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The Future of Biometrics

The Future of Biometrics

Editor / Provider: Donna Chan | Updated: 5/20/2012 | Article type: China Corner

The increasing popularity and application of biometric identification is becoming common practice. According to research reports, the biometrics market is expected to increase from US$4,217.2 million in 2010 to an estimated $11,229.3 million in 2015. The growing concerns of terrorism and safety have led to the strengthening of national security becoming a top priority, which has ultimately led to the growth of the biometrics market. a&s International China Best Buys interviewed several suppliers to give some standpoints from Chinese suppliers.

Fingerprint Continues to Dominate the Market
Despite being the most mature form of biometrics, fingerprint remains the most popular. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is an estimated 19% since 2010 to 2015. The application of automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) in national ID's and civil identification is the main reason for the growth of the market. The AFIS market continues to generate the highest revenue of $1,372.4 million from 2010 and is expected to reach $3,283.7 million by 2015.

In the past conventional security systems where knowledge-based methods or token-based methods were deployed often proved to be problematic, forgetting a password or the loss of a card can lead to hacking, fraud and duplication of information. This is where biometric advantages lay, due to the uniqueness of physical characteristics such as the fingerprint where no two fingerprints are known to be identical and there is no need for cards or passwords. AFIS can often be seen in access control and for monitoring attendance due to its simplicity and effectiveness.

The increasing use and maturity of fingerprint identification have left end-users questioning what breakthrough technology or products can be expected for this coming year. “In 2012, there will be more breakthroughs in fingerprint identification technology, such as in-depth integration with other technology,” said Telan Lee, General Manager at Feptel. “Now that we have realized optical-digitalization technology in our products, we will continue to develop this and integrate with MiFare.”

As mentioned above, the fingerprint identification technology is already mature and the trend amongst manufacturers seems to be heading towards integration of technology. “We are already in the process of conducting a research and development project which will incorporate the different forms of biometric technology integration,” stated Rufus Wang, CEO of Shenzhen Probuck Technologies. Other manufacturers are more focused on the integration of biometrics with one form of technology. “Presently, our fingerprint identification products are integrated with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and this is currently our primary focus,” said Michael Liu, Manager of Foreign Trade at Sebury Technology.

Is Facial Recognition the Upcoming Trend?
The gradual maturity of AFIS has led the way for the new upcoming facial recognition trend, the facial recognition market has an estimated CAGR of 24.2% from 2010 to 2015. Facial recognition technology has developed steadily over the past few years, with the emergence of new technology and products which has made this more appealing for the market. “The use of facial recognition will become more widespread and the number of companies involved in the facial recognition industry will be on the rise,” said Eric Lee, Director of Marketing and Sales at Hanvon Technology.

“What makes facial recognition attractive to users is that its non-contact, safe and hygienic in comparison to fingerprints it is a less passive method, therefore the popularity of facial recognition can be seen in the increased usage in the recording of attendance,” said Wang. However, Wang points out that facial recognition, although, can be considered a new form of identification and without a doubt its technology is becoming more advanced, further observations are still required in the market.

Invasion of privacy remains a concern with face recognition, but China's manufacturers do not agree with this. “Strictly speaking, facial recognition is similar to that of AFIS,” said Wang. “Both require the extraction of characteristics which are transformed into encryption for processing and identification. Therefore, duplication and inappropriate use should not be a concern.”

Eric Lee further develops this point stating that facial recognition should be ubiquitous, the problems surrounding safety in society is a major consideration, society should be more aware of safety, further information and guidance is required for the market.

Despite being hailed as the new technology of biometric recognition, the development of facial recognition is not as quick compared to AFIS, it will remain in the high-level market, according to Telan Lee. Liu claims its development is due to the advancement of the economy, but it will not become the main trend or replace other technology such as RFID. “Another point to consider is each product and its technology have its distinguished features and application limitations,” said Wang.

Iris Recognition for the High-End Market
The iris recognition market is predicted to increase with a CAGR of 27.5% from 2010 to 2015. In biometrics, iris recognition is perhaps considered the most accurate as the use of mathematical pattern recognition techniques are used to identify an individual. According to Eric Lee, as a non-contact form of biometric recognition the future development of iris recognition is bright, particularly once imaging technology advances.

The key advantage with this technology is its extreme resistance to false matches due to the uniqueness of the iris, individuals who are genetically identical retain independent iris textures. The iris is also a well protected organ, unlike fingerprints which become difficult to identify with time due to daily wear and tear.

A major consideration with iris recognition is costs, the cost of an iris scanner is much higher in comparison with other forms of biometrics recognition and token based or knowledge based methods. “Iris recognition will continue to appeal to high-end markets or specific projects and in the short-term this is not going to change,” said Wang. Therefore, this would suggest this technology is not particularly suited for mass application and does not have cost advantages for the mass market. “On the contrary, once technology develops and becomes more advanced costs will decrease,” said Liu.

Looking into the Future
The growth of the biometrics market has created fierce competition between manufacturers which is unavoidable. The appearance of pricing wars and “me-too” products are becoming an issue within the industry as competitors compete for their share of the market. “Competition is unavoidable each player must face the reality, this will consequently lead to the minimization of profits but this can also improve the standards for some players in the industry” stated Wang.

Maintaining competitive advantage in the market is crucial for survival and development Chinese manufacturers each have their own tactics and strategy when approaching such a competitive market. “Keeping one step ahead of the game, we will continue to incorporate new ideas to our products without compromising quality” stated Telan Lee. According to Eric Lee, apart from the improvement of products and technology expanding the application of the products is part of their competitive strategy.

