The coronavirus pandemic had a monumental impact on all aspects of the business world, including the security industry. However, amid the gloom and doom, many security professionals also saw opportunity: New ways the industry’s products could be applied to address the challenges of coping with the virus. This article will review some of those opportunities, based on our reporting throughout the year and including links back to the original articles. During and after the pandemic, security systems are an important asset when it comes to helping to keep occupants and buildings safe as employees return to work. For example, video analytics can provide insight into how spaces have previously been used and can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other or congregate. Role of thermal cameras These foot-traffic patterns can inform settings for a variety of devices - like ventilation and temperature controls - and even help owners create social distancing plans and monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance. Thermal surveillance, a mainstay of traditional physical security and outdoor perimeter detection, began being deployed early in the pandemic to quickly scan employees, contractors and visitors as part of a first line of defence to detect COVID-19 symptoms. These systems provide flexibility and can offer integrations with multiple VMS platforms and access control devices These systems provide flexibility and can offer integrations with multiple VMS platforms and access control devices. Thermal cameras can be a tool for detecting fever, but any use of the technology for this purpose is full of qualifications and caveats. Importantly, how the camera system is configured makes all the difference in whether temperature readings are accurate, and the downside of inaccurate readings is obvious - and potentially deadly. Temperature detection systems FDA guidelines limit how the cameras are used, not to mention guidance from other regulatory/government bodies such as the CDC. One of our Expert Roundtable panelists compares the market to a “wild west scenario,” and almost all the panelists are clear about how customers should approach the market: Buyer beware. There are many companies jumping into selling temperature detection systems to the state, local governments, hospitals, airports and local businesses, but do they know how to drive one? Anyone can get behind a car and drive it into a wall by accident. The same can happen with a temperature detection system. Customers need to know what questions to ask to ensure they maximise the accuracy of body temperature detection systems. Rise of contactless Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads. No longer in favor are contact-based modalities including use of personal identification numbers (PINs) and keypads, and the shift has been sudden and long-term. Both customers and manufacturers were taken by surprise by this aspect of the virus’s impact and are therefore scrambling for solutions. Immediate impact of the change includes suspension of time and attendance systems that are touch-based Immediate impact of the change includes suspension of time and attendance systems that are touch-based. Some two-factor authentication systems are being downgraded to RFID-only, abandoning the keypad and/or biometric components that contributed to higher security, but are now unacceptable because they involve touching. "Users do not want to touch anything anymore,” says Alex Zarrabi, President of Touchless Biometrics Systems (TBS). Facial recognition system Another contactless system that benefits from concerns about spread of COVID-19 is facial recognition. New advancement in software, specifically in the areas of algorithms, neural networks and deep learning and/or artificial intelligence (AI), have all dramatically improved both the performance and accuracy of facial recognition systems, further expanding its use for an increasing number of applications. A low-tech solution - the face mask - became a leading preventative measure during the pandemic. But, a high-tech solution is necessary to ensure that everyone is wearing them. Cameras powered by artificial intelligence can now identify whether or not people entering a facility are wearing facemasks and help enforce adherence to mask mandates. This technology is proving to be a cost-effective solution that reduces risks of confrontations over masks policies and gives managers the data they need to document regulatory compliance and reduce liability. Smart video analytics Other technology approaches, including artificial intelligence (AI), were also brought to bear during the pandemic. The German data analytics powerhouse G2K, for example, has developed a Corona Detection and Containment System (CDCS) that is ready for immediate use in record time. Detection takes place in combination with AI-supported data analysis to specifically identify virus hotspots and distribution routes, as well as to identify other potentially infected persons. One specific AI application fuels the reopening of the world and successfully keeps the spread of the virus abated One specific AI application fuels the reopening of the world and successfully keeps the spread of the virus abated. A “collaborative security” application includes a synthesis of smart video analytics, facial recognition, object identification/detection, and thermal cameras that can support the reopening of businesses globally when installed within those facilities frequented by customers. Enforcing social distancing Several applications have been successful to date and will increase in usability in the foreseeable future, creating “smart cities” working together towards a safer, more secure world. The site of one pilot programme is the 250,000-square-foot HID Global facility in Austin. For the pilot programme, 80 HID Location Services readers were installed in a wide area in the facility, including a variety of environments. Initially 30 badges and 30 fobs, all BLE-enabled, were issued to employees. If a badge identifies another nearby beacon (suggesting a social distancing failure), it emits a blinking LED light, which can be seen by the offending co-worker. To ensure social distancing, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon is emitted from an employee’s fob (or from a badge that has the same functionality). The beacon communicates peer-to-peer with a beacon emitted by another employee’s fob or badge to alert if the location of the two employees is less than six feet apart. For contact tracing, the beacons communicate via a nearby “reader” (a BluFi BLE-to-Wi-Fi gateway) to the Bluzone cloud-based software-as-a-service. COVID-19 white papers In addition, we published several White Papers in 2020 that addressed various aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. They included: The top five security lessons learned that apply across all industries navigating COVID-19. Using video analytics to keep staff, visitors and customers safe by enforcing social distancing. How antimicrobial treatment on door handles and levers can reduce disease spread. How companies can put in extra precautions that will continue to grow and adapt with their environment over the long-term. Determining the practicalities and capabilities of today's thermal cameras to accurately detect body temperature.
Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads. No longer in favour are contact-based modalities including use of personal identification numbers (PINs) and keypads, and the shift has been sudden and long-term. Both customers and manufacturers were taken by surprise by this aspect of the virus’s impact and are therefore scrambling for solutions. Immediate impact of the change includes suspension of time and attendance systems that are touch-based. Some two-factor authentication systems are being downgraded to RFID-only, abandoning the keypad and/or biometric components that contributed to higher security, but are now unacceptable because they involve touching. Touchless biometric systems in demand The trend has translated into a sharp decline in purchase of touch modality and a sharp increase in the demand for touchless systems, says Alex Zarrabi, President of Touchless Biometrics Systems (TBS). Biometrics solutions are being affected unequally, depending on whether they involve touch sensing, he says. Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads “Users do not want to touch anything anymore,” says Zarrabi. “From our company’s experience, we see it as a huge catalyst for touchless suppliers. We have projects being accelerated for touchless demand and have closed a number of large contracts very fast. I’m sure it’s true for anyone who is supplying touchless solutions.” Biometric systems are also seeing the addition of thermal sensors to measure body temperature in addition to the other sensors driving the system. Fingerscans and hybrid face systems TBS offers 2D and 3D systems, including both fingerscans and hybrid face/iris systems to provide touchless identification at access control points. Contactless and hygienic, the 2D Eye system is a hybrid system that combines the convenience of facial technology with the higher security of iris recognition. The system recognises the face and then detects the iris from the face image and zeros in to scan the iris. The user experiences the system as any other face recognition system. The facial aspect quickens the process, and the iris scan heightens accuracy. TBS also offers the 2D Eye Thermo system that combines face, iris and temperature measurement using a thermal sensor module. TBS's 2D Eye Thermo system combines face, iris and temperature measurement using a thermal sensor module Another TBS system is a 3D Touchless Fingerscan system that provides accuracy and tolerance, anti-spoofing, and is resilient to water, oil, dust and dirt. The 2D+ Multispectral for fingerprints combines 2D sensing with “multispectral” subsurface identification, which is resilient to contaminants and can read fingerprints that are oily, wet, dry or damaged – or even through a latex glove. In addition, the 3D+ system by TBS provides frictionless, no-contact readings even for people going through the system in a queue. The system fills the market gap for consent-based true on-the-fly systems, says Zarrabi. The system captures properties of the hand and has applications in the COVID environment, he says. The higher accuracy and security ratings are suitable for critical infrastructure applications, and there is no contact; the system is fully hygienic. Integration with access control systems Integration of TBS biometrics with a variety of third-party access control systems is easy. A “middleware” subsystem is connected to the network. Readers are connected to the subsystem and also to the corporate access control system. An interface with the TBS subsystem coordinates with the access control system. For example, a thermal camera used as part of the biometric reader can override the green light of the access control system if a high temperature (suggesting COVID-19 infection, for example) is detected. The enrollment process is convenient and flexible and can occur at an enrollment station or at an administration desk. Remote enrollment can also be accomplished using images from a CCTV camera. All templates are encrypted. Remotely enrolled employees can have access to any location they need within minutes. The 3D+ system by TBS provides frictionless, no-contact readings even for people going through the system in a queue Although there are other touchless technologies available, they cannot effectively replace biometrics, says Zarrabi. For example, a centrally managed system that uses a Bluetooth signal from a smart phone could provide convenience, is “touchless,” and could suffice for some sites. However, the system only confirms the presence and “identity” of a smart phone – not the person who should be carrying it. “There has been a lot of curiosity about touchless, but this change is strong, and there is fear of a possible second wave of COVID-19 or a return in two or three years,” says Zarrabi. “We really are seeing customers seriously shifting to touchless.”
