Access control systems & kits - Expert commentary

Demand Increases For Specialist IT Skills Among Security System Integrators
Demand Increases For Specialist IT Skills Among Security System Integrators

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.

Blending Physical Security With Convenience Is No Simple Task
Blending Physical Security With Convenience Is No Simple Task

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.

Home Monitoring At The Edge: Advanced Security In The Hands Of Consumers
Home Monitoring At The Edge: Advanced Security In The Hands Of Consumers

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.

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Stay Ahead Of 2020's Trends With This Cyber Security Guidance
Stay Ahead Of 2020's Trends With This Cyber Security Guidance

It seems that only a few days pass between cyber security stories of concern to the public such as personal data leaks and DIY home camera hacks. With this in mind and the need for increased connectivity, the industry is in need for guidance in cyber security. 2020 is set to be a year of change for the physical security industry. Here are the top four predictions to stay head of market trends in the year ahead. 1. There will be more clarity for installers about industry-standard for cyber security The professional security industry will next year see the launch of a new set of cybersecurity guidelines Through the work being conducted by the BSIA Cyber Security Product Assurance Group (CySPAG), the professional security industry will next year see the launch of a new set of cybersecurity guidelines. This will provide the industry with the guidance and clarity that is currently missing. A key area of clarification is the chain of responsibility. It is not just the responsibility of the manufacturer to keep everything secure from a cyber-perspective. The whole supply chain is responsible - once a product leaves the lab where they’re manufactured, conditions change. Those who maintain, install and operate the product have a shared responsibility to ensure that a product or system remains cyber secure. As the sector develops and more cyber-enabled products become available to the market, this cyber security approach will become more important, and a key differentiator to the DIY market, which can only be a good thing. 2. Cloud and 4G connectivity are giving end-customers better physical security The percentage of panels connected to cloud services is now increasing every year Manufactures have been producing cloud-ready products for several years. Initially, not all installers had been taking advantage of benefits of cloud-connected panels, however the percentage of panels connected to cloud services is now increasing every year. Trust and education have improved, meaning that installers and end-users have realised that connectivity is positive, enabling consumers to check on their properties remotely and allow installer to remotely support their customers. However, one area of constraint has been the dependency on customers networks which may, or may not, offer the level of performance that a robust and resilient security system demands. With the introduction of mobile data connectivity to connected products over the past few years, and as connectivity becomes more widespread across physical security products there will also be a greater shift toward mobile technologies such as 4G, either as a back up to a router connection or for complete network independence. 3. Connectivity is changing the way installers work Installers are a vital part of the chain of when a new alarm system is fitted into a property Installers are a vital part of the chain of when a new alarm system is fitted into a property, providing both installation and maintenance services. Traditionally maintenance activities have always been delivered on-site. With the increased ease of connectivity for security systems and the advancements in how these systems are used, installers are provided further opportunity to enhance customer service around the delivery of maintenance. It is no longer a requirement to have a customer wait until an engineer can attend a property to remedy a fault, as many can now be addressed within minutes from any location in the world. This ability allows installation businesses to focus their engineers on more critical tasks while delivering an overall higher level of customer service. Indeed, some installation businesses are moving to a model of having dedicated remote support engineers in addition to the road-based team. 4. Manufacturers are ready for IP-only alarms, ahead of the 2025 analog switch off The PSTN switch off being conducted by BT and other service providers is due to be completed in 2025 The PSTN switch off being conducted by BT and other service providers is due to be completed in 2025 as part of the move to Next Generation Networks, ending the use of analog phone lines and moves communications technology into an all IP-only space. Although some service providers have indicated that there may be some type of initial PSTN simulation, those providers that are doing this are also making it clear that this is only a temporary solution. The switch off will be a huge change for the security industry. Where heritage, analog alarm systems are in use, installers will need to plan to reconfigure existing systems to use the temporary PSTN simulation functions (where available) or upgrade systems to an all IP solution. Although 2025 feels a long way off, installers and end-users need to start planning now and taking the necessary action. In our sector, manufacturers are ready for IP-only alarms through the provision of cloud-based solutions and the use of techniques such as SIA IP for ARC monitoring.

