Using Edge Technology To Protect Your Home Or Business

Todd Huffman-SurveillanceWhen it comes to security systems you may have heard the term “edge technology,” “edge analytics,” or “edge devices.”  What exactly do these terms mean and why are they important?  When talking about security systems “the edge” is typically used when referring to video surveillance components.  Every security system integrator and industry professional will likely have their own definition of what it means, but in summary “edge technology” refers to surveillance devices that operate, analyze, and record at their source versus transmitting all that information over a network to the system’s core.  In traditional surveillance systems there is a central server where recorded data from peripheral devices is stored and analyzed.  In an edge-based system cameras perform these functions locally.

Why is this pertinent information?  Depending on your specific situation using edge-based technology can provide more efficient surveillance processes and enhance the overall effectiveness of your security system.  As every situation is subjective a licensed security systems integrator should always be consulted when determining what type of components will serve your business best.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed security system integrators are committed to providing comprehensive security systems that exceed your expectations.  We have been installing comprehensive security systems at businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We know how to assess your security needs and implement relevant technologies that will help keep business running as usual.

Surveillance components that can be considered on “the edge” are IP cameras, video encoders, and network attached storage (NAS) devices.  These devices have recently become more advanced and their capabilities that were once unique to the central server of the security system continue to improve.  According to Steve Gorski, general manager at Mobotix, “Edge-based surveillance solves the bottleneck problem by using the camera to decentralize intelligence and video data.”  This means the cameras themselves are more intelligent and effective.

Edge-based technologies allow for higher image resolutions and the ability to compress them without the loss image quality.  Even with the use of high resolution IP cameras becoming more commonplace, in a traditional system, the images still have to travel to the central server to be stored and typically compressed; this is where image quality can be lost.   Edge technology helps reduce the need for exorbitant storage space on the central server as many edge devices are capable of storing data locally on SD memory cards or NAS devices.  Traditionally these types of storage options were primarily used as backups for the system, but they can now be implemented as the main recording devices in smaller applications.  Cutting down on the need for centralized storage will reduce the need for high bandwidth consumption, ultimately cutting costs.

According to Fredrik Nilsson, general manager for Axis Communications, “It’s estimated today that a staggering 99 percent of all recorded surveillance video is deleted before it’s ever seen.”  How does that make surveillance useful?  It really doesn’t except for use in forensic investigations or after the fact viewing, but with edge-technologies providing intelligence and analytics at the source, detection capabilities increase which creates a more effective system.  With smarter edge devices that can detect patterns, motion, facial recognition, license plates, camera tampering, and people count, you can avoid potential catastrophe that could be caused by deleting recordings to free up space.  These types of analytics provide a platform for real-time viewing that can even be streamed to mobile devices, which are also often considered part of “the edge” realm.  The ultimate goal always being prevention and proactive approaches rather than delayed after the fact reactions.

With any technology “the edge” is a work in progress and will continue to evolve.  It seems edge devices are primarily implemented in smaller applications where the camera need is less than 20.  One of the reasons being a server-based surveillance system can run more analytics per camera because of the CPU power, so the more cameras you have the more processing power you’ll likely need.  For smaller facilities and businesses with remote locations that need surveillance, edge devices are a viable option as they provide real-time analytics, can store footage locally, and don’t require a ton of bandwidth consumption.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. we are committed to providing security system solutions that fit your specific needs.  Our team of licensed integrators has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We realize that just because a new technology is available that doesn’t mean it is the appropriate solution to every problem.  Our integrators work with you to learn your needs and will design a custom system that addresses your subjective security risks.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Todd Huffman-Flickr-Creative Commons

Defining Edge Technology

Todd Huffman-SurveillanceWhen it comes to security systems you may have heard the term “edge technology,” “edge analytics,” or “edge devices.”  What exactly do these terms mean and why are they important?  When talking about security systems “the edge” is typically used when referring to video surveillance components.  Every security system integrator and industry professional will likely have their own definition of what it means, but in summary “edge technology” refers to surveillance devices that operate, analyze, and record at their source versus transmitting all that information over a network to the system’s core.  In traditional surveillance systems there is a central server where recorded data from peripheral devices is stored and analyzed.  In an edge-based system cameras perform these functions locally.

