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
Constantly optimising deep learning algorithms yields better video analytics performance, even in complex applications such as facial recognition or in scenarios with variable lighting, angles, postures, expressions, accessories, resolution, etc. Deep learning, a form of artificial intelligence (AI), holds the potential to enable video analytics to deliver on long-promised, but not often delivered performance. Our AI series continues here with part 2. Adapting existing hardware Today, low-cost system-on-chip (SoC) camera components enable deep neural network (DNN) processing for the next generation of intelligent cameras, thus expanding the availability of AI processing to a broader market. AI software can even add learning capabilities by adapting existing hardware to AI applications AI software can even add learning capabilities by adapting existing hardware to AI applications. Today’s smartphones include cameras, gyroscopes and accelerometers to provide sufficient data to drive AI applications. Software can adapt existing hardware to transform them into AI devices capable of continuous learning in the field. Inside a video camera, real-time deep learning processing can be used to detect discarded objects, issue loitering alarms and detect people or objects entering a pre-defined field. Data capture form to appear here! Detect anomalous data Additional capabilities are applicable to demanding environments and mission-critical applications, such as the perimeter protection of airports, critical infrastructures and government buildings, border patrol, ship-tracking and traffic-monitoring (e.g. wrong-way detection, traffic-counts and monitoring roadsides for parked cars: all vital video security solutions). IoT is transforming the lowly security camera from a device that simply captures images, into an intelligent sensor that plays an integral role in gathering the kind of vital business data that can be used to improve commercial operations in areas beyond security. For example, cities are transitioning into smart cities. Deep learning enables systems to search surveillance footage, to detect anomalous data, and to shift surveillance from post-incident response to providing alerts during, or even before, an event. The ability of deep learning for video analytics is much more sophisticated and accurate Make critical decisions Deep learning can eliminate previous video analytics limitations such as dependence on a scene’s background. Deep learning is also more adept than humans at discerning subtle changes in an image. The ability of deep learning for video analytics is much more sophisticated – and accurate – than the programmed approaches previously employed to identify targets. AI is a timely solution in an age when there is more video surveillance than ever. There are too many cameras and too much recorded video for security operators to keep pace with. On top of that, people have short attention spans. AI is a technology that doesn’t get bored and can analyse more video data than humans. Systems are designed to bring the most important events and insight to users’ attention, freeing them to do what they do best: make critical decisions. Multiple camera streams AI can reduce information overload to enable humans to work with the data more efficiently The video benefits reflect the larger goal of AI to amplify human skills. AI can reduce information overload to enable humans to work with the data more efficiently. Another benefit is faster search, and new systems make searching video as easy as searching the internet. AI enables specific people or cameras to be located quickly across all the cameras at a site. Searching can be directed by a reference images or by physical descriptors such as gender or clothing colour. Consider a scenario of a child missing from a crowded shopping mall: Every second can seem like hours, and artificial intelligence and neural networks can enable a rapid search among multiple camera streams using only one photo of the child. The photo does not have to be a full-frontal passport-type photos; it could be a selfie from a party as long as the face is there. Intrusion detection scenario AI can find her and match her face from among hundreds of thousands of faces captured from video, in nearly real time. AI can also continuously analyse video streams from the surveillance cameras in its network, distinguishing human faces from non-human objects such as statues and animals. Privacy concerns are minimal as there is no ID or personal information on the photo, and the image can be erased after use. And there is no database of stored images. In a perimeter security/intrusion detection scenario, an AI-driven video system can avoid false alarms by easily distinguishing different types of people and objects, e.g., in a region set up to detect people, a car driving by, a cat walking by, or a person’s shadow will not trigger the alarm. Part three coming soon. If you missed part one, see it here.
Choosing the right server for a video surveillance application comes down to one question: What does the customer expect from the system? Is it a retail location with two cameras that only needs video stored for 24 hours? Does the system need failover protection? What are the ramifications if a system goes down? Does business have to stop? How fast does the customer need to have access to video? Is it a regulated industry where immediate access is a requirement? How mission-critical is the video system to operations? Mission critical video surveillance solutions Such questions can point video system designers to the right technology for an application, and a manufacturer and reseller with a wide product offering ensure that the perfect solution is available and can be shipped quickly. It’s important to remember that this is not a “one size fits all” marketplace. Questions need to be asked on what an appropriate server solution will provide for the customer 1) JBOD - It stands for "just a bunch of disks" and refers to a collection of hard disks that have not been configured to work together. This approach is typical of stand-alone systems such as a retailer who has one or two cameras recording locally at a remote location, and who have a tolerance for occasionally losing video footage. 2) RAID 5/6 is a redundant array of independent disks in which data is stored across all the disks. The configuration provides more redundancy and reliability, better balance of disk usage, and more throughput and performance. RAID 5/6 is a redundant array of independent disks in which data is stored across all the disks 3) SAN or storage area network is a type of centralised storage providing enhanced accessibility to disk arrays. SAN provides high performance but is not as easy to expand. It is also less expensive than NAS systems. 4) NAS or network-attached storage is another type of centralised data storage. NAS systems are networked appliances containing storage drives. Benefits include faster data access, easier administration and simple configuration. NAS systems are easier to expand than SAN but provide less performance. NAS systems fit well in situations where customers have massive storage needs (or expect to in the future.) These are applications with lots of cameras and a need to retain high-frame-rate video for 180 days or longer. Typical uses include sports arenas, large cities, universities, corporate campuses and airports. Immediate access to video Highly available systems, such as SAN or NAS, are needed in any regulated industry. For example, in the cannabis grower market, an end user might need immediate access to video to show a compliance regulator. Gaming is another market in which immediate access to video is critical, and, for example, if a video system goes down at a table game, the gaming has to shut down, which is an expensive prospect to the casino. Therefore, reliability is critical. Video’s benefits beyond safety and security can also help to justify the costs of more expensive system Importance of video in risk mitigation In some instances, video is used primarily to manage risk, for example in litigation (or to avoid litigation) in a slip-and-fall claim or other court action. This is referred to as Loss Prevention. The ability to save thousands of dollars (or millions) by averting an expensive legal verdict can go a long way toward justifying the costs of systems. Video’s benefits beyond safety and security, such as for marketing and business analytics, can also help to justify the costs of more expensive systems. Identifying the right video server equipment Offering a variety of choices, and adapting those systems to specific applications, ensures customer satisfaction “A tradeoff of cost and needed functionality is at the center of decisions when buying server systems for video applications,” says Tom Larson, Chief Technology Officer, BCDVideo. “Identifying specifically what the customer needs from the system, and how important it is to meet those needs, points to the right choice in video server equipment. "Various technologies have advantages and some downsides, and it is the customer’s need for those advantages (and tolerance for the downsides) that determines which server equipment is right for the job.” Offering a variety of choices, and adapting those systems to specific applications, ensures customer satisfaction. The systems builder can help integrators analyse the site and project requirements and translate those into the right equipment and networking choices. What does the customer need and how much are they willing to pay for it? The real determination is “how important is the video?”
AI Is currently a buzzword in the physical security industry, and it is also a force that has the potential to transform the industry. Following are the basics of AI (and the related term “deep learning") in part one of our AI series. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the broad computing category referring to intelligence that is displayed by a machine, as opposed to a living creature. Informally, AI refers to machines that mimic the cognitive functions we associate with living creatures, such as learning and problem-solving. Trends driving growth in AI Three trends in the computer industry are driving rapid growth in artificial intelligence. The trends are: Data capture form to appear here! Video surveillance data makes up 60 percent of Big Data, and the amount is rising 20 percent annually Emergence of computer hardware capable of solving complex calculations, specifically graphics processing units (GPUs, which use “parallel processing” instead of “serial processing” used by familiar central processing units [CPUs]). Multiple computations are carried out simultaneously, in parallel rather than in a series. It’s a more scalable approach: Large problems are divided into lots of smaller problems that can be solved at the same time. Development of programming approaches to “train” systems more effectively, specifically neural networks, which work in conjunction with the parallel processing of GPUs. A neural network is a computing system made up of numerous simple, highly interconnected processing elements, typically organised in layers, with each layer made up of interconnected nodes. As each layer computes a result, that result determines the input for the next layer. There may be more than a hundred layers, which enables processing of large amounts of data into complex classifications. A proliferation of sensors (including video cameras) that produce a large enough mass of data to enable systems to be “trained” effectively (a.k.a., “Big Data”). The proliferation of “Big Data” ensures there is plenty of data for training. Video surveillance data makes up 60 percent of Big Data, and the amount is rising 20 percent annually. This proliferation of data feeds artificial intelligence and increases capabilities for a range of systems. Training of an AI-powered system In a neural network operating on a GPU, learning rules modify the weights (importance) of connections; each layer has a different “weighting” that reflects on what was learned at the previous layer. When presented with a data pattern (such as a video image), the neural network analyses what the pattern might be. Deep learning involves use of large amounts of data from which the system can “learn” in a neural network Training involves determining how far the initial answer is from the actual one and making appropriate adjustment in the connection weights. In highly simplified terms, that’s how the system “learns.” There are multiple stages of classification, almost like filters, with each guiding the path to a correct analysis. Deep learning is part of a broader family of machine learning methods and the concept that is most relevant to the video market. Deep learning involves use of large amounts of data (for example, video images) from which the system can “learn” in a neural network. Deep learning in video surveillance systems By being exposed to many instances of data, deep learning systems discern patterns and begin to generaliseThe interconnected processing elements of a neural network, working in parallel on a graphics processing unit (GPU) to solve a problem, are designed to mimic the human brain and its billions of interconnected neurons. This aspect of artificial intelligence, known as deep learning, is the basis for a new family of video surveillance systems offering superior performance to historic systems. This approach is poised to transform the effectiveness of video surveillance systems. Historically, computers have been programmed using video analytics algorithms. In contrast, deep learning systems are “trained.” If you want to identify a cat, you provide lots of images of cats, data which the system breaks down into smaller components and looks for commonalities. It then “learns” the common characteristics among the examples. To maximise training, the more data a system is presented, the more refined it becomes – i.e., the more it “learns.” By being exposed to many instances of data, deep learning systems discern patterns and begin to generalise. From training to inference Deep learning can achieve super-human pattern recognition accuracy, resist interference, and classify and recognise thousands of featuresWhile a computer programmer might spend months writing instructions to tell a computer what a car looks like, a neural network can “learn” by being exposed to many examples – no additional programming involved. But training a neural network is also time-consuming; it might take hours or days to complete. Training is also computationally intensive. However, once a neural network has been trained, it can be used to “infer,” for example, to decide whether a new image is a cat. Inference is less computationally intensive, which enables deployment of trained systems on devices such as network video recorders (NVRs) or even in video cameras at the network edge. Deep learning can achieve super-human pattern recognition accuracy, resist interference, and classify and recognise thousands of features. Those qualities make it especially useful for video analytics applications. Part two coming soon.
