Megapixel and License Plate Recognition – Some Honest Answers

Posted by Nick Ainsworth

Jun 13, 2011 10:36:00 AM

by Rick Stuart, Accu-Tech Corporation Regional Security Specialist (Mid-Atlantic and Northeast)

There has been a lot of hype in the security video marketplace in recent years about the advent of megapixel (1 million or greater pixel resolution) video cameras.  Much of the buzz is certainly justified.  IP Megapixel cameras have revolutionized the design and performance of video surveillance systems.  However, problems can arise with any new technology when expectations begin to exceed real-world performance.  One example of this is the deployment of megapixel cameras for license plate recognition (LPR).  

LPR is a familiar but often misunderstood subset of video surveillance.  From my earliest days as a security installer (think vacuum tubes) I was the victim of over zealous sales promises of reading license plates.  In the analog video days most people quickly realized that to get LPR with any kind of reliability you needed a dedicated camera system that was designed for the application.

These systems were (and are) relatively expensive compared to a conventional security camera.  They can generally be divided into two categories – high contrast and color overview.  Both types have strengths and weaknesses that should be reviewed before specifying them for a particular application.

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Topics: Security

BlueWave Security, THE IP and Wi-Fi Access Control Company

Posted by Nick Ainsworth

Jun 6, 2011 12:00:00 PM

by Trent Little, Accu-Tech Corporation Regional Security Specialist (Carolina's)

In the beginning, BlueWave Security was this small, innovative company focused on its core competencies, IP and Wi-Fi, with a vision of changing an industry.  Of course, it only makes sense considering the background of the Founder and CEO Mance Harmon, whom has “led a number of leading-edge information technology initiatives for such organizations as Symbol Technologies (now the Enterprise Mobility Division of Motorola), the United States Air Force and the Missile Defense Agency.”1 Going forward BlueWave Security is focused on taking the market by storm deploying flexible hardware and software options. 

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Topics: Security

Mobile Apps in Security

Posted by Nick Ainsworth

Jun 2, 2011 2:29:00 PM

by Jason House, Regional Security Specialist Midwest, Accu-Tech Corporation

With the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, the security industry received a new tool for mobile security applications. iTunes now has over 500,000 apps available for the iPhone. A simple search of iTunes for CCTV brings up several hundred apps for mobile security.  With names like iCamViewer, iSpy Cameras, IP Camera Viewer, and Spy Cams Pro, these apps range in price from free to more than $99.99.  Independent developers create most of these apps, but many companies are now creating apps of their own to view live cameras, help with product installation, and as an application resource for selecting the right product.  These companies include Exacq Technologies, Vivotek, Speco, and Veracity.  With smart phones now the choice for both personal and business use, it is essential for the industry to be on the leading edge of this technology.  

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Topics: Security, Security

Video Management Made Simple

Posted by Nick Ainsworth

Jun 2, 2011 11:18:00 AM

Milestone Systems Introduces XProtect® Essential NVR

Milestone Systems announces the release of a preconfigured NVR video management system for small to medium sizes business. Loaded with Milestone XProtect Essential software, the system is designed to be installed quickly and efficiently

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Topics: Security

Exacq START to be released Monday, May 16

Posted by Nick Ainsworth

May 13, 2011 3:51:00 PM

Exacq Technologies is the one-stop-(easy to use)shop for IP and Hybrid video management solutions. Pioneering broad, yet simplistic, solutions for the emerging need for open-architecture design in both hardware and software, Exacq hit the market April 2006 with the A-Series hybrid and IP-only Server hardware in conjunction with freely distributed PRO Level server software. In February 2010, exacqVision released their Enterprise Server option, an upgrade to PRO server software, which includes advanced mapping and integration with Microsoft Active Directory among other features.  Today they do it again!

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Topics: Security

Commercial-grade CCTV Monitors available at Accu-Tech

Posted by Nick Ainsworth

Apr 11, 2011 12:56:00 PM

By choosing to use ViewZ (Anaheim, CA) “commercial grade” CCTV monitors you are selecting the appropriate monitor for critical CCTV applications.  Consumer grade monitors (often purchased at big box stores) are not built to deliver the performance many CCTV applications require.  This is because commercial-grade monitors use A-grade TFT LCD panels which have the brightest and most uniform backlights, widest viewing angles, and least amount of physical defects.  These panels deliver superior image quality over longer periods of time.  So much so that ViewZ monitors carry a 3 year warranty.

