The DIY system, launched by Edinburgh-based Boundary (Boundary Technologies), was designed and created by a team of experts, brought together by Boundary, to solve the problems associated with traditional alarm systems and using cutting-edge technology thinking.
Grade 2 UK certification
Having passed a programme of rigorous pre-compliance testing, Boundary is currently pending certification (expected to be signed off end Q1) to Grade 2 UK & European alarm testing standards, which not only means that the alarm is robust and performs reliably, but that it is also tamper-proof to would-be burglars.
Grade 2 UK & European alarm testing standard certification is also one of the requirements of insurers, as well as the police for an automatic level 1 priority response.
Boundary, the DIY system
The DIY version (no police, self-monitored) of the alarm system, Boundary Technologies is simple to install
The DIY version (no police, self-monitored) of the alarm system, Boundary Technologies is simple to install and can be easily controlled from a smartphone, meaning that the owner has full control over their siren no matter where they are. It can be integrated with existing smart home systems, including Alexa and Google Home.
In addition to being fully controllable from a smartphone, the Boundary smart home security system gives protection against all known threats, with intelligent sensors designed to minimise false alarms (including those caused by pets).
End-to-end data encryption
Users are given a choice of protection levels, in order to give them control, including a key-holder option. Boundary systems use the same end-to-end encryption of data as internet banking applications, with over-the-air security updates ensuring maximum protection.
Unlike similar products of its kind in the market, Boundary is built to last, with a lifespan of seven years. What’s more, the system uses advanced algorithms and technology to check the system remotely, including battery life which, in the sensors, should last over a year.
Flexibility and connectivity in security alarm systems
Boundary is spearheaded by the duo that disrupted the payments markets with successful FinTech business, IPOS. IPOS was sold to iZettle, later acquired by Paypal.
After identifying a gap in the market for a smart home security system that offers flexibility and connectivity at a reasonable price, Robin Knox and Paul Walton started to explore how technology could be used to disrupt the market for traditional hard-wired burglar alarms.
Boundary smart home security systems
Boundary home security systems will become the only truly ‘smart’ alarm system to meet the UK and European alarm standards
Boundary home security systems will become the only smart alarm in the United Kingdom that are accurate enough to provide an automatic police response and the only truly ‘smart’ alarm system to meet the UK and European alarm standards.
Despite suffering setbacks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Boundary managed to pull a funding round of £ 1.7 million in 2020 and is launching their product in the market against the odds in 2021.
Leveraging AI to protect homes
Commenting on the launch, Robin Knox, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Founder of Boundary Technologies (Boundary) said, “2020 has been a year full of challenges, not least launching a highly regulated consumer hardware product in the middle of pandemic induced supply chain challenges. I’m thankful to our customers, team, investors and suppliers for their hard work and support to Boundary.”
Robin Knox adds, “With home improvement still at the top of many people’s priorities, we’re optimistic for 2021 and are already looking forward to the launch of our second product, which will leverage AI (Artificial Intelligence) to proactively protect homes.”
Johnson Controls, a global provider of smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, announced it has joined The Climate Pledge, a commitment co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism. Signatories of the Pledge commit to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2040, ten years ahead of the goal set out in the United Nations’ Paris Climate Agreement.
Johnson Controls is one of 53 organisations that have now signed the Pledge, and the move comes hot on the heels of the company’s announcement of new environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments, science-based targets, and its own net-zero carbon pledge. The pact will see Johnson Controls partner with other industry leaders to uncover new pathways to meet common environmental and sustainability goals.
Paris Agreement’s goal
Sustainability is at the heart of our business and fundamental to everything we do as a company"
“Sustainability is at the heart of our business and fundamental to everything we do as a company,” said George Oliver, Johnson Controls chairman and CEO. “Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the planet today. Our recent announcement to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 through innovations and technologies such as our OpenBlue platform, further demonstrates our commitment to protect and preserve the environment."
"We are looking forward to further enhancing the role we can play by working with Amazon, Global Optimism, and other signatories to reach net-zero carbon a decade before the important Paris Agreement’s goal.”
Critical climate challenges
The Climate Pledge allows signatories to share access to technologies, best practices, and innovations in supply chain enhancements, and create joint action to address the most critical climate challenges. Specifically, signatories pledge to accelerate the path to net zero by agreeing to regular reporting on greenhouse gas emissions, carbon elimination, and credible offsets.
