Our Expert Panel Roundtable is an opinionated group. However, for a variety of reasons, we are sometimes guilty of not publishing their musings in a timely manner. At the end of 2020, we came across several interesting comments among those that were previously unpublished. Following is a catch-all collection of those responses, addressing some of the most current and important issues in the security marketplace in 2021.
Gradiant leads a project to develop a technology capable of verifying the identity of citizens in the online processes of public services in a secure, easy-to-use, and private way. To do so, the alliance will work on the concept of Electronic Identity (eID), the way users can identify themselves through the network and will use Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain technologies to ensure the process. This is IMPULSE (Identity Management in PUbLic SErvices), an initiative with a budget of around...
Technological Innovations Group (TIG), the technology sales agency in the EMEA region offering integrated automation and control solutions for smart spaces, is pleased to announce that it is now able to offer Power Distribution Units (PDU) from GUDE that integrate with Crestron Home systems. This means users can now remotely control and monitor smart space devices in residential settings. As an official partner of Crestron, GUDE has developed and now offers drivers that allow their IP power str...
In light of the current global events, most of the human workforce is confined to their homes and business owners are actively seeking new ways to guard their personal and commercial assets 24x7. Enterprises of all sizes need smart and scalable security solutions to protect their physical capital and properties automated drones to guard assets Using automated drones to guard assets round the clock has become a necessity, and businesses are reaping great value by adopting autonomous drones for...
A new initiative designed to deliver unprecedented levels of support for CCTV and security consultants has been unveiled by Dahua Technology UK & Ireland. The Key Consultants Programme for the UK and Irish markets will see Dahua harness its technical and product expertise to keep consultants up-to-date with developments in security technology, including regular and informative product and technology updates, training and CPD opportunities, and help with specifying the best equipment for the...
Urban populations are expanding rapidly around the globe, with an expected growth of 1.56 billion by 2040. As the number of people living and working in cities continues to grow, the ability to keep everyone safe is an increasing challenge. However, technology companies are developing products and solutions with these futuristic cities in mind, as the reality is closer than you may think. Solutions that can help to watch over public places and share data insights with city workers and officials...
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.
Technology has always stepped in to shorten distances between individuals. Whether through using electronic communications, such as email or video messaging, it has united people across different geographical locations and circumstances. Recent events have presented a unique challenge, where the ability to observe people and events in person has been restricted. This has had a knock-on effect on a variety of sectors, including healthcare, sports, and education. Broadcast cameras have offered a much-needed solution, by providing an objective method of viewing and recording events remotely. This article will outline the different ways that broadcast cameras can assist in doing this across a range of use cases. Teaching the teachers Remote learning has become a firm fixture of education systems due to current restrictions around social distancing. However, even before the pandemic, education authorities were looking for ways to improve how teachers are trained. Lesson observation has been a firm staple of the process, but the presence of an assessor in the classroom could affect behaviors, leading to a result that was non-representative. Solutions that can monitor classrooms remotely prove more effective, especially if they provide the option for playback. The University of Regensburg faced this challenge with lesson observation and chose a system using broadcast cameras to either livestream the images or record them for later viewing. As a result, observers could view the footage remotely in real-time and share insights directly with the teacher to help improve their training. Training in healthcare Broadcast cameras could be used to live stream doctor’s rounds to remote locations, without risking the patient or students In addition to teacher training, medical universities have had to adapt the way they deliver the curriculum to support remote learning for medical students. In the past, students would typically follow doctors on rounds to discuss patient conditions, treatment, and potential outcomes. This was an essential part of their education, as it demonstrated practical and real-life applications of the theory they were taught. However, this could not happen in the same capacity due to social distancing and hygiene restrictions. In this case, broadcast cameras could be used to live stream doctor’s rounds to remote locations, without increased risk to the patient or students. Remote patient monitoring Within the healthcare facility, patient monitoring is a critical part of providing high standards of care and treatment. Patient conditions can change quickly and monitoring enables medical professionals to intervene, potentially improving outcomes. In situations where personal protective equipment conservation and minimizing viral spread is a top priority, broadcast cameras can be used to remotely monitor patient vitals. Broadcast cameras from Axis offer extreme PTZ/resolution capabilities which are essential for patient monitoring situations. There is also an associated cost-benefit, as the investment needed for the hardware is minimal compared to other medical supplies or resources. Sports analysis software As proven by the two previous sector use cases, observation is a key part of assessing performance. For any sports discipline – whether it’s individual or group activities, improving performance relies on the ability to accurately analyze past games and training sessions. Using this information, decisions can be made to tweak and update the approach, informed by solid feedback. This was particularly true for track and field athletes, who constantly analyzed their movements to achieve results. Historically, they recorded their motion using handheld cameras, but this method came with limitations, such as filming angles, starting and stopping recordings, and changing memory cards. Working with Spiideo, an Axis partner providing sports analysis software, teams were able to use broadcast cameras mounted in the stadium to record training sessions and analyze them afterward on a mobile device. Security and entertainment in stadiums Cameras continuously monitor areas within the venue for intruders, mischievous, and illegal behavior Safety and comfort are key to enjoying sporting activities and security at stadiums is a high priority. In fact, it is a legal requirement for venues to have an effective solution in place and networked cameras play a critical role. These solutions must continuously monitor areas within the venue for intruders, mischievous, and illegal behavior, allowing security teams to quickly intervene if necessary. In Slovakia, all first league stadiums are required to operate a permanent specified camera system, which continuously monitors the individual visitor sections, stadium access gates, and entrances, and all the public areas inside the stadium. Spartak Myjava Stadium were looking for a solution that complied with legal regulations and secured the premises. In addition to providing high-quality video surveillance, the venue operators also discovered that they could use the footage to replay views of the game. Installed broadcast cameras Calling a foul can be one of the most controversial decisions, sometimes affecting the final score. Players and fans often argue with the referee’s decisions, but eyewitness accounts can be incorrect due to the speed or an event of position of the observer. An independent account of the incident helps to determine whether the referee’s decision was justified. This can be especially tricky for fast-paced games such as hockey. The Ontario Hockey League already used cameras to confirm goals and penalties but found that these lacked the resolution they needed. They installed broadcast cameras from Axis directed at the nets and another camera directed at the clock. This allowed officials to zoom in frame-by-frame on the video, improving their confidence in referees’ calls and enabled them to quickly make decisions regarding outcomes. Looking to the future The ability to broadcast, record, and replay events will continue to be important across a range of sectors. This is especially true for healthcare, education, and sports, as social distancing guidelines and hygiene concerns prevent close contact and the gathering of crowds. Technology will have an increasing role in virtually closing this distance and there is an opportunity for more use cases to emerge in other sectors, such as transportation and critical infrastructure. Broadcast cameras will prove to be a key part of this, due to the ability to produce high-resolution images in real-time, which will be a critical component to maintaining and enabling processes now and in the future.
The Z-Wave Alliance, announces that the Z-Wave Long Range (Z-Wave LR) specification is available for product development. Z-Wave LR connectivity enables new IoT applications beyond the home, without any need for repeaters, ensuring easy install and low cost. With a network size of up to 4000 nodes, Z-Wave LR provides the scalability needed in MDU and hospitality deployments. Z-Wave LR also reduces ongoing maintenance costs with up to 10 years of life on a coin cell battery. The Z-Wave LR specification supports distances of up to several miles with a maximum output power of 30dBm, while supporting up to 4000 nodes on a single network. This represents a 20x increase over Z-Wave mesh node support while co-existing on the same network as Z-Wave mesh. Z-Wave LR is backwards compatible and maintains interoperability with all Z-Wave certified devices. Foreseeable transmission range The first implementation of Z-Wave LR, by Alliance member Silicon Labs, has already achieved a direct line of sight transmission range of 1 mile (1.6 km) utilizing +14dBm output power. With a foreseeable transmission range of several miles, the Z-Wave LR specification significantly expands the possibilities of system scalability beyond the confines of a single residential property. Z-Wave LR extends Z-Wave capabilities to larger, more complex installations and markets including hospitality, MDU, smart cities, commercial installations, large residential compounds, and more. Technology for smart home The Z-Wave Alliance Technical Workgroup has been working to fine-tune the Z-Wave LR specification for deployment" “The Z-Wave Alliance Technical Workgroup has been working to fine-tune the Z-Wave LR specification for deployment,” said Niels Johansen, Z-Wave Alliance technical committee chairman. “These significant enhancements position the Alliance to solidify Z-Wave as the de facto standard for IoT solutions where sub-GHz is mission-critical to device performance.” “For almost 20 years, Z-Wave has transformed wireless technology for smart home and security devices. As IoT technology has expanded beyond the walls of the home and to the sidewalk, to commercial buildings, smart cities, and beyond, we decided to support these evolving industry needs,” said Mitch Klein, executive director for the Z-Wave Alliance. “Implementing Z-Wave and Z-Wave LR into IoT networks maximizes value and minimizes costs while providing more breadth of choice.” Certification program Z-Wave LR is now available from Silicon Labs on their Z-Wave 700 platform and the specification is now available to Z-Wave Alliance members for development. The Z-Wave Alliance certification program will include Z-Wave LR by March 2021, anticipating numerous Z-Wave LR enabled devices to launch throughout the year.
