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French hotel chain in Lithuania upgrades security system for enhanced customer experience

French hotel chain in Lithuania upgrades security system for enhanced customer experience

Editor / Provider: Salto Systems | Updated: 1/16/2013 | Article type: Residential & Consumer

The brand new Ibis Kaunas Center hotel (IKCT)in Kaunas, Lithuania, has installed a bespoke electronic access control solution from Salto.

Located within walking distance of the historic old town, close to both railway and bus stations and with easy highway access to Kaunas International Airport, Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania. The country is the largest of the three Baltic States, and is situated along the south-eastern shore of the Baltic Sea, to the east of Sweden and Denmark.

The new hotel features 125 air conditioned guest rooms and, as the latest addition to the Ibis chain, is part of Accor's leading economy hotel brand. Ibis has expanded continuously and is now Europe's largest economy hotel chain and the world's fourth largest in its category with 933 hotels and more than 113,000 rooms across 53 countries in all five continents.

Safety and security is very much a focus for hotels, so with specific regard to its guest room security the challenge for the Ibis Kaunas Centre hotel was to find a reliable security system that would not only complement the modern aesthetics of the building and its design, but operate seamlessly and discreetly in the background while giving guests reliable, unobtrusive 24/7 protection.

Agnieszka Filipowicz, Salto Business Development Manager Eastern Europe, says "Hotels probably have one of the toughest security tasks of all. On the one hand they have their own guests staying in the building but added to this are lots of other people they don't know including delivery people, maintenance people and non-residents coming in to use bars, restaurants, conference rooms, business services, sporting facilities and more.

So working in consultation with the hotel's owner Donetas Karciauskas and local Salto business partner Eurospynos, we designed a highly secure and flexible electronic access control system for all of their guest room needs installing 125 Aelement locks, 125 Energy Saving Devices, 4 XS4 locks, 4 online wall readers and our HAMS 100 software synchronized to their OPERA PMS system."

Tadas Cepulis of Salto partner Eurospynos says "Aelement has been developed with the needs of hotels in mind and features a range of hospitality-specific applications including the ability to control the security of the entire hotel from a single location. This includes granting access privileges to individual guest rooms and gathering audit trail data from every door in real time – all without leaving the front desk. Other benefits for the hotel include instant room move and instant extended stay abilities as well as lost card cancellation, intrusion alarm, door ajar alarm, remote opening, real time audit trail, passage mode activation for meeting rooms and automated low battery reporting."

And not only that but Aelement is also NFC enabled. So when this technology becomes standard on smartphones in the near future guests will be able to use their NFC enabled smartphones to emulate a normal Mifare smart card turning it into their hotel room key. 

Filipowicz comments, "After a considerable period researching the available applications and products that he thought may be suitable, the owner of the hotel chose Salto Systems for their reputation as manufacturers of advanced technology security solutions to the hotel and hospitality industry and the Aelement product in particular for its sleek looks and cutting edge design. He knows it to be the best on the market and, as he says himself, I've opened Ibis Hotel and my main priorities were uncompromised security and maximum convenience to hotel guests. Also maximum energy saving. And I was able to achieve this by choosing Salto."

Finally Aiste Cistoviene, Front Desk Manager of the ibis Kaunas Center hotel, says "To ensure our guests are secure during their stay with us, we wanted a stylish high performance locking system that not only looked good, but also offered us the latest technology and was capable of growing with us in the future. Salto has provided us with all of this and more."

Helsinki music center deploys locking and door-opening systems

Helsinki music center deploys locking and door-opening systems

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 12/28/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Designing a locking and door opening solution for the new 1,600-door Helsinki Music Center in Toolonlahti, Helsinki, was no simple task, but Assa Abloy rose to the challenge.

A total of 243 designs were submitted for the Helsinki Music Center building, in a competition won by Turku-based architects Laiho-Pulkkinen-Raunio with a proposal titled “A Mezza Voce”. The music center's 38,600 square meters of space are distributed between eight floors – four below ground and four above. It was a very demanding project for all suppliers, including Abloy. Planning the locks was a major undertaking as the building has 1,600 doors – 400 of which are fitted with access control. The doors also come in a wide range of sizes and widths, with the tallest being five meters high.

Construction work began in May 2006 and the music center opened its doors in August 2011. In 2007, when the architects were planning the doors, Marko Pietikainen, Abloy's district manager, began working on the project at architects Laiho-Pulkkinen-Raunio's office in Turku on the southwest coast of Finland. As the planning activities progressed, responsibility for the building's locking and door-opening solutions was transferred to Riitta Nikander-Koivula, an Abloy project sales representative. Design of the locking system was handled by Noora Piironen, an Abloy lock designer, and implemented by Turvaykkoset, an Abloy-authorized locksmith. By all accounts, the level of cooperation between all parties was excellent and great care and skill ensured the success of the project.

