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North Carolina hospital adopts iris recognition for patient safety, record integrity and fraud prevention

North Carolina hospital adopts iris recognition for patient safety, record integrity and fraud prevention

Editor / Provider: M2SYS Technology | Updated: 11/8/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

As part of their concerted focus on patient safety, preventing duplicate medical records and overlays, and eliminating medical identity theft at the point of care, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital (HCMH) announced that it has adopted the RightPatient multi-biometric patient identification system with iris recognition as the preferred modality. RightPatient was launched in the Outpatient Admissions and Radiology departments with future plans for expansion to the emergency room and physician practices.

RightPatient is the industry's only multi-modal biometric patient identification system that supports fingerprint, finger vein, palm vein, iris and face recognition. M2SYS Technology, the company that developed RightPatient, brings a decade of diverse biometric technology experience to the healthcare industry. With over 100 million enrolled users in more than 90 countries, M2SYS has applied its comprehensive knowledge of biometrics to RightPatient, resulting in a feature-rich solution that overcomes patient identification challenges in an innovative and practical manner.

Initially, HCMH had invested in a biometric patient identification system that only supported palm vein biometrics, locking the hospital to a single biometric modality and biometric device. Plus, the biometric system relied on “one-to-few” segmented biometric searches, which cannot entirely prevent duplicate medical records or identity fraud. Furthermore, the palm vein scanner required physical contact, causing hygiene concerns within the hospital.

“We have been pleased with our decision to switch from our old system to the RightPatient biometric patient identification system,” said Lee Powe, Director of Information Systems at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital. “The system offers a variety of very unique components and the installation process was quick and easy, requiring very little internal resources from our end. Plus, the technology has been well received by patients and staff, is extremely easy to use and truly guards patients against medical identity theft and the creation of duplicate medical records. We really liked the fact that a photo is linked to each patient's record so Admissions staff, nurses and other healthcare professionals throughout the hospital can visually verify a patient's identity at every touch point.”

“For those who are still unaware of biometric patient identification systems, this is the time to educate yourself on how this technology can be leveraged to raise patient safety levels, prevent duplicate medical records, eliminate medical identity theft and lower hospital liability,” commented Mizan Rahman, Founder and CEO of M2SYS Technology. “We are at a critical juncture right now in healthcare where hospitals and medical facilities need to completely understand the technology available for patient identification and how it actually works. I am very pleased that we are able to help HCMH enhance their patient safety initiatives.”

Health care provides shot in the arm to solution providers

Health care provides shot in the arm to solution providers

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 10/16/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The health care sector poses unique challenges and opportunities, said John Davies, MD at Time and Data Systems International (TDSi). “After all, you have to provide security while, at the same time, guaranteeing access to patients and family members. You simply cannot go over the top in locking things down.” Davies estimates that the Americas account for 50 percent of the global market for electronic security products and systems sold to the health care sector, followed by EMEA with 30 percent, East Asia 20 percent, and the rest of Asia 10 percent. While EMEA is growing at 4 percent and the Americas around 6 percent, growth in East Asia has been compounding at 10 percent. “In the next three years,” Davies said, “Asia is going to start to outstrip the other markets in terms of size.”
 
For a US$5-million hospital project with 500 beds, Davies estimates that 30 percent would be spent on video surveillance, 30 percent on fire detection systems and alarms, 20 percent on access control (half of which for biometrics), and 20 percent on system integration. The latter might include building and records maintenance and management. Looking at access control, the market is about $200 million per year, and Davies expects this to grow to $300 million by 2016. Extrapolating his figures for total global sales, one arrives at around $1 billion per year.
 
Defining the health care sector, particularly in terms of market research statistics, is somewhat problematic. “After all,” said one industry executive, “the health care sector also includes clinics and private medical and dental practices.” These generally small premises do require unique security solutions. “Sales to small- and medium-sized players are often listed under retail sales,” he explained.
 
Taking the pulse of biometrics
One major beneficiary has been biometric players. According to Phil Scarfo, VP of Worldwide Sales and Marketing at Lumidigm, hospitals and pharmaceutical prescriptions are creating new opportunities. For example, the Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances rule was issued by the US Drug Enforcement Administration as an amendment to the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (commonly known as the Controlled Substances Act). According to the rule, doctors or pharmacists writing prescriptions must authenticate two of the following: something they know (a knowledge factor) with something they have (a hard token stored separately from the computer being accessed), and something they are (biometric information). “For increased security, less complicated management and ease of doctor and pharmacist use, most health care organizations prefer that one of the authentication factors be biometric,” Scarfo said.
 
Secured access to medical equipment and supplies is an ever-increasing priority for hospitals. “Maintaining adequate control and an effective audit trail is both a cost-saving and compliance issue,” Scarfo said. “Biometrics is an ideal solution to both problems.”
 
All of this is music to the ears of biometric products and systems providers. One forecast of next-generation biometric technologies, for example, puts the annual global market at $14 billion by 2017. That is a CAGR of nearly 20 percent.
 
While the markets are there, East Asian companies may not be the ones reaping the benefits. Eric Assouline, Export Sales Manager at CDVI, pointed out that, while East Asia has some strong players, especially the Koreans, North American and European companies tend to dominate both low-end and high-end markets.
 
“While much has been made of Indian companies' prowess in software,” Davies said, “most important R&D is occurring in matured markets like North America and Europe. It is about innovation through software, not just the hardware and the features that you offer.”
 
