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How can security system integrators not just survive but thrive in today’s IT-led market? The key seems to be in training. As increasingly more clients look to integrate access control with IT environments, they want integrators with the specialist skills to achieve this. For integrators that don’t invest in training, the risk is being left behind. Because many security system integrators aren’t providing specialist IT support, manufacturers are now offering services to make implementations and integrations easier. This isn’t a scalable or desirable option for many manufacturers though, they don’t want to become integrators. The result? Manufacturers will be pushed into developing products that can be integrated with IT networks off the shelf. And this isn’t necessarily the best option for end user, manufacturer or integrator. With a growing number of cloud-based security solutions, integrators also face the threat of clients opting for installation-only services. How security system integrators can survive and thrive today It’s not all doom and gloom for security system integrators though. To avoid becoming redundant, or being downgraded to simple access control installers, there’s lots you can do to strengthen your position. Listen carefully Many integrators are reluctant to do this, but it’s a great way to demonstrate the depth of your experience One of the first ways you can distinguish yourself from your competitors is by really listening to what your clients want and need. You can then translate this into a security or access control application tailored carefully to them. Many integrators are reluctant to do this, but it’s a great way to demonstrate the depth of your experience and product knowledge. It’s far superior to carrying out a standard implementation, which can leave clients feeling they’ve not been listened to or given good value. Up your IT knowledge TCP/IP has become the standard for communication between devices and central server applications in access control and security in general. So every technician now needs to know how to connect IP devices to networks and configure them in the central application. This is only the tip of the iceberg though, there’s so much more that integrators now need to be proficient in when it comes to IT. From understanding a client’s WAN, LAN and VPN networks to back-up systems, encryption technologies, key management and transparent communication. It’s also important to know how to integrate applications at server level, whether you’re integrating two or more security systems or a HR database. Most integrators have begun to invest in one or two IT experts, but this usually isn’t enough to meet clients’ needs. To really stay ahead, it’s crucial to invest more heavily in IT training and expertise. Choose your portfolio carefully When considering your portfolio, ensure you check the background of each product’s manufacturer Ideally, your portfolio should be small but rich, which is more difficult than it sounds. Choosing products that will scale easily is complex, and you need to consider the potential for increased functionality or connectivity as well as scalability. When considering your portfolio, make sure you check the background and outlook of each product’s manufacturer. You don’t want to select items that are likely to be discontinued in the near future, which can often happen after a manufacturer is acquired, for example. Get in the cloud In the security market, the mid and low segments are already shifting to cloud-based solutions that need neither integration nor IT skills. This leaves you with opportunities for just installation and maintenance services, where profit opportunities are reduced. An alternative is to begin selling cloud-based security services yourself to help you attract and retain clients for the long-term. Give clients added commercial value As competition increases and budgets shrink, offering added value, to new and existing clients, is a vital way to differentiate your business. This will help you to not just defend against competitors but to grow your business and increase your profitability. Configuring access control reports for clients is just one example. It’s relatively straightforward to do but provides really valuable insight into visitor flow. This can then enable them to, for example, staff reception adequately and provide sufficient catering, which all improves the experience for visitors and employees. Providing this kind of consultative service, instantly pushes you up the value chain. Stay agile and well informed To survive and grow as a security system integrator today, the upshot is that it’s crucial to keep pace with the market’s ever-changing trends, technology and client needs. And, to make sure you’re ready to adapt and give clients the services they want, it’s vital to give your people the in-depth training they need.
