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Turning security into useful management tools at amusement parks

Turning security into useful management tools at amusement parks

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 2/18/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Amusement park operators are constantly working to find better, easier, and more efficient ways to manage their premises. To that end, operators can be aided by a variety of security technologies, such as video surveillance, access control, RFID, and biometrics to crack down on ticket fraud, control crowds, and enhance the customer experience. The ultimate goal is to bring more visitors and generate higher revenue streams.

From Magic Kingdom to Lotte World, Disneyland to Six Flags Great Adventure, theme parks are a huge global business frequented by throngs of adults and children every year. According to market research firm IBISWorld, theme parks in the U.S. have seen a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent over the five years up to 2014, in which total revenue was estimated at US$15.4 billion. Meanwhile, there were 215 million visits to the world's top 25 amusement parks last year, up 4.3 percent from 2012, according to the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM's global attractions attendance report.

With so many people visiting parks each day, operators are faced with the need to make day-to-day operators more manageable, efficient, and cost-effective. Issues facing operators, such as ticket fraud, crowd control, and customer experience improvement can now be addressed through ever-advanced technologies such as video surveillance, access control, video analytics, biometrics, and RFID. While these products are traditionally for security purposes, they can also help operations achieve better management, which ultimately leads to increased visitations and revenue.

Clamping Down on Ticket Fraud
A horrific problem that theme park operators constantly need to deal with is ticket fraud, which can cause serious damage to their revenue and earnings. Fraud may be in the form of people paying counterfeit currency, charging stolen credit cards, writing fake checks, or using false identity. “Some visitors try to pass their annual tickets on to friends and relatives, even when they know that it's forbidden,” said Roland Feil, Director of Sales at Dallmeier Electronic.

To counter this problem, operators use video surveillance to monitor every move between the ticket booth employee and customers. “Ideally cameras are placed nearby the location where theft or fraud is to be expected. Access to the camera footage can be managed via the video management system, which offers various authorization levels in order to avoid that people without proper clearance can access camera footage,” said Pieter van den Looveren, Manager of Marketing Communication for Video Systems at Bosch Security Systems, adding that video surveillance can also be linked to the operator's point-of-sale (POS) system to make sure that each transaction is backed by evidence and accounted for.

Access control technologies, such as RFID and biometric authentication, can also help crack down on ticket fraud. RFID, which entails the communication between a reader and a tag, can limit critical areas, such as ticket booths, to employees only. “If even more security is required, multi-technology RFID cards can be used,” said Scott Lindley, President of Farpointe Data. “For example, these cards can have text, bar codes, and images printed on them. They can have various mag stripes applied and encoded. They can have microprocessor- based contact smart chips embedded. They can have holograms adhered. And they can have various RFID technologies embedded, such as EPC2, Mifare, and proximity.” Biometrics, which authenticates ticketholders via a part of their body, be it fingerprints or the eye, has been implemented at an increasing number of amusement parks. “Efficient and reliable biometric authentication provides amusement park operators with a way of ensuring that ticket holders are legitimate,” said Sujan T.V. Parthasaradhi, Director of Biometric Applications at Lumidigm.

Video content analysis (VCA), or video analytics, can also play a part. While it may not act as a deterrent to ticket fraud, technologies such as people counting can help make sure there is a match between the number of people entering the park and the number of tickets sold. “What we can provide is technology that can detect how many people have passed through a given area,” said Albert Yang, President of Huper Laboratories. “If the operator sold three tickets, and there were three people passing by, then there is a match.”

Crowd Control
Crowd control is a top safety concern for theme park operators and is often stipulated by law. Security technologies can “ensure that no more than the maximum number of visitors, as is prescribed by the safety codes of both the police and fire department, are on the park's grounds at any point in time. If the quantitative threshold should be reached, an automatic action can be carried out,” Feil said.

This is when operators can rely on video analytics tools, in particular people counting, for detection and response. “Cameras with intelligent video analysis can be used to count people or gather crowd density information. Based on certain thresholds set, the operator will be alarmed immediately as soon as these levels are exceeded,” said Looveren. People counting software often includes queue management capabilities to alert operators when lines are getting long. “Our queue management software can analyze how many people are in a queue. Once the figure exceeds a certain amount, an alarm will be generated. We can also provide the average time someone is being served. This is useful for management,” said Yang, adding that people counting can be used for other management purposes. “It can be integrated with other building control devices to achieve better energy conservation. If the number of visitors drops from a certain level, then lights can be dimmed or air conditioning can be adjusted automatically,” he said. The whole concept is about efficiency, since operators can take immediate actions once the number of people reaches a maximum threshold. “Additional waiting areas can be opened, or, where the wait time is excessive, actions can be taken to increase ride capacities, decrease ride duration, or notify guests so they may choose a different ride or venue,” said Larry Bowe, President of PureTech Systems.

However, for any people counting application to be meaningful, it must be accurate. For a venue with 2,000 people, for example, accuracy rates of 90 percent and 99 percent translate into miscalculations of 200 people versus 20. “If you have 98 percent accuracy rate or even close to 100 percent, that means, you can detect almost everyone passing by. Only if you are accurate, user can perceive more value of your application,” Yang said.

Accuracy has always been an issue for VCA deployed in an outside environment like theme parks, since there are much more details to analyze. But, latest developments in the technology, for example 3D stereo imaging, have enhanced VCA's analytical capabilities and made outside implementation less of a problem. “More information provided by 3D stereo camera will let VCA make better judgment,” Yang said. “Take a tree, for example. VCA of 3D stereo video can easily distinguish between the tree and its shadow through the height information, while 2D video cannot provide the height information. This makes shadows a common problem for 2D VCA.”

Better managed, Better experience
Security aside, management has become a top priority for amusement park operators. Luckily, with ever more sophisticated security technologies, operators can run their businesses with optimal efficiency and give more satisfaction to visitors as they take rides, shop in stores, and grab a bite at concession stands. With theme parks already a multibillion-dollar industry, better management will sure contribute to higher growth in the years to come.

A Frictionless Experience With RFID
Making customers satisfied with their trip is always a top concern for operators, who try to make the park visiting experience as frictionless as possible. With RFID, this goal can be achieved. A tram or bus taking visitors to the park, for example, can be facilitated with long-range RFID, which can detect the bus approaching meters away and open the gate accordingly, thus reducing wait time.