The overall outlook for the 2012 biometrics market is unanimous between China's manufacturers, the market will continue to expand at a steady rate, with the release of new products and technology. “What to look out for in the future is that biometrics will not only be used by companies to monitor attendance and access control, we will see the growing use of biometrics in domestic, government, education sector and hospitals,” said Wang. Telan Lee points out that another particular market is the logistics networks where biometrics will be integrated into the system.

Further investments in marketing, development of new technology and ensuring product quality continues to be a top priority for China's biometrics manufacturers. To uphold their share of the market, the continuous release of new products integrated with the latest functions and technology is what can be anticipated for the biometric market in the future.

Displaying Integration Advantage to ProvideQuality Services

Displaying Integration Advantage to ProvideQuality Services

Editor / Provider: EvangElinE XiE | Updated: 5/15/2012 | Article type: China Corner

ZTE NetView (ZNV) keeps receiving high regard from its customers around the world and has made a difference in various projects. Recently it won the bid of “Intelligent City” in Marseille, France, which is a strong proof that ZNV takes the lead to be an industrial surveillance solution provider. Through several year's growth, ZNV has realized a leap in R&D upgrade and market expansion. a&s talks to Lei Jun, Vice President of ZTE NetView to unveil its achievements .

Keep Strengthening
By firstly proposing “unified surveillance” solutions and sustained investment in R&D, ZTE NetView owns most of the core terminal monitoring products at present and can provide full series of sensors, cameras, DVR, DVS and data collection modules to collect and control remote data, alarm, video and audio via wire line or wireless network even in complicated surveillance environment; The company offers different surveillance system software and solutions for different industries and professional surveillance services for customer.

As ZNV is always stressing in-house R&D and manufacturing capabilities, the percentage accounts for more than fifty percent in optimizing the software platform. The intelligent analysis technology can integrate the statistics and surveillance resources, which creates the opportunity for ZNV to engage widely in various projects such as vehicle monitoring system, petroleum applications, intelligent traffic solutions and etc.

With a background in telecommunication, ZNV has a normative operation and standard practice not only for the design of the service system but also for maintaining it. “The end-users are what we value the most, for the benefit is obtained from the after-sales service,” said Lei.

Based on a steady platform, ZNV put much emphasis on the professional application, “We hope to form a close connection with the subsystem of our clients,” said Lei. As one part of its business, video surveillance can relate to the work flow and emergency dispatch, which is demanded by many important industries such as public security and resource transportation.

Additionally, ZNV applies sorts of innovative technology in product design, revitalizing the long-term development of security market, as a forerunner in various applications. ZNV was the first one that put up with the concept of “unified surveillance”, leading the domestic video surveillance platform into the integration.

Professional Tailor
Based on the broad market reach of ZTE, there is a wide range of projects in foreign market for its option, which requires various supports including the cost and execution. “Due to the high credibility and good corporate image plus the sound technology, by cooperating with the local integrators, we can deploy the integration project with controllable cost,” added Lei.

Recently, the company has become the only provider of the HD surveillance equipment for “Intelligent City” project in Marseille, France. As the second largest city and harbor, city administration is undoubtedly a priority. “Until 2003, it is necessary to install 1,600 camera to protect the citizens, “said the mayor of Marseille. To reach this goal, ZNV has supplied a total solution including the platform, switch, storage facility and the monitoring terminal, which is helping to realize the all-fiber access with storage center of large capacity, generating the powerful security for the city.

Certainly, ZNV is keen to make the surveillance system more intelligent. “With powerful software platform, it can make accessible network technology possible, which is the basic element for building a wisdom city,” said Lei. Similar to the Internet of Things, the linkage between the statistics and video becomes critical since a successful surveillance system should be in charge of analyzing the statistics.

Specific Product Line
Compared with some manufactures with the complete product line, ZNV has not given much consideration to the medium and low-end market; a wide cooperation for this part could see possibilities in future development.

“We prefer to refine the existing product line rather than blindly follow to supply the latest but immature products, which are not yet widely applied,” mentioned Lei. It can be deduced that ZNV will insist on providing the most cost-effective products in order to tap the vast market home and abroad.

With regards to the current product line, ZNV's distribution covers the end-to-end devices and central platform, which can meet the diversified demand of end-users. The video cameras incorporate analogue, network, HD and intelligent series, the highest definition range from CIF to D1; the networks storage products provide as many option as 4-channel, 8-channel, 16-channel, 64-channel to 256-channel. All the series above support the customized solution and can render the timely service by specified R&D with property intellectual right.

Aiming High-End Market
With the growth of the company as well as market, ZNV has made a collection of channel partners sharing the same value and purpose. “We still identify ZNV as the device providers, as long as the products can meet the demand, we hold a open attitude to expanding our markets no matter being OEM partner or brand booster,” said Lei.

Unlike some other players who have quite detailed product line from front to back end, ZNV still focus on the high-end market, its current application is concentrated upon the public security, army, railway traffic, energy and etc. Multiple surveillance integration solutions have been provided such as power monitoring system solution, environmental supervision and management system.

Integration Drives Stadium Security

Integration Drives Stadium Security

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 5/14/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

- Integration helps to minimize security loopholes.
- Mobile security, connected security and expanded security networks are key features of upcoming security technologies.
- Stadium security is extending beyond the gates of the stadium and into the surrounding city.

