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Banks cash in on integrated, scalable systems

Banks cash in on integrated, scalable systems

Editor / Provider: Israel Gogol, Freelancer, a&s International | Updated: 1/27/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

In recent years the most talked-about security threats to banks have been cybercrimes and fraud. Though it seems that traditional security systems are no longer in the spotlight; banks still make substantial investment in their physical security systems. Changes in the design and layout of banks as well as banks' desire to make the most out of their installed systems have great impact on the design and implementation of current security systems.

Banks hold the great responsibility of keeping our money safe. Even though most of this money is now in the form of electronic bits and bytes, banks are still one of the first associations when we think of security and surveillance systems.

Banks usually balance the mix of their security systems between discrete and unobtrusive systems such as emergency buttons and small hidden cameras (e.g., at the counter area or an ATM pinhole camera) and more visible measures such as guards and larger cameras. The visible security systems serve a double purpose, both deterring potential violators as well as giving customers a feeling the bank is indeed a safe place to keep their money. Surveillance systems installed in banks will usually combine several cameras with different functionality. Outside the bank infrared cameras will provide day and night monitoring. Inside the branch, dome and bullet cameras are used for lobby and counter monitoring for clear picture capturing and forensic evidence. The main purpose of these cameras is to prevent illegal intrusion by unauthorized people as well as monitoring the office environment to prevent property loss.

CHALLENGES OF THE BANKING VERTICAL
A major obstacle facing security companies and systems integrators is aligning the security needs of individual branch locations with the requirements outlined by the corporate headquarters. “Securing the bank branches themselves is different from securing a corporate headquarters or data center location, as branches are more often the targets for criminals since it's assumed that's where the money is located,” explained Matt Frowert, Director of Marketing for Financial Services at Tyco Integrated Security. Therefore, the standard level of security and defense are more in-depth at a branch than for a corporate office. Many times legacy systems, or different versions of the same platform, may be found in different regional branches of the same institution within a country, which makes centralized management difficult. In addition, there may be internal resistance to changes or upgrades that the corporate standards demand due to funding constraints, or the local staff being inexperienced and lacking training regarding proper security measures and systems. Another challenge may simply be a matter of timing and scheduling; implementing major technology upgrades across very large financial institutions with many branches and offices.

NEW BANK LAYOUTS
In recent years banks have been changing their traditional set-up to be more appealing to customers. There are more “light” branches located inside shopping malls and supermarkets. Traditional branch layout and design have also changed and now include more open floor plans and fewer staff which are tasked with broader responsibilities. “More in-branch automation and systems found in these new types of banks very likely means that they may not have the same levels of cash that traditional branches have,” added Frowert. “During a robbery attempt, the suspect may be confused when he discovers there is limited teller cash and no safe like there would be in a traditional bank set-up. These new frameworks for bank branches will affect the security of the customers themselves and the bank's security model for protection,” he explained.

As a result, emphasis is placed on new systems that offer increased ATM protection through anti-skimming technology, access control, and proper lighting measures for ATM vestibules to help ensure customers are properly protected.

BENEFITS OF INTEGRATED SYSTEMS FOR BANKS
Like any other enterprise, banks require their systems provide security, safety, efficiency, and cost saving. “Normally, powerful VMS software can integrate four systems, such as video monitors, access control, alarm systems, and the intercom system, which are used to communicate with bank clients at other locations, for example using an ATM at a different site,” said Nathan Chen, Solution and Product Manager at Dahua Technology. In turn, each system includes several components: alarm systems for example will include fire alarms, seismic sensors to detect if someone is digging into the bank, and emergency buttons. Access control systems will combine card readers, biometrics, magnetic door sensors, etc. This provides banks with an integrated solution instead of four stand-alone systems. In addition, sensors such as smoke detectors or temperature sensors are now built in the cameras and can send alarms directly to the DVR system. This way the bank can benefit from having several sensors on one platform and cut costs.

Systems integration is also critical for protection against insider threats by employees which can be very costly. “An increasingly popular step in mitigating insider threats through an integrated security system includes linking access control to identity management,” explained Frowert. By integrating these systems, financial institutions can restrict employee access to sensitive areas, track entry/exit times by employee or department, and use a log correlation engine or security information and event management (SIEM) system to log, monitor, and audit employee actions. By monitoring these types of systems, managers may notice individual employees trying to access part of the building they are not authorized for, which is activity they can then flag and subsequently continue to monitor the employee's behavior for other activity that might lead to an insider incident.

