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Luxury hotels serve up first class security

Luxury hotels serve up first class security

Editor / Provider: EIFEH STROM, a&s International | Updated: 11/26/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

The tourism and hospitality sectors are inextricably linked — you can't have one without the other. This link becomes even clearer when looking at the numbers. And as the global economy continues to recover, so does the hospitality sector. International tourist arrivals grew by 5% in 2013, according to the World Tourism Organization's (UNWTO) January 2014 World Tourism Barometer. The APAC region leads this growth with the number of tourists reaching 14 million, a rough growth estimate of about 6%. Southeast Asia was the best performing sub-region with the number of tourists growing by around 10%. Africa was next after APAC with approximately three million new arrivals, followed by Europe and the Americas. For 2014, the UNWTO forecasts international arrivals to increase by 4 to 4.5%.

Not only is the number of travellers on the rise, the number of travellers with disposable income is also on the rise, fueling the demand for upscale and luxury leisure travel, according to EY's Global Hospitality Insights: Top Thoughts for 2014. The latest numbers from STR Global indicate that there are 2,312 hotel projects currently in construction, in development, or in planning in the APAC region as of March 2014. In the Middle East and Africa, 573 hotel projects are currently underway, with 25 hotels in the luxury segment expected to open in 2015 alone.

Luxury hotels have a lot to offer; however, opting to stay at a luxury hotel is more than just wanting first-class service and accommodations. It is also about feeling secure and knowing you can relax and feel at ease. For the hotel operator, security is of utmost importance. By utilizing newer security technologies such as physical security information management (PSIM) software and video content analysis (VCA) software, luxury hoteliers are able to not only secure their establishment and their guests, but also increase management and operational efficiency.

UPGRADES AND PROCUREMENT
How luxury hotel chains upgrade and procure their security equipment is different from standard economy hotel chains. Industry players estimate that luxury hotel chains, on average, look at large system upgrades every seven years, give or take a few. Upgrades are driven by anything from changing local regulations to system failures to incidents that point out security weaknesses. Regardless of the reason, during this time security directors of luxury hotel chains use this opportunity to take a hard look at how security technology has changed and how they can benefit from it, according to Brian Lane, Director of Product Management at 3VR. “This is when the ‘migration' from one technology to another begins.”

In terms of procurement, Ilya Umanskiy, Associate MD of Security Risk Management at Kroll in Hong Kong highlighted the competitive nature of luxury hotel tenders. Certain genuine process indicators/measures are used to select the right supplier. From there, a fixed pricing period is often determined, which is reset every two to five years. Lane further pointed out, “Hotels generally do not network their security systems together as an enterprise, therefore, a single hotel in a chain may elect to choose their own security system, independent of other hotels in the same chain, even luxury hotels.” Because a hotel operator or security director may have an established relationship with a local integrator, they are not always likely to purchase a single solution from one supplier, added Lane. “The hotel may have different components from several suppliers, but often will use only a single integrator.”

BETTER EFFICIENCY WITH PSIM
PSIM has been promoted within the security industry as solution for centralizing disparate systems; however, due to high cost, mass implementation outside of government-type and critical infrastructure projects has been limited. Despite this, more and more industries are realizing the benefits of using PSIM software to help manage their facilities. A report released by Transparency Market Research in January 2014 estimates that the emerging PSIM segment will grow at a CAGR of 25.8% from 2013 to 2019. This rise in PSIM deployment is attributed to a decline in price, increase in sophistication, and growing awareness among end users.

Luxury hotel chains are among those that are starting to see the many benefits that PSIM has to offer. “PSIMs are good when you have disparate systems that have been installed over the years where you can aggregate signal information in a single user interface where it can help centralize your monitoring,” said Umanskiy. This ability to centralize different systems makes it a great tool for luxury hotel chains.

Yet, demand for PSIM software varies by region and reach. “The demand is there. The big question is the global region of where the hotel chain operates and whether the hotel chain is a global chain or a regional chain or if it's simply a privately owned operation or several properties in a particular country or region,” explained Umanskiy. For example, hotel chains in the Western world are more likely to use PSIM software as a result of more technical knowhow available to explain how PSIM operates and what benefits it brings. On the other hand, in Asia, less market education and high cost have made PSIM adoption quite low. “In Asia specifically, that [PSIM] hasn't really been widely discussed by luxury hotel operators,” said Umanskiy. “They still either rely on access control platforms to monitor various sub-systems or use those systems as completely standalone, so they end up operating through different interfaces.” One reason for this can be attributed to the market for luxury hotel implementation in Asia being owned by integrators. Because integrators generally prefer to get in and get out, they are less likely to spend time educating users on what technology they are receiving, according to Umanskiy.

LUXURY HOTELS GET SMARTER
VCA, or video analytics, has been a hot topic in the security industry in the last few years. Making systems “smart” allows users to save time and increase operational efficiency. That is why luxury hotel operators are getting in on the action.

