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Telemetry transmitters and controllers - Expert commentary

Integrated security systems for medium and large-sized offices
Integrated security systems for medium and large-sized offices

If you’re responsible for a medium or large-sized office, it’s more important than ever that you have access to a means of ensuring people’s safety, managing risks and fraud, and protecting property. Any security system that you employ must therefore meet the most demanding commercial requirements of today’s offices, and tomorrow’s. This means thinking beyond a basic intrusion system and specifying a comprehensive solution that integrates smart features like access control, video management and intelligent video analytics. Because only then will you have security you can trust, and detection you can depend on. Reliable entry management Access control systems have been developed that guarantee reliable entry management for indoors and outdoors Access control is becoming increasingly important for ensuring the security of office buildings, but as the modern workplace evolves you’re unlikely to find a one-size-fits-all solution. Today, it’s commonplace to control entry to individual rooms or restricted areas and cater to more flexible working hours that extend beyond 9 to 5, so a modern and reliable access control system that exceeds the limitations of standard mechanical locks is indispensable. Access control systems have been developed that guarantee reliable entry management for indoors and outdoors. They use state-of-the-art readers and controllers to restrict access to certain areas, ensuring only authorised individuals can get in. With video cameras located within close proximity you can then monitor and record any unauthorised access attempts. The system can also undertake a people-count to ensure only one person has entered using a single pass. Scalable hardware components As previously mentioned, there is no one-size-fits-all system, but thanks to the scalability of the hardware components, systems can adapt to changing security requirements. For example, you can install Bosch’s Access Professional Edition (APE) software for small to medium-sized offices, then switch to the more comprehensive Access Engine (ACE) of the Building Integration System (BIS) when your security requirements grow. And, because the hardware stays the same, any adaptations are simple. APE’s ‘permanent open’ functionality allows employees and guests to enter designated areas easily and conveniently The APE software administers up to 512 readers, 10,000 cardholders and 128 cameras, making it suitable for small to medium-sized buildings. With functions like badge enrollment, entrance control monitoring and alarm management with video verification it provides a high level of security and ensures only authorised employees and visitors are able to enter certain rooms and areas. Of course, there will always be situations when, for convenience, you need certain doors to be permanently open, such as events and open days. APE’s ‘permanent open’ functionality allows employees and guests to enter designated areas easily and conveniently. Growing security needs You switch to the Bosch Building Integration System (BIS), without having to switch hardware (it stays the same, remember?). This is a software solution that manages subsystems like access control, video surveillance, fire alarm, public address or intrusion systems, all on a single platform. It is designed for offices with multiple sites and for large companies with a global presence. Bosch Building Integration System (BIS) manages subsystems like access control, video surveillance, fire alarm, public address or intrusion systems, all on a single platform The BIS Access Engine (ACE) administers up to 10,000 readers and 80 concurrent workplace clients per server, and 200,000 cardholders per AMC. An additional benefit to security officers is the ability to oversee cardholders and authorisations through the central cardholder management functionality and monitor all access events and alarms from every connected site. For consistency, multi-site cardholder information and access authorisations can be created on a central server and replicated across all connected site servers, which means the cardholder information is always up to date and available in every location. Intrusion alarm systems Bosch B Series and G Series intrusion control panels can also send personal notifications via text or email Securing all perimeter doors is vital when protecting employees, visitors and intellectual property. Doors are opened and closed countless times during business hours, and when intentionally left open, your office is vulnerable to theft, and the safety of your employees is compromised. For this reason, intrusion control panels have been developed with advanced features to ensure all perimeter doors are properly closed, even when the system is not armed. If a door remains open for a period of time (you can specify anything from one second to 60 minutes), the system can be programmed to automatically take action. For example, it can activate an audible alert at the keypad to give employees time to close the door. Then, if it