Dome cameras - Expert commentary

How smart technology is simplifying safety and security in retirement villages
How smart technology is simplifying safety and security in retirement villages

James Twigg is the Managing Director of Total Integrated Solutions (TIS), an independent life safety, security and communication systems integrator, specialising in design & consultancy, technology and regulatory compliance. Total Integrated Solutions work primarily with retirement villages, helping to ensure the safety of residents in numerous retirement villages across the country. In this opinion piece, James shares how smart technology is helping security teams and care staff alike in ensuring the safety and security of their spaces, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Impact of smart technology Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives. From how we travel, to how we work, to how we run our homes. It’s not unusual to have Alexa waking us up and ordering our groceries or Nest to be regulating the temperature and energy in our homes. And while there’s a popular misconception that people in their later years are allergic to technology, retirement villages and care homes are experiencing significant innovation too. And the result is not only improved quality of life for residents, but also improved safety and security systems for management teams. Switching to converged IP systems I’ve been working in the life safety and security industry for over fifteen years. When I first joined TIS, much of the sector was still very analogue, in terms of the technology being installed and maintained. Slowly but surely, we’ve been consulting and advising customers on how to design, install and maintain converged IP systems that all talk to each other and work in tandem. I'm excited to say retirement villages are some of the top spaces leading the way, in terms of technological advancement. Improving the quality of life for residents A move into a retirement village can be daunting and one of the key concerns that we hear about is the loss of independence. No one wants to feel like they are being monitored or to have someone constantly hovering over them. One of the ways we’ve used smart technology to maintain residents' independence is through devices, such as health monitors and motion sensors. For example, instead of having a member of staff check-in on residents every morning, to ensure they are well, sensors and analytics can automatically detect changes in routine and alert staff to possible problems. Similarly, wearable tech, such as smart watches give residents a chance to let staff know they are okay, without having to tell them face-to-face. As our retirement village customers have told us, a simple ‘I’m okay’ command can be the difference between someone feeling independent versus someone feeling monitored. Simplifying and improving security systems Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents For the teams responsible for the safety of the people, places and spaces within retirement villages, smart technology is helping to improve and simplify their jobs. Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents, and ensures rapid response if notified by an emergency alert, ensuring they know the exact location of the resident in need. And without the need to go and physically check-in on every resident, staff and management can ensure staff time is being used effectively. Resources can be distributed where they are needed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those residents who need extra consideration. 24/7 surveillance When planning the safety and security for retirement villages, and other residential spaces, it’s no use having traditional systems that only work effectively for 12 hours a day or need to update during the evening. Surveillance needs to be 24/7 and smart technology allows that without the physical intrusion into people’s spaces and daily lives. Smart technology ensures that systems speak to each other and are easily and effectively managed on one integrated system. This includes video surveillance, which has also become much more effective as a result of advanced video analytics, which automatically warn staff of suspicious behaviour. Securing spaces amid COVID-19 This year has, of course, brought new challenges for safety. COVID-19 hit the retirement and residential care sectors hard, first with the initial wave of infections in mid-2020 and then, with the subsequent loneliness caused by the necessary separation of families. As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed during this time, equipping residents with tablet devices to ensure they could stay connected with their families and friends. It allowed residents to keep in touch without risking transferring the virus. Thermal cameras and mask detection And now that we’re emerging out of COVID-19 restrictions and most residents can see their families again, we’re installing systems like thermal cameras and mask detection, so as to ensure that security will be alerted to anyone in the space experiencing a high temperature or not wearing proper PPE. Such steps give staff and families alike, the peace-of-mind that operational teams will be alerted at the earliest possible moment, should a COVID-19 risk appear. Thinking ahead to the next fifteen years, I’m excited at the prospect of further technological advancements in this space. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about how complex your security system is or how you compete in the industry. It’s about helping teams to protect the people, spaces and places that matter. I see smart technology playing a huge role in that for years to come.