The technology is especially useful at water parks where paper tickets can easily get wet, wrinkled, or lost. “The RFID credential can be in the form of a wristband, heightening convenience and assuring that it won't be lost. These can be made so that they are inoperable when removed,” said Scott Lindley, President of Farpointe Data.

Another benefit of using RFID is that it allows faster and smoother point of sale at restaurants, concession stands, and others. “The cashless POS is the leading application. Cashless POS is more convenient, which increases spending and decreases transaction time. Making purchases faster and reducing queues adds to customer satisfaction,” Lindley said.

Business Enablement With Security Solutions
Security technologies can offer valuable data such as customer behavior and their spending habits. With increased business intelligence, operators can strive to enhance the customer experience, in the process attracting more visitors and raking in higher revenue.

“Intelligent video analysis systems offer information about the influx of visitors and the behavior of the guests. What rides or shows are most liked? Which of the attractions are used less and thus have to be signposted more clearly or should be increasingly promoted? What are the peak times in terms of the number of visitors?” commented Roland Feil, Director of Sales at Dallmeier electronic. “Given that the park's management is furnished with sufficient information, it can use them for making decisions, for example for human resource planning or creating special incentives or announcements that will help distributing visitors more evenly across the various attractions.”

“This can be a real revenue enabler,” said Albert Yang, President of Huper Laboratories. “Shops, for example, can put hot-selling items on the shelf and take down those that are less popular. They can even sell the information of customer's behavior to the original supplier.”

Using smart cards and tokens for access to parks can also help operators track the visiting and spending habits of the people using them. Some theme parks, for example Disney World, has already issued tokens that not only permit access to the park but also allow guests to access their on-site accommodation and enjoy privileges for rides and payment at concessions or restaurants. “This offers operators a highly detailed account of the preferences and movements that guests make, allowing for targeted marketing and offers to be presented that are bespoke to the customer,” said John Davies, MD at TDSi. “It also provides valuable information on the times of entry, when guests use certain rides and attractions and when transportation is most needed to and from the park.”

Tips on Implementation
When implementing a theme park project, a rule of thumb is to remember that the park visiting experience must be as smooth as possible. “The overriding goal is to create a positive environment for paying customers, and there can't be even the illusion of a barrier between a customer and the park,” said Sujan T.V. Parthasaradhi, Director of Biometric Applications at Lumidigm.

“Working within a theme park environment is challenging and requires a balance between providing effective security solutions within a public domain,” said Pedro De Jesus, Channel Manager for Security at Gallagher. “Visitors do not want to feel like they are been watched, monitored, or have entered a high security environment. They simply want to have a fun day out with their families. It is essential that security devices blend into the environment, offering a high level of security and safety for all without been intimidating.”

The central management software should integrate with various subsystems, especially video surveillance, to offer situational awareness and quick verification. “A real-time flow of information between the two platforms, including a graphical representation via a site map GUI, allows security staff to make immediate, informed security responses and to document according to the correct records process,” De Jesus said.

“The combining of multiple security technologies, even across different manufacturers, is commonplace and results in a collaborative, highly effective, and automated solution,” said Larry Bowe, President of PureTech Systems. “These integrations automatically manage much of the sensor control that was previously done by security personnel, allowing these resources to focus on the proper steps to respond to the incident.

Dahua enhances security for Bank Central Asia in Indonesia

Dahua enhances security for Bank Central Asia in Indonesia

Editor / Provider: Dahua | Updated: 2/16/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Dahua Technology, a manufacturer and supplier of video surveillance products headquartered in Hangzhou, China improves security for Bank Central Asia in Indonesia.

Bank Central Asia (BCA) is an Indonesian bank founded on August 10th, 1955. BCA offers diverse financial solutions through banking transaction services for many diverse groups and ages.BCA is one of Indonesia's largest private banks, its ATM machines across Indonesia, around each sightseeing place including Jakarta, Bali and Bandung. With expending business and the increased demand for security concern, the bank decided to level up its security system of ATM machines.

BCA offers a vast network of ATMs nationwide and strategic locations, and also provides three types of ATM including Multifunctional ATM, Non-Cash Transaction ATM and Cash Deposit ATM. Like all banks worldwide, BCA detects subtle behavior that demonstrates possible frauds and robbery to secure the safety of the bank and ATMs for cash transactions. But unlike domestic bank, BAC requires one ATM DVR to monitor four ATM machines at the same time, and support four RS232 ports to transfer information.

All the possibilities can be realized in Dahua DVR0404AS-VD after some hardware modification. Dahua 4CH 960H 2HDD ATM Standalone DVR, DVR0404AS-VD comes with 4-channel video and 4-channel audio input, and facilitates full channel@960H real-time recording and all channel synchronous real-time playback. DVR0404AS-VD is able to provide smooth video streams. RS232 port can connect to keyboard to realize central control, and also can connect to PC COM to upgrade system and realize maintenance, and matrix control. It can be used to connect to the ATM and POS to send out or receive the card number protocol data. Moreover, DVR0404AS-VD supports multiple network monitoring such as Web view, CMS (DSS/PSS) and DMSS which is fully complying with the requirements of Bank Central Asia. 1,000 DahuaDVR0404AS-VD DVRs were installed around the country.

As we know, Indonesia straddle the equator, it tends to have a fairly even climate year-round. Indonesia is full of wet and dry, and there are no extremes of winter and summer. In order to withstand such complicated weather, DahuacustomizesDVR0404AS-VDto support two fans to fit this kind of environment. And other unique requirements such as support computer lock had to be met as well.

“Being used for a while, Dahua ATM DVR is quite stable,” said Andy Tan, Sales Manager of PT. Vinotica Lestari Cemerlang. “Now BCA is getting high-quality surveillance 24/7 and we are confident to provide a secured environment for customers, employees, and asset.”Tan added.

“We are proud to deliver our ATM solution for Bank Central Asia to increase its safety and security,” said Debbie Du, Sales Manager of APAC at Dahua Technology. “Dahua can always realize the diverse needs of our users. That's how we differentiate ourselves from other single product suppliers.”

