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Oil and gas fuel up on safety

Oil and gas fuel up on safety

Editor / Provider: Israel Gogol, freelancer, a&s International | Updated: 12/9/2014 | Article type: Infrastructure

From a safety and security perspective, oil and gas installations are among the most critical and challenging environments. The speed in which an incident can escalate to adisaster means that operators need to get information quickly to be able to react and minimize damages. Advances in video technology and video content analytics have great potential to assist oil and gas installations in detecting fires, leaks, and security threats, as well as help make operations more efficient.

As oil exploration moves to new regions across the world, so does the need for better monitoring of remote facilities, increased protection against terror threats, and pipeline and leak detection monitoring solutions. Exploration and drilling security systems will be the largest segment in terms of spending and adoption followed by refineries and storage facilities. According to research by Frost and Sullivan, the global oil and gas infrastructure security market was estimated at US$19.6 billion in 2013 and will grow to $24.7 billion by 2021. Including network and cyber security, the combined oil and gas security market will reach $30 billion by 2018.

Any damage to an oil and gas facility has grave consequences. Incidents have implications on employee safety, environmental damage, cleaning costs, damage penalties, equipment replacement, and the list goes on and on. This becomes even more challenging when considering the nature of these installations. There are hundreds of potential breach points for leaks and damages: numerous valves and pumps, meters upon meters of pipes. Even within the facility, environments are not the same. A refinery for example will include various types of oil, transported at different temperatures and pressures, from ambient temperatures and pressure up to 130 bars at 100°C.

In addition, sites are often located in remote and harsh environments. All these make the oil and gas industry one of the most demanding clients for safety and security products. One of the limitations of the oil and gas sector is the stringent regulations regarding equipment. For example, equipment for Class 1 Zone 1 areas — the areas closest to the drill site — needs to be explosion proof, making sure it will not cause an explosion in high risk areas. There are similar limitations on mobile devices since cellular radiation can also cause an explosion.

“If you are looking at a typical oil and gas plant, there will be between 300 to 500 cameras to monitor the perimeter and inner workings of the plant. In addition, there will be thermal cameras to monitor flames and detect leaks and specialty cameras for class and zone areas. In an ocean rig there are 16 to 20 explosion proof cameras and 40 to 50 standard cameras,” said William Moore, Senior Account Manager for Pelco by Schneider Electric.

With so many cameras involved, it is impractical to monitor them all the time; therefore, the cameras are monitored based on an alert rule-engine. In case of an event, whether security or safety related, the proper camera will be triggered and brought to the attention of the operator.

The second line of defense: Video analytics
Typically, video analytics are most appropriate for outdoor and wide-area use, when it is impractical to place sensors (i.e. outdoors or in a warehouse with high ceilings). Common analytics in use are smoke and fire detection, leak detection, gas leak detection, flare-size monitoring, and slip and fall (used for employee safety). In addition, more security-oriented analytics such as perimeter protection and theft detection are also used.

Despite technology advances, video surveillance and video analytics alone cannot replace traditional fire detection systems. Usually both are implemented as standalone systems. Analytics are however beneficial for verification and supplying secondary visual inputs to an alert triggered by other sensors. For example, a combination of a thermal camera and a visible spectrum camera can give a better understanding of a situation. “We use the video analytics only as a second layer of detection and we do not trust it to be the first line of alarm. The reason is due to the day camera sensor's capabilities. Our first line of detection is the thermal vision sensor,” explained Tomer Dadon, CEO of Ex-Sight. “The flame detector camera is normally packed inside the pan tilt video surveillance system. This system can connect directly to a video surveillance control center or a SCADA system.” Flame detection analytics enables the user to continuously assess and monitor target sites in the range of a few kilometers. While scanning the target area, the system identifies when a designated preset reaches a threatening temperature threshold. Once a flame is identified, the camera uses multiple alarm mechanisms, including transmitting the fire's coordinates. The specialty of the system is its ability to distinguish between flame and smoke sources which are part of the industrial environment and those which pose security risks.