is still not closed, it will send a report to a monitoring center or a text directly to the office manager, and when integrated with video it can even send an image of the incident to a mobile device. Customised intrusion systems What about people who need to access your building outside of working hours, like cleaning crews? Your intruder system allows you to customise the way it operates with a press of a button or swipe of a card. This level of control enables you to disarm specific areas, bypass points and unlock doors for cleaning crews or after-hours staff, whilst keeping server rooms, stock rooms and executive offices safe and secure. Bosch B Series and G Series intrusion control panels can also send personal notifications via text or email. You can program the panel to send you opening, closing, and other event alerts, which means you don’t have to be on-site to keep track of movements in and around your facility. Video management system A video management system will add a next level of security to your access control system Every office building has different video security requirements depending on the location, size and nature of the business. Some offices may only need basic functions such as recording and playback, whereas others may need full alarm functionalities and access to different sites. A video management system will add a next level of security to your access control system. For example, the video system can provide seamless management of digital video, audio and data across IP networks for small to large office buildings. It is fully integrated and can be scaled according to your specific requirements. The entry-level BVMS Viewer is suitable for small offices that need to access live and archived video from their recording solutions. With forensic search it enables you to access a huge recording database and scan quickly for a specific security event. For larger offices, embellished security functions for the BVMS Professional version can manage up to 2,000 cameras and offers full alarm and event management Full alarm and event management For larger offices, embellished security functions for the BVMS Professional version can manage up to 2,000 cameras and offers full alarm and event management. It’s also resilient enough to remain operative should both Management and Recording Servers fail. Large multi-national companies often need access to video surveillance systems at numerous sites, which is why BVMS Professional allows you to access live and archived video from over 10,000 sites across multiple time zones from a single BVMS server. When integrated with the BVMS Enterprise version multiple BVMS Professional systems can be connected so every office in the network can be viewed from one security center, which provides the opportunity to monitor up to 200,000 cameras, regardless of their location. Essential Video Analytics Video analytics acts as the brain of your security system, using metadata to add sense and structure to any video footage you capture If your strategy is to significantly improve levels of security, video analytics is an essential part of the plan. It acts as the brain of your security system, using metadata to add sense and structure to any video footage you capture. In effect, each video camera in your network becomes smart to the degree that it can understand and interpret what it is seeing. You simply set certain alarm rules, such as when someone approaches a perimeter fence, and video analytics alerts security personnel the moment a rule is breached. Smart analytics have been developed in two formats. Essential Video Analytics is ideal for small and medium-sized commercial buildings and can be used for advanced intrusion detection, such as loitering alarms, and identifying a person or object entering a pre-defined field. It also enables you to instantly retrieve the right footage from hours of stored video, so you can deal with potential threats the moment they happen. Essential Video Analytics also goes beyond security to help you enforce health and safety regulations such as enforcing no parking zones, detecting blocked emergency exits or ensuring no one enters or leaves a building via an emergency exit; all measures that can increase the safety of employees and visitors inside the building. Intelligent Video Analytics Intelligent Video Analytics have the unique capability of analysing video content over large distances Intelligent Video Analytics have the unique capability of analysing video content over large distances, which makes it ideally suited to more expansive office grounds or securing a perimeter fence. It can also differentiate between genuine security events and known false triggers such as snow, rain, hail and moving tree branches that can make video data far more difficult to interpret. The final piece in your security jigsaw is an intelligent camera. The latest range of Bosch ’i’ cameras have the image quality, data security measures, and bitrate reduction of <80%. And, video analytics is standard. Be prepared for what can’t be predicted. Although no-one can fully predict what kind of security-related event is around the corner, experience and expertise will help make sure you’re always fully prepared.

