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Understanding face mask detection technology

By Jason Ouellette

The ability to quickly determine the presence of face masks in large groups of people, or inside buildings, has been an ongoing challenge. While an individual might be wearing a face mask upon entry, they might remove their mask at some point – violating a local, government or other policy.

Identifying those with and without a mask on can be tricky, especially as protecting the health and safety of the general public remains a concern. Human intervention alone is not able to handle this task, especially in situations like public transportation, where face masks are mandated on buses, trains and airplanes, or for college campuses which may require students and faculty wear a mask throughout campus.


This is why many security professionals are turning to face mask detection technology to assist with this responsibility as they implement safeguards to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 or other contagions. While many might be somewhat familiar with face mask detection, there are still many questions regarding the capabilities and uses for this technology.


Face mask detection is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) analytic solution that leverages algorithms and deep learning technology to recognize the difference between a human wearing a face covering and a person who is not wearing one. As machine learning and/or reference models built by machine learning works behind the scenes to enable accurate processing , facial recognition detection technology analyzes a person’s facial region to rapidly identify an individual who is not wearing a mask – even in a crowded setting. This information can then be distributed in real-time to security personnel or as part of a churn report that can be used to help evaluate procedures and policy compliance.  Machine learning can either be implemented to continue to dynamically learn or be static and updated through software upgrades of the reference models which can impact pricing and ongoing capabilities.


The benefit of face mask detection is that it automates and streamlines processes by eliminating the need for an employee to stand at the entrance of a retail store, for example. A video management system (VMS) with face mask detection technology can also send an alert when the system detects a person who is not wearing a mask, with notifications delivered through a mobile push notification, email alert or through the VMS system itself.  If the VMS is also integrated or unified with access control, the detection of a mask violation can be used to impact door access to help contain and address a potential violation.


Overall, those using face mask detection technology gain valuable knowledge. It can help security professionals understand important trends – such as a majority of people using a fitness facility do not wear a face mask when working out – and then that information can be used to address the situation or develop a policy.


Security solution providers have become technology innovators over the past year and the development of face mask detection technology is a perfect example. Enforcing safeguards can be both difficult and time consuming, especially in today’s COVID-19 world, but face mask detection technology is one tool that can help make that process a little bit easier.

5 Steps for Successful VMS Implementation


Video management software is the cornerstone of every surveillance system, providing vital capabilities including the ability to manage multiple cameras and video feeds at once, whether that video is live or recorded. It can also mean the difference between capturing video that is usable in the event of an incident, such as a slip and fall accident in a store, and video is unclear and difficult to discern.

When selecting and installing a VMS system, there are a few key steps to take to ensure success and that the system operates as expected.


Select your integrator partner carefully

Not every security installer can be an expert in the thousands of surveillance systems sold today. That is why it’s important to work with a security systems integrator who has been certified on the specific brand of system to be installed. A certification can indicate that a technician has participated in a multi-tiered training program to fully understand the system, with the ability to trouble-shoot complex issues and understand how to leverage the full capabilities of the VMS system selected. Check the certifications of your integration partner first.


Calculate your storage needs

Calculating how  much storage is needed for video can be tricky business. Most manufacturers will provide an online storage calculator tool to help with this process, but many times these tools focus on best case numbers and do not always provide an accurate representation. The variability of modern video compression can also complicate estimation of storage.

A unique camera scene will encode and compress video down to a specific bitrate of data, which in turn dictates how much video you can store with a given amount of storage. When using an online storage calculator, take your environment into consideration as well. Cameras with lots of scene activity or complex backgrounds create higher bitrates, which in turn translates into higher storage needs. If at all possible, consider placing cameras into a specific area to understand the actual bitrates generated that will allow for accurate storage system planning.


