Education security applications
An initial investment of $100 million launched the first American public university campus in Mexico: Arkansas State University Campus Queretaro (ASUCQ). Within five years of its 2017 opening, around 7,500 staff and students are expected to use the site, including campus accommodation for up to 1,500 students. To accompany such a high-profile development, the university needed security and access control systems with a trusted and proven track record protecting staff, students and other univers...
Founded in 1871, Fulton County School System is the fourth largest school district in Georgia, United States. It consists of 101 schools and administrative support buildings, including 67 elementary schools, 19 middle schools, 17 high schools and eight charter organisations. Fulton’s mission is to provide a safe and secure environment for its more than 96,000 students and more than 12,000 full-time employees. To help enhance safety Search Technology at more than 100 schools, Fulton has in...
Headquartered in a designated facility, the Compton Unified School District (USD) Police Department is committed to providing a safe and secure educational environment for students, staff, and parents. It strives to prevent criminal or delinquent behaviour that has a negative impact on the educational process within the schools and community. Located in a suburban Los Angeles community with a high crime rate, Compton USD is among the 75 percent of schools that have adopted video surveillance so...
VMS software and IP products from Hikvision, a supplier of innovative video surveillance products and solutions, are now being used by the Government of Gujarat Directorate of Technical Education (DTE), to protect and administer education facilities and services across Western India. A government organisation that provides qualitative and higher level technical training for students from a diverse mix of financial and social backgrounds, the Directorate of Technical Education’s (DTE) goal...
The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a rich history of innovation. Since its founding in 1984, the facility has become one of the world’s leading public aquariums and ocean conservation organisations. Monterey Bay Aquarium has produced significant insights into the life history of sharks, sea otters, and bluefin tuna. The aquarium also was the first to exhibit a living kelp forest, and in 2004 it was the first to successfully exhibit and return to the wild a young great white...
The Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) was founded in 1898 by the k. k. Ministerium für Cultus und Unterricht as the "k. k. Exportakademie". At that time, tuition was being given in the following relatively modern fields: Foreign languages, economics, business affairs, economic geography, public law, private law and consumer affairs. Relocation to Vienna Due to steadily increasing numbers of students, the WU had to relocate to various sites in Vienna several times in it...
From satellite imagery to street views to indoor mapping, technology has disrupted our past world. This has left us dependent upon new ways to visualise large spaces. This new world has brought many benefits and risks. But what does that mean for the security professional or facility manager today and what technologies can be used to secure buildings and improve facility operations? A brief history of 3D technology Starting May 5, 2007 (inception 2001), Google rolled out Google Street View to augment Google Maps and Google Earth; documenting some of the most remote places on earth using a mix of sensors (Lidar/GSP/Radar/Imagery). The mission to map the world moved indoors May 2011 with Google Business Photos mapping indoor spaces with low cost 360° cameras under the Trusted Photographer program. In the earlier days, 3D scanning required a high level of specialisation, expensive hardware and unavailable computing power With the growth of 3D laser scanning from 2007 onwards, the professional world embraced scanning as effective method to create digitised building information modelling (BIM), growing fast since 2007. BIM from scanning brought tremendous control, time and cost savings through the design and construction process, where As-Built documentation offered an incredible way to manage large existing facilities while reducing costly site visits. In the earlier days, 3D scanning required a high level of specialisation, expensive hardware, unavailable computing power and knowledge of architectural software. Innovation during the past 8 year, have driven ease of use and lower pricing to encourage market adoption. Major investments in UAVs in 2014 and the commercial emergence of 360° photography began a new wave of adoption. While 3D scanners still range from $20K – $100K USD, UAVs can be purchased for under $1K USD and 360° cameras for as low as $100. UAVs and 360° cameras also offer a way to document large spaces in a fraction of the time of terrestrial laser scanners with very little technical knowledge. Access to building plans, satellite imagery, Google Street View, indoor virtual tours and aerial drone reconnaissance prove effective tools to bad actors The result over the past 10+ years of technology advancement has been a faster, lower cost, more accessible way to create virtual spaces. However, the technology advances carry a major risk of misuse by bad actors at the same time. What was once reserved to military personal is now available publicly. Access to building plans, satellite imagery, Google Street View, indoor virtual tours and aerial drone reconnaissance prove effective tools to bad actors. Al Qaeda terror threats using Google Maps, 2007 UK troops hit by terrorists in Basra, 2008 Mumbai India attacks, 2016 Pakistan Pathankot airbase attacks, ISIS attacks in Syria using UAVs, well-planned US school shootings and high casualty attacks show evidence that bad actors frequently leverage these mapping technologies to plan their attacks. The weaponization of UAVs is of particular concern to the Department of Homeland Security: "We continue to face one of the most challenging threat environments since 9/11, as foreign terrorist organisations exploit the internet to inspire, enable or direct individuals already here in the homeland to commit terrorist acts." Example comparison of reality capture on the left of BIM on the right. A $250 USD 360° camera was used for the capture in VisualPlan.net software What does this mean for the security or facility manager today? An often overlooked, but critical vulnerability to security and facility managers is relying on inaccurate drawing. Most facilities managers today work with outdated 2D plan diagrams or old blueprints which are difficult to update and share.Critical vulnerability to security and facility managers is relying on inaccurate drawing Renovations, design changes and office layout changes leave facility managers with the wrong information, and even worse is that the wrong information is shared with outside consultants who plan major projects around outdated or wrong plans. This leads to costly mistakes and increased timelines on facility projects. Example benefits of BIM There could be evidence of a suspect water value leak which using BIM could be located and then identified in the model without physical inspection; listing a part number, model, size and manufacture. Identification of vulnerabilities can dramatically help during a building emergency. First Responders rely on facilities managers to keep them updated on building plans and they must have immediate access to important building information in the