Back in the 1960s a lead engineer working in conjunction with the United States Navy for Lockheed’s Skunk Works team coined the acronym KISS, which translated to the design principle ‘keep it simple stupid’. The KISS principle embraces the concept of simplicity, stating that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than geared up to be more complicated. When it comes to physical security systems, this concept can also play a key element in its overall success. Secure work environments For years the tug of war in the security industry has pitted the need for a secure environment against the desire for technology that is convenient for users. However, finding a happy medium between the two has often seemed elusive. I believe you can design and have operational convenience at the same time as achieving high security" Jeff Spivey, a security consultant and the CEO of Security Risk Management, has this to say about it, “If there is an understanding of the security-related risks and their separate and/or collective impact on the organization’s bottom line business goals, a resolution can be reached.” Jeff also does not think that convenience and high security have to be opposing each other. He says, “I believe you can design and have operational convenience at the same time as achieving high security.” Importance of secure access control The premise is that for organizations and spaces to be truly secure, they must be difficult to access. So, by its very nature, access control is designed to be restrictive, allowing only authorized staff and visitors to access a facility or other secured areas inside. This immediately puts convenience at odds with security. Most people will tolerate the restrictive nature of a controlled entrance using badge, card or biometric because they understand the need for security. When that technology gets in the way of staff traversing freely throughout the facility during the course of a business day, or hindering potential visitors or vendors from a positive experience entering the building, they become less tolerant, which often leads to negative feedback to the security staff. Enhancing corporate security Security consultants like Spivey and security directors all stress that understanding the threats and risk levels of an organization will most likely dictate its physical security infrastructure and approach. All the technology in the world is useless if it is not embraced by those who are expected to use it and it doesn’t fit the culture of the organization. Once employees and customers are educated about what security really is, they understand that they're not losing convenience, they're gaining freedom to move safely from point A to point B. Converged data and information shape new access options Migration of physical access control systems to a more network-centric platform is a game-changer for security technologies The migration of physical access control systems to a more network-centric platform has been a game-changer for emerging security technology options. The expansion of the Internet of Things (IoT), Near-Field Communication devices powered by Bluetooth technology, and the explosion of converged information systems and identity management tools that are now driving access control are making it easier than ever before for employees and visitors to apply for clearance, permissions and credentials. Wireless and proximity readers Advancements in high-performance wireless and proximity readers have enhanced the user’s access experience when presenting credentials at an entry and expediting movement throughout a facility. A user is now able to access a secured office from street-level without ever touching a key or card. Using a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or triggering a facial recognition technology, they enter the building through a security revolving door or turnstile. A total building automation approach adds extra convenience, as well as seamless security, when access technology is integrated into other systems like elevator controls. A total building automation approach adds extra convenience and seamless security How to Meet Security Concerns at the Entry While security managers are charged with providing their facilities the maximum level of security possible, there is always the human element to consider. But does the effort to make people comfortable with their security system ecosystem come at a cost? Does all this convenience and the drive to deliver a positive security experience reduce an organization’s overall levels of security? And if so, how can we continue to deliver the same positive experience including speed of entry – while improving risk mitigation and threat prevention? Door entrances, barriers Users can slip through the door or turnstile barriers while they are still open after a credentialed individual has gone through Let’s examine some of the various types of entrances being used at most facilities and the security properties of each. With some entrance types, there is the possibility for security to fall short of its intended goals in a way that can’t be addressed by access control technology alone. In particular, with many types of doors and barriers, tailgating is possible: users can slip through the door or turnstile barriers while they are still open after a credentialed individual has gone through. To address this, many organizations hire security officers to supervise the entry. While this can help to reduce tailgating, it has been demonstrated that officers are not immune to social engineering and can often be “talked into” letting an unauthorized person into a facility. Deploying video cameras, sensors Some organizations have deployed video surveillance cameras or sensors to help identify tailgaters after the fact or a door left open for longer than rules allow. This approach is not uncommon where facilities have attempted to optimize throughput and maintain a positive experience for staff and visitors. Security staff monitoring the video feeds can alert management so that action can be taken – but this is at best a reactive solution. It does not keep the unauthorized persons from entering, and so is not a totally secure solution. Optical turnstiles, speedgates Security staff should carefully evaluate its facility’s needs and consider the technology that is built into the door itself Security staff should carefully evaluate its facility’s needs and consider the technology that is built into the door itself. Not all security entrances work the same way. And, there will always be a balance between security and convenience – the more secure the entry, the less convenient it is for your personnel and visitors to enter your facility. For example, it takes more time to provide 2-factor authentication and enter through a mantrap portal than to provide only one credential and enter through an optical turnstile or speedgate. Perimeter protection So, it is an important first step to determine what is right at every entrance point within and around the perimeter. Remember that convenience does not equate to throughput. Convenience is the ease and speed of entry experienced by each individual crossing that threshold, while throughput relates to the speed at which many individuals can gain access to the facility. A more convenient entry makes a better first impression on visitors and is good for overall employee morale. Throughput is more functional; employees need to get logged in to begin their workday (and often to clock in to get paid), and they quickly become frustrated and dissatisfied when waiting in a long line to enter or exit the premises. Considering form and function when designing a security entrance can ensure that those requiring both high-security and convenience are appeased.
