Wednesday, October 28, 2009

King Tutankhamun

Summary of how the famous exhibit, Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs, including artifacts from King Tutankhamun tomb dating back to 1,500 years B.C., is being protected with a variety of techniques including video and RFID tags. Classic combination of FlexiDome IP cameras, some running IVA, recording to DiBos hybrid recorders. Elegantly simple.

Friday, October 23, 2009

ONVIF and PSIA parallel view

I like how Sam Pfeifle (of Security Systems News) drew the parallel between the feelings surrounding the plug-fests for both these organizations. And I agree with those who say good luck to both - competition is always healthy and market forces will decide the outcome. We are certainly heading towards towards a world of plug and play IP video, and that day is more than welcome.

Personally I'm particularly looking forward to the ONVIF 2.0 specification when it includes support for playing back other people's recordings. I'm waiting for the day that DVRs (not just NVRs) are ONVIF compliant, offering their live and more importantly recorded video to ONVIF-compliant clients. Traditionally 'IP' video management systems have largely ignored the world of DVRs, but this could offer a new option as part of a migration strategy.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Clip showing IR and 70% bitrate drop

Great little clip showing the bitrate fall by up to 70% during low light by using IR lighting. Simply uses a live scene and Task Manager in Windows to show the bitrate graphically.

It's in addition to this clip which shows another scenario but without the graph.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

ZX55 - ONVIF-ready long-range IP/IR camera

This rugged camera (ZX55) is a great example of IP meets ONVIF meets H.264 meets IVA meets IR meets long range. With the 9-90mm IR corrected varifocal lens I can pull it back to get a wider field of view if I want to look along a fenceline, or I can zoom it all the way in to focus on a remote spot, say a barrier, gate or a remote door up to 1,000 feet (300m) away. In both scenarios Bosch's built-in video analytics (IVA v4.0) can detect loitering, idle object, object removed, trip wire, speeding, wrong direction etc., with a single IVA license. And because it has IR we avoid the light pollution and keep the power consumption low, which means a lower demand on the UPS. The Black Diamond IR illumination eliminates hot spots so that the scene is equally lit, which is particularly important for reliable video analytics. As you can imagine this kind of camera plays a key role in applying DCRI to a system.

Remember good lighting means less AGC-induced noise. And less noise means a better image, reliable video analytics and less storage because of the lower bitrate. If you're relying on wireless then the low bitrate is also important.

The long range capability gives the option to avoid trenching power and networking to a remote location and mounting a camera high on a pole exposed to the elements.

Like all the Bosch IP cameras and encoders running firmware 4.0, it's ONVIF ready.

Monday, October 12, 2009

ONVIF Update

At ASIS 2009 I was lucky enough to attend ONVIF's public reception with 146 attendees from 58 companies. It was an open event where 9 manufacturers hooked 10 different IP cameras (including 2 Bosch IP cameras) to a single network switch, and demonstrated them being viewed on 4 different pieces of software. It was a real Pick 'n' Mix - precisely echoing the vision of both ONVIF and PSIA.

The epiphany though, was realizing that ONVIF is not only real, nor that it is achieving milestones in record time, but that it is utterly unstoppable.

As I entered the room I saw all defenses were down. Arch competitors were shaking hands and discussing experiences as if they finally had a common goal that was bigger than the individual companies and their personalities. I was also surprised at how much staff-time the active ONVIF member companies had donated to the organization to support the progress through a multitude of working groups, especially in this economy. Sure, the members will have the advantage of first-hand familiarity of the standard, but remember that anyone can join. And knowing how many brilliant minds there are out there it will take some people just days to weave ONVIF into their devices' firmware or management software.

Another thing I noticed without intending to, was the range of accents. It felt like being in the UN. ONVIF is global - I had read it, but now I heard it. I know that's a strange thing to write, but since I actually sensed it, I wanted to share it in case I'm not alone.

Other than Bosch, the other 8 companies that proved successful ONVIF v1.0 implementation in their products at the event were AVerMedia, Axis, Canon, IndigoVision, Lilin, Panasonic, Sony, and Vivotek.

ONVIF has published a press release, available on the right hand side of their website under 'October 2, 2009' at

Sunday, October 4, 2009

IVA 4.0

Our latest video analytics offering, IVA 4.0 is now out. The focus is usefulness - (i) making it easier to set up and (ii) improving reliability.

IVA 4.0 has a completely revamped approach to calibration, which is important so that the camera 'understands' perspective, which leads to a better appreciation of distance and speed, which ultimately reduces false alarms and improves reliability. We believe you can calibrate in under 2 mins, and I've seen that with a number of tests at the office with random people, but more importantly we ran the same test at ASIS. Since it's hard to describe in words here's a link to a short video that explains how we now do calibration - basically if you can draw lines in PowerPoint you can now calibrate a Bosch IP camera.

IVA 4.0 still works with Forensic Search so that you can test your IVA rules against days or weeks of existing video, which instantly tells you how reliable your configuration is, during the day, night, rain, wind snow etc. Whatever video you have recorded. This is immeasurably important to installers who are fed up with returning to the client site to address the false alarms caused by unforseen circumstances. Sure they were unforseen, you only had a few mins to set up each camera - you couldn't sit there for weeks waiting for nature to throw everything it can at you. Here's Forensic Search combined with Head Detection - also featured in IVA 4.0.

IVA 4.0 also introduces FLOW 4.0, a new algorithm that does not need to learn a background scene - instead it tracks every single pixel as it flows across the screen and alerts based on rules you set up. This makes it attractive in busier scenes where it is hard or impossible to extract individual objects (e.g. people in a crowd). Good for vessels on water, trafficand counterflow detection. For a short video clip try this or this . The latter scene is particularly smart because even though the gates swing the wrong way the algorithm completely ignores them, instead focusing on people.

Finally IVA 4.0 is also integrated into our AutoDome IP PTZ cameras. Yes, this means you can have video analytics on a PTZ camera. The camera can have up to 10 predefined scenes, each with its own IVA settings, so basically you're gettng ten IVA cameras for the price of one.

Oh yes, and it works with our H.264 compression too. And Direct-to-iSCSI. And Video Recording Manager. And the DiBos and Divar XF hybrid recorders, VIDOS and Bosch Video Management System. It runs on all our IP cameras and encoders - but please consult an expert as different edge devices have different amounts of horsepower to do all the things you want it to - e.g. encoding, dual streamings, recording direct to iSCSI, scripting and IVA. For maximum power the new VIP X1600 XF module has the latest hardware accelerators to be able to handle everything. At ASIS I showed this as well as a Dinion IP running the same analytics.