Access control software - Expert commentary

How AI and security guards work together using video analytics
How AI and security guards work together using video analytics

How AI and humans can work together is a longstanding debate. As society progresses technologically, there’s always the worry of robots taking over jobs. Self-checkout tills, automated factory machines, and video analytics are all improving efficiency and productivity, but they can still work in tandem with humans, and in most cases, they need to. Video analytics in particular is one impressively intelligent piece of technology that security guards can utilise. How can video analytics help with certain security scenarios? Video analytics tools Before video analytics or even CCTV in general, if a child went missing in a shopping centre, we could only rely on humans. Take a crowded Saturday shopping centre, a complex one with a multitude of shops and eateries, you’d have to alert the security personnel, rely on a tannoy and search party, and hope for a lockdown to find a lost or kidnapped child. With video analytics, how would this scenario play out? It’s pretty mind-blowing. As soon as security is alerted, they can work with the video analytics tools to instruct it precisely With the same scenario, you now have the help of many different cameras, but then there’s the task of searching through all the CCTV resources and footage. That’s where complex search functions come in. As soon as security is alerted, they can work with the video analytics tools to instruct it precisely on what footage to narrow down, and there’s a lot of filters and functions to use. Expected movement direction For instance, they can tick a ‘human’ field, so the AI can track and filter out vehicles, objects etc., and then they can input height, clothing colours, time the child went missing, and last known location. There’s a complex event to check too, under ‘child kidnap’. For a more accurate search, security guards can then add in a searching criterion by drawing the child’s expected movement direction using a visual query function. A unique function like this enables visual criteria-based searches rather than text-based ones. The tech will then narrow down to the images/videos showing the criteria they’ve inputted, showing the object/child that matches the data and filter input. Detecting facial data There are illegal demonstrations and troublesome interferences that police have to deal with A white-list face recognition function is then used to track the child’s route which means the AI can detect facial data that has not been previously saved in the database, allowing it to track the route of a target entity, all in real time. Then, security guards can confirm the child’s route and current location. All up-to-date info can then be transferred to an onsite guard’s mobile phone for them to confirm the missing child’s movement route, face, and current location, helping to find them as quickly as possible. Often, there are illegal demonstrations and troublesome interferences that police have to deal with. Video analytics and surveillance can not only capture these, but they can be used to predict when they may happen, providing a more efficient process in dealing with these types of situations and gathering resources. Event processing functions Picture a public square with a number of entries into the main area, and at each entry point or path, there is CCTV. Those in the control room can set two events for each camera: a grouping event and a path-passing event. These are pretty self-explanatory. A grouping event covers images of seeing people gathering in close proximity and a path-passing event will show when people are passing through or entering. The video analytics tool can look out for large gatherings and increased footfall to alert security By setting these two events, the video analytics tool can look out for large gatherings and increased footfall to alert security or whoever is monitoring to be cautious of protests, demonstrations or any commotion. Using complex event processing functions, over-detection of alarms can also be prevented, especially if there’s a busy day with many passing through. Reducing false alarms By combining the two events, that filters down the triggers for alarms for better accuracy to predict certain situations, like a demonstration. The AI can also be set to only trigger an alarm when the two events are happening simultaneously on all the cameras of each entry to reduce false alarms. There are so many situations and events that video analytics can be programmed to monitor. You can tick fields to monitor any objects that have appeared, disappeared, or been abandoned. You can also check events like path-passing to monitor traffic, as well as loitering, fighting, grouping, a sudden scene change, smoke, flames, falling, unsafe crossing, traffic jams and car accidents etc. Preventing unsafe situations Complex events can include violations of one-way systems, blacklist-detected vehicles Complex events can include violations of one-way systems, blacklist-detected vehicles, person and vehicle tracking, child kidnaps, waste collection, over-speed vehicles, and demonstration detections. The use of video analytics expands our capabilities tremendously, working in real time to detect and help predict security-related situations. Together with security agents, guards and operatives, AI in CCTV means resources can be better prepared, and that the likelihood of preventing unsafe situations can be greatly improved. It’s a winning team, as AI won’t always get it right but it’s there to be the advanced eyes we need to help keep businesses, premises and areas safer.

