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video surveillance

Bosch launches new sales team

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06/12/2013

FAIRPORT, N.Y.—Bosch Security Systems has created a new inside sales team to better service its customers with a more “focused approach,” according to a company statement.

Surveillance cameras called ‘worse than useless’ in Philly

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

It’s not the kind of press you would expect for video surveillance, especially after all of the positive PR for helping bring down the suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing. Only onward and upward, right?

Apparently Philadelphia didn’t get the memo.

Last week, City Controller Alan Butkovitz announced the results of an audit of the police department’s surveillance camera program. The news wasn’t favorable: Only 32 percent of the cameras reviewed were functioning as they should, down from 45 percent found to working properly during a random sampling last year.

“That means that at any given time when crime is occurring around our city, only a third of the cameras are able to capture criminal activity at camera locations,” Butkovitz told the Philadelphia Daily News. He said the system is “worse than useless” because it gives residents a false sense of security.

Butkovitz said the problems included blurry images with pixelated edges and condensation in camera domes, making it difficult or impossible to read license plates and identify crime suspects.

“Suppose that had been the quality of photos in the Boston bombing,” Butkovitz told KYW Newsradio, letting listeners draw their own conclusions.

Mayor Michael Nutter was quick to respond to the assertions, calling Butkovitz’s report inaccurate. Nutter said that by his administration’s count, 85 percent of the 216 police cameras were working as of May 27.

Asked by the Daily News why there was such a wide discrepancy in the figures, Nutter said, “I can’t account for the controller’s inability to count. … We know what cameras work. [Butkovitz] does some kind of sampling. We actually pay attention to all of the cameras.”

Regardless of who’s right, Philly’s spat highlights the benefits for the security industry post-Boston. For cities that don’t have a video surveillance system, the law enforcement benefits of adding one have never been more obvious. For cities that are already onboard, now is the time to make sure the systems are doing what they’re supposed to be doing. That goes for the monitoring side as well.

Video surveillance after Boston: Carte blanche for Big Brother?

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

There has been a lot of debate in the past few months about the government infringing on the privacy and rights of its citizens. Most of the heat has been generated by the standoff over gun control, but you don’t have to look far to find people who think Big Brother is lurking around every corner—at the IRS, DHS and even your local cop shop.

So what about video surveillance? Did the fact that video helped take down the Boston bombers give the powers-that-be carte blanche to watch your every move, whenever and wherever you go? Will there soon be blanket surveillance every time you step out your door? And if that’s the case, where is the outrage and pushback?

Apparently there won’t be any. In a poll taken after the Boston bombing, The New York Times and CBS News found that 78 percent of Americans favor installing video surveillance cameras in public places, judging that any infringement on their privacy is worth it to help prevent terrorist attacks.

That sentiment bodes well for the security industry, which stands to profit from the increased public and private spending. Even before the bombing, IMS Research was projecting a 114 percent increase in the global market for video surveillance equipment, from $9.6 billion in 2010 to $20.5 billion in 2016. IMS is in the process of revising that forecast, no doubt making it even rosier.

Which brings us to drones (or maybe not, but that’s where I’m going). Last week, Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said he would be interested in using aerial surveillance technology to monitor events like the Boston Marathon. He wasn’t talking about helicopters—the price of drones has gotten to the point where local police departments are using them, particularly in rural areas.

The security industry might be able to benefit from that development too. The question is, when will the privacy line be crossed in the minds of the public? You might feel safer knowing that your bank or train station is under surveillance, but how will you feel when a police drone flies over your house? Or am I being paranoid?

It will be interesting to see what happens on that front. For now, though, protection has trumped the freedom to remain anonymous, at least when it comes to surveillance on the ground. The Tsarnaev brothers can attest to that.

Boston Marathon bombing could accelerate video surveillance spending

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04/30/2013

WELLINGBOROUGH, U.K.—In the aftermath of the Boston bombings, spending on video surveillance equipment may experience a spike that augments already lofty expectations for the market, according to a statement from IMS Research, a market research firm based here.

Authorities closing in on marathon terrorist suspect?

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Updated 3:40 p.m. April 17

Both CNN and the Boston Globe on Wednesday, April 17 reported that a suspect has been identified in the Boston Marathon terrorist bombing and that an arrest has been made or is imminent. Both backed off of that assertion about an hour later, and the Boston Police made a statement saying that no arrest had been made.