Understand who will be using the VMS

Who will need to access live or stored video? Is it a front office receptionist, an IT person, the owner of the company or all of the above? To ensure a successful deployment of a new VMS system, take into consideration who will need to access this data and their unique needs. For example, a receptionist may only need to access live video to see who is in an unattended area of a building, such as a foyer leading into a reception area, but may not need to access stored video. An IT person may only need access to video taken of the IT room, while the owner of a business may need complete access to both live and archived video. Providing open access for all users brings with it the risk of unauthorized access to sensitive information and complicating their job activities with unneeded access to advanced functions.  Configure the system to ensure permissions are matched to each individual’s role, thereby simplifying the user experience – and conserving access rights – to just the behaviors they need.


Is your VMS cyber secure?

Ensuring data is secure is one of the biggest priorities of every business, but not every IP-enabled device or software is designed to be cyber resiliant. When selecting a VMS system, review whether it meets rigorous cyber security standards to protect it from attacks. If the product isn’t designed, tested, and maintained with a cybersecurity mindset upfront, you are likely to always be more exposed as vulnerabilities are discovered and addressed.   Cybersecurity isn’t a “feature” that’s easy to add later, so this is why it’s important to work with product manufacturers with a cyber mindset who have developed and adhere to a cybersecurity program that is proactive to common issues and threats.


Integrate your VMS into other systems

Video surveillance is only one element of physical security.  Many sites use access control to ensure ease of movement through a site, while still restricting access by individual necessity.  Alarm systems are also a foundational component of security, and the surveillance system can integrate effectively with both of these systems and others, improving how effectively a security team responds to events.  Even if you don’t have immediate plans for integrations, investigate the breadth of integrations a VMS offers so that today’s investment can handle the needs of tomorrow.

Success in physical security is measured by how effective an organization is at protecting their people and assets.  For video surveillance that means the correct video is captured and properly stored, users are properly trained and can access that video effectively, the system is secure and doesn’t become a risk to the organization itself, and finally, the video surveillance system contributes to the other components of physical security in place, furthering the mission goal of protection.  These five areas should be part of your VMS deployment planning today, for the challenges you’ll face in the deployed system tomorrow.

The Benefits of Wearable Surveillance

Surveillance video has become an indispensable resource across many different sectors and for multiple purposes. It can be used to confirm a slip and fall at a grocery store for insurance purposes, identify individuals trespassing at a commercial warehouse at night, or detect theft of goods from a retail store.

However, surveillance cameras in these scenarios have limitations. For example, once a security guard arrives on the scene it can be difficult to discern the interaction between the trespasser and the security guard by relying only upon cameras that are fixed to a building. Now, security technology has evolved so that not only can we receive alerts and view live video as an incident happens, but that data can be portable.

“The wearable and body-worn cameras market is expected to reach USD 424.63 billion by 2026.”- Business Wire

Body Worn Camera Uses

Body worn cameras can provide an additional level of situational awareness when worn by delivery people, first responders, public transportation drivers and school administrators, to name a few. People in public facing positions are being held accountable for their actions. As a result, open wearable surveillance devices have become a valuable tool to help ensure policy and procedure compliance across multiple disciplines.

For instance, video that has been captured using a body worn camera as a grocery store employee interacts with a non-mask wearing customer can be reviewed to ensure the employee addressed the customer appropriately and followed corporate policy.  Or, it can be leveraged to prove that a delivery driver did in fact deliver an expensive package to a specific address.


Integration with Video Management System

While the video quality coming from the body worn camera itself is critical, storing and managing the recorded video from these devices is equally as important. Once the video is captured, it also needs to be securely stored and its accessibility needs to be maintained should that data need to be retrieved in the future.

Here’s where integration with a video management system (VMS) becomes key. It’s important to ensure the system that you select not only seamlessly integrates with the body worn camera but provides critical functionality and features. A quality VMS should have the ability to organize and search through video footage from video multiple sources that have been arranged by time, date, location and source.

This means that video from the body worn camera can seamlessly correspond to other important surveillance assets, such as video captured by a fixed camera inside a grocery store or the parking lot. When an incident happens, such as when a customer refuses to wear a mask, being able to compile video from the body worn camera, the camera inside the store, and the one in the parking lot provides the end user a complete picture from multiple viewpoints.

As surveillance needs continues to evolve, body worn cameras in turn are being viewed as an effective and important part of the business management toolbox.

