Voice recognition systems
Interphone, the security systems and building technology integrator, is embracing the latest iris and facial recognition technology to meet the growing demand for touchless door entry and access control. The company has launched a range of advanced and affordable solutions available for any new build or retrofit building requirement in the commercial residential marketplace. Significance of touchless technologies “The COVID pandemic has placed hygiene, infection control, and risk mitigat...
Suprema, a global pioneer in access control, biometrics, and time & attendance solutions, announced the new product launch of the X-Station 2, a versatile intelligent terminal with credential options of mobile access, QR, and barcodes as well as RFID cards and PIN. Multiple credential options X-Station 2 enables flexible access control system design by supporting multiple credential options. The terminal is compatible with most types of existing RFID cards including EM, MIFARE, iCLASS, DES...
Johnson Controls, the global pioneer in smart, healthy, and sustainable buildings, is introducing Cloudvue with access control, with the Tyco Kantech KT-1 one-door controller. This powerful technology collaboration enables centrally managed cloud video surveillance and access control across an entire organisation from a single browser, part of Johnson Controls' commitment to providing technology so customers can maintain safe building environments, healthy business operations, and seamless occu...
LenelS2 introduced its indoor location subscription-based service for businesses and other organisations using LenelS2’s BlueDiamond™ mobile app version 2.1.8 for smartphones. Touchless solutions This new premium mobile app service complements LenelS2’s touchless access solutions by providing users with: the ability to quickly pull up a map to determine the current location within a building, search for points of interest, use turn-by-turn directions for efficient navig...
Pyronix launches its latest security peripheral, the MCEXTERNAL-WE outdoor wireless magnetic contact. Perimeter security This tough, tamperproof and weatherproof contact extends perimeter protection applications to secure sheds, garages, gates, and more, with remote voice push notification alerts via the smart device apps, HomeControl2.0 and ProControl+. “We’re very pleased to add this perimeter protection option to the range, as this really extends perimeter protection use case a...
Travel volumes at airports have been increasing of late, although still below the 2.5 million or so passengers the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened every day, on average, before the pandemic. As passengers return, they will notice the airport security experience has changed during the pandemic – and many of the changes are likely to continue even longer. Need for touchless technology The lowest U.S. air travel volume in history was recorded last April, with approxim...
Suprema, a pioneer in access control, biometrics and time & attendance solutions, announces that its compact outdoor RFID reader, XPass D2 has been verified by SIA as OSDP compliant. OSDP, or Open Supervised Device Protocol, is an open-source protocol devised to improve interoperability among access control products from different manufacturers. OSDP enables bi-directional communication between readers and controllers, an improvement from one-way data transmission of Wiegand interface. Innovative member companies OSDP also offers enhanced security by using RS-485 protocols with AES-128 encryption that fully protects communication paths from the reader to the server. The Security Industry Association (SIA) is the trade association for global security solution providers SIA, Security Industry Association, has driven the OSDP technology by administering a comprehensive testing program to validate if a device conforms to its OSDP standards and related performance profiles. The Security Industry Association (SIA) is the trade association for global security solution providers, with over 1,100 innovative member companies. Mobile credential solution Suprema’s accredited product, XPass D2, is an IP67 and IK08 rated compact outdoor card reader that comes in three form factors of mullion-mount, gang box and gang box with keypads. XPass D2 is compatible not only with RFID cards but also with Suprema mobile access, mobile credential solution that can communicate via BLE and NFC with both iOS and Android smartphones. “We are happy to announce that Suprema XPass D2 acquired OSDP certification from SIA. OSDP is an open protocol aimed to increase interoperability between different OEM products and overall security in access control systems and the certification shows that Suprema products are meeting industry’s newest and highest standards. We will be committed to making all of our products OSDP compliant moving forward,” said Hanchul Kim, the CEO of Suprema Inc.
The global COVID-19 pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the health care systems and brought new challenges to the safety and security operations of hospitals. On top of this, hospitals still have to manage a variety of pre-pandemic concerns, such as attempted patient elopement, prescription drug theft, unruly visitors and trespassing. Safe Hospitals solution Motorola Solutions has announced its Safe Hospitals solution, a unified technology ecosystem that combines video, data, analytics and voice technologies, to help hospitals proactively manage threats, drive operational efficiencies and create the environment of safety needed to provide the highest level of patient care. With 23 hospitals, nearly 11,000 clinical employees and more than 2 million outpatients seen every year, across the US states of Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, SSM Health has deployed a Safe Hospitals solution from Motorola Solutions to mitigate complex safety and security risks. Unified technology ecosystem “What sets our security solution apart is the simplicity and speed that comes from using technologies that work together,” said Todd Miller, SSM Health Regional Director of Security, adding “We can move quickly from detection to action to mitigate disruptions to our operations and patient care.” Todd Miller adds, “The benefits of this are felt across the organisation - it gives our security officers more confidence, because they have the right resources in place to do their jobs in a truly professional manner, clinical staff feel more comfortable and safe in the workplace, which leads to greater retention and patient care, and we save time and money by deploying hospital resources efficiently.” Combining video and analytics Safe Hospitals solution combines video, analytics and command centre software The Safe Hospitals solution combines video and analytics, command centre software and critical communications solutions, in order to help hospitals detect and analyse events, seamlessly communicate and respond appropriately in any situation. For example, Avigilon cameras with analytics can detect a vehicle belonging to a banned individual on hospital grounds, triggering an automated alert to MOTOTRBO two-way radios, allowing security officers to assess the scene via camera feeds and dispatch personnel to the right location with details about the incident. Simple cloud-based platform This kind of intelligent workflow is created by the hospital in a simple cloud-based platform, which allows the hospital to tailor how the technologies work together, in order to meet their specific needs. The automation and integration of security technology in this new and meaningful way can be critical in saving minutes and seconds, in every incident response. “Facing complex daily challenges, health care workers can only provide the highest level of care when an environment of safety is certain,” said Sharon Hong, Vice President of Enterprise Technologies at Motorola Solutions. Enhanced incident detection and analysis Sharon Hong adds, “By creating one connected ecosystem of technologies, our Safe Hospitals solution allows for quick and clear detection and analysis of what is happening on hospital premises, bringing the speed and awareness needed to address concerns and resolve incidents appropriately, helping staff get back to what they do best, taking care of their patients.”
Access control and security system designer and manufacturer Inner Range has released a new upgrade for its Enterprise-level system Integriti, which includes integrations with Suprema biometrics and Quuppa real time location tracking. The Version 21 update is available now for all new and existing customers. The new integration with Suprema allows users to add thumb and face scans as access credentials, which can be used in addition to smartcards and PIN for high security with trouble-free access. Providing extra security The integration with Quuppa means tagged information from the Quuppa system can be associated with Integriti entities, allowing direct control of the asset from either system. The asset could be an object, or a user associated with it. The location of tagged assets can be made visible on Integriti’s schematic of the site, alongside all other access and security devices. Operators can access all cameras with the asset in their field of view, if fields of view are configured. Alert protocols can be set up with bespoke criteria and operators can track and view the asset instantly if an alert is triggered. The update also means Integriti supports Two Factor Authentication (2FA), providing extra security when operators login. Security management system Our latest version of Integriti gives users more options for managing access" Operators must enter a time-based six-digit code from a registered smartphone or personal device as well as their usual username and password to login to the system. They can also generate an emergency back-up code if they lose, forget or can’t access their personal device. Tim Northwood, General Manager at Inner Range, said: “Our latest version of Integriti gives users more options for managing access, whether that’s using biometric credentials or Two Factor Authentication. It also provides greater precision in how they can tailor individual elements of a sophisticated, integrated security management system for the most unified and effective approach to access, security and smart building management.” Intelligent security solutions Other improvements include an overhaul of Integriti’s schematics. Integrated CCTV camera ‘fields of view’ can now be accurately plotted via the ‘schematics editor’, while there are more options and control for users in how devices, assets and alerts appear. Pre-set positions for PTZ cameras are also now possible for integrated entities, such as doors. This means operators can access the right live footage quicker and more easily when they need to. Inner Range has been a pioneer in the design and manufacture of intelligent security solutions since it was established in 1988. Inner Range systems have been installed in over 25 countries. Customers include hospitals and high-security units, colleges, distribution centres and pharmaceutical companies, government and critical national infrastructure.
