Terrorism has become part of everyday life. Over the past 12 months, Europe has experienced some the deadliest attacks in its history and the threat level remains high worldwide.

One of the main issues facing global security professionals today is the breakup of the so-called Islamic State’s caliphate. Following the liberation of Mosel and the assault on Raqqa, it is becoming increasingly likely that terrorists from more than 80 countries will begin to return to their home countries.

This represents a new challenge for security services across Europe. The return of highly trained and ideologically driven individuals will no doubt further increase the threat level across Europe.

Protecting critical assets and people

Those who retain a desire to commit acts of terrorism will continue to seek new ways to avoid detection, as we saw in December with the German Christmas market attack. It means the security industry must evolve and stay one step ahead by investing in new technologies and intelligence solutions that protect critical assets and people from today’s threats.

In May 2017, Security & Counter Terror Expo (SCTX)—the UK’s leading national security event for private and public sector security professionals—will return with a comprehensive programme designed to keep attendees one step ahead of those intent on committing terrorist acts.

Alongside an exhibition of more than 350 businesses, experts from across the globe, including representatives from NATO, Europol, MOD, Metropolitan Police and critical national infrastructure organisations, will explore the latest strategies to prevent, protect and prepare for future attacks.

Border control

Taking place at Olympia, London, from 3rd to 4th May 2017, SCTX remains the only event that unites security professionals from all four corners of the world. Working in partnership with the Department for International Trade (formerly UKTI), the event is expected to welcome a record number of delegations, building upon the 10,000-plus visitors who attended in 2016 from more than 100 countries—including France, Germany, Japan, Spain, Italy, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, UAE, Canada, and the US.

"The terrorist threat is changing almost daily; this creates countless issues for security professionals"

The two-day event, aligned with the Home Office’s seven security capabilities, will showcase the latest innovations from major suppliers, as well as niche technology providers. Visitors to SCTX 2017 will find a plethora of new solutions, equipment and services designed to assist critical national infrastructure protection, border control, cyber security, major events, offender management, policing and counter terrorism, and the emergency services.

David Thompson, Event Director, said: “The terrorist threat is changing almost daily; this creates countless issues for security professionals. SCTX is an essential platform, it provides a secure environment to source the latest solutions and define effective strategies to current threats.”

Drone and counter drone technology

“The 2017 show will showcase the most innovative technologies and provide those tasked with keeping nations, assets, and businesses safe with a platform to learn from industry leaders. Ultimately SCTX will help security professionals remain one step ahead of those intent on carrying out attacks.”

The exhibition has established itself as an international hub where the industry elite come together to identify the security sector’s most significant innovations and new product launches.

SCTX 2017 will showcase a wide range of product innovations from more than 350 exhibitors, including those supplying the latest in drone and counter drone technology, virtual reality, surveillance control systems, high security fencing and much more.

Pelco by Schneider Electric, Airborne Drones UK, e2v Technologies, Yuneec and GEOQUIP are among the major multinational companies booked and will join more than 120 new exhibitors offering cutting edge services and security solutions to the industry.

Radio Frequency Communications Jamming systems

First time exhibitor K9 Electronics will be showcasing its range of Radio Frequency Communications Jamming systems for both covert and overt operations. The UK-based company designs and manufactures jammers that can defeat drones at a range of five kilometres.

"Our primary focus is counter terrorism and countering the potential threats that drones carry"

Glenn Darien, Director of K9 Electronics, said: “Our primary focus is counter terrorism and countering the potential threats that drones carry. Our systems are currently being used in the Middle East, USA and South East Asia by various government organisations.”

“At the show, we will be exhibiting our new handheld tactical Drone Jammer Gun made for portable use and the covert, briefcase style Drone Jammer. Both have a one kilometre effective Jamming range and are very directional, ensuring that they will have minimal effect on surrounding communications when used correctly.”

VideoXpert video management platform

Following a successful show last year, Pelco by Schneider Electric is returning to SCTX 2017. The company that specialises in security cameras and surveillance systems will be demonstrating its leading VideoXpert video management platform. It will also demonstrate its latest camera technologies, including Opetra multi imager cameras and new low light static and PTZ ranges.

