School security systems
The idea of touchless systems has gained new levels of prominence during the last year, driven by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Contactless systems have been part of the industry’s toolbox for decades, while technologies like facial and iris recognition are finding new uses every day. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Which security markets are embracing touchless, contactless systems and why?
NAPCO Security Technologies is pleased to introduce its new Gemini Commercial Mobile App for its powerful, popular GEMP1632, GEMP1664, GEMP3200, GEMP9600 and GEMX255 Hybrid Control Panel Series. Customisable for dealers The all-new portrait-style, Gemini Commercial App provides smart multi-tier controls for business accounts of all sizes, on all NAPCO Gemini Security &/or Integrated Access Control Systems, 8 to 255 zones. And, it’s customisable for dealers to easily upload their own...
Active Witness Corp., a provider of artificially intelligent, cloud-based visitor management solutions introduces its SIMA multi-factor access control system that stops unauthorised access and redefines how access control is deployed. Conventional facial recognition systems require a person to present his/her face, then search a database and present the closest match and identity. That process is slow and can lead to incorrect identity authorisation and privacy concerns. Quick identity identif...
Johnson Controls, the globally renowned company for smart, healthy and sustainable building solutions, has launched the Johnson Controls Community College Partnership Program. As part of the programme, Johnson Controls will give US$ 15 million, over the next five years, to support academic scholarships at non-profit community colleges. Community college grant Starting in the 2021‒2022 academic year, Johnson Controls’ programme will endow a total of US$ 1 million to ten community college...
School is out for the summer, but as the new school year approaches and students return to the classroom, the need for streamlined security solutions has never been greater. Not only are the typical procedures needed to protect against physical security threats, but the increase of demand for touchless solutions also plays a significant role in educational facilities reopening in a post-COVID society. Currently, over 90% of public schools are already using some type of access control and video...
With a combination of duty of care, valuable equipment and personal data, the education sector presents one of security’s biggest challenges. Choosing the right access control solution is critical. Could going wireless be an option? The ideal access control solution for a school, college or university should provide control without complexity — and make security management more streamlined and user-friendly in the process. It should save every institution both time and money. Secur...
3xLOGIC, Inc., a globally renowned provider of integrated, intelligent security solutions, is introducing its Gunshot Detection solution, which features a reliable dry contact that allows it to be easily integrated into existing security systems. Gunshot Detection solution Rather than utilising microphones, infrared sensors, or complex analytics, the self-contained device relies on affordably simple concussive force recognition sensors to detect gunshots. When a gun is fired, the bullet creates a shockwave as it exits the barrel of the gun and travels through the air. This shockwave creates a unique concussive force that the 3xLOGIC solution is able to detect. With a detection radius of 75 feet and 360 degrees coverage, offering 15,000 cubic feet of coverage per device, the Gunshot Detection solution minimises the number of Gunshot Detection sensors required, allowing for affordable coverage, with no need for software, servers, or relay control board. Deterrence to active shooter incidents We are excited to roll out the 3xLOGIC Gunshot Detection device, which provides an effective, affordable solution" “Active shooter situations are all too common, and given the potential for these events to escalate quickly before police can arrive, it’s important for security teams to be better prepared to react quickly and effectively,” says Bill Hobbs, Global Vice President of Sales, 3xLOGIC. Bill Hobbs adds, “We are excited to roll out the 3xLOGIC Gunshot Detection device, which provides an effective, affordable solution that can play an important role in active shooter safety and security plans.” Ceiling and wall mount options Typical use cases for the 3xLOGIC Gunshot Detection solution include K-12 education, warehouses and distribution centres, small/medium businesses, and financial and banking institutions. The Gunshot Detection solution offers a ceiling and wall mount options, to provide installation flexibility. Designed and manufactured in the U.S., the indoor-rated solution features a die-cast aluminum casing, with a temperature rating of -35°F to 135°F. It also offers test mode via contactless switch and trouble relay for AC power loss. The Gunshot Detection solution is backed by a one-year warranty.
When the University of Arizona (UA) was chosen as a COVID-19 vaccine point of dispensing (POD), they wanted to put in place a distribution process to get the vaccines out to as many people as possible as quickly and efficiently as possible. To do this, they turned to Genetec Inc., a technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations, and business intelligence solutions, and Route1 Inc., a data-centric systems integrator. ALPR technology “We had already heard about how ALPR (Automatic License Plate Recognition) could be used for tolls and monitoring traffic flow, and we were eager to see if the ALPR cameras could help us automatically track vehicles entering and exiting our POD,” said Jim Sayre, Director of Operations – Parking and Transportation Services at the University of Arizona. Cloud-based service solutions To build a solution that would not only offer valuable insights about their POD operations but would also be affordable and easy to set up, UA chose to implement the Genetec AutoVu™ Managed Services (AMS) solution with four ALPR cameras installed throughout the POD. This was paired up with the Genetec Traffic Sense™ Travel Times module within Security Center for added insight and functionality. Since the entire solution is hosted in the cloud, the university can use the software for as long as the POD remains open Having mounted the poles and set up the cameras beforehand, the actual setup was completed in under two hours on opening day. Because the entire Genetec solution is hosted in the cloud, the university can use the software for as long as the POD remains open without draining budgets. Reliable data management Using AutoVu, the UA operations team can see exactly how long it’s taking vehicles to get through the POD and for people to get vaccinated, and then identify what they can do to get them through faster. All ALPR data is sent back to Security Center, where the Travel Times module automatically analyses data and delivers insights the UA team can act on. This helps them immediately identify if there are random delays or potential issues that need to be further investigated. The solution complies with HIPAA As a healthcare-related operation, UA made sure the Genetec solution complies with all Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. According to Sayre, “The cameras don't know who the driver is, or the people in the vehicle. And we’ve made it clear that we're not running this against a motor vehicle database or anything like that, so we’re ensuring privacy.” Due to the Genetec solution, the UA team discovered early on that various team leaders had different processes for appointment check-ins. When UA standardised those processes, they could consistently get vehicles through the POD faster and maximise the number of vaccinations. Adaptability The team also noticed that on certain days of the week, cars were taking longer to get through certain points in the POD. After an initial inquiry, they realised those days often had mostly new volunteers who were still learning the ropes. The UA team was then able to adapt the volunteer schedule to ensure experienced personnel was always onsite to assist newbies and keep the throughput of vehicles high. Easy to deploy modules “This AutoVu™ and Traffic Sense™ Travel Times module within Security Center built by Genetec and Route1 has helped us make the vaccination process more efficient and was so easy to deploy. We’ve been able to increase the number of vehicles through the POD in the same amount of time, and consequently, we've given out more vaccinations. And that’s what this is all about— helping our community get vaccinated against COVID-19,” concluded Sayre. Resourceful security systems “We never cease to be impressed by our customers’ ingenuity, resilience, and resourcefulness,” said Stephan Kaiser, AutoVu™ General Manager at Genetec, Inc. “The University of Arizona is another shining example of how our customers are using their security systems as strategic tools to fight against the pandemic and go beyond traditional applications to deliver more value.”
Arvind Vimal David has been promoted from Director of Global Digital Transformation & India Operations to Vice President of Digital Experience at NVT Phybridge. Arvind will continue to support India operations until a replacement is found. Since joining NVT Phybridge full-time two years ago, Arvind has helped improve several facets of the organisation, including Marketing, Sales, Distribution, and more. Responsibilities As the Vice President of Digital Experience, Arvind David will report directly to the CEO and will oversee the organisation’s growth of digital channels by working with managers of various internal business units, including IT, Distribution, Sales Operations, Support, Marketing, and Software Development. Arvind will leverage best practices to ensure Omni-digital delivery of products and services that align with NVT Phybridge’s strategic goals while maintaining the organisation’s exceptional quality standards. Arvind’s comment “I am extremely grateful and excited for this opportunity,” said Arvind David. “We will continue to deliver tremendous results in brand building, internal digital transformation efforts, and partnerships with like-minded organisations. I am excited to help elevate the company to where it truly should be.” Additionally, Arvind David is now a member of the Board of Directors and will help guide the company towards strategic growth and success. Feedback “I had the pleasure of getting to know Arvind through my business partner and Phybridge founder, Oliver Emmanuel,” said John Croce, CEO of NVT Phybridge. “Arvind has an impressive track record of building cutting-edge technology companies and disruptive offerings and is the perfect person to lead our digital experience efforts. Under Arvind’s leadership, I am confident that we can grow our company and increase our brand awareness globally.”
