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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.”

Secrets to Success: How Businesses Balance R&D Spending against ROI

Secrets to Success: How Businesses Balance R&D Spending against ROI

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 9/7/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

Save or spend ? Solution providers have to decide how much to invest in technical development, without going into debt. a&s finds out how manufacturers maintain an edge in innovation while ensuring the ROI is right.

Product development is universally a top budget priority. While budget items such as ad spending can be cut, R&D remains untouchable.

However, hiring a team of geniuses does not come cheap. While talent should be rewarded, R&D investments take time to recoup. Some companies may focus on their most profitable solution and dedicate R&D resources toward increasing that revenue, rather than developing truly innovative products.

Making an honest buck out of a good idea is far from a crime. However, when a company depends on a flagship product that is essentially unchanged, it risks becoming obsolete. In challenging financial circumstances, the cost of development may be trumped by the need to generate ROI fast.

Security has been no exception to the global downturn. “There is a lack of innovation in biometrics,” said Ken Nosker, President of Fulcrum Biometrics. “All the copycat, me-too companies jumped in overnight and they haven't innovated anything. They got together smart technical people and copied products.”

Trade shows have trumpeted scores of new products. However, many brands introduced no-frills lineups for buyers on a budget. “While Sony continues to provide the most innovative and high-end models, we also provide entry-level and cost-friendly models to meet the needs of different customers and applications,” said Yoshikazu Hirano, GM of Security Solutions, Business and Professional Products for APAC, Sony Electronics.

Disruptive solutions are few and far between. “My perception is that there is a reduction in the number of genuinely ‘new' product launches,” said Philip Avery, cofounder and MD of Navtech Radar. “What we tend to see is mostly in the software arena, which is probably to be expected, as the security and surveillance industry continues to push towards IP.”

In a sense, product innovation is leaning toward refinement and not so much grinding to a halt. “Products are more shaped and tuned,” said Johannes Rietschel, founder and CEO of Barix. “We often use the phrase ‘evolution instead of revolution.'”

From a component perspective, Texas Instruments witnessed no slackening in R&D. “I don't see a slowdown in product launches and innovation in video surveillance,” said Cyril Clocher, Business Manager for Video Surveillance, Texas Instruments. “Customers cannot launch or innovate if they don't have components for products.”

Lens suppliers reported an uptick in network and megapixel camera launches. “It seems that many new camera manufacturers who do not have established brand names are jumping into the fray, along with large incumbents who are updating their somewhat aging product portfolios with new models and competing with the pure-play network and megapixel camera companies,” said Andrea Iniguez, VP of Business Development, Theia Technologies.

A successful company should have innovation at the heart of its business. “It should be a natural result of ambition to come up with new products that are exciting to both customers and your own people,” said Maarten Mijwaart, GM of Automatic Vehicle Identification, Nedap. “As soon as you start talking a lot about topics such as ‘innovation management,' you can be pretty sure innovation is not a natural aspect of your company culture.”

Balance seems to be the operative word for weighing R&D spending against generating a profit. “We are careful to balance cash flow and revenue, while making sure we can support R&D and engineering and customer support,” said Dick Salzman, VP of Marketing for Keeneo. “ROI for R&D is always weighed as to short- and long-term ability to turn R&D into sellable products and features.”

Several considerations are taken into account for budget decisions. “Barix dynamically controls spending depending on quarterly developments,” Rietschel said. Market trends are also noted at trade shows for product developments. However, customer input is key for Barix. “When we see that interest for a certain area, product or feature pops up in our inquiries, we take a closer look and consider pushing funds into that direction,” Rietschel said.

In response to customer demand, Fulcrum Biometrics developed a fingerprint scanner that operates as an accessory to smart phones and tablets. “Our concept is based on our channels and what they want,” Nosker said. “We have a very sustainable business model and R&D expenses will never get so big that a less-thansuccessful product launch will put the company at serious risk. My bottom line is sustainability.”

While some companies are able to raise venture capital, not all manufacturers can depend on investors to fund R&D. Some corporations can afford to acquire start-ups to fill portfolio gaps, but ROI is not instant. For Arecont Vision, it measures ROI related to R&D in terms of its ability to develop solutions that meet and exceed market demands in a timely manner, said Becky Zhou, Sales Director for APAC.

Israeli alarm vendor Visonic boosted its R&D investment. “We took advantage of the slowdown in the market activity to enhance and accelerate the introduction of new technologies and innovative solutions,” said Amir Gefen, VP of R&D for Visonic.

Component suppliers measure ROI by different benchmarks. “When I see a customer with a leading product designed with TI components, this is what I see as ROI,” Clocher said. “We are integrating and innovating on the silicon, or the IC itself, so that affects the trends of the market and brings innovation to customers. This is where we put our investment to provide the end user with a platform that makes them competitive and differentiated on the market.”