With 127 counter terrorism operations taking place in Europe last year, highlighting the sheer scale of the problem facing security professionals, it has never been more important to share expertise and best practice. Security professionals, law enforcement agencies, government officials and military will attend the annual World Counter Terror Congress to discuss future threats and define joint responses to national security.

With topics ranging from terrorist funding, counter radicalisation tactics, the emerging threats, privacy and technology, 20-plus high ranking officials and academics will lead the congress, providing invaluable trends and information to more than 400 attendees.

"The threat facing the UK and other nations is, and will remain, high for the years to come"

Securing critical national infrastructure

Richard Walton, the former head of the Met's Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) and now a special adviser to Security & Counter Terror Expo, said: “The threat facing the UK and other nations is, and will remain, high for the years to come. Security professionals must use the World Counter Terror Congress to develop their understanding of where the threats are coming from and identify ways that they can be prevented—a unilateral approach it is the only way we will stop attacks in the future from happening.”

The World Counter Terror Congress will feature six sessions, covering policy and strategy responses to the changing terror threat; radicalisation, de-radicalisation and preventing radicalisation; geopolitical security briefings; encryption, communications and security; security for critical national infrastructure; and emerging terror networks and tactics.

Among those confirmed to speak are Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE, QC; Rob Wainwright, Director at Europol; Dr Jamie Shea, Deputy ASG, Emerging Security Challenges Division, NATO; Raffaello Pantucci, Director of International Security Studies, Royal United Services Institute (RUSI); and Thomas Wuchte, Head on Anti-Terrorism Issues, Action Against Terrorism Unit, Organisation for Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Cyber security

Cyber security was once again thrust into the spotlight recently, with Russia’s alleged involvement in the US Election. The overall number of incidents the US experienced the previous year, totalled at 77,000, a 1300% increase over the last decade.

The importance of increased cyber security at a national level is now recognised globally, with the UK government creating the National Cyber Security Centre, part of GCHQ, in October 2016.

The free-to-attend Cyber Threat Intelligence Conference at SCTX will host the industry’s leading figures who will explore the latest cyber security strategies and share real life case-studies.

Addressing most important security issues

Running across two days in partnership with techUK, the representative body for the UK’s technology industry, the programme will feature the NCSC Chief Executive, Ciaran Martin, who will provide a keynote address on the current and future threat in cyber space and how prepared the UK is.

Other speakers confirmed for the conference include Peter Wood, CEO, First Base Technologies; Nader Heinen, Regional Director, Advanced Security Assurance Advisory, BlackBerry; Ron Gregory, Estates & Facilities Compliance Manager, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust; and Jenny Radcliffe aka 'The People Hacker'.

"The cyber terrorism threat grows immeasurably year-on-year"

Talal Rajab, techUK’s Head of Programme, Cyber and National Security, said: “The cyber terrorism threat grows immeasurably year-on-year and we as an industry, must grow, adapt and react in equal measure. The Cyber Threat Intelligence Conference at Security & Counter Terror Expo provides the opportunity to learn from and meet with some of the key figures in the sector addressing the most important issues we face today.”

Safeguarding critical national infrastructure

In addition to securing the ever-expanding cyber space, protecting national infrastructure and businesses is critical for the effective running of nations. Terrorist groups want to propagate the notion that no one is safe from attack in the western world and everyday life could be disrupted at any time. Security professionals therefore must look at the best way of protecting communications networks, the emergency services, energy plants, financial institutions, governments, health services, transport links and natural resources.

The Critical National Infrastructure & Business Resilience conference will aim to aid public and private entities to identify, assess, prioritise, and protect critical infrastructure and key resources. Allowing them to mitigate deliberate efforts to incapacitate or exploit a nation’s CNI.

The conference will feature a series of presentations from experts on how to protect CNI and business, citing real life examples and case studies and instructing how to create effective strategies utilising cyber, physical security and staff.

Securing borders and transport hubs

Running alongside the Critical National Infrastructure & Business Reliance and Cyber Threat Intelligence conference, the Border & Transport Security Conference will focus on the most critical issues facing borders and transport hubs.

