Anomali, the globally renowned company in intelligence-driven cyber security solutions, has announced that its Board of Directors has appointed industry veteran, Ahmed Rubaie as the company’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and as a Board Member, effective from March 1, 2021. Ahmed Rubaie will succeed Hugh Njemanze, who worked closely with the board to help drive this change. Njemanze will remain with the company in the capacity of President and as a member of the Board of Directors. C...
The DIY system, launched by Edinburgh-based Boundary (Boundary Technologies), was designed and created by a team of experts, brought together by Boundary, to solve the problems associated with traditional alarm systems and using cutting-edge technology thinking. Grade 2 UK certification Having passed a programme of rigorous pre-compliance testing, Boundary is currently pending certification (expected to be signed off end Q1) to Grade 2 UK & European alarm testing standards, which not only...
PSA Security Network (PSA), the globally renowned consortium of professional systems integrators, has announced the addition of EAGL Technology to its Managed Security Service Provider Program (MSSP). EAGL Technology is a manufacturer of indoor/outdoor IoT wireless gunshot sensors, as well as sensors that can detect vape, car collisions, flood waters and critical infrastructure failures. Active shooter threat detection “EAGL produces solutions that address today’s real-world securi...
In response to gaps in the short-range air defence radar market, Numerica Corporation (Numerica), a globally renowned company in designing and deploying state-of-the-art defence technology, has announced the development of a new USA-made, 3D radar solution for Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) and other short-range defence missions, Spyglass short-range surveillance radar system. Spyglass 3D radar Designed to fill the need for exceptional C-UAS detection and tracking performance, Spygl...
Sensor solution provider, HENSOLDT is expanding its capacity to cater for the growth in its business. HENSOLDT is investing approximately 30 million euros at its Ulm site and creating an additional 300 jobs for highly skilled staff throughout the entire group this year, having taken on 250 new recruits in 2020. New radar for Eurofighters This investment is linked to strong order growth relating to the development of new radar for the Eurofighter combat aircraft and other projects. “In it...
Boon Edam Inc., a globally renowned company in security entrances and architectural revolving doors, has announced that despite the difficult year for all businesses, the company was fortunate to see growth in 2020, owing to 59% more sales of optical turnstiles, in comparison to the previous year. While most people began working from home (WFH) early in the year, orders for optical turnstiles, which are typically installed in the lobbies of commercial buildings, continued at a steady pace throu...
OnSolve, a renowned critical event management provider for enterprises, small-to-medium sized organisations, and government entities, announced significant momentum with a brand relaunch and the roll out of a new platform integration engine, which adds more than 450 out-of-the-box integrations to customers’ existing physical security, business continuity, and IT management ecosystems. In 2020, the company added ~450 new enterprise and government customers, such as Cincinnati Bell and Penske, and grew bookings by 45 percent. With its AI-powered risk intelligence and platform innovation, OnSolve is empowering customers through speed, relevance and usability to deliver true actionable intelligence during a crisis, ultimately keeping people safe and protecting their organisations. Social media platforms OnSolve’s new brand identity symbolises its resolve to enable customers to meet current and future challenges with the expertise and mission-critical technology that saves lives and creates true organisational resiliency. This includes a new logo and visual identity that will be implemented across all OnSolve channels including its website, social media platforms, sales and marketing materials, and customer touchpoints. The need to better manage uncertainty is more critical than ever to saving lives and protecting organisations" “The need to better manage uncertainty is more critical than ever to saving lives and protecting organisations,” said Mark Herrington, CEO, OnSolve. “Our customers turn to OnSolve to help them navigate today’s uncertainty. Our AI-powered platform and relaunched brand underscore our relentless commitment to empowering organisations with technology that delivers insight, resilience and continuity during a crisis – keeping people safe, informed, assured and productive when it matters most.” Risk intelligence and platform innovation “Our partnership with OnSolve is essential to building a more resilient employee community at athenahealth,” said Bridger McGaw, Director, Global Security & Services, athenahealth. “When COVID-19 hit, we felt more prepared than other companies our size because we had a trusted, tested, easy-to-use, cloud-based critical event management platform in place to communicate with our employees ahead of an incident, as well as the ability to gauge the impact of localised COVID-19 outbreaks across our dispersed workforce.” The OnSolve Platform for Critical Event Management (CEM) offers a fully integrated suite of products: OnSolve Risk Intelligence, Critical Communications and Incident Management. At the core of the platform is Risk Intelligence. Its powerful AI engine uses machine learning to ingest thousands of verified data sources, identify the most critical events facing an organisation and deliver these alerts to the right people at the right time - far faster than human analysts. Critical communications innovation OnSolve’s next-generation risk intelligence capabilities, coupled with foundational critical communications innovation and incident management, enables organisations to: Bypass human analysis using an AI engine, so customers or in-house analysts can communicate faster and quickly activate crisis response plans Filter out irrelevant data, so staff can monitor only the critical events that matter most to their people, places and property Target alerts to the right people immediately to enable informed, proactive decisions Identify active incidents at a glance, improving response times and enabling customers to activate their business continuity plans and virtually collaborate in real-time, from any location IT management ecosystems OnSolve experienced a banner year of momentum in 2020, with 45 percent growth in bookings The OnSolve Platform for CEM has also rolled out new integration capabilities through its OnSolve integration engine. The OnSolve integration engine paves the way for customers to seamlessly take advantage of more than 450 out-of-the-box integrations for their existing physical security, business continuity/business resiliency and IT management ecosystems. Through the OnSolve integration engine, customers can instantly orchestrate tasks such as wellness checks and alerts to impacted areas; disable building access; and even trigger appropriate tests based on sensor data such as temperature drops, water levels, electrical current detection or gunshot/monitor detection. OnSolve experienced a banner year of momentum in 2020, with 45 percent growth in bookings. Security audit compliance New customers, renowned recognition and accreditation and strategic leadership changes underscore the company’s success in helping organisations better manage uncertainty and crises: OnSolve was recognised in Gartner’s 2020 Market Guide for Emergency/Mass Notiﬁcation Services Solutions report; and for the third year in a row, the company was awarded two ASTOR awards: Best Mass Notification System and Best Risk and Crisis Management Product. As a testament to its excellence in risk and compliance for federal agencies and the public sector, OnSolve was listed on the FedRAMP marketplace and also achieved HIPAA security audit compliance, enabling the company to sign business associate agreements with healthcare institutions as needed. To support its growth and evolution, OnSolve created new leadership roles and departments in 2020. Ann Pickren assumed the role of Chief Customer Officer to oversee the critical adoption and implementation of the OnSolve Platform by the company’s existing customer base. The company created a new function focused on enhancing alliances, partnerships and channel relationships, led by Vice President of Global Security Solutions Matt Bradley, a 14-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency. COVID-19 vaccine deployment Most important, however, is the life-saving role OnSolve solutions continue to play. Its critical communications technology sent billions of notifications, helped to find more than 3,500 missing persons and supported nearly 30,000 customers via capabilities in over 190 countries worldwide. Nearly 200 communities are currently using OnSolve to manage information sharing related to COVID-19 vaccine deployment, with more than 640,000 messages sent to date and growing every day.
