Security, burglar and fire alarms, IP technology, integrated systems, convergence, cloud computing, the dealer and installer marketplace, residential systems, vertical markets
Round table contributions
Distributors have traditionally played an important role in the physical security market, ensuring ready availability of products that systems integrators need to complete their projects. But a changing industry has had dramatic impact all along the supply chain of which distributors are a critical link. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How is the role of distributors changing in the market, and what is the impact?
Our society is engulfed in social media, from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube and all the rest. Among other benefits, social media provides an immediate and accessible form of communication. They say that social media is changing everything in our society, so we wondered what specific impact social media might have on the security marketplace. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What role can social media play in the security marketplace and/or as a tool to promote better security in general?
As more security equipment categories become commoditised, a previously rich source of income for integrators and installers – markup – is becoming harder to come by. Less expensive products with little to no perceptible value differentiation leave integrators with few options, not to mention the growth of pricing transparency that comes courtesy of the Internet. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Given the increase in commoditised hardware (i.e., lower profit margins), how should security integrators replace that profit/revenue?
Women in Security will be a focus at this year's ISC West in Las Vegas, including targeted conference sessions and the Women in Security Forum Breakfast on Friday, April 12. As a preview of the upcoming events, let's revisit an Expert Panel Roundtable on this subject. We asked: How is the role of women in the physical security market changing and expanding?
The industry is counting down to the big industry trade show this fall, the ASIS International 61st Annual Seminar and Exhibits — ASIS 2015 in Anaheim, California. What topics will dominate the traditionally end user-based show in a year of shifting technologies and new capabilities on the horizon? We asked our Expert Panel Round Table to weigh in.
As we unpack our bags – literally and figuratively - from the recent ISC West in Las Vegas, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on the busy show. Specifically, it’s a good time to consider how the exhibition could be improved to be more valuable for attendees and/or exhibitors. We asked our panellists for their opinions, and we’re also interested in any other post-show commentary – please share in the comments section.
Articles by Deborah O'Mara
The Hugs Infant Protection Solution tracks the location of babies and provides protection anywhere the infant may be transported Wireless tracking and radio frequency identification (RFID) continue to improve dramatically in range and reliability, allowing Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) pinpointing people, places and things with impressive accuracy. Systems integrator Advance Technology Inc. (ATI), Scarborough, Maine, recently installed a comprehensive, hospital-wide solution at the newly opened Boston Medical Center’s (BMC) Women and Infants Center to provide detection and protection for newborns throughout the facility. The web-browser based system from Stanley Healthcare called the Hugs® Infant Protection Solution is based on the AeroScout® Wi-Fi RTLS platform and MobileView® software. Rob Simopoulos, president of the security and audiovisual managed services firm, said ATI worked in tandem with the Department of Public Safety’s Luigi Martiniello, Assistant Director of Operations and Public Safety, IT Department, Stanley Healthcare, hospital personnel and other stakeholders to install the solution successfully on the hospital’s Wi-Fi network. The installation is one of the first in the New England region. “It’s a full deployment, meaning it tracks the location of babies and provides protection anywhere the infant may be transported, instead of being confined to areas limited to hardwired receivers and repeaters common to other infant protection systems,” said Simopoulos. “It was our first deployment – a highly IT-centric solution that required certification and training by our skilled technicians prior to installation.” In alarm, when an unauthorised person tries to leave the area with a protected child, magnetic doors lock down instantly and hold specified elevators Quick access to location of tagged infants Nurses, administration and other hospital personnel have immediate access to the location status of tagged infants through PC or mobile devices via the MobileView enterprise platform, which serves as the graphical user interface (GUI) for scheduling, control, history and alerts. They can easily place tags into transport mode when an infant needs to leave the floor, but still track the location of these patients ongoing in real-time wherever they travel. Bob Gilbert, ATI’s remote technical support supervisor, said the reliability and integrity of the solution is extremely robust, with tags transmitting every 10 seconds. During installation, which was completed in a fast turnaround of several weeks, ATI used heat-mapping capability to ascertain the density of Wi-Fi access point coverage and assimilate effective distances of RF signals from the tags. The installation included two dedicated, high-availability servers for redundancy and back up. The MobileView platform is installed in the Public Safety Department’s Command and Control Center and integrates with Lenel by United Technologies OnGuard Security Management System. Other highlights of the security installation: The system integrates to all door contacts, access control readers, audible alarms and elevator controls. Exciters, which also act as access points, are installed at every entrance/exit point and work independently should they lose network connectivity, allowing the doors to still lock down in alarm. ATI worked closely with the elevator contractor to implement input controls to prevent the elevator door from opening if a tag is sensed at the door. The access control system also will not unlock if an infant tag is present on the other side of the opening, even when a valid proximity badge is presented. The solution may also be deployed for asset tracking and management, with ATI looking to incorporate that functionality in the near future In alarm, when an unauthorised person tries to leave the area with a protected child, magnetic doors lock down instantly and hold specified elevators. The system can integrate with hospital communication and information systems, strobe lights, sounders and audible devices and video surveillance cameras to capture and view images before an exit alarm occurrence. The solution may also be deployed for asset tracking and management, with ATI looking to incorporate that functionality in the near future. Real-time location system improves protection and detection status “Our goal is to continue to learn and embrace new technology to provide our customers the best protection and detection,” continued Simopoulos. “Providing the hospital with the ability to achieve real-time status and location of system tags beyond the mother-baby unit is critical. Nearly 20 percent of hospital abductions in the U.S. happen outside this area, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In the past, once infant tags left the range of proprietary receivers in the protected area the infant’s whereabouts became unknown.”
For more than a decade, Verint Systems, Melville, New York, has been developing and redefining the phrase the company pioneered: actionable intelligence. Today, its real-world specifications provide an in-depth analysis of video and integrated physical security data, deepening the gathering of intelligence and lessening risk at the protected premises. The entire realm of situational awareness continues to transition as intelligence is gleaned from new points, with this trend only magnifying with the internet of Things (loT) and billions of connected devices predicted by 2020. SourceSecurity.com interviewed Verint’s Kevin Wine, Vice President of Marketing, Video and Situation Intelligence Solutions, for his take on how situational awareness and video technology are evolving. SourceSecurity.com: What’s the current state of ‘actionable intelligence’ in the video surveillance industry? How is it being leveraged in new platforms such as social media? Kevin Wine: In today’s data-rich environment, organisations seek out methods to help transform raw data into valuable insight that propels more informed, efficient and intelligent decision-making. By finding ways to process and analyse data, security leaders can make sense of a variety of intelligence to help detect risks early and to respond to situations quickly. This actionable intelligence empowers decision-makers to take action in real-time, which helps increase efficiency and enhance safety. Actionable Intelligence enables users to understand what has happened while identifying trends that drive proactive strategies and processes It is important to note that the concept of Actionable Intelligence reaches far beyond the world of video surveillance. The process involves capturing, processing, analysing and visualising data from various sources — this can include surveillance cameras, risk management software, geo-spatial analysis, social media channels and connected devices — to deliver correlated, centralised data that can be used in a meaningful way. Applications vary widely — information can be used to help facilitate informed response to a security incident, maintain traffic flows during a high-profile event in a metropolitan area or even help a manufacturer determine how to best market a product to its target customer. Overall, Actionable Intelligence enables users to understand what has happened while identifying trends that drive more proactive strategies and processes. It is interesting to note that social media, cyber security and crowdsourcing have become critical parts of building Actionable Intelligence. We can now leverage technology to monitor activity across the public domain, searching Google, Facebook, and Twitter, for example, for specific keywords and geographic activity. If someone is talking about committing a crime in any public medium, the activity can potentially be detected before an incident takes place. This kind of proactive intelligence is incredibly valuable for law enforcement teams, first responders and security leaders. In today’s data-rich environment, organisations seek out methods to help transform raw data into valuable insight SourceSecurity.com: What’s the background on how Verint first coined the phrase ‘Actionable Intelligence?’ Wine: The idea of Actionable Intelligence is what Verint is built on. Our Founder and CEO Dan Bodner believes that Actionable Intelligence enables organisations to recognise crucial insights that empower decision makers to anticipate, respond and take action, and this concept is necessary to realising successful operations in today’s data-driven business environment. Today more than ever, organisations of all types and sizes are aware of the value they can create by using insights gleaned from large data sets. The amount and types of structured and unstructured data is growing rapidly, and presents new and increasing challenges and complexities. Organisations that generate actionable intelligence from big data are better positioned to create value and achieve their strategic objectives. SourceSecurity.com: What can we expect to see in the future in the video intelligence category and with outside influences such as loT, social media and continued integration of technologies? Wine: The dramatic increase in consumer and business use of social networks, mobile devices and new digital technologies drives the demand for intelligence that helps enable the development of safer environments, more advanced risk mitigation strategies and stronger collaboration. Citizens help aid in investigations by providing digital evidence to authorities in the way of smartphone video capture and social media Today, citizens play a vital role in the safety of their own communities. Citizens have the ability to act as intelligence gatherers by being “the eyes on the street,” and help alert authorities of daily hazards, crime, vandalism and other significant risks or events that may take place. Private citizens help aid in investigations by providing digital evidence to authorities in the way of smartphone video capture and social media engagement to name a few. By enabling the public to easily report on situations, cities, campuses and public transportation realise improved safety levels through the correlation and sharing of information. This same information sharing helps law enforcement officials gain valuable information to create a comprehensive representation of an incident. As we look at the video surveillance and security intelligence market, video analytics are becoming more advanced and more reliable. Historically, video analytics systems have been difficult to deploy, operate and manage, often delivering a high rate of false positives. Platforms that streamline proactive video monitoring and allow users to realise increased efficiencies by making it easier and faster to monitor, identify and take action on suspicious activities are going to be of significant value in the near term. We continue to see technology evolve and a trend toward more sophisticated Big Data analytics, smart devices and the Internet of Things. These drivers, along with an increased focus on business processes, allow today’s leaders to achieve higher levels of situational awareness while removing the complication and complexity of data mining. The result is a framework for operational transformation to help improve resilience, address risk and ensure business continuity.
