Bosch Intruder Alarms: Communicators & Communication Systems(10)
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In 2017, IoT-based cyberattacks increased by 600%. As the industry moves towards the mass adoption of interconnected physical security devices, end users have found a plethora of advantages, broadening the scope of traditional video surveillance solutions beyond simple safety measures. Thanks in part to these recent advancements, our physical solutions are at a higher risk than ever before. With today’s ever evolving digital landscape and the increasing complexity of physical and cyber-attacks, it’s imperative to take specific precautions to combat these threats. Video surveillance systems Cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind When you think of a video surveillance system, cybersecurity is not usually the first concern to come to mind, since digital threats are usually thought of as separate from physical security. Unfortunately, these two are becoming increasingly intertwined as intruders continue to use inventive methods in order to access an organisation's assets. Hacks and data breaches are among the top cyber concerns, but many overlook the fact that weak cybersecurity practices can lead to physical danger as well. Organisations that deploy video surveillance devices paired with advanced analytics programs often leave themselves vulnerable to a breach without even realising it. While they may be intelligent, IoT devices are soft targets that cybercriminals and hackers can easily exploit, crippling a physical security system from the inside out. Physical security manufacturers Whether looking to simply gain access to internal data, or paralyse a system prior to a physical attack, allowing hackers easy access to surveillance systems can only end poorly. In order to stay competitive, manufacturers within the security industry are trading in their traditional analogue technology and moving towards interconnected devices. Due to this, security can no longer be solely focused on the physical elements and end users have taken note. The first step towards more secured solutions starts with physical security manufacturers choosing to make cybersecurity a priority for all products, from endpoint to edge and beyond. Gone are the days of end users underestimating the importance of reliability within their solutions. Manufacturers that choose to invest time and research into the development of cyber-hardening will be ahead of the curve and an asset to all. Wireless communication systems Integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future Aside from simply making the commitment to improve cyber hygiene, there are solid steps that manufacturers can take. One simple action is incorporating tools and features into devices that allow end users to more easily configure their cyber protection settings. Similarly, working with a third party to perform penetration testing on products can help to ensure the backend security of IoT devices. This gives customers peace of mind and manufacturers a competitive edge. While deficient cybersecurity standards can reflect poorly on manufacturers by installing vulnerable devices on a network, integrators also become complicit in any issues that may arise in the future. Just last year, ADT was forced to settle a $16 million class action lawsuit when the company installed an unencrypted wireless communication system that rendered an organisation open to hacks. Cybersecurity services In addition, we’ve all heard of the bans, taxes and tariffs the U.S. government has recently put on certain manufacturers, depending on their country of origin and cybersecurity practices. Lawsuits aside, employing proper cybersecurity standards can give integrators a competitive advantage. With the proliferation of hacks, malware, and ransomware, integrators that can ease their client's cyber-woes are already a step ahead. By choosing to work with cybersecurity-focused manufacturers who provide clients with vulnerability testing and educate end users on best practices, integrators can not only thrive but find new sources of RMR. Education, collaboration and participation are three pillars when tackling cybersecurity from all angles. For dealers and integrators who have yet to add cybersecurity services to their business portfolios, scouting out a strategic IT partner could be the answer. Unlocking countless opportunities Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organisation is the first step Physical security integrators who feel uncomfortable diving headfirst into the digital realm may find that strategically aligning themselves with an IT or cyber firm will unlock countless opportunities. By opening the door to a partnership with an IT-focused firm, integrators receive the benefit of cybersecurity insight on future projects and a new source of RMR through continued consulting with current customers. In exchange, the IT firm gains a new source of clients in an industry otherwise untapped. This is a win for all those involved. While manufacturers, dealers and integrators play a large part in the cybersecurity of physical systems, end users also play a crucial role. Becoming educated on the topic of cybersecurity and its importance for an organisation is the first step. Commonplace cybersecurity standards Below is a list of commonplace cybersecurity standards that all organisations should work to implement for the protection of their own video surveillance solutions: Always keep camera firmware up to date for the latest cyber protections. Change default passwords, especially those of admins, to keep the system locked to outside users. Create different user groups with separate rights to ensure all users have only the permissions they need. Set an encryption key for surveillance recordings to safeguard footage against intruders and prevent hackers from accessing a system through a backdoor. Enable notifications, whether for error codes or storage failures, to keep up to date with all systems happenings. Create/configure an OpenVPN connection for secured remote access. Check the web server log on a regular basis to see who is accessing the system. Ensure that web crawling is forbidden to prevent images or data found on your device from being made searchable. Avoid exposing devices to the internet unless strictly necessary to reduce the risk of attacks.