As has become traditional at this time of the year, Hanwha Techwin has announced what it believes will be the top 5 key trends for the video surveillance industry during 2021. They cover AI edge-based solutions, open platform, the Cloud, cybersecurity, data protection, and privacy issues. Growth of AI edge-based solutions A key advantage of edge devices is that they have the ability to run specialist software applications onboard. This improves resource efficiency, saves processing time, and minimizes network bandwidth requirements. With increased functionality now being included in edge-based Deep Learning AI solutions, there is likely to be a large increase in the number of devices deployed that can process data at the edge. Reflecting a belief that the edge will become an open platform, Hanwha Techwin intends to strengthen its AI-based open platform and work closely with technology partners to create ecosystems that are intuitively user-friendly, scalable, and can meet evolving customer demands in a timely manner. Extended open platform The extended open platform will facilitate the development of a wider array of customized vertical market and end-user specific solutions With end-users wishing to achieve maximum value from their video solutions, software development cannot continue as a siloed process led by a single company’s in-house software engineering team. Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA) Hanwha Techwin is a founding member of the Open Security & Safety Alliance (OSSA), an initiative that has brought like-minded organizations together with the objective of outlining specifications for a common platform for security and safety solutions. Hanwha Techwin improves the compatibility and interoperability of its open-platform products In 2021, Hanwha Techwin will work with other members of OSSA to build a standardized and accessible framework, which will provide the flexibility for integrated solutions to be developed that address regional or user-specific requirements. In parallel to collaborating with other members of OSSA, Hanwha Techwin intends to further improve the compatibility and interoperability of its open-platform products within the video surveillance ecosystem. This will be achieved by encompassing specialist edge applications, VMS, and Cloud solutions developed by third-party technology partners and will enable us to offer a wide array of optimized solutions that will provide real-life practical benefits and add significant value to video surveillance systems. Cloud widely adopted as a business insights tool The Cloud is widely used now as a way of updating product features, as well as installing security patches. However, the increase in the number of edge devices being deployed means the Cloud also has an important role to play as a means of safely managing the devices and handling large amounts of data to provide business intelligence. Hanwha Techwin plans to introduce a Cloud solution that will enable users to more easily manage Wisenet IP network products and monitor their status in real-time. Equally important, the solution will generate reports which provide greater situational awareness and business intelligence, based on the results of analyzed data that has been captured at each edge. Cybersecurity will become crucial Hanwha Techwin included pioneering cybersecurity functionality within Wisenet7 chipset With data increasingly being captured, stored, and secured at the edge as part of a smart factory, smart office, smart retail store, or on a larger scale, a smart city solution, the need for protection against cyber-attacks has become an even more essential requirement. However, cybersecurity is and will remain a major issue for an application, regardless of its size or complexity. In 2020, Hanwha Techwin included pioneering cybersecurity functionality within Wisenet7, its most powerful chipset to date. To provide users with peace of mind in knowing their confidential data will be kept safe from hackers, Hanwha Techwin also achieved UL Cybersecurity Assurance Program (UL CAP) certification for the Wisenet7 chipset. Respect for data protection and privacy GDPR in Europe and CCPA in the US have drawn attention to the need for companies that capture personal data to have adequate privacy procedures in place. Within the video surveillance industry, the issue of protecting personal identification information based on video data is a significant issue. There is a need to have a balanced approach that ensures compliance with privacy regulations while making the best use of the latest advances in technology and the data it helps to capture. Corporate responsibility Hanwha Techwin fully appreciates its corporate responsibility to assist users to comply with privacy regulations. Our SSM and WAVE video management software, Smart Cover of Privacy (S-COP) video editing and masking software, and Video Privacy Management (VPM) solution, are all designed to help users adhere to the regulations while achieving maximum benefit from Wisenet cameras and recording solutions. Product Roadmap & Sales Strategy “Independently produced market research reports and feedback from customers give weight to these predictions,” said Jeff (Chae Won) Lee, Managing Director of Hanwha Techwin Europe. “In this respect, our product roadmap and sales strategy take into account that regardless of whether system integrators are involved with complex, mission-critical or high-security video surveillance projects, or just providing security for a small office, factory or retail applications, these trends and topics are likely to have a major impact during the next 12 months and beyond.”
Security personnel must be able to quickly detect unauthorized vehicles and individuals at critical infrastructure sites. Without intrusion detection, entities like electrical substations can be subject to physical attacks. 88 percent of substations experience at least one break-in every year and 10 percent see more than 20 intrusions in the same time frame, according to CIGRE, a global electricity industry organization. To safeguard remote substations from external threats, electric utilities are relying on durable thermal cameras for superior monitoring and protection. Remote substation security The failure of a key substation caused by a security breach would have a debilitating effect on homeowners, businesses, and mission-critical infrastructure. While physical security is a top priority for utilities, designing, installing, and operating a perimeter system requires skill. Remote location, limited network connectivity, minimal lighting, internal security audits, and compliance with North American Electric Reliability Corporation are some of the challenges that both substation security directors and system integrators face. Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS) Since its arrival on the mainstream security scene a few decades ago, thermal security cameras have quickly become the optimal solution for remote substation perimeter security, due to their ability to monitor perimeters day and night in adverse weather conditions as well as in harsh environments.Thermal cameras measure the minute differences in heat signatures emitted by objects and people to produce high-contrast images and reliable intrusion detection. They enable security personnel to detect an intruder before they ever reach the perimeter for early intervention. Sensor quality FLIR's perimeter cameras offer the widest selection of lenses and detection ranges, adaptable to both large and small deployments As the industry front-runner in advanced thermal technology, FLIR provides the best sensor quality available. FLIR’s total security solution featuring a diverse suite of perimeter cameras offers the widest selection of lenses and detection ranges, adaptable to both large and small deployments. FLIR’s track record of success is just one of the reasons why utilities choose FLIR cameras time and again. Design recommendations When deploying thermal cameras at substations, there are several factors to consider to optimise performance. Here are some tips from the FLIR experts.Identify What One Needs to Protect: Assess the substation’s unique needs, define one's threats, and determine which area one needs to monitor. For rural or small substations miles away from the nearest city, position one's cameras so one has a solid view of the outside perimeter. If anyone approaches, one wants to have ample warning. For substations in urban areas that are next to public lands and walkways, it may not be cost-effective to look out as pedestrians can easily generate nuisance alerts. In these scenarios, thermal cameras that survey the interior of the substation may be the better option. Make the Most of Existing Infrastructure: Thermal cameras must be mounted at a minimum of 12-15 feet above the ground. However, some substation fences are only 6-8 feet tall. In this case, consider mounting cameras on telephone poles or tower structures. Utilizing these existing structures instead of digging new trenches can save one both time and money. Select the Right Camera for your Application: For small substations that are less than an acre, deploying a couple of FLIR Elara™ FC-Series ID cameras, which feature onboard analytics, along the fence line will often do the trick. For short to mid-range needs, the FLIR Elara FB-Series is a great, economical option. Install a visible camera or a camera that provides both thermal and optical imagers, like FLIR Saros™ DH-390 Dome at the gate, to monitor general traffic. For larger substations (around two acres) that are high-value sites, consider deploying a mix of FLIR FC-Series ID cameras with the FLIR Saros™ DM-Series to cover the fence line. Additionally, mount a pan-tilt camera with both visible and thermal streams, such as the FLIR Elara™ DX-Series or FLIR Triton™ PT-Series, to look around the perimeter for superior monitoring and threat assessment. Choose the accurate software As a final consideration, choose the right software to streamline management, operations, and functionality. For large applications where customers need to manage surveillance, access control, radar, and other disparate systems on one platform, consider command and control software. For enterprise-level surveillance operations, a video management system is optimal and for small applications using just a few cameras, a network video recorder is sufficient. Regardless of the size of the project, partner with an expert team that can help assess, design, installs, and program the right system for one's application.
