The duty of care that education officials have, in providing a safe environment for everyone on their premises, is arguably more challenging in today’s world than it has ever been in the past. One area that should be identified for regular review is emergency lockdown. Andrew Shaw, architectural consultant for Allegion UK, calls for more schools to consider a number of security solutions to further improve their lockdown protocols.

Everyone involved in the running of schools has a duty to ensure the safety of the children in their care at all times, in providing a safe and secure environment for learning and be prepared for any emergency, including lockdowns."

"Schools are one of the most vulnerable targets when it comes to break-ins and even full-scale attacks. However, by preparing and planning for the worst, we can design and facilitate both a safe and inspiring space for learning.” Shaw said.Every school should have a lockdown procedure that defines the state of each opening of the building on demand

Efficient school safety strategy

Access control is a critical aspect of any efficient school safety strategy. It’s the way a school manages credentials and the safe access and exit of pupils, staff and visitors on a day-to-day basis.

However, in the unfortunate event of an emergency, access control is not enough. Every school should have a lockdown procedure that determines or defines the state of each opening of the building on demand or as soon as an emergency is detected.

Not only do schools need to implement a sufficient lockdown procedure for cases of emergencies, but the appropriate lockdown needs to be in place after-hours to secure the school when everyone has gone home for the day.

Mechanical and electronic locking solutions

The security of schools is of paramount importance, yet security systems and hardware are often overlooked. It is not uncommon for necessary upgrades and replacements to be put back or even omitted entirely, due to budget constraints or other challenges.

However, Allegion believes strongly that ensuring the complete integrity of any security protocol at all times is essential, and that hardware and security systems are the defining cornerstones of any good school lockdown procedure.From mechanical to electronic or a combination, schools can implement an efficient and secure lockdown protocol

Notwithstanding this, schools are under intense budget pressures. The scope of security solutions available to the UK market, however, means that schools can find systems best suited to their needs and budget.

From mechanical to electronic or a combination, schools can implement an efficient and secure lockdown protocol, even when limited by budget.

Lockdown hardware

When it comes to choosing the right hardware, a one-size-fits-all approach does not work. Each school is individual and, as such, access control solutions should be tailored to and dependent on the school and its unique security requirements.

There are a number of things to consider when it comes to selecting the right hardware solutions. For example, the severity of potential risks, the age of the building, budget and the long-term security strategy can all be influencing factors.

Based on these judgements, it’s important to consider whether the school will want a manual, remote or centralised system – or a combination of any of the three.Mechanical keys are a cost-effective option for a wide range of applications

Manual and remote lockdown

Perhaps the most recognisably traditional of the above three mentioned systems, manual systems are the ones everyone will know and use. These are probably one of the most economical lockdown solutions and rely on an individual having the physical key in hand to lock down a room or space.

Mechanical keys are a cost-effective option for a wide range of applications. However, it is the least secure lockdown method as the speed of lockdown is dependent on how fast a staff member can get to the door and lock it.

These are solutions ideal for schools that want to upgrade lockdown systems but are reluctant to step into the costs that come with networked systems. Using this method, classrooms are locked down by remote fob within proximity of the door. However, they still rely on multiple staff members for lockdown.

Centralised solution

Centralised solutions can be one of the most secure lockdown types, requiring only a single point of accountability. Centralised access control systems are activated via a computer or smartphone. With the simple push of a button, all openings can be locked throughout the building – making this the fastest lockdown solution.

No matter the budget, schools are able to find effective lockdown options for their requirements. Even in older school premises, the effective use of electronic and wireless solutions, perhaps combined with the existing mechanical system, is easily achieved and cost effective.

Whatever system is selected, the end result is an emergency lockdown protocol that helps ensure the safety of our children as they learn, rest and play.

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Artificial intelligence is changing intrusion detection dynamics in the security industry
Artificial intelligence is changing intrusion detection dynamics in the security industry