A top London security firm boss, whose bodyguards protect the rich and famous, has stepped in to support the Northumberland primary school which set him on the road to success. A former Major in the British Army Reserve, Bob Morrison, owner of Mayfair-based Sec-Tech, now provides close protection for VIPs from the UK and abroad and advises on personal and corporate security. Sponsoring breakfast But over the years he has also kept a watchful eye on his former school, Lynemouth Country Primary School, now named Bishop’s Primary School-William Leech Campus, which operates as part of Northumberland Church of England Academy Trust (NCEAT). And, when he learned it had applied to the Greggs Foundation Breakfast Club, which provides a nutritious pre-school breakfast for primary pupils, he stepped in to help, providing two years’ worth of sponsorship. Bob, whose father Jim Morrison ran the Post Office at 47 Albion Terrace from 1958 until 1987, attended Lynemouth County Primary School from 1963-69 before moving, at age 10, to King Edward VI Grammar School, Morpeth. Taking initiative He said, “I received a great education at Lynemouth CP School and it has served me well throughout my life. It’s helped me achieve many things: 22 years with the Territorial Army in the Parachute Regiment and the Royal Logistics Corps, a commission at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, and even an Honours Degree in International Business Studies with French and German for which I am eternally grateful.” The opportunity to sponsor the Breakfast Club at my old school is simply a wonderful way to say thank you" “For me, the opportunity to sponsor the Breakfast Club at my old school is simply a wonderful way to say thank you and it was also a pleasure to work with the Greggs Foundation, which made the whole process really easy.” “I know that there are other schools that could benefit, and I really hope more businesses will get on board and support this fantastic initiative.” Importance of breakfast Amy Thompson, Head of Campus at Bishop's Primary School - William Leech Campus, added, "We have been completely blown away by Bob's generosity toward our school. As the cost of living has gone up recently, as COVID-19 has seen more and more people go without a full-time regular income, many of our families have found it increasingly difficult to fund their children’s place at breakfast club.” "Breakfast is such an important meal for kick-starting children's metabolism and making sure that they're properly 'awake', so being able to ensure that all of our pupils have eaten well before they begin their lessons each day is fantastic. It improves their attention span and their levels of concentration and also their overall behaviour in the classroom.” "On behalf of all of the staff and pupils, I'd like to extend a huge thank you to Bob and his team at Sec-Tech, as well as the team at the Greggs Foundation, for helping to make this possible." Collaborative efforts Lynne Hindmarch, Greggs Foundation, Breakfast Club Manager, said the company currently supports 620 breakfast clubs nationally. “The need is even greater due to COVID-19 as families who have always just about managed now find themselves in difficult circumstances asking for help for the first time,” she said. “As part of Greggs Pledge, we hope to have 680 schools open by the end of 2021. We cannot do this alone and by working collaboratively with 106 wonderful partners such as Sec-Tech, we are able to support 40,000 children each school day access a FREE nutritional breakfast that otherwise might go without.”
Actuate, the globally renowned provider of automation and intelligence software for smart security camera systems, has announced that it has closed its Series A financing of US$ 8 million to expand the capabilities of its computer vision technology and build on the company’s growing portfolio of customers. The funding round was led by Tribeca Venture Partners and joined by Scribble Ventures, OCA Ventures, and Context Ventures, with additional support from existing investors, including Bling Capital, Upside Partnership, and Tensility Venture Partners. Critical layer of intelligence About 90% of organisations have security cameras, yet many cameras are unmonitored and most data goes unused, which can endanger lives and lead to significant economic losses. Actuate is adding a critical layer of automation and intelligence to support data-driven security decisions and enhanced vigilance. The company’s AI-powered computer vision software turns any security camera into an intruder- and threat-detecting smart camera that dramatically reduces the time it takes for security teams and law enforcement to respond to issues. AI-powered computer vision technology The Actuate solution integrates with any existing security camera without additional hardware The Actuate solution integrates with any existing security camera without additional hardware, providing organisations with safer, cost-efficient and end-to-end security automation. The software identifies safety and security threats in real time, reducing false positives by as much as 99%. When threats are detected, alerts are issued automatically, in order to help security teams respond quickly to gun presence, intruders, social distancing violations, loitering, and other security events. Security management solutions Actuate’s analytics are trusted by hundreds of customers nationwide and deployed at over 1,000 sites, including schools, offices, military facilities, construction sites, affordable housing, high-end residential buildings and industrial facilities. “We unfortunately live in a world where active shooter events and public safety threats continue to make headlines year after year, pointing to the critical need for faster, more accurate, and privacy-conscious security management solutions,” said Sonny Tai, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Actuate. End-to-end security automation Sonny Tai adds, “Actuate empowers security staff at the places we live, work, shop, and depend on with end-to-end security automation, helping them to do their jobs better and improve safety outcomes. As we culminate a year of exponential growth, this support from our investors will be instrumental in driving the adoption of our security management platform and growing the range and accuracy of our privacy-conscious AI.” In leveraging the new funding to expand its solution’s capabilities, Actuate is enhancing its behaviour detection technology, which allows the software to detect adverse events or accidents, such as slip-and-fall incidents, and is also further developing its all-in-one security management platform. Real-time video analytics and automation With its unique AI software, Actuate is bringing physical security into the age of automation" “With its unique AI software, Actuate is bringing physical security into the age of automation,” said Brian Hirsch, Managing Partner of Tribeca Venture Partners, adding “Actuate’s end-to-end platform, powered by unique IP, solves a myriad of security and building management challenges, across organisations through real-time, video-based analytics and automation.” “With professionals and students returning to offices and schools, we see a huge opportunity for Actuate’s solution to help manage social distancing concerns, while cost-effectively protecting against security and safety events that can not only hurt the bottom line, but also puts lives at risk. We’re proud to support the company in its mission to ensure a safer, more peaceful future for all.” Security monitoring service “We started deploying Actuate’s AI models this year and the difference in both accuracy and technical support has been palpable, so seeing Actuate’s venture funding success comes as no surprise,” said Blake Ballard, Director of Operations for Louisiana-based security company, Global Monitoring Solutions. Blake Ballard adds, “Security teams rely on technology and tools that work proactively to ensure safety at all times. Utilising Actuate’s exceptional platform and top-notch team has enabled us to provide a much more reliable security monitoring service to our customers, making them the only solution we’d work with.”
National systems integrator, IES Communications, LLC, a subsidiary of IES Holdings, Inc., has added the Alcatraz Rock autonomous access control solution to its security technology portfolio. IES Communications has selected the Alcatraz Rock to leverage the latest in biometrics – facial authentication – which is more secure and more hygienic, as it reduces touchpoints. “IES is always striving to bring safe new ways to utilize cutting-edge security solutions to its customers. With the implementation of Alcatraz Biometrics products, IES continues to design solutions for your environment that will secure your peace of mind,” said IES Vice President of Sales and Marketing Gilbert Romo. Delivering autonomous access control Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, with 21 locations throughout the United States, IES Communications is a leading national technology infrastructure architect that delivers a comprehensive approach with a strong emphasis on client relationships and continuous innovation. “Alcatraz is excited to partner with IES Communications to deliver autonomous access control. IES has a great reputation for delivering comprehensive and reliable security solutions, and we know that the Rock will be an important addition to their portfolio,” said Alcatraz Chief Revenue Officer, Tina D’Agostin. Touchless and physical access control solution Alcatraz offers a touchless and secure physical access control solution that works with any access control system. The Rock replaces or augments badging as a credential with facial recognition, 3D sensing, and artificial intelligence - to enable highly secure and frictionless entry into physical locations. The Rock uses machine learning for increased security and accurate tailgating detection while intelligently enrolling employees as they are badging in, eliminating the headaches associated with traditional onboarding. A mask detection feature – the Mask Enforcer – provides a mask detection mode to help businesses comply with government-mandated facemasks.
