Earning the international praise from high-level visitors and exhibitors alike, the first edition of the prestigious defence exhibition, DEFEA 2021 was completed in total success, presenting 315 renowned exhibiting defence industries from 22 countries and visited by 45 official national delegations, represented at political and military level, from 36 countries. From 13th to 15th of July, 2021, Metropolitan Expo, the largest and most advanced exhibition centre in Southeast Europe, hosted highly...
Videonetics, world’s AI & DL powered Unified Video Computing Platform (UVCP™) development company, announced that its AI-powered Intelligent VMS 3.0 (IVMS) is now ONVIF Profile ‘Q’ Compliant that allows easy set-up mechanism and basic configuration of IP cameras over the network, directly from the IVMS. It also supports Transport Layer Security (TLS), a secure communication protocol, that allows ONVIF devices themselves to communicate with clients across a network in...
The largest defence industries in the world were represented at a very high level at the DEFEA 2021 security event. Presidents, Vice Presidents, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and General Directors of companies, such as Dassault Aviation, MBDA, Damen, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Naval Group, ARQUUS, Ceska Zbrojovka, Thales, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Nexter, IAI, IWI, ELBIT, Boeing and BAE were present at the exhibition and made flattering comments about the organising of DEFEA, and the contact...
The sensor solutions provider, HENSOLDT supports the association Lachen helfen e.V., a private initiative of German soldiers to help children in war and crisis areas. HENSOLDT’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thomas Muller handed over a symbolic cheque for a donation of 8,000 Euros to the Chairman of Lachen helfen e.V., Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Roderich Thien. Since 2018, HENSOLDT has been a supporting member of Lachen helfen e.V. with an annual donation of 10,000 Euros. Under the patron...
Pro Cloud SaaS announces it’s new partnership with Ava Security. Ava Security is uniquely positioned to deliver both cyber security and physical security solutions to organisations worldwide. Pro Cloud SaaS is a global organisation and partners with the most recognised SaaS providers and SaaS consumers on the planet. Their Professional Services Engineers are strategically located in Australia, India, Qatar, Zambia, Belgium, Chile, the United Kingdom and the United States to provide client...
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...
Dortronics Systems Inc., a globally renowned company in off-the-shelf and customised door control solutions, is focusing on products at ISC West 2021 (booth #5077) that provide touchless ingress/egress, as well as a new 9-door interlock controller. Touchless door control solutions All of Dortronics’ product design and manufacturing operations are located at the company’s Sag Harbor, NY headquarters, which gives the company a unique ability to custom-fabricate a wide range of door control products with fast turn-around times. “Dortronics specialises in delivering products with the performance, quality and often customised features, and aesthetics that installers need, with fast turn-around times and at the right price,” said Bryan Sanderford, National Sales Manager of Dortronics Systems, Inc. 48900 Series PLC interlock controller Our 48900 Series PLC interlock controller, which was designed to answer user demand for a solution that is easy to install" Bryan Sanderford adds, “Our 48900 Series PLC interlock controller, which was designed to answer user demand for a solution that is easy to install and cost effective. It can be used in retail environments for high-value merchandise like jewellery, in cannabis dispensaries, or in clean room environments in bio-tech labs or pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.” He further stated, “In addition, Dortronics can help facilities implement fast and highly cost-effective solutions to help combat the spread of infection and viruses, with the 5278 Touchless Proximity Switch and 6612 Request to Exit Motion Sensing Door Release. Door surfaces, including handles, bars, and knobs, are vulnerable areas for disease transmission. Our touchless door control solutions deliver a convenient and extremely cost-effective way to help keep people safe,” Dortronics products on exhibit at ISC West 2021 Attendees of ISC West 2021 can view the products from Dortronics at the company’s booth # 5077. The products on exhibit at the booth include: Dortronics’ 48900 PLC interlock controller is a cost-effective solution for implementing door interlock and mantrap systems with up to nine doors. In operation, unlocking or opening one door automatically secures other designated doors within the Interlock group. The fully integrated single-board solution provides installers with complete control of all operating and configuration options, without the need for and expense of complex software. The 48900 Series PLC interlock controller integrates with virtually any access control system utilising dry contacts. The 5278 Touchless Proximity Switch utilises optical infrared technology and the embedded sensors pick up motion within a 4-in. range. A simple wave of the hand activates the switch and no hand contact is required. The 5278 greatly decreases the potential to spread contagious diseases, since no actual hand contact is required to activate. These switches are often utilised with electronic locks and automatic door operators. The 5278’s illuminated LED ring allows for visibility under low-light conditions. Dortronics’ 6612 Request to Exit Motion Sensing Door Release provides safe and immediate hands-free door release and reliable fail-safe operation. It offers fast and accurate detection with easy field adjustments, plus range and sensitivity controls to assure maximum reliability. Dual relay outputs are available to redundantly cut power to the electromagnetic lock, while simultaneously signaling an access control system to unlock the 6612’s attractive, slim housing is ideal for mounting the unit inconspicuously above any door.
PSA Security Network (PSA), the world’s renowned systems integrator consortium, has announced a structure change among its executive leadership team, which affects both PSA Security and USAV. PSA Security Network’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Matt Barnette made the adjustments to the executive leadership team to reflect his belief that each team member’s role should be focused. Executive leadership change “We have an extremely talented team at PSA. Over the past six months, I have been evaluating the team structure to ensure we have our vital employees in the correct roles,” said PSA Security Network’s CEO, Matt Barnette, adding “After much consideration, I have made these changes that will help poise PSA for 2022 and beyond. I’m excited for the upcoming year and know this team can accomplish great things.” PSA’s leadership team structure is as follows: Matt Barnette, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ric McCullough, President Stephen (Steve) King, CFO (retiring in September 2021) Candice Aragon, Vice President of Marketing and Events Anthony Berticelli, Vice President of Operations Tim Brooks, Vice President of Sales Carol Philp, Vice President of Accounting and Finance Chris Salazar-Mangrum, Vice President of Technology Partners Patrick Whipkey, Vice President of USAV New hire in HR division Tim Brooks, previously responsible for Sales and Vendor Management, will now focus efforts solely on Sales, while Chris Salazar-Mangrum, previously Vice President of USAV, will now focus on technology partners for both PSA and USAV. This change also represents a promotion for Patrick Whipkey, formerly the Director of USAV. In addition to the leadership changes, PSA Security Network has also made a key hire in Human Resources, with the addition of Cate Jenkins and has promoted PSA’s Project Manager, Katie Blough, to the role of Customer Success Manager. These changes reflect the importance of relationships to PSA, both internally on employee well-being and externally on the experiences of members, owners and partners.
