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James Twigg is the Managing Director of Total Integrated Solutions (TIS), an independent life safety, security and communication systems integrator, specialising in design & consultancy, technology and regulatory compliance. Total Integrated Solutions work primarily with retirement villages, helping to ensure the safety of residents in numerous retirement villages across the country. In this opinion piece, James shares how smart technology is helping security teams and care staff alike in ensuring the safety and security of their spaces, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Impact of smart technology Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives. From how we travel, to how we work, to how we run our homes. It’s not unusual to have Alexa waking us up and ordering our groceries or Nest to be regulating the temperature and energy in our homes. And while there’s a popular misconception that people in their later years are allergic to technology, retirement villages and care homes are experiencing significant innovation too. And the result is not only improved quality of life for residents, but also improved safety and security systems for management teams. Switching to converged IP systems I’ve been working in the life safety and security industry for over fifteen years. When I first joined TIS, much of the sector was still very analogue, in terms of the technology being installed and maintained. Slowly but surely, we’ve been consulting and advising customers on how to design, install and maintain converged IP systems that all talk to each other and work in tandem. I'm excited to say retirement villages are some of the top spaces leading the way, in terms of technological advancement. Improving the quality of life for residents A move into a retirement village can be daunting and one of the key concerns that we hear about is the loss of independence. No one wants to feel like they are being monitored or to have someone constantly hovering over them. One of the ways we’ve used smart technology to maintain residents' independence is through devices, such as health monitors and motion sensors. For example, instead of having a member of staff check-in on residents every morning, to ensure they are well, sensors and analytics can automatically detect changes in routine and alert staff to possible problems. Similarly, wearable tech, such as smart watches give residents a chance to let staff know they are okay, without having to tell them face-to-face. As our retirement village customers have told us, a simple ‘I’m okay’ command can be the difference between someone feeling independent versus someone feeling monitored. Simplifying and improving security systems Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents For the teams responsible for the safety of the people, places and spaces within retirement villages, smart technology is helping to improve and simplify their jobs. Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents, and ensures rapid response if notified by an emergency alert, ensuring they know the exact location of the resident in need. And without the need to go and physically check-in on every resident, staff and management can ensure staff time is being used effectively. Resources can be distributed where they are needed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those residents who need extra consideration. 24/7 surveillance When planning the safety and security for retirement villages, and other residential spaces, it’s no use having traditional systems that only work effectively for 12 hours a day or need to update during the evening. Surveillance needs to be 24/7 and smart technology allows that without the physical intrusion into people’s spaces and daily lives. Smart technology ensures that systems speak to each other and are easily and effectively managed on one integrated system. This includes video surveillance, which has also become much more effective as a result of advanced video analytics, which automatically warn staff of suspicious behaviour. Securing spaces amid COVID-19 This year has, of course, brought new challenges for safety. COVID-19 hit the retirement and residential care sectors hard, first with the initial wave of infections in mid-2020 and then, with the subsequent loneliness caused by the necessary separation of families. As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed during this time, equipping residents with tablet devices to ensure they could stay connected with their families and friends. It allowed residents to keep in touch without risking transferring the virus. Thermal cameras and mask detection And now that we’re emerging out of COVID-19 restrictions and most residents can see their families again, we’re installing systems like thermal cameras and mask detection, so as to ensure that security will be alerted to anyone in the space experiencing a high temperature or not wearing proper PPE. Such steps give staff and families alike, the peace-of-mind that operational teams will be alerted at the earliest possible moment, should a COVID-19 risk appear. Thinking ahead to the next fifteen years, I’m excited at the prospect of further technological advancements in this space. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about how complex your security system is or how you compete in the industry. It’s about helping teams to protect the people, spaces and places that matter. I see smart technology playing a huge role in that for years to come.
