Intercom Systems - Expert commentary

Building Security: How Audio Tells the Whole Story
Building Security: How Audio Tells the Whole Story

Every building starts with the entrance. A solid enterprise risk mitigation and security strategy include protecting that entrance. Often, risk mitigation strategies protecting the entrance have included high-resolution video surveillance cameras, video management systems, and access control solutions. But that strategy and set of security solutions only tells part of the story. Imagine a security guard who is protecting a facility after hours, when an individual approaches the entrance and seeks to gain access. The security guard can pull up the video surveillance feed and see the individual and his movements, which appear to be suspicious. But he also needs to hear him in order to decide the next decisions and actions. Does he escalate the situation, calling for backup and for first responders’ response, or does he allow the individual access to the building because he works there and is authorized to enter?   Meet high-definition voice What the security guard needs is to be able to hear and to communicate with that individual. All enterprise security systems need three primary components in order to successfully protect the entrance and to mitigate risk – access control, video surveillance, and the ability to hear and communicate. Each component plays an integral role in supporting a unified security system, and without all three, the security system is not complete. Access control can be thought of as the brains of a security system by holding data and permissions. It serves as the arms and hands of the system; it can either keep someone out or invite them in. IP video allows a security team to remotely position a set of eyes anywhere an IP camera can be placed on a network. With a video management system, security teams can see what is happening and decide how to respond. However, with remote viewing, the event may be over by the time security physically responds.  Audio adds interactivity That three-component enterprise security system – comprising IP video, access control, and high-definition voice working together mitigates risks and provides value. It also means that security is interactive. Security teams talk and listen to the person that’s seen on a video surveillance system, no matter where the location or how remote. If the person is lost or simply needs assistance, security personnel can talk to them and provide direction and reassurance. Even more, in an emergency, an interactive solution becomes a critical life-saving tool, as it provides data that can be shared between security, police, emergency services, and more. Audio can also detect voices, noises, breaking glass, or other sounds that are not within direct view of a video camera. An interactive security system creates an informed response, by providing real-time situation awareness management. Post-event, it supports forensics and investigations to mitigate future security incidents.  Audio and COVID-19 We are living in extraordinary times. As businesses begin to reopen and stay open, they are looking for any tools that can help them overcome the enormous challenges they face. In buildings and facilities, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a new security perimeter, one that demands contactless access with entry and exit, and that has also created a new duty of care for security professionals. Now more than ever is the need to interact and communicate with individuals moving in and out of doors and spaces without physical intervention. Intelligent communications, integrated with contactless access control, can help a business to comply with pandemic safety guidelines and ultimately, reopen for business and stay open.  COVID-19 has also increased the need for clean-room isolation and quarantine spaces, sometimes in areas not originally intended for that use, where risk of infection is high, and equipment must be easily disinfected between patients. Here, purpose-built cleanroom intercoms, providing clear touchless communications despite the noisy environment, have emerged as critical tools for enabling patient care while reducing the need to enter the contaminated space. For example, voice communication can enable hospital staff to verify identity and to communicate with patients without entering the isolated and infectious environment, which can save on personal protective equipment (PPE) and reduce the amount of exposure to the virus. In non-emergency healthcare facilities, such as medical centers, voice can effectively relay information to building occupants and visitors for screening purposes. Visitors can be seen and heard. For example, a patient who seeks access to a medical center for an appointment can hear important instructions from a nurse via the intercom solution. Seeing the person that you talk to is one thing but hearing them conveys a much better sense of closeness, making it possible to maintain a high level of security and customer service.  The whole story Today’s security systems should no longer simply involve video surveillance cameras generating feedback and images to a security guard. Instead, a new ecosystem for enterprise security and risk mitigation has emerged, and it’s one that involves video surveillance, access control, and high-definition voice. That ecosystem can ensure well-rounded and responsive information management and security platform, all communicating with each other and offering actionable insight into risks and potential physical breaches. Audio is the new value hub of the connected and intelligent school, campus, building, correctional facility, and more. Simply put, a silent security system cannot be an effective security system. In every situation, it is crucial for all security professionals to mitigate risk, no matter what they are protecting. This emphasizes the need to hear, be heard, and be understood in virtually any environment.  

