Cannabis and Security
Genetec Inc., a foremost technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations, and business intelligence solutions, announced that it is broadening its portfolio of FICAM-(Federal Identity, Credential, and Access Management) certified options for its Security Center Synergis™ access control system with the support of Veridt Stealth access control readers. Traditionally, the options for Federal Government organizations to replace a non-FICAM compliant system or to secure a new site were restricted to a limited choice of proprietary solutions. Because Security Center Synergis is a FICAM-approved open platform access control system, customers can choose from a range of non-proprietary choices to efficiently validate Personal Identity Verification (PIV, PIV-I, CAC, and TWIC) for federal employees and contractors. Cost-effective solutions “By bringing these new non-proprietary options to market with partners such as Veridt, HID, and Mercury, we are offering government customers a choice of simple-to-deploy and cost-effective solutions so that they can easily comply with FICAM requirements while leveraging the most robust and extensible software solution on the market,” said Justin Himelberger, Enterprise Systems Business Development Manager, Federal & DOD at Genetec. Access management solution Veridt Stealth Series™ readers provide a full complement of capability enabling identity and access management solutions for traditional and trusted PACS using PIV, TWIC, and CAC based credentials. This family of readers encompasses both biometric and non-biometric configurations while offering fixed, wireless, and mobile platforms. Veridt readers are well known for their compact design and operating capability in the harshest environments. Identifying federal standards “We are pleased to work with Genetec to offer our joint US-Federal market customers FICAM-compliant solutions that will enable them to comply with the most stringent access and identity federal standards as well as the flexibility to maintain and protect their investment for years to come,” said Bryce Lamers, Director of Sales and Marketing at Veridt.
IDIS America has published an educational eBook - Understanding Video Tech Requirements for Cannabis Retail and Production - following its success in the sector over the last two years. The eBook is part of the company’s commitment to support its systems integrator partners secure new growth sectors. This free resource will help them understand the risk and threat profile, as well as the security requirements placed upon this fast-growing and highly compliance-driven market. According to a January 2021 Nasdaq report, “In a year that saw record-breaking volatility, cannabis stocks were standout performers. The rapidly growing marijuana industry is beginning to mature in North America, and investors are finally getting a glimpse of what the green rush is capable of. As we move into a new year, growth shows little signs of slowing. In 2021, the 10 fastest-growing marijuana stocks are expected to deliver sales growth ranging from 60% on the low end to as much as 176% on the high end.” Varying security requirements The eBook outlines the security requirements that are being levied on cultivation sites, medicinal dispensaries, etc. New growth opportunities are especially ripe for systems integrators because a lack of regard to security measures can result in cannabis dispensaries and growers being slapped with penalties ranging from business shutdowns, revoked marijuana licenses, and criminal charges. The eBook outlines the varying security requirements that are being levied on cultivation sites, medicinal dispensaries, and retail outlets, helping make sense of some of the disparities from state to state. Cannabis operators are already faced with high set up costs, continued investment in research and development, as well as the need to educate the public and promote the benefits of marijuana-based products that are funded by significant sales and marketing budgets. Complex risk profile The eBook gives security professionals insight into how to recommend video technology that offers immediate upfront savings, technology that not only meets regulatory compliance but also helps operators realize an immediate return on investment by deterring and reducing crime and shrinkage at both cultivation sites and retail environments. Jason Burrows, Sales Director for Western U.S. who is leading sales in the sector at IDIS America, notes, “Cannabis operators are challenged by a complex risk profile and regulatory compliance while still competing with organized gangs offering cheaper illegal products. In addition, the current lack of federal regulation means that retailers are unable to take payments through card payments that use banking systems." High profile robberies "To give customers easy access to cash, most dispensaries have installed ATMs. But this also makes them a target for crime. And while high profile robberies make headlines and damage customer confidence, it’s the insider threat that is most impacting the bottom line.” To this point, it’s estimated that 90% of financial loss is due to employees stealing cash, product, and sweethearting in stores. Couple this with the fact that part-time staff is often transient and underpaid, making theft of product from cultivation sites equally prevalent. Cybersecurity for medical dispensaries Recreational customers can include high profile officials and VIPs, meaning leaked footage puts them at risk" The eBook also highlights the importance of cybersecurity for medical dispensaries that need to meet the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requirements. Additionally, they need to ensure secure access, transmission, and storage of data to protect the privacy of all customers. “It’s important to remember that in some states, and indeed many parts of the world, cannabis even for medicinal purposes isn’t legal,” Burrows adds. “Recreational customers can include high profile officials and VIPs, meaning leaked footage puts them at risk of public embarrassment, reputational damage, or even extortion should criminals gain access to video data.” Intelligent video analytics Understanding the threats outlined in the IDIS eBook makes it easier for system integrators to build compelling business cases based on risk profiles across single and multiple sites. Attractive security options including video surveillance will be those that are affordable with the ability to scale up as operators add new cultivation sites or dispensaries without exponentially increasing licensing fees. They will also want to make futureproof investments providing the flexibility to add value through point of sale (PoS) integration, inventory and stock control functionality, and intelligent video analytics (IVA). Cannabis dispensaries, like most stores, will increasingly need insight into customer behavior that will enable them to turn browsing into purchasing. Automated audio warnings They can be configured to notify staff to social distancing, and non-mask wearing violations This will be especially important as they expand product ranges and compete with more e-commerce vendors that have sprung up during the coronavirus pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has also seen sales of recreational cannabis soar. This has challenged dispensaries to meet with local compliance, including adherence with occupancy and density limits and enforcement of face coverings. This provides systems integrators with an immediate opportunity to present dispensaries with cost-effective AI solutions that can automate tasks such as counting customers in and out with a simple traffic light system. They can also be configured to notify staff to social distancing, bottlenecks, and non-mask wearing violations using push notifications and automated audio warnings to avoid putting frontline staff at risk. Improve staff utilization Real-time dashboards can support staff to adapt operations on the ground, while comprehensive reporting helps dispensary managers not only meet compliance but also understand people flow, the cause of pinch points, and improve staff utilization and store layouts to prevent the spread of infection without impacting the customer experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live our lives and the way we do business. Restrictions have been implemented to protect our health, affecting us as individuals and the operations of our healthcare systems, companies, organizations, and schools, as well as public and private institutions. Many new behaviors, such as physical distancing, virtual meetings, and improved hygiene measures, will most likely linger as we gradually get back to normal. With smart solutions, we can help each other stick to the new routines. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way one lives their lives and the way one does business. Restrictions have been implemented to protect ones health, affecting one as individuals and the operations of the healthcare systems, companies, organisations and schools, as well as public and private institutions. Many new behaviours, such as physical distancing, virtual meetings and improved hygiene measures, will most likely linger as one gradually gets back to normal. With smart solutions, one can help each other stick to the new routines. Axis tried and tested solutions are designed to increase security and maximise business performance and operational efficiency. In addition, they offer improved safety – never more important than in times of a pandemic. They allow us to carry on with ones daily business while protecting ourselves and the people around us. Solutions range from touchless access to buildings, public address systems for voice messages and reminders, remote communication to keep physical distance to crowd and occupancy management to monitor and control the flow of people. They also include live streaming and broadcasting to keep operations running, as well as remote services to manage sites from a distance - solutions that support safe behaviours over time. Touchless access control With AXIS Visitor Access there is no need to open doors, visitors will get a QR code instead of an access card to be allowed into a building A system for touchless access control makes it easier to comply with physical distancing and increased hygiene requirements. With AXIS Visitor Access there is no need to physically open doors to trusted visitors or buzz them in – visitors will get a QR code instead of an access card to be allowed into a building. They can be granted access at specific times, and should someone change the schedule or cancel, it is possible to revoke or adjust their access as needed. This way, one is always completely in control, knowing when the visitor has arrived and left the building. Public address systems With public address systems, you can manage messages and updates in environments like schools, retail stores, hotels, public buildings and city environments. These include scheduled regular reminders, event-triggered announcements or live voice messages when a situation arises that requires immediate action. It is, for example, possible to run a recurrent message in scheduled intervals to remind people to wash their hands and use hand sanitizers as well as to keep physical distance or to stay at home when they are feeling sick. Event-triggered announcements can be used to tell people that an entrance now has become an exit and that they need to enter through another door, or to inform them that the maximum number of people allowed in a certain area has been reached and that they cannot enter right now. Live voice messages are used when a situation arises that requires immediate action, for example, to remind people to keep physical distance when a room or site is getting too crowded. Remote communication To meet the requirements of physical distancing, it is possible to communicate remotely and get a visual status, grant access from a distance and make live announcements. Axis network door stations let you speak with visitors face-to-face from remote locations, offering secure, hassle-free access to premises for employees and known visitors. Door stations can be used as information points or as emergency phones within a larger area like a city, park, or a school or as a flexible alternative to traditional front desk receptions. They also allow hospital staff to monitor and communicate with patients without having to enter the room. This means fewer changes into protective clothing and reduced use of protective equipment for the staff – without compromising patient safety. Have a look at Axis cooperation with the Nemours Children's Hospital in Orlando, Florida, to see how it works. Crowd control AXIS People Counter counts the number of people who enter and exit a building or site, and when they do it By not allowing too many people in one place at the same time, it is easier to follow physical distancing restrictions. Systems for people counting, crowd control and occupancy estimation help manage visitor traffic. For example, by setting thresholds it’s possible to handle how many people are allowed in a certain space at a time. They can also be used to trigger actions, such as cleaning, stopping the flow of people, calling for extra staff to manage queues etc. AXIS People Counter counts the number of people who enter and exit a building or site, and when they do it. By analysing the numbers, it is easy to plan accordingly, make informed decisions, take immediate action, improve services and operational efficiency. It can also be used to trigger an action – for example, to set up a number-based alert to trigger the desired action when a certain number of people have entered the premises. Occupancy estimation AXIS Occupancy Estimator provides real-time data on how many people are present in a building or site. It is possible to synchronise multiple units within a building and add additional cameras anytime. Remote configuration, management and monitoring make it easy to view statistics from several cameras and locations at the same time, while AXIS Queue Monitor is a cost-efficient application for queue management and analysis. It provides real-time data that can help identify where bottlenecks occur, understands service-cycle timing and improves visitors' overall experience in stores, hotels, public buildings, banks etc. Live streaming and broadcasting Always a practical solution, but especially useful when there are travel and meeting restrictions in force, live streaming and broadcasting make it possible to share information with a broader audience in auditoriums, classrooms and places of worship, for example, while adhering to requirements for physical distancing. And since it minimises unnecessary travel, this is also environmentally sustainable. Remote services Axis Secure Remote Access simplifies the installation of remote access to surveillance systems Remote services make it easier to follow physical distancing restrictions and avoid unnecessary visits to a site, using remote connection, planning and device management. Security installers and system administrators can avoid a physical visit to the site but still successfully design a surveillance system, connect to remote cameras, manage devices, upgrade firmware or renew certificates. AXIS Device Manager is a highly effective on-premise tool that promotes physical distancing by allowing remote monitoring of all devices. Security installers and system administrators can manage all major installation, security and maintenance tasks remotely. It is compatible with most Axis network cameras, access control and audio devices, and allows for management of multiple sites from one central location, including updates of product firmware and certificate management and renewal. The Axis Secure Remote Access is a service that significantly simplifies the installation of remote access to surveillance systems. It is a technology that makes it possible for a smartphone or PC client to access Axis network cameras when the client and the cameras are located on different local networks. Connecting to remote cameras can be a challenge, especially when the cameras are located behind routers or firewalls. Once enabled it is automatically configured and removes the need for manual port-forwarding and router configuration. Impact for the short- and long-term Axis offers innovative and available solutions that increase security and maximise business performance and operational efficiency, and, above all, allow one to carry on with ones daily business while protecting oneselves and the people around – today and tomorrow.
