Access your CCTV cameras from any internet enabled device SECURELY

looking at youBy popular demand, we have recently updated our solution to provide live video streaming from any CCTV camera managed by the Silverstar Analytics solution.

Key benefits of our solution compared to other techniques are

  • Secure by default: Unlike other solutions, our method is secure and uses end-to-end banking grade encryption.
  • Secure by configuration: Unlike other methods, you do not need to ‘expose’ your CCTV devices on the internet by poking holes in your firewall
  • Simple to setup: Takes 2 minutes to setup and unlike other solution requires no network changes.
  • Supported  browserSimple to use: Works with all internet browsers (IE, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc) across all devices including smart phones, tablets, PC’s, smart TV, etc.
  • No baggage: We do not require installation of any application, browser plugin or old-style java program. We work seamlessly with all modern browsers out of the box.
  • Easy to use: Each user is provided a unique login to our service and all cameras are listed by location to allow easy selection.
  • Works anywhere: Our adaptive frame rate and quality capability allows you access irrespective of the network speed.

Our solution allows you to monitor activity with your retail store from any location on the planet and answer questions like

  • global accessDid my staff open the store on time?
  • Did that delivery arrive on time and who is unpacking it?
  • Is my store busy?
  • Have the shelves been restocked?
  • With my absence, are my staff relaxing?

All while you are sunning yourself on Copacabana beach.

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Retailers: Is your infrastructure secure? Insecure by default is still a major problem.

Security tallIs your epos device or CCTV camera a risk to your business? Over recent months we’ve seen two big story’s demonstrating how for many businesses, yes you are exposed. In both cases devices are insecure by default and when deployed into production these defaults are not being altered.

What do we mean by secure by default? It’s simple, secure by default means that the default configuration settings are the most secure settings possible. It allows the person using that device or system to deploy and not unknowing open themselves up to risk.

Insecure CCTV camera configuration leads to 73,000 private cameras visible to anyone!

The website Insecam is doing just that, streaming footage from approximately 73,000 Internet-connected IP cameras around the world. The majority appear to be from cameras running default security settings (like using “admin1″ or “password” as a password). There’s are streams from over 11,000 cameras in the United States alone, with tens of thousands of others from places like Brazil, Japan, and the Czech Republic.

Read more here.

Cash register maker used same password – 166816 – non-stop since 1990

At RSA 2015, fraud fighters David Byrne and Charles Henderson say one of the world’s largest Point of Sale (PoS) systems vendors has been slapping the same default passwords – 166816 – on its kit since 1990. Worse still: about 90 per cent of customers are still using the password.

I one retailer it was revealed staff had used an epos system to play Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, and download porn.

Read more here.

As the risk grows, governments have started to intervene, including providing IT security advice. A good document provided by the UK government can be found here.

Saint or Sinner? Volunteer staff caught stealing from leading UK charity. Real-world retail loss prevention cases.

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It has been reported in the UK press that Age UK, the country’s largest charity dedicated to helping everyone make the most of later life, has been the victim of theft and fraud by a number of its volunteers. As reported, some have been failing to register the full amount of cash paid at tills or taking donated goods themselves. In a few cases others have been helping themselves to cash directly.

As reported by the press

Charity volunteers stealing millions in cash and donations from their own shops

Age UK said it had assessed 13 stores. A source said it was thought cases of ­dishonesty had been found at most.Age UK said it had assessed 13 stores. A source said it was thought cases of ­dishonesty had been found at most.

Age UK said: “As an extension of our regular assessment and part of our targeted monitoring activity, we recently reviewed 13 out of our 430-plus shops.

“We recognise that we have a duty to protect the value of donations given by our generous donors, the large number of committed staff and volunteers and the older people we support.”

Sources said one con involved purchases being “under ringed” in tills and staff simply pocketing the difference. Police in Dorset are ­investigating the disappearance of ­thousands of pounds at one store. In North London staff resigned from a branch after alleged thefts were discovered.

Staff leave Age UK charity store after theft allegations

Staff and volunteers at a Camden charity shop have left their roles after bosses discovered cash and stock had been stolen.

