Never Losing Sight of Security: Advances in Remote Video Surveillance
Discover how far remote video capabilities have come to further user applications and integrator opportunities.
Advancements in video surveillance technology have enabled users to view live video from their security cameras on a PC or laptop anywhere, anytime. Thanks to both hardwired and wireless communications advances, and the proliferation of mobile devices, the power of video surveillance is now being elevated to ever-higher applications spanning not only safety and security, but operations and efficiencies management, as well.
SSI has tapped the expertise of several industry voices to weigh in on which offerings are pacing this market, including new features and applications that have everyone from guards to law enforcement to business owners to homeowners tuning in.
Advances Redefine Capabilities
The ability to combine video, access control and real-time monitoring represents a substantial technology advancement and provides an opportunity to realize further cost savings. Deepak Kaul, global video offering leader for Honeywell Building Technologies, adds that other game-changing advances include two-way speech to the camera, edge-based video analytics, multisensor and WiFi cameras and Cloud-based systems.
“Video surveillance systems have also evolved from handling traditional security tasks only, like situational awareness or loss prevention, to being capable of monitoring and improving occupant safety for functions such as mask detection, social distancing and temperature screening. They’re also enhancing occupant experience in terms of managing queues, flow, area density control, and parking management,” says Kaul.
The proliferation of Cloud-based or hybrid solutions from both new and otherwise more traditional VMS manufacturers and developers is also having a notable impact on the industry, contends Sherman Brawner, general manager, Monitoring & Response Center at Allied Universal Technology Services.
“The growth and adoption of Cloud platforms and hybrid systems has spawned significant advances. We see this growth and the changes in the available software as major movement in video,” he says. “And the development of analytic software solutions has created multiple benefits in business and security intelligence through neural networks powered by AI and deep learning algorithms. AI filtering and additional layers of video analysis, both live and forensically applied, are centerstage now.”
Kyle McAdams, director of marketing for Kastle Systems, concurs that Cloud-based video solutions are redefining video surveillance. Wireless and Cloud-based video monitoring have empowered businesses large and small, he says, and even individual homeowners to access the security “view” into their property from anywhere, which is a powerful boost to security coverage overall. It has made the industry a virtual consumer product.
“Wireless cameras have become smarter, so they ‘know’ how to capture and save critical events which, combined with Cloud-based storage, has made video forensic capabilities much more compelling with easier event search and sharing functions that enable easy access to video evidence in crimes, insurance cases and other operational verification,” he says.
Even more impressive, McAdams adds, are the advances in the industry for video surveillance that employs machine learning and AI to not only capture specific events but even trigger remotely located live guards to “tune-in” to situations and address any threats on a proactive basis. Examples he cites include notifying police to live, in-process events, which speed up police response by as much as five times that of non-visually verified alarms.
Users Applications Expanding
Satish Raj, CTO at Pro-Vigil, reports that they’re seeing increased integration of access control functionality with video surveillance. “Companies can now do things like turn video surveillance off and on or change the behavior of a surveillance system based on users’ access codes,” he says. “Remote video monitoring also can be used for service bay monitoring, to prevent employee theft and violation of procedures, as well as point-of-sale monitoring. If you have security cameras in place, you have myriad other opportunities to use them for adjacent use cases beyond security.”
The ability to access video remotely or through the Cloud provides easier monitoring for business owners and the ability to show video footage to law enforcement. “This makes it easier and more expedient to manage business opportunities and enables faster response to law enforcement when needed,” notes Troy Wideman, regional marketing manager – North America, for Bosch Security and Safety Systems.
He adds that it’s very important for customers and integrators to understand what Cloud services customers are interested in, noting that when it comes to video, cybersecurity and bandwidth are always top priority, and cautions that without those two things in place, moving infrastructure to the Cloud can put a network at risk. “As long as users are prepared to address these types of issues, Cloud services can open up many new possibilities in ways to deploy and maintain security devices.”
Another innovative use case, as noted by Laurent Villeneuve, product marketing manager at Genetec, is the ability to get more information to more people, such as managers and marketing people. “We’re seeing some really interesting applications, such as tracking occupancy management or leveraging dashboards to glean information on where people go, how traffic flows and how to better manage office space or empty facilities. I think that’s really important today because we’re all rearranging our environments, whether it be restaurants, businesses, airports, etc.”
Going Beyond Security
In addition to enhancing security, advances in video are paving the way for end users to markedly improve their business operations and efficiencies, as well.