Security is arguably at the heart of the United States partial government shutdown: President Trump’s demand for $5.6 billion to start building a wall along the southern border with Mexico is the major bone of contention as gridlock in Washington prevents passage of a spending bill to keep the government in full operation. The partial government shutdown has affected security in other ways, too, and some of the impact could continue long after the impasse is settled. Some 800,000 federal employees are impacted, some on full or partial leave as a result of the shutdown and others working without knowing when they will get paid. Cybersecurity initiatives delayed Furloughed federal employees tasked with cybersecurity are not on hand to address the constant threat to government IT systems from possible hackers and other bad actors. In fact, hackers may decide the government shutdown is a vulnerable time to launch an attack. Data capture form to appear here! Hackers may decide the government shutdown is a vulnerable time to launch an attack Specifically, the new Cybersecurity Infrastructure Security Agency, launched last fall, is operating with a skeleton staff. If the shutdown encourages cybersecurity experts to seek other employment, the resulting drain of “knowledge capital” could be a lasting detriment. New cybersecurity initiatives are also being delayed, such as the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act, aimed at creating a baseline of security defense across government web sites. Some government websites have had their Transport Layer Security (TLS) encryption certificates expire during the shutdown. Impact on TSA agents Although Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents remain on the job at major airports, they will not be paid again until after the shutdown is over. The resulting negative impact on morale has arguably slowed down airport security operations, although airports have not reported any major problems. In addition, some agents have called in “sick” and/or sought other employment to provide income during the shutdown. In the Dallas-Fort Worth airport, the number of agents calling out sick reportedly increased by 200% to 300%. The absences can aggravate existing TSA staffing shortages. Impact on border protection agents Customs and border protection agents are also on the job with no assurance of when they will be paid. Other immigration agents in the Department of Homeland Security are also currently without pay. Hearings on immigration cases are being canceled, which can result in a large backlog to be addressed after the shutdown ends. Customs and border protection agents are also on the job with no assurance of when they will be paid What about worker documentation? A consequence of the shutdown is unavailability of the government’s E-Verify system, which is used to verify a worker’s immigration status prior to being hired by an employer. During the lapse in government appropriations, employers will not be able to access their E-Verify accounts, create an E-Verify case, edit company information, terminate accounts, run reports, etc. Long-term impact on government employment The longer the shutdown continues, the more employees will be encouraged to seek work elsewhereThe shutdown may lead federal employees to seek work in the private sector, where their paycheck is not likely to be delayed because of a political impasse. The longer the shutdown continues, the more employees will be encouraged to seek work elsewhere, whether on a temporary basis or as a permanent alternative. Manpower shortages can translate into security risks. Trump has argued for funding of the border wall on security and humanitarian grounds and has sought to put pressure on newly empowered Democrats. However, adding physical barriers at the border is only part of the solution to border security, says the conservative Heritage Foundation. Also needed are improved technology to monitor the border and appropriately equipped border patrol agents. Holistic approach to border security This holistic approach of combining barriers, technology, and people is the cost-effective way to secure the border, says Heritage Foundation. It’s also important to enforce immigration laws, and border security does nothing to stop visa overstays, another source of illegal immigration. The Democratic opposition has said Trump’s urgent call to build the wall is a “manufactured crisis,” and the wall would be “immoral” and “ineffective.” Weeks into the impasse, there is no end in sight.
The new year 2019 is brimming with possibilities for the physical security industry, but will those possibilities prove to be good news or bad news for our market? Inevitably, it will be a combination of good and bad, but how much good and how bad? We wanted to check the temperature of the industry as it relates to expectations for the new year, so we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How optimistic is your outlook for the physical security industry in 2019? Why?
A rapid string of merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions as 2018 passed into 2019 suggests the physical security industry may be on the verge of a busy year of companies buying other companies. Observers have noted a large amount of investment capital currently available to be invested in security M&A, and plenty of entrepreneurial companies are looking to be acquired. Joe Grillo, CEO of ACRE, previously hinted at upcoming M&A activity for his company by the end of 2018, foreshadowing ACRE’s late-year announcement to acquire access control company Open Options, Addison, Texas.The VaaS cloud-based image capture platform includes fixed and mobile license plate reader cameras driven by machine learning Just days later, in the midst of the holiday season, Qognify announced its plan to acquire On-Net Surveillance Systems Inc. (OnSSI) and sister company SeeTec GmbH. Then came an even larger announcement: Motorola has acquired VaaS International Holdings Inc., a data and image analytics company for $445 million. The VaaS cloud-based image capture and analysis platform includes fixed and mobile license plate reader cameras driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence. Most recently, ADT announced yet another acquisition, Advanced Cabling Systems, a technology integration company in the South, thus continuing consolidation on the integration side of the business. There are likely to be further mergers and acquisitions in the video surveillance supply base in 2019 Continuation of the trend In the case of the Qognify and Motorola deals, Jon Cropley, Principal Analyst, Video Surveillance & Security Services, IHS Global Limited, sees them as the next chapter in an M&A trend going back several years. “I think this is a continuation of what we have been seeing in recent years of video surveillance software vendors being acquired,” he says. In the face of intense price competition, vendors have found it increasingly difficult to compete based on hardware features" “In the face of intense price competition, vendors have found it increasingly difficult to compete based on hardware features and are looking at software to offer unique competitive advantages.” In short, he sees it as a continuation of a trend that previously saw Canon acquiring Milestone Systems and Briefcam, Panasonic acquiring Video Insight and Tyco acquiring Exacq. “There are likely to be further mergers and acquisitions in the video surveillance supply base in 2019,” adds Cropley. “However, a spree of large-scale mergers and acquisitions is not expected.” Memoori, another market research firm, forecasts that the value of acquisitions could actually decline marginally in 2019 in value terms but increase in number. This observation is based on Memoori’s charting of physical security deals over the last 18 years. Jim McHale, Managing Director of Memoori, says there have been four cycles of increase and decline in activity, often exaggerated by billion dollar deals in one year such as the merger of Johnson Controls and Tyco of $165Bn in 2016. Access control when combined with identity management is punching well above its weight, and this trend has continued Access control to open systems Only time will tell whether the new year pattern of M&A activity is a coincidence or a harbinger of a busy M&A year ahead “It may be too early to make judgements on the future based on the last four weeks, but there are some interesting points that can be made when compared with our 2018 analysis,” says McHale. “Access control when combined with identity management is punching well above its weight, and this trend has continued. "Acre has been a major contributor and has completed some 10 acquisitions. In general, the access control business has been slow to move to open systems, and hopefully we can expect this trend toward openness to continue as it will give additional growth to the business.” For more commentary from Memoori, see their report “Major Trends in the Global Access Control Market 2018”. Only time will tell whether the new year pattern of M&A activity is a coincidence or a harbinger of a busy M&A year ahead. While past trends may provide a glimpse of what’s coming, there are always new variables. It’s a sure bet the overall trend toward consolidation will continue but predicting the pace and timing of individual transactions is almost impossible. In any case, it will be interesting to watch how 2019 unfolds on the M&A front, among other factors in a changing industry.
Security integrators are often tasked with a multitude of responsibilities which could include a variety of installation, integration or design tasks made up of sprinkler systems, fire alarms, access control, HVAC, video surveillance systems and networks; and then pile on maintenance, training and analytics. Traditionally, most security integrators have installation backgrounds but are now expected to be IT savvy, too. Even the most proficient IT professionals may not fully grasp the complexity of adapting computer servers for use with video systems. It’s not the area of expertise of security integrators as the complexities between IT data and video data are significant. Therefore, security integrators depend on system builders to provide solutions to meet the needs of video systems expertly and with few hassles. It’s a simple enough ask, but not so easy to deliver. Tom Larson, Chief Technology Officer, BCDVideo, lists some of the challenges: The gap between reality and customer expectations End users should expect a security integrator to provide services and a wide product line to ensure the right equipment for any size job Sometimes there is a gap between what a security integrator expects from a video surveillance solution (in terms of validation testing, dependability, technical support) and the performance of available choices, especially in the case of low-cost or generic equipment. Extra service and support are needed to bridge the gap. Unfortunately, some manufacturers entering the market have failed to deliver, and integrators (and their end user customers) have paid a price. The network is often overlooked Security integrators should pay special attention to engineering the network and calculating the bandwidth and storage needed for video projects, especially given how technology evolves so quickly. Security is an appliance-driven business, and integrators who just want to add another server to expand storage or functionality without configuring the network run the risk of i/o bottlenecks and other system failures. End users should expect a security integrator to provide services and a wide product line to ensure the right equipment for any size job. Unfortunately, traditional IT resellers are often married to a singular solution limiting their knowledge of a good fit for the job. Buying a video server based on a low price aggravates the problem, as “Frankensteined” or generic servers tend to generate additional costs over time Servers are mistakenly considered a one-time expense One mistake purchasing agents make and security integrators have a hard time quantifying is viewing video storage as a capital expense (as one more component of a security system) rather than considering ongoing operating expenses. Buying a video server based on a low price aggravates the problem. “Frankensteined” or generic servers tend to generate additional costs over time, such as firmware or supply chain issues, and some systems builders have failed to provide support to offset those costs. In fact, the high costs over time of supporting inexpensive servers have been unsustainable for some system builders, who have left integrators and end users holding the bag, and in some cases, the liability. Adapting to sustainable strategies “Systems builders to the video surveillance market must adapt and invest to meet the demands of security integrators’ expectations, and they need a business model that enables them to provide a substantial level of support and commitment,” says Larson. “Working with high-quality manufacturers and providing tried-and-tested, certified equipment upfront ensures manageable costs over the life of the system. Products that are fully tested and contain no firmware bugs ensure smoother installations. By providing adequate technical support to the security integrator and managing IT variables over the life of the system, the systems builder makes it possible for a security integrator to specify and install a video server as easily as any other system component.” Keeping IT professionals on staff to deal with server issues is cost-prohibitive for security integrators Taking a longer-term view and considering total cost of ownership is a more sustainable strategy for integrators, says Larson. Investing upfront in a higher-quality server is rewarded by dependability and lower service costs over the life of the system. And the lower costs of supporting a higher-quality server create a more sustainable business model for the integrator, thus ensuring the integrator and end user will have ongoing support. Adapting server technology to video applications Security integrators deliver a different skill set than IT integrators, who tend to be more hands-on in terms of updating firmware and providing maintenance. Keeping IT professionals on staff to deal with server issues is cost-prohibitive for security integrators, who therefore depend on systems builders to provide that expertise. They develop a long-term relationship with a systems builder they can depend on to meet their needs for each job. Larson says the best scenario for a security integrator is a combination of a high-quality server systems builder that understands the specific needs of the security integrator market. Adapting server technology to video applications requires knowledge of both disciplines. Dependable technology adapted to the needs of the video channel ensures successful installations and happy, long-term customers.
