Tag Archives: VCA

VCA’s Bridge integrated with SureView’s Immix security management platform

VCA’s Bridge appliance, which instantly adds video analytics capability to any new or existing IP video surveillance camera system, has now been successfully integrated with SureView’s security management platform.

Supporting multiple camera channels, Bridge is an easy to deploy, low cost analytics appliance which is equipped with extensive back office tools to set detection zones for people and vehicles.

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Using VCA’s video analytics engine, which has been successfully deployed worldwide in over 350,000 video channels, Bridge is able to detect movement within very small areas of a video image. As such, it can provide central station operators with a powerful ‘exception’ reporting tool to help them identify suspicious activity and, when appropriate, dispatch security officers or quickly report the incident to one of the Emergency Services. 

Filtering out false alarms

Bridge is designed to meet the challenge of detecting movement in outdoor locations as it will automatically adapt to varying light conditions and can easily be fine-tuned to minimise false alarms due to, for example, rustling trees or wildlife.

It will even continue to deliver a high level of performance when cameras may be swaying due to windy conditions.

In addition to capitalising on the benefits of analytics, the deep integration achieved means that operators using the Immix platform can view live images of any incident and exercise control over PTZ cameras. Other key elements of the integration include post-alarm video recording.

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“We achieved integration between VCA’s analytics and the Immix platform some time ago and, as a result, there are many thousands of cameras worldwide that are already acting as highly effective detection devices,” said Kevin Waterhouse, executive vice-president for global sales at VCA.

“Bridge makes it even easier to introduce analytics into a security system and, most importantly, gives installers and end users alike the flexibility to use cameras that have already been installed, regardless of who the manufacturer might be.”

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VCA’s analytics energise security and operations for oil and gas sector

Video analytics is increasingly being used as a powerful tool to help remotely monitor and protect vulnerable facilities such as gas and oil pipelines. According to Michael von Hauff, CEO of Osprey Informatics, it can also assist operations managers to improve productivity for the host organisation.

Since it was established in 2012, Osprey Informatics has been on a mission to revolutionise the use of video to automate and remotely manage industrial operations. Unlike traditional video surveillance models, the company believes that visual information should not be the exclusive domain of corporate security, but rather seen as an asset that can be used throughout an organisation, with a measurable return on investment.

Indeed, it’s this philosophy that has resulted in Osprey Informatics acquiring a long list of prestigious clients, among them Husky Energy and the Pembina Pipeline Corporation.

“A recent report published by MarketsandMarkets Research estimates the oil and gas security and service market will grow from a value of USD26.34 billion in 2015 to USD33.90 billion by 2020,” said von Hauff. “Perhaps this isn’t surprising given the ever-increasing sophisticated activities of organised criminal gangs, as well as the risk of terrorist attacks which can result in major disruption to supplies and potential loss of life, as well as damage to the environment.”

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Continuing this theme, von Hauff stated: “With this in mind, our clients are looking to invest in the latest video surveillance technology to ensure they can respond effectively to any threats. We have helped our clients achieve this objective by relying on VCA’s analytics solutions to play a key role.”

Event detection

VCA analytics, developed in the UK by a team of computer vision scientists, can detect movement within very small areas of a video image and provide operators with a powerful ‘exception’ reporting tool to help identify suspicious activity and, when appropriate, despatch security officers or quickly report the incident to one of the Emergency Services.

The ability to do this is significant as it’s widely acknowledged that operators can miss important events after monitoring video for more than 30 minutes or so. The possibility of this happening is increased when individual operators are tasked to view multiple screens.

Not to be confused with Video Motion Detection (VMD), which works on the basis of detecting changes in the light scales of pixels within a video image, VCA analytics is able to provide a far more reliable and accurate solution. It does so by analysing on a frame-by-frame basis the metadata related to the motion and properties of objects within a video stream. The result is a high detection rate and a dramatic reduction in the kind of false alarms that can be generated by VMD software.

Productivity, safety and security

“As part of an integrated video surveillance solution, VCA analytics can provide immediate access to images relevant to urgent operational events, allowing operators to respond quickly to production and environmental incidents as well as security threats,” added von Hauff.

“Companies operating in the oil and gas sector understand the need to protect the environment. They also take the responsibility of creating safe working conditions for employees very seriously and recognise the importance of compliance with Health and Safety policies. VCA analytics can clearly help in these areas. The same technology can be deployed to identify opportunities for improving operational efficiencies. It does this by providing accurate data on a wide range of activities, such as the movement of vehicles and personnel at facilities and remote sites.”

von Hauff cites Pembina Pipeline Corporation, which has grown into one of Canada’s largest integrated energy infrastructure companies over the last six decades, as an excellent example of one of its clients that has embraced video analytics as a way of protecting its investment in the infrastructure used to transport oil and natural gas across North America.

Using its own brand of HD IP cameras and domes with VCA analytics on board, Osprey Informatics has supplied a state-of-the-art monitoring solution that provides the Pembina Pipeline Corporation with a high level of situational awareness through the use of innovative, user-friendly technology to protect its people, assets and the environment.

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The Risk UK Interview: Kevin Waterhouse (executive vice-president at VCA)

Over recent years, VCA has achieved significant success promoting its analytics as an OEM edge-based solution which can be incorporated into other manufacturers’ IP cameras and devices. No less than 250,000 video channels worldwide are now using the company’s analytics.

VCA has now launched its own brand of IP network devices and software. Here, Kevin Waterhouse (executive vice-president for global sales at VCA) explains to Risk UK the thinking behind this bold step of introducing a new range in a marketplace that’s not short of manufacturers competing for the attention of installers, systems integrators and end users.