Why live video streaming is critical for safer and smarter cities
Why live video streaming is critical for safer and smarter cities

The term “smart city” gets thrown around a lot nowadays, but as different technologies that strive to be defined in this way are adopted by different countries globally, the meaning of this phrase gets lost in translation. The simplest way to define a “smart city” is that it is an urban area that uses different types of data collecting sensors to manage assets and resources efficiently. One of the most obvious types of “data collecting sensor” is the video camera, whether that camera is part of a city’s existing CCTV infrastructure, a camera in a shopping centre or even a police car’s dash camera. The information gathered by video cameras can be used with two purposes in mind, firstly: making people’s lives more efficient, for example by managing traffic, and secondly (and arguably more importantly): making people’s lives safer. Live streaming video all the time, everywhere In the smart and safe city, traditional record-only video cameras are of limited use. Yes, they can be used to collect video which can be used for evidence after a crime has taken place, but there is no way that this technology could help divert cars away from an accident to avoid traffic building up, or prevent a crime from taking place in the first place. However, streaming live video from a camera that isn’t connected to an infrastructure via costly fibre optic cabling has proven challenging for security professionals, law enforcement and city planners alike. This is because it isn’t viable to transmit video reliably over cellular networks, in contrast to simply receiving it. Video transmission challenges Transmitting video normally results in freezing and buffering issues which can hinder efforts to fight crime and enable flow within a city, as these services require real-time, zero latency video without delays. Therefore, special technology is required that copes with poor and varying bandwidths to allow a real-time view of any scene where cameras are present to support immediate decision making and smart city processes. The information gatheredby video cameras can beused to make people’s lives more efficient, and to make people’s lives safer There are many approaches to transmitting video over cellular. We’ve developed a specialist codec (encoding and decoding algorithm) that can provide secure and reliable video over ultra-low bandwidths and can therefore cope when networks become constrained. Another technique, which is particularly useful if streaming video from police body worn cameras or dash cams that move around, is to create a local wireless “bubble” at the scene, using Wi-Fi or mesh radio systems to provide local high-bandwidth communications that can communicate with a central location via cellular or even satellite communications. Enhanced city surveillance Live video streaming within the smart and safe city’s infrastructure means that video’s capabilities can go beyond simple evidence recording and evolve into a tool that allows operations teams to monitor and remediate against incidents as they are happening. This can be taken one step further with the deployment of facial recognition via live streaming video. Facial recognition technology can be added on to any video surveillance camera that is recording at a high enough quality to identify faces. The technology works by capturing video, streaming the live video back to a control centre and matching faces against any watch lists that the control centre owns. Importantly, the data of people who aren’t on watch lists is not stored by the technology. Identifying known criminals This technology can work to make the city safer in a number of ways. For example, facial recognition could spot a known drug dealer in a city centre where they weren’t supposed to be, or facial recognition could identify if a group of known terror suspects were visiting the same location at the same time, and this would send an alert to the police. Facial recognition technology captures and streams live back to a control centre, matching faces against any watch lists that the control centre owns In an ideal world where the police had an automated, electronic workflow, the police officer nearest to the location of the incident would be identified by GPS and would be told by the control room where to go and what to do. Most police forces aren’t quite at this technological level yet, and would probably rely on communicating via radio in order to send the nearest response team to the scene. As well as this, shopping centres could create a database from analogue records of known shoplifters to identify criminals as soon as they entered the building. This would be even more effective if run co-operatively between all shopping centres and local businesses in an area, and would not only catch any known shoplifters acting suspiciously, but would act as a deterrent from shoplifting in the first place. Live streaming for police As mentioned above, live streaming video from CCTV cameras can help the police fight crime more proactively rather than reactively. This can be enhanced even further if combined with live streaming video from police car dash cams and police body worn cameras. If video was streamed from all of these sources to a central HQ, such as a police operations centre, the force would be able to have full situational awareness throughout an incident. This would mean that, if need be, officers could be advised on the best course of action, and additional police or other emergency services could be deployed instantly if needed. Incorporated with facial recognition, this would also mean that police could instantly identify if they were dealing with known criminals or terrorists. Whilst they would still have to confirm the identity of the person with questioning or by checking their identification, this is still more streamlined than describing what a person looks like over a radio and then ops trying to manually identify if the person is on a watch list. The smart, safe city is possible today – for one, if live video streaming capabilities are deployed they can enable new levels of flow in the city. With the addition of facial recognition, cities will be safer than ever before and law enforcement and security teams will be able to proactively stop crime before it happens by deterring criminal activity from taking place at all.

