OfficerReports.com is excited to announce the launch of OfficerBilling: The world's first security guard company billing calculator software. OfficerBilling is a simple automated solution for security guard companies that seek to configure accurate data-driven billing rates. Founded by software industry professionals, OfficerBilling partnered with security guard industry thought leader Courtney Sparkman to build a platform that addresses the true needs of security guard company sales profession...
Netwatch Group, a security group comprised of NMC, CalAtlantic and Netwatch, is pleased to announce that Bill Bozeman, CPP, will be joining their Executive Board. One of the most respected professionals in the security industry, Bozeman will bring his unparalleled expertise and over 40 years of experience to bear, in helping steer the organisation to meet corporate objectives in 2021 and beyond. Security industry veteran Bill Bozeman is one of the security industry’s most accomplished an...
For decades, cable theft has caused disruption to infrastructure across South Africa, and an issue that permeates the whole supply chain. Here, Ian Loudon, international sales and marketing manager at remote monitoring specialist Omniflex, explains how new cable-alarm technology is making life difficult for criminals and giving hope to businesses. In November 2020, Nasdaq reported that, “When South Africa shut large parts of its economy and transport network during its COVID-19 lockdown,...
High-tech, Scottish-based site security company Safer Scotland has significantly enhanced its senior team as it continues to expand into the wider UK with the appointment of three security sector professionals. The Paisley-headquartered enterprise has secured the services of Peter Simpson as Head of Sales, Julian Free as Systems Specialist, and Paul McKenna as Business Development Executive. All three have chosen to join Safer Scotland from competitors within the industry. Head of sales Peter...
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 dri...
The role of physical security has expanded and grown rapidly over recent years. Below are some of our observations, particularly throughout the pandemic, and a look towards the changing times ahead. The new era of physical security The role of private security has shifted dramatically over the last decade and beyond. Historically, the focus was on protecting assets such as property and goods, but more frequently now the sector is being asked to play an even bigger role in protecting the...
Wilson James has announced the acquisition of The Security Group (TSG) as part of a long-term strategy to provide clients with holistic solutions to their security and guarding needs. The acquisition will allow Wilson James to meet increasing demand from customers for information-led solutions they require to address security challenges across a range of sectors. Customers will now benefit from advanced security technology through a new Technology Services business unit at Wilson James. Around 200 TSG employees will be welcomed into the larger Wilson James family, an organisation that has a proven track record in supporting and investing in its people. TSG's client base is primarily centred in the South East of England, includes both public and private sector organisations, and fits well with Wilson James' existing customers. Guarding operations TSG’s existing guarding operations will be managed by Barry Dawson, Managing Director for Security at Wilson James, while technology will fall under James Bauer-Mein, the new Head of Technology. James will report to Gemma Quirke, recently appointed Chief Operating Officer at Wilson James. Gemma Quirke noted: “The acquisition of TSG will allow Wilson James to provide greater value to its clients, through a combination of consultancy, technology and skilled people. We look forward to welcoming TSG clients and employees to Wilson James.” Latest security technologies Said James Bauer-Mein: “The strategic plans for the new Wilson James Technology Services department align perfectly with ours. This acquisition will enable the latest security technologies and design that TSG specialise in, to be unified with Wilson James’ exemplary standing in the security industry.” Wilson James and TSG customers will see no interruption to the high levels of service they currently experience. Longer-term, both stand to gain as TSG is integrated into the Wilson James organisation, synergies are identified, and sources of greater customer value created.
Cozaint Corporation, manufacturer of ‘smart’ physical security platforms, has announced the launch of the BOBBY-W wall-mounted physical security kiosk. Available immediately, this ‘Video Surveillance as a Service’ (VSaaS) device has been designed to augment human security guard environments that need additional eyes and ears on their premises. BOBBY-W physical security kiosk BOBBY-W is based on a custom, Cozaint-built expandable platform that allows for the integration of a multitude of IoT sensors which allow for the monitoring and alerting of motion, water leaks, door/window opening, room temperature, lighting, and much more. All of these sensors are centrally monitored and the service can interact with an organisation’s existing security team. BOBBY-W standard features include: 24/7 180-degree video surveillance Facial recognition-based access control Smartphone-based access control IoT Sensor management Remote monitoring and concierge service Panic communication Expandable platform Touchless access control solution The timing couldn’t be more perfect for the need of a touchless access control solution" “The timing couldn’t be more perfect for the need of a touchless access control solution and the BOBBY-W physical security kiosk seems to fit the current market requirements. The integration of the BOBBY-W kiosk, along with Cozaint’s facial recognition technology, and Isonas’ Pure IP Access smartphone reader controller using Pure Access is ideal,” stated Fred Sumner, West Region Account Executive at Isonas, Inc. He adds, “Cozaint has been great to work with and we’re thrilled that our Pure IP access control API was able to integrate so well into the BOBBY-W platform. “ 24/7 remote monitoring With 24/7 remote monitoring included with the BOBBY-W service, customers can rest assured that their environment has the added protection to deal with unauthorised entries or incidents that could cause personal harm or property damage. BOBBY-W’s interactive touchscreen display is designed to showcase company news and information (or even specific advertising) as well as communication in cases of emergency to trained remote monitoring staff. With the current global pandemic challenges, BOBBY-W also has an optional integrated kiosk offering that incorporates the non-contact thermal imaging system from feevr. feevr non-contact thermal imaging system “We are delighted to be an available integration partner with Cozaint’s BOBBY-W security kiosk that allows organisations to monitor individuals that may show possible symptoms of an elevated skin temperature as they enter a particular campus,” said Barry Oberholzer, Founder and CEO of x.labs, the company behind the feevr non-contact thermal imaging system. He adds, “We agree that the integration of the feevr platform with the BOBBY-W physical security kiosk delivers enhanced peace-of-mind and situational awareness to an organisation.” Facial recognition access control Every BOBBY-W wall-mounted kiosk comes standard with facial recognition access control Every BOBBY-W wall-mounted kiosk comes standard with facial recognition access control, which utilises the Isonas Pure IP access control solution with smartphone authentication capabilities, as well as IoT sensors for motion detection, door/window openings, and environmental conditions (temperature, etc). Another integration partner to the BOBBY platform is the Enterprise Asset Tracking platform from Sympler. Enterprise Asset Tracking platform “With Enterprise Asset Tracking, organisations can simply place asset tags (small/thin devices with unique identifiers) onto valuable equipment, keys, lanyards, or even an individual’s wrists with a standard watch band and continually track and locate those company assets,” stated Jeff Debrosse, Principal and Founder of Sympler. Jeff adds, “The tags report asset's positions within the enterprise campus or jobsite. This information is integrated into the BOBBY-W monitoring platform and an asset’s real-time location, distance, and movement pattern can be quickly determined.” BOBBY security towers The BOBBY-W platform is the first in the Cozaint line of physical security kiosks and towers. Cozaint will be delivering new BOBBY security towers later in 2020. BOBBY-W wall-mounted physical security kiosks are available as of August 2020 and are rented to customers on a monthly basis, alleviating any capital equipment expenses and maintenance costs. Complete maintenance and service of the BOBBY-W kiosk is provided throughout the life of agreement, as well as 24/7 online technical support and remote monitoring service.