“Cooperation between the main contractor, sub-contractors and the architects on all aspects of the locking system contract was very smooth,” says Turvaykkoset's Markus Savolainen. “It was a challenging project completed on a tight schedule.”

RFID-based security tech checked into 6-star Czech suite

RFID-based security tech checked into 6-star Czech suite

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 12/13/2012 | Article type: Residential & Consumer

VingCard Elsafe, the global provider in hospitality security and part of the Assa Abloy Group, proudly announces that Prague's most glamorous hotel has selected RFID security technology among its launch amenities. One Room Hotel (ORH)—located 66 meters above the ground in Prague's tallest building, Tower Park Prague in the Czech Republic.

As its name suggests,ORH is a single suite of 6-star quality that commands a breathtaking view of Prague's historic Zizkov district. Following a complete renovation of the iconic Tower Park Prague, the building now features an upgraded lookout observatory, restaurant and bar to complement ORH. The property boasts the hotel industry's premier modern luxury amenities, including the Signature RFID locking system from VingCard Elsafe.

VingCard Elsafe's suite of RFID locking systems feature contactless access control via RFID encoded communication and secure anti-cloning software. Recent advancements to VingCard Elsafe's RFID technology have enabled RFID locks to read keycards from more than twice as far as before. Additionally, VingCard Elsafe RFID solutions are designed to be easily adapted to NFC.

In addition to the RFID locking system, ORH also deploys a bespoke version of Elsafe's Infinity II RFID safe in a luxurious white finish. State-of-the-art Infinity by Elsafe UL-listed safes employ the latest locking technology, including anti-tamper labyrinths and solid-steel hinges, placing it on par with the most secure in-room safes in the world. With its audit trail, spring-loaded door and Flash-RAM memory, the safe is perfect for protecting guests' valuables, and the attractive, adaptable design makes it ideal for any hotel environment.

"ORH is honored to offer our guests the use of distinctive VingCard locks, which are the most advanced available and which provide high user comfort through their contactless identification protocols," says Roman Lain, owner of ORH. "The Elsafe Infinity II RFID safes are likewise a leading product in their category. The safes are fully compatible with Signature RFID locks, meaning a guest need only use a single card for both. This makes the VingCard Elsafe products indisputably the premium security technologies in the industry, and a perfect fit for the world's most exclusive hotel."

Assa Abloy's VingCard appoints President for N. America

Assa Abloy's VingCard appoints President for N. America

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 12/7/2012 | Article type: Security 50

VingCard Elsafe, the global provider for hospitality security, announces the promotion of William J. (Bill) Oliver to the position of President for North America, effective January 1, 2013. Oliver will continue as VingCard Elsafe's VP and GM for the North America region until the end of the year, and he will remain based out of Assa Abloy Hospitality's North America headquarters in the Dallas area.

One of the most respected executives in the hospitality technology sector, Oliver joined Assa Abloy Hospitality in July 2011 in a role created specifically for him. He was responsible for leading all sales and customer operations for VingCard Elsafe brands in the United States and Canada, streamlining operations and maximizing customer satisfaction through enhanced service and support. His appointment was the centerpiece of a renewed focus on improving customer service operations at VingCard Elsafe, and his dedication to fulfilling the rapidly changing technology needs of the global hospitality industry resulted in one of the company's most successful years ever.

“We have seen considerable improvement in our service delivery and customer focus since Bill joined our team last year, and he has made a significant impact on our customer satisfaction this year across North America,” says Tim Shea, President of A Assa Abloy Hospitality. “We anticipate another strong year in 2013, and Bill will help us maintain that positive momentum by ensuring our organizational goals remain aligned with customer needs and expectations.”

Assa Abloy Hospitality's core brands include VingCard electronic locking solutions, Elsafe digital in-room safes and Orion by VingCard Elsafe energy management systems.

Oliver's resume is impressive. During his successful 27-year career, he has also managed a wide range of hotel properties, from premium-branded, full-service hotels and casino resorts to independent boutique hotels with prestigious groups such as Marriott, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Doubletree. In addition, he has held Board of Director level positions with various Hotel/Motel Associations and regional Convention and Visitors Bureaus.

