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Milestone CEO: Open the analog mind block to boost your business

Milestone CEO: Open the analog mind block to boost your business

Editor / Provider: Lars Thinggard, CEO, Milestone Systems | Updated: 4/18/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

As the trend towards digital video progresses, we are seeing corporations that are not taking full advantage of the possibilities for enhancing their business with visual data. The big block is not the technology, it is the analog mindset. To gain the full business advantages of digital video, you have to think about video as data and an important element in the IT infrastructure.

Analog video is all about pictures. To simplify it – all you can do with analog video is watching it. There are no integration possibilities, no interconnections to business areas, and no future proofing. The analog video lives and dies in its own closed world. Closed Circuit TV – CCTV: even the name CCTV has a bad ring to it in a digital world that is so much more open and interconnected. Analog video is all pictures – no data. Digital video (or IP video) is all pictures – all data.

All too often we see that a video installation migrated from the data-less analog old world to the digital future is used in the same way as the old installation. This means that nobody has asked the all-important question: “How do we utilize this new data source to improve or expand our business?”

Digital video is more than just video. Data can be analyzed and used in a business context. Digital video is a data source like all other data sources in IT infrastructure. This means that video data can be fed to other IT systems since true open VMS (video management software) can function as a digital video hub, not only feeding video data to other IT systems, but also integrating business functions.

This is important because a video system often serves more than one purpose. Most video systems are used for monitoring and securing people, perimeters and assets. When other purposes are introduced, the VMS has to be able to keep security functions in a safe environment, while at the same time enabling other systems to freely access the video data.

Digital Video is Data
A real-life example of this could be a video security installation securing a parking lot for a company. In the case of an analog installation, you would be able to see the video and review it later – that's all. You would be able to do the same with a digital system – but the digital systems would also enable the video to be actively used for more than just passive watching. You could use video analytics or integration to other systems to determine how many empty parking spaces there are at a given time, ensuring that customers would not be forced to park at another site. License plate recognition could be used to detect important customers arriving, alerting frontline managers to prepare a nice welcome. The system could also be used for advanced security purposes that are impossible to do in an analog system. Using metadata (which is data about data) the video could be analyzed and the results compared to external data sources. If a license plate is normally associated with a car of a certain color and the car entering the car lot suddenly has different color than expected, then the security staff can be alerted immediately.

Boost business with video
Another example is today's modern retail shops. The newest trend in retail is mobile shop assistants that roam the shop floor and handle payments on the spot using a tablet computer or a dedicated smart device. If you want to track this using analog video, you would not only have to install enough analog cameras to ensure that the whole shop floor is covered, you would also need to have a number of operators manually tracking the mobile shop assistants! This is clearly not a feasible approach.

In the digital world the mobile payment units could be linked to the video server, and a camera could be oriented to automatically record the customer session on video together with position and payment data from the mobile terminals. This can be used to improve the customer experience, train staff, optimize floor layout and of course, limit risks. The possibilities are endless when you have the digital mindset.

Best of all, when you use an open platform VMS, you can expand the use of video when you need it. The software is the core of the system, and enables you to expand its use endlessly by adding to the system. Analog video-systems are all hardware. Digital Video has intelligence in the form of software. It is the software that makes the investment future proof and cost effective.

Think Return on Video Investment
Speaking of cost, analog video surveillance systems are often regarded as cheaper than digital systems. Analog cameras cost typically less than digital cameras, an analog video recorder is cheaper than a server with software and the analog cabling is very simple. However, if you shift your mindset from Cost of Acquisition to Return on Investment this picture changes, due to the new possibilities to use video as data.

Intelligent searches can bring down the time spent searching for an incident in the video, smart and mobile clients enable flexible access to the video over digital networks, and video analytics can extract business relevant information. Think of the small difference in cost as an investment in the future.

However, using video as data has more far-reaching consequences than just using open platform technology in a digital network. The organization has to reflect the open digital mindset as well.

Typically, security and IT are regarded as separate functions in a company. Security is often reactive dealing with incidents. IT is more about enabling business going forward. When the concept of video as data comes into play, the organization in a company has to be open. Luckily, this is happening now. Research done by ESG indicates that 91 % of the surveyed organizations had their digital security systems supported by the IT department. This number was 52 % only 3 years ago.