Aside from using PSIM software to manage and centralize systems, many luxury hotel chains simply integrate subsystems such as access control with video management systems (VMS), a more affordable solution. A VMS with VCA software integrated with an access control platform allows the video analytics to be applied and married to the access control database, asserted Lane. Video analytics at a hotel can be used for many different things. On the security side, VCA technology can help hotels that have issues with parties in hotel rooms — the video analytics can send an alert to security officers if three or more people enter the hotel through a back entrance using the same access control key. Analytics can also be used to help with operational efficiency, pointed out Lane. “For the operations of the hotel, analytics that determine queue length can notify the manager to add more front desk personnel when the queue hits a certain threshold, while face analytics can be used to identify VIP guests, and people counting analytics can be used to help managers find traffic patterns to help maximize staffing needs during peak and lull periods.”

Although deployment of VCA has clear benefits as a proactive tool for operations and surveillance, Umanskiy points out that it has limitations. Making sure that patrons feel safe at a hotel means making sure that the security measures are as unobtrusive as possible. Therefore, hotel operators cannot put cameras everywhere, as a certain amount of privacy must be maintained. Since analytics requires video content for analysis, it is not possible for analytics to be everywhere on a property. As such, it is important to understand the value of VCA applications up-front based on individual video surveillance deployment methodologies.

THE NON-ROOM SERVICE SERVICES
Services at a hotel can mean much more than decadent room service. In the case of security, services refer to maintenance services and extended services, both contracted and not. Again, like PSIM software proliferation, the use of monthly/annual service agreements is more widely seen in the Western luxury hotel chain market. Umanskiy attributes this to the fact that the majority of luxury hotel chains originated from Western countries. Because of this, growth and expansion of these Western hotel chains requires them to centralize their models and focus greater attention to best industry practices. Realizing that service agreements signed upfront, often as part of the initial bid, represent a better value, Western hotel chains prefer to sign agreements that include things like built-in maintenance, calibration requirements, upgrades, etc. “For the most part, hotel managers prefer to have the predictability of a maintenance plan versus paying for the maintenance repairs when an issue arises,” explained Bill Glover, National Account Manager at Tyco Integrated Security. “Having a plan in place helps for budgeting purposes, avoiding hefty fees from fixing technological issues throughout the year. It is also more structured and offers hotel managers a more efficient way of managing issues as they occur.”

However, Asian hotel chains are much less likely to engage in extended service or extended maintenance agreements. According to Umanskiy, Asian hoteliers do repairs based on time and materials. One of the reasons for this is a lack of formalized relationship with the integrator, and as a perceived 'cost-saving' measure, hotel operators will have the integrators on call, but rarely sign service or maintenance agreements. Even so, more and more hotels worldwide are looking at global best practices, which should result in more formal agreements between hotels and security service providers.

SECURE, PERSONALIZE, AND PAMPER
There are certain things patrons come to expect when staying at a luxury hotel. Personalization of stay and top-notch security are among those. The fewer distractions a patron has to deal with, the better they feel about their stay, meaning they are more likely to return in the future. Hotel operators have found several ways of ramping up security in a less “in your face” way that is helping to not only ensure the safety of those staying at the hotel, but also personalize their stay as well.

One way hotel operators are pampering their guests is by using facial analytics, according to Lane. “By saving a customer's face in the system, the system can then be used to alert the front desk when a ‘platinum-level' guest arrives.” Furthermore, combining card-key access with face analytics can provide guests with an even more personalized stay when entering the hotel spa or another service area. By combining these two technologies, service personnel are able to identify guests as they enter and call them by name. This coordination between security and guest service departments allows for in-guest concerns and in-guest needs to be more easily addressed.

DID YOU ENJOY YOUR STAY?
Making sure all guests are treated to a luxe experience means ensuring safety and security along with all the other five-star amenities people come to expect from luxury hotels. As the global economy continues to recover, both the tourism and hospitality sectors are expected to continue growing as well. The rising number of travellers will definitely require luxury hotels to amp up security measures. And as the price for PSIM software continues to drop and the accuracy of VCA continues to improve, there is no reason why both these technologies cannot see more widespread implementation in the future.

Comprehensive access control solutions feature at Secutech 2015

Comprehensive access control solutions feature at Secutech 2015

Editor / Provider: Secutech | Updated: 11/18/2014 | Article type: Tech Corner

Access control has long been a vital portion of physical security and can be divided into three categories, namely password-based access control, card-based access control, and biometrics-based access control, according to the system's input, transmission, and control methods. The functions and characteristics of each type of access control are explained here in this article.

Password-based access control: This is a system that requires a password to open doors. The electronic lock will open once the password is deemed correct. The advantage is that the system requires no keys or cards; only the password needs to be entered. But there are some disadvantages, too. One of them is that the key-in and reading of passwords may take some time. This may result in a long queue as workers enter a building to get to work. Another disadvantage is a low level of security: passwords can be guessed by people's gestures or stains that they leave on the keypad. Passwords are also easily forgotten or revealed. That's why access control systems based on passwords have become less and less popular.

Card-based access control systems can be further divided into two subcategories: those using contact cards and those using contactless cards. Contact cards, which can be broken or worn out, have become less common and are seen only at banks or unmanned ATM vestibules. Contactless cards, meanwhile, are durable, cost-effective, fast, and more secure. These features have made contactless cards the mainstream access control technology at present time. Contactless cards, indeed, are seen as the embodiment of access control.

