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3 ways to protect business assets while on vacation

3 ways to protect business assets while on vacation

Editor / Provider: Avigilon | Updated: 7/10/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

Whether it's the week-long escape to the lake house, the family trip to Disney World or the couple's retreat to Europe – the summer time is when most people go into vacation mode. And while security officials and business owners are included in this category, it does present a challenge on how to safeguard their assets while they're away.

A lot of small businesses do not have an around-the-clock security team that can fill in for each other, when somebody is out of town. Many times, the business owner is the sole person operating the security and surveillance of the store or warehouse or institution. Leave your business unprotected and you are putting your assets at risk and making your company vulnerable to external and internal theft. According to studies conducted by the FBI, crime rates go up between 6-16 percent from June to August.

There are several security measures a business can take to protect its assets in the event of a long absence like a summer vacation. We came up with three mandatory electronic precautions you should have in place before you take off on your trip.

Mobile access
It is not only a good idea to have a HD CCTV system that can clearly monitor the most pivotal areas at your business (like inventory and the POS), but you should also have access to live and recorded footage remotely. It is a way to also oversee the activity of employees and customers. Nobody wants to deal with work situations while on vacation. But it will give you piece of mind knowing that you can monitor any incident that may occur as well as check in from time to time - no matter where in the world you are. Nowadays, there are mobile apps designed to integrate with your security system that gives you the capabilities to not only pull up live or recorded footage, but also lock doors, control your lighting and alarm system.

Set up alerts
On top of having mobile access, you should also set up electronic triggers that alert you when certain situations occur. A lot of surveillance camera software have motion-detection features. Other general security platforms can email or text you whenever a private room is accessed or whenever doors are unlocked or when the alarm is disabled.

Account for all assets
Whether you leave your business to go travel for three weeks or not, you should always have access to your sales and inventory. If you own a retail store, all POS transactions should be conducted through an electronic cash register. You should also have electronic tracking for all of your inventory and be able to view that remotely as well. Make sure your system is always secure, that you have installed a strong firewall and know and trust all of the people who have access to both your financial records and your security system. Also, change your passwords monthly.

When it comes down to it, technology is your most reliable tool to protect your business assets while you are on vacation. Of course, assigning ownership to a trusted employee helps, but as a business owner or manager of security, it is a tremendous benefit to still have control of your entire operation from your smartphone. It's that extra piece of mind that helps you do what you went on vacation for in the first place. To relax.

Spanish petrol company curbs drive-offs with high-tech surveillance

Spanish petrol company curbs drive-offs with high-tech surveillance

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 6/27/2013 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Spanish petroleum company Olea recently deployed a vehicle management system based on ALPR, consisting of 12 Axis Communications cameras and Netcamera management software, to prevent “drive-off” fuel theft at gasoline service stations. The system was proposed by Netcamera, Axis' local partner.

Olea is a company that has been in the service station market since the 1980s. Because it was experiencing robberies, the company decided to install an analog video surveillance system in order to have some control over what was happening at the service station at night. However, this system never offered the level of image quality expected and they decided not to use it. During the computerization stage, they began looking for solutions to manage the service station's back office, and contacted Avalon Informatica. This company installed the service station's first solution in the late 1990s.

Two years ago they began to notice an increasing number of “drive-offs”—that is, people who fill their tank and leave without paying. In order to provide a definitive solution to these security needs that would also allow them to establish a pre- and post-sale payment system, as well as to integrate this platform with the Avalon software, Olea management contacted Netcamara, which proposed a vehicle management system based on license plate recognition.

The system installed consists of seven D/N network cameras and outdoor compact cameras. These cameras cover the exterior areas of the service station. They also have two ultra-compact network cameras in the office, and three varifocal network cameras for inside the store. All the cameras are managed using Netcamara software.

Operating the system is simple: when a vehicle arrives at the service station, the cameras recognize the license plate and cross-check it against the database that the system automatically creates. In the case where the requirements set by management are met (which, in this case, is that they have previously filled-up X number of times, where X is a user-configurable parameter) on the screens of the exterior area of the service station, the captured license plate image is shown, and, with it, a picture of a traffic light—in this case, a green light. This means that the customer is a “regular” and the pump unlocks to allow the vehicle to refuel without prepayment. If this requirement is not met, the light shown is red. This means the customer must come to the office to pay before refueling.

“One of the aspects that really convinced us was that the system allows us to apply any loyalty program without printing any type of card, because it automatically applies the discounts simply by recognizing the vehicle license plate,” said Alberto Contreras, Manager, Olea. “The versatility of IP video has allowed us to satisfy more of our needs with a single system.”

