Mobile Surveillance – Virtual Integrated Surveillance Solution (VISS)

Mobile Border Surveillance

VISS – Virtual Integrated Surveillance Solution Presented by Benchmark. Featuring “The Eagle” Mobile Video Surveillance System (MVSS) by Secure Technology a Benchmark Company.

Since time began nations have sought to protect their borders and people from illegal entry and criminal activity, but structural barriers can be costly and inefficient.  Now one system unites innovation, versatility and security to form virtual wall protection to detect and identify threats.  “The Eagle” Mobile Video Surveillance System, developed by Tactical Micro, a Secure Technology Benchmark Solutions company.

The Eagle MVSS combines sophisticated map-based software, day and night imaging, ground sensors, lasers and drone technology to create the world’s most comprehensive mobile surveillance system.  Ideal for border patrol, search and rescue, crowd control and sensitive facility security. Continue reading

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Building a Virtual Mobile Wall of Protection – VISS from Benchmark

The Virtual Integrated Surveillance Solution (VISS) presented by Benchmark and featuring “The Eagle” Mobile Video Surveillance System (MVSS) by Secure Technology a Benchmark Company, unites innovation, versatility and security to form virtual wall protection to detect and identify threats.  The system combines PureTech Systems’ sophisticated map-based software, day and night imaging, PureActiv video analytics, ground sensors, lasers and drone technology to create the world’s most comprehensive mobile surveillance system.

The following  video demonstrates how the system’s features and capabilities make it ideal for border patrol, search and rescue, crowd control and sensitive facility security.

Benchmark | Virtual, Integrated Surveillance Solution (VISS) from Benchmark on Vimeo.

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International Standards for Man Overboard Detection Released

Man Overboard Detection ISO Standards

Cruise ships are constantly subjected to environmental and weather changes, and climate and waves tend to become rough and hazardous as a ship enters deep waters. During these difficult times, there is a high chance that a person might fall overboard.   A man-overboard event might occur due to various reasons, such as unexpected ship movement, a loss of balance, slippery deck floors,  and in some cases people might deliberately jump off the ship in an attempt to commit suicide.

Until recently, this type of event went unmonitored, and was typically reported by word of mouth.  Eight years ago, the United States government formally identified the need for increased measures to detect MOB situations when it released the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) of 2010.  The act applies to cruise ships carrying more 250 passengers on international voyages in which passengers embark or disembark in any US port.  It calls for automatic man-overboard detection/monitoring systems within 18 months of the technology becoming available.   In response to this mandate, Continue reading

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Security is a serious business, but not an excuse for a BORING 404 page!

Security Industry Error Page

We’ve all been there, on the internet investigating a security product or learning about new ways to help our customer protect their critical assets, you click on the product information link and ker plunk…you end up on a 404-error page.  Just the mention of a 404 can stricken a product marketer with an intense fear, as the person browsing the web site, you are typically left a little frustrated at not finding the information you were looking for.  The good news is 404 pages are not bad things, but the security industry could do a better job at embracing them.  Let’s take a quick look.

Bad 404 pageFirst off, let’s all get on the same page, so to speak.  Why do 404 pages even exist?  404 pages serve as an alert to the visitor trying to access a page that it no longer exists, and to (hopefully) redirect them to another part of your site. Quite often 404 pages are overlooked and treated as an afterthought, especially in markets dealing with serious customer problems like security. You spend hours placing information on your website, checking the key words, creating attractive informative images and diagrams, but when it comes to your 404 page we drop the ball.  I suspect most security marketing folks have no idea what their 404 page looks like and leave it to the web guy to use a generic error code version or an automatic redirect to the home page, hoping the user won’t notice.

To ensure I wasn’t over stepping my bounds when making these statements, I did a quick study of 404 web pages in the security industry, including integrators, video management system providers and various types of security solution manufacturers, both big and small.   Of the companies I looked at only 83% had 404 error pages and some of those were very large respectable companies. (If you are a “big security company” this would be the time where you quickly check your 404 page!)  Of those that had 404 pages, 64% used a basic default error page indicating the page didn’t exist.  Fair enough, but not much creativity.  I didn’t find any 404 pages that really stood out as exciting, but 20% had at least taken the time to create their own 404 page including a custom message or image.

Having a custom (and / or creative) 404 page is a discovery for visitors in itself. It typically makes light of an unfortunate situation and helps guide the users to a location on your web site where they might gain the information they were seeking.