The post-pandemic mandate for entertainment venues: Digitally transform security guards
The post-pandemic mandate for entertainment venues: Digitally transform security guards

As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes and sporting venues open-up to full capacity, a new disturbing trend has hit the headlines - poor fan behaviour. Five NBA teams have issued indefinite bans on fans, who crossed the line of unacceptable behaviour, during the NBA playoffs. Major League Baseball stadiums have a recurring problem with divisive political banners being strewn over walls, as part of an organised campaign, requiring fan ejections. There was a brawl between Clippers and Suns fans after Game 1 of their playoff series. And, the U.S. vs. Mexico Nations League soccer game over the Fourth of July weekend had to be halted, due to fans throwing objects at players and screaming offensive chants. Cracking down on poor fan behaviour Security directors are consistently reporting a disturbing uptick in poor fan attitude and behaviour With players across all major sports leagues commanding more power than ever before, they are demanding that sports venues crack down on poor fan behaviour, particularly when they are the targets of that behaviour. Whether it’s an extension of the social-media divisiveness that’s gripped society, or people unleashing pent up negative energy, following 15 months of social isolation, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, security directors are consistently reporting a disturbing uptick in poor fan attitude and behaviour. They’re also reporting a chronic security guard shortage, like many businesses that rely on relatively low-cost labour, finding candidates to fill open positions has been incredibly difficult. Low police morale To add the third component to this perfect storm, many police departments are struggling with morale issues and officers are less likely to put themselves into positions, where they could wind up in a viral video. According to the Police Executive Research Forum, police officer retirements in the U.S. were up 45% in the April 2020 - April 2021 period, when compared to the previous year. Resignations were up 18%. In this environment, officers may be less likely to undertake fan intervention unless it’s absolutely necessary. This can seem like the worst of times for venue security directors, as they need more staff to handle increasingly unruly patrons, but that staff simply isn’t available. And, because the security guard staffing industry is a commoditised business, companies compete almost solely on price, which requires that they keep salaries as low as possible, which perpetuates the lack of interest in people participating in the profession. Digital Transformation There is only one way out of this conundrum and that is to make security personnel more efficient and effective. Other industries have solved similar staffing and cost challenges through digital transformation. For example, only a small percentage of the total population of restaurants in the U.S. used to offer home delivery, due to cost and staffing challenges of hiring dedicated delivery personnel. Advent of digital efficiency tools But with the advent of digital efficiency tools, now virtually all restaurants can offer delivery But with the advent of digital efficiency tools, such as UberEATS and DoorDash, now virtually all restaurants can offer delivery. Likewise, field-service personnel are digitally connected, so when new jobs arise, they can be notified and routed to the location. Compare this to the old paper-based days, when they wouldn’t know about any new jobs until they picked up their work schedule at the office, the next day and you can see how digital transformation makes each worker significantly more efficient. Security guards and manned guarding The security guard business has never undergone this kind of digital transformation. The state-of-the-art ‘technology’ has never changed - human eyes and ears. Yes, there are video cameras all over stadiums and other venues, but behind the scenes is a guard staring at a bunch of monitors, hoping to identify incidents that need attention. Meanwhile, there are other guards stationed around the stadium, spending most of their time watching people who are doing nothing wrong. Think about all the wasted time involved with these activities – not to mention the relentless boredom and ‘alert fatigue’ from false-positive incident reporting and you understand the fundamental inefficiencies of this labour-based approach to security. Now think about a world where there’s ubiquitous video surveillance and guards are automatically and pre-emptively notified and briefed, when situations arise. The fundamental nature of the security guards profession changes. Instead of being low paid ‘watchers’, they instead become digitally-empowered preventers. AI-based screening and monitoring technology This world is happening today, through Artificial Intelligence-based screening and monitoring technology. AI-powered weapons-detection gateways inform guards, when a patron entering the venue is carrying a gun, knife or other forbidden item. Instead of patting down every patron with metal in their pockets, which has been the standard practice since walk-through metal detectors were mandated by sports leagues following 9/11, guards can now target only those who are carrying these specific items. Video surveillance and AI-based analytics integration Combining surveillance video with AI-based advanced analytics can automatically identify fan disturbances Combining surveillance video with AI-based advanced analytics can automatically identify fan disturbances or other operational issues, and notify guards in real time, eliminating the need to have large numbers of guards monitoring video feeds and patrons. The business benefits of digitally transformed guards are compelling. A National Hockey League security director says he used to have 300 guards manning 100 walk-through metal detectors. By moving to AI solutions, he can significantly reduce the number of scanning portals and guards, and most importantly redeploy and gain further operational efficiencies with his overall operational strategy. Changing staffing strategy This changes the staffing strategy significantly and elevates the roles of guards. Suddenly, a US$ 20-per-hour ‘job’ becomes a US$ 40-per-hour profession, with guards transformed into digital knowledge workers delivering better outcomes with digitally enabled staffs. Beyond that, these digitally transformed guards can spend a much higher percentage of their time focused on tasks that impact the fan experience – whether it’s keeping weapons out of the building, pro-actively dealing with unruly fans before a broader disruption occurs, or managing business operations that positively impact fan patron experience. Digitally transforming security guards Perhaps most important, digitally transforming security guards elevates the profession to a more strategic level, which means better pay for the guards, better service for clients of guard services, and an overall better experience for fans. That’s a perfect storm of goodness for everyone.

