OPTEX RAPID REDFIBER makes fibre optic perimeter protection easier and more cost-efficient
OPTEX RAPID REDFIBER makes fibre optic perimeter protection easier and more cost-efficient

Fibre-optic technology has proven to be extremely stable and reliable for fence PIDS, detecting intruders attempting to climb over, cut through, or crawl under a perimeter. And although the technology was previously considered prohibitive for small or medium-sized perimeters on the perception that it is too expensive and complicated to install, OPTEX, along with Fiber SenSys Inc, one of its group companies, has designed the RAPID REDFIBER series of affordable and easy-to-install kits, encouraging installers not to compromise on quality.  The packaged systems, or kits, offer cost-effective and high-performance protection in two detection zones, ranging from 75m to 200m each, and also include all the necessary components needed for installation.  Kit choices include two-channel Alarm Processing Units (APU), one including a PoE/IP module that is integrated with most Video Management Software (VMS) and PSIM platforms, the enclosure box, the pre-connected cable cut to fit 75m, 100m, 150m and 200m zones, the necessary ties to mount the cable on a perimeter, and calibration software.  Ricky Miwa, Managing Director of OPTEX Europe, says the technology is highly resistant to extreme weather changes: “Fibre sensing cables are unaffected by harsh environments, including UV radiation, moisture, salt or lightning strikes, and distinguish between genuine intruders and nuisance alarms,” he says.  The RAPID REDFIBER PoE module uses an event code that quickly transmits the alarm or event to the VMS software. As RAPID REDFIBER’s detection system sense an intrusion, the APU activates IP cameras to automatically record an event; whilst the VMS platform ensures any untoward activity can be acted upon immediately.  “RAPID REDFIBER’s proven high performance rate and low maintenance costs combine to create a very low cost of ownership, making it a reliable and economical solution,” Ricky concludes.

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The digital transformation of access control solutions
The digital transformation of access control solutions

The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorisation and the appropriate credentials. But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customised and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms power continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.

How is ‘connected world’ defining the future of security
How is ‘connected world’ defining the future of security

