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Efficiency Gains Achieved Through Integration

Efficiency Gains Achieved Through Integration

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 11/15/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Electronic security systems are used primarily to protect the facility, goods, equipment and intellectual property from theft and vandalism. However, they are also increasingly utilized to help businesses improve efficiency. Security systems are now capable of providing improvements in safety, productivity and cost control.

Current video analytics can detect potential hazards, such as water spills or safety helmets not worn, thus reducing health and safety accidents. “Video analytics can reduce the need for human intervention or monitoring,” said Markus Niederberger, Head of Marketing Support for Fire Safety and Security, Siemens Building Technologies. Examples of applications include thermal imaging, measuring the speed of conveyor belts or examining attributes such as the size and number of items on the conveyor belt.

Another application is presence verification. This ensures staff safety for processes that require the complete evacuation of an area as explained above. Goods can also be protected through intelligent video analysis. For example, video analysis can detect unauthorized removal of an item from a conveyor belt, or alert if items get blocked on the conveyor belt.

Integration into Industrial Controls
“Efficiency and productivity gains can be realized by integrating access control with plant automation software,” said Kevin McCaughey, VP of Security Solutions, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric. “In one example, a customer used access control to ensure the right number of people with the right qualifications were present on a manufacturing or assembly line, prior to start up of the line.”

This integration benefits manufacturing in several ways. First, starting a manufacturing or assembly line without the right number of qualified personnel at work stations can result in injury, product defects, manufacturing inefficiencies, reduced customer satisfaction and legal liability, McCaughey said.

Using access control this way can also be a management tool, McCaughey said. It can help plant managers spot personnel problems in a routine way on certain lines. With this information, plant managers can address and resolve such problems. This information could illuminate problems with individual line workers or line managers.

Business-security efficiency occurs more often through integration with IP networks, Niederberger said. “There is logical identity management to control login to production software, calibration equipment and programs, production scheduling programs, equipment presets, and the like.”

In addition, authentication to the manufacturing execution system (MES) can use the same token as the physical access control system, with biometrics providing a dual-factor authentication. “Authentication using a badge and/or biometrics reduces the number of logins and increases the speed,” Niederberger continued. “It also cuts administration costs to manage blocked accounts due to invalid passwords attempts. Security can be further increased by linking logical and physical access control. In other words, a worker can only log in to the MES after accessing the zone using physical access control first.”

The added digital authentication and tracking capabilities this integration provides delivers additional benefits for compliance and safety, enabling tampering or errors to be fully tracked back to the relevant operators. The provision of meaningful statistics can help identify those workers who need retraining, or bring wider issues to light, with a view to reducing manufacturing defects.

Furthermore, the integration of access control with other business systems generates synergies, Niederberger added. Not only does integration simplify the management of cards, tokens and credentials, it also simplifies other nonsecurity related business processes, such as reduced reliance on manpower, prevention of loss and increased productivity.  [NextPage]

Cost Savings
Access control reduces the need for manned security gates inside the facility itself. This enables workers to access their secured work areas slowing them down. For distributed access control systems, on-site card printing is made available. This allows each site to be less dependent on the centralized system, benefitting from predefined central access rules while also maintaining a level of flexibility.

Enhancing Productivity
According to Niederberger, productivity in industrial facilities can be increased through access control solutions in many ways:

For instance, integrated time and attendance makes it quicker to identify which worker is absent. This is important for critical manufacturing processes, where special training, certification or skills are required. Through integration with the HR system and skill databases, it is possible to seek out backup operators immediately.

Furthermore, access control integrated with MES helps managers track and log equipment maintenance, with details recorded centrally of who did the maintenance, what was done and whether it was done in due time. “This functionality is crucial in specialized manufacturing, where manufacturing equipment failure could lead to quality issues in the finished products, such as for aircraft manufacturing,” Niederberger said.

Productivity improvements can also be linked to safety. This is particularly true when it is essential to account for everyone during an evacuation, such as those on mining sites. “The full evacuation of the zone for a planned blast has to be conducted and verified as part of mining safety regulations,” Niederberger continued. “A useful application of access control is therefore one where card readers are installed in the buses that drive mining operators away from the danger zone, with workers registering their presence inside the bus through badging. It is worth noting that a similar functionality can also be used for emergency evacuation purposes, such as on oil platforms or in chemical plants, where access control badging can be used at emergency assembly points to account for people.”

Finally, a key aspect of productivity is increased fiscal transparency. “Access control on equipment or production lines enables for more accurate production accounting by providing exact internal cost allocations, exact machine utilization statistics or identifying how much time a worker spent on a certain process compared to a benchmark,” Niederberger added. “It can also help reduce energy use, such as cutting power to unused equipment. The same is true for time allocation for external resources. Access control can help track the time of arrival and departure of contractors to check against service level agreements and delivery performance targets.

Preventing Loss
Access control plays an obvious role in preventing losses caused by theft, vandalism or sabotage. In addition, it can also prevent untrained operators from damaging sensitive or expensive equipment, Lim said.

Furthermore, access control provides an additional means of controlling stock. Efficiency and accountability are further increased when paired with RFID technology. This makes it easier to monitor when and how many specific items were taken out of stock, and by whom.

Access control systems that enable visitor and contractor management functionality provide better control over who is actually on the site, and who is their host. They also make available escort functionality that ensures visitors are do not wander around on their own.

A centralized system that is integrated with the HR system enables quick activation or deactivation of access rights, based on staff changes. This prevents former employees from accessing the site or using equipment, while enabling new employees to be fully operational quickly.

Complying to Regulations
Health and safety benefits from access control systems. Access control can ensure only trained personnel operate in or around dangerous areas or machinery, reducing the risk of workplace accidents and thereby the number of lost workdays, Niederberger said. “This not only directly impacts compliance achievements, but can also reduce nonconformance rates of manufactured goods, which is particularly relevant in highly specialized and regulated manufacturing industries.”

Access control systems can be configured to register and verify certain criteria before allowing individuals to enter controlled areas. “There was one case where the client needed this functionality to comply with safety regulations, as some staff and contractors may not have attended the relevant safety courses,” Lim said. “However, there are also cases where we needed to deny access to staff who did not have the relevant certifications for required skill sets.”