HYBRID DVRs AND NVRs
Hybrid DVRs and NVRs allow the integration of both existing analog cameras and newer IP cameras. The use of hybrid DVRs and NVRs can therefore help banks make the most out of their existing legacy systems and give them the flexibility they need in adding more cameras or testing new cameras and technologies.

“Our customers are interested in how they can protect their investments in legacy infrastructure while also taking advantage of the benefits of newer technology. There is an increasing move towards new NVRs because they can prolong the use of video surveillance systems as well as provide enhanced features to end users,” iterated Stefano Torri, European Sales Director of March Networks (an Infinova Company). These provide both analog and IP camera support and allow organizations to test and deploy IP cameras selectively, alongside existing analog cameras. “Banks are thinking about the broader benefits of the technology they use, so for example, NVR technology provides advances in video compression and storage management compared to earlier DVRs, and the use of H.264 compression, optimized to limit video signal noise, makes images clearer while reducing the use of bandwidth and storage. These things are important if a bank wants to tag video based on user-defined criteria, such as motion detection, transaction events, or alarms. Software that delivers intelligence and analytics is also a growing trend amongst banks and financial institutions,” he added.

ANALYTICS
An example of an analytics function used in banks is loitering detection, detecting for instance when a person lingers around an ATM machine. If such an event is detected, security personnel can then access the video recording in real-time and make a decision if further action is needed. Analytics can also provide information on customer behaviors (e.g., people counting, queue monitoring) which can be shared across the organization to improve not only security surveillance but also customer service and marketing. For example banks can analyze dwell and wait time at branches and change branch staffing appropriately to make sure there are enough tellers to service the waiting clients.

Apart from connecting the different systems in the branches, banks can also share information between locations. This feature has been gaining traction and makes security more comprehensive. Intelligent video applications allow an internal investigator to track fraudulent transactions and alert branches. “For example, entering a stolen card number into the system will deliver brief video clips of every associated transaction from anywhere across the entire retail banking network,” explained Torri. Not only can security managers easily export this information to branch managers, but they can also present it as integrated case evidence to the police.

KEYLESS ENTRY
Apart from using video analytics, banks are using intrusion detection and keyless entry to improve security measures and increase cost effectiveness. Replacing or re-keying traditional locks can cost a bank up to US$3 million in just one year. To mitigate the risks and costs associated with using traditional keys, banks are implementing new, wireless locks which work with inexpensive access cards to open entry doors. These new technologies also provide audit friendly reporting for the activities of any individual or of a specific entry point in the branch.

OPPORTUNITIES IN BANKING
Banks are relatively conservative players in the security market usually waiting to implement tried and tested solutions. Due to their large scale and many sites, frequent changes of security systems are not likely. Therefore solutions that help banks take advantage of their existing systems, integrate several functionalities together, and introduce newer technologies will be the choice for the banking vertical.

5 Tips for a Successful Security Installation in Banking
Matt Frowert, Director of Marketing for Financial Services at Tyco Integrated Security, provided the following five tips for banks when deploying a security surveillance system.

  1. Find an experienced integrator who specializes in bank physical security. 
  2.  Look for a partner who can support everything from single bank branches all the way up to money center banking models (banks who deal with governments, large corporations, and other banks).
  3. Network with security affinity groups of industry organizations, like the American Bankers Association, to receive recommendations on vendors from other banks in your area.
  4. Standardize on leading access, video, and intrusion systems supported by vendors that have a track record of investing in technology. 
  5. Invest in communication with and training of banking staff to enable them to effectively use the systems (e.g., arming the alarms at the branch level, managing the distribution of codes at the branch level, etc.).

CriticalArc's Safezone enhance safety and security at the University of York

CriticalArc's Safezone enhance safety and security at the University of York

Editor / Provider: CriticalArc | Updated: 1/13/2015 | Article type: Education

The University of York launched CriticalArc’s SafeZone on the 8th January to provide round-the-clock safety reassurance to students and staff. York is the first University in the Russell Group to roll out the simple-to-use, free application designed to help those on campus to summon security or safety assistance via their mobile phones.

The SafeZone system allows security or first aid personnel to pinpoint the location where help is needed. It also provides students and staff with a way of summoning general assistance swiftly from the Security Services help desk through a simple tap of an on-screen button.

Nearly 20,000 students and staff will be able to access three main features using SafeZone -- emergency, first aid and general help. Emergency and first aid options will bring security or first aid officers to the location of the call, while the general help button connects directly to the Campus Services Helpdesk. The SafeZone system will also help the University send targeted notification messages to students and staff in the event of an incident in particular areas or buildings on campus.

Security staff across campus have put SafeZone through exhaustive trials for more than a month and the University will stage a series of roadshows this week to explain how students and staff can sign up for the app. SafeZone works within designated zones covering Heslington West, Heslington East, the King’s Manor and the University Boathouse.

