Disruption in the security and surveillance industry

by August 5, 2020 0 comments

During the COVID-19 crisis, CCTVs have proven to be a most trusted solution in all sectors. In terms of verticals, it continues to see a boom in the education, manufacturing, critical infrastructure segments, data centre, healthcare and IT/ITes industries, says Sudhindra Holla – Director, India & SAARC, Axis Communication.

What is the CCTV market like in both India and abroad and what are all the areas it has been implemented? Specifically, how has it helped in traffic management?

As per IHS report, globally, CCTV camera market is at 1% which an expectation of growth in network camera at an average of 5.3% for next years between 2017-22. Industries are increasingly looking at merging and integrating technologies like AI/ML/IoT, etc. On the other hand, India being a price sensitive market and security being the de facto premium component of our society, CCTV and surveillance will reign high with or without COVID. Going back to 1940s, when Siemens AG installed the first CCTV system in Peenemunde, Germany in 1942 during WWII to observe the launch of V2 rockets, which was primarily a military activity. Since then CCTVs have come a long way to be one of the most trusted technology that touches upon all works of life providing security to sanitation across globe.

Even during these unprecedented times, it has proven to be the most trusted solution in all sectors. Although, we had seen a little slowdown during the first phase of 2020, due to lockdown, in sectors such as retail, aviation, travel and tourism, we are beginning to see the demand going higher as the country is starting to begin economic activities especially for technologies such as People Counting, Occupancy Estimator, and Social Distancing solutions, Touch Free solutions, Body Temperature monitoring solutions, Mask Detection Solutions, Touch Free Attendance systems with Facial Recognition Capabilities, and Thermal cameras, etc. to offer a safe experience to the employees and to the customers.

The increasing awareness towards the importance of CCTVs has also led to the growing demand of its implementation. Although the traditional CCTV cameras might take a back seat, but the amalgamation of a complete video management solution might see a rise in demand—a mix of People Counting, Occupancy Estimator to monitor premises, facial recognition, radar technologies that detects or triggers false alarms, explosion protected cameras, thermal cameras, and audio solutions. We also see an increasing demand of technologies like WDR that offers clear footages even in pitch dark scenarios, helping in better monitoring of the crime scene and city management. Subsequently, we are also noticing an interest in our audio solution for security and public announcement requirements.

Hence, most of the analog solutions in most of the buildings which is otherwise very difficult to manage due to poor audio quality and unreliability can now be controlled with IP speakers. Additionally, cameras with inbuilt immersive technologies like AI & ML would also see an uptake with its real-time analytics to better city, traffic, road, sewage management and women safety.

In terms of verticals, we continue to see a boom in the education, manufacturing, critical infrastructure segments, data centre, healthcare, IT/ITes. The need for cameras for constant monitoring of the ebody temperature and to prevent crowding has taken precedence. Similarly, in a critical infrastructure segment, like that of thermal power plant, solar power plant, oil & gas, steal plant, etc. the demand for a reliable security solution has increased that helps in business continuity and also helps in achieving business objectives. While CCTVs are widely used for perimeter and workforce security in this segment, we have seen a surge in demand for solutions that helps them in monitoring processes and breakdowns, and solving compliance related issues, etc.

We have also seen surge in government and city surveillance projects where the demand for advanced technological solutions in CCTV have seen an exponential growth for supporting the city authorities in doing the herculean task of managing the city and traffic while maintaining social distancing guidelines. Citizen safety is a priority for the city and municipal authorities. Thus, the demand for solutions like video analytics and audio/public announcement have increased to help its human counterpart with analytical insights.

Has there been any spurt in CCTV implementation/usage and ways it is being used during the COVID-19 crisis?

The security and surveillance industry has undergone several disruptions over the last few years. Striving to make business while making employee-safety-first companies, organizations are going beyond business and heavily investing on technologies to up their game. Especially in the retail segment, providing a seamless customer experience encapsulates the various stages including the study and comprehension of the buying behavior of the customers to influence them in going forward with the purchase. We see retailers investing heavily on IoT based surveillance to enhance the security of employees and customers, gain customer insights, and track inventory more efficiently. We see increase in demand for Edge analytics that provides visitor headcount and other aggregated insights across the store which could be later used for important business decisions.

