From the self-proclaimed foodie to the parent rushing through the aisles on a Saturday, visits to the grocery store are part of our modern daily life, whether you shop a national chain, a local supermarket or even a farmers’ market in the park. As eating and cooking become hobbyist activities and their popularity surges, many grocery stores struggle to accommodate new technology in surveillance as it becomes available.
Many grocers who have been in the business for years are still using analog surveillance cameras in their stores, despite the introduction of newer technologies. They would like to have the high resolution and analytics offered by new IP cameras, but replacing their older cameras with new IP cameras can be costly, and their extended business hours can make it a challenge to find the time to implement a whole-scale installation of new video cameras and management systems. Grocery businesses also may have other systems in use that may not integrate easily with IP video.
The most successful adoptions of IP camera technology often utilize a network video management system managed by a unified video client to reap the benefits of IP camera technology without abandoning already installed analog cameras. The most-well known benefit of the IP camera is its high-resolution imaging, which can be crucial in a grocery store business. A clear image of a person inside the store or license plate in the parking lot can be essential to loss prevention.
Grocery operators also want access to powerful analytic tools and the ability to pinpoint loss prevention incidents, accidents and potential accidents, which translates into faster response times and in some instances, merchandise saved. The benefit of better searching capabilities can often times be achieved only by implementing a newer video management platform, useful in reducing liability for common investigations such as slip and falls. Powerful embedded analytics can also tell retailers how to better handle line queues and how best to staff registers, in addition to alerting them of potential shelf-sweep thefts of high value items. Other tools such as heat mapping can provide for information on the popularity of in-store promotions and displays.
A growing trend in the grocery store market is integration of video with other systems, such as access control, fire, and in particular with point-of-sale systems. The seamlessly integrated platform that a unified client provides allows for the management of several facilities across different regions using one platform. The added bonus of real-time remote access allows operators to troubleshoot and attend to situations remotely, without an in-person visit to a facility by a service technician.
By using a unified video client and network VMS to manage both analog and newer IP cameras, grocery retailers are afforded the time to upgrade to IP at their own speed, while also tapping into powerful, newer IP technology.
Ultimately, a unified client makes video management simpler, and its integrations with other systems give operators the tools they need to make the good and quick decisions that benefit a business. Unified surveillance also gives grocers of all sizes the ability to scale their video surveillance operation accordingly, providing a video solution that can take them from the small neighborhood market to the thriving, nationally known grocery store. And that’s no small change.
To learn more about how one integrator helped to shepherd a major grocery chain through its transition to IP video, click here.
If you’ve ever been on a diet or exercise program, you probably understand the concept of self-sabotage. Even before you get started on your strategy to cut back calories, or run for 30 minutes every morning, or join a gym, you’re already thinking of excuses for why those plans won’t work: I forgot to buy the right food, I twisted my ankle, I need that money for the kids’ field trips.
Getting started with an access control solution, especially for entry-level users, can also be a situation in which the excuses start to mount before the installation begins.
There are concerns that it will be too difficult to manage: Who has the IT background to sit at a PC and install the software? Or that it will take too long to set up: Who has time to configure all those readers and door controllers? Or maybe the objection is that your organization is too decentralized: You’re just one medical clinic within a larger network, so how does this even work for you? Does your company have to invest in an enterprise-level system, or is there a different option?
Fortunately, there are solutions on the market that have been geared to address just those particular concerns. The new access control network appliances are aimed at customers such as satellite offices and locations for clinics, schools and small businesses that aren’t large enough in scale for a true enterprise system, but still want access control functionality and scalability.
In many instances, these types of sites are looking for access control for a couple dozen doors or more, but don’t have the manpower for full-time system management. But if they can be presented with an out-of-the-box solution that is ready-to-go with preinstalled software and preconfigured databases making it easy to add in access points, they are less likely to turn to that list of excuses for avoiding access control.
Network appliance solutions are also ideal for those in an expansion or change mode. A new school is built, so you just add an appliance for that location. Your small company buys a competitor, and you now have two offices in nearby cities that need access control, so you bring in units for each of those sites.
And because these solutions are web-based, they can be managed from any location. So the office manager at the clinic can make updates or someone at another office can handle them if the situation warrants it.
The days of thinking of excuses for adopting access control are dwindling as more small and mid-size operations tap into the intuitive, easy-to-operate new products on the market. So now you just need to focus on that diet.
Many people don’t give alarms and their monitoring much thought in their day-to-day lives. But alarms systems continually monitor our homes, workplaces and communities in order to identify a problem as soon as something happens. From the carbon monoxide detector in our apartment building to the intrusion panel at the office to the alarm system that protects a town’s public drinking water, alarm monitoring has become part of our everyday lives, whether we realize it or not.
