SALTO Systems (SALTO) has introduced the XS4 Original+, the next generation of the world’s most flexible and reliable smart locking solution that features a beautiful design, with a sleek flat reader in two new colours.
SALTO XS4 Original+
The new SALTO XS4 Original+ takes the trusted and proven flagship XS4 Original electronic lock product family and incorporates the latest technology, to accommodate access control needs of both today and tomorrow.
Our customers, partners and users rely on the XS4 every day, which is why we’ve made XS4 Original+ more powerful"
“Our customers, partners and users rely on the XS4 every day, which is why we’ve made XS4 Original+ more powerful, capable, and redefined to elevate any door’s security, and management,” said Marc Handels, SALTO Systems’ Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
Marc Handels adds, “When you have an excellent product like the SALTO XS4 Original electronic lock that has withstood both the test of time and technology, it makes sense to improve upon what is already working very well.”
Embedded with BLUEnet functionality
The SALTO XS4 Original+ design is based on the same proven housing and mechanical mechanisms of the XS4 Original. The XS4 Original+, however, is embedded with SALTO’s BLUEnet real-time functionality and SVN-Flex capability, which enables SALTO stand-alone smart XS4 Original+ locks to update user credentials directly at the door.
The SALTO XS4 Original+ is compatible with the array of SALTO platform solutions, including SALTO Space data-on-card, SALTO KS Keys as a Service cloud-based access solution and SALTO’s JustIn Mobile technology for digital keys. The XS4 Original+ also includes RFID Mifare DESFire, Bluetooth LE, and NFC technology functionality.
“By incorporating the latest in technology into the XS4 Original+ locking range, SALTO has delivered a product that extends up-to-date and comprehensive electronic access control to any door,” said Handels.
Engine of XS4 Original+
XS4 Original+ is much faster than the XS4 Original, delivering more performance, new security architecture"
The XS4 Original+ is much faster than the XS4 Original, delivering more performance, new security architecture and the same electronic functionalities, which is based on BLUEnet connectivity, and better power efficiency.
The feature rich new security architecture, which is protected against internal and external attacks, makes everything more fluid, transforming the way users’ access, operators manage, and installers’ set-up the electronic lock.
Catering to a range of access and customer needs
There is an XS4 Original+ model for every type of access and customer need. The existing XS4 Original models are fully available in the XS4 Original+ product range, from the key override option to mechanical or electronic privacy models.
Just as with the original version, the SALTO XS4 Original+ is suitable for a wide range of customer applications, including interior doors in educational or commercial buildings or tailored solutions for other specific building requirements.
Easy to install and retrofit
Easy to install and retrofit, the SALTO XS4 Original+ works with ANSI, Euro, DIN and Scandinavian door industry standards. Universally compatible, it can replace the existing door hardware and fits any door with unlimited model options. XS4 Original+ wide reader models are slightly wider and the reader is now flatter.
“SALTO has long sought feedback from our end-users and partners on what they desire in an upgrade and, taking their input into account, we have developed the XS4 Original+ which delivers everything needed for current and future smart lock solutions,” said Aznar Sethna, SALTO Systems’ Chief Sales & Marketing Officer (CSMO).
Aznar Sethna adds, “With restyle designs, industry-leading performance and advanced access control features, with impressive communication capabilities, all with incredible durability, the XS4 Original+ ensures customers get secure and safe access when they need it.”
Redefined and stylish design
The XS4 Original+ works with existing XS4 Original door hardware. A broad range of different models and functions make smart access to any door possible, in order to cover all needs of any type of building. Visually, the XS4 Original+ differs from the conventional XS4 Original only in a few details, with improved reader aesthetics.
Thanks to a sleek design update, the XS4 Original+ looks better than ever
Thanks to a sleek design update, the XS4 Original+ looks better than ever. The reader is now flatter and available in black and white colour options, for a simplified, modernised front. The ANSI, Euro Wide, and Scandinavian Wide standard reader models are a little wider, thereby creating a more harmonious version.
The XS4 Original+ can be tailored to varying building and door needs, with a wide variety of colours and finishes, including the new Dark Bronze finish, and black or white reader options. These can be visualised on a wide range of door styles, by using the SALTO MyLock Configuration tool.
Environment-friendly access control solution
The XS4 Original+ is designed to minimise its impact on the environment. Today, SALTO Systems is carbon neutral for corporate factory operations and is committed to having net-zero climate impact, across the entire business, which includes manufacturing supply chains and all product life cycles.
