A security system provided by Hikvision USA Inc., the North American provider of innovative, award-winning video surveillance products and solutions, was installed by Denver-based A-1 Security Systems to meet all requirements set forth by Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) and to ensure comprehensive security at the newly retrofitted building for 14er Gardens in Boulder, Colorado.

In 2017, Evan Anderson, owner of medical marijuana company 14er Gardens, sought out the security expertise of Sofia Aguilar, sales manager and partner at A-1 Security Systems in Denver. The two had worked on previous projects together and Anderson was about to embark on a brand new, complex building retrofit in Boulder that had been in the planning stages for nearly two years.

Aguilar worked closely with Anderson and his team to design a custom, high-end Hikvision security system

A-1 excels at these types of projects, mid-sized commercial with access control and surveillance needs, and Aguilar has designed and installed hundreds of Hikvision security systems at growing facilities throughout Colorado since moving from Texas in 2008 to join A-1 as a business partner. Aguilar is a member of the national board of the Electronic Security Association and a board president for the state chapter of the Colorado Burglar and Fire Alarm Association.

Hikvision’s Pro Series NVRs

Aguilar worked closely with Anderson and his team to design a custom, high-end Hikvision security system that deployed a total of 95 cameras for indoor and outdoor surveillance and used Hikvision’s Pro Series NVRs for storage. All of 14er gardens are indoor facilities that meticulously control growth quality of the plants.

Outdoor growing facilities do exist,” said Anderson. “But they don’t deliver the consistent product quality every month of the year. Our approach is more of a manufacturing model, versus an agricultural endeavor.

He adds that his top two most important contractors on a job are the HVAC, due to the volume of lighting required to control the climate, and the security contractor, who is critical to securing his product and overall operation.

A-1 received a set of project plans and was asked to design a comprehensive Hikvision security system with high-end cameras and NVRs that met the MED storage requirements for 40 days of on- and off-site recording.

Aguilar calls what she does an “art,” and said this project offered her the chance to apply her creativity to design a comprehensive surveillance system to protect Anderson’s investment. Aguilar's top two most important contractors on a job are the HVAC, due to the volume of lighting required

It’s advantageous for growers to buy or build-out larger facilities to increase production. With that comes the demand for high-end, large-scale security systems with impeccable visual quality,” said Aguilar. She adds that growers who’ve used low-end systems often experience higher rates of break-ins, and if a camera has poor image quality it means lack of clear facial features in video images to help identify culprits.

The Boulder Project

The Boulder project began with the complete gutting of an existing two-story building that had previously been used as office space. Renovations included the re-pouring of all concrete with a total construction investment “that cost three to four times what we paid for the building,” said Anderson.

Anderson’s venture into the marijuana industry in Colorado began in 2008, before regulatory standards had been established. “We installed comprehensive security systems before it was ever required,” he said.

Anderson has worked with the MED to establish best practices and guidelines for securing these types of facilities. Initially, Colorado planned to establish a central monitoring station to link IP cameras from all marijuana growers throughout the state. A third-party consultant was brought in to evaluate this proposal and due to the sheer size of the industry, determined the model would use about ten percent of the state’s total bandwidth.

Following that assessment, the Colorado regulatory model for security shifted to a requirement that growers keep 40 days of on-site and 40 days of off-site video recordings per camera, although most entities keep more than that on hand, said Anderson.

The Colorado regulatory model for security states that growers must keep 40 days of on-site and off-site video recordings per camera

Access security footage remotely

Hikvision systems and A-1 security became the standard we use to operate. The Hikvision system offers a better platform that is more affordable then prior systems we used,” said Anderson. With Hikvision’s iVMS-4200 app, Anderson can access footage on his smartphone and PC, and easily show officials what is happening at a moment’s notice.

 “I was an art major with a minor in photography and worked in commercial photography for several years. My mantra is to fill the frame with the image you want,” said Aguilar. “My pet peeve is not using enough cameras to provide good facial recognition or worse, using great megapixel cameras and dumbing them down because the NVR is not powerful enough to handle the camera’s best quality.

