Physical security, security integration, video, access control, security market trends
Round Table Contributions
Body-worn cameras are becoming more common every day, driven both by needs of the marketplace and technology developments. However, questions remain about the usefulness of the devices, and their future role in promoting safety and security. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the challenges of body-worn cameras for the security industry?
The world of politics, like the world of security, is an environment of constant change. But do changes in one have an impact on the other? Governments around the world are involved in buying a wide variety of physical security systems, so how those governments operate certainly affects how they spend money on security. But in a broader sense, governments (and the associated political forces at work) also impact how their citizens and those in the private sector view threats and, as a logical extension, the security systems they need to address those threats. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does the political climate affect spending on security systems?
A busy trade show abounds with new products and expanded features, colorful signage and blinking video screens, all competing for attention from busy attendees. It’s a microcosm of how the security marketplace – or any market, for that matter – sells its products. But what happens if the reality turns out different to the sales pitch? What happens when product or system performance doesn’t quite live up to the claims? Some would call that hype, and it can lead to disillusioned and frustrated customers. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the negative impact of hype in the security marketplace?
Consolidation is a reality in the security and video surveillance market. In the last several years, we have seen a variety of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) involving scores of companies of all sizes. But what is the impact of M&A activity on the companies involved, on their customers, and on the industry as a whole? We posed this question to our Expert Panel Roundtable: Do mergers and acquisitions have a net positive or net negative impact on the security market (and why)?
IP network dependability matters in physical security and safety applications, given that a company’s assets and people are at risk. There have been strides in the areas of network dependability, fault-tolerance, reliability, and survivability. However, networks (or affordable ones, at any rate) still cannot ensure near-100 percent uptime, which is why system designers acknowledge and plan for the possibility of a network outage. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can/should an IP networked system adapt when network connectivity is lost?
Sometimes customers expect more out of a security system. A brand new security system just doesn’t perform as the customer expected it would. In fact, one might argue that the many variables in today’s complex systems make it more likely than ever that some element of a system might not measure up to a customer’s expectations. What happens then? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What happens if a customer’s expectations of system performance are greater than what a physical security system can deliver?
How mobile telephones have transformed into “smartphones” is one of the great technology stories of our time. What once was a single-function device now can do almost anything – display video, pay for groceries, monitor our health. The smartphones we carry in our pockets today have more computing power than the “super computers” of yesteryear, and that power has found many uses in a seemingly endless array of “apps.” Some of them are directly related to our physical security systems. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What security applications are best suited to smartphone apps?
One of the benefits of newer IP systems is the ability to store video inside the camera or in a nearby digital video recorder (DVR) at the edge of the network. Edge-based storage is unlikely to take the place of centralised storage, but it is complementary and provides some interesting new options related to system design. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What is the value of edge-based storage and in what specific applications?
Healthcare organisations are an important vertical market for many security manufacturers and integrators. Like other vertical markets, healthcare has its own unique set of requirements and challenges for physical security systems. We asked this week’s Expert Panel: What are the distinctive security problems faced by healthcare organisations? What technologies are being embraced to increase security?
Software changes constantly. There’s always a new patch or fix, and our computers persistently remind us that an update is available. As a core component of today’s IP networked video systems, video management software (VMS) is also subject to the need to be constantly updated and refined. We asked our Expert Panel Roundtable to elaborate: Why is it important that networked video customers keep up to date with the latest version of video management software (VMS)?
College campuses often operate like small communities – or even like large communities depending on enrolment. Although each college and university campus is unique, there are commonalities such as a young and vulnerable population of students, many living away from their parents for the first time. Campuses can be urban or rural, geographically dispersed or densely populated, with a variety of demographics and “wild card” elements such as partying, drugs and alcohol. Campus police and security officers face a variety of challenging environments. Is it wise to add firearms to the mix? Is it necessary for campus police to be armed? Specifically, we asked this week’s Expert Panel: In what situations should college or university campus police be armed?
More and more physical security systems are being hosted in the cloud. But are cloud-based security systems “safe?” It’s a question being posed by risk-averse security professionals all over the world, and one for which a clear, concise answer may be difficult to find. We decided to pose it to our Expert Panel.
We asked this week’s Expert Panel: What are the limitations on where video cameras can be placed because of privacy? With hundreds of new cameras installed every day, the likelihood increases exponentially that a camera will be placed in a location where it violates privacy. In fact, threats to privacy are often among the largest objections when video surveillance is proposed, whether in a public area or in the workplace. Allaying fears about undermining privacy is a basic requirement to make such systems acceptable to the public. It’s a touchy subject, but one our Expert Panel is willing to address.
Rapid technology innovation in the physical security market comes with it a commensurate need to dispose of older systems as they are replaced. Some technologies can help minimise the waste, providing, for example, the ability to use existing coaxial cable with newer IP video systems. However, absent the ability to reuse equipment, how should integrators manage disposal of systems at end-of-life? Here are some responses from our Expert Panel.
Megapixel and panoramic camera manufacturers have been predicting the demise of pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ cameras) for several years now. They contend that PTZs can be replaced by the higher resolutions of newer cameras, coupled with their ability to “zoom” in digitally on a specific area of an image and show sufficient detail. New panoramic cameras also capture everything in a wider field of view, while a PTZ camera runs a risk of missing important action because it is pointed in the wrong direction. We ask our Expert Panel to weigh in on the future of PTZ cameras.
Articles by Larry Anderson
Milestone Systems is embracing artificial intelligence and deep learning in a big way at this week's yearly Milestone Community Days (MIPS 2018) in Las Vegas. The Danish company's theme is "Creating an Intelligent World," and Milestone's stated goal is to make "the Milestone community part of every surveillance installation in the world." Science fiction becomes reality In a presentation on opening day, Milestone CSMO Kenneth Hune Petersen pointed to the 2002 movie The Minority Report as highlighting a variety of gadgets and systems that seemed futuristic at the time but are now perfectly possible, and in some cases outdated. Films have previously highlighted gadgets and systems that were futuristic, but are now perfectly possible, or outdated "If we dare to dream together we can make this a better world," says Petersen. "Through AI and machine learning, we can help define tomorrow. There's no doubt about it: There is a massive business opportunity for us in artificial intelligence." Despite all the talk about artificial intelligence, only about 0.5 percent of all the data in the world has currently been analysed or used, says Peterson. "Our open platform technology is the foundation for intelligent video systems and our partners have the expertise and infrastructure needed to reach the next frontier in intelligent video solutions," said Bjørn Skou Eilertsen, Milestone Systems CTO. "Together, we can provide unlimited solutions for our customers." Deeper integration and broader coverage Expanding the Milestone community this year has included the addition of 1,000 new models of supported hardware devices; there are currently more than 7,000 models supported. Milestone is also pursuing broader coverage of installations through their partners, with deeper integration of functionality, and by deepening existing relationships with customers. ‘Creating an intelligent world’ includes deep learning and lots of video systems, says Milestone at their annual conference Under new agreements, hardware partners such as Dell EMC and BCDVideo now provide XProtect Essential+ software pre-loaded on servers they sell. The focus at MIPS 2018 on AI included a presentation by Tanmay Bakshi, the "world's youngest IBM coder" and TED Talk speaker, at 14 years old. The prodigy, who has been coding since the age of 4, has worked with IBM and other companies on a variety of AI-related projects. Using deep learning with video is currently limited because so much video is unlabelled and unstructured In his MIPS 2018 keynote speech, Bakshi traced the development of AI through high-profile events, such as IBM's development of the "Watson" computer, which successfully competed on Jeopardy!, and Google's development of AlphaGo, a program that successfully plays the complex ancient board game, Go. Data demands deep-learning Bakshi focused on security and healthcare as two disciplines where deep learning can potentially have a big impact. Using deep learning with video is currently limited because so much video is unlabeled and unstructured. Still, projections are that there will be a billion cameras worldwide by 2020, providing an over-abundance of data that demands the use of deep learning to make sense of it all. "There is a misconception that AI is meant to replace us, to make humans obsolete. AI is not replacing us. It is created by humans to amplify human skills. AI can reduce information overload to enable humans to work with the data more efficiently," said Bakshi. He suggested that AI is equivalent to IA; Bakshi's abbreviation meaning "intelligence augmented." AI can reduce information overload to enable humans to work with the data more efficiently The ability to scale AI applications using "distributed deep learning" and graphics processing unit (GPU) hardware is paving the way for greater use of deep learning in video applications. Adam Scraba, Global Business Development Lead at NVIDIA, outlined the trends that are making the current "Big Bang" of deep learning possible. He said it is "the most exciting time in tech history," with "software that can write its own software" now among the tools that make previously unsolvable problems now solvable. AI-driven intelligent video analytics can now achieve "super-human" results, he said. An intelligent world to combat crime Instead of sitting for hours staking out a suspected drug dealer alone, entire investigations now take hours instead of days A success story about the game-changing capabilities of video data was supplied by Hartford, Conn.'s Capital City Crime Center (C4). The Hartford police department uses video data in a "predictive policing" approach. They have created an "intelligent world with smart policing to combat drug trafficking," according to C4 Supervisor Johnmichael O'Hare of the Hartford Police Department. Instead of sitting for hours staking out a suspected drug dealer, for example, video of a site can be analysed to determine areas with higher levels of foot traffic that indicate drug buys. The result is investigations that take hours instead of days. Hartford incorporates several technologies, including ShotSpotter gunshot detection, Briefcam video synopsis and other systems, all tied together using the Milestone platform. More than 700 attendees make MIPS 2018 the largest such event ever, and exhibits by around 60 Milestone partner companies attest to the continuing expansion of the Milestone community. [Main image: Tanmay Bakshi (left) and Johnmichael O’Hare of the Hartford Police Department (right) discuss key security issues of the modern day]
Leadership roles are changing inside enterprise companies, where higher profiles of roles like CIO and CISO are blurring the lines separating legacy security departments from the larger enterprise. The role of security – protecting the company – now overlaps with broader concerns such as business optimisation. The changes are impacting how technology is used; what was once considered a “security system” can now impact the company in larger ways. It’s not just protecting the business but making it better. Expanding the role of security systems also makes it easier to justify their costs. Leveraging technology changes Arcules is a new company looking to capitalise on changing business trends by leveraging technology changes to increase the value of a customer’s data. Arcules aggregates video and Internet of Things (IoT) data in the cloud and uses artificial intelligence to identify business insights within a rich – and previously untapped – data archive. Arcules aggregates video and Internet of Things (IoT) data in the cloud A Canon Group company, Arcules is in the process of launching its headquarters in Irvine, California, hiring needed cloud talent and relocating some of the incubation team. Arcules is an outgrowth of Canon-subsidiary Milestone Systems and its Arcus cloud video initiative, a product of the Danish company’s Incubation and Ventures department. An earlier success story from Incubation and Ventures is Milestone’s popular Husky line of network video recorders. Combining cloud video and IoT data “There is a convergence of enterprise IT, analytics and security functions,” says Andreas Pettersson, CTO of Arcules. “Customers have a more opportunistic mindset and realise that everything is connected. They can marry data from traditional security systems, including video, with other data within the company.” The other data comes from IoT devices and is integrated with video data in the cloud; Arcules can combine cloud video and IoT data to yield new information and insights to drive revenue, reduce costs and improve customer experience. Cloud systems can solve more problems than ever using artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the capabilities expand way beyond video analytics to include analytics in general, crunching a variety of data provided by IoT sensors. “Marrying together video and IoT data provides more actionable information,” says Pettersson. “Devices have to be Internet-connected to enable data to be analysed and visualised on a broader basis.” The approach is valuable in a range of vertical markets. The cloud approach aggregates data from cameras and other IoT sensors and applies the latest artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning tools that are more easily (and cost-effectively) available in the cloud. Cloud systems can solve more problems than ever using artificial intelligence and machine learning End-to-end solutions Arcules provides an end-to-end solution for video and IoT data, and is focused on cybersecurity, compliance with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and other privacy concerns. “In the CIO’s office, security is everything,” says Pettersson. Arcus (meaning “a low-horizontal cloud formation”) was the name Milestone gave to its video-as-a-service (i.e., cloud) system. However, “the business problem we wish to solve and the technology we are building have evolved beyond what the Arcus name originally represented,” explains Kelly Kucera, Arcules Global Marketing and Commercial Strategy Director. “When we take video and IoT and machine learning and analytics, the system goes beyond video surveillance and provides data for business optimisation – hence, the new name Arcules, denoting strength and action. We have to do more and make it actionable. Not just safer, but smarter.”
There’s a new big player – and familiar household name – coming into the security marketplace with the announcement of Motorola’s intent to acquire Canadian video manufacturer Avigilon Corporation, provider of video surveillance and analytics. Motorola Solutions points to an “avalanche of video in public and private sectors” as a motivation for the acquisition. Motorola Solutions’ dominance in the public safety market – where the Chicago company supplies police technologies, radios and other products – will provide new opportunities for Avigilon in a realm where it previously has not been dominant. Avigilon has millions of cameras deployed across airports, rail, streets, and public and private buildings. Meanwhile, Avigilon will “bring [its] advanced video surveillance and analytics platform to [Motorola’s] rapidly evolving public safety workflow,” according to Motorola, and enhance the larger company’s portfolio of “mission-critical communications technologies.” Avigilon’s end-to-end security and video surveillance platform includes cameras, analytics, video management and video storage. Avigilon has millions of cameras deployed across airports, rail, streets, and public and private buildings The broader solution Early clues point to Motorola positioning Avigilon as part of a broader solution, especially in the municipal/safe cities market. The company says the acquisition will enable more safe cities projects and more public-private partnerships between local communities and law enforcement. Motorola sees Avigilon as “a natural extension to global public safety and U.S. federal and military” applications, according to the company. The all-cash deal pays CAD$27.00 per share of Avigilon, and totals approximately $1 billion including Avigilon’s net debt. Not a bad price considering Avigilon’s stock price has traded as low as $13 a share in the last year. Avigilon has 1,200 employees with locations in Vancouver and Richmond, British Columbia, and Dallas and Plano, Texas. Revenue was $354 million in 2016. The transaction is expected to be completed in Q2 of 2018. Deploying pre-engineered solutions As an innovator in the security market, Avigilon has spearheaded an end-to-end solutions approach. Their success has even prompted some component manufacturers to expand their proposition into a broader “solutions” sale. Led largely by Avigilon, the industry pendulum has swung toward the simplicity of deploying pre-engineered end-to-end solutions. Open systems integrated using best-in-breed components from several manufacturers still have their devotees, and are needed in some situations, but Avigilon has made a strong case for the end-to-end alternative. Others have followed. The all-cash deal pays CAD$27.00 per share of Avigilon, and totals approximately $1 billion including Avigilon’s net debt Avigilon has also lately been a leader in implementing artificial intelligence and deep learning, including Appearance Search technology that can locate a vehicle or person from video across a site. Avigilon’s video surveillance platform seeks to transform video from reactive – looking back at what has taken place – to proactive, issuing alerts in real time. Avigilon also recently introduced Avigilon Blue cloud service platform to enable video system users to manage more sites with fewer resources. Investing and building Motorola is not a completely new name to the security market. Old-timers will remember Motorola Indala, a previous presence in the RFID access control market that was sold to HID Corp. in 2001. More recently, Motorola Solutions has invested in Vidsys, a provider of converged security and information management (CSIM) software and has implemented Vidsys CSIM through its Protect Series unified platform that aggregates and analyses information from multiple inputs for military and federal government properties. Motorola is also known as the inventor of the Six Sigma quality improvement process - and commitment to quality plays well among security integrators and end users. Motorola would presumably continue Avigilon’s licensing program, but rules-based video analytics patents’ importance may fade Avigilon owns 750 U.S. and international patents, including some covering basic underlying principles of video analytics, for which several video companies currently pay licence fees. Motorola would presumably continue the licensing program, although the importance of rules-based video analytics patents may fade as new deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to video analytics emerge. Channel conflict A possible concern surrounding the acquisition is the issue of channel conflict. When it comes to larger end user customers, Motorola has embraced a direct-to-user approach that could be problematic in the eyes of Avigilon’s 2,000 resellers. Among the benefits Motorola says they bring to the table is the ability to “leverage [their] direct enterprise safes force for large deals.” They also say they “complement Avigilon’s channel with [Motorola’s] channel network.” The security industry has a spotty history of larger companies entering the market to buy existing businesses. Some have been a good fit, while others have not. The entrepreneurial spirit of more than one successful security company has suffered under larger corporate ownership, sometimes withering as new corporate overlords cut costs and stifle R&D. The more successful recent large acquisitions in our market – notably Canon’s acquisition of Milestone Systems and Axis Communications – have worked well because the acquired companies have retained some degree of independence and preserved the existing corporate culture. In the case of Motorola and Avigilon, obviously, time will tell.
