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Enclosures containing electronics, communications or cabling infrastructure offer a simple attack point for cyber breaches and an opportunity for a physical attack on the hardware. Yet, many of these assets are housed within enclosures that provide minimal security features to offer a deterrent to any would-be attacker. This has always just been a pet hate. Walking down the high street of a town anywhere in the United Kingdom, you can often see open street communication cabinets. You can actually look directly inside at the equipment. And if I was a bad guy, I could quite easily just put my foot into their enclosure and quite quickly take out their infrastructure. Charged service for enclosures This seems crazy when a US$ 2 magnetic contact on a door can quickly tell you whether your enclosure is open or shut, and can be vital in keeping your network alive. Moreover, the operators of these systems, whether it is telecoms or internet providers, are providing a charged service to their customers, so they should really be protecting their enclosures. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? More sobering, if you contrast this security approach to the approach taken in the data center world, an environment that already has multiple stringent security protocols in place, you get a very different picture. For instance, security devices can capture snapshots of anyone who opens a cabinet door in a data room, so it is recorded who has opened that door. While that is just one simple example, it begs the question. Why has that security level not been so readily taken into the outside world, into the unprotected environment? In my mind, a lot of it boils down simply to education. Network connection, easy point of cyber attacks Our preconceived idea about cyber security is some big corporation being knocked out or held to ransom by, again in our mind, someone sitting at a laptop, probably with their hood up over their head, typing away in the darkness, attacking us through the internet. But how the would-be criminal is going to come at us is just like in sport. They attack at the weakest point. Networks can be deployed in the outside world in many ways, such as cameras monitoring the highways. That means those locations will have a network connection. And that can be a point of attack in a non-secure outside world. Enclosures can be broken into by attackers Many people think, ‘That is okay because I’m going to take that ethernet device that my cameras are connected to and I’m going to put it inside an enclosure.’ However, what people do not realize is that the only thing that the enclosure is doing is protecting the ethernet device from Mother Nature. Because, without proper security, those enclosures can be broken into pretty easily. Many of them are just a single key that is not in any way coded to the device. Twofold cyber security People need to realize that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking Therein lays the problem. People need to realize that cyber security is twofold. It can be carried out by hacking the network or physically breaking into the weakest physical point. And so, a simple boot through the open door of an enclosure can vandalise the devices inside and take down a small or large part of a network. And by definition, this meets the criteria for a cyber-attack. So, how do we go about tackling this problem? Well, security is a reaction marketplace. And for enclosures, there’s not, at present, a plethora of solutions out there for to counter these types of attacks. It can be challenging to find what you’re looking for through a quick Google search compared to searching for more traditional security protection measures. Deploying smart sensors and detectors But, under Vanderbilt and ComNet, we are currently taking our knowledge and experience from system installation and compiling it together. We’re bringing different products from different parts of our business to make a true solution. For instance, we have sensors for enclosures that detect anything from gas or smoke to open doors, detectors that will tell you if someone is trying to smash open your enclosure with a sledgehammer, or that someone is trying to lift your enclosure off of its mount. More importantly, as is not really a one-size-fits-all solution, we have developed a menu structure available that allows customers to pick and choose the ones that will best fit their own requirements.
