Based in Poland, Bank Pekao is one of the largest financial institutions in Central and Eastern Europe. Security is a paramount concern for the organisation, which is why it has chosen to implement Vanderbilt’s cutting edge video and access control technology across a large part of its estate.

Leading financial institution

Over the last 85 years Bank Pekao has become one of the leading organisations of its kind within Central and Eastern Europe. This Polish financial institution is considered one of the safest banks at the pan-European level and operates almost 1,000 branches, the second largest network in the country.

The company belongs to one of the world’s biggest financial groups, UniCredit, which operates in 17 European countries with a network of 9,600 branches and around 145,000 employees. As a pioneer in its industry, Bank Pekao has been awarded many prestigious national and international accolades. In 2014 the company’s mobile banking application won Best Mobile Banking Award by, and the Top Employers Institute named it Top Employers Europe 2015 for the sixth consecutive time.

Security strategy & technology

Its position as one of the safest and secure financial organisations in Poland has been achieved through the implementation of a carefully constructed security strategy, alongside a commitment to adopting cutting edge technology. This area is coordinated by the Bank’s Security Department which is managed by its Director- Janusz Szymków.

"As part of this initiative we
wanted to move towards an
Internet protocol (IP) based
solution that could centrally
monitor, maintain and control
different branch offices"

Ryszard Pichnicki Operational Director at Bank Pekao Physical Security Office, explains, “Efficient security is vital, so we have a programme of continually upgrading our infrastructure to make it as reliable as possible. As part of this initiative we wanted to move towards an Internet protocol (IP) based solution that could centrally monitor, maintain and control different branch offices around Poland to allow more efficient management. This would mean that any issues could be identified immediately and remedial action taken when necessary.

Vanderbilt technology

Pichnicki contacted Siedlce based intruder alarm system integrator, Cel-Tronics, for its suggestions. Bogdan Jedrych, the company’s Managing Director, explains, “We have worked with Bank Pekao for many years and are pre-approved as a technical partner. After gaining an understanding of what was required, we suggested a solution based around Vanderbilt’s cutting edge technology, including the robust Vectis video recording devices, SPC control panels and the SiPass integrated access control system. Ryszard Pichnicki made it clear that he wanted to implement products from a company that could guarantee availability without any restrictions to installers, and therefore working with Vanderbilt made complete sense.

Interoperability between SPC panels and access control systems

SiPass integrated is a powerful and almost infinitely flexible access control system that provides a very high level of security without compromising convenience and ease of use. Krzysztof Krasowski, Vanderbilt’s Sales Manager for Poland, Baltics and Ukraine, says “SiPass integrated is a part of Bank Pekao’s system that restricts movement within each branch and, thanks to its diverse range of modes, can provide ultimate protection. Bank Pekao also required full interoperability between the SPC panels and access control systems for operations such as arm/disarm area, alarms notifications, input/outputs status reading. This is something that we are used to providing, so we had no problem meeting the brief.”

Centrally managed single network

This level of high-end operability means that the entire system is run over a single network that can be centrally managed, allowing it to work smoothly

and ensuring maximum security for all bank branches. Furthermore, this approach was incredibly cost effective, as it eliminated the need for more than one cabling infrastructure.

Integration possibilities

It also provides an open interface for any third party software, offering the possibility to integrate access control with other systems – therefore creating one intelligent building management system that can check the status of doors, prompt the Vectis iX video recorders to activate, and provide a full audit trail. Vectis iX is based on the ONVIF open communication protocol, which allows these devices to be used alongside third party camera vendors. This has proven to be very beneficial, especially where cameras were already installed and needed to be integrated into the new system.

Reusing in-situ infrastructure

As the new solution is
replacing a Vanderbilt
Sintony based system, some
of the in-situ infrastructure
is being reused, providing
further cost savings and
reducing unnecessary waste

In addition, the Vanderbilt solution is being rolled out in stages and because SiPass is open to readers that can communicate with other controllers, it is helping to provide a smooth migration path. As the new solution is replacing a Vanderbilt Sintony based system, some of the in-situ infrastructure is being reused, providing further cost savings and reducing unnecessary waste, in line with Bank Pekao’s environmental and sustainability policy.

Cel-Tronics has installed the new technology in many of the Bank’s branches so far, with great success, and ais planning many more over the next few years. The programme has been very efficient as Bogdan Jedrych explained, “We prepare configuration files beforehand based on existing installations, adjusting them to local requirements. In future we will change the set-up via the central network and apply this to the additional controllers. This will give the flexibility to add/delete cards remotely, download reports and perform other operational tasks.”

Bank Pekao’s Ryszard Pichnicki is very pleased with the results so far and concludes, “We take the issue of security very seriously and need to know that we have a system in place that can protect people, property and assets as effectively as possible. I’m confident that, thanks to Cel-Tronics and Vanderbilt, we have the best means of achieving this important objective.