event of a critical incident. Exits and entrances, suppression equipment, access control, ventilation systems, gas and explosives, hazmat, water systems, survival equipment and many other details must be at their fingertips. In an emergency situation this can be a matter of life or death. Example benefit of reality capture First Responders rely on facilities managers to keep them updated on building plans A simple 360° walk-through can help first responders with incident preparedness if shared by the facility manager. Police, fire and EMS can visually walk the building, locating all critical features they will need knowledge of in an emergency without ever visiting the building. You don’t require construction accuracy for this type of visual sharing. This is a solution and service we offer as a company today. Reality capture is rapidly becoming the benchmark for facility documentation and the basis from which a security plan can be built. Given the appropriate software, plans can be easily updated and shared. They can be used for design and implementation of equipment, training of personnel and virtual audits of systems or security assessments by outside professionals. Our brains process visual information thousands of times faster than text. Not only that, we are much more likely to remember it once we do see it. Reality capture can help reduce the need for physical inspections, walk-throughs and vendor site-visits but more importantly, it provides a way to visually communicate far more effectively and accurately than before. But be careful with this information. You must prevent critical information falling into the hands of bad actors. You must watch out for bad actors attempting to use reality capture as a threat, especially photo/video/drones or digital information and plans that are posted publicly. Have a security protocol to prevent and confront individuals taking photos or video on property or flying suspect drones near your facility and report to the authorities. Require authorisation before capturing building information and understand what the information will be used for and by who.There are a number of technologies to combat nefarious use of UAVs today Nefarious use of UAVs There are a number of technologies to combat nefarious use of UAVs today, such as radio frequency blockers and jammers, drone guns to down UAVs, detection or monitoring systems. Other biometrics technologies like facial recognition are being employed to counter the risk from UAVs by targeting the potential operators. UAVs are being used to spy and monitor for corporate espionage and stealing intellectual property. They are also used for monitoring security patrols for the purpose of burglary. UAVs have been used for transport and delivery of dangerous goods, delivering weapons and contraband and have the ability to be weaponised to carry a payload.Investigating reality capture to help with accurate planning and visualisation of facilities is well worth the time The Federal Aviation Administration has prevented UAV flights over large event stadiums, prisons and coast guard bases based on the risks they could potentially pose, but waivers do exist. Be aware that it is illegal today to use most of these technologies and downing a UAV, if you are not Department of Justice or Homeland Security, could carry hefty penalties. Facility managers must have a way to survey and monitor their buildings for threats and report suspicious UAV behaviours immediately to authorities. At the same time, it’s critical to identify various potential risks to your wider team to ensure awareness and reporting is handled effectively. Having a procedure on how identify and report is important. Investigating reality capture to help with accurate planning and visualisation of facilities is well worth the time. It can help better secure your facilities while increasing efficiencies of building operations. Reality capture can also help collaboration with first responders and outside professionals without ever having to step a foot in the door. But secure your data and have a plan for bad actors who will try to use the same technologies for nefarious goals.
They say that every choice has a cost. It's a basic principle that, economically speaking, nothing is free. If it doesn't cost actual money, it may be expensive in terms of time, attention and/or effort. These are interesting observations to keep in mind as one peruses the various "free" video management system (VMS) offerings available on the market. Some are provided by camera companies to unify their products into a "system", even if it's a small one. Other free VMS offerings are entry-level versions offered by software companies with the intent of the customer upgrading later to a paid version. For more insights, we asked this week's Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the value of “free” video management systems (VMSs) and how can a customer decide whether “free” is the right price for them?
Market dynamics are changing the U.S. residential security market, creating new business models that better appeal to the approximately 70% of households without a security system. Smart home adjacencies have helped revitalise the traditional security industry, and alternative approaches to systems and monitoring for the security industry are emerging, including a new batch of DIY systems. Growth in the residential security market and its position as the channel for smart home solutions have attracted numerous new entrants. Telecoms, cable operators, and CE (consumer electronics) manufacturers are joining traditional security players as they compete to fulfill consumer demand for safety and security. Connected products also provide a layer of competition as consumers must decide whether having category devices such as doorbell video cameras, networked cameras, and other products suffice for their security. Increasingly competitive landscape Smart home services can provide additional revenue streams for the security industry For instance, IP cameras are a highly popular smart home device rooted in security, and Parks Associates estimates 7.7 million standalone and all-in-one networked/IP cameras will be sold in the U.S. in 2018, with $889M in revenues. Product owners may feel their security needs are fulfilled with this single purchase, as such dealers and service providers are under increasing pressure to communicate their value proposition to consumers. Categorically, each type of player is facing competition uniquely—national, regional, and local dealers all have a different strategy for overcoming the increasingly competitive landscape. Smart home services can provide additional revenue streams for the security industry. In Parks Associates’ 2017 survey of U.S. security dealers, 58% report that smart home service capabilities enable extra monthly revenue. Almost half of dealers also note they have to offer smart home devices and services in order to keep up with their competition. While white-label devices are acceptable in some instances, dealers need to integrate with hero products whenever possible when those exist for a category. For dealers who have added smart home devices and services are all potential benefits and good for business Improved customer engagement That 2017 survey also revealed 36% of security dealers that offer interactive services report security system sales with a networked camera and 16% report sales with a smart thermostat. For dealers who have added smart home devices and services, enhanced system utility, increased daily value, and improved customer engagement with the system are all potential benefits