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Q&A: Bosch Video Systems & Solutions' Michael Seiter and Magnus Ekerot on smart technology, "AIot", and plans for 2021
Q&A: Bosch Video Systems & Solutions' Michael Seiter and Magnus Ekerot on smart technology, "AIot", and plans for 2021

Q: Mr. Seiter, Mr. Ekerot, you both joined Bosch Building Technologies’ business unit Video Systems & Solutions as Senior Vice Presidents in March 2020, when the Coronavirus pandemic was just beginning. How did your business unit get through 2020? Magnus Ekerot: The crisis was also felt at Bosch. At the same time, demand has risen for solutions that keep businesses open and protect people's health. We offer corresponding video solutions that can make a significant contribution to containing the pandemic.  Michael Seiter: Overall, we managed the past year well despite the challenges and have been growing again since the third quarter compared to 2019. We see good opportunities for further growth in 2021. Q: Has the Corona crisis again accelerated the development of smart technologies in the security technology market, and does the security market in contrast to most industries benefit from the crisis more than it suffers? Michael Seiter: The Corona crisis has definitely demonstrated that the future lies in data-driven solutions. Thanks to our product development strategy already being based on this, we at Bosch were very quickly able to develop new products for the ‘New Normal’ and to expand existing products accordingly. To give one or two examples: in cooperation with Philips, we very quickly developed a people counting solution for retail operations – smart Philips displays in conjunction with smart cameras from Bosch that provide protection for staff and customers. The In-Store Analytics software solution was also implemented with additional features. Shop owners can now make decisions based on customer movement data such as “Where do we position products to avoid queues or crowds?” HTD involves a touch-free monitoring system to accurately and speedily identify people with heightened skin temperature  The latest highlight is the Bosch Human Skin Temperature Detection solution, in short HTD. This involves a touch-free monitoring system to accurately and speedily identify people with heightened skin temperature at control points in offices, factory floors, or airports. The benefits of previously existing solutions on the market are sometimes called into question. Competitors are often unable to deliver what they promise because, for example, the measured temperature of the skin does not correspond to the core temperature of the person, or fluctuates, due to environmental influences. Therefore, we developed a software-based solution that, in compliance with GDPR, first allows people with potentially elevated body temperatures to be filtered out, and in a second step, allows medical personnel to perform a more targeted fever measurement. Q: You see a lot of potential for the video security industry in new technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. What specific opportunities do you mean, and how are you leveraging these technologies at Bosch Building Technologies? Michael Seiter: Bosch has committed itself fully to an “AIoT” – AI meets IoT – strategy. The development of AI algorithms and software, in general, is at Bosch significantly driven in the security space.  By AIoT, we specifically mean the networking of physical products and the deployment of artificial intelligence. With AI we aim to enable clients to understand events at an ever-deeper level and predict them in the future – the keyword being predictive – so that they can act proactively. This is particularly important for health and safety. An example is the Intelligent Insights solution where the user can anticipate potentially dangerous situations, for instance in maintaining social distance and a maximum number of people numbers in any one area. Q: From your point of view do you have an advantage over other suppliers when it comes to AI-based products in the video arena? Michael Seiter: The analysis and utilisation of video data have long been front and centre with us. Since 2016 we’ve been following the strategy of offering AI applications in the form of integrated intelligent video analytics as a standard in our network cameras. Data such as colour, object size, object speed, and direction are all measured. Simply put, you can say this is seeing and understanding – which is the principle behind smart security cameras. Today it’s much more a question of intelligent, data-based solutions than collecting high-quality pictures and storing them for the record. Bosch has been investing heavily in AI