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Honeywell releases multilingual iOS demonstration Apps for LYNX touch systems

Honeywell releases multilingual iOS demonstration Apps for LYNX touch systems

Editor / Provider: Honeywell | Updated: 2/25/2015 | Article type: Security 50

Honeywell released two first-of-their-kind multilingual demo apps for its LYNX Touch 5200 and 7000 home security systems. Dealers and integrators can now easily transition between English, Spanish and French languages within the same app, depending on a customer's language preference, to demonstrate system capabilities.

The apps interactively showcase the features of Honeywell's latest LYNX Touch security systems by simulating the experience on an iPad® or iPhone®. Dealers can demonstrate functions such as how to arm and disarm the system, view video, open and close garage doors, modify thermostat temperatures, and control lights and door locks.

“Easily transitioning between three languages using one app lets dealers more effectively demonstrate end-to-end security and lifestyle systems to a more-diverse group of consumers in North America,” said Alan Stoddard, senior marketing director, Honeywell Security Products Americas. “Apps like these will help dealers demonstrate to customers the power of the ‘Connected Home' and how it will enhance their everyday lives, as well as their security.”

In addition to the multi-language product demonstration capabilities, consumer marketing materials have been translated for immediate, on-the-spot access via the apps. The apps are available for free download on iTunes and are compatible with the latest Apple iOS software.

Philippines: On the fast track to success

Philippines: On the fast track to success

Editor / Provider: Lisa Hsu, a&s Asia | Updated: 2/20/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics

The Philippines have defeated all odds and will make a remarkable recovery in 2015 despite the impact of natural disasters over the past few years. Economic growth is back on track, with public-private programs that will help boost the growth of the private sector, and big events happening this year will fuel the growth for security.

This year will be a positive year for the Philippines, with a forecast GDP growth of 6.8 percent, fueled by inflow of foreign direct investment and remittances. Impacted by a string of natural disasters in the past two years, including Typhoon Haiyan in 2013, the strongest typhoon to ever hit land, the Philippines still managed to achieve a 5.3 GDP growth last year. According to BDO UniBank, the biggest likely change for 2015 will be accelerated implementation of infrastructure projects under the government's public-private partnership (PPP) scheme. Moreover, as the world's largest center for business process outsourcing (BPO), opportunities will present itself with more demand for security and protection for data and employees who work at unruly hours.

Uncertainty for 2016 Elections
Presidential elections will be held in 2016, which may lead to postponement of some projects. Some investors may delay key decisions till a new government is formed and wait to gauge what the future policy environment will be before launching major projects. At the same time, nearing the upcoming election, talk of more projects and activities from the government to gain more votes will hopefully turn into real projects, as growth initiatives must continue. According to Rosalie Real, Project Manager of CBR2 Marketing, “Some agencies will hurry up and purchase before elections, while others who are either indecisive or have no final requirement yet will have to wait after the election is over to continue their projects.”

According to Matthias Boehm, Country Manager of Bosch Security Systems, the elections are considered to be “hot months” in security and safety; most projects are still being rolled out, while some are put on hold.

Security Growth Benefits From Economy
The Philippines has recently been named one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia, and the security industry has benefitted from this trend. “The security industry matures almost every day. As we integrate electronics to this field, the security industry then takes a bigger leap, which opens up many possibilities for surveillance, access control, finger prints, face detection, voice recognition, and building management systems (BMS), etc. If we look at it on a general basis, growth for the industry doubles every year,” said Zel A. Ortiz, Sales and MD of Alcon Philippines Technologies and Solutions.

2015 is a busy year for the country, with events that will be sure to fuel the growth of security. The Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) Summit will be held in Manila this year, which the country will appoint a large amount of the budget to security, as it is a main concern. “We are preparing for important visits in 2015, particularly for the APEC summit, for which reason our airports are already in the process of renovation. Entertainment facilities such as casinos and resorts are also in progress in several parts of the country, but predominantly in Manila,” said Boehm.

Also this month, Pope Francis will visit the Philippines to give blessing to the country that suffered from Typhoon Haiyan, which will urge the country to be more aware of security, and take extra precautions by upgrading their current systems at crowd drawing events during the Pope's visit. The Pope's decision to ride in an open vehicle instead of a bulletproof, enclosed "popemobile" poses as a security challenge, and the country has issued additional security forces to ensure protection, including additional soldiers and maritime security surveillance.

“No CCTV, No Permit” Fuels Growth
The policy “no CCTV, no business permit” implemented in 2014, is an essential driver for the security industry, especially surveillance growth and security awareness. With law enforced to mandate surveillance systems as part of business owners' security measures, the public will soon realize the importance of monitoring their premises that can not only deter criminal activity, but also catch culprits.

The policy is implemented in most of the major cities in the Philippines, requiring new and existing businesses to install surveillance systems on their premises in order to obtain business permits. Establishments such as banks, shopping malls, service stations, super markets, money changers, 24-hour convenience stores, schools, fast food restaurants, car dealerships, and other crime-vulnerable establishments such as jewelry and pawnshops, hotels, game and amusement establishments, and health clubs are under the ordinance to install surveillance cameras in order to continue their businesses. “The new legislations implemented by local government units all over the Philippines have definitely placed importance on security, particularly in the use of surveillance systems as a preventive measure against crime. It is now a matter of strictly implementing this policy that will define the standard for surveillance with help of video surveillance manufacturers. This way, more options will be made available to SMBs and will then spur growth in the sector,” Boehm explained.

“No CCTV, no business permit” has set the standard for surveillance systems as the policy has specified a range of requirements for surveillance placement of cameras inside and outside of the establishment, hardware requirements that are needed to record incidents and clearly identify culprits, as well as suitable storage memory that can store the footage for forensic evidence. “The policy will push surveillance growth because it can greatly reduce petty crimes in SMB sectors like supermarkets, convenient stores, etc., and at the same time it helps to contribute security in the public,” said Ortiz. Moreover, in order to push the growth of surveillance in the Philippines, education is essential to allow consumers to know what is appropriate for their requirements. “We manufacturers have to keep educating SMB customers what will be their benefit when they deploy security surveillance systems, or they will simply install no-use cameras just to meet regulation, which is not beneficial at all,” Masami Eguchi, GM of APAC at Panasonic System Communications stressed.

As growth for surveillance is fueled by the policy, business owners have started to realize the importance of video surveillance for their establishment. “Since the government issued a video surveillance requirement, most business owners at first resolve to buy cheap surveillance products just for compliance. Later on as they experience the importance and what good quality products could bring, they are adapting to change. IP cameras and HD-over-coaxial products are fast becoming popular. Consumers learn by asking about resolutions, clarity, and infrared for night viewing. The Philippine government offices, schools, private businesses will surely evolve to upgrading their system these coming years,” said Real.

Private Sector Takes the Lead
Recently, growth in the private sector has been booming with the help of PPP projects. As a result of the government's agenda in the development and implementation in infrastructure, project demand is high. “Mid-high projects have been stronger driven from the commercial sector, e.g., hospitality and gaming that needs security in their operations, which are verticals driving the security industry in the Philippines. It will continue in 2015 with commercial projects from the private sector driving forward,” said Sunny Kong, Director of Sales in APAC at Milestone Systems.