and good for business. Security has served as the most productive channel for smart home solutions, mainly because the products create natural extensions of a security system’s functions and benefits, but as smart home devices, subsystems, and controllers expand their functionality, availability, and DIY capabilities, many standalone devices constitute competition to classical security. Particularly viable substitute devices include IP cameras, smart door locks, smart garage doors, or a combination of these devices. Products that are self-installed offer both convenience and cost savings, and these drivers are significant among DIY consumers—among the 6% of broadband households that installed a security system themselves, 39% did it to save money. Enhance traditional security Self-installable smart home devices may resonate with a segment of the market who want security While many security dealers believe substitute offerings are a threat, some dealers do not find such devices an existential threat but instead view them as another path to consumer awareness. They argue that the difference between smart product substitutes and traditional security is that of a solution that provides knowledge versus a system that gives one the ability to act on that knowledge. A common theme among professional monitoring providers is that a homeowner who is aware of events happening in the home does not necessarily have a secure and protected household. For example, a Nest camera, a DIY product, notifies a consumer via smartphone about events in the home when it detects motion, but only when the notification is opened and identified will a consumer be able to act on the related event. Self-installable smart home devices may resonate with a segment of the market who want security but are unwilling to adopt professional monitoring; however, providers can leverage these devices to enhance traditional security features and communicate the value of professional monitoring. Smart home devices and features, while posing a threat to some security companies, are a potential way forward to increased market growth Increased market growth A key counterstrategy for security dealers and companies is to leverage their current, powerful role as the prime channel for smart home devices. Many security dealers now include smart home devices with their security systems to complement their offerings and increase system engagement. For example, as of Q4 2017, nearly 70% of U.S. broadband households that were very likely to purchase a security system in the next 12 months reported that they want a camera to be included as part of their security system purchase. In response, many security system providers now offer IP cameras as optional enhancements for their systems. Smart home devices and features, while posing a threat to some security companies, are a potential way forward to increased market growth. Security dealers have an opportunity to become more than a security provider but a smart home solutions provider rooted in safety. Provide status updates Comcast has entered both the professionally monitored security market and the market for smart home services The alternative is to position as a provider of basic security with low price as the key differentiator. Comcast has entered both the professionally monitored security market and the market for smart home services independent of security. It has discovered that monetising smart home value propositions through recurring revenue becomes increasingly challenging as the value extends further away from life safety. Since the security industry remains the main channel for smart home services, security dealers are in a unique position to leverage that strength. Value propositions must shift from the traditional arming and disarming of a system to peace-of-mind experiences that builds off the benefits of smart devices in the home to provide status updates (e.g., if the kids arrived home safely) and monitoring at will (e.g., checking home status at any time to see a pet or monitor a package delivery). These types of clear value propositions and compelling use cases, which resonate with consumer and motivate them to expand beyond standalone products, will help expand the home security market.
Last week, the Schedule 84 Suppliers Research Panel participated in reviewing the 2018 contracting year with the GSA Schedule 84 leadership team. Our panel group consists of experienced contractors and consultants meeting for a monthly conference call. Schedule 84 is the GSA Schedules Contract for Total Solutions for Law Enforcement, Security, Facilities Management, Fire and Rescue. Our opinions are part of a research programme to provide valuable feedback to the GSA Schedule 84 programme and on to the GSA central office. The director of GSA Region 7 Schedules Program, the Schedule 84 Branch Chief and the Category Manager Subject Matter Expert who manages our suppliers' panel gave us their full attention as we discussed the successes of the programme, hot topics, problems and the future. We determined 2018 under the Schedule 84 team to be a year of innovative thoughts, cooperative effort and renewed enthusiasm Innovative review team We determined 2018 under the Schedule 84 team to be a year of innovative thoughts, cooperative effort, renewed enthusiasm and productive changes building upon the successes of 2017. There was high praise for the accessibility to the Schedule 84 staff. Their consistent quick response to questions and concerns, thinking outside the box and supporting the programme by partnering with their contractors was much appreciated. There has been a renewed spirit of partnering to cooperatively bring the best to agency customers. It seems to be working as per the Centre Director sales are growing for GSA Schedule 84. Advocating for the security industry In my experience, business development starts with the Administrator from Region 7 in Ft. Worth, TX. As the annual Schedule 84 Industry Day at the SSAC begins he is shaking every hand and passing out his cards looking folks right in the eye asking, “how can I help you?” They have the best practices and most organised paperwork. The SSAC director has chosen well in her staff and is hands-on in every endeavour to direct things along when challenges occur or to improve the programme. The new 84 Branch Chief is knowledgeable, innovative, tireless and has been heavily involved in advocating for the security industry It continues with the centre’s CASE Manager encouraging the contractors at events, visiting agency customers and promoting the GSA Schedules Program by helping coordinate the partnering. The new 84 Branch Chief is knowledgeable, innovative, tireless and has been heavily involved in advocating for the security industry for adding new technology, meeting with industry associations, understanding the complexity and challenges of Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD12) and advocating for the purchasing Physical Access Control Systems (PACS) utilising the appropriate standards and the GSA Program among other innovations. As far as the supplier panel, we gave our GSA Schedule 84 team and leaders high praise for 2018. GSA also added new categories or SINs for clearly identifying Physical Access Control Products that appear on GSA’s Approved Product List Changes in the GSA programme Some changes this year in certain GSA programmes included the creation of a new category of products/services Special Item Number (SIN) for Order Level Materials (OLM) developed to assist with solution procurements. This new SIN was added to Schedules 03FAC, 56, 70, 71, 00Corp, 738X and 