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On November 2019 in Stockton, California, surveillance footage found that vandals shot out glass windows and doors in many places in a small business complex (FOX40). The intruders broke in only to leave with nothing, proving their intent was solely to vandalize the property. Meanwhile, it was reported that a trio of ATM thieves struck around 9 times across many different locations inside Brooklyn and Queens within just over a month in fall 2019 (ATM Marketplace). On average, the cost of vandalism to SMB is around $3,370 per incident (US Small Business Administration), including a staggering 692 vehicle vandalism claims per day. Likewise, the average cost of theft to SMB is about $300 per shoplifting incident and $1,500 per employee theft incident, which accounts for 38% and 34.5% of all theft instances, respectively (National Retail Security Survey). High-performance artificial intelligent systems can automate the monitoring tasks Vandalism and theft have proven time and time again to be inconvenient and deconstructively harmful towards SMB. However, these financial burdens can be prevented with the use of the right security system. AI-based security systems with Deep Learning contain many features that many SMB owners find advantageous in their pursuit to stop unwarranted and unwanted money loss. Intrusion and loitering detection The first of many features that can help with vandalism and theft prevention is Intrusion Detection. High-performance artificial intelligent systems can automate the monitoring tasks for high-risk sites to provide a high level of security and security personnel monitoring efficiency. Traditional intrusion detection systems detect objects based on size and location, but they do not recognize the type of objects. Now, Intrusion Detection (Perimeter Protection) systems with cutting-edge, built-in AI algorithms to recognize a plethora of different object types, can distinguish objects of interest, thus significantly decreases the false-positive intrusion rate. The more advanced AI-based systems, like those we offered at IronYun, enable the users to draw ROIs based on break-in points, areas of high-valuables, and any other preference to where alerts may be beneficial. Similarly, AI Loitering Detection can be used to receive alerts on suspicious activity outside any given store. The loitering time and region of interest are customizable in particular systems, which allows for a range of detection options. Advanced loitering detection software as such can detect and trigger real-time alerts for both people loitering and/or vehicles that are illegally parked in certain areas of interest. A benefit, which only certain advanced systems contain, is the ability to send trigger actions to 3rd-party systems in reaction to receiving an alert of loitering and/or intrusion detection. These trigger actions can be set to contact authorities immediately and/or trigger a scare tactic alarm or announcement to intruder/loiterer. Certain Face Recognition and License Plate Recognition software can record individual people/vehicles Face and license plate recognition In addition to the activity detection solutions, certain Face Recognition and License Plate Recognition software can record individual people/vehicles and use pre-configured lists to identify particular faces or plates that may be of interest, such as those in watchlists. These systems can also enable the users to upload images of faces not in the lists and search for them in the camera recording. For instance, if a person is detected several times loitering outside a store, one may save one of the detection photos into the watchlist, and set up an alert when said face is recognized again outside the building in the future. The alerts will help to deter and prevent vandalism or theft, and notify the authorities to the scene before the troublemaker completes the act. The main attributes of high-performance Face Recognition systems which maximize assistance with vandalism and theft management include: Face match rate > 90% with good camera angles and lighting. Processing multiple streams and multiple faces per image. Live face extraction and matching to databases of thousands of faces within 3 seconds. State-of-the-art AI security software with Deep Learning allows the user to no longer need to install special LPR cameras If the watchlist individual is wearing a mask or their face is not in view of the camera, their license plate may be a good indicator. If a particular car is detected several times loitering in the parking lot or street outside a store, the user can set the alerts for such car to get notified in the future. With an AI solution like this, common street cameras should be equipped with LPR capabilities. So, state-of-the-art AI security software with Deep Learning allows the user to no longer need to install special LPR cameras. high-performance alert mechanisms A high-performance AI solution, in addition to having high accuracy, should be able to: Easily integrate with 3rd-party systems Work well with all ONVIF IP cameras including infrared and thermal ones (for Intrusion detection) Analyzes video streams in real time and trigger alerts within a few seconds Send alerts to multiple VMSs, connect with signaling devices such as loud speakers or flashing lights Send email notifications to security staff and police departments Send notification on mobile device using AI NVR mobile app Maintains a record of all alerts to provide evidence of intrusion and loitering instances for police and insurance agencies. To assist in theft and vandalism prevention, AI-based security systems with deep learning will do all of the tedious work for you. Their low cost and high performance also make them the most accessible security solutions in the market with large return on investment. Stopping crimes is a difficult, ongoing challenge, but with the right AI software, business vendors and police departments can do so with more ease.