Compliance is simplified by understanding the compliance requirements prior to the selection and design of security infrastructure. “That way, the infrastructure can be designed specifically to meet the compliance requirements completely and efficiently,” McCaughey said. “This is far more efficient and less costly than trying to meet compliance requirements after installation of systems and having to compensate for inadequacies.”

Although compliance with safety and health regulations is touted in many businesses, many do it as a “paper” exercise, Lim warned. “By merely putting coordinators or managers to check on noncompliance is a process that had failed often and is merely for documentation and retrospective actions. We often remind business owners that if a real accident occurs, there might be loss of lives and have many undesirable and unforeseen consequences for the business. Putting physical checks by security systems can certainly improve all-year-round consistency in the enforcement of compliance.” [NextPage]

MEASURING ROI
System ROI is not easy to measure, especially when businesses are not aware of the inefficiencies or risks they are facing in the first place. “For example, one customer who approached us realized his operation was suffering from more losses and it coincided with a gradual drop in productivity,” Lim said. “He had tried many productivity programs but did not get any improvement.”

After the customer rolled out a cleverly designed suite of security systems, there was increased accountability in processes, visibility in operations and staff attendance. “Not only did the inventory losses decrease by 50 percent, the productivity from better staff attendance coincided with a 3-percent increase in overall operating margin,” Lim continued. “Who would have thought that security systems could increase productivity? However, in many cases, security systems discourages bad habits and practices in business operations.”

ROI is often measured though space returned to the business in dollars per square foot; system infrastructure cost reductions such as unneeded PC workstations, server rooms, phone stations; and system maintenance cost reductions, said Aaron Kuzmeskus, Director of Security Channel Development, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric. “In addition, there can be many soft savings as the result of faster response times with better information to help prevent an event, or greatly reducing an event's impact to the business.”

Operational efficiency can only be measured when objectives are met first. “In many cases for video analytics implementations, we realized that there is no comparison, as a human guard would have missed many things on a regular basis due to fatigue,” Lim said.

Marching Toward Efficiency
The inevitable trend for industrial applications is the movement towards energy efficiency and sustainability, said Jiangong Ding, Industry Director for Hikvision Digital Technology. “Digital surveillance and security systems are one of the most powerful enablers for this capability. Through technology, it is possible to reduce resource consumption and pollution, which leads to more efficient management and better operational efficiency with less reliance on manpower.”

Megapixel cameras and intelligent, integrated systems make it possible to have a comprehensive management platform, which provides support for further growth within the industrial sector, Ding said.

Industrial sites will continue to have strong demand for security and safety systems, due to the critical resources and services they bring to the market as a whole, said Gary Tan, APAC Head of Systems Solution Group, Bosch Security Systems. “Moving forward, IP-based solutions and fully integrated security systems will become a growing trend. In two to three years' time, there will be stronger demand for intelligent central management systems that integrate all the key subsystems, including the security system, and more application interfaces with automation control functions. This will mean the staff of such plants will need to be of a higher level and be trained to operate and maintain such intelligent systems.”

Industrial Facilities Adopting Advanced Security for Efficiency Gains

Industrial Facilities Adopting Advanced Security for Efficiency Gains

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 11/15/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The industrial sector was negatively impacted by the economic downturn due to lower consumer spending. Production of automobiles and primary metals dropped 30 percent or more during the recession. The early 2011 earthquake in Japan was no help, as it caused shortages of critical components in various sectors.

These crises emphasize the need of facility managers to have more efficient management practices, which are enabled through the marriage of automation and security. This approach makes for a safer and more productive work environment, yet also has significant cost-saving benefits .

China has the strongest growth in industrial estate development, with fast growth also witnessed in neighboring India and Vietnam. Singapore and Malaysia are also having a healthy number of industrial estate developments, said Patrick Lim, Director of Sales and Marketing for Ademco Far East. “The key difference in most of the current industrial estates is the usage, and thus the value, of the development. There is a shift of focus to higher value use for these industrial estates.”

“We are seeing a 30- to 40-percent increase in security spending in these new industrial estates,” Lim continued. “However, compared to the older industries, the new types of businesses occupying these spaces are in high-tech manufacturing, R&D, energy and high-value services; which are much higher in value.”

Gone are the dirty and messy impressions of these developments, Lim said. “The new industrial estates are built for high-value businesses. Thus the emphasis is on good security and technology to add value to their business.”

Entering the Perimeter
Starting from the very outer rim of an industrial plant, there are several considerations for site access. It depends on whether the site is closed or open. “Closed sites have perimeter fencing that protects the entire site and its estates. The site could also be open, in which case the site can be freely walked around and physical protection is not present until you get to the building,” said Ian Hodgson, Regional MD for North U.K., ADT Fire and Security. “However, both types share similarities in how a design is secured. The design has to be based on two things, pedestrian access and vehicular access, which are approached separately.”

For vehicular access, there are generally several groups. There are the staff members who work in the facility, visitors driving to the site, people in the supply chain bringing in raw materials and, finally, people dispatching the finished goods.

An increasing number of sites are beginning to adopt ALPR to automate vehicular access, Hodgson said. “They can discern which group the vehicle belongs to. The security system grants access rights according to that information and, using information display systems, guide the vehicle to areas within the site. This helps automate traffic control and directional control, reducing the need for human resources.”

For example, there could be an external gate which grants access according to information obtained by the ALPR system. Information boards guide drivers through the most direct route to their destination. There could also be other gates and barriers along the way, which are opened according to the access rights of the vehicle.

Video surveillance that utilizes intelligence is used to monitor workflow and the direction in which people are walking around the site.

“When anomalies occur, there might be a reason to investigate,” Hodgson said. This reduces the number of guards needed to patrol the site. [NextPage]

Granting Access
Heading into the building itself, access to the building is allowed or denied based on a person's credentials. The greatest demands for access control solutions lie in time and attendance management, entry and exit control, and parking facility monitoring, said Jiangong Ding, Industry Director for Hikvision Digital Technology.

Access solution requirements can include almost every variety of readers and credentials on the market, said Kevin McCaughey, VP of Security Solutions, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric. “Specific use cases spell out which readers or credentials are required in a given circumstance.”