Imagine a home surveillance camera monitoring an elderly parent and anticipating potential concerns while respecting their privacy. Imagine another camera predicting a home burglary based on suspicious behaviors, allowing time to notify the homeowner who can in turn notify the police before the event occurs—or an entire network of cameras working together to keep an eye on neighborhood safety. Artificial Intelligence vision chips A new gen of AI vision chips are pushing advanced capabilities such as behavior analysis and higher-level security There's a new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) vision chips that are pushing advanced capabilities such as behavior analysis and higher-level security to the edge (directly on devices) for a customizable user experience—one that rivals the abilities of the consumer electronics devices we use every day. Once considered nothing more than “the eyes” of a security system, home monitoring cameras of 2020 will leverage AI-vision processors for high-performance computer vision at low power consumption and affordable cost—at the edge—for greater privacy and ease of use as well as to enable behavior analysis for predictive and preemptive monitoring. Advanced home monitoring cameras With this shift, camera makers and home monitoring service providers alike will be able to develop new edge-based use cases for home monitoring and enable consumers to customize devices to meet their individual needs. The result will be increased user engagement with home monitoring devices—mirroring that of cellphones and smart watches and creating an overlap between the home monitoring and consumer electronics markets. A quick step back reminds us that accomplishing these goals would have been cost prohibitive just a couple of years ago. Face recognition, behavior analysis, intelligent analytics, and decision-making at this level were extremely expensive to perform in the cloud. Additionally, the lag time associated with sending data to faraway servers for decoding and then processing made it impossible to achieve real-time results. Cloud-based home security devices The constraints of cloud processing certainly have not held the industry back, however. Home monitoring, a market just seven years young, has become a ubiquitous category of home security and home monitoring devices. Consumers can choose to install a single camera or doorbell that sends alerts to their phone, a family of devices and a monthly manufacturer’s plan, or a high-end professional monitoring solution. While the majority of these devices do indeed rely on the cloud for processing, camera makers have been pushing for edge-based processing since around 2016. For them, the benefit has always been clear: the opportunity to perform intelligent analytics processing in real-time on the device. But until now, the balance between computer vision performance and power consumption was lacking and camera companies weren’t able to make the leap. So instead, they have focused on improving designs and the cloud-centric model has prevailed. Hybrid security systems Even with improvements, false alerts result in unnecessary notifications and video recording Even with improvements, false alerts (like tree branches swaying in the wind or cats walking past a front door) result in unnecessary notifications and video recording— cameras remain active which, in the case of battery powered cameras, means using up valuable battery life. Hybrid models do exist. Typically, they provide rudimentary motion detection on the camera itself and then send video to the cloud for decoding and analysis to suppress false alerts. Hybrids provide higher-level results for things like people and cars, but their approach comes at a cost for both the consumer and the manufacturer. Advanced cloud analytics Advanced cloud analytics are more expensive than newly possible edge-based alternatives, and consumers have to pay for subscriptions. In addition, because of processing delays and other issues, things like rain or lighting changes (or even bugs on the camera) can still trigger unnecessary alerts. And the more alerts a user receives, the more they tend to ignore them—there are simply too many. In fact, it is estimated that users only pay attention to 5% of their notifications. This means that when a package is stolen or a car is burglarized, users often miss the real-time notification—only to find out about the incident after the fact. All of this will soon change with AI-based behavior analysis, predictive security, and real-time meaningful alerts. Predictive monitoring while safeguarding user privacy These days, consumers are