With pupils in the UK set to go back to school on 8 March, there are a number of safety measures schools need to implement to ensure the health and wellness of the staff, students, and school communities. The first lockdown and closure of schools brought on by the coronavirus pandemic fired a “warning shot” for education facilities managers, forcing head-teachers to re-examine school safety standards. Now that a third lockdown is here and schools have been shut down for a second time, anyone behind the curve with the benefits of smart technology should get on board now before children return to the school environment. And with the ever-changing variants of the COVID-19 virus, schools can’t afford to be “late to class” when it comes to health and safety. Preventing the spread of disease Some schools in the US have been using smart technologies for a while to measure utility consumption and efficiency, streamline maintenance and enhance general school safety. These technologies are playing a significant role in keeping school buildings healthy and preventing the spread of disease. Let’s take a look at how smart technology can help schools to become safer, as well as more energy-efficient and cost-effective. Thermal detection cameras Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing Smart cameras placed at entry points of a school can remove the manual task of temperature testing. These cameras provide medically-accurate, real-time temperatures of individuals in real-time. If a high temperature is detected, the software sends an instant alert to the relevant party. It can also be set to deny access to those with high temperatures or to people not wearing masks. Safer water As the coronavirus continues to sweep through the world’s population, healthcare providers should also be on heightened alert for Legionnaires’ disease, another potential cause of pneumonia with similar symptoms. Legionella is a potentially deadly bacteria that can infect a school’s water supply and cause an outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease. It’s a school's duty of care to prevent Legionella infection by monitoring the risk of the bacteria proliferating. Particularly as schools reopen and previously stagnant plumbing and cooling systems return to use, additional Legionella cases could rear their ugly head to emergency departments in the coming months. Traces of Legionella were recently found at a Worcestershire school. The school was forced to remain shut while treatment and testing took place. Automated flushing and temperature testing Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters The Health and Safety Executive advises, “If your building was closed or has reduced occupancy during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, water system stagnation can occur due to lack of use, increasing the risks of Legionnaires’ disease… If the water system is still used regularly, maintain the appropriate measures to prevent legionella growth.” Typically, managing the risk of Legionella includes running all outlets for two minutes, taking and recording the temperature of the water to ensure that it’s not conducive to Legionella growth. This is a time-consuming process, which is why schools are looking for automated water temperature monitoring systems. This smart system with automated flushing and temperature testing reports and records water temperature data in real-time. Instant alerts will notify relevant staff if water temperatures fall within “Legionella-friendly” parameters. Cleaner air Advisers say that improving air filtration and ventilation in schools can help mitigate the potential airborne transmission of COVID-19. Strategies include: Increasing outdoor air ventilation Filtering indoor air Using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters Smart building technologies such as advanced HVAC controls can help facilities managers promote cleaner air with less hassle. For example, smart HVAC systems use sensors to remotely monitor and control variables such as: Humidity Temperature Indoor air quality The level of carbon dioxide and other pollutants The technology is also energy-efficient and cost-effective. While these solutions may be key to the reopening of schools in the era of COVID-19, they also bring long-term benefits. Although COVID-19 may have accelerated the adoption of smart technology, many of these solutions are focused on health, wellness, and security in general; which have been needed in school systems for a long time.
For decades, the nature of global safety has been evolving. From physical security threats like large-scale terrorist attacks and lone actor stabbings to chemical threats such as the Salisbury poisonings and even microbiological threats such as COVID-19, new challenges are constantly arising and the threat landscape we operate in today is constantly changing. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks. With the economic downturn, there is the traditional rise in theft, violence and other crimes. Compound this with unmanned businesses and work-at-home staff, and there is a perfect storm for a rise in security threats. Artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), was already causing widespread disruption in many industries, including the security industry. AI has been a driving force to replace labour-based business models with integrated data and actionable intelligence that is context-aware. It has become apparent that AI will play a big part in the ongoing fight against both pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other threats that we may face in the future. With all of this in mind, 2021 is poised to be a big year for AI growth. While AI is going to continue to impact our lives in dozens of ways, from smart sensors to face mask compliance detection, the following reflects a few top trends and challenges that I have my eye on for 2021 as we close out this year. The rise of smart city investments One such example is the increasing development of smart cities and how AI can be leveraged to build safe communities. To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks Typical development of a city includes standard infrastructure - roads, schools, power, water, transportation. Now, internet, data and AI capabilities are part of the standard infrastructure requirements for all new developments. AI promises to deliver increased efficiencies with the infrastructure that will accommodate growing populations while reducing our impact on the environment, resources, and communities. Global cities now account for more than half of the world’s population, and the United Nations projects the number to balloon to 68% by mid-century. Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). With an increase in population has come an increase in global spending on smart city initiatives to drive down the impact of growing urban concentration. Global spending on smart city initiatives is expected to total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, while Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York as the big spenders - expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2020. Using AI-driven technology to create safer public and private spaces Today, security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments to protect the population in a more efficient, and accurate manner. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new AI technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. One such deployment is the use of video object recognition/computer vision software that can be integrated into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. These enhanced VMS systems can be deployed both inside and outside of buildings to identify risks and flag threats, such weapons, aggressive behaviours, theft, and safety compliance. This helps to minimise the impact of a breach by an early alert to onsite security in real-time to the location and nature of the potential threat, allowing them to intervene before a loss occurs. These same AI-enabled video solutions can similarly be used to provide advanced business operations in retail, logistics, and manufacturing organisations. Multi-sensor security solutions Also, targeted magnetic and radar sensor technologies, concealed in everyday objects like planter boxes or inside walls, can now scan individuals and bags entering a building for concealed threat objects. Using AI/machine learning, these two sensor solutions combined can identify metal content on the body and bag and match the item to a catalogue of threat items, such as guns, rifles, knives and bombs. Security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments Without this advanced multi-sensor solution, it becomes nearly impossible to discover a weapon on a person's body before it appears in an assailant’s hands. This multi-sensor solution allows for touchless, unobtrusive access to a building, but allows for immediate notification to onsite security when a concealed threat is detected. The hidden technology thus empowers security staff to intercept threats before they evolve into a wider scale attack, while also maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of the public, unless, of course, they are carrying a concealed weapon or pose a physical threat. With the advent of sophisticated surveillance and technological innovation, a level of caution must be exerted. Despite the ongoing global debate, there remains little regulation about the use of AI technologies in today’s physical security space. One thing is certain; it must be deployed in the right place, at the right time, with the right privacy and civil liberty protection objectives. People don’t want to be protected by omnipresent, obstructive and overbearing security systems that infringe on their privacy and civil liberties. They want a proper balance between security and their current way of life, one that must be fused together. Technology and tracing COVID-19 Machine learning-based technologies are playing a substantial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the key purpose of surveillance systems has been to detect and deter threats, including the detection of visible and hidden weapons and abnormal behaviour. While this, of course, remains a primary focus, today we are seeing how surveillance systems defend against new invisible threats, as well as rapidly automate the process of contact-tracing to capture and contain a virus before it spreads. Again, the ability to track and trace through parsing algorithms that can manage through enormous amounts of data provides a highly scalable and rapid response mechanism to control the spread of threats. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact Although the threat may not be visible, it is just as destructive. By incorporating AI into existing technologies, government, healthcare and security professionals can monitor public spaces and environments through the combined use of digital and thermal video surveillance cameras and video management systems); just one of the solutions being explored. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By Using AI-powered video analytic software, businesses can monitor face masks, social distancing and large gathering compliance and also detect elevated body temperature. Critically, technology must be capable of both identifying and tracking the virus but also be unobtrusive. An unobtrusive system that is adaptable enough to be deployed across a range of environments where the public gathers in enclosed spaces is necessary to be effective. Security in 2021 Technology has proven itself to be a valuable ally in times of crisis. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies will help optimise security solutions in areas that are brimming with potential. As we look ahead to the future of security in a world that is impacted by such a wide range of threats, from physical to chemical to microbiological, it’s clear that new technologies, specifically AI can dramatically improve the effectiveness of security systems and help us to better defend against a wide spectrum of threats. Technology has a huge role to play in making our communities safe in 2021 and beyond, but for security systems to be effective, they must not be oppressive or obstructive. This will ensure they have the full support of the public - the key to success.