Aguilar recommended multiple 32-channel Hikvision NVRs that are not at full capacity, in the unlikely event that a hard drive fails the remaining recorders will continue to work. “I can honestly say the Hikvision recorders have never failed,” said Aguilar. “Being a Hikvision Platinum dealer, A-1 offers a five-year warranty. We feel confident in the system we install without concern that we will need to return to a site just to repair a broken recorder.

the state of Colorado can ask to see recorded footage with little advanced notice
A total of 95 security cameras were used to complete the system, with about half used indoors and the other half placed outside of the facility

Increased throughput, larger capacity

A-1 installed the Hikvision Pro Series DS-9632NI-I8 NVRs, a 32-channel model with 48 terabytes (TB) of internal storage, providing increased throughput and larger capacity to meet MED storage requirements. Aguilar stacks the NVRs and uses an external server, which requires slightly more investment, but offers the client greater bandwidth to stream large amounts of data more quickly.

In Anderson’s case, this is critical since the state of Colorado can ask to see recorded footage with little advanced notice. A total of 95 security cameras were used to complete the system, with about half used indoors and the other half placed outside of the facility for perimeter, outdoor entrance and parking lot surveillance.

Indoor and outdoor capabilities

For indoor coverage, A-1 installed Hikvision’s DS-2CD2135FWD-I 3MP Ultra-Low Light Network Dome camera to cover all rooms containing product, and all exits and entrances, which is an MED requirement. This dome camera is actually designed as an outdoor model, which Aguilar selected for indoor use because of its vandal-proof rating, weather resistance, and clear imagery during day or evening conditions.

Video surveillance covers every square inch of the facility, greatly improving operational efficiency

We can turn off the IR feature in the growing area but leave it on in the hallways and other areas where it can help with image quality (trim, drying, packing, vault, etc.),” said Aguilar. “Weather resistance means no need to worry about chemicals, nutrients, misting or watering, and it is a very hot, humid environment. These are live plants that require all these things to survive and thrive like hothouse tomatoes or tropical plants. And the environment is either very brightly lit or pitch black, mimicking an outdoor environment.

In the grow rooms, lights are placed vertically and each room has rows of product with a three-foot space in between for people to walk while tending plants. A-1 placed indoor cameras at the end of product rows and at accessible wall areas to provide 360-degree coverage.

The building exterior was secured using Hikvision’s DS-2CD2T55FWD-I5 Outdoor Network Bullet camera featuring 5MP of resolution, 120 dB Wide Dynamic Range and Digital Noise Reduction. Aguilar “likes the 5MP varifocal models for parking lots. I install them in crisscross fashion to provide blanket coverage with the capability to zoom in on parking lot entrances.

24/7 efficient video surveillance

Video surveillance covers every square inch of the facility, greatly improving operational efficiency. “The system is great! I can watch my guys at all times from anywhere,” said Anderson. Surveillance cameras record non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week since MED requirements do not allow motion-activated recording.Surveillance cameras record non-stop, 24 hours a day, seven days a week since MED requirements do not allow motion-activated recording

To install the system, A-1 had to overcome challenges associated with an older concrete building that was “built like a bunker” with an architectural accent bar along the roof perimeter. The constraint required them to pipe and core drill through exterior concrete and run wires through conduits or O-rings that were hammer-drilled into the seams every four feet.

The entire Boulder facility is run through a mobile platform. “This project involved a new level of detail and control compared with our previous projects and is a fully-automated monster,” said Anderson. “At our last facility, we had seven growers. The Boulder facility is four times as big as the last one and we only need two growers due to extensive automation.” 14er moved from physical-based labor to web-based controls.

User-friendly remote viewing

The Hikvision iVMS-4200 platform helps 14er with automation by providing better integration, reduced cost and user-friendly remote viewing. “Older systems were built more for an IT or security systems expert, not for clients to have a convenient system they could easily use,” said Anderson. “Hikvision’s iVMS platform helps us keep impeccable records of everything in the cloud, so when the state of Colorado contacts us for immediate access to recordings, we can easily provide them.