Safer Streets require real-time video analytics
Safer Streets require real-time video analytics

The UK government recently announced a doubling of the Safer Streets Fund to £45 million, as it seeks to reassure the public that safety is a top priority, as the night-time economy makes a return. More than just surveillance While this funding increase is much needed, it’s vital that the government and local councils use the money strategically, or risk missing out on a great opportunity to deliver real change and enhance safety across the United Kingdom. One of the main strategies cited by the government is to increase the current vast number of CCTV cameras installed across the country, despite the fact that the UK is already one of the most surveilled nations in the world. Investing in video analytics London alone has around 700,000 cameras, but to effectively monitor them all would be an incredibly inefficient use of manpower and require a huge number of staff. Therefore, I believe the clearest and most cost-effective way for this project to succeed in its overall mission, is by investing in smarter technology, such as video analytics. Incorporating video analytics into existing infrastructure is the clear solution This technology offers a more efficient use of resources, faster response times and enables more informed, time-critical decision making, when reacting to unfolding events in real time. Incorporating video analytics into existing infrastructure is the clear solution, as the technology enables legacy assets, such as analogue CCTV cameras, to become more than just after the fact evidence gathering tools and instead be used to help enhance real-time responses to unfolding incidents. Artificial intelligence-enabled solutions Artificial intelligence-enabled solutions are trained using vast datasets of images and video footage, in order to better understand people, objects and vehicles that are captured on film, and they continue ‘learning’ and improving, while in use. The system’s algorithms analyse and prioritise input from video data to decide which inputs are of value, automatically classifying the footage and notifying security personnel accordingly. This reduces response times by notifying CCTV operators of an incident, as it happens, meaning law enforcement and security personnel can react faster and intervene in an ongoing situation. Edge technology and real-time video streaming A key consideration should be choosing a technology that can operate at the edge and deliver real-time video streaming, even at the lowest bandwidths, so it isn’t limited to use in areas with good connectivity, which would exclude most remote areas. Quality really does matter and technology that can operate over low bandwidths is crucial for allowing operators to zoom in on areas of interest, such as a car number plate or face, and retrieve full-resolution images that can make a real difference in ongoing investigations. Analytics-based security approach Introducing an analytics-based security approach would also help curtail the rising cost of tackling crime Introducing an analytics-based security approach would also help curtail the rising cost of tackling crime. Research conducted by the UK’s Labour Party recently found that the annual cost of crime reached a staggering £100 billion. While statistics show that crime rates in general have been fairly stable over recent years, experts point to the increase in specific types of violent crime, such as knife crime which rose by over 20% during 2020. Implementing smart analytics-based technology Implementing smart analytics-based technology would help maintain staffing costs, as the system can identify incidents without an operator’s input, as well as reducing the cost of managing crime, as more incidents will be intervened in before they escalate too far. This dramatically reduces the burden on staff and allows a single surveillance operator to monitor many more cameras. On the other hand, this level of automation also reduces false alarm fatigue and operator overload, which can quickly sap efficiencies and reduce operator alertness, if left unchecked. Data driven problem-solving approach to crime prevention Procurement officials should avoid the common mistake of simply doubling down and throwing more staff and security assets at the problem to bring results. Instead, they should take a more data driven problem-solving approach to crime prevention by leveraging technologies that can enhance response and preserve their existing investments in cameras. The smart use of real-time video analytics could make the difference by preventing dangerous situations from escalating into serious incidents.

