Consolidation continued in the physical security marketplace in the turbulent year 2020. There were several mega-deals in addition to shuffling among small and medium-sized companies.

Here is a sampling of companies that changed hands this year, compiled from our archive of company news. With the changing economic climate, how much more is ahead in 2021? Stay tuned.

Wesco merges with Anixter

WESCO International, Inc., a provider of business-to-business (B2B) distribution, logistics services and supply chain solutions, announced it completed its merger with Anixter International Inc., creating a premier, global B2B distribution and supply chain solutions company. Anixter becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of WESCO International.

ACRE acquires Razberi

ACRE acquired Razberi Technologies, Farmers Branch, Texas, and the product line of intelligent video appliances, automated security software and health monitoring software will be added to and sold under the ComNet brand and portfolio of products. ComNet will now be selling Razberi products through its established channels.

Motorola acquires IndigoVision

Among the benefits is enhanced geographical reach across a wider customer base

Motorola Solutions says the IndigoVision range of products, global presence and customer base are ‘highly complementary’ to Motorola Solutions' existing presence in video security. Among the benefits is enhanced geographical reach across a wider customer base.

Motorola acquires Pelco

Pelco’s track record of innovation, internationally recognised brand, global channel and customer installed base enable us to further expand our global footprint with enterprise and public safety customers,” said Greg Brown, Motorola Solutions’ Chairman and CEO, about the iconic brand.

Johnson Controls swallows Qolsys

Qolsys Inc., residential and commercial security and smart-home manufacturer, enhances Johnson Controls global innovation platform, delivering next generation security and smart building solutions. JCI had already owned a majority stake in the company since 2014.

ADT and Google Home partnership

The partnership will combine Nest’s award-winning hardware and services, powered by Google’s machine learning technology, with ADT’s installation, service and professional monitoring network to create a more helpful smart home and integrated experience for customers across the United States. Upon the closing of Google’s equity investment in ADT, Google will own 6.6% of ADT’s outstanding aggregate common equity.

Securitas acquires STANLEY in Five Countries

The acquisition is aligned with Securitas’ ambition to double the size of its security solutions

Securitas acquired STANLEY Security’s electronic security businesses in Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Singapore and India. The acquisition is aligned with Securitas’ ambition to double the size of its security solutions and electronic security business and expands Securitas’ electronic security footprint and capabilities.

Allied Universal to Buy G4S

Ending the year on a high note, the boards of directors managing Allied Universal and G4S reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer. The deal brings to a close a six-month bidding war for G4S. The combined business is expected to generate approximately $18 billion in annual revenues with a global workforce of more than 750,000 people in 85 countries.

Quantum acquires Western Digital business line

Quantum Corporation entered into an agreement with Western Digital Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Western Digital Corp., to acquire its ActiveScale object storage business. The acquisition demonstrates Quantum’s commitment to innovation and growth, extending the company’s leadership role in storing and managing video and unstructured data using a software-defined approach.

AVA/Vaion/Jazz Networks

Ava, a unified security company, announced the completion of the merger between Jazz Networks, renowned cyber security insider threat detection and response firm; and Vaion, an end-to-end video security solutions provider. Ava is now positioned to deliver unified cyber and physical security solutions to organisations worldwide.

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Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SourceSecurity.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SourceSecurity.com's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

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Which new buzzwords reflect the security industry’s trends?
Which new buzzwords reflect the security industry’s trends?

As an industry, we often speak in buzzwords. In addition to being catchy and easy to remember, these new and trendy industry terms can also reflect the state of the security market’s technology. In short, the latest buzzwords provide a kind of shorthand description of where the industry is - and where it’s going. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What new buzzword(s) rose to prominence in the security industry in 2020? (And how do they reflect industry trends?)