Alarm monitoring technology has evolved to go beyond intrusion and fire alarm monitoring to also include water pressure change, carbon monoxide, fire, openings and closings, temperature changes, gas leaks alarms and medical alerts (PERS). In addition, market demand continues to increase for video monitoring, GPS monitoring and two-way voice services.
Offering these types of services is important, that’s why Centra-Larm has grown its business over the years from its primary focus on fire alarms to now include a broad array of third party alarm monitoring services. Today the company monitors more than 90,000 alarms from its three central stations in New Hampshire and California.
To meet the current and changing needs of its customers, Centra-Larm has been a longtime customer of Tyco Security Products’ Sur-Gard receivers to provide its central stations with the broad functionality and high-speed transmissions needed for such a wide and varied customer base.
With such a large number of and many types of alarms monitored, Centra-Larm’s central stations need to be fast, versatile and highly automated. That means supporting more than 100 communication formats and the capability to monitor IP transmitters.
At many central stations, it might not be uncommon for an operator to handle a signal for a burglar alarm at a residential property one minute, then have to respond to an alarm indicating a change in temperature in a refrigerator at a grocery store the next. Thanks to technology, the role of the central station and the types of systems that central station operators monitor has changed considerably. It’s a boon to the growth and the development of the central station industry.
As a force in the alarm market for the last 27 years, Centra-Larm understands that the ability to change is often crucial to survival and prosperity. That includes being able to handle multiple forms of simultaneous alarm signal communication and being able to adapt to the ever-changing customer expectations as technology continues to offer new benefits to dealers and end users.
How has central station receiver technology developed in recent years? Learn more about Sur-Gard SG-Systems, and its newly released Sur-Gard System 5 IP-based receiver, which supports visual alarm verification and is recognized as a powerful, yet space saving system.
Read more about how Centra-Larm is using Sur-Gard to serve its 90,000 commercial and residential customers.
Often integrators and systems installers don’t think of wireless intrusion as a first option for a commercial customer. Historically, wireless intrusion solutions have been seen as unreliable, plagued by interference and offering a short battery life. But it’s time to reconsider wireless intrusion’s suitability for commerce and examine just what current systems have to offer, given recent technological advances.
Poor reliability and substantial interference have been the two biggest complaints about wireless intrusion. The introduction of frequency hopping within wireless devices has solved some of this. Frequency hopping allows an intrusion device to hop around channels within the specified frequency at a constant pace to find the clearest signal, making it difficult to hack or penetrate. Frequency hopping divides a large frequency band into 50 channels, which translates to less interference and increased reliability. Adaptive path technology then finds the most efficient path to the intrusion panel so that, together with frequency hopping and 128-bit encryption, devices can communicate to one another easily and securely.
Another technology that benefits wireless intrusion is two-way synchronous communication or TDMA. With traditional one-way devices, there is no communication between an alarm device and the panel. Two-way devices allow for back and forth communication and result in less noise, which can be a problem when using a large number of devices.
Ease of installation and low maintenance are musts for the commercial intrusion market. The adaptability of cutting-edge wireless intrusion systems makes installation even easier. Already simple to install because wireless systems do not require installers to pull wire, installers can now install or update devices at any time. In addition, new technology in wireless devices can help an installer identify signal strength issues before mounting a sensor, for example.
Along with providing powerful analytic options and remote management, two-way communication makes maintenance and troubleshooting easier. Remote management allows installers and end users to solve problems without having to visit each device in person. Technology like this saves both the installer and end user time and money, providing faster troubleshooting and less down time.
The efficiency of all these advancements, including adaptive path technology and frequency hopping, results in battery savings. Battery power is no longer eaten up by signals that go nowhere or are inefficient, one-way communications. Plus these systems do not require high-capacity batteries. Add to this a longer batter life, typically five to eight years, and the user sees significant cost savings with wireless intrusion technology when it comes to battery power.
As technology in general has evolved, so too has wireless technology. Personal computers, which at one time required an Ethernet cord to connect to the Internet, now rely on wireless technology to transmit information. The same is true for the movies we watch, which can now be streamed wirelessly and directly to the television set.
As the use of wireless intrusion systems has grown it has provided the commercial user with the convenience of easier installation and maintenance, battery savings, and most importantly, high reliability. With these evolutions in technology and reliability, wireless intrusion is becoming not only a viable option in the commercial market, but could become the preferred choice of the future.