The XS4 Original+ is the latest model from SALTO to be delivered to customers as a net CO2-neutral access control solution. This concept involves offsetting the CO2 emissions generated during the manufacturing process and the logistics until it is delivered to the customer.
Due to the GPS in mobile phones, users live in a world where friends and family can track each other’s every move, mobile apps, and smart home devices to meet up, stay connected, and even watch one another make it safely home. But in an emergency, if a person calls 911 from a mobile phone, the operator likely has less information than a rideshare driver.
Despite significant advances in technology that allows for the collection and sharing of geolocation information, few severely underfunded 911 centres have been able to utilise it to help save lives.
Funding to modernise 911 centres
At the same time, its been reported that staffing shortages and increased demand on 911 centre operators have contributed to longer than normal hold times for emergency calls, further tying the hands of emergency operations centres.
Modernise 911 call centres to give them the capability to use geolocation and other types of data to find and help people
This could change if Congress approves federal funding to modernise 911 call centres, giving them the capability to accept and use geolocation and other types of data to find and help people in their greatest time of need, as well as to seamlessly transfer calls to available operators in neighbouring communities that can process emergency calls and request assistance.
Negotiators in the House Democratic caucus recently whittled down the initial proposal for $10 billion in funding to only $500 million. It is unclear what the final number will be or how much the smaller sum could deliver—but, simply put, some level of funding is imperative.
Voice call versus digital message
With today’s smart and connected homes, first responders have the potential to receive so much more, and better, information. For instance, today’s smart alarm systems can, with customer consent, include images from internet-connected cameras; motion detectors can verify people’s presence within a structure; perimeter cameras can capture a license plate or vehicle make and model.
It’s the difference between a 911 operator getting a voice call to report a burglar alarm versus a digital message with the alarm location, a photo/video montage of a person breaking in, what kind of vehicle the suspect was driving, and whether the suspect is in the house.
Better data lead to better rescue outcomes
Similarly, it’s the difference between a 911 operator getting a report of a smoke alarm versus knowing what room(s) the smoke is coming from, how many people (including children) are in the house (and in what rooms), and whether there are pets.
This level of intelligence not only helps people in distress but also helps protect first responders. This information is available right now, but outdated 911 call centre technology cannot yet receive it.
Death of the landline
The proliferation of mobile phones means that a growing number of calls can’t be automatically tracked Traditionally, a phone number was linked to a physical address because the phone was physically installed in the home or apartment. When a person called 911, an operator automatically knew the location. But the proliferation of mobile phones means that a growing number of calls can’t be automatically tracked.
More than 80 percent of 911 calls now come from mobile phones, according to the FCC. While this may not be a problem if the caller can provide the address, it is less helpful in situations where a person is injured or fears for their safety, is close to their attacker, (e.g., domestic violence), or if they don’t know their exact location.
Help is increasingly needed outside of the home
Nearly 1 in 3 Americans live in a county that experienced a weather disaster between June and August of 2021, according to a Washington Post analysis of data from FEMA and the U.S. Census. When disasters hit, lines of communication are sometimes limited, people flee their homes for safer places, or they can become trapped in transit, meaning they frequently can’t be traced using the current 911 technology.
If the current weather-related disaster rate continues, it will become even more important for 911 operators to automatically receive GPS location information.
Existing tech could save 10,000 lives per year
FCC estimates that if first responders could arrive just one minute faster, they would save an additional 10,000 lives per year It’s long-past time to modernise 911 call centre technology. Lives are at stake. The FCC estimates that if first responders could arrive where they need to be just one minute faster, they would save an additional 10,000 American lives per year.
How many more could be saved with better information from smart homes and devices? If a driver can find a customer to deliver her takeout meal, an ambulance should be able to use the same geolocation data to save a life.
Congress has the authority to act now to save lives and support 911 call centre personnel and the first responders who rely on the data they collect and supply by funding a national Next Generation 911 system upgrade. ADT calls on Congress to come together in support of the first responders and 911 centres to better protect and connect what matters most.
Kwikset, brand of Spectrum Brands, Inc. - Hardware & Home Improvement division, the globally renowned company in residential security solutions, announced the availability of the Home Connect 620, the company’s newest Z-Wave connected smart lock.
Home Connect 620 smart lock
The Home Connect 620, which offers a 10-button keypad with one-touch locking, is Kwikset’s first smart lock in the ‘Home Connect’ line. It is also the company’s first lock, featuring the latest Z-Wave 700 chip technology, which includes the convenience of Z-Wave SmartStart and the security of the S2 framework.