80% of the IT professionals used video for Business Intelligence. The specific uses were - operational efficiencies (58%), production or process control (51%), inventory control (50%), identifying traffic patterns (49%) and employee training (47%). This tactical use of video reflects in investment plans, as 88% states that the business-oriented use of video helps justify IP video technology and infrastructure investments. This stresses even more that the IT-department must treat video as a valuable source of video data, not as an intruding force in the network. IT management has to recognize video as a business tool and look at the video possibilities. Security management has to look beyond the video pictures and into the business possibilities.

It is all a matter of mindset. Think digital, and think it now to start boosting your business.

---By Lars Thinggard, CEO, Milestone Systems

Tyco discloses expanded security Global Center of Excellence

Tyco discloses expanded security Global Center of Excellence

Editor / Provider: Tyco | Updated: 4/17/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Tyco announced the expansion of its Global Center of Excellence (GCoE) in Birmingham, Alabama, that enables multinational companies to streamline and standardize their security systems around the world. The GCoE develops standards, technical specifications and detailed work plans that enable consistent security installations globally, while also providing customers with remote system audit services to verify functionality and compliance to corporate standards.

With the increasing number of global clients supported by the GCoE, the expansion of the center will allow Tyco to better serve clients with a single point of contact for their global security needs. Fortune 500 customers are seeking to streamline and standardize their global integrated security systems by consolidating the number of local system integrators they work with worldwide. Managing multiple integrators across hundreds of locations can lead to operational redundancies, quality degradation, compliance issues, and increased costs. The center will also play a key role in the company's effort to create comprehensive solutions for customers that encompass a range of building systems.

"Integrating systems and technologies to solve customers' problems is at the heart of our future, and this center brings us a step closer to that vision," said George Oliver, Tyco's Chief Executive Officer. "We are driving toward bringing not only security systems, but also fire and other building systems together on a common platform to provide customers with unprecedented insight and control over their operations."

"The Global Center of Excellence offers a lot of value to our customers by providing a single point of contact for all global security needs, saving time and resources while allowing access to multiple competencies in a centralized location," said Renae Leary, Vice President of Global Accounts at Tyco. "As companies are driving out costs and consolidating real estate and operating expenses, many are now realizing the huge benefits that come with standardizing on IP-based security solutions and partnering with a global integrator. This alignment delivers consistent execution of technology in terms of quality, timeliness and most importantly a higher standard of security to protect their people and assets."

The new 24,000 square foot facility currently houses 90 employees, including certified design engineers, computer-aided design operators, program managers, system engineers and other specialists, who design and document global security standards for enterprise-level intrusion security, access control, video management, fire systems and integration. The GCoE's diverse team has multiple competencies, including fluency in 14 languages, and is well-versed in the business and cultural nuances required to successfully conduct business in the 38 countries the center supports, so customer standards and technical specifications can be maintained and updated as needed.

The new facility is located at 1800 International Park Drive in Birmingham, Alabama.

IP based video surveillance enjoys high market penetration in Middle East

IP based video surveillance enjoys high market penetration in Middle East

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 4/15/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The video surveillance market is greatly influenced by government rules. HD and megapixel has become standard for video surveillance cameras and 180-day video storage is required for almost all market sectors. The Ministry of the Interior (MOI) also updates the rules every year. The government regulations usually include where the security cameras must be placed, several details about its specifications, and also, how to make sure they are able to produce good quality video. "In the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, it is important to make sure that your IP-based video surveillance system meets all legislation and governmental standards, which should be the key elements of business here," said Peter Biltsted, Director of MEA at Milestone Systems. According to an industry expert, some IP-based video systems might have the problem of losing images, which would cause the end users and systems integrators to get fined afterwards. Therefore, high reliability of IP-based video surveillance systems is required for this region.

HIGH ADOPTION OF IP-BASED VIDEO SURVEILLANCE
Due to regulations from the government, the trend of full IP-based video surveillance starts from the U.A.E. such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and then spreads the rest of the Gulf countries. The IP-based video surveillance trend also leads to high adoption of some innovations in this region, such as multi-megapixel, low-lux, and intelligent video analytics.

