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

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

Cybersecurity: what we can do as an industry
Cybersecurity: what we can do as an industry

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.

What is AI Face Search? Benefits over facial recognition systems
What is AI Face Search? Benefits over facial recognition systems

When a child goes missing in a large, crowded mall, we have a panicking mom asking for help from the staff, at least a dozen cameras in the area, and assuming the child has gone missing for only 15 minutes, about 3 hours’ worth of video to look through to find the child. Typical security staff response would be to monitor the video wall while reviewing the footage and making a verbal announcement throughout the mall so the staff can keep an eye out for her. There is no telling how long it will take, while every second feels like hours under pressure. As more time passes, the possible areas where the child can be will widen, it becomes more time-consuming to search manually, and the likelihood of finding the child decreases. What if we can avoid all of that and directly search for that particular girl in less than 1 second? Artificial neural networks are improving every day and now enable us to search for a person across all selected camera streamsWith Artificial Intelligence, we can. Artificial neural networks are improving every day and now enable us to search for a person across all selected camera streams in a fraction of a second, using only one photo of that person. The photo does not even have to be a full frontal, passport-type mugshot; it can be a selfie image of the person at a party, as long as the face is there, the AI can find her and match her face with the hundreds or thousands of faces in the locations of interest. The search result is obtained in nearly real time as she passes by a certain camera. Distinguishing humans from animals and statues The AI system continuously analyses video streams from the surveillance cameras in its network, distinguishes human faces from non-human objects such as statues and animals, and much like a human brain, stores information about those faces in its memory, a mental image of the facial features so to speak. When we, the system user, upload an image of the person of interest to the AI system, the AI detects the face(s) in that image along with their particular features, search its memory for similar faces, and shows us where and when the person has appeared. We are in control of selecting the time period (up to days) and place (cameras) to search, and we can adjust the similarity level, i.e., how much a face matches the uploaded photo, to expand or fine-tune the search result according to our need. Furthermore, because the camera names and time stamps are available, the system can be linked with maps to track and predict the path of the person of interest. AI Face Search is not Face Recognition for two reasons: it protects people’s privacy, and it is lightweight Protecting people’s privacy with AI Face Search  All features of face recognition can be enabled by the system user, such as to notify staff members when a person of interest is approaching the store AI Face Search is not Face Recognition for two reasons: it protects people’s privacy, and it is lightweight. First, with AI Face Search, no names, ID, personal information, or lists of any type are required to be saved in the system. The uploaded image can be erased from the system after use, there is no face database, and all faces in the camera live view can be blurred out post-processing to guarantee GDPR compliance. Second, the lack of a required face database, a live view with frames drawn around the detected faces and constant face matching in the background also significantly reduces the amount of computing resource to process the video stream, hence the lightweight. Face Search versus Face Recognition AI Face Search Face Recognition Quick search for a particular person in video footage Identify everyone in video footage Match detected face(s) in video stream to target face(s) in an uploaded image Match detected face(s) in video stream to a database Do not store faces and names in a database Must have a database with ID info Automatically protect privacy for GDPR compliance in public places May require additional paperwork to comply with privacy regulations Lightweight solution Complex solution for large-scale deployment Main use: locate persons of interest in a large area Main use: identify a person who passes through a checkpoint Of course, all features of face recognition can be enabled by the system user if necessary, such as to notify staff members when a person of interest is approaching the store, but the flexibility to not have such features and to use the search tool as a simple Google-like device particularly for people and images is the advantage of AI Face Search.Because Face Search is not based on face recognition, no faces and name identifications are stored Advantages of AI Face Search Artificial Intelligence has advanced so far in the past few years that its facial understanding capability is equivalent to that of a human. The AI will recognise the person of interest whether he has glasses, wears a hat, is drinking water, or is at an angle away from the camera. In summary, the advantages of Face Search: High efficiency: a target person can be located within a few seconds, which enables fast response time. High performance: high accuracy in a large database and stable performance, much like Google search for text-based queries. Easy setup and usage: AI appliance with the built-in face search engine can be customised to integrate to any existing NVR/VMS/camera system or as a standalone unit depending on the customer’s needs. The simple-to-use interface requires minimal training and no special programming skills. High-cost saving: the time saving and ease of use translate to orders of magnitude less manual effort than traditionally required, which means money saving. Scalability: AI can scale much faster and at a wider scope than human effort. AI performance simply relies on computing resource, and each Face Search appliance typically comes with the optimal hardware for any system size depending on the customer need, which can go up to thousands of cameras. Privacy: AI Face Search is not face recognition. For face recognition, there are privacy laws that limits the usage. Because Face Search is not based on face recognition, no faces and name identifications are stored, so Face Search can be used in many public environments to identify faces against past and real-time video recordings. AI Face Search match detected face(s) in video stream to target face(s) in an uploaded image Common use cases of AI Face Search In addition to the scenario of missing child in a shopping mall, other common use cases for the AI Face Search technology include: Retail management: Search, detect and locate VIP guests in hotels, shopping centres, resorts, etc. to promptly attend to their needs, track their behaviour pattern, and predict locations that they tend to visit. Crime suspect: Quickly search for and prove/disprove the presence of suspects (thief, robber, terrorist, etc.) in an incident at certain locations and time. School campus protection: With the recent increase in number of mass shootings in school campuses, there is a need to identify, locate and stop a weapon carrier on campus as soon as possible before he can start shooting. Face Search will enable the authorities to locate the suspect and trace his movements within seconds using multiple camera feeds from different areas on campus. Only one clear image of the suspect’s face is sufficient. In the race of technology development in response to business needs and security concerns, AI Face Search is a simple, lightweight solution for airports, shopping centres, schools, resorts, etc. to increase our efficiency, minimise manual effort in searching for people when incidents occur on site, and actively prevent potential incidents from occurring. By Paul Sun, CEO of IronYun, and Mai Truong, Marketing Manager of IronYun