Protect physical assets from cyber-attacks
Protect physical assets from cyber-attacks

Recent cyber-attacks have disabled and even shut down physical assets. Robust foundational security and training staff, able to recognise an attack can help mitigate the threat, as ABB’s Rob Putman explains. Edge devices and data analytics As cyber security specialists, we must navigate an ever-changing threat landscape, one that is made even more complex by the increased interconnectivity between Operational Technology (OT) and Information Technology (IT), as companies look to leverage edge devices and data analytics, as well as remote connectivity, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the threat surface evolves, the industry must guard against attacks on key physical infrastructure, carried out by a range of malicious actors, including nation states and criminals intent on blackmail. The chemicals sector, a high-value target for cyber-criminals Cyber-criminals view the chemicals sector, as a high-value target, because of the potential cost In 2017, not long after a ransomware attack that targeted Maersk, the world’s largest shipping firm, made the news around the world. Another cyber-attack, this time targeting physical industrial assets, generated fewer headlines, and yet could have resulted in both real, as well as financial, damage. Cyber-criminals view the chemicals sector, as a high-value target, because of the potential cost, both financial and reputational, to the operator, should production be interrupted or stopped entirely. Cyber security vulnerabilities put physical assets at risk The attack in question, a ‘Triton’ custom malware attack on a petro-chemical facility in Saudi Arabia, targeted a safety system, taking over system controllers. Bugs in the code triggered an emergency shutdown, but could have led to the release of toxic and explosive gases. It was a vivid reminder of how cyber security vulnerabilities are increasingly putting companies’ key physical assets at risk. Two more-recent high-profile incidents illustrate my point. In February, a Florida water treatment plant was hacked. The malicious actor remotely accessed the system for three to five minutes, during which time they opened various functions on the screen, including one that controls the amount of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) in the water. The hacker changed the NaOH from about 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million, which could have resulted in a mass poisoning event. Colonial Pipeline cyber-attack incident Then, in May, the Colonial Pipeline system that originates in Houston, Texas and carries gasoline, and jet fuel, suffered a ransomware attack. Using a VPN, hackers targeted back-office IT systems, forcing Colonial to shut down IT hosts and network infrastructure, severing communication with those OT systems that are responsible for communicating ‘transactional data’ associated with fuel delivery. In this instance, a single compromised password disrupted Colonial’s ability to invoice its customers. This dependency on OT data stopped pipeline and business operations, and the company was elected to pay the hackers an initial ransom of US$ 4.4 million, in order to restore operations. The Colonial attack was multi-dimensional, in that it not only impacted Colonial’s business, but also the wider US economy and national security, since the pipeline transports nearly half of the east coast's fuel supplies. Outdated IT system elevates physical risk The increased interconnectivity between IT and OT can also create vulnerabilit Attacks such as these prove that, armed with little more than a laptop, an email account and access to the dark web, determined hackers can cause disproportionate damage to physical infrastructure. As mentioned at the outset, the increased interconnectivity between IT and OT can also create vulnerability. Producers often want to know: Is it risky to connect a production asset or their operational environment to the Cloud? My answer is, if you do so without having done any risk audits around people, processes and technology, or without enhancing and maintaining that environment, then yes, that is risky. For example, we often observe that the life cycle of a production asset far outlasts the IT systems that are used to run it. Take a cement kiln. Several generations of plant operators may have come and gone, but that asset may still run, using legacy software, such as Windows XP and why not? Need to replace aging distributed control systems Well, that’s fine, if you are not concerned about having that asset compromised, and all that entails. A ‘flat’ IT network, an aging distributed control system, and machines with legacy versions of Microsoft Windows, all these elements, which are still commonplace in many industries, make it much easier for attackers to find and infiltrate a company, without needing sophisticated tools. The age-old mantra of not interfering with a piece of equipment or software that appears to be working, often applies to the individual assets. For example that cement kiln that are still controlled by the same Windows XP-based control software. However, if we’re honest, things have changed quite a bit, not because something was broken, but because innovation came in. That same kiln control system is most likely connected to other systems, than when first commissioned and that opens it to exposure to threats that it was never designed for. The human element There is a misconception that IoT-connected devices can open companies to risk There is a misconception that IoT-connected devices can open companies to risk, but many recent, high-profile cyber-attacks have been conducted from a laptop, by hacking someone’s VPN, or are a simple phishing/malware attack. In all these cases, the human element is partly to blame. Take the Florida attack. The compromised computer at the water treatment facility was reportedly running an outdated Windows 7 operating system and staff all used the same password, in order to gain remote access via the Teamviewer app, which the hacker was then able to use. Physical and human assets, key to robust cyber security Discussion on the best way to mitigate the threat is often framed solely around specific technical solutions and ignores the fact that robust foundational cyber security is really driven by two very different, but equally important, types of capital: physical assets (e.g. production machinery), and human assets. The truth is that smart digital software and industry-renowned cyber security applications, while critical, are in many cases, only as good as the weakest human link in the chain. Industry would, therefore, do well to ask itself the following question: Do we have a security problem, or a complacency problem? At this juncture, it is important to point out that the majority of companies that ABB works with, are at least aware of the threat posed by cyber attackers, and the potential impact of an attack, on their revenues, reputation and bottom line. User error and human-generated exposures Making sure staff are aware of the threat and training them to respond properly, if they are targeted, is vital However, user error and human-generated exposures are where most of these attacks occur. Those human failures are mostly not due to malicious intent from employees, but to the lack of training of the employees on secure behavior. Making sure staff are aware of the threat and training them to respond properly, if they are targeted, is vital. However, there are also age demographics at play here. Much of the operations employee base is heading towards retirement and often, there is no plan or ability to backfill these people. Need to invest in new digital and automated technologies If you think you don't have enough people now, in order to stay on top of basic care and feeding of the OT environment, with regards to security, what is that going to be like in 20 years? For this reason, there must be a major industry reset, when it comes to its workforce. Companies must invest in new digital and automated technologies, not only to ensure that they stay ahead of the curve and mitigate risk, but also to attract the next generation of digitally literate talent. Robust cyber security is built on solid foundations When we talk about foundational cyber security, we mean fundamentals, such as patching, malware protection, high-fidelity system backups, an up-to-date anti-virus system, and other options, such as application allow-listing and asset inventory. These basic controls can help companies understand their system setup and the potential threats, identify vulnerabilities, and assess their risk exposure. The Pareto principle states that around 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes. In the context of cyber security, that means 80% of exposure to risk comes from 20% of the lack of security. If companies do the foundational things right, they can manage out a significant amount of this risk. Importance of maintaining and upgrading security controls However, having basic security controls, such as anti-virus software in place, is just the first step on that journey. Equally important is having someone within the organisation, with the requisite skill set, or the extra labour bandwidth, to operate, maintain and update those security controls, as they evolve. Educating, training and recruiting existing employees, and the next generation of talent, along with forging partnerships with trusted technology providers, will ensure that industry can leverage the latest digital technologies, in order to drive business value, and secure physical assets against cyber-attacks.

