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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.
Johnson Controls recently unveiled the findings of its 2018 Energy Efficiency Indicator (EEI) survey that examined the current and planned investments and key drivers to improve energy efficiency and building systems integration in facilities. Systems integration was identified as one of the top technologies expected to have the biggest impact on the implementation in smart buildings over the next five years, with respondents planning to invest in security, fire and life-safety integrations more so than any other systems integration in the next year. As advanced, connected technologies drive the evolution of smart buildings, security and safety technologies are at the center of more intelligent strategies as they attribute to overall building operations and efficiencies. SecurityInformed.com spoke with Johnson Controls, Building Solutions, North America, VP of Marketing, Hank Monaco, and Senior National Director of Municipal Infrastructure and Smart Cities, Lisa Brown, about the results of the study, smart technology investments and the benefits of a holistic building strategy that integrates security and fire and life-safety systems with core building systems. Q: What is the most striking result from the survey, and what does it mean in the context of a building’s safety and security systems? The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems Hank Monaco: Investment in building system integration increased 23 percent in 2019 compared to 2018, the largest increase of any measure in the survey. When respondents were asked more specifically what systems they we planning to invest in over the next year, fire and life safety integration (61%) and security system integration (58%) were the top two priorities for organizations. The results show an increased understanding about the value of integrating safety and security systems with other building systems to improve overall operations and bolster capabilities beyond the intended function of an individual system. Q: The survey covers integration of fire, life safety and security systems as part of "smart building" systems. How do smarter buildings increase the effectiveness of security and life safety systems? Hank Monaco: A true “smart building” integrates all building systems – security, fire and life-safety, HVAC, lighting etc. – to create a connected, digital infrastructure that enables individual technologies to be more intelligent and perform more advanced functions beyond what they can do on their own. For example, when sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems, if abnormal activity is detected on the building premise, key stakeholders can be automatically alerted to increase emergency response time. With integrated video surveillance, they also gain the ability to access surveillance footage remotely to assess the situation. When sensors and video surveillance are integrated with lighting systems abnormal activity on the premise can automatically be detected Q: How can integrated security and life safety systems contribute to greater energy efficiency in a smart building environment? Hank Monaco: Security, fire and life-safety systems can help to inform other building systems about how a facility is used, high-trafficked areas and the flow of occupants within a building. Integrated building solutions produce a myriad of data that can be leveraged to increase operational efficiencies. From an energy efficiency standpoint, actionable insights are particularly useful for areas that are not frequently occupied or off-peak hours as you wouldn’t want to heat or cool an entire building for just one person coming in on the weekend. When video surveillance is integrated with HVAC and lighting systems, it can monitor occupancy in a room or hallway. The video analytics can then control the dimming of lights and the temperature depending on occupant levels in a specific vicinity. Similarly, when access control systems are integrated with these same systems, once a card is presented to the reader, it can signal the lights or HVAC system to turn on. In this example, systems integration can ultimately help enable energy savings in the long run. Security and life safety systems contribute to help enable greater energy efficiency and energy savings in the long run Q: What other benefits of integration are there (beyond the core security and life safety functions)? Hank Monaco: Beyond increased security, fire and life-safety functions, the benefits of systems integration include: Increased data and analytics to garner a holistic, streamlined understanding of how systems function and how to improve productivity Ability to track usage to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs Enhanced occupant experience and comfort Increased productivity and workflow to support business objectives Smart-ready, connected environment that can support future technology advancements Q: What lesson or action point should a building owner/operator take from the survey? How can the owner of an existing building leverage the benefits of the smart building environment incrementally and absent a complete overhaul? Lisa Brown: Johnson Controls Energy Efficiency Indicator found that 77% of organizations plan to make investments in energy efficiency and smarter building technology this year. This percentage demonstrates an increased understanding of the benefits of smart buildings and highlights the proactive efforts building owners are taking to adopt advanced technologies. There is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected As smart buildings continue to evolve, more facilities are beginning to explore opportunities to advance their own spaces. A complete overhaul of legacy systems is not necessary as small investments today can help position a facility to more easily adopt technologies at scale in the future. As a first step, it’s important for building owners to conduct an assessment and establish a strategy that defines a comprehensive set of requirements and prioritizes use-cases and implementations. From there, incremental investments and updates can be made over a realistic timeline. Q: What is the ROI of smart buildings? Lisa Brown: As demonstrated by our survey, there is an increased understanding that buildings operate more effectively when different building systems are connected. The advanced analytics and more streamlined data that is gathered through systems integration can provide the building-performance metrics to help better understand the return on investment (ROI) of the building systems. This data is used to better understand the environment and make assessments and improvements overtime to increase efficiencies. Moreover, analytics and data provide valuable insights into where action is needed and what type of return can be expected from key investments.