Gallagher, a pioneer in access control and perimeter security solutions, and Invixium, a premier manufacturer of innovative touchless biometrics, jointly announce a global agreement where Gallagher will distribute Invixium products for access control. This distribution agreement aligns with Invixium's and Gallagher's continuous efforts to modernise and adapt physical security in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This agreement also follows the successful integration of Gallagher’s command centre with IXM WEB. Healthy access solution The new integration unlocks the full potential of Invixium temperature screening, mask detection and face recognition while wearing a mask. The joint solution, provided by integrating Gallagher’s command centre with IXM WEB, delivers a complete answer for visitor screening, access control or healthy workforce management, including temperature screening, mask detection and more. The command centre platform will notify administrators of elevated body temperature The command centre platform will notify administrators of elevated body temperature or mask-related access events in the Alarm Viewer. Along with Invixium's flagship healthy access solution, Gallagher will re-sell Invixium products to provide their global customers with a range of products to satisfy their most demanding health and safety requirements. Securing healthy buildings "Gallagher is proud to offer our customers innovative solutions that meet today's demands," said Mark Junge, Global General Manager for Security at Gallagher. "This partnership is one of many activities that allow us to remain at the forefront as a security provider, and we look forward to offering our customers new technology options that complement our security platform and deliver a safer, healthier future.” “This distribution agreement with Gallagher allows Invixium to expand our global reach and respond to the needs of customers that demand high security,” said Shiraz Kapadia, CEO & President at Invixium. “Our Healthy Access biometric solutions integrated with command centre permit Gallagher customers to manage Invixium products from within command centre easily and secure their healthy buildings for the future.”
Boon Edam Inc., a pioneer in security entrances and architectural revolving doors, has published a new whitepaper for security professionals entitled, ‘Access Control Integration with Turnstiles and Security Doors.’ The publication outlines the five basic components of an access control system and explores its inherent weaknesses related to working with different types of entrances in controlling unauthorised entry. The whitepaper then reveals the benefits and best practices around integrating access control systems with security entrances, including high security revolving doors and portals; medium security optical turnstiles, and low security tripod and full height turnstiles. Access control systems To set the stage, the whitepaper begins by explaining that most access control systems are installed in buildings alongside traditional manual or automatic swinging doors. The weakness of this combination lies in the fact that once unlocked by a credentialed user, a swinging door can be held open or forced open, allowing entry for unauthorised people. The whitepaper begins by explaining that most access control systems are installed in buildings When an organisation cannot accurately report on the number of people in their building, they are more vulnerable to risk and liability, such as crime, violence, regulatory fines, loss of productivity, litigation, etc. The publication continues by outlining five main benefits of access control systems coupled with security entrances vs. swinging doors, including their ability to mitigate tailgating and piggybacking and establish a reliable standard operating procedure (S.O.P.) for entry. Integrating authentication devices The whitepaper also provides details on how to seamlessly integrate authentication devices of all shapes and sizes with security doors and turnstiles for maximum effectiveness and ease of use. Finally, the ‘Access Control Integration’ whitepaper concludes by introducing biometrics and explaining how these devices pair with high security revolving doors and mantrap portals to ensure not only that one person enters per authorised credential, but also that the person entering matches the credential. A detailed infographic included with the whitepaper illustrates the entry process, showing how the entrance speaks to the access control system to confirm or deny entry to a building’s most secure areas.
A security solutions developer, designer, and provider, Videcon, has launched their new Concept Pro ColourSmart camera range, providing clear full colour imagery 24 hours a day. The complete CCTV range combines Videcon’s Deep Learning technology and powerful software, to allow footage to always remain in colour with clear and crisp imagery, day, or night. ColourSmart Features The ColourSmart cameras have a larger lens and image sensor which allows them to let in as much light as possible, software that provides a crisp and clear image, and warm white light which will activate if there isn’t sufficient ambient lighting to keep the image in colour. Each camera is also equipped with Videcon’s innovative Deep Learning technology, which means that sensors focus only on events that matter and it can distinguish people and vehicles from other moving objects. Camera system for everyone Videcon Managing Director, Matt Rushall said, “We’re so excited to be launching our new Concept Pro ColourSmart range and we hope this is the start of our customers seeing their security in an entirely new way.” “Our team have been hard at work ensuring the cameras have the best colour imagery possible, along with our Deep Learning software and its compatibility with other security systems to make it a security system that’s for everyone at all times.”
Over the past year, companies have had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected their operations. From new digital services through to security, the response to more hybrid and remote working showed some of the assumptions that we have made over the years, and it required companies to innovate and fill those gaps. Physical and IT security was no exception to this. In the rush to support home working, many IT security teams realised how much they rely on physical security to help with their identity management approaches. To adapt to what is taking place now, identity management has to evolve too. Challenging our assumptions around identity management Identity management involves ensuring that authorised and authenticated individuals can get access to the tools and data they need to work, and restricting access from those that don’t. Identification is establishing who a user is, and then authentication verifies someone is who they say they are through a combination of different methods or factors linked to who they are, what device they are using, what they know, and what they have. Physical security provides an identity perimeter by restricting device access to only those that are allowed to enter a location, whether this is through using technology like smart cards or biometrics through to people managing who can enter the building at reception. With this boundary in place, using a combination of username and password is enough to meet security requirements. A more ‘zero trust’ approach is needed where we trust nothing and verify everything However, the pandemic took this away. For many IT security teams, this showed how much they had taken physical security for granted in their security planning. Alongside having to provide remote access that is secure, these teams had to think about how to manage identities securely as well. The default approach of username and password is not enough when everyone can be working on any device and from essentially any location. Instead, identity has become the new perimeter. The new office is wherever a user and device are, and authentication must change that we can prove people are who they say they are. A more ‘zero trust’ approach is needed where we trust nothing and verify everything. The mindset behind zero trust security is to regard all sources of network traffic, both external and internal, as potential routes for attacks. Therefore, all users and resources must be verified and authenticated wherever they come from, system data must be collected and analysed for risks, and network access and traffic must be limited and monitored. While it may seem a bit paranoid, zero-trust security is rooted in the realities of the cloud computing age. Multi-factor authentication or MFA can be used to add more types and factors for authentication. So, in addition to something you know like a password, you can use something you have as well. This would typically be a one time password sent to the user’s phone or from a mobile authenticator app, which fills the role of something they have. Managing this at any scale requires work. For large companies with established processes and identity management strategies, this would be something they could add on as part of that remote working implementation. However, for many smaller businesses that don’t have established IT directories or that have a wide range of different and new applications in place to support, it is more challenging. Everything is different One reason for this is the sheer variety of IT assets, devices, and applications that now have to be supported. Rather than the IT-designed network of machines that is standardised and fully controlled, we today have a far wider range of devices, operating systems and locations in play. Alongside this, there is the issue of controlling access to cloud-based services and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications, which have also grown in popularity. The traditional IT directory that is normally used as the starting point for identity management is not normally equipped to manage the modern identity landscape. Looking at cloud-based directories is therefore a worthwhile step, as these are built to manage Identities, SaaS applications and VPNs and also support both multiple operating systems and the wide range of different devices that today’s users have. From a physical security perspective, identity and access management can be an area to develop. While the need for building access is reduced at the moment, it will return when the pandemic ends. In these circumstances, new approaches may also be needed. For example, fingerprint biometric security processes are popular to fill the requirement around verifying that someone is who they say they are. However, traditional approaches like fingerprint scanners may be less popular as they require users to touch the readers. For high traffic locations with lots of people, that will be a risk. Instead, combining access and identity can be made easier through approaches that take advantage of the new flexibility that pandemic responses needed. For example, using the physical access control support in today’s smartphones can enable organisations to use biometric fingerprint readers or face recognition without having to enforce everyone using the same biometric reader. By linking to phone applications that employees have on their devices, fingerprints or other forms of biometric data can be used to grant access. Thinking about context Looking into the future, many of us are looking forward to things going back to the way that they were before the pandemic. However, there are a lot of things that we had to adapt and use to keep operations running and secure during lockdown that we should continue to make use of. Rather than simply going back, we should look ahead at a more hybrid approach to everything, including security. This includes looking at context for identity and access management. Rather than simple approaches that are either too insecure or overkill for employees, we can set out situations that match the most common working situations and then enforce some rules on when access is granted. For this, we can look at how to use authentication and access control more effectively alongside other security factors. As we move to a more hybrid way of working, this flexibility of approach will be necessary to cope with all the different scenarios that employees will be in The first element here is the devices that users have. Trusted devices can be their own factor for authentication, where a device trust can be set up with a specific user account and linked to a specific device like a PC, laptop or tablet. If the user is not using one of those devices, then they can have an additional factor for authentication used, such as entering a one-time password from their phone or a mobile push authentication. This approach does not restrict users that may need to work from other devices occasionally, but it does protect against theft of passwords or dictionary attacks on credentials. The second element is location. When users connect, they will use an IP address that connects them to a network either in the office, to their home provider, or to a public network. Depending on the circumstances, you can put rules in place on how you manage those connections. For a user that is in the office, they may get access automatically in the same way they used to. With conditional access based on geolocation, user access can be allowed or blocked based on a user’s physical location or challenged with a step-up authentication. For example, your business may be based in the UK and with offices in Europe. Getting an access request from India or China may not be legitimate, so IP addresses from those countries can be automatically blocked. Alternatively, if you do have staff that will travel to those countries, then access can be dependent on using a known device and authentication step before signing in. The approach here is to use conditional access based on identity, location, and device and make access as simple as possible for the user and without causing excess risk to the organisation. By looking at specific circumstances and context, you can design your access management approach to fit the user. As we move to a more hybrid way of working, this flexibility of approach will be necessary to cope with all the different scenarios that employees will be in.