In the security world we create products and solutions that help protect assets and save lives, so being creative, funny, or even “punny” isn’t our go to design style.  That being said, the 404 page is a perfect time to let some of that creativity show.  Hopefully no one will ever see your 404 page, but in the rare case that a page gets deleted, or a user fat fingers a url, having an interesting and information 404 page can go a long way in mitigating the situation.

Error Pages for Security and Defense Companies

A couple of things to consider when making your 404 page:

  • First, check that you actually have a 404 page! Yes, I’m speaking to the 17% that didn’t take the time to even create a page.
  • Secondly, this is a good place to add a little humor to lighten the event. The closer you can link that humor to your product or market, the better.
  • Consider using large interesting images. Telling me that something went wrong isn’t a great message, but doing so merely using Helvetic 28 pt. font is worse. Let your user see something interesting about your company or our industry.
  • Don’t automatically route the user to your home page, instead give them some choices as to the most popular places to get information on your site. Or give them a free white paper or tool guide.

Example Error pageEven though we operate in a serious industry, there is no reason we shouldn’t all have a 404 page that conveys some personality and tone.  Done well, a 404 page can become a valuable resource on your web page and a helpful customer service tool, routing users to achieve their information needs. Even if you aren’t the web guru or the product marketing person, type in www.yourcompanyname.com/oops and check out your 404 page.  If its lacking some personality, let your marketing team know about it.

Know a great 404 page in the security or defense market?  Email us at marketing [at] puretechsystem [dot] com and let us know about it so we can share!

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The Speed Factor – Video-Based Car Counting

Camera affordability, easy access to data signals and increasing accuracy of intelligent video algorithms have made video-based counting solutions more affordable and more in demand for companies and municipalities that want to better manage traffic flow.  When considering video based counting, a question that often arises is at what speed can such systems count? Video-Based Car Counting – Speeding Vehicles

When answering this question, we must first clarify the problem.  There are a wide range of intelligent video solutions that have specific characteristics and target markets.  This is also the case with counting.  Some solutions are targeted for counting people, counting vehicles on the highway, determining groups of people or things, etc.  In this case, let’s consider counting used for parking management situations, which can include garages, outdoor lots, access roads.  For this market owner/operators are looking for a low cost, accurate system which typically counts at a transition point, such as a gate, an entrance/exit or an access road location.  In most cases, vehicles in these areas are moving slow, but there are two speed scenarios to be considered; high speeds (in a low speed zone) and stopped vehicles.

FAST MOVING VEHICLES

The first scenario, high speeds in a low speed zone, is important for two reasons.  Drivers are sometimes in a rush and may be a little heavy on the accelerator at times.  For these instances, you don’t want your counting system to not detect the vehicle due to its speed, and hence miss the count.  A similar request, is the ability to measure the speed of the vehicle and alarm on a user defined threshold.  Both scenarios are accommodated in a typical video based counting system.  Continue reading

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A Look at NERC CIP-014 Using Video Surveillance

A Look at NERC CIP-014 Using Video SurveillanceA recent article appearing in Security Technology Executive magazine takes a look at the use of video surveillance techniques to address security guidelines laid down by the federal government in an attempt to more fully secure the U.S. power grid from possible attacks.  The article looks at the five areas of concern outlined in the federal guidelines:

  1. Detection of Attacks
  2. Response to Attacks
  3. Communication
  4. Deterrence and Delay
  5. Assessment of Attacks

The article goes further and presents solutions that can be used to address each guideline.  The entire article can be read directly on the magazine website, or the white paper on which the article is based is available here.

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Applying Man-Overboard Technology to Long-Fall Detection Markets

Using Man Overboard Technology to detect long falls

In addition to having tremendous potential in the cruise line industry, man-overboard detection technology is directly applicable to other maritime and non-maritime applications.

The man overboard system from PureTech Systems utilizes a patented approach using geospatial video analytics and pairs of thermal imaging cameras which face each other. The synchronized video clips are then used to accurately detect a fall. At the same time, the system also ignores environmental interference, background imagery from various sea states or shoreline views and avoids false alarms due to normal operating conditions such as blowing debris, crew operations and other deck activity.

In addition to having tremendous potential to cater to the current requirements of the marine industry, man overboard technology is directly applicable to the broader safety category of “long-fall events” and applicable to many additional applications. Continue reading

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Man-Overboard Detection and Monitoring

OVERVIEW: The cruise line industry has recognized the need for man overboard (MOB) detection systems and many manufacturers have invested research and development to create technology which results in accurate detection and notification, including the video-based system developed by PureTech Systems.  The result is a system with highly accurate detection and the capability to supply crew members with critical event location data to reduce the delay between the time of the event and the deployment of rescue procedures

Industry

Test Dummy for Man Overboard Testing

Man-overboard detection systems must reliably analyze real-time information with high accuracy to provide precise probability of detection with a minimal false alarm rate.