Allied Universal®, a security and facility services company in North America, received a letter of appreciation from the U.S. Department of Justice’s United States Marshals Service. The letter of appreciation was regarding the apprehension of Gerald Hunter, who was #1 on the Most Wanted list of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) St. Louis Strike Force’s West Central Region. Crucial security intelligence This is due to his suspected role in the illegal trafficking of Fentanyl. Allied Universal’s security team provided crucial intelligence to the U.S. Marshals which led to the successful capture of the fugitive. With information provided by Allied Universal, Gerald Hunter was recently apprehended by the U.S. Marshalls An arrest warrant had been issued for Gerald Hunter, charging him with “conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute Fentanyl” in 2017. Hunters evaded DEA agents for several years, being described by the DEA and his con-conspirators as a ‘ghost” who was proficient in separating his name from everything he touched, often being three levels removed. Provided U.S. Marshals with the tactical advantage In concert with information provided by Allied Universal, Gerald Hunter was recently apprehended by the U.S. Marshalls at an apartment building in Los Angeles, where Allied Universal is the security service provider. Allied Universal personnel provided the U.S. Marshals with the tactical advantage they needed, allowing them to execute their plan and successfully apprehend Hunter. “This team represents Allied Universal’s Be Phenomenal™ culture which strives for excellence and connects us closer the communities in which we serve,” said Steve Jones, Chairman & CEO of Allied Universal. “The team’s dedication and commitment to safeguarding our communities, as well as the people of our nation, is extremely honourable and courageous.”
The National Security Inspectorate (NSI) announces its accreditation from the Living Wage Foundation as a Living Wage Employer. NSI endorses the Living Wage Foundation’s principles recognising this independent movement of businesses, organisations and people campaigning on the simple ethic that ‘a hard day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay’, an integral part of many organisations’ corporate social responsibility. Living Wage Foundation The Foundation celebrates responsible employers who choose to go further and pay a real Living Wage, the only one based on the cost of living and calculated on a basket of household goods and services, as distinct from the Statutory Minimum Wage for under-25s and the National Living Wage for over-25s. The real Living Wage offers a range of benefits to employees and employers alike and by implication to buyers of services. For employees, tangible advantages include higher esteem, self-confidence, health benefits and improved quality of life, whilst for employers they include increased motivation and retention rates. ‘Provision of Labour in the Security and Events Sector’ NSI’s accreditation is part of a wider strategy to raise standards of labour competency within the Security and Fire sectorsNSI’s accreditation is part of a wider strategy to raise standards of labour competency within the Security and Fire sectors, as evidenced by the Certification Body leading the way by recently launching its Code of Practice for the ‘Provision of Labour in the Security and Events Sector’. The new Code aims to reduce the risks associated with ‘weak links’ in supply chains of providers of security guarding services who may have the need to utilise additional outsourced labour. The Code’s requirements include measures relating to best practice in terms of employee terms and conditions, right to work checks, training, organisational structure, finances, record keeping, confidentiality and insurances. Living Wage Employer Katherine Chapman, Director, Living Wage Foundation commented, “We’re delighted that NSI, recognised within the Security and Fire sectors as an organisation committed to high standards and professionalism, has joined the movement of over 6500 responsible employers across the UK, which have accredited with the Foundation as a Living Wage Employer, publicly demonstrating its commitment to treating its own employees fairly.” She adds, “Paying the real Living Wage is the mark of a responsible employer, NSI joins thousands of small businesses, as well as household names such as Burberry, Barclays, Oxfam, Chelsea FC, and many more." UK OSPAs Thought Leadership Summit Richard Jenkins, NSI Chief Executive said, “At the NSI-sponsored UK OSPAs Thought Leadership Summit held earlier this year, a representative from the Living Wage Foundation delivered a thought-provoking and compelling case for employers in the sector to understand the value to both employees and employers of gaining accreditation as a Living Wage Employer.” He adds, “NSI is committed to playing its part in increasing the sector’s broader understanding of the benefits this initiative delivers by being an accredited real Living Wage Employer. Many NSI approved companies are already accredited by the Living Wage Foundation, ensuring all their staff including Key Workers in the security sector benefit. We would urge all employers to consider stepping up to the Living Wage Foundation’s philosophy.”
There are a number of factors that may be contributing to security officers having one of the highest death rates of any occupation, according to a new report commissioned by Corps Security from Perpetuity Research and Consultancy International. The Office for National Statistics published data in May which revealed that security officers have one of the highest death rates from COVID-19 - 45.7 deaths per 100,000 people. The seven issues the research points are as below: Low-paid jobs, proximity, higher age Low-paid occupations were found to have high rates of death involving COVID-19 and front-line security is typically low-paid. The role of security officers generally involves close proximity and frequent interactions with others, and this was found to be a significant risk factor for contracting COVID-19, albeit it is not known whether security officers generally worked in a similar way in the crisis. However, their risk factor relating to exposure was not rated as high as healthcare personnel; the level of virus found in healthcare settings is much greater than among the general public yet death rates for healthcare staff are lower than for security officers. Older people appear to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 compared to their younger counterparts and experience less favourable outcomes.Analysis of licences issued by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in 2019 suggests that 21% were obtained by those over 55 years of age, compared to the UK average for all occupations of 19% of the workforce in that age group. Yet 42% of those with a manned guarding licence, were issued to those over 55 years of age. Males, ethnicity, reduced hand washing More men than women have been affected by COVID-19 and because approximately 90% of security personnel are men, the risk factor for the sector overall is higher than occupations with a lower proportion of males. Not all groups in the UK have been affected by COVID-19 equally and ethnicity appears to be a significant risk factor. Nearly a third of security officers are from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds and vulnerability is linked to both genetic, social and economic factors. Within this group, Black Africans, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis appear to be particularly vulnerable and they are overrepresented among security officers. The very nature of the role of security officers influences their risk to COVID-19. Being a frontline key worker may mean encountering conflict when trying to enforce COVID-19 guidelines; this may make social distancing more difficult. They also have to touch equipment and technology others have handled on a regular basis and may find it difficult to ensure they carry out frequent hand washing. Many security roles are located in major cities and some of these, particularly in London, the Midlands and south-east have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19, affecting the vulnerability of those working there. The full report can be downloaded from the website. The research was carried out through desktop analysis of a number of data sources. Protection for security professionals “The ONS data made for difficult reading for the security profession. We wanted to know why security officers were so affected by the virus so we could better support and protect our people. This report gives us valuable insight and we’re delighted to share it with the wider security sector so we can work together and do all we can as an industry to ensure no more security officers die as a result of this terrible virus,” said Mike Bullock, CEO of Corps Security. “We were delighted to research this key area for Corps,” said Martin Gill, Director of Perpetuity Research and one of the report’s authors. “The true picture is complex, with some risk factors almost certainly interrelated, may still be emerging, or even not yet identified. What does seem clear though from this preliminary research is that gender, ethnicity, the nature of the job have all been seen to increase risks and these are all characteristics of security officers.”
