Cobwebs Technologies (Cobwebs) has launched the only available, fully automated web investigation platform capable of unified identity resolution to the corporate security market.
The ability to work in stealth mode and bridge the digital and physical world will boost the corporate security team’s threat intelligence and mitigation capabilities.
The law enforcement grade platform’s AI and machine learning (ML)-powered algorithms’ ability to extract targeted intelligence from the web’s big data and deliver trustworthy threat intelligence is unprecedented.
“Currently, corporate security teams have limited investigative, threat intelligence, and detection capabilities because many use disparate systems only capable of monitoring the surface web."
"Some still use time-consuming and error-prone manual investigative processes. Cobwebs makes these outdated processes redundant,” explains Johnmichael O’Hare, Sales and Business Development Director at Cobwebs Technologies.
“Cobwebs allows corporate security teams to bridge the digital and physical world with its ability to deanonymize threat actors anywhere. No one else has this capability. Our technology is already battle-proven and used by law enforcement agencies and homeland security departments around the world.”
How does it work?
The Cobwebs web investigation platform works similarly to a search engine. An analyst enters their search terms and the platform conducts wide and deep threat monitoring across the web.
When something suspicious is found, the platform moves into the web investigation phase.
Here, it not only locates and analyzes the activities of threat actors in a myriad of digital and social media channels across the open, deep, and dark web but it also proactively thwarts their planning and activities with precision.
The process seamlessly culminates in the deanonymization and confirmation of the nefarious individual’s identity irrespective of their online or global location. Corporate security analyst’s identity is masked and secured via Cobweb’s secured browsing tool
The threat actor’s identity together with threat intelligence data relevant to the search terms is then displayed on an intuitive dashboard.
Throughout the entire investigative process, the corporate security analyst’s identity is masked and secured via Cobweb’s secured browsing tool.
Strengthens risk profiles
Cobwebs strengthen the risk profiles of companies using the platform and deliver true threat intelligence.
“Our platform will give the teams and departments responsible for protecting some of America’s most important businesses the investigative capabilities they need to enhance their field intelligence with actionable and trustworthy data.”
“This allows them to manage their internal and external risks, and cyber threats, protect their bottom line, and boost their situational awareness. Company employees, digital and physical assets, and intellectual property remain protected,” adds O’Hare.
From a privacy perspective, the platform is only able to locate information already in place on the surface, deep or dark web.
All corporate security teams using Cobwebs Technologies have their own internal user protocols and oversight that govern the appropriate use of the technology.
Cobwebs provide the web intelligence platform, trains corporate security teams on how to use it, and provides after-sales support to all clients. It does not carry out investigations on behalf of clients.
Briefcam, the industry’s renowned provider of Video Content Analytics and Video Synopsis solutions, has announced that its advanced video analytics software platform will serve as the analytics engine for Verizon’s Intelligent Video solution.
Intelligent Video solution
The comprehensive monitoring service from Verizon helps law enforcement and security teams keep public and private facilities secure with near real-time, actionable data from video content.
The combined solution enhances the ability for these organizations to protect lives and property in remote locations and in the city centers - equally. This includes critical infrastructure from dams and power plants to oil refineries and transportation systems.
Advanced video analytics
The full solution leveraging BriefCam provides advanced video analytics, including near real-time and forensic video analysis, and trends in data through dashboard visualization, enabling rapid acceleration of video investigations.
“Leveraging its renowned network, Verizon is creating a best-in-class solution to enable the protection of all facilities in a community whether in the city center or on the edge of town,” said Gili Rom, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, BriefCam.
Gili adds, “Bringing together Verizon’s wireless infrastructure with our advanced video analytics and other industry leading technologies allows security professionals to remotely optimize situational awareness while reducing time and resource investments.”
Leveraging robust analytics software
The solution was built to provide advanced analytics and benefits for an improved experience
Verizon Intelligent Video leveraging BriefCam’s robust analytics software offers a comprehensive, bundled video management solution for cloud or wireless access that includes software licensing, installation, administration, training, and support.
The solution was built to provide advanced analytics and benefits for an improved experience. BriefCam delivers the ability to monitor and analyze multiple sites remotely from a single interface and the insights needed to fully prevent or investigate and resolve issues.
Automated video analysis
Verizon Intelligent Video automates video analysis with an easy-to-use interface so that users can quickly drill down, and filter objects based on a wide range of object classifications, attributes, and behaviors.
This accelerates investigations and helps users attain situational awareness sooner, to derive operational intelligence from video. The powerful solution makes it possible to do more with fewer monitoring, intelligence, and investigative resources.
Security and Safety Things GmbH, along with a roster of pioneers, highlighted the benefit of an open approach at the first ever escon 2020 digital Ecosystem Conference last week, discussing the current successes and future developments of smart cameras and open systems. Security & Safety Things (S&ST) also offered a sneak preview of 2021, which included the company’s positioning as the fastest growing app store for smart cameras and several pilot projects in various vertical markets.
“This past year offered us an opportunity to work together with our partners to find new ways to leverage our open ecosystem and address the challenges facing the global market, using the growing possibilities and innovative use cases in AI-enabled smart surveillance,” said Hartmut Schaper, Chief Executive Officer, Security & Safety Things.
Harmonization across systems
“We are looking forward to continuing that industry transformation in 2021, and leveraging the ingenuity of the collaborative developer community. In effect integrators will be able to offer flexible, customized solutions and greater device choice for end users."
Harmonisation across systems, Ma said, can help the industry unlock the power of data and bring value to stakeholders
In addition to S&ST, speakers from industry pioneers spoke on the importance of open systems and a collaborative approach. Steve Ma, VP, Open Security & Safety Alliance and VP, VIVOTEK discussed how the current market is too fragmented - which has caused stagnation in the industry. Harmonization across systems, Ma said, can help the industry unlock the power of data and bring value to stakeholders.
