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The statistics are staggering. The death tolls are rising. And those who now fear environments that were once thought to be safe zones like school campuses, factories, commercial businesses and government facilities, find themselves having to add the routine of active-shooter drills into their traditional fire drill protocols. The latest active shooter statistics released by the FBI earlier this year in their annual active-shooter report designated 27 events as active shooter incidents in 2018. The report reveals that 16 of the 27 incidents occurred in areas of commerce, seven incidents occurred in business environments, and five incidents occurred in education environments. Deadly active-shooter events Six of the 12 deadliest shootings in the country have taken place in the past five years Six of the 12 deadliest shootings in the country have taken place in the past five years, including Sutherland Springs church, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the San Bernardino regional center, the Walmart in El Paso and the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, which have all occurred since 2015. Although these incidents occurred in facilities with designated entry points common to churches, schools and businesses, the two most deadly active-shooter events since 2015 were the Route 91 Harvest music festival shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and the Pulse nightclub killings in Orlando where 49 perished. As Christopher Combs, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in San Antonio, Texas, said during a news conference following the August 31 mass shooting in Odessa, Texas that claimed seven lives: “We are now at almost every two weeks seeing an active shooter in this country." Active shooter incidents Between December 2000 and December 2018, the FBI’s distribution of active shooter incidents by location looks like this: Businesses Open to Pedestrian Traffic (74) Businesses Closed to Pedestrian Traffic (43) K-12 Schools (39) Institutions of Higher Learning (16) Non-Military Government Properties (28) Military Properties—Restricted (5) Healthcare Facilities (11) Houses of Worship (10) Private Properties (12) Malls (6) What the majority of these venues have in common is they all have a front entrance or chokepoint for anyone entering the facilities, which is why any active-shooter plan must include a strategy to secure that entry point. Situational awareness in perimeter and door security Preventing people with the wrong intentions from entering the space is the goal" According to Paul Franco, an A&E with more than 28 years of experience as a consultant and systems integrator focusing on schools, healthcare and large public and private facilities, that while active shooter incidents continue to rise, the residual effect has been an increase in situational awareness in perimeter and door security. “Certainly, protecting people and assets is the number one goal of all our clients. There are multiple considerations in facilities like K-12 and Healthcare. Preventing people with the wrong intentions from entering the space is the goal. But a critical consideration to emphasise to your client is getting that person out of your facility and not creating a more dangerous situation by locking the person in your facility,” says Franco. High-security turnstiles “Schools today are creating a space for vetting visitors prior to allowing access into the main facility. Using technology properly like high-security turnstiles offer great benefits in existing schools where space constraints and renovation costs can be impractical.” What steps should they be taken when recommending the proper door security to ensure the building is safe As a consultant/integrator, when discussions are had with a client that has a facility in a public space like a corporate building, government centre or industrial facility, what steps should they be taken when recommending the proper door security to ensure the building is safe and can protect its people and assets? For Frank Pisciotta, President and CEO of Business Protection Specialists, Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina, a fundamental element of his security strategy is making appropriate recommendations that are broad-based and proactive. Properly identifying the adversaries “As a consultant, my recommendations must include properly identifying the adversaries who may show up at a client’s door, the likelihood of that event occurring, the consequences of that event occurring, determining if there are tripwires that can be set so an organisation can move their line of defence away from the door, educating employees to report potential threats and creating real-time actionable plans to respond to threats. A more reactionary posture might include such thing as target hardening such as ballistic resistant materials at entry access points to a facility,” Pisciotta says. Veteran consultant David Aggleton of Aggleton & Associates of Mission Viejo, California recommends that clients compartmentalise their higher security areas for limited access by adding multiple credential controls (card + keypad + biometric), along with ‘positive’ access systems that inhibit tailgating/piggybacking such as secure turnstiles, revolving door and mantrap if your entrances and security needs meet the required space and access throughput rates. Integrated solution of electronic access control Defining a single point of entry in some public facilities is becoming the new standard of care according to many A&Es and security consultants, especially in a school environment. This approach allows a concerted effort when it comes to staffing, visitor monitoring and an integrated technology solution. The bottom line remains: most buildings are vulnerable to a security breach A proactive stance to securing a door entryway will use an integrated solution of electronic access control, turnstiles, revolving doors and mantraps that can substantially improve a facility’s security profile. The bottom line remains: most buildings are vulnerable to a security breach, so it’s not a matter of if there will be a next active shooter tragedy, it’s only a matter of where. Enhancing access control assurance “There is no easy answer to this question,” says Pisciotta referring to how a secured entrance can deter an active shooter. “There have been at least two high-profile incidents of adversaries shooting their way into a facility through access control barriers. So, if the threat so dictates, a ballistic resistant might be required.” He concludes: “There is obviously no question that turnstiles, revolving doors and man traps enhance access control assurance. Electronic access control is easy to integrate with these devices and providing that credentials are secure, approval processes are in place, change management is properly managed and the appropriate auditing measures in place, access control objectives can be met.”