For decades, cable theft has caused disruption to infrastructure across South Africa, and an issue that permeates the whole supply chain. Here, Ian Loudon, international sales and marketing manager at remote monitoring specialist Omniflex, explains how new cable-alarm technology is making life difficult for criminals and giving hope to businesses. In November 2020, Nasdaq reported that, “When South Africa shut large parts of its economy and transport network during its COVID-19 lockdown, organized, sometimes armed, gangs moved into its crumbling stations to steal the valuable copper from the lines. Now, more than two months after that lockdown ended, the commuter rail system, relied on by millions of commuters, is barely operational.” Private security firm Despite this most recent incident, cable theft is not a new phenomenon to sweep South Africa Despite this most recent incident, cable theft is not a new phenomenon to sweep South Africa. In 2001, SABC TV broadcast a story following two members of a private security firm working for Telkom, a major telecoms provider. In the segment, the two guards, working in Amanzimtoti on the south coast of KwaZulu-Natal, head out to investigate a nearby alarm that has been triggered. They reach a telecoms cabinet and discover that it has been compromised, with the copper cable cut and telephone handsets strewn across the ground. In the dark, they continue to search the area when one of the guards discovers the problem: 500 metres of copper wire has been ripped out. In their haste, the thieves have dropped their loot and fled. Widespread cable theft Had they managed to get away, they would have melted the cable to remove the plastic insulation and sold the copper to a local scrap dealer for around 900 Rand, about $50 US dollars. For the company whose infrastructure has been compromised, it may cost ten times that amount to replace and repair the critical infrastructure. The disappointing takeaway from this story is that two decades on from this incident the country still faces widespread cable theft, whether it’s copper cables from mines, pipelines, railways, telecoms or electrical utilities. In fact, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that cable theft costs the economy between R5–7 billion a year. The answer to the problem must go further than the existing measures used by companies. Detect power failure Most businesses already invest in CCTV, fences, barriers and even patrol guards, but this is not enough. Take the mining sector, for example. These sites can be vast, spanning dozens of kilometres - it’s simply not cost effective to install enough fences or employ enough guards or camera operators. As monitoring technology gets better, the company has seen site managers increasingly use cable alarms in recent years that detect when a power failure occurs. The idea is that, if one can detect a power failure, they can detect whether the cable has been cut The idea is that, if one can detect a power failure, they can detect whether the cable has been cut. The problem is though: how does one distinguish the difference between a situation where a cable has been cut intentionally and a genuine power outage? Power outages in South Africa are an ongoing problem, with the country contending with an energy deficit since late 2005, leading to around 6,000 MW of power cuts in 2019. Remote terminal units Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the company that generates around 95 per cent of South Africa’s power has already warned of further blackouts as the company works to carry out repairs to its power plants. According to a statement on the company’s website, “Eskom spends in the region of R2 billion a year replacing stolen copper cables." The result is that criminals take advantage of the gaps in power to steal cable, timing their robberies to coincide with the published load shedding schedules. The basic alarms used to detect power outage won’t recognize the theft because they register a false-positive during a power cut. By the time the power comes back on, the deed has been done and the criminals have gotten away with the cable. The good news is that recent breakthroughs in cable monitoring technology are helping tackle just this problem. New alarms on the market now combine sophisticated GSM-based monitoring systems that use battery powered remote terminal units. Legitimate supply chain Unlike the basic alarms that look for the presence or absence of power, these new systems monitor whether the cable circuit is in an open or closed state. In the event of a power outage, the unit continues to run on battery power and can detect if a cable has been cut, sending a priority SMS alert to the site manager immediately, giving them a fighting chance to prevent a robbery in progress. Beyond the opportunistic theft carried out by petty criminals, the theft of copper cables forms a wider problem Beyond the opportunistic theft carried out by petty criminals, the theft of copper cables forms a wider problem across the supply chain in South Africa. In recent years, the combination of unscrupulous scrap dealers, the alleged involvement of large scrap processing companies and lax penalties meant that much of the stolen copper ended up back in the legitimate supply chain. However, recent changes in the law have sought to take a tougher stance on copper theft. Alarm monitoring technology According to the Western Cape Government, “The Criminal Matters Amendment Act, regulates bail and imposes minimum offences for essential infrastructure-related offences." The act, which came into effect in 2018, recommends sentencing for cable theft, with the minimum sentence for first-time offenders being three years and for those who are involved in instigating or causing damage to infrastructure, the maximum sentence is thirty years. It seems to be working too. In January 2021, the South African reported that a Johannesburg man was sentenced to eight years behind bars for cable theft in Turffontein. While the longer-term outlook is a positive one for industry, the best advice for businesses seeking to alleviate the problem of cable theft in the immediate future is to invest in the latest cable-theft alarm monitoring technology to tackle the problem and make life difficult for criminals.