Drone terror: How to protect facilities and people
Drone terror: How to protect facilities and people

The use of drones has increased dramatically in the last few years. Indeed, by 2021, the FAA says the number of small hobbyist drones in the U.S. will triple to about 3.55 million. With that growth, drone capabilities have increased while costs have decreased. For example, the DJI Phantom 4 can deliver a 2-pound payload to a target with 1.5m accuracy from 20 miles away for the less than $1000.00. This is an unprecedented capability accessible to anyone. This new technology has created an entirely new security risk for businesses and governments. Drone security risks Already, rogue groups such as ISIS have used low cost drones to carry explosives in targeted attacks. Using this same method, targeting high profile locations within our borders to create terror and panic is very possible. Security professionals and technologists are working furiously to address the gaps in drone defence. Currently, the most common technologies in use for drone detection are video, acoustic sensors, radio, and air surveillance radar. Each of these has advantages, but they also have flaws that make it difficult to detect drones in all conditions. Both optical and thermal cameras, as well as acoustic sensors, do not operate in severe weather such as fog and snow. And while radio and air surveillance radar cover a wide area of detection, they suffer from high installation costs and limiting technical challenges, such as being unable to detect low flying drones on autopilot. Compact Surveillance Radar (CSR) Compact Surveillance Radar (CSR) is a security technology addressing the problems with other types of detection. CSR, like traditional radar, has the benefit of being able to detect and track foreign objects in all weather conditions, but at a fraction of the size and cost. The compact size allows the radar to be mounted on existing structures or even trees, providing extensive perimeter defence almost anywhere that you can imagine. CSR can also filter out clutter such as birds by using an advanced algorithm reducing the number of false alarms. While the use of CSR and the other detection technologies are legal in the US and in most locations throughout the world, the response mechanisms are generally not. Current regulations in the US prohibit the use of jamming or GPS spoofing in all cases except for a few federal agencies Regulations limiting drones Current regulations in the US prohibit the use of jamming or GPS spoofing in all cases except for a few federal agencies. This makes it difficult to stop the damage that drones can cause. The FAA has put into place new regulations that limit some uses of drones. However, in most cases it is still illegal for even state or local governments to stop or interfere with drones other than to locate the operator and have them land the drone. In 2016 the first law to neutralise a drone in the United States was passed in Utah to respond to drones in wildfire areas because of their interference with airborne firefighting. This law may very well provide a model for other states dealing with drones in situations where people’s lives are being put at risk by drones. At the federal level, much effort is being put into evaluating the regulations and technology surrounding the misuse of drones. In the 2016 reauthorisation bill for the FAA, Section 2135 included a pilot program for the investigation of methods to mitigate the threat of unmanned aircraft around airports and other critical infrastructure. There are many federal agencies that are evaluating the use of a variety of technologies to respond to this threat. Both optical and thermal cameras, as well as acoustic sensors, do not operate in severe weather such as fog and snow   Effective countermeasure technologies The most effective countermeasure for drones is jamming, currently off-limits to the private sector. This includes stadiums, convention centres, and other large gathering areas. A number of companies are developing new response technologies that do not require the use of jammers or hacking. Several companies have developed net guns that shoot a net at an approaching drone. These are only effective at less than 100m and frequently miss the target, especially when the drone is approaching at high speed. Several other companies have taken this method a step further, with drones that capture other drones. Once a radar detects a drone, another defence drone is launched and flies to the point of detection. Then, using video analytics it homes in on the drone and fires a net to disable the drone and take it to a safe location. While this drone capturing technique is still in its infancy, it shows a great deal of promise and will not be restricted in the same fashion as jamming. However, even this solution is difficult under current regulations, as all commercial drones in the US must be under direct control of a human operator within their line of sight. This effectively means that a drone operator is required to be on-site at all times to protect a facility, event, or persons. One thing is for certain, technology will continue to adapt and security companies will continue to invent new methods to protect their facilities and the people they are sworn to protect.

Latest ASL Safety and Security Ltd news

ASL Safety and Security to display new and existing products at Integrated Systems Europe 2017
ASL Safety and Security to display new and existing products at Integrated Systems Europe 2017