The robotic transformation of the security industry
The robotic transformation of the security industry

The COVID-19 pandemic is only accelerating the expansion of Automation, Robotics, Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and changing how people live their daily lives. This expansion leads the way with technologies that are developed to solve problems, improve operations, streamline processes and assist people, to focus on learning new skills, creativity, and imagination. Transformation of the physical security industry One of the latest industries to be permanently transformed is physical security. The era of utilising security cameras is slowly changing into more advanced and more efficient technological applications - security robotic solutions. SMP Robotics is a California-based company, which is a pioneer in developing robotic technologies, powered by AI, to assist, improve and deliver on new expectations in today’s world. One of their services is smart surveillance systems. This represents a proactive approach to security. The company, SMP Robotics’ Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Leo Ryzhenko, stated “Autonomous robotic technologies will become a driving force in future security solutions.” Robotics and AI in autonomous security solutions The robots can patrol 24/7, counteracting intrusion and communicating via voice message with guards The company uses robotics and AI technology to implement autonomous security solutions, which reduce liability and overhead, as well as improving the quality of services. Robotic guards are capable of patrolling all types of facilities, in both urban and rural contexts. The robots can patrol 24/7, counteracting intrusion and communicating via voice message with guards. The inspection robots, deployed by SMP Robotics, are easily integrated with many existing security technologies, armed with obstacle avoidance and anti-collision measures, automatically recharge, and can recognise faces up to 50 metres. As the world grows increasingly complex, technology like this is essential to ensure safety for all. AI-enabled autonomous video monitoring ground vehicles The advancements in technological breakthroughs of SMP Robotics position the company and its AI-powered, autonomous video monitoring ground vehicles, to be the most adaptable to any industry, cost-effective for clients’ business needs, in providing various types of services from public safety, crime prevention, to asset protection and physical security. SMP Robotics continues to implement new innovative solutions and groundbreaking technologies in its latest generation of autonomous models. Currently, many were already deployed or in a process to be delivered to a number of key clients, in various industries throughout the globe, from oil & gas, nuclear power plants to data centers, healthcare facilities, and amusement parks. Smart security robots Tal Turner, the Vice President (VP) of Business Development and Partnerships, SMP Robotics, said “We provide autonomous, artificial intelligence, all-weather, all-surface, smart security robots that are turnkey and operate independently on their own, using real-time obstacle avoidance, face recognition, and other cutting-edge technological advancements.” According to Coherent Market Insights, the Robots as a Service (RaaS) market direction will grow by 15.9% by 2028 and reach the threshold of 41.3 billion dollars. SMP Robotics stands at the forefront of the security robotic revolution, making an impactful change to make the world a safer place.