Several major players vigorously employ biometric recognition technologies around the globe. Governments use biometrics to control immigration, security, and create national databases of biometric profiles. Being one of the most striking examples, the Indian Aadhaar includes face photos, iris, and fingerprints of about 1.2 billion people. Financial institutions, on their part, make use of biometrics to protect transactions by confirming a client's identity, as well as develop and provide services without clients visiting the office. Besides, biometric technology ensures security and optimises passenger traffic at transport facilities and collects data about customers, and investigates theft and other incidents in retail stores. Widespread use of biometrics Business, which suddenly boosted the development of biometrics, is an active user of biometric technology Business, which suddenly boosted the development of biometrics, is another active user of biometric technology. Industries choose biometric systems, as these systems are impossible to trick in terms of security, access control, and data protection. Being in demand in business, these three tasks are also relevant for the industry. However, the use of biometrics at industrial sites is discussed unfairly seldom. Therefore, it is the face identification that is the most convenient there, as workers often use gloves, or their hands may be contaminated, and the palm pattern is distorted by heavy labour. All these features make it difficult to recognise people by fingerprints or veins and significantly reduce identification reliability. Therefore, industries seek facial recognition solutions. Thus, let us demonstrate the application of face recognition technology at different enterprises, regardless of the area. Facial recognition use in incident management Facial biometric products are known to automate and improve the efficiency of security services by enriching any VMS system. These systems provide an opportunity of instantly informing the operator about recognised or unrecognised people, and their list membership, as well as save all the detected images for further security incident investigation. Furthermore, some sophisticated facial biometric systems even provide an opportunity to build a map of the movements of specific people around a site. Besides, it is relevant not only for conducting investigations but also in countering the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Identifying and tracking COVID-19 positive cases Therefore, if an employee or visitor with a positive COVID-19 test enters a facility, the system will help to track his/her movement and identify his/her specific location. It will also help to take the necessary measures for spot sanitary processing. Thus, the introduction of biometric facial recognition at the industrial enterprise can improve and speed up the incidents’ response and investigations without spending hours watching the video archive. Access control system to secure physical assets The right access control system can help industries secure physical and informational assets The right access control system can help industries secure physical and informational assets, cut personnel costs, and keep employees safe. Facial recognition systems may enrich access control systems of any company by providing more security. As biometric characteristics, by which the system assesses the compliance of a person with the available profiles in the database, cannot be faked or passed. The human factor is also reduced to zero, due to the fact that while identity documents can be changed, the inspector can make a mistake or treat his/her task carelessly, be in collusion with an intruder, the biometric system simply compares a person in front of the camera with the biometric profiles database. Biometric facial identification software For example, RecFaces product Id-Gate, a specialised software product for reliable access control to the site, checks the access rights by using biometric facial identification alone or in conjunction with traditional IDs (electronic passes, access keys, etc.), which means that there is almost a zero probability of passing to the site by someone else's ID. The access control system’s functionality allows one to strictly account the number and time of all the facility’s visitors and also track their movement. When unauthorised access is attempted or a person from the stop list is detected, Id-Gate sends an automatic notification to the access control system and operator. Enhanced data and information security Even despite the division of access to different industrial enterprise areas, the security service needs to provide independent information system security. Employees with the same facility access rights may have different access rights to data. However, in that case, a personal password is not enough, as an employee may forget it, write it down and leave it as a reminder, tell a colleague to do something for him/her during the vacation, or just enter it at another person’s presence. Password-free biometric authentication systems make the procedure user-friendly and secure Password-free biometric authentication Password-free biometric authentication systems make the procedure user-friendly and secure. Such systems usually provide an option of two-step verification when successful password entry is additionally confirmed by biometric recognition. Hence, it is particularly relevant due to the current lockdown in many countries. To sum up, the application of biometric technologies solves several issues of the industry, such as: Optimises and partially automates the work of the security service, as it provides reliable identification and verification of visitors/employees, reduces the amount of time spent on finding a person on video and making a map of his/her movements, without spending hours on watching video archive in case of investigation. Provides a high level of reliability and protection from unauthorised access to the enterprise and the information system. Provides a two-step verification of the user/visitor (including password and biometric data) and almost eliminates the risk of substitution of user data/ID.
