accounts.”
This year has been characterized by uncertainty and extraordinary strain, which has fallen heavily on all manner of key workers. Alongside our celebrated healthcare professionals, carers and the emergency services, those working in essential retail have proved themselves to be the backbone of our society during this challenging period. As people try to grasp onto normality and cope with the unexpected changes taking place in every aspect of their lives – including the way they are allowed to shop – it’s no surprise that tensions are now running higher than ever. Retail crime was already on the rise before the pandemic struck, with the British Retail Consortium finding that at least 424 violent or abusive incidents were reported every day last year. The Co-op recently reported its worst week in history in terms of abuse and antisocial behavior, with 990 incidents of antisocial behavior and verbal abuse suffered by staff between 20th and 26th July. 990 incidents of antisocial behavior and verbal abuse suffered by staff between 20th and 26th July To manage the increased risks currently faced by retail employees, businesses must adopt new initiatives to safeguard their staff. Growing numbers of retailers including the Co-op and Asda have equipped their in-store and delivery staff with body worn cameras to enhance safety and provide them with peace of mind, as well as to discourage altercations from taking place at all. Traditional tech Body worn cameras are nothing new and have been used within the law enforcement industry for years. Traditional devices are record-only and can be used to record video evidence able to be drawn upon ‘after the fact’ should it be needed as an objective view of an event and who was involved. These devices can also be used to discourage violent or verbally abusive incidents from occurring in the first place. If a customer is approached by an employee, they are likely to think twice about retaliating if they know their interaction is being recorded. This stance is supported by research from the University of Cambridge that found the use of body worn cameras improves the behavior of the wearer and those in its vicinity, as both are aware of the fact it can act as an objective ‘digital witness’ to the situation. However, record-only body worn cameras do leave much to be desired. In fact, the same University of Cambridge study found that, in the case of law enforcement, assaults against officers wearing these devices actually increased by 15%. This could be attributed to those being recorded being provoked by the presence of the camera or wanting to destroy any evidence it may hold. Out with the old, in with the new Live-streaming enabled body worn cameras provide the benefits of record-only devices and more Fortunately, there is a better option. Live-streaming enabled body worn cameras provide the benefits of record-only devices and more. Live-streaming capabilities are able to take ‘after the fact’ evidence one step further and provide the wearer with ‘in the moment’ safety and reassurance. With these devices, if a retail employee is subject to a volatile situation with a customer, they can trigger live video to be streamed back to a central command and control room where security officers will be able to take the most appropriate course of action with heightened and real-time situational awareness. Having access to all of the information they could need instantly will enable security personnel to decide whether to attend the scene and diffuse the situation themselves or to take more drastic action if needed, before any harm has been caused. This capability is especially valuable for lone workers who don’t have access to instant support – such as delivery drivers, in-store or warehouse staff and distribution operators to name a few. The pandemic has also doubled the number of consumers who do their regular grocery shopping online, leading to potential supply and demand issues resulting in unhappy customers. Live-streaming body worn cameras rely on uninterrupted mobile connectivity to excel, as they are not connected to any physical infrastructure. To minimize the risk of the live video stream buffering or freezing – a real possibility for delivery drivers who can be working anywhere in the country – retailers should look to deploy devices capable of streaming in real-time, with near zero latency footage, even when streaming over poor or constrained networks. To get the most out of their tech, retailers should also look to implement devices that can be multi-use and can be deployed as a body worn camera or a dashcam to record any incidents that may occur while driving. Novel threats This year brought about a new threat that retailers must protect their staff from While not to the same extent, retail workers have always been subject to a level of potential physical or verbal abuse. However, this year brought about a new threat that retailers must protect their staff from. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the cause of many of the new threats facing employees, but is also a threat in itself. To mitigate this, retailers should look to introduce remote elevated temperature detection cameras in their stores, which analyze body temperature and sound an alarm when somebody’s temperature exceeds a certain threshold – as this could indicate the presence of a potential fever. When deployed on the same cellular network as live-streaming enabled body cameras, these tools can be linked to a central command center and the alarms viewed remotely from any connected device. This means a network of cameras can be monitored efficiently from a single platform. Ensuring the protection and security of retail workers has come to the fore this year. With the risk of infection in high-footfall locations, such as supermarkets, and the added pressure that comes with monitoring and enforcing safety guidelines, retail staff are having to cope with a plethora of new challenges. Retailers should adopt innovative technologies within their stores and delivery trucks, such as live-streaming enabled body cameras and remote elevated temperature screening solutions, to minimize the threat faced by their employees and provide them with instant support and reassurance should it be required.
