Johnson Controls, the global renowned company in the field of smart and sustainable building solutions, released the findings of its annual Energy Efficiency Indicator survey, which found that more than half of organisations plan to increase investment in energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart building technology next year, comparable with investment trends after the 2010 recession.

Of the factors determining investment, the majority (85 percent) said that reducing energy costs was a very or extremely important driver of investment and more than three-quarters (76 percent) believe that protecting the health and safety of occupants during emergencies was a very or an extremely important driver of investment.

Need to enhance health and safety of buildings

Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to improve the health and safety of buildings"

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to improve the health and safety of buildings, particularly by increasing their ability to operate under different conditions, both planned and unforeseen,” said Clay Nesler, Vice President of global energy and sustainability at Johnson Controls.

Clay adds, “Though the pandemic has altered how people are investing in their buildings, occupant health and energy efficiency continue to be top of mind and we anticipate these investments will be a priority in 2021 as more people return to shared spaces.

Despite reduced occupancy, the study found that facility energy use dropped surprisingly little during the pandemic, with less than 10 percent of facilities reducing energy use more than 20 percent.

Investments in improving Indoor Air Quality and flexibility

As the world learns more about the spread of Covid-19 through aerosol transmission, indoor air quality has become one of the most pressing issues for facility managers to address. The survey found that 79 percent have already or are planning to increase air filtration, three-quarters have already or are planning to install an air treatment system and 72 percent have already or are planning to increase outdoor air ventilation rates.

The majority of respondents, 81 percent, said that increasing the flexibility of facilities to quickly respond to a variety of emergency conditions was very or extremely important driver of investment. Further, in an increasingly digital world, the integration of systems has become more important than ever.

Integration of security systems with building technology

Three-quarters (75 percent) of respondents’ organisations have invested in the integration of security systems with other building technology systems, a 36 percent increase from the 2019 study. And one-third of respondents (33 percent) plan to invest in the integration of building technology systems with distributed energy resources in the next year, a 15 percent increase over 2020.

Digital offerings that integrate a number of systems are more of a priority than ever for organisations evaluating their investment plans for 2021,” said Michael Ellis, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer and Chief Digital Officer at Johnson Controls.

OpenBlue offerings

We took note of this trend, which is why we invested in our comprehensive OpenBlue offerings"

Michael adds, “We took note of this trend, which is why we invested in our comprehensive OpenBlue offerings and continue to expand those with partners to meet their increasingly interconnected needs around energy efficiency, sustainability, digitisation and occupant health.

The integration of new technology continues to be a theme, with 79 percent of respondents noting that data analytics and machine learning will have an extremely or very significant impact on buildings, up five percent from last year’s study.

Increased Interest in Net Zero Energy Buildings

The study found growing interest in net zero energy buildings and resiliency, with 70 percent of organisations very or extremely likely to have one or more facilities that are nearly zero, net zero or positive energy or carbon status in the next 10 years – an increase of seven percent from 2019.

Further, two-thirds of organisations are very or extremely likely to have one or more facilities able to operate off the grid in the next 10 years – an increase of three percent from 2019. Additionally, 63 percent of organisations invested in onsite renewable energy in 2020, a 22 percent increase from the organisations that said they were planning to in the 2019 study.

Funding Facility Improvements

The 2020 survey found that funding for facility improvements increasingly came from internal capital budget (71 percent), energy services agreements (24 percent) and economic stimulus and recovery funds (20 percent).

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Which new buzzwords reflect the security industry’s trends?
Which new buzzwords reflect the security industry’s trends?

As an industry, we often speak in buzzwords. In addition to being catchy and easy to remember, these new and trendy industry terms can also reflect the state of the security market’s technology. In short, the latest buzzwords provide a kind of shorthand description of where the industry is - and where it’s going. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What new buzzword(s) rose to prominence in the security industry in 2020? (And how do they reflect industry trends?)