According to the reports of not-for-profit organization Gun Violence Archive, the year 2018 has seen 323 mass shooting incidents as of November 28 in the United States. This number is 346 for the year 2017 and 382 for 2016 (more statistics are available here), with “mass shooting” defined as cases where four or more people are shot or killed in the same time period and location. While definitions of mass shooting vary with organizations in the US, the count of over 300 incidents per year, or about once per day on average, is simply alarming. It raises public safety concerns, ignites debates and protests, which in turn lead to public unrest and potentially more violence, and increases costs for governments from the regional to federal level. Most importantly, the loss of lives demands not only improvement in post-incident handling and investigation, but also new prevention technologies. Gunshot Detection Solutions AI weapon detection offers a more efficient alternative to prevent active shooting There are several gunshot detection solutions in the security market, commonly used by law enforcement agencies to detect and locate gun fires. These systems function based on acoustic recordings and analyses and often in combination with signals detected by sensors of the optical flash and shockwave when a gun is fired. However, gunshot detection by nature dictates that the law enforcement can only react to a shooting incident that has occurred. With fast action, law enforcement can prevent the incident from escalating, but lives that are lost cannot be recovered. With the development of artificial intelligence in object recognition, AI weapon detection offers a more efficient alternative to prevent active shooting: AI can visually detect guns based on their shapes before they are fired. The AI is trained to recognize firearms in different shapes, sizes, colors, and at different angles in videos, so that the AI weapon detector can be deployed with existing cameras systems, analyze the video feeds, and instantly notify security staff when a gun is spotted. Comparison of the advantages for law enforcement and public security agencies Legacy gunshot detection using sensors AI weapon detection Reactive measure: detect after guns have been fired Proactive measure: detect before guns are fired Time to action: within 1 second Time to action: within 1 second Unable to provide visual data about shooter(s) Can provide data about shooter(s) based on the camera recording: clothing, luggage (backpack, handbag, etc.), facial features, vehicle Unable to track the location of the shooter(s) before and after shooting because of the lack of sound Can track the shooter(s) using AI Person & Vehicle Tracking, AI Face Recognition, and AI License Plate Recognition False detection caused by similar sound such as fireworks and cars backfiring Minimal to no false detection, as AI can distinguish different types of handguns and rifles from normal objects (umbrella, cellphone, etc.) Require physical deployment of gunshot detection sensors Can be used with existing camera systems, do not require special hardware Complicated to deploy, require highly trained professional Easy to deploy as an add-on to existing video surveillance system - Can integrate with gun-shot detection to create a “double knock” audio and video active shooter alert system Gun-Shot Detection Advantages In addition to advantages for law enforcement and public security agencies, this type of visual-based pre-incident detector has three-fold advantages for the public: Save lives by spotting the shooter before the shooting event. Minimize the chaos entailing an incident: panic and chaos caused by a shooting incident often adds to injury, as people run, fall, trample on others… With an AI weapon detector, when a gun is spotted, the system sends an alert to security staff, who can quickly control the situation in an organized manner and apprehend the intending shooter. Can be added as a SaaS (Security as a Service) component to small business and home surveillance systems, e.g., intrusion detection alerts (home invasion incidents with firearms number over 2500 per year nationwide). For a complete active shooter detection system, video-based AI detector can operate in conjunction with gunshot detectors for enhanced security. Traditional X-ray based weapon detection or metal detection entrance systems are complicated and expensive; with AI video technology, active shooter detection system can be cost-effective, and after all, what price tag can one put on a life? Written by Paul Sun and Mai Truong, IronYun
With Hub 2, a user will no longer need to live under round-the-clock camera surveillance to know why an alarm has gone off. Like the first generation of hubs, Hub 2 protects the user’s property against burglars, fire, and flood. But unlike its predecessors, it sends not only alarm notifications but also animated series of images from MotionCam motion detectors. Thanks to the optional Wings radio protocol, a built-in battery, and two SIM card slots, Hub 2 is independent of the guarded facility infrastructure. It will continue protecting the user’s family and property, even if the building has lost power and Internet connection. Hub 2 is a control tool for safe homes, offices, shops, or even industrial facilities. The control panel can manage up to a 100 of Ajax detectors and devices on a distance of up to 2000 meters. Protection of any scale And this is not the limit - the ReX radio signal range extender boosts the hub’s coverage area to up to 16 km². The new hub has three channels to communicate with the users and security companies: Ethernet and two slots for SIM cards. The second slot allows users to improve stability by choosing two different GSM operators. And thanks to the instantaneous switching between communication channels, Hub 2 is guaranteed to transmit photos and alarms even with an unstable Internet connection. The list of features of the Ajax hubs expands every year with the regular updates of the OS Malevich operating system. To ensure the future development of the Hub 2, Ajax Systems has increased the amount of ROM and RAM and equipped it with a fast processor.
