CCTV software - Expert commentary

Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other
Physical security and the cloud: why one can’t work without the other

Human beings have a long-standing relationship with privacy and security. For centuries, we’ve locked our doors, held close our most precious possessions, and been wary of the threats posed by thieves. As time has gone on, our relationship with security has become more complicated as we’ve now got much more to be protective of. As technological advancements in security have got smarter and stronger, so have those looking to compromise it. Cybersecurity Cybersecurity, however, is still incredibly new to humans when we look at the long relationship that we have with security in general. As much as we understand the basics, such as keeping our passwords secure and storing data in safe places, our understanding of cybersecurity as a whole is complicated and so is our understanding of the threats that it protects against. However, the relationship between physical security and cybersecurity is often interlinked. Business leaders may find themselves weighing up the different risks to the physical security of their business. As a result, they implement CCTV into the office space, and alarms are placed on doors to help repel intruders. Importance of cybersecurity But what happens when the data that is collected from such security devices is also at risk of being stolen, and you don’t have to break through the front door of an office to get it? The answer is that your physical security can lose its power to keep your business safe if your cybersecurity is weak. As a result, cybersecurity is incredibly important to empower your physical security. We’ve seen the risks posed by cybersecurity hacks in recent news. Video security company Verkada recently suffered a security breach as malicious attackers obtained access to the contents of many of its live camera feeds, and a recent report by the UK government says two in five UK firms experienced cyberattacks in 2020. Cloud computing – The solution Cloud stores information in data centres located anywhere in the world, and is maintained by a third party Cloud computing offers a solution. The cloud stores your information in data centres located anywhere in the world and is maintained by a third party, such as Claranet. As the data sits on hosted servers, it’s easily accessible while not being at risk of being stolen through your physical device. Here’s why cloud computing can help to ensure that your physical security and the data it holds aren’t compromised. Cloud anxiety It’s completely normal to speculate whether your data is safe when it’s stored within a cloud infrastructure. As we are effectively outsourcing our security by storing our important files on servers we have no control over - and, in some cases, limited understanding of - it’s natural to worry about how vulnerable this is to cyber-attacks. The reality is, the data that you save on the cloud is likely to be a lot safer than that which you store on your device. Cyber hackers can try and trick you into clicking on links that deploy malware or pose as a help desk trying to fix your machine. As a result, they can access your device and if this is where you’re storing important security data, then it is vulnerable. Cloud service providers Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software in the personal computer Cloud service providers offer security that is a lot stronger than the software that is likely in place on your personal computer. Hyperscalers such as Microsoft and Amazon Web Service (AWS) are able to hire countless more security experts than any individual company - save the corporate behemoth - could afford. These major platform owners have culpability for thousands of customers on their cloud and are constantly working to enhance the security of their platforms. The security provided by cloud service providers such as Claranet is an extension of these capabilities. Cloud resistance Cloud servers are located in remote locations that workers don’t have access to. They are also encrypted, which is the process of converting information or data into code to prevent unauthorised access. Additionally, cloud infrastructure providers like ourselves look to regularly update your security to protect against viruses and malware, leaving you free to get on with your work without any niggling worries about your data being at risk from hackers. Data centres Cloud providers provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and AI Additionally, cloud providers are also able to provide sophisticated security measures and solutions in the form of firewalls and artificial intelligence, as well as data redundancy, where the same piece of data is held within several separate data centres. This is effectively super-strong backup and recovery, meaning that if a server goes down, you can access your files from a backup server. Empowering physical security with cybersecurity By storing the data gathered by your physical security in the cloud, you're not just significantly reducing the risk of cyber-attacks, but also protecting it from physical threats such as damage in the event of a fire or flood. Rather than viewing your physical and cybersecurity as two different entities, treat them as part of one system: if one is compromised, the other is also at risk. They should work in tandem to keep your whole organisation secure.

