Safe in Sound

New IP microphone technology takes center stage

While video surveillance often takes center stage in security deployments, equally as important is audio. Much like the way our hearing complements our vision, audio monitoring systems provide valuable information, illuminating the intent behind actions captured on camera. However, outside of simply enhancing video surveillance, audio has inherent value for additional use as a standalone system across a variety of applications.

As the industry has evolved, so has audio. Much like its video counterpart, audio has made the move towards IP technology. With these new advancements comes improved capabilities, providing end users with a host of built-in analytics to increase situational awareness, allow for incident verification, and improve response times. Thanks to enhanced functionality, decreased costs and installation times, these new audio monitoring systems have proved themselves a formidable solution to tackle many security woes.

Simplifying Installation

Budgetary constraints are often the most common pitfall of security projects, making high functioning low-cost options invaluable for any vertical deployment. Unlike analog systems that require additional caballing and installation time, IP microphones are surprisingly simple.

Thanks to PoE connectivity, IP microphones can be quickly installed in any facility without long installations. The ease of integration with existing security systems saves time for integrators and provides a low-cost solution for end users.

Much like any security installation, there are a few best practices to keep in mind when installing audio devices. The first step is to identify areas in need of audio monitoring, these often correlate with areas that video surveillance systems are deployed. Easily installed via a PoE connection, and simply integrated into existing video surveillance and video management systems, IP microphones seamlessly fit into any security ecosystem with minimal hassle.

Smart Sound Classification

As data-driven analytics have developed throughout the industry, audio is no exception. The introduction of IP microphones has brought enhanced functionality through built-in analytics to these audio solutions. With the ability to both listen and interpret, these new audio security systems are able to not only aid in secondary alarm verification, but also work to detect issues in real time.

Take, for example, microphones with aggression or gunshot detection analytics. By simply mounting a microphone at points of concern, its aggression detection software “listens” for elevated speech, arguments, and other obvious signs of verbal abuse, which often precludes physical belligerence. Once those cues are picked up by the audio system, security personnel are immediately alerted.

On the other hand, gunshot detection works simply by “listening” for the sound of firearm discharge, once again alerting personnel when the sound is recognized. As an added bonus, many IP audio solutions with built-in analytics do not need to record audio to function. They are able to avoid privacy concerns due to the fact that they only analyze frequency and sound patterns, without identifying specific language or words.

Safety in Sound

When not being used as a standalone solution, IP microphones can easily integrate with existing systems to create a more holistic approach to security. False alarms have long plagued the industry and law enforcement, causing delayed response times and racking up large fees for end users. While video surveillance and intrusion alarms are often the primary choice for security monitoring, these systems have limitations. With a simple alarm or video footage, security staff receive only a small snippet of the situation.

Adding audio solutions to video capture, gives staff the ability to gather additional evidence to more effectively verify alerts and expand their situational awareness. When a monitoring solution is equipped with IP microphone technology, the system will begin to document the situations sounds as soon as the alarm is triggered, sending live data to security personnel instantaneously. Utilizing this information, in conjunction with video and intrusion alarm information, monitoring staff can more easily determine whether or not an event is occurring, prior to contacting police.

This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Security Today.

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