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How Video Analytics Improve Business Security

Video analytics technology has made great advances in terms of features and efficiency over the years. What was once only available for large government or corporate organizations is now making its way to the consumer market. According to recent research, the video analytics market is expected to continue its growth in the coming years.

Here are some of the many benefits we can expect from video analytics software.

Business Intelligence
With video analytics software, security cameras can do much more. Modern IP network cameras often provide high quality video as well as embedded analytics. With smart business intelligence capabilities, which include queue monitoring and heat mapping, users gain valuable insights for personal safety, marketing, business management, and more. Other helpful analytics tools include people counting, motion detection, facial recognition and license plate readers.

Processing Power
Thanks to advancing technology, the processing power of security cameras and servers has greatly increased and continues to grow. As if that isn’t enough, prices are seemingly on the decline, making it easier for more users to reap the benefits. We can expect to see a market full of highly functional solutions at affordable prices in the near future.

Improved Decision -Making
As video surveillance use continues to soar, video analytics will help operators make informed decisions by delivering reliable information. As a result, the effectiveness and response time for video surveillance will improve.

You should know that most video analytics software for security cameras are either installed on the camera, the NVR, or offered as a third party software. While each will vary slightly, they will follow the same basic operation mode and will produce a beneficial end result.

How do you think video analytics will improve your business security solutions? If you are already using video analytics software, how has it helped? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

If you are looking for affordable CCTV security camera systems or surveillance equipment, visit SecurityCamExpert.com. Browse our options online or speak with us directly at 888-203-6294.

Take Your Security Seriously

Protecting our families, homes, and valuables is a top priority. Home and business security systems aim to give you peace of mind when it comes to intruders, however, not all properties are created equal. A security system tailored to your specific needs is a smarter option. Aside from consulting with Security Cam Experts, you should also take note of these statistics and security tips.

Statistics

  • According to the FBI, in 2014, there were 1,729,806 burglaries in the United States.
  • Of those burglaries, 73.2% were residential burglaries.
  • Of these residential burglaries, nearly 28% occurred during the day while over half happened at night.
  • Top targets include women living alone or wealthy senior citizens.
  • Burglars also choose targets by the type of car you drive, what neighborhood you live in, the size of the home, or signs that a home is unoccupied.

Prevention Tips

  • Never open your door to strangers or solicitors. Remember that delivery persons need not step into your home to make a delivery.
  • Never rely on a chain-latch as a barrier to partially open the door. With enough force, it can easily be broken.
  • If you don’t have one already, install a peephole and always use it to see who is at your door before opening it.
  • Lock all doors, windows, and garages at all times. This helps to prevent unwanted intruders from simply walking through an unlocked entrance.
  • Choose heavy duty locks and use four three-inch screws to secure heavy duty lock strike plates in the door frames.
  • See something, say something. If you notice any suspicious stranger activity, call the police.
  • Have a family meeting in regards to home security plans so that everyone is on the same page.

Having something to protect you is better than nothing, which is why even a simple dummy camera can make a difference. But if you can afford it, investing in surveillance systems and home alarm systems can be a great benefit and put some of your worries at ease. If you have any questions or want to shop a wide variety of affordable security cameras and equipment, please call 888-203-6294 or visit SecurityCamExpert.com today!

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Video Surveillance Technologies

Video surveillance has often proven helpful in producing evidence after a crime has been committed, and plays a role in deterring some incidents. But unfortunately, it seems video surveillance is no longer enough. Threats of violence and attacks have become more prevalent, forcing us to increase our security measures.

Containing and preventing violence has become rather costly over the years. In fact, the economic costs for prevention and recovery reached a peak high at $52.9 billion in 2014. This cost is far greater than the cost of carrying out the acts.

A real time solution is necessary. This can start with technology that has the ability to detect weapons while assessing the level of threat in the process. While this advanced technology could save lives, it could also save us billions of dollars by stopping these incidents before they happen.

For example, the fiscal impact of the September 11th attacks was found to have cost $55 billion in physical damage, $123 billion in economic damage, along with other expenses such as developing the Homeland Security Department and funding the war. The tragedy of lives lost and money spent to repair damages shows us that a more proactive approach, rather than reactive measures, would prove to be more effective.

It is estimated that the United States spends about $100 billion a year on counter-terrorism measures. With proactive efforts, these reactive expenses could possibly go toward other areas that need attention and improvement.

Aside from anti-terrorism, surveillance technologies can benefit many industries. For example, big retailers are investing more into their security. Wal-Mart, for instance, is in the process of deploying drones to monitor warehouse inventory. It is advances like this that get us one step closer to embracing futuristic machines.

