Intelligent Video Solutions: Why Not Go DIY For Your Security

In the same way that in order to keep our health, most recognize the value of seeing a medical practitioner regularly for checkups and necessary tests. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, many enterprises do not carry this philosophy with them and into their security environments. They might budget for product yet not budget for professional services and assess performance of those products to determine the risk of a breach.

Taking a “set and forget” attitude to security systems can cause a system of sub-optimally configured and deployed security tools. Not properly integrating, testing, and re-integrating is a part of why some of today’s enterprises find “themselves with massively complex, disparate and expensive-to-manage security infrastructures that, when all is said and done, are largely ineffective against modern adversaries.”

Some organizations assume that original equipment manufacturers (OEM) should be the best resource and point of contact for deploying, optimizing, and fine-tuning their security services and platforms. But OEMs are simply the manufacturers and not security systems integrators (SSIs).

This tends to limit their knowledge to only their particular suite of technology, and because it is typical for a mid-range and larger commercial project to require integration between the equipment of multiple manufacturers. This is the kind of work that we do here at STST and through our professional integrations services, we can “provide strategic guidance on infrastructure rationalization and optimization.”

Adopting a DIY approach or trying to have a tech-savvy employee handle it all internally is one of the quickest ways to fall prey to a data breach. Using existing, internal staff to deploy and integrate new tech can lead to problems from configuration issues, sub-optimal overall performance, to of course all out system failure. Some studies from OEMs suggest that as many as 95% of clients who experience a data breach set up and integrated their systems themselves.

Aside from all this, using an SSI to plan-out, source, design, implement, and test your access control and/or surveillance project is much more likely to save you money in the long or even short run.

Having a company of specialists such as STST always in your contacts gives you the peace of mind that the people who built your system, and therefore have a much more intimate knowledge of it, will be around to service your project moving into the future.

A poorly installed “DIY” system may not only waste money in that it may simply be of poor quality or poor design implementation, but also keeps your company at risk to the attacks and break ins you were trying to prevent in the first place.

From schools, offices, clinical facilities, HOA pools and much more, STST has the knowledge and experience to install or effectively upgrade existing infrastructure in a meaningful way that will hold together and ultimately, get results.

Even though huge volumes of video data are collected every day, most statistics indicate that only 10 percent of this data is ever used. The majority of data collected loses its value very quickly after being generated. The reason for this? Our primary focus tends to be delivering the correct information in a crisis or providing it as evidence after criminal activity has taken place. This causes much data to be “wasted” in the sense that we lose our on the opportunity to perform useful analytics.

Video analytics is an increasingly powerful tool. It helps to improve usability of these vast amounts of video information. Analytics software acts as the “brain” of a surveillance system and is built into IP cameras themselves or processed in separate computing infrastructure. This creates a smarter system that “knows” what it sees and alerts guards to potential threats as soon as an alarm rule or condition is met. Analytics gives operators the chance to act faster and more efficiently with better intel.

Video analytics is like an ever-vigilant system operator within the security system itself. It captures data like a panopticon, seeing all in every monitored scene around the clock. Content analysis information, a form of video metadata, is stored as well. As they reduce operating costs and increase efficiency, intelligent cameras deliver a solid return on investment which can be measured in tangible results to the business or other setting in which it operates.

Let’s take a look at what exactly is possible using intelligent video:

Smart IP cameras are able to classify the objects they see on their own. Objects entering or leaving the scene can be identified as a person, car, bike, truck, or other object. Because the camera can differentiate objects, it can be told to only alert in the case of a break-in, ignoring things like leaves in the wind or animals wondering through. New low-light cameras allow color-filtering even in scenes with very little ambient light. Even at night, color detection is possible in this way.

Alarm detection can be set to be even more specialized. Rules can be configured to look for specialized behavior patterns such as fighting, running, loitering, path following, abandoned luggage, entering an area, and more. The alarm engine in each camera coordinates with the others in a logical way to interpret this information and determine threat status. All this allows for a very robust alarm condition solution and prevents false and missed alarms.