Eight cities video-linked with Milestone ring of protection

Eight cities video-linked with Milestone ring of protection

Editor / Provider: Milestone | Updated: 1/14/2015 | Article type: Security 50

Open platform IP video management software (VMS) from world-leading provider Milestone Systems is improving safety and public services in eight cities around Minnesota's largest metropolis. Minneapolis/St. Paul is the most populous area in the state with a sprawl of more than 3,000,000 people.

Eight cities here covering more than 200 square miles have formed a valuable circle of relationships by connecting their video surveillance to protect citizens and quickly resolve incidents that can cross between their borders. With the networked Milestone XProtect® video management software, individual municipalities control their own security monitoring yet quickly connect with neighboring systems for collaborations.

“We had a collective idea between municipalities to centralize local systems with the same IT backbone. Every city can adopt software from the Milestone platform to have its own system. But there are times administrators may want to open access to their system to solve a mutual incident, and they can get assistance from neighboring emergency services for as much help as possible to solve a problem. Sharing camera feeds through Milestone has been a valuable yet easy-to-integrate solution that each municipality has eagerly installed,” says Tim Ferrian, Director of Sales and Marketing, Pro-Tec Design.

Security integrator Pro-Tec Design identified the parallel and individual needs of each city and their various departments. For example, the police department in one city has a variety of unique applications different from the IT department, schools or retail business in another. The widespread commonality for all cities was the need for IP video management software (VMS) to replace limited legacy analog systems.

Milestone XProtect VMS with its open platform technology allows each city to monitor and secure its own assets, be it a government building, transit stations or city-owned business. Milestone enables each to strategically design and install the hardware and software that meet its own needs, providing a cost-effective, flexible solution that can also be shared across locations to leverage more resources. With a combined Milestone VMS service, updates and maintenance are streamlined for quick response from Pro-Tec.

Milestone solves the core needs of each municipality but offers versatile feature sets and client interfaces that address unique requirements. For example, Milestone Mobile is deployed on tablets and smartphones. The cities are saving money by efficiently deploying emergency services, knowing exactly what they are dealing with before sending out first responder teams. Pro-Tec also expanded the open platform into additional applications, such as video integration using XProtect® Transact for government-owned retail stores.

Pro-Tec's relationships with the cities in Minnesota developed from a foundation of card access control and video surveillance, so a transition into open platform, network-based VMS that could integrate the two was a logical step.

“We could see the shift in security and surveillance to IP, and we wanted to partner with strong companies to provide our clients with a solution beyond their current expectations that could easily be installed, upgraded and expanded over time,” says Ferrian. “Milestone understood this, not only in the technology's infancy but how it would evolve to what end-users expect in the future, to deliver as a flexible core offering.”

There are many common themes within city surveillance: watching out for the visitors of city halls, keeping track of persons in custody at police stations, providing evidence for investigations, protecting staff and equipment, monitoring community pools and protecting the government from liability, or watching intersections for public works operations (moving snow, salting roads). There are also such needs as monitoring a busy farmer's market, senior centers, community sports, schools, historical landmarks, water towers and treatment facilities.

These eight cities are currently linked via Pro-Tec's Milestone video solution: Shoreview, Farmington, Brooklyn Center, Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park, Edina and Minneapolis Proper. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MNDOT), Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Minneapolis Convention Center are included within this ‘Ring of Protection'.

Nick Lovejoy, IT Specialist, City of Edina says: “Our Milestone installation process was very simple; the interface is easy to use and very straightforward. It's evident in our day-to-day operations that the Milestone interface has helped us improve services in the city, addressing and solving many issues with a quick turnaround.”

Brooklyn Center has integrated the Point of Sale (POS) systems at its liquor stores with Milestone's XProtect® Transact software, which displays video associated with register transactions. This integration gives a time-synchronized interface linking receipt data with corresponding video, extending the monitoring of operations to include actual cash register data. This identifies problems involving POS and credit cards to reduce shrinkage and fraud, providing a safer shopping environment.

“Ease of use was extremely important when deciding on our VMS installation,” states Patty Hartwig, IT Director for Brooklyn Center. “We did our research looking for user-friendly, adaptable and easy-to-modify solutions. Our system needed to play back and pull up video in an instant. We put an extreme value on the Milestone VMS protecting our city assets: we required a product that would be here today, tomorrow and in the future. Milestone has and continues to show that value.”

Retailers gain transformative business insights with new March Networks Searchlight™4

Retailers gain transformative business insights with new March Networks Searchlight™4

Editor / Provider: March Networks | Updated: 1/13/2015 | Article type: Security 50

March Networks® is pleased to introduce a new video-based business intelligence solution that helps retailers elevate store performance and drive profitability in an increasingly competitive landscape. March Networks Searchlight™4 provides retailers with the valuable insights they need to improve customer service, marketing and operations, as well as loss prevention and security, across a few or hundreds of locations.

A majority of retailers have invested significantly in video surveillance to enhance security. Many forward-thinking organizations have also integrated their video with point-of-sale (POS) transaction data to gain powerful loss prevention and investigation capabilities. New Searchlight4 extends the value of that visual and transaction data dramatically by combining it with business analytics that deliver relevant information to operations, marketing and customer service groups. Using Searchlight's dynamic browser-based dashboard, retail teams can run customized reports in just minutes – allowing them to analyze and compare store performance and customer behaviors, identify trends and discover new opportunities for improvement.

Customer Service, Conversions and Workforce Optimization
Most retail organizations are working hard to both provide customers with exceptional service and optimize their workforce strategies. In one recent survey, only three percent of retailers said their defined customer experience is executed consistently in every store every day, while another study noted that in-store sales increase by an estimated 25 to 50 percent when customers are helped by a knowledgeable retail associate. Long lines are also an area of focus, as consumers are willing to wait just five minutes on average before they abandon a purchase and leave the store.

Searchlight helps retailers address these critical areas using the integrated data, including reliable analytics from the new March Networks MegaPX Indoor Analytics Dome IP camera. A people counting analytic makes it easy for retailers to determine conversion rates and run site-by-site comparisons, for example, and then review the integrated video for further analysis. A queue length monitoring analytic provides equally useful data, allowing retailers to adjust staffing schedules to optimize the customer experience. In addition, Searchlight's operations audit report provides daily snapshot images taken from sites at pre-determined times, enabling regional managers to quickly see if stores have opened on time or if there is no associate on the floor at certain times of the day.

