Gira, one of the world’s leading full-range suppliers of intelligent system solutions for building management, is pleased to announce its new System Integrator Partner Program [SIPP] has ten verified UK affiliates.

The driving force behind the concept of the Partnership Program is to share best practice to enable integrators to bring customers’ visions to life. System integrators benefit from exclusive online training in the latest Gira products, a technical hotline and access to the Gira AppShop. In contrast, the end user benefits from the peace of mind knowing that a recognised professional, aligned with a leading global company, is working on their project.

Provide significant business advantages

We are proud that the UK’s leading System Integrators are on board with Gira’s new UK Partner Program [SIPP]" Partners of this exclusive program are established experts who have completed hundreds of smart home installations. Also, Gira trained and certified, each one of these members benefit from ongoing training programs and professional development to maintain their professional offering, as well as provide significant business advantages.

Mark Booth, Managing Director, Gira UK says “We are proud that the UK’s leading System Integrators are on board with Gira’s new UK Partner Program [SIPP] and we look forward to welcoming and assessing future partners to help them offer their customers an elevated level of service and expertise.

To be able to offer hands-on support via a new online portal made-up of independent integrator profiles vetted by Gira and Gira recommended is a great prospect for smart specification in the UK. We offer the world’s largest range of data connection technology and smart solutions across our range of designer sockets and switches: ensuring that we can meet challenging market requirements now and long into the future.

Expertise in commissioning IP products

Gira’s System Integrators are well-placed to work with and also retrofit KNX processing electrical systemsGira appointed System Integrators have in-depth knowledge and expertise in consulting, project planning and commissioning IP (Internet Protocol) products for building control technology, like the Gira HomeServer or GiraX1 and G1 Control panel. These solutions provide technical support and optimise the functionality of smart homes, particularly when it comes to connecting products from various manufacturers, in multi-room and telephony projects.

As dedicated service providers or in-house service providers at installation companies, Gira’s System Integrators are well-placed to work with and also retrofit KNX processing electrical systems: the first generation of home automation systems.

Boasts of 251 System Integrators worldwide

Gira’s market-leading Partnership Program has been up and running for 14 years and boasts 251 System Integrators worldwide, with interest growing all the time. To date, there are 176 partners in Germany, 27 in the Netherlands, 13 in Austria, 11 in Denmark, 11 in Sweden, 2 in Finland, 1 in Italy and now 10 in the UK. 

The System Integrator Conference 2019 took place in Radevormwald and Duesseldorf from 7th - 9th May. It included two days packed with systems training and hands-on learning, a visit to the construction site of the new Gira building and dinner at a typical German restaurant, Brauhaus Wuppertal.

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The importance of a secure perimeter in safeguarding our schools
The importance of a secure perimeter in safeguarding our schools

Schools play a key role in shaping our future. Following the reopening of classrooms up and down the country, young minds are returning to some normality. Once again they're being inspired, learning useful skills, and forging new interests to ensure our country's continued prosperity. Schools need a comprehensive security infrastructure to protect the children who attend them. Most notably, secure perimeters that keep unwanted people out, but also ensure visitors, parents, and students alike can access their shared community space without feeling segregated or unwelcome. Robust boundary fencing  However, although safety is often the primary concern of parents, with tighter budgetary constraints and funds prioritised to make schools COVID safe, it can be all too easy to let important perimeter replacement or improvement programmes slip. The purpose of boundary fencing is to restrict unauthorised entry and exit The purpose of boundary fencing is to restrict unauthorised entry and exit from school grounds, and should be specifically designed to be fit for purpose. Opting for fencing with a welded pale-through-rail construction and concealed anti-tamper connectors between  fence panels and posts delivers a robust boundary that's virtually impossible to break through. This style of fencing also gives a better finish with no visible joints or unsightly bolts. Attractive and practical solutions Unlike generic riveted palisade fencing, this solution is both attractive and practical, more so now that LPS 1175 SR1 certified and Secured by Design versions are available. The style of fencing should meet a school's desired security and safety requirements, simultaneously, it should not compromise on aesthetic considerations. As part of the public face of the school, it should be attractive as well as functional, helping overcome any concerns of creating a prison-like environment and promote a sense of well-being. It's recommended that perimeter fencing should be: a minimum of two metres high, vandal-resistant and sturdy, grounded on a hard surface, challenging to scale, and have an anti-climb topping, much the same as a high-security option. Access all areas Each educational site must consider the number of necessary entrances A perimeter fence requires secure access points and gates. Each educational site must consider the number of necessary entrances. These should be kept to a minimum, to make it easier to maintain control of visitor movement. However, in larger schools this is not always possible and additional entrances may be required to prevent potentially dangerous congestion at the start and end of the school day. Furthermore, separate gates must be installed for vehicles and pedestrians to ensure they are kept at a safe distance, and avoid unnecessary openings of large, double leaf gates. All access points should be locked during the day to keep students on-site and prevent intruders from gaining access to school grounds. Gates should ideally be matched in  design, height and construction to the fencing,  to prevent creating vulnerable areas and compromising security. Automatic vs manual While automatic gates offer more control, manual gates shouldn't be overlooked. Not only are they easier to install and usually cheaper than automated gates, but they also don't rely on power, so if your site's supply is cut off, they provide a hassle-free exit. Furthermore, gates that are only used at the start and end of the day can be easily locked manually by staff. However, automated gates do offer welcome flexibility, as they include access control devices such as remote controls, keypads and card readers, which will also increase the school's security. They're also robust and heavy, meaning it's incredibly difficult to force them open. Electric gates offer additional versatility with a choice of either full automation, or a hybrid of manned and automatic security, with staff able to allow visitors access via intercom or video system. Securing outdoor facilities It’s also essential to consider outdoor areas when it comes to specifying security options for educational environments. Specialist security fencing should be specified where recreational areas double up as the school’s boundary fencing. The security of the site's sports facilities will also need to be considered. Commonly known as MUGAs (Multi-Use Games Areas), enclosures can be designed with specialist mesh systems to allow multiple sports to be played in the same location while providing safety to participants, spectators and buildings. When it comes to play areas in nurseries and junior schools, installing RoSPA approved and BS EN 1176 compliant fencing and gates is recommended. These are available in both timber and steel options and tested for their ability to provide a safe fencing and gate solution - designed to reduce the risk of limb entrapment. Acoustic fencing is also worth considering for these environments, particularly in urban areas or where housing is close to school play areas. It can help reduce incoming ambient noise from neighbouring busy roads, railway lines, or construction sites, and contain the school noise within its boundary. Offering sufficient protection Focus on learning unimpeded by threat The current generation of children deserve an environment where they can focus on learning unimpeded by threat. Schools need robust perimeter solutions that welcome pupils, offer peace of mind to parents, and provide them with sufficient protection against intruders. Ultimately, it's the responsibility of the head teachers to engage in dialogue with knowledgeable security professionals to get the most appropriate and effective security solutions for their school, staff and students.