The coming few years promise to be filled with exciting sports competitions. The technologies that are protecting stadiums are rising to the security challenge. Current trends are pushing security technologies to be better integrated, expand their area of protection and have better mobility.

Recent advances in stadium and sports event security technologies are seeing greater integration, expanded protection areas and increased mobility. The first trend is linking of security efforts. Integration helps to minimize security loopholes. Putting in automatic processes or procedures uses security technologies in a more efficient manner.

The second trend is the expansion of security efforts outside of the event venues and into the cities. More coordinated and comprehensive security strategies are possible now with innovations in networking, integration and communication.

The third trend is mobile security technology that can move and adapt to changing security needs. These three trends will emerge again as different sports event security technology is discussed.

Integrated Approach
The arrival of PSIM technology allows connectivity between disparate security systems. “The PSIM software system enables city agencies to connect and leverage any number and variety of disparate physical security and information systems available across multiple agencies and private organizations into one common operating picture, including legacy security systems, without having to purchase new or additional hardware or implement custom coding,” said James Chong, founder and CTO, of VidSys.

This connectivity stretches security networks beyond traditional stadiums. “In the past, security was only configured within the stadium,” Chong said. “With PSIM, security now extends beyond the stadium to areas within the vicinity that are impacted by the event. Any physical security device — video cameras, sensors and so on — in the immediate areas can be integrated with the system, extending the security zone to increase situational awareness and management capabilities.”

Outside the arena, PSIM can manage traffic flow in cities by integrating with advanced traffic management systems. Organizers can see where congestion is, look at other security and event factors and react accordingly.

PSIM also demonstrates great security mobility. Since PSIM is software-based, it can be used to establish mobile command centers. Traditionally, only the fixed command center would receive all security feeds, but now mobile command centers can act as backup command centers to provide redundant coverage and additional eyes on the event as needed, Chong said.

Mobile security, connected security and expanded security networks are key features of upcoming security technologies. Finding ways to further push security technologies in these directions may help to further strengthen security efforts at stadiums

Network Backbone
Wireless networks are easily deployed without major infrastructural changes, as opposed to wired networks. In the past few years, advances in wireless technology allow networks to be more stable with greater capacity. Often, these wireless networks are designed with video surveillance in mind, and can easily extend surveillance networks. For large-scale events, as there are usually several layers of security before reaching actual event venues, wireless networks can extend security into the city.

“The fact is that wireless is becoming more widely adopted and more recognized globally as a very fast, cost-effective way to deploy cameras around stadiums and transportation arteries,” said Geoffrey Smith, VP of Business Development and Strategic Accounts, Proxim Wireless. “It's one-tenth the cost of running fiber, and they can deploy it immediately, versus having to wait months and months for all the permits to be done, to trench the equipment and dig up the streets.”

For the 2010 Winter Olympics, wireless networks were deployed around Vancouver to backhaul video surveillance footage. These wireless networks were not only deployed around the Olympic venues, but throughout the city to keep an eye on the influx of people. In particular, transportation routes, like traffic signal controls, needed to be outfitted with security technology. In preparation for the 2010 Olympics, Vancouver also deployed an intelligent video solution into its public transportation system. Such security measures helped city management to keep an eye on crowds, congestion problems and evacuations from a venue, in the case of an emergency.

As networks extend into the city, they make it possible to implement security measures and catch threats before they reach the stadium. “We're seeing a big emphasis on safety and security around stadiums, but mostly around providing surveillance connectivity outside of the stadiums even throughout the city,” Smith said. “There is a lot of focus on the ports, on the cities, to prevent anything that is trying to get in. The city tries to address problems before they get there. That's why people are trying to secure the roadways, also related the stadium security — to control things when an incident happens. It's a coordinated effort between the city, transportation and the stadiums.”

At these large events, security is a national issue, and security is deployed far outside of the realm of a traditional stadium. Prior to an event, names of potential disturbances are solicited from other countries. At the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the North American Aerospace Defense Command monitored the skies for unusual activity. For the upcoming London Olympics, biometric information in the form of fingerprints and facial scans are being taken from more than 10,000 Olympic athletes and coaches for identification. Prevention is key for sports event security, which is exactly what extended networks help to do.

Application and Scalability of Panoramic Cameras is Key

Application and Scalability of Panoramic Cameras is Key

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 5/9/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

- Good 360-degree video surveillance is about intelligently integrating the whole process and turning it into a scalable solution.
- People need to start looking at where the market is heading and how 360-degree solutions are going to be incorporated into their business model.
- The market is growing for solutions that require fewer cameras and provide superior image quality.

Panoramic cameras and 360-degree cameras are fairly new to the surveillance party. While the technology is mature, application and user expectation are areas that need to be improved for the newcomers to take foothold in the highly competitive video surveillance market.

The multiple-sensor, composite approach to ultra-wide angle imaging has the advantage of delivering an undistorted panoramic view of the field of interest, said Ellen Cargill, Director of Product Development for Scallop Imaging (a division of Tenebraex). “However, multisensor cameras require sophisticated electronic hardware to synchronize the image sensors, acquire all of the data and put it together into a continuous whole.”

With 360-degree cameras, image processing algorithms and speedy signal processors to remap the data to a rectilinear image, it makes it easier to interpret the image than in its original distorted form. However, this comes at the cost of resolution, as the remapping algorithms tend to fill in nonexistent pixels, Cargill said. “The optical performance of typical fisheye lenses diminishes near the edges of the field, due to sharpness degradation and aberrations such as lateral color.”

