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Access control readers - Expert commentary

Mobile And Cloud Technologies Sharpen Organizations’ Emergency Response Strategies
Mobile And Cloud Technologies Sharpen Organizations’ Emergency Response Strategies

There’s only so much a corporation can do to counteract the threat of a major incident. You can ask everyone to be vigilant and to report anything suspicious, but you cannot stop someone intent on deliberately starting a fire, threatening a work colleague with a knife or something much worse. And of course, most businesses recognize that even routine events – such as burst pipes, IT system failures, extreme weather event or power outages – can have significant consequences unless they are quickly brought under control. Training Security Officers Governments and organizations across the world are increasingly encouraging businesses to re-assess risks and to plan for and conduct drills for major emergencies. This is driving different agencies and companies to invest in new skills, resources and systems, and encouraging businesses to routinely re-evaluate their emergency response strategies. UK police forces are increasingly training security officers in the public and private sectors on how best to react to potential terrorist incidents For example: UK police forces are increasingly training security officers in the public and private sectors on how best to react to potential terrorist incidents, as part of the UK government’s Action Counter Terrorism program. And organizations including the Association of University Chief Security Officers (AUCSO) and Higher Education Business Continuity Network (HEBCoN) are developing customized training for their members to improve their own response and business continuity plans. Mass Notifications Systems Whether an organization is facing a terrorist attack or a severe weather event, follow up reports consistently identify that the same types of challenges are common to all crisis situations, with similar errors often occurring again and again. Typically, these are centered on three key areas: poor communications, fractured command and control structures, and delayed deployment of resources. Communications skills and technologies clearly play a pivotal role in how effective an organization is in responding to major incidents, particularly when it comes to assessing the situation and its implications, moving people towards safety and providing updates as an incident unfolds. However, when an organization is considering its technology options, emergency response and mass notification systems (MNS) are often touted as the ideal platform to deliver all the required critical communications and ongoing updates. UK police forces are increasingly training security officers in the public and private sectors on how best to react to potential terrorist incidents Emergency Notification System All the incident reporting, command and control, and communications functions have been brought together on a single platform But, if an organization does not know exactly where all its staff or students are, and it cannot see the location and availability of its first responders and other emergency coordinators relative to them and the incident, then how useful is it to send a top-down alert to everyone? And what about fast moving or multi-centre incidents, where previously agreed evacuation procedures, recommended actions or mustering points may need to change if an incident takes an unexpected turn? Many organizations may have been lulled into believing that an emergency notification system will allow them to confidently handle all the communications aspects of virtually any crisis. In reality, too many businesses are still unaware that there are now much more sophisticated and proven technologies where all the incident reporting, command and control, and communications functions have been brought together on a single platform. Using Live Map Tracking The benefit of using these advanced and more integrated approaches – often categorized as mobile distributed command and control systems – is that they enable faster and better decision making in a crisis using real-time feedback and two-way dialogue with those closest to the emergency. And they avoid the risks of any potential delays, miscommunications or mistakes that can happen when an organization is under pressure to respond and often switching between multiple systems. Leading universities and multi-national corporations are already using new mobile/web-enabled platforms to improve their incident response These next generation emergency management platforms have been specifically designed to enable real-time mapping of an organization’s security assets and its users on a single screen and to fully integrate it with a highly targeted geo-fenced notification capability. The mass notification aspect of the system can then be used to advise specific groups on the best actions to take at their location as an incident develops. The use of live map tracking enables real time mapping of an organisation's security assets  Segmented Messaging Many leading universities and multi-national corporations are already using these new mobile/web-enabled platforms to plan, manage and improve their incident response, leading to 50% faster reactions and more positive outcomes.During a crisis, users can receive push notifications so the security centre can immediately see their exact location and advise them accordingly The systems have been widely adopted within the higher-education sector, but they are equally applicable to any large company with multiple international sites or those situated in research or corporate campuses where the bulk of assets and people are based in one or more key locations. Typically, systems provide users with a smartphone app that they can use to call for immediate emergency or first aid support when at work, or to report something suspicious which could prevent an apparently minor incident from escalating into a full-scale emergency. During a crisis, users can receive push notifications, SMS and E-mails asking them to open the app if they are not already logged in, so the security center can immediately see their exact location and advise them accordingly. Supporting Dispersed Mustering Now that communications can be more nimble, responsive and flexible this can support this the supports the increasing numbers of planners are recognizing the advantages of dispersed mustering. This is a strategy that has been developed to reduce the risk of secondary attacks on unprotected people complying with instructions to evacuate from premises and gather in what are, effectively, exposed locations. It is now acknowledged that evacuees waiting outside for any length of time are more vulnerable to targeted attacks or to injury, from flying glass for example. With dispersed mustering – a strategy made more effective by these new mobile distributed command and control systems - a building’s occupants can be advised not to go outside, but to move to known safe internal locations. People in each specific area can then be kept regularly updated. Many corporations are now using new mobile/web-enabled platforms to improve their incident response Coordination Between Response Agencies The software platforms can be integrated with an organization’s fixed security infrastructure to take real-time sharing of information First responders are permanently logged in, so the emergency operations center can see their exact locations in real-time and can advise what actions to take in mustering people or in setting up and protecting security cordons. Bringing everything together on one platform, with real-time feedback and in a fully integrated system also removes what is often seen as the weakest communication link in managing any major incident: the need to rely on conventional two-way radio as the sole means of communication between the command and control center and its first responders and other team members on the ground. The software platforms can be integrated with an organization’s fixed security infrastructure to take real-time sharing of information to a new level for improved collaboration, coordination and communications between users, the incident management team and external agencies. Improving Emergency Response Strategies One of the most powerful features of some of these new systems is the ability to record and view all alerts, responses and the detailed conversations between first responders, emergency coordinators and other parties. This allows the systems to be used to simulate major incidents involving inputs from the emergency services and other key agencies and to ensure the organization’s crisis management plans have been fully tested against a range of possible incident scenarios.