Protecting retail staff in a new era: live-streaming body cameras
Protecting retail staff in a new era: live-streaming body cameras

This year has been characterised by uncertainty and extraordinary strain, which has fallen heavily on all manner of key workers. Alongside our celebrated healthcare professionals, carers and the emergency services, those working in essential retail have proved themselves to be the backbone of our society during this challenging period. As people try to grasp onto normality and cope with the unexpected changes taking place in every aspect of their lives – including the way they are allowed to shop – it’s no surprise that tensions are now running higher than ever. Retail crime was already on the rise before the pandemic struck, with the British Retail Consortium finding that at least 424 violent or abusive incidents were reported every day last year. The Co-op recently reported its worst week in history in terms of abuse and antisocial behaviour, with 990 incidents of antisocial behaviour and verbal abuse suffered by staff between 20th and 26th July. 990 incidents of antisocial behaviour and verbal abuse suffered by staff between 20th and 26th July To manage the increased risks currently faced by retail employees, businesses must adopt new initiatives to safeguard their staff. Growing numbers of retailers including the Co-op and Asda have equipped their in-store and delivery staff with body worn cameras to enhance safety and provide them with peace of mind, as well as to discourage altercations from taking place at all. Traditional tech Body worn cameras are nothing new and have been used within the law enforcement industry for years. Traditional devices are record-only and can be used to record video evidence able to be drawn upon ‘after the fact’ should it be needed as an objective view of an event and who was involved. These devices can also be used to discourage violent or verbally abusive incidents from occurring in the first place. If a customer is approached by an employee, they are likely to think twice about retaliating if they know their interaction is being recorded. This stance is supported by research from the University of Cambridge that found the use of body worn cameras improves the behaviour of the wearer and those in its vicinity, as both are aware of the fact it can act as an objective ‘digital witness’ to the situation. However, record-only body worn cameras do leave much to be desired. In fact, the same University of Cambridge study found that, in the case of law enforcement, assaults against officers wearing these devices actually increased by 15%. This could be attributed to those being recorded being provoked by the presence of the camera or wanting to destroy any evidence it may hold.  Out with the old, in with the new Live-streaming enabled body worn cameras provide the benefits of record-only devices and more Fortunately, there is a better option. Live-streaming enabled body worn cameras provide the benefits of record-only devices and more. Live-streaming capabilities are able to take ‘after the fact’ evidence one step further and provide the wearer with ‘in the moment’ safety and reassurance. With these devices, if a retail employee is subject to a volatile situation with a customer, they can trigger live video to be streamed back to a central command and control room where security officers will be able to take the most appropriate course of action with heightened and real-time situational awareness. Having access to all of the information they could need instantly will enable security personnel to decide whether to attend the scene and diffuse the situation themselves or to take more drastic action if needed, before any harm has been caused. This capability is especially valuable for lone workers who don’t have access to instant support – such as delivery drivers, in-store or warehouse staff and distribution operators to name a few. The pandemic has also doubled the number of consumers who do their regular grocery shopping online, leading to potential supply and demand issues resulting in unhappy customers.  Live-streaming body worn cameras rely on uninterrupted mobile connectivity to excel, as they are not connected to any physical infrastructure. To minimise the risk of the live video stream buffering or freezing – a real possibility for delivery drivers who can be working anywhere in the country – retailers should look to deploy devices capable of streaming in real-time, with near zero latency footage, even when streaming over poor or constrained networks. To get the most out of their tech, retailers should also look to implement devices that can be multi-use and can be deployed as a body worn camera or a dashcam to record any incidents that may occur whilst driving.    Novel threats   This year brought about a new threat that retailers must protect their staff from While not to the same extent, retail workers have always been subject to a level of potential physical or verbal abuse. However, this year brought about a new threat that retailers must protect their staff from. The COVID-19 pandemic has been the cause of many of the new threats facing employees, but is also a threat in itself. To mitigate this, retailers should look to introduce remote elevated temperature detection cameras in their stores, which analyse body temperature and sound an alarm when somebody’s temperature exceeds a certain threshold – as this could indicate the presence of a potential fever. When deployed on the same cellular network as live-streaming enabled body cameras, these tools can be linked to a central command centre and the alarms viewed remotely from any connected device. This means a network of cameras can be monitored efficiently from a single platform. Ensuring the protection and security of retail workers has come to the fore this year. With the risk of infection in high-footfall locations, such as supermarkets, and the added pressure that comes with monitoring and enforcing safety guidelines, retail staff are having to cope with a plethora of new challenges. Retailers should adopt innovative technologies within their stores and delivery trucks, such as live-streaming enabled body cameras and remote elevated temperature screening solutions, to minimise the threat faced by their employees and provide them with instant support and reassurance should it be required.