Maximising effectiveness of thermal cameras for temperature screening
Maximising effectiveness of thermal cameras for temperature screening

Thermal cameras can be used for rapid and safe initial temperature screening of staff, visitors and customers. Used the right way, the cameras can help prevent unnecessary spread of viruses like the novel coronavirus. During the global pandemic, use of thermal cameras has increased, but they have not always been used correctly, and therefore, not effectively. Hikvision’s temperature screening thermal products are currently assisting users in initial temperature screening across the global market. During 2020, demand increased in most markets, and the company highly recommends that Hikvision’s thermographic cameras be used in accordance with local laws and regulations. Limitations of the technology include throughput and the impact of ambient conditions. Detect viruses and fever Hikvision releases a video that illustrates how skin temperature measurements are normalised within minutes Thermal cameras cannot detect viruses and fever and should only be used as a first line of screening before using secondary measures to confirm, says Stefan Li, Thermal Product Director at Hikvision. “We also believe it is important for businesses and authorities to use [thermal cameras] alongside a full programme of additional health and safety procedures, which includes handwashing, regular disinfection of surfaces, wearing protective clothing such as masks, and social distancing.” Hikvision has released a video that illustrates how skin temperature measurements are normalised within minutes after someone emerges from the cold. Mr. Li says the video demonstrates the accuracy of forehead measurement under difficult circumstances when people come inside from a cold outdoor environment. Temperature screening facilities “There have been some claims that measuring the forehead temperature is not as accurate as measuring the inner canthus, and we believe this video demonstrates the accuracy of forehead measurement very well,” he says. “We also illustrate how the skin temperature will experience a process of recovery (warming up), no matter if it is measured by a thermal camera or a thermometer.” Mr. Li adds that people should wait five minutes in such circumstances before starting a temperature measurement. “We hope that stakeholders who are involved in the design of temperature screening facilities and associated health and safety procedures will recognise how important it is to consider the skin temperature recovery time, and that forehead measurement can provide accurate test results,” says Mr. Li. Thermal imaging manufacturers The algorithm is based on a large number of test results to obtain a value that tends to be dynamically balanced The temperature measurement principle of thermal imaging is to detect the heat radiation emitted by the human body. The detected heat value often does not reflect the true internal body temperature of an individual. Furthermore, the temperature varies among different parts of the human, such as the forehead, ears, underarms, etc. A temperature compensation algorithm can be used to adjust the measured skin temperature to align with the internal body temperature. The algorithm is based on a large number of test results to obtain a value that tends to be dynamically balanced. At present, thermal imaging manufacturers in the market, and even forehead thermometer manufacturers, have developed their own algorithms to map the skin temperature measured by the camera to the internal body temperature, so as to compensate the skin temperature to the internal body temperature. Thermal cameras This is also why Hikvision recommends that the "actual body temperature" should be checked with a secondary device for confirmation. The calibration work for a thermal camera is completed in the production process at the factory, including calibration of reference values and detection point and so on. At the same time, the equipment parameters should be adjusted before on-site use to ensure accurate temperature reads. Hikvision does not deny the accuracy of temperature measurement at the inner canthus but prefers forehead temperature measurement and algorithms based on actual use scenarios, says Mr. Li. A large amount of test data and practical results indicates that the forehead is a correct and easy-to-use temperature measurement area, says the company. There are advantages and disadvantages of choosing different facial areas for temperature measurement. Default compensation temperature Two main approaches direct the measurement area and how compensation algorithms are applied: Forehead area + default forehead compensation algorithm value Upper half face (forehead + canthus) + default inner canthus compensation algorithm value. Both methods deploy compensation algorithms, but the default compensation temperature of the inner canthus will be less than the default compensation temperature of the forehead, generally speaking. The reason is that the