The Trends We are Seeing

The Trends We are Seeing - TrendsHere are some of The Trends We are Seeing in the market. The themes for VMS product development can be summarized as bigger, better and faster. In 2015, look for capabilities that range from those which deliver more information to architectures that optimize VMS performance on purpose built hardware offerings. VMS development will be focused on system usability, total solution costs and true scalability.

Single interface: One trend driving VMS product development is the integration of multiple sets of security data. Combining information from several different but complimentary security systems together with video creates a powerful tool set for the security user.

This is a common occurrence in highend security operation centers. Video, access, intrusion, weather and risk awareness information are presented together helping security operators get the best picture of the situation at hand.

The trend can be seen with VMS products integrating more deeply with access control. Traditionally VMS and access control integration was relatively lightweight, and commonly presented in the access control software interface. Because of this, integrations didn’t always fit the needs of video-centric users. More video products today are providing a level of access control functionality in the VMS interface shifting the center point of the integration to the video systems.

 Access control, point of sale and mass notification are all common targets of deeper integration which are driving VMS towards being the primary interface of the security system.

Scalability: VMS is a technology which for a long time has been deployed by large organizations but without true enterprise management capabilities. Features that allow for rapid deployment, centralized system management and the ability to perform actions across multiple network video recorders and clients simultaneously will be more widely adopted.

Larger and more distributed systems also need to take bandwidth consumption into account to make remote viewing and investigations practical. Bandwidth throttling, dual streaming and other techniques have been available but specialized techniques that better optimize transmission of video will be more frequently introduced. For example, bandwidth can be minimized without sacrificing quality by resizing the video resolution to the size of the target display area before transmitting video.

Cloud:Cloud based video recording, or VSaaS, continues to be an interesting yet emerging technology. There are some inherent benefits to cloud based recording which make it a clear direction for the market. Offsite recordings, lower upfront cost model, built-in system management are all attractive attributes of the VSaaS for consumers. For security system providers cloud offers a way to differentiate as well as add recurring revenue.

The main challenges with VSaaS are availability and scalability. Adoption may accelerate over the next few years as more companies look to provide a cloud offering. The scalability of a cloud recording deployment is limited by available bandwidth at the user’s site, meaning it will be most practical with residential and smaller camera count commercial deployments.
Total recording solutions:One of the most challenging aspects of designing a video security system is determining the minimum hardware requirements for the VMS. As the camera count, resolution, frame rate and other factors increase so do the CPU and storage requirements of the network video recorder.

To further complicate matters, the components of a server running VMS software are being used 24×7 and typically to their fullest capability. A network video recorder’s CPU is always used heavily, the hard drives are spinning all the time, the cooling system is being utilized constantly and so forth. As such, the best NVRs utilize 24×7 rated components, designed for long life span.

The risk of over specifying hardware or deploying an underperforming solution is driving many security integrators and consumers towards specially built NVR recording platforms. VMS providers have been following suit and will continue to expand hardware offerings. The trend for 2015 will be towards more specialized appliance products incorporating wireless, PoE and other connection modules providing all-in-one devices that combine software, hardware and connection infrastructure. Specialized form factors will also be in demand for space constrained and other unique installation scenarios.

Hardware optimized products: Because more VMS providers are now offering NVRs, the total recording solution cost is starting to take focus. If a VMS can run a recording configuration on fewer and less expensive NVRs, the system may be more competitive than alternative offerings, even if the software license cost is higher.
This trend can be seen in part by the push for processing to the edge, like when using camera based motion detection or video analytics. More advanced techniques may become the norm such as offloading processing from the NVRs CPU to the video card’s GPU. Such a design would result in lower total hardware cost for the consumer.

Another driver for this trend will be H.265 cameras becoming more widely available. Without processing-optimized VMS products, adoption of H.265 based may be slow to take off due to higher processing requirements.

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Integrating Security Systems for Greater Business Value

Integrating Security Systems for Greater Business Value

Integrating Security Systems for Greater Business Value - Network

Security countermeasures, such as surveillance, address threats and if done effectively eliminate them; this is more likely the case when an integrated solution is deployed.  In looking at integrated security solutions, there exists an opportunity to move beyond a view of providing countermeasures to threats toward a new perspective of security as a means of delivering critical business value.
Security systems use multiple techniques in order to achieve this. The combination of access control, intrusion detection, perimeter and video into an integrated security solution provides the best opportunity to counter threats and add value.