Leonardo’s Edinburgh, Scotland-based Innovation and Technology Incubator Centre has announced that it will partner with O2 (Telefónica UK) to investigate several innovative applications of private 5G technology in the defence and security industry. High speed and secure information Proposed uses of secure, high-bandwidth mobile data include facilitating next-generation ‘future factory’ manufacturing capabilities and providing high speed and secure information services, both of which will be needed to deliver high-pace programmes, such as Tempest, which is seeing the United Kingdom, Italy and Sweden collaborating to develop future combat air capabilities. O2 (Telefónica UK) will provide a secure 5G private network and a range of Industry 4.0 applications in order to evaluate how they could be used in the digital transformation of business and the end-to-end manufacturing process. Innovation and Technology Incubator Centre Leonardo’s Innovation and Technology Incubator Centre offers those with alternative business ideas Founded with the mission of ‘bringing ideas to reality’, Leonardo’s Innovation and Technology Incubator Centre offers those with alternative business ideas and disruptive technology an opportunity to partner with one of Britain’s biggest technology and engineering firms and one of the principal suppliers of equipment to the UK Ministry of Defence. Leonardo and O2 believe there is huge potential for 5G technology, which can meet the high security standards demanded by the defence sector and provide security assurance within companies’ digital infrastructure. Importance of 5G technology in defence and security Norman Bone, Chair and Managing Director of Leonardo UK said, “5G will be an important tool for the UK’s aerospace, defence and security industry, as we look to stay competitive in the global market and continue to export products and services from the United Kingdom. This partnership with O2 will inform the roll-out of this technology within Leonardo and study its wider potential across our industry and customer base.” One such initiative involves a trial of the potential for wirelessly delivering the mission, support and maintenance data updates to aircraft, such as the Leonardo AW159 Wildcat helicopter. This could speed up turnaround times between missions and improve platform reliability while meeting the stringent security requirements necessary for frontline military systems. Supporting ‘future factory’ techniques Another joint project will investigate how Leonardo’s manufacturing facilities could use 5G-enabled technology to support ‘future factory’ techniques, such as digital manufacturing and intelligent infrastructure. By using a private, highly-secure 5G network, Leonardo can adopt such game-changing Industry 4.0 approaches while continuing to meet the security obligations expected by its government and military customers. This will be critical in delivering programmes such as Tempest, the next-generation combat air system, which is being designed to be manufactured significantly faster and at a lower cost than previous generation combat aircraft. Delivering 5G private networks as a capability As well as understanding the possibilities of 5G in the delivery of Leonardo’s manufacturing and service provision, the project will also consider the potential benefits that Leonardo could offer to its own customers by delivering 5G private networks as a capability. Jo Bertram, Managing Director of Business at O2, said, “The partnership will explore how we can use 5G private networks in the wider defence sector, demonstrating their capability to help digitally transform a business and leveraging our ability to draw from a deep and rich application ecosystem. It’s great to be working on such an exciting programme, to leverage the technical capabilities of both businesses that’ll have real positive impacts on network solutions, mobility and security.” Asset Tracking and Health & Safety solutions Asset Tracking to ensure complete control of distribution and logistics Other use cases of the technology from O2 include enabling ‘Remote Expert’ training and Health & Safety solutions, and Asset Tracking to ensure complete control of distribution and logistics, remote camera solutions via drones for increased security purposes, and high level security of data. The rollout of new 5G technologies is especially important to Leonardo because it touches on all three of their Be Tomorrow - Leonardo 2030 pathways to change. New 5G applications will strengthen their core, by improving operations and allowing them to compete more successfully. Making organisations more connected and flexible 5G will help transform the ways of working, in order to make the organisation more connected, modern and flexible. Moving early to investigate the potential applications of private 5G technology is also in line with the drive to master the new, leading the way in innovation and addressing new high tech markets. By doing all of the above, Leonardo will be able to continue to deliver value and act as a strategic asset in the countries in which they work.
Globally renowned sensor specialist, HENSOLDT has announced that they will modernise the artillery location radar, COBRA, which is in service with several NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation) armies. Under a contract awarded by the multi-national procurement organisation, Organisation Conjointe de Cooperation en matière d’Armement (OCCAR) – Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation, HENSOLDT will replace the Radar Target Generator (RTG), a core element for the test environment of COBRA indispensable for determining optimum deployment and testing system performance. Radar Target Generator (RTG) The Radar Target Generator (RTG) is designed to generate primary radar returns The Radar Target Generator (RTG) is designed to generate primary radar returns and can be placed in the Radar’s far field in order to simulate target trajectories. The RTG is the key element to test and verify the COBRA Radar performance with reproducible target trajectories. The new RTG takes into account changes of the user nations operational requirements such as long-term deployments in stationary locations, simultaneous operation of several systems and 24/7 surveillance missions. COBRA mobile radar system This contract also emphasises the commitment of HENDSOLDT to a trustful partnership with the OCCAR COBRA System and demonstrates the support for the challenges ahead in the In-service support phase and the COBRA Mid-Life Update activities. COBRA is a mobile radar system for locating hostile artillery and missile positions and for calculating in advance the flight path of projectiles in order to give early warning and enable protective action. Its first configuration was developed by the EuroArt consortium comprising HENSOLDT, Thales and Lockheed Martin, around the turn of the century for the German, French and British armed forces. Currently, a total of more than 40 systems of various configurations have been deployed by Germany, France and Turkey, as well as several armed forces outside Europe.
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., a renowned provider of cyber security solutions globally, has announced that it has partnered with the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) to support its new cyber incident response helpline for the Scottish SME community. The free helpline, which is the first of its kind in the UK, launched in October 2020 in the face of rising cyber threats towards businesses and charities in the SME community across Scotland. The helpline provides both immediate and ongoing support to SMEs and third sector organisations after a suspected cyber incident, giving them expert guidance on handling the incident and returning to secure operations. As an expert provider of Incident Response services, Check Point is the first cyber security solutions vendor to join the SBRC’s ‘Cyber Incident Response Cadre’ of partners providing support for businesses that have been hit by cyber attacks. Cyber security issues Following an initial call to a Cyber Incident Response Manager at SBRC, organisations targeted by suspected attacks are then directed to members of the cadre’s incident response teams, including Check Point, who provide an hour of free support to organisations, to help them identify and contain the threat, and minimise its impact. Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report showed that 28% of breach victims globally were SMEs Check Point can also handle the incident lifecycle from triage to remediation with detailed documentation and reports, irrespective of whether the clients are existing Check Point customers. The 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report showed that 28% of all breach victims globally were SMEs, with 54% of attempted attacks on SMEs being successful, compared to just 7% success at larger companies. 62% of SMEs say they lack the skills to deal with cyber security issues. Cyber incident response “Being able to help SMEs that have been targeted by cyber attacks to recover quickly is critical to their continued operation. In many cases, SMEs don’t have the expert resources available in-house to deal with cyber incidents and don’t know who to turn to for help,” said Roddy MacCallum, Head of Scotland at Check Point Software Technologies. "By partnering with SBRC on its cyber incident response helpline, we can give SMEs access to the knowledge and support they need to recover as fast as possible from attacks, and help protect the digital health of our community.” Prevent cyber attacks This partnership shows Check Point’s ongoing commitment to providing SMEs with the training and support “We’re delighted to welcome Check Point as a new member of the SBRC Cyber Cadre team. Check Point’s credentials in incident response is outstanding, and they join a group of other dedicated organisations that will support the local SME community. Involving a global leader in cyber security such as Check Point, with the sheer scale of resources they have, adds real value to the services we deliver and will be of great benefit to the SME community we serve”, said Mark Cunningham-Dickie, Scottish Business Resilience Centre’s Cyber Incident and Response Manager. Check Point has worked with the Scottish Business Resilience Centre for the past two years, helping businesses in Scotland and across the UK stay secure. This new partnership shows Check Point’s ongoing commitment to providing SMEs with the training and support needed to help them prevent cyber attacks from impacting their business. Strengthen cyber security Check Point won the ‘Best Customer Experience’ award (decided by public vote) at the most recent Scottish Cyber Awards, hosted by the Scottish Business Resilience Centre. Check Point’s Incident Response is a full-featured service to help organisations immediately respond to a cyber attack. After full containment, Check Point works with businesses to strengthen cyber security controls to thwart further attacks.