temperature of the inner canthus of most people is higher than their forehead, so the temperature compensation is relatively low (i.e., closer to the actual temperature inside the body.) Upper face area Hikvision found that selecting the upper face area plus the default compensation value for the inner canthus resulted in situations when the calculated temperature is lower than the actual temperature. For the Hikvision solution, the forehead is a relatively obvious and easy-to-capture area on an entire face Mr. Li explains: “The reason is that when the camera cannot capture the position of the inner canthus (for example, when a person is walking, or the face is not facing the camera), the camera will automatically capture the temperature of the forehead. Then the result that appears is the sum of the forehead temperature plus the default compensation temperature of the inner canthus, which is lower than the actual temperature of the person being measured. Therefore, errors are prone to occur.” Thermal imaging products But for the Hikvision solution, the forehead is a relatively obvious and easy-to-capture area on an entire face. Also, the default forehead compensation temperature is based on rigorous testing and can also correctly mimic the actual temperature of the person being measured, says Mr. Li. After many test comparisons, considering that the results of forehead temperature measurement are relatively more stable, and in order to avoid the false results from inner canthus temperature measurement, Hikvision chose the forehead temperature measurement approach. “We look forward to bringing thermal imaging products from a niche market where there is a relatively high-end industry application to a mass market and serving more users,” says Mr. Li. Facial recognition terminals Additional application parameters can maximise effectiveness of thermal cameras for measuring body temperature: Positioning and height - All cameras must be mounted appropriately to avoid loss of accuracy and performance. The installation height of each camera must be adjusted according to camera resolution and focal length, and stable installation is needed to avoid errors caused by shaking. Ensuring a ‘one-direction path’ - The detection area must ensure that cameras capture the full faces of all those passing by or stopping, and obstacles should be avoided in the field of view, such as glass doors that block the camera. Adequate start-up and usage - A waiting time of more than 90 minutes is required for preheating, after the initial start-up. Before conducting a thermal scan, people should be given three to five minutes to allow their body temperature to stabilise. When Hikvision MinMoe facial recognition terminals are used, people must stand at a fixed distance, pass one by one, make a short stop, and face the camera directly. Hikvision cameras support efficient group screening, but one-by-one screening is suggested for more accurate results, says Mr. Li. Unstable environmental condition An unstable environmental condition may affect the accuracy of thermal camera systems Environmental factors can impact the accuracy of thermal cameras, and the idea of using a black body is to provide the camera with a reference point that has a stable temperature. The black body is heated to a specific temperature and helps the thermal camera to know how much error is caused by environmental factors in the room, and how the camera should calibrate itself in real time to improve its accuracy. A black body can help increase the temperature measurement accuracy, and the most common improvement is from ±0.5 degrees to ±0.3 degrees. However, it also increases the cost of the installation. In some markets, customers may require black bodies in order to comply with regulatory accuracy requirements. An unstable environmental condition may affect the accuracy of thermal camera systems for measuring temperature. Medical temperature measurement Therefore, Hikvision suggests that the ambient conditions should be met for installation and use. First of all, users should avoid installing devices in hot or changeable environments. All cameras require indoor environments with calm air, consistent temperature and no direct sunlight. Installation should also be avoided in semi-open locations that may be prone to changes in ambient conditions, such as doorways, and there should be enough stable, visible light. All devices should be installed to avoid backlighting, high temperature targets, and reflections in the field of view as far as possible. “We often see the misconception that thermal cameras can replace medical temperature measurement equipment, which is not the case,” says Mr. Li. Rapid preliminary screening “Temperature screening thermographic cameras are designed for the detection of skin-surface temperatures, and the measurement should be conducted to achieve rapid preliminary screening in public areas. It is really important that actual core body temperatures are measured subsequently with clinical measurement devices.”