The cloud and deep learning are two technologies on the verge of transforming the video surveillance market. You often hear the two technologies mentioned as separate trends, but lately, I have been hearing about how interdependent they are. Economies of scale provided by the Cloud (Software as a Service, or SaaS) are making the sophisticated capabilities of deep learning affordable to a wider audience. Meanwhile, deep learning augments cloud systems with capabilities that may not be available, or affordable, in on-premise systems, thus accelerating the broader move to cloud systems. A new era of autonomous video One company that is combining the cloud and deep learning in an end-to-end system is Umbo Computer Vision, an “autonomous video security technology” company built on its founders’ expertise in deep learning and machine vision. The company’s cameras are equipped with basic video analytics, and they are tied into a cloud infrastructure that provides additional deep learning algorithms. The cameras provide computer vision pre-processing, with the bulk of detailed analysis happening in a neural network in the cloud.One customer benefits from another customer and all the knowledge is aggregated together" “Having a SaaS model gives companies like ours the resources to improve the deep learning model,” says Shawn Guan, CEO and co-founder of Umbo Computer Vision. “We can make more accurate systems that scale better and faster. SaaS enables vendors to do something great with deep learning. You don’t have to redo it for everybody. One customer benefits from another customer and all the knowledge is aggregated together.” Adapting to a changing landscape Umbo’s deep learning analytics provide higher accuracy, says Guan. For example, the system can provide accurate alerts on people climbing a wall, and it can accommodate for elements such as shadows and adverse weather conditions. The cameras can also provide occupancy information from a video view of a room; unlike people-counting applications, the camera does not need to be mounted above the door. The algorithms can detect loitering and can track a subject even if he or she disappears briefly from view (such as walking behind a building). Umbo developed the algorithms from scratch using the company’s deep roots in technology. Guan says the company was “built on data and using data.” The company’s cameras are equipped with basic video analytics, and they are tied into a cloud infrastructure that provides additional deep learning algorithms The cloud serves as a media gateway “Cybersecurity is ensured,” says Guan. The cloud provides built-in authentication with the camera; user names and passwords are handled in the cloud, so there is no manual reset of the password at the device level. The cloud serves as a media gateway, and two-way communication between the camera and the cloud addresses how much data is streamed. Data in the camera has 256-bit encryption, and there is a secure “tunnel” through which data moves in the Internet. In the cloud, the host provider, such as Google, Microsoft or Amazon, protects the data to their own high standards. Each camera has industrial grade SD providing 30 days’ storage of full frame rate, 30fps video at 1080p, with backup in the cloud. In effect, the camera operates in-lieu of a network video recorder.The end-to-end system is designed to handle an essentially-unlimited number of cameras and can also be integrated with other products Handling unlimited cameras Customers interface with the system through the cloud’s software user experience. The end-to-end system is designed to handle an essentially-unlimited number of cameras and can also be integrated with other products. Umbo targets the enterprise market and has around two-hundred enterprise customers in the United States - their biggest market - as well as offices in London and Taipei, and customers around the world. The cost structure involves an annual payment per camera, between $280 and $600 depending on features/capabilities. Umbo is introducing a new bullet camera with a zoom lens for exterior applications, incorporating a higher-end Sony sensor for good low-light performance and wide dynamic range (WDR). The camera’s modular design enables the addition of features such as longer-range infrared – increased from 100 to 160 feet – white-light LED to provide a colour image, and greater deterrence, at night, and a long-range microphone for audio. The company also offers a fixed-lens dome camera for indoor applications.
Security is more-than-ever linked to consumer electronics, especially in the residential/smart home market. CES 2018 in Las Vegas is therefore brimming with news that will have a direct impact on the security market, today and especially looking into the future. Products for the future of security CES is a giant trade show for consumer electronics with 2.75 million net square feet of exhibitor space and featuring more than 3,900 exhibitors, including 900 startups - in contrast, ISC West has some 1,000 exhibitors. During the week-long show welcoming 170,000-plus attendees from 150 countries, more than 20,000 new products are being launched. The products incorporate ingredient technologies such as artificial intelligence and 5G that will also be familiar elements as the future of the security industry unfolds. Familiar players at security shows also have a presence at CES, and many consumer technologies on display offer a glimpse of what’s ahead for security The areas of consumer electronics and security are closely intertwined. For example, Apple recently expanded near-field communication (NFC) support to include the NDEF (NFC Data Exchange Format), which will likely accelerate the adoption of smartphones for access control credentialing. In another recent development, Amazon acquired Blink, a home security camera startup that offers wireless home security systems. The acquisition aligns with Amazon’s effort to offer more home devices. Key security technologies at CES 2018 Familiar players at security shows also have a presence at CES. For example, Bosch is highlighting its “Simply. Connected” portfolio of smart city technology to transform security as well as urban mobility, air quality and energy efficiency. Many consumer technologies on display offer a glimpse of what’s ahead for security. Are Panasonic’s 4K OLEDs with HDR10+ format or Sony’s A8F OLED televisions a preview of the future of security control room monitors? At CES, Johnson Controls is announcing support for Apple HomeKit now offered in their DSC iotega wireless security and automation solution. Consumers can manage both their security system and also other home automation abilities using Apple’s Home app, or Siri on their iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. Interlogix is announcing new features and components of its UltraSync SmartHome system, including hands-free voice control, high-definition cameras, an LTE cellular module and soon-to-be-released doorbell camera. The areas of consumer electronics and security are closely intertwined Developments in crime awareness ADT has a high profile at CES, including the launch of its ADT Go mobile app, equipped with 24/7 emergency response from ADT’s live monitoring agents and backed by Life360’s location technology, providing emergency response, family connectivity, safety assistance and crime awareness. ADT is also unveiling a video doorbell and expanding its monitoring to cybersecurity. IC Realtime is introducing Ella, a cloud-based deep-learning search engine that augments surveillance systems with natural language search capabilities across recorded video footage. Ella enables any surveillance or security cameras to recognise objects, colours, people, vehicles and animals. Ella was designed using the technology backbone of Camio, a startup founded by ex-Googlers who designed a simpler way to apply searching to streaming video feeds. It’s a “Google for video:” Users can type in queries such as “white truck” to find every relevant video clip. Smarter homes and smarter computers Do-it-yourself smart home security company Abode Systems announces iota, an all-in-one system giving customers more freedom and flexibility to build out and monitor their smart home. The new form factor has a built-in full-HD resolution camera enabling customers to see and hear what’s going on in their home 24/7 while a built-in gateway supports hundreds of devices to make homes more convenient, safer and more secure. There is also support for Apple HomeKit. Highly programmable and high-performance platforms will no doubt play a role in the future of video surveillance systems in our market The Z-Wave Alliance will host 30-plus leading smart home brands in the Z-Wave pavilion at CES. A full walk-through home will demonstrate different brands working together to create one cohesive smart home experience. Sigma Designs unveils its 700-Series Z-Wave platform, including numerous performance and technology enhancements in energy-efficiency and RF performance. Personal protection in attendance Self-defence product company SABRE will debut a combination pepper spray with dual sound-effect personal alarm that “alternates between the traditional wailing sound and a primal scream, while a strobe blinks 19 times per second to disorient assailants.” SABRE’s Modern Fake Security Camera includes “sleek, realistic design to deter would-be thieves.” Chip maker Ambarella is introducing the CV1 4K Stereovision Processor with CFflow Computer Vision Architecture. The chip combines environmental perception with advances in deep neural network processing for a variety of applications, including video security cameras and fully autonomous drones. At CES, applications will focus on automotive uses, including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), self-driving, electronic mirror and surround view systems. The highly programmable and high-performance platform will no doubt play a role in the future of video surveillance systems in our market. A full walk-through home will demonstrate different brands working together to create one cohesive smart home experience Extending home security and efficiency The Ring whole-house security ecosystem creates a “Ring of Security” around homes and neighbourhoods. Products include “Stick Up” indoor/outdoor security cameras, integrated LED lighting, a “Ring Alarm” integrated bundle for $199 including a base station, keypad, contact sensor, and Z-Wave extender. “Ring Protect Plans” include 24/7 professional monitoring. The “Streety” phone app, from Vivint Smart Home, extends home security into the neighbourhood. Streety makes it easy for neighbours to monitor neighbourhood activity through a network of shared residential cameras. They can keep an eye on kids, cars and property through live video feeds and use recorded video clips to investigate incidents. A new device making its debut at CES is the Walker “commercialised biped robot,” from UBTECH Robotics, which provides a complete home butler service and is designed to ease the day-to-day operations of a busy home or office. The varied of functions includes video surveillance monitoring, security patrol monitoring, motion detection and “instant alarm,” as well as dancing and playing games with children. The company says Walker will “bridge the gap between technologies that were once only available in scientific research institutions and everyday people.”
Rapid changes in the physical security market this year have largely overshadowed one arena where change has slowed down in 2017 – mergers and acquisitions (M&A). Although there were no “mega-mergers” as in years past (such as Axis-Canon and Johnson Controls-Tyco, M&A activity still made headlines last year on SourceSecurity.com. In 2017, we wrote about M&A news involving companies such as HID Global, Eagle Eye Networks, ADT, and Honeywell. Here’s a look at the Top 10 M&A stories in 2016, as reported by SourceSecurity.com: 1. HID Global acquires Mercury Security HID Global, a subsidiary of ASSA ABLOY specialising in trusted identity solutions, agreed in 2017 to acquire Mercury Security, an OEM supplier of controllers for physical access control. Mercury Security has over three million controllers installed at tens of thousands of sites worldwide, including at more than 90 of the Fortune 100 companies. Mercury’s intelligent controllers, interface boards and software complement HID Global’s readers, smart cards and mobile IDs for opening doors. 2. ASSA ABLOY acquires August Home Smart Locks ASSA ABLOY signed an agreement to acquire August Home, a leading smart lock business in the United States, reinforcing the company’s position in the residential smart door market. The acquisition includes expansion into complementary smart locks, video doorbells and comprehensive solutions for home delivery. August was founded in 2013. It is headquartered in San Francisco, California. 3. Eagle Eye Networks buys Panasonic CameraManager One of the largest companies in the cloud video sector, Eagle Eye Networks, aggressively expanded its offerings to the fast-growing market, and its geographic reach, with acquisition this year of Panasonic’s cloud-based video business, including the CameraManager and NuboCam brands. The acquisition expands Eagle Eye Networks’ coverage in the European region, where the CameraManager system is popular, and will include two additional data centres, to be added to EagleEye Network’s existing global network of seven data centres. The acquisition also includes existing CameraManager coverage in Latin America and Asia. 4. dormakaba acquires Stanley Black & Decker’s Mechanical Security Stanley Black & Decker agreed to sell the majority of its Mechanical Security businesses to dormakaba for $725 million in cash. The sale included the commercial hardware brands of BEST Access, phi Precision and GMT. The remaining part of the Mechanical Security businesses, Sargent and Greenleaf, was not included in the sale. 5. ADT Acquisitions include cybersecurity firm ADT, provider of security and automation solutions for homes and businesses in North America, announced the acquisition of DATASHIELD, one of the country’s fastest growing cybersecurity companies. Now operating under the brand ADT Cybersecurity, this service is positioned to provide Enterprise and Mid-Market businesses with Managed Detection and Response (MDR) services to combat advanced cyber threats in real time. The acquisition in November closed out a busy year for ADT on the M&A front, including acquisition of commercial security systems integrators Protec in the Pacific Northwest, Gaston Security in Emporia, Va., and MSE Corporate Security in Branchburg, N.J. 6. Honeywell acquires Nextnine Another big player making a move in the cybersecurity sector was Honeywell, which completed acquisition of Nextnine Ltd., a privately held provider of industrial cyber security solutions. The business is being integrated into Honeywell’s Industrial Cyber Security group and will strengthen Honeywell’s capability to offer multi-vendor, multi-site secure remote access, monitoring and support to protect industrial control systems and critical infrastructure against a growing threat of cyber-attacks. 7. HID Global buys Arjo Systems In addition to buying Mercury Security, HID Global also expanded its business in physical and digital identity solutions for secure government ID applications in 2017 with the acquisition of Arjo Systems. The move gives HID Global broader capabilities to deploy electronic identification (eID) and ePassport solutions for government programs. The acquisition also brings together complementary strategies, customer bases and offerings that have strong synergies to support continued innovation for government-to-citizen ID customers. 8. Allied Universal acquires ALERT Protective Services Allied Universal further expanded its footprint in North America with the acquisition of ALERT Protective Services, a residential community security firm based in Sarasota, Florida. Like Allied Universal, ALERT Protective Services offers integrated security systems and uniformed security professionals to work in tandem with a complete security program at community gatehouses, concierge desks, or security command centres. 9. Veracity buys iComply software company Veracity, a provider of transmission, storage, and display solutions for IP video, announced in 2017 the acquisition of iComply, a software provider of integrated command and control security solutions. The agreement includes all operational staff, software, intellectual property, ongoing business, and also iComply’s sales and support subsidiary in India. Veracity will maintain iComply as a separate business and expand its operations. Veracity planned to sell software based on icomply’s technology under the Veracity brand in the U.S. market, but will keep the separate brands in the United Kingdom, where icomply is better known. 10. Robotic Assistance Devices acquired by On the Move Systems Robots came on the security scene in a high-profile way in 2017. On the M&A front, Robotic Assistance Devices (RAD), north American master distributor for SMP featuring exclusive power and other special technology, and a North American distributor for SMP Robotics, announced its acquisition by On the Move Systems (OMVS). The merger with OMVS allows RAD access to capital to scale its product portfolio and further increase its market position as a leader in the robotic guard market.