The inauguration of the U.S. president always requires vast preparation and a large security presence. The ceremony is one of a few American traditions that is designated as a National Special Security Event by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and overseen by the U.S. Secret Service. Traditionally it’s a peaceful transition of power from one presidential administration to the next, but the inauguration of Joe Biden on the steps of the U.S. Capitol building as the 46th president was set to be more tense. Just two weeks before, an angry mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to disrupt Congress’ certification of the Electoral College votes and Biden’s presidential win. The rioters overwhelmed the security force on the scene - the U.S. Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department - to gain entry to the building. Five people were killed, two police officers later committed suicide, and more than 140 people, as of Security Technology’s press time, were later tracked down and arrested. Critical communication systems Mayor Bowser issues a city-wide curfew for DC for Wednesday, January 6, starting at 6 p.m. until Thursday, January 7, at 6 a.m." The incident highlighted how critical it is to be able to communicate quickly and effectively about what was happening, the seriousness of the threat, and what actions people should take in response. For instance, during the Capitol attack, everyone within Washington, D.C., with a cellphone was notified via Emergency Alert of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s decision to implement a curfew to give law enforcement time to respond to the crisis. “Mayor Bowser issues a city-wide curfew for DC for Wednesday, January 6, starting at 6 p.m. until Thursday, January 7, at 6 a.m.,” it said. “Essential workers, including healthcare personnel and media, are exempt.” Event management system The alert was short and made it clear what recipients should do - both critical components of a mass notification in an emergency, says Imad Mouline, Chief Technology Officer for Everbridge - which provides the critical event management system used by the D.C. region for emergency alerts. “It’s incredibly important to be concise - you don’t want people to be interpreting things,” Mouline explains. “You have to restrict the message to three points at most. It can’t be a dissertation. Three points, three messages, and try to keep it within 30 words.” Sending emergency alerts But with this drastic increase in the number of emergency alerts being sent, the risk of alert fatigue also rises It’s also crucial to know who the message is for: Is it for someone who will help remediate the situation? Someone who is impacted? Or just someone who needs to be made aware? Keeping this in mind while crafting alerts is important - especially as people are receiving more emergency alerts than ever before. In 2020, Everbridge’s systems were used to send more than 5 billion communications - a 30 percent increase from the 3.5 billion sent in 2019. These communications ranged from alerts on California wildfires to Florida hurricanes to curfews in Washington, D.C., to the plethora of COVID-19 updates issued to more than 650 million people in 200 countries and territories. But with this drastic increase in the number of emergency alerts being sent, the risk of alert fatigue also rises. Public health communications In the first study of its kind published by BMC Health Services Research in 2013 after the H1N1 pandemic, researchers from the University of Washington analysed the impact of public health communications on healthcare providers. “Every increase of one local public health message per week resulted in a statistically significant 41.2 percent decrease in the odds of recalling the content of the study message,” according to the researchers. “Our results suggest that information delivered too frequently and/or repetitively through numerous communication channels may have a negative effect on the ability of health care providers to effectively recall emergency information.” Higher sense of urgency Making a phone call is going to convey a higher sense of urgency than sending an email" To help ward against this effect, the researchers suggested that organisations coordinate the dissemination of emergency alerts so healthcare providers could better recall the information and effectively respond to the alerts. Additionally, those issuing the alerts can use various methods to escalate the severity of the alert and the response required. For instance, a lower-level alert such as notifying employees the office will be closed the following day for a maintenance issue could be sent via email. A higher-level alert, such as an evacuation notice, could be sent through a phone call - a much more disruptive method of communication, Mouline says. “Making a phone call is going to convey a higher sense of urgency than sending an email,” he adds. “Something that’s imminent, a threat to life, you may want to use all methods.” Nationwide law enforcement These aspects of effective emergency alerts and mass notification were top of mind for officials heading into the inauguration on 20 January. The FBI had issued a notice for law enforcement nationwide to be on high alert due to the potential for violence after the U.S. Capitol attack. Washington, D.C., had beefed up its physical security in response, with more than 15,000 National Guard deployed throughout the District, the installation of robust perimeter fencing around the Capitol, and major street closures to create a vast perimeter around the National Mall where inauguration festivities would take place. Receive emergency alerts We don’t want a situation where an alert needs to be sent out now but isn’t received until 20 minutes later" Everbridge was also working closely with officials to ensure that should an emergency arise, alerts would be sent out to stakeholders, says Brian Toolan, Director of Government Strategy for Everbridge. Toolan explains that D.C. created a keyword alert, “Inauguration,” and allowed individuals to text to opt-in to receive emergency alerts and notifications about the inauguration. D.C. also installed additional cellphone towers throughout the District to increase coverage, capability, and capacity for emergency alerts. “You never know how many people are going to opt-in to a system, and we want to make sure the platform is able to scale and send out that notification quickly,” Toolan says. “We don’t want a situation where an alert needs to be sent out now but isn’t received until 20 minutes later.” Creating alert fatigue On inauguration day, all the preparation and planning came to fruition for a seemingly uneventful day. Forty-fifth U.S. President Donald Trump departed the White House in the morning, 46th U.S. President Joe Biden was sworn in in the afternoon, and the transfer of power was completed without incident or a flurry of emergency alerts. After the inauguration, D.C. would delete the numbers individuals used to opt-in to alerts on the event and would transfer its focus back, again, to issuing alerts on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine distribution without creating alert fatigue. Keeping messages brief “We always look at the fact that we don’t want to over-notify - that the more information we get isn’t always the best information, and you can lose your audience when something critical happens,” Toolan says. “Keeping your message brief, actionable, and to the point of what you need the person to do is critical. They should be able to read it within three seconds of getting it.”
Evolv Technology, the globally renowned provider of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based touchless security screening systems, has announced the appointment of Dana Loof as Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), reporting to Peter George, Evolv Technology’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO). In this new position for the company, Loof assumes worldwide responsibility for all Evolv Technology marketing and communications initiatives. The 25-year industry marketing veteran brings a stellar track record in launching innovative and disruptive infrastructure technologies and building category leaders. Marketing and communications expert Innovator in AI-based touchless security screening systems, Evolv Technology recorded 100 percent growth in 2020 Loof joins Evolv Technology from Palo Alto Networks, where she most recently served as Vice President of Marketing for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). In addition to Palo Alto Networks, she has held key marketing roles at eVault (acquired by Seagate Technology), Veritas (acquired by Symantec) and Oracle. The world’s pioneer and innovator in AI-based touchless security screening systems, Evolv Technology recorded 100 percent growth in 2020. Highlights include record sales to some of the world’s top brands, new strategic partnerships, and adding growth equity from blue-chip investors. Evolv Express Evolv Express is deployed worldwide and has been used to screen more than 50 million people – second only to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in people safely screened. “Evolv’s rise to leadership in the security screening industry demanded that we hire a marketing leader equal to the company’s potential and rapidly expanding market reach,” said Evolv Technology’s Chief Executive Officer, Peter George. Touchless security systems Peter adds, “Dana’s experience and leadership will play a pivotal role, helping an enormous marketplace understand the clear, demonstrable advantages our touchless security systems provide.” “The twin threats of gun violence and a world challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic mandate new approaches to delivering safety and a sense of well-being for our most important private and public venues,” said Evolv Technology’s Chief Marketing Officer, Dana Loof. Enhancing people screening and safety Dana adds, “By harnessing our technical innovations in sensors and AI to overcome the widely recognised deficiencies of outdated security screening products, Evolv enables ticketed venues, workplaces, schools and other public-facing organisations to vastly improve their ability to keep their customers, employees, guests, students and staffs safe, and to rapidly and more naturally enter venues. It’s exciting to join such a talented and respected team with such a clear and compelling mission.” Following its rapid growth, Evolv Technology had earlier announced the appointment of Eric Pyenson as General Counsel, who previously served as Vice President and General Counsel of the VMware Carbon Black Security Business Unit. The company also named A.J. De Rosa as Chief Revenue Officer (CRO), who previously served as CRO with Orbital Insight. AI software and powerful sensors Using AI software and powerful sensors, Evolv Express can screen up to 3,600 people per hour Evolv Technology is a globally renowned company in the field of digital transformation of physical security, one that is touchless and addresses the new normal threat of pandemic viruses, such as the COVID-19 virus, as well as concealed weapons. Using AI software and powerful sensors, Evolv Express can screen up to 3,600 people per hour, which is 10 times faster than legacy approaches, such as metal detectors, hand wands and manual inspections. Social distancing at entrances and security checkpoints The system enables social distancing at entrances and other security checkpoints, while minimising person-to-person interaction, requiring no stopping, no emptying of pockets or removing bags. People being screened simply walk through naturally, alleviating potential crowding and long lines while greatly reducing contact between guests, employees and security staff. In use at hundreds of outdoor entertainment venues, cultural landmarks, corporations, warehouses, schools, hospitals, stadiums and large-scale events worldwide, Evolv Technology’s customers include Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, L.L. Bean, Wynn Las Vegas, Oakland International Airport, two South Carolina school districts, Hersheypark, Set Jet, the Biltmore Estate and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. By using Evolv Express, organisations optimise the performance of their security teams while reducing screening expenses by as much as 70 percent.