Videonetics, an AI & DL powered Unified Video Computing Platform (UVCP™) development company, proudly launches its third generation of Intelligent VMS that delivers unified, next-generation user interface, military-grade security, rugged with unprecedented levels of high availability and a future-ready solution, for any size of deployment across various industry verticals such as smart & safe cities, critical infrastructure, industrial, mass transit, education, healthcare, and retail to name a few. Building on more than a decade of R&D in the domain of video computing, computer vision, artificial intelligence, and machine learning-based technologies, Videonetics released its Intelligent VMS 3.0 encompasses multiple video computing services in a unified, homogenous software architecture platform and goes beyond mere capture-record-display generation of Video Management. Key differentiators Videonetics has been ranked #1 Video Management Software provider in India, and among the top 5 in Asia (IHS/Informa Tech Research). Some of the key differentiators of Videonetics Intelligent VMS 3.0 are as follows: Next-Generation User Interface The Intelligent VMS 3.0 offers a modernized user experience with an intuitive, responsive, adaptive, and friendly interface. The interface supports user-specific camera layouts, hierarchical camera groups to enable the user to multi-task and improve operational efficiency. Intelligent VMS supports all standard web browsers and provides mobile apps for both iOS and Android platforms. Highly Secured The Intelligent VMS 3.0 is cyber security-hardened to meet today’s evolving threat landscape, by ensuring data safety and accessibility only to the authorized personnel with security protection. It offers various security measures such as multi-factor authentication, SHA 256, RSA & AES encryptions, video watermarking, distributed storage management for critical data, and secured channel communication to name a few. Business Continuity DC-DR framework of Intelligent VMS 3.0 handles the challenges through a practical, flexible, and service-oriented architectureThe DC-DR (Data Center – Disaster Recovery) architecture of Intelligent VMS 3.0 is built considering the complexities of vast amounts of video data generated from a large number of cameras in the field, protecting the same from loss or corruption and transferring data to another location. The DC-DR framework addresses the challenges through practical, flexible, and service-oriented architecture. It ensures business continuity with minimum or no service disruption. Collaborative Vigilance The Intelligent VMS 3.0 features a collaborative surveillance platform for the operators to exchange messages and share observations. It offers features such as sharing camera views, importing operator screens, and a chat room for discussions. Geo-Fence Based Situational Awareness The Intelligent VMS 3.0 goes beyond conventional map-based viewing to geo-fence based situational awareness possibilities. Users can easily draw a virtual fence with geo coordinates or simply using the mouse to see relevant cameras within the fence with all the events of interest. The Intelligent VMS 3.0 also comes with a unique feature of neighborhood view in which a camera can be defined as a master camera which in turn can be associated with the nearby camera to provide a complete neighborhood view in case of any event of interest. It has ready integrations with map services such as Google Map, OpenStreetMap, etc. to provide drag-and-drop of the cameras for alerts, archived, and live video feeds. The in-built pencil tool helps in associating the cameras on the map for a quick geo-situational awareness. Scalable The scalability of Intelligent VMS 3.0 is unlimited by the design of the architecture. The computing nodes can be provisioned as and when required, and they auto-register themselves to the system with minimum configuration which makes it extremely easy to deploy. Cloud-Ready Intelligent VMS 3.0 comes with built-in readiness for deploying it on any cloud of customer’s choice Many of the large enterprises and in fact, even government organizations are now adopting the Cloud First policy and most of their business processes are already utilizing the benefits of Cloud these days. Intelligent VMS 3.0 comes with built-in readiness for deploying it over the cloud be it a public, private, or a hybrid cloud. It has been built on a cloud-agnostic stack to ensure that it can be deployed on any cloud of customer’s choice to ensure full flexibility, openness, and therefore the lowest cost of ownership. It comes with its own server resource orchestration technology, streaming service engine, and intelligent storage technology to help the customer take full advantage of the cloud setup. Intelligent VMS 3.0 also comes with ready integrations with popular cloud service providers. AI-Powered In the series of another first Intelligent VMS 3.0 comes with pre-integrated artificial intelligence and deep learning framework called DeeperLook™ – an indigenously designed highly efficient AI framework which ensures quick and easy deployment of AI-based video analytics use cases for various verticals. The framework offers over 100+ such as AI-based Video Analytics use cases for different industry segments. Authority statement On the launch, Dr. Tinku Acharya, Fellow IEEE, Founder & MD of Videonetics Technology Pvt Ltd expressed, “We are honored to introduce the third generation of Intelligent VMS, the future of Video Management, commits to addressing everyday challenges of users by handling cyberattack threats with multi-pronged security, 24x7 business continuity, unprecedented friendly experience, collaborative vigilance and much more.” “Video management software has always been the backbone of the effective security system of any installation, and the Intelligent VMS 3.0 brings a whole new level of user experience and support security professionals to manage safety, improve efficiency while reducing TCO." "Intelligent VMS 3.0 is a solution that you can invest in today and be confident it will be your solution for the future.”
For decades, the nature of global safety has been evolving. From physical security threats like large-scale terrorist attacks and lone actor stabbings to chemical threats such as the Salisbury poisonings and even microbiological threats such as COVID-19, new challenges are constantly arising and the threat landscape we operate in today is constantly changing. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks. With the economic downturn, there is the traditional rise in theft, violence and other crimes. Compound this with unmanned businesses and work-at-home staff, and there is a perfect storm for a rise in security threats. Artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically the branch of AI known as machine learning (ML), was already causing widespread disruption in many industries, including the security industry. AI has been a driving force to replace labor-based business models with integrated data and actionable intelligence that is context-aware. It has become apparent that AI will play a big part in the ongoing fight against both pandemics such as COVID-19, as well as other threats that we may face in the future. With all of this in mind, 2021 is poised to be a big year for AI growth. While AI is going to continue to impact our lives in dozens of ways, from smart sensors to face mask compliance detection, the following reflects a few top trends and challenges that I have my eye on for 2021 as we close out this year. The rise of smart city investments One such example is the increasing development of smart cities and how AI can be leveraged to build safe communities. To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services. Compounding the complexity of the security issues is the complexity and nature of attacks Typical development of a city includes standard infrastructure - roads, schools, power, water, transportation. Now, internet, data and AI capabilities are part of the standard infrastructure requirements for all new developments. AI promises to deliver increased efficiencies with the infrastructure that will accommodate growing populations while reducing our impact on the environment, resources, and communities. Global cities now account for more than half of the world’s population, and the United Nations projects the number to balloon to 68% by mid-century. Owing to both demographic shifts and overall population growth, that means that around 2.5 billion people could be added to urban areas by the middle of the century, predicts the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). With an increase in population has come an increase in global spending on smart city initiatives to drive down the impact of growing urban concentration. Global spending on smart city initiatives is expected to total nearly $124 billion this year, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to IDC's Worldwide Semiannual Smart Cities Spending Guide, while Singapore, Tokyo, London and New York as the big spenders - expected to spend more than $1 billion in 2020. Using AI-driven technology to create safer public and private spaces Today, security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments to protect the population in a more efficient, and accurate manner. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new AI technology can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. One such deployment is the use of video object recognition/computer vision software that can be integrated into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. These enhanced VMS systems can be deployed both inside and outside of buildings to identify risks and flag threats, such weapons, aggressive behaviours, theft, and safety compliance. This helps to minimize the impact of a breach by an early alert to onsite security in real-time to the location and nature of the potential threat, allowing them to intervene before a loss occurs. These same AI-enabled video solutions can similarly be used to provide advanced business operations in retail, logistics, and manufacturing organizations. Multi-sensor security solutions Also, targeted magnetic and radar sensor technologies, concealed in everyday objects like planter boxes or inside walls, can now scan individuals and bags entering a building for concealed threat objects. Using AI/machine learning, these two sensor solutions combined can identify metal content on the body and bag and match the item to a catalog of threat items, such as guns, rifles, knives and bombs. Security solutions driven by AI are being developed and can be covertly deployed across a range of physical environments Without this advanced multi-sensor solution, it becomes nearly impossible to discover a weapon on a person's body before it appears in an assailant’s hands. This multi-sensor solution allows for touchless, unobtrusive access to a building, but allows for immediate notification to onsite security when a concealed threat is detected. The hidden technology thus empowers security staff to intercept threats before they evolve into a wider scale attack, while also maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of the public, unless, of course, they are carrying a concealed weapon or pose a physical threat. With the advent of sophisticated surveillance and technological innovation, a level of caution must be exerted. Despite the ongoing global debate, there remains little regulation about the use of AI technologies in today’s physical security space. One thing is certain; it must be deployed in the right place, at the right time, with the right privacy and civil liberty protection objectives. People don’t want to be protected by omnipresent, obstructive and overbearing security systems that infringe on their privacy and civil liberties. They want a proper balance between security and their current way of life, one that must be fused together. Technology and tracing COVID-19 Machine learning-based technologies are playing a substantial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Traditionally, the key purpose of surveillance systems has been to detect and deter threats, including the detection of visible and hidden weapons and abnormal behavior. While this, of course, remains a primary focus, today we are seeing how surveillance systems defend against new invisible threats, as well as rapidly automate the process of contact-tracing to capture and contain a virus before it spreads. Again, the ability to track and trace through parsing algorithms that can manage through enormous amounts of data provides a highly scalable and rapid response mechanism to control the spread of threats. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact Although the threat may not be visible, it is just as destructive. By incorporating AI into existing technologies, government, healthcare and security professionals can monitor public spaces and environments through the combined use of digital and thermal video surveillance cameras and video management systems); just one of the solutions being explored. AI has demonstrated potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By Using AI-powered video analytic software, businesses can monitor face masks, social distancing and large gathering compliance and also detect elevated body temperature. Critically, technology must be capable of both identifying and tracking the virus but also be unobtrusive. An unobtrusive system that is adaptable enough to be deployed across a range of environments where the public gathers in enclosed spaces is necessary to be effective. Security in 2021 Technology has proven itself to be a valuable ally in times of crisis. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI/machine learning technologies will help optimize security solutions in areas that are brimming with potential. As we look ahead to the future of security in a world that is impacted by such a wide range of threats, from physical to chemical to microbiological, it’s clear that new technologies, specifically AI can dramatically improve the effectiveness of security systems and help us to better defend against a wide spectrum of threats. Technology has a huge role to play in making our communities safe in 2021 and beyond, but for security systems to be effective, they must not be oppressive or obstructive. This will ensure they have the full support of the public - the key to success.
Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. According to estimates from the UN, this number is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. As urban areas become more densely populated, the ability of law enforcement to uphold law and order becomes ever more critical to public security. It’s a challenge that must be constantly reviewed, and issues addressed where needed. One such area is the detection, identification and interception of physical threats, which has traditionally included guns, knives and explosives. Over the last six months, however, this has now evolved into the detection and identification of new, invisible microbiological threats, such as COVID-19. A new approach to physical security Since reports began on COVID-19 in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, the virus has spread to over 188 countries, killing over 790,000 people. When this is set against the unrelenting backdrop of rising terrorist threats, a new approach to today’s physical security is needed to create safer public and private spaces. Globally, tensions are running high. An international health crisis, political tumult and unstable economic environments are creating the potential for a perfect storm for extreme behavior. Now, more than ever, governments must coordinate with healthcare, security services, and technology providers to pool the expertise needed to deploy innovative detection platforms to address these growing threats. In smart cities, in particular, technology will play a crucial role in addressing both physical and biological/viral threats in order to keep their citizens safe. Technology will play a crucial role in addressing both physical and biological/viral threats Collaborating to advance security systems in smart cities To date, we’ve seen an increase in the number of smart city programmes around the globe; cities that are beginning to deploy innovative technologies for the management and ease of life services. Global spending on smart city initiatives has now reached a total of nearly $124 billion this year alone, an increase of 18.9% over 2019, according to the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) latest Worldwide Smart Cities Spending Guide. However, the growth of urban populations is impacting overall infrastructure and resources and many towns and cities are struggling to keep pace. According to research from Deloitte, just 16% of cities can self-fund required infrastructure projects. As a result, cities are enlisting the support of private partners and governments to advance their smart city agendas. Public-private collaboration is a lifeline for developing effective security systems in smart cities. Decision-makers must coordinate and collaborate with security experts and operators to arm themselves with a comprehensive understanding of how to best implement and integrate innovative, agile, data-driven security systems. They need to work together, with a clear strategy in place, to respond to these growing threats, while improving public safety. Using smart technology for public security and safety The challenge of identifying both physical and invisible threats to meet urban citizens’ needs will demand a security response that is proactive, adaptable and dynamic. As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new technologies, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI and machine learning technologies have already started to help optimize security solutions. Demand a security response that is proactive, adaptable and dynamic Computer vision technology is one such solution that incorporates AI and machine learning into existing video monitoring security (VMS) systems. This computer vision technology enables the detection of visible weapons, such as guns or knives, helping to identify potential threats before an attack occurs. After identifying the weapon, the AI-driven security system can immediately alert onsite security, in real-time, to the location and nature of the incident or potential attack. This allows security and first responders to intervene, possibly before a weapon is drawn and/or used. AI-driven software has also demonstrated great potential for identifying those displaying symptoms of viral or infectious diseases, without requiring physical human contact. By using AI-powered video analytic software with a common ‘off the shelf’ thermal video camera, this new security solution can become a remote video health safety screening tool for the identification of elevated body temperature, as well as face mask and social distancing detection for compliance. Now, with the power of real-time AI software, integrated with current VMS systems, threat objects held by an assailant, whether visible or not, can be identified for immediate security response. This can be done in an effective, unobtrusive way that does not interrupt people’s day-to-day routine, as has been the case with other larger or more overt security solutions; including queueing for physical temperature checks or walking through a metal or millimetre wave detector. While individuals and communities are willing to accept some inconvenience as a result of this new normal, privacy and civil liberties must be maintained, until a potential threat is detected. The future of smart cities in a post-COVID world Look ahead to the future of public security We look ahead to the future of public security in a world where physical and microbiological threats are continually evolving. It is only by adopting a new approach to threat detection that such a wide spectrum of the active assailant attacks can be mitigated. Today’s communities are working this into their smart, connected and safe city models. With AI-driven technology that optimizes the efficiency and safety of city operations and public services, its citizens will not only stay connected but will also stay safe. Governments must coordinate with security services, as well as technology providers, to pool the expertise needed to best implement and integrate these innovative technologies for the public good. They need to work collaboratively to ensure smart city projects include solutions to address physical security technologies that addresses theft, civic disturbance, terrorist activities and infectious disease. This, in turn, will make these cities not only smarter, but safer as well.