Traditionally security systems have been seen as providing five “D”s. That is security systems deter, detect, deny, delay and defend against threats. And while these are important functions, the value of security needs to move beyond these traditional security concepts to one of delivering value to the enterprise. In some cases this is simply learning to describe security in new terms; in other cases it is learning to leverage systems to deliver new outcomes.

While standalone surveillance systems exist, more often than not they are part of integrated security solutions. In the case of integrated security solutions, the surveillance system is used in combination with access, perimeter and intrusion detection. The value of a security solution increases in relationship to the extent of its integration with other security and information technology components.

Access control, perimeter and intrusion detection allow surveillance solutions to be focused on specific security transactions. This improves operator performance while reducing screen fatigue. It also allows transaction information to be combined with visual data, and integrated perimeter solutions to be combined with pan-tilt-zoom features of surveillance cameras.

Integrated security solutions address governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) in addition to security. This cannot be addressed by surveillance alone, but it can provide additional return on investment to the CEO, CFO and CIO while addressing sector-specific compliance regimes. These systems can bake in security across transactions and provide value to stakeholders and shareholders.

These solutions allow coupling with information technology systems to increase the details available around security events. This can be combined with information from information technology systems such as security information and event management. Access control information, along with video, can place individuals at particular locations to help determine whether or not accounts have been compromised or if in fact an insider threat exists.

Integration also talks to important current trends in the enterprise: Physical security systems have extensive logging capabilities. These logs represent not only specific transactions but also metadata that can be used not only by physical and information security groups but also by marketing and other parts of the organization. As an example, surveillance video can not only be used to guard against physical breaches or theft but also to measure customer traffic and related buying behaviors. Surveillance cameras, in addition to the balance of an integrated security system’s components, represent the same kind of connected workplace that is driving the interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data.

In looking for an integrated surveillance solution, remember that surveillance delivers its maximum value when it acts in combination with alarms, access, video, perimeter and command and control. Users should be careful not to break apart these capabilities particularly at the command and control level.

This is where the meaning of integrated security really comes into play. Video management systems provide important features in delivering surveillance solutions. Integration of these video features along with other security functions in the security operations center under the command and control function will deliver the most value and needs to be a strong factor in deploying an integrated solution.  Look for an integrated security system that maximizes surveillance value and in the process you will find you have also maximized the value of security.

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New Surveillance Technology Can Track Everyone In An Area For Several Hours At A Time

Some Home Security Systems May Be Scams

Some Home Security Systems May Be Scams

Some Home Security Systems May Be Scams - Trust Me!

Why Would I Lie To You?

Everyone wants to feel safe in their home, so when home security salespeople come knocking, their pitch can be convincing. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, and your state Attorney General urge you to use caution when you consider what security system sales agents have to offer.

During the spring and summer months, home security or alarm companies hire traveling sales agents to go door-to-door, making unsolicited “cold calls” on homeowners. In some cases, the salespeople use high-pressure or deceptive sales tactics to get potential customers to buy expensive, and sometimes substandard, systems or equipment they don’t need.

Before you let anyone inside your home, ask for identification. Some state laws require door-to-door salespeople to tell you their name, the name of the business they represent, and the goods or services they wish to sell before asking you any questions or making any statements. Other states require salespeople to show you their “pocket card” license and a photo ID. Take a few minutes to look over their documentation.

Signs of a Security System Scam

Unscrupulous door-to-door sales agents use a variety of approaches and pitches to get you to buy an alarm system and monitoring services. Here’s what to look out for:

  • They may make a time-limited offer, and claim that you need to act now. For example, they may try to get you to sign a contract by telling you that the equipment is “free.” More than likely, strings are attached. For example, to get your “free” alarm, you may have to sign a long-term and expensive system monitoring contract.
  • They may pressure their way into your home and then refuse to leave. It is not impolite or rude to tell a salesperson you’re not interested. It’s much easier — and safer — to say “no” on the doorstep than to try to get the salesperson to leave once they’re inside. If a salesperson continues to pressure you after you’ve asked them to leave, call the police.
  • They may use scare tactics. For example, they may talk about a rash of supposed burglaries in your neighborhood.