There’s a lot of hype around the term ‘digital transformation.’ For some, it’s the integration of digital technology into everyday tasks. For others, it’s the incorporation of innovative processes aimed at making business optimisation easier. In most cases, digital transformation will fundamentally change how an organisation operates and delivers value to its customers. And within the security realm, the age of digital transformation is most certainly upon us. Technology is already a part of our day-to-day lives, with smart devices in our homes and the ability to perform tasks at our fingertips now a reality. No longer are the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities foreign and distant concepts full of intrigue and promise. Enhancing business operations We’re increasingly seeing devices become smarter and better able to communicate with each other These elements are increasingly incorporated into security solutions with each passing day, allowing enterprises the chance to experience countless benefits when it comes to enhancing both safety and business operations. The term ‘connected world’ is a derivative of the digital transformation, signifying the increasing reliance that we have on connectivity, smart devices and data-driven decision-making. As we become more familiar with the advantages, flaws, expectations and best practices surrounding the connected world, we can predict what issues may arise and where the market is heading. We’re increasingly seeing devices become smarter and better able to communicate with each other through the IoT to achieve both simple goals and arduous tasks. Within our homes, we’re able to control a myriad of devices with commands (‘Hey Google...’ or ‘Alexa...’), as well as recall data directly from our mobile devices, such as receiving alerts when someone rings our doorbell, there’s movement in our front yard or when a door has been unlocked. Analytics-driven solutions The focus is now shifting to the business impacts of connectivity between physical devices and infrastructures, and digital computing and analytics-driven solutions. Within physical security, connected devices can encompass a variety of sensors gathering massive amounts of data in a given timeframe: video surveillance cameras, access control readers, fire and intrusion alarms, perimeter detection and more.As the data from each of these sensors is collected and analysed through a central platform, the idea of a connected world comes to fruition, bringing situational awareness to a new level and fostering a sense of proactivity to identifying emerging threats. The connected world, however, is not without its challenges, which means that certain considerations must be made in an effort to protect data, enhance structured networking and apply protective protocols to developing technology. Physical security systems We can expect to see the conversations regarding data privacy and security increase as well As the use of connected devices and big data continue to grow, we can expect to see the conversations regarding data privacy and security increase as well. Connectivity between devices can open up the risk of cyber vulnerabilities, but designing safeguards as technology advances will lessen these risks. The key goal is to ensure that the data organisations are using for enhancement and improvements is comprehensively protected from unauthorised access. Manufacturers and integrators must be mindful of their products' capabilities and make it easy for end users to adhere to data sharing and privacy regulations. These regulations, which greatly affect physical security systems and the way they're managed, are being implemented worldwide, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the United States, California, Vermont and South Carolina have followed suit, and it can be expected that more countries and U.S. states develop similar guidelines in the future. Technology is already a part of our day-to-day lives, with smart devices in our homes and the ability to perform tasks at our fingertips now a reality Automatic security updates Mitigating the concerns of the ‘connected world’ extends beyond just data privacy. IoT technology is accelerating at such a pace that it can potentially create detrimental problems for which many organisations may be ill-prepared - or may not even be able to comprehend. The opportunities presented by an influx of data and the IoT, and applying these technologies to markets such as smart cities, can solve security and operational problems, but this requires staying proactive when it comes to threats and practicing the proper protection protocols. As manufacturers develop devices that will be connected on the network, integrating standard, built-in protections becomes paramount. This can take the form of continuous vulnerability testing and regular, automatic security updates. Protocols are now being developed that are designed to ensure everything is encrypted, all communications are monitored and multiple types of attacks are considered for defensive purposes to provide the best security possible. IoT-connected devices Hackers wishing to do harm will stop at nothing to break into IoT-connected devices Built-in protection mechanisms send these kinds of systems into protection mode once they are attacked by an outside source. Another way for manufacturers to deliver solutions that are protected from outside threats is through constant and consistent testing of the devices long after they are introduced to the market. Hackers wishing to do harm will stop at nothing to break into IoT-connected devices, taking every avenue to discover vulnerabilities. But a manufacturer that spends valuable resources to continue testing and retesting products will be able to identify any issues and correct them through regular software updates and fixes. ‘IoT’ has become a common term in our vocabularies and since it’s more widely understood at this point and time, it's exciting to think about the possibilities of this revolutionary concept. Providing critical insights The number of active IoT devices is expected to grow to 22 billion by 2025 — a number that is almost incomprehensible. The rise of 5G networks, artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving cars can be seen on the horizon of the IoT. As more of these devices are developed and security protocols are developed at a similar pace, connected devices stand to benefit a variety of industries, such as smart cities. Smart cities rely on data communicated via the IoT to enhance processes and create streamlined approaches Smart cities rely on data communicated via the IoT to enhance processes and create streamlined approaches to ensuring a city is well-run and safe. For example, think of cameras situated at a busy intersection. Cameras at these locations have a variety of uses, such as investigative purposes in the event of an accident or for issuing red-light tickets to motorists. But there are so many other possible purposes for this connected device, including providing critical insights about intersection usage and traffic congestion. These insights can then be used to adjust stoplights during busy travel times or give cities valuable data that can drive infrastructure improvements. Physical security market The impact of connected devices on cities doesn’t stop at traffic improvement. The possibilities are endless; by leveraging rich, real-time information, cities can improve efficiencies across services such as transportation, water management and healthcare. However, stringent protections are needed to harden security around the networks transmitting this kind of information in an effort to mitigate the dangers of hacking and allow this technology to continuously be improved. Whether you believe we’re in the midst of a digital transformation or have already completed it, one thing is certain: businesses must begin thinking in these connectivity-driven terms sooner rather than later so they aren’t left behind. Leveraging smart, connected devices can catapult organisations into a new level of situational awareness, but adopting protections and remaining vigilant continues to be a stalwart of technological innovation within the physical security market and into the connected world.