A-1 helped to develop standards for video surveillance and storage that have become industry best practice

Achieving the MED-required 40 days of on-site and off-site recordings is a big deal,” said Sofia Aguilar, sales manager and partner at A-1 Security. "With the Hikvision iVMS system they were able to build a platform around Hikvision products, solving the state’s problem of how to record at a reasonable price.

Hikvision worked with technology partner byRemote to develop software that utilizes Hikvision’s iVMS product to record off-site, said Aguilar.

Customers wanted higher-end systems without the cost associated with the old encoders,” said Aguilar. “The Hikvision partnership with byRemote offered exactly what the market demanded.

Powerful video security system 

Aguilar initially had reservations about marijuana as a vertical focus for A-1 Security Systems, believing it was too high-risk and if grower’s operations were shut down, A-1 would quickly lose its customer base. Eventually her business partner, Leif Wulforst, convinced her that marijuana was a viable business.

A-1 helped to develop standards for video surveillance and storage that have become industry best practice. Cultivating a relationship with growers such as Anderson from 14er gardens led to the development of a surveillance system that met strict MED storage regulations while providing ease of viewing for end users and the state regulatory body. Hikvision’s high resolution security cameras combined with its Pro Series NVRs in delivering a high performing solution at an affordable price to help the market thrive.

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Security Essen 2018 promises modernised trade show experience for attendees
Security Essen 2018 promises modernised trade show experience for attendees

Newly modernised halls with lots of daylight will house hundreds of exhibitions and conference events at the upcoming Security Essen 2018 at Messe Essen, Germany. A new layout and hall numbering system will be unfamiliar to past attendees but promises to simplify the experience as it brings together attendees and exhibitors. European physical security market Security Essen is an international trade fair, but the emphasis is more on German, Austrian and Swiss companies. In all, Security Essen will feature 1,000 exhibitors from 40 nations. The trade fair has more of a continental European “flavour” compared to IFSEC, which focuses more on the U.K market. At the last Security Essen in 2016, organisers reported about 40,000 visitors including conference participants, VIP guests, members of various delegations and journalists. Security Essen 2018 has more of a continental European “flavour” compared to IFSEC, which focuses more on the U.K market  “This year, we have sharpened the profile of Security Essen,” says Oliver P. Kuhrt, CEO of Messe Essen, a trade fair, congress and event organiser with its own exhibition grounds. “The trade fair has become considerably more digital, more modern and more interactive. Due to the optimised hall layout, we are offering our exhibitors and visitors the best possible experience with short paths and direct communication.” Newly modernised Messe Essen The newly modernised site of Security Essen will encompass eight halls, newly renumbered and with the subject areas reorganised, too. Visitors will find Services in Hall 1; Access, Mechanatronics, Mechanics and Systems in Halls 2 and 3 and the Galeria; Perimeter Protection in Hall 3; Video in Halls 5 and 7; and Fire, Intrusion and Systems in Halls 6 and 7. A helpful smart phone app, downloadable free from the Google Play Store (Android) or the Apple App Store (iOS), will be available two weeks before the event and include a show floor plan; the exhibitor list with booth numbers and contact information; and an overview of the supporting programme. A separate hall – Hall 8 – will house new Cyber Security and Economic Security categories. Cyber Security Conference At the new Cyber Security Conference, located prominently at the new East Entrance, experts will share their knowledge about the more pressing challenges and potential of cybersecurity. The programme opens and closes on 25 and 28 September with the main topic “Opportunities and Risks of Cyber Security”. On 26 September, discussions and lectures will centre on “Entry, Admission, Access: Identification Options”.A helpful smart phone app, downloadable free will be available two weeks before the event and include a show floor plan On 27 September, the topic will be smart homes and focus on “Connected Building, Security in the Buildings of the Future”. Speakers will include the president of Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security, who will address cybersecurity as a challenge for politics, business and society. The fair organises the conference in cooperation with the BHE Federal Association of Security Technology and the technical support of the Federal Office for Information Security. In Hall 8, a new Public Security Forum will enable visitors to experience digital security technologies for public spaces from the areas of sensors/IoT, cyber security and surveillance. The products and solutions will be installed in four different building scenarios (town hall, school, hospital and library) and it will be possible to test them extensively. The forum, including lectures and discussions, will target municipal decision makers and planners of public spaces. Comprehensive programme A Security Expert Forum in Hall 2 will present a continuous programme with more than 90 presentations during the period of the fair. Visitors will obtain information and solution ideas about all six subject areas covered at the fair, and the programme will begin with a keynote lecture each morning and finish with a live demonstration in the evening. On the first day of the fair (25 September), Security Essen’s Career Forum will introduce retrainees, students, trainees and graduates to companies from the security industry. Targeted and professional communication will be established between companies and job applicants to facilitate making contacts, developing networks, and filling actual vacancies. Thursday (27 September) will be observed as Fire Prevention Day, and a Drone Course will be provided each day in Hall 7. One day admission to Security Essen is €41; a four-day ticket is €105. Advance sale tickets are discounted.

