They put my article I wrote for the Asia Pacific Security Magazine online at: http://www.asiapacificsecuritymagazine.com/making-technology-work-around-you/
They put my article I wrote for the Asia Pacific Security Magazine online at: http://www.asiapacificsecuritymagazine.com/making-technology-work-around-you/
I’ll be attending the ISC West 2013 Show April 10-12th. You can probably find me at the Fluidmesh booth.
As a young business owner in the 1980s, I found it amazing when educated and enthusiastic new hires would begin to create linear schedules that they felt would completely organize the business chaos around them. Needless to say, none of them ever worked. The systematic program would come tumbling down and be replaced by a dynamic hybrid, which was somewhat chaotic, yet provided enough remnants of a methodical system that seemed to offer at least some cohesiveness to the processes at large. This was when I began to realize that there is something fundamentally wrong with how the typical human being perceives the world around them. I could blame it on the lack of imagination within leadership circles, our educational institutions, or mass media, but it goes much deeper. We can easily recognize linear elements to humanity, but father doesn’t always know best and maybe you shouldn’t leave it to beaver, and a real-life FBI agent usually takes longer than an hour show to catch a bad guy.
The human condition to understanding the world, and thus the way we organize it and our societies living in it, has been linear. Mr. Spock couldn’t understand humans, because we’re not logical. That’s because logical is linear; equations, processes, functions, algebra, and programming, all molded into simple, understandable context for the human mind to process and comprehend. It was this oversimplification that gave us sanctuary from the fear that there really was no true order to the universe. Humankind has this tendency to classify everything into neat little boxes, but the world is far more dynamic and non-linear, and yet even knowing this, we do our best to try to organize everything into neat little rows, schedules and graphs. Instituting this linearism to our universe creates a sense of empowerment, but there are no straight lines and it’s not neat and orderly. It’s muddled and chaotic, but somehow it all still works.
Struggling with this reality of justifying linear systems to define the non-linear world around them, scientists of the 19th century began thinking, “out-of-the-box” and struggled with the task of creating a new science and mathematics to measure, or attempt to at least understand the random complexities of actual life. The algebraic equations were far too linear and obtuse; geometry presented perfect points and angles for an imperfect world, and so — Chaos Theory was born.
In the movie Jurassic Park, when waiting for a Tyrannosaurus Rex to appear on their park tour, the character of Doctor Ian Malcolm attempts to explain Chaos Theory to Doctor Ellie Satler. He explains that the fact that the T-Rex doesn’t follow any set patterns or “park schedules” as being the essence of Chaos. Going further to explain chaos as the study of “unpredictability in a complex system.” He also explains his own version of the Butterfly Effect, first introduced by E.M. Lorenz in 1979 in the title of a speech: “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?” In any event, to get a grasp of Chaos, there’s actually an example of the Butterfly Effect from ancient folklore:
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of a horse, the rider was lost;
For want of a rider, the battle was lost;
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost!
The small variables in the progression from the initial condition resulted in an epic outcome. In a sense, the lack of a nail caused the kingdom to be lost, or again from the Jurassic Park movie:
God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs
God creates man, Man destroys God
Man creates dinosaurs
Dinosaurs eats man, Woman inherits the Earth
Chaos Theory is not a new type of mathematics, nor is it a revolutionary new science that provides a definitive framework of arbitrary events, and no; it’s not fortune telling. You can’t use it to win the lottery or make a killing on Wall Street. Chaos Theory is a simplified “analysis of aperiodic behavior within a system.” “Aperiodic” implies behavior that never exactly repeats itself (like lightning striking the same place twice), so it tends to be difficult, if not completely impossible to formulate solid conclusions and strategic paths to follow these systems.
We’ve also come to recognize that this wildness to the universe is a needed component of development and creation. This anarchy around us provides us with tremendous value, if we could successfully harness the chaos. Fire is the rapid chemical reaction of two combustible substances to generate flame, and chaos supreme. It’s destructively wild and unpredictable, yet if harnessed, it could keep the cave warm during the cold winter nights, and light our way through darkness. Humankind has always been driven to harness the chaos around us, so we can do things better, faster and cheaper. The sails of a sailboat or ship harness the wind. Boiling water increases in density 1,600 times, which creates the ability to stir pistons in a steam engine. The combustion engine, little controlled explosions, the windmill and electricity, which is another exemplary chaotic paradigm. Now, electricity is almost as ubiquitous as the air we breathe. Do I need to include the splitting of the atom as an example, too? My point is that humankind both survives and thrives on the innate ability to harness the chaos in the universe around us.
