Access control system accessories - Expert commentary

Surveillance in 2017: 360-degree cameras  a primary device for total situational awareness
Surveillance in 2017: 360-degree cameras a primary device for total situational awareness

The physical security market continues to experience growth as users look to capitalise on the promises of emerging technologies and because of this, 2017 proved to be a great year for Oncam. In fact, this year was the best year in Oncam's history in terms of sales, as 360-degree fisheye cameras have gone from being a “specialty” camera used only in certain applications to a primary device for enabling total situational awareness. Today, many of our customers leverage 360-degree cameras exclusively to provide extensive coverage inside a facility or in a large outdoor area, with traditional narrow field-of-view cameras used only at “choke” points. Increase in cybersecurity threats and breaches At the end of 2016, we predicted a major trend this year would be an increase in cybersecurity concerns for users of physical security systems, and we were right. An increase in cybersecurity threats and breaches have put organisations on watch. Based on this and the adoption of more IT-centric infrastructure and protocols, there is significant collaboration between IT and physical security, and true “convergence” is finally starting to happen. The adoption of video analytics also continued to increase this year, as most video surveillance projects involved the use of some form of analytics and data analysis. Demand for safeguards As we move into 2018, the trends of 2017 will roll over, and cybersecurity will continue to be a major issue. Suppliers of hardware and software will put an even greater emphasis being cyber secure and end users will increasingly demand safeguards. Additionally, the deployment and use of advanced analytics based on newer artificial intelligence-based technologies will continue to increase. It will be the technology providers that find ways to allow users to capture additional value from the information collected by security systems that will accelerate growth. Oncam made significant investments in new products that leverage analytics and cloud technologies. In 2018, we will continue to invest in the development of new products, with a focus on solutions for particular applications across industry segments. Beyond our technology advancements, we've invested significantly in boosting our sales force in the Americas and adding industry experts to ensure sustained customer and partner success with our solutions. From our vantage point, Oncam is well positioned to capitalise on opportunities for growth in the coming year.

Connected, cyber-secure solutions will lead the security market in 2018
Connected, cyber-secure solutions will lead the security market in 2018

2017 was quite an interesting and eventful year for the physical security industry. The economy has been robust and technology has become progressively sophisticated—with interactive services, cloud computing and network-based solutions taking charge to provide new insights to installers and their end-user customers. The Internet of Things is creating increasingly integrated solutions, with a heightened emphasis on total connectivity. Changing security expectations World events have also put the spotlight on the need for comprehensive security at public events, tourist attractions and schools and campuses. Security is an expectation and systems integrators are becoming trusted advisors to their customers, who are looking to them to solve problems or issues. Residential systems are more robust and now, are migrating to the commercial side of the business. There’s a blurring of the lines of technology—many of the products that come to the security industry originate from the consumer side. This proposition is also changing expectations by both residential and commercial customers, who want common, easy operation from their smartphone or user interface. Unexpected was some of the biggest deals in the industry, including acquisitions by dominant companies who grew even larger and continued ongoing consolidation on the manufacturing side. Those who remain will need to be progressive and step up their game with the latest proven technologies. Selling hardware isn’t the end game any longer. It’s providing solutions that generate revenue for security dealers and offer a solid return on investment for the end-user. In addition, solutions need to be easier for the user, and integrate many different systems and components across the enterprise. Cybersecurity safeguards End users want to get the most out of their solutions—and they want to be able to have more than safety and security. They are looking for the types of products that yield insights into system performance and give them the data the need for greater control and to proactively address any challenges or problems before they occur. Downtime is not an option and therefore, there’s an increased emphasis on consistent power so solutions are always on and running reliably. For security dealers and integrators, physical security and cybersecurity services will be part of their offerings and no longer separate disciplines Cybersecurity is a dominant conversation in the security industry these days and that buzz will continue into 2018. Because solutions are increasingly network connected, they have vulnerabilities that will have to be addressed by service providers and manufacturers. Manufacturers will need to take the upper hand in providing hardened products—testing and certifying for cybersecurity safeguards. That is not an easy task and can be expensive, but it needs to be done. Because cybersecurity is in constant evolution, many will go the route of outsourcing this component of their manufacturing to third parties well-versed in threat detection and hardening. Hardened products will also need to evolve with new emerging attacks. For security dealers and integrators, physical security and cybersecurity services will be part of their offerings and no longer separate disciplines. Intelligent access control solutions Manufacturers no longer operate in silos. They are working with systems integrators to more fully understand their needs and those of the end-user. Manufacturers are also partnering with technology providers—bringing in the expertise of others so their solutions are comprehensive and holistic. We will continue to see integration of formerly disparate components, open systems and open APIs. There will also be strong migration to access control systems with edge intelligence and power over Ethernet, leveraging existing cabling for network connectivity. The winners will be those who take the lead in providing cyber secured and hardened products, as well as companies who partner with others to bring best of breed solutions to market. The losers will be those who continue to develop proprietary, closed systems and fail to recognise the importance of network connectivity for real-time, proactive reporting. Without networked power, the facility cannot yield the proper insights it needs to stay reliably connected 24/7 Ongoing partner success LifeSafety Power® has been working consistently and diligently on elevating the status of power from unintelligent hardware device to network-connected component that yields rich data for the user and allows the installer to provide remote monitoring and managed power services. We have changed the paradigm of power but there’s additional work to do to get people to understand the new, critical role power plays in comprehensive enterprise and campus security. Now, security installers can help the end user know what’s happening with locks, access control, gates or other connected solutions and fix problems before they happen. Without networked power, the facility cannot yield the proper insights it needs to stay reliably connected 24/7. We have also had continued, ongoing successes with our many partners in the access control community and that’s where we will further focus our efforts in 2018—working with leading security solution providers to present the best technologies and solutions that are reliable, certified and present the types of insights security dealers need to offer customers to provide the highest levels of service. This will also help security dealers and integrators differentiate themselves and compete more effectively in the crowded marketplace.