Johnson Controls has a long-standing business relationship with Amazon and has been working with the company since 2008. “As the U.S. takes an important step forward in the fight against climate change by officially rejoining the Paris Agreement this week, I am excited to welcome 20 new companies to The Climate Pledge who want to go even faster,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder and CEO.
Streamline building operations
The company is focused on empowering customers streamline building operations
“Amazon co-founded The Climate Pledge in 2019 to encourage companies to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early, and we’re seeing incredible momentum behind the pledge with 53 companies from 18 industries across 12 countries already joining. Together, we can use our collective scale to help decarbonise the economy and preserve Earth for future generations.”
Johnson Controls’ participation in Th e Climate Pledge reinforces its mission to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places, and the planet. As a leader in the buildings space for 135 years, and a pioneer in sustainability, the company is focused on empowering customers and communities to streamline building operations and deliver energy efficiencies that will help them meet their environmental goals.
Clean energy solutions
Johnson Controls is driving sustainability across its entire value chain by focusing on clean energy solutions, people, partnerships, performance, and governance. It is ranked in the top 12 percent of climate leadership companies globally by CDP and was named one of Corporate Knights’ Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies.
Mobile credentials are set to become the mainstream choice for access control in office buildings as a new generation of workers are forcing employers and landlords to prioritise fast, secure and convenient access via their smartphones.
Omdia predicts annual downloads of mobile credentials worldwide rising from 20 million in 2020 to 120 million by 2023 and 150 million in 2024. It is particularly bullish about Bluetooth, which it predicts to grow by more than three times the speed of the next highest-growth type of access control reader over the next four years (by 119% to 2024, which must not be ignored).
Smart building technology
This rings true taking into account the CBRE study, where nearly half of employees (49%) said that they would like to use digital solutions in the office, but that they are not widely accessible for them, and 30% of companies seeing smart building technology as a factor in choosing a building.
Featuring 2N specialists, the online event will explore the key features of the new technology
To help building managers and system integrators understand the benefits of the new patented mobile access technology, 2N is hosting a live webinar on 25th February. Featuring 2N specialists, the online event will explore the key features of the new technology including the new slimline office-focused access unit – where to use it and how this solution can address the needs of proposed and existing office buildings.
Integrated access system
Matt Raban, Distribution Manager for the UK and Ireland at 2N, said: “Developers in the UK realise that an integrated access system combined with a smartphone application will be the future of technologically advanced office buildings. In this country, it will become a competitive advantage for forward thinking building designers and facility managers.”
“Our new technology couples near-instant responsiveness with intelligent security and will become the most reliable mobile access solution on the market.” The 2N On Air webinar takes place on Thursday 25th February at 15:00 CET. Speakers include Chief Sales Officer, Tomas Klima, and Chief Product Officer, Tomas Vystavel.
ADT has reached a milestone as its award-winning smart home security platform, ADT Command & Control, surpassed 1 million installations this month. This milestone was achieved less than two years after Command & Control’s nationwide introduction in 2019 as the successor to ADT Pulse, the first widely adopted smart home security system.
ADT Command & Control
More than 3 million ADT customers now enjoy the convenience and peace of mind provided by an ADT interactive smart home security system. ADT Command integrates security with smart home convenience to create a smarter and safer home or workplace.
Whether it is through the ADT Command panel or on the ADT Control mobile app, the Command & Control system integrates with more than 150 devices to help fit every customer’s needs and lifestyle, at home and in the workplace.
For decades, the nature of global safety has been evolving. From physical security threats like large-scale terrorist attacks and lone actor stabbings to chemical threats such as the Salisbury poisonings and even microbiological threats such as COVID-19, new challenges are constantly arising and the threat landscape we operate in today is constantly changing.
Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks. With the economic downturn, there is the traditional rise in theft, violence and other crimes. Compound this with unmanned businesses and work-at-home staff, and there is a perfect storm for a rise in security threats.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), was already causing widespread disruption in many industries, including the security industry. AI has been a driving force to replace labour-based business models with integrated data and actionable intelligence that is context-aware. It has become apparent that AI will play a big part in the ongoing fight against both pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other threats that we may face in the future.
With all of this in mind, 2021 is poised to be a big year for AI growth. While AI is going to continue to impact our lives in dozens of ways, from smart sensors to face mask compliance detection, the following reflects a few top trends and challenges that I have my eye on for 2021 as we close out this year.
The rise of smart city investments
One such example is the increasing development of smart cities and how AI can be leveraged to build safe communities. To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services.
Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks
Typical development of a city includes standard infrastructure - roads, schools, power, water, transportation. Now, internet, data and AI capabilities are part of the standard infrastructure requirements for all new developments. AI promises to deliver increased efficiencies with the infrastructure that will accommodate growing populations while reducing our impact on the environment, resources, and communities.
Global cities now account for more than half of the world’s population, and the United Nations projects the number to balloon to 68% by mid-century. Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).
With an increase in population has come an increase in global spending on smart city initiatives to drive down the impact of growing urban concentration. Global spending on smart city initiatives is expected to total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, while Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York as the big spenders - expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2020.
Using AI-driven technology to create safer public and private spaces
Today, security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments to protect the population in a more efficient, and accurate manner. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new AI technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space.
One such deployment is the use of video object recognition/computer vision software that can be integrated into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. These enhanced VMS systems can be deployed both inside and outside of buildings to identify risks and flag threats, such weapons, aggressive behaviours, theft, and safety compliance. This helps to minimise the impact of a breach by an early alert to onsite security in real-time to the location and nature of the potential threat, allowing them to intervene before a loss occurs.
These same AI-enabled video solutions can similarly be used to provide advanced business operations in retail, logistics, and manufacturing organisations.
Multi-sensor security solutions
Also, targeted magnetic and radar sensor technologies, concealed in everyday objects like planter boxes or inside walls, can now scan individuals and bags entering a building for concealed threat objects. Using AI/machine learning, these two sensor solutions combined can identify metal content on the body and bag and match the item to a catalogue of threat items, such as guns, rifles, knives and bombs.
Security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments
Without this advanced multi-sensor solution, it becomes nearly impossible to discover a weapon on a person's body before it appears in an assailant’s hands. This multi-sensor solution allows for touchless, unobtrusive access to a building, but allows for immediate notification to onsite security when a concealed threat is detected.
The hidden technology thus empowers security staff to intercept threats before they evolve into a wider scale attack, while also maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of the public, unless, of course, they are carrying a concealed weapon or pose a physical threat.
With the advent of sophisticated surveillance and technological innovation, a level of caution must be exerted. Despite the ongoing global debate, there remains little regulation about the use of AI technologies in today’s physical security space. One thing is certain; it must be deployed in the right place, at the right time, with the right privacy and civil liberty protection objectives. People don’t want to be protected by omnipresent, obstructive and overbearing security systems that infringe on their privacy and civil liberties. They want a proper balance between security and their current way of life, one that must be fused together.
Technology and tracing COVID-19
Machine learning-based technologies are playing a substantial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the key purpose of surveillance systems has been to detect and deter threats, including the detection of visible and hidden weapons and abnormal behaviour. While this, of course, remains a primary focus, today we are seeing how surveillance systems defend against new invisible threats, as well as rapidly automate the process of contact-tracing to capture and contain a virus before it spreads.
Again, the ability to track and trace through parsing algorithms that can manage through enormous amounts of data provides a highly scalable and rapid response mechanism to control the spread of threats.
AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact
Although the threat may not be visible, it is just as destructive. By incorporating AI into existing technologies, government, healthcare and security professionals can monitor public spaces and environments through the combined use of digital and thermal video surveillance cameras and video management systems); just one of the solutions being explored.
AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By Using AI-powered video analytic software, businesses can monitor face masks, social distancing and large gathering compliance and also detect elevated body temperature.
Critically, technology must be capable of both identifying and tracking the virus but also be unobtrusive. An unobtrusive system that is adaptable enough to be deployed across a range of environments where the public gathers in enclosed spaces is necessary to be effective.
Security in 2021
Technology has proven itself to be a valuable ally in times of crisis. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies will help optimise security solutions in areas that are brimming with potential.
As we look ahead to the future of security in a world that is impacted by such a wide range of threats, from physical to chemical to microbiological, it’s clear that new technologies, specifically AI can dramatically improve the effectiveness of security systems and help us to better defend against a wide spectrum of threats. Technology has a huge role to play in making our communities safe in 2021 and beyond, but for security systems to be effective, they must not be oppressive or obstructive. This will ensure they have the full support of the public - the key to success.
Nowadays, everything seems easier in the matter of surveillance. Sophisticated technology safeguards our valuables for us without asking for anything in return. But what if it’s not true? What if it comes with a price? Video surveillance systems are a popular way to keep the property under constant control. It’s not rare that the technological sophistication of these systems puts us in awe. They make us feel, and be, safe.