From the Globe:
“ …authorities have an image of a suspect carrying, and perhaps dropping, a black bag at the second bombing scene on Boylston Street, outside of the Forum restaurant.
Investigators are “very close” in the investigation, said the official, who declined to be named.That official said authorities may publicize their finding as early as this afternoon.The same official also said a surveillance camera at Lord & Taylor, located directly across the street, has provided clear video of the area, though it was unclear whether the image of the suspect was taken from that camera.  “The camera from Lord & Taylor is the best source of video so far,” said Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “All I know is that they are making progress.”

Most experts hope that crucial information will be gleaned from video—footage from city surveillance systems, local businesses and videos from the smartphones of those watching the marathon.

This morning the LA Times reported that analysts from the FBI are “sifting through more than 10 terabytes of data for clues about who might have placed the bombs near the finish line. The data include call logs collected by cellphone towers along the marathon route and surveillance footage collected by city cameras, local businesses, gas stations, media outlets and spectators who volunteered to provide their videos and snap shots, said the federal law enforcement source.
The FBI has flown analysts from field offices across the country to Boston to watch and log hundreds of hours of video, he said.

I asked Amit Gavish, GM, Americas, BriefCam, via email, what he thought the prospects were for finding clues in the various video footage taken in the area of the finish line. In addition to working for Briefcam, a manufacturer of video synopsis systems which enable the very quick review of hours of video [],
Gavish, is a CPP, with 16 years of security and military experience in the U.S. and Israel. He served as the Deputy Director of Security at the Office of the President of the State Israel and was in charge of physical and information security. Before joining BriefCam, Gavish was a risk management consultant specializing in risk assessment, development of emergency plans and training programs.

Gavish said it will be important to look at video footage taken days before the marathon: “In my opinion, the person was there before. The person who did this most likely did some dry runs before the event, even days before and probably was there hours before the event.”

He said the footage from Monday is likely “crowded to the point where you can’t see who put the device at the scene, and you have to go back a few days prior and see who was there … who looked suspicious, who was just walking by or loitering.”

He said there “are hundreds of cameras that could potentially have something. There are good cameras there—Boston PD, public cameras, stores in the neighborhood—but part of the effectiveness of the investigation is how fast you can get to something that you can work on,” he said.

I also did an email interview with Zvika Ashani, CTO of Agent Video Intelligence (Agent Vi). I asked Ashani how a product like Agent Video’s VI-Search would  examine video from multiple sources.

Vi-Search can be “used in an offline mode on cameras that are not part of a large pre-installed surveillance system. For example, video can be retrieved from a store or a gas station, which is in the vicinity of the event. This video can then be quickly processed by the software (at a rate of about 10x) and then searched using the same query structure.”

 
 

IMS: Analog video surveillance still dominant in consumer market

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01/14/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—Analog security cameras continue to dominate the consumer and do-it-yourself video surveillance market, accounting for 87 percent of shipments, according to a new report from IMS Research. And analog is expected to stay strong in that segment, with a significant revenue shift to network products unlikely in the next five years.

Banks are a key vertical and video surveillance is central to solution

Regulatory compliance a top concern, use of analytics on the rise
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01/02/2013

Several national security providers—among them Diebold, Stanley Security Solutions and Protection 1—said they would be focusing on the financial and banking vertical market in 2013.

The nine-percent solution

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That’s a Sherlock Holmes reference, the title (I actually had to look up what I was referencing - looks like a killer movie).

Which is apt, since I’m referring to the IMS Research release of yesterday (or whenever) that predicts a nine-percent market growth for the global video surveillance market in 2010, and you have to be a bit of a sleuth to figure out exactly what they’re saying in the release.

Bare bones, they’re saying 2010 will, globally, be nine percent better than 2009. Sounds great, right? What could be better than “A short and sharp recovery for the total market for video surveillance equipment”?

But it’s kind of important how crap 2009 was, right? Many people tell me that 2009 was an abomination. And IMS says analog was down 5 percent, while IP was up 18 percent. So, can we figure out if that means the market as a whole was down last year, in their opinion?

Well, say the market was $1 billion in 2008 (I’m using a round number for purposes of illustration). Also say the analog market was 85 percent of that number, and the IP market was 15 percent of that number, which I think is the general average of what people tell me, and maybe a little liberal.

That would mean analog fell from $850 million to $807.5 million, while IP grew from $150 million to $177 million. For a new total in 2009 of $984.5 million. Which would mean the market as a whole fell by 1.55 percent (I believe this works no matter what the actual size of the market was, but someone please correct me if I’m being dumb).

In order for the market to have stayed flat last year, using IMS’ numbers for analog and IP, IP would have had to have represented at least 21 percent of the market in 2008.

Was IP at least 21 percent of the market in 2008?

I guess if I consider that every major consultant or significant integrator now tells me that every single new greenfield, enterprise-level surveillance installation is all IP, it probably must have been.

