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Vietnam Ready for New Spring in Security

Vietnam Ready for New Spring in Security

Editor / Provider: the Editorial Team | Updated: 2/14/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

After strong sales growth for the first half of 2011, the Vietnamese security market was affected by national economic issues. However, experts remain optimistic about 2012, as opportunities abound.

Vietnam is struggling with growing pains, as inflation and living costs climb. Both factors impair growth, with the national inflation rate reaching an all-time high of 23 percent in August 2011. “Foreign investment in real estate and construction projects have been placed on hold, as the government has imposed tighter restrictions on bank credit granted to investors,” said Phu Loc Nguyen, Director of Visco. Vietnam's inflation rate has been driven by rising food and fuel costs. Food and drink prices alone increased 34 percent, according to a recent release from the government's General Statistics Office.

Increased living expenses have improved worker compensation, but also driven up the cost of doing business. The appeal of Vietnam's cheap and plentiful labor force to build the nation into manufacturing powerhouse is attracting fewer foreign investors. Planned foreign direct investment into Vietnam fell 48 percent in the first five months of 2011 to US$4.7 billion, according to Bloomberg News. The murky economic outlook halted many government projects, including the Ho Chi Minh City airport. Even the national capital of Hanoi has delayed airport upgrades for two years in the face of slow growth.

It is necessary to inject more money to boost the economy without increasing inflation, said Parul Oswal, Industry Manager of Frost & Sullivan. “The economy has to go through a fundamental restructuring, or it will keep circling around instabilities and the measures to deal with them.”

The 2012 Vietnamese access control market will be worth $25 to $40 million, while video surveillance will be $17 to $22 million dollars and intrusion detection will be $1.5 to $2.5 million, Oswal said. Moreover, access control will grow 43 percent by 2016, with intrusion detection and video surveillance estimated to grow 20 to 25 percent and 21 percent respectively.

Business opportunities in the northern capital of Hanoi traditionally center around government projects. However, there are currently no tenders for government projects and 2011 sales were not as strong as expected, said , MD of iON. “Our sales target for 2011 is roughly 50 percent higher than the previous year at $1.5 million, and we are looking to reach $1.35 to $1.4 million by the fourth quarter.”

Other security players expressed the same concern over delayed government projects.

“Compared with other southeast Asian countries, Vietnam seems to have fewer government projects,” said Sharon Lee, Director of Brand Sales at Vivotek. “This deters a booming market, as there is no leader to drive growth forward.”

Despite these concerns, some economists predict the government's credit restrictions will calm inflation over time. Other foreign and local industry experts are similarly optimistic about the nation's long-term potential. Many companies reported impressive 10 to 30 percent revenue growth in 2011. “The security market has much potential here,” said Bryan He, Director of Secom. “It is small now in comparison with many other developing markets, but it is maturing really fast.”

Indeed, in the southern economic and financial center of Ho Chi Minh City, security vendors have discovered business opportunities in the commercial sector, although competition is fierce. “Vietnam's economy has grown over the last few years. The basic infrastructure is in place, which provides a good foundation to build upon,” said Jonathan Sinar, Risk Management Services in Fire Security and Traffic, Xtralis. “The market is still quite immature in comparison to others in the region, as reflected by the industry's offerings of basic, simpler cameras. However, great potential comes when a city gradually matures.”

Government projects delays are significant, as they form the bulk of the security market. Some experts said the ratio of projects between northern Hanoi and the financial center of Ho Chi Minh City is 7:3, while estimate the ratio to be an even steeper 9:1. This underscores the importance of Hanoi in Vietnamese security.

It is difficult to peg an exact figure for Vietnam's security market. Some industry experts have suggested a rough figure between $30 and $50 million, although this data requires more government information for a definite conclusion. Vietnam's market share in Asia for physical security represents 1.3 percent for electronic access control, roughly 0.5 percent for intrusion detection and 3.2 percent for video surveillance respectively, said Frost & Sullivan. Market size estimates are $17 to $20 million for access control, $1.5 to $1.8 million for intrusion and $15 to $20 million for surveillance. The same study also shows that electronic access control grew 47.6 percent, intrusion detection grew 25 to 30 percent and video surveillance grew 15.1 percent in 2010. [NextPage]

Market Drivers and Needs
Public demand for security products has increased and the market is developing fast. “However, consumers getting confused by the array of brands to choose from,” said Hoai An Nguyen, CEO of An Nhien. “They have yet to understand the quality of each brand.” The average income in Vietnam is higher than before, meaning that the public is able to afford security commodities now, said  Deputy Director of Trung Loi Trading. Growing demand for security and a wealthier population are among the strongest drivers in the Vietnamese market.

The market is still in the nascent stages for security technology and depends on manned security. Commercial opportunities look promising for security vendors, particular intrusion and perimeter anufacturers.”

Industry experts unanimously agreed that price concerns drive buyer procurement decisions in the commercial sector. “End users tend to look for products that are easy to use with competitive pricing and excellent aftersales services,” Nguyen of Vantech said.

Budget is a great concern for local buyers, which increases price competition in the low-cost bracket. Manufacturers in this bracket include Chinese low-cost products, which even locally made products have a hard time competing against. Locally made products in the low-cost bracket are below quality standards expected in other markets, but have greater advantage as a result of lower production costs and tariff exemption, Wu said.

To avoid getting caught up price wars, some companies are offering mid-range products to strike a balance between price and performance, said , Sales Manager of Nam Phu. Others focus on offering total and hybrid solutions for more flexibility and added-value. “Vietnamese end users demand flexibility in the products used for solutions, so analog, IP-based and hybrid products must all be available in order to satisfy customer demand,” Wu said.

There is great demand for security from the Vietnamese government, larger corporations and international institutions such as embassies and governmental administration buildings, said Jeff Mei, PM of International Integrate Center, China Security & Surveillance Technology. Compared to the commercial sector, government projects prefer high-end products, such as ones made by Bosch Security Systems, Panasonic System Networks and Axis Communications. Government procurement agencies frequently choose US and Japanese products, Tat said.

The government sector has always been a keen adopter of intrusion systems, especially for military installations in the southeast Asian region, Oswal said. “Looking at the private sector, many of the new commercial buildings are looking at intrusion system for perimeter security purposes. The declining cost of intrusion systems is expected to become more attractive to end users when fulfilling their security requirements,” she added.

“Local government prefers high-end products for projects, as they want to make worthy investments and be able to use a system for a longer duration, achieving greater ROI in the long run,” Nguyen of Visco said.

Video Surveillance
Two trends will spur video surveillance growth in Vietnam. First, HD network surveillance and video analytics will have great potential when basic infrastructure is in place. “Network cameras are manageable in terms of transmission in large installations; therefore network surveillance is expected to show exponential growth in many vertical markets,” Oswal said. “However, the uptake of the technology on a larger scale may take some time.” Some network speed domes are used in the southern region currently, although not on large scale, Wu said.

There is a desire within enterprises to have their infrastructure on one network, and IP-based systems will grow as IT professionals set up the required infrastructure. “Video analytics will drive network camera adoption, as people start to realize the importance of getting detailed information,” Oswal said.