Thermal screening: The Technology That Will Lead Us Out of Lockdown
Thermal screening: The Technology That Will Lead Us Out of Lockdown

Across the world, the impact of the current pandemic has majorly disrupted how we function in our everyday lives, as a society, and the ways in which we do our jobs. Throughout, our personal safety and wellbeing, as well as that of our families, neighbours and colleagues, has been paramount - and adapting our day-to-day lives to meet social distancing measures has been a learning curve for us all. As we start to reassemble normal life, precautionary measures will continue to be put in place to achieve the universal aim of mitigating the spread of the virus as much as possible. As different countries reach new stages of this process, some parts of the world continue to live and work in lockdown, while some are beginning to open up. This means governments, as well as businesses and organizations, will need to think beyond one-way systems and sanitation stations to contain the risk of infection as more people begin to return to the outside world. Tracing the spread of COVID-19 Of course, this will need to be driven by higher-level support from leaders in government, healthcare and technology to develop innovative ways of tracking and tracing the spread of COVID-19. From contact tracing solutions, to self-reporting apps and thermal screening cameras – governments and businesses across Europe have a new responsibility to seek and reinforce the most effective ways to ensure people’s safety. These measures are particularly pertinent to those reopening their doors as lockdown eases, and those returning to a daily routine of commuting to and serviced office spaces. As more and more people begin to move through public and commercial areas, we will rely more on technology to run in the background to ensure safety and wellbeing is monitored - much like that of the everyday CCTV camera. Thermal temperature screening cameras One piece of technology that we can expect to see as more commonplace is the thermal temperature screening cameras and monitoring system. An example of this kind of device, is D-Link’s recently launched all-in-one, intelligent fever screening kit – which includes a dual-lens thermographic camera, blackbody calibrator, as well as integrated management software. Governments, as well as businesses and organizations, will need to think beyond one-way systems and sanitation stations to contain the risk of infection The premise of temperature screening cameras like this one, is to harness thermal imaging technology coupling it with AI to identify if a person is experiencing elevated temperatures, and raise the alarm automatically when someone at risk of spreading is detected. To monitor the progression or depletion of COVID-19, technologies such as AI facial recognition will play an important role in mitigating the risks of the virus spreading. Thermal cameras that use AI can easily capture and manage employee’s temperature and stop their entrance if a fever is detected. For this reason, such devices are normally installed in a doorway or entrance to a building to quickly detect and identify those displaying symptoms before entering a building. This type of surveillance will be detrimental to the management of COVID-19 in the world of a ‘new normal’ – as companies feel their way out and learn as they go along with people’s health and wellbeing continuing to be center of the mind. Just as lockdown has had an impact on physical as well as mental health, so too will the adjustment to living life post-pandemic. Not only in getting used to and dealing with the emotional and mental pressures of life on the ‘outside’ as they leave lockdown, but they also face the very real risk of contracting the virus and the worries they may have of spreading it. Appropriate installation of temperature screening Companies and organizations have a responsibility in these times to play a supportive role towards employees, such as allowing them to continue working from home until they feel comfortable to work in an office setting. Equally, as restrictions ease, employers have a duty to make the workplace a safe place that is able to uphold the wellbeing of staff, which is where, as we wait for a vaccine, we must make use of the available technology. However, in the case of the thermal camera, in order for it to deliver effective results, it must be installed appropriately. To support this, we have outlined some key points to consider when deploying a temperature screening camera here: Choose a solution that features a blackbody calibrator – a vital part for any temperature screening device. A blackbody calibrator is the basis for accurate calibration of infrared thermography devices and allows the device to accurately detect a fever. Check for facing windows or doorways and heat sources such as radiators as these increase the risk of stray heat or cold sources throwing off readings according to the ISO standard associated with this type of equipment Be wary of weather and changes in climate as the device will need time to acclimatise – in order for readings to be clear individuals coming in from outside must wait five minutes before being screened When mounted, the camera must face individuals head-on and in parallel with their face to capture the inner eye area which is crucial for temperature reading Consider an option using AI which will automatically recognize individuals based on photos in the system Check applicability and legality of temperature screening cameras before deploying There’s a long way to go before life will fully return to normal. In the meantime, and to help everyone along the way, it’s essential that the right measures are in place to protect the physical and mental wellbeing of those we are responsible for. For anyone who is exploring options, know that there is help out there to provide guidance and expertise on the solutions that will be right for you and your business - now, as we go through the remainder of lockdown, and as we slowly move back into everyday lives.