3xLOGIC, Inc., a globally renowned provider of integrated, intelligent security solutions, will be attending ISC West 2021, taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, from July 19-21, 2021. The company will be demonstrating its innovative security solutions, including its new Gunshot Detection Solution, which was named best new product in the Law Enforcement/Public Safety/Guarding Systems category of the 2021 SIA New Product Showcase. Self-contained gun detection device Rather than utilising microphones, infrared sensors, or complex analytics, the self-contained device relies on 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. Because the solution can be integrated with video, access control, and intrusion systems, it can provide early alerting and insights into an event, allowing first responders to de-escalate an active shooter situation quickly. VIGIL CLOUD 3xLOGIC will also be demonstrating VIGIL CLOUD, which expands the company’s ecosystem into the Cloud with features designed to harness the power, scalability, and ease of use that are all hallmarks of cloud services. Building on 20-plus years of experience recording and managing video, VIGIL CLOUD provides end-users with the ability to view, manage, and share video from anywhere, at any time, on any device. VX-5M20-B-RIAL camera The VX-5M20-B-RIAL camera offers a remote zoom lens, 5 MP resolution, and a visible light lens filter The company will also be showcasing its licence plate capture camera, which is designed for scaled-down applications, in which post-event investigations require precise imaging, to identify licence plates. The VX-5M20-B-RIAL camera offers a remote zoom lens, 5 MP resolution, and a visible light lens filter that allows IR light band to pass. This allows the camera to effectively and accurately capture licence plates day or night for video review post-event. ISC West 2021 In addition to product offerings, 3xLOGIC will participate in an educational session – ‘Cloud Security Made Powerful, Simple, and Secure: The True Advantages of a Natively Developed Cloud Solution’ – as part of the SIA Education@ISC programme, at ISC West 2021. This session aims to provide insights into how developed-for-the-cloud solutions are uniquely equipped to address business owners’ new expectations, growing challenges, and ever-changing network and data security considerations. The session is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, July 20, at 1:15 p.m.
LiDAR-based systems are becoming an increasingly popular choice for security and surveillance applications, due to the technology’s accuracy, reliability, and cost-effective operation. Mass-market camera and analytics As such, Oyla, Inc. has created the world’s first mass-market camera and analytics solution that fuses LiDAR with high-performance video into a single camera that seamlessly integrates with existing physical security infrastructure, while enabling more rapid and accurate decision making as well as greater safety. Join Olya for an exclusive live webinar on Thursday, July 15th from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. ET to learn more about this new, non-conventional imaging solution with high-accuracy analytics via 3D, AI, and video fusion. Webinar on Oyla’s video surveillance solution Webinar attendees will gain insight into Oyla’s one-of-a-kind video surveillance solution Webinar attendees will gain insight into Oyla’s one-of-a-kind video surveillance solution that can significantly increase accuracy and cut down false alarms by using an integrated 3D sensor. The advanced technology provides a comprehensive, in-depth view of a site that radically increases the amount of data providing better insights on security and business intelligence and resulting in a system cost that is five times lower than other sensor fusion solutions on the market. LiDAR technology integration with video analytics Oyla will be highlighting some of the key advantages of LiDAR for security in the current scenario, how LiDAR technology integrates with existing video surveillance and analytics software, and why this technology is critical for integrators. Outside of its ability to operate in various weather conditions and perform reliably in both bring and dark conditions, these cameras provide: High accuracy and low rates of false alarms Powerful analytics that works well in all lighting conditions Real-time tracking and analysis Seamless integration with cameras and existing infrastructure An easy-to-manage solution Oyla, Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Srinath Kalluri, said “While many physical security customers initially started using analytics with their video, many turned off the analytics after only a few months due to too many false positives or insufficient capability in varying conditions.” He adds, “We realised we could solve this by depth sensors with unique system enhancements to fuse 3D and 2D video within the existing infrastructure.” Adding LiDAR to video surveillance Manufacturers in the security and business intelligence markets have long envisioned adding LiDAR, or 3D imaging, to mass-market video surveillance cameras, but failed due to cost and complexity. Oyla’s technology offers an affordable camera platform that integrates LiDAR and video at the hardware level, fusing 3D and video data to achieve the highest reliability levels in a unified model.
Pyronix is delighted to donate over £600 to Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, in support of their summer craft boxes initiative. The initiative seeks to provide tailored fun activities for families to do together whilst making special memories. Pyronix is a long-time supporter of Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, who cares for children and young adults whose lives are sadly just too short, both in their own homes and at their hospice located in North Anston, South Yorkshire. Support for Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice Bluebell Wood’s main focus is making magical memories for children, young adults and their families, whether they have years, months, weeks or days together. The summer boxes contain craft items, such as paint and glitter, sensory items, such as modo (a special type of playdough with scents and bright colours), water beads, light up toys, as well as something special for the child or young adult, and their siblings, to ensure each family feels special. Donation towards Bluebell Wood craft box initiative We’re really pleased to be able to donate towards the Bluebell Wood craft box initiative" Laurence Kenny, Pyronix’s Marketing Director, said “We’re really pleased to be able to donate towards the Bluebell Wood craft box initiative. The boxes are offered to the Bluebell Wood children, young adults and their much deserving families, to provide enjoyable experiences and memories together and we’re delighted to be able to provide our support.” Pyronix is proud to support this great initiative and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice in the future. Pyronix’s innovative charitable support Jason Gossop, Regional Fundraiser at Bluebell Wood, said “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been working hard to find new ways to be there for the families in our care and the craft boxes are just one of the many ways, we’re helping them to make precious memories together.” Jason adds, “Without the support of community-spirited local businesses like Pyronix, this simply wouldn’t be possible so we’d like to say a huge thank you for their generosity. We’ll look forward to continuing to work closely with the brilliant team at Pyronix in the weeks and months ahead.”
International Security Expo will return to London from 28-29 September 2021, physically uniting security professionals and offering them the long-awaited opportunity to network face-to-face with peers and learn from a globally renowned educational programme, delivered by the industry’s most prominent experts in security, police, and cyber fields. The free-to-attend and CPD certified programme promises to deliver the latest insights, analysis and invaluable perspectives on everything from mitigation strategies to high-level policy, helping the industry to create safer living and working environments. Global Counter Terror and Serious and Organised Crime Summit The Summit will look at current topics dictated by the Home Office and Counter Terror Police UK Giving visitors a first-hand account, the two-day Global Counter Terror and Serious and Organised Crime Summit will focus on the changing nature of serious and organised crime and terrorism, along with the most prevalent terror trends currently affecting UK Counter Terror capability, from prevent to protect, pursue and prepare. With 16 sessions across the two days, the Summit will look at current topics dictated by the Home Office and Counter Terror Police UK, focusing on Prevent, but also looking at how threats have developed during lockdown and what as an industry, is needed to collectively help counter them. International Security Expo 2021 In his first public outing since taking over from Neil Basu, the UK’s Assistant Commander of Counter Terror Police, Matt Jukes, will deliver a presentation on current counter-terrorism priorities in the United Kingdom. In this session, he will outline the developing challenges facing the fight to counter terrorism in the UK, explaining how state-sponsored activities, the rapid growth in extreme right-wing terror and how the threat has developed throughout the pandemic. Elsewhere, Professor Lisa Short, Director and Co-Founder of P&L Digital Edge Limited will explain how technology can be used to reduce crime, corruption and organised crime. Later that day and giving a very personal account in the first of the ‘Realities of Terror’ sessions, a real-life hostage, Peter Moore, will share his account of being taken hostage for 946 days - the only hostage out of five to be released alive. A contractor in Iraq 2007 will also highlight his own hard-hitting reality of living with terrorists for two years, seven months and one day. Detective Sgt Nick Bailey’s session on the realities of a terror attack following the Salisbury Novichok attack (further details on session required). Panel discussion on terror and organised crime Concluding the first day will be a not-to-miss panel discussion on terror and organised crime, debating whether they are common bedfellows. The panel will feature industry experts including Aaron Edwards, Senior Lecturer, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst; Alberto Testa, Professor of Applied Criminology at the University of West London, Figen Murray, whose son Martyn Hett was tragically killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena terror attacks, and Aimen Dean, former Member of al-Qaeda and MI6 Spy. Key sessions on how to effectively fight terrorism Roy McComb, Former Director of NCA, will deliver a session on the exploitation of people for potential terror financing Opening the conference on the second day, Roy McComb, Former Director of NCA, will deliver a session on the exploitation of people for potential terror financing. Other highlights on day two include Temitope Olodo, President of the Africa Security Forum, presenting a session on how the face of terrorism is evolving and why nations must rewrite their CVE strategy to win the war on terror. Figen Murray will also return to the stage to discuss the importance of countering terror being a whole society issue, and not just the remit of the police and security services. Security experts to give insights INineteen Events Ltd.’s (International Security Expo organiser) Event Director, Rachael Shattock said, “We are delighted to announce an incredible line-up of security experts for the Global Counter Terror and Serious and Organised Crime Summit at International Security Expo.” Rachael Shattock adds, “The programme covers the very latest topics and challenges within global counter terror and organised crime, and with real life case studies and first public appearances, I do believe we really have curated an educational agenda that cannot be missed. After a many months of virtually meeting on Zoom, the opportunity to learn from and network with industry peers and experts will be truly invaluable for all those who attend the event.”