Nedap and Touchless Biometric Systems (TBS) are hosting the first Security Integration Forum in the Middle East on 7th October 2019. Held at the Conrad hotel on Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, it will bring together technology businesses and experts. The aim is to enable discussion of the latest security industry trends and potential collaborations, and showcase advanced technologies and integrations. The highlight of this first Security Integration Forum is the live experience area. Here, in a live demo of a smart building, attendees can experience seamless integrations of technologies from TBS, and other manufacturers, with Nedap’s AEOS access control. Visitor registration and management The integrations on show will be from best-of-breed solution providers and security equipment manufactures It’s also an opportunity to learn more about the commercial and operational value offered by AEOS and TBS integrations. The integrations on show will be from best-of-breed solution providers and security equipment manufactures. This includes Milestone Systems, Axis communication, CNL Software, Samsotech, Traka, Assa Abloy and Boon Edam, as well as Nedap Identification Systems. The scenarios and features available to experience include: End-to-end security for access control Visitor identification and verification using biometrics Visitor registration and management Vehicle identification Key and asset management Wireless access control using online and offline locks Video management systems and CCTV Physical security information management Identifying new opportunities and partnerships All of the businesses involved will present the technology trends in their business area and market" Jochem van Ruijven, Managing Director at Nedap FZE says: “With this event, we aim to display the incredible strength and expertise of each participating technology partner. All of the businesses involved will present the technology trends in their business area and market.” “It’s an amazing opportunity for security industry experts in the Middle East to come together and get to know the people behind the leading security manufacturers. Not to mention the chance to identify new opportunities and partnerships for their business. More than ever before, decision makers must provide both security and convenience,” says Alex Zarrabi, CEO of TBS and co-host of the Security Integration Forum. “This calls for integrated rather than isolated solutions. Navigating the maze of technologies and interoperability takes more time than people have available. But during a few hours at our forum, decision makers can experience what happens when best-of-breed security manufacturers join forces to solve their challenges.”
Intersec 2017 shines spotlight on emerging technologies as Middle East outpaces global growth in biometric solutions A Dubai university’s cloud-based biometric time attendance system is growing in popularity across the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), as the regional education sector joins other industries adopting new technology to boost safety and security. The Hult International Business School in Dubai was the first to test Swiss company TBS’s (Touchless Biometric Technology) 3D technology to record class attendance via a wirelessly connected kiosk and a touchless fingerprint sensor at the entrance of each lecture room, ensuring all students sign-in, even if they’re late. Instant synchronisation with real time control Alex Zarrabi, CEO of TBS, said the successful installation on the Dubai campus served as a persuasive example to Hult’s other locations, spanning over three continents; its readers are now installed in Hult campuses in London, Boston, and San Francisco. “All four sites on three continents are synchronised instantly, giving the college real-time and global control on their time and attendance data for all their students,” said Zarrabi, who will showcase the TBS 3D-Terminal and other biometric access control solutions at the Intersec trade show taking place in Dubai in January 2017. “The TBS solution allows seamless monitoring of student transfers between campuses, allowing for instant automatic and accurate tracking across different time zones. The benefits and its ease of use have convinced many universities. It’s not only solving attendance for Hult, but also for other prestigious colleges in the Gulf, such as Umm Al Qura and Hail universities in Saudi Arabia, and more than 1,000 schools for the Ministry of Education in Oman. This list is constantly growing,” he said. TBS is one of many exhibitors showcasing biometric and cloud-based security solutions at Intersec 2017, the world’s largest trade show for security, safety, and fire protection, which takes place