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Hikvision on Door Duty in New York

Hikvision's video compression cards are being used at a prestigious residential building in New York. The block is one of a set of three adjoining riverfront structures in Manhattan that has attracted residents such as Calvin Klein and Nicole Kidman.

The buildings were designed by Richard Meier, one of the 'New York Five' groups of celebrity architects who sprung to fame in the seventies. The newest of the structures, 165 Charles Street, features a remote doorman system that allows residents to enjoy the convenience and security of a manned presence through web-based information management.

A core component in the servers controlling security at this apartment block is Hikvision's DS-4008HCI high-resolution video compression cards. These real-time H.264 (MPEG-4/Part 10) units also offer audio compression using the open-protocol OggVorbis standard with 16KHz sampling rate and 16kbps output bit rate. A single PC can support up to 64 channels and the units exploit artificial intelligence when assessing possible motion detection triggers and rejecting false activation. Compression rates are unrivalled and integrators benefit from optimized use of RAID storage as longer recording times result in reduced maintenance costs and improved system resilience.


With theft and fraud involving bogus callers on the rise in a time of recession, managing agents are anxious to provide apartment owners with premium security services while keeping charges low. This is particularly important for the elderly or any vulnerable section of the community including the famous.

Intelligent managed access exploiting advances in video and audio technology has proved a way forward since it avoids human error and all the personnel demands associated with recruiting and maintaining door staff. Virtual supervision of a residential building involves surveillance technology that does not sleep on duty, take breaks or call in sick.


The New York-based integrator Virtual Service has used its expertise in video conferencing and monitoring to develop Virtual Doorman® over ten years as a leading managed access control system. Now on their third-generation product, Virtual Service is able to offer a boxed solution with a single cable and a pair of color-coded wires that simply require Internet connectivity.

When callers such as department store employees, fast food couriers or dry cleaners arrive to make a delivery they activate video monitoring and audio feeds. Data is sent to Virtual Service's central station where human rather than artificial intelligence assesses the individual. In the case of a legitimate delivery person, he or she is directed under camera surveillance to a package room. The technology is context-aware and audio announcements can be made if a wrong turn is taken. Should the caller be a personal visitor and the resident is at home, then Virtual Doorman® makes the appropriate connection. Residents can customize the service based on their preferences, configuring the software to add guests and give information about their lifestyle.

Standalone DVRs

About 110 apartment complexes in the New York metropolitan area employ Virtual Doorman®, mostly in Manhattan. On other projects where a custom-built PC-based server is not required, Virtual Service is using Hikvision's DVRs. These are network digital video recorders featuring an embedded microprocessor control unit and real-time operating system. The recorders are available as 4, 8, 12 and 16- camera units. They offer CIF resolution and 4 or 8 SATA interfaces.

The product benefits from Hikvision's widely respected compression algorithm and supports multi-zone detection. Masking to protect sensitive areas is also available, this being vital functionality in a domestic building. Additional features include a tamper alarm and the units can report deliberate obscuring of camera views. Operation modes can be continuous or scheduled recording as well as recording triggered by motion detection or external alarms.

Removable media such as USB flash drives or DVD can be used to provide police and third parties with footage in the event of an incident that requires review. Playback at various speeds can be achieved with a frame-by-frame view available when required.

Enhancing property values

Successful installations of this automated lobby surveillance have overcome initial skepticism from residents, since use of cameras represents less intrusion into people’s lives than observation by door staff. The product has been received enthusiastically by real estate commentators who report that monitoring of reception and foyer areas in this manner can add 10% to property values.

Mr Polo Cai, Vice President of Hikvision, said: "Our close cooperation on product development with innovative integrators such as Virtual Service shows how judicious use of CCTV can improve many aspects of people’s lives both at work and home."