What are your thoughts on the future of surveillance technologies? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Shop our selection of CCTV security cameras systems and more at SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions, please call 888-203-6294.

Dummy Cameras

If you’re looking for a very inexpensive way to protect your home or business, dummy security cameras could be a smart solution for you. While the costs are low, the effectiveness of dummy cameras can be limited in certain situations. So are dummy CCTV cameras worth the investment?

Studies have shown that security cameras can deter property crime. More often than not, criminals will be discouraged if there is a higher chance of getting caught, thus, will move on to an easier target. With that being said, the security camera does not have to be real, however, it should closely mimic one to get the real effect.

Before you purchase a dummy camera, you should know what features to look for and which to avoid.

You will want a dummy camera that looks real close up and from far away. They should replicate existing security cameras and include a visible data cable and power outlet.

Red LED bulbs are often placed on dummy cameras to draw attention and show that they are recording. However, real cameras are designed to be inconspicuous and only have a hidden green light on the back to let owners and technicians that the camera is active.

In addition to red LED lights, you should also avoid dummy cameras that have an automatic motor which allows the camera to pan side to side. Real security cameras are usually motion activated and only track movement when it is detected.

Advantages
The cost-benefits ratio of a dummy security camera is its main selling point. Their price is minor in comparison to the cost of security cameras, monitoring stations, plus wiring and installation fees.

You also don’t need a technician to install these, nor the added equipment and man power to manage and store recordings. You will also save on maintenance costs as it is not necessary with dummy cameras.

Disadvantages
On the other hand, should the burglar choose to target you regardless of the faux camera, you will have no footage to submit to local authorities in hopes of identifying the subject. Also, those who know about the fake system (ex. neighbors, former employees) may leak the information rendering your system useless.

If you are in the market for a dummy camera or an affordable CCTV surveillance system, browse our stock online at SecurityCamExpert.com! Request a site survey, get a free quote, or inquire about our installation services by calling us at 888-203-6294.

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2017 Video Surveillance Trends

We have seen the video surveillance industry change over the years. With improvements in quality and accessibility, surveillance camera popularity among businesses and consumers has grown.  As we embark on this New Year, we look ahead to what new surveillance trends are on the horizon.

Developments
According to industry experts, aside from working on image quality and cost-efficiency, we will see an increasing focus on software developments. Things like built-in intelligence, deep learning, and other advances in video management are sure to surface this year.

New vendors and product lines with new configurations are likely to emerge this year as well, expanding upon multi-sensor and multi-directional cameras. The advanced technologies will soon make their way to the market for home and private use, forcing others to provide alternate offerings.

Managed services and moving toward cloud computing will rise in demand. By utilizing managed services and the cloud, businesses can manage their cyber security risk by employing companies whose sole purpose is to maintain data security. This will then force manufacturers to provide end-users with more network-based solutions.

Cyber Security
With cyber security issues with surveillance cameras and devices making headlines last year, it has become a more prominent concern. This negative attention can drive down demand, which means manufacturers must address this issue immediately and proactively.

Things that will be considered include rigorous testing of products, increasing end-user and integrator education on how to use the system as well as a best practices guide. Firmware must be updated quickly and often, especially when new vulnerabilities are found.

Overall, cyber security must be approached as a team effort. Manufacturers should take all considerations into account when building and designing hardware and software, as well as strengthen password requirements and incorporate strong data encryption, and take lead when educating users and the industry of potential risks. In the same vein, customers should know what is insecure and how to best protect themselves for attacks.

Competition
Competition will be high throughout the year. Most manufacturers are working to improve image quality, frame rate, and low-light performance to please the consumer demand. As features and functions progress, so will the surveillance industry as a whole. Bottom line for customers is that they will be looking for the best solution with the best total cost of ownership.

What other trends do you foresee for 2017? Share with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

Shop our affordable selection of CCTV surveillance cameras and equipment online at SecurityCamExpert.com. To inquire about site surveys or installation services, please call 888-203-6294.

Drones For Home Security

From law enforcement surveillance to recreational use by consumers, drones have grown in popularity over the years. Because of their advanced capabilities, a company has even created a drone home security system.

Proposed by Sunflower Labs, the system is designed to complement an existing alarm or security system. The drone streams video to your smartphone when a potential danger is detected, allowing you to determine whether you need to take further action or not.