The type of access control used within the facility depends on the aperture, Hodgson said. “It depends on whether it's a person or vehicle, for internal or external access, whether access needs to be both ways, person-by- person, or can have many people move through at once.” For example, pedestrian access to the site may be limited by swipe cards and turnstiles, which allows the system to know if a person is on- or off-site. Closer to the building itself, there might be a simple door lock mechanism or another form of turnstile to restrict access to one person at a time. It all depends on the usage of the building.

In addition, more users are migrating towards biometric readers as they become more affordable and reliable. “Tokens can be shared among staff members, while biometric data is much more difficult to pass around,” Hodgson said. “Some clients require biometrics to create a foolproof security system.” While video verification coupled with access control tokens help in this regard, it is a more expensive solution.

The two most common biometric readers in industrial settings are fingerprint and retinal. “Facial recognition is currently still on the more expensive side of biometrics, as it involves a larger area of view using video and other technologies and a database for lookups and comparisons,” Hodgson continued.

“From an affordability perspective, fingerprint readers are preferred. However, technology is constantly changing and improving, and access control solutions that contain data and images of users can be related to by video systems. There are some entrylevel systems of that nature, but that technology is still quite embryonic.”

Furthermore, there is an increased demand for centrally managed access control systems. "In particular, customers who need to control several sites rather than just the one building require a multisite solution that can be distributed geographically and at the same time can be centrally monitored and administered,” said Markus Niederberger, Head of Marketing Support for Fire Safety and Security, Siemens Building Technologies.

Some customers require a fully centralized system management. “Others prefer a mix of centralized and distributed management,” Niederberger said. “Typically, these customers also require system redundancy, a next-to-zeroapplication downtime, the ability to interface to legacy components as well as the integration with their IT and HR systems to optimize the business workflows.” [NextPage]

Keeping an Eye on Processes
The use of video cameras on the production line enables real-time monitoring of the entire production process, Ding said. “It is also possible now to monitor staff members for performance, as well as compliance to regulations and company policy. When something goes wrong, the manager can remotely instruct or alert staff members to ensure problems are resolved quickly.”

Furthermore, video surveillance allows a single person to monitor several locations without having to be physically present, whereas in the past, one supervisor was needed to watch each location, Ding said. This drastically reduces the manpower needed for specialized tasks.

Machine Vision
Machine vision cameras can also be utilized to monitor the production line for quality issues. There are two differences between security cameras and machine vision cameras, said Hardy Mehl, Director of IP Business for Basler. “For machine vision, there is a very controlled environment, which means there is stable lighting and the camera looks at very defined objects. The camera or video system does not have to work in challenging light conditions. This is a big difference from the security world, where you always have the sun coming up or shades or reflections, so security cameras are more optimized to changing, dynamic environments.” The other is compression, as all network cameras use compression algorithm such as M-JPEG or H.264. “Typically in the industrial automation world, raw data is transmitted,” Mehl said. “This is a big difference that has implications on which interface to use between the camera and the PC. In the industrial world, you need much higher bandwidth since the data is not compressed. The computer is looking at the image, and you need the absolute best quality in terms of signal-to-noise ratio to calculate and get every little detail.”

Security cameras are different, as every detail is not essential or practical. “You need high-resolution, but typically you need compressed images that are just good enough, and you need lower bandwidth because you store for a long time,” Mehl said. “In the industrial environment, you don't transmit live streams, but rather you shoot images. You make snapshots and you transmit the snapshots in very high frequencies.” The two types of cameras are not interchangeable in most cases, but due to the technological development and market development, there are some applications that overlap. “The performance of network cameras, in some cases, is good enough for industrial purposes,” Mehl said. “For example, they are cheaper or give an advantage. However, in most cases, there are really two different demands on the customer side.”

Bringing Disparate Systems Together
One clear management level trend regarding access control, and security in general, involves manufacturers taking a holistic approach to access control technology, processes and policies to protect their most essential operations. “The need for a global approach is driven by the high level of acquisition activity among manufacturers over the last 10 years and the rise in risk and threat levels these companies face,” McCaughey said. “From a security perspective, acquiring companies also means acquiring their security infrastructure, policies and their risk profile. As the chief security officer, anything more than one security infrastructure and set of security operating policies and processes builds inherent risk into your business. There is more to manage and more potential holes in your security perimeter.”

Adding Video to Access Control
Integrating access control, security management systems and video surveillance creates significant efficiency gains in industrial and manufacturing environments, said Aaron Kuzmeskus, Director of Security Channel Development, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric.

For example, access cards used in combination with visual verification of the cardholder enable quicker throughput of workers without requiring someone to check ID badges, Niederberger said. “This is applicable at the security perimeter of a plant and within the plant itself.”

Video surveillance enables security operations to have eyes on an event, even when they are not physically present. This manifests itself in two ways, Kuzmeskus said. “One is the ability to assess quicker an alarm event or situation, and a safer manner of assessment in areas where dangerous substances or machinery be may be in use.”

Secondarily, video verification at access points can lessen the financial burden of stationing guards at sensitive entry or egress portals or to physically verify that credentials are being used properly, Kuzmeskus continued. While biometrics provides good identification, it can be problematic in areas that require personal protective equipment, such as gloves and face shields.

Integration between access control and video enhances productivity, as it can corroborate staff access records with video footage. A common example of poor productivity is staffers taking frequent smoke breaks while claiming to be carrying out other tasks, Lim said. “Another example I came across is for a sterilization room, where a customer had utilized our system to control. According to company policy, the time needed for staff to be sterilized prior to entering a clean room environment. However, some staff members deliberately shortened their sterilization period. As the staff are all wearing suits, without both records for exit access and video information, it would be difficult to determine which staff members violated company policy.” [NextPage]

Adding Video to Perimeter Protection
Video aids perimeter protection systems in several ways. “Overt video surveillance cameras present an aura of security by deterring potential intruders intent on gaining unauthorized entry to a facility,as they will be aware their actions are being observed and potentially recorded,” Kuzmeskus said.

In addition, thermal cameras can be used to supplement perimeter fences, requiring less cameras yet reducing the number of false positives. With a thermal camera you are able to reach longer distances, reducing the need to place standard cameras on the fence itself, said Ron Petrie, Director of Sales for Vumii. "Thermal imaging provides supplemental support for the security system, covering locations that do not have adequate lighting."

