SECURITY: Counting the ways IP video technology benefits casinos
by Gadi Piran
February 11, 2013
IP systems are improving the effectiveness of video for surveillance and
business applications in the casino and resort environment.
While some casino regulations have tempered the full-scale adoption of IP systems for the gaming floor, their value as a security/surveillance technology cannot be denied. Let’s look at some of the evolving benefits of new IP systems, and how they can make security and surveillance at casinos better than ever.
• Easy to use and dependable. The newest technology in the user interface for video management systems (VMS) is less complicated than previously available and provides only the important information the operator needs. High-resolution video presented in a usable format is vital to the casino environment and VMS platforms can now provide information to users in a prioritized and selective manner. The user gets only the video he or she needs—and gets it when, where and how it is needed. Better awareness enables better decision-making and faster reaction to urgent situations.
Systems are more dependable, too. Multiple streams can enable greater redundancy required by gaming commissions. A camera’s feed can be directed to a primary and a secondary video server simultaneously to ensure redundancy. For example, if a video feed goes down, the gaming table must close, which means lost revenue for the casino.
• Convenient access to video. In the proactive surveillance environment of the gaming market, convenient access to information is essential. User-friendly VMS enables access to multiple video views from various angles and also simplifies access to recorded video. Investigative tools make it easy to view an event after the fact. Time-slice thumbnails can pinpoint an event, and smart search motion detection can be configured to the speed and size of a moving object.
Another important tool for a casino surveillance environment is a kinetic motion timeline. This timeline is color-coded to highlight periods of detected motion and recorded video, giving gaming operators the ability to zoom in and out of the timeline and scale it to any desired time interval, then swipe it with their mouse to quickly review multiple cameras over an extended period. Such capabilities make it easy to review a dispute at a gaming table, for example. More efficient investigations save valuable time that operators can spend instead on live monitoring.
• Simplified administration. New VMS systems provide flexible assignment of user rights and privileges, which can enhance the use of surveillance and security systems and improve internal procedures. For instance, a single platform can host both surveillance cameras in the gaming area and security cameras in non-gaming areas, with camera views partitioned to comply with gaming regulations. The combination of more cameras and more users creates an almost endless number of variables related to camera access and other system rights. In the past, system administrators faced an onerous task to keep the system updated and functioning as intended. New video management capabilities now simplify and centralize administration of user rights. Options to assign system rights are more granular, and the use of group privileges simplifies the process. Privileges can be assigned to groups or individual members or batch-assigned based on entire camera groups.
• More software capabilities. Newer software has more functionality and expands system capabilities. Software systems are constantly being integrated with other third-party suppliers, offering additional functionality ranging from license plate recognition to new video storage options. Software-enabled systems can monitor a larger number of cameras and sites more efficiently. The latest software versions feature the widest possible selection of driver packs for various camera models.
• Useful as a business tool. Non-gaming security applications include monitoring employee accidents, slip-and-fall claims or other incidents, and video management software features contribute more value than ever in these applications. New video analytics capabilities can also be used for people counting (to ensure compliance with maximum occupancy restrictions) or to monitor queues at hotel registration to alert when another workstation should be opened. Video analytics can create a virtual tripwire to alarm if someone crosses into a restricted area. Motion detection can provide an alert if a package is unattended, or if a valuable object is moved. Video can also be tied to a point-of-sale (POS) system or to exception reporting software that highlights questionable POS transactions and can provide related video of each transaction.
IP video systems have significant advantages for casino and resort applications, including more flexibility, expanded capabilities, and clearer and higher-resolution images. They also require less space by reducing the need for recording and storage hardware, and are often cost effective.
is president of OnSSI, a Pearl River, N.Y.-based firm that is creating a new era in video surveillance in which intuitive software seamlessly connects and improves security processes and makes up for the limits of human capacity. This is driven by the modern world’s need for proactive, results-oriented security solutions that can help to prevent incidents, instead of merely record them. Intuitive, automated features of the software combine multiple alarms into meaningful alerts, which results in better security and less need for operators watching screens, and this in turn lowers operating costs. He can be reached at www.onssi.com.
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