Maximising effectiveness of thermal cameras for temperature screening
Maximising effectiveness of thermal cameras for temperature screening

Thermal cameras can be used for rapid and safe initial temperature screening of staff, visitors and customers. Used the right way, the cameras can help prevent unnecessary spread of viruses like the novel coronavirus. During the global pandemic, use of thermal cameras has increased, but they have not always been used correctly, and therefore, not effectively. Hikvision’s temperature screening thermal products are currently assisting users in initial temperature screening across the global market. During 2020, demand increased in most markets, and the company highly recommends that Hikvision’s thermographic cameras be used in accordance with local laws and regulations. Limitations of the technology include throughput and the impact of ambient conditions. Detect viruses and fever Hikvision releases a video that illustrates how skin temperature measurements are normalised within minutes Thermal cameras cannot detect viruses and fever and should only be used as a first line of screening before using secondary measures to confirm, says Stefan Li, Thermal Product Director at Hikvision. “We also believe it is important for businesses and authorities to use [thermal cameras] alongside a full programme of additional health and safety procedures, which includes handwashing, regular disinfection of surfaces, wearing protective clothing such as masks, and social distancing.” Hikvision has released a video that illustrates how skin temperature measurements are normalised within minutes after someone emerges from the cold. Mr. Li says the video demonstrates the accuracy of forehead measurement under difficult circumstances when people come inside from a cold outdoor environment. Temperature screening facilities “There have been some claims that measuring the forehead temperature is not as accurate as measuring the inner canthus, and we believe this video demonstrates the accuracy of forehead measurement very well,” he says. “We also illustrate how the skin temperature will experience a process of recovery (warming up), no matter if it is measured by a thermal camera or a thermometer.” Mr. Li adds that people should wait five minutes in such circumstances before starting a temperature measurement. “We hope that stakeholders who are involved in the design of temperature screening facilities and associated health and safety procedures will recognise how important it is to consider the skin temperature recovery time, and that forehead measurement can provide accurate test results,” says Mr. Li. Thermal imaging manufacturers The algorithm is based on a large number of test results to obtain a value that tends to be dynamically balanced The temperature measurement principle of thermal imaging is to detect the heat radiation emitted by the human body. The detected heat value often does not reflect the true internal body temperature of an individual. Furthermore, the temperature varies among different parts of the human, such as the forehead, ears, underarms, etc. A temperature compensation algorithm can be used to adjust the measured skin temperature to align with the internal body temperature. The algorithm is based on a large number of test results to obtain a value that tends to be dynamically balanced. At present, thermal imaging manufacturers in the market, and even forehead thermometer manufacturers, have developed their own algorithms to map the skin temperature measured by the camera to the internal body temperature, so as to compensate the skin temperature to the internal body temperature. Thermal cameras This is also why Hikvision recommends that the "actual body temperature" should be checked with a secondary device for confirmation. The calibration work for a thermal camera is completed in the production process at the factory, including calibration of reference values and detection point and so on. At the same time, the equipment parameters should be adjusted before on-site use to ensure accurate temperature reads. Hikvision does not deny the accuracy of temperature measurement at the inner canthus but prefers forehead temperature measurement and algorithms based on actual use scenarios, says Mr. Li. A large amount of test data and practical results indicates that the forehead is a correct and easy-to-use temperature measurement area, says the company. There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing different facial areas for temperature measurement. Default compensation temperature Two main approaches direct the measurement area and how compensation algorithms are applied: Forehead area + default forehead compensation algorithm value Upper half face (forehead + canthus) + default inner canthus compensation algorithm value. Both methods deploy compensation algorithms, but the default compensation temperature of the inner canthus will be less than the default compensation temperature of the forehead, generally speaking. The reason is