The legalised marijuana industry is the fastest-growing industry in the U.S. If the trend towards legalisation spreads to all 50 states, marijuana could become larger than the organic food industry. According to data by Ameri Research Inc., the global legal cannabis market was valued at US$ 14.3 billion in 2016 and is forecast to grow US$ 63.5 billion by 2024. The rising demand of marijuana for recreational use and medical use is a key factor driving the growth. Highly regulated cannabis market The industry is also very tightly regulated, and some new cannabis operators are struggling with compliance. According to a report from the Brightfield Group, 72% of cannabis operators fail to comply with security and surveillance requirements. And with so many new businesses and operations in the market in the U.S., the field is beginning to adopt risk management best practices that are even above and beyond the myriad compliance requirements that cannabis product growers, producers and vendors must abide by. Video surveillance systems Farming and dispensary of cannabis requires a specific standard of video quality and surveillance securityEvery farm or licenced cannabis grower must comply with state requirements for surveillance, access, camera positioning and the retrieval of video footage. In addition, the farming and dispensary of cannabis requires a specific standard of video quality and surveillance security. The requirements also vary from state to state. In the State of California, for example, regulations require that video footage retrieved from the surveillance system produces recordings of more than 40 days. In the State of Washington, all surveillance recordings must be kept for a minimum 45 days. In the State of Oregon requires 90 days of retention 24/7, with a minimum of 1.3mp per camera at 10fps, exterior is 5fps. Regulations in the State of Ohio require storage from between 30 to 90 days. Investing in quality security equipment However, all state regulations have one thing in common, which is a requirement to make a solid investment in quality security equipment, such as video surveillance cameras with reliable recording functions and a significant memory. This ensures that the compliant footage is retained and can be easily presented to any official who may request the recordings. Salient has achieved success with cannabis operators to help them with their surveillance and video storage needs, through its line of video management solutions. Strict regulations for video surveillance Christopher Dunn, Salient’s Regional Sales Manager for East Central region, has worked in the security manufacturing industry for more than 10 years. He said, “The regulations for video surveillance are very stringent and specific. Even defective plants that are disposed and destroyed need to be under surveillance.” He adds, “Overall, video surveillance and storage is an entire process, from the seed to the trimming, any movement, to the disposal process.” Security regulations will continue to change, according to Dunn, particularly as more US States begin to legalise cannabis for recreational and medical use. Changing regulations with legalisation Cannabis facility operators and owners don’t want a high-cost video surveillance solution" Dunn said, “We’re keeping an eye on the regulations, particularly Western U.S. States who were among the first States to legalise it. As the first wave of regulations is established, I do expect that security requirements will increase for newer markets and States.” One benefit of the Salient solution is its affordability. Dunn states, “Cannabis facility operators and owners don’t want a high-cost video surveillance solution. And since this is a new industry, facilities are new – it’s a start up for most people involved”. He adds, “I see new companies struggle with the packaging, storage and transport of the product, all while cannabis is a Schedule I drug, so cash flow is a concern. But we make the total cost of ownership low.” Salient System video surveillance solution Another value with the Salient Systems solution is the operator’s ability to use the video surveillance system to track a plant’s movement throughout a facility as a video audit trail, which assists in compliance with ever-changing regulations. The Salient system is easy to use and requires minimal training, Dunn notes, which is beneficial for cannabis dispensary and growers who are busy trying to begin and operate a new business. Dunn said, “Our specific technology helps a user to meet regulations. In addition, we are camera agnostic, so the customer can choose the camera that fits their needs. We also don’t charge mandatory annual fees just to keep a system running.” Key elements in a security plan for a cannabis business operation Perimeter security such as fencing Lighting: indoor and exterior, including motion sensing Video surveillance: monitoring of exterior windows, exterior walls, roof hatches, entrances, exits. A key element is areas where cannabis products are weighed, packed, stored, loaded, and unloaded for transportation, prepared, or moved. Video management system that stores video recordings for the required amount of days, per your state regulations. The VMS may also need to be placed and operated in a secure room or area. An explanation of how the video surveillance system will be operated, including who is responsible for monitoring the video footage and storing any video recordings. A diagram showing where all cameras are located and assigning a number to each camera for identification purposes. Video intercom systems Access control systems that provide video security and assist in communication throughout the facilities, in addition to systems that allow for the identification of visitors, unlocking doors, broadcasting of emergencies and announcements and forwarding of calls. Employee security training Security officers and guards Inventory tracking devices
The early stages of the reopening of the British economy are underway following the Government’s announcement in mid-May that some people could return to work if they were unable to work from home. Workers in manufacturing and construction are among the first to return to the workplace, with other industries on standby. Should the data from the easing of the lockdown allow it, other businesses are gearing up to reopen at the start of July. Security has a pivotal role to play in mitigating the risk of infection and contamination as people return to the workplace. However, before exploring that, I want to highlight the fantastic work that the industry has been doing throughout this crisis. Security officers Security officers across the country have demonstrated the importance of their work time and again in recent weeks. Even when offices and shops have been closed, security personnel have been going about their usual duties in protecting assets and securing premises. At Amulet, part of our business continuity planning had been to prepare for possible staff shortages, but the commitment of our teams to carry on with their roles has been amazing. But as workplaces start to become occupied again, officers will face new challenges which we all need to be ready for. Officers will face new challenges which we all need to be ready for Security officers are often the people that process the entrance and exits to buildings. This will now need to be done with social distancing in mind. Each workplace and building might have a slightly different set up in terms of how they will address social distancing, including tape on the ground to measure 2-metre distances, rope to help enforce one-way systems, and the opening of additional entrances and exits to a building. Checking temperatures Officers may also be responsible for checking the temperature of occupants as they enter using hand-held scanners, and for signing people in and out of a building to reduce the need for each person to come into contact with a logbook or touch-screen visitor management system. While it’s hoped that the vast majority of people will understand and respect the need for new systems, this is a stressful time for everyone and tempers can get frayed. Officers must be trained on how to manage confrontation. For example, a company may state that anyone with a temperature over 38.5 degrees cannot enter the building. An occupant might measure a fraction over and ask that they be allowed to enter. Security officers will need to be strict in reinforcing the rules and how to remove someone from a building if they do not comply. This could be a delicate situation so a strong relationship between security staff and the client is essential. Security as brand ambassadors This goes alongside the continued role of security officers as brand ambassadors. This is arguably even more important now as officers still need to be just as welcoming and helpful when working within the new restrictions. Just as important as officers looking after building occupants is that employers look after their officers. Even with social distancing, they are going to come into closer contact with more people than most professions, and will also be using high-risk touchpoints more frequently, such as door handles and reception areas. We fully expect face masks to become a requirement for buildings We fully expect face masks to become a requirement for buildings, whether that’s from government advice or the decision of individual businesses. As such, we have supplied full plastic visors to all of our security personnel as well as other PPE. We’re also regularly communicating with teams to remind them on best practice for the safe use and maintenance of PPE. PPE and security Even before this crisis started any PPE that we issued was accompanied by full training and a sign off procedure. It’s a vital step in being able to track the usage of equipment and making sure that it’s being used appropriately. It’s important to communicate with clients about PPE too – depending on the sector, clients may have different reactions to the need for PPE. The rail clients we work with are by nature more risk-averse and so are fully on board with security officers wearing PPE. They are doing everything they can to improve safety and hygiene in a high footfall environment. With other clients it may take a little more education and encouragement, especially around understanding HSE guidance. It’s understandable that some clients may think a full plastic visor is overboard for a small office building; this is again where having a strong relationship will be so beneficial. Getting clients on board will make it easier for them to communicate to building occupants about the security protocols in place, and why they have been implemented. The challenge of retail Crowds will need to be very carefully managed and stores will have to work together to maintain social distancing One sector that might be particularly challenging for security personnel is retail, especially shopping centres. Crowds will need to be very carefully managed and stores will have to work together to maintain social distancing outside of their doors. But the same basic principles will apply – wearing PPE, educating clients on HSE guidelines and agreeing on and enforcing social distancing measures. High-end boutique shops bring their own challenges. While security officers will not have to deal with high footfall, they will need to balance the enforcement of security measures with the requirement of providing a welcoming experience to customers keen to spend after months of lockdown. It’s likely that some potential customers will be wearing face masks, which would usually be a huge red flag for an officer at a luxury retail boutique. Now, they’ll have to judge the situation in a completely different way with the worry of losing a big sale if the customer doesn’t get the welcome they expect. As always, security personnel must work on this with the client to agree on what procedures to follow. The role of security in mitigating the risk as businesses reopen cannot be understated. With so much to consider, conversations with clients must start now to ensure that everything is in place for when the time comes.