84. Under Schedule 84 it is SIN 84-500. GSA Schedule 84 consolidated many Special Items Numbers (SINs) to make finding products and services less complex Essentially this SIN allows agencies procuring under the aforementioned GSA Schedules’ programmes to purchase and the contractor to add items and services not known prior to the task as a Contract Line Item Number (CLIN) not to exceed 33% of the order. For more information and FAQs on OLMs go to www.gsa.gov/olm. This is not to take the place of “Open Market” items for adding products only that are not listed on a company’s GSA Contract. Physical access control products Previously, GSA Schedule 84 consolidated many Special Items Numbers (SINs) to make finding products and services less complex for the agencies. GSA also added new categories or SINs for clearly identifying Physical Access Control Products that appear on GSA’s Approved Product List according to the standards created under FIPS201. These products appear under SIN 246 35-7 after being tested and approved by GSA. To be qualified to install these products under the GSA Program at least one individual from the GSA Contractor company must complete the class and be CSEIP certified before applying for labour SIN 246 60-5. Additionally, the company must demonstrate certain qualifications and have past performance for this type of work. The Security Technology Alliance offers the training class and certification. Certified individuals and approved products are listed at www.idmanagement.gov. Companies listed with SIN 246-35 7 and SIN 246-60 5 may be found by searching at www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov. Updates to guidance for procurement Updates to guidance for procurement of PACS will continue to be posted to the GSA PACS Ordering Guide Updates to guidance for procurement of PACS will continue to be posted to the GSA PACS Ordering Guide. The ordering guide posted at www.gsa.gov/firesecurity is a valuable support tool created to assist agencies with understanding the requirements of FIPS201 and procuring a PACS. The guide includes relevant regulations, FAQs, sample systems designs, sample statements of work, a list of key points of contract for additional help and questions. In partnership with GSA and guided by the GSA Ombudsman group, the Security Industry Association and the Security Technology Alliance members and their contractor companies participated in a GSA Reverse Industry PACS Training Day on September 17, 2018. We presented from an industry perspective important fact on PACS system requirements, procurement planning, providing information on resources and further educating with panel discussions, individual presentations and amusing skits to over 300 Government agency staff and acquisition specialists. You can find some of the unedited recording of the PACS Reverse Industry Day Training on YouTube. Some changes included the creation of a new category of products/services Special Item Number (SIN) for Order Level Materials (OLM) GSA Schedules Program A hot topic about the GSA programme for 2018 was also an issue for the prior year. The GSA Schedules Program is a streamlined contracting vehicle incorporating specific Federal Acquisition Regulations for more efficiently purchasing commercial items. Companies may apply per a continuous open season for a 5-year contract with three 5-year options to renew. Contractors are vetted for past performance, corporate experience and financial capability. Products and services are considered for offering to Federal, State and Local customers (for Schedule 84) with pricing that is determined to be fair and reasonable through negotiations with GSA. To make the determination for fair and reasonable pricing GSA carefully reviews the commercial practices of the contractor To make the determination for fair and reasonable pricing GSA carefully reviews the commercial practices of the contractor as well as the competition of identical or similar item pricing. The most vocal complaint of concern from the contractors was regarding the consideration of competitor contractors offering identical items with out-of-date pricing or holding a Letter of Supply not authorised by the manufacturer. GSA pricing tool Since the GSA utilises a pricing tool to determine if the pricing offered is competitive, a rogue competitor can cause a pricing action to possibly be rejected due to out of date information even as the manufacturer offers an update of the product. This is an issue on all GSA Contracts that the supplier panel hopes will be reconsidered by GSA policymakers at the central office. Most of us believe the Letters of Supply should only be issued by the manufacturer or with documented specific permission of the manufacturer to a reseller. Manufacturers may want to have a better understanding of the Letter of Supply, how it is considered by GSA and more carefully choose their Government partners for experience and compliance. Another challenge for the security community is regarding the lack of accessibility of participating dealers to GSA eBuy Overcoming challenges for the security community Contractors may only see RFQs which are posted under the Special items Number(s) that were awarded to their GSA Contract Another challenge for the security community is regarding the lack of accessibility of participating dealers to GSA eBuy. GSA eBuy is an online Request for Quotation (RFQ) programme that is for GSA Contract holders only. Agencies will post their requirements by Special Item Number for at a minimum 48 hours. Contractors may only see RFQs which are posted under the Special items Number(s) that were awarded to their GSA Contract. GSA Participating Dealers may take orders on behalf of a manufacturer if they are authorised under the manufacturer’s GSA Contract. They may also have an online PO Portal to receive orders. But they have no access to GSA eBuy to response to RFQs. Usually, under these arrangements, the manufacturers do not respond directly, so there is a problem using GSA eBuy for opportunities as their GSA Participating Dealers have no access to respond. GSA Schedule 84 leadership In some instances, a contracting officer may allow an emailed quotation. However, with the use of the electronic ordering system, this has become a common problem we hope to bring to the attention of policymakers. Some changes to the programmes may make the presentation of documentation more effective going forwardThe GSA Schedule 84 leadership has been helpful to explain the challenges to the agencies to try and resolve such issues. So, what’s up for 2019? GSA modernisation is coming. There will be improvements to their tools and more consolidations of SINs and more. There have been discussions of a revival of the GSA Expo. The Expo offered training for contracting staff both Government and private industry. Valuable tools for vendor training Equally important is the networking, meetings and the exhibits of the contractors. Expos have been discontinued since 2012 but smaller events have been growing as well as online webinar training. Webinars are valuable tools for GSA and vendor training, but they do not take the place of being able to meet your customers face-to-face. GSA online eOffer and eMod programme have made processing actions more efficient. Some changes to the programmes may make the presentation of documentation more effective going forward. The GSA online website for viewing the items on the GSA Contract and for purchasing items, GSA Advantage could definitely use an update as it has been basically the same for 20 years. Keep an eye on GSA Interact for the latest happenings with GSA.
