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Assa Abloy/HID tags OK'd for use in explosive environments

Assa Abloy/HID tags OK'd for use in explosive environments

Editor / Provider: HID Global | Updated: 5/31/2013 | Article type: Security 50

HID Global announced it has achieved ATEX certification for its field-proven Logi Tag family of industrial RFID tags that are highly water, chemical and shock resistant, and withstands peak temperatures. This certification adds to the company's expansive offering of innovative IN Tag and industrial Glass Tags that are certified for safe use in potentially explosive environments.

ATEX* certification validates that HID Global RFID tags operate without danger of directly causing or contributing to an explosion when used in offshore drilling platforms, petrochemical plants, mines, flour mills and other flammable environments. This also extends to other process industries in which there is a mixture of gases, vapors, mists or dust in the air that can ignite at specific temperatures or under certain operating conditions. ATEX certification ensures safe deployment of automated systems in these potentially hazardous conditions and also validates that HID Global's RFID tags perform while maintaining surface temperatures low enough to prevent the risk of ignition.

“Pursuing ATEX certification for our tags is an example of how HID Global works to anticipate and exceed customer needs across a wide range of environments and use cases,” said Richard Aufreiter, Director of Product Management for Identification Technologies at HID Global. “Our integrator partners and their customers must meet rigorous safety standards for their complex systems, and HID Global's RFID tags that are pre-certified to meet those standards help organizations save time and reduce costs.” HID Global and its worldwide network of integrator partners help end customers optimize data accuracy, achieve compliance and optimize critical systems by employing RFID tagging products that align with the demands of a broad spectrum of industries and applications.

*From the French Appareilsdestines a etreutilises en ATmospheresEXplosives, which translates as “equipment cleared for explosive environments.”

Value-added biometrics

Value-added biometrics

Editor / Provider: Compiled by a&s International | Updated: 5/28/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

In science fiction, biometric identification represents a futuristic icon. Today, biometrics have become more commonplace, with mobile devices incorporating biometric authentication to replace weaker security measures, such as passwords. Many have turned to biometrics not only for the added security and accountability, but also for the value-added services and limitless possibilities.

Homeless Service Management
In the U.S., one recent application demonstrates the development of a centrally managed homeless management information system (HMIS). It helps manage data on homeless individuals and analyzes who received services in order to pinpoint demand. However, tracking and managing homeless individuals require a great amount of labor as they lack fixed addresses. Before, the only way to track them was through signature-based sign-in forms when they entered homeless shelters. However, these hand-written forms were prone to fraud, which led to more work and waste in resources. To address this problem, Bergen County — part of the New York City metropolitan area and the most populous county in New Jersey — turned to fingerprint systems for its Department of Human Services for more accurate identification and efficient data management to manage part of its homeless service program.

Each individual who wishes to come for a meal or access the shelter for the first time is asked for a fingerprint scan on an Internet-based platform deployed in the caseworker's computer. The fingerprint file will be stored in a single fingerprint database under the country's data center for client identification at their subsequent accesses, to allow for quicker entry by placing their fingers on the sensor. In the same manner, user access to the system is also guarded by the technology where system operators are also required to be fingerprinted to log in. The database system is based on Fulcrum Biometrics' modular development framework and managed by Eyemetric Identity Systems, a biometric solution provider. The system was designed to operate independently from New Jersey's HMIS while maintaining automated information exchange with the federal system to keep both databases updated. Furthermore, the database has restricted interoperability and cannot be checked against any law enforcement databases. “To meet this requirement, the application is configured not to save the raw fingerprint images. The system only saves the fingerprint template required for matching and client identification,” said Ray Bolling, cofounder and President of Eyemetric.

The system has helped the department efficiently document the use of other services such as showers, caseworker appointments, and computer and telephone use. Bergen County's system has been running as a pilot since 2009, serving as a test case statewide and nationwide. The adoption of biometrics in social services is expected to expand. “The first step in delivering social benefits is to identify clients,” Bolling stressed. “Given current conditions, it is time to explore new ways of delivering services more effectively and efficiently while remaining humane and respectful to clients. Biometric identification is the ideal means to meet that challenge.”