News reports and opinion columns about face recognition are appearing everyday. To some of us, the term sounds overly intrusive. It even makes people shrink back into their seats or shake their head in disgust, picturing a present-day dystopia. Yet to others, face recognition presents technology-enabled realistic opportunities to fight, and win, the battle against crime. What are the facts about face recognition? Which side is right? Well, there is no definitive answer because, as with all powerful tools, it all depends on who uses it. Face recognition can, in fact, be used in an immoral or controversial manner. But, it can also be immensely beneficial in providing a safe and secure atmosphere for those in its presence. Concerns of facial recognition With the increased facial recognition applications, people’s concerns over the technology continuously appear throughout news channels and social media. Some of the concerns include: Privacy: Alex Perry of Mashable sums up his and most other peoples’ privacy concerns with face recognition technology when he wrote, “The first and most obvious reason why people are unhappy about facial recognition is that it's unpleasant by nature. Increasing government surveillance has been a hot-button issue for many, many years, and tech like Amazon's Rekognition software is only making the dystopian future feel even more real”. Accuracy: People are worried about the possibilities of inaccurate face detection, which could result in wrongful identification or criminalisation. Awareness: Face recognition software allows the user to upload a picture of anyone, regardless of whether that person knows of it. An article posted on The Conversation states, “There is a lack of detailed and specific information as to how facial recognition is actually used. This means that we are not given the opportunity to consent to the recording, analysing and storing of our images in databases. By denying us the opportunity to consent, we are denied choice and control over the use of our own images” Debunking concerns The concerns with privacy, accuracy, and awareness are all legitimate and valid concerns. However, let us look at the facts and examine the reasons why face recognition, like any other technology, can be responsibly used: Privacy concerns: Unlike the fictional dystopian future where every action, even in one’s own home, is monitored by a centralised authority, the reality is that face recognition technology only helps the security guard monitoring public locations where security cameras are installed. There is fundamentally no difference between a human security guard at the door and an AI-based software in terms of recognising people on watchlist and not recognising those who are not. The only difference is that the AI-based face recognition software can do so at a higher speed and without fatigue. Face recognition software only recognises faces that the user has put in the system, which is not every person on the planet, nor could it ever be. Accuracy concerns: It is true that first-generation face recognition systems have a large margin for error according to studies in 2014. However, as of 2020, the best face recognition systems are now around 99.8% accurate. New AI models are continuously being trained with larger, more relevant, more diverse and less biased datasets. The error margin found in face recognition software today is comparable to that of a person, and it will continue to decrease as we better understand the limitations, train increasingly better AI and deploy AI in more suitable settings. Awareness concerns: While not entirely comforting, the fact is that we are often being watched one way or another on a security camera. Informa showed that in 2014, 245 million cameras were active worldwide, this number jumped to 656 million in 2018 and is projected to nearly double in 2021. Security camera systems, like security guards, are local business and government’s precaution measures to minimise incidents such as shoplifting, car thefts, vandalism and violence. In other words, visitors to locations with security systems have tacitly agreed to the monitoring in exchange for using the service provided by those locations in safety, and visitors are indeed aware of the existence of security cameras. Face recognition software is only another layer of security, and anyone who is not a security threat is unlikely to be registered in the system without explicit consent. The benefits In August 2019, the NYPD used face recognition software to catch a rapist within 24 hours after the incident occurred. In April 2019, the Sichuan Provincial Public Security Department in China, found a 13-year-old girl using face recognition technology. The girl had gone missing in 2009, persuading many people that she would never be found again. Face recognition presents technology-enabled realistic opportunities to fight, and win, the battle against crimeIn the UK, the face recognition system helps Welsh police forces with the detection and prevention of crime. "For police it can help facilitate the identification process and it can reduce it to minutes and seconds," says Alexeis Garcia-Perez, a researcher on cybersecurity management at Coventry University. "They can identify someone in a short amount of time and in doing that they can minimise false arrests and other issues that the public will not see in a very positive way". In fact, nearly 60% Americans polled in 2019 accept the use of face recognition by law enforcement to enhance public safety. Forbes magazine states that “When people know they are being watched, they are less likely to commit crimes so the possibility of facial recognition technology being used could deter crime”. Saving time One thing that all AI functions have been proven to achieve better results than manual security is speed. NBC News writes, “Nearly instantaneously, the program gives a list of potential matches loaded with information that can help him confirm the identity of the people he’s stopped - and whether they have any outstanding warrants. Previously, he’d have to let the person go or bring them in to be fingerprinted”. Facial recognition can also be immensely beneficial in providing a safe and secure atmosphere for those in its presence With AI, instead of spending hours or days to sift through terabytes of video data, the security staff can locate a suspect within seconds. This time-saving benefit is essential to the overall security of any institution, for in most security threat situations, time is of the utmost importance. Another way in which the technology saves time is its ability to enable employees (but not visitors) to open doors to their office in real time with no badge, alleviating the bottleneck of forgotten badge, keycode or password. Saving money A truly high-performance AI software helps save money in many ways. First, if the face recognition software works with your pre-existing camera system, there is no need to replace cameras, hence saving cost on infrastructure. Second, AI alleviates much of the required manual security monitoring 24/7, as the technology will detect people of interest and automatically and timely alert the authorities. Third, by enhancing access authentication, employees save time and can maximise productivity in more important processes. The takeaway AI-enabled face recognition technology has a lot of benefits if used correctly. Can it be abused? Yes, like all tools that mankind has made from antiquity. Should it be deployed? The evidence indicates that the many benefits of this complex feature outweigh the small chance for abuse of power. It is not only a step in the right direction for the security industry but also for the overall impact on daily lives. It helps to make the world a safer place.
The mindset behind a new law to prohibit the use of facial recognition and other security-related technologies by San Francisco police and other city agencies is obvious in the name of the new ordinance: “Stop Secret Surveillance.” Ordinance to stop secret surveillance The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed the ordinance 8-1 with two abstentions on May 14, and there will be another vote next week before it becomes law. We have an outsize responsibility to regulate the excesses of technology precisely because they are headquartered here" The irony of such a law emanating from northern California, where tech giants promote the use of numerous technologies that arguably infringe on privacy, is not lost on Aaron Peskin, the city supervisor who sponsored the bill. “We have an outsize responsibility to regulate the excesses of technology precisely because they are headquartered here,” he told the New York Times. Regulating facial recognition technology Although the facial recognition aspects of the ordinance have been the most publicised, it also targets a long list of other products and systems. According to the ordinance, "Surveillance Technology" means “any software, electronic device, system utilising an electronic device, or similar device used, designed, or primarily intended to collect, retain, process, or share audio, electronic, visual, location, thermal, biometric, olfactory or similar information specifically associated with, or capable of being associated with, any individual or group.” Broadly interpreted, that’s a lot of devices. Includes biometrics, RFID scanners The ordinance lists some examples such as automatic license plate readers, gunshot detection hardware and services, video and audio monitoring and/or recording equipment, mobile DNA capture technology, radio-frequency ID (RFID) scanners, and biometric software or technology including facial, voice, iris, and gait-recognition software and databases. Among the exceptions listed in the ordinance are physical access control systems, employee identification management systems, and other physical control systems; and police interview rooms, holding cells, and internal security audio/video recording systems. The ordinance ban applies to city departments and agencies, not to the general public and exceptions include physical access control systems, employee identification management systems, and internal security audio/video recording systems Airport security not part of ordinance The ban only applies to city departments and agencies, not to private businesses or the general public. Therefore, San Franciscans can continue to use facial recognition technology every day when they unlock their smart phones. And technologies such as facial recognition currently used at the San Francisco airport and ports are not impacted because they are under federal jurisdiction. Furthermore, the San Francisco police department does not currently use facial recognition anyway, although it has been deployed in places such as Las Vegas, Orlando, Boston and New York City. Safeguarding privacy of citizens The ordinance appears to have a goal of avoiding government uses of technologies that can invade individual privacy, seeking to avoid worst-case scenarios such as an existing system in China that uses millions of surveillance cameras to keep close tabs on the Uyghurs, a Muslim minority population. Any new plans to use surveillance technology must be approved by the city government, and any existing uses must be reported and justified by submitting a Surveillance Technology Policy ordinance for approval by the Board of Supervisors within 180 days. Surveillance technology policy Banning use of facial recognition just when its capability is being realised is counterproductive But might such a ban on technology uses undermine their potential value as crime-fighting tools just when they are poised to become more valuable than ever? Ed Davis, a former Boston police commissioner, told the New York Times it is “premature to be banning things.” He notes: “This technology is still developing, and as it improves, this could be the answer to a lot of problems we have about securing our communities.” Technology development doesn’t happen in a vacuum and banning uses of facial recognition and other technologies just when their capabilities are being realised is counterproductive. We should be thoughtful, deliberate and transparent in how we embrace new technologies. However, discarding them out-of-hand using emotionally charged words such as “secret surveillance” does not promote the best use of technology to the benefit of everyone.