Schools play a key role in shaping our future. Following the reopening of classrooms up and down the country, young minds are returning to some normality. Once again they're being inspired, learning useful skills, and forging new interests to ensure our country's continued prosperity. Schools need a comprehensive security infrastructure to protect the children who attend them. Most notably, secure perimeters that keep unwanted people out, but also ensure visitors, parents, and students alike can access their shared community space without feeling segregated or unwelcome. Robust boundary fencing However, although safety is often the primary concern of parents, with tighter budgetary constraints and funds prioritised to make schools COVID safe, it can be all too easy to let important perimeter replacement or improvement programmes slip. The purpose of boundary fencing is to restrict unauthorised entry and exit The purpose of boundary fencing is to restrict unauthorised entry and exit from school grounds, and should be specifically designed to be fit for purpose. Opting for fencing with a welded pale-through-rail construction and concealed anti-tamper connectors between fence panels and posts delivers a robust boundary that's virtually impossible to break through. This style of fencing also gives a better finish with no visible joints or unsightly bolts. Attractive and practical solutions Unlike generic riveted palisade fencing, this solution is both attractive and practical, more so now that LPS 1175 SR1 certified and Secured by Design versions are available. The style of fencing should meet a school's desired security and safety requirements, simultaneously, it should not compromise on aesthetic considerations. As part of the public face of the school, it should be attractive as well as functional, helping overcome any concerns of creating a prison-like environment and promote a sense of well-being. It's recommended that perimeter fencing should be: a minimum of two metres high, vandal-resistant and sturdy, grounded on a hard surface, challenging to scale, and have an anti-climb topping, much the same as a high-security option. Access all areas Each educational site must consider the number of necessary entrances A perimeter fence requires secure access points and gates. Each educational site must consider the number of necessary entrances. These should be kept to a minimum, to make it easier to maintain control of visitor movement. However, in larger schools this is not always possible and additional entrances may be required to prevent potentially dangerous congestion at the start and end of the school day. Furthermore, separate gates must be installed for vehicles and pedestrians to ensure they are kept at a safe distance, and avoid unnecessary openings of large, double leaf gates. All access points should be locked during the day to keep students on-site and prevent intruders from gaining access to school grounds. Gates should ideally be matched in design, height and construction to the fencing, to prevent creating vulnerable areas and compromising security. Automatic vs manual While automatic gates offer more control, manual gates shouldn't be overlooked. Not only are they easier to install and usually cheaper than automated gates, but they also don't rely on power, so if your site's supply is cut off, they provide a hassle-free exit. Furthermore, gates that are only used at the start and end of the day can be easily locked manually by staff. However, automated gates do offer welcome flexibility, as they include access control devices such as remote controls, keypads and card readers, which will also increase the school's security. They're also robust and heavy, meaning it's incredibly difficult to force them open. Electric gates offer additional versatility with a choice of either full automation, or a hybrid of manned and automatic security, with staff able to allow visitors access via intercom or video system. Securing outdoor facilities It’s also essential to consider outdoor areas when it comes to specifying security options for educational environments. Specialist security fencing should be specified where recreational areas double up as the school’s boundary fencing. The security of the site's sports facilities will also need to be considered. Commonly known as MUGAs (Multi-Use Games Areas), enclosures can be designed with specialist mesh systems to allow multiple sports to be played in the same location while providing safety to participants, spectators and buildings. When it comes to play areas in nurseries and junior schools, installing RoSPA approved and BS EN 1176 compliant fencing and gates is recommended. These are available in both timber and steel options and tested for their ability to provide a safe fencing and gate solution - designed to reduce the risk of limb entrapment. Acoustic fencing is also worth considering for these environments, particularly in urban areas or where housing is close to school play areas. It can help reduce incoming ambient noise from neighbouring busy roads, railway lines, or construction sites, and contain the school noise within its boundary. Offering sufficient protection Focus on learning unimpeded by threat The current generation of children deserve an environment where they can focus on learning unimpeded by threat. Schools need robust perimeter solutions that welcome pupils, offer peace of mind to parents, and provide them with sufficient protection against intruders. Ultimately, it's the responsibility of the head teachers to engage in dialogue with knowledgeable security professionals to get the most appropriate and effective security solutions for their school, staff and students.
The cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. Video and access control as a service provides a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success. This article will look back at our articles in 2020 about the growing popularity of cloud solutions for physical security, with links to the original content. Product offering While most people agree on the definition of “cloud,” there are several points about the terminology that may require clarification. Private cloud or public cloud? VSaaS or unlimited storage for video? Beyond the basics, the terms become foggy, reflecting a variety of notions about how cloud services fit into the broader physical security marketplace. As cloud usage becomes more popular, it’s important that marketers be precise in their terminology, and that integrators and end users be diligent in understanding the specifics of available product offerings. Different meanings “The cloud has many different possible connotations, depending on the context,” says Yu Hao Lin of Rasilient Systems, one of our Expert Roundtable panelists. For example, corporate CIOs will more likely understand the cloud to be a private cloud platform. As such, the public cloud is a ubiquitous term while the private cloud is more specified. Cloud system security Security of cloud systems is an ongoing discussion in the industry, especially how cloud system cybersecurity compares to that of on-premise systems. Our Expert Panel Roundtable weighed in on this question. “While both kinds of security systems serve their purpose, it can be argued that the streamlined updates that are commonplace with cloud-based solutions may put them at more of an advantage when it comes to data security,” says panelist Eric Widlitz of Vanderbilt Industries. “Also, most reputable cloud-based solutions are running in secured data centers by companies such as Google, Microsoft or Amazon, so you also get to take advantage of all the security layers they have protecting your data.” Hybrid cloud video security solution A growing list of cloud players reinforces the importance of the cloud in the future of physical security There are several relatively new companies pushing cloud in a big way. Verkada is fast-growing company currently currently focusing to deliver an all-in-one hybrid cloud video security solution powered by edge processing inside the camera. The growing list of cloud players reinforces the importance of the cloud in the future of physical security. Combining AI and cloud video One company investing in the cloud is Eagle Eye Networks, which has raised $40 million of Series E funding from venture capital firm Accel to finance the realisation of their vision to combine AI and cloud video. The money will allow Eagle Eye to continue its steep growth curve and leverage AI on its true cloud platform to reshape video surveillance. “The investment will make video surveillance smarter and safer for end-users,” says Ken Francis, President. Eagle Eye offers an application programming interface (API) to enable the integration of best-in-breed third-party AI and analytics systems to leverage the video. Eagle Eye is also investing in its own AI development and hiring additional development and customer service personnel. Hirsch Velocity Cirrus and MobilisID Identiv introduced the Hirsch Velocity Cirrus cloud-based Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) solution and MobilisID smart mobile physical access control solution. Hirsch Velocity Cirrus is an optimal solution for both end-users and integrators, with lower upfront costs, reduced maintenance, enhanced portability, and the future-proof assurance of automatic security updates and feature sets. MobilisID is a smart mobile physical access control solution that uses Bluetooth and capacitive technologies to allow frictionless access to a controlled environment without the need to present a credential. Advantages and disadvantages Advantages of cloud-based physical security technologies are many, when supporting staff The advantages of cloud-based physical security technologies are many, and have wide-ranging applications for all areas of the transport sector; across stations, transport hubs and vehicles. When used to support staff and complement existing processes, such systems can prove invaluable for transport professionals in helping to create a safer working environment, promoting confidence among personnel and passengers, and assuring passengers who are fearful about the current pandemic that all possible precautions are being taken during their journey. 5G supporting cloud-based applications 5G is the first communication environment that is cloud-native. As such, such, 5G networks will support cloud-based applications in a way that 4G, 3G and 2G can’t support. For instance, sensors (e.g. in a manufacturing plant) often have small internal storage and rely on synced devices (e.g. gateways) to interact with the cloud. Soon, these sensors will be able to work more efficiently, interacting with the cloud via the ultra-low latency and the edge computing capabilities supported by 5G networks. Increasing use of IoT Unlike current IoT services that make performance trade-offs to get the best from these existing wireless technologies, 5G networks will be designed to bring the high levels of performance needed for the increasing use of IoT. It will enable a perceived fully ubiquitous connected world, with the boosted capacity offered by 5G networks transferring exponentially more data at a much quicker rate.
