Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles’ Category



Video Surveillance – Why is it important to have a CCTV system?

Written By:
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
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First thing to decide is what do you want to accomplish with your CCTV system. There are many reasons to consider a camera system, but what is your primary desire? If it is watching over your home, you need to concentrate on the perimeter, meaning you will need high resolution cameras that will work day and night. A good idea is to watch the approaches, driveway, outdoor storage areas. Have a boat stored? Put a camera on it. There are many reasons to own a CCTV system.

If you want protection for your store, you will need to decide where your important areas are. Obviously, entry and exit points. You will want to watch over high value, easily-lifted products with a sharp focus lens. Cash register area should have an overview camera and a camera on the cash register. Liquor storage area needs special attention. Coolers seem to draw problem employees for extended, unseen break times. They tend to eat up your food there, too. Beer missing? You will quickly find out who and when. High value food products have a bad habit of disappearing out the back door. Put a camera outside that back door. It is always suggested to install a camera in the manager’s office, just to make sure he really is working and not watching porn or other unsavory things when he really has better things to do. Being able to watch delivery men can be very worthwhile, as there is a good chance you are being cheated by them. Have you had a slip and fall yet? A properly laid out system can make sure that you will be able to spot a fake accident when it happens. There is nothing better than being able to say “We have it on video!!” Generally a very good idea to be able to watch over the parking area. Seeing a guy walking up with a hoodie over his face? Get ready! Have a customer come in and scream that somebody backed into her car? You will see who is really at fault. Just having the ability to observe all activity will give peace of mind.

Have an industrial facility? Applications for a camera system are numerous. Watch over dangerous work areas, so you can make sure all rules are being obeyed. Problems with employees sneaking out to smoke weed? You can stop that. Valuable tools and parts missing? Stop that, too. Somebody made a mess out of the workplace? Call them in and tell them to go clean it up. Chances are that everybody in there will know about the counseling and will realize that you really are watching them. Powerful tool. Lazy employees will hate being watched and caught. But, you can talk to them about their bad habits, and hopefully get them to change their ways. If not, termination can be done without repercussions. Again, having it on video works very well. At times, an employee will clock out for a buddy. That is costing you money. A camera at the time clock area will make them not want to take the chance of getting caught. Applications for a camera system in these facilities are all over the place. Also consider that you will have the ability to watch over thing even when you are not there. All of our video systems give you the ability to look in even if you are on the other side of the world, via computer, smart phone, or tablet.

Have a car dealership? Wow, you really need a good system. Properly placed cameras can spot a theft before it even happens, and if being watched from a monitoring facility, authorities can be dispatched quickly and to exactly the right place. This also allows for a scaled response. Cops really like to know what to expect when they arrive on site. How much lot damage do you get? It would really be nice to be able to establish responsibility for that dented Mercedes. Do your sales people respond properly to walk-ins or do they attack like a pack of wolves? Or worse yet, NOT respond. Observe and counsel. Stolen tools are a real pain. A tech needs his tools, he pays for them, when they go missing, he can’t get his work done. If everybody knows that they can’t get away with it, even when Joe leaves that Snap-On torque wrench out. It will still be there when he comes back. Is someone stocking up their home office with your supplies? Stop that. Lunch room shenanigans? Nope, not now. How much aggravation does a lunch thief cause? Too much.

These very different applications call for different solutions. It is important to think over what you want out of a system, and then call us. Our staff has many years of experience, including installation and service. Quality of video products has improved greatly in the past few years. We now feature true high definition cameras that deliver megapixel resolution at pricing very close to the old style analog cameras. Response from our dealers has been phenomenal. Keep in mind that when you deal with Security Camera King you are not just getting a box of parts. You are getting Brad, Chuck, Dan, Zeke and a bunch more really talented experts in the field. On our website, check out the customer reviews of the products. Almost every one will say something about the support that they got in the purchase experience. Whether you have a simple shop or a 200,000 SF warehouse, we can, and will, assist you in making the proper equipment choice. We consider a security system to be an investment, not just an expensive toy. We will make sure that you make an intelligent investment choice, and then we will stand behind your system. You will get our superb tech support when you do your install, and for as long as you have the system. This service includes helping you with the more challenging parts, where our techs will remotely access your system and make whatever adjustments needed, and for as long as you have the system. That level of service is unheard of in our industry.

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Big Brother is Watching You!