What happens to a company’s data in the case of a disaster such as 9/11 or Hurricane Sandy? How can a company recover from a disaster and continue their business uninterrupted? It’s a complicated challenge – and one many security professionals and risk management professionals must consider. Companies like Recovery Point provide resources to help a company survive a catastrophic event and keep its computer programs and business processes running. Their customers include large, well-known companies and the government. “When big disasters happen, people begin rethinking what they need to protect against,” says Dick Fordham, Director of Marketing and Strategy, Recovery Point. “We try to imagine the worst that can happen, and put in place adequate measures to provide the security in those areas.” Recovery Point is a national provider of integrated business continuity and disaster recovery systems. The company stores copies of its customers’ critical enterprise data on its servers in multiple locations. Recovery Point enables customers to bring their systems and networks back up and let employees continue working despite any damage from the disaster. “We’re not a big company – about 150 employees – but we can service the biggest clients because we provide a high degree of personalised service,” says Fordham. There is also a 45,000-square-foot facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where clients’ data can be stored up to 30 days on disk and up to seven years on tape Client data storage and backup Recovery Point’s flagship facility is located on a 17-acre private campus in Germantown, Maryland; about 30 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. There is also a 45,000-square-foot facility in Gaithersburg, Maryland, where clients’ data can be stored up to 30 days on disk and up to seven years on tape in high-end, secure vaults. There are also two 100-seat work areas where displaced workers from customer companies can continue to perform their duties – one in Gaithersburg and another one in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Recovery Point is also a tenant in a data centre in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, providing an additional, redundant location to store data in case of a disaster. Recovery Point offers cloud backup strategies to handle data from major computer systems used by large companies; whether it’s mainframe computers, AIX operating systems or iSeries. In addition to providing recovery services in case of a disaster, the company works with companies daily to test and maintain their systems and to provide proof-of-concept demonstrations. Concentric circles of security Security is a large part of the services Recovery Point provides. The company leverages the most secure approaches and technologies to ensure that customers’ data is protected, including the familiar “concentric circles of security” approach familiar to most security practitioners. At the centre of the circle is the data of customer companies, what Fordham calls ‘the crown jewels.’ Recovery Point uses a combination of cyber, network and physical security to protect a customer’s data assets. “If their data is gone or corrupted, their business is gone or corrupted,” says Fordham. Location of the data centre(s) is the first stage of protecting the backup data. Recovery Point is located outside urban areas, away from likely terrorist threats, in an area that is not prone to hurricane or tornado activity. The ‘geographically stable’ area is above the 100-year floodplain. At the perimeter, there is no signage identifying the company or its mission. An anti-ram barrier topped with a 10-foot personnel security fence encircles the campus. At the gate, visitors must be validated remotely or by authorised badge and security code. Inside the perimeter, there are hydraulic anti-vehicle barriers that can resist a 30-tonne truck going 50 miles per hour. Bollards at four-foot intervals keep vehicles away from the building. Visitors require access badges and receptionists at multiple sign-in desks are located behind ballistic-rated bullet-proof glass Inside, visitors require access badges and receptionists at multiple sign-in desks are located behind ballistic-rated bullet-proof glass. Badges allow access only to the specific areas a visitor needs, whether it is the location where their data is stored, temporary work areas, meeting rooms or overnight sleeping quarters. Two-factor authentication includes iris-scan, fingerprint and voice recognition biometrics. Data security process Independent certification, including auditing of processes and physical boundaries around the data, meets standards such as the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) and the Federal Risk and Authorisation Management Program (FedRAMP). The network and power must also be stable and Recovery Point has Uptime Institute Tier 3 certification, which includes redundant, switchable systems. There is an A side and B side to each system; if one side is ‘down’ for maintenance or a malfunction, the other side is fully functional to ensure uninterrupted service. “Customers have already had one disaster,” says Fordham. “We make it as painless as possible for them not to worry about their data, to make them feel secure. In a disaster there are other things to worry about, such as their home and families. We want security you can see and security you can feel.”
Security vigilance can be sporadic at many companies and institutions. Facilities tend to tighten security in the days after a scary event happens or makes headlines, and people are generally tolerant of the associated inconvenience – for a time. But as memory fades, so too does tolerance for being inconvenienced. We want to be safe, but we also don’t want to be bothered. We want a security system that both provides safety and is unobtrusive. Security doesn’t have to be inconvenient. That’s a core message of FST Biometrics, which leverages multiple technologies to identify people in motion, ensuring non-invasive, seamless security in a variety of environments. “In Motion Identification” FST Biometrics’ system analyses body size, gait, movement and direction as an individual approaches an entry point, and then uses facial recognition to confirm that person as someone authorised to enter a facility The approach, says FST Biometrics, is to combine facial recognition biometrics with analysis of body behaviour and characteristics. Their system analyses body size, gait, movement and direction as an individual approaches an entry point, and then uses facial recognition to confirm that person as someone authorised to enter a facility. It all happens without the individual realising it or thinking about it – in effect, tightened security is invisible and non-intrusive to the environment being protected. FST Biometrics calls it “In Motion Identification” (IMID). The benefits are obvious in a global environment where security increasingly is needed everywhere. “It’s very accurate identification that translates into security without a high visibility of security,” says Arie Melamed, CMO of FST Biometrics. “If you have security that isn’t invasive, and without changing the status quo of life, people feel safer and they will be safer.” Accuracy With a false accept rate around 3 in 10,000, the system is sufficient for all but the most secure facilities, says Melamed. If additional security is needed, the system can also implement a voice recognition element, or other multi-factor identification such as cards or smart phone credentials can be added (with resulting false accept rates around 1 in 1 million). FST Biometrics’ software includes visitor management and access control suites, too. It can also be integrated with access control platforms such as Lenel, Tyco’s C-Cure, Honeywell and others. Analysing body recognition factors FST Biometrics analyses body recognition factors as an individual approaches an entry point to narrow the field of possible identities, from which a face is confirmed at the entry point. Narrowing the possible matches from 10,000 to 500 or fewer, the system both simplifies the task of recognising the face and eliminates a majority of possible false accepts, thus improving the accuracy of the total system. Body characteristics are analysed at distances ranging 12 to 18 feet from the entry point, and the final facial recognition takes place 2 or 3 feet from the entry. The system can be used with doors, speed gates or turnstiles, or even in an open environment where a security guard is notified if a person isn’t recognised. The company claims throughput at turnstiles of 30 people per minute. “It’s very accurate identification that translates into security without a high visibility of security. If you have security that isn’t invasive, and without changing the status quo of life, people feel safer and they will be safer”, says Arie Melamed, CMO of FST Biometrics The software system works with standard hardware, including a 5 megapixel IP camera installed at the entry point, and a server. Only the facial image is enrolled in the system. Over time, the system then “learns” information about body behaviour and characteristics -- and applies the data to simplifying identification and increasing accuracy. About FST Biometrics FST Biometrics was founded in 2007 by the former head of Israel’s military intelligence. The company installed the first systems in customer facilities in 2012, and has been receiving feedback since then. In 2014, they began to focus on the enterprise market, including “open campuses” that want security but without the “feel” of security. Clients include corporate, retail, financial services, telecommunications, residential and governmental sectors. Melamed says a new $15 million investment in FST Biometrics by GMF Capital is an endorsement of the company’s approach and a statement of trust. “We know how hard they look for uniqueness [in companies they invest in],” he says. “They are looking for companies that are changing the world.” Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak will represent GMF Capital on the FST Biometrics Board of Directors. FST Biometrics has also introduced a system that uses an Android-based mobile device (such as a smart phone with a camera) to enable a security guard to recognise people without being tied to a specific location, even in an environment such as a parking garage. After the identity is confirmed, the mobile system advises whether the person can enter and may also list who is authorised to be a passenger in their car (to identify possible car-jacking scenarios).