AI powered smart devices
José Daniel Garcia Espinel, Global Innovation Director for Prosegur, presented on the use of surveillance cameras as AI powered smart devices to enable new capabilities in security monitoring and response. Espinel talked about how the combination of video surveillance, AI based processing and predictive algorithms will help to further automate the operational model of Security Operation Centers, reducing the unsustainable demands on operators to constantly monitor different screens for activity.
Guest speaker highlights also included:
Markus Berger-de León, Coach & Business Builder, McKinsey & Company highlighted the opportunities for the security industry, post-COVID-19 - as video analytic advancements for building security, automotive and retail environments grow
Keven Marier, VP Technology Partners, Milestone discussed how an open approach offers developers different ways to infuse their technology into an ecosystem - offering more choice and flexibility to customers
Vincent Poty, Digital Transformation Officer, STANLEY Security presented on the importance of turning security autonomy back to end-users, and the growing demand of a more data-centric approach
Business development teams
Key members of the S&ST product and business development teams provided updates on upcoming ecosystem and end user projects, including new industries of focus, such as customized solutions for transportation and harbor management, parking optimization, and healthcare and elder care facilities. S&ST also highlighted their growing Market Application Store - featuring 70+ apps designed to address more than 32 use cases that can be customized based on customer request.
Johnson Controls, the global provider of smart and sustainable buildings and architect of the OpenBlue digital platforms, introduces the Tyco American Dynamics victor Application Servers. These servers are ideal when managing video from VideoEdge NVRs via the victor VMS.
Scalable from single-site locations to enterprise-level deployments (SAS and MAS), these servers are available in several form factors with distinct configurations to simplify ordering and installation and come with full service technical and hardware support. The 1U Rack Mount Server with a single CPU delivers powerful performance and enterprise-class features. Users can scale even further to the 2U Rack Mount Server for a large memory and extensive I/O footprints.
Product security program
AI and analytics are now combined and integrated with VideoEdge to strengthen operational efficiency
Each server is backed by a three-year limited warranty. Powerful AI and analytics are now combined and integrated with victor / VideoEdge to strengthen operational efficiency and effectiveness. Detect suspicious objects and abnormal behavior to identify trends that help mitigate threat and pinpoint the exact location of alarms on maps to arm security teams with life-saving details.
With powerful, automated and forensic search capabilities, powered by Tyco AI, victor / VideoEdge users are able to save time when minutes matter. All of the company’s products are analyzed, tested and required to meet or exceed the rigorous standards of the Johnson Controls Cyber Solutions Product Security Program. This holistic approach is aimed at providing peace of mind to the company’s customers.
Their security mindset begins at initial design concept and is supported through deployment, including a rapid incident response to meet the comprehensive and evolving cyber security environments.
As the multi-billion-dollar market for artificial-intelligence-based video analytics continues to grow, so does the number of video analytics solution providers. In Q3 of 2018, Stockholm-based consulting company Memoori identified 128 active companies in the supply chain for AI video analytics [i].
This list is far from exhaustive, considering how analytics has been gaining interest and becoming mainstream in 2020, with users expecting more accurate alerts based on object detection instead of motion detection, hardware providers developing more powerful but compact chip sets for deployment, and more startup solution providers carving out their niche in the market.
Given so many choices, the question arises as to how a system integrator can evaluate and select the best solution for his customer. Although the criteria vary for each vertical, there are some key metrics to consider across the field:
Ease of use
Robustness and reliable performance
Good support and integration
Low total cost of ownership
1. Open platform
Open platform allows the user to have complete flexibility, avoid being locked into any particular manufacturer, and utilize the best-of-breed solution available in each category.
Analytics has been gaining interest and becoming mainstream in 2020
In 2019, an IPVM survey shows that 51% of system integrators always prefer an open platform to an end-to-end solution (i.e., all components including camera, VMS, analytics, etc. provided by one manufacturer), and 24% select open platform or end-to-end depending on customer requirements [ii]. For analytics, as the users commonly have an existing infrastructure, investing in a technology overhaul would be too expensive.
An open-platform analytics product, i.e., a camera-agnostic, VMS-agnostic, and computer-server-agnostic product, will add value to the existing infrastructure within a reasonable budget. Open platform also makes it easier and more cost-efficient to upgrade each component when necessary.
2. Ease of use
One of the main reasons and goals of applying AI to security is to help the user automate the process of watching hours and hours of surveillance videos, extract useful information and send alerts when necessary. In other words, AI should make it easier for the user to operate the security system. Thus, a good AI video analytics solution must be easy to set up and connect to the existing infrastructure, easy to use on a daily basis, and easy to scale with the expansion of the business. Let us examine each point in more details:
Easy to set up: a turn-key, plug-and-play solution helps save time and money. The system integrator can spend a couple of hours instead of days to help the customer set up. In both 2018 and 2020, the most common reason that integrators cited for choosing a solution is that “it just works” [iii][iv].
Easy to use: an intuitive, no-learning-curve user interface allows the customer to make the solution second-nature, maximize its utility and gets the highest return on investment. The best-case scenario is that everyone in the user’s organization, e.g., every police officer in a city police department, can use the solution on a daily basis, not limited to a technical staff with rigorous training.
Easy to scale: the solution must be designed to seamlessly scale in different ways: number of cameras (e.g., from a few to a few thousands); deployment locations (e.g., can we access data in our branch office in another city? how about another country?); types of device and deployment (e.g., body-worn cameras, in-vehicle, control center, cloud).
3. Robustness and reliable performance
Traditional VMD (video motion detection) -based analytics have many limitations and false alarms, so AI-based analytics were developed, primarily to identify different objects in the videos with high accuracy.
However, such accuracy must be achievable in different real-life environments. The best solution does not let low lighting, snow and rain, spider crawling in front of the cameras, etc., interfere with human intrusion detection or license plate recognition at night. In the case of temperature detection, users should be able to walk by the system at a normal pace without removing the mask to minimize disruption and maximize worker efficiency.
A more robust solution means less time and resource spent on false alarms.
