Video servers (IP transmission) - Expert commentary

What changes has COVID-19 bought to the installation of VA/PA Systems?
What changes has COVID-19 bought to the installation of VA/PA Systems?

TOA Corporation (UK) Ltd discuss what changes COVID-19 has bought to the installation of VA/PA Systems and how the integration of IP has impacted on that. With a year and a half of global uncertainty, we have seen huge changes in what VA/PA systems will need to deliver in order to provide safe and robust solutions with advanced zone and directional messaging. The impact of COVID has pushed installers to re-think what end-users need long-term to manage any future changes in guidelines especially for large events and complex applications such as travel hubs and how the integration of IP will assist with installing safe systems in the future. Providing public announcements PA/VA has been one of the few parts of our industry that has remained consistent and buoyant during the lockdown. It has been the ideal time for public buildings to upgrade as restrictions did not apply to the construction industry and many installations were actually fast-tracked in the hope that when restrictions lifted commercial properties could open as quickly as possible. PA/VA has been one of the few parts of our industry that has remained consistent This was coupled with the knowledge that changes would have to be made to address the increased demand in providing public announcements outside the standard evacuation messages that most VA/PA have been traditionally used for and enable the impact of having to be flexible to deliver multiple messages. Flexible system management So what is changing? Leading in VA/PA is the availability of IP which enables more flexible system management. It allows installation/solution management engineers to offer remote access to complex systems from a central control room meaning that they can maintain and control systems from one hub and operate for multiple areas on large complex sites such as an airport or stadiums. This provides not only a better level of technical coverage across a whole site but also allows an engineer to monitor and fault find without the delay of waiting to being able to access a specific area. This is especially important for vulnerable applications such as schools and health facilities as it enables them to control and reduce the amount of interaction with engineers they need to give physical access to – therefore reducing risk. Potentially less maintenance This makes it more financially viable for both the end-user and the maintenance provider Long-term, IP also makes these systems much more cost-effective. For example, one engineer can manage a hub of multiple locations with potentially less maintenance call-out costs. This makes it more financially viable for both the end-user and the maintenance provider to justify the initial investment. With these systems being paramount to people’s safety remote intervention allows for swift fault finding and problem resolution in a more effective response time and cost-effective way. To enable this the biggest development has been the integration between product manufacturers and software developers. They have been able to collaborate greatly to get products such a horn speakers to connect via industrial standard network protocols giving much greater flexibility in remote system management. Multi-rack systems The technology involved in VA/PA, especially integrating with IP, has seen huge growth recently and we are involved in projects that involve multi-rack systems to enable controlled zone management and evacuation options with greater collaboration between integrators to get the systems to work effectively. VA/PA systems must be at the forefront of long term solutions and sustainability As more people are allowed to gather in larger numbers public-facing buildings need to address their evacuation and voice announcement procedures in order to be compliant. They need to be able to deliver clear and effective messages to their visitors in order to remain open whenever guidelines change. VA/PA systems must be at the forefront of long-term solutions and sustainability. The other area of VA/PA that has changed immensely in the last 18 months is the vast difference in messaging requirements that organisations need. Public safety announcements Systems that have been used infrequently for emergency situations only are now delivering daily messages with public safety announcements. In reality, although we all hope that we will never go back to the peak of lockdown, installations must be robust to cope with any situation in the future. Many smaller spaces that wouldn’t have thought they would need a PA system at all now understand that they too have an obligation to deliver public information and guidance and on a regular daily basis and this will lead to system designs being scaled up and down to meet the broadening array of applications that require VA/PA and how this is managed in the event that new protocols have to be introduced. Detailed technical plans Systems should be certified on the European Standard EN 54-16 and should be expertly designed Design and planning should be key when sourcing the right solution. Systems should be certified on the European Standard EN 54-16 and should be expertly designed to specification with detailed technical plans and tailor-made to the requirements of the end-user. With people’s safety in your hands, you cannot get these systems wrong so it is important that installers are able to draw on the expert technical team resources that we, as a manufacturer, offer in adhering to this standard and for us to be able to provide a commissioning service to sign off on these important safety systems. Compared with traditional lights and sounders systems we believe the future of evacuation will be voice-based. In our ever-increasing culturally diverse world we have to embrace systems that need to be multi-lingual or be able to dedicate a message to a specific target audience and be able to be drilled down to zones and give much more directional information. Multi-zoned academies As office buildings get taller, health facilities become super hospitals or schools upgrade into multi-zoned academies we have to be able to evacuate or hold back evacuation to enable safe crowd control. In order to facilitate this VA will have to replace traditional systems or work in tandem with them. We must point out that in residential high-rise properties the primary method of evacuation, to comply to BS 8629, would still be traditional lights and sounders even if you install a separate VA system. Voice Alarm and Public Address is a long-term investment, especially as the global situation may take many years to recover, and as manufacturers working with our integrators and software developers we must continue to lead in the development of the best systems to ensure we can keep everyone safe.