Public spaces in cities and suburbs are important places for community development and promoting outdoor recreation. These areas may include main streets, parks, promenades, band shells and fields. Such locations are often utilised by public event planners for community activities, including summer festivals, wintertime ice skating rink installations, music concerts and art fairs. As the year drew to a close, holiday and Christmas markets as well as major New Year’s Eve events, presented cities with constant public event security needs. The public nature of these events increases risks of incidents with high-speed vehicles that put attendees in danger. Fortunately, there are three ways for public space managers to prevent casualty-causing collisions and further promote the use of local public areas. Developing an effective action plan When strategising how to react to an alert, think about what time of the year and time of day the event is occurring It is important to have a plan developed before an incident or accident occurs. Warning systems, utilising doppler radar and digital loop technologies, alert guards to abnormal vehicle velocity changes in the surrounding area. Managers of public areas should organise a meeting with public safety authorities and local agencies to discuss what must immediately occur when a high-speed vehicle is approaching a public event. When strategising how to react to an alert, think about what time of the year and time of day the event is occurring. Having such a reaction plan in place combines technology and strategic planning to ensure everyone is on the same page to effectively target a threat and promote overall event safety. Securing public areas Ideally, there will be no need to implement a well-conceived action plan. After all, taking preventive measures to secure public areas where events take place is important to keep people safe from accidental vehicle collisions and intentional attacks. Protect attendees by clearly separating pedestrian and vehicle locations using security devices such as – Barricades Portable barriers Bollards Install guard booths Avoid the risk of vandalism and theft, making sure people are safe when walking back to the cars at night by keeping parking areas illuminated with flood lights. Install guard booths with employees who monitor activity in the parking area and who are prepared to react if an alert is triggered. Furthermore, prevent accidental collisions by clearly marking the parking area with informative warning signs and using barricades to direct traffic. These three tips can be used by public area managers to promote security at the next community event. Additionally, the technologies used to secure an event can also be used as infrastructure for year-round security. Installing gates that shut when the public space is closed or using aesthetically pleasing bollards are steps any public area manager can take to promote community safety.
According to the reports of not-for-profit organisation Gun Violence Archive, the year 2018 has seen 323 mass shooting incidents as of November 28 in the United States. This number is 346 for the year 2017 and 382 for 2016 (more statistics are available here), with “mass shooting” defined as cases where four or more people are shot or killed in the same time period and location. While definitions of mass shooting vary with organisations in the US, the count of over 300 incidents per year, or about once per day on average, is simply alarming. It raises public safety concerns, ignites debates and protests, which in turn lead to public unrest and potentially more violence, and increases costs for governments from the regional to federal level. Most importantly, the loss of lives demands not only improvement in post-incident handling and investigation, but also new prevention technologies. Gunshot detection solutions AI weapon detection offers a more efficient alternative to prevent active shooting There are several gunshot detection solutions in the security market, commonly used by law enforcement agencies to detect and locate gun fires. These systems function based on acoustic recordings and analyses and often in combination with signals detected by sensors of the optical flash and shockwave when a gun is fired. However, gunshot detection by nature dictates that the law enforcement can only react to a shooting incident that has occurred. With fast action, law enforcement can prevent the incident from escalating, but lives that are lost cannot be recovered. With the development of artificial intelligence in object recognition, AI weapon detection offers a more efficient alternative to prevent active shooting: AI can visually detect guns based on their shapes before they are fired. The AI is trained to recognise firearms in different shapes, sizes, colours, and at different angles in videos, so that the AI weapon detector can be deployed with existing cameras systems, analyse the video feeds, and instantly notify security staff when a gun is spotted. Comparison of the advantages for law enforcement and public security agencies Legacy gunshot detection using sensors AI weapon detection Reactive measure: detect after guns have been fired Proactive measure: detect before guns are fired Time to action: within 1 second Time to action: within 1 second Unable to provide visual data about shooter(s) Can provide data about shooter(s) based on the camera recording: clothing, luggage (backpack, handbag, etc.), facial features, vehicle Unable to track the location of the shooter(s) before and after shooting because of the lack of sound Can track the shooter(s) using AI Person & Vehicle Tracking, AI Face Recognition, and AI License Plate Recognition False detection caused by similar sound such as fireworks and cars backfiring Minimal to no false detection, as AI can distinguish different types of handguns and rifles from normal objects (umbrella, cellphone, etc.) Require physical deployment of gunshot detection sensors Can be used with existing camera systems, do not require special hardware Complicated to deploy, require highly trained professional Easy to deploy as an add-on to existing video surveillance system - Can integrate with gun-shot detection to create a “double knock” audio and video active shooter alert system Gun-shot detection advantages In addition to advantages for law enforcement and public security agencies, this type of visual-based pre-incident detector has three-fold advantages for the public: Save lives by spotting the shooter before the shooting event. Minimise the chaos entailing an incident: panic and chaos caused by a shooting incident often adds to injury, as people run, fall, trample on others… With an AI weapon detector, when a gun is spotted, the system sends an alert to security staff, who can quickly control the situation in an organised manner and apprehend the intending shooter. Can be added as a SaaS (Security as a Service) component to small business and home surveillance systems, e.g., intrusion detection alerts (home invasion incidents with firearms number over 2500 per year nationwide). For a complete active shooter detection system, video-based AI detector can operate in conjunction with gunshot detectors for enhanced security. Traditional X-ray based weapon detection or metal detection entrance systems are complicated and expensive; with AI video technology, active shooter detection system can be cost-effective, and after all, what price tag can one put on a life? Written by Paul Sun and Mai Truong, IronYun
The general public doesn’t give much thought to the important role of security officers in creating and promoting safer environments. The low-profile work of security officers is vital to protecting people, places and property. During the pandemic, newer aspects to that role have emerged. Security personnel have been called on to perform diverse tasks such as managing queues at the supermarket, safeguarding testing centres and hospitals, ensuring food deliveries, and supporting police patrols. The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and two other organisations in the United Kingdom are joining forces to raise awareness of the work of security officers and to recognise the vital importance of the duties they perform. BSIA, a trade association, includes members who are responsible for 70% of privately provided UK security products and services, including security guarding, consultancy services, and distribution and installation of electronic and physical security equipment. BSIA, the Security Institute and the Security Commonwealth Joining BSIA in the awareness campaign are the Security Institute, a professional security membership body; and the Security Commonwealth, which is comprised of 40 organisations from across the security landscape with common objectives to build professionalism, raise standards and share best practices. “The recognition of security officers as key workers is the start of a re-appraisal of what service they provide to the community in keeping the public safe and secure,” says Mike Reddington, BSIA Chief Executive. “As we exit lockdown and have to navigate public spaces again, [security officers] will have a crucial role in supporting public confidence. We are working closely with the Police and all other public bodies to find the best way to achieve this.” Security officers acknowledged as key workers The campaign will showcase security professionals as a respected, valued, professional service provider and a key worker that is acknowledged and embedded in daily lives. The British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and two other organisations in the United Kingdom are joining forces to raise awareness of the work of security officers “Great effort has been invested in the professional standards and capabilities of frontline [security] officers, and they have proven their worth during the coronavirus crisis in the UK,” says Rick Mounfield, Chief Executive, the Security Institute. “They, along with the wider security sector, deserve to be recognized, respected and appreciated for the safety and security they provide across the United Kingdom.” “[We are working to] build professionalism, raise standards and share best practices, and I hope this campaign can make more people recognise the changes we have all made and continue to make,” says Guy Matthias, Chairman of the Security Commonwealth (SyCom). The industry will be reaching out to companies, professionals, and organisations in the sector to participate in the campaign. The hope is that, over the coming weeks as lockdown is eased, the industry can play its part to ensure that the country emerges with confidence to start to recover and build for the future. Private security more important than ever The campaign will showcase security professionals as a respected, valued, professional service provider Across the pond in the United States, law enforcement professionals are facing a crisis of confidence during a time of civil unrest as protestors call to “defund the police” and to otherwise undermine and/or recast law enforcement’s role in preserving the peace and ensuring public safety. If an upshot is that public policing is starved of resources, the role of private security to supplement their mission is likely to increase. In short, the role of private security is more important than ever on both sides of the Atlantic. Public recognition of that role is welcome, obviously. In any case, the importance of their role protecting people, places and property has never been greater.