Steps to develop an integrated retail security strategy
Steps to develop an integrated retail security strategy

There are many aspects to consider when developing a retail security strategy, including loss prevention, physical security, asset protection, risk management, and IT. All these areas could be the responsibility of just a few people working to secure a handful of stores or each of these areas could be entirely separate departments, as is often the case for major retailers with locations throughout the country. Regardless of the size of the retailer, there are many different technologies that can be used within a retail store to improve security and loss prevention, yet none should be used in a silo. There are tremendous benefits to integrating security technologies and communications systems together, including enhancing overall safety and security, reducing shrink, and improving operations. 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Point of sale terminals Whether it’s loss through sweet hearting or other fraud, point of sale terminals present a significant shrink risk for retailers. Integrated systems enhance security at these locations. Video recording of HD or megapixel cameras integrated with point of sale data makes it easy to locate video associated with transactions and exception reporting. This allows for visual verification of each transaction when needed.There are tremendous benefits to integrating security technologies and communications systems together Other risks like robbery not only result in loss, but also impact the safety of employees and shoppers alike. Panic buttons or bill trap sensors connected to the intrusion detection system ensure silent alarms are issued when employees are at risk. 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Panic buttons or bill trap sensors connected to the intrusion detection system ensure silent alarms are issued when employees are at risk High value displays Protect high-value or frequently-stolen items such as electronics, using video analytics integrated with audio communication Protect high-value or frequently-stolen items such as electronics, using video analytics integrated with audio communications. For example, a person standing at a display for longer than a pre-defined time or touching items on display can trigger a video snapshot to be sent to the store manager and an audio message to play through a nearby loudspeaker, such as: “Thank you for your interest in our smartphone selection; an associate will be there soon to assist you.” This not only alerts potential offenders that their actions are being watched, it also serves to improve customer service for legitimate shoppers – as a retail floor associate is notified that a customer may need assistance. 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A cooler or freezer door monitored by the intrusion detection system can trigger an alert or chime to play in the area to remind an employee to close the door or to alert the store manager to the issue. While providing surveillance of the cash register area, the camera's video analytics can be used to trigger an alert in case the queue exceeds the pre-defined threshold Serving a dual purpose Retailers can use the metadata from the cameras to gather business statistics like counts of people entering the store While the technology solutions described above positively impact loss prevention in a retail store, they can also extend beyond security to improve health and safety and enhance customer service as well as customer engagement and sales. For example, while securing a store’s main entrance with IP cameras featuring on-board video analytics, retailers can use the metadata from the cameras to gather business statistics like counts of people entering the store. 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GSX 2018 continues 63-year tradition as an integrated trade show
GSX 2018 continues 63-year tradition as an integrated trade show