Too many access control products (readers, controllers and cards) at the lower end of the scale, Davies added, are also sold as mere commodities. He emphasized that the value in access control is in software integration. Companies taking advantage of this approach include Prysm, Synectics, Lenel, Maxxess, Hirsch and TDSi. Another big access control player, HID, is big in credentials and readers, but less so in terms of system integration and software.
 
Emerging markets
Davies sees the Middle East and Africa as rising new markets. “There has been a lot of growth in the health care market, not only in East Asia but also the Middle East and, very soon, parts of West and East Africa. We have been getting a lot of work in Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, Tanzania and Kenya.” Another key market has been Saudi Arabia, where hospitals are being built “left, right and center,” Davies said.
 
Some 95 percent of Chinese had government-provided health insurance in 2011, and the medical services market is growing 18 percent annually. In fact, as of last year, China had 3.7 million hospital beds, up 54 percent from 2005. Today, 12 percent of hospital beds are in facilities run by private corporations. Government targets could generate 400,000 new private hospital beds per year with annual revenue from private hospitals in China reaching $377 billion by 2015. The increase in hospitals is increasing demand for medical gear, as well as electronic security equipment and systems.
 
Legally speaking
Not all growth, however, happens for the same reasons. In North America, federal mandates requiring health care providers to secure sensitive patient information are driving much of the momentum. “Security solutions providers,” said one industry professional with a wry laugh, “really need to thank the high number of lawyers in the U.S. The threat of legal challenges has really forced large hospitals, in particular, to establish much greater security and control over patient records. Doctor handwriting has long been a source of jokes in the U.S., but no more,” he said. “It is absolutely essential that other health care professionals, including other doctors, nurses, orderlies and, most definitely, pharmacists, understand exactly the type of medical service or medication required.”
 
In the U.S., another major impetus is the federal goal envisioning citizens having secured electronic medical records by 2014.
 
Challenges vs. opportunities
For those who successfully make the transition to IT-based systems and networks, an added plus is that integration of a number of different requirements, from building maintenance and management, access control, fire and safety to reduced energy usage, has delivered real benefits in terms of reducing costs. That said, key challenges like scalability, availability, performance and compatibility — some prefer to call it interconnectivity — remain.
 
That was more than evident in the findings of two recent reports by the US Office of the Inspector General, which found a lack of IT security controls. Major vulnerabilities included unencrypted wireless connections and easy passwords, as well as those due to careless oversight, such as taped-over door locks.
 
The auditors classified 124 as high-impact breeches; these resulted in costly losses, injury or death. According to the report, unauthorized parties could have accessed or did access systems and patient data. Loss of information contained in supposedly secured records could lead to manufacturing of false identities and fraudulent medical charges.
 
As health care centers move to adopt network-based or wireless technology, more problems or risks might have emerged. Medical devices and security systems connected to the Internet are vulnerable to being hacked; as site usage increases, larger or more data centers are needed, creating greater challenges to medical and security practitioners alike. There will not be a single winner that takes it all, but those who integrate physical and logical access solutions seamlessly and cost-effectively will have a better chance of standing after this new round of economic and financial turmoil.
 

Florida resort for kids locks threat out with Assa Abloy systems and safes

Florida resort for kids locks threat out with Assa Abloy systems and safes

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 10/10/2012 | Article type: Security 50

VingCard Elsafe, the global hospitality security and part of the ASSA ABLOY Group, announced their continued involvement with Give Kids The World Village (GKTW) in Kissimmee, Florida. In their latest charitable contribution, VingCard Elsafe provided 140 Signature RFID locks to outfit the resort's villas and VISIONLINE software for the front desk.

Installation of the security solutions took place in earlier this month. JakobHardrick of National Installations and Service in Winter Park, Florida volunteered his company's time to complete the entire installation of VingCard Elsafe Signature RFID locks at each of Give Kids The World's villas. Give Kids The World Village officially opened in 1989 and has today grown into a 70-acre resort housing 140 villa accommodations, entertainment attractions, whimsical venues, and fun specifically designed for children with special needs. Located near Central Florida's most beloved attractions,

Give Kids The World provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families with weeklong, fantasy vacations at no cost. It is due in part to the generous donations from individuals and corporations such as VingCard Elsafe that has allowed Give Kids The World to welcome more than 115,000 families from all 50 states and over 70 countries since its inception.

VingCard Elsafe has been working in partnership with Give Kids The World Village since outfitting the original villas with electronic locks in 1989. Through the years, they have kept the villas up-to-date with new technologies, including a previous installation of Classic by VingCard magnetic stripe locks and Elsafe in-room electronic safes. The newest contribution of Signature RFID locks and the patented VISIONLINE wireless locking system, provides the resort with the most advanced security technology available and coincides with various other renovations taking place at Give Kids The World Village, including the construction of additional villas and new commercial venues.

Signature RFID electronic locks by VingCard offer the latest Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) technology with the most flexible platform for future applications like NFC cell phone keyless entry. By retrofitting existing magstrip locks to the latest in RFID technology, Give Kids The World Village will bolster ease of access with contactless keycards and increase security with Signature RFID's advanced aniti-cloning solution. Providing a locking system that is simple to use was a top priority for Give Kids The World since their star guests are children with illnesses, who at times have limited abilities.