Technological advancements will result in increased affordability for security electronics. For instance, falling prices for hard disk drives over the past few years has enhanced video recording and increased the quality and capacity of video storage equipment.

Vertical Markets
Awareness and uptake of IP-based products is slowly growing in Vietnam, although analog products still dominate with 70 percent market share. Government and telecommunication projects are prevalent in Hanoi, while commercial opportunities can be found in Ho Chi Minh City. As Vietnam continues to develop, electronic security equipment is needed in critical infrastructure (airports and seaports), public and residential buildings, commercial facilities (banking) and educational institutions. Other emerging vertical markets include retail, health care, traffic monitoring, telecom data centers, hotels and recreational complexes.

Industrial production is one of the biggest draws of Vietnam, with its young labor force and stable government. “Factories have the most growth, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and nearby provinces like Dong Nai and Binh Duong,” said Vo Nguyen, Technical Director, Vantech. Most factory projects comprise roughly 50 to 150 cameras per project, with speed domes seeing great demand. [NextPage]

Challenges
Products and Infrastructure
Adoption of IP-based products is not yet widespread in Vietnam, resulting in the majority of cameras being analog. Some providers offer installer training classes on a monthly basis, as interest in total solutions increases.

Traditional devices such as keypads, magnetic-stripe cards and proximity cards are commonly used for electronic access control systems, although biometrics and smart card credentialing are picking up. Intrusion detection systems are in the medium growth range, and are more sought after in response to rising crime rates.

Interoperability remains an issue for security products. This affects countries that already have legacy security systems. Many users forego upgrades until there is an issue with their existing systems.

Limited bandwidth has a direct influence on the adoption of newer technologies that require IP infrastructure. In Vietnam, Internet access is available only in certain areas, but the user count is on the rise. According to Vietnam's General Statistics Office, broadband Internet subscribers have reached 4.1 million by August 2011, up 17.5 percent. In total, the number of Internet users stands at 31.3 million, an increase of 22.9 percent from the previous year. The latest statistical figures reflect both an Internet usage expansion as well as maturing nationwide Internet infrastructure. Common Internet usage will provide IP-based products great opportunities in this market.

Government Support
Government policies should provide legislation to make the security market better, said Do Duc Hau, President and CEO of Techpro.

Tightened credit to slow inflation is interfering with ongoing security projects. “Since the onset of inflation and bank loan restrictions, many budgets have been reduced and in many cases, video surveillance is cut out from procurement to save TCO on projects,” Nguyen of An Nhien said. “In the coming year, we hope to cooperate with partners and investors who are not dependent on bank loans but have their own capital to move business.”

Vietnamese buyers are not in the habit of stocking up on products, and only do so when projects are lined up, Tat said. This is especially true in Hanoi. “It is our goal in the upcoming year to focus on regular monthly sales activities instead of projects in order to drive fluid transactions,” said Jacky Cheng, VP of Sales of Brickcom.

Cost Concerns and Standards
To drive sales activities in Vietnam, attractive pricing is crucial as end users are cost-conscious and prefer low-cost offerings. “For us, cost concerns from end users are a challenge as our products are manufactured in the U.K.” said Mark Tibbenham, MD of GJD Manufacturing. “We hope to overcome this challenge by working with big installers on large-scale and high-end residential projects.”

In such a fast developing market, more new competitors have entered it, especially companies from China, He said. “For many Vietnamese customers, price always comes first, followed by quality. Therefore, Chinese products have a clear advantage.” Even sizable Chinese makers like Dahua Technology are affected by fierce competition from low-cost suppliers. “Many makers pirate our products and sell them at even lower prices,” Dinh said. “The products are identical in appearance, but quality is obviously compromised. At this point there is nothing we can do but hold more seminars to strengthen brand awareness and educate our customers.” To sidestep competition at this level of offering, many solution providers also prefer trading mid-level products.

To further complicate the price issue, the lack of a unified set of standards makes judging product quality and price/performance harder. “The current codes and standards are loosely based on US standards, although no unified and official codes and standards specific to Vietnam have been mandated by the local government,” Sinar said. As the market matures, national standards would regulate industry offerings and provide clearer procurement choices for end users.

Shaping Up
Despite economic complications and project delays, industry experts and market analysts are confident about business opportunities in this vibrant country. All markets experience boom-bust cycles and the nation's plentiful resources and business-friendly policies continue to make it an attractive destination. Vietnam's security market is gearing up to take flight.

Ievo Biometrics Installed at UK School

Ievo Biometrics Installed at UK School

Editor / Provider: Ievo | Updated: 2/6/2012 | Article type: Education

Spider Technologies have been at the forefront of another Ievo biometric installation – This time biometrics in schools. The project began in July 2011 at a school in North Wales, and required six readers for the site. The biometric units are fitted both internally and externally and also secure the sites main entry points. Almost 1,500 pupils are registered as well as teaching and domestic staff.

The school previously used cards as their security system, but found they were too expensive to replace, because the pupils had a habit of losing them. Therefore, the Ievo biometric readers were perfect for the job, because fingerprints cannot be lost or stolen, plus can be used both inside and outside. A major advantage of the Ievo fingerprint recognition system was the interface with Paxton which allowed the school to set access levels between the pupils and staff.

Steve Jones, MD of Spider Technologies commented that, “The robust fingerprint biometric system looks great and the installation went smoothly. The Ievo system has been installed for 6 months and is still working perfectly since the day we installed it. My Ievo account manager came to visit a couple of times on site, to ensure that the installation was going as well as it should be. Having that extra support from the manufacturer is great!”

Los Angeles Airports Order Imageware Biometric Credential Solutions

Los Angeles Airports Order Imageware Biometric Credential Solutions

Editor / Provider: ImageWare Systems | Updated: 2/3/2012 | Article type: Infrastructure

ImageWare Systems, a leader in multimodal biometric security solutions, announced that Los Angeles World Airports, a City of Los Angeles department that owns and operates Los Angeles International, LA/Ontario International and Van Nuys airports, has placed an order for a number of biometric identity management and credentialing software products developed by ImageWare Systems. These software products will provide the foundation for a new biometrically enabled identity management and credentialing system used to identify airport employees, contractors, and police at LAX and Ontario airports. Among the products ordered are ImageWare's multi-biometric capture application, as well as multiple identity management and credential issuance modules that are part of ImageWare's SOA-based suite.

Once professional services for customization and implementation have been added, the total value of the LAWA project to ImageWare is expected to be approximately $1 million for the first year.

“ImageWare is proud to play a role in enhancing security at one of the world's busiest airports”, said Jim Miller, Imageware Chairman and CEO. “Using our patented biometric management capability, we look forward to working with LAWA to create a model system for airports around the globe.”

RFID Pays Its Dues

RFID Pays Its Dues

Editor / Provider: the Editorial Team | Updated: 12/27/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

There is more than meets the eye. In addition to access control and asset tracking, RFID via smart cards is now suitable for cashless vending, transit applications and other stored-value applications.

