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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.
Across the country, law enforcement officers are finding it increasingly difficult to respond to the near overwhelming number of calls coming from security alarms. Police departments commonly define a false alarm as a call, which upon investigation, shows no evidence of criminal activity, such as broken windows, forced doors, items missing, or people injured. While false alarms bog down police, they can also negatively impact customers and integrators. End users can expect hefty fines for false alarm responses, and when these customers receive large bills from the city, many turn to installers, dealers, and even manufacturers expecting them to accept the responsibility and pay the bill. What first brought the issue of alarm verification to your attention? It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight I’ve been aware of the problem of false alarms for about 5 years. I believed audio capture, through microphone deployment, could be an active part of the solution when used as a second source for indicating ‘out of the norm’ activity and as an equal component with the video surveillance technology. In 2015, I found similarly minded security professionals when introduced to the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response. After reading PPVAR’s paper on ‘Audio Verified Alarms Best Practices; [April 2015],’ I knew that the Partnership was on to something important. In our lives, two of the five senses we count on day-in and day-out are sight and sound. It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight. What is the false alarm rate? In 2016, the International Association of Chiefs of Police reported that over 98 percent of all alarm calls in the United States were false. This number is obviously staggering, and something we need to work towards correcting. Why did this issue resonate so strongly with you? When I first investigated this issue, I was sure that the security industry would have already recognised this and was acting to ensure improved alarm verification, preferably through a combination of audio and video technologies. However, I quickly saw that this was not the case, or even close to the norm. I have questioned the rationale behind the lack of adoption and found the deployment of audio is often hindered by the concern of privacy. I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio As CEO of Louroe Electronics, I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio. I’ve had to reassure many security personnel and customers how the law supports the use of audio in public places as long as there is no expectation of privacy. By dispelling fears with facts around deploying and implementing audio sensors, customers can confidently include audio in their surveillance systems and gain a more effective security solution. Who is affected by this? Truth be told, everyone from the end user to the manufacturer is affected by this issue. Not to mention the strain this puts on law enforcement who are tired of ‘wasting time’ and effort out in the field on these nuisance alerts. When an end user receives a bill for their false alarm, many of them will immediately blame the integrator and or the monitoring center for a faulty set up and management and expect the integrator to remedy the situation, including carry the burden of paying the fines. The integrator, on the other hand, will turn to the manufacturer, assuming faulty equipment and installation instructions; therefore, looking for reimbursement for the cost. What is the average false alarm fee? It depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for responseIt depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for response. According to the Urban Institute, fees generally range from $25-$100 for the first offense, rising as high as a few thousand dollars per false alarm if a location has a large number in a single year. What’s worse, in extreme cases, alarm systems may even be blacklisted by the police dispatch center if they have raised too many false alarms in the past. Why do you believe audio is the ideal technology for secondary source verification? Video surveillance has been the main option for security monitoring and alarm validation for decades, however industry professionals are realising that video alone is not enough. Video only tells half of the story, by adding audio capture, the responsible party gains a turnkey solution with the ability to gather additional evidence to verify alerts and expand overall awareness. In reality, audio’s range is greater than the field of view for a camera. Sound pickup is 360 degrees, capturing voices, gunshots, breaking glass, sirens, or other important details that a fixed camera many not see. How would a secondary source verification system work with audio? Using a video monitoring solution equipped with audio, the microphone will pick up the sounds at the time a visual alert or alarm is triggered. If embedded with classification analytics, the microphone will send alerts for specific detected sounds. The captured audio, and any notifications are immediately sent to the monitoring station, where trained personnel can listen to the sound clip, along with live audio and video from their station. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response From here, an informed decision can then be made about the validity of the alarm, along with what the current threat is at the location. If the alarm is in fact valid, the information is then passed along to the law enforcement within minutes. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response. It also provides more information in a forensic evaluation. Are there any additional resources you would suggest looking into? Yes, we would suggest looking into the following to see a few different perspectives on the matter: NSA Support For 2018 Model Ordinance For Alarm Management and False Alarm Reduction Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response Support for the Term “Verified Alarm” and Prioritising Verified Alarm Responses Urban Institute Opportunities for Police Cost Savings without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing False Alarms