Jason Burrows, western sales manager for IDIS America, points out, “New innovations in video management software mean it is now perfectly placed to meet post-pandemic requirements — to support the shift to hybrid working; to meet the greater need for centralized, distributed, remote control and management of surveillance operations, and to allow the automation of surveillance processes.”
By giving users new, granular video-derived intelligence about the way their sites are used, he explains, it is helping them to optimize their buildings and workspaces; helping them reduce upfront and lifecycle cost to speed their return to profitability; and delivering on the biggest lesson learned from the pandemic — the need for flexibility, preparedness, and resilience to pivot and adapt to sudden changing operational requirements and continually evolving threats and risks.
Burrows adds that IDIS is still seeing the biggest demand for deep learning-powered analytics to reduce false-positive alarms that regularly plague control room staff, which can result in time wasted dispatching officers to alarm events triggered to harmless environmental factors.
“AI-assisted notifications for object, intruder, and loitering detection ensure faster detection, verification, and incident response to real threats and incidents to significantly improve the efficiency and productivity of security teams,” he says. “And instead of continual attention and mental stamina being needed to focus on multiple camera streams, control room operators now only need to view a single customer video feed and decide on what action to take, when a real event or threat occurs. In addition, many end users now recognize that video tech can now add real value to their business in ways that extend far beyond security.”
Among those, Burrows cites the ability to automatically analyze video to detect and define events is contingent on having quality input video, which is why it’s often combined with camera advancements such as video denoising, image stabilization, light-enhancing technology, easy-to-use masking tools, and 4K resolution.
Villanueve notes that a modern security provider should always help customers to go beyond security and improve their everyday operations. “If you’re going to accomplish that, you need more than just cameras,” he advises. “You need a system that’s going to connect cameras with other sensors, other datapoints, databases, records, systems. You need a way to maximize that capability, and make the data available throughout the system in different ways and offer as much guidance and automation as you can.”
More Integrator Opportunities
As Bosch’s Wideman notes, with new Cloud services, dealers and system integrators will be able to do more monitoring and maintenance of their systems without the need to send personnel onsite. This, he reasons, will provide a cost savings to them and allow them to, in turn, offer new services to their customers driving new forms of revenue.
“Integrators are understanding that they can now use cameras with the capability to allow full setup remotely. This would include image settings, firmware maintenance, and field of view, and significantly shortens the time of installation and provides for remote maintenance in the future,” Wideman says. “And with new Cloud services, dealers and system integrators will be able to do more monitoring and maintenance of their systems without the need to send personnel onsite.”
Today’s end-to-end solutions that incorporate deep-learning analytics are more affordable, robust and user-friendly than ever. As a result, what was once the preserve of large enterprises with dedicated 24/7 manned control rooms puts the power of AI in reach of small to midsized businesses, opening up new project opportunities for SIs in a range of markets.
“As organizations shift to hybrid working, we will undoubtedly see traditional office space continue to shrink and get replaced with buildings that meet the demand for hot desks, collaboration spaces, and meetings room that are easier and more energy efficient to manage. Fewer staff and smaller buildings mean organizations will be considering how they secure new or redesigned facilities,” asserts Burrows.
Kastle’s McAdams offers an insightful piece of advice for SIs when he says, “The challenge for players who want to jump into the remote video surveillance business is a shift from just being a retailer/dealer to now providing an ongoing service. Since it’s a different business model that is not transactional but service-oriented, it requires new staffing, new infrastructure with operations centers and billing through subscriptions. It hasn’t been a learning curve for Kastle, however, because for more than four decades, the company has been built around this model, initially in access control, and over the last decade we have adapted this approach to video surveillance as well.”
The good news for SIs, as McAdams points out, is that in addition to proactively alerting to potential threats before an incident occurs, visual insight gained through video surveillance technology is a powerful security tool to verify alarms and record incidents. “The ability to make high-definition, crisp video available to view, stream and save from anywhere with an Internet connection is making these systems very ‘light’ to implement and manage which, in turn, is making adoption significantly easier and thus more widely adopted across businesses and homeowners alike.”
During the past year, the desire and need for remote access and monitoring by building and security managers increased significantly, Kaul says. While many had been working towards this remote access technology for some time, people working from home due to the pandemic significantly increased the rate of adoption. “As remote monitoring technology continues to provide improved cost savings, particularly with less capital outlay, we expect the interest to continue to increase.”
Erin Harrington has 20+ years’ security industry media experience. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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