How’s this for a simple access control scenario? You walk up to a door, wave your hand in front of a button, the button lights up, and the door opens. That’s the simplified user experience that startup Openpath is promoting as it enters the crowded and mature market for physical access control. Openpath says a simple user experience provides the extra boost needed for mobile credentialing to gain momentum. In this case, it’s even simpler than using a card credential (no searching in a bag or purse for the card). And there’s no personal identification number (PIN) code to remember; no “intrusive” biometric element that can concern some users. James Segil, President and Co-Founder of Openpath, says the simplified process “uses fewer thought cycles.” Reliability of the system comes from Openpath’s SurePath triple-connect technology “We wanted to make mobile access control that people want to use and can use safely and with ease,” he says. “We wanted to make using a smart phone for access control easier and more reliable than using a keycard.” Simplified user operation In the simplified scenario, the mobile credential resides on a smart phone that can remain tucked away in the user’s purse or pocket. The credential remains active without the user needing to open an app. The wave of the hand signals intent, which causes the button to light up, activate and the door is ready to open. Segil says the simplicity of operation has contributed to the system seeing an unheard-of 94% adoption rate among users. Reliability of the system comes from Openpath’s SurePath triple-connect technology. The smart phone credential is delivered using Bluetooth, WiFi or LTE (cellular) – whichever signal reaches the reader first enables the door to be opened. So even if a company’s WiFi is down or Bluetooth proves unreliable, there is still a third option. Openpath deploys “seamless” cloud integration and makes it easy for landlords and tenants to integrate Openpath with other systems Seamless cloud integration Segil is a serial entrepreneur who has had experiences as a frustrated user, dealing with many different offices, people and access control deployments over the years – subletting office space, changing PIN codes, dealing with 10 different offices using 10 different cards. Based on that experience, Openpath’s founders saw a need for a more user-centric approach to access control, and a chance to improve the office experience to be more aligned with employees’ experiences in their smart homes. Segil says he also saw “significant lethargy” among incumbent players in the access control space, and a market in which mobile and cloud technologies had still not taken hold. In addition to a simplified user experience built around mobile credentialing, Openpath deploys “seamless” cloud integration and makes it easy for landlords and tenants to integrate Openpath with other systems. The “elegant” readers, including a flush-mounted version, fit in well with high-end office environments. The company launched in May 2018. Openpath has been signing up national and regional channel partners all across the U.S. Openpath is focused on the commercial real estate market, where they have already seen significant adoptions, especially among mid-sized companies. Larger deployments as part of new construction are in the pipeline. National system integration In the past six months since its launch, Openpath has been signing up national and regional channel partners all across the U.S. and now has a nationwide footprint and is able to service customers all over the U.S. They are not yet disclosing any specifics about the number of partners they have signed up and who they are. “I can share that we have a number of large national system integration and security brands on board as channel partners and many more regional and local system integrators,” says Segil. They are looking for additional integrator partners. “There is a cohort of folks out there who say ‘I get it,’ and I want to offer it to my customers,” says Segil. The cloud element of the system can provide recurring monthly revenue (RMR). Openpath’s system offers flexibility in terms of meeting each customer’s security needs. In addition to the “super convenient” scenario described above, the system can also be configured to be “super secure,” using two-factor authentication and other measures, says Segil. There are multiple “flavors” between the two extremes. It can also be integrated with elevators to enable the buttons on allowed floors. Integration with existing systems Cloud software simplifies operation for both tenants and landlords. The system is backwards-compatible to existing systems and can be used to retrofit and mobile-enable a legacy system, providing the benefits of mobile features and cloud operation to multiple sites. The software can interface with enterprise applications such as Active Directory, and an application programming interface (API) facilitates integration with other systems and building components. It operates with marketing automation platforms such as Flack and visitor management systems such as Envoy. The system is backwards-compatible, providing the benefits of mobile features and cloud operation to multiple sites Open standards make the system easy to install in new or existing buildings using RS485, or Cat 5 or Cat 6 wiring, whatever is in place. Retrofit installations can use existing panels, servers, software, etc., or they can be replaced. The Openpath panel is installed right next to an existing panel in a retrofit and preserves all legacy integrations of the previous system. Access credentials compatibility In its simplest configuration, the Openpath system consists of single or four-door panels wired using standard ports, Wiegand ports and REX ports, each connected to software in the cloud. Each panel works offline if the internet connection is down. Various key fobs, cards and other credentials are available in addition to mobile credentials. Openpath was one of the new exhibitors at last fall’s GSX show in Las Vegas, occupying a large-sized booth for a startup company. The “beautiful” hardware drew a lot of attention, says Segil. “The channel loves us, and we signed a lot of people,” he adds. “We were excited by the response.”
Security is among the defining topics at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 this week in Las Vegas. More than 4,500 exhibiting companies are participating, including some 1,200 startups, highlighting the next wave of innovation in consumer electronics – and security. Twenty-four product categories at CES feature solutions to transform how consumers live, work and play. Technologies being highlighted include 5G connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality, smart homes, smart cities, and machine intelligence. Video is an important element at CES. This year, the focus is on intelligent video. For example, Eyecloud.ai, Santa Clara, Calif., is displaying a home security camera with on-device face recognition that uses AI. Powered by a 12-core Intel Movidius VPU (video processing unit), the camera combines AI-on-the-edge with easy setup and wirefree operation for up to six months per battery charge. On-device artificial intelligence On-device AI is the next big trend in smart home surveillance, and deep neural networks will drive the future of do-it-yourself home automation SimCam, an Intel partner, demonstrates how the Intel Movidius VPU can turn a security camera into ‘the ultimate vision-based sensor’. On-device AI is the next big trend in smart home surveillance, and deep neural networks will drive the future of do-it-yourself home automation. A variety of other residential video systems are also on display at CES. For example, Swann Security is displaying 4K wired security systems featuring Google integration, a wireless smart security camera with True Detect heat-based PIR (photo infrared) motion detection, a video doorbell and chime with two-way talk, and indoor and outdoor wi-fi cameras with Alexa integrations. Intelligent automotive solutions Camera system-on-chip (SoC) company Ambarella is introducing the new CV25 camera SoC at CES. It combines advanced image processing, high-resolution video encoding and CVflow computer vision (video analytics) processing in a single, extremely low-power design. The CVflow architecture provides Deep Neural Network (DNN) processing required for a new generation of affordable and intelligent home monitoring, professional surveillance and aftermarket automotive solutions. CV25 offers half the performance of Ambarella’s previously released CV22 chip, but the new chip’s lower cost will bring intelligent cameras to a price point desirable for home systems. All Ambarella’s chips have hardware-based cybersecurity. A suite of advanced cybersecurity features protects against hacking, including secure boot, TrustZone, and I/O virtualisation. Based on 10nm ultra-low power processing technology, the CV25 chip is optimised for wirefree cameras applications that require long battery life and small form factors. Camera system-on-chip (SoC) company Ambarella is introducing the new CV25 camera SoC at CES Virtual security guards Elsewhere, the Deep Sentinel home security system applies video and AI to predict residential break-ins ‘before they happen’. The Pleasanton, Calif.-based tech startup uses ‘AI-infused security cameras’ to keep an eye on your home. Three wireless 1080p full HD cameras provide night vision and PIR motion sensing, connected by a smart hub. Using proprietary artificial intelligence, the cameras act as virtual guards, watching activity around a house and providing alerts to situations that may lead to burglaries, break-ins, package thefts and other dangers. My Safe Patrol is an AI-driven platform that analyses data aggregated from security personnel, citizen alert systems and IoT smart devices, and responds with geolocated alerts in real-time. My Safe Patrol effectively supports the security/safety ecosystem of a building, a campus, a city or a district through a dynamic dashboard that helps command and control operations manage and deploy security plans. AI-integrated devices Showcased solutions include Smart Living integration of video surveillance applications to enable real-time two-way audio and video streaming simultaneously MicroVision, Redmond, Wash., showcases an interactive display engine for AI-connected devices, providing an integrated solution for projected display and interactivity through multi-point touch and air gestures. MicroVision’s new consumer 3D LiDAR engine provides high-fidelity spatial awareness to smart home hubs, for input to smart devices such as lighting, security, entertainment, and thermostats. The Internet of Things (IoT) is another big topic at CES, and ThroughTek Co., Ltd., Taiwan, demonstrates IoT developments to transmit voice, video and data over both wide- and narrow-band channels in smart home applications. Showcased solutions include Smart Living integration of video surveillance applications combined with voice assistant to companion robots, wireless doorbells, and battery cameras to enable real-time two-way audio and video streaming simultaneously. Advanced Capacitive Touchscreen Decayeux Group, a European manufacturer of mailboxes and high security doors, is displaying MyColisBox, a secure and connected parcel box delivery system designed to provide online shoppers a secure pickup point accessible by a PIN code sent via SMS message to a smartphone. Walter is the new mobile app for MyColisBox. Kwikset, a division of Spectrum Brands, showcases its smart lock portfolio – including three new smart locks – in the CES Smart Home Marketplace. Kwikset is showing the SmartCode 888, Kwikset Convert, Obsidian, and new designs of the SmartCode 914 and SmartCode 916, as well as a new wi-fi lock. Baldwin, Kwikset’s ‘luxury lock’ sister company, is offering a preview of its new TouchScreen Collection, launching this summer, available in five styles and featuring Advanced Capacitive Touchscreen technology. The Internet of Things (IoT) is another big topic at CES, with many companies demonstrating IoT developments Cyber security standards Privacy is increasingly a concern in the consumer space, and Private Discuss, from PIMAN Security, is a premium, secure, white label communication solution. Their active AI-powered defense architecture provides encrypted audio and video calls, messaging and file sharing. It renders a confidential, secure messaging platform that adheres to the highest standards of cybersecurity. FLIR provides virtual reality demonstrations at their CES booth, allowing attendees to put on a virtual fire helmet and try out a FLIR camera in a real-world residential fire response scenario. Participants may also use a FLIR optical gas imaging camera virtually to stop fugitive emissions in a natural gas refinery. Booth visitors may also take “thermal selfies” to post on social media.