Intercoms increasingly popular in education, campuses and multi-tenant housing markets
Intercoms increasingly popular in education, campuses and multi-tenant housing markets

Part 1 in our Intercoms in Security Series Lambert-St. Louis International Airport uses Code Blue intercoms Organisations are demanding a new level of interoperability among mission-critical security systems. Intelligible audio, the ability to hear, be heard and be understood, is critical to communication, which is essential to the core security processes within an organisation, as well as to emergency situations. Intelligible audio provides a platform to optimise various processes, including the use of security officers. “Our main thrust is to ensure our clients see intelligible and interoperable audio, not as an option, but as instrumental to their budget optimisation, stakeholder communication and risk mitigation efforts,” says Jim Hoffpauir, President of Zenitel North America, a manufacturer of intercoms and other communications solutions. Iintercoms in building safety and security  The role of intercoms in building safety and security is a given across many markets, and that use is growing. Intercoms are used in campus call boxes, elevators, muster locations, and for emergency notification. The trend is toward video, audio and access control, all tied together. There is also an emphasis on providing intelligible audio in any environment, even demanding ones. The education market has historically been a large sector for intercoms. Emergency phones and intercoms traditionally have been found throughout education settings, including colleges and universities, where they remain quite popular. Expanding markets for two-way communication In recent years, however, their popularity has also grown within the healthcare and mass transit sectors, where their versatility allows authorities to react to emergency situations while also providing a wide range of applications for non-emergency situations, such as car trouble or requests for directions. Intercoms can fulfill a variety of emergency and non-emergency needs in places like downtown Santa Ana, California (Photo courtesy Code Blue) “Markets of all sizes and shapes can benefit from a two-way communication solution that can help individuals place calls for assistance with first responders, police departments or customer service representatives,” says David Fleming, Chief Design Officer for Code Blue Corp. Intercoms for public and private sectors Aiphone is another intercom manufacturer for which education is a big market. Bruce Czerwinski, U.S. General Sales Manager, Aiphone Corp., says about 80 percent of both public and private K-12 and higher education campuses are using at least one intercom in some form. That percentage grows to nearly 100 percent for hospitals, which are using intercoms as nurse-call stations and at parking facilities, exterior door entries, nurseries and pharmacies, he says. "About 40 percent of commercial units – from strip malls to large, multi-tenant campus settings – are using intercoms" Up to 70 percent of larger multi-family facilities are also using intercoms. And that percentage is even higher in older, heavily populated Eastern cities. Many locales have laws mandating the use of audio and video intercoms on buildings beyond a threshold number of units. About 40 percent of commercial units – from strip malls to large, multi-tenant campus settings – are using intercoms, says Czerwinski. In the past year, Aiphone’s emergency stations have become very popular, particularly in campus settings; both commercial and higher education. Also, a growing number of unmanned parking garages are using the stations to allow patrons to immediately reach first responders or security personnel. Each of these markets still has growth potential, but by its sheer size, the commercial market offers the greatest opportunities, according to Aiphone. Video-enabled IP intercoms Intercom usage differs widely in various global markets, according to Craig Szmania, CEO of 2N USA, a manufacturer of IP intercoms. In the North American market, intercom usage is relatively low compared to the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region, where intercoms are a more mature market. Security, convenience, systems integration and IP-versus-analogue adoption are driving usage and growth to more than 20 percent year-over-year. More and more video-enabled IP intercoms are seen as an integral part of a system wide security and video solution, according to Szmania. “Our intercom portfolio targets all the major verticals, but we have had particular success in the education sector – K-12 and universities,” says Szmania. “These end users are looking for specific features in securing their campuses, providing convenience to their administrators, employing programmability for differing use scenarios throughout the campus, and integration to their telephony or other systems.” More and more video-enabled IP intercoms are seen as an integral part of a system wide security and video solution Szmania says the latter point is becoming a particular need in light of a requirement for campus-wide communication and coordination in emergency situations. “Our intercoms integrate seamlessly with third party solutions such as Cisco’s telephone systems that are the communication backbones of many schools and campuses,” he adds. IP-based solutions in residential verticals Considering near-term growth potential, single family and multi-tenant residential verticals have fantastic opportunities for increased usage of door stations/intercoms in the United States, according to Szmania. The company has entered this space over the last several years and has grown to be a market leader in IP-based integrated solutions, especially in the home automation space. The adoption of IP networked solutions for condominiums and apartments is just taking off, driven in part by consumer demand for mobile-anywhere video, audio and door control. The service is also a driver for integrator/dealer adoption of the technology to provide recurring monthly revenue (RMR). 2N has also achieved triple-digit growth in commercial building installations over the past two years. Building owners, IT departments and security managers want and need a networked solution for control and security. 2N’s open platforms are a good fit, says Szmania. Read part 2 of our Security Intercoms series here