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Topics: Security

Video Analytics...Superior to Video Motion Detection

Posted by Nick Ainsworth

Mar 10, 2011 11:22:00 AM

By Jason House, Regional Security Specialist for Accu-Tech Corporation

Video analytics have been around for years in various forms. The first products on the market were big add-on boxes that analog video feeds would run through, to process the video, and run the analytics. These boxes were expensive and underperforming. Many of them did simple alarm notification by putting a red box around a person that was not supposed to be in a defined area. Most of the capabilities in newer or more recent analytic systems (object left behind, object detection, loitering, opposite direction alarms, people-counting, etc.) were not included in these initial or older systems. Many integrators and end-users did not see the value that these systems provided. In fact, many considered them to be fancy video motion detection systems. Since video motion detection is a standard feature on virtually all DVRs, it was hard for them to justify the added cost of these systems.

Wow…….how times have changed!

Some analytic companies are ditching the expensive box at the head end, and pushing the analytics out to the edge, and into the IP camera or encoder. There are many advantages to this solution, in particular… reduced cost and flexibility. The customer can spend less money by deploying these “ smart cameras” only to areas that really do need the analytical capability of the device.

Many of the leading analytic companies have integrated their cameras and encoders with VMS solutions from Exacq, ONSSI, and Milestone. This allows you to use a mix of analytic and standard IP cameras. Also, with analytics now built into the IP camera, we can use megapixel and HD resolutions. This increases the performance of the camera, and also makes the camera a more active, rather than passive device. It allows you to have guard level security, at the price of a passive CCTV system.

VideoIQ (Bedford, MA) has created an innovative way to deploy analytics. They have developed a decentralized solution that allows recording capability right at the IP camera. By putting a hard drive in the camera, they have eliminated the need to have multiple servers, dedicated networks, and management software. By storing the video at the camera, the system needs less that 10% of the bandwidth used by high definition or standard IP cameras. This would allow the customer to use existing networks. Analytics “ at the camera” also allows for recording resolutions of 1080P at 30FPS, using no bandwidth at all. Video will stream through the network only when an alarm is detected by the analytics.

There are many applications for a VideoIQ solution. A construction site is one of them. Typically, existing infrastructure is hard to come by on a temporary job site. In this case, power is all you would need. The camera(s) could be mounted at the site and a laptop can be connected directly to it to download all alarm events over a defined period of time.

Automobile dealerships can easily leverage this technology by installing a limited number of cameras that would track suspicious persons on their lot when they are closed. The analytical capability of the camera would then “ trip” a recorded message asking the customer to come back during normal business hours.

There have been many advances in video analytics over the last several years. It is no longer simple video motion detection, but rather a way to maximize your video security system. The cost of these systems are decreasing, but the features and benefits are increasing.

(The author, Jason House, is a Regional Security Specialist for Accu-Tech Corporation. He can be reached at jason.house@accu-tech.com.)

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Topics: Security, Structured Cabling

Intransa VideoAppliance: Open... Flexible... Simple..... FINALLY!

Posted by Nick Ainsworth

Feb 15, 2011 2:18:00 PM

From Jeff Whitney, Intransa Vice President of Marketing:

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Topics: Security

Taking PoE Further.

Posted by Brian Brown

Sep 24, 2010 9:55:00 AM

Berk-Tek announced their new product, OneReach, at the 2010 BICSI Fall Conference. This product was the talk of the show. Especially with security installers.

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Topics: Security, Structured Cabling

Berk-Tek Announces OASIS Warranty for Direct Attach

Posted by Brian Brown

Sep 22, 2010 12:23:00 PM

Las Vegas, NV – September 13, 2010 – Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, a copper and fiber optic cable technology and solutions leader, announces the first system warranty for a modified permanent link utilizing a direct attach methodology. The configuration is now part of Berk-Tek’s OASIS (Open Architecture Systems Interconnection Solutions) warranty which covers Berk-Tek UTP cable and recognized partner termination/connectivity equipment and provides a 15-year product and installation warranty through the OASIS certified security installers (CSI) program.

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Topics: Security, Structured Cabling