Merchandising and Promotional Metrics
Tracking the success of on-site advertising, promotions and merchandising puts retail marketing teams at a distinct advantage, allowing them to adjust efforts for maximum benefit. By integrating dwell time analytics and POS transaction data, Searchlight helps marketers determine the effectiveness of different marketing offers and compare success rates across locations. Using the intelligent software, marketing staff can see if an endcap display is underperforming in a few specific locations, for example, and then quickly review the associated video to see if there's an issue with how the display appears in those stores. If a retailer is charging premium rates to merchandisers for digital signage, marketing can also use Searchlight to provide supporting performance metrics.

Loss Prevention and Employee Performance
With theft and fraud costing retail organizations an estimated $128 billion globally and $42 billion in the U.S. alone (Global Retail Theft Barometer 2014), many retailers have developed extensive loss prevention (LP) programs to fight back. Searchlight arms store owners, managers and LP teams with advanced detection and investigation capabilities that help them identify potential losses faster and stop them sooner. The software integrates POS transaction data, surveillance video, analytics and alarms, and enables retailers to filter efficiently through that data using advanced transaction summary and reporting tools. With Searchlight, retailers can pinpoint trends, such as high and low employee or store performance; search across multiple locations simultaneously by transaction type, amount or card number; identify and visually verify suspect transactions; and gather strong case evidence to improve apprehension and recovery rates.

"Video has long been overlooked as a source of 'big data' even though it captures virtually everything that happens within a store and delivers immediate, real-life context to the viewer," said Net Payne, Chief Marketing Officer, March Networks. "Searchlight4 turns the millions of hours of recorded video into video-based business intelligence that retailers can use to make decisions that directly impact profitability and the customer experience. In addition, it allows them to maximize the investments they've already made in their video surveillance systems and extend the benefits to internal teams beyond loss prevention and security."

March Networks is demonstrating the new Searchlight4 software and its complete IP video solution for retail in Booth 1331 at Retail's Big Show Convention and Expo, January 11-13 in New York City.

Milestone VMS helps fast-food giants reduce theft and improve daily opetations

Milestone VMS helps fast-food giants reduce theft and improve daily opetations

Editor / Provider: Milestone | Updated: 12/10/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems' world-leading open platform IP video management technology is helping Restaurant Brands to reduce theft and improve daily operations across New Zealand's KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks locations.

The parent company in New Zealand for KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr and Starbucks, Restaurant Brands has installed Milestone XProtect® video management software (VMS) throughout their chain of restaurants. The first implementation in 2010 convinced management to roll out the solution nationally: thanks to the Milestone video, the number of thefts dropped measurably and day-to-day operations became more efficient, leading to significant improvement on the bottom line.

Milestone Partner Lexel designed and implemented an efficient solution with Milestone XProtect® Corporate software that manages more than 1,300 AXIS network cameras in about 180 sites. Cameras are installed in all KFC and Carl's Jr. restaurants and selective locations for Starbucks and Pizza Hut. System operators use the XProtect® Smart Client interface and Milestone Mobile client to improve day-to-day operations at the many restaurants.

“Although there was no target set for loss prevention, there was a remarkable increase to the net profit after the installation of the Milestone video system. The main benefits of the software included user responsiveness and the open platform architecture that will enable us to integrate with other systems in the future,” said Geoff Holton, Commercial IT Manager at Restaurant Brands Limited (RBD).

Loss prevention was improved by monitoring the different food preparation processes at the restaurants and managing waste levels. Theft was lowered among both dishonest customers and staff. Simultaneously, staff safety increased and more efficient day-to-day operations became the norm.

“The Milestone solution has made day-to-day operations much easier. Prior to this all managers were only able visit one or two stores at a time, but now they look remotely at the foyer area of their stores using the XProtect Smart Client interface,” said Geoff Holton.

Managers can remotely see how many customers each branch has, how many cash registers are open and how many employees are operating the counters. The software also helps them keep track of peak hours and check the restaurants' performance during these hours.

"We are also using the Milestone solution to ensure the quality of the food that is made. Now we can go and have a look at how the pizzas are made at Pizza Hut or see if standards are followed when breeding chicken at KFC stores. This is all about securing the quality of our products, making sure our staffs are safe while working with the hot deep fryers, managing waste and staffing levels,” said Holton. “Both IT management and supervisors can remotely check on the stores with Milestone Mobile 24 hours a day,” states Geoff Holton.

The Milestone VMS also helps to avoid theft at the restaurants: “We have just over 5,000 staff, and in the first 20 weeks of the financial year we actually detected 16 people that were stealing. The majority of our employees are honest and hardworking but unfortunately all businesses have theft issues,” said Geoff Holton. “We did not have a previous surveillance system, which made it difficult to catch thieves and provide evidence of their misdeeds. Now we can monitor the stores and provide video footage of an incident to the police if necessary.”

Holton explains that the uses of the Milestone software might expand even more: “We are thinking about integrating with a point-of-sale (POS) system in the future. The Milestone open platform allows us to integrate with analytics which is a big advantage - it is one of the main reasons we chose the Milestone open platform,” explains Geoff Holton.

It was the system integrator Lexel who recommended RBD to go with the Milestone solution, and Lexel Systems thoroughly trained each of the users in how to operate the solution. “Lexel is a trusted partner that was able to provide good support during the purchasing, installation and follow-up process,” concludes Holton.

KFC, Pizza Hut, Carl's Jr. and Starbucks Coffee are all trademarks of Restaurant Brands NZ. Restaurant Brands New Zealand Limited is listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

Tyco Security Products showcases growing technology portfolio in Milan

Tyco Security Products showcases growing technology portfolio in Milan

Editor / Provider: Tyco Security Products | Updated: 11/12/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Tyco Security Products, part of Tyco, the world's largest pure-play fire protection and security company, will demonstrate a new slate of innovative technology introductions at Sicurezza 2014, 12 to 14 November, Rho, Milano, on Pavilion 3, Stand E01 G06.

“The growing complexities of the security environment, whether within a large enterprise or at a single location, are demanding intuitive yet sophisticated solutions that allow users to focus on the management of their security department or business,” said Phil Dashey, Vice President and General Manager, EMEA, Tyco Security Products. “The seamless unifications between our products enable security personnel to make quick and informed decisions, whilst avoiding integration challenges.”