for years, from which we can benefit greatly in our area. In the first quarter, for example, we will launch a vehicle detector based on deep learning that is already running on our cameras. This will create significant added value for our customers in the area of intelligent traffic control. Q: Mr. Ekerot, what advantages do customers have in AI-based video security from Bosch? Magnus Ekerot: A key advantage is strong customer focus with tailored solutions that are at the same time modular and scalable through new AI algorithms A key advantage is our strong customer focus with tailored solutions that are at the same time modular and scalable through new AI algorithms. Take the example of Camera Trainer, a machine learning software that can be directly uploaded to Bosch network cameras. The camera is thus trained up on recognising objects and situations – tailored to the specific needs of our customers. If the camera detects the defined scenario, it performs a predefined action in real-time – for example, a count or an alarm. The latest example is our new camera platform Inteox. As a completely open camera platform, Inteox combines Bosch's intelligent video analytics with an open operating system. This allows programmers to develop specific software applications - or apps - for various application purposes. These can then be loaded onto cameras – the same principle as an app store for smartphones. To sum up, Bosch AI applications support customer-specific needs related to data analysis while enabling totally new applications within and beyond the video security market. Q: Can you name a specific current project where Bosch has deployed an AI-based solution? Magnus Ekerot: A current ground-breaking project using our smart cameras is being implemented as a pilot in the USA. Smart Ohio enables users to configure more intelligent traffic flows and thus ensure mobility, safety, and the efficient use of roads today and tomorrow. The new vehicle detector mentioned by Mr. Seiter also plays a central role here. Our overall goal is to provide connected smart sensor solutions for public and private transportation agencies to enable them to operate their roads safely and efficiently. The Intelligent Insights can anticipate potentially dangerous situations, for instance in maintaining social distance and a maximum number of people numbers in any one area Q: Mr. Seiter, you have been involved with the topic of mobility for some time. What experience from your previous job in the automotive business of Bosch might help you when it comes to further develop the video portfolio of Bosch Building Technologies? Michael Seiter: There's a lot to tell. First of all, the development of core algorithms for video-based solutions, whether for autonomous driving, for vehicle interior monitoring, or for our Bosch Building Technologies video systems, all come together at Bosch's Hildesheim location. This gives us considerable synergies and allows us to bring R&D results to market faster and more flexibly. Essentially, assisted driving systems use AI algorithms that process ever-increasing volumes of video data. Attempts are being made to imitate the human being and enable the vehicle to understand better the surrounding environment with its ‘eyes’. This predictive capability is especially critical with autonomous driving. For example, key questions include: “How should the car respond and what could potentially happen next?” “What kind of environment does it find itself in?” etc. There are many activities in this area at Bosch that in my new role in security we can also strongly benefit from. I am now bringing a lot of this experience and existing R&D achievements to Bosch Video Systems & Solutions, which also results in further synergies with our mobility division: At Stuttgart Airport, autonomous driving is already being implemented together with Mercedes-Benz and the parking garage operator Apcoa as part of the "Automated Valet Parking" project, or AVP for short, in which intelligent video systems from Bosch Building Technologies are making a significant contribution. Mr. Ekerot, you have a lot of experience in the video security area. Where do you position Bosch Building Technologies now in this market and what specific goals are you pursuing? Magnus Ekerot: Our clients are looking for reliable partners and products. We are a strong brand; you can rely on Bosch products. Bosch is a thought leader in video and a pioneer in AI applications in this field since 2016. Data security is everything to us: Our products conform to the EU’s GDPR regulations. Beyond that, we have an extensive camera portfolio that complies with the US National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for