With the pandemic still in full swing and no certainty as to when exactly it will come to an end, the world has been battling anxiety for months now. And with each day, circumstances change quickly and almost make it impossible to predict what will happen next, how events will unfold, and what actions to take in light of a new situation. But one thing is certain: the world has been shut down and paralyzed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way. In this situation, what is possible to control is how the world will continue reopening – and specifically, how to ensure the safest possible reopening that will ensure the return of some degree of normalcy to people’s lives and business operations, while also managing the risk of COVID’s spread in the most efficient way. Our highly digitised, technologically advanced world This is when the power of technology comes to rescue the day: what truly sets the global crisis we face today apart from other calamities that humanity has encountered over year is the fact that it has developed in a highly digitised, technologically advanced world where each day brings about innovations with a sole purpose to make daily life and operations easier and more streamlined. And among these, the star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence. The world has been shut down and paralyzed for way too long, and the eventual reopening is unavoidable – in fact, it’s well under way While AI has many avenues of introducing efficiency and fast problem-solving, there is one specific application that will further fuel the reopening of the world and successfully keep the spread of the virus abate. This “collaborative security” application includes a synthesis of smart video analytics, facial recognition, object identification/detection, and thermal cameras that can support the reopening of businesses globally when installed within those facilities frequented by customers. With such a level of sophistication that can ensure uninterrupted monitoring and analysis of large public spaces, these AI technologies can ideally operate best as cloud solutions to ensure a collaborative network with maximum scalability and widespread implementation. As these technologies increase in ubiquity and find their way into daily operations of businesses globally, the cost of the smart solutions will decrease proportionally to the growth of their reach. There are some highly specific ways to create this collaborative network of interconnected safety tools in the current climate. Here are some applications that have been successful to date and will increase in usability in the foreseeable future, creating “smart cities” working together towards a safer, more secure world. Maintaining social distancing practices The most important step everyone around the world has taken to contribute to the effort of slowing the spread of the virus has been social distancing. A six-foot-distance has become a new social norm that has quickly been adopted globally and become a habit to people who are naturally used to being close to others and socialising without giving distance a second thought. The star of the past decade has been artificial intelligence So, it is natural that such distancing measures take time to get accustomed to – and it is also natural that individuals may forget about them from time to time. To help maintain the six-foot distance between people at all times and give them slight nudges to keep the rule top of their minds, AI video technology can be trained to estimate the distance between individuals in public and commercial areas and identify the cases in which people get too close to each other. By notifying local merchants or authorities about such cases, the system can help ensure the safety of everyone in the area at all times while positively reinforcing the public to gradually get more accustomed to maintaining the distance and thus helping stop the spread of the virus. Detecting the virus through facial recognition Perhaps the straightforward application of such high-level technology is using video surveillance to identify persons of interest who have tested positive for the virus. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity, making it possible to identify individuals whose records show they have antibodies from those who can be potential carriers of the virus. After the initial differentiation and identification, the system can then notify the employers and employees of the facility about the results of the conducted analysis and the pursuant results, allowing them to be more vigilant and take action where necessary to ensure a safe experience for everyone. PPE reinforcement Wearing a mask or some sort of face coverage in public spaces and especially within facilities (such as stores, for instance) has been - and will continue to be - a requirement for maintaining a safe and healthy environment for people to continue with their day-to-day lives and businesses to resume regular operations. To this extent, the object detection and identification abilities of smart cameras can further reinforce this requirement and ensure that the absence of protective equipment doesn’t go unnoticed. Essentially, these cameras can easily identify if an individual has coverage at any given point of time or not, notifying the local authorities about any risks immediately and helping them maintain necessary safety measures without having to interrupt their workflow or worry about missing a visitor without a mask. Detecting high temperature One of the key (and the most widespread) symptoms of COVID-19 is a high fever - a certain indicator of whether an individual may have been infected with the virus or not. While identifying fever with a regular human eye is nearly impossible, AI can do so at a fraction of time by quickly scanning body temperatures of any incoming individuals and determine whether it’s above CDC’s recommended temperature of 100.4F in order to determine the risk factor and notify the local authorities to take action. Modern AI has the ability to identify facial features and characteristics with a unique level of granularity This technology is a good tactic to objectively assess potential risks that come with elevated temperatures - and sometimes, the people themselves might not realize they might (unconsciously) be carriers of the virus and thus endanger the safety of others in their vicinity. The technology is yet another step towards ensuring a safer reopening of the global economy and a more streamlined way of getting back on track while minimizing the risk of spreading the virus further. It’s not all about the theory We have tested the described approaches in our own R&D campus in Europe. The latest release of the IREX cloud enables remote fever detection and monitoring of social isolation and mask policies with AI. We have integrated thermal cameras to detect people with elevated temperature and CCTV cameras for identification and notifying those who potentially ill. In case of any health threat, the venue manager gets an instant message with a picture and exact location. These preventive steps helped our employees return to the office months earlier than it's happening in other countries. Moreover, personnel coming back to the office by their own wish as now they feel a virus-free environment in the campus - even safer than in their own homes. Now we are launching a pilot project for a well-known pharmacy chain in Florida, USA. With the help of a Computer Vision platform, staff will be able to divide customer traffic into those with normal body temperature and those who come in with elevated temperatures, as well as effectively monitor social distance norms. The goal of our potential client is to maximize the safety of customers in the post-pandemic period. Also, IREX is already deployed across hundreds of locations in the UK and will add health monitoring capability soon.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than a buzzword. AI is increasingly becoming part of our everyday lives, and a vital tool in the physical security industry. In 2020, AI received more attention than ever, and expanded the ways it can contribute value to physical security systems. This article will revisit some of those development at year-end, including links back to the originally published content. In the security market today, AI is expanding the use cases, making technologies more powerful and saving money on manpower costs - and today represents just the beginning of what AI can do for the industry. What it will never do, however, is completely take the place of humans in operating security systems. There is a limit to how much we are willing to turn over to machines - even the smartest ones. Beyond video analytics "Apply AI to security and now you have an incredibly powerful tool that allows you to operate proactively rather than reactively," said Jody Ross of AMAG Technology, one of our Expert Roundtable Panelists. AI made its initial splash in the physical security market by transforming the effectiveness of video analytics AI made its initial splash in the physical security market by transforming the effectiveness of video analytics. However, now there are many other applications, too, as addressed by our Expert Panel Roundtable in another article. Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning provide useful tools to make sense of massive amounts of Internet of Things (IoT) data. By helping to automate low-level decision-making, the technologies can make security operators more efficient. Biometrics with access control Intelligent capabilities can expand integration options such as increasing the use of biometrics with access control. AI can also help to monitor mechanics and processes. Intelligent systems can help end users understand building occupancy and traffic patterns and even to help enforce physical distancing. These are just a few of the possible uses of the technologies - in the end, the sky is the limit. AI is undoubtedly one of the bigger disrupters in the physical security industry, and adoption is growing at a rapid rate. And it’s not just about video analytics. Rather, it is data AI, which is completely untapped by the security industry. Bottom line: AI can change up your security game by automatically deciphering information to predict the future using a wide range of sources and data that have been collected, whether past, present, and future. That’s right. You can look into the future. Smarter perimeter protection Now, Intrusion Detection (Perimeter Protection) systems with cutting-edge, built-in AI algorithms to recognize a plethora of different object types, can distinguish objects of interest, thus significantly decreasing the false-positive intrusion rate. The more advanced AI-based systems enable the users to draw ROIs based on break-in points, areas of high-valuables, and any other preference to where alerts may be beneficial. AI Loitering Detection can be used to receive alerts on suspicious activity outside any given store Similarly, AI Loitering Detection can be used to receive alerts on suspicious activity outside any given store. The loitering time and region of interest are customizable in particular systems, which allows for a range of detection options. Smart security is advancing rapidly. As AI and 4K rise in adoption on smart video cameras, these higher video resolutions are driving the demand for more data to be stored on-camera. AI and smart video promise to extract greater insights from security video. Meeting urban needs Complex, extensive camera networks will already require a large amount of data storage, particularly if this is 24/7 monitoring from smart video-enabled devices. Newer edge computing will play an important role in capturing, collecting, and analyzing data. There are many more types of cameras being used today, such as body cameras, dashboard cameras, and new Internet of Things (IoT) devices and sensors. Video data is so rich nowadays, you can analyze it and deduce a lot of valuable information in real-time, instead of post-event. In smart cities applications, the challenge of identifying both physical and invisible threats to meet urban citizens’ needs will demand a security response that is proactive, adaptable and dynamic. Optimize security solutions As we look ahead to the future of public safety, it’s clear that new technologies, driven by artificial intelligence (AI), can dramatically improve the effectiveness of today’s physical security space. For smart cities, the use of innovative AI and machine learning technologies have already started to help optimize security solutions. In sports stadium applications, AI’s role in getting fans and spectators back after the COVID pandemic is huge, through capabilities such as social distance monitoring, crowd scanning/metrics, facial recognition, fever detection, track and trace and providing behavioral analytics. Technologies such as AI-powered collaboration platforms now work alongside National Leagues, Franchises and Governing Bodies to implement AI surveillance software into their CCTV/surveillance cameras. AI surveillance software In many ways, it’s the equivalent of a neighborhood watch program made far more intelligent through the use of AI This is now creating a more collaborative effort from the operations team in stadiums, rather than purely security. AI surveillance software, when implemented into the surveillance cameras can be accessed by designated users on any device and on any browser platform. One of the biggest advantages of using AI technology is that it’s possible to integrate this intelligent software into building smarter, safer communities and cities. Essentially, this means developing a layered system that connects multiple sensors for the detection of visible and invisible threats. Integrated systems mean that threats can be detected and tracked, with onsite and law enforcement notified faster, and possibly before an assault begins to take place. In many ways, it’s the equivalent of a neighborhood watch program made far more intelligent through the use of AI. Fighting illicit trade Using technology in this way means that thousands of people can be screened seamlessly and quickly, without invading their civil liberties or privacy. AI’s ability to detect visible or invisible threats or behavioral anomalies will prove enormously valuable to many sectors across our global economy. Revolutionary AI-driven technologies can help to fight illicit trade across markets. AI technologies in this specific application promise to help build safer and more secure communities in the future. AI can support the ongoing fight against illicit trade on a global scale in a tangible way. For financial transactions at risk of fraud and money laundering, for example, tracking has become an increasing headache if done manually. As a solution to this labor-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.