For instance, heat mapping can aid the retailers in understanding the functionality of the store and customer behaviour using real time imaging to analyze and track movements. Intelligent technologies like interactive displays to address customer queries, single out staff performance and preventing crime can also prove be to highly beneficial for a modern retailer to seamlessly fulfil his business goals. Additionally, good image quality is a fundamental requisite for monitoring money transactions. Video analytics can provide store occupancy rates, which will help store owners plan staffing levels through the day. The data collected can help determine the best timings for running marketing campaigns to drive consumers to the store. The real time data could also be integrated with the IP audio system to extend a dynamic in-store experience.

Smart city, city surveillance and critical infrastructure are a few other segments that have seen a bolstered demand in CCTV. Where citizen safety became primary, the surge in CCTVs with social distancing solutions, touch free solutions, body temperature monitoring solutions, mask detection solutions and touch free attendance systems with facial recognition capabilities have increased at an exponential level.

How are CCTVs helping governments in monitoring the situation in the New Normal as a result of the pandemic?

CCTV cameras have been a long-standing technology that are used in public and commercial settings. It has proven to be one of the technological partners that is constantly supporting the government authorities in doing the herculean task of managing the city and traffic while maintaining social distancing guidelines. In the past few months, we have seen many state governments increasingly investing on CCTVs with high technological solutions to help safeguard citizens.

Today, CCTV with wireless technology, CCTV with cloud-based storage, thermal cameras and other high-end technology infused CCTV has the ability to, not just prevent crime, but an efficient weapon for the government authorities to fight the battle of COVID and ensure that the guidelines of mask compliance, crowding checks are well maintained. We are working with different city authorities like Hyderabad, Kolkata Police, Karnal, Junagadh, Nanded, Kolhapur, etc. to help them with solutions to ensure those out on the streets are adhering to social distancing and other norms.

What about data privacy and security issues related to CCTVs? What about things like facial recognition? How are they being addressed?

Cyber security is another aspect where we are seeing a surge in demand for our solutions as there had been a significant increase in cyberattacks due to the pandemic – organizations are opting for more reliable and robust surveillance solutions that secure the data as well. With increase in data centres, more so the private data centres, organizations are looking at more robust and unified solutions that secure both premises and people as well as the data. Being a Swedish company, we respect the GDPR compliance. And hence we have always kept a No Backdoor Policy in all their products. In the current market situation, we believe that CCTV with no back-door policy has a strong competitive advantage and as one of the few manufacturers, we have our own system-on-chip – ARTPEC Chip, that directly complies with the India’s data privacy policy. This means that we have complete control over each and every transistor in our products. This brings in trust and a higher level of cybersecurity for our clients. Axis’ no backdoor policy makes it the only network surveillance company in the world that is un-hackable. So, using customer’s sensitive data recorded by the camera cannot be utilized by any 3rd party for exploitation. Further it helps in implementing these cameras for national security as Axis solutions guarantees that other countries and foreign law enforcement (FBI, CIA, KIG) cannot surveil Indian citizens by hacking into the systems.

However, having said that, we do see applications like facial recognition capability solutions gaining importance and increase in surge. Our touch free attendance systems with in-built facial recognition capabilities are gaining prominence among the corporates. They use the camera to recognize the person’s face instead of somebody using an access card or punching in a number to avoid contact. The second are the airports where facial recognition has gained the maximum prominence starting from the passenger’s entry to the gate to show the boarding pass to minimize physical contact during verification by the security personnel and improve business efficiency by screening things automatically and eliminating multiple verification. The airport authorities capture the face of the passengers and tag it with the boarding card on the passenger, to avoid multiple checks. This solution can also monitor whether a person is wearing a mask.