Security and safety drive smart building strategies for the future
Security and safety drive smart building strategies for the future

Johnson Controls recently unveiled the findings of its 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey that examined the current and planned investments and key drivers to improve energy efficiency and building systems integration in facilities. Systems integration was identified as one of the top technologies expected to have the biggest impact on the implementation in smart buildings over the next five years, with respondents planning to invest in security, fire and life-safety integrations more so than any other systems integration in the next year. As advanced, connected technologies drive the evolution of smart buildings, security and safety technologies are at the center of more intelligent strategies as they attribute to overall building operations and efficiencies. SourceSecurity.com spoke with Johnson Controls, Building Solutions, North America, VP of Marketing, Hank Monaco, and Senior National Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Smart Cities, Lisa Brown, about the results of the study, smart technology investments and the benefits of a holistic building strategy that integrates security and fire and life-safety systems with core building systems. Q: What is the most striking result from the survey, and what does it mean in the context of a building’s safety and security systems? The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems Hank Monaco: Investment in building system integration increased 23 percent in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey. When respondents were asked more specifically what systems they we planning to invest in over the next year, fire and life safety integration (61%) and security system integration (58%) were the top two priorities for organisations. The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems to improve overall operations and bolster capabilities beyond the intended function of an individual system. Q: The survey covers integration of fire, life safety and security systems as part of "smart building" systems. How do smarter buildings increase the effectiveness of security and life safety systems? Hank Monaco: A true “smart building” integrates all building systems – security, fire and life-safety, HVAC, lighting etc. – to create a connected, digital infrastructure that enables individual technologies to be more intelligent and perform more advanced functions beyond what they can do on their own. For example, when sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems, if abnormal activity is detected on the building premise, key stakeholders can be automatically alerted to increase emergency response time. With integrated video surveillance, they also gain the ability to access surveillance footage remotely to assess the situation. When sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems abnormal activity on the premise can automatically be detected Q: How can integrated security and life safety systems contribute to greater energy efficiency in a smart building environment? Hank Monaco: Security, fire and life-safety systems can help to inform other building systems about how a facility is used, high-trafficked areas and the flow of occupants within a building. Integrated building solutions produce a myriad of data that can be leveraged to increase operational efficiencies. From an energy efficiency standpoint, actionable insights are particularly useful for areas that are not frequently occupied or off-peak hours as you wouldn’t want to heat or cool an entire building for just one person coming in on the weekend. When video surveillance is integrated with HVAC and lighting systems, it can monitor occupancy in a room or hallway. The video analytics can then control the dimming of lights and the temperature depending on occupant levels in a specific vicinity. Similarly, when access control systems are integrated with these same systems, once a card is presented to the reader, it can signal the lights or HVAC system to turn on. In this example, systems integration can ultimately help enable energy savings in the long run. Security and life safety systems contribute to help enable greater energy efficiency and energy savings in the long run Q: What other benefits of integration are there (beyond the core security and life safety functions)? Hank Monaco: Beyond increased security, fire and life-safety functions, the benefits of systems integration include: Increased data and analytics to garner a holistic, streamlined understanding of how systems function and how to improve productivity Ability to track usage to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs Enhanced occupant experience and comfort Increased productivity and workflow to support business objectives Smart-ready, connected environment that can support future technology advancements Q: What lesson or action point should a building owner/operator take from the survey? How can the owner of an existing building leverage the benefits of the smart building environment incrementally and absent a complete overhaul? Lisa Brown: Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator found that 77% of organisations plan to make investments in energy efficiency and smarter building technology this year. This percentage demonstrates an increased understanding of the benefits of smart buildings and highlights the proactive efforts building owners are taking to adopt advanced technologies. There is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected As smart buildings continue to evolve, more facilities are beginning to explore opportunities to advance their own spaces. A complete overhaul of legacy systems is not necessary as small investments today can help position a facility to more easily adopt technologies at scale in the future. As a first step, it’s important for building owners to conduct an assessment and establish a strategy that defines a comprehensive set of requirements and prioritises use-cases and implementations. From there, incremental investments and updates can be made over a realistic timeline. Q: What is the ROI of smart buildings? Lisa Brown: As demonstrated by our survey, there is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected. The advanced analytics and more streamlined data that is gathered through systems integration can provide the building-performance metrics to help better understand the return on investment (ROI) of the building systems. This data is used to better understand the environment and make assessments and improvements overtime to increase efficiencies. Moreover, analytics and data provide valuable insights into where action is needed and what type of return can be expected from key investments.