Yet, there are doubts when it comes to ensuring privacy. And these worries are understandable. Privacy abusers wait around every corner. Some of the fish for data coming from our monitoring systems. Should we then give up and go back to the in-person property guarding? Not really. Countless advantages make an intelligent video surveillance system worth trying. How to find the best solution within the video surveillance systems? Which system is the most secure in protecting us from the threats of privacy abuse: in-house processing unit, or the cloud?
Desire for safety
Every human wants to feel safe. At the bottom of Maslow's "Needs Hierarchy," there are two most essential points. We desire to fulfill our physiological necessities - the need for food, water, warmth, and rest. In the second place, also fundamental is a need for security.Security doesn’t only mean keeping burglars away from the property Today's fast-paced world changes its outer expression, yet the significance of security is constant. We crave to feel safe and we are ready to do a lot to achieve it.
The core truth to begin with when it comes to security is its definition. Security doesn’t only mean keeping burglars away from the property. If it did, we would be content with any camera surveillance system, regardless of its privacy threats. The issue is more complex. Humans value their privacy. Not only keeping our valuables safe but also being away from the sight of others matters to us. We put efforts to protect our privacy, whether it comes to houses, businesses, or sensitive data.
Why is it so important? Ongoing cases of privacy invasions prove that data finds "new owners" very fast. These data takeovers can result in a major inconvenience and robbery on a large scale. Main privacy threats are information collection, processing, dissemination, and invasion. We want to protect data obtained by video surveillance systems. Privacy and security are sometimes compared to water and oilThese are, for example, video registrations, times of entrance to the property, number and identities of visitors, etc.
Privacy and security are sometimes compared to water and oil. They say you can have security but you’ll lose privacy. They say you can have privacy, but you’ll lose security. These common convictions inspired a new generation of companies to create privacy-first security solutions. They are, in other words, security systems focused on not sacrificing privacy.
Most of the time, popular video surveillance systems but at the same time insecure when it comes to privacy are running on the cloud. There has been a long discussion about its safety and it continues to raise privacy concerns. These systems too often fail in ensuring privacy, and they are vulnerable to hacking. Ring, Nest, and other home security companies experienced compromising mishaps on a large scale. It's not a secret that some cloud-based companies partner up with police departments. Also, if your data is too available, tech companies can sell it to advertisers.Data uploaded onto the cloud is exposed for anyone to meddle with
Data uploaded onto the cloud is exposed for anyone to meddle with. According to the book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism_ The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power by Shoshana Zuboff “Nest takes little responsibility for the security of that information and none for how other companies will put it to use. In fact, University of London legal scholars Guido Noto La Diega and Ian Walden, who analysed these documents, reckon that were one to enter into the Nest ecosystem of connected devices and apps, each with their own equally burdensome terms, the purchase of a single home thermostat entails the need to review nearly a thousand contracts.” Security and privacy vanish once a smart home system enables remote access.
In-house processing units
It all leads to the conclusion that keeping data in the in-house processing unit is safer and more private. It keeps us away from the eyes of governments, corporates, advertisers, and hackers. And since the market is proactive, solutions in that department came fast. Thanks to the advances to the internet of things (IoT), edge computing, and machine learning, it will be possible in the near future to find different surveillance private-secure systems on the market. A privacy-centered "architecture" processes and stores camera footage inside the propertyThey will combine the most advanced technology with sophisticated privacy protection. In the in-house option, a privacy-centered "architecture" processes and stores camera footage inside the property.
For example, one Seattle-based startup is working on a solution that uses specialised IP cameras that work in groups with an edge computing device. An AI (artificial intelligence) algorithm analyses all the footage taken by the cameras. Once it detects anomalies, it notifies the final user. Those systems don't upload any of the customers' data to the cloud, they keep privacy and all the information at the customer's home. The in-house processing unit can learn to differentiate what its user marks as important. The system captures and saves only those pieces of information.
Smart surveillance systems
To give an example: users who wish to know when their dog is outside can set the cameras to detect it. If they wish to turn a blind eye to burglars, they are free to do it. Smart surveillance systems work with facial matching and pose detection technology. They can detect individuals that haven’t logged on to the system. This tool respects an ethical protocol. It isn’t sensitive to a specific gender, race, or age. Its purpose is to detect behavior identified as suspicious without targeting individual identities. By identifying people who aren’t a part of your daily routine, the system cuts any kind of security risk.
The in-house processing unit video surveillance systems "do the watching" for you. The newest in-house processing unit video surveillance systems will sharpen the feature of crucial importance - privacy protectionThat revolutionises the way we think about security. The system that integrates all the security visual sensors into the “brain” of the system is the smartest and safest idea on the market. This “brain” later decides whether to notify the user about the potential danger or let it go. It deletes every irrelevant piece of data on the spot. This kind of cognitive machinery saves both your time and bandwidth. Thanks to them, you get rid of unnecessary alerts.