With its expanding video portfolio, Tyco Security Products continues to lead the market in offering a diverse set of high resolution IP camera, recording and video management system (VMS) platforms from its American Dynamics and Exacq Technologies brands. New from American Dynamics is the VideoEdge Micro, a compact version of the popular VideoEdge network video recorder, ideal for small sites with limited space. The new VideoEdge and victor v4.5 flagship video management system (VMS) solution brings new analytics capabilities such as heat mapping and POS integration with ease of use functionalities like auto discovery and watermarking.

New from Exacq is the EasyConnect automatic IP camera connector feature that allows users to find, address and connect multiple IP cameras to their network automatically. EasyConnect supports IP cameras from Illustra, Axis Communications and Arecont Vision, totaling more than 400 cameras. Exacq is also introducing the E-Series encoder, which converts analogue camera video into network video streams for use on exacqVision systems. The latest release of the exacqVision 6.4 VMS introduces VideoPush, which allows users to easily push selected cameras or entire views to another monitor, such as a public display monitor or video wall.

Complementing the array of choices in recording and management platforms is a wide range of HD IP cameras, including the low-cost Illustra Flex Series, the Illustra Compact Mini-Domes and Mini-Bullets, the industry's fastest Illustra 625 PTZand the Illustra 825 Fisheye, with onboard de-warping technology.

Headlining the intrusion portfolio for Tyco Security Products is Bentel Security's 3.50 release of the ABSOLUTA intruder alarm control panel, offering full support via the ABS-IP LAN board for Sur-Gard receiver communications, BOSS programming software for customised email notifications, and ITV2 support for third party integration opportunities. The newABSOLUTA M-TOUCH touchscreen keypad features a 7” full colour display, and the ABSOLUTA App enables remote control of ABSOLUTA control panels remotely a smartphone using IP or GPRS connection or SMS commands.

Visonic is introducing PowerMaster Version 18, based on the market-leading PowerG technology that is the backbone of several new devices, including the PowerMaster-33 “hidden” panel, KP-250 two-way wireless keypad, ultrathin invisible magnetic transmitters, stylish handheld panic buttons and new advanced featured software for the widely installed PM-10 and PM-30 panels. Visonic is also introducing Tower Cam PG2, a wireless outdoor PIR that is a perfect solution for visual alarm verification and advanced warning.

Rounding out the intrusion portfolio is PowerSeries Neo from DSC, an innovative solution for residential and scalable commercial installations that combines the flexibility of a modular, hardwired system with the simplicity of a wide range of wireless devices and peripherals. PowerSeries Neo leverages the superior capabilities of PowerG – the security industry's leading-edge wireless intrusion technology – and features innovative alarm verification solutions, along with a comprehensive remote service software suite for intuitive management.

CEM Systems will display emerald(tm), the industry's most multifunctional intelligent touch screen terminal in conjunction with the powerful AC2000 access control and integrated security management system. AC2000 offers customers a resilient security solution that has the flexibility to be customised and integrated to third party systems to suit project needs.

The iSTAR Ultra network door controller from Software House uniquely supports traditional hard-wired access control doors and wireless locksets all in the same controller, up to 32 readers. The newest version of the powerful C•CURE 9000access control and security management software platform utilises the victor Unified Client from American Dynamics, enabling users to easily view access control events, video, and intrusion alarms from one central user interface or remotely on the go using C.CURE Go app.

Rounding out the access control offerings will be the new Kantech Intevo integrated security platform, designed to be up and running in minimal time. It includes a customised dashboard for easy system management and is preloaded with Kantech's EntraPass Corporate Edition security management software and exacqVision video management software.

N.America foodservice giant deployed March Networks surveillance systems

N.America foodservice giant deployed March Networks surveillance systems

Editor / Provider: March Networks | Updated: 9/26/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Compass Group North America is a leading foodservice management company with annual sales over $12 billion and more than 200,000 associates. Its operating companies, including Morrison Healthcare, Bon Appétit Management, Levy Restaurants and Wolfgang Puck Catering, serve more than seven million meals a day in schools, hospitals, senior living communities, corporate campuses and sporting venues across the U.S. and Canada.

Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Compass Group North America has the privilege of serving such prestigious clients as Microsoft, IBM, United Technologies Corp., SAP, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University and the District of Columbia Public Schools. In addition, Compass Group provides catering to special events such as the US Open and the Academy Awards.

The group's success in the foodservice business relies on getting a lot of things right —from procurement and logistics to the preparation of nutritious, palate-pleasing food. Dedicated, trustworthy associates and satisfied customers are critical, but so too are loss prevention and an effective means of operational oversight.

Compass Group North America began deploying March Networks video surveillance systems in 2008 and currently has them installed in some 300 foodservice sites.

Chris McDonald, Senior Vice-President of Loss Prevention, joined the group in April 2012 by which time its loss prevention strategy was “pretty much already in place,” he said. “I was familiar with several different video surveillance systems, but had never dealt with March Networks and wasn't familiar with its technology. However, it didn't take me long to become a big fan. We've had really good success with it.”

 Valuable Video Evidence
Compass Group has a mix of 8000 Series and 4000 C hybrid networked video recorders and uses both analog and IP cameras to cover cash registers, food storage areas and back doors. Loss prevention staff in Atlanta rely on a third-party exception reporting system to alert them to potentially suspicious point-of-sale (POS) transactions and use the March Networks video surveillance system to view the associated video.

Performance metrics are also tracked to alert management to potential issues.

“For example, if we see that we're buying more food than we're producing, we'll start watching video,” said McDonald.

Unusual sales patterns are also cause for concern, prompting loss prevention staff to pay special attention to no-sales, voids and other potentially suspicious POS transactions flagged by the exception reporting system. Using video surveillance to view the actual transactions can provide McDonald's team with the evidence they need to take action against a dishonest cashier.

Video also allows the loss prevention team to monitor compliance with company policies for cashier accountability. As is the case in most retail environments, cashiers have their own cash drawers or unique log-ins which allow management to identify the cashier responsible for every transaction. Sharing log-ins defeats the purpose, but can be easily detected using video.

The same applies to the company's policy of always requiring two people present for cash counting during the completion of a shift, but as McDonald has discovered, having two people in the same room isn't always sufficient.

