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
The 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament is bringing 32 national teams and more than 400,000 foreign football fans from all over the world to 12 venues in 11 cities in Russia. Fans are crowding into cities including Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan. Given continuing global concerns about terrorism, security is top-of-mind. Protection of the World Cup games in Russia is focusing on an “integrated safety, security and service approach,” according to officials. Combining the term “security” with the terms “safety” and “service” is not an accident. An aggressive security stance is necessary, but at the end of the day, fan safety is paramount, and a service-oriented approach ensures a positive fan experience. Medical responders will be working side-by-side with police and antiterrorism personnel. Risk management best practices We asked Sean T. Horner and Ben Joelson, directors of the Chertoff Group, a global advisory firm focused on best practices in security and risk management, to comment on security at FIFA World Cup 2018. Although not involved in securing the 2018 World Cup, the Chertoff Group is experienced at securing large events and enterprises using risk management, business practices and security. Integration is another important aspect of protecting the games, says Horner. The use of multiple resources, including Russian military, intelligence and law enforcement, will be closely integrated to provide the best security for the large-scale event in each of the host cities, he says. The approach will be centralised and flexible, with resource deployment guided by effective situational awareness. Primary security and emergency operations centres will be dispersed throughout each host city “There is a unified command structure at the Russian Federation level, and they will keep resources in reserve and shift them as needed to various events and venues based on any specific intelligence, in effect deploying resources where threats are greatest,” says Joelson. “There will also be some regional commands, and resources will incorporate a spectrum of police and military personnel ranging from the ‘cop on the beat’ to the Spetsnaz, the Russian ‘special forces'.” Primary security and emergency operations centres will be dispersed throughout each host city, and additional forces can be shifted as necessary, he notes. Role of law enforcement In Russia, the lines of separation between law enforcement and the military are not as stark as in the United States, for example, where military forces are restricted from deployment for domestic law enforcement by the Posse Comitatus Act. In Russia, there is no such restriction. A broad range of technology will play a role at the World Cup, Horner and Joelson agree. Technology will be used primarily as a force multiplier and a decision-support tool for security personnel. There are robust CCTV systems in many Russian cities, and mobile CCTV systems, such as camera towers or mobile security centres on wheels, will also be deployed. Technologies will include infrared cameras, flood lights, and ferromagnetic screening systems to scan hundreds of individuals as they walk by. In some locations, facial recognition systems will be used, tied into various intelligence, military and law enforcement databases of known bad actors. Behaviour analytics will be used as a decision-support tool. In addition to security in public areas, private CCTV systems in hotels, at transportation hubs, and inside the venues themselves will be leveraged. Video analytics and detection will help personnel review live view of people who may be acting suspiciously or who leave a bag unattended. In some locations, facial recognition systems will be used, tied into various intelligence, military and law enforcement databases of known bad actors Rigorous anti-terrorism measures A Fan ID card is required to enter the 2018 World Cup Tournament, even for Russian residents. The Russians have an aggressive stance against domestic terrorism, which will also help ensure the safety of the World Cup games, say Horner and Joelson. Terrorist group ISIS has promised “unprecedented violence” at the games, but they make similar threats at every major global event. Russia has been an active force disrupting ISIS in Syria, and experts suggest that losing ground geographically could lead to addition “asymmetric” terrorist attacks. However, Russia is leveraging all their intelligence resources to identify any plots and deploying their security apparatus to disrupt any planned attacks, experts say. Russia’s rigorous anti-terrorism measures include a total ban on planes and other flying devices (such as drones) around the stadiums hosting the World Cup. Private security In addition to military, intelligence and law enforcement personnel, private security will play a have a high profile during the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Private security personnel will be on the front lines in hotels and in “fan zones.” They will operate magnetometers at entrances, perform bag checks, enforce restrictions on hand-carried items, etc. Private security will be especially important to the “guest experience” aspects of protecting the games. Private security will be especially important to the “guest experience” aspects of protecting the games Another private security function at the World Cup is executive protection of dignitaries and high-net-worth individuals who will be attending. Executive protection professionals will arrive early, conduct advanced security assessments before VIPs arrive, and secure trusted and vetted transportation (including armoured cars in some cases.) VIPs will include both Russian citizens and foreign (including U.S.) dignitaries attending the games. Private security details will be out in force. Aggressive security approach Overeager and outspoken fans are a part of the football culture, but Russia will deploy a near-zero tolerance policy against hooliganism and riots. An overwhelming force presence will take an aggressive approach to curbing any civil disturbances, and offenders will be removed quickly by Russian security forces. Strict restrictions on the sale and consumption of alcohol will be enforced in the venue cities before and after the matches. Officials will also be cognisant of the possibility of a riot or other event being used as a distraction to draw attention from another area where a terrorist event is planned. It will be a delicate balance between deploying an aggressive security approach and preserving the fan experience. Joelson notes that freedom of speech is not as valued in Russia as in other parts of the world, so the scales will be even more tipped toward security. “The last thing they want is for things to get out of control,” says Horner. “The event is putting Russia on the world stage, and they want visitors to walk away safely after having a great time and wanting to go back in the future.” Attendees should also have good situational awareness, and keep their heads up, scanning crowds and identifying unsafe situations" Precautions for World Cup attendees Attendees to the World Cup in Russia should take some basic precautions, Horner and Joelson agree. For example, Russia requires a translated, notarised letter explaining any prescription drugs. The country has a more aggressive foreign intelligence environment, so visitors cannot depend on their data being private. Joelson recommends the usual “social media hygiene” and privacy settings. Visitors should not post information about their travel plans or locations, and it’s best to travel with a disposable mobile phone that does not contain personal information. Location tracking should be deactivated. Travellers should also beware of talking and sharing information with others, or of saying anything derogatory. “They should also have good situational awareness, and keep their heads up, scanning crowds and identifying unsafe situations,” says Joelson. “If you bring a personal electronic device, you should expect that it has been compromised,” says Horner. Text messages and email will not be private, and he suggests creating an email address used only for travel. Don’t leave drinks unattended. Travellers from the U.S. should register at the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) operated by the U.S. State Department. “Plan before you travel and before you get to the airport,” says Horner.
The concept of door locks means something totally different in our current age of smarter buildings that house data-driven businesses. Hardware locks and keys are still around, but they co-exist with a brave new world of electronic locks, wireless locks, networked systems, and smarter access control. Locks can also increasingly be a part of a smart building’s flow of data. The opportunities of these new technologies and approaches are significant, but there are also pitfalls. I heard an interesting discussion about these topics presented by several business leaders from lock company Allegion at a press event at ISC West earlier this year. Here are some highlights from that discussion. Q: What new developments in emerging technologies do you see in the coming years? There’s opportunity for implementation of the technology to solve real problems" Mark Jenner, Market Development Director: Connected locks, other types of sensors and all the data being aggregated inside buildings provide opportunity for data analytics. The buzzwords around technologies can cause confusion for integrators and end users, such as artificial intelligence, deep learning and machine learning, and what’s the difference among all of them? My opinion is that they are important, but the big theme across them all is opportunities for new business models for the integrator, and opportunities to solve problems for end users. And it’s not just technology for technology’s sake. There’s opportunity for implementation of the technology to solve real problems. Devin Love, Market Development Manager: You can’t just have a solution looking for a problem. You see a lot of people who understand technology in their own lives, and they want to translate that into their businesses. That’s where I think it’s exciting. You now have all this technology, and people understand it to the extent that it improves their daily life. They go through their day with less friction, with more ease, and technology fades to the background. There are two levels of value. One is the longer, bigger, broader scope of what the technology can bring to a company using it, but on an immediate basis, there is the value of tracking how a business is running. These sensors are collecting data. For example, if you are a multi-tenant property, you can look at how amenities are being used. What do my residents really care about? That informs future decisions. Robert Gaulden, Project Based Business Leader, Electronic Access Control: I have been studying the multi-family space for the last couple of months. The customer experience is really driving a lot of that technology adoption. What you’re seeing today, whether it’s a mobile device or some other device, is the ability to move throughout the property, and gain access to the perimeter and to your tenant space. All of this adoption is around that experience. There’s multiple players coming into the space, from Amazon wanting to deliver packages into the tenant space to residents who don’t want the inconvenience of using a key. Technology adoption to solve problems, and also to drive experiences, is where a lot of the balance will play out. It’s important that we look at how integrators can use the technology to do business more effectively and efficiently" Brad Aikin, Channel Led Business Leader, Integrator Channel: From an integrator perspective, there are two things. One is how they can approach end users, and the scope of what integrators consult with them about is wider. I think we as an industry are getting beyond those high-traffic, high-security applications. Those are still critical, but the value we bring around security and convenience is opening a new incremental opportunity. Also, the experience of the integrator and how they conduct their business is important, from generating quotes to communications to proactive servicing. It’s important that we look at how integrators can use the technology to do business more effectively and efficiently. Gaulden: We as an industry, and we as manufacturers, need to understand what data we are generating so we can run our businesses more efficiently from every aspect, whether you’re the property manager, the building owner, the integrator, or whether you’re the manufacturer. These devices and technology are being pushed out everywhere and will generate the data. How we learn from that – especially when you apply security to it to be more proactive – provides huge opportunities. Jenner: What data is important and what’s not? Folks get overwhelmed with too much data at some point. What’s important for an application at the end user level? What do they really need to solve the problem? Love: Privacy gets involved as well, especially with consumer products. The attitude is “stay out of my private business.” But if you’re an employee now, all bets are off. Now you have a professional relationship with the people you work with, so there is a different lens that you look through when tracking data. You use the data to everyone’s benefit, and it’s a different paradigm than in your private life. Aikin: Also, where does that data create a better experience for the person? That’s what drives the money and value: What level of information sharing makes my experience better? The technology is also getting smarter in terms of “how do we sort through the valuable information?” Hardware locks and keys are still around, but they co-exist with a brave new world of electronic locks, wireless locks, networked systems, and smarter access control Q: As facilities connect more devices and sensors, the cybersecurity threats increase. We have already seen Internet of Things (IoT) devices being used as the attack point of cyber breaches. What are the vulnerabilities that make those attacks possible, and how can integrators protect their customers? Love: Certainly, this is an extremely – maybe the most important – piece of our industry. What is the point of everything we do if we can’t instill that trust? But what we need to solve here also comes with opportunity. There’s certainly hope. You’re not seeing a frontal attack on the technology. It’s usually some loophole, or some older device that hasn’t been updated, or wasn’t installed correctly, or it was social-engineered. The opportunity is, not that it can’t be solved, but that it absolutely needs to be solved – and it can. Gaulden: Integrators need the ability to understand that cyber layer and what it means. Nowadays, everything runs on the network, and you won’t even get past the IT department to get on the network if you don’t have the right staff, the right credentials. From an integrator standpoint, you need the ability to add to your staff, to understand everything from the product level to the firmware and the software level, all the way to the deployment of the holistic system. You can’t just say, “That’s not part of our responsibility.” All these devices are now riding on the network. They can be protected from a cyber perspective, or you will have vulnerabilities. As manufacturers and business consultants to integrators, we should facilitate the conversation, that it is one ecosystem" Aikin: Everything is a communication device. With the concern and need comes an opportunity for the integrator. But it’s also in making sure integrators are having that conversation with end users and setting the expectations up front. What I’m providing you on day one is the best in the industry at this time, but tomorrow it may not be. My accountability and service are to maintain that environment and keep it running. I may not physically change the device you see, but the service I’m bringing to you is that security, and that comprehensive dialogue. The IT stakeholders already have that expectation, but there is a chasm in some organisations between the physical security and the IT stakeholders, and the integrator is facilitating that conversation. As manufacturers and business consultants to integrators, we should facilitate that conversation. It is one ecosystem. Q: Aside from cybersecurity, what are some of the other threats that integrators should be aware of as they work with customers to implement the new trends and technologies we have mentioned? Aikin: It is diversifying, all the options and the capabilities. With that comes confusion and misapplication. If I look at the trends around just wireless; I go back 10 years ago, there were even questions of whether wireless was a secure technology. That has progressed and continues to be part of the cyber conversation, just like any hardwired product. It’s something you have to maintain and be aware of. Wireless has really diversified. There is still a need for education within the channel, and most importantly, to the end user. There are still end users that assume a WiFi widget is the same thing as a Bluetooth widget is the same thing as a low-frequency widget. But they are all different. There are reasons there are different technologies. Nothing stifles the adoption of technology more than misapplication. We have different architectures within our lock base and among our software partners to allow a mix of technology" Gaulden: Integrators understand the differences in how various doors are used and how those applications will work. In the K-12 school environment, you want the ability for an instant lockdown, and a WiFi deployment probably isn’t your best option. You need a real-time deployment. However, my office door at headquarters doesn’t necessarily need real-time communication. I can pull audits off it once or twice a day. You have to mix and match technologies. For a high security door, you would proactively monitor it. But for a door where convenience is the goal, we can put electronic security on it but we don’t need to know what’s going on at any moment in time. We have different architectures within our lock base and among our software partners to allow that mix of technology. Jenner: End users want the latest technology, but it may not be for their applications. Those things drive more costs into it, when end users need to be putting money into cybersecurity and some other things. That’s part of the misapplication. Another risk is interoperability. That’s a big piece of the technology and as things change. How do we do a better job of supporting open architecture? It may not be a standards-based protocol, although we use a lot of standards, but we just need to make sure whatever protocols we use are open and easily accessible so we can continue to work with them in the future. We know that when our devices go in, they will support other parts of the ecosystem from an interoperability perspective. That’s important for integrators to know: How is this going to be applied and integrate with something in three, four or five years from now? It’s an expensive investment, and I want to make sure it will work in the future. Main photo: Business leaders from Allegion discussed new trends in electronic and wireless locks at a recent press event: (L-R) Robert Gaulden, Devin Love, Brad Aikin and Mark Jenner.