As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes and sporting venues open-up to full capacity, a new disturbing trend has hit the headlines - poor fan behaviour. Five NBA teams have issued indefinite bans on fans, who crossed the line of unacceptable behaviour, during the NBA playoffs. Major League Baseball stadiums have a recurring problem with divisive political banners being strewn over walls, as part of an organised campaign, requiring fan ejections. There was a brawl between Clippers and Suns fans after Game 1 of their playoff series. And, the U.S. vs. Mexico Nations League soccer game over the Fourth of July weekend had to be halted, due to fans throwing objects at players and screaming offensive chants. Cracking down on poor fan behaviour Security directors are consistently reporting a disturbing uptick in poor fan attitude and behaviour With players across all major sports leagues commanding more power than ever before, they are demanding that sports venues crack down on poor fan behaviour, particularly when they are the targets of that behaviour. Whether it’s an extension of the social-media divisiveness that’s gripped society, or people unleashing pent up negative energy, following 15 months of social isolation, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, security directors are consistently reporting a disturbing uptick in poor fan attitude and behaviour. They’re also reporting a chronic security guard shortage, like many businesses that rely on relatively low-cost labour, finding candidates to fill open positions has been incredibly difficult. Low police morale To add the third component to this perfect storm, many police departments are struggling with morale issues and officers are less likely to put themselves into positions, where they could wind up in a viral video. According to the Police Executive Research Forum, police officer retirements in the U.S. were up 45% in the April 2020 - April 2021 period, when compared to the previous year. Resignations were up 18%. In this environment, officers may be less likely to undertake fan intervention unless it’s absolutely necessary. This can seem like the worst of times for venue security directors, as they need more staff to handle increasingly unruly patrons, but that staff simply isn’t available. And, because the security guard staffing industry is a commoditised business, companies compete almost solely on price, which requires that they keep salaries as low as possible, which perpetuates the lack of interest in people participating in the profession. Digital Transformation There is only one way out of this conundrum and that is to make security personnel more efficient and effective. Other industries have solved similar staffing and cost challenges through digital transformation. For example, only a small percentage of the total population of restaurants in the U.S. used to offer home delivery, due to cost and staffing challenges of hiring dedicated delivery personnel. Advent of digital efficiency tools But with the advent of digital efficiency tools, now virtually all restaurants can offer delivery But with the advent of digital efficiency tools, such as UberEATS and DoorDash, now virtually all restaurants can offer delivery. Likewise, field-service personnel are digitally connected, so when new jobs arise, they can be notified and routed to the location. Compare this to the old paper-based days, when they wouldn’t know about any new jobs until they picked up their work schedule at the office, the next day and you can see how digital transformation makes each worker significantly more efficient. Security guards and manned guarding The security guard business has never undergone this kind of digital transformation. The state-of-the-art ‘technology’ has never changed - human eyes and ears. Yes, there are video cameras all over stadiums and other venues, but behind the scenes is a guard staring at a bunch of monitors, hoping to identify incidents that need attention. Meanwhile, there are other guards stationed around the stadium, spending most of their time watching people who are doing nothing wrong. Think about all the wasted time involved with these activities – not to mention the relentless boredom and ‘alert fatigue’ from false-positive incident reporting and you understand the fundamental inefficiencies of this labour-based approach to security. Now think about a world where there’s ubiquitous video surveillance and guards are automatically and pre-emptively notified and briefed, when situations arise. The fundamental nature of the security guards profession changes. Instead of being low paid ‘watchers’, they instead become digitally-empowered preventers. AI-based screening and monitoring technology This world is happening today, through Artificial Intelligence-based screening and monitoring technology. AI-powered weapons-detection gateways inform guards, when a patron entering the venue is carrying a gun, knife or other forbidden item. Instead of patting down every patron with metal in their pockets, which has been the standard practice since walk-through metal detectors were mandated by sports leagues following 9/11, guards can now target only those who are carrying these specific items. Video surveillance and AI-based analytics integration Combining surveillance video with AI-based advanced analytics can automatically identify fan disturbances Combining surveillance video with AI-based advanced analytics can automatically identify fan disturbances or other operational issues, and notify guards in real time, eliminating the need to have large numbers of guards monitoring video feeds and patrons. The business benefits of digitally transformed guards are compelling. A National Hockey League security director says he used to have 300 guards manning 100 walk-through metal detectors. By moving to AI solutions, he can significantly reduce the number of scanning portals and guards, and most importantly redeploy and gain further operational efficiencies with his overall operational strategy. Changing staffing strategy This changes the staffing strategy significantly and elevates the roles of guards. Suddenly, a US$ 20-per-hour ‘job’ becomes a US$ 40-per-hour profession, with guards transformed into digital knowledge workers delivering better outcomes with digitally enabled staffs. Beyond that, these digitally transformed guards can spend a much higher percentage of their time focused on tasks that impact the fan experience – whether it’s keeping weapons out of the building, pro-actively dealing with unruly fans before a broader disruption occurs, or managing business operations that positively impact fan patron experience. Digitally transforming security guards Perhaps most important, digitally transforming security guards elevates the profession to a more strategic level, which means better pay for the guards, better service for clients of guard services, and an overall better experience for fans. That’s a perfect storm of goodness for everyone.