The component perspective certainly requires the latest R&D, but that innovation translates into how other people interpret it. “As a technology company, we don't have a product road map,” said Alessandro Gasparini, Senior Sales and Marketing VP and Chief Commercial Officer of ImmerVision.

The company licenses a 360-degree panomorph lens technology and dewarping software, but the lenses themselves are ground by third-party lens suppliers such as Fujinon, Gasparini said.

Once R&D funds have been allocated, the next step is to determine where the money goes. While funds may go toward a completely new product line, integration with third-party vendors also requires R&D resources. If a company slows product launches, its R&D team may be working on smoother integration.

For Visonic, its R&D projects involve integration of its solutions with central monitoring station platforms, wireless home automation solutions and home security products by other manufacturers, Gefen said.

Israeli video synopsis pioneer BriefCam divides its R&D team into two. One responds to issues in the field, such as integrating with VMS platforms or different languages, while the other team develops ideas around its technology. “Our customers don't necessarily ask for them; we come up with new ideas we try to understand the directions in which the technology may develop,” said Dror Irani, CEO of BriefCam.

March Networks has a similar R&D structure. Its core team works on sustaining existing solutions, while the innovation team works on future technology. “R&D is protecting the existing customers in terms of what they are using,” said Fabrizio Colciago, CTO of March Networks. “We want to give them some kind of continuity. At the same time, we want to provide them the next step to go to the next level.” [NextPage]

Integration with third-party components and solutions can be difficult. “Even with ‘standards' there is a difference of the way it actually works as opposed to the way it is written it should work — just ask Microsoft,” Salzman said.

Ideally, companies should disclose interfaces and provide “how to” information for product use to third parties, without many hurdles. “It depends on the intentions of the other parties, if they are using the open standards as a marketing tool or if they really want to cooperate and integrate,” Rietschel said.

Clear documentation helps smooth integration between hardware and software. “MegaLab was developed to make it easy for platform designers to test and modify their software and hardware for use with Arecont Vision cameras,” Zhou said.

ImmerVision ensures its lenses will work with different products through a compliance check. “Manufacturers submit their product for testing, then the certification is signed by our chief engineer stating product XYZ is ImmerVision-enabled,” Gasparini said. “This is the case for lenses, software and products.”

While some companies did not reduce R&D funding, they made moves to make production more efficient. This includes greater factory automation as well as relocating production facilities to other countries. However, nearly all hardware companies interviewed felt there was no place like home. Outsourced labor may be cheaper, but domestic production enables tighter control over product development.

While Dallmeier visited many international production facilities, it chose to keep manufacturing base in Germany. “Dallmeier is the only manufacturer in Germany that develops and manufactures all components on its own,” said Konrad Hechtbauer, Director of Project and Application Development at Dallmeier electronic.

Companies with overseas production select partnerscarefully. Theia's lenses are made by a partner with plants in Japan as well as Indonesia, Iniguez said. March Networks manufactures hardware in Mexico and Asia, but software is developed in-house. “Our central R&D location is in Canada, with 80 percent of it in Ottawa, or more than 100 people,” Colciago said. Barix moved production to China 10 years ago. “We are considering opening a second production location outside of China for various reasons now,” Rietschel said. Its R&D is based in Switzerland and Germany. [NextPage]

The future direction of R&D is in line with current product development. IP is a continued migration, with the cloud and greater connectivity being essential. Component-level breakthroughs will enable faster processing on the edge, reducing network loading. As hardware becomes harder to differentiate on, software will be the benchmark of a company's innovation. “We don't expect any revolutionary new technologies, but rather a honing and smoothening of the current systems, with IP moving even further into lower-price systems,” Rietschel said.

Technology will be amalgamated to make sense in other environments. “The cloud is coming in quick and having a big impact,” Irani said. Video monitoring could check on a loved one in the hospital — from the office, at home or on the road via mobile devices.

Some companies worked to make power-hungry products more efficient. This is a challenge with processing-intensive devices, such as megapixel cameras or network recording devices. “While other companies where talking about the economic crisis, Dallmeier used this period to prepare the company for the time after the crisis,” Hechtbauer said.

Other companies worked on making their solutions smarter. Hungarian analytics provider Intellio developed intelligent edge cameras and vertical-specific software that are easy to manage. “The new Intellio camera models are able to handle several specific applications, which normally run on a server,” said János Kópházi, MD of Intellio.

The mobile revolution will require additional R&D resources. “It's the next three to four years for the output, but you have to be doing the R&D today to have the products positioned in the market tomorrow,” Nosker said.