Twitter has around 350 million active users a month, all eagerly posting 280-character “tweets” about the world around them. It’s a vast amount of data from all over the globe. Security professionals have begun to appreciate the value of mining all that data for insights to help them protect people, assets and operations. One company leveraging the Twitterverse to provide real-time situational awareness to corporate security end users is Dataminr.Dataminr assembles this information flow into a useful timeline that summarises the ongoing sequence of events Algorithms for actionable security signals The New York-based technology company has developed algorithms that comb through the full Twitter dataset to provide actionable signals to security professionals around the world about security-related events as they unfold. For corporate security, early information about an unfolding event enables them to take action faster in order to secure their people, locations and business operations. “OMG! Just heard a loud bang on the quad,” a tweet might declare. Combined with location information gleaned from a mobile phone, such a tweet could be the first indicator of an unfolding security incident. As an event unfolds, hundreds of such tweets are likely to be posted from the surrounding areas, collectively offering a running narrative of developing events. Dataminr assembles this information flow into a useful timeline that summarises the ongoing sequence of events. Many times, tweets are the first information available from an incident even before the arrival of first responders.Dataminr’s information is provided in a variety of platforms, from a web-based dashboard to a mobile app or notification via email “Early notification allows security professionals to be more proactive,” says Dillon Twombly, SVP, Corporate Sales at Dataminr. “We have a broad range of users across Fortune 1000 companies, and also including country security managers, security operations centers, and executive protection. "In retail, we provide information for security operations or loss prevention. Events sometimes have a potential to spin out of control, and we allow security professionals to react faster and get ahead of an event proactively.” Various security platforms Dataminr’s information is provided in a variety of platforms, from a web-based dashboard to a mobile app or notification via email. The system can be integrated with a company’s workflow, and the software interfaces with various security platforms, such as physical security information management (PSIM) systems. Another corporate use for Dataminr is in public relations, where social media could be a source of misinformation or rumors about an issue or event Dataminr addresses all regulatory and legal concerns, and it is GDPR-compliant. However, privacy is generally not a big concern because Twitter data is posted publicly, and Dataminr gleans information related to a specific event, not a specific Twitter user’s individual data. “Over the past couple of years, we have grown the security vertical,” says Twombly. “The market is receptive to the value of social media as a tool for users tasked with responding in a comprehensive way to a range of issues.”The company’s services are useful across the full range of vertical markets in the security industry Public safety and security In addition to security and public safety applications, Dataminr also provides services to financial companies and even media outlets. In fact, the 9-year-old company started in finance, where stock or currency traders were able to leverage breaking news notifications to make decisions faster. In the media vertical, Dataminr provides information to 500 newsrooms globally. Public safety and security uses have evolved, and Twombly currently spearheads the company’s work in corporate security, calling on his experience in the security world. Another corporate use for Dataminr is in public relations, where social media could be a source of misinformation or rumors about an issue or event.Customers can customise the kind of information they want to receive, and Dataminr algorithms use the full publicly available data set of Twitter Tracking Twitter posts enables a company to get ahead of an evolving story and help to shape the narrative. Twombly says Dataminr has “deep and broad relationships” with corporate customers and delivers information that can possibly be used by multiple departments in an organisation. The company’s services are useful across the full range of vertical markets in the security industry, from transportation to major industrials to financial services to energy. In the education vertical, major universities are customers, as are local school districts. Customers can customise the kind of information they want to receive, and Dataminr algorithms use the full publicly available data set of Twitter. Twombly says the company’s software is constantly evolving and being fine-tuned in response to changing needs. Dataminr is a “strategic partner” of the social media giant and works closely with them on product development, he adds.
Several recent terrorist and mass violence attacks have been directed at soft targets, or relatively unprotected locations where people gather such as outside a music venue or in the unscreened passenger areas at airports. Attacks in public areas have led to the development of new security technologies aimed at protecting soft targets. One company addressing the challenges is Evolv Technology and its Edge automated high-speed personnel screening solution. The system integrates walkthrough firearm and explosive detection for high-throughput protection of events and soft targets.The Edge system has multiple detection sensitivity settings to respond to various threat scenarios Enhanced visitor experience The system seeks to increase security without compromising the ‘customer experience’. People simply walk through single-file – between two 5-foot-tall stanchions. One lane can screen up to 800 people per hour, and the system detects explosives or metallic objects without the need for pat-downs or wands or other invasive procedures. Any personal belongings can remain in visitors’ pockets. A single security guard is needed for each lane to verify any detected threats. “The system combines an improved security posture with a better visitor experience,” says Mike Ellenbogen, CEO of Evolv Technology. “We need to fly and have been trained to be screened at the airport, but we don’t expect to be screened going to see a ball game or a Mozart concert. Evolv recognised a need for a new way to inspect people before they enter these types of facilities. It’s a seamless system that pulls various technologies together. We want to feel safe but without having to sacrifice the quality of the experience.”Screening analytics provide data on the numbers of people screened by time of day and by result The system combines millimetre wave and magnetic field sensors, along with artificial intelligence (AI)/ machine learning and can incorporate additional data such as biometrics. Known bad actors can be identified using facial recognition. The system has multiple detection sensitivity settings to respond to various threat scenarios. Expanding perimeter protection A security guard provides the human touch by verifying any threats detected by the system. The locations of concealed items are displayed on a photo of the individual using a color-coded box overlay. Screening analytics provide data on the numbers of people screened by time of day and by result. Ellenbogen says the company is working to have the system adopted at entertainment venues, performing arts centres, sports centres, for air and rail transportation, and to protect high-profile government buildings. The Edge system can expand the protected perimeter to a wider area that was previously unprotected. The Edge system can expand the protected perimeter to a wider area that was previously unprotected For example, concert-goers exited the arena of an Ariana Grande concert May 22, 2017, in Manchester, U.K., and entered the surrounding area that was unscreened and unsecured. Placing a user-friendly screening system around a wider perimeter outside the concert venue might have prevented the use of an improvised explosive device in the terrorist attack.Placing a user-friendly screening system around a wider perimeter outside the concert venue might have prevented the use of an improvised explosive device in the terrorist attack Threat mitigation with soft target approach Likewise, a 2016 bombing at the Brussels Airport occurred in the departure hall outside the passenger screening areas. Securing a wider perimeter – for example, screening customers discreetly as they enter the airport building from a parking area – could have provided additional security against such an attack. Ellenbogen confirms Evolv has sold a number of systems to major European airports to screen visitors and passengers as they enter the front door. “Addressing the threat to an airport or train system is different than screening passengers; we are looking for different types of objects and different types of materials. The idea is to be able to detect threats to a venue before they get into the venue.” The soft target approach can also be applied to public buildings, such as courthouses, and used in lieu of more invasive metal detectors and x-ray machines. The portability of the Edge system enables a ‘pop-up’ approach to security – i.e., to relocate the system to address specific or changing security threats easily. The self-contained system only requires a wall plug. Labour reduction (because of faster throughput) can help offset the system costs but it’s difficult to quantify the improvement in the visitor experienceImproving security posture at event venues “It’s surprising the level of importance [venue owners] put on the visitor experience,” says Ellenbogen. “They see that their brand starts at the front door. They are eager to find alternative security solutions that come across as more inviting, less imposing, less closed down, less invasive than the solutions they have been using,” he says. “They are driven by a desire to improve the visitor experience as they improve the security posture.” He says current events, including terrorist attacks and mass shootings, drive awareness among venue owners to improve the security of soft targets. “The level of interest is high, and it spikes somewhat when there is a big headline,” Ellenbogen says. He notes that the system is more expensive than a metal detector, but about a third the cost of familiar airport body scanners. Labour reduction (because of faster throughput) can help offset the system costs, but “it’s difficult to quantify the improvement in the visitor experience,” Ellenbogen says.
The U.S. House of Representatives has voted 351-61 to ban federal agencies from buying Chinese-made surveillance cameras. The measure was passed May 24 as an amendment to House Bill 5515, the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which is the funding plan for the military that also maps out a variety of policy priorities. The bill is at least several months away from becoming law, and it must still be considered by the Senate and then by a House-Senate conference committee before final passage. Changes can be made at each stage. It would also have to be signed by President Trump. The amendment targeting video surveillance cameras was offered by Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican. “Video surveillance and security equipment sold by Chinese companies exposes the U.S. government to significant vulnerabilities and my amendment will ensure that China cannot create a video surveillance network within federal agencies,” says Hartzler in a press release. Companies affected by the ban The proposed ban appears to lump our industry’s familiar video surveillance players together with other companies that the U.S. government has targeted for security concerns. Also mentioned in the amendment are Hytera Communications, a Chinese digital mobile radio manufacturer previously charged with patent infringement; and ZTE Corp., a Chinese telecommunications company accused of violating trade-sanction agreements and posing a threat to U.S. national security. The bill also mentions Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., a Chinese telecommunications manufacturer previously investigated as a national security threat.The proposed ban appears to lump our industry’s familiar video surveillance players together with other companies that the U.S. government has targeted for security concerns Two familiar companies in our industry – Hikvision and Dahua – are mentioned in the bill by their full names, Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. and Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co. In addition to their branded video lines, the two companies also are the largest providers of OEM/'white label' cameras and video systems that are sold under other brand names, such as Honeywell, Stanley and UTC. The bill specifically mentions the inclusion of white label technology in the ban. Addressing concerns In the case of Hikvision, one concern is whether the company is owned by the Chinese government. Hikvision has previously addressed this issue, emphasising its ownership by “a diverse set of private and public entities” with the largest share belonging to a Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE). Hikvision declined to comment for this article. However, the company has published a statement (“Special Bulletin”): “We are actively working to assure our North American stakeholders that Hikvision strictly abides by the laws and regulations of each country in which it operates. We also affirm the fact that we hold our products to the industry’s global cybersecurity standards, including North America.” The Hikvision statement continues: “As we continue to monitor and further deploy the necessary resources to address this matter over the coming weeks and months, please know that we will vigorously defend Hikvision from dangerous and unproven accusations about the cybersecurity of our products and solutions.” If SIA decides to take a position based on member feedback, it will occur during the normal legislative process" Commitment to compliance Dahua answered our requests for a comment with the following official response: “Dahua Technology is a commercial enterprise with a high level of business integrity. The international company [is] committed to compliance with all applicable laws and regulations in the countries in which it does business.” The company’s response continues: “Dahua Technology dedicates 10 percent of its revenue to research and development annually. Dahua has designated cybersecurity as a top priority and takes a comprehensive and systemic approach, with complementary and redundant safeguards built into its technology, services and organisational practices. Dahua Technology is positioning itself as a cybersecurity leader within the video surveillance industry.” The Security Industry Association (SIA) has submitted the House amendment to its government relations committee for review and consideration. “Any recommended position by the government relations committee will be referred to the SIA Executive Committee for their consideration and approval,” says Don Erickson, CEO of SIA. “If SIA decides to take a position based on member feedback, it will occur during the normal legislative process as the bill is considered by the Senate, and then ultimately by a House-Senate conference committee.” Impact on global video camera supply Congresswoman Hartzler’s amendment is aimed at “ensur[ing] federal agencies do not purchase Chinese-made surveillance cameras,” according to the press release from her office. Obviously, there are more than just the two mentioned companies manufacturing surveillance cameras in China, so the question becomes whether the intent is to ban all Chinese cameras from government use. Such a proposal would create an even larger issue, given that 60 to 65 percent of the global supply of commercial video cameras are manufactured in China, according to one industry source.60 to 65 percent of the global supply of commercial video cameras are manufactured in China, according to one industry source The bill does not address the possible use of Chinese-made components in cameras that are assembled elsewhere in the world (but technically are not 'made in China'). “Those types of issues are commonly explained in implementation guidelines that would be created afterwards if the proposed language becomes law,” says Erickson. The NDAA is unlikely to become law for several months. A version previously passed by the Senate Armed Services committee must be presented to the full Senate, where it can also be amended. Then the House and Senate bills must be reconciled.