Panoramic cameras, which may use multiple lenses and sensors, cost more and are more susceptible to failure due to the added hardware. Another drawback is if the stitching between each view is not seamless, blind spots can occur, said William Ku, Director of Brand Business for Vivotek.

In addition, multiple sensors and lenses require stitching images together that overlap. A single fisheye lens provides one image to see from every angle, using dewarping technology, said Richard Pineau, CTO at Oncam Global. “This is much easier than having to stitch a bunch of images together.”

One imaging challenge for camera manufacturers is illumination. With cameras with fixed focal lenses, the cameras are generally installed so that they point away from direct sources of light or reflective surfaces. For 360-degree cameras, light comes from every direction and saturates, or overexposes, the image if the camera does not have good dynamic range, explained Joel Schaffer, PM of Video Surveillance Applications at Immervision.

In comparison, the lenses in multisensor cameras can have large apertures, thereby delivering great low-light performance, said Ellen Cargill, Director of Product Development for Scallop Imaging (a division of Tenebraex). “Fisheye cameras are constrained to a single exposure for the entire field of view, which may lead to poorly exposed areas within the wide field of view.”

Furthermore, multisensory cameras can employ sophisticated auto-exposure algorithms that allow individual sensors to optimize the exposure, thereby resulting in a properly exposed image over the entire field of view, Cargill continued.

Lighting is a challenge for 360-degree cameras, since the scene may contain both light and dark areas, Ku agreed. “However, well-designed cameras with WDR will perform well even in environments with challenging lighting.” This is less of an issue for controlled environments.

On- or Off-Board Processing
Vendors differ on whether a camera processes the stitching of panoramic images or dewarping of hemispheric images on the camera or via additional software. It depends on what users want and what they are trying to achieve with their video surveillance system.

“We focus on an approach that optimizes the live image with onboard camera software. That way, the user's PC does not experience additional strain as a result of the process, as image correction and generation of the desired images takes place on the camera itself,” said Steve Gorski, GM for the Americas, Mobotix.

Onboard processing combined with a simple recorder is easier on the video surveillance system, as opposed to sending out individual streams that require the use of a powerful computer at the receiving end; it also reduces bandwidth consumption, Cargill said. However, whether processing is done at the edge or in a server is irrelevant to end users, as their key concern is that the system works, Lim said.

“What exactly does the customer want?” said Dallmeier Electronic in a prepared statement. The customer is not particularly concerned with technical specifications, but rather if the goals of their video surveillance system can be achieved effectively.

Good 360-degree video surveillance is about intelligently integrating the whole process and turning it into a scalable solution, said Ahmed Jawad, Chairman of Oncam Global. “That's the big difference. Having it and doing something with it, rather than just having a panoramic or fisheye camera in place for the sake of saying you've got one.”

Future Developments
Over the last five years, advances in processor speed, compression standards and network speeds have improved the performance of the technologies behind panoramic and 360-degree cameras. Functionality in client integration and usability has improved, as has the end-to-end solution. But ultimately it is about what customers do with it that matters, Pineau said.

“The technology is an enabler to allow a process to be deployed — people need to start looking at where the market is heading and how 360-degree solutions are going to be incorporated into their business model,” Jawad said.

The market is growing for solutions that require fewer cameras and provide superior image quality. The potential for growth is large, as end-user awareness of panoramic and 360-degree imaging grows, Cargill said.

However, expectation management is crucial for panoramic and 360-degree cameras to flourish in the video surveillance market, Schaffer said. “The user should understand that panoramic and 360-degree cameras add value to their video surveillance system. They are not magical cameras that will replace fixed cameras, PTZ cameras and mini domes. You still need those cameras, but now you have a complete overview of the scene in question.”

IP Video Providers Strengthen Professional Technical Support

IP Video Providers Strengthen Professional Technical Support

Editor / Provider: The Editorial Team | Updated: 5/3/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

Many companies continue to achieve strong revenue growth with IP-based video surveillance systems and solutions. With great sales performance comes greater responsibility, however. Take Norbain, the largest distributor in the U.K. and one of the largest in Europe, for example. The company has adopted a tailored, charged approach to technical support, since late 2011, to ensure continued high levels of support and customer satisfaction in response to increasing complexity of security products and system configurations, which has “made it increasingly difficult to continue providing this level of support at no additional cost.”

“The help line aims to give customers the benefit of rapid access to technical support aligned to their individual business requirements,” said Keith Purvis,Operations Director for Norbain, in a prepared statement. The new, pay-as-you-go service model is applicable to all products that Norbain distributes, including its own brands. The company further bolsters IT channel support with newly hired divisional director and sales manager.

Soft Power
VMS developer Milestone Systems also hired a global support director, Michael Flanagan, to “scale out the company's support capability for its worldwide channel to provide more self sufficiency, flexibility and predictability.” The company's increasing number of installing partners around the globe has created demand for “flexible support options that are better tailored to each partner's various needs.”

One size does not fit all, Flanagan said. “The key is to deliver tiered levels of support that match the needs of each partner. More self-service resources will empower our partners to better help themselves and our customers. Cost-effective technical support offerings will also include priority queuing, committed response times and 24/7 capability. Clear, consistent and visible guidelines for global support availability will allow partners to optimally manage requirements and expectations. Open-platform IP video surveillance software is still a young market with enormous potential in the future, so the needs for technical support will constantly evolve.”