Latest Axis Communications news

Salient Systems provides best of breed security systems to launch Bexar County Metro’s Emergency Operations Centre
Salient Systems provides best of breed security systems to launch Bexar County Metro’s Emergency Operations Centre

It has been a long time coming, but the Bexar County Metro 911 Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) is up and running, and the security systems implemented to protect the facility are among the best of the best. The regional operations centre unifies emergency operations into one cutting-edge facility. A New Home Built in San Antonio, Texas, the EOC provides a new home for the Bexar County Sheriff’s communications operations and is an alternate site for the San Antonio police and San Antonio fire and EMS operations. The facility is a joint operations centre not only for Bexar County but also for Comal (New Braunfels) and Guadalupe (Sequin) counties. Tight security system All three counties touch dividing lines and are considered part of the San Antonio metro area. Bexar Metro 911 Executive Director Bill Buchholtz said building the facility has stayed on budget of $40 million, “give or take a couple of million.” The electrical system meets Tier IV data centre standards for maintaining operations regardless of any unplanned activity, and the mechanical system meets Tier III standards. Because the building is under a tight security system inside and out, it was also important that redundant systems were in place, as well as uninterrupted power. Employees based at the monitors on the main floor are given breaks every so often to decompress, relax and interact. Early stages of planning Alterman staff was fortunate to work with the general contractor in the early stages of planning security Alterman Technologies was hired to provide, install and direct the security solutions effort for general contractor Whiting-Turner, who directed construction on the 81,500 square foot facility located on 11 acres of land. Alterman Technologies’ staff was fortunate to work with the general contractor in the early stages of planning security for this facility. According to James Carmen, Alterman’s Project Engineer, being able to make early and consistent contact allowed for the integrator to help specify the types of security that they felt would most satisfy the end user. It also allowed the installation crew to be able to meet their integration deadline of 8 months, long before the overall construction of the facility was complete. Enterprise access control systems “We were able to evaluate all components of the security solution when we saw the demonstrations of the Lenel, Axis and Salient products,” Carmen said. “We’re pleased with the decisions we made to deploy this security equipment.” To keep the facility secure, Alterman Technologies installed 170 IP cameras inside and out to enforce perimeter security. Now that the facility has been formally dedicated and is fully in use, if a person doesn’t have a reason to be on property, they aren’t getting inside. The facility is secure. Alterman Technologies installed 120 door enterprise access control systems, including iClass biometric readers. Video management systems To monitor both the outside perimeter and inside the building itself, 110 5 MP Axis Communications IP cameras were paired with Salient Enterprise video management systems integrated with the Lenel access control solution. Inside the operations centre, the facility is outfitted with 100 55-inch video control systems side by side, all of which are integrated with video and audio control solutions. During Hurricane Harvey, operators inside are able to coordinate any and all emergency and rescue operations Inside the facility, there is a first-floor, open room for 104 operator desk consoles, where operators can keep tabs on all three counties. Operators sit in a 13,878-squarefoot Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) to handle all 911 calls, formerly managed at 25 different locations. In fact, during the recent Hurricane Harvey, operators inside are able to coordinate any and all emergency and rescue operations. Getting behind the power “The ability to have multiple supervisor control stations is a key feature, providing access to sources and allowing supervisors to manipulate the wall and change presets as needed,” said Art Salinas, Project Manager for Alterman Technologies. “It’s a great system with no real limitations. I believe the client has been pleased with the capability to control and preview content before it goes on the wall. They currently have about 30 preset displays.” With the number of cameras and the video streaming to the facility, Salinas had to be certain the equipment he was recommending and the software that would power the system would work without a hitch, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “Our work to determine the right kind of solution was very involved, and we evaluated all the systems,” Salinas said. “When it came right down to it, we selected Lenel’s OnGuard for access control, Axis Communications IP cameras and Salient’s VMS and its PowerUltra servers. All of this is securely stored in an enclosed network so there is no worry of outside hacking.” Perimeter security system With three counties and multiple agencies using this facility, the security solutions have to be dependable" Salient Regional Sales Representative Paul Fisher said the choice of VMS was truly an important decision because it had to be strong enough to stop any breaches but also be able to provide the ability to run the perimeter security system and the internal security. “Our VMS solution is able to take the lead with all the streaming video and push it wherever it is directed,” Fisher said. “With three counties and multiple agencies using this facility, the security solutions have to be dependable, yet easy to use. We were invited in to demonstrate the system, and we were able to show numerous details that would benefit the end user. We are able to provide reliability and scalability, and we’re a local company, so that worked to our benefit as well,” Fisher said. Law enforcement officials The facility is designed to provide uninterrupted 911 services during various emergencies, including terrorist attacks and natural disasters. There also is an onsite helipad for access by law enforcement officials, should area roadways be closed or congested, and for staging for media during a public emergency. The building is constructed to withstand an EF3 tornado strike and to operate without any public utilities for an extended period of time. “The mission of the facility is to provide that emergency response when a caller is quite possibly going through the worst experience of their life,” said James Hasslocher, Bexar Metro 911 Network District Chairman.