Prices and delivery times for essential components in CCTV systems are being driven up as demand soars from other industries. Secure Logiq’s Robin Hughes explains the current state of the market. Challenges Component shortages and supply chain challenges are a hot topic in just about every industry based on semi-conductors and silicon chips right now, and security is no exception. It’s common knowledge that the global Covid lockdown caused a shutdown in the mining of silicon and spherites as large industries such as motor manufacturing cancelled or postponed their chip orders – this has caused a supply gap that every industry is feeling. However, there is a second challenge that is hitting the security sector particularly hard, and it may not be one you are expecting – cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies and security When people discuss cryptocurrencies and security, thoughts often turn to cybersecurity and ransomware payment tracking. But the issue for the majority of the security industry comes from crypto mining. When it comes to cryptocurrencies, GPUs are intrinsic for ‘proof of work’ mining GPUs (Graphics Processing Units) are a key component in CCTV, they decode images and display them onto screens. With the increase of video analytics, these have also become key to running the complicated algorithms required for creating the metadata and presenting it in a meaningful way for end-users. However, when it comes to cryptocurrencies, GPUs are intrinsic for ‘proof of work’ mining. Demand for GPUs When Bitcoin prices were relatively low, it was hard to justify the cost of a GPU and the associated power consumption for Bitcoin mining applications. But as the price of Bitcoin has increased exponentially, demand for GPUs to do the number-crunching has grown dramatically causing a major shortage and huge price hikes. This rise in prices is not correlated with an increase in technological performance on the new GPUs, it is entirely a case of demand outstripping supply and a resulting bidding war. To put this in context, cards are currently going new for around twice the original price and manufacturers simply cannot keep up with the demand. Chia On top of this, there is a new cryptocurrency creating a new threat to a different part of the CCTV industry. A new ‘environmental’ cryptocurrency called Chia has dispensed with the processing power and electricity demands of traditional GPU mining, instead of utilising the spare storage space on hard drives (HDD) to verify blockchain transactions (‘proof of space’). The demand for this particular cryptocurrency has to date called on 30 Exabytes of storage since May this year – that’s 30 Billion Gigabytes of data, and it’s not just HDDs, high-capacity SSDs are also in demand. This is causing massive hard drive supply issues globally, thus rocketing prices for those that are available. HDD consumption The security industry sits comfortably in the ‘Big data’ category and with storage retention times running from 30 days to 6 months Of course, this has a particularly large knock-on for the CCTV market. There is nothing more data-intensive than video, other than multiple streams of HD video. With this in mind, the security industry sits comfortably in the ‘Big data’ category and with storage retention times running from 30 days typically up to 6 months and longer in some regions/applications, the CCTV market consumes more HDDs than many other markets. Growth of data centres While you would think that this would make security an important area for HDD manufacturers, our market is a relatively small player. IT vendors will always focus on their core customers, and the rise of the gaming market, as well as the growth of data centres due to remote working in the pandemic, has created a more important sector to serve – and these customers will always come first. Imagine the daily storage space required if 5 Billion people uploaded just one image a day to ‘the cloud’! Component manufacturers These factors combined with the lack of raw materials leading to longer lead times for component manufacturers mean that the prices for hard drives and GPUs are likely to remain inflated well into 2022 while factories play catch up on the backlog. The market for IT hardware is currently strong enough to continue even with the increase in component prices and the extended lead times for products. If you can get your hands on any HDDs, the delivery times from most distributors are around 6-8 weeks. Increased delivery times All of this has had a serious impact on the security industry. CCTV projects are now facing the combined issue of increased delivery times and higher costs. Many manufacturers, integrators, and distributors are doing their best to absorb the price increases where they can, but this is unsustainable over the long term. So what can be done? Second-hand applications Some people are getting more creative by purchasing from the second-hand market Some people are getting more creative by purchasing from the second-hand market. However, it is unlikely that commercial applications will be willing to risk potential downtime or data losses by using second-hand components that have been pushed hard for months on end mining cryptocurrencies. Making early purchases While I can’t comment on what other manufacturers have done, at Secure Logiq we have been watching this market trend closely. We always try to keep a close eye on anything that has the potential to significantly impact our manufacturing capabilities and try to offset any potential challenges with early purchases before the impact is fully felt. As such, we have been able to secure enough products to continue manufacturing as normal for more than six months. Increased demand as a challenge While we have this existing stock to meet current and anticipated orders, we continue to scour the market for any available stock to make sure we are at the top of the list when any fresh products come on the market. This has meant that throughout our 10-year history we have never failed to deliver a customer order within 7-10 working days. The delays with component manufacture and the ongoing increased demand will continue to present a huge challenge to the CCTV and wider security industry. However, good planning and intelligent design will allow projects to remain on track. Security technology manufacturers are not alone in this challenge, but the dual-threat is perhaps unique. It will take a while for this threat to be overcome, but with robust planning and by paying close attention to the market forward-thinking CCTV manufacturers can still deliver projects for their clients.
