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James Twigg is the Managing Director of Total Integrated Solutions (TIS), an independent life safety, security and communication systems integrator, specializing in design & consultancy, technology and regulatory compliance. Total Integrated Solutions work primarily with retirement villages, helping to ensure the safety of residents in numerous retirement villages across the country. In this opinion piece, James shares how smart technology is helping security teams and care staff alike in ensuring the safety and security of their spaces, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Impact of smart technology Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives Smart technology is having an impact on pretty much every aspect of our lives. From how we travel, to how we work, to how we run our homes. It’s not unusual to have Alexa waking us up and ordering our groceries or Nest to be regulating the temperature and energy in our homes. And while there’s a popular misconception that people in their later years are allergic to technology, retirement villages and care homes are experiencing significant innovation too. And the result is not only improved quality of life for residents, but also improved safety and security systems for management teams. Switching to converged IP systems I’ve been working in the life safety and security industry for over fifteen years. When I first joined TIS, much of the sector was still very analog, in terms of the technology being installed and maintained. Slowly but surely, we’ve been consulting and advising customers on how to design, install and maintain converged IP systems that all talk to each other and work in tandem. I'm excited to say retirement villages are some of the top spaces leading the way, in terms of technological advancement. Improving the quality of life for residents A move into a retirement village can be daunting and one of the key concerns that we hear about is the loss of independence. No one wants to feel like they are being monitored or to have someone constantly hovering over them. One of the ways we’ve used smart technology to maintain residents' independence is through devices, such as health monitors and motion sensors. For example, instead of having a member of staff check-in on residents every morning, to ensure they are well, sensors and analytics can automatically detect changes in routine and alert staff to possible problems. Similarly, wearable tech, such as smart watches give residents a chance to let staff know they are okay, without having to tell them face-to-face. As our retirement village customers have told us, a simple ‘I’m okay’ command can be the difference between someone feeling independent versus someone feeling monitored. Simplifying and improving security systems Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents For the teams responsible for the safety of the people, places and spaces within retirement villages, smart technology is helping to improve and simplify their jobs. Smart technology gives care staff and security oversight of the needs of residents, and ensures rapid response if notified by an emergency alert, ensuring they know the exact location of the resident in need. And without the need to go and physically check-in on every resident, staff and management can ensure staff time is being used effectively. Resources can be distributed where they are needed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of those residents who need extra consideration. 24/7 surveillance When planning the safety and security for retirement villages, and other residential spaces, it’s no use having traditional systems that only work effectively for 12 hours a day or need to update during the evening. Surveillance needs to be 24/7 and smart technology allows that without the physical intrusion into people’s spaces and daily lives. Smart technology ensures that systems speak to each other and are easily and effectively managed on one integrated system. This includes video surveillance, which has also become much more effective as a result of advanced video analytics, which automatically warn staff of suspicious behavior. Securing spaces amid COVID-19 This year has, of course, brought new challenges for safety. COVID-19 hit the retirement and residential care sectors hard, first with the initial wave of infections in mid-2020 and then, with the subsequent loneliness caused by the necessary separation of families. As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed As essential workers, we worked closely with our customers to make sure they had everything they needed during this time, equipping residents with tablet devices to ensure they could stay connected with their families and friends. It allowed residents to keep in touch without risking transferring the virus. Thermal cameras and mask detection And now that we’re emerging out of COVID-19 restrictions and most residents can see their families again, we’re installing systems like thermal cameras and mask detection, so as to ensure that security will be alerted to anyone in the space experiencing a high temperature or not wearing proper PPE. Such steps give staff and families alike, the peace-of-mind that operational teams will be alerted at the earliest possible moment, should a COVID-19 risk appear. Thinking ahead to the next fifteen years, I’m excited at the prospect of further technological advancements in this space. Because at the end of the day, it’s not about how complex your security system is or how you compete in the industry. It’s about helping teams to protect the people, spaces and places that matter. I see smart technology playing a huge role in that for years to come.