The Digital Transformation Of Modern Access Control Solutions
The Digital Transformation Of Modern Access Control Solutions

The safeguarding of premises through the monitoring of entrance and exit points has traditionally been a very manual aspect of security. Human operators have been relied on to make decisions about who to admit and deny based on levels of authorization and the appropriate credentials. The access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation But the access control business, like many industries before it, is undergoing its own digital transformation; one where the protection of premises, assets and people is increasingly delivered by interconnected systems utilising IoT devices and cloud infrastructure to offer greater levels of security and protection. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification, right through to complex networks of thermal cameras, audio speakers and sensors. These systems, connected through the cloud, can be customized and scaled to meet the precise requirements of today’s customer. And it’s the ease of cloud integration, combined with open technologies and platforms that is encouraging increasing collaboration and exciting developments while rendering legacy systems largely unfit for purpose. Remote management and advanced diagnostics Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution.Cloud technology and IoT connectivity means remote management and advanced diagnostics form an integral part of every security solution. For example, as the world faces an unprecedented challenge and the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruption, the ability to monitor and manage access to sites remotely is a welcome advantage for security teams who might otherwise have to check premises in person and risk breaking social distancing regulations. The benefits of not physically having to be on site extend to the locations within which these technologies can be utilised. As an example, within a critical infrastructure energy project, access can be granted remotely for maintenance on hard to reach locations. Advanced diagnostics can also play a part in such a scenario. When access control is integrated with video surveillance and IP audio, real-time monitoring of access points can identify possible trespassers with automated audio messages used to deter illegal access and making any dangers clear. And with video surveillance in the mix, high quality footage can be provided to authorities with real-time evidence of a crime in progress. Comprehensive protection in retail The use of connected technologies for advanced protection extends to many forward-looking applications. Within the retail industry, autonomous, cashier-less stores are already growing in popularity. Customers are able to use mobile technology to self-scan their chosen products and make payments, all from using a dedicated app. From an access control and security perspective, connected doors can be controlled to protect staff and monitor shopper movement. Remote management includes tasks such as rolling out firmware updates or restarting door controllers, with push notifications sent immediately to security personnel in the event of a breach or a door left open. Remote monitoring access control in storage In the storage facility space, this too can now be entirely run through the cloud with remote monitoring of access control and surveillance providing a secure and streamlined service. There is much to gain from automating the customer journey, where storage lockers are selected online and, following payment, customers are granted access. Through an app the customer can share their access with others, check event logs, and activate notifications. With traditional padlocks the sharing of access is not as practical, and it’s not easy for managers to keep a record of storage locker access. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers. The elimination of manual tasks, in both scenarios, represents cost savings. When doors are connected to the cloud, their geographical location is rendered largely irrelevant. Online doors and locks enable monitoring capabilities and heightened security for both operators and customers They become IoT devices which are fully integrated and remotely programmable from anywhere, at any time. This creates a powerful advantage for the managers of these environments, making it possible to report on the status of a whole chain of stores, or to monitor access to numerous storage facilities, using the intelligence that the technology provides from the data it collects. Open platforms powers continuous innovation All of these examples rely on open technology to make it possible, allowing developers and technology providers to avoid the pitfalls that come with the use of proprietary systems. The limitations of such systems have meant that the ideas, designs and concepts of the few have stifled the creativity and potential of the many, holding back innovation and letting the solutions become tired and their application predictable. Proprietary systems have meant that solution providers have been unable to meet their customers’ requirements until the latest upgrade becomes available or a new solution is rolled out. This use of open technology enables a system that allows for collaboration, the sharing of ideas and for the creation of partnerships to produce ground-breaking new applications of technology. Open systems demonstrate a confidence in a vendor’s own solutions and a willingness to share and encourage others to innovate and to facilitate joint learning. An example of the dynamic use of open technology is Axis’ physical access control hardware, which enables partners to develop their own cloud-based software for control and analysis of access points, all the while building and expanding on Axis’ technology platform. Modern access control solutions range from simple card readers to two factor authentication systems using video surveillance as a secondary means of identification Opportunities for growth Open hardware, systems and platforms create opportunities for smaller and younger companies to participate and compete, giving them a good starting point, and some leverage within the industry when building and improving upon existing, proven technologies. This is important for the evolution and continual relevance of the physical security industry in a digitally enabled world. Through increased collaboration across technology platforms, and utilising the full range of possibilities afforded by the cloud environment, the manufacturers, vendors and installers of today’s IP enabled access control systems can continue to create smart solutions to meet the ever-changing demands and requirements of their customers across industry.