In the Middle East, people usually want the best technologies. For surveillance, the standard would be around 2 to 3 megapixels with WDR, because of the strong sunlight. ANPR and facial recognition are also usually required for infrastructure projects.

In large facilities, such as stadiums, hotels, campuses, and city surveillance projects, end users look for a more cost-effective way to have better coverage over a large area. “Multi-megapixel cameras are proving their worth here. Using multi-megapixel (1,080p for example) cameras, end users receive a minimum resolution more than seven times better than standard definition (VGA) or analog cameras. Megapixel cameras provide detailed information for capturing license plates and faces, said Scott Schafer, Executive VP Sales, Marketing and Service at Arecont Vision. “We have examples of customers that use 75 cameras to cover an area that would have required about 2,000 analog or standard definition VGA cameras delivering 40 pixel-per-foot resolution, which is enough to identify faces in a crowd. In campus settings, we have used eight multi-megapixel panoramic cameras to replace 24 standard definition cameras and the new system delivered superior resolution at a lower price.”

Intelligent Video Adoption
The local requirement of up to 180-day storage for HD megapixel video in some cases drives the need for more intelligent management of data, especially in large-scale projects such as infrastructure. "To provide an efficient forensic search after events take place, and also meet the challenges of managing so many cameras and data in a large environment, there is a need for intelligent video. And since people here are quite open to new technologies, they are starting to use intelligent video analytics (IVA) for marketing and management purposes," said Hakan 畤yi?it, Regional Director of Middle East at Bosch Security Systems.

Intelligent video is commonly used for high-end retailers and some large retailers deploying 160 to 200 cameras for people counting and heat maps. "In some five-star hotels, it has become common to have people-counting features to see who gets inside of the hotel building, 360 fish-eye camera at main areas like lobby/restaurant, heat mapping to analyze customers flow, and missing-object analysis for the retail stores inside. Some hotels provide the live-streaming video online for marketing.

Samsung also provides such solutions for retail/commercial markets controlled by Samsung security management platform," said Ali Boussi, Regional Sales Manager at BASS/Samsung Techwin. Due to the demand for intelligent video in this region, “Kedacom launched its latest NVRs, with the latest video analytic technology to do smart searching and quick location of the event as soon as the alarm is triggered. Besides, Kadacom also has a complete solution of centralized chain-store management and HD video surveillance solutions for courts,” said Zhiqiang Liu, Marketing Director, Kedacom Technology.

IP for SMB
The small-to-medium business (SMB) sector is also adopting IP technologies, starting from the U.A.E. “I would say in the MEA market, especially in GCC countries, there is very high percentage of SMB market using IP. Even small retail shops — usually requiring six to eight cameras — still need to meet government requirements for megapixel resolution. The analog system can't reach that standard.

All the shops need to be approved by the government. If they are not satisfied with the evidence, they will ask you to shut down the shops or replace the system entirely. That's why convergence comes there. I would say, in the next two to three years, GCC countries will not allow video that does not supply a certain level of video quality,” said Biltsted.

“Even for small customers here, they want integration. They usually want access control to be integrated too. If they have 25 cameras in place, they also want a perimeter solution to be integrated with their systems," said Biltsted.

"What I also found in this region is people have more awareness about security and they use surveillance for more than just for security. They will use the surveillance video to check if the store is clean. So, customers would choose cameras with a corridor view. We also bundle it with our software," he continued.

COMPETITIVE IP-BASED VIDEO SURVEILLANCE MARKET
 IP-based video surveillance technologies have penetrated to different market sectors here. Intelligent video is commonly used in a five-star hotel and even the small shops want an integrated system for video surveillance and access control. The Middle East has become a competitive market for IP-based video surveillance technologies. To satisfy end users' desires for new technologies, more and more integrated solutions will be introduced to the market for different applications.

IndigoVision regards access control and VMS most crucial in securiy systems

IndigoVision regards access control and VMS most crucial in securiy systems

Editor / Provider: IdigoVision | Updated: 4/10/2014 | Article type: Security 50

 John Semple, Head of Product Management for IndigoVision, explains the individual and collective strengths of Access Control and Video Management Software.