The last category is biometrics, which identifies people based on their particular physical attributes. Common biometrics technologies include fingerprints, finger veins, iris scans, and facial recognition. A key advantage is that cards are not required for opening doors. In addition, overlapping or duplication of physical attributes is extremely unlikely, making the system secure. A disadvantage is that biometrics solutions are expensive. Meanwhile, physical attributes may change according to variations in the environment. For example, disparities in humidity may cause minor changes to fingerprints, while finger veins and the face may change along with age. The iris may change slightly due to eye diseases. These changes may increase the system's false acceptance rate and false recognition rate. Yet, the accuracy of biometrics systems has improved continuously, and cost has gone down by the year. This has led to increased deployment.

In addition, in recent years we are seeing more diverse applications in different vertical markets. These include NFC- and RFID-based access control and solutions that combine access control and mobile equipment. All these products and solutions will feature at the Access Control Pavilion – Asia's most comprehensive access control exhibition – at secutech 2015, held from April 28 to 30. To find out which access control companies will take part in the show, please go to www.secutech.com.

Sponsored by:  
Secutech, the annual international exhibition and conference for world-class manufacturers and discerning buyers of security products and solutions, will take place from 28 – 30 April 2015 at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center in Taiwan.
Now in its 18th year, secutech features some 500 exhibitors from 20 countries and attracts over 26,000 visitors. Dedicated pavilions for the following sectors: Surveillance | Software & Management Systems | Transmission & Networks | Smart Homes | Key Components / Parts | Electronic Systems

Register your FREE visitor badge now at www.secutech.com/registration/en

Milestone announces IT distributor partnership with Ingram Micro in Europe

Milestone announces IT distributor partnership with Ingram Micro in Europe

Editor / Provider: Milestone Systems | Updated: 10/29/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), announced a new distribution agreement with Ingram Micro to handle distribution of Milestone products in the German-speaking countries of Europe such as Austria, Germany and Switzerland, also referred to as the DACH region.

Ingram Micro is the world's largest wholesale technology distributor and global leader in IT supply chain and mobile device lifecycle services. The new distribution agreement enables Milestone Systems to reach an extensive network of IT and security system integrators through Ingram Micro's extensive distribution network in the region.

“We are certain that our partnership with Ingram Micro will deliver strong opportunities for their customers in terms of solution power and new business. At the same time it will offer an efficient purchasing conduit for our ever-growing partner ecosystem,” says Claus Rønning, Director Southern Europe & DACH, Milestone Systems. “The security market in the region is quickly growing, and video enabling business processes is a natural broadening in scope for IT professionals. Our partnership with Ingram Micro is an important factor in helping IT professionals, IT and security integrators to deliver solutions based on Milestone's market-leading open platform technology.”

“Milestone is the global industry leader in video management software and therefore the ideal business partner for our physical security unit,” says Klaus Donath, Senior Director Value Business DACH, Ingram Micro. “In the US, the partnership of Ingram Micro and Milestone already shows great success, and we are pleased to also provide Milestone broad access to the German market. At the same time, we are happy to complete our portfolio of offerings with such top quality products with high compatibility.”

ASSA ABLOY door and perimeter solutions support America's safe schools week

ASSA ABLOY door and perimeter solutions support America's safe schools week

Editor / Provider: ASSA ABLOY | Updated: 10/22/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Developing a plan to secure a building's interior openings can be an overwhelming yet rewarding task. As a school facilities professional, the task is even more daunting – creating an environment of learning balanced with keeping all inhabitants safe and secure.

With America's Safe Schools Week (http://www.schoolsafety.us/safe-schools-week) taking place October 19-25, 2014, it is an appropriate time to take another look at your school security and reiterate the recommendation for interior security vestibules. A newly released retrofit option from Frameworks Manufacturing, an ASSA ABLOY Group brand can be the answer to slow down unwanted intruders.

Frameworks manufactures interior aluminum security vestibules can easily create a retrofit solution for a school facility's main entrance. Interior vestibules provide an added layer of security when faced with an intruder by delaying the individual entering the building.

Paul Timm, Physical Security Professional, and owner of RETA Security, Inc. assists school administrators in providing a safer and more secure environment. Mr. Timm explains that in the future, almost all school buildings will be built with secured vestibules at main entrances. However, the majority of existing schools were not designed that way, so there is now the need for better access control. "A secured vestibule at the main entry where visitors arrive becomes a place in the school where personnel have the opportunity to authorize the visitor before he or she can gain access to the rest of the facility," he noted.

Frameworks vestibules also offer increased day lighting, for bright entryways and LEED contributions. Additionally, depending on design, remodeled building envelopes with vestibules may be eligible for extensive energy savings according to ASHRAE 90.1 (Modeling of Air Infiltration through Door Openings).

Short lead times accommodate the demanding schedule for retrofitting an existing space. Frameworks standard finishes include the industry's most common options and custom paint colors are available if desired.

Crawley & Horsham Hospital increase security level with Nedap AEOS

Crawley & Horsham Hospital increase security level with Nedap AEOS

Editor / Provider: Nedap | Updated: 10/14/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Crawley & Horsham Hospital has explored new technological possibilities to increase their security level in an effective manner. They have chosen the security management platform Nedap AEOS.