Steps To Develop An Integrated Retail Security Strategy
Steps To Develop An Integrated Retail Security Strategy

There are many aspects to consider when developing a retail security strategy, including loss prevention, physical security, asset protection, risk management, and IT. All these areas could be the responsibility of just a few people working to secure a handful of stores or each of these areas could be entirely separate departments, as is often the case for major retailers with locations throughout the country. Regardless of the size of the retailer, there are many different technologies that can be used within a retail store to improve security and loss prevention, yet none should be used in a silo. There are tremendous benefits to integrating security technologies and communications systems together, including enhancing overall safety and security, reducing shrink, and improving operations. There are many different technologies that can be used within a retail store to improve security and loss prevention As the existing security infrastructure is evaluated and plans for the future are developed, the team responsible should consider some of the following questions. Are there areas of the store that require greater security? Are there notifications or other technologies that could improve the efficiency of personnel and the safety of shoppers? Are there other departments within the organization that could benefit from the data gathered by the security technology? Understanding current pain points within the stores and how integrated security solutions can address these is the key to implementing the best solution. Here are a few “hot spots” within a typical retail store that easily demonstrate the power of integrated solutions. Point Of Sale Terminals Whether it’s loss through sweet hearting or other fraud, point of sale terminals present a significant shrink risk for retailers. Integrated systems enhance security at these locations. Video recording of HD or megapixel cameras integrated with point of sale data makes it easy to locate video associated with transactions and exception reporting. This allows for visual verification of each transaction when needed.There are tremendous benefits to integrating security technologies and communications systems together Other risks like robbery not only result in loss, but also impact the safety of employees and shoppers alike. Panic buttons or bill trap sensors connected to the intrusion detection system ensure silent alarms are issued when employees are at risk. When the intrusion detection system is integrated with the video system, pressing a panic button or pulling the bill from the sensor can automatically trigger a video snapshot to be sent to the monitoring station to provide verification of the alarm and more information for law enforcement when they are dispatched. Adding audio integration to the intrusion system can also result in a message sent to the store security personnel’s two-way radio when a panic button is pushed, or a bill trap sensor is activated. If no security guard is onsite, video monitoring services can allow the monitoring center to intervene through audio, alerting the perpetrator that his or her actions are being monitored and that the authorities have been contacted. This may cause the offender to flee the area, helping to mitigate the safety risk as well as the potential for loss. Panic buttons or bill trap sensors connected to the intrusion detection system ensure silent alarms are issued when employees are at risk High Value Displays Protect high-value or frequently-stolen items such as electronics, using video analytics integrated with audio communications Protect high-value or frequently-stolen items such as electronics, using video analytics integrated with audio communications. For example, a person standing at a display for longer than a pre-defined time or touching items on display can trigger a video snapshot to be sent to the store manager and an audio message to play through a nearby loudspeaker, such as: “Thank you for your interest in our smartphone selection; an associate will be there soon to assist you.” This not only alerts potential offenders that their actions are being watched, it also serves to improve customer service for legitimate shoppers – as a retail floor associate is notified that a customer may need assistance. Cash Office An access control reader at the door to the cash office restricts access to only authorized individuals. Integrating video can automatically capture an image of the person requesting access for verifying an employee’s identification prior to granting access or for retrospective analysis in the event of a theft. Exit Doors If an employee props open a back door – either for easy re-entry after a break or to allow access to another person with intentions of theft – integration of the intrusion detection system to the video and audio system can significantly reduce risk of loss. For example, the intrusion detection system can monitor doors for abnormal conditions, even when the system is disarmed.Loss can also occur when