Both Access Control software and Video Management Software (VMS) have become vital components in modern security systems. However, many are confused as to how exactly the two should be deployed.

It is important to get this right, as the two have very different strengths and features, and deploying the wrong one as the front end could leave end users without features that could be useful, or even vital to their security system.

In this article, we will examine the strengths of both Access Control and VMS, and how the two can be used to enhance each other and provide a better all-round security system.

The Strength of Access Control
Access Control systems are designed with immediacy in mind. Whenever someone interacts with the system, by swiping an ID card for example, the system immediately informs the operator who is requesting clearance, and what they are attempting to access.

It does this by accessing an extensive database, which can include information such as names, pass codes etc.

One striking aspect of this process is how the system relies on the person in question co-operating with it; in order to be effective, it requires the subject to willingly interact with the system. Let's take, as an example, a member of staff walking up to a door to swipe their ID card; they actively wish to be identified as they know they are.

Access Control software, even with video integration, is designed for this type of installation. Video functionality is often a basic “live video” pop up, giving visual verification along with the Access Control database information.

Unfortunately, Access Control systems are ill-equipped to deal with an intruder actively seeking to bypass the system by forcing entry through a door or gate. It is also limited when dealing with intruders bypassing controlled entry points altogether by forcing entry through a window or fence. In cases such as this, basic video display in the Access Control software provides limited information beyond the initial alarm, making it difficult to establish precisely what happened and has limited pre and post-event video analysis capabilities.

The Advantages of Video Management
This is where VMS comes into its own, with its more proactive nature allowing it to detect intruders whether they choose to engage with the surveillance system or not.

This means that VMS can provide a complete visual account of events before during and after an incident, leaving operators in no doubt as to what transpired.

Indeed, the ability to review evidence from before during and after an event is one of VMS' greatest strengths. Designed with a more forensic-based approach in mind, VMS features tools, such as thumbnails and bookmarks, to allow specific clips to be marked, searched and reviewed effortlessly. The footage can then be easily exported to the appropriate authorities.

This means that VMS can quickly establish a detailed timeline of events leading up to and following the main incident, which can provide vital information in an investigation, or key evidence in a trial. IndigoVision's Control Center even water marks video, both at the point of recording and again at the point of export, to guarantee that the video is authentic and has not been tampered with.

The superior analytics the VMS supports such as motion detection are another asset, as they offer a wider variety of logics to trigger alarms. In the case of IndigoVision's Control Center there is an additional benefit in the form of Activity Controlled Frame rate, which allows cameras to function at low frame rate and only increase to full frame rate if an analytic is triggered with no impact on video quality, while greatly reducing storage.

It is also worth noting that the VMS offers far more comprehensive surveillance, for example if a building is protected by Access Control alone and a car outside is stolen, the system will be of limited help. A strong VMS however could capture the incident and provide valuable evidence to resolve the situation.

So while Access Control performs one specific function exceptionally well, VMS is able to provide the security surveillance for a variety of areas of the property to be secured, creating a more adaptable and comprehensive surveillance system. All of these features mean that VMS is highly effective in open areas, areas of high traffic where checkpoints are not feasible, or areas with multiple points of entry, such as an airport.

Integration – The Best of Both
With this in mind, it should come as no surprise to learn that Access Control and VMS providers have been working to integrate with one another.

This allows Access Control systems to employ more video functionality such as live & playback video and PTZ control & export, while VMS can monitor Access Control events such as elevator control, card tracing and advanced door monitoring.

In most cases though, it is still best to deploy Access Control and VMS side by side, as this creates a more robust and well-rounded system. If the security system has been designed around limited entry points, with Access Control entry, and the operator only requires a basic visual verification, then Access Control software may be sufficient.

However, the more advanced analytics and forensic capabilities of VMS, combined with its versatility and wider coverage, make it better suited for monitoring larger areas with numerous entry points. Therefore in these environments, VMS should be the front-end, with an integrated Access Control plugin to allow management of events and alarms.