The system also allows license plates to be entered by hand on either of the two lists. The system has been up and running since November 2012, and today the database contains over 11,000 license plate records. It has managed to reduce the number of “drive-offs” to zero in recent months. The owner is very satisfied because it has also allowed the service station to establish this system for identifying regular customers, which successfully reduces the 15 percent per-customer loss associated with implementing prepaid systems.

Avigilon's Redcloud talks about the acquisition

Avigilon's Redcloud talks about the acquisition

Editor / Provider: Avigilon | Updated: 6/27/2013 | Article type: Security 50

In late May, Avigilon announced the company had officially acquired RedCloud Security, a Virginia-based innovative provider of access control systems. Through the acquisition, Avigilon adds a complementary product line to its end-to-end HD surveillance solution and provides the company with access to a growing segment of the global security market. Analysts estimate the global market for electronic access control will reach US$6 billion by 2015.
RedCloud was founded by Terry Neely, former VP of engineering at Honeywell Access Systems, who brings 25 years of experience in databases, networking and physical access control. Neely and his team created RedCloud's access control so organizations can easily combine physical security and identity management.
Similar to Avigilon's HD surveillance solutions, RedCloud's products were engineered from the ground up. As a result, the company has experienced recent growth from selling their technology to large corporate and educational clients.
 “This acquisition brings new and exciting opportunities for Avigilon to participate in a larger share of the total security market,” said Alexander Fernandes, President and CEO of Avigilon.
A few days after the dust settled, we sat down with Neely to talk about the acquisition and the history of his company.
Congratulations on RedCloud joining the Avigilon team! How have the last few days been?

Neely: It's been good! There's a lot of stuff going on. The next three to six months, we're tying everything together. It's going to be a lot of work, but long term, I think it's going to be great.
How did the concept for RedCloud come about?
Neely: Being in the industry, you could see a trend to integrate more closely with IT security including identity management and physical access control. It was natural because it follows the same type of principles identify management does. So the idea was to build an access control system that took a lot of the same ideas from IT security and applied them to the physical space – which hadn't been done before. For example, we have tools built into the product that let us work out of the box with active directory, IT logging systems and with the database systems. The standard answer is from the physical side, you get a software development kit and you have to write a bunch of software. Our approach has been we give you the tools to make it all work. You don't have to write software to make it work, it's just a question of configuring it and plug-and-play, which is really how all the IT security products work. That was the concept, just trying to make that bridge as seamless and effortless as possible.               
How is your product different from what's already in the market?
Neely: Well there are three things that we do differently. The first thing is we don't make our own hardware, which kind of narrows out a big bunch of people in this space. We use off-the-shelf open hardware from Mercury or HID. Secondly, we are 100 percent browser based, so there's no thick client software. And the third thing the integration with IT that's plug-and-play right out of the box. Those three things combined make us unique.
Now that the acquisition is announced, how does it feel?

Neely: Very excited! In fact, one of the big things is being able to tie the video product and the access product together and come up with a common desktop workspace where people can move cameras and doors between both systems. To me, being able to do that plus the resources behind Avigilon and the sales team and the support, I think will just accelerate the growth that we've already been experiencing even faster.     
How did the relations with Avigilon start?
Neely: We have a joint customer in the Midwest. We worked with an Avigilon integrator and he told us that we should look into working with Avigilon because their system was high performing and produced excellent image quality. So we did an integration together and that's how the whole relationship got started.
What's in the future for RedCloud?
Neely: I see it as a great opportunity to grow the business. Being able to have a large company behind us, it takes away some of the nervousness that maybe some of the larger customers might have working with small companies. That now is off the table, so it really is a product and technology play which I think is really going to make a big difference for us going forward.

French shopping mall unifies security management

French shopping mall unifies security management

Editor / Provider: Bosch Security Systems | Updated: 6/20/2013 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The largest shopping mall in Northwestern France, the Atlantis shopping mall in Saint-Herblain near Nantes, upgraded its stand-alone security systems for video surveillance, access control and intrusion detection to a centrally managed integrated IP-based security system during a major reconstruction between 2010 and 2012. To ensure smooth integration and reliable interoperability, the entire technology should come from a single vendor and be installed by experienced local partners with extensive knowledge of the chosen products. Bosch Security Systems teamed up with system integrator ISO Security and AMR Services to design a customized integrated security solution that comprises of 125 new HD cameras, Bosch VMS, 80 access control readers and intrusion alarm system with about 1,300 detection points that are integrated into Bosch's building integration system for the 10.62-acre (43,000 square meters) shopping mall.