that the temperature of the inner canthus of most people is higher than their forehead, so the temperature compensation is relatively low (i.e., closer to the actual temperature inside the body.) Upper face area Hikvision found that selecting the upper face area plus the default compensation value for the inner canthus resulted in situations when the calculated temperature is lower than the actual temperature. For the Hikvision solution, the forehead is a relatively obvious and easy-to-capture area on an entire face Mr. Li explains: “The reason is that when the camera cannot capture the position of the inner canthus (for example, when a person is walking, or the face is not facing the camera), the camera will automatically capture the temperature of the forehead. Then the result that appears is the sum of the forehead temperature plus the default compensation temperature of the inner canthus, which is lower than the actual temperature of the person being measured. Therefore, errors are prone to occur.” Thermal imaging products But for the Hikvision solution, the forehead is a relatively obvious and easy-to-capture area on an entire face. Also, the default forehead compensation temperature is based on rigorous testing and can also correctly mimic the actual temperature of the person being measured, says Mr. Li. After many test comparisons, considering that the results of forehead temperature measurement are relatively more stable, and in order to avoid the false results from inner canthus temperature measurement, Hikvision chose the forehead temperature measurement approach. “We look forward to bringing thermal imaging products from a niche market where there is a relatively high-end industry application to a mass market and serving more users,” says Mr. Li. Facial recognition terminals Additional application parameters can maximise effectiveness of thermal cameras for measuring body temperature: Positioning and height - All cameras must be mounted appropriately to avoid loss of accuracy and performance. The installation height of each camera must be adjusted according to camera resolution and focal length, and stable installation is needed to avoid errors caused by shaking. Ensuring a ‘one-direction path’ - The detection area must ensure that cameras capture the full faces of all those passing by or stopping, and obstacles should be avoided in the field of view, such as glass doors that block the camera. Adequate start-up and usage - A waiting time of more than 90 minutes is required for preheating, after the initial start-up. Before conducting a thermal scan, people should be given three to five minutes to allow their body temperature to stabilise. When Hikvision MinMoe facial recognition terminals are used, people must stand at a fixed distance, pass one by one, make a short stop, and face the camera directly. Hikvision cameras support efficient group screening, but one-by-one screening is suggested for more accurate results, says Mr. Li. Unstable environmental condition An unstable environmental condition may affect the accuracy of thermal camera systems Environmental factors can impact the accuracy of thermal cameras, and the idea of using a black body is to provide the camera with a reference point that has a stable temperature. The black body is heated to a specific temperature and helps the thermal camera to know how much error is caused by environmental factors in the room, and how the camera should calibrate itself in real time to improve its accuracy. A black body can help increase the temperature measurement accuracy, and the most common improvement is from ±0.5 degrees to ±0.3 degrees. However, it also increases the cost of the installation. In some markets, customers may require black bodies in order to comply with regulatory accuracy requirements. An unstable environmental condition may affect the accuracy of thermal camera systems for measuring temperature. Medical temperature measurement Therefore, Hikvision suggests that the ambient conditions should be met for installation and use. First of all, users should avoid installing devices in hot or changeable environments. All cameras require indoor environments with calm air, consistent temperature and no direct sunlight. Installation should also be avoided in semi-open locations that may be prone to changes in ambient conditions, such as doorways, and there should be enough stable, visible light. All devices should be installed to avoid backlighting, high temperature targets, and reflections in the field of view as far as possible. “We often see the misconception that thermal cameras can replace medical temperature measurement equipment, which is not the case,” says Mr. Li. Rapid preliminary screening “Temperature screening thermographic cameras are designed for the detection of skin-surface temperatures, and the measurement should be conducted to achieve rapid preliminary screening in public areas. It is really important that actual core body temperatures are measured subsequently with clinical measurement devices.”