According to Eguchi, though the current market size in the Philippines is still small, it has extremely high growth. “Panasonic would like to contribute to the commercial sector, such as retail stores, and banking,” he added.

Projects to Improve Tourism 2015 is “Visit the Philippines” year, a campaign designated to bring in more tourism to the country, with a target to reach 10 million tourist arrivals. To promote this, there is a need to improve facilities for airports, hotels, residential, commercial, and entertainment establishments that will help bring in more tourists within the year, which will also further boost the security market. According to Tamir Ginat, Senior VP for APAC at IndigoVision, some of the big projects going on that will boost tourism in the Philippines are casinos, smart city projects, the Philippines international airport, and the Philippines light rail transit (LRT).

According to Ivan Tjahjadi, Country Manager of ASEAN at Axis Communications, “To date, the highest growth for us is manufacturing, transport and commercial projects. These industries now require more security and intelligence in their system. Integration also is a big factor since most of them have old systems running.”

Residential Boom
In recent years, various verticals have been growing, especially the residential sector which continues on its cycle of boom as a result of rising demand, capital growth, and rental yield. Developers are committed to addressing the problem on housing shortage. Lately, the trend now is to build mix-use township projects in order to house various types of establishments.

“In all these constructions, security will definitely have a big part to play in ensuring the safety of the general public,” said Boehm.

All Eyes on Philippines
All eyes are on the Philippines as it continues to grow at an optimistic pace, with the help of the BPO industry and government spending for PPP. Additionally, the “no CCTV, no business permit” policy will be a crucial factor that can help the security industry in the Philippines to grow awareness and promote growth. The Philippines will see a prosperous year as it goes on the fast track to success.

Riding on security solutions to safety

Riding on security solutions to safety

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 2/20/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

While security products can help with theme park management, operators still rely on them for the original purpose that they were designed for: keeping premises safe and secure. Products and solutions, such as video surveillance, access control, and RFID can help operators achieve their security objectives.

For amusement parks, they deal with several types of security concerns. The first is the protection of premises from various harms. “As like any pubic commercial business, threats that have the potential to prevent or hinder the achievement of objectives that the business needs to perform, for example processes to keep the business financially safe and compliant from potential threat sources, can range from vandalism, terrorism, criminal activity, and asset loss and safety,” said Pedro De Jesus, Channel Manager for Security at Gallagher.

Another concern is ensuring the safety of visitors, some of whom may enter or exit rides from the wrong side or wander off to restricted areas. Locating missing children or members of a group is another primary focus. To address those concerns, security products and solutions are deployed, offering vital and much needed assistance to operators as they strive to build an overall safe environment.

Preventing child abduction and theft
Video surveillance plays a vital role in keeping amusement parks safe, especially when it comes to detecting and deterring crime. “A premier form of electronic surveillance, video provides real-time monitoring of situations, both at the location and remotely,” said Craig Dahlman, Director of IP Camera Products at Pelco by Schneider Electric. “Video security is a proven solution that can offer a complete answer for protecting customers, co-workers, and employees while additionally offering a watchful eye over property.”

Cameras are installed at various points in the park as well as at entrances to prevent various crimes, such as child abduction, although the mere presence of cameras should serve as a deterrent. “Visible installation of cameras and the knowledge that there is a video surveillance system is mostly sufficient to repel potential kidnappers,” said Roland Feil, Director Sales at Dallmeier Electronics, adding that high-definition cameras offering crystal clear images can also help investigate theft and shoplifting, which can be quite rampant at theme parks. Another important value of video surveillance is it can help operators request the necessary compensation should something happens. “It provides indisputable documentation of an event. While serving as a visual deterrent to crime, it gives park managers and security and safety professionals the tools they need to validate liability claims,” Dahlman said.

Locating lost visitors
Tracking lost children or members of a group over a large space like theme parks can be a daunting challenge. RFID, which entails communications between a tag and a reader, can be utilized for this purpose. “It keeps children safe by determining where the child last used the RFID credential. The child's credential can also be programmed not to work without being tagged in tandem with the parent's credential,” said Scott Lindley, President of Farpointe Data.

RFID not only can track lost visitors but also park employees as well. “They can be used to track lone workers, perhaps maintenance workers working in remote parts of the park outside of opening hours, to ensure that staff are accounted for and located, so emergencies can be spotted more quickly,” said John Davies, MD at TDSi.

Better yet, RFID can be integrated with other technologies, such as video analytics, to offer visual verification of the missing person. “Passive RFID tags can allow wearers to be tracked at specific portals throughout the park. While passing through those areas, images can be logged to validate the wearer's location,” said Larry Bowe, President of PureTech Systems. “On a more advanced level, the use of active RFID tags or small GPS transmitter could allow map-based tracking throughout the park and provide the ability to instantly swing a PTZ or zoom a high-resolution fixed camera directly to the child or person in question.”

When looking for lost visitors, every second counts. Video surveillance technologies nowadays have video forensic capabilities that enable quick retrieval of critical video data. “With metadata, which adds sense and structure to video surveillance, it is possible to immediately retrieve the correct evidence of hours of recorded materials in a couple of seconds,” said Pieter van den Looveren, Manager of Marketing Communication for Video Systems at Bosch Security Systems. “Today's video forensic tools can include details on age, clothing color, gender, and even geographic vicinity, allowing a user to literally enter a video search looking for a ‘small male child, wearing a red shirt last seen in the area of a particular ride during a specified time frame,'” Bowe said. “Video clips meeting these requirements can be quickly provided to security for a timely analysis.”

Detecting suspicious objects
While the technology is nothing new, detecting unattended or suspicious items by way of video analytics continues to be a popular application for theme parks, which might be targets for terrorist attacks. “With the help of modern video content analysis, it is possible to issue an alarm if any objects remain within a certain area for a predefined period of time,” Feil said. “The systems can also prevent the blocking of escape routes, fire rescue paths, or approach roads for ambulances by parked objects, which could have very serious consequences in case of an emergency.”

Intrusion detection Perimeter protection is a major concern, especially during the night when theme parks are closed. Delinquents, thieves, or burglars trying to climb over the fence and get into the park need to be kept out. Video analytics and cameras are deployed for this purpose, keeping parks safe and sound after business hours.

“Intelligent video can determine, for example, if an object approaches an area, from which direction it is coming, or how long it stays in a certain area,” Feil said. “This means that intruders can be detected early on and an alarm can be triggered. Comprehensive validity checks reduce false alarms, which may be triggered by leaves swishing in the wind or animals, to a minimum without missing ‘real' alarm messages.”

Video recording during night time, when everything is dark, presents a daunting challenge. Luckily, advances in lowlight and thermal technologies have solved this problem. “Today's thermal imagers have become very affordable, and as video analytic technology continues to improve, protection ranges increase greatly,” Bowe said. “The ability for video analytics to utilize a single camera for distances from hundreds of meters to kilometers makes implementing measures for night time surveillance more effective and more affordable.”

Access Control in critical areas
Like any other businesses, theme parks can step up access control through multifactor authentication, or a combination of tokens, passwords, or, for entry into more critical areas, biometrics. “Biometrics is typically used throughout high security or restricted places, for example head-end sever rooms, cash holding rooms, and security operations,” De Jesus said. “Access to these areas can be controlled to ensure only those staff that are appropriately qualified or trained can gain access.”