Denis Fowler, the University’s Director of Health and Safety said: “Our campus is already very safe but SafeZone gives students and staff extra reassurance that assistance is no more than the touch of a button away.

“The system allows us to monitor the positions of security personnel and first aiders so we can deploy them swiftly and efficiently to provide assistance and support where necessary. Previously, in the event of an emergency many students automatically called 999 but SafeZone™ provides a more targeted method of summoning assistance on campus.”

The University has worked with the developers of SafeZone, Australian company CriticalArc, to introduce the system.

Darren Chalmers-Stevens, EMEA Director, CriticalArc, said: “SafeZone’s adoption at the University of York is testament to how it can revolutionise the way education institutions manage their day-to-day security and safety operations, while ensuring a safer learning environment.

“SafeZone provides security teams and first responders with the right information quickly, to improve their ability to react to situations efficiently and appropriately. By providing an unobtrusive security application versus traditional physical security equipment, we’re empowering the University to mitigate risk and improve brand reputation through enhanced duty of care, while gaining significant efficiencies through the improved deployment of manned response teams.”

Market consolidation brings opportunities

Market consolidation brings opportunities

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 1/12/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics

2014 has been quite a special year with many significant corporate acquisitions, such as Canon Europe and Milestone, Anixter and Tri-Ed, and Vanderbilt and Siemens Security Products. This year is probably not a fast-growing year but has been quite meaningful for all the industry professionals, who can give us more understanding toward the pressure over margins in the channels and new customer's requirements for a product supplier. From reviewing the world market demand in 2014, we can clearly see how the industry and market move toward year 2015.

QUICK GLANCE AT GLOBAL MARKET DEMAND
The world economy is improving slowly. The global market for security products and systems was predicted to grow 8 to 10 % in 2014, according to current market researchers. However, in the real world, if we look at the actual revenue from multinationals covering all different product lines and geographic regions, frankly speaking, it should be around 2 to 3% growth, without mentioning the squeezing margins of the small- to medium-sized companies in all different tiers of the sales channels.

The security industry indeed is affected by the world economic market status. If looking into the security industry of a country, it is often strongly related to its financial status quo. An industry expert provides a quite close-to-reality statement and said, “There are some markets in the world that are financially troubled. A large part of this industry lives for big projects, projects which are funded by the states, the government, and authorities. If they already have systems that are working — old legacy systems — they are not going to finance those systems. They are not going to rip them out if it's working when they are financially troubled.” This pointed out why a financial crisis still influenced greatly the growth of some markets, such as South Europe now.

BEYOND GROWTH, SQUEEZING MARGINS IN CHANNELS
Even though we see certain growth remains in the global security industry, the companies in sales channels still try very hard to keep a good balance between growth and profit margin, which is the key issue that the security industry is currently facing. The industry expert continued and said, “Even though some market researcher said the market will grow by 20 or 22% (in the IP video surveillance) now and in the future, in reality it's very difficult for some companies to grow by 20 to 22% with their desired margins. You either can grow, but you have to sacrifice your margin because you need to fight with the prices, or you will keep your margin, and you will have a lower growth rate. Very few companies will have both.”

According to the recent and also past reports of a&s Security 50, some leading suppliers have migrated from offering devices only into providing systems as solutions for different types of projects, in order to stay profitable and competitive in the market. Some regions like Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia really feel more pressure due to Chinese products, since they are mostly box moving markets. To keep away from the price competition, developing systems/solutions has become a major movement for most channels since IP technologies were introduced to the security industry around early 2000.

SYSTEMS INTEGRATORS ARE SUFFERING FROM INTEGRATION
Suppliers including distributors, resellers, and wholesalers evolve toward solutions not only for survival but also for offering best-of-breed products for systems integrators. End users now are more educated and care more about return on investment (ROI). Not only security, they want more extra benefits and functionalities from security devices. Another industry expert also pointed out that for a large-scale project, big systems integrators usually have enough knowledge in designing systems and solving problems in integration matters, so there won't be any problems.

However, for small- to medium-scale projects, systems integrators still experience a certain level of challenges in compatibility and interoperability among products from different brands, which might hinder the completion of a project. It also pushes some of the second-tier suppliers to offer solutions instead of devices. The advantage that it brought to systems integrators is the guarantee of completing a project. Via the cooperation and communication with the suppliers, systems integrators may find new applications and demand over these solutions too.