The system is comprised of a drone plus in-ground smart lights used to detect motion, vibration, and sound. Using advanced data analytics, the system can differentiate humans from cars and animals. When there is a disturbance, artificial intelligence determines whether it is dangerous or not. For example, mail delivery persons will be recognized by their behavior (typically a quick stop by the front door or mailbox).

On the other hand, suppose a person approaches the back door and lingers. A push notification will be sent and you will be asked if you would like to look into the situation. Assuming you say yes, the drone will lift from its perch and autonomously fly to where the suspicious person is located. The drone will hover (30ft) until it is told to return to its nest. There is also an option within the app to alert local police.

By sending the drone to investigate first, Sunflower Labs CEO Alex Pachikov believes that this will decrease the number of false alarms. The drone also allows you to monitor your entire property instead of just entrances and exits, like most other security systems.

The drone is designed to be a minimal nuisance. Currently, the propellers automatically shut off if they hit anything, and considering its size, it is relatively quiet. The ultimate goal is decrease noises to a quiet hum and to get its weight down to half a pound (its current weight is two pounds) before it ships. In addition, it features two cameras which only capture footage of the home owner’s property in order to protect neighbors’ privacy.

Still, there are safety, privacy, and nuisance concerns about the drone. Since August, new rules allow operators who have passed an aeronautical exam to fly commercial drones under 55 pounds no higher than 400ft. And autonomous flying is not allowed for commercial drones.

Despite this, Sunflower Labs has no worries. They believe the policies will not apply as the homeowner will use the drone for non-business purposes. Since recreational users face fewer restrictions, homeowners will likely be held in the same regard.

As this system continues to develop, more details will emerge. As for now, the lights are expected to cost $159 each, and the drone may be rented for a fee (comparable to the cost of traditional alarm systems).

Would you consider utilizing this drone security system for your home? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

For traditional security cameras and equipment, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call us at 1-888-203-6294.

How Connected Technologies Can Help In Emergencies

Staying connected to your home is a convenience in itself, but in the case of natural disasters and emergencies, it can be an invaluable tool. If you live in an area prone to extreme weather, you likely have an emergency plan in place. However, a connected home can provide new and safer options to manage the situation.

Regardless of whether it is your home, vacation property, or even the home of a loved one, here are some ways connected technology can benefit you in the face of an emergency and beyond.

Crimes
Unfortunately, emergency evacuations mean abandoned homes and properties, which is ideal for looters. With connected security cameras, you can keep an eye on who might be entering your home, as well as monitor the possible damage occurring as a result of the natural disaster.

Smart Sensors
Installing water sensors can alert you of flood conditions and even slow leaks, which can cause significant damage over time if not detected early.

Aside from water sensors, carbon monoxide and gas detectors can save lives by alerting you when levels become dangerous.

Connected devices such as smart locks and garage doors often have motion detection sensors which notify you when someone enters or exits your home.

Remote Monitoring & Push Notifications
Because you can monitor from a safe distance, these are ideal in emergency situations. Push notifications provide up-to-date alerts which allow you to deal with situations in a timely fashion. Both enable you to monitor and understand what is going on without putting yourself in danger.

Affordable & Reliable Communication
Because these technologies seem so advanced, people often interpret this as complicated and expensive. However, this is not the case. There are various solutions on the market that offer relatively simple installation for cost-effective prices. Because the accessories and transmission processes have become more affordable over the years, connected technology is more accessible and easier to manage and maintain.

Insurance Discounts
You can possibly get a discount on your homeowner’s insurance if you install smart, connected devices. Many insurance providers are now offering discounts for those with smart homes. Some providers even partner with connected technology manufacturers to offer more incentives for customers.

Furthermore, choosing smart devices for your home helps to relieve emergency personnel and law enforcement agencies. Instead of entering an area affected by a natural disaster, you can check in on your property remotely to stay out of harm’s way and avoid interrupting the ongoing work of emergency personnel.

Peace Of Mind
As a whole, connected devices can offer some peace of mind in stressful, dire times. While these devices can be extremely helpful in disaster areas, all homeowners can benefit from a connected home.

Are you currently using any smart devices or connected technologies within your home? Share your experiences with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For the best affordable CCTV security and surveillance equipment, visit SecurityCamExpert.com or call 1-888-203-6294 today!

The Future Of Retail Loss Prevention

Loss prevention tactics began with in-store monitoring and patrol. As our technologies evolve and the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, security measures have improved. In fact, a U.S. retail fraud survey revealed that spending on store fraud prevention declined while online fraud prevention spending increased.