As the vaccine roll-out proceeds, people across the UK are counting the days until we can get back to some kind of ‘new normal’. Just as we’ve seen in education and healthcare, the return to the workplace and other public spaces will be accompanied by enhanced sanitisation and social distancing measures. To make the return as swift and safe as possible, those of us involved with managing, building and constructing buildings should consider how we can help facilitate and support those measures. Regardless of how rigorously we impose social distancing measures, there will always be some areas where we can’t help coming into contact with each other. Sanitising door handles Doors, for example – and door locks and handles in particular – are shared by nearly everyone in a building. Even in large, open spaces, we all need to pass through a single entrance. We all use the same door handles and locks – and they provide ideal surfaces for bacteria to breed and transfer. Another solution is for staff to regularly sanitise door handles and locks One solution to this problem is to provide hand-sanitiser dispensers at each door and insist on their use. But this can be difficult to manage in larger buildings where there may be multiple doors and entrances used by both staff and visitors. People could ignore the sanitisation rules too. Another solution is for staff to regularly sanitise door handles and locks – but this is a resource intensive option and, again, is dependent on everyone maintaining good practice. Potentially harmful chemicals A longer-lasting way to deal with the risk of locks and door handles spreading disease is to treat them with an anti-viral coating. These coatings come in various forms. Some, for example, slowly release anti-bacterial chemicals, while others have antiviral properties actually built into the material or the coating. Those coatings with built-in antiviral properties tend to be longer-lasting and more effective, and also avoid the issue of releasing potentially harmful chemicals into the environment. A number of different solutions with built-in protection are currently in development, and some already available. Northumbria University, for example (as reported in last Month’s PSB Magazine), is working on a ‘super-hydrophobic’ coating for use on high-contact areas such as handrails and trolleys. Optional antiviral coating Codelocks is working on a coating that attaches biocides to nanoparticles Another British company, Smart Separations, is working on a coating that attaches biocides to nanoparticles, and can be applied to a wide variety of surfaces. While these anti-viral coatings are either still in development or only available to large corporate clients, others are already readily available. Access control solutions provider Codelocks, for example is currently offering an optional antiviral coating with all of its products. Clean by Codelocks is clear coating that uses nanotechnology that can kill bacteria in a matter of minutes. Clean by Codelocks utilises a process called photocatalytic oxidation. The surface of the coating reacts with light and converts harmful bacteria and germs into a non-toxic compound, resulting in a clean and hygienic surface. Chemical cleaning products The coating has been proven to eliminate the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (COVID-19) from surfaces within minutes and is resistant to chemical cleaning products, humidity, and UV exposure – all issues that can cause problems for traditional slow-release type coatings. It’s been said that COVID-19 has been a great technology accelerator. This has been proven true, not only in the areas of vaccine research and development, or in cloud and digital technology but even in everyday objects that we take for granted such as locks and door handles. By building anti-bacterial protection into access control solutions, we can make schools, surgeries, workplaces, leisure centres and other public spaces safer for all.
You are not alone: operators everywhere are asking themselves what are they going to do? How are they going to get back to business, and fast? How are they going to cost-effectively operate with all the new safety requirements that have arisen as a result of COVID? How are they going to ensure it all gets done for the safety of customers and staff? How are they going to protect their brand from the negative exposure of being identified as a property with a reputation for COVID? The economic impact of COVID is expected to hit brick and mortar businesses the worst, as their businesses are dependent on people being physically present. According to a recent report by RBC, it is estimated that 70% of Americans expect to avoid public spaces, 57% of Canadians will be unwilling to attend conferences without a vaccine and 63% of people will prefer to drive vs fly. This means, that for those of you in the business of travel, conferences, co-working spaces, retail stores, museums, art galleries, restaurants, sports arenas, hotels, cruises, airlines, resorts, theme parks, long-term care, education, etc. in the blink of an eye your approach to on-site safety just changed. To ensure your property is safe and secure, it is no longer just about access control, video surveillance and intruder alarms; it is also about sanitisation To get back to business and operating at full capacity after COVID, operations must find a way to eliminate the fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of their customers and employees. The affect of COVID-19 on safety and security To safely get back to business, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasis that all operations need a pandemic response planJust like cybersecurity has had a direct impact on the IT strategy and budget, COVID will have a direct hit on the operations strategy and budget. To ensure your property is safe and secure, it is no longer just about access control, video surveillance and intruder alarms; it is also about sanitisation, the lines between the security and maintenance just blurred. From customers, to employees, to government regulators, to management, the focus is now on operations and the sanitisation policies, procedures and actions of the team. To put this change of priority into perspective, six months ago, sanitisation was not top of mind for people. Why, because it was not a life or death issue, we had other first world problems to garner our attention. From an operations perspective if we enabled a sanitisation issue to become significant enough to impact the safety of customers and staff and therefore the brand, then that was an operational choice versus a mistake. Standards for sanitisation Just like cybersecurity has had a direct impact on the IT strategy and budget, COVID will have a direct hit on the operations strategy and budgetThe issue is, today while the operating priority of sanitisation has significantly increased, it is not measured and managed to the same standard as the other safety and security concerns across a business. Also, important to consider, while people may not hold an operation liable during this first wave, we can guarantee they are not going to be as understanding during the second wave or a future pandemic. To safely get back to business, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Health and Safety regulators emphasis that all operations need a pandemic response plan and should follow these simple guidelines: Develop your plan Implement your plan Maintain and revise your plan While this sounds simple enough, keep in mind that requirements are constantly evolving and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, or at least until all the research is in. To create an emergency response plan for a pandemic, properties must first determine what needs to be sanitised. The current requirements dictate that most surfaces and objects will just need a normal routine cleaning, it is only the frequently touched surfaces and objects like light switches and COVID has changed the game and made the digital transformation of operating procedures not a ‘nice-to-have’ but a must-havedoorknobs that will need to be cleaned and then disinfected to further reduce the risk of germs on surfaces and objects. The challenge is when you step back and consider what people touch in a day; the list quickly grows. After only 30 minutes, I easily came up with a list of over 60 items that one could call ‘high touch’! If you think about it, the list is extensive; telephones, doorknobs, drawer handles, counters, pens, keypads, computers, etc. and the list is only going to get longer as the research comes in. The challenge is when you step back and consider what people touch in a day; the list quickly grows Operating efficiency If we don’t change our ways, not only will we be doomed to continue making the same mistakes, but we will continue to be lost in paper and filing cabinetsTo scope the impact on operations as part of the plan, we must then find and identify all of those high touch things across the property. If we then combine that with the fact that CDC requires that all high touch locations must not only be cleaned more often, but that they also require that each location is first cleaned with soap and water, and then disinfected for one minute before finally being wiped down. This means a one-minute task just turned into a 4-minute task, that must now be completed multiple times a day. From a resourcing perspective this adds up quickly, and operating efficiency must be a priority. Not to mention it is going to get very complicated to measure and manage especially. Post COVID rules Getting back to business is going to be complicated; lots to do, lots of moving parts and no technology to help. The fundamental challenge to keep in mind is not that the sanitisation requirements have evolved, the real issue is that for most businesses this area has been left unchanged for generations. Still today most rely on checklists, logbooks and inspections to manage the responsibilities of our front-line workers, which might have been fine before COVID. Post-COVID the rules have changed and so should the approach to managing physical operating compliance on the front lines. COVID like most physical operating requirements is tactical, detailed and specific; broad strokes, the honor system and inspections are not going to cut it. The digital transformation COVID has changed the game and made the digital transformation of operating procedures not a ‘nice-to-have’ but a must-have. If we don’t change our ways, not only will we be doomed to continue making the same mistakes, but we will continue to be lost in paper, filing cabinets filled with checklists, never to be seen again. Only with the right data can we significantly improve the operational decisions necessary to accelerate our return to full operating capacity. At the end of the day, to fully recover, operations must eliminate the fear, uncertainty and doubt in the minds of customers and employees, only then can we really get back to business.
