Integration of security is a priorty for retail sector managers 
Integration of security systems is a priority for retail sector managers

With the assumed digitalisation happening on the end-user side, progressive security systems integrators stress the importance of changing the business concept from being installers to being service and solution providers. However, less is known about the details of this process on the end-user side, Markus Lahtinen of LUSAX project explains.

An online survey of loss prevention managers in the retail sector showed that security digitalisation and further business integration of security are items of high priority among the respondents. Integration and change efforts are often associated with challenges; it will become necessary for end-users to quantify a clear ‘return' in ‘Return on Investment' (ROI) calculations when bundling security and loss prevention investments with other business supporting systems, e.g. video conferencing, Voice over IP (VoIP) and/or HVAC, etc.

Necessary organisational changes are equally important to achieve integration, for example seeking internal sponsors and approaching departments often characterized as being ‘siloed' in the past.

From security installation services to total solutions providers

Fighting low margins in a mature segment such as retail, security systems integrators aim to move away from being pure installation services to becoming total solutions providers offering services and added value beyond mere security such as taking the full responsibility of an ‘outsourcing' effort on behalf of the end-user and establishing a contractual and legal relationship. This can be exemplified by the need to connect security equipment to an existing IP network. 

Security managers acknowledge that systems integration through IP-networks is here to stay 

The different stage of the system lifecycle offers several opportunities for services beyond the installation.  These include maintenance, upgrading, and system termination. Consequently, the increased use of the corporate IP network drives opportunities that are based on being able to provide more of such value-added solutions and services. Similarly, a purposeful design of computing hardware resources (e.g. networked cameras) combined with appropriate software (cf. different applications of video analytics) and an analytical approach offers opportunities of cost savings on manual labour and possibilities of adding value to the income side of business.

While this transition effort by systems integrators is recognized as being logical from the perspective of the security industry, less is known about the end-user perspective of this shift.

Loss prevention managers' take on security digitalisation

An integrative approach to security saves costs 
Security systems integrated through IP-networks saves on costs

The  survey mentioned above addressed the following points:

  • The end-users' view on security digitalisation and integration
  • Rationalities associated with willingness to digitalise and integrate.

The survey showed that on the topic of integration, end users demonstrated the strongest agreements on the following:

  • Willingess to integrate security systems with other operational systems
  • Necessity of video surveillance to keep shrinkage at an acceptable level
  • Attempt to replace man-guarding with security technology. 

From these agreements it is clear that technology plays a crucial role in security operations.

Technology integration is therefore a shared vision of the future and common interest amongst end-users in the retail sector; this is beneficial for any systems integrator considering inclusion of integration services into their offerings. Also, the agreement reflects the role technology has in replacing manual labour - a valuable lead for constructing business cases and calculating ROI.

On the issue of integrating security systems with other operational systems, the following statistical correlations were identified:

  • With higher age comes an increased likelihood of seeing integration possibilities
  • Firms giving importance to loss prevention also see integration possibilities, and
  • Organisations holding a positive view towards integration are also brandaware with regards to security equipment.

Systems integrators face more responsibility with greater brand sensitivity

Technology plays an increasingly important role in security operations 
End-users in the retail sector stress that technology is playing an increasingly crucial role in the security operations

While the first two point above intuitively make sense, it is somewhat interesting to see that brand sensitivity is associated with a propensity to seeing integration possibilities. Service agreements do not imply a relationship where brands matter but rather that the system integrator takes responsibility in choosing a technical solution that supports the agreed level of service.

This is extremely relevant for the systems integrator attempting to offer services and solutions rather than just products and installation.

Integration is thus seen as an opportunity not only by systems integrators but also by the end users.

Implications for the systems integrator

Some of the implications for systems integrators are to build on the existing relationships with the loss prevention function. The systems integrators also have the option of finding new and parallel ways into the end user organization, i.e. offering services and solutions to other functions like operations (COO), facilities or IT (IT manager or CIO). This becomes even more evident if broader systems integration is a strategic objective of the systems integrators. Working in a network/partnership-approach with other industry players would potentially facilitate such a strategic initiative.