Prospects for the global RFID market, according to Frost & Sullivan, look upbeat as rapid advances in technology have spiked adoption across different verticals. The overall market earned revenues between US$3 and $4 billion in 2009, and it will witness a CAGR of more than 12 percent until 2016. RFID tags accounted for more than 50 percent of the world's RFID revenues in 2009, with figures reaching between $1.5 and $2.5 billion. More features and capabilities are being added for better performance and accuracy.

Companies are striving for operational efficiency in processing, especially in controlling asset integrity and in improving inventory visibility in the supply chain, to stoke business progression. Emerging applications have the potential to unleash new opportunities for growth in the market. “Convergence of RFID with other technologies, such as real-time locating systems and Wi-Fi, will be a strong trend in the coming years for niche applications, adding intelligence to business-processing needs,” said Susan Sahayan, Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “Active RFID technology incorporated in wireless sensor networks is another development that is gaining traction and creating more possibilities.”

Changing With Times
RFID, especially card-based technologies, remains the bulk of the market as it is the most readily understood and accepted technology, said Patrick Lim, Director of Sales and Marketing, Ademco Far East.

Historically, demand for RFID cards was mainly related to ticketing/ pass applications. “As a result of standardization and a considerable decrease in prices, vertical markets that rely heavily on plastic cards are all headed toward adopting RFID: education, leisure and entertainment, and secured access control to any premises,” said Eric Bouvard, Product Marketing Manager at Evolis.

Heightened security concerns have accelerated the uses of biometric technology and RFID in access control. “In APAC, there are more and more smart-card deployments integrated with biometrics implemented across different verticals, including government agencies, border control, banking and health care,” said Jordan Cullis, Sales Director of Identity and Access Management Solutions for Australia and New Zealand, HID Global (an Assa Abloy company).

Government-driven standards increasingly impact the industry. For example, one of the primary objectives of HID's recent federal identity mandates is to fulfill the promise of converged physical and logical security as envisioned by the 2004 Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12 (HSPD-12). “According to a February 2011 memorandum issued by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Office of Management and Budget, starting next fiscal year, existing physical and logical access control systems must be upgraded to use personal-identification verification credentials, in accordance with the National Institute of Standards and Technology guidelines. These systems must leverage smart-card and biometric technology and support identification credentials,” Cullis said. One of the most promising uses of RFID technology is for border control. For example, the DHS is deploying a solution to all U.S.-Canada and U.S.-Mexico border crossings that reads RFID-enabled driving licenses as vehicles approach the border, and combines this with ALPR and video surveillance to improve the efficiency and convenience of crossing the border in vehicles, said John Kendall, Director of Security Programs for APAC, Unisys. “RFID can also be incorporated to speed up processes to increase convenience and improve customer experience. For example, Unisys worked with Australia's Qantas Airlines to enable self-service baggage check-in for VIP flyers.”

For Unisys, growth comes from asset management of data centers, construction sites and hospitals. “Hospitals and medical centers have a vast array of expensive assets,” said Mike Rodgers, Executive Architect, Unisys. “With RFID, we can control and manage the assets' location, status and report on utilization; we can monitor blood temperature and know instantly if the right blood has been brought for a specific patient.”

NFC = Game Changer
Further developments on active transponders are underway. “Near-field communication (NFC) brings about exciting applications,” said Hans-Gernot Illig, CEO of SimonsVoss Technologies. “We recently introduced our first NFC solution, which allows for the downloading of access authorizations to NFC-enabled smartphones. This has great market potential for home care and field maintenance.”

The highest growth in RFID is experienced in payment processes in verticals such as transportation, education, leisure and financial institutions. “Financial institutions have adopted e-purse or NFC-based payments, and these require the deployment of new technologies, security features and PoS terminals. The current magnetic or smart card has evolved to embed RFID features so that they are compliant with the new equipment,” Bouvard explained. [NextPage]

Jumping Through Hoops
RFID is very convenient but not very secure, cautioned Phil Scarfo, Senior VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Lumidigm. “We now see health care applications where drugs and medications can be tagged with RFID, and access can be enabled and/or monitored with biometrics. Imagine the value proposition of being able to add the ‘who' on top of all of the other elements that are known about these assets.”

In terms of differentiation, the only obvious differences lie in the software interface and look and feel of the products, Lim said. “These, sometimes, are not obvious to end users; we often find out, after extensive testing, that performance varies drastically. With RFID, there is no easy way to test the integration, especially when a proprietary or outdated technology is in place.”

Required technicals kills include understanding of wireless communications and networks, as these products almost always are “collectors” of information and need to send that back to a central place. “Ability to exhaustively test combinations of identity credentials and modals of biometrics is essential,” said Brian Skiba, President of MaxID.

“We're seeing more integrated solutions that tie in with back-office enterprise resource planning solutions,” Rodgers said. “There's a strong push for tighter integration between RFID and physical access systems. There are also packaged solutions that include tags, readers and back-end tracking options.”

The future lies in “total” management, be it home or building automation, said Steve Wang, Assistant VP of Microprogram. “It'd be better to be IT-savvy in order to handle RFID-associated projects properly. There have been talks among certain MNCs about forming an alliance, providing a platform where product guidelines and standards can be dictated. For now, however, no concrete plans have been laid out, and there's still no global standardization for the integration, use and frequency of RFID.”

Cha Ching
RFID is already widely used for asset tracking, data collection and access control, the last of which covers both physical and IT domains. Aside from these, RFID is used in e-payment, containment of e-biodata and e-passports, Lim said. “None of these are new, but the technology has progressed drastically, especially with RFID encryption, to prevent crimes such as identity theft, data phishing and more.”

There are some interesting applications beyond access control, Cullis said. One is in waste management. “RFID-enabled processes eliminate the need for manual data entry, providing more accurate billing for commercial customers and better monitoring of subcontractors,” Cullis said. Another interesting application has been realized in the brewing industry, where companies can cut costs and increase competitive advantage by improving supply chain visibility through better asset tracking and lowered theft and misappropriation.

Setting the Bar in Biometrics: Accuracy, Robustness, Software Integration

Setting the Bar in Biometrics: Accuracy, Robustness, Software Integration

Editor / Provider: the Editorial Team | Updated: 12/26/2011 | Article type: Tech Corner

The worldwide market for biometric identification (not limited to physical access control) grew to US$2.6 billion in 2009, and research from Acuity indicates that revenues will reach $10.9 billion by 2017. Other studies show higher projections, pegging the worldwide market at $5 billion in 2010, growing to $12 billion by 2015 at a CAGR of 18.9 percent. In this two-part feature, a&s explores the latest advances and applications in biometrics and RFID authentication, addresses real-life usage and development issues, and outlines where the technologies might be headed.

Today, the general public is more aware of the changing security landscape, not just from high-profile terrorist threats, but also from malicious threats such as ID theft and financial fraud, said John Kendall, Director of Security Programs for APAC, Unisys. “Because of this, people are more open to forego some level of private information in return for greater security where they see there is likely to be a benefit to them.”