Access control management software can offer rapid authorization or removal of access when required. “Examples include contractors needing access to service the rides or attractions, or temporary staff no longer needed to work in restricted areas,” said Davies.

Ensuring safety of equipment
Finally, security products can help ensure that rides and other types of equipment are in good shape. “Video analytics is desirable for monitoring abnormalities, for example smoke, breakage of a gear, movement of a critical component, or overheating through the use of thermal cameras. They can even be used to ensure certain safety procedures are being followed,” Bowe said.

Safe and fun
People come to amusement parks to relax and have a fun day with their family and friends. They can't have fun if constantly being bugged by worries that something might happen. With various security products and solutions in place, operators can strive to make their parks as safe as possible and offer the ultimate visitor experience.

Surveying trends in the security integration market

Surveying trends in the security integration market

Editor / Provider: Scott Lindley, President, Farpointe Data, a&s International | Updated: 2/19/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics

In today's world, sophisticated security end users demand for higher levels of expertise and interoperability, forcing systems integrators to emphasize on seamless integration to provide users with optimal performance and automation.

It is evident that the majority of security installations are becoming more and more complex. No longer content to monitor and manage separate access control, fire alarm, video surveillance, intrusion, and HVAC control systems, corporate security and technology managers want to consolidate and integrate various disconnected security and facility management systems. At a dramatically increasing pace, the IT department is leading the initiative, particularly given the trend toward convergence of physical and logical security systems. End user customers are demanding that their integrator or dealer understand their business and their infrastructure. Security dealers and integrators must quickly decide whether or not they want to be part of this new security paradigm or slowly wither away, providing traditional stand-alone solutions. With every new advance in the installation marketplace, dealers and integrators must again and again decide whether to keep pace. Successful implementations require greater technical knowledge of systems than ever before along with products that work together more easily, while simultaneously providing better ease of use to end users.

Dealers and integrators who want to be positioned for continued success in this evolving marketplace need to choose not only the right products for any given installation, but align with manufacturing partners who will provide them with the best prospects for long-term success, manufacturers that heavily invest in both new scaleable technologies for their products and support programs for their channels.

A New Quid Pro Quo
It used to be that the dealer or integrator that sold the most widgets earned “most favored” status from its manufacturers. Having that status resulted in recognition, special perks, and discounted pricing for those who delivered. However, in a direct reflection of the new realities of today's security market, this simply isn't the case anymore. It is not that manufacturers no longer appreciate top sellers or want to avoid rewarding them. It is because forward-thinking manufacturers know that their dealers and integrators have to stay on top of the latest technology trends in order to stay competitive. These manufacturers want their dealers and integrators to succeed in a manner that will keep both the integrator and the manufacturer successful in the years to come.

Being Seamless is Essential
Reliance on proprietary technologies and platforms inhibits innovation, integration, and the assimilation of emerging technologies. Issues arising from proprietary technologies plague too many systems which is self-defeating for the security industry, and creates major problems for security dealers and integrators, hindering end users from having flexible, scalable security platforms that cost-effectively protect their people and assets.

We increasingly hear that a major trend that will permeate physical access control now and for the foreseeable future is the growing connection between physical security and IT security. Because of this, there is growing demand by organizations for migration of computer-based systems to a common software platform or to standards-based platforms that can be easily and seamlessly integrated. Leveraging technology breakthroughs and a need for increased security, companies will also more rapidly adapt smart cards, two-factor readers, biometrics, long-range wireless, and intelligent video into their overall systems.

Physical access control systems on an enterprise level are now described as much in IT terms as they are in access control terms. New command and control integration platforms are giving integrators a wider range of solutions to help end-users meet this challenge head-on while, at the same time, requiring the integrator to have higher levels of IT expertise.

Integration Equals Success
Today, the various components frequently used in the typical security system are not only disconnected, but from different manufacturers, complicating or making integration impossible. All too often, they employ incompatible hardware or proprietary, unsynchronized databases or completely inconsistent user interfaces that compete for space and attention. Such systems may be inefficient and need many people to manage them, and security personnel who have been forced to use them have been frustrated for some time but these systems will not pass muster with IT personnel.

However, there is a good reason for this — such systems increase employee and training costs, foster unnecessary equipment expense, have gaps causing security and safety breeches, and can produce downtime in mission-critical operations. Since IT budgets and management are responsible for many of these operations, they are beginning to dictate what will be used, particularly for physical access control systems.

Seamless integration means the physical access control department, as well as other groups in the enterprise, have the freedom to select different technology vendors, relying on the command and control platform to handle the integration. This extends to system hardware. Today, with one card reader, users can read the most popular 125 KHz proximity cards, including those from Farpointe, HID, and AWID. 13.56 MHz smart card readers can process contactless credentials based upon NXP Semiconductor's Mifare technology as well as based upon France's Inside Technologies. Such readers provide continuity throughout the organization, without having to eliminate legacy cards while additionally building a pathway to higher security applications in the future. Dealers and installers who want to be able to offer this type of powerful security platform to their customers must be willing to stay one step ahead of the technology.

Partnering for Success
Dealers and integrators must recognize and respond to these emerging trends if they want to remain competitive. That means partnering with companies that are also aware of where the market is going and are staying one step ahead of customer needs. Integrators need more than just equipment in today's market. At a minimum, they require training, technical support, sales and marketing expertise and, of course, innovative, forward-thinking products. Today's partnerships are based on helping both partners build their businesses and profits, not just selling more products.

Turning security into useful management tools at amusement parks

Turning security into useful management tools at amusement parks

Editor / Provider: William Pao, a&s International | Updated: 2/18/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Amusement park operators are constantly working to find better, easier, and more efficient ways to manage their premises. To that end, operators can be aided by a variety of security technologies, such as video surveillance, access control, RFID, and biometrics to crack down on ticket fraud, control crowds, and enhance the customer experience. The ultimate goal is to bring more visitors and generate higher revenue streams.

From Magic Kingdom to Lotte World, Disneyland to Six Flags Great Adventure, theme parks are a huge global business frequented by throngs of adults and children every year. According to market research firm IBISWorld, theme parks in the U.S. have seen a compound annual growth rate of 4 percent over the five years up to 2014, in which total revenue was estimated at US$15.4 billion. Meanwhile, there were 215 million visits to the world's top 25 amusement parks last year, up 4.3 percent from 2012, according to the Themed Entertainment Association and AECOM's global attractions attendance report.

With so many people visiting parks each day, operators are faced with the need to make day-to-day operators more manageable, efficient, and cost-effective. Issues facing operators, such as ticket fraud, crowd control, and customer experience improvement can now be addressed through ever-advanced technologies such as video surveillance, access control, video analytics, biometrics, and RFID. While these products are traditionally for security purposes, they can also help operations achieve better management, which ultimately leads to increased visitations and revenue.

Clamping Down on Ticket Fraud
A horrific problem that theme park operators constantly need to deal with is ticket fraud, which can cause serious damage to their revenue and earnings. Fraud may be in the form of people paying counterfeit currency, charging stolen credit cards, writing fake checks, or using false identity. “Some visitors try to pass their annual tickets on to friends and relatives, even when they know that it's forbidden,” said Roland Feil, Director of Sales at Dallmeier Electronic.