The coronavirus pandemic had a monumental impact on all aspects of the business world, including the security industry. However, amid the gloom and doom, many security professionals also saw opportunity: New ways the industry’s products could be applied to address the challenges of coping with the virus. This article will review some of those opportunities, based on our reporting throughout the year and including links back to the original articles. During and after the pandemic, security systems are an important asset when it comes to helping to keep occupants and buildings safe as employees return to work. For example, video analytics can provide insight into how spaces have previously been used and can help to predict where and when occupants encounter each other or congregate. Role of thermal cameras These foot-traffic patterns can inform settings for a variety of devices - like ventilation and temperature controls - and even help owners create social distancing plans and monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) compliance. Thermal surveillance, a mainstay of traditional physical security and outdoor perimeter detection, began being deployed early in the pandemic to quickly scan employees, contractors and visitors as part of a first line of defense to detect COVID-19 symptoms. These systems provide flexibility and can offer integrations with multiple VMS platforms and access control devices These systems provide flexibility and can offer integrations with multiple VMS platforms and access control devices. Thermal cameras can be a tool for detecting fever, but any use of the technology for this purpose is full of qualifications and caveats. Importantly, how the camera system is configured makes all the difference in whether temperature readings are accurate, and the downside of inaccurate readings is obvious - and potentially deadly. Temperature detection systems FDA guidelines limit how the cameras are used, not to mention guidance from other regulatory/government bodies such as the CDC. One of our Expert Roundtable panelists compares the market to a “wild west scenario,” and almost all the panelists are clear about how customers should approach the market: Buyer beware. There are many companies jumping into selling temperature detection systems to the state, local governments, hospitals, airports and local businesses, but do they know how to drive one? Anyone can get behind a car and drive it into a wall by accident. The same can happen with a temperature detection system. Customers need to know what questions to ask to ensure they maximize the accuracy of body temperature detection systems. Rise of contactless Spread of the novel coronavirus has jolted awareness of hygiene as it relates to touching surfaces such as keypads. No longer in favor are contact-based modalities including use of personal identification numbers (PINs) and keypads, and the shift has been sudden and long-term. Both customers and manufacturers were taken by surprise by this aspect of the virus’s impact and are therefore scrambling for solutions. Immediate impact of the change includes suspension of time and attendance systems that are touch-based Immediate impact of the change includes suspension of time and attendance systems that are touch-based. Some two-factor authentication systems are being downgraded to RFID-only, abandoning the keypad and/or biometric components that contributed to higher security, but are now unacceptable because they involve touching. "Users do not want to touch anything anymore,” says Alex Zarrabi, President of Touchless Biometrics Systems (TBS). Facial recognition system Another contactless system that benefits from concerns about spread of COVID-19 is facial recognition. New advancement in software, specifically in the areas of algorithms, neural networks and deep learning and/or artificial intelligence (AI), have all dramatically improved both the performance and accuracy of facial recognition systems, further expanding its use for an increasing number of applications. A low-tech solution - the face mask - became a leading preventative measure during the pandemic. But, a high-tech solution is necessary to ensure that everyone is wearing them. Cameras powered by artificial intelligence can now identify whether or not people entering a facility are wearing facemasks and help enforce adherence to mask mandates. This technology is proving to be a cost-effective solution that reduces risks of confrontations over masks policies and gives managers the data they need to document regulatory compliance and reduce liability. Smart video analytics Other technology approaches, including artificial intelligence (AI), were also brought to bear during the pandemic. The German data analytics powerhouse G2K, for example, has developed a Corona Detection and Containment System (CDCS) that is ready for immediate use in record time. Detection takes place in combination with AI-supported data analysis to specifically identify virus hotspots and distribution routes, as well as to identify other potentially infected persons. One specific AI application fuels the reopening of the world and successfully keeps the spread of the virus abated One specific AI application fuels the reopening of the world and successfully keeps the spread of the virus abated. A “collaborative security” application includes a synthesis of smart video analytics, facial recognition, object identification/detection, and thermal cameras that can support the reopening of businesses globally when installed within those facilities frequented by customers. Enforcing social distancing Several applications have been successful to date and will increase in usability in the foreseeable future, creating “smart cities” working together towards a safer, more secure world. The site of one pilot program is the 250,000-square-foot HID Global facility in Austin. For the pilot program, 80 HID Location Services readers were installed in a wide area in the facility, including a variety of environments. Initially 30 badges and 30 fobs, all BLE-enabled, were issued to employees. If a badge identifies another nearby beacon (suggesting a social distancing failure), it emits a blinking LED light, which can be seen by the offending co-worker. To ensure social distancing, a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon is emitted from an employee’s fob (or from a badge that has the same functionality). The beacon communicates peer-to-peer with a beacon emitted by another employee’s fob or badge to alert if the location of the two employees is less than six feet apart. For contact tracing, the beacons communicate via a nearby “reader” (a BluFi BLE-to-Wi-Fi gateway) to the Bluzone cloud-based software-as-a-service. COVID-19 White Papers In addition, we published several White Papers in 2020 that addressed various aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. They included: The top five security lessons learned that apply across all industries navigating COVID-19. Using video analytics to keep staff, visitors and customers safe by enforcing social distancing. How antimicrobial treatment on door handles and levers can reduce disease spread. How companies can put in extra precautions that will continue to grow and adapt with their environment over the long-term. Determining the practicalities and capabilities of today's thermal cameras to accurately detect body temperature.
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.
Genetec Inc., a globally renowned technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations, and business intelligence solutions, has announced how commercial real estate provider, Westminster Property Ventures has made innovative use of a range of Genetec solutions to make each of its premises safe from COVID-19 virus spread for staff, tenants and visitors. Westminster Property Ventures’ buildings house critical businesses, such as international banks, law firms, and consultancies who can be assured that amidst a global pandemic their offices remain highly secure and equipped for their return. Genetec Mission Control The newly introduced processes and technologies make smart use of Westminster Property Ventures’ existing video and access control infrastructure. For example, using the Genetec Mission Control collaborative decision management system, Westminster Property Ventures is collecting and qualifying data from thousands of sensors and security devices, before guiding security operators in their response to routine and unanticipated situations. Among other current and critical capabilities, this helps ensure the seamless transition of out-of-hours monitoring between Westminster PV’s in-house security team and security provider, Wilson James’ monitoring center, ensuring comprehensive levels of security at all times. “Our clientele continue to expect the highest level of security and service from us whether or not they are currently choosing to work inside our buildings,” said Andrew Forbes-Jones, Facilities Manager, Westminster Property Ventures, adding “We’re grateful to Genetec and Wilson James for keeping us at the forefront of innovation and compliance in all aspects of our security and operations.” Security Center Synergis access control system COVID-19 has created new challenges for Westminster Property Ventures’ security and operations teams in maintaining a secure and safe environment for both home and remote workers, as well as those still working inside the facilities. Using the Genetec Security Center Synergis access control system, Westminster Property Ventures is taking advantage of many COVID-19 specific features, developed over the last year, to help them directly address the challenges of the global pandemic. Synergis Proximity Report Westminster Property Ventures has deployed the Genetec’s ‘Synergis Proximity Report’ Along with the system’s new occupancy management capability, Westminster Property Ventures has deployed Genetec’s ‘Synergis Proximity Report’, first deployed at McCormick Place in Chicago, North America’s largest convention center that was repurposed as a COVID-19 field hospital in spring of 2020. Drawing data from the Synergis access control system, the solution allows Westminster Property Ventures to quickly identify individuals visiting one of their buildings, who may have come in contact with someone known to have tested positive for COVID-19 infection. Efficient protection against COVID-19 virus “I’m constantly impressed by the ability of our partners and end users to adapt quickly to changing requirements and bring the latest innovative solutions online to address them,” said Paul Dodds, Country Manager UK at Genetec, Inc. Paul adds, “Westminster Property Ventures’ rapid response to the challenges of the pandemic mirrors our own and validates our investments in technologies that can help make our workplaces safer, healthier and more secure.”