Some door-to-door sales agents target homeowners who have signs on their properties for security systems with other companies. In these cases:

  • The sales agents may state or imply that they are from your existing security company and that they’re there to “upgrade” or “replace” your current security system. Once inside your home, however, they may install a new security system and have you sign papers that include a costly contract for the monitoring service.
  • They may claim your security company has gone out of business, that they’ve taken over the accounts, and that you have to buy new equipment and sign new contracts. If this happens, call your current monitoring company to confirm. Normally, you would be notified of a change like this by mail or telephone, not by an unannounced visit by a representative from another company.

Before you do business with anyone selling a home security or alarm system, whether they come to your door or you seek them out, the FTC and your state Attorney General urge you to ask potential contractors for the following information. Use it to check out the alarm company with the appropriate authorities: your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, and state licensing officials. If the salesperson is reluctant to give you this information, consider it a red flag and find another company to consider.

  • Contractor’s name
  • Street address (no P.O. Box)
  • Telephone number
  • Contractor’s license number
  • State that issued the license
  • Name under which the license is filed

Buying a Home Security System

Home security systems are designed to protect you, your home, and your valuables. They vary in price and sophistication. Some systems not only can warn you of intruders, but also can notify authorities of a medical emergency, monitor smoke and carbon monoxide and water levels or pressures, and include video surveillance. Some systems also are linked into your home’s wiring, heating or lighting systems and use your mobile phone or computer to control them.

Most home security alarm installers can provide all-inclusive services that include equipment plus the installation and monitoring service.

If you’re thinking about buying a home security system, the FTC and your state Attorney General suggest that you:

Get references from your friends, family, neighbors, co-workers and from the company’s current clients. Find out whether the equipment was installed within the given time frame. Were any equipment problems dealt with promptly? Was the system explained to everyone living in the home? If there was an intrusion, were the police contacted immediately?

Check out the companies by entering their names in a search engine online. Read about other people’s experiences with the companies. Try to communicate offline if possible to clarify any details. In addition, contact your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, and the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints are on file.

Verify that the contractor’s licenses are current and in good standing. Check with the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies for the appropriate agency in your state.

Get written estimates from several companies, and ask plenty of questions. A reputable company will not try to sell you anything before completing a professional assessment of your needs and the layout of your home. Find out:

  • Who will perform the installation and monitor the system? Some companies subcontract this work to a third party.
  • What is the contract period for monitoring? One year? More? Are there penalties for early termination? What happens if you move before the contract term is up?
  • How much does the monitoring cost? How often will you be billed?
  • Does the company call you before notifying the police?
  • How soon after the alarm sounds will you be notified?
  • What happens if the alarm company can’t reach you when the alarm is sounding? Is the alarm reset? Are the police called? Are alternate numbers called?
  • What happens if the power goes out? Is there a back-up battery system?
  • What does the warranty cover, and for how long? Is it from the manufacturer or their installer?
  • Who is responsible for repairs or upgrades to the system?
  • Does the company offer interactive services like smoke and fire detection, remote control, video surveillance, email notifications and special apps for smart phones?

Read the fine print. Once you’ve chosen a company, make sure the written contract includes all oral promises made by the salesperson. Your contract package should include:

  • Installation price
  • Monthly or quarterly monitoring fee
  • Contract period
  • Applicable discounts
  • A written warranty
  • The owner’s manual
  • An explanation of your right to cancel the deal
  • Cancellation forms

The contract also must be dated, and show the name and address of the seller.

Contact your police and fire departments. Ask whether you need to register your system, and if there are fines for responding to false alarms.

Understand that you can cancel the deal. The FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule gives you three business days to cancel the deal if you sign the contract in your home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business. You do not have to give a reason for canceling your purchase. You have a right to change your mind, even if the equipment has already been installed.

The salesperson must give you two copies of a cancellation form (one to keep and one to send back) and a copy of your contract. The contract must be dated, show the name and address of the seller, and explain your right to cancel. You may have additional consumer protections under state law. Check with your state Attorney General, local consumer protection agency, or the Better Business Bureau.