82% of schools and colleges in both the US and Northern Europe see a potential role for CCTV/video monitoring systems in supporting a safe return to face-to-face teaching in school buildings and across further education college campuses, following the pandemic. Many schools and colleges have already adapted their video monitoring systems. For example, half (50%) of all those in charge of these systems had already adapted their existing video systems to help manage social distancing. A further 34% planned to use their systems for this purpose within the next 12 months. Video monitoring systems The AVA Security Education Sector Security Survey provides a wealth of data and insight linked to how Operations, Security, and IT directors and managers within educational establishments in the US, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, are adapting their video monitoring or CCTV systems in the wake of the pandemic. Nearly four of every 10 (38%) educational institutions were already using their video monitoring systems to trace all student, staff, and visitor movements in, out, and around their premises and grounds to protect everyone from infection. A further 46% planned to configure these systems for this same purpose within the next 12 months. Safe-specific video analytics Nearly a third (29%) was already using their existing video systems to help provide temperature level health checks at some building entrances. A further 43% planned to enable temperature checking via their CCTV systems within the next year. Interestingly, 41% had already deployed their video systems for reporting on class or lecture hall occupancy levels and people density levels in retail areas, dining facilities, and other leisure areas where students congregate. A further 41% said they were planning to add this capability via their video systems over the next 12 months. Contactless access control The education sector is a deployer of facial recognition analytics in existing cameras Mask detection analytics is also being widely deployed in US and Northern Europe’s schools and colleges: 35% had already deployed video analytics software now available for alerting security staff when teachers or students are inside a building but not wearing a mask. A further 31% planned to deploy mask detection analytics within the next 12 months. However, the education sector is a more cautious deployer of facial recognition analytics in existing cameras to enable visual identification and contactless access control in the interests of reducing COVID infection via card touch-in gates. Only 22 percent of schools and colleges have deployed facial recognition to date, although this is set to more than double as 29% over the next 12 months. Reduced VMS costs The biggest challenge of supporting all these changes appears to be paying for them: 31% of those in charge of video monitoring systems had already seen a significant reduction in budgets available for upgrading and improving video monitoring capabilities in the last year. A further 29% had seen a small reduction in budgets over the same timeframe. A further 8% thought fresh budget cuts were likely in 2021. Cybersecurity has become a key IT priority As IT, Operations, and Security staff have had to run systems as well as teaching remotely during the pandemic, there has been an increased focus on cybersecurity to protect access to vital data and online learning resources. Just in the last few weeks, the University of Hertfordshire experienced a major cyberattack which led to the shutting down of key online learning apps including Zoom for students enrolled there. Over a third (35%) of educational institutions’ decision-makers questioned thought it ‘very likely’ that they would need to place a ‘larger focus on cybersecurity for all devices and applications that are networked’ as one impact of the pandemic. A further 48% thought an increased cybersecurity focus was ‘likely’. Linked to this, 27% of directors and managers running video security systems in schools and colleges saw an improvement to the video ‘system’s resilience and back-up systems/procedures’ as a ‘High Priority’ improvement that they needed to implement to protect video data this year, while a further 44% saw it as ‘Somewhat a Priority’. Smarter, easier to use video systems There was some disquiet about the quality of existing video systems’ core capabilities, the Ava Security research found. For example, 29% thought it was a ‘High Priority’ to improve the speed of finding and retrieving video evidence after a security or safety incident. A further 40% saw it as ‘Somewhat a Priority’ to improve the systems’ retrieval capabilities to find ‘required footage of incidents easier and quicker. It currently takes too long.’ Further, 22% saw the need for ‘better integration between video monitoring camera systems and other security-related systems, such as access control or alarm systems’ as a ‘High Priority’, while over half (57%) saw wider security systems integration as ‘Somewhat a Priority’ now. Nearly two-thirds (66%) of video monitoring system decision-makers in the education sector were keen to make their video monitoring systems ‘more intelligent, using video analytics to support better post-event decision-making’ – placing this improvement as either a ‘High Priority’ or ‘Somewhat a Priority’. Cloud on the horizon 73% of the education sector is experiencing accelerated cloud migration Others were more focused on Cloud Migration of more IT Systems. Over half (51%) confirmed that their cloud migration plans had been accelerated in 2020/21 and a further 32% confirmed that a new budget had already been allocated for moving more services into the cloud in the financial year 2020/21. That means that altogether (net) 73% of the education sector is experiencing accelerated cloud migration. Linked to this, the same study uncovered that 58% found ‘adoption of Video Surveillance as a Service (VSaaS) i.e., moving their video monitoring system into the cloud’, as a ‘net priority’ for improving and optimising their video monitoring systems looking forward. VSaaS selection criteria For the 82% of all education respondents actively considering VSaaS options right now, there were many criteria determining provider selection. Nearly nine out of 10 net (87%) considering VSaaS right now, agreed with the statement ‘It must have very strong cybersecurity, including end-to-end encryption from the camera to the cloud.’ The VSaaS selected must also offer a reduction in the ‘Total Cost of Ownership of our video monitoring system’, according to 48% of educational institutions considering migration to VSaaS. Further, 45% of decision-makers questioned insisted on greater ease of use, supporting the statement ‘It must be configurable and operable by non-IT people’. Third-party cameras While 24% of education sector decision-makers considering VSaaS, said it was critical that the provider was not headquartered in mainland China. A net 80% of video monitoring system decision-makers in the education sector also considered it important that the VSaaS selected ‘must allow us to continue using our existing third party cameras which we have already installed, we don’t want to rip & replace any equipment.' A net 80% considering VSaaS also confirmed ‘It must allow us to view their directly attached cloud cameras alongside our third-party cameras on the same interface’. Further, the same number of respondents (net 80%) considered it net important (either ‘very’ or ‘quite important’) that the VSaaS ‘must allow us to use our existing Video Management Software (VMS) or provide the same functionality as we get from our VMS’. Latest analytic capabilities An even higher number, net 84%, regarded it as important that the VSaaS selected ‘must enable us to run the latest video analytics capabilities such as occupancy levels for social distance management (in a room), noise analytics (e.g., breaking glass, screaming, yelling etc), people and vehicle search, object searching and colour searching’. Balance of power The Ava study also explored whether the events of the last year had prompted changes in terms of who looks after the management of video monitoring systems. There was some evidence in the education sector that as CCTV has increasingly been migrated onto the network, IT departmental control is increasing. According to the study, nearly a third (31%) of schools and colleges’ video systems passed more control of their video monitoring systems to their IT department – taking the total percentage of video systems run by IT in the education sector to 39%. However, security and/or facilities management still holds the balance of power in the running of these systems with 50%, with 24% gaining responsibility for video monitoring during the pandemic. Only 4% of systems confirmed they had fully outsourced video system management and 7% confirmed that more of the management, upgrading, and running of their systems had been outsourced over the last year. Workspace management technologies Ava Security also found evidence that the education sector is an early adopter of other workspace technologies designed to make it easier for students to manage the use of school and college facilities while minimising the risk of COVID infection. For example, 52% of educational institutions captured in the Ava study expressed interest in offering staff and students the capability of remote pre-booking of working areas in libraries, classrooms, and lecture halls and pre-registering students via mobile-ready apps. Nearly four out of every 10 people responsible for managing video monitoring in their school or college (38%) felt remote booking of extra cleaning of surfaces before or after classes would be a useful innovation. Cybersecurity is critical to VSaaS selection There is a strong determination to adapt existing school surveillance systems to new COVID-safe requirements" Vegard Aas, Head of Online Business at Ava Security, commented, “The fact that four out of five education sector video monitoring system decision-makers are already actively considering VSaaS and weighing up criteria for selection is very encouraging." “There is also clearly a strong determination to adapt existing school video surveillance systems to new COVID-safe requirements. And the fact that a third (32%) confirmed that a new budget had already been allocated for moving more services into the cloud this year provides significant scope for optimism as we enhance our VSaaS offering with Ava Cloud Connector for example, which enables those running systems to plug existing third party cameras into Ava’s open Aware Cloud platform.” Cloud Connector Ava Security recently launched its Cloud Connector offering to enable video security system owners easy and cost-effective transition of video security solutions to the cloud. This brings Ava’s advanced real-time video analytics and proactive security to existing surveillance cameras by integrating them with Ava’s open Aware Cloud platform. Ava’s Cloud Connector eliminates the need to rip and replace existing video security devices to directly reap the cost and operational efficiencies of a true cloud service.