Using the philosophy of “deter, detect, delay, respond,” overt video surveillance cameras present an aura of security, whereas a site without dense surveillance coverage would be an easier target. “This can be leveraged further as a detection method with the addition of simple analytics. A video trip-wire can establish a virtual perimeter beyond a physical fence of property line, creating a greater setback distance, and increasing the available time to respond to a pending event,” Kuzmeskus said. “Video is another key enabler of virtual guard tours, allowing for fewer roving guards, quicker tour times and reduced guard fatigue.”

Cameras with video analytics deployed for perimeter protection solutions can help deter and provide early detection of some potential security breaches, agreed Gary Tan, APAC Head of Systems Solution Group, Bosch Security Systems. “This would reduce or do away the needs for physical patrolling around the perimeter. Depending on the site condition, one common application includes virtual perimeter lines or areas crossing covering a wide geographical area for early detection.”

For some large sites, it is too expensive and inefficient to deploy a great deal of manpower to protect the premises. Thus a good perimeter protection system, combining fence intrusion detection and intelligent video systems, is useful to supplement manpower. More importantly, it is proven that humans are not good at maintaining concentration for prolonged periods of time, Lim said. “We have had a bad experience with a public transport operator who simply refused to employ better systems to protect their transportation depots,” Lim said. “Eventually, disaster struck. Intruders breached their perimeter and vandalized their transport, resulting in public outcry and much embarrassment to the company.”

With VCA built into the cameras, fewer patrols are needed. “The verification of the alarm or event could be assessed and remotely evaluated first without the need to dispatch security personnel,” Tan said. “This increases productivity per staff member and lowers reliance on manpower.”

Perimeter protection and video analytic systems are also especially helpful for remote locations where there is no real need for manpower, Lim said. “One of the services that we provide is to remotely manage access and verify activities with video for customers with remote locations. However in most cases, it is usually a combination of manpower, systems and remote services. By reducing the high dependence on labor, this manpower can be diverted to engage more meaningful tasks. Contrary to the many unfounded fears, this will not lead to fewer jobs, but more meaningful careers.” [NextPage]

Customers Watching Too Much TV
Customers are often introduced to advanced systems through Hollywood productions. This raises their expectations of what a security system can provide.

Some clients ask for fully automated systems, wishing to completely eliminate human factors. “This is not practical with the current level of technology,” Ding said. “Any system will need a management platform that requires humans to maintain and operate. While a security system can greatly reduce a facility's reliance on manpower, humans cannot be entirely replaced.”

Some customers do not understand that manpower is still needed to manage alarms and to evaluate the response; access control and video can only tell you something happened, said Mo Hess, Director, Business Development, Global Security, Buildings Business, Schneider Electric. Another common request is for the ability to control and track who enters the site while not impacting the throughput of people, said.

“However, this would conflict with the initial goal of preventing multiple entries using one card,” Hess said.

“We always try to educate the customers so they can understand the solutions and technologies proposed,” Lim said. “If the customers simply refuse to adopt a more realistic expectation, then we will have to walk away from the business.”

The effects of television shows like “CSI” give users the impression that access control and video can track someone's movements inside a facility with time stamping of the movement, Hess said. “With video, the impression is that you can blow up an image and it will not be pixelated. Also, the ability of ‘facial recognition' to identify individuals is just not there yet.”

Furthermore, because so many add-on products claim to be “plug and play,” customers do not always understand that software changes could still be required in their security system, Hess continued.

Getting the Best Results
The best results are achieved when the consultant or specifier works hand-in-hand with the integrator during both the design process and the deployment to ensure a seamless transformation from the prior system to the new system — one that functions as needed and performs as expected, Kuzmeskus said. Each contributes their expertise: the consultant often has better knowledge of the customer's business objectives, while the integrator generally knows more about the capabilities of the specified components.

Most cases involve some degree of customization to an existing solution. For example, camera positioning often needs to be optimized for the best point of view, Kuzmeskus said. “In addition, dramatic improvements in video quality can lead to camera upgrade requirements. In other cases, a facility may have a perimeter that is adjacent to inaccessible or dangerous terrain, such as a refinery bordering a swamp area containing alligators and poisonous snakes. PTZ or thermal imaging cameras can augment the existing video systems to reduce the number times a guard enters that environment to assess an alarm, or in many cases, remove that dangerous area from a physical guard tour and transition it to a video guard tour.”

The integration between automation and security is always a dilemma, Lim said. “Unless there are real benefits in cost savings or functionality improvements, the integration tends to be cosmetic only.” The next part of our coverage explores efficiency gains enabled by the integration of automation and security.

Self-Serve Yogurt Chain Relies on Fingerprint Biometrics from DigitalPersona

Self-Serve Yogurt Chain Relies on Fingerprint Biometrics from DigitalPersona

Editor / Provider: DigitalPersona | Updated: 11/3/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

DigitalPersona, a global provider of authentication and endpoint protection solutions, announced Yogurtland restaurants across the U.S., Mexico and Guam are addressing Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance requirements and reducing payroll fraud with DigitalPersona fingerprint biometrics.

DigitalPersona Fingerprint Readers eliminate the need for franchise managers to remember constantly-changing login passwords at each store location, and also help eliminate buddy punching by employees. This increases operational efficiency and reduces costs at Yogurtland locations.

Employees at Yogurtland previously used 4-digit PIN codes at point-of-sale terminals to access time-and-attendance and POS systems, while managers used swipe cards for override authorizations. One of the biggest operational challenges was complying with the PCI Data Security Standards requirement to change a user's complex password every 90 days. Franchisee managers and owners with multiple locations found it difficult to remember the changing passwords, as not all of their stores would change passwords at the same time requiring managers to remember multiple complex passwords. Forgotten passwords resulted in frequent calls to IT support at all hours of the day. By using Fingerprint Readers with their Micros Systems, point of sale software, managers and owners do not need to remember complex passwords which are different for each location. They simply needed to touch the fingerprint reader to release the password.

“I've had the opportunity to use DigitalPersona's fingerprint solutions in a variety of other retail and POS businesses, and knew they were a perfect fit for addressing our needs at Yogurtland,” said Phil Olea, director of technology at Yogurtland. “Fingerprint readers give you an irrefutable proof of identity and ensure that employees aren't clocking in and out for each other, and that only our managers have the ability to approve voids, discounts and overrides. Our employees were happy to get rid of their PINs andswipe cards, and seem to love that we are using cool, modern technology in our stores.”