There’s a lot of hype around the term ‘digital transformation.’ For some, it’s the integration of digital technology into everyday tasks. For others, it’s the incorporation of innovative processes aimed at making business optimization easier. In most cases, digital transformation will fundamentally change how an organization operates and delivers value to its customers. And within the security realm, the age of digital transformation is most certainly upon us. Technology is already a part of our day-to-day lives, with smart devices in our homes and the ability to perform tasks at our fingertips now a reality. No longer are the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and smart cities foreign and distant concepts full of intrigue and promise. Enhancing business operations We’re increasingly seeing devices become smarter and better able to communicate with each other These elements are increasingly incorporated into security solutions with each passing day, allowing enterprises the chance to experience countless benefits when it comes to enhancing both safety and business operations. The term ‘connected world’ is a derivative of the digital transformation, signifying the increasing reliance that we have on connectivity, smart devices and data-driven decision-making. As we become more familiar with the advantages, flaws, expectations and best practices surrounding the connected world, we can predict what issues may arise and where the market is heading. We’re increasingly seeing devices become smarter and better able to communicate with each other through the IoT to achieve both simple goals and arduous tasks. Within our homes, we’re able to control a myriad of devices with commands (‘Hey Google...’ or ‘Alexa...’), as well as recall data directly from our mobile devices, such as receiving alerts when someone rings our doorbell, there’s movement in our front yard or when a door has been unlocked. Analytics-Driven solutions The focus is now shifting to the business impacts of connectivity between physical devices and infrastructures, and digital computing and analytics-driven solutions. Within physical security, connected devices can encompass a variety of sensors gathering massive amounts of data in a given timeframe: video surveillance cameras, access control readers, fire and intrusion alarms, perimeter detection and more. As the data from each of these sensors is collected and analyzed through a central platform, the idea of a connected world comes to fruition, bringing situational awareness to a new level and fostering a sense of proactivity to identifying emerging threats. The connected world, however, is not without its challenges, which means that certain considerations must be made in an effort to protect data, enhance structured networking and apply protective protocols to developing technology. Physical security systems We can expect to see the conversations regarding data privacy and security increase as well As the use of connected devices and big data continue to grow, we can expect to see the conversations regarding data privacy and security increase as well. Connectivity between devices can open up the risk of cyber vulnerabilities, but designing safeguards as technology advances will lessen these risks. The key goal is to ensure that the data organizations are using for enhancement and improvements is comprehensively protected from unauthorized access. Manufacturers and integrators must be mindful of their products' capabilities and make it easy for end users to adhere to data sharing and privacy regulations. These regulations, which greatly affect physical security systems and the way they're managed, are being implemented worldwide, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the United States, California, Vermont and South Carolina have followed suit, and it can be expected that more countries and U.S. states develop similar guidelines in the future. Technology is already a part of our day-to-day lives, with smart devices in our homes and the ability to perform tasks at our fingertips now a reality Automatic security updates Mitigating the concerns of the ‘connected world’ extends beyond just data privacy. IoT technology is accelerating at such a pace that it can potentially create detrimental problems for which many organizations may be ill-prepared - or may not even be able to comprehend. The opportunities presented by an influx of data and the IoT, and applying these technologies to markets such as smart cities, can solve security and operational problems, but this requires staying proactive when it comes to threats and practicing the proper protection protocols. As manufacturers develop devices that will be connected on the network, integrating standard, built-in protections becomes paramount. This can take the form of continuous vulnerability testing and regular, automatic security updates. Protocols are now being developed that are designed to ensure everything is encrypted, all communications are monitored and multiple types of attacks are considered for defensive purposes to provide the best security possible. IoT-Connected devices Hackers wishing to do harm will stop at nothing to break into IoT-connected devices Built-in protection mechanisms send these kinds of systems into protection mode once they are attacked by an outside source. Another way for manufacturers to deliver solutions that are protected from outside threats is through constant and consistent testing of the devices long after they are introduced to the market. Hackers wishing to do harm will stop at nothing to break into IoT-connected devices, taking every avenue to discover vulnerabilities. But a manufacturer that spends valuable resources to continue testing and retesting products will be able to identify any issues and correct them through regular software updates and fixes. ‘IoT’ has become a common term in our vocabularies and since it’s more widely understood at this point and time, it's exciting to think about the possibilities of this revolutionary concept. Providing critical insights The number of active IoT devices is expected to grow to 22 billion by 2025 — a number that is almost incomprehensible. The rise of 5G networks, artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving cars can be seen on the horizon of the IoT. As more of these devices are developed and security protocols are developed at a similar pace, connected devices stand to benefit a variety of industries, such as smart cities. Smart cities rely on data communicated via the IoT to enhance processes and create streamlined approaches Smart cities rely on data communicated via the IoT to enhance processes and create streamlined approaches to ensuring a city is well-run and safe. For example, think of cameras situated at a busy intersection. Cameras at these locations have a variety of uses, such as investigative purposes in the event of an accident or for issuing red-light tickets to motorists. But there are so many other possible purposes for this connected device, including providing critical insights about intersection usage and traffic congestion. These insights can then be used to adjust stoplights during busy travel times or give cities valuable data that can drive infrastructure improvements. Physical security market The impact of connected devices on cities doesn’t stop at traffic improvement. The possibilities are endless; by leveraging rich, real-time information, cities can improve efficiencies across services such as transportation, water management and healthcare. However, stringent protections are needed to harden security around the networks transmitting this kind of information in an effort to mitigate the dangers of hacking and allow this technology to continuously be improved. Whether you believe we’re in the midst of a digital transformation or have already completed it, one thing is certain: businesses must begin thinking in these connectivity-driven terms sooner rather than later so they aren’t left behind. Leveraging smart, connected devices can catapult organizations into a new level of situational awareness, but adopting protections and remaining vigilant continues to be a stalwart of technological innovation within the physical security market and into the connected world.