When we popped the champagne to celebrate the start of a new year in January, not many could predict that less than three months later, we’d be facing a global pandemic and the economic challenges that a worldwide lockdown would bring. In conversations over the last several weeks, reports from integrators have vacillated between being flush with work or fearful that projects were drying up — without a whole lot in the middle. But in these conversations, a central theme has emerged: diversification. My background was heavily rooted in security integration but in the last 10 years shifted to risk — both management and mitigation practices — and this emerged long before I began my career in security. It isn’t a new phenomenon for companies to be looking at the risk management strategies they had in place and rethinking their direction. This global pandemic, and the effects it has had on the workforce, has significantly altered what many organisations deem “normal” day-to-day operations, meaning that many organisations are asking one key question: “can my business withstand this?” The challenge exists in ensuring asset security For many end users, the challenge exists in ensuring asset security in locations that are experiencing low occupancy as a result of work-from-home policies or in vacant facilities altogether. For integrators, there is a balance between continuing to install projects while keeping the health and well-being of technicians and employees top-of-mind. Considering these factors, business resiliency in times of crisis can be built by integrators implementing the following strategies: Diversify the portfolio As an industry, it’s safe to say that the winds of change are beginning to shift away from solely “per project” to more recurring monthly revenue (RMR) business models — and today’s crisis may be the catalyst for more of this change. Integrators that embraced this model in the early days, despite the hurdles that a transition like this brings, are seeing the benefits of this move. In economic downturns, RMR allows an organisation to map out incoming revenue streams and ensures money will continue to come in despite restrictions on new products and investments from customers. Offer more service-based products Part of diversifying a portfolio involves engaging in a more service-based approach to business. Establishing a monitoring services department, integrating a cloud-based video and/or access control service into the mix, or bringing more system monitoring services in play can go a long way in offering more than hardware-driven sales. We’ve talked a lot in the last several years about so many organisations transitioning from large capital expenditures (CAPEX) to more operational expenditures (OPEX) and the opportunities this presents to integrators; now is the time for providers to harness this trend for the health of their business. Emphasise the management Through managed services, the value for the customer is that integrators take on the diagnostics, testing, remote monitoring and more — all via the cloud or hosted models, which means fewer “truck rolls” and costs associated. In the current environment, saving a visit to a site can help protect technicians. For new customers, the external management of a system can mean all the difference as there are a number of end users that don’t need a headache that legacy systems create as it relates to maintenance, updates and manpower oversight. Securing an integrator’s business can mean being able to serve customers by diagnosing and triaging issues quickly and highlighting the value provided in day-to-day management. Look at new vertical markets From a resilience perspective, critical infrastructure and government-related markets, such as water and energy, and local and municipal customers rarely see a reduction in spending amidst a downturn, which can make these markets a solid investment for integrators. While some of the regulatory requirements in place, such as adherence to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and GSA contract guidelines, may be daunting, the ability for firms to weather the storm by serving these markets can help integrators see continued success. Understand your books One of the first things that integrators must do before a crisis hits is to understand their balance sheet. So many integrator firms are built on the premise of being really exceptional at highly technical and complicated installations, which is why they are good at what they do. But the real challenge is the balance of this ability with the skills needed to grasp business continuity from a bookkeeping and planning perspective. Act as a consultant One of the biggest challenges for customers during a crisis is making quick decisions that can impact the rest of the organisation both in the short- and long-term. In the security environment and the status of where the world is currently, the needs customers had a month ago are far different than now, so acting as a consultant and working with them to address their concerns through existing technology — or recommending new solutions — can mean all the difference in building a relationship with existing customers or in working with new ones. Offer services that leverage existing investments So many customers out there today have invested heavily in video surveillance equipment and hardware that they want to ensure will be around for the long haul. Investing in new equipment can be a real hindrance in normal circumstances, much less those we’re currently facing, so it’s critical that more open solutions are offered to customers. For example, cloud-based video offerings that leverage existing cameras and allow end users to configure them with the touch of a button are a value-added benefit that can favour integrators in the long run. Continue training your staff Right now, while many integrators see a slow down taking place, it’s critical that those with the means to do so offer more value to end users by incorporating continued education and training for technicians. This can go a long way in making the services offered more appealing to customers. Integrators who set aside resources to train staff and encourage certifications are building a foundation for success. There’s no way that integrators can address the demands placed on them without investing in the people within their organisation. Integrators and security leaders are tasked now with the added complexity of navigating a worldwide crisis. While so many see the challenges ahead, there is opportunity within these challenges to take forward-thinking business practices and implement them on a broader scale. Doing so can have the potential to change the face of the industry as we know it.
An impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been to accelerate change. In 2020, the security industry was among many others that sought to adapt to shifting norms. In the process, we grabbed onto new opportunities for change and, in many cases, re-evaluated how we have done business for decades. If necessity is the mother of invention, perhaps crisis is the mother of acceleration. This article will reflect on how these themes impacted the physical security industry in 2020, based on content we published throughout the year, and with links back to the original articles. Sensitive data leakage Since the lockdown came into effect, organisations globally have undergone years' worth of transformations in a matter of months. Whether it has been to transition their operations online or moving their IT infrastructure to the cloud, there’s no denying that the face of business has changed permanently, experiencing a seismic shift, both operationally and culturally. As we enter the ‘next normal’ there remains a great deal of uncertainty around what the next 12 months holds and how organisations can navigate turbulence in the face of a possible recession. One of the most notable and widely reported trends has been the switch to remote methods of work, or home working. With so many employees logging on from residential networks, through personal devices that may be more easily compromised, the overall attack surface has greatly increased, raising the risk of potential corporate and sensitive data leakage in their new home office settings. Security and data protection are larger issues than ever. Good cybersecurity hygiene Criminals will use the crisis to scam people for money, account information and more" With a majority of the world working from home, businesses had to respond to this changing landscape. While it used to be that in-person networking events and sales pitches secured new projects or opportunities, the current landscape pushes businesses to be more creative in how they reach their customers. For example, with ISC West being postponed, many companies have turned to online resources to share new product demonstrations and other company news. Others are hosting webinars as a way to discuss the current climate and what it means for the industry. Without the proper precautions, working from home could become a cybersecurity nightmare, says Purdue University professor Marcus Rogers. “Criminals will use the crisis to scam people for money, account information and more,” he says. “With more people working from home, people need to make sure they are practicing good cybersecurity hygiene, just like they would at work. There is also a big risk that infrastructures will become overwhelmed, resulting in communication outages, both internet and cell.” Work-life balance In a typical office with an on-premise data centre, the IT department has complete control over network access, internal networks, data, and applications. The remote worker, on the other hand, is mobile. He or she can work from anywhere using a VPN. Until just recently this will have been from somewhere like a local coffee shop, possibly using a wireless network to access the company network and essential applications. There are many benefits of working remotely with productivity right up the top of the list There are many benefits of working remotely with productivity right up the top of the list. By reducing the unproductive time spent commuting and travelling to meetings, we are able to get much more done in a day. Add to this the reduction in stress and improved work-life balance and it makes for an impressive formula of happier, healthier and more motivated colleagues. And it’s still easy to measure results no matter where someone is working. Video conferencing platforms Trade shows have always been a basic element of how the security industry does business - until the year 2020, that is. This year has seen the total collapse of the trade show model as a means of bringing buyers and sellers face to face. The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively made the idea of a large trade show out of the question. The good news is that the industry has adapted well without the shows. A series of ‘on-line shows’ has emerged, driven by the business world’s increasing dependence on Zoom and other video conferencing platforms. The fact is, 2020 has provided plenty of opportunities for sellers to connect with buyers. Some of these sessions have been incredibly informative – and conveniently accessible from the comfort of a home office. Online training courses Online training has grown in popularity this year, and the change may become permanent Online training has grown in popularity this year, and the change may become permanent. “We have seen unprecedented international demand for our portfolio of online training courses ranging from small installation companies to the largest organisations, across a wide range of sectors,” says Jerry Alfandari, Group Marketing Manager of Linx International Group, a UK training firm. “More than ever, businesses are looking to ensure they have the skills in-house to coordinate their response to the changing situation. Individuals are also taking this time to upskill themselves for when we return to ‘normal’ by bringing something with them they didn’t have before. Perhaps unsurprisingly, people are still seeking to better themselves for what will be, eventually, a competitive market.” Virtual trade show ‘Crisis and the Everyday’ was part of Genetec’s Connect’DX virtual trade show last spring. The virtual conversation – emphasising both in form and content the topsy-turvy state of the world – included interesting insights on the current pandemic and its near- and long-term impact on the industry. In the middle of this pandemic, there is an opportunity to help security reinvent itself “In the middle of this pandemic, there is an opportunity to help security reinvent itself,” said Brad Brekke, Principal, The Brekke Group, one of the panelists. “Amid the business disruption, we should ask ‘what’s the new playbook?’ It’s an opportunity for security to look at ourselves now and look at a business plan of what the future might look like. We need to align with the business model of the corporation and define our role more around business and not so much around security.” Cloud-based platform As a cloud-based platform for service providers in the security, smart home and smart business markets, Alarm.com adapted quickly to changing conditions during the coronavirus pandemic. In the recent dynamic environment, Alarm.com has kept focus on supporting their service provider partners so they can keep local communities protected. “We moved quickly to establish work-from-home protocols to protect our employees and minimise impact on our partners,” says Anne Ferguson, VP of Marketing at Alarm.com. The Customer Operations and Reseller Education (CORE) team has operated without interruption to provide support to partners. Sales teams are utilising webinars and training resources to inform and educate partners about the latest products, tools, and solutions. Alarm.com’s partner tools are essential for remote installations and support of partner accounts.
As the new Chief Executive Officer of Milestone Systems, Thomas Jensen pledges to continue the company’s focus on protecting people and assets and to help organisations gain insight and optimise their business processes. Seeking to fulfil Milestone’s mission to ‘Make the World See,’ Jensen will maintain Milestone’s approach of being an open video management system (VMS) platform and having an open company culture. End-user communities “I will also be working to expand Milestone’s VMS into new areas and applications —for example, to monitor beach erosion as the climate continues to warm up around the world,” says Jensen. “I believe the future of VMS is about bridging the gap between security and applications that go beyond security.” Jensen’s previous experience in the IT industry contributes to his understanding of the entire channel Jensen’s previous experience in the IT industry contributes to his understanding of the entire channel. His experience as a generalist – extending beyond IT – enables understanding of the business side of things in addition to the skills, strengths and motivations of the people who work at Milestone, its channel, partner networks and the end-user communities. People-first approach “One crucial thing my career taught me is the importance of your team members,” he says. “A former manager once told me that success is the sum of the success of your team. And, luckily, Milestone already has a strong culture and people-first approach. This is one of the things that attracted me to this job.” The new CEO plans to spend his first 90 days building relationships and getting to know the company and the team members. He will be present in conversations with all Milestone people as well as partners and system integrators. “I want to ensure there is continuity and resilience so that my joining Milestone is a seamless transition,” Jensen says. “Furthermore, my focus will be to further build on the strengths of Milestone to create long-term sustainable growth.” Video-enabled insights Jensen sees security through two lenses: on one hand, protecting people and property, and on the other, providing video-enabled insights for public and private companies to be able to make better decisions. On the protection side, businesses have room to grow as technologies move to provide more affordable, more powerful, and more interoperable solutions. A transformative element in the future evolution of video management is the cloud Regarding video-enabled insights, there is great potential, and Milestone is forging deeper relationships with partners and system integrators of important verticals such as cities, education, transportation, and retail. A transformative element in the future evolution of video management is the cloud, which will advance the deployment of technologies across the board. Best software integrations “I will be spending time working with our organisation and partners to evolve Milestone’s cloud strategy and cloud partnerships to address the opportunities that lie ahead,” says Jensen. “I also think that Milestone’s belief in being open and giving integrators and end-users the freedom to choose the best software integrations available in the market is a philosophy that we've held dear from the very beginning — and this will become critical in the future as VMS solutions continue to evolve.” Safer business environment As the COVID-19 pandemic has raged on, Milestone Systems has continued its operation as usual, deploying safety measurements as needed to protect both employees and the partners they work with. COVID-19 has impacted everyone, every business and every government and organisation around the world, says Jensen. We’re working with our partners to design a safer business environment with VMS-enabled solutions" “I think it taught us all a lesson in empathy and how we need to respect differences in behaviour, regulations and compliance, customs and even each other,” he says. “At Milestone, we’re working with our partners to design a safer business environment with VMS-enabled solutions for social distancing, queue management, and contact tracing.” Creating security solutions “The past 50 years of digital technology and the past 20 years of IP technology have taught us that technologies eventually converge, and in some cases merge,” says Jensen. “Sometimes functions merge and channels converge, other times it’s the networks that come closer together, but none of this is absolute and universal.” “This is why we need to listen and learn from each other and be respectful of differences in the industry and the channel—particularly cultural and regional differences.” Jensen adds: “The technology company of the future — which I believe Milestone is becoming — will not dictate solutions but will instead partner with IT and security stakeholders to create security solutions that meet each customer’s unique challenge and environment.”