Rodrigue Zbinden, CEO at Morphean, discusses the business benefits from merging video surveillance and access control technologies as demand for ACaaS grows. The big question facing businesses today is how they will use the data that they possess to unlock new forms of value using emerging technologies such as the cloud, predictive analytics and artificial intelligence. Some data is better utilised than others: financial services were quick to recognise the competitive advantages in exploiting technology to improve customer service, detect fraud and improve risk assessment. In the world of physical security, however, we’re only just beginning to understand the potential of the data that our systems gather as a part of their core function. Benefits of ‘Integrated access control’ The first thing to look for is how multiple sources of data can be used to improve physical security functionsWhat many businesses have yet to realise is that many emerging technologies come into their own when used across multiple sources of data. In physical security, for example, we’re moving from discussions about access control and CCTV as siloed functions, to platforms that combine information for analysis from any source, and applying machine learning algorithms to deliver intelligent insights back to the business. ‘Integrated access control’ then looks not just to images or building management, but to images, building management, HR databases and calendar information, all at the same time. And some of the benefits are only now starting to become clear. The first thing to look for, of course, is how multiple sources of data can be used to improve physical security functions. For example, by combining traditional access control data, such as when a swipe card is used, with a video processing platform capable of facial recognition, a second factor of authentication is provided without the need to install separate biometric sensors. CCTV cameras are already deployed in most sensitive areas, so if a card doesn’t match the user based on HR records, staff can be quickly alerted. Making the tools cost-effective In a similar vein, if an access card is used by an employee, who is supposed to be on holiday according to the HR record, then video data can be used to ensure the individual’s identity and that the card has not been stolen – all before a human operator becomes involved. This is driving growth in ‘access control as a service’ (ACaaS), and the end-to-end digitalisation of a vital business functionThese capabilities are not new. What is, however, is the way in which cloud-based computing platforms for security analytics, which absorb information from IP-connected cameras, make the tools much more cost effective, accessible and easier to manage than traditional on-site server applications. In turn, this is driving growth in ‘access control as a service’ (ACaaS), and the end-to-end digitalisation of a vital business function. With this system set up, only access control hardware systems are deployed on premise while the software and access control data are shifted to a remote location and provided as a service to users on a recurring monthly subscription. The benefits of such an arrangement are numerous but include avoiding large capital investments, greater flexibility to scale up and down, and shifting the onus of cybersecurity and firmware updates to the vendor. Simple installation and removal of endpoints What’s more, because modern video and access control systems transmit data via the IP network, installation and removal of endpoints are simple, requiring nothing more than PoE and Wi-Fi. Of all the advantages of the ‘as a service’ model, it’s the rich data acquired from ACaaS that makes it so valuable, and capable of delivering business benefits beyond physical security. Managers are constantly looking for better quality of information to inform decision making, and integrated access control systems know more about operations than you might think. Integrating lighting systems with video feeds and access control creates the ability to control the lightsRight now, many firms are experimenting with ways to find efficiencies and reduce costs. For example, lights that automatically turn off to save energy are common in offices today, but can be a distraction if employees have to constantly move around to trigger motion detectors. Integrating lighting systems with video feeds and access control creates the ability to control the lights depending on exactly who is in the room and where they are sitting. Tracking the movement of employees Camera data has been used in retail to track the movement of customers in stores, helping managers to optimise displays and position stocks. The same technology can be used to map out how employees move around a workspace, finding out where productivity gains can be made by moving furniture around or how many desks should be provisioned. Other potential uses of the same data could be to look for correlations between staff movement – say to a store room – and sales spikes, to better predict stock ordering. What makes ACaaS truly exciting is it is still a very new field, and we’re only just scratching the surface of the number of ways that it can be used to create new sources of value. As smart buildings and smart city technology evolves, more and more open systems will become available, offering more ways to combine, analyse and draw insights from data. Within a few years, it will become the rule, rather than the exception, and only grow in utility as it does.