For more information, please visit exacq.com or contact your Regional Sales Manager.


Whether it’s a store from a big box retailer in a local shopping center, the resident branch of a bank or a nearby convenience store, businesses with smaller locations can benefit from an all-in-one video surveillance solution with an attractive total cost of ownership.

Supporting up to 24 IP and 16 analog cameras and bringing together an optimal combination of performance and affordability, the new exacqVision Q-Series offers security administrators the flexibility to choose from IP-only or hybrid systems to incorporate existing analog cameras and IP cameras into the same network video recorder.

Many businesses across distributed locations where there are smaller footprints might be currently utilizing an analog camera network, with years of service still possible. Choosing a flexible solution like the Q- Series is cost-effective, allowing businesses to leverage the benefits of a truly hybrid system, while slowly migrating to IP cameras as necessary.

Keeping costs down with centralized servers and storage clusters is a common video management strategy, but for business locations with smaller footprints, the Q-Series is an ideal solution, accommodating local storage needs and is quite easy to setup and maintain.

Shipping with 4 exacqVision Professional software licenses, this system combines NVR functionality and live monitoring in a single box. Surveillance personnel can monitor the display with 16 live, full-HD streams simultaneously at 15 frames per second. And with support for thousands of camera models, the Q-Series offers the freedom and flexibility to architect a security solution that best fits the customer needs, rather than being restricted to specific camera manufacturers.

To learn more about the benefits of an IP-capable system without sacrificing any existing analog infrastructure, check out the exacqVision Q-Series product page.

Face mask detection applications offer a proactive approach to facility safety

Over the past few months, businesses of all sizes have been tasked with maintaining safe, healthy environments for staff and visitors against the backdrop of COVID-19.  From educational and healthcare campuses to corporate offices and retail stores, many organizations are seeking to implement safeguards such as mandatory face masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Intelligent applications that can help to automate compliance with new health and safety procedures are being introduced to the market, which can quickly put valuable information into the hands of facility decision makers.

A new generation of video analytics, powered by Artificial Intelligence technology, is enabling higher levels of accuracy and speed than traditional pixel-based analytics, ensuring that organizations who depend on accurate results and high throughput can maintain the pace of their operations without having to deal with unnecessary alerts and alarms.  For environments such as hospitals or healthcare organizations, where mask wearing is a critical part of a risk mitigation strategy, it’s crucial for video management systems with mask detection to operate real-time monitoring and alerting of No Mask events – making it easier to take prompt corrective action, optimize safety protocols and enhance situational awareness.

Organizations looking to audit their internal processes for improvement or regulatory compliance should also have the ability to search for No Mask events in stored video to be able to produce reports or track organizational compliance over time. Many of these functions are made easier with deep or even native integrations of video analytics into a video management system, such as the new exacqVision 20.09 with Face Mask Detection. With a seamless, cost-effective face mask detection solution, integrated from Tyco AI directly to the exacqVision VMS, this solution will continue to assist facility managers in adapting to new guidelines, and investing in cost-effective, scalable and efficient technology to help mitigate risks.

Maximize uptime with OS redundancy to ensure high availability and peace of mind

As security systems are often part of critical business infrastructure, maximizing uptime is an essential consideration. exacqVision now offers an operating system (OS) redundancy feature as an option available on multiple systems to ensure high availability and peace of mind in the event the system experiences a solid-state drive failure.

Benefit from fault tolerant systems that save time and effort in a failure scenario 

The new exacqVision OS Redundancy feature – now available as an option on Z-Series, S-Series, EM-Series, and A-Series  R4A and F2A systems – guarantees that the system will continue to operate as expected in the event of a solid-state drive failure. The dual solid-state drives that ship with this option contains data mirrored between drives, allowing for one of them to step in when the other fails.