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.
Across the country, law enforcement officers are finding it increasingly difficult to respond to the near overwhelming number of calls coming from security alarms. Police departments commonly define a false alarm as a call, which upon investigation, shows no evidence of criminal activity, such as broken windows, forced doors, items missing, or people injured. While false alarms bog down police, they can also negatively impact customers and integrators. End users can expect hefty fines for false alarm responses, and when these customers receive large bills from the city, many turn to installers, dealers, and even manufacturers expecting them to accept the responsibility and pay the bill. What first brought the issue of alarm verification to your attention? It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight I’ve been aware of the problem of false alarms for about 5 years. I believed audio capture, through microphone deployment, could be an active part of the solution when used as a second source for indicating ‘out of the norm’ activity and as an equal component with the video surveillance technology. In 2015, I found similarly minded security professionals when introduced to the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response. After reading PPVAR’s paper on ‘Audio Verified Alarms Best Practices; [April 2015],’ I knew that the Partnership was on to something important. In our lives, two of the five senses we count on day-in and day-out are sight and sound. It is crucial to both see a situation and concurrently listen to any corresponding sounds to gain full insight. What is the false alarm rate? In 2016, the International Association of Chiefs of Police reported that over 98 percent of all alarm calls in the United States were false. This number is obviously staggering, and something we need to work towards correcting. Why did this issue resonate so strongly with you? When I first investigated this issue, I was sure that the security industry would have already recognised this and was acting to ensure improved alarm verification, preferably through a combination of audio and video technologies. However, I quickly saw that this was not the case, or even close to the norm. I have questioned the rationale behind the lack of adoption and found the deployment of audio is often hindered by the concern of privacy. I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio As CEO of Louroe Electronics, I’ve spearheaded many initiatives to explain the monitoring policies surrounding audio. I’ve had to reassure many security personnel and customers how the law supports the use of audio in public places as long as there is no expectation of privacy. By dispelling fears with facts around deploying and implementing audio sensors, customers can confidently include audio in their surveillance systems and gain a more effective security solution. Who is affected by this? Truth be told, everyone from the end user to the manufacturer is affected by this issue. Not to mention the strain this puts on law enforcement who are tired of ‘wasting time’ and effort out in the field on these nuisance alerts. When an end user receives a bill for their false alarm, many of them will immediately blame the integrator and or the monitoring center for a faulty set up and management and expect the integrator to remedy the situation, including carry the burden of paying the fines. The integrator, on the other hand, will turn to the manufacturer, assuming faulty equipment and installation instructions; therefore, looking for reimbursement for the cost. What is the average false alarm fee? It depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for responseIt depends on many factors, and especially your first responder assigned location for response. According to the Urban Institute, fees generally range from $25-$100 for the first offense, rising as high as a few thousand dollars per false alarm if a location has a large number in a single year. What’s worse, in extreme cases, alarm systems may even be blacklisted by the police dispatch center if they have raised too many false alarms in the past. Why do you believe audio is the ideal technology for secondary source verification? Video surveillance has been the main option for security monitoring and alarm validation for decades, however industry professionals are realising that video alone is not enough. Video only tells half of the story, by adding audio capture, the responsible party gains a turnkey solution with the ability to gather additional evidence to verify alerts and expand overall awareness. In reality, audio’s range is greater than the field of view for a camera. Sound pickup is 360 degrees, capturing voices, gunshots, breaking glass, sirens, or other important details that a fixed camera many not see. How would a secondary source verification system work with audio? Using a video monitoring solution equipped with audio, the microphone will pick up the sounds at the time a visual alert or alarm is triggered. If embedded with classification analytics, the microphone will send alerts for specific detected sounds. The captured audio, and any notifications are immediately sent to the monitoring station, where trained personnel can listen to the sound clip, along with live audio and video from their station. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response From here, an informed decision can then be made about the validity of the alarm, along with what the current threat is at the location. If the alarm is in fact valid, the information is then passed along to the law enforcement within minutes. When law enforcement receives a validated alarm, they can better prioritise the response. It also provides more information in a forensic evaluation. Are there any additional resources you would suggest looking into? Yes, we would suggest looking into the following to see a few different perspectives on the matter: NSA Support For 2018 Model Ordinance For Alarm Management and False Alarm Reduction Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response Support for the Term “Verified Alarm” and Prioritising Verified Alarm Responses Urban Institute Opportunities for Police Cost Savings without Sacrificing Service Quality: Reducing False Alarms
The Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA), an industry body comprised of leaders, influencers and innovative organisations from all facets within the security, safety and building automation space, celebrates its one-year anniversary. Within its first 12 months, OSSA attracted 30+ members ranging from device manufacturers, software developers and system integrators to distributors and system on a chip (SoC) companies – helping lay the groundwork for improved security, safety, building automation and business intelligence solutions. Open security and safety ecosystem We’re truly pleased at the progress achieved in just our first year by establishing an open security and safety ecosystem" “Through OSSA, we have competing and complementary institutions reaching across aisles and stepping outside of their brands to work together to push our whole industry into a new, more prosperous and efficient direction,” said Johan Jubbega, President, Open Security & Safety Alliance. “We’re truly pleased at the progress achieved in just our first year by establishing an open security and safety ecosystem comprised of 30+ renown companies, and having a market-changing digital marketplace and first commercially available video security camera offerings underway for year two as the Alliance continues to provide guidance and interpretation of common standards and specifications to promote more intelligent, productive solutions for users.” Operation and maintenance of products Currently, security and safety solutions are fragmented and there is no collaborative approach to systems working together for bigger-picture success. Large amounts of data are left untapped in siloed systems that through cooperation can instead be utilised for better living, safety and security purposes. OSSA’s mission is to work with market players to all start from the same ‘recipe’ when it comes to the development, deployment, operation and maintenance of products, software and services. The Alliance’s vision is that the majority of the security and safety industry works with a common, vendor-agnostic operating system (OS) and IoT infrastructure – and agrees to implement or adhere to common approaches defined for common challenges like data security, privacy, product performance and easy consumption of data across multiple solutions. Collaborative digital marketplace They also started to define the common approaches and establishment of a shared IoT infrastructure This will substantially fuel usability and trust when it comes to security and safety solutions that are built on the foundations set forth by OSSA. From there, companies can differentiate through apps by way of a collaborative digital marketplace – similar to how we all access/download/use applications between an app store and our smart phones and other digital devices. Already within its first year, OSSA member companies created the first common Technology Stack specification including the definition of a common operating system for video security devices. They also started to define the common approaches and establishment of a shared IoT infrastructure, including a digital marketplace. This framework allows the trapped – and mostly unused – data captured by any brand of device to be unleashed and available for good purpose. It also reduces friction when conceiving, deploying and maintaining security and safety devices, systems and settings and inspires innovation by opening the doors to data interpretation and possibilities. This platform revolution that OSSA envisions will benefit everyone involved. Significant outputs from Alliance workgroups Significant outputs from Alliance workgroups over the past 12 months include: Documentation of a common Technology Stack including the definition of a common vendor-agnostic OS. First description of a common market approach to data security and privacy. OSSA member Security and Safety Things GmbH (SAST) realised a first version of its OS as set forth in the common Technology Stack defined by OSSA – enabling the creation of prototype cameras. Together with SAST’s first open app store for security cameras, various innovative applications were showcased this year from ISC West 2019, IFSEC 2019 and GSX 2019. The commercial launch of the platform is planned for Q1 2020. OSSA members fulfilled their first prototype cameras based on the commonly defined Technology Stack and OS, and showcased them throughout 2019 at ISC West, IFSEC and last week from GSX. Change for the betterment of the industry The Open Security & Safety Alliance’s five founding companies – Bosch Building Technologies, Hanwha Techwin, Milestone Systems, Pelco™ and VIVOTEK Inc – are joined by 25+ other inventive international players that currently comprise the OSSA member roster. The Alliance is designed to include everyone and offers membership levels to meet the needs of companies big or small. Benefits of joining OSSA include access to the Alliance framework and the ability to connect, discuss, influence and collaborate with other Alliance members to steer change for the betterment of the industry.