When suppliers mostly roll out their solutions and systems, systems integrators also need to go through a certain learning curve of a new sales model. For example, in the past, it was all about the quantity of products. Now, when selling solutions, systems Integrators also have to learn how to sell service, with professional consulting servicing too, in order to provide a real solution to end users.

TRANSFORMATION OF DISTRIBUTORS
Mergers and acquisitions on the manufacturers' side seem pretty normal, which usually aim to complement the acquirer's product lines and international presence. The most significant example should be Canon Europe acquiring Milestone Systems. In the distribution channels, Anixter merged with Tri-Ed, highlighting the current problems of a distributor.

According to several industry experts, the distribution business today undergoes huge problems in keeping margins and providing specific products and services to customers, since the box-moving business couldn't satisfy most systems integrators' demand. A consultant suggests that to be a good distributor, there are only two ways: first, you are a great logistical company. You buy in bulk, put it in stock, and ship it out. You might make 5 to 6% margin. Since you are an excellent logistical company, naturally you don't have to add any intelligence into it; the intelligence is made by the installer. Otherwise, the distributor should be really focused, having a focus on certain verticals, some geographic areas, and some customers.

“Systems integrators and resellers have become more and more knowledgeable. When they understand more, they need a distributor, more than a box mover (in the long past). They need products, availability of the products, and financing, because of course, if you have projects, you might say, for now we need payment terms … instead of 30 days, I need 90 days, 120 days, or 150 days, because that's what the end users are saying. Can distributors help them with that? They need logistic possibilities because customers may give the order one day and want the product the next day. However, not all distributors can do that. Therefore, here comes the consolidation in distribution,” he elaborated.

So, distributors need to make choices to be successful either in the aspects of financing and better logistic ability or in certain vertical approaches and keeping good relationships with people who specify the projects. However, this is also varied by the markets, too. If a major distributor doesn't believe the market needs to have the best solutions, they just reply to some clever installers, who have a higher expertise in technologies. On the other side, installers need to have distributors who have the products in stock and are financially stable.

2015: YEAR TO BECOME VALUE-ADDED
After the recent market consolidations, many industry professionals also even predicted that there would be more coming up in 2015. However, we are still positive about the security industry in the near future due to the emergence of more value-added players in this market. The whole industry continues to enjoy the growth from the IP migration.

Americas
The performance in mature countries versus emerging countries is still quite varied by regions and countries. The mature market, such as the U.S., continues to recover. According to Karl Erik Traberg, Head of Corporate Communications and Business Development of Milestone Systems, even though the US market performed a little weak in the first half, both consumer and government spending in the U.S. is doing well in the second half of 2014. We can expect to see how it will drive higher growth in the economy and the physical security industry into 2015. South America, on the contrary, is cited by many companies for its strong demand, such as Bosch and Assa Abloy. “The sales trends for the private residential market and in South America were strong. High-security products, electromechanical products, security doors, and traditional lock products showed good growth. However, the growth was slightly negative in Canada and Mexico,” stated in Assa Abloy's half-year review of 2014.

Europe
Europe is more uncertain since the region has been weaker than expected in the second and third quarter of 2014. Overall, the European economic situation will be more stabilized. “The markets in Finland, Britain, Africa, and Eastern Europe showed strong growth. Scandinavia, Germany, and Benelux showed good growth. Sales were stable in Iberia and France but the trend was negative in Italy and Israel,” Assa Abloy's report also said.

IDIS also confirmed the recovering economy in the U.K. Brian Song, MD of IDIS Europe said, “If we take the U.K., for instance, there is an incredibly large legacy analog installed base. The recession impacted many upgrade projects and the improved economy is now enabling customers to reignite and in most cases extend those projects. So taking IP together with HD, we're seeing continued demand as end users continue to struggle with the poor performance and inefficiencies of analog. So for IDIS, we are seeing the adoption of IP increasing through retrofit projects as well as new infrastructure investment.” With the stabilized economy, Europe can be ready to enjoy the demand from new geographic territories and lifestyle. Bernhard Sommer, CEO of SimonsVoss Technologies said, “The security requirements of businesses, organizations, and private persons is increasing considerably. Borders are shifting and are opening up, for Europe in particular; this results in an entirely new security situation. People are more mobile, more flexible, and make use of mobile communication everywhere. This changes lifestyle and usage habits, also in the area of security. Mobility and security are melting together.”

Russia is a problem area in this region due to the current problems with Ukraine. “Parts of Eastern Europe continued to be negatively impacted by the ongoing political turbulence in the region,” also observed by Axis' half year report.

