After the events of 9/11, the American people experienced a state of vulnerability unmatched in our nation’s history, prompting the government to apply stricter security measures to better protect its citizens. Since that time, the video surveillance system industry has experienced unprecedented growth in both the public and private sectors.
Closed-circuit television (CCTV) security monitoring systems are now routinely installed in businesses, schools and government buildings, and are becoming popular for use in private homes as well. While civil liberties groups point to a loss of privacy for those under surveillance, many Americans are willing to compromise on this issue in exchange for enhanced security.
The use of CCTV technology in law enforcement has increased dramatically in the past decade, playing an important role in police investigations and court trials. Video monitoring systems are most frequently used for robbery investigation, crime scene processing, mission-critical operations, vehicle collision investigation, highway surveillance and interrogation.
The majority of patrol vehicles are now equipped with in-car cameras that enhance officer safety and can be used to resolve citizen complaints and preserve the chain of evidence. This article will focus on four leading companies that develop and manufacture quality video security systems and surveillance products. Samsung Techwin America
With more than 30 years of experience in optical and imaging technologies, Samsung Techwin offers a wide range of advanced video security equipment for the business, residential and government markets. Utilizing advanced digital signal processing ICs exclusive to its cameras and DVRs, Samsung Techwin provides unsurpassed security solutions for government buildings and transportation hubs.
Three of Samsung Techwin’s innovative technologies (SSNR, SVIV and iPOLIS) deliver clearer images, enhanced color resolution and real-time video streaming anytime, anywhere, via a network. Samsung Super Noise Reduction (SSNR) is an exclusive technology that reduces random and fixed noise under low-light conditions. It removes more noise than conventional Digital Noise Reduction (DNR) methods, produces ghosting-free pictures and has a substantial disk-saving effect.
The SVIV is the latest fourth-generation chipset in the Super Vision series and features super precision vision analysis techniques and three-dimensional noise reduction technology. It offers optimal 560TVL color resolution, a powerful pixel control wide dynamic range (WDR) for backlight compensation, and Digital Image Stabilization (DIS) technology for reduced flickering. Other features include the ICR Day & Night function which provides clear images 24/7, a supporting RS-485 remote control and privacy masking for up to eight areas.
With iPOLIS products, clear digital images are transmitted over the Internet, making real-time monitoring possible with just a LAN connection and modem. Easy remote control functions and the ability to integrate with existing networks make this a cost-effective, user-friendly solution for anytime, anywhere connectivity.
MPEG-4 and JPEG compression allows iPOLIS network cameras to transmit optimal quality images for the available bandwidth, while D1 class images are transferred quickly for smoother playback. Conveniences of the network cameras include split-screen modes, PTZ control, two-way audio, multiple event/alarm control modes and video playback. Central network management software assists users in setting up the system and allows control of up to 128 channels simultaneously.
Under the direction of Frank Defina, senior vice president of sales and marketing, North America, Samsung Techwin launched its “Vision 2010” business initiative at the 2010 ISC West expo. With the introduction of new products and programs, Vision 2010’s goal is to firmly establish Samsung Techwin as a global force in the security systems industry. In addition to displaying its full line of systems solutions (including the iPOLIS access control system), the company unveiled a new series of 1.3-megapixel IP cameras, H.264 DVRs, high performance analog cameras, and UTP cameras and accessories.
According to Defina, Vision 2010 represents a new direction for Samsung in the professional security marketplace by capitalizing on all the resources Samsung offers to deliver unmatched performance and value. “We’re bigger, better and most appropriately equipped to provide the networked integrated systems that users are looking for to future-proof their installations,” Defina said. Bolide Technology Group
Founded in 1994, Bolide Technology Group is an ISO 9001:2008 certified distributor of CCTV surveillance products and accessories. From its 26,000-square-foot facility in southern California, the company manufactures a complete line of CCTV equipment that includes cameras, DVRs, matrix systems and monitors. All Bolide products come with a three-day satisfaction guarantee and full warranty, as well as lifetime technical support.
Bolide’s S-Box Series offers a high-quality line of H.264 Digital Video Recording systems, available in three different options: PC-based, Standalone and All-in-One. When the S-Box Series was released in 2009, then-Sales Manager Jennifer Kern described the technology as user-friendly and affordable, with many advanced features. The Standalone DVRs range from four to 36 channels and allow real-time recording and playback from as many as four to eight cameras.
Some models offer multiple record modes and a cell phone streaming server for remote viewing. Other features include alarm input and relay output, an easy USB backup function and system self-recovery. The H.264 All-in-One is a state-of-the-art, four-channel DVR with an embedded Triplex Operation system. This compact unit measures 8” x 8” x 5” and features PTZ Dome Control, per channel configuration and pre-alarm recording.