Learn more about PowerG 2-way wireless communication and the technologies from Tyco Security Products enabling this move into the commercial space.
Given the choice between complexity and simplicity, most of us choose the easy path. If there is a way to take difficulty out of any day-to-day activity, we’re all for it.
Today’s technology is increasingly reflecting our need for a pared down, but still high-quality approach. Think about some of the appliances residing in your own home. Instead of a separate blender, food processor, ice crusher and mixer, many kitchens now have a single machine — a super blender, if you will — that handles all of these chores.
In the security space, cameras with edge-based video recording capabilities are filling a similar niche. Especially for small businesses that don’t have the luxury of a large security staff, space to house multiple servers or the infrastructure to support multiple recording devices, opting instead for cameras with embedded VMS software and onboard video storage can prove to be a capable and affordable alternative.
Having a type of all-in-one solution makes high-tech security more accessible to users who only need a handful of IP cameras for their installation. However, these businesses — both large and small — still require a robust array of valuable features and they want them delivered in a user-friendly manner.
Just being able to record video clips to an SD card will cover the most basic security needs in an edge-based video system, but this is just a simple folder of video clips. Like the multi-featured super blender, end users are often looking for something more.
Fortunately, advancements in SD cards and camera processor technology provide enough horsepower to deliver not only onboard storage but video management system capabilities. This means that beyond just recording and organizing clips, business owners or security personnel can take advantage of features such as synchronized search and retrieval of the recorded video across all or specific cameras in their system. Thesevideo management tasks can be performed on a desktop or on mobile devices such as tablets or smartphones with live view or playback.
And while edge-based VMS software provides myriad benefits to smaller locations with a handful of cameras, larger organizations are also leveraging this technology. This includes the large retailer wanting a few cameras at its stores that are independent from the onsite, locally monitored surveillance network. Or, this approach can also benefit other large enterprise installations looking for freedom from managing a central server architecture for small branch locations or remote locations in the field, where a few cameras are needed but server installation is impractical.
Small or large, end users looking to employ this technology are also benefitting from new high reliability SD cards, some of which are designed specifically for the recording of HD video. Various cameras on the market, such as our new Illustra Edge series, can also provide redundancy protection for network outages, providing a backup of the recorded video that can be retrieved and stored back to a central server.
And with each camera having its own embedded VMS capability, businesses have the added assurance that even if one camera in the system fails, the others in their installation will continue to perform the critical video surveillance system duties.
This newest generation of edge-based video adds a higher level of value for end users who want storage and recording capabilities but without the investment of time, space and maintenance associated with traditional server set ups.
It is the perfect melding of simplicity with effective, cutting-edge technology — ice crusher not included.
To hear more about edge based video management as well as tips on how to calculate bandwidth and storage requirements and how to take advantage of other vendor supplied tools for easier installations, please register for the upcoming free webinar from SDM Magazine: “Making the Right Choices in IP Video,” at 2pm EDT on June 16, 2015, sponsored by Illustra from Tyco Security Products.
Exacq and Illustra introduce the first complete edge out-of-the-box solution. Illustra Edge provides a complete high definition video system as easy as 1-2-3 with a high quality Illustra IP camera, integrated video management system (VMS) software and SD card storage included in one out-of-the-box ready solution. Simply mount the camera, connect and start monitoring live and recorded video. Illustra Edge comes pre-configured with an included server license for simple, automatic installation.
Illustra Edge presents everything you need for full-featured video recording. Benefits:
- Cost-Effective Solution – With an edge video solution, fewer components are installed. Video servers and rack equipment are not required. Since Illustra Edge comes with everything bundled into the camera, it saves end users a significant amount of money. Illustra Edge provides a high quality IP cameras integrated video management system (VMS) software and SD storage included in one out-of-the-box ready solution. It even saves money in the long-term with fewer components and no server maintenance.
- Completely Bundled, Easy to Install – Simply plug in the Illustra Edge IP camera, connect to a powered network switch and watch video. Illustra Edge requires minimal configuration and hardware installation. To make it as easy as possible, it features automatic licensing and motion-based recording on first power on.
- High Reliability – Illustra Edge stores video on the camera’s premium video surveillance grade SD card for onboard storage of critical video. Illustra Edge cameras record even when the network is down. There is no single point of failure; if one camera fails, the other IP cameras will continue to stream and record video. Illustra Edge offers distributed recording with a long-life SD card. Store 5-15 days of typical internal video expandable to months or years.
- Network Friendly – The security camera to server traffic is internal, resulting in low network traffic. Therefore, the Illustra Edge solution does not use valuable network resources and bandwidth as functions are performed at the edge.