A versatile, feature-rich, multi-functionality video analytics is the most effective choice for system integrators in the long term. Not limited to only object detection, AI can be trained to recognize higher levels of details (e.g., faces, age, gender, license plates), track objects (including people and vehicles), and detect certain behaviours (e.g., loitering, theft).
In other words, a more versatile analytics solution can recognize more types and behaviors of objects for more use cases. Most users have certain pain points today and are looking for only one or a few solutions. However, as the organization grows, new situations and requirements may arise, which call for new detection functions in video analytics. The costs and complexity will add up quickly if each solution has only one function. A few examples:
An LPR camera may be perfect for the need to record all license plates today, but if the police wants to find a black Toyota Prius with “A23” in the plate number, a solution that can detect the plate number, vehicle make and model will save much more time and effort.
Intrusion detection based on the ability to distinguish human from other moving objects (e.g., animals) is only the first step. What if the user needs an alert for people that enter a construction zone without a hard hat and safety vest? The answer is an AI solution that can grow its repertoire.
In the current pandemic, business must adopt temperature screening, distancing detection, occupancy detection, and mask detection; a solution that can provide all four analytics in one platform is clearly more useful than four individual solutions, not to mention whether the solution can be repurposed after the pandemic has been resolved.
5. Good support and good integration
One of the main reasons that system integrators might select an end-to-end solution instead of an open-platform one is technical support: more responsiveness and less finger-pointing.
In terms of responsiveness, good technical support is a part of the ease of use, where the system integrator and the user can rest assured that any question can be answer via email or a phone call to the manufacturer.
A more robust solution means less time and resource spent on false alarms
In terms of having a one-stop-shop solution to reduce finger-pointing, good support means the manufacturer can provide easy integration to 3rd-party systems, which includes API interface support. One example is access control. Video analytics is a great tool to enhance access security (e.g., face recognition to open doors for employees; LPR for parking management; weapon detection linked to automatic locked-down system), but only 24% of video surveillance systems today are integrated with access control [v].
Two of the main reasons: (1) integration is expensive, and (2) the systems are not compatible. Both hurdles can be overcome if the analytics solution bridges the gap between cameras and access control system via its API.
6. Low total cost of ownership
These six criteria help both the system integrator and the end-user save time, money, and effort
Cost is always a determining factor, especially in the SMB market [vi]. Customers’ expectations are high, and higher-resolution cameras are decreasing in price and increasing in numbers, which means more data to process than ever. A good analytic software solution is not only capable of many functions, its algorithms are efficient enough to fit more into the same server specs, and it does not require expensive cameras to have good accuracy, thereby increasing cost saving for the entire system.
In summary, these six criteria help both the system integrator and the end-user save time, money, and effort and get the most out of video analytics in the long run. A high-performance, versatile, turnkey solution is already a reality with today’s technology, and it will only continue to improve, so there is no reason to settle for less.
[i] Memoori, The Global Market for Intelligent Video Analytics 2018 to 2023, 2018
[ii] IPVM, Open vs. End-to-End System: Statistics 2019, November 11, 2019
[iii] John Honovich, IPVM, Favorite Video Analytic Manufacturers 2018, April 2, 2018
[iv] IPVM, Favorite Video Analytic Manufacturers 2020, February 25, 2020
[v] Brian Rhodes, IPVM, Access Control and Video Integration Statistics 2020, October 8, 2020.
[vi] Brian Karas, IPVM, Low Cost, Low End Competitors Challenge SMB Surveillance Market, September 1, 2017
AI has opened doors to many transformation opportunities and increasingly minimised many risks -- personal and economic -- that are alarming today. And illicit trade is one of those pains AI can offer a promising solution against.
Illicit trade is a serious threat and problem that affects governments and societies on every level. While governments lose financial funds in tax revenues, thriving businesses are losing potential customers, and customers are getting tricked into purchasing counterfeit, low-quality products. Transnational organized crime generates revenue of $2.2 trillion through transnational criminal organizations, complicit corrupt facilitators, and other threat areas.
The list of criminal activities is long and involves such horrific crimes as trafficking of narcotics, opioids, arms, humans, fake medicines and other counterfeit and pirated goods; illegal tobacco and alcohol; illegally-harvested timber, wildlife, and fish; pillaged oil, diamonds, gold, and other natural resources and precious minerals; stolen antiquities; and other contraband or valuable items sold across streets, social media, online marketplaces, and the dark web.
In short, illicit trade is a contributing cause to large-scale insecurity and instability across markets.
Here is where revolutionary AI-driven technologies come in, with their capability to fight illicit trade across markets. AI technologies in this specific application promise to help build safer and more secure communities in the future. There are a few ways that AI can support the ongoing fight against illicit trade on a global scale in a tangible way.
Transnational organized crime generates revenue of $2.2 trillion
For financial transactions at risk of fraud and money laundering, tracking has become an increasing headache if done manually. As a solution to this labour-intensive process, AI technology can be trained to follow all the compliance rules and process a large number of documents -- often billions of pages of documents -- in a short period of time.
Among these documents widely in circulation, most have an unstructured and inconsistent format -- from invoices to insurance documentation -- are a complex system to tackle; in this whirlwind of pages, the likelihood of non-compliant and misrepresented figures to go by unnoticed. But this is also where AI can thrive as solutions become a necessity, enhancing humans’ capabilities of identifying fraud risks in the early stages. Relying on natural language processing, the technology can begin interpreting the text from the scanned and digitised documents in order to process trade information at high speed. In this context, AI-powered solutions are capable of comparing, contrasting document information and identify anomalies worth looking into further.
By automating a large portion of the process, AI-driven technology allows the staff to focus on more pressing, high-involvement issues that require human judgement while saving time on the time-consuming manual work of analyzing documents by hand.
Identifying covert interactions between criminals
As criminal networks become increasingly intricate in their illegal operations, cutting-edge AI technology is crucial in the battle against it.
In 2019, EU launched a project with the goal to deploy advanced AI technology and robots to identify smuggling across the borders of Portugal, Estonia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. With the help of AI, it will be possible to send drones and autonomous vehicles to the most dubious border areas in order to enforce border control and detect smugglers quickly and efficiently.