As copycat products increase, differentiation lies more in applications than hardware. “What we see happening is that hardware is becoming more of a commodity every day,” Mijwaart said. “The true innovation and one of the only opportunities left to be distinctive is by having better understanding of client needs in specific applications and offer firmware and software that will fully support those needs.”

Ultimately, technology serves as tool to advance human goals. “Today, the differentiation is not in performance any more but in the solution,” Colciago said. “It should not be humans adapting to the technology. We should use technology to understand what the human wants. Because at the end, the human is the master and the technology answers to us.”

Children's Clinics Deploys Secures Electronic Health Records with Fingerprint Biometrics

Children's Clinics Deploys Secures Electronic Health Records with Fingerprint Biometrics

Editor / Provider: DigitalPerson | Updated: 8/25/2011 | Article type: Commercial Markets

DigitalPerson, a global provider of authentication and endpoint protection solutions, announced Children's Clinics for Rehabilitative Services (Children's Clinics) has deployed DigitalPersona Pro data protection and access security software and U.are.U Fingerprint Readers to enhance the rollout of its new electronic health records (EHR) system. Using fingerprint biometrics, Children's Clinics has eliminated the need for employees and contract healthcare providers to remember passwords to access applications and sensitive patient information. This new system improves workflow efficiency, increases patient data security and significantly reduces IT helpdesk requests for lost or forgotten passwords.

With more than 25 specialty clinics, primary care and therapy services, Children's Clinics offers Southern Arizona's families a wide range of healthcare services to meet the health care needs of their children. The organization was transitioning to NextGen Ambulatory EHR from years of utilizing paper charts. Children's Clinics was challenged with managing login credentials and needed a solution to help streamline the login process to improve workflow. More than 40 percent of the clinic's staff are part-time contract providers who only work in the clinic a couple of times a month. Because contactors only use the systems when they are at the clinic, passwords could easily be forgotten. Time and resources would be wasted recovering and reissuing passwords, causing frustration for both providers and patients.

"As we rolled out our new EHR system, it was important for us to make the transition easy for our providers who had to learn the new system. Our providers were already frustrated with having to learn another EHR system so we wanted the login process to be as fast and as simple as possible," said William Mayo, information systems supervisor, Children's Clinics. "Using DigitalPersona Pro and U.are.U Fingerprint Readers allows our providers to log into our EHR system without the hassle of remembering their password. User acceptance has been positive because employees can quickly and easily access their applications from any exam room PC with just their finger."

"The finger print readers have been the best part of the whole EHR roll out. I love it," said Dr. Sydney Rice, Medical Director, Children's Clinics. "Implementation went smoothly and our providers quickly became fans. It is wonderful to avoid yet another username and password."

By integrating DigitalPersona Pro and U.are.U Fingerprint Readers with the rollout of its EHR system, Children's Clinics was able to significantly speed up the login process required to access the applications throughout the organization. DigitalPersona Pro's kiosk feature has helped to streamline workflow processes by eliminating the need to constantly re-enter strong passwords required for exam room PCs. Since many employees are involved in a patients visit, employees can log out of the EHR in the exam room PC and the next employee can continue the exam where the previous employee left off. The solution helps address compliance with industry regulations, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, by strengthening authentication in ways that doctors, nurses and clinical staff find easy to use. Children's Clinics staff can instantly access a broad set of applications OWA email, Exchange email, Ramsoft PACS, other community EHR systems, and information, including health records, radiology images and email.

Shedding Light on the Adriatic Region

Shedding Light on the Adriatic Region

Editor / Provider: a&s ADRIA | Updated: 8/23/2011 | Article type: Hot Topics

Is the winter over for security in Southeast Europe? a&s Adria explores.

The 2008/2009 financial and economic crisis took its toll on many developed world economies. In our last year's report, “hazy” was predicted for the Adriatic region; Vladimir Grigorov from the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies highlighted that countries in the region were headed to a severe recession, due to their poor export base, insufficient loans and dried up foreign investment. Fitch Ratings also warned against a series of trade and financial shocks that would hit emerging economies in Central and Eastern Europe.

But how are things shaping up this year in the security business in the region?

Miroslav Krleza, GM of Uniplus: Business risk, against potential earnings, has increased significantly due to very high insolvency. In years 2009 and 2010, we were relatively successful as we realized several projects in cooperation with our partners. This year so far has been in a “safe mode,” and we are reevaluating market research and potential. We believe that, in the next few years, intense technological development and innovation in video surveillance systems will continue. Therefore, we are expecting a dynamic recovery with exciting job opportunities. Growth can be seen in increased implementations of IT/IP-based equipment and realization of value-adds through integrating with business systems.