“I encourage you to visit the Give Kids the World Village and see for yourself the joy that this organization is bringing to children and families in need that would otherwise not have the chance to experience anything like this in their lifetimes, “says George Winker, VPof Sales North America for VingCard Elsafe. “Once you understand the good that Give Kids The World is doing, you can't help but want to get involved. Early on, VingCard Elsafe recognized the organization's desire to provide the very best of everything for their special guests, and our latest contribution of locks will help keep these families safe while offering more convenient Villa access.”

Also being donated by VingCard Elsafe is VISIONLINE software for use by Give Kids The World operational staff. VISIONLINE will be used as a stand-alone system to remotely manage keycard access, alert the property when doors are left ajar or lockset batteries are low, and run audit trail reports.

“We are incredibly grateful to VingCard Elsafe and National Installations and Service for this generous donation,” said GKTW President Pamela Landwirth. “This upgrade to our front desk software and villa security system is part of a $100 million Village Campaign to renovate and refurbish all of our villas and expand our capacity so we can fulfill the wishes of even more children in the coming years.”

New breakthroughs for motion and intrusion detectors

New breakthroughs for motion and intrusion detectors

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 10/4/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

New and core technologies for intrusion detectors and perimeter sensors, as well as their real-life applications, are explored in this feature.

Detecting Intruders with Minimal Environmental Nuisance
INTREPID MicroWave 330, a volumetric perimeter detection system for fence lines, open areas, gates, entryways, walls and rooftop applications, is Southwest Microwave's field-proven microwave detection technology. It can detect human intruders with minimal environmental nuisance alarms and maximal reliability. Advanced digital signal processing (DSP) allows the continuous monitoring of intrusion alarm and tamper switch status, received signal strength and detection parameters.

MicroWave 330 operates at K-Band (24.125 GHz / 24.162 GHz) frequency for superior performance compared to X-band sensors. This is because K-band is 2.5 times higher than X-band, the multipath signal generated by an intruder is more focused, and detection of stealthy intruders is correspondingly better. K-band frequency also limits the susceptibility of outside interference from air/seaport radars or other microwave systems.

MicroWave 330's antenna beam width is approximately 3.5 degrees in the horizontal and vertical planes. A true parabolic antenna assures long range operation, superior beam control and predictable Fresnel zones. Advanced receiver design increases detection probability by alarming on partial or complete beam interruption, increase/decrease in signal level or jamming by other transmitters.

Taut-wire Fence System: Anti-cutting, Breaking and Parting
The GPS taut-wire fence system comprises a variable number of barbed wires in parallel with one another at a distance of 10 to15 cm, suspended on support posts positioned about 2.5/3m apart. The active part of the system is the sensor post with special characteristics that make it sensitive to attempts to violate the barrier such as cutting, breaking and parting the barbed wires.

Following a mechanical disturbance, the barbed wire generates an electrical signal proportional to the energy in the disturbance. The signal, after it has been detected and amplified, is sent to a signal processor unit, which analyses the signal and will generate pre-alarm and alarm signals. These signals are based on multiple thresholds and other parameters, which can be set up individually for each installation. Each processor can monitor up to 8TPS sensor posts.

Using differential signal analysis, the system can eliminate false signals caused by common mode disturbances such as those generated by atmospheric phenomenon (wind, hail, etc.) or by large temperature variations (day/night).

The extreme modularity of the system allows the creation of very long perimeters. The processor units are connected to a common data bus cable that is compatible with the Multiplex 2000 sensor management system. Up to 64 processors can be connected to the bus and the central control unit of the Multiplex 2000 system, the UCP, can monitor all the output signals from these processors. For even longer perimeters multiple UCP may be networked together.

This solution allows the creation of perimeter systems with mixed sensor types, such as IPS Infrared barrier system, GPS Plus buried detection system, DPS double technology buried system, CPS micro-phonic cable, as required by the characteristics of the area to be protected.

H-Field Sensors: Strong Resistance Against Environmental Factors
Southwest Microwave's NTREPID MicroTrack is a volumetric, terrain-following sensor that is capable of setting up a perimeter to precisely locate walking, running and crawling intruders. With a coverage range of 400m (1312 ft) per processor, the MicroTrack system consists of a MicroTrack processor unit and two 200m sensor cable pairs that may be buried along a facility sensor cable pairs.

MicroTrack pinpoints the location of perimeter disturbances using an intruder's location and time signatures and therefore is capable of ignoring disturbances caused by insects, animals and environmental factors such as snow, rain and wind. In addition, the system's high signal-to-noise ratio and precise target location help minimize the rate of false alarm.

With MicroTrack, detection zones are set in software. As such, zoning can be cost-effectively tailored to suite an application's requirement. In addition, it features a built-in communications system that interfaces with INTREPID set-up and monitoring software to ensure user-friendly installation, system administration and diagnostics.

Fiber Optic Cable Detection System: Immunity to Cutting, Climbing on and Lifting
The Magal fiber optic cable detection system specializes in outdoor, fence-mounted perimeter security applications. Using signals generated by the minute flexing of a proprietary fiber optic sensor cable, specific characteristic intrusion signatures are analyzed by a powerful digital signal processor. In addition, the system is also responsive to cutting, climbing on or lifting of the fence fabric. With its programmable microprocessor, it allows user to set the operating parameters for each zone using a plug-in configuration module. Separate parameters are set for cut and climb detection, leading to independent alarm processing, which optimizes detection, and reduces false alarm occurrence to minimum. The unique signal processing of the system includes adjustable firmware with ambient compensation and common mode rejection to build immunity against disturbance from natural or environmental events.