School shootings, especially in the United States, present an ongoing tragedy and a challenge to the security industry. We like to think we have solutions that can help, if not “solve”, the problem: but how effective are they at the end of the day? The sad answer – even after dozens of school shootings and even in the wrenching aftermath of the latest one – is that we don’t know. There is a gaping lack of knowledge and research when it comes to measuring the effectiveness of preventative measures as they relate to school shootings. A 2016 study by the Rand Corp. points to the problem: Lack of data and research on what works and what doesn’t. “Despite growth in the school safety-technology sector, rigorous research about the effectiveness of these technologies is virtually non-existent,” according to Rand (as reported in Education Week). “The field is in desperate need of more evidence on what works, and schools want this information presented to them in vetted, digestible ways to help them with procurement.” Role of early detection Early detection of weapons in the school environment can minimise the impact of school violence Early detection of weapons – and their users – in the school environment can minimise the impact of school violence. For example, ZeroEyes is an intelligent video analytics platform, powered by artificial intelligence (AI), to detect weapons and recognise faces in real time. The company’s goal is to provide school administrators and decision-makers with a simple, intuitive situational awareness platform that gives first responders a tactical advantage. Data capture form to appear here! An emerging tool in campus security is audio analytics: Aggression and gunshot detection are some of the best security tools in the campus security market when it comes to detection, intervention and deterrence. Aggression detectors are capable of accurately recognising duress in a person’s voice. The software automatically and objectively detects the presence of rising human aggression, anger or fear, and subsequently warns staff by a visual alert or alarm trigger. A gunshot detector recognises firearm discharge from various firearms in different settings. Within seconds of a gunshot, the software accurately classifies and triggers an immediate notification. Emergency response technology CLASS [Crisis Lockdown Alert Status System] by Sielox is an incident and crisis management solution Emergency response in also important, and technology can play a role. For example, physical security company Sielox has adapted the idea of using a colour scheme to characterise an emergency situation into its electronic security system. CLASS [Crisis Lockdown Alert Status System] by Sielox is an incident and crisis management solution that uses a variety of colours to designate the emergency conditions in various parts of a school building – red to alert to a crisis condition and green to designate "safe/secure". Colours are displayed on a schematic of the building, and new colours have been added, too, such as yellow for “unaccounted individual", orange for “disturbance” and blue to designate a medical emergency. CLASS offers five different alert levels and eight different colours that are configurable to denote a wide variety of emergency or non-emergency situations (such as maintenance or homeroom check-in status). Emergency response in also important, and technology can play a role Non-lethal methods to suppress active shooters in schools are also emerging. For example, one remotely deployed threat suppression system drenches a perpetrator with a repulsive water-based solution, thus impairing their ability to enact violence. The solution irritates eyes, throat, lungs and skin, but does not cause permanent injury. Cleanup is easy using water and detergent. The solution is manually deployed in predetermined zones, which limits the affected areas in a building. Touch-screen control enables rapid deployment, which can also be integrated with Threat Alert buttons and/or gunshot detection. ShotSpotter gunfire tracking Gun violence is also an issue in the neighborhoods where schools are located Beyond the schools themselves, gun violence is an issue in the neighborhoods where schools are located. ShotSpotter, Inc. released data tracking gunfire in and around public K-12 school communities within ShotSpotter coverage areas during 2017. The data revealed more than 4,800 gunfire incidents occurred during school hours within a one-half mile radius of public K-12 schools and within the coverage area. There are 2,320 public K-12 schools and over 1,079,700 students within ShotSpotter coverage areas in 77 cities in the United States. The ShotSpotter study tracked and analysed data on the number of gunfire incidents that occurred at or near those schools across the time period from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. local time, Monday – Friday, including summer and holidays. On a positive note, awareness of high-profile school violence has prompted action. Schools and universities are most certainly safer than ever before. High-profile incidents, especially active shooters tragedies, have increased collective security awareness. Heightened awareness leads to safer practices, improved emergency preparedness and security technology innovations. Collaborative efforts that involve stakeholder groups, such as administrators, responders and students, are the key to a safer learning environment. Investing in technology advances in 1) access control (e.g. electronic access, visitor management) and 2) communications (e.g. duress capabilities, mass notification) is the most effective way to protect people.
As a security service provider with a rich history in manguarding, Allied Universal is launching a new technology platform to increase productivity and accountability of security officers and to transform guard service operations from an ‘observe and report’ mission to a ‘detect and respond’ function. Mark Mullison, Allied Universal’s Chief Information Officer (CIO), says the new Heliaus platform also uses artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse data, predict outcomes, and prescribe optimum responses. The platform includes a smart phone app that guides security officers to ensure post orders are followed and provides a ‘virtual’ coach or supervisor to guide security officers throughout the day. “The walls between technology and people need to come down in the future,” says Mullison. “We need an ecosystem in which people and technology can cooperate well and respond to threats and drive outcomes.” Real-time situational awareness Technology plays an increasing role in security and safety, but it will never replace humans"Heliaus is a step in that direction. It has two components – the mobile app used by security officers; and a cloud-based portal, like a command and control centre that compiles information from the app and other inputs and performs AI analysis of data. Heliaus is an add-on for Allied Universal customers and is offered for a per-device subscription fee of $199 per month. A customer company’s managers can also access the portal for data visualisation tools and real-time situational awareness, or to input data such as ‘approving’ an incident report or action. “Technology plays an increasing role in security and safety, but it will never replace humans,” says Mullison. “It will augment and enhance the workflow and make people more effective.” “We are focussing on delivering better outcomes for safety and security,” he adds. “The impacts are as broad and diverse as the clients we serve.” Customisation of forms enables the system to collect and use any information that was previously collected on paper. Monitoring and Response Center (MaRC) A system is effective only to the extent that it is used, and Allied Universal has engineered the user experience to make the mobile app easy – almost fun – to use, says Mullison. Elements of ‘gamification’ drive greater user adoption. “It is designed to support the work [security officers] do and make information collection a by-product of people doing their jobs.” The system brings together rich data, AI, location-aware workflow automation, and friendly user experience design Effective AI depends on data, and Heliaus pulls data from Allied Universal’s Monitoring and Response Center (MaRC), where a cloud server integrates the company’s managed security services, including access control, video surveillance and video analytics. It also incorporates current weather information and forecasts, and information specific to the industry segment. Additional data is generated as officers enter data through the mobile app. The system brings together rich data, AI, location-aware workflow automation, and friendly user experience design. It provides insight into the drivers of risk, makes recommendations about how to reduce incidents, and, through dynamic workflow automation, ensures that those recommendations are implemented. Location awareness is a combination of the global positioning system (GPS), Bluetooth beacons, and near-field communication (NFC) tags. Improves the accuracy of responses AI understands the data and applies reasoning capabilities to predict an outcome and prescribe a response“Information is organised to facilitate AI analysis. If you have the right knowledge representation then problem-solving is easy,” says Mullison, echoing a common principle of artificial intelligence. AI works to analyse data and make predictions and recommendations to guide responses by security personnel. AI understands the data and applies reasoning capabilities to predict an outcome and prescribe a response. The AI system also learns and improves the accuracy of responses with more data and over time. Responses come much faster than older ‘trial and error’ models of analysis. Another element of Heliaus is a ‘robust workflow engine’ that ensures recommendations are carried out, either by a security professional on site or by the client. Mullison says implementation of the system can result in a 20% reduction of security and safety incidents. Multiple applications of Heliaus Heliaus is already being used by some Allied Universal customers. For example, a major Hollywood production studio is using it to identify and address workplace hazards such as stray electrical cords, dripping water hoses, etc., across a 50-acre area. In the logistics sector, Heliaus is being used to facilitate checking delivery vehicles in and out of a truckyard A manufacturer created a custom compliance application using the platform to track more than 140 unique incident types, such as monitoring elevated temperature in a truck trailer or drivers without proper identification. In the logistics sector, Heliaus is being used to facilitate checking delivery vehicles in and out of a truckyard. The flexibility of the platform can enable expansion to incorporate other technologies in the future, too. For example, sources of data for the system could include robots, drones or various Internet of Things (IoT) sensors; or workflow engines could be used to dispatch a robot or drone to handle a situation (rather than a human).