Emerging Regions in MEA and APAC
The Middle East continues to show strong growth and increasing demand toward IP video surveillance and access control systems. The region remains the most important for growth momentum of multinationals, pointed out by almost every single company in a&s interviews. Although some areas in the Middle East region are experiencing political upheaval and economic instability, the oil exporting countries, especially GCC countries, will continue to impress the industry with the largest projects and most tech-savvy installations. Africa is also a region that couldn't be ignored by its growth force. Bosch especially pointed out South Africa for a positive market trend.

Asia, on the other side, has been performing as expected in 2014, and growth is set for 2015. Southern Asia, especially ASEAN countries, recovered somewhat after a weak first quarter of 2014 while Northern Asia showed stable growth, such as China and South Korea. “The markets in Australia, Southeast Asia, and South Korea showed strong growth. China showed a good sales trend in traditional lock products, while fire and security doors grew strongly. New Zealand showed good growth,” Assa Abloy provided a good explanation here.

Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union creates safe and open environment with Avigilon's systems

Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union creates safe and open environment with Avigilon's systems

Editor / Provider: Avigilon | Updated: 12/29/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Secure $15 million in assets, protect staff and members, and meet key insurance requirements while maintaining an open environment where members can freely enter and exit to receive services.

Solution
Brooklyn Cooperative's staff manage the system from their desktops using Avigilon Control Center (ACC) with High-Definition Stream Management™ (HDSM). The company installed Avigilon HD 5 MP cameras with exceptional low-light performance on the exterior of the building to monitor all entrances. Avigilon HD 1 MP and 2 MP cameras were installed in other high-traffic areas including: the ATM vestibule, main lobby, teller station, office area, workshop, and storage and server rooms. Brooklyn Cooperative stores 120 days of continuous surveillance footage on an Avigilon Network Video Recorder (NVR) – a vast improvement over the 30 days previously attained and a top insurance requirement. The credit union can also monitor the system remotely from home during off-hours.

Benefits
Brooklyn Cooperative can meet and exceed the requirements set by their insurance provider to ultimately lower premiums. With detailed coverage of the ATM vestibule, the credit union can also resolve claims of debit card fraud to lower liability costs. Brooklyn Cooperative monitors the storage area and offices to protect confidential member information from loss or theft. Users can search and locate footage in a fraction of the time of the previous system. The company has also eliminated the risk of false alarms by being able to monitor the system remotely during off-hours before contacting police. Brooklyn Cooperative has had no network bandwidth issues since deployment and plans to integrate its new branch when it opens later this year for central management.
* Meet insurance requirements
* Resolve debit card fraud claims
* No network bandwidth issues

Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union Creates Safe, Open Environment to Help Members Build Assets with Avigilon High-Definition Surveillance System
As New York City's fastest growing credit union, Brooklyn Cooperative is dedicated to supporting the economic development of two of the city's most under-banked and low-income neighborhoods, Bushwick and Bedford-Stuyvesant. By offering a range of services to its 6,800 members (including homeownership and foreclosure prevention counseling, free tax preparation, and core financial services), Brooklyn Cooperative helps families and businesses build assets and secure their economic success. With workshops and financial counseling sessions running after hours, Brooklyn Cooperative operates outside traditional bank hours in an open environment. Security solutions suitable for closed banks, such as time stamps, physical gates, and motion detectors, are not practical in this environment. To secure its $15 million in assets, protect staff and members, and meet insurance requirements while ensuring member accessibility, Brooklyn Cooperative deployed the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system for its exceptional image quality and detail, efficient storage, and ease-of-use.

Security in Open Bank
Located on one of the city's busiest streets, Brooklyn Cooperative's main branch spans a city block, with both front and back entrances. The credit union has an ATM vestibule, teller station, and main lobby at the front, offices in the center, and an open workshop area in the back. Files are stored in the basement, which also houses several additional offices and the server room. “Our physical location and unconventional hours make security a challenge,” explained Samira Rajan, CEO at Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union. “We selected the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system on the recommendation of a board member who is responsible for physical security at a large bank in Manhattan.” Rajan chose to partner with Digital Provisions, Inc., a local technology integration company, for their expertise, support services, and cost.

Range of Coverage
Staff manages the surveillance system from their desktops using Avigilon Control Center with HDSM. The company installed Avigilon HD cameras ranging from 1 MP to 5 MP for complete branch coverage. “The fact that Avigilon offers such a wide range of cameras was a top selling feature for us,” commented Rajan. The credit union installed Avigilon HD 5 MP cameras with superior low-light performance on the exterior of the building to monitor all entrances and installed Avigilon HD 1 MP and 2 MP cameras in all other hightraffic areas. “By installing higher resolution cameras in only key areas and leveraging Avigilon's advanced motion detection technology, we lowered our investment costs and can store 120 days of surveillance footage – a vast improvement over the 30 days we previously attained to help meet a key insurance requirement.”

