The Digital Security Guard detects uninvited guests

November 15, 2006 Siemens has developed a video surveillance system known as Sistore that automatically identifies intruders and tracks them via cameras. As the research magazine Pictures of the Future reports in its latest issue, Sistore CX EDS digitizes the images recorded by video cameras in real-time, and then uses a special algorithm to search them for suspicious movements. If it discovers an intruder, the system from Siemens Building Technologies will then trigger an alarm in the security control center, and automatically begin tracking the person in question with other available cameras.

Sistore can reduce the strain on security guards, who these days generally have to keep their eye on several monitors at a time. Studies have shown that this huge flood of images very quickly causes fatigue among security guards and that even when watching only two monitors with automatic camera switching, a guard will miss nearly half of all activity in a scene after 12 minutes and 95 percent of what’s going on after 22 minutes.

The video sensors in Sistore CX EDS “learn” what the normal situation in a camera’s image should be by memorizing the most frequent conditions within a specified period of time. They then ignore this normal state of affairs and focus on any deviations. EDS also works with algorithms for attribute extraction, whereby adjustable parameters such as size and speed enable it to distinguish between a person and a car or animal. The memorized normal background image also enables the system to automatically recognize sabotage in that if someone should turn the camera around, the back-ground image will change, and the system will sound an alarm.

Sistore can be flexibly combined with a customer’s existing intranet structure, which means any number of video signals can be linked to it and analyzed. Because Sistore uses the Internet as a system platform, security guards can view images on a PC monitor from theoretically anywhere in the world.

Siemens is installing a fully digitized Sistore system for the 2006 Asian Games in Doha. Some 1300 cameras will be linked up to the system to help keep the capital of Qatar safe during the games, which will take place in the first two weeks of December.

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