Workers at the Age UK shop, in Kentish Town Road, Kentish Town, have handed in their notice following allegations of theft.

Volunteer stole £1,104 from Arnold charity shop to fund gambling habit

Sean O’Hara started off stealing £2-£3 a time from the Age UK shop in Arnold’s Front Street, but this escalated to £150-£200 a week, Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard.

The 46-year-old also failed to register sales in the till. Over the course of five months last year, he stole £1,104 from the shop.

As we have blogged about previously, there are a number of factors behind staff members reason to steal. These include

angel-and-devil

At Silverstar Analytics, we believe retailers should always follow the Russian proverb used extensively in cold war negotiations “doveryai no proveryai” which translates as “trust, but verify”. Click here to understand how our next generation cloud loss prevention solution can help you.

Silverstar Analytics demonstrating its next generation cloud VMS (video management system) at IFSEC 2015

Experience next generation user activity management from

Silverstar Analytics at IFSEC 2015

IFSEC-2015-logo

Next generation user activity management

Silverstar Analytics are proud to be exhibiting at IFSEC 2015, ExCeL London. See a live demo of our next generation cloud based user activity management solution. Discover how we integrate all types of devices (e.g. epos, CCTV, access control, video analytics, RFID) into a holistic solution that results in dramatic improvement in staff behaviour and policy violations.

Easy to deploy and use. Comprehensive

Our demo will show how

  • Our cloud solution can be easily deployed and managed.
  • Our modern UI supports high levels of productivity.
  • Our powerful analytics pin-points suspicious activity.
  • Integrated CCTV provides irrefutable visual evidence.
  • Integrate other devices for a holistic approach.

Understand how our next generation solution can address your user activity management needs. Contact here for more details. 

Operational management for Kounta

Silverstar Analytics

Silverstar Analytics, a provider of next generation retail business intelligence and forensics solutions, is pleased to announce our partnership with Kounta, a leading supplier of POS software to the hospitality industry.

We are pleased to offer our solution free of charge to all single outlet Kounta customers without obligation.

We provide a rich set of tools for retail operational management, real-time performance monitoring, data analysis and loss prevention to the Kounta community. Our solution is fully integrated with Kounta and takes minutes to set up.

Key capabilities for Kounta customers are

data analytics 2Real time operational data analytics

Our solution is fully integrated with Kounta and takes minutes to set up. With our unique cloud-to-cloud synchronization all relevant data is transferred within seconds to our analytics engine for processing. This data is available immediately to give you real-time performance monitoring of your retail business. Understand sales in real-time. Our powerful analytics and forensics features make it easy to understand your business


surveillanceSmart surveillance using CCTV

We also integrate with CCTV allowing any Point of Sales activity to be visually monitored. Our analytics can pin-point suspicious or exceptional activity and automatically retrieve relevant clips of CCTV. This visual evidence provides full clarity to context of the activity and irrefutable visual proof. We support your existing CCTV system, bringing intelligence and remote monitoring to your surveillance.


notificationReal-time alerts on unusual activity

Our data analytics automatically identifies irregular activity. Also define additional polices or rules for your own business on what you regard as abnormal or exceptional. For high severity policy violations, get real time notifications delivered to you. These can be sent to your computer, laptop or smartphone. All critical information of who-when-where and why is clearly presented allowing easy understanding and immediate response.

free-signFree for single outlet retailers 

Take minutes to setup and provides immediate insight into your business. Analyse the last month’s worth of data and bring a new level of insight to your retail operation and the conduct of your staff at the Point of Sale.

Read more here. Contact us here to register for your free account.

Meet Silverstar Analytics at RBTE 2015

Retail Business Technology Expo 2015

RBTE_Logo_2015

RBTE 2015 will be the largest gathering of the retail industry in Europe, with over 9,000 visitors expected, and is the must attend event for the whole retail team – from marketing, merchandising, fraud and supply chain to eCommerce, IT, operations and payments.

If you need to know what’s working, what’s not, what new, who’s innovating and winning and how they are doing it, the key to successful international expansion, what the future looks like, how to reduce costs while delivering an outstanding customer experience.