Originally built in late 1980s, the mall has undergone a major reconstruction and enlargement between 2010 and 2012. The mall management decided to take this opportunity to also upgrade their security systems. Rather than the existing stand-alone systems for video surveillance, access control and intrusion detection they wanted to install an integrated security solution based on the IP protocol and centrally managed via a single console and user interface.

ISO and AMR have been long-time partners of Bosch, thus guaranteeing the required expertise. Also, ISO Security had already been supplying video solutions to the Atlantis mall since 2008, including PTZ dome and fixed domes, managed by the VMS. The scope of the new project was to replace existing intrusion detection and access control solutions with IP-based technology, extend video surveillance through installation of 125 new HD cameras and at the same time integrate all technologies into one consistent security solution. It should also lay the foundation for an integrated building management system, comprising security systems as well as public address, heating and air conditioning and control of electricity and water.

During the bidding process, an integrated team of all three companies designed an integrated security system that finally convinced the mall management. But the decision was not only based on the design and the capabilities of the solution itself. It was also heavily influenced by the fact that, with AMR and ISO, the Atlantis mall could rely on very comprehensive expertise on the installer level. The solution was first presented in November 2011, followed by a working demo in February 2012. The installation was then completed by the end of that year.

The intrusion alarm system is a scalable solution for medium-to-large applications. It can connect up to eight sLSN modules with up to 127 sensors or inputs/outputs each for maximum security and flexibility. All programming of the sensors and modules connected to the LSN loop is stored in the panel, avoiding the need to reprogram in case a sensor or module needs to be replaced. The data bus can also be used to connect up to 32 keypads with a maximum of 1,000 users.

In the Atlantis mall, VMS manages cameras throughout the entire mall including public areas as well as individual stores and parking areas. Access control is implemented by means of AMC2 modular controllers and AMC readers. Each controller can control a group of one to eight access points. At Atlantis, AMC controllers and readers protect all restricted areas of the mall from unauthorized access. All the individual solutions support communications via the IP protocol, making it easy to integrate them using the BIS. BIS allows one single operator to manage and configure all the different security systems of the Atlantis mall from one central console with a unified and intuitive user interface.

All security components are integrated and centrally managed via Bosch's building integration system. This is a modular security and safety management system which can be customized to suit users specific needs. Individual modules integrate subsystems such as video surveillance, intrusion alarm, access control, and fire alarm, allowing customers to reduce costs by licensing only what they really need while offering an easy upgrade path, should requirements change in the future. So while the BIS at Atlantis mall is configured to integrate and manage access control, intrusion detection and video surveillance today, it will also allow to integrate other building technologies in the future.

German facility manager turns to interoperable access control

German facility manager turns to interoperable access control

Editor / Provider: HID Global | Updated: 6/19/2013 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Munich-based Design Offices, a provider of temporary office space rents in Germany has recently deployed an interoperable and scalable access control system consisting of HID Global IP-based card reader and multi-layered security readers. For the project, Design Office partnered with Swiss system integrator, Performance Buildings. Performance Buildings currently operates in Switzerland, Germany and in the USA.

As part of their technology offering for tenants, Performance Buildings and Design Offices were looking for a technology solution provider that met their standards for a secure office access system that was interoperable, convenient, customizable, future-proofed, and at the same time easy to use and delivered cost benefits.

“We're not just offering rooms, we're offering end-users of the office space– tenants or temporary ‘on-demand' end-users of the office space, a secure environment where they can work, meet, hold conferences and provide training sessions in a location where they feel comfortable, and for us, which includes offering all the technological solutions they need in today's modern world,” said Phill Handy, Managing Director from Design Offices.

“So, for example, we wanted to be able to offer 24-hour access to rooms, automated check-in and check-out services but without having to provide staff or all the paper-based procedures,” Handy explained.“We also wanted people to be able to book rooms on the move, so it was critical that easy-to-use online options were available.”

Performance Buildings in Germany selected HID Global products because it was the only company with the ability to support their cutting-edge IT architecture and provide the flexibility that they required. The core solution implemented was an IP-based card reader that meets the demands of open architecture, IP-centric environments and provides fully distributed intelligence and decision making right to the door, leveraging the IT infrastructure to the maximum extent possible.

“The addition of the IP-based card reader provides the access intelligence to do much more than open doors with cards,” said Vishal Mallick, CEO, Performance Buildings. “The fact that it is open and IP-based allows us to integrate the card reader device into our IT-centric architecture and use authenticated credentials to drive lighting, climate and audio visual systems today, as well as room bookings and facility management task allocation in the future.”