To counter this problem, operators use video surveillance to monitor every move between the ticket booth employee and customers. “Ideally cameras are placed nearby the location where theft or fraud is to be expected. Access to the camera footage can be managed via the video management system, which offers various authorization levels in order to avoid that people without proper clearance can access camera footage,” said Pieter van den Looveren, Manager of Marketing Communication for Video Systems at Bosch Security Systems, adding that video surveillance can also be linked to the operator's point-of-sale (POS) system to make sure that each transaction is backed by evidence and accounted for.

Access control technologies, such as RFID and biometric authentication, can also help crack down on ticket fraud. RFID, which entails the communication between a reader and a tag, can limit critical areas, such as ticket booths, to employees only. “If even more security is required, multi-technology RFID cards can be used,” said Scott Lindley, President of Farpointe Data. “For example, these cards can have text, bar codes, and images printed on them. They can have various mag stripes applied and encoded. They can have microprocessor- based contact smart chips embedded. They can have holograms adhered. And they can have various RFID technologies embedded, such as EPC2, Mifare, and proximity.” Biometrics, which authenticates ticketholders via a part of their body, be it fingerprints or the eye, has been implemented at an increasing number of amusement parks. “Efficient and reliable biometric authentication provides amusement park operators with a way of ensuring that ticket holders are legitimate,” said Sujan T.V. Parthasaradhi, Director of Biometric Applications at Lumidigm.

Video content analysis (VCA), or video analytics, can also play a part. While it may not act as a deterrent to ticket fraud, technologies such as people counting can help make sure there is a match between the number of people entering the park and the number of tickets sold. “What we can provide is technology that can detect how many people have passed through a given area,” said Albert Yang, President of Huper Laboratories. “If the operator sold three tickets, and there were three people passing by, then there is a match.”

Crowd Control
Crowd control is a top safety concern for theme park operators and is often stipulated by law. Security technologies can “ensure that no more than the maximum number of visitors, as is prescribed by the safety codes of both the police and fire department, are on the park's grounds at any point in time. If the quantitative threshold should be reached, an automatic action can be carried out,” Feil said.

This is when operators can rely on video analytics tools, in particular people counting, for detection and response. “Cameras with intelligent video analysis can be used to count people or gather crowd density information. Based on certain thresholds set, the operator will be alarmed immediately as soon as these levels are exceeded,” said Looveren. People counting software often includes queue management capabilities to alert operators when lines are getting long. “Our queue management software can analyze how many people are in a queue. Once the figure exceeds a certain amount, an alarm will be generated. We can also provide the average time someone is being served. This is useful for management,” said Yang, adding that people counting can be used for other management purposes. “It can be integrated with other building control devices to achieve better energy conservation. If the number of visitors drops from a certain level, then lights can be dimmed or air conditioning can be adjusted automatically,” he said. The whole concept is about efficiency, since operators can take immediate actions once the number of people reaches a maximum threshold. “Additional waiting areas can be opened, or, where the wait time is excessive, actions can be taken to increase ride capacities, decrease ride duration, or notify guests so they may choose a different ride or venue,” said Larry Bowe, President of PureTech Systems.

However, for any people counting application to be meaningful, it must be accurate. For a venue with 2,000 people, for example, accuracy rates of 90 percent and 99 percent translate into miscalculations of 200 people versus 20. “If you have 98 percent accuracy rate or even close to 100 percent, that means, you can detect almost everyone passing by. Only if you are accurate, user can perceive more value of your application,” Yang said.

Accuracy has always been an issue for VCA deployed in an outside environment like theme parks, since there are much more details to analyze. But, latest developments in the technology, for example 3D stereo imaging, have enhanced VCA's analytical capabilities and made outside implementation less of a problem. “More information provided by 3D stereo camera will let VCA make better judgment,” Yang said. “Take a tree, for example. VCA of 3D stereo video can easily distinguish between the tree and its shadow through the height information, while 2D video cannot provide the height information. This makes shadows a common problem for 2D VCA.”

Better managed, Better experience
Security aside, management has become a top priority for amusement park operators. Luckily, with ever more sophisticated security technologies, operators can run their businesses with optimal efficiency and give more satisfaction to visitors as they take rides, shop in stores, and grab a bite at concession stands. With theme parks already a multibillion-dollar industry, better management will sure contribute to higher growth in the years to come.

A Frictionless Experience With RFID
Making customers satisfied with their trip is always a top concern for operators, who try to make the park visiting experience as frictionless as possible. With RFID, this goal can be achieved. A tram or bus taking visitors to the park, for example, can be facilitated with long-range RFID, which can detect the bus approaching meters away and open the gate accordingly, thus reducing wait time.

The technology is especially useful at water parks where paper tickets can easily get wet, wrinkled, or lost. “The RFID credential can be in the form of a wristband, heightening convenience and assuring that it won't be lost. These can be made so that they are inoperable when removed,” said Scott Lindley, President of Farpointe Data.

Another benefit of using RFID is that it allows faster and smoother point of sale at restaurants, concession stands, and others. “The cashless POS is the leading application. Cashless POS is more convenient, which increases spending and decreases transaction time. Making purchases faster and reducing queues adds to customer satisfaction,” Lindley said.

Business Enablement With Security Solutions
Security technologies can offer valuable data such as customer behavior and their spending habits. With increased business intelligence, operators can strive to enhance the customer experience, in the process attracting more visitors and raking in higher revenue.

“Intelligent video analysis systems offer information about the influx of visitors and the behavior of the guests. What rides or shows are most liked? Which of the attractions are used less and thus have to be signposted more clearly or should be increasingly promoted? What are the peak times in terms of the number of visitors?” commented Roland Feil, Director of Sales at Dallmeier electronic. “Given that the park's management is furnished with sufficient information, it can use them for making decisions, for example for human resource planning or creating special incentives or announcements that will help distributing visitors more evenly across the various attractions.”

“This can be a real revenue enabler,” said Albert Yang, President of Huper Laboratories. “Shops, for example, can put hot-selling items on the shelf and take down those that are less popular. They can even sell the information of customer's behavior to the original supplier.”

Using smart cards and tokens for access to parks can also help operators track the visiting and spending habits of the people using them. Some theme parks, for example Disney World, has already issued tokens that not only permit access to the park but also allow guests to access their on-site accommodation and enjoy privileges for rides and payment at concessions or restaurants. “This offers operators a highly detailed account of the preferences and movements that guests make, allowing for targeted marketing and offers to be presented that are bespoke to the customer,” said John Davies, MD at TDSi. “It also provides valuable information on the times of entry, when guests use certain rides and attractions and when transportation is most needed to and from the park.”

Tips on Implementation
When implementing a theme park project, a rule of thumb is to remember that the park visiting experience must be as smooth as possible. “The overriding goal is to create a positive environment for paying customers, and there can't be even the illusion of a barrier between a customer and the park,” said Sujan T.V. Parthasaradhi, Director of Biometric Applications at Lumidigm.

“Working within a theme park environment is challenging and requires a balance between providing effective security solutions within a public domain,” said Pedro De Jesus, Channel Manager for Security at Gallagher. “Visitors do not want to feel like they are been watched, monitored, or have entered a high security environment. They simply want to have a fun day out with their families. It is essential that security devices blend into the environment, offering a high level of security and safety for all without been intimidating.”

