Privacy vs. Security – Are you prepared for the thorny issues surrounding student surveillance?

Security - Surveillance in High Schools

Security In Schools

A lot of school administrators are looking into installing security cameras in their districts. They want to keep their students safe. They want to keep tabs on people entering and leaving their schools. They want to cut down on vandalism and theft, and they want to do it now.

What’s the urgency? Look at these numbers: During the 2005–06 school year, according to the most recent statistics available from the U.S. Department of Education, 86 percent of public schools nationwide reported that one or more serious violent incidents, thefts, or other crimes had occurred at their school, for a total of roughly 2.2 million crimes. That works out to about one crime reported for every 20 students. And that doesn’t include vandalism and graffiti: Nearly 100,000 incidents of vandalism are reported in the United States public school system every year.

Cameras are expensive, with some high-end systems costing $500,000 or more, plus annual maintenance fees. But some administrators seem to think that installing security cameras will solve their problems. Even administrators in low-crime districts want the cameras, if only to deter potential crime. Anecdotally, cameras appear to be effective at detecting and deterring crime, though hard numbers are difficult to come by.

Installing cameras, however, can be controversial. There have been protests and legal action surrounding camera installation at schools nationwide, and there are a number of issues to consider before signing off on surveillance. What problems are you trying to solve with cameras? If you do install cameras, what kind of atmosphere will it create at your school? Most importantly, what do parents and students think?

When word got out that administrators at the Seaholm and Groves high schools in Oakland County, Michigan, were considering installing security cameras, it led students to organize the group Students Against Security Cameras (SASC). Its members have attended school board meetings to protest the plan, which they feel would be an unnecessary expense and would promote an atmosphere of distrust in the schools. SASC students even have a Facebook page spelling out their concerns, with more than 850 members so far. At press time, the school board had yet to make a decision about security cameras.

Terry Piper, the principal at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Michigan, feels the time is right for security cameras at his school. After all, dozens of schools in their county have already done it, and with some success. “There are 30 high schools in Oakland County, and every single one of them has security cameras except Seaholm and Groves,” Piper says. “They’ve seen thefts go down. They’ve been able to solve instances of vandalism on occasion, and there have been student altercations where they’ve been helpful. They also serve as a deterrent, so you never know how many things might have happened if you hadn’t had them.”

Some of the student group’s arguments, Piper maintains, rest on incorrect assumptions—for example, that the cameras will be prohibitively expensive. “We haven’t taken any bids yet,” he says. “They don’t know much about school funding, so they don’t know that it’s not going to take away from instructional programs. There’s a separate budget for that kind of capital outlay.”

Piper is convinced that security cameras are a valuable tool for combatting petty theft. Many such thefts take place in locker rooms; though cameras are barred from locker rooms and bathrooms, Piper plans to install cameras outside Seaholm’s locker rooms, as well as in the main hallway, and outside at the main entrance. The question is: How do you determine whom you’re going to question if you’ve got video of 50 kids walking out of a locker room following a theft? Do you interview them all?

Shelli Weisberg, the legislative director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, asked a Michigan principal that same question, and she found that it all boiled down to profiling. “He actually said, ‘We know who the bad kids are,’” she says. This made her wonder: Well, then, why do you need the camera?

Weisberg, with the Michigan ACLU, has worked with students across the state to fight security cameras in schools, and she doubts the necessity of cameras in many schools. She points out that many of the schools that install the cameras tend to be in well-to-do districts, with some of the lowest crime rates. Ann Arbor Pioneer High School, which plans to install 53 cameras on its campus, is a prime example. “Ann Arbor does not have a high crime rate,” Weisberg says. “They’re a very affluent district, so there’s a lot of eyes in the hall. [Administrators] did say, anecdotally, that they thought [cameras] made people feel safer. But students said it made them feel like they were being watched.”

So the ACLU assisted the students in their fight, and provided them with academic studies in the US and UK that argued that surveillance cameras had little effect on crime. (You can read about these studies at the ACLU site.) “The students did a good job of using the research we gave them to develop their arguments—a lot of Big Brother–type arguments, asserting their due-process rights as students—because they are in schools to learn how to be adults,” Weisberg says.

The students’ “Big Brother” fears may not be completely off the mark. At a high school in Novi, Michigan, for example, administrators don’t only monitor the cameras themselves—they also allow police access to the footage. And public schools in Demarest, New Jersey, have gone a step further: In 2007, they began allowing police to monitor live feeds from school security cameras. “It concerns me that schools would, without thinking about due process, simply turn over access to the police,” Weisberg says. “I think it’s a matter of schools looking very myopically at how they think their students are safe, and not really thinking about the consequences of it.”

The danger, she says, is that with cameras recording every student infraction, more and more activities in schools will become criminalized. A scuffle between two kids in a hallway, which once would have been solved with detention or suspension, could now been seen as criminal activity—especially if the police are involved. “Kids are not only getting kicked out of school, but also sent to the police,” Weisberg says. “There’s this tendency, with all of this stuff on tape, to send more kids to jail.”

Schools need to have a compelling reason for the cameras before installing them, Weisberg says, or they may be abused. “I think schools are worried—they have to keep their student body safe, and they have to keep parents assured that their children are safe,” she says. “The general public seems to think that a camera means safety. It does bring in a slippery slope, because there is going to be a tendency to use the camera tapes to look at every little thing.”