2.5. Motion Detectors with Two Fresnel Lenses
Bosch Blue Line Gen2 PIR motion detectors use two Fresnel lenses designed to produce sharply-focused images throughout the field of view providing superior response to intruders. These lenses provide a high density 7-layer pattern, and the selectable lookdown lens provides an additional three lookdown zones. There is also a pet-friendly model that generates alarm signals for human intruders without generating false alarm signals for pets. More features:
First Step Processing (FSP)
FSP almost instantly responds to human targets without producing false alarms from other sources. With FSP, the detector's sensitivity can be adjusted based on signal amplitude, polarity, slope and timing. This eliminates the need for the installer to select the sensitivity level, thus improving ease of installation and reliability.
Pet-friendly Selectivity (-WP models only)
The installer can turn pet immunity on or off based upon application requirements. When pet immunity is turned off, the detector provides superior catch performance identical to the non-pet models. When pet immunity is turned on, the detector can distinguish between signals caused by humans and signals caused by pets. It ignores signals caused by one or two pets up to 20 kg or numerous rodents.
Dynamic Temperature Compensation
The detector intelligently adjusts its sensitivity so that it can identify human intruders at virtually any temperature. Self-locking enclosure
The sliding self-locking enclosure has an integrated bubble level and custom gap-free, lift-gate style terminal blocks to make installation easier.
Sealed optics and electronics
The optics and electronics are assembled into the front enclosure and sealed with a protective cover to prevent damage during installation. The sealed optical chamber also prevents drafts and insects from affecting the detector.

Intelligent PIR with Adjustable Parameters
The next thing to be introduced is a PIR detection system with adjustable parameters, which means the detection zone is adjustable in accordance with the width and length of the windows. The system is built based on alarm intrusion detectors, AB-20NW intelligent PIR, developed by Optex.

As some environmental and natural causes are often mistaken as intrusion activities, Optex tries to address the issue with its detection technologies. “The key is to find false alarm factors, and to eliminate as much of the rest as possible. Outdoor environments are changing on a daily basis. Something that nobody noticed could turn into false alarm factors. The most prominent example is plant growth,” said Ryosuke Higo, Product Leader in Optex.

With the system's detection area settings and temperature compensation logic, it is able to prevent the surveying of unnecessary areas and mild temperature and environmental changes to be falsely recognized as intrusion activities.

PIR with Digital Temperature Compensation
Strata PIR motion detectors, developed by Tyco, also exemplifies proper application of digital temperature compensation with PIR technologies. With the addition of mirror optics, microprocessor control and reflective mirrors, the detector allows a significant amount of infrared energy to be focused onto its sensor for better catch performance. In addition, the patented multi-level signal processing is able to minimize false alarm from sources such as air vents, insects, radio frequencies, temperature fluctuations and environmental causes; all these factors can be virtually eliminated through sensitivity adjustment and temperature compensation.

4D Signal Evaluation in Ceiling Detector
With just a minor, but significant, application of PIR Honeywell's ceiling detector can generate 18 non-stop capture curtains with the step and gliding focus mirror technique. With 18 capture curtains and a 20m diameter detection zone, the detector not only identifies direct incursions, it can also capture crawling objects.

To deal with rough environmental conditions and to reduce false reports, a combination of the mirror option with a 4D signal evaluation is implemented. The 4D signal evaluation can distinguish an intruding object from false signals. With 4D and Bi-Curtain signal evaluation, Honeywell's DD600 series is recognized for the diverseness of signals in security applications. The DD600 sensors also include a radar technology with a coverage control in 5.8 GHz frequency range, which permits the sensors to avoid false reports for moving objects outside the detection range.

PIR Microwave Detectors: Defining Intruder's Mobility and Size in 3D
Let's start off with an infrared technology that has a patented micro-movement and dual frequency infrared technology (from A&R Technologies). This all-in-one ceiling mount detector combines a four element IR detector with digital signal processing detection for reliable detection within 12 to 16 diameters. Its micro-movement technology allows its 456 infrared lenses to project infrared onto a total of 8 sectors. Such a design, which is based on the number of infrared signals that has been intercepted by an intruding object to obtain its height, width and length, facilitates an accurate depiction of the intruding object. Therefore, the system is able to distinguish between insects/small rodents from human intruders, and false alarm rates are reduced and detection reliability is enhanced.

As a device that utilizes the technology of dual frequency infrared, it integrates both infrared and microwave into its system. While infrared is for deciding whether or not an incursion poses a threat based on the size of the intruder, the application of microwave allows the system to define the object as an intruder as it yields sufficient mobility to trigger the alarm.

Auto Gain Control (AGC) to Adjust the Sensitivity to Light
The Active Infrared detector (AIR) developed by Atsumi is equipped with spherical Fresnel lenses that produce sharp beam rays and dual beams with a range of 180m indoors and 90m outdoors. Not only does this technology have immunity to environmental factors such as snow, rain and dust, but it also offers strong resistance against radio frequency interference. With the installation of auto gain control (AGC), it's able to adjust its sensitivity to fit the brightness of the light (AGC also ensures that stable operations will be maintained even if 99 percent of the beam power is lost). Furthermore, its adjustable beam interruption time enables it to ignore interferences caused by animals and harmless flying objects such as leaves, thus reducing the amount of false alarms.

