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The 'CSI -TV' factor and video surveillance

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I read an interesting post on the ASMAG site about an Axis-commissioned survey of Canadians, “Survey exposes surveillance myths created by CSI crime dramas.” It pointed out that many, many people falsely believe that image enhancement techniques and intelligent software in real life should be of the quality shown on popular TV shows.

I was struck by this because this theme has come up a number of times when I’ve spoken with manufacturers and reps at trade shows, and even when I've interviewed law enforcement officers. Customers expect what they see on TV, they’ve complained to me. Why can’t they enhance that video feed? Where’s the facial recognition component? Why is their video grainy? (Maybe they should switch to IP?)

Here’s some of the article from ASMAG:

·      “71 percent of Canadians think recorded surveillance footage can be enhanced in a lab using software.

·      “Most Canadians have very little idea how long surveillance video is generally stored, with 27 percent admitting they have no idea and 26 percent believing video is stored indefinitely.

·      “Three-quarters of Canadians believe facial recognition software can easily pick individual faces out of a crowd for identification, with crime drama fans even more likely to believe this.

“When TV crime technicians produce an accurate photo of a suspect from the reflection off someone's sunglasses, it makes for good entertainment but it's not realistic,” said Bob Moore, country manager, Canada, Axis Communications.

“IP camera innovations have improved image quality and image usability exponentially, but if police are dealing with low-resolution video common in the real world today, there is nothing that can be done to enhance the image,” Moore said.

You really should read the entirety of the survey’s findings. It’s quite illuminating.



Survey: Small retailers feeling insecure

Video surveillance, more, would allay fears, they say

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Small retailers aren’t feeling too physically secure these days.

Video surveillance cabling, infrastructure market to expand dramatically in North America

Lower-priced, consumer grade Ethernet power sources driving market, which could see substantial near-term growth

Who’s in charge? Study shows 91 percent of IT departments do video surveillance

IT increasingly involved in ‘purchase and operations of [video surveillance] equipment,’ according to study commissioned by Axis Communications

CHELMSFORD, Mass.—Who’s in charge of video surveillance purchase and operations at corporations? Increasingly, that’s the domain of the IT department, according to a study commissioned by network video provider Axis Communications.

MicroPower offers integrators financing option

Tynan: Shift from a capital expenditure to an operating expenditure can speed installation, results for end users

SAN DIEGO—Wireless surveillance provider MicroPower is offering a new financing option designed to speed projects along and create RMR opportunities for integrators.

Genetec's got a lot going on

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

MONTREAL—The Genetec 2014 Press Summit, the first ever, is a wrap after a day-and-a-half of presentations about the company co-founded by President Pierre Racz in a basement more than 15 years ago.

Racz kicked off the summit with an overview of the company, a global provider of unified IP security solutions, including video surveillance, access control and license plate recognition. Those solutions are aimed at the retail, transportation, education and gaming sectors. The cloud factors in big, as does federation, unification and hybridization.

Genetec is also making a push to be more in touch with end users so customers can help design products and help Genetec customize solutions for them. [More to come on that.]

Racz spoke of one end-user, a courthouse, that wanted a separate judges-only elevator for security reasons. Rather than put in a new elevator strictly for judges at high cost, Genetec installed an access control system that would allow a credentialed judge to enter and then shut down all floor buttons so that he or she could be alone in the elevator, without disruption, until reaching the destination floor.

Executive VP Alain Cote discussed the company’s driving focus in key areas: Continuing to expand and innovate video capabilities; increasing investment to grow Genetec’s share in the access control market; leveraging the cloud to develop new products and capabilities; and extending enterprise marketing offerings.

From there on out we heard from Genetec project managers and others about specific products, along with live demonstrations of its Security Center and its AutoVu License Plate Reader.

Interesting facts: Genetec has deployed more than 100,000 cameras in education settings. Its largest deployment of cameras in a single airport overseas? 12,000. At a U.S. airport, 2,000. 

All press participants at the summit, from the U.S., Canada and Europe, were provided personal access-control badges, which we had to use to get in and out of doors separating different departments within the, of course, highly secure headquarters building.

The company does practice what it preaches. Even at lunch.

In the company’s “Genetec Bistro,” an on-site eatery with surprisingly good, low-priced food (entrees about $2 Canadian each), we selected our choices and then paid our tabs by swiping our access cards and reporting via touchscreen what we’d put on our trays, just as the employees do every day. The money spent on food is deducted from the employees’ paychecks. No one has ever cheated, Genetec reps said. In fact, employees will sometimes report: Oh, I took a dessert today and forgot to swipe my card, so please charge my account.

An informative summit and a nice group of people, both Genetec folks and colleagues in security pubs, made for a worthwhile visit to Montreal, a delightful city, even in snowy and very frigid February. 

Stay tuned for more news from the summit on the Security Director News website.



Mall tenant claims racial profiling


ANTIOCH, Tenn.—Tightened security or profiling? That’s the debate centered around the 27th camera installed at the new Global Mall at the Crossings, here.

Integrators get a sales edge with edge storage

More manufacturers offering video recording on the camera itself

YARMOUTH, Maine—Steve Gorski has experienced some déjà vu at recent trade shows.

End users boosting budgets for physical security gear

45 percent report bigger budgets in 2012, IMS study finds

WELLINGBOROUGH, England—Budgets for physical security equipment continue to defy the sluggish economic recovery, with 45 percent of end users reporting that their security funding increased during 2012, according to a survey conducted by IMS Research, now part of IHS Inc.

Atlanta adds cameras to video surveillance system


ATLANTA—The Atlanta City Council has voted to spend $2.25 million to increase video surveillance throughout the city. An additional 112 cameras will be added in and around downtown, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.