The marine industry has been innovating and implementing advanced state-of-the-art technologies to ensure safety of the people on board ships and other vessels.   Ships are constantly subjected to environmental and weather changes, and climate and waves tend to become rough and hazardous as a ship enters deep waters. During these difficult times, there is a high chance that a person might fall overboard.

A man-overboard (MOB) event may occur due to various reasons, some accidental, some intentional. In response, the U.S. government introduced regulations by signing the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act (CVSSA) in 2010. The act introduced the requirement of automatic man-overboard detection/monitoring systems and operators’ need to record and track these types of events.

As a result of these regulations, many companies are now developing systems that can detect and sound an alarm in the case of man-overboard events. These systems must reliably analyze real-time information with high accuracy to provide precise probability of detection with a minimal false alarm rate.  The systems must also be affordable and easily installed, taking into account the minimal downtime available for cruise ship maintenance. Continue reading

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Anti-Boarding Alarms using Man Overboard Technology

Cruise Ships Address Anti-Boarding

Cruise line efforts as well as government mandates have called for the installation of man-overboard detection systems. These same systems can also be used to aid in anti-boarding efforts.

PureTech Systems currently addresses the issue of man overboard detection through the use of intelligent video technology.  Its man overboard (MOB) system captures images using thermal cameras surrounding the ship’s perimeter, extending from the lowest passenger deck to the waterline.  The result is a system that addresses a need in the cruise line industry to accurately and quickly detect and notify a ship’s crew of a possible MOB event.  However, this same technology can also address other problems within the maritime industry: piracy and unlawful boarding.  Although cruise ships try to avoid operating in high risk areas, the threat of piracy, hijacking and kidnapping is still a safety issue which must be considered.  Ideally, early detection and deterrence measures can be taken to keep pirates at a safe distance from the vessel, but in situations where this cannot occur, or in the case of a covert boarding attempt, the same technology used to detect a person falling from a ship can also be used to help detect an illegal boarding attempt.

The Technology

The man overboard system from PureTech Systems utilizes a patented approach using geospatial video analytics and pairs of thermal imaging cameras which face each other. Continue reading

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Testing MOB Detection Systems with OSCAR

Man Overboard Detection Test

Man overboard detection systems are a revolutionary jump in the detection and response to an MOB event

“Man overboard!” is an exclamation given aboard a vessel to indicate that someone has fallen off of the ship and is in need of rescue. Traditionally when a man overboard event occurs, the person who sees the fall shouts, “Man overboard!” and the call is then repeated by everyone within earshot, even if they have not seen the event. This is intended to be repeated until everyone on deck has heard the man overboard (MOB) call.

Until recently, this same process continues to be utilized with only a few advancements through the use of ship-wide alarms. However, recent technology advancements have enabled the development and deployment of man overboard detection systems which can instantly detect an MOB event, provide supporting evidence to the crew, facilitate a ship-wide notification and provide information valuable for rescue efforts.  Such systems are a revolutionary jump in the detection and response to an MOB event, but how exactly does one go about testing such a system to ensure they actually work?  Do these technology companies hire Acapulco cliff divers to jump from ships?  Let’s take a closer look at how man overboard detection systems are tested.

Who is OSCAR?

OSCAR Man Overboard Test Dummy

“OSCAR” is a man overboard rescue dummy used for simulating man overboard events.

Crazy enough, people have jumped off cruise ships in order to facilitate the testing of man overboard detection systems.  However, from a practicality standpoint, using real humans is not the safest or most efficient approach, Continue reading

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Man Overboard – Technology Suppliers Are Not the Only Ones Taking Actions

Obama Signing Cruise Security ActThe marine industry, considered to be one of the most dangerous industries, has been innovating and implementing advanced state-of-the-art technologies to ensure safety of the people on board ships and vessels.  Ships are constantly subjected to environmental and weather changes, and climate and waves tend to become rough and hazardous as a ship enters deep waters. During these difficult times, there is a high chance that a person might fall overboard.  A man-overboard event might occur due to various causes, such as unexpected ship movement, a loss of balance, slippery deck floors, and in some cases, people might deliberately jump off the ship in an attempt to commit suicide.  Technology providers are actively developing and testing systems to aid in the detection and response to such events, but they are not the only institutions taking actions. Continue reading

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Man Overboard Integration and Crew Notification

Man overboard events (MOB) can happen at any time during the day or night, in all types of weather and sea conditions, and from almost any location on the ship, ranging from a few tens of feet above the water to over 180 feet.  Falls from these heights can injure and often kill the victim.  MOB events may be reported by a bystander or by a member of the person’s party who reports the person missing.  This information must all be verified by the crew before taking action, which can take a considerable amount of time.

