DigiFort from EOS Australia
I GOT a look at the new DigiFort video management solution at EOS headquarters in Sydney. Distributed locally by EOS Australia, DigiFort IP Surveillance System is a video management system for TCP/IP environments that incorporates core functions like image recording, image monitoring, synoptic maps, PTZ control, video exports, alerts and events and admin. This system is affordable, robust and intuitive – it’s designed specifically to be simple to use thanks to clever touches that offer layers of functionality. The system comes in 4 different versions; Digifort Explorer, Digifort Standard, Digifort Professional and Digifort Enterprise. You can select a system that’s small enough to manage a handful of cameras or large enough to handle a global solution. DigiFort’s client/server architecture allows local and remote surveillance, the integration of alarms through system events, administration of multiple users, the capacity for automatic disk administration and a range of live surveillance tools. There’s also the capacity for scene retrieval based on different image selection techniques. The focus of Digifort is simplicity for the operator – intuitive operation – faster – simpler to operate. Developers in Brazil are very hands-on and very willing to enhance the software to suit users. Visually the system has a bold and functional layout and a quick test drive shows the operational capabilities mirror DigiFort’s solid appearance. My first impression of the software was its overall intuitive layout and as the demonstration unfolded, this impression was only enhanced. The software I saw was a beta of DigiFort Version 6.4, due out in the next couple of months. According to EOS’ Dario Martinovic, Digifort’s powerful software capabilities are limited only by hardware, with the client/server architecture allowing serious expansion. As Martinovic explains, the main GUI has PTZ controls, a camera tree where operators can click/double-click to drop objects onto the screen, shuffle objects on the screen, or playback by right-clicking on the camera on the tree. “Operators can move objects off the screen by dragging or right clicking,” Martinovic explains. “All these features are designed to improve operator speed. For example, we have one button that removes all the camera views off the screen with one click. You can also get a scene to full screen by double clicking on it. “You can also create the screen styles you want, put all the cameras you want to see in that group and name the group and bring the group up by name – say, warehouse, or perimeter.” In one of a number of intuitive features the eye takes in at a glance, the camera tree also indicates motion – camera icon that is experiencing motion will turn yellow and a red record indicator beside the camera icon if the camera is recording. It’s a simple but neat piece of functionality that makes a lot of sense when an operator is chasing movement across a site after hours. Something else that’s important is functionality designed specifically for megapixel cameras.“Let’s call up an Arecont and a Sanyo 4MP HD camera,” says Martinovic, as he accesses a couple of cameras EOS has installed around its building. “To take advantage of the capabilities of megapixel there’s digital zoom,” he explains. “Typically operators want to be able to move this zoom area – often referred to as Digital PTZ – DigiFort takes this to another level. We can draw zoom areas onto the preview picture – this is unique to us.“Another thing DigiFort can do with megapixel is put the same camera onto a monitor screen multiple times even if the picture is only being recorded once,” he says. “We can use the digital zoom to look into multiple areas. “This functionality means a 5MP camera can look at multiple parts of a scene – such as a service station forecourt. You can tick a box to remember the position of a digital zoom so later when you come back to a saved view you can see the multiple points of interest in the wider scene you nominated and saved earlier. It’s all about making the system intuitive and easy to use.” Another good feature DigiFort offers is the ability to click once on a camera and instantly jump to playback from lets say 30 seconds ago. There is a list of pre-defined times you can jump back to or specify a custom time. “In the past you would have to go into playback, choose time frames, choose views – now it’s a single click on the camera tree,” Martinovic explains. “So as not to stop live monitoring you can also select a specific monitor for playback so for instance, every time you play back video it is always displayed on monitor 4.” Another solid feature of DigiFort is a digital/virtual matrix which allows cameras to be nominated to any authorised workstation screen logged into the network. “The way this works is that when a workstation is logged in its name appears on the tree and you can select a camera and show it on a particular PC – you can pick were you want the camera to go and into which camera square in the layout,” Martinovic explains. “We can send cameras to remote monitors which is great for video walls. All the group camera views we save during commission are available for us to view yet viewing remains flexible,” he says. “We might call up all entry cameras – then if we want to view another camera we can do so thanks to autoview. Then we can add a map, then a zoom view. There is also a sequencer. It means if you notice something on a camera you can pause the sequence and go back to see the view. We can save an unlimited number of screen styles and access them with mouse click.”There are 5 different ways to move a PTZ, the GUI PTZ Controls, the mouse centre to click on image, a visual joystick which is OSD controls on image, and a Digifort CCTV keyboard. The new version 6.4 will have a fingerprint reader for authenticated log-in that can be applied to high risk cameras, and eliminates the need for a standard pc keyboard which is just used for logins.Another strong feature for operators are colour changes that take place on motion. “If an operator is sitting in front of a screen and there is motion you can activate motion and as an intruder moves on the screen the movement is displayed in colour as a highlight,” Martinovic explains. “When you are looking at a screen of cameras that don’t get much movement, operators become desensitized to movement and may not notice someone sneaking around a