A downside of our thriving economic times is a shortage of skilled personnel to work in the physical security marketplace. Strong economic growth translates into a low unemployment rate, and greater competition among employers to attract the best talent. The field of cybersecurity, in particular, is seeing a serious talent shortage, but any physical security company can also attest to our own challenges finding and keeping the best talent; not to mention the obvious - that cybersecurity is now a fundamental element in physical security. Fewer young people entering mechanical fields Many security system integration firms are small businesses, which in general are struggling to find and retain qualified employees. According to a survey by U.S. Bank, some 61 percent of small business owners say they are experiencing extreme or moderate difficulty finding good employees to expand their business. The problem is especially severe in rural areas, although even urban areas are feeling the pain. One factor impacting the problem is that fewer young people entering the workforce are going into mechanical fields such as security. Seeking to attract those that do, security employers are competing with large companies such as automotive manufacturers for the available talent. In addition, in our era of video gaming, more young people are electing to go into software-based fields. As one security integrator commented recently, many young people entering the labour market are hoping they can get rich by inventing the next big app. Driving a truck to install and maintain security systems doesn’t seem as exciting. Employee retention struggle Attracting employees is just the start of the problem. Employee retention is an even bigger struggle in a competitive job market, where an up-and-coming star employee might be lured away by a modest pay increase. A successful staffing approach must therefore attract the best talent, train them effectively, and keep them engaged and motivated. Younger employees – so-called Millennials – offer particular challenges to employers, even beyond their purported tendency to feel entitled and to be glued to an iPhone. For one thing, millennials may be more likely to change jobs. The days of an employee staying with one company for a decade or longer are gone; resumes with two-year stints at a variety of employers are now the norm. How to adapt to Millennials Millennials also tend to value greater engagement, meaning and purpose in their jobs. They want to learn and develop, and they want their jobs to fit their lifestyles. Millennials need more “care and feeding” than the baby boomer generation, who were historically willing to work hard, keep their head down, and stick with a job through thick and thin. To retain employees, security industry companies will need to adapt. Millennials need to be encouraged, given clear goals and plenty of feedback, and to work in a more “collaborative” environment Millennials need to be encouraged, given clear goals and plenty of feedback, and to work in a more “collaborative” environment. Collaboration in the field of security might include working alongside more experienced – i.e., “old school” – technicians. Ensuring a climate in which disparate employees can work together productively is critical to success, and to employee retention. Managers must adapt to the needs of each group, whether it’s communicating by text message or face-to-face. Older employees bring more experience to the table; they have “seen it all,” and are well equipped to respond to a variety of challenges. Millennials or younger employees may be more IT-savvy (having grown up with computers). Bringing these groups together to create a “team,” leveraging the best of what each team member brings to the table, is key. Why work in the security industry? There is good news: The security industry is a great place to work for anyone looking for a career with purpose. The role security people and technologies play to make the world a safer place adds a compelling underlying purpose to everything we do. Employers should work to get employees – new and older – to embrace that concept. What we do is important. Even in a competitive labour environment, our field offers rich rewards, endless challenges and a keen sense of purpose. Communicating these elements to prospective employees will help us attract the best talent, and retain it as a critical element in the work we do. Technology often seems to be the primary focus of the physical security industry, but people matter too. Addressing personnel challenges is just as much a part of our industry’s success as technology - maybe even more so - and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Information can be a scarce commodity in the midst of terrorism or a mass shooting incident. Information can also save lives during the first critical moments of such events. The general public can now download a free smartphone app that provides instantaneous real-time information as a terrorism or mass shooting event is unfolding. TerrorMate crawler software Called TerrorMate, the app began development in 2013, in the wake of several terrorist attacks in France. People in the affected areas were relying on media sources, which sometimes do not provide information on a real-time basis as an event unfolds. To provide information faster, TerrorMate’s proprietary “crawler software” uses more than 200 key words to monitor Internet, social media and “dark web” sources. They also monitor Telegram channels, which are private encrypted messages that terrorists use to communicate. TerrorMate has access to four channels used by the Islamic State. Know your enemy Any leads are then confirmed using 1,100 human sources “on the ground” around the world, including contracted security consultants and law enforcement. TerrorMate employs 15 analysts and 10 software developers who work in a global control room in Belgium 24/7 to monitor any situations. Unlike media professionals, who are monitoring a range of news stories in a variety of fields, TerrorMate operators are focused solely on terrorism and mass shooting events. TerrorMate’s proprietary “crawler software” usesmore than 200 key wordsto monitor Internet, social media and dark web sources “We keep up with what the threat is doing,” says Barry Oberholzer, founder of TerrorTech, the developer of TerrorMate. “You need to know your enemy. We keep analysing and researching so we know the enemy. Mass shootings are hard to predict, and terrorists keep changing their methods, from suicide bombings to vehicle attacks. The game keeps changing, and we see that and keep up to speed on what they’re doing.” Intelligence communication TerrorMate also keeps up to date by communicating with authorities around the world, ranging from an intelligence agency in Spain to the customs and immigration services in Great Britain, from Belgium’s state security services to France’s national police. In addition, TerrorMate is an authorised alert distributor of the Integrated Alert and Warning (IPAW) system operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mission goals TerrorMate has a two-pronged mission. One goal is to provide actionable intelligence to law enforcement to help prevent an imminent attack. If TerrorMate personnel identify a possible threat, whether on social media or the dark web, they confirm the information and then communicate it to local law enforcement. The second goal is to provide real-time information to the general public about terrorism and mass shooting events. The app can be downloaded from the iTunes app store or Google Play. TerrorMate employs 15 analysts and 10 software developers who work in a global control room 24/7 to monitor any situations In addition to providing timely reports, the TerrorMate app includes a “safety guide” during an attack, advising phone numbers that users can call or people they can contact for additional information; listing which areas they should avoid; which public transport systems are functioning, etc. The goal is to get people to safety as soon as possible. During an attack in Barcelona on August 17 this year, the app provided a discount code to enable users to get a free taxi ride home from the affected areas. Tailored location alerts Because the app uses the smartphone geolocation feature, TerrorMate can send tailored alerts based on where a user is located. Users can also choose whether they want only local (in-country) or international alerts. Users may upload media, including photos and video, to the app; all information is verified by the TerrorMate control room and then shared with authorities. Because the app uses the smartphone geolocation feature, TerrorMate cansend tailored alerts basedon where a user is located The app also allows users to share their location with a list of contacts, in effect enabling users to see where their loved ones are during an incident, and to send and receive messages. The feature was developed after the May 2017 bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, United Kingdom, when parents needed information on whether their teenagers were safe as the tragedy unfolded. Vehicle integration TerrorMate will integrate with vehicle systems such as OnStar and Uconnect within the next six months. Companies may also subscribe to the service. A benefit is early warning of a terrorist event that might impact a company’s operation. For example, one stock broker subscribes to the service to get early warning of any incident that might negatively impact stock prices. Corporate licensing fees are one source of potential revenue for the company, which currently is self-funded and has little revenue, according to Oberholzer. Identifying what constitutes a mass shooting is not always a clear-cut process, and often the determination happens in real-time. The basic criteria TerrorMate uses is multiple casualties in a highly populated area. Analysts make the call based on real-time information as it comes into the control center about an unfolding incident. Any early information that is reported is labelled as a “possible” mass shooting until it is confirmed. TerrorMate is currently available in English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Dutch, Swedish and Portuguese.
Qognify’s security management systems compile information from a variety of sensors to provide situational awareness, and now they can leverage the benefit of a different kind of sensor, what the company calls the “human sensor.” Employees see and hear a lot of information during their work day, and some of it has an impact on security. Now that information can become part of an integrated security system, reported by trusted employees through a smart phone app. Qognify’s Extend adds new capabilities to the company’s existing Situator physical security information management (PSIM) and VisionHub video management; it’s a new element in Qognify’s interconnected product portfolio. Using smartphones to report incidents The Extend Mobile Solutions Suite enables systems to leverage the “human sensor” by equipping employees (or students in a campus environment) with an easy-to-use app on their smart phones. If a user sees or hears something, they can initiate an “incident” through the smart phone app’s “See It Send It” function. The app can also provide protection for a student or employee with a GuardMe function that enables a security operations centre to hear an employee, see their location and monitor their progress from Point A to Point B, reporting any distress situations along the way. The system also provides mass notification capabilities (using smart phones) without the installation of any software or hardware. “The best sensor is the human sensor,” says Dharmesh V. Patel, Qognify’s global business initiatives vice president. “At an airport, you may have 20,000 employees, and they each know if something is awry because they work there all day long.” A reported incident might not even be a security issue; it could be something as simple as a slippery floor. Live Video Broadcasting Qognify Extend, which is the company’s rebranding of a system “powered by CloudScann,” captures the data from human sensors and allows it to be brought into the Qognify platform. Because smart phones are equipped with high-resolution megapixel cameras, Extend also enables the addition of 20,000 video cameras (and audio), all tied into a command centre. The app can also provide protection for students or employees with the GuardMe function “It would take years and millions of dollars to [add that many cameras] any other way,” says Patel. “And the information is coming from your employees, which is a trusted source. Actionable information becomes part of the workflow.” In case of an emergency, a smart phone can be used to stream live video to a command centre, a capability called Live Video Broadcasting, even as a control room operator dispatches an officer to help. Qognify visual intelligence desktop application Information from Extend mobile apps reports to the Qognify Visual Intelligence Command Center (VICC), a cloud-based desktop application that collects and aggregates information and presents it on a map to enable control room operators to have complete situational awareness. The live, global system compiles data from open source systems anywhere in the world. If you type in New York City, for example, the interface takes you to a live map that shows where live cameras are viewing the Lincoln Tunnel. Various “levels” of information provide real-time routing and traffic, weather information, etc. In addition to information from mobile apps, the system can bring in views from any public source cameras, including tapping into cameras mounted on drones hovering over the scene of an emergency. Fast response to incidents Finding information on any incident using VICC is like conducting a Google search. The system can also find the locations of people (employees or students) based on their smart phone signals. Availability of real-time video from a trusted source in an emergency helps to shift the mission of a video system from reactive after the fact to a real-time response, says Patel. And the cameras providing the video are not mounted on the ceiling but are closer to the action (held by a person on the scene). Because smart phones provide location data, the command centre knows the location of an incident and can trigger a response. “I know where it is, I can say ‘who’s my closest responder?’” says Patel. “We can see this whole situation in the command centre – not just visualise it but dispatch a response.”
A USB drive from Heathrow Airport, found on a London street in late October, contained confidential information about accessing restricted areas at the airport and security measures used to protect the Queen. The drive also contained a timetable for anti-terrorism patrols at the airport and documentation of the ultrasound system used by Heathrow security to check perimeter fences and runways for breaches. The data was not encrypted, and the London resident who found it turned it over to a newspaper reporter. How cybersecurity impacts physical security The incident highlights a number of issues for security professionals. One is the interrelated nature of cybersecurity and physical security, and how a failure of one can directly impact the other. Another is extending cybersecurity outside the firewall, considering the inherent risks of USB drives and the need to manage “endpoint security,” such as restricting access to a system’s USB ports. An important security failure in the case of the Heathrow incident was lack of encryption of the USB drive, says Ruben Lugo, Strategic Product Marketing Manager at Kingston Technology, which provides a line of USB drives with hardware-based encryption. “If you block out all the USB ports, it can restrict productivity, and employees are not as efficient as they should be,” says Lugo. He says companies should be using more encrypted USB drives to combine the productivity advantages of allowing USB access while protecting the information on the drives. Data protection regulations Protection of data – whether inside the firewall or outside – is increasingly important in an age of greater cybersecurity regulation. The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) creates new safeguards and requirements for protecting personal data, with a compliance deadline of May 25, 2018, after which noncompliance can result in expensive fines. A disgruntled employee used a USB drive to steal banking information for 30,000 people, as published by Tom Brant in: “Report: FDIC Employees Caused Repeated Security Breaches,” PC Magazine, July 15, 2016 Regulations also include New York State's 23NYCR500 cybersecurity requirements that financial services companies protect customer information and related IT systems. The New York regulation requires each company to assess its specific risk profile and design a programme to address its risks, ensuring the safety and soundness of the institution and protecting customers. Hardware-based encryption Providing a cybersecurity tool, Kingston highlighted its hardware-based encrypted USB drives at the recent ASIS show in Dallas. A USB drive with hardware-based encryption is self-contained and doesn’t require a software element on the host computer. No software vulnerability eliminates the possibility of brute-force, sniffing and memory hash attacks. Digitally signed firmware cannot be altered, and there is a physical layer of protection, too. The drives come in epoxy-dipped/filled cases that prevent access to the physical memory. In contrast, a USB drive with software encryption uses software that runs on the host computer and is vulnerable to attacks. The use of AES 256-bit encryption in XTS mode ensures that anyone who finds a USB drive, such as the man in London, cannot access the information. The drive wipes itself clean after 10 attempts of guessing the password. “Encrypted drives are not complicated,” says Lugo. “They are a simple solution that anyone can implement.” Kingston’s encrypted USB drives are priced between $40 and $600, depending on the capacity and covering needs ranging from a small business owner to military- and government-grade products. Kingston also provides products for use inside the firewall, including business and enterprise solid state drives (SSDs), offering high density and extreme performance, and their server premier DRAM memory products providing performance and flexibility. To learn more about Kingston, please visit www.kingston.com
Cybersecurity is a growing concern for manufacturers of life safety and security products, and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) wants to help solve the problem. Specifically, UL seeks to work with manufacturers to up their game on cybersecurity and to certify compliance to a minimum level of cybersecurity “hygiene.” UL cybersecurity certification UL is a familiar brand in consumer goods and in the security and life safety markets. UL certification is sought by manufacturers in a range of product lines, from electrical goods and smoke alarms to access control and central monitoring stations. Approximately 22 billion UL marks appeared on products in 2016. In the physical security industry alone, products are certified to around 20 different standards covering access control, intrusion detection, locks, safes and vaults, software and other categories. Now UL is working to increase the prominence of their brand in cybersecurity with the UL Cybersecurity Assurance Program (CAP). The UL 2900-1 standard, the standard that offers General Requirements for Software Cybersecurity for Network-Connectable Products, was published in 2016 and in July 2017 was published as an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard. The standard was developed with cooperation from end users such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. National Laboratories, and other industry stakeholders. UL 2900-2-3 – the standard that focuses on electronic physical security/Life Safety & Security industry, was published in September 2017. Testing for cybersecurity weaknesses The UL 2900 standard encompasses three main areas related to cybersecurity – software weaknesses, known vulnerabilities and risk control such as encryption, access control, passwords, remote communications, and software patches and updates. UL conducts structured penetration, fuzz testing and other tests to establish a reasonable level of confidence that a product or system has addressed cybersecurity concerns. “Certification to the standard means that a product or system has been evaluated to a minimum level of cyber hygiene,” says Neil Lakomiak, Director of Business Development and Innovation, Building and Life Safety Technologies, for UL LLC. “It covers the ‘blocking and tackling’ that you would expect manufacturers to do. It doesn’t provide absolute assurance, but rather a level of confidence that a product has been vetted.” The certification is good for one year, and changes in products require recertification. UL has written more than 1,600 standards defining safety, security, quality and sustainability Lakomiak says applying the standard will: “create an environment where companies are starting to incorporate cybersecurity into their development processes; creating security by design. It will elevate the industry to consider cybersecurity earlier in the development process.” An overall goal of UL is to “give people peace of mind around the products and systems they use.” Underwriters Laboratories at ASIS 2017 Companies that achieve certification can promote it as a point of differentiation in the market, although not a guarantee that a product is cybersecure. UL’s independent evaluations carry weight in the market, as reflected by the ubiquity of the UL brand, and Lakomiak contends the industry can benefit from applying the same level of testing and certification to the area of cybersecurity. He sees UL’s cybersecurity initiative as complementary to other cybersecurity measures, such as “white hat” hacking. From a standards perspective, UL’s efforts seek to complement industry efforts such as SIA, ASIS International, PSA and ONVIF. Lakomiak was at the ASIS 2017 show in Dallas, where he met with existing manufacturer customers and potential future clients – including large and small companies in the industry – to discuss cybersecurity and the road to certification. He says many manufacturers are not yet ready for certification, in which case UL provides consultancy and advisory services to help them get there. “A lot of companies just need help understanding what their current processes and cybersecurity posture are,” says Lakomiak. “They want help to create a roadmap to get certification. A variety of manufacturers are on the path to certification.” Underwriters Laboratories security mission The cybersecurity element is an extension of UL’s mission to help companies demonstrate safety, confirm compliance, deliver quality and performance, and build excellence. Lakomiak says many people mistakenly perceive UL as a quasi-governmental organisation, perhaps because UL standards are sometimes incorporated into regulations. However, the organisation is a business and wants to operate like one by serving the needs of its manufacturer customers. “We want to have the service we provide be market-driven. We understand the pain points of manufacturers, integrators and others as they interface with technology. We want to devise programmes to help them be successful in the market. Our focus is to make our customers succeed by providing objective certification.” To the extent that cybersecurity is a growing pain point for the physical security industry, there is a large potential role to be played by UL and many others.