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.
Driven by technology developments such as voice recognition, smart devices and the Internet of Things, our homes are getting “smarter” all the time. Increasingly, we expect our residential environments to be responsive to our voice commands, whether we are adjusting a thermostat, turning on a light, or lowering the window shade. Smarter home integration yields new opportunities and challenges for home security, too, which contributes an element of safety and protection to the convenience aspects of smart homes. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How are new smart home systems impacting security?
Time for an indepth review of IFSEC 2019 in London. This show had fewer exhibitors than previous shows, and the ‘vibe’ was definitely more low-key. Fewer exhibitors meant larger aisles and plenty of room to breathe, and the slower pace provided time for exhibitors to reflect (often negatively) on the return on investment (ROI) of large trade shows. There was little buzz on the first day of the show, but spirits picked up on the second day (when, not coincidentally, some exhibitors served drinks to attendees at their stands). Enterprise security solutions One eye-catcher was smart wireless security provider Ajax Systems’ stylish black stand Many exhibitors compared IFSEC unfavorably to ISC West in the United States and even to Intersec in Dubai. Others seemed willing to be lured back to Birmingham (previous location for IFSEC) to participate in the upstart competitor, The Security Event, next spring. However, not all the IFSEC 2019 reviews were negative. Vaion made the most of their small stand toward the back of the hall. They experienced brisk traffic right up until the end of the show. Happy with the response, the provider of real-time enterprise security solutions reportedly has already committed to IFSEC 2020. Other exhibitors also made the most of their space at IFSEC; one eye-catcher was smart wireless security provider Ajax Systems’ stylish black stand. Vaion made the most of their small stand toward the back of the hall Latest new products Nedap launched a new product, AEOS 2019.1, that is five time faster and more stable than its predecessor. It uses HTML5 – no more reliance on Adobe. Feedback has been good. The company has also increased its integration of open security standards (OSS). Traka showcased smart lockers, which are modular, scalable, and staff can easily replace broken equipment. Product features can be adapted to specific sectors (i.e., retail, prisons). Traka spends 30% of its revenue on research and development, developing their own engineering. The company has seen massive growth in the UK and Europe. Hanwha Techwin lured visitors into the centre of their stand with drinks and ice cream, surrounded by the latest new products. Hanwha promoted their investment in a manufacturing facility in Vietnam and showcased Wisenet cameras with enhanced 4K images, digital auto tracking, and less motion blur for clearer images. Video verification product A multi-sensor model captures wide areas with a single camera. Hanwha also offered some value-priced cameras that feature easy self-install and are swappable. Optex launched a new product called ‘the Bridge’, a video verification product that bridges CCTV on a digital video recorder (DVR) to intruder alarms. Hanwha showcased Wisenet cameras with enhanced 4K images UK Surveillance Camera Commissioner Tony Porter announced ‘Security By Default’, a set of minimum requirements that will guarantee users that network video security products are as secure as possible in their default settings right out of the box. Hikvision promoted their support for Secure by Default and expressed hopes the initiative would be embraced by other companies and create a new best practice for camera cybersecurity. Hikvision also promoted their retail solution, which includes on-site redaction for GDPR compliance, shelf detection incorporating artificial intelligence, and use of heat mapping to analyze customer foot traffic. Generating revenue Safety and Security Things (SAST), another IFSEC exhibitor, is in the process of creating an ‘app store’ for the security market. Striving to achieve critical mass with participation by a wide range of systems integrators and manufacturers, SAST has a goal of launching to the public in Q1 next year in time for ISC West. Hanwha Techwin is among the players that have already joined the alliance A pilot version will debut this autumn, and they already have 26 apps and six camera manufacturers toward that goal. With a staff of 120, mostly based in Munich, SAST expects to begin generating revenue in 2020 and to grow rapidly. An investment by Bosch is financing start-up operations. Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) is creating standards and a platform to enable the sale of apps in the security market. Large industry players Hanwha Techwin is among the players that have already joined the alliance, and OSSA is seeking to add other large companies, such as Axis, Genetec and Hikvision. Engaging integrators, app developers and software providers as well as camera manufacturers will generate widespread support to ensure the initiative succeeds. Although currently most OSSA members are based in the EU and Asia, it is a global organization open to any company in the world. Many large industry players are now missing from the IFSEC show floor; the most noticeable new abstainer this year was Milestone. And the downturn seems likely to continue: Exhibitors were largely noncommittal about returning next year, although organizers were urging them during the exhibition to sign up for 2020.