Latest Ajax Systems news

Bitglass’ SASE Platform Achieves Perfect Score In KuppingerCole’s Cloud Access Security Brokers Market Compass
Bitglass’ SASE Platform Achieves Perfect Score In KuppingerCole’s Cloud Access Security Brokers Market Compass

Bitglass, the Total Cloud Security Company, has received full scores across all nine criteria in KuppingerCole’s Market Compass on Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASBs). The report covers vendors with offerings that address the challenges of security and compliance when using cloud services. This is the fourth time KuppingerCole has included Bitglass in its CASB Compass, demonstrating the company’s strong and consistent market validation. The criteria against which participants are reviewed include security, interoperability, usability, deployment, discovery, access control, data protection, compliance, and posture management. In addition to securing top marks for the above criteria, Bitglass’ CASB was selected as the solution “Featured for Innovation,” highlighting Bitglass for pushing the cloud security space forward with its advanced technologies. Agentless reverse proxy One major problem with the deployment of CASB is the need to install agents on devices or as part of a forward proxy" Specifically, the report focused on the uniqueness of its agentless reverse proxy. Powered by patented AJAX-VM technology, which ensures performance and uptime as applications are updated, Bitglass’ reverse proxy delivers agentless, real-time protection for any app accessed by any device - including personal devices. Additionally, the Market Compass highlights Bitglass’ SmartEdge Secure Web Gateway (SWG). As the world’s only on-device SWG, it decrypts and inspects traffic locally via a SmartEdge agent on each device, forgoing the need for on-premises appliances, VPNs, cloud proxies, and network hops. Real-Time data “One major problem with the deployment of CASB is the need to install agents on devices or as part of a forward proxy,” says KuppingerCole analyst and author of the report Mike Small. “The Bitglass solution leverages patent pending AJAX-VM agentless reverse proxy capabilities. This enables the Bitglass solution to provide support to any application with real-time data and threat protection, identity, and visibility.”