One of the largest public train operators in the United Kingdom, Southeastern Rail Network, now relies on a smart video security solution from Bosch Security Systems to secure twelve train depots, including five unmanned locations, against theft and intrusion. The fully digital video surveillance system presents a significant upgrade to the British train operating company, which provides train services between London, Kent and parts of East Sussex and transports 6, 40,000 passengers each weekday on its 392 trains. Built-in Intelligent Video Analytics Powered by cameras featuring built-in Intelligent Video Analytics, the solution was installed and configured to the specific requirements at the train depots by Bosch integration partner, Taylor Technology Systems Ltd., over the course of six months. Video security system relies on machine learning algorithms to automatically sound alarms on security threats Fully operational at all twelve locations, the video security system relies on machine learning algorithms to automatically sound alarms on security threats, such as intruders and perimeter breaches. Beyond security applications, the system also tracks important metadata on the arrival times of trains, while also monitoring deliveries at the train depots, among other AI-assisted functions that it carries out. IP-based cameras with Starlight technology The cameras portfolio installed across the twelve depots replaces an analogue legacy solution with IP-based security cameras from the Flexidome, Dinion, and Autodome product lines of Bosch Security Systems. These smart cameras include Bosch’s Intelligent Video Analytics capabilities as a built-in feature, ensuring that the most relevant video data can be precisely applied to the requirements of the train depots. Because night-time security and surveillance is critical, especially at the five unmanned train depots on the network, the Bosch cameras rely on Starlight technology to provide full intelligent analytics at night and in low light levels. The Starlight technology supports colour filtering down to a light level of only 0.0077 lux, so as to deliver detailed monochrome images where other cameras show no image at all, and guard against intruders and unauthorised entry around the clock. Featuring digital ‘trip wire’ to counter false alarms Highly resilient against false alarms, the smart cameras can detect movement at the perimeters of the train depots using a digital ‘trip wire’. In case of a security breach, the system alerts Southeastern Rail Network’s watch personnel, who can view live camera footage, as well as recordings of incidents for heightened situational awareness and total perimeter security. Instead of relying on the pre-configured capabilities, such as vehicle tracking and more, security personnel can also use the built-in camera trainer function to ‘teach’ new functionality, such as detecting certain types of objects or situations. Remote video recordings storage with Divar recorders Recordings from the depots are safely stored and managed remotely with Divar recorders in encrypted format As an integral part of this end-to-end Bosch security solution, recordings from the depots are safely stored and managed remotely, using Divar all-in-one recorders in encrypted format. When looking at the bigger picture, the video security solution adopted by Southeastern Rail Network is part of an industry-wide evolution from cameras as mere video capturing devices to smart sensors capable of collecting rich metadata. Insights beyond security This metadata unlocks unique insights beyond security, including video analytics at the train depots that support applications such as monitoring deliveries to onsite buildings, providing access to personnel and logging the arrival and departure times of incoming trains. The system thereby not only ensures that all train depots remain fully guarded and protected 24/7 against criminal access, but also provides a data-based foundation to keep efficiency gains and cost savings on track in the long run.
Generally, the Less Than Load (LTL) industry is always looking to increase the amount of product shipped per truck. A lesser amount of product on a truck equates to a lower amount of billable product per trip. Raw Load Average (RLA) Raw Load Average (RLA) is the percentage of product on a truck – 100% is a completely full trailer. As the name implies, LTL averages less than 100%. In the fast- paced world of logistics, delivering millions of packages per day, than how do companies maximise the RLA? Most shipping managers are responsible for inspecting each trailer, before it leaves for several additional items. They make sure that the packages are secure and then evaluate whether the truck can handle any more inventory. There might be 200+ dock doors in a 400,000 sq. ft. facility and dozens of trucks waiting to leave and get on with their trips. At peak times, inspections will require several individuals running all over the facility. Less Than Load (LTL) Industry experts estimate that only about 80% of trucks are actually inspected Industry experts estimate that only about 80% of trucks are actually inspected. The missed trucks are now at risk for unsecured packages arriving damaged. More importantly, they are leaving 74% full. If the truck had waited another 30 minutes for inspection, they could have added another one skid of products to increase the load to 75%. That 1% difference does not sound like much. However, considering the volume of shipments that the top 10 LTL companies deliver, the 1% will amount to somewhere between US$ 6 million and US$ 12 million per year, which goes directly to the bottom line. Role of video security systems So, what is the role of security video systems here? Well most people say that security video does not have a real Return on Investment (ROI) in its traditional role. It’s hard to disagree. One exception might be when security companies have used video systems to reduce the number of guards. Using video, one guard can see as much as 3 or 4 guards could see in the past, without ever having to leave their post. This certainly reduces cost, but at the end of the day, guarding is still an overall cost to the bottom line. This case study will highlight how a couple of Salient’s very resourceful customers have transformed video into cash generating systems. Operational efficiency with video In the guarding scenario, video can put one person in several places at once. This operational efficiency can also be applied to how many people are needed to inspect trailers. But the ROI doesn’t come from removing a couple of salaries from the payroll. The real money comes into play because now inspecting 100% of the trailers leaving the dock are possible versus 80% and get that RLA up by 2 or 3%. Then, it’s about the big bucks. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, when looking at the overall operational efficiencies available by utilising video. Using video for misclassified products or shipment validation In logistics, there is a huge revenue miss every year when it comes to products being ‘accidentally’ misclassified In logistics, there is a huge revenue miss every year when it comes to products being ‘accidentally’ misclassified when shipped. All products being shipped have a classification, and each classification has a specific associated cost. These per-pound costs fluctuate based on the value of the product, required insurance, risk and other factors. An example would be a sporting goods manufacturer shipping ammunition and firearms, under the code for clothing. In this example, a 200-pound load would be billed at about US$ 100, when it should be billed at closer to US$ 300. Multiply this by hundreds of packages a day and the total of the missed revenue is astronomical. So how would a video surveillance system correct this problem? Certainly, security cameras cannot see though a box, but one would expect a box with 200 pounds of clothes to be a fairly large box. But if the box were full of firearms or ammunition, the video would reveal a much smaller box. This anomaly when noticed would prompt an operator to investigate the contents of the box and contact the manufacturer to rectify the billed amount. This process might seem a bit hypothetical, but already a current customer of Salient Systems is capturing over US$ 40 million a year with the right system components. Using video to reduce OSHA violations and false claims The logistics industry requires a tremendous amount of labour in order to operate. The more labour hours, the greater the propensity for on-the-job injuries, OSHA violations, insurance payouts, lawsuits and business interruption. False claims are also a consideration. Let’s look at some real-world examples of using video to reduce or eliminate these issues: OSHA reports that 5,250 workers died on the job in 2018 (3.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers), on average, more than 100 a week or more than 14 deaths every day. The loss of an employee is one of the most emotionally devastating situations a business can encounter. There are several benefits of video that can increase safety. One result of a fatality is typically an OSHA investigation. An action item that could result from this investigation would be to increase security guards. This is a perpetual cost that could continue for several months to years. Video systems enhance guards’ efficiency Video systems have been shown to improve the efficiency of guards, allowing them to have eyes on multiple areas Video systems have been shown to improve the efficiency of guards, allowing them to have eyes on multiple areas at the same time. The systems can be coupled with the use of video analytics to alert guards to specific situations such as motion in areas that should be unoccupied or traffic proceeding in an unauthorised direction. In these ways, video systems can reduce the quantity of physical guards, thereby reducing the cost. One of Salient’s customers is saving almost US$ 20,000 per month with the reduction of two guards and it has OSHA’s approval. The end result is that the safety of the employees has been increased and operational cost is lowered by implementing technology. Inadvertently, this same type deployment at another facility helped mitigate a US$ 900,000 slip-and-fall lawsuit, which could have also been a possible cause for an OSHA investigation. Validation of safety policy Validation of safety policy can also be a drain on resources. Auditing seatbelt use for forklift drivers, pedestrians using appropriate marked walking paths, and proper social distancing in work spaces are a few examples among many. Assigning an individual to monitor this activity is costly and people typically obey the rules only when that individual is present. However, video can capture this information all the time without huge labour cost. This information can then be audited and used for education processes. OSHA statistics indicate that there are roughly 85 forklift fatalities and 34,900 serious injuries each year, with 42 percent of the forklift fatalities from the operator's being crushed by a tipping vehicle. The safest place for the driver to be is strapped. A facility that used video to audit seatbelt usage showed a 65% compliance rate. After the information was presented to the manager and employees, the next audit resulted in a jump to 87% compliance rate. In the event of an injury, this type of verifiable data can go a long way to prove that the employer is serious about employee safety and investing in ways to improve the safety culture within the company. Using video to increase sales LTL is a very competitive business and it is viewed primarily as a commodity type operation LTL is a very competitive business and it is viewed primarily as a commodity type operation. A few pennies per pound can typically sway a decision-maker. Already some great operational efficiencies and benefits from video to lower cost and to making LTL more competitive has been discussed. But these ideas still don’t move LTL out of the ‘dog-eat-dog race to the bottom on price’ world. Now, let’s look at how to use the implementation of these same video systems to provide value propositions and competitive advantages for customers. Many LTL customers have sensitive merchandise for which the safety and security of its delivery might outweigh cost differences. An example is freight regulated by government agencies, such as Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Agency (ATF), and Dept. of Energy (DOE). For example, the DEA reported ‘The overall trend of incidents of Controlled Prescription Drugs lost in transit increased in 2018 with the highest number since 2010.’ Extra layer of security And the ATF’s Interstate Theft Program states that ‘Under the program, hundreds of reports of thefts and losses from interstate shipments are received each year’. With statistics like these, customers in these categories have a heightened sense of vulnerability. Offering systems such as surveillance video can add that extra layer of security and added confidence. This is a marketable differentiator to help LTL companies set themselves apart from the traditional companies that only offer a lower cost. This, bundled with some of the other cost-saving measures outlined above, could be the icing on the cake needed for security departments to convince C-Level executives in their organisation to invest in video.