Latest Avigilon Corporation news

ADI signs pan European distribution agreement with Avigilon for the ease of EMEA customers to gain access to ADI solutions
ADI signs pan European distribution agreement with Avigilon for the ease of EMEA customers to gain access to ADI solutions

ADI Global Distribution, a renowned distributor of security and low voltage products, announced a new distribution agreement with pioneering video security and analytics provider Avigilon, a Motorola Solutions company. ADI customers across Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) will have access to the full range of the innovative Avigilon video solutions eco-system which includes more than 100 new products being added to the ADI portfolio. “ADI continues to drive an industry leading product selection to ensure our customers can successfully design and build complete, integrated security solutions,” said Hemant Trivedi, General Manager for ADI EMEA. “By adding Avigilon to the ADI portfolio, we are further enhancing our customer choice of leading solutions. We are excited by this new partnership and the benefits it will deliver to our customers.” Video security system Avigilon’s mission is to deliver innovative products that help keep people and communities safe" Avigilon designs, develops and manufactures video solutions, analytics, cloud, security cameras, video management software and hardware, and access control. Powered by advanced artificial intelligence (AI), Avigilon technology is simple and easy to use, and offers a seamless integration across an entire video security system. Beginning this month, Avigilon products will available for purchase online and in ADI branch locations across the EMEA region. “As a global leader, Avigilon’s mission is to deliver innovative products that help keep people and communities safe. We are excited to work with ADI to offer our comprehensive ecosystem to their customers,” said Paul Such, Vice President of EMEA Sales Avigilon at Motorola Solutions. “With ADI’s vast geographic footprint and strong distribution channels, we will be able to expand our reach further across the security market.” Active supplier partners ADI Global Distribution operates in 14 countries across EMEA with 67 stocking locations and 11 distribution hubs. Additionally, ADI exports to more than 80 countries in the region. ADI serves more than 24,000 customers across EMEA, and offers over 250,000 SKUs from more than 750 active supplier partners.

Ecl-ips monitoring firm introduces a range of COVID-19 back to work solutions to currently re-opening businesses
Ecl-ips monitoring firm introduces a range of COVID-19 back to work solutions to currently re-opening businesses