Secure Logiq is joining forces with 360 Vision Technology, AMG Systems, Cortech Developments, Harper Chalice and Suprema, to present a free webinar dedicated to Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) security technologies. CNI security technologies webinar The 1-hour session will take place on Wednesday 28th July at 10am BST (05.00 EDT, 09.00 UTC, 11.00 CEST, 13.00 GST 17.00 SGT) and has been created to offer practical support for those responsible for safety and/or security in the utilities, power, prisons and nuclear CNI sectors, including consultants and installers. The security of Critical National Infrastructure has never been more important or more under threat" “The security of Critical National Infrastructure has never been more important or more under threat,” said Secure Logiq’s Robin Hughes, adding “By partnering with these like-minded manufacturers who offer complementing solutions in the CNI space we will use this webinar to deliver a complete system overview. Our hope is to provide an informative and entertaining discussion around the subject with expert insights from across the solutions space.” Covering asset protection and risk management Named CNI Security Technologies - Optimising Risk Management and Asset Protection in the CNI sector, the webinar will cover how effective risk management and mitigation, asset protection, regulatory compliance and cost reduction can be achieved, via the use of innovative technologies. Thanks to the combined expertise of the manufacturers involved, a state-of-the-art, end-to-end solution, which is specifically designed for CNI security applications, will be presented to attendees. Cyber secure optical, thermal and radar camera systems Topics being covered will include cyber secure optical, thermal and radar camera systems, effective and innovative perimeter detection (PIDS), secure network backbone design for large infrastructures, flexible biometric access control with multi-factor and differentiating authentication, and optimised server and storage solutions that can provide a modular and scalable core platform for unrivalled interoperability of third-party security systems, via a centralised single platform hub. “Our aim is for this webinar to be an educational experience for professionals in the CNI sector,” concludes Robin Hughes, adding “We want to create an open discussion around cutting edge technology for Critical National Infrastructure rather than just a dry presentation, and with the additional Q&A session, we want to make this as interactive as possible.”
The Security Industry Association (SIA) has announced the 2021 agenda and speaker lineup for AcceleRISE: The Challenge, an essential experience hosted by SIA’s RISE community for young professionals in the security industry. The 2021 AcceleRISE event – taking place virtually August 23-25 – will challenge tomorrow’s security leaders to test their limits, escape their comfort zones and grow their industry expertise. “AcceleRISE is a unique learning experience for up-and-coming security professionals to learn and network together,” said Dr. Elli Voorhees, Director of learning and development at SIA. Key security technologies “The conference program covers key security technologies and business topics along with essential soft skills that support professional growth for high performers looking to stay at the forefront of the security industry and advance their careers.” AcceleRISE was created for rising stars in the security industry and is different from a standard conference AcceleRISE was created for rising stars in the security industry and is different from a standard conference. The 2021 event will put young professionals’ preconceptions, boundaries and industry know-how to the test and teach them how to maximize their leadership potential. Session topics for AcceleRISE 2021 will include: Are We Living in the Future? A Conversation Around IoT. A Year Later, a Pandemic and Much, Much More – An Update to ‘I Owe It to Her: How My Partner Helped (and Continues to Help) Me Achieve My Career Success’. Generational Work Styles: Building Trust & Effective Communication. Privacy Regulations: What Does the Rising Security Professional Need to Know? Securing Values: Choosing Your Path to Profession & Partnerships. Smooth Operator: How End Users Feel About Typical Sales Tactics and How to Innovate Your Sales Approach. The Art of Hiring & Firing. The Value of Coopetition Within an Ecosystem. Making valuable connections Attendees will have the chance to make valuable connections with other young industry professionals and enjoy fun virtual happy hours, trivia and more. As part of 2021’s ‘The Challenge’ theme, attendees will also be able to compete for points and prizes and track their progress on the AcceleRISE leaderboard throughout the experience. AcceleRISE will give each participant the opportunity to interact with one another" “AcceleRISE is all about building a community of industry young professionals and allowing relationships to be created in an exciting platform,” said Katie Greatti, SIA staff liaison for SIA RISE and Conference Manager for AcceleRISE. “Utilizing the virtual environment, AcceleRISE will give each participant the opportunity to interact with one another while adding gamification and competition to the mix. It is an experience you and your team