The incorporation of the new Z-Wave 700 Series smart lock provides a number of significant enhancements, including wireless security features that reduce the vulnerability of the network during enrolment, as well as increased battery life.
This is due to the fact that 700-Series devices consume 64% less power for wireless communication and the fact that the technology allows for resting, when the device is not being used. Furthermore, the 700-Series smart lock is expected to allow for communication that is 250% further than the Z-Wave Plus 500-Series locks, a major increase in wireless range.
Featuring Z-Wave SmartStart
With Z-Wave SmartStart, users can enrol devices by scanning a QR code, even before beginning installation, providing an easier and faster way to gain instant interoperability, and control of the Home Connect 620 device. The S2 framework provides an additional layer of AES 128-bit encryption of wireless signals, for increased device security.
Featuring a sleek, all-metal design, choice of traditional or contemporary styling, the Home Connect 620 connected smart lock is designed to integrate with a variety of smart home systems and serves as an ideal ‘entry-level’ smart lock.
Remote locking/unlocking via smartphones and tablets
The Home Connect 620 delivers convenience and peace of mind to home owners
The Home Connect 620 delivers convenience and peace of mind to home owners, with complete remote locking/unlocking via smartphones and tablets, as well as total home control.
The Home Connect 620 can hold up to 250 user access codes and receive notifications from anywhere there is an internet connection, through a home automation system. Home owners can quickly send personalised access codes to family and guests.
Mastercode feature offers enhanced security
The Mastercode feature of the Home Connect 620 protects commands and settings, to prevent lock tampering and can be managed wirelessly, for additional security and lock management.
“We’re looking forward to introducing the first lock in our new Home Connect line,” said Matt Zimmer, the Vice President of Marketing - Spectrum Brands HHI Security Hardware.
Incorporated with Z-Wave 700 Series chip
Matt Zimmer adds, “We believe dealers will be excited, because it gives home owners the opportunity to experience the comfort, convenience and safety of electronic security, and total home control, at a very cost-effective price point, as well as the technological advantages that the Z-Wave 700 chip offers.”
President Biden has signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. This $550 billion infrastructure bill is the most significant U.S. investment in infrastructure in decades and includes funding far above baseline for many existing highway, transit, rail and other programs.
The Security Industry Association (SIA) has issued the statement below regarding the impact of this legislation on the industry: SIA commends the president and Congress on the passage and signing of this important bipartisan legislation, which will help meet the urgent need for modernising the nation’s infrastructure and provide a much-needed boost to the nation’s economy.
Providing increased safety
Solutions across a wide range of sectors within the security industry will play an essential role in infrastructure expansion and modernisation, providing increased safety and security throughout the nation.
SIA’s action plan is to educate members on the provisions that will most impact the industry
SIA’s government relations team has followed the development of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act closely and has provided a summary of how the measure will impact the security industry. As this measure is implemented by federal agencies, SIA’s action plan is to educate members on the provisions that will most impact the industry. The objectives are as follows:
School facility improvements
Provide guidance on grant programs: The infrastructure bill includes grant funding for public transit, airport and smart cities grants and school facility improvements. Because these grants can also be used for security improvements, SIA will keep a close eye on how the grants included in this bill are implemented and provide guidance on these programs to SIA members.
The association has also created a new Grants Training Course to help SIA members navigate and leverage federal grants for security projects – including commercial and non-federal projects – which can be accessed as web-based training.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes several measures related to securing the electric grid
Resources related to cyber-physical security programs and funding: The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act include several measures related to securing the electric grid, including a new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) public-private partnerships program to mitigate electric utilities’ security risks, $250 million for a new DOE program on grid security research and demonstration, a $50 million energy sector cyber-resilience program and a $1 billion state and local cybersecurity grant program.
SIA will work closely with the Cybersecurity Advisory Board and Utilities Advisory Board to understand these policies and provide further information to members.
Provide related resources
Guidance on Buy America and Buy American rules: The new infrastructure measure significantly expands domestic preference rules for federally funded infrastructure projects and includes additional policies impacting direct procurement by federal agencies.
SIA will monitor the implementation of these new requirements, provide feedback to agencies as needed and provide related resources for security industry manufacturers and integrators.
The past year has elevated consumer awareness about personal safety, from COVID-19 issues to social unrest, making safety top-of-mind and the need for personal safety solutions, even more prevalent. In addition, consumers spent more time at home, as schools closed, events were canceled and remote work increased.
This prompted two major shifts that, in my opinion, most significantly opened the need for and raised the popularity of mobile safety solutions.
