Rozana Sani meets with an expert to see if technology offers a solution
LINA is feeling torn inside. She has been invited to a function at a restaurant located in a downtown mall in Kuala Lumpur. On one hand, she is excited and is looking forward to meeting friends she hasn’t seen for a long time. But she is also apprehensive at the thought of walking back to her car alone after the get-together is over.
Like many women, the thought of visiting a shopping mall spooks Lina now more than ever. The frequent reports in the papers about women being attacked and robbed in parking lots have got many fearful.
The only way to remedy the situation is to increase the safety level in shopping malls. And a key step towards this is to have shopping malls deploy effective video surveillance of all areas within their premise, says Axis
Communications’ country manager of Malaysia & Brunei Nafis Jasmani.
“Shopping malls in the Klang Valley are always filled with people at almost every hour starting from the time the mall is open for business until it is closed. So, providing an enjoyable and safe experience for shoppers is paramount.
Having video surveillance helps in detecting and deterring crime in the long run,” Nafis postulates.
According to Nafis, the presence of video surveillance equipment alone could be enough to deter potential crime. The would-be perpetrator might consider the attack to be too risky and not worth it.
“Besides that, if a security guard is monitoring the hotspots via video surveillance, he can monitor any suspicious behaviour in real time and hence, prevent a crime from happening.”
And what are the considerations before deciding on a system for a shopping mall since there are hundreds of manufacturers to choose from?
Nafis says it all boils down to making a choice: Does the management want a general overview of a place or a detailed look?
“In a shopping mall, for instance, your primary goal for camera installation may be to observe people and view their movements — not the identification of individuals. Or you may want to see whether a parking lot is full or has empty bays, rather than identify individual cars or read licence plates. For overview applications, sufficient resolution and coverage of a scene may be achieved with a single HDTV/megapixel network camera or a number of non-megapixel network cameras,” he explains.
In contrast to the general overview, there are those situations where you need to be able to identify persons or objects in a scene.
“Perhaps you need to identify a face or licence plate. High detail images can be achieved by installing a network camera with a telescopic lens or a lens with zoom capability to enable a closer view of the area of interest, or by placing the camera close to the area to be monitored. Using a HDTV or megapixel network camera in all such cases will provide even higher resolution images with more detail than a non-megapixel network camera,” he continues.
Therefore, Nafis says, it is vital to have a surveillance system that can produce very good image quality and resolution for easy identification and automatically record motion and sound.
In the surveillance system centre, a guard has access to images from all cameras and can communicate with the guards on foot patrol, who rapidly intervene if required. This makes the solution both cost-efficient and secure.
“Axis also recommends network videos which offer multi-view streaming capabilities, have pan/tilt/zoom surveillance features which enable the camera to continuously follow an object, one that works equally well day and night, even under poor light conditions, and is vandal proof. These features are available in most digital, network video surveillance systems today.”
Nafis says the network video surveillance system provides a host of benefits and advanced functionalities that cannot be provided by an analog video surveillance system.
One such benefit is that network cameras and video encoders can be configured and accessed remotely, enabling multiple, authorised users to view live and recorded video at any time and from virtually any networked location in the world. This wouldn’t be possible in a traditional analog CCTV system without such equipment as a video encoder or a network digital video recorder (DVR)
“In a fully digital IP-Surveillance system, images from a network camera are digitised once and they stay digital with no unnecessary conversions and no image degradation due to distance travelled over a network. In addition, digital images can be more easily stored and retrieved than in cases where analog video tapes are used,” says Nafis.
There are also built-in intelligence or analytics that enable programmed responses. Such functionalities are not available in an analog system. These are remote pan/tilt/zoom, Power over Ethernet, video motion detection, audio detection alarm, active tampering alarm, I/O (input/output) connections, alarm and event management functionalities.
“An Axis network video system is able to send video without the need for a dedicated physical infrastructure. Based on open standards, Axis network video products run on standard IP networks such as Local Area Networks (LANs) and the Internet, for transferring information, rather than dedicated point-to-point cabling used in analog video systems. Cameras can be moved freely around the network, and the system can be expanded by adding more network cameras.”