Written By:
Friday, June 20th, 2014
Big brother is watching

Have you ever had that feeling that someone’s is watching you? Chances are, you’re right!  If you often spend time in any major city, government building, bank, shopping center, airport, train station, port, and gas station (amongst almost any other facility that is open to the public) you are more than likely being recorded on some sort of surveillance system.  Now, whether or not someone is on the other end endlessly watching the cameras or not you may never know.  When people often think of security cameras they commonly refer to being watched by big brother!  Often times it is just hard working business owners trying to protect their investments from the scum of this world, other times it will be security professionals watching for the “suspicious” activity.  Most systems are generally used to record the information and it is only retrieved when an event occurs or there is a dispute of some sort. Now when you go to a big sporting event, or other large gathering, the police will often times use these systems to scan the crowd to look for dangerous people, especially in the wake with the Boston Marathon bombings. These systems are being harnessed for the protection of all citizens and to ensure no more copycat attempts.

I often hear from people that, “I don’t understand why my company put in security cameras!  What, don’t they trust me?” Commonly, it’s not the lack of trust of specific individuals; it is that they want to know what is going on and make sure that the scum don’t try and falsely bring allegations or lawsuits against them.  Erroneous lawsuits hurt everyone in society. The cost of goods have gone up tremendously with all the bogus slip and fall lawsuits that occur in supermarkets and other retail stores. Since the implementation of higher quality security cameras these lawsuits have been slowly diminishing. You have to remember that there are people in this society that will try and get away with things if no one is there to watch them.  Trust me when I first started working here it was a little weird being video and sound recorded!  After a few days it went away, and I started thinking about it and realized that if I am not doing anything wrong why does it matter if I am being watched!

When it comes to security cameras, their purpose is generally used for good! I know that I always feel safer knowing that there are cameras around. I think the main reason is that I know if something is to happen, at least there is a recording of the event/s that occurred to help me prove my case. For ninety percent, give or take a few percent, of people will do the right thing when being watched. Now if you take away the cameras that percentage would drop drastically, I feel this has a lot to do with the fact that people are generally risk takers. If there is a chance to get away with something people are more likely to take that risk! I’m not implying that people are inherently bad, I am expressing that the devil in people are more likely to come out when they feel they can get away with the crime. You should really not fear the fact that security cameras are in use across the country. Your concerns should be more focused on what are government agencies are doing that you don’t even have a clue about! At least a camera system leaves some evidence in case a crime does occur.

Keyhole

If you want to fear something, you should fear what the NSA (National Security Agency) does on a daily basis that you and I may never know about unless defectors continue to spill their secrets. One such program that was revealed in the past month is known as PRISM. From what is known, this program allows for authorized analysts of the NSA to pull detailed information from consumers of Microsoft, Apple, Google, Yahoo, and other firms. Under the shield of the government, this program allows for the extraction of e-mails, photos, documents, chats, as well as other information without any search warrants or court rulings.

Another program that just had information released about it is the NSA’s XKEYSCORE program. From what I can tell this is a series of Linux clusters that have been massively distributed around the world, which is completely scalable to meet the needs of the NSA. It seems that these clusters collect data from almost all Internet traffic and store it in a database for later use by the NSA. They can query the information to learn a lot of information about anything they want really.

A Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (Fisa) granted the FBI unlimited authority for three months to indiscriminately collect all phone call data on every Verizon customer at home or abroad. This information is being put into a database for use when trying to determine potential terrorist threats. It is a little unnerving that it is a blanket collection, but the way I look at it is that I am not doing anything wrong so it isn’t affecting me directly.

I am not defending what the NSA or other agencies are doing as right or wrong! I just want you to be aware that I would fear them more than I would fear a camera system recording me. Unfortunately in the day and age that we currently live in, we need to become accustom to being recorded in all aspects of our lives. We live in a digital world with lots of digital footprints that we all leave on a daily basis. Sometimes these footprints are more incriminating than any video evidence will be. This is generally because people feel that what they do on the Internet in the comfort of their own home isn’t being monitored. If more people just understood that no matter what you do in this world, you are being watched and monitored. So treat everything you do as if you are not alone, more people would do the right things and not be so tempted by the bad things.

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What is an Access Control Smart Card?

Written By:
Thursday, June 19th, 2014
Smart card

Smart cards are generally a plastic card that has an embedded microchip and possibly a micro-processor. These chips can store data or process data. The data is usually associated with information and a value and transact with the card’s processor if it has one. Systems that can greatly benefit from smart card technology are inventory management, people management, time card and attendance, access control, and health care. Really anywhere you want to monitor and or limit access to an area you can see the value in smart cards.