One of the common characteristics of trade shows is booths with walls and walls of new products. Sometimes exhibitors seem intent on displaying everything in their portfolio, even though the displays appear cluttered and may not be welcoming. In an age of system sales, in particular, the emphasis on products can seem off kilter. Discussions with exhibitors at this year’s GSX show reveal a new awareness of the need for less cluttered booths, but the equipment walls persist. Here’s a review of Day 2 from the show floor. Allegion embrace more open booth design At GSX 2019, Allegion is among the exhibitors embracing a new, more open booth design that encourages engagement with customers and puts less emphasis on product displays. Discussions at the Allegion booth have centred around the value proposition and lower complexity of network-connected access control systems. The approach has been gaining a higher profile at Allegion since the company acquired Isonas, whose system configuration involves a reader-controller connected to the network via power-over-Ethernet cable. “Customers are also asking about Bluetooth technology and mobile applications,” said Jonathan Mooney, Allegion sales leader. Allegion is looking to deploy the Isonas software in other products in their portfolio; it will be offered in the range of Schlage wireless locks by the middle of 2020.The benefit of the cloud and network is to remove a lot of complexity and unnecessary costs for access control" “The benefit of the cloud and network is to remove a lot of complexity and unnecessary costs for access control,” said Mooney. Bosch offer complete security solution Bosch is introducing 55 new products at GSX 2019, but when it comes down to it, the company’s overarching message is not about individual products but about how they can be combined into a larger system. “At the end of the day, the message from Bosch is ‘how do I create a complete security solution?’” said Paul Garms, Bosch Director, Regional Marketing Security. “That’s what we are trying to demonstrate: How do all these things integrate?” Most of interest to attendees are actual demonstrations, which are a unique aspect of the trade show experience. “It’s nice at a show where we can really demonstrate what we are talking about when we say ‘integrated solution,’” said Garms. “And people can say, ‘oh yeah, if I trip this video analytic, the speaker will warn me I am approaching a restricted area.’ Or, when the manager signs in on the intrusion panel, now the associate can access a door he wasn’t able to before. It’s that integration and the complete solution that resonates. People are also interested in new products. At a show, they like to see them in operation.” At the Bosch booth, there is a big wall that illustrates some integration possibilities. An array of cameras was among the 55 new products introduced by Bosch, which also emphasised systems. Machine learning and advanced video analytics One implementation featured on the wall is Bosch’s Camera Trainer machine learning system. The system can “train” a camera to recognise a car in a parking lot, for example. Among the new Bosch products is the Autodome 7000i, the next generation of a best-selling camera, now with H.265 encoding and analytics such as line crossing. There is also an outdoor panoramic camera that is adjustable to 180-degree or 360-degree views. The new, less expensive 3000i series cameras provide an affordable option with edge analytics and Bosch’s data security protection included. Integration from Honeywell as well as 'the bigger picture' At Honeywell Security Group, Senior Product Manager G. Eric Green said the show seems to be much better attended than last year, “and we have had a lot of interest in our products.” Even end-user attendees typical of the GSX show are interested in the details of technology, as well as “the bigger picture,” commented Green. “Some of our booth visitors want to get into the weeds,” he said. “They say they want this piece of hardware. But they also also interested in the big picture. How things are interacting is very important.” Honeywell announced the 30 Series IP cameras, which can be used as part of video systems that comply with National Defense Authorization Act Section 889" “Most customers have installed products from other vendors that they expect us to work with. So integration is always at the top of the list. Can you work with these guys? Do you have an API? Do you support this piece of equipment? We always hear that a lot,” said Green. “There are customers who want best-in-breed products, but they’re not necessarily concerned about that coming from one manufacturer,” he said. “Other customers want ‘one throat to choke.’ When something goes wrong, they don’t want any finger-pointing.” Web-based security console and frictionless access control Honeywell is showing a beta version of its Pro-Watch 5.0 product, which is coming out in Q1 next year. It is an integrated security console that provides a map view of access control, video management, intrusion and other third party systems. The web-based platform offers access to each element, all controlled by permissions. “We are also building in an incident workflow engine that allows an operator to see exactly what steps he should take when something occurs as defined by the supervisor or a security director,” said Green. “It can literally walk you through, and it is completely freeform. Whatever you want it to say, it will say. This works in conjunction with access control, video, and all the things we talk to.” The Honeywell booth was a busy place on day two of GSX 2019 Another new Honeywell product is the OmniAssure Touch reader, a “frictionless” device that can read a credential off a smart phone in a user’s pocket. The user merely touches the reader, and it scans the area for a nearby mobile device that is authorised, and you can walk through the door. Honeywell also announced the 30 Series IP cameras, which are encrypted and can be used as part of video systems that comply with National Defense Authorization Act Section 889. They are made in Taiwan. Arcules' cloud security solution “There are fewer people here at GSX 2019, but we have seen a lot of really big companies looking for a cloud service,” said Andreas Pettersson, CEO of cloud video company Arcules. At previous shows, questions about the cloud often seemed out of curiosity. Now, potential customers are more decisive: They say “we want to move to the cloud.” Pettersson theorised that concerns about a possible weakening economy may prompt some companies to avoid the large capital expenditure of procuring a new on-premise system and instead opt for the minimal investment needed for a cloud system. Monthly operating expenses of a cloud system are also predictable and more easily managed, said Pettersson.At previous shows, questions about the cloud often seemed out of curiosity. Now, potential customers are more decisive Arcules is proactive on the subject of cybersecurity and has a two-page handout that summarises the cybersecurity advantages of their system. They are eager to talk about cybersecurity as it relates to cloud systems, said Pettersson. He said that, in his experience, on-premise systems tend to have more cybersecurity issues, whether because ports are left open or a firewall is implemented incorrectly. Users may also seek to bypass the firewall — a dangerous practice that is not an option with cloud systems. Security patches may not have been implemented; in a cloud system, such updates are pushed out automatically. The recurring monthly revenue (RMR) aspect of cloud systems are a windfall to integrators who embrace the cloud. “One integrator said he went on vacation for the first time in years because he had the extra money coming in,” said Pettersson. Control room integration from Vistacom "We're still fairly new to GSX, as our first show was 5 years ago, but what we have noticed is that the show continues to attract valuable attendees and drive critical conversations around what companies like ours must bring to the table in order to be successful in this space," said Dan Gundry, Director of Sales and Marketing, Vistacom. "We've had so many chances to learn from and share with potential customers and partners, and as a result, we continue to forge great relationships.” Vistacom is highlighting its control room integration and the value enterprise organisations can gain from implementing one in their facility. The company works alongside end-user customers and security integrators to build a command centre space, taking into account video wall display technology, operator consoles and furniture, audio and lighting considerations, as well as temperature and more, in an effort to optimise these centres. Stay tuned for the full GSX 2019 show review.