Latest Gallagher Security (Europe) Ltd news

IDIS announces integration of its end-to-end video technology solutions with Gallagher’s access control solutions
IDIS announces integration of its end-to-end video technology solutions with Gallagher’s access control solutions

IDIS has announced powerful and affordable options for integrating video, access control, life safety and building management systems between its end-to-end video technology solutions with Gallagher’s access control solutions. This powerful off-the-shelf integration, from Korea’s renowned video manufacturer, gives systems integrators and end users everything that they need for complete, future-proofed site control. It enables straightforward integration of powerful security management platforms, removing cost and complexity. Gallagher Command Centre The Gallagher Command Centre access control and security management platform can be integrated with IDIS’s DirectIP range of NVRs and cameras, as well as its family of analogue DirectCX HD-TVI recorders and cameras. This allows customers to mix-and-match IP and analogue systems, including leveraging coax cabling if they need to. Users can choose between the free IDIS Center VMS, ideal for small-to-medium applications up to 1024 devices, or the fully-featured and enterprise-level IDIS Solution Suite that is both modular and scalable, allowing users to manage unlimited devices and unlimited sites, without the associated price tag. Enterprise-level integrated solutions There is growing demand for enterprise-level integrated solutions that combine the latest video and access technology, but that offer reduced upfront costs and lower total cost of ownership (TCO) long term. Customers also want greater system flexibility and adaptability, across longer lifecycles. Operationally, there are significant advantages for customers upgrading from siloed solutions. For example, seamless integration of access control with video enables instant verification of events, such as forced doors, with camera views automatically presented to system controllers. Security management system Integration of Gallagher Command Centre with IDIS opens up an easy route for customers" With integrated solutions, alarms from doors, cameras and other devices are pulled onto one platform, making it easier for operators to respond and reducing the likelihood of incidents being missed. The operational benefits increase as more technologies are integrated, from fire and HVAC to elevator controls, building management and wider corporate systems. “Integration of Gallagher Command Centre with IDIS opens up an easy route for customers, who want unparalleled control over every aspect of site security, alongside the AI intelligence advantages that come with IDIS Deep Learning Analytics,” said Mitch Parsons, Business Development Manager for Gallagher Security Europe. COVID-safe site solutions The growing toolkit of smart video capabilities now includes COVID-safe site solutions, enhanced security monitoring and review tools, and advanced business intelligence analytics that help to optimise operational efficiency. “Seamless, off-the-shelf interoperability between IDIS and Gallagher offers integrators and end-users everything they need to create complete, future-proofed security management platforms, without compromising on functionality,” said Jamie Barnfield, Senior Sales Director for IDIS Europe. Off-the-shelf corporate security Jamie Barnfield adds, “Systems integrators can now offer customers an affordable, efficient, and off-the-shelf corporate security and safety solution that encompasses enterprise-level video, access control, life safety, visitor management, and building management.”

Gallagher’s UK CPNI CAPSS high security system achieves UK cyber security standards
Gallagher’s UK CPNI CAPSS high security system achieves UK cyber security standards

Global security manufacturer, Gallagher, is excited to release their latest certified high security solution to market. The Gallagher UK CPNI CAPSS high security system features compliances to the Cyber Assurance for Physical Security Systems (CAPSS) standard, and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) Readers and Tokens standards. This latest approval demonstrates Gallagher’s significant investment in delivering high security solutions for governments in the five eyes alliance. Cyber security requirements Passing the CAPSS evaluation provides UK critical national infrastructure sites confidence that Gallagher’s software and hardware meets the toughest cyber security requirements. The CPNI readers and tokens standards ensure physical access control readers and credentials are robust against both cyber and physical attacks. “With cyber threats growing in sophistication, cyber protection has never been more vital,” says Richard Huison, Regional Manager UK and Europe, for Gallagher. “Cyber security is an integral part of Gallagher’s physical security solutions. We’re pleased with the result from our CAPSS evaluation – it demonstrates our commitment to providing security solutions which offer the highest level of protection.” CPNI protects national security in the United Kingdom by helping reduce vulnerability to terrorism and other threats in national infrastructure. Gallagher’s range of compliant solutions can be found under the CPNI catalogue of security equipment. Gallagher’s UK CPNI CAPSS High Security System is now available.