Johan Cruijff ArenA will utilize innovative video analytics to improve visitor flow, optimize parking utilization and offer fans an anonymous way to provide feedback about the stadium experience, among other uses. The Security & Safety Things IoT platform for smart cameras will integrate into the ArenA’s operational software to provide key insights into stadium operations and ongoing health and safety measures, especially useful since the pandemic. The partnership will provide a potential model for other organizations looking to deploy technology solutions to safely reopen. IoT platform for smart cameras Security and Safety Things GmbH and the Johan Cruijff ArenA are partnering up and will deploy S&STs IoT platform for smart surveillance cameras to enhance overall fan experience, optimize ArenA operations and increase visitor security and privacy. The ArenA is home to AFC Ajax and the internationally renowned Amsterdam Innovation ArenA (AIA), a living lab established by the ArenA and the City of Amsterdam to enable development and testing of innovative stadium and smart city solutions. Security & Safety Things IoT platform S&ST IoT platform and network of cameras is integrated into the ArenA’s dashboard software The Security & Safety Things (S&ST) IoT platform and network of cameras is integrated into the ArenA’s dashboard software to provide information and analysis for safety and security as well optimization of stadium operations and visitor engagement. “Every technology selected for our innovation environment is strategic because of the potential benefits not only to our ArenA, but to the City of Amsterdam and other stadiums and large event venues seeking technological solutions to help to re-open safely and operate their facility more intelligently,” said Sander van Stiphout, Director International, Johan Cruijff ArenA. Sander van Stiphout adds, “The unique flexibility of the Security & Safety Things approach enables us to simultaneously deploy COVID-19 health and safety analytics along with business optimization tools and easily re-equip the cameras with other analytic applications as our needs change.” AI-enabled video analytic applications A series of smart cameras on the S&ST IoT platform are installed in key areas throughout the stadium. Using specialized, Artificial Intelligence-enabled video analytic applications from the S&ST Application Store that run directly on each camera, each device will provide the ArenA with valuable operational insights. When the stadium reopens, crowd detection analytics will monitor social distancing compliance and visitor flow around entrances and food or merchandise kiosks. License plate recognition cameras will assist with real-time occupancy monitoring for parking and traffic flow optimization. Queue detection applications Queue detection applications can be employed to reduce visitor wait times by directing fans to less busy areas and by providing the insights required to optimize staffing levels at peak times. In one specific area, a camera also provides the ability for visitors to provide feedback about their stadium experience in an anonymous and contact-free way by detecting the visual of a ‘thumbs-up’ or ‘thumbs-down’ from a visitor, collecting only the rating without disrupting people flow. Smart camera platform We’re honored to be joining the Johan Cruijff ArenA as an innovation partner" “The flexibility of our smart camera platform and the ArenA’s mission of innovation are very well matched to produce the intelligence necessary to address real world issues of privacy, health and safety but also new and creative ideas for stadium and event management,” said Hartmut Schaper, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Security & Safety Things GmbH. Hartmut adds, “We’re honored to be joining the Johan Cruijff ArenA as an innovation partner and to help them provide a seamless and safe visitor experience.” Smart surveillance camera system The camera system and how it is used complies with all European and Dutch privacy regulations. Furthermore, there are various advantages to this camera system, when it comes to privacy. These cameras are equipped with powerful processors that analyze the images directly on the camera, reducing the need for a constant video stream to be passed on to a central location, where it can be monitored or further processed. Instead, the cameras can be configured to send only the information about relevant events such as when a long queue is forming, groups of people gather too closely, or individuals are not wearing face coverings as required. Only then will respective images be passed along. This reduces the processing of visitors’ personal information to an absolute minimum as opposed to a traditional set-up where all footage is transmitted and centrally processed at all times.
Global MSC Security announced that it has been appointed by the City of Edinburgh Council to consult on a planned upgrade of its video surveillance system from analog to IP, as Edinburgh progresses towards its vision to become one of the world smartest capital cities. Working with the Council, Global MSC Security will use its public sector expertise to oversee the preparation of a tender specification of a fully integrated public space surveillance operation. Upgrading public realm CCTV surveillance system The appointment of Global MSC Security follows the announcement that the City of Edinburgh Council is investing over £1 million in its public realm CCTV (including housing blocks, transport network and Council buildings) and has also secured £712,000 from the 'Scotland's 8th City, the Smart City' European Regional Development Fund Strategic Intervention in support of an upgrade to its CCTV infrastructure, as part of its smart city program. Global MSC Security has a wealth of expertise in public space surveillance, having consulted on dozens of local authority CCTV surveillance projects, including The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Central Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Herefordshire, North Somerset, Barnet, Bristol City, Dorset, Neath and Port Talbot, Mid Devon and Maidstone and Luton Councils. Installing new IP cameras, VMS and encoders Global MSC Security will ensure the City of Edinburgh Council is able to upgrade its public space cameras, VMS and encoders Global MSC Security will ensure the City of Edinburgh Council is able to upgrade its public space cameras, video management system (VMS) and encoders, with the right technology at the best price and implemented smoothly. Global MSC Security’s Managing Director, Derek Maltby stated “We offer a wealth of experience in specifying public space surveillance systems for local authorities. Global MSC Security is proud to be involved in what is a major initiative not only for the City but Scotland and its position as a leader in smart services and society.” Resilient and secure city surveillance system He adds, “This important and essential infrastructure upgrade represents a significant investment, and the resulting system will provide the Council with a function-rich, future-proof, highly resilient and secure surveillance system.” Derek further stated, “However, for any organization making the switch from analog to IP, it is vital that the transition is managed in the correct way, to maximize resources and optimize system performance. That begins with a robust tender specification, which is where our expertise lies.” The tender specification is expected to be released by the City of Edinburgh Council in February 2021 and the contract awarded in September.
The new CCTV system installed by WLS at Vauxhall City Farm, is according to its Chief Executive, Monica Tyler, being used to its full potential to ensure that the 50,000 visitors who visit the farm every year, are able to safely enjoy all its facilities. “Our previous CCTV was well past its ‘use-by’ date. Although it was still working, it lacked the functionality we needed to ensure around the clock security of our animals and property, as well as ensuring compliance with our health & safety procedures,” said Monica. Central urban farms “The new CCTV system, generously donated and installed by WLS, has transformed our working lives by providing us with peace of mind in knowing we can monitor every area of the farm, including our recently opened eco-garden, without any blind spots.” “The quality of the images captured by the Dahua cameras enable us to see close up detail of any activity or incident, whilst I and other colleagues are able to use an app running on our mobile phones to remotely keep an eye on the farm when it is closed and if there is an alarm event.” Located within earshot of Big Ben, Vauxhall City Farm is one of the oldest and most central urban farms in London. Local and wider communities The farm was established in 1976 when a group of architects began working on a vacant plot of land The farm was established in 1976 when a group of architects began working on a vacant plot of land and made it available to local residents for them to grow vegetables and care for livestock. From those humble beginnings, the farm has continually grown and is now the home for over 100 animals, a riding center and a cafe, and with the enthusiastic support of a large team of volunteers, conducts dozens of education and youth projects. As a registered charity, the farm’s main objectives are to enhance the health, well-being and life chances of children and disadvantaged people, as well as create enjoyment and recreational opportunities for those from our local and wider communities. Intruder detection systems WLS’s connection with Vauxhall City Farm spans over 15 years, during which it has installed and maintained the farm’s fire and intruder detection systems, as well as the now superseded CCTV system. Alison Ewen, the wife of WLS’s managing director, also has a close bond with the farm. Having been a volunteer for over 20 years, Alison has been appointed a trustee specializing in Riding for the Disabled activities. “As a company which has enjoyed considerable success installing a great number of electronic security solutions across London, we believe we have a corporate responsibility to give something back to the community,” said Jeremy Ewen. “We have welcomed the opportunity to do so by supporting a charity which we have such high regard for, in respect of the support, education and enjoyment it gives to so many people.”