putting more emphasis on privacy and have legitimate concerns about being recorded while in their homes. Soon, with AI advancements at the chip level, families will be able to select user apps that provide monitoring without the need to stream video to a company server, or they’ll have access to apps that record activity but obscure faces. Devices will have the ability to only send alerts according to specific criteria. If, for example, an elderly parent being monitored seems particularly unsteady one day or seems especially inactive, an application could alert the responsible family member and suggest that they check in. By analyzing the elderly parent’s behavior, the application could also predict a potential fall and trigger an audio alert for the person and also the family. AI-based behavior analysis Ability to analyze massive amounts of data locally and identify trends is a key advantage of AI at the edge The ability to analyze massive amounts of data locally and identify trends or perform searches is a key advantage of AI at the edge, for both individuals and neighborhoods. For example, an individual might be curious as to what animal is wreaking havoc in their backyard every night. In this case, they could download a “small animal detector” app to their camera which would trigger an alert when a critter enters their yard. The animal could be scared off via an alarm and—armed with video proof—animal control would have useful data for setting a trap. Edge cameras A newly emerging category of “neighborhood watch” applications is already connecting neighbors for significantly improved monitoring and safety. As edge cameras become more commonplace, this category will become increasingly effective. The idea is that if, for example, one neighbor captures a package thief, and then the entire network of neighbors will receive a notification and a synopsis video showing the theft. Or if, say, there is a rash of car break-ins and one neighbor captures video of a red sedan casing their home around the time of a recent incident, an AI vision-based camera could be queried for helpful information: Residential monitoring and security The camera could be asked for a summary of the dates and times that it has recorded that particular red car. A case could be made if incident times match those of the vehicle’s recent appearances in the neighborhood. Even better, if that particular red car was to reappear and seems (by AI behavior analysis) to be suspicious, alerts could be sent proactively to networked residents and police could be notified immediately. Home monitoring in 2020 will bring positive change for users when it comes to monitoring and security, but it will also bring some fun. Consumers will, for example, be able to download apps that do things like monitor pet activity. They might query their device for a summary of their pet’s “unusual activity” and then use those clips to create cute, shareable videos. Who doesn’t love a video of a dog dragging a toilet paper roll around the house? AI at the Edge for home access control Home access control via biometrics is one of many new edge-based use cases that will bring convenience to home monitoring Home access control via biometrics is one of many new edge-based use cases that will bring convenience to home monitoring, and it’s an application that is expected to take off soon. With smart biometrics, cameras will be able to recognize residents and then unlock their smart front door locks automatically if desired, eliminating the need for keys. And if, for example, an unauthorized person tries to trick the system by presenting a photograph of a registered family member’s face, the camera could use “3D liveness detection” to spot the fake and deny access. With these and other advances, professional monitoring service providers will have the opportunity to bring a new generation of access control panels to market. Leveraging computer vision and deep neural networks Ultimately, what camera makers strive for is customer engagement and customer loyalty. These new use cases—thanks to AI at the edge—will make home monitoring devices more useful and more engaging to consumers. Leveraging computer vision and deep neural networks, new cameras will be able to filter out and block false alerts, predict incidents, and send real-time notifications only when there is something that the consumer is truly interested in seeing. AI and computer vision at the edge will enable a new generation of cameras that provide not only a higher level of security but that will fundamentally change the way consumers rely on and interact with their home monitoring devices.