Urban populations are expanding rapidly around the globe, with an expected growth of 1.56 billion by 2040. As the number of people living and working in cities continues to grow, the ability to keep everyone safe is an increasing challenge. However, technology companies are developing products and solutions with these futuristic cities in mind, as the reality is closer than you may think. Solutions that can help to watch over public places and share data insights with city workers and officials are increasingly enabling smart cities to improve the experience and safety of the people who reside there. Rising scope of 5G, AI, IoT and the Cloud The main foundations that underpin smart cities are 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Cloud. Each is equally important, and together, these technologies enable city officials to gather and analyse more detailed insights than ever before. For public safety in particular, having IoT and cloud systems in place will be one of the biggest factors to improving the quality of life for citizens. Smart cities have come a long way in the last few decades, but to truly make a smart city safe, real-time situational awareness and cross-agency collaboration are key areas which must be developed as a priority. Innovative surveillance cameras with integrated IoT Public places need to be safe, whether that is an open park, shopping centre, or the main roads through towns Public places need to be safe, whether that is an open park, shopping centre, or the main roads through towns. From dangerous drivers to terrorist attacks, petty crime on the streets to high profile bank robberies, innovative surveillance cameras with integrated IoT and cloud technologies can go some way to helping respond quickly to, and in some cases even prevent, the most serious incidents. Many existing safety systems in cities rely on aging and in some places legacy technology, such as video surveillance cameras. Many of these also use on-premises systems rather than utilising the benefits of the cloud. Smart programming to deliver greater insights These issues, though not creating a major problem today, do make it more challenging for governments and councils to update their security. Changing every camera in a city is a huge undertaking, but in turn, doing so would enable all cameras to be connected to the cloud, and provide more detailed information which can be analysed by smart programming to deliver greater insights. The physical technologies that are currently present in most urban areas lack the intelligent connectivity, interoperability and integration interfaces that smart cities need. Adopting digital technologies isn’t a luxury, but a necessity. Smart surveillance systems It enables teams to gather data from multiple sources throughout the city in real-time, and be alerted to incidents as soon as they occur. Increased connectivity and collaboration ensures that all teams that need to be aware of a situation are informed instantly. For example, a smart surveillance system can identify when a road accident has occurred. It can not only alert the nearest ambulance to attend the scene, but also the local police force to dispatch officers. An advanced system that can implement road diversions could also close roads around the incident immediately and divert traffic to other routes, keeping everyone moving and avoiding a build-up of vehicles. This is just one example: without digital systems, analysing patterns of vehicle movements to address congestion issues could be compromised, as would the ability to build real-time crime maps and deploy data analytics which make predictive policing and more effective crowd management possible. Cloud-based technologies Cloud-based technologies provide the interoperability, scalability and automation Cloud-based technologies provide the interoperability, scalability and automation that is needed to overcome the limitations of traditional security systems. Using these, smart cities can develop a fully open systems architecture that delivers interoperation with both local and other remote open systems. The intelligence of cloud systems can not only continue to allow for greater insights as technology develops over time, but it can do so with minimal additional infrastructure investment. Smart surveillance in the real world Mexico City has a population of almost 9 million people, but if you include the whole metropolitan area, this number rises sharply to over 21 million in total, making it one of the largest cities on the planet. Seven years ago, the city first introduced its Safe City initiative, and ever since has been developing newer and smarter ways to keep its citizens safe. In particular, its cloud-based security initiative is making a huge impact. Over the past three years, Mexico City has installed 58,000 new video surveillance cameras throughout the city, in public spaces and on transport, all of which are connected to the City’s C5 (Command, Control, Computers, Communications and Citizen Contact) facility. Smart Cities operations The solution enables officers as well as the general public to upload videos via a mobile app to share information quickly, fixed, body-worn and vehicle cameras can also be integrated to provide exceptional insight into the city’s operations. The cloud-based platform can easily be upgraded to include the latest technology innovations such as licence plate reading, behavioural analysis software, video analytics and facial recognition software, which will all continue to bring down crime rates and boost response times to incidents. The right cloud approach Making the shift to cloud-based systems enables smart cities to eliminate dependence on fibre-optic connectivity and take advantage of a variety of Internet and wireless connectivity options that can significantly reduce application and communication infrastructure costs. Smart cities need to be effective in years to come, not just in the present day, or else officials have missed one of the key aspects of a truly smart city. System designers must build technology foundations now that can be easily adapted in the future to support new infrastructure as it becomes available. Open system architecture An open system architecture will also be vital for smart cities to enhance their operations For example, this could include opting for a true cloud application that can support cloud-managed local devices and automate their management. An open system architecture will also be vital for smart cities to enhance their operations and deliver additional value-add services to citizens as greater capabilities become possible in the years to come. The advances today in cloud and IoT technologies are rapid, and city officials and authorities have more options now to develop their smart cities than ever before and crucially, to use these innovations to improve public safety. New safety features Though implementing these cloud-based systems now requires investment, as new safety features are designed, there will be lower costs and challenges associated with introducing these because the basic infrastructure will already exist. Whether that’s gunshot detection or enabling the sharing of video infrastructure and data across multiple agencies in real time, smart video surveillance on cloud-based systems can bring a wealth of the new opportunities.
AI has opened doors to many transformation opportunities and increasingly minimised many risks -- personal and economic -- that are alarming today. And illicit trade is one of those pains AI can offer a promising solution against. Illicit trade is a serious threat and problem that affects governments and societies on every level. While governments lose financial funds in tax revenues, thriving businesses are losing potential customers, and customers are getting tricked into purchasing counterfeit, low-quality products. Transnational organised crime generates revenue of $2.2 trillion through transnational criminal organisations, complicit corrupt facilitators, and other threat areas. The list of criminal activities is long and involves such horrific crimes as trafficking of narcotics, opioids, arms, humans, fake medicines and other counterfeit and pirated goods; illegal tobacco and alcohol; illegally-harvested timber, wildlife, and fish; pillaged oil, diamonds, gold, and other natural resources and precious minerals; stolen antiquities; and other contraband or valuable items sold across streets, social media, online marketplaces, and the dark web. In short, illicit trade is a contributing cause to large-scale insecurity and instability across markets. AI-driven technologies Here is where revolutionary AI-driven technologies come in, with their capability to fight illicit trade across markets. AI technologies in this specific application promise to help build safer and more secure communities in the future. There are a few ways that AI can support the ongoing fight against illicit trade on a global scale in a tangible way. Transnational organised crime generates revenue of $2.2 trillion For financial transactions at risk of fraud and money laundering, tracking has become an increasing headache if done manually. As a solution to this labour-intensive process, AI technology can be trained to follow all the compliance rules and process a large number of documents -- often billions of pages of documents -- in a short period of time. Among these documents widely in circulation, most have an unstructured and inconsistent format -- from invoices to insurance documentation -- are a complex system to tackle; in this whirlwind of pages, the likelihood of non-compliant and misrepresented figures to go by unnoticed. But this is also where AI can thrive as solutions become a necessity, enhancing humans’ capabilities of identifying fraud risks in the early stages. Relying on natural language processing, the technology can begin interpreting the text from the scanned and digitised documents in order to process trade information at high speed. In this context, AI-powered solutions are capable of comparing, contrasting document information and identify anomalies worth looking into further. By automating a large portion of the process, AI-driven technology allows the staff to focus on more pressing, high-involvement issues that require human judgement while saving time on the time-consuming manual work of analysing documents by hand. Identifying covert interactions between criminals As criminal networks become increasingly intricate in their illegal operations, cutting-edge AI technology is crucial in the battle against it. In 2019, EU launched a project with the goal to deploy advanced AI technology and robots to identify smuggling across the borders of Portugal, Estonia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. With the help of AI, it will be possible to send drones and autonomous vehicles to the most dubious border areas in order to enforce border control and detect smugglers quickly and efficiently. Illicit trade triggers a chain reaction of negative impact across industries, governments and individuals The issues the EU is trying to address through the project include drug and weapon smuggling, as well as human trafficking. From tight border control tracking crossings to communication monitoring to identify covert interactions between criminals on both sides of the border, the project is one among many that will expand the scope of solutions to the illicit trade problems today. AI’s contribution is significant on many levels: from predicting crime and threats to safeguarding public health and safety (in face of human trafficking, counterfeit medicines, and toxic products), these are simply inklings of major shifts that AI technology promises for the future of the battle against illicit trade. So why is fighting illicit trade so crucial? Here are a few reasons why AI’s role in fighting this global issue is crucial. In a world where customers run the risk of being deceived and tricked into buying counterfeit products, companies who provide the original products suffer through the loss of revenue and market share. The same companies are also robbed of their intellectual property and proprietary data. Furthermore, people who are employed in these companies run the risk of losing their jobs as a result of revenue and market share loss. And finally, the last straw is the loss of brand integrity and reputation to the need to compete with low-quality, sometimes even dangerous counterfeit products. Just like a domino effect, illicit trade triggers a chain reaction of negative impact across industries, governments and individuals. And it’s time for AI to step in and stop it.