What about the volumes of data that go through CCTVs? How are they processed and analyzed in real-time? What are the tools?

Firstly, the amount of data stored in a CCTV is massive. It takes up to 30–120 days to process data for most organizations and applications. And secondly, server-based analytics and Edge analytics gaining prominence have made the process move way beyond. The View Monitor Record is moving past the earlier version of being a deterrent and significantly moving towards application and becoming more proactive now. The other element is the advent of smartphone technologies, etc because of the alerts and the notifications, the way it was done in the past has changed drastically and automated to whom it has to be alerted when it has to be alerted how it has to be alerted in a very different view. Similarly, monitoring of the incidents has changed as well from a desktop terminal in the past to tablets, smartphones or alike. Thus, these are the three trends that we see in terms of processing and analyzing data.

Another most significant trend is how video analytics have changed the way of solving crimes. Today’s video surveillance storage is strenuous and the amount of data being stored is humungous. We are currently seeing a huge demand in state government, municipal corporations, airports and police departments with modern video surveillance infrastructure to fuel powerful video analytics insights and to solve business problems in innovative ways. A crime which took place probably 5-10 years ago could be solved with the amount of data that is being stored. Together with our system integrators we offer storage solutions to offer an ideal infrastructure towards building a robust video surveillance system

What about the integration of IoT devices with CCTVs?

Earlier cameras were just a sensor. Now the surveillance cameras are getting proactive in terms of all elements and equipment converging together on a singular IP network, all talking to each other, to form a unified robust solution. For example, a camera system can integrate with audio, with radar with different sensors in terms of it could be a light system, it could be a Bollard security used for perimeter surveillance like parking spaces, Commercial buildings, or could be magnetic field sensor, all integrated together to form a standalone solutions. When these integration are done with IoT sensors it gives a very coordinated response to the customer and that’s a trend that we are seeing among organizations and people to go for a more standalone systems.

What are some of the use cases and successful implementations you have come across with regard to this technology?

Recently we have announced implementations in – City Surveillance, Healthcare, and commercial settings. One is our partnership with Kolkata Police to secure the city by deploying 800+ fixed and PTZ cameras across the city. These installed cameras help them in tracking vehicles, check for loopholes in the traffic management system on a real time basis round the clock. It has been used for crowd control and management and identifying miscreants in public rallies and demonstrations. Additionally, Axis Zip Stream Technology has helped them optimize bandwidth and overall storage requirements of the mass video produced throughout the day, 24*7. This, in return, will help them track, monitor, and analyze the video feed for detecting criminal activities, violations, and road congestion.

We also announced the installation at Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneswar, a medical college under KIIT University, which is a super speciality hospital with 2000 beds, has partnered with Axis Communications for monitoring and securing their premises and optimizing better healthcare management. The deployment is using Zipstream technology to optimize bandwidth and installed on an open platform using third party VMS. In addition, it uses Axis Lightfinder technology that delivers high-resolution, full color video with a minimum of motion blur even in near darkness. Axis Lightfinder makes dark areas in a scene visible and captures great detail in very low light. The result is excellent image quality without the need for external light sources proved to be the largest surveillance system deployment in any healthcare facility in India.

We have also partnered with Emami Group in Kolkata and installed about 200 + Fixed and Dome cameras for ensuring the safety of the staff and facility and premises of the manufacturing unit to protect their products, employees and to check the safety of the processes.

Another one in a commercial setting where we have implemented these technologies are the Salt Lake Stadium, also known as Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, in Kolkata, where we have used Fixed and PTZ 4K cameras. These cameras are equipped to see image in variable light conditions, incident detection like filter mischievous elements in the crowd and help in monitoring the perimeter and in the gallery. System uptime was another requirement from the customer and with the help of Axis Lightfinder and Forensic WDR, that helps in capturing image in any light condition, has helped in supplementing the installation. The brief was to offer global standard surveillance for FIFA matches being played. Providing solutions that can be visible in low light condition with crisp images from both entry and exit and deployed our 4k-8k high resolution cameras.

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