The newest in-house processing unit video surveillance systems will sharpen the feature of crucial importance - privacy protection. The newest technology offers a plenitude of sophisticated surveillance methods. Our task is to choose the right one. The one that not only protects our properties and valuables but also our privacy.
We still have some way to go before we see 5G service rolled out as a UK-wide service, but we can discuss future implications of 5G, and how it can improve device capabilities once its widely accessible.
The impact of 5G lies within the increase in the amount of data that can be transferred between smart home devices through a cloud-based system. By utilising the cloud’s mass computing power and its ability to process data in larger capacities, we are able to receive more in-depth analytics that can help improve smart home devices by making them faster, more informed and intelligent.
Will 5G boost innovation in the smart home market, if so, how?
Innovation using 5G can be shown with current smart home CCTV systemsAn example of innovation using 5G can be shown with current smart home CCTV systems. Products at present allow you to use functionalities such as motion detection. As it stands, this is a basic form of monitoring that monitors changes in picture and notifies the owner when something unusual has happened.
Once 5G comes into play, the video data captured can be sent off to the cloud, interpreted in more detail, and can allow the system to conclude whether the movement is from a human, object or animal. Facial recognition could also come into play here, providing a more seamless service when reporting incidents to the police.
Similarly, you can use data from various different devices within your home to toughen security measures. A video camera used in conjunction with a presence or heat detector can eliminate small errors by providing the ‘bigger picture’ with more data points to work with - an amalgamation of all smart devices used in tandem.
We can’t solely rely on smart devices to make decisions for us, but what we can do is improve device processing so that by the time we step in, we already have all the necessary information to assess the appropriate call to action.
What will 5G enable homeowners to do within their homes?
Smart homes using 4G currently operate in a fragmented fashion, incorporating Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other network protocols. Unlike 4G, 5G will work with low-power devices, making it useful for a broader array of connected products. This means that all devices we will be able to connect any internet connected product in order to allow integrated communication between all devices.
Can be connected to work together in conjunction with your home system
Your fridge and other kitchen appliances, for example, can be connected to work together in conjunction with your home system to create an entirely automated home. If your freezer is internet connected, you may get a notification if it loses power, but as everything else is also connected within your home, you will be able to determine whether it is a power fault or product fault straight away. Faster connectivity means that users can quickly take advantage of the data their smart devices provide, such as water use sensors which can monitor levels and allow for behaviour changes to curb water usage
The same can be applied with vehicles. Cars in future will be autonomous and include an integrated dashcam which can then be connected to your security system to provide added security on-site in the peripheral of your home, alerting you to potential intruders before they reach your front door.
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.”
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.”
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.
Consolidation continued in the physical security marketplace in the turbulent year 2020. There were several mega-deals in addition to shuffling among small and medium-sized companies.
Here is a sampling of M&A from this year, compiled from our archive of company news. With the changing economic climate, how much more is ahead in 2021? Stay tuned.
Wesco merges with Anixter
WESCO International, Inc., a provider of business-to-business (B2B) distribution, logistics services and supply chain solutions, announced it completed its merger with Anixter International Inc., creating a premier, global B2B distribution and supply chain solutions company. Anixter becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of WESCO International.
ACRE acquires Razberi
ACRE acquired Razberi Technologies, Farmers Branch, Texas, and the product line of intelligent video appliances, automated security software and health monitoring software will be added to and sold under the ComNet brand and portfolio of products. ComNet will now be selling Razberi products through its established channels.
Motorola acquires IndigoVision
Among the benefits is enhanced geographical reach across a wider customer base
Motorola Solutions says the IndigoVision range of products, global presence and customer base are ‘highly complementary’ to Motorola Solutions' existing presence in video security. Among the benefits is enhanced geographical reach across a wider customer base.
Motorola acquires Pelco
“Pelco’s track record of innovation, internationally recognised brand, global channel and customer installed base enable us to further expand our global footprint with enterprise and public safety customers,” said Greg Brown, Motorola Solutions’ Chairman and CEO, about the iconic brand.
Johnson Controls swallows Qolsys
Qolsys Inc., residential and commercial security and smart-home manufacturer, enhances Johnson Controls global innovation platform, delivering next generation security and smart building solutions. JCI had already owned a majority stake in the company since 2014.