Why is this pertinent information?  Depending on your specific situation using edge-based technology can provide more efficient surveillance processes and enhance the overall effectiveness of your security system.  As every situation is subjective a licensed security systems integrator should always be consulted when determining what type of components will serve your business best.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed security system integrators are committed to providing comprehensive security systems that exceed your expectations.  We have been installing comprehensive security systems at businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We know how to assess your security needs and implement relevant technologies that will help keep business running as usual.

Surveillance components that can be considered on “the edge” are IP cameras, video encoders, and network attached storage (NAS) devices.  These devices have recently become more advanced and their capabilities that were once unique to the central server of the security system continue to improve.  According to Steve Gorski, general manager at Mobotix, “Edge-based surveillance solves the bottleneck problem by using the camera to decentralize intelligence and video data.”  This means the cameras themselves are more intelligent and effective.

Edge-based technologies allow for higher image resolutions and the ability to compress them without the loss image quality.  Even with the use of high resolution IP cameras becoming more commonplace, in a traditional system, the images still have to travel to the central server to be stored and typically compressed; this is where image quality can be lost.   Edge technology helps reduce the need for exorbitant storage space on the central server as many edge devices are capable of storing data locally on SD memory cards or NAS devices.  Traditionally these types of storage options were primarily used as backups for the system, but they can now be implemented as the main recording devices in smaller applications.  Cutting down on the need for centralized storage will reduce the need for high bandwidth consumption, ultimately cutting costs.

According to Fredrik Nilsson, general manager for Axis Communications, “It’s estimated today that a staggering 99 percent of all recorded surveillance video is deleted before it’s ever seen.”  How does that make surveillance useful?  It really doesn’t except for use in forensic investigations or after the fact viewing, but with edge-technologies providing intelligence and analytics at the source, detection capabilities increase which creates a more effective system.  With smarter edge devices that can detect patterns, motion, facial recognition, license plates, camera tampering, and people count, you can avoid potential catastrophe that could be caused by deleting recordings to free up space.  These types of analytics provide a platform for real-time viewing that can even be streamed to mobile devices, which are also often considered part of “the edge” realm.  The ultimate goal always being prevention and proactive approaches rather than delayed after the fact reactions.

With any technology “the edge” is a work in progress and will continue to evolve.  It seems edge devices are primarily implemented in smaller applications where the camera need is less than 20.  One of the reasons being a server-based surveillance system can run more analytics per camera because of the CPU power, so the more cameras you have the more processing power you’ll likely need.  For smaller facilities and businesses with remote locations that need surveillance, edge devices are a viable option as they provide real-time analytics, can store footage locally, and don’t require a ton of bandwidth consumption.

At Perfect Connections, Inc. we are committed to providing security system solutions that fit your specific needs.  Our team of licensed integrators has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We realize that just because a new technology is available that doesn’t mean it is the appropriate solution to every problem.  Our integrators work with you to learn your needs and will design a custom system that addresses your subjective security risks.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Todd Huffman-Flickr-Creative Commons

What is Hybrid Surveillance?

Mike Mozart-surveillanceAs a business owner protecting your facility is always a top concern.  Are you getting the coverage you need?  If you have a comprehensive security system you’re already in a good position.  However, a security system is only as good as the sum of its parts.  One of the most crucial parts of a security system is the surveillance aspect.  Surveillance systems are the eyes that keep watch over your business even when you can’t.