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The Future of Home Security

The future of home security: Get ready for sensors and pro-active systems

The future of home security: Get ready for sensors and pro-active systems

Today, home security is fairly straightforward. If you live in a home that has an “alarm” you’ve got a bevy of motion sensors dotted around your house, a central keypad by your front door with a standard keypad to disarm it and a box on the front of your house that says “look at me, I’m protecting something valuable inside”.

With the steady march of connected devices invading the home, and a number of companies looking to improve how we secure it, the future of home security is going to change drastically in the next couple of years, whether that is remotely controlling our lighting, seeing inside our house, or merely having sensors on our doors and windows detecting movement.

“Nothing concerns us more than the fear of someone breaking into our own home, yet very few homeowners heed the warnings until it’s too late,” explains Kris Hogg, chairman of CEDIA, the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association. “A lot of the time monitored alarm systems can be integrated with the very latest hi-tech lighting and automation facilities in order to provide even greater levels of security.”

Those systems include integrating the alarm system with an intelligent lighting system, such as the Lutron Homeworks system, so all the lights in your property will automatically switch on or flash incessantly when an intruder is detected, or setting your lights to randomly come on and off while you are on holiday to fool would-be burglars.

It is not just about integrating security systems with lighting however, although that is a start.

The Future of Home Security

Piper is a camera that monitors your home.

Home security is just one of the areas that connected devices in the home are likely to play a large part, but we are just at the start of the journey according to Jeremy Peterson, GM of Honeywell’s EMEA Home Comfort & Energy Systems division:

“It will become a much more consumer experience. Things like recognising you to disarm the security system will be possible too, and if you look at what’s available now like video monitoring, it will certainly have a place, and we will continue to see those things, but stepping away from the traditional way of looking at security.”

Video monitoring is certainly the rage at the moment with devices like BT’s HomeCam, and Belkin’s WeMo NetCam HD Wi-Fi Camera all offering homeowners the chance to see what’s happening in their house at any given time, as long as you have an internet connection.

If it’s not basic camera offerings, devices like Piper, the successful Indigogo campaign or Canary are products that once plugged in, you can monitor a number of different points of data like movement, temperature or sound, as well as connect to other devices to help you control your lighting through a singleservice.

Where Peterson sees things moving forwards however is sensors, be it cameras, motion detectors, or markers tracking your movement in your home via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or GPS. It will mean your home security system will be able to pro-actively work to help you out rather than you having to remember a series of codes.

“The system architectures are going to become a lot more pro-active in making more things possible. The key fob on the wall has a broad audience, but you will continue to see much more flexible and device level security solutions. Those certainly have a lot of room to grow.”

Honeywell, Tado, and Google’s Nest, are all actively using geofencing to help better control intelligent heating systems and Honeywell sees this as just one of the keys to success in improving security in the home too.

In an interview with Pocket-lint, Peterson outlines a future scenario in the home whereby your house will automatically know you are at the front door and unlock the door, or disable the alarm for you:

“What we are working towards is a pro-active approach, but allowing them to craft the system they desire,” said Paterson, before warning that although the company already offers similar solutions to some of its 1.5 million business customers around the world, there is a big difference between providing comfort over security.

The Future of Home Security - i-Bell

i-Bell is an intelligent Wi-Fi enabled doorbell that will call your phone when someone rings the bell

“When you start moving from comfort to security, there is less willingness by Honeywell and the consumers to compromise. With door locks, for example, it has to work every time instantly, there is no room for error.”

While many have wondered, including us here at Pocket-lint, why we still don’t have central locking for our house but we do our car, it is understandably, the notion that we could be locked out of our homes simply because the computer as encountered an error would be unforgivable.

“We will do it when are ready rather than trying to be first to market,” added Paterson.

In the meantime we should probably just get used to having intelligent doorbells instead.

i-Bell is one such product hoping to let you see who is at your front door by connecting to your smartphone. The successfully backed Kickstarter Wi-Fi doorbell will notify you when someone is at the door and then let you talk to them via your smartphone even if you aren’t at home. Anyone that does knock automatically gets their photo taken so you’ve got a record of who has visited your house and you can tell them you are in, out, or simply trapped under a large cupboard.

Inside the house and sensors and iBeacon-like technology will be able to help determine where we are and what we are doing.