Recently contacted by your credit card company because of a data breach or were you a victim of identity theft? Many of us have either been affected by identity theft or know someone who has been affected. Many consumers are seeking a secure environment that is also user-friendly. Businesses are seeking the same, with absolute certainty, that only valid users can access critical data. How can your company tackle these security and usability requirements while ensuring customer satisfaction? Today's three primary biometric modalities are fingerprint, facial and iris, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses but due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, touchless is highly preferred. Any company claiming their technology is best for all applications is likely being disingenuous. The key is to first prove a biometric is required, and once decided, the following five steps will help select the best biometric modality and supplier. Today's three primary biometric modalities are fingerprint, facial and iris, and each has its own strengths and weaknessesBiometrics can provide a mechanism to tackle these issues head-on by moving from what you know (password) and have (ID card) to who you are (your biometric), which dramatically increases the level of security while also being user-friendly. But how is the best biometric modality selected for an upcoming product? User interaction Start by defining the planned customer usage model, including the typical user, normal or desired interaction, and product in-field environment and placement, as well as any strategic plans. Think through the clothing the users will wear (e.g., face masks), the height of the users, hygiene requirements and opt-in requirements. Decide how quickly the biometric must respond and test this during the POC testing. The better the enrollment image (template), the better the matching performance and overall user experience. Biometric storage Start by defining the planned customer usage model, including the typical user, normal or desired interaction, and product in-field environment and placement, as Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, touchless is highly preferredwell as any strategic plans. Think through the clothing the users will wear (e.g., face masks), the height of the users, hygiene requirements and opt-in requirements. Decide how quickly the biometric must respond and test this during the POC testing. The better the enrollment image (template), the better the matching performance and overall user experience. Cost and security Start by selecting which product lines will use the biometric and establishing the desired price point(s). Decide how the biometric will fit into the product and get bulk pricing to understand unit costs at volume. Software is typically handled as a license fee and often negotiable. The production cost per unit decreases as volumes increase. Choose the biometric modality that best meets functional and security requirements while hitting the targeted price. The biometric security level required depends on the assets being protected and the matching usage model. A 1:1 model, such as a cellphone, may be fine with a low-security biometric application. However, in a 1:N model, such as airport security, requires a more secure biometric such as iris. To select the best biometric for the product, compare each company's false acceptance rate (FAR) and false rejection rate (FRR). FAR indicates the biometrics ability to keep intruders out, while FRR indicates the biometrics ability to allow enrolled users in. Ensure that all biometric companies being considered can provide this information at a minimum. It is better to get each company's detection error trade-off (DET) curve, which shows how FAR and FRR vary relative to each other. Criminal activity Hackers and criminals are always trying to break technology, including biometrics. Be certain each technology has robust presentation attack detection (PAD), which ideally is third-party certified. Understand what if any personally identifiable information (PII) needs to be captured, and decide how the PII will be handled, including who will manage the data (i.e., your company, the biometric supplier or another third party). Be certain that whoever controls the PII uses the latest encryption standards and employs techniques to secure this data in memory, crossing the network and in the biometric database. Understanding the European GDPR Compliance standards if applicable will also be important. Supplier consideration Each supplier being considered should be evaluated throughout the POC testing process. Ensure the supplier is trustworthy, provides good customer support and meets its commitments. Evaluate the supplier's engineering capability and support model to ensure it can support any desired design changes and support your Be certain each technology has robust presentation attack detection (PAD)engineers to deliver the best functioning product. Selecting the best biometric for your exact use case will take some time and effort, but it has the potential to grow your business and delight your customers. Do not shortchange the process and go with the cheapest solution without doing some research. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.
Many employers faced a need to ramp up hiring of drivers to meet a higher demand for product deliveries and transportation logistics during the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet the demand for drivers, employers had to make quick hiring decisions while also ensuring products were still being delivered in a timely fashion. Safe work environment Businesses have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for their employees and contractors. It is therefore important to limit exposing drivers to risk, to put in place proper safety and security protocols, and to clearly outline them in company policies. Whether an employee or contractor, these drivers represent the brand they work for. If they do not adhere to company-mandated safety and security rules, because the business did not make them aware or they intentionally did not comply by acting with malice, this can put the drivers, other employees, customers and the company at risk financially, legally and with regard to their reputation. Adherence to safety protocols Operating in haste typically results in forced errors and mistakes within the business" “This need to hire drivers quickly resulted in many businesses lowering their standards and accepting certain risks to meet the increased demand. Operating in haste typically results in forced errors and mistakes within the business, potentially leading to harmful events and a damaged brand reputation,” stated Thomas Kopecky, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder, Ontic Technologies (Ontic), a unified protective intelligence software platform. In the conversation presented below, Kopecky outlines the safety and compliance requirements needed to manage the risks while meeting the demand for drivers. Q: What risks do employers face as they ramp up hiring to meet higher demand for drivers? Thomas Kopecky: There have been instances in which a transportation contractor with multiple violations has simply established the business under a new name but continues to operate dangerously. Hastily hiring such a firm without proper enhanced vetting increases the risk from a safety, as well as a business continuity standpoint. Having to terminate a contract and replace a contractor midway can also have significant financial repercussions. In addition to problems created by executing too quickly, employers are now required both to mitigate their own general liability risks and to manage the perceived risk they may create due to the pandemic. For example, if a delivery driver tests positive for COVID-19, there is the potential they have also exposed customers. Employers must consider contactless delivery or other methods and protocols to mitigate this presumed risk of the pandemic. Q: What are the elements of safety and compliance involved in onboarding new drivers? Thomas Kopecky: When onboarding new drivers, corporations must think about more than clean background checks and adequate infrastructure. Whether employees or contractors, organisations must focus on what other risks the drivers bring with them. As part of this review, an open source scrub should be conducted at the outset to discover the driver’s online activity. Through this exercise, a whole host of questions can be addressed including, for example, whether their morals and values align with those of the company. Are they involved with fringe or radical interest groups? Do their actions conflict with the culture of the organisation, and could they have a negative impact? These are all questions that employers should be considering when hiring new drivers or contracting a new company. Q: What tools are available to help companies vet their driver fleets and how can these tools make a difference? Employers should also consider State Business Records for potential red flags Thomas Kopecky: To vet their driver fleets, corporations can use several tools and resources that will strengthen the organisation’s overall security. Ideally this is a software platform that brings all this information into one place so vetting, real-time data and concerning activities are not siloed but can be connected in order to assess potential risks and threats. Logically, businesses should consider reviewing Department of Transportation Records, which allow organisations to check whether drivers are licenced and appropriately insured. Employers should also consider State Business Records for potential red flags, such as whether an organisation is delinquent or no longer functioning in a given state. Finally, it’s beneficial to review civil records as these can highlight any active or past cases associated with an organisation. This includes fraud, bankruptcy, poor business practices, and more. Q: What should be the standard methodology to investigate and collect data on new driver programs? Thomas Kopecky: Corporate culture and company policies impact the level of vetting required (determined by company policy), which varies from business to business. Quite often, most valuable investigative content is associated with an actual fleet company owner and not a recently created business entity so it behooves corporations to research this information first. Then verify the information provided is correct, and whether any other conflicting information exists. As previously noted, employers should review civil and criminal records at the state level and cases at the federal level, as it is often the fleet company or owner involved in litigation that could reflect negatively on a brand. Media coverage and consumer complaints are another critical source for negative mentions that may not always appear in public records. You should also ask if the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates this contract or driver; and if they were once a provider and are now re-applying, is it under a new name? If the answer is yes to either question, it will be necessary to check DOT records for adequate licencing or insurance coverage to ensure providers applying under a new name aren’t trying to circumvent the vetting process. Q: What are the privacy concerns, and how can potential employers ensure they do not violate issues of privacy as they vet drivers (and/or other employees)? Businesses must conduct their operations in a fair, lawful, and transparent manner Thomas Kopecky: Businesses must conduct their operations in a fair, lawful, and transparent manner. Employers often dictate their own guidelines and requirements from company to company. Companies must ensure they follow the law and handle data used for vetting driver fleets in a manner compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). When utilising software platforms, those that aggregate public record data in real-time and efficiently to provide actionable insights will be key for protecting corporate driver fleets and businesses overall. Q: How is addressing these issues different in the case of a contracted service versus a company employee? Thomas Kopecky: Addressing these issues will vary from company to company, but it will be important for clients' legal counsel to help interpret the law in the respective state they operate in and make this final determination. This will help shape policy and the employer’s compliance requirements in the area of operation. In some jurisdictions, contractors are vetted and treated like employees who are protected by FCRA. In contrast, there are more broad interpretations of what level of vetting and continuous monitoring can take place on contractors versus employees in other jurisdictions. Q: What is at risk if companies fail to address these issues? Thomas Kopecky: If companies fail to address security issues with managing their driver fleets, they risk major liability, business continuity and brand reputation. Every employee and contractor is in essence an ambassador of the brand, and in many instances, they are the only customer-facing representative for the enterprise. Imagine you are a contractor driving for a major delivery service. If you were to get into an accident and tragically kill someone driving their branded truck, the repercussions of that accident would harm the brand as opposed to the small contracting company by which you are employed. This can have a disastrous impact on the enterprise, both from a reputation and financial standpoint. When proactive steps are not taken to evaluate fleet companies or their owners, this can be viewed as negligence. Consider another example: A brand hires a driver company that has committed fraud while operating under another company’s name. What is the brand’s cost to conduct an initial onboarding assessment of this company versus the cost of investigating an issue, terminating the contract, and dealing with any potential litigation that might follow? The latter is clearly the financial burden. Corporations must proactively address risk associated with their driver fleets to mitigate risk before it occurs. Q: What is the biggest misconception (in the industry and/or the public at large) about employee vetting requirements? Enhanced vetting today often includes looking into a contractor’s background or its company Thomas Kopecky: We have passed the days where everything is all about criminal background checks and instant alerts when a driver receives a DUI. We are entering a world where business continuity and resiliency are necessary. Companies are so reliant on contracted services or seasonal employee pools that if that roster of operators were found to be unsuitable, the business itself would not meet the demands of its customers. Before the digital age, people only understood the driver vetting process to be based around a search of felony convictions. Enhanced vetting today often includes looking into a contractor’s background or its company from a different vantage point. Employers must begin to think about litigation history, negative media coverage and vocal social platforms, history of poor business practices or fraud, and more. These are factors that need to be considered for a business to mitigate risk and maintain continuity of service in an era where timeliness and instant gratification are highly valued.