You’re now wondering what this all has to do with digital video surveillance, but it has everything to do with everything. Throughout history, the skeptics of Chaos Theory usually asked one simple question, “why was Chaos Theory not discovered sooner in our history, if in fact, our history has been random acts of chaos.” The answer is the computer. No human being can endure the millions of repetitive computations involved in studying chaos.
Now, if you hyperlink that computer to millions of other computers, people and applications, then you create a new found chaos that generates energy, which once harnessed can create tremendous value, and intelligence.
The Internet itself isn’t “viral,” as many believe; it’s the dynamic aperiodic system — the synchronicity of those people, places and technology, unlike anything else in our history, that emits an energy that makes it viral. The successful harnessing of this chaotic energy creates successes such as Facebook, Google, eBay, etc. If you separate each component of these examples, you’ll find that they lack the same level of empowerment individually, but together you have chaos energy.
In his best-selling book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell proposes that word of mouth epidemics that make sensations happen when a company can cross the chasm from the Early Adopters to the Early Majority, or when they “tip.” This is when that pilot light bursts into a useful fire. This is accomplished, according to Gladwell, by a synchronicity of the Mavens; those people who keep companies and people honest. The Salesperson; someone who’s mastered the art of persuasion, not solely by using a sales pitch, but the overall elusive nuances that truly make people “buy” from one person over another. And the Connectors; people that just know a lot of other people, and in that wealth of contacts are other Connectors, Mavens and Salespersons to exponentially generate an epidemic (e.g. the iPhone versus Windows Mobile).
It’s like potassium nitrate, which when left isolated is simple saltpeter, but when combined with plain charcoal, then ground into fine particles; you’ve an explosive combination — gun powder. The same holds true for the IP Network; a delicate mixture of people, places and technology, all synchronized in the perfect recipe to make chaos energy; it’s secret. The trick is to recognize it, harness it and keep up with it. People should not have to work around technology – technology can now work around people.
Okay, blind? Although this installation of an enclosure was deemed unacceptable by everyone but the installer themselves, I think the most outrageous install was when they pointed the 12″ diamond mesh networking panel antenna to the sky, thinking it was for satellite transmissions.
Security IP cameras are getting more sophisticated, cost-effective and with expanded functionality and features. What to choose? Here’s a few tips:
1) Field Tested
If you’ve installed a camera manufacturer and model number before, and integrated it into a select video management system (VMS) software without any issues, then choosing that formula again, as long as it meets the customer’s requirements mitigate the risk the next time around. Let’s face it, you’ll either pay more for a proven camera and VMS combination, or you’re paying on the back-end in the for of a risk contingency.
2) Hardware & Software Support
If the video management system software company provides exceptional support for deployment, but the hardware manufacturer does not, you may have an issue with implementation as the firmware built inside the camera or encoder needs to be compatible with the drivers developed by the software developer. If they have an active development relationship, they can work together in solving any future issues that may arise and they do arise.
3) Fixed Cameras
I’ve deployed fixed IP cameras with superior quality CMOS sensors and a manual focus requirement during deployment and a fixed IP camera with less of a sensor and auto-focus and the difference in a lighted or low-light environment as long as there’s ambient light makes the camera with the auto-focus the way to go, even if it’s just focusing it once during the installation. Manual focusing by electrical subcontractors can require multiple visits and extra costs.
4) Redundant Edge Recording
If the camera choice includes the ability for the addition of an SD card for local recording, and is 100% compatible with the VMS that local “edge” recording becomes a valuable (and cost effective) redundant archiver for wireless camera deployments. If, for whatever reason, the wireless connectivity to the centralized archiver is interrupted, the video stream is still being recorded on the SD card and can be retrieved at a later time, if necessary.
As I mentioned in my Book – avoid anything with a plastic lens, especially if you plan on deploying them in a harsh environment. They barely have a two year life span (lens fogs up).
My favorite professional security IP cameras are Axis, Bosch and Sony. Deployed these in multiple locations with minimal to no issues. Pelco has great analog cameras, but their IP cameras are not quite up to speed, yet.
