Production, the retail sector and logistics

Written by Simone Gerrits, Director of Corporate Communications at MOBOTIX.

Deter and track theft, secure outside areas and production halls and support warehouse logistics: These are just a few of the many application scenarios where video security systems can provide support. It’s no wonder that video technology has gained a foothold in virtually all industries and is becoming increasingly important.

Universal Specifications
Although all of the industries have very different requirements, some video security requirements are universal. Demand is high for high-resolution, flexible, compatible systems that can be expanded and customized and grow with the changing requirements of a video security solution. This is usually only possible with digital video systems that can be connected via an IP network. One major advantage of these systems is high image quality, which is often crucial when it comes to sensitive security applications. A camera with 5-megapixel technology records a far higher level of detail than traditional analog systems. A megapixel sensor and image processing technology built into the camera produce sharp images admissible as evidence in court in a resolution higher than HDTV; when enlarged, they are detailed enough to show distinct facial features or identify license plates and satisfy all image quality requirements during normal operation.

In addition, systems built on a platform concept offer a high level of flexibility. The cameras that can be equipped with one or two exchangeable sensor modules, depending on the type of sensor used, score points in this respect. It is simple to exchange the sensor modules, meaning users always have an up-to-date video security system tailored to their needs, regardless of the original location and purpose of the camera. This way, it is possible to use one sensor module to gain a wide-angled overview and simultaneously keep an eye on the details using a telephoto sensor module. Alternatively, it is possible to equip the camera as a day/night version.

A Clear Picture and Security In Demand On The Production Floor
General video system requirements go hand in hand with industry-specific requirements. In addition to pure perimeter surveillance, video systems in the manufacturing business show whether production processes are running properly and trigger an alarm in the event of failures or problems. This way, it is possible to reduce machine downtimes and protect employees from dangerous situations. Both traditional systems with optical sensors and thermographic cameras are becoming increasingly important.

Thermographic cameras are particularly well suited for securing company grounds, entrances and exits and storage areas, even in poor lighting conditions, in addition to providing an overview of the production plants. Furthermore, companies in the manufacturing industry are increasingly using video security systems like this in order to secure particularly light-sensitive areas in production where the lighting is obstructed due to technical production requirements. A combination of one thermal and one optical sensor module in a camera provides users in a wide variety of applications with a reliable, secure solution for securing poorly lit areas. While the thermal sensor detects movement, the optical sensor facilitates the identification of objects. This enables the precise detection of movements under all lighting conditions. At the same time, it is possible to visually verify what has triggered motion events. The thermal sensor modules visually depict the heat radiated by people and objects, allowing the camera to detect movements from distances of up to 400 meters. If the optical sensor module features 5-megapixel technology and, for example, camera-integrated image improvement software, users also receive high contrast images without motion blur, even in poorly illuminated surroundings. If the camera system features intelligent motion detection software, only changes in location trigger a signal. Rain, shadows and moving trees can be ignored and it is possible to reduce the number of false alarms by up to 90 percent. As a result, this solution offers the best possible conditions for effective perimeter surveillance.

Keep An Eye On Theft
Video systems are gaining ground in the retail sector. This is because every year, the German retail sector is forced to accept major losses due to theft, crime and inventory differences. The damages amount to €3.9 billion according to a study entitled “2014 Inventory Differences” published by the EHI Retail Institute. Losses due to theft from the customer area come in on top at around 54 percent, followed by dishonest employees (approximately 23 percent) and suppliers (approximately 8 percent). The industry is investing in order to overcome this problem. According to the study conducted by EHI, three quarters of German companies now use video systems. Most are installed in plain sight in order to deter shoplifters. Almost one third of companies want to further expand video security. To this end, flexible, expandable and high-resolution video security systems have a preventative effect against theft and help identify (potential) perpetrators. High resolution video in megapixel quality is needed to clearly detect crimes, identify the perpetrators and qualify in court. A new generation of IP network cameras that deliver high-resolution images score particularly highly in this respect.

These systems generally produce large amounts of data that put extra load on existing networks and even overload them in extreme situations. A high-performance and well dimensioned network with large bandwidths serves as a basis for the installation of a standard high-resolution video security system. This is because the data from the video cameras is sent to a central PC for processing and recording and further processed there using video management software. Company networks in the retail sector are often not designed to transport such large amounts of data, meaning it is necessary to expand the network – often at great cost. A decentralised concept offers an alternative in order to be able to install a high resolution video security system in networks with lower resources. Recording takes place both internally on an SD card and externally on a USB stick or on NAS hard drives via the IP network, offering nearly unlimited storage capacity. The number of cameras per server can be up to ten times higher than the central VMS-based recording thanks to this decentralised recording via the network using the cameras themselves. No PC or additional software is required. Even if there are a large number of cameras recording, this decentralised solution can considerably cut down on storage requirements, as each camera can reduce the video to the frame rate and image size required for storage, independent of the live video. This concept makes it possible to implement high-resolution security monitoring systems without any major network upgrades, giving companies in the retail sector an effective weapon in the fight against theft.

A Video System? It Makes Sense In The Logistics Sector
Fast, punctual deliveries are the be-all and end-all in logistics. This is based on an efficient storage system. For example, storage and retrieval systems arrange Europallets in large, fully automatic high-bay warehouses. If these systems stop running, it results in major economic losses for the company. Using video systems here can help remedy the situation. That’s why Kardex Mlog, one of the leading suppliers of integrated material flow systems and high-bay warehouses, equips its storage and retrieval systems with highly flexible 5-megapixel cameras as standard in order to keep downtimes to a minimum. The storage and retrieval systems are like unmanned forklifts that run on tracks through rack aisles up to 100 meters in length and 40 meters in height. They use telescopic arms to transport Euro-pallets and place them at the designated place on the shelf. To do so, they extend the telescopic rod fully automatically. Once the pallet is correctly positioned on the storage and retrieval systems, the system heads for the target shelf and unloads the pallet. The dual camera’s two sensors, which are installed on the left and right of the storage and retrieval system, check whether anything is hanging over the side of the pallets that could potentially lead to a downtime. The IP video cameras allow the operator of the high-bay warehouse to see if there are any problems. Furthermore, it is not necessary to perform complex and dangerous on-site analyses in high-bay warehouses thanks to real-time monitoring. Employees no longer have to climb to heights of up to 40 meters in order to see what stopped the system. The video images make it possible to process faults faster and with more precision, often without a service technician having to inspect the affected rack aisle with the systems switched off. If it is necessary to correct the fault on-site, the video images can be used to determine how many employees are needed and what protective and auxiliary equipment as well as tools or replacement parts are required. As a result, Kardex Mlog customers are able to reduce downtimes by up to 30 percent and benefit from the economic advantage as well as an increased level of safety for their employees. In addition to securing the logistics processes, access security in the logistics industry is extremely important. The halls contain items of high value in most cases. Requirements similar to those for perimeter surveillance at production plants apply here. Camera systems that deliver high-resolution images are in demand. Thermographic cameras can round out the system.

Added Value Thanks To Video Technology
Video technology has found its way into virtually every industry. Companies also benefit from additional added value offered in particular by high-resolution video security systems based on network technology, in addition to the fact that the company building is secured. It is possible to address industry-specific requirements with flexible systems that also offer a high level of future sustainability.

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