Like any other technology surveillance equipment is constantly evolving through research and development that is meant to improve its efficiency.  In today’s IoT (Internet of Things) IP-based (Internet Protocol) systems are a driving force that is changing the role of surveillance in comprehensive security.  But not everyone is so keen on the uptake.  Prior to the inception of IP cameras and network devices the world was and has been dominated by analog cameras and DVR devices (Digital Video Recording).  If you have existing surveillance equipment, chances are it’s a legacy analog system.

While the IP surveillance trend is picking up, there are still more than 40 million analog cameras in operation around the world today.  Making the switch from analog to IP isn’t an easy transition for everyone and integrators have become increasingly aware.  Fortunately there are hybrid solutions that allow you to work with your existing analog infrastructure and start your migration to an IP-based system.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our team of licensed integrators work with you to provide comprehensive security solutions that meet your needs.  Our experts have been providing comprehensive security system solutions, including surveillance, to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for that past 23 years.  We recognize the value technology adds to the security systems we install and how they can benefit our customers.

Why replace an analog system?  To be fair, analog systems have filled a security need since the beginning of surveillance that would have otherwise gone unfulfilled.  But just like any technology, progress is always pushing the envelope of what is relevant and effective.  Look at smartphones, they are constantly evolving, every year a new model with new features that jettisons society forward.  While businesses aren’t necessarily turning over their surveillance systems at the same rate, the growing trend is leaning towards IP and network based solutions.

Hybrid solutions for companies that aren’t ready to make the full switch to IP just yet offer the benefits of a more effective system that will ease the transition when the time is right.  According to Mark Collett, general manager of Sony Security Systems Division, “With hybrid solutions, you can get the best of both worlds—the near-zero latency of analog plus IP’s HD imaging quality.”

Video encoders are the catalyst for the hybrid solution, replacing out of date and expensive DVRs.  DVRs were traditionally responsible for storing and recording footage captured by connected surveillance cameras.  According to James Marcella, a technologist in the security and IT industries, a video encoder is, “an open-platform technology that acts as a bridge between the analog and digital world by essentially turning an analog investment into IP cameras.”  Video encoders would allow you to make use of existing infrastructure by attaching to the coaxial cable from you analog system, transforming the analog signal into a digital stream.

Many industry experts consider DVRs to be one of the most expensive pieces of equipment the consumer will purchase, and they are typically outlived by the analog cameras.  Also, they are not dependable, if they go down so does the whole surveillance system, and this could happen at a critical moment.  Video encoders are capable of running on power over Ethernet that can be tied to a backup power supply, keeping you covered no matter what.  You can also employ redundancies like NAS devices (Network Attached Storage) and SD memory cards to help prevent recording loss.

DVRs lack the image resolution, edge intelligence, and network capabilities that a video encoder can offer.  The frames per second rate (fps) is what creates a smoother clearer image, the higher the better especially in high motion scenarios.  Video encoders are capable of capturing images at up to 60fps whereas DVRs only go up to 15fps.  DVR intelligence is typically limited to whatever the manufacturer specifications have been set to.  Video encoders open the door to third party intelligent applications which allow you to choose video management software from virtually any provider in the connected world.  This creates a platform for advanced video analytics.

There is a large storage and scalability disparity between DVRs and video encoders.  DVRs typically have a low tolerance for the quantity of cameras they can accommodate which can leave a business vulnerable by not being able to cover risky areas.  On the other hand video encoders offer virtually limitless retention by being highly scalable.  Video encoders have the ability to accommodate single cameras and there are some units that can accommodate up to 84 cameras making them a highly flexible and effective solution for a large or small facility.

The hybrid solution allows you to keep existing analog cameras and infrastructure and as the cameras die or warrant replacement, they can easily be swapped out for IP creating a smoother transition.  Remote monitoring is another benefit to opting for a hybrid solution.  This adds a level of security you can’t obtain from an analog system, being able to login to your surveillance system to see what is going on at your facility when you can’t be there.