Arecont Vision is a company in transition to say the least. With its balance sheet burdened with debt, the company is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and simultaneously being acquired by a private equity firm. The ‘new’ Arecont Vision that will emerge after several months when the process is complete will have a new owner, a clean balance sheet, and be poised to succeed in the competitive world of video surveillance, says Raul Calderon, Arecont Vision CEO and General Manager.Good companies go through restructuring, and the company will be better off after doing it. We will be able to lead” Ensuring business continuity An asset purchase agreement announced this week with an affiliate of Turnspire Capital Partners LLC involves the private equity firm acquiring Arecont Vision’s assets. To eliminate the debt, the company has initiated proceedings under Chapter 11 of the United State Bankruptcy Code in the District of Delaware. “We want the industry to know that we are restructuring our business and our financing,” says Calderon. “We are not going out of business. It is a financial restructuring more than anything.” Business will continue uninterrupted during the bankruptcy, he says, with debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing provided by Arecont Vision’s current secured lenders. Turnspire, as the ‘stalking-horse bidder’, sets the low-end bidding bar and guarantees the company will have new ownership at the conclusion of the process “Good companies go through restructuring, and the company will be better off after doing it,” Calderon adds. “We will be able to lead and innovate, to be stronger, better and faster once we finish.” For perspective, it is interesting to note that, in the broader business world, some well-known companies have emerged from Chapter 11 even stronger, such as Delta and American Airlines and General Motors. Investment in product development Previously Arecont Vision has been burdened by the costs of $80 million in debt the owners took on in 2014. The burden of that debt has limited the company’s flexibility to react to the more competitive industry landscape, and to implement strategies to reverse softening sales numbers in the last couple of years. “We couldn’t use the money in the company because we were servicing the debt,” says Calderon. “In order to be compliant with the enormous debt service, we made decisions to reduce head count and expenses.” “[The bankruptcy] will free up that money to invest in the organisation,” he adds. “We will be able to make decisions for our future rather than the past, including investments in product development.” Focus and investment will be on key functions such as engineering, product development and sales Although there is an asset purchase agreement in place with Turnspire, there will also be an auction that could result in a higher bidder. Turnspire, as the ‘stalking-horse bidder’, sets the low-end bidding bar and guarantees the company will have new ownership at the conclusion of the process, either Turnspire or a company that outbids their offer. Calderon says Turnspire “shares our vision and will ensure an exciting future for the company.” The transaction is expected to move fast and close within a couple of months.Arecont Vision expects to continue to compete based on technology differentiation in the market, rather than on price Maintaining technology differentiation-based competition Turnspire Capital Partners is a private equity investor that is a ‘turnaround specialist’. Their website describes their role as targeting “high-quality businesses that have reached strategic, operational or financial inflection points and stand to benefit from [a] hands-on, operationally focused approach.” Calderon says Arecont Vision’s investment banker, Imperial Capital, was instrumental in bringing Turnspire to the table. The Turnspire purchase agreement proposes that the new owner retain the majority of employees, and the overall function and motivation of the company will remain. New levels of outsourcing, new software tools, or other strategies may be implemented to increase efficiency of operations. Focus (and investment) are likely to centre on key functions such as engineering, product development and sales. After the acquisition and bankruptcy are completed – in the next several months – Arecont Vision expects to continue to compete based on technology differentiation in the market, rather than on price, says Calderon. Business as usual Customers and partners see it as a positive step, and they understand that getting rid of the debt burden can only be positive” Calderon declined to be more specific about future plans for the company under the new ownership, who will ultimately decide what those plans are. He did reiterate Arecont Vision’s past successes and expected continuing role in the market. “We are looking to provide the leadership and the type of solution we are known for providing,” he says. “We have come out with some innovative things historically, from megapixel cameras to the first H.264 cameras to the first omni-directional cameras. We have not stopped our innovation, and our intent is to lead the market again with innovative solutions. Another key is to do right by our customers today and in the future, improving customer service, providing better offerings to our customers – that’s what we will be looking to do.” “I’ve had a lot of conversations with customers and partners in the last couple of days,” Calderon says. “I can say the conversations have been encouraging. They see it as a positive step, and they understand that getting rid of the debt burden can only be positive. Customers and partners have offered help, and we’re still closing deals. It’s business as usual.” He noted the company is seeking transparency throughout the process and wants to ‘get in front of’ the information flow, rather than allowing others to drive the narrative.
Ambarella is a big player in the video surveillance market, but not a familiar name to many buyers of security cameras. They don’t make cameras, but they make the computer chips inside. Founded in 2004, Ambarella began in the broadcast infrastructure encoders market and entered the market for professional security cameras in 2008. More recently, the company has also entered the market for automotive OEM solutions. Between 2005 and 2015, the company has produced a progression of advanced camera system on chips (SoCs) designed, developed and mass-produced for the consumer electronics, broadcast and IP camera markets. An SoC includes an image processor as well as capabilities to run software and provide computer vision (analytics). Development has been happening fast at Ambarella. In January, they introduced the CV22 camera SoC, combining image processing, 4K and 60fps video encoding and computer vision (video analytics) processing in a single, low-power-design chip. CVflow architecture provides DNN (deep neural network) processing required for the next generation of intelligent cameras. The even newer CV2 camera SoC, introduced in late-March, delivers up to 20 times the deep neural network performance of Ambarella's first generation CV1 chip, also with low power consumption. I caught up with Chris Day, Ambarella’s vice president of marketing and business development, at the ISC West show to find out more about the company. Q: Your company is not as well known in the industry as it should be, given its widespread impact on the market. Would you prefer otherwise? Day: I think we would prefer more visibility. If you talk to any camera maker, they know who we are. We do business with all the top-10 camera companies – Hikvision, Dahua, Avigilon, Pelco and the rest. Because we are a chip supplier, the end-customer deciding to buy a camera may not know what chip is inside. For that reason, we may not have the visibility. But if you are a camera maker, you know who we are. Typically, it takes nine months to develop a camera, longer with an intelligent camera because you are importing so much software Q: What are you hearing from your camera customers in terms of what they need, and how are they directing where you go with R&D? Day: We have become a major supplier to those companies based on years of developing image processing – wide dynamic range, low light, and similar features – as well as AVC (advanced) and HEVC (high-efficiency) video encoding. That’s the heritage of our company and why we do business with all these companies. The next treadmill is computer vision – adding the intelligence into the camera. The goal is still being best-in-class in imaging and encoding, but now being best-in-class in adding the intelligence and being able to do all those things with very low power, within the “thermal budget” of the camera. That’s the next big wave. Q: How far away is that in terms of the end-customer? How soon will he or she be able to reap the benefits? Day: By the end of 2018, or maybe next year. We’re just beginning to sample the CV22, for instance, which is the first SoC directed to security cameras. Typically, it takes nine months to develop a camera, maybe longer with an intelligent camera because you are importing so much software. So, we’re talking about the end of this year or next year. Q: Tell me about your current products and the next generation. Day: The CV22 is sampling this quarter. CV2 we announced [in late March], which is a high-performance chip. The idea is that we provide our customers with different price/performance points, so they can produce a family of cameras with different capabilities. They have the same basic software model, so someone can invest in software once and then have different performance points without completely rewriting the software. That’s key. They might have 100 software engineers developing neural networks and all the features, so if you have to recreate that at different price points, it’s a lot of work. Ambarella provides customers with different price/performance points, so they can produce a family of cameras with different capabilities Q: Historically, video analytics have over-promised and under-delivered. What would you say to a sceptical user in terms of how much confidence they should have in the next wave of products? Day: Ambarella has been in the security business for 10 years, and some of us have been in the business for 15 years. Every year I’ve been disappointed by the analytics I have seen at the ISC West show. Every year there are incremental improvements – 2 percent, 5 percent, whatever – but in general, I became a sceptic, as well. What is fundamentally different now is the neural network approach to computer vision. Even for us developing these chips: In CV1 we had a certain level of deep neural network performance. We produced CV22 in the same year with four times the performance, and then CV2 has 20 times the performance in the space of one year. That’s just at the chip level. But the neural network approach to analytics and computer vision is game changing if you look at the things you can do with it compared to traditional analytics approaches. If you look at what it’s doing in automotive and security, you will see significant development. I totally appreciate the scepticism, but I think it is completely game-changing at this point, based on the technology in the chips and based on what’s happening with neural networks. Q: What do you think the next big thing is? Day: I think the next big thing is the neural networks; it’s the intelligence in the camera. People have been pushing toward higher resolution, we’ve done 4K, we have incredible imaging even in really dark scenes. So we have been solving all those problems. And so now to add the computer vision and be able to do that in parallel with the image processing and high-resolution encoding, and all in a chip that is low-power. That’s the differentiator. Q: What else is happening? Jerome Gigot, Senior Director Marketing: There is a lot happening on the consumer side, too, with the home security market. You will see cameras in your home with more and more intelligence. Some are used for video doorbells. On some of the new cameras, we have package notification – you get notified if a package arrives, or if someone steals your package. And new battery-powered cameras are very easy to install with no wires.
Change is happening at MOBOTIX, and the German company wants to get the word out. “This company has been around since 1999, and people still give us a blank stare because they don’t understand what’s behind the curtain,” says Joe Byron, Vice President Sales Americas, MOBOTIX CORP. “As we gain visibility, people really want to know ‘what’s going on over there?’” There’s a lot going on. A new CEO, Thomas Lausten, who joined the company last year, is a former Milestone employee who brings with him the Milestone philosophy of open systems. It’s a culture shift for MOBOTIX, which has historically favoured closed systems. “We needed a new leader to take us to the next level,” says Byron. “Thomas brings an open-platform mentality. He listens to a variety of opinions – from end users, architects and engineers, and MOBOTIX employees – before formulating a smart decision. That will take us to the next level.”MOBOTIX has been well ahead of the industry’s technology curve, and several early innovations have recently become more common The MOBOTIX ecosystem Over the years, MOBOTIX has developed a unique “culture” that has many rabid devotees; some say it’s the security industry’s version of tech giant Apple. “MOBOTIX has many loyalists, who are enthused about the products and the culture,” says Byron. “We can build on that with a new level of products, more excitement and a new direction.” In addition to a new CEO, MOBOTIX will soon have a new chief technology officer (CTO), Hartmut Sprave, who will be joining this summer. Providing “fresh eyes on the subject” and an outside perspective from the IT industry will drive further innovation. “We don’t want to be on the bleeding edge, but on the cutting edge, and know the audience and its needs and challenges,” says Byron. MOBOTIX’ existing technology mix provides a foundation as the company makes the transition. In some cases, MOBOTIX has been well ahead of the industry’s technology curve, and several early innovations have recently become more common. An example is MOBOTIX’ decentralised system approach with edge-based recording. Tradeshow successes Products highlighted by MOBOTIX at the recent ISC West show included the M16 AllroundDual Multisensor IP camera, S16 DualFlex IP camera and the Q26 Hemispheric 360-degree panoramic IP camera for indoor and outdoor applications. MOBOTIX Management Center (MxMC) 1.8 can change the camera settings on 80 cameras at a time. MOBOTIX IP Video Door Stations can interface with iOS and Android smartphone apps. “We have had so many things in place over so many years that people haven’t known about,” says Byron. He argues that MOBOTIX’ emphasis on technology development sets it apart from some camera companies in the U.S. market. Joe Byron, Vice President of Sales, and Ashley Grabowski, Regional Marketing Manager, at ISC West 2018 “People have been let down in the U.S. market with cameras that have been over-marketed, over-reaching and have little substance,” he says. The German engineering of MOBOTIX products and systems provides an antidote to the technology void, he says. “They are looking for the substance, and that’s what we have,” says Byron. What was missing – until now – was the “layer of integration” with other systems in the market, contends Byron. That separated MOBOTIX from the rest of the industry.MOBOTIX offers cybersecurity features that pre-dated the current industry obsession, such as HTTPS/SSL encryption in recording and playback video “But now we are an open platform, and we have these features sets and are the best of both worlds,” he says. “We can align with technology products and bring MOBOTIX to the masses. It’s a matter of listening to customer challenges and formulating a path to meet those challenges.” The fruits of that open system approach were on display at ISC West. The MOBOTIX booth featured integrations with ClearSite, Omnicast by Genetec, Konica Minolta and Mx-MSP by APB Technology. Other MOBOTIX technology partners include Avigilon, Bosch, Exacq, Gallagher, IndigoVision, Lenel, Milestone, Pelco by Schneider Electric, Salient Systems, Verint and Video Insight (Panasonic). Targeting local markets Another change under the new leadership is more flexibility to address the needs of local markets. “We need to be aware of our audience in the Americas,” says Byron, “and how approaching the market and the product mix may be different. We have the ability to create what we need here to be successful.” One particular concern in the Americas market is cybersecurity, and MOBOTIX offers cybersecurity features that pre-dated the current industry obsession, such as HTTPS/SSL encryption in recording and playback video. “We already have it, but we have never broadcast it to the masses,” says Byron. “We have the substance but haven’t communicated it.” Looking to enter the government market, for example, MOBOTIX faces the important requirement to be “IA compliant.” The company qualifies as IA (information assurance) compliant but just needs to go through the process of getting the “rubber stamp.” “We have so much under the hood when it comes to our products,” says Byron. He says MOBOTIX’ Internet of Things (IoT) approach can meet any end user challenges. “We can be all things to all people, if they truly get to know us. We just need to develop a vehicle to allow customers to communicate with us: What is the challenge? Nine times out of 10 we can meet that challenge with one of our cameras.”