Download PDF version

In case you missed it

Has the gap closed between security fiction and security reality?
Has the gap closed between security fiction and security reality?

Among its many uses and benefits, technology is a handy tool in the fantasy world of movie and television thrillers. We all know the scene: a vital plot point depends on having just the right super-duper gadget to locate a suspect or to get past a locked door. In movies and TV, face recognition is more a super power than a technical function. Video footage can be magically enhanced to provide a perfect image of a license plate number. We have all shaken our heads in disbelief, and yet, our industry’s technical capabilities are improving every day. Are we approaching a day when the “enhanced” view of technology in movies and TV is closer to the truth? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How much has the gap closed between the reality of security system capabilities and what you see on TV (or at the movies)?

How moving to Security as a Service benefits both providers and end users
How moving to Security as a Service benefits both providers and end users

The way we purchase services and products is changing. The traditional concept of buying and owning a product is giving way to the idea that it is possible to purchase the services it offers instead. This approach has come from the consumer realisation that it is the outcome that is important rather than the tools to achieve it. For example, this approach is evident with the rise of music streaming services as opposed to downloads or physical products.   With the physical security industry becoming ever more integrated – and truly open systems now a reality – there is every reason to assume this service-lead trend will come to dominate the way our industry interacts with its clients as well. Interest in service-based security There is a significant change of mindset that the security industry needs to embrace before a large-scale move to Security as a Service can take place. Like many technology sectors in the past, security providers have focussed on ‘shifting boxes’ as their definitive sales model. This approach was especially prevalent when proprietary systems were the mainstay of the security industry. Essentially, if the customer wanted more services they simply bought a new product. This was a straightforward and economic sales approach for manufacturers and installers alike.The security industry needs to embrace a change of mindset before a move to SaaS can take place The flexibility of integrated and open technology has changed the way consumers view their purchase, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that there is increased interest in a service-based approach. Customer choice equates to a change of focus and interest, with physical products being eclipsed by the benefits of the overall solution. We have already seen these changes in other technology areas, notably with smart devices and general IT systems. Cloud-based services put the onus on the result rather than which device the user chooses. This approach is even starting to manifest in areas that couldn’t have been predicted in the past, such as the car industry for example. Consumers are focusing more on the overall costs and convenience of buying a car over the specific specification of the vehicle. Equally, urban dwellers don’t necessarily want the hassle and expense of owning and parking their own vehicle anymore. If you don’t use it every day, it can make more sense to rent a vehicle only when you travel beyond public transport. For these consumers the car has become a service item for a specific journey. Benefits for end users At the heart of this approach is the simple equation that consumers have a need and suppliers need to provide the most cost-effective, and easiest, solution. At the same time, the security operator may not necessarily want to know (or care) what specification the system has, they just want it to perform the task as required.   By discussing with consumers, we can ensure we work even more closely with them to provide the expert support they need and deserve Most security buyers will identify the specific business needs and their budget to achieve this. This is where a service approach really comes into its own. Customers need expert advice on a solution for their requirements which takes away the stress of finding the right products/systems. In the past there was always a risk of purchasing an unsuitable solution, which could potentially be disastrous. The other issue was having to budget for a big capital expenditure for a large installation and then having to find further resources once an upgrade was due when systems went end of life. Most businesses find it far easier to pay a sensible monthly or annual fee that is predictable and can easily be budgeted for. A service model makes this far easier to achieve. Benefits of a service sales model As well as the benefits for end users, there are considerable benefits for security providers too. Rather than simply ‘shifting boxes’ and enduring the inevitable sales peaks and toughs this creates; a service sales model allows manufacturers and installers to enjoy a more stable business model. You don’t have to win new business with every product, but rather sell ongoing services for a set period. Its highly likely that the whole security industry will start to take this approach over the next few years. Manufacturers are already well aware of this shift in customer expectations and are changing their approach to meet demands.There are major opportunities on offer in return for a change of perspective in the security industry With the service and leasing approach already firmly entrenched in other industries, this is well proven in a consumer market. The airline industry is a great example. Manufacturers understand that airlines need flexibility to upscale and downscale operations and therefore whole aircraft and even individual key components (such as engines or seating) can be leased as required. Using this approach, airlines can concentrate on what customers demand and not worry about the logistics of doing this. Manufacturers and leasing businesses provide assurances and guarantees of service time for aircraft and engines, taking care of the servicing and maintenance to ensure this delivery. This approach is just as well suited for the provision of security systems. Servicing the future security market Undoubtedly there are major opportunities on offer in return for a change of perspective in the security industry. However, this will involve substantial changes in some quarters to ensure the business model is aligned with the market. Overall, the security industry needs to not only develop the right systems for the market, but also to deliver them in the right way as well. This will ensure we work even more closely with customers to provide the expert support they need and deserve.