As the COVID-19 pandemic wanes and sporting venues open-up to full capacity, a new disturbing trend has hit the headlines - poor fan behavior. Five NBA teams have issued indefinite bans on fans, who crossed the line of unacceptable behavior, during the NBA playoffs. Major League Baseball stadiums have a recurring problem with divisive political banners being strewn over walls, as part of an organized campaign, requiring fan ejections. There was a brawl between Clippers and Suns fans after Game 1 of their playoff series. And, the U.S. vs. Mexico Nations League soccer game over the Fourth of July weekend had to be halted, due to fans throwing objects at players and screaming offensive chants. Cracking down on poor fan behavior Security directors are consistently reporting a disturbing uptick in poor fan attitude and behavior With players across all major sports leagues commanding more power than ever before, they are demanding that sports venues crack down on poor fan behavior, particularly when they are the targets of that behavior. Whether it’s an extension of the social-media divisiveness that’s gripped society, or people unleashing pent up negative energy, following 15 months of social isolation, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, security directors are consistently reporting a disturbing uptick in poor fan attitude and behavior. They’re also reporting a chronic security guard shortage, like many businesses that rely on relatively low-cost labor, finding candidates to fill open positions has been incredibly difficult. Low police morale To add the third component to this perfect storm, many police departments are struggling with morale issues and officers are less likely to put themselves into positions, where they could wind up in a viral video. According to the Police Executive Research Forum, police officer retirements in the U.S. were up 45% in the April 2020 - April 2021 period, when compared to the previous year. Resignations were up 18%. In this environment, officers may be less likely to undertake fan intervention unless it’s absolutely necessary. This can seem like the worst of times for venue security directors, as they need more staff to handle increasingly unruly patrons, but that staff simply isn’t available. And, because the security guard staffing industry is a commoditized business, companies compete almost solely on price, which requires that they keep salaries as low as possible, which perpetuates the lack of interest in people participating in the profession. Digital Transformation There is only one way out of this conundrum and that is to make security personnel more efficient and effective. Other industries have solved similar staffing and cost challenges through digital transformation. For example, only a small percentage of the total population of restaurants in the U.S. used to offer home delivery, due to cost and staffing challenges of hiring dedicated delivery personnel. Advent of digital efficiency tools But with the advent of digital efficiency tools, now virtually all restaurants can offer delivery But with the advent of digital efficiency tools, such as UberEATS and DoorDash, now virtually all restaurants can offer delivery. Likewise, field-service personnel are digitally connected, so when new jobs arise, they can be notified and routed to the location. Compare this to the old paper-based days, when they wouldn’t know about any new jobs until they picked up their work schedule at the office, the next day and you can see how digital transformation makes each worker significantly more efficient. Security guards and manned guarding The security guard business has never undergone this kind of digital transformation. The state-of-the-art ‘technology’ has never changed - human eyes and ears. Yes, there are video cameras all over stadiums and other venues, but behind the scenes is a guard staring at a bunch of monitors, hoping to identify incidents that need attention. Meanwhile, there are other guards stationed around the stadium, spending most of their time watching people who are doing nothing wrong. Think about all the wasted time involved with these activities – not to mention the relentless boredom and ‘alert fatigue’ from false-positive incident reporting and you understand the fundamental inefficiencies of this labor-based approach to security. Now think about a world where there’s ubiquitous video surveillance and guards are automatically and pre-emptively notified and briefed, when situations arise. The fundamental nature of the security guards profession changes. Instead of being low paid ‘watchers’, they instead become digitally-empowered preventers. AI-based screening and monitoring technology This world is happening today, through Artificial Intelligence-based screening and monitoring technology. AI-powered weapons-detection gateways inform guards, when a patron entering the venue is carrying a gun, knife or other forbidden item. Instead of patting down every patron with metal in their pockets, which has been the standard practise since walk-through metal detectors were mandated by sports leagues following 9/11, guards can now target only those who are carrying these specific items. Video surveillance and AI-based analytics integration Combining surveillance video with AI-based advanced analytics can automatically identify fan disturbances Combining surveillance video with AI-based advanced analytics can automatically identify fan disturbances or other operational issues, and notify guards in real time, eliminating the need to have large numbers of guards monitoring video feeds and patrons. The business benefits of digitally transformed guards are compelling. A National Hockey League security director says he used to have 300 guards manning 100 walk-through metal detectors. By moving to AI solutions, he can significantly reduce the number of scanning portals and guards, and most importantly redeploy and gain further operational efficiencies with his overall operational strategy. Changing staffing strategy This changes the staffing strategy significantly and elevates the roles of guards. Suddenly, a US$ 20-per-hour ‘job’ becomes a US$ 40-per-hour profession, with guards transformed into digital knowledge workers delivering better outcomes with digitally enabled staffs. Beyond that, these digitally transformed guards can spend a much higher percentage of their time focused on tasks that impact the fan experience – whether it’s keeping weapons out of the building, pro-actively dealing with unruly fans before a broader disruption occurs, or managing business operations that positively impact fan patron experience. Digitally transforming security guards Perhaps most important, digitally transforming security guards elevates the profession to a more strategic level, which means better pay for the guards, better service for clients of guard services, and an overall better experience for fans. That’s a perfect storm of goodness for everyone.