The events of 2020, combined with technological advances and the adoption of cloud and artificial intelligence for video surveillance, will make 2021 a transformational year for the industry. Eagle Eye Networks, the front-runner in smart cloud video security, shared the trends that will have the biggest impact on video surveillance, security, and the use of analytics to drive business intelligence and improvement in 2021. Customers are asking for the cloud; Advanced analytics will transform video surveillance systems into even more valuable business solutions; Compliance requirements are constantly evolving; IT departments are engaging with, and in many cases owning video surveillance; and, Customers are expecting systems to be open and connected. Customers demand video surveillance systems “A number of factors are driving the video surveillance trends in 2021,” said Hans Kahler, Vice President of Operations at Eagle Eye Networks. “Innovation from companies like Eagle Eye Networks and our partners is leading and meeting the demands of customers for their video surveillance systems to provide business insights in addition to security.” Delivering business value Hans Kahler added, “Combine the promise of AI and cloud video surveillance with the volatility, instability, and remote work environment of 2020 and we have an environment where people are looking for their video surveillance and security systems to deliver more business value than ever before.” “The acceleration of cloud adoption and use of analytics to provide improved security and drive business improvement will make 2021 a transformative year for the industry.” Video surveillance and security trends Customers are Asking for Cloud The shift to the benefits of the cloud in the video surveillance space is powerful and undeniable, including major cost savings, heightened data security, remote access, and maintenance, flexible storage and retention, scalability, increased stability, and disaster recovery. Analytics and AI Turn Security Systems into Business Solutions Video surveillance systems are not just for security anymore, they’re also a valuable tool for business intelligence (BI). While AI has been talked about for several years, its deployment has lagged. This year, we’ll see AI move from the lab to practical adoption. Compliance Requirements are Constantly Evolving As video surveillance becomes a more widely adopted tool across industries and continents and more industries are using video for compliance purposes, regulating its use is becoming more prevalent. IT Departments More Engaged and Owning Video Surveillance IT leaders have not only gotten involved in the video management system, they’re actually owning it. As part of their IT strategy, corporations are leveraging video for business process improvement while reducing unnecessary operational overhead. Demand for Open, Integrated Systems An open and connected ecosystem makes it possible for businesses and developers to integrate any number of applications on a single video management system (VMS) platform. The platform handles all the heavy lifting of interfacing with the cameras, recording video, securely transmitting and storing video to the cloud, and making the video available for use in the integrated applications. The days of vendors locking users into their cameras or touting hybrid systems (which require upgrades to vendor hardware to get new features) will not be accepted.
The stigma of the cannabis industry still hangs in the balance Final installment of 4-part series:The legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington, along with it medical use in about 23 other states, has created an industry made up mostly of small mom-and-pop operators. “While the revenues in this industry are big, the number of people involved is pretty small,”said one security industry insider. That’s about to change as Wall Street and some big money funds have taken notice of the industry’s potential. For example, Tom Bollich, a co-founder of the social gaming company Zynga, became CEO of Surna, which develops climate cooling systems for sale to cannabis-growing facilities and greenhouses. When Dan Williams, CEO of Canna Security America (CSA) was getting ready to launch an armed security guard company called The Cloverton Group, he sought money to complete Series A financing at Boston’s ArcView Investor Network. “We’re seeing a lot more third party investor money coming in from accredited investors – millions of dollars,” says Williams. “People say that the cannabis industry is a very big industry and it is in terms of overall revenue and the amount of money coming into it. It’s not big in terms of how many people are involved. From that standpoint, it’s fairly small.” Cannabis dispensaries and the entire industry is about to get some much needed infusions of venture capital. The result will likely be bigger, better financed chains of stores and growers and more money to pay for security services. Industry experts also see changes coming as federal authorities pull back from their opposition to marijuana legalization and banks get used to both financing and providing ordinary business services to vendors. Security providers that entered the test markets in states like Colorado and Washington havealso developed a greater understanding of the particular needs of the cannabis industry “Banks are scared of the law as it stands,” says attorney Robert McVay, a partner with the Canna Law Group. “They can bank the industry if they follow certain criteria. The department of treasury has an agency within it that governs anti-money laundering, and they put out some guidance for banks with marijuana customers.” These complex regulations have largely discouraged banks from serving the industry. As they adapt to the regulatory structure and find ways of generating revenue from customers, they will likely be more willing to offer services. That will also be good news for security companies. Putting dispensaries on a firmer financial footing means they will be better able to pay the bills. Security providers that entered the test markets in states like Colorado and Washington have also developed a greater understanding of the particular needs of the industry. They also have mastered the sometimes complex regulations surrounding security created by states. That experience gives companies a leg up on the growing market as well as companies that have hesitated to jump in, according to Ralston. A number of security operators have opted out of doing business with dispensaries, even in states that permit medical or recreational use of the drug. Among them is the nation's largest, ADT Security. It announced last year that it won't "sell security services to businesses engaged in the marijuana industry” because it’s still illegal at the federal level. “ADT is more concerned about their government contracts than picking up this business,” says Roger Ralston, chairman and CEO of DirectView. “Their pulling out creates an opportunity for us.” Those opportunities are likely to grow along with the industry. As time passes and marijuana in all its forms starts to be viewed more like alcohol, and less an illegal drug, it will be harder for security companies to avoid. [After the recent election, recreational sale of marijuana will become legal in Alaska and Oregon in 2015, and in the District of Columbia (subject to Congressional review).] See related articles: Part 3: Cannabis and Security: Finding opportunities for dealers amid the growing market for legalised marijuanaPart 2: Cannabis and Security: Technology solutions provide protection for emerging legalised marijuana industryPart 1: Cannabis and Security: The security challenges of legalised marijuana sales in the United States