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Optex iSeries battery-powered wireless detectors enhance construction site security by countering thefts
Optex iSeries battery-powered wireless detectors enhance construction site security by countering thefts

Multiple Construction sites in the Albuquerque area are managed by Shumate Constructors, Inc., an Albuquerque, New Mexico-based construction contractor, that is also renowned for building educational facilities. In addition to building schools from the ground up, Shumate Constructors completes school additions and remodels. Construction site thefts Three years ago, the company began having problems keeping thieves out of its construction sites during non-working hours. Unwatched construction sites are hot beds for a variety of thefts - from copper pipes and wire to hand tools to heavy-duty machinery. The loss of machinery, such as front-end loaders, would cost hundreds-of-thousands of dollars. Sometimes workers will arrive to a site in the morning only to find materials, such as copper pipe, gone along with their tools. Enhancing construction site security The sites also presented a challenge due to changing construction conditions The result is the loss of a whole day and sometimes multiple days of work. On top of the lost time, the contractor has to cover the cost of replacing materials, file an insurance claim for each theft and complete additional administrative paperwork that they weren’t planning to invest time in. The sites also presented a challenge due to changing construction conditions. Equipment or storage containers are delivered and removed, the sites are graded/re-graded and as sections of build were completed, tools, materials and supplies were moved to different areas. Flexible, reliable wireless solution At a contractor trade show a few years ago, Mark Shumate, President of Shumate Constructors met Dave Meurer, President of Albuquerque’s Armed Response Team. Meurer introduced Shumate to the idea of a flexible, reliable wireless solution that could continually monitor the entire site without the need to trench around the perimeter. “Mark [Shumate] was fed up with theft at his construction sites so we started to discuss some prevention ideas,” said Meurer, adding “I knew this was a great fit for the combined Inovonics transmitter and Optex sensor solution.” Optex sensors installed He further said, “At the Armed Response Team, we refer to this solution as the never sleeping, non-blinking eye. Shumate was not aware of any reliable solutions that could provide this type of theft prevention, but we explained that we were very confident in this application and he was definitely interested.” To install each combined sensor, the Armed Response Team attached the Optex sensors to a freestanding steel post with a base plate on it and deployed them throughout the site. This allowed the flexibility to be easily moved to accommodate site changes. Once installed, a signal was easily achieved. iSeries Optex/Inovonics sensors The amount of iSeries Optex/Inovonics sensors needed at Shumate’s sites vary The sensors in the combined solution often need to communicate as far as an entire city block and the perimeters can be several thousands of feet. The iSeries Inovonics/Optex solution was able to easily accomplish this feat. The amount of iSeries Optex/Inovonics sensors needed at Shumate’s sites vary. For some sites, it can be as few as a dozen, and others it can be as many as 30 or more. “Together, the products offer a great solution,” noted Meurer, adding “The Optex sensors can handle varying weather conditions and Inovonics’ wireless connectivity offers less signal drop and more consistent reporting signal than any of the other transmitters we’ve tried.” Efficient perimeter security solution “Between the perimeter technology by Inovonics and Optex, and the Armed Response Team’s follow-up, we have seen zero thefts for all projects since installation. With the integrated wireless solution, the construction sites are monitored on a real-time basis and immediately notify the Armed Response Team upon unauthorised access,” said Mark Shumate, President of Shumate Constructors. He adds, “We look at the perimeter security solution as a great investment. Annually, the cost of manpower, replacement of lost or stolen items and damage repairs could easily cost three times more than we spend on Armed Response Teams’ services with the Optex and Inovonics solution.”