One of the biggest recent security divestitures in the news was the sale of Mercury Security to HID Global, which occurred around a year ago. The seller in that transaction was ACRE (Access Control Related Enterprises), also the parent company of Vanderbilt and ComNet. We recently spoke to founder and CEO Joe Grillo, a 30-year industry veteran, about the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market, ACRE’s future, and new opportunities opened up by the Mercury sale. Q: What’s new with ACRE? Grillo: We have an opportunity to have organic growth and to have some scale on a global basis to be a decent size player" ACRE is a company I founded in 2012, and since then we have had six acquisitions and one divestiture. We’ll never focus on ACRE as a brand, but we currently have more visibility of ACRE as a parent company with our two strong brands, ComNet and Vanderbilt. Last year was a very busy year [with the sale of Mercury Security to HID Global] because it takes as long to sell a brand as to buy one, maybe more so. Q: What’s next? Grillo: What you are seeing from us this year is that we are again in a buying mode. No announcement yet, but we expect one by the end of the year. We are well-funded, have great partners, and see an opportunity to continue to grow acquisitively as our highly fragmented space of access control continues to consolidate. From the standpoint of ACRE, with the ComNet and Vanderbilt brands, we are also doing more integration on the backside – not what the customer sees. We will continue to grow toward a $200 million business. We were there when we owned Mercury, and we will get there again. We have an opportunity to have organic growth and to have some scale on a global basis to be a decent size player. Because ACRE are owned by a private equity company, we are brought into every opportunity: ComNet is a good example" Q: Do you see the M&A market being more competitive – more companies looking to acquire? Grillo: There’s a lot of money chasing not-so-many deals, so evaluations can get expanded. But as interest rates creep up, it is definitely a challenge to find the right valuation, the right financing and the right strategic fit. It is a very strategic market. Q: There have been some big acquisitions lately. Were you guys involved at all in evaluating those opportunities? Grillo: Because we are owned by a private equity company, we are brought into every opportunity. An example of that was ComNet. I would not have been aware that the founder passed away two years ago and that there was this opportunity to own the business. So we look at everything; anything that’s out there we look at. The biggest recent announcement in our world was S2 (being sold to UTC/Lenel), and, yeah, we looked at that. It didn’t fit our profile – it was too expensive. Great business, and it’ll be interesting to see how it fits into the UTC environment. There was also Isonas [which was recently sold to Allegion], but the size didn’t add enough scale, but I like the technology. ComNet sells communication networking solutions and products, which is more attractive than video systems for ACRE Q: So what are you looking for in an acquisition? Grillo: It’s hard for us to find something that moves the needle, and you have to find that right balance. Is it something we can digest and have the financing for, and also is there room on the back end? We are private equity-owned, so we know there will be an exit for our investors, too. So we have to find the right balance, good valuations, the right size and digestible. If you look at our acquisitions, we have done two “carve outs.” The Vanderbilt name didn’t exist until we bought the business from Ingersoll Rand, and then we bought the [intruder] business from Siemens. That’s how Vanderbilt came about. You get a lot of value when you carve out a business, but there’s a lot of work. In the case of Mercury or Access Control Technology (ACT) that we acquired; they were growing and profitable but they stretch your finances a lot more. So you have to find the right mix in there. Q: Does video interest ACRE at all? Grillo: We have to find the right balance, good valuations, the right size and digestible"ComNet is our video play. ComNet sells communication networking solutions and products, and 70 to 80 percent of that is used for video systems. But unlike cameras, which don’t interest us, it’s actually good margins, highly specialised repeat business and with good channel partners. So where are we going to play? Cameras – no (because of commoditisation). We have some recorder technology (from the Siemens acquisition) and we have the communication networking technology (with ComNet). On the software side, we have looked at a lot of the VMS companies, and a lot of them have been on the market. But the valuation expectations can be high because they are software companies. And we really believe in partnering as a good thing, too. If we integrate to Milestone or Salient or some of these companies, we will never lose an access control client because they chose a particular VMS. Q: ACRE is also looking to grow organically, isn’t it? Grillo: From a technology perspective, we are a product company and we are continuing to bring new products to the market with the ComNet communication networking business and the access control business. And in Europe, we have a third leg of the stool, which is the very successful intrusion and burgular alarm business we acquired from Siemens (SPC products now sold under the Vanderbilt brand). That business continues to do well and is now one of the highest performing segments in our portfolio.The intrusion and burgular alarm continues to do well and is now one of the highest performing segments in our portfolio" Q: But you don’t have to own a company to make it part of your solution. Grillo: An important word is integration. We have to integrate to all the wireless locks. We have to integrate to the VMS systems. But we don’t have to own them. Q: How has the Mercury Security divestiture impacted the rest of your business? Grillo: It has opened up the opportunity for us to look at Mercury partners as possible acquisition targets without worrying about conflicts with the very good business of Mercury. We have more flexibility now compared to the Mercury era. Q: How will the economic cycle impact the security market? Grillo: Interest rates are a much bigger issue than the overall economic cycle. We talk a lot about it with our owners – clearly interest rates are tightening up. If you go out to do acquisitions or to borrow money to do something with your business, it will be tougher than it was two years ago, and it may get worse in the next two years. Security is less impacted by the economic cycle than some industries.
In the simplest terms, video systems capture and record video. But supporting these basic operations are a growing number of other functions that expand usefulness and the ability to interact with related elements in a larger system. As video system functionality expands, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the most important function of a CCTV system and why?
