The power behind Security Center reports

June 3, 2011 Jonathan Doyon

In access control, the market expects software manufacturers to provide all kinds of reports: all access denied last month, number of people in a specific area, show me who went through that door last week, etc.

When we started the development of our access control platform, Synergis, we invested a lot of energy in building a powerful and flexible framework for the different searches in the product and also made sure customers would be able to easily share this information outside the security system. It quickly became a key differentiator for Synergis.

When we launched the unification effort for Security Center 3.0, it was obvious; we had to use the same framework for the video searches. Even though Security Center 3.0 was released almost 3 years ago, search and reporting capabilities of the Security Center are still an unknown and often underused by most video-centric users. With the addition of many new investigation tasks in Security Center 5.0, I recently tested a few reporting scenarios specific to video surveillance.

Simple and affordable people counting

By using trip wire embedded in the cameras, Security Center 5.0 and a few key strokes in Excel, it's possible to easily extract people counting information from your video surveillance system.

For this example, I used an Axis Communications H.264 camera in our office with the cross line detection feature unlocked. I could have selected many other camera manufacturers, the result would be the same. 

Chart showing Axis Communications H.264 camera in our office with the cross line detection feature unlocked

The first step is to configure your trip wire inside the camera.

Image showing how to configure your trip wire inside a camera

As soon as the configuration is saved, Security Center starts recording each trip wire events in a database. Nothing else to do in Security Center, the configuration is completed.
 
The next step is to use the camera event task to search for all "Object Cross line" events within Security Center over a specific time period for one or multiple cameras. The user can even save that investigation task as a private or public task to reuse the exact same criteria next time.

Screenshot showing how to use the camera event task to search for all “Object Cross line” events within Security Center over a specific time period for one or multiple cameras

Once the list of cross line events is displayed in Security Desk, it's easy to export that data in Microsoft Excel format by clicking on the save icon at the bottom of the list.

At this point the different graphics; per hour, per day, etc., is solely based on your agility with Excel. 

I created this graph below to show the average amount of people that go through that hallway every hour; we see that around 90 people pass by this camera every day between 5 and 6 pm.

Tripwire report

If you want traffic trend over multiple years or very advanced people counting reports or average wait time, you might need specialized people counting products. But if you are looking for a simple and affordable way to identify how many people pass by a specific section of a building, you can leverage Security Center and camera embedded trip wire/cross line detection algorithm.

You might be surprised to find how accessible embedded trip wire/cross line detection in the camera is today. Some manufacturers offer it as a licensed option, others have that feature available for specific models but it's slowly becoming a commodity.

Weekly email report of exported images and videos

Over the years, I heard many stories where inappropriate pictures have been extracted from a video surveillance system. Those behaviors can happen regularly but you will only catch it when something major happens. Most security directors never use the videos surveillance system simply because they don't have the time to log on and connect to the system every week to verify everything.

By combining the advance audit trail capabilities of Security Center and the email report feature, it takes only a few mouse clicks to create a daily or weekly report sent by email that highlights all images and videos exported from the Security System. 

Chart showing how to create a daily or weekly report sent by email that highlights all images and videos exported from the Security System

Another example would be the system administrator receiving the list of offline/malfunction cameras every morning. It seems overkill for a 50-camera system but in an 8000-camera system, often cameras, switches, power supplies fail and it takes a few days before someone notices it. The system administrator is not necessarily in front of the system all day long. That's also another reason why we developed the system health task so that users can identify problems quickly.

Any searches in the Security Desk can saved with the appropriate search critierias and perfiodically sent by email.

Identify underused cameras in your video surveillance system

The installation cost of an IP camera is often more expensive than the price of the camera itself, especially outdoor cameras. The not-so-ideal scenario is if a camera is never being used. In a system where live monitoring is crucial, how can you verify that you operators are monitoring most of the cameras?

Chart showing the advance Activity trail task in Security Center 5.0, combined with Excel, it’s very easy to identify underused cameras

Thanks to the advance Activity trail task in Security Center 5.0, combined with Excel, it's very easy to identify underused cameras. 

This was a quick overview of the flexibility and extensibility hidden in Security Center reports. Comments or questions are more than welcome!

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