Hybrid solutions are an economic and less disruptive option if you’re not fully committed to taking the IP plunge, even though progress will continue to push us in that direction.  If you opt for a hybrid solution or aren’t sure what to do always consult a licensed professional to ensure proper application and installation.  At Perfect Connections, Inc. our licensed integrators have been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We can guide you through the process of creating a system that meets your specific needs, from an initial assessment to final installation.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Mike Mozart-Flickr-Creative Commons

What Happens if My Network Fails?

No Internet-Marcelo GraciolliDoes your security system, or part of it, rely on your company’s internet network?  Or are you considering a system that is at least partially dependent on network connectivity?  If so, what happens if that network fails or is compromised?  Fortunately nowadays the chances of your network dropping or losing connection is pretty slim, in fact the probability of most Internet Service Providers (ISPs) experiencing an outage is about 1%.  But in the rare case that it does become inactive there are methods to keep security features active, in particular network attached surveillance or IP (Internet Protocol) cameras.  Maintaining an operating surveillance system is crucial to the overall effectiveness of a comprehensive security system.  Surveillance footage can aid in police investigations and the mere presence of cameras can help deter criminals.  Fortunately there are methods of streaming and recording footage even when your local area network (LAN) is down.

Our licensed integrators at Perfect Connections, Inc. understand the importance of security system continuity and one that functions with minimal incident.  We have been providing comprehensive security solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey for the past 23 years.  We specialize in surveillance systems, fire and burglar alarms, and access control solutions.  There is no perfect system, but by installing redundancies and planning with prevention in mind, system issues will be few and far between.

Traditionally recorded surveillance footage would be stored on an external digital video recorder (DVR), but thanks to progressing technology and the desire to streamline everything, virtual and network storage options are becoming more popular.  The cloud is becoming a popular virtual storage method that is cost effective and has seemingly limitless real estate.  To find out more about the cloud, check out our post here.  Whether you’re using the cloud or an external device like a DVR, it’s not a bad idea to have a back-up in the unlikely event your network goes down.  Two common types of redundancies are Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices and SD memory cards.

NAS devices are installed on the same network as your security cameras.  If you’re network were to suddenly go out or someone accidentally caused and outage, the NAS would continue recording.  If you were using the cloud as your main storage and the network drops, the NAS device could be setup to automatically upload recorded data to the cloud once the network is repaired.  It’s also a cost effective method as multiple network cameras can be setup to stream to the same NAS device.

SD memory cards are exactly what they sound like.  They’re storage cards within the actual camera, essentially the same as memory cards used in digital cameras and other devices.  This type of technology is also sometimes referred to as “edge storage.”  SD cards are typically programmed one of two ways.  Either they are constantly recording regardless of the network status, or they are programmed to kick-in when network connection is lost.  According to Fredrik Nilsson, General Manager of the Americas for Axis Communications, using SD cards as a redundancy works best in smaller applications where there are minimal cameras.  The main reason being they cost more per gigabyte of storage in comparison to NAS devices that can accommodate multiple cameras on a single device.

While the likelihood of your network failing or dropping out is pretty low it’s always best to plan for the worst case scenario.  There is no perfect security system, but there are measures that can be implemented to ensure coverage when you need it most.  When it comes to surveillance it’s imperative to have continuity, therefore it couldn’t hurt to have redundancies installed when using network cameras.  NAS devices and SD memory cards are two effective back-up storage methods that will help retain critical information that can later be accessed if need be.  To find out which type of backup is best for your facility always consult a licensed security system integrator.  Our team at Perfect Connections, Inc. has been providing comprehensive security system solutions to businesses throughout northern and central New Jersey since 1992.  We understand no two businesses are exactly the same and that they should be treated with an individualized approach that suits their specific needs.

If you live or run a business in Central or Northern New Jersey and would like information on any of the topics discussed above, please call 800-369-3962 or simply CLICK HERE.

Image Credit: Image by Marcelo Graciolli-Flickr-Creative Commons