Illicit trade triggers a chain reaction of negative impact across industries, governments and individuals
The issues the EU is trying to address through the project include drug and weapon smuggling, as well as human trafficking. From tight border control tracking crossings to communication monitoring to identify covert interactions between criminals on both sides of the border, the project is one among many that will expand the scope of solutions to the illicit trade problems today.
AI’s contribution is significant on many levels: from predicting crime and threats to safeguarding public health and safety (in face of human trafficking, counterfeit medicines, and toxic products), these are simply inklings of major shifts that AI technology promises for the future of the battle against illicit trade.
So why is fighting illicit trade so crucial?
Here are a few reasons why AI’s role in fighting this global issue is crucial. In a world where customers run the risk of being deceived and tricked into buying counterfeit products, companies who provide the original products suffer through the loss of revenue and market share. The same companies are also robbed of their intellectual property and proprietary data. Furthermore, people who are employed in these companies run the risk of losing their jobs as a result of revenue and market share loss. And finally, the last straw is the loss of brand integrity and reputation to the need to compete with low-quality, sometimes even dangerous counterfeit products.
Just like a domino effect, illicit trade triggers a chain reaction of negative impact across industries, governments and individuals. And it’s time for AI to step in and stop it.
Fingerprint identification had once been the most widespread biometric technology around the world. However, many argue that this technology has quite a lot of shortcomings.
For instance, even expensive fingerprint reading scanners have a hard time identifying dirty or wet fingers, plus, some people's fingerprints are unreadable. Furthermore, being vulnerable to the temperature and precipitation, such scanners consequently cannot be used outdoors. Plus, fingerprint reading scanners do not meet today’s demand for contactless biometric technology.
According to a new comprehensive report 'Global Contactless Biometrics Technology Market 2020-2026', "the Global Contactless Biometrics Technology Market size is expected to reach $18.6 billion by 2026, rising at a market growth of 19.1% CAGR during the forecast period. The development and acceptance of contactless biometric technologies have been driven by demand for faster and easier authentication processes and boosted by demand generated by the COVID-19 pandemic." Thus, it is contactless biometric recognition technologies that meet the latest requirements.
Until quite recently, face recognition technology was too expensive and poorly scalable. Nevertheless, a lot of factors have changed in recent years. To start with, facial biometric technologies have become more accessible for a large audience. Being affordable, reliable, and easy to use, facial recognition systems provide a high level of security. Furthermore, the facial recognition system allows you to instantly notify about facial identification cases.The market of biometric technology is continuously growing
It is also important to emphasize that the system itself automatically updates biometric data. Photos in biometric profiles can be updated directly from the video stream. The data is stored in long-term storage and does not take up much memory. The reasons mentioned above provide all business fields with a competitive advantage. Since the market of biometric technology is continuously growing, contactless identification will be highly demanded in the long run.
Impact of COVID-19
Plus, the contactless facial recognition system is especially relevant today due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now wearing a mask is required almost in all public places. That is why those systems aimed at people's safety monitoring had to promptly develop their solutions according to the new requirements. Developers of facial biometric solutions have encountered an issue of face detection in masks. It was essential to adapt the software to such changes, more specifically update the face recognition algorithm.
It may be illustrated by the case of RecFaces company. RecFaces developers have updated the facial biometric algorithm to ensure the most accurate recognition of people in masks that cover almost 50% of a person's face. Nonetheless, if the company forbids entering its territory without a mask, the system sends notifications (push or SMS notifications) to control people coming through the checkpoint with and without masks. The algorithm update has boosted face recognition accuracy and speed.
As a matter of fact, facial recognition algorithm has evolved around the world. According to the tests conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the top face identification algorithm of 2020 has an error rate of 0.08% compared to 4.1% for the best algorithm in 2014. Such improvements will reduce risks linked to misidentification, and expand the advantages that can come from proper use in the long run.Al and deep learning are key elements of the latest-generation algorithms
According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology report recognition errors were caused mainly by image quality variations like pose, illumination and expression. In 2018 the software was at least 20 times more accurate than it was in 2014 and in 2019 finding “close to perfect” performance by high-performing algorithms. Such improvement has resulted from the integration or replacement of previous approaches with those based on deep convolutional neural networks, operating even with poor quality images. Artificial Intelligence (Al) and, more specifically, deep learning are key elements of the latest-generation algorithms. Facial recognition is reaching that of automated fingerprint comparison, which has been considered as the gold standard for identification for a long time.
Therefore, there is no doubt that innovation drives the development of solutions, and biometric technologies also move with the times. The shift from fingerprints to facial recognition is a vivid example of such evolution!
Close collaboration with customers has been a hallmark of the physical security industry for decades. And yet, less ability to collaborate face-to-face to discuss customer needs has been a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“True innovation, which comes from close collaboration with customers, is more difficult to achieve remotely,” said Howard Johnson, President and COO, AMAG Technology, adding “Not being able to visit in person has not been helpful.
Kurt John, Chief Cyber Security Officer at Siemens USA, adds “We need to plan intentionally with a strategic approach for collaboration and innovation.”
Securing New Ground virtual conference
Security experts from three manufacturers reflected on the impact of COVID-19 on the physical security industry
Security experts from three manufacturers reflected on the impact of COVID-19 on the physical security industry at a ‘View from the Top’ session, during the Securing New Ground virtual conference, sponsored by the Security Industry Association. Their comments covered business practices during the pandemic and the outlook for technology innovation in response.
“We had to pivot quickly on business models and create a cross-portfolio team task force to discuss how we can leverage technologies to help customers [during the pandemic],” said John, adding “We are having outcome-based conversations with customers about their businesses and operations, and how we can combine short-term benefits with long-term growth and flexibility.”
But some of those conversations are happening from a distance.