“We see a strong trend for coupling video analytics with thermal video surveillance cameras,” said Laurent Assouly, Marketing Manager for Evitech. This combination enables a volume protection instead of line detection. Thermal cameras enable long range detection, such as 600 meters or one kilometer, while color cameras usually cannot see beyond 130 meters at night. Detection over color images would possibly raise more false alarms due to moving lights, flashing lights, etc., and would not reveal many details at the end of the fields of view at nighttime.

Video Analytics for Operations Monitoring
Video analytics can also be used for process monitoring and ensuring the facility is functioning properly. “We monitor pump jacks to detect any problems with their operation. By monitoring the cadence of the pump we can detect if it stops moving and alert the operators immediately,” explained Michael Von-Hauff, CEO of Osprey Informatics. This makes analytics exceptionally useful for remote sites that are not manned permanently. Without this capability, a malfunction can sometimes be detected only after hours, or even days if the pump is located in a remote location, when a human inspector visits the site. Such a solution, therefore, saves lost production time and helps turn video into actionable intelligence. Video monitoring can also be used to audit employee behavior during alarms and other safety events — it allows the relevant officers to check if all employees are following the relevant procedures.

Connectivity and systems integration
A growing market trend is connectivity and systems integration. “There are thousands of land rigs, gated and sensed-in, the clients are asking for the possibility to integrate cameras and access control,” explained Moore. “For example, we implemented such a solution in western Texas. A FOB key card swipe at the gate pops up the picture of the truck to the administrator.” The system is also integrated with LPR cameras, cell phones, and iPads and is used for site management and monitoring site visits. “Another thing the customer is looking for is a common platform such as ONVIF,” added Thomas Soderlund, Business Development Manager for EMEA at Bosch Security Systems. “With the old analog systems it was easy to pick any camera and plug it in and it would work due to the 1 volt peak-to-peak signals. With IP devices it is not always that easy since a new firmware or change of model mean additional programming of the main system is needed to be able to provide functionality.”

SCADA Integration
There is a benefit in connecting different systems to the SCADA system. The benefit of an integrated system is to have one common interface for alarm handling and monitoring, compared to moving between multiple systems in order to then build up the picture of the event. In addition this integration can help in halting delivery and limiting a leak's consequences. However, most platforms need to use SDKs to integrate with the SCADA systems, which is often a costly and complex solution.

Avoiding false alarms
There are several options to reduce false alarms. One is to install multiple different sensors for verification purposes. A second system for avoiding false alarms is to calibrate the system against an existing database of detections and false alarms. Tests can be performed using high pressure water cleaning tools, which deliver varying temperatures and pressures. These simulate various sorts of leaks in the different pipes (themselves at different temperatures). These tests can be used as a benchmark for the analytics and then need to be carried out at regular intervals to ensure the continuity of service of the solution. Artificial intelligence analytics check alerts and reduce false alarms by differentiating between real objects and other objects that might cause false alarms such as changes in lighting (e.g., a cloud passing over the sun or a light being switched off or on, long evening shadows, and bright lights pointed at the camera).

Not just video: Other senses take part
Dedicated sensors and video analytics are not the only features used for leak detection — there is also an audio-based detection method. “In a southern Louisiana installation, the cameras have the audio option turned on and in the case of an alert the operator can listen to the pipe to hear if there is a high pitch whistle coming out, indicating gas is leaking from the pipe,” described Moore. “This is already an automatic feature in the non-class and zone cameras. For class and zone areas it is more complicated due to technical reasons. The external microphone has to meet the safety criteria and not cause explosions.” iOmniscient combines with its video analytics smell sensors that can detect gas leaks and audio analysis to identify sounds. “When combined with the analytics from video these systems can provide an enhanced understanding of what is happening in an environment,” explained Dr. Rustom Kanga, CEO of iOmniscient.