Samson Security has adopted SmartTask to support the rapid growth of the business, which has seen the company treble in size in less than a year. The workforce management software is initially being used for electronic proof of attendance, across more than 400 security officers and engineers that deliver a wide range of services, including manned guarding, mobile patrol, alarm response and FM services. Advanced guarding management and monitoring “We needed an advanced guarding management, monitoring and reporting solution that could adapt and expand to our changing requirements as we grow,” explains John Richards, Operations Director at Samson Security Ltd. John adds, “Our mobile and manned services now span the North West, the Midlands and North Wales, so SmartTask will give us the visibility and control needed to coordinate and protect our team, while maintaining our excellent service standards.” SmartTask workforce management software Samson Security selected SmartTask because of the simplicity and flexibility of the system SmartTask will replace a previous time and attendance solution, which no longer met the needs of the business. Having undertaken a review of the marketplace, Samson Security selected SmartTask because of the simplicity and flexibility of the system. The app-based nature of the system means that employees can use the software via a personal or work smartphone, while providing the opportunity to use additional functionality such as patrol monitoring and electronic forms. Security guards are using either a SmartTask-enabled smartphone or an onsite landline to accurately record the start and end times, as well as any required check calls. The app captures a timestamp and GPS location for accurate customer reporting and SLA monitoring for alarm responses. Controlled access Samson Security also uses the control room dashboard at its National Command Centre to gain complete visibility of any exceptions, while mobile and office managers have controlled access for their individual areas of responsibility. John adds, “We are already exploring other ways of using SmartTask, which will enable us to consolidate much of our employee scheduling and workforce management requirements into a single system. We have set up bespoke smart forms, so will shortly be rolling out electronic incident reporting to our team, replacing our existing paper-based process.” Scalable, flexible solution He further said, “The scalable and flexible nature of SmartTask means we can take a phased approach, avoiding operational disruption and not overburdening our internal resources.” Paul Ridden, Chief Executive Officer of SmartTask commented, “We have developed our software to meet the precise needs of security and FM companies now and in the future. Possessing high levels of configurability and scalability, backed by first-rate service and support, SmartTask can support the long-term success of our customers in-line with their business and operational priorities.”
Kingfisher Sec, a West London-based security specialist, has adopted SmartTask to support the rapid growth of the business by streamlining and automating critical business processes. The company will use the cloud-based software to handle employee scheduling, proof of attendance and operational reporting across a team of up to 50 security guards. As a result, Kingfisher Sec has already reduced administration by around 17.5 hours a month, with further improvements expected moving forward. “We wanted an employee scheduling and workforce that would mitigate any growing pains we experience as the business continues to expand as well as helping us achieve our aim of creating a paperless operation,” explains Filipi Nascimento, Operations Manager at Kingfisher Sec. “SmartTask is allowing us to automate many of our manual processes in a phased approach to maximise benefit realisation, without losing focus on our core operational priorities.” Electronic communication tool SmartTask was selected following a tender process based on its feature-rich and easy-to-use functionality. Kingfisher Sec is using the software to provide a simple tool to the company’s team of security guards, via a smartphone app, so they can simply book on and off shifts, accept schedules and book holidays. Meanwhile, the advanced rostering system allows Kingfisher Sec to quickly create monthly work plans and communicate them direct to staff for electronic confirmation. Kingfisher Sec is also looking to replace a paper-based DOB system at around 40 customer sites with SmartTask’s Daily Occurrence Log (DOL). The electronic communication tool will enable security guards to quickly create entries and upload details regarding any on-site occurrence, providing online visibility of all incident data and supporting photo evidence. Capturing accurate data The software is capturing accurate data about the performance of our team and the business" As well as reducing the administrative burden, both on-site and centrally, the DOL will also remove the cost of providing, distributing and archiving a paper-based log. “SmartTask is streamlining our business and operational procedures, so we can save both time and money while providing a better service to our customers. The software is capturing accurate data about the performance of our team and the business, which we simply did not have access to previously. This is allowing us to better manage staff, eliminate human error and quickly respond to any issues,” adds Nascimento. Cloud-based software Paul Ridden, CEO of SmartTask commented: “Our cloud-based software is a highly-advanced and easy-to-use guard management, monitoring and reporting solution that typically reduces costs and improves efficiency by 30 per cent. As a result, a growing range of security businesses are using SmartTask to plan, manage, conduct and measure workforce activities more effectively.”