Results-oriented approach in remote work environment
After the pandemic took hold, Siemens shifted rapidly to remote work and embraced other infrastructure changes. “We had to refocus and lead with empathy, flexibility and trust,” said John, adding “We gave our staff flexibility to set their hours and used a results-oriented approach.”
There is also a social element missing in the work-from-home model. “Virtual coffee machines do not replace being there in person,” said Pierre Racz, President and CEO, Genetec, adding “Small talk about the weather is important psychological elements.”
Positives in using multi-factor identity management
He predicts that, in the future, office hours may be reduced, but not floor space, with space needed for in-person collaboration and long-term social distancing. Employees will come to the office to do collaborative work, but can work from home to accomplish individual tasks that may be ‘deferred’ to after-hours, when the kids have been fed.
When the pandemic hit, Genetec had resumed 95% of their operations within 36 hours, thanks to their use of multi-factor identity management. They did not suffer from malware and phishing issues. “Multi-factor is really important so that well-engineered phishing campaigns are not successful,” said Pierre Racz.
Shift to ‘Zero Trust’ model
All three panelists noted a coming skills gap relating both cyber security and systems integration
Remote working technologies are shifting to a ‘zero trust’ model, in which access to systems is granted adaptively based on contextual awareness of authorized user patterns based on identity, time, and device posture.
For example, an office computer might have more leeway than a home computer and a computer at Starbucks would be even less trusted. The approach increases logical access security while providing users their choice of devices and apps.
Skills gap in cyber security and systems integration
A growing skills gap has continued throughout the pandemic. “Where we have vacancies, we have struggled to find candidates,” said Howard Johnson. All three panelists noted a coming skills gap relating both cyber security and systems integration. New technologies will clearly require new skills that may currently be rare in the workforce.
Cyber security will become even more important with growth in new technologies such as AI, machine learning, 5G and edge computing. A workforce development plan is needed to address the technologies and to enable companies to pivot to new business needs, said John.
Adoption of temperature sensing solutions
From a technology viewpoint, Johnson has seen attention shift to the reception area and portal, away from touch technologies and embracing temperature sensing as a new element. There have also been new requests for video and audio at the portal point, to create methods of access and egress that do not require security personnel to be present.
“Some customers are early adopters, and others are waiting for the market to mature before investing,” Howard Johnson said.
“Security companies have been faced with the need to respond rapidly to their customers’ needs during the pandemic, but without seeming like ‘ambulance chasers’,” said Pierre Racz. In the case of Genetec, the company offered new system capabilities, such as a 'contamination report', to existing customers for free.
Move to a hybrid and flexible work environment
In the new normal, the pendulum will swing back to the middle with more flexibility and a hybrid approach"
An immediate impact of the pandemic has been a reduction in required office space, as more employees have worked from home, raising questions about future demand for office space. “The pendulum tends to swing to the extremes,” said Kurt John, adding “In the new normal, the pendulum will swing back to the middle with more flexibility and a hybrid approach.”
“Users will be much more careful about letting people into their space, which requires more policies and procedures,” said Lorna Chandler, CEO, Security by Design, who participated in a panel at Securing New Ground about how the pandemic is changing commercial architecture and access control.
“Users should also be careful in the rush to secure premises from COVID-19 that they don’t violate HIPAA laws or create other potential liabilities,” adds Chandler.
Continuum of mechanical and electromechanical devices
Mark Duato, Executive Vice President, Aftermarket, ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions, said a “Continuum of mechanical and electromechanical devices is needed to protect premises and ensure convenient operation of an access control operation.”
“First and foremost, the immediate reaction to the impact of COVID-19 is to rush to educate and invest in technologies to increase the ability to analyze people,” said Duato, who also participated in the access control panel.
Shift to touchless, frictionless access control
“The move to touchless, frictionless access control “is really a collaboration of people, process and technology,” said Valerie Currin, President and Managing Director, Boon Edam Inc., adding “And all three elements need to come together. Touchless and frictionless have been in our market for decades, and they’re only going to become heightened and grow. We’re seeing our business pivot to serve markets we have not served in the past."
More and more data is a feature of new systems, but is only helpful when it is analyzed. “We all live in a world of data, or IoT and sensor technology,” said ASSA ABLOY’s Mark Duato, adding “But we don’t want to be crushed by data. Data is only helpful when you can reduce it to functional benefits that will help us innovate. We have to take the time to squeeze the value out of data.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a double challenge to physical security systems integrators. For one thing, they have had to adapt their own businesses to survive and thrive during the pandemic. On the other hand, they have also been faced with new challenges to serve their customer’s changing needs.
Global pandemic effects
One integrator company, North American Video (NAV) took the now-familiar steps most companies confronted to adapt their business model to operations in a global pandemic – they suspended all non-essential travel and face-to-face meetings.
At one point, NAV had a single employee in the New Jersey headquarters and another one in the Las Vegas office. The rest worked from home, with other offices opening as needed over the following weeks.
Another integrator, Convergint Technologies, was able to adapt its approach to the pandemic, location by location, across the United States. The integrator benefitted from its leadership structure, with local managers in various regions who are autonomous and could react to what was happening in each region.
“We saw a dip in April and May, but since then, we have seen business pick back up,” said Mike Mathes, Executive Vice President, Convergint Technologies. The Business of Integration virtual conference sponsored by the Security Industry Association (SIA)
“We already had tools and infrastructure deployed to support a virtual workforce. We had the software and the right equipment, and that has allowed us some flexibility to approach the repopulation of our offices in a gradual way.”
The impact of COVID-19 on integrators and their customers was the main topic of discussion at a session on The Business of Integration at the Securing New Ground virtual conference sponsored by the Security Industry Association (SIA).
North American Video also benefitted from having technical personnel spread across the United States. By assigning work duties on the basis of geography, they could travel by car with less risk than air travel. They also increased their use of remote monitoring and support to avoid extra visits to customer sites.
With 80% of the business in the gaming industry, North American Video saw a profound impact on their customers with the almost complete shutdown of casinos during the early days of the pandemic.