The global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus is changing work environments to an unprecedented degree. More employees than ever are being asked to work remotely from home. Along with the new work practices comes a variety of security challenges. Without the proper precautions, working from home could become a cybersecurity nightmare, says Purdue University professor Marcus Rogers. “Criminals will use the crisis to scam people for money, account information and more,” he says. “With more people working from home, people need to make sure they are practicing good cybersecurity hygiene, just like they would at work. There is also a big risk that infrastructures will become overwhelmed, resulting in communication outages, both internet and cell.” Covid-19 concerns Concerns about the coronavirus have increased the business world’s dependence on teleworking. According to Cisco Systems, WebEx meeting traffic connecting Chinese users to global workplaces has increased by a factor of 22 since the outbreak began. Traffic in other countries is up 400% or more, and specialist video conferencing businesses have seen a near doubling in share value (as the rest of the stock market shrinks). Basic email security has remained unchanged for 30 years Email is a core element of business communications, yet basic email security has remained unchanged for 30 years. Many smaller businesses are likely to still be using outdated Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) when sending and receiving email. “The default state of all email services is unencrypted, unsecure and open to attack, putting crucial information at risk,” says Paul Holland, CEO of secure email systems provider Beyond Encryption. “With remote working a likely outcome for many of us in the coming weeks, the security and reliability of our electronic communication will be a high priority,” says Holland. The company’s Mailock system allows employees to work from any device at home or in the office without concerns about data compromise or cybersecurity issues. Acting quickly and effectively As the virus spreads, businesses and organisations will need to act quickly to establish relevant communication with their employees, partners and customers surrounding key coronavirus messages, says Heinan Landa, CEO and Founder of IT services firm Optimal Networks. Employers should also enact proper security training to make sure everyone is up to speed with what’s happening and can report any suspicious online activity. Reviewing and updating telework policies to allow people to work from home will also provide flexibility for medical care for employees and their families as needed. Scammers, phishing, and fraud An additional factor in the confusing environment created by the coronavirus is growth in phishing emails and creation of domains for fraud. Phishing is an attempt to fraudulently obtain sensitive information such as passwords or credit card information by disguising oneself as a trusted entity. Landa says homebound workers should understand that phishing can come from a text, a phone call, or an email. “Be wary of any form of communication that requires you to click on a link, download an attachment, or provide any kind of personal information,” says Landa. Homebound workers should understand that phishing can come from a text, a phone call, or an email Email scammers often try to elicit a sense of fear and urgency in their victims – emotions that are more common in the climate of a global pandemic. Attackers may disseminate malicious links and PDFs that claim to contain information on how to protect oneself from the spread of the disease, says Landa. Ron Culler, Senior Director of Technology and Solutions at ADT Cybersecurity, offers some cyber and home security tips for remote workers and their employers: When working from home, workers should treat their home security just as they would if working from the office. This includes arming their home security system and leveraging smart home devices such as outdoor and doorbell cameras and motion detectors. More than 88% of burglaries happen in residential areas. When possible, it’s best to use work laptops instead of personal equipment, which may not have adequate antivirus software and monitoring systems in place. Workers should adhere to corporate-approved protocols, hardware and software, from firewalls to VPNs. Keep data on corporate systems and channels, whether it’s over email or in the cloud. The cyber-protections that employees depended on in the office might not carry over to an at-home work environment. Schedule more video conferences to keep communication flowing in a controlled, private environment. Avoid public WiFi networks, which are not secure and run the risk of remote eavesdropping and hacking by third parties. In addition to work-from-home strategies, companies should consider ways to ensure business cyber-resilience and continuity, says Tim Rawlins, Director and Senior Adviser for risk mitigation firm NCC Group. “Given that cyber-resilience always relies on people, process and technology, you really need to consider these three elements,” he says. “And your plan will need to be adaptable as the situation can change very quickly.” Employees and their employers Self-isolation and enforced quarantine can impact both office staff and business travelers Self-isolation and enforced quarantine can impact both office staff and business travelers, and the situation can change rapidly as the virus spreads, says Rawlins. Employees should be cautious about being overseen or overheard outside of work environments when working on sensitive matters. The physical security of a laptop or other equipment is paramount. “It’s also important to look at how material is going to be backed up if it’s not connected to the office network while working offline,” says Rawlins. It’s also a good time to test the internal contact plan or “call tree” to ensure messages get through to everyone at the right time, he adds.
At a major music festival, a fan in the crowd aggressively leapt over a barricade to approach a famous artist. Personnel from Force Protection Agency immediately implemented extrication protocol to shield the artist from physical harm, quickly reversed course and calmly led the client away from the threat. Force Protection Agency (FPA) personnel intentionally did not engage the threatening fan in any way, as local venue security personnel were present and tasked with apprehending the rogue fan. FPA’s efforts were directed expressly toward the protection of the client, avoiding unnecessary escalation or complications and minimising physical, visual, and legal exposure. Dedicated to the safety of clients Force Protection Agency is a unique, elite-level agency inspired by a vision for excellence and innovation Specialising in protecting celebrities and high-net-worth individuals, Force Protection Agency is a unique, elite-level agency inspired by a vision for excellence and innovation, and dedicated to the safety and success of clients. The agency was formed in 2017 by Russell Stuart, a California State Guard officer and security and entertainment industry veteran. The agency is the culmination of 20 years of experience in the fields of security, military, emergency management, logistics and technology, media and entertainment, and celebrity management. We interviewed Russell Stuart, Founder and CEO of Force Protection Agency (FPA), which has been called “the Secret Service of Hollywood,” for his insights into providing security for celebrities. Q: What unique need in the marketplace do you seek to serve, and how are you qualified to serve it? Stuart: The needs of celebrity and high-net-worth clients are complex and constantly changing. When dealing with a high-profile individual, discretion is paramount, extensive communication is required, and adaptation is ongoing. A critical objective is anticipating and planning for all types of potential negative scenarios and preventing them from even starting, all while not disrupting the normal course of operation of the client's day or their business. Force Protection Agency is poised to serve these needs by innovating and intelligently managing the planning, procedures, and personnel used in every facet of protecting the client’s interests and achieving their objectives. Q: What is the typical level of "professionalism" among bodyguards and security professionals that protect celebrities? Why does professionalism matter, and how do you differentiate yourself on this point? Stuart: Professionalism is an overall way of approaching everything to do with the business, from recruiting, to training, to making sure the right agent is with the right client. Nothing matters more; polish and precision are not only critical to mission success, but also support the comprehensive best interest of the client while preventing costly collateral damage and additional negative consequences. True “professional protective services" is intelligent strength and proper execution, not emotional or reactionary violence. Unfortunately, the latter is frequent among many celebrity bodyguards, and often incurs extremely expensive and even dangerous repercussions. Q: Your company has been described as "the Secret Service of Hollywood." How true is that comparison, and how does your work differ from (e.g.) protecting the President? Force Protection Agency prides itself on providing its services with discretion, precision, and poise Stuart: Totally true, and for this reason: the keys to success in protection are prioritization, and planning. Most people fail to even recognise the first, negating any level of effort given to the second. Establishing the true needs and the correct priority of objectives for each individual client and situation, and firmly committing to these without deviation, are what distinguishes both government secret services and Force Protection Agency from the vast majority of general security firms. Also, the term “secret service” implies an inconspicuous yet professional approach, and Force Protection Agency prides itself on providing its services with discretion, precision, and poise. Q: What is the biggest challenge of protecting celebrities? Stuart: The very nature of celebrity is visibility and access, which always increases risk. The challenge of protecting a high-profile individual is facilitating that accessibility in a strategic and controlled manner while mitigating risk factors. A client’s personal desires and preferences can often conflict with a lowest risk scenario, so careful consideration and thorough preparation are essential, along with continual communication. Q: How does the approach to protection change from one celebrity (client) to another? What variables impact how you do your job? Stuart: The approach is largely determined by the client’s specific needs, requests and objectives. The circumstances of a client's activities, location, and other associated entities can vastly disrupt operation activities. A client may prefer a more or less obvious security presence, which can impact the quantity and proximity of personnel. Force Protection Agency coordinates extensively with numerous federal, state, and municipal government agencies, which also have a variety of influence depending on the particular locations involved and the specific client activities being engaged in. Q: Are all your clients celebrities or what other types of "executives" do you protect – and, if so, how are those jobs different? Stuart: Force Protection Agency provides protective services for a wide range of clients, from the world’s most notable superstars to corporate executives and government representatives. We also provide private investigation services for a vast variety of clientele. Force Protection Agency creates customised solutions that surpass each individual client’s needs and circumstances. The differences between protecting a major celebrity or top business executive can be quite different or exactly the same. Although potentially not as well known in popular culture, some top CEOs have a net worth well above many famous celebrities and their security needs must reflect their success. Q: What is the role of technology in protecting famous people (including drones)? Technology is crucial to the success of security operations Stuart: Technology is crucial to the success of security operations and brings a tremendous advantage to those equipped with the best technological resources and the skills required to maximise their capabilities. It affects equipment such as communication and surveillance devices like drones, cameras, radios, detection/tracking devices, GPS, defensive weapons, protective equipment, and more. Technology also brings immense capabilities to strategic planning and logistical operations through the power of data management and is another aspect of Force Protection Agency operation that sets us apart from the competition. Q: What additional technology tools would be helpful in your work (i.e., a “technology wish list”)? Stuart: The rapidly growing and evolving realm of social media is a massive digital battlefield littered with current and potential future threats and adversaries. Most mass shooters as of late have left a trail of disturbing posts and comments across social media platforms and chat rooms that telegraphed their disturbing mindset and future attacks. A tool that could manage an intelligent search for such threats and generate additional intel through a continuous scan of all available relevant data from social media sources would be extremely useful and could potentially save many lives. Q: Anything you wish to add? Stuart: Delivering consistent excellence in protection and security is both a vital need and a tremendous responsibility. Force Protection Agency is proud of their unwavering commitment to “Defend, Enforce, Assist” and stands ready to secure and satisfy each and every client, and to preserve the life and liberty of our nation and the world.