After the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting, Jody Allen Crowe set out to develop a threat suppression tool to address school violence. Five years later, the result of that effort is the Crotega Threat Suppression System, displayed this year at ISC West. The remotely-deployed threat suppression system drenches a perpetrator with a repulsive water-based solution, thus impairing their ability to enact violence. The solution irritates eyes, throat, lungs and skin, but does not cause permanent injury. Cleanup is easy using water and detergent. The solution is manually deployed in predetermined zones, which limits the affected areas in a building. Touch-screen control enables rapid deployment, which can also be integrated with Threat Alert buttons and/or gunshot detection. Benefits of suppression systems The Crotega Threat Suppression System is designed to deter workplace violence, disrupt active shooters, and delay threats until help can arrive. Introduction of the system is timely given the unrelenting sequence of school shootings and workplace violence that dominate the news. The system uses a “Repuls” solution sprayed from the ceiling in 5-, 10- or 15-second bursts.We did the industry standard testing to make sure we had a product that wouldn’t harm anybody” Crowe started the company in 2013 after Sandy Hook, doing research in his garage for the first couple of years. Investors joined and, in 2014, the long journey began to bring the system to market. The process involved obtaining multiple patents, testing the product, and addressing any fire code or other regulatory issues surrounding its use. Crotega has been working with fire marshals in their home state of Minnesota for three years to address fire code issues and has determined that there are no concerns. There are only 30 seconds of spray in the tank, so it does not delay building egress and doesn’t conceal or shroud an egress. “We did the industry standard testing to make sure we had a product that wouldn’t harm anybody,” says Crowe, Crotega Founder and President. “It’s intensely irritating, but it doesn’t do any irreparable harm to anybody.” Since last August, the company has moved from product development into full-scale marketing. An in-house sales team locates end user customers, and then puts them in touch with a local integrator in the area. Crowe started the company in 2013 after Sandy Hook, doing research in his garage for the first couple of years Exhibiting to integrators “We’re pulling the sales through integrators to train them to become a self-sustaining integrator for us,” says Crowe. “There are a couple of integrators we are training, and then we are finding other integrators that are meeting our requirements. “They can’t just do surveillance because there is a mechanical install involved, too. They have to be able to handle the mechanical install and then link it to surveillance.” As an exhibitor in the Emerging Technology Zone at ISC West, Crotega showed the product off to integrators and consultants. “This year our ISC West schedule filled up,” says Crowe. “We are lining up consultants to work with us, and we had some people bringing customers to see us at ISC.”Violence, especially in the back-of-the-house in Indian casinos, is a big issue. And that has energised that vertical for us" Current events tend to keep active shooter incidents and workplace violence top-of-mind. For example, the Las Vegas shooting in October energised awareness about the possibility of casino violence throughout the gaming industry, Crowe says. “It got people thinking,” he comments. “We don’t hear much about violence in casinos – especially Indian casinos, which are very quiet about what happens there. But violence, especially in the back-of-the-house in Indian casinos, is a big issue. And that has energised that vertical for us.” Other vertical markets include government buildings, military buildings, commercial buildings and religious buildings. Before founding Crotega, Jody Allen Crowe spent 18 years on Native American reservations as a teacher, principal and superintendent, where he observed the effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol. He developed school programs designed around the research of brain damage from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Crowe is also the founder of Healthy Brains for Children, a non-profit organisation focused on lowering the incidence of prenatal exposure to alcohol. Crowe has written a book, “The Fatal Link,” that posits a connection between perpetrators of school violence and pre-natal exposure to alcohol.
As ISC West opens today in Las Vegas, many companies will be introducing new products. But the announcements today from Arecont Vision will have a larger impact, and they involve much more than new products. In fact, the megapixel camera company is staking a claim to a broader slice of the market, and expanding its go-to-market strategy in the process. “The industry has changed, and the amount of competition out there today is significantly different and more pervasive,” says Raul Calderon, Arecont Vision’s Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. “We decided essentially to meet the market head on. It’s like a rebuilding and reshaping of our organisation to be more competitive and solutions-based for the future.” The details of that reshaping are playing out in multiple announcements at ISC West. Arecont Vision is announcing a new group of cameras, the Contera line, made in China, which includes single- and multi-sensor megapixel dome and bullet cameras. Also, expanding beyond its core camera business, Arecont Vision will introduce a Contera video management system (VMS) and cloud-managed video recorders (ConteraCMR) to round out a complete solution to address traditional and cloud-based video surveillance project requirements.The industry has changed, and the amount of competition out there today is significantly different and more pervasive” Remote access and management The cloud component of the new Arecont Vision platform is ConteraWS (web services), which enables local video recording and stores user profiles and cloud information for remote access and management. Management through the cloud means local administration is not required, thus reducing complexity and staffing needs. The system can be securely operated from a thick client, mobile app, Apple TV app, and/or a multi-browser web client. To ensure cybersecurity, ConteraWS has multi-factor authentication, NIST-compliant data encryption, transport layer security and requires no open inbound ports. Providing multiple system components enables customers going forward to buy end-to-end solutions from Arecont Vision. The online SysCon System Configurator simplifies selecting the best ConteraCMR platform for specific project requirements. The VMS, CMR and Web services components of the new end-to-end solution are rebranded by Arecont Vision in an OEM agreement with OpenEye. Providing multiple system components enables customers going forward to buy end-to-end solutions from Arecont Vision Enabling seamless integration As historically a camera manufacturer, why has Arecont Vision decided to embrace the trend toward end-to-end solutions? “The industry has spoken,” says Calderon. “Customers want to have a seamless integration with one provider of goods and services. We are adopting the mentality the broader industry has had for some years now.”Customers want to have a seamless integration with one provider of goods and services. We are adopting the mentality the broader industry has had for some years now” The “hybrid” platform involves video recording locally on premises (no bandwidth issues), but managed through the cloud by Amazon web services. There is an active connection between each recorder and the cloud. All administrative and access rights are managed in the cloud. A user can log into a web services account, which makes a connection to the recorder. This alleviates the requirement for any port forwarding or VPN. From an integration management standpoint, customers can manage all their clients and their recorders through a web services account. They can give permissions to local users to access only the recorders on their premises, but they can access centrally all the recorders they have deployed. From a maintenance and management standpoint, the approach allows an integrator to offer a true recurring monthly revenue (RMR)-based video solution. An integrator can charge for the web services access on a monthly basis, and/or provide other services such as health monitoring, or archiving critical video clips in the cloud. “This is a new take on the way VMSs work,” says Calderon. “It’s a new take on how we are delivering solutions to the market. We are driving toward a new way of doing business. The right integrators will see it as an opportunity to grow and develop their business — before someone else does.” The Contera cameras, the existing Mega camera line, and the Contera VMS, CMRs, and Web services are integrated for sale as end-to-end solutions. In addition, each component could also be deployed alongside other third-party components using ONVIF standards and leveraging Arecont Vision’s MegaLab program that tests and certifies third-party systems in the company’s Technology Partner Program. The Contera cameras will be assembled overseas and use industry-standard ASIC IC architecture We were able to develop, design, implement and manufacture the product in a more fast-track kind of way" New surveillance camera technology Unlike Arecont Vision’s existing Mega IP camera family, the Contera cameras will be assembled overseas and use industry-standard ASIC IC architecture, a system on a chip (SoC) platform that allows for a more affordable price point. The new cameras will also use Sony sensors. “We were able to develop, design, implement and manufacture the product in a more fast-track kind of way,” says Calderon. In contrast, the Mega IP camera family is Made in USA and uses Arecont’s MPIP (massively parallel image processing) architecture and FPGA IC chips, which offer “ultimate” cybersecurity, says Arecont Vision. “On the camera side, we have always had parts of our cameras manufactured in Asia, and did all the final assembly and PCB programming and even fabrication in the United States,” says Calderon. “With the new line, we decided to have some designs manufactured in Asia so that we can compete from a labour cost perspective. A partner we have worked with for 10 years — a Taiwanese company with a factory in China — is doing the turnkey assembly work for us. It is a collaborative development, and we are able to reduce costs significantly. We are concentrating on 10 models for which we can drive volumes and drive prices where they need to be. We will not compete at the lowest end of the market; we will be competing in the mid-tier. That’s our goal, to maintain a mid-tier presence in the market with a more competitive product.” He says some 300 units in the existing Mega camera line will continue to be assembled in Los Angeles.