Even though gaming was impacted particularly badly by the virus, NAV stayed engaged working on four or five large casino construction projects that continued throughout the shutdown.
State legislatures will approve more casinos to help plug the holes in their budgets Other casinos took advantage of empty facilities to make needed upgrades without worrying about disrupting casino operations. “A lot of our strong, long-term clients have sought to perform upgrades during the downtime, including needed service and maintenance,” said Jason Oakley, President and CEO, North American Video (NAV). “When gaming was closed, you were allowed in the facilities to work.”
Oakley also sees long-term optimism for the casino business, which will offer a means for state and local governments to make up revenue shortfalls. “State legislatures will approve more casinos to help plug the holes in their budgets,” Oakley predicted.
Demands for technology
Oakley and NAV have seen an evolution in customer demands for technology in light of the pandemic. The trick is to differentiate between demand that is an immediate reaction versus technology trends that have more staying power.
Although customers were keen on purchasing thermal cameras, for example, NAV did the research and recommended against the use of the technology to some of their customers.
Artificial Intelligence for social distancing
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) for a variety of applications seems to have more staying power. “One area of interest at a high level is modification and repurposing of AI for face mask detection, social distancing and people tracing, including integration into existing cameras,” said Oakley.
“If the hospitality industry comes to terms with the new normal with smaller restaurant capacities, there may be an opportunity to use AI for social distancing.”
Contact tracing and visitor management technology
Mathes of Convergint sees a massive change as customers move toward managed services, accelerating the change with new use cases.
We have an entire group that focuses on new solutions and what customers are looking for"
As offices seek to repopulate when the pandemic subsides, customers are looking for new uses of existing technologies, added Mathes. “We have an entire group that focuses on new solutions and what customers are looking for,” he said.
“They need to understand who is in the building and where they go in the building. If we know someone was only in the cafeteria from 10 to 11 a.m., we can know who was in the cafeteria at that time.”
Opportunity for vertical markets to move forward
He predicts technologies for contact tracing and visitor management tracking who’s in the building and where will be around for a long time to come.
"Various customers and vertical markets are looking at the slowdown differently," said Mathes. "For example, while airlines have slowed down, the view from the airport market is more long-term."
“They have 15-year plans, and [the slowdown] is an opportunity to move forward. In the technology space, data centers are expanding. “We try to focus our resources on areas where the money is being spent,” said Mathes. “Our K-12 group has seen an 80% growth over 2019. The money is tied to bonds, so there hasn’t been a slowdown relative to revenue.” He said Convergint is cautiously optimist about 2021.”
Combining artificial intelligence (AI) with cloud video creates systems that are smarter, safer and more cost-effective. Furthermore, adding AI capabilities can widen the advantage gap of cloud video systems compared to on-premise systems, especially for cost-conscious end users.
“We strongly believe the total cost of ownership (TCO) for cloud systems is more affordable,” says Ken Francis, President of cloud video surveillance company Eagle Eye Networks. “And introducing really powerful AI will expand the cost differences.”
Combining AI and cloud video
To finance realization of their vision to combine AI and cloud video, Eagle Eye Networks has raised $40 million of Series E funding from venture capital firm Accel. The money will allow Eagle Eye to continue its steep growth curve and leverage AI on its true cloud platform to reshape video surveillance. “The investment will make video surveillance smarter and safer for end users,” says Francis.
In effect, end users have maximum flexibility to manage and analyze their video data however they wish
The system sends captured video to the cloud, where a variety of AI or video analytics systems can extract valuable data from the captured video. Eagle Eye offers an application programing interface (API) to enable integration of best-in-breed third-party AI and analytics systems to leverage the video. In effect, end users have maximum flexibility to manage and analyze their video data however they wish.
Delivering lower costs
In addition to offering integration with third-party systems, Eagle Eye is investing in its own AI development, and hiring additional development and customer service personnel. As new technologies become part of the Eagle Eye platform, customers benefit from lower costs because of economies of scale. Keeping the emphasis on development of cloud systems, Eagle Eye also offers customers maximum flexibility in choosing their cameras.
Eagle Eye’s on-premise cyber-hardened “bridge” can connect to almost any camera from thousands of manufacturers, including those connecting with HD-over-coax. The COVID-19 pandemic has expanded the need for end users to view their premises remotely, and in the process has highlighted shortcomings of their existing video systems. As a result, video manufacturers - including Eagle Eye Networks - are seeing a surge in end users updating their systems.
Cloud video surveillance
Given the costs of installing and maintaining hard drives for local storage (and additional challenges during a pandemic lockdown), more end users are opting to use cloud systems. In effect, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating installation of cloud video surveillance. “Our industry is the most resilient in the world,” says Francis.
Eagle Eye Networks was on track to double their growth in the first quarter, and then COVID slowed everything down
As a whole, 2020 has been a successful year for the cloud system provider. Eagle Eye Networks was on track to double their growth in the first quarter, and then the COVID lockdown slowed everything down. During the second quarter, their revenue from setup fees and appliances fell by 35% or so, but subscriptions increased slightly including customers looking to keep watch over their shuttered businesses.
Temperature alerting solutions
The third quarter saw another big uptick in business; August and September were booming, and not just from projects that were delayed from Q2. There has also been a spike in customers looking to apply temperature alerting solutions, says Francis. In uncertain economic times, cloud systems require around 40% less up-front costs, and provide flexibility to eliminate the system (and the expense) at any time without losing a large financial investment.
Cloud video has reached a tipping point in the United States, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, among other locales, but the technology lags in some other geographic areas such as France. Driving adoption is availability and cost of sufficient upload speed and bandwidth. In addition to Eagle Eye’s branded growth, the company also provides the OEM engine behind a half dozen or so cloud systems offered by other manufacturers.
Backing multi-site enteprises
About eight years old, Eagle Eye Networks has focused squarely on the small- and middle-sized business (SMB) market, especially multi-site businesses such as retail, banking and healthcare. They also work with local governments and K-12 schools. Moving forward, the company will seek to expand more into multi-site enterprise customers, some of which have 1,000 locations around the world and need to store their video locally to meet regulatory requirements.