Open Options, based in Addison, Texas, provides a truly open access control architecture that will strengthen the ACRE portfolio and increase the breadth of solutions offered by the global provider of security systems. The acquisition of Open Options is also an opportunity for ACRE to focus on growth opportunities in North America and “balance the scales a bit,” says Joe Grillo, CEO of ACRE, which significantly grew its reach in Europe, the Middle East and Africa with the acquisition of Siemens Security Products in 2015. “Open Options is also a company that's growing, is profitable and fits seamlessly into our vision for the access control space in which we operate,” says Grillo. Independent operations The strength of Open Options in the Southwest provides significant additional coverage for ACRE in that region of the United States The Open Options brand will continue to operate independently under the ACRE umbrella. Open Options CEO and Founder Steve Fisher will continue in his role as leader of the company, says Grillo. “There is a strong and competent management team in place that will continue to provide leadership going forward.” Open Options’ open-architecture access control solutions will add value to the solutions ACRE already offers under the Vanderbilt brand. In a market that has traditionally been proprietary, the open-platform solution offered by Open Options helps deliver more opportunity to offer customers a full-scale solution based on their needs, says Grillo. In addition, due to its origin as a Texas-based company, the strength of Open Options in the Southwest provides significant additional coverage for ACRE in that region of the United States. Technical and financial resources On the other hand, ACRE provides a greater level of technical and financial resources that Open Options can utilise to help them grow even faster. These resources were not as available to the company if it remained independent, Grillo notes. ACRE’s divestiture of Mercury Security in 2017 facilitated this investment. As discussions began earlier this year, ACRE realised the potential of adding to its access control portfolio in the North American market, says Grillo. Open Options and Mercury have been "partners" for 20 years; Mercury provides hardware panels for Open Options systems. Each company will manage and make decisions about their reseller channels independently “The Mercury brand continues to be a strong one, so we're interested in continuing to nurture that relationship, and in fact we have become a larger and stronger partner to Mercury as ACRE,” says Grillo. “After owning Mercury for a number of years, we had the understanding of the company, the product portfolio and the partner relationships that defined it, so we were confident that the deal would be a positive one for the ACRE brand.” Meeting customer needs “Open Options and Vanderbilt share some customers already and we can leverage that by gaining more share of their business while providing them with a portfolio that will meet a broader set of customer needs,” says Grillo. “Where possible, we can look for synergies in channel partners that are not currently shared to provide access to both brands. This will be a benefit to Open Options, Vanderbilt and our customer base. However, importantly, each company will manage and make decisions about their reseller channels independently.” Are there more acquisitions on the horizon for ACRE? “We're always looking for opportunities that fit into the nature of our business,” says Grillo. “Companies that have growth potential and share similar go-to-market strategies and visions for the future are of particular interest to ACRE. "We're still operating in a highly fragmented market, so we're going to see continued consolidation in both access control and beyond, which means ACRE will be looking for the right opportunities to follow along that path.”
Timely and important issues in the security marketplace dominated our list of most-clicked-upon articles in 2018. Looking back at the top articles of the year provides a decent summary of how our industry evolved this year, and even offers clues to where we’re headed in 2019. In the world of digital publishing, it’s easy to know what content resonates with the security market: Our readers tell us with their actions; i.e., where they click. Let’s look back at the Top 10 articles we posted in 2018 that generated the most page views. They are listed in order here with a brief excerpt. 1. U.S. President Signs Government Ban on Hikvision and Dahua Video Surveillance The ban on government uses, which takes effect ‘not later than one year after … enactment,’ applies not only to future uses of Dahua and Hikvision equipment but also to legacy installations. The bill calls for an assessment of the current presence of the banned technologies and development of a ‘phase-out plan’ to eliminate the equipment from government uses. 2. Motorola Makes a Splash with Avigilon Video Surveillance Acquisition Early clues point to Motorola positioning Avigilon as part of a broader solution, especially in the municipal/safe cities market. The company says the acquisition will enable more safe cities projects and more public-private partnerships between local communities and law enforcement. Motorola sees Avigilon as ‘a natural extension to global public safety and U.S. federal and military’ applications, according to the company. 3. Impact of Data-Driven Smart Cities on Video Surveillance One of the major areas of technology that is going to shift how we interact with our cities is the Internet of Things (IoT). One benefit will be the ability to use video surveillance to analyse data on large crowds at sporting events The IoT already accounts for swaths of technology and devices operating in the background. However, we’re increasingly seeing these come to the forefront of everyday life, as data becomes increasingly critical. Bosch is highlighting its “Simply. Connected” portfolio of smart city technology to transform security as well as urban mobility, air quality and energy efficiency 4. CES 2018: Security Technologies Influencing the Consumer Electronics Market Familiar players at security shows also have a presence at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). For example, Bosch is highlighting its “Simply. Connected” portfolio of smart city technology to transform security as well as urban mobility, air quality and energy efficiency. Many consumer technologies on display offer a glimpse of what’s ahead for security. Are Panasonic’s 4K OLEDs with HDR10+ format or Sony’s A8F OLED televisions a preview of the future of security control room monitors? 5. SIA Predicts Top Physical Security Trends for 2018 Traditional security providers will focus more on deepening the customer experience and enhancing convenience and service. The rise of IoT also places an emphasis on cybersecurity, and security dealers will react by seeking manufacturers and technology partners with cyber-hardened network-connected devices. 6. High-Speed Visitor Screening Systems Will Improve Soft Target Security The system is more expensive than a metal detector, but about a third the cost of familiar airport body scanners. Labor reduction (because of faster throughput) can help offset the system costs, but “it’s difficult to quantify the improvement in the visitor experience,” says Mike Ellenbogen, CEO of Evolv Technology. 7. How to Prevent ATM Jackpotting with Physical and Cyber Security 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. The safety and security world bring a complex problem to solve- how to pick out a face in a moving and changing environment and compare it to several faces of interest 8. Why We Need to Look Beyond Technology for Smart City Security Solutions Although technology is necessary for an urban area to transition in to a safe and smart city, technology alone isn’t sufficient. Truly smart cities are savvy cities and that includes how they employ software, sensing, communications and other technologies to meet their needs. 9. How New Video Surveillance Technology Boosts Airport Security and Operations Employing airport security solutions is a complex situation with myriad government, state and local rules and regulations that need to be addressed while ensuring the comfort needs of passengers. Airport security is further challenged with improving and increasing operational efficiencies, as budgets are always an issue. As an example, security and operational data must be easily shared with other airport departments and local agencies such as police, customs, emergency response and airport operations to drive a more proactive approach across the organisation. 10. The Evolution of Facial Recognition from Body-Cams to Video Surveillance The safety and security world bring a complex problem to solve how to pick out a face in a moving and changing environment and compare it to several faces of interest. “One-to-many” facial recognition is a much harder problem to solve.