The central management software should integrate with various subsystems, especially video surveillance, to offer situational awareness and quick verification. “A real-time flow of information between the two platforms, including a graphical representation via a site map GUI, allows security staff to make immediate, informed security responses and to document according to the correct records process,” De Jesus said.

“The combining of multiple security technologies, even across different manufacturers, is commonplace and results in a collaborative, highly effective, and automated solution,” said Larry Bowe, President of PureTech Systems. “These integrations automatically manage much of the sensor control that was previously done by security personnel, allowing these resources to focus on the proper steps to respond to the incident.

Tamron releases new model LWIR 3X Zoom Lens

Tamron releases new model LWIR 3X Zoom Lens

Editor / Provider: Tamron | Updated: 2/12/2015 | Article type: Security 50

Tamron , a specialized manufacturers of optics and one of the leading companies in the security/surveillance equipment industry, announces release of LWIR (Long-Wavelength Infrared) 3X Zoom Lens with a standard screw-in mount and featuring F/1.0 fast aperture throughout the entire focal length range.

Since 2010, Tamron has been pursuing development of LWIR (long-wavelength infrared) camera lenses for security/surveillance applications. These lenses incorporate technologies accumulated in the photo and CCTV/IP camera lens designs, and have been developed into an optimized security lens for the LWIR camera system. The model SD006 zoom lens, which covers the range from 35 mm to the maximum 105 mm, demonstrates unparalleled performance with a fast aperture of F/1.0. The lens provides uniform and flat-field image quality from the center to the edge at all focus distances and focal length positions, which is a major advantage for surveillance installations.

Now, Tamron announces the release of a derivative to SD006, the Model LQZ3X3510V (35 – 100 mm F/1.0) with a standard screw-in mount, and image quality optimized for VGA/QVGA resolution. The new product is recommended for an extensive array of security systems, and will highlight the advantages of the LWIR lens for a variety of new applications.

Main features:
1. Substantial improvement in the LWIR light transmittance, and reduced gain noise under adverse surveillance conditions
The new LWIR lens with a constant F/1.0 aperture consists of 4-group/4-lens elements. With a proprietary optical design, Tamron has successfully realized 3X zoom while reducing the number of elements. Germanium has been deployed to raise the infrared light transmittance. This enables crisp and clear image reproduction even under a harsh surveillance condition in which a thermal profile of the scene has minimal contrast, and effectively prevents image degradation due to the gain noise.

2. Introduction of a general-use lens mount and a communication-protocol conversion board.
The new lens comes with a M34 P0.5 screw-in mount, which is widely adopted in LWIR cameras. For the lens control, the asynchronous serial communication protocol is supported by a communication-protocol conversion board. The new lens can be used for versatile applications by virtue of these two features.

3. Notable improvement in the accuracy of the camera's motion detection feature by compensating for undesirable vibrations, by VC mechanism.
Tamron's proprietary VC (Vibration Compensation) mechanism, widely renowned in photographic interchangeable lenses, has been optimized for specific vibration frequency range and designed for high durability. In surveillance applications the cameras are often installed on a pole-like structure. The VC mechanism has been designed and optimized based on the in-depth analysis of the principal vibration frequencies for a fixed -pole installation. To meet the high durability requirements of 24-hour surveillance, a new construction was employed with a superior 3-ball, 3-coil drive components. These technologies minimize false alarms caused by the camera vibration which is perceived as objects in motion, thus substantially improve the accuracy for intrusion monitoring.

4. Lens integration made simpler with automatic FB (Flange Back Focal Distance) adjustment
This is a new innovative feature that incorporates software to adjust the FB position, such that it minimizes any zoom focus drift after lens integration. The FB adjustment can be easily performed in 3 simple steps using the FB adjustment GUI software.

5. Active athermal mechanism that adjusts the back focal distance in response to changes in ambient temperature
High-transmittance Germanium is used for the new high-sensitivity LWIR lens. Germanium is sensitive to changes in ambient temperature and this may cause a drift in the focus distance. For this reason, athermal mechanism is adopted in many of the LWIR lenses to compensate for such drift. Tamron's new LWIR zoom lens is equipped with a new active athermal mechanism that compensates for the focus drift at all focusing distances by built-in thermo couplers and the control software. This new innovative feature ensures high-quality image capture under harsh surveillance environments undergoing large fluctuations in temperature.

6. Quick focus operation achieved by electric drive zoom and focus
LWIR lenses are frequently used for their detection capabilities, a key feature in many intrusion protection systems. Such a system requires the zoom and focus adjustments to be smooth and fast. The Internal Focus system with stepping motor drive mechanism provides the best solution. Combining these technologies ensures smooth, high-speed, and high-accuracy zoom and focus performance.

VIVOTEK surveillance system deployed in Mongolia Commercial Bank, Khan Bank

VIVOTEK surveillance system deployed in Mongolia Commercial Bank, Khan Bank

Editor / Provider: VIVOTEK | Updated: 2/10/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Kahn Bank: Helping Mongolia Grow Since 1991
Khan Bank is Mongolia’s largest commercial bank. It provides banking services to an estimated 70% of Mongolian households. Established in 1991, Khan Bank has continued to grow and expand its service since its inception. Today, Khan Bank has 530 branches throughout Mongolia and provides comprehensive banking services to individuals and companies. Never settling for the status-quo, Khan Bank has also continuously invested in technology to enhance the quality of service it provides its customers, such as an extensive ATM network covering Ulaanbaatar, aiming capital and major district centers and nationwide access to internet and mobile banking. Moreover, the rapid growth and development of Khan Bank is expected to continue as Mongolia continues to perform economically. This young bank is preparing to gallop, like Mongolia’s world famous horses, into the future.

The Challenge: Khan Bank’s Previous Security System Unable to Keep Pace. A Trial is Held to Determine the Ideal Solution.
In this climate of rapid growth and expansion, Khan Bank required a thoroughbred surveillance system which could keep pace with its changing demands and keep Khan Bank ahead of the field. At the heart of any bank is its ability to secure its customers’ property, and as such the safes at each of Khan Bank’s branches required the utmost level of security. Unfortunately, the bank’s previous security system was not able to keep up with Khan Bank’s security needs, leading to a need to revolutionize its entire security system. The bank needed high quality and high megapixel surveillance cameras not only for its central headquarters, but for every branch across urban and rural areas, and all ATMs in the Ulaanbaatar area.

In order to determine which surveillance system could provide them with the absolute best performance for this vast network, Khan Bank decided to run a trial between the leading providers of security systems, including VIVOTEK.

The Solution: VIVOTEK – Ahead of the Field and Ready to Help.
No stranger to a challenge, VIVOTEK, along with local distributor ITZONE LLC’s highly qualified and experienced engineers and sales team, were able to provide the strongest solution and exceed Khan Bank’s demanding expectations.

A total of 675 VIVOTEK cameras were installed across Khan Bank’s Mongolian network. The broad coverage, high resolution, variable focus and specialized design of VIVOTEK cameras ensured that Khan Bank’s offices, branches, safes, ATMs and entrances could all be monitored on a secure and stable high-performance IP network system. Khan Bank, thoroughbred among Mongolian banks, had finally found a surveillance system that could keep pace.