PSIM software developer CNL Software has also added new blood for partner network expansion and collaboration efforts outside its home market, the U.K., to “train, facilitate and support the company's growing partner ecosystem, which now includes technology, channel, service and development partners.” In one of its largest markets, the U.S., the company is now focused on accelerating knowledge transfer to partner companies, as 2011 saw significant increases in demand for PSIM software from safe cities, mass transit and critical infrastructure projects.

This has led CNL to create a number of strategic alliances and partnerships. The company's Americas president said in a prepared statement: “We've developed advanced training programs as well as development tools that facilitate our partners to do more of the product delivery and driver production, which are helping them commercialize our offerings. The recent addition of our Washington D.C. office will ensure that we are ideally situated to make this process as efficient as possible.”

For On-Net Surveillance Systems (OnSSI), training and education programs are offered throughout the U.S. year-round. Its channel partners are provided with the knowledge and skills to be able to install and support the company's software offerings, including full hands-on installation and configuration. Discounts are offered to “returning alumni” and specific vertical segments such as education.

Evolving Needs, Continuous Training
Run by a team of dedicated staff, Vivotek offers a training program, nicknamed Vivotek Warrior Academy, only to its official distributors to help turn their project FAEs into industry experts. “As the market of surveillance technology becomes increasingly competitive, we need to continuously sharpen our skills, refresh our knowledge and strengthen our networks in order to stay at the top of the industry,” the company said in a press release. The academy offers program participants the opportunity to meet other warriors, to share their project experiences throughout the world, and to transform these experiences into useful architecture and engineering guidelines.

In video storage, 3VR provides a platform for partners to differentiate their product and services, drive revenue and increase margins. Data integration modules and resources are made available for the company's partners to build differentiated service offerings — including enterprise servers, health checks and reporting — that result in recurring monthly revenue. The alliance program provides “the support and enablement partners need in bringing those services to market, driving true service differentiation and enhanced margins.” The partners portal's unique tools and resources also allow sales teams to focus on priority deals, expanding reach and capacity.

Surveillance solutions provider CBC is also making a significant investment in its international customer support operation throughout EMEA. The company's customer service manager said in a prepared statement: “We recognize the need to help customers in a practical way with telephone technical and operational support, site visits when required, and a high standard of workshop repair and equipment processing.” The expansion of CBC's customer support operation comes as the company introduces a variety of cost-effective systems. “We're improving our average workshop turnaround time from receipt of equipment, and ensuring that installers, system integrators, end users, consultants and other buyers receive the best possible help with all of their requirements, ranging from system quotations to order inquiries and technical questions.”

Key Considerations for the PSIM Setup

Key Considerations for the PSIM Setup

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang | Updated: 5/8/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

- Setting up a list of response measures requires not just the PSIM technology, but the policy management of all stakeholders.
- PSIM can impact not just security, but also IT, human resources and facilities management.

PSIM functions not only to bring the most important information to the attention of operators, but also to help them make sense of multiple inputs. Setting up a list of response measures requires not just the PSIM technology, but most importantly, the policy management of all stakeholders. “One of the biggest challenges that we have seen is that PSIM systems tend to overlap multiple departments or agencies and getting those parties to agree and commit to cooperating in a PSIM system,” said Jason Troester, IT Manager at Unlimited Technology.

PSIM can impact not just security, but also IT, human resources and facilities management. “Multiple parties, or departments, throughout an enterprise can have responsibility for or influence in a PSIM deployment,” said Jeremy Brecher, VP of Security Technology and Integration, Diebold Security. “When connecting the subsystems that are part of PSIM management, for instance, rules of engagement are critical. An overarching agreement should be developed for how PSIM will impact these systems. And processes should be identified for how stakeholders that own subsystems continue to operate and maintain those systems once they are part of PSIM. Each stakeholder should have a role; and those roles should be clearly articulated early in the process.”

The PSIM system setup and configuration stage is central to ensuring the system meets the varying needs of all stakeholders. “Allowing permissions requires some legal processes to determine an established permissions hierarchy within the PSIM solution,” Adlan Hussain, Marketing Manager at CNL Software said. “This ensures the system is 100-percent compliant with these legal agreements, which reduces the risk of litigation and accelerates the speed at which visual intelligence can be distributed.

“From a broad perspective, it's important to remember that PSIM is a tool. It does not eliminate the need for departments and functional groups within an organization to work together. And it cannot be successful without a measurable goal,” Brecher said. “Determining the rules of engagement, how systems connect and how to assign roles and responsibilities requires a significant investment of time at the front end. There is no shortcut for that.”

Organizational integration between multiple sites can be even more difficult, since it impacts how businesses work and operate. “If one wants to model an entire city, it's not something that you can do overnight. Once you model it, there has to be a plan to roll it out across different agencies and to set up zones,” said Debjit Das, VP of Marketing, Verint Systems. “What we often see is that some security directors are saying they want PSIM, but they do not have an executive sponsorship to roll it out. Executive sponsorship will affect business processes.

Despite careful planning, each stakeholder needs to define what they need. “We have seen situations between two organizations where they are unable to come to an agreement on whether one department should be able to access the video of another,” Das said. “These kinds of problems cannot be resolved by technology.”

In multiple sites and citywide projects, change is hard. “Departments or agencies that used to run autonomously may be forced to share, or even consolidate, resulting in power struggles, transition challenges and, potentially, derailed and failed project implementations,” said Bob Scott, Executive Director of Security Solutions Strategy, Intergraph. “Until an organization really evaluates and changes doctrine, policy and operational concepts, all the technology in the world will not make a deployment successful.”