Combining artificial intelligence (AI) with cloud video creates systems that are smarter, safer and more cost-effective. Furthermore, adding AI capabilities can widen the advantage gap of cloud video systems compared to on-premise systems, especially for cost-conscious end users. “We strongly believe the total cost of ownership (TCO) for cloud systems is more affordable,” says Ken Francis, President of cloud video surveillance company Eagle Eye Networks. “And introducing really powerful AI will expand the cost differences.” Combining AI and cloud video To finance realisation of their vision to combine AI and cloud video, Eagle Eye Networks has raised $40 million of Series E funding from venture capital firm Accel. The money will allow Eagle Eye to continue its steep growth curve and leverage AI on its true cloud platform to reshape video surveillance. “The investment will make video surveillance smarter and safer for end users,” says Francis. In effect, end users have maximum flexibility to manage and analyse their video data however they wish The system sends captured video to the cloud, where a variety of AI or video analytics systems can extract valuable data from the captured video. Eagle Eye offers an application programming interface (API) to enable integration of best-in-breed third-party AI and analytics systems to leverage the video. In effect, end users have maximum flexibility to manage and analyse their video data however they wish. Delivering lower costs In addition to offering integration with third-party systems, Eagle Eye is investing in its own AI development, and hiring additional development and customer service personnel. As new technologies become part of the Eagle Eye platform, customers benefit from lower costs because of economies of scale. Keeping the emphasis on development of cloud systems, Eagle Eye also offers customers maximum flexibility in choosing their cameras. Eagle Eye’s on-premise cyber-hardened “bridge” can connect to almost any camera from thousands of manufacturers, including those connecting with HD-over-coax. The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded the need for end users to view their premises remotely, and in the process has highlighted shortcomings of their existing video systems. As a result, video manufacturers - including Eagle Eye Networks - are seeing a surge in end users updating their systems. Cloud video surveillance Given the costs of installing and maintaining hard drives for local storage (and additional challenges during a pandemic lockdown), more end users are opting to use cloud systems. In effect, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating installation of cloud video surveillance. “Our industry is the most resilient in the world,” says Francis. Eagle Eye Networks was on track to double their growth in the first quarter, and then COVID slowed everything down As a whole, 2020 has been a successful year for the cloud system provider. Eagle Eye Networks was on track to double their growth in the first quarter, and then the COVID lockdown slowed everything down. During the second quarter, their revenue from setup fees and appliances fell by 35% or so, but subscriptions increased slightly including customers looking to keep watch over their shuttered businesses. Temperature alerting solutions The third quarter saw another big uptick in business; August and September were booming, and not just from projects that were delayed from Q2. There has also been a spike in customers looking to apply temperature alerting solutions, says Francis. In uncertain economic times, cloud systems require around 40% less up-front costs, and provide flexibility to eliminate the system (and the expense) at any time without losing a large financial investment. Cloud video has reached a tipping point in the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, among other locales, but the technology lags in some other geographic areas such as France. Driving adoption is availability and cost of sufficient upload speed and bandwidth. In addition to Eagle Eye’s branded growth, the company also provides the OEM engine behind a half dozen or so cloud systems offered by other manufacturers. Backing multi-site enteprises About eight years old, Eagle Eye Networks has focused squarely on the small- and middle-sized business (SMB) market, especially multi-site businesses such as retail, banking and healthcare. They also work with local governments and K-12 schools. Moving forward, the company will seek to expand more into multi-site enterprise customers, some of which have 1,000 locations around the world and need to store their video locally to meet regulatory requirements. Multi-site businesses, benefit from the cloud by eliminating the need for local IT equipment and expensive staff Multi-site businesses, especially, benefit from the cloud by eliminating the need for local IT equipment and expensive staff. As internet connectivity becomes less expensive than installing new cable infrastructure, cloud systems will become more attractive to large campus environments such as colleges and airports, says Francis. The advent of 5G connectivity will also be a plus. All Eagle Eye products are NDAA compliant. Premium support services Further expanding its services, Eagle Eye Networks is poised to launch “Premium Support Services,” in which the cloud provider’s employees will proactively monitor and service customer sites for a minimum additional monthly fee. The cloud structure enables most problems to be addressed and solved remotely without needing to send personnel to a site. The new investment from Accel, a funding partner of top-tier tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox and Spotify, is Accel's first investment in the security industry. In addition to investing in AI, Eagle Eye also plans to leverage the funding to expand into new regional markets with new data centres and additional staff in business development, sales and support roles.
Many venues are using access control, video surveillance systems, sensors, and additional hardware solutions as part of a broader security strategy. By utilising so many disparate systems, corporate security teams are left with information “silos” that create inefficiencies and hamper communication. This abundance of hardware has left teams with too much data or too many tools, to manage effectively. Armored Things offers a software solution. The company’s “spatial intelligence platform” currently collects more data than other security intelligence solutions, utilising a broader range of sources and fusing data together rather than integrating it. The platform currently focuses on taking in data from WiFi, access control, and video surveillance systems and applying machine learning to deliver customers features such as real-time predictive analytics to prevent incidents like bottlenecks or overcrowding. Spatial Intelligence is an approach to physical security that enables users to collect, manage, and interpret data in a single platform. Combine machine learning with data The term can best be used to describe how digital transformation has affected physical security. Spatial Intelligence in its infancy looked like video surveillance data combined with machine learning to produce video analytics. The spatial intelligence solutions of today can combine machine learning with data of any source, type, and size to deliver value across a large organisation, not just the security team, says the company. Armored Things’ Spatial Intelligence platform unifies data from information silos to support data-driven decisions around operations and security. By fusing data from multiple sources, we can produce more consistent and useful insights for our customers” A suite of analytics, reporting and visualisation tools helps customers gain a real-time understanding of people and flow in their space. By removing the guesswork of everyday decisions, the product enables customers to make data-driven decisions at a moment’s notice, according to the company. Armored Things is more than a data management tool. “By fusing data from multiple sources (rather than only cameras or only WiFi), we can produce more consistent, accurate, and useful insights for our customers,” says Kevin Davis, Chief Security Officer at Armored Things. "Being able to collect the data is the first step, but turning it into actionable intelligence is where Armored Things excels.” IP cameras and other IoT-enabled devices The range of data sources includes IP cameras and other IoT-enabled devices and even outside data sources like bus schedules and weather reports. Armored Things has built a team of public safety and technical experts with the mission to keep people safe where they live, work, and play. By leveraging emerging technology to enhance physical security, the company built the software-centric Spatial Intelligence Platform for large organisations to enhance the safety and operations of their space. Schools and education facilities are among the customers that can benefit. The leadership at Armored Things cares deeply about school safety, so the recent epidemic of campus violence has definitely been a large topic of conversation, according to the company. “By delivering our products to a greater number of customers, Armored Things hopes to continue making schools a safe place to learn and gather,” says Davis. Recently, there was a significant bottleneck lasting nearly 30 minutes at the Syracuse-Clemson football game. Unifying data into one platform Digital transformation is disrupting the way our customers think about physical security,” Using Armored Things technology and providing real-time data to security and operations personnel could have identified the bottleneck as it began to form. This would have notified relevant personnel, who could have taken steps to mitigate the problem before it turned into a security risk. Keeping the security infrastructure simple is imperative to success. Integrating a software solution into the security strategy shouldn’t complicate existing operations, says the company. “Armored Things Spatial Intelligence Platform can bring your security and operations into focus by unifying all of your data into one platform for ease of use,” says Davis. For this reason, the team chose to integrate not only with customers’ existing security infrastructure but with non-traditional data sources (e.g. WiFi, event schedules, ticketing) as well. “By combining and analysing a more diverse dataset, Armored Things can help our customers make better decisions with deeper data-driven insights,” says Davis. "Digital transformation is disrupting the way our customers think about physical security,” says Davis. “As a team, our aim is to help our customers adapt to the digital age, as they transition from hardware to software-centric security solutions. Fostering organisational change is difficult, and our team hopes to make the transition process easier for our customers.”