Growth has been hindered mostly by a lack of education. “Biometric technology is surrounded by many myths and misnomers; therefore, to gain 100-percent acceptance, the biometric community must educate,” said Scott Mahnken, VP of Marketing, Bio-Key International. “We are devoting a substantial part of the 2012 budget to educating the marketplace at all levels, including consumers, who are concerned about the cost of modifying existing infrastructure along with some old- school thinking.”




Market Potential
There are two main drivers for biometrics — accuracy and user-friendliness. Accuracy can be broken down into two additional categories — security concerns and reporting accuracy. If access control systems are to control where people, not credentials, can and cannot go, then only a biometric device truly provides this capability. “That's why more and more biometric readers are showing up in access control systems where there are needs for high security,” said Jennifer Toscano, Marketing Manager for Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies.

“In addition, biometrics are user-friendly. While keys don't cost much and dramatic price reductions have lowered the capital cost of cards in recent years, the true benefit of eliminating them is realized through reduced administrative efforts. For instance, a lost card or key must be replaced and reissued by someone, just as there's a price associated with the time spent to complete this seemingly simple task. When added together, the overall administration of a key or card system is costly. Hands are not lost, stolen or forgotten. They also don't wear out or need to be replaced.”

Plus, biometrics are easy to administer, install and maintain. “Replacing card readers with biometric ones in many cases is simply an unplug-plug-and-play operation. It's also easy to control threshold levels, tightening access control in a nuclear power plant while loosening the level at a spa. This allows the facility to provide the appropriate balance of security and convenience for its application and end users,” Toscano continued.

Although there has been some recovery on a global scale in 2011, markets may only reach the 2008 revenue levels most probably next year,said Hans -Gernot Illig, CEO of SimonsVoss Technologies . “We estimated that in 2010, the global market for access control readers was approximately US$ 650 to 700 million. RFID-enabled access control readers accounted for an estimated 25 percent of that revenue, and biometric solutions should still be less than 20 percent of the market. However, it should be noted that the largest market still comprises out of other technologies, like proprietary active transponders. It is our observation that worldwide market segments, such as governmental, commercial and institutional, focus on a wide variety of technologies like secure active transponder and RFID technologies. In Asia, however, the market has an increased interest in biometric technologies.”

In Frost & Sullivan's APAC biometrics market analysis, related hardware revenues surpassed $165 million in 2009, and the regional market is estimated to reach $700.7 million in 2015.

The US government procurement process is “dysfunctional,” and the larger agencies in charge of making sure standards are completed and enforcements are done are dormant, criticized Brian Skiba, President of MaxID. “So US government spending is not a reliable source of business for anyone who is not a government contractor behemoth. Growth is coming from the private sector, driven by concerns on cost containment and risk mitigation, and from the rest of the world where governments are deploying identity solutions at a much more interesting pace.” [NextPage]

Vertical Focus
It can be expected that biometric usage in government services will grow continuously in the near future, said Irmantas Naujikas, Director of Business Development for Neurotechnology. “Civil registry, national ID, voting and border control are typical projects in which personal identification is needed. Biometric and multibiometric technologies ensure better identification of the person and, more importantly, ensure that the same person will not be enrolled several times in the system. For such applications, the reliability and speed of identification are critical.”

For Bio-Key, growth is coming from three areas: health care, retail and government. “Health care is leading the charge, mainly prompted by drivers such as compliance regulations,” Mahnken said. “Time and attendance and transaction tracking using biometric technology make retailers more efficient. The government is also a biometric customer. Just this past year, the FBI launched its new next-generation ID system, which includes our fingerprint software.”

The education market, especially colleges and universities, is a major user of biometrics, especially at recreation centers and residence halls, and on the entries to research laboratories and other areas containing high-value assets, Toscano added. Gaming is another area of focus. “Casinos typically place hand geometry readers at the main cage, at satellite cages and at ‘mantrap' areas, where individuals gain access with the hand reader are then additionally verified with a camera, and only then let through the door. At the slot operations area, a networked hand reader will tie into a key box, a key management system designed to prevent lost or stolen keys.”

Government and financial institutions are particularly visible on Fujitsu's radar. “Adoption rates of palm vein readers at government offices, banks, branches and ATMs have been quite high in the last year or so,” said Yutaka Katsumata, Senior Technology Director at the ATM and Branch Systems Group, Fujitsu Frontech.

The new kid on the block — cloud concept and related services — is also driving the use of biometrics. Large data center installations, such as at Bell South, Equinix, Google, IBM, Level 3, Microsoft, Qwest Communications, Siemens, XO Communications and Yahoo, use biometric hand readers at the entrance, on the security corridor and on the individual customer areas of their data centers, Toscano said. “Administration of the system is handled by software, which includes features tailored for this type of application like import/export and remote enrollment for multifacility management and expiring privileges for temporary access.”

Recent Advances
While there is no significant, brand-new breakthrough in biometric technology, advances have been made in read accuracy/speed balance and software sophistication.

“In particular, new subdermal scanners have greatly improved enrollment speed and success by negating the effects of poor skin or environmental conditions,” Kendall said. Multispectral technology is more accurate than optical fingerprint reading/matching, Skiba echoed. “We believe light-emitting sensor technology will be more tolerant of the environment (such as backlight) and a better, smaller form factor.”

Newer products have been designed to address growing speed and accuracy issues. “For example, our solution can match 100 million fingerprints or 200 million irises per second,” Naujikas said. “Accuracy is ensured by combining multimodal biometrics, such as fingerprint, face, iris and voice.”

In finger vein authentication, 1-to-N sequential fusion is now possible, to improve the speed and accuracy when ambiguities in read results arise and a second or third finger is required, said Yutaka Matsui, Finger Vein Solution Engineer for Security and Smart ID Solutions, Hitachi. “Finger vein authentication offers accuracy, speed, high availability and ease of use, and is proved difficult to counterfeit or clone.”

In palm vein authentication, false-acceptance rates can now reach 0.00008 percent. “Palm vein technology has cost advantages because the basic mechanism consists of camera technology and IR illumination technology, which are both progressing and readily available. Other advantages include nontraceable and contactless features, as well as reliable and intuitive operation,” Katsumata said. With hand geometry, one key to success in commercial applications is achieving an appropriate balance between the false-acceptance and false-rejection rates, Toscano said.

“That's why hand geometry is used in so many high-throughput applications, in which there is no time for a person to try over and over to get a read.”

In the case of iris scanners, high-performance models now provide the ability to accurately scan an iris from a greater distance and while the subject is moving, Kendall added.

The starting point for any back-end system is the ability to get a reliable and high-quality image, which requires sophisticated matching algorithms. For example, solutions now need to reach out to Windowsbased applications with a high degree of reliability and performance, to bridge data from desktops, time-and-attendance terminals, PoS kiosks and other devices, said Phil Scarfo, Senior VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Lumidigm.

Software is by far the key differentiator, Skiba agreed. “Software enables different approaches to ease of use, transmission, aggregation of data and powerful analysis.”