warehouse at night, but by enabling motion detection and applying colour, operators just have to look for motion colour on images which will detect the slightest of movements. We can choose any colour we want. DigiFort also has a range of image filters, blurring, flipping, greyscale, interlacing. Playback and exportDigiFort’s simple and capable playback functionality doesn’t only apply to client applications. “The first thing about DigiFort’s playback function is that it’s the same as the export version end users will give the police with attached footage – minus time selection and camera selection but otherwise identical. “We can review a camera by selecting it, going back in time (you can create a reviewing group of cameras and call it up at any time) and hit play,” Martinovic explains. “The timelines are at the bottom – you can zoom in zoom out multiple digital zooms, go forward and back. There’s motion search – you can select an area of a scene to search but if you don’t select an area of a scene the system will perform a motion search based on the whole image.” The way this works is that once the system finishes playing motion in one block it will jump to motion on another block and another and another. This makes it very easy to jump from one motion event to another and view only the portions of the video with motion. “It’s also excellent for missing items,” Martinovic explains. “You draw a box, do a search and motion events are instantly displayed. Police can do this motion search too as the video footage player they receive is identical. The police might have an hour’s footage to search and this tool allows them to perform motion searches, print, save snapshots and export from exports.“If you print an image the software puts your company name up top, cameras image, which operator and includes any relevant notes. If the operator wanted to do this they would have to save the image, load it into Word and make comments in Word – or as an email – then print it out.” Other interesting feature is DigiFort’s mapping functionality. The way this works is that you click on an area in a map and the system will open all cameras on the map you have on map – you don’t have to click on each camera icon. “You can also drag and drop from a map to the panes on a screen. Users might have a screen dedicated to cameras from the map and you can drag cameras from the map to a separate screen. Or you can just call up a camera as a pop up which allows digital zoom. “With DigiFort, integrators or users can make a map, give it a name, size the map image, put a camera on the map, rotate it, adjust camera icons, change the colour of text under cameras and colour code cameras. All the red ones might be megapixel for instance,” says Martinovic. “There are PTZ icons, fixed camera icons. We can also add alarm inputs and these can monitor the state of a camera’s input – to a door, say. What all this means is that maps are live and interactive.” According to Martinovic, other features include license plate recognition using the Carmen library as an engine. Carmen is the number one library in the world and it allows the system to track things like container numbers – in fact any text in a defined region. You can setup traps for detected numbers and trigger events. “DigiFort also has a storage calculator,” he says. “There are so many IP cameras, HD cameras, megapixel cameras available and all have different compression rates and frame rates. The calculator incorporated into DigiFort is an excellent tool and very helpful during commissioning. It means you can be certain you have an appropriate amount of storage.” Other standout features of the product include Digifort Mobile, a software app developed on the Java platform for mobile devices such as cell phones, Smartphones, PDAs, etc. This application makes it possible to view images of IP cameras and video servers (encoders) by way of mobile devices. With Digifort Mobile it’s possible to activate events by way of the output relays of IP cameras and automation modules that are homologated in the Digifort System. You can set off various output events directly from your mobile device, including activating sirens, turning lights on or off, opening doors or gates, turning on or off a water pump, motors, household equipment.Meanwhile, DigiFort Evidence is an optional module of the Digifort system which allows the classification and documentation of events that occurred in the surveillance system, including the archiving and organization of video footage and any files related to the occurrence for later look-up, and the generation of administrative and statistical reports.Some other advanced capabilities of Digifort are redundant recording, fail-over recording, Licence Plate Recognition, Cardax integration and UDP Technologies Video Analytics. Martinovic says redundant recording can work in several ways. “A single camera can be added to multiple servers, or a redundant server can obtain a camera from the master server,” he says. “A fail-over method is also possible with a stand-by server to take over any cameras in case the primary server is to fail.“Meanwhile, the Cardax integration has been developed to comply with tenders and installer demands, which allows Digifort to obtain any event from Cardax and perform an action, such as pop-up cameras, start recording, or sound an alarm.”Martinovic explains that Carmen Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) provides high accuracy and speed, as well as country independent OCR technology, which can recognize Arabic, Latin, Chinese, Korean & Cyrillic characters in a number plate. With over 95 per cent + accuracy rate, Carmen is used, installed and running in more then 200 countries in the world, where automatic identification of vehicles is needed.“UDP Technologies product features inbuilt video analytics such as Zone Enter/Exit, Zone Appear/Disappear, Dwelling, Tamper, Speeding, Stop, Tail gating, Directional, Object Counting – Digifort parses the metadata from these devices then can set and trigger events as well as provide reporting functionality,” Martinovic explains. “UDP comes in the form of D1 and Megapixel network cameras and Encoders, which are now fully integrated into Digifort.”Cardax integration, Carmen LPR Engine integration, UDP Technologies Video Analytics Integration & DigiFort’s very own analytics will all be launched at the Security 2010 with the release of Digifort 6.4.