Latest Linear LLC news

Nortek Control unveils Linear BT135-W and BT125-W Access Control Readers to enhance security and offer intelligent access control
Nortek Control unveils Linear BT135-W and BT125-W Access Control Readers to enhance security and offer intelligent access control

Offering enhanced security and personalised access control, Nortek Control has launched its new Linear BT135-W Access Control Reader and Linear BT125-W Access Control Reader. The new readers integrate Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technologies, providing users intelligent, contactless and secure access control in a slim design, which fits seamlessly into any office or building environment. Furthermore, the new Linear readers provide dealers and end-users several options to customise access control in a secured way. Linear BT135-W and BT125-W Access Control Readers Users are able to pair the Linear BT135-W Reader with the new Linear 13.56 MHz smart cards Users are able to pair the Linear BT135-W Reader with the new Linear 13.56 Megahertz (MHz) smart cards and key fobs for premium security. With 13.56 MHz information extremely difficult to clone, these new readers provide a strong security solution for additional user peace of mind. Plus, the Linear BT125-W Access Control Reader offers backward compatibility with current Linear 125 kilohertz (kHz) Prox cards and key fobs. By combining these solutions with the new Linear Access Control Mobile App, users get the added convenience of touchless entry, and the flexibility to have both physical and mobile credentials. Enhanced security wit Linear Access Control Mobile App Security is further heightened with the mobile app, which securely stores and delivers mobile credentials to personal devices. Along with providing the ability to customise options to specific end user needs, the app can also store multiple credentials with a colour-coded labelling system to distinguish between the credentials. “We’ve up-levelled the security in our new readers, leveraging all the capabilities of BLE technology. Users get secure access to mobile credentials, and their phone’s built-in biometric sensors increase security and expand credentials protection by utilising a user’s integrated personal biometric data on their mobile devices, such as fingerprint scanners or face unlock,” said Mark Prowten, Director of Product Management for Nortek Control’s Linear brand. Easy installation and deployment Mark Prowten adds, “We also designed our new readers with dealers and integrators in mind. They will appreciate how simple we’ve made installation and deployment for them. There is no portal login or on-boarding process necessary, allowing them to ensure a user’s information stays secure and private. In addition, the app only requires a one-time registration of a user’s cell phone number.” All Linear Bluetooth access control readers include a digital BLE range-setting card For the dealer, having the flexibility to determine read range at different levels uniquely solves perimeter access needs. All Linear Bluetooth access control readers include a digital BLE range-setting card. This card gives installers the ability to toggle the reader’s Bluetooth read-range between five different modes: Tap-and-Go, Short (up to 2 inches), Medium (up to 10 inches), Long (up to 15 feet), and Max (up to 30 feet). Contactless smart card technologies “These new Linear readers combine the latest, advanced BLE and contactless smart card technologies that allow our access control manufacturer and integrator customers to offer a total solution, one that supports mobile and physical credentials,” said Richard Pugnier, Vice President of Marketing at Nortek Control. Richard Pugnier adds, “As part of our total solution with expanded feature options, the latest Linear access control readers offer an easy upgrade path for existing customers, while also making them very attractive for new site installs that can lead to additional revenue opportunities for our dealers.” Available now, the new Linear BT135-W and BT125-W Access Control Readers, along with the new mobile and physical credentials, are the most recent introduction in the successful and growing Linear reader series. The new Linear mobile app is live on both the iTunes App Store, and Google Play Store.