The security marketplace is talking about a lot of different subjects. Our website’s Expert Panel Roundtable discussions in 2018 reflected some of the “hot topics” in the industry. The very most-clicked-on Expert Panel Roundtable discussion in 2018 was about privacy issues and GDPR’s impact on physical security systems. Other hot topics that made the Top-10 list of roundtable discussions included obstacles to adoption of mobile credentials, what’s new “on the edge,” and the value of physical security data. Here is a listing of the Top 10 Expert Panel Roundtable discussions posted in 2018, 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 2018 (including the quotable panelists named and linked below). 1. How do privacy issues and GDPR impact physical security systems? "GDPR specifically restricts the capture and use of EU residents’ personal data and is in direct conflict with the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to track individual activities. The challenge for manufacturers will be to design solutions capable of capturing valuable information for security or business intelligence purposes while simultaneously anonymising retained data.” - Peter Strom, March Networks 2. What are the security challenges of the hospitality market? "The primary challenge the hospitality industry faces is the fine balance between the delivery of exceptional customer service and maintaining a safe and secure environment. The industry sees a range of threats, including theft, terrorism and natural disasters, and more modern risks, such as those related to cybersecurity, liability and compliance." - Jumbi Edulbehram, Oncam 3. Where is it inappropriate to install video cameras? "The most obvious examples would be in bathrooms or bedrooms, but the more interesting cases are those that are not so obvious – such as religious institutions like a church or a mosque. An increase in the boldness of would-be thieves has led to a recent rise in surveillance outside of houses of worship." - Stuart Rawling, Pelco by Schneider Electric 4. What technology will impact security most in the rest of 2018? "The hottest trend we are currently seeing in 2018 is the continued adoption of intelligent devices and automation into the security framework. We have embraced a model where our software and hardware components continually get smarter and easier for security and IT teams to manage and deploy." - Stuart Tucker, AMAG Technology 5. What are the obstacles to adoption of mobile credentials for access control? "Mobile credentials have been slow to take off because legacy readers traditionally did not have Bluetooth or NFC capacity. However, upgrade kits will soon be available from some access control vendors, and customers will be able to easily upgrade their readers." - Derek Arcuri, Genetec 6. What’s new “on the edge” of security and video surveillance systems? "As more powerful in-camera chipsets are developed, edge devices are capable of even more powerful analytics that can inform operators in real-time of events requiring attention. Part of this significant evolution is from a form of artificial intelligence (AI) called deep learning." - Paul Kong, Hanwha Techwin America 7. Are integrators and end users overwhelmed by too many choices? "Being proactive in tracking new developments and networking with like-minded professionals are critical. Find out what your colleagues are using or testing, and get their feedback on what is working well, especially if their organisation is similar to yours. Join local groups, attend industry conferences, and connect on social media to compare notes on emerging technologies." - Brandon Reich, Pivot3 8. What role does social media play in promoting security? "Social media can help us reduce false police dispatches by drawing in a personal circle of people that can validate an alarm, whether it be a neighbour looking out their window to see what’s going on, or a family member that knows your travel plans and is taking care of your house." - Wayne Jared, 3xLOGIC 9. How should your security company measure total cost of ownership (TCO)? “When looking at TCO you need to consider the obvious initial capital cost – compared to alternatives – and also the operational costs across the lifespan of the systems, across one, three and five years. On top of this, though, security can add additional value through integration.” - John Davies, TDSi 10. What is the value of physical security data? "While active protection is the primary job of a security system, the data generated by today’s networked solutions can provide a wealth of intelligence to help organisations optimise both their security strategies and their business operations.” - Mark Perkins, Boon Edam
Consolidation persisted in the physical security industry in 2018, and big companies such as Motorola, Canon and UTC continued to make moves. Also among the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) news in 2018 was a high-profile bankruptcy (that ended well), continuing consolidation in the integrator market, and the creation of a new entity called “LenelS2.” Here’s a look at the Top 10 M&A stories in 2018: 1. Motorola acquires Avigilon Motorola Solutions announced in February that it had entered into a definitive agreement to acquire video surveillance provider Avigilon in an all-cash transaction that enhances Motorola Solutions’ portfolio of mission-critical communications technologies. Avigilon products are used by a range of commercial and government customers including critical infrastructure, airports, government facilities, public venues, healthcare centers and retail. The company holds more than 750 U.S. and international patents. 2. UTC Climate, Control & Security buys S2 Security UTC Climate, Controls & Security agreed in September to acquire S2 Security, a developer of unified security and video management solutions. UTC subsequently combined S2 with its Lenel brand to create LenelS2, “a global leader in advanced access control systems and services” with “complementary strengths.” 3. Costar Technologies acquires Arecont Vision after bankruptcy Arecont Vision, the provider of IP-based megapixel camera and video surveillance solutions, announced in July that the acquisition by Costar Technologies, Inc. of its assets had been approved by the bankruptcy court. After the closing of the sale, the company began operating as Arecont Vision Costar, LLC and is part of Costar, a U.S. corporation that designs, develops, manufactures, and distributes a range of products for the video surveillance and machine vision markets. 4. Allegion acquires access control company ISONAS Allegion plc, a security products and solutions provider, agreed in June to acquire ISONAS through one of its subsidiaries. ISONAS’ edge-computing technology provides access control solutions for non-residential markets. ISONAS' devices – like its integrated reader-controllers – utilise power over ethernet, making them easy to install and cost effective as they utilise existing customer infrastructures. The company is based in Boulder, Colo. 5. HID buys Crossmatch for Biometrics HID Global announced that it had acquired Crossmatch, a provider of biometric identity management and secure authentication solutions, from Francisco Partners. Crossmatch’s portfolio of products includes biometric identity management hardware and software that complement HID’s broad portfolio of trusted identity products and services. 6. BriefCam announces acquisition by Canon BriefCam, a global provider of video synopsis and deep learning solutions, announced its acquisition in May by Canon Inc., a global digital imaging solutions company. The addition of BriefCam to Canon’s network video solutions products portfolio complements the Canon Group’s previous acquisitions of Axis Communications and Milestone Systems. 7. Allied Universal acquires U.S. Security Associates Allied Universal, a security and facility services company, finalised its acquisition of U.S. Security Associates (USSA) in October, further building on its position in the security services industry. This acquisition includes Andrews International (including its Government Services Division and Consulting and Investigations and International Division) and Staff Pro. 8. Johnson Controls acquires Smartvue Corp. Johnson Controls announced in April that it had acquired Smartvue, a global IoT and video provider that empowers cloud video surveillance and IoT video services. The addition of the Smartvue cloud-based video platform will enhance Johnson Controls’ offering of an end-to-end, smart cloud-based solution that can provide superior business data and intelligence to customers and added value to partners. 9. ADT acquires Red Hawk Fire & Security (and others) ADT Inc.’s acquisition of Red Hawk Fire & Security, Boca Raton, Fla., was the latest move in ADT Commercial’s strategy to buy up security integrator firms around the country and grow their footprint. In addition to the Red Hawk acquisition, announced in mid-October, ADT has acquired more than a half-dozen security system integration firms in the last year or so. 10. Convergint Technologies continues to acquire Convergint Technologies announced in August the acquisition of New Jersey-based Access Control Technologies (ACT), bringing further electronic security systems experience to Convergint's service capabilities. Convergint has strategically grown its service footprint across the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia Pacific through strong organic growth and the completion of 18 acquisitions since early 2016. And it continues: Convergint announced acquisition of SI Technologies, Albany, N.Y., in November and Firstline Security Integration (FSI), Anaheim, Calif., in December. (And Convergint itself was acquired in February by private equity group Ares Management.)
There is a new event on the calendar for the security industry in 2019: The Security Event 2019, 9-11 April, at NEC, Birmingham. For additional details and a preview of the new trade show and conference, we spoke with Tristan Norman, Founding Partner and Event Director, The Security Event. Q: It seems recently that some trade shows have been on the decline in terms of exhibit size and attendance. Why does the physical security industry need another trade show? Norman: I think there are numerous factors that play into the decline of trade shows in general and not something that is limited to the security industry. Those events that are suffering are no longer serving their target market or have failed to adapt to the changes in the industry they serve. However, what we are seeing now is the rise of focused, more “evolved” trade events which fulfil a gap in the industry event calendar and provide something new and fresh to a disillusioned audience. Q: What will be unique about The Security Event, and what role will it serve in bringing together buyers and sellers in the market? Where (geographically) will attendees come from? What we are seeing is a rise of trade events which provide something fresh to a disillusioned audience Norman: The driving ethos behind The Security Event is that we are “designed by the industry, for the industry.” We were able to start with a blank canvas and take onboard all the feedback from stakeholders throughout the security buying chain and create an event that is sustainable and fit for purpose. We see the role of the event as a very important one – to truly reconnect the currently fragmented UK commercial security industry, back at the NEC in Birmingham. We had originally anticipated that this would be an almost-exclusively UK event in year one. However, we have seen significant interest from potential visitors from across the wider EMEA region who are keen to do business in the UK. We formed a strategic alliance with Security Essen to help facilitate and strengthen our reach in these regions through additional marketing and PR activities. Consequently, early registrations indicate that it will be approximately an 80% UK and 20% international split. Q: What conference programming is being planned to augment the trade show event? Norman: Content will be delivered across three focused theatres, serving the needs of our audience throughout the buying chain. Emphasis will be placed on the latest technology innovations impacting the industry, practical advice on the most pressing issues facing security technicians, and important industry updates and insights. All sessions are focused on delivering tangible benefits to ensure professionals are equipped to stay relevant and to grow their business and we’re excited to be working with key industry bodies, innovators and experts to deliver the programme. We look forward to announcing those in coming weeks. Exhibitors want to re-engage with the thousands of industry colleagues who no longer attend other events on offer Q: Comparisons to IFSEC are inevitable. How will The Security Event be different than the IFSEC Security and Fire shows? What are the advantages of locating at Birmingham NEC? Norman: Both The Security Event and The Fire Safety Event, based at the NEC are completely different to any other trade show in the UK. We pride ourselves in creating a business platform that puts the exhibitors’ needs first, by limiting the size of stands and total number of exhibitors as well as creating a comprehensive CPD accredited educational programme for the visitors. Q: Which big industry players are supporting the launch of The Security Event, and what feedback are you hearing in terms of why they signed up at the show's inception? If a global manufacturer has a footprint in both the US and Europe, any tradeshow will be managed locally Norman: Our founding partners are Assa Abloy, Avigilon, Anixter, Comelit, Dahua, Honeywell, TDSi, Texecom, Tyco and Videcon. The full list of exhibitors and supporting partners can be found on our website. The reasons why they have signed up are very simple. They all see the exact same gap in the industry event landscape as we do. We believe there is a need for a 3-day channel focused commercial security exhibition based at The NEC in Birmingham. Our exhibitors want to re-engage with the thousands of industry colleagues who no longer attend the other events on offer. Q: Your 2019 show will be the same week as ISC West in Las Vegas. Do you think the competitive calendar will be a factor? Norman: In terms of our both our audience and our exhibiting base there is very little overlap with ISC West. Generally, if a global manufacturer has a footprint in both the US and Europe, any tradeshow will be managed locally so we haven’t observed any issues so far. We do acknowledge that having two shows at the same time globally isn’t ideal and we have moved our dates in 2020 to the 28-30 April to mitigate this going forward. The Security Event 2020 will not clash with Las Vegas' ISC West 2020 as it will in 2019, says Norman Q: How will you measure success in the first year of the show? What measurements (show size, number of attendees, exhibitor feedback, etc.) will constitute a "successful" first year for the show?Security Event will continue to evolve year after year, but will intent to stay true to the event's original concept Norman: Great question – the most important barometer of success for me and the team next April is the general industry reaction, after all, this show was created for them. Furthermore, it is vital to us that our exhibitors feel they have achieved their objectives for the show, whether it be quality, quantity of leads or raising awareness of a new product launch. We’ll also be keen to understand how satisfied visitors are with the event, including their views of the content, access to new products/services, effectiveness of the out of hours networking, etc. We are anticipating 6,000 visitors over the 3 days and I believe if we achieve this goal, we will have a strong rebooking on site, laying a great foundation for our 2020 event. Q: How would you expect/hope the show would continue to evolve in coming years? Norman: I hope over the next few years The Security Event cements itself as the industry’s favourite trade show and that exhibitors and visitors alike look forward to every year for both the business opportunities at the event and the networking outside of it. The Security Event will continue to evolve year after year, but I am determined that we stay true to our original concept and the principles on which the show was founded. After all, it is this formula that has proved to be so popular to date.
