Channel partners should be aware of a number of different IT opportunities surrounding next year's Olympic Games.
With seven million people expected in London for the 2012 Olympics, security is obviously a concern. In my opinion, the forces cannot have eyes and ears everywhere – even with additional police drafted in – let alone be expected to remember the faces of a number of suspects.
Digital CCTV cameras and crowd-mapping software can bridge the gap. It is these technologies that will help to ensure a successful and safe Games.
Older analogue systems have monitored everything from motorway congestion to in-store shoppers in the past. Modern digital systems give quick access to images and lossless recording. Digital cameras now have multi-user, mega-pixel resolution and the ability to monitor wavelengths that are invisible to the human eye – improving, for example, footage taken at night.
Video Surveillance Manager (VSM) software typically runs on a standard computer and allows users to select, configure, and control different cameras on the network, as well as record or discard the video stream.
Video Content Analytics (VCA) software allows a computer to monitor the video streams and make related decisions. VCA can reduce the need for storage by deleting footage that incorporates no detection of movement. It can also count the number of people in a particular area, be used in facial recognition systems, or map patterns of movement within a crowd.
The main complaints about digital surveillance are based in issues of freedom and privacy. Citizens in the UK are reportedly the most monitored people on the planet, with an estimated 40m cameras in operation across the country.
The media often reports on the negative aspects of video surveillance, but it should be celebrated. When used effectively it can help reduce crime, assist in identifying criminals, and help national security.
To combat privacy fears, most VSM software allows the user to block out specific areas of video stream or discard other information. In VCA, dynamic masking means that moving persons who are not the subject of the surveillance do not have their privacy infringed.
A number of other technologies, such as sophisticated turnstile systems, can help with security and control.
One such system at St James' Park football stadium in Newcastle requires a membership card or ticket to be introduced to a reader device, which permits entry only if the data matches. This allows people to get into the grounds much more quickly.
There are no longer huge queues, and there is automatic monitoring of who has entered and how many people are inside the park.
These are areas where channel partners can really take advantage of this technology. Specialist channel partners will succeed if they understand the latest technology and are able to show the value in intelligent IP surveillance to specific vertical markets such as transportation, education or hospitality.
Melvyn Wray is senior EMEA vice president of product marketing at Allied Telesis
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