Looking back at 2020: Cloud systems expand in shadow of COVID
Looking back at 2020: Cloud systems expand in shadow of COVID

The cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. Video and access control as a service provides a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success. This article will look back at our articles in 2020 about the growing popularity of cloud solutions for physical security, with links to the original content. Product offering While most people agree on the definition of “cloud,” there are several points about the terminology that may require clarification. Private cloud or public cloud? VSaaS or unlimited storage for video? Beyond the basics, the terms become foggy, reflecting a variety of notions about how cloud services fit into the broader physical security marketplace. As cloud usage becomes more popular, it’s important that marketers be precise in their terminology, and that integrators and end users be diligent in understanding the specifics of available product offerings. Different meanings “The cloud has many different possible connotations, depending on the context,” says Yu Hao Lin of Rasilient Systems, one of our Expert Roundtable panelists. For example, corporate CIOs will more likely understand the cloud to be a private cloud platform. As such, the public cloud is a ubiquitous term while the private cloud is more specified. Cloud system security Security of cloud systems is an ongoing discussion in the industry, especially how cloud system cybersecurity compares to that of on-premise systems. Our Expert Panel Roundtable weighed in on this question. “While both kinds of security systems serve their purpose, it can be argued that the streamlined updates that are commonplace with cloud-based solutions may put them at more of an advantage when it comes to data security,” says panelist Eric Widlitz of Vanderbilt Industries. “Also, most reputable cloud-based solutions are running in secured data centers by companies such as Google, Microsoft or Amazon, so you also get to take advantage of all the security layers they have protecting your data.” Hybrid cloud video security solution A growing list of cloud players reinforces the importance of the cloud in the future of physical security There are several relatively new companies pushing cloud in a big way. Verkada is fast-growing company currently currently focusing to deliver an all-in-one hybrid cloud video security solution powered by edge processing inside the camera. The growing list of cloud players reinforces the importance of the cloud in the future of physical security. Combining AI and cloud video One company investing in the cloud is Eagle Eye Networks, which has raised $40 million of Series E funding from venture capital firm Accel to finance the realisation of their vision to combine AI and cloud video. The money will allow Eagle Eye to continue its steep growth curve and leverage AI on its true cloud platform to reshape video surveillance. “The investment will make video surveillance smarter and safer for end-users,” says Ken Francis, President. Eagle Eye offers an application programming interface (API) to enable the integration of best-in-breed third-party AI and analytics systems to leverage the video. Eagle Eye is also investing in its own AI development and hiring additional development and customer service personnel. Hirsch Velocity Cirrus and MobilisID Identiv introduced the Hirsch Velocity Cirrus cloud-based Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) solution and MobilisID smart mobile physical access control solution. Hirsch Velocity Cirrus is an optimal solution for both end-users and integrators, with lower upfront costs, reduced maintenance, enhanced portability, and the future-proof assurance of automatic security updates and feature sets.  MobilisID is a smart mobile physical access control solution that uses Bluetooth and capacitive technologies to allow frictionless access to a controlled environment without the need to present a credential. Advantages and disadvantages Advantages of cloud-based physical security technologies are many, when supporting staff  The advantages of cloud-based physical security technologies are many, and have wide-ranging applications for all areas of the transport sector; across stations, transport hubs and vehicles. When used to support staff and complement existing processes, such systems can prove invaluable for transport professionals in helping to create a safer working environment, promoting confidence among personnel and passengers, and assuring passengers who are fearful about the current pandemic that all possible precautions are being taken during their journey. 5G supporting cloud-based applications 5G is the first communication environment that is cloud-native. As such, such, 5G networks will support cloud-based applications in a way that 4G, 3G and 2G can’t support. For instance, sensors (e.g. in a manufacturing plant) often have small internal storage and rely on synced devices (e.g. gateways) to interact with the cloud. Soon, these sensors will be able to work more efficiently, interacting with the cloud via the ultra-low latency and the edge computing capabilities supported by 5G networks. Increasing use of IoT Unlike current IoT services that make performance trade-offs to get the best from these existing wireless technologies, 5G networks will be designed to bring the high levels of performance needed for the increasing use of IoT. It will enable a perceived fully ubiquitous connected world, with the boosted capacity offered by 5G networks transferring exponentially more data at a much quicker rate.