Both VIPEDIA-12 and INTEGRA support direct fibre network connectivity ASL Safety and Security will be exhibiting at Integrated Systems Europe 2017 (ISE 2017) at Amsterdam RAI exhibition centre, 7th-10th February, 2017, showcasing a host of brand new products including INTEGRA, an all-in-one public address/voice alarm system; VIPEDIA RACK, a rack-based EN54 solution; WMC01, a touch sensitive audio controller; and VIPEDIA CONTROL PROTOCOL (VCP), a new text-based control interface. ASL - Applications Solutions (Safety and Security) is a UK-based systems manufacturer of high-end public address, voice alarm, commercial audio and control system products internationally renowned across transport industries for reliable and complex long-line solutions. ASL’s new product ranges cater for a wide range of industries including transport, retail, stadia, nuclear, roads, tunnels, and oil & gas industries. Established in 1989 and operating from its UK headquarters in Lewes, East Sussex, ASL also operates from offices in Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong. A full complement of technical, sales, and marketing personnel from ASL is looking forward to welcoming visitors in Hall 7 (stand no.7-E225) for the duration of ISE 2017 to discuss latest product and market developments and to demonstrate new and existing products including the exciting VIPEDA product range.INTEGRA wall-mounted solution One of the more recent additions to the VIPEDIA product family, the INTEGRA wall-mounted solution forms a single-box, EN54 compliant public address and voice alarm system. Sleek and uncluttered, INTEGRA is designed with a modular approach and builds upon the proven technology of ASL’s D-series transformerless amplifiers and VIPEDIA DSP. INTEGRA greatly reduces the need for expensive design and build often required for rack-based voice alarm systems. WMC01 offers both IP and RS485 interfaces, allowing remote control of the local PA system without complicated wiring Both VIPEDIA-12 and INTEGRA now support direct fibre network connectivity, removing the need for third-party network switches—simplifying the delivery of EN54-16 certified voice alarm systems. Integral battery charging and supply ensures simple EN54 compliance. INTEGRA offers both impedance and DC loudspeaker circuit monitoring, and includes standby amplification to ensure the system will continue to operate even in the event of an amplifier failure. With each unit capable of delivering 2000W and catering for up to 10 zones, INTEGRA is suitable for both small and large systems alike. Highly flexible, multiple INTEGRA’s can be networked together over IP via integrated EN54 network switches to form larger, distributed systems, and can be easily installed into existing systems for retrofit solutions.Suitable applications include office blocks, retail stores, hospitals, university campuses and schools. WMC01 audio controller The WMC01 is an audio controller with a simple, intuitive design. Touch-sensitive buttons allow switching between various audio sources quickly and easily, whilst also offering volume level adjustment and muting of sound in the local zone.WMC01 offers both IP and RS485 interfaces, allowing remote control of the local PA system without complicated wiring. A local 3.5mm audio input allows users to connect an audio source directly. The WMC01 is available in black or gold finishes and can be flush-mounted.VIPEDIA rack VIPEDIA-12 technology combines over 20 years of voice alarm experience, and forms the heart of the ASL’s VIPEDIA rack-based EN54 solution. It takes care of every part of the system, from the monitoring of the loudspeakers and microphones, to the routing of messages to many zones simultaneously. The VIPEDIA-12 has been designed so that several units can be seamlessly linked together With on-board messages storage, powerful DSP based audio processing, Dante audio networking, and EN54 certification, VIPEDIA offers a unique combination of professional audio processing and voice alarm reliability. Lightweight yet powerful D-series amplifiers have been designed to be as environmentally friendly and as power-efficient as possible. Automatic sleep mode operates 24/7, where amps run on ultra-low power consumption during quiet periods and are only activated when they are needed.The V2000 mainframe houses up to 10 D-series transformerless amplifiers in just 2U of rack space, whilst integrated EN54-4 compliant battery chargers remove the need to house a separate charger, and provides enough current to charge the system to full capacity with ease. The VIPEDIA-12 has been designed so that several units can be seamlessly linked together over fibre to form a large distributed system. With multiple racks in various locations networked together, complete control can be maintained over huge distances. VIPEDIA Control Protocol (VCP) Vipedia Control Protocol (VCP) enables source selection and volume adjustment from any device capable of sending simple ASCII text over IP. Typical examples include touchscreen devices from VITY, Crestron, AMX. By communicating through a simple text-based language, integration is fast, simple, and easy to implement. With touchscreen control fast becoming the preferred way of managing systems, ASL’s public address, voice alarm and audio solutions can now easily integrate with and be controlled by such devices.