Stark property develops Panama app with Gallagher’s access control to ensure secure environment for all
Stark property develops Panama app with Gallagher’s access control to ensure secure environment for all

Stark Property’s shared working environment sees about 150 people from 40 different companies co-working across their Panama properties. Stark Property sought to overcome the challenges of a shared working space by fostering a sense of community within the Panama buildings, streamlining processes, and ensuring a safe and secure environment for all. Panama app Stark Property worked with digital technology developers, Dynamo6, to develop the Panama app. Easy to operate, the app integrates Gallagher access control with other building functionality, including news, feeds, Wi-Fi access, and the ability to submit maintenance requests and book shared meeting rooms. Utilising Gallagher’s Mobile Connect SDK, Dynamo6 was able to incorporate the functionality of Gallagher Mobile Connect into the Panama app, offering a one-stop-shop for all things building-related. The app utilises Bluetooth® or NFC on users’ phones to gain access via Gallagher T-Series Readers Simplified access control Integrated access control creates a simple, easy access experience for app users while establishing a safe and secure working environment. Through Gallagher Command Centre, Stark Property can keep track of who is coming and going, while ensuring anyone entering the building is authorised to be there. Utilising users’ mobile phones to host access credentials means no time wasted replacing or issuing temporary cards for visitors Utilising users’ mobile phones to host access credentials means there’s no time wasted replacing lost or stolen access cards or issuing temporary cards for visitors. “People will lose an access tag, but not many people lose their phones,” says Matt Stark, Director of Stark Property. Effective communication In a co-working environment, it can be difficult to ensure important information, such as planned building maintenance or fire alarm testing, is shared with everyone in a timely manner. The Panama app mitigates this with a newsfeed on the app home screen, notifying tenants of any important information. Integrating the newsfeed with access control functionality ensures tenants stay up to date, with important information displaying prominently whenever they open the app to unlock a door. This simple but efficient method of communicating helps Stark Property adhere to their health and safety requirements by ensuring tenants are aware of any building-related issues that may arise. Efficient property management In shared working spaces, reporting building maintenance issues can be problematic, especially if there are just one or two main people from each group in contact with property managers. The Panama app offers tenants the ability to submit maintenance requests directly. By entering details of the issue, along with the capability to attach photos, requests can be reported directly to Stark Property by anyone working on site. Matt hopes this functionality will lead to Stark Property having the best-maintained buildings in town. “Often, it’s the small stuff that goes unnoticed by maintenance staff – cracks, dents, breakages. Now tenants can keep an eye out for any issues and report these to us directly. It has helped us to streamline our processes and keep on top of any issues.” Shared building resources are also managed through the app, with the ability to book meeting rooms and connect to the Wi-Fi. The future of shared spaces The app utilises cloud technology to deliver an app that can be customised to the building space and facilities Currently, the app is only in use across the Panama properties but there are plans to roll it out across other Stark Property sites in the future. “The app is still pretty new to us,” says Matt. “We’re still learning from it and looking to see what other services we can add to it, but overall it has saved us time, made lives easier, and allows us to keep progressing as a property group by delivering better, more efficient spaces.” Using cloud technologies Igor Matich, Founder and Executive Director from Dynamo6 said, “The app utilises cloud technology to deliver an app that can be customised to the building space and facilities. Everyone pretty much has a mobile phone on them." "Connecting access to mobile phones makes it easier for people to enter the building and the experience is more unique. It delivers a premium experience. Moreover, you’re more likely to remember your phone than an access card.” Igor continues, “The advantage of integrated access and the property app, particularly in a shared environment like this, is the community feel it creates. It helps foster a sense of community among tenants. We’re excited about the additional services the app brings, such as meeting room bookings, and other future developments.” Mobile Connect SDK The Mobile Connect SDK enables developers to incorporate the functionality of Gallagher Mobile Connect into a third-party app. In addition to access control, Mobile Connect includes the capability to receive push notifications on a mobile device directly from Command Centre, arm or disarm buildings, and control lighting and HVAC from the mobile device.

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