The importance of the CCTV Operational Requirement

December 3, 2009

Mark Harraway, Country Manager at Controlware explores the importance of the Operational Requirement.

However, one of the biggest issues facing consultants is managing customer expectations and creating the CCTV Operational Requirement (OR). It’s the historical trend for manufacturer’s functionality to drive the OR but this is the wrong way round, OR should drive product selection. Another common issue is when poorly-educated specifiers base a solution on budget. Without proper regard for what is actually needed, a solution is created that does not meet the OR required today, or in the longer-term by not being reliable, or providing poor quality video footage that cannot be used for evidential purposes. This leaves consultants stuck in the middle. At Controlware we have a different approach. Every expert design we undertake begins with an OR. The OR determines the functionality specification, which in turn drives budget requirement. This enables our partners, customers and the consultants who work with us, to make informed and realistic choices for the right system to meet the end-user’s needs i.e. the budget may determine the selection of a cheap PTZ or a high quality static camera but it should be the OR that dictates the final choice.

The article “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” can be read in full here


CCTV video of warehouse accident demonstrates importance of Health and Safety

November 6, 2009

Much has been discussed about the wider merits of CCTV and how it can reduce crime and make people feel safer but a topic that is often over looked is how CCTV can help with health and safety.

It is sometimes a shock to find staff carrying out tasks that completely go against the training, regulations and processes that have been put in place. CCTV if well monitored can therefore be highly important in preventing the occurrence of accidents. Also if employees having received training and been made aware of regulations are involved in an accident, CCTV is a tool that can be used to help clear your company of blame and potential legal action that might follow.

The video below filmed at a warehouse in Russia shows a major health and safety incident occurring. Fortunately no one was badly injured, but five million roubles (£105,000) worth of alcohol was destroyed in the accident, according to the website that posted the video, scandalim.ru.

If resource for live monitoring is not available technologies such as Video Analysis (Video Analytics / Smart CCTV) can help. When using an open management platform such as Cware, Video Analysis from IP cameras, analogue (analog) cameras or codecs can be easily integrated into the CCTV system. Video Analysis continuously checks for activity, events or behaviours that might be considered suspicious against user-defined policies. When activity is detected the system will classify the objects of interest (people, vehicle etc.), track and identify the direction of moving objects, interpret what the objects are doing and determine if a customer-defined policy has been broken. Once a policy is broken, for instance an intruder climbing over a perimeter fence or a vehicle parking in a forbidden zone, a wide variety of automatic countermeasures can be taken. PTZ cameras can automatically zoom in and track the object to get images of evidential quality, audible alarms can be broadcast to frighten away trespassers and emails or text messages can be sent to notify security personnel.

For more information about IP CCTV, the Cware management platform and Video Analysis click here.

Plus what do you think about CCTV? Is Britain becoming a Surveillance Society? Discuss here.


Building advanced CCTV security systems: Control room components

October 1, 2009

Recording and Management Servers
Within the primary control room, there will be servers with sufficient storage to capture video at full frame rate DVD resolution from the cameras located around the site.

In addition to the recording servers, the primary management server will also reside within this location.  The management server stores all user and system configurations and enables the management of devices and alarms. Each of these servers will be protected from power loss by the inclusion of UPS battery backup devices.

Viewing and Replay
Each Operator workstations has dual 19” LCD displays and a Joystick for PTZ camera control.  These workstations will be powered by the Cware Control Centre application that enables the operators to view live or recorded video, manage alarms and control cameras.

The Control Centre user interface is designed to be as simple as possible while still providing advanced capabilities.  The main screen can be utilised as the operator’s spot monitor and facilitates viewing of multiple cameras in live or replay mode, export of footage, viewing of alarms, management of the video wall and so on.  To enable simple navigation through the cameras and provide vital information on camera positions, the second monitor can be used as the map interface.  The map interface can provide users with a zoom overview of the site and highlight elements such as alarm triggers and camera positions.

As well as the maps, the system can be licensed with the patented ICN feature.  ICN stands for Image Content Navigation and enables a revolutionary method of navigating through the system.  With ICN enabled, it is possible to setup predefined invisible links within the video image from a camera that link to another camera.  This offers the operator the opportunity to click on an area of the image and the system will automatically switch to the best view of that area.  For example, if you have a camera overlooking a doorway and you see a suspicious individual enter through the door of a building, ICN makes it possible to click on the door and automatically switch to the camera inside quickly and easily without having to search through a list of cameras to identify the correct one.