Retrofitting modern security to old or protected heritage buildings used to be an installer’s nightmare. Wiring could be complex, with damage to ancient architecture or door hardware a constant risk. Now, wireless access control devices that match the protection and durability of wired technology, have made it straightforward. For a facilities manager, the security remit for any building or space is broadly the same. People and assets must be kept safe. Access to the most sensitive areas should be carefully filtered. Intrusion has to be stopped. Yet, installation, wiring and larger modifications present a unique set of challenges in an older building. Battery-powered access control Battery-powered access control devices can add equivalent features wirelessly, at lower and more predictable cost, because no cabling is required around the door. In a wireless system, locks for doors, cabinets and other openings communicate over-the-air with a network of hubs. These may be placed close to existing mains power sources, minimising disruption to the building fabric. Software makes the access decision, which is communicated back to locks via the hub Software makes the access decision, which is communicated back to locks via the hub. Everything happens almost instantly and wire free. In an old building or structure, choosing to wire for door security opens up not only expense, but also uncertainty. Indeed, when working under old floors and inside walls, which are 100 years or more old, surprises are guaranteed. At the installation stage, big surprises can be very expensive. Wireless access control cylinders Aesthetics is another concern. Wireless access control cylinders, for example, offer durable, certified electronic security paired with a minimal visual impact. At a heritage property, low-profile security solutions are a must. In addition, replacing mechanical locks with wireless electronic door devices reduces the manual workload involved in handling and tracking physical keys — saving time and money for property managers. Retrofitting 21st-century locks to a 16th-century building In updating access control for one school property in Spain, installers faced precisely these challenges. The Colegio Diocesano Santo Domingo in Orihuela is more than just a school. Its historic buildings date back to the 1500s. An on-site museum needs protection from the same access system. This is a heritage site, as well as a place of learning. Hence, the brief for a new access system required minimising disruption on two fronts. The college buildings are a Resource of Cultural Interest and on Spain’s heritage registry. Hence, they must not be damaged. School leaders wanted to avoid disturbance to everyday learning. Wireless locks were the answer. Wireless locks installed “In addition to the main entrances and classrooms, access to private spaces such as lifts, offices, staff rooms, the church, the museum, the library and the IT room is constantly monitored,” said the school’s IT Manager, Francisco Fernández Soriano. Francisco adds, “Thanks to our SMARTair devices installed at more than 300 doors, the security team can find out who has accessed which space and when, at any time. This increases security for children and for staff because no unauthorised people can enter the school.” SMARTair system Installation of the school’s new SMARTair system demanded little work Installation of the school’s new SMARTair system demanded little work. Some doors are 500 years old, so major alterations were not possible. ASSA ABLOY’s SMARTair door devices are easily fitted without drilling or wires. To install a SMARTair cylinder, for example, a professional simply replaces the existing mechanical cylinder with the battery-powered SMARTair device. “The system was installed without a hitch and also without any disruption to classes,” confirms Fernández Soriano. Flexibility for school and care home security “At the Vejle Friskole in Denmark, key management had been eating up a very long time, approximately 5 hours a week,” explains Henrik Kækel, the school’s Technical Service Officer. Now, mechanical keys have also been replaced by a wireless access control system. More than 80 doors and cabinets around the school are secured with SMARTair locks. At a historic property like Vejle Friskole, the customer required that devices were easy and unobtrusive to retrofit. SMARTair locks installed at Vejle Friskole “It was really bad [before] because we had big problems with keys that were lost,” said Henrik Kækel, adding “There was a lot of work on keying in and handing out.” Today, Vejle Friskole staff spends around 5 minutes a week managing their access system.” Henrik adds, “It's incredibly easy to figure out and it takes 1 minute to code a student.” Even managing the leasing of school buildings for non-school events is simple and secure. Facilities staff issue digital credentials for the duration of an event, then cancel them immediately afterward via the software, with no concerns that someone may have copied a physical key. Electronic locking system Pamplona’s Casa de la Misericordia, in Spain, also switched their century-old building from mechanical to electronic locking Pamplona’s Casa de la Misericordia, in Spain, also switched their century-old building from mechanical to electronic locking. To meet the day-to-day care needs of over 500 residents, they had a specific set of demands for a new access system. Real-time control over the premises was essential. “In a residence like ours it is critical to have real-time management that allows us to interact with a door at any time,” explains Ernesto Serra, Facility Manager at the Casa de la Misericordia. Advanced wireless technology The system also needed to be flexible and expandable, so it could be installed in two phases. Advanced wireless technology suited to retrofitting in an old building was another must-have as this 1930s building has large doors and walls up to 1 m thick. “A wireless solution that allows us to install access control without wiring up the buildings is a big advantage, the system has adapted to our present and future needs,” said Ernesto Serra.
ISONAS Inc., a globally renowned IP access control and hardware solution provider, and part of the Allegion family of brands, has announced that the ISONAS Pure IP access control solution has been deployed at a school district in the southwest suburb of Chicago. With six buildings within the district, they wanted to be able to manage access at all buildings on one unified platform. Remote access The school district had three main priorities for the upgrade, which included controlling the flow of traffic during after-hour events, eliminating the need for keys to manually lock and unlock doors and finally have the ability to utilise remote access. Safety was a huge priority at the school district, which included keeping students and staff safe and secure in all six buildings. Without being able to control unauthorised visitors at all entrance ways, there was no way to effectively protect everyone district-wide. ISONAS Pure IP access control solution Upon a strong recommendation from the school IT Director, ISONAS was awarded the project after the school put the project out for bid. The school district believed in the power of the ISONAS Pure IP solution and knew it was the right cloud-based technology to overcome all their current challenges. With the recommendation from the IT Director and a strong relationship with Advanced Wiring Solutions, the school district was ready to move forward with the security upgrade at high speed. Advanced Wiring Solutions is a Chicago-based premier low-voltage electrical contractor, who has handled structured cabling, security, access control, AV and CCTV camera installations for over 20 years. ISONAS RC-04 reader controllers installed It’s been a pleasure working with ISONAS from the onset of this project to completion" The project was on a tight timeframe and included installing 188 ISONAS RC-04 reader controllers, in under three months, on every access point within the six buildings that made up the school district. “It’s been a pleasure working with ISONAS from the onset of this project to completion,” stated Michael Sanfratello, President at Advanced Wiring Solutions. Michael adds, “From when we were in the bidding stage to deploying the access control system, ISONAS worked closely with the architects, engineers and the school district to develop specifications for the design and installation in order to make it a perfect deployment.” Remote monitoring of controlled doors “We are extremely happy that the school district selected the ISONAS solution to successfully secure each entrance way and no longer had to rely on keys for access, making it a safer environment for everyone,” said Jonathan Mooney, ISONAS Sales Leader. The school district can now easily monitor all controlled doors remotely and set access schedules for regular school hours and after hours when special events and activities were taking place. With cloud-based access control systems in place, schools across the country can get a clearer picture of who is actually entering their grounds day and night, while not having to physically be on the premises.