ASL ensures safety at London's City Thameslink train station through iVENCS 3D control system
ASL ensures safety at London's City Thameslink train station through iVENCS 3D control system

  iVENCS 3D control system at City Thameslink station will analyse voice, data and video as per the requirement ASL Safety & Security has delivered its iVENCS 3D control and supervisory platform at City Thameslink train station in London as part of the Thameslink programme. iVENCS is a sensor and event fusion environment in which voice, data and video can be filtered, analysed and directed from the full range of subsystems used at transport hubs. At City Thameslink, iVENCS is monitoring public address and voice alarm (PA/VA), CCTV, help points, alarm reporting and voice recorders.The PA/VA systems employ ASL's own Vipet IP audio controller, a hardware platform developed in conjunction with the VIPA software suite that provides a VoIP and digital voice announcement solution for railway stations and airports.iVENCS is aimed at mission-critical facilities that require life like representation of events within an integrated control environment across many disciplines and subsystems. Use of a distributed and open standards-based ‘publish and subscribe' model for messaging ensures efficient use of bandwidth compared with rival ‘hub and spoke' architecture control room software. The installation at City Thameslink is the first stage in a three-part infrastructure project that ASL is providing for the rail division of engineering design consultancy Atkins who in turn are working for Network Rail. The Thameslink programme will deliver longer, more frequent trains across London. The Thameslink route franchise has been operated by the train operating company (TOC) First Capital Connect since 2006. All three stations will have their own operational centres employing the iVENCS control solution In a second stage, ASL will supply its subsystem supervisory software and VoIP hardware at Blackfriars Station, a site that poses unique logistical challenges for all contractors since it lies on both sides of the River Thames. The final phase of the project will be Farringdon Station to the north of the city's financial quarter. All three stations will have their own operational centres employing the iVENCS control solution.ASL Safety & Security won the contract in open tender based on the functionality of iVENCS shown in successful deployment at a major international airport and at St. Pancras International Station - currently Europe's busiest rail hub - where the software controls over 8,500 field devices across 16 subsystems.Sousan Azimrayat, Founding Director of ASL, said: "All safety, security and communication systems at City Thameslink are being represented to First Capital Connect as meaningful images in real time. Our remit has included configuration, installation, creation of training material and consideration of the end-user's corporate culture and working practices. During temporary enabling works as the station neared completion, ASL even installed an interim public address system before the central monitoring process went live."She continued: "City Thameslink is unusual in that it is a mainline station whose platforms are underground, a feature that affected the design of many of the communication subsystems and the fully-interactive 3D GUI model created by ASL. In addition to equipment supply, ASL's software remit included an architectural design overview, operator interface design and preventative maintenance procedures."

ASL provides networked voice alarm system at Dungeness power station
ASL provides networked voice alarm system at Dungeness power station

   ASL provided a networked public address system for the Dungeness site A networked public address system from UK-based ASL Safety & Security has been installed at the Dungeness site, a former nuclear power station in the southeast of England now being decommissioned. The Dungeness project features customised microphones connected to the client's voice information consoles with toggle switching that triggers digital voice announcement (DVA) messages. The four-zone monitored PA system covers much of Dungeness A which is a legacy Magnox power station.  Areas where access to the public address system can be obtained by microphone include the central control room, emergency indication centre, emergency control room and reception. Following a successful first phase, ASL's rack-mounted Intellevac voice information network was installed to BS 5839-8:2008-compliant standards in the nuclear facility's accommodation block which has been created so that staff can be moved off site while a new building with improved IT facilities has been constructed. The power station is using ASL's digital microphone stations monitored by audio routers with full digital signal processing. The units are fully software-configurable and they feature built-in DVAs and fire system interfaces. The network interface adapter used here (VAR-NIA) is a rack mount unit that allows routers to be interfaced to ASL's Intellevac voice alarm network, all to BS 5839-8:2008. The audio control unit can be wall or rack-mount. The audio router in use at Dungeness (VAR12) is supplying the client, Magnox South, with full remote control, configuration and fault reporting through a serial interface. ASL offers a remote diagnostics product that can interrogate the status of remote routers through a web browser. Dungeness A stands on a 91-hectare shingle peninsula site on the Kent coast. Construction began in 1960 and the facility supplied electricity to the UK national grid for 40 years. Magnox South Ltd is working on behalf of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to manage the work safely, efficiently and with due care for the environment.