Even the most reliable security equipment is never fully protected from false alarms. Most of the time, they occur due to simple oversights, hyperactive pets, or incorrect installation. But when the security companies react to false alarms, they risk getting late in case of a real emergency. Some send security patrols to check the unverified alarms right away. The others count the detector triggerings before responding and lose precious minutes in the result. In any case, false alarms bring stress for the consumers and the risk of suffering losses. Prime security companies found the solution in photo and video alarm verification. Both options came with serious compromises. On the one hand, motion detectors equipped with cameras provided a technical possibility to see what triggered the alarm. But the systems that support such devices required frequent maintenance (due to low battery life), delivered low-quality pictures, and were significantly overpriced. Wireless security system On the other hand, video surveillance allowed for a 24/7 monitoring but came with the new difficulties: complicated installation and configuration, total dependence on the building’s infrastructure, high risks of malfunctioning and exploits, as well as the privacy issues. Both solutions didn’t have a chance to become the new security standard. The market required the new cost-efficient solution that would unite the reliability and informing efficiency of the best security systems with the visual capabilities of the cameras. Ajax Systems was one of the first ones to develop the security system with visual alarm verification. Just like they were not the ones to invent wireless security system when launching Jeweller. Parallel transmission of alarms With Wings, the user can view the first snapshot of the situation in under 9 seconds But that fact gave them company an opportunity to rethink the experience of using the equipment from the consumer’s and the service provider’s points of view. They tested and analyzed the weak spots and best practices in the industry and eventually created a breakthrough product in terms of informing speed, communication distance, and battery life. To ensure fast and reliable transmission of the photo confirmations, the company developed a new Wings radio protocol based on Jeweller. The technologies that MotionCam and Hub 2 use to communicate, nullify the interference between channels during the parallel transmission of alarms and pictures. With Wings, the user can view the first snapshot of the situation in under 9 seconds while the alarm signals sent via Jeweller are still delivered in a split second. Camera-equipped detector Photo transmission does not shorten the MotionCam communication range. Just like the rest of the Ajax detectors, the new gadget operates at a distance of 1700 meters from the hub. This number is one of the top performance results for a camera-equipped detector. The Ajax security system still covers an area of up to 12 km², which is enough to protect the multi-story buildings but now with visual alarm verification. MotionCam features an extraordinary - for a camera-equipped detector - autonomy with up to 4 years of battery life. This is not an optimistic forecast with ideal use conditions. Instead, it is an estimate for the typical operating conditions, which includes the regular activations and changes in weather conditions. And they have considered the privacy issue. The MotionCam detectors activate their cameras only if triggered by motion when the system is armed. Indoor motion detector Without a doubt, the Wings technology sets the new standards in the security industry" The users and the security company have no way to access the camera and request to take pictures. All photos are encrypted during transmission, and as they are stored at the Ajax Cloud (just like all the events in the security system’s log). No one analyses and processes the photographs from the detectors. MotionCam and Hub 2 raise the informing quality of the Ajax security system to the next level while preserving its fundamental characteristics. MotionCam can easily replace any indoor motion detector, which makes upgrading the security system as painless as possible. It will forever change the user’s attitude to alarms, yet they still won’t be bothered with the system maintenance for years to come. Phenomenal energy efficiency “I am proud that we can make such inventions. Without a doubt, the Wings technology sets the new standards in the security industry. Fast photo transmission at a distance of 1700 meters with phenomenal energy efficiency, it’s magic that was previously unavailable on the market. We’ve managed to boost the informing quality of the system to the next level and preserve the familiar user experience at the same time”, says Aleksandr Konotopskyi, CEO Ajax Systems.
With the update of translator software, SBN monitoring stations are now able to process photo confirmations of Ajax security systems. Photos from MotionCam detectors will allow SBN operators all across Europe to evaluate the situation remotely and filter false alarms. Application of Ajax photo verification technologies eliminates dispatching of security guards and police officers at false alarms. As a result, monitoring centers operate more efficiently and gain trust from local police enforcements. Seamless user experience To make photo verification accessible to as many partner security companies as possible became an essential task for us following the MotionCam release, since seamless user experience is encoded in Ajax Systems DNA. That’s why in just 1.5 months, we’ve implemented the integration of Ajax Cloud into SBN, one of the most popular CMS software in Spain and Portugal”, said, Aleksandr Konotopskyi, CEO Ajax Systems. MotionCam detectors take up to 5 photos upon motion detection. In under 9 seconds, users and SBN operators receive the first picture and can start analyzing the situation. Innovative Wings radio protocol allows to install detectors on a distance of up to 1700 meters from the hub and operate up to 4 years on the pre-installed batteries. Moreover, MotionCam never takes a picture by request. The camera activates only when the detector is triggered. Within the next couple of days, Translator update will become available to all Ajax Systems partners. Besides SBN, support of MotionCam photo confirmations is also realized in Ajax PRO Desktop (software for administering and monitoring security systems), ABsistem and in Manitou CMS.
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