Kwikset Secures D.R. Horton Homes By Providing SmartCode 888 Deadbolt Lock
Kwikset Secures D.R. Horton Homes By Providing SmartCode 888 Deadbolt Lock

Kwikset brand of Spectrum Brands, Inc. – Hardware & Home Improvement Division, announces that its SmartCode 888 Deadbolt Lock was chosen to become part of the new Home is Connected smart home system from D.R. Horton, Inc. The inclusion of Kwikset’s SmartCode 888 in the system was based on its value (great functionality at an entry-level price), reliability, and high degree of security. Incorporating the latest Z-Wave 500 chipset, the SmartCode 888 offers keyless entry through a convenient, easy-to-use touchpad. Kwikset’s patented Home Connect technology enables the lock to wirelessly communicate with other devices in the home through a third-party smart home controller, as well as to remotely check the door lock status, lock or unlock the door and receive notifications. Innovative Program D.R. Horton’s Home Is Connected system is included in the base price of each new home from the company’s family of brands D.R. Horton’s 'Home Is Connected' system is included in the base price of each new home from the company’s family of brands. The system includes a robust central hub by Qolsys that controls the smart home features, including a home alarm and automation platform by Alarm.com, Honeywell Home thermostat from Resideo, smart switches by Eaton Corporation, video doorbell by SkyBell and hands-free, voice-first experiences with Amazon Alexa. “We are pleased to be part of such an innovative program created by the nation’s largest volume homebuilder,” said Dave Seeman, Director of National Builder Accounts, Kwikset and Baldwin, Spectrum Brands, Inc. – Hardware & Home Improvement Division. Convenience Of Keyless Entry “We are confident that buyers of D.R. Horton homes will not only appreciate the security and convenience of keyless entry that our SmartCode 888 provides, but also the endless benefits of whole home automation. To be a part of a system that includes such well-known, reputable brands indicates to us the high level of trust D.R. Horton puts in our products.” Brad Conlon, Vice President of National Accounts for D.R. Horton, said, “We are pleased to work with Kwikset to provide this essential component to D.R. Horton’s new Home is Connected smart home system. We know our customers will appreciate the peace of mind that comes from Kwikset’s SmartCode 888 lock and the Home is Connected system overall.”

IFSEC 2015 Releases Details For Safe Cities Feature
IFSEC 2015 Releases Details For Safe Cities Feature

Safe Cities will provide thought leadership sessions to provide more insight into this concept IFSEC International 2015 has released details for this year’s Safe Cities feature which will focus on the protection of larger urban areas, critical national infrastructure and business continuity at London’s ExCeL from 16-18 June. Suited for senior and strategic personnel responsible for the protection of major assets within a city, Safe Cities will provide high level thought leadership sessions to provide more insight into this fast growing concept. Networked technologies and current trends all feature heavily in the Safe Cities Seminar Theatre, exclusively sponsored by Eaton. Key Themes Surrounding Smart Technologies Key themes surrounding smart technologies include a presentation on 17th June based on Safe Smart & Connected Cities: Emerging Technologies delivered by Dr. Simon Moores a leading futurologist. This presentation will give an insight into protecting people and property. Leading the Safe Cities agenda, Earl of Erroll, Independent Crossbench Peer, House of Lords, Chairman will take to the stage with a keynote presentation focused on -Unlocking The Internet Of Things & Securing The Future. Reflecting that the Internet of Things is fast becoming a universally dominant topic, this session will cover the impact this ever increasing connectivity presents is a challenging security issue. Discussing ‘The UK’s Smart Cities Capabilities’, Dan Byles MP who is the Vice-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group whose presentation The UK’s Smart Cities Capabilities will promote how the UK is taking the lead in the global smart city environment. Urban Critical Infrastructure Protection Today’s discussions of the Smart City concept often overlook the importance of planning for and responding to natural or man-made emergencies. With his presentation “Smart, Secure and Resilient Cities – Critical Foundations”, Enzo Peduzzi, Director Industry Affairs at Siemens Building Technologies and Vice-President of Euralarm, will be focusing on this aspect. He will show that the systems need to function even and especially under stress in order to keep cities truly smart and explain why urban critical infrastructure protection plays a key role in keeping smart cities up and running at all times. Safe Cities visitors to IFSEC International can access the full Safe Cities seminar program and take advantage of the networking opportunities adjacent VIP Lounge, sponsored by Siemens. Visitors will have access to complimentary refreshments and the opportunity to speak to high level attendees. Safe Citites Provide Formidable Opportunities IFSEC International Event Director- Gerry Dunphy comments: “Safe Cities is a key element for visitors at the show this year at ExCeL. With the increase in smart technologies and the ‘open season’ aspects presented by the Internet Of Things, it’s a duty of IFSEC to provide a platform for these topics and discussions to be aired to a wider audience. Smart technologies are becoming a wider theme for the security market in general and Safe Cities is a formidable opportunity to visitors to take advantage of.”