Multi-site businesses, benefit from the cloud by eliminating the need for local IT equipment and expensive staff
Multi-site businesses, especially, benefit from the cloud by eliminating the need for local IT equipment and expensive staff. As Internet connectivity becomes less expensive than installing new cable infrastructure, cloud systems will become more attractive to large campus environments such as colleges and airports, says Francis. The advent of 5G connectivity will also be a plus. All Eagle Eye products are NDAA compliant.
Premium support services
Further expanding its services, Eagle Eye Networks is poised to launch “Premium Support Services,” in which the cloud provider’s employees will proactively monitor and service customer sites for a minimum additional monthly fee. The cloud structure enables most problems to be addressed and solved remotely without needing to send personnel to a site.
The new investment from Accel, a funding partner of top-tier tech companies such as Facebook, Dropbox and Spotify, is Accel's first investment in the security industry. In addition to investing in AI, Eagle Eye also plans to leverage the funding to expand into new regional markets with new data centers and additional staff in business development, sales and support roles.
Calipsa, a provider of deep-learning powered video analytics for false alarm reduction, announces that its false alarm filtering platform is being used by Richmond, British Columbia-based Radius Security.
Radius Security is the security systems and monitoring branch of Vancouver Fire and Security and the first Canadian monitoring center to adopt the cloud-based Calipsa technology. Calipsa’s false alarm reduction technology uses artificial intelligence with deep learning technology to filter out false alarms with a 99.5% accuracy rate.
Recognizing genuine alarms
Calipsa’s technology recognizes genuine alarms caused by human or vehicle movement, while filtering out notifications resulting from nuisance factors such as animals, lighting, weather or foliage.
With our Redhanded Human Detection solution, our focus is on catching criminals in the act"
Aleksei Bulavko, research, development and production manager at Radius Security, said the Calipsa technology would further enhance his company’s reputation as a top-tier monitoring station. “With our Redhanded Human Detection solution, our focus is on catching criminals in the act,” he said. “Calipsa enables us to do this at a greater capacity, meaning an even faster police response time for our customers.”
False alarm filtering platform
Brian Baker, vice president, Americas, Calipsa, said the false alarm filtering platform will enhance Radius Security operators' efficiency by enabling them to concentrate on genuine alarms. “Also, Calipsa’s cloud-based technology requires Radius Security to install no hardware devices,” he said.
“Initial installation and future upgrades are quickly and remotely integrated with station operating software and customer cameras without incurring on-site installation costs.” Calipsa’s false alarm reduction software is easily scalable, making it ideal for any growing monitoring station and customer business. A platform dashboard enables station managers to monitor the software’s performance, including detecting idle cameras that may need replacement or repositioning.
One of the largest public train operators in the United Kingdom, Southeastern Rail Network, now relies on a smart video security solution from Bosch Security Systems to secure twelve train depots, including five unmanned locations, against theft and intrusion.
The fully digital video surveillance system presents a significant upgrade to the British train operating company, which provides train services between London, Kent and parts of East Sussex and transports 6, 40,000 passengers each weekday on its 392 trains.
built-in Intelligent Video Analytics
Powered by cameras featuring built-in Intelligent Video Analytics, the solution was installed and configured to the specific requirements at the train depots by Bosch integration partner, Taylor Technology Systems Ltd., over the course of six months.
Video security system relies on machine learning algorithms to automatically sound alarms on security threats
Fully operational at all twelve locations, the video security system relies on machine learning algorithms to automatically sound alarms on security threats, such as intruders and perimeter breaches. Beyond security applications, the system also tracks important metadata on the arrival times of trains, while also monitoring deliveries at the train depots, among other AI-assisted functions that it carries out.
IP-based cameras with Starlight technology
The cameras portfolio installed across the twelve depots replaces an analog legacy solution with IP-based security cameras from the Flexidome, Dinion, and Autodome product lines of Bosch Security Systems. These smart cameras include Bosch’s Intelligent Video Analytics capabilities as a built-in feature, ensuring that the most relevant video data can be precisely applied to the requirements of the train depots.
Because night-time security and surveillance is critical, especially at the five unmanned train depots on the network, the Bosch cameras rely on Starlight technology to provide full intelligent analytics at night and in low light levels. The Starlight technology supports color filtering down to a light level of only 0.0077 lux, so as to deliver detailed monochrome images where other cameras show no image at all, and guard against intruders and unauthorized entry around the clock.
Featuring digital ‘trip wire’ to counter false alarms
Highly resilient against false alarms, the smart cameras can detect movement at the perimeters of the train depots using a digital ‘trip wire’. In case of a security breach, the system alerts Southeastern Rail Network’s watch personnel, who can view live camera footage, as well as recordings of incidents for heightened situational awareness and total perimeter security.
Instead of relying on the pre-configured capabilities, such as vehicle tracking and more, security personnel can also use the built-in camera trainer function to ‘teach’ new functionality, such as detecting certain types of objects or situations.
Remote video recordings storage with Divar recorders
Recordings from the depots are safely stored and managed remotely with Divar recorders in encrypted format
As an integral part of this end-to-end Bosch security solution, recordings from the depots are safely stored and managed remotely, using Divar all-in-one recorders in encrypted format.
When looking at the bigger picture, the video security solution adopted by Southeastern Rail Network is part of an industry-wide evolution from cameras as mere video capturing devices to smart sensors capable of collecting rich metadata.
Insights beyond security
This metadata unlocks unique insights beyond security, including video analytics at the train depots that support applications such as monitoring deliveries to onsite buildings, providing access to personnel and logging the arrival and departure times of incoming trains.
The system thereby not only ensures that all train depots remain fully guarded and protected 24/7 against criminal access, but also provides a data-based foundation to keep efficiency gains and cost savings on track in the long run.
IDEMIA, the globally renowned company in Augmented Identity, moved to its new headquarters in September 2018, in an 11-floor building located in La Défense business district, in Paris, France. The building brings together 1,300 employees out of total worldwide staff strength of close to 15,000 people.