School shootings continue, as does a search for answers. What solutions are there to prevent school shootings and/or to improve the response (and thus minimise the death toll)? In the physical security industry, we like to think we have solutions that can help, if not “solve”, the problem, but realistically speaking, how effective are they at the end of the day? We like to think we have solutions that can help, if not “solve”, the problem: but how effective are they at the end of the day? The sad answer – even after dozens of school shootings and even in the wrenching aftermath of the latest one – is that we don’t know. There is a gaping lack of knowledge and research when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of preventative measures as they relate to school shootings. Scarce resources on preventative measures The dearth of knowledge on the subject leaves schools at risk of spending scarce resources on measures that don’t have any real impact, or worse, that have a negative effect on education environments. The natural impulse following a school shooting is to do something – anything – to prevent the tragedy from happening again at any school, but especially at my school. But how is money best spent?Successful businesses are a good thing, but not at the expense of misspending education resources on solutions that don’t solve anything Congress has passed the Stop School Violence Act of 2018 to provide $50 million per year to develop programs to train students, teachers and law enforcement to prevent violence, and to create anonymous reporting systems, such as hot lines, for school violence threats. The bill authorises another $25 million for improvements to school’s physical security infrastructures. Congress also provides $1.1 billion in Title IV block grants, which districts can use to pay for diverse needs such as security systems. Several states are providing additional funding for physical safety measures and campus police, and local districts are also stretching their budgets to address security concerns. But is that money being targeted to measures that will help the situation? What is the role of technology in preventing school violence, and are we as an industry at risk of over-selling our preventative capabilities and diverting money from other measures that might have more impact? Successful businesses are a good thing, but not at the expense of misspending education resources on solutions that don’t solve anything. More metal detectors, armed guards and police officers could cause anxiety in some students and even interfere with the learning process Studies on school safety and protection Researchers, advocates and educators gathered this fall at American University to consider the need for better research to inform decision-making on safety, reported Education Week.The field is in desperate need of more evidence on what works, and schools want this information presented to them" A 2016 study by the Rand Corp. points to the problem: Lack of data and research on what works and what doesn’t. “Despite growth in the school safety-technology sector, rigorous research about the effectiveness of these technologies is virtually non-existent,” according to Rand. “The field is in desperate need of more evidence on what works, and schools want this information presented to them in vetted, digestible ways to help them with procurement.” Jeremy Finn, a professor of education at the University of Buffalo, has pointed out the difficulty of assessing the effectiveness of measures designed to deter events that likely won’t occur anyway. “How do you know when you have deterred a school shooting?” he asks. “It didn’t happen.” The effects on our students Might technologies aimed at making schools more secure have an adverse effect on the learning environment? More metal detectors, armed guards and police officers could cause anxiety in some students and even interfere with the learning process. The physical security industry should freely acknowledge that the technologies we offer are only part of the solution to school violence Do security measures aimed at preventing active shooting incidents absorb resources that might better be used to address a more general and/or likely security threat such as vandalism or student discipline? Theoretically, security measures in general should help to prevent the probability of an active shooter at the same time they are addressing a wider range of concerns and threats. But do they? At the very least, we in the physical security market should be aware, and should freely acknowledge, that the technologies we offer are only part of the solution to school violence. Schools should take the broadest possible approach to the range of security challenges, and technology should be one tool among many. Furthermore, better data to measure what works is sorely needed to illuminate the best path forward.
ADT Inc.’s acquisition of Red Hawk Fire & Security, Boca Raton, Fla., is the latest move in ADT Commercial’s strategy to buy up security integrator firms around the country and grow their footprint. In addition to the Red Hawk acquisition, announced in mid-October, ADT has acquired more than a half-dozen security system integration firms in the last year or so. Here’s a quick rundown of integrator companies acquired by ADT: Protec, a Pacific Northwest commercial integrator (Aug. 2017); MSE Security, the USA’s 27th largest commercial integrator (Sept 2017); Gaston Security, founded in 1994 as a video surveillance integration company and whose services have since expanded to include intrusion, access control, and perimeter protection (Oct. 2017); Aronson Security Group (ASG), which delivers risk and security program consultants and offers advanced integration services, consulting and design engineers and a National Program Management team (March 2018); Acme Security Systems, among the largest privately held security systems integrators in the Bay Area, focusing on electronic security systems, access control, video networks and more (March 2018); Access Security Integration, a regional systems integrator specialising in design, delivery, installation and servicing of electronic security systems including enterprise-level access control, video and visitor management solutions, perimeter security and security operation command centers (Aug. 2018); In addition to their moves in the commercial integrator space, ADT has also sought to expand their presence in cybersecurity with the following two acquisitions: Datashield, specialising in Managed Detection and Response Services (Nov 2017); Secure Designs, Inc., specialising in design, implementation, monitoring, and managing network defense systems, including firewall services and intrusion prevention, to protect small business networks from a diverse and challenging set of global cyber threats (Aug. 2018). ADT has acquired more than a half-dozen security system integration firms in the last year or so For additional insights into ADT’s game plan and the strategy behind these acquisitions, we presented the following questions to Chris BenVau, ADT’s Senior Vice President of Enterprise Solutions. Q: ADT has been actively acquiring regional integrators this year – more than a half a dozen to date. Please describe the history of how ADT came to embrace a strategy of acquiring regional integrators as a route to growth? ADT's acquisition of Red Hawk is set to close in December, and brings premiere fire and life/safety solutions BenVau: Our acquisition strategy started at Protection 1 when we embarked on our journey to build out our commercial and national account business and add enhanced integration capabilities to our portfolio. The merger of Protection 1 and ADT brought that foundation to ADT which up to that point was primarily a residentially and SMB-focused company. After the merger, we set out to identify and acquire additional regional integrators that would continue to build on that foundation and deliver enhanced technical solutions, advanced technologies and an expanded service, install and support footprint. Through our acquisitions we now operate two Network Operations Centers and three Centers of Excellence. We are also unique in the industry with the number and variety of certifications, like Cisco and Meraki, our engineers hold which ultimately allows us to offer Managed Security as a Service. They have also enhanced our operational capabilities. Q: What criteria do you use to evaluate whether an integrator is a good “fit” for ADT? BenVau: First and foremost, we look at the culture of the companies. The companies that we target for acquisition must be metrics- and customer service-driven. Secondly, we look at the leadership teams. ADT view their acquisitions more like mergers and take a patient approach to integrating them into their business We have been fortunate in the fact the leadership of the companies we acquired remain with us today in key management and executive positions helping to drive continued growth within their organisations. We also evaluate their current customer base, unique solutions and their ability to complement and enhance our portfolio with the goal of becoming a leading full-service, enterprise commercial provider. Our acquisitions have bolstered our network capabilities, brought enterprise risk management services, and a broader solution set in high-end video and access control solutions. Our most recent acquisition – Red Hawk, set to close in December – brings us premiere fire and life/safety solutions. Q: What changes are typically needed after an integrator is acquired in order to adapt it to the ADT corporate model? BenVau: We view our acquisitions more like mergers and take a patient approach to integrating them into ADT while taking into account their culture. We want to ensure that we find the right positions for their people, embrace the right messaging and put the right processes in place. We acquire these companies because they are the best in their respective businesses and geographies and bring their knowledge and experience in markets or with solutions that we may not have had previous access to. ADT can support clients with their own in-house technicians which helps to ensure a consistent security program Q: How can regional integrators benefit from the ADT brand? Have your newly acquired integrators realised additional growth? BenVau: The companies we have acquired, generally, have exceeded expectations and surpassed initial goals. ADT brings expanded opportunities for these companies as well with our national footprint. Our National Account Sales Team has seen impressive growth over the years and are only limited by our ability to deliver. These integrators help to deliver on that. In the past, the regional players may have had to rely on sub-contractors to service their larger clients. With ADT, we can now support those clients with our own in-house technicians which helps to ensure a consistent security program across multiple locations.Our National Account Sales Team has seen impressive growth over the years and are only limited by our ability to deliver" Q: Are additional integrator acquisitions planned this year and into 2019? How much is enough and when will it end (or slow down significantly)? BenVau: We expect to close on our latest acquisition, Red Hawk, before the end of 2018. Red Hawk brings a national footprint focused on fire/life safety and security to ADT. While ADT already had a robust security offering, Red Hawk will contribute significantly to the fire side of the business. In addition, we will continue to evaluate the companies in the industry to determine if additional acquisitions make sense. Q: Do you expect greater consolidation of the integrator channel in the industry as a whole? Why is this a good time for consolidation? Is it a good M&A market for buyers like ADT? BenVau: We will continue to evaluate companies in the industry to determine if further acquisitions make sense. As for the industry, we can only speak for ourselves. Our focus is on investing in our field organisation, in particular our service technicians, engineers and project management teams" Q: What other trend(s) do you see in the industry that will impact ADT (on the commercial side) in the next year or so, and how? BenVau: In addition to their moves in the commercial integrator space, ADT has also sought to expand their presence in cybersecurity Networking is a big one. As we continue to drive integration of devices and services, from AI, “the cloud,” machine learning and even analytics, there will be more focus on the network they ride on. A deeper knowledge of network design, bandwidth impact, and system integration will be critical. As part of our acquisition strategy, we focused on talent to add to the team and have been able to add to our bench strength in this area. Q: Any other comments/insights you wish to share about ADT’s strategy, future, and role in the larger physical security marketplace? BenVau: Our focus is on investing in our field organisation, in particular our service technicians, engineers and project management teams. The cornerstone of our success lies in our ability to deliver outstanding customer support and service. It starts with sales and the ability to deliver security and life safety technologies, but it ends with a delighted customer who partners with us to help secure the things that matter most to them. Our recent acquisitions have more than doubled our commercial field operations teams and are key to establishing the ADT Commercial brand as a leading full-service provider of enterprise solutions to the marketplace.