Because cybercriminals are constantly sharpening their skills, loss prevention specialists are using new technologies to their advantage as well. For example, data analytics have helped specialists understand suspicious behaviors and patterns in the e-commerce and m-commerce environment, and social media vigilance has helped to identify potential threats.

As the retail industry continues to expand and grow, what’s to come in the future of retail loss prevention?

Video Surveillance
It’s true that retail uses a variety of different technologies to operate, including point-of-sale transaction profiling as well as RFID tracking. However, now more than ever, video surveillance is playing a larger and smarter role.

With video surveillance, loss prevention officers have been able to catch thieves in the act and the recordings have provided excellent evidence. With the introduction of built-in facial recognition technology and video analytics, video surveillance can do so much more.

In the same vein, the smart features, connectivity and convenience put these devices at risk. While their role is to protect the business, retailers must do their part to protect their devices, data, shoppers, and employees.

IT & Outside Vendors
Because of this, loss prevention specialists must develop their knowledge and skills with the new technology. They should understand how to use data analysis to identify ever-changing criminal activities, such as new ideas, concepts and schemes.

Loss prevention specialists, cybersecurity specialists and IT team members must all work together to create a system that complies with privacy issues and maintains heightened security to prevent any data breaches or disasters.

Development Of New Responsibilities
As retailers begin to shift from their brick-and-mortar stores (some even closing completely) to focus on e-commerce and m-commerce, the role of data loss prevention specialists will morph into something new, which encompasses more aspects involved in keeping a company safe and secure.

What are your thoughts on the future of retail and loss prevention? Share your predictions and opinions with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest!

Choose the best security cameras and CCTV surveillance equipment to protect your business or home. Visit SecurityCamExpert.com to browse our selection today!

Video Surveillance History

To better understand the current surveillance industry, you should know a little history. Without going into great detail, here are some important milestones of the video surveillance industry from the past decade.

Ten years ago, SD analog cameras and DVRs reigned supreme. While video management software and IP cameras were available, they had yet to become a mainstream solution.

Also around this time, some megapixel cameras were offered. They only supported MJPEG encoding (which made storage and transmission of these more expensive), but they boasted better quality than analog cameras.

And still in the early stages, but a topic of interest, were analytics, which had limited deployment during this time.

Around 2008-2012, IP cameras got a boost from the adoption of H.264 for megapixel cameras. Because IP camera usage was up, VMS software followed suit. The benefits of this upgrade were clear, making it easier for consumers to understand and accept the price increase.

As megapixel and IP cameras grew in popularity, interest in connecting cameras to the cloud was rising. While the dream was to eliminate any on-site recording and maintenance, bandwidth limitations and poor cloud VMS killed the dream.

In 2011, video analytics remained off the radar thanks to performance problems, unhappy customers, and ObjectVideo suing the industry. Even today, analytics are still slowly crawling out of the hole.

In the next few years, edge storage promised the elimination of NVRs and recorder appliances since the storage and software would be housed within the IP camera. Unfortunately, reliability issues deterred early adopters, and the introduction of inexpensive recorder appliances pushed edge storage to the back burner. Rather than becoming a main solution, edge storage was more commonly employed to provide redundancy for higher-end applications.

WDR & Low Light Conditions
Over time, surveillance camera technology has improved to better accommodate low light environments. Before, WDR (wide dynamic range) cameras, which automatically adjusted to harsh lighting conditions, were expensive and limited in availability. Low light performance was generally poor, and even worse in MP cameras (WDR in these were relatively non-existent). Today, the enhancements in quality are evident.

Smart CODECs
Smart CODECs dynamically adapt compression and I frame interval to scene conditions, which ultimately reduces bandwidth requirements and offsets the need to move to H.265. Within recent years, we have seen a rise in this technology. Moving forward, broad support of Smart CODECs will eventually drive down storage costs and remote network challenges.

HD Analog
For more than a decade, IP was the only practical way to deliver MP/HD, however the introduction of HD Analog has successfully killed off SD analog. HD analog uses coaxial cable for transmissions and has dominated sales for homes and small businesses. Some argue that it is just a temporary fix, while others say it will expand features and options to become a mainstay.

Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity has only recently become a major topic in video surveillance, however, many still brush it off. Though recent events have spurred concerns (ex. Sony hacking, Hikvision hacks, Axis’ major exploit), most users perceive a low risk of cybersecurity. As our systems become more connected, we can only hope that cybersecurity is better addressed and taken seriously among manufacturers and consumers alike.