Self-Service License Renewal
Self-service is largely praised for time and labor savings. In some parts of the world, automated machines are gradually taking over in restaurants and movie theaters where, traditionally, the presence of service attendants was required. In the U.S., self-service has entered the public service sector. Since the early 2000s, US citizens have been able to conduct online driver's license renewals, although they are still required to visit the motor vehicle office to have their photos and signatures taken, depending on the state.

In 2009, Mississippi became the first state to deploy self-service driver's license renewal/replacement kiosks with a photography function that incorporates a facial biometric identification system. Cooperating with MorphoTrust USA (a Safran Group company), the Mississippi Department of Public Safety adopted a system that streamlined the licensing operations and reduced customer wait time. Mississippi is followed by a number of states, including Delaware, Indiana, Alabama and more. Tennessee deployed its self-service solutions in the beginning of 2013.

Such kiosks help initiate the applicant enrolment process and enable self-service and cashless transactions; one can make payment on the machine with a credit/debit card. Customers are guided through a series of prompts and are asked to securely enter personal information on the kiosks' touch screen menus. For identity theft prevention, the facial recognition technology and image verification software are embedded in each kiosk. The machine will take a photo of the applicant, and the software matches it against with the existing photos in the database networked with state driver's license records to verify the person's identity. After the identity confirmation, an interim receipt will be printed out for temporary use until the secure card is mailed out from the central issuance facility.

“This new technology makes the renewal and replacement process simple, and gives Mississippians the option of visiting one of our driver services' buildings or one of the kiosk machines,” said the Mississippi Department of Public Safety in a prepared announcement. Bill Gibbons, Commissioner of Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, agreed in an interview with MorphoTrust: “In some cases, we're saving our customers a nearly 20-mile drive plus the time spent waiting in line by placing our kiosks in locations that are convenient to them.”

Enhanced Airport Experience
On top of the stress from organizing trips, many travelers dread the long lines at the airport check-in counter. Trying to navigate the airport causes more headaches, taking all the joy out of a not-yet-begun journey. While compromising security for speed is not an option, many airports have reexamined the bottlenecks and turned to technology to speed up the processing of travelers. They automate procedures and take care of the chores that ground crew used to handle.

Gatwick Airport is the second largest and busiest international airport in London. According to its website, 34.2 million passengers passed through it in 2012 alone. Aiming to reduce queues generated by heavy foot traffic and ensure each passenger is treated like a special guest, the airport recently tested the use of biometric and analytic technology to personalize and improve travel experience. HRS Systems, a British biometric solution provider, was approached to help demonstrate this capability.

According to HRS, the concept of the trial was based on what travelers wanted from airports in the future and the airport's customer-focused commitments — to create a more personalized airport experience. The journey begins when travelers are identified using facial recognition upon their arrival at the parking barrier. The barrier is then opened after the verification, which triggers the system to send an email or text via the Gatwick mobile app to the traveler's cellular phone and guide them to the parking space reserved for them. “The modality of the biometrics used may vary; for simplicity's sake, the concept used facial biometrics via strategically placed cameras to identify the traveler. It then checks this ‘template' against the database and opens the barrier once a positive match has been made,” said Ian Cushion, Marketing Manager at HRS. “The database is based on frequent registered passengers who are already known to the airport with an existing biometric and user profile enroled in the airport system.”

A series of personalized guidance messages following the first are set to be delivered to the traveler's smartphone along the way. Once they enter the terminal, the app sends another message to notify the passenger of their flight information and the location of their check-in counter, along with a general welcome message. “This welcome can be personalized to advise the traveler of any events or offers that are currently running that they may be interested in based on their previously stored profile,” added Cushion.

Based on the traveler's stored profile and previous purchases, the system feeds personalized adverts as they travel through the airport. In addition, the airport also plans to deploy iris recognition technology that is currently under live trial at the airport's auto-boarding system. “At check-in, travelers use designated self-service bag drops to deposit their hold luggage and enroll themselves biometrically via unobtrusive iris recognition.” Cushion said. “Enroled travelers can then utilize automated self-service gates to board the aircraft through a combination of iris recognition and presenting a valid boarding card.”