For decades, the nature of global safety has been evolving. From physical security threats like large-scale terrorist attacks and lone actor stabbings to chemical threats such as the Salisbury poisonings and even microbiological threats such as COVID-19, new challenges are constantly arising and the threat landscape we operate in today is constantly changing. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks. With the economic downturn, there is the traditional rise in theft, violence and other crimes. Compound this with unmanned businesses and work-at-home staff, and there is a perfect storm for a rise in security threats. Artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), was already causing widespread disruption in many industries, including the security industry. AI has been a driving force to replace labor-based business models with integrated data and actionable intelligence that is context-aware. It has become apparent that AI will play a big part in the ongoing fight against both pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other threats that we may face in the future. With all of this in mind, 2021 is poised to be a big year for AI growth. While AI is going to continue to impact our lives in dozens of ways, from smart sensors to face mask compliance detection, the following reflects a few top trends and challenges that I have my eye on for 2021 as we close out this year. The rise of smart city investments One such example is the increasing development of smart cities and how AI can be leveraged to build safe communities. To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks Typical development of a city includes standard infrastructure - roads, schools, power, water, transportation. Now, internet, data and AI capabilities are part of the standard infrastructure requirements for all new developments. AI promises to deliver increased efficiencies with the infrastructure that will accommodate growing populations while reducing our impact on the environment, resources, and communities. Global cities now account for more than half of the world’s population, and the United Nations projects the number to balloon to 68% by mid-century. Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). With an increase in population has come an increase in global spending on smart city initiatives to drive down the impact of growing urban concentration. Global spending on smart city initiatives is expected to total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, while Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York as the big spenders - expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2020. Using AI-driven technology to create safer public and private spaces Today, security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments to protect the population in a more efficient, and accurate manner. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new AI technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. One such deployment is the use of video object recognition/computer vision software that can be integrated into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. These enhanced VMS systems can be deployed both inside and outside of buildings to identify risks and flag threats, such weapons, aggressive behaviours, theft, and safety compliance. This helps to minimize the impact of a breach by an early alert to onsite security in real-time to the location and nature of the potential threat, allowing them to intervene before a loss occurs. These same AI-enabled video solutions can similarly be used to provide advanced business operations in retail, logistics, and manufacturing organizations. Multi-sensor security solutions Also, targeted magnetic and radar sensor technologies, concealed in everyday objects like planter boxes or inside walls, can now scan individuals and bags entering a building for concealed threat objects. Using AI/machine learning, these two sensor solutions combined can identify metal content on the body and bag and match the item to a catalog of threat items, such as guns, rifles, knives and bombs. Security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments Without this advanced multi-sensor solution, it becomes nearly impossible to discover a weapon on a person's body before it appears in an assailant’s hands. This multi-sensor solution allows for touchless, unobtrusive access to a building, but allows for immediate notification to onsite security when a concealed threat is detected. The hidden technology thus empowers security staff to intercept threats before they evolve into a wider scale attack, while also maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of the public, unless, of course, they are carrying a concealed weapon or pose a physical threat. With the advent of sophisticated surveillance and technological innovation, a level of caution must be exerted. Despite the ongoing global debate, there remains little regulation about the use of AI technologies in today’s physical security space. One thing is certain; it must be deployed in the right place, at the right time, with the right privacy and civil liberty protection objectives. People don’t want to be protected by omnipresent, obstructive and overbearing security systems that infringe on their privacy and civil liberties. They want a proper balance between security and their current way of life, one that must be fused together. Technology and tracing COVID-19 Machine learning-based technologies are playing a substantial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the key purpose of surveillance systems has been to detect and deter threats, including the detection of visible and hidden weapons and abnormal behavior. While this, of course, remains a primary focus, today we are seeing how surveillance systems defend against new invisible threats, as well as rapidly automate the process of contact-tracing to capture and contain a virus before it spreads. Again, the ability to track and trace through parsing algorithms that can manage through enormous amounts of data provides a highly scalable and rapid response mechanism to control the spread of threats. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact Although the threat may not be visible, it is just as destructive. By incorporating AI into existing technologies, government, healthcare and security professionals can monitor public spaces and environments through the combined use of digital and thermal video surveillance cameras and video management systems); just one of the solutions being explored. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By Using AI-powered video analytic software, businesses can monitor face masks, social distancing and large gathering compliance and also detect elevated body temperature. Critically, technology must be capable of both identifying and tracking the virus but also be unobtrusive. An unobtrusive system that is adaptable enough to be deployed across a range of environments where the public gathers in enclosed spaces is necessary to be effective. Security in 2021 Technology has proven itself to be a valuable ally in times of crisis. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies will help optimize security solutions in areas that are brimming with potential. As we look ahead to the future of security in a world that is impacted by such a wide range of threats, from physical to chemical to microbiological, it’s clear that new technologies, specifically AI can dramatically improve the effectiveness of security systems and help us to better defend against a wide spectrum of threats. Technology has a huge role to play in making our communities safe in 2021 and beyond, but for security systems to be effective, they must not be oppressive or obstructive. This will ensure they have the full support of the public - the key to success.