Four-Beam Active Infrared with High Sensitive to Dim Lighting
The AIR intrusion detector developed by Aleph is specially designed to eliminate false alarms caused by fog, rain and small insects. Its intelligent feature allows the system to adapt itself to dim lighting and remain sensitive even when there is no light. Protected by a specially designed outer case, humidity and icing issues are also eliminated. This detector is recognized for its ability to be fully adaptive.

Combing Doppler Microwave and PIR: Crawling is No Longer an Option
A good example of radar microwave detectors is a signature technology developed by Southwest Microwave. By combining Doppler microwave and passive infrared technologies, MS15 and MS16 outdoor dual technology motion sensors can generate a 15m by 12m detection pattern for upright/walking, running and crawling targets detection (only the MS16 offers enhanced detection capability for crawling targets). Being another dual factor technology, the MS15 and MS16, when configured for “And Gate” operation, along with microwave and PIR complement each other. The passive infrared portion is responsible for detecting radiation emitted by intruders, while the microwave portion is responsible for detecting intruders' motion. When both technologies are simultaneously set off, the sensor initiates an alarm condition.

In terms of reducing or even eliminating false alarms, this dual element infrared detector has two microwave receiving channels that are designed to overlook normal temperature variations and at the same time remain responsive to drastic infrared changes created by intruders. This technology is mostly recognized for its ability to protect specific assets or strategic areas and should be used as a part of a proprietary system with on-site response or video verification.

Photoelectric Beam Detectors with a 360-degree Protection Range
Bunker Security's innovative PT Tower photoelectric beam is a robust and discreet enclosure that is resistant to vandal acts. It is constructed of extruded anodized black aluminum with a durable and strong polycarbonate UV treated cover. The tower has a 360-degree protection range, giving the beams the option to be mounted back to back at any height within the tower. The sleek design fits most of the photoelectric beam products on the market, thus providing single or multiple beam options with external ranges of up to 250m (820ft). The tower comes in standard height sizes to meet most situations, rising from 1m, 1.5m, 2m and 3m.

SimonsVoss ranked world's No. 9 solution provider in physical access control, IMS says

SimonsVoss ranked world's No. 9 solution provider in physical access control, IMS says

Editor / Provider: SimonsVoss Technologies | Updated: 9/24/2012 | Article type: Security 50

SimonsVoss Technologies AG, based near Munich, has joined the ranks of the world's leading electronic access control suppliers for the first time, as affirmed in the new study "The World Market for Electronic Physical Access Control Equipment – 2012 Edition" just published by the renowned market research provider IMS Research.

This report states that SimonsVoss, along with another provider, ranks ninth worldwide in terms of sales volume.

SimonsVoss has also consolidated its market position among the world's leading suppliers of electronic locking and access control systems.

"The IMS Research study is an impressive indication of our leading position on the international market. We would like to strengthen this position over the next few years by introducing a large number of innovative products and features. We are showcasing our innovations for 2013 in advance at Security 2012 in Essen,” states Hans-Gernot Illig, CEO at SimonsVoss Technologies AG.

9 Access Control Pitfalls

9 Access Control Pitfalls

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Secura Key | Updated: 8/21/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

1. Not Installing Surge Protection. We recommend surge protection on all data lines and reader cables, as well as for plug-in power supplies at each panel. Remember that surge protectors need a good path to Earth Ground to work properly. While nothing can prevent damage from a direct lightning hit, surge protectors will prevent damage from nearby lightning strikes, which can disable your system.

2. Powering Door Strikes and Mag Locks from the Same Supply as the Panel (or standalone unit). Strikes and maglocks can send voltage spikes back through the power supply into an access control panel, causing circuit damage or data errors. Purchase separate power supplies for each door locking device.

3. Not Ordering Spares. For every 10 doors in a system, we recommend having one control panel PCBA and two readers on hand, in case of a direct lightning hit or other catastrophic problem. This will get your system back on line, without waiting for equipment to be ordered and shipped. This also reduces trips back to the shop for the installer.

4. Using the Wrong Cable. With Secura Key, you can use twisted pair cable such as CAT5 or CAT6 for RS-485 communications (from panel to panel or back to the PC). Wiegand communications (from reader to panel) requires non-twisted cable, such as 6-cond shielded (the same as for RS-232 connections). System installation manuals will call out the correct cable for every application.

5. No Experience With Door Hardware. If you are experienced with electronics, software, alarm systems, CCTV, and other low voltage equipment, don't assume that you can competently install an electric strike, mag lock or electrified lockset. You can make a mess of an expensive commercial door frame or door, if you have no hardware installation experience. When in doubt, subcontract a locksmith to handle the door hardware.

6. No Experience With Electronics. If you are experienced with door hardware, etc, but not familiar with electronics, software, and low voltage equipment, don't try to fake your way through the installation. When in doubt, subcontract an access control installer to handle the wiring, software installation and any network interfaces. If you can't find an access control installer, home automation or alarm installers are generally familiar with similar types of equipment.

7. Ordering Wrong Readers. If you are adding on to an existing system, you need to be 100% certain of the make, model and part number of the existing readers. Don't send the manufacturer or distributor a picture of the reader, because a lot of different readers use the same plastic housing. Go to the jobsite or get someone at the jobsite to find a screwdriver, remove the reader from the wall or mounting plate and read the ID label on the inside of the reader. Get all of the information, including firmware versions and output formats.

