Tech Talk: Cameras

Keeping apace with technology is very much the focus for organisations across the Middle East, and camera technology is no exception. Security & Fire Africa speaks to the experts to find out where the industry is headed.

Walter Candelu, VP Middle East & Africa, Real Networks,  

What challenges currently face the camera tech industry?

Today IP cameras have become a commodity for many industries, with a market growth driven by both regulatory bodies mandating their use, and by an increased demand for security, whether real or perceived.

However, the huge amount of surveillance video streams and footage available has brought a very new set of challenges for end-users. These include how to properly handle so many cameras and how to make better use of video for business.

What really drives the current cameras manufacturing framework is the ability to turn IP cameras into intelligent devices to provide end-users with less video and more usable data.

How do you see camera tech evolving in the future?

Like for every tech transformation, innovators and risk-takers are critical in accelerating the process of moving from simple ideas to broad adoption; this is true for both manufacturers/developers as well as end-users.

While the process is inevitable, I still see a wall of misconception about security, ethics, and performance. As a result, a close collaboration between video analytics developers and camera manufacturers will be essential to educating customers and accelerating wider adoption.

Lizzi Goldmeier, Director of Marketing, BriefCam,

What challenges currently face the camera tech industry?

When it comes to surveillance, although many organisations and cities rely on camera networks for safety and security enablement, they are not realising the full potential of their video investments.

Their challenges include:

Volumes of video

An overwhelming amount of video is being recorded. The Omdia analyst firm anticipates that, by the end of 2022, there will be over 1 billion surveillance cameras installed globally. For most organisations, this means collecting video 24/7 without the resources to review, analyse, and utilise the video content effectively and comprehensively.

Human resources

Typically, manual video review is error prone and time consuming. When reviewing video, investigators can experience fatigue and miss key information and trends captured by video.

Siloed intelligence

Video data remains largely untouched by the organisations collecting it and, even when it is leveraged, it is almost exclusively by security teams for driving public safety and post-event investigations.

Video content analysis is an AI-based software solution that enables video systems operators to take full advantage of their surveillance infrastructure by: rapidly searching and filtering through massive quantities of security footage for actionable information; triggering real-time, rule-based alerts to increase situational awareness and drive faster response time as threats or emergencies develop; and quantifying video data and leveraging metrics for planning, development and operations optimisation. Implementing a video analysis tool can empower teams across an organisation to uncover valuable insights from video for data-driven decision-making – whether for safety and security or operations and business efficiencies.

What do you consider the most vital piece of camera tech for organisations in the Middle East to have?

Organisations in the Middle East and across the globe stand to benefit from the powerful integrations across the video technology ecosystem, unifying their camera, video management, and analytics systems to advance safety and security, while leveraging video data for insights across business units. As a technology in the video surveillance ecosystem, video analytics empowers people, communities, and companies to maximise their video surveillance infrastructure for critical decision-making.

Dennis Choi, General Manager, IDIS Middle East & Africa,  

How do you see camera tech evolving in the future?

Systems won’t just be used for surveillance operations and are no longer seen in terms of an IoT device that just captures video footage. Increasingly we’re seeing video being used for operational purposes including meeting industry-sector compliance, improving customer service, enforcing standard operating procedures, better understanding workspace and building usage and delivering intelligence in retail and hospitality settings. For example, delivering greater understanding of in-store and customer behaviour, and addressing health & safety concerns.

Long term plans for diversification combined with smart and visionary development of the region’s economy that is embodied in programs such as Saudi Arabia 2030 and Kuwait 2035 are driving growth. For organisations to thrive, they need a flexible and futureproof surveillance architecture that will allow them to adopt new camera tech that prepares them for future opportunities as well as evolving risks. And with government mandated surveillance the adoption of AI-powered and deep learning analytics is likely to be swift to ensure public safety and deliver cost savings through efficiency gains.

And as SoCs become more powerful, this will support further development of a whole raft of additional analytics functions to make businesses smarter and safer.

What do you consider the most vital piece of camera tech for organisations in the Middle East to have?

In the GCC, continuous recording is vital – gaps in footage can result in non-compliance penalties for end users and expensive rectification if systems integrators have implemented systems vulnerable to downtime. This highlights the importance of tech such as onboard failover, whereby cameras record footage to SD cards if there is network instability or a disconnect between NVRs and cameras. Footage is stored on the camera and automatically transferred to the NVRs after recovery. For enterprise and critical national infrastructure surveillance – applications such as banking, power generation, oil & gas, etc – cameras need to be paired with a VMS and/or NVR that protects against a range of fault conditions to ensure there are no gaps in footage. So, these risk-critical customers look for cameras that are coupled with recording hardware that supports RAID 1 and 5 and redundant HDDs and power.

Storage is always a consideration when upgrading to HD network surveillance. With around 120–180-days’ storage specified in several sectors by GCC ministries, customers are now looking more closely at how this affects their operating expenditure. They are looking for H.265 as standard with specialist compression technologies that don’t impact performance. Cameras also need to be able to provide live view and recording in low bandwidth conditions. Some customers also have remote locations and satellite sites where they want to retain existing infrastructure. To reduce storage burdens, ME users are also more likely to look for intelligent motion detection.

Per Johansson, Vice President, Bosch Video Systems and Solutions,

What challenges currently face the camera tech industry?

The global pandemic has disrupted nearly every workplace while concurrently accelerating digital transformation and the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI). Long before COVID-19, however, our business was transforming from hardware-centric to a network of connected, intelligent sensors that produce an overwhelming amount of data. As connectivity and technological advances bring many advantages, customers are concerned with digital trust. Increasingly, they will request that companies provide safety, privacy, security, reliability, and data ethics with their online programs or devices. And customers want to do business without negatively impacting the environment, community, or society by participating in sustainable business practices.

How do you see camera tech evolving in the future?

When cameras can understand what they’re seeing, they can convert video data into actionable insights allowing users to predict and pre-empt potential dangers. Camera technology will continue to evolve and operate with predictive intelligence. The more advanced cameras will begin to tap deep learning algorithms to learn and recognise patterns and tackle even the most complex tasks faster, with higher accuracy.

What do you consider the most vital piece of camera tech for organisations in the Middle East?

The hot, arid climate in the Middle East and other extreme conditions pose various challenges for video security systems to perform, let alone integrate video analytics for highly accurate detection. Customers need a solution to deliver long-term reliable performance, highly accurate detection capabilities, and specifically designed for the most demanding environments.

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