DigitalPersona Fingerprint Readers have been integrated into more than 90 percent of the biometrically-enabled POS systems in the U.S. and are supported by a variety of commercial POS applications. DigitalPersona fingerprint readers enable restaurants and retailers to transition away from swipe cards and PINs, which can be easily lost, stolen or shared. In contrast, biometrics ties individuals to the actions they perform, providing a powerful deterrent to time-and-attendance and management-override fraud. Fingerprint biometrics also makes it easier for businesses to address the stringent PCI mandates for strong identity security controls and can improve productivity, as well as customer response times, by simplifying and speedingup system login.

"In the past, passwords and PIN codes were good enough, but today, PCI compliance mandates are forcing restaurateurs and retailers to significantly strengthen the security used to ensure only authorized employees access applications," said Jim Fulton, VP of DigitalPersona. "DigitalPersona's fingerprint readers make it simple for businesses to secure access to their POS systems and save money at the same time. Often, adding biometrics can pay for itself within a month by reducing theft and fraud."

Luxury Apartments in Spain Choose Wireless Biometrics from Databac

Luxury Apartments in Spain Choose Wireless Biometrics from Databac

Editor / Provider: Databac | Updated: 10/26/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

ID specialist Databac has installed a high-end biometric door entry system at the newest boutique aparthotel of Splendom Suites in Madrid, Spain. User-friendly terminals from Biodit were chosen for their reliable performance and intuitive usage, as well as their smart appearance, to fit in with the hotel's elegant interiors.

Opened this month, Splendom Suites Madrid has one- and two-bedroomed apartments of 65 square meter to 135 square meter and is located in the city's exclusive Salamanca district. Biodit Inside terminals are fitted unobtrusively into the walls, in light switch enclosures, to enable guests to enter their rooms without the hassle of keys or cards.

Biodit Inside uses fingerprint recognition and is completely wireless. Inside is connected to the management control software and other network devices using a wireless locking system developed by Biodit for the Zigbee platform. This connectivity makes installation easy, using standard computing resources and avoiding any complicated wiring or building works.

Databac MD, Charles Balcomb says: “Biodit Inside is perfect for Splendom Suites. These attractive terminals perfectly complement the designer decor and do not require any structural work to the classical building in which it is housed.”

“Splendom Suites Madrid is a unique concept in accommodation and we wanted to implement the most advanced biometric technology. With Databac's help, that's exactly what we have achieved,” said Santiago Torras, Director of The Suites Group.

London's Second Largest Airport Deploys Iris Recognition from AOptix and Human Recognition Systems

London's Second Largest Airport Deploys Iris Recognition from AOptix and Human Recognition Systems

Editor / Provider: AOptix Technologies | Updated: 10/20/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

AOptix Technologies, a leading edge developer of innovative iris recognition solutions, and Human Recognition Systems, the UK market leader in identity management announced their successful implementation integrating the AOptix InSight VM iris recognition system into 34 automated e-Gates at the Gatwick Airport South Terminal. AOptix was selected by HRS for their ability to bring a time saving, enhanced passenger experience to the world's busiest single-runway airport.

With the goal of improving the overall airport experience for millions of travelers from all over the world, the InSight VM is integrated into MFlow Track, developed by HRS for positive passenger identification as part of Gatwick Airport's automated security process.

“HRS has a great reputation in the aviation industry for deploying and integrating innovative world class identity solutions such as the one at Gatwick” says Dean Senner, CEO of AOptix. “Iris at-a-distance from AOptix and the HRS MFlow Track is the hassle-free, non-intrusive security experience that passengers are looking for at today's modern airports.”

The AOptix-HRS approach delivers a highly accurate match of passenger to boarding pass on a remarkably consistent basis. Designed for ease of use and high throughput, the system is intended to create secure, customer friendly passage into the international departure lounge area where passengers can shop, dine, and relax prior to boarding their flights.

“Human Recognition Systems has been deploying iris recognition systems for 10 years now and with the introduction of the InSight iris recognition solution from AOptix, we are able to exploit the full power of iris biometrics” said Neil Norman, Human Recognition Systems' chief executive. “We are pleased to be working with our partner AOptix and in having the InSight VM integrated into our MFlow product and having successfully deployed the first system in Europe at Gatwick Airport."

“Already passengers are spending on average less than five minutes in security” said Geoff Williams, Head of Security at Gatwick Airport. “With our new spacious preparation area and 19 security lanes, some of which are designed to assist families with young children and premium travellers, the new technology will help increase the efficiency of the security operation and provide a better service."

Dutch Railway Protected by Bosch Cameras and Conway Housings

Dutch Railway Protected by Bosch Cameras and Conway Housings

Editor / Provider: Conway Security Products | Updated: 10/18/2011 | Article type: Infrastructure

Conway Security Products are supplying their vandal-resistant ceiling and wall-mounted camera housings to the Dutch railway network, Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS), for use at underground and overland stations across large areas of Holland. Stations already fitted with the equipment include hubs such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Breda.

Conway's units were specified and installed by the company's Dutch partner, Hacousto Videotechniek, who have also implemented Bosch IP cameras and a video management system from Canadian innovator Genetec.

The Conway housings and Bosch cameras are being used for monitoring of passenger flow and volume at station concourses, and use of smartcard electronic ticketing similar to the London ‘Oyster' card and Hong Kong ‘Octopus' card. Much of the video monitoring is retrospective event-driven analysis, and the end-user is benefiting from high-quality (up to 4CIF images at 25 frames per second) which can be used for evidential purposes if necessary.

Chris Newman, a director of Conway, said: “Anyone using the UK rail and underground network will be familiar with the EHC4 and EHW4 camera housings as they have been used extensively for many years and were recently installed on the Stockholm Metro. It is this kind of pedigree which attracted Hacousto and their client.”

The EHC4 and EHW4 combine simplicity with robust performance and flexibility in terms of usage. Installers working on railway applications both above and below ground are often limited in the scope for camera locations and must choose products that are adaptable. The EHC4 can be mounted both on the surface of a concrete wall or, just as easily, be part of a recess application if the station infrastructure has fascias.

Similarly, the standard EHC4 can be mounted on a wall to deliver a ‘portrait' angle of view along a corridor, for example. On applications such as railways, minimising installation and ‘downtime' is critical, and if a universal solution is available to the installer it will save engineering hours and money by reducing disruption to the site's core activity.