GSX 2018 is both a new event for the security industry and the continuation of a 63-year tradition. Global Security Exchange (GSX) is the new branding for ASIS International’s annual seminar and exhibits, which have been held since 1955. In recent years, the ASIS event has joined forces with other organisations to expand its scope and to appeal to a broader audience. Partners include ISSA (Information Systems Security Association) and Infragard, a public-private partnership between U.S. businesses and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The expansion is continuing this year with the addition of 30 supporting organisations representing industry verticals and reflecting ASIS’s intent to unite the full spectrum of security. Improving the state of cyber security Held September 23-27 at the Las Vegas convention Center, GSX 2018 seeks to attract more than 20,000 operational and cyber security professionals and 550 exhibitors. The Cyber Security Summit will co-locate with GSX, offering cyber security programming at a time when it is needed the most Other elements will further expand the 2018 event’s scope. The Cyber Security Summit will co-locate with GSX, offering cyber security programming at a time when it is needed the most. Top government, industry and academic thought leaders will engage in a dialogue to improve the state of cyber security. The 2018 Security Cares Program will address school violence prevention and response in a free education program. Topics will include pre-violence indicators, target hardening, and best practices to involve the entire community of school administrators, law enforcement, security professionals and mental health providers. Experts to deliver keynote speeches Keynote speakers including CNN host Fareed Zakaria will bestow celebrity appeal. Air Force Major General Bradley D. Spacy will share details about the new AFWERX innovation and tech hub in Las Vegas and how the U.S. Air Force is collaborating with the private sector to bring new security product ideas to market. Spacy’s keynote on Sept. 26 will kick off Military and Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. Also, K.T. McFarland, former Trump Administration Deputy National Security Advisor, will share an insider’s perspective on critical foreign policy and defence industries. Attendees to ASIS International’s annual gathering typically list networking and education as big benefits of the event. Historically, the trade show aspect has existed separately from the educational program, and foot traffic to the exhibits has sometimes suffered from the competition. Beginning last year, and continuing in 2018, ASIS International has pursued innovative approaches to integrate the trade show more closely into the overall attendee experience. “The integration of programming and exhibits is truly seamless,” says one observer of the new approach. Held Sept. 23-27 at the Las Vegas convention Center, GSX 2018 seeks to attract more than 20,000 operational and cyber security professionals and 550 exhibitors X Learning Theatres GSX has sought to transform the exhibit hall into a ‘learning lab environment’ that features thousands of security products, technologies and service solutions (provided by the exhibitors), in addition to ‘immersive learning opportunities to connect the current and emerging threat landscape with solutions available in the marketplace’. There are several ‘X Learning Theatres’, including one (‘X-Stage’) focussed on leading-edge technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, AI, drones, and robotics. There is also an ‘Xcelerated Exchange Stage’ to facilitate discussions among security practitioners and solution providers. The ‘Xperience Stage’ showcases case studies and best practices. Also attracting more attendees to the Exhibit Hall will be ‘Career HQ’, a free career fair and enhanced career centre. ‘D3 Xperience’ (Drones, Droids Defence) will focus on unmanned systems with education and demos. The ‘Innovative Product Awards (IPAs) Showcase’ will highlight winners of an awards program. Focussing on security practices GSX is not as much about sales leads as about making connections and contributing to a larger conversation about how to protect people, facilities and assets ASIS International (now GSX 2018) is often compared to ISC West, the U.S. industry’s largest show held in Las Vegas in the spring. GSX 2018 this year may face even more scrutiny based on the changes, rebranding, and location (also in Las Vegas). However, GSX is a completely different show than ISC West, which focuses on the business of security. In contrast, GSX is much more about the practice of security than business. The international network of ASIS International members attend the yearly conference to make new connections, to learn and to benefit from the experiences of other security professionals around the world. The successful trade show exhibitors are the ones that approach the show with that understanding. GSX is not as much about sales leads as about making connections and contributing to a larger conversation about how to protect people, facilities and assets. ASIS International deserves credit for their efforts to integrate the trade show element into the larger goal of the event. Hopefully their new approach will enhance the overall experience for both attendees and exhibitors – and help to make the world a safer place as a consequence.