Seaholm’s Piper points out that there have been cameras in his schools’ parking lots for a decade, without protest or problems. “I’ve asked students, ‘Do you know of anybody whose rights or privacy has been violated by those cameras watching you come in and out of the building?’” he says. “They said no. I said, ‘So what makes you think that having cameras inside the doorways, when we already have them outside the doorways, is going to make us change the way we do business?’ Their arguments were more emotional than logical.”

Weisberg grants that security cameras can be useful tools, if used sensibly. “I think the ACLU and the students agree that there may be room at schools to have cameras at entrance doors,” she says. “I think everyone’s concerned about who has access to schools, especially elementary schools. But it’s worth thinking about what you’re trying to achieve.”

When administrators consider installing security cameras, it’s crucial to involve parents and students in the process.

Administrators who don’t involve them can create huge problems for themselves down the road. A few examples:
During a 2003 girls’ basketball game at Livingston Middle School in Overton County, Tennessee, visiting team members noticed a security camera in the girls’ locker room. It turned out the camera had recorded images of the team members in their undergarments when they changed their clothes. Several other students had been similarly videotaped over the previous months. The scandal led to Brannum v. Overton County School Board, a lawsuit on behalf of 24 students. In a key legal decision last year, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a school may not install security cameras inside locker rooms, where students have an expectation of privacy.

In late 2007, student newspaper reporters uncovered the fact that the principal at Newton South High School in Newton Centre, Massachusetts, had installed five security cameras outside a locker room without informing faculty, the school committee, or the rest of the community. It caused an uproar among committee members, teachers, students, and parents—a situation that any administrator would rather avoid.

Kenneth Trump, the president of National School Safety and Security Services, a Cleveland, Ohio–based consulting firm, stresses the need for open communication. “There has to be an education process by the administration, to explain the purpose of the technology to parents and students and staff, and how it fits into the overall school-safety program,” he says. “The communication piece is one that can easily turn around and bite school administrators, if they haven’t done a good job at informing people on the front end.”

Trump tells administrators that an effective safety program is less about technology than it is about people. “Technology is an extra tool, and technology is only as good as the human element behind it,” he says. “The first and best line of defense is always a well-trained, highly alert staff and student body who will recognize strangers on campus, or report rumors, or report a student having a weapon on campus, and so on.” If you don’t have the school community in your corner as part of a comprehensive safety and security policy, then even the most sophisticated security camera system won’t be effective.

Administrators also need to address the idea that security cameras bring up a lot of hot-button emotional issues, such as child safety and privacy. “You tend to find people are on one extreme or the other on this issue,” says Trump. “Either they’re totally anti-equipment, or they believe totally that equipment is the solution and cure-all for everything. Neither is necessarily the right position.”

In any case, parents should be kept well informed about every step of the process. In Trump’s experience, he says, “a majority of parents tend to support it, and like the presence of those cameras, because it provides a clear indicator that there’s some additional measures to protect their children.”

Michigan ACLU’s Weisberg agrees that parents tend to go along with a decision to install cameras, but she isn’t sure that’s a good thing. “You know, most people trust their schools, and they trust that they’re doing the right things by their students—so there’s great leeway given to an administrator’s request,” she says. “Parents don’t like to fight that. So I’m particularly proud of the students who take on that fight—and, hopefully, it helps enlighten the school boards and administrators in terms of what they’re doing and what they’re spending their money on.”

As you weigh whether to install security cameras, it pays to listen to students, parents, and faculty. If you engage people one-on-one and address their concerns about safety and privacy, you may be able to make everyone in the community a part of your security plan. You may find that you only need a few cameras—or none at all. In the end, it’s all about keeping students safe. And that’s something everyone can agree on.

A Question of Trust
Ronald D. Stephens is the executive director of the National School Safety Center, an independent nonprofit that focuses on school crime prevention and safe-school planning. As a former teacher and assistant superintendent, he shared his views on security cameras with Scholastic Administrator.First and foremost, schools have to ask hard questions about what kind of climate they want to create, Stephens says. “When they put a four-way camera in the intersection I go through on my way to work every day, I wasn’t pleased about that. It tends to say, ‘Hey, we don’t trust you.’” Many students, he adds, feel the same way about cameras in schools.
“How do we create a climate that’s conducive to education without making the place look like a juvenile detention facility?” Stephens says it has to be a decision that is well thought through and that involves students, parents, and the community.Stephens also cautions against seeing cameras as a quick fix. Cameras don’t stop all crimes, he warns, and he uses the example of Red Lake, Minnesota, where a 16-year-old high school student shot and killed five students, a teacher, and an unarmed security guard in 2005. “They had camera surveillance, they had a safe-school plan, they had metal [detectors],” he says. “They had two security officers at the front door. But the student still came in, overpowered them, and still committed those heinous acts.” But he understands why cameras are so appealing, especially when high-profile school violence hits the news. “People want to do something after a crisis, and sometimes they pick the thing that is tangible, visible and easy to measure.”Cameras work best, notes Stephens, when they are deployed to take on a specific, here-and-now problem. “I was working with a school district in a midwestern state,” he says. “These kids would come up to the school’s double-entry doors with their Jeeps, run a chain through the door handles, hook it up to the back bumper, and pull the doors off. We told the district, ‘Put in a surveillance camera. Do it until you find your culprit, and then you can pull it out.’ What they found was that when they put the surveillance cameras in, vandalism at the school went down by 95 percent.”Students do not shed their rights at the schoolhouse doors, Stephens warns. “If the school does something that does not use common sense or good judgment, they will ultimately have to answer for that in the courts,” he says. “Let’s be thoughtful about what we do and how we do it.”
Article Provided By: Scholastic
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5 Ways to Diversify Your Surveillance Camera System