What’s more, stored metadata enables forensic analysis at a later time. This means that retroactive searches for a specific car or person is possible even if it was not a determined item of interest until well after the event was recorded. Metadata is compact and only barely adds to the size of recordings. It is quick and easy to search through to find a specific event.

The logical next step is to continue to improve analytics for video metadata until we approach 100 percent practical use. Predictive analysis of human traffic patterns can predict shoplifting and identify potential events before they take place, and the more data that can be made useful the more accurate these types of predictions will be.

The same technology can monitor customer dwell time at different displays in a store and determine the effectiveness of in-store advertising and product locations. Analyzing customer engagement with these displays can help increase customer engagement with products and lead to increased sales and revenue. As the IoT expands, this type of technology will be more and more critical as there will be many more points of data to analyze. There is no way to fully anticipate the eventual effects this will have on our industry or the world at large.


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Acadian Monitoring

STST has partnered with Acadian for their industry leading monitoring services since our beginning. Having a reliable monitoring service is critical in making the most of a camera intensive installation; without someone watching out for activity on your video feeds, the usefulness of the system is diminished. Acadian monitors several analytics from different video manufacturers. They also monitor motion-based triggers in cases where the camera is focused on a limited area with an analytics box drawn around the area of interest. 90 percent of what they monitor are external cameras using video analytics.
Traditional analytics are triggered using something called pixel modification formulas, while newer systems are starting to make use of machine learning driven formulas. In video analytics, most companies will make use of basically the same set of rules for triggering events and avoiding false alarms, even if they give them different names and trademarks for branding purposes. Below we will take a look at these rule sets.
Person and Vehicle Detection
This rule is used to alert on a person or vehicle when they have entered a zone specified to disallow their presence. This is the most common rule. Adjustments can be made for area size and time limits for the presence of the person or vehicle.
Group Gathering
As the name implies, this rule alerts the monitoring center when a group of people above a certain number have gathered in the specified area. This rule is often applied in high activity residential areas and in low income housing projects.
The typical amount of time set for event generation in the case of loitering is 30 seconds. Often employed by businesses with sidewalks facing their front, this analytic is able to limit false alarms from innocent people walking by but is still capable of triggering an event in the case of a breaking and entering attempt. This rule is not recommended if the front facing doors are glass.
Acadian also monitors thermal cameras. Thermal imaging is recommended in environments with low lighting or foliage that obscures a normal camera’s view.
Moving into the next decade, analytics will continue to be a critical part of the security and access control environment. Should machine learning advance as many project, these algorithms should be expected to become increasingly more robust and powerful, leading to the near elimination of false alarms and an almost human presence for all cameras and access control devices with analytics enabled. The total effects of machine learning are still somewhat speculative, but assuming any growth in the field, the possibilities may even exceed our current imagination.


STST Inc. is South Texas’ source for professionally designed and integrated security and access control systems.

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Modernizing Security for the Banking Segment



The banking market is continuing to evolve with the growing use of mobile devices, and more branch operations are aiming to enhance service and convenience for the customer. With these advancements come greater potential for fraud and associated loss. Naturally, increasingly sophisticated fraud technology and techniques will require organizations to look at new approaches to prevent and detect these activities. Here we will take a look at how solutions such as Verint EdgeVR and Op-Center aim to protect this market segment in the near future.

Financial institutions face more day-to-day challenges than retail or other business environments as a general rule, due to the nature of the services they provide and how enticing they are to fraud. The industry has relied on advanced video surveillance solutions for many years already, but actively seeks to keep up with trends and the latest technologies available in order to minimize losses. Furthermore, previous solutions are less and less able to support requirements for video retention, and so catalyze this move forwards.

Solutions that hybridize a mix of both analog and digital video cameras through a secure platform to limit cybersecurity risks, enhance video capture through analytics, and simplify the process of ongoing maintenance are preferred here. One such solution is Verint’s EdgeVR and Op-Center. This platform manages video surveillance and data capture across multiple branches and is an enterprise-class, IP-based network video recording system. It is built for large scale operations distributed geographically and is fully capable of hybrid IP/analog, permitting migration to digital video to enhance long term value and reduce integration costs.