8. Ordering Wrong Cards. If you are adding cards to an existing system, knowing the data format, facility code and card ID Number range of the existing cards is critical. The technology (prox, contactless, Wiegand, mag stripe, etc) and brand of the new cards must be identical or guaranteed compatible with the existing cards. The facility code of the new cards should match the existing ones. While some systems will allow you to mix different facility codes, the ID numbers of the new cards cannot duplicate any of the existing ID numbers, and should not exceed the upper limit of the system (many systems only accept cards up to 65535). If you make a mistake when ordering cards, most companies will not take custom encoded cards back, so you may get stuck with some very expensive cards.

9. Not Pre-staging the System. Experienced installers never go to the jobsite without first trying to hook up and test the equipment at their shop or offices, especially if it is the first time they have installed a particular brand of equipment. Unpack all the equipment, place it on a large table, get out the manual, and connect all the components together using short cables. If you encounter difficulties, or if the products don't work the way you anticipated, this gives you enough time to contact tech support and resolve the issues. This way, when you get to the jobsite, your customer will think you are the best in the business! 

 NFC = Easier, Quicker Multitasking

NFC = Easier, Quicker Multitasking

Editor / Provider: Hayden Hsu | Updated: 8/9/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

Access Management
NFC is fully compliant with the ISO standards governing contactless smart cards. A mobile phone equipped with NFC technology can be used to carry a portable identity credential and then wirelessly present it to a reader, said Tam Hulusi, Senior VP of Strategic Innovation and Intellectual Property, HID Global (an Assa Abloy company). The phone is simply waved in front of the reader, and the user can open the door. Based on estimates from market research firm iSuppli, manufacturers will ship approximately 550 million NFC-enabled phones in 2015. 

According to SimonsVoss Technologies, two modes of access or identity management with NFC are possible.
1. As a reader (reader/writer mode):
The smartphone acts like a card reader. This allows people to read cards or tags, for example, which are small RFID chips on so-called smart posters. Tags can include web links via which people are then redirected to websites where more information on the topic is available.

2. As a card (card emulation mode):
In this mode, the smartphone is basically an access control card, adopting protocols such as Mifare Classic and DESfire. In other words, smartphones can open doors this way.


Operations and mechanisms for the end user and administrator are exactly the same as before; it is just the handheld device, which used to be a plastic access card or badge, that is different now. (Image courtesy of SimonsVoss Technologies)

Smartphones can thus be furnished with access authorizations via mobile-phone networks and allow users NFC-based access to entry/exit points guarded by readers, locks, locking cylinders, smart handles and relays, SimonsVoss said in a prepared statement. In the past, facility management and maintenance personnel had to procure the corresponding keys for their duties from a key depot and return them again afterwards. With the new NFC-based key/card distribution capability, access authorizations can now be sent directly to the corresponding employees' smartphones from the headquarters at any specified time, or for limited periods of time in emergencies or replacement scenarios.

For the end user, it is as easy as downloading an app to their handset and waving it in front of a reader or lock. The system administrator simply assigns the access authorisation(s) to the user as how it was done previously: whenever something changes for a user with an NFC smartphone, a new smart card data set (Mifare Classic or DESFire) is generated automatically and pushed to a central, closed, over-the-air (OTA) key management server.

An important element for mobile access is over-the-air provisioning of digital keys and credentials to NFC-enabled smartphones. “In a hotel environment, guests receive electronic room keys on their smartphones so they can bypass the front counter when checking in,” Hulusi said, giving some real-life examples. “In a commercial environment, new employees receive their digital keys OTA so they can use their smartphones to gain access into a given building for their first day of work.”

To support these applications, a cloud-based provisioning model is advised. This will enable credential issuers to monitor and modify security parameters when needed, eliminate the risk of credential copying, issue temporary credentials as needed, and revoke credentials when devices are lost or stolen. “NFC-enabled smartphones would be very convenient and reliable universal platforms for carrying a variety of embedded keys and credentials that can be issued OTA, with improved convenience and security,” Hulusi said.

Since not all smartphone manufacturers make NFC capabilities innate yet, NFC attachments or shells are usually employed: iCartes for iPhones and microSDs for Android-based phones. These attachments, according to SimonsVoss, include an NFC chip for close-proximity communication and a secure element in which all security-critical information, such as passwords and access authorizations, are stored and cryptological calculations are performed.

Mobile Applications
Mobile wallet, file sharing, ticketing and loyalty programs are other emerging, promising NFC applications, said Jacek Debowski, Research Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. “A considerable amount of mobile-wallet applications has been introduced to the market, and Google becoming a provider of such applications is particularly noteworthy. Developers of mobile-wallet applications are actively partnering with mobile-network operators to widen the proliferation of their software and services, making mobile payment a key contributor to NFC proliferation and growth.”

Contactless payments and contactless access control go hand-in-hand with NFC-enabled phones or handhelds; interesting “apps” also include transit ticketing, data transfers and access to online digital content, Hulusi said. This makes it easy to combine multiple virtual credentials on a single device for things like secured facility access and the ability to make cashless payments at the facility's cafeteria. “Cashless, contactless payments are becoming increasingly popular in, for example, Canada. According to an August 2010 study by Technology Strategies International, an Ontario-based tech market research firm, a significant chunk of transactions in Canadian stores will be carried out using cashless-payment systems by 2014. The value of contactless transactions is expected to reach US$5.6 billion, and there is also strong interest in mobile payments,” Hulusi said.