- Scalable – If more storage is needed, users can add exacqVision S-Series networked storage devices or network attached storage (NAS). Illustra Edge can be a stand-alone solution or scalable as part of a full exacqVision recorder solution.
Ideal solution for:
- Small system installations
- Perfect for 1-10 IP camera installations
- Remote sites where servers are not practical
- Power sub-stations
- Generator stations
- Wind farms
- Environments with unreliable wireless or WAN connectivity
- Covert surveillance independent of the primary video surveillance system
Illustra Edge is available in three models:
Illustra Pro 5MP Fisheye
- 5 MP
- High Resolution 360 degree situational awareness
Illustra Pro 2MP Compact Mini-Dome
Illustra Pro 2MP Compact Bullet
- True day/night
- IR Illumination
- Wide dynamic range
Learn more about the Illustra Edge solution on our website. Download the exacqVision Edge Illustra installer.
Technology has always been front and center in the healthcare market, so it would come as no surprise then that Smartphone technology has found a place here, as well. Patient and employee safety is a continuous focus for healthcare facilities, whether these people are located in in a hospital, doctor’s office or rehabilitation center.
Did you know that a Smartphone, in conjunction with the appropriate app, can provide indoor tracking of an individual? This can become valuable information, especially when it comes to pinpointing the exact location of a nurse or other hospital employee in the event of a safety issue.
There are many uses for a Smartphone in these instances, such as a duress button to detect where to send a response team if an employee is at risk or with a nurse call arrival notification to confirm that a nurse arrived at the same room as the call. Smartphones can help display patient records or medication information upon a nurse entering a room.
Several technologies are now being leveraged for indoor location and navigation, but how do you know which is the right solution and for which applications? Bluetooth Smart (BLE) beacons, for example can be placed at strategic locations so that when the phone passes within a few feet of the beacon it reads its signal and registers that ID as its current location. Energy efficient, Bluetooth Smart Beacons can be detected even when a phone is in standby mode.
However, the downside is that BLE does not provide explicit room location information that you may be after. And, because of its high frequency it introduces unexpected signal strength behavior, which result in an inability to determine range. This means that you cannot tell for sure if a person has actually entered a room.
However, by incorporating a wearable Elpas tag in conjunction with RTLS technologies, the reliability increases considerably thereby increasing possible uses to include personal emergency response.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of these various technologies, including WiFi via trilateration, accelerometer and compass and low frequency beacons thanks to a wearable BLE tag? And how does their future look as a mobile tracking solution in the healthcare market?
To learn more, sign up today for Tyco Security Products webinar on Tracking Mobile Devices Indoors on Wednesday, May 13 at 10 a.m. EDT.
We’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to women in technology careers. More and more women are taking leadership positions across the business world, with women leading large and well-known companies like IBM, Yahoo, Facebook and Lockheed Martin, to name a few. The times really are a-changin’, as Bob Dylan said, as we see more young women than ever seeking professions in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) with support from organizations like the White House’s Council on Women and Girls, the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and with well-publicized initiatives at schools like MIT and Stanford.
So it was gratifying to hear that my colleague, Irene Lam, Vice President of R&D and Engineering at Tyco Security Products, was recently named one of the Women’s Security Council 2015 Women of the Year, an award that honors the top female professionals in the security industry. As a gifted leader and active philanthropist, Irene really embodies the professional woman of today and represents just how far women have come in the world of business and technology.
Today, Irene leads a 500-person department responsible for product development, from the design phase to the manufacturing phase. She is responsible for the launch of many new products each year and oversees a network of technology development centers located across the globe. Even in today’s environment, such a role is still more commonly held by men. Irene is also helping to change that reality by actively participating in Tyco Security Products’ mentoring program, where she and other leaders give of their time to several candidates each year, most of them women.
Irene and I are lucky to work for a company that values the recruitment and training of women and sees its future success including women’s contributions and leadership. It’s with good reason, as it’s been well documented that companies that embrace a diverse, highly skilled and educated employee population are simply more successful than those that do not..
Yet we realize that there is more work to be done. I’m proud to say that there has been a substantial increase in the hiring of women at Tyco Security Products in the last five years and a growing interest by women in working for the company in many of our locations throughout the globe. Currently, approximately 40 percent of our employees are women, with many of those women involved in product management, marketing and engineering in various locations around the world.