5 Ways to Diversify Your Surveillance Camera System - CamIntegration

Surveillance Camera System

Just as today’s cell phones have evolved from a basic communication device to a sophisticated multimedia tool, similar shifts have taken place with today’s video surveillance cameras. Improvements in the chip sets and processing technology have resulted in higher quality images, while video intelligence and new compression techniques have enabled significant advances in transmission and storage solutions.

Just as the smartphone has evolved in purpose to become an everyday tool for managing a busy life, video surveillance cameras have become a valuable management tool that can be applied to numerous aspects of business operations. In fact, organizations that are only using IP video technology for surveillance purposes are missing value and opportunity from their investment.

IP surveillance can be used internally and via profit-generating business operations to benefit a number of areas within the organization. The following five examples are just some of the applications for IP surveillance outside its traditional use.

Risk Management

Advanced video analytics can be used to tag events or situations as diverse as a burned-out light in a stairwell, a backpack unattended in a lobby, water left running in a restroom or an individual slipping on ice in the parking lot. Wireless mesh networks and video mobility capabilities allow alerts and live streaming video to be delivered directly to a PC or handheld device, enabling quick response to help ensure business continuity and safety.

Inventory Control

For manufacturing facilities, retail establishments, automotive dealerships, logistics center or warehouse operations, IP surveillance can assist in tracking the physical location of inventory with virtually no manpower required. At the end of a production line, cameras can scan completed items or components and maintain a quality control record of the product. Or, at a car dealership the inventory can be recorded and uploaded to the website or popular online sales sites. Archived video may also be used to determine who has had possession of company assets at a given time.

Traffic / Transportation Monitoring

IP surveillance video can be a valuable research tool for evaluating usage patterns or determining any need for growth or change in road infrastructure. It is also used on major freeways across the country to provide live images of road congestion so that drivers can plan alternate routes and authorities can take any needed action to manage the flow and help reduce delays. Or, in the event of an accident, the situation can be quickly assessed and medical or fire personnel dispatched. In airports, network enabled video surveillance cameras provide live information to police, airport operations, fire and medical, and customs and immigration for their various specific purposes.

Workflow / Consumer Buying Patterns

Whether used to track employee workflow practices or consumer shopping store aisles, IP surveillance video can provide management with information to help determine behavioral habits that impact the bottom line. In retail applications, data from the camera system can be accessed in real time and linked to actual sales and operations, applied when planning and analyzing store design and layout, optimizing placement of signage and lighting fixtures, and so on. Video linked to POS operations in retail applications also helps prevent losses through activities like sweethearting.

License Plate Recognition

Automatic license plate reading systems are used in fixed or mobile environments for improved access speed, convenience and security. In addition to their use at parking garages, they can be installed on a roadside pole, a bridge overpass or on overhead scaffolding; or, on a patrol vehicle, school bus or even a sanitation truck. The systems are built around IP surveillance video that can provide clear and detailed images even in low light or extreme backlight conditions for investigative purposes.

These five examples are just a small sampling of the various applications where IP surveillance video can be used. The data can also help stadium, transit and other facility management with traffic and crowd control, employee productivity evaluation, identification of hazardous issues, liability prevention and much more. In a real-life situation, New York City cameras captured individuals streaming onto a city bus immediately after it hit another vehicle. The video clearly identified them getting on the bus after the accident and voided their liability claims.

The integration of video surveillance with other business systems such as POS has further extended the usability of video as a tool to improve business operations. The development of additional applications will only serve to expand this usefulness, making video one of business’s most important resources.

Article Provided By Security Magazine

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

Upgrading Now Rather Than Later

Work Smarter: Why It’s Worth Upgrading Now Rather Than Later

Upgrading Security Technology Leads To Long-term Cost Savings

Many businesses put every available dollar into their operation and are doing more with less. Businesses that make the investment to upgrade their security technology, whether it has become obsolete or no longer meets their needs, often notice long-term cost saving and ROI in other areas. Older equipment typically requires monitoring from additional personnel or uses costly communication protocols, which is why many business owners are replacing outdated equipment.

Some companies upgrade to comply with new regulations; others replace existing protocols or outdated technologies that are proving to be too costly. With today’s technology, there’s never been a better time to replace older equipment. Four security trends are encouraging businesses to upgrade:

1. Remote Monitoring for More Freedom

The demand to remotely access, view and control security systems from mobile devices is growing. Business owners are becoming interested in this ability, as it enables them to set alarm systems and remotely view cameras from their smartphones or tablets, providing greater freedom. Remote monitoring systems record and collect video, and is stored in the cloud, so footage can be viewed from anywhere in the world by using a password and secure Internet connection. The newer systems also enable delivery to a remote location via multiple streams over low bandwidth.

2. IP Video for Better Performance

More and more businesses are migrating from outmoded VCR and early DVR analog technology to Internet protocol (IP)-based video surveillance and access control. Many businesses are choosing to undergo migration because analog video has reached its performance peak and does not have the flexibility, functionality, scalability or clarity of current digital systems.