The Future of Home Security - Lightpad

Lightpad is hoping to make the switches in your home do more than just turn on a light

Lightpad, is an intelligent light switch due to launch in 2015 and will featureBluetooth that can, if you want, track you around the house.

Created by a new company called Plum, the LightPad is packed full of tech and has a capacitive multi-touch interface controlled by a number of gestures, along with a coloured LED on it allowing it to notify you if you have a message, or if something is wrong.

Utz Baldwin, CEO at Plum explains that having Bluetooth in the Lightpad it would mean that when you walked up to your front door, for example, the Lightpad would know you are approaching and then automatically turn on the lights as you walked through the door.

Others are looking to increase the number of sensors in our homes too. Nest’s intelligent smoke detector, Nest Protect, might have received some flack for being recalled, but it too uses a plethora of sensors to better inform the wider system. If carbon monoxide is detected in the house, for example, it turns the boiler off, as long as you’ve also got the company’s thermostat.

Fibaro, takes things even further offering a central hub that numerous sensors can wirelessly connect to. It can track everything from water, smoke, temperature, light, and movement as long as you’ve installed the right sensor.

So should we be prepared to live in a home full of sensors monitoring our every move? We put that question to Paterson at Honeywell:

“Consumers have to make those choices. The knowledge that they are giving up something to benefit themselves will be something they have to weigh up. For systems to make pro-active decisions you will need sensors, there is no real other way around it.”

The Future of Home Security - Fibaro

Fibaro wants to offer dozens of sensors to know what your house is doing

It’s a belief that Russell Ure, founder of Piper also has:

“I think sensors in the home is only a matter of time,” said the Canadian founder. “To achieve the level of automation that we want, you will need to have technology there to make it all happen. It will be required. As all of this technology becomes more and more capable, we will need more sensors.”

Paterson and Honeywell, don’t see that as a major stumbling block believing that when consumers trust the brand, like he says they already do with the quick adoption of Honeywell’s intelligent heating systems, that they will be happy to accept that to get the new benefits these systems bring, there will have to be some give and take.

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Home Security Alarms: For Safety and Resale


For Safety and Resale

For Safety and Resale - Home SecurityHome security has become one of the top things people look for in a property. Along with lot size, square footage, and location, the kind of home security system a house has in place is now truly a deciding factor for buyers. Due to this trend, having a security alarm is not only important when living in a house, but when selling one, as well.

Security Alarm System Overkill
The demand for security alarm systems is increasing, and more and more options are becoming available for residential use. While having more options is certainly good news for homeowners, it can, at times, make it difficult to find the right setup for your household.

When installing a security alarm system that is meant to protect your family and possessions, it’s easy to go overboard and end up with a system that is intrusive (and, in turn, might not get used at all). Most people do not require a fingerprint identification lock, but other forms of keyless home entry might be a perfect fit. The best option for your home should be a system that provides a significant amount of protection, but doesn’t interfere with the day-to-day life of your family.

The Basic Security Alarm 
A standard home security alarm is often a good fit for most households. These systems generally include sensors on all the entry doors, some motion activated outdoor lighting, sensors on windows that are particularly easy to access, and, most importantly, a direct link to a monitoring service. This type of security alarm system will be an excellent deterrent for any would be intruders, but, at the same time, is generally fairly easy for a family to adapt to.

Security Alarm Benefits

Most would say that the biggest benefit of having a home security alarm is the peace-of-mind that comes with it. When something goes wrong (whether you are home or thousands of miles away on vacation), knowing that a system is already in place and that your house has a direct link to the proper authorities is very reassuring.

There may be immediate monetary benefits, as well. Having a security alarm that is connected to a monitoring service can offset the cost by sometimes lowering homeowner’s insurance payments up to 20%. Many monitoring services will also offer a plan to monitor your home for fire, which some insurance companies will also take into account when deducing your premium. In every case, it will decrease the likelihood of losing money due to burglary.

Increase your Home’s Resale Value
Along with presenting a clean home, there are many improvements that can be made to a property that will increase its resale value. Adding on a garage, finishing a basement, and remodeling a kitchen, while all good ideas, can be rather costly endeavors. Landscaping a yard for security, installing a home security alarm, and putting in outdoor lighting are much less expensive projects. Despite the lower initial cost, prospective buyers still look upon these kinds of home improvements as important additions to the property they are viewing.

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