video security devices. This enables our portfolio to be deployed for example within US government buildings. We are planning to conclude more software maintenance agreements with our clients in 2021. These deliver investment and future security for our customers and include for example a ‘patch guarantee’ along with regular updates with new functionalities. This is the first step in a comprehensive plan to access new revenue channels for us and our partners delivering the best technology and excellent service to the end-user! Overall, many new products will be launched this year and this trend will intensify. Our goal is to establish new product families that follow a simple principle: “The development and delivery of disruptive, predictive video solutions that every user can trust because of the underlying sustainable forward-thinking mindset.” It’s been much discussed of late that Bosch is one of the very first companies globally that operates on a CO2-neutral basis. How does sustainability impact your business? Magnus Ekerot: IoT solutions are actually sustainable and contribute to environmental protection Our IoT solutions are actually sustainable and contribute to environmental protection. For example, our cameras are sustainable in that they remain up-to-date through software updates and needn’t be constantly exchanged for new ones. Our systems demonstrate sustainability also operationally as they can be managed remotely. System integrators don’t need to be physically present, thus avoiding unnecessary travel with its accompanying emissions. All in all, Bosch Building Technologies develops ways to accompany and support our clients in reaching their climate goals via new technologies. This can be done, for example, through improved energy efficiency, the total cost of ownership models, organising and simplifying the supply chain, and helping our customers meet their social responsibilities. The Power of Bosch helps us here to leverage company-wide research to be two steps ahead, a shade faster, when it comes to new technologies and initiatives that our and future generations will benefit from. I should also say that I am personally very proud to work for a company that set an ambitious climate goal for itself and achieved it! Can you already share a preview of your technology innovations in 2021? Michael Seiter: We see great market potential for our cameras that use artificial intelligence and can be updated flexibly throughout their lifecycles. I have already mentioned the deep learning-based vehicle detector in our cameras. More such solutions – also for other applications where object and person recognition are important – will follow in the course of the year. And the best part is: with AI, the more data we collect and the more intelligently we use it, the better the solutions become and the more added value they bring to the customer. This will revolutionise our industry! Another example is our cloud-based solutions, for example for alarm monitoring. Here, we can now also integrate third-party cameras and, building on this, offer and jointly develop our intelligent software-based solutions. This gives our customers more opportunities to take advantage of the opportunities created by AI. The trend towards integration of the various security technologies seems to be driven mostly by the rapid progress in software development. Does this affect full-range suppliers such as Bosch and what specific plans for fully integrated security solutions do you have for the future? Michael Seiter: Naturally, this suits us as a full-scope supplier. Bosch solutions are deployed in many cross-domain client projects. We have experts for the different domains under one roof and a strong brand with the same quality promise for all areas. Nevertheless, it is always also about specific domain excellence. Only when you master all different areas and have profound and proven expertise in each of them you can succeed in integrated cross-domain projects. The respective business units craft their future strategies and innovation roadmaps with this in mind – as we do in the field of Video Systems & Solutions. Our business unit offers fully integrated Bosch video solutions that can be extended and operated on open systems. This is why we drive open platforms such as Inteox, to offer customers from a wide range of industries the right solutions. Our Bosch Integration Partner Program that we launched in 2012 is also heading in this direction – every product can be integrated into multiple other systems and VMS solutions. In summary: At Bosch, we are both a one-stop-shop, but also an open-system, meaning we offer customers maximum flexibility in their choice of products and services.