“A best practice for situation management across multiple sites or a city is to obtain buy-in from all stakeholders on the types of situations to monitor for, their associated responses and the role of each stakeholder in the response,” said James Chong, CTO of VidSys. “Once agreed upon, each stakeholder should then have the ability to monitor and respond to the information relevant to their role.”

“It is getting common to have government agencies and private vendors co-running such operations and leveraging each other's strengths, “said Patrick Lim, Director of Sales and Marketing, Ademco Far East (an Ademco Security Group company). “We have only encountered a single agency take ownership in the past; and trying to dispatch responses by communicating with other agencies. Gradually, we are seeing more functions being outsourced to a private vendor that has experience running such operations in a more cost-effective way.”

PSIM Orchestrates a Coordinated Response

PSIM Orchestrates a Coordinated Response

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang | Updated: 5/4/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

- PSIM solution providers have to design customized and flexible solutions for all users.
- Another key factor for management to choose PSIM is lowering the TCO.
- PSIM is the software layer that sits on top of other subsystems.

A PSIM platform will be used not only by guards but also by administrators. PSIM solution providers have to design customized and flexible solutions for all users. “For most chief executives in this economic climate, the primary consideration is risk mitigation, but the close second and third criteria are ROI and future-proofing technology investments,” said Al Liebl, VP of Professional Services, Proximex (a Tyco International company). “Risk mitigation criteria vary by deployment, but are generally based on how much incident pain is created and how the PSIM solution helps to resolve these situations. For most PSIM platforms, ROI is based on actions that avoid a ‘rip-and-replace' scenario and custom integration. It also drives down the costs of false alarms, financial loss from incidents and training costs.”

Another key factor for management to choose PSIM is lowering the TCO, said Patrick Lim, Director of Sales and Marketing, Ademco Far East (an Ademco Security Group company). “Many procurement decisions are made based on the face value of a system; but when a large PSIM is needed, the considering factor has to include man-hour savings, management cost, cost of support, cost of expansion and technology road map.”

Other procurement considerations include the ease of integration with existing and planned systems. “The ability not only to send and receive information from the subsystems but to intelligently present that information and its relation to other current information is critical, “said Jason Troester, IT Manager at Unlimited Technology.

Adlan Hussain, Marketing Manager at CNL Software agreed. “There are a large number of reasons cited by the ‘C level' for the selection of a PSIM solution, if there is one that is most commonly referred to, it would have to be the visibility they have of their whole security operation. Bringing security into line with the rest of an organization, where the use of technology is proactively supporting decision-making and providing measurable results, is a huge advantage.”

PSIM is the software layer that sits on top of other subsystems. It is designed to connect disparate subsystems for integrated, unified security operation. “Even if the PSIM dies, the subsystems are still alive and self-contained,” said Bob Banerjee, Senior Director of Training and Development for Security, Nice Systems. “Two problems will occur if PSIM solution is down. First, you lost your situational awareness. The other one is that operators do not know what to do when an incident occurs.”

The nature of this approach enables subsystems that are connected through PSIM to sustain operation independently. “As such, it enables the native applications to act as their own backup system if there was to be any issues with the intelligent PSIM layer,” James Chong, CTO of Vidsys said. “Redundancy from the network side should be treated as any key applications running on the corporate network.”

“An organization must understand the risks to its system, if it needs dual pathways and what level of redundancy is required to make its system survivable,” Brecher said. “As with any other IT system, PSIM systems should have backup protocols and disaster recovery infrastructure — the same contingency elements and processes that would apply to any other Tier-one IT system.”

Smarter Responses
PSIM is designed as a converged platform, presenting the most relevant information and advising the best course of action in a crisis. It requires a networked environment for integration between disparate systems. However, subsystems integration is not what PSIM about. It is about the concept of operations and, most importantly, how to manage incidents. PSIM involves ongoing development to ensure it meets user needs. Such processes require customization and time. While system integrators, PSIM vendors and manufacturers can work together to tackle technical challenges, it is the clients' responsibility to establish their SOPs. PSIM software will not tell an enterprise what it should do until an organization defines its goals and leverage the software to achieve those objectives. Successful implementations of PSIM rely not just on subsystem integration and network configuration, but also on effective communication throughout an organization.

Integrating Physical and Logical Security in Pharmaceutics

Integrating Physical and Logical Security in Pharmaceutics

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 5/3/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

- RFID technology has been increasingly implemented for tracking
- Manufacturers are integrating access control and video surveillance systems to provide better watch and control of their facilities
- Converged physical and logical security practices are becoming commonplace.

The idea of integrating disparate systems to provide a holistic approach to security is not foreign to the pharmaceutical industry. Manufacturers are integrating access control and video surveillance systems to provide better watch and control of their facilities, said Paige Prechter, Global Account Manager of Building Efficiency, Johnson Controls.

Access control and video surveillance are mostly used to guarantee the security and safety of staff, visitors and general public, as well as providing personnel with tools that allow them to work more efficiently in their work area, explained Vincentius Liong, Director of Integrated Security Systems Solutions, Elektrodata Sistem Integrasi. “Electronic security and building management systems are usually put in place for ensuring compliance with all government regulations and legal responsibilities throughout the manufacturing facility. Another goal is to maintain access control of people during construction and expansion of the facility and monitor on-site maintenance schedules.”