The newer technology is starting to become a cost-conscious solution for smaller security systems with 16 cameras or less. The versatility and scalability of IP cameras enable the system to easily grow as the businesses’ needs expand and change. It is also simple to upgrade because software can be directly downloaded to the camera, and software is less likely to become obsolete, as upgrades are available. The resolution of megapixel cameras zooms in on details without losing quality – providing clear evidence when needed.

Some businesses begin with a hybrid solution that helps to bridge the gap between analog and IP systems. That means analog and IP video can be transmitted simultaneously until fully switching over to IP video.

3. Access Control to Secure Additional Areas

Mobile devices are also making an impact in the area of access control. Mobile technology enables organizations to be less dependent on costly infrastructure required for connecting servers, panels and readers, as electronic locks respond to a mobile device’s encrypted “open” command. The ability to secure areas in this way allows more companies to secure additional assets, like interior doors, filing cabinets and storage areas, or other parts of the company that might have been cost-prohibitive to secure in the past.

4. Smart Video Surveillance Systems to Eliminate False Alarms

Smart video surveillance systems can process visual information in the same way as humans, distinguishing between certain alarm triggers (like people or cards), sending alerts when predefined rules are violated. Companies are starting to implement these types of systems to reduce storage and bandwidth requirements and help eliminate time wasted on false alarms.

Technology is continually changing, but when it can help your business work smarter while also better protecting your assets, it’s worth upgrading sooner rather than later.

Article Provided By: Tyco

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Security vs Money

Security Technology Its Worth The Investment

Why Security Technology Is Worth Your Investment

Security and Deterrent Devices

As the American economy pulls itself out of the recent recession, many businesses continue to work within limited budgets. While tightening their belts, small businesses are simultaneously combating the increased crime that comes with financial downturn. Here are a few key tactics for maximizing both cost efficiency and safety.

Deterrence is one of the most effective loss-prevention tactics. Whenever a would-be shoplifter or an employee is dissuaded from stealing, a business saves resources on lost merchandise, investigation time and litigation costs. Help ensure employees and shoplifters always have your security systems in the back of their minds by having versatile security equipment, including the following:


As cameras continue to grow in popularity, people must think twice about what they do anywhere they are in public. In stores, video surveillance reminds employees and shoppers that they may be watched – and a second thought can make the difference between a stolen item and a purchased one.


Signs are a low-tech, low-cost way of letting the pubic know security is on the job. They can communicate that shoplifters will be prosecuted and that video surveillance is being used. It is another inexpensive way to give people that second sobering thought.

Emerging Technologies

Here are some of the latest technologies to consider as solutions for your business to stretch dollars and save you time.

Updated Video Cameras.

Video cameras are becoming smaller, smarter and easier to install and upgrade. The biggest advancement of late is networked Internet protocol (IP) cameras. These cameras have their own IP addresses and can be plugged into your network.

Video from IP cameras can be accessed directly from the Internet for management and remote visibility. IP camera systems are more versatile and scalable, and they can download updates that extend their functionality. Oftentimes these cameras also produce higher-quality images, which can help make identifying suspects or providing convincing evidence easier than ever.

Digital Recording.

Most law enforcement officials will tell you how much they rely on recorded images to solve crimes. Those same officers will also tell you how frustrating poor-quality video can be or how exasperating it is searching through hours of archives. Old VCR systems are certainly no longer ideal. Digital recording has improved both quality and the image-retrieval process.

Remote Monitoring.

Using an in-house network or the Internet, video can be recorded by cameras and then sent to another location, where it can be analyzed and stored. Owners or management can also view live video at any location from anywhere in the world by using a password and a secure connection.

Mobile Security Management.

Even when out of the office, mobile security management enables business owners and managers to control security systems remotely. Advanced security systems have applications for smartphones and tablets that help keep you in control wherever you are. You can receive email or text-message alerts, remotely arm your intrusion system and change user codes to help ensure people are safe and the building is secure.

Article Provided By: Tyco

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Choosing Your Business’s Best Cloud Solutions

Cloud Solutions - word solutionCloud Solutions

Security, at least its electronic brothers and sisters, have used cloud solutions since the beginning.

Cloud computing is today’s solution for everything from email and office applications to storage. Cloud computing is really use of resources (hardware and software) delivered as a service over a network, nowadays typically the Internet. The name comes from the use of a cloud-shaped symbol as an abstraction for the complex infrastructure. Cloud computing entrusts remote services with a user’s data, software and computation.

Enterprise security executives may not have to know exactly what is going on in the cloud, just that their needs are being met, that the mission is being addressed and that it’s secure. It’s rental, not buying.

So flip back to the initial introduction in the dinosaur days of burglar alarm monitoring for stores, offices and schools when they “rented” the monitoring of alarms from security firms far away in those first clouds.

Then flip to today with myriad cloud applications aimed at physical security, information security and general IT needs. Among the choices:


•           Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

•           Platform as a service (PaaS)

•           Software as a service (SaaS)

•           Storage as a service (STaaS)

•           Security as a service (SECaaS)

•           Access control as a service (ACaaS)

•           Video surveillance as a service (VSaaS)

•           Mass notification as a service (MNaaS)

•           Data as a service (DaaS)

•           Test environment as a service (TEaaS)

•           Desktop as a service (DaaS)

•           API as a service (APIaaS)

•           Backend as a service (Baas)


What has helped accelerate the cloud for enterprise security is the appeal of mobile access outside of the traditional control center through laptops, smartphones and tablets, especially for security video and clips of alarms and incidents.