In addition, the access control system provided tenants flexibility in using a range of new and existing access card technologies, such as contactless proximity cards and smart cards, or more advanced technology such as NFC smartphones to access the office building and rooms. Office visitors could also be provided access to office workspaces via Performance Buildings touch screen that was enabled by HID Global's IP-card readers to open doors. Furthermore, the IP-based card readers also allowed for cost efficiencies, as the initial investment outlay was reduced through the reader's use of PoE. Finally, HID Global's open architecture based OPIN application program interface (API) was highly cost-effective and required relatively little effort to create a robust integrated solution with the IP-based readers or controllers.

“With its (IP-based card reader) API, it could be easily integrated into our software and installed,” explained Mallick. “Also, HID Global's multi-layer security readers allow us to have one standardized product for the vast majority of buildings due to its interoperability with a range of legacy and existing smart cards in our facility.”

With a robust system that powered Design Offices' shared workspaces, Performance Buildings reported that it had seen a ROI within six-months of their deployment in Munich and improved efficiencies by reducing paperwork thereafter. As the company continues to expand, the use of HID Global solutions will continue to broaden. “We're going to take their combined solutions with us when we move to Dusseldorf, Berlin and Hamburg and we're doing this because it allows us to be more efficient while providing our clients – existing tenants or temporary clients ‘on-demand' with the security, privacy and ease of use that they've been looking for,” said Handy.

US water facility turns to IP-based video surveillance

US water facility turns to IP-based video surveillance

Editor / Provider: Indigovision | Updated: 6/13/2013 | Article type: Infrastructure

Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) in New Mexico, U.S. has deployed an IP-based video surveillance system consisting of Indigovision's network cameras, encoders, and VMS to secure its 300-acre wastewater facility. The system was installed by Indigovision's local partner, Security USA.

Two of the biggest security challenges faced by the Water Authority included perimeter monitoring of a wide geographical area and protection of multiple remote buildings with limited connectivity. Because of the sheer size of the facility, shrinkage had also become an issue with thieves cutting through the perimeter fence with no prevention due to limited security camera coverage. Funding for the project was made available to the Water Authority via a grant given by the Department of Homeland Security due to the high risk, residential location of the facility.
The Water Authority did have a small number of existing analog cameras in place. However, the recording quality given by the existing DVR was poor and difficult to expand. In order to have a security system that would last at least 10 years, and would work on an existing network infrastructure, it was decided the new system had to be IP based.

The challenge was finding an IP security solution that could easily be deployed on an existing network over a wide geographical area, with no network bottlenecks. The solution also had to give smooth PTZ control, with high quality live and recorded video, from multiple viewing stations anywhere in the site. Finally the solution had to integrate with the existing analog cameras.
Indigovision's IP video security solution was chosen by the Water Authority due to meeting the stringent requirements, and the lower total cost of ownership. In addition to IP encoders being used network cameras were also deployed to monitor new areas within the site. NVRs were used to record video from both the network cameras and encoders with Indigovision's VMS being used to view, control and playback video evidence.
"Not only can we now view the video in our main security control room, several additional members of the team can now access video, from anywhere in the site, on their laptops,” said David Montgomery, SCADA Manager for the Water Authority. “With our previous system, this wasn't possible."
"Being able to deploy cameras easily in remote locations has given us better perimeter monitoring." Montgomery continued, "As a result, not only do we have a more secure site, we've reduced theft."

Moroccan bank rolls out IP-based video surveillance across 250 branches

Moroccan bank rolls out IP-based video surveillance across 250 branches

Editor / Provider: Dahua Technology | Updated: 6/12/2013 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Established in 1964, Banque Marocaine du Commerce et de l'Industrie (BMCI) is a bank based in Morocco with more than 500,000 customers, recently upgraded the surveillance system at its 250 branches to an IP-based video surveillance system consisting of more than 1,000 units of Dahua Technology HD cameras, 250 hybrid DVRs and VMS. Dahua's local distributor Country Technologie supplied the surveillance equipment for this project.

BMCI is a subsidiary of the French financial group BNP Paribas. With expending business and the increased security demands, the bank decided to level up its security system. The bank required the system to be stable, smooth and reliable to safeguard the station 24/7, both indoors and outdoors to offset the hazardous attempts and make speedy effective responses. The bank already had an analog surveillance system in place, but required a new system that offered higher image quality with easier management.