Demand for grocery and food delivery apps surged
Rise in use of app-based delivery services
During the past 18 months, the use of app-based delivery services has skyrocketed
During the past 18 months, the use of app-based delivery services has skyrocketed. With more use comes more interactions among strangers in homes and businesses, and while the majority of these moments are completely safe and convenient, incidents are happening, ranging from uncomfortable situations to physical assaults.
And, with more delivery drivers on the road, there are going to be more accidents among gig-economy workers. Based on recent estimates, food and grocery delivery are expected to remain popular, even as we get back to normal life.
High popularity of mobile security apps and wearables
With more work shifting from stationary locations to working on-the-go, mobile security apps or wearables can be a lifeline in all sorts of situations. It’s important for these mobile safety products to be comprehensive, dynamic and designed to address the full range of people’s safety and security needs, from providing simple human reassurance to dispatching emergency help.
Domestic violence cases increased
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, domestic violence rose as a result of many victims being stuck at home with their abusers, while sheltering in place and working from home.
Mobile safety apps, such as ADT’s SoSecure
U.S. Attorneys General and other state-elected officials have endorsed mobile safety apps, like SoSecure by ADT
These situations necessitate the need for discreet ways for victims to call for help. U.S. Attorneys General and other state-elected officials have endorsed mobile safety apps, like SoSecure by ADT, as a tool to help victims of domestic abuse, safely call for help, without alerting their abuser.
Over the past year, the mobile safety app market has seen tremendous innovation, including more user-friendly ways to make SOS calls. Today, within a single app, a person can summon help hands-free, by saying a secret phrase, by text or by swiping a button.
Extension of mobile safety into wearable devices
And, users can connect with people trained to help in unsettling situations over video, which can be an effective deterrent and provide video evidence. We’ve also seen the extension of mobile safety into wearable devices, in order to make these devices more discreet and usable.
There will always be some safety risks in our lives. However, the good news is there’s no need to live in a constant state of fear. The easiest, most direct way to be prepared and ready to ‘fight back’ is by having a personal safety tool in your pocket, a mobile safety app that is there, when you need it most.
Today, we live in a technology-obsessed age. Whichever way you look, it’s hard to avoid the increasing number applications, products and solutions that continue to redefine the boundaries of what we previously thought possible. From autonomous vehicles and edge computing to 5G and the Internet of Things, all facets of our lives are continuing to evolve, thanks to an endless stream of differentiated innovations. In this article, we’ll be focusing on the latter of these - the Internet of Things (IoT).
Deployment of IoT technologies
Smart homes, smart utilities, smart retail, smart farming, smart supply chains and many of the other ‘smart’ versions of sectors that we’re already familiar with, are all called as such because of the implications of IoT. Indeed, it is a technology that has manifested itself in billions of devices, which today underpin the truly transformational levels of connectivity that we see across industries of all shapes and sizes.
The statistics speak for themselves. According to Statista, over US$ 1 trillion is expected to be spent on IoT technology worldwide, in 2022. Be it added convenience, efficiency, productivity or intelligence, many benefits are poised to emerge from this spike in IoT-related activities. Yet to say this digital transition is going to be entirely positive would be naïve.
Threats faced by smart cities
It is said that by 2040, 65 per cent of the world’s population will be living in cities
Let’s consider smart cities. It is said that by 2040, 65 per cent of the world’s population will be living in cities. To accommodate such an influx, without facing significant logistical issues, with limited space and infrastructure, policy makers have begun to recognise that these urban environments need to become not only larger, but smarter as well.
As a result, the global smart cities market is on the rise. Statista states that, globally, technology spending on smart city initiatives is expected to double from US$ 81 billion in 2018 to US$ 189.5 billion in 2023.
Threat of attackers with expanding IoT landscape
The challenge here is that such a stark uptick will drastically expand the IoT landscape, presenting more opportunities than ever to threat actors. As connectivity and computing power is distributed more widely across large-scale outdoor networks, hackers will scale-up their own operations in tandem.
According to a Nokia report from October 2020 (based on data aggregated from monitoring network traffic on more than 150 million devices globally), IoT devices now account for roughly 33 per cent of all infected devices, up from the 16 per cent estimated in 2019.
What’s more concerning is how these figures are translating into real world events. 2021 alone has already witnessed an attack on a water plant in Oldsmart, Florida, which was designed to poison residents’ drinking water. Furthermore, Colonial Pipeline, one of the largest fuel pipelines in the US was also hacked, earlier this year, resulting in major shortages across the country’s East Coast.