So what are the best in the cloud application? Basically, what works for you.


Types of Clouds

But first, it’s important to realize the differences among the clouds as well as the potential dangers to avoid. There are four types of cloud applications.

Public cloud applications, storage and other resources are made available to the general public by a service provider. These services are free or offered on a pay-per-use model. Generally, public cloud service providers like Amazon AWS, Microsoft and Google own and operate the infrastructure and offer access only via Internet.

Community cloud shares infrastructure between several organizations from a specific community with common concerns (security, compliance, jurisdiction, etc.), whether managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally. Costs are leveraged over fewer users than a public cloud, so only some of the savings are achieved.

Private cloud is infrastructure operated solely for a single organization, whether managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally. Undertaking a private cloud project requires a significant level and degree of engagement to virtualize the security or business environment, and requires the organization to reevaluate decisions about existing resources.

Hybrid cloud is a composition of two or more clouds (private, community or public) that remain unique entities but are bound together, offering the benefits of multiple deployment models. By using “hybrid cloud” architecture, companies are able to obtain degrees of fault tolerance combined with locally immediate usability without dependency on Internet connectivity. Hybrid cloud architecture requires both on-premises resources and off-site server-based cloud infrastructure.

No matter the type of cloud, when it is done right, it can have a positive impact. But every one of the steps in the project raises security, compliance and privacy issues, as examples, that must be addressed in order to avoid serious vulnerabilities.

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State of the Art Security for Jersey Mike’s Subs

It’s Not Just About Security

Jersey Mike's Greenville Video Survillance

On June 11, 2015 Jersey Mike’s Subs at 233 North Main Street in downtown Greenville, South Carolina upgraded to a state of the art video surveillance system. But it’s not just about security.

The video surveillance system that Liquid Video Technologies installed serves multiple functions for the sub sandwich giant. The cameras are used to assist in the training of new employees as well as customer relations and after hours security. Cameras systems today need to be flexible and this system is just that.

The system has six, 3 mega pixel cameras that are linked to a IP video storage device that allows for remote access. The video (whether live or recorded) can be viewed easily in real time on a web browser or web device. Also, all of this systems local network of cameras and the IP video storage device were secured in and wall mounted security cabinet that keeps the system not only out of the way but safe from unauthorized access on site.

Security Cabinet

Locked Security Cabinet

Security Cabinet

Opened Security Cabinet

Surveillance systems like this one are becoming the new standard for businesses that need to guard there customers as well as there staff. Things like safety, training, liability, and remote access are all part of the way businesses today manage there investments.

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Security vs Money

How Video Recorders Provide Critical Support to the Enterprise (Part 1)

Video Recorders - cctv cameraVideo Recorders

More cameras, storage, sharing of security video and more uses…all of which leads to an expanding array of storage choices: digital video recorders (DVRs), hybrid DVRs and hybrid network video recorders (NVRs), pure NVRs, virtual storage, storage in the cloud and, for some, especially retail, storage to analytics by a specializing third party. Emerging slowly and expensively are solid state storage beyond limited at the edge solutions; a 4-terabyte unit, however, can clock in at $29,000, not a viable choice, at least for now.

Most enterprise security leaders are more cautious. Look at Hideaway Pizza, a 12-restaurant chain based in Tulsa, Okla., which views video surveillance more as a critical enabler of operational excellence.

Loss prevention no doubt impacts the bottom line; but, more importantly, issues center on the performance of the kitchen and wait staff, their interaction with customers and the quality of the food. And with that in mind, Hideaway Pizza equips a typical restaurant with up to 25 cameras covering the front of the house, the kitchen, cash drawers, bar area, entrances, exits and parking lot — “pretty well every nook and cranny,” notes Tyson Smith, the chain’s IT director.

Using video surveillance as a management and training tool can definitely contribute to a restaurant’s success, but only to the extent that the video surveillance system – and storage and retrieval of the images – is reliable and easy to use.

Overcoming Its Legacy

According to Smith, Hideaway Pizza had the right idea, but was hampered by the deficiencies of its legacy technology. Video wasn’t recorded during updates of the operating system; there was a limit to the number of users who could log on to view video at one time; and it was impossible to manage the recorders from a central location. Even more troublesome, “the systems would be down and we wouldn’t know why,” says Smith. “There wouldn’t even be an alert. Managers would have to call and say ‘My cameras aren’t working,’ and we’d have to deploy someone to the site to try to figure out what was going on.”

Smith went to a hybrid NVR solution based on Hideaway Pizza’s mix of analog and IP cameras. “We’re deploying mini-dome cameras in our newest restaurants, and we’re replacing the recorders that are getting old and breaking down,” says Smith. “We have analog cameras in our older locations, so the hybrid recorder gives us a really good platform for both instances.”

The hybrid NVRs accommodate up to 32 IP cameras, 32 analog cameras or any combination of the two. They have onboard video storage of up to 12 terabytes, with the option of hard disk mirroring for redundant storage.