Engaging with the cannabis industry for security companies has become debatable as it is yet to legalize nationally Third instalment of 4-part series: One question that comes up when talking about security for the cannabis industry is “why aren’t there more companies getting into the business?” While a number of small operators and larger companies have begun offering their services to marijuana retailers, some very big players have largely passed on the opportunity. According to a report by CNNMoney, security giant ADT won't "sell security services to businesses engaged in the marijuana industry because it is still illegal under federal law." It has also dropped those clients it already had, according to reports. The reluctance of some companies to serve an industry that many consider a bit shady has opened the market to companies without such qualms. “We’ve gotten in on the ground floor here, and we’re definitely dedicating resources to growing this vertical,” asserts Roger Ralston, chairman and CEO of DirectView, a New York-based security company. The company has a wide variety of clients and doesn’t specialize in cannabis security as have some companies, but Ralston sees considerable upside in getting in early and gaining market share. The security firms that are refusing to work with the industry are doing so for a variety of reasons. Either they don’t want to offend other customers who may be opposed to legalization or in some cases owners or management are personally opposed to the industry, according to Ralston. “There is also a big stigma there that the industry is made up of a bunch of hippies who have dreadlocks and won’t pay their bills and don’t really know what they are doing,” says Dan Williams, president and CEO of Denver-based Canna Security America. “We found that’s not the case.” Cannabis industry observers say companies need the services of experienced security companies. "There is also a big stigma there that the industry is made up of a bunch of hippies who have dreadlocks and won’t pay their bills and don’t really know what they are doing" “We haven’t really developed best practices within the industry,” admits Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. “We do have members who are security companies that specialize in cannabis clients.” West says a wide mix of companies are now working with cannabis clients, ranging from newly minted security companies to established players with clients in many different industry verticals. “We have certainly seen a lot of the folks who have gotten into the industry on the security side and are now expanding their services to specialize in the issues cannabis businesses have to be particularly concerned about,” says West. As with many other retailers, the basic concerns revolve around protecting product and cash. The difference is that the unique nature of the industry has amplified those issues to an even higher level. Consider all that cash. Most banks have shied away from offering banking services to the industry either out of concern for the air of illegality that still surrounds the business or the high degree of regulations required by the federal government of banks who offer dispensaries and growers business accounts. The result is an all-cash business that can be a tempting target for thieves and also present concerns for employee-fueled shrinkage. “Well, they tend to keep their monies in safes,” says Robert McVay, a partner with Seattle-based Canna Law Group. “They keep the money either on site, or preferably find an offsite location to store it. They’re using an armored car to deliver it to that offsite location.” In Washington state, where McVay practices, only a handful of financial institutions – most of them credit unions and small community banks – are willing to take on cannabis sellers. Some store owners may conceal the true nature of their operation from the bank, but risk having their accounts closed when the bank conducts an audit. Holding a large amount of cash creates a number of financial difficulties, including paying employees and other vendors along with taxes. “They’re all doable, but it’s hard running as an all cash business,” adds McVay. A lack of banking services has created greater demand for physical security services including guards and armored cars. Canna Security America recently started providing both of those products to cannabis sellers, according to Williams. “A lot of dispensaries are contracting with security companies that develop specific plans for transporting their cash to particular locations and managing that process,” says West. “So the cash issue is a big one.” See related articles: Part 2: Cannabis and Security: Technology solutions provide protection for emerging legalised marijuana industryPart 1: Cannabis and Security: The security challenges of legalised marijuana sales in the United States
The growing market for legal marijuana (now available in some form in 24 states) has also generated a demand for security products and service to protect the industry from illegal activities. “For the most part, companies are looking for what we call the traditional surveillance systems whereby you have visible deterrence,” says Monty Henry, president of DPL-Surveillance-Equipment.com LLC in Ventura, Calif. Many companies are seeking more sophisticated systems that can help them deal with employee theft, as well as monitoring for outside break-ins, according to Henry. “We put more emphasis on the (security) systems that you don’t see,” he explains. “If your employees are running off with cash or merchandise, then you need to focus on (preventing) inside jobs. Many of our clients come to us because they want to know what is going on with internal theft and shrinkage. They want us to give them the tools they need to know what is going on internally." Along with cameras, Henry’s company also provides GPS devices to track the movement of company vehicles. He has also found a growing demand for services such as sweeps to detect listening devices placed within the store or facility by competitors. “Like any business that makes money, competitors usually want to find out how you make money,” says Henry. “They want to know ‘why are you profitable compared to the other guy?’” The prime advantage of working with established security companies is the opportunity to buy a complete package of security equipment along with the services needed to maintain and monitor them. Each state with a cannabis industry has drafted strict guidelines for minimum security for dispensaries. These regulations demand commercial-grade II non-residential locks for all entry ways, professional grade cameras with minimum resolution and pixel levels and a host of other products such as panic alarms. Colorado’s security manual specifies, “All entrances and exits to the facility shall be recorded from both indoor and outdoor vantage points, and capable of clearly identifying the individual entering or exiting the facility.” Each state with a cannabis industry has drafted strict guidelines for minimum security for dispensaries “The goal is make sure they don’t just buy something off the shelf at Costco,” says Dan Williams, CEO of Canna Security America (CSA). DirectView recently entered the Colorado market earlier this year by winning a trio of contracts. These deals involved the installation of a comprehensive package of security and surveillance equipment at each facility. Among the products were IP megapixel security cameras, NVRs and intrusion alarm systems. The three deals generated $140,000 in revenue, according to a company press release. The company has also expanded beyond the strictly security field to include installation of temperature and light monitoring devices for cannabis grow houses, according to president and CEO Roger Ralston. When Canna Security America got into the market, it was strictly a product and service provider. Founded in 2009, the operation is now a $4.2 million company. “We put in alarm systems, cameras and door access controls,” says Williams. “Those were our primary services apart from monitoring and providing the offsite video backup.” Last year the company formed a subsidiary to provide armed security guards and physical transport of product and cash. Named the Cloverton Group (a play on the famous Pinkerton’s security), this division has recruited ex-military personnel including veterans of private security contractors such as Blackwater. “We’re trying to position ourselves as a one stop shop for the cannabis industry,” says Williams. With stores holding large amounts of cash, the need for armed guards has become an obvious growth area for companies. "Those companies that can offer a complete solution are likely to garner more business and more market share," he adds.
The cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. Video and access control as a service provides a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving industry, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success. This article will look back at our articles in 2020 about the growing popularity of cloud solutions for physical security, with links to the original content. Product offering While most people agree on the definition of “cloud,” there are several points about the terminology that may require clarification. Private cloud or public cloud? VSaaS or unlimited storage for video? Beyond the basics, the terms become foggy, reflecting a variety of notions about how cloud services fit into the broader physical security marketplace. As cloud usage becomes more popular, it’s important that marketers be precise in their terminology, and that integrators and end users be diligent in understanding the specifics of available product offerings. Different meanings “The cloud has many different possible connotations, depending on the context,” says Yu Hao Lin of Rasilient Systems, one of our Expert Roundtable panelists. For example, corporate CIOs will more likely understand the cloud to be a private cloud platform. As such, the public cloud is a ubiquitous term while the private cloud is more specified. Cloud system security Security of cloud systems is an ongoing discussion in the industry, especially how cloud system cybersecurity compares to that of on-premise systems. Our Expert Panel Roundtable weighed in on this question. “While both kinds of security systems serve their purpose, it can be argued that the streamlined updates that are commonplace with cloud-based solutions may put them at more of an advantage when it comes to data security,” says panelist Eric Widlitz of Vanderbilt Industries. “Also, most reputable cloud-based solutions are running in secured data centers by companies such as Google, Microsoft, or Amazon, so you also get to take advantage of all the security layers they have protecting your data.” Hybrid cloud video security solution A growing list of cloud players reinforces the importance of the cloud in the future of physical security There are several relatively new companies pushing cloud in a big way. Verkada is fast-growing company currently currently focusing to deliver an all-in-one hybrid cloud video security solution powered by edge processing inside the camera. The growing list of cloud players reinforces the importance of the cloud in the future of physical security. Combining AI and cloud video One company investing in the cloud is Eagle Eye Networks, which has raised $40 million of Series E funding from venture capital firm Accel to finance the realization of their vision to combine AI and cloud video. 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 Ken Francis, President. Eagle Eye offers an application programming interface (API) to enable the integration of best-in-breed third-party AI and analytics systems to leverage the video. Eagle Eye is also investing in its own AI development and hiring additional development and customer service personnel. Hirsch Velocity Cirrus and MobilisID Identiv introduced the Hirsch Velocity Cirrus cloud-based Access Control as a Service (ACaaS) solution and MobilisID smart mobile physical access control solution. Hirsch Velocity Cirrus is an optimal solution for both end-users and integrators, with lower upfront costs, reduced maintenance, enhanced portability, and the future-proof assurance of automatic security updates and feature sets. MobilisID is a smart mobile physical access control solution that uses Bluetooth and capacitive technologies to allow frictionless access to a controlled environment without the need to present a credential. Advantages and disadvantages Advantages of cloud-based physical security technologies are many, when supporting staffThe advantages of cloud-based physical security technologies are many, and have wide-ranging applications for all areas of the transport sector; across stations, transport hubs, and vehicles. When used to support staff and complement existing processes, such systems can prove invaluable for transport professionals in helping to create a safer working environment, promoting confidence among personnel and passengers, and assuring passengers who are fearful about the current pandemic that all possible precautions are being taken during their journey. 5G supporting cloud-based applications 5G is the first communication environment that is cloud-native. As such, 5G networks will support cloud-based applications in a way that 4G, 3G and 2G can’t support. For instance, sensors (e.g. in a manufacturing plant) often have small internal storage and rely on synced devices (e.g. gateways) to interact with the cloud. Soon, these sensors will be able to work more efficiently, interacting with the cloud via the ultra-low latency and the edge computing capabilities supported by 5G networks. Increasing use of IoT Unlike current IoT services that make performance trade-offs to get the best from these existing wireless technologies, 5G networks will be designed to bring the high levels of performance needed for the increasing use of IoT. It will enable a perceived fully ubiquitous connected world, with the boosted capacity offered by 5G networks transferring exponentially more data at a much quicker rate.
Virtualization offers multiple benefits to video surveillance systems, but the technology has been slow to adapt to the needs of video. However, the tide is turning. At ISC West, BCDVideo introduced a hyperconverged infrastructure tailored to video surveillance (HCI-VS) that answers the demand for higher and more efficient operating performance while also lowering the total cost of ownership for the integrator and end user. Hyperconverged Infrastructure Solution “ISC West attendees were able to get their hands on our hyperconverged solution and immediately see how easy it is to use and the benefit of adding virtual machines,” says BCDVideo’s Chief Technology Officer Tom Larson. Security integrators were impressed that BCDVideo continues to adapt technologies" Virtualization was just one of the innovations in BCDVideo’s demo room. Many integrators and end users found their way to the conference room, located not far from the exhibition hall, and BCDVideo was also featured at partners’ booths on the show floor. “Security integrators were impressed that BCDVideo continues to adapt technologies to the video surveillance space,” says Larson. “BCDVideo ‘gets’ them, but often IT does not. The HCI solution is purpose-built for video, and it works.” Server, Storage And Networking BCDVideo’s HCI-VS is a virtualized, video-optimized and highly available infrastructure. It combines the server, storage and networking into one platform. Powered by Scale Computing’s HC3 software, BCDVideo’s HCI is a scalable, node/cluster-based infrastructure that enables integrators to virtualize their physical security appliances and software, meaning fewer devices need to be deployed and maintained. Physical security integrators can create an infrastructure that provides high availability to the VMS" “More importantly, our HCI makes it easier than ever before both to quickly create and deploy virtual machines, and to manage video surveillance infrastructure,” says Larson. Some of the unique needs that HCI-VS serves are those of multi-faceted projects involving video recording, access control, building management, etc. With HCI-VS, separate appliances are not needed for each of these tasks, which enables better use of hardware, reduces overall rack space and power/cooling costs. Essentially, this solution eliminates the “pizza box” model and serves the need in the marketplace where always-on video and high availability are necessary, and especially in situations where loss of video data cannot be tolerated, says Larson. Simplified graphical user interface (GUI) makes it easy for integrators to implement systems that use hyperconverged technology Tolerant To Hardware Failure “By leveraging the concepts of hyperconvergence, physical security integrators can create an infrastructure that provides high availability to the video management system,” he says. “When components within a video management system are tolerant to hardware failure, it results in less loss of data and continual access to the data from the failed component. You always have access to the video data even if the hard drive fails.” Defining Virtualization Virtualization is the act of creating virtual copies of physical resources, including, but not limited to, compute, memory, storage, and network resources. This is achieved by employing software to manage all physical resources, known as a hypervisor. As servers become more powerful, the discrepancy between software and hardware capabilities result in inefficient use of resources. “By partitioning the hardware resources into smaller virtual environments, we can create multiple virtualized servers that share a common set of resources,” says Larson. “By sharing this common set of resources, the virtualized servers utilize the resources more efficiently with less waste.” Integrators and end users flocked to BCDVideo's demo room at ISC West to try out the new hyperconverged solution Education And Physical Security Learning about the benefits of why to virtualize and applications will be a first step” A challenge to greater adoption of virtualization in the physical security industry is education. “Some security integrators will need to step out of their comfort zone,” says Larson. “Virtualization for video has been slow to adapt, and other solutions are complicated. IT technology applications traditionally have not worked in the space either. Learning about the benefits of why to virtualize and applications will be a first step.” HCI-VS In New Verticals While HCI-VS is vertical-market-agnostic, the solution is suitable for school districts looking to consolidate their hardware, for hospitals and the healthcare industry in general, for the rapidly growing cannabis industry, any mass transit system, as well as for Fortune 1000 companies, to name a few. “Our virtualized solution especially appeals to these verticals because of the number of cameras, the need for 24/7/365 video recording and extensive data retention requirements, and where loss of video data cannot be afforded,” says Larson. Purpose-Built Solutions BCDVideo’s HCI-VS is the latest example of products BCDVideo is creating for the physical security industry. “We purpose-build and engineer our solutions specifically for video surveillance with the ability to scale-out as needed,” says Kelly Kellen, BCDVideo’s Director of Marketing. “We engineer new products to address problems in the marketplace. Our CTO is really looking at the market and studying the security integrator’s pain points. Then we engineer solutions to best serve them.”
Despite any negativity you may hear, Hikvision is optimistic about their role in the U.S. market. “We demonstrate that we can be trusted, and that we should be trusted,” says Jeffrey He, Vice President, Hikvision, and President, Hikvision USA and Hikvision Canada. “We have sound products and technology. Our mission in the security industry is to protect, not to harm. Otherwise why would we be in this industry?” Hikvision is committed to investing in the North American market, where there was ‘positive year-over-year growth’ in 2018 and ‘strong’ sales in Q1 this year, according to Eric Chen, General Manager of Hikvision USA and Hikvision Canada. HikCentral Central Management Software The company’s U.S. focus is shifting from products to solution sales, with emphasis on ‘mid-market’ small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The largest verticals are retail and education, and there are emerging opportunities in the cannabis market. Launch of the HikCentral central management software (CMS) is a component of the company’s solution-sales approach. Launch of the HikCentral central management software is a component of the company’s solution-sales approachMr. He acknowledges the growth of ‘anti-China sentiment’ in the United States and other parts of the world, which he says will impact Hikvision’s operations globally. Specifically, in the U.S., ‘political’ elements impacting Hikvision’s business include ongoing tariffs and a trade war, Congressional calls for export controls and sanctions, and a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that bans use of Chinese video surveillance products in government applications. Specifying Cybersecurity Initiatives At ISC West In spite of it all, Hikvision’s message at the recent ISC West show was overwhelmingly positive, and the company also detailed cybersecurity initiatives they say put the Chinese company ahead of many competitors in the industry. Eric Chen came in as General Manager last year; he previously spent a decade working for Hikvision in China. Chen reports solid 18.8% year-over-year growth for Hikvision globally, totaling $7.4 billion last year. He notes the company saw 40% compounded growth between 2010 and 2018. Globally, there are 34,000 employees, 16,000 of whom are research and development (R&D) engineers. Hikvision’s expanding global footprint includes 46 international branches. There are three manufacturing facilities in China, in addition to one in India. HikRewards Program For HDP Customers At ISC West, Hikvision’s theme was ‘Focus on Your Success’, including introduction of the HikRewards program that provides rebates to HDP (Hikvision Dealer Partner) customers, their core dealer base. A new online Hikvision Knowledge Library for HDPs provides training and reference materials dealers can share with employees. A new tech center, introduced in December, provides data sheets, product information, and support resources. There is also a North American R&D team headquartered in Montreal. At the industry’s largest U.S. trade show, Hikvision unveiled a brand-new booth with plenty of open space and video walls A customer satisfaction survey launched in March provided good feedback from customers. “They know who to call if they have a problem,” says Chen. “We want to focus on making customers successful.” The success theme also extends to Hikvision employees, who are featured in videos describing their jobs and enthusiasm for Hikvision. There are some 400 employees in the North American operation. At the industry’s largest U.S. trade show, Hikvision unveiled a brand-new booth with plenty of open space and video walls. Half of the booth was focused on solutions, especially retail and education, and also gaming and commercial real estate. Security Products Displayed At ISC West A variety of devices, including access control, intercoms and cameras, are integrated using the HikCentral CMS systemProduct highlights at the ISC West booth included the 32-megapixel PanoVu multi-sensor dome camera, whose 180-degree panoramic image was displayed on a 65-inch monitor. A variety of devices, including access control, intercoms and cameras, are integrated using the HikCentral CMS system. Some products new to the North American market, including intercoms, turnstiles, emergency call stations, and under-vehicle inspection, were displayed. Hikvision’s deep learning products are moving into their second generation, including the ability to obscure private information on videos to comply with GDPR/privacy requirements (previewed at ISC West and released later in the year). Algorithm components of Hikvision’s DeepInMind artificial intelligence are being adapted into a platform called AcuSense for value-priced products, which can recognize a human or vehicle and help filter out false alarms. Also being adapted to products with lower price points are the ColorVu system that incorporates visible light LEDs to provide color images at night, and DarkFighter low-light