RealNetworks Inc. announces SAFR® Inside app component of Facial Recognition and Computer Vision Platform
RealNetworks Inc. announces SAFR® Inside app component of Facial Recognition and Computer Vision Platform

SAFR from RealNetworks, Inc., announced SAFR® Inside, a new app component of its Facial Recognition and Computer Vision Platform that runs on ACAP enabled cameras with edge processing capabilities. SAFR Inside reduces network traffic and server overhead and thus lowers overall deployment costs. The first version of SAFR Inside runs on the new AXIS Q1615 Mk III Network Camera announced. Facial recognition and mask detection SAFR Inside enables network cameras like the AXIS Q1615 Mk III to reduce video processing server overhead and achieve new lows in total cost of ownership. A 100-camera installation can now be run on a single on-premise SAFR recognition server Take the example of a retail grocery chain deploying SAFR for mask detection on a few traditional IP cameras at dozens of locations. Until now, this customer would have had to install a new server at each location. By installing cameras with SAFR Inside and pairing them with SAFR’s Cloud Platform, the grocery chain eliminates the need for on-premise servers entirely. A four-camera per location installation would have required a $2,000 server at each store. Without it, the chain saves at least $500 in up-front costs per camera, not including system configuration costs or on-going support requirements. Single on-premise SAFR recognition server Large-scale on-premise deployments such as at a casino or stadium would experience similar up-front cost savings. By choosing cameras with SAFR Inside instead of a traditional IP camera, a 100-camera installation can now be run on a single on-premise SAFR recognition server - achieving an estimated savings of $500,000 or $500 per camera. “Our customers are always looking for ways to reduce the total cost of ownership when deploying SAFR,” says Eric Hess, Sr. Director Product Management for SAFR. “By bringing our world-leading AI into the camera, we are delivering lower costs and more flexible deployment options for our end users.” Touchless access control systems SAFR can both ensure employees are wearing masks and recognise them with the mask on The SAFR Inside app supports some of the SAFR Platform’s most requested features for fighting COVID-19. Improve public health safety by automatically playing an audio reminder when someone is, or is not, wearing a protective face mask. Reduce opportunities for viral transmission by introducing touchless access control systems using SAFR’s facial recognition on live video. SAFR can both ensure employees are wearing masks and recognise them with the mask on. AI capabilities “We are very pleased to bring SAFR Inside to the AXIS Camera Application Platform,” said Reza Rassool, CTO of RealNetworks, “Their worldwide leadership and quality products are a perfect fit for our highly accurate, high performance facial recognition platform. We look forward to expanding our relationship into the future.” “SAFR Inside is the first Axis Application Development Partner (ADP) application to take full advantage of the new AI capabilities of our AXIS Camera Application Platform,” said Robert Muehlbauer, Senior Manager, Business Development, at Axis Communications. “With advanced computer vision technology like SAFR combined with the AI enabled AXIS Q1615 Mk III, we see many use cases, including integrated solutions that utilise our IP audio and IP intercom technologies. We look forward to SAFR Inside running on more Axis cameras and intercoms in the future.”