Today’s security industry technology standards create a common framework for achieving predictable performance. Systems are made more secure and easier to install, use and integrate with other devices. Standards are also intended to be living documents, open to continual refinements to benefit manufacturers, integrators and end users. An excellent example is the Open Supervised Data Protocol (OSDP), which is now the industry’s gold standard for physical access control installations. It was designed to offer a higher level of security with more flexible options than the aging defacto Weigand wiring standard. Updating OSDP-readers simultaneously One recent addition enables end users to push firmware and software updates to thousands of OSDP-enabled card readers simultaneouslyOSDP, first introduced in 2011 by the Security Industry Association (SIA), continues to evolve with significant manufacturer input. One recent addition enables end users to push firmware and/or software updates to a few or thousands of OSDP-enabled card readers simultaneously. Weigand technology requires updates to be made one at a time at each reader. Regularly changing reader encryption keys is an excellent way to enhance facility security. It’s easy using the OSDP file transfer capability and the latest DESFire EV2 credentials containing multiple encryption keys. You can transfer the next code on the card to all readers and the job is done. And there’s no need to create a new card for each user or reprogram each individual reader. AES-128 encryption ensures cybersecurity It’s time to migrate entirely away from Weigand technology. If greater security, convenience and reduced labour from the latest OSDP updates isn’t reason enough, here are a few more things to consider. The 40-year-old Weigand protocol provides no signal encryption, making it easy for hackers to capture the raw data transmitted between cards and readers. OSDP readers support AES-128 encryption while providing continuous monitoring of wires to guard against cybercriminals. Weigand reader installations require homerun cable pulls from the control panel to each peripheral device. OSDP readers can be daisy chained, providing additional savings on cabling and installation time. Weigand technology is simply too slow to work with today’s most versatile and secure card technologies. OSDP readers work with virtually all modern access control cards. The OSDP standard also works with biometric devices; Weigand does not. Meeting requirements of FICAM guidelines SIA is pushing to make the latest OSDP version a standard recognised by the ANSI, a move to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. security businessesAlso, OSDP is becoming a must-have standard for organisations demanding the highest security levels. The standard meets requirements of the Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management (FICAM) guidelines that affect how the access control industry does business with the federal government. SIA is pushing to make the latest OSDP version a standard recognised by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI), a move to enhance the global competitiveness of U.S. security businesses. There’s still a large worldwide reader installation base that works solely with the Weigand protocol. Admittedly, changing them all at one time may be prohibitively expensive; however, standards should be viewed as a journey, not a destination. That’s why a measured migration is the right choice for many organisations. Begin by securing the perimeter. Replace only the outside-facing Weigand readers. As long as the walls are secured, the inside can remain a softer target until OSDP-compatible readers can be added indoors. The case for moving to OSDP as a standard is compelling. It offers our industry the opportunity to design access control software and products that provide what end users want most – greater security, flexibility and convenience.