Security through IoT authentication
From weak password protection, a lack of regular patch updates and insecure interfaces, to insufficient data protection, poor IoT devices management and an IoT skills gap, there are plenty of weaknesses existing within the IoT ecosystem, which continue to provide open goals for attackers.
To defend against such lethal threats, security-by-design and open standards should be the guiding principles of IoT, working to prioritise security, interoperability and robust, internet-based protocols to mitigate risks.
Device authentication and encryption
A sound place to start is to make device authentication and encryption the central pillars of your IoT security architecture
A sound place to start, in this regard, is to make device authentication and encryption the central pillars of your IoT security architecture. The goal is to be able to prove that each and every device joining a network is not malicious, with tell-tale signs being rogue code, for example.
By ensuring each device is uniquely identifiable with digital certificates and therefore, properly authenticated when joining a network, you can ensure no tampered devices are able to infiltrate your overarching network.
Using technologies, such as Hardware Secure Element
Critically, passwords should be avoided altogether, these vulnerable to being stolen and cracked. And, while a similar vulnerability lies in the fact that all secure devices contain a private key, you can leverage technologies, such as Hardware Secure Element (a chip designed specifically to protect against unauthorised access, even if the attacker has physical access to the device), as an extra layer of defence.
Digital certificates are not the only option available in protecting those IoT devices that, if tampered with, could become the cause of physical threats. Physical Unclonable Function (PUF) can also be used to prevent tampering.
Physical Unclonable Function (PUF)
Through Physical Unclonable Function (PUF), a form of IoT device fingerprint is developed from the unique make up of a piece of silicon, which can be used to create a unique cryptographic key.
Unlike digital certificates, a secure infrastructure can be achieved through PUF, without the need for any additional hardware, as the key is not only stored securely, but it also becomes invisible to hackers, when the device is not running.
The importance of encryption
Use of AES encryption within radio chips, to scramble messages on the move, is the method adopted at Wi-SUN Alliance
Now, let’s turn attentions to encryption. The use of AES encryption within radio chips, to scramble messages on the move, is the method that we have adopted here at Wi-SUN Alliance. It’s a means of maximising data security, but also reducing power consumption in the devices themselves. Beyond AES encryption, it’s also worth considering topography at the design stage. Indeed, mesh networks are advantageous for several reasons.
They are more reliable, allowing data to be re-routed, should devices lose contact unexpectedly. Transmissions usually travel shorter distances, which improves power efficiency and performance, and frequency hopping functionality prevents attackers from jamming signals, which could deny the service altogether.
Open standards and interoperability
But where do open, interoperable standards fit in? As is defined by the European Committee for Interoperable Systems (ECIS), interoperability enables a computer programme to communicate and exchange information with other computer programmes, allowing all programmes to use that information.
Open standards then allow any vendor of communications equipment or services to implement all standards necessary, to interoperate with other vendors. This is incredibly useful from a security perspective. It means that all specs are stress-tested and verified by many users, and that any vulnerabilities are quickly detected, and remediated, enhancing security and reliability.
Need for open standards
Equally, open standards can accelerate time-to-market, reduce costs and ensure products are usable, with a variety of manufacturers’ processors and radios, with a steam of publicly available protocol stacks, design information and reference implementations available that can help build and future-proof secure products.
Indeed, large-scale corporate IoT networks alongside smart cities, smart utilities, and other key smart infrastructure will only continue to evolve, in the coming years. With the immense threats of attackers in mind, these systems must prioritise security-by-design, both now and in the future.
The ‘new normal’ was all we heard about when it came to the working model shift after the pandemic hit. Businesses worldwide adopted working from home, and then the hybrid model: a balance of remote work and office work.
And according to a recent survey by 451 Research, nearly 80% of organisations surveyed said they have implemented or expanded universal work-from-home policies as a result of COVID-19, whilst 67% expect these policies to remain in place either permanently or for the long-term. With more vacant office spaces, the question is: is hybrid working a red flag for business security?
When buildings and office spaces are still active with advanced technology, equipment and assets on show, yet footfall is not as busy as it once was, opportunistic criminals are closely watching and taking note. But what are they learning? Security systems provider, Expert Security UK, investigates our new normal.
Offices are nests for expensive, valuable equipment, with maybe the latest technology
Instead of a packed, busy office five or six days a week, hybrid working means more empty-office days, which is music to the ears of burglars. Offices are nests for expensive, valuable equipment, with maybe the latest technology and safes sitting there, or potential stacks of cash or company cards. You may be thinking, well, who leaves company cards or cash out? You’d be surprised, especially when business owners think they’ll never be a victim, or sometimes, staff make mistakes.