The best route to greater adoption of robotics in the field of physical security is intellectual honesty, says Travis Deyle, CEO and co-founder of Cobalt Robotics. “Robots are not a panacea, so we must be clear and honest about capabilities and use cases,” he says. “If you are dishonest, people will lose faith. We must have clear expectations about what’s feasible today and possible tomorrow.” The robotics tide is turning in the security market, which is notoriously slow to embrace new technologies. “The tone has changed at recent security events,” says Deyle. “Previously, robots were thought of as a science experiment. But now, there are big-name users wanting to discuss proof of concept. It has evolved from being a novelty to now it’s time to give it a serious look. They want us to help them sell the concept up the chain of command. It’s helpful to have conversations with other parts of the company because it has an impact on the culture of the company.” The robotics tide is turning in the security market, which is notoriously slow to embrace new technologies Cobalt’s robots are purpose-built for a specific use case: providing after-hours support and security for corporate locations. Indoor environments, confined and controlled, present fewer navigation challenges for robots, which can quickly become familiar with the surroundings and navigate easily through an office space. Indoor robots can provide benefits beyond security, too, such as facility management, promoting employee health and safety, and emergency response. Cobalt's human-centred design Cobalt’s robots also interact well with people. They are friendly and approachable and make employees feel safe and secure. The human-centered design promotes that interaction, and a real person (located remotely) can enter into any interaction instantly as needed. “We combine machines with people,” says Deyle. “We allow the machine to do what it does best, such as dull and boring activities, and add the flexibility and cultural relevancy of having a person there.” Cobalt’s robots also interact well with people, they are friendly and approachable and make employees feel safe and secure When a robot is deployed, it performs a brief mapping phase (about an hour), in which it moves around and builds up a “map” of its space and develops its patrol route. Over time, it lingers more in areas where it encounters more incidents. There are 60 sensors on the robot, including day/night cameras, high-resolution thermal cameras, a card reader that integrates with the corporate access control system, a microphone, and environmental sensors for temperature and humidity. The robot builds models of what’s normal in its environment in terms of people, sound, motion, open doors and windows, and even leaks and spills. And then it detects anomalies and sends relevant notifications to Cobalt specialists, who respond and manage any events in real time. The machine provides unwavering attention, perfect recall, and accountability. Cobalt robots have been designed to help bridge the problems faced with utilising guards and cameras Accommodating various anomalies The Cobalt robot is designed to blend into a high-end office environment, with flexible fabric and a corporate design aesthetic. It is stable beyond 45-degrees, so it’s hard to topple over. The 5-foot-2-inch robot can see over desks and cubicles. It is designed to bridge the gap between guards, who are expensive and underutilised during uneventful night shifts, and cameras, which are unable to respond to nuanced situations. Cobalt Robotics already has customers in defense, finance and manufacturing, and a handful of Fortune 500 companies are looking at the service Autonomous navigation uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to avoid static and dynamic obstacles. Over time, the robot accommodates various anomalies such as loud machinery noise, and “semantic mapping” adds intelligence to its map. When the robot figures out that a picture on the wall is not a real person, for example, it stores that information for future reference. The technologies enabling robotics in the indoor environment are mature – there have been variations of security robots in operation for decades. What has changed is the costs of the technologies, which are now inexpensive enough to make a robot affordable to businesses. Cobalt Robotics offers an all-inclusive service providing hardware, software, service and maintenance as well as the remote human interface. All together, the service is a third to half the cost of a man-guard, and it bills monthly, says Deyle. Cobalt Robotics offers an all-inclusive service providing hardware, software, service and maintenance as well as the remote human interface Cobalt Robotics already has customers in defense, finance and manufacturing, and a handful of Fortune 500 companies are looking at the service. They are currently operational in the San Francisco Bay area and Chicago and will be in six other geographies in the next three months (in response to customer needs). Uses include offices, museums, warehouses, technology centres, and innovation centres. A former Google employee, Deyle’s experience in robotics goes back to his Ph.D. studies at Georgia Tech, where he worked on developing a robot to deliver healthcare to homebound patients. Deyle and Cobalt Robotics co-founder Erik Schluntz departed Google in 2016 to form Cobalt Robotics. In just 12 months, Cobalt went from the initial idea to paid robot deployments.
One of the biggest recent security divestitures in the news was the sale of Mercury Security to HID Global, which occurred around a year ago. The seller in that transaction was ACRE (Access Control Related Enterprises), also the parent company of Vanderbilt and ComNet. We recently spoke to founder and CEO Joe Grillo, a 30-year industry veteran, about the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) market, ACRE’s future, and new opportunities opened up by the Mercury sale. Q: What’s new with ACRE? Grillo: We have an opportunity to have organic growth and to have some scale on a global basis to be a decent size player" ACRE is a company I founded in 2012, and since then we have had six acquisitions and one divestiture. We’ll never focus on ACRE as a brand, but we currently have more visibility of ACRE as a parent company with our two strong brands, ComNet and Vanderbilt. Last year was a very busy year [with the sale of Mercury Security to HID Global] because it takes as long to sell a brand as to buy one, maybe more so. Q: What’s next? Grillo: What you are seeing from us this year is that we are again in a buying mode. No announcement yet, but we expect one by the end of the year. We are well-funded, have great partners, and see an opportunity to continue to grow acquisitively as our highly fragmented space of access control continues to consolidate. From the standpoint of ACRE, with the ComNet and Vanderbilt brands, we are also doing more integration on the backside – not what the customer sees. We will continue to grow toward a $200 million business. We were there when we owned Mercury, and we will get there again. We have an opportunity to have organic growth and to have some scale on a global basis to be a decent size player. Because ACRE are owned by a private equity company, we are brought into every opportunity: ComNet is a good example" Q: Do you see the M&A market being more competitive – more companies looking to acquire? Grillo: There’s a lot of money chasing not-so-many deals, so evaluations can get expanded. But as interest rates creep up, it is definitely a challenge to find the right valuation, the right financing and the right strategic fit. It is a very strategic market. Q: There have been some big acquisitions lately. Were you guys involved at all in evaluating those opportunities? Grillo: Because we are owned by a private equity company, we are brought into every opportunity. An example of that was ComNet. I would not have been aware that the founder passed away two years ago and that there was this opportunity to own the business. So we look at everything; anything that’s out there we look at. The biggest recent announcement in our world was S2 (being sold to UTC/Lenel), and, yeah, we looked at that. It didn’t fit our profile – it was too expensive. Great business, and it’ll be interesting to see how it fits into the UTC environment. There was also Isonas [which was recently sold to Allegion], but the size didn’t add enough scale, but I like the technology. ComNet sells communication networking solutions and products, which is more attractive than video systems for ACRE Q: So what are you looking for in an acquisition? Grillo: It’s hard for us to find something that moves the needle, and you have to find that right balance. Is it something we can digest and have the financing for, and also is there room on the back end? We are private equity-owned, so we know there will be an exit for our investors, too. So we have to find the right balance, good valuations, the right size and digestible. If you look at our acquisitions, we have done two “carve outs.” The Vanderbilt name didn’t exist until we bought the business from Ingersoll Rand, and then we bought the [intruder] business from Siemens. That’s how Vanderbilt came about. You get a lot of value when you carve out a business, but there’s a lot of work. In the case of Mercury or Access Control Technology (ACT) that we acquired; they were growing and profitable but they stretch your finances a lot more. So you have to find the right mix in there. Q: Does video interest ACRE at all? Grillo: We have to find the right balance, good valuations, the right size and digestible"ComNet is our video play. ComNet sells communication networking solutions and products, and 70 to 80 percent of that is used for video systems. But unlike cameras, which don’t interest us, it’s actually good margins, highly specialised repeat business and with good channel partners. So where are we going to play? Cameras – no (because of commoditisation). We have some recorder technology (from the Siemens acquisition) and we have the communication networking technology (with ComNet). On the software side, we have looked at a lot of the VMS companies, and a lot of them have been on the market. But the valuation expectations can be high because they are software companies. And we really believe in partnering as a good thing, too. If we integrate to Milestone or Salient or some of these companies, we will never lose an access control client because they chose a particular VMS. Q: ACRE is also looking to grow organically, isn’t it? Grillo: From a technology perspective, we are a product company and we are continuing to bring new products to the market with the ComNet communication networking business and the access control business. And in Europe, we have a third leg of the stool, which is the very successful intrusion and burgular alarm business we acquired from Siemens (SPC products now sold under the Vanderbilt brand). That business continues to do well and is now one of the highest performing segments in our portfolio.The intrusion and burgular alarm continues to do well and is now one of the highest performing segments in our portfolio" Q: But you don’t have to own a company to make it part of your solution. Grillo: An important word is integration. We have to integrate to all the wireless locks. We have to integrate to the VMS systems. But we don’t have to own them. Q: How has the Mercury Security divestiture impacted the rest of your business? Grillo: It has opened up the opportunity for us to look at Mercury partners as possible acquisition targets without worrying about conflicts with the very good business of Mercury. We have more flexibility now compared to the Mercury era. Q: How will the economic cycle impact the security market? Grillo: Interest rates are a much bigger issue than the overall economic cycle. We talk a lot about it with our owners – clearly interest rates are tightening up. If you go out to do acquisitions or to borrow money to do something with your business, it will be tougher than it was two years ago, and it may get worse in the next two years. Security is less impacted by the economic cycle than some industries.