ISC West in Las Vegas kicked off with a bang on Wednesday, reflecting a healthy physical security industry with an overall upbeat outlook on the future. Driving the optimism is a pending new wave of product innovation, propelled largely by developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning. Some of that new wave is evident at ISC West, but much of the talk still centres on what’s to come. Attendees flocked to the first day of the show to check out the newest technologies, and they were rewarded with a wide range of innovations. Tempering the optimism are ongoing concerns about ensuring the cybersecurity of IP-based physical security systems. Cybersecurity standards for physical security At least one news announcement is related to cybersecurity at the show: Johnson Controls is the first company to achieve UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certification 2900-2-3 for cybersecurity of life safety and security products and systems for their VideoEdge network video recording platform from American Dynamics. The UL brand ensures that the certification involves a standards-based and scientific approach to evaluating cybersecurity, and that JCI’s certified products meet the requirements. “We were able to be first because we understand issues of cybersecurity, and the UL standard matches very closely to what we have been doing in cybersecurity,” says Will Brown, Senior Engineering Manager, Cyber Protection at Johnson Controls. Tempering the optimism are ongoing concerns about ensuring the cybersecurity of IP-based physical security systems Neil Lakomiak, Director of Business Development and Innovation at Underwriters Laboratories, says relatively few companies have invested sufficiently in cybersecurity, and much of UL’s work in the physical security market is to help manufacturers develop a roadmap to meet cybersecurity goals. “A lot of companies have not invested, but Johnson Controls has,” said Lakomiak. He speculated that it could be some time before another security company achieves the certification; there certainly won’t be a rush of additional companies to do so in the near term, based on the progress he has seen to date, says Lakomiak. “Cybersecurity is a topic that has hit the Board of Directors level,” says Lakomiak. “They are definitely inquiring about it and trying to understand what their posture should be. The leadership teams of companies will be asking a lot of questions.” In terms of cyber-consciousness among the integrator community, Brown estimates about 10 percent are “on board” with the issue. Among the manufacturing community, more than half of the companies are pursuing cybersecurity goals, although the levels of those efforts run a full gamut, says Lakomiak. Vertical markets that are especially cyber-aware are enterprise, government, and critical infrastructure. Financial and retail companies are also coming on board, as well as companies — even small companies — in regulated industries such as utilities Cybersecurity is a topic that has hit the Board of Directors level Cybersecurity in the cloud Another company emphasising cybersecurity at ISC West is access control company Isonas. “What’s really new at the show for us is that we are being very transparent about the levels of cybersecurity we are applying to our cloud software platform and our IP network hardware,” says Rob Lydic, Isonas Global Vice President of Sales. “The levels of complexity we are putting into our cybersecurity, including the fact that we host our software on Amazon web services, ensures a really high level of security. We are taking painstaking efforts to subject ourselves to third-party penetration testing to give us the visibility of what is going on with our cybersecurity — are we actually as cybersecure as we believe?” The answer: “They have come back to us to say we have an amazing strategy for cybersecurity; the surface that is attackable is minuscule, and the complex layers underneath really prevent anybody from hacking the product.”We are being very transparent about the levels of cybersecurity we are applying to our cloud software platform" Lydic says he sees higher levels of awareness about cybersecurity at the show, especially among end users. Several other exhibitors agree. Because edge devices have often been targeted in cybersecurity attacks, they are especially an area of concern. “We’re raising that conversation, saying we are a cloud service provider that uses edge devices, and it is core to us to make sure we have a great cybersecurity profile, so the customer can be assured we are doing what we say we are doing and delivering on those promises,” says Lydic. Awareness is filtering through channel: Isonas is seeing many customers who want to have that cybersecurity conversation at the show. “We have had probably 20 or 30 conversations with end users at the show who want to understand what it means to be in the cloud, to understand how the level of communication is encrypted between devices,” says Lydic. Many end users at ISC West want to understand what it means to be in the cloud Ambitions for growth Successful companies often increase their ISC West booth size as a reflection of their ambition to grow as a company and their success in sales so far. One such company is Paxton Access Inc., which has increased its booth size from a 20x40-foot booth last year to a 30x50-foot space this year. Beyond the show, another reflection of Paxton’s growth is addition of personnel to cover 11 U.S. sales territories that have been newly restructured. New regional sales managers will work with dealers locally. At the show, Paxton is introducing its Net2 Entry Premium monitor, the latest addition to the company’s Net2 Entry line of door entry products. “The show is definitely a great way to promote who we are and what we offer,” says Linda Soriano, Paxton Marketing Communications Coordinator. “It’s great to meet new customers and interact with existing customers, to build new relationships. It’s an opportunity to promote the new things we have going on.” Paxton measures success at ISC West in terms of how many people they interact with at the show. In addition to welcoming booth visitors, the company is signing up attendance at free training through a show promotion. Anyone who signs up for training at the show is entered into a drawing for a $500 Visa gift card and a $1,000 discount off MSRP of Paxton products. Tim Shen, Director of Marketing at Dahua Technology USA, one of the larger exhibitors, says the company is emphasising solutions at ISC West, just one element of the successful international business model they are bringing to the United States.With AI and business analytics in transportation and retail markets, we are letting the market know that we can build solutions" Another topic for Dahua is artificial intelligence. “With AI and business analytics in transportation and retail markets, we are letting the market know that we can build solutions,” he says. Dahua sponsored a keynote address Wednesday on AI, including a presentation from Intel about AI trends. “AI is the future, but what can we use it for now?” asks Shen. “We need to give a very clear strategy of what we think about AI.” Dahua will bring AI cameras and an AI network video recorder to the U.S. market in the second quarter; in effect, they will be testing the water to see how well the AI concept is embraced here. Other new products from Dahua include multi-image and thermal cameras. In the thermal category, Dahua has developed their own chipset to help bring the price down and provide affordable thermal cameras to the U.S. market. Another focus will be e-POE (extended Power over Ethernet), which Dahua sees as a big differentiator. [Main photo credit: Abbey Masciarotte | Larry Anderson]
More crowded aisles and productive conversations continued to set the tone on the second day of ISC West in Las Vegas. No big technology breakthroughs have surfaced, but there is plenty of interest, and some degree of curiosity, about whether (and when) the recent hype about artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning will translate into usable products. Vertical market solutions “Yesterday we saw a tremendous amount of traffic in the booth, and today is more of the same,” said Miguel Lazatin, Director, Product and Channel Marketing, Hanwha Techwin America. The layout of the Hanwha Techwin booth is different this year, although the “footprint” is the same size. “We lessened the number of kiosks within the booth, which allows for better flow, and the ability to accommodate more customers and do the demonstrations more effectively and focus more on product solutions,” Lazatin adds. “We are introducing products in new categories for Hanwha Techwin,” Lazatin says. “We have new thermal cameras, new stainless steel cameras, new multi-sensor cameras, as well as new mobile products. We are expanding our product set to address new applications and new markets.” The new products are tailored and specific solutions for those new markets, which include food processing plants, oil refineries and areas where Hanwha Techwin has not played in the past. Although there is a lot of talk about deep learning and artificial intelligence at this year’s show, there don’t appear to be a lot of actual products being introduced in those categories. Companies of all shapes and sizes are embracing the new buzzwords, leaving some attendees unsure how these new ideas — or marketing concepts? — fit into the “real world.” Hanwha Techwin America lessened the number of kiosks within the booth, which allows for better flow Meeting customer needs with AI A key to leveraging the value of new technologies such as AI and deep learning is to get beyond the buzzwords and position the new capabilities in the context of actual end user benefits such as operation efficiency and automation, says Stuart Rawling, Director of Global Business Development, Pelco by Schneider Electric. “The customer doesn’t care about buzzwords, he just wants to know what are the benefits? What solutions are we offering?” At the show, Pelco announced a new alliance with IBM that will leverage Big Blue’s advanced knowledge of deep learning and analytics, and combine it with Pelco’s VideoExpert video management system (VMS). “We have a version of that integration at the show, but the real news is that we are merging our development plans to solve specific use case problems,” says Rawling. Video analytics in the cloud Cloud applications are also gaining traction, including the Avigilon Blue cloud platform. “It allows integrators to manage everything from one easy, central site,” says Willem Ryan, Avigilon’s Vice President, Global Marketing and Communications. “They can respond quicker and with knowledge of what the system is doing.” Video analytics are built in as an inherent part of our solution. Any IP cameras — Avigilon or ONVIF-conformant — become equipped with analytics when they are connected to the Blue platform. A new announcement at the show is Avigilon’s ACC System Health Monitoring, a new service added to the Blue platform. Health monitoring enables integrators to be more proactive in their service and keep systems running smoothly. “Cloud allows you to scale how you can manage systems and service systems rather than having to go on site to upgrade systems,” says Ryan. “People think it’s a buzzword, but really it’s a means to an end to make systems more secure, more efficient, more responsive. We’re putting a lot of investment in it.” A new announcement at the show is Avigilon’s ACC System Health Monitoring, a new service added to the Blue platform Building RMR for customers The cloud also enables integrators to build more recurring monthly revenue (RMR). A cloud approach that encompasses products and ongoing service ensures that an integrator continues to “touch” customers. “For us, they can package this around service in a new way,” says Ryan. “The customer doesn’t have to worry about a large capital expense in the beginning. And as new capabilities come along, they can be added. So it becomes a way to sell a package around their company, service and products; but less about the products and more about a platform that allows them to sell their [integration] company in a new way. What we’re hearing is, it’s a change in mindset, and you need buy-in from the top of the organisation. And the sales people have to get used to selling in a different way. It’s going to take time, and our industry needs to evolve. Customers love the flexibility. And integrators need stickier customers and better profit margins.” Avigilon also continues to upgrade its Appearance Search product to enable faster review of stored video. Now a search for video related to an investigation can begin with a physical description of a person (rather than using a reference image as a starting point in the search). There’s one more day for attendees to roam the aisles of ISC West in search of new and useful technologies. Foot traffic historically drops off on the final day, but that just leaves more quality time for interaction among those staying until the bitter end. Count me among that group, and I will have much more to report after the show ends.
Cybersecurity talk currently dominates many events in the physical security industry. And it’s about time, given that we are all playing catch-up in a scary cybersecurity environment where threats are constant and constantly evolving. I heard an interesting discussion about cybersecurity recently among consultants attending MercTech4, a conference in Miami hosted by Mercury Security and its OEM partners. The broad-ranging discussion touched on multiple aspects of cybersecurity, including the various roles of end user IT departments, consultants, and integrators. Factors such as training, standardisation and pricing were also addressed as they relate to cybersecurity. Following are some edited excerpts from that discussion. The role of the IT department Pierre Bourgeix of ESI Convergent: Most enterprises usually have the information technology (IT) department at the table [for physical security discussions], and cybersecurity is a component of IT. The main concern for them is how any security product will impact the network environment. The first thing they will say, is “we have to ensure that there is network segmentation to prevent any potential viruses or threats or breaches from coming in.” The main concern for IT departments is how any security product will impact the network environment”They want to make sure that any devices in the environment are secure. Segmentation is good, but it isn’t an end-all. There is no buffer that can be created; these air gaps don’t exist. Cyber is involved in a defensive matter, in terms of what they have to do to protect that environment. IT is more worried about the infrastructure. The role of consultants and specifiers Phil Santore of DVS, division of Ross & Baruzzini: As consultants and engineers, we work with some major banks. They tell us if you bring a new product to the table, it will take two to three months before they will onboard the product, because they will run it through [cybersecurity testing] in their own IT departments. If it’s a large bank, they have an IT team, and there will never be anything we [as consultants] can tell them that they don’t already know. But we all have clients that are not large; they’re museums, or small corporations, or mom-and-pop shops. They may not be as vulnerable from the international threat, but there are still local things they have to be concerned about. It falls on us as consultants to let them know what their problems are. Their IT departments may not be that savvy. We need to at least make them aware and start there. Wael Lahoud of Goldmark Security Consulting: We are seeing more and more organisations having cybersecurity programs in place, at different maturity levels. At the procurement stage, we as consultants must select and specify products that have technology to enable cybersecurity, and not choose products that are outdated or incompatible with cybersecurity controls. We also see, from an access control perspective, a need to address weaknesses in databases. Specifying and having integrators that can harden the databases, not just the network itself, can help. The impact of physical security products on the network environment was a dominant topic at the MercTech4 consultants roundtable discussion The need for standards on cybersecurity Jim Elder of Secured Design: I’d like to know what standards we as specifiers can invoke that will help us ensure that the integrator of record has the credentials, knows what standards apply, and knows how to make sure those standards are maintained in the system. I’m a generalist, and cybersecurity scares the hell out of me.We’re not just talking about access to cameras, we are talking about access to the corporate network and all the bad things that can happen with that. My emphasis would be on standards and compliance with standards in the equipment and technology that is used, and the way it is put in. It can be easier for me, looking at some key points, to be able to determine if the system has been installed in accordance. We are seeing more and more organisations having cybersecurity programs in place, at different maturity levels"I’m taking the position of the enforcement officer, rather than the dictator. It would be much better if there were focused standards that I could put into the specification— I know there are some – that would dictate the processes, not just of manufacturing, but of installation of the product, and the tests you should run accordingly. Pierre Bourgeix: With the Security Industry Association (SIA), we are working right now on a standard that includes analysed scoring on the IT and physical side to identify a technology score, a compliance score, a methodology, and best-of-breed recommendation. Vendor validation would be used to ensure they follow the same process. We have created the model, and we will see what we can do to make it work. Terry Robinette of Sextant: If a standard can be written and it’s a reasonable process, I like the idea of the equipment meeting some standardised format or be able to show that it can withstand the same type of cyber-attack a network switch can withstand. We may not be reinventing the wheel. IT is the most standardised industry you will ever see, and security is the least standardised. But they’re merging. And that will drive standardisation. Jim Elder: I look to Underwriters Laboratory (UL) for a lot of standards. Does the product get that label? I am interested in being able to look at a box on the wall and say, “That meets the standard.” Or some kind of list with check-boxes; if all the boxes are checked I can walk out and know I have good cybersecurity threat management. IT is the most standardised industry you will ever see, and security is the least standardised" The role of training Phil Santore: Before you do any cybersecurity training, you would need to set the level of cybersecurity you are trying to achieve. There are multiple levels from zero to a completely closed network. Wael Lahoud: From an integrator’s perspective, cybersecurity training by the manufacturer of product features would be the place to start – understanding how to partner the database, and the encryption features. We see integrators that know these features are available – they tick the boxes – but they don’t understand what they mean. Cybersecurity is a complex topic, and the risk aspects and maturity levels vary by organisation. That would be a good starting point. The role of integrators Wael Lahoud: Integrators like convenience; less time means more money. So, we see some integrators cut corners. I think it is our role (as consultants) to make sure corners are not cut. If you rely solely on integrators, it will always be the weak password, the bypass. We have seen it from small projects to large government installations. It’s the same again and again. Even having an internal standard within an organisation, there may be no one overseeing that and double-checking. Tools will help, but we are not there at this point. I will leave it up to manufacturers to provide the tools to make it easy for consultants to check, and easier for integrators to use the controls. Cybersecurity is a complex topic, and the risk aspects and maturity levels vary by organisation - so training is very important The impact of pricing Pierre Bourgeix: The race to the cheapest price is a big problem. We have well-intended designs and assessments that define best-of-breed and evaluate what would be necessary to do what the client needs. But once we get to the final point of that being implemented, the customer typically goes to the lowest price – the lowest bidder. That’s the biggest issue. You get what you pay for at the end of the day. With standards, we are trying to get to the point that people realise that not all products are made the same, not all integrators do the same work. We hope that through education of the end user, they can realise that if they change the design, they have to accept the liability.It’s not just the product that’s the weakest link, it’s the whole process from design to securing that product and launching it" The big picture Wael Lahoud: The Windows platform has a lot of vulnerabilities, but we’re still using it, even in banks. So, it’s not just the product that’s the weakest link, it’s the whole process from design to securing that product and launching it. That’s where the cybersecurity program comes into play. There are many vulnerable products in the market, and it’s up to professionals to properly secure these products and to design systems and reduce the risk. Pierre Bourgeix: The access port to get to data is what hackers are looking for. The weakest link is where they go. They want to penetrate through access control to get to databases. The golden ring is the data source, so they can get credentialing, so they can gain access to your active directory, which then gives them permissions to get into your “admin.” Once we get into “admin,” we get to the source of the information. It has nothing to do with gaining access to a door, it has everything to do with data. And that’s happening all the time.