The solid-state drives not only contain the operating system, they also store exacqVision binaries and associated configuration data of the video security solution.  These configuration setups are a result of significant investment of time and effort by customers, setting up the VMS to their specific needs. By mirroring this data on a redundant drive, the system is able to tolerate a drive failure and continue to perform security functions seamlessly.
Stay current with software event notifications

Stay informed and trigger corrective action when the system experiences drive failure. exacqVision Client or the Enterprise Manager will proactively alert users, so that a replacement solid state drive can be sourced and scheduled for replacement,  all while the system continues to operate as expected despite the unexpected drive loss. This minimizes disruption to the business and allows for immediate and actionable situational awareness surrounding the health of the operating system.


Synthesize services and support from a single vendor

Customers can leverage the benefits of having service and support from a single vendor. When a redundant operating system fails on a third-party hardware, customers may not be notified and face the task of replacing the faulty drive independently. With exacqVision VMS running on exacqVision hardware, not only does the VMS generate alerts on any storage systems failure, a single support team can address all aspects of troubleshooting, seamlessly taking the required detailed steps to restore the systems to its original healthy state.

Strengthen Your First Line of Defense with exacqVision 20.06

Now more than ever the safety of employees and customers is top of mind for businesses, and the newest features available in exacqVision 20.06 are designed to support the needs of today’s dynamic security environments.

Be Proactive Against the Spread of Infection

We are living in a new normal, where businesses amidst the COVID-19 pandemic are looking for ways to detect persons who may be exhibiting symptoms of the virus such as an elevated body temperature. exacqVision 20.06 introduces support for select thermal detection cameras integrated directly into exacqVision, allowing operators to be alerted of potentially infectious individuals.


Facial Matching Custom Classifications

Customers that use Exacq Intelligent Alert Facial Matching can now create customized classifications to better reflect their unique business environment. Previously, they were restricted to using 5 pre-defined classifications (Person of Interest, Loyalty Customer, Guest, Employee, and Trespasser), which may not be relevant for every customer. For example, a school district isn’t likely to use the Loyalty Customer classification for facial matching. Adding the flexibility to create custom classifications makes this solution more scalable for today’s dynamic business environments.

Exacq Facial Matching customers now have the ability to adjust confidence thresholds to fine tune their face match results. These thresholds are set to 95% by default, but they can be overridden with custom values. For example, retail environments using a higher confidence percentage for Employee classifications would yield fewer matches, while a lower value for Person of Interest classifications would result in more matches.

Backup and Restore Enterprise Manager Configurations

The new Enterprise Manager configuration backup and restore provides customers with peace of mind that their data is protected in the event of a system hardware failure, natural disaster, or as in recent events, a global pandemic. Previously there was no way to back up Enterprise Manager configurations, so in the event of a catastrophic failure Enterprise Manager had to be re-configured. With the newest release, administrators can back up their Enterprise Manager configuration either manually or based on a schedule. These backups can be used to quickly restore the system in the event of a hardware failure or natural disaster, providing redundancy and ensuring high availability for enterprise deployments.


Tyco AI is an ever evolving, deep learning solution that infuses artificial intelligence into the Tyco security portfolio. Enabled by the powerful algorithms in Tyco AI, object classification, behavior and facial recognition analytics become exponentially faster and more accurate, enabling the industry-leading suite of Tyco’s automation solutions for access control and video surveillance to produce critical and customizable operational intelligence data for nearly any customer application.

According to a Forbes Magazine article, 75% of enterprises are relying on AI-based platforms and solutions for network security today. While not quite as widespread, AI in physical security is beginning to take hold as designers leverage machine learning to perfect AI-enabled security applications, including facial matching solutions.

As you’d expect, there are some important differences amongst the many facial matching offerings available today. While there are certainly more than three, this trifecta of differentiators stands out:


Deep learning technology enables software to differentiate between humans, animals, objects, time of day, and weather conditions, and analytics can help distinguish between normal and suspicious behavior.  When you add human interpretation to assign classification to faces for context,  you achieve faster and more effective responses that are appropriate for each situation.

The Exacq Facial Matching solution lets you register facial images in different classifications (e.g. persons of interest, employees, guests, etc.) vs. a catch-all watch list so you can react appropriately to alerts and deploy the correct personnel.