High-Quality IP Cameras Secure a Vast Network of Banking Facilities.
The largest demand for coverage was found in the halls of Khan Bank branches. These wide spaces required cameras with extremely wide-angle coverage and high image quality, while also blending in with the interior design of the bank’s branches. For this task, ITZONE LLC chose VIVOTEK’s FE8174 for its combination of high coverage, high quality and low profile. The FE8174 is capable of 180 degree panoramic views while mounted on the wall, or 360 degree surround views if mounted on the ceiling. The FE8174 also offers a variety of display options including original surround view, panoramic view, and regional view for various mounting applications. In addition, in both the panoramic as well as regional viewing modes, users can utilize the ultra-smooth ePTZ function to easily zoom in and focus on a region of interest (ROI). All of these features mean that the FE8174 was able to provide superb coverage of all of Khan Bank’s branch halls.

The VIVOTEK FD8136 ultra-mini fixed dome network camera was chosen for this central task. Its tiny profile hides an incredibly high-tech camera, capable of producing high quality imagery in a variety of formats. For public and outdoor spaces, VIVOTEK’s FD8355EHV and the FD8371EV were adopted. For ATM coverage, the FD8355EHV 1.3 MP fixed dome network camera, featuring WDR Pro II, 30 Meter IR, 3D Noise Reduction and Smart Focus system, offered unbeatable coverage in any lighting conditions, day and night. For outdoor spaces, particularly the entrances of Khan Bank’s branches, more than fifty FD8371EVs were installed across its network, allowing high-megapixel coverage in difficult operating environments. The FD8371EV is ideal for such solutions, able to withstand Mongolia’s extreme weather conditions and safe from any attempts at vandalism or tampering.

To add to the functionality of their system, Khan Bank uses Milestone XProtect Enterprise, which is an easy-to-use video management software platform designed especially for large-scale and multi-site surveillance applications. It supports intuitive control of an unlimited number of cameras for monitoring live video, recording, and sharing evidence. All the video captured across multiple branches can be transmitted back to the main XProtect management and displays in the central control room. The security staff can instantaneously view events at different sites via the unified, intuitive interface, increasing bank operational efficiency and speeding the reaction time whenever events occur.

The Latest Surveillance Solution, the Simplest Installation
Finally, this rejuvenation of Khan Bank’s surveillance systems, providing the bank with a total best-of-breed security solution, was able to be achieved remarkably easily. Thanks to VIVOTEK’s efforts to provide high-tech surveillance systems which are able to be installed easily and are also simple to maintain, Khan Bank’s new surveillance system not only provides remarkable advances in coverage and reliability, it also simplifies the entire process of surveillance and footage retrieval. As a result of this upgrade, Khan Bank can now feel free to expand and grow with Mongolia, safe in the knowledge that VIVOTEK is running alongside and keeping pace.

New prospects for building management and security system integration

New prospects for building management and security system integration

Editor / Provider: Israel Gogol, Freelancer, a&s International | Updated: 2/10/2015 | Article type: Tech Corner

Combining security and building management gives an additional layer of information and operational capabilities. A growing number of network-based solutions will increase the benefits of building management systems and security integration. Even though the synergies between the two seem obvious, nonetheless, ownership issues are an obstacle to this integration.

A silver robot is seen gliding along the corridors of Akershus University Hospital (AHUS) in Oslo, Norway. AHUS is one of Norway's “digital hospitals” and among other cutting edge technologies it also uses automated guided vehicles, small robots that travel the hospital using a virtual “track” that deliver supplies (e.g., linens, food, and medicine) from storage rooms to the wards and clear waste. The robots transport special containers weighing up to several hundred kilograms, free up personnel, and increase the hospital's efficiency. However, unlike human employees, these robots can't swipe an access card or press an elevator button. Technology came up with a solution: “The robots are guided by the hospital's building management system (BMS) which is linked to our access control system. The access control system is in charge of opening the doors when a robot approaches, and operating the elevators to take the robots to the right floor,” described David Ella, CTO of AMAG Technology.

This is an example of how integrating security systems with BMS can add an additional layer of information and management capabilities to answer both security and operational needs. Currently these integrations are popular in large campuses like universities, hospitals, and large corporate headquarters.

The connection between BMS and the security system is two-way. “Our products can see the alerts in the BMS system and trigger an alarm,” explained Ella. For example, when a BMS sensor goes into alert (e.g., a heat sensor overheating), this can be converted to an alarm within the security system, prompting security personnel to check if there is a fire. If a fire is detected, the access control system can open doors to make evacuation faster, or provide a report describing which employees are inside the building and where. In the other direction, a swipe of an access card will instruct the BMS to switch on the lights and heating on the employee's specific floor or switch off the lights when the last employee has left. This way, it is possible to achieve cost efficiency, cutting expenses on lighting, heating, and other expenses as well as delivering an eco-friendly value.

Occupancy sensors, used by BMS to detect occupancy and automatically switch on the lights, can alert security systems that an intruder is in the building. For instance, if the security system detects an intrusion, it can switch on the lights in the area so that detecting the intruder is easier and the recorded video footage is clearer.

Market asks for Integration
The value of integrating an access control system with building management is critical in today's data-driven business environment. “More than ever, today's customers require that the systems they invest in be able to integrate with other network-enabled platforms, such as BMS,” explained Mitchell Kane, President of Vanderbilt Industries. The ability to change the environmental or power profile of a building based on information gathered in the access control system is highly valuable, and helps users reduce ongoing costs while controlling access points securely.

The main products integrated with BMS include access control systems (including readers, cards, controllers, and software used to create, manage, and use secure identities) and visitor management systems. “Other integrated systems are mobile access control solutions, including mobile IDs and mobile access apps that are used with mobile-enabled readers, door opening solutions, and lock systems,” said Simon Siew, MD of APAC at HID Global.

Access control and video surveillance are the two systems integrated the most. “By far, the integration between access control and video surveillance systems is the integration that customers request most,” Kane said. Video is a valuable tool when combined with access control data, as it provides visual verification of alarms and a variety of access control events. “The correlation of the data from these two systems also allows for an additional level of situational awareness. Video playback can provide security personnel or first responders with a better understanding of a security or life safety event before responding,” he added.

“In the last two years, we noticed that customers want to move from ‘traditional' BMS companies that are big, expensive, and not so flexible in integrating third party auxiliary systems,” said Rick Huang, Business Development Manager of Alstron. “The solution is software houses that provide third-party software that can connect to the energy management module, video surveillance, and access system. The limitation of these systems is that they have to rely on software development kits supplied by the manufacturer,” he added.

Integraing smart functions
Integration of systems is not the only thing that end users are looking for. In fact, the integration of smart functions, such as analytics is also in demand. “There is the growing demand of more intelligent security systems, intelligent electronic locking systems, and security cloud services that fill the gaps that current systems are either too expensive or cumbersome to maintain,” said Patrick Lim, Group Sales and Marketing Director at Ademco Security Group. “The biggest trend is in smart integrated security systems, or what we call human-centric security. The whole idea is to utilize security technologies to make a facility smarter and a lot friendlier to the inhabitants.”