Ajax Systems Appoints Steve Norman As The Sales Leader To Expand Presence In UK Market
Ajax Systems Appoints Steve Norman As The Sales Leader To Expand Presence In UK Market

Ajax Systems, the developer behind the most award-winning wireless alarm in Europe, has hired a UK Sales Leader to strengthen the presence in the UK market and expand the local team. Steve Norman is a security industry veteran. For the last 20 years, he was working for major international manufacturers from the US and China, and a distribution and integration company in the UK - this experience lets Steve understand the industry from all sectors. Industrial intruder detection Lately, he headed up the business development team in Hikvision and then spent nearly 4 years managing the team in Dahua UK. Steve joins Ajax as the head of the UK sales team and will work towards its active development and growth. He will strengthen the Ajax team from October 1st. “Ajax has taken an industry that is firmly stuck in a particular way and has approached it with an Apple-esque viewpoint, and I believe that they will change the industry. The opportunity to be at the start of this in the UK and build a tight team to deliver this was too good to miss. I’d like to build a team that, working together, will exceed all expectations and deliver tomorrows intruder detection to an industry that can deliver so much more”, said Steve Norman, UK Sales Leader at Ajax Systems. Full-Fledged team For Ajax, the UK is one of the key markets, and therefore we are taking roots deeper and deeper into it" “For Ajax, the UK is one of the key markets, and therefore we are taking roots deeper and deeper into it. We have several products specifically for this market: the recent StreetSiren DoubleDeck, the current implementation of PD 6662 compliance, and the upcoming launch of DoubleButton." "Certainly, we’re actively striving to increase our presence there, and Steve is our next big step towards enforcing our team in the UK. Soon, the team will grow even more - Ajax will have a large full-fledged team on the UK ground”, said Aleksandr Konotopskyi, CEO of Ajax Systems. Alarm confirmation function Ajax Systems officially entered the UK market at the end of 2018. However, the system gained the recognition of the British professional security community even earlier. In 2017 Ajax was recognized as the “Intruder Alarm of the Year” at the IFSEC International, a renowned integrated security event in London. The company is working on launching new products for the British market. This autumn, Ajax will introduce the OS Malevich 2.10 update that will bring an alarm confirmation function including two detectors. Thus, the Ajax security system will meet all the requirements of the British PD6662 standard. As a result, not only security companies but also police patrols will be able to respond to Ajax alarms.

Ajax Systems Announces New Updates To OS Malevich 2.9 Software With 6 New Features Added To Security Systems
Ajax Systems Announces New Updates To OS Malevich 2.9 Software With 6 New Features Added To Security Systems