Devastating attacks on transport hubs such as Atatürk international Airport in Turkey and attacks on Brussels Airport and Metro Station, as well as the mass movement of people throughout the world, poses serious problems for security professionals—with borders being exploited by those seeking to do us harm.

"The addition of the Counter IED Zone at SCTX serves to highlight the changing nature of terrorism"

The free-to-attend Border & Transport Security Conference will allow fellow practitioners to share best practice and explore the latest capabilities for secure border and transport management. Visitors will be able to hear from the likes of Bart van Hofwegen, Chief Security National Tactical Command, Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands; Jirí Celikovský, Head of Unit for Coordination of Schengen Cooperation and Border Control, Department for Asylum and Migration Policy, Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic; Peter O'Broin, Director, Airport Operator’s Association; and many more.

Explosive detection

Public and private sector buyers, influencers and government delegations from across the globe will attend SCTX to enhance their current and future security capabilities.

At Advanced Technologies Live, visitors will be able to see and hear more about innovative solutions through a series of live demonstrations. Attendees can view the latest products from the likes of Aerialtronics, dataminr and Aaronia.

New to the event for 2017, Security & Counter Terror Expo will be partnering with DSEI—the world leading defence and security event—to launch the Counter IED Zone. As well as showcasing best practice in reducing the threat of IEDs, live demonstrations will enable EOD, CIED, CBRNe, Defence, Law Enforcement, CT and Security professionals identify new strategies to disarm and detect devices. Exhibitors featuring in the Counter IED Zone include Bomb-Jammer, MIB-Electronic, ISSEE and Med-Eng.

Duncan Reid, Event Director of the DSEI, said: "The addition of the Counter IED Zone at SCTX serves to highlight the changing nature of terrorism. The threat is multifaceted and the security industry must seek out innovations that will help them detect and prevent attacks. This element of the show will help mitigate future threats and help personnel respond more effectively.”

Security & Counter Terror Expo 2017 will be co-located with Ambition—the EPRR Expo—and Forensics Europe Expo.

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In case you missed it

Security at sea: where technology benefits marine environments
Security at sea: where technology benefits marine environments