 

 

 


Project overview
A hospital works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, non–stop, and security needs to be guaranteed for the access of different people that use the hospital (patients, doctors, nurses, visitors, etc.). It is therefore very important to control lockdown. In response to NHSLA requirements to undertake a risk profile of lockdown procedures, Nedap was invited to visit Crawley & Horsham Hospital in Crawley, West Sussex. The hospitals security team wished to explore new technologies available to enable them to adhere to the new directives in an easier and more effective manner.

Definition
When security of patients, staff or assets is at risk by any identified threat or hazard, a lockdown should be achieved. Lockdown is the process of controlling the movement and access of people, including staff, patients and visitors within a specific building or area. Entry, exit and movements of people within an NHS site can be controlled by both security employees and physical security measures.

Implementation
The ability to enable the hospital to follow the NHSLA lockdown directives was the main goal. But the security team was keen to explore their future options to gain the most out of any new investment. Therefore they opted for a flexible solution that offered the possibility to integrate new technologies at any time and that could be managed centrally with other disciplines of security.

Initially the scope was to secure all doors that covered the main access areas within the hospital. Due to the flexibility and feature rich benefits of Nedap's AEOS security management platform, the trust security team decided to transfer total control of security management to AEOS. Nedap also offers products available through additional license purchase or integration options; such as vehicle and car park security, secure lockers and medicine cabinets and CCTV management.

About Crawley & Horsham Hospital
Built in the 1960‘s, Crawley Hospital enjoys a near town centre location. Originally Crawley District General Hospital, Crawley merged with Horsham Hospital in the early nineties to form the Crawley Horsham NHS Trust, one of the first Trusts to be established. Crawley and Horsham Trust joined with East Surrey Healthcare NHS Trust in 1998, creating Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust.

Understanding “Real” PSIM

Understanding “Real” PSIM

Editor / Provider: Israel Gogol, a&s International | Updated: 10/15/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

PSIM (physical security information management) software is a rapidly growing segment in the security market. Its core strengths lie in the ability to integrate disparate systems, creating an intelligencebased situation picture and supplying operators with active policy management. As the market learns more of the benefits PSIM they have the potential to go beyond security and turn into a complete site management platform.

The world market for PSIM (physical security information management) software in 2013 was estimated at US$160.3 million by IHS Research. Despite being a small segment inside the larger security market, PSIM has enjoyed rapid growth — it is estimated to continue growing at 20% and higher growth rates until at least 2018, according to IHS. Price and also end users' level of understanding of PSIM solutions are still main barriers limiting PSIM growth. In addition, the PSIM market's long-term growth is also limited by “competing products successfully being deployed in the mid-tier, a market that has historically been out of reach for the high-end PSIM software platforms due to their prohibitive price tag,” IHS commented.

What is a "Real" PSIM?
PSIM is a software platform that collects and manages information from disparate security devices and information systems into one common situation picture. These can be traditional security sensors like video cameras, access control, intrusion detection sensors, as well as “non-conventional” systems such as networks and building management systems, cyber security hacking alerts, and even weather feeds. A true PSIM solution is vendor and hardware agnostic, giving users the ability to integrate legacy systems and the flexibility and the choice to use best-of-breed technology in the future without limitations.

Being a relative newcomer to the security sector, and displaying a fast growth rate, there is confusion regarding what constitutes a “true” PSIM solution and how it differs from other command and control systems, video management software (VMS), or other security platforms, some of them offering their own integrations between different systems.

The main benefit of PSIM lies in its integration capabilities, being able to connect with existing and planned systems without being “locked-in” to any specific vendor. Usually VMS systems or access control systems use proprietary technology. In these cases, extending a system can only be done by the same vendor. Integrating with a legacy system provided by a different vendor could prove difficult, forcing replacement of existing systems.

In addition to this unique integration capability, PSIM offers another strong differentiator: PSIM is an intelligencebased solution. Collecting and correlating information from different sources means alerts are only raised on events that are important. “A true PSIM has the ability to identify unfolding events, manage them effectively, and mitigate their risk. For commercial, critical infrastructure, and homeland security markets, PSIM provides situation management and establishes the foundation for organizations' operations,” said Jamie Wilson, Security Marketing Manager for EMEA at NICE Systems.

A third important differentiator is the ability to provide active management of events, improving operational efficiency. By using adaptive workflows, the operator knows what is happening, where it is happening, and what needs to be done. Step-by-step action plans can be created to address different situations. This is vital in both making the operators job easier, but also in ensuring the company is following corporate safety and security policies every time and complying with local rules and regulations. “Without adaptive workflows, all you have is a lot of interconnected systems and you are solely reliant upon the experience of the operator to be able to coordinate the management of the incident,” added Wilson.

Adlan Hussain, VP of Marketing at CNL Software emphasized that dynamic workflows can change based on the time of the day, the threat level, and the number and types of alarms in the system. “This is what makes a PSIM solution an intelligence-based system and not a mere check list of processes to follow,” he explained.

These benefits, combined with growing connectivity, change the way corporations work. PSIM allows for a more centralized command and control, without being tied to a specific site. “In the past the security surveillance and sensors' monitoring had to be on-site at the place of the event. Today we can disconnect between the surveillance and the site. The benefit of a PSIM system is not only in connecting different sites, but thanks to the ability to display the same information in different languages we can connect a company headquarters in Europe with a site in Africa,” explained Hagai Katz, VP of Business Development for Magal Systems. “This connectivity allows the company headquarters to quickly address issues and make sure that the initial response is the correct one. A company can extend the benefit it gets from a PSIM system beyond safety and security. Other company procedures can be incorporated into the SOP, for example, making sure a proper media response is prepared by the PR function. In that sense a PSIM system also contributes to the company's risk management.”