With the recent news headlines about store closures and the collapse of well-known chains, alongside clear adjustments in business strategy amongst established high street favorites, there is no denying that the UK retail industry is under huge pressure. A recent report suggests growing issues are leading some retailers to increase risk-taking in the supply chain. But here, Steve Bumphrey, Traka UK Sales Director, looks at ways to help retailers embrace the storm, including paying attention to security, management processes and efficient customer focus. Challenges plaguing retail industry It’s been an awful year to date for UK retail if you believe the cacophony of negative headlines about the health of the UK economy and the confidence levels of the UK consumer. The sector is facing huge challenges in dealing with the evolution in on-line and smart mobile retailing The sector is undoubtedly facing huge challenges in dealing with the evolution in on-line and smart mobile retailing. Further concerns include an unwillingness of policymakers to address the changing retail environment and how business rates and general business taxation and regulation is making a difficult situation worse. Supply Chain Risk Report According to the latest Global Supply Chain Risk Report, published by Cranfield School of Management and Dan & Badstreet, those under pressure, are now facing increased exposure to risk if they are forced to cut costs in their supply chain. The report cites data for the retail sector that shows increased levels of risk-taking since Q4 2018, with retailers reporting high levels of dependency on suppliers and indicating a propensity to off-shore to low-cost, high-risk countries where suppliers are more likely to be financially unstable. In-Store technology revolution The underlying evolution of technology taking hold of the retail industry and consequential changing consumer behavior is what is really forcing the industry to step up and act. This is not only in the shift to online and smart mobile purchases, but also with the increased use of technology in store. Self-scanning and checkouts In a bid to enhance the physical shop experience, especially in supermarket outlets across the UK, retailers are increasingly giving customers autonomy with self-scanners and checkouts and need to be able to trust them to ensure an honest transaction. And for the shoppers, this dependency on technology and not human interaction to complete a shop means scanners must be instantly available and ready for use. Many different underlying competing challenges impact the retail industry Compensators At the recent British Retail Consortium’s ‘Charting the Future’ conference, looking at retail crime and security, Dr Emmeline Taylor, a criminologist at the City University of London identified in self -service shops, several new types of ‘offenders’ such as so-called ‘compensators’ including the atypical ‘frustrated consumer’ who, “fully intended to pay but were unable to scan an item properly”, adding to the security challenge. There are clearly many different underlying competing challenges impacting the retail industry. Arguably, the increase in technology and autonomous shopping, where less staff are present (or staff cuts planned) throws up more vulnerabilities, such as the opportunity for store theft. Use of body cameras Staff needs emerging technology such as body cameras to act as a deterrent to crime and keep employees safe Furthermore, staff may need greater use of emerging technology such as body cameras to act as a deterrent to crime and help keep employees safe. In essence, prevention is better than cure, and it’s certainly cheaper. Whether combating crime physically or online, or looking to find ways to counter the high street trends, working together, sharing information and taking a more holistic approach will help the development of a shared language between retailers. Retail Banking It is also here where common approaches can help to deliver on efficiencies, in time, resource and budget that can serve to operate right through the supply chain, and minimize, or even negate the need to take any risks. It can even serve to enhance the customer experience, increasing confidence in the shopping environment. Of course, when discussing the high street, it is not just the department stores and chains that are feeling the impact. Well known banks are also having to redefine their priorities and role on the high street, with customers (especially younger generations) demanding a more efficient service than ever before. Well known banks are also having to redefine their priorities and role on the high street Asset protection Leading the way is Nationwide, globally renowned building society, which prides itself on being one of the largest savings providers and mortgages provider in the UK, promoting itself as running purely for the benefit of its customers, or ‘members.’ Richard Newland, Director of Branch & Workplace Transformation at Nationwide said, “Even more than getting a good ‘deal’ from a building society, the quality of our welcome, or our renowned level of service, we make sure our members feel safe with us, enough to trust us with their greatest assets. We are doing everything we can to evolve our business and focus our efforts on providing the best and most secure services that people value.” Key management systems Traka has supported Nationwide with the introduction of dedicated key management systems So committed to its branch network, it has pledged to its 15 million members that every town and city with a Nationwide branch, will still have one for at least the next two years. A bold statement in today’s climate. Traka has supported Nationwide with the introduction of dedicated key management systems, moving its branch network into a more digital system. Keys no longer need to leave site and the audit trail capability has helped to remove the manual paper recording, allowing status of keys to be established instantly, at any time. Changes in retail market This example, together with Traka’s portfolio of high street brands and globally renowned department stores that cannot be named for security reasons, demonstrates the need for retailers to embrace the need for change, both from a product offering and operational running perspective to achieve aspirations of resonating with customers. They also prove the opportunities for success, in an unquestionable difficult market environment. If retailers can listen to customers and respond accordingly, taking into consideration staff safety and security, alongside an ability to respond quickly to personalized enquiries and expectations. This way, perhaps, the current environment can be seen as an opportunity to innovate and embrace technology to form the high street of the future.