Intelligent video surveillance and deep learning dominate MIPS 2018 agenda
Intelligent video surveillance and deep learning dominate MIPS 2018 agenda

Milestone Systems is embracing artificial intelligence and deep learning in a big way at this week's yearly Milestone Community Days (MIPS 2018) in Las Vegas. The Danish company's theme is "Creating an Intelligent World," and Milestone's stated goal is to make "the Milestone community part of every surveillance installation in the world."    Science fiction becomes reality In a presentation on opening day, Milestone CSMO Kenneth Hune Petersen pointed to the 2002 movie The Minority Report as highlighting a variety of gadgets and systems that seemed futuristic at the time but are now perfectly possible, and in some cases outdated. Films have previously highlighted gadgets and systems that were futuristic, but are now perfectly possible, or outdated "If we dare to dream together we can make this a better world," says Petersen. "Through AI and machine learning, we can help define tomorrow. There's no doubt about it: There is a massive business opportunity for us in artificial intelligence." Despite all the talk about artificial intelligence, only about 0.5 percent of all the data in the world has currently been analysed or used, says Peterson. "Our open platform technology is the foundation for intelligent video systems and our partners have the expertise and infrastructure needed to reach the next frontier in intelligent video solutions," said Bjørn Skou Eilertsen, Milestone Systems CTO. "Together, we can provide unlimited solutions for our customers." Deeper integration and broader coverage Expanding the Milestone community this year has included the addition of 1,000 new models of supported hardware devices; there are currently more than 7,000 models supported. Milestone is also pursuing broader coverage of installations through their partners, with deeper integration of functionality, and by deepening existing relationships with customers. ‘Creating an intelligent world’ includes deep learning and lots of video systems, says Milestone at their annual conference Under new agreements, hardware partners such as Dell EMC and BCDVideo now provide XProtect Essential+ software pre-loaded on servers they sell. The focus at MIPS 2018 on AI included a presentation by Tanmay Bakshi, the "world's youngest IBM coder" and TED Talk speaker, at 14 years old. The prodigy, who has been coding since the age of 4, has worked with IBM and other companies on a variety of AI-related projects. Using deep learning with video is currently limited because so much video is unlabelled and unstructured In his MIPS 2018 keynote speech, Bakshi traced the development of AI through high-profile events, such as IBM's development of the "Watson" computer, which successfully competed on Jeopardy!, and Google's development of AlphaGo, a program that successfully plays the complex ancient board game, Go. Data demands deep-learning Bakshi focused on security and healthcare as two disciplines where deep learning can potentially have a big impact. Using deep learning with video is currently limited because so much video is unlabeled and unstructured. Still, projections are that there will be a billion cameras worldwide by 2020, providing an over-abundance of data that demands the use of deep learning to make sense of it all. "There is a misconception that AI is meant to replace us, to make humans obsolete. AI is not replacing us. It is created by humans to amplify human skills. AI can reduce information overload to enable humans to work with the data more efficiently," said Bakshi. He suggested that AI is equivalent to IA; Bakshi's abbreviation meaning "intelligence augmented." AI can reduce information overload to enable humans to work with the data more efficiently The ability to scale AI applications using "distributed deep learning" and graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware is paving the way for greater use of deep learning in video applications. Adam Scraba, Global Business Development Lead at NVIDIA, outlined the trends that are making the current "Big Bang" of deep learning possible. He said it is "the most exciting time in tech history," with "software that can write its own software" now among the tools that make previously unsolvable problems now solvable. AI-driven intelligent video analytics can now achieve "super-human" results, he said. An intelligent world to combat crime Instead of sitting for hours staking out a suspected drug dealer alone, entire investigations now take hours instead of days A success story about the game-changing capabilities of video data was supplied by Hartford, Conn.'s Capital City Crime Center (C4). The Hartford police department uses video data in a "predictive policing" approach. They have created an "intelligent world with smart policing to combat drug trafficking," according to C4 Supervisor Johnmichael O'Hare of the Hartford Police Department. Instead of sitting for hours staking out a suspected drug dealer, for example, video of a site can be analysed to determine areas with higher levels of foot traffic that indicate drug buys. The result is investigations that take hours instead of days. Hartford incorporates several technologies, including ShotSpotter gunshot detection, Briefcam video synopsis and other systems, all tied together using the Milestone platform. More than 700 attendees make MIPS 2018 the largest such event ever, and exhibits by around 60 Milestone partner companies attest to the continuing expansion of the Milestone community. [Main image: Tanmay Bakshi (left) and Johnmichael O’Hare of the Hartford Police Department (right) discuss key security issues of the modern day]