The nerve center at Miami International Airport (MIA) is its Airport Operations Center (AOC), which operates around the clock, monitoring activity, responding to safety and security incidents, disseminating information and responding to requests from stakeholders throughout the airport. Incident logging at the AOC An essential daily task for the AOC team is incident logging, with approximately 70 detailed logs being created each day, and that number is set to rise, as a result of internal process changes within the department. Rupen Philloura is the Director of Terminal Operations & AOC at Miami International Airport and he explains, “The MLS logging system was a 25-year-old custom-built application. It was familiar for our operators to use, but it was unwieldy, unreliable, and inefficient. With logging being such a critical and growing aspect of our day-today operations, we needed to upgrade to a state-of-the-art unified platform.” Situator enterprise incident management system The platform chosen by the airport was the renowned enterprise incident management system, Situator, from Qognify The platform chosen by the airport was the renowned enterprise incident management system, Situator, from Qognify, a company whose solutions are trusted by airports around the world. Miami itself was already working with the company, using its NiceVision video management system (VMS) and analytics solutions across its highly distributed video surveillance system. Currently, the AOC has six Situator-powered stations from which operators monitor the airports Honeywell/EBI fire alarm and Matrix access control systems, as well as its extensive surveillance camera network. Dynamic form functionality Rupen Philloura describes the process, stating “When an alert is raised, the operator must follow a strict set of procedures for that specific event, this might simply be resetting an alarm remotely, or the dispatch of maintenance personnel. Incidents and subsequent actions need to be accurately documented for regulatory compliance purposes, but also to help us to learn and improve how we deal with incidents and events.” The need to manually enter all details has been replaced by the dynamic form functionality within Situator. It automatically populates and logs specific information relating to that incident, saving operators valuable time, and ensuring every log is of a consistently high standard. End-to-end accounts and improved logging Rupen Philloura further stated, “Together with the input of the operator, we are assured that the logs we generate and store are comprehensive end-to-end accounts, which can be quickly and reliably searched, retrieved and reviewed.” The improved logging has also had a noticeable impact on business continuity and operational efficiency, as well as providing an additional layer of protection to the airport from a regulatory standpoint. With the AOC operating a three-shift pattern, it is vitally important that change overs can be completed swiftly and nothing is overlooked. Rupen Philloura adds, “When the next shift logs on to Situator they have instant situational awareness, there is no lag in productivity. They can see what has happened and what requires their immediate attention. During their shift they no longer need to repeatedly log into multiple systems to access information. It is all there on the screen at their station.” Reduced response time to incidents The success of Situator within the AOC has led the airport to begin exploiting its strength as a powerful platform Situator has also reduced the response time to incidents, such as door alarms, as well as access requests from tenants and airport employees, by automating the interaction with the Matrix system. With the old MLS system, both use cases needed to be handled manually. The success of Situator within the AOC has led the airport to begin exploiting its strength as a powerful platform, with higher levels of task automation, ad-hoc forms, and reporting, as well as integration with airport-specific and non-specific subsystems (made easier by the API driven Situator), such as its access control system and surveillance cameras. Support for facilities management It is also evaluating its ability to support the facilities management team in ensuring the statutory maintenance of its extensive network of elevators and moving walkways. Mike Bryant is Computer Services’ Sr. Manager at Miami-Dade Aviation Department and he has been impressed not only by the reliability that the web-based Situator is providing, (demonstrated by a drop in support calls from the AOC since the implementation), but also its future potential. Enhanced Airport safety and security Mike Bryant said, “With Situator, we have a platform that we can evolve to positively impact the operations, maintenance, compliance, safety and security throughout our airport. It has opened up possibilities to integrate systems, solve problems and make improvements, without needing to make further investments in standalone solutions.” Rupen Philloura concludes, “Every airport needs a robust, reliable and easy to use logging solution and for MIA it is one of the greatest strengths of Situator. It gives us complete situational awareness regarding when and how an event transpired, who responded, how, and the result. This insight improves our decision-making and feeds a continual cycle of improvement.”