Wireless transmission is another focus of development. “Rather than storing biometrics on a server and distributing them over a wired network, a contactless smart card-based system allows biometric templates to be carried by the card holder (match on card) or matched to a previously enrolled template by a trusted host application (match on host), offering a stronger level of authentication and security,” said Jordan Cullis, Sales Director of Identity and Access Management Solutions for Australia and New Zealand, HID Global (an Assa Abloy company). [NextPage]

Real Life
For establishments and facilities using biometrics, reliability issues are always front and center. “Take a hospital setting for instance. The repeated cleaning of the hands, dryness in some areas and wetness in others create demographic and environmental challenges for biometric sensors,” Scarfo said. “Nothing is more frustrating for a user or administrator than not being able to process a verification transaction simply because a user's finger was too moist or a bit dirty.”

Durability is another area that solution providers continue to improve upon. “Ruggedized devices for military and law enforcement markets have a much wider tolerance for temperatures and weather conditions to operate in, and have substantially more durable components to withstand impact and wear and tear,” Skiba said.

Future Apps
In “Mobile Phone Biometric Security Analysis and Forecasts 2011-2015,” Goode Intelligence forecasts that the current global user base of 4 million in 2011 is set to grow to 39 million users by 2015. And the key driver is probably affordability, as costs for parts and finished products have come down considerably, Matsui observed.

Biometric technology is also playing an increasingly important role in passport control, with a heavy emphasis on how it could help governments monitor and control access at borders, Cullis said. “Over the past decade, increasing concerns over national security have forced governments around the world to raise overall public safety profile by refining existing security policies and procedures. This has led to the advent of machine-readable passports, or e-passports, which contain a microchip with information (accessible through protected contactless technology) that aids agents in authenticating the identity of the passport holder based on encrypted biometric data.”

Additionally,according to Homeland Security Research, the fusion of video-based remote biometric and behavioral suspect detection will bring significant growth opportunities to video surveillance, biometric and IT system providers and system integrators. This new market (including systems sales, upgrades and postwarranty services) is forecasted to reach $3.2 billion by 2016, growing at a CAGR of 33 percent.

The future, thus, holds in solutions with advanced biometrics that create new, convenient life styles such as cardless transactions, while putting users at ease with identification and privacy issues, Katsumata envisioned.

California University Deploys Vein Biometrics for Employee Attendance

California University Deploys Vein Biometrics for Employee Attendance

Editor / Provider: M2SYS Technology | Updated: 12/14/2011 | Article type: Education

M2SYS Technology announced that another campus in the California State University system has deployed their vein biometric time clock solution with Kronos' Workforce Central software to track employee time and attendance. California State University, Fresno Association, joins sister campus Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, requiring employees at select campus locations to clock in and out using the M2SYS palm vein reader.

Built to eliminate employee time theft, improve accountability, reduce payroll fraud and minimize compliance risk, vein reader is a biometric time clock that seamlessly interfaces with the Association's Kronos Workforce Central workforce management time and attendance software and requires employees to clock in and out through palm vein biometric authentication, optimizing labor tracking performance.

Vein reader will immediately reap dividends for California State University, Fresno Association, by eliminating buddy punching (when one employee clocks in or out for another), speeding punch times, and avoiding costly legal expenses and compliance fines. Powered by the M2SYS Hybrid Biometric Platform, vein reader offers support for fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein and iris recognition, ensuring that 100 percent of employees are reliably and consistently identified.

“Our vein biometric time clock solution perfectly complements the Kronos workforce management labor tracking solution that is used by California State University, Fresno Association” said Michael Trader, President of M2SYS. “Vein reader drastically reduces payroll error rates, expedites the clock in/out process and is a more affordable alternative to wall mounted biometric time clocks. In addition, we can't understate the value that it adds with respect to compliance and its unmatched ability to verify individual identity beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

Year in Review: Security Surges in 2011 from Delayed Projects

Year in Review: Security Surges in 2011 from Delayed Projects

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 11/30/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

The economic crisis seems to be largely over in 2011, but new debt concerns are sparking anxiety about a second depression. As security deals with market uncertainty, we look at the year's milestones in events, regional and vertical markets, technologies, challenges, and drivers and differentiators.

There has been no shortage of grim headlines this year. In March, the strongest recorded earthquake in Japan killed scores of people, leaving extensive destruction and a nuclear meltdown in its wake. Along with natural disaster, deliberate acts of violence took place, including the senseless Norway attacks and the Moscow airport suicide bombing. In the U.K., mass riots resulted in five deaths and widespread damage.

The past decade in security has been shaped by 9/11, with its mastermind Osama bin Laden meeting his demise in May. However, the war on terrorism is far from over, affecting a younger generation throughout the region. Across the Middle East and North Africa, Arab Spring uprisings toppled authoritarian regimes. Egypt's Prime Minister Hosni Mubarak stepped down after 30 years of power, while Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was killed in October. Political instability coupled with economic uncertainty has marked the past year as an eventful one.

Not all is bleak though. China hosted the successful 2011 Summer World University Games in Shenzhen, welcoming student athletes from all over the world. Projects came back online, with Asia Pacific expected to invest US$100 billion for 350 airports in the next 10 years, according to Frost & Sullivan. More new infrastructure boosted the security market, which grew in some areas due to political unrest.

M&A
Notable consolidation and restructuring activity went on in 2011, a welcome sign after the recession. Tyco International announced a three-way split in September, with security divided into two companies: ADT and Commercial Fire and Security. “One of the business reasons for splitting up Tyco was serving the customer better,” said Charlie LeBlanc, President of Security Services for FrontierMEDEX. “One of the dangers in consolidation is you start losing the customer and understanding what they want or need.”

Prior to Tyco's split, ADT Security Services acquired physical security information management (PSIM) provider Proximex in April. In the same month, Verint Systems also made a PSIM buy for Rontal Engineering Applications. As security systems handle more data, there is a clear need to aggregate it in management platforms.

UTC reorganized in September, combining security and fire with HVAC provider Carrier to become UTC Climate, Controls and Security Systems. The new business will be led by new President and CEO Geraud Darnis. Siemens also restructured in September, with a new Fire Safety and Security business unit made up of Life Cycle and Enterprise segments.

Pure-play video analytics providers were either acquired or eliminated this year. Vidient was in both categories, going under in January and then being acquired by Agilence in April. In August, Keeneo's 4-D analytics was sold to Digital Barriers for $2.8 million, diminishing the ranks of stand-alone analytics providers.

Of the VCA companies still in operation, ObjectVideo sued Bosch Security Systems, Sony and Samsung Techwin for patent infringement this year. While the defendants have countersued and the legal outcome is uncertain, the lawsuits make ObjectVideo look desperate. Even if ObjectVideo wins, it has lost credibility by alienating some of the biggest names in video surveillance.

GROWTH MARKETS
Public spending came back in 2011, with government projects and airports being among the most active vertical markets. “Due to the large number of airports across the U.S. and Europe, there is a constant need for retrofit as terminals get updated,” said Blake Kozak, Senior Market Analyst for IMS Research.

DVTel won a project for a major European airport with 1,200 cameras, along with a contract for the Mumbai airport this year. “We see new opportunities largely in emerging markets,” said Ami Amir, Executive VP of Marketing and Products, DVTel. “We had significant success in South Africa, Latin America, Russia and Asia. For us, India has much more activity than China.”