For the security market, the ‘fine ranging’ capabilities of ultra-wideband (UWB) technology opens up a range of new uses based on the ability to determine the relative position and distance of two UWB-equipped devices with pinpoint accuracy – within centimetres. UWB is more accurate and secure, even in challenging environments full of interference, compared to narrow band wireless technologies. UWB technology transmits a large amount of data over short distances using a small amount of energy. It will be used in seamless access control, location-based services, and device-to-device services across industries including smart homes, cities, retail services, and healthcare. Increasing the accuracy of ranging measurements UWB technology will support any application that benefits from knowing the precise location of a connected deviceUltra-wideband is a mature radio technology that transmits information spread over a large bandwidth, as described by the IEEE 802.154 standard. A new, enhanced amendment to the standard – IEEE 802.15.4z – focusses on improvements to existing modulations to increase the integrity and accuracy of ranging measurements. Moving forward, UWB technology will support any application that benefits from knowing the precise location or presence of a connected device or object. This reflects a move from data communication to secure sensing. New capabilities of UWB are largely unfamiliar to the market, but a new Consortium – the FiRa Consortium – has a mission to educate the market, provide use cases, and promote UWB technology. Delivering interoperability across devices “With a consortium, we can better deliver interoperability across devices, software, and chipsets,” says Ramesh Songukrishnasamy, Director and Treasurer of the FiRa Consortium, and SVP & CTO of HID Global. “This creates a frictionless experience for the user, which is vitally important with a new technology. People are more likely to adopt emerging technology when it runs smoothly without interruptions or errors.” The FiRa consortium is ensuring new use cases for fine ranging capabilities can thrive" An industry consortium can create a UWB ecosystem of interoperable technologies instead of individual companies launching products that consumers struggle to make work together, says Songukrishnasamy. “Simply, the FiRa consortium is ensuring new use cases for fine ranging capabilities can thrive.” Founding members of the FiRa consortium ASSA ABLOY and HID Global, pioneers in secure access and identity solutions, are founding members of the consortium. Their technology manages access to physical and digital places, things, and identities. Another founding consortium member, NXP Semiconductors, is a pioneer in secure connectivity solutions for embedded applications. Other founding members are Samsung, which creates top-of-the-line TVs, smartphones, wearables, and other connected devices; and the Bosch Group, a global supplier of technology and services that is at the forefront of IoT innovations. Sony Imaging Products & Solutions Inc., LitePoint and the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA) are the first companies to join the newly formed organisation. Immune to radio frequency interference UWB is also immune to radio frequency interference, so it functions in high traffic settingsUWB introduces higher levels of accuracy in positioning capabilities and increased security for ranging data exchange compared to existing technologies. Fine ranging with UWB technology can localise devices and objects to 10 centimetres of accuracy with or without line of sight. UWB is also immune to radio frequency interference, so it functions in high traffic settings. These capabilities will enable a variety of use cases like secure, hands-free access control in hospitals, location-based services for ride sharing, and targeted marketing for retailers. FiRa will demonstrate UWB technology at upcoming trade shows. The FiRa Consortium aims to build on IEEE’s work with an interoperable high rate physical layer (HRP) standard, including defining an application layer that discovers UWB devices and services and configures them in an interoperable manner. The consortium also plans to develop service-specific protocols for multiple verticals and define necessary parameters for applications including physical access control, location-based services and device-to-device services. Promoting the adoption of UWB solutions As a consortium, FiRa is not just setting standards but actively championing use cases for UWB technology. Creating the consortium addresses the need to develop interoperability and implementation standards; brings key players together to create a rich UWB ecosystem; allows for the sharing of intellectual property; and promotes the adoption of UWB solutions. The FiRa Consortium is committed to educating and promoting new use cases" “Since UWB is a mature technology with new potential uses, there is a general lack of awareness of potential applications that take advantage of the technology,” says Songukrishnasamy. “The FiRa Consortium is committed to educating and promoting new use cases.” The FiRa name comes from Fine Ranging to highlight UWB technology’s use cases and distinction from older UWB technologies and solutions. Enhanced security in challenging environments Fine ranging powered by UWB can outperform other technologies in terms of accuracy, power consumption, robustness in wireless connectivity, and security, especially in challenging, high density environments. UWB previously served as a technology for high data rate communication and as such was in direct competition with Wi-Fi. Since then, UWB has undergone several transformations: UWB has evolved from an OFDM-based data communication to an impulse radio technology specified in IEEE 802.15.4a (2ns pulses with Time of Flight); and A security extension being specified in IEEE 802.15.4z (at PHY/MAC level) makes it a unique secure fine ranging technology. Moving from data communication to secure ranging allows ‘spatial context capability’ to be utilised by a variety of applications: seamless access control, location-based services, and device-to-device (peer-to-peer) services. Information is available at firaconsortium.org.
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