Given the choice, would you rather run security at a bank vault or at a student halls of residence? At least the bank job is straightforward: Keep the money inside, and everyone else out. If only protecting hundreds of young people was so easy. Securing student accommodation Student accommodation blocks are usually large, with high traffic moving from bedrooms to common areas, canteens and libraries. A single resident travelling between her room, a study area, the gym and a couple of trips offsite would use secure doors 15 times a day. In a residence housing just 200 students, that’s 3,000 daily events for the access system to handle. Rapid student turnover puts a further admin burden on facility managers. Imagine, among hundreds of students living at the halls, just a handful leave or arrive each semester. That’s a couple of manual key handovers to schedule every week, and to chase if a key-holder fails to appear. If keys are not handed in, is a room really secure for its next occupant? And how can you know if one has been copied? With physical keys and mechanical locks, security lacks flexibility, and it’s impossible to get a site overview without a time-wasting manual key audit. Today’s students, tomorrow’s secure solutions Mechanical security is not the answer, because mechanical locks don’t offer the control or flexibility managers need. There’s no real-time monitoring, and you can’t generate detailed audit trails for locks or users, meaning there’s no easy way to track unauthorised access — in cases of a theft, for example. The current crop of students — so-called “Generation Z” — were raised as digital natives. They expect convenience as a standard feature, not a mechanical solution first used in Ancient Egypt. In Europe’s increasingly international, marketised higher education system, attracting these tech-savvy students and keeping them satisfied with the campus experience are critical.A wireless access control system like SMARTair™ solves admin problems with a combination of control and cost-effectiveness The SMARTair™ wireless access system is built to meet the challenges of securing a student residence: A system needs the product and software robustness to handle so many users, high traffic, and fast resident turnover. SMARTair™ has it. A system should make student life easier with cards, rather than keys. SMARTair™ does. A system should secure more than just doors, including cabinet locks and devices to protect secure areas like car parks. SMARTair™ does. A system must be easy to upgrade in the future, both adding new doors and upgrading the functionality of the devices already installed. SMARTair™ is; it future-proofs your investment. A system should be able to handle additional student services like the vending machines and canteen on the same credential card as the room door lock. SMARTair™ can. Swapping mechanical for wirelessA wireless access control system like SMARTair™ solves admin problems with a combination of control and cost-effectiveness. It is based on battery-powered locks and is easy to retrofit wirelessly to existing premises or incorporate in a new-build. Installers simply swap the existing mechanical lock for a wireless device and link the door to the management software. Slim, robust SMARTair™ devices can secure almost any opening. Escutcheons (with optional keypad for added security) are ideal for student bedrooms, and fit wood or glass, emergency exit and even fire doors. Available with or without PIN entry, SMARTair™ wall readers can filter lift, main door or car park access. The SMARTair™ knob cylinder is easy to retrofit to management offices; you just replace an existing mechanical cylinder with the SMARTair™ device. For storing belongings, SMARTair™ cabinet and locker locks are configurable in the same system without the need for an extra module. With SMARTair™, students come and go using programmable smart cards, tags, or even the secure SMARTair™ mobile app — not a cumbersome, easy-to-lose key. SMARTair™ devices support all major RFID technologies. Plus, students only need carry one credential to open their door and access additional onsite services. A single card to unlock their room, secure their belongings inside a locker, enter the library, pay for photocopying and buy lunch makes sense for them. It’s another step to boosting resident convenience.Because SMARTair™ devices run on standard batteries, the system is also cost-effective for accommodation providers And because SMARTair™ devices run on standard batteries, the system is also cost-effective for accommodation providers. Already trusted by students all over Europe SMARTair™ is already making life easier for student residence managers all over Europe, including at Mezzino’s Rialto Court in Middlesbrough, UK. “We are so pleased with the result. We are already looking to adopt the access control system for the other student accommodation properties we manage nationwide,” says James McGrath, Mezzino’s co-owner and director. At Funway Academic Resort in Madrid (www.funwayresort.com), student rooms are locked with SMARTair™ escutcheons. Energy-saving wall devices inside rooms regulate electricity use, and students have an individual safe fitted with a SMARTair™ cabinet lock. Students and staff open all their authorised doors with the same access card: the Funway gym, study rooms, games rooms, swimming pool and changing rooms, spa and staff areas are also locked with SMARTair™ escutcheons. “The system meets the expectations we had and offers very easy maintenance,” says Mario Arias, Facility Manager at Funway. To discover how SMARTair™ can upgrade student security and put you in total control of your halls of residence, visit www.tesa.es/smartair-students
The Ottawa Elementary School District is in Ottawa, Illinois, a river town 80 miles southwest of Chicago. The district consists of five schools, the campuses of which include Jefferson Elementary School, Lincoln Elementary School, McKinley Elementary School, Shepherd Middle Schools, and the Jefferson Elementary “Art House” building. In the spring of 2015 a variety of issues caused the schools’ administration to determine that they needed a surveillance system upgrade. The district’s IT director Kyle Olesen met with Nick Melnyk of systems integrator Ficek Electric & Communication Systems and the Arecont Vision regional sales team, ultimately sparking a major collaboration to redesign the surveillance systems used by all their schools. No formal coverage strategy The district had been using mostly analogue cameras for its school surveillance. The original cameras had been placed throughout the five campuses without a formal coverage strategy, greatly hindering the usefulness of the surveillance system. This prevented key areas from being effectively monitored and the images that were provided by the analogue cameras were of low quality. New challenges presented themselves as the project continued. With five completely different locations to work with, it was clear that the project would be a long-term one. It was imperative that the installation efforts be planned accordingly. Part of planning was to treat each school as a separate project with its own surveillance coverage layout and system requirements. Education session on IP technology Such a long undertaking also meant staffing challenges. The project manager changed five months into the project, resulting in the bidding process to be undertaken a second time. A The school then hired Chicago-based Architecture and Engineer company to help facilitate the project. Arecont Vision delivered educational sessions to bring the new firm up to date on IP megapixel camera technology. The Ottawa School District approved the installation of Arecont Vision cameras in all five locations in July 2016 During the first meeting with the district in 2015, the IT director was introduced to Arecont Vision megapixel single- and multi-sensor cameras. The end user was impressed, and a more in-depth meeting was scheduled. This led to walkthroughs at each of the five campuses to outline recommendations for camera locations and models. Detailed layout of coverage area The individual schools were pleased with Arecont Vision’s camera performance during this series of events, and the project continued into the design phase. During this period, the district received a detailed layout for each school. The layouts outlined the coverage area that each camera would provide. After completing the design phase, the systems integrator and the school district participated in the Arecont Vision Try-and-Buy Program. This program provided the end user community with the opportunity to experience Arecont Vision megapixel cameras before