The massacre in Las Vegas is both sadly familiar and terrifyingly novel. Because of the recent series of violent attacks on innocent people gathered in public places, high body counts are no longer unheard-of, although the 59 dead after the Las Vegas tragedy sets a depressing new record. These news stories have become so grimly commonplace as to dull our collective sensitivity to their shock. However, the modus operandi of the latest attack, apparently by a “lone wolf” – carefully planned and involving a stockpile of nearly two dozen guns gathered in a hotel room – prompts new soul-searching about how public events are secured, not to mention a re-evaluation of security in the hospitality sector. Public events at risk from attack The sniper attack from a 32nd-floor room at Mandalay Bay, overlooking 22,000 people attending a country music festival, has been compared to “shooting fish in a barrel.” When the bullets rained down, there was nowhere to hide. The attack came from outside the “perimeter” of the event, so any additional screening of attendees would not have prevented it. Such attacks are not unheard of, but to what extent might it have been foreseen in this instance? It’s a new concern to add to the mounting list of possible risks at public events, such as a car in the crowd or a bomb in a backpack. Add to the list a firearm assault from above. If security is supposed to protect against that which is reasonable and foreseeable, this tragedy clearly expands the list. Preventative measures for sniper attacks Certainly, there are measures that can prevent sniper attacks, such as police officer sharpshooters positioned on nearby rooftops scanning the windows of nearby buildings for potential threats. Such measures are routinely employed for high-security events such as a Presidential visit, but not generally for a country music concert. Should organisers of public events reevaluate the level of risk, now that the dangers have been demonstrated in a dramatic and deadly fashion? Broadly speaking, nearby buildings with lines-of-sight to public areas are a new security risk to be considered. Might public events need to be located somewhere else? What about parades down city streets, or Times Square at New Year’s Eve? New York’s Police Commissioner James O’Neill may have said it best: “We do understand that no city or town in this country is completely immune.” Security in hospitality sector The implication of the Las Vegas massacre for the hospitality industry is an additional issue. Hotels and resorts such as Mandalay Bay have not generally embraced technologies like the explosives scanners or X-ray machines used at airport terminals, at least not in the United States. Most hospitality companies keep their focus on things like limiting theft, controlling unruly guests, or keeping strangers from roaming the halls. In contrast, hotels in the Middle East and Asia, where there has historically been more chance of violence, have a higher level of security. Hotels and resorts such as Mandalay Bay have not generally embraced technologies like the explosives scanners or X-ray machines used at airport terminals Even in Las Vegas, where the gaming and hospitality industries embrace video in a big way, the emphasis is not on watching guests who may be stockpiling firearms. What might the impact of greater security be on guests and, by extension, a hotel’s business? In a competitive market that emphasises the guest experience, any negativity suggested by additional security measures would likely be evaluated carefully lest it impact the bottom line. Anything perceived as invasive of a guest’s privacy would be frowned upon. Our appetite and/or tolerance for tighter security in the wake of a tragedy will inevitably dissipate over time. In short, the hospitality industry is likely to continue to be a “soft target” for years to come. New security training and technologies Might a higher level of training among hotel staff to promote awareness of suspicious behavior make a difference? It’s a low-profile, comparatively low-cost possibility many hospitality professionals will be looking at in the days to come. There are less obtrusive technologies on the market that could help. For example, Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts, has said they have installed “non-visible” metal detectors at every entrance. One manufacturer of such equipment is PatriotOne Technologies, which offers a “cognitive microwave radar technology” embedded in a wall or stand-alone unit at a controlled access point. The company made news at last week’s ASIS show by announcing integration of its system with March Networks’ video recording solution. Concerns for security trade shows The latest tragedy hits especially close to home for those in the security industry who travel to Las Vegas every year for the ISC West show. Mandalay Bay is at the other end of the strip from much of the ISC West activity, but the attack still seems to hit directly in our neighbourhood. Next year, the security market will be going to Vegas at least twice, for ISC West in the spring and again for the ASIS 2018 show in the fall. Somewhere in the midst of those events may be a solution that could help prevent such tragedies. We can all hope so. Meanwhile, our thoughts are with the victims of the Las Vegas massacre, their families and friends.
As the dust settles after ASIS 2017 in Dallas, most agree it was a good show. It was different in some respects from previous shows, but several of the changes seemed to work well. Launching the exhibition on Tuesday instead of Monday was a big hit, and who could fault the idea of happy hour drinks on the show floor? Attendance may not have broken records, but end user VIPs were among the crowd, and foot traffic held up fairly well, even on the final, shortened day. STANLEY Security virtual reality experience What the show lacked in big, new product announcements, it made up for in an abundance of industry buzzwords, such as virtual reality, Internet of Things, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence. Virtual reality (VR) is among the “enhanced” security solutions highlighted by Stanley Security at its ASIS booth. The interactive “virtual reality experience” provides training for critical response situations, such as active shooter, security assessment and suspicious behavior, and fire safety. The trainee wears VR goggles and holds two controller wands to “teleport” and to interact with elements within the environment, which can be customised to an end-user’s specific site. The system provides realistic training scenarios to improve decision-making and reduce human error – I tried it out and managed to escape a fire. Stanley is partnering with HTX Labs to provide the system, previewed at ASIS 2017 and available in three to six months. Another theme at the Stanley Security booth was an emphasis on internet of things (IoT) management and monitoring, specifically a system that monitors a system’s health and event status at a very deep level. Continuous automated oversight of a customer’s system reduces downtime, enhances safety, lowers costs, and delivers automated proof of compliance to standards. The system analyses and monitors performance on a constant basis and is customisable. Stanley partners with Viakoo to provide the cloud-based system. Cybersecurity challenge Cybersecurity was emphasised at many ASIS booths, reflecting growing concerns in the industry and a realisation that cybersecurity is a shared challenge among manufacturers, integrators and end users. An example was the CyberVigilant system from IndigoVision, which monitors an IP video network and picks up anomalies that point to cybersecurity risks. The patented system combines IndigoVision’s IP expertise with specific knowledge of a site’s cameras, NVRs and workstations. It can detect anomalies such as unauthorised configuration access attempts, network reconnaissance/scans, device access from unauthorised clients, shell access, use of unauthorized DNS, NTP and SMTP servers; and denial of service (DoS) attacks. The interactive “virtual reality experience” provides training for critical response situations CyberVigilant is incorporated into IndigoVision’s new Control Center 15.0 software release, which also includes Control Center Mobile and artificial intelligence powered by BriefCam. Potential impact of deep learning and AI Software improvements were also a theme, including, for example, Open Options’ release of Version 7 of its DNA Fusion “flagship” access control software, which embraces an open platform using Mercury access control panels. The system integrates with more than 30 technology partners (to date), including manufacturers of intelligent locks, video management systems, critical communications, elevator systems, and other solutions. Features include an updated user interface, and operation reminiscent of the familiar Microsoft look and feel. A differentiator is a “drag-and-drop” capability, allowing customers to “drag” an access level and associate it with an individual cardholder or a group. The potential impact of deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) is just now working its way through the market. Video companies like IDIS are evaluating AI and developing systems to implement it, likely in the next few months (in time for ISC West?) “We want to make sure our AI-based video analytics meet the needs of the market,” says Josh Keaton, IDIS America regional sales manager. He says much of the early implementations of AI are aimed at showcasing a company’s capabilities rather than solving real-world problems. IDIS’ Deep Learning Analytics (IDLA) engine, still being developed, is built on 2.6 million images of people, buses, and vehicles, and the company will seek to double that number going forward and to broaden the categories. “The founders of IDIS have a background in video analytics and AI, so we are committed that when our AI hits the market, it will serve the real world,” says Keaton. “The idea of deep learning is that you can look at a scene and natively understand how the pattern has changed,” he adds. “You can’t categorise everything; the camera has to learn.” Transport, enterprise and smart cities Some of the companies seeking to leverage the power of the ASIS show did not have booths on the show floor. Some players, such as VidSys, met with end users and integrators in meeting rooms in the adjacent Omni hotel. (VidSys was also a partner in the Motorola booth.) “It’s the largest turnout we have ever had,” said Neil Chung, VidSys vice president, systems and solutions engineering. IDIS’ Deep Learning Analytics (IDLA) engine contributed to the high profile of artificial intelligence (AI) at the show The converged security and information management (CSIM) company was highlighting a suite of video and big data analytics capabilities added to their system through a partnership with Micro Focus. The AI system works “in the background” to characterise and filter out anomalies (false positives) to alert customers only to situations that require attention. VidSys focuses on large transportation, commercial campus/enterprise customers, and smart cities, where they interface with a variety of sensors. “The most excitement is over our social media integration and how external events can affect their business,” says Chung. In addition to security and other internal systems, VidSys can monitor outside sources, such as RSS and Twitter feeds through technology partners such as DataMiner. “If an event happens near a customer facility, we can use our business rules to notify them. People are realising that there’s more information outside the systems that they control, and they want to start taking advantage of it.” The move to road shows Another company not exhibiting at ASIS 2017 was Lenel Systems International, which is redirecting the marketing funds from exhibiting at ASIS to a series of “road shows” to spread the word about what’s new with the company. I caught up with Ross McKay, Lenel’s Global Director of Product Management, who provided an update. Lenel’s new OnGuard release (v7.4) is coming in December, including a thin client monitoring app, the newest element in a trend toward operating OnGuard through mobile devices. “We are at a tipping point,” says McKay. “Customers can do the job without being behind a desktop. Guards can do their jobs while mobile.” The concept of a centralized control center is being questioned, and security operations are becoming more decentralised and device-independent. “The thick client is dying,” he says. “They will coexist for the immediate future.” OnGuard v7.4 The next release of OnGuard will also proactively support customers’ move to the cloud. Customers want to be able to put physical security servers in the cloud (such as Microsoft Azure). “The thin client and the cloud story – the webisation and the cloudisation of OnGuard -- go hand-in-hand,” says McKay. The changes are driving adoption of OnGuard into a lower tier of customers (small- and medium-sized businesses), although the enterprise will continue to be Lenel’s main market. A full SAAS solution is forthcoming in April 2018.) Lenel will also be releasing a new version of the Blue Diamond mobile app, which leverages Bluetooth technology to enable a mobile phone to serve as an access control credential. The new version will enable favourites, allow nicknaming of doors, and quick-connect to favorite doors to simplify operation. Despite the shift in marketing approach, McKay says Lenel continues to be a big supporter of the ASIS show. “ASIS is alive and healthy and will continue to be vibrant, continuing to reinvent itself,” he says. Attendees at this year’s show would likely agree.
End users at ASIS 2017 in Dallas may feel overwhelmed by all the new technology on display, but often their integrator partners can offer a helping hand. Traffic continued through much of Day 2 of the ASIS exhibition, but the foot traffic appeared to slow considerably as the day wore on. Convergint seeks closer manufacturer relationship Integrators are prominent at ASIS and play an important role connecting end user customers with manufacturers' products that meet their need. "We are taking them by the hand and introducing them to our [manufacturer] partners and to the solutions," said Tony Varco, Vice President Security Division, Convergint Technologies. Convergint has a global presence and is one of several large integrators with booths at ASIS. "We want a closer relationship with the manufacturers we work with," Varco said. Previously manufacturers may have preferred to keep their distance from end users, but not anymore. "They want us to facilitate the relationship between manufacturers and customers at a very high level," says Varco. In addition to their booth presence, Convergint personnel are escorting their big clients through the exhibit hall, one-on-one, to view the latest products. "It's not about whiz-bang technology, but about the technology that can produce business results. We may spend half a day or several days, depending on the client. We map it out ahead of time, and talk with them weeks ahead about their objectives. They may not be looking to make an immediate investment, but more looking ahead three to five years: These are the things you need to start thinking about." Digitising building systems "It's not about whiz-bang technology, but about the technology that can produce business results" Varco sees a trend in the market to digitise more building systems, including power-over-Ethernet lighting (using low-voltage LEDs), occupancy sensors, HVAC, fire alarms/life safety and physical security. These technologies are being combined in the "digital ceiling," which refers literally to the space above the ceiling tiles of a building and the network and cabling infrastructure that accommodates all the digitised operations for various functions. As a large-scale integrator, Varco points to managing customer expectations as a challenge, both at ASIS and in general. "What the customer expects and what's being sold to them may be two different things," he said. "When solving problems and creating business outcomes, you have to control expectations so they understand what they're getting, and what they're not getting. If the customer doesn't believe they got what they were sold, it causes problems." ADT and cybersecurity Cybersecurity continues to be top-of-mind, both among attendees and exhibitors. Protection 1 (now ADT) is a company that has been talking about cybersecurity and other networking issues for several years now, dating back to before it was such as "hot" topic. "It's irresponsible to just provide physical security without addressing what that entails in your cyber environment," said Morgan Harris, ADT's Senior Director of Enterprise Solutions. Ironically, security systems are often the cause of vulnerabilities on a network, and ADT's cybersecurity and network management approach seeks to minimise the vulnerabilities. Avigilon Blue is a subscription-based cloud service that enables integrators to manage more sites with fewer resources ADT's network operations center offers health management, network services and cybersecurity to business customers. Services that previously targeted national commercial accounts are now being brought downmarket to help smaller commercial customers, which can be even more vulnerable to cyber-attack. Meeting cybersecurity challenges The entire market -- manufacturers, integrators and end users -- all have a stake in meeting cybersecurity challenges, according to Harris. "Everyone has ownership in it," he said. "It starts with the products, but cybersecurity also has to be considered during installation, operation and maintenance." "We try to be out on the edge looking at vulnerabilities," Harris said. "If you are using our managed video recorders, we can push a patch out to the devices fairly quickly." He provided an example of a recent deployment of video systems at a national grocery store chain – more than 300 locations installed over 90 days. A couple of weeks into the deployment, a Windows vulnerability was discovered related to the NVR. Because ADT had a remediation plan in place, they were agile enough to solve the vulnerability problem and continue to deploy on schedule. Leveraging Protection 1's historically successful approach to customerservice has benefited both customers and employees Bringing back national commercial accounts to ADT (which gave up the business in a non-compete provision when the company separated from Tyco) is just one of the benefits of combining Protection 1 and ADT, which will use the more familiar ADT brand going forward. New national account business has also been added by recent acquisitions. Cloud service platforms for video Since the merger with Protection 1, ADT has been working to up its game by improving customer service, drastically lowering customer wait times, and replacing automated audio recordings with live people. Leveraging Protection 1's historically successful approach to customer service has benefited both customers and employees, who don't have to deal with as many angry and frustrated customers. Therefore, employee turnover is going down. "We are proud of the results we are seeing," said Bob Tucker, ADT Director, Corporate Affairs. Cloud services are another hot topic at ASIS 2017, and Avigilon is the latest company to introduce a cloud service platform for video. Avigilon Blue is a subscription-based cloud service that enables integrators to manage more sites with fewer resources, and to add recurring monthly revenue (RMR) based on site subscriptions. A twist is use of "self-monitoring”, in effect, self-learning video analytics, to provide alarm notifications to bring attention to events as triggered by analytics. The customer can also view live and/or archived video through a browser. The system is powered by Microsoft Azure.