Security video intelligence played a distinct role at the Peabody Hotel in Orlando, Fla., a 350,000-square-foot multi-use convention, spectator, show and banquet center connected to the 1,641-luxury-room hotel. The hotel’s integrator deployed the intelligent video management system with use of server client as well as mobile applications.

More generally, there is storage action when it comes to industry-generated standards.

And, speaking of those standards, ONVIF, a global initiative for IP-based physical security products, made news at the late September ASIS International exhibition with its Profile G – the specification designed to store, search, retrieve and play back media on devices or clients that support recording capabilities and on-board storage.

Closing the Standards Loop

“The introduction of Profile G will complete the circuit between live video and the other half of the equation, which is video storage,” says Steven Dillingham, chairman of ONVIF’s Profile G Working Group. Profile G encompasses devices ranging from cameras and encoders to NVRs and client systems such as video management systems, building management systems and physical security information management (PSIM) systems, among others. For example, Profile G can be deployed between a PSIM solution integrating video playback from a NVR, including specific features such as starting and ending recording; searching video using various filters such as time, event or metadata; video retrieval and playback; and, on the receiver side, creating a source of IP media.

In another industry interoperability move, Microsoft Global Security, which is responsible for providing physical security at Microsoft Corporation, has joined the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) board of directors, signaling its support for the PSIA’s system-level approach to developing standards for the security industry.

Microsoft’s three Global Security Operations Centers (GSOCs) monitor 700 sites, in more than 100 countries worldwide for nearly 200,000 active personnel access accounts. Technologies include nearly 20,000 access control points and video cameras, connecting to more than 1,000 IP addressable DVRs. These sites also include more than 9,000 other devices, including duress alarms, biometric security systems and environmental alarms. The several million transactions per month have led to a significant migration and expansion of the technology to a mostly virtualized, cloud environment at Global Security.

“We are making standards and interoperability core to our security strategy here at Microsoft Global Security,” says Mike Faddis, Microsoft Global Security’s group manager, who will increasingly be basing purchases and security ecosystem on tools and technology from vendors who have adopted security standards and have a focus on interoperability with others.

IP-based security video, Cat6 wiring and Power over Ethernet or PoE, as compared to coax, are viable trends.

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Video Recorders - cctv camera

How Video Recorders Provide Critical Support to the Enterprise (Part 2)

Video Recorders - cctv cameraVideo Recorders (continued)

DVRs on the Rope?

So it would be understandable for some to assume that DVRs are about to disappear. That may be true when it comes to some installations, where enterprise security leaders go all-IP. But in general, DVRs, as well as analog cameras, are holding their own – for now, at least. Annual sales of DVRs and other analog products continue to grow steadily, if not modestly. The analog market is vital. That vitality comes from the drives that they use. As long as you can get cheap drives, you can fix your DVR. No one is going to dump a working 16- to 24-camera DVR just to go to NVR.

Another factor driving DVRs’ continued impact is price, which for some DVRs is not just a fraction of an NVR’s, but also a fraction of the price of DVRs in the past. And these units come with more features, too, such as H.264 encoding, some sort of audio support and a lot more. DVRs have apps and can connect to Web servers.

Still, NVRs will gain a greater role, especially given the continued growth of IP video systems, and more specifically integrated systems running on network infrastructure. But there is an open architecture twist. Newer video management systems (VMS) can often be installed on plain server computers. NVRs, however, serve a purpose where a dedicated network recorder is preferred. So, as prices come down on NVRs and IP cameras and installation becomes less complex as a result of technical advances, NVRs will be growingly more attractive, down to one- to 32-channel security video installations, for instance.

Of course, many NVRs can support up to 300 cameras on a single server, remote management, hot-pluggable storage in the field, providing redundancy and large amounts of storage in a limited rack space. NVRs also stand out in reliability and manageability. At times, DVRs can experience drive failures compared to NVR drives in properly designed IP systems.

When considering the difference between NVRs and DVRs, it can also depend on the intelligence of the camera. With a DVR, things like changing frames per second and the quality of the saved video are done in the recorder itself. With an NVR, that responsibility is flipped because IP cameras can be programmed to determine the number of frames, where to look in a scene for motion, what video to send and other needs. Newer NVRs can program cameras.

Infrastructure Essential

Of course, there is the issue of the network or networks on which the camera and/or the NVR are located. Having IP cameras on the same network as the NVR is always preferred.

When it comes to storage, however, remember that most existing cameras are analog and, in migrating to IP, there is an acknowledged hybrid approach, which has created HVRs or hybrid video recorders, DVRs and NVRs that support both analog and IP camera connections, to make it easier to transition smoothly to IP systems. With a hybrid recorder, enterprises are able to not only swap out their cameras on a case-by-case basis but also continue to use the hybrid (provided it offers full IP capability) once the transition is complete. Basically, these hybrid NVR/DVRs are appliances (purposed built computers) that, at the same time, handle IP cameras and directly connected analog cameras. And, unlike a “pure” NVR, a hybrid DVR/NVR eliminates the need for a separate video encoder when connecting to analog cameras.

Another trend is so-called serverless computing and storage.

System on a chip or SOC comes together with scale out design, a key for video recording data streams with longblock random writes. The scale-out design distributes incoming video recording streams across all resources to dissipate pixel storms, eliminates all single points of failure including any individual appliance and maximizes frame rate capture for the best recording results.