The system provides for high quality video, optimized bandwidth use, a secure, proprietary operating system and industry-leading interfaces which increases ROI.

This is paired with Verint’s Op-Center which allows the enterprise to monitor, manage and troubleshoot NVRs from a central location. Adding Op-Center reduces the cost of video system management and allows the user to configure NVRs, change device properties, set passwords, download firmware, create audit reports, and manage user rights remotely. Remote diagnostics allow rapid troubleshooting and threat identification for large NVR deployments. Using this platform, administrators can monitor an entire network of surveillance, prevent loss of video, and maximize up-time.

Video analytics are also a valuable addition for fraud mitigation. Banks can search through footage much more easily and intelligently to locate any persons of interest throughout various locations. Analytics allows operators to address red flags and suspicious events much more rapidly than in the past. The technology is useful in identifying “slip and fall” events and ensuring long term capture of relevant video for use in later investigations. One banking chain estimates that this solution from Verint has provided them an 85 percent time savings over manual methods.

Verint continues to create technologies that simplify, automate and modernize, while also allowing for migration of old video surveillance technologies. Their solutions can be a significant force multiplier to help secure a branch’s footprint, alleviate risk, improve investigations into fraud, and maintain operational compliance over many locations. Moving past the first quarter of 2019 we should expect to see more use of “Big Data” for video analytics sourced from distributed spans of IOT devices to allow the banking industry to investigate threats rapidly and produce intelligence that can be acted on.



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Healthcare Cyber Security Challenges


Healthcare institutions already face a variety of security challenges both physically and in the digital space, and these of course will only continue to evolve. As this happens, the security industries must keep up with change. Particularly vulnerable to data breaches and ransomware are hospitals. This is due in part to the relatively high value of medical data. Besides this, most modern facilities and doctors now use electronic prescriptions which can be vulnerable to fraud and theft. Hospital administrators are under the pressures of a cost only alleviated through the improvement of operational security and workflow efficiency. Here we will look at some ways to accomplish that.


A key component in overall healthcare securities is knowing who is going where and when within the different zones of the installation. One way to accomplish this is using “Trusted Identities”. This approach to identity and authentication uses multi-factor authentication, digital certificates, management of credentials, and physical security in a four-pointed approach sometimes called PIAM. Reliable and efficient credential verification has given rise to a more connected and efficient system for hospitals in what is called the IoTT (Internet of Trusted Things). This also opens the door to making use of big data and machine learning to create fundamental changes in how healthcare institutions manage risk and operate in general.


Regarding electronic prescriptions, the DEA mandate for a separate two factor authentication for controlled substances is one out of many regulatory requirements facing the digital arm of healthcare. Intelligent systems built to automate much of this type of “red tape” can realize significant decreases in cost. Using integrated systems that can talk to each other will almost always result in better efficiency, done properly. Digital certificates, signatures and signing are backed by public key infrastructure and can incorporate One Time Password (OTP) tokens and biometrics to comply with both DEA and HIPAA. These same systems can be used to solve the fundamental issues of protecting patient data and remotely authenticating through VPNs using mobile devices.


Perhaps the most promising up and coming weapon in fighting healthcare fraud like malware and data breaches is real-time risk profiling, which protects against both known and recent threats targeting both online users and mobile devices. Risk profiling in the healthcare setting can use a wide variety of known information to make best guesses about a subject trying to gain access to some device in the network. These data driven cyber surveillance systems combine evidence-based approaches to risk analysis with behavioral biometrics to give the best picture of the real risks to an institution, much in the same way big retail chains can guess who is about to steal from a store.
Security Technology of South Texas is happy to offer custom access control and surveillance solutions to the healthcare market, designed either turn-key and from the ground up, or integrated into an already existing series of cameras.


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