Horizon Capital, a U.S. private-equity firm investing in high growth export-oriented and domestic companies in Ukraine and the near region, and Ajax Systems, a producer of smart security systems in Ukraine, have announced that Horizon Capital’s latest $200 million fund, Emerging Europe Growth Fund III, LP (EEGF III) has acquired a minority stake in the Company for $10 million. EEGF III’s investment was made through the purchase of a portion of the shares held by SMRK, an early-stage financial investor in Ajax Systems, and a portion of the shares held by Company management. Founded in 2011, Ajax Systems is one of Europe’s professional security systems manufacturers. Today, the Company’s products are sold in over 75 countries world-wide. Ajax Systems enjoys an impressive track record of revenue growth and profitability and is well-positioned for continued expansion given the smart home security market is projected to grow by 25% per year to $24 billion by 2022. Innovative product offering Horizon Capital looks forward to supporting Ajax Systems in its pursuit of excellence" “We are honored to partner with Aleksander Konotopskyi, Ajax Systems’ talented founder and their impressive management team, and look forward to contributing to the Company’s continued success in the years ahead. We were attracted to this Company by Aleksander’s vision, the stellar results achieved, their innovative product offering and success in serving customers both in Ukraine and in international markets”, said Lenna Koszarny, Horizon Capital’s Founding Partner and CEO. “This deal fits very well into our investment thesis of backing Ukraine’s new generation of visionary entrepreneurs. These are young men and women who dare to be bold, who take an idea and put their energy, skills and passion behind it, who leverage the talents of professionals within Ukraine and seek to develop product that compete on a global stage. Horizon Capital looks forward to supporting Ajax Systems in its pursuit of excellence and quest to become a true global champion.” Ambitious growth plans “We are thrilled to welcome Horizon Capital as our partner in Ajax Systems. Our Company has been successful in launching our products in international markets and we are confident that through our collaboration with a reputable and experienced fund as Horizon Capital, we will reach even greater heights in the future. The partnership with Horizon Capital is truly an important milestone in achieving our aspirational targets and ambitious growth plans,” – commented Aleksander Konotopskyi, Founder & CEO of Ajax Systems. “Our results achieved to date would not have been possible without the tremendous commitment to quality, high performance levels, hard work and sense of mission of our strong team, as well as the early backing of SMRK. Ajax Systems has been growing at a tremendous rate with over 70% of revenue coming from export sales to over 75 countries, predominantly the European Union.” Private equity investors This deal sends a message about investment opportunities in Ukraine for venture capital investors" “We are blessed that the foundation of our team are world-class Ukrainian engineers and developers who take enormous pride in their work and the products that we develop. We are committed to continue our international expansion for the benefit of our employees, customers and shareholders. We look forward to expanding Ajax Systems’ position as a global leader in the security market.” “This deal sends a strong and clear message about investment opportunities in Ukraine, both for venture capital and private equity investors. We expect the Ajax Systems example to encourage more Ukrainian entrepreneurs to found start-ups, in order to achieve even greater success”, said Andriy Dovzhenko, the Managing Partner of SMRK. Wireless security system Ajax is the most awarded wireless security system in Europe, recognized for its revolutionary design and high-quality standards with the titles of “Intruder Alarm of the Year” (Security & Fire Excellence Awards), “Best Innovative Product” (MIPS Securika), silver medal for “Security & Firefighting Risks” (Expoprotection), and finalist at Intersec. The Company’s entire production and R&D team are based in Ukraine.
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