The units being supplied to Hacousto are painted yellow to suit their customer's strong corporate identity. The whole manufacturing process is conducted at Conway's factory in the UK, and being able to finish products in colours to meet site applications or corporate identities is another reason why customers turn to Conway for this type of solution.

Conway's EHC4 and EHW4 camera housings (the codes indicate ceiling and wall-mounted variants) are manufactured from 1.4003 grade stainless steel and are securely closed in two positions. They feature a cast acrylic screen. Ingress rating is IP65 which means the housings give cameras comprehensive protection against dust and fumes as well as a familiar contaminant at all rail applications, brake pad particles which can be particularly intrusive. The housings have been designed to deter vandals and can be used with most major camera brands. A screen demister option (12-36v or 110-240v) is available.

With headquarters at Berkel en Rodenrijs in western Holland, Hacousto is an international contractor and consultant who develop and implement high-end solutions in video, public address and voice alarm (PA/VA), biometrics and fire alarms. Video surveillance, audio communication and broadcast automation are core activities, with delivery usually being on a turnkey basis across several disciplines.

The Dutch railway network has a history that goes back as far as 1839 when a 16km journey was made between Amsterdam and Haarlem. Today the network has 392 stations served by 2,600km of track with 2,000km being electrified. As with other European countries, EC directives have led to a separation of infrastructure and operating companies. The system has been divided into franchises with Nederlandse Spoorwegen operating the stations and dominating the passenger market with 4,800 scheduled trains daily serving 1.1 million passengers.

How to Run a Good Security Business

How to Run a Good Security Business

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 10/12/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

The security business has its own set of priorities. This affects management best practices, as the safety of people hangs in the balance. We examine what traits a security business has, as well as key performance indicators, to measure a company's success.

The security mindset envisions the worst-case scenario, then strives to prevent it from happening. Security consultants make a living from imagining “what if” — if an intruder breaks in, a robber holds up a store or a random force of nature flattens a building. By understanding risks, technology can be creatively deployed to minimize the damage. For example, sensors can alert homeowners about an intruder. Video surveillance can document an armed robbery and capture the assailant's face. A smart building can issue evacuation alerts or direct people to a shelter before a tornado hits.

Keeping in mind potential dangers means a security business cannot be run like a consumer or IT business. Selling smartphones hinges on coolness and boosting unit sales, while security could care less about popularity. While smart business principles do apply, a security company is not focused on short-term returns.

Best practices for other industries may not work for the security industry. Measures such as Six Sigma underscore efficiency, with a five-phase process to eliminate unnecessary steps: define, measure, analyze, improve and control. The original process developed by Motorola in 1986 sought to minimize production flaws and improve the yield, or percentage of defect-free products. Most security manufacturers do not have product volumes comparable to consumer goods, so the analogy is on a smaller scale. However, quality control is a universal priority for any business.

Six Sigma is ideal for large corporations, which include Honeywell and GE. However, GE's cost-down approach ultimately backfired in security. It made a number of notable security buys, only for the subsidiaries to languish as they adapted to the GE Way. GE Security was sold to UTC Fire and Security for US$1.82 billion in 2009. While being efficient is important, it is even more imperative to maintain security standards.

Corporate Leadership
There is no one path to becoming a security executive. Unlike academia, which requires years of research, security has few directly related degrees or apprenticeships. The main qualification is experience, either in the industry or in technology development.

Idteck's CEO Grace Kang began her career as a nurse and then imported RFID cards 22 years ago. “At that time, nobody knew how to make those cards in Korea,” said Austin Park, GM. “After about 10 years, she started to develop her own product.”

Kang combined her project savvy with Mike Yoo, now Idteck's VP for R&D. Yoo was involved with Korean national defense as an engineer and RF specialist. “Through her experience, since she dealt with so many brands and types of products, she is one of the best system integrators,” Park said. “She learned everything from experience in sales, development and planning.”

While a former nurse and defense engineer seem to have little in common, celebrating differences can make a business more dynamic. Security giant Bosch Security Systems is made up of experienced employees with different backgrounds. “They all gained a lot of experience in the security industry — which is very important in order to be successful in the market,” said Gert van Iperen, Chairman of the Board of Management.

A team with one express goal runs Assa Abloy. “Assa Abloy starts with a clear vision: to be the world leading, most successful and innovative provider of total door opening solutions; which clearly establishes the direction for the management team,” said Tzachi Wiesenfeld, Executive VP and Head of EMEA.

Silicon Valley-based Intransa grew out of a desire to carve a niche. “Intransa started life as a storage company,” said CEO Bud Broomhead, who took over in 2007. “One of the issues in the company at the time was a lack of focus on a specific kind of customers. We now focus on physical security and do not sell into IT, but strictly physical security environments. We frequently talk to IT people about how to integrate the product into their network, but we're not talking about email or financial applications.” [NextPage]

Security versus IT
IT advances have benefited and influenced physical security. Senior managers must pay attention to these developments and find what works for security. “In terms of the security industry becoming like the computer industry, there is certainly more emphasis on software as well as hardware technologies and the importance of ‘interoperability' and the conflicts between proprietary ‘closed' technologies and ‘open' common protocols and standards,” Wiesenfeld said. “However, the lock industry has proved highly resilient and adaptable over many decades, even centuries, and will evolve and adapt to integrate advances in both software and hardware.”

The rise of mobile devices is changing how security is deployed. “The security business is going to be part of the IT market,” Park said. “These days, people look at video images by iPhone or Android phones. There will be cellphone replacement of RF cards. Many devices will be integrated into one device.”

In general, IT is much more fast-paced than security, but also has a higher failure rate. “In certain contexts, that's just fine, but not in the security industry,” Broomhead said. “It's not really experimental.”

While IT may be ahead of security, it has less to do with needs or capability, and more the business model for delivering security. “The industry does a lot of work through the bidding process,” Broomhead said. “If you talk to people writing the spec, it may take three months to put that out on the street. Then six months later, someone buys that equipment. It's not immediate.”

In a risk-averse industry, users are cautious about the latest fads. Vendors must show that a new product will integrate well with existing solutions, lowering risk. “A term in IT is called ‘disruptive' technology, when something really changes the game and is more efficient,” Broomhead said. “‘Disruptive' is not a word you want to use around security. It's about keeping everything steady and calm, as users do not want disruptive.”