We need to talk about intelligent enclosure protection
We need to talk about intelligent enclosure protection

Enclosures containing electronics, communications or cabling infrastructure offer a simple attack point for cyber breaches and an opportunity for a physical attack on the hardware. Yet, many of these assets are housed within enclosures that provide minimal security features to offer a deterrent to any would-be attacker. This has always just been a pet hate. Walking down the high street of a town anywhere in the United Kingdom, you can often see open street communication cabinets. You can actually look directly inside at the equipment. And if I was a bad guy, I could quite easily just put my foot into their enclosure and quite quickly take out their infrastructure. Charged service for enclosures This seems crazy when a US$ 2 magnetic contact on a door can quickly tell you whether your enclosure is open or shut, and can be vital in keeping your network alive. Moreover, the operators of these systems, whether it is telecoms or internet providers, are providing a charged service to their customers, so they should really be protecting their enclosures. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? More sobering, if you contrast this security approach to the approach taken in the data centre world, an environment that already has multiple stringent security protocols in place, you get a very different picture. For instance, security devices can capture snapshots of anyone who opens a cabinet door in a data room, so it is recorded who has opened that door. While that is just one simple example, it begs the question. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? In my mind, a lot of it boils down simply to education. Network connection, easy point of cyber attacks Our preconceived idea about cyber security is some big corporation being knocked out or held to ransom by, again in our mind, someone sitting at a laptop, probably with their hood up over their head, typing away in the darkness, attacking us through the internet. But how the would-be criminal is going to come at us is just like in sport. They attack at the weakest point. Networks can be deployed in the outside world in many ways, such as cameras monitoring the highways. That means those locations will have a network connection. And that can be a point of attack in a non-secure outside world. Enclosures can be broken into by attackers Many people think, ‘That is okay because I’m going to take that ethernet device that my cameras are connected to and I’m going to put it inside an enclosure.’ However, what people do not realize is that the only thing that the enclosure is doing is protecting the ethernet device from Mother Nature. Because, without proper security, those enclosures can be broken into pretty easily. Many of them are just a single key that is not in any way coded to the device. Twofold cyber security People need to realise that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking Therein lays the problem. People need to realise that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking into the weakest physical point. And so, a simple boot through the open door of an enclosure can vandalise the devices inside and take down a small or large part of a network. And by definition, this meets the criteria for a cyber-attack. So, how do we go about tackling this problem? Well, security is a reaction marketplace. And for enclosures, there’s not, at present, a plethora of solutions out there for to counter these types of attacks. It can be challenging to find what you’re looking for through a quick Google search compared to searching for more traditional security protection measures. Deploying smart sensors and detectors But, under Vanderbilt and ComNet, we are currently taking our knowledge and experience from system installation and compiling it together. We’re bringing different products from different parts of our business to make a true solution. For instance, we have sensors for enclosures that detect anything from gas or smoke to open doors, detectors that will tell you if someone is trying to smash open your enclosure with a sledgehammer, or that someone is trying to lift your enclosure off of its mount. More importantly, as is not really a one-size-fits-all solution, we have developed a menu structure available that allows customers to pick and choose the ones that will best fit their own requirements.

We have the technology to make society safer – how long can we justify not using it?
We have the technology to make society safer – how long can we justify not using it?