Next generation loss prevention

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Silverstar Analytics are proud to be present at Retail Business Technology Expo 2015 – RBTE 2015. Come and visit us and see a live demo of our next generation cloud based loss prevention solution. Discover how we integrate all types of devices (e.g. epos, CCTV, access control, video analytics, RFID) into a holistic solution that results in dramatic improvement in retail shrinkage.

Easy to deploy and use. Comprehensive

video analytics biometrics - 2

Our demo will show how

– Our cloud solution can be easily deployed and managed.

– Our modern UI supports high levels of productivity.

– Our powerful analytics pin-points suspicious activity.

– Integrated CCTV provides irrefutable visual evidence.

– Integrates other devices for a holistic approach to LP.

Understand how our next generation solution can address your loss prevention needs. Contact us here for further details.

Commercial terms revolution underway in Retail, Logistics and other verticals

As well as a rapid change in technologies and the range of business problems that can be solved, we see a dramatic change in the commercial practices of those that sell IT solutions to retail, logistics and other verticals. A new breed of suppliers has entered the market in recent years, not only bringing new solution to market, but also modern commercial practices.

In the epos space this is best demonstrated by vendors like Lavu, Vend, Shopkeep and Kounta. Shopkeep have a great blog post here, about the inspiration behind their thinking.

So what are modern business terms?

Try-before-you-buy

Try-before-you-buy allows customers to test out products for free at their business before deciding whether they want to pay for them. This allows to you exercise the features of the product and for you gain a real insight into its true value.

free trial 3

Subscription licensing

The idea of subscription licensing is appealing. Rather than paying a steep upfront fee for a ‘perpetual’ license – the traditional licensing model that enterprise software grew up around – companies can simply rent the software. In many cases, the subscription payments are treated as an Operating expense (OPEX) rather than a Capital expense (CAPEX). It requires less up-front cost than the perpetual license, as the subscription fees spread payment out across the term of the agreement.

subscription

In many cases vendors allow monthly billing with no on-going obligation using a pure usage based license count. A pay for what you use model.

monthly billing

Hardware

Modern solutions are open to a wide range of hardware devices and avoid the ‘lock-in‘ of old style proprietary solutions. By support a range of devices, the customer can either use existing hardware or purchase hardware that best meets his need.

Internet-of-Things-Needs

Why Silverstar Analytics?

Our solution is provided only using modern licensing terms. This includes

  • Free trial period giving full access to the solution.
  • Subscription based licensing based on actual usage.
  • Monthly based billing available.
  • No long running contract or obligation.
  • No hardware lock-in.

Read more at our web-site.

Latest News: Silverstar Analytics partner with Cloudifi

Silverstar Analytics, a provider of next generation retail business intelligence and forensics solutions, is pleased to announce our partnership with Cloudifi, a leading retail service provider in Perth, Australia. Cloudifi will be using the Silverstar Analytics solution in combination with the Vend iPad based point of sale system, to retool retailers with the latest cloud based technology thus streamlining their businesses and improving financial performance.

cloudifi

Cloudifi caters to the growing demand from businesses of all types to transform their operations using Cloud applications and services. Cloudifi is a Cloud Integrator, Mobile Device and Wireless Network specialist that offers a unique end to end approach for migrating business processes and supporting technologies to the Cloud. Certified partner of Xero, Vend, Kounta, Unleashed, Shopify, Apple and Cisco Meraki.

Staffing: One of the ten most hated things by retailers

Shopkeep, a leading next generation point of sale system vendor, have a great blog posting on ‘Ten Things Restaurateurs
Secretly Hate‘. Number 9 caught our eye: Staffing. From Shopkeep

Turnover in the restaurant industry averages about 60%, compared to a 40% average in the private sector at large. In other words, restaurateurs find themselves in a nearly constant state of hiring. Focusing on ways to attract talented employees through wages and perks, and on keeping employee morale high can help to cut down on the hassles of perpetual advertising for workers and conducting interviews.