Facial recognition has a long history dating back to the 1800s. To track down criminals, such as infamous bandits Jesse Woodson James and Billy the Kid, law enforcement would place “Wanted Alive or Dead” posters advertising bounties and soliciting public cooperation to help locate and even apprehend the alleged criminals. In addition to the bounty, these posters would include a photo and brief description of the crime, which would then be circulated to law enforcement agencies around the country and displayed in every US Post Office to speed up apprehension. Facial Recognition Today, technology such as social media, television and other more specialized communication networks play a more influential role in the recognition process. Advancements in artificial intelligence and biometric technology, including the development of Machine Learning capabilities, have led to increased accuracy, accessibility and the widespread use of computerized facial recognition. The significance of this means that facial recognition can occur on an even larger scale and in more challenging environments. Advancements in artificial intelligence and biometric technology have led to the widespread use of computerised facial recognition This article will explore key milestones and technological advances that have resulted in the modern incarnation of facial recognition, before discussing the capabilities of cutting-edge “one-to-many” technology which is increasingly being used by counter-terror defense, police and security forces around the world. Technology Inception And Developments The 1960s marked the start of computerized facial recognition, when Woodrow Wilson (Woody) Bledsoe developed a way to classify faces using gridlines. Bledsoe’s facial recognition still required a large amount of human involvement because a person had to extract the co-ordinates of the face’s features from a photograph and enter this information into a computer. The technology was able to match 40 faces an hour (each face took approximately 90 seconds to be matched) which was considered very impressive at the time. The technology was able to match 40 faces an hour, which was considered very impressive at the time By the end of the 1960s, facial recognition had seen further development at the Stanford Research Institute where the technology proved to outperform humans in terms of accuracy of recognition (humans are notoriously bad at recognizing people they don’t know). By the end of the century, the leading player in the field was a solution that came out of the University of Bochum in Germany – and the accuracy of this technology was such that it was even sold on to bank and airport customers. From this stage on, the facial recognition market began to blossom, with error rates of automatic facial recognition systems decreasing by a factor of 272 from 1993 to 2010 according to US Government-sponsored evaluations. The aim for facial technology is to achieve successful and accurate recognition on commonly available hardware like live CCTV feeds and standard computing hardware Modern Usage Of Facial Recognition Fast-forward to the modern day and facial recognition has become a familiar technology when using applications such as the iPhone X’s Face ID capability or MasterCard Identity Check, passport e-gates at airports and other security and access control points. These solutions implement a consensual form of identity verification, as the user has a vested interest in being identified. This is a “one-to-one” facial recognition event, one person in front of the camera being compared to one identity either on a passport or the app. In these scenarios, the hardware is specifically developed for the application at hand, therefore technically much easier to accomplish. Facial recognition can now be used in a variety of governmental and commercial environments The safety and security world brings a much more complex problem to solve – how to pick out a face in a moving and changing environment and compare it to several faces of interest. “One-to-many” facial recognition is a much harder problem to solve. It’s even more challenging when the aim is to achieve successful and accurate recognition on commonly available hardware like live CCTV feeds and standard computing hardware. And unlike in the 1960’s where identifying a face every 90 seconds was acceptable; the safety and security market requires near instant feedback on who a person matched against a watchlist is. Security And Safety Applications The idea behind all facial recognition technologies is broadly the same: you start with an image of a person’s face (ideally a high quality one, although machine learning means that to a point we can now even use video without reducing accuracy). A fully front facing image is best, think a passport photo, but machine learning and new software has made this more flexible. An algorithm converts this image into a numeric template, which cannot be converted back to an image and so represents a secure one way system. Every numeric template is different, even if it started out as an image of the same person, although templates from the same person are more similar than templates from different people. The accuracy of facial recognition continues to increase alongside deployments in more challenging and complex environments What happens next sounds simple although the technology is extremely complex: templates of people’s faces are taken in real time and compared to those in the database. The technology identifies individuals by matching the numeric template of their face with all the templates saved in a database in a matter of seconds or milliseconds. To put this into perspective, imagine you are at the turnstiles of a busy train station looking for a person on the run. Today’s facial recognition technology would be able to identify that person should they pass in view of a CCTV camera, as well as notify the police of any additional persons of interest, whether they are a known terrorist or missing vulnerable person on an entirely separate watch list. Because of technical progression, facial recognition can now be used in a variety of governmental and commercial environments, from identifying barred hooligans attempting entry at a football stadium or helping self-excluded gamblers at casino to overcome addiction. Real-Time Assessments The latest evolution of facial recognition pits the technology against an even more challenging application – directly matching individuals from body worn cameras for real time recognition for police officers on the beat. This capability equips first responders with the ability to detect a person from a photo and verify their identity with assurance. The broader implication for this means that every interaction, such as stop and search or arrest, can be supported by real-time facial recognition which will see cases of mistaken identity driven down on the streets. First responders can now for the first time be deployed and furnished with the ability to identify wider groups of people of interest with a degree of accuracy that previously relied only on the fallible human memory. As the accuracy of the technology continues to increase alongside deployments in more challenging and complex environments, its ability to support government initiatives and law enforcement means the debate about the lawful and appropriate use of facial recognition must be addressed. Facial recognition should not be everywhere looking for everyone, but when used properly it has the potential to improve public safety and we should make the most of its potential.