will not want to miss.” Virtual event speakers Speakers for the virtual event include: Diana Brucha, Enterprise Account Executive, Allied Universal. Kelsey Carnell, Regional Sales Manager, Axis Communications. Danny Chung, Global Director of consulting and design, Northland Controls. Colin DePree, Sales Strategy, Salto Systems. Kami Dukes, Director of business development, North America, AMAG Technology. Scott Dunn, Senior Director, business development solutions and services, Axis Communications. Marc Facca, Distribution Sales Consultant, Allegion. Robert Gaulden, Director of multifamily strategy, Allegion. Adam Groom, Vice President of sales, Northland Controls. Kim Hooper, Regional Loss Prevention Manager, Amazon. Antoinette King, Founder, Credo Cyber Consulting LLC. Brendan McFall, Technical Engineering Manager, Northland Controls. Zack Morris, Director, commercial career programs, ADT Commercial. Jennifer Odess, Vice President, global partner enablement, ServiceNow. Lee Odess, Founder and CEO, Group337. AcceleRISE 2021 is supported by Premier Sponsor Group337; Full Conference Sponsors ADT, Allegion, Axis Communications, BCD International, Northland Controls and Salto; and Event Sponsors AMAG Technology, Brivo, Cam-Dex Security Corporation, ISC Security Events and WeSuite. Virtual networking events SIA RISE is a community that fosters the careers of young professionals in the security industry. In addition to hosting AcceleRISE, the SIA RISE community offers fun in-person and virtual networking events, mentorship opportunities through the Talent Inclusion Mentorship Education (TIME) program, career growth webinars and e-learning, scholarships for use toward education and professional development and career tracks at top trade shows. RISE membership is available to all employees at SIA member companies who are young professionals under 40 or have been in the security industry for less than two years. Pricing for AcceleRISE 2021 starts at just $199 for SIA members and only $49 for student members. Group packages are also available, which allow companies to purchase three tickets for their employees to use and get a fourth free.
Organisations around the world sent an unprecedented number of people home during 2020 to work and attend school remotely, many of them with Chromebook laptops whose shipments more than doubled year over year. HID Global, identity solutions company, is helping organisations bring these people and their Chromebooks back to a hybrid work and classroom environment using its HID HydrantID Account Certificate Manager (ACM) digital certificate management offering. Seamless connections According to the market research firm Canalys, “Chromebooks set record shipment volumes, reaching 11.2 million units in Q4 2020, a remarkable 287% increase over Q4 2019, bringing the full-year 2020 total to 30.6 million units.” HID HydrantID ACM and its new Chromebook Certificate Enrollment Extension (CEE) feature enable organisations to issue and manage the digital certificates for bringing these devices back to physical work and study settings, ensuring they can connect to networks seamlessly and securely without passwords. Easy, cloud-based approach “The traditional walled-fortress IT security posture isn’t feasible as we transition to hybrid remote and in-person work and study environments using a growing variety of computing devices and operating systems,” said By Mrugesh Chandarana, Senior Product Manager, Commercial CA and PKI Services with HID Global, Identity and Access Management. “The huge influx of Chromebooks is here to stay and HID HydrantID ACM with its CEE feature is the first solution to provide an easy, cloud-based approach to digital certificate management that enables these devices to authenticate to enterprise networks in a passwordless, Zero Trust network access environment.” Digital certificate lifecycle management The solution offers automated digital certificate lifecycle management with tracking, installation, and renewal HID HydrantID ACM with the CEE feature offers automated digital certificate lifecycle management with tracking, installation, and renewal. It enables users of any Chromebook to make or model to be securely up and running on the network by simply plugging in their devices and seamlessly deploying certificates for passwordless authentication without any user intervention. Early adopters of the HID HydrantID CEE solution for Chromebooks include a large financial institution with a sizable remote workforce, as well as high schools and colleges where Chromebook usage grew substantially during the 2020/2021 academic year. Passwordless authentication The CEE feature is especially valuable for users as it allows them to have passwordless authentication while seamlessly navigating between remote connectivity and direct connection to the in-office network. For organisations that do not have an internal Microsoft Active Directory Certificate Services (ADCS) infrastructure, the CEE allows them to implement a seamless experience for their users while freeing up Help and\or Service Desk resources. By implementing the CEE using HID HydrantID Managed PKI-as-a-Service, organisations eliminate operational complexity and dramatically reduce costs related to operating and deploying an organisational private PKI.
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