While the application of facial recognition within both public and private spheres continues to draw criticism from those who see it as a threat to civil rights, this technology has become extremely commonplace in the lives of iPhone users. It is so prevalent, in fact, that by 2024 it is predicted that 90% of smartphones will use biometric facial recognition hardware. CCTV surveillance cameras  Similarly, CCTV is a well-established security measure that many of us are familiar with, whether through spotting images displayed on screens in shops, hotels and offices, or noticing cameras on the side of buildings. It is therefore necessary we ask the question of why, when facial recognition is integrated with security surveillance technology, does it become such a source of contention? It is not uncommon for concerns to be voiced against innovation. History has taught us that it is human nature to fear the unknown, especially if it seems that it may change life as we know it. Yet technology is an ever-changing, progressive part of the 21st century and it is important we start to shift the narrative away from privacy threats, to the force for good that LFR (Live Facial Recognition) represents. Live Facial Recognition (LFR) We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition Across recent weeks, we have seen pleas from UK organisations to allow better police access to facial recognition technology in order to fight crime. In the US, there are reports that LAPD is the latest police force to be properly regulating its use of facial recognition to aid criminal investigations, which is certainly a step in the right direction. While it is understandable that society fears technology that they do not yet understand, this lack of knowledge is exactly why the narrative needs to shift. We understand the arguments from those that fear the ethics of AI and the data collection within facial recognition, we respect these anxieties. However, it is time to level the playing field of the facial recognition debate and communicate the plethora of benefits it offers society. Facial recognition technology - A force for good Facial recognition technology has already reached such a level of maturity and sophistication that there are huge opportunities for it to be leveraged as a force for good in real-world scenarios. As well as making society safer and more secure, I would go as far to say that LFR is able to save lives. One usage that could have a dramatic effect on reducing stress in people with mental conditions is the ability for facial recognition to identify those with Alzheimer’s. If an older individual is seemingly confused, lost or distressed, cameras could alert local medical centres or police stations of their identity, condition and where they need to go (a home address or a next of kin contact). Granted, this usage would be one that does incorporate a fair bit of personal data, although this information would only be gathered with consent from each individual. Vulnerable people could volunteer their personal data to local watchlists in order to ensure their safety when out in society, as well as to allow quicker resolutions of typically stressful situations. Tracking and finding missing persons Another possibility for real world positives to be drawn from facial recognition is to leverage the technology to help track or find missing persons, a lost child for instance. The most advanced forms of LFR in the market are now able to recognise individuals even if up to 50% of their face is covered and from challenging or oblique angles. Therefore, there is a significant opportunity not only to return people home safely, more quickly, but also reduce police hours spent on analysing CCTV footage. Rapid scanning of images Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match Facial recognition technology can rapidly scan images for a potential match, as a more reliable and less time-consuming option than the human alternative. Freed-up officers could also then work more proactively on the ground, patrolling their local areas and increasing community safety and security twofold. It is important to understand that these facial recognition solutions should not be applied to every criminal case, and the technology must be used responsibly. However, these opportunities to use LFR as force for good are undeniable.   Debunking the myths One of the central concerns around LFR is the breach of privacy that is associated with ‘watchlists’. There is a common misconception, however, that the data of every individual that passes a camera is processed and then stored. The reality is that watch lists are compiled with focus on known criminals, while the general public can continue life as normal. The very best facial recognition will effectively view a stream of blurred faces, until it detects one that it has been programmed to recognise. For example, an individual that has previously shoplifted from a local supermarket may have their biometric data stored, so when they return to that location the employees are alerted to a risk of further crimes being committed. Considering that the cost of crime prevention to retailers in recent years has been around £1 billion, which therefore impacts consumer prices and employee wages, security measures to tackle this issue are very much in the public interest. Most importantly, the average citizen has no need to fear being ‘followed’ by LFR cameras. If data is stored, it is for a maximum of 0.6 seconds before being deleted. Privacy Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story Privacy is ingrained in facial recognition solutions, yet it seems the debate often ignores this side of the story. It is essential we spend more time and effort communicating exactly why watchlists are made, who they are made for and how they are being used, if we want to de-bunk myths and change the narrative. As science and technology professionals, heading up this exciting innovation, we must put transparency and accountability at the centre of what we do. Tony Porter, former Surveillance Camera Commissioner and current CPO at Corsight AI, has previously worked on developing processes that audit and review watch lists. Such restrictions are imperative in order for AI and LFR to be used legally, as well as ethically and responsibly. Biometrics, mask detection and contactless payments Nevertheless, the risks do not outweigh the benefits. Facial recognition should and can be used for good in so many more ways than listed above, including biometric, contactless payments, detecting whether an individual is wearing a facemask and is therefore, safe to enter a building, identifying a domestic abuse perpetrator returning to the scene of a crime and alerting police. There are even opportunities for good that we have not thought of yet. It is therefore not only a waste not to use this technology where we can, prioritising making society a safer place, it is immoral to stand by and let crimes continue while we have effective, reliable mitigation solutions.  

Latest Zebra Card Printer Solutions news

Zebra Card Printers improve customer service at Stockholm's leisure facilities
Zebra Card Printers improve customer service at Stockholm's leisure facilities