Axis Communications has introduced a body-worn camera solution, which the company says represents a natural extension of their corporate vision, business strategy and core competence. The new body-worn cameras and other elements of the system will provide Axis new opportunities to grow by tapping into existing and new customers. The fast-growing body-worn camera market is an attractive one, and Axis sees opportunities to extend the use of body-worn cameras beyond the current core market of police and corrections officers. Private security applications for the technology include healthcare, education, banking, public venues, retail, logistics, transportation and places of worship. The new body-worn camera system was designed with Axis partners and ecosystem in mind, says Martin Gren, Founder and Director of New Projects at Axis. “We try to make it fit with existing customers.” Deploying and using the system The new body-worn camera system was designed with Axis partners and ecosystem in mind Gren says the system is easy to deploy and use. The Axis W100 camera provides 1080p images, wide dynamic range (WDR) and has dual microphones, operating 12 hours on a single charge. GPS/GNSS global satellite navigation provides location, and a six-axis gyroscope and accelerometer offer additional data beyond the video image. For example, sensors might be triggered in some situations to initiate recording. One-bay (Axis W700) or eight-bay (Axis W701) docking stations enable high-speed supervised data offloading and battery charging, and a system controller (Axis W800) provides a central point for integration and management. Use of Zipstream compression technology saves on bandwidth and storage. Video cannot be accessed in the field, but only when a camera has been docked. There are many layers of security, and encryption protects all data used in the system from being accessed by outside agents. The USB interface cannot be connected to an ordinary computer but only to the docking station. Open standards Open standards ensure easy integration with video management systems and/or evidence management systems, whether on-premises or in the cloud. At the time of release, the Axis body-worn camera system is already integrated with Milestone XProtect, Genetec Security Center, and Axis Camera Station VMSs. It is also integrated with the Genetec Clearance cloud-based evidence management system. An application programming interface (API) will facilitate additional integrations over time. The body-worn cameras will be sold through the current Axis channels The body-worn cameras will be sold through the current Axis channels of distributors, systems integrators and resellers. The camera is part of the Axis “ecosystem,” which includes the company’s familiar network cameras as well as recent additions such as access control, network audio systems (including loud speakers), intercom door stations, a radar detector and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices. “The more things you integrate, the more value you add to customers,” said Gren. The new body-worn camera systems are core products for Axis; they are not made by another original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and merely sold under the Axis label. “When we decided to do body-worn cameras, OEMing was not an option,” said Gren. “Instead we took some experienced Axis engineers and a bunch of new ones to develop this product line to ensure the same Axis quality and compatibility.” Introducing the new product The body-worn camera system was unveiled remotely in a press conference webinar; the original plan was to introduce the new product at ISC West, which was canceled to minimize spread of the novel coronavirus. In addition to announcing the new product, the Axis executives provided commentary and insight into the ongoing coronavirus crisis. “The security industry is a close-knit community that is connected in more ways than one,” said Fredrik Nilsson, Axis Vice President of the Americas. “We are all in this together. The industry has always exemplified resiliency, ingenuity and vision to address such challenges.” We are all in this together. The industry has always exemplified resiliency, ingenuity and vision" “There is some disruption in the Axis supply chain, but we have a broad partner-based supply chain when it comes to our sub-suppliers, our seven global CLCs (Configuration and Logistics Centers) and the distributors who keep inventory for integrators,” said Nilsson in the March 18th press call. “There is some stress on some components, but things are working relatively well under the circumstances. We are monitoring it on a day-to-day basis, but so far we have been able to hold things up very well.” Gren offered a comment on the possible use of thermal cameras (which Axis makes) to measure body temperature during the COVID-19 crisis: “When we designed our thermal cameras, that was a common question,” he said. “But in general, it is difficult to use a thermal camera to get an accurate reading. We have one model – the Q2901 – that is a temperature-accurate thermal camera, and if you look straight into the camera, it is accurate to around 1° F. However, there are more efficient ways to [measure temperature]. In general, it’s not a business application I would recommend.”
