Archive for June, 2011

Recognize This? Its Your Face . . .

Scene Tap, is launching a revolutionary new interactive product to the Chicago bar / nightlife scene this summer. According to a review of their product by Read Write Web:

Facial detection software is not just limited to the Web though. A new startup in Chicago called SceneTap uses facial detection and people-counting cameras to scope out your local bar to tell you “what is going on.” What is the male-to-female ratio at your favorite club? Who is buying drinks? SceneTap cameras see it all and provide the data to users and bar owners. Seem a little creepy? Maybe not as much as you might think.”

From a security/ surveillance integrator standpoint, this is a fantastic leap in technology.  Even going back to analog camera and DVR technology, USA Security has had a long list of retail customers who use motion and pixel based analytics to determine the popularity / effectiveness of sale displays or end cap marketing. Our retail customers have been using cameras to see who is stopping, are they just browsing or purchasing, what displays are attracting buyers and which aren’t.  Technology like Scene Tap with facial recognition and people counting would allow retail owners to pull that data without having sift through the actual video.


Is This Effective? Who's Stopping to Look?

Several of our casino customers have gone to implement License Plate Recognition software.  From a security standpoint, the benefits are powerful.  By creating a database, security officers can be alerted when undesirable or  unwanted persons drive onto the property and can respond accordingly.  However, an added benefit, similar to Scene Tap‘s management features, allow guest sercvices and marketing to be alerted when high-rollers or VIP players arive on property. They can have notes associated with the license plate such as “John Doe, plays mostly Poker or Black Jack, enjoys such- and- such scotch on rocks” Guest Services can have someone waiting for John at the door with his favorite drink in hand as he walks into the property.

As budgets become tighter, and companies look to streamline; retail and entertainment providers will be looking for avenues like Scene Tap’s facial recognition technology to blend IT, safety, security, and marketing budgets.  A tool that allows you to keep out who you don’t want, while actively engaging those you do, will show a much faster ROI than the traditional methods of surveillance.

Mentioned in this article: Avigilon, Read Write Web, Scene Tap, USA Security


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Pixels, Compression, or Capture Chips? Yes.

In a recent Star Tribune column, Don Lindich points out what to look for in a digital camera.  As we noted in a previous post, most individuals have better cameras in their phones than in their place of business.

While the artilce was written about consumer digital cameras, many of applications apply to the surviellence industry as well.

“Three parts of a digital camera work together to create images: the lens, the sensor and the “jpeg engine.” The lens gathers and focuses light on the sensor. The sensor reads the light and sends digital data to the camera’s computer (containing the jpeg engine), which processes the raw data from the sensor to create images.  . .

“. . .cameras have sensors with tiny physical dimensions and small surface area. That means that if you go from 8 megapixels to 12 megapixels, each one of those light-gathering cells has to be a lot smaller to fit on the tiny chip. Smaller cells gather less light and the camera’s computer compensates by amplifying the signal. This often leads to grainy, overly contrasted pictures in all but perfect lighting conditions.”

Not all cameras are compressed the same.  An h.264 CODEC is very bandwidth light from the camera to server, howerver much more intensive from the server to the client.  Conversely, JPEG2000 is very heavy from the camera to the server, and much lighter from the server to the client.

As always, keep the end goals in mind when putting a project together and you’ll be sure to be satisfied with the results.

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Cut the Cord, or They Will . . .

Several weeks ago, we laid out  Quick Tips for Avoiding Home Invasions  . In that post, we outlined the advantages of dropping traditional phone lines for communication and going to an IP/ GSM (cellular dialer).  Recently in the Minneapoilis metro area, a rash of high-end home invasions has helped hammer home this point.

According to Kare 11,All of the crimes involved forced entry, outside telephone or alarm lines were cut in two instances . . . ”  With a traditional phone line system, even an IP system, once those lines are cut, the system can’t communicate out; no communication, no police.

At USA Security, we install systems (both commercial and residential) with an IP communicator and a GSM

communicator.  If the IP / Internet lines are cut, the GSM dials out over cell signal.  No cords to cut.

As an added feature, through GSM, you can add Total Connect.  This is the future of home security, allowing you to arm and disarm your system from any smart device.

A typical monthly monitoring contract is $25-$35 per month depending on features, for an additional $5.00 per month you can monitor a cellular dialer.  Don’t waste your money on a system that can be compromised.  Lets cut the cord!

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Barry’s Workin’ Hard to Put in Nothing but the Best


I caught up with one of our service techs, Barry, on an installation.  Based on the finished installations they’ve put in (see previous posts), I firmly we believe we have some of the best techs in the industry.  Our guys take a very real pride in the installation.

Looking Good Barry

Our guys often get in put in some tough conditions, whether its having to move around a loading dock, avoid equipment and work areas, or any other curve ball the installation may throw, they get the job done and their finished product looks great.  Because these guys really have a great handle on their installations, we give them a lot of leeway.  This particular installation was designed by one of our sales reps.  The system was designed to have cameras centrally located and looking back out towards all of the dock doors.  Once on site, Barry thought that he could hit the same camera shots from the outside, capturing deeper pictures and wider angles without going over the labor budget.

Measure twice, drill once

This particular finished product ended up being a 5.0 Megapixel Avigilon camera.  That coverage generates 5 million pixels over these doors, if you include the man doors, thats 1.25 million pixels per door.


So many pixels

That same day I saw a Clinton Electronics DVR (If I try and sell you one of these, please show me the door) and the cameras were recording at 174×144 (25,000 pixels). To get the same level of detail, you would need 50 cameras per door!


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