Securing mobile vehicles: The cloud and solving transportation industry challenges
Securing mobile vehicles: The cloud and solving transportation industry challenges

Securing Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in the transportation industry is multi-faceted for a multitude of reasons. Pressures build for transit industry players to modernise their security systems, while also mitigating the vulnerabilities, risks, and growth-restrictions associated with proprietary as well as integrated solutions. There are the usual physical security obstacles when it comes to increasingly integrated solutions and retrofitting updated technologies into legacy systems. Starting with edge devices like cameras and intelligent sensors acquiring video, analytics and beyond, these edge devices are now found in almost all public transportation like buses, trains, subways, airplanes, cruise lines, and so much more. You can even find them in the world’s last manually operated cable car systems in San Francisco. The next layer to consider is the infrastructure and networks that support these edge devices and connect them to centralized monitoring stations or a VMS. Without this layer, all efforts at the edge or stations are in vain as you lose the connection between the two. And the final layer to consider when building a comprehensive transit solution is the software, recording devices, or viewing stations themselves that capture and report the video. The challenge of mobility However, the transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility. As other industries become more connected and integrated, they don’t usually have to consider going in and out or bouncing between networks as edge devices physically move. Obviously in the nature of transportation, this is key. Have you ever had a bad experience with your cellular, broadband or Wi-Fi at your home or office? You are not alone. The transportation industry in particular has a very unique challenge that many others do not – mobility Can you trust these same environments to record your surveillance video to the Cloud without losing any frames, non-stop 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year? To add to the complexity – how do you not only provide a reliable and secure solution when it’s mobile, travelling at varying speeds, and can be in/out of coverage using various wireless technologies? Waiting to upload video from a transport vehicle when it comes into port, the station, or any centralised location is a reactive approach that simply will not do any longer. Transit operations require a more proactive approach today and the ability to constantly know what is going on at any given time on their mobile vehicles, and escalate that information to headquarters, authorities, or law enforcement if needed; which can only occur with real-time monitoring. This is the ultimate question when it comes to collecting, analysing, and sharing data from mobile vehicles – how to get the video from public transportation vehicles alike to headquarters in real time! Managing video data In order to answer this question, let’s get back to basics. The management and nature of video data differs greatly from conventional (IT) data. Not only is video conducted of large frames, but there are specific and important relationships among the frames and the timing between them. This relationship can easily get lost in translation if not handled properly. This is why it’s critical to consider the proper way to transmit large frames while under unstable or variable networks. The Internet and its protocols were designed more than two decades ago and purposed for conventional data. Although the Internet itself has not changed, today’s network environments run a lot faster, expand to further ranges, and support a variety of different types of data. Because the internet is more reliable and affordable than in the past some might think it can handle anything. However, it is good for data, but not for video. This combination makes it the perfect time to convert video recording to the Cloud! Video transmission protocol One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet. ITS are in dire need for reliable transmission of real-time video recording. To address this need a radical, yet proven, video transmission protocol has recently been introduced to the market. It uses AI technology and to adapt to different environments in order to always deliver high quality, complete video frames. This protocol, when equipped with encryption and authentication, enables video to be transmitted reliably and securely over the Internet in a cloud environment. One of the main issues with today’s technology is the degradation of video quality when transmitting video over the Internet Finally, transportation industry has a video recording Cloud solution that is designed for (massive) video that can handle networks that might be experiencing high error rate. Such a protocol will not only answer the current challenges of the transportation industry, but also make the previously risky Cloud environment safe for even the most reserved environments and entities. With revolutionary transmission protocols, the time is now to consider adopting private Cloud for your transportation operations.

Trends and challenges we will see in the AI-driven security space in 2021
Trends and challenges we will see in the AI-driven security space in 2021