Lowering Insurance Costs
While asset protection and staff safety are top goals for the new high-definition surveillance system, so too is the ability to meet critical insurance standards. “The Avigilon high-definition surveillance system allows us to meet insurance requirements such as achieving 120 days of storage and delivering indisputable evidence for police investigations,” explained Rajan. With coverage of the ATM vestibule, which is a target for fraud and debit card misuse, the credit union can more accurately address false liability claims to save money and lower insurance premiums. Brooklyn Cooperative can also monitor the storage area and offices to protect confidential member information from theft. “I expect to lower our premiums because we will be in a better position to meet more insurance requirements,” added Rajan.

Smooth Operations
After a brief training session, Rajan and her team were up and running on the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system in no time. “Avigilon is a thousand times easier to use than our previous system,” stated Rajan. In fact, Rajan was able to quickly investigate a report of stolen funds using the Avigilon Control Center software. “We identified the perpetrator in less than 10 minutes and successfully recovered the lost funds.” Rajan has also been impressed with how easily the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system has integrated into its existing network. “We've had no glitches or bandwidth issues at all – it is running very smoothly,” observed Rajan.

Eliminating False Alarms
With the ability to monitor the surveillance system from home, Rajan can rest easy that the credit union is safe both day and night. “Previously, any motion would trigger the alarm and our monitoring firm would automatically call the police, resulting in more than 60 false alarms,” said Rajan. “Now, the Digital Provisions service center can check footage before calling the police, giving us greater peace of mind.” Employees now enjoy a greater sense of security and are no longer distracted by old security procedures such as panic buttons, motion detectors, and time stamps, which required time and effort to properly manage.

An Integrated Future
Another advantage of the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system is its scalability, which will make it easy for Brooklyn Cooperative to integrate its new branch when it opens later this year. “I am looking forward to having a coherent surveillance system that can be centrally managed,” concluded Rajan. “We are very impressed with how well the Avigilon high-definition surveillance system addresses all our requirements, performs as promised, and will meet our future needs.”

Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l airport implements integrated security solution from SDI and Verint

Minneapolis-St. Paul Int'l airport implements integrated security solution from SDI and Verint

Editor / Provider: Verint Systems | Updated: 12/22/2014 | Article type: Infrastructure

SDI (System Development Integration, LLC), a systems integrator specializing in airport security technologies, and Verint® Systems announced that together they will deliver the first phase of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport's (MSP) Integrated Video and Information Systems Network (iVISN) Surveillance System. The iVISN Program will replace its current CCTV system with advanced technology to help enhance and maximize security capabilities and improve the performance of security personnel.

MSP is located in Minneapolis and St. Paul near the suburban cities of Bloomington, Eagan, Mendota Heights and Richfield. Spanning over 3,400 acres, MSP has one airfield, four runways and two terminal buildings. Serving more than 32 million passengers a year, it accommodates over 430,000 landings and takeoffs annually, making it the 12th busiest airfield in the United States.

To implement the first phase of the iVISN Program, as well as provide ongoing support, MSP selected SDI. SDI has partnered with local firms Pro-Tec Design and Premier Electric, which will provide field implementation and integration services and electrical contractor services, respectively. Additionally, TRICOM Communications will deliver structured cabling and electrical services.

"SDI's intimate knowledge of the nuances of an airport's concept of operations, security protocols and underlying technology components will serve to drive the technical solution to the operational reality that MSP envisions,” said David A. Gupta, SDI Chief Executive Officer.

SDI will implement Verint's Nextiva® Video Management Software™ (VMS) and Nextiva Physical Security Information Management™ (PSIM), both of which MSP selected in August 2012. The Verint VMS solution will monitor both conventional and megapixel IP cameras across an integrated IP-based network. Bridging the video system to the airport's security and access control system, the SDI team also will deploy the Verint PSIM solution. Upon completion of what will be a multi-phased deployment, the system is expected to include more than 2,500 cameras, 100 workstations, and a variety of video analytic and informational interface programs, including license plate recognition.

“Nextiva Video Management Software and Nextiva Physical Security Information Management are part of Verint's fully-integrated IP security suite, which is designed to help airports—like Minneapolis-St. Paul—better protect facilities, provide greater situational awareness and optimize security operations,” added Steve Weller, senior vice president and general manager, Verint Video and Situation Intelligence Solutions™. “Once deployed, the Nextiva solution will support the airport in handling its operational complexities and security challenges even more efficiently.”