Looking at a network for video storage? Look at these three general network storage options for storing, managing and securing video surveillance data.
  1. Network storage as a surveillance storage target, featuring simplified, scalable network storage for recorded or archived surveillance video files. This option uses a network storage device, often a double-, quad or six-bay desktop model or a multi-drive rackmount array, as a simple surveillance storage target that works in conjunction with video management solutions (VMS).  This targets enterprises that already have video surveillance but need to meet the demand of growing storage space and regulation requirements, enabling the opportunity to pair preferred video management software with powerful, cost effective and scalable storage and data protection.
  2. An integrated VMS that has smart network storage with video management software and IP cameras for an integrated video surveillance solution. This approach incorporates embedded or PC-based third party VMS applications to ensure fast, efficient and reliable recording of video surveillance files to a deployed network storage device. It aims at distributed enterprises and others with limited IT and surveillance support through storage capacity, security and compatibility. Mobile device applications allow the surveillance administrator to access video feeds on the go, anytime, anywhere.
  3. A hosted video surveillance solution leverages the power of cloud storage and the ubiquity of a browser-based video management system interface. An enterprise can take advantage of cloud storage technology to deliver cost savings without compromising performance, capacity or security. Using a service provider of cloud storage in combination with a network storage device and integrated video management software allows enterprises to record and store high definition video locally, for instance, while also providing economical access to standard resolution video data stored securely in the cloud.




A network video recorder (NVR) includes software that records video information to a storage device. It also is a way that makers of the software have brought traditional computer and server sources to enterprise security operations and ever tighter with IT infrastructure.

Similar in many ways to traditional DVRs, NVRs differ in that they record footage that has been already been processed and encoding by the camera, rather than at the DVR unit. Once the information is processed, it is sent along the network for storage and remote viewing.

One benefit: A unit can be located anywhere; it doesn’t have to be near the cameras. This is ideal for security purposes, as it means the unit can be safely kept in another building or at a different site, according to information through recording software source Wavestore. Its technology and commentary from the top security executive at Burlington Coat Factory was featured in the June 2013 Securitymagazine and is available on Among key NVR buying tips:

  • Works with existing, future security cameras;
  • Easy to install, maintain;
  • Handles various compression formats;
  • Handles third-party applications; and
  • Allows for expansion as needs grow.

Before choosing an NVR, however, enterprise security and integrators first calculate storage needs. Too much or too little storage picked can be an expensive decision. Just right for today and tomorrow is best.

Maximizing storage is important. At a project at Sanford, Florida’s Public Safety Complex, housing fire and police headquarters, the city updated and augmented is arrays to accommodate the significant increase in camera load for the complex. Additionally, to maximize storage resources, each camera has H.264 compression functionality to reduce bandwidth and storage, but also has a Motion JPEG option for live viewing capability.

Then there is recorder maintenance. Unlike alarms, locks and sensors that are easily tested to confirm their status, video recorders require special attention. Problems often aren’t detected until an attempt to retrieve event video fails because the footage isn’t there. “Health Check” features are available, which would assess all video recorders across an enterprise’s network and performs a regular checkup of diagnostics to ensure operational status.

Remote video storage services enable enterprise security executives to control the number of cameras from which video is pulled, how long video is stored, how much video is stored, image sizes and number of frames-per-second to be transferred to the monitoring center for safe keeping.

Retail surveillance boasts distinctive video storage needs. Some of these operations have pioneered analytics uses beyond shoplifting, sales associate theft and slip and fall investigations. While DVRs continue to play a major role at stores within a chain, there is an expanded need to aggregate video data in-house or through a third-party for customer demographics, traffic patterns and more sophisticated heat mapping.

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Data Storage

7 Benefits of Migrating to IP Video Surveillance

7 Benefits of Migrating to IP Video Surveillance

IP video surveillance has long since graduated to a mainstream technology in the security industry – but if you’re still sitting on the fence as to whether or not it’s right for your application, the following list of IP video surveillance benefits may help you to decide:

Improved Performance– Today’s IP cameras have significantly improved performance over earlier models thanks to breakthrough imaging technologies. High performance features such as advanced digital signal processing, optical zoom lenses, wide dynamic range, on-board analytics and auto image stabilizers provide more options to help security professionals meet their specific surveillance needs more efficiently.

In addition, the high resolution of megapixel cameras affords coverage of a larger area with fewer cameras, while the forensic zooming capability of megapixel cameras can reduce the need for traditional pan/tilt/zoom appliances. The detailed images are available in live or archived format at any time to any point along the network. This enables more and better identification of individuals and events to help deter, detect and prosecute in the case of an incident.

Unlimited Scalability– One of the key benefits of IP video surveillance systems is the ease with which the system can be configured for current requirements and just as easily expanded or re-configured as needs change. Cameras can be added to the network in increments of one or more with no additional cabling or power requirements, and industry standard storage can be added as needed. Most important, these changes can be made without losing the investment in the original system.

System Configuration Versatility– Cost efficiencies can be readily gained with the system configuration versatility of IP video surveillance implementations. Video can be recorded and viewed by authorized individuals from anywhere on the network and control of multiple locations can be centralized at one location. This eliminates the need to duplicate staff or equipment at each location with potential savings of thousands of dollars in salaries and equipment cost. Cameras can be re-located or temporarily installed anywhere on the network with minimal disruption. Maintenance and service expenses can also be reduced because IP-based systems can be adjusted, checked or even re-configured remotely without the need for on-site service.