Who should install PSIM?
From the technical point of view, PSIM solutions are intended for easy integration. It is therefore meant for cases when there are several legacy systems that need to be integrated, when there are several control layers (e.g., local and national), and when there are many sensors, or when future integrations with additional systems are needed.

PSIM is mostly needed for critical sites with high security requirements and large sites with many systems/ sensors. It is therefore mostly relevant for national infrastructure, large corporations, government buildings, mass transportation, and city protection projects. All these already have existing legacy systems and can benefit from integration. A city, for example, can integrate video footage from public space video surveillance cameras and traffic control cameras creating a unified situation picture in the control room.

Obstacles Facing Adoption
Though the benefits of PSIM seem natural and logical, there are still many barriers to its adoption. Some are due to lack of buy-in by different stakeholders that refuse to give up control of their systems and information; some are the result of past failures.

One of the biggest challenges faced by PSIM vendors is the availability of IT savvy channel partners. “Limitations to growth are predominantly around the current education levels within end users, consultants, and integrators,” explained Hussain,” We are working hard to increase education levels within each of these groups, and have created programs to address some of these challenges.”

Growing Connectivity and Greater Industry Cooperation
“With everything today moving at light speeds towards connectivity via the network and the Internet, PSIM is also migrating and expanding towards the ‘Internet of Things' via the information management aspects of PSIM,” said James Chong, Founder and CTO of Vidsys. “The open architecture and browserbased PSIM technology is enabling the software platform to rapidly and literally connect with almost any IP-based device, application, and system using open standards and protocols such as XML, SOAP, HTTP, SMTP, and others.”

Recent updates in PSIM software functions and features include integration with mobile devices, allowing ground forces to share and receive information through smartphones and tablets. In addition, there is an industry move towards greater connectivity with other business systems such as HR systems, internal directories, visitor management systems, building automation systems, RFID, intelligent transportation, and more. These will create opportunities for other benefits to be realized from PSIMs beyond safety and security.

“I think people are realizing that PSIMs can provide a lot more than just physical security,” said Michael Mesaros, Group Product Manager at Proximex, a Tyco Security Products brand. “We're being asked by customers to integrate with all kinds of systems — elevators, building management systems, luggage conveyors, and even environmental controls in airport jet ways. There is a combination of market forces at work and PSIMs must be capable of leveraging this data for more and more systems as it becomes available.” He pointed out that Proximex has worked to make their PSIM easier to integrate with — for example, by implementing APIs based on REST (representational state transfer), a standard integration in the enterprise IT world. “Following these standards opens up a lot of avenues for customers to integrate social and web solutions.”

toward greater connectivity and easier integration. CNL has created a PSIM driver development community, which allows other development houses, product vendors, and security integrators to create drivers to connect systems to CNL's PSIM platform. This allows fast production of drivers, and allows product vendors to create their own drivers if they are not able to share their SDK or APIs. In the past five years, CNL has also been running a technological partner program.

Another initiative to foster interoperability between manufacturers and establish industry standards is the Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) led by companies such as Cisco, Tyco, Hikvision, and Kastle Systems. PSIA's mission is to develop specifications for physical security technology that will enable plug-and-play interoperability across the security ecosystem. This will make the integration of different systems under a PSIM solution quicker and easier.

Integrating Predictive Capabilities
PSIMs can go beyond event management and post-event investigation. The ability to integrate with media broadcasts, open source intelligence systems, and other information analytics gives PSIM a predictive capability, as well as a strategic advantage in predicting and preparing for incidents.

Earlier this year, Vidsys and HP Autonomy announced a collaboration to develop a solution that combines VidSys' PSIM with HP's advanced information analytics platform. “Social and broadcast media play an increasingly significant role in helping anticipate and mitigate potential security incidents around the world. The nature and profile of threats are constantly changing and this new generation of adversary often leaves a different digital footprint, creating potential gaps in traditional threat detection approaches,” said Chong. “The combination of a vast array of information, including social media chatter, video surveillance footage, emails, case files, criminal records, and physical location data help identify potential threats and take actions to neutralize the danger.”

PSIM to Offer Holistic Management
The benefits of PSIM, especially its ability to incorporate non-security systems, hold within them the promise of expanding beyond physical security and delivering comprehensive information management. A good example is seaport management, explained Katz. A PSIM system can make sure that an incoming truck is cleared quickly using LPR sensors for the truck and a biometric sensor for the driver. The containers can be recorded and stored according to their final destination and video surveillance can make sure the goods are not damaged. Since everything is audited by the system, the port can accurately bill the clients according to how long the cargo was stored before it was loaded on the ship. Usages like this, according to Katz, show how “PSIM allows combining these different work flows into one single story.”

All in all, the data gathered from security systems, combined with other systems can turn a PSIM solution into a comprehensive site control platform; thus demonstrating that PSIMs are not for security alone. In the future, PSIMs will allow for a more holistic management approach, combining safety, security, and management.

Milestone Systems navigates new sales channels with Netgear and Zucchetti

Milestone Systems navigates new sales channels with Netgear and Zucchetti

Editor / Provider: Milestone | Updated: 10/7/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Milestone Systems has just announced a close relation with Netgear enabling over 10,000 Netgear resellers and more than 2,400 partners to sell solutions with Milestone XProtect. Moreover, Zucchetti is now a certified Milestone access control partner, which allows Netgear partners to deliver complete physical security information management (PSIM) solutions.
Netgear designs the network infrastructure capable of supporting IP security from small-sized businesses to large corporate surveillance systems with up to 1,000 cameras. Solutions based on the Netgear infrastructure are flexible and reliable, offering a solid base for building dependable security solutions. This allows Netgear partners to introduce more powerful solutions to the Italian market based on the benefits of Milestone products:

• Milestone XProtect VMS is powerful, reliable and easy to use, having proven itself in more than 100,000 installations worldwide. Based on a true open platform, XProtect enables integration with the industry's widest choice in cameras and best-in-class business solutions, such as access control and video analytics. The software is compatible with more than 3,000 encoders, IP cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs), from almost 150 different suppliers worldwide. Milestone strives to continuously increase its compatibility with new devices. 

XAtlas , the multi-platform security management system designed by Zucchetti Axess, allows access control integration, workplace security, time and attendance data collection, anti-intrusion and firefighting integration, video surveillance, vehicle transit management and company canteen and parking management.

"This partnership is very exciting to us, as it opens a whole new channel for us. Italian IT professionals will be able to use a world-class network infrastructure component and access control software to build value-filled PSIM solutions using leading open platform video management software," says Claus Rønning, Director Southern Europe & DACH, Milestone Systems. "The ability to integrate Zucchetti's and Netgear's extensive partner network into the Milestone partner ecosystem will expand our combined market reach. This is truly a forward-looking partnership"
The new partnership is already stirring up excitement at Netgear and Zucchetti. "Netgear is synonymous with quality and reliability. We are confident that all Netgear partners will seize the opportunity to increase their skills in the field of security, providing solutions that include Milestone video management system. We are also confident that the market will surely obtain benefit from this collaboration, "says Stefano Barbieri Regional Sales Director CBU, Netgear Italy.
"The benefits for end users will be remarkable, starting with the fact that the access control functionalities of Xatlas software will be directly accessible through the XProtect platform interface, with modular and scalable settings, according to specific requirements" stated Domenico Uggeri, Zucchetti Vice President.

How security enhances metro emergency management

How security enhances metro emergency management

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 10/6/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Taking public transportation has become a normal way of life for people constantly on the go. Yet despite various safety measures implemented by the operator, disasters, whether natural or caused by human, occur from time to time. Luckily, today's security technologies have evolved to enable better emergency management for operators, and passengers can travel with peace of mind.

Public transportation has become a common way for people to commute, travel, or get to wherever they want to go. According to figures provided by UITP in 2013, 148 cities in the world have a metro system, carrying a total of 150 million passengers everyday. As for buses, 32 billion passenger journeys are made in a year worldwide — that's roughly 56% of the 60 billion for the entire public transportation system.

But, while operators around the world work hard to make sure their public transportation systems are safe, major accidents still happen from time to time. Also, due to public transit's open nature and the fact security checks are less stringent than air travel, metros and buses are easy targets for terrorist attacks. The 2004 Madrid train bombings and the 2005 bombings on London's subway and bus systems are two horrific examples in recent times. Against this backdrop, security plays a major role in emergency management. Take the 2005 London bombings as an example. Immediately after the first bombings on July 7, law enforcement officials searched for suspects via videos taken by the roughly 6,000 cameras deployed throughout the London Underground. Four days later, the images were discovered, and the identities and backgrounds of the four suspects were found. They were arrested within a week.

For today's metro operators, they can be aided by the latest developments in security technologies, including PSIM, PA, intercom, and intelligent software such as VCA to deal with emergencies even more efficiently. With these technologies in place, operators can detect threats, act upon them, and respond to incidents quickly.

VCA : Detecting Threats Early
A major component for preventing disasters in public transit is early detection of threats. Unattended bags, individuals loitering on the platform, or unauthorized entry into tunnels may lead to disastrous consequences if not dealt with in time. In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security allocates millions of dollars annually to support the deployment of tunnel intrusion detection.

An effective tool that can help operators detect threats early is video content analysis (VCA), also known as video analytics, which has become more advanced and intelligent. Among the things that VCA can do are passenger counting to avoid overload, facial recognition to identify potential terrorists, and detecting objects left behind to prevent bomb explosions. Today's VCA can be embedded directly into surveillance cameras. “This enables the cameras to automatically alert the security center in case of, for instance, unauthorized access at rail yards, bus depots, or tunnels. As a result, the transit authorities can get early warnings for potential incidents such as graffiti, metal theft, sabotage, or tunnel trespassing,” said Patrik Anderson, Director of Business Development for Transportation at Axis Communications.

While VCA is claimed to have various intelligent functions, overreliance should be avoided. “Analytics is in most cases not designed for 100% accuracy and cannot completely replace security staff,” Michael Port, Head of Technology at SeeTec, reminds.

PSI M: Responding to Incidents Faster
Physical Security Information Management, or PSIM, is an effective incident-response tool that has been deployed in numerous public transit systems around the world including those in Washington D.C., London, and Moscow.

PSIM's value is twofold. First, it allows the consolidation of disparate metro command and control subsystems, such as security, operation, emergency, and even maintenance into one centralized room. “This consolidation in which police, emergency forces, and metro operation team share the same room and use PSIM as the glue that provides common operating pictures has proven to have drastic effects on metro organizations' ability to respond quickly in a collaborative manner to unfolding situations,” said Udi Segall, Director of Business Development at NICE Systems.

Secondly, once a threat is detected or an accident has already happened, PSIM provides instructions on how to respond, based on pre-defined standard operating procedures. “It provides operators with step-by-step guidance on what to look for, who to contact, how to respond, and when to escalate an incident. It is also helping to create meaningful reports on long-term trends, so future investments can be targeted to risks,” said Adlan Hussain, VP of Marketing at CNL Software.

According to Hussain, deploying a PSIM platform across an enterprise is unlike any other physical security investment in that it reaches across more stakeholders within an organization. “Time and effort need to be given in order to create the processes for managing incidents. Some of these processes may cross departments, so it is important to work with all stakeholders on their expectation from the system,” he said.

Cameras and Storage
Surveillance cameras are now installed in trains and buses throughout global public transit systems to step up security. In particular, network or IP cameras can offer high-resolution images, some up to 6 megapixels, delivering crystal-clear videos that can help improve surveillance efficiency and enhance targeting of suspicious objects or individuals.

As video data generated by IP cams get bigger, network video recorders (NVRs) in trains or buses must have better storage management capabilities. With event recording, “users can first configure the event tags, such as motion detection in the form of line crossing or intrusion detection. When the event is triggered, the video recording is activated,” said Jianjun Pei, Director of Traffic Solutions at Hikvision.

Soft Power: VMS
Video management software nowadays can automatically detect and configure cameras, analyze and process videos generated by hundreds if not thousands of cameras deployed throughout a metro system, provide centralized control of these videos, and give operators greater situational awareness.

VMS products are also highly integrative and can combine with access control, fire detection, and other building automation technologies. “This way, situational awareness is dramatically improved for safety staff. They will be able to assess a situation much more effectively using live video feeds from the area where alarms are triggered,” said Jens Johansson, Transportation and City Surveillance Sales Manager at Milestone Systems. Despite the advances in network technologies, there is a sense of reluctance for some metro operators to migrate their legacy systems to IP. “It may be a challenge for transit authorities to make sound investment cycles towards the new level of public transport security offered by open network video technology. However, as major cities around the world have begun their journey towards a better way to manage incidents, transit authorities can turn to their fellow peers in other cities to learn,” Anderson said.

Breaking the Sound Barriers
Besides visuals, sounds, such as gunshots, glass breaking, or even passengers gasping in horror, can also indicate something is going wrong.

Consider a recent and less devastating example of how operators can be alerted through sound. On August 26, a woman taking the Taipei metro alleged a male college student of “touching” her. A passenger who saw this pressed the emergency call button and notified the operations command center (OCC) of the incident. When the train rolled into the next stop, police went into the car and took the suspect away.

Today's intercom and public address (PA) systems have become more network-centric and can help enhance incident management for metro operators. According to Simen Kjellberg, Commercial Product Manager for Rail and Metro at Zenitel Group, modern intercoms or emergency call points (ECPs) have become more complex yet powerful. Supported with audio analytics, they can detect gunshots, glass breaks, and various forms of aggression, and then trigger cameras and send the feeds back to the command central. Active voice cancelling filters out background noises, which can be louder than people talking. “This way, the elderly with weak voices can be heard even if a train is passing,” Kjellberg said.

With open duplex conversations, both sides can communicate simultaneously rather than one person speaking over a uni-direction link. Automatic gain control automatically adjusts the volume level of people's voice even if they are up to five meters away. “In case of a conflict, with people being pushed away from the ECP or injured people lying on the ground, they can still be heard,” Kjellberg said. As for PA, one of the most important breakthroughs is its integration with radios carried by field personnel, who can listen to PA broadcasts through their devices or better, make announcements through their radios that can be used like a microphone.

Increasingly Wireless
Wireless technologies have advanced significantly and can allow transmission of huge amounts of video data to the OCC seamlessly, even from moving trains. Charlie Chen, Sales Engineer at Oring Industrial Networking, said for ground rail systems, wireless transmission is easier to implement. “Access points can be put in the train and every 300 meters along the track to make sure that transmission is smooth and uninterrupted,” he said.

Yet concerns have been raised over connection dropouts in tunnels, especially at sharp turns. Cosimo Malesci, VP of Sales and Marketing at Fluidmesh Networks, said this is a non-issue, as long as the implementation is done correctly. “We have done a lot of tests in tunnels on moving metro vehicles, and it works properly. Of course, the number of radio in curvatures should be higher than in straight lines,” he said.

Sit Back and Relax
Security technologies nowadays are evolving to help prevent and respond to emergencies. While they are not 100% effective, and while challenges still remain, they are being deployed in a growing number of metro systems and have proven effective in helping operators gain situational awareness and protect passengers' lives and assets. To make sure passengers can sit back and relax on metros and buses, investment in security overhaul and upgrades is justified.

Tips on Surveillance Deployment on Trains or Buses
The most ideal spots to install cameras are entrances and exits of buses and trains, since “every suspect has to enter or leave the vehicle,” said Michael Port, Head of Technology at SeeTec, adding cameras should also be distributed equally along the vehicle axis. In general, four to six cameras are the ideal number for installation on each bus or metro car.

When purchasing cameras, the user should identify their overall objective. “Should a particular camera make it possible to identify individuals? Or recognize? These two use cases result in different requirements on the camera in terms of resolution and low-light characteristics,” said Jens Johansson, Transportation and City Surveillance Sales Manager at Milestone Systems.

“The selection of lenses and field of view of each camera should be considered so that one can clearly identify the person. Several lenses may be needed in various locations in the vehicle,” said Patrik Anderson, Director of Business Development for Transportation at Axis Communications.

Panoramic cameras are ideal, as they are able to cover a wider range of a given area. As an example, Dallmeier's panoramic solution was deployed by South Africa's metro system, which faced the problem of vandalism and theft on trains parked at the rail yard at night. With the solution, which uses several lenses with different focal distances, more areas can be monitored and suspects identified, resulting in a reduction in crime.

HID Global gives smart access to Vodafone employees

HID Global gives smart access to Vodafone employees

Editor / Provider: HID Global | Updated: 9/26/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Employees at Vodafone New Zealand can now physically access the workplace using just their smartphone – thanks to a partnership with HID Global to pilot the company's mobile access solution.

HID Global's mobile access innovation is secure and cost-effective, and lets employees open doors with a simple wave of their smartphone. It is based on ASSA ABLOY's Seos technology for digital keys on smartphones to open doors to commercial buildings, homes, hotels and more.

Using contactless Near Field Communication (NFC) or Bluetooth Smart, the HID Mobile Access® app on the smartphone functions as a swipe card.

Grant Hopkins, Vodafone's New Zealand Head of Enterprise, says 30 employees have tested the app at Vodafone's Viaduct office in Auckland and enjoy being able to open doors with style.

“Mobile access is an easy and secure way for Vodafone to manage staff access and delivers a new level of convenience for employees,” he says. “People are much less likely to forget their phone, and ultimately this reduces the costs around access cards – many of which are lost and can be expensive to replace.

“This forward-looking technology also allows remote provision access for third-party contractors, meaning they don't need a swipe card and we can disable access when it's no longer required. The user needs to know the phone has access capability, the phone's passcode and know how to activate the key – so physical security is better than a traditional swipe card.

“This is a further advance in the industry mobile wallet project – transferring the contents of your wallet and handbag to your smartphone.”

Debra Spitler, HID Global Strategic Alliances Vice President, says: “Our latest mobile access innovation is based on open standards, allowing it to evolve with the mobile industry in response to future trends and user habits.”

A quick overview on the current secuiry market trend

A quick overview on the current secuiry market trend

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu | Updated: 9/17/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Messe Frankfurt New Era, the leading integrated media service provider in Asia, today has held a seminar to share professional experience on security trend and industry aspects with providers in Taipei, Taiwan.

As IP system entered into the security market years ago, the entire industry has experienced a series of revolutionary changes. In today's market, in terms of deploying security systems, end users have more options than usual. A quick example, other than IP surveillance systems, end users can choose to update existing analog equipment to ccHDtv, CVI, TVI, or AHD systems in order to reach high-definition recording quality. Suppliers have realized that products make fewer profits now – the market has focused on systems integration, vertical applications, and multiple services.

It is all about intelligent and integration
End users started to set their eyes on intelligent systems and software that can provide added values on their business and management. The ideal of security is no longer merely about monitoring and access control; the ideal of security today suggesting surveillance, access control, and more importantly, making use of these data collected from security devices for managing purpose.

John Shi, the General Manager of Messe Frankfurt New Era, pointed out that future trend of the security industry will be about providing more integrated systems and platforms, such as physical security information management (PSIM), incident management system, and content analysis. The highly integrated platform helps critical verticals to achieve total security awareness for better protection; futhermore, it assists making effective business decision.

Personal device steps inside 
A prosperous potential can be seen in the consuming electronic market. Niche technologies are available for the end users now, for example, biometrics technique and NFC have been used on personal smart device. Intelligent systems can not only be used for professional surveillance, access control, business management, but also smart home and personal purposes.

The suppliers in the traditional security market are facing the same challenge – whether sticking to professional security product line or stepping into consuming product market at the same time.

 

New market strategy for the distributors
In order to survive all the challenges, distributors had to come up with more flexible market strategy. First of all, expanding the product line is a must. End users are looking for one-stop shop that provides all they need conveniently and skips possible technical problems; meanwhile, distributors have to be able to provide total solution to various verticals and projects. This trend indicates that distributor has to be able to supply various products (from the surveillance to storage, for instance), systems integration, and after-sale services that tailored to different cases.

Many leading providers in the market keep expanding local offices in order to provide the most instant services and to have connected relationship to the local market. On the other hand, providers tend to cooperate with more than one manufacturer just to make sure that they can provide solutions to any budgets and considerations.

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