Video illustrating any lapses helps to improve compliance and is used by Compass Group for training purposes.

Operational Oversight
Traditionally, Compass Group has used video surveillance almost exclusively as a loss prevention tool, said McDonald. “We'd install cameras over the cash registers, the safe and the freezer door to make sure no one was stealing cash or inventory. There hasn't been a big focus on using video surveillance for operational oversight, but that's a direction we're moving in, especially with our Morrison Healthcare division.

“We're installing more cameras to provide us with an overview of the retail operation, the food preparation and dining areas and will be doing more video audits. Managers will be able to see, for example, if the salad bar is presentable after 12:30 in the afternoon and if the lettuce bowl is full — things like that, so even if they're offsite for the day, they'll be able to check in remotely on their laptops and see how things are going.”

Installing video surveillance systems in its foodservice locations can be complicated given the fact that Compass Group is typically operating under someone else's roof, explains McDonald.

There is also a wide range of scenarios — from seven day per week, public facing operations in a hospital, for example, to five day per week corporate cafés in restricted access campuses.

“Multiple permissions are invariably required to install video surveillance in one of our foodservice locations,” said McDonald. “We have to consult with HR, security and legal if we're capturing video of their employees. Then we have to go to IT because we have to pull cable. We try to demonstrate what we expect in terms of ROI and reduced number of incidents. We also sell them on the customer service benefit.”

This year alone, according to McDonald, 30 additional Compass Group sites have been equipped with March Networks video surveillance systems. For these and other more recent deployments, Compass Group is acquiring March Networks 8000 Series Hybrid NVRs, which come in 4-, 8-, 16- and 32-channel configurations and allow for the transition from 100 % analog to 100% IP cameras.

Convenient Browser-Based Client
Also underway is a transition from March Networks Visual Intelligence software to the company's new browser-based Command Enterprise video man­agement system, which can support up to 10,000 video recorders and 128,000 video channels in multisite applications.

“With Command, we don't need software loaded on each computer terminal, so it's a lot more convenient,” said McDonald. “We don't have to get IT involved as much or worry about updating software.”

Compass Group recently transitioned to March Networks Managed Services for tier one telephone support and monitoring of system performance.

The March Networks Managed Services team makes sure that the recorders and cameras are operating properly and dispatch system integrators if onsite maintenance is required.

“I don't have any issues at all with the technical support we have received,” said McDonald. “I've never had a question March Networks technicians couldn't answer or a problem they couldn't solve.

“We're very happy with the reliability of our March Networks technology and excited about how it can continue to contribute to our success, not only as a loss prevention tool, but as a means of ensuring the quality food service our customers have come to expect from us.”

Tyco unveils breadth of technology portfolio at Essen 2014

Tyco unveils breadth of technology portfolio at Essen 2014

Editor / Provider: Tyco | Updated: 9/24/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Tyco Security Products, part of Tyco, the world's largest pure-play fire protection and security company, will showcase a new slate of innovative technology introductions on stand 128, Hall 1.0. at this week's Security Essen 2014 exhibition, 23 to 26 September.

“The growing complexities of the security environment, whether within a large enterprise or at a single location, are demanding intuitive yet sophisticated solutions that allow users to focus on the management of their security department or business,” said Phil Dashey, Vice President and General Manager, EMEA, Tyco Security Products. “The seamless unifications between our products enable security personnel to make quick and informed decisions, whilst avoiding integration challenges.”

With its expanding video portfolio, Tyco Security Products continues to lead the market in offering a diverse set of high resolution IP camera, recording and management platforms from its American Dynamics and Exacq Technologies brands. New from American Dynamics is the VideoEdge and victor v4.5 flagship video management system (VMS) solution, which brings new analytics capabilities such as heat mapping and POS integration with ease of use functionalities like auto discovery and watermarking.

Exacq is introducing the EasyConnect automatic IP camera connector feature that allows users to find, address and connect multiple IP cameras to their network automatically. EasyConnect supports IP cameras from Illustra and several other leading IP camera brands. Exacq will also showcase the new ELP-Series, a line of hybrid and IP camera network video recorders (NVR) available with up to 8 TB of storage to easily view and record up to 16 analogue and 24 IP cameras per server. The latest release of the exacqVision 6.4 VMS introduces VideoPush, which allows users to easily push selected cameras or entire views to another monitor, such as a public display monitor or video wall.

Complementing the array of choices in recording and management platforms is a wide range of HD IP cameras from American Dynamics, including the low-cost Illustra Flex Series, the Illustra Compact Mini-Domes and Mini-Bullets, the industry's fastest Illustra 625 PTZ and the Illustra 825 Fisheye, with onboard de-warping technology.

Headlining the intrusion portfolio for Tyco Security Products is PowerSeries Neo from DSC, an innovative solution for residential and scalable commercial installations that combines the flexibility of a modular, hardwired system with the simplicity of a wide range of wireless devices and peripherals. PowerSeries Neo leverages the superior capabilities of PowerG – the security industry's leading-edge wireless intrusion technology – and features innovative alarm verification solutions, along with a comprehensive remote service software suite for intuitive management.

Visonic is introducing PowerMaster Version 18, based on the market-leading PowerG technology that is the backbone of several new devices, including the PowerMaster-33 “hidden” panel, KP-250 two-way wireless keypad, ultrathin invisible magnetic transmitters, stylish handheld panic buttons and new advanced featured software for the widely installed PM-10 and PM-30 panels. Visonic is also introducing Tower Cam PG2, a wireless outdoor PIR that is a perfect solution for visual alarm verification and advanced warning.

Rounding out the intrusion portfolio is Bentel Security, with the latest 3.50 release of the ABSOLUTA intruder alarm control panel, offering full support via the ABS-IP LAN board for Sur-Gard receiver communications, BOSS programming software for customised email notifications, and ITV2 support for third party integration opportunities. The new ABSOLUTA M-TOUCH touchscreen keypad features a 7” full colour display, and the ABSOLUTA App enables remote control of ABSOLUTA control panels remotely a smartphone using IP or GPRS connection or SMS commands.

CEM Systems will display emerald(tm), the industry's most multifunctional intelligent touch screen terminal, in conjunction with the powerful AC2000 access control and integrated security management system. AC2000 offers customers a resilient security solution that has the flexibility to be customized and integrated to third party systems to suit project needs.