Access control now includes a strong focus on the data integration sideof the business, as showcased at this year’s ISC West When the category of physical security emerged many decades ago, it was literally all about locks, hardware and creating barriers such as fences to keep people out. Fast forward to ISC West 2016 in Las Vegas this week, where the focus is on intelligent solutions, smart data, cloud-based access control and incorporating audio, video and a wide range of safeguards in a total, integrated approach. LE-802 Intelligent Audio Analytic System Louroe Electronics, Van Nuys, California, is one of the original pioneers of audio technologies, and as systems continue to merge and converge, the element of sound provides a much-needed added dimension to fortifying physical security applications. Louroe Electronics is unveiling the LE-802 Intelligent Audio Analytic System, offering a robust and easy-to-install application for unattended audio monitoring on specific events analyzing the presence of gunshots, aggressive speech, glass breaking and car alarms. The system is a complete hardware and software solution housed in a weather- and vandal-resistant enclosure for outdoor applications. It also integrates with most video management and monitoring systems and works as a standalone edge solution analyzing sounds in real time, according to Chris Gaunt, Manager of North American Sales. Connecting Audio To Video Surveillance “Audio security gives you another piece of the puzzle and makes what was a silent movie come to life,” he says, adding that the bread and butter for the company is tying audio to video surveillance, as an attachment to cameras or nearby as an enhancement to surveillance. “For example, in schools, some 80 percent of verbal encounters lead to something aggressive, and now we can do something with preventative audio software,” he says. The company partnered with an analytics company to build the additional audio capabilities into its product, which also fits markets such as public safety, commercial and law enforcement, in addition to education. It also brought to market the Verifact® a gunshot detector for active shooter incidents. Louroe Electronics demonstrated the Verifact® Gunshot Detector at ISC West Data Builds Intelligent Processes A common theme of data and added intelligence was front and center at the show – getting more from physical security. Vanderbilt Industries, Parsippany, New Jersey, introduced Vanderbilt VI Connect at the show, a custom-configurable data management system that integrates Vanderbilt’s security management system (SMS), with third party, disparate systems of any size to automate business workflow. Automation For Error Reduction Mitchell Kane, President of Vanderbilt Industries, says the process of access control has changed and now includes a strong focus on the data integration side of the business. “Automating workflow makes the process less labor-intensive and eliminates user error in programming permissions and schedules. The entire process is automated and performed through web interfaces and hosting. Everything we automate means one less thing to do and one less chance of doing something wrong.” VI Connect establishes rules engines and also can provide the systems integrator with detailed security audits and reports for the end user. For example, the solution can be used in higher education environments where student data — demographic information, enrolled courses, housing information and badging settings — can be processed and manipulated through the VI Connect system, ensuring that a student is only allowed to gain access to campus buildings that are relevant to that particular student’s major. CrossChex Time Attendance And Access Control Management System Anviz, an intelligent security provider with roots in biometric and RFID applications, is making its move to the cloud with the CrossChex Time Attendance and Access Control Management System. The company offers three different levels to expand the scope of specification possibilities: Desktop for small and medium businesses; Professional designed for enterprise web-based management; and Cloud for global enterprise applications. Brian Fazio, Director of Global Sales, Shanghai, China, says the three different versions provide a full solution for every type of user and their specific time and attendance applications. “CrossChex satisfies the time and attendance and access control requirements in different, complicated environments,” he says, and it also provides report management and a mobile application function that can be applied and accessed via smartphones. The lines of typical product categories continue to blur. The focus is on integrating a wide range of solutions to meet the challenges and issues of the end-user customer.