capabilities. Penetration Testing Of Cameras And NVRs As a global manufacturer, Hikvision faces a high level of scrutiny about cybersecurity, which Mr. Chen says is “a good thing for us,” enabling them to highlight the steps they are taking to improve cybersecurity. Chuck Davis, Director of Cybersecurity, outlined specific milestones Hikvision has achieved in its quest to provide world-class cybersecurity. Chuck Davis, Director of Cybersecurity, outlined specific milestones Hikvision has achieved in its quest to provide world-class cybersecurity In September 2017, Hikvision began working with third parties (including Rapid7) for penetration testing (ethical hacking) of its cameras and recorders. That same month, Hikvision set up a Cybersecurity Hotline open to anyone with questions about cybersecurity, including white-hat hackers and researchers. Even before that, Hikvision had an open-door policy on cybersecurity and a program for patching and disclosing responsibility. In February of 2018, Hikvision released a 40-page Cybersecurity White Paper describing cybersecurity testing and processes built into the software development lifecycle. That same month, Hikvision launched an Opened Source Code Transparency Center and offered an open invitation to anyone wanting to inspect Hikvision’s source code and let them know of any vulnerabilities. FIPS 140-2 Certification By NIST Hikvision has also become a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) Numbering Authority (CNA), which ensures their patching and incident reporting programs have been reviewed by a CNA partnering company. Hikvision's encryption module (HIKSSL) received Level 1 FIPS 140-2 certification to be used in both IP cameras and NVRsIn August, Hikvision received Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 140-2 certification, a U.S. government encryption standard created by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Hikvision's encryption module (HIKSSL) received Level 1 FIPS 140-2 certification to be used in both IP cameras and NVR products. Davis said the FIPS 140-2 certification process began before the NDAA ban on use of Hikvision products in the U.S. government, and in any case is a standard that ensures a high level of encryption. “We wanted to make sure we had the same level of technology,” he says. “It was not to win over the government.” Making Industry More Cybersecure “We are really trying to have third parties test and certify our equipment,” adds Davis. “We are trying to be open and transparent. Education and awareness are key.” “We need the trust of customers in the security community,” says Mr. He. “No matter what, we have to follow the highest standards to offset the concerns and accusations.” In April 2018, Davis became a member of the Security Industry Association (SIA) Cybersecurity Advisory Board to help make the entire industry more cybersecure through education, awareness and standards. Hikvision has also joined the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST at first.org), a global cybersecurity incident response consortium that cooperatively handles computer security incidents and promotes incident prevention programs. Davis has presented Cybersecurity Road Shows in 22 cities in the United States and Canada, and also in Australia and New Zealand. The 90-minute presentations focus on education awareness around cybersecurity and seek to get attendees engaged and aware about cybersecurity in business and also in their homes.
Singapore’s Changi Airport Group, one of the most innovative and technologically advanced airports in the world, has selected Genetec, Inc., a foremost technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations, and business intelligence solutions to enhance and upgrade its security system. The three-year project, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2023, will see Genetec™ Security Center, a unified security platform that blends IP security systems within a single intuitive interface, underpinning the airport’s security operations, with a specific focus on the video surveillance system across its terminals. The contract was awarded to Genetec following a rigorous competitive tender process. “Increasingly, our airport customers are understanding the deep business insights Security Center is capable of delivering, its ability to inform and create value for multiple areas of an airport business operation and improve the overall passenger and employee experience,” said Giovanni Taccori, Commercial Lead Transportation, APAC at Genetec, Inc.
In the fast-growing legalized cannabis industry, extensive security measures are a necessity. VIVOTEK, the pioneering IP surveillance provider has collaborated with Existo, a collective of cannabis industry professionals, to establish an IP surveillance solution for a cannabis cultivation facility in Northern Michigan, the United States. The results not only exceeded the state of Michigan’s expectations to allow for licensing at the state level but are also user friendly and add a level of comfort concerning building security to the owners. Why VIVOTEK? The state of Michigan has placed stringed demands on-camera coverage and recording quality for this industry, so a camera system is essential for the licensing of this business. Challenges in the project were related to distances within the building, coverage in unique spaces, and varying climates and light exposure within indoor grow rooms. Existo chose VIVOTEK and a total of 70 of its indoor and outdoor security solutions, network video recorders (NVR), and video management software (VMS) to monitor the cannabis cultivation facility. CC9381-HV Panoramic network camera In the grow room, which includes a long hallway with tight spaces and climate concerns, 7 VIVOTEK 180-degree panoramic network cameras, the CC9381-HV were installed to combat high contrast lighting environments and armed with WDR Pro function to ensure 24/7 surveillance coverage. SD9364-EHL Speed dome camera For exterior corners, 4 VIVOTEK SD9364-EHL speed dome cameras were utilized. The camera is adopted VIVOTEK's Smart IR II technology which is specifically designed to provide a superb low light image in the most challenging situations. FE9181-H Fisheye and FD9380-H Fixed dome cameras Due to its high-quality imagery at a cost-effective perspective, 14 FE9181-H fisheye cameras and 40 FD9380-H cameras were installed throughout the rest of the indoor and outdoor facility. ND9541 NVR and apps VIVOCloud and iViewer app provide users with an open, flexible, and intelligent NVR for video surveillance applications The facility is also utilizing VIVOTEK’s 16-CH ND9541 Linux-based embedded standalone NVR to set up and manage advanced IP surveillance systems with ease. It also supports remote and mobile access, via VIVOCloud and iViewer app, for both iOS and Android handheld devices, providing users with an open, flexible, and intelligent NVR for seamless use in small to medium-sized video surveillance applications. Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) acclamation In the end, the outcome not only met but surpassed all expectations and goals. The system was complimented as the highest quality in terms of coverage and camera quality by the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) enforcement agent during the state licensing walkthrough. Surpass expectations “The flexibility we gain from the quality and variety that VIVOTEK offers pays off tenfold in our business because there is no standard building design for cannabis businesses,” said Chris Hernandez, Existo director of operations. “Unique buildings with unique layouts but with highly standardized expectations put forward by state licensing expectations can be a stumbling block for many cannabis businesses. Our ability to utilize VIVOTEK’s solutions allows us to create systems that exceed state expectations while still being used to achieve safety goals set internally by our customers.”
