Leading in fashion and loss prevention

Like the latest designs that fill its stores’ racks, retailer Century 21 considers itself a leader in the adoption of the latest in security technology. And for good reason –  the company’s high-fashion, low-price stores in the New York/New Jersey area are filled with products that range in value from a few dollars to thousands, requiring an advanced loss prevention program.

Even in its strides to stay on top of security advancements, Century 21 does so with very specific goals in mind. While on board with analog to IP video conversion, the company wanted to migrate to an IP solution only if it could maintain or exceed its current standards for security.

Recently, the stores’ loss prevention professionals sought a means to address one of the less-desirable byproducts of IP technology — latency.

Latency, which is the delay between joystick movement used to command camera movement Tyco Security Products, PTZ, Latency, American Dynamics, illustraand the camera’s actual response to the command, can be devastating in active surveillance situations.  Losing sight of a person because of slow camera response time wasn’t an option when it came to protecting inventory, personnel, and patrons. Low latency and high picture quality were on the top of Century 21’s shopping list.

The Illustra 625 IP PTZ cameras have the ability to move into position as fast as 512º per second, providing accurate tracking control when loss prevention personnel are tracking suspected shoplifters through a retail location or when other suspicious events occur within the store. The cameras provide Century 21’s loss prevention personnel with an efficient means to undertake active surveillance and effective tracking of suspicious behavior.

Another key part of the solution is how the video is recorded and accessed for forensic purposes. The retailer wanted to make the best use of loss prevention personnel. Having tools that could reduce the time spent watching recorded video was also critical, and technological improvements have helped answer those needs.

Century 21’s VideoEdge video management system platform, through the use of metadata collection and motion search tools, greatly reduces video search-and-review times.  Security team members aren’t tied to a desk or office any longer — they can access the NVMS via iPhones or iPads, giving them the ability to monitor situations remotely.

Companies such as Century 21 are investing in the latest technology not only to reach their loss prevention goals, but also to bring value to other store operations. The same surveillance system and analytics used to spot potential thieves or detect in-house loss prevention issues can be deployed in non-security situations.  They can be used to track consumer shopping patterns which result in better store layouts and optimized staffing levels.

It’s a return on a cutting-edge investment that can improve the retailer’s bottom line in new and exciting ways.

Illustra 625 PTZ Tyco Security Products


 Tyco Security Products’  Illustra 625 PTZ Dome Camera was recently named Best Camera by IFSEC Global. Find out more about how its fast tracking and superb zooming speed earned the Illustra 625 PTZ this industry honor! 





On the edge or in the cloud: Exploring the latest storage options

Long ago, security professionals utilized VCR tapes for video storage, which entailed endless hours of searching for video evidence. Video storage has since evolved with smarter, easier options. Now, integrators and end users have a variety of options for video storage based on their needs and budgets.

Certain industries, such as gaming, will probably continue to rely on centrally based applications to support the hundreds and even thousands of cameras deployed in this type of setting. But for other security installations, either edge or cloud-based storage are two options that should be considered.

Benefits of Edge Storage

Edge storage is gaining popularity, especially among smaller installations, because it can be a cost-saving solution. Instead of investing in a separate server, the video management system (VMS) runs directly on the IP camera and stores video to the camera’s SD card. Video can also be archived to network storage appliances for even more versatility.

Edge storage is ideal as a stand-alone, distributed solution or part of a complete enterprise installation. Businesses ranging from gas stations to branch offices or utility buildings with fewer than a dozen cameras on site may find edge storage to be more practical than adding another server. In addition to remote locations and installations with low camera counts, edge storage works well for environments with unreliable wireless or WAN connectivity. The camera records video and audio even when the network is down.

video storage tyco security productsIt also provides high reliability for operators because there is no single point of failure. Each camera continuously records as long as the camera has power. The cameras operate independently, so even if one fails and is no longer able to store video, the other cameras continue to function.

Benefits of Cloud-Based Storage

On the other end of the spectrum, companies looking to handle massive amounts of video may benefit from the cloud model. This includes the financial industry, which has considerable storage requirements.

Of course, with cloud-based storage comes a higher bandwidth demand. More bandwidth is required to move the video data that is being constantly generated from the cameras into the cloud. And at this point, it is a more costly option than is feasible for many users.

Also, cloud storage still has to overcome concerns about data safety. Certain industries such as gaming, defense and government may not be ready to — or are restricted from — exploring this option.

Analytics Processing on the Camera

With both edge and cloud-based storage, the focus is turning more and more to the use of video analytics to reduce costs associated with recording high-resolution video. By applying analytics within the camera, selective recording can take place, capturing only those images that are necessary and at the proper resolution.

For instance, a camera can be programmed to detect faces within a specific zone and automatically increase the bit rate for additional clarity, while still maintaining an overall low constant bit rate.