ADT and Google Home partnership
The partnership will combine Nest’s award-winning hardware and services, powered by Google’s machine learning technology, with ADT’s installation, service and professional monitoring network to create a more helpful smart home and integrated experience for customers across the United States. Upon the closing of Google’s equity investment in ADT, Google will own 6.6% of ADT’s outstanding aggregate common equity.
Securitas acquires STANLEY in Five Countries
The acquisition is aligned with Securitas’ ambition to double the size of its security solutions
Securitas acquired STANLEY Security’s electronic security businesses in Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Singapore and India. The acquisition is aligned with Securitas’ ambition to double the size of its security solutions and electronic security business and expands Securitas’ electronic security footprint and capabilities.
Allied Universal to Buy G4S
Ending the year on a high note, the boards of directors managing Allied Universal and G4S reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer. The deal brings to a close a six-month bidding war for G4S. The combined business is expected to generate approximately $18 billion in annual revenues with a global workforce of more than 750,000 people in 85 countries.
Quantum acquires Western Digital business line
Quantum Corporation entered into an agreement with Western Digital Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Western Digital Corp., to acquire its ActiveScale object storage business. The acquisition demonstrates Quantum’s commitment to innovation and growth, extending the company’s leadership role in storing and managing video and unstructured data using a software-defined approach.
Ava, a unified security company, announced the completion of the merger between Jazz Networks, renowned cyber security insider threat detection and response firm; and Vaion, an end-to-end video security solutions provider. Ava is now positioned to deliver unified cyber and physical security solutions to organisations worldwide.
Zigbee is a familiar name in the smart home arena, and the Zigbee Alliance is expanding its technology approach to address the challenges of the Internet of Things.
As the Internet of Things (IoT) has evolved, the need has become obvious for stronger unity among brands and ecosystems to enable products within smart environments to work together more easily. Working to serve that need is the Zigbee Alliance, which seeks to promote collaboration in the Internet of Things by creating, evolving, and promoting universal open standards that enable all objects to connect and interact.
Shifting the smart home market
Their IoT effort took off when Amazon, Apple, Google and the Zigbee Alliance announced an industry working group in December 2019 to take the ‘best of market’ technologies from smart home standards, portfolios and ecosystems and to develop a ‘super spec’ that will be open, inclusive and a significant industry shift in the smart home market.
Zigbee Alliance has been for a while now working on openness and interoperability"
“Zigbee Alliance has been for a while now working on openness and interoperability, which has led us to the Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP), which is looking to unify the environment, under one technology, one certification program and one logo,” says Chris LaPré, Zigbee Alliance’s IoT Solutions Architect. “It really does fuel IoT possibilities, whether in security or any other sectors.” Project CHIP is a royalty-free connectivity standard that unifies brands and ecosystems into a single smart home automation system that operates any other technology based on Internet Protocol (IP).
Simplifying product development
The intent is to simplify product development for device manufacturers, broaden consumer choice, and to ensure easy discoverability, deployment and engagement to fuel connected living. “We have noticed that, as the IoT has evolved, there is a stronger need for unity, which is why we are developing Project Connected Home over IP,” says Jon Harros, Zigbee Alliance’s Director of Certification and Testing Programs.
“It fits with the Zigbee Alliance’s goal to unify systems, and to focus on everyone using the same application at the top. It unifies that environment, whether you are integrating your system with Amazon Echo devices or connecting to Google Home.” Participating in development of Project CHIP are 125 companies of various types from around the world working together with more than 1,100 of their experts serving across sub-committees to formulate specifications and fine-tune the project.
Home system technologies
The original Zigbee protocol is used for many applications around the world, including smart homes
Although the technology is being developed for the home market, the specifications have been formulated with an eye toward expanding into the commercial market in the future. Development of open, interoperable systems provides greater freedom for consumers to choose among the many technology choices on the market, without being tied to a single brand or ecosystem.
Zigbee Alliance certifications and memberships span the globe, with roughly a third in Europe, a third in North America and a third in Asia. Involvement in Europe is slightly higher than the other regions. Alliance members represent manufacturing sites all over the world. Project CHIP is a newer initiative of the Zigbee Alliance, which previously developed Zigbee Pro to enable home system technologies to operate using IEEE 802.15.4 wireless signals on the 2.4GHz radio band over a self-healing true mesh network. The original Zigbee protocol is used for many applications around the world, including smart homes.
Certification transfer programme
Among the strengths of the Zigbee Alliance are years of experience certifying products, which includes testing them and confirming that they comply with the promoted specifications and functionality. The specifications are open standards that are developed in cooperation with all the companies that are Zigbee Alliance members.