Suprema, a global company in biometrics and access control solutions, announced that it supplied BioSign 4.0, its under-display fingerprint recognition algorithm to the Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones with support from Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. BioSign, Suprema’s smartphone fingerprint recognition technology, has gained global recognition since its installation on Samsung Galaxy J5 models in 2017. Since then, Suprema has been supplying BioSign solutions to other Samsung smartphone models including Samsung Galaxy S10, Galaxy Note10, Galaxy 20, and Galaxy Note 20 series. Fingerprint recognition speed BioSign 4.0, installed in the Galaxy S21, has been receiving great reviews for its fingerprint recognition speed. BioSign 4.0 delivered enhanced speed and accuracy compared to its predecessor, BioSign 3.0, significantly upgrading user convenience with 50 percent faster and more than twice as accurate recognition performance. BioSign 4.0 employs deep-learning mechanisms to optimise fingerprint analysis to efficiently recognise rich fingerprint information obtained from the larger sensing area of the second-generation Qualcomm® 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 installed in the Galaxy S21 series. Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 Qualcomm Technologies unveiled the high-performance ultrasonic sensor, the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 that was supplied to Samsung Galaxy S21 series, in January at CES 2021. With a 77%-larger fingerprint sensing area than the previous generation, the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2, was able to significantly improve fingerprint recognition performance. The ultrasonic sensor has ultra-thin form factors and is optically isolated from the display panel allowing for sleek smartphone designs. Performance and user convenience “Suprema's fingerprint recognition technology has been continuously selected for the Samsung Galaxy S series, proving to the world the technological superiority of our solution,” said Brian Song, the president of Suprema Inc. “With the excellent reviews BioSign 4.0 has been receiving for its overpowering performance and user convenience, we expect to be able to grow sales and market share. Suprema will continue to advance our fingerprint and face recognition technologies using AI and deep learning, leading the biometrics market into the future,” Song remarked.
Midway Car Rental, the privately-owned car rental company in Southern California, caters to both an exclusive and expansive clientele, including VIPs, high-end hotels, and replacement vendors like dealerships and body shops. The company currently owns and operates 15 locations and has aggressive plans for expansion, with 6 or 7 more sites planned for this calendar year. Challenges faced With a portfolio that includes Ferraris, Lamborghinis, and Jaguars, Midway can have up to a million dollars of assets parked on any of its lots. Some of the company’s newest locations lack secure perimeter fencing. Sean Perez, Midway’s General Manager, says, “We needed to protect our vehicles, but even more importantly, we had to ensure the safety of our employees and clients.” The problem became acute when Midway opened a new location to provide loaner and replacement vehicles for an adjacent dealership partner. Prior to Midway’s arrival, the lot had been populated by vagrants and the homeless who would sleep in and around the cars parked there. “When we took over the property, we needed to provide a safe and secure environment where we could conduct business,” Perez explains. “There were issues with vandalism and graffiti. Some of the displaced homeless would get aggressive. We needed a proactive solution – a way to stop these incidents from happening rather than trying to prosecute the individuals after the damage was done.” Expansion opportunities Traditionally, Midway’s properties have been less exposed, with electronically secure gates or fences that restrict access. However, as Midway’s expansion plans include growing alignment with business partners like dealerships, many future sites will likely face similar security challenges. To address this situation, the company sought: A scalable system that could grow incrementally with Midway’s expansion Flexible technology that could be moved to new sites with minimal effort A technology partner capable of servicing and supporting a long-term solution The ability to outsource monitoring services in the near future “I tend to be conservative,” says Perez. “I wanted to start off slow and then, when comfortable that we’d found both the right partner and technology, have the ability to really scale up.” Solution recommended Midway Car Rental deployed ROSA units, Responsive Observation Security Agents, manufactured by Robotic Assistance Devices (RAD). “I have to tell you, I was a bit skeptical at first about these ROSA units,” says Perez. “You can stick an armed guard out there, but the idea that a technology device could provide both consistent monitoring and serve as a deterrent system seemed like a stretch. However, our two ROSAs are really helping us protect our assets. In very short order, our problem decreased and our situation has improved dramatically.” AI-based ROSA solution ROSA is a compact, self-contained, security and communication solution that can be deployed in about 15 minutes ROSA is a compact, self-contained, security and communication solution that can be deployed in about 15 minutes. Its AI-driven security systems include human and vehicle detection, license plate recognition, responsive digital signage and audio messaging, and complete integration with RAD’s software suite notification and response library. Two-way communication is optimised for cellular, including live video from ROSA’s dual high-resolution, full-colour, always-on cameras. “The folks from RAD sent out an engineer to help us determine where to mount the ROSA units by identifying areas on our site that are most exposed to potential vandalism or other threats,” says Perez. The devices are highly visible, featuring scrolling LED text, colorful neon ribbons, and two video cameras. Automated detection and response ROSA may be programmed to display welcome messages or marketing messages during business hours, along with a reminder to visitors that the property is under surveillance. When it detects the motion of humans or vehicles on the lot, it sends an alert to Perez and his team along with an associated video clip, keeping them well informed of activity happening in real-time. During off-hours, ROSA's automated response kicks in. Its friendly daytime messaging is replaced with a more stern warning to trespassers. Upon detecting a human or moving vehicle, ROSA responds with flashing red lights and a visual warning to vacate the property immediately. If ROSA continues to detect a presence, more lights, sirens, and a pre-recorded audio message add a sense of urgency. Monitoring personnel, who have been alerted of the event and have access to live video, can also issue pointed commands over ROSA's loudspeaker. Ultimately, if the police must be summoned, the encounter has been thoroughly documented and recorded. Effective security Perez describes ROSA's effectiveness as a deterrent. "I've watched when people encounter the system. Initially, their reaction is one of shock and awe. When the unit goes off with its lights flashing and they hear those verbal commands, they’re terrified. They look like they've seen a ghost. Literally, in less than ten days after we put those things out, the word had spread to stay away. The vagrants were gone. It was like night and day." Independent monitoring Currently, Midway's management has chosen to monitor the system themselves. Perez explains, "Initially, I was getting alerts somewhat often, but they quickly tapered off. At this point, they're infrequent. With just these two units in place, plus two more scheduled to go up in Newport Beach in the coming weeks, we can handle the monitoring independently.” “Within the next year or two, as we open new locations and add more units, we'll take advantage of RAD's monitoring services. We had that in mind when we went this route – that with our continued growth, we would eventually leverage that option." Customer-friendly solution The system is very intuitive and customer-friendly "The system is very intuitive and customer-friendly," adds Perez. "I've used other systems that are really cumbersome. The RAD SOC dashboard is nothing like that. The ease-of-use is amazing." So is the deployment process. As ROSA requires nothing more than the power to operate, it is truly plugged and play. "We had them installed and received training all within a few hours on one day," says Perez. "We haven't run into any issues, but if we do, the relationship we've built with the RAD team is so good that I can call on them at any time for assistance. They are very, very customer-centric." Evaluating ROI Midway Car Rental quantifies the value ROSA delivers in several ways, including monetarily, a reduction in crime, and improved peace of mind. Perez elaborates, "Thanks to the ROSA units, we've addressed all sorts of issues. Damage to vehicles, graffiti on the exterior of the building, the homeless tampering with our electrical outlets to charge their phones, trash left around the property – that’s all gone since we put the ROSAs in. There are also important intangibles that you really can't put a price tag on, like an improvement in employee well-being and productivity because our staff now feels safe at work." Easy installation RAD's cloud-based software simplifies the management of multi-site systems The system's scalability and flexibility ensure that Midway's investment will continue to pay dividends. Perez says, "We're growing so fast, we're trying to put flagpoles in the markets where we identify a need, but that doesn't mean we're locking ourselves into long-term leases." "Down the road, if we decide to move locations, our ROSAs move with us. We heavily factored their ability to easily install, uninstall, and re-install when deciding to go with this technology." Consistent with Midway's plans, RAD's cloud-based software simplifies the management of multi-site systems. As new Midway locations open and ROSA units are installed, management and monitoring of all devices can occur through one login to the centralized RAD SOC dashboard. Alert notifications include the location of the activated unit. RAD’s additional services In addition to ROSA, RAD offers a suite of other products that share the same platform for delivering automated remote services, including some that are more appropriate for indoor use. Should Midway encounter new security challenges in the future, they can expand their system with other RAD devices. "For now, ROSA is what fits our needs best, but I've seen some of those other units, and they look pretty cool," says Perez. ROSA subscription Midway uses the ROSA units through RAD's subscription model. The company pays a low monthly fee that covers unlimited use of the devices, software and software updates, maintenance, and technical support. Their out-of-pocket equals a small fraction of what hiring a security guard would cost. When asked whether Perez recommends the system to others, his answer is concise. "It's a no-brainer!" he laughs. "Knock-on-wood, we've been near without incident for the four months since the ROSAs went up. I attribute that to the units' effectiveness."