Security suppliers cannot risk reliability by rushing an unproven technology to the market. “I don't think that the security industry lags a step behind the IT sector,” van Iperen said. “It may look like it though, as reliability plays such a vital role in our business. Newly developed IT systems which might get used for new security technologies have to be tested to the bone before they get implemented.”

Delivering Security
Security is not wholly like the IT sector, although it takes cues from it. It has shifted from being “nice to have” to “must have” in more applications. “People care about security systems as mandatory,” Park said. “Before, only certain people or organizations were serious about security. Now even small businesses like to have security systems.”

As security becomes more critical, reliability and usability are priorities. “When you're talking about security systems, they are supposed to run in a catastrophe,” Broomhead said. “You don't necessarily want the most bleeding-edge technology. It can't be overly complicated or else it leads to errors in installation or implementation.”

Quality solutions that are innovative and serve customer needs will ensure company success. “ These curity industry is special in many regards: safety and security of personal assets and important infrastructures are of interest to everyone,” van Iperen said. “Yet the security industry doesn't seek the attention of many. In our business, it is much more important to satisfy customer needs with efficient and reliable operations, than to impress everyone with a colorful appearance.”

Best Practices
Working toward the goal of security affects everything from product development to customer service. At Idteck, half of all employees are in R&D, which is made up of hardware, software and algorithm teams. “All profits are reinvested in R&D,” Park said. “New developments are based on market trends.”

Customer satisfaction drives Intransa's business, which differs from voice of the customer programs conducted by sales. “It uses a similar approach found in Six Sigma for continuous improvement, monitoring and closedloop analysis,” Broomhead said. “But it goes all the way through, from quality control of software and systems out to delivery.”

Customer needs are part of Bosch's go-to market strategy. “At Bosch Security Systems we strive to cater to the individual needs of each customer, no matter how big or small his business is,” van Iperen said. It recently launched a new business group called Engineered Software and Solutions, which offers tailored project management for complex security projects such as airports, train stations, hotels, convention centers and so on. The Bosch group provides comprehensive support in planning, tender preparation and project implementation.

For smaller customers, Bosch has also developed a line of “easy to understand, use and maintain” products. “We are expanding our portfolio in the lower price segment for customers who aren't looking for holistic security systems,” van Iperen said. “Quality and reliability remains always the same.”

With product development dependent on customer needs, management must also take steps to ensure production is efficient. Assa Abloy has transferred standardized productionto low-cost countries, while remaining operations in developed countries are improved through lean management methods, Wiesenfeld said. “The group has also invested in developing common product ‘platforms,' with fewer components and common product development.” [NextPage]

Business Benchmarks
Any business must have a long-term objective, then assess how it's doing against key performance indicators. While the product cycle of security means unit sales may not be the best benchmark, sales figures and other data provide valuable insight into a company's health. “There are a lot of things we measure well before measuring revenue,” Broomhead said. “We conduct surveys, talking to integrators who integrate and deploy our product. They are delivering on that value proposition.”

Idteck looks at sales by product categories and location. Its overseas sales make up 70 percent of its turnover.“We divide by product categories: Biometrics, readers and cards, and control panels,” Park said. “To be a total system provider, we need to have all categories of products.”

Numbers present objective information on whether a company is on track. “Typical financial measures include sales, operating income and operating margin ; return on capital employed and operating cash flow, with stated targets such as achieving 10 percent annual growth and an operating margin of 16 to 17 percent,” Wiesenfeld said. Assa Abloy achieves its targets through organic and acquired growth, which respectively were 5 percent and 20 percent in 2010. It also invents in R&D, employing more than 1,000 engineers.

Inside product segment sales, more specific performance indicators can be implemented. “For example, in the context of fire detection or intrusion systems, false alarms could be such an important performance indicator,” van Iperen said. “Of course, we also continuously gather and examine the feedback from our customers and our staff in all markets.”

Security is not an industry for those out to make a quick buck. A solid product portfolio needs to be backed by a trustworthy reputation and proof that the solution works reliably. It is important to understand trends, but security focuses less on what's in vogue. A good security business should take stock of financial data and customer demand, but never loses sight of its vision to keep people safe.

Nigerian Broadcasting Company Adopts CEM Systems Software Platform and Biometrics

Nigerian Broadcasting Company Adopts CEM Systems Software Platform and Biometrics

Editor / Provider: CEM Systems | Updated: 9/29/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

CEM Systems, part of Tyco Security Products, announced that it has been selected to secure Radio/ TV Gotel in Yola, Nigeria. CEM Approved Resellers Acti-Tech Limited has been awarded the contract to install the AC2000 SE (Standard Edition) system.

Radio/ TV Gotel, located in Yola, Adamawa State in North-Eastern Nigeria, envisions building a world-class media outfit offering first-class broadcasting.

“The AC2000 SE system was the preferred choice considering the scalability of the system,” said Peter Madu, Managing Director, Acti-Tech. He continued, “The system's unique integration possibilities made CEM AC2000 SE the big winner in this project”.

The Radio/ TV Gotel solution is comprised of 63 doors leading to the news rooms, transmission rooms, production studios, server rooms and offices. To secure these sensitive areas, Gotel chose the S610f fingerprint reader. The S610f fingerprint reader is a fully integrated biometric and access control reader for those areas which require an additional layer of biometric security. The S610f reader also meets requirements for three stage identity authentication (card, PIN and biometric verification) using one device.

AC2000 SE provides an advanced level of integration using industry standard interfaces to link to third party systems. Gotel required the AC2000 system to integrate with American Dynamics VideoEdge NVR in order to control video and access via one solution. Gotel will have a 100 camera system installed to ensure the highest level of security. AC2000 application Alarm Event Display (AED) responds to all alarm situations in real time providing a dynamic on-screen interface to external CCTV systems with facilities for CCTV switching, remote door broadcasting and audio output in response to alarm events.

Gotel also chose the PoE+ DIU 230, which offers a high level of security while keeping cabling to a minimum. The CEM PoE+ solution is unique to the industry as it can reliably deliver up to 2 Amps to power an entire door set, including access control readers, heavy duty maglocks and associated items, all over one CAT 5/6 Ethernet cable.