For decades, the nature of global safety has been evolving. From physical security threats like large-scale terrorist attacks and lone actor stabbings to chemical threats such as the Salisbury poisonings and even microbiological threats such as COVID-19, new challenges are constantly arising and the threat landscape we operate in today is constantly changing. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks. With the economic downturn, there is the traditional rise in theft, violence and other crimes. Compound this with unmanned businesses and work-at-home staff, and there is a perfect storm for a rise in security threats. Artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), was already causing widespread disruption in many industries, including the security industry. AI has been a driving force to replace labour-based business models with integrated data and actionable intelligence that is context-aware. It has become apparent that AI will play a big part in the ongoing fight against both pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other threats that we may face in the future. With all of this in mind, 2021 is poised to be a big year for AI growth. While AI is going to continue to impact our lives in dozens of ways, from smart sensors to face mask compliance detection, the following reflects a few top trends and challenges that I have my eye on for 2021 as we close out this year. The rise of smart city investments One such example is the increasing development of smart cities and how AI can be leveraged to build safe communities. To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks Typical development of a city includes standard infrastructure - roads, schools, power, water, transportation. Now, internet, data and AI capabilities are part of the standard infrastructure requirements for all new developments. AI promises to deliver increased efficiencies with the infrastructure that will accommodate growing populations while reducing our impact on the environment, resources, and communities. Global cities now account for more than half of the world’s population, and the United Nations projects the number to balloon to 68% by mid-century. Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). With an increase in population has come an increase in global spending on smart city initiatives to drive down the impact of growing urban concentration. Global spending on smart city initiatives is expected to total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, while Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York as the big spenders - expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2020. Using AI-driven technology to create safer public and private spaces Today, security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments to protect the population in a more efficient, and accurate manner. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new AI technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. One such deployment is the use of video object recognition/computer vision software that can be integrated into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. These enhanced VMS systems can be deployed both inside and outside of buildings to identify risks and flag threats, such weapons, aggressive behaviours, theft, and safety compliance. This helps to minimise the impact of a breach by an early alert to onsite security in real-time to the location and nature of the potential threat, allowing them to intervene before a loss occurs. These same AI-enabled video solutions can similarly be used to provide advanced business operations in retail, logistics, and manufacturing organisations. Multi-sensor security solutions Also, targeted magnetic and radar sensor technologies, concealed in everyday objects like planter boxes or inside walls, can now scan individuals and bags entering a building for concealed threat objects. Using AI/machine learning, these two sensor solutions combined can identify metal content on the body and bag and match the item to a catalogue of threat items, such as guns, rifles, knives and bombs. Security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments Without this advanced multi-sensor solution, it becomes nearly impossible to discover a weapon on a person's body before it appears in an assailant’s hands. This multi-sensor solution allows for touchless, unobtrusive access to a building, but allows for immediate notification to onsite security when a concealed threat is detected. The hidden technology thus empowers security staff to intercept threats before they evolve into a wider scale attack, while also maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of the public, unless, of course, they are carrying a concealed weapon or pose a physical threat. With the advent of sophisticated surveillance and technological innovation, a level of caution must be exerted. Despite the ongoing global debate, there remains little regulation about the use of AI technologies in today’s physical security space. One thing is certain; it must be deployed in the right place, at the right time, with the right privacy and civil liberty protection objectives. People don’t want to be protected by omnipresent, obstructive and overbearing security systems that infringe on their privacy and civil liberties. They want a proper balance between security and their current way of life, one that must be fused together. Technology and tracing COVID-19 Machine learning-based technologies are playing a substantial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the key purpose of surveillance systems has been to detect and deter threats, including the detection of visible and hidden weapons and abnormal behaviour. While this, of course, remains a primary focus, today we are seeing how surveillance systems defend against new invisible threats, as well as rapidly automate the process of contact-tracing to capture and contain a virus before it spreads. Again, the ability to track and trace through parsing algorithms that can manage through enormous amounts of data provides a highly scalable and rapid response mechanism to control the spread of threats. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact Although the threat may not be visible, it is just as destructive. By incorporating AI into existing technologies, government, healthcare and security professionals can monitor public spaces and environments through the combined use of digital and thermal video surveillance cameras and video management systems); just one of the solutions being explored. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By Using AI-powered video analytic software, businesses can monitor face masks, social distancing and large gathering compliance and also detect elevated body temperature. Critically, technology must be capable of both identifying and tracking the virus but also be unobtrusive. An unobtrusive system that is adaptable enough to be deployed across a range of environments where the public gathers in enclosed spaces is necessary to be effective. Security in 2021 Technology has proven itself to be a valuable ally in times of crisis. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies will help optimise security solutions in areas that are brimming with potential. As we look ahead to the future of security in a world that is impacted by such a wide range of threats, from physical to chemical to microbiological, it’s clear that new technologies, specifically AI can dramatically improve the effectiveness of security systems and help us to better defend against a wide spectrum of threats. Technology has a huge role to play in making our communities safe in 2021 and beyond, but for security systems to be effective, they must not be oppressive or obstructive. This will ensure they have the full support of the public - the key to success.

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Secure Logiq partners with 360 Vision, AMG, Cortech, Harper Chalice and Suprema to host the CNI security technologies webinar
Secure Logiq partners with 360 Vision, AMG, Cortech, Harper Chalice and Suprema to host the CNI security technologies webinar

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.”

Security Industry Association announces the 2021 agenda and speaker lineup for AcceleRISE event
Security Industry Association announces the 2021 agenda and speaker lineup for AcceleRISE event

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.

HID Global enables organisations to bring remote workers and students back on-site with their chromebooks
HID Global enables organisations to bring remote workers and students back on-site with their chromebooks

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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