Broome County upgrades video surveillance infrastructure with networked Axis cameras and Qognify’s Ocularis VMS integration
Broome County upgrades video surveillance infrastructure with networked Axis cameras and Qognify’s Ocularis VMS integration

When Broome County, in the US State of New York, took the decision to upgrade its public safety radio network, it required the highest quality video surveillance system to safeguard its US$ 23 million investment in critical infrastructure. New radio network Working with Integrated Systems, a solution combining networked Axis cameras, illuminators and radar motion detectors, with Qognify’s Ocularis video management system (VMS) was installed, to deter, detect and respond to unauthorised activity, at each of its nine new radio towers. The new radio network replaces a system that was in place since the 1970’s and improves communications for police, fire, along with other emergency services and public works departments for the municipalities across the county. 24/7 security monitoring Each of the radio tower sites required a combination of networked PTZ and fixed cameras" Such mission critical infrastructure requires reliable round-the-clock security monitoring, so Integrated Systems was approached, for its reputation in the delivery of technology solutions to government and industry, to specify and install a new video surveillance system. President of Integrated Systems, Mark Hamilton, explains, “Each of the radio tower sites required a combination of networked PTZ and fixed cameras, as well as radar motion detection to provide comprehensive coverage that would ensure any unauthorised activity would be swiftly detected, automatically recorded and alerts triggered, to initiate a timely and appropriate response.”  Axis camera and radar detection technology Axis camera and radar detection technology was chosen for interior and exterior use at each radio tower site and the award-winning Ocularis to provide the all-important integration. Hamilton adds, “Early in our engagement with Broome County we urged them to migrate from their disparate video surveillance architecture, whereby VMS, NVR and DVR systems were all being managed individually across the county.” He further said, “Our recommended solution was a single unified, IP-based system that was county-wide sanctioned. To achieve this, we specified the Ocularis VMS from Qognify.” Ocularis video management system Ocluaris is a VMS that is ideal for large-scale projects such as Broome County, with an emphasis on tactical real-time operations and live visualisation, it is supported by full system redundancy and 24/7 availability. Integrated Systems were impressed by Ocluaris’s rich feature set, intuitive user interface (including visually mapping of the entire camera estate) and impressive scalability. What’s more with Axis as a Qognify Technology Partner it instilled the confidence Broome County needed to switch to a more unified approach to video surveillance. PTZ and fixed cameras installed All surveillance camera footage is recorded and centrally archived at the County Data Centre Using Ocularis, authorised personnel at the Central Security Building and Emergency Management Services Centre have 24/7, 365-days access to live and archived footage from every camera at each of the nine sites. The PTZ cameras installed give a 360-degree view of each radio tower site, whilst fixed cameras monitor the tower yards main gates and shelter doors. Meanwhile, the radar motion detection system guards the perimeter. All surveillance camera footage is recorded and centrally archived at the County Data Centre via the county’s microwave data network. “If any suspicious activity is detected an operator can rapidly view, review and replay all relevant footage through Ocularis,” explains Hamilton. Use of video analytics and visual maps To aid the speed of response, the operator also benefits from the use of visual maps to rapidly determine what cameras are available across each site, as well as video analytics to minimise time required to trawl through footage to identify activities of interest. Broome County has been impressed with the Axis and Qognify solution, which has also been integrated with its existing county-wide video network that includes street cameras, buildings and mobile video command systems. The success of the project has been recognised with a prestigious Security Solutions Award. Hamilton concludes by saying, “Qognify’s Ocularis is now the lead VMS that Integrated Systems specifies whenever embarking on a new video surveillance project.”

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