The term ‘marine’ comes from the Latin mare, meaning sea or ocean, and marine habitats can be divided into two categories: coastal and open ocean. Video surveillance (VS) applications can cover both types of marine environment with system for ships, maritime ports, onshore and offshore installations, etc. We should want to further analyse VS for ships and try to explain the types of ships on which it can be used, the ways in which VS can be used on ships, the typical certifications in use and what features a camera station must have to be installed on a ship. Starting with ships that have a minimum tonnage, around the world we have: liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, passengers ships, chemical tankers, crude oil tankers, container ships, general cargo ships and bulk carriers.As the LNG market grows rapidly, the fleet of LNG carriers continues to experience tremendous growth, offering more opportunities for VS Video surveillance for all marine vessels An LNG carrier is a tank ship designed for transporting liquefied natural gas. As the LNG market grows rapidly, the fleet of LNG carriers continues to experience tremendous growth. A passenger ship is a merchant ship whose primary function is to carry passengers by sea. This category does not include cargo vessels which have accommodation for a limited number of passengers, but rather includes the likes of ferries, yachts, ocean liners and cruise ships. A chemical tanker is a type of tank ship designed to transport chemicals in bulk. These ships can also carry other types of sensitive cargo which require a high standard of tank cleaning, such as palm oil, vegetable oils, tallow, caustic soda and methanol.A chemical tanker is a type of tank ship designed to transport chemicals and other types of sensitive cargo, increasing the need for better security An oil tanker, also known as a petroleum tanker, is a merchant ship designed for the bulk transport of oil. There are two basic types of oil tankers: crude tankers and product tankers. Crude tankers move large quantities of unrefined crude oil from its point of extraction to refineries. Product tankers, generally much smaller, are designed to move refined products from refineries to points near consuming markets. Container ships are cargo ships that carry their entire load in truck-size intermodal containers: a technique called containerisation. They are a common means of commercial intermodal freight transport and now carry most seagoing non-bulk cargo. Today, about 90% of non-bulk cargo worldwide is transported by container. A cargo ship or freighter ship is any sort of ship or vessel that carries cargo, goods and materials from one port to another. Cargo ships are specially designed for the task, often being equipped with cranes and other mechanisms to load and unload, and come in all sizes. Bulk carriers make up 15%–17% of the world's merchant ships and they are specially designed to transport unpackaged bulk cargo such as grains, coal, ore and cement in its cargo holds. For all these ships the protection of vessels, cargo and crew is a priority, that’s why the adoption of VS technology plays a key part in terms of security and safety. Human error is regularly named as a major factor in ship accidents, and one way to avoid it is to aid seafarers by providing them with technology and equipment that is reliable and easy to use in all weather and sea conditions. Marine VS encompasses liquefied natural gas (LNG) tankers, passengers ships, chemical tankers, crude oil tankers, container ships, general cargo ships and bulk carriers Emergency security solutions on ship One of the most important applications for camera stations is during “docking”. Mooring is the securing or confining of a vessel in a particular location with a fixed or a floating object (jetty, pier, ship, barge, buoy, etc.) as various cargo operations are carried out. Docking is the final stage of mooring operations when the ship docks to the jetty. This is a very delicate operation and cameras are very helpful in making sure docking is done without accidents.'Man overboard’ is an emergency in which a person has fallen off a boat or ship into the water, and can happen at any time during the day or night Another important application for camera stations is the Man Overboard detection system (MOB). ‘Man overboard’ is an emergency in which a person has fallen off a boat or ship into the water. Man overboard events can happen at any time during the day or night, in all types of weather and sea conditions, and from almost any location on the ship, ranging from a few tens of feet above the water, to over 180 feet.  When these events occur, the immediate availability of important data is crucial. Accurate confirmation of the event including time of occurrence, location on the ship and location in the sea is critical. A proactive detection system must immediately and accurately detect man overboard events and provide prompt, actionable data to response personnel. A typical man overboard detection system can report a MOB event in under 1 second. VS on a vessel can also monitor the engine room at all times and provide a good view of people working on dock, machinery and stowed equipment. But what are the most important features that a camera station must have to work in one of the most aggressive environments in nature? Marine surveillance must operate in one of the most harsh environments in nature Ruggedised reliability in surveillance First of all, and perhaps it’s obvious, but it’s extremely important to have camera stations with amazing reliability. Housing units manufactured from AISI 316L stainless steel, passivated and electropolished, makes the cameras completely impervious to air, water, rusting and corrosion, therefore offering excellent weather protection and increased reliability. Housing units manufactured from AISI 316L stainless steel, passivated and electropolished, makes the cameras completely impervious to air, water, rusting and corrosion Sometimes ships also use cameras constructed entirely from technopolymer, which guarantees high impact resistance and superior protection from external weather agents. Keeping the camera glass clean at all times is another essential feature, and it can be done via a wiper/wash system that greatly reduces the need for maintenance. In the case of PTZ cameras, the best option would be a great pan and tilt speed (up to 100°/s). What is the operative temperature range for the cameras? Sea is everywhere and therefore ships go everywhere, from the Arctic Ocean to the Mediterranean, so we need cameras that have to be fully operational across a wide temperature range.  -40°C to +65°C covers almost all areas. Analogue or IP Cameras? Actually, both options can be used, especially for applications like docking where it’s important to avoid image delay (as can happen with IP cameras due to the natural latency of data communication over a network). Marine certifications Last but not least, the certifications: Certifications guarantee the quality and reliability of camera stations. There is no compromise! One important certification is the Lloyd’s Register Type Approval which subjects cameras to rigorous testing for performance, vibration (critical on ships), humidity, etc. The application field of the LR Type Approval is VS in public places (e.g. passenger ships), open decks, enclosed spaces that are subjected to heat generated from other equipment, and technical premises. Often, VS cameras used in specific areas of ships, such as hazardous areas, are required to have ATEX and IECEX certifications.