The PC-based DVRs display super-shape images with 640 x 480 resolution and, depending on the model, 60 to 240 fps recording speed. They are available as a 4-, 8- or 16-camera system and provide remote monitoring and recording via LAN, WAN, Internet and phone line. This PC-based line includes License Plate Detection (LPD) and Face Detector and Search (FDS) software that offers effective security solutions for a broad range of applications.
Bolide’s FDS software can identify and capture human faces from still images, live video or pre-recorded video clips. The system features an automatic search-and-compare function that works with an existing database and provides real-time alerts.
With LPD software, vehicles are recognized, counted, distinguished as unique, and then compared against a stored database of license plates to find a match. The application supports IP cameras, USB digital cameras, and video and image files, and delivers high recognition rate and fast recognition time.
Bolide also offers the hardware for the complete LPD system with two camera options, the Outdoor Anti-Head Light License Plate Bullet Camera and the Road and Highway Surveillance Car License Plate Reading Box Camera.
Features include CAR-DC INS Control for enhanced detection at high car speeds, and Sony HQ1 technology for crisp, clear images of 540 line of resolution. Both have low lux ratings and a built-in Digital Noise Reduction function. The bullet camera features anti-head light technology for night operation, while the roads surveillance camera comes with an auto day and night function.
In 2010, Bolide introduced its iPac series of 1.3 megapixel cameras that combines local recording, a BNC output, IRC, POE and a variety of other features. These hybrid cameras incorporate analog and digital technology, resulting in clearer images and enhanced networking. With advanced coding and surveillance controls, the iPac series uses H.264 high compression technology that integrates network IP camera and DVR/NVR functions. Other features include multi-level password protection, powerful event and alarm management, two-way audio and power over Ethernet. The Advanced Professional iPac megapixel IP technology is offered in four different camera options: IR Bullet, Indoor Dome, Outdoor Dome and Box.
According to Bolide General Manager Mike Bynum, CCTV technology is used by both the public sector and the law enforcement market to address varying scenarios. Corporations may utilize it mainly for deterring theft and vandalism, monitoring company behaviors and achieving reduced insurance rates. That same technology utilized in the public sector improves public safety and plays an important role in government cases and investigations.
While Bynum says there are more CCTV technology options available to law enforcement, he points out that purchases are often based on price because many agencies have to work within a budget. However, he also points out that those involved in the buying process seek a greater understanding of the technology itself and look for products that will solve problems with key solutions available at that present time.
For police administrators who wish to enhance their security and surveillance technology, Bynum recommends attending trade shows and seminars related to the CCTV industry. Bolide offers monthly webinars that cover new product introductions along with technical tips and suggestions. “We also debut our newest products and technology at industry trade shows to give clients a hands-on look at our products. According to market data, during the next five years, the industry will keep expanding and grow to more than 150 percent,” Bynum said.
Bolide Technology Group will be an exhibitor at the Electronic Security Expo (ESX), being held from June 6 to 10 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C. The ESX is the only major national trade show that specifically addresses the needs of installation, integration and monitoring companies. Pelco
Recent advances in IP video surveillance technology and HD camera systems demand a video management system that effectively accommodates all components without compromising performance. Pelco’s Endura Network Video Management System is a highly scalable, easy-to-use solution that gives surveillance operators greater control and enhanced operational flexibility.
A complete solution for HD video encoding, recording and display, Endura’s end-to-end system provides expanded recording, archiving and integration capabilities. The Endura system utilizes streaming video compression standards, such as MPEG4 and H.264, to reduce costs while maintaining performance. H.264 delivers the same video quality as MPEG4 at a fraction of the bit rates for better transport and greater storage capacity, resulting in a more flexible and efficient system.
Endura is a fully interoperable, highly functional solution that provides all the components for a complete system that includes IP cameras, video encoders, recorders, decoders, client servers, management servers and rack mounting accessories.
Pelco’s patented EnduraView™ technology ensures that HD video will not overload the workstation displaying multiple live video streams, reducing the impact and strain on the host system’s CPU and the underlying network. The system automatically subscribes to a lower bit rate/resolution stream when the screen configuration is in a multi-camera view, yet continues to record the higher resolution screen from the camera, allowing uninterrupted operator viewing.
Pelco’s EnduraStor™ is a cost-efficient technology that provides optimum storage capacity by recording all new video at 30 images per second and “pruning” the database after a user-specified amount of time. Rather than recording at a lower frame rate and alarm “bump-up,” the EnduraStor feature captures real-time video of all events and can be enabled or disabled as needed.
Other components of the Endura system include the NSM5200 network video recorder hardware platform, a fault-tolerant system designed to limit component failures by using advanced network load balancing; the Endura Workstation, a fully customizable, user-friendly software component that delivers clear, undistorted images; and Endura’s Zones of Interest feature that provides virtual camera views without affecting additional network or processing load for supporting multiple cameras.