By Paul Sun, CEO of IronYun, and Mai Truong, Marketing Manager of IronYun With the ever-growing availability of video data thanks to the low cost of high-resolution video cameras and storage, artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning analytics now have become a necessity for the physical security industry, including access control and intrusion detection. Minimising human error and false positives are the key motivations for applying AI technologies in the security industry. What is artificial intelligence? Artificial intelligence is the ability of machines to learn from experience using a multi-layer neural network, which mimics the human brain, in order to recognise items and patterns and make decisions without human interference. The human brain is estimated to have 86 billion neurons; in comparison, the newest Nvidia GPU Volta has 21 billion transistors (the equivalence of a neuron), which offers the performance of hundreds of CPUs for deep learning.AI can learn continuously 24 hours per day every day, constantly acquiring, retaining and improving its knowledge In addition, unlike humans, AI can learn continuously 24 hours per day every day, constantly acquiring, retaining and improving its knowledge. With such enormous processing power, machines using Nvidia GPU and similar chips can now distinguish faces, animals, vehicles, languages, parts of speech, etc. Depending on the required complexity, level of details, acceptable error margin, and learning data quality, AI can learn new objects within as fast as a few seconds using Spiking Neural Network (SNN) to a few weeks using Convolution Neural Network (CNN). While both SNN and CNN offer advantages and drawbacks, they outperform tradition security systems without AI in terms of efficiency and accuracy. According to the research reports of MarketsandMarkets, the market size of perimeter intrusion detection systems is projected to increase from 4.12 billion USD in 2016 to 5.82 billion USD in 2021 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7.1%. Meanwhile, the predicted market of AI in security (both cyber security and physical security) will grow from 3.92 billion USD in 2017 to 34.81 billion USD by 2025, i.e., with an impressive CAGR of 31.38%. Legacy perimeter intrusion detection systems Legacy perimeter intrusion detection systems (PIDSs) are typically set up with the following considerations: Geographical conditions: landscape, flora, fauna, climate (sunrise, sunset, weather conditions, etc.), whether there are undulations in the terrain that would block the field of view of cameras Presence or lack of other layers of physical protection or barriers Integration with other systems in the security network: camera, storage, other defensive lines (door, lock, alarm, etc.) Types of alarm triggers and responses System complexity: intrusion detection with various types of sensors, e.g., microwave sensors, radar sensors, vibration sensors, acoustic sensors, etc. Length of deployment Local regulations: privacy protection, whether the cameras/sensors must be visible/hidden/buried, etc., electromagnetic interferences that may affect other systems such as oil rigs or power plants Human involvement: on-site personnel arrangement, human monitoring, human action in response to alarms AI object detection can easily distinguish different types of people and objects Pain points and benefits of AI The conditions listed above correspond to certain requirements of an intrusion detection systems: minimal false alarm, easy setup and maintenance, easy integration, and stable performance.AI by nature is designed to learn, adapt itself and evolve to work in multiple conditions: it should be integrated with existing video recording systems  Minimal false alarms: False alarms lead to increased cost and inefficiency but are the main problem of PIDSs without AI technology, where animals, trees, shadows, and weather conditions may trigger the sensors. AI object detection can easily distinguish different types of people and objects, e.g., in a region set up to detect people, a car driving by, a cat walking by, or a person’s shadow will not trigger the alarm. Therefore, the amount of false alarms can be reduced by 70% to orders of magnitude. Easy setup and maintenance: Legacy PIDSs without AI must account for terrain, line of sight of cameras, sensor locations; any changes to the system would require manual effort to recalculate such factors and may disturb other components in the system. In contrast, AI PIDSs enable the system administrator to access the entire system or individual cameras from the control room, configure the region and object of interest in the field of view of cameras within minutes, and adjust with ease as often as necessary. Computing knowledge and even specific security training are not required to set up a secured PIDS with AI because AI PIDS is designed to relieve humans from knowing the inner working of machines. Easy integration with complementary technologies: Legacy PIDS without AI relies on physical technology, which are often proprietary and require complete overhaul of systems to function smoothly. On the other hand, AI by nature is designed to learn, adapt itself and evolve to work in multiple conditions, so AI PIDS is easily integrated with existing video recording (camera) and storage (NVR) systems. AI also eliminates the need for physical wireless or fiber-based sensors; instead, it functions based on the videos captured by cameras. Furthermore, AI enables easy and instantaneous combinations of multiple layers of defense, e.g., automatic triggering of door lock, camera movement focusing and access control as soon as a specified object is detected in the region of interest, all set up with a click of a button.  Stable performance and durability: Legacy PIDSs without AI requires complicated setup with multiple components in order to increase detection accuracy. More components mean a higher probability of malfunction in the system, including exposure to damages (e.g., sensors can be destroyed) and delay in detection, while human monitoring is inconsistent due to human fatigue (studies have shown that a person can concentrate in mundane tasks for only up to 20 minutes, and the attention span decreases even more rapidly when humans are faced with multiple items at once, e.g., multiple camera monitoring screens). AI significantly reduces, if not completely eliminates the need for human involvement in the intrusion detection system once it is set up. In addition, AI reduces the risk of system malfunction by simplifying the hardware sensors needed. Minimising human error and false positives are the key motivations for applying AI technologies in the security industry Additional benefits of AI in intrusion detection Artificial Intelligence is undeniably reshaping every business and weaving into every aspect of daily lifeMaximal detection capability: The most advanced AI intrusion detection system today provides an all-in-one solution to distinguish any combination of alarm-triggering criteria beyond perimeter protection. Using AI, the system administrator can configure as many zones with different settings and object of interests as necessary, which include detections for specific colors or attributes (e.g., person not wearing the required uniform or carrying food/drink), numbers and dwell time (e.g., group of more than 5 people loitering), or movements (e.g., cars moving faster than the speed limit). In addition, AI can accurately pinpoint the location of event occurrence by displaying the camera that records the event in near real time, i.e., with few-second delays. Lower security operation cost: By minimising the number of false positives and human involvement while maximising ease of use and stability, AI intrusion detection systems significantly decrease the total cost of ownership. Companies can reduce the large security personnel overhead and cost of complicated and expensive legacy PIDSs systems. McKinsey Global report in June 2017 shows that proactive AI adopters can realize up to 15% increase in profit margin across various industries. Artificial Intelligence is undeniably reshaping every business and weaving into every aspect of daily life. In security, legacy systems are giving way to AI-based systems, and the first enterprises to adopt AI-based systems will soon, if not immediately, benefit from such investment.