Foot traffic improved a little on the second day of ASIS International in Anaheim, California. Furthermore, the high quality of meetings at the big industry show tended to overshadow complaints about attendance. There is plenty to talk about in Anaheim. “The conversations have been much more substantial than you usually have at a trade show,” says Charles Hunger, Product Marketing Director, Anviz Global Inc. “They’re not general conversations, they’re ‘How can I use it? I have a very specific problem I need to solve.” Cloud-Based Services For Biometric Access Control Anviz specialises in small- to medium-sized business (SMB) applications. The company’s biometric time-and-attendance systems are strong in the retail/restaurant/small medical facility market, while the manufacturing vertical favours Anviz biometric access control applications. A relative newcomer to the U.S. market, Anviz announced at ASIS that it will begin offering cloud-based services for biometric access control and time and attendance. In business since 2001, Anviz has been successful in the Latin American market (especially Argentina) and entered the U.S. market in 2010, selling products manufactured in Shanghai, China, including a line of surveillance cameras branded under the Anviz name. The company has about two dozen dealers across North America, moving deliberately with a strategy to pay for growth in the U.S. market from sales revenues. OnSSI Ocularis v5.0 ASIS is a great venue to highlight product improvements, and some new products introduced just last spring have been upgraded and improved since their initial launch. For example, OnSSI introduced Ocularis Version 5.0 in the spring, the first version of OnSSI’s flagship software that uses the company’s own recorder (versus an OEM’d recorder.) Ocularis Version 5.1 now includes additional integrations with camera manufacturers, including Arecont Vision and Canon, in addition to the cameras previously supported. The system also uses server-based motion detection. ASIS is a great venue to highlightproduct improvements, and somenew products introduced just lastspring have been upgraded andimproved since their initial launch Fully encrypted using 256-bit AES, the software can be used in banking and government applications.The system also manages storage of video and load-balances storage among multiple drives to increase capacity. “The customer reaction to Ocularis 5 has been tremendous,” says Ken LaMarca, OnSSI’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “They are embracing it because it is a wholly owned product.” He says the quality of attendees at OnSSI’s booth has been very good. “But there haven’t been enough of them.” Placing confidence in the uniqueness of a product line is a good strategy in the era of commoditization. That seems to be the case for MOBOTIX, which has always charted its own product development course. The German company emphasized IP video when analog was still dominant, and they were also early to the idea of edge storage. Even with a heritage of innovation, Keith Jernigan, MOBOTIX General Manager, says the company needs to work to educate the market on who they are. New Thermal Cameras Offering hemispheric cameras, a new thermal radiometry camera and improved video management software (VMS) that is touch-screen and intuitive to operate, the company has a lot to tell the market about. There is also a 6 megapixel camera in the lineup and “Moonlight” low-light imaging. “We believe in the technologies the company was founded on,” says Jernigan, noting that many technologies have become more common since they were pioneered by MOBOTIX. Another message for MOBOTIX at the show is use of video for functions beyond security, such as use of the new thermal camera to detect temperature extremes to monitor manufacturing or other processes. Open House Events Placing confidence in the uniquenessof a product line is a good strategy inthe era of commoditization After the show closed, events in the evening continued to draw crowds, including two open house events in nearby Irvine, Calif., a center of technology. Axis Communications hosted an open house at their new “Axis Experience Center,” a learning facility that can host up to 28 people and also focuses on use of Axis products in a variety of vertical markets, with full displays of systems targeted to markets such as gaming, education, retail and banking. A short ride away, Dahua was also hosting an open house at its Irvine facility. The Chinese company is on the verge of expanding its presence in the U.S. market, building its channel, and positioning Dahua as a trusted brand in the video surveillance market. The company has been in the U.S. market for years as an OEM/ODM manufacturer, but is now beginning to build up its branded business. The global company is already selling products, including HD cameras, NVRs, video display walls, VMS software and video analytics, in 140 countries. It’s one of the companies that makes the ASIS show truly international.
Anviz and HID Global are leadingglobal providers of intelligent securitytechnology & integrated solutions Anviz, a leading global provider of intelligent security technology and solution, is pleased to announce that Anviz biometric terminals can now be paired with HID Global to improve the security level of the biometric devices. Partnership Ensures Better Product Performance The unification dates back to 2013 when Anviz's standalone Iris Recognition System UltraMatch integrated the HID module. Overall this makes the iris recognition more stable for higher level security demands. In the meanwhile, the latest Anviz product released, C2 Pro, also integrates HID's iCLASS SE technology which is also used by intelligent mobile terminals to open and get the authorized permission of access and mobile payments. “Cooperation with HID Global helps us upgrade the performance of our products, and to win an enlarging security market”, says Felix Fu, chairman of Anviz Global Biometric department. The competitive biometric technology integration into HID technology makes the solution more suitable for the high level of customers’ demands. Anviz continues to cooperate with third-party partners, and has established strategic partnership agreements with leading companies such as HID Global.
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