Tag Archives: Video Content Analysis

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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Zaun acquires CCTV developer EyeLynx in bid to offer complete perimeter security solutions for end users

Perimeter fencing manufacturer Zaun has acquired EyeLynx Limited, the specialist developer and manufacturer of video and electronic security solutions. The acquisition enables Zaun to offer complete perimeter security solutions to its ever-growing end user customer base.

Jay Patel and Francisco Feijoo, the founders of EyeLynx, have continually delivered comprehensive solutions using their SharpView software. Indeed, the company has actively collaborated with Zaun for more than two years now, rendering this purchase the natural next step forward for both organisations.

Commenting on the deal, Zaun’s co-founder and director Alastair Henman explained: “Jay and Francisco are great guys with an exciting product. The synergy of that product with our customers is plain to see, so we look forward to helping the tie-up thrive in the years ahead. We’re giving Jay and Francisco all the support they need to develop state-of-the-art perimeter protection solutions that integrate with Zaun’s fencing products. As well as growing EyeLynx, this development also moves Zaun towards an integrated perimeter security systems offering.”

The deal is signed at EyeLynx's Chessington office by (from left to right) Alastair Henman, Jay Patel and Francisco Feijoo

The deal is signed at EyeLynx’s Chessington office by (from left to right) Alastair Henman, Jay Patel and Francisco Feijoo

Working out of offices in Chessington, Surrey and Zaragoza, Spain, EyeLynx has created SharpView, the highest performance system for HD MegaPixel CCTV. Built-in capabilities for Video Content Analysis mean that SharpView is also “the smartest recording and management system” in the security sector.

EyeLynx’s Pharos system is the only true Rapid Deployment High Definition (HD) surveillance system on the market with Edge Recording Cluster capability to incorporate an intelligent recorder, management software and wireless communications all in the same unit. Using the SharpView recording engine, Pharos can accommodate multiple slave PTZ cameras of any make connected into the master.

Cameras record in HD on a 24/7 basis and, whenever a perimeter zone is compromised or a potential intruder approaches too close to the fence, Pharos will send a snapshot alert to the Control Room operators for visual verification or to assigned personal mobile devices (such as those belonging to the local police chief or the nearest constable to the reported breach).

Screen shot from the EyeLynx Zaun RDS SharpView Manager

Screen shot from the EyeLynx Zaun RDS SharpView Manager

Zaun and EyeLynx have already developed a rapid deployment CCTV tower with embedded cabling and an integrated power cabinet in the post base to enable quick and easy on-site set-up without the need for heavy machinery. Remote connectivity is achieved over wireless 3G or 4G.

Only the master unit needs a SIM card, which helps beam the video intelligence to a workstation or mobile device into which anyone authorised can dial-in to view live footage or rewind and replay from any of the cameras.

The system was successfully deployed at the Conservative Party’s Annual Conference, which took place at the ICC in Birmingham last week.

EyeLynx in operation at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham

EyeLynx in operation at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham

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Innovative security fencing set for debut at 2014 Conservative Party Conference

The annual Conservative Party Conference runs at the ICC in Birmingham from Sunday 28 September through until Wednesday 1 October. Having supplied temporary high security fencing to the main political parties’ annual autumn conferences for a number of years now, Zaun has developed a special version of its multi-award winning Rapid Deployable System (RDS) to assist with security for this event which is expected to attract up to 14,000 delegates.

The new RDS Lite employs recycled plastic blocks for anchoring the fence line in favour of the massive concrete blocks that help to give its parent RDS system a PAS 68 rating. Zaun stacks ten 15 kg recycled plastic blocks in a 2×5 configuration into two purpose-built 15 kg brackets held together by four long tubular pins. This arrangement anchors each fence post.

The configuration means that blocks can be carried up and down stairways and even on to canal footpaths, which would have been impossible with the 750 kg concrete blocks that are placed into position by a forklift truck for RDS.

Testing RDS Lite for stability under mob attack at Zaun's headquarters in Wolverhampton

Testing RDS Lite for stability under mob attack at Zaun’s headquarters in Wolverhampton

The innovation follows a direct request from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) to develop temporary crowd perimeter protection that can be carried by hand and deployed in places that forklift trucks cannot access and where structural restrictions on weight loading exist.

RDS is estimated to save up to 90% of police time. This is why the Home Office has thus far bought 5,500 metres of the solution – including access portals, turnstiles and gates – to add to the National Barrier Asset.

Mob testing in the West Midlands

RDS Lite was mob-tested last month at Zaun’s West Midlands headquarters. The test day was attended by CPNI representatives. The system will now be trialled on canal footpaths in Birmingham for the 2014 Conservative Party Conference.

Zaun will also supply two special CCTV bases for the conference – one with a narrow view camera and the other with a wide view model – to try and reduce still further the number of officers needed to police events of this nature.

Alastair Henman – Zaun’s founder and director – said: “RDS was already unique in providing hostile vehicle mitigation up to 30 mph in a rapidly-deployed temporary fencing solution with no below ground foundations. We integrated advanced electronics and top end CCTV as an add-on to existing security arrangements to help better cover specific strategic positions on the perimeter. This latest version of our celebrated RDS literally lifts temporary high security perimeter protection to new heights.”

Back in the autumn of 2012, Zaun installed its RDS for the first time at party political conferences, in turn garnering police accolades and capturing the Security Innovation Award for 2013.

A year later, Zaun incorporated the latest Video Content Analysis system using high performance PTZ cameras into RDS and pioneered the remote policing initiative when the Conservative Party Conference delegates arrived in Manchester.

The innovative RDS Lite recycled plastic blocks

The innovative RDS Lite recycled plastic blocks

Temporary, PAS 68 and permanent fencing solutions

With regional offices in France and Dubai, Zaun boasts an extensive range of temporary, PAS 68 and permanent fencing solutions as well as expertise in integrating CCTV and perimeter intrusion detection (PID) systems.

Zaun was founded in 1996 by directors Alastair Henman and Paul Painter and remains a privately-owned company, manufacturing in the UK at its state-of-the-art production facility in the West Midlands. The company manufactures to ISO 9001:2008 standards and is a member of the Sedex ethical supply chain initiative.

Importantly, Zaun is also a member of the Perimeter Security Suppliers’ Association, the Fencing Contractors’ Association and the Sports and Play Construction Association.

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