Gujarat Medical and Education Research Society is an initiative taken up by the State Government of Gujarat to improve the Human Development Index in the state by establishing new medical colleges. This, in turn, will increase the availability of qualified doctors and ensure the spread of health care services and medical knowledge. GMERS Ahmedabad is also one such initiative. Spread across five buildings, the campus has a hospital setup with a capacity of 720 beds. Challenge faced Centralised monitoring and management - Being aware of the various security challenges that an education hub faces, GMERS Ahmedabad had already installed 400+ cameras to secure the campus. However, they faced difficulty while centrally monitoring the entire system. Also, since the campus is divided into five buildings, it was challenging to manage all at once. Real-time security - Due to the large area, it was difficult to extend quick and real-time security to various parts of the campus. Being a medical college, they needed a technically sound system that could provide notifications in real-time during critical situations. Matrix VMS VMS allowed the flexibility of incorporating other brand’s cameras and integration with other security systems Matrix offered SATATYA SAMAS as the solution. It is a video management software that provides a common platform for all the existing security systems. Existing 400+ cameras were configured in the software and thus, could be centrally monitored from a dedicated room. Apart from this, VMS allowed the flexibility of incorporating other brand’s cameras and integration with other security systems as well, like Fire Alarms. User-control Moreover, with the availability of user-based control, it was ensured that the surveillance system is being managed by the right security personnel. For example, the security guard was restricted to viewing rights, and only the IT personnel was given administrator rights. This assures data security. SMS and Email alerts for notification were also configured to provide prompt support in case of urgency. Furthermore, features like E-Map enabled swift notifications about the health status of cameras and devices. Results Unified platform for centralised control Instant aid during urgency The flexibility of future expansion
Remark Holdings, Inc., a global technology company with leading artificial intelligence ("AI") solutions and digital media properties announced that its KanKan AI business has installed its Smart Campus system in more than 200 elementary and secondary schools in China. The system allows for seamless attendance management, epidemic prevention and control, energy management, campus access control, and notification of risky behaviors. Smart Campus system During the ongoing battle with COVID-19 and its variants, the Smart Campus system, with its epidemic prevention and control functionality, has been designed to assist school staff by: Recording body temperature before students enters the campus, thereby allowing staff to begin monitoring health status before students enter classrooms and other buildings. Controlling access to campus using a pre-generated QR code as well as KanKan's computer vision technology to identify whether persons trying to enter campus are authorized and are healthy. Reducing manual tasks by automating student attendance management and health screening of students and staff. Using a mobile app to allow for reservation of and touch-free access into private study rooms, classrooms, laboratories, activity rooms, and other functional areas. Reducing electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Maintenance-oriented monitoring KanKan AI's Smart Campus system is customisable to meet the needs of each school among other criteria "In addition to the practicality of the product, KanKan AI's Smart Campus system is customisable to meet the needs of each school regarding the size of the campus, several students, and building and entrance locations, among other criteria," noted Kai-Shing Tao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Remark Holdings. "Our product engineers followed up throughout the installation process and the after-sales team trained school staff regarding product use, while our operations team conducted ongoing, maintenance-oriented monitoring to ensure data accuracy and provide customers with an outstanding experience." Customer-oriented services The Smart Campus system and its customer-oriented services have quickly taken root in the campus security market. Given the initial success of Smart Campus, KanKan AI will continue its expansion into other provinces. Official media such as the Zhejiang Daily and Hangzhou Daily strongly affirmed the vital role that KanKan AI's Smart Campus system played in the resumption of primary and secondary schools in Xihu District, Hangzhou City, during the epidemic. As a successful model for smart campuses, Hangzhou Arts and Science Primary Schools have been publicly praised by the Education Bureau of Xihu District and have become the learning center for school principals from other provinces and cities. Energy savings "Our system freed teachers and staff from repetitive tasks and allowed them to focus on what they do best: teaching and caring," noted Mr. Tao. "I am also pleased that our dedication to ESG efforts has been rewarded. The energy management function of our Smart Campus system has proven efficient at a few schools with which we worked closely. Though the amount of energy savings might seem minor now, we believe that no effort is too small when we talk about saving Earth's resources.” “As more schools are seeing both the social and economic benefits of our systems, we believe that our continuous dedication to the environment will translate to long-term results for our partners and shareholder value for our investors." Reduction in CO2 and SO2 emissions KanKan calculated the Smart Campus system in a total of 104 classrooms yields a reduction of CO2 & SO2 emissions According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") calculations, the 4.48 kilowatt-hour of electricity saved per day per classroom by KANKAN AI's Smart Campus System, each kilowatt-hour of electricity saved per day per classroom by the Smart Campus system is equivalent to eight miles driven by an average vehicle, or a savings of 0.357 gallons of gasoline consumed, or other activities in the diagram below. Utilising data provided by five partnered schools in the city of Hangzhou, KanKan calculated that the application of its Smart Campus system in a total of 104 classrooms yields an annual reduction of 63.9 tons of CO2 (a greenhouse gas) emissions and 1.9 tons of SO2 (a toxic gas) emissions. At the current rate, 2,556 tons of CO2 emissions and 76 tons of SO2 emissions could be eliminated with KanKan AI's Smart Campus system within partnered schools.
McKinney ISD relied on an aging analogue phone system that was out-of-date, end-of-life, and no longer supported. The school district wanted to upgrade to an IP communication solution across 37 separate buildings. The school board already had a Fibre backbone that connected each of the buildings. However, the IP devices would also need power, meaning every classroom would require an MDF closet. This solution was not viable due to high costs, network complexity, network security, and safety concerns. Additionally, many endpoint locations were well outside the 330ft (100m) reach limitation of standard switches. McKinney ISD considered laying new cable, but the $1.1 million price tag was far too high, the deployment times too long, and the project’s return on investment in jeopardy. The school district needed an innovative solution to modernise communication within the defined budget and time frame. Solution NVT Phybridge PoLRE switch delivers Ethernet and PoE over a single pair of UTP wire with up to 1,200ft (365m) reach Due to the school district’s challenges, Cisco suggested the PoLRE switch to overcome the digital transformation barriers. The NVT Phybridge PoLRE switch delivers Ethernet and PoE over a single pair of UTP wire with up to 1,200ft (365m) reach, which is four times the reach of standard switches. Cisco was confident in the PoLRE switch and coordinated with NVT Phybridge subject matter experts to present a tailored solution to the customer. McKinney ISD registered for a free, no-obligation proof-of-concept to test the PoLRE switch in its environment. After a few simple setup steps, the PoLRE switch transformed the existing single-pair UTP cabling infrastructure into a power-packed IP backbone with more than enough bandwidth to support the Cisco IP devices. The school district was impressed with the solution and told its technology provider, CDW, to incorporate the PoLRE switch into the proposal. Result McKinney ISD took a proactive approach to find new and better ways to achieve its digital transformation goals without high costs, complexity, or disruption. CDW used the NVT Phybridge PoLRE switch to deploy over 3,300 phones without ripping and replacing the existing and proven voice infrastructure. Deploying across the 37 locations was quick and straightforward thanks to the PoLRE switch’s repeatable, predictable, and scalable deployment methodology, which further increased time and cost savings for the customer. Authority Comments The PoLRE switch allowed to modernise without having to deal with the construction “Deployment was quick and simple for the installation team,” said Jeannie Newman, Central US Sales Manager, NVT Phybridge. “Our Technical Support Team did an amazing job assisting with configuration over the phone.” “The installation was really smooth,” said David Spann, CIO, McKinney Independent School District. “The PoLRE switch allowed us to modernise without having to deal with construction. We did our homework. Re-using our existing cabling and turning it into a more secure transmission model was a huge win for us and a huge win for our taxpayers. This really was a win for everyone.” McKinney ISD used the PoLRE switch to achieve incredible results: Reduced infrastructure costs by more than $1.1 million Reduced the total deployment time by three years Avoided putting IDF closets in the classrooms Prevented over 10 tons of cabling e-waste