Card readers are installed at all critical points, and cameras are placed to provide documentation of the entire manufacturing process, Liong continued. “Various biometric devices add an extra layer of security for extremely sensitive areas. Data from these systems is transmitted to a central security command center, where it can be closely monitored round the clock.”

Intercoms are typically integrated into the mix, allowing security personnel to communicate with employees appearing to engage in questionable activities, Prechter added.

RFID technology has been increasingly implemented for tracking. Drug identification is a required ability because it is difficult to know who made the drug or what the drug is after it is removed from the original packaging. While RFID may be effective in tackling this issue, it may not yet be sufficiently cost-effective for industry-wide deployment.

“Track-and-trace initiatives around the world are driving the need for standardization of technologies, and the use of 2-D barcodes for authentication is becoming the technology of choice," said Brian Johnson, Senior Director of Supply Chain Securityfor Pfizer, in an interview with Pharmaceutical Technology .

The large number of M&As in this industry has resulted in a company having multiple facilities with a variety of security systems, Prechter noted. “These companies are looking to standardize on one system moving forward, and are adopting open-architecture software applications that allow for integration of multiple technologies.”

Physical + Logical
Converged physical and logical security practices are becoming commonplace. Physical security keeps stakeholders safe by allowing only authorized individuals into the building, while logical security protects their computers and data from unauthorized access, said John Carney, Senior Manager of Government Practice, Cisco Systems.

However, the department s managing the technology for these types of security are generally separate and often do not collaborate with one another, Carney cautioned. “With the proliferation of IP convergence, this separation can dramatically impact both of these departments as well as compromise the safety and security of an organization.”

Logical security depends greatly on physical security, Carney explained. “A compromised network allows access not only to business-critical data, but also to all of the security sensors, video cameras and access controls. Unauthorized access to a single security sensor such as a video surveillance camera can be bothersome, but compromising the control of all sensors can be disastrous.

” Many technologies that help secure the network against various threats already exist. One possible solution that has minimal impact on the human-engineering side is to ensure that only trusted users access the network, Carney said. “To enforce this, a user should badge into a building prior to being allowed to access the network.” Through simple process re-engineering, the user does not have to change their behavior of swiping a badge or logging into the network.

This now creates a multifactor authentication: something you have (a security badge) and something you know (ID and password), Carney continued. By tying building access to network access, security increases for not only the network but also network resources.

Using multifactor authentication, gaining entrance to the building no longer guarantees access to the network, which makes it more difficult for an unauthorized person to take advantage of an unattended computer, Carney explained. “This addresses the common issue of tailgating.” This also ensures that the number and names of people in the building are known to the security team.

Badge use has minimal impact on people because most already swipe their badges for access to buildings; all that is required is to make the practice mandatory, Carney said.

Stakeholders Unite
The physical security team must track all users, to which areas they are allowed access, when they are allowed to access those areas, and so on; the logical security team must track those same users, the computers and servers they use, data access rules, and so on, Carney said. “Combining these two administrative functions into a single system allows for a more efficient change management process and minimizes the potential for an out-of-sync situation between systems.”

However, combining logical and physical identity management is no small feat. This is where the concept of a single governance body for security becomes vital, Caney continued. “This governance body needs to determine who can make changes, what changes they are allowed to make, and when they can make them.” A key priority is to keep the identity data accurate, since all policies and procedures use this data for enforcement and compliance.

What's Hot in the Italian Security Market?

What's Hot in the Italian Security Market?

Editor / Provider: the Editorial Team | Updated: 5/1/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

Alarm and Intrusion
Italian security encompasses the complete range of product segments. Possibly the most distinctive segment is alarm and intrusion, which Italian security revolves around.

Traditional anti-intrusion sensors have suffered from a lack of ideas and a true killer application. In spite of IP and wireless development, the prevalent trend is still hybrid solutions.

Reducing false alarms remains the No. 1 priority, as seen in figures 1 and 2. As the next recession is all but imminent, the intrusion industry is focusing on alarm integration with video through smartphones. Other developments include perimeter protection, requiring uncommon expertise. Finally, greater integration with HA through IP networks are developing as well.

Access Control
The Italian physical access control market involves different solutions, such as ID cards, RFID transponders, biometrics, and time and attendance systems. In 2009, after a decade of growth, the Italian professional access control market reversed the trend. Turnover decreased, profits collapsed and net assets dropped. Small companies were the ones that suffered most during the crisis.

a&s Italy made a Top 15 list of Italian electronic access control companies, which reflects the diverse offerings in this market. According to its estimates, access control makes up 55 percent of the industry, while the remaining 45 percent is composed of intrusion detection and large-scale management. IMS Research found the Italian access control market was worth $25 million in 2010. Newer technologies have not been as popular in Italy, compared to the rest of EMEA. However, IP is one of the driving forces in Italian access control.

Video Surveillance
Video surveillance has achieved the most brilliant results over the last 10 years and is still playing a major role in reinvigorating the whole Italian security industry.

In 2010 or the depths of the global recession, the Italian video surveillance market showed resistance to the crisis by growing 7.6 percent compared to 2009. Both supply and demand are facilitating the growth of this market.

In terms of supply, video manufacturers have developed more advanced products that are application-specific. Value features prominently in new product design, with greater attention to customer ROI through more value-added features and increased user-friendliness. As IP grows, products are designed for easy integration by complying with interoperability standards, making the lives of end users easier.