“Currently, most systems are just integrated but not really smart. Using big data analytics, we can use security devices, which collect the data and have daily interaction with people to predict situations and automate intelligent decisions. This is very different from current solutions that are very rigid and mostly ignore human inhabitants for the sole sake of efficiency and energy saving,” Lim added.

Furthermore, through the use of big data analytics and correlating information from different sources, the systems will be able to predict situations and act accordingly. For example, if the system detects a buildup of people in the lobby of a convention center, this can trigger the air conditioning in the convention hall to start cooling the area in advance in a more efficient way. Currently, the systems only detect the people when they are inside the convention hall, forcing the air conditioning system to “blast” the venue to cool it quickly, which is inefficient and energy consuming.

IP IntegratIon and Its Challenges
Most companies and institutions today have installed a variety of generally disparate and isolated systems, ranging from security, access control, and video surveillance to incident response, perimeter detection, and alarm monitoring. “Although these systems typically cannot easily share information, if at all, there are natural synergies between each of them. IP-based solutions make it easier to integrate the information and provide the opportunity for a single new system that can be much greater than the sum of its individual, disparate parts,” Siew explained.

“IP-based access control is particularly important for organizations that want to integrate security and BMS,” he stressed.

Integrating access control with BMS on a single network delivers better facility management. “Today's IP-based access control systems enable facility managers to bring intelligence to each door for streamlined system monitoring, management, and reporting via standard web browsers. Facility managers and venue operators not only have immediate visibility when doors are forced open, but also gain valuable key remote-management, report-generation, and auditing capabilities. Additionally, points of failure in the system are reduced when deploying edge devices, since each device controls a single door,” added Siew.

In addition, there is a preference towards system integration in a single user interface. A single interface allows for centralized control and management and helps put in place standard operating procedures, explained Ken Lee, Director of Operations at KZTech. Lee also highlighted the role of PSIM solutions, “With more PSIM solutions getting cheaper, building security managers are moving into integrated solutions rather than multiple standalone systems.”

While IP integration may be the key to a more efficient system, there are still challenges. “When people say that systems ‘integrate' it is critical to understand what this means,” said Sean Ahrens, Security Consulting Services Practice Leader at Aon Global Risk Consulting Security Practice. “Is it possible to control the other system? Or only get information? For example, the access control and the video might not be completely compatible to each other. Integration should be seamless both-ways, with bi-directional information.”

The use of data communication protocols such as BACnet (building automation and control networks) or XML for buildings and ONVIF or PSIA for cameras greatly increases the potential for integration and the potential for limiting the control of proprietary systems. However, currently there is no open standard widely applied. “The more information we bring using common protocols, the more systems we can integrate,” summarized Ahrens.

Need for Network Savvy Integrators
With the growing role of IP-based systems, the importance of installers who are extremely network and computer savvy and are able to diagnose communication faults and port issues are also growing. “The key in choosing an integrator is having a knowledgeable integrator supported by a robust manufacturer that has quality and awareness to the clients, good warranty, and service, knowledgeable about information technology/programming and fast, accurate support,” explained Ahrens. “Installers nowadays need to understand also the network transmission and distribution levels and not just cameras and should maintain constant touch with manufacturers.”

“As a company, we [Vanderbilt] partner with systems integrators to deploy our systems and we provide them with the training necessary to gain the knowledge needed to best integrate our technologies with other IP-enabled technologies,” said Kane. “We invest in providing strong support and training to our resellers because it is their responsibility to explain the benefits of linking technologies together when possible. There are many instances in which a building's security is managed by a facility manager and a tenant's security is managed by the tenant. This can lead to the installation of multiple systems. If a systems integrator can bring these multiple stakeholders to the table to have a conversation about the integration of systems beforehand, an investment will be much more valuable to all parties moving forward,” he added.

Ownership problems and knowledge gaps hinder integration
The integration of BMS and security seems natural. However, few facilities choose this integration. “We started integrating BMS and security systems about 10 years ago, but this integration opportunity is not so popular. We sell about 2,000 systems a year, but less than 1 percent are integrated with BMS,” said Ella.

The main issue hindering integration is not technological but external. In most environments the systems are owned by different stakeholders; the BMS are owned by the landlords, whereas the tenants own the security systems. In many cases the BMS is already installed in the building and tenants can't change it. In addition, knowledge gaps exist between building and security systems professionals since each system has a different focus.

“End customers themselves are facing a dilemma regarding the integration of the systems and are looking for a system that can bring services together,” added Huang. “For example, installing anti-smoking detection sensors in ‘no-smoking' areas like hospitals, who should be in charge? The facility manager or the security manager?” As the industry is trying to find a balance between the two systems, Huang believes that there will be more integration in the future.

New regulation promotes Integration
The integration of BMS and security systems is easier to plan in advance when designing a new building. For existing buildings, the willingness to change systems is very low. A new environ-mental regulation is changing things in Singapore. The new regulation stipulates that all new and existing buildings needing extension or major retrofitting work, with an area of 2,000 square meters and above, must comply with the Environmental Sustainability regulation as stipulated in the Building Control Act. “As a result, this regulation became the drive for building owners to upgrade to BMS that can comply with the regulation and monitor and reduce their energy consumption. Along with the upgrade they also look for integration opportunities with other systems,” said Huang.

Similar initiatives around the world might prompt similar integrations in other places.

Future trends
Industry players are noting many other trends, in addition to integration, when it comes to BMS. “There is significant interest in mobile applications. Users of all sizes, whether it is an enterprise customer or a small-to-medium-sized business, want to be able to manage their security infrastructure from anywhere in the world. As the industry and technology continues to advance, mobile applications and functionality will become highly adopted,” said Kane.

Siew also expressed a similar view, “the introduction and accelerating adoption of mobile access solutions is one of the most important industry developments of the past few years. We anticipate there will be growing demand for mobile devices that provide a better way to open doors.”

Lim also sees a change in business models: “The industry already sold a lot of integrated systems in the last decade. The growing trend is towards a managed service model where customers do not just purchase hardware but requires integrated 24/7 management services to run and support these systems. There is also an emerging trend of customers procuring systems as services.” Purchasing a service gives clients the option to change providers as their needs change. The industry is moving towards greater integration of systems and sensors. New environmental regulations, the Internet of Things, and different programs for smart building management are all drivers that will increase integration opportunities in the future. Additionally, as the number of sensors that are internet-ready increases, so will the role of cloud applications that will manage these sensors for different platforms. Hopefully as integration becomes easier from a technology point of view it will also help to mitigate the problems associated with system ownership and increase the benefits for both building owners and tenants.

IP-based security system for major shopping and entertainment center in Kazakhstan

IP-based security system for major shopping and entertainment center in Kazakhstan

Editor / Provider: Bosch | Updated: 2/6/2015 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Through local partners Varius Technologies and GSI, Bosch Security Systems has delivered a comprehensive and integrated security solution for the Dostyk Plaza shopping mall in Almaty, Kazakhstan's largest city and major commercial and cultural center. With a total area of 125.000 square meters, Dostyk plaza is a very significant new development with a striking architecture in one of the most prestigious areas of Almaty.