A military site in Afghanistan was one of Delta Scientific's biggest projects in 2011, using barriers and barricades to protect it from car and truck bombers, said David Dickinson, Senior VP of Delta Scientific. Its key regions were North America and the Middle East, with a focus on areas facing high risks from vehicular bombs. Many investments have been made in city surveillance, infrastructure and government buildings. “Government spending in Asia Pacific has been one of the key drivers for security revenues in 2011,” said Susan Sahayan, Research Analyst for Frost & Sullivan. “Railways, airports, highways and in-flight security are some of the key sectors within transportation driving the growth of video surveillance, access control and biometrics.”

Rising fuel prices are increasing demand for public transportation. “As we see an almost negative situation in the economy, we see a positive situation in public transport,” said David Gorshkov, CEO of Digital Grape. “There's an increased need for monitoring, to meet the demands of public transport for both road and rail.”

Threats from domestic and international terrorists around the world remain, making transportation a major security market. “In the public sector globally, we see the increase of security systems, whether they be access control or video surveillance,” Gorshkov said. “Government buildings are increasing their security, as well as educational installations.”

The Beijing metro chose a networked access control solution with card readers to enhance access management and overall security, said Simon Siew, MD for APAC, HID Global (an Assa Abloy company).

Infrastructure and government were among the company's top verticals for 2011. “Geographically, we have grown in India and China in the past year, as their economic environments have rebounded faster than most countries,” Siew said.

Corrections saw growth this year, with OnSSI installing systems at several Texas prisons. Each system includes more than 800 cameras. “OnSSI will be standardized throughout the Texas prison system's 114 facilities in the coming years, with new installations taking place as funding becomes available,” said Gadi Piran, President of OnSSI.

City surveillance also sees greater demand for scalable management. “There is increasing interest in separate control rooms to make better use of data citywide, such as transmission,” Gorshkov said. “There's interest in the consolidation of systems in various control centers, or PSIM.” [NextPage]

PRIVATE SECTOR
The commercial sector saw good movement in the past year. “The global economy trickles down to all spending, whether the government or private sector,” LeBlanc said. “The private sector is driving the spending more so than the government sector.”

Sports and leisure grew, such as athletic venues and stadiums. Dallmeier installed a multimegapixel solution for the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, which can seat more than 74,000 spectators, according to a prepared statement from the company.

In emerging countries such as Brazil, India and China, high growth can be found. “With the World Cup and Olympics to be held in Brazil in the coming years, the country is set to increase its capacity by about 85 percent,” Kozak said. “The number of hotel rooms is also expected to increase by nearly 40 percent, increasing demand for products such as electromagnetic locks. Qatar is also seeing strong growth in sports and leisure as well as other vertical markets, because of the need to secure both established and newly constructed infrastructure.”

Financial institutions witnessed increased demand. “Banking experienced moderate growth in 2011 despite the downturn, because of consolidation and the need for logical- physical access control,” Kozak said.

Retailers are also investing in security. “Retail, certainly supermarkets, are performing quite well, with refurbishment programs for main stores and new developments with new smaller ‘in-town' stores,” said Andrew Pigram, Technical Director at Norbain. “One of the first sectors to react to the downturn was retail in 2008, but we're starting to see a gentle recovery.”

Europe and North America are seeing retail growth. “As it turns out, it has been strong as retailers have an increased need to protect their assets,” said Paul Bodell, Business Development for IQinVision. “In some places, the bad economy or threat of a higher crime rate has accelerated investment.”

Another growth market is the industrial sector, such as energy and petrol. “We've done work in Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Columbia and several other countries,” said John Moss, CEO of S2 Security. “The nice thing about servicing a number of markets in Latin America and Asia is you have some protection from difficulties in any single market.”

Integrators focused on ROI for installations, which grew in 2011. “We saw a spike in 2010 and 2011 in power and utilities, particularly remote sites,” said Mark Gally, VP of Marketing for VideoIQ.

TECHNOLOGY TRENDS
As more markets have already reached the IP tipping point, standards become crucial to integrating multiple devices. ONVIF is by far the largest of the physical security groups, counting more than 300 members. However, the present version is limited to display. Support for each member's unique PTZ protocols, night vision controls or in-house analytics is still a way off.

Supporting generic functions is already a big step forward, but “standards” still lack a uniform guideline for image quality. “Standards provide a framework for performance criteria to be achieved by the various members,” Gorshkov said. “But ONVIF and PSIA are trade groups, not standards bodies. They are interconnect agreements between vendors.”

Installers and integrators should be more concerned about designing systems that deliver the proper imaging for user needs, rather than just looking at cost. “Integrators need to maintain an appropriate standard of quality, rather than leaving it in the hands of vendors,” Gorshkov said.

Some standards are drawn up by federal bodies, such as Homeland Security Presidential Directive-12 mandates for government identification. “The government has extended its influence on physical access initiatives, imposing tightened privacy standards and mandating secure-compound directives,” Siew said.

MANAGEMENT AND ANALYTICS
The migration to IP has yielded benefits for businesses. “The industry as a whole has embraced what technology can do to assist a corporation or entity in protecting their assets,” LeBlanc said. “It's a multiplier that compounds upon itself. There are much easier ways to integrate into a solution.”

The accessibility of smartphones and tablets is expected to drive home automation growth to reach a wider audience, according to Frost & Sullivan.

As IP yields business benefits, it sees strong growth. “We continue to see rapid adoption of IP technology across product categories,” said James Rothstein, Executive VP of Tri-Ed/Northern Video Distribution.

Edge devices did well, as the hardware and software are optimized to work together. Integrators can save time for setup and calibration, while differentiating with analytics. “It offers nice infrastructure savings and operator efficiency for search and presentation capabilities,” Gally said. “The continued adoption of analytics in the mainstream is a critical component in powering an overall system. You can optimize storage and empower people to do faster searches.”

Delivering ROI was a focus for manufacturers. VideoIQ launched its first business continuity rule for 24-hour ATM vestibules to detect sleeping vagrants, which can be a problem in cold climates. “They're concerned about customer safety and whether people can go in the ATM to do business,” Gally said. “We can track objects that go motionless for a long period of time and send an alarm. Banks are actually impacting their bottom line by making sure there's access to ATMs 24/7.”

Other providers are providing more value by offering more functionality, such as unlimited installs for VMS client software and incremental licenses by camera count. “OnSSI has reconfigured how the software platform goes to market,” Piran said. Its scalability provides upgrade opportunities for customers with cameras and severs at multiple sites. [NextPage]

VIDEO SURVEILLANCE
Network video may have reached its tipping point in several regions, but analog is far from dead. HD-SDI provides a midway point with HD video over analog cabling. “HD-SDI is only available in the U.K. through a limited number of suppliers, so it's not really launched or established yet,” Pigram said. “However, there's a lot of end user interest, and more manufacturers will be launching products towards the end of 2011.”