Midlands-based firm, Ecl-ips, is using its expertise in providing monitoring, CCTV and access control, to offer organisations a range of back to work solutions to keep customers, visitors and staff safe as the company continue to mitigate the risks from COVID-19. Occupancy Management Solutions With more businesses opening up Ecl-ips can help occupancy counting to ensure social distancing is maintained. Ecl-ips can offer Avigilon’s occupancy counting feature, as part of its video management software and Avigilon Cloud Services (ACS). Through the use of advanced technology, the occupancy counting feature provides an easy and streamlined way to count and identify the number of people in a building. Ecl-ips can also offer Paxton’s access control system Net2. Paxton has added an occupancy management feature to the software. This allows employers or facilities managers to limit the number of people in any given area of their building; either barring access or sending an email/text to the manager when a space nears capacity. It will work across multiple areas of a site and can be set to operate a one in, one out system to support social distancing measures. Remote Access Control Ecl-ips is now able to offer an upgrade of the Net2 software which Paxton unveiled in May. This expanded the ability of facility managers to manage access to buildings remotely reducing the physical contact required for people to enter and leave those buildings but still maintaining their security. This followed the launch of web-based version of Net2 and its Paxton Connect app which meant this software is available wherever the users are. Face Mask and Face Covering Detection The wearing of face coverings is now compulsory in the UK for users of public transports and face masks are either mandatory or strongly advised for staff in a number of workplaces. Additionally, the wearing of face coverings is advised in shops and other indoor places. Avigilon has developed technology to detect if there are breaches in rules associated with the wearing of face masks or coverings. This can provide an alert so security staff or managers and Ecl-ips can customise this solution to provide an audible warning to those committing any breaches of rules. Social Distancing Guidelines Support In its latest software release scheduled for this month Avigilon’s most advanced cameras will identify breaches of social distancing guidance and again this can provide an audible warning. The technology can also demonstrate to those managing commercial spaces or other buildings like schools or healthcare settings where there are potential bottlenecks and so social distancing will be difficult. This will allow managers to make changes within the buildings, for example, by only allowing people to walk in one direction through a corridor to reduce the numbers having to be in close proximity to each other. Contact Tracing Capability Meanwhile, Ecl-ips is also a specialist in Avigilon’s access control system. This can be used with Avigilon’s CCTV system to assist with contact tracing if employees are found to need to isolate after showing symptoms of COVID-19. This is because of the advanced technology providing a record of staff accessing buildings and being able to correlate to video footage of staff on CCTV. Thermal scanning Some organisations are using thermal scanning as part of their solution for opening up businesses by detecting staff or visitors that may have raised temperatures and require health screening. Paxton has made improvements to Net2 to allow installers to integrate the system with thermal scanners more easily. Ecl-ips can also offer thermographic cameras and advise if they are the right solution for the customer. Aaron Kernaghan, Managing Director of Ecl-ips, said, “Ecl-ips is a well-established CCTV, access control and monitoring firm. We are ensuring that we are operating in a COVID-19 secure manner and are keen to assist organisations get back to work safely.”

Motorola Solutions improves video security and analytics portfolio to enhance staff safety in COVID-19 times
Motorola Solutions improves video security and analytics portfolio to enhance staff safety in COVID-19 times

Motorola Solutions, announces a number of additions to its video security and analytics portfolio. These security solutions are designed to support organisations as they explore options for moving staff safely back into their offices or facilities. The offerings focus on the key elements of safety and security around COVID-19, including prevention, protection and response. “Enterprise organisations are exploring the best way to return back to the workplace, where ensuring the safety and security of their employees and customers is paramount,” said John Kedzierski, Senior Vice President, Video Security & Analytics at Motorola Solutions. Intelligence of AI-powered analytics “Our customers have asked how our solutions can help mitigate the potential impacts of COVID-19 as they re-open their facilities, so we've developed a suite of applications that leverage the unique capabilities of video with the intelligence of AI-powered analytics.” Motorola Solutions’ video security and analytics portfolio will offer Avigilon security cameras with analytics to help organisations keep employees safe through the adherence of health guidelines around protective face masks and physical social distancing. These solutions combine the power of video and the intelligence of AI-powered analytics to collect visual footage and statistical patterns on where social-distancing protocols have been breached and where individuals are not wearing a face mask. Through Avigilon Control Centre (ACC) video management software, organisations can be notified if guidelines are not observed and can quickly make informed decisions to address the situation. Physical access security The combination of physical access security and video footage can provide important insights The analysis increases employee safety by equipping organisations with the insights they need to implement measures that facilitate better compliance with health guidelines. The safety and security of front-line workers is a top priority for employers. Essential workers who face the risk of aggression and contamination may be equipped with Motorola Solutions’ body-worn cameras, so they can experience peace of mind, knowing that they have a direct link to security personnel at all times. Wearing these devices allows employees to verbally notify others that their actions are being captured on camera, which can often de-escalate a heated situation. As employees look to safely move back into the workplace, Motorola Solutions’ contact tracing capability can help deter the spread of COVID-19 in an organisation’s offices or facilities. The combination of physical access security and video footage can provide important insights. Responsible use of analytics The new Identity Correlation Report helps employers better understand where an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 has been, and which doors that person may have accessed within the workplace. By using this capability with Motorola Solutions’ Avigilon Appearance Search™ technology and Identity Search, security operators are able to add an extra measure of safety by generating timelines and video clips of the individual’s pathway throughout the premises, also showing who they may have been in contact with. These prevent, protect and response capabilities embrace Motorola Solutions’ commitment to the responsible use of analytics, as well as individual privacy rights.

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