Kresimir Paic, Director of Eccos Engineering: Most research reports yield erroneous results, so we do not base our business decisions on their predictions. To stay in this business, cost optimizations and savings, investment in knowledge expansion, and export-oriented organizational thinking are required. I believe that the highest growth will come from video surveillance and access control equipment. The previous downward slope is stopped for now due to increased activities in neighboring foreign markets, but I would not dare to make a long-term prognosis.

Robert Pazitka, CEO of Pro Alarm: The recession caused by the global crisis was only the trigger for many internal problems of former Yugoslavia, which previously were not fully expressed or were pushed aside. The art of surviving means quick adaptations to different ways of doing business and continuous adjustments to business dynamics on a daily basis. Measures include maximum reduction and continuous monitoring of costs, company reorganization for greater efficiency and better utilization of existing resources. The positive shift observed in the current year, through a number of inquiries and new bids, is hopefully a sign that we had reached the bottom. Our favorite is video surveillance, whose growth has lasted for several years and still has not seen “the end.” We expect access control systems to increase in the total volume, alongside loss prevention, intelligent video, and fleet management and protection systems.

Mladen Ozimec, Director of Salon Ozimec: The 104-percent increase in our turnover from 2009 to 2010 speaks volume about the recovery. New legislative changes that support our operations in the E.U. are one of the key growth factors. Sectors with biggest growth include transportation, banknote-processing facilities and cash in transit.

Boris Popovic, CEO of Alarm Automatika: The market is definitely more active than last year — more inquiries, contacts, presentations and meetings. It is recognizable that users can no longer wait to solve their security and operational problems. I attach great importance to research results, especially those of independent institutions. These results are useful in selecting the right product characteristics that we offer or develop. We have developed in some new markets, opened new offices in Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina, hired new people and reinforced software development efforts. We expect the biggest growth in the applications of IP-based products and wireless technologies, which partially simplify and make cheaper implementations of security measures in different types of buildings. It is important to select equipment based on open platforms, which are becoming more available every day. Aside from integration of security systems, building management software connected to business operations such as MIS and ERP is equally important and promising.

Azemina Harkcom, Director of DSC BiH: What happened was exactly what we expected to happen. We believe that with a little more effort and work, everything can be overcome, especially when it comes to doing business in safety and security, which should not be challenged for any reason. A lot of good, positive changes are expected to come in the second half of this year. A key business action should be driving further investment in and support to customers in all segments, including the construction sector which has started to move.

Mirsad ?ati?, President of Securitas: During the recession, we refocused our energy on clients who were not much affected and catered to their needs exclusively.

So, the key element in success would be striking a balance between extremes and planning your operations wisely and accordingly. Maintaining strategic business relationships with the right banks and active clients also means stability. It is also vital to keep improving product and service quality. Always think, always do something new, always innovate and always invest! [NextPage]

Djordje Vucinic, President of Securitas: We, as part of a group that operates in 46 countries with more than 280,000 employees, were able to leverage the experiences and knowledge of our colleagues, and provide the right solutions. While we belong to the service segment that was hit very hard and key challenges such as unemployment and slow new investments remain, positive developments are luckily taking place all over the world. We were also mindful of expenses optimization, organizational efficiency and continuous innovations. The conditions for doing business this year have not yet improved, but it is important to note that no significant negative trends are present. March showed a slight upswing, and we hope it will continue. It is also quite obvious that more and more clients are turning to quality products and services, and that increased use of physical security measures and guarding services will come over time.

Rok Bajec, Director of Mobicom: The number of companies that failed is growing; unemployment is at record levels; money is almost nonexistent. The construction sector is sinking, which also drags out some other problems. It is not a time for major investments and building facilities, and therefore we should meet our goals in some smaller projects. The biggest issue is still payment, which means you will never know when you will be paid for equipment and/or services provided to your customers. Before the recession, tenders were usually competed on by seven to nine companies; now, the average number of participants has increased to 18. People no longer trust banks and do not believe in incentives from the government. If changes do not occur, the situation will only be even worse and confidence not regained. Statistics are not something on which I would base my business decisions. Knowledge of the market and situations related to customers are more helpful in business planning than world-leading research companies. We, however, expect growth in intrusion detection and small video surveillance systems.

Igor Sterle, Director of Linde MPA: In Western Europe, there has been a visible, positive trend due to government stimuli. In contrast, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovenia and some other parts of the Adriatic region, government investments in their own economies are, in my opinion, still not enough. These countries have already entered the third year of the recession, and the end is not in sight. If the only countermeasure is cost savings in all areas, then the results will just be that — zilch. In our business, which is closely related to the field of biometrics, we do not feel the recession. This is a very specific technology with a sharp increase; we have seen a consistent annual growth between 40 to 50 percent for the last five years, especially in banking and payment transactions.

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