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A Breakdown of Commercial Surveillance Camera Types


So I guess pulling it all together, this is a little bit of what you can expect from a video management software suite. It can support multiple different brains of cameras, access control integration. Let’s get back into camera options again. I’m just going to break this down for you really quick and simple. There are different cameras, you want to put the right camera in the right position to be successful. There are directional cameras that are really specifically focused on depth. There are other cameras that are omnidirectional cameras, some are single sensor size, like a fisheye lens. Others are multi-sensor surveillance cameras that you can sometimes put in different directions. Fisheye cameras have their downfall, if you put them in a big area, just have the expectation that you’re going to get situational awareness, you’re going to get very little forensic detail out of fisheye dewarping cameras if it’s a small room, great. You can put it in the middle of the room, and don’t need to put multiple cameras and you can see everything. If it’s a parking lot, no, put multi-sensor in there. If it’s a corner of a building, okay, make sure the multi-sensor camera has an adjustable sensor. 

A Breakdown of Commercial Surveillance Camera Types

Let me show you an example. So look at these I picked these out on purpose. There are so many (commercial security cameras) multi-sensor and fisheye cameras on the market. They all say they’re awesome and they are the best. So this one right here, it looks like a PTZ, those sensors don’t move. So if you want to see right below, or you want to see it an awkward angle on a corner, it’s literally just seeing this, you cannot move it up or down. Same with the one in the bottom left-hand corner, the one in the top right-hand corner, each sensor could be zoomed into different locations in different angles. So there are adjustable panoramic sensors, there are nonadjustable panoramic sensors, and some cameras for business security that are just meant for wall applications. Some are better for corner mount applications. But I’ve just seen time and time again, people say oh, I’m getting a panoramic camera, it’s going to see 360. And it doesn’t do what they want it to do. 

Your design should ultimately look something similar to this, it should have a healthy balance of directional mini-dome, panoramic multi-sensor cameras that are each positioned to do a specific objective for your system. Doing the homework upfront is what’s going to make you really satisfied long term with your system, both from an optics to storage to a resolution perspective. So this is another example. This is a multi-sensor camera that is just fine for situational awareness. Alternatively, if you’re just focused on a road, and you just want to see this long road, great, it can do that too. But there’s plenty of downsides to that as well. So this is what a fisheye would look like, it’s literally just a circle. And a lot of people hate looking at that. They think it’s really cool on day one, but on day 42, they’re turning their head to the left turning their head to the right. Believe it or not, a lot of fisheye cameras don’t allow this capability to correct the view in multiple directions and pan tilt and zoom in the video management software. This should act kind of like a PTZ in all directions, you should be able to put static images in certain directions, but you’re always recording the fisheye. So in recorded video, you can go back and pan tilt and zoom around. But if it doesn’t have client-side dewarping and the video management system, you’re not going to get this functionality. Cameras for Business Security not all of them are created equal so again we implore you to look at your options based on the security requirements your business needs.

Problems with ‘Search’ in Video Management Systems

 What would be the biggest problem with video management systems be as it relates to investigations? It’s a big one. For sure. Let’s narrow it down a little bit as it relates to software, whats its functionality, what are some of the biggest problems people find when managing their surveillance system? Finding what you want when you want it. The biggest problem is the search. When an incident happens, going back into the archives and finding exactly what you want, quickly, because unfortunately, every software platform interprets this functionality with significant difference. Some have smart search capability similar to this where you isolate a specific camera view, and you want to say, hey, the bag was left in this area, let’s just kind of put our region of interest around that area and find out where it was and it can take you automatically to that video. 

Here’s another interpretation rendering of it, you’re in recorded video, you find your image, you want to isolate that specific area, and you get a thumbnail. So this thumbnail allows you to select and look at different areas all at once. So you get a perspective of at a glance where what you’re looking for could be and find it fairly quickly. You can scroll through the timeline and get to what you need when you need it as best as possible. Smart search functionality with a timeline and thumbnails is definitely the functionality that you want. It could be the difference in investigation time between five minutes and an hour and a half. 

This is something that I started to be brave with last year, because I know I’m talking to people that are very well versed in doing investigations. And I hesitate to teach a little bit to you guys in this department. But there’s a lot of elements that go into an investigation, as you know, there’s When did it happen? Where did it happen? What direction did they exit or enter from? What was their age? What was their gender? What was their ethnicity? What were their defining characteristics? Were they wearing a hat, was it the woman with the red dress on? But I’m sure you guys can understand you rarely get all of these elements, only some of them. 