The iSTAR Ultra network door controller from Software House uniquely supports traditional hard-wired access control doors and wireless locksets all in the same controller, up to 32 readers. The newest version of the powerful C•CURE 9000 access control and security management software platform utilizes the victor Unified Client from American Dynamics, enabling users to easily view access control events, video, and intrusion alarms from one central user interface or remotely on the go using C▪CURE Go app.

Rounding out the access control offerings will be the new Kantech Intevo integrated security platform, designed to be up and running in minimal time. It includes a customized dashboard for easy system management and is preloaded with Kantech's EntraPass Corporate Edition security management software and exacqVision video management software.

LILIN VMS Navigator tied in with POS and RFID for baggage claim

LILIN VMS Navigator tied in with POS and RFID for baggage claim

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by LILIN | Updated: 9/22/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Navigator 1.0
LILIN VMS platform, Navigator 1.0, is easy to use video management software able to manage up to 108 cameras of H.264/MJPEG HD IP cameras or DVR/NVR's cameras. It can also support up to 108 channels of IP cameras on multiple monitors for TV Wall application. Radio-frequency identification (RFID), Electronic Point of Sale (ePOS), barcode scanner, access control, and Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) can be integrated with Navigator 1.0 for applications in airports to streamline baggage-claim process and in production lines to track and record in-process assembly information an item progresses along the line.

Barcode scanner and/or RDIF is tied in with Navigator to be used in airports for baggage claim management
Navigator 1.0 is the ideal choice of video solution because its open platform video management software allowed integration with the RFID system, it can connect to ONVIF-conformant IP cameras, and its interface is absolutely intuitive and easy-to-use. LILIN VMS solution, Navigator, integrated with barcode scanner / RFID tags automatically track baggage from the ticket counter to the aircraft while a wireless local area network (WLAN) transmits baggage information used to match each piece of luggage on the plane.

LILIN Navigator provides reliable information where a bag is located at all times, from check-in to loading. LILIN solutions can bring peace of mind to your passengers by enhancing security and ensuring that their bags will be waiting for them when their plane lands.

Manufacturing line
LILIN Navigator VMS software can integrate with RFID tag, and manufacturers can track and record in process assembly information into the RFID tag as an item progresses along the line. Assembly line personnel could use an RFID reader to verify which processes have been completed. Intelligent SmartEvent playback system in Navigator with multiple video analytic searches, and you can playback these events by searching a keyword. Maintains current item information on the tag - ideal for managing production of complex or customized products and assemblies, eliminates the need for separate paperwork on assembly status and content.

Key functionalities
* Navigator SmartEvent feature allows you review the video in full screen based on keyword search.
* Keyword search to retrieve video footage across all cameras.
* Replay video based on the keyword search.

 

Sponsored by: 
LILIN is a global IP video manufacturer with over 30 years of experience. Throughout the years, the company has maintained its dedication to Creativity, Progress, and Excellence providing expertise in digital video with a strong focus on innovation moving forward.

Multi-channel retailing drives multi-faced retail models

Multi-channel retailing drives multi-faced retail models

Editor / Provider: Steve Chin, a&s International | Updated: 9/15/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

More and more, retailers are looking into better and more efficient ways to reach out to their customers and enhance their shopping experience. Traditional shopping rules are being set aside for technological advancements and multi-channel retailing.

Hi, may I help you?” will probably be the first few words a customer hears when they enter a retail store. At first glance, one might think that the way people do their shopping, be it at a high-class luxury establishment or a simple grocery store, has really not changed all that much. In reality though, the retail industry is constantly looking for ways to evolve and improve both the customer's shopping experience and the security of their stores.

As Alex Johnson, Senior Director of Retail Technology at Verint Systems pointed out, “retailers now have an increased focus on improving the in-store customer shopping experience, whether it's through improved merchandising, better informed store associates, or decreased wait times and other initiatives.”

Another factor to take into account is the Internet. Nowadays, Internet access is so prevalent and so easily accessible that almost all traditional brick-and-mortar stores offer some form of online shopping. In fact, because it is so widespread and so available, it is incredibly easily to purchase anything from furniture to luxury goods to even groceries, all delivered right to your front door. The downside for retailers is that because their customers are now able to purchase products directly from their living rooms, it is becoming more difficult to have any physical interactions between them.

It goes without saying, the World Wide Web has become a significant part of our lives, with the ability to look up and execute just about anything that comes to mind. In this living, evolving world, tools like social media, online advertisements, and the ability to reach out to customers on a global scale represents a gigantic leap for retailers relative to a decade or two ago. Smartphones have emphasized this point even further. “Shoppers are more and more often using connected mobile devices during their shopping journeys, and both ‘showrooming' and ‘webrooming' are opportunities for retailers,” said George Shaw, Head of R&D at RetailNEXT. What this means in essence is that from a retailer's point of view, opt-in guest Wi-Fi and mobile device detection are rapidly growing areas of interest, and are some of the foundation blocks for personalization of the in-store shopping experience. All this can also link up to a concept called omni-channel retailing, which is one of the recurring trends being observed in the current retail industry. With the need to continually connect with their customers, retailers are constantly looking for faster and better ways to offer not just a better customer shopping experience, but more efficient support and cross-platform promoting.

Omni-Channel Retailing
A big thing to take note of is the concept of omni-channel retailing. This is basically a culmination of traditional brick-and-mortar stores combined with online support and shopping through apps on smartphones and tablets. This also expands even further into support across multiple cross-platforms. By utilizing omni-channels, retailers are able to compound on the ease of accessibility that customers gain by making everything from shopping, returning items, price matching, and customer support, all available from a customer's living room sofa. Customers can also see a much simpler and efficient system when they wish to return or exchange items, as purchases made through online methods can also be honored in-store.

