Avigilon is redefining what video surveillance can be
At the end of November, iTech Group, Avigilon and Motorola Solutions held a joint event in Baku, which discussed modern approaches to building video surveillance and access control systems. Representatives of Azerbaijani IT companies, partners and customers of iTech Group took part in the confederation. The Canadian company Avigilon is a relatively young player in the security systems market. Over the years, the company has managed not only to become one of the main players in the video surveillance market, but also to develop integrated solutions that include access control, video analytics and artificial intelligence. In the spring of 2018, Avigilon was acquired by Motorola Solutions, which allowed for the tight integration of the products and solutions of the two vendors, bringing the concept of security to a whole new level.
Konstantin Grigorenko, Sales Manager for Avigilon Video Security and Access Control Systems in the Baltic States, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Georgia, and Jabar Mammadzade, Head of Marketing and Sales at iTech Group, spoke about how Avigilon video analytics systems work in an interview with Infocity.

— What areas of activity are the main ones for Avigilon today?

Konstantin Grigorenko — Today, our company occupies a leading position in integrated security systems. We offer not only a wide range of CCTV cameras, thermal cameras, IR cameras and video recording devices, but also software, analytical systems based on our own servers, top-level systems and access control systems. Given the fact that we are a division of Motorola Solutions, our products are tightly integrated with each other, which allows us to create complete solutions that include radios. As part of partnerships with other manufacturers, we also offer solutions that include the possibility of monitoring objects using drones. For each sector, Avigilon is ready to provide specialized solutions, and all of them have a guaranteed high level of fault tolerance and security, ensured by compliance with the FIPS 140-2 standard. Depending on the needs of the customer and the level of criticality of the infrastructure, we can increase protection to the level of FIPS 140-3 using cameras that include special SD-card-based crypto keys.
— Your software has not only serious analytics capabilities, but also involves the implementation of an intuitive search in the video database for a number of parameters. Can you tell me more about this?

Konstantin Grigorenko - The quick search system that is built into our Avigilon Access Control Manager software is actually very powerful. First, it includes the ability to recognize based on patterns, which allows you to recognize the movements of people and vehicles with high accuracy, ignoring movements that are not related to the field of view. The continuous learning built into our cameras reduces false alarms and ensures that only valid alarms are triggered, avoiding wasted time and improving overall operational efficiency. The possibility of such a search is actively used in stores, warehouses and parking lots. The second direction is pixel motion search to determine pixel motion events. It is used when it is necessary to understand that the object has crossed some pre-activated line, for example, the front door to the office. You can also search by likeness, which allows you to quickly find a person of interest at any point of the object according to his identification card, as well as immediately view video clips that show activity at checkpoints.

— You mentioned the continuous learning tools built into Avigilon cameras. What are they?

Konstantin Grigorenko - As I have already noted, Avigilon video analytics uses advanced template-based analytics and learning by example technology. These capabilities are designed to improve the effectiveness of security services and make surveillance more accessible and effective. To reduce the number of false positives, you do not need to reduce the sensitivity of analytics. The system gradually learns the surveillance area and acquires the ability to highlight important events based on user ratings. This increases sensitivity to situations of interest and reduces false alarms. Thus, the system allows you to concentrate on the really important things. We also offer AI NVRs to customers. These are purpose-built NVRs with built-in back-end analytics that unlock AI capabilities for third-party cameras lacking analytics capabilities. With our AI NVR, you can use video analytics on almost all cameras that support the ONVIF standard using a neural network system.

— At what level are cyber security and privacy protection provided in your solutions?

Konstantin Grigorenko - To begin with, the Avigilon Control Center security measures include strong password enforcement, connection authentication and data encryption, as well as setting the most restrictive permissions for access to the search function, which uses data that provides identification of an individual. In addition, Avigilon cameras simply lack the ability to install any third-party software that would allow an attacker to connect to the camera. We are moving towards ensuring that security is ensured not only in the process of transferring data from the camera to the analytics software, but also between the camera and the server. And the third level, which I mentioned above, is equipping the cameras with additional crypto keys.

- What arguments do you give to customers who prefer to buy cheap solutions that do not have video analytics tools, or even use dummies at their facilities?

Jabar Mammadzada - We all know very well such an expression as "a miser pays twice." I will not hide the fact that in my practice there were cases when a customer asked to use dummies in large areas along with conventional cameras. For example, in warehouses or outdoor facilities. But such visibility works only for a certain time. As soon as it becomes clear that this is a fake, the violations resume. As for cheap solutions, in this case, you can only wait for the moment when the customer gets a negative experience. Through our partnership with Avigilon, we are trying to change the way customers think video surveillance can be. The list of such measures also includes the possibility of providing demonstration equipment. This lets you know that with Avigilon solutions, you can save a lot of time and, in the long run, provide a return on your initial investment. In addition, the processes at your enterprise with the help of a convenient video surveillance system will become more productive.
Therefore, the main thing for us is to convey to the potential customer all the possibilities that would be impossible without the level of qualification and rich experience in implementing video surveillance systems that iTech Group engineers have.

What other benefits do Avigilon users in Azerbaijan get?

Konstantin Grigorenko — Separately, I would like to note the complexity of our decisions. Avigilon is a Canadian company with all production facilities also concentrated in this country. We have full control over the production, which many other companies in the video surveillance market cannot afford. Accordingly, the deliveries of our products, regardless of volumes, are carried out exactly on time. Made by OEMs like HPE and Dell Technologies, our scalable NVRs are co-designed and rigorously tested devices that are hard to replace with traditional servers that can't guarantee they will continue to perform at the same performance over time and under increased load. Therefore, it is the ability to quickly, almost instantly, access to analytics on the accumulated video databases that is the main advantage of Avigilon. Also in the Avigilon portfolio appeared entry-level distributed access control systems without the need for a separate server. Auto-configuration, easy navigation, simple interface, I/O connection, and email notification of critical events make the access control system more efficient and easy to use for branch offices throughout the country.

Jabar Mammadzada - Another product from the Avigilon portfolio that I would like to mention is body-worn cameras. This is a very promising direction for Azerbaijan, because such devices provide a lot of advantages. They have a very large non-removable battery, plenty of built-in memory and support the ability to work with Motorola Solutions radios for quick alarm notification. There are many scenarios for their use. For example, when sending repair teams to facilities that are not equipped with video surveillance systems, where work may be associated with a high risk to life. In this case, the camera can both motivate personnel not to violate technical safety rules, and serve as a means of monitoring the work process. Such cameras can be used in the gas and oil industries, during their processing, where employees have to work with expensive equipment. And, of course, their use is desirable in law enforcement agencies, security services, as well as in the context of the Safe City concept.

Konstantin Grigorenko — We are building long-term relationships with iTech Group and we can see how eagerly the company invests in the development of its engineers and technical support, doing everything to provide services related to the promotion of Avigilon products in a timely manner. We can say that 90% of the load falls on our local representative, who currently already has significant experience in consulting and implementing projects in the field of video surveillance.

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