For network video provider IQinVision, it consolidated its M-JPEG and H.264 product lines for greater efficiency. “In 2011 we converted all our cameras to multistream,” Bodell said. “We now have the largest portfolio of H.264 cameras and consolidated part numbers. Since the market would not allow us to increase the price of the M-JPEG cameras, we are selling the multistream H.264/M-JPEG cameras for the price of M-JPEG cameras and letting the users select the compression in the field.”

This year 's multimegapixel cameras generated plenty of buzz at trade shows. “There is a trend to use high-megapixel cameras, in standard format and increasingly more specialist 180-degree/panoramic and 360-degree fish-eye technology to capture a complete view from a single camera,” Pigram said. “This is proving to be a valuable addition to many video surveillance systems and in some cases, customers prefer to use them compared to traditional fully functional domes.”

Among the high-megapixel solutions was a 51-megapixel multisensory system with a dozen lenses, capable of displaying background objects as clearly as ones in the foreground. “This makes it possible to identify people at a distance of 160 meters,” said Roland Feil, Sales Director for Dallmeier electronic.

UP IN THE CLOUD
More hosted offerings were launched in 2011, but not all sites have the infrastructure to support large bandwidth. “For the smaller commercial and residential sectors of the market, it's just starting and will grow in the next five years and expand to larger applications as greater bandwidth becomes available,” Pigram said. Norbain introduced a hosted access control solution, targeting multisite end-user companies.

And while megapixel counts might be climbing, few networks have the bandwidth to transmit enormous video files at real-time frame rates. “Distributed storage is a key component to intelligently manage data to a cloud service,” Gally said. “HD video into the cloud will require customers to invest so much in the infrastructure that it's hard to cost-justify.”

ACCESS CONTROL AND INTRUSION
Managing access can now be done through integration with other physical security systems, such as video door phones for remote monitoring. “The integration of video surveillance with biometrics is gaining traction,” Sahayan said. “This growth in biometrics is expected to create the need for end users to utilize more advanced surveillance systems, particularly IP systems, which will be more cost-effective as a security solution.”

Mobile devices will also feature near-field communications (NFC) for access control. “HID Global sees significant opportunities in taking NFC technology beyond cashless payment into new, complementary physical access control applications,” Siew said. “The industry has made great progress in moving payment applications onto NFC smartphones.”

The global intrusion alarm market is expected to reach $2.4 billion in 2011, according to IMS Research. Opportunities were mainly in retrofit activities, as new construction has slowed.

CHALLENGES
CHANNEL
Finding new opportunities was a top distributor target in 2011. “The economic slowdown has us focus even more on presenting ways for our customers to diversify into new product areas and revenue streams,” Rothstein said.

Network video channels have been tricky to navigate in recent years, as traditional distributors may not understand IP issues. However, IT resellers may know about networking, but lack security experience.

From the experience of 13-year-old IQinVision, security distributors are the way to go, particularly in the high-volume market or sites with less than 10 cameras. “In the early days, we focused on IT integrators,” Bodell said. “But more security channel dealers are becoming network-savvy. Three to four years ago, I would have picked IT as the channel that would win, because the security channel was not embracing IT. But with turnover, you get a younger generation of security integrators who understand networking, because they have grown up with it.”

While IP uptake is seeing more acceptance, education is still a challenge. “It's a fact that the end user and system integrators are exposed to new network solutions and don't know enough about IP,” Amir said.

ECONOMIC WOES
Challenges in 2011 were spending and economic difficulties. “Western Europe has been greatly impacted by the recession, namely Spain, Italy, Greece and the U.K.,” Kozak said. “As governments look to balance budgets, there could be a slowdown in growth. The Americas is forecast to see slow growth in 2011 as a result of the high growth that returned in 2010 following the economic recession. Despite rebounding, the growth could not be sustained. The EMEA region is only forecast to grow by 2 percent in 2011.”

Market uncertainty forced installers and end users to reconsider their security purchases, even if they were satisfied with how they performed. “Economic pressures have forced companies to either consider whether they need to spend money on features they don't really need or conversely that the system they buy delivers more: not just in the security arena, but potentially in new areas which will drive economic growth of the end user,” Pigram said. “This has driven a trend to two different purchasing dynamics — cost-effective video and integrated IP systems.”

Regional buying behavior has further compounded market troubles. “Low levels of awareness on the importance of security and the availability of cheap manpower in emerging countries such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines are restraining the adoption of security solutions,” Sahayan said. “However, this scenario is expected to change in the next few years, as end users begin to gain more exposure to surveillance technologies through trade shows, media advertising, as well as success stories.” [NextPage]

DRIVERS AND DIFFERENTIATORS
After a relatively calm year, companies are gearing up for a possible debt crisis. In the face of macroeconomic factors, a combination of innovation and responsiveness to customer needs enabled companies to beat the recession and weather the coming storm.

One way to survive is through continuous innovation. “The path we embarked on many years ago has proven to be correct,” Feil said. “We address all aspects of video security technology rather than concentrating on individual components.”

While R&D is not cheap, it can pay off. “Our competitors reduced their workforces during the recession,” Moss said. “We didn't do that, we hired through it. When the recession eased up, they didn't have enough people and we had a bunch of new products.”

Warranties support a highly innovative position with guaranteed quality. “Given the number of low-cost competitors, we've gotten business back from customers who had catastrophic product failures in the field,” Bodell said. “We always boasted the best products, and in 2011 we backed that up with a five-year warranty on our minidome and a three-year warranty for our professional line with on-camera recording and analytics.”

DVTel also launched a quality assurance program, providing a lifetime warranty for new products good for at least four years, Amir said.

CUSTOMIZATION
Tailoring solutions for specific applications benefits both manufacturers and customers. “Diversification related to multiple vertical markets is one way to ensure ongoing success,” Piran said. “It helps that OnSSI has a product that is versatile and useful in a variety of end-user environments, which allows us to focus on hot verticals without having to reengineer the system when the market shifts.”

One phenomenon this year was low-volume customizations. While this was previously unthinkable, economies of scale have enabled manufacturers to adjust products to customer specifications.

CUSTOMER FIRST
The goal of innovation and customization is to satisfy buyer demands. “Companies have to be consistent and focused on execution,” Amir said. “Focus on the customer.”

Continued engagement is about supporting user needs. “Our sales guys are with integrators every day,” Bodell said. “Product management talks to customers and gets feedback. Then we make a list of things, determine what's real in the long term and we invest in that. The simple way to say it is it's just the voice of the customer. You've just got to learn to listen to it.”

Extending the value of existing customer investments is crucial. “In the recession, we solved business problems for end customers and that allowed us to grow,” Gally said. “Our strategy and advice is to make sure solutions delivers a value-add to the channel partner as well as the customer.”

Customer satisfaction is not a new concept, but achieving it is easier said than done. Providing security and convenience at an affordable cost benefits all parties. As companies with a clear value proposition witnessed growth even after the market contracted, it proves that following best practices delivers real results.