Smart cards have been around for decades in many types of applications. Two applications that seem to have been around forever would be ATM/credit cards and calling cards. In the phone cards the magnetic strip made the card a “smart” card. It stored information such as showing how many minutes you had on the card per a calling zone or country code. If you called outside of the country you activated the card in, you typically got fewer minutes as it costs more to call different countries.   ATM/credit cards carry considerably more information in their magnetic stripe. Going down the road to 1999, people found you could get devices to read peoples card at range. For example if I had the right device I could read your card while in your pocket. Then clone your card and start spending your money. I know because it actually happened to me.  Basically using the reader the criminals could make dummy cards of my original.

Newer smart card technology works off of layers of materials. These cards are made of pressed or laminated polyester or PVC. Inside of the basic smart card is a small chip with a copper wire coming off of it wrapped into many windings.  This card is set to a certain frequency. Your card reader picks it up as a specific number value. This value corresponds to a column in a database. This typically lets an individual gain access to a restricted area or areas. The database has to have the card added to allow access to these restricted areas.  This type of card, sometimes referred to as RFID passive smart card, has no information of value stored on it. They have a number printed on the back of them and that is the value you must enter into your database that controls the access. The range on this card is 10 centimeters. Most people end up tapping the card to the reader.

Memory smart cards have the ability to store and delete and that is it. Institutions that have implemented this force wide are the military.  These cards shine for soldier record keeping. Before a soldier had to carry paper records between duties stations as they were moved about the world. This was open to many issues from loss to tampering with. Most soldiers have two files. The first is your 201 file that tracks where you have been and what you have done in your career with the military. The other file is their medical record.  The 201 file is important to limit access to as external threats may use them to try to impersonate personnel to gain access to restricted areas, or set themselves up for early promotions. The medical file is extremely important as it has your medical history contained. Past surgery’s and health issues that doctors need to know now. Instead of waiting for the paper file to show up, now with a swipe of a card all information can be realized.  Memory cards can be fitted with different storage sizes depending on your needs. As cards of this type are straight memory cards your reader would need to be configured to read it. Readers are not smart in that they have an auto detect feature to determine card type and protocols needed to read the card.

Micro-processor cards in the family of smart cards are engineered for high security encryption protocols and counter measures. Smart cards of this type are designed to allocate memory into separate sectors for storage for files assigned to a specific function or application. Built inside of the card are the microprocessor and a battery.  The CPU operates similar to a standard PC processor in the sense it does have an operating system with capabilities that permits different and multiple functions. The ability to run different applications and types of data gives the card versatility the early cards just did not physically allow for. With the ability of these cards to have applications on them other types of security encryption can be used further prevent tampering and cloning of cards.  The technology allows secure identification of the individuals and allows updates of information with card replacement. This can lower programming costs and enable re-usability as updates and changes come out. Similar to a PC when updating the operating system. You download new information install it and configure it, you would not just run out and buy another computer. The card does have to have power in many cases. A small battery will be installed inside of the card.  Some card manufactures designed the card for the battery to be replaced others do not. Buyers beware on which card you get as this can turn out to be a hidden cost on an already expensive system.

There are many configuration options for the chips for cards in this category. Cards with smart chips can support cryptography public key infrastructure to Java, so they are very versatile.

The form factor on these cards varies. The card most people have seen is about the size of a standard credit card but considerably thicker. That style accommodates both RFID and smart cards.  Another style with several variants is the key fobs. They can be the size of a key fob for a car, some smaller than others. All can be smart but few if any allow for battery replacement.  Another newer style is a sticker the size of a nickel and about 2 mm thick. That is great for sticking to a cell phone or other device you have all the time.

Access control cards come in many shapes and size with many different features. Always make sure to read and ask questions before purchasing yours.

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How to use an IP camera to create a Time Lapse Video for a Web Page

Written By:
Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
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There are many ways to utilize IP cameras. One great way is for HD Time Lapse Videos as they provide Megapixel resolution with stunning images such as the one above. I just recently received a forum request to integrate software with our IP cameras and pull snapshots onto the software which uploads the files into an FTP server which will then be displayed onto a webpage.

Our Goal is to display an image as well as a video such as this one here.

Lets start with the Hardware and software we will be needing for this task.