Automated response
Information integration from various sensors into one platform is usually described as PSIM (physical security information management). Kanga described a solution where the information is not only pulled together but is also responsible for automated response. “The system, without human intervention, will find the nearest appropriate first responder and provide him with detailed information,” said Kanga. Relevant information can be pushed to the user's cell phone, turning the user's smartphone into a mobile control room. The user can use the phone to perform all the operations that he could have performed in a control room. However, the quality of the entire system depends on the quality of the core analytics. Automated responses reduce reaction time and as such are beneficial for both safety and security but also for operational efficiency — making sure malfunctions are treated fast.

Future trends
As oil and gas exploration continuous to expand further to more difficult environments so will the demand for video surveillance systems. The future calls for durable and reliable systems, able to withstand harsh field conditions and connect with other systems that will be able to give operators more than just security and also optimize operations. The future will no doubt involve more and more integrated systems, making full use of technology for both safety and security.

Hikvision video surveillance solution secures gold prize for Philly in Homeland Security Awards

Hikvision video surveillance solution secures gold prize for Philly in Homeland Security Awards

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 12/8/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Hikvision, one of the global leaders in innovative video surveillance products and solutions, is excited to announce that the City of Philadelphia has been awarded a Gold Prize in Government Security News' Homeland Security Awards as a result of partnership with Hikvision. Hundreds of Hikvision cameras installed in the Philadelphia recreation centers helped secure a win in the category of “Most Notable Municipal Security Program, Project, or Initiative.” This prestigious recognition is the third for Hikvision USA in just a few months and solidifies its continued commitment to providing cutting-edge video surveillance solutions in North America.

Government Security News created the Homeland Security Awards to honor outstanding vendors of security products and solutions, as well as the government agencies that work to keep the U.S. secure at municipal, state, and federal levels. The awards program is the most prestigious in the homeland security field.

“In recent years, homeland security has seen an unprecedented proliferation of cutting edge technology in physical security,” remarked Adrian Courtenay, CEO of Government Security News. “Government agencies have maximized the features offered by technology vendors in order to implement highly effective strategies for dealing with security threats.”

In Philadelphia, Hikvision cameras and NVRs provide a highly scalable security network that protects residents at the city's recreation centers and improves security city-wide. A recent initiative, “Fun Safe Philly Summer,” emphasized safety throughout Philadelphia communities and offered community activities at the rec centers. Such events strengthen relationships within the local neighborhoods and demonstrate the city's devotion to providing a high quality of life for its residents.

“Philadelphia's Department of Parks and Recreation is committed to providing safe environments,” asserted Susan Slawson, Deputy Commissioner of Parks and Recreation. “We're honored to be recognized for this commitment in the form of a Homeland Security Award.”

The Homeland Security Award puts a spotlight on Hikvision's success in the safe cities vertical. “As a total solution provider, Hikvision USA serves the advanced security needs of municipalities all across North America,” affirmed Jeffrey He, President of Hikvision USA. “We congratulate the City of Philadelphia on their award and we are proud to stand behind them in their dedication to the safety of their residents.”

Security 50 sets trends for 2015: new applications, new market

Security 50 sets trends for 2015: new applications, new market

Editor / Provider: Editorial Dept. | Updated: 12/4/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

David Gottlieb, Director, Global Marketing Communications, Honeywell Security Group
“The Connected Home is a great example where traditional security systems are now being used for non-security applications, like simple awareness and comfort control. One recently introduced Honeywell control panel can control everything from security to lighting, garage doors and more was one our most-important product launches this year in the Americas because it embodies that type of design; it features the ability to stream four IP camera feeds directly on a touchscreen and it can be controlled remotely from a Honeywell app.”