Around the world, airports and critical infrastructure organizations of all sizes count on Verint Video and Situation Intelligence Solutions to deliver advanced security and business intelligence. Based on years of experience, Verint has a proven track record of delivering scalable, fault tolerant, high-availability solutions designed to cover security and surveillance across an airport's entire network—from terminals and perimeters, to parking lots and other facilities. Today, airports across the globe use Verint Nextiva to enhance situational awareness, improve emergency preparedness and response, and provide authorized personnel with comprehensive security and operations intelligence.

Named as the integrator of record for the iVISN project, SDI has been providing delivery of robust VMS and PSIM design, implementation, integration and maintenance for airport and public safety clients since 1991. The firm has a well-established track record of deploying large-scale VMS within live, Category X airport environments, as well as integrating Cat X standard operating procedures into PSIM platforms to deliver enhanced airport security operations. Additionally, SDI has an in-house network infrastructure group to deploy necessary network infrastructure and storage components.

Vertical market: Hospitals combine forces and security

Vertical market: Hospitals combine forces and security

Editor / Provider: Israel Gogol, freelancer, a&s International | Updated: 12/22/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

Hospitals are in the business of serving people and their families. Their primary goal is to provide patients with medical care, comfort, and peace of mind. Traditionally security systems in healthcare have been used for access control, providing forensic video and personal alerts for staff in cases of violence, and monitoring at-risk populations such as infants or patients suffering from dementia to protect against kidnapping or wandering.

“The purpose of healthcare security management is to contribute to the protection and safety of all those delivering medical service and safeguarding public and private assets against loss, theft, fraud, damage, and disruption, which could be detrimental and a risk to the continuation of patient care. Patients, employees, and visitors assume that since hospitals take care of the community they are immune from local crime and the ills of society,” said Nick van der Bijl, an honorary president of the National Association for Healthcare Security in the U.K. and former healthcare security manager. However, by their nature, hospitals are violent places, some of which are of a clinical nature — post-operative trauma, serious mental health, and pain. But there are also instances when violence is of a criminal nature, such as violence against others.

Behind the scenes, hospital security teams face numerous challenges that involve the safety and security of employees, patients, visitors, and confidential personal information, as well as safeguarding dangerous materials, pharmaceutical supplies, and more. A breach in any of these areas can cause financial, legal, and reputational damages.

In addition, hospitals have to work under a strict regulatory environment complying with numerous standards. First and foremost is of course safeguarding patients' medical information. Many other regulations influence a hospital's daily operations: from financial regulations (for example in case the hospital accepts credit card payments) to regulations regarding the storage of hazardous and radioactive materials. The need for compliance is a significant factor for the performance of healthcare providers. “Healthcare by nature is a very open environment so any security systems put in place must work within this construct, providing a secure environment to patients, employees, hospital property, and regulated health information while having a negligible impact on the flow of patients, visitors, and staff,” explained Drew Neckar, Director of Security Services at the Mayo Clinic Health System.

With many different departments, entrances, elevators, parking areas, etc., and a constant flow of staff, “hospitals are ultimate high-traffic sites,” explained Courtney Dillon Pedersen, Corporate Communications Manager at Milestone Systems. “Monitoring all of these scenarios can be aided by comprehensive video monitoring and access control, which today is in hot demand as a unified solution for greater efficiency.”

Frequent M&As Creates New Demand
Recent changes in the healthcare business environment in the U.S. have led to a series of mergers and acquisitions (M&As) between healthcare providers. These are driven by regulatory changes and strategic initiatives. Hospitals merge to gain economies of scale and deal with reimbursement cuts, to get a better strategic position in the market or purchase smaller, less profitable hospitals that became too strained financially as a result of high compliance costs.

According to a report from strategic advisory and investment banking firm Hammond Hanlon Camp, in 2012, more than US$143.3 billion in healthcare M&As took place in the U.S., one of the highest volumes recorded in a decade. The U.S. is the global leader in healthcare M&As; however, this trend is not limited to the U.S. and appears also in Europe (mainly the U.K., Germany, and France) and APAC (Thailand, China, India, and Australia).

From the security perspective this convergence has had two implications. The first is overcoming the challenges of managing a multi-site environment often with different systems that now need to work together. A second implication is a growing need for security systems to show a return on investment (ROI) that will justify their expense.

“Security nowadays is turning into an ROI perspective — security managers need to prove they have a benefit and contribute financially for example through loss prevention,” said Sean Ahrens, Security Consulting Services Practice Leader at Aon Global Risk Consulting Security Practice. One way of achieving loss prevention is by preventing theft. In addition, the data collected by security systems is also useful. For instance, access control systems can provide information about how many people pass through a certain door. This data too has implications, if more people than planned pass through the door the hospital might want to schedule maintenance or re-plan emergency evacuation routes. This way the hospital can avoid potential bottle necks because too many people pass through one door.

