Intruder warning devices - Expert commentary

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

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

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

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

Can we prevent active shooters through AI technology?
Can we prevent active shooters through AI technology?

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

Latest Pyronix Limited news

Pyronix provides a small hygiene kit with every control panel to ensure installers safety during COVID-19 pandemic
Pyronix provides a small hygiene kit with every control panel to ensure installers safety during COVID-19 pandemic

As part of Pyronix’ ongoing commitment to support their valued customers, they’re now providing a small hygiene kit with every control panel. Introducing hygiene kit This small hygiene kit includes a mask, gloves and an alcohol wipe, to help their installers return to work safely during this uncertain time, while providing them and their customers with added reassurance. “We’ve introduced the hygiene kit as a free of charge item which installers can find in their control panel kits when purchasing through distribution. We want to help our customers get back to work safely and it will hopefully go some way into aiding our installers to adhere to government guidelines when returning to work,” Laurence Kenny, Pyronix Marketing Manager, said. Adhering to government guidelines As people across the country begin to go back to work, Pyronix has taken the step to help its installers do so as safely as possible. The hygiene kit is included as standard with every control panel to ensure installers are taking the necessary precautions to protect not only themselves, but their customers too. “The current situation around COVID-19 presents new challenges to all businesses. Whilst the hygiene kit we supply is not medical grade and shouldn’t replace installers carrying out proper assessments with regards risk within their business, we want to help our customers as much as possible to adhere to government guidelines when returning to work in people’s homes and businesses,” Laurence said.

Pyronix launches GAP initiative to help installation businesses grow
Pyronix launches GAP initiative to help installation businesses grow

Focused on Revenue, Knowledge and Branding, whether its profitable new cloud services, specialist ‘how to’ training or simply making a company stand out from the competition, GAP has what a business needs for success. Pyronix has launched their ‘GAP’ initiative, in an effort to help installers and their businesses grow, by working smarter and building their brand.   Key areas  Providing free tools to make an installer’s business grow faster, GAP focuses on taking a smarter approach to business performance, identifying three key areas:   Revenue - ‘Not all clouds are grey’ With an emphasis on providing superior tools for installers, in order to develop and grow their business, with offerings including PyronixCloud, an evolving product range, and additional value-added services; there’s something that all installers can benefit from with GAP. Built with businesses in mind, Pyronix can help installers grow and excel.   Knowledge - ‘Knowledge is Power’ Pyronix believes knowledge within the industry is key to being a leader, which is why they devised a knowledge-focused branch of GAP. Focusing on installation and product knowledge, and how installers can gain and use this to their advantage. Enabling them to accelerate ahead of the competition and be the best.   Brand - ‘Make Yourself Famous’ GAP guides installers by providing brand focused tools and tricks, to make their brand stand out. Encouraging installers to look at customised products and sales tools, GAP will soon also introduce the new Pyronix Personal Print Portal. Providing a one-stop solution for designing and ordering promotional materials, Pyronix is set to demonstrate the importance of an installer’s brand and presence within the market.   Helping installers grow business  Laurence Kenny, Pyronix Marketing Manager commented, “This new initiative highlights the additional commitment Pyronix wants to make to installers. We want to help them grow their business and thrive within the industry.”  We feel that this is a really positive step towards helping installers of Pyronix intruder systems" “This initiative is flexible and built with several interchangeable drivers, all designed to suit an installer’s business needs, whether they’re an experienced installer or just starting out.”  Brand marketing tools  He continued, “We feel that this is a really positive step towards helping installers of Pyronix intruder systems, guiding them through multiple aspects for business success, including recurring revenue business models, branding and training elements within their business. This initiative will provide practical tools installers need, to help them go that little bit further and realise their potential.”  “We’re very excited to see the uptake in GAP and showcase our revenue, knowledge and brand marketing tools, providing the best platform to both new and existing installer businesses within the industry.”   For any installers who would like to develop their brand and business, GAP has the needed tools. 

Pyronix adds ProControl app to enhance installation value for video verification
Pyronix adds ProControl app to enhance installation value for video verification

Pyronix is delighted to provide even more value and capabilities to installers and users alike, with the addition of video verification to ProControl+. Now, using our Enforcer V10 control panel, Wi-Fi cameras and security and life safety peripherals, the system can be tailored to detect, notify and verify any activity. “We’re really pleased to add this latest feature to our ProControl+ app,” said Pyronix Marketing Manager, Laurence Kenny. "Video verification delivers fantastic upsell opportunities to video monitoring for our installers, while providing greater functions for the user; showing them exactly what activity has triggered an event or alarm.” The addition of video verification enables the linkage of Pyronix Full-HD Wi-Fi cameras to inputs on the system via the PyronixCloud. This simple setup process adds greater scope to security; providing a 25 second video clip directly to the user via ProControl+ when an event or alarm activation occurs. The clip, which can be downloaded and stored as an MP4 file, shows 15 seconds pre-alarm and 10 seconds post-alarm; allowing the user to truly verify the activation, before taking appropriate action. Voice push notification  Whether it’s an existing system or maintainance, service can be offered to provide greater selling options for installers" For example, should an intruder be detected by an XDL12TT-WE outdoor detector, a push or voice push notification will be received by the user through their ProControl+ app, via the Enforcer V10 and PyronixCloud infrastructure. If this detector has been linked to an outdoor Mini Dome camera surveying the area, the user will also be provided with the 25 second video from the linked camera to verify the alarm. “By adding this new feature, we’re giving installers new services to offer their customers; expanding the security offering by providing real tangible benefits across both residential and commercial applications to users,” Laurence commented. "So, whether it’s an existing system, a maintenance visit or a brand-new installation, this added-value service can be offered to provide greater selling options for the installer and greater functions for the user. Simple to setup and deliver via the PyronixCloud, we want to make sure we continue to proactively provide more features, functions and capabilities via ProControl+.” Video verification for applications With video verification already added to ProControl+, more developments are in the pipeline “Now, the system not only alerts the user via voice push notification, but also shows exactly what activity has taken place on the system, so that appropriate action can be taken. Our objective is to continue to extend the potential of every installation and the level of function and value it adds to installers and users alike and we intend to do this as seamlessly and easily as possible.” Linking cameras with inputs can be set up to deliver video verification for various applications across the entire security system, from setting and unsetting, indoor detection, shock sensors and outdoor detectors, to life safety sensors, door and window contacts and even panic, hold-up and medical alerts; providing additional product upsell opportunities. With video, voice push notifications and now video verification already added to ProControl+ and many more developments in the pipeline, now’s the time to make the switch.