Making school safety a priority with smart technology
Making school safety a priority with smart technology

With pupils in the UK set to go back to school on 8 March, there are a number of safety measures schools need to implement to ensure the health and wellness of the staff, students, and school communities.  The first lockdown and closure of schools brought on by the coronavirus pandemic fired a “warning shot” for education facilities managers, forcing head-teachers to re-examine school safety standards. Now that a third lockdown is here and schools have been shut down for a second time, anyone behind the curve with the benefits of smart technology should get on board now before children return to the school environment. And with the ever-changing variants of the COVID-19 virus, schools can’t afford to be “late to class” when it comes to health and safety. Preventing the spread of disease Some schools in the US have been using smart technologies for a while to measure utility consumption and efficiency, streamline maintenance and enhance general school safety. These technologies are playing a significant role in keeping school buildings healthy and preventing the spread of disease. Let’s take a look at how smart technology can help schools to become safer, as well as more energy-efficient and cost-effective.   Thermal detection cameras  Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing. These cameras provide medically-accurate, real-time temperatures of individuals in real-time. If a high temperature is detected, the software sends an instant alert to the relevant party. It can also be set to deny access to those with high temperatures or to people not wearing masks.  Safer water  As the coronavirus continues to sweep through the world’s population, healthcare providers should also be on heightened alert for Legionnaires’ disease, another potential cause of pneumonia with similar symptoms. Legionella is a potentially deadly bacteria that can infect a school’s water supply and cause an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s a school's duty of care to prevent Legionella infection by monitoring the risk of the bacteria proliferating.  Particularly as schools reopen and previously stagnant plumbing and cooling systems return to use, additional Legionella cases could rear their ugly head to emergency departments in the coming months. Traces of Legionella were recently found at a Worcestershire school. The school was forced to remain shut while treatment and testing took place. Automated flushing and temperature testing Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters The Health and Safety Executive advises, “If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease… If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.” Typically, managing the risk of Legionella includes running all outlets for two minutes, taking and recording the temperature of the water to ensure that it’s not conducive to Legionella growth. This is a time-consuming process, which is why schools are looking for automated water temperature monitoring systems. This smart system with automated flushing and temperature testing reports and records water temperature data in real-time. Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters.  Cleaner air  Advisers say that improving air filtration and ventilation in schools can help mitigate the potential airborne transmission of COVID-19. Strategies include: Increasing outdoor air ventilation Filtering indoor air Using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters  Smart building technologies such as advanced HVAC controls can help facilities managers promote cleaner air with less hassle. For example, smart HVAC systems use sensors to remotely monitor and control variables such as:  Humidity Temperature Indoor air quality The level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants The technology is also energy-efficient and cost-effective.  While these solutions may be key to the reopening of schools in the era of COVID-19, they also bring long-term benefits. Although COVID-19 may have accelerated the adoption of smart technology, many of these solutions are focused on health, wellness, and security in general; which have been needed in school systems for a long time.

Will network requirements help you build your business or put you out of business?
Will network requirements help you build your business or put you out of business?