Hybrid working model
And don’t forget, burglars don’t always know what’s been left and will take their chances. And when a hybrid working model is the ‘new normal’, that means a lapse in security - at least in a thief’s mind. So how worried should business owners be? Well, the latest figures are pretty worrying, but also, not massively shocking.
Reiterating the temptation and lure the working model shift has on robbers, Statista recorded a 12-year high for robbery offences in the UK in 2019/2020. When more businesses either shut up shop or sent staff away to home offices, it’s not hard to make a connection. These figures reflect how, when given the opportunity, thieves will strike and take advantage.
Handing vital information
Whether you’ve decided to go fully remote, it’s crucial to review and rethink your business security
However, it’s worth noting that the lockdowns and empty streets would also have played a part in this spike, and now that we’re out of lockdowns with a world back to flipping its sign to ‘open’, many businesses will be carrying on working from home, but towns, shops, and streets are busy again.
Whether you’ve decided to go fully remote, or have adopted the hybrid model, it’s crucial to review and rethink your business security, starting with your social media presence. It’s a good idea to review your social media channels. We forget how open we can be on social media, and how our digital presence can actually work as a perfect guide and insight for criminals. All they have to do is follow your channels to pick up on clues. And if you’re not giving it a minute’s thought about what you're putting out there, you may even be just handing them vital information and helping their plans.
Remote working shift
Of course, there is information readily available such as your opening times, location etc. But, do you really want/need to show off the new, state-of-the-art tablets you’ve just kitted your office out with? It can be hard as a business, or even as a social person, to not want to share positive news on social media, but we really do have to stop and think, especially if people know a lot about the company and its remote working shift.
It’s also a good idea to have a meeting with your staff about a social media policy
Maybe share a post about that new, intelligent security system you've installed instead. It’s also a good idea to have a meeting with your staff about a social media policy or maybe just a casual chat about best practices, e.g. not to tag the business in a post about their new office gadget etc.
Improving business security
With fewer office days, you probably won’t need to take up as much work space anymore. Maybe some equipment has become more ornamental. Anything you don’t use or need, you could sell or donate. If you do have expensive equipment lying around that’s not being used, try and make money back from it or store it elsewhere. If you are keeping a lot of expensive equipment in vacant premises, especially fixed equipment and technology, then consider installing bars and shutters over the windows.
Whatever your budget, you can improve your business security tenfold with key security measures. One of them being access control. Security gates with access control are incredibly effective at stopping unauthorised people from gaining entry. There are also car park barriers and bollards that are highly effective at keeping any potential getaway vehicles out.
Easily portable technology
High-quality CCTV is a best friend to any business, but you need to be reviewing it frequently
High-quality CCTV is a best friend to any business, but you need to be reviewing it frequently, especially if you’ve done a perimeter check and noticed any signs of forced entry or damage. Don’t forget those signs either, let visitors or trespassers know they’re on camera.
To fit in with the hybrid working model, static fixtures are becoming redundant. For instance, companies are switching to laptops instead of computers, so that workers can transport them easily to and from the office. This is not only more efficient and convenient, but it means assets are more guarded. It’s the same for any other gadgets. Having easily portable technology is good for business, hybrid working, and security. Don’t forget about your deterrents. Simple signs to warn people of alarms, CCTV, and even the fact that you don’t leave equipment inside overnight can go a long way.
Best security technology
Thieves are famous for taking their chances. Some will meticulously plan, and many strike at a convenient, opportune time. So having signs in place that show you have high-quality, intelligent security in place can work wonders, making them think twice.
It’s also worth noting that you may not have the best security technology in place at the moment, but those on the outside don’t need to know that; they can be fooled. However, having the best physical security in place is vital, as criminals lurk and will take chances. Keep reviewing your security, especially as your business adapts and reshapes - whether you return back to full office days or carry on the hybrid working model. This guest post was contributed by Danny Scholfield, Managing Director of Expert Security UK.
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.”
Gindi TLV, a residential complex in the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel, maintains the safety of its community, by using Oosto’s face and object recognition, to reduce contact with surfaces and enforce a policy of density, distance and wearing masks in public areas.
Securing Gindi TLV complex
Gindi TLV is an innovative residential complex, located in the heart of Tel Aviv, which includes 4 towers, restaurants, cafes, a country club and a mall. The complex has been planned and designed to allow community life for families and individuals, who have chosen to live in the beating heart of Tel Aviv, located within walking distance of the city’s business and entertainment areas.