How successful was ISC West for exhibitors and visitors?
How successful was ISC West for exhibitors and visitors?

The reviews are in, and ISC West was another hit. Brisk attendance and a comprehensive lineup of the industry’s top companies and products contributed to another successful show for Reed Exhibitions. Our Expert Panel Roundtable, who have attended many such events, added their own reflections to the industry’s post-ISC glow. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How successful was ISC West 2018 for security industry exhibitors and visitors?

Live-streaming mobile surveillance takes cameras to the action
Live-streaming mobile surveillance takes cameras to the action

Video surveillance across the world is growing exponentially and its major application is in both public safety and law enforcement. Traditionally, it has been fixed surveillance where cameras provide live streams from fixed cameras situated in what is considered strategic locations. But they are limited in what they can see given by their very definition of being "fixed." The future of video surveillance includes the deployment of more mobile video surveillance with the benefits it offers. Instead of fixed cameras, this is the ability to live stream from mobile devices on the move such as body-worn cams, drones, motorbikes, cars, helicopters and in some cases, even dogs!Sending drones into the air, for example for missing people or rescue missions, is much more cost-effective than deploying helicopters Advantages of mobile surveillance The advantage of mobile surveillance is that the camera can go to where the action is, rather than relying on the action going to where the camera is. Also, sending drones into the air, for example for missing people or rescue missions, is much more cost-effective than deploying helicopters. The ability to live stream video from cars and helicopters in high-speed pursuits can be used to take some of the operational issues from the first responders on the ground and share that “life and death” responsibility with the operational team leaders back in the command centre. This allows the first responders in the pursuit vehicle to focus on minimising risk while staying in close proximity of the fleeing vehicle, with direction from a higher authority who can see for themselves in real time the issues that are being experienced, and direct accordingly. In addition to showing video live stream from a pursuit car or motorcycle, by using inbuilt GPS tracking, the video can be displayed on a map in real time, allowing a command chief to better utilise additional resource and where to deploy them, through the use of displaying mapping information with real time video feed. It allows police chiefs to make better informed decisions in highly-charged environments. The 4G phone network can now be used with compressed video to live stream cost effectively Application in emergency situations The same is true of first responders in many different emergency situations. Mobile surveillance opens up a new area of efficiencies that previously was impossible to achieve. For example, special operations can wear action body-worn cameras when doing raids, fire departments can live stream from emergency situations with both thermal and daylight cameras, and paramedics can send video streams back to hospitals allowing doctors to remotely diagnose and prepare themselves for when patients arrive at the hospital. How can special operations and emergency first responders live stream video from a mobile camera with the issues of weight, reliability and picture-quality being considered? H265 mobile video compression Law enforcement insists on secure transmissions, and it is possible to encrypt video to the highest level of security available in the public domain The 4G phone network can now be used with compressed video to live stream cost effectively. The issue of course is that 4G is not always reliable. Soliton Systems has mitigated this risk of low mobile quality in certain areas, by building an H265 mobile video compression device that can use multiple SIM cards from different cellular providers simultaneously. H265 is the latest compression technique for video, that is 50% more effective than conventional H264, and coupling this with using multiple “bonded” SIM cards provides a highly reliable connection for live-streaming high-quality HD video. The 400-gram device with an internal battery can be connected to a small action cam, and can live-stream simultaneously over at least three different cellular providers, back to a command centre. Latency is typically less than a second, and new advance improvements are looking to reduce that latency further. Encrypted video transmission What about security? Law enforcement insists on secure transmissions, and it is possible to encrypt video to the highest level of security available in the public domain, i.e. AES256.What about integration into existing video infrastructure at the command centre? It is not untypical for a police force to have an existing video management system (VMS) at their command centre such as Milestone System’s Xprotect. The Soliton range of products are ONVIF-compliant, a standard used by video surveillance cameras for interoperability, allowing cameras and video devices that are ONVIF-compliant to simply “plug&play” into existing video management systems. These mobile transmitters are deployed with law enforcement and first responders across the globe. Their ability to provide secure, full HD quality and highly-reliable video streaming within a small unit, and to enable it to be integrated into the current eco-system that is already installed at the receiving end, has made them a favourite choice with many companies and government agencies.