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SoftGuard Videoverification

Standard being discussed in the American SIA-CSAA forum

This piece of information is VERY IMPORTANT because it defines what local authorities already require in some countries and will require in other countries soon in order to decrease the huge number of false alarms that are dispatched to security forces: police, carabineers, etc.

SoftGuard counts on the SG-VIDEO VERIFICATION module, which complies with functional and operational standards.

SoftGuard, with SG-VIDEO module, allows a widening in the range of services provided to customers, incorporating the video monitoring and billing it as an extra service to VIP subscriptions.


This standard defines the method by which Video usage allows a drastic decrease in false alarms reported to authorities and, at the same time, authenticating the recognition of a real intrusion is optimized.

It has been proved that the signal verification mechanisms carried out from an alarm central station reduce dispatches drastically. This standard focuses on how to use the Video tool to manage it and it also helps identify the causes that triggered the alarm event visually.

Apart from what has been said, a desired and secondary effect from the application of this norm is the ability to visualize the intruder in real alarm situations and provide that data to authorities online so that danger can be neutralized quickly.


1.      Video verification scope

This standard was prepared having the direction of the Security Industry Standards Council with the participation of the Central Station Alarm Association and SIA.

This standard can be implemented by monitoring companies and government authorities that adopt it as a code of good practice and minimum standard in the industry.

The aim of this code is reducing or eliminating the wear and cost generated by false alarms (answered and dispatched), improving the quality of the information presented to authorities and users in case of alarm.

In case that within its scope of standard application specific to the monitoring of a certain type of targets by video existed, those special instructions will have more value than the ones of the general standard.

1.2 Definitions

1.2.1 Alarm verification

It is the generic name given to the action of employing several alarm identification techniques to prevent the dispatch of authorities or security personnel to situations that are not an emergency and/or confirm or desestimate the validity of alarm signals received at the monitoring central station.

1.2.2 Video verification

It comprises the capture and recording of the video where the action that triggered the alarm event can be visualized. Video quality

The video capture must comply with minimum defined standards for the resolution of each picture (image) and for the minimum number of pictures in time unit.

A simple image must be considered as a picture. The minimum resolution for a picture will be 320 pixels x 240 pixels (76800 square pixels). The minumun number of pictures will be 5 (five). At least 2 pictures will be captured before the event, 1 at the moment of the event and 2 after the event. The minimum capture time per event will be 5 seconds. The captured video will have to contain the view area covered by the sensor that triggered the alarm. If it is a movement type sensor, then the camera will be set in line and with the same area of view as the sensor.

The mentioned standards will be the minimum ones, encouraging companies to use systems with more pictures or longer video fractions. So, the minimum standard will be a 5 picture clips, captured in 5 seconds, 1 per second, being the third one of the 5 the one that shows the event. Video compression

Digital techniques allow the implementation of compression techniques to improve efficiency of video transmission. Compression is an accepted technique to reduce the quantity of information required to transmit images from the alarm site to the central station. The implementation of compression techniques is not defined in this standard but some techniques that are widely used are JPEG, MPEG4, H.264 and others.

1.2.4 Standard verification

It is the action performed by the central station staff to verify that an emergency is not a real existent one, by means of a phone call or any other way to communicate with the customer.

1.2.5 Improved verification

It is the action performed by the central station staff to verify that an emergency is not a real existent one, by means of 2 or more means: verification calls, bidirectional audio, remote video, crossed zones or any other superior combination of the former ones.

1.2.6 Remote video investigation

It is the procedure by which the staff at the central station uses a live video feed to visualize the place that has reported an alarm from a remote location. In this case, the visualized video keeps no temporary relation with the alarm appearance moment.

1.3 Video information

It is the associated information that arises when the staff at the central station are visualizing video images, for example, the actual event that generated the event, and any other information from the alarm scene (broken glass, broken doors or other alarm evidence) at the time of the event and the additional information described in 1.2.6

2. Standard procedure for video verification

2.1 Identification of a video verification system

Each existing video verification system must be clearly identified at the central station so that the staff is informed about the advantage of counting on that tool. Also, the staff will have to be notified in case that the zone or sensor that has started the alarm has no video information available.

Certain types of alarms (ALARM CODES) must not be related to video verification as low battery or other hardware failures (sensors, panel, etc)

2.1.1 Procedure for alarms received from systems without UL Certificate service

As it has already been indicated in the ANSI-CSAA CV-V-01 standard, except in case other special instructions are given, the staff at the central station will have to phone the place protected by identification and validation after having received an alarm. The existence of a video system in the protected place does not exclude the obligation of having to make a phone call. Video verification use will only be used as another method, to improve verification.

2.1.2 When Video verification must be used

Video information can be combined with crossed zones, audio methods (listen in), or additional calls to the protected place to identify staff or zones that show that there is no emergency at all.

Video access may be ignored in case any alternative method indicates that there is no real emergency, for example, in case that the initial call to the protected place shows that a verified conctact with a correctly identified person assures there has been no emergency reported.

If no other alternative method exists, the information provided by the video must be checked by the staff at the central station, before making the initial phone call. Revision of the captured video

If when the video image is received or there is no video image associated with the event the staff at the central station cannot find concluding evidence, this fact will have to be notified in the event notification call. Details must include a report stating that the protected place owns a video system and that either there was no image associated with the event or that the image could not determine the cause of the emergency or its real existence.

3. Recommended video implementation techniques

3.1 Recommendations for the central station

The recommendation establishes that the video transmitted to the central station must be concurrent with the alarm event. The alarm event as well as verification images needn’t be transmitted by the same means of transmission.

The staff at the central station will dispose of the received video in such a way that it will not be necessary to move away from the usual operative position.

Video captures will be stored together with the information of the event and for the same period of time.

3.2 Position of the camera at the protected place

The recommendation indicates that it is better to place the cameras so that they can cover as wide an area as possible. If there weren’t enough cameras available, the ones placed would have to be positioned in entrance-exit areas and in passing areas.

It must be avoided to place cameras in positions that expose them in direct focus to sun light (east-west)

3.3 Remote video investigation

After visualizing the video capture at the alarm moment, the staff at the central station has the possibility to visualize the live video from the protected place, in order to report strategic data to the staff that gets in charge of the emergency.

This process will definitely not delay the making of the notification call to authorities unless this alarm code treatment stipulates the opposite.





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