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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.
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.
According to the reports of not-for-profit organisation Gun Violence Archive, the year 2018 has seen 323 mass shooting incidents as of November 28 in the United States. This number is 346 for the year 2017 and 382 for 2016 (more statistics are available here), with “mass shooting” defined as cases where four or more people are shot or killed in the same time period and location. While definitions of mass shooting vary with organisations in the US, the count of over 300 incidents per year, or about once per day on average, is simply alarming. It raises public safety concerns, ignites debates and protests, which in turn lead to public unrest and potentially more violence, and increases costs for governments from the regional to federal level. Most importantly, the loss of lives demands not only improvement in post-incident handling and investigation, but also new prevention technologies. Gunshot detection solutions AI weapon detection offers a more efficient alternative to prevent active shooting There are several gunshot detection solutions in the security market, commonly used by law enforcement agencies to detect and locate gun fires. These systems function based on acoustic recordings and analyses and often in combination with signals detected by sensors of the optical flash and shockwave when a gun is fired. However, gunshot detection by nature dictates that the law enforcement can only react to a shooting incident that has occurred. With fast action, law enforcement can prevent the incident from escalating, but lives that are lost cannot be recovered. With the development of artificial intelligence in object recognition, AI weapon detection offers a more efficient alternative to prevent active shooting: AI can visually detect guns based on their shapes before they are fired. The AI is trained to recognise firearms in different shapes, sizes, colours, and at different angles in videos, so that the AI weapon detector can be deployed with existing cameras systems, analyse the video feeds, and instantly notify security staff when a gun is spotted. Comparison of the advantages for law enforcement and public security agencies Legacy gunshot detection using sensors AI weapon detection Reactive measure: detect after guns have been fired Proactive measure: detect before guns are fired Time to action: within 1 second Time to action: within 1 second Unable to provide visual data about shooter(s) Can provide data about shooter(s) based on the camera recording: clothing, luggage (backpack, handbag, etc.), facial features, vehicle Unable to track the location of the shooter(s) before and after shooting because of the lack of sound Can track the shooter(s) using AI Person & Vehicle Tracking, AI Face Recognition, and AI License Plate Recognition False detection caused by similar sound such as fireworks and cars backfiring Minimal to no false detection, as AI can distinguish different types of handguns and rifles from normal objects (umbrella, cellphone, etc.) Require physical deployment of gunshot detection sensors Can be used with existing camera systems, do not require special hardware Complicated to deploy, require highly trained professional Easy to deploy as an add-on to existing video surveillance system - Can integrate with gun-shot detection to create a “double knock” audio and video active shooter alert system Gun-shot detection advantages In addition to advantages for law enforcement and public security agencies, this type of visual-based pre-incident detector has three-fold advantages for the public: Save lives by spotting the shooter before the shooting event. Minimise the chaos entailing an incident: panic and chaos caused by a shooting incident often adds to injury, as people run, fall, trample on others… With an AI weapon detector, when a gun is spotted, the system sends an alert to security staff, who can quickly control the situation in an organised manner and apprehend the intending shooter. Can be added as a SaaS (Security as a Service) component to small business and home surveillance systems, e.g., intrusion detection alerts (home invasion incidents with firearms number over 2500 per year nationwide). For a complete active shooter detection system, video-based AI detector can operate in conjunction with gunshot detectors for enhanced security. Traditional X-ray based weapon detection or metal detection entrance systems are complicated and expensive; with AI video technology, active shooter detection system can be cost-effective, and after all, what price tag can one put on a life? Written by Paul Sun and Mai Truong, IronYun
COVID-19 has been a thorn in the side of countless companies within the security industry and far beyond. Here, we speak with Richard Huison, Regional General Manager for the UK and Europe at Gallagher Security, who summises his personal experience from these recent months and how Gallagher has adapted in the face of pandemic-induced adversity. How has the COVID-19 crisis impacted Gallagher on a day-to-day basis? Gallagher was actually well placed as a result of work already in progress with a number of visionaries and innovators within our business, such as our CIO Neville Richardson. They are determined to put the business on the front foot, making it more digital and proactive in delivering high speed change and we had already been migrating to Microsoft Teams before COVID-19 first reared its ugly head. It’s part of our philosophy to make our business and the solutions we create as stable, reliable and resilient as possible. Gallagher has adapted to the new way of operating fairly seamlessly, while still working alongside the evolving guidance from governments around the world It means Gallagher has adapted to the new way of operating fairly seamlessly, while still working alongside the evolving guidance from governments around the world. When lockdown was imposed, we set about prioritising our clients’ needs and delivering on our commitments as a critical supplier. The Gallagher leadership team quickly rolled out the means to stay connected, positive and safe as each region went into isolation. Effective communication, both internally and externally, has always been a critical success factor for our business. That hasn’t changed with the more remote and virtual nature of our communication now and, if anything, it’s even more important both for business continuity and for the personal wellbeing of each and every one of our colleagues. We’ve quickly adapted to this