Another route is the certification transfer programme, in which a company chooses a certified white-label product, becomes a member of the Alliance, and then rebrands the product while retaining the certification. “It helps them get products on the market quickly while they build their own knowledge base,” says Harros. “All our work is focused on standardising the behaviour and functionality of products and making sure everyone is following the same standard to get interoperability,” says Harros. “Members all contribute to the standards.”
Harper Security Systems, which specialises in specifying and installing smart security solutions for residential and private properties, has selected OPTEX’s range of Intelligent Passive Infrared (PIR) sensors for their reliability in detecting external threats, especially in rural environments.
Three properties in the Home Counties and Lincolnshire are using a combination of OPTEX’s proven PIR sensors to protect property, people, and other important assets including horses from the dangers of vandalism and theft. OPTEX’s range includes sensors which offer panoramic 180-degree detection coverage and 12m/40ft radius to detect any intrusion around a residential or commercial building.
Commercial business environments
They are ideally suited for protecting larger residential grounds and flat roofs typical with outbuilding on farms and stables. “We have worked with OPTEX for a number of years and have found their range of PIR sensors to be extremely accurate and reliable, which is critical when specifying external detection,” says Alan Harper, Director at Harper Security Systems.
The flexibility and versatility of the sensors is such that they are ideal for multiple environments"
“The flexibility and versatility of the sensors is such that they are ideal for multiple environments,” Alan continues. “For example, we have recently installed them at a private stables in Lincolnshire to protect horses and valuable equestrian equipment, residences in rural villages in both Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire to protect property and personal items, as well as in commercial business environments.”
Innovative security solutions
Ben Linklater, Sales Director at OPTEX Europe, says that while the focus is often on towns and cities, crime in the countryside is a huge issue, costing the rural community in the UK more than £9 million this year alone: “Reliable external protection is becoming increasingly important not only to secure equipment and assets, but also livestock and other animals like horses. The earlier the detection the better chance there is to prevent intruders."
"External intrusion detection is essential in rural environments as most assets, many of which are expensive to replace (and some are irreplaceable), are stored outside. We are very pleased to work with Harper Security who understand the benefits of early detection to keep premises, assets, people and animals secure, delivering innovative security solutions to their customers.”
Hicking Building RTM Company Ltd has teamed up with Videx Security and Joes UK Limited to solve a major door entry issue for a large residential complex. The Hicking Building Ltd. is a Nottingham-based development comprising 329 self-contained flats, managed by property agents Walton and Allen.
Many residents were struggling with a call issue because the existing intercom system developed a fault which meant residents weren’t receiving calls from the system panels. Because of this, tenants were missing visitors and deliveries with people thinking they weren’t home.
Videx GSM 4812 intercom system
Installer Joes UK Ltd. was tasked with finding a suitable intercom system
Installer Joes UK Ltd. was tasked with finding a suitable intercom system that would also work in conjunction with the existing access control system, where the fob entry element of this was working normally.
Joe, who owns and manages Joes UK Ltd., said “The system installed is a very old system and we were struggling to source the repair parts needed to fix the calling issue tenants were experiencing. To fix the problem and reduce the risk of the issue happening again, I recommended the installation of a digital audio GSM 4812 intercom system by Videx that could work concurrently with the fob entry function of the existing solution.”
He adds, “With the Videx GSM 4812, when someone calls a specific apartment the call is automatically directed to a registered phone number of the tenant’s, which is usually their smartphone. They now will never miss that important visitor or delivery and are made aware of who has visited even when they are not there and can authorise entry if they wish, while away from their home.”
Parallel operations with software-based fob entry solution
The Videx system works alongside the existing software-based fob entry solution that residents have used for many years. Mobile phones are now the handset of choice for the majority of people and as they are enabled with Wi-Fi calling, there’s no need to worry about poor mobile signal. If the existing fob system also developed a fault and stopped working, the Videx GSM system includes a preinstalled fob reader so it would be easy to switch this over to the GSM solution.
Mark Gibbon, Sales Manager at Videx Security, said “The GSM system is the ultimate entry system of convenience that also provides maximum security too. There’s no infrastructure or wiring involved; it’s very easy to set up and use.”
The GSM system is the ultimate entry system of convenience that also provides maximum security
Mark adds, “It’s a win-win situation for both the resident and management company because it means residents won’t have to stay home waiting for a delivery, or miss a visitor, as they can answer the call to their apartment from anywhere in the world. For management companies, our GSM solution offers a fixed cost and minimises the risk of call outs because there’s no handset maintenance involved.”