The trial demonstration is part of a US$1.8 billion investment program to modernize Gatwick Airport's facilities and improve the overall passenger experience. In 2012, Gatwick Airport won the Best Security and Immigration Experience Award for improvement on its security and immigration process and the implementation of biometrics.

Identive discusses PIV impact on the private sector

Identive discusses PIV impact on the private sector

Editor / Provider: Identive Group | Updated: 5/22/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Since launching the HSPD-12 (Homeland Security Presidential Directive 12, Policy for a Common Identification Standard for Federal Employees and Contractors) secure credentialing program in 2004, millions of smart cards have been issued to US Government employees, military personnel and contractors. As a result, the government has streamlined and standardized the process used to vet employees and process their identities and credentials, and has defined and implemented a standardized, single credential to grant access to physical and logical security applications.

Government employees across all federal agencies now are required to use a single, secure photo ID badge to authenticate themselves, gain access to doors, gates and portals at government buildings, carry biometric and other information in a secure manner, log on to their computers and mobile devices, digitally sign emails and encrypt disks, files and emails.

With this US Government initiative, for the first time, standards were applied to all elements of the identity, credential and access management ecosystem of an organization. Developed by NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), the Federal Information Processing Standard 201 (FIPS 201) governs the way in which federal employees provide their identities, and the workflows associated with capturing personnel data, processing credential requests, producing the credential and getting it to the employee are strictly defined. Following the FIPS 201-mandated process provides a high level of trust in the credential, which allows it to be accepted across different agencies, and to perform more functions than a typical, locally-issued proximity credential could be trusted with. These credentials are commonly referred to as PIV (Personal Identity Verification) cards. As of today, millions of PIV cards have been issued to federal workers, including both military and non-military government employees and contractors.

To produce the high volumes of smart cards the government requires for its PIV credentials, a number of agencies, including the GSA (U.S General Services Administration), established sophisticated identity and smart card management systems that not only print visually secure ID badges, but also encode the smart card chips with agency- and personnel-specific data, biometric information, encryption keys and digital certificates.

Government standards also aid enterprises
It took a lot of work by the government and industry, but the FIPS 201 standard that supports HSPD-12 has made real the promise of trusted, enterprise-wide credentialing and multiple applications on a single credential. Success at the federal agency level has stirred interest among government contractors and commercial enterprises, many of whom share the problems as the government –identifying all employees, and securely managing those identities and their credentials across multiple sites.

There are various forms of FIPS 201 credentials that are available to private and commercial organizations, allowing them to benefit from the research and data models that have been implemented and shown to be effective by the federal government. Examples include TWIC (Transport Worker Identity Card), use by workers at maritime facilities and ports, FRAC (First Responder Access Card) for police, fire and other local government emergency response personnel, and PIV-I (PIV-Interoperable Cards) for non-government personnel that may need to have access to US Government sites and data as if they were government personnel.

And there are CIV Cards. The Commercial Identity Verification Card provides a model for technical compatibility with PIV-based systems deployed by the federal government. The CIV card doesn't require the same level of identity proofing or issuance workflow required to obtain a PIV card, but does provide a framework that non-government organizations can use to issue very secure, multifunction smart card credentials. Technically, PIV-I and CIV are virtually identical; the difference lies in the issuing process. CIV issuers must follow the same enrollment, verification, separation of duties and full background checks that the federal government follows to issue a PIV card. CIV holders are then considered vetted to the same standards as a government employee or contractor, and their credentials are handled with the same levels of security as a government-issued card.

CIV cards for smaller organizations – issued through the cloud
But what if instead of millions, your organization consists of thousands, or maybe hundreds of employees? While high assurance, smart-card based credentialing programs would provide more secure physical and logical security tools and policies, the investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars required to implement such a card management system would likely be a challenge.