Activity slowed on the last day of ISC West in Las Vegas, but there was plenty of momentum remaining and plenty more to see. In the end, Reed Exhibitions declared 2018 the biggest and most successful year to date for the show. There were an additional 4,000 square feet of exhibit space compared to last year and a 6 percent growth in overall attendance, according to Reed. The cloud, biometrics, deep learning and other technologies were among the big topics at the show, and even smaller exhibitors were pleased with the results. In particular, emerging technologies were successfully highlighted. Cloud-based video systems Cloud video company Eagle Eye Networks announced multiple new offerings at ISC West. One was the first cloud-based video system that accommodates HD-over-coax cameras using the HD-TVI protocol to operate over existing coaxial cabling. In effect, cameras connect with an HD-TVI recorder, which plugs into Eagle Eye Networks’ on-site hardware “bridge” connecting to the Internet. Eagle Eye Networks has also integrated Hikvision body-worn cameras into their cloud system; transmitting video using the Eagle Eye Bridge ensures end-to-end encryption and the evidentiary integrity of the video. Analytics in the cloud can be turned on and off at will for each camera, and could be deployed over a weekend and switched off the following week “A few years ago, fewer customers were ready to adopt the cloud,” says Ken Francis, President of Eagle Eye Networks. “Now market adoption is changing, and customers don’t want on-site hardware. End-users are driving the move to cloud systems.” He estimates the evolution is about halfway complete, and Eagle Eye Networks continues to sign up new dealers every month because their customers are asking for the cloud. Eagle Eye Networks’ third new offering at ISC West is “analytics in the cloud,” including familiar analytics such as intrusion, people counting and loitering. Francis says the economics of the cloud make implementation of analytics much more affordable – about $4 per camera. Analytics in the cloud can be turned on and off at will for each camera. For example, analytics could be deployed over a weekend and then switched off the following week. “It’s a far more economically attractive and cost-effective service than on-site,” says Francis. the economics of the cloud make implementation of analytics much more affordable Augmented identity: biometrics in security Biometrics continue to make their way into the mainstream of the security market, and IDEMIA brought its message of “augmented identity” to ISC West. IDEMIA (formerly OT-Morpho) provides systems to the largest biometrics users in the world, including big customers such as the FBI and Interpol, and large-scale government projects around the globe. “If you can handle projects that big, enterprise applications are no problem,” says Gary Jones, Vice President, Global Channel & Marketing, Biometric Access & Time Solutions. He says that the company’s technologies apply to any vertical market, and they are especially common in major airports and big financial institutions, in addition to government. The company’s MorphoWave product allows users to wave their hand, and the system captures a three-dimensional shape of fingerprints. The touchless system is also “frictionless” -- it enables fast decision-making that promotes high throughput rates. Artificial intelligence applications AI and deep learning have been big topics of conversation at ISC West, and I saw a company on the last day of the show with a different take on the subject. BrainChip uses a type of AI called “spiking neural networking” that models the operation of neurons in the human brain - in contrast to “convolutional neural networks,” which use a series of math functions to train from pre-labelled data sets. The BrainChip Studio software can search vast amounts of video footage rapidly to identify either faces, patterns or objects. Applications are in law enforcement, counter-terrorism and intelligence agencies.The BrainChip Studio software can search vast amounts of video footage rapidly to identify either faces, patterns or objects “We search for specific things,” said Bob Beachler, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Development. The software can search hundreds of live or recorded camera feeds for a unique graphic pattern on an item of clothing or on a bag carried by a person, for example. The technology only requires modest processing power and consumes little energy, so it can be used with legacy systems without requiring hardware or infrastructure upgrades. Emerging Technology Zone A new Emerging Technology Zone at ISC West included participation by around 40 companies that are startups and/or new to the security industry. The section opened an hour before the main show floor and was located near the registration area, which increased traffic. “Generally speaking some people said it was hard to find, but I think it’s better for us as someone new to the market, rather than being on the main floor where you can get lost in the shuffle,” said Jeffrey Weiner, Vice President, Networks & Business Solutions, at Mersoft. “It was really smart that they opened this an hour earlier.” Mersoft, one of the Emerging Technology Zone exhibitors, has developed a software product to help the security industry do a better job of streaming live video. The software eliminates the startup delay and lag in live video. With dedicated software, video can be consumed by a browser or mobile app more easily Live video streaming “We accomplish that in two ways,” says Weiner. “One, we don’t trans-code the video into another format. Instead, we convert a security camera’s video from RTSP (real time streaming protocol) to WebRTC (Web Real-Time Communication), an open-source technology that has been used extensively in video conferencing, but not so much in security. The video can be consumed by a browser or mobile app more easily, and we don’t need a player on the client, which is another way we reduce lag.” Another advantage is that WebRTC is natively encrypted; every packet is encrypted. In contrast, applications that transmit RTSP have to be wrapped in a VPN (virtual private network) tunnel, which takes some effort to maintain and is a battery hog on a mobile device. Also, multi-casting of video is easier, even using streams of various resolutions. Mersoft works through partnerships, offering a cloud-hosted service on Amazon and a version that can be installed on a local server. They have worked with several DIY camera sellers (who use cloud services), and with some major commercial service providers. “A new partnership strategy we are exploring is with systems integrators, who can incorporate Mersoft and provide a differentiator by improving their video performance,” says Weiner. The 22-year-old company is new to security, and ISC West provides opportunities for in-depth conversations preparing for a future in the security sector. Customisable turnstile solutions Delta highlighted their new designer series turnstiles, whose colourful appearance led booth visitors to ask about customisation Even the smaller companies, located toward the back of the hall, were enthusiastic about ISC West this year. “The show has been great,” says Vanessa Howell, project manager of Delta Turnstiles. “We did get a lot of traffic. I am a niche product, so it’s not so much about quantity as quality [of leads]. I had great quality at the show.” Being away from competitors, which are grouped next to each other in the front of the hall, was an upside of the turnstile company’s booth location toward the back. Delta highlighted their new designer series turnstiles, whose colourful appearance led booth visitors to ask about customisation. “They ask: ‘Why are turnstiles only sold in basic models?’” says Howell. “’Why can’t they look like a piece of art since they are the first thing people see when they enter a building?’ People are very open to making them prettier.” Delta Turnstiles has been coming to ISC West since 2006. “I have manufacturer’s reps, and this is one of two times I get to see them in one place, and they bring a lot of customers to me at the booth,” says Howell. “This is my only face-to-face meetings with some customers. I speak mostly over the phone.” Valuable face-to-face engagement was a benefit of ISC West, and many of those meetings will likely set the stage for continuing successes in our vibrant market. Until next year.
A few friends from the security industry will gather this April to see, hear and touch the latest technologies to make the world a safer place. Actually, more than a few: there will be more than 30,000 security professionals gathering at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas April 11-13 for the International Security Conference and Exposition, usually known as ISC West. Many of the attendees will be returning to what has become a yearly ritual. The site, the players, the pace and even atmosphere of ISC West are as familiar to many as a family reunion. But the industry is changing, and those changes will be reflected in big ways at ISC West. Let’s consider a few themes we will be hearing about at the show. The cybersecurity of physical security systems Cybersecurity has gone from being the “elephant in the room” to an existential crisis for the physical security industry: How can an industry promote security unless its own products and systems can operate securely? For a long time, no one talked about cybersecurity. Some attending ISC West may wonder if now we are talking about it too much, at the risk of too much talk and not enough action. Almost every contribution to our “review and forecast” articles for 2018 mentioned cybersecurity. Every industry event I have attended so far this year has put cybersecurity front and centre. It will certainly be a major topic at ISC West.Cybersecurity has gone from being the “elephant in the room” to an existential crisis for the physical security industry Here’s the challenge for attendees to ISC West: If every manufacturer talks earnestly about cybersecurity, how can potential customers tell who is really serious about the topic, and who is merely paying lip service to the latest industry buzzword? If we all agree that cybersecurity is “everyone’s problem” – not just manufacturers, but also integrators and users – does no one really take responsibility? As the industry becomes more educated about cybersecurity, we can expect more detailed and challenging questions on the subject to permeate the ISC West show floor. Some manufacturers have likened cybersecurity more broadly to the issue of trust. Do you trust a manufacturer to address cybersecurity issues? Or do you trust them in general? The cybersecurity discussions will begin even before the show floor opens, on Tuesday, April 10, in a session titled “Cybersecurity Tier Zero: A Guide to the First Steps of Cyber Hardening.” – just one of the many other education sessions on Tuesday. The emergence of video analytics 2.0 Deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) have become more familiar to the physical security market, and some AI applications are driving new industry trends such as robotics and analysing Big Data. But the biggest potential impact of deep learning is in the field of video analytics, a decades-old technology that has perpetually overpromised and underdelivered. The video analytics systems are not programmed, they “learn,” using massive data sets and neural networks and GPU processors and all the rest The new wave of video analytics products claims to provide a higher level of accuracy because they operate more like the human brain. These new systems are not programmed, they “learn,” using massive data sets and neural networks and GPU processors and all the rest. But consider the bottom line: Do the new video analytics products really perform and eliminate excessive false alarms? Can they effectively search large amounts of stored video and find the few frames that can make the difference in an investigation? Months have lapsed since the first deep learning products were announced - or, at least, “teased”. It’s been sufficient time for manufacturers to develop products that are ready for market, but are they? ISC West attendees will be scouring the booths for the latest developments and asking tough questions about how well these newfangled systems will actually perform.It’s all happening in the smart home market – but how fast and what will be the impact on the traditional burglar alarm business The changing smart home market We all want Siri to set our thermostat or Cortana to arm the alarm system. We want to view video from our nanny-cams on our smart phones, and to turn on the lights from anywhere around the world. It’s all happening in the smart home market – but how fast and what will be the impact on the traditional burglar alarm business that is the bread-and-butter of many security companies? Bluetooth and Wi-Fi can make a lot of things happen in the smart home environment, but what about other networking standards such as ZigBee and Z-Wave? The stakes are huge, which is why the big tech companies – from Apple to Amazon to Google – are staking their claims in the home automation market. Just this year, Amazon has purchased Ring, a video doorbell and security camera company – which will also be exhibiting at ISC West. But it’s unclear what such moves in Silicon Valley will mean for traditional security companies. The growth of do-it-yourself (DIY) systems introduces even more variables, as do alarm companies with new business models and even cloud-based approaches. Many exhibitors at ISC West – from ADT to Z-Wave – are addressing the new smart home environment and can help those attending the show do the same. About 40 companies are exhibiting in the “Connected Home” arena. The Unmanned Security and Safety Expo will return, including a dedicated complimentary education theatre for attendees Drones, robotics and education From robots to drones to counter-drone solutions, there other new technologies being displayed at ISC West. The Unmanned Security and Safety Expo will return, including a dedicated complimentary education theatre for attendees offering sessions on topics such as “Drones – Friends or Foes to the Security Industry?” There is a level of novelty to these technologies, and attendees might be lured by the entertainment value of a subject that may fall outside their job description. But one education session addresses the nuts and bolts in the real world: “Selling the Value of Security Robots by Setting Realistic Expectations.” Could these new gadgets play a bigger role than we think in the future of the security market? For all its familiarity, there is always something new for attendees at ISC West. It may be a startup company with an intriguing value proposition tucked into a tiny booth at the back of the hall. Or it could be a big surprise news announcement from a major player. For attendees, the best surprise of all is that valuable piece of information they can take home to make their business better. Here’s hoping you find it!