Many employers faced a need to ramp up hiring of drivers to meet a higher demand for product deliveries and transportation logistics during the COVID-19 pandemic. To meet the demand for drivers, employers had to make quick hiring decisions while also ensuring products were still being delivered in a timely fashion. Safe work environment Businesses have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for their employees and contractors. It is therefore important to limit exposing drivers to risk, to put in place proper safety and security protocols, and to clearly outline them in company policies. Whether an employee or contractor, these drivers represent the brand they work for. If they do not adhere to company-mandated safety and security rules, because the business did not make them aware or they intentionally did not comply by acting with malice, this can put the drivers, other employees, customers and the company at risk financially, legally and with regard to their reputation. Adherence to safety protocols Operating in haste typically results in forced errors and mistakes within the business" “This need to hire drivers quickly resulted in many businesses lowering their standards and accepting certain risks to meet the increased demand. Operating in haste typically results in forced errors and mistakes within the business, potentially leading to harmful events and a damaged brand reputation,” stated Thomas Kopecky, Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Founder, Ontic Technologies (Ontic), a unified protective intelligence software platform. In the conversation presented below, Kopecky outlines the safety and compliance requirements needed to manage the risks while meeting the demand for drivers. Q: What risks do employers face as they ramp up hiring to meet higher demand for drivers? Thomas Kopecky: There have been instances in which a transportation contractor with multiple violations has simply established the business under a new name but continues to operate dangerously. Hastily hiring such a firm without proper enhanced vetting increases the risk from a safety, as well as a business continuity standpoint. Having to terminate a contract and replace a contractor midway can also have significant financial repercussions. In addition to problems created by executing too quickly, employers are now required both to mitigate their own general liability risks and to manage the perceived risk they may create due to the pandemic. For example, if a delivery driver tests positive for COVID-19, there is the potential they have also exposed customers. Employers must consider contactless delivery or other methods and protocols to mitigate this presumed risk of the pandemic. Q: What are the elements of safety and compliance involved in onboarding new drivers? Thomas Kopecky: When onboarding new drivers, corporations must think about more than clean background checks and adequate infrastructure. Whether employees or contractors, organisations must focus on what other risks the drivers bring with them. As part of this review, an open source scrub should be conducted at the outset to discover the driver’s online activity. Through this exercise, a whole host of questions can be addressed including, for example, whether their morals and values align with those of the company. Are they involved with fringe or radical interest groups? Do their actions conflict with the culture of the organisation, and could they have a negative impact? These are all questions that employers should be considering when hiring new drivers or contracting a new company. Q: What tools are available to help companies vet their driver fleets and how can these tools make a difference? Employers should also consider State Business Records for potential red flags Thomas Kopecky: To vet their driver fleets, corporations can use several tools and resources that will strengthen the organisation’s overall security. Ideally this is a software platform that brings all this information into one place so vetting, real-time data and concerning activities are not siloed but can be connected in order to assess potential risks and threats. Logically, businesses should consider reviewing Department of Transportation Records, which allow organisations to check whether drivers are licenced and appropriately insured. Employers should also consider State Business Records for potential red flags, such as whether an organisation is delinquent or no longer functioning in a given state. Finally, it’s beneficial to review civil records as these can highlight any active or past cases associated with an organisation. This includes fraud, bankruptcy, poor business practices, and more. Q: What should be the standard methodology to investigate and collect data on new driver programs? Thomas Kopecky: Corporate culture and company policies impact the level of vetting required (determined by company policy), which varies from business to business. Quite often, most valuable investigative content is associated with an actual fleet company owner and not a recently created business entity so it behooves corporations to research this information first. Then verify the information provided is correct, and whether any other conflicting information exists. As previously noted, employers should review civil and criminal records at the state level and cases at the federal level, as it is often the fleet company or owner involved in litigation that could reflect negatively on a brand. Media coverage and consumer complaints are another critical source for negative mentions that may not always appear in public records. You should also ask if the Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates this contract or driver; and if they were once a provider and are now re-applying, is it under a new name? If the answer is yes to either question, it will be necessary to check DOT records for adequate licencing or insurance coverage to ensure providers applying under a new name aren’t trying to circumvent the vetting process. Q: What are the privacy concerns, and how can potential employers ensure they do not violate issues of privacy as they vet drivers (and/or other employees)? Businesses must conduct their operations in a fair, lawful, and transparent manner Thomas Kopecky: Businesses must conduct their operations in a fair, lawful, and transparent manner. Employers often dictate their own guidelines and requirements from company to company. Companies must ensure they follow the law and handle data used for vetting driver fleets in a manner compliant with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). When utilising software platforms, those that aggregate public record data in real-time and efficiently to provide actionable insights will be key for protecting corporate driver fleets and businesses overall. Q: How is addressing these issues different in the case of a contracted service versus a company employee? Thomas Kopecky: Addressing these issues will vary from company to company, but it will be important for clients' legal counsel to help interpret the law in the respective state they operate in and make this final determination. This will help shape policy and the employer’s compliance requirements in the area of operation. In some jurisdictions, contractors are vetted and treated like employees who are protected by FCRA. In contrast, there are more broad interpretations of what level of vetting and continuous monitoring can take place on contractors versus employees in other jurisdictions. Q: What is at risk if companies fail to address these issues? Thomas Kopecky: If companies fail to address security issues with managing their driver fleets, they risk major liability, business continuity and brand reputation. Every employee and contractor is in essence an ambassador of the brand, and in many instances, they are the only customer-facing representative for the enterprise. Imagine you are a contractor driving for a major delivery service. If you were to get into an accident and tragically kill someone driving their branded truck, the repercussions of that accident would harm the brand as opposed to the small contracting company by which you are employed. This can have a disastrous impact on the enterprise, both from a reputation and financial standpoint. When proactive steps are not taken to evaluate fleet companies or their owners, this can be viewed as negligence. Consider another example: A brand hires a driver company that has committed fraud while operating under another company’s name. What is the brand’s cost to conduct an initial onboarding assessment of this company versus the cost of investigating an issue, terminating the contract, and dealing with any potential litigation that might follow? The latter is clearly the financial burden. Corporations must proactively address risk associated with their driver fleets to mitigate risk before it occurs. Q: What is the biggest misconception (in the industry and/or the public at large) about employee vetting requirements? Enhanced vetting today often includes looking into a contractor’s background or its company Thomas Kopecky: We have passed the days where everything is all about criminal background checks and instant alerts when a driver receives a DUI. We are entering a world where business continuity and resiliency are necessary. Companies are so reliant on contracted services or seasonal employee pools that if that roster of operators were found to be unsuitable, the business itself would not meet the demands of its customers. Before the digital age, people only understood the driver vetting process to be based around a search of felony convictions. Enhanced vetting today often includes looking into a contractor’s background or its company from a different vantage point. Employers must begin to think about litigation history, negative media coverage and vocal social platforms, history of poor business practices or fraud, and more. These are factors that need to be considered for a business to mitigate risk and maintain continuity of service in an era where timeliness and instant gratification are highly valued.