How artificial intelligence is aiding first responders in natural disaster relief
How artificial intelligence is aiding first responders in natural disaster relief

The year 2017 saw some of the worst natural disasters in North America, with Hurricanes Harvey and Irma wreaking havoc on Houston, Texas, and the Caribbean with force of which we haven’t seen before. While many people chose to evacuate these areas, many were left to deal with the devastation and first responders had the difficult job of assessing the damage, rescuing trapped victims and delivering food and supplies. AI-enabled drones and robotics to assess damage In addition, more than 1,800 FEMA employees were deployed to support the hurricane relief efforts along with over 340 workers from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.Robots could be vital in ensuring that security is maintained within a disaster zone - and they only cost a quarter of a police officer's salary That’s on top of the resources that were already actively working to save lives in the affected areas, including the Texas National Guard, the entirety of which was activated by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shortly after Harvey came ashore. While these rescue workers work tirelessly to make a difference, many times there simply aren’t enough hands to truly help everyone in need. As a result, some companies look at this as a way to introduce technology to the equation that can be easily deployed in the event of disaster, including artificial intelligence-enabled drones and robotics to assess damage, provide initial triage for patients, and provide basic supplies to people in need. While still in the beginning stages, these initiatives are already being implemented in some emerging markets. Robots as mobile sentries Disaster situations tend to bring out the best in people as evidenced by those who turn out en masse, either on their own or by volunteering with service organisations, to try and help their fellow citizens following storms, earthquakes and other types of calamities.Utilising a robot instead of a human as a sentry means less law enforcement and/or security personnel Unfortunately, these types of incidents also bring out the worst in humankind in the form of looters and others who seek to take advantage of people who have lost everything. Although it should be noted that fears and reports of looting are often overstated during events like Harvey and other disasters, there’s no denying that keeping the peace and making sure that things do not descend into chaos and anarchy during what is a stressful time for all involved is paramount. Given that law enforcement and the National Guard must devote the majority of their attention to other recovery efforts, robots could be vital in ensuring that security is maintained within a disaster zone. In addition to not having to allocate manpower to security, which again involves bringing in people and placing further burdens on available resources, deploying robots to act as mobile sentries offers a number of benefits. Sustainable resources Obviously, there are cost advantages to using robots rather than people. For example, in a typical commercial environment, robots can be deployed for about half the cost of a traditional unarmed guard and they only cost about a quarter of what it takes to employ a police officer in a law enforcement-type application. Most robots are also outfitted with surveillance cameras, which provide authorities the ability to constantly monitor an area and record video for evidentiary purposes. Artificial intelligence-enabled drones and robotics aid to assess damage, provide initial triage for patients, and provide basic supplies to people in need during a natural disaster  Perhaps the most appealing benefit that robots offer to emergency management officials in a security role during disaster recovery efforts is sustainability. Robots never get tired, nor do they have to use the bathroom, eat or take a break. With the abilities afforded by AI, robots can also navigate any designated area autonomously to keep an eye out for suspicious behavior or alert first responders to those who may need aid.PPattern recognition programs are essentially the building blocks that make the larger umbrella of general AI possible The SMP Robotics S5 Security Robot from Robotic Assistance Devices, for example, can run for as long as 20 hours without needing to be recharged and a single operator working from a central command post could manage up to 25 of them. Robotic sentries to address short-staffing Having robots patrol certain locations also reduces the likelihood of violent encounters between people and security forces. It’s not uncommon for tensions to boil over in situations