Hanwha Techwin Europe: Video surveillance solutions - Tim Biddulph

Head of product management for Hanwha Techwin Europe Tim Biddulph highlights some topical issues relating to the deployment of the latest generation of full HD and 4K CCTV systems within the banking environment.

Video surveillance has been used for many years by banks to help detect, monitor and record evidence of criminal activity such as vandalism, aggression directed at staff, ATM skimming and armed robbery, as well as to remotely monitor premises out of business hours.

The relatively recent availability of full HD and 4K cameras is now transforming the way security personnel within banking environments are able to deal with these issues but they come at a cost. This is because multipixel, high-definition images can all too quickly fill up the capacity of a network video recorder (NVR) or server when recorded at full frame rate and resolution.

In addition to the capital investment required in NVRs or storage servers, the total cost of ownership of a video surveillance system can mount up when the recurring cost of power consumed by hard drives and supporting air-conditioning units, as well as ongoing maintenance costs, are taken into account. Banks and financial institutions with 'green' policies are also concerned about the environmental impact and sustainability of systems that consume very high levels of energy.

Necessity is the mother of invention

It is said that 'necessity is the mother of invention', and this has proved to be the case with H.265 compression, and the benefits that it brings to video surveillance systems where full HD and 4K cameras are deployed. The same can be said of emerging complementary compression technologies such as WiseStream that by dynamically controlling encoding, and balancing quality and compression according to movement in an image are able, when coupled with H.265 compression, to reduce bandwidth use by up to 75% over current H.264 technology.

Hacking fears

A key feature of video over IP technology is the ability to control cameras and view live or recorded images from anywhere on the network. This means that a bank's head of security can be based anywhere in the world, and yet have immediate access to very high-resolution images to allow them to analyse any incident and, if appropriate, pass the evidence on to the police for prosecution purposes.

Along with this major benefit comes concerns recently highlighted in some national newspapers with regard to the potential for a foreign power to use a camera's 'back door' in order to gain access to the images captured by the device, or as a way into an organisation's network in order to steal confidential information or commit sabotage.

The approach Hanwha Techwin takes is to make security a fundamental camera feature. This is taken into account at the start of a camera design process and not just treated as one of a long list of useful features. This means that the firmware of its cameras incorporates what is considered best practice in respect to the reasonable measures that can be taken to prevent unauthorised access to images and data. It is important not to be complacent, so the company is constantly monitoring and testing the latest methods of hacking in field tests and laboratories. When necessary, it releases new firmware to counter new threats.

While the company appreciates that security protocols need to be flexible and easy to implement, it also feels it is essential that there should be minimum mandatory and auto-enforced standards with regard to passwords.

There are also some 'physical' solutions available. For example, LINKLOCK is a device manufactured by Veracity and available exclusively from Hanwha Techwin that provides a barrier to all unauthorised network access. It does so by blocking connections to any cable or equipment that has been tampered with or disconnected. This makes it an ideal protection measure for security-critical installations such as banks, where network cabling or video surveillance equipment might be located externally.

Head of product management for Hanwha Techwin Europe Tim Biddulph.
Security critical: full HD and 4K cameras are operable.