If you’re responsible for a medium or large-sized office, it’s more important than ever that you have access to a means of ensuring people’s safety, managing risks and fraud, and protecting property. Any security system that you employ must therefore meet the most demanding commercial requirements of today’s offices, and tomorrow’s. This means thinking beyond a basic intrusion system and specifying a comprehensive solution that integrates smart features like access control, video management and intelligent video analytics. Because only then will you have security you can trust, and detection you can depend on. Reliable entry management Access control systems have been developed that guarantee reliable entry management for indoors and outdoors Access control is becoming increasingly important for ensuring the security of office buildings, but as the modern workplace evolves you’re unlikely to find a one-size-fits-all solution. Today, it’s commonplace to control entry to individual rooms or restricted areas and cater to more flexible working hours that extend beyond 9 to 5, so a modern and reliable access control system that exceeds the limitations of standard mechanical locks is indispensable. Access control systems have been developed that guarantee reliable entry management for indoors and outdoors. They use state-of-the-art readers and controllers to restrict access to certain areas, ensuring only authorised individuals can get in. With video cameras located within close proximity you can then monitor and record any unauthorised access attempts. The system can also undertake a people-count to ensure only one person has entered using a single pass. Scalable hardware components As previously mentioned, there is no one-size-fits-all system, but thanks to the scalability of the hardware components, systems can adapt to changing security requirements. For example, you can install Bosch’s Access Professional Edition (APE) software for small to medium-sized offices, then switch to the more comprehensive Access Engine (ACE) of the Building Integration System (BIS) when your security requirements grow. And, because the hardware stays the same, any adaptations are simple. APE’s ‘permanent open’ functionality allows employees and guests to enter designated areas easily and conveniently The APE software administers up to 512 readers, 10,000 cardholders and 128 cameras, making it suitable for small to medium-sized buildings. With functions like badge enrollment, entrance control monitoring and alarm management with video verification it provides a high level of security and ensures only authorised employees and visitors are able to enter certain rooms and areas. Of course, there will always be situations when, for convenience, you need certain doors to be permanently open, such as events and open days. APE’s ‘permanent open’ functionality allows employees and guests to enter designated areas easily and conveniently. Growing security needs You switch to the Bosch Building Integration System (BIS), without having to switch hardware (it stays the same, remember?). This is a software solution that manages subsystems like access control, video surveillance, fire alarm, public address or intrusion systems, all on a single platform. It is designed for offices with multiple sites and for large companies with a global presence. Bosch Building Integration System (BIS) manages subsystems like access control, video surveillance, fire alarm, public address or intrusion systems, all on a single platform The BIS Access Engine (ACE) administers up to 10,000 readers and 80 concurrent workplace clients per server, and 200,000 cardholders per AMC. An additional benefit to security officers is the ability to oversee cardholders and authorisations through the central cardholder management functionality and monitor all access events and alarms from every connected site. For consistency, multi-site cardholder information and access authorisations can be created on a central server and replicated across all connected site servers, which means the cardholder information is always up to date and available in every location. Intrusion alarm systems Bosch B Series and G Series intrusion control panels can also send personal notifications via text or email Securing all perimeter doors is vital when protecting employees, visitors and intellectual property. Doors are opened and closed countless times during business hours, and when intentionally left open, your office is vulnerable to theft, and the safety of your employees is compromised. For this reason, intrusion control panels have been developed with advanced features to ensure all perimeter doors are properly closed, even when the system is not armed. If a door remains open for a period of time (you can specify anything from one second to 60 minutes), the system can be programmed to automatically take action. For example, it can activate an audible alert at the keypad to give employees time to close the door. Then, if it is still not closed, it will send a report to a monitoring center or a text directly to the office manager, and when integrated with video it can even send an image of the incident to a mobile device. Customised intrusion systems What about people who need to access your building outside of working hours, like cleaning crews? Your intruder system allows you to customise the way it operates with a press of a button or swipe of a card. This level of control enables you to disarm specific areas, bypass points and unlock doors for cleaning crews or after-hours staff, whilst keeping server rooms, stock rooms and executive offices safe and secure. Bosch B Series and G Series intrusion control panels can also send personal notifications via text or email. You can program the panel to send you opening, closing, and other event alerts, which means you don’t have to be on-site to keep track of movements in and around your facility. Video management system A video management system will add a next level of security to your access control system Every office building has different video security requirements depending on the location, size and nature of the business. Some offices may only need basic functions such as recording and playback, whereas others may need full alarm functionalities and access to different sites. A video management system will add a next level of security to your access control system. For example, the video system can provide seamless management of digital video, audio and data across IP networks for small to large office buildings. It is fully integrated and can be scaled according to your specific