ASIS 2017 was off to a strong start on Tuesday, presenting a new wave of innovation to the U.S. security end user community. Many attendees to the Dallas show are well-placed in their companies to influence or direct the purchase of security products and equipment, and exhibitors sought to impress them with a range of new and enhanced options. Moving from integration to unification In general, the ASIS show has a quieter, less frantic feel than the spring ISC West show in Las Vegas. Conversations are more "intimate" than those common at integrator-focused shows. "End users are very honest about the challenges they are facing," observed Derek Arcuri, Product Marketing Manager of Genetec. "The challenges we are hearing are a symptom of similar problems we hear in conversations with other users. It's more than just technology, it's planning out the strategy and showing them how they can slowly inch toward their vision by investing in a platform that is open and unified." Unification is a buzzword you hear more and more often in the security industry, and unification means something beyond integration. In the case of Genetec, unification summarises a strategy that leverages an identical technology approach underlying every facet of a broad-based solution, including video, access control and other technologies. Arcuri says customers should commit to a unified platform and then use integration to accommodate existing installed products and enable a gradual transition to a systemwide unified system as costs allow. Among Genetec's current and future offerings highlighted at ASIS 2017 are vertical-focused product lines such as Airport Sense, Retail Sense and Traffic Sense, which offer specific capabilities and are all built on the Genetec unified platform. Johnson Controls accelerates product development A year after the headline-making acquisition of Tyco, Johnson Controls kicked off the first day of the ASIS 2017 exhibition with a press event revisiting the big story one year later. Johnson Controls says they are making significant investments in engineering to ensure accelerated introduction of products in the video, access control and intrusion categories – around 100 engineers have been added to the product development team, a 15 percent increase. A press conference by Johnson Controls kicked off the ASIS 2017 exhibition, about a year after their headline-making acquisition of Tyco "As we have come together, all the positives have been realised," said Brian Young, Johnson Controls Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing. The complementary nature of the two businesses -- a prime motivator promoted when the acquisition was announced last year -- has been realised in many ways, including how the technology platforms work together, and even the sales cycles (Johnson Controls typically has a longer sales cycle, while Tyco's business moves faster.) "We are starting to deliver real value," says David Grinstead, Global Vice President and General Manager of Security Products. Johnson Controls executives estimate the overlap of the two businesses is about 15 percent, which translates into 85 percent of new opportunity for crossover business to enhance both operations. March Networks transitions to video software Companies are changing as the market changes. March Networks is transitioning from being a hardware provider to developing software reporting tools that can increase the value of video and data by correlating the two. "Video is becoming more of an operational feature that every institution wants to have. We are more of an information company than ever, focused on software and services," says Peter Strom, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are seeing how video can play a role beyond security." For example, March Networks' new Searchlight for QSR (quick service restaurants) combines video with various data points, such as those provided by point of sale (POS) systems, to provide a "dashboard" to help a business owner track his business (with data tied into video to enhance the value). Video is stored locally, and data is stored in the cloud; the service is provided for a monthly fee. The company has similar data-driven products in other verticals: Searchlight for Retail and Searchlight for Banking, both providing a "360-degree view" of a business. March Networks has historically emphasised the importance of cybersecurity - driven by demands of its financial and retail verticals Cybersecurity in the video surveillance market March Networks also has historically emphasised the importance of cybersecurity -- driven by demands of the financial and retail verticals they play in. Their cybersecurity approach predates by a decade or more the current concerns in the market, says Strom. March Networks is among the companies that see video taking a new, higher profile among customers -- and not just for security applications. Two verticals that March Networks is active in -- financial and retail -- have been especially impacted by the transition to broader use of video in a company. At ASIS 2017, March Networks is also announcing integration of Patriot One Technologies' covert weapons detection solution with video. The cognitive microwave radar technology detects concealed handguns and other types of weapon, and sends real-time alerts to security. The system is "trained" and continues to "learn" after deployment, getting better and smarter at detecting hidden weapons with each screening. Arecont Vision emphasises ease of use Arecont Vision continues on its theme of making it easier for integrators to install products. They have extended "no-touch" remote setup to the MegaDome G3 Series. A vari-focal motorised lens can be set up remotely in any position with pan, tilt, focus and zoom. The remote setup avoids a technician having to stand on a ladder to adjust and fine-tune the image, which takes extra time and can be hazardous. The MegaVideo 4K 8.3 megapixel camera also has multiple motorised lens options for remote setup. Arecont Vision plans to carry the approach through its entire product line over time, expanding ease of installation to an ever-broadening array of products. This is just a sampling of what I saw and heard on the first day of ASIS, with plenty more still to come. Read SourceSecurity.com's Day 2 coverage here
We can add another technology category to those aspects of the physical security market on the verge of being changed by cloud technology. The new category is the printing and encoding of ID cards. HID Global is adapting the benefits of cloud computing to the ID card printing market with the introduction of HID Fargo Connect, a cloud-based personalisation and issuance system for ID cards. The new cloud approach, which will be introduced at the ASIS 2017 show in Dallas, converts standalone card printers and encoders into edge devices in the Internet of Things (IoT). In effect, ID cards can now be printed from any device anywhere on any other device anywhere else. Evolving ID card market Historically, ID cards were printed by local standalone printers connected to on-premises personal computers (PCs). Using the cloud approach, a card can be printed from a tablet or similar device and directed to a cloud-connected card printer. The cloud approach is a new twist in a mature market that has been largely unchanged for the past two decades. HID Global, which acquired the Fargo printer business in 2006, is seeing customer needs evolving to include both printing and encoding ID cards. In the future, customer needs will broaden to encompass every aspect of managing identity issuance, according to Craig Sandness, Vice President and Managing Director of the Security Issuance business unit at HID Global. “This is not a one-off product but a new platform, and new solutions will continue to be introduced and evolve in the market,” says Sandness. “We are initially focusing on the higher-education market, but there are lots of opportunity in several major verticals, such as corporate environments with multiple locations. The solution can be centrally managed for all the locations.” Other HID Global vertical markets include government and public administration, healthcare, financial, transportation, and enterprise. Benefits for end users Benefits for end users include greater flexibility in how card printing systems are designed and operate, says Sandness. More flexibility enables end users to streamline processes and promote a better “customer experience” when issuing ID cards and credentials. The new cloud approach converts standalone card printers and encoders into edge devices in the Internet of Things For example, students no longer have to wait in long queues at multiple PC workstations to be issued cards in a higher education environment. Instead, card issuance can be managed in a more casual, relaxed environment, with operators using tablet computers to input data and capture images for the cards, which can then be printed in bulk at a large production facility connected to the cloud. Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, is an early user of HID Fargo Connect. The cloud approach also takes away the need to manage software and other IT resources. End users get better visibility and more control of the card issuance processes, according to HID Global. New economic models for security integrators For integrators, the approach introduces new economic models for their business. It allows their customers to transform the issuance of ID cards from a capital expenditure (capex) to an operating expense (opex). Security dealers no longer need to be just in the business of selling card printers; they could also be in the business of providing cards as a service, payable as a monthly operating expense based on how many cards are needed, for example. Providing a service rather than a product can position dealers for a longer-term relationship with a customer, in effect promoting “stickiness” (customer retention). The service aspect also provides dealer/integrators new opportunities to realise recurring monthly revenue (RMR). Benefits for dealers Dealers can also benefit from automated replenishment systems. A cloud-connected printer can signal a dealer automatically when it needs a new ribbon, for example, thus boosting a dealer’s ongoing business in consumables. “There could be an annual or monthly contract that allows the integrators to provide much better and more timely service and faster consumables,” says Sandness. As with any IoT approach, cybersecurity is paramount, and HID Global emphasises the cloud card issuance system is secure. The system uses HID’s Identrust Certificates and end-to-end encryption, and all personal data is transcient, not stored, and communicated between highly secure end points. “The print systems have unique firmware and will only work with Fargo Connect,” says Robin Tandon, Director of Product Marketing, Cloud Solutions, Secure Issuance Business Unit of HID Global.
The Internet is awash in information, and some little bit of it somewhere might represent a threat to your company. How much would you pay someone on your staff to read more than a billion Internet posts a day in 200 languages, sort through it all, provide what’s relevant to your company in your inbox, and then alert you, in real time, to the most threatening information? It’s an interesting question that points to the value proposition of Babel Street, one of the exhibitors at the upcoming ASIS 2017 show in Dallas. Babel Street is one of the new “Big Data” analytics companies serving the security marketplace with a cloud-based platform able to analyse multi-lingual data in near real-time. “Our goal is to bring information from various sources, including billions of Internet posts, into one pane of glass,” says Jeff Chapman, CEO of Babel Street. The data analytics company sells its capability to collect data, refine it, and serve it up for clients to review. Monitoring the internet for security threats Sources of the data include social media outlets, “dark web” content, billions of blogs and forums, and commercially available information (in a partnership with TransUnion). Information might be related to intellectual property (IP) theft, various plant facilities, insider threats, executive protection, and/or general situational awareness. “CSOs are realising that one of the arrows in their quiver needs to be monitoring publicly available information on their companies,” says Chapman. “There are a billion postings a day, and somebody is likely talking about your company – what if it’s about security and you don’t hear it?” Babel Street’s customers include both commercial and government clients, and the company is active in the United States and several other countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Italy). Clients include technology companies, apparel companies, and even major sports leagues. In the government realm, there are health agencies, defense and law enforcement, among others. The system’s search and discovery processes occur in native languages, and then the results are translated and provided in the language requested Organised, translated, actionable data As the name suggests, Babel Street’s efforts transcend language barriers and can access data in more than 200 languages. Information can be delivered in any requested language. The system’s search and discovery processes occur in various native languages, and then the results are translated and provided in the language requested. The company’s differentiator is its linguistic capabilities overlaid with its capability to analyze massive amounts of data at a rapid speed. Accessing information in a variety of languages requires the ability to determine the sentiment expressed in the native language based on linguistic nuances. The system judges the attitude, emotion and intent expressed and determines if there is threat or a purpose to do harm. Babel Street embraces the need for privacy and employs a “chief privacy officer” to ensure they are compliant with various data laws. Chapman says they maintain a close relationship with data providers. The future of data analysis At the ASIS show in Dallas, Babel Street is looking to connect with existing clients, to locate new clients and to connect with potential partners. A partnership might enable Babel Street to access a new market, expand their international reach or otherwise benefit the business. The company’s message to ASIS attendees: “If you have a requirement to find data in the publicly available space, we are your answer,” says Chapman. In some cases, marketing departments are also interested in the information Babel Street can provide, especially from a reputation management perspective. As a former naval intelligence officer, Chapman learned the value of data and realised that the issue of analysing Big Data would not be solved by humans, given its volume, velocity and variety (the “3Vs”). “We need to be able to capture that information, and I was looking for solutions to help solve the problem,” he says. “I didn’t find a solution, so we built one.” Headquartered in Reston, Virginia., the company has about 100 employees. Data is sorted using artificial intelligence (AI) for speed and employing the Amazon Web Services cloud.
Millennials are an important market, and in one sense, they represent future possibility. The changing tastes and trends of this tech-savvy “Generation Y,” who came of age around the turn of the millennium (circa 2000), are an important consideration in the marketing of security technologies, among many other things. Fortunately, according to a recent survey from ADT, millennials will likely be dependable consumers of security technology products and services for years to come. Smart phones essential for personal protection Millennials’ dependence on smart phones and smart watches is legendary, and ADT’s survey points to a not-so-obvious benefit this demographic derives from their smart devices: Peace of mind. According to the survey, 90% of millennials say smart phones and related technologies provide them peace of mind when they are alone. In effect, millennials see smart phones as essential devices for their personal protection (in addition to serving almost every other human need). Further, fearless millennials also admit their sense of adventure has limits: some 74% say they have been worried about their physical safety at some point in the last 12 months. Some 75% say they are interested in purchasing a personal security device (such as ADT’s Panic Response app and monitoring service available on Samsung smart watches). Security concerns of millenials 76% of millennials - men and women - have avoided specific experiences due to concerns about personal safety. in the past 12 months, 34% of millennials have avoided crowded spaces such as sporting events or malls. 30% percent of respondents have avoided public transport, 26% have opted out of solo travel, and 25% have not exercised alone due to personal security 90% of millennials take a different route home, switch up the time and place of their exercise, and/or carry pepper spray. 91% of millennials living in urban areas (versus 82% of rural dwellers) think of technology as a safety net. How millennials perceive danger It goes without saying that we live in a dangerous world, and it behooves us (of all ages) to take precautions and be attentive to security. How people perceive danger, and how willing they are to take precautions, is another variable that can ensure a lucrative future in the consumer market for security products and services. That perception and that willingness can be observed in Generation Y. The ability to fully perceive risk comes as a function of age. Young people, for example, may engage in risky behaviour because they feel immortal or they do not fully grasp the dangers involved. It is encouraging to know that the tech-savvy millennial generation has developed a healthy awareness of the dangers of the world – and they will likely be good customers for the security marketplace for years to come. Further, the next wave of consumers, “Generation Z,” is growing up in an even more sophisticated media and computer environment – they are also likely to see technology products as a useful safety and security tool.
Despite the increasing popularity of body-worn cameras, the technology has its detractors. For example, this month Big Brother Watch, a British civil liberties and privacy organisation, is raising new questions about the effectiveness of body-worn cameras. Specifically, Big Brother Watch found that 32 of the 45 police forces that have adopted body-cams in the United Kingdom were “unable to say” how often the footage was used in courts. To be clear, being “unable to say” doesn’t equate to the cameras not being useful, and using video as evidence in court is just one of the possible ways the cameras could be beneficial. Even so, point taken. Adoption of the body-worn cameras continues full speed ahead despite lack of empirical evidence of their effectiveness. Studies in the United States and Canada on the effectiveness of the cameras have also often been inconclusive. Big Brother Watch warns: “The value of technology must be proven and not just assumed. It is not enough to tell the public they are essential policing tools if the benefits cannot be shown.” In addition to seeking more data on camera effectiveness, the organisation urges police forces to publish regular “transparency reports” to show how body worn cameras are used in day-to-day policing. Cameras should also have a screen to display when citizens are being recorded. Does video surveillance prevent crime? In some instances, police forces have embraced the cameras on the assertion that the police and/or the public believe they are beneficial. But believing something doesn’t make it true. Body-worn cameras are not the first video systems whose effectiveness has been questioned. There have also been repeated challenges over the years to the effectiveness of video or CCTV cameras in preventing crime. For example, one report in Chicago placed the number of crimes solved by video evidence between the years 2006 and 2013 at 4,500. Not bad, except when you consider there were more than a million incidents during the time period, and surveillance cameras helped solve less than 0.5 percent of them. Looking at it another way, the numbers work out to one crime solved for every five cameras; i.e., the average camera never solves a crime -and then there were the British Home Office studies in 2002 and 2005 that questioned the impact of CCTV cameras on crime. [Jeremy Reddington / Shutterstock.com] British Home Office studies have questioned the impact of CCTV cameras on crime Quantifiable benefits of security products Again, however, solving crime is only one aspect of the benefits of video. There is also a “halo effect” when cameras are installed. That is, the areas where cameras are deployed tend to be more secure, even outside the immediate view of cameras. There is a diffusion of crime prevention benefits to surrounding areas. Questioning the effectiveness of body-worn cameras, CCTV or any other technology, is a necessary exercise. Real answers may be hard to come by, but we shouldn’t be discouraged in making the effort. The technology capabilities of our industry’s products should be able to withstand scrutiny and, in the end, provide verifiable and quantifiable benefits. Public scrutiny of security systems Public scrutiny is an important aspect of technology implementation, especially in the public sector. For private companies, there is another, even more potent force at work that focuses attention on the effectiveness of technology – the bottom line. Spending money on video (or other technologies) is viewed unforgivingly through a lens of return on investment (ROI) by managers and accountants of customer companies. Fortunately, in this environment, video systems more than justify their existence every day. It only takes avoidance of a single multi-million-dollar personal injury lawsuit to cost-justify a whole system of video cameras. The impact of video to deter shoplifting or other crimes, and the resulting extra value to an enterprise, is sufficiently demonstrated every day. We as an industry should welcome any questions about the effectiveness of our products. Their value can speak for itself, and can stand up to any questioning or research projects. If it doesn’t, then we must be willing to let the chips fall where they may.