Being designed as a shopping and entertainment center, Dostyk Plaza includes retail shops, restaurants, a movie theatre and also a trade center and a parking garage for 1.300 cars. All of these areas are secured by two networked modular fire panels 5000 series from Bosch with more than 3.000 fire detectors. The modular design of these fire panels guarantees optimal coverage of all areas today while offering the flexibility to scale and adapt to changing requirements in the future.

In case of an alarm, targeted information and evacuation instructions can be distributed through the digital Public Address and Voice Evacuation system PRAESIDEO. This system with more than 1.000 loudspeakers in 40 zones offers superior intelligibility and is also used for playing background music and for making announcements. Both the fire alarm systems and PRAESIDEO are connected via the IP protocol to the Bosch Building Integration System (BIS) which acts as a central integration and management platform. BIS provides central control and monitoring of all subsystems and enables very efficient operations of the entire installation.

The management system also includes an interactive graphical map of the facility, allowing the operator to precisely locate the source of any alarm
and quickly respond accordingly.

All events and operator actions are logged, enabling the center management to analyze the quality of the operator's work.

VCA fencing off intruders: Challenges for VCA in perimeter defense

VCA fencing off intruders: Challenges for VCA in perimeter defense

Editor / Provider: Israel Gogol, Freelancer, a&s International | Updated: 2/2/2015 | Article type: Hot Topics

Integration of video content analysis (VCA) in perimeter defense is one of the most challenging use cases as it has to cope with many sources of noise and be able to generate an alert without too many false alarms. Technological improvements and competition between vendors have brought prices down and further increased the presence of VCA not only in high security facilities but also in commercial and residential installations.

The origins of video content analysis (VCA) for perimeter defense are in video motion detection (VMD) technology that has been present since the early 2000s. In the beginning, VMD was only used to detect motion. Later, advancements allowed systems to estimate and differentiate size, color, speed, and direction.

The common use of VCA is for preliminary warning of possible suspicious events. “A physical perimeter is preferred as a first form of defense and as a visible deterrence to intruders,” said Pieter van de Looveren, Global Marketing Communication Manager for Video Systems at Bosch Security Systems. “VCA supports perimeter security as an extra set of eyes supporting security personnel in the control room by alerting them when needed and helping them quickly retrieve the correct evidence when something happened.” In other words, video analysis analyzes real-time images continuously to instantly detect suspicious events and alert operators when needed.

“The basic premise of analytics along a perimeter is intrusion detection,” said Matt Bretoi, VP for North America Field Sales at FLIR Systems. “Many VCA solutions provide an extra level of intelligence, such as object classification, which significantly cuts down on false alarms especially when paired with thermal imagers. This is a critical factor for most end users. Another key benefit is the integral capability to visually assess and verify the alarm. Lastly, an analytics solution is not dependent on fencing and even provides detection well beyond, or inside the perimeter if designed correctly,” he added.

In addition, VCA also has an added value of not only complementing the physical barrier but also the abilities of the operators. It helps maintain situational awareness, an important feature that might be lacking in case there are low-level operators guarding the site or a high turnover rate of operators. It also helps keep the operators focused.

“The same way we can't watch several football matches at the same time and keep track, it is also impossible for an operator to focus all the time on all the different screens,” explained Nicholas Grange, Technical Director for South Africa-based C3 Shared Services. “The most common use of VCA in South Africa is as a secondary layer of protection, to allow early detection of a threat before it reaches the boundary, thus creating extra reaction time. This is critical for our installations which usually have a perimeter several kilometers long, such as power stations, big housing estates, mines, and golfing communities.”

The outdoor environment poses many challenges to VCA solutions. Meteorological challenges such as moving clouds, shadows, rain, snow, and lightning, as well as environmental challenges
— lay of land, lights from passing cars, neighboring facilities, and fauna and flora
— all generate many false alarms.
“In some verticals, for example in jails, a reasonable rate of false alarms are not a major concern, as guards can afford to check every alarm whether true or false. However, in other installations, where end users are more sensitive to false alarms, a high false alarm rate may force the users to lower the alarm threshold, compromise sensitivity, and maybe even miss intrusions,” explained Hagai Katz, Senior VP of Marketing and Business Development.

Two factors that greatly increase the success of perimeter VCA are proper illumination and sterile areas near the perimeter. However, these measures are not always easy to create and maintain. In addition, in order to provide comprehensive security, a large number of cameras will have to be deployed at relatively short distances. “Therefore if we want a system that is composed solely of cameras we will need many cameras that will have to be connected to a central control room, with enough storage space for the video feed and constant calibration of the cameras and analytics making this a complex and expensive system to set up and maintain,” added Katz.

To reduce false alarms, users can perform period calibrations of the analytic, choose a VCA that operates based on several alert criteria, or install a thermal camera. “We conduct periodic adjustments due to seasonal changes as well as changes in field of view such as new buildings, roads, and flora,” said Grange.

“If you are looking for an exterior application in an uncontrolled environment, then you will want to have an analytic with multiple levels of criteria before detection. The more levels of criteria will improve the accuracy and drive down false alarms” explained Todd Brodrick, Director of Southwest USA at Pelco by Schneider Electric.

The combination of a thermal camera with video analytics is another way to overcome the false alarms problem. Thermal cameras are ideal as they do not require any light and can cover greater distances compared to visible light cameras. As such, they are not influenced by many of the factors that cause false alarms in regular cameras such as moving lights, leaves and trees, shadows, and other sources of noise and clutter the video analytic has to analyze.

Another significant benefit that thermal imagers provide is the consistently higher contrast, especially at night. Thermal imaging provides an optimized and more stable stream of information for the analytics to work with. This allows for fewer cameras to be deployed, lowering costs. In addition, thermal cameras are low-maintenance and require lower inputs to run, thus making them more ‘green' compared to other technologies.

However, thermal cameras are not perfect. They give operators less forensic evidence to identify an intruder (for example, thermal cameras do not provide an intruder's clothes color). Thermal cameras are more expensive, and despite the fact that they can ‘see' through smoke or at night, they are still affected by weather conditions, especially heavy fog or rain. The presence of water droplets in the air diminishes the infrared radiation and with it the range of the thermal camera. Intruders can take advantage of these weather conditions to infiltrate the perimeter.

A recent edition to perimeter security systems is surveillance robots that travel on a monorail along the fence. “The robot is equipped with cameras and laser sensors to ensure the integrity of the fence and detect any anomalies or movement up to a distance of 20 to 30 meters from the fence,” described Katz. “Short-range cameras and a PTZ camera allow the monitoring of the fence and tracking any intruders.

The laser works as a 3D radar, mapping the fence's surroundings, and analytics are used to detect any changes, for example a hole in the fence or an object placed near the fence. If an intruder is reported, the robot acts as first responder and rushes to the intrusion point, relaying video to the control room to verify the alert.” The benefits of this solution are constant monitoring and patrolling along the perimeter fence, replacing human patrols and freeing up security personnel to take care of only verified alerts.

The challenge facing VCA providers is to continue improving the reliability of their solutions, reducing false alarms, and making the setup as simple and short as possible. Fortunately, advances in computing power and algorithms make this a feasible reality. Closer collaboration between vendors, distributors, and systems integrators in defining problems and providing training will also enhance the practicality of VCA use in perimeter defense.

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