But everybody keeps telling me there’s no way it was more than 20 percent in 2008. No. Way. Maybe they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Anyway. Let’s continue the thought experiment. For 2010, we get this prediction from IMS:

A short and sharp recovery for the total market for video surveillance equipment is forecast for 2010, bolstered by strong network video surveillance growth. The introduction of high definition (HD) network cameras and the increasing adoption of open standards (e.g. ONVIF/PSIA) are expected to further accelerate the migration towards network video surveillance.

Conversely, the market for analogue video surveillance equipment, with the exception of China, is forecast to recover more slowly and to remain challenging for vendors, particularly as the enterprise market segment continues to transition quickly towards network video surveillance solutions and the low-end market becomes increasingly price competitive. That said, analogue video surveillance equipment still represents the majority of annual unit shipments and demand shows no signs of disappearing in the foreseeable future; however, the market for analogue video surveillance products is expected to become increasingly commoditised.

Note the bolded parts. So we’re going to grow by nine percent this year, but analog is going to remain pretty stagnant, while IP grows quickly, but analog is still “the majority” of the market.

So, let’s run my little exercise using the 15/85 market split that supposedly existed in 2008 to see how fast IP has to grow to create this 9 percent growth overall.

In my new mythical 2009, IP now represents 18 percent ($177 million) of the market, and analog 82 percent ($807.5 million), for a total market of $984.5 million.

Analog is going to be pretty stagnant, but will grow, I guess, according to IMS (thanks China!), so let’s give analog 3 percent growth (an eight percent turnaround) to $831.725.

But we’re going to get to $1073.105 million with our nine percent overall growth, so that means IP is going to have to be $241.38 million in my mythical 2010, which represents a growth of 36 percent.

This would also leave IP with 22.5 percent of the overall market.

Hey IMS is the one talking to all the vendors and the component makers, etc. There’s no doubt they would know better than me, but I’m curious what people think: Is IP growing at a near-40-percent rate in 2010? Is anyone in North America growing significantly in 2010? Is analog still growing at all?

Just felt like doing some math on a Tuesday afternoon, I guess, but it helped me crystallize the prediction a little. Or confused me. One or the other.

Acuity lands $1 million in funding

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hey folks - sorry for the long drought of posts. I’ve been soaking up rare summer rays here in the great state of Maine and basically ignoring the security industry as much as possible (though I was extolling the virtues of the alarm deal to my lawyer cousin Ricky this weekend - sorry about introducing competition Pritchard!).

Anyway, wanted to give a quick thanks to Alan McHale at Memoori, whose collection of industry deals in the June Memoori Executive Brief pointed me toward a small deal filed with the SEC by Acuity, which I hadn’t seen previously.

After tracking down the original document, it looks like a funding round that could grow close to $2.5 million, but which has raised about $911k thus far.

No investors are listed specifically, other than company execs, so it may just be the founders throwing in some extra cash to keep things moving along.

When they first launched, I wrote a fairly inflammatory piece wondering if they were the next big video company, as they’ve got great Pelco/American Dynamics pedigree, but they’ve been fairly quiet recently.

Their news page doesn’t have anything more recent than July 16, 2009, though that’s not all that rare in the security industry, I suppose.

I’ve got an email into Glenn Waehner, founder and CTO, to see what’s up.

Hikvision files for large IPO

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Friday, May 28, 2010

I don’t have a link, as I received the press release as a Word document, but Chinese video products manufacturer Hikvision has announced an initial public offering that should raise a big chunk of change:

“50,000,000 shares at the price of ¥68 per share on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.”

So, what’s that in dollars? By my math, they’re talking $10 a share, times 50 million, equals a $500 million capital raise.

That should definitely fuel some R&D.

This listing will allow Hikvision to invest in product research and development to continue to deliver state-of-the-art products and solutions for customers around the world. Hikvision plans to continue to invest in its logistics and technical service centers in the US and Europe, as well as other regions and markets, in order to provide better service to customers.

I think the company still isn’t well known here in the US, and they’d like to change that. The number 1 maker of DVRs in the world probably isn’t happy that no one in the largest security market (if the US is still the largest security market) really knows who they are.

With 2,700 employees, 700 of whom are engineers, it wouldn’t be surprising if the company made serious in-roads here in short order. But their brand is not well known from the consumer side, for example, the way Samsung/Panasonic/Sony and other Asian firms are, and I think the North American market will remain skeptical for some time until channels and relationships are well cemented.

I’ve got a request in for interview, so hopefully I’ll have some more information soon on North American plans.

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