   The Zebra P110i card printer is a replacement for manual access control card printing Daily and monthly member entry passes across 34 gym and sports facilities in Stockholm are being produced by a combination of Zebra P330i and Zebra P110i card printers as a replacement for a manual, laser printed system. The facilities are operated by the City of Stockholm which commissioned local Zebra reseller and security solutions specialist Confidence International to deploy its own Entry Event ticket admission system with integrated printer functionality. The aim was to speed up substantially the processing of some 20-30,000 daily membership cards per year across all centres.BackgroundAs in most major towns and cities across Europe, gym membership in Stockholm has boomed in line with a greater public awareness of the health issues arising from today's modern lifestyle. The City of Stockholm manages more than 30 facilities offering a full array of exercise and work-out options, classes and swimming, many of them also hosting other sporting events. Daily membership is also available which gives the holder access to both the gym and the event but administering these at reception was proving time consuming and inefficient. Each card had to be printed individually on a laser printer, manually trimmed to size and then laminated which, at busy times, proved to be very labour intensive and was not consistent with the presentation of a modern, well-run facility.SolutionConfidence International, with offices in Sweden, the UK and Ireland, has been a Zebra reseller since 1992 and has many years' experience in integrating the printers with the secure, ticket entry systems in which the company specialises. It was this complete systems integration approach, embracing supply, installation, user training and ongoing support, that persuaded the City to chose Confidence to streamline and update the entry mechanism in all Stockholm's leisure facilities."This was a significant project for us, especially in view of the numbers of Zebra printers we had to supply," said Confidence Product manager Hans-Christian Jönsson. "A more usual sale would be one or two printers per customer but 30 were required to deal with the City's requirements." Zebra's P330i access control card printer was chosen for its easy-to use and extended capabilities "To meet the demands of the specification, we recommended the P330i for its ease-of-use and extended capabilities and the more compact P110i where reception space was at a premium.""The Zebra Card Printers were chosen because they are fast, offer excellent reliability, and are able to deal with high printing volumes. Both deliver single-sided colour cards to a very high standard. It was also possible to integrate Confidence International Mifare encoding module thanks to the information provided from Zebra." Both printer types integrate with Confidence's Event Entry ticketing system, which handles the complete admission ticket process direct from the reception desk computer and uses the Zebra printers to output cards designed specifically to the individual requirements of the user."Zebra's printer technology means facilities can add the holder's photograph or embed information that gives access only to specific areas or activities, and for whatever period has been paid for," added Hans-Christian Jönsson."This means one system can cope with a wide range of ticketing situations, from database recording of when the card is used to easy renewal on expiry without the need to issue a new card." Ricardo Moreno, Zebra Card Printers' Channel Manager, Europe added, "We've worked with Confidence for many years and have developed an excellent relationship in which our printers serve as the delivery mechanism for their secure access systems.""For the City of Stockholm our printers can output whatever membership card type is required - even to the extent of having credit added so customers can use it to pay for refreshments without having to take cash into the facility." BenefitsThe whole entry process for Stockholm's city-run gym and leisure facilities has been made much faster, benefiting both customers and reception staff. Whereas one card could originally take up to five minutes to produce, the Zebra solution is delivered in little more than 30 seconds allowing staff to deal more efficiently with waiting customers and generally improving users' experience of the facility.Customers can choose and pay for whichever facilities they wish to use at the point of entry giving them greater flexibility and easier access. Staff can also produce cards to control access to restricted areas. In fact, so successful has the Stockholm project been, plans are underway to roll out the application in other major cities not only in Sweden but also in Finland and Norway.

Zebra printing cards on site and on demand give Indiana Agency more control over Homeland security duties
Zebra printing cards on site and on demand give Indiana Agency more control over Homeland security duties

   Zebra Card Printer Solutions have provided bar coded access control for Lake County's EMA The mission of the Lake County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is to provide a comprehensive approach to managing emergencies and disasters within the county by providing clear direction in activities that enable it to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from situations that threaten the lives of Lake County, Indiana residents, their homes, and their communities. Lake County covers about 501 square miles, with a population of roughly 487,000 people. The County has 11 townships, and its largest cities are Gary (population of 102,746) and Hammond (population of 83,048).The county's Emergency Management Agency expanded its duties to include homeland security, and is now charged with responding to not only extreme natural disasters and evacuations, but terrorist-sponsored emergencies as well.In order to make sure that only authorized individuals responded to such events, the agency decided to print photo identification cards for its four employees and approximately 70 volunteers. For heightened security, the agency chose to print the cards itself, on site, so that it could add confidential security features to the cards. Lake County EMA chose the Zebra P330i, a single-sided, full-color printer, to create the bar code encoded identification cards. "In general, the cards are used to prove to a first responder that a volunteer arriving on the scene is legitimate, that he is who he says he is," reports Rick Terpstra, who coordinates communications for the homeland security agency and the Community Emergency Response Team. An encoded barcode that is read by a portable reader used on site at emergencies by the Lake County EMA ensures that only authorized individuals report to the scene of a disaster. Lake County EMA chose the Zebra P330i, a single-sided, full-color printer, to create the bar code encoded identification cards "We print on both sides of the card, with a photo, the name of the agency, the Indiana Department of Homeland security logo, and the person's name and position on the front. The back contains the barcode, the person's photo again, and a place for notes regarding the clearances permitted by thecode on the barcode," Terpstra adds.The agency uses the Zebra printer one to two times per week to print cards for new volunteers, or to replace lost or damaged cards. Terpstra and one other employee print all the cards."I have found the printer easy to use, and very reliable. I haven't had a problem with it whatsoever since we started using it about eight or nine months ago," he noted.The agency has changed its name a few times, causing Terpstra to change the cards. But he is able to quickly and easily redesign the cards with the new name. "We didn't use cards at all before this, and I am happy with our card identification program and the Zebra card printer," Terpstra declared.