Karl Erik Traberg, Head of Corporate Communications and Business Development at Milestone Systems.
Milestone sees the healthcare industry using video surveillance for patient monitoring, schools are using it for parents to be able to see how their children are doing in class and on the playground, universities are using it for student training and teacher evaluations, utilities are using it to monitor equipment and operations including solar and wind farms overseeing remote operations, retail is using it to track customer flow and product areas of interest for improving floor layouts accordingly.”

Brian Matthews, VP of Global Marketing and Product Development, Video & Situation Intelligence Solutions, Verint Systems
“A great example is in Verint's retail business. One of the world's top retailers, with more than 2,000 locations, is working with us to reduce fraud and create a smarter workforce. Working with the Verint intelligence solution to solve the challenges of fraud, risk and compliance, this retailer has deployed Verint security systems to use with their physical security cameras and enhance their ability to detect, investigate and reduce fraud brought on by employee theft. The solution blends Verint's video management software integrated with their point-of-sale and exception reporting system. It allows them to identify fraudulent employee activity and take action, reducing loss and improving the bottom line. Since implementing the solution, the customer has seen loss due to employee theft drop dramatically, while making their investigators more efficient in their daily tasks by proactively prioritizing issues to investigate. Reducing loss improves the profitability of the retailer and helps keep prices down, which increases customer satisfaction.”

Erika Gorge, Corporate Communications Manager, Bosch Security Systems
“There are new developments within fire detection technology: With the use of video cameras for fire detection, we will be able to combine our expertise in both technologies in the future. These systems will open up new opportunities for special applications where conventional detection technologies have reached their limits. Examples of this are difficult ambient conditions, such as in tunnels, specialized production facilities or warehouses.”

Arjan Bouter, Head of Sales, Nedap Security Management
“With Nedap security management systems, users can channel signals from the different systems into it -- from cameras, dirty water pumps, air conditioning - you can link everything. At Ziggo Dome, the largest Dutch Music Centre, for example, the security and facility managers wanted to be able to set up links to other building systems in the future, such as the heating system, the air conditioning system, the beer cooling system and, something that is very important here, the lockers for visitors. So we were actually looking for something that offered building management system functionality.”

Bernhard Sommer, CEO, SimonsVoss Technologies
“One of our latest door monitoring cylinders not only offers the customer access control functionality but also a complete overview of the status and events of doors and accesses. We have a case that the aim for installing the door monitoring cylinders in cold storage rooms is to prevent wastage of unnecessary energy. This has nothing to do with safety, yet it affords the customer very high cost savings.”

The Secrets behind the Growth

Garrett Li, Manager of Product Marketing, DynaColor
Our sales keep finding new OEM opportunity in EMEA, US, and APEC and current customers get larger demand in local markets or more projects in their countries in 2014. This helps us increase our revenue gradually. Customers nowadays would like to select two suppliers to cover their middle to high and entry level products. DynaColor has product lines from Full HD Small and Medium Business Cameras to 4K real-time IP Camera/3M real-time IP Speed Dome and this might be reason kept DynaColor stay in their supplier candidate list.

James Lee, CEO , Suprema
Physical security market including access control has been worldwide growing with the forecast worth US$87.95 Billion by 2019. With the high potential and opportunity in the global market, Suprema sees more from convergence between both the technologies and markets of security and biometrics. As for the biometrics market, its market size is expected to be around US$15 billion in 2015 and more than 20 percent of CAGR is forecasted for the upcoming several years according to a market research. In conjunction with the technology advance and trends, one of our focal points to take initiative in the security market is providing easy and scalable solutions (yet powerful). As a physical security platform, our biometrics based security system including software as well as hardware is to integrate all security solutions to control and management, which includes access control, surveillance and intrusion alarm, etc.

Koji Masunari, GM of Industrial Optics Business Unit, Tamron
Tamron, we are a professional lens manufacturer. Recently, we have focused more on supporting video surveillance camera manufacturers to fulfil their various requirements. For instance, according to their demand, we've developed new technologies to increase value of total image quality by utilizing large image sensor, stepping motor iris system and the improved picture quality at near IR.

