Video surveillance is an integral part of the security landscape in major urban and regional centres, transport hubs and wherever high value and sensitive assets require protection. According to Stevan Ristic, Product Manager, ADT Security , the capabilities of Internet protocol video surveillance are having a significant impact on the security market.
Internet protocol (IP) has changed the video surveillance paradigm. Applications that were once the realm of only science fiction movies are fast becoming the mainstream. The entertainment and telecommunications organisations are investing in networks and applications that will enable the transmission of video to consumers through IP. Consumers can have video streamed to their mobile handsets, their computers or even their televisions. The available bandwidth and improvements in compression technology show the growth of ‘video anywhere’.
Despite advances in video compression algorithms, video transmission is still based on bandwidth and it takes some time to stream video at DVD quality from the regional office in Australia to the head office in London.
IP video transmission on a local area network (LAN) has reached the point of high quality, full bandwidth video transmission. Even if leaving the LAN pose some problems, the quality of the remote video transmission is good enough to make effective security decisions based on those remotely transmitted images.
ADT Security’s visual verification services provide response centres with video images associated with an alarm so that the operators can make a quick decision about the necessary action and respond to the alarm accordingly.
One of the major challenges with video surveillance is to recognise an event in real time. Surround a guard with a bunch of video monitors and their ability to spot an incident diminishes rapidly within ten minutes. It is a well accepted fact that we humans have a limited attention span. The industry is continually striving for improved ways of electronically detecting an incident, initiating video recording and prompting a guard to respond. Using these electronic detection systems not only improves the speed of response but also reduces the amount of video that needs to be stored.
The world of IP brings a significant benefit in this area - the ability to respond to electronic triggers from a wide range of sources from anywhere in the world. These triggers need not be directly wired into the video recorder of choice. With the right protocols and permissions in place, the trigger can arrive through an IP network be it public, private, wired or wireless from anywhere. In turn, the video can be transmitted to a host of locations and different devices: control rooms, mobile handsets, patrol cars or a web browser. IP bridges the geographic and system boundaries.
IP video can also provide data for business analytics such as emerging retail applications to optimise store layouts based on analysis of store traffic around merchandise.
Smart cameras also incorporate complex algorithms and process video based on pre-determined rules. Cameras can be set with virtual tripwires to provide real-time monitoring of an area and alert operators when a trip-wire is crossed. People counting, loitering and the direction of movement can also be monitored and alerts raised, if the camera detects a change in scene.
In the recent survey entitled 'The Global Retail Theft Barometer', Asia-Pacific retailers who interviewed for the survey believed that 33.6% of internal theft occurred on the sales floor, 33.4% in the stockroom/delivery bay and 33.1% of internal theft occurred at the checkout. These findings indicate that all areas of a store need to be under surveillance. Furthermore, in Australia, employee theft was regarded as being responsible for 40.2% of 'shrinkage', strengthening the trend for storewide surveillance.
To combat these losses, Australian retailers spent $506m of retail sales on security in the 12 months to June 2007. A significant percentage of Asia-Pacific retailers’ security budget went on security equipment ($877 million - 40.4%) and IT.