new way of working and have even become quite adept at recognising people’s contributions and acknowledging a job well done in new ways, such as using the emojis on Microsoft Teams. Perhaps the most striking example of this is our new European marketing manager Bethan Thompson, who joined Gallagher on 1 April, little over a week after lockdown was imposed in the UK. She has enjoyed the richest and most comprehensive introduction to the business from the safety of her own home armed with just a laptop and Teams. What can be the benefits of having employees working from home? There are many benefits of working remotely with productivity right up the top of the list. By reducing the unproductive time spent commuting and travelling to meetings, we are able to get much more done in a day. Add to this the reduction in stress and improved work-life balance and it makes for an impressive formula of happier, healthier and more motivated colleagues. And it’s still easy to measure results no matter where someone is working. We’ve quickly adapted to this new way of working and have even become quite adept at recognising people’s contributions and acknowledging a job well done To be honest, before COVID, we didn’t disconnect enough, close the laptop, switch off our technology and allow ourselves NOT to respond instantly. But trust is an integral part of our culture at Gallagher and we can easily and effectively continue to champion the right balance and support for the team moving forward. How can employees ensure they keep a healthy work/life balance? Working from home can require some personal discipline around taking regular breaks and disconnecting from technology. I encourage all my colleagues to stay active and get regular exercise during the day. Taking time out allows you to process ideas with greater clarity, to be more creative, to plan your day and use your time more effectively – all of which is part of achieving that balance. And it’s important that we do switch off and close our laptop at the end of the day, which requires some discipline when you work for a business headquartered in New Zealand, where they are 11 hours ahead. It’s good to cultivate hobbies and welcome distractions that you are passionate about, to switch off from work more effectively. Personally, I love to be outside on a long dog walk with no technology. It’s liberating. Are you seeing that businesses are already beginning to think differently about their security? We have to remember why security is important. We all have a different view on how we should maintain business continuity. Yes, properties need a reliable detection and defence solution to resist the opportunist. With the mass migration to work remotely, business leaders are concerned that their IT systems are vulnerable to attack and we read daily about the growth in cyber-attacks. It’s common sense to protect your business with a suitable access control and intrusion detection system and the pandemic has proven to business the value of being truly resilient and able to still operate whatever circumstances ensue. What will be the biggest security challenges facing businesses over the next six months? In that timeframe, I don’t see us returning to how things were prior to the pandemic, so businesses will have to adapt to a new normal. We will have to adopt a more holistic view of security, encompassing safety, security and wellbeing, with our teams at the heart of that. In the new world, how can we maintain our teams’ safety at home, or limit them to certain floor space or introduce rotas for office attendance and keep surfaces virus free while they’re there? We need to be alert to where the next threat will come from and mitigate risk against both cyber and biological threat as we’ve seen a virus in either domain can be devastating. How is Gallagher meeting the evolving demands of the market? To be honest, Gallagher has always been ahead of the curve. We’ve been talking about competencies, compliance and resilience for decades, long before cyber became the buzzword. Everything we do is related to business resilience and continuity and security is baked in to our products and solutions at source, providing confidence and reliability for all of our customers.
Once an underused industrial wasteland, King’s Cross is one of the largest and most exciting redevelopments in London. The 67-acre site is being transformed into a new part of the city with homes, shops, offices, galleries, bars, restaurants, schools, and a university. The King’s Cross development is a mixture of old and new buildings and many of the old buildings are listed with strict planning restrictions. “Some of the buildings here have played a significant part in the area’s history, so extra care needs to be taken when installing a security system,” says Nick Killington, King’s Cross Estates security system design specialist. Security solution The Gallagher solution provides flexibility to integrate a number of other systems The public areas and many of the buildings in the estate are managed and maintained by the King’s Cross Estate Services team. They are tasked with keeping the site well-maintained, well-lit and secure at all hours of the day and night, making it a place all people want to visit and enjoy. To help make King’s Cross the best managed estate in the UK, the team needed a security solution that could evolve alongside them as the estate grows. Nick Killington says Gallagher was the specified solution throughout the project. “As we are such a large estate, we required an enterprise solution that offers us the ability to extend as and when required, something we know is a particular strength of the Gallagher system.” Visitor management “The Gallagher solution is particularly useful in a retro-fit situation like this, where running cables and network points in such buildings isn’t allowed. For example, we eventually want to replace some of the door handles with a wireless locking system, which we know can also be linked to the Gallagher system.” The Gallagher solution provides flexibility to integrate a number of other systems, such as video, visitor management and elevators, as well as being able to add functionality like mobile access when they require it. Gallagher technology will continue to feature across the new phases of the King’s Cross development, providing integrated, scalable security solutions to help create a welcoming, secure place for people to work, live and do business in this whole new part of London. “The Gallagher solution has allowed us to future proof our security, ensuring it will evolve with our needs as and when required.”