Hagai Katz, Senior VP, Marketing and Business Development, Magal S3
This year, Magal S3 marked two important milestones; first, Magal S3 introduced automation into the perimeter security market by launching a robot. The robot is ideal for remotely monitored unmanned sites and critical sites such as airports, seaports, military bases and prisons, where a timely first response by manned guards would may be impractical or expensive. In the same year, Magal also developed another business line in cyber security, focused in security networks, via the acquisition of CyberSeal.

Gaming sector demands beyond surveillance

Gaming sector demands beyond surveillance

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu | Updated: 11/27/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Fraud and theft are the most common illegal activities that take place in casino facilities, as a large amount of money is handled between staffs and patrons every single day making casino a convenient target. When it comes to casino security deployment, there are many to concern about. Making sure that the patrons and staffs are safe and feel secured surely is on the top of the list. However, from a managing aspect, it requires more than just making people in the facilities feels secured. As a matter of fact, being able to deter, detect, and hold quality evidence for further investigation is usually the managers' ultimate goal.

asmag.com is here to present some professional insights from experts around the globe in this industry regarding gaming security applications. According to their opinions, the key demands from gaming sectors boil down to the following points:

1. Real-time video surveillance recording:
30 frames per second (fps) usually is the bottom line for gaming surveillance applications, as higher fps is more desired in order to capture every detail on the gaming table or happening in the facilities which may later on become crucial forensic evidence.
2. High resolution & high frame rate:
As mentioned previously, higher frame-rate is much preferred. However, having higher fps sometimes suggests compromising on image resolution. High resolution and high frame rate are both in demand in terms of surveillance systems in gaming facilities.
3. Color images in low-light environment:
In order to be able to distinguish the colors of gaming chips, it is crucial to record color and high-resolution images despite shooting in a dim environment, as most of the casinos dim the light purposely just to create a relaxing ambience.
4. Local gaming demands:
For the overseas gaming investment, following certain gaming security demands from the local authorities is necessary. For example, some countries require the gaming facilities to equip with surveillance cameras that come with certain functions or set limits on image resolution and frame rate.
5. Search & tracking:
There could be up to hundreds, or even thousands of cameras in a gaming facility, depends on the scale of the business. Searching and tracking functions surely help the operators to track down to suspicious activities and person effectively.

Casino may consider for security systems upgrades every five to seven years in average. When it comes to retrofit project, there are more to consider about. “End users must decide whether to continue to invest in analog technology or to begin migrating to IP with a hybrid system. They need to determine if the analog system can be improved or if they'd benefit more from the better image quality and detail provided by high definition IP cameras. The challenge is determining which path to take,” said Tom Kochenberger, Field Systems Specialist at Bosch Security Systems. There is no correct answer between continuing to use analog systems or migrating to IP-based systems – it depends on various factors such as budgets, practical necessities and further plans for upgrades, just to name a few.

For the end users who want to spare the troubles on cabling and decide to upgrade existing analog systems, HD-over-coaxial solution might be their prior option now. “HDCVI provides real-time recording at up to 1080p high-quality image resolution, with users' existing cable systems,” said John Li, Product Manager at Dahua Technology. “Moreover, HDCVI guarantees a full HD image quality under real-time recording which is definitely an ideal feature for gaming industry.”

Trending technologies and value-added applications

Trending in the casinos: 4K camera, facial recognition and license plate recognition
As the technology is becoming even advanced day by day, there are more possibilities for innovative techniques being applied for security purposes in casinos. In fact, a promising future can be seen on certain technologies in the gaming industry. For example, 4K camera, facial recognition, license plate recognition, etc.