requirements. The entry-level BVMS Viewer is suitable for small offices that need to access live and archived video from their recording solutions. With forensic search it enables you to access a huge recording database and scan quickly for a specific security event. For larger offices, embellished security functions for the BVMS Professional version can manage up to 2,000 cameras and offers full alarm and event management Full alarm and event management For larger offices, embellished security functions for the BVMS Professional version can manage up to 2,000 cameras and offers full alarm and event management. It’s also resilient enough to remain operative should both Management and Recording Servers fail. Large multi-national companies often need access to video surveillance systems at numerous sites, which is why BVMS Professional allows you to access live and archived video from over 10,000 sites across multiple time zones from a single BVMS server. When integrated with the BVMS Enterprise version multiple BVMS Professional systems can be connected so every office in the network can be viewed from one security center, which provides the opportunity to monitor up to 200,000 cameras, regardless of their location. Essential Video Analytics Video analytics acts as the brain of your security system, using metadata to add sense and structure to any video footage you capture If your strategy is to significantly improve levels of security, video analytics is an essential part of the plan. It acts as the brain of your security system, using metadata to add sense and structure to any video footage you capture. In effect, each video camera in your network becomes smart to the degree that it can understand and interpret what it is seeing. You simply set certain alarm rules, such as when someone approaches a perimeter fence, and video analytics alerts security personnel the moment a rule is breached. Smart analytics have been developed in two formats. Essential Video Analytics is ideal for small and medium-sized commercial buildings and can be used for advanced intrusion detection, such as loitering alarms, and identifying a person or object entering a pre-defined field. It also enables you to instantly retrieve the right footage from hours of stored video, so you can deal with potential threats the moment they happen. Essential Video Analytics also goes beyond security to help you enforce health and safety regulations such as enforcing no parking zones, detecting blocked emergency exits or ensuring no one enters or leaves a building via an emergency exit; all measures that can increase the safety of employees and visitors inside the building. Intelligent Video Analytics Intelligent Video Analytics have the unique capability of analysing video content over large distances Intelligent Video Analytics have the unique capability of analysing video content over large distances, which makes it ideally suited to more expansive office grounds or securing a perimeter fence. It can also differentiate between genuine security events and known false triggers such as snow, rain, hail and moving tree branches that can make video data far more difficult to interpret. The final piece in your security jigsaw is an intelligent camera. The latest range of Bosch ’i’ cameras have the image quality, data security measures, and bitrate reduction of <80%. And, video analytics is standard. Be prepared for what can’t be predicted. Although no-one can fully predict what kind of security-related event is around the corner, experience and expertise will help make sure you’re always fully prepared.
Apollo Security, a premier provider of access control and alarm monitoring solutions for over 30 years announces the appointment of Reuben Rebullar as Director of Engineering. Mr. Rebullar will be responsible for ongoing development and expansion of Apollo’s robust open hardware platform and feature rich software platform. Integrated security systems expert Mr. Rebullar joins Apollo with 12 years of experience in the hardware and software industry, most recently serving as Engineering Manager at Mercury Security in Long Beach, CA. He will oversee the development of Apollo’s fast-growing ASP Series Network Clustering Integrated Controllers as well as APACS software platform. While known primarily for integrated security systems, Apollo has been providing OEM hardware solutions for the entire life of the company and recently established ApolloEM as a division dedicated to sales and support for software developers and advanced system integrators. “We are delighted to welcome Reuben to the Apollo family and look forward to the new exciting innovations he and his team will deploy for our customers,” commented Clifford Crane, Managing Director of Apollo.
ADME, Inc., parent company of Apollo Security Access Control has announced creation of a new division for sales and support exclusively for its Software OEM and Integration partners. This new division, named ApolloEM, will be responsible to provide support for industry partners that use Apollo’s hardware platforms along with their own software solutions. “Providing hardware-only solutions to our partners has been a significant part of Apollo’s business since the very beginning,” explained William Lorber, Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Establishing a separate division to strengthen our role as an Access Hardware OEM became logical as more partners are coming on board to utilise our new product line.” Lorber went on to explain that Apollo’s new ASP Series Controllers allow easy integration as well as post-factory customisation with App Scripting.” ASP-4 integrated controller/reader interface The flagship of the new hardware series, ASP-4 is a four-door integrated controller/reader interface designed for secure, high volume applications. In addition to expansion options via OSDP to support up to 20 readers, the ASP-4 can work in a network device cluster to support up to 128 doors working as a single management unit. Other features such as a native Open Platform SDK, on-board app scripting and 3rd-party serial device support make ASP Series an attractive choice for system integrators and software OEMs in the security industry. ApolloEM ApolloEM will provide support for existing partners as well as market to potential new partners. Upcoming events for 2018 include Security Essen and ASIS/GSX as well as product and technical seminars worldwide.