Protecting power grids is essential to deliver electricity that serves millions of consumers. Transmission substations are a component of the power infrastructure that presents unique security challenges. These important facilities often sit out in the open, in remote locations, and were historically protected by little more than cameras or chain-link fences. Much of the current concern about securing electrical substations in the United States originated in response to a 2013 sniper attack, using military-style weapons, on Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Metcalf Transmission Substation in Coyote, Calif., near San Jose. Gunmen fired on 17 electrical transformers, resulting in more than $15 million in damage. The crime is still unsolved. Security critical infrastructure The North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s Critical Infrastructure Protection (NERC/CIP) guidelines emerged in the aftermath of the attack, triggering growth in security spending to protect utilities. The latest NERC/CIP Version 6 standards were issued in January 2016, with deadlines of various phases falling in July 2016, April 2017, and the final phase to be completed in September 2018. The earlier deadlines were for high- and medium-risk facilities, and the future deadline covers lower-risk areas. The standards target four areas of concern securing utility sites: security awareness, physical security, remote access connections, and incident response. Although medium- and high-impact facilities tend to be more critical, the connected nature of utility infrastructure means that security is only as strong as the weakest link. Perimeter security requirements Every facility has a baseline requirement for perimeter security protection around the site, although medium- and high-impact sites will have more stringent requirements. The geography surrounding sites – Is it an urban area or rural? Does the surrounding elevation provide additional lines of sight? – also impacts the types of systems they require. A lack of similar incidents since the 2013 Metcalf attack could fuel debate on whether the extra security was necessary, and could even lead to a sense of complacency. “A lot of money has been spent on fancy systems at the top tier,” says Greg Hendrix, Sales Lead at Tyco Integrated Security. “But nothing has happened since Metcalf. The concern is that we could lull ourselves into a sense of everything’s OK. We need to find a balance between what’s appropriate and what isn’t, and it’s a moving target. There is no silver bullet.” With 35 years in the physical security industry, Hendrix manages a specialised team of 12 pre-sale field engineers that focus on designing electronic security solutions for complex needs as part of Johnson Controls’ Centers of Excellence network. Every facility has a baseline requirement for perimeter security protection around the site, although medium- and high-impact sites will have more stringent requirements Cameras and access control for high-security facilities Hendrix assisted one utility industry customer as a primary design engineer for nine high-impact sites. The sites were high- to medium-tier sites that are part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Thermal cameras with analytics were positioned to detect intrusions and discern between wildlife and human intruders. Avoiding false alarms is crucial if, for instance, 300 cameras are monitored at a single site. The analytics systems were augmented with pan-tilt-zoom cameras that could be directed to view intruders. Analytics zones were used to trigger large LED light panels to flood various zones with light in case of an intruder. If an intruder gets even closer, it would trigger a recorded voice to tell them to leave. Metal fences that were 12 feet high and even concrete were used to protect lines of sight to provide a ballistics barrier against gunshots. Mountainous or hilly areas presented additional challenges, as someone could position themselves above the fence line. In some cases, automated gates use multi-factor access control readers (cards and PINs) to allow vehicles to pass and then to close behind them. In other instances, pedestrian-only gates are used, requiring vehicles to remain parked outside the perimeter. Video surveillance watches entrances and exits. Compliance with NERC/CIP regulations Connecting IP cameras into a utility’s IT system, or even using a laptop to programme a video system, can introduce cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The idea is not to contribute to the cybersecurity challenges utilities already face to protect the supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) monitoring systems and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) used in daily operations. “The physical threat is evident, but the cybersecurity threat is not so obvious,” says Hendrix. “To focus on one without the other doesn’t make a lot of sense. The physical security folks focus on how we can physically detect and deter, and promote visibility. But we have to remind ourselves that the security of the cyber connection is critical. Security awareness applies to us as integrators as much as customers. We have to find an IT guru within the organisation and make sure we are working together.” Failure to adhere to NERC/CIP requirements, which are enforced using audits, trigger fines that could put the profitability of private utility companies at risk. “There is an opportunity for integrators to partner with customers and identify how to appropriately meet the requirements within budget and get these projects done,” says Hendrix. Among the audit requirements is a log showing who comes and goes at a facility; access control systems collect that information and provide the needed documentation. Employees are issued cards, and contractors and other visitors are required to be escorted by approved personnel into and out of a site. For frequent visitors and contractors, a credential can be issued. Promoting awareness of such policies and requirements is another factor in CIP compliance.
In 2017, SourceSecurity.com covered topics from all corners of the physical security industry - from video surveillance to access control to intrusion detection and beyond. But just how much have you been paying attention to the industry this past year? Does your knowledge of the cloud soar high above your colleagues and security friends? Can you recall your facts faster than 60-fps? Are you hooked into the mainframe with your expertise in cybersecurity? Now you can find out. We have launched our SourceSecurity.com Best of the Year Quiz 2017, and this is your opportunity to prove just how much you remembered in this eventful year of security. Compiled by Editor Larry Anderson, our questions span topics as diverse as millennials, body-worn-cameras and security trade shows. So, what are you waiting for? Are you ready to prove your knowledge? Are you the champion of the security trade? Take our SourceSecurity.com Best of the Year Quiz 2017 now, and be the envy of the industry!
SourceSecurity.com’s most trafficked articles in 2017 reflected changing trends in the market, from facial detection to drones, from deep learning to body worn cameras. Again in 2017, the most well-trafficked articles posted at SourceSecurity.com tended to be those that addressed timely and important issues in the security marketplace. In the world of digital publishing, it’s easy to know what content resonates with the market: Our readers tell us with their actions; i.e., where they click. Let’s look back at the Top 10 articles posted at SourceSecurity.com in 2017 that generated the most page views. They are listed in order here with the author’s name and a brief excerpt. MOBOTIX is increasingly positioning itself as a specialist in high-quality IP surveillance software 1. MOBOTIX Aims High with Cybersecurity and Customer-Focused Solutions [Jeannie Corfield] With a new CEO and Konica Minolta on board, MOBOTIX is set for expansion on a global scale. But how much growth can we expect for a company like MOBOTIX in an increasingly commoditised surveillance market, where many of the larger players compete on price as a key differentiator? While MOBOTIX respects those players, the German manufacturer wants to tell a different story. Rather than competing as a camera hardware manufacturer, MOBOTIX is increasingly positioning itself as a specialist in high-quality IP surveillance software – camera units are just one part of an intelligent system. When MOBOTIX succeeds in telling this story, partners understand that it’s not about the price. 2. ‘Anti-Surveillance Clothing’ Creates a New Wrinkle in Facial Detection [Larry Anderson] The latest challenge to facial recognition technology is “anti-surveillance clothing,” aimed at confusing facial recognition algorithms as a way of preserving “privacy.” The clothing, covered with ghostly face-like designs to specifically trigger face-detection algorithms, are a backlash against the looming possibility of facial recognition being used in retail environments and for other commercial purposes. 3. Drone Terror: How to Protect Facilities and People [Logan Harris] Already, rogue groups such as ISIS have used low cost drones to carry explosives in targeted attacks. Using this same method, targeting high profile locations to create terror and panic is very possible. Security professionals and technologists are working furiously to address the gaps in drone defence. Compact Surveillance Radar (CSR) is a security technology addressing the problems with other types of detection. CSR, like traditional radar, has the benefit of being able to detect and track foreign objects in all weather conditions, but at a fraction of the size and cost. The last couple of years have seen a tremendous surge in research and advances surrounding a branch of Machine Learning called Deep Learning 4. Deep Learning Algorithms Broaden the Scope of Video Analytics [Zvika Anshani] Until recently there have been minimal applications of Machine Learning used in video analytics products, largely due to high complexity and high resource usage, which made such products too costly for mainstream deployment. However, the last couple of years have seen a tremendous surge in research and advances surrounding a branch of Machine Learning called Deep Learning. The recent increased interest in Deep Learning is largely due to the availability of graphical processing units (GPUs). GPUs can efficiently train and run Deep Learning algorithms 5. Body Worn Cameras: Overcoming the Challenges of Live Video Streaming [Mark Patrick] Most body camera manufacturers, that are trying to stream, attempt to use these consumer technologies; but they don’t work very well in the field, which is not helpful when you need to see what is happening, right now, on the ground. The video must be of usable quality, even though officers wearing the cameras may be moving and experiencing signal fluctuations – most mobile video produces significant delays and signal breakups. Video and audio must always remain in sync so there’s no confusion about who said what. Therefore, special technology is required that copes with poor and varying bandwidths to allow a real-time view of the scene and support immediate decision-making by local and remote team members and support teams moving to the scene. 6. QinetiQ Demonstrates New Privacy-Protecting Body Scanner for Crowded Places [Ron Alalouff] QinetiQ has developed a scanner that can be used in crowded places without having to slow down or stop moving targets. The body scanner, capable of detecting hidden explosives or weapons on a person, has been demonstrated publicly in the United Kingdom for the first time. SPO-NX from QinetiQ – a company spun out of the UK’s Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) in 2001 – can quickly screen large groups of people for concealed weapons or explosives in a passive, non-intrusive way, without needing people to stop or slow down. 7. ISC West 2017: How Will IT and Consumer Electronics Influence the Security Industry? [Fredrik Nilsson] A good way to predict trends [at the upcoming ISC West show] is to look at what’s happening in some larger, adjacent technology industries, such as IT and consumer electronics. Major trends on these fronts are the most likely to influence what new products will be launched in the electronic security industry. Proof in point is H.264, an advanced compression technology ratified in 2003 and adopted as the new standard by the consumer industry a few years later. By 2009, it became the new compression standard for the video surveillance industry as well. By drawing data from a number of different sources and subsystems, it is possible to move towards a truly smart environment 8. Integrating Security Management into Broader Building Systems [Gert Rohrmann] Security solutions should be about integration not isolation. Many organisations are considering their existing processes and systems and looking at how to leverage further value. Security is part of that focus and is a central component in the move towards a more integrated approach, which results in significant benefits. By drawing data from a number of different sources and subsystems, including building automation, it is possible to move towards a truly smart environment. 9. How to Use Video Analytics and Metadata to Prevent Terrorist Attacks [Yury Akhmetov] How we defend and prevent terrorism must be based on intelligent processing of information, and an early awareness of potential threats – and effective preventive action – may eliminate most attacks. Video analytics, automated surveillance and AI decision-making will change the rules of the struggle between civilians and terrorists by making attempted attacks predictable, senseless and silent. To what extent can technology investigate and prevent terror crimes considering the latest technology innovations? 10. Next Generation Video Analytics: Separating Fact from Fiction [Erez Goldstein] ‘Next generation video analytics’ is a catchy marketing phrase, is how much substance is behind it? Video analytics as a technology has been with us for many years, but there has always been an air of confusion and mystery around it, in large part created by Hollywood movies, where every camera is connected, an operator can search the network and locate the villain in a matter of seconds. I am pleased to say that, in many respects, fact has caught up with fiction, with the newest video analytics solutions that are now on the market focusing on search and specifically real-time search. These solutions have been tried, tested and proven to help reduce search time from hours to minutes and even seconds.
SourceSecurity.com’s Expert Panel had a lot to say in 2015 on a variety of topics in our Roundtable discussions. Not surprisingly, the discussion topics that have generated the most interest (in terms of how much visitor traffic they generated) are the same hot topics we hear about every day in the industry. Our very most-clicked-on Roundtable discussion in 2015 was about the impact of video on privacy rights. Other hot topics that made the Top-10 list of Roundtable discussions included the Cloud (twice!), the impact of IT on physical security, and the outlook for 4K cameras. Additional well-read discussions centred on expanding the benefits of security to other departments and how to improve training. Readers also gravitated to Expert Panel Roundtable discussions of more technical topics such as the value of full-frame-rate video and the effectiveness of panoramic view cameras (compared to pan-tilt-zoom functionality). Rounding out the Top 10 is a discussion of the desirability (and legal implications) of using dummy cameras. Here is a listing of the Top 10 Expert Panel Roundtable discussions posted in 2015 at SourceSecurity.com, along with a “sound bite” from each discussion, and links back to the full articles. Thanks to everyone who contributed to Expert Panel Roundtable in 2015 (including the quotable panellists named below). 1. What are the limitations on where video cameras can be placed because of privacy? "Use of cameras in retail applications can easily be justified in general surveillance of sales floors and shopping aisles, but cameras should only be used in changing areas to address a particularly serious problem that cannot be addressed by less intrusive means.” [Mark Pritchard] 2. Are cloud-based security systems “safe?” "If the authentication principles are insufficient and weak passwords are allowed, it doesn’t matter how strong the encryption is. Because cloud-based systems are exposed to the Internet, they demand strong authentication and increased operational procedures." [Per Björkdahl] 3. How does IT affect the physical security buying decision? "Of course, we all want good value, but we must invest as necessary. If you strip everything back, the integrator's job is to deliver data. If IT and security departments can keep this objective in mind, then 'value' redefines itself." [Larry Lummis] 4. Which non-security uses of video are catching on? "While video can help with quality control across the supply chain, it will be especially useful in ensuring compliance with the international adulteration rule [for food manufacturers], the rule with the last court-ordered deadline on May 31, 2016." [Don Hsieh] 5. What is the value of "full-frame-rate" video? "I once took a client’s footage of a genuine street fight to check how many images per second were needed to prove who punched who – 25fps was fine but 12fps made the video evidence doubtful. Don’t forget, however many fps you choose, your shutter speed must be fast enough to prevent motion blur spoiling the details." [Simon Lambert] 6. When is it desirable to use 'dummy' cameras as a deterrent? "If cameras are present, there is a reasonable expectation of a secure environment in both public and private areas. If the public sees cameras and assumes they are real, they could argue that they were reliant on the protection provided by the cameras." [Dave Poulin] 7. Are megapixel or panoramic-view cameras an effective substitute for PTZs? "Panoramic cameras are usually static, so zooming into a scene’s details is done in software and limited by pixels in the sensor, lens quality and software such as de-warping, so clarity at the boundaries might disappoint. PTZ cameras zoom optically, magnifying long-range details significantly better." [Simon Lambert] 8. Is HD still the standard of resolution in the market? For how much longer? "The 720p and 1080p HDTV remains dominant today and is expected to be for the foreseeable future. The next standards-based resolution will be 4K, which represents 8.3 megapixel, but first the industry will need to improve on bandwidth with better compression and better light sensitivity." [Fredrik Nilsson] 9. What are the current limitations of cloud-based systems? "The only remaining limitations of cloud-based systems are bandwidth and connectivity to the cloud. There is more than enough bandwidth for applications like Access Control and Visitor Management, but it will take a couple more years before all high-resolution video is cloud-based.” [Paul Bodell] 10. How can security training be improved among integrators and end users? "Training should be sticky and persistent. Follow-up training such as on-line review and updated course material should be available to keep the knowledge fresh. Technology is constantly changing, as soon as training is complete the knowledge begins to go stale." [Charlie Erickson] See the full coverage of 2015/2016 Review and Forecast articles here
There's nothing like a visit to the China Public Security Expo (CPSE) in Shenzhen to open your eyes to a new world of security market manufacturers and customers in the Asia-Pacific market. The show is huge by Western standards – someone told me it's five times the size of ISC West in Las Vegas. But even more than the size of the show, it was the crowd that made an impression on this first-time visitor. Huge numbers of attendees and exhibitors Think of the mass of humanity you might expect at a rock concert, or at Walmart on Black Friday. There was no space to move as you enter the show; you're swept along as part of a sweaty crowd. Fortunately, it was a little easier to manoeuvre once I got past the initial rush. There were some familiar Western brands – I saw Tyco and Honeywell among others – but the vast majority of the exhibitors are names unfamiliar in the West. And there are a lot of them, aisles and aisles of large, elaborate exhibits. Not waiting for attendees to approach a booth, there were people in the aisles aggressively urging you to enter a nearby exhibit, or at least to take a piece of literature. The experience was a stark contrast to the slow activity at ASIS, where exhibitors complained about lack of booth traffic. No need here to rationalise about the quality of the leads – here, it was clearly about quantity. Companies operating on a larger scale The massive scale of CPSE confirmed my initial observations from the previous couple of days as I had visited Hangzhou as well as Shenzhen. Everything seems bigger here. Large, high-rise buildings are everywhere you look, many of them recently built, across miles and miles, with more to come. Cranes dot the horizon as even more construction is under way. What these Chinese companies are achieving exceeds our tired perceptions in the West of "commoditised products" or "cheap Chinese" My host for the trip, Hikvision, inhabits two large skyscrapers in Hangzhou, and there's an adjacent third building (much bigger than the others) already under construction. When I visited their factory, I learned that they are also building a brand new (and larger) manufacturing facility that will use more automation and further expand their already huge daily output of video surveillance products. It's growth on a scale far beyond anything we're seeing anywhere else in the security marketplace. I visited some other manufacturers at the show, including Dahua, which is gearing up for a larger presence in the U.S. market; and Uniview, which is changing its global brand to UNV and is on the verge of going public. Eyeing Western markets What these Chinese companies are achieving exceeds our tired perceptions in the West of "commoditised products" or "cheap Chinese". Hikvision alone has a broad and rich range of technologies that includes intelligent systems, analytics and product capabilities that other companies often claim will be their advantage as the market becomes more commoditised. Undermining lingering perceptions of questionable Chinese quality were impressive quality control processes Hikvision displayed on the factory tours. Western markets, especially the United States, loom large in the sights of these big companies. Often the missing piece is a U.S. sales and service infrastructure. Hikvision (and other Chinese players) are growing in the U.S. market. Reflecting Hikvision's growth here is (what else?) a new building planned in California. I learned a lot on my Far East adventure; among other things, that the future of the security marketplace will be more global than ever. (And a new word, a verb: to libate.)