This is where cloud-based credentialing, or “identity as a service” can play a role. These services allow users to bypass the smart card infrastructure investment and to create, manage and distribute secure, certificate-based smart card credentials such as CIV cards through the cloud. ‘Pay-as-you-go' models offers one fixed price so you pay only for the users you need, as you need them, eliminating the complexity and operating costs associated with managing and deploying an internal smart card identity project. This approach offers significant savings by avoiding upfront capital and ongoing management costs of replacing, installing, maintaining and managing onsite servers and systems.

Typical identity as a service solutions allow an organization to define its own credentialing workflows, badge designs and encoding data for physical access, logical access, digital signing and encryption. Badges can be printed by the service in bulk, one at a time, or even at the customer's facility, if they prefer to have printers and the associated supplies and support mechanisms on site. Remote employees can log onto the service, follow the predetermined workflows, and create their own badges, which are then mailed to them in a secure envelope.

By taking the complexity out of designing smart card data models, encryption, encoding, printing and issuance, cloudbased credentialing services make true, secure smart card functionality and deployments available to all organizations.

Outside the U.S., there are similar programs starting or already going on all over the world that use smart card-based credentials issued via the cloud. The underlying technology that creates secure, trusted identity credentials is gaining momentum. And we can be curious what the future will bring.

Tennessee rehabilitation center keeps recovering residents in check

Tennessee rehabilitation center keeps recovering residents in check

Editor / Provider: Sponsored by Qnap Security | Updated: 5/20/2013 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Recovery Ranch, located in Nashville, Tennessee, U.S., is a special rehabilitation center for clients with addictive, eating or mood disorders, or in need of psychosomatic recovery for improved quality of life. The ranch employs 160 therapists and administrative personnel, serving more than 75 clients at a time, with 24/7 care for different treatments; hence, it is a large facility with residents of diverse backgrounds.

The ranch encompasses two sites: the main campus with two buildings and a new campus with six buildings, individually located one mile apart. On land stretching over 2,000 acres and multiple campuses, it is necessary to have a powerful surveillance system to secure the community and archive records of any incidents that occur. The two original buildings, dated back to late 1800s, were not designed with network wiring. Also, they had unstable power supplies due to the age of the buildings and the location in a rural area, where bad weather could easily cause a power outage. Therefore, wireless became very important, and a good mechanism to sustain system power supply was essential, too.

Moreover, Recovery Ranch required 16 to 18 cameras installed around the campuses and a system able to store videos for two to three months. Prior to the installation, Recovery Ranch surveyed CCTV and DVR solutions, but all lacked advanced management functions and did not have sufficient storage capacity.

Road to Recovery
In the end, Recovery Ranch turned to the Qnap VioStor NVR surveillance system because of its robust, IP-based design and the many unique management features. Two units of VioStor NVR VS-6020 Pro, powered by dual-core Intel Atom processor, were installed on each campus, monitoring 25 VIVOTEK fixed domes and Mobotix fisheye cameras. “Qnap NVRs definitely play a central role in the video security for Recovery Ranch, as this is a one-stop solution that is well-integrated with multiple brands of IP cameras and hence can fulfill very diverse indoor/outdoor monitoring requirements,” said Jeff Chase, IT Manager. “Moreover, the system is very scalable in camera deployment, and with free software updates, it is open to more features at no additional cost, making it a future-proof investment for many years to come.”

The VS-6020 Pro supports high-quality H.264, MPEG-4, M-JPEG and MxPEG recording, and can efficiently stream videos wirelessly while maintaining high-megapixel image quality. In addition, the 6-bay VS-6020 Pro accommodates up to 24-TB storage capacity to satisfy Recovery Ranch's needs of storing videos for up to three months. The VS-6020 Pro also solves the problem of unexpected power outage. With support for UPS devices, the VS-6020 Pro is programmed with USB-connected UPS to ensure 24/7 service. Detailed event logs of system warning, network disconnection and the UPS status are also recorded for diagnosis. What Recovery Ranch favored most was the intelligent video analytics. By using the motion detection algorithm in playback mode, the security administrator can set up areas of interest and time frames for the NVR to automatically find events of interest. It is, overall, less labor-intensive than manually watching each channel at 16x fast-forward play. It is quick to review — for example, an individual, in a specific area, at a certain time of the day — the day's video, and reviewing evidence is more efficient than ever.

Since the two units of VioStor NVR VS-6020 Pro were installed, the ranch has required little maintenance. The Linux-based operating system and RAID storage volume are very reliable; at the same time, it is more power-efficient than running the VMS server on a PC. Therefore, Recovery Ranch does not have to keep the PC running 100-percent of the time. It shows power consumption changes from 200W to 43W (with six HDDs installed) in average, resulting in up to five times of savings in utility. “The VS-6020 Pro is an easy-to-use and intuitive product, enabling the security administrator to fully utilize the features of the surveillance system. We can spend less time on IT, and more time on running the center,” Chase concluded.



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Swedish water management agency opts for intelligent access

Swedish water management agency opts for intelligent access

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 5/17/2013 | Article type: Government & Public Services

The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) in Gothenburg, recently deployed an access control system consisting of Assa Abloy's access control system and door leaf readers that were integrated with Galaxy Control System's fire and intruder alarm systems to secure its 3,800 square meters office from unauthorized access.

When SwAM was formed on July 1, 2011, so that a single authority could assume responsibility for environmental and fisheries issues, it was necessary to find a new headquarters capable of hosting about 230 people. Pagoden (the Pagoda), an old heritage-listed warehouse at Gullbergsstrand, next to the Gota Alv river in Gothenburg, was selected as the ideal site. It was actually just a shell at the time, but its owner was in the process of converting it into a modern workplace while maintaining the special character of the building. Today SwAM occupies two floors of the seven-floor building, and is home to staff including biologists, sociologists, attorneys, economists, oceanographers and five employees from the Swedish Coast Guard.

"Openness is appreciated and works very well, but of course it requires a different type of security when visitors can essentially walk right in,” said Helena Schmidt, Security Strategist at SwAM. “We arrange quite a few workshops and conferences here, and there are a lot of practical considerations.” The agency prioritized securing perimeters, since having an alarm inside the building would not work because there are personnel on-site 24/7.

The access control system is operated by the personnel who answer the phones, who say it is both simple and convenient to use. They can create new staff access cards using the photo ID system, add or change information about who can access the building at which times, block individual cards and increase or decrease authorization levels.

After some time passed, SwAM staff discovered that it would be useful to lock conference rooms, so that visitors could safely leave their bags and other belongings there. Assa door leaf readers were installed because they can be integrated well with the access control system.


Assa Abloy unveils RF-shielding openings

Assa Abloy unveils RF-shielding openings

Editor / Provider: Assa Abloy | Updated: 5/10/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Radio frequency shielding has come a long way since its inception by Michael Faraday in 1836. The method involves the use of copper shielding to absorb radio and magnetic waves in buildings where blocking these emissions from interference is critical. Ceco Door , Curries, Fleming, and Security Metal Products have developed an RF shielding door and frame opening for use in MRI rooms, test labs, emergency call centers, data and IT storage, RFID scanning areas, government, and military facilities. The conductive surfaces of the opening help to restrict interference from local RF transmitters (such as radio towers, radar, and broadcasting units), and, in turn, avoid the compromise of confidential information.

The RF opening consists of the door and frame (up to 4'0'x8'0') with shielded seals and surfaces, a Pemko threshold, conductive caulk, installation instructions, and expert customer support to assist in installing and maintaining this innovative product.

The Assa Abloy Door Group brands have put this product through rigorous testing prior to release, and have certified the opening using Military Standard Attenuation Measurements, as developed by the Department of Defense. The assembly is designed to provide RFI/EMI shielding of 40db at 10 kHz-10 GHz per MIL-STD-285 and was third party certified.

Hybrid versions of this product are available, making the RF shielding opening a one of a kind innovation. The opening is offered with a sound rating of up to STC 50, a fire rating of up to 90 minutes, and a bullet rating up to level 8. Special options such as blast resistance and lead lining can also be produced with the RF shielded opening.

The launch of RF shielding openings aims to assist facility managers, architects, healthcare professionals, and military members with privacy protection where it's needed most, leaving the end user feeling safe and sound.

Australian pharmacy cures surveillance ailments with networked video

Australian pharmacy cures surveillance ailments with networked video

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 5/7/2013 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Australia's largest pharmacy retailer, Chemist Warehouse, rolled out an IP-based video surveillance system consisting of 5,500 Axis Communications network cameras and Milestone Systems enterprise VMS at its 240 stores nationwide to monitor prescription drugs. The retailer had used the cameras and VMS for more than five years. Camera models deployed include fixed domes, outdoor vandal resistant HD domes, HD network cameras, 3-megapixel HD cameras.

The Australian pharmaceutical industry is heavily regulated, with a raft of stringent compliance criteria that must be satisfied on an ongoing basis. The security of prescribed medication is paramount and maintaining a reliable security network is an industry regulation. In order to remain at the forefront of pharmacy services in Australia, Chemist Warehouse, needed to work with a solution that was reliable as well as scalable to keep up with their expansion.

“As with all Australian pharmacies, we stock a large variety of sought-after prescription and over-the-counter medications,” said Ryan Calvert, IT Operations Manager, Chemist Warehouse. “Because of this, we cannot afford to have even one camera down.”

“Our blind testing revealed that Axis' cameras have a less than a one per cent failure rate, compared to cameras from other vendors which generally had a failure rate of between four and five per cent,” explained Calvert. Chemist Warehouse chose an IP-based system because of its open platform, infrastructure to support evolving software applications and network integration, such as adding software applications onto its existing network as they develop. In addition, the system's scalability could provide for future surveillance needs in a way analog solutions could not, thus investments could be futureproofed, hence reducing total cost of ownership and increasing long-term ROI.

Axis cameras' compatibility with Milestone software was also a bonus for Chemist Warehouse, according to Angelo Salvatore, Manager, Australia, Milestone. “Milestone enterprise VMS enables Chemist Warehouse to manage, control, view, search and export the live or recorded image feed from the latest Axis new generation network cameras, over hundreds of sites without complex networking and design considerations,” said Salvatore. “By choosing the non-propriety, open platform Milestone IP video management solution, Chemist Warehouse has the ability to customize the system to ensure it fits both the current and future needs of the organization's security and business goals.”

“With so many different stores and thus so many different layouts and traffic figures to contend with, it was important that we used software that could be tailored according to the demands of each store,” said Calvert. Calvert pointed out the company did not have to hire additional IT specialist to view recorded footage over the network. Summing up the Axis solution, Calvert said he has been extremely happy with the reliability and scalability of the Axis Network cameras for many years.

Tyco Security/Software House integrates Inex/Zamir ALPR

Tyco Security/Software House integrates Inex/Zamir ALPR

Editor / Provider: Tyco Security Products | Updated: 5/7/2013 | Article type: Security 50

Inex/Zamir announced that its Insignia ALPR System solution is interfaced with the Software House C-CURE 9000 Security and Event Management System. Integration of the two technologies provides greater flexibility to existing C-CURE features.

Inex/Zamir, a global provider of ALPR systems, announced their having been granted the Software House Connected Program certification for the successful integration of the Insignia ALPR solution to C-CURE 9000 access control system. The Inex/Zamir system interfaces with C-CURE 9000 adding a capability for a vehicle's license plate to act as an additional means to grant or deny facility access. The direct interface with C-CURE 9000 provides real-time vehicle events to be created and sent to the C-CURE 9000 monitoring station, and provides the user multiple levels of management for collected ALPR plate data.

Key benefits to the end-user include the ability to provide "dual-credentialing" vehicle access control alongside the C-CURE 9000 card access system. Seamless command, control and administration from the C-CURE 9000 console gives the Inex/Zamir ALPR system the ability to function as a card reader, creating the option to use both systems in tandem for granting vehicle access. "Fully automated ALPR credentialing eliminates many time consuming problems associated with rapid vehicle identification and access, while still maintaining a comprehensive level of facility security," says Inex/Zamir's Director of Reseller Sales, Chuck Bartolomeo , who adds, "A typical system option could include instant vehicle-of-interest notification and alerting.'