The UK government recently announced a doubling of the Safer Streets Fund to £45 million, as it seeks to reassure the public that safety is a top priority, as the night-time economy makes a return. More than just surveillance While this funding increase is much needed, it’s vital that the government and local councils use the money strategically, or risk missing out on a great opportunity to deliver real change and enhance safety across the United Kingdom. One of the main strategies cited by the government is to increase the current vast number of CCTV cameras installed across the country, despite the fact that the UK is already one of the most surveilled nations in the world. Investing in video analytics London alone has around 700,000 cameras, but to effectively monitor them all would be an incredibly inefficient use of manpower and require a huge number of staff. Therefore, I believe the clearest and most cost-effective way for this project to succeed in its overall mission, is by investing in smarter technology, such as video analytics. Incorporating video analytics into existing infrastructure is the clear solution This technology offers a more efficient use of resources, faster response times and enables more informed, time-critical decision making, when reacting to unfolding events in real time. Incorporating video analytics into existing infrastructure is the clear solution, as the technology enables legacy assets, such as analog CCTV cameras, to become more than just after the fact evidence gathering tools and instead be used to help enhance real-time responses to unfolding incidents. Artificial intelligence-enabled solutions Artificial intelligence-enabled solutions are trained using vast datasets of images and video footage, in order to better understand people, objects and vehicles that are captured on film, and they continue ‘learning’ and improving, while in use. The system’s algorithms analyze and prioritize input from video data to decide which inputs are of value, automatically classifying the footage and notifying security personnel accordingly. This reduces response times by notifying CCTV operators of an incident, as it happens, meaning law enforcement and security personnel can react faster and intervene in an ongoing situation. Edge technology and real-time video streaming A key consideration should be choosing a technology that can operate at the edge and deliver real-time video streaming, even at the lowest bandwidths, so it isn’t limited to use in areas with good connectivity, which would exclude most remote areas. Quality really does matter and technology that can operate over low bandwidths is crucial for allowing operators to zoom in on areas of interest, such as a car number plate or face, and retrieve full-resolution images that can make a real difference in ongoing investigations. Analytics-based security approach Introducing an analytics-based security approach would also help curtail the rising cost of tackling crime Introducing an analytics-based security approach would also help curtail the rising cost of tackling crime. Research conducted by the UK’s Labour Party recently found that the annual cost of crime reached a staggering £100 billion. While statistics show that crime rates in general have been fairly stable over recent years, experts point to the increase in specific types of violent crime, such as knife crime which rose by over 20% during 2020. Implementing smart analytics-based technology Implementing smart analytics-based technology would help maintain staffing costs, as the system can identify incidents without an operator’s input, as well as reducing the cost of managing crime, as more incidents will be intervened in before they escalate too far. This dramatically reduces the burden on staff and allows a single surveillance operator to monitor many more cameras. On the other hand, this level of automation also reduces false alarm fatigue and operator overload, which can quickly sap efficiencies and reduce operator alertness, if left unchecked. Data driven problem-solving approach to crime prevention Procurement officials should avoid the common mistake of simply doubling down and throwing more staff and security assets at the problem to bring results. Instead, they should take a more data driven problem-solving approach to crime prevention by leveraging technologies that can enhance response and preserve their existing investments in cameras. The smart use of real-time video analytics could make the difference by preventing dangerous situations from escalating into serious incidents.
The new CA3000 software provides robust access control functionality and seamless integration with alarms ContinentalAccess, a division of Napco Security Technologies, Inc., has recently released new CA3000 version 2.9 software, that not only provides robust access control functionality and seamless integration with alarms, locking and a growing list of video systems, but offers a host of many new sought-after features including; the ability to run the CardAccess 3000 and associated applications as Windows services and the ability to control access to the CardAccess GUI using Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). Support for the Continental’s new and robust Super-Speed 16 door Accelaterm controller is also available. Plus, more video integration partners have been added to their growing list, now including Pelco, HiTron, Milestone, Dedicated Micros, as well as Salient & Integral. New CA3000 v2.9 also includes many enhancements to the existing features, providing the front-end of Napco Fusion; it is the complete seamless interoperable solution for Gemini intrusion & fire systems, access control, video and wireless locks. The CardAccess 3000 version 2.9 software also provides additional support for sister division, Alarm Lock’s Trilogy Networx locks, now in both cylindrical and mortise models, with the utilization of a Door position contact and Request to Exit (RTE) button feature. Continental offers training classes across the country and free online webinars, as well as retrofit rebate programs and cost-saving software upgrade plans. See us at ISC West Booth #12043, Las Vegas, NV, April 2- 4.