Critical role of IP networks in systems integration

Security managers report that systems integration through IP-networks is here to stay. Not only does it save costs but potential added value is recognized. Integration poses several challenges to the end-user: not only to prove the business supporting value of security but also technical challenges due to the complexity of IP networking and architecture. Finally, complementary organizational changes are necessary to push integration ahead.

One recommendation given to push integration is to construct an integrated business case with hard numbers and clear gains, for example bundling security with other business supporting services such as telephony over IP networks, information security and videoconferencing etc.

Markus Lahtinen, LUSAX Security Informatics  Markus Lahtinen
LUSAX project
Lund University
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Security at sea: where technology benefits marine environments
Security at sea: where technology benefits marine environments

The term ‘marine’ comes from the Latin mare, meaning sea or ocean, and marine habitats can be divided into two categories: coastal and open ocean. Video surveillance (VS) applications can cover both types of marine environment with system for ships, maritime ports, onshore and offshore installations, etc. We should want to further analyse VS for ships and try to explain the types of ships on which it can be used, the ways in which VS can be used on ships, the typical certifications in use and what features a camera station must have to be installed on a ship. Starting with ships that have a minimum tonnage, around the world we have: liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, passengers ships, chemical tankers, crude oil tankers, container ships, general cargo ships and bulk carriers.As the LNG market grows rapidly, the fleet of LNG carriers continues to experience tremendous growth, offering more opportunities for VS Video surveillance for all marine vessels An LNG carrier is a tank ship designed for transporting liquefied natural gas. As the LNG market grows rapidly, the fleet of LNG carriers continues to experience tremendous growth. A passenger ship is a merchant ship whose primary function is to carry passengers by sea. This category does not include cargo vessels which have accommodation for a limited number of passengers, but rather includes the likes of ferries, yachts, ocean liners and cruise ships. A chemical tanker is a type of tank ship designed to transport chemicals in bulk. These ships can also carry other types of sensitive cargo which require a high standard of tank cleaning, such as palm oil, vegetable oils, tallow, caustic soda and methanol.A chemical tanker is a type of tank ship designed to transport chemicals and other types of sensitive cargo, increasing the need for better security An oil tanker, also known as a petroleum tanker, is a merchant ship designed for the bulk transport of oil. There are two basic types of oil tankers: crude tankers and product tankers. Crude tankers move large quantities of unrefined crude oil from its point of extraction to refineries. Product tankers, generally much smaller, are designed to move refined products from refineries to points near consuming markets. Container ships are cargo ships that carry their entire load in truck-size intermodal containers: a technique called containerisation. They are a common means of commercial intermodal freight transport and now carry most seagoing non-bulk cargo. 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How artificial intelligence is aiding first responders in natural disaster relief
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The year 2017 saw some of the worst natural disasters in North America, with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaking havoc on Houston, Texas, and the Caribbean with force of which we haven’t seen before. While many people chose to evacuate these areas, many were left to deal with the devastation and first responders had the difficult job of assessing the damage, rescuing trapped victims and delivering food and supplies. AI-enabled drones and robotics to assess damage In addition, more than 1,800 FEMA employees were deployed to support the hurricane relief efforts along with over 340 workers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.Robots could be vital in ensuring that security is maintained within a disaster zone - and they only cost a quarter of a police officer's salary That’s on top of the resources that were already actively working to save lives in the affected areas, including the Texas National Guard, the entirety of which was activated by Texas Gov. 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Government institutions should utilise VSaaS for an integrated video surveillance system
Government institutions should utilise VSaaS for an integrated video surveillance system