A major challenge in multi-site management is interoperability, an issue presented by M&As that requires the merging of several facilities. “Each one of these hospitals has different systems and the challenge is how to combine them successfully. This raises many issues — how to register all the employees to the system quickly and efficiently and how to prevent them from using multiple cards. Another key issue is employees or contractors not removed from the systems in time. For example, in one hospital I encountered 3,000 active cards in the system for only 700 employees,” said Ahrens. An additional constraint is that oftentimes hospitals do not have situational awareness in mind. There is no dedicated area to set up a control room and this hurts the efficiency of security operations.

“In healthcare's current climate of acquisitions, reorganizations, and uncertain finances, a security professional rarely has the opportunity to choose a single new security system as a solution for a new installation in multiple sites. It is more often the case that they are tasked with allocating resources to integrate existing, often outdated, systems to work in parallel while trying to provide a seamless user experience at all facilities,” added Neckar.

Placing More Emphasis on Training
As in other verticals, the proper use of security systems and achieving their full potential is a challenge. All too often users fail to understand a system's capabilities and therefore underutilize the system. “The pressing problem about security systems is that we don't know what we are buying. We install them, but don't fully use them to their full potential — it's more of a ‘check-the-box,'” said Ahrens.

Apart from the technological challenge, the human factor is important. “When integrating hospitals and other healthcare facilities, sometimes the technology isn't the problem as much as the psychology of the people involved and their different approaches to security,” explained van der Bijl. For example, employees of a mental health institution will have a more pro-security culture as opposed to a community care facility where employees have lower security awareness. In this case, the integration of the two facilities is more complex than just integrating the security systems. Van der Bijl recommends making security a concern for all hospital staff and not just security officers. “One of the roles of the security function is also to make sure security is visible and promoted among the employees. Reporting security incidents should not be in a stand-alone system but should be part of the hospital's reporting system,” noted van der Bijl. At the end of the day, a lot still depends on the quality of the security officer. “Smart security officers are highly critical, they are the face of security and should have the proper training on how to behave in a hospital,” he concluded.

Choosing the right security system seems like the biggest challenge, however, healthcare operators should also emphasize education and training for their systems to ensure its proper use.

Role of Video Analytics in Healthcare
In the open and busy environment that exists in the majority of healthcare facilities, traditional analytics such as line crossing or license plate recognition have provided limited benefits. “Analytics are still at a price point that healthcare institutions can't justify,” stated Drew Neckar, Director of Security Services at the Mayo Clinic Health System. “However the next generation of ‘smart' analytics that rely less on a set of pre-programmed rules and more on providing alerts when situations vary from the ‘normal' conditions show significant promise.”

A robust video surveillance set-up combined with powerful video analytics can alert security staff to incidents before they occur by flagging anomalies in movement or behavior. “Certain behaviors can be indicative of imminent criminal activity or an incident; intelligent video solutions can recognize these actions and alert security personnel, freeing up their time to respond to incidents rather than monitoring banks of screens,” said Daniel Wan, UK Channel Marketing Manager at Honeywell Security. Additionally, integrated systems with access control can let teams know who is entering premises and more importantly who is leaving and with what.

Potential Role of PSIM in Hospitals
Physical security information management (PSIM) solutions have the ability to overcome the obstacles of separate access control systems and integrate multiple disparate security systems. They can also add multiple sub systems in addition to video management software (VMS) systems and access control such as public announcements, patient tracking, equipment traking, panic buttons, IT systems and building management systems. “The benefit of PSIM is that it answers the requirement for standardization, however it should come after a thorough evaluation of pros and cons,” said Sean Ahrens, Security Consulting Services Practice Leader at Aon Global Risk Consulting Security Practice.

PSIM can also help make sure the proper procedures are followed. “For instance, if equipment is tracked by RFID sensors and if it is not properly sterilized, the PSIM can alert to this missed step, allow for a corrections to be made, and save the hospital non-compliance fines. This is one way PSIM results in a strong return on investment (ROI) for healthcare customers,” explained Ellen Howe, VP of Marketing at Vidsys. Though its potential is recognized, PSIM in hospitals is still not widespread. “Many hospitals postpone decisions due to price concerns, but there is definitely a significant ROI when comparing this to running separate systems, for example in monitoring and auditing access logs, or in the case of an alarm,” said Ahrens. For example, if there is an alarm for an abducted child, the security officer can immediately see what the perpetrator looks like and take action instead of searching for footage in different systems.

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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