Ajax Systems have announced that the latest OS Malevich 2.9 update brings significant changes for users and security industry professionals. The new data import feature simplifies the process of replacing old hubs with new ones. Remote activation/deactivation  Detectors that work incorrectly can now be deactivated remotely and still be part of the system. Button and transmitter got new types of alarm notifications, adjustable in the app. Automation devices can now work in pulse mode and activate electrical appliances for a short period. The in-app panic button can now be used anywhere, not just at the protected property. Upon activation, it sends smartphone coordinates to an alarm monitoring company and all system users. Data import: Replacing hubs without reconfiguring the system With the import feature, all settings, connected devices, security groups, scenarios, and users can be easily migrated from an old hub to the new one. Engineers and user-administrators can install a more advanced hub model on the protected property without reconnecting each detector. Import feature also allows engineers to quickly restore the security system’s integrity, if its hub fails for some reason. Even if the system has hundreds of devices, dozens of scenarios, and several ReX range extenders, data import will take less than 15 minutes. The process is almost fully automated. Just connect the new hub to the internet, switch off the old one, start the data import, and follow instructions in the app. Temporary device deactivation Wrong installation, bad mounting choice, low signal level, broken tamper, or any other malfunction can easily result in a false alarm. With the release of OS Malevich 2.9, engineers can deactivate malfunctioning detectors remotely. No need to delete them from the list of devices. No need to rush to location. Two types of temporary device deactivation are available in the Ajax app, one is complete device deactivation and the other, deactivation of the notifications about the lid state. When the device is entirely deactivated, it doesn’t execute system commands and can’t take part in automation scenarios. Hub ignores all alarms and notifications of the deactivated devices. If notifications about the lid state of the device are disabled, the hub ignores only its tamper alerts. Alarm monitoring companies and users can still receive other alarms and notifications of this device. Temporary device deactivation function became one of the most popular requests from European PRO-users. Now, the functionality is available for all Ajax users. Pulse mode for Socket and WallSwitch Socket and WallSwitch (with firmware version 5.54.1.0 or higher) as well as Relay (with any firmware version) can now toggle switch devices, powered from the mains for a defined period, from 0.5 to 255 seconds. When the timer expires, devices switch back to their initial state: on or off. Previously, Pulse mode was available only in the Relay settings. It allowed electrical contacts to touch for up to 15 seconds and let the current flow. At the same time, Socket and WallSwitch could work only in bi-stable mode, closing and opening an electric circuit following the user’s command or executing a specific scenario. An additional command was required to change their state again. With OS Malevich 2.9 update, users have more options for automating lighting, electromechanical locks, and electric valves that control the water supply. Unlike Relay, WallSwitch and Socket can control electrical appliances without intermediary relays, rechargeable batteries, or an inverter. Adjustable alarm types for Button and Transmitter Information in alarm notifications defines how an alarm monitoring company and users will respond to the situation With OS Malevich 2.9 release, the settings of button and transmitter were expanded with an option to choose a type of alarm that the device communicates with an alarm monitoring company and other users: Intrusion Fire Medical help Alarm button Gas Information in alarm notifications defines how an alarm monitoring company and users will respond to the situation Information in alarm notifications Information in alarm notifications defines how an alarm monitoring company and users will respond to the situation. That’s why it has to correspond to the nature of the threat accurately. For instance, a wired gas detector connected to Ajax via a transmitter should notify about a gas alert. And button provided to an older person should notify about a medical emergency. By choosing an appropriate alarm type, engineers and user-admins change both the text of an alarm notification and a code of the event sent to the CMS. Transmission of smartphone coordinates to alarm monitoring companies using the in-app panic button Button, SpaceControl and panic button A panic button is a tool that is hardly ever used. But in case of an emergency, it can save lives. Button, SpaceControl, or the panic button in the Ajax app notifies CMS operators if someone is in danger and are located on protected premises. An alarm monitoring company will respond immediately, once the button is pressed. With OS Malevich 2.9 release, the in-app panic button transmits an alarm notification along with the smartphone coordinates to an alarm monitoring company. All system users also get the coordinates and can copy them to get directions using GPS apps. Now, users can call for help using the Ajax app from wherever they are. The second layer of protection from accidental pressing in SpaceControl SpaceControl key fob With OS Malevich 2.9 release, SpaceControl gets additional protection from accidental pressing SpaceControl key fob has to be within reach, in a pocket, bag, or keychain, the places where its buttons can be easily pressed by accident. So, they have equipped SpaceControl with firm buttons and developed a filter that ignores any pressing shorter than 0.15 seconds. With OS Malevich 2.9 release, SpaceControl (firmware 5.54.1.0 or higher) gets additional protection from accidental pressing, which has already proved its efficiency in button. Now, double-click and long-press activation options are available in the device settings in the Ajax app. They recommend turning on this feature to avoid situations when premises are accidentally armed, or the panic button is unintentionally pressed. Other features added include: The option to configure Socket LED brightness - Now, it can be turned off or dimmed. Users can check for the new features in the device settings in the Ajax app or check the Socket manual if in need of help. Notifications about hubs being switched off/on or factory reset - Now, alarm monitoring companies and users will be informed of why a hub went offline. The option to switch off the visual indication of a detector triggering - The LED indicator of a detector can now be deactivated in the device settings. The feature is available for DoorProtect, DoorProtect Plus, MotionProtect, MotionProtect Plus, CombiProtect, MotionProtect Outdoor, MotionCam, and GlassProtect with firmware update 5.55.0.0 and higher, as well as MotionProtect Curtain with firmware update 6.53.1.1 or higher. New devices support - Hub 2 Plus, StreetSiren DoubleDeck, MultiTransmitter.

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