In Japan, NFC-based payment systems are already installed in fast-food restaurants, subways, taxis and vending machines, Hulusi continued. “University campuses would also be ideal candidates for this technology. Students can use NFC mobile phones to enter buildings, pay for parking, make purchases, use transit systems, check out library materials, identify themselves before taking tests, and access computer resources.”

Peer-to-peer exchange, such as electronic business cards, interactive games (social gaming), and Bluetooth or WLAN connections, is also possible with NFC, according to SimonsVoss.

Although several initiatives that intend to propel NFC applications are taking place, the need for investment in supporting infrastructure, which translates to ensuring larger volumes of PoS terminals and smartphones that support NFC, presently appears to be a major cause of concern for the industry, Debowski said. “In accelerating market penetration, end-user confidence and data security are significant limiting factors.”

No More “Guess Who?”
We are entering a new era of digital keys and portable, digital identity credentials that can be securely provisioned and safely embedded into smartphones. “Deploying this new model requires a seamless, end-to-end ecosystem of products and technologies for mobile keys and credentials, including the smartphones that carry them, the readers that authenticate them, the locks they open, and the services for issuing them,” Hulusi said. “With the advent of the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) business mobility deployment model, IT managers know they must protect data that is accessed by devices owned by employees and brought into the enterprise. One-time passwords or soft tokens can be generated for NFC-enabled phones or devices to securely log on to and access the network.”

Debowski added that standardization and certification efforts are being made in the industry to improve the security levels, so that trusted service providers can develop access, payment and management applications in a secured, reliable and effective manner.

Is 3-D for Security?

Is 3-D for Security?

Editor / Provider: Alyssa Fann | Updated: 8/7/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

Currently, 3-D technology is used in the security industry to create virtual 3-D environments — 3-D mapping — which is then integrated with a number of third party security systems, such as video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection and fire safety into a PSIM platform. Most of the companies currently providing this solution have partnered with a number of manufacturers in the security industry for the integration of hardware and software in order to exploit the benefits of 3-D. Fortem, for example, has listed its integration partners on its website.

Termed as a tool to gain situational awareness, 3-D can be beneficial in helping to mitigate false alarms, improve detection, reduce training time, increase speed of competency and finally, reduce search times in case of an event. Currently, it is mostly utilized in large facilities such as universities, airports or city surveillance projects. According to Debjit Das, VP of Global Marketing for Video Intelligence Solutions at Verint Systems, a 3-D model is created in PSIM using a layered approach. "The first layer is created using publicly available images and information about the areas, such as satellite images. Next, CAD drawings of floor plans and structures for the facilities are incorporated into the 3-D model."

At the same time, Rémi Bréval, Associate Director of Product Technologies at Genetec, pointed out that the “implementation of 3-D in security environments is leading, and in some cases bleeding edge technology that requires specialized knowledge and 3-D modeling expertise that may not exist in-house with integrators and end users. This is largely due to requirement for specialized knowledge of modeling and visualization tools and complex work involved in development of high fidelity 3-D environments."

“This expertise is not something common to the security industry, although there may be cases in which an integrator has nurtured in-house capabilities to support delivery of this functionality to its customers. In all cases, maintenance and updating of the 3-D environment will be an ongoing requirement that organizations need to factor into their implementation plan,” added Bréval.

2-D versus 3-D
What are the major differences between 2-D and 3-D when it comes to surveillance? Starting with the designing process, 3-D technology can maximize security budgets and provide what Cynthia Woo, Marketing Coordinator at Fortem, called “unparalleled situation awareness” that enables you to “see things that a 2-D design might have missed.” Woo provided the example of Fortem's 3-D simulation tool that allows users to try out camera and lens type on a 3-D simulated virtual map to visualize what the camera will see and at what resolution. Ultimately, Woo said, “prior to the purchase or installation of any camera, a 3-D map will allow you to effectively plan out your security design, reduce costs and meet all design requirements.” Similarly, Das agreed, “We offer 3-D to improve planning and response, ensure that the appropriate coverage of a facility is achieved. A 3-D model in PSIM provides better visualization and heightened situational awareness compared to a 2-D model, and in the planning and response process, it allows you to increase the effectiveness of your security operations."

Next, when it comes to the actual surveillance, 3-D technology promises to transform the experience. Accordingly, Woo said, “The major difference between 2-D and 3-D is the visualization aspect. With 3-D you are able to distinguish height and depth of a given area.” Similarly, Das summarized, “3-D provides better planning, easier visualization and hence a higher level of situational awareness for more effective response.”

Enhanced Visualization
A number of 3-D technology providers have partnered with PSIM service providers to provide an enhanced integrated security model. Accordingly, Ted Ingalsbe, CTO at Bridgeborn, said, “The 3-D environment is becoming the center piece of PSIM software. It provides the mashed up view of all the security system information integrated into PSIM software so an operator is provided better situational awareness.”