Before joining VingCard Elsafe, he founded and headed Evolve Hospitality Group, a successful hotel industry consultancy that assisted both global manufacturers and hospitality companies with business development, financial and operational improvements. He also logged more than six years as an executive for hospitality security technology vendors, including a stint as Vice President of Sales & Operations for North America and EMEA. Other previous roles include senior management positions with prestigious hospitality organizations, such as Noble Investment Group, Winegardner & Hammons, Vista Host, and Peabody Hotel Group, among others.

Looking beyond the 2012 ranks

Looking beyond the 2012 ranks

Editor / Provider: By Tevin Wang and Judy Wang, a&s International | Updated: 12/6/2012 | Article type: Security 50

Consensus among the physical, electronic security industry is that the marketplace out there is highly fragmented and support-intensive. Cream of the crop, by unbiased financial performance, is not easy to muster, let alone gathering a representative 50. In this feature, a&s looks into the 2012 Security 50 who survived and/or thrived, to highlight changes, trends and directions for the near future.

The 2012 Security 50 ranking was based on 2011 financial results. 2011 was supposed to be a “rebound” year, and yet not everyone passed with flying colors. Some gained momentum, sales and market share, while others continued their struggle to find the best approach to defying declining revenues.

Video surveillance, compared to other product groups, had fairly strong revenue growth with an average of 19.5 percent. Avigilon saw its revenue grow to US$59.1 million, up 86 percent from 2010; its gross profit also grew a whopping 89.7 percent. Asian manufacturers Hdpro and Vivotek have also scaled the ranking ladder. As a matter of fact, nine of the top 10 companies for revenue growth are dedicated providers of video surveillance solutions. Chinese manufacturer Tiandy Digital Technology made its debut in this year's ranking; this company is coming on strong with 50.1-percent and 60.6-percent growth in revenue and profit, respectively.

The average revenue growth for the access control manufacturers on the Security 50 ranking was a mere 0.5 percent. Access control giant Assa Abloy (Global Technologies division) clinches the spot as top player again with $826 million in revenue, up 14.8 percent from 2010. According to its financial report, demand for RFID devices rose sharply in 2011, as it upgraded its numerous customers' previously installed locks, which used a magnetic stripe card locking system, to more secure, flexible and user-friendly locks that employ RFID. SimonsVoss Technologies also performed well, growing 18.4 percent in 2011. Korean manufacturer Suprema posted considerable revenue growth, up 21.9 percent from 2010 to $36.4 million in 2011, while another Asian vendor RCG restructured and suffered.

In profit growth, the top 10 include IP video solutions providers Avigilon, Mobotix and Synectics, security and safety systems provider Napco Security Technologies, and Asian elite Hdpro, Tiandy, Hikvision Digital Technology, Dahua Technology, Kocom and Win4Net.

Fast Growing Companies
Last year was quite significant for Avigilon, Mobotix and Arecont Vision. Avigilon achieved 86-percent growth, the highest among the 2012 ranking. Mobotix grew 35.9 percent, and Arecont Vision rose 25 percent. All three are pioneers in multimegapixel cameras and are enjoying the growth phase of the network camera product life cycle.

“In November, we went public on the Toronto Stock Exchange,” said Keith Marett, VP of Marketing and Communications. “In less than a year, we doubled our ITO price. In this day and age, that's a significant achievement to be able to deliver those kinds of results to shareholders. In 2011, Avigilon was named the fastest growing software company in North America by Deloitte's Fast 500 ranking.”

“Mobotix is like Apple,” said Magnus Ekerot, CEO of Mobotix. “We have full control of what we want to be. Putting standards aside, we should think about end users; they should have the freedom with installations and no extra fees for buying management software. Why we do something different is for the sake of end users. We also think about how we can help systems integrators and distributors make money and keep the margin they should have.”

Arecont Vision
“When it comes to surveillance, pixels (resolution) are all that matters,” said Becky Zhou, VP of Sales for APAC. ”Think about how much area can be covered by a camera. For a VGA resolution camera, you get about 1,500 pixels per dollar. For a 10-megapixel camera, it is about 1,800 pixels per dollar. This is more cost-effective, and the ROI is better. The megapixel camera is right in the initial, high-growth phase of its product life cycle. We are expecting more growth in the near future.”







EU Results, Surprisingly Good
For European companies, the average revenue growth was 17.4 percent, which is roughly 6 percentage points higher than the year before. Despite the financial struggles in southern Europe, double-digit revenue growth was posted by Assa Abloy, Axis Communications, Geutebruck, Mobotix, Milestone Systems, Nedap, Safran Group, SimonsVoss, Synectics and TKH Group, averaging at 22.3 percent.