where people feel hopeless and they can sometimes lash out at the very people sent to help them. Such a situation occurred following Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and other areas of the Gulf Coast in 2005. Just days after the Superdome was converted into a makeshift shelter for evacuees, conditions inside the massive building began to deteriorate and a National Guardsman was assaulted one night inside a locker room. The attack resulted in troops putting up barbed wire fencing in various places around the building for protection from the increasingly agitated crowd. Last but certainly not least, utilising a robot instead of a human as a sentry in the aftermath of a disaster means that less law enforcement and/or security personnel will have be pulled from surrounding areas, many of which are already short-staffed as it is.Robots are outfitted with surveillance cameras, which provide authorities the ability to constantly monitor an area Law enforcement, firefighters and EMTs from adjacent communities and neighboring states almost immediately pour into the hardest hit areas following a disaster; however, this also leaves their respective agencies somewhat vulnerable themselves should they encounter a devastating event of their own. The use of just 50 robots, because they can work more hours, could mean that roughly 120 first responders could stay put in their own cities, towns and counties. New possibilities with artificial intelligence While drones still largely require a human operator to chart their flight paths and control their movements, the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionising the capabilities of machines to work autonomously. Though it may sound like something straight out of a science fiction novel or movie, there are already numerous robotic technologies that leverage some form of AI technology today. Of course, there is still a bit of confusion about what exactly AI is as well as some of the underlying terminology surrounding it. Generally speaking, AI is the ability of a computer to imitate the cognitive thinking and decision-making capabilities of humans. AI is the ability of a computer to imitate the cognitive thinking and decision-making capabilities of humans Some of the terms used in conjunction with AI, such as machine learning, deep learning and neural networks, refer to the ability of software programs to recognize patterns in large amounts of ingested data. Pattern recognition programs such as these, labeled by some as ‘narrow AI’, are essentially the building blocks that make the larger umbrella of general AI possible.Robots used in disaster scenarios could help maintain law and order, assist in search and rescue operations, and provide vital communications capabilities Remote physical security capabilities The physical security industry has recently been inundated with technologies that leverage different components of this narrow AI category. The manned guarding segment, in particular, has seen the introduction of a variety of robot guards over the past several years, which have been deployed in a range of different applications. Aside from serving as a force multiplier, robots with machine learning capabilities give security end users the ability to have an expanded presence in locations or situations characterised as too 'dull, dirty or dangerous' to place a human guard. For example, while it may not be feasible to have a human patrol the outskirts of a vital electric substation located hundreds of miles from the nearest town, having a robot that can easily traverse the harsh terrain and notify the proper authorities when something is amiss would be a viable alternative.Sometimes health and safety concerns make it dangerous to have a human watch the site, such as at toxic waste dumps - robots do not have this issue Technology as force multiplier in disaster management There are also situations where health and safety concerns simply preclude the ability of having a human watch the site, such as at toxic waste dumps, but this is not the case for a robot. Similar to these situations where having human guards is not desirable or even possible, robots could be used in disaster scenarios where they could help maintain law and order, assist in search and rescue operations, as well as provide vital communications capabilities. Robots and drones that are equipped with artificial intelligence capabilities can offer first responders a look into the aftermath of a natural disaster and serve as a force multiplier in these cases. We’re seeing the rise of the use of this kind of technology, and as the world faces more and more weather-related and man-made disasters in the future, they will become a part of the fabric of emergency response.