Mike Taylor has been involved in security industry sales for more than 20 years, on the front line of industry changes and watching how they impact customers. Among the changes is a shift in the nature of the sales function itself. As Director of Sales, Americas, for Milestone Systems, Mike Taylor currently oversees a team that brings to market the full suite of Milestone open platform solutions. We sat down at Milestone Community Days (MIPS) earlier this year to discuss the technologies and trends shaping the market, from artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning to cybersecurity and return on investment (ROI) Q: How much of the technology we hear about today – such as AI and deep learning – is theoretical? Maybe it will come in the future, but your customers live in the real world. How far behind are they, technically speaking? Taylor: When you say “behind,” the beautiful part is that we [at Milestone] are not behind at all. Through our integrations and the open community, we are well ahead of competitors. Competitors who do end-to-end solutions are always chasing, always trying to match the latest analytic that came out. We have the ability to say, “this is the latest and greatest product, they have our API [application programming interface] and they’re integrated, so let’s go.” That’s the beauty of being the platform on which everyone rides. If you just sell cameras, you are always trying to catch the next camera company. Instead, let’s just open it to everyone; be the open platform. Pull all those partners in, and as there are new advancements, we do integrations to them. We do Camera Pack releases every six to eight weeks, so we generally have camera drivers done to our software and released to the market before cameras are commercially available. We are well positioned as new features, such as AI and deep learning, come online. Q: How do you bring customers along? Taylor: As the field sales team, we go out and do multiple trainings to an integrator. The first training is “here’s what’s coming in the current version, and here’s the next version.” The next round of training is talking about future integrations, and new things coming to the market. We also do a professional business review (PBR) with our partners. We sit down with them, go through all the business; it’s a review of how they have done and where they’re going. We also sit down and understand their business plan. We talk through with them what our business plan is and how we’ll partner with them. We also want to open their eyes to new technologies that will open new revenue and sales opportunities, or even new industries. A partnership we have could open new doors for them. Milestone talks to customers about future integrations, and new things coming to the market, before doing a PBR Q: Is there an appetite among security integrators to expand into new markets outside security? Taylor: When you say security integrators, maybe not. What we’re starting to see is infringement of IT and IoT contractors, different groups coming into the space that understand it and see the opportunity there. I have seen a shift of companies wanting to look into other markets and create a better opportunity. Q: Do you sense any lingering scepticism in the market about the next wave of video analytics, or about whether the new category of deep learning products will live up to their promise? Taylor: For years, we [as an industry] would go into the marketplace and say, “if you install a video system, we will reduce your guards; we’re going to help your ROI by reducing the number of people you need.” The problem is, we have done a very poor job of that. In fact, it isn’t true. The fact is, we have brought in more data that has required them to hire more and more people. When I put so many cameras in that you require three people to watch them instead of one, you have not reduced [labour]. I believe that, moving forward, AI will truly give us an opportunity to deliver on the ROI promise that we have been selling for the last 10 years. I have a lot of faith that we will be able to comb through all that data, put it through a funnel, and just drop individual pieces of data that are important, and allow customers to reduce their overall staff, and give them a true ROI. Q: There’s more data than ever, so everything is more complex. Taylor: A cynical person would say that more data has made systems more complex, but an optimist will say that it creates new opportunities. Now that we have that data, what other things can we do with it? This will open an amazing amount of opportunities. The amount of data can be overwhelming, but it absolutely creates opportunity – for us as a manufacturer, and also for our partners, and for integrators who want to evolve and do more than just deliver electronics or put in cameras. The amount of data around on the market can be overwhelming, but it absolutely creates opportunity Q: Cybersecurity is a lingering problem for the market. What is Milestone’s role? How can you help fill the gaps? Taylor: We want to be a market leader, like we are in the VMS space. We want to drive innovation and do it from both sides. We are doing it internally with our hardening guide and more layers of security. We also want to push our partners to be more secure. We are an open platform, but if you want to connect to us, there is a level of security required. We have a duty to educate our systems integrators and help them get stronger. We offer software support upgrades, including three new releases a year, with each one having more stringent cybersecurity built in. For companies that don’t charge for software support, but then don’t do an upgrade for two years, think about how many threats come out every month. We need to be the industry leader and the ones to step up. We want to work with like companies that want to drive that message. We have to use our pulpit as the leading VMS to drive focus on cybersecurity. Q: What will be the industry’s biggest challenge in the next year? Taylor: I don’t see a lot of challenges in the marketplace, but the economy could be problematic. At Milestone, we are very confident where the product team has brought the product, and in the business plan we have laid out. We just need to work to the plan we have built and continue to invest. The only problematic thing that I see is the economy, because it is completely out of our control. But even if that turned today, it would be a problem in early 2019, not this year. Q: You have been in the industry a while: What is the biggest change you have seen as it relates to the sales function? Taylor: It used to be that if you didn’t have a degree, didn’t have a profession, then you would go into sales. We are in a whole new world today, where sales is highly specialised and there is a specific skillset that you need. We don’t use the term sales inside Milestone, we use the term “GTM” or “go to market,” because this is the team that goes to market. Milestone wants to focus on how sales roles have evolved from being numbers people to building strong relationships and delivering service and consultancy We don’t have regional sales people, we have channel business managers who manage the VARs, the partners, the inside team. The biggest change has been away from “we’re worried about selling, selling, selling because we have a number to make.” Now we have really changed. We have a much higher level of person who is more consultative and who builds relationships for the long term. If you look at Milestone, we have always just done software. That is our niche. It has been important to improve the customer service we give, to improve the quality of salespeople we have. That’s the biggest difference for me: The quality of the sales individual and how that role has evolved from being a numbers person to more of a service delivery and consultative person. Q: What message do you have for customers? Taylor: We at Milestone have been very stable and steady and steadfast in the idea that we are a platform. We are building a platform for others to build on. We want to be the iOS, and we want the Milestone community to be the App Store. We want to be the backbone on which people ride, and we have been steadfast about that for years. Most of the people at our yearly Milestone Community Days (MIPS) events are key systems integrators to us. A lot of our partners come to MIPS to see what is next, what is the future, what are the new technologies that are coming. I love seeing the number of new faces and vendors at these events. We bring these opportunities to market. I really wish there was an opportunity for all our partners to come to MIPS, although it would be a huge undertaking! We get amazing feedback from attendees. It’s more than just “that was an amazing speaker.” It is the networking that goes on, the opportunity to see our partners all in one place. For me, I would like to see double the attendance at MIPS. It builds that community. And if you are a platform, you are only as strong as the community you support. We’re out in the marketplace saying, “tell me what your needs are.” And let us bring our community along to solve them.
President Trump has recently proposed a series of tariffs that could disrupt global trade and impact the global physical security market, among many others. He first proposed tariffs targeting aluminium and steel imports; in effect, the proposal would place a 25 percent tax on steel and a 10 percent tax on aluminium entering the United States. Rising prices, rising tariffs The resulting higher prices of imported aluminium and steel could raise the costs of a range of goods manufactured in the United States, including technology products. The tariffs have been widely interpreted as targeting the Chinese; indeed, the tariff announcement was followed quickly by news of exemptions for Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil and South Korea.The higher price tariffs of imported aluminium and steel have been widely interpreted as targeting the Chinese A second wave of tariffs, announced days later, was even more targeted to the Chinese, specifically aimed at offsetting what Trump calls unfair Chinese practices related to intellectual property for high-tech industries. The $50 billion in tariffs and other penalties are a reaction to China’s theft of technology and trade secrets. They are proposed under a rarely used provision of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962 that allows the President to impose tariffs on items being imported into the United States “in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten or impair national security.” Trump objects to Chinese trade practices such as requiring companies to share trade secrets to gain access to the Chinese market and forcing companies to license their technology in China at below-market rates. China also uses state funds to buy American high-tech companies and has been accused of cyber-intrusions to steal technology. All-encompassing change The list of Chinese goods to be targeted for tariffs was announced this week. The list of as many as 100 categories is said to include “everything from shoes to clothing to electronics.” The inclusion of electronics is not surprising, given that electrical machinery, equipment such as cellular phones, and “machinery including computers” are the two largest categories of goods exported from China. Tariffs, especially as they relate to Chinese goods, introduce a new element of change in the physical security market Their inclusion is appropriate given that high-tech items are aligned with intellectual property concerns that prompted the retaliation. Restrictions on certain types of Chinese investments will be aimed at China’s ambitious industrial policy seeking to dominate sectors such as artificial intelligence and mobile technology. The implementation of tariffs is a fulfilment of Trump’s campaign trail tirades against Chinese trade practices.# Note that proposed tariffs, including retaliatory tariffs recently proposed by the Chinese, primarily serve as a starting point for further negotiations. How does this affect the security industry? What about the impact on our industry? Tariffs, especially as they relate to Chinese goods, introduce a new element of change in the physical security market, particularly surveillance cameras and other video products. In the last several years, entry of Chinese companies into the video market has up-ended pricing and captured large chunks of market share. Western companies have struggled to compete against lower-priced Chinese products, made possible by large manufacturers’ lower costs and economies of scale. Chinese companies have also invested heavily in product development and R&D to expand the capabilities of their products at lower costs, and help to drive overall innovation among competitors and the market in general.The implementation of tariffs is a fulfilment of Trump’s campaign trail tirades against Chinese trade practices Benefits versus limitations Would implementation of tariffs reverse those trends? Any additional costs to goods caused by the tariffs would be passed on to customers; high-tech components on the list include "mounted lenses for use in CCTV cameras". Might higher prices resulting from tariffs help to close the gap between the lower prices of Chinese video surveillance products and those of the West? Could tariffs slow down the growth of Chinese companies in the U.S. market, thus creating an opportunity for western companies to compete more aggressively? Might the uncertainties introduced by tariffs prompt security resellers or end users to avoid Chinese products? Or as some economists warn, might tariffs have an overall negative impact on the manufacturing sector, and by extension the economy as a whole, that would slow down economic growth and drag down the industry’s recent economic boom as a consequence? Could the overtly protectionist approach backfire? President Trump has tweeted: “Trade wars are good, and easy to win.” But let’s also consider the collateral disruption – to the economy and to our industry.