Better response is a cornerstone of good security. Facial matching solutions must deliver the details that matter wherever you are – not a generic email notification that leaves you guessing about the nature of the alert.


Using Exacq Mobile with Exacq’s Facial Matching solution, you can automatically receive notifications to your mobile device with a visual display of the matched face when a POI event occurs.


Superior situational awareness that drives appropriate responses



Professionals across all kinds of industries including retail, healthcare, finance, etc. are looking to bolster security and efficiency by automating tasks and processes so security personnel can focus on things that add greater value.

Integrating solutions like facial matching with a video management system will hasten deployment, strengthen security and maximize efficiency. With the Exacq Facial Matching solution, facial registration cameras and rules, and facial match alerts are all configured directly in exacqVision VMS for quick deployment as well as easy management.

exacqVision gives you one comprehensive and intuitive management interface


If you are part of the 75% the Forbes article identified as looking for AI-enabled security tools like Facial Matching, you are undoubtedly interested in accuracy and privacy – two areas that have dogged Facial Matching (and AI-solutions in general) for years.


Data accuracy is dependent on data quality, and a big factor in achieving that quality is in the IP cameras you may have already vetted as trusted components of your security system.  While some facial matching systems will work with only select IP cameras, Exacq’s Facial Matching Solution lets you use any compatible IP HD camera and then leverages deep learning to provide reliable and accurate recognition of faces (even with hats or glasses) with minimal false positives.


Privacy concerns are ubiquitous when considering facial matching solutions and there is a perception that widespread adoption will inevitably lead to a loss of privacy. This is where trusted partners with proven compliance programs have a distinct advantage over manufacturers with less established programs and procedures.


As part of Johnson Controls Product Security Program, Exacq solutions are created in a culture focused on cyber resilience and are deployed with dedicated support to help keep customers’ data safe and secure.



If you work in retail loss prevention, or healthcare or finance security, you know all too well the need to quickly and accurately detect and act on incidents that can affect the wellbeing and bottom line of your organization.


The Exacq Facial Matching solution combines the power and accuracy of Tyco AI’s deep learning with the flexibility and robustness of exacqVision VMS to help you enhance and transform your physical security environment.






Sophisticated Performance from an Affordable NVR


The G-Series PoE network video recorder offers an easy-to-use video recording solution for customers looking to utilize the full sophistication of exacqVision MS on an affordable NVR, without the hassle of wiring cameras to a power supply.

Customers have substantial flexibility on camera choices and provides a simple plug-n-play setup. The G-Series PoE also doubles as a live-view monitoring station, with 8 full-HD simultaneous streams at 15fps, providing a high-quality experience when viewing live or searching stored video. With a generous PoE budget, it delivers 15 watts simultaneously on all ports, and up to 30 watts on any port. For select camera models, just plug a camera into one of the PoE ports, and the NVR automatically finds and configures the camera and starts recording.

Shipping with free IP camera licenses that complement either 4 or 8 PoE ports and unlimited software updates for 3 years, the G-Series is a versatile, cost-effective network video recorder.

Currently the G-Series PoE is only available in the United States and European Union.

For more features and specifications, please refer to the G-Series PoE Data Sheet.

Tyco HD Encoder

The Tyco HD Encoder offers an attractive, simple solution for customers looking to take advantage of high definition video and the affordability of analog HD cameras, providing a seamless way to achieve full integration with exacqVision.



Customers with both HD and SD analog cameras can integration with modern VMS systems, leveraging the benefits of IP while utilizing their existing analog infrastructure. The Tyco HD Encoder is an out-of-the-box solution, providing streams at H.264 and supports up to 4MP resolution.

Tyco provides comprehensive solutions by offering everything you need to simplify support and maximize uptime. Using a single vendor for both NVR and encoder makes purchasing and setup seamless, minimizing support complexities or compatibility issues that can arise down the road. The Tyco HD Encoder is fully supported by exacqVision, making it easy to add into existing systems or as part of a new system.

For more features and specifications, refer to the Tyco HD Encoder Data Sheet.