Cruise Ships must turn around in the event of a man overboard

The Williamson Turn is one of several maneuvers made when a man overboard event is detected. It is effective, but is a slower maneuver.

Consider these facts:

  • The typical stopping distance of a cruise ship is 1 mile.If it takes 15 minutes to confirm an MOB event, a ship may have moved 7 miles from the original fall location.
  • A typical man overboard detection system can report a MOB event in under 1 second.

Accurately detecting a human falling from a moving ship is not an easy problem to solve, but it is now achievable with recent technology efforts, including the use of video analytics, as patented in the man overboard detection system developed by PureTech Systems.  Man overboard systems such as these use thermal video from dedicated MOB cameras to intelligently evaluate potential fall events, while filtering out environmental conditions (rain, waves, sea spray, debris) and normal crew activity (crew changes, maintenance). Continue reading

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Man Overboard Detection for Cruise Ship Safety

Most of us have gone on a cruise vacation or know of a close friend or relative who has done so.  Cruising is a popular vacation option enjoyed by families and individuals throughout the world.  What is not so well known, though, is the fact that man overboard events continue to be a common occurrence within the cruise industry.  Since 2005,

Man Falling off a cruise ship

On average, 22 people fall off cruise ships every year. However, few cruise ships in operation today, have any form of system to detect these “man-overboard” events.

  • 268 Man Overboard Events have been reported.
  • On average, 22 people fall off a cruise ship every year.
  • 86% of those victims do not survive, or are never found.

Man overboard events (MOB) can happen at any time during the day or night, in all types of weather and sea conditions, and from almost any location on the ship, ranging from a few tens of feet above the water to over 180 feet.  Falls from these heights can injure, render unconscious, or even kill the victim. Likewise, falls from ships operating along northern routes can expose the victim to extreme water temperatures, which can result in hypothermia and death.

Given these scenarios, one approach to increasing the survival rate of MOB events is to ensure accurate timely detection, followed by a rapid response protocol.  However, few cruise ships in operation today have any form of man overboard detection system.  Although they may have cameras and imaging systems to monitor activity on board the ship, these camera systems are primarily used for basic surveillance or evidential activities and are not designed to actively notify the ship’s crew in the instance of a man falling overboard.  In most cases, MOB events are reported by someone who happens to notice the fall, or by a member of the person’s party who reports the person missing.  This information must all be verified by the crew before taking action, which can take a considerable amount of time.

READ THE FULL WHITE PAPER HERE

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Detecting Man Overboard Events Using Video Analytics

Man Overboard Detection with Video Camera

Few cruise ships in operation today, have any form of system to detect man-overboard events, which on average, occur 22 times per year.

On average, 22 people fall off cruise ships every year.  However, few cruise ships in operation today have any form of system to detect these man-overboard (MOB) events.  MOB events are typically reported by someone who happens to notice the fall or by a member of the person’s party who reports the person missing.  Although ships typically have cameras and imaging systems to monitor activity on board the ship, these camera systems are not designed to detect a man falling overboard. Increasing the survival rate of MOB events requires accurate and timely detection, which can be achieved with the patented man overboard detection technology from PureTech Systems. Continue reading

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Mobile Border Surveillance

Mobile Border Surveillance ALERT Truck

Today’s surveillance needs have moved beyond the traditional fixed camera on a fence line. Sensors need to be smart, easy to set up, collaborative and able to move rapidly as threats move.  The use of mobile surveillance platforms, including truck- and trailer-based, provide increased surveillance during critical times and allow flexible incident response, without the large infrastructure costs and time required to install a complete fixed sensor perimeter.  Today’s mobile systems also deliver the same, or higher, detection capability and accuracy as its fixed location sensor brethren.  One such system, the ALERT Truck system, is an excellent example of a mobile surveillance platform which leverages geospatial technology with intelligent video, radar, precision distance and highly accurate cameras to provide world-class surveillance in a cost effective mobile package. Continue reading

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