Biometric access control
Due to the sensitive nature of its activities in this building, and given its position on the biometrics market, IDEMIA decided to deploy biometric access control throughout the entire building, a first in this business district and a fantastic opportunity to showcase IDEMIA’s flagship products in real life.
Most employees get to the office via nearby metro and tram stations, and therefore, arrive within the same 30-minute window. This creates the need for a high throughput access control solution, for entrance and exit peak-times. Access to the six elevators serving the eleven floors is given after a first control at speed gates in the lobby area.
MorphoWave Compact devices deployed
IDEMIA opted for MorphoWave Compact associated to Digicon’s dFlow speedgates
IDEMIA opted for MorphoWave Compact associated to Digicon’s dFlow speedgates. MorphoWave Compact devices were mounted on a special stylish stainless steel pedestal. Four dFlow lanes were installed, with readers for entry and exit.
MorphoWave Compact is IDEMIA’s flagship biometric device for physical access control. It performs a 3D scan and verification of four fingerprints in less than one second, in a quick and easy touchless ‘wave’ gesture within the reader.
These features make the product particularly well-suited for such high-traffic locations, with the capability to authenticate up to 50 people per minute, thanks to advanced algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence.
With dFlow speedgates, Digicon introduces a new vision for access control gates, one with continuous flows and normally open doors. dFlow enables free flow, ushering new levels of comfort and security.
Frictionless biometric solution
The installation is highly acclaimed by employees who appreciate the frictionless use of MorphoWave Compact and its natural ‘wave’ hand gesture, as well as Digicon’s ‘always open’ dFlow concept, that enables them to get to the elevators in only a few seconds.
Of course, IDEMIA was well-placed for this biometric employee access control deployment, being the provider of MorphoWave Compact. The employees were immediately convinced by the frictionless and hygienic experience it offered them. The team in charge of the security of the building found the MorphoWave Compact and dFlow combination more secure and less intrusive than other access control systems.
Most importantly, what is true for a company like IDEMIA will also be true for any company in need of a high level of security delivered in a frictionless and convenient way, especially in high-traffic locations like in an HQ lobby.
Sharps Pixley is a British bullion house, formed in 1957 when two historic private bullion partnerships merged. In 2015 Sharps Pixley decided to put physical gold back on the streets of London via a flagship high street presence in St James’s Street, just off Piccadilly. In this very special shop, not only can customers buy products but they can also store them on-location in new, state-of-the-art safe deposit box facilities. Sharps Pixley needed to upgrade their ageing control system for their safe deposit box service.
Old biometric system
They were facing a number of challenges with their old biometric system which was substantially impacting customer experience and satisfaction:
Capturing fingerprints during the enrollment phase, especially with older clients, would typically take several attempts.
During the verification process, the shop operator faced similar issues thus requiring multiple system restarts to get the device working correctly.
The software was unstable and would often crash.
New additional functionalities were also required to be able to offer the correct secure services to the clients:
Two person authentication to access a single safety deposit box.
Manual authentication in addition to biometric identification.
Replacing the key fob with a biometric solution.
Access control technology
Arana Security was contracted to help. Operating in the UK and Middle East, Arana Security specialises in biometric solutions, access control technology, surveillance and monitoring systems. They set about to design a new application for Sharps Pixley, to enhance the security, authentication and usability of the system - adding new next-level security clearance and a fresh and improved enrollment of clients’ biometrics.
For the important biometric part, Arana Security and Sharp Pixley selected IDEMIA’s MorphoWave Compact contactless fingerprint device to enable fast, smooth and accurate verification of clients. MorphoWave Compact performs a 3D scan and verification of four fingerprints in less than one second, in a quick, easy and hygienic touchless hand wave gesture. Thanks to advanced algorithms based on Artificial Intelligence, the accuracy is very high, even with ageing fingers.
Contactless biometric devices
The system provided has improved the client’s service and provided a more robust, secure and reliable solution
The implementation of MorphoWave Compact contactless biometric devices meant less time wasted at the desk waiting for confirmation of IDs and less stress on both the clients and employees. The system provided has significantly improved the client’s service and provided a more robust, secure and reliable solution.
Sharps Pixley’s comments: “We approached the Arana team with a particularly unique set of problems to resolve including a security system that used hardware and software originally designed for a totally different purpose. I knew what I wanted but was not sure if it was possible. I was essentially an explorer deep in the jungle with a perfect map in my own head, but with no tools or machinery to hack my way out."
Provides palpable reassurance
"Arana did more than just clear a path for me to get to my destination - they paved the road for me afterwards. MorphoWave Compact device from IDEMIA is the icing on the cake that makes this all possible. Used properly it is refreshingly simple and intuitive. The team here and our clientele no longer struggle to manage or use our access system. The device itself provides palpable reassurance in the technology and that has true value”, says Bruno Garcia, Sharps Pixley.
Artificial intelligence is more than just the latest buzzword in the security marketplace. In some cases, smarter computer technologies like AI and machine learning (ML) are helping to transform how security operates. AI is also expanding the industry’s use cases, sometimes even beyond the historic province of the security realm. It turns out that AI is also a timely tool in the middle of a global pandemic. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How is artificial intelligence (AI) changing the security market?
Facial recognition is the latest technology to be targeted because of concerns about privacy. If such concerns cloud the public perception, they can be harmful to technology markets. Whether the concerns are genuine or based on misinformation is often beside the point; the practical damage has already been done. But beyond market demand, what is the impact of privacy concerns on technology innovation? We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: Are privacy concerns stifling innovation in security and related markets?
New software developments have dominated technology innovation in the physical security industry for years, making more things possible to the benefit of integrators and end users. However, hardware is another important piece of the puzzle. No matter how great your software, the system doesn’t perform unless the hardware works too. In our enthusiasm over software developments, let’s not overlook the latest in the hardware world. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How do hardware improvements drive better physical security?