Open architecture in physical access control is built around Mercury Security’s access control panels, the de facto standard embraced by more than two dozen access control original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). Mercury and several of its OEMs teamed up March 3-4 to present MercTech4, a conference in Miami aimed at updating security consultants about the latest developments related to the Mercury platform. MercTech4 highlighted a new generation of access control products, which are increasing the capabilities for Mercury OEMs in areas such as two-way communication and encryption. Enhancements include use of the OSDP (Open Supervised Device Protocol) v2 communication standard instead of the older (and less flexible, less secure) Wiegand standard. Other advantages are relay count activations, a crypto memory chip and default encryption, a critical feature ensuring greater cybersecurity. Integration of hardware with physical security Mercury hardware is sold exclusively through OEM partnerships. The new LP4502 controller and access control platform use the Linux operating system. Mercury also provides hardware integration at the controller level with elevator manufacturers such as Otis, Kone and Thyssenkrupp, including “destination dispatch,” which groups passengers going to the same floors into the same elevators, thus reducing waiting and travel times. Mercury hardware is sold exclusively through OEM partnerships. The new LP4502 controller and access control platform use the Linux operating system Integration of Mercury controllers with LifeSafety Power’s IP-based intelligent power supplies enables system health and diagnostic data to be shared for preventive maintenance. Mercury also offers several “bridge” products to enable its OEMs to transition installed proprietary systems from outdated Casi-Rusco (GE), Software House I (Tyco) and Infographics (GE) technologies to an open platform using Mercury hardware. Business as usual Other recent news for Mercury is the company’s acquisition by HID Global last fall. Mercury Security President Matt Barnette says the acquisition will not impact how Mercury goes to market. “It’s business as usual,” he says. “It’s 130 days into the acquisition, so it’s still early on, but we are continuing to do what we do.” Steve Carney, HID Global’s vice president of product marketing for physical access control, provided an update from the HID Global perspective to MercTech4 attendees. He reiterated that there would be no change in Mercury’s OEM go-to-market strategy. HID will develop a roadmap for improved combined solutions among the controller, reader, credential and cloud He emphasised that Mercury’s team and talent remain core to the brand, and HID will develop a roadmap for improved combined solutions among the controller, reader, credential and cloud. Open architecture companies throughout the access control industry – Mercury’s OEM partners – are incorporating the new boards into their products, each putting their “spin” on those capabilities and expanding the functionality of their systems. At MercTech4, seven of those OEMs hosted small groups of consultants in focused meetings to highlight what’s new with their products. Lenel honoured as 'Platinum Premier' partner Lenel, Rochester, N.Y., has been a Mercury's OEM partner since 1995. Lenel is Mercury’s first-ever "Platinum Premier" partner. In recent years, Lenel’s OnGuard system has evolved into a fully browser-based system providing both alarm and cardholder management through web browsers, and access to the platform on a computer, laptop or tablet. OnGuard WATCH (Web Access Trending and Comprehensive Health) provides system monitoring tools and health checks, such as tracking CPU usage and logging error files. Lenel has introduced its own BlueDiamond mobile credentialing system based on Bluetooth Low Energy and deploying mature technology previously used by sister UTC companies for real estate locks and in the hospitality market. Feenics, an Ottawa, Ontario, cloud-based access control company, was also among the Mercury OEMs participating in MercTech4. The Keep by Feenics platform is scalable from a single door to a global enterprise environment. A RESTful API provides easy connection of third-party applications. Feenics emphasises cybersecurity in the cloud, using Amazon Web Services, Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption, and Veracode penetration testing. They use MongoDB open source database replica sets instead of Microsoft SQL. Mercury and several of its OEMs teamed up March 3-4 to present MercTech4, a conference in Miami aimed at updating security consultants about the latest developments Integration and encryption RS2 Technologies, Munster, Indiana, is another Mercury OEM highlighted at MercTech4. Their top vertical markets are K-12 schools, utilities, healthcare and government. RS2’s features include a PSIA-compliant interface, compatibility with BACnet and the Pinwheel DME (Data Management Engine) for bi-directional database integration.RS2 offers web-based support, and each edition of the Access It! software implements features suggested by customer RS2 offers web-based support, and each edition of the Access It! software implements features suggested by customer. Product enhancement is a focus of RS2’s engineering. Open Options, Addison, Texas, is a Mercury Platinum Elite partner whose customer base spans every vertical, and whose feature set reflects customer feedback. Open Options offers Mercury hardware mounted inside a sleek plastic enclosure, among other form factors. The company emphasises an open business culture and dedication to customer service. Customer support is a direct phone line to speak with a live person every time to get any issue resolved. Open Options’ DNA Fusion Version 7 platform includes new features such as an updated user experience. DNA Fusion interfaces seamlessly with security technologies — including video, biometrics, wireless locks, and more. Last year, Open Options marked 20 years of partnership with Mercury Security. Engineering for the masses Avigilon, Vancouver, B.C., is embracing new Mercury products in its completely browser-based Linux platform that can scale from entry-level to enterprise systems. The ACM (Access Control Manager) software is engineered for IT professionals and is updated every 60 days. For Avigilon, access control is a component of a broader approach that uses analytics and self-learning to manage massive amounts of data and provide the information an operator needs. The Linux-based system uses features such as the Avigilon “Appearance Search” capability to shift operation of security systems from a reactive to a proactive stance The system uses features such as the Avigilon “Appearance Search” capability to shift operation of security systems from a reactive to a proactive stance. Genetec, Montreal, Canada, emphasises the value of its “unified” approach that combines video, access control and automatic license plate recognitions into a single platform – designed from the ground up – that incorporates communications, intrusion detection and analytics. Cybersecurity failures prominent in the news often occur because of negligence – the customer had not implemented a software patch, for example. Genetec helps to manage such concerns. When cameras are deployed in the Genetec platform, the system provides an alert if a new camera firmware version is needed. The Genetec Update Service (GUS) notifies customers of any needed software updates. Prominence of cybersecurity Honeywell’s Win-Pak access control software is integrated with the Pro-Watch security management suite. Cybersecurity is a corporate priority for Honeywell, whose products follow the SDLC (systems development life cycle) process with security requirements based on the ANSI/ISA 62443-3-3 standard. Microsoft's Threat Modelling tool identifies entry and exit points of systems that an attacker could exploit, providing the development team an attacker's viewpoint. The secure product development process includes static code analysis, secure code review, code signing, binary scanning and component inventory. Products are thoroughly tested by the Product Security Assurance Team and at times by an Advance Independent Testing Team. If vulnerabilities are identified after release, they are handled by the Product Security Incident Response Team. Cybersecurity issues dominated a consultant roundtable event on the second day of MercTech4. There was plenty of spirited discussion and some valuable insights among the 40 or so participating consultants. More to come on that in another article in the next couple of weeks.
A new crime wave is hitting automated teller machines (ATMs); the common banking appliances are being rigged to spit out their entire cash supplies into a criminal’s waiting hands. The crime is called “ATM jackpotting” and has targeted banking machines located in grocery shops, pharmacies and other locations in Taiwan, Europe, Latin America and, in the last several months, the United States. Rough estimates place the total amount of global losses at up to $60 million. What is jackpotting? ATM jackpotting is a combination of a physical crime and a cyberattack. Typically, a criminal with a fake ID enters a grocery shop or pharmacy posing as an ATM technician, then uses a crowbar to open the top of the ATM – the “top hat” – to gain access to the personal computer that operates the machine. If a legitimate customer approaches the machine in the meantime, it can operate as usual until activated otherwise by the malware Once he or she has access to the PC, they remove the hard drive, disable any anti-virus software, install a malware program, replace the hard drive and then reboot the computer. The whole operation takes about 30 seconds. The malware then enables the thief to remotely control the ATM and direct it to dispense all its cash on command. An accomplice – the “mule” – later approaches the ATM to collect the bounty, as the “technician” remotely directs the machine to dispense all its cash. If a legitimate customer approaches the machine in the meantime, it can operate as usual until activated otherwise by the malware. ATMs in supermarkets and pharmacies tend to be targeted because they may not be as well-protected, and store personnel likely would not know who is authorised to work on the ATM. In contrast, anyone approaching an ATM at a bank location would be more likely to be challenged. Emergence of criminal activity The crime first emerged in the United States several months ago, and the U.S. Secret Service, financial institutions and ATM manufacturers have been scrambling to find a solution. Older ATMs are particularly vulnerable. In some cases, financial institutions have not embraced the highest levels of security offered by ATM manufacturers because of costs, and because previously the crime was not common in the U.S. One estimate is that losses north of $10 million have occurred in the U.S. just in the last couple of months. “There are solutions, and then there are ways to get around the solutions,” says Samir Agarwal, Accelerite’s general manager for security. Hackers remove the hard drive, disable any anti-virus software, install a malware program, replace the hard drive and then reboot the computer ATM protection technology Accelerite is a California-based software company that focuses on the digital enterprise, including hybrid cloud infrastructure, endpoint security, Big Data analytics, and the Internet of Things. Accelerite’s solution to the ATM jackpotting problem is built on the company’s Sentient security framework. Accelerite’s approach to ATM jackpotting is to immediately stop the dispensing of cash when any sign of trouble is detected. The system can track alarms, such as when a “top hat” is opened, when a hard disk is removed, if the antivirus software has been tampered with, and so on. The system can send a notification within 20 seconds that the ATM is being hacked and then automatically shut down the machine. If the bad guy reboots the machine, the system can confirm there was a previous alert and shut it down over and over. “We create multiple lines of defense,” says Agarwal. “The criminal would decide it’s not worth his while and walk away.” The consequences of jackpotting impact every level of the industry, including ATM manufacturers and financial institutions Origins of ATM jackpotting ATM jackpotting originated back in 2010 when Barnaby Jack, a New Zealand hacker and computer expert, demonstrated how he could exploit two ATMs and make them dispense cash on the stage at the Black Hat computer security conference in Las Vegas. Since then, malware has been created and made available on the “Dark Web” that can instruct an ATM to dispense all its cash on demand. Previously ATM jackpotting attacks have focused on more cost-conscious global markets and those likely to use older-model ATMs with fewer security features. Strong U.S. law enforcement also likely prevented criminals from taking the risk – until now. Attacks in the United States have raised awareness. “There is more cognisance of the possibility of bad things happening,” says Agarwal. “This came out of nowhere and had not happened in the past in the United States. This crime is unlike what you hear about hacks or when data is stolen – there’s just money being stolen.” Best practices to prevent an attack However, the consequences impact every level of the industry, including ATM manufacturers and financial institutions. Also, the supermarket and grocery shops that are targeted face additional security challenges, and even consumers could lose confidence in ATMs if they think their personal information could be at risk. There are best practices that can also prevent an attack. For example, an ATM computer could have a “white list” of approved applications and not allow anything to be installed that is not on the list; for instance, no malware. Another approach is to encrypt the disk drive so that a key or certificate is needed in order to install new software. Agarwal notes that solving the challenge of ATM jackpotting illustrates the need to combine both physical and cybersecurity approaches to protect modern companies. “It’s the reality as we move into a more digital world,” he says. “Physical security at that level will be difficult to protect, and you will be depending more on cyber solutions. It’s the direction the world is moving into.”
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]
If you’ve been paying attention over the last twelve months, you will have noticed that deep learning techniques and artificial intelligence (AI) are making waves in the physical security market, with manufacturers eagerly adopting these buzzwords at the industry's biggest trade shows. With all the hype, security professionals are curious to know what these terms really mean, and how these technologies can boost real-world security system performance. The growing number of applications of deep learning technology and AI in physical security is a clear indication that these are more than a passing fad. This review of some of our most comprehensive articles on these topics shows that AI is an all-pervasive trend that the physical security industry will do well to embrace quickly. Here, we examine the opportunities that artificial intelligence presents for smart security applications, and look back at how some of the leading security companies are adapting to respond to rapidly-changing expectations: What is deep learning technology? Machine Learning involves collecting large amounts of data related to a problem, training a model using this data and employing this model to process new data. Recently, there have been huge advances in a branch of Machine Learning called Deep Learning. This describes a family of algorithms based on neural networks. These algorithms are able to learn efficiently from example, and subsequently apply this learning to new data. Here, Zvika Ashani explains how deep learning technology can boost video surveillance systems. Relationship between deep learning and artificial intelligence With deep learning, you can show a computer many different images and it will "learn" to distinguish the differences. This is the "training" phase. After the neural network learns about the data, it can then use "inference" to interpret new data based on what it has learned. For example, if it has seen enough cats before, the system will know when a new image is a cat. In effect, the system “learns” by looking at lots of data to achieve artificial intelligence (AI). Larry Anderson explores how new computer hardware - the Graphic Processing Unit (GPU) – is making artificial intelligence accessible to the security industry. Improving surveillance efficiency and accuracy with AI Larry Anderson explains how the latest technologies from Neurala and Motorola will enable the addition of AI to existing products, changing an existing solution from a passive sensor to a device that is “active in its thinking.” The technology is already being added to existing Motorola body-worn-cameras to enable police officers to more efficiently search for objects or persons of interest. In surveillance applications, AI could eliminate the need for humans to do repetitive or boring work, such as look at hours of video footage. Intelligent security systems overcome smart city surveillance challenges AI technology is expected to answer the pressing industry questions of how to use Big Data effectively and make a return on the investment in expensive storage, while maintaining (or even lowering) human capital costs. However, until recently, these expectations have been limited by factors such as a limited ability to learn, and high ongoing costs. Zvika Ashani examines how these challenges are being met and overcome, making artificial intelligence the standard in Smart City surveillance deployments. Combining AI and robotics to enhance security operations With the abilities afforded by AI, robots can navigate any designated area autonomously to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour or alert first responders to those who may need aid. This also means that fewer law enforcement and/or security personnel will have be pulled from surrounding areas. While drones still require a human operator to chart their flight paths, the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI) is increasing the capabilities of these machines to work autonomously, says Steve Reinharz. Future of artificial intelligence in the security industry Contributors to SourceSecurity.com have been eager to embrace artificial intelligence and its ability to make video analytics more accurate and effective. Manufacturers predicted that deep learning technology could provide unprecedented insight into human behaviour, allowing video systems to more accurately monitor and predict crime. They also noted how cloud-based systems hold an advantage for deep learning video analytics. All in all, manufacturers are hoping that AI will provide scalable solutions across a range of vertical markets.
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.
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 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.