The bottom line for determining what storage option is appropriate comes down to which solution offers the right level of security, timeliness for retrieving data and cost model to fit the unique needs of each business.

Find out more about Edge storage options, including the typical days of video able to store using Edge storage.


Bigger, Smarter, Faster and Easier: What’s Next in Access Control

Advances in access control have been a bit slower to happen when compared with other sectors in the security industry, such as video, where the advent of IP technology has caused dramatic and transformational change. Spurred by that momentum, the migration to IP technology is also making definitive waves in the access control market, where integration has become essential, costs have come down and new technologies have become available. A product’s ability to integrate, its capacity for saving large amounts of data and accessibility to new technologies has become important to integrators and end users, as has ease of installation and use.

So when it comes to access control, what are some of the top trends to pay attention to in the coming year?

One change within access control and video is a shift from integration to unification. With integrated platforms, the access control and video systems work together, but may still have multiple user interfaces, some operational incompatibilities and/or use multiple servers. A unified access control/video platform can allow for a single server system, provide richer features and lower the overall cost of ownership. Among these increased capabilities is access to deeper sets of analytics and reporting, making it easier for customers to identify and understand trends within their operations.

Another significant evolution has been the adoption of wireless locks. As prices have gone down enough to become accessible to all sizes of businesses, they provide the same security as traditional key-based solutions with the added benefits of accountability and auditing. With a wireless lock, specialized access for each employee can be created, such as in a hospital pharmacy for as low as $500-1,000 per entryway.

cloud security, access control, Tyco Security ProductsThe cloud is making waves in access control, as it is in most industries. Concerns remain however, regarding data privacy, bandwidth usage and local accessibility of data in a disaster scenario. In a new report by research house IHS, data shows that adoption of cloud storage for access control systems will remain slow until these specific areas are adequately addressed. Despite these concerns, hosted and managed solutions are growing in popularity, due to their ability to access the power of the cloud.

Enterprise access control is another developing trend. Customers want a single source for information, and there are very few brands in the field today that can offer that. Really, any business with a WAN system can benefit from using Enterprise access control. Without an Enterprise approach, customers are at the mercy of WAN  communications, which can be slow, especially when generating reports and using analytics features.

There is no question that biometrics has been the “it” technology for some time. So far, high costs and reliability issues have kept its scope relatively small, but in recent years technology and adoption have increased. The newest focus in biometrics will be non-contact, frictionless access control with upcoming technology likely finger/palm vein and face recognition.

Join us on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. EST for a fast-paced webinar that takes a top-level assessment of the emerging technologies in access control and what they will mean for the architects of security.  Attendees of this webinar are eligible for 1 CEU to be applied toward recertification of the ASIS professional certification. 

Register Here

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Intrusion in the SMART Revolution

It’s a new world out there. Everything has become smart. Smart car. Smart device. Smart home. But which intrusion devices work best with all of these other intelligent devices and systems?

As you try to make sense of the smart revolution, here are a few things to keep in mind when considering intrusion devices for the smart home.

As electronic devices get smarter and offer more features, data and capabilities, they can also become difficult for the home user to operate and understand. Manufacturers in the intrusion alarm.com, Tyco Security Products, DSC, Intusion, Smart Homemarket and beyond recognize that data and operation fatigue are real and can dissuade customers from even considering buying new technology. As a result, some manufacturers are designing intrusion devices that are easy to integrate with other smart products. When shopping for intrusion devices, a top feature to look for is the device’s ability to integrate with other technologies and aggregate controls into a single interface, an interface that is intuitive enough for daily use and that provides immediate value to the smart home owner.

The challenge for device manufacturers, of course, is how to make all these technologies work together and how to bring the functionalities of various smart home technologies together into this simple, intuitive user interface. With this aim in mind, intrusion device manufacturers have formed partnerships with manufacturers of other smart home devices. When manufacturers of intrusion devices and other smart home devices work together in the design and production of their hardware, it is much easier to create the simple and seamless operation that the customer desires.

In order to stay relevant and to provide the best customer experience, smart home intrusion systems must keep pace with broader technological advancements, as well as with partner technological advancements, and integrate them effectively into new products and versions. A product line that is updated often signals that the manufacturer is interested in keeping up with the latest developments in the intrusion market and broader technology market.

Simple and intuitive data analysis is a must have when choosing intrusion devices for the smart home. Being barraged by multiple data streams can be overwhelming. A simple and easy to digest data analysis capability, either native to the intrusion device or in the device’s integration with a larger system, can give a home owner an accurate snapshot of what is happening in the home right from a smart phone.

Though the choices in intrusion devices and smart home components can seem myriad, focusing on these four basic features can help you choose devices that will prove easy to use and give you greater knowledge of your home and its safety.

Learn more about how you can join the SMART Revolution with Integrated Intrusion Solutions by clicking HERE.