From New York to California, city and state governments throughout the United States are second-guessing the use of facial recognition technologies by police departments and other government entities. San Francisco was among the first major cities to issue a ban on ‘secret surveillance’ tools such as facial recognition. Now backlash against public use of facial recognition appears to be gathering steam, and some technology trials have faced additional scrutiny. Oakland, California, has joined San Francisco in banning use of facial recognition. Oakland’s diverse population has led to concerns about facial recognition systems that are prone to misidentify people of color. Limiting the use of facial recognition technology The policy would limit use of live facial recognition to situations of credible terrorism threatsNearby Berkeley, California, is considering its own prohibition of facial recognition systems by city government. Somerville, Massachusetts, has banned city departments from buying or using facial-recognition technology for any purpose. A Detroit civilian oversight board and the Board of Police Commissioners are reviewing a formal policy that would require other evidence to be used along with biometric search results to confirm a suspect’s identity. The policy would also limit use of live facial recognition to situations of credible terrorism threats. At the state level, Massachusetts and Michigan are considering moratoriums on use of facial recognition, and a bill in California would forbid police use of facial recognition in body cameras. There is a law in Illinois that requires companies to get consent from customers before collecting biometric information. Installing cameras and facial recognition system Lockport Schools in western New York state have recently drawn attention to their planned use of facial recognition. The school system plans to install dozens of surveillance cameras and a facial recognition system using $1.4 million of a state grant. The Aegis system (by SN Technologies in Canada) creates an ‘early warning system’ that informs staff if it detects individuals who are not allowed in the schools. The school system plans to install dozens of surveillance cameras and a facial recognition system The system will screen every door and also use object recognition to detect 10 types of guns. An initial implementation of the program this summer is meant to troubleshoot the system, train officials on its use, and discuss procedures with law enforcement in the event of an alert. Full implementation is planned in the fall. Abuse of facial recognition system However, New York State Education Department has asked Lockport Schools to delay use of facial recognition technology on students pending further evaluation, and a bill introduced in the New York State Assembly would halt use of the technology for a year for further study. The city of Orlando and Orlando Police Department are testing facial recognition technology to address public safety Abuse has also been a concern. A report from Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology details widespread abuse of the New York Police Department’s facial recognition system, including image alteration and use of non-suspect images. The charges raise questions about the propriety of how expanding technical capabilities of facial recognition systems are implemented. Testing facial recognition for public safety The city of Orlando, Florida, and Orlando Police Department are testing facial recognition technology to address public safety, partnering with Amazon Web Services. One pilot ended in June 2018, and the most recent ended on July 18, 2019. Orlando has no immediate plants regarding future pilots. Light bulb-sized cameras were affixed to traffic signal poles along the city’s palm-tree-lined avenues. If a camera ‘sees’ someone, it sends a live video feed to Amazon’s facial ‘Rekognition’ system, cross-referencing the face against persons of interest. Only images of Orlando police officer volunteers were used for the test. Recently Congress has become attentive to privacy concerns and, now, the Senate is considering a bill that would limit businesses from collecting and tracking facial recognition data without consent.
Whether it is video analytic platforms to monitor traffic patterns or cameras deployed to help law enforcement ensure public safety, many cities are looking at advancements in video technology. Upgrade costs and technology compatibility issues are often front-and-center when it comes to blending new technology with existing infrastructure. For example, if the city law enforcement officials want to improve video camera image quality, which can improve the evidentiary value of footage in prosecutions, they may look at newer HD or IP-based video systems. Upgrading To A Hybrid DVR System Applications include perimeter monitoring, public parking, city transportation, square/town safetyTo stretch a tight budget, a migration plan to an IP-based camera system could be phased in over time by centering the upgrade on a new hybrid DVR system. This way, both existing analog and newer IP-based cameras can be hooked into the system. For example, Hikvision’s Smart City Solutions include systems for government services, transportation and traffic management, or any combinations of these. Applications include perimeter monitoring, public parking, city transportation, square/town safety and temporary surveillance. Data capture form to appear here! Heart Of City Strategy Dahua Technology, a video-centric smart IoT solution and service provider, has introduced its ‘Heart of City (HOC)’ strategy, which is in line with the top-level design experience from hundreds of city projects. The strategy is based on the maturity of five technologies – artificial intelligence (AI), big data, cloud computing, IoT and 5G. The combination will enable the evolution of smart city 3.0 and bring great changes to our life, according to Dahua. A 300-plus camera city center video surveillance scheme in the UK city of Lincoln has been installed and commissioned using Dahua's cameras, monitors and switching equipment A 300-plus camera city center video surveillance scheme in the UK city of Lincoln has been installed and commissioned using cameras, monitors and switching equipment from Dahua Technology. The design of the new all-wireless encrypted system was based around delivering flexible technology, reducing the total cost of ownership, ease of installation, lower maintenance requirements, smart edge analytics and remote connectivity. Future-Proof Radio Network Design Environmentally friendly aspects of the project included specifying lower-energy equipment, integrating remote support and recycling hardware wherever possible. The installation of the new IP full HD system and network is part of Lincoln’s smart city strategy – Vision 2020 – which seeks to harness new technologies to improve the lives of citizens. One of the results is the provision of free Wi-Fi in the city, working alongside the Dahua cameras using the same IP wireless network. Wearables are another new aspect of city surveillance system. For example, FLIR Systems, Inc. has announced FLIR TruWITNESS, a wearable sensor platform designed for city-level security and public safety operations. TruWITNESS combines video, audio, location data, Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities, and cloud and management software in one solution, allowing organizations to reach a new level of situational awareness. TruWITNESS is worn on an individual’s body or mounted inside vehicles and is designed for any public safety organization that requires on-scene, real-time mobile surveillance TruWITNESS is designed for any public safety organization that requires on-scene, real-time mobile surveillance. Worn on an individual’s body or mounted inside vehicles, TruWITNESS