As part of a wider regeneration of Plymouth, Teats Hill, known as the ‘unforgotten corner’ recently underwent a much-needed transformation. The residents’ call for change instigated Plymouth City Council, partnering with several local organisations including Plymouth and Exeter Universities, Blue Health, and the National Marine Aquarium. Together, they selected five sites across the city to benefit, to improve the quality of life for the local community. Current building regulations In Teats Hill, an existing play area was restored. It now boasts brand new equipment to reflect its marine location and heritage. An amphitheatre was also constructed to host educational activities, public events, and performances. Alongside the development, Teats Hill flats, built in the late 1930s, were renovated by Mi-space Construction. The flats offer unrivalled sea views and are situated in a prized location near the National Marine Aquarium. The demarcation wall surrounding the flats was over this height and therefore needed securing Despite this, the building had been neglected for many years and consequently had fallen into disrepair. The flats were also not compliant with current building regulations, as it is a legal requirement for any wall over 600mm high to have a handrail of at least 1100mm high, to protect people from falling. The demarcation wall surrounding the flats was over this height and therefore needed securing with adequate fencing. Polyester powder coating Jackson Fencing’s Sentry® Residential railings were specified for the project. These were installed on top of the wall by Chiffi Group Ltd, Constructionline Gold Member fence contractors. The tubular construction and welded stopped pale-through-rail design meant these railings provided a strong but lightweight safety fencing solution. The building’s original features needed to be carefully considered and preserved during the renovation. This made these metal railings the ideal solution, designed specifically to offer a more fitting, modern alternative to traditional wrought iron railings, while providing the same elegant appearance. The railings are hot-dipped galvanised inside and out, to ensure long-lasting protection against rust and corrosion. Finally, a black polyester powder coating was added to provide a durable and attractive solution that would match the renewed aesthetic of the building. Robust fencing option The Sentry residential railings are manufactured carefully to ensure long-lasting protection" Crucially, the pale spacing of the railings conforms to building regulations, which state that a 100mm sphere should not be able to pass between pales, to prevent a trap hazard, which is particularly essential in areas where children are present. Peter Jackson, Jacksons Fencing Managing Director, comments: “As the UK and its urban centres continue to grow, making residents feel safe and secure in their local area is essential. It’s encouraging to see this community was supported by government at the local level, as councils work to improve the lives of their communities.” “We were pleased to be a part of this regeneration project, providing a robust fencing option that was also in keeping with the desired aesthetic. As with all our steel products, the Sentry residential railings are manufactured carefully to ensure long-lasting protection so they withstand the test of time. Moreover, we know from experience that these manufacturing techniques will also help to significantly reduce the long-term costs for repairs and replacements, leaving maintenance budgets for the local area available for other necessities.”
In an increasingly sophisticated business environment, clients need law firms that have the experience and depth to handle significant matters. This law firm in California is staffed by attorneys who offer diverse legal, business and governmental backgrounds. Its practice areas are focused on specific legal disciplines, but the firm also has teams that are equipped to address the needs of particular industries, including healthcare, banking and finance, gaming, environmental, manufacturing, governmental, and pharmaceutical, and telecommunications. Ensuring continued protection When the law firm relocated its corporate headquarters to a new building three years ago, founding partners knew they would need to invest in technology, education, and services to ensure top-tier security and security measures. It had previously worked in a space in which security was managed centrally across the building but now it had to develop its own program. The management team quickly realised that they were not interested in building their own security team Stakeholders were not only interested in managing access to the facility, it also wanted to ensure that alarms, video, and security operations were managed by experts to ensure continued protection across physical and network infrastructure. As they were evaluating options, the management team quickly realised that they were not interested in building their own security team from scratch. Rather, they wanted to work with an expert team that could quickly bring their security efforts up to par. Security systems monitoring The law firm connected with Ryan Schonfeld, Founder, and CEO of risk management services and operations firm RAS Watch. After speaking with Schonfeld and he provided an overview of what a robust security effort should entail, the firm quickly identified a plan. “RAS Watch provided us with the expertise we needed to quickly determine what our security efforts should entail,” the founding partner said. “The entire team are experts in what they do, they understand the changing risk landscape, are experienced and proactive, and therefore, were the ideal choice to support our efforts.” The corporation contracted with RAS Watch to deliver a managed service security program that provides training, risk assessments, security systems monitoring, alarm management, and more. Managed service operations RAS Watch is a unique managed service operations and risk mitigation centre RAS Watch is a unique managed service operations and risk mitigation centre, offering companies the opportunity to benefit from a mission-critical security program without investing significant capital, allocating real estate, administering technology, or managing a comprehensive operation. The RAS Watch suite of services uses state-of-the-art tools to protect a company's people, assets, and brand, providing actionable intelligence in real-time through a service-based security program model. While RAS Watch offers a wide range of services and solutions, the organisation opted for a layered approach to security — one that incorporated monitoring services, crisis training, and remote SOC support. The training was rolled out in stages, first to the law firm’s leadership team and then to managers and employees. Employees continuously learn how to deal with potential security issues, de-escalation techniques, and how to respond in an active shooter incident. Emergency mass communications RAS Watch also operates as the legal team’s security operations centre from a separate facility along with educating and training staff. The SOC is online 24/7, allowing operators to coordinate with the alarm company, provide information and assistance for any security concerns or questions, and handle emergency mass communications and responses for the firm. In early 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic began to impact California, RAS Watch was also able to help address concerns about COVID-19. It offered the company ideas on integrating wellness protocols with existing security plans and taking advantage of technology to simplify processes. "RAS Watch has gone above and beyond to help us ensure the safety and security of our facility," the partner said. "We value their insight, ideas, and suggestions, and they have become an integral part of our business."
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.
Midway Car Rental, the privately-owned car rental company in Southern California, caters to both an exclusive and expansive clientele, including VIPs, high-end hotels, and replacement vendors like dealerships and body shops. The company currently owns and operates 15 locations and has aggressive plans for expansion, with 6 or 7 more sites planned for this calendar year. Challenges faced With a portfolio that includes Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Jaguars, Midway can have up to a million dollars of assets parked on any of its lots. Some of the company’s newest locations lack secure perimeter fencing. Sean Perez, Midway’s General Manager, says, “We needed to protect our vehicles, but even more importantly, we had to ensure the safety of our employees and clients.” The problem became acute when Midway opened a new location to provide loaner and replacement vehicles for an adjacent dealership partner. Prior to Midway’s arrival, the lot had been populated by vagrants and the homeless who would sleep in and around the cars parked there. “When we took over the property, we needed to provide a safe and secure environment where we could conduct business,” Perez explains. “There were issues with vandalism and graffiti. Some of the displaced homeless would get aggressive. We needed a proactive solution – a way to stop these incidents from happening rather than trying to prosecute the individuals after the damage was done.” Expansion opportunities Traditionally, Midway’s properties have been less exposed, with electronically secure gates or fences that restrict access. However, as Midway’s expansion plans include growing alignment with business partners like dealerships, many future sites will likely face similar security challenges. To address this situation, the company sought: A scalable system that could grow incrementally with Midway’s expansion Flexible technology that could be moved to new sites with minimal effort A technology partner capable of servicing and supporting a long-term solution The ability to outsource monitoring services in the near future “I tend to be conservative,” says Perez. “I wanted to start off slow and then, when comfortable that we’d found both the right partner and technology, have the ability to really scale up.” Solution recommended Midway Car Rental deployed ROSA units, Responsive Observation Security Agents, manufactured by Robotic Assistance Devices (RAD). “I have to tell you, I was a bit skeptical at first about these ROSA units,” says Perez. “You can stick an armed guard out there, but the idea that a technology device could provide both consistent monitoring and serve as a deterrent system seemed like a stretch. However, our two ROSAs are really helping us protect our assets. In very short order, our problem decreased and our situation has improved dramatically.” AI-based ROSA solution ROSA is a compact, self-contained, security and communication solution that can be deployed in about 15 minutes ROSA is a compact, self-contained, security and communication solution that can be deployed in about 15 minutes. Its AI-driven security systems include human and vehicle