Genetec Inc., a globally renowned technology provider of unified security, public safety, operations, and business intelligence solutions, has announced that City Council District E in New Orleans has taken an innovative approach to address illegal dumping using Security Center, the unified security platform from Genetec. Countering illegal dumping menace Illegal dumping is a problem in most cities around the world, but enforcing laws to prevent it can be quite difficult and resource-intensive. To catch culprits in the act, law enforcement and other city staff have to physically watch known sites and wait to spot illegal dumping activity. Most city officials know that's an impossible task, as officers can't be everywhere all the time, and offenders take full advantage of that reality. New Orleans’ RTCC and Sanitation Department has begun installing a network of cameras at known dumping sites In response, New Orleans City Council District E Councilwoman, Cyndi Nguyen, has taken a hands-on approach tackling illegal dumping head-on as a part of a larger push toward revitalising the community she serves. Nguyen’s team, working in partnership with New Orleans’ Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) and Sanitation Department has begun installing a network of cameras at known dumping sites. All cameras are portable so they can be moved to new dumping hotspots as needed. Genetec security technology platform deployed “This security technology from Genetec certainly helps re-enforce the message I’m putting out there, that we can and will enforce illegal dumping offenses in District E. We also have this great partnership with the Sanitation Department, our local Police Department, and the RTCC, and that’s extending out into our community as well,” said New Orleans City Councilwoman, Cyndi Nguyen. She adds, “I am working hard to get more residents and businesses involved in supporting these initiatives, because keeping our city safe and clean is a shared responsibility.” Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) The Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) already uses Security Center to manage its citywide public safety improvement initiatives. To help monitor illegal dumping activities, the Crime Center’s IT department also set up an event-to-action rule in the Security Center platform to processes motion detection in a defined zone of the camera’s field of view. As soon as motion is detected, the security system bookmarks it and notifies IT staff As soon as motion is detected, the security system bookmarks it and notifies IT staff so that they can evaluate the situation and determine if collection of the debris is warranted. The system also takes a snapshot of the video and emails it to designated personnel on the team, so as to enable them to identify and investigate any potential dumping perpetrators, and take appropriate action. Crime detection with video evidence In an example of a recent case, this event-to-action led to the arrest of a repeat offender who had previously been convicted and sentenced for dumping 14,000 tires. All snapshots and video evidence were securely shared with the New Orleans Police Department so as to enable them to quickly identify the perpetrator, apprehend him and complete their investigation. “Without this technology, finding these offenders comes down to chance or it could take a police officer hours and hours of investigative work. Instead, it took us minutes to set up the event-to-action in Security Center, and just about two days from the time we were notified about this offender to the time we were able to apprehend him,” said Bill Wood, IT Supervisor at New Orleans’ Real Time Crime Center (RTCC). Bill adds, “We love working with the Genetec Security Center security platform. It’s very user friendly and helps us cut down that investigation time exponentially.”
Traffic continues to grow in every major city. But how do people beat congestion in these restricted urban spaces? In China’s ancient-walled city of Xi’an, they’re adopting an intelligent traffic management system based on Hikvision technology - and boosting traffic flow while reducing journey time. The Chinese city of Xi'an, known as Chang'an in ancient times, was the center of ancient oriental civilization. Thirteen dynasties spanning Chinese history have chosen Xi'an as their capital. Today, Xi'an is not simply a part of history: it’s a high-tech hub, renowned across China for its scientific research and education, manufacturing, technology, and transportation. In spite of being a modern hub, Xi’an still retains its ‘checkerboard’ layout from the Tang Dynasty, complete with its border of tall and ancient walls. Urban Traffic Administration Nevertheless, while economic growth has enabled the city to develop, the walls place great restrictions on the city’s daily movement - especially to its burgeoning traffic. Vehicles can only enter and exit through the city gates, but with some three million vehicles in the city, the limited number of entrances was beginning to cause serious congestion. What’s more, there are also many ancient ruins in the city, which were further limiting the development of the urban area. Managing a growing city while protecting its history presented a serious challenge to Xi’an Plus, as of 2018, the city was home to over 10 million people, while the number of construction projects was steadily increasing. Managing a growing city while protecting its history presented a serious challenge to Xi’an. So, to address this, Xi’an Urban Traffic Administration turned to Hikvision and its intelligent cameras. Traffic sensing system “Xi’an’s city walls make it impossible to increase the size of the urban area. So, it was only through technology that we could allow the modern city to grow and develop,” says Lihu Ma, the Project Manager from Hikvision. “A core part of the Hikvision solution involves our AI-powered video technology.” The Xi'an traffic police worked with experts from Hikvision, as well as urban planning experts, internet service providers and other technology companies, to design and implement an intelligent traffic management system. The construction of this system fully utilizes Hikvision's core advantages in urban transportation intelligence, employing AI-powered video to create a powerful traffic sensing system. Physical urban transportation network The latest sonar monitoring equipment is being used to detect illegal use of car horns in banned areas “Effectively, we are building a bridge between an intelligent digital world and the physical urban transportation network in Xi’an,” explains Lihu. The intelligent traffic management system analyzes comprehensive and detailed data about the movement of traffic through the urban Xi’an area, and uses the insight gathered to make the flow of traffic more smoothly in three key ways. Comprehensive road traffic violation monitoring Xi'an traffic police have installed Hikvision’s Checkpoint Capture Cameras and Intersection Violation Capture Units as part of a monitoring system that can detect illegal vehicle behavior at intersections. These full view ultra-high zoom cameras record vehicles making illegal maneuvers - such as running red lights, making banned turns and illegal lane changes - in real time. What’s more, the latest sonar monitoring equipment is being used to detect illegal use of car horns in banned areas. Intelligent cellphone applications Visual integrated command and dispatching platform Using real-time video streams from Hikvision Traffic Flow Capture Cameras, a number of road condition perception technologies, plus intelligent cellphone applications, Xi'an traffic police has created a visual command and control center, coupled with an intelligent police dispatch system. All data is aggregated and dynamically displayed on a large screen in the command and control center. In the event of a traffic incident, the system generates dispatch recommendations intelligently, according to the location and distribution of traffic police officers throughout the city. Those closest to an incident receive an automated message to their cellphone terminals, enabling them to arrive at the scene quickly. Intelligent traffic management system The Xi’an traffic management team also employs congestion management practices More importantly, the intelligent traffic management system uses advanced machine learning capabilities to gain insight into typical congestion patterns, in order to actively identify potential traffic events before they happen. By analyzing large volumes of road condition data and information from Hikvision’s intelligent video cameras, the system can predict which intersections are most prone to congestion and when, enabling traffic police to put evasive measures in place before serious issues arise. Improved vehicle flow capacity with intelligent signal control The Xi’an traffic management team also employs congestion management practices to ease the flow of traffic, largely through the optimization of signal timing. Using Hikvision intelligent video cameras coupled with augmented reality (AR) technology, the intelligent traffic management system analyzes traffic flow data and dynamically alters the timing of signal lights accordingly. Adjusting signal timing It will monitor traffic flow, line length and average driving speed in all directions of intersections in real-time, automatically adjusting signal timing to optimize the flow of vehicles. The Xi'an traffic management system has now been trained with a wealth of traffic data, including Hikvision video, enabling it to build multiple intelligent algorithms for managing congestion in the city. Driver behavior is improving, and drivers are becoming more compliant with the rules of the road First of all, map-based congestion reports suggest that Xi'an's congestion rankings have improved significantly. In fact, compared with the test results of pilot roads before the system went live, intelligent signal control alone has increased the throughput of traffic by 10%, while the average vehicle journey time is reduced by about 12%. What’s more, driver behavior is improving, and drivers are becoming more compliant with the rules of the road. Traffic incident warning function Traffic law enforcement data reveals that traffic offences are generally decreasing, with traffic violations dropping by some 30% in one short-term observation. Additionally, thanks to the proactive traffic incident warning function, the incident detection rate has also increased by more than 30% compared to the traditional model. With the continuous optimization of the system algorithm, plus ongoing installation of monitoring equipment, the accuracy of this identification will only improve. In the process of urbanization, tackling congestion is not only about improving the flow of the transportation network: it’s also basic governance for building a smart city.
Round table discussion
The emergence of smart cities provides real-world evidence of the vast capabilities of the Internet of Things (IoT). Urban areas today can deploy a variety of IoT sensors to collect data that is then analyzed to provide insights to drive better decision-making and ultimately to make modern cities more livable. Safety and security are an important aspect of smart cities, and the capabilities that drive smarter cities also enable technologies that make them safer. We asked this week’s Expert Panel Roundtable: What are the physical security challenges of smart cities?
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