Three to four Dahua 3-megapixel and 2-megapixel HD network cameras, with a hybrid DVR were installed in each branch. The cameras were installed in the lobby and self-service sector, covering the entrance, counter and the ATM kiosk, capturing and rendering crisp and clear image quality with true color reproduction. Dahua hybrid video recorders integrate both analog and network cameras on the back-end, with up to 32TB footage storage. With Dahua VMS running, the whole surveillance region is under good watch.

Why Avigilon expands into access control

Why Avigilon expands into access control

Editor / Provider: a&s Editorial Team | Updated: 6/11/2013 | Article type: Hot Topics

Avigilon was able to experience 67-percent growth in 2012, as the company offers an open, end-to-end, scalable system that can be customized to projects of all sizes across a wide range of verticals, from mom-and-pop shops to large projects like the King Abdulaziz International Airport, and everything in between. With the extra cash in hand, the company recently acquired access control company Redcloud, and company CEO and President Alexander Fernandes talks to a&s about the decision.

Access control and video surveillance often go hand in hand; in fact Avigilon's customer base is “largely synonymous to Redcloud's, making our entry into access control natural,” Fernandes shared. “The acquisition was a great opportunity for us to add a complementary product line to our existing end-to-end system. By integrating Redcloud with Avigilon, we are able to offer our customers added security benefits.” Over the next six to eight months, Avigilon will work to fully integrate both companies' systems, to create a complete end-to-end system of video surveillance and access control.

Redcloud is an ideal match for Avigilon, as both utilize open-platform technology, making the integration between products simple and the ability to market a synergistic product quickly. Redcloud offers an electronic access control system that was built from the ground up, to ensure that physical security and IT security could converge. “We are at the forefront of the evolution from analog to HD; innovation will continue to play a major factor in our success in the marketplace,” Fernandes said. “Our HD surveillance system provides a cost-effective solution that requires fewer cameras to cover a wider area, and our end users would benefit directly from hardware cost savings, as well as time and cost savings of training and installation.”

Assa Abloy, Nedap and others launch offline access standard

Assa Abloy, Nedap and others launch offline access standard

Editor / Provider: Nedap | Updated: 6/7/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Until recently it was hardly possible to combine several brands of electronic offline locks of different kinds of suppliers into one access control system. However, integration is a demand of many large European companies, who have announced without standardization they would not invest in electronic offline locks anymore. To meet this demand, Assa Abloy, Dorma, Nedap and Zugang have developed a new standard, the Standard Offline Access Application (SOAA).

By implementing this standard it will be easy for companies to integrate multiple electronic offline locks from multiple suppliers. Each company is therefore free to choose the product which fits best. This freedom of choice will result in reduced prices, as they are not depending on one supplier anymore. Besides that, standardization also increases the security level. Standards are open and therefore tested and investigated by everyone. This is the most secure way.

Companies that want to profit of these advantages can specify the SOAA standard in their tender. They can request information about SOAA without obligations at the SOAA secretary:


Frederik Hamburg
In der Aue 41
14480 Potsdam
Phone: +49 (0)331 5056 89 57
Fax: +49 (0) 331 5056 89 58

Geutebruck management software now compatible on CNL Software platform

Geutebruck management software now compatible on CNL Software platform

Editor / Provider: CNL Software | Updated: 6/6/2013 | Article type: Security 50

CNL Software, a PSIM software supplier, partners with Geutebruck, a video systems developer, renowned for producing complete, high-performance video security systems which are open for the future, flexible and cost-effective.

Geutebruck develops and produces intelligent video security solutions, which deliver the right information to the right place at the right time. The technology partnership under the CNL Software Technology Alliance Program has seen their scalable and flexible products integrated into the PSIM platform. Initially the integration has been around the GeViScope enterprise surveillance system.

The GeViScope range delivers a number of enterprise features, which fit well with IPSecurityCenter's enterprise focus. Features such as high availability, DSP technology, hybrid capabilities, intelligent transcoding and compatibility with common compression formats and the Onvif standard all ensure they are well suited for wide scale deployments, such as critical infrastructure protection and corporate security.

“Geutebruck have a long standing reputation as being a tried and trusted video solution, so we are really pleased to be working with them on some very prestigious projects,” commented Adlan Hussain, Global Head of Marketing “we are keen to integrate with other product lines as projects require.”

“We are excited about the new possibilities PSIM technology is bringing to the industry, and are working with industry leaders like CNL Software to provide these benefits to end users” added Bob Rodgers, Director at Geutebruck UK. “Our open platform approach allows us to work with the technologies our customers are specifying today and will specify in the future.”

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