a cooler or freezer malfunctions or when the door is accidentally left open  A door left open for longer than a pre-defined time can cause an alarm on the intrusion panel, which can trigger a nearby camera to send a snapshot of the open door to the store manager and trigger the public address system to play a pre-recorded message through a nearby speaker. This prompts the employee to close the door, reducing risk of theft. Coolers And Freezers Loss isn’t just about theft. Loss can also occur when a cooler or freezer malfunctions or when the door of one of these units is accidentally left open. The same concept for monitoring exit doors can also apply to doors for coolers and freezers to prevent spoilage. A cooler or freezer door monitored by the intrusion detection system can trigger an alert or chime to play in the area to remind an employee to close the door or to alert the store manager to the issue. While providing surveillance of the cash register area, the camera's video analytics can be used to trigger an alert in case the queue exceeds the pre-defined threshold Serving A Dual Purpose Retailers can use the metadata from the cameras to gather business statistics like counts of people entering the store While the technology solutions described above positively impact loss prevention in a retail store, they can also extend beyond security to improve health and safety and enhance customer service as well as customer engagement and sales. For example, while securing a store’s main entrance with IP cameras featuring on-board video analytics, retailers can use the metadata from the cameras to gather business statistics like counts of people entering the store. This data can help them understand peak days and times when making decisions about staffing. Or while providing surveillance of the cash register area, the camera's video analytics can also be used to trigger an alert in case the number of people in a queue exceeds the pre-defined threshold. At this point, the same public address system and loudspeakers used to play background music to enhance the shopping experience could be activated to broadcast a message to request another cash register to be opened, improving store operations. For security and loss prevention purposes, video analytics can also be used to ensure that no one enters or leaves the retail shop using the emergency exit. To address health and safety issues, these same cameras can also trigger an alarm if that emergency exit is blocked by an object – improving the safety of customers and employees. When systems are used to deliver data for purposes beyond security, other departments may be willing to contribute toward the cost Metadata generated by the cameras can also be used to gather information that when processed with sophisticated algorithms in the cloud can show trajectories of the paths that shoppers take as they travel throughout a store as well as heat maps indicating where they walk, stop and dwell – all while protecting the privacy of individual shoppers. This information can be used by merchandisers to evaluate the success of displays and store layouts, which directly impacts customer engagement and sales. When systems are used for and deliver data for purposes beyond security, other departments may be willing to contribute toward the cost of the system. This provides an added benefit by relieving some of the cost burden from security or other operational budgets. Product Selection Integration is becoming easier using standards and expanding industry partnerships. However, in some cases, choosing systems from a single vendor that are designed to work together can help to speed and simplify installation, while also reducing system costs for both the integrator and the user. Regardless of the products chosen, it will be important for a retailer with many locations to have consistency in the type of equipment installed at each site. This makes support easier and enables a more uniform response to incidents that happen at various stores. As many retailers already understand, there is no silver bullet to reducing loss. However, a combination of the right technologies working together to prevent shrink and improve investigative capabilities can result in smarter and more effective loss prevention.

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 authorized individuals can get in. With video cameras located within close proximity you can then monitor and record any unauthorized 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 authorized 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 authorizations 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 authorizations 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. Customized Intrusion Systems What about people who need to access your building outside of working hours, like cleaning crews? Your intruder system allows you to customize 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 analyzing video content over large distances Intelligent Video Analytics have the unique capability of analyzing 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.