committing to a full installation. Impressed with what they saw, the Ottawa School District approved the installation of Arecont Vision cameras in all five locations in July 2016. Solutions installed Exacq Technologies, part of the Security Products business unit of Tyco, was selected as the video management system (VMS) provider. Exacq and Arecont Vision have thousands of joint installations for schools and other surveillance projects around the world. Exacq is a member of the Arecont Vision Technology Partner Program, and their VMS software is available in the Arecont Vision MegaLab certification and support facility for the best possible continued integration. The five schools utilise an array of Arecont Vision products throughout the district. The multisensor, panoramic 180o SurroundVideo and adjustable-view SurroundVideo Omni series provide coverage of large areas such as cafeterias, gyms, and parking lots. Arecont Vision pioneered the multi-sensor surveillance megapixel camera market in 2006, and has continued to lead the industry with new features, performance, and reliability. Now in their fifth generation, SurroundVideo cameras provide coverage with four individual megapixel sensors for superior situational awareness and outstanding image quality. The Arecont Vision camerasare monitored both locallyand remotely by the schools,using the Exacq software Arecont Vision MicroDome G2 series cameras were used for interior areas such as for coverage of hallways and doorways. MegaView 2 series cameras equipped with STELLAR (Spatio Temporal Low Light Architecture) technology were implemented for day and night outdoor coverage. The Made in USA Arecont Vision cameras used by the project are hardened against potential cybersecurity attacks, and cannot be repurposed for malicious purposes, giving the schools an added level of security protection. The Arecont Vision cameras are monitored both locally and remotely by the schools, using the Exacq software. Each school’s administration has access to the cameras monitoring their individual campus, allowing for real-time monitoring throughout the day. Video can be accessed remotely, with playback from any camera using district laptops and tablets. Superior image quality and user-friendly interface “The customer and our company are very satisfied and happy with the quality of the equipment,” said Nick Melnyk, of Ficek Electric and Communication Systems, Inc. “The accessories, the mounts, everything fit very well and works very well. That all comes into play because a lot of times you can be sent cameras with wrong accessories and other things that don’t fit, extending the installation process longer than it needs to be. For this project, installation went very smoothly.” “Arecont Vision provided superior image quality and a user-friendly interface,” continued Mr. Melnyk. “The school district was so pleased with Arecont Vision products that they are now looking to put additional cameras onto to the surveillance systems on most of the campuses.” Upon being asked if Arecont Vision could do anything better in the future, Mr. Melnyk stated, “We are very satisfied with everything we have received from Arecont Vision.”
Edmund Rice, formally Christian Brothers College, was established in 1926 and is an independent Catholic high school for boys located in the heart of the picturesque Illawarra district, to the south-west of Sydney. The founder of the Christian Brothers, Edmund Rice, lends the school its present-day name. Installation of new surveillance system Since 2013 Edmund Rice College has invested millions to bring cutting-edge facilities to their students, including a first-class sports hall, state-of-the-art computing facilities, and new learning spaces both inside and out. The school’s current 1980s analogue security system was only semi-operational and not up to the essential task of protecting these assets. Only authorised members of staff have access to review or download footage, with neither students nor teachers able to do so So, the headmaster called in Dean Scanlen from Forcefield Security to carry out repairs. Dean knew that continuing to repair the increasingly defunct technology was not a long-term solution: "I suggested, why not include the installation of a brand-new security system in the Sports Hall into the construction cost? I explained the savings that would be seen in the long term and how it was a perfect time to incorporate into the larger project.” The decentralised design of the MOBOTIX cameras with intelligent low bandwidth requirements allowed integration into the school’s existing network and MOBOTIX hemispheric technology meant fewer cameras cover larger areas. With licence-free regularly upgraded firmware, and cameras built to last and to stringent quality standards, MOBOTIX technology offered an economical long-term solution and was perfect for the school. Furthermore, as many areas to be covered were internal, the competitive pricing of the indoor range brought even greater savings upfront. "In order to convince them, I suggested that they try out one MOBOTIX camera. They used it for a month, and came back more than happy and ready to go ahead with the entire installation,” Dean explains. MOBOTIX video surveillance solutions A combination of M15s and D15 easily protected the exterior of the building and only a single i25, MOBOTIX hemispheric indoor camera, was needed to cover the entire sports hall arena A modern alarm system was fitted in the Sports Hall and MOBOTIX cameras were installed around the outside and inside of the building. A combination of M15s and D15 easily protected the exterior of the building and only a single i25, MOBOTIX hemispheric indoor camera, was needed to cover the entire sports hall arena. Positive results were seen quite soon afterwards, with the access reliable footage acting to reduce incidences of bullying and fighting. Extremely happy with the installation, the school were eager for the newly refurbished library to be secured next. By this stage the VMS (video management software) had been upgraded to the newly released MxMC (MOBOTIX Management Centre), making installation even simpler. In spite of its size, the library only required 2 indoor hemispheric c25 cameras to monitor the whole area. Q25s and D15s were installed to keep a watchful guard on the entrance and exterior respectively. Thanks to MxMC’s intelligent sorting of all parameters, which supports visual control and drag&drop, installation time was significantly cut. Pros of MOBOTIX decentralised technology MOBOTIX decentralised technology keeps bandwidth requirements extremely low, allowing a secure subnet to be installed on the school’s existing network without causing any extra burden. Indeed, at busy times, such as during class when students are using computer equipment, the cameras delay sending footage, storing it in a buffer designed specifically for this purpose. “IT didn’t even see an imprint of MOBOTIX on their network,” Dean explains. Edmund Rice College can now look to the future with reassurance, knowing that they have a scalable, flexible security system built to last Live monitoring takes place in a local control room performed by security staff, and only authorised members of staff have access to review or download footage, with neither students nor teachers able to do so. Further measures were taken to protect the privacy of students in view of the new system, by disabling all microphones on the cameras during teaching hours. However, at night time, the microphones are switched on through a custom setting, so that the control room can speak to anyone on site using remoteGUARD. Protection against vandalism The cameras have already had their first major win protecting computer equipment from vandalism. “Someone had been swapping the letters over on the keyboards in the computer room,” Dean explains. “Using MxMC, we reviewed the recordings and found perfect footage of the culprits in action. They were reprimanded and asked to pay for new keyboards. It had happened in the past and the school hadn’t been able to catch them, until now.” Edmund Rice College can now look to the future with reassurance, knowing that they have a scalable, flexible security system built to last. MOBOTIX decentralised technology made installation simple, with no new cabling nor additional infrastructure required. This, along with the great coverage provided by hemispheric technology and the lower price point of indoor cameras, meant a sophisticated security system was also affordable. And, because MOBOTIX firmware is licence-free and regularly updated, the school have the reassurance of knowing the system will remain cutting-edge for many years to come.