Optex secures a church in Georgia from thefts of copper wire with the iSeries detectors
Optex secures a church in Georgia from thefts of copper wire with the iSeries detectors

From simple thefts of copper wire from light fixtures, to substantial damage to rooftop HVAC systems, copper continues to be stolen from everywhere that it is readily available. When a church in Georgia began feeling the effects of copper theft, the integrator associated with the property's interior security once again turned to OPTEX for help. The church utilised both rooftop and ground level HVAC systems, with easy access to each. Changing security needs Because of labour and cost associated with wiring, along with the difficulty bringing power to the rooftops, the Regional Sales Director for OPTEX recommended the iSeries line of battery-powered, wireless PIR's. The iSeries detectors offered spot and curtain protection for all HVAC units while also securing all access points to each. For future consideration, the addition of the wireless feature also allows the integrator to relocate and easily adjust the detectors based on changing security needs. With the system in place, copper and other related thefts have been eliminated and the end user can now respond quickly before any damage is done. All of the battery-powered, wireless detectors from OPTEX come with an empty backbox and work with most manufacturers wireless transmitters. Narrow detection areas OPTEX will pre-install the batteries and an Inovonics EN1941 wireless transmitter When one selects the iSeries version, OPTEX will pre-install the batteries and an Inovonics EN1941 wireless transmitter. One less time consuming step to do for the installer! The iSeries HX-80NRAMi is an 80' x 6' high mount, battery-powered, outdoor passive infrared detector with Anti-Masking. The iSeries version comes with an Inovonics EN1941 transmitter and batteries pre-installed. The iSeries BX-80NRi is a 3' x 80' low mount, battery-powered, outdoor passive infrared detector with Pet Tolerance. The iSeries version comes with an Inovonics EN1941 transmitter and batteries pre-installed. With it's long, narrow detection areas that extend from both sides, the battery-powered BX-80NRi is specifically designed to be wall-mounted centrally on a building or HVAC unit. Passive infrared detector The iSeries VX-402Ri is a 40' x 40' low mount, battery-powered, outdoor passive infrared detector with Pet Tolerance. The iSeries version comes with an Inovonics EN1941 transmitter and batteries pre-installed, and the dual PIR's create two detection areas (upper and lower) that must be compromised simultaneously in order to go into alarm. OPTEX has addressed and met the need for a line of easy to install, stable outdoor detectors that will deter and ultimately prevent copper theft.

OPTEX installs Redscan RLS-2020S detectors to secure building perimeters of national retail stores across the US
OPTEX installs Redscan RLS-2020S detectors to secure building perimeters of national retail stores across the US

Burglaries from outdoor ‘smash and grab’ have been costing retailers millions of dollars of loss. In order to detect if someone is trying to penetrate retail store buildings, retailers need to deploy a detection system that triggers activity and activate cameras and authorities. Redscan RLS02020S detectors Utilising the OPTEX Redscan RLS02020S vertical mode detection with Genetec RSA allowed the national retail company to achieve just this. OPTEX installed first 12 stores for a total of 105 RLS-2020S detectors for the initial project. Redscan covered the sides of the buildings as well as key areas of the roofs where needed. It was integrated into the Genetec RSA plugin that unifies OPTEX Redscan detectors with cameras creating full control of video recording and security events.  Enhancing retail security Next opportunities are for installing RLS-2020S at 100’s of stores across the United States in 2020-2021. Due to the success of Redscan, the national systems integrator is now introducing the value of this application for other large retail end users.