“Gotel has incorporated CEM industry firsts such as biometrics and PoE+ to achieve a highly secure system” said Philip Verner, Sales and Marketing Manager, CEM Systems. He continued “We are focused on delivering access control solutions that meet our customer requirements now and in the future, and with the station still undergoing construction and plans for future extensions, CEM Systems will continue to support Gotel with their security needs”.

American Fast-Food Chain Improves Operations and Profits With Fingerprint Biometrics

American Fast-Food Chain Improves Operations and Profits With Fingerprint Biometrics

Editor / Provider: DigitalPersona | Updated: 9/21/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

DigitalPersona, a global provider of authentication and endpoint protection solutions, announced that many KFC restaurants owned by the chain's franchisees are improving their loss prevention programs with DigitalPersona fingerprint biometrics. Two such KFC franchisees, West Quality Food Service and KBP Foods, are using DigitalPersona U.are.U Fingerprint Readers, which are now available through the franchise's central purchasing co-op, in restaurants across the Midwest and Southeast. They added the DigitalPersona biometrics to their existing NCR Advanced Restaurant (formerly Compris) point-of-sale (POS) software in order to eliminate the need for personal identification numbers (PINs) and to hold employees as well as managers more accountable. Both franchisees have seen an immediate reduction in payroll fraud and unauthorized transactions, resulting in improved operations and profits.

Employees at these KFC restaurants previously used PINs at point-of-sale terminals to access time-and-attendance systems, while managers used PINs to authorize discounts, voids and overrides. Unfortunately, employees were able to share PINs to inappropriately clock one another in, boosting labor costs. Similarly, staff could secretly use managers' PINs to authorize fraudulent transactions, driving up the cost of food. Since integrating DigitalPersona fingerprint biometrics with each store's POS software, the franchisees have significantly raised individual accountability by tying transactions to the specific employee that performed them. Biometrics has proven to be a strong deterrent that has eliminated buddy punching and reduced the number of unauthorized transactions.

“When using PINs, it is difficult for a restaurant to quantify the impact of unauthorized transactions,” said Mike Servolini, Director – South Operations at West Quality Food Service. “With the DigitalPersona fingerprint solution, we have been able to track each manager's and employee's actions more closely, and have recognized a near-immediate reduction in food costs. This is directly attributed to the elimination of false voids and overrides.”

“Buddy punching is completely gone from our stores now that we've switched to DigitalPersona fingerprint biometrics,” said Chris Elwood, Area Coach, Omaha for KBP Foods. “Everyone is required to use their fingerprint to get into our systems, and anyone clocking in early or staying late has to get a manager's fingerprint for approval. This gives us peace of mind that our labor costs are accurate.”

DigitalPersona U.are.U fingerprint readers have been integrated into more than 90 percent of the biometrically-enabled POS systems in the U.S. and are supported by a variety of commercial POS applications. DigitalPersona fingerprint readers enable restaurants and retailers to transition away from swipe cards and PINs, which can be easily lost, stolen or shared. In contrast, biometrics ties individuals to the actions they perform, providing a powerful deterrent to time-and-attendance and management-override fraud. Fingerprint biometrics also makes it easier for businesses to address the stringent Payment Card Industry (PCI) mandates for strong identity security controls and can improve productivity as well as customer response times by simplifying and speeding up system login.

“Fingerprint biometrics is emerging as the authentication method of choice for quick-serve restaurants,” said Jim Fulton, VP of marketing at DigitalPersona. “Fingerprint readers are a mature, reliable technology that can be deployed quickly and easily, enabling ROI to begin immediately. Our fingerprint readers have been known to pay for themselves in as little as four weeks.”

US Restaurant Chain Says No to Theft and Fraud With Fingerprint Biometrics

US Restaurant Chain Says No to Theft and Fraud With Fingerprint Biometrics

Editor / Provider: DigitalPersona | Updated: 9/8/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

DigitalPersona, a global provider of authentication and endpoint protection solutions, announced Garden Fresh Restaurant has rolled out DigitalPersona U.are.U Fingerprint Biometrics in 122 Souplantation and Sweet Tomatoes restaurant locations throughout 15 states. Garden Fresh deployed biometric fingerprint readers with the Volante Systems Point-of-Sale (POS) software to provide employees accountability and reduce unauthorized discounts and overrides.

Prior to installing fingerprint biometrics, employees used electronic registers that required a key to manage refunds, voids and discounts. The system made it difficult to track and identify who was actually accessing the cash drawer and authorizing transactions because keys were often shared. As a result, restaurants suffered losses that directly impacted the bottom line. Garden Fresh significantly reduced unauthorized transactions by replacing the electronic registers with new POS hardware software and U.are.U Fingerprint Readers.

In addition to combating employee theft, fingerprint biometrics help Garden Fresh show compliance with PCI-DSS requirements that require proof of controlled access to credit processing devices. Fingerprint biometrics enhance the security of POS systems, making it very difficult for unauthorized users to access the system. Due to the success of DigitalPersona's U.are.U fingerprint readers, the corporation plans to extend biometrics to its time and attendance system to eliminate buddy-punching and payroll fraud.

“We chose DigitalPersona's fingerprint biometrics solution because it was easy to integrate into both our POS system and our Linux-based business applications,” said Rich Thomson, VP of Management Information Systems at Garden Fresh Restaurant. “U.are.U Fingerprint Readers provide us a fast and simple way to reduce unauthorized transactions.”

DigitalPersona's U.are.U Fingerprint Readers have been integrated into more than 90 percent of the biometric POS terminals in the U.S.1 and are supported by a variety of commercial POS applications. They provide a reliable and verifiable authentication solution for accessing POS systems such as the ones deployed by Garden Fresh. Biometrically-enabled systems can significantly decrease unauthorized transacations and payroll fraud.

DigitalPersona's Software Development Kits support the most popular programming environments, including Linux, enabling software developers such as Volante Systems to add the certainty, simplicity and efficiency of fingerprint authentication to their applications.

“Our fingerprint biometrics provides restaurant chains like Garden Fresh a fast and simple way to decrease inventory shrink and enhance employee accountability,” said Jim Fulton, VP of marketing at DigitalPersona. “And, as the most widely available biometric solution in the POS industry, DigitalPersona makes it easy for restaurateurs and retailers to reap the benefits and immediate ROI of biometrics on top of their existing systems.”

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