The challenge is finding new staff, quickly and efficiently, who will be a net asset for your business. Sub-standard staff can be quickly identified if your business has explicit expectations. Fraud is a different matter. Those who are experienced at fraud are by definition successful. Outwardly they will be a hard working and conscientious member of your team. Typically they are the most outgoing and sometimes the life and soul of the fun times. Behind all of this, they are motivated on their own success i.e. helping themselves to a slice of your business.

Staff Turnover

Read more about the motivators of staff at our web site here.

Silverstar AnalyticsNext Generation loss prevention and operational monitoring.

HD and Ultra HD (4K) CCTV – Bandwidth and storage monster

It looks like the next benchmark for video surveillance cameras is going to be the Ultra HD standard, with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 – around 8MP – commonly referred to as 4K.

image size standards

Obviously, there are advantages and disadvantages of 4K technology. A major advantage is the extended picture resolution and ability to reduce the number of cameras covering a defined area.

cctv resolution comparison

The major disadvantage is the bandwidth required for the high resolution.

Typically with high resolution cameras, to manage the excessive network bandwidth usage and storage consumption, an aggressive bitrate limit is imposed. This negates the advanced of the high resolution camera by over-compressing the image introducing significant artifacts.

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What are Bit Rates?

Let’s start with what a bit is. A bit is an acronym for “binary digit,” the smallest possible unit of information in digital computing. It takes 8 bits to make a byte of information. Bit rate refers to the number of bits of data transferred in a file over a set length of time. It’s the combination of video and audio streams in a file, and is commonly measured in number of bits per second.

Constant bit rate (CBR) and variable bit rate (VBR) are the main types of bit rate encoding. Scene complexity can vary significantly over several hours of recorded surveillance video, and the bit rate you select for recording will have an effect on image quality and bandwidth consumption.

A complex scene with moving action, such as traffic on a city street, or a scene with a lot of contrasting colors, will affect image quality and bandwidth consumption more than a less complex scene, such as an interior wall or hallway with very little action or movement.

Constant Bit Rate (CBR)

With constant bit rate encoding, a fixed bit rate and bandwidth is used throughout the entire track or encoded video file. With a constant bit rate, image quality may fluctuate over the course of the video stream because some pieces of content are more difficult to compress than others.

In order for the bit rate to remain constant, the video may be encoded with fewer bits in some places or more bits in other places—resulting in inconsistent image quality. Since bandwidth consumption with constant bit rates does not vary, the file size is limited and more predictable than with variable bit rates.

Pre-planning your security video storage requirements is easier with constant bit rate because the amount of data being recorded never changes. But this is at the cost of image quality at periods of high scene activity.

Variable Bit Rate (VBR)

With variable bit rate encoding, a changeable bit rate and bandwidth is used throughout the encoded video file. The variability of bit rates allows for video to be recorded at a lower bit rate when the detected scene on screen is less complex and at a higher bit rate when the detected scene is more complex.

Complex scenes (such as moving traffic) require more data and greater bandwidth to maintain image quality level than less complex scenes such as a wall or hallway with very little movement or action. With variable bit rates, the quality of video is higher and more consistent throughout the video stream compared to constant bit rates, yet the file size is less predictable.

Image quality is better with variable bit rates than with constant bit rates, yet pre-planning your security video storage requirements is more difficult because the bit rate changes and more complex scenes will require greater bandwidth and storage. The down side is at periods of high scene activity your networks and storage need to be able to cope with excessive demands.

Is there a better way? Yes, a far smarter way!

smart-way

Yes, using our data-centric approach to video. Our systems at Silverstar Analytics allows you to use the highest quality video, without the excessive cost and complexity to your networking and storage infrastructure. We do this, by retaining the vast majority of video at the edge, either on or close to the camera itself. We prefer cameras with their own local storage, meaning that no video is streamed across the network and no separate storage is required. Our system using advanced data analytics to determine the 1% of video that is relevant to your business and copies this, in a network friendly way, to our cloud infrastructure for viewing.

think differently

What does this mean in practice? We have broken the industry wide dependency between high quality video and expensive network upgrades and large storage systems.

We support 4K cameras at the highest quality settings on low grade networks ( less than 1Mbps) with no additional storage requirements. Read more at http://www.silverstaranalytics.com/.