Benoit Georis, Analytics Expert at Digital Barriers, listed four benefits of 3-D technology in PSIM security platforms. First, 3-D technology provides consistency checks by removing false alarms that might arise from a lack of perspective management present in 2-D technology, such as showing that a person cannot jump over a high wall. Second, in what Gerois termed as “redeployable cameras,” a 3-D system is parameterized with real world 3-D parameters so that camera locations can be changed without the need to readjust settings, unlike a 2-D system which requires re-parameterizing. Third, industry experts all agree that 3-D technology can be integrated seamlessly with existing systems. Finally, a 3-D enabled security system can locate a suspicious person on a 3-D map of a site or building through information of the X, Y, Z location. In other words and as Woo said, “simply click on the 3-D map and you will be redirected to the appropriate video feeds, saving valuable time in critical situations.” For example, a 3-D PSIM platform such as Fortem's central command enables security staff to instantly view the site of concern when an alarm is triggered, alongside the corresponding video feeds. Next, as third party security systems can easily be integrated into the 3-D PSIM, security staff can easily “fly over an entire city or area for a full visualization of the surroundings” and alter the settings of third party security systems as required, such as unlocking or locking a door from an access control system that is connected to the PSIM. Furthermore, Woo added, “an investigator will be able to visualize possible routes that a suspect may have taken.”

Static and Immersive
Before getting into the nicks and crooks of investing in a 3-D PSIM system, it is necessary to differentiate between static and immersive 3-D technology. Keith Bloodworth, CEO of CNL Software, explained, “Static 3-D visualization is where a company is contracted to render a 3-D image, which is displayed within the PSIM software to which camera locations and fire points are added.” For example, an old CCTV system with multiple DVRs and a NVR can be modernized into 3-D by placing it upon a Google Map or SketchUp in a 3-D representation of the exterior/interior. While the improvement in quality will not be drastic, the integration of it into a PSIM system can be vastly beneficial to management and operation.

On the other hand, Bloodworth said, “immersive 3-D interacts with hardware to render the virtual environment and process the user input to provide a real sense of walking through a building. When cameras are overlaid on this, it creates a much richer user experience, allowing them to see more contextual information. The 3-D rendering is very process heavy, so requires lots of processor power. This adds significant costs to any deployment.” Hence, security budgets should be a factor in the process of adopting a 3-D PSIM system.

Scottish University Secured by Assa Abloy Access Solution

Scottish University Secured by Assa Abloy Access Solution

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 8/3/2012 | Article type: Education

Security products such as door closers and locks from ASSA have been used throughout new halls of residence development in the University of the West of Scotland's campus in Paisley, Scotland.

The University of the West of Scotland's most northerly campus, in Paisley, Renfrewshire, caters for around 10,000 students with courses ranging from business and engineering to social sciences and midwifery.

A range of ASSA products – including the new ASSA ABLOY DC500A door closers, 765 Modular locks, Nordic U lever handles, Twin Combi cylinder locks and ASSURE panic hardware – were used to secure all areas of the new GBP 13.2 million student residences complex.

The products were specified by Hypostyle Architects, who worked with the ASSA Specification Team and Glasgow-based architectural ironmongers, Williams Ironmongery. Ian Carswell, who was responsible for selecting and supplying the products, said: “We specified ASSA products throughout the entire development, as we knew they had the product depth and range for an application of this size.”

ASSA's DC500A door closers were used to provide access for communal entrances and shared social facilities, with the cam-motion functionality enabling doors to be easily opened by disabled users or elderly visiting relatives.

Nordic U lever handles from the Scanflex range were used throughout the development to create uniform and minimalist aesthetics. The attractive door furniture was supported by high-security cylinders, such as the Twin Combi 5800, which is fully resistant to any known picking methods, and the 765 Modular locks.

Finally, panic hardware that has been tested and meets the requirements of BS EN 1125, including ASSURE 8761 and 8762, was installed on exit routes, thereby ensuring student and staff safety in the event of a fire or emergency.

Barry Harris, regional sales manager for ASSA ABLOY Security Solutions, said: “Our existing relationship with Williams Ironmongery and combined experience in the education sector meant we were confident that we could deliver our solutions on time and on budget. Williams' decision to source all access control and door-opening systems from one contact helped to reduce project costs and ensured a smooth supply and installation process.”

Stockholm Property Company Upgrades Access System Using Assa Abloy

Stockholm Property Company Upgrades Access System Using Assa Abloy

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 7/9/2012 | Article type: Security 50

Property company Vasakronan is updating the access systems in two large buildings in central Stockholm. In the historic environment of the Westmanska Palatset conference center, the access system was switched to ASSA ARX one year ago. Now Vasakronan is continuing its modernization project in the Klara Zenit retail and commercial office block.

Klara Zenit is a property at the heart of the action, a modern city block occupied by retail, service commercial and residential uses with a total of 70,000 m2. The downtown Stockholm location requires high, stable security for the large and complex Klara Zenit block, where certain areas are difficult to visually monitor. Therefore Vasakronan is now upgrading its old RiTA access system to ASSA ARX. Vasakronan would like to have contactless readers, a more modern IT platform and an integrated telephone entry system.

Residents can easily use the touchscreen to reserve laundry times on the digital schedule board. The system uses the same contactless tags for identification that also provide access to the front door and the elevator. The ARX access system can also handle the new entry phones that are being installed, which will make it convenient for residents to receive visitors. Fewer separate security systems translate to easier administration and management.

Another part of the access system update involves domains for some of the commercial tenants. Businesses that have their own access systems for their own premises can manage building access. They can use the same cards or tags in either system, making it convenient for users.

The access system also controls access to the different floors in the nine elevators. Office tenants can use the card reader in the elevator to manage employee access rights to the floors.

Finally, Vasakronan wanted to create a cohesive access system for the entire block, which entailed replacing about one third of the code readers from another brand. The previous locking system was also replaced with an ASSA system.

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