One of the largest universities in the capital, London South Bank University, commissioned Optyma Security Systems to upgrade its access control database with SALTO SPACE management software. London South Bank University (LSBU) is one of London’s largest and oldest universities. Since 1892 it has been improving the lives of students, businesses, and the local community. As a cosmopolitan university with over 18,000 students, it draws people from over 130 countries. Incumbent security specialists The university has two Campuses and four Halls of Residences, these being: Southwark Campus based at Elephant and Castle and consisting of numerous separate buildings and Havering Campus in Essex. They also have a third campus opening in September 2021 in Croydon. Optyma have been the incumbent security specialists providing maintenance Following a site review, it was recommended that the current SALTO system should be upgraded to the latest versions. Optyma have been the incumbent security specialists providing maintenance and reactive repairs for the CCTV, access control, and integrated intruder alarms across the whole campus since 2017. They also provide support with the integration of the access control and student enrolment/service databases. Potential blacklisting problems For this exercise, the principal aims were to: eliminate any potential blacklisting problems; bring the existing technology up to date; future proof the system, and install a web-based solution to allow for easier access. To achieve this, work was carried out at LSBU during the lockdown period to ensure downtime was kept to a minimum, with SALTO extracting all information required to be replicated in the new database and then incorporating and rebuilding a new database for the customer. SPACE was installed on the new SALTO server and connected to the rebuilt database. Optyma engineers then carried out the initialisation of all hardware and re-enrolment of user cards across the campus. Access control technology SALTO’s SPACE smart access control technology platform is a fully integrated electronic locking and software solution that brings seamless access to every door in any building in an efficient, safe, secure, and accessible way. It provides an intuitive user-centric software interface that makes it simple and secure to incorporate access control It provides an intuitive user-centric software interface that makes it simple and secure to incorporate access control for any type of building size or user need. It’s powerful and flexible software allows each system operator to set up their own preferences: capabilities and security level, language settings, and others. It also offers several ways to integrate with third-party systems. This includes interfaces and APIs for connecting SALTO smart lock technology to video surveillance, vehicle access, biometrics, time & attendance, escape door control systems, intrusion alarm, and more. Ensuring seamless integration The new database now enables the university to easily manage and secure its access plan across all its facilities from a single point if needed. Their new SALTO SPACE software is designed to be easy and intuitive to use, allowing system administrators to manage doors and user keys in just a few easy steps, and in real-time. Optyma’s Managing Director, Ian Broadbridge, says: “Optyma are proud to continue to help keep our major educational establishments such as LSBU, safe and secure. Our team of skilled engineers and highly trained technical support staff worked closely with them, as our valued partners in the education sector, to ensure seamless integration and a fully functioning system without disruption to the universities essential work.”
In 2022 member States of the Schengen Area will be required to have a biometric entry and exit system to register non-European citizens crossing an EU external border. Thales has been selected by the French Ministry of the Interior to deliver several hundred pre-registration kiosks at various border crossing points. Therefore, France will be equipped with a state-of-the-art biometric solution to streamline and secure its air, land, and sea border crossings. Data management protection In accordance with the directive approved by the European Union, the countries that are part of the Schengen Area will deploy pre-registration kiosks or similar equipment in order to allow non-Schengen visitors to register their identity quickly and securely, including their biometric data (fingerprint and facial biometrics). To this end, the ‘Thales Gemalto Border Kiosk’ will provide a self-service, intuitive and interactive terminal to guide travellers through every stage of identity registration and verification. These kiosks, designed and manufactured in Europe, will incorporate various document verification and biometric technologies. They will offer rapid registration for travellers, highly accurate identity verification, data management protection and advanced operational fluidity at border crossings. Smoothest possible experience This new European entry and exit system represents a major challenge for Member States" The verification of biometric data is an extremely effective and reliable technology, allowing Member States to accurately identify any attempted identity fraud and prevent individuals with false documents, multiple identities, etc. from entering the country. “This new European entry and exit system represents a major challenge for Member States. On the one hand, they are required to be ready and compliant with the regulations by 2022; on the other hand, they are faced with the operational reality and the fact that millions of people have to be processed each year, for whom we want to offer the smoothest possible experience. Thales’ expertise in identity and border management provides us with technological reliability, without having to make a choice between security and ease of use,” stated the French Ministry of the Interior. Attempted identity fraud “The pre-registration kiosks manufactured by Thales are equipped with our state-of-the-art technologies for identity creation and verification. They are based on software optimised for ultra-rapid checks of a document’s authenticity and intelligent detection of any attempted identity fraud.” “We have therefore been able to develop high-performance tools to support operations, without compromising the safety and protection of travellers’ data,” said Youzec Kurp - SVP Identity and Biometric Solutions at Thales.
The 100 Mount Street premium grade office tower completed in May 2019, is the tallest (152m) building in North Sydney. With an innovative cross-braced exoskeleton structure and a soaring glass curtain wall, the tower celebrates Sydney‘s history of excellence in architecture and structural engineering. The 35-story office tower offers panoramic views of Sydney Harbor, Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbor Bridge, and is occupied by some of Sydney’s best-known companies. The site also benefits from its proximity to key transport infrastructures with a train station, bus stops, ferry wharf and taxi stand all within walking distance. This high traffic location required a convenient and secure way to ensure a controlled access for the 2,000 people entering the building everyday, while maintaining the aesthetics of the 8 metres-high ceiling lobby. Biometric contactless devices In order to efficiently control access to the building, the security contractor supplied top quality COMINFO EasyGate SPT entrance control gates equipped with IDEMIA’s MorphoWave™ Compact high-end biometric contactless devices. COMINFO is an experienced word leading manufacturer of turnstiles and speedgates. EasyGate SPT models were installed, equipped with the latest MDD motor technology (Magnetic Direct Drive : no gearbox, no oil, no brush) and advanced infrared optical sensors which ensure safe passage and detect tailgating and cross-over, to ensure that only authorised people can pass through the gates. MorphoWave Compact MorphoWave Compact™ is the flagship biometric device for physical access control from IDEMIA, the pioneer in Augmented Identity. The terminal performs a 3D scan and verification of 4 fingerprints in less than 1 second, in a quick and easy touchless wave gesture. These features make the product particularly well-suited for such high traffic locations with the capability to authenticate up to 50 people per minute thanks to advanced algorithms based on Artifical Intelligence. COMINFO carried out an aesthetical integration of MorphoWave™ Compact into EasyGate SPT, resulting into a powerful solution that brings the latest physical access control system using only a simple wave of a hand. This project was deployed by CENTAMAN, COMINFO’s partner for Australia/New Zealand. Need for physical access cards Dexus and Dexus Wholesale Property Fund who owned the building were the first to implement this biometric technology in office buildings and have now more than 2,000 people registered with their biometrics, removing the need for physical access cards or touching anything when entering or leaving the secured premises. The installation is highly acclaimed by employees who appreciate the frictionless and hygienic use of MorphoWave™ Compact and EasyGate SPT.
Round table discussion
We are several weeks into 2021, and it is already shaping up to be an eventful year. The happenings and trends from 2020 will likely carry over into the new year, but in a fast-moving industry such as ours, there will also be additional trends to watch. Looking toward the year ahead, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What will be the biggest security trends in 2021?
A shift toward touchless devices during the coronavirus pandemic has been a boon to the biometrics sector. Another factor in the recent increase in use of biometrics is lower prices, which are a symptom of a maturing market and of new technology capabilities. Increasingly, integration of biometrics with access control and other security systems is expanding use cases and sales numbers. For additional insights, we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the new trends and opportunities with biometrics (facial, fingerprint, iris and/or voice)?
Driven by technology developments such as voice recognition, smart devices and the Internet of Things, our homes are getting “smarter” all the time. Increasingly, we expect our residential environments to be responsive to our voice commands, whether we are adjusting a thermostat, turning on a light, or lowering the window shade. Smarter home integration yields new opportunities and challenges for home security, too, which contributes an element of safety and protection to the convenience aspects of smart homes. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How are new smart home systems impacting security?
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