Strategic management of costs is important when considering video storage systems Costs are at issue when considering any component of a video system. Strategic management of costs is especially important when considering video storage systems because storage accounts for such a large cost component of networked systems. Gartner’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) As enterprise products begin to dominate the video storage market, more attention needs to be addressed to Gartner’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), says Jeff Burgess, president and CEO of BCDVideo. This concept takes it beyond the initial purchase costs, and also factors in management and support, the opportunity cost of downtime, and other productivity losses. “It’s especially true these days as more and more, video data is being analysed for business purposes,” says Burgess. “After all, they are counting on it to run their project. The video doesn’t get recorded if the recorder is not working or continually freezing up.” ‘Cost of power, pipe, and people’ Burgess urges integrators and end users to ask themselves: What is the video recorder really costing me over the course of the five-year project? It’s likely a racked solution, so in IT terminology that “costs power, pipe, and people.” “Take the people out of the mix,” Burgess says. “You should not need to roll a truck to the site every time there is an issue. Especially after a warranty service call. The system should automatically accept the replacement drive and bring the data over to it within the existing RAID settings, without the integrator’s on-site presence needed. The integrator really needs to look under the hood to see what else the system can provide other than simply being a storage box or a box of parts from multiple brands, not meant to work together.” Finding the right balance of control, performance, scalability and availability to keep up with and effectively exploit the surveillance data deluge allows organisations to avoid painful and costly upgrades Today’s intelligently-built video solutions provide the integrator with an easy-to-track cost savings over the lifespan of the project versus buying boxes on the cheap, says Burgess. “Today’s savvy integrator realises it doesn’t take many truck rolls to lose all those front-end savings, which are now eating away at their profits.” Camera with SD cards Another cost factor is to focus more on the utilisation of the SD cards in the camera. Utilising cards within the cameras creates a very inexpensive way of adding redundancy to a solution, says Burgess, who notes that most VMS companies can pull the video from the SD cards should there be an interruption in the network or at the head end. Educate yourself Veracity recommends asking a lot of questions to guide system design and minimise costs. What retention time do you need? What would you wish? Do you want to relay on video motion detection, or would you prefer to find a system that allows you to record low frame rate 24/7 and then increase frame rate on motion? Does your storage choice allow you to use low cost drives? Does it use a huge amount of power? Is it overly complex? “Educate yourself about the choices,” says Scott Sereboff, CEO of Veracity USA. “Look around. Consider the alternatives. You have a choice that does not include a RAID storage system with an $800-plus per terabyte price tag.” "Starting with a solution that takes minimal install and tuning, and is proven to scale well beyond current needs, future proofs the system for the short- and long-term for the customer and the integrator", says Jeff Adams, director of sales, surveillance solutions, DDN Storage solutions Balancing performance, capacity and availability Finding the right balance of control, performance, scalability and availability to keep up with and effectively exploit the surveillance data deluge allows organisations to avoid painful and costly upgrades, says Jeff Adams, director of sales, surveillance solutions, DataDirects Network (DDN) Storage solutions. “Performance needs to scale to allow for increasingly demanding playback and/or analytics features. Capacity needs to scale non-disruptively as cameras are added, while resolutions and retention periods may increase over time. Availability at scale is tricky; something as simple as slow rebuild times becomes critical in larger systems – endangering availability and system data integrity.” In addition to new installations, DDN does a healthy business in replacing underpowered infrastructures that deliver on the initial requirements but fail on scaling, says Adams. The most frequent culprits when a video surveillance site fails and needs a significant replacement/upgrade include: single controller architectures, silent data corruption, data loss from secondary failures during drive rebuilds, performance impact of rebuilds, alternates to RAID6 data protection, and lack of experience scaling into the petabyte or multi-petabyte range. Many mid-range video surveillance storage “solutions” take more than a week to install and tune, and cannot handle significant scale, adds Adams. For end users, this limits the ability to add cameras, capacity and demand (playback, analytics and system consolidation). For integrators, this means a lot of “care and feeding,” and frequent completion delays up front, as well as increased support considerations throughout the life of the project. “Starting with a solution that takes minimal install and tuning, and is proven to scale well beyond current needs, future proofs the system for the short- and long-term for the customer and the integrator,” says Adams. It also keeps costs low.
Physical access control system architecture should be built to use the changing IT infrastructures of today’s organizations to their fullest It’s time to completely rethink physical access control systems with an eye toward the changing world of information technology. Today’s physical access control system architecture only leverages existing network hardware technology – it doesn’t utilise the organisation’s full IT infrastructure, which includes systems providing advanced security services and sources of security-related real-time information. A close look at most organisation’s IT roadmaps will show that traditional-architecture access control systems are off on a side road. Physical access control system architecture should be built to use the changing IT infrastructures of today’s organisations to their fullest. Such an approach is key to future-proofing and minimising costs. The architecture needs to be able to keep pace with technological advancements in computing, communications and integration at the system level and the device level, providing strong security capabilities in a cost-efficient manner. Because hardware-centric, distributed intelligence can’t keep up with IT advances, an ever-widening gap exists between the capabilities, effectiveness and ease of management that a physical access control system can provide – and what today’s physical access control products can provide. Unless the concept of “putting intelligence at the door” includes all the intelligence that should be utilised to make an access decision, such an approach actually provides less security than today’s networked technologies are capable of providing. A key issue is a system’s native support for technological advances versus requiring third-party devices and middleware in a piecemeal approach to system design. With traditional hardware-centric physical access control systems, advanced features and real-time authentication and authorisation capabilities could only be achieved by implementing costly third-party solutions or custom-designed applications. Cost and reliability factors have kept such capabilities out of reach for most physical access control customers, even though IT security systems have had such features for more than a decade. Until a full transition is made to next-generation architecture, existing physical access control system deployments will continue to fall further and further behind as technology advances, and will continue to have shortcomings and weaknesses At the infrastructure level, next-generation physical access control system architecture must be IT-centric, taking advantage of an organisation’s existing IT infrastructure. It must be deployable throughout the enterprise like any other business application that uses networked end-point devices. At the application level, next-generation physical access control system architecture must be IT-aligned in support of the customer’s preferred approaches to identity, credential and access management (ICAM), and must be easily integrated with relevant business systems. These changes create significant opportunities for integrators and end users, offering software- and net-centricity, server-based real-time access decisions, advanced security protection, scalability, IT- and ICAM-friendly deployment, and mobile device- and smart card-friendly deployment. There are two questions to consider about making the transition to next-generation physical access control architecture: First, will your organisation’s current system be satisfactory five to 10 years from now given the pace of technological advances? Second, from a cost- and security-effectiveness standpoint, is continued investment in legacy physical access control technology the smartest approach to your organization’s critical asset protection and incident response needs? Until a full transition is made to next-generation architecture, existing physical access control system deployments will continue to fall further and further behind as technology advances, and will continue to have shortcomings and weaknesses – as well as needless costs – that constitute a liability to an organisation’s asset protection program. Editor’s Note: This article is based on Mr. Raefield’s answers to several questions about the access control market posed by SourceSecurity.com.
The merger of Vicon and IQinVision has been one of the more interesting business developments in the security and video surveillance markets in 2014. Wondering how the merger is working out, I spoke with Eric Fullerton, CEO, Vicon Industries Inc., at the ASIS 2014 show in Atlanta. Here are some of his comments: SS.com: What drew you to Vicon; what opportunity do you see here? Fullerton: The merger of Vicon and IQinVision was announced at the end of Q1, and I thought: What is that? My first reaction was that it’s a losing proposition - putting a struggling camera company and a struggling solutions company together. Then I started looking at it more closely. I think by putting these two companies together, we will be able to create a very strong video company that can lift video to the next level. I wanted a good challenge, and to be part of the next change in the industry by combining hardware and software and to start innovating at the edge. SS.com: What do you see as the next level of video, once it’s realised? Fullerton: Video will become the most important digital information source to an operation. Video isn’t just your security application, but it’s a digital business application that adds value to the bottom line. That’s where we want to be delivering products and solutions. We are starting to extract metadata from the cameras. You can analyse the content of video, which provides a totally different value to the video. Less than half of one percent of recorded video is actually looked at -- it’s just used to document what happened after the fact. With some of the modern cameras, like some we are already launching, there is metadata storage of each frame, all the vectors and everything that you can know. Without looking at the video you can analyse changes from frame to frame in terms of colour and movement. That will add value to the use of the video. You won’t have to sit and watch it to know what it’s capturing, but you will know what’s going on by using analytic algorithms, and combining that with other digital security systems, including access control and video management. With some of the self-learning video analytics, facial recognition and other things, we are starting to analyse video with data algorithms, channelising it, and using it as valuable input into HR and management solutions, even in manufacturing. You can get more efficiency. Video will become a valuable addition to daily operations and add value to the bottom line. SS.com: What is Vicon’s part of that – an end-to-end solution, or what? Fullerton: That’s the million dollar question. We are going to build cameras under the IQinVision brand, and have a full line of cameras. We will focus on where our core capabilities are – design and functionality. We will be outsourcing all manufacturing to China and other places that give us the right cost basis, and we will be adding our value at the high end of the camera. The camera line will be open and able to interoperate with other video management systems that we know today. "We’ll have a plug-and-playsolution at the bottom todeliver what the peoplewant at the low end – oneto 60 cameras with limitedfunctionality. At the mid-market we will have muchmore robust and functionalNVRs with more storagefor your larger installations.And then at the high end wewill a VMS-type solutionthat is cloud-enabled" On the Vicon side, today we have a proprietary VMS, which is not what the market is asking for. The emergence of Milestone as an open platform company was because end users were looking for freedom of choice and to get out of proprietary jail. We will migrate our video management platform to an open platform. We’ll have a plug-and-play solution at the bottom to deliver what the people want at the low end – one to 60 cameras with limited functionality. At the mid-market we will have much more robust and functional NVRs with more storage for your larger installations. And then at the high end we will a VMS-type solution that is cloud-enabled. We will also have a cloud solution at the low-end, residential, mom-and-pop market, with video only, no integrations. Later we’ll develop a multi-tenant cloud system for video service providers (VSPs). Going to the cloud doesn’t mean you put the video in the cloud. It means you can get the video when you need to, but also get the information you need. There will be a lot of on-camera storage. Because you have the knowledge of what’s happening in the frames (using metadata), you can pull out the data from the cloud and then decide what part of the video you need to look at. SS.com: How fast are you getting out of the analogue business? Fullerton: We’re not. The analogue business will have a very long tail – the last 10 to 15 years has proven that. Yes, there is some erosion of margin because of commoditisation. There are benefits of analogue cameras – they’re robust, they work, you can pull the cable longer than an Ethernet cable. Because of the robustness and the pricing, and some of the features, we’ll see a long tail of analogue for years to come. SS.com: What impact do you see of these changes on dealer partners? Fullerton: Being successful in the security industry is to understand how business is done and what end users want. One reason IT didn’t take over is that there is much better value than anybody realised in the guidance security dealers provide end users. I strongly believe business in the security industry is done by local people, and we will migrate as a combined company to a full two-tiered distribution model. We go through distribution and security integrators, and they will be the ones doing the business with the end user. SS.com: How do you deal with preconceptions about your history as a company, and how do you re-educate the market about that? Fullerton: In the security industry, if you look at the history of how it was built, and the old boy’s network, the shadow of what you do is very long. The interesting thing is that Vicon has had IP solutions for 14 years. Everybody thinks that Vicon is an analogue company. Yes, we still sell analogue cameras because there’s a need in the market. Vicon has been a proprietary company. I would say the biggest fault of the company has been to try to be proprietary when the market is going the other way. That’s the big change we will make. We will be announcing that, and driving PR to let everyone know the new Vicon is an open company that gives the end user the freedom of choice and also delivers on higher value. SS.com: What is your message to the market? Fullerton: We have a 4K camera, which has been our message at the ASIS 2014 show. The management team sat down last week and said “how are we going to drive this?” “What are our values going to be?” We looked at our vision and our mission. The vision is that we believe video will become the most important digital [resource] in a company, so it will add to the bottom line, not just surveillance. Our values are built around the acronym CIPIT – Customer orientation, Integrity, Passion, Innovation and Team effort.
Commoditisation is the biggest problem facing today’s security integrators, says Bill Bozeman, president and CEO of PSA Security Network, an electronic security cooperative encompassing some 250 electronic security systems integrators, and aligning them with over 150 vendor partners. Multi-million-dollar manufacturers are taking advantage of economies of scale to drive down pricing of many of the components our industry uses, and lower prices are poised to have a long-term detrimental impact on integrators’ business, Bozeman says. “You have to sell that many more cameras and card readers to create the same amount of revenue,” he says. “There’s a lot of danger there.” To survive the impact of commoditisation, integrators are looking to develop new business models that are not totally dependent on the installation of systems. Possibilities include recurring revenue models and sales of security services, which can provide a predictable cash flow. Recurring revenue for a systems integrator might come from longer-term maintenance contracts, or from monthly fees for alarm monitoring, access to cloud services, etc. Security services, in effect, involve an integrator providing a wider range of services to an end user customer for a monthly fee, basically allowing the end user to “outsource” its complete security operation to an integrator. Commoditisation over time will require that integrators re-think their business models, says Bozeman, but integrators will require a lot of education on how to embrace the needed transition. “Contractors don’t have that model,” he says. “They are embracing it slowly; it’s a slow migration, and we have tried to lead them in that direction. They’re picking up on it, but it’s been a herd of turtles.” On the plus side, Bozeman says proliferation of handheld devices with the ability to receive video and alarm signals is opening up a new wave of customers for integrators. He says the capabilities of hand-held devices drive visibility of the video surveillance world. The growth of lower-tech options, such as ‘baby-cams,’ is also helping “to drive interest toward professionally designed systems,” says Bozeman.