It is worth noting that the three German companies that made the 2012 ranking — SimonsVoss, Mobotix and Geutebruck — all enjoyed consistent, uninterrupted growth, thanks to their strong domestic market and high market presence, averaging an uptick of 23.7 percent.

Minor Bumps in APAC
The average revenue growth from APAC companies, on the other hand, had somewhat lost momentum. Over the past three years, Korean and Taiwanese companies, which used to be the security world's go-to-factories, have been facing stiff challenges brought on by global financial and economic crises and the rise of Chinese manufacturers. Hikvision and Dahua, apparent locomotives of Chinese security manufacturing, have intensified the price competition for their geographically adjacent opponents. Over the past three years, the 10 Korean companies have been able to hold on to and remain in the Security 50 ranking, while two of the nine Taiwanese companies dropped out of the ranking this year.

Interestingly, with an average 17.5-percent revenue increase, the ranking's Korean manufacturers outperformed the overall average growth of 14 percent. While Hdpro's exceptional 83.7 percent lifted the bloc's average, ITX Security's 11.7-percent dip was a clear indication that the days of siloed analog devices are numbered.

Taiwanese players, in contrast, did not enjoy a fruitful 2011, the average revenue growth was a mere 8.8 percent, and three out of the seven Taiwanese companies suffered revenue losses. Dynacolor, Yoko Technology and Everfocus Electronics reported 16.4 percent, 16 percent and 12.3 percent revenue losses, respectively. Vivotek and Geovision, on the contrary, represented a small number of Taiwanese companies who did well in 2011 and invested in IP-based and vertical-specific solutions, with revenue increases of 62.1 percent and 27 percent, respectively.

Despite the successes of Hikvision and Dahua, another prominent Chinese (Hong Kong) company, RCG, encountered a severe organizational and financial struggle, with a revenue decline of 54.2 percent. Average growth for Chinese companies also turned lukewarm in 2011, which might be an implication that the domestic market has slowed, and those looking to grow will need to figure out how to make their mark in the international market.

Warning Sign
The average gross profit margin from 2012 Security 50 was a humble 12.6 percent, a clear warning sign that the security industry is following in the footsteps of the IT industry in terms of ever-decreasing profits.

To stay profitable means to differentiate and stay unique. Mobotix enjoyed a 76.8-percent gross profit margin to lead the top 50, followed by Milestone Systems' 75.8 percent — these were just two stellar examples from many in terms of system architecture and channel distribution.

Unveiling 2012 a&s Security 50

Unveiling 2012 a&s Security 50

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 11/30/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

a&s annual ranking Security 50 is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012, with new rising stars as well new growth drivers and challenges. The physical, electronic security industry's only ranking of global hardware and software solutions providers by revenue, Security 50 salutes the champions who have demonstrated spirits of innovation, dedication and perseverance despite challenging economic conditions. Their experience, know-how and insights help shed light on future development paths, setting a new bar for themselves and the industry as a whole, to evolve and advance.

 a&s sister publication is unveiling the complete 2012 ranking and coverage in the coming weeks, on a dedicated microsite. Be sure to check out this year's solution providers and their viewpoints!


Strategic Highlights

Hans-Gernot Illig, CEO and President of SimonsVoss Technologies

Wireless locking and access control systems are still in the early introduction stage of their product life cycle, and we are expecting continued excellent growth potential of our products.

Lars Thinggaard, CEO and President of Milestone Systems

Milestone tunes into customers' real needs; they asked for video on smartphones, and we delivered video on smartphones. That's why we lead the industry.

Huimin Pang, CEO of Dali Technology


Dali is devoted to developing thermal imaging sensors and producing related products for security applications.
Owen Chen, Chairman of Vivotek

Vivotek's dedication to and persistence on developing solutions that best fulfill user requirements are clearly palpated by our partners and clients worldwide, and the resulting growth in market share as of late has been phenomenal.

Lin Dai, CEO of Tiandy Digital Technology

We made huge progress this year by growing 50 percent compared to 2011, but it is still not enough. Next, we will focus more on how to better cater to customer needs and speed up our services.

Liquan Fu, President of Dahua Technology

We at Dahua never stop thinking about how to improve ourselves and explore new technologies. With our strong R&D capacity and professional teams, we are super confident in keeping this strong momentum and providing much more than expected.

Keen Yao, International Marketing Director, Hikvision Digital Technology

This year, Hikvision has been recognized as the world's No. 1 video surveillance equipment provider as per IMS Research 2012 report, which is an affirmation of our ongoing business model. Looking forward, we will continue to produce innovative surveillance products and solutions in order to bring greater value and versatility to our customers.

Singaporean public housing goes digital in locking mechanisms

Singaporean public housing goes digital in locking mechanisms

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 11/30/2012 | Article type: Security 50

Digital locks and other high-tech home security solutions are becoming increasingly important to the 85 percent of Singapore residents living in housing managed by the government's Housing and Development Board (HDB).

Consequently more and more HDB residents are willing to spend their own money on security solutions such as digital locks, biometric readers and surveillance systems, reports STProperty, a Singapore real-estate website.

Jean Tay, a 37-year-old mother of two, is one of them. “It is to safeguard my family,” said Tay, who seven months ago organized a bulk purchase of locks for about 30 residents in her estate.

The growing security consciousness, driven in part by longer working hours and greater levels of international travel, has resulted in 2,000 Yale digital door lock sales to HDB flat owners, with about 20 percent of these customers purchasing their locks through group purchases.

Alan Goh, Retail Business Development Manager of Assa Abloy Singapore, says word of mouth is partly behind the surge in demand. “Social media sites such as Facebook and renovation forums have become a good platform for discussing security needs and highlighting the advantages of digital locks,” Goh said.

As well as increased security, digital locks provide the convenience of keyless entry.

Assa Abloy wireless locks compatible with HID Global Genuine

Assa Abloy wireless locks compatible with HID Global Genuine

Editor / Provider: HID Global | Updated: 11/23/2012 | Article type: Security 50

HID Global, a provider for secure identity solutions, announced that parent company Assa Abloy′s innovative Aperio wireless lock family can deliver all of the benefits of the Genuine HID value proposition for performance, value and service, including interoperability with Seos credentials from HID Global and Assa Abloy, and with the HID Global iCLASS SE reader platform. Aperio lock technology enables doors to be integrated into an access control system without having to install wiring, make any structural changes to the doors, or modify existing access control credentials or system software.

Assa Abloy's Aperio locks have been Genuine HID Technology (GHT) certified and further extend the industry's broadest portfolio of end-user options for creating trusted, advanced and dependable secure identity solutions. Aperio lock technology provides organizations with an easy way to wirelessly link mechanical door locks to new or existing access control systems so that the doors can be opened with RFID cards rather than keys. As a certified GHT, Aperio also supports HID Global's iCLASS SE platform, which is the benchmark for highly adaptable, interoperable and secure access control solutions, and includes Seos credentials for improved security, privacy and portability. Additionally, Aperio locks support iCLASS, MIFARE and DESFire, as well as low frequency 125 kHz HID Prox and EM410x technologies.

By certifying Assa Abloy's wireless lock family as a GHT, Assa Abloy and HID Global give Aperio customers the assurance that these products are supported by a wide array of innovative and interoperable solutions that have been enhanced by an international network of partnerships and alliances and are manufactured in worldwide ISO-certified facilities. This Genuine HID commitment also means that all products are backed by the industry's strongest delivery-and-response platform plus global product warranty and agency certifications. Aperio customers also benefit from interoperability with the HID Global iCLASS SE platform and Seos credentials. Based on open standards, the iCLASS platform ensures that technology investments can be leveraged in the future, and that today's access control solutions will work with future products including those using NFC-enabled smartphones and other devices.

“Aperio products with Genuine HID Technology will enable a wide array of revolutionary new security solutions for our customers,” said Chris Bone, VP of Access Control at Assa Abloy EMEA. “Aperio's Genuine HID Technology certification gives customers the assurance of an exceptionally high level of quality and service, and extensive options for creating an access control infrastructure that includes wireless electronic locking technology, among other current and future capabilities.”

“This certification brings the world's most successful lock brand into the industry's top access control portfolio,” said Kerry Reid, VP of HID Connect at HID Global. “Combining Aperio with Genuine HID Technology significantly broadens the range of innovative products and solutions that we can offer our customers to help them meet their secure identity needs, and further demonstrates the power of HID Global and Assa Abloy's collective technology innovation and leadership.”

HID Global and Assa Abloy continue to reinforce the value of their combined portfolios for customers who have rapidly converging requirements for physical and logical access control systems, door opening solutions, locks and security products. The two companies' combined portfolios also extend to mobile access control and locking solutions that work with NFC-enabled smartphones and other mobile devices. The collective offering includes readers and locks, secure tokens for logical access control, and the Seos ecosystem of interoperable products and services for the over-the-air issuing, delivering and revoking of digital keys that enable mobile devices to open doors to homes, hotels, offices, hospitals, universities, and industrial and commercial buildings.

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.

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