American Barcode & RFID uses Zebra Card Printer Solutions to tighten nuclear power plant security
American Barcode & RFID uses Zebra Card Printer Solutions to tighten nuclear power plant security

    A Zebra Card Printer Solutions partner will aid in increasing nuclear power plant security In response to the increased potential of terrorist attacks against key infrastructure facilities, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has raised security standards for nuclear power plants. American Barcode & RFID (AB&R) - a Zebra Card Printer Solutions partner - has created a custom ID verification application to help a major power provider meet the NRC's new security requirements, increase efficiency, and reduce costs.The U.S. nuclear energy industry is serious about safety. They erect nuclear power plants to very high safety standards, with complex safety features and redundant critical functions. For fifty years these steps have kept the possibility of a catastrophic reactor accident from becoming a reality. However, the potential to deliberately create a catastrophe makes nuclear power plants attractive targets for terrorist attack or sabotage. It is with this potential threat in mind that the NRC now requires all nuclear power plant security programs to include access authorisation or ID verification measures. These measures must control access to the plant, monitor movement within the facility, and prevent unauthorised, undesirable and unsafe intruders from penetrating areas where special nuclear material or key equipment are located.                                                      When AB&R took on the task of helping a major nuclear power facility comply with the latest NRC regulations, they quickly saw that their client's legacy. ID cards were going to be a problem. The cards lacked bar-coding, which hampered rapid ID verification. And their laminated coating was easy to peel off--an open invitation to tampering. "The specific requirements of the application along with the critical timetable for implementation complicated the solution. NRC audit constraints dictated a wireless infrastructure for real-time verification along with a credential that was essentially tamper-proof," explained Steve Beck, AB&R's Strategic Account Manager for the project. AB&R has created a custom ID verification application to help a major power provider meet the NRC's new security requirements AB&R's solution to the client's ID verification issues was to create a custom application that would provide real-time verification of ID credentials and access authorisation using wireless portable data terminals and Zebra P640i card printers. The enhanced features of the P640i enabled the issuance of highly secure ID badges that serve both as employee identification and access verification. While the current system utilises bar code technology to verify each distinctive credential, it is designed to accommodate migration to new ID cards armed with UHF RFID technology. UHF RFID credentials enhance ID verification by leveraging time and distance as factors in data recognition and retrieval.AB&R deployed the new system and trained the security staff in its use faster than anticipated, with minimal disruption of daily plant and security operations. Within a few weeks of installation, the security staff issued tamper-proof, personalised Zebra card-printed badges to the plant's entire population--some 2,500 employees, contractors, and vendors. Today, anyone seeking entry to the client's facility must first present their ID badge, printed and encoded by a Zebra Card Printer, to a security guard. Utilising a wireless portable data terminal, the guard then scans the card and receives instant confirmation of identity through the custom application developed by AB&R.Given how the new control system helps plant security quickly identify and react to potential threats, it should come as no surprise that the client passed its subsequent NRC compliance audit. The Director of Security for the facility confirmed: "Not only did AB&R successfully meet all of the audit specifications, they completed installation and training ahead of schedule. The audit went great! We are very pleased with the application they developed and the professional support they continue to provide."

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