The high-mount external detector, XDH10TT-AM, showcases the innovation, reliability and quality upon which Pyronix has built its reputation. Usability, adaptability and reliability From the various mounting options and proven Tri-Technology to Anti-Interference Technology, which consists of Anti-Masking and Anti-Blocking, the XDH10TT-AM has been manufactured with usability, adaptability and reliability in mind. Whether a residential, industrial or commercial installation, the XDH10TT-AM maintains maximum performance. For schools, this is the ideal perimeter detector to protect playgrounds and perimeter walls. This provides the peace of mind necessary for knowing that students, as well as school buildings, are safe from unwanted visitors during or after school hours. Tri Signal Detection Logic The detection of human presence is based on the advanced analysis of the activation sequence of the microwave movement sensor and the two independent digital PIR sensors. All three sensors have to activate at the same time in a particular time window to create an alarm. Using tri signal detection logic enhances the detector’s immunity to environmental disturbances. Residential protection In terms of residential protection, the XD also delivers superior security for gardens, drives, exits, perimeter walls or outbuildings. The XDH10TT-AM provides the ultimate external security solution for literally any scenario.
Hult International Business School provides a unique and innovative educational programme based on real market insight to their students all over the globe. Looking for a more efficient class attendance control system on their campuses, Hult took notice of TBS’s touchless, wireless connectable and hygienic 3D technology. TBS’s 3D touchless technology The initial project was originated in Dubai under the guidance of Ahmed El Banna, who said: “The main reason for Hult to select TBS was the reliability of the technology and the team behind it. Among many companies tested, TBS’s 3D technology has successfully proven to be reliable in identifying our most difficult cases. We were applying a system that wasn’t familiar to many companies and that is where TBS’s smart team and personalised customer service around the clock and around the globe came in handy. We were also keen for a software that is easy to use and preferably on the cloud, which we found with TBS.” School administration and students were impressed by how well the devices integrate into the school’s routine and architecture: “The design of the 3D devices has fit our modern premises on Campus as if to measure, which was also an important selection criteria”, says El Banna. The Hult team developed a wirelessly connected kiosk, placed at the entrance of each classroom, ensuring that all students sign in, even if they arrive late. Installation over 3 continents The installation on the Dubai campus served as a persuasive example to Hult’s other locations, spanning over 3 continents. Expansions to their London, Boston and San Francisco school sites were completed maintaining and synchronising the worldwide data in real time. Hult’s new attendance automation system can be extended to any additional location anywhere in the world at any time. This project was realized in collaboration with the Interflex partner NTS for installation in London and global support, Kratos for installation in the US and with the effort of the Hult teams in Dubai, London, and the USA. The solution is scalable and can expand to cover other sites such as the Shanghai campus. The TBS 3D-Terminal is a three-dimensional, contact-free fingerprint sensor, using three integrated cameras for its scanning process. TBS systems is designed in particular for high security and large user groups. It can be used with TBS BioManager software or integrated into any existing security software.
Avigilon Corporation, a provider of trusted security solutions, announces that it has been selected by Fulton County School System, in Atlanta, Georgia, United States, to enhance safety for over 100 schools. Fulton County School System Fulton is the fourth largest school district in Georgia. Its mission is to provide a safe and secure environment for its over 96,000 students and more than 12,000 full-time employees. To help enhance safety, Fulton has installed a full Avigilon surveillance solution that includes Avigilon cameras with self-learning video analytics, Avigilon network video recorders, and Avigilon Control Center (ACC) video management software with Avigilon Appearance Search technology. Fulton is also deploying Avigilon Access Control Manager to secure physical access points, providing an integrated security solution for the district. Avigilon Appearance Search video analytics technology Avigilon Appearance Search video analytics technology uses a sophisticated deep learning artificial intelligence (AI) search engine to sort through hours of footage with ease. This technology allows Fulton’s operators to click on a button and search for all instances of a person or vehicle across all cameras on a site, quickly and efficiently. This can save Fulton time and effort during critical investigations as Avigilon Appearance Search technology intelligently analyses video data, helping to track a person’s or vehicle’s route, and identify previous and last-known locations. “At Fulton County Schools, the safety of our staff and students is paramount,” said Paul Hildreth, Emergency Operations, Safety, and Security for Fulton. “We chose Avigilon because of the capabilities it offers in its advanced video analytics search technologies, including Avigilon Appearance Search. Their analytics are easy to set up and use, and can save us valuable time and effort, ultimately making our schools a safer place for generations to come.” “We designed our artificial intelligence-driven Avigilon Appearance Search technology to change the way people interact with their video surveillance systems,” said James Henderson, Avigilon’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “The Avigilon solution at Fulton County Schools is a great example of how our technology can provide quick and powerful insights to help keep schools safe.”