Once upon a time, providers had end-to-end control when deploying a physical security platform, which is not the case anymore when we consider the modernisation to IP. When considering the move to IP physical security, the provider needs to ensure the customer has a robust PoE backbone to connect the IP security device back to the application. Network readiness requirements have complicated IP security deployments, making it challenging for current providers while opening the door to new competitors. Competition is increasing Network providers see the move to IP as an opportunity to expand their wallet share. As the trusted advisors to IT teams, network providers leverage their position to win over the physical security business. As the time, cost, and complexity increases to move a customer to IP; providers need to expand their offering, considering the decline in endpoint revenue margins (the "race to the bottom"). Unfortunately, PoE networks are becoming increasingly complex as IoT endpoints are continually introduced to the network. Before the IP/IoT deployment can occur, the network provider (now your competition as well) will have the opportunity to edge you out and offer an IP/IoT solution with the network. The traditional approach is outdated They have standardised this cookie-cutter solution that may work for some, but not for all While we accept that we are collectively relying on our networks to support an increasing number of devices and applications, many have not considered the local area network's evolution. Organisations no longer only connect data terminals and printers to the network - they connect all manner of intelligent devices, including Wi-Fi access points, cameras, phones, access control, lighting, intercoms, and more. Many traditionalists will recommend the rip-and-replace of existing infrastructure while layering all IoT devices on the same network. They have standardised this cookie-cutter solution that may work for some, but not for all. What if there was a better way? Create the best outcome for you and your customer Let's start by thinking about the customer's desired outcome. The customer wants new capabilities within an acceptable ROI. Given the complications surrounding COVID-19, these organisations may require solutions very quickly to operate safely and within governmental guidelines. However, these organisations first need to establish a LAN framework without high costs, disruption to business, or complexity. They do not want to compromise network security or their business. They do not want network requirements to account for the majority of their budget as there is no ROI in infrastructure. The infrastructure supports the ROI gained from the devices and applications it enables. How do we provide a network solution that addresses both the customer and the provider's needs? Customers need a network that: Eliminates competitive pressures, giving providers end-to-end control over the network and the entire digital transformation experience. Shorten sales and deployment cycles to simplify network readiness and reduce the budget allocation towards infrastructure. Focus on device and application implementation and adoption to improve the customer's ROI. Build a physically separate PoE backbone for IP/IoT applications to maximise network security and performance while simplifying ongoing management. Eliminate the dependency on other providers. Advice from Albert Einstein We cannot solve a problem using the same kind of thinking we used when we created it" To help achieve these outcomes, I encourage you to accept some advice from Albert Einstein. Einstein once said, "The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education." Sometimes we are unwilling to accept new ideas because of preconceived notions about how things "ought to be done." We must embrace innovation and challenge our best practices that are based on past education. Einstein also said, "We cannot solve a problem using the same kind of thinking we used when we created it." Sometimes we must challenge ourselves to think differently by using innovations to create better outcomes for our businesses and customers. Consider this for a second: are you focused on the problem rather than finding a unique alternative solution? Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Your customers are all unique with different digital transformation challenges and objectives. The cookie-cutter, rip-and-replace method has not worked for all. If it did, every organization would have all the IP and IoT solutions they need. It's time to consider a fresh new approach that may challenge your education. Don't let our education get in the way of your learning! Looking to innovation and modern solutions The idea of The Modern LAN, introduced by Frost & Sullivan, aims to present a paradigm shift in LAN design for IP and the IoT. The whitepaper, available for free using the link above, offers an enhancement to traditional LAN design to address IP and IoT devices' specific needs. Today, we connect more than just data terminals, and we must design our networks accordingly. Instead of starting with the network, Modern LAN design suggests starting with the endpoint requirements and building a network to address these considerations. One of the foundations of Modern LAN design is to consider all networking innovations available. NVT Phybridge PoE innovations allow you to leverage different cable types, including coax, single-pair UTP, and multi-pair UTP cabling, to enable IoT devices at much greater distances than traditional switches. Aligned with Modern LAN design, you can transform the existing network into a robust and secure PoE backbone instead of removing and replacing the reliable infrastructure. PoE switch solutions PoE switch solutions leverage different core technology that vary in capability and effectiveness I know what you may be thinking: Am I compromising on network performance by leveraging these innovations? The answer is: it depends on the technology. PoE switch solutions leverage different core technology (Homeplug, VDSL, ADSL, Ethernet, etc.) that vary in capability and effectiveness. For more than 15 years, NVT Phybridge has been a global pioneer in long-reach PoE technology. We were the first company to develop a switch that delivered Ethernet and PoE over a single pair of UTP wire with up to 1,200ft (365m) reach, which is four times the reach of standard switches. We have spent the last 15 years surprising the industry with our capabilities and satisfying customers with our technology. Performance is paramount We understand that innovation is met with scrutiny and skepticism. We also know that some companies make claims that they cannot back up, which can sometimes shed a negative light on an entire industry or product category. However, our enterprise-grade networking solutions have helped thousands of customers modernise to the next generation of intelligent devices without high costs, complexity, or disruption to their business. For example, our CLEER24 switch is a 24-port Ethernet over Coax innovation that delivers Ethernet and PoE+ over a single coax cable with up to 6,000ft (1,830m) reach, which is 18-times the reach of a standard switch.  Transform network readiness requirements into an opportunity to grow your business! Be a thought leader, leverage Modern LAN design, and introduce NVT Phybridge PoE innovations to your customers. It's time to change the conversation around LAN design and improve the outcome for you and your customers.