The Security Industry Association (SIA) has announced the 2021 winners of the SIA New Product Showcase Awards, the flagship awards program presented in partnership with ISC West recognizing innovative security products, services, and solutions. Top among the winners – who were recognized June 17 during a virtual awards show – was Lumeo, receiving the 2021 Best New Product Award. SIA New Product Showcase Since its inception in 1979, the SIA New Product Showcase has been the security industry’s premier product awards program. New products are reviewed by a panel of judges with extensive industry experience, and in 2021, following significant deliberations, the 35 judges presented awards for technologies covering 25+ product and service categories. The 2021 SIA New Product Showcase entries will be on display July 19-21 in Booth 14073 on the ISC West show floor. Best new product Lumeo received the Best New Product honor for its Lumeo product, submitted in the Emerging Technologies category. Lumeo received the Best New Product honor for its no-code video analytic builder “Lumeo is the first and only ‘no-code' video analytic builder that provides integrators, software vendors, and solution providers with the ability to create and deliver custom analytics in minutes and with no technical skills needed,” said Lumeo. “Using drag-and-drop tools, pre-built analytic building blocks, and AI models, Lumeo lets providers instantly add AI-powered analytics to their own solution, or extend existing VMS and camera installations to increase revenue and bottom line. Lumeo’s cloud-managed analytics can run in the cloud, on-premises, or a hybrid model so you can optimize for convenience or cost.” Judges’ Choice Award The prestigious Judges’ Choice Award was presented to Teleportivity for the QR Video Intercom product, submitted in the Emerging Technologies category. “Imagine being able to install an app-like ‘video intercom’ experience, anywhere, simply with a QR code,” said Teleportivity. “There’s no hardware needed, and no app required for the visitor. Simply scan with a smartphone and access. Intercom owners can add a whole range of other self-serve experiences into their code. Install onto a digital directory, letterbox, a door, a wall…Anywhere.” New ideas and technologies “The 2021 entrants to the SIA New Product Showcase are a remarkable group, and we were impressed by the many notable ideas and new technologies that came in this year,” said Christopher Grniet, chair of the SIA New Product Showcase Committee. “It was a challenge making the final award determinations in this year’s highly competitive program following hours of panel-driven judging and technology demonstrations. Thank you to our dedicated judges for volunteering your time, expertise, and efforts to make the 2021 SIA New Product Showcase a success.” Merit Award SIA New Product Showcase program – received the New Product Showcase Merit Award Additionally, Marc R. Tardiff – founder of MRT Security Consulting LLC and an active volunteer judge in the SIA New Product Showcase program – received the New Product Showcase Merit Award, which recognizes an individual or company who, through their support of the New Product Showcase, demonstrates a commitment to the vision and mission of the program, contributes to its success and promotes the advancement of SIA and the security industry overall. “I am honored to be named the 2021 SIA NPS Merit Award winner and would like to thank Sandra Jones, who first gave me the chance to serve on the SIA NPS Committee, as well as SIA, Reed, and our NPS Committee members for the work that has been going on for quite some time,” said Tardiff. “I’d also like to thank our previous chair, Jennifer Martin, and current chair Chris Grniet for allowing me to continue to serve.” Recognizing all the honorees “SIA is