We have all been given a gift. That gift is called free will. We can choose how we live our lives as a someone who treats others, as well as ourselves, as we would like to be treated. There are no ulterior motives; just a respect for life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, who we are, and what we can be. The side effect is peace. However, there are those who, for whatever reason, go against the grain, are at war with themselves and everyone around them. Call it selfishness, evil, mental illness, whatever – these people are the reason we have to protect ourselves and our loved ones. We cannot be everywhere at the same time, nor do we have the premonition to know where we should be at any given time for ourselves, our family, our friends. We are all only human.
My heart goes out to the family and friends at Sandy Hook Elementary School this Holiday Season. Horrific just doesn’t describe it adequately. The loss is too painful to comprehend, to even dwell into for even a brief moment, because I am a Father. It is in my genetic makeup to protect my children, my family. So instead of going through the usual tirade about security, gun control, mental health issues, medical insurance companies being soulless entities portraying themselves as caring organizations, or how pharmaceutical companies treat us like cattle, I’m just going to provide a conceptual security architecture on how to protect our children in schools, because unlike ourselves, technology does have the ability to be super-human.
I’ve worked on projects for schools. If they have a lock-down procedure, that means they have electronic door locks. If they have a intrusion detection system (burglar alarm), then they may have tamper alarm sensors on windows. Some schools, depending on the region, may even have some legacy CCTV surveillance system that includes poor video imagery that is being monitored by a security guard somewhere, sometime, when he’s not in the restroom. An active CCTV surveillance system is limited to where you’ve extended your security eyes through the use of optics. An active system still relies on the operator to see, comprehend and diagnose the severity of a situation, with legacy, lower resolution imagery, it can be a challenge.
The intrusion detection system, which may include some elements of an access control system, sends an alert to the police department, the fire alarm system sends an alert to the fire department. These alerts are simple notifications of a potential break-in, or potential fire at the facility.
If you integrate the intrusion detection/access control system, (the electronic door strikes), and a digital video surveillance system, you’ll have information from from multiple angles to make a single system more intelligent, thus presenting smarter data for someone to make better decisions. Instead of a blind alert, you could receive an image of the event that set off the alarm, and if you archive the video footage, you could receive it five seconds before, which sometimes can give you even better information (see the Navy Pier photo below)
I’ve inserted an example school floor plan. This is somewhat of a larger school, which included more ingress and egresses. In the indoor conceptual design plan I added a new camera, or hypothetically replaced or integrated and existing camera at each entrance. The I/O Ports within those cameras become the interface for either the intrusion detection/access control system or the electronic door strikes and/or DPDT door contacts (in the event someone breaks in through the door) into the video management system software by tapping into the input ports. The output ports become the interface into the intrusion detection/access control system to activate and deactivate a building lock down. Events, alerts and alarms can be scheduled at a granular level, which is important as the same concern may not be as important when there are no classes in session.
The outdoor cameras can provide motion detection, either using the built-in motion detection of the visual spectrum, or using infrared devices that are added into the input ports of the camera, again using the camera’s firmware as the software interface into the video management system software. Enough cameras can be set to watch the classroom windows along the building outdoor perimeter during school hours, and the grounds after school hours. You could even run 22 AWG wire from any tamper alarm sensors on the windows into the camera’s I/O ports, using a relay to add that security subsystem into the mix – making the solution even more intelligent. The motion detection built into the camera is capable enough of observing someone attempting to break into a window (again, if properly configured within the software using select zones, motion panes, etc). Once the potential intruder is observed by the system, an alert is sent out, with a digital image to provide more intelligence to make those quick, more effective decisions. Meanwhile, you could set up the integrated system to monitor, then when the motion detection is tripped (indicating someone has crossed a virtual tripwire at a window), the alert is sent out, with a photo (frame capture) to security, principal, etc. The tamper alarm sensor at the window in that zone (e.g. northwest classrooms), which the solution now understands means that that figure that tripped the motion detection is at the window, breaking the window, trying to open the window, etc. You can then configure the solution to send out an alarm to authorities, blast out a audio alert to scare them away, and/or simply lock every door in the school, keeping the intruder locked in that room, and/or out of all the classrooms, while the authorities are alerted with an image, alarms, and even video footage on their workstation, smartphone, tablet, wherever they need it to expedite the process of protecting our children.