There are a handful of amazing things that set San Francisco apart from other global cities. Notably, there is the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman’s Wharf and Chinatown, the Twin Peaks overlooking the city skyline, San Francisco Bay, and The Moscone Centre. Just how does a convention centre fit into the list of places to see in beautiful San Francisco? It is the largest convention and exhibition complex in San Francisco, California. It includes three main halls spread out across three blocks and 87 acres in the prime South of Market neighborhood. The convention centre originally opened in 1981 and has gone through several renovations. It is currently upgrading its security system to reflect a modern, state-of-the-art security solution. Securing SMG/Moscone Centre Security at the SMG/Moscone Centre is handled similar to the security at a Tier 1 airport. However, clients who use the facility are required to provide their own inside security. When the doors of the convention Centre are open to the public, it plays host to people who want to come in and look around. Our new security system will provide analytics, and the ability to look at the images in real time" “We are responsible for facility security inside and on the perimeter outside. This is considered a soft target, so we do everything possible to harden the security,” said Damion Ellis, Director of Security at the SMG/Moscone Centre. Damion adds, “The time is right for us to take out the old security system, including the old analog camera system. Our new security system will provide analytics, and the ability to look at the images in real time.” IP cameras installed for wide surveillance Like any major metropolitan area, the San Francisco metropolitan region has its own issues that have to be dealt with that aren’t pleasant. This includes keeping track of the homeless population and what they are doing. Damion Ellis further said, “We are able to place the new IP cameras in places where the homeless population congregates on the outside, in dark corners of the facility.” CompleteView VMS video platform The Moscone Centre complex consists of three main halls. Moscone South is located to the south of Howard Street and is three-storey tall. It opened in 2017, replacing the original Moscone Centre building that opened in 1981. A Keith Haring sculpture stands outside the hall at the corner of 5th and Howard streets. Moscone North is located to the north of Howard Street, and Moscone West is a three-level exhibition hall located across 4th Street from Moscone North. Integration with ProWatch access control platform “One of the most compelling reasons Moscone deployed CompleteView video platform was the integration with Honeywell’s ProWatch access control platform, as well as newly designed multi-sensor cameras,” said Salient’s Regional Sales Manager in the Bay Area, Cindy Doyle. Cindy adds, “The ease of use and intuitive software allowed the guard staff to use maps in the system to identify where triggered events took place for guard dispatch.” Monitoring door alarms Prowatch access control platform is currently being used to monitor door alarms throughout the property Prowatch access control platform is currently being used to monitor door alarms throughout the property and triggering video call-up and/or alarm video event when there is a forced or held open door. In order to keep track of outside foot traffic and provide interior and exterior security, an analytics option was foremost on everyone’s mind, and integrator Microbiz Security Co., dove in with an initial site survey to determine the best course of action. Microbiz has partnered with the SMG/Moscone Centre for several years. Video analytics solution “Our goal was to take a look at what it would take to secure the facility, but to do it properly,” said Todd Chritton, President of Microbiz Security. “The integrator had some suggestions in terms of offering better security coverage in some areas,” said Marco Escobar, Vice President of Operations at Microbiz Security, adding “What they knew was three buildings needed to update from its current 2002 technology, and upgrade to 2018 technology. It also was beneficial to the integrator having worked on site for several years and also having worked with Ellis during his tenure with the Hilton Hotel chain.” Multi-sensor and multi-megapixel IP cameras Marco Escober further stated, “We’ve been a long-time vendor at the convention centre, and we offer a pride of installation as well as using the best of the best security solutions. We began by updating current cameras to Arecont Vision multi-sensor and multi-megapixel IP cameras and Salient Systems’ CompleteView VMS, Dellintegrated server with RAID6 configuration and CompleteView Enterprise software." He adds, "The VMS is a fully open architecture, enabling convention center security staff to seamlessly leverage existing technology investments and minimise disruption.”
BBVA Compass Stadium is a soccer-specific stadium located in Houston, Texas, USA and home to the Houston Dynamo, Major League Soccer club (part of MLS in USA). It also is home to the Houston Dash of the National Women’s Soccer League and to Texas Southern University Tiger football. It is also going through a major retrofit with its security systems to include a best of breed, open architecture solution. The stadium first opened in 2012, but six years later, Cultris Security Systems of Houston is back upgrading and expanding the current security installation. After spending five years with another security provider, the Dynamo and Dash, who maintains the facility, opted for a completely new solution. Axis cameras integrated with Salient Systems VMS Along with their current Panasonic cameras, stadium officials opted for Axis Communications cameras Along with their current Panasonic cameras, stadium officials opted for Axis Communications cameras. Both camera manufacturers play well with Salient Systems VMS. The result was an image resolution much more enhanced than they had been experiencing. “With all of this equipment brought together, we found it to be easy to use, user-friendly, and supported a very complimentary search function,” said Paul Fisher, Director of Key Accounts at Salient Systems, adding “For those people hired as facility guards, and with a sometime frequent turnover in staff, new people were able to use the Salient software right away and were able to do their job guarding the facility more quickly.” Paul further stated, “An installation like this is a great reference for us, and it is a very exciting security installation. Although there are fewer than 100 cameras, the placement and location of the cameras will allow security to monitor the sometimes over-zealous fans, and with BBVA Compass Stadium officials installing our synopsis video tool, stadium officials will be able to key-map the entire facility, gain analytical data and improve the customer experience.” CompleteView VMS platform Salient also partners with Dell, taking its CompleteView VMS platform into the booming Internet of Things market. The CompleteView VMS’ ability to quickly render and manage video surveillance over a WAN or LAN makes it a compelling offering for solution providers looking to gain a foothold in IoT. The manner through which the video is processed is very efficient, and can render the video and perform forensics on the video rapidly. As more businesses look to video surveillance as an IoT application, the CompleteView VMS platform can be integrated with other software packages will enable partners to work with customers to solve specific problems through big data and analytics capabilities. DSX software installed for secure access control BBVA Compass Stadium officials also switched out the outdated access control software and installed DSX software to complete the upgrade. “We have long known that DSX is a workhorse software solution,” said Jason Smith, President of Cultris Security Systems Inc., adding “It is easy to use and a lower cost to use. These upgrades are exciting for us to be part of because the installation will come in several phases, with the integration supported for years to come.” Open architecture security solutions Cultris technicians almost had a blank canvas to begin their security installation Jason adds, “We also found working with BBVA Compass Stadium staff very easy because they were receptive to open architecture security solutions. Phase Two will begin in 2019, and we’re excited to design the next layer of security at the stadium.” Cultris technicians almost had a blank canvas to begin their security installation. The facility itself is an open architecture facility, so facility managers were very receptive when plans were drawn up for security equipment. Much of the focus was on the stadium concourses, where the bulk of the soccer fans’ traffic is found during a match. 360-degree cameras installed The new master plan now included 360-degree cameras along the concourse, which offered coverage in every direction. The same 360-degree cameras were also placed near the locker rooms, loading docks and service areas. PTZ and fixed lens cameras were upgraded and placed in each corner of the facility where there is a gate for entrance and exit. As imagined, soccer fans are very passionate about their sport and teams, so cameras on the concourse were placed in a planned manner for the guarding staff to be able to know and react quickly if or when a fight broke out among spectators. The 360-degree cameras also enable the security staff to mobilise and reach the incident spot, where they would be required, as quickly as possible. 4K PTZ cameras Stadium security staff is able to view cameras placed in an adjacent parking area Houston’s BBVA Compass Stadium has a capacity of 22,039 seats, including 34 private suites, 1,100 club seats, an indoor premium club area, a dedicated supporters/fans stand and a food court. The stadium is designed to accommodate Major League Soccer (MLS) and FIFA standard international soccer, as well as other sports including football, lacrosse, and rugby and live concerts. Stadium security staff is able to view cameras placed in an adjacent parking area, as well as city security cameras (live view only) in order to ensure the safety and security of people coming to the venue and leaving after the match. These cameras have a 4K PTZ quick drive function, which helps establish a clear view of events, if additional security help is needed. As an integrator, Cultris Security has clearly installed a solution that will work properly for BBVA Compass Stadium, and their tenants, who are always looking to strike a goal.
Round table discussion
They call it “critical” for a reason. The so-called “critical infrastructure” is composed of the basic services that citizens have come to depend on, and which are necessary to support society and ensure national stability. The term includes high-visibility segments such as airports, refineries, transportation, wastewater, nuclear reactors, electric utilities, pipelines, and more. Because these functions are so critical, the stakes of providing security are higher than for any other market. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the security challenges of critical infrastructure facilities?
Healthcare organisations are an important vertical market for many security manufacturers and integrators. Like other vertical markets, healthcare has its own unique set of requirements and challenges for physical security systems. We asked this week’s Expert Panel: What are the distinctive security problems faced by healthcare organisations? What technologies are being embraced to increase security?
College campuses often operate like small communities – or even like large communities depending on enrolment. Although each college and university campus is unique, there are commonalities such as a young and vulnerable population of students, many living away from their parents for the first time. Campuses can be urban or rural, geographically dispersed or densely populated, with a variety of demographics and “wild card” elements such as partying, drugs and alcohol. Campus police and security officers face a variety of challenging environments. Is it wise to add firearms to the mix? Is it necessary for campus police to be armed? Specifically, we asked this week’s Expert Panel: In what situations should college or university campus police be armed?
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