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FLIR thermal imaging cameras combat organised theft at Skoda dealership in Hannover, Germany
FLIR thermal imaging cameras combat organised theft at Skoda dealership in Hannover, Germany

The Škoda dealership had sufferedfrom a series of thefts and vandalismin their parking areas With over 25 years of experience, Rindt & Gaida has become a firmly established car dealership for the Škoda brand in the Hannover region. Customers have come to appreciate the good service, well-maintained used cars and the high-quality new Škoda vehicles offered by Rindt & Gaida. Unfortunately, this is true not only for honest customers, but also for criminals. Therefore, the Škoda dealership is now protecting its parking lot for new cars with a customized safety concept, in which FLIR thermal imaging cameras play an important role. "On our parking lot for new cars, we were having problems with some pretty audacious thieves, who were after the alloy rims on our brand-new vehicles." explains Stefan Butterbrodt, Service Manager at Rindt & Gaida. "This type of theft alone is bad enough in itself, but even more damage was incurred because they simply dropped the new vehicles on their door sills. You can't sell a vehicle like this as a new car. Of course this also causes a considerable effort in dealing with the insurance company and leads to higher insurance premiums on the long run." Sophisticated security concept Therefore in 2014 the dealership decided to actively combat this organised theft. The Škoda dealership contacted security specialist Tobias Vieth at the security technology company HDS Sicherheitstechnik. After analysing the requirements on site, it was clear to him: a standard solution would not be suitable in this case. "A fence had already been built to discourage burglars. Unfortunately, this did not have the desired effect. What we needed was a comprehensive concept, including a camera and video analysis system.” says Tobias Vieth. Mr. Vieth therefore developed a security concept together with Dirk Ostermann from the company DOI Video Security Business. It relies on detection by FLIR thermal imaging cameras. Originally, the site including the parking lot for new cars was to be monitored using three or four FLIR FC series S thermal imaging cameras, which have a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels and different lenses for different fields of view. However, due to the fact that the parking lot for new cars is divided by a road, there would have been an area that would no longer be visible for the cameras. "Now we have set up two FLIR cameras on this space for new cars", explains Tobias Vieth. "The area measures 50 x 70 meters and the biggest challenge was that a road runs between the space and the mast." As a solution, Dirk Ostermann recommended using a FLIR FC 645 S with a high thermal image resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. With its field of view of 45 x 37 degrees, it is able to oversee the entire area. Massive mast for clear detection conditions The thermal imaging cameras have been installed at different heights and facing in different directions. Tobias Vieth designed a 16-meter mast and had a structural engineer calculate it specifically for this purpose. "We decided to make it extra sturdy to avoid vibration and fluctuations in the camera image and thus allow for crystal clear presentation and accurate detection." A megapixel speed dome camera has been installed on the mast. As soon as the FLIR thermal imaging cameras detect suspicious activity, the speed dome automatically targets the location in question. This helps ensure clear identification of possible thieves. FLIR cameras monitor different areasof the parking lot from a central mast,with an alarm triggering a high-speeddome camera to identify the perpetrator Minimising false alarms Dirk Ostermann, owner of DOI Video Security Business advised HDS Sicherheitstechnik advice on product selection and system design. "It was important for us that as few false alarms as possible were sent to the security control centre. That's why we used high-quality products from FLIR Systems, Norma Systems and Heitel. This combination had proven itself in other projects," explains Dirk Ostermann. "The video analysis method used here was specifically aligned with thermal imaging technology. This has to be extremely precise to ensure that as few false alarms as possible are sent from the Heitel system to the security control centre operated by the company Mebo Sicherheit GmbH in Bad Segeberg, Germany. The video analysis should detect people and not small animals such as cats or rabbits. For potential burglars, who enter the grounds at night, the security control centre has to be able to see what's going on immediately by using live images." Rapid response in the event of an emergency Torsten Ulmer from the company Xtralis provided the Heitel recording system with the Norma systems software, which sends live images directly to the security control centre whenever suspicious activity is detected. "In cases of emergency, intervention measures are immediately implemented: the police or security personnel takes action on site without delay. The control centre can then see exactly whether there is a single perpetrator or several. It can then provide the police with targeted information. This could include whether a robbery is actually in progress or whether vehicles or buildings are being vandalised. Instructions from the control centre like 'back up a few metres, the perpetrators are to your right' can be very helpful in these situations. It would also be conceivable to address the perpetrators directly over the loudspeakers to scare them away if it is more important to protect the property than to apprehend the intruders." Wide-range protection "So far, we have secured three areas, which include the parking lot for new vehicles, the area in front of the building and a back courtyard. Just three days after installing the system, it detected a theft on the parking lot for new cars," explains Tobias Vieth proudly. Dirk Ostermann is also impressed with the results: "Coordination between the system manufacturers worked really well. We not only did the planning, but provided the customer with support during startup together with experts from the individual manufacturers, who were on site and helped get the system up and running. This worked out really well." Škoda Service Manager Stefan Butterbrodt is also satisfied: "The pictures I've seen are sensational. Now that the final installations are finished, we have full camera surveillance and video analysis capabilities. I can confidently say that it was worth the investment. We are very satisfied and can only recommend it." Extending the secured area The parking lot for new vehicles, the area in front of the building and a back courtyard have been secured, but in September 2014 a new problem arose in the area reserved for used cars. "Unfortunately, a small section of our site is not yet covered, and that's exactly where an incident has now occurred. We had a graffiti attack on some vehicles in the used car area," says Stefan Butterbrodt. "At the moment we have between 5 and 10 vehicles in the sales area with graffiti on them, which of course have to be cleaned. Therefore we are now planning to extend the security to cover the entire site." It's a new challenge for Tobias Vieth's design team at HDS and security specialist Dirk Ostermann - and of course for FLIR's FC series S thermal imaging cameras.