includes visible-video, audio, global navigation satellite system (GNSS), gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer sensors. These sensors combine to send alerts and stream data to a central command center in real-time to ensure full situational awareness and global event handling. Featuring FLIR Neighbor Aware inter-device connectivity, TruWITNESS acts as an IoT device, triggering nearby TruWITNESS devices, fixed and motorized Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) security cameras, and other connected sensors to act upon an alarm event. TruWITNESS becomes a key component of FLIR Systems’ Video Management System, United VMS, which command centers use to manage video surveillance. United VMS combines video, audio, and other related data and makes it available for real-time situation management and forensic purposes. Video Analytics For Crowd Monitoring Crowd monitoring video analytics solutions continuously monitor vast areas instantly alerting police of any overcrowding areas. Qognify’s crowd monitoring video analytics solution was successfully used during the Maratha Morcha in the city of Kolhapur, India, on October 15th, 2016. The system monitored approximately one million protestors through 165 cameras installed across city. Smart threshold alerts were streamed directly into the control room while the crowd was building up, so that action could be taken before the crowd density reached dangerous levels, alleviating crowd safety and stability. Crowd monitoring video analytics solutions monitor vast areas instantly alerting police of any overcrowding areas At the core of the solution is Situator, Qognify’s advanced PSIM/Situation Management solution, which manages a myriad of security systems and sensors, including Qognify’s video management solution, from a newly built state-of-the-art Command and Control Center. Security operators and officials have advanced situational awareness of what is happening in their city and where. Automated, pre-defined Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) were designed, in the local language Marathi, for handling routine security incidents as well as disaster management, ensuring that the most effective response is initiated, and procedures are executed in a consistent manner. Maintaining Law, Order And Safety Qognify also implemented its Safe City solution in Navi Mumbai, a planned township that was established to handle the population overflow from the overcrowded and ever-growing city of Mumbai, India. Together with CIDCO (City and Industrial Development Corporation, the agency established for managing the new city) and system integrator WIPRO, Qognify designed an integrated and holistic solution that helps Navi police to maintain law, order and safety. Qognify’s Video Management Solution controls hundreds of surveillance camerasAs a planned township, Navi Mumbai officials have the benefit of operating in a modern environment, allowing them to maximize Qognify’s Safe City solution. The Qognify Situator is an advanced Situation Management platform, and Qognify’s Video Management Solution controls the hundreds of surveillance cameras throughout the city. Role Of Standards In Smart Cities “Standards can assist in successfully deploying a comprehensive [safe cities] system with multiple technologies into a single, cohesive entity,” said Per Björkdahl, Chair of the ONVIF Steering Committee. “With the ability to integrate various sensors and data from many different devices synthesized through one interface, government officials and law enforcement are afforded a more complete picture of their city’s security.” Deployment Of Facial Recognition Technology Live video streaming within the smart and safe city’s infrastructure means video’s capabilities can go beyond simple evidence recording and evolve into a tool that allows operations teams to monitor and remediate against incidents as they are happening. Facial recognition technology can be added on to any video surveillance camera that is recording at a high quality This can be taken one step further with the deployment of facial recognition via live streaming video. Facial recognition technology can be added on to any video surveillance camera that is recording at a high enough quality to identify faces. The technology works by capturing video, streaming the live video back to a control center and matching faces against any watch lists that the control center owns. Importantly, the data of people who aren’t on watch lists is not stored by the technology. This technology can work to make the city safer in a number of ways. For example, facial recognition could spot a known drug dealer in a city center where they weren’t supposed to be, or facial recognition could identify if a group of known terror suspects were visiting the same location at the same time, and this would send an alert to the police. Read parts one and three of our Smart Cities miniseries.
Co-op, a large consumer co-operative in the UK and one of the largest retailers in the country, is rolling out an integrated body-worn video solution from Motorola Solutions to front-line colleagues, with a focus on further increasing safety in-store against a background of rising retail crime in the industry. The Co-op has seen in-store crime increase by more than 140% year-on-year, despite communities recognizing the critical role played by retail workers in society - true frontline workers in the days of a global pandemic. The number of violent incidents also hit record levels with 1,350 attacks having been experienced by Co-op shop workers in the first six months of 2020. Keeping colleagues safe The retailer warns of a crime and violence epidemic and its targeted deployment of a body-worn video solution forms part of an ongoing commitment to invest a further £70M over the next three years in innovative technology to keep colleagues safe. Co-op will equip front-line staff with more than 1,000 Motorola Solutions VT100 body-worn cameras in around 250 stores initially, with the ability to stream video in real-time to the Security Operations Center of Co-op security partner, Mitie. The footage is used to identify criminals and provide evidence to secure prosecution. The VT100 body-worn camera from Motorola Solutions can be worn in standby mode for up to six months, preserving battery for instances when Co-op store colleagues feel threatened by aggressive or violent behavior. The cameras are operated by a simple one-push activation, instantly recording footage to the camera itself, and streaming live video to the security operations center, allowing for a quick response from security personnel or police. Cloud-based software The cameras are supported by cloud-hosted VideoManager software The cameras are supported by cloud-hosted VideoManager software, which enables secure and efficient camera allocation, user administration and incident management. With security features such as comprehensive audit-trails, encryption, configurable retention policies and RFID camera allocation, this integrated solution ensures footage and incidents are dealt with efficiently and securely. As part of its Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign, Co-op is also building awareness and support for MP Alex Norris’ “Assault on Shop Workers Bill” which has now seen its second reading in Parliament postponed until September. The Bill states that because shop workers have responsibilities to uphold the law on age-restricted products they should be afforded greater protection in carrying out those public duties. Retail crime A knife was the most commonly used weapon (43%) with axes, hammers and syringes also used to attack In its 2020 Crime Report, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) found that a quarter of violent incidents resulted in injury, with a weapon used in almost 