IP Migration
The Italian video surveillance market was worth $780 million in 2010, according to ANIE Sicurezza. Recently, it has embraced all-IP video solutions, with network video equipment representing more than 30 percent of sales, which is expected to reach 60 percent by 2014, said IMS Research. The Italian video surveillance equipment market is forecast to grow nearly 8 percent per year until 2014. This growth rate is higher than the U.K.; Benelux made up of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg; and the Iberian region of Spain and Portugal.

However, an a&s Italy survey found most users are still experiencing a gradual migration to IP. The actual percentage of all-IP deployments is still low, but nearly all companies admit they use hybrid systems. IP adoption is hindered factors by culture, the technological complexity of IP and cost. Moreover, Italy is suffering from digital divide, even in its most productive areas. It is not by chance that HD-SDI technology is arousing interest, particularly in the medium-range market.

While adoption of IP slowed during the financial crisis, sales of network cameras are picking up. Growth was roughly 20 percent in 2011, which is expected to continue in 2012.

Megapixel cameras were the primary driver for IP adoption, according to an a&s Italy survey (figure 4). While megapixel sales volume is relatively low and deployments are confined to detail oriented applications such as LPR or airports, falling prices are a promising sign of increased uptake.

However, technological limits still must be overcome by HD cameras. The first is limited bandwidth for full-size streaming. The second is image sensor sensitivity in low light (figure5). Effective compression techniques using H.264 will play a crucial role in the development of megapixel cameras (figure 6).

What's Hot in Italy
The most popular technologies in video surveillance are related to HD and video content analysis (VCA). This includes:
1. Hybrid DVRs
2. Network cameras (particularly megapixel cameras)
3. Video management software
4. Mobile cameras
5. VCA

Until a few years ago, VCA generated tremendous interest, but users and security professionals lost interest due to high error rates. More attention has been directed to HD network cameras, which are expected to increase substantially over the coming years. However, the higher prices of HD DVRs may slow growth.

Since Italy has a high prevalence of smartphones and tablets, video surveillance and intrusion detection will develop solutions for mobile devices. More than 20 million Italians owned a next-generation smartphone, representing 52 percent of the population in the first quarter of 2011, according to a Nielsen Italy poll.

Promising Verticals in Italy

Promising Verticals in Italy

Editor / Provider: the Editorial Team | Updated: 4/27/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

The most promising verticals in Italy for video surveillance are green energy sites. Blessed with the sunny Mediterranean climate, Italy has many photovoltaic parks that need to safeguard solar panels. Other hot applications include public video monitoring; critical infrastructure such as transportation, airports and ports; traffic control and health care.

Technology upgrades and life cycle replacements of security systems will promote the steady expansion of the Italian physical security market, particularly in the airport and critical infrastructure including mass transport, roads, subways, tunnels and schools, said Frost & Sullivan in a prepared statement. Upcoming events, such as the World Expo in 2015 in Milan, will spur spending to boost passenger throughput at airports, railways, seaports and along roads.

The Italian market is expected to grow from $173.6 million in 2010 to $352.5 million in 2015, reaching a peak of $432 million in 2012, according to Frost & Sullivan. Market opportunities revolve around critical infrastructure projects with a total investment of more $822.9 million over the forecast period for this domain, followed by a total of $513.5 million for airport security and $512.8 million for oil and gas.

Made in Italy
The Italian security market is characterized by high fragmentation of products and a mixture of manufacturers and integrators. This hinders data gathering. Usually, brands target installers — around 2,500 in Italy — through distributors or wholesalers. While major brands choose a "polarization strategy" to acquire greater market share, innovation-oriented players move from integration to OEM for the very same brands.

Nevertheless, several brave “Made in Italy” companies independently manage the whole manufacturing process. It is not by chance that the Italian security industry relies on a long-lasting tradition of techno- logical excellence, exported all over the world.

These companies exhibit innovation, high quality and functional performance. An emphasis on design and usability makes these solutions unique. The sum of these elements defines “Made in Italy” quality and the pursuit of continuous improvement. This is influenced by the 1970s school of thought for electronic safety, with an emphasis on simplicity, usability and the actual needs of the user. Such focus is reflected in excellent design, conceived as more than aesthetics. It is aimed at functionality, with user- and installer-friendly software applications. The use of eco-friendly components and materials with reduced energy consumption is now the emerging trend of Italian security, thanks to a greater awareness of environmental issues and government incentives.

Recession Redux
Italy's debt crisis is in the global spotlight, as Italians and European investors hold their breath. As a consequence, there is widespread uncertainty chilling the investment climate in the short term. From this derives the need to collect payment. More small and mid-size business owners have postponed electronic security purchases in favor of immediately profitable investments.

In order to tackle this situation, vendors are diversifying both their offerings and target markets to compensate for losses. They are trying to maintain investments, stay flexible and preserve company liquidity. Manufacturers who target the professional market strive to ensure the best performance with high technology and quality brands. Other vendors who serve the residential market highlight extreme simplicity and competitive prices. It is clear that the two markets will not develop in the same way.

The ability to innovate for the professional market with distinctive products offers a competitive advantage that enables recovery of a margin against mass production. Moreover, it is necessary to start aggregative policies: creating consortiums, temporary company associations similar to short-time joint ventures and purchase groups. It is imperative to form strategic alliances with vendors who were considered competitors. Bringing in expertise from ICT, electronics and BA leverages the benefits of an integrated approach.

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