There are many ways of developing a super-human security system and no where do we need it more than in our schools. Cost is irrelevant considering companies can even lease the system, making it possible to hire a super-human security system for about the cost of a single security officer. I’ve seen the results of these types of digital security solutions and I believe they can save lives. High school system I developed for a high school in Chicago, reduced incidents (assault, rape, vandalism, theft, etc) by 76%, increased attendance by 6% and reduced the amount of false fire alarms pulls from eight to zero.
We must take the protection of our children in school just as serious as the “right to keep and bear arms”, because in America “the right to keep and bear arms” does include the narcissistic socio/psychopaths.
Working on a proposal for the new edition of Digital Video Suveillance and Security! I will be adding much more information including the importance of a architectural approach to design; more about Physical Security integration and the PSIM; more on wireless networked video; adding how to break down work into a task-oriented schedule and more. What else would you like to see? Email me at newedition (at) dvsbook dot-com.
Here an interesting helicopter test using a Firetide Mesh dual radio. One radio was to identify mesh node to connect to, based on RSSI and bandwidth, and the other was integrated into the TROLL Systems tracking antenna. This would provide bi-directional communications between the ground unit and the helicopter, and integrate the helicopter into the mesh network, not only giving operators at the command center the ability to actually control the PTZ camera from their workstation, but also add centralized recording of the video stream. Although this was a successful test, considering the location of the ground level TROLL Systems antenna (about a mile west, behind the tall buildings), there were still issues with connecting to ground mesh networks without having skyward antennas at select locations. The idea was to add a LMR cable splitter, and a skyward sector specifically for the helicopter as ground-level omni-directional antennas do not support synchronous real-time surveillance video.
A few years ago, prior to the advent of 4G/LTE mobile technology and bandwidth, 3G/EV-DO cellular data transmissions were limited to a real-world 368Kbps uplink (1.8Mbps advertised) and a 1Mbps downlink (3.1Mbps advertised). Cellular technology is also limited by network latency of up to 250 milliseconds (100 milliseconds advertised) compared to about 1.5 milliseconds for OFDM wireless mesh networking. Video streams are uploaded, not downloaded and these real world limitations created a challenge to meet a customer’s requirement to stream multiple real time video footage from police boats and tourist passenger vessels.
A test was proposed to use a wireless switching router (AirBox) capable to transmit data wirelessly between cellular 3G and a wireless mesh networking radio. As depicted in the image attached, two wireless mesh networking portals were added to the East point of Navy Pier, which extended about three-quarters of a mile into the lake. These wireless portals were connected directly into the secure, private homeland security fiber network. The boat would include a new, innovative and cost-effective tracking antenna, developed by Purdue University. The objective was to determine the bandwidth of the OFDM (pre-MIMO) radios and the amount of theoretic multipath interference reflecting off the water. The AirBox would examine the signal strength, bandwidth and quality between the OFDM wireless mesh radios and the 3G modem and determine the best method of transport for the video streams, back to the 911 Center.
The conceptual design included the plan to use future shoreline OFDM wireless mesh radios as portals to extend the reach of the connectivity (and bandwidth).
We presented the results in a report that explained that although the bandwidth test for the OFDM wireless mesh radio was impressive, with 8.5Mbps at three miles out (see Figure 1), the signal quality for streaming video was questionable. Further research uncovered that the tracking antenna was too large for installation on the smaller police boats and there was not ubiquitous 3G/EV-DO cellular coverage over the lake. at the time, the technology wasn’t there for streaming bandwidth demanding video from boats.
Today, with the introduction of MIMO (802.11n) wireless mesh networking technology, which uses multipath to increase bandwidth and new smaller sectorized Omni-directional antennas, more is possible, and although 4G/LTE still suffers from network latency (the nature of cellular), real-world uplinks are expected to be at least four times that of 3G/EV-DO.
After working with IBM for six years, a meeting with the principals at the Avrio RMS Group made me realize that there is still a part of me that enjoys an entrepreneurial adventure. Not just to design and architect digital video surveillance solutions, large and small, but build a business where you can see the outcome of your effort. Avrio RMS Surveillance Group has the largest implementations of wireless video surveillance systems in North America and yesterday was my first day. Check them out at www.avriormsgroup.com