Looking back at 2020: Cloud systems expand in shadow of COVID
Looking back at 2020: Cloud systems expand in shadow of COVID

The cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. Video and access control as a service provides a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success. This article will look back at our articles in 2020 about the growing popularity of cloud solutions for physical security, with links to the original content. Product offering While most people agree on the definition of “cloud,” there are several points about the terminology that may require clarification. Private cloud or public cloud? VSaaS or unlimited storage for video? Beyond the basics, the terms become foggy, reflecting a variety of notions about how cloud services fit into the broader physical security marketplace. As cloud usage becomes more popular, it’s important that marketers be precise in their terminology, and that integrators and end users be diligent in understanding the specifics of available product offerings. Different meanings “The cloud has many different possible connotations, depending on the context,” says Yu Hao Lin of Rasilient Systems, one of our Expert Roundtable panelists. For example, corporate CIOs will more likely understand the cloud to be a private cloud platform. As such, the public cloud is a ubiquitous term while the private cloud is more specified. Cloud system security Security of cloud systems is an ongoing discussion in the industry, especially how cloud system cybersecurity compares to that of on-premise systems. Our Expert Panel Roundtable weighed in on this question. “While both kinds of security systems serve their purpose, it can be argued that the streamlined updates that are commonplace with cloud-based solutions may put them at more of an advantage when it comes to data security,” says panelist Eric Widlitz of Vanderbilt Industries. “Also, most reputable cloud-based solutions are running in secured data centers by companies such as Google, Microsoft or Amazon, so you also get to take advantage of all the security layers they have protecting your data.” Hybrid cloud video security solution A growing list of cloud players reinforces the importance of the cloud in the future of physical security There are several relatively new companies pushing cloud in a big way. Verkada is fast-growing company currently currently focusing to deliver an all-in-one hybrid cloud video security solution powered by edge processing inside the camera. The growing list of cloud players reinforces the importance of the cloud in the future of physical security. Combining AI and cloud video One company investing in the cloud is Eagle Eye Networks, which has raised $40 million of Series E funding from venture capital firm Accel to finance the realisation of their vision to combine AI and cloud video. The money will allow Eagle Eye to continue its steep growth curve and leverage AI on its true cloud platform to reshape video surveillance. “The investment will make video surveillance smarter and safer for end-users,” says Ken Francis, President. Eagle Eye offers an application programming interface (API) to enable the integration of best-in-breed third-party AI and analytics systems to leverage the video. Eagle Eye is also investing in its own AI development and hiring additional development and customer service personnel. Hirsch Velocity Cirrus and MobilisID Identiv introduced the Hirsch Velocity Cirrus cloud-based Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) solution and MobilisID smart mobile physical access control solution. Hirsch Velocity Cirrus is an optimal solution for both end-users and integrators, with lower upfront costs, reduced maintenance, enhanced portability, and the future-proof assurance of automatic security updates and feature sets.  MobilisID is a smart mobile physical access control solution that uses Bluetooth and capacitive technologies to allow frictionless access to a controlled environment without the need to present a credential. Advantages and disadvantages Advantages of cloud-based physical security technologies are many, when supporting staff  The advantages of cloud-based physical security technologies are many, and have wide-ranging applications for all areas of the transport sector; across stations, transport hubs and vehicles. When used to support staff and complement existing processes, such systems can prove invaluable for transport professionals in helping to create a safer working environment, promoting confidence among personnel and passengers, and assuring passengers who are fearful about the current pandemic that all possible precautions are being taken during their journey. 5G supporting cloud-based applications 5G is the first communication environment that is cloud-native. As such, such, 5G networks will support cloud-based applications in a way that 4G, 3G and 2G can’t support. For instance, sensors (e.g. in a manufacturing plant) often have small internal storage and rely on synced devices (e.g. gateways) to interact with the cloud. Soon, these sensors will be able to work more efficiently, interacting with the cloud via the ultra-low latency and the edge computing capabilities supported by 5G networks. Increasing use of IoT Unlike current IoT services that make performance trade-offs to get the best from these existing wireless technologies, 5G networks will be designed to bring the high levels of performance needed for the increasing use of IoT. It will enable a perceived fully ubiquitous connected world, with the boosted capacity offered by 5G networks transferring exponentially more data at a much quicker rate.