Gindi TLV residents use a dedicated app for convenient booking of the complex’s facilities
Gindi TLV residents use a dedicated app for convenient booking of the complex’s facilities, parking, guest invitation and as a social network that is the basis for community life in the complex. Gindi TLV is also equipped with advanced and interconnected technological systems that enable efficient and cost-effective management of infrastructure and service for tenants.
Oosto’s facial recognition technology
The Prop-tech technology in the complex was developed and managed by the start-up, MyTower, which serves as a design partner in the project and is responsible for making it the first smart residential neighbourhood in Israel. Gindi TLV uses Oosto’s facial recognition technology, in order to provide tenants with touchless and secure entry.
Dan Stern, the Vice President (VP) – Digital, at Gindi TLV, explains “On the one hand, the tenants in the complex are highly sensitive to personal security and privacy, and on the other hand, because it is their home, we did everything to avoid using cards, chips or fingerprints, and allow easy access control for tenants, and their guests, using Oosto’s advanced facial recognition technology.”
Visual AI and touchless access control
Dan Stern adds, “Following the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, there has been a need to expand the use of visual AI, to maintain community safety, by reducing contact with surfaces, monitoring density in facilities and public areas in the complex.”
Ofer Schmidt, Sales Director of Central Europe & Israel, Oosto, said “Pre-COVID-19, maintaining tenant safety was primarily about security - letting tenants and their guests in and keeping unauthorised people out, in a transparent and smooth manner.
Deployment of facial and object recognition solutions
These days, we are seeing more and more prestigious residence complexes using face and object recognition"
Ofer Schmidt adds, “These days, we are seeing more and more prestigious residence complexes using face and object recognition, to maintain the health of the tenant and staff, for example by enforcing a policy of on distance, density, wearing masks and allowing only vaccinated, or those with a negative test, access to common facilities, such as the gym.”
He further stated, “The high accuracy of the computer vision algorithms, operating in Gindi TLV, enables the maintenance of the health of those who live or visit the complex, while minimally interfering with their daily routine. “
Video analytics using AI
Video analytics using artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce COVID-19-related risks is not unique to residential complexes.
According to a recent survey, 82% of academic institutions in the US and Western Europe will adopt face and object recognition technologies, in order to maintain safety through enforcing mask wearing, social distancing and reducing contact with surfaces to a minimum.
Bird Home Automation, a Berlin-based manufacturer of ‘DoorBird’ IP access control devices, is expanding its product portfolio to include door intercoms with an integrated fingerprint sensor module, from Fingerprint Cards AB (Fingerprints), in its D21- series.
With a DoorBird door station, homeowners and residents can see and speak to visitors like delivery services on the go via their smartphones and manage access by unlocking the door when needed.
Features of door intercom
Each door intercom features an HD wide-angle camera, motion sensor, and audio system with echo and noise cancellation. Existing keyless access control options via RFID or PIN code are expanded with biometrics by Fingerprints.
The fingerprint module is fully integrated into the DoorBird software architecture and can be configured remotely, via app or web-based dashboard, at any time to grant and withdraw access permissions.
Fingerprints' technology is characterised by superior biometric performance and security"
Integrated biometric fingerprint sensor
"Thanks to the cooperation with Fingerprints, we can fulfil many of our customers’ requests for high-quality IP access control devices with a fully integrated biometric fingerprint sensor," says Sascha Keller, CEO of Bird Home Automation.
"When it comes to collaborations, we always try to work with the best in their class. Fingerprints' technology is characterised by superior biometric performance and security, and we are excited to have it integrated into our DoorBird IP video door stations."
“We are excited about our collaboration with DoorBird, our first IP Door Station partner in EMEA, who now launched their D21x series with our fingerprint sensor, a solution that is suitable for smart homes, where biometrics bring convenience and security”, comments Michel Roig, SVP Business Line Payment & Access at Fingerprint Cards AB.
Carrier Global Corporation, a global provider of healthy, safe, sustainable, and intelligent building and cold chain solutions is delivering a full suite of innovative building technologies at Emory Healthcare’s new cutting-edge Musculoskeletal Institute (MSKI) in Atlanta, Georgia.
Carrier and Emory are collaborating to implement advanced solutions from Carrier’s Healthy Buildings Program – including HVAC, building automation, fire detection, access, and video management and digital services – at this state-of-the-art facility.
Carrier’s portfolio features products that optimise indoor environments to improve occupant experience, operational efficiency, and inspire confidence in everything from physical safety and security to improved health, productivity, and cognitive performance.