Advanced Analytics– Commonly featured in both IP video surveillance edge devices (i.e. cameras, NVRs, etc.) and at the central server, interpretive vision or analytic intelligence can be used to monitor, record, interpret, archive, retrieve and verify image data to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the security staff. Intelligent devices can improve the abilities of control room personnel by performing automated responses such as zooming in to an object which is creating an alarm or by only transmitting video that contains specifically identified activity, making it easier to search the recorded material. Advanced analytics such as face detection, license plate recognition or people counting/tracking technologies can also be used to help improve the security of a facility.

System Integration – The ability to tie together related physical security applications such as access control, alarm/intrusion, visitor management and so on, within the organization, makes economic as well as operational sense. IP video surveillance systems provide users with a common view that can be sourced and/or managed from a central control room, an office cubicle or even from a mobile device – simultaneously by multiple users. Additionally, IP video surveillance systems enable organizations to collaborate across different functional workgroups. For example, it is possible to verify abnormalities in POS transactions by coordinating data with IP surveillance images. It is also possible to integrate entry/exit access control data with maintenance and facilities information to improve building environmental operations.

Future Proofing– IP surveillance is a very flexible technology in that it can be implemented at any stage of a deployment. Existing analog systems can be upgraded to a hybrid configuration and either maintained as such or eventually configured to a fully networked system. Cameras can be added at any time, anywhere there is network capability, or as wireless technology develops, network cameras can be deployed virtually anywhere. Another important aspect of IP surveillance is adherence to industry standards. As technology develops, software/firmware upgrades can be implemented to keep the system current.

ROI and TCO– IP surveillance deployments can improve Return on Investment (ROI) and also help to lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). For example, megapixel cameras used for risk management in retail can help minimize incidents of theft or fraud because of the improved image detail; or, individual devices can take advantage of increases in computer power and improvements in network speed without having to be replaced. By making a clear positive impact on the bottom line, IP surveillance systems have more than proven their worth as tomorrow’s surveillance technology of choice.

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IP Surveillance Systems – Choosing the Right IP Video Storage for Your Enterprise


IP Surveillance System - IP Video Storage

IP Surveillance Systems – IP Video Storage

The migration from analog to digital has been on the rise for several years and thanks to new computer technologies, video over IP is more prevalent today. With the expansion of surveillance technologies, companies have enjoyed the benefits of IP surveillance systems because they are great investments that have both functional and financial benefits. IP surveillance systems are also cost effective with a high return on investment (ROI); they provide superior image quality and can be accessed remotely.

To help you choose the best option for your business, we’ve examined some common IP video recording solutions:

1) IP Camera with Embedded Storage

Some IP cameras offer a SD card slot that allows users to install a memory card for storing video or image snapshots, which is convenient for those who want to have an alternative backup. This type of solution, also known as an edge recording solution, secures the recording footage at the camera site, especially when a connection issue occurs between camera and the viewing location (whoever sees it and manages it on the other end). There is still a video in it, which can be retrieved when the connection gets back online.

The downside is that the performance may not be as good as expected, not to mention the limited amount of video that is stored due to the fairly small size of SD card storage available in the market today. If you have more than one IP camera, management and access to video footage is difficult because you must access the cameras one by one.

2) VMS or CMS

Another way to record videos is through PC-­based VMS (video management software) or CMS (central management software). A VMS or CMS has the capability to integrate with all kinds of video analytic components, such as people counting, bag detection and license plate recognition. In order to meet your surveillance requirements, you will need a powerful computer or server and a large amount of storage with hundreds of terabytes. Therefore, this type of solution is good for large-scale and heavier surveillance requirements. It may include airports, train stations and enterprises. These not only cost a lot more, but also require a group of trained people to operate, maintain and upgrade when expansion is necessary.

3) Cloud Recording

While cloud computing makes it easy to access anything from anywhere, it is not a practical solution for video surveillance today. Video surveillance requires a large amount of storage capacity and traffic, and a lot of bandwidth for recording videos and browsing. The higher the resolution of video with a higher frame rate, the more bandwidth it requires, and since cloud services charge by usage, it may involve high monthly costs. Therefore, cloud recording is more suitable for event/alarm recording, or for a lower resolution recording that requires less bandwidth.

4) Standalone NVRs

The standalone NVR (Network Video Recorder) is a recording solution that provides a little bit of everything, is easy to manage, affordable and ideal for small and medium-sized businesses. While it does not require special training, it requires some basic network knowledge to setup and configure properly. There are also many online guides that can help with configuration and setup. Furthermore, a standalone NVR can be accessed through Internet Explorer, is high quality and can support four to eight cameras. It has the added benefit of built-­in storage, so if network communications are severed or interrupted, surveillance recording will continue without data loss or interruption. If you plan on expanding your surveillance application in the near future, this kind of solution may not be the right fit, especially if you are going to adopt video analytics or integrate with others (like Point of Sale/POS).

IP surveillance used to be complicated and faced limitations because of network infrastructures that were lacking in bandwidth and not ready for it. But today, with new technologies that simplify installation and greater network bandwidth, it is expanding, improving and affordable. Set realistic expectations and look for a system that meets your current surveillance requirements. Chasing an advanced feature may not always be the right thing for your business.

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