Inclusion and diversity in the security industry: ‘One step at a time’
Inclusion and diversity in the security industry: ‘One step at a time’

Historically, concerns about inclusion and diversity have not been widely discussed in the security market. In the last couple of years, however, the Security Industry Association (SIA) and other groups have worked to raise awareness around issues of diversity and inclusion. Specifically, SIA’s Women in Security Forum has focused on the growing role of women in all aspects of security, and SIA’s RISE community has focused on “rising stars” in an industry previously dominated by Baby Boomers. The next generation of security leaders There is a business case to be made for diversity and inclusion, says a report by McKinsey & Company. According to the management consulting company, gender-diverse companies are 24% more likely to outperform less diverse companies, and ethnically diverse companies are 33% more likely to outperform their less diverse counterparts. Furthermore, the “next generation of security leaders” – employees under 30 – are particularly focused on diversity and inclusion. Diversity refers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique A panel discussion at ISC West’s Virtual Event highlighted aspects of inclusion and diversity, starting with a definition of each. Diversity refers to the traits and characteristics that make people unique. On the other hand, inclusion refers to the behaviour and social norms that ensure people feel welcome. “We are all on a journey, and our journey takes different paths,” said Willem Ryan of AlertEnterprise, one of the SIA panelists. “There are opportunities to improve over time. We can all change and increase our ability to have a positive impact.” Industry responsibility The industry has a responsibility to the next generation of industry leaders to address issues of inclusion and diversity. Forbes magazine says that millennials are more engaged at work when they believe their company fosters an inclusive culture. So the question becomes: How do we unify and create opportunities to work with and champion tomorrow’s leaders? SIA is driving change in our industry to achieve that goal. More women are active in SIA than ever before. The SIA Women in Security Forum now has 520 members, said Maureen Carlo of BCD International, the SIA Women in Security Forum Chair and another panelist. Also, more women than ever are chairing SIA committees and serving on the SIA Board of Directors. More women than ever are chairing SIA committees Overcoming unconscious bias Former SIA Chairman Scott Shafer of SMS Advisors, another of the panelists, noted that SIA awarded the Chairman’s Award to the Women in Security Forum in 2019, and to the RISE community steering committee in 2020. “There are lots of ways we are seeing the elevation of women and ethnic groups in the security industry,” said Shafer. One topic of interest is the problem of “unconscious bias,” which can be overcome by looking at something through some else’s lens. Ryan suggested use of the acronym SELF –  Slow Down, Empathise, Learn, and Find commonalities. Ryan recalled the value of being mentored and having someone shepherd him around the industry. “Now I want to give back,” he said. “We need to look at the things we can change in ourselves, in our company, in our communities, and in our industry. Change comes from the bottom and the top.” Increasing representation “It takes all of us to increase representation everywhere,” said Kasia Hanson of Intel Corp., another panelist. “We have in common that we are all human beings. Let’s make sure the next generation all have opportunities.” Diverse companies can attract better talent Moving forward, the panelists urged the industry to get involved and create opportunities because inclusion drives diversity. Diverse companies can attract better talent and attain a competitive advantage. Awareness of unconscious bias, and working to eliminate it, is an important element of change. Despite the progress the security industry is making, change continues to be incremental. As Ruth Bader Ginsburg has said, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”