In its role to achieve “plug-and-play” interoperability for security system and device integration, the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) is looking ahead to some new possibilities in its long-term roadmap. David Bunzel, PSIA executive director, shared with me some of the active discussions among alliance members about where the next wave of interoperability initiatives may lead. Integration of wireless locks is at the top of the list, a response to the growing and evolving product category. Looking further into the future, integration of smart elevators, energy management systems and hotel management systems are part of the alliance’s roadmap. There are specific access control and integration issues related to each category. In the case of energy management systems, for example, there is demand for access control systems to be able to adjust a building’s climate system in response to whether anyone has entered the building (for example, on the weekend). Access control can also monitor overall building occupancy and optimise climate settings based on that information (especially valuable as a strategy to save energy costs and promote “green” compliance). The more our lives and technologies are interconnected, the greater the expectations for physical access control to be a part of a larger ecosystem Smart elevators are another opportunity to interface with access control, and increasingly their management is a requirement for enterprise building systems. Even more futuristic is the possibility of having an employee’s computer work station interface with an access control system. In this scenario, an employee’s desktop computer could automatically power up, open appropriate files and applications, and/or access networks to which the employee is authorised – all based on a card or biometric scan when the employee enters the building. With the increase of remote workers and companies needing fewer work stations (and seeking to reduce costs), the “hot desking” concept could continue to gain favour – and provide new benefits of interfacing with physical access control. In this case, rather than a work station assigned to each employee (even those who do not come to the office very often), the concept of a “hot desk” would allow an employer to use a smaller number of generic workstations, each available as needed when a remote worker comes into the office. When an employee comes to work (and scans his access control credential), he or she would be assigned to a specific workstation, and that desktop computer would then automatically configure itself to the employee’s specific needs and access privileges. It’s a new level of physical-logical integration, and an opportunity for the physical access control market, but interoperability challenges have to be addressed. The more our lives and technologies are interconnected, the greater the expectations for physical access control to be a part of a larger ecosystem. It appears PSIA and its members have challenges to keep them busy for years to come.
For the 20,000 or so security professionals who attend each year, ASIS International’s Annual Seminar and Exhibits is all about education. Attendees can polish their skills and update their security know-how in any of more than 200 education sessions during the yearly event. They can also learn all about the latest available security technologies and services at the massive 225,000-square-foot exhibition. Celebrities are on hand too, or at least some well-known and notable dignitaries are keynote speakers, including General Colin Powell, former U.S. Secretary of State; and John Huntsman, former Utah Governor and U.S Presidential candidate. Sharing dramatic stories of heroic rescues from recent geopolitical history, U.S. Navy SEAL Rear Admiral Scott Moore discusses team building in the context of the military’s most elite forces. These are just a few of the attractions when ASIS International presents the 60th Annual Seminar and Exhibits Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga. For the fourth consecutive year, the (ISC)2 Security Congress, which focuses on issues of information and software security, co-locates with the ASIS event, thus combining physical and logical security professionals in one place (and allowing them to attend various facets of both events). ASIS International is the largest organization of security management professionals worldwide, and (ISC)2 is the largest not-for-profit membership body of certified information and software security professionals worldwide. The focus of ASIS for the manufacturer and supplier community is the vast exhibit hall, where more than 700 companies demonstrate cutting-edge technology, products and services to security professionals worldwide The focus of ASIS for the manufacturer and supplier community is the vast exhibit hall, where more than 700 companies demonstrate cutting-edge technology, products and services to security professionals worldwide. The ASIS exhibition is one of two large security trade show events each year in the U.S. market and provides a focus for many product introductions and other commercial announcements among the manufacturing community. Although the attendee focus is on end users, there are also integrators, consultants, distributors and others who flock to the ASIS exhibit hall to see what’s new in the security market for the second half of 2014. Other highlights of the ASIS conference sessions include focus on top security concerns and need-to-know industry trends, including cyber-fraud, drones, security metrics, aviation security and many more. Education sessions reflect a range of topics, including urgent issues on everyone’s minds and in the headlines, such as mass shooting incidents, cyber-fraud, workplace violence, the safety of our food supply, and dealing with legalized marijuana, among many more. On the business side, sessions explore management issues such as internal theft and sabotage, best practices in hiring top security personnel, monitoring Internet communications, and complying with employer mandates of the U.S. Affordable Care Act. One session focuses on a new breed of security integrator emerging to address both small- and large-scale projects. “The Integrator of the Future” session identifies the largest growth markets for tomorrow’s integration professional. SourceSecurity.com Editor Larry Anderson is attending ASIS 2014 to report the latest company and product news from the 60th annual event.
The SourceSecurity.com team attended this year's IFSEC International 2014 with great anticipation to view the new innovations first-hand on show and see how the move to London would impact visitor experience. To capture the show, we have provided a summary of IFSEC in pictures above. Highlights from IFSEC 2014 We saw an overwhelming number of people and products; here is a snapshot of our IFSEC experience for 2014: FLIR SourceSecurity.com attended FLIR’s press briefing which took place on the first day of the show. FLIR emphasised that it was more than just a professional thermal camera company – the company has recently released $499 thermal cameras to the consumer industry. For FLIR, the security market is growing industry. With the acquisition of Lorex in 2012, FLIR will be introducing Lorex products under the FLIR brand (consumer side, not professional) in EMEA. At IFSEC 2014, FLIR also introduced FLIR One- its first consumer camera for the iPhone. HID Global HID Global’s Director of Technical Services, Nick Hislop, talked SourceSecurity.com through its emerging technologies in the form of leveraging Bluetooth LE and NFC. The concept is simple: to make mobile access more convenient. Nick also demonstrated how HID’s products and solutions are relevant for a number of vertical markets including Enterprise, Healthcare, Education and Finance Services. Nedap ID Ido Wentink of Nedap Identification Systems introduced SourceSecurity.com to the Nedap IDS advanced licence plate recognition product, ANPR Access HD. The company also introduced uPASS Access, a backward compatibility convertor and UHF ISO Card for improved user experience for uPASS platform. The ANPR Access HD for advanced license plate recognition is a higher resolution lens than its previous release, the ANPR Access camera. Other features of the ANPR Access HD include a more powerful CCV, increased IR illumination and expanded OCR library. SourceSecurity.com’s visit to STI’s booth saw the company emphasise its importance not just within the fire industry, but within the security industry as well Security Technology International (STI) SourceSecurity.com’s visit to STI’s booth saw the company emphasise its importance not just within the fire industry, but within the security industry as well. STI is looking to get the message out there that they’re not just a fire company. Paul Machacek, Sales Team Business Developer, talked SourceSecurity.com through a number of STI’s products including STI’s Polycarbonate Protective Covers, Steel cages, Call Points & Switches and Stand-alone Alarm Systems. Samsung - Changing the face of IP On day two of the show, Samsung hosted a press conference for the global launch of its Open Platform. This new initiative gives users the opportunity to utilise third party APPs with Samsung's WiseNetIII cameras and domes. Tim Biddulph, Product Manager at Samsung, hosted the conference and offered an insight into Samsung's tag line for the show, "Changing the face of IP". Taking a lead in IP technology, Samsung is seeking to give end-users a solution that is effectively future-proof in terms of expandability and its ability to integrate with new technology in the future. Ease of use was also at the top of Samsung's agenda with its "Zero configuration" NVR solution and there was a large focus on the power of integration within different vertical markets. ASSA ABLOY ASSA ABLOY showcased a number of its access security solutions on its impressive stand. SourceSecurity.com met with Thomas Schulz who gave a comprehensive tour of the stand. From ASSA ABLOY Aperio, there was a focus on the benefits of energy saving for its customers with the Aperio range now featuring battery-powered online and offline locks, cylinders, and escutcheons. There was also ABLOY CliQ technology on show which integrates electronics and mechanics, combining mechanical ABLOY PROTEC locking solutions with low-power electronics. A number of access control solution from effeff, Mul-T-Lock, Traka and Yale were also showcased on the stand. VIVOTEK At the VIVOTEK stand, the SourceSecurity.com team were given a tour of the stand which featured their low-light solution and their latest retail solution On day one of the show, VIVOTEK hosted a luncheon in the Crown Plaza hotel, just a stone's throw from the ExCeL centre. As well as enjoying a great meal, attendees were privy to the company's main focus for the coming year and its milestones and product roadmap for 2014 and beyond. The warm hosts included: Steve Ma, Executive Vice President at VIVOTEK, Brandy Lin, Team leader at VIVOTEK and Owen Chen, the Chairman of VIVOTEK. During the luncheon, VIVOTEK shared its vision of being seen as more than just a camera manufacturer, rather, as a total solution provider. The message of the importance of integration, an increased awareness of the need for reliability of products and ease of use was key on their agenda. At the VIVOTEK stand, the SourceSecurity.com team were given a tour of the stand wich featured their low-light solution and their latest retail solution, which was made up of a series of mini high definition cameras for discreetness. SALTO Salto showcased its latest wireless access control door solution, the XS4 mini. XS4 Mini includes SALTO Virtual Network SVN and wireless capability with mini installation needs. Embedded in the heart of the product is the latest microprocessor technology, ready for the connected world, open and future-proof for online connection, wireless technology and NFC. Seagate During an editorial briefing with the SourceSecurity.com team, Seagate shared their valuable knowledge of the history of storage manufacturing and stressed the importance of choosing the right storage solution for installations. With the rise of "Big Data" and increased storage needs in the surveillance market this is something which has become much more of a consideration. As one of only three storage manufacturers, Seagate's experience and know-how within the surveillance industry is vast and it hopes to push out its knowledge to the industry to ensure that people know the benefits of choosing a fit-for-purpose storage solution. Western Digital SourceSecurity.com spoke to Martin Jefferson at Western Digital, who gave a very detailed explanation of how the new WD purple surveillance hard drive had been created and why it was fit-for purpose. It was a very insightful presentation of the product and demonstrated the inherent need for the market to understand why choosing the right storage solution is vital to any installation.OptexAt the Optex stand SourceSecurity.com spoke to Aude Desbieres, who gave a breakdown of the latest offering from Optex at the show. Amongst the array of new products on the stand, Optex showcased the new analytics features of its laser Sensor, REDSCAN, and a new people counting solution developed by Giken Trastem. There was also a focus on full integration of its IP sensors with Milestone XProtectand Hawkeye mapping software and new grade 2 and grade 3 detectors. Our very own Larry Anderson also sat down with their MD Mike Shibata to discuss the company's future and development roadmap. During an editorial briefing with the SourceSecurity.com team, Seagate shared their valuable knowledge of the history of storage manufacturing and stressed the importance of choosing the right storage solution for installations Tyco Stephen Carney, Director of Product Management for Video Solutions at Tyco Security Products, set down with SourceSecurity.com to give an insight into their product roadmaps and their main focus for the coming year. He spoke on their concept of Unification which looks at integration at code level rather than simply API level. With the launch of their victor 4.5 Unified Client, they hope to give the end user a solution that is more secure and efficient for businesses and organisations that require an active surveillance environment. He also mentioned Tyco's increased focus on the end user and customer experience being at the heart of how they develop their product offering for the market. Senstar At the Senstar booth, SourceSecurity.com were given an insight by Miriam Rautiainen into Senstar's new FlexZone, a fence-mounted sensor that detects and locates intruders. The FlexZone can also locate multiple intrusions simultaneously and is scalable, thus making it an easy and flexible option no matter how big or small the installation needs to be. With FlexZone, less equipment and infrastructure is required, adding to the flexibility of the product. Furthermore, rejecting false alarms is even easier with FlexZone than with Senstar's previous offerings. Miriam also mentioned the acquisition of Optellios earlier this year, which has allowed Senstar to expand on their fibre technology portfolio. Nedap SourceSecurity.com also attended a seminar at the Nedap stand about their collaboration with EE. EE has selected Nedap's AEOS security management platform as part of their plan to expand their business throughout the UK. Since the AEOS system is completely web-based, EE employees can access it from anywhere. Traka At the Traka stand, Tanveer Choudhry, Global Marketing Manager at Traka, gave us a demonstration of their new Traka 21 - a plug and play key management system designed for small to medium size businesses. The system is very user-friendly and easy to use, as Tanveer showed us. Furthermore, a PC connection isn't necessary as the Traka 21 can operate as a stand-alone. However, the system features a USB port, which allows employees to extract user data. The Traka 21 will be available later this year.
Ever wish your smart phone could see in the dark? Sure you have, and FLIR Systems has just the gadget to make it possible. It’s the FLIR One, the “first personal thermal imaging device for consumers,” introduced earlier this year. Now available for the iPhone, with a version for select Android models coming soon, the product sells for less than $350. It allows its users to “see what the naked eye can’t.” According to the manufacturer, FLIR One “provides a visual image of minute temperature differences, giving users the power to see in the dark, observe invisible heat sources, compare relative temperatures, [and] see through smoke.” FLIR One made a big splash at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January and has been widely featured in the technology media since then. FLIR One is part of the company’s strategy of promoting greater use of thermal imaging in a variety of markets, including security, by increasing overall consumer awareness of the power of the technology. The new camera for the consumer market uses technology that will also be coming soon to a security camera near you, expanding the capabilities of video surveillance and combining the benefits of thermal and visible imaging into a single video stream. FLIR’s Multi-Spectral Dynamic Imaging (MSX) capability – used in the FLIR One and soon to be incorporated into security cameras – involves extracting the details of a visible image and “embossing” them onto a thermal image, says Andy Teich, FLIR CEO. The FLIR One uses both a thermal image sensor and the smart phone’s visible camera; there are two apertures. The compact device combines both of the images using MSX algorithms running in the background to calibrate and perfectly align the two images into one. The smart phone then displays a single video image that is richer in content than either one individually. The resulting thermal image includes some of the visible details – the most important ones at any rate. “[The technology] blends high-fidelity detail from a visible image with thermal for an image this is quite rich in detail,” Teich says. In the security market, for example, the image can combine a thermal image of a car in a parking lot with the ability to read the license plate number, which would be captured by a visible sensor. The “edges” created by colour changes in a visible image provide detail that is combined with a thermal image. (FLIR has provided both visible and thermal cameras since its acquisition of Lorex Technology in 2012.) Teich says the MSX technology was developed for the company’s thermography business, which involves the use of hand-held cameras for temperature detection. The FLIR One is the first camera introduced outside the thermography segment. “Ultimately it will find its way into the security business,” says Teich, probably “within the next year.”
Frank De Fina put Samsung on the map related to video surveillance in the United States market. Five years ago, before the longtime Panasonic executive signed on, the Samsung brand had little traction in the U.S. surveillance market, although the Korean giant was already well known in the broader electronics market. Back then Samsung surveillance cameras were thought of as inferior to Panasonic, Sony or the other brands – if they were thought of at all. Five years later, Samsung is climbing up the market share rankings. A lot of the success can be attributed to Samsung’s technological advances and the innovation of new products they are bringing to market. The products have gotten better, true, but De Fina gets the credit for building a solid management infrastructure and expanding the distribution channels over the last five years. Now, those elements will be continuing without him. “I’m leaving the company in better shape than I found it,” said De Fina, Samsung’s executive vice-president, North America. He emphasises that his parting with Samsung at the end of May is “amicable” and “based on personal reasons,” among them a grueling 106-mile-a-day commute. “I want the industry to know I’m taking a breather,” he said. “I want to adjust my life to better suit some of the issues I have.” “Building the Samsung brand and credibility were the main focus early on,” De Fina said. “You have to have great products, great people and success stories by customers who were willing to take a chance.” His only regret is that it took five years to accomplish the turnaround. “I wish I could have done it in two years instead of five,” he said. “Five years ago, it was literally a shell,” De Fina remembers. “There were no processes and no team. I am pleased to say I organised and built a great team. The credit for building the business goes to that team.” The success has been notable as Samsung has increased its market share in the United States and is on track to increase U.S. video surveillance sales by more than 75 percent this year over last. ”The team at Samsung is great, and I don’t want them to suffer from this (departure) being misunderstood,” said De Fina in a telephone conference call with a dozen or so security industry journalists. In the call, he deferred any mention of his possible successor to “the management at Samsung.” What’s next for Frank De Fina? One possibility is to work as a consultant, he said. “I’d like to be a business professor at Princeton (near my home), but I don’t have a degree in physics, and they would probably check,” he joked.