Xtralis to exhibit new capabilities of HeiTel VideoGateway series at Security Essen 2014
Xtralis to exhibit new capabilities of HeiTel VideoGateway series at Security Essen 2014

Xtralis will unveil the new HeiTel Cam4mobile VG family atSecurity Essen Xtralis, the world’s leading provider of very early & reliable detection and remote visual verification safety and security solutions, will exhibit new capabilities for its HeiTel’s VideoGateway (VG) series including sophisticated, remotely-based software and CMS applications solutions for the web, smart phone, tablet, PC, and workstations at 2014 Security Essen tradeshow, held 23-26 September in Essen, Germany. The Xtralis booth will be located in Hall 2.0 at stand 309. All attendees are invited to stop by the Xtralis stand for live product demonstrations and presentations. Xtralis will unveil the new HeiTel Cam4mobile VG family, a 4-channel version of its popular compact digital security design for mobile applications. The Cam4Mobile delivers live transmission via embedded 3G/LTE connectivity with optional GPS tracking and geo-fencing in combination with real-time recording of up to 4/10 HD video streams. The HeiTel Cam4mobile VG is compatible with all major camera brands and includes camera-specific features such as a 360° view. It is fully integrated into the Xtralis Event Management System (EMS) platform with extended feature set such as HThealthcheck and HTdownload, tailor-made for any Security Remote Monitoring application, supporting an unlimited number of sites and ready to enable up to 50 security officers to instantly manage any kind of security threat. The HeiTel VG family for mobile applications is extremely popular with police, armoured vehicle services such as cash & transit, trucking, and any light rail application. The Cam4Mobile deliverslive transmission viaembedded 3G/LTEconnectivity Also on exhibit at Security Essen will be new capabilities available across the entire HeiTel VG family, not only for mobile but also stationary applications. Features demonstrated will be native integration with Xtralis’ award-winning ADPRO PRO-E PIR detectors, enhanced pre-alarm image viewing features, and pre-recorded audio tracks for automatic audio intervention in the event of a security threat. The new ADPRO PRO-E PIR detectors are specifically designed to make perimeter protection more cost-effective and reliable. At Security Essen Xtralis will introduce SmokeTrace, a video content analytic (VCA) currently available on the Xtralis ADPRO FastTrace 2/2E. SmokeTrace provides real-time, onsite visual verification of a fire threat; so that false alarms are virtually eliminated and situational awareness is delivered to first responders for a more efficient response. The next-generation HeiTel VG family will support SmokeTrace, in addition to IntrusionTrace & LoiterTrace. Xtralis will also exhibit the award-winning ADPRO FastTrace 2E, and demonstrate how Central Monitoring Stations (CMS) can quickly and efficiently offer additional security applications and services at the touch of a button.