20% of occurrences. A knife was the most commonly used weapon (43%) with axes, hammers and syringes also used to attack or threaten shop workers. In 2019, Co-op funded research into retail crime, with the hard-hitting findings reporting that shop workers were showing signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Co-op has committed a further £70M over the next three years in innovative technology to keep colleagues safer, it has introduced SmartWater Fog Cannons, the latest remote monitored iCCTV, body cameras and, communication headsets for all frontline colleagues. Protection for shop workers Cheryl Houghton, Co-op Retail Security Manager, said, “Shop workers play an essential role serving communities, yet they have to contend with unprecedented levels of violence and abuse on a daily basis. As a community retailer we see the impact of social issues in our stores. I have never seen such high levels of violence and abuse, it’s a societal issue that all retailers are concerned about and it’s having lasting effects on the lives of shop workers - both mentally and physically. It is not part of the job to be verbally abused, threatened or attacked and we’re determined to make sure it isn’t. Calling for greater protection for shop workers carrying out public duties and for the root causes of crime in communities to be addressed.” Body-worn videos in commercial organizations Richie McBride, Director of Business Operations, Video & Analytics at Motorola Solutions UK, said, “Body-worn video is becoming a critical element in commercial organizations’ strategy to keep their employees safe. As a company focused on mission-critical solutions, we provide our commercial customers with the right tools to help them enhance their operational efficiency, responsiveness and safety. We are proud to partner with one of the UK’s largest retailers in its work to further improve the shopping experience and enhance safety for both shoppers and staff,”
NICE announced that a consortium of four UK police forces (Hampshire Constabulary, Thames Valley Police, Surrey Police and Sussex Police), operating as the South East Regional Integrated Policing Programme (SERIP), has signed a contract with NICE to deploy the NICE Investigate Digital Evidence Management Solution (DEMS). SERIP will roll out NICE Investigate to more than 12,000 officers to streamline investigations and address the challenges of growing digital evidence. “Having had the opportunity to pilot NICE Investigate in the four forces, we could see the system in action and realize the benefits for our investigations and investigators. 92% of our officers said it would make their investigation more effective,” said a spokesperson from SERIP. “NICE Investigate will be transformational for us, not only in terms of time savings but also through improved policing outcomes that will ultimately reduce threats, harm and risk to our communities.” Interview recording systems NICE Investigate will also make it much easier for SERIP forces to collect CCTV video for cases Running on the secure Microsoft Azure cloud, NICE Investigate is a one-stop solution for automating manual processes around the collection, management, analysis and sharing of all types of digital evidence. NICE Investigate will seamlessly integrate with the four forces’ records management, body-worn video and interview recording systems so investigators can automatically correlate and gather evidence through a single login. NICE Investigate will also make it much easier for SERIP forces to collect CCTV video for cases. Investigators can instantly pull up a list of cameras within an incident radius and send off a request to registered businesses located within that geographic area. Any uploaded video is automatically transcoded to a useable format and securely stored in the Microsoft Azure cloud. Driving digital transformation “With SERIP now rolling out NICE Investigate, we are providing cutting-edge delivery to an increasing number of forces for their day-to-day digital evidence management and digital transformation, ensuring investigations and evidence sharing are match fit for the digital age,” said Chris Wooten, Executive Vice President, NICE. “NICE Investigate is fast becoming the defacto standard for driving digital transformation in policing across the UK and is gaining momentum around the world.”
Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) are transforming policing and security around the globe, helping to create new connected officers who can stream video, access information and collaborate in real-time enabling them to operate safely and more efficiently in the field. Richie McBride, Managing Director of BWC experts Edesix, says "BWCs are now built for a connected world and are being used by officers on the front line to help prevent both criminal and anti-social behavior when out on patrol.” Importance of body worn cameras in policing Innovative solutions driving creation of connected officers who can stream and access information in real-time He adds, "Technology has transformed policing and security in recent years. New innovative solutions have driven the creation of new connected officers who can stream, access information and collaborate in real-time. BWC captured footage not only provides greater transparency of interactions with the public, but also significantly increases early guilty pleas and saves officers valuable time as they often do not need to attend court”. Richie further said, "Police officers have always been connected, either to the public and communities they serve, or with their colleagues on the street and in the control room. They have shared information and generated insights to help address common problems and protect those with common vulnerabilities. However, digital technology has now enhanced these connections, enabling officers to feel more empowered, supported and secure." VideoBadges enhance police personnel VideoBadges have been utilized by police forces across the UK for some time now. Police forces, such as the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), have utilized our BWCs since 2016 to enhance the security of both officers and the general public, and to improve training and best practice. There are now 2,500 cameras being used by over 7,000 officers covering approximately 173,000 incidents each year in Northern Ireland. The BWCs are being utilized by Local Policing Teams, Neighborhood Policing Teams, Tactical Support Groups, Roads Policing Units, Dog Section, District Support Teams and Armed Response Units. Importance of good video evidence Body Worn Video has the potential to improve the quality of evidence provided by police officers" PSNI Superintendent David Moore adds, "Video evidence puts the victims of crime first. The pilot of this technology in Foyle district demonstrated how Body Worn Video has the potential to improve the quality of evidence provided by police officers and thereby increase the number of offenders brought to justice. Video evidence provides a compelling account of events and enables the raw emotion and action from a scene to be replayed in the courts in a manner that could never be captured in a witness statement.” He adds, "It also supports accountability and transparency, both of which are key elements in increasing public confidence in policing. The introduction of this new technology is the latest example of our commitment to these principles as we continue to work together with the community to keep people safe." Head-mounted cameras Armed response and firearms teams are also being equipped with head-mounted cameras due to the fact that chest-mounted cameras could potentially obstruct an officer's view during firearms use. The Metropolitan Police recently began rolling-out 1000 head-mounted cameras, with West Yorkshire Police and North Wales Police following suit.
