Safe in Sound
New IP microphone technology takes center stage
- By Richard Brent
- Aug 01, 2019
While video surveillance
often takes center
stage in security deployments,
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.
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
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
This article originally appeared in the July/August 2019 issue of Security Today.