Vanderbilt, a provider of the state-of-the-art security systems, announces new devices to complement the existing range of SPC Wireless system. The new range of devices include: WSIR-EXT – Wireless external sounder/beacon available with a blue, red, or orange beacon. WSIR-INT – Wireless internal sounder/beacon. WRPTR – Wireless AC plug style repeater to provide an alternative communications path. Wireless accessories – a range of accessories to improve the installation experience. Presenting a great revenue opportunity for installers We are pleased to announce the expansion of the SPC intrusion detection family" Wireless technology is coming of age, and the new Vanderbilt devices boast two-way wireless technology that delivers ease of installation without compromising on the security of a wired system. Commenting on the latest release, Ross Wilks, Head of Marketing Communications at the company noted: “We are pleased to announce the expansion of the SPC intrusion detection family with the release of these wireless devices. This range of products was designed in response to growing consumer IoT trends, and as a result, present a great revenue opportunity for installers in boosting their SPC portfolio offering.” Reducing costs for the installer Vanderbilt’s SPC Wireless devices are secure for installers to mount, pair, and configure, and they can cover over 500 meters in open space. This is a more cost-effective alternative than having to wire an entire building with cable. The 500-meter range cuts down on install time meaning a whole building can be fitted in just a couple of hours, offering a means of reducing costs for the installer. Paul Drillsma, Product Manager for the devices at Vanderbilt stated: “A vital feature of these releases is that the devices use the industry-leading lithium batteries, resulting in an extended battery life of five years or more. This longevity can free up installers’ time for more urgent tasks, as they won’t have to go to the site as often to keep changing out batteries.” Automatic power-saving mode This release marks the second phase of wireless development for the award-winning SPC system Battery life is a critical component of the SPC Wireless devices. An automatic power-saving mode supports them, and in fact, the SPC Wireless smoke detector, complete with EN14604 approval, comes with a battery life of over ten years. Further delivering on the aim of aiding installers, settings for SPC Wireless are all configurable over the air, again reducing the need for time-consuming site visits. Drillsma continues: “Installs for Vanderbilt's SPC Wireless devices were designed to be hassle-free. In contrast, a wired solution can take, at a minimum, a day’s work fitting cable. By reducing time on site, Vanderbilt’s SPC Wireless can enable installers to get more work done elsewhere, essentially meaning more profits from more jobs.” This release marks the second phase of wireless development for the award-winning SPC system. In subsequent releases due next year, Vanderbilt will also present repeaters for wired keypads, PIR cameras, and wireless keypads for their wireless range to the market.
GSX 2019 got off to a jaunty start Tuesday. The show was humming with activity much of the day, and most exhibitors said they were pleased with the numbers and types of potential customers visiting their booths. There seemed to be less emphasis on product introductions than at the ISC West show in the spring (although there is much that is on the new side), while the trend toward system sales is continuing. Here's a review of Day 1 from the show floor. Dahua continues to educate market “Traffic-wise, the show is better than last year,” observed Tim Shen, Director of Marketing at Dahua Technology USA, at midday on Tuesday. “We met more people from Latin America,” he added. Shen theorised that Chicago is at the center of a larger territory of customers than last year’s location (Las Vegas). Dahua’s presence at the show makes a statement: We’re still here" Dahua has faced some negative publicity in the last year since they were banned from procurement by U.S. government customers by the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Dahua’s presence at the show makes a statement, says Shen. The statement is “We’re still here.” Shen said only one visitor to the Dahua booth even mentioned the NDAA on the first day of the show, and the visitor was misinformed about the provisions and implications of the law. “There is a lot of misinformation,” he says. “We need to continue to educate the market.” Facial recognition, video metadata, and people counting New at the show is the Dahua Analytics+ line of cameras that feature more in-depth analysis of data such as facial attributes, video metadata, and people counting. For example, the cameras can identify 128 points in a face, with an additional 256 attributes analysed by the back-end recorder. Analysis can provide information such as age and gender, which can help a retailer analyse the demographics of their customers, for instance. Dahua is also adopting some of its consumer line of products for sale through the commercial channel. These include a flood light camera, a 2-megapixel WiFi camera and a doorbell camera. The products might be used outside of a retail store, for example, to complement Dahua commercial cameras that are used inside the store, says Shen. Dahua previewed a new multi-sensor camera that also includes a speed dome. The multi-sensor component combines eight views, each 2 megapixels, for a total of 16 megapixels. Below the multi-sensor camera is mounted a speed dome that can zoom in on regions of interest