A perceived benefit of buying direct is to save money as opposed to paying a middleman Security companies have multiple options to purchase security products today – online, manufacturer direct, or from the vast array of security products and electrical supply networks dotting the landscape. Because there are numerous options, and costs may not vary drastically, the final decision on where to purchase ultimately boils down to service and additional support these channels offer. Security integrators look for certain value-adds from the places they buy equipment. Many require specification and design assistance or simply want to be sure their equipment arrives on time and is ready to go, especially for a fast-track project. Each security company’s requirements are different, depending on the nature of the company, the vertical markets they serve, and whether customers are small-to-medium businesses, large national accounts, or enterprise clients. Security distributors have to be able to meet these needs, or systems integrators will likely go elsewhere. The key for suppliers is providing the type of support that differentiates them and keeps security companies returning as customers. SourceSecurity.com interviewed Steven Gorski, Vice President Security Solutions, WESCO Distribution, Pittsburgh, to get his thoughts on what sets a distributor apart. SourceSecurity.com: What’s the value proposition for a security distributor today? What do you have to do to differentiate yourself in the competitive security marketplace? Gorski: Historically, when a distributor has been in the position of justifying its value, it has often been in reaction to the question: “Why buy through a distributor when you can buy direct?” That question is based on the assumption that buying direct is more advantageous. A perceived benefit of buying direct is to save money as opposed to paying a middleman, the distributor. The buying power of distributors, however, brings down costs, and these breaks are passed down to integrator customers. Other advantages of buying from a distributor have included: access to products from manufacturers that sell only through distribution and one-stop shopping for sourcing, logistics, and more. We sometimes refer to the latter as “one throat to choke” if anything goes wrong. As a distributor, we have to continue to prove and improve the value of being that single source while evolving to meet changing demands. WESCO sells online, for instance, because that’s how some of our customers buy. But we can’t just be another e-commerce site; our overall value is derived from all the services and expertise we offer. Regional security managers can walk through specifications with an integrator or even meet onsite SourceSecurity.com: What are some of the ways in which you assist systems integrators with their specifications? Gorski: WESCO has many security-focused specialists who help integrators every step of the way. These resources include our regional security managers who walk through specifications with an integrator or even meet onsite with the integrator and their customers, plus our telesales professionals who talk customers through technical issues. SourceSecurity.com: What do you think is the role of the security distributor today beyond providing products? Gorski: Numerous sources can simply provide product. It’s what the distributor offers around that product that not only justifies their contribution to the market, but sets them apart from other channels. For WESCO, those extras include a variety of value-added services for our integrator partners, such as conducting proactive business development for these customers. We also perform IP camera addressing to circumvent potential problems on the job site and reduce on site labour costs for the installer. It’s hard to put a price on those types of services, but integrators do recognise how these value-adds build their business and save them time and money. See our Round Table discussion: How is the role of distributors changing in the security market?
Dennis Sage Home Entertainment, Phoenix, is a best-in-breed audiovisual contracting services firm that gradually began expanding its offerings to security several years ago. After testing the waters, hiring experienced technicians and learning about the parallels with its current business, the company made a successful transition. Now, Dennis Sage, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), is also counting on heightened customer engagement and stickier clients as he moves into the role of total solutions provider through interactive, smart home services. Founded in 1995, Dennis Sage Home Entertainment first focused on providing the best service for the design, sale and installation of high-quality audio, video and home entertainment systems. Since then, they’ve racked up a long list of prestigious awards, accolades and recognition from local, national and regional trade and business resources. Security and smart home services The company specialises in working with builders, establishing long-term relationships with local contractors. Those builders especially have propelled successes with its Alarm.com offering, which is extremely attractive to potential homebuyers. “It’s all about engaging customers today,” said Dennis Sage, president and CEO. “Alarm.com is constantly pushing the envelope. The user interface is on point and keeps improving. As an authorised Security and Smart Home service provider, we have access to tools and resources that allow us to go directly to the client and show them the growing suite of available interactive services.” Products like Skybell, Amazon Echo and the Apple Watch are coming up more and more in conversations between service providers and their customers Popularity for smart functionality rises “The high level of engagement is huge for us,” said Marty Hayse, Director of Sales and Purchasing. “Once the client has interactivity with tablets and smart devices, they want more. The platform provides an additional facet to safety and comfort consumers haven’t previously been able to attain.” Other industry trends are swaying the proliferation of interactive solutions. Popular consumer products are making their way into security and professionally monitored smart home systems. These products provide customers an easy way to engage with their systems daily, a key factor to help service providers lower attrition. Now, products like Skybell, Amazon Echo and the Apple Watch are coming up more and more in conversations between service providers and their customers, said Jay Kenny, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Alarm.com, Tysons, Virginia. "The platform is designed to provide a variety of options to upsell in the future with additional services and components" “When you engage customers with experiences, it ultimately creates a long-term relationship,” Kenny said. “The platform is designed to provide a variety of options to upsell in the future with additional services and components.” Alarm.com’s technology and cloud services include interactive security, energy management, video monitoring, intelligent automation and wellness, with smart devices easily controlled through a single app. Connected devices boost value Kenny said more connected devices equals heightened value to the end user. “It’s those ‘ah-hah’ moments the consumer experiences that make services exciting. For example, if they forget to close the door they get an alert and close it from their Apple Watch. Or, they can add voice commands with Amazon Echo to turn lights on and off. It’s this experience that makes the product exciting. All this creates engagement and boosts the lifetime value and longevity of the account.” The solution set for security and audiovisual systems installations is broadening. Dealers who create long-term relationships through interactive services are on target for ongoing success. “Single-handedly, Alarm.com, with their advancements in products and new technologies, has changed the landscape of how we do business,” commented Dennis Sage. “They want us to be the best we can be.” Save
What factors should an end user consider when looking for a professional systems solution provider? Andrew Schonzeit, President of IDESCO Corp., New York, knows what it takes to have an award-winning, top-in-its class systems integration company. For more than seven decades, the company has grown, morphed and continued to move into the world of value-add integrated solutions contracting. They’ve received numerous industry and business accolades and increased their stature in the security industry and end-user community. Here, Schonzeit provides six tips listing what end users should look for in a professional systems solution provider: 1. See the end results Always ask for project references and make an on-site visit to a couple of jobs if possible. This way you can see if the integrator has the insights into a specific vertical market and its nuances. Integrators need to be problem-solvers, and that means knowing what might be applicable in the healthcare market, versus education for example, or how to approach legacy equipment without a total overhaul if the budget won’t allow. There are many potential scenarios – a good systems integrator can come up with viable solutions for most of them. 2. Assess applicable certifications and credentials Depending on the type of work, many technicians are required to have certifications from manufacturers, basically attesting that they are up to speed on the latest versions of the products and have been factory-trained on operations. A number of associations also have training and credentialing; for example, the Electronic Security Association, Irving, Texas, and the ASIS International, Alexandria, Virginia. Obtaining and maintaining credentialing is a good gauge of how serious a company is about keeping its employees up to speed on ever-changing technologies. With well-established firms, you’ll have greater assurance that you can stay with these companies and grow your security as needed in the future 3. Scrutinise service and support Can you call the company directly and have the phone answered by a friendly and knowledgeable source? Or are you able to leave a voice or email message and get a quick response? Having a support team that works closely with the customer is one of the most important factors in having a successful installation. There should be responsible support team members who are on top of the project and can answer questions if challenges arise so as not to delay the scheduled timeline. 4. Look for experienced designers What’s the philosophy when it comes to designing a system? Look for firms that do everything from start to finish – consulting, design-build, final testing and commissioning, and after-installation 24/7 support. Remember that it’s the consultative approach that’s important, so select a security company who can provide you input prior to any technology or hardware discussion, first considering the specific challenges or issues at the facility. 5. Vet product manufacturers There are many manufacturers in the security industry, so it’s critical for a contractor to offer proven products that have a long history of stability, reliability and scalability. With well-established firms, you’ll have greater assurance that you can stay with these companies and grow your security as needed in the future without starting from scratch. 6. Consider due diligence on market expertise It’s impossible for everyone to know the nuances of every business, so select contractors who have experience in your target market, whether it’s healthcare, education, government, institutional or corporate and enterprise facilities. They should understand the rules, regulations and other mandates required of security for the particular facility.
The rate of adoption of mobile credentials will progress quickly, because of its exciting value proposition Cloud computing has been around for some time now, starting with the formal public Internet in 1990. But the nature of it has changed and evolved quickly and dramatically. Now, the cloud is becoming foundational to many emerging security applications, including mobile credentialing involving Near Field and Bluetooth communications, with the Internet of Things (loT) poised to come on strong as still another disruptive technology within the physical security space. Open standard for cloud-based access control As such, there continues to emerge a new crop of cloud-based technologies in access control that need to be addressed with open standards to facilitate easy integration of diverse components and establish more predictable levels of performance. The Security Industry Association (SIA), Silver Spring, Maryland, as an ANSI-accredited Standards Development Organisation, is currently working on a project focusing on Bluetooth credentials (Mobile/Device/Reader Transactions) while setting sights on other standards. Standards are an important element as technology widens from traditional security to billions of connected devices and users through the loT, according to Steve Van Till, president and chief executive officer, Brivo Inc., Bethesda, Maryland. Enabling interoperability with BLE standard Van Till chairs the SIA Standards Committee, which recently formed the Cloud, Mobility and loT Subcommittee Working Group and is developing a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard slated for committee review this summer. “Mobile credentials are a compelling story for security dealers, driving additional sales. The rate of adoption of mobile credentials will progress quickly, because of its exciting value proposition,” he says. The goal of the BLE standard is to enable interoperability between mobile credentials (phones, wearables, etc.) and readers permanently affixed to physical structures. Further, a BLE standard would promote the growth and use of mobile credentials and expand the utility of access control solutions. Mobile credentials will over time replace cards, and quite quickly compared to the move from analogue to IP video surveillance Mobile credentials have also created heightened visibility of the security industry by outside companies and developers once unfamiliar with its nuances. Van Till says SIA has been in discussion with various companies and currently is educating these firms and others on the organisation and its ANSI affiliation. IoT shaping the future of security industry The security industry’s realm is destined to widen further, especially with the ongoing advent of the loT, adds Van Till. “There are really two pictures here with regards to the efforts of SIA to create standards. Within the context of the security industry, mobile credentials will over time replace cards, and quite quickly compared to the move from analogue to IP video surveillance. According to IHS Technology, Englewood, Colorado, some 25 percent of access control will be mobile credentials versus cards in the next five years. The second factor is the introduction of disruptive technologies with the loT driving that trend globally. There’s the requisite to log into devices, no matter what they are, and that will result in the need to create additional interoperability and cybersecurity standards,” he says. “Cybersecurity and the loT has become the trump card for why standards are necessary,” says Brivo CEO, Steve Van Till Van Till says that as Silicon Valley giants move into the security space there will be a spillover of ubiquitous connected technologies used by billions of people and billions of loT devices. Cybersecurity and loT demand open standards “Where the security industry is working out standards for relative handfuls of device types, the IoT world is doing the same for many tens of thousands of products. Readers, locks, gates and more are just a special case of a general capability that is being built into mobile operating systems, wearables and many other connected devices.” Van Till says physical security will become less idiosyncratic and instead, part of the evolving ecosystem of “computers logging into computers.” “We are seeing many different organisations now interested in the security industry as a result of the shift to the IoT,” he says. “This will be a huge benefit to the industry and its users. Standards will continue to encourage openness and discourage proprietary technologies.” For the installing community, standards make installation easier and promote integration between different compositions of products. Standards can also promote greater cybersecurity. “If everyone is doing their own thing in a proprietary environment, cybersecurity is difficult to develop and implement. Cybersecurity and the loT has become the trump card for why standards are necessary,” he adds.
Angela White was sworn in as President-elect of ESA at the ESX show in June and will take office July 1 The Electronic Security Association (ESA) wrapped up its annual ESX conference June 8-10 at a new location in Fort Worth, Texas, with keynote speakers, educational sessions, networking events, exhibitions, awards and the installation of new officers. Logging its ninth year, ESX is jointly owned and sponsored by ESA and the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA). This year’s show hosted some 2,000 security industry companies and personnel as well as central station owners, while some 200 exhibitors participated. Marshall Marinace, outgoing President and Chief Executive Officer of ESA and the President of Marshall Alarm Systems Corp., Yorktown Heights, New York, received one of the association’s highest accolades, named as the 2015 Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year. ESA welcomes four new board members In addition, ESA installed Angela White as the 2016-2018 president. White, who is an equity partner and the Executive Vice President of Central 1 Security in Brookfield, Wisconsin, is currently Vice President, President-elect of ESA and will take office July 1. Other board members elected include: Vice President Tim Creenan, Chief Executive Officer of Amherst Alarm, Amherst, New York; Vice President Chris Mosley, President of Complete Security Systems Inc., Marlboro, New Jersey; Vice President G. Thomas Eggebrecht PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bonds Alarm Co., Phoenix; and Secretary Jon Sargent, Industry Relations/Government Affairs, Tyco Integrated Security, Hayward, California. In addition, Ken Nelson, Vice President of OEM sales for Interlogix, Lincolnton, North Carolina, was re-elected to a two-year term as an associate member representative. Marinace will continue to serve on the Executive Committee for two years as immediate past president. “I look forward to focusing on the full deployment and success of the programmes and initiatives ESA has embarked upon over the last few years”, commented ESA President, Angela White Impressive industry credentials White is a 30-year veteran of the electronic security industry whose background includes positions as installer, service technician, sales, general management and company owner. She also was the founder and previous owner of Pro-Tech Systems of Vermont, where she co-authored state licensing as the president of Vermont ESA. White says no other event comes close to providing the inclusive professional experience of ESX. “ESX remains a personal event that gives dealers direct access to vendors and allows for one-on-one discovery of new products and solutions," says White. "The ESX Innovation Awards and TechVision Challenge have really gained momentum over the last couple of years, and that is evidence of the vibrant ecosystem that the show creates within the channel. I left ESX inspired and excited about where our industry is headed and what that means for my business." As president, White says she will focus on the future of the organisation and continuing its legacy. “ESA has an incredibly strong foundation that was constructed by the diligence of those who proceeded me," she adds. "In collaboration with other team members and our professional partners, I look forward to focusing on the full deployment and success of the programs and initiatives ESA has embarked upon over the last few years. Specifically, these include enhancements to the quality training and insurance solutions we provide along with the ESA mentorship programme and workforce development project for the industry. "ESA has dramatically raised the bar as it relates to the value delivered to members, and we will continue to do so. This will ensure continued success as the number one trade association in our field. In addition, the inclusion of our rising leaders for new ideas, energy and vision will position them for leadership roles within ESA and our industry and will provide current leaders comfort in knowing that the association will thrive.”
IPVideo Corporation, Bay Shore, New York, recently announced a new OEM agreement with Milestone Systems Inc., Beaverton, Oregon, in an effort to provide deeper and wider options in its portfolio of video management solutions. According to Steve Rice, Director of Business Development, the partnership will allow the company to reach a broader number of enterprise customers and provide them with distinct choices – and two completely different video management system (VMS) offerings. On the topic of VMS, with a host of different choices and options in the market – and some confusion by integrators and users as to what they need to more fully control their surveillance solutions – Rice answered these questions: SourceSecurity.com: What are users looking for today in integrated security management solutions? What are important criteria for them? Rice: The physical security landscape and requirements are dramatically changing as we witness the convergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and physical security accelerate. The network of physical objects (devices, vehicles, buildings and other items) embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity that enables these objects to collect and exchange data is growing dramatically. Today, these advancements are providing the ability for end users to create more expansive command-and-control solutions that incorporate physical security. This dynamic, along with the plethora of legacy/disparate security solutions that the end user has already invested in to secure their facilities, creates some challenges. These include: How to best leverage existing investments in the disparate/legacy systems that are already in place; How to select technology that will remain current, flexible and grow with expanding needs; Finding vendors and security integrators who are able to address this technology convergence; Ensuring that deployed solutions will create a significantly more coordinated command-and-control platform to better manage situational awareness and deliver timely actionable intelligence for the organisation. Systems integrators are looking for open architecture that supports the inherent use of IP network SourceSecurity.com: What are systems integrators looking for in integrated security management solutions? What do you think is important for them to consider? Rice: First and foremost, they are looking for open architecture that supports the inherent use of the IP network. By definition, these solutions are best suited to deliver the greatest breadth and depth of offerings. In addition, ease-of-use certainly matters. Systems that are as close as possible to plug-and-play are highly desirable. And, of course, in-depth product training is important to make sure solutions are used to their maximum potential and benefit. SourceSecurity.com: Where is the product category of security management solutions headed in the future? What can we expect to see? Rice: The convergence of IoT with physical security is creating a new category of solution… The Enterprise IoT Manager. Applications for IoT management transcend the traditional security space, encompassing solutions that address a wide range of quality-of-life issues and operations management. IoT management will ultimately impact almost every facet of everyday life, and when used most effectively, will provide the ability to filter and prioritise sensor-driven data to deliver predictive analysis and automated responses. For example, we are already seeing these types of applications in use in analysing retail buying patterns, improving logistical planning, enhancing facility management and optimising energy consumption. SourceSecurity.com: What else might be coming with regards to the loT and how will video surveillance and management solutions be affected? The advent of the loT and the cloud will transform video surveillance from a forensic tool to a preventative tool Rice: When you look at events like the Brussels Airport bombing and the Boston Marathon, it is very evident that video surveillance is primarily being used as a forensic tool after a critical event. The sheer number of live images alone makes it impractical for a human to watch and identify an event that is ready to unfold. The advent of the loT and the cloud will transform video surveillance from a forensic tool to a preventative tool. The loT brings a large number of sensors into the physical security arena, adding the critical information required to identify potential issues. These IoT sensors can range from chemical sensors sniffing for explosive material or illegal substances, heat sensors for identifying hot spots, smoke alarms, auditory detectors for gunshots or other abnormal conditions. Combining the IoT sensors with global positioning coordinates allows video surveillance to automatically focus on an area of interest. The IoT sensor triggers an event, the event is verified via video, video is analysed by an analytic or human and action is taken as a result of verification. Imagine what would could have happened in Brussels if an array of geo-referenced chemical sensors were available to airport security. An explosive detection event would have been triggered when the terrorists entered the airport, video surveillance would have captured their images, the images would be run through a 3D facial recognition database and candidates identified as terrorists belonging to a watch list. As a result, the police would have been dispatched immediately and the terrorists would have been apprehended before the explosives could be detonated. The technology exists today. The advent of the IoT and cloud access is enabling this scenario to become a reality in the not-too-distant future.
With innovation continuing in HD CCTV, analogue video surveillancemay be around for some time What’s your stance on the analogue-to-IP video migration? When will it happen? Will analogue go away entirely? Talk to any security company and they’ll admit they love the simplicity of the installation and setup of analogue cameras. They know how to deploy it quickly, saving labour costs and also, can use the familiar and ever-present coaxial cabling network. That’s the here and now, and with innovation continuing in HD CCTV, this product category may be around for some time. HD analogue: Fastest growing segment in the surveillance industry Whether you agree or disagree, HD analogue is still a viable part of video surveillance installations. According to 2015 research by IHS Technology, the ‘Video Surveillance Camera Installed Base Report’ for 2014 indicated HD analogue as the fastest growing segment in the surveillance industry. It’s been a slow march by security companies over the last decade to fully embrace IP video surveillance. True, higher resolution cameras provide better images and the ability to see greater detail, but this may be a product category set to co-exist with analogue for the near future. Innovation continues in the HD CCTV product category. Digital Watchdog™ is expected to release in May 2016 the first Analogue High Definition (AHD) multi-sensor 6MP panoramic camera that uses existing coaxial cables to transmit crystal clear detailed 1080p images at up to 30fps. Savings in existing surveillance infrastructure Mark Espenschied, Director of Marketing, Digital Watchdog, Cerritos, California, says HD over coaxial technology represents a smart return on investment for the security contractor. “How do you justify ignoring an investment in coaxial cabling or the expense of removing and replacing it? Yes, new construction likely includes the Cat5/6 cabling for an IP network, so adding a new surveillance system may simply mean taking advantage of what is there, much like we have seen with the adoption of VoIP: phones and surveillance equipment are just more things to add to the network. However, end users may not be in a hurry to abandon their investments in coaxial in order to get the better image quality,” he says. A large amount of existing coaxial in the world is being transitioned toHD video over coaxial, not new IP surveillance systems Innovations in analogue Espenschied cites these innovations as further driving analogue's continued use: Three HD over analogue standards, AHD, TVI and CVI, all support incredible signal reach. In fact, with AHD or TVI, you could run a cable from the ground to the tip of the Empire State Building and still have cable left over with a viewable/recordable signal using RG-59 cable. That’s up to 450 metres. Like IP, 1080p resolution is now becoming the standard for analogue surveillance, the starting place. HD analogue cameras at 3 megapixels and 5 megapixels are on their way to distributors now. The recorders for HD analogue are also technological marvels, supporting all previous analogue cameras plus one or more of the HD analogue standards. So the issue of “this only works with that” is going away. Multi-sensor panoramic cameras have lately hit the mainstream in IP video surveillance after only a couple of manufacturers did the heavy lifting for several years. Amazingly, there are now multi-sensor HD analogue cameras available that provide the same value proposition: you can see more with a single installation, reducing all associated installation costs for a surveillance system because you can install fewer cameras to get the same or better coverage. That is the key to understanding the value of multi-sensor cameras (or “many cameras in one housing”) to compare the overall cost of the system, not just the cost of the camera. And even though we refer to this equipment as analogue, the recorders use hard drives and are all capable of connecting to the Internet, allowing you to view and manage your system for anywhere via a PC program or mobile app. Only time will tell how long analogue video surveillance systems will serve the physical security industry. But here’s the bottom line: according to research reports, there’s lots of existing coaxial in the world and a good deal is being transitioned to HD video over coaxial, not new IP surveillance systems.
Joining Pelco in late 2015, Sharad Shekhar is responsible for the entire global video business and is leading the charge to reinvigorate the Pelco brand with system integrators Back in the day, you literally couldn’t speak with a security company about a video surveillance project without the Pelco name coming up. It had a loyal following and an extremely large installation base. Over the years, that changed and the fervour with which integrators referred to the brand seemed to wane. Sharad Shekhar, Chief Executive Officer of Pelco, wants to change that, as he explains in this exclusive interview. Shekhar joined Pelco, a fully owned subsidiary of Schneider Electric, in October 2015. Based at Pelco headquarters in Clovis, California, Shekhar is responsible for the entire global video business. He has more than a decade of global business and technical knowledge, as well as a proven track record of increasing revenue growth and adaptability in highly competitive markets. Extending pre- and post-sales support to systems integrators SourceSecurity.com: Tell me about how Pelco plans to reinvigorate this iconic brand with systems integrators? Shekhar: Pelco by Schneider Electric is well regarded for its world-class service and support network, and our partners thrive with the backing of our strategic business and marketing services. Pelco will continue to enable the success of systems integrators through the delivery of our innovative product lines that ensure customer satisfaction and open doors to new business opportunities. The team at Pelco is strong,and I fully intend to leveragethe knowledge and expertisethat we have in ourorganisation to deliver on ourgrowth aspirations Recently, Pelco has undergone significant transformation to streamline the development of these innovations, but we haven't forgotten that at the core, our products help enable integrators to support existing clients while helping new customers realise the full potential of the Pelco product line for their security needs. We have made significant organisational changes and process efficiency improvements that will help enable us to deliver world-class, pre- and post-sales support to our integrators and customers. SourceSecurity.com: What is your background and how/why do you feel you are a good fit for this endeavour? Shekhar: I joined Pelco from Cummins, another very technology-focused company, and more specifically, brought the experience of having worked in both the North American and Asia Pacific markets. I understand and possess the skills required in negotiations and to establish new efforts and develop technology, to oversee operations and to increase sales. I have significant experience in strategy, business development, alliances and joint ventures, sales, finance and operations management. I have also successfully led businesses through similar challenges as Pelco faces in the coming years in terms of bringing the right technology to market, building a strong product and alliance portfolio, and growing revenues and profits in an increasingly competitive landscape. Because of this, I can bring the same principles that were employed in other technology sectors to security and Pelco by Schneider Electric, because I understand the importance of producing reliable, flexible and cutting-edge solutions that keep the customer top-of-mind and meet the expectations they set forth. But it would be remiss for me not to mention that this is a team sport, and the team at Pelco is strong, and I fully intend to leverage the knowledge and expertise that we have in our organisation to deliver on our growth aspirations. For video surveillance, integrators look for a high value for end users through areduction in upfront hardware and camera costs, with more high-resolution imagery Opportunities for systems integrators SourceSecurity.com: What do you currently know about what systems integrators are looking for in the field as far as video surveillance solutions? What's important to them and their end-user customers? Shekhar: Today's systems integrators are asked to push the envelope in regards to meeting customer needs for superior products while keeping ROI and scalability top-of-mind. For video surveillance, integrators look for a high value for end users through a reduction in upfront hardware and camera costs, with more high-resolution imagery. On the VMS side, they're looking for open architecture that allows integration with other major systems and an intuitive design that helps streamline deployment and administration. Customer feedback and demand helps Pelco address specific needs while designing security platforms that are scalable and flexible, as well as able to drive new levels of awareness for security and business intelligence. Our new technical support and customer engineering organisation will work more closely with our integrators and provide them the backing they need to be more responsive and “creative” in terms of how we respond to varying customer requirements and tailor our products quickly to their needs. Implementing strategic security management policies SourceSecurity.com: What else might we see in the near future? Shekhar: Pelco has made significant investments in key vertical markets, including oil and gas, gaming and casinos, Safe Cities, and airports and seaports, and we will see significant focus on product and business development in these markets. We will look to further engage customers in these spaces by focusing not just on products, but on solutions that will solve security and operational challenges. Our new Advanced Technology and Engineering organisation will focus on conceptualising and incubating technologies that will provide differentiation and value to our integrators and end users in these critical verticals. We will also engage in significant corporate development activities for strategic partnerships on the technology and channel side to reach our objectives. Video surveillance is only one part of a comprehensive security strategy, and moving forward, Pelco will help its partners think bigger by implementing strategic security policies and processes, and effective security personnel training and staffing. When these processes are combined with video surveillance and security management technologies, customers can develop a more holistic, proactive approach to security and emergency response. And that's what we hope to do more of in the future. Overall you will see Pelco as a much more open and engaging organisation as it relates to our relationships with our industry, suppliers, technology and channel partners.
Portable crash barriers & traffic access control systems allow security integrators to expand their deployments for municipal surveillance and critical infrastructure The Pope does it. The Democratic and Republican National Conventions do it. Leading universities and police departments do it. Just what does this diverse list of people and organisations have in common? They have all used high-security portable barriers at their events with good success. According to manufacturer Delta Scientific, Palmdale, California, portable barriers may be an emerging product category for systems integrators who want to provide a total security approach for their customers. Opportunities for high-security dealers Delta Scientific manufactures counter-terrorist vehicle control systems. Recently the company’s MP5000 mobile deployable vehicle crash barriers were used to protect Pope Francis from vehicle bomb threats and errant drivers as he travelled to areas of Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and New York City. Systems integration firm Global Access Control Systems, Pittsburgh, was responsible for deploying the barriers, which are certified by the U.S. Department of State to stop 7.5-ton vehicles traveling at 30 mph. Dealers who are not selling traffic access control systems may be leaving money on the table, especially those involved in municipal surveillance, critical infrastructure and other high-security integrations and deployments. For those integrators, portable and mobile crash barriers may be a way to increase the range of their specifications, differentiate their companies, and offer a well-rounded, total solution deployment, says Greg Hamm, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Delta Scientific Corp. “The crash-rated barriers and traffic access control systems are extremely versatile and are not permanent to a single location,” says Hamm. Dealers can purchase the portable security barriers and lease or rent them to customers. Delta Scientific also has seen some arrangements in which dealers rent them out for special events as they see fit. In addition, dealers can take advantage of a lease option from Delta Scientific to make it easier to buy the units and add them to their product specifications. Delta Scientific’s MP5000 crash barriers were deployed to protect Pope Francis from vehicle bomb threats on his visit to the US Benefits of portable crash barriers “They are perfect for a wide variety of public events and high-security deployments,” Hamm continues. “Dealers can incorporate them into their projects and add value to their portfolio. The product has a lot of uses, potential customers and vertical markets.” Hamm said the portable barriers, like the totally self-contained MP5000 used for the Pope’s visit, can be placed in a minimum amount of time, about 10 to 15 minutes. No excavation or sub-surface preparation is required, so the portable barriers can be rapidly set up on existing concrete or asphalt roads, level compacted soils and other hard surfaces. Since the unfilled buttresses, or pods, weigh less than 700 pounds, they and the other modular sections are easily moved with a small forklift, pallet jack or handcart. These types of barricades are well suited to address a specific threat or secure particular areas of a facility during special events, high-profile dignitary gatherings, or other occasions where crowds and vehicles may need to be contained or separated and especially in areas with no foundation or electrical hook-up. The MP5000 was initially built at the request of U.S. Federal government force protection specialists for initial fast deployment use in Iraq and elsewhere. It unfolds and places itself by using hydraulics to raise and lower off its wheels. The MP5000 is a K4-rated barricade, which dictates the weight it can stop in addition to at what moving speed. The first commercial version of the MP5000, the DSC1000, uses the company’s “Soft Stop” technology and has passed an ASTM crash test in which it stopped a 5,000-pound vehicle going 40 mph.
IP hardware is enabling customers to break free from proprietary security systems,to embrace the system integration available on open platforms Proprietary, closed systems are the bane of security. Yet they still exist. Robert (Rob) G. Lydic, Global Vice President of Sales for ISONAS, Boulder, Colorado, addresses the importance of open platforms in access control and what it means to systems integration in this exclusive Q&A. Trends in access control technology SourceSecurity.com: What's occurring with regards to trends in access control technology? Robert Lydic: Access control is growing at a rate greater than video surveillance, intrusion and fire systems. Most industry analysts forecast the access control industry to grow from a market of $6.24 billion to $8.3 billion by 2018. However, within those numbers, there is a different story. The industry is undergoing the same transformation to IP technologies that the video surveillance world underwent for the last five years. IP access control is forecast to grow at a rate of 34 percent for the next six years, and at ISONAS we are realising rates even higher at this time. Most access control systems have historically trapped the end user into only using their products with limited interface abilities and made it painful to escape their proprietary world. Customers see that the move to IP allows them more options and frees them from proprietary restrictions. SourceSecurity.com: Why is it important for installers to have a solution that ultimately removes their dependence on hardware? Robert Lydic: We believe strongly in the power of choice and open platforms while maintaining strong security. We believe that the proprietary panel-based access control systems that have a high product cost and installation time do not benefit the integrator, or the end user. Ultimately, the customer has a limited budget to spend on access control. Due to the traditional cost model of panel-based systems, both the integrator and the end users are making decisions not to deploy access control on the numbers of doors that they wish to have. IP access control solutions allow for greater integrations to other systems and can increase scopes of work for contractors to grow their businesses IP hardware enables customers to free themselves from that costly proposition. They can use less expensive structured wiring infrastructures, utilise PoE and deploy more doors less expensively. Contractors can then procure more work and spread the risk of labour, materials and any unknowns over a wider scope. At the same time, the IP access control solution allows for greater integrations to other systems and can increase scopes of work for contractors to grow their businesses. Embracing ONVIF profile SourceSecurity.com: Why is it taking the security industry in general so long to adopt open platforms? Robert Lydic: This is a really interesting question, one riddled in technology, politics and finance. There is a strong reality of technology and ideology of how to make people safe using security products. As a result, manufacturers created software and hardware solutions that are aimed at proliferating their ideology of safety within a proprietary system. For the manufacturer it ensures that all of their products work ideally to provide a fully functional system, while at the same time ensuring profitability and margins when a customer chooses their solution. It can be a win/win situation for the customer and the manufacturer; however, it can have significant downsides as well. Today’s world of open systems creates an opportunity for the choice of “best of breed” products. This applies to both hardware and software and has great upsides and downsides to the consumer. The positives for the customer are that the individual products tend to be more advanced and offer newer unique features that solve unique problems in addition to allowing open comparison to other products and therefore driving down costs. You can see this in the IP video space where the ONVIF standard was developed, was slow to be adopted and today is being used by many camera and VMS manufacturers. This has been a win for consumers on product choice, price, and interoperability; however, it has created some technical “holes” in safety and security of the systems. The access control market has begun to slowly move towards an ONVIF profile; however, it has been very slow to develop due to the points of view already discussed as well as the reality that access control is strong physical security and is even more conservative. At ISONAS, we strongly believe in open platforms and feel that we can thrive in an open platform world, while providing strong physical security. We have an open API, encourage other manufacturers to incorporate our products into their open and proprietary systems and today have several manufacturers using our hardware on their software platforms. We see this proliferating rapidly in 2016 and beyond.
ISC West has seen manufacturers' efforts to simplify the installation, serviceand deployment of security solutions for systems integrators Efficiencies come in all shapes and forms for systems integrators in the security industry, and ISC West 2016 was a testament to manufacturers' efforts to simplify installation, service, maintenance and deployment of IP video specifications for installers. GURU smartphone app with audit reporting capabilities March Networks, Ottawa, Canada, a provider of intelligent IP video solutions, unveiled new service and support capabilities to help certified partners and customers access at-a-glance intelligence on their video surveillance networks. The video installation audit and managed services system visualisation tools introduced at the show automate configuration and inventory reporting, making it easier to get a complete overview of March Networks system installations and more accurately manage even the largest enterprise video networks. A new installation audit feature available in the latest version of March Networks’ free GURU Smartphone Application enables technicians to run installation reports on any 8000 Series Hybrid NVR or RideSafe GT Series Hybrid Transit NVR system. The report includes a comprehensive snapshot of a system’s key configuration details, including: device, network and storage information; disk status; text channels; camera data rates; and a thumbnail image of each connected camera’s field-of-view. The installation audit lets integrators quickly review and verify system settings once an installation is complete. It also allows them to share the report with a customer if desired, either to support existing service level agreements or simply to provide a detailed reference document. The report is especially valuable for integrators working with subcontractors on large, multi-site installations, allowing them to confirm quality and consistency at each location. March Networks Insight for multi-site video installation monitoring In addition, a new offering available through March Networks Managed Services now makes it possible to administer large, multi-site video surveillance networks more efficiently. Called Insight, it provides a visual overview of the video system through secure, online dashboards. After logging into Insight, they can view their entire video installation on an interactive map and manipulate the data to see outstanding service issues and product warranty information. Another dashboard displays data on issues and trends in a series of charts and graphs that can be changed by date, issue type and other criteria to help customers get the information they need in a format that’s easy to review and understand. The free GURU smartphone application comes with new audit reporting capabilities,making it easier to get a complete overview of March Networks system installations “The GURU mobile app now has important changes that appeal to the integrator community and includes a QR code that makes it easier to get information necessary to troubleshoot and maintain equipment, reducing installation and service time for installers,” says Ru Wadasinghe, Vice President of Professional Services and CIO. “It’s applicable across the entire line of products and the QR codes make channel partners’ lives easier, especially in tracking thousands of devices across the network,” he says. They can send reports to customers with auditing capabilities and provides another level of managed services, he adds. New Genetec subscription service Genetec, Montreal, Canada, a provider of open-architecture, unified IP security solutions is opening up additional opportunities for recurring monthly revenue with a new Security Center subscription programme that gives installers and their customers pay-as-you-go licensing for its on-premises video management system called Genetec™ Security Center. Subscribing customers pay for it on a monthly or annual basis, as opposed to purchasing the entire system upfront. Rather than incur upfront software costs, installers can present users with access to the Security Center on a term contract that gives them the flexibility of paying on a monthly or yearly basis, says Andrew Elvish, Vice President of Marketing and Product Management. “It really changes things,” Elvish says. “Previously we were known as perhaps only playing in the high-end enterprise space but now this software is available at a dealer upfront cost of about $3 per camera. It also translates to a monthly operating expense, rather than a large upfront capital expenditure for the user, which makes it suitable for a whole new range of customers,” he says. Elvish says a recent Gartner Inc. industry report noted that by 2020 more than 80 percent of software vendors will change their business model from traditional license and maintenance to subscription, regardless of whether the software resides on-premises or in the cloud. Security Center Compact for smaller sites As part of its new subscription model, Genetec also introduced Security Center Compact, a new entry-level edition available only through subscription. The new edition of Security Center supports up to 25 cameras and provides an easy, “no training required” option for customers with basic video management requirements, making it a good fit for smaller sites. In addition to providing smaller-site video surveillance, Security Center Compact offers a clear path as an organisation's security needs evolve over time. Security Center Compact users can simply update their subscription and purchase a higher edition of Security Center as their system grows, avoiding the need to install and/or re-deploy new system software.
Access control now includes a strong focus on the data integration side ofthe business, as showcased at this year’s ISC West When the category of physical security emerged many decades ago, it was literally all about locks, hardware and creating barriers such as fences to keep people out. Fast forward to ISC West 2016 in Las Vegas this week, where the focus is on intelligent solutions, smart data, cloud-based access control and incorporating audio, video and a wide range of safeguards in a total, integrated approach. LE-802 Intelligent Audio Analytic System Louroe Electronics, Van Nuys, California, is one of the original pioneers of audio technologies, and as systems continue to merge and converge, the element of sound provides a much-needed added dimension to fortifying physical security applications. Louroe Electronics is unveiling the LE-802 Intelligent Audio Analytic System, offering a robust and easy-to-install application for unattended audio monitoring on specific events analysing the presence of gunshots, aggressive speech, glass breaking and car alarms. The system is a complete hardware and software solution housed in a weather- and vandal-resistant enclosure for outdoor applications. It also integrates with most video management and monitoring systems and works as a standalone edge solution analysing sounds in real time, according to Chris Gaunt, Manager of North American Sales. Connecting audio to video surveillance “Audio security gives you another piece of the puzzle and makes what was a silent movie come to life,” he says, adding that the bread and butter for the company is tying audio to video surveillance, as an attachment to cameras or nearby as an enhancement to surveillance. “For example, in schools, some 80 percent of verbal encounters lead to something aggressive, and now we can do something with preventative audio software,” he says. The company partnered with an analytics company to build the additional audio capabilities into its product, which also fits markets such as public safety, commercial and law enforcement, in addition to education. It also brought to market the Verifact® a gunshot detector for active shooter incidents. Louroe Electronics demonstrated the Verifact® Gunshot Detector at ISC West Data builds intelligent processes A common theme of data and added intelligence was front and centre at the show – getting more from physical security. Vanderbilt Industries, Parsippany, New Jersey, introduced Vanderbilt VI Connect at the show, a custom-configurable data management system that integrates Vanderbilt’s security management system (SMS), with third party, disparate systems of any size to automate business workflow. Automation for error reduction Mitchell Kane, President of Vanderbilt Industries, says the process of access control has changed and now includes a strong focus on the data integration side of the business. “Automating workflow makes the process less labour-intensive and eliminates user error in programming permissions and schedules. The entire process is automated and performed through web interfaces and hosting. Everything we automate means one less thing to do and one less chance of doing something wrong.” VI Connect establishes rules engines and also can provide the systems integrator with detailed security audits and reports for the end user. For example, the solution can be used in higher education environments where student data — demographic information, enrolled courses, housing information and badging settings — can be processed and manipulated through the VI Connect system, ensuring that a student is only allowed to gain access to campus buildings that are relevant to that particular student’s major. CrossChex time attendance and access control management system Anviz, an intelligent security provider with roots in biometric and RFID applications, is making its move to the cloud with the CrossChex Time Attendance and Access Control Management System. The company offers three different levels to expand the scope of specification possibilities: Desktop for small and medium businesses; Professional designed for enterprise web-based management; and Cloud for global enterprise applications. Brian Fazio, Director of Global Sales, Shanghai, China, says the three different versions provide a full solution for every type of user and their specific time and attendance applications. “CrossChex satisfies the time and attendance and access control requirements in different, complicated environments,” he says, and it also provides report management and a mobile application function that can be applied and accessed via smartphones. The lines of typical product categories continue to blur. The focus is on integrating a wide range of solutions to meet the challenges and issues of the end-user customer.
Working with accurate and detailed product specifications saves time andreduces the possibility of errors throughout a project They’re coming from every angle. Things that zap your company’s profitability: lower hardware margins, escalating labour costs, simply the cost of doing business. So systems integrators have been looking — and finding — new ways to increase revenues. New sources of revenue are emerging from services and even the administration side of the business. When you are more efficient in the office and in the field and can spec, quote and deliver projects faster and with more accuracy, everyone wins, especially the bottom line. Accurate design and documentation is a critical element of a successful and profitable project, says Tim Bigoness, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, D-Tools Inc., Concord, California. Need for easy to use, interoperable software systems “Today’s integrated systems often contain a myriad of products, and accessories, and maintaining consistency and accuracy of this product information can be a critical success factor and often mean the difference between profit or loss,” Bigoness says. He adds that working with accurate and detailed product specifications saves time and reduces the possibility of errors throughout a project, from the proposal and design to installation. “Spreadsheets and Word documents can help, but manual processes always increase the potential for errors and omissions. A system that helps integrators accurately estimate the amount of labour involved for the installation as well as prompting for recommended accessories can help ensure that the project is accurate, priced right, and delivered on time and to budget,” Bigoness adds. When looking at ways to increase efficiencies in project management, planning and design, Bigoness says it’s important to consider factors such as ease of use, accessibility, and integration with other systems, such as accounting and contact management. “Ideally, a solution should fit the way the contractor likes to work, and not force a single process – the ideal solution will be flexible, work well with other applications, and not require multiple efforts or duplicate data entry.” How D-Tools improved Access Technologies’ process efficiency “A system that helps integrators accurately estimate the amount of labour involved for the installation helps ensure that the project is accurate, priced right, and delivered on time and to budget” Access Technologies, Albuquerque, New Mexico, has simplified and accelerated its proposal process efficiency by 30 percent and as a result, increased its ROI, says RJ Spurr, Sales Engineer and Project Manager. Access Technologies is an integration company focusing on physical security, IT networking, wireless, WiFi, video conferencing, digital signage and voice control. It serves a variety of vertical markets, including corporate, government, education, healthcare and utilities. Access Technologies first began using the D-Tools System Integrator (SI) software platform in 2012 as a means to better streamline their security and IT networking project proposal and estimate process. Previously, the company relied on another CRM and quoting tool, but needed a better way to create as-built documents since each project proposal was separately created after the previous project phases using Microsoft Word. “We needed a solution that would integrate and simplify the process of adding products to proposals. We can now quickly and easily build needed documents as we create proposals,” says Spurr. Reducing time and error for higher ROI Spurr adds that software platforms need to provide complete project scheduling, resource management and reporting capabilities to ensure the job is delivered on time and within scope. “Because we are able to define users and assign roles to personnel, processes have improved, and we’ve become more efficient because everyone can access the information they require during any stage of the project. We can enter vast amounts of information in data fields that build continuity and accessibility throughout the team, further streamlining processes for our company.” Bigoness says creating a repeatable process delivers a tangible return on investment. “Integrators can respond to a request for bid quickly with accurate, professional documentation, delivering detailed engineering drawings with an organised resource plan and schedule to save time and reduce errors on the back-end – saving money and increasing profitability on every project. Without a system to easily track and extract this information, many companies are flying blind and find it hard to improve efficiency. And efficiency equals greater profitability.”
ISC West educational sessions bring into focus some of the challenges, issues and opportunities faced by systems integrators What will be the hot technology at ISC West 2016 this year? Devices to detect drones, more affordable biometrics, or cameras with 360 degrees of clear vision? You’ll probably see some of the above and much more if you’re attending the security industry’s largest trade show, scheduled for April 6 through 8 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. For systems integrators, there are many reasons to attend – including targeted educational sessions designed to help companies do business better, expand into new markets, and learn about emerging trends in technology. ISC West educational sessions, produced in partnership with the Security Industry Association (SIA), Silver Spring, Maryland, continue to bring into focus to some of the challenges, issues and opportunities facing today’s systems integrators. More than 1,000 exhibitors and some 28,000 attendees are expected at the event this year. Search for innovations in products and services Jon McNamara, Sales Manager for Mijac Alarm, Rancho Cucamonga, California, will be attending the show for the third time, but says his company has been traveling to the exposition/conference for about 10 years. This year, he says Mijac will be looking closely at one leading company’s security and video management platform for one of their customers, as well as stopping by the booths of other manufacturers to see what’s new or interesting with technology that they might be able to apply to other customers. The six targeted sessions provided by PSA focus on video analytics, IT skill sets, successful systems integration practices and how to assess cyber security efforts from vendor partners “ISC West helps us keep in touch with all our manufacturers' representatives as well as gives us a look at some of the products that may provide us new options with our customers and prospects moving forward,” McNamara said. New to ISC West is the Connected Home Pavilion, where show producer Reed Exhibitions is bringing the custom home electronics market to traditional security, including entertainment and control solutions. The Connected Home Pavilion is part of the Connected Security Expo @ISC West, focusing on collaboration and learning about nascent markets, such as the Internet of Things and how it applies to security contractors. Ed Several, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Reed Exhibitions, says the Connected Security Expo is designed to be a breakthrough learning experience for security professionals. Integrator-centric specifics PSA Security Network, Westminster, Colorado, continues to participate in the ISC West educational tract, providing sessions that focus on the integration side of the business. Called PSA TEC @ISC the six targeted sessions provided by PSA include business, technical and other topics focusing on a wide range of areas, including video analytics, IT skill sets, successful systems integration practices and how to assess cyber security efforts from vendor partners. The California Alarm Association (CAA), one of the largest charter organisations of the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Irving, Texas, always has a strong presence at the show and is one of the endorsing organisations of ISC West along with PSA Security. Jerry Lenander, Executive Director of CAA, says several important CAA-sponsored events will be held during the show, including the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation (AIREF) Golf Tournament, SIA/ISC Love Security reception at the Venetian Rockhouse, CAA Leadership Breakfast on opening day, Wednesday, April 6 and Public Safety luncheon on Thursday, April 7.
The PASS guidelines don’t just point to specific technologies; they address security issues and help guide school administrators to make their schools safer and more secure From K-12 to college campuses, schools need integrated solutions and proactive measures to lessen the potential of active shooters while targeting general loss prevention and security. The good news is that technology is available to address nearly every threat and challenge, and systems integrators and others have upped their game, providing comprehensive, proactive consultations to the education market. According to the Institute of Education Sciences and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), schools continue to use technology increasingly to address security and safety challenges. Overall, there has been an ongoing increase in the use of technology in schools. For example, the NCES cites the percentage of schools that used one or more security cameras to monitor the school in 2013–14 (75 percent) was higher than it was in 2009–10 (61 percent) with other technologies on the upswing as well. PASS takes holistic security approach Security industry organisations, such as the National Systems Contractors Association, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the Security Industry Association, Silver Spring, Maryland, are working to establish realistic and effective guidelines for school security. The Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), powered by NSCA and SIA, released its K-12 security guidelines in April 2015 at ISC West in Las Vegas in an effort to make technology easier to implement and help schools become safer. The PASS guidelines Define threats common to schools at each educational level Offer recommendations on parental and community involvement Detail a layered security approach that combats common threats and mitigates risks related to active shooters Provide information for integrators, school administrators, resource officers, and IT staff on technology-focused solutions like video surveillance, duress alarms, and electronic access control Deliver scalable/tiered measures that administrators can implement based on available resources and local risk levels Advance Technology, Scarborough, Maine, as well as other systems integration firms, manufacturers and consultants, is a PASS-endorsing organisation, according to Rob Simopoulos, President, working with the organisation and others to promote unified efforts. PASS recently updated the initial guidelines to include a new position statement on classroom barricade devices. "It's critical for us to be involved in programs such as PASS," says Simopoulos. "Working together as a united front in the industry, we can help schools become proactive and help them become better prepared." "The guidelines and assessment tools from PASS are not designed to simply point schools towards specific technology. They are designed to take a broader brushstroke to challenges and issues and help guide school administrators through the steps they can take in making their schools safer and more secure,” he adds. Programme gaining traction with schools According to Chuck Wilson, NSCA Executive Director and a Steering Committee Director for PASS, the response to the programme has been extremely positive, and it continues to gain traction. “We see this as a great educational tool, a resource, a way to start a technology roadmap, and a way for schools to build an attainable budget. We have been inundated with requests to download the PASS School Security guidelines, and they are beginning to be used in the field.” The next step is the creation and dissemination of a PASS assessment tool and tool kits that piggyback with the guidelines. “With the PASS assessment tool, integrators can work with school officials to find out what technology they have in place, what can be enhanced or modified to meet the guidelines,and what they can budget for. The PASS tool kits will be custom-designed for the specific audience; for example, for school administrators it might provide information on how to write a grant or respond to a school referendum bond targeting security,” Wilson says. The PASS Steering Committee will meet at ISC West 2016 to address those items.
Improved alarm verification standards will help reduce the number of false dispatches of law enforcement officers The verification of alarms continues to progress with more affordable technology as well as an updated industry standard set for release as soon as the end of February 2016. The definition of alarm verification is getting a makeover in the standard, guided by a range of stakeholders including the security industry, law enforcement, associations and other interested groups whose overall mission is to quell false dispatches and make sure residential and commercial alarms are responded to quickly and effectively. The draft Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA)/American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Standard is prepared under direction of the Security Industry Standards Council: CSAA CS-V-01-20XX Alarm Confirmation, Verification and Notification Procedures (DRAFT, Version October 12, 2015). The standard has undergone the comment period and will be sent to ANSI, with its release coming as soon as the end of February, says Lou Fiore, Principal of LT Fiore Inc., Sparta, NewJersey. Fiore chairs the CSAA Standards Committee and also chairs the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC). Fiore says alarm verification as defined in the standard involves video and audio. Confirmation is what the industry commonly refers as two-call verification, in which the central monitoring station contacts two responsible parties on the alarm user’s list before referring to authorities. “Now we have a much stronger standard and a better way to know there is a crime in progress,” Fiore says. “It’s critical to have a standard for alarm companies, and it helps reduce false alarms and increase captures.” (Hold up and panic alarms are generally excluded from verification requirements.) Adding video to the verification mix The topic of verification and especially video has become increasingly important as cities, towns and municipalities burdened with false alarm dispatches require some form of verification or threaten non-response. According to the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), Frisco, Texas, fewer than 30 police agencies out of 18,000 have some form of verified response, and that’s because of proactive industry involvement. Ron Walters, Director of SIAC in West Hills, California., says the standard has been an important part of elevating the stature of the technology in the eyes of the industry, law enforcement and users. “It’s important to continue to tweak the definitions and educate people. I think video has found its niche. It’s not part of every alarm system yet, but it has a huge place in commercial specifications,” he says. Video is becoming increasingly integrated with alarm verification, as well as ‘two-call verification,’ in which the central monitoring station contacts two responsible parties on the alarm user’s list before referring to authorities Improved indoor/outdoor video verification According to Keith Jentoft, President of Videofied-RSI Video Technologies Inc., Vadnais Heights, Minnesota, cameras have become much less expensive for both indoor and outdoor video verification applications. “There are two possibilities for video verification. Internet Protocol (IP) cameras, which are becoming cheaper and in which on-board analytics are becoming more common. The other option is Videofied. We are unique in that we don’t need a power cord. The monitoring is also becoming less expensive and with more options. For about $4 per month you can have outdoor monitoring,” he says. Jentoft, who is also the partnership liaison for Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response (PPVAR), Henderson, Nevada, adds that consumers are becoming more educated and alarm contractors more aggressive, leading their sales and marketing efforts with video verification. “They see it as a point of differentiation for their services,” Jentoft says. Complying with law enforcement standards The CSAA/ANSI draft standard has adopted the language of law enforcement, through the PPVAR and originally the Texas Police Chiefs Association, agreed upon: “Verified Alarm shall be defined as an electronic security system event in which a trained central station operator using a standardised protocol has determined the presence of humans and the high probability that a criminal offense is in progress.” In addition, it states: “A law enforcement agency having jurisdiction to respond to Verified Alarms has the autonomy and authority to increase the priority of Verified Alarm calls to increase the arrest of offenders and reduce property loss.” Jentoft says the most important thing about the standard is that it reflects the definition law enforcement embraces, instead of one created by the alarm industry.
Wireless offers many opportunities for security contractors to increasethe base of installations and add subscribers Security installation contractors have many different choices when it comes to wireless signalling technologies for their customers. Radio frequency (RF) communications have become more reliable, more robust and include inherent safeguards, such as encryption, to prevent hacking or takeover of wireless devices. Wireless can also allow for remote programming, depending on the device, thus providing additional time savings in the field. For security contractors, wireless offers many opportunities to increase the base of installations and add subscribers. It could benefit an existing customer who wants to add security at a single door at the inside or outside of the premises, or at a remote location. It’s the perfect add-on solution and offers considerably less installation time compared to running wire or cable or, especially, digging and trenching. As a hybrid solution or standalone specification, wireless is definitely a technology to watch in 2016. Changes in demand for read-range technologies Longer-range, contactless systems can be used standalone or piggybacked on hands-free and even smart card access control systems. For the last 20 years or so, the proximity card, which uses 125 KHz technology, has been a mainstay, but in the last decade proximity cards have been bolstered by the smart card, which operates at 13.56 MHz. Most recently, the security industry has seen increased demand for read-range technologies that operate at 433 MHz for gated communities, parking structures, multifamily residential, commercial and other nascent markets. Although long-range reading is not new, changes in standardisation are making it more popular: 433 MHz is a standard harmonised around the world, so receivers can be used globally – another plus for the installer. For intrusion detection, two of the most common radio frequencies deployed are 900 MHz and 2.4GHz; 900 MHz penetrates obstructed locations and 2.4 GHz travels across long distances. These open frequencies have strong penetration even through channel interference and signal echo, which traditionally bounced signals off larger objects and diminished quality communication, now addressed with transmission and modulation schemes such as Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum. In both commercial and especially residential applications, communication possibilities include ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth and WiFi. Wireless connectivity protocols offer direct connectivity to locks with the smartphone,as well as real-time updates of lock status ZigBee, an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.15.4-based specification offers users the ability to process many access control transactions and a high throughput, with low bandwidth consumption and a long battery life. It also offers real-time updates of lock status. WiFi, which provides a distributed topology, can be used for campuses, office parks and others with a secure WiFi network for fast communications and to push lots of data. ZigBee vs. WiFi - finding the right wireless fit Peter Boriskin, Vice President of Commercial Product Management for ASSA ABLOY Americas, New Haven, Connecticut, says that the company’s research and development indicated that in the commercial market users were basically split along the lines of those who wanted an online hardwired solution, but also needed to extend the reach of their commercial systems without disturbing the existing infrastructure. Boriskin has more than 18 years of experience working with security technology primarily in the enterprise security marketplace. “Certain signalling technologies are a better fit depending on the nature of the protected premises and what the user wants to accomplish,” Boriskin says. “We have been focused on delivering solutions primarily through ZigBee and WiFi. For customers who need real-time updates, ZigBee is the driving force; for those who need the distributed network of intelligent solutions, then it’s WiFi,” he says. Z-Wave has traditionally been the most common wireless protocol in home automation products. Bluetooth, and now Bluetooth Smart, offer direct connectivity to locks with the smartphone and do not require WiFi when in range. Bluetooth Smart is the intelligent, power-friendly version of Bluetooth wireless technology, according to the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), Kirkland, Washington. And as interest increases in the Internet of Things, residential wireless communications technologies like Z-Wave and Bluetooth Smart will continue to find new practical applications while new sensors and gateways develop to present greater functionality in the home. Wireless extends the realm of installation possibilities for the security contractor. There’s a communication technology suited for every user and vertical market.
Customers are looking for more than simple plug-and-play cameras. They wantgood, high-definition cameras to protect their driveways, garages & shops Surveillance and CCTV applications are poised for continued growth in 2016 and beyond as security dealers and their end-user customers turn to video technology for physical security, loss prevention and gathering data and intelligence to assist business management and operations. Overall, the CCTV industry is benefitting from greater awareness of the different uses for surveillance, as well as more accurate and robust technology. According to research firm Memoori's 2015 annual report on physical security, video surveillance products were 54 percent of total sales and accounted for $14.68 billion, topping intruder alarms which came in at 23.5 percent and $6.40 billion and with access control garnering $6.13 billion and 22.5 percent of the total. The report further indicates that the industry overall has edged up at a compound annual rate of 7.82 percent since 2010 and forecasts growth for total security equipment up some eight percent in 2016, reaching almost $42 billion over the next five years to 2020. Steve Stowe, Vice President of BAP Security in Macon, Georgia., is keen on the higher feature sets and intrinsic value of video surveillance applications for the company’s prospects and customers. BAP Security has been in business since 1967, offering custom security solutions for residential and commercial subscribers in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida. Video analytics on a roll Stowe says he expects to see higher adoption of video analytics as it becomes a more common feature in even lower-cost equipment. “We have more and more people asking about line-crossing detection in particular. Many customers are also looking at upgrading older analogue CCTV equipment since we can economically match the 1080P resolutions they are used to seeing on their televisions with HD-TVI, HD-SDI and other HDcctv technologies while still using their existing cabling infrastructure. There are still many customers who have seen the value at one point in time to invest in a CCTV system – we can now help them migrate cost-effectively and offer much improved picture quality than what they are used to,” Stowe says. Video analytics is becoming an increasingly common video surveillance feature,even in lower-cost equipment According to Stowe, businesses with personnel who have one-on-one contact with their customers such as office reception areas, teller stations and others are looking at adding cameras to record these interactions in case there is a problem, possibly even recording video with audio when appropriate. “Even customers who don't want a complete CCTV solution can use a more limited, standalone system or even IP cameras with edge recording,” he says. Replacing intrusion detection with CCTV Increased awareness by the general public regarding the advantages of surveillance is also fuelling an interest in video installations, Stowe says. “Homeowners are asking about CCTV more than ever before, and most of the people we are talk to are looking for a lot more than the simple plug-and-play cameras being sold by mass marketers. They want good, high-definition cameras to watch their driveways, HVAC units, garages, shops and even their pets.” The commercial market is also experiencing an uptick, especially for integrated installations. “Some commercial markets such as factories, multi-tenant properties and churches are looking more at integrating CCTV with other systems such as access control. Capturing the video as the door is accessed along with who and what might be with the cardholder is information that is important to them, whether it is to catch internal theft or making sure the tenant is not letting others access the property or even for child safety.” Looking ahead, word on the street is that CCTV installations may eventually take the place of traditional intrusion detection sensors. Motion detection, analytics and integration with audio or other technology continues to increase the power of surveillance specifications for loss prevention and more.