VIVOTEK and valued partners party hard in Taipei

VIVOTEK and valued partners party hard in Taipei

Editor / Provider: VIVOTEK | Updated: 5/2/2013 | Article type: Security 50

VIVOTEK hosted the "I Love VVTK" party for its partners at the W Hotel Taipei. More than a hundred of representatives from valued partners such as distributors and system integrators worldwide attended.

VIVOTEK's partners from around the world have gathered in Taipei to participate in the annual Secutech Taipei security exhibition, which takes place this year from April 24 to 26. VIVOTEK took advantage of this precious opportunity to hold the party for partners, not only showing its profound gratitude for its partners' commitment and dedication during the past year, but also aiming to foster mutual trust and build a foundation for further cooperation. During the party, VIVOTEK expressed thanks to its partners through an awards ceremony, recognizing partners' outstanding performance, growth and contributions. In addition, to make the evening an enjoyable and memorable one for its partners, a prize drawing with Sony Digital SLR Camera NEX7-K and iPad mini as top prizes was arranged. Moreover, every attendee received a splashily designed "I Love VVTK" T-shirt as a souvenir of this annual gathering.

Steve Ma, Executive VP of VIVOTEK, stated: "It was fantastic to meet and enjoy a fun evening with our global valued partners at the party. Maintaining close partnerships built on trust is one of VIVOTEK's core competencies. Through regular gatherings and open communications, our partnerships have undoubtedly been enhanced. We believe that the next business peak, which we can reach together with our global esteemed partners, is just around the corner!"

Cloud-based services simplify security deployment

Cloud-based services simplify security deployment

Editor / Provider: The a&s Editorial Team | Updated: 4/22/2013 | Article type: Tech Corner

After entering a strategic, multiyear agreement with Microsoft, Genetec unveils its cloud-based security solution, aiming its services at the SMB sector. With this new product, Genetec launches itself in the cloud, and shares with a&s its goals and how the company plans to help its customers start their adoption of this new solution.

Having come a long way from the garage where it was first created 15 years ago, Genetec has grown into a global entity with 458 employees, maintaining strong and steady growth in every region where it operates. Pierre Racz, President and CEO of Genetec, started with a vision for IP video management which was originally seen as being “too disruptive” to the already established industry of analog video surveillance. However, his pioneering objective has driven Genetec to evolve beyond IP video to create a unified security suite that encompasses IP video surveillance, access control, and automated license plate recognition/license plate recognition (ALPR).

Genetec is a global company serving customers of all sizes in the retail, transportation, education, gaming, and government sectors worldwide. “With an initial focus in North America, we are now further expanding our leadership into other markets around the world. We are currently undertaking a significant expansion of our APAC, EMEA, and Latin American operations to support strong market growth and enhance customer support,” said Racz. The company has recently expanded its office to Singapore, Tokyo, Paris, and Dubai with training facilities and solution centers. Furthermore, new subsidiaries were opened in the U.K., Brazil, and Mexico.

Open platform in video & access control
In 2013, Genetec is continuing to see strong growth opportunities in all global regions it has targeted. The company is positioned to not only deliver the most optimized physical security, video surveillance, and ALPR platform for its customers, but also to penetrate new markets with its recently announced web- and cloud-based video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) targeted at SMBs.

Already pinpointing several strategic areas of focus, Genetec has started with planned updates and new features for its unified security platform. The company also plans to assist customers in migrating and upgrading their traditional analog video surveillance and access control to an IP infrastructure that offers a superior, unified, and scalable approach to physical security. This transition reduces excessive equipment costs and moves away from proprietary wiring and cumbersome architectures, helping simplify communications, surveillance, access control, and network ALPR systems.

Genetec also noticed a great opportunity in access control. End users continue to face being stuck with using proprietary hardware, software, cards, and readers since the cost of switching is high. Seeing an increasing need for open solutions for access control, its newly launched network door controller introduces an open architecture door controller with device and hardware flexibility, allowing customers to deploy industry-standard equipment from HID and Mercury that is integrated with the Genetec unified security platform. With this new controller, customers are able to modernize their existing installations, allowing them to transform their infrastructure to a fully network-based access control system while offering them the opportunity to also integrate video surveillance as part of the system when/if desired.

Migration to cloud
Leveraging the 2013 launch of its new web- and cloud-based product, Genetec plans to offer SMBs an enterprise-strength way to realize the benefits of a fully hosted VSaaS solution. Genetec recently partnered with Microsoft, engaging in a strategic multi-year alliance, to develop a hosted, cloud-based security solution that will include video surveillance, access control, and ALPR as-a-service, built on the Windows Azure cloud computing platform. This new approach combines Genetec's unified security platform with the global reach, scalability, and reliability of Windows Azure.

Unique architecture
Genetec's unified security platform, released four years ago, is designed as a data-center friendly architecture to address the vast and varied needs of its customers. The base of the architecture allows customers to centrally manage large numbers of cameras, door controllers, and monitoring/recording systems in a single system. Leveraging this strong technology foundation, the company's knowledge of physical security and thousands of deployed systems across the world, Genetec was able to put together a strategy to deliver a cloud based system to address the industry's desire for internet based solutions. Genetec's focus is to deliver a truly hosted VSaaS solution and to help its customers break away from having to manage on premise networked servers and infrastructure hardware.

Also unique to the Genetec approach is its ability to offer a hybrid system where its unified security platform can centrally manage satellite locations that are federate to the central system via the cloud. Instead of standing up dedicated servers in remote office locations, it is possible to connect these sites to the platform at the organization's security head office.

Utilizing the cloud, Genetec is able to remove the repetitive IT-centric work that can cause difficulties for integrators by delivering a system where they can focus on security needs, while leaving the IT requirements for Genetec to manage, especially as constant software updates make it a challenge for the integrators to stay up-to-date.

Security in the cloud
It is possible that some people may be uncomfortable with the idea of hosting their potentially sensitive video footage in the cloud. In order to address this issue, Microsoft has designed the Azure platform with security in mind, building in a number of different security features and mechanisms in every layer of the cloud infrastructure to implement a defense-in-depth approach. This includes Microsoft running Windows Azure in geographically disbursed data centers that are managed and operated with both physical and data security practices.

"We understand very well that people are worried about the cloud and the security of their data. We think that in three years time, about 10 percent of businesses will be hosting their video surveillance in the cloud. The rest will remain on premise. But of this 10 percent, we see both small and enterprise businesses leveraging the flexibility that the cloud offers," said Racz. If users need additional storage, to install temporary or satellite facilities, or are rebuilding facilities, the cloud can play an integral part in their security strategy.

Different product, different crowd
Genetec plans to continue developing its unified security platform for larger business and to concentrate on its hosted, cloud-based video service for the SMB sector. While suitable for all business verticals, the hosted video is especially fitting for the needs of SMBs, because it offers them the opportunity to realize the enterprise level video surveillance features at an attractive entry-level price point and lower cost of ownership. Customers need not invest in additional storage solutions at their physical locations or install other IT infrastructure, thereby eliminating many expenses. With the new cloud-based solution, Genetec customers can view live and recorded videos that are stored safely in the cloud from any laptop, tablet, or smartphone. The solution can also be quickly set up and federated to the unified security platform for any temporary installation, satellite offices, and remote sites. “The retail market is one very important vertical for our cloud offering in North America as we introduce this new technology, but literally any SMB entity will be able to benefit immediately,” Racz said.

In 2013, Genetec is expanding relationships with a broader network of third-party hardware providers, including camera vendors, access control hardware vendors, and infrastructure providers. Genetec is committed to offering its customers' the most flexible solution, offering pre-integrated support for other important industry technology. Working with its integrator channel, the goal of Genetec is to deliver solution that will fit any job requirement and budget. “Our recently launched Genetec Infrastructure Partner Certification Program is designed to qualify and certify solutions from storage vendors and ensure optimal use with the unified security platform. This is a Genetec ‘In-house' certification program that offers Genetec customers additional storage choices, and warrants the most efficient configuration for their security installations,” said Racz.

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