 Advanced Search Capabilities for Video Surveillance Systems

In an advanced surveillance review, this is a cool thing. So let’s say for an example, we have 30 minutes of video that we need to review. And we really need to find somebody very quickly, there was either a robbery or it was someone on our terrorist watch list, it could be a lot of different elements. And instead of looking at that 30 minutes of video, you can time sequence every single piece of traffic within seconds. So in that 30 minutes of video, you can break it down into seconds showing every piece of information that happened. Now, this isn’t what happened in 30 minutes. It’s everything that happened in every second of those 30 minutes. So you’re literally reviewing every single piece of moving traffic in seconds. It is not just hitting fast forward. It’s an intelligent, rapid forensic search capability. 

Additionally, you can use filtering tech to do other things. So let’s say I want to look at the same piece of video and I only want to look at people with red,  because we didn’t know gender or ethnicity, we just knew it was a redshirt. This can instantaneously break down that video clip and show you only red items. And in traffic situations, you can do the same thing. If we knew the getaway driver was in a blue vehicle or a white vehicle or a red vehicle, we can break it down. We can even break it down to, Was it a red truck? Was it a red SUV? Was it a red or a blue pickup truck? We can even break it down to what specific lane they were in. So let’s only isolate this specific lane. Or was it a motorcycle? Or was it a green motorcycle? 

This is something that can connect to an existing system. This can be an analog system, this can be a hybrid system, this could be any kind of video surveillance data, you can even import commercial or consumer video and ingest that into this system and apply rapid forensic search capabilities to it. So for cities, towns, municipalities, this type of solution is pretty interesting. And it’s very effective. The city of Chicago uses this on a daily basis at the 911 Center. Several cities and small towns now use this. I met the owner and the inventor of this company 13 years ago, and I would say this to his face, it really wasn’t until five years ago that this product was ready for prime time and ready also for not just the city of Chicago, but for even significantly smaller users. They had a lot of challenges in the development of this product. And like anything else, things take time. And good things take time. But I have been monitoring this progress over that same space. And it really works and it’s very effective. 

Let’s give another example. Let’s say we have a covert operation down a street. We don’t know what is going on. But we’re monitoring a street for criminal activity. So if we want to take a day of video or a week of video and look at it forensically, we can filter several things. Where do people go? How often do they go in specific areas? What direction do they go in? What type of different people goes into certain areas? And we can narrow down where the heaviest traffic door is on a street. And who can tell me if, on a given day, there’s a significant amount of numbers to a specific door, what kind of a house is that? It’s either someone super popular, or it’s parents are out of town, or it’s a drug house. And this kind of technology on suspicious streets can be invaluable in documenting and understanding that. And for the most part, gone are the days of a guy sitting in a car with binoculars, you can put up a temporary camera that’s covert and pull this data over a week, and then ingest that data into your rapid forensic search and do an audit on the data. And it can tell you, then you can create an action plan from that. 


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My Mission

So a couple more things that I’ll leave you with. I’m really on a mission to give the best educational content in the world as it relates to video surveillance systems, law enforcement technology, cameras for business security, I give it away for free. I also have the only physical security blog, believe it or not, I’ve looked. There are hundreds of cybersecurity podcasts. I am the only physical security technology podcast that is on iTunes, Google Play and all the other places. Its Security and Focus. I have my first episode that launched a week ago. And we’re talking more in-depth about what happened today with the United States banning several Chinese manufacturers from surveillance. And I’m more than happy to talk to you a little bit more about that.

The problem with identifying even post-ban and tariffs on which brand This is, is because they have hundreds of OEM private label companies that are small that can be a two-man shop that sells products online to Honeywell or Tycho. Honeywell is the largest OEM to one of the companies that just got bought today. Honeywell is a big, huge publicly-traded company. And they are also in the middle of a PR nightmare, not a nightmare, because they still haven’t kicked them out of their product lineup. So even companies that manufacture products that are in your kitchen, like your refrigerator, like Bosh, for example, private labels, these same companies that are currently as of today banned, so it’s hard to identify what the brand is, you can search by the MAC address, you can do a MAC address search, you can get a security professional to do a scan and a vulnerability scan, we actually offer free vulnerability scans that we can actually scan your network and detect firmware or MAC addresses that are on a ban or a vulnerability list. We do that for free. But that’s the gist of it.

If you have more questions, I’m here to talk to you. I’ll stick around for a little bit. I’m also going to be in booth 807 talking about locks, cameras for business security, access control systems. And if you want to subscribe for free to this, I put a little fishbowl at the back door just drop your card in or come up and talk to me. And I’ll get you on the list of the blog with the free resources in the podcast. So thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.

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