Risk UK: Until now, your business model has been based on offering the VCA analytics platform as an OEM solution. What has motivated you to change direction?

Kevin Waterhouse: We remain committed to offering our analytics technology as an OEM solution. Customers can be assured that our long-term strategy includes plans to work closely with an increasing number of manufacturers of surveillance cameras and other devices, as well as Video Management Software (VMS) providers, to ensure this important part of our business will continue to grow.

However, what we have embarked on is a twin-track approach whereby VCA will also directly support systems integrators to help them generate new revenue streams by supplying them with ‘out-of-the-box’ analytics built into the VCA brand of IP network devices.

Kevin Waterhouse of VCA

Kevin Waterhouse of VCA

Risk UK: What are these new revenue streams to which you refer? 

Kevin Waterhouse: The new revenue streams relate to the opportunity to provide end users with intelligent video surveillance solutions that can do so much more than just deter or detect criminal activity. The analytics incorporated into the new VCA range enhances our ability in the video monitoring sector to reduce false alarms and improve detection.

It also opens up the opportunity to gather reliable and verifiable data to help a diverse range of businesses and organisations such as banks, casinos, hospitals, educational establishments, retailers and hospitality venues achieve a greater understanding of the behaviour of people who work at or visit their premises.

The technology is capable of capturing metadata that can be graphically displayed in customisable reports to provide marketing, Health and Safety, Human Resources and other operational departments with the information they need to achieve their business objectives.

By dealing directly with systems integrators, we’ll be able to ensure that they benefit from the extensive knowledge and expertise of our pre- and post-sales support teams such that they’re equipped with the necessary tools and have the confidence to be able to offer the full benefits of VCA to their clients.

Risk UK: Can you give us some examples of how this will help your new customers generate new revenue streams? 

Kevin Waterhouse: The analytics built into the VCA devices will enable them to offer their clients added value from their investment in video surveillance systems and, if they wish, offer the cameras as part of a ‘Security as a Service business model. We intend to work closely with a hand-picked network of customers to help them profit from this model and, in the process, offer tangible benefits to their clients. 

In the retail sector, for example, with training and support from VCA, systems integrators can offer their clients the opportunity to increase productivity with less staff, improve customer satisfaction by minimising delays at check-outs or identify the best times and locations for product promotions.

These are just a few goals that can be achieved with very little effort with the help of devices featuring VCA analytics. It also provides security personnel with a powerful tool to detect and combat theft and other criminal activity. 

Risk UK: There are now a large number of other analytics solutions available for customers. How does VCA stand out from the crowd? 

Kevin Waterhouse: ‘User friendly’ may be an overused phrase, but it is in fact an accurate description of VCA analytics. The significance of this should not be underrated, as there’s a perception in the marketplace that analytics can be difficult to implement and use.

We will be adding to the user friendliness of our analytics over the coming months with a new dashboard graphical user interface which will make it even easier for any business to view both real-time and historical business intelligence.

VCA analytics has also established a reputation for being highly accurate and, when employed for intruder detection purposes, has a very low rate of false alarms. This is particularly important in outdoor environments. Here, false alarms continue to be a major issue for organisations who need an effective perimeter protection solution to detect intruders.

It’s now taken for granted that HD cameras from any reputable manufacturer should be able to capture evidence grade images. However, our on-board video analytics significantly upgrade the capability of VCA cameras which, for this type of application, should perhaps be better described as ‘Intelligent Video Detectors’.

In this respect, they provide a great opportunity for VCA installers, remote monitoring centres and end users to work in harmony when it comes to reducing the time-consuming and costly impact of false alarms. It’s just another excellent example of how VCA can support the supply chain by generating new revenue streams while at the same time providing end users with a robust and reliable solution.

Risk UK: You’ve spoken about the new devices carrying the VCA brand, but you also mentioned VMS providers. Can you expand on this part of your strategy?

Kevin Waterhouse: Sure. In addition to our edge-based devices, we’ve developed a server-based software tool that will make the integration of our VCA software very quick and with little CPU overhead. The software can be added to either Linux or Windows-based software.

We already have a number of VMS clients embedding VCA and expect many more to follow along with PSIM, access and intelligent building software providers. In addition, we will shortly be launching a new device which will allow VCA to be added to any IP camera providing an RTSP stream.

Risk UK: So is VCA not developing its own VMS?

Kevin Waterhouse: Absolutely not. We have a very good relationship with the leading VMS providers and have worked closely with them to develop our VCA software tool. However, we have now released some application-specific software to support our edge devices. Ucountit, for example, is our cloud-based Business Intelligence service and Utrack is a unique auto tracking software tool. Both have been introduced because we believe it’s important to provide application solutions that fully exploit our analytics technology.

Risk UK: So you have new products and new services, but will you have sufficient resources to directly supply and support these systems integrators? 

Kevin Waterhouse: We will not hesitate to continue investing in HR to ensure that our pre- and post-sales services more than match any increase in sales. It’s already the case that we have a strong technical support team in place and have recently recruited three seasoned security professionals to ensure that we can support customers worldwide.

Gary Mercer has joined VCA as UK sales manager while Ami Paz is our new business development manager for Israel and Çağlan Dilber has been appointed business development manager for the MENA region.

Ian Young has also joined the EMEA team to drive the software and applications developments and business.

All four have extensive global experience in the design and implementation of analytics applications across many different market sectors. Recently, we’ve extended our US team. There’ll be more news on this in the near future.

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