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Quarantine Transformations in Video Surveillance

May 1, 2020

All of a sudden, this year turns out to be very different for all of us: not like the past years, and not even close what we expected it to be. COVID-19 has brought challenges so daunting that one keeps wondering whether the next moment we will all wake up from a bad dream, or Tony Stark will make the scene and save us all. Yet, this year, the superheroes are not Marvel - they are ordinary people with an iron will and medical education. But, while doctors and scientists are in the front line of the antivirus army, what is it that the rest of us can do?

A Bit of Philosophy

Stay alert. Question old habits. Before this pandemic, did you mind how many times a day you'd touched your face? Do you now? Question all incoming information. Fake news may be fun sometimes, but right now we absolutely need to be able to distinguish between fact and fiction. Is the news all flash and no bang? Was that Daisy Ridley's video a deepfake or not? Do you believe everything in this article? With the increasing amount of artificial intelligence around us, critical thinking seems to be strategically important for successful survival in the future.

Stay calm. Panic is never useful, and we don't want to suffer from stress in addition. Some studies on anthropology suggest that the evolutional significance of fear is to make us act to survive: see a tiger - run for your life. The instincts do not rule our lives anymore, so we can afford to make a thoughtful pause. Clear our minds, make plans, adapt to the new reality.

Stay home. One simple action (or, rather, lack thereof!) can save lives: quarantines and lockdowns are proving to be efficient. Easier said than done, huh? We need to keep the businesses afloat, feed our families, and not go crazy longing for voyages, rock concerts, and shopping tours. Time to try new approaches - the best of those will remain even after the pandemic is over.

So, turning from words to deeds, how can we reshape video surveillance for it to help us through the situation?

There's No Place Like Home... Office

Surprisingly, a whole lot of people can do their work remotely. Not just the typical freelance designers and developers, but also security personnel, along with others whose jobs are traditionally considered offline. Of course, almost always there is a need in an on-site party; but the emergency team can be smaller, with NETWORK control rooms converted into remote ones. Both small businesses and large enterprises may benefit from such an upgrade.

There is no real need for operators to sit in crowded rooms. Ganz CORTROL Monitor, the client application for workstations and video walls, has all the right features for this scenario:

  • Workstations connect to remote servers from anywhere via dedicated port without any middleware
  • Advanced user setup allows creating user-profiles and user accounts with very detailed permissions so that the operators do not see or do what they are not supposed to
  • Client-server connection encryption is compliant with security standards
  • Remote control of PTZ cameras, doors, gates, and video walls does not differ from that on-site, except for maybe a bit of latency
  • Operators can instantly share their screen contents with colleagues, managers, or authorities
  • CORTROL keeps a detailed log of every user action, be it the smallest configuration change, login attempt, or video archive access, so you always know who was responsible

Remote and Mobile

Additionally, you can control everything from your CORTROL mobile client. Review live feeds or video archives, receive push notifications if there's motion in the empty office, use in-app software buttons to open remote doors, and even use two-way audio and mobile streaming for interactivity. Don't want to purchase Zoom? Use CORTROL Mobile for conferencing instead.

Your infrastructure will be safe under constant software surveillance, and your security staff - comfortable and less exposed to the Covid19.

Proactive and Efficient

In theory, working from home sounds great. But anyone who ever tried working on remote knows what it is like children, cats, food, and other countless temptations and distractions. So, it is critical to upgrade the network system in such a way that all important things are not overlooked or forgotten. And even on-site, anyone can miss anything happening on the big screen over a cup of coffee.

All the intelligent analytics, combined with the power of proactive event scenarios, help here. Automatically pop up channels with motion? Well, that has been a must for years now. CORTROL traces doors opened after hours, accepts events from access control software, and raises alarms when faces of quarantined staff appear in the office, alongside with their cars spotted on the premises. Based on all that, it sends you emails or notifications, bookmarks the video archive for further review, or notifies the authorities about potential violation of quarantine measure. CORTROL can also trigger third-party services for you, like SNMP managers or access control platforms.

Be it live alarms or daisy chains of warning, it will be automatic, and, therefore, reliable and efficient.

What if staying home is not an option?

Someone has to stay in the field, never mention the tireless medical teams. But, instead of touching countless doorknobs, entering PIN codes, or using their access cards, your staff can simply turn their face to the camera - and have the door opened at once! To hold the door for the follower, we recommend doing it with your hip: safe and elegant. And, with CORTROL Global, why not put an extra tiny server at home and enjoy the “hands-free” solution for your own entrance?

CORTROL FR, the facial recognition software, can accommodate any number of cameras and any number of subjects utilizing a considerably small amount of hardware. It also has a ridiculously low false-positive recognition rate, meaning you can trust this solution to replace the traditional “touch” style.

Social Peace and Public Order

And then, there are those responsible for enforcing the lockdown protocols. How can we help the authorities, facilitate their work? Make sure no one is violating? Not trying to fool the system by pretending to be a T-Rex?

A whole bunch of extra functionality comes handy here. These are like construction blocks, allowing you to build your defense tower by combining them in relevant ways. The exact features you need depend on the exact scenario; for example:

  • detect single persons and crowds - in the streets or in the shops - and analyze their behavior and appearance
  • monitor social distancing and notify authorities about people's movement in quarantined areas (yes, T-Rex, you, too!)
  • audio analytics recognize aggressive behavior, shouting, and even shooting: something worth reacting immediately
  • temperature measurement with thermal cameras: not as accurate as thermometers yet does not require human cooperation
  • drones to check if people are staying home - if you choose to get fancy
  • activate loudspeaker announcements for the people in the streets instead of approaching them in person

Technologies Behind

These come to life thanks to Ganz VCA, which is an integral part of the CORTROL video management system, as well as integrations with other analytic engines. One of our latest integrations, GanzCloud, tags the objects in your video stream, and all you need to do is just search for "pizza delivery guy near garage". Another one, UgCS CC platform, lets you have streams from DJI and other drones.

Thermal cameras have been of niche interest before the pandemic; now, many consider them a smart investment. As an independent video management platform, we support thermal cameras from multiple vendors, including Hikvision, Dahua, and Axis. Real-time notifications based on the temperature data allow identifying persons with high body temperature automatically, without social interaction (no interaction - no infection!). Based on those alarms, CORTROL's alarm manager eliminates possible human error and involves less staff.

Look at all the potential of the analytical frameworks. Here they come, all the different tools we have, both based on old school algorithms, or driven by state-of-the-art neural networks. Is it time for them to work together, serving one crucial purpose.

Like a COVID-19 inspired song says, “The bad news is that everyone is a potential victim / But the good news that everyone is a potential solution.”

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