Linear upgrades its e3 Series firmware to deliver enhanced security in its commercial access control systems
Linear upgrades its e3 Series firmware to deliver enhanced security in its commercial access control systems

Significant upgrades to the e3 Series firmware were announced in the Linear Essential, Essential Plus, Elite and ProControl commercial access control systems. The new firmware updates employ the latest code technology to provide improved security and web services protection against the rise in cyber threats for businesses of all sizes. Giving end-customers and users the features most in demand, the upgrades to the Linear e3 Series also include improved encryption, smart reporting and card types access control functionality. Access control security “Commercial businesses of all sizes are acutely aware of need for increased access control security due to the growing sophistication of electronic intrusion capabilities,” said Richard Pugnier, Vice President of Marketing at NSC. “The new e3 Series firmware updates and feature enhancements allow our dealers to offer heightened security confidence to deter intruders while keeping employees and facilities safe using the latest technological advancements.” “After listening to our dealer partners, this firmware upgrade is the first of several planned that will help address ongoing commercial security and access control needs for organisations large and small,” said Mark Prowten, Director of Product Management for NSC’s Linear brand. Commercial access control systems The Linear e3 Series firmware upgrades we’ve engineered open new customer opportunities for our dealers" “With tens of thousands of systems installed, customers depend upon the proven managed access and convenience of our systems, and we remain committed to constantly improving our security technologies to guard against the growing list of internal as well as external threats. Plus, the Linear e3 Series firmware upgrades we’ve engineered open new customer opportunities for our dealers to offer market-leading capabilities along with added security peace-of-mind.” The scalable design of Linear e3 Series is specifically engineered to minimise future costs and help lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) as organisational needs evolve and more functionality is needed. Based on a single hardware design, a single software code base and sophisticated integrated features, the Linear e3 Series can easily scale up to 128 doors. All Linear Essential, Essential Plus, Elite and ProControl commercial access control systems include the upgraded e3 Series firmware. Licence expansion capability Each is out-of-the-box ready to install, designed to match customer-specific needs and are readily upgradeable with a licence key. The top-of-the-line Linear Elite is a feature-rich system designed for four to 128 multi-door, multi-site facilities. The advanced capabilities of the Linear Elite system can accommodate more users, doors, readers, online transactions and overall capacity. The Linear Essential and Essential Plus access control systems give smaller and mid-size businesses access control that can grow with them. These systems provide entry-level value for one to four doors with immediate licence expansion capability to Elite system with no additional hardware needed.

SIA invites nominations for George R.Lippert Memorial Award
SIA invites nominations for George R.Lippert Memorial Award

The award is presented annually to honour a distinguished individual from a SIA Member company The Security Industry Association (SIA) recently issued a call for nominations for the George R. Lippert Memorial Award. The Lippert Award, as it’s known in the security industry, is presented annually to honour a distinguished individual from a SIA Member company for long-term, selfless service to the security industry and to SIA. In memory of George R. Lippert The award is named in honour of Mr. Lippert, who dedicated more than 20 years of his life to the security industry and SIA. In 1967, Mr. Lippert purchased a company called Cameras for Industry. He served in leadership positions with Morse Security Group, Aritech and Linear Corp. Mr. Lippert was elected to the SIA Board of Directors in 1971, and served on the board for 17 years. His insights and efforts had a lasting impacting on SIA’s standards program and many other initiatives that benefited the industry. Recipients of the George R. Lippert Memorial Award are individuals who exhibit the same characteristics as Mr. Lippert, providing exceptional service to the security industry and SIA. To qualify, a nominee for the award must be: Employed in the security industry for more than 10 years with a manufacturer, integrator, distributor or service provider; Affiliated with a company that is a SIA Member in good standing; Respected as a leader in SIA and the industry; Viewed as a goodwill ambassador for SIA and the industry, as demonstrated by activities with various industry segments, such as regulatory agencies, industry associations, etc.; and Recognised as honest, responsible, courteous and kind. When evaluating candidates nominated for the award, the SIA Lippert Award Committee will consider their long-term service to SIA and the security industry, the impact of their efforts on behalf of SIA and the industry, and their integrity, leadership and diplomacy as demonstrated in industry dealings. Deadline for the submission of nominees is Monday, August 10. SIA will announce the winner of the Lippert Award during SIA Honours Night: Celebrating Performance, Partnerships and People in the Security Industry in New York City on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

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