  1. IP camera 
  2. PC on the same network as the Camera.
  3. IPTIMELAPSE by SEBSECTEC.com [optional]
  4. Router [Connected to the Internet]
  5. Webpage ;)

Identifying your Network camera’s IP address:

If you forgot the IP address it can be a little confusing. Normally our cameras are set to 192.168.1.108 but in occasions where you may have multiple cameras or simply have a different IP scheme such as 10.1.1.1 you will end up having to search and see what your cameras are set to. You can use this software here which will scan your network for any cameras running that are Onvif. It is simple to use. Just launch the application after installing the software and it will display all of your cameras in the network. Of course this will not work if you have an NVR with a Built in PoE switch as the built-in switch will keep the cameras attached to it separate from your local network. After identifying the cameras IP address we can move on to the Software that we will be utilized to create the images and upload them to the FTP server.

Software vs. FTP upload from IP camera [Differences]

The software that I am utilizing is IPTIMELAPSE by SEBSECTEC.com. It is a paid software but there is a trial you can utilize to test the software. The software itself is great if you want to create time-lapse videos or upload still images onto a webpage as it does this by uploading the files using a File Transfer Protocol “FTP” and keeps the file names correct so that it may be correctly coded into the webpage. Now if we utilize the File Transfer Protocol on the Network Camera it will create a file with different file names and folders and this is not best when creating your code for your webpage. This is why we will be using the software that does most of the hard work.

Lets start configuring and learning how to setup the software. 

  1

In the image above we are in the “View” tab. Insert the following address

http://192.168.1.82:9989/onvif/media_service/snapshot

192.168.1.82 is my cameras IP address make sure to add the correct address.

We are using the Onvif port which is 9989 and we are calling to view the Snapshot feature of the camera by navigating to the Snapshot service.

Since we are using the Onvif port of this camera we are not required to input the cameras credentials. So, we leave the check box for “Use Login” unchecked. IP camera is checked and “Generic” is utilized. Once you have done this make sure the Display on check box is on and click on the “Take Picture” this will display an image. Once we have confirmed that the connection is established click on “Save Settings”.

Screenshot (94)

 

 In this Image you can see the Schedule and FTP settings In the General Options you can select the Image quality. In my case I have it pointed to a local folder in my PC.

You can set here the FTP settings as well as the capture rate, make sure the Credentials are correct for your FTP server.

Screenshot (95)

Here is where you will name the file you will be using on your HTML code and JavaScript. I left mine set to default as you can see in the image.

Screenshot (96)

Here you can select the settings for your Time lapse video if you wish to upload one . You can select to push a video at a certain time and from a certain day or in general.

The video shown here was taken from an IPOD-EL1MPIR50 camera set to take snapshots at 5 second intervals. It was not the best position but it makes a good example of what can be achieved with the software.

Once you have set the software to upload the images and take the snapshots to whatever you want, in my case I chose 5 seconds and the video above was encoded to 30FPS [Frames per second]. This is why the video looks fast. A better setting would have been 30 second snapshot with 30 fps  I did not have a lot of time so I chose a quicker method.

In this video you can see how the software uploads the files and keeps 2 files with the same name. One is named snapshot0 and the other one is titled thumb0, these are both JPG image files. In the code we will be focusing on thumb0 since this is the current and most up to date image and snapshot is the file the was once the current file.



Lets break this down so anyone can understand what is going on here. JavaScript is browser side handled so the browser runs the script .
The Script starts by identifying that the following code is JavaScript.

<script type = “text/javascript”>

There is a function called “refresh” this is what will be called in the html code to run the script.

function refresh() {

The next Variable states the interval time  for now  the “5″ stands for 5 seconds this can be changes to suit your needs.

var refreshTime = 5*1000; //5000ms

The next Variable states what image or element the script will be focusing on in my case it is default which is thumb0.jpg.

var thisImage = “thumb0.jpg”;

The next variable adds a time stamp to the file so that it can identify the image and ignore the file if the file has not been changed it will not execute the ‘Refresh” function.

var today = new Date();

The next line of code is part of the verifying if the file has changed at all.

document.images["pic"].src=thisImage+”?”+today;

The next line of code sets a time out which waits to run the script once more , this will continue over and over until the user viewing the webpage either navigates to another page or closes their browser.

t=setTimeout(‘refresh()’, refreshTime);

After the script there is HTML code that is for the title as well as for displaying the image which is thumb0.jpg as well as calling the script to start in the body of the html code. Now I have added a link to where you can view the time-lapse video this will only work if you set the software to create a time-lapse video and push it out to the FTP server i have comment this out so it will not work , you can remove the comment tags <!–…–> to turn it on also make sure to use the correct file type when adding the video link i have mine set to .mp4 you can select either .flv and .wmv. Once you have completed coding this into your webpage  you should be done.