Tyco Security Products also supports women through internal programs such as the Women’s Growth Network which encourages women to seek technology-oriented roles within the company, and with involvement in events such as the annual Massachusetts’ Conference for Women, an event providing education on entrepreneurship and professional development. We also recently sponsored a local event called the All Girls Challenge, a two-day creativity marathon that invites girls to work in teams to come up with a product that solves a social problem. The program asks participants to draw upon Science, Technology, Engineering and Math skills to create their product.
It is evident that as our professions become increasingly more technology-based, businesses must add technically talented women to their ranks in order to continue to compete and succeed. I feel fortunate to work in a company that has that vision, that recognizes the vital and significant roles women will play in defining its the future. With leaders like Irene and companies like ours, we are developing the next generation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, which can’t help but benefit all of us.
Next Stop: The Central Station of the Future
None of us can predict the future, especially when it comes to business. But it’s beneficial - and sometimes even fun - to consider what the future might be like.
Though most within the physical security industry agree that the central station is moving toward becoming multi-functional and capable of doing more than monitor alarms, the possibilities are endless. There are a few qualities that the central station of the future is likely to have, though, should current trends and innovations continue.
Adaptability and scalability will be required in the central station of the future. A system’s ability to adapt to new technologies, to integrate with other systems and expand exponentially in size will undoubtedly be key features. Incompatibility, proprietary brands and hardware limitations can no longer be the gates that stifle a system’s potential. Use of multiple profiles, receivers with increased capacities, and easy adaptability to new technologies will keep the central station of the future nimble and dynamic.
The central station of the future will likely still require an operator to make judgment calls to determine what computerized systems cannot. In order to do this efficiently, operators will need to have access to video from locations where an alarm is happening in order to make well-informed decisions. Instead of operators sorting through huge lists of events, they will use visual verification to view an image from the site and to make a determination by looking at a screen shot, which accelerates the handling of such events.
Central stations will likely have a smaller physical footprint in the future. At present, central stations must purchase additional components that often require extra space in the receiver room in order to achieve redundancy. The central station of the future will likely be smaller, but also will support a greater number of monitored accounts.
When the functionality of a security system can literally save lives, downtime is more than an inconvenience. Therefore, a service agreement will be an important component for the central station of the future. As systems become more automated, it’s critical that downtime be minimal. Manufacturers will package service agreements with their central station products to ensure continuity and functionality. Components will also be hot swappable, meaning parts can be replaced without shutting down an entire system and without having to reconfigure the settings for the replaced part.
Clearly, the central station of the future puts power in the hands of the user with larger and more powerful receivers, the ability to create groupings and with the ability to move accounts using profile features. The flexible central station of the future moves away from a proprietary model to a more integrated approach, establishing an infrastructure for future growth and changes in technology.
To learn more about how to future-proof your central station, check out the newly released Sur-Gard System 5 IP-based receiver, which supports visual alarm verification and is recognized as a powerful, yet space saving system.
A few years ago, the conversation surrounding the migration to IP from analog was focused on whether it made sense to do it. Was the technology where it needed to be? Was the cost differential justified? Was there the internal support system in place to run something more sophisticated and complex?
Today, most security personnel feel they can answer those questions favorably and have come on board with the benefits of IP video. Thus, the conversation is turning from whether to do it all to how to do it wisely and well.
Although there are many examples of end users who have successfully made the transition, there still is no single format to adopt in making the migration. The process is different for everyone, but time and field experience can help pinpoint some of the best paths to follow.
One of the issues complicating the ease of migration is that, as more and more end users have moved to IP, there has been a corresponding surge in products coming onto the market.
This has made the selection process evolve from reviewing a handful of IP megapixel cameras and recording devices to a seemingly endless array of options. And while it can be great to have choices, it also requires that you hone in on what your specific needs will be.
What type of video are you looking to record and for how long? What quality of image is needed? How can you maximize the megapixels in which you’ve invested? A thorough review of the requirements on a camera by camera basis will go a long way toward making that part of your migration a wise one.
A smart migration also requires an in-depth look at the network on which the system will run. Adding more cameras or replacing your existing ones with models that require more bandwidth can cause critical bottlenecks if there isn’t some additional planning that precedes the installation.
Much has been said about building the bridge between the security and IT departments, and this is certainly an instance where that rings true. Embarking on an IP conversion will go a lot more smoothly if IT signs on early and is given a clear understanding of what you are trying to do.
Of course, there are other areas to consider as well, ranging from power supplies to recording options as well as how best to use the technology you’ve chosen by reviewing and trying out the new IP camera and recorder features.
In our upcoming webinar, “Migration From Analog to IP”, we’ll delve into all of these topics so you can wisely and successfully manage your own journey into the world of IP. Register today - Webinar: Wed, Apr 8, 2015 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT.