Round table contributions
One of the things all security systems have in common is that they depend on human operators, to one extent or another. But how often is the human factor overlooked in product design? Sometimes, more focus is aimed at increasing the functionality of a system, even at the expense of usability. That’s how we get systems that have more capabilities, although accessing that functionality may be hopelessly complex. Creating effective graphical user interfaces (GUIs) is an ongoing challenge for the security market, and the consumer market, with its iPads and smart phones, has raised the expectations bar. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What elements are required to make an effective video system user interface?
We hear that everything is going to the cloud – or is it? Security end users can be understandably confused by conflicting claims in the market from proponents of cloud-based or server-based systems. A number of major security companies are offering cloud video surveillance solutions apart from the traditional server-based systems. At the end of the day, how do you choose? What factors should be considered? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What factors should a customer consider when choosing between a cloud-based system and a server-based security system? Their answers offer plenty of useful advice about when (and when not) to opt for a cloud solution.
As the security industry continues to evolve and come up with innovative technologies, it has also thrown open the doors for competition among manufacturers of security systems and products. Price wars are emerging in the physical security market, while manufacturers and integrators are looking for new ways to offer greater value and better service. It’s one thing to fight it out for a new customer, but nobody wants to lose an existing customer based on price, or any other factor for that matter. In an industry increasingly being driven by the low cost of products, how can manufacturers and security integrators ensure their existing customers don’t defect to a new player, a new product claim or a lower price? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the best way to ensure customer loyalty (for manufacturers or integrators)?
This year’s Global Security Exchange in Chicago will see Synectics (booth 2088) demonstrate why the powerful capabilities of its Synergy 3 command and control platform were selected for a next-generation mission control hub for one of Europe's largest urban rail networks. With a comprehensive integration ecosystem combining security, surveillance, and operational sub-systems – through features like workflows, workforce management, cloud-based evidence management, and mobile applications – Synectics solutions are used by organisations worldwide to bring simplicity and control into a single unified platform. Drawing attention to Synergy 3 functionality Our focus at this event is on drawing attention to the exciting, and ground-breaking, functionality within Synergy 3"Greg Alcorn, Divisional Director at Synectics, explained: “More and more customer objectives are inextricably linked to broader data management goals critical to their entire security and operational infrastructure. Our focus at this event is on drawing attention to the exciting, and increasingly ground-breaking, functionality within Synergy 3 that our customers are already using to achieve these goals.” Synectics boasts a global project portfolio in applications where security and surveillance are paramount, including: Transportation – developing a solution to enable smart, centralised management of network-wide safety, service, and security for S-Bahn Berlin GmbH, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn AG. Aviation – delivering an Airport Operational Command & Control Center (AOCC) for Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Power Utilities – providing a federated security and surveillance system with a centralised Alarm Receiving Center (ARC) for a major European power distributor. Gaming – supporting one of the largest surveillance projects in North America with a comprehensive command and control solution for Encore Boston Harbor. Addressing critical operational challenges Synergy 3 is an ever-evolving platform that addresses customers' critical operational challenges"Alcorn continued: “Tailoring our solutions to meet the business needs of our customers is one of the reasons behind our success, and Synergy 3 is an ever-evolving platform that addresses their critical operational challenges. Meeting these is where we excel as a company and forms the basis for how we innovate our products, through deep customer engagement, to address specific market segment and business problems.” Synectics is a pioneer in the design, integration, control, and management of advanced surveillance technology and networked security systems for environments where security is operationally critical. With over 30 years’ experience, they have gained an intimate understanding of the daily pressures, priorities, and challenges faced by their customers in Oil & Gas, Gaming, Transport & Infrastructure, and High Security & Public Space.
As part of its ongoing effort to create new opportunities for customers and partners, Synectics establishes an integration partnership with AnyVision, a pioneer in AI-based facial, body, and object recognition. This allows users of Synectics’ systems to utilise facial recognition data within its Synergy 3 command and control platform, and leverage this by combining with site-wide sub-systems data through the intelligent automation capabilities of the platform. This approach to combining and analysing data from multiple systems in tandem with AnyVision’s powerful technology will ultimately enable a more refined level of actionable intelligence not currently found in other surveillance systems available in the market. Cutting-edge solutions Synectics believes partnerships like this one with AnyVision create the foundation" Commenting on the inspiration behind this collaboration, John Roessler, Vice President of Gaming at Synectics, said: “Synectics believes partnerships like this one with AnyVision create the foundation from which our business can adapt to changes in the marketplace and answers the call from our customers to provide cutting-edge solutions. Taking this approach also allows for increased return on investment not only for us, but, more importantly, for our customers and partners.” Greg Alcorn, Divisional Director at Synectics, added: “As we endeavour to deepen our business across key sectors – transportation, infrastructure, oil & gas, gaming, public space, and high security – partnering with the leading technology providers in our industry who have complementary solutions to ours will be a crucial strategic component.” Facial recognition analysis The partnership will immediately allow end users to leverage the capability of AnyVision within the Synergy 3 command and control platform, enhancing the platform’s powerful situational awareness capabilities by marrying AI-driven facial recognition analysis with its suite of video, data, and alarm management tools. Synergy 3 is used worldwide in sectors where surveillance is critical to business and security, from city surveillance, transportation hubs and networks, oil and gas installations, and CNI infrastructure, to high-security sites, casinos, and major public attractions. The partnership is also part of AnyVision’s mission to make its innovative AI-powered technology available to more businesses and environments across the globe. Unlike other software solutions in the market, AnyVision’s software is plug-and-play for new and existing systems, and able to overcome challenges such as occlusions, different angles of view, and poor lighting conditions. Real-world analytics Facial, body, and object recognition have real-world benefits right now" AnyVision currently develops technology for security and surveillance, mobile authentication, access control, and real-world analytics. Boris Gokhman, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at AnyVision, commented: “Facial, body, and object recognition have real-world benefits right now. Collaborating with best-of-breed technology partners to help more organisations ‒ working across diverse sectors ‒ harness new capabilities and achieve those benefits is hugely important to us.” “We are delighted to be working with Synectics on this and look forward to expanding this partnership in the future.” With the aim of creating a true interoperability ecosystem, Synectics recently launched a new Software Development Kit (SDK) to help third-party tech companies and developers write their own integrations to Synergy 3.
Professionals visiting Airport IT & Security 2018 are invited to attend a seminar on how to optimise data from disparate systems in order to boost efficiency, improve passenger experience, and maximise investment in technology. In line with airport digitisation and unified operational centre trends, the session (14:10, Wednesday 5th December, Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol) will look at how command and control software can be used to integrate and contextualise data from a wide range of systems, sensors, and devices, to deliver airport-wide situational intelligence. Learning automation software capabilities Delegates will learn how interoperability and automation software capabilities can be used to action intelligence more efficientlyDuring the ‘Keeping Pace with the Challenges of Security and Operational Efficiency’ seminar, delegates will also learn how interoperability and automation software capabilities can be used to action intelligence more efficiently. Leading the seminar will be Greg Alcorn, Divisional Director, Transport & Infrastructure at Synectics ‒ the global surveillance business responsible for developing integrated solutions such as the award-nominated security management platform employed by Terminal 3 at Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. Trialling and implementing new technologies He commented: “Airports have always been pioneers when it comes to trialling and implementing new technologies, from biometrics, video analytics, and security scanning, to automated check-in, and passenger information solutions. But these systems and devices are usually deployed and managed in isolation. “The problem with this approach is that it creates benefit gaps; data from individual systems that could potentially provide greater context and insight simply falls through the cracks. Ultimately, this means airports aren’t getting maximum benefit from the data generated from the technologies they invest in and could be missing out on the opportunity to improve processes key to safety, security KPIs, and ultimately passenger satisfaction. “It is an issue that can be solved by bringing everything together into an integrated and interoperable command and control environment ‒ that’s what this session will explore.” Synergy 3 command and control solution In most cases, what’s actually meant is IA (Intelligent Automation), which is good news, because this is being fully deployed right now"Synectics (Stand 14) will also be delivering live demonstrations of its Synergy 3 command and control solution. These will show how estate-wide insight gained from unifying data can be paired with software features such as dynamic workflows in order to help airports implement digitisation and automation strategies, though not necessarily artificial intelligence. Alcorn explained: “There’s a lot of talk about how AI can and should be adopted by airports to improve specific operational aspects – especially around security – and it is becoming a valuable tool for operational support. In most cases, however, what’s actually meant is IA (Intelligent Automation), which is good news, because this is being fully deployed right now. Auto-search video footage using analytics “For instance, by integrating live data sources – including responses from operators prompted using questions based on the specific circumstances detected – an interoperable command and control solution knows to automatically dispatch additional staff to check-in because queues are exceeding specific lengths and a nearby traffic accident is likely to result in a lot of last-minute arrivals. Automated procedures can be initiated to override access control doors and initiate area lockdowns" “In an alternative scenario where a child has been reported missing, the solution can recognise the distinguishing factors ‒ such as the colour of a jumper or backpack ‒ to auto-search video footage using analytics. It can then simultaneously present the live footage to control room operators for visual verification, alert the nearest security staff, and push the relevant footage and location to their mobile device.” Securing authorised personnel-only zone “From a security perspective, automated procedures can be initiated to override access control doors and initiate area lockdowns when facial recognition and ID used don’t match in an authorised personnel-only zone. This kind of intelligent automation is what’s possible when the right integration, interoperability, and rules are applied to unified data.” Visitors to the Synectics stand will also discover how platforms such as Synergy 3 can be used to help airports collaborate more closely with third parties, for example by supporting secure, real-time evidence sharing and automated communications with emergency services, government agencies, customs units, police, local authorities, and connecting transport providers.
Three technology advancements are set to transform the transport industry ‒ command and control technology, connectivity, and the cloud. The combination of these will enable operators to support the growing demand for safer, and more connected, passenger journeys. According to Synectics, capitalising on the opportunity that new technology presents will help transport operators improve safety, security, and service efficiency, while also supporting the transition to seamless, multi-modal passenger travel. The global surveillance specialist will use InnoTrans 2018 ‒ taking place from 18-21 September in Berlin ‒ to explain the opportunities and migration path that operators can take advantage of to reach this reality. Surveillance and data management solutions We are looking forward to discussing the opportunities with visitors at this year’s InnoTrans" Greg Alcorn, Divisional Director for Transport and Infrastructure at Synectics, explained: “For over 30 years we’ve been providing surveillance and data management solutions for on-vehicle, transport infrastructure, and public space sectors. Until relatively recently, these sectors have operated very separately. However, with an increase in urbanisation and the Smart City trend, these independent environments are now merging." “This change is driven by two key factors. Passenger expectation is a crucial driver for change ‒ members of the public want seamless travel where they are informed at every stage, and confidence that operators are working in a coordinated way to deliver efficiency. Furthermore, the global focus on transport security is pushing organisations and agencies to look at how they can work more collaboratively with each other, emergency services, and local authorities." “Meeting these expectations can seem a daunting prospect, but by using the right technology in the right way, it needn’t be. We are looking forward to discussing the opportunities with visitors at this year’s InnoTrans.” Unifying data from on-vehicle systems Synergy 3, and other transport-specific solutions, can be implemented by operators to unlock capabilities at their own paceSynectics (Hall 4.1 / 310) will be supporting this message by demonstrating how its command and control platform, Synergy 3, and other transport-specific solutions, can be implemented by operators to unlock capabilities at their own pace. “The first step for many,” said Jürgen Fuchs, Director of Strategic Projects at Synectics, “is to adopt a ‘back office function’ that is able to unify data from on-vehicle systems – CCTV, vehicle trackers, telematics, ticketing, journey management, passenger info, and passenger WiFi etc. – to gain an accurate picture of service usage, passenger safety, and vehicle performance." “Many customers already use our on-vehicle solutions to do exactly this. They can investigate incidents more quickly, integrate with third-party systems, reduce fuel consumption through informed service and route planning, and even improve training for staff using the data gathered. However, where things get even more interesting is when you start looking at vehicle-to-ground connectivity.” Centrally managed train-to-ground solution According to Synectics, Synergy 3 is an integral component in this logical progression, enabling static, centrally based teams to gain this same unified view in real time, over a WiFi or cellular network. In the last year, for example, the company developed and delivered a train-to-ground solution that enabled a European rapid transit operator to receive, manage, and respond to on-vehicle passenger help requests remotely from a central command centre. Command and control technology facilitates major security improvements such as persons of interest tracking and incident response"This opens up a considerable amount of potential for the transport industry. Jürgen continued “Integration with specific systems, as well as the ability to translate real-time data into action and respond to threats, presents so much opportunity for the converging worlds of on-vehicle and infrastructure." Facilitating security improvements “Real-time, precise service updates for passengers (including details of connecting transport services for more streamlined transfers), location-based advertising, and improved passenger help services are demonstrable benefits that improve customer satisfaction." “Command and control technology facilitates major security improvements such as persons of interest tracking and incident response. Operators have the functionality at their fingertips to work more collaboratively with external services and agencies to ensure the safety and security of passengers at every stage of their connected journey.” It is a collaborative, connected future Synectics feels will only be further strengthened with the adoption of cloud-based solutions. Greg concluded: “Few sectors are likely to benefit more from cloud capabilities than the transportation industry. Improving passenger safety and experience Connecting IoT devices and transmitting information securely to the cloud has significant advantages"“Connecting IoT devices and transmitting information securely to the cloud has significant advantages for managing and sharing information. Within transport organisations, it means, for example, that different departments can access live data dashboards tailored to exact needs without duplicating effort, saving both time and resources. Crucially, it also allows operators to rapidly and confidently share video and data evidence with relevant external parties including emergency services and authorities. “The net effect is a highly connected, highly effective transport network where all relevant parties can work together to improve passenger experience and safety.” Synectics, with offices located in Germany, UK, US, UAE, Singapore, and Macau, is ideally suited to delivering end-to-end, converged solutions that connect the entire transport landscape. The company has specialist expertise across on-vehicle systems in rail, light rail, coach, and bus with over 27,000 systems deployed worldwide, as well as a long track record in network, station, and critical infrastructure systems including the fourth largest metro system in Europe. Its solutions currently protect over five billion passenger journeys each year.
Today's security environments are more complex and sophisticated than ever, with technology evolving rapidly. For those responsible for critical national infrastructure estates, it can be a challenge to navigate this technology minefield and select the right solutions that can deliver the best value. UK Security Expo 2017 Synectics, whose solutions protect cities, transport assets, energy and utilities projects, and high-security sites worldwide, finds a misconception can exist within some agencies and businesses operating in the CNI sector around the use of legacy technology and infrastructure, and its impact on safety, security and operational systems management. The incorrect belief is that a ‘rip out and replace’ scenario is required that is both disruptive and costly. For this very reason, CNI sites are slow to adopt a complete migration to IP solutions, and capitalise on the latest innovations. Exhibiting at this year’s UK Security Expo (Olympia, London 29-30 November, stand F26), the global surveillance business aims to address this issue by demonstrating how organisations can cost-effectively scale-up and advance critical asset protection, while also maximising investment in existing systems and technologies. Estate-wide systems integration Greg Alcorn, Divisional Director, Transport & Infrastructure at Synectics, said: “Sites critical to our national infrastructure, and indeed our daily lives, are those which stand to benefit most from intelligent integration. The organisations responsible for these vast estates and infrastructure can significantly improve overall situational awareness and real-time multi-agency collaboration, even remotely. To avoid the trap of falling behind the curve, understanding the importance of estate-wide systems integration is key.” "To avoid the trap offalling behind thecurve, understandingthe importance ofestate-wide systems integration is key" Migrating to IP technologies and connecting their disparate data sources in this way enables organisations to identify threats and operational intelligence that would otherwise be difficult or even impossible. Staff safety is crucial “For example,” explained Greg, “thermal camera video, drone footage, GIS mapping and other sensors, combined with data for interrogation and risk investigation, can have a significant influence on advancing predictive maintenance strategies and avoiding downtime. This data analysis can alert maintenance teams of issues requiring attention before they develop. The data generated from pre-existing third-party systems can be mined for trends that help increase efficiencies and drive process improvements via a single unified management platform. “Staff safety within CNI environments is also crucial, particularly as the sites and/or network can be spread across the entire country, and lone workers are common. Unifying technology such as access control, communication channels and devices, and RFID tags on security passes can mitigate these challenges by pinpointing staff status, location and nearest emergency support at all times. An intelligently integrated command and control solution also facilitates rapid and informed multi-agency collaboration should an incident occur. The possibilities are virtually limitless.” Updating legacy systems But these estates and their infrastructure also tend to have an extensive investment in legacy technology, which in many cases is a perceived deterrent to upscaling and implementing the latest technology. “We are working with our customers to educate them on the steps to take, and we collaborate with them to design an integrated solution that can work with their legacy systems but scaled appropriately to take advantage of future requirements,” said Greg. “With an open architecture command and control platform such as Synergy 3, organisations can invest in the latest technology at a pace and budget to suit their specific needs.” "Our ethos as a businesshas always been to develop solutions that add value and focus on customers’ needs" To support this goal, Synectics has published a number of white papers to promote best practice in CNI protection, and to explain key IP networking considerations including legacy technology integration. These, alongside papers specifically dedicated to rail, airports, and public space protection, will be available during the show. Synectics sector specialists Synectics’ sector specialists will be on hand to demonstrate key capabilities of Synergy 3, and discuss the wide range of benefits made possible by connecting and converging systems. David Aindow, Product and Technology Director at Synectics, said: “Our ethos as a business has always been to develop solutions that add value and focus on customers’ needs which is why shows like UK Security Expo are so important. “As well as demonstrating how today’s solutions can support those charged with protecting our critical infrastructure, we get to engage with delegates to appreciate their challenges and gain insight into how they are currently applying IP technologies so that we can advise the most beneficial way possible.”
Alcorn will discuss how standards such as ONVIF’s are used to future proof technology investments ONVIF®, the leading global standardisation initiative for IP-based physical security products, announced recently that Greg Alcorn, Vice Chair of the ONVIF Communication Committee, will be speaking on behalf of ONVIF at Intersec 2016, January 17-19, 2016, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Alcorn, who is Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances for Oncam, will be a speaker within Intersec’s Critical Infrastructure Security, Protection and Resilience Conference. His presentation, entitled “The Growing Influence of Standards in Critical Infrastructure Projects,” will help attendees understand the growing importance and adoption of interoperability standards such as ONVIF’s in the design and deployment of critical infrastructure projects. Alcorn will also discuss how standards such as ONVIF’s are used to future proof technology investments and can help ensure adherence to current industry cyber security measures. ONVIF's message: The value of interoperability “ONVIF is a member consortium and all of our members can contribute to spreading ONVIF’s message on the value of interoperability,” said Per Björkdahl, Chairman of ONVIF’s Steering Committee. “We are excited to have Greg Alcorn representing ONVIF at Intersec 2016, sharing information on how important ONVIF and similar standards can be in securing critical infrastructure facilities.” Alcorn will be speaking on January 18, 2016, at 4:50 PM, in the Dubai World Trade Centre. On its stand SA-M32 in the centre’s Arena Hall, ONVIF also will be conducting surveys with attendees regarding ONVIF in the marketplace and gathering feedback for the development of future profiles. Founded in 2008, ONVIF now consists of more than 500 member companies in six continents and more than 5,000 Profile conformant products. With Profile S for streaming video; Profile G for recording and storage; Profile C for physical access control and the Release Candidates Profile A, for access control configuration, and Profile Q, for easy installation and advanced security features, ONVIF continues to work with its members to expand the number of IP interoperability solutions ONVIF conformant products can provide.
On behalf of ONVIF Steering Committee, Per Björkdahl shared the goals and strategies for the upcoming year ONVIF, the leading global standardisation initiative for IP-based physical security products, hosted its annual membership meeting and elections in late October, providing an update to members on ONVIF activities and accomplishments over the past year. Attendees around the world heard presentations on such activities as the development and publication of two new profiles (release candidates) in 2015, the launch of a false conformance reporting tool on the ONVIF website and the organisation’s ongoing membership and growth in conformant products. Attendees in the annual meeting, held via webinar, were welcomed by ONVIF Steering Committee Chairman Per Björkdahl, who discussed how ONVIF had recently reached several milestones as an organisation by virtue of its 500 member companies and more than 5,000 ONVIF conformant products available in the physical security market today. ONVIF’s goals and strategies for upcoming year On behalf of the ONVIF Steering Committee, Björkdahl shared the goals and strategies for the upcoming year, asking member companies for increased involvement in ONVIF’s work and inviting members to share their ONVIF success stories. He also noted the growing acceptance by the industry at large. “ONVIF has made incredible strides since our formation in 2008,” Björkdahl said. “Together, we have developed five profiles, offered education and networking opportunities to thousands of people and have gained broad acceptance within the physical security industry. Above all, we a member-driven group, so we thank all of our members for their hard work and dedication,” said Björkdahl. "Together, we have developed five profiles, offered education and networking opportunities to thousands of people and have gained broad acceptance within the physical security industry" ONVIF’s committees The election results for ONVIF’s committees were announced as well. Mayur Salgar of Honeywell was named to the Steering Committee, along with Kim Loy of Pelco by Schneider Electric. For the Technical Committee, Honeywell’s Ramesh Subbaiah, Pelco by Schneider Electric’s Steve Wolf, Panasonic’s Hasan Ozdemir and Siemens’ Suresh Krishnamurthy were elected. Bob Dolan of Anixter was re-elected to the Technical Services Committee, joined by committee members Fen Chen of Hikvision and Andrew Downs of Pelco by Schneider Electric. ONVIF’s newly elected Communication Committee members are Mike Mao of Honeywell, Greg Alcorn of Oncam Grandeye, Jason Spielfogel of Pelco by Schneider Electric and John Ballantyne of VerifEye Technologies. Hans Busch of Bosch, ONVIF Technology Committee Chair, spoke to members about ONVIF’s newest set of network interface specifications and advised them of an upcoming specification release that will encompass video related features. Technical Services Committee Chair Andreas Schneider of Sony shared the timeline for upcoming profile releases through 2018 and spoke about the 13th Developers’ Plugfest, to be held November 11-13, 2015, in Hangzhou, China. ONVIF Communications Chair Stuart Rawling of Pelco by Schneider Electric closed the meeting with a recap of the ONVIF presence at various trade shows throughout 2015, the forum’s public relations and social media efforts and the findings of an ongoing market awareness survey about ONVIF and its various profiles. ONVIF Profile conformant products Founded in 2008, ONVIF now consists of more than 500 member companies in six continents and more than 5,000 Profile conformant products. With Profile S for streaming video; Profile G for recording and storage; Profile C for physical access control and the Release Candidates Profile A, for access control configuration, and Profile Q, for easy installation and advanced security features, ONVIF continues to work with its members to expand the number of IP interoperability solutions ONVIF conformant products can provide.