In the banking world, the threat of unwanted intrusions into premises leading to loss of property and even risk to life is always present. Small wonder then that banking institutions take so much care over their security systems and also over their choice of suppliers for those products. In the retail banking sector, requirements for intrusion detection and related security measures are necessarily more stringent and more specialised than in most other areas of business and commerce. Data capture form to appear here! The banks clearly need to work with suppliers whose integrity is beyond question. They should also be looking for organisations that can offer expert advice, gained through their knowledge of design and manufacturing security products. Systems need specialist installer partners in order to provide a seamless solution. Systems need specialist installer partners in order to provide a seamless solution The special requirements of the banking sector These supplier organisations must also fully understand the special requirements of the banking sector and, ideally, should be able to demonstrate proven experience in that sector. They must also be willing and able to work with the bank as a partner, to find better ways of addressing old threats and to develop effective measures to counter new ones. Video is a big component of providing security, and variable lighting conditions pose a persistent challenge in video surveillance applications such as large banks and financial institutions. Typically, these venues include an abundance of windows. The resulting excessive light can damage video image quality, by flooding the image plane of the surveillance camera. Dramatic differences between light and dark areas complicate the ability of video cameras to view someone standing in the shadows. A contrasting lack of windows at teller stations can result in dim lighting, equally damaging video image quality, in critical surveillance areas where clear, detailed images are needed the most. Stark contrasts between white and black levels in video images can obliterate faces and finer details of a subject when in a darker area. Particularly, this happens when a person is amid dark internal lighting, with his/her back to the sun. Data capture form to appear here! A new network architecture When upgrading a bank’s digital security system, a new network architecture needs to be created. Usually, this means switching from DVRs to NVR servers. As a result, network switches attach to the camera allowing for easier future system expansion. Along with the newly gained scalability, throughput performance on servers can achieve significantly higher levels. Servers, networking and workstations provide enterprise-quality performance for all financial projects, regardless of size. Servers, networking and workstations provide enterprise-quality performance for all financial projects Implementing a complete video solution with high-performance servers, modern networking protocols and powerful workstations is now possible in financial institutions, even for small projects. Servers, networking and workstations provide enterprise-quality performance for all financial projects, regardless of size. Software is also part of the solution. A new software platform helps banks and credit unions simplify, modernise, and automate security, surveillance and fraud investigations across their enterprise. The platform eases the daily challenges security investigators face. It simplifies and reduces the time to access live and recorded video through an intuitive interface, empowering users to quickly find the data needed to eliminate risks while increasing productivity. With an enhanced user experience, investigators can reduce training time, align investigation workflow, streamline video sharing, and focus on more critical tasks. The fraud and security challenges banks contend with can be overwhelming, but prompt action is necessary to limit the damage that can greatly affect customers, employees, and the brand. When an incident occurs, investigators must turn to innovative security tools to be able to swiftly locate and analyse data. But these solutions are typically complex to use and manage. Investigators must turn to innovative security tools to be able to swiftly locate and analyse data Changing work environments The changing work environment of financial institutions is impacting security needs. A credit union in Australia operates an innovative, modern working environment that utilises flexible workspaces in place of traditional desks. Staff are not allocated a specific desk but instead choose where they wish to sit each day. To facilitate the operation of the flexible work environment and provide employees with storage for their personal effects (work-related material is stored elsewhere), the credit union uses banks of brightly colored lockers that are managed by electronic access control. Using Gallagher’s smartcard, multi-technology T20 and T10 readers on each locker bank, staff badge their access card to open their allocated locker. With the readers communicating with Gallagher’s Command Center software management platform, the credit union has a simple-to-operate, customisable system that enables staff to carry just one card on site. Read part one and part three of our banking security mini series.
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