Most people are familiar with security and surveillance systems that are used in the home and in many commercial applications. Some of these installations depend on the change in the current through the electrical circuit that comprises the security system when windows or doors are open to set off alarms, while others use motion sensors to detection movement within the building and sound an alarm when unanticipated motion is detected. There are a number of other methods that have proven effective at detecting motion.

video-surveillanceWhen it comes to security and surveillance, there are situations that have higher requirements for the system than home and standard commercial security installations.

Most of these applications are usually camera-based systems that are used primarily to identify the infiltrators and criminals involved. In other surveillance situations, cameras can be expected to identify particular items and identification tags for containers or packages that might involve high value products or even contraband.

Some examples of applications that benefit from these advanced security and surveillance systems include:

  • Scanning of airports and ports of entry into a country to identify personnel of interest or activities that might be dangerous to homeland security. High resolution cameras can be used to scan and monitor large areas with fewer personnel and can record findings.
  • Monitoring and tracking the inspection of airline and other baggage systems to identify and document a search as it is being conducted or to allow an automated method of search of cargo.
  • Watching incoming port cargo for safety and security in another homeland security application, thus allowing a tracking organization to better use personnel to monitor multiple camera feeds from different entryways and/or multiple angles.
  • Along the same lines, to track shipping containers and contents during multi-modal transportation for location and supply chain management and better documentation of where key containers and packages are located and their route of travel over time.
  • In casinos or gaming locations, to monitor participants for cheating or other illegal activities, thus expanding surveillance capabilities to identify problems beyond what card dealers and other employees on site can watch.

security-vision-systemsSome aspects of these applications are similar to home and basic commercial installations, but they need to capture more detail, as can be attained with high quality images. In addition, there is an increased need for faster and sophisticated image and video processing for these applications, resulting in higher performance needs for storage and retrieval of images. While specific camera design features and capabilities are important, the overall strategy and requirements for a surveillance system must be evaluated first. These strategic design factors depend on the goals of the surveillance efforts and the size and the ‘clutter’ in the area to be watched. Some examples of strategic surveillance goals may be to identify people by facial features, identify specific items, to see tags or tracking bar codes, or to track automobiles or license plates.

Each goal has different requirements of the camera capabilities and the system operations for processing and storage. As an example, with airport concourse monitoring there may be a need to search for certain people based on facial features, which must be captured by the cameras. Incorrectly identifying personnel in this situation has severe consequences if that individual is detained in error, or if target personnel are missed.

Some relevant considerations of the space to be monitored might include the size of the area being tracked, the amount of furniture and ‘clutter’ or other barriers to viewing, the activity level in the area, and the amount of lighting. This type of information will dictate the type of camera needed, the number of cameras and their location, and even whether a stationary or a moving camera that can examine different locations must be used. How each of these design factors is addressed will influence the resolution needs and the imaging processing capabilities, so there are a number of interesting and challenging options and combinations that are possible. A discussion with an experienced camera system designer would be an excellent way to sort through the multiple options to reach the most appropriate arrangement.

Only after these factors are thoroughly examined can one determine the image capture and processing needs and turn to selecting the exact camera and the processing system. Because of the number of relevant variables, the camera options are numerous and diverse and often lead to the need to have a customized model prepared.

ISG and Surveillance

Imaging Solutions Group (ISG) of Fairport, NY is a leading provider of advanced, affordable cameras for security and surveillance. ISG is well experienced with providing both standard and custom camera design and installations for the range of surveillance situations, including those described above. In addition, ISG has built and provided camera systems for different defense needs. ISG has depth of experience to put together the best package for a diverse range of security or surveillance cases.

Many of ISG’s cameras are used in defense applications, such as monitoring remote areas for human movement. This requires a durable camera with high performance features, of which a wide field of vision, rapid processing, and the resolution to create the ability to identify the source of movement in low light conditions. ISG has provided surveillance and reconnaissance cameras for defense and homeland security use in these types of situations.

In a project for which ISG was contracted by the US government, the company pioneered the inclusion of multi-windowing and video analytics inside a single defense surveillance camera. Working with the US Navy NAVSEA Undersea Warfare Center, NASA Ames Research Center and IBM, ISG engineered and delivered a ground-breaking color quad, high-definition video system that was one of the first high-resolution video-frame rate cameras in the world. Proprietary high-performance digital signal processing and multiple image pipelines embedded in field-programmable gate array (FPGA) allowed the camera to utilize and process the large amount of video data. This packaged, which became known as the ISG QuadHDTV™, captured the needs of highly involved defense surveillance applications. Now, OEM imaging systems based on this design by ISG are used in covert surveillance cameras in harsh outdoor environments.

By relocating most of the image analysis, or video analytics, into the camera the amount of information that needs to be transferred to the main or central facility is reduced and transmission and storage requirements are decreased.
This is an example of some of the development and delivery work that ISG can perform. ISG can leverage its experience and engineering skills to deliver most any challenging security and surveillance needs.

Talk to Kerry Van Iseghem at (585) 388-5220 x101 or to discover how you can work with the Imaging Solutions Group (ISG).

Brad Gouldthorpe
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