Pelco’s complete Application Programming Interface (API) allows third-party compatibility with other systems’ manufacturers and interfaces with several third-party IP cameras and iSCSI-based storage solutions. Advanced diagnostic reporting gives operators an instant view of potential issues, and the supported SNMP v2 protocol integrates with third-party systems for network monitoring. With the Backward Compatibility feature, Endura 2.0x components can be seamlessly integrated into existing systems.
In 2008, the Endura IP Video System was deployed at the California State Capitol in Sacramento to protect both government employees and visitors. Already using a Pelco 9500 Series Matrix system, the Capitol’s security management team decided to migrate to a complete virtual matrix Endura solution.
The installation was led by Surveillance Systems Integration (SSI), which had the training and backing of the Pelco Endura Certification program. Because the existing video matrix was being replaced, SSI began by configuring the entire system at its offices in Rocklin, ensuring a smooth transition upon actual deployment.
Once the Network Video Recorders (NVRs) were installed, the Capitol was able to relocate storage from its control room to a secure network location, freeing up valuable space in the operations center. In addition, the CHP Command Center received eight 42-inch Pelco LCD displays, giving operators a clear view of activity around the complex.
Alarm and motion recording, combined with EnduraStor, allowed the Capitol to optimize its storage budget, meet its video retention requirements, and capture video at the resolution needed for evidence purposes. Sixteen 9TB Endura NVRs offering 144 terabytes of searchable networked video storage monitor lobbies, entrances, the governor’s offices and legislative chambers.
Security kiosks at entrance points allow officers to clearly view events and respond with the appropriate resources. The Endura System is used daily by the Department of General Services, the State Senate Sergeant-at-Arms, the State Assembly Sergeant-at-Arms, California Highway Patrol and CHP Command Center for State of California. Virtual Surveillance
Virtual Surveillance offers more than 58 years combined experience in the video security and surveillance industry, designing and marketing high-quality, reliable digital video surveillance systems for business and law enforcement. The company’s innovative team of software and hardware engineers, project managers and technical sales representatives work together to deliver solutions that meet the security needs of any organization. The company takes pride in providing competitive pricing without compromising product quality and reliability.
Virtual Surveillance offers a full line of security and surveillance systems that includes NVRs, DVRs, cameras and access control. Buyers can choose from a broad selection of IP and analog security cameras, with prices starting at $44.00 for analog and $209.00 for IP. Higher priced than analog, a Megapixel IP camera provides high definition for enhanced resolution and can generally replace several analog cameras, but lacks compatibility with other cameras. Analog cameras are cost-effective, are available in a larger variety of designs, and have greater compatibility, but lack the enhanced resolution that IP cameras provide.
Using an open platform approach that unifies all the components and requirements into one management center, Virtual Surveillance NVRs can be customized to integrate with other systems or devices. Digital Video Recorders (DVRs) are priced to fit any budget, from cost-effective Linux DVRs starting at $259.00, to more sophisticated PC-based models that provide maximum flexibility and performance. Both offer a robust surveillance platform designed for single-site operations that utilize just a few cameras, as well as multi-site, multi-server installations with thousands of cameras and integrations.
Virtual Surveillance offers a full line of PC-based and Linux DVRs, and, as with security cameras, the pros and cons of each should be considered before making a purchase. A PC-based DVR is easier to maintain and offers more features and advanced video analytics than Linux. Expandable to accommodate additional components, it integrates with both IP and analog cameras and can incorporate RAID technology for increased storage functions and reliability.
PC-based DVRs support up to 32 cameras as well as remote viewing through most mobile phones, and they can generate e-mail/pager notifications if motion is detected. Linux DVRs are less expensive and provide some type of TV output, whereas not all PC-based DVRs do. They are more compact than PC-based DVRs and can be hidden and remotely accessed via an IR repeater.
In September of 2005, Virtual Surveillance assisted in the relief efforts coordinated in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In cooperation with the Dallas Police Department, it provided real-time remote surveillance for evacuees housed in the Reunion Arena and Dallas Convention Center. Video was transmitted via T1 lines to the Emergency Operations Center and viewed by DPD officers and emergency personnel. Within 36 hours, they had live streaming video from both locations, providing a safe and secure environment for the evacuees.
According to Virtual Surveillance’s CEO Mehrdad Farjadian, the best choices for the law enforcement market are high resolution Megapixel IP cameras and NVRs with video analytics. “Police are mostly interested in a positive ID, [and the] ability to read license plates and make out facial detail. Although analog cameras may do the job for a retail outfit, they are no longer suitable for law enforcement applications,” Farjadian said. Susan Geoghegan is a freelance writer living in Naples, Florida. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.