Government institutions should utilise VSaaS for an integrated video surveillance system
Government institutions should utilise VSaaS for an integrated video surveillance system

Video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) is not just for commercial organisations. Federal, state and local governments can also realise benefits from the technology—and use it to deliver an integrated video surveillance system that addresses some of their unique security needs. Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) What is VSaaS? Simply stated, it’s a cloud-based video surveillance solution that is packaged and delivered as a service over the internet. The price varies depending on the features of your plan (i.e. number of cameras, amount of storage, software features, etc.), and you pay a monthly subscription price to use it. How does it work? Internet Protocol (IP) cameras are installed at site locations, and the video is captured and streamed to a service provider’s data center via an internet connection. The video management software (VMS) runs on backend infrastructure provided by the service provider’s cloud. All video processing is done in the cloud, and all that is required to view the footage is an internet-connected device and a web browser. Retail, health care, education, and transportation all benefit from the flexibility and architecture of VSaas Growing VSaaS providers Solution providers such as Axis Communications, Genetec, and G4S among many others offer VSaaS solutions, and the market is growing. According to IHS Markit, the market is expected to reach $2.3 billion in 2021. VSaaS is a solution with cross-industry appeal. Retail, health care, education, and transportation all benefit from the flexibility and architecture of the solution. But how does VSaaS address the surveillance needs of government institutions? Geographic coverage and access To protect cities and towns, law enforcement must watch over widespread geographic areas. Their work involves monitoring and policing many different neighborhoods, buildings, garages, parks, and walking paths—basically anywhere there is property or people to protect. They rely on video surveillance to help them keep these environments safe. But it’s more than local law enforcement officers who use video footage. From local city officials to federal and state law enforcement agencies, many other people, at times, need access to video footage captured by city surveillance cameras. Centralised remote monitoring How does VSaaS help? VSaaS enables the installation of cameras throughout cities and communities and stream footage to a central location via the Internet. Because the system is centralised, it eliminates the need to manage a lot of different standalone DVRs or NVRs, which enables organisations to monitor a large area from a remote command center. VSaaS enables the installation of cameras throughout cities and communities and stream footage to a central location via the Internet Plus, anyone with proper credentials can access the footage from an Internet-connected device—whether that be a smartphone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. That makes it easier for multiple agencies to work together, which in turn can improve communication and response time to incidents. Budget concerns and flexibility Tight budgets are normal in government. As a result, it’s often a challenge to procure capital for new technology purchases—and that sometimes leads to underfunded projects and difficulty upgrading old technology. VSaaS changes the expense model. It allows you to shift from a capital expenditure (CapEx) model, where large capital funding is required to purchase equipment, to an operational expenditure (OpEx) model, where the costs of the solution become an operating expense. Since the cameras, installation, storage, and software are packaged into a service, you don’t need a large capital outlay up front—you simply pay a predictable expense every month. VSaaS provides the capability for you to increase storage capacity when you need it Feature and storage capacity upgrade features VSaaS also makes it easier to upgrade old technology. When new technology becomes available, you can upgrade to it as part of the service. You no longer have to stick with old technology because of capital budget restrictions. Instead, you can upgrade to better cameras and management software features as they become available. The same is true for storage capacity. As camera resolution increases, the amount of data captured also increases. In addition, with the evolution of smart city technology and big data analytics, video data has become more valuable. As a result, there is a need not only to store more data but also to keep that data accessible for a longer period of time. VSaaS provides the capability for you to increase storage capacity when you need it. You can scale to accommodate growth, and since the storage is delivered as part of the service, you can leverage the “pay for use” model to manage your costs. On-premise storage or hybrid Where should surveillance video be stored? It’s an important question. After all, government entities must always comply with data privacy laws and handle data properly to ensure it can be used as evidence if needed. As a result, officials may prefer to be selective about where they store video data. In fact, the concern over regulatory requirements and security and privacy issues, according to Gartner, will lead governments to implement private cloud at twice the rate of public cloud through 2021. The provider’s ability to store large amounts of data cost-effectively makes VSaaS possible That’s not necessarily a show-stopper when it comes to video surveillance. Some VSaaS providers offer hybrid options. Plus, one of the things that makes VSaaS possible is the provider’s ability to store large amounts of data cost-effectively. Because service providers can manage their storage infrastructures economically, they can offer their service at an attractive price. Multi-tier storage infrastructure In a way, government institutions (as well as commercial organisations) can do the same thing. If a government entity—for example, a small municipality—wanted to store their data on-premise or implement a hybrid configuration, they could solve some of their video storage challenges by implementing a multi-tier storage infrastructure similar to what a VSaaS provider might use to provide the actual service. A multi-tier storage infrastructure uses different storage media—disk, object storage, tape, and cloud—and combines them to deliver the total capacity needed while balancing performance and cost. The diagram below is an illustration of a multi-tier infrastructure: As the diagram shows, storage capacity grows using lower cost forms of media as volume and long-term retention requirements change. Files are moved between tiers based on user-defined policies. When the policies are met, the files are moved to a lower cost tier. Some file systems allow for multiple copies be written at ingest which not only minimises the traffic of moving files across the network, but also provides much needed data protection through a second copy on a lower-cost tier. This scenario enables you to optimise the amount of high-performance media in your infrastructure and lower the long-term cost of retaining files. VSaaS offers many benefits for government institutions and commercial organisations alike Choice of implementations VSaaS offers many benefits for government institutions and commercial organisations alike. But not every implementation has the same needs or requirements. The good news is, when it comes to video surveillance solutions, you have options. You can leverage the benefits of VSaaS, in either a public cloud or hybrid scenario, depending on the service provider. Or if your needs dictate, you can achieve some of the same capacity and cost-saving benefits you would get from a VSaaS solution by implementing an on-premise solution based on a centralised VMS system and multi-tier storage. The choice is yours.