St Pancras International advanced CCTV solution

October 2, 2009

Prestigious larndmark benefits from integrated IP CCTV that improves flexibility and reduces costs

The £800m refurbishment and extension of St Pancras International is part of HS1, Britain’s first major rail project for over a century and the UK’s biggest ever construction project. Opened by the Queen in 2007 this prestigious landmark required an advanced CCTV solution to help protect staff, customers, and visitors to the station. Controlware won the contract on the basis of the advanced technical solution, integration expertise, and the proven ability to deliver large projects successfully.

To read the full story click here.

St Pancras

Building a CCTV security system: cameras with intelligence

September 28, 2009

Across the site both internal and external cameras can be wired back to various collection points and utilise POE (Power Over Ethernet) thereby reducing the amount of cabling required and saving costs. These collection points will house encoders (if not IP cameras) that will convert the analogue video from the cameras for distribution onto the network via a fibre or wireless transmission device.

To further enhance the performance of the cameras, each encoder or IP camera can be equipped with Intelligent Video Analysis (IVA) to enable intelligent motion alarm detection.  The IVA provides reliable video motion detection for indoor or outdoor use. IVA is state-of-the-art intelligent video analysis that reliably detects, tracks, and analyzes moving objects while suppressing unwanted alarms from spurious sources in the video.  The key advantage of using this technology within the encoders or IP cameras is to enable detection of  perimeter breaches while improving the reliability of alarms and reducing operator work load.

The algorithms within IVA intelligently adapt to background environmental conditions such as rain, snow, clouds, and leaves blowing in the wind while built-in tamper detection generates alarms on camera hooding/masking, blinding, defocusing, and repositioning. Image stabilization ensures detection even with shaky video sources such as cameras mounted on poles or simple vibrations.

Within IVA, the following tasks can be selected:

• Detect objects entering, leaving or just being within an area (detector field)
• Detect loitering in an area related to radius and time
• Detect idle object within a configurable time span
• Detect removed objects within a configurable time span
• Detect trajectories/routes of objects, passing in the scene, displayed with tracking lines
• Detect multiple line crossing from single line up to three lines combined in a logical row
• Detect condition change properties such as size, speed, direction, and aspect ratio change within a specified time span (for example something falling down)
• Alarm task script manager in the expert mode to combine tasks logically

Up to eight independent tasks can be selected and combined in the scene to build sophisticated detection rules, each one individualized with its own parameters. This allows the detection of multiple object states in parallel, generating separate triggers that can be handled independently or in combination.

To enable the detection of alarms, rules are setup on each encoder or camera individually based on the scene that the camera is looking at.  When one of these rules is breached, an alarm will be sent back to the central server and be distributed to alert the operators.

To find out more about the Cware management platform click here.

Intellegent Video Analysis

Planning a security system

September 24, 2009

It is important to focus at the ongoing technology developments to assess what will be possible for a solution of the future.  Controlware are constantly integrating and developing new technology within our Cware platform making it one of the most advanced systems available on the market today.

One of the key components of a system is to ensure the platform has a scalable architecture so that it can grow with user requirements.  The Cware platform is an IP based network solution that utilises IT network infrastructures to ensure a common platform of operation.  Based on a clustered server architecture Cware enables unprecedented levels of resilience.  The clustered approach enables us to treat all of the CCTV servers and storage as one virtual pool of devices.  In the event of a failure of one device, the other members of the cluster can take over to ensure near constant uptime of the system.

The main aim of the system should be to provide the most useful event information to the right people at the right time to enable effective response and identification of perpetrators, reducing the likelihood that a similar incident would occur again.  Components such as Access Control and Video Analytics can be used to help gather this information by alerting users when policies have been breached.

To find out more about the Cware management platform click here.

Integrated CCTV – Greater than the sum of its parts

September 21, 2009

Security both inside and outside of the location is a key factor in developing a safe environment.  It is essential that the CCTV surveillance cover more than just site boundaries but ensure staff and public safety as a whole.

The application of new and future technology into an integrated solution can effectively assist in both crime prevention and management of incidents as they occur.  The key components of a security solution typically comprise of video surveillance, video recording, communication and alarm detection.   If each of these systems is implemented separately and independently, management, efficiency and usability will inevitably suffer as a result.  Alarms occur on one system, access control is managed on another system, recording and viewing by another and so on.  This means that operational usability becomes difficult, training needs more comprehensive, and maintenance more complex.

An effective security system needs all of these components working together in harmony to create a seamless unified solution.  When utilising multiple separate companies to provide these systems problems usually arise as there is no one company who is responsible for ensuring the collective parts all work together.  In addition, many systems are using proprietary technology that does not lend itself well to integration, often made worse when the manufacturers are unwilling to share necessary information about their systems.

By utilising a single organisation who can integrate these separate security components and technologies under a flexible CCTV and security management system, you benefit from a considerably more powerful and effective security solution with a lower total cost of ownership.

Like many sectors of the security 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.

To find out more visit the Controlware website by clicking here.

Understanding CCTV: Latency vs Speed

September 17, 2009

The final part of the case for H.264 by Mark Harraway, UK Country Manager

Q. H.264 may prove unsatisfactory in situations where low latency is important. Is there any truth in this?

Again, I would have to say it depends on which manufacturer you are using.  Latency is a function of the network – available bandwidth vs amount of traffic generated.  As we have already said, using H.264 should improve network latency as you are reducing the bandwidth on the network by pushing the work to the edge device.   If the concern is image delay (perhaps moving one’s hand in front of a camera and then seeing this on the screen), the issue comes down again to the truism that you get what you pay for. Higher build standard encoders or cameras will give quicker response times as they have faster processors and the manufacturers are likely to have implemented the profile better.  Again this can all be adjusted in the individual codec settings.

Understanding CCTV: Storage vs image quality

September 16, 2009

The eighth part of the case for H.264 by Mark Harraway, UK Country Manager

Q. What is more important for end-users, reductions in RAID demands or usable images with reduced bandwidth? How does H.264 fare on both, and are there variations within industry sectors?

Only an end-user can answer this since factors include a mix of budget, space, and quality but it is important to note that H.264 and IP give you the flexibility to tailor the system to meet on-the-ground needs. By contrast, in an analogue or DVR-based system, it is the hardware that dictates matters through supported frame rates or recording space in the box. The beauty of an IP / H.264 system is that you can be dynamic in the offering. After all, why record at a high frame rate or resolution when nothing is happening? The way forward must be to move to event or alarm-driven recording.  And if you really do need 24/7 recording then use the power of H.264 to reduce your bandwidth and thus your storage requirements.

Understanding CCTV: Is H.264 the real deal?

September 15, 2009

The seventh part of the case for H.264 by Mark Harraway, UK Country Manager

Q. H.264 has been described very patronisingly as ‘promising’, presumably by those in the analogue camp or supporters of other standards who don’t want this new offering  to prosper.  Are there parties in the industry who want to impede the progress of H.264 by ‘damning it with faint praise’?

Again, this is the “We can’t offer or work with it so let’s rubbish it or at the very least pour cold water over it” tactic. IP and H.264 are the future of CCTV and just as magazines are no longer produced with typewriters and the old ‘hot metal’ printing technology, end-users shouldn’t listen to entrenched analogue adherents when making decisions on the future of their systems.  I would be more than willing to place an H.264 offering up against a like-for-like analogue system in an independent test to prove its worth.

Part 8 continues tomorrow…