Five-Star Hotel in London Deploys Fingerprint Readers for Employees

Five-Star Hotel in London Deploys Fingerprint Readers for Employees

Editor / Provider: Ievo | Updated: 11/28/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

NT Security has successfully installed our ievo fingerprint reader as a form of time and attendance at a luxury five-star hotel in London. The ievo software ensures that employees receive the correct pay and no disputes are made. In addition, time and attendance is very useful for fire safety. In one of our case studies, a 100 percent accurate report after a fire drill was achieved because of the software facility available with ievo.

The system has been installed for around a month and currently the client has received no problems. NT Security are a leading security system company based in the UK and are dedicated towards providing their customers with the best quality access control, CCTV and Hospitality equipment. Among this, includes our ievo biometric fingerprint reader which not only provides time and attendance but fully secures door access both internally and externally. We look forward to more high profile projects in the future with NT Security.

Your Face Reveals More Than You Think

Your Face Reveals More Than You Think

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 11/24/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

Distinguishing lies from truths has never been easy. A developing lie detection technology from the University of Bradford in the U.K., thanks to the R&D efforts led by Hassan Ugail, Professor of Visual Computing, leverages facial-recognition cues and is about to undergo a real-life trial.

A team led by Hassan Ugail, Professor of Visual Computing at the University of Bradford, combines an HD camera, a thermal camera and an algorithm to monitor changes in facial expressions, facial-temperature profiles and blood flow. After monitoring these traits in a group of volunteers, Ugail determined that certain expressions and changes were often associated with lying.

The standard HD camera captures subjects' faces, and the algorithm identifies facial landmarks. Facial expressions of subjects are classified according to a system, facial action coding system, developed by psychologist Paul Ekman. The camera and algorithm help monitor changes in expression frame by frame.

Similarly, the high-resolution thermal camera is used to detect the temperature profiles and blood flow patterns of subjects' faces, which the algorithm also helps monitor. Taken together with the facial-expression data, the algorithm eventually makes a decision about whether a statement is true.

This new form of lie detection deviates from the reigning polygraph lie detector because it does not require physical contact with a subject. Traditional polygraphs monitor blood pressure, pulse, respiration and skin conductivity — attributes that are difficult to monitor remotely. By using facial characteristics, it is possible to detect lies without contact, and perhaps, without a person's knowledge.

In fact, Ugail thinks that a hidden lie detector may give more reliable data. “We believe if this was done covertly, the results would be better. In all experiments, the facial temperatures of subjects always go up in interrogation simply because they are entering into a situation where they are being interrogated.” This issue would be minimized if subjects did not know they were being monitored.

When working with humans, Ugail recognizes the importance of dealing with variability in a population, and thus tries to establish a baseline for each subject. “For this test to work, ideally what we need is a baseline because every individual is different; we understand that. We need to calibrate our system to the individual. This allows us to identify the normal expressions of the subject and the normal blood flow pattern and temperature profile,” Ugail said. When forming the baseline, subjects are asked questions where they have no need to lie, such as a person's name. These questions help researchers establish a “normal” profile of the person in the absence of lying, against which subsequent statements can be measured.

This system currently has an accuracy level of 70 percent,but Ugail is aiming to increase the level to 90 percent. Given the variability in the human population, Ugail does not think that it will ever be 100-percent accurate. The new lie detector will be used as a tool to help humans decide whether they trust a statement.

No Silver Bullet
There are still a few kinks that need to be resolved. It currently takes a few hours for the results to come through, though Ugail sees that number coming down in the future. Additionally, this technology is focused, at the moment, on the proof of principle, that you can detect lies, rather than dealing with the issues that would arise from using this technology in the real world.

Ugail is optimistic about its basic lie-detecting functions, saying that it could be ready for interrogation purposes in about a year's time. Given the noninvasive nature of this technology, it has potential in arenas beyond traditional interrogation. At airports, for example, critical security questions are often asked as passengers pass through customs and immigrations — locations where authorities may want to know if passengers are lying. In fact, there are plans to pilot this technology at an airport in the near future. However, use in a more complex airport setting will likely take much more product development; equipment often works differently in a laboratory compared to an uncontrolled setting.

From the lab to Real Life
An anonymous airport security professional and Stewart Heffernan, CEO of OmniPerception, were asked to weigh in on bringing this biometric lie detection technology to market. They identified three important issues to consider.

Testing
With biometric technologies, testing and piloting are very important. Good laboratory preparation is often hindered by unexpected environmental factors. “We've found that a combination of testing the perimeters of the software or hardware sets the baseline , and testing with a real-world environment gives you real data,” said the anonymous source.

“When you walk into an airport or public arena, there are always environmental factors that you have not thought of when you deploy these things,” Heffernan agreed. “There are almost always things that crop up once you actually deploy the equipment in a trial situation or live environment.”

Marketing Hype
People have unrealistic expectations of what biometrics can do, because of movies and popular TV shows like CSI. It is important to not only create a good product, but to make sure customers understand the limitations of your products.

“People nowadays watch CSI and assume the impossible is quite easy. It's important, throughout the process when you're launching products and designing products, to realize what problem you're targeting, what problem you're trying to solve and making the product good enough for that particular market or need,” Heffernan said. “You need to make sure your customer understands what problem you're solving and that you can't solve all the problems.”

End Users
Airports have practical considerations about the usability of a technology, integration into its existing infrastructure and the final ROI. For example, does the algorithm limit the number of cameras you can have on a server, which then would require additional servers and increase costs? “ROI can be measured in many ways: reduction of staff, reduction of cost, improved detection or improved transfer of information. Just because I reduce or remove certain issues does not mean the cost of developing and installing such software or hardware will be lower than having the existing manpower to do the same task,” said the source that wished to remain anonymous.

 UK Child Care Center Relies on Ievo Biometrics for Safety

UK Child Care Center Relies on Ievo Biometrics for Safety

Editor / Provider: Ievo | Updated: 11/23/2011 | Article type: Education

Based in Manchester the kids allowed childcare center provides specialist day care services to hundreds of children. Taking childcare to a new level, they pride themselves in offering the very best services by listening to parents. This includes making sure the kids are protected to the highest standard.

Initially the kids allowed childcare center used fingerprint readers because it provided parents and families with peace of mind. With no codes or fobs the parents are assured that no one besides themselves can collect their children from center.

Kids allowed have rigorously followed these instructions, but having installed a leading biometrics competitor they found major problems with the system they initially invested in:

1.With the original system, parents and staff with creams or oils on their skin where continuously denied access because the reader could not penetrate the substances thus unable to read the print. The ievo reader uses a multi-spectral imaging sensor which solves those exact problems ievo retains its functionality with levels of dirt, oil, grease, cream or cosmetics on the skin. In addition, ievo is able to read through some types of latex gloves.

2.The kids allowed previous biometrics system was very hard to use, therefore training staff and parents become a difficult task. Ievo has been ergonomically designed meaning it uses visual and auditory sensors which inform the user if they have been granted or restricted access.

3.Kids allowed ere registering approximately 500 users. Their previous biometrics system restricted access to below this number. Alternatively the reader is able to register 8000 prints. This offers staff major flexibility options as they will not have to worry about limiting parents access on site.

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