Middle East shines in 2014 (1): Saudi Arabia

Middle East shines in 2014 (1): Saudi Arabia

Editor / Provider: Jill Lai, a&s International | Updated: 4/9/2014 | Article type: Hot Topics

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the U.A.E. — still remain the region's top countries with the largest security markets. In 2012, the Middle East fell dramatically, “due to three unforeseen circumstances — the regional civil unrest, the fall in the price of oil and its production, and the fall in the US dollar,” according to IHS. The actual growth rate of video surveillance equipment in the Middle East fell to 5.3 percent. Although social turmoil and fluctuations in oil prices still made 2013 uncertain, the Middle East security market is predicted to bounce back to around 10 percent in 2013 and grow 12 percent in 2014. “The economy was a bit soft in 2012 and many customers delaying purchasing.

Implementation of many projects began in 2013, resulting in an excellent year for us,” said Watheq Abu Gharbiah, Regional Manager of Middle East at FLIR Systems. Most of all the suppliers expect the recovering momentum to continue through 2014 and 2015. Firstly, the U.S. began easing some of its economic restrictions against Iran this January, including its sanctions on cars and petrochemicals products. Secondly, recovery of the Iranian market would also raise the region's average growth rate. The latest cheerful announcement is of Dubai winning the bid to host the 2020 World Expo. The BBC reported that authorities in Dubai forecasted the 6-month event to bring in around US$23 billion and cost the country around a total $8.4 billion, of which around $6.5 billion is expected to be government spending on infrastructure projects. Finally, the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is also serving as a major driver to boost the overall economy in the region.

CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION
To support the active economic activities in this region, protection of critical infrastructure ranging from airports, seaports, oil and gas, public utilities, highways, railways, metros, and etc., is important. Critical infrastructure protection remains as the most crucial market sector in the Middle East.

The oil and gas sector requires refinery protection and is the largest market sector here. The scale of projects in this sector is also much larger than other market sectors. Aside from the GCC countries, Iraq, Pakistan, and the Northern African countries, also have great potential. Robert Kirkaldie, Director of Marketing/Sales for Security Systems Division at Southwest Microwave, which designs and manufactures integrated, electronic perimeter security systems, especially for the oil and gas sector, in this region said, “In a country like Saudi Arabia, we mostly deal with perimeter projects of 3,000 to 5,000 meters. The biggest complex in oil and gas, which comprises of a storage tank, pipe lines, transportation, and all other facilities, can have a perimeter of up to around 20 kilometers. Thus, the size of a refinery is much bigger than a prison or power plant.”

Another fast developing market sector is airports. Cities in the Middle East compete to build the biggest and most modern airports to attract tourists. Abu Dhabi is planning its new $3 billion international airport terminal, while Doha, Qatar is near completion with its new airport. “Dubai has the largest airport here. The old one, which traffics 150 million passengers annually has 3,500 CCTV cameras. The latest one has around 5,000 cameras. Elsewhere in the region, the latest airport in Doha will begin operations this year; Saudi Arabia has 15 new airports; and Kuwait International Airport also has plans to expand,” said Gharbiah.

The Middle East is a project-oriented market. “Because it is so diverse, each country does have their particular preference toward products and partners. I think this unique characteristic brings a good opportunity for CP Plus to build up our own distribution business here. This year, we are going to set up five or six branch offices in some countries in the Middle East,” said Aditya Khemka, Director of CP Plus.

SAUDI ARABIA IS BOOMING FAST
Amongst the GCC countries, Saudi Arabia is gradually catching up with the U.A.E. in terms of security market demand and growth potential. Saudi Arabia has the highest number of large government projects, making it very important in this region. Peter Biltsted, Director of MEA at Milestone Systems said, “Milestone will be more directly engaged in Saudi Arabia this year. This means we will put our feet on the ground in the country, whereas Milestone channel partners used to be in charge previously. We have a very good foothold in Saudi Arabia now, since we have done several large projects. Moving forward, we would like to leverage our past experience to strengthen our business foundation here.”

In the past two years, Saudi Arabia heavily restricted the number of foreign workers to secure the employment of local workers. In 2014, the restrictions are expected to be lifted in order to continually push the market to grow. “Saudi Arabia just started their new financial year and the government has announced plans to build six new cities. It also made a US$200 million investment in aviation toward the building of new innovative airports. We can also expect several new cities in Saudi in the near future,” continued Tarek Ismail, Sales Director of Middle East at Tyco Security Products.

