For many of us, spring means the start of the trade show season, kicking off with ISC West. In addition to this great show, where there is always too much to see in two and a half days, the IAPSC conference and increasingly popular PSA-TEC were on my schedule over a course of four weeks. Here are a few of my product technology observations.
4K powered by H.264: Generally, we’re seeing an expanding array of 4K Ultra cameras based on H.264 technology. While the H.265 standard for HEVC (High Efficiency Video Encoding) was approved two years ago, product implementations of this standard — which should deliver approximately 50-percent better compression efficiency — have yet to appear. I had noted shortly after the adoption standard that it took five years after approval of the standard for the first H.264 camera in the security market. In the case of HEVC, I would bet that it will be more like four years (two years to go). We are already seeing H.265 technology being introduced into the broadcast market.
360 degrees: The array of panoramic cameras is expanding, with increasingly capable sensors, feature sets, and algorithms to select and render subsections of the panoramic image for closer, higher resolution viewing.
Pelco “Panomersive” technology, embodied in its new Optera product line, represents a significant effort by the company to up the ante in panoramic camera technology — which they claim has doubled the growth rate of standard PTZ cameras. Several individual 3 MP sensors (four in the 180-degree product) create tiles that are stitched and blended through software processing to eliminate discontinuities and create a seamless picture, all within the camera at up to 12.5 fps. There are up to two additional “immersive” views, allowing PTZ within any portion of the panoramic views, no matter where the sensor boundaries occur. Multiple streams are sent to the VMS, where a Panomersive SDK (for outside vendors) allows image reconstruction and display. “You want the security operator to clue into events of interest in the scene and not to be distracted by discontinuities at transition points,” explains Kevin Saldanha, Pelco’s senior product manager. “(That means ) no more worries about poor alignment between sensors, having to manually sequence images or gaps in information.” The 180-degree version is targeted for market introduction by end of June; with 270 and 360 versions by end of September.
Digital Watchdog demonstrated its new MEGApix PANO camera capable of displaying a 180-degree image of 32 MP at a full 30 fps or 48 MP (@ 15 fps).This product too has the option for multiple views, image selection within the panoramic scene and a seamless appearance. This is part of DW’s CaaS (Camera as a System) branding, which conveys the advanced processing and functionality occurring at the edge in their camera products.
A cyber approach: On the cyber front, DVTel is taking an aggressive, proactive stance towards building cyber defense features into its video system. Release 1 of IP-mmune, scheduled to ship near the start of Q4, takes a system-level cyber approach and reflects a company attitude of taking direct responsibility for the hardening of their products. “If you take a reactive approach, the first time you deal with a serious issue is when your stuff has already been hacked,” says Ron Grinfeld, Director of Global Vertical marketing.” The product’s first features are a digital sandbox for protection of its thick, web, and mobile software clients; and DVTel port authentication to disallow rogue devices attempting to gain unauthorized access to a network port. Future plans include video and data encryption.
Audio analytics: Louroe Electronics unveiled its Aggression Detector, the first implementation I have seen of audio analytics used to infer aggressive tone patterns in an audio stream to warn of impending danger. To date, audio analytics has been used in glass break detectors and gunshot locators. The result of a partnership with European developer Sound Intelligence, the Louroe product analyzes not what is said but how it is said — looking for aggression, anger, or fear. The Louroe GUI allows for the setting of thresholds for noise and alarm triggering, as well as presenting a color map representing tension in the sound signature. The system is integrated with select Axis cameras and most major VMS software providers. The company claims an accuracy rate better than 98 percent. “For years, the industry has looked to video analytics as the go to solution in security, but 90 percent of physical aggression is preceded by audio aggression,” explains Louroe CEO Richard Brent.
Upstart watch: It is always interesting to spot emerging upstart companies who are trying to get established in the security marketplace. Kansas City-based Coprometro’s Stone Lock Pro product employs near infrared waves reflected off a human face to measure 2000 individual points in less than one second. Reflection can occur off the skin and sub-dermally, creating a profile for which there are no known spoofing techniques. The enrollment process takes about 15 seconds, and the system can easily capture multi-factor authentication. Some of the brightest minds I know in the industry have been intrigued by Coprometro’s technology.
Feenics is the child of Canada-based Future Security Controls — acquired by Convergint in December 2013. The founder was apparently able to spin this access control product off as a separate company, after numerous installations of this product within its own customer base. Having recruited some ex-Lenel staffers, the company displays a mature understanding of market needs and trends. Their product is available as a cloud managed services or private label offering, or as an enterprise software package, and sports a nicely developed user interface.
Ray Coulombe is Founder and Managing Director of SecuritySpecifiers.com and RepsForSecurity.com. He can be reached at ray@SecuritySpecifiers.com, through LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/raycoulombe or follow him on Twitter, @RayCoulombe.