thrilled to recognize the 2021 SIA New Product Showcase honorees, whose products, services, and contributions represent the most innovative new security offerings on the market,” said SIA CEO Don Erickson. “SIA congratulates all the 2021 award winners, and especially Lumeo and Teleportivity, whose solutions stood out among the impressive field of entrants to earn the Best New Product and Judges’ Choice honors. Additionally, we congratulate Marc R. Tardiff on being named the 2021 SIA NPS Merit Award recipient in recognition of his dedication and valuable contributions to this flagship awards program.” Winners of the 2021 Product Showcase The 2021 SIA New Product Showcase award winners are: Best New Product Award Winner: Lumeo – Lumeo Judges’ Choice Award Winner: Teleportivity – QR Video Intercom New Product Showcase Merit Award Winner: Marc R. Tardiff, founder, MRT Security Consulting LLC Category Awards Access Control Devices & Peripherals Hardware – Wireless Winner: Master Lock – Master Lock Vault Enterprise Bluetooth Door Controller Honorable Mention: Bird Home Automation GmbH – DoorBird D1812 Access Control Software, Hardware, Devices & Peripherals – Wired Winner: Honeywell International Inc – Pro-Watch Integrated Security Suite Honorable Mention: Alvarado from dormakaba Group – MST-TE Touch-Free Full Height Turnstile Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection Winner: Bullistic Barriers LLC – RaDeBuRe Commercial Monitoring Solutions Winner: Evolon – Verify Honorable Mention: Optex – Optex 12 Channel Bridge Communications and Networking Solutions Winner: M2M Services – MINI-LTE-M-AV Convergence and Integration Solutions Winner: BioConnect – BioConnect Enterprise 5.0 Design, Diagnostic, and Installation Tools Winner: Axis Communications, Inc. – AXIS Plugin for Autodesk Revit Emerging Technologies Winner: Teleportivity – QR Video Intercom Honorable Mention: Lumeo – Lumeo AiP Monitoring – SafeAtHome App Environmental Monitoring Systems Winner: IPVideo Corporation – HALO 2.2 Fire/Life Safety Winner: NOTIFIER by Honeywell – Notifier Inspire Self-Test Smoke Detection Hosted Solutions/Managed Services Winner: Soloinsight Inc. – CloudGate SmartSpace Identification Management and Credentialing (Non-Biometrics) Winner: SISCO – ThermalPass Intrusion Detection and Prevention Solutions (Physical) – Wired Winner: OPTEX Inc. – Redscan Pro Intrusion Detection and Prevention Solutions (Physical) – Wireless Winner: Intelligent Automation, Inc. – ARGUS Perimeter Security Solutions Key/Equipment Assets Management Solutions Winner: CyberLock Inc. – CyberAudit-Web 9.4 Law Enforcement/Public Safety/Guarding Systems Winner: Active Guardian – 3xLOGIC Gunshot Detection Lock and Key Solutions Winner: Medeco Security Locks – Medeco 4 High-Security Key System Cellphone Solutions (Connected) Winner: IronYun Inc. – Vaidio Cam App Smart Home Solutions Winner: Alarm.com – Flex IO Honorable Mention: 2GIG – 2GIG EDGE Security and Automation Panel Threat/Risk Management Software Applications Winner: Gallagher – Proximity and Contact Tracing Report Video Analytics Winner: IronYun Inc. – Vaidio AI Vision Platform 5.0 Video Surveillance Cameras (HD/Megapixel) Winner: Hitachi Kokusai Electric, Ltd. – KP-HD3005G-R5/IF-PCB Video Surveillance Data Storage Winner: Premio Inc. – AI Edge Inference Computer (RCO-6141E-4U2C-2060S) Video Surveillance Management Systems Winner: Immervision Inc. – Immervision HTML 5 Web SDK During the 2021 SIA New Product Showcase virtual awards ceremony, in addition to the presentation of the overall and category-specific awards, attendees enjoyed hearing insights from New Product Showcase judges into innovations driving product advancements in the security industry. The 2021 SIA New Product Showcase entries will be on display July 19-21 in Booth 14073 on the ISC West show floor.