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Automobile CCTV and Mobile Technology

Written By:
Monday, June 16th, 2014

The word “Mobile” comes from the word “Mobility” and it stands for the ability to go around with ease. The most common application on mobile technology to CCTV systems is the ability to see your security cameras system thru your Smart Phone, tablet, or laptop, using an application for it; there is also other ways to use mobile technology for security purposes, one of them is not very common, a little more expensive (right now), and is still being developed to match its purpose. I’m talking about CCTV systems for cars and trucks, or mobile surveillance systems, which use mobile technology to access the security system from your mobile electronic device, and it is being applied little by little to help and assist drivers on the road.
One of the most common applications is the back-up cameras, and it started as a low definition camera placed in the back of your car or truck, with a separate display usually placed in the side of the car’s inside rear view mirror (figure 1 and 2), and it allows you to see obstacles and the road when you are backing your car.

Figure 1

Mobile1

Figure 2

Mobile2

Newer car models come with a high resolution camera, and integrated touch screen display (figure 3 and 4), which allow you to see your backing-up camera, and control your car stereo from the same touch screen display.

Figure 3

Mobile3

Figure 4

Mobile4

Most of the cameras used for backing up are activated by putting the vehicle in reverse gear, which allows the driver to see whatever is behind the vehicle. Some back up camera systems, especially when the system is being installed by a secondary party, usually has the ability to turn on or turn off with the push of a button, and because it’s independently from the vehicle, it doesn’t matter if the car is in reverse gear or not. Another application of security camera systems used for cars and trucks is the placement of a recording device (DVR) in the trunk of your car, having the capacity of recording what is developing inside, and depending on the position of the mini cameras used for this purpose, outside and around your car. Most of the cameras used in this Mobil DVR are placed around the corners of the windshield, facing out to capture what the driver is seeing in front of the wheel. They also can be placed facing the interior of the car and facing the back of the vehicle to capture whatever is developing behind the car. Other vehicles come with a back up camera and back up capacity sensors, which will give you an audible alert if the vehicle is approaching an obstacle, or an object big enough to cause damage to the vehicle, or injury to a person.

One way of seeing this kind of application will be in the television series called “Bait Car”. Law enforcement officers use a high profile targeted ride (the one most frequently stolen by thieves), to capture car thieves, and it consists of an automobile equipped with GPS, portable or mobile surveillance system, and locking devices, which disable the engine of the car, and even has the ability to lock the doors and windows of the same. When this type of technology (mobile surveillance systems) started, law enforcement officers only had the ability of recording what the suspect was doing inside the car, and they had to assign an officer on duty to surveillance the bait car, stop the suspect, and retrieve the vehicle. Nowadays, they have the ability to see live what is happening inside the bait car, and prevent officers from risking their lives, in case the suspect is armed and dangerous.

There are several types of DVRs used for the purpose of vehicle surveillance. Some of them come with integrated Wi Fi to connect to an internet hot spot, while others come with a 3G antenna built in, so they can communicate thru a mobile communication carrier such as Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, or T-Mobile, etc. And some come with GPS capability, to track the location and time your vehicle is being in certain places.

In a future not too far from now, cars will be coming equipped with surveillance cameras to cover the whole perimeter of the vehicle, and with a wide view to capture the action in every angle of your car, as well as sensors to detect danger among the road. These cameras will also be connected to a central computer, instead of a DVR, which will have the same function as a DVR, but also will have the option of giving information to the driver about traffic, and the conditions of the road, as well as information about weather, and how is going to have an impact in the trip.

As technology evolves, new applications come alive, where computers and recording devices like a DVR, play an important function in the development of simulators to teach humans how to drive, and even to better their driving skills. There is also a project being developed to place IP cameras inside vehicles, and have the ability to see those cameras over the internet, by a web browser, or in a Smart Phone. These cameras will have the ability to broadcast over a 3G or 4G signal, the images of whatever is detecting at the moment, and save the information safely in a Network Video Recorder (NVR) which can be place in any part of the world, but of course, it has to be connected in the same network as the cameras.

Some insurance companies encourage drivers and business owners, especially the ones in the transportation business, to use the camera’s technology to monitor their everyday operations, keep track of their drivers behaviors and habits, and record accident for claiming purposes, and these devices give their owners rewards and discounts. So, if we think about it, a surveillance system for your vehicle may be an investment which it may pay itself off after a couple of years.

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