Bold Communications to feature its Gemini monitoring platform at IFSEC 2013
Bold Communications to feature its Gemini monitoring platform at IFSEC 2013

Gemini delivers total control room management solution, handling alarms, events, CCTV, and other security systems in one The latest version of the Gemini monitoring platform will be on the Bold Communication’s stand E15 in Hall 4. Gemini delivers the total control room management solution - handling alarms, events, CCTV, lone worker and other security systems in one, simple to use common interface. The latest software release includes support for several additional CCTV systems, the innovative Bold Audio Gateway for management of incoming and outgoing voice traffic and enhanced Gemini Web deployment.              Gemini provides a holistic and strategic security solution, particularly where there is a mix of legacy products and new technology across multiple, dispersed sites. Whether product integration is implemented at the site level or within the management application, Gemini applies filtering, prioritisation and intelligence for a rapid and measured response. The MultiView multi-screen feature provides the operator with an overview of all monitored systems and handling processes which can be tailored to each individual site or globalised for consistency and ease of data input. Together with support for industry standard intruder and fire panels, and signaling formats, Gemini also offers high quality interfaces for Adpro FastTrace, Dedicated Micros, Heitel and many other CCTV monitoring systems.  Gemini provides a single point of control. The scope of each user’s access to the system is totally configurable, ensuring that the activities and efficiency of the operator are appropriately managed.  Advanced reporting, with a new Custom Report Designer and graphical reporting options, provide users with a complete security overview. The Gemini solution has a broad range of user types, accredited commercial ARCs and RVRCs. The Gemini solution has a broad range of user types - accredited commercial ARCs and RVRCs as well as private control rooms such as JD Sports and train operator Scotrail, and public sector organisations like Enfield council and the University of Aberdeen. Many of the original ideas for system enhancements have been generated by the diverse Bold customer base and the product continues to be developed in line with the changing needs of the monitoring sector. For example, users have driven improvements to usability and increased control room efficiency, and cost saving with the introduction of innovative new system activity management.     Where security requirements are complex and interoperate, it is even more important that functionality, usability, support and system management are delicately balanced. The Gemini reporting engine can generate data across all the diverse supported systems and account types. Gemini delivers management data in simple, easy to understand Microsoft Office formats.    An effective integrated security system is one which handles complexity intelligently, so that the escalation and decision making process for the operator is clearly defined and easy to follow. With a variety of client deployments available, the Gemini solution is accessible from any location and is totally scalable with unlimited users, connections and third party interfaces. All systems supplied are supported by our Bold Technical 24/7 support service so there is always help and advice when needed. Please pay us a visit on Stand E15 in Hall 4 at IFSEC 2013 and let us show you Bold can offer.

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