Peake ReLeaf is a local and independently-owned medical cannabis dispensary facility, located in Rockville, Maryland. Through its recently-opened, 4,200-square-foot facility, the company provides a wide range of cannabis and cannabis-infused products to patients with a valid medical marijuana certification, to treat a variety of qualifying conditions such as anorexia, cachexia, chronic or severe pain, glaucoma, PTSD, seizures, severe nausea, and severe or persistent muscle spasms. Installing an efficient video surveillance system While Peake ReLeaf faces the ordinary challenges of any small business as a cannabis dispensary, it is also subject to a number of stringent Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) regulations, which include strict requirements for video surveillance that dictate video quality, system performance, storage and other factors. After much research, they decided to contract Skyline Technology Solutions for their surveillance system because of their transparency, robust IT background and previous experience with medical marijuana facilities. Wisenet QND-6010R dome cameras for indoor surveillance Skyline recommended that PeakReleaf install cameras from Hanwha Techwin America Based on the regulatory needs and many conversations about how they wanted their business to operate, Skyline recommended that PeakReleaf install cameras from Hanwha Techwin America to secure both the interior and exterior of the facility. For indoor use, Skyline installed Wisenet QND-6010R vandal-resistant dome cameras that offer picture clarity so facial features could be easily identified. Wisenet QNV-7080R cameras for outdoor surveillance For outdoor use, Peak ReLeaf chose the Wisenet QNV-7080R cameras that provide 4-megapixel image quality with true wide dynamic range (WDR), motion detection, defocus detection and tampering detection at an affordable price. Both camera models, Wisenet QND-6010R and Wisenet QNV-7080R cameras come integrated with WiseStream II compression technology that can reduce bandwidth by 50%. WiseStream II compression technology WiseStream II compression technology dynamically controls encoding, balancing quality and compression according to movement in the image resulting far less bandwidth and storage requirements. This allowed Peake ReLeaf to meet the MMCC storage requirements in a cost-effective manner. Since the dispensary’s opening, Hanwha cameras have continuously provided the performance and capabilities to ensure Peake ReLeaf remains in compliance with the strict MMCC requirements, even as they continue to evolve moving forward. Cameras featuring onboard video analytics The Hanwha cameras have made it easier to identify and view video thanks to their ability to flag video based on motion or other factors using onboard video analytics. “Hanwha cameras offer us the video quality we need, and the cameras’ video analytic and other capabilities provide us with the flexibility that will allow us to quickly adapt to the inevitable regulatory changes that will come as we navigate this very new industry in Maryland,” said Nate Miller, one of the founding members and Peake ReLeaf’s Executive Vice President.
3xLOGIC, Inc., a provider of integrated, intelligent security solutions, announced Harvest Health & Recreation Inc. (“Harvest”) continues to roll out 3xLOGIC infinias access control to its growing number of locations across the United States. Dem360, LLC has been an integral partner for this project, providing their managed IT, network engineering, and security system design expertise. Headquartered in Tempe, Arizona, Harvest is a multi-state cannabis operator (MSO) and vertically integrated cannabis company. Subject to completion of announced acquisitions, Harvest will have one of the larger footprints in the US. Since 2011, the company has been committed to expanding its Harvest House of Cannabis retail and wholesale presence throughout the U.S., acquiring, creating, and growing brands for patients and consumers nationally and continuing toward a path of profitable growth. Access control for employees “We want to be able to control who goes where, regardless of the facility,” explained T.J. Buskirk, National Security Director for Harvest Health & Recreation. “For example, why might an employee be in an area they shouldn’t? Our access control allows us to track who, when, and where. I like the fact that the system grants access to someone for a particular door, and then after hours, that access is shut down—that level of control.” Eventually, Harvest’s Security Operations Center will have full visibility across every facility 24/7/365" Gary House is an IT Architect with Dem360, who has been on the project working closely with Harvest since the beginning. “Harvest is pioneering this industry and looking to scale into an enterprise environment. Harvest has been studying and standardising on various technologies. I did my own research of access control systems, and I love the infinias IDC controllers.” Harvest has standardized on 3xLOGIC infinias access control and has separate video surveillance and alarm systems. Buskirk again, “In this business, we have to be sensitive to all the different state rules and regulations. I’ve got to have system interoperability from state to state, as well as personnel trackability and clear audit trails for the regulators.” Aim to migrate to scalable data center Dem360 has installed infinias access control in 30 facilities, controlling over 400 doors. The next big milestones in this system rollout is to convert all current facilities to the infinias Corporate Edition, install Corporate going forward, and migrate all managed doors to a scalable data center with a single database built on redundant, fault-tolerant architecture. It’s meeting all our needs, and we are able to manage our facilities remotely" Harvest has also adopted the badge making feature within the infinias platform to print and manage company ID cards. With a growth trajectory like Harvest’s, reliability and scalability are key. Eventually, Harvest’s Security Operations Center will have full visibility across every facility 24/7/365. Accordance with state guidelines “We have a great working relationship with Gary and Dem360, and that makes everybody’s job a lot easier,” said Buskirk. “We have an incredible magnitude of the different directions we can go with this business. However, at the end of the day, we have to design our access management for our employees, patients, and customers. Whatever the facility and the need, we must ensure highly productive workflows, while staying firmly within each state’s guidelines.” “Infinias gives us what we need without impediments. We’ve never had to ‘fork lift’ anything. This system adapts and it gives us flexibility and scalability, we have one door at this facility and hundreds of doors at another. From the beginning, the infinias system has been able to react to the Harvest environment of change and fast-paced growth. We can manage access for different groups in completely different ways, and I love that I can turn off a badge at a moment’s notice.” “The system is very user-friendly, that was one of our key demands. It’s meeting all our needs, and we are able to manage our facilities remotely. Its robust features and benefits meet the varying demands of the dynamic, high-growth Harvest environment and our vision for the future,” concluded Buskirk.
Round table discussion
The new year 2019 is brimming with possibilities for the physical security industry, but will those possibilities prove to be good news or bad news for our market? Inevitably, it will be a combination of good and bad, but how much good and how bad? We wanted to check the temperature of the industry as it relates to expectations for the new year, so we asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: How optimistic is your outlook for the physical security industry in 2019? Why?