detection, license plate recognition, responsive digital signage and audio messaging, and complete integration with RAD’s software suite notification and response library. Two-way communication is optimised for cellular, including live video from ROSA’s dual high-resolution, full-colour, always-on cameras. “The folks from RAD sent out an engineer to help us determine where to mount the ROSA units by identifying areas on our site that are most exposed to potential vandalism or other threats,” says Perez. The devices are highly visible, featuring scrolling LED text, colorful neon ribbons, and two video cameras. Automated detection and response ROSA may be programmed to display welcome messages or marketing messages during business hours, along with a reminder to visitors that the property is under surveillance. When it detects the motion of humans or vehicles on the lot, it sends an alert to Perez and his team along with an associated video clip, keeping them well informed of activity happening in real-time. During off-hours, ROSA's automated response kicks in. Its friendly daytime messaging is replaced with a more stern warning to trespassers. Upon detecting a human or moving vehicle, ROSA responds with flashing red lights and a visual warning to vacate the property immediately. If ROSA continues to detect a presence, more lights, sirens, and a pre-recorded audio message add a sense of urgency. Monitoring personnel, who have been alerted of the event and have access to live video, can also issue pointed commands over ROSA's loudspeaker. Ultimately, if the police must be summoned, the encounter has been thoroughly documented and recorded. Effective security Perez describes ROSA's effectiveness as a deterrent. "I've watched when people encounter the system. Initially, their reaction is one of shock and awe. When the unit goes off with its lights flashing and they hear those verbal commands, they’re terrified. They look like they've seen a ghost. Literally, in less than ten days after we put those things out, the word had spread to stay away. The vagrants were gone. It was like night and day." Independent monitoring Currently, Midway's management has chosen to monitor the system themselves. Perez explains, "Initially, I was getting alerts somewhat often, but they quickly tapered off. At this point, they're infrequent. With just these two units in place, plus two more scheduled to go up in Newport Beach in the coming weeks, we can handle the monitoring independently.” “Within the next year or two, as we open new locations and add more units, we'll take advantage of RAD's monitoring services. We had that in mind when we went this route – that with our continued growth, we would eventually leverage that option." Customer-friendly solution The system is very intuitive and customer-friendly "The system is very intuitive and customer-friendly," adds Perez. "I've used other systems that are really cumbersome. The RAD SOC dashboard is nothing like that. The ease-of-use is amazing." So is the deployment process. As ROSA requires nothing more than the power to operate, it is truly plugged and play. "We had them installed and received training all within a few hours on one day," says Perez. "We haven't run into any issues, but if we do, the relationship we've built with the RAD team is so good that I can call on them at any time for assistance. They are very, very customer-centric." Evaluating ROI Midway Car Rental quantifies the value ROSA delivers in several ways, including monetarily, a reduction in crime, and improved peace of mind. Perez elaborates, "Thanks to the ROSA units, we've addressed all sorts of issues. Damage to vehicles, graffiti on the exterior of the building, the homeless tampering with our electrical outlets to charge their phones, trash left around the property – that’s all gone since we put the ROSAs in. There are also important intangibles that you really can't put a price tag on, like an improvement in employee well-being and productivity because our staff now feels safe at work." Easy installation RAD's cloud-based software simplifies the management of multi-site systems The system's scalability and flexibility ensure that Midway's investment will continue to pay dividends. Perez says, "We're growing so fast, we're trying to put flagpoles in the markets where we identify a need, but that doesn't mean we're locking ourselves into long-term leases." "Down the road, if we decide to move locations, our ROSAs move with us. We heavily factored their ability to easily install, uninstall, and re-install when deciding to go with this technology." Consistent with Midway's plans, RAD's cloud-based software simplifies the management of multi-site systems. As new Midway locations open and ROSA units are installed, management and monitoring of all devices can occur through one login to the centralized RAD SOC dashboard. Alert notifications include the location of the activated unit. RAD’s additional services In addition to ROSA, RAD offers a suite of other products that share the same platform for delivering automated remote services, including some that are more appropriate for indoor use. Should Midway encounter new security challenges in the future, they can expand their system with other RAD devices. "For now, ROSA is what fits our needs best, but I've seen some of those other units, and they look pretty cool," says Perez. ROSA subscription Midway uses the ROSA units through RAD's subscription model. The company pays a low monthly fee that covers unlimited use of the devices, software and software updates, maintenance, and technical support. Their out-of-pocket equals a small fraction of what hiring a security guard would cost. When asked whether Perez recommends the system to others, his answer is concise. "It's a no-brainer!" he laughs. "Knock-on-wood, we've been near without incident for the four months since the ROSAs went up. I attribute that to the units' effectiveness."
One of the largest universities in the capital, London South Bank University, commissioned Optyma Security Systems to upgrade its access control database with SALTO SPACE management software. London South Bank University (LSBU) is one of London’s largest and oldest universities. Since 1892 it has been improving the lives of students, businesses, and the local community. As a cosmopolitan university with over 18,000 students, it draws people from over 130 countries. Incumbent security specialists The university has two Campuses and four Halls of Residences, these being: Southwark Campus based at Elephant and Castle and consisting of numerous separate buildings and Havering Campus in Essex. They also have a third campus opening in September 2021 in Croydon. Optyma have been the incumbent security specialists providing maintenance Following a site review, it was recommended that the current SALTO system should be upgraded to the latest versions. Optyma have been the incumbent security specialists providing maintenance and reactive repairs for the CCTV, access control, and integrated intruder alarms across the whole campus since 2017. They also provide support with the integration of the access control and student enrolment/service databases. Potential blacklisting problems For this exercise, the principal aims were to: eliminate any potential blacklisting problems; bring the existing technology up to date; future proof the system, and install a web-based solution to allow for easier access. To achieve this, work was carried out at LSBU during the lockdown period to ensure downtime was kept to a minimum, with SALTO extracting all information required to be replicated in the new database and then incorporating and rebuilding a new database for the customer. SPACE was installed on the new SALTO server and connected to the rebuilt database. Optyma engineers then carried out the initialisation of all hardware and re-enrolment of user cards across the campus. Access control technology SALTO’s SPACE smart access control technology platform is a fully integrated electronic locking and software solution that brings seamless access to every door in any building in an efficient, safe, secure, and accessible way. It provides an intuitive user-centric software interface that makes it simple and secure to incorporate access control It provides an intuitive user-centric software interface that makes it simple and secure to incorporate access control for any type of building size or user need. It’s powerful and flexible software allows each system operator to set up their own preferences: capabilities and security level, language settings, and others. It also offers several ways to integrate with third-party systems. This includes interfaces and APIs for connecting SALTO smart lock technology to video surveillance, vehicle access, biometrics, time & attendance, escape door control systems, intrusion alarm, and more. Ensuring seamless integration The new database now enables the university to easily manage and secure its access plan across all its facilities from a single point if needed. Their new SALTO SPACE software is designed to be easy and intuitive to use, allowing system administrators to manage doors and user keys in just a few easy steps, and in real-time. Optyma’s Managing Director, Ian Broadbridge, says: “Optyma are proud to continue to help keep our major educational establishments such as LSBU, safe and secure. Our team of skilled engineers and highly trained technical support staff worked closely with them, as our valued partners in the education sector, to ensure seamless integration and a fully functioning system without disruption to the universities essential work.”
Round table discussion
In-person training sessions were mostly canceled during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the need for training continued, and in some cases increased, as the security industry sought to adapt to the changing business climate of a global emergency. So how well did we as an industry adjust? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How has security industry training changed in the last year?
When technology performs a required task effectively, there is little reason to upgrade to the ‘next big thing’. In this regard, the physical security market is notoriously slow to change. Much of yesterday’s most robust and dependable equipment is still in place at thousands of customer sites, still performing as well as the day it was installed. However, there comes a point when any technology becomes outdated. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Which security technologies are becoming outdated or obsolete?
Internet-based training has long provided a less-expensive alternative to in-person classroom time. There are even universities that provide most or all of their instruction online. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has expanded acceptance even more and increased usage of internet-based meeting and learning tools. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How can remote or internet-based training benefit the physical security market?
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