from 22-24 January at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Rise of new technologies The rise in emerging technologies comes as the global market for biometrics systems is expected to reach US$24.4 billion by 2020, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets, growing annually by 18% between 2015 and 2020. Analysts from TechNavio forecast that biometrics in Middle East will grow faster at 19% annually up to 2019. The rise in emerging technologies comes as the global market for biometrics systems is expected to reach US$24.4 billion by 2020 Zarrabi said the rising popularity of biometrics in the Middle East is down to several factors: “The Middle East is a world-leader in biometrics, regardless of economic ups and downs,” he said. “There’s a higher awareness about safety and security issues and consequently customers plan to allocate the corresponding budget. Additionally, Tech-savvy GCC governments have an inclination for convenient modern solutions based on biometrics and allow their widespread usage”. Widespread usage of biometric solutions Added Zarrabi: “Biometric readers can be used not only for monitoring attendance, but also for regulating access to secure locations. Industries range from Energy sector, Corporations, Healthcare, Government, Education, Finance, Airports and more.” “TBS readers can perform both functionalities simultaneously, logging time and granting access. One example is Abu Dhabi Media Company, which uses 3D touchless finger scan on speed gates at the entrance. In one go, both attendance is logged and access is controlled.” Another exhibitor at Intersec 2017 with a wide range of biometric solutions is Matrix Comsec from India, which returns to launch its COSEC DOOR FMX, a high-performance Door Controller with a multispectral sensor that reads wet, dirty, elderly, and oily fingers. Sagar Gosalia, Senior Vice President for Marketing and Sales at Matrix Comsec said that the company’s biometric Access Control and Time-Attendance solution is hugely popular in the Middle East and African market: “The last 12 months have been quite exciting for us,” he said. “We’ve successfully executed a few major projects across the Middle East, installing Time-Attendance and Access Control solutions for Paris Group and Dulsco in Dubai, the United Development Company and Qatar Metro in Qatar, Khimji Ramdas in Oman, Al Mujdui in Saudi Arabia, and the Kuwait Oil Corporation in Kuwait.” “We’ve been a growing player in the Middle East and Africa, and would like to continue the same trend for the upcoming year. We aspire to grow at an average rate of 40% over the coming years,” he added. CLOUD based Access Control System Elsewhere, WatchNET from Canada is another exhibitor launching a CLOUD based Access Control System and Integrated Security Solution at Intersec 2017. Sathish Arya, General Manager for WatchNET in the Middle East and Africa said: “The Middle East market is good for video analytics as the demand is growing with an increased accuracy of products / solutions. As far as the Biometric market is concerned, it is growing faster in eGovernance & Identification solutions.” "Biometric technology andthe use of cloud-based securitysystems are the latest trend ineffective and efficient access control solutions" “We’ve received large and multi-location projects across the GCC, including more than 100 petrol stations, jails, and around 1,600 locations of integrated access control & CCTV solutions across the region. We’re experiencing 20% CAGR every year in Middle East.” Other exhibitors at Intersec 2017 specialising in biometric and cloud technology include AllGoVision from India, UAE companies Al Asma Technology, CP Plus, and Hanwha Techwin; Polish manufacturers Digital Guardian and Easy Clocking; Suprema from Korea; and Iris ID from the USA. Intersec 2017 Ahmed Pauwels, CEO of Messe Frankfurt Middle East, the organiser of Intersec, said: “Intersec, as the premier business networking and trade event for the safety, security and fire protection in the wider region, has served as a regional bellwether and launch pad for many new technological innovations.” “Biometric technology and the use of cloud-based security systems are the latest trend in effective and efficient access control solutions worldwide and will be showcased for the benefit of regional trade buyers.” In its 19th edition, Intersec 2017 will feature more than 1,300 exhibitors from 52 countries, while over 31,000 visitors from 128 countries are expected to attend as they seek the latest solutions across seven show sections of Commercial Security, Fire & Rescue, Safety & Health, Homeland Security & Policing, Perimeter & Physical Security, Information Security, and Smart Home & Building Automation. Save Save