Mark has over 20 years of experience in the both security and broadcast arenas Keyscan Access Control Systems is pleased to announce Mark Playdon has joined Keyscan as Regional Sales Manager, Southeast US covering North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. “It is a pleasure to welcome Mark to his new role with Keyscan,” said Steve Dentinger, Keyscan’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “Mark brings a wealth of security and technology experience to our organisation. I am confident he will continue to support Keyscan’s efforts and drive continued growth for the Keyscan brand throughout the Southeast region of the United States.” Mark joins Keyscan with more than 20 years’ experience working with technology based manufacturers in both the Security and Broadcast arenas. Most recently mark has worked with both JVC Profession Security Division and Dedicated Micros. Heading up their Eastern Regional Sales Divisions Mark was successful in developing sales growth through the development and management of effective sales channels. Prior to working in the Security industry Mark spent 15 years in broadcast equipment sales working for top companies including JVC, Vinten and Fast Forward Video, all manufacturer of high end broadcast equipment. Mark grew through the ranks beginning his career as a Broadcast Systems Installation engineer before moving to Design and then Sales. As Global Sales Director at Fast Forward Video Mark was instrumental in the continued and solid sales growth of the company’s product in new territories and countries though out the world. Mark also served in the British Royal Air Force studying engineering before beginning his career in the broadcast and security industries.
With this move, CheckMySystems aims to bring the software to an international audience CheckMySystems - the CCTV health and operation monitoring software specialist - has signed-up electronic security product provider IPX360 Solutions to act as its agent for 'CheckMyCCTV' in the North American market. This is a major step forward in CheckMySystems' desire to bring the software to an international audience following its successful UK launch. The CheckMyCCTV application, to be offered by IPX360 Solutions across the US and Canada, is designed to automatically identify and report specific video surveillance system faults as soon as they are detected. Typical issues that can be flagged-up by CheckMyCCTV include: camera failures, hard disk failures, recording issues, time accuracy problems, and network connection failures. Early detection helps to ensure that problems are resolved before they can impact, negatively, on system performance. Following the landmark deal announced recently, IPX360 Solutions is planning to preview CheckMyCCTV's advanced capabilities in a series of one-to-one meetings with security distributors and monitoring station representatives at the Security Canada Expo taking place in Toronto, Canada. The 'soft launch' of CheckMyCCTV is to be followed by the 'official' North American unveiling of the video surveillance health check software on IPX360 Solution's booth (219) during the SecureTech event (Ottawa - October 30, 31). Moving ahead, IPX360 Solutions sees tremendous potential in targeting CheckMyCCTV at American and Canadian security distributors and owners of large-scale and multiple sites. Central stations are another focus, where interest has already been expressed in CheckMyCCTV by providers, given its ability to enhance the efficiency of their operations and, crucially, the system status information that can be provided to customers. "We are very excited to be working with IPX360 Solutions Inc. in our efforts to bring CheckMyCCTV to new customers in North America.." Regis Glorieux, President of IPX360 Solutions, explains what attracted him to the CheckMyCCTV solution: "In my view there is a real need for a new approach to checking on video surveillance systems in the US and Canada. When working with, and for distributors, I regularly came across recorders that were simply not working and may have been out of action for weeks or even longer. I am certainly not alone in this. "Often the first time the customer realised anything was amiss was when there was an incident and they couldn't retrieve the video. With CheckMyCCTV in place these problems are picked-up automatically, and highlighted by an on-screen warning at a monitoring station or even via a smart phone 'app', so no one needs to be left in the dark. "Another factor which is very appealing, and differentiates CheckMyCCTV from less capable solutions, is the ability of the software to work with multiple video surveillance system brands. Traditionally, such solutions have tended to be very much manufacturer specific. This isn't very practical for customers who want to avoid the headache of trying to run four or five pieces of software simultaneously. Now with CheckMyCCTV they can access a single, convenient interface for all important status checking." Commented Darren Rewston, Founder and Managing Director of CheckMySystems Ltd: "We are very excited to be working with IPX360 Solutions Inc. in our efforts to bring CheckMyCCTV to new customers in North America. The experience we have had to date in the UK, working with monitoring stations, large retailers and other users, shows that CheckMyCCTV can make a positive difference to fault finding and how the maintenance of video surveillance systems is managed. We expect that customers in the US and Canada will soon appreciate these practical benefits for themselves. "At CheckMySystems we realize that there can be no room for complacency where the well being of video surveillance systems are concerned. The need to implement effective checks was underlined in a snapshot survey we conducted of 300 sites across the UK. Before CheckMyCCTV was implemented a worrying 75% of sites had one or more issues affecting the operational performance of the CCTV system, ranging from daylight saving time not being updated, to camera failures, recording problems, and hard disk issues." CheckMyCCTV is currently compatible with over 25 video surveillance system brands and OEMs, including: Samsung, Costar, HikVision, American Dynamics, Dedicated Micros, Xtralis, and Dahua, with more being added to this list all the time.
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