Expanding on this idea even further, this is also a very easy way to obtain valuable information through data mining in order to better the retail customers' experiences. For example, by utilizing in-store Wi-Fi and mobile devices, retailers can determine what areas of the store are getting the most traffic and what places are lacking. The retailer can then respond by promoting the most popular products even further through cross platforms, be it on their online stores or through mobile devices, such as a special promotion for their store prior to logging onto in-store Wi-Fi. Data mining also helps retailers determine customer buying habits, and retailers can then respond by advertising store promotions that they currently have. By utilizing omni-channel retailing, retailers are able to cross-promote across all their available systems, not just simply putting up a window poster in their brick-andmortar stores. “The Internet is having a huge impact on how people shop. I see Internet purchases being much more common these days. Offers like Living Social helps drives sales further. Big box stores like Costco are also experiencing significant sales growth, and everywhere there is much more in-store comparisonshopping being done by smartphones,” John Sullivan, President of 360iQ explained.

Delving Further Into Analytics
In line with omni-channel retailing, traditional security analytics are also a factor. No longer just a security tool utilized to prevent crime, its uses are also becoming catered towards business intelligence and retail improvements. Johnson also explained that one of the most significant advancements made recently is leveraging video infrastructure to provide incremental business intelligence to assist retailers in operating their business.

Determents to retailers are things like long queues, ill-informed associates, and mismanaged marketing for products. Brian Lane, Director of Product at 3VR, especially pointed out the queue issue. “It can make for a miserable shopping experience. So much so, that they may shop somewhere else next time.” Some ways to combat this that solutions providers are quick to emphasize are analytics like queue management software that can count the number of customers entering stores and the number that are leaving. As Lane explained in greater detail, “Software like this determines the average shopping times of each individual customer, and can properly alert staff to add more associates to the points-of-sales (POS) systems in the store.” He also added, “the software can also use people counting, in conjuction with POS systems to determine the conversion rate of customers.” Sullivan also explained another method: “surveillance cameras are not only tracking the bad guys but also keeping an eye on the good guys in order to make their shopping experiences better than ever. Video analytics can create ‘heat maps' that show the so-called ‘Golden Path,' the most popular areas of the store — and how that might change during the day, week, or year.” This leads to better product and shopping knowledge, and retailers can adapt to the various scenarios.

Another example Sullivan pointed out is a demographic analytic, normally used for forensic research on recorded video. What this basically looks to do is to narrow down a search of a subject by their age and gender. Usually, this is utilized to identify possible subjects in crime. But on the business side, this same analytic can be used in the retail environment to help retailers understand the demographics of their customers. “For example, if a store were to run an ad for a sale in the newspaper one weekend, and on social media the next, the information returned would most likely result in a younger demographic the second weekend. This analytic can be used to test this hypothesis,” Lane explained. “If the store's merchandise is aimed at a younger audience, the effectiveness of advertising can be tested to target a specific demographic.”

High-End Luxury and Big-Box Franchise Retailing Develop with Personalized Approach
The differences are obvious when stepping into a Louis Vuitton store and when stepping into a Costco or when you walk into a Cartier store versus walking into the Wal-Mart electronics section. Right away, as soon as you enter high-end luxury retail stores, you notice a much more personal approach. Traditionally, “high-end retail has always been about differentiation, either with products, customer experiences, or both. Savvy retailers are now looking at technology to empower customizable, personalized shopping experiences, with the aim at creating a sustainable competitive advantage,” said Shaw. In short, there's always the VIP approach when it comes to high-end retail. The “everything is possible” motto comes to mind when referring to these luxury markets.

Things are a little bit different for big-box franchise retailing, as it is centered in such a competitive market. With so many different major brand names, again, one of the solutions for retailers is to make their retail stores really stand out. Provisions such as reward programs, discounts, and promotions offer customers reasons to continually shop at the same retailer. One solution being explored right now is data mining customer shopping histories and looking at the demographical differences: gender, age, and location. A way to execute this would be to have a loyalty or membership program whereas by customers signing up, they would be able to gain access to exclusive coupons or specials. In return, customers would give access to their shopping histories and shopping patterns and enable retailers a way to personalize their shopping promotions i.e. Customer A purchases bananas and apples this week and oranges and celery a week prior; there would be little point in sending promotions for t-shirts and DVDs). The whole goal is to make it a more personalized shopping experience by utilizing the customer's information from multiple channels.

Again, the idea of omni-channel retailing is applied to both high-end luxury market segments as well as the big-box retailing industry. While the target audience might be different, the end goals still remain the same: reaching out to customers and bettering the shopping experience in order to achieve better margin gains.

Roadmap to Better Retailing
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to retailing is continual technological advancements. Some key features to look out for include things like RFID technology becoming more widespread, with its use in real-time inventory management becoming one of the future key features. It will also soon be a huge data source for retailers as they control inventories and better manage its effect on cash flows and working capitals, as Shaw explained. Another important factor is mobile and even wearable tech (including products like: Google Glass, Apple's iWatch, and Samsung's Galaxy Gear), and how to take advantage of it. One achieveable method seems to be the idea of utilizing the NFC and Bluetooth features and directly “beaming” it to customers as they enter the store. It becomes important as time goes on for better and closer customer interactions and feedback, as well as the ability to properly market and promote products to the right demographics. Keep an eye out for such things like Bluetooth connectivity to in-store promotional specials, and better, even faster, and more efficient cross multi-channel retailing. This also ties into the omni-channel retailing factor, as technological advancements will only make cross-channel retailing more and more efficient.

The last thing to point out is that the human factor in shopping will never really go away. That's another reason why not everything is online, said Shaw. People still enjoy social interactions when shopping, and conversing with in-store associates and being attended to is still a big driver. In fact, when it comes to specialty products, retail sales associates are the biggest drivers of shopper loyalty and retention.

Top Retailing Conundrums Facing US Retailers
A quick glance on the Internet still reveals a few worries that retailers have to face. According to publication by Market Watch, the following are the top 10 risk factors, based on the opinions of the 100 largest US retailers.

1. General economic conditions ― This is far and away the number one reason, and quite understandable;
2. Federal, state, and local regulations;
3. Competition and consolidation;
4. Vendor concerns ― recession has hit the manufacturers just as hard;
5. Labor costs ― Rising medical costs, staffing costs, minimum wage raises;
6. Consumer trends;
7. Maintenance of IT systems ― Things like security systems, POS systems,and registers, are all expensive;
8. Privacy concerns related to security breach ― This is another big one that has made news headlines recently. Hackers breaking into online databases to steal people’s information and blackmailing them for payment.
8a. Consumer confidence and spending;
8b. Legal proceedings

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