82% of schools and colleges in both the US and Northern Europe see a potential role for CCTV/video monitoring systems in supporting a safe return to face-to-face teaching in school buildings and across further education college campuses, following the pandemic. Many schools and colleges have already adapted their video monitoring systems. For example, half (50%) of all those in charge of these systems had already adapted their existing video systems to help manage social distancing. A further 34% planned to use their systems for this purpose within the next 12 months. Video monitoring systems The AVA Security Education Sector Security Survey provides a wealth of data and insight linked to how Operations, Security, and IT directors and managers within educational establishments in the US, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, are adapting their video monitoring or CCTV systems in the wake of the pandemic. Nearly four of every 10 (38%) educational institutions were already using their video monitoring systems to trace all student, staff, and visitor movements in, out, and around their premises and grounds to protect everyone from infection. A further 46% planned to configure these systems for this same purpose within the next 12 months. Safe-specific video analytics Nearly a third (29%) was already using their existing video systems to help provide temperature level health checks at some building entrances. A further 43% planned to enable temperature checking via their CCTV systems within the next year. Interestingly, 41% had already deployed their video systems for reporting on class or lecture hall occupancy levels and people density levels in retail areas, dining facilities, and other leisure areas where students congregate. A further 41% said they were planning to add this capability via their video systems over the next 12 months. Contactless access control The education sector is a deployer of facial recognition analytics in existing cameras Mask detection analytics is also being widely deployed in US and Northern Europe’s schools and colleges: 35% had already deployed video analytics software now available for alerting security staff when teachers or students are inside a building but not wearing a mask. A further 31% planned to deploy mask detection analytics within the next 12 months. However, the education sector is a more cautious deployer of facial recognition analytics in existing cameras to enable visual identification and contactless access control in the interests of reducing COVID infection via card touch-in gates. Only 22 percent of schools and colleges have deployed facial recognition to date, although this is set to more than double as 29% over the next 12 months. Reduced VMS costs The biggest challenge of supporting all these changes appears to be paying for them: 31% of those in charge of video monitoring systems had already seen a significant reduction in budgets available for upgrading and improving video monitoring capabilities in the last year. A further 29% had seen a small reduction in budgets over the same timeframe. A further 8% thought fresh budget cuts were likely in 2021. Cybersecurity has become a key IT priority As IT, Operations, and Security staff have had to run systems as well as teaching remotely during the pandemic, there has been an increased focus on cybersecurity to protect access to vital data and online learning resources. Just in the last few weeks, the University of Hertfordshire experienced a major cyberattack which led to the shutting down of key online learning apps including Zoom for students enrolled there. Over a third (35%) of educational institutions’ decision-makers questioned thought it ‘very likely’ that they would need to place a ‘larger focus on cybersecurity for all devices and applications that are networked’ as one impact of the pandemic. A further 48% thought an increased cybersecurity focus was ‘likely’. Linked to this, 27% of directors and managers running video security systems in schools and colleges saw an improvement to the video ‘system’s resilience and back-up systems/procedures’ as a ‘High Priority’ improvement that they needed to implement to protect video data this year, while a further 44% saw it as ‘Somewhat a Priority’. Smarter, easier to use video systems There was some disquiet about the quality of existing video systems’ core capabilities, the Ava Security research found. For example, 29% thought it was a ‘High Priority’ to improve the speed of finding and retrieving video evidence after a security or safety incident. A further 40% saw it as ‘Somewhat a Priority’ to improve the systems’ retrieval capabilities to find ‘required footage of incidents easier and quicker. It currently takes too long.’ Further, 22% saw the need for ‘better integration between video monitoring camera systems and other security-related systems, such as access control or alarm systems’ as a ‘High Priority’, while over half (57%) saw wider security systems integration as ‘Somewhat a Priority’ now. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of video monitoring system decision-makers in the education sector were keen to make their video monitoring systems ‘more intelligent, using video analytics to support better post-event decision-making’ – placing this improvement as either a ‘High Priority’ or ‘Somewhat a Priority’. Cloud on the horizon 73% of the education sector is experiencing accelerated cloud migration Others were more focused on Cloud Migration of more IT Systems. Over half (51%) confirmed that their cloud migration plans had been accelerated in 2020/21 and a further 32% confirmed that a new budget had already been allocated for moving more services into the cloud in the financial year 2020/21. That means that altogether (net) 73% of the education sector is experiencing accelerated cloud migration. Linked to this, the same study uncovered that 58% found ‘adoption of Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) i.e., moving their video monitoring system into the cloud’, as a ‘net priority’ for improving and optimising their video monitoring systems looking forward. VSaaS selection criteria For the 82% of all education respondents actively considering VSaaS options right now, there were many criteria determining provider selection. Nearly nine out of 10 net (87%) considering VSaaS right now, agreed with the statement ‘It must have very strong cybersecurity, including end-to-end encryption from the camera to the cloud.’ The VSaaS selected must also offer a reduction in the ‘Total Cost of Ownership of our video monitoring system’, according to 48% of educational institutions considering migration to VSaaS. Further, 45% of decision-makers questioned insisted on greater ease of use, supporting the statement ‘It must be configurable and operable by non-IT people’. Third-party cameras While 24% of education sector decision-makers considering VSaaS, said it was critical that the provider was not headquartered in mainland China. A net 80% of video monitoring system decision-makers in the education sector also considered it important that the VSaaS selected ‘must allow us to continue using our existing third party cameras which we have already installed, we don’t want to rip & replace any equipment.' A net 80% considering VSaaS also confirmed ‘It must allow us to view their directly attached cloud cameras alongside our third-party cameras on the same interface’. Further, the same number of respondents (net 80%) considered it net important (either ‘very’ or ‘quite important’) that the VSaaS ‘must allow us to use our existing Video Management Software (VMS) or provide the same functionality as we get from our VMS’. Latest analytic capabilities An even higher number, net 84%, regarded it as important that the VSaaS selected ‘must enable us to run the latest video analytics capabilities such as occupancy levels for social distance management (in a room), noise analytics (e.g., breaking glass, screaming, yelling etc), people and vehicle search, object searching and colour searching’. Balance of power The Ava study also explored whether the events of the last year had prompted changes in terms of who looks after the management of video monitoring systems. There was some evidence in the education sector that as CCTV has increasingly been migrated onto the network, IT departmental control is increasing. According to the study, nearly a third (31%) of schools and colleges’ video systems passed more control of their video monitoring systems to their IT department – taking the total percentage of video systems run by IT in the education sector to 39%. However, security and/or facilities management still holds the balance of power in the running of these systems with 50%, with 24% gaining responsibility for video monitoring during the pandemic. Only 4% of systems confirmed they had fully outsourced video system management and 7% confirmed that more of the management, upgrading, and running of their systems had been outsourced over the last year. Workspace management technologies Ava Security also found evidence that the education sector is an early adopter of other workspace technologies designed to make it easier for students to manage the use of school and college facilities while minimising the risk of COVID infection. For example, 52% of educational institutions captured in the Ava study expressed interest in offering staff and students the capability of remote pre-booking of working areas in libraries, classrooms, and lecture halls and pre-registering students via mobile-ready apps. Nearly four out of every 10 people responsible for managing video monitoring in their school or college (38%) felt remote booking of extra cleaning of surfaces before or after classes would be a useful innovation. Cybersecurity is critical to VSaaS selection There is a strong determination to adapt existing school surveillance systems to new COVID-safe requirements" Vegard Aas, Head of Online Business at Ava Security, commented, “The fact that four out of five education sector video monitoring system decision-makers are already actively considering VSaaS and weighing up criteria for selection is very encouraging." “There is also clearly a strong determination to adapt existing school video surveillance systems to new COVID-safe requirements. And the fact that a third (32%) confirmed that a new budget had already been allocated for moving more services into the cloud this year provides significant scope for optimism as we enhance our VSaaS offering with Ava Cloud Connector for example, which enables those running systems to plug existing third party cameras into Ava’s open Aware Cloud platform.” Cloud Connector Ava Security recently launched its Cloud Connector offering to enable video security system owners easy and cost-effective transition of video security solutions to the cloud. This brings Ava’s advanced real-time video analytics and proactive security to existing surveillance cameras by integrating them with Ava’s open Aware Cloud platform. Ava’s Cloud Connector eliminates the need to rip and replace existing video security devices to directly reap the cost and operational efficiencies of a true cloud service.
Round table discussion
We are several weeks into 2021, and it is already shaping up to be an eventful year. The happenings and trends from 2020 will likely carry over into the new year, but in a fast-moving industry such as ours, there will also be additional trends to watch. Looking toward the year ahead, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What will be the biggest security trends in 2021?
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?
The new school year is a good time to reflect on the role of security in protecting our schools. From video to access control to some newer technologies, our Expert Panel Roundtable found plenty to talk about when we asked this week’s question: How does security technology make our schools safer?