in the larger multisensor view. The camera will be launched in the fourth quarter. The show was humming with activity much of the day, and most exhibitors said they were pleased with the numbers and types of potential customers visiting their exhibits ACRE report continued North American growth “The industry’s momentum will continue to grow,” predicted Joe Grillo, Principal of ACRE. New areas such as cloud and mobile credentialing have the fastest growth rate, but are starting from a much smaller base, he said, so momentum in those categories will take time. ACRE sees continued rapid growth with no slowdown in the North American market Grillo noticed the first morning of GSX was busy, although there was a bit of a lull at midday. In terms of the business outlook, Grillo sees continued rapid growth with no slowdown in the North American market, although there have been some negative elements creeping into the outlook in Europe. Cybersecurity concerns in access control I caught up with Grillo at the booth promoting RS2, a Munster, Ind., access control company that Acre acquired last May. It is the only Acre company that is exhibiting at GSX. RS2 is one of two access control companies acquired by Acre in the last year — the other was Open Options, Addison, Texas. Grillo said the two acquired companies are complementary, especially in terms of their sales channels and geographic strengths. Although both are national companies, RS2 tends to be stronger in the Midwest, while Open Options sales emphasis is centered in Texas and emanates to the rest of the country. Concerns about vulnerabilities are a growing issue in access control, said Grillo, and more large endusers are conducting penetration testing of systems. The industry should welcome the scrutiny, he added. Cybersecurity also represents an business opportunity in access control, noted Grillo. Concerns about the vulnerabilities of legacy technologies such as 125Khz proximity cards and the Wiegand protocol will likely accelerate the pace of companies upgrading their access control systems There seemed to be less emphasis on product introductions than at the ISC West show in the spring (although there is much that is on the new side) Eagle Eye Networks and cloud-based VMS Ken Francis of Eagle Eye Networks had already realised some new client opportunities during the first day of the show, although he was not optimistic at the outset. In contacting potential clients to meet at the show, he had heard that many were not attending. Among Eagle Eye Networks’ news at the show is full integration of body-cams into their cloud-based video management system. “It’s the most unique thing happening from a video management perspective,” Francis said. Previously, if someone needed a video clip from a body cam, they had to use a separate software system.Five years from now, at least 80 percent of all VMS systems will be cloud-managed" Francis continues to be bullish on the subject of cloud adoption of video management and made a bold prediction: “Five years from now, at least 80 percent of all VMS systems will be cloud-managed.” Eagle Eye Networks is doing its part with “rocket growth” that is reflected in an increase of company employees from 27 to 165 or so. Economies of scale have enabled Eagle Eye Networks to lower subscription prices by up to 45 percent. Genetec's release self-service PIAM system Many of the “new” products at GSX 2019 are slight variations on what was introduced at ISC West last spring. An exception is Genetec’s introduction of ClearID, a self-service physical identity and access management (PIAM) system that enforces security policies while improving the flow of people within the organisation. The new system is integrated with the Genetec's Security Center Synergis access control system. PIAM systems have historically been customisable, complex to install and costly, which is why a lot of companies have not used a system. Genetec’s differentiator is that it is an off-the-shelf, out-of-the-box solution for a broader base of customers. “We scanned the market and found a lack of off-the-shelf identity management systems,” said Derek Arcuri, Product Marketing Manager, Genetec. “Targeting the mid-market, we are providing an accessible, ready-to-go cloud-based system that is ‘baked’ for the average company but can be integrated and expanded to include other systems.” The trend toward system sales at the show is continuing ClearID will simplify operation for the security department, which was previously tasked with a lot of administrative work in response to various departments. ClearID “pushes down” the authority to use the system to stakeholders (such as IT and/or facilities directors) and provides a system they can use themselves without involving security. “It empowers stakeholders and employees to work directly through the system rather than going through security,” says Arcuri. “It gives employees access based on stakeholder policies and improves the flow of people through an organisation. The security director is relieved of administrative work and can work on ‘real’ security.” I saw some other things today, too, which I will share in a future GSX article... And more about the show tomorrow.
Fire and security systems are two elements of the same mission: To keep buildings and their occupants safe. However, the two systems often operate independently and may not be integrated. Should there be more integration and what are the pitfalls? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the challenges and opportunities of integrating security and fire systems?
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