The Cware server within the central location will constantly monitor each remote IP camera and encoder (for existing analogue cameras) device for alarm triggers, such as motion detection.  In the event of an alarm trigger from a remote location, the alarm management and response configuration can allow for a variety of notification methods, including simply presenting the user automatically with the video on their spot monitor or presenting the alarm to the video wall displays.

cware server

In addition to the monitoring motion alarms, the system can also enable system health monitoring.  In the event of events such as loss of connectivity to a server or the failure of a video feed to an encoder, an e-mail can be sent out to system administrators who are responsible for maintenance and upkeep.  This ensures that the system can proactively prevent and notify of potential performance issues.
cware log

The system also provides comprehensive logging, including operator activity, alarms and so on.  The log viewer tool then enables system managers to search and extract valuable information as a CSV file. This can then be imported into 3rd party systems, such as excel, to assess performance such as response times, number of alarms and so on.

Videowall
Within the control room, there will be high performance rack mount workstations connected to a large screen LCD displays.  These workstations will be powered by the Cware Videowall application.  Each workstation can display up to 16 or more video streams from remote cameras on wither a predefined or custom layout.  The Control Centre clients can manage the display of the cameras onto the video wall by simply clicking a tab at the bottom of the screen and choosing which cameras they would like to display.  It is proposed to utilise one or more of the screens as a dedicated alarm display whereby all incoming alarms from cameras can be shown to highlight this to the user.

control room


CCTV and intelligent object tracking

September 18, 2009

ICN (Image Content Navigation) addresses a major issue for the management of large video surveillance systems. When tracking a person or object around a site it is often difficult to keep up with the target. While a map based GUI interface (available with some CCTV management platforms) partially addresses this issue by illustrating camera locations on a map, it does not provide the means to track an object as it moves between areas covered by different cameras. Having to quickly remember camera names or identification numbers, especially if CCTV operators are unfamiliar with the site complicates this task further.

ICN solves this problem by connecting adjacent cameras together with an invisible mesh of hyperlinks. All the user has to do is ‘point and click’ on the hyperlink in the video to switch cameras and continue tracking, instantly navigating from one camera to another and keeping up with the object or person. Any number of video channels can benefit from ICN support even tracking of many objects in multiple views from both live and recorded video. ICN banishes slow response times and improves operator navigation. In the future this technology will develop further so that it is possible to tag an object allowing the surveillance system and cameras to automatically track objects as they make their way around monitored sites. ICN is available for the Cware management platform and supported on Cware’s Mobile Module to monitor, control and track video on Mobile .

If you think this technology can help you, to find out more or request a brochure click here.


The case for H.264 for CCTV: Introduction

September 7, 2009

The case for H.264 by Mark Harraway as published in International Security Buyers Guide Sept 09.

In his recent columns, ‘the Mole’ has reported interesting statements from the trade with regard to H.264 and I have to agree that when something brand spanking new comes along, it is easy for people to jump on the bandwagon and claim they have innovative features that eclipse competitors. And if a manufacturer does indeed deliver a new feature set which puts them in the position of being market leader then everyone else will often rush to adopt it either too cheaply, too quickly or in a shoddy manner. As a result, all that happens is that the feature becomes discredited within the industry or is viewed with suspicion.

Like many sectors of our industry, the devil is in the detail and system integrators and end-users who wish to see the benefits of an IP-based solution should look to someone who really knows the technology and can give an impartial view. It is common sense that manufacturers will only support their own hardware and will promise the earth for it, whereas a distributor will have evaluated a number of solutions from different vendors and be able to say that product A is the best for solution B because of XYZ whereas product Y is the best for solution C because of etc etc. ‘The Mole’ has already posed a few questions in the magazine and on blogs that I want to consider so fire away at me.

Part 2 follows tomorrow…..


Interested in security? Join the CCTV Video, IP Technology & Solutions group on LinkedIn

September 3, 2009

Join an an expanding group for CCTV users and solution providers and those interested in all aspects of security technology

Discuss and learn about the latest IP CCTV security technologies, products, news and case studies. How converged solutions can deliver benefits – reducing crime, improving safety, loss prevention & saving costs for retail, government, transport etc.

Sign up to join here.


IP CCTV or analogue CCTV, which is best?

July 27, 2009

Info4security.com open a new dabate about the best technology to use for CCTV security.

Analogue CCTV has been around for a very long time, is expensive to maintain and difficult to integrate. IP based systems on the other hand deliver improved control of video data and integration with Access Control, Intruder and other external systems.

Is it now time to replace this technology and move to IP based CCTV?

What are the benefits of IP CCTV?

What are the challenges involved with moving to an IP based CCTV system?

How much will it cost?

Find out the answer to all these questions and post what you think here at the info4security discussion page.