In the latest testing phase for the Emergency Services Network (ESN) project with the Home Office, Frequentis has successfully demonstrated the additional voice and data feature set. The Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) is delivering the new Emergency Services Network (ESN) critical communication system, which will replace the current TETRA-based Airwave system with a new LTE-Mission Critical Services (LTE-MCx) 3GPP based radio communication system in Great Britain. Life-saving data ESN will transmit fast, safe and secure voice, video and data across the 4G network and give first responders immediate access to life-saving data, images and information in live situations and emergencies on the frontline. Frequentis is working directly with the Home Office on the development of a gateway, which will connect Frequentis multimedia communications platform 3020 LifeX to the new ESN. The gateway will provide an Airwave-comparable feature set, and, once ready, will be installed and tested within the Ambulance Radio Program (ARP), a reference customer of Frequentis' and which is working closely with the Home Office. The two recent successful test demonstrations against ESN have allowed Frequentis to show the Home Office the intermediate progress of the project. Participation took place remotely, allowing the momentum of the project to continue despite the challenges of COVID-19. Frequentis 3020 LifeX We are pleased to be able to adapt LifeX to fit the needs of ESN in order to further support emergency services operators" "Testing this time included group call, private call (in/out), ambient listening, status message, emergency calls, text messages and broadcast, all of which were successful thanks to the hard work and dedication of the teams. In addition, we will be delivering functionality to support interworking between existing Airwave and ESN to provide a smooth transition for our customers as they move to the ESN network, allowing both networks to be used in parallel. We are pleased to be able to adapt LifeX to fit the needs of ESN in order to further support emergency services operators in their challenging role," says Andy Madge, Managing Director Frequentis UK. The Frequentis 3020 LifeX is already being implemented for a number of police and emergency services organisations across Great Britain on Airwave, and worldwide, and will be compatible with ESN in due course. The gateway development, supported by subcontractor, Nemergent, will ensure that control room operators using the Frequentis LifeX platform have access to a fully approved and easy-to-use interface into ESN for all mission-critical communications. LifeX has been designed to allow emergency services operators to maximise the benefits of multimedia communications, and when next-generation 999 (NG999) becomes a standard it will also allow members of the public to share images and videos of incidents that can be analysed in real-time.
The city of Arnhem has chosen Nedap to regulate vehicle flows and to provide a seamless vehicle access experience in its city centre. Due to the increase in the number of vehicles in the city centre, it was a challenge for Arnhem to ensure that the traffic flow runs smoothly and safely, to keep the historic and tourist centre accessible and livable. Vehicle identification solutions With the implementation of Nedap’s vehicle identification solutions, authorised vehicles and drivers can access the city in a safe and seamless way. The combination with Nedap’s MOOV City Access software ensures that vehicle access in the city centre easily can be regulated. The city of Arnhem wants to regulate vehicle access to the centre and ensure only authorised vehicles can enter The city of Arnhem is located in the east of the Netherlands. Because of the historical centre, cultural sights and a wide range of entertainment facilities, it is also an attractive city for tourists. To ensure that the city centre remains traffic and pedestrian friendly, the city of Arnhem wants to regulate vehicle access to the centre and ensure only authorised vehicles can enter. MOOV City Access platform By limiting traffic flows, the narrow streets in the historic centre of Arnhem turned into an attractive and safe public place for pedestrians and cyclists, creating a livable city. The city of Arnhem has chosen Nedap for its MOOV City Access platform combined with its advanced solutions for automatic vehicle identification, based on long-range RFID (Radiofrequency Identification) and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) technology. Authorised vehicle access in specific zones The solution is supplied and installed by Nedap’s partner - ST&D. Nedap’s MOOV City Access platform is implemented to control vehicle access in specific zones. With this, Arnhem ensures that only authorised vehicles can enter these zones and only if they have permission to do so. With the implementation of RFID readers and ANPR cameras, vehicles can be identified from a long distance, ensuring automated and safe vehicle throughput. Nedap’s long-range RFID solution, TRANSIT will be used to ensure that local residents, emergency vehicles, licenced taxis and municipal services have easy access to the city centre, without compromising on safety. TRANSIT long-range RFID solution Authorised vehicles equipped with a RFID tag will have fast access at vehicle entrances TRANSIT is a proven technology that enables highly secure identification and tracking of vehicles and drivers, up to a distance of 10 metres. Authorised vehicles equipped with a RFID tag will have fast access at vehicle entrances, without the need to stop. The all-in-one licence plate camera, ANPR Lumo will grant access to vehicles based on their license plate number. Licence plate recognition is a perfect solution for specific user groups or situations, in which vehicles require access temporarily or incidentally to the city centre. For example, retail delivery trucks can be given access at pre-defined locations, assigned days and time zones, regulating vehicle access to the city by reason. Digitisation of city access “By choosing and implementing Nedap’s MOOV City Access platform in combination with Nedap’s licence plate recognition solution, we have taken a major step in the further digitisation of our city access in Arnhem,” said Hans ten Barge, Chain Director Parking at the Municipality of Arnhem. Nedap Identification Systems is a specialist in Automatic Vehicle Identification and Vehicle Access Control solutions, for over the past decades. Nedap has developed a unique portfolio of proven long-range RFID and ANPR solutions that enable seamless third-party system integration. Vehicles and drivers are identified automatically, securing a free-flow yet highly secure vehicle access experience. MOOV City Access is Nedap’s vehicle access control solution, specifically designed for regulating vehicle flows in inner cities. MOOV’s hardware and software are compatible with Nedap’s RFID readers and ANPR cameras. This complete solution ensures a livable and safe city.
Trinity College Dublin is enhancing safety and support for staff and students by implementing SafeZone technology from CriticalArc. SafeZone technology Through this implementation, the university aims to deliver more rapid response to calls for assistance across all campus facilities, and to better assist students and staff working remotely, including those on placement overseas. When individuals call for assistance, in a wide range of situations, including those working alone out of hours, those with particular vulnerabilities and those with medical emergencies, the technology will enable responders to pin-point their precise location. Access with SafeZone mobile app Students and staff can check-in and use the service with the SafeZone mobile app Students and staff can check-in and use the service with the SafeZone mobile app, which puts them in immediate contact with the university’s support infrastructure. The technology will also make it easy for the responders to optimise response and to provide appropriate intervention in the event of an emergency. “During this challenging time for our students and staff, Trinity College Dublin is doing everything it can to ensure both the physical and mental well-being of everyone in our community. We are delighted to be introducing this advanced technology, as part of our support actions,” stated Trinity’s Head of Safety, Dr. Katharine Murray. Students and staff safety “It’s more important than ever for universities to keep in touch with their students and staff, to fulfill their duty of care and ensure that those who need help of any kind get the quickest possible response,” said Darren Chalmers-Stevens, Managing Director of CriticalArc. Darren adds, “We’re pleased to help Trinity College Dublin with a rapid implementation of SafeZone to help ensure the safety and well-being of students and staff.”