Harris County, Texas, the third most populous county in the U.S., is deploying a new, next-generation security system in its buildings that will help make them more efficient and easier to operate. The new Honeywell system replaces multiple, disparate systems by integrating access control, security cameras, alarms and monitoring across the county's nearly 150 buildings situated over 1,777 square miles in Houston and the surrounding areas. Streamlined security platform Texas-based security integrator, ESI Fire and Security Protection, worked with Harris County to identify its needs and implement a streamlined security platform, using Honeywell's Pro-Watch Intelligent Command security management system to network video recorders, video cameras, thermal readers, and thermal cameras. The new system provides detailed, real-time information about alarm events, access and safety across the county The new system provides detailed, real-time information about alarm events, access and safety across the county. “The security and well-being of the Harris County employees, visitors and residents is always a top priority.” said Retired Major Gen. Rick Noriega, Interim Executive Director, Harris County Universal Services. Pro-Watch Intelligent Command system Rick adds, “This project allowed us to improve our systems and gain better insights into the county's buildings to provide a safer environment. The solutions provided by Honeywell and ESI also better set the county up for the future – we can test and actively add technologies to address new needs with this flexible but scalable system.” Before Honeywell's Pro-Watch Intelligent Command system, each county building used different security products that didn't talk to one another, creating an overly complicated network and increased work for employees. Immediate benefits for Harris County will include: Saving taxpayer dollars through better analytics that reduce false alarms and help first responders. Monitoring from a single central control station for improved situational awareness. Creating healthier building environments by leveraging people-counting technologies and analytics to manage health and safety compliance, such as social distancing. Streamlining systems to create operational efficiencies and save the county resources that can be redirected to other critical infrastructure or services. IDEMIA biometrics solutions Harris County Universal Services is looking into deploying next-level biometrics solutions from IDEMIA to enhance access control at the courthouse. Using facial recognition, a camera mounted on the entrance turnstiles will recognize employees and frequent visitors, such as judges and lawyers, using data stored in the ProWatch system without the need to physically scan a badge or remove facial coverings. This frictionless access system will allow employees and visitors to enter the building in an efficient and secure manner. This system can also alert a precinct when a public park is reaching capacity and monitor building occupancy levels to comply with local health regulations. Harris County is actively testing and implementing new features that will add additional capabilities countywide. The upgrades are designed to proactively manage situations and respond faster when required. Enhancing intelligence and transparency Harris County lacked a holistic, real-time view into its various facilities with its previous systems" “Harris County lacked a holistic, real-time view into its various facilities with its previous systems,” said James Humbert, Business Development Manager at ESI Fire and Security Protection. James adds, “We've partnered with the county and Honeywell to create positive change in just about every way the county operates by improving intelligence and transparency, reducing response times and helping to save taxpayers' dollars. We look forward to continuing to work with Harris County and Honeywell in creating an efficient and safe environment for residents and employees that is ready for the future.” Fully customized solution “Through a collaborative effort with the county and ESI teams, we created a more efficient and safer environment for people who work and visit Harris County public buildings,” said Rick Koscinski, General Manager, North America, Honeywell Commercial Security. Rick adds, “With a county as large as Harris County, it was no surprise that they had multiple, disconnected systems put in place over the years which limited efficiency and connectedness. Now, the county has a fully customized solution that is built to evolve with its needs that will not only help increase safety and awareness but also create an improved building experience for its employees and building visitors.” With a population of nearly five million people, Harris County employs more than 15,000 workers to support its residents with services including public safety, jails, law enforcement, courts, library services, and licensing facilities. Harris County Universal Services Harris County Universal Services is the solutions center for the departments and offices of Harris County. It designs, implements, and maintains high-quality, innovative, and cost-effective technology products and services for its customers. It provides comprehensive support through eight consumer divisions: Business Applications, Business Operations, Customer Service, Cyber Security, Fleet Services, Information Technology Infrastructure, Program Delivery & Analytics, and Public Safety Technology.
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