Chinese Manufacturers
Chinese manufacturers have grown as contenders, with their earlier deployments showing poor quality and performance. However, over time, their products have improved and yet still maintain relatively low pricing. These manufacturers were originally OEM suppliers to Western brands, but recent years have shown their branded sales increase in the West.

Drive Down Costs
It seems manufacturers are in a current race to offer the lowest prices (whether to gain share or stay afloat) and consumers seem to be driving this shift. With numerous DIY and simple home solutions, we will see where the video surveillance industry is headed next.

What are your predictions for the future of video surveillance? Share your thoughts with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

To shop our selection of security camera equipment and packages, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. For questions about our products and installation services, or to schedule a free* site survey, please call 1-888-203-6294.

Video Surveillance In The Cloud

Businesses often turn to video surveillance to enhance security. In recent years, it has become a more feasible option for small businesses to employ cloud-based video surveillance due to lower costs and easy maintenance.

While some swear by the cloud, others are hesitant and worry about its security. If you are considering moving your video surveillance management to the cloud, you should get a better understanding of how it will work and how you can ensure that your data stays safe. Take these measures to ensure that your cloud-based video surveillance is as secure as it can get.

Is Your Hardware Secure?
Before you even think about cloud security, you must make sure that the equipment you have is free from security vulnerabilities. Do your homework and research different vendors’ reputation and history. Once you find a vendor you trust, make sure that your equipment is up-to-date with the proper software installed and in use. Maintain security by keeping your firmware current and using strong passwords. If your vendor has any other recommended best practices, be sure to follow them.

Vendor-Defined Cloud
Because the definition of “cloud” can vary from vendor to vendor, make sure you know exactly what your vendor is offering. When it comes to cloud service for video surveillance, you should be provided with camera management and data storage in the cloud. Your media infrastructure and value-added services should be managed in the cloud as well. Beware of vendors who advertise a cloud service, but really only offer remote access to a local device. This can be beneficial, but is limited in comparison to real cloud services.

Learn More About The Cloud & Data Center
If your cloud provider’s solutions are rooted on well-known cloud servers such as Amazon, Microsoft, or Google, you can rest assured that their general security is adequate. However, if they are using their own proprietary data center, you may want to proceed with caution. While there are secure clouds out there, you don’t know for sure how secure theirs is.

It is much easier to track a well-known cloud provider’s track record. For example, the Amazon AWS data center is supporting some of the largest internet services in the world. Their data storage environment is designed to limit the loss of data objects and is set for “encrypted at rest” which means it is stored encrypted in the cloud.

Camera To Cloud Connection
You should always understand how your system works. When it comes to your cloud-based video surveillance, you should know how your camera connects to the cloud. There are three different types of connections:

  1. No network configuration required
  2. Network configuration required
  3. The use of on-site device or gateway (not a cloud solution)

When it comes to your cloud solution, we will deal with the first two options only. If you prefer no network configuration required, your available options will be limited, but viable. Some vendors offer a solution to configure your cloud cameras with no network configuration, while others have built-in direct connections for your camera to the cloud.

Beyond that, any other cloud solution is likely a P2P solution, which tends to be less reliable than other options, so be sure to research your camera and cloud vendors.

The other option is to configure your own network to permit access to your own device from the internet. This is technically called “port forwarding” and, if done correctly, can be completely legitimate and safe way to configure your cameras. If you choose this route, here are some tips to boost security.

  1. As with everything else, choose a strong password.
  2. Ensure that all available firmware updates are applied.
  3. Ask your cloud provider for a list of IP addresses that will be used and white list them. This will create a very restricted list of servers that can connect to your device.

Implement these measures and work with your network or IT person and you have an adequate way to configure your cloud video surveillance system. You will avoid any black box P2P connections while opening up a huge list of cameras you can use for cloud surveillance.

Cloud To User Connection
Now that everything is in order, find out how the cloud makes your data available to you through its web or mobile apps. All your data and video is under their control, therefore the traffic from the cloud to your web browser or mobile app should be strongly authenticated with username and password and encrypted in transit using TLS, including standard web traffic and video streams.

While other limitations may occur (ex. bandwidth capacity), security concerns should not hold you back from cloud-based video surveillance. As evidenced, there are smart ways to keep your cloud video surveillance safe and secure. If done correctly, cloud-based video surveillance can offer a better solution than local storage solutions.

Does your business employ cloud-based surveillance? Share any tips or advice with us and your peers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.

For a wide range of network IP security cameras, CCTV surveillance packages, and more, please visit SecurityCamExpert.com. If you have any questions and would like to speak to a representative, please call 1-888-203-6294.

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