31 May Crime fighting Combination
Do more CCTV systemsmake us more secure? According to Jean Turgeon, vice president & chief technologist at Avaya, it’s all in the network. Millions of CCTV are being deployed around the world. Is this enough?
Deploying more security cameras can only help in discouraging people from committing crimes-knowing they are more likely to be caught on camera-but what is really important is the quality of the video provided, the use of analytics to help prevent crimes, and ensuring that installed cameras eliminate blind spots.
CCTV has evolved tremendously from the old days of analogue, which for the most part didn’t provide the right level of required quality – so it was difficult to clearly identify individuals but also hard, if not impossible, to perform real-time analytics. With the evolution of CCTV, cameras now offer extraordinary definition, for instance a license plate can be read clearly from hundreds of meters away. Even in dark conditions, video surveillance can capture amazing quality images, allowing analytics to be performed in real time.
The transition from analogue to digital, combined with the IP enablement of deployments, provides many other key benefits. Centralised digital recording of high definition video, which can easily be timestamped and indexed, not only allow whoever is committing the crime to be caught more easily, but also help authorities be much more pro-active by fully leveraging real-time analytics.
Now suspicious individuals can easily be detected and tracked, while security authorities can be notified to hopefully prevent crimes from happening. This is Big Data: as you combine the video-surveillance data with other relevant data bases such as criminal records, arrest records, or whatever, one can easily imagine how positively impactful this technology can be to our citizens. The more CCTV we deploy, the more capabilities the world has to fight and prevent crime.
Experts say that without a strong network to support all these CCTV deployments, we continue to be at risk. Can current legacy networks support more advanced CCTV applications or do we need to look at other solutions?
Legacy networks were built with a series of protocols running on top of each other to meet some of the security or virtualization requirements. For the most part, the legacy networks used a concept of unicast to communicate -think of it as a one-to-one conversation. This is very efficient in a client/server-type environment, where the PC or device communicating is communicating with one specific server application.
Now imagine this model in a CCTV implementation, where thousands of cameras need to be deployed, causing 1,000’s of network unicast flows to be sent to the recorder and likely to a series of monitoring stations, even potentially to a police department. One unicast stream can quickly turn into three; hence it becomes very inefficient in these type of deployments.
If a camera is not used for monitoring or analytics but only for recording-for audit purposes for instance – then unicast can likely meet the business needs. Where it gets way more challenging is when you the business requirements demand not only recording, but multiple monitoring stations, and other agencies want to gain access to some of the video feeds too.
In such cases, then multicast technology will come to the rescue. However, this unfortunately comes with more complexity as more protocols are required to run these IP flows in a multicast mode: protocols such as PIM-SM, OSPF, VLANs with IGMP snooping, and so on will be required to be designed and implemented on the network.
At this point there are two challenges: the recovery times when a failure occurs and the complexity associated with a network that requires 5,000-10,000+ IP video surveillance cameras running multicast. Recovery times due to the inter-dependency of all of these protocols can be as long as 35-40 seconds; potential losing video recording for such a length of time makes audit capabilities pretty much impossible, and may make the video source invalid in a court of law.
Rather than deal with the complexity associated with all these protocols needed to support multicast configurations, many organisations will choose to stay away from multicast deployments, and opt for smaller separate physical networks. This is less than ideal if you are attempting to reduce your TCO.
The good news, there is a solution available in the market, which is based on an IEEE (IEEE 802.laq) and IETF (RFC 6329) standard that eliminates the needs for all of these protocols and allows a much simpler deployment with extremely fast recovery times in the range of150ms to 400ms. Not just that, this solution brings scales to new levels where in excess of14,500 multicast streams have been tested and validated running over a single physical network infrastructure.
For customers that need multicast, they have to very seriously evaluate this technology. Avaya is leading the way in this area; we can help organisations address both TCO and reliability needs, while meeting your specific business needs.
How can analytics help?
The combination of CCTV deployed over a highly scalable and reliable network is definitely beneficial and can largely contribute to reducing crime and potentially pro-actively preventing it. But, where the technology gets really impactful is when you also add real-time analytics integrated with business process automation. It is great to have analytics detect some abnormal behaviour, but when this becomes incredibly powerful is when an automated workflow can be triggered based on the situation analysis.
Imagine that somebody is attempting to steal something from a store – this could be detected by real-time monitoring and realtime analytics, triggering a workflow that could address the incident without human intervention.
For instance, the workflow could automatically order other cameras to track all movements of the suspect, while integrating the video stream to a mobile video conferencing system that could provide full visualization to security guards or police officers on a smart device. The system could also trigger a store lockdown through SIP-enabled door locks, sound an alarm, enable a strobe light, trigger an alert through paging systems-whatever is required. In simple terms, the lethal weapon is when you combine a highly scalable, reliable network infrastructure optimised for multicast to support 10,00’s of IP video surveillance cameras, with a business process automation system allowing you to customise the desired business outcome.
This, believe it or not, is all possible today from Avaya. It is the combination of our SDN Fx architecture and Breeze, the latest iteration of our Engagement Development Platform (EDP). Business process automation and customization over an automated network optimized for CCTV leveraging multicast makes a very powerful combination today. Now, that is lethal to crime.