“The adoption of IP video is directly affected by the use of advanced forensic technologies that provide automated recognition,” stated Steve Surfaro, Industry Liaison of Axis Communications. “Facial recognition of a fixed population of known scam artists and criminals can automate the detection process and move casino surveillance from today's reactive posture to proactive. License plate recognition (LPR) technology is already being used in Las Vegas casino parking areas and shopping malls to reduce potential crime. I recently met a representative from a vehicle recovery firm in a Las Vegas parking area. They had deployed LPR cameras similar to those used on law enforcement and parking enforcement vehicles. These IP video cameras automatically decode the plates of moving vehicles and deliver an alert indicating a ‘vehicle of interest'.”

Ed Thompson, CTO at DVTEL, is convinced that more casinos will start to incorporate 4K camera technology. “Casinos will also benefit from the ultra HD resolution and superior color reproduction provided by 4K cameras, allowing them to quickly identify potential for fraud and crime. Video analytics will also play an important role in enabling casinos to be more proactive with their surveillance programs. Both server-based and edge-based analytics will be leveraged for indoor and perimeter surveillance needs and we only expect applications for analytics to grow as the technology matures.”

Move beyond video surveillance
Besides higher image quality, the end users in the gaming sector are targeting on more value-added applications that can make the most of the security systems and managing systems.

Casinos are expanding their purview of security beyond video surveillance into more advanced technologies and systems, such as PSIM (Physical Security Information Management), video analytics, and mobile apps. Dr. Bob Banerjee, Senior Director of Training and Development at NICE Systems, provides some insights regarding these advanced technologies for the gaming sector below:

PSIM
PSIM is moving away from focusing on pure integration and toward operational workflows, processes and procedures which can be automated to make operators lives easier, and business more cost efficient. Casinos are no exception. Simply put PSIM solutions capture and correlate information from third party sensors and integrate those inputs into a common operating picture. In a casino environment, this might include security subsystems like video, access control, intrusion and fire, but also HVAC, elevators, escalators, public signage and mass notification. PSIM's automated workflows guide operators to quickly and efficiently respond and enable collaboration across security teams. By automating response procedures, PSIM ensures that operators respond to incidents quickly, efficiently and in a compliant manner.

Advanced Analytics for Real-time Forensics
It's not uncommon for casinos to employ hundreds, even thousands of surveillance cameras. But when something happens, security operators still need to resort to a feet-on-the-ground search to find the suspect. What's the alternative – to watch all the recordings from all the cameras to try and locate the suspect? Impossible – just 400 cameras and 1 hour of elapsed time would mean hundreds of hours of video footage to plow through. But what if you could let video analytics do this work for you?

Today, video analytics technology can provide real-time forensics of surveillance video to locate a person of interest in situations when time is of the essence. Using a video image, uploaded photo, or user-generated composite, this revolutionary video analytics tool can scan hours of video in minutes and automatically filter out 95 percent of irrelevant images to help a casino track down a suspect. Its mapping capabilities provide geo-spatial awareness by retracing the suspect's movements across cameras and pinpointing his current or last known locations on a casino's premises. All images, related video, and locations associated with the search are digitally stamped and can be saved or shared among law enforcement agencies for use in investigations and prosecution.

Mobile apps
Casinos spend billions of dollars annually on surveillance technology. Thanks to mobile apps, they can now start to think about how to extend these investments beyond the walls of the control room and into the hands of their personnel.

We live in an age of instant situational awareness – information like knowing where to go and the best way to get there is right at our fingertips. What if field personnel could be equipped with a smartphone or tablet and a PSIM-centric Enterprise Geographical Information System (EGIS) Web application that not only notified them of an incident, but also showed them the best way to get there, and how to respond? It's possible today.

Using another mobile app on their smartphones, a worker could also report an incident, and send video or photos to the security command center. The PSIM system receives the incident alert, using RFID or Bluetooth to automatically pinpoint the sender's location, then using that location to pull up nearby surveillance video feeds. The command center operator immediately sees who's sending the alert, where it originated, what's happening, and what actions to take. The app is also equipped with a panic button.

 

 

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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.

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