Remote event log with online access
A really useful feature of the GSM system is that it also carries a new remote event log that can be accessed online, allowing events to be viewed in real time, on the move via a phone, tablet/laptop. It’s a great security feature because it’s where a record is kept of calls, gate/door openings and much more.
What’s also useful is that alerts can be programmed where an email will be sent should that alert be triggered. For example, if the gate or door is opened out of normal hours or if the registered number for a flat or property is changed too frequently - any unusual activity is flagged.
Allot Communications Ltd., a global provider of innovative network intelligence and security-as-a-service (SECaaS) solutions for communication service providers (CSPs) and enterprises, has announced that a Tier-1 telecom operator in APAC has selected Allot HomeSecure to provide consumers with zero touch clientless cyber security and parental control services, to protect the CPEs/routers and devices in their homes.
The HomeSecure solution will be deployed in CPEs provided to consumers by the operator, and in the operator’s cloud-native environment. The services are expected to be made available to millions of the operator’s fixed broadband customers. The operator has ordered an enterprise-wide perpetual licence from Allot.
According to the Microsoft Security endpoint threat report 2019, the malware encounter rate in APAC was 1.6 times higher than the global average. In light of these conditions, Allot HomeSecure gives telecom providers in APAC a unique opportunity to deliver zero-touch, fully automated services that protect their customers while generating supplemental revenues.
Security for home IoT and smart home devices
Allot HomeSecure provides security for home IoT devices and smart appliances
Allot HomeSecure provides security for home IoT, smart appliances, and the devices connected to the home network. It integrates into the existing home router with the addition of a thin software client that provides home network visibility, cyber security and parental controls without the need for any configuration by the consumer.
Allot HomeSecure uses AI to identify and profile connected home devices and to detect and act upon anomalous device behaviour. HomeSecure has the option to be managed from an easy-to-use app for every household that gives consumers control over their network security and parental controls.
“Our customer in APAC sees anti-malware protection for all home-connected devices and parental controls as basic requirements for any offering they provide to their millions of fixed broadband customers. HomeSecure gives them a single zero-touch clientless solution that satisfies both of these demands,” said Ran Fridman, EVP Global Sales at Allot.
Based in the affluent district of St John’s Wood, Collection Place is a high-specification development comprising 14 luxury apartments, built nearby the infamous Abbey Road studios.
Home automation and integration specialists, Advanced Integration (AI) invited Comelit to present custom door entry systems, as part of a security upgrade programme of works. Specification included bespoke brass video flush panels with video monitors and smart capability to manage from a mobile, incorporating full links to dedicated 24-hour concierge services.
Smart door entry systems
Says Kem Rashica, Estate Manager of The Collection Management Limited / Harrods Estates Asset Management: “Every element of our development, set in heart of our beautiful St John’s Wood, was created to present residents with a high-end luxury lifestyle, from specification to security and privacy. We are always looking for best ways to maintain and futureproof this expectation.”
“Advanced Integration highlighted the opportunity to present smart door entry systems and recommended Comelit, as a brand renowned for delivering on design and style without compromising on technology or security. The installation was seamless and residents are now delighted to be able to manage their home from the convenience of their mobile.”
Monitors with video capability
Maria Tsiftis, Chief Operating Officer of Advanced Integration added: “When it came to upgrade the door entry, we wanted to incorporate a visual, smart capability, without affecting the style or ambience on site. Being a residential development, we also had to be conscious of any works programme not causing disruption to daily lives."
“Comelit responded with a bespoke specification, including high-end entrance panels, monitors with video capability and concierge systems, enabling a combination of door entry and messaging. Being involved from the design stages ensured a smooth delivery and beautiful custom finish befitting to this luxury development.”
Video intercom calls on a smartphone
Comelit designed the door entry systems for Collection Place, to operate through its innovative VIP system, which offers a powerful all-encompassing opportunity for residents to receive video intercom calls on a smartphone.
Sam Arnold, Business Development Manager at Comelit UK concluded: “St John’s Wood is one of London’s most upmarket residential locations, and Collection Place has been established in the elegant villa-style housing that is synonymous with the area.”
“Any enhancements to door entry had to be delivered to complement this lavish attention on detail, but also serve discerning homeowners who want the advantages of service and latest technology. By working closely with Advanced Integration, we have delivered a sleek and functional, smart security solution to accommodate these requirements.”