ISC East is making a name for itself as a must-attend regional conference and trade show in New York City that brings together the large community of law enforcement and private sector security professionals from the Tri-State area. ISC East, being held Nov. 14-15 at New York’s Javits Center, is emerging from the long shadow of its sister show – ISC West in Las Vegas in the spring – and making its own mark on the industry. ISC East is 20% larger than last year, and exhibitors have swelled from 230 to more than 300. Familiar names at ISC East this year (who were absent in 2017) include Allegion, Arecont Vision Costar, Bosch Security Systems, and Seagate Technology. In all, there are 115 new exhibitors compared to 2017.Familiar names at ISC East this year (who were absent in 2017) include Allegion, Arecont Vision Costar and Bosch Security Systems “We purposefully make sure we reflect the region we are in,” says Will Wise, Group Vice President, Security Portfolio, Reed Exhibitions. “It’s not a mistake that both our keynote speakers have New York-centric backgrounds and have topics to reach a larger market. We want to tap into the strengths of the region.” ISC East (International Security Conference & Exposition) has come a long way in the last five years. In 2014, the show was a mere 28,000 square feet, and this year it has grown to 44,000 square feet of exhibit space. One factor driving growth has been improvements in the educational session, powered largely by show partner Security Industry Association (SIA). The two-day event is characterised by “good energy” on both days, says Wise. There is less than 10% duplication of attendance with ISC West. Liability issues of event security A big topic for New York and surrounding areas is event security, and one session covers “Confined Space Protection & Risk Mitigation for Today’s Industry Leaders.” The session will focus on safeguarding event organisers’ brands, protecting them from liability, and balancing the need for security that doesn’t negatively impact the “guest experience.” One factor driving growth has been improvements in the educational session, powered largely by show partner Security Industry Association (SIA) Liability issues of event security are especially timely now, given MGM Resorts' recent lawsuit asking the courts to protect it from legal liability in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre last October. “Event security is integration of physical security with smart technology and not being overzealous,” says James DeMeo, Founder, President and CEO of Unified Sports & Entertainment Security Consulting LLC. DeMeo’s presentation on event security is one of the “back by popular demand” sessions at ISC East – there was a big turnout for his previous sessions at last year’s ISC East and at ISC West. “A big part of event security is integrating technology, but we also need the human element,” says DeMeo. “Good guest security and harmonious relationships require a level of training that includes escalation, behavioral analysis, and communicating more harmoniously.” ISC East is 20% larger than last year, and exhibitors have swelled from 230 to more than 300 Holistic approach and technology integrations From the session, DeMeo hopes attendees will take away awareness of the need for responsible social media monitoring, integration of technology, threat behaviour analysis and early attack indicators, proactive risk mitigation, and staff training. The emphasis is on a holistic approach “from the top down and the bottom up,” says DeMeo. “It’s a sophisticated niche based on potential liability, and we must do everything possible to protect fans and patrons.” Crowd security is another ISC East topic that is tailor-made to the New York location of the show Crowd security is another ISC East topic that is tailor-made to the New York location of the show. A session on installation of safety and security barriers to protect pedestrians and crowds is another session that is “back by popular demand.” Rob Reiter, co-founder of the Storefront Safety Council, will present the session on protecting urban environments. Another return session is about drone security and regulations. It will provide an overview of current policy and regulatory framework and provide understanding of how to get involved in the discussion to enable drone use in security applications. Converged security and smart cities A new session at ISC East this year will be “Smart Cities, Smart Buildings and the Evolution of the Converged Security Approach.” Pierre Bourgeix, president of ESI Convergent, will help attendees understand converged security and how it relates to the smart cities and smart buildings movement. Located on the ISC East exhibit floor, Unmanned Security Expo will include exhibits and demos of UAVs, UGVs and autonomous systems SIA and ASIS International will present findings from a study on how successful individuals can gain experience and skills they need to advance their security careers. Co-locating with ISC East will be the Unmanned Security Expo, which focuses on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), Unmanned Ground Robotics & Vehicles (UGVs), counter-drone solutions and software applications to support them. Located on the ISC East exhibit floor, Unmanned Security Expo will include exhibits and demos of UAVs, UGVs and autonomous systems. Also co-locating with ISC East will be Infosecurity North America, which includes a conference program with well-respected industry speakers, an expo floor and networking opportunities.
The initials GDPR have become synonymous with the need for companies within the European Union to provide consumers greater transparency and better control over their personal data. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has also increased awareness of privacy concerns around the world. It’s not the only factor highlighting a need for greater privacy – high-profile privacy breaches by companies such as Facebook are also driving the trend. But GDPR’s global impact cannot be denied. In fact, no company should assume that the need to address “GDPR-style” requirements is limited to the EU. As awareness has extended to the four corners of the globe, it has emboldened a new wave of laws and regulations that physical security companies ignore at their own peril. GDPR has increased awareness of privacy concerns around the world, and encouraged other areas to take notice GDPR also regulates how and if data about EU citizens can be transferred outside EU member states’ borders; the receiving country should have equal or better data protection laws in place. This factor also expands the potential impact of GDPR globally. California's Consumer Privacy Act 2020 California, which has the world’s fifth largest economy, passed a law this year that some have called “GDPR Lite.” The law gives the state’s 40 million residents the right to view private data held by companies, to correct it, to request that it be deleted and to keep it from being sold to third parties. California’s Consumer Privacy Act takes effect in 2020 and could be amended in the interim. The California law was passed quickly – and unanimously – by the state Assembly and Senate and was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown when it became clear that a ballot initiative was being organized to address the issue of privacy. In California, initiatives can be placed on the ballot by collecting signatures to require a direct vote by the electorate. Once passed, ballot initiatives are difficult to amend, requiring a two-thirds vote of state lawmakers. By passing the law, California’s legislature averted a proposed privacy initiative on the fall ballot. GDPR also regulates how and if data about EU citizens can be transferred outside EU member states’ borders There are differences in the California law and the European Union’s GDPR. For example, the California law only applies to companies that have annual gross revenues in excess of $25 million, that hold data on more than 50,000 people or that derive more than 50% of their annual revenues from the sale of personal information. Therefore, most small businesses are immune to the law’s requirements. However, the existence of the California law is a harbinger of more regulations to come, on the state or federal level. In another development related to the physical security industry, California has passed an Information Privacy: Connected Devices bill that requires electronics manufacturers to equip Internet of Things devices with “reasonable” security features – no more passwords such as “admin,” “password,” or “1234.” California’s Consumer Privacy Act is modeled under the General Data Protection Act Expanding the definition of personal information Other states are also getting involved. All 50 U.S. states have enacted breach notification laws requiring businesses to notify consumers if personal information is compromised. For example, Alabama’s new law, passed in June, applies to “unauthorised acquisition of sensitive personally identifying information in electronic form.” Many state laws are expanding the definitions of personal information and increasing cybersecurity requirements as they relate to that information. Globally, rapidly growing adoption of data protection laws is often modeled on regulations such as GDPR The problem with a “patchwork” of state requirements is the possibility that businesses may be caught unaware when state laws have different specific requirements addressing the same general mandate. At the federal level, there have been calls for a data breach notification bill that would provide a single set of rules for organisations to follow. In general, privacy is seen differently in the U.S. than in the E.U., due in part to history and a U.S. commitment to the First Amendment. The U.S. also tends to address privacy rights based on the category of information being considered; i.e., HIPAA requirements cover health information and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act regulates financial information. Globally, rapidly growing adoption of data protection laws is often modeled on regulations such as GDPR or on the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on the Protection of Privacy and Transborder Flows of Personal Data. According to the United National Conference on Trade and Development, more than 100 countries around the world now have data protection legislation in place. Protecting and managing data All 50 U.S. states have enacted breach notification laws requiring businesses to notify consumers if personal information is compromisedWhen you consider the impact GDPR has had on the physical security market, the possible new hurdles can boggle the mind as additional privacy requirements take hold in the U.S and around the world. Challenges range from worries about management of access control and video surveillance data to concerns about biometrics. The success of new technologies using artificial intelligence (AI) depend on access to large data sets, so ensuring that data is protected and managed correctly is paramount. The genie is out of the bottle. GDPR may be driving the first wave of privacy concerns, but there is much more to come. Anyone who dismissed GDPR as a “European” factor is missing an opportunity to address issues proactively and to ensure optimum management of data privacy and transparency in the future.
As editor of SourceSecurity.com, Larry attends industry and corporate events, interviews security leaders and contributes original editorial content to the sites. He also guides the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals. From 1996 to 2008, Larry was editor of "Access Control & Security Systems" magazine and its affiliated websites. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from Georgia State University with a minor in marketing. [Pictured: Larry and wife Linda relax with SourceSecurity.com's loyal office dog, Frankie] How did you come to work in the security industry? I started in the newspaper business and then migrated to trade publishing. I realised that every profession has its own journalism microcosm, so I learned a lot about robotics and paint and adhesives before I landed in the security field. That was around 1996, and security has been the centre of my professional life, and a subject of continuing fascination ever since. What is the best professional advice you have ever received? I never met the man, but a famous quote from Woody Allen is something like "80 percent of life is showing up." I find that comforting. Showing up is something I can do. And knowing that I am already 80 percent successful at the get-go has provided extra confidence in a lot of situations over the years. Quick Facts Favourite TV show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee First job McDonald's crew member Tea or coffee Neither: Diet Coke Best gift you received Dance lessons from my wife Last thing you cooked Grilled cheese What's something few people know about you? Several years ago, after ISC West, I was killing time at the Wynn casino before going to the airport. I had put my last few dollars in a “Red White and Blue” slot machine, and I won the “mini-progressive” – more than $6,000! Having the lady count those $100 bills into my hand is a great memory of ISC West. What's the most rewarding thing about what you do for a living? I get to hear people talk every day about something they are passionate about. I get to learn from really smart people about interesting subjects that actually matter in the world. Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast is Larry Anderson's go-to destination for a relaxing week every summer What are your interests, hobbies and passions outside security? Books, including “literary” fiction, whodunits and lawyer novels. I tend to binge-watch television on demand while on the treadmill at the gym – which takes away the guilt. My wife Linda and I go to the movies a couple of times a month. Where was your last vacation? Jekyll Island on the Georgia coast is our go-to destination for a relaxing week every summer for the last 20 years. They have houses you can rent for the week, beautiful nature walks and bike trails, huge trees draped with Spanish moss, and a smattering of history – it was where millionaires like J.P. Morgan and William Rockefeller retreated to their 25-room “cottages” in the early 1900s. There’s plenty to see and do – or not to do if so inclined!
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.