Global MSC Security announced that it has been appointed by the City of Edinburgh Council to consult on a planned upgrade of its video surveillance system from analogue to IP, as Edinburgh progresses towards its vision to become one of the world smartest capital cities. Working with the Council, Global MSC Security will use its public sector expertise to oversee the preparation of a tender specification of a fully integrated public space surveillance operation. Upgrading public realm CCTV surveillance system The appointment of Global MSC Security follows the announcement that the City of Edinburgh Council is investing over £1 million in its public realm CCTV (including housing blocks, transport network and Council buildings) and has also secured £712,000 from the 'Scotland's 8th City, the Smart City' European Regional Development Fund Strategic Intervention in support of an upgrade to its CCTV infrastructure, as part of its smart city programme. Global MSC Security has a wealth of expertise in public space surveillance, having consulted on dozens of local authority CCTV surveillance projects, including The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Central Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Herefordshire, North Somerset, Barnet, Bristol City, Dorset, Neath and Port Talbot, Mid Devon and Maidstone and Luton Councils. Installing new IP cameras, VMS and encoders Global MSC Security will ensure the City of Edinburgh Council is able to upgrade its public space cameras, VMS and encoders Global MSC Security will ensure the City of Edinburgh Council is able to upgrade its public space cameras, video management system (VMS) and encoders, with the right technology at the best price and implemented smoothly. Global MSC Security’s Managing Director, Derek Maltby stated “We offer a wealth of experience in specifying public space surveillance systems for local authorities. Global MSC Security is proud to be involved in what is a major initiative not only for the City but Scotland and its position as a leader in smart services and society.” Resilient and secure city surveillance system He adds, “This important and essential infrastructure upgrade represents a significant investment, and the resulting system will provide the Council with a function-rich, future-proof, highly resilient and secure surveillance system.” Derek further stated, “However, for any organisation making the switch from analogue to IP, it is vital that the transition is managed in the correct way, to maximise resources and optimise system performance. That begins with a robust tender specification, which is where our expertise lies.” The tender specification is expected to be released by the City of Edinburgh Council in February 2021 and the contract awarded in September.
ZeroEyes, the only AI-based platform focused solely on weapons detection, has been selected by the Kenosha Unified School District (KUSD) of Wisconsin to help improve security on its campuses. ZeroEyes proprietary solution ZeroEyes’ proprietary solution will identify visible guns if present and send alerts to school administrators and security personnel within three to five seconds, helping to stop violent threats before they occur. KUSD is the third-largest school district in Wisconsin, with over 21,000 students and 4,200 employees in 23 elementary schools, five middle schools, five high schools and five charter schools. Integration with IP security cameras ZeroEyes currently integrates with KUSD’s IP security cameras to help detect visible weapons and serve as a proactive measure to prevent any violent threats on campus. When ZeroEyes positively detects a weapon, the platform sends a notification to school administrators, school resource officers and local 911 dispatch, ensuring the school can enact security protocols and give first responders real-time information to help prevent active shooting tragedies and save lives. Enhancing staff and students’ security “It’s a grim reality that active shootings happen in schools across the country, and we’ve needed to understand and implement the solutions that can keep our students, staff and visitors safe,” said Kevin Christoun, Maintenance, Environmental and Safety Manager at KUSD. Kevin adds, “At KUSD, we have a multi-layered security approach that includes the most effective and innovative technologies and resources, and ZeroEyes’ platform clearly supports our strategy.” Weapons detection solution ZeroEyes proprietary and comprehensive datasets focus exclusively on weapons detection Founded by a group of former Navy SEALs and military veterans, ZeroEyes proprietary and comprehensive datasets focus exclusively on weapons detection, to actively monitor and detect for visible weapons. ZeroEyes also trains and collaborates with customers and local first responders to conduct extensive pilots before its solution is fully implemented. In the future, KUSD plans to roll out additional installations to remaining schools in the district. Effectively countering active shooting incidents “ZeroEyes was founded upon the realisation that a proactive solution was needed to help keep people safe, with real-time information to adequately address violent threats and prevent mass shooting tragedies,” said Dustin Brooks, Vice President of Education at ZeroEyes. Dustin adds, “KUSD focuses on providing a safe and productive learning environment to its students and faculty, and we’re honoured to provide a 24/7 solution that supports their goals.”
Slovakian integrator RYS, recently deployed a system that provides a textbook example of how RFID access control can concretely improve people’s lives every day. Before automatic access control was introduced there, a Bratislava apartment building, known as ‘The Pentagon’, had suffered a reputation as a place to avoid. Drug dealers, vandals, and a similar criminal element were a chronic presence, leaving residents constantly feeling unsafe in their own homes. Idesco customer RYS was contracted to design and deploy an RFID access control system to better guarantee safety and enhance the residents quality of life. Access control readers The system even restricts access to the building’s waste bins, ensuring their use only by its RFID tag-holding residents With over 30 years specialised experience in residential building access control, Rys designed a solution and chose Idesco to supply the over 100 readers to be deployed. Today, those 7 C 2.0 and 8 CD 2.0 readers control both ground floor access and section/hallway entrances on each floor. Elevator readers restrict residents’ access to their own floors. The system even restricts access to the building’s waste bins, ensuring their used only by its RFID tag-holding residents. Simultaneously, the entire system collects real time data about access events, including unclosed doors or unauthorised access attempts, to help strengthen prevention and control. Due to the building’s history of vandalism, Rys recognized the importance of choosing readers capable of withstanding malicious impacts, not merely high IP67 protection from moisture, dust and dirt, but Idesco’s high, IK-09/10 impact durability (10-20 joules). Better tampering protection Marcela Benuskova, RYS assistant project manager, comments that Idesco’s optical tamper proved better than many other readers whose manufacturers rely on mechanical tampers. Whereas alarms should be sent whenever a reader is intentionally mishandled, mechanical tampers trigger false alarms more often than those cued optically. Marcela continues, “Idesco’s team is so nice to work with; they always respond fast, with a friendly, professional and positive attitude. Any technical question or problem gets looked at, given proper thought and action. They have always been open to, and repeatedly implemented, product changes we asked for. For example, they provided a special 8 CD 2.0 Compact reader module for our door phone, and customised orange lenses for our Basic readers. Product deliveries have always been timely and in proper condition. In short, Idesco has been a very reliable supplier for us, with great customer support. Additionally, their high quality, modern readers offer unique features such as RS232 connections, optical tampers, great security, all in addition to their high IK and IP ratings”, maintains Rys’ Marcela Benuskova. Engineering for future needs “They not only use the most modern technology but engineer for future needs. This lets us design new features in our access control systems. Despite their readers’ durability and reliability, they still look fresh and modern while still having the latest security features. This is exactly what we want from readers upon which we will build our systems. Even better, their stable pricing policy and frame order option greatly supports our own planning and product marketing cycles”, Marcela explains. She closes, “The technical solutions Idesco and Rys implemented, combined with the efforts of an excellent crisis management team, triggered almost unbelievable changes inside that apartment building. Our access control not only strengthened crime prevention immediately, but also empowered law enforcement in discouraging unwanted or illegal activity. As that building’s security increased, the market value of individual flats began trending upward. Today, the building’s residents feel more safe; they have actually started thinking positively about their community’s future.”
Round table discussion
School shootings are a high-profile reminder of the need for the highest levels of security at our schools and education facilities. Increasingly, a remedy to boost the security at schools is to use more technology. However, no technology is a panacea, and ongoing violence and other threats at our schools suggest some level of failure. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How have security solutions failed our schools and what is the solution?
We are all more aware than ever of the need for cybersecurity. The Internet of Things is a scary place when you think about all the potential for various cyber-attacks that can disrupt system operation and negatively impact a customer’s business. Because most physical security systems today are IP-based, the two formerly separate disciplines are more intertwined than ever. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can cybersecurity challenges impact the physical security of a company (and vice versa)?
Video is widely embraced as an essential element of physical security systems. However, surveillance footage is often recorded without sound, even though many cameras are capable of capturing audio as well as video. Beyond the capabilities of cameras, there is a range of other audio products on the market that can improve system performance and/or expand capabilities (e.g., gunshot detection.) We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How does audio enhance the performance of security and/or video systems?
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