New Covent Garden Market is the largest wholesale fruit, vegetable, and flower market in the United Kingdom. Redevelopment work launched in 2015 included a new security monitoring system, as well as a migration from analog security equipment to an IP solution from FLIR Systems. New Covent Garden Market is a phenomenon in London, to say the least. The world-famous wholesale market provides 40 percent of London’s fresh fruit and vegetables eaten outside the home and serves 75 percent of London’s florists. With more than 175 affiliated businesses, New Covent Garden Market is the largest wholesale market in the UK. IP-Based Security System Redevelopment construction works started in 2015 and should continue until 2022 When London authorities decided to redevelop the entire site on Nine Elms and Battersea in order to meet future needs, it was clear that New Covent Garden Market was facing a huge operational challenge. Redevelopment construction works started in 2015 and should continue until 2022. In addition to a better road layout, improved waste management, and upgraded parking facilities, the market authorities wanted better security so that employees, tenants, customers and suppliers would feel safer. The organization wanted to upgrade its legacy analog CCTV technology to an IP-based security system capable of incorporating future upgrades. Surrey-based company Phoenix Integrated Security Limited, which had been the security solution provider for New Covent Garden Market for years, oversaw the security overhaul, as well. Future-Proof System “We designed a security system together with the end customer and the site constructor so that it could meet today’s security standards again,” said Trevor Hearn, Director at Phoenix Integrated Security Limited. “We were looking for a future-proof system that was able to monitor this complex site and that was easy to work with for our security guard personnel. We looked at various manufacturers for this, but FLIR Systems was the only company that ticked all the boxes.” Phoenix opted for FLIR United VMS, which includes FLIR’s enterprise-level software solution Latitude, and a wide range of FLIR IP cameras. At the end of 2018, New Covent Garden Market already had more than 300 IP cameras installed across the entire site it intends to gradually upgrade all analog systems over a five-year period. Wide Range Of Cameras The image quality of the FLIR IP cameras represents a huge improvement over analog The site combines a wide range of cameras, including the FLIR Quasar 4K fixed box camera, the FLIR Ariel Quad HD bullet camera, and the Quasar 1080p PTZ camera. The cameras offer high evidentiary detail and discreet, compact form factors. According to Hearn, the image quality of the FLIR IP cameras represents a huge improvement over analog. Image quality is not the only benefit of using United VMS. Another valued feature is the platforms scalability. From 2016 onwards, New Covent Garden Market has been gradually replacing analog cameras and storage equipment across the entire site, and Latitude has the flexibility to incorporate an unlimited number of channels. Body-Worn Cameras Operators have the flexibility to present their video sources on screen where they want and define user profiles to see only specific video sources from a given particular building, for example. “This project is an engineer’s dream,” said Hearn. “The FLIR Latitude system allows New Covent Garden Market to easily expand their camera network whenever they feel the need and to connect with practically any camera they want, including body-worn cameras. The Latitude system is also easy to couple with third-party systems, such as intercom and access control systems.”
Round table discussion
2019 was a big year for the Expert Panel Roundtable. The range of topics expanded, and we had more participation from more contributors than ever before. In closing out the year of contemplative discussions, we came across some final observations to share. They can serve both as a postscript for 2019 and a teaser for a whole new year of industry conversations in our Expert Panel Roundtable in 2020.
Among its many uses and benefits, technology is a handy tool in the fantasy world of movie and television thrillers. We all know the scene: a vital plot point depends on having just the right super-duper gadget to locate a suspect or to get past a locked door. In movies and TV, face recognition is more a super power than a technical function. Video footage can be magically enhanced to provide a perfect image of a license plate number. We have all shaken our heads in disbelief, and yet, our industry’s technical capabilities are improving every day. Are we approaching a day when the “enhanced” view of technology in movies and TV is closer to the truth? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How much has the gap closed between the reality of security system capabilities and what you see on TV (or at the movies)?
Body-worn cameras are becoming more common every day, driven both by needs of the marketplace and technology developments. However, questions remain about the usefulness of the devices, and their future role in promoting safety and security. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the challenges of body-worn cameras for the security industry?