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All video processing is done in the cloud, and all that is required to view the footage is an internet-connected device and a web browser. Retail, health care, education, and transportation all benefit from the flexibility and architecture of VSaas Growing VSaaS providers Solution providers such as Axis Communications, Genetec, and G4S among many others offer VSaaS solutions, and the market is growing. According to IHS Markit, the market is expected to reach $2.3 billion in 2021. VSaaS is a solution with cross-industry appeal. Retail, health care, education, and transportation all benefit from the flexibility and architecture of the solution. But how does VSaaS address the surveillance needs of government institutions? Geographic coverage and access To protect cities and towns, law enforcement must watch over widespread geographic areas. Their work involves monitoring and policing many different neighborhoods, buildings, garages, parks, and walking paths—basically anywhere there is property or people to protect. They rely on video surveillance to help them keep these environments safe. But it’s more than local law enforcement officers who use video footage. From local city officials to federal and state law enforcement agencies, many other people, at times, need access to video footage captured by city surveillance cameras. Centralised remote monitoring How does VSaaS help? VSaaS enables the installation of cameras throughout cities and communities and stream footage to a central location via the Internet. Because the system is centralised, it eliminates the need to manage a lot of different standalone DVRs or NVRs, which enables organisations to monitor a large area from a remote command center. VSaaS enables the installation of cameras throughout cities and communities and stream footage to a central location via the Internet Plus, anyone with proper credentials can access the footage from an Internet-connected device—whether that be a smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. That makes it easier for multiple agencies to work together, which in turn can improve communication and response time to incidents. Budget concerns and flexibility Tight budgets are normal in government. As a result, it’s often a challenge to procure capital for new technology purchases—and that sometimes leads to underfunded projects and difficulty upgrading old technology. VSaaS changes the expense model. It allows you to shift from a capital expenditure (CapEx) model, where large capital funding is required to purchase equipment, to an operational expenditure (OpEx) model, where the costs of the solution become an operating expense. Since the cameras, installation, storage, and software are packaged into a service, you don’t need a large capital outlay up front—you simply pay a predictable expense every month. VSaaS provides the capability for you to increase storage capacity when you need it Feature and storage capacity upgrade features VSaaS also makes it easier to upgrade old technology. When new technology becomes available, you can upgrade to it as part of the service. You no longer have to stick with old technology because of capital budget restrictions. Instead, you can upgrade to better cameras and management software features as they become available. The same is true for storage capacity. As camera resolution increases, the amount of data captured also increases. In addition, with the evolution of smart city technology and big data analytics, video data has become more valuable. As a result, there is a need not only to store more data but also to keep that data accessible for a longer period of time. VSaaS provides the capability for you to increase storage capacity when you need it. You can scale to accommodate growth, and since the storage is delivered as part of the service, you can leverage the “pay for use” model to manage your costs. On-premise storage or hybrid Where should surveillance video be stored? It’s an important question. After all, government entities must always comply with data privacy laws and handle data properly to ensure it can be used as evidence if needed. As a result, officials may prefer to be selective about where they store video data. In fact, the concern over regulatory requirements and security and privacy issues, according to Gartner, will lead governments to implement private cloud at twice the rate of public cloud through 2021. The provider’s ability to store large amounts of data cost-effectively makes VSaaS possible That’s not necessarily a show-stopper when it comes to video surveillance. Some VSaaS providers offer hybrid options. Plus, one of the things that makes VSaaS possible is the provider’s ability to store large amounts of data cost-effectively. Because service providers can manage their storage infrastructures economically, they can offer their service at an attractive price. Multi-tier storage infrastructure In a way, government institutions (as well as commercial organisations) can do the same thing. If a government entity—for example, a small municipality—wanted to store their data on-premise or implement a hybrid configuration, they could solve some of their video storage challenges by implementing a multi-tier storage infrastructure similar to what a VSaaS provider might use to provide the actual service. A multi-tier storage infrastructure uses different storage media—disk, object storage, tape, and cloud—and combines them to deliver the total capacity needed while balancing performance and cost. The diagram below is an illustration of a multi-tier infrastructure: As the diagram shows, storage capacity grows using lower cost forms of media as volume and long-term retention requirements change. Files are moved between tiers based on user-defined policies. When the policies are met, the files are moved to a lower cost tier. Some file systems allow for multiple copies be written at ingest which not only minimises the traffic of moving files across the network, but also provides much needed data protection through a second copy on a lower-cost tier. This scenario enables you to optimise the amount of high-performance media in your infrastructure and lower the long-term cost of retaining files. VSaaS offers many benefits for government institutions and commercial organisations alike Choice of implementations VSaaS offers many benefits for government institutions and commercial organisations alike. But not every implementation has the same needs or requirements. The good news is, when it comes to video surveillance solutions, you have options. You can leverage the benefits of VSaaS, in either a public cloud or hybrid scenario, depending on the service provider. Or if your needs dictate, you can achieve some of the same capacity and cost-saving benefits you would get from a VSaaS solution by implementing an on-premise solution based on a centralised VMS system and multi-tier storage. The choice is yours.