Everyone can agree the convergence trend is in full force in the electronic security industry and organisations are pushing more and more for integrated solutions that can not only enhance ROI but also solve problems that have traditionally been out of the realm of electronic physical security systems. This leaves system integrators and other solution providers in a difficult position as they scramble to be competitive especially when faced with an industry dominated by a few power players. Tackling this problem can now be a matter of survival for small to medium players especially in regional markets. To address this need, Apollo Security Access Control has introduced the new ASP Series Controllers that promise to set a new standard in for secure, scalable and customisable solutions. For 30 years, Apollo has been known for producing some of the most robust hardware in the industry and with the ASP series a new layer of flexibility has been added by allowing ‘post-factory’ customisation in addition to many other feature upgrades. This will have the effect to put more control in the hands of integrators and even end-users so they are not locked into hardware solutions that are ‘off the shelf’ and don’t provide any ability to adapt to customer specific needs for the present or the future. The flagship of Apollo’s new controller series, the ASP-4 is an intelligent access controller designed to provide a high performance security solution Intelligent access controller The flagship of Apollo’s new controller series, the ASP-4 is an intelligent access controller designed to provide a high performance security solution with the ability to solve non-standard problems. Natively, the ASP-4 can support four readers and four doors, but when clustered with 32 other ASP devices it can secure up to 128 doors in one management unit by utilising inter-device communication across standard IT networks. Each ASP-4 can also support up to 16 additional readers by utilising OSDP Secure Channel communications, supporting configurations such as 4 Doors with In/Out (8 Readers) or even more doors by adding input/output modules for door control. Enterprise capacity of 250,000+ cardholders, 300 access levels with up to 50 access levels per card is provided at each device, providing total cardholder and access rights database redundancy, preventing reduced functionality modes such as ‘facility code check only’. The ASP’s real power lies however with the ability to customise the functions of the controller by loading customised App Scripts and third-party protocols. Using industry standard ‘C-like’ programming language, the ASP can have new functions designed by the integrator. Running customisations at the hardware level instead of in software offers the benefits of drastically reduced time/cost of implementation as well as superior reliability. Whereas before if an organisation wanted to integrate a new device such as an alarm panel, fire system or similar they would have to request software customisation which can take months and cost tens of thousands of dollars, with the ASP such a task can take days or weeks and be completed with a budget of hundreds of dollars. An example of how effective this customisation works was provided by a subsidiary of a large multi-national Corporate access control solutions An example of how effective this customisation works was provided by a subsidiary of a large multi-national that was struggling to comply with strict labor regulations. Under these rules, workers in their factory can only work six consecutive days, requiring the seventh day for rest. The HR department struggled to keep track of this as each employee’s rest day could be prior to when six days was expired; in addition to workers switching shifts and other complications the tracking was too difficult to be done manually, so an automated solution was necessary. The current access control solution the company was using didn’t provide any solution for this so the only possibility was expensive customisation which would take 3-4 months and then provide no guarantee in the future what would happen if needs changed. With ASP-4, Apollo’s local partner was able to offer a much more rapid solution. The requirements were programmed into a logic script that was loaded to the controller. This script checks every cardholder at time of access for any violation of the rules and will deny access if necessary, then displaying a reason on an LCD display as well as flash an indicator light so that the cardholder will know it is not simply an access level error that has denied their entry. This customisation took less than one man-day to program and was tested over the course of one week and was then ready to be deployed. The ability to do this customisation gave the partner the edge needed to provide a timely, cost effective solution to a problem that could have cost the company greatly if a work-related accident resulted in legal action. In the future, the logic script can be easily changed for example if the company would like to move to a five-day work week in the future. Additional customisation possibilities are possible using the serial connections of the ASP Real-time monitoring Additional customisation possibilities are possible using the serial connections of the ASP. This allows integration of input devices such as scales or barcode scanners, or interface to any device that has a serial interface such as displays, mimic panels, entry phone systems and more. Protocols for these devices can be embedded in scripts and the devices can assume alarm input/output functions or even new card reader types can be supported such as wireless locks or long-range RFID readers. In addition to being customisable, the ASP of course is designed with security in mind. With all communication channels being secured with 128-bit TLS encryption which prevents attempts to intercept or forge data. Security goes all the way down to the reader using OSDP Secure Channel to protect card reader data transmission lines. Being able to communicate simultaneously with up to five software hosts also gives the ASP ability to be monitored in real-time by redundant systems, ensuring that important alarms are always delivered in time for the security team to react. Software OEMs and System Integrators The ASP Series has been designed from the ground up to be friendly to Software OEMs and System Integrators using other systems in place of or in addition to Apollo Security’s software platform. A native Open Platform SDK allows tight integration with all the ASP’s standard features in addition to the customisations available through scripting and embedded software. The SDK comes with several integration pathways including .NET and Python and includes sample code, tutorials and online developer support. To better support Software OEM partners, Apollo Security’s parent company, ADME INC., has recently announced a new division, ApolloEM which will provide support for partners that utilise the ASP hardware platform in their own software solutions. William Lorber, Vice President of Sales and Marketing said, “Establishing a separate division to strengthen our role as an Access Hardware OEM became logical as more partners are coming on board to utilise our new product line. We are excited to see the solutions that our partners develop on this platform.” Lorber added that partners will be able to share and market their solutions on the upcoming App Script Library platform that Apollo will roll out later this year to expand the effectiveness of ASP solutions.
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