Eco-friendly building design
Emory’s vision to be a model of transformative practices serves as the inspiration for the eco-friendly design"
“Emory’s vision to be a model of transformative practices and sustainable choices at every level serves as the inspiration for the eco-friendly design of the building,” said Scott D. Boden, MD, Director of Emory MSKI and Professor and Chair of the Department of Orthopaedics, Emory University School of Medicine.
To deliver this vision, it was important for Emory to partner with an innovative building technologies company like Carrier that provides the most advanced solutions.
“At Carrier, we recognise the potential for indoor environments to help shape a healthier future. We are pleased to provide Emory’s MSKI with our full suite of intelligent building technologies. It’s through relationships built on a shared vision of innovation, that we can see the full potential of our technologies,” said Mead Rusert, President, Automated Logic Corporation, a Carrier Company.
“I am confident that patients and staff will see and feel the benefits of the technologies in this world-class facility.” From the most fundamental elements of safety and security to the cognitive and health benefits of improved air quality and ventilation, Carrier’s high-performing building solutions at the Emory MSKI facility enhance the occupant experience.
WebCTRL® building automation system
WebCTRL helps customers achieve their sustainability and energy-efficiency goals by optimizing equipment
At the core of the enhancements is the Automated Logic WebCTRL® building automation system, a powerful web-based platform that provides the MSK Facilities Team with software tools and insight to keep occupants comfortable while managing energy consumption and to identify, prioritise and analyse operational issues.
WebCTRL helps customers achieve their sustainability and energy-efficiency goals by optimising equipment and proactively identifying issues. Carrier’s Abound IoT platform will integrate into WebCTRL and will monitor indoor air quality and operational performance, displaying the data on user-friendly dashboards in the main lobby and on MSK’s website.
Safety and security
MSK chose products from Carrier’s Fire & Security portfolio, including LenelS2 and Edwards, to enhance the safety and security of the facility. The LenelS2 OnGuard® access control system secures the facility by leveraging mobile credentialing technology through the MyWay app, eliminating a significant number of access touchpoints and affording a safer, more secure, healthier experience for building occupants.
In addition, through LenelS2’s continued collaboration with Milestone Systems, a provider of video management software, MSKI operators benefit from a unified security management system that incorporates access control, video surveillance, and other technologies to help keep people and property safe.
EST4 enhances system survivability through advanced encryption and safeguards, managing cyber threats
EST4 emergency communications system
The facility also utilises the Edwards EST4 premier emergency communications system. Featuring new network architecture, EST4 enhances system survivability through advanced encryption and safeguards, managing today's cyber threats.
The system also benefits from Edwards’ Signature Optica™ detectors which distinguish between different types of fires, enhancing the protection of people and property, while reducing the number of false alarms that cause business interruption and unnecessary responses by fire departments.
Located in Emory’s Executive Park health innovation district, Emory’s MSKI is a six-story,180,000 square-foot building that focuses on innovation, improving the patient experience and research while providing all musculoskeletal services in one convenient location for patients.
CEDIA, the industry association for the home technology industry, announces a community for Ring Professionals within the association. The new initiative will grant Ring Pros access to a carefully selected educational curriculum and a variety of member benefits.
“Our goal at CEDIA is to welcome innovation from all corners of the industry, which is why we’re so excited to work more closely with Ring to expand access to CEDIA benefits and training to pros who are making an impact on the growing residential technology space,” says CEDIA Senior Director Strategic Partnerships Ian Bryant.
Training and certification programs
For a limited time, Ring Pros can join the CEDIA community as an individual member for $99 to gain access to discounted educational opportunities through CEDIA Academy, a dedicated Ring Pro portal, and exclusive webinar content.
Ring Pros will also be able to take advantage of the many benefits a CEDIA membership has to offer, including education and training, certification programs, in-person and virtual events, whitepapers, and more. The first 100 registered Ring Pros to become CEDIA members will also receive a complimentary Amazon Echo Show 5 as a welcome gift.
As homes become smarter, customers expect more from smart devices"
Making Smart homes
“At Ring, we’re committed to supporting pros and giving them the tools they need to succeed,” said Andrew Vloyanetes, GM of Installed Solutions at Ring.
“As homes become smarter and residential technology becomes more commonplace, customers expect more from their smart devices. We’re excited to work with CEDIA to provide educational content and other tools so pros can delight their customers and make their homes work harder for them.”
CEDIA’s Propel program
Ring and other Amazon products will be available through CEDIA’s Propel program, which connects CEDIA members to emerging trends, innovative technology, and special offers. All CEDIA members who order through Amazon business are eligible to receive up to 25 percent off Amazon Echo, Ring, and other Amazon products.