Large-Scale Government Projects Everywhere
In terms of an average project size, it is not really possible to compare projects in other GCC countries with those in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi, one city is just like a country in others. John Davies, MD at TDSi also echoed, "In Saudi Arabia, the projects are much bigger. Last year, we supplied systems to several large government projects across the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is a very large country and represents more than 25 percent of the GCC GDP.

When you do a project for an institute in Saudi Arabia, it includes offices that are located all over the country. In contrast, institutes in the U.A.E. usually have only one or two offices." Ismail continued, “Our company has been here for more than 20 years. In Saudi Arabia, for example, we have the largest bank in the whole region as one of our customers. It is a national bank with 400 branches and 2,000 ATMs in the country. The number of buildings for VIP service, VIP accounts, and money transfer, is over 200. More than 1,300 recorders and 8,000 cameras from mixed brands were used in that project. From a banking point of view, a project this size covers the entire banking sector in the GCC countries. In Qatar, for example, the largest capital bank has a maximum of only 50 to 60 branches.”

Religious Buildings, Universities, and Banks
Saudi Arabia, being home to the largest and most holy Muslim mosques, has many religious projects. “It has many religious buildings, such as mosques and related infrastructures, where you can see thousands and thousands of cameras installed. Bosch Security Systems has done many projects in holy places in this country too,” said Hakan ?zyi?it, Regional Director of Middle East at Bosch Security Systems. “Bosch is also involved in many prestigious projects in the Saudi Arabian education sector. The country has the largest population in the region and almost half of the Saudi Arabian population is aged below 30. Hence, its government is focused on education and plans to build more universities and facilities to ensure its a much more competitive Saudi workforce in the future.”

 

Also, due to the country's conservative nature and religious background, the government has strict laws toward gender segregation in many public places, such as restaurants and shopping malls. Therefore, a public place usually tends to have more cameras installed for security and monitoring, compared to other countries. For example, in Saudi Arabia, it is pretty normal to have around 1,000 cameras for a five-star hotel, while only around 100 to 200 cameras are installed in a five-star hotel in the U.A.E., according to an industry expert in this region.

Considerations for Doing Business
Even though there are plenty of opportunities here, business is conducted very differently in the U.A.E. “The Saudi Arabian government sometimes has strong concerns about the origin of the products for certain projects to avoid products that are made in China,” said Noriyuki Hayashi, Senior Sales/Marketing Manager of System Solutions Department, MEA at Panasonic Marketing. Meanwhile, due to the sheer volume of government projects here, decision making usually takes a little while. Aditya Sahaya, Director of Business Development for Prologix Distribution also pointed out, "Traditionally, the U.A.E. is a very mature market, when it comes to CCTV and surveillance, and the end customers and consultants have very specific requirements which need to be adhered to. Saudi Arabia seems to be going down the same path. Despite a longer sales cycle, the country has been growing as the single largest market in the region."

* Let's take a further look into other areas in Middle East shines in 2014 (2): U.A.E., Oman, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan

 

Increasing adoption of situational awareness systems in critical infrastructure

Increasing adoption of situational awareness systems in critical infrastructure

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu, a&s international | Updated: 4/8/2014 | Article type: Infrastructure

Situational awareness has become a leading consideration in the protection of critical infrastructures, particularly for sites that want to conduct higher risk management and decrease the damage caused by potential threats. According to a market research report by MarketsandMarkets, the global security market for situational awareness systems — ranging from access control; physical security information management (PSIM) software; human-machine interface (HMI); video systems; and chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) defense systems — is expected to generate revenue of US$168.3 billion by 2020, growing at an estimated CAGR of 10.1 percent from 2013 to 2020. Every critical site demands a different level of integration, mostly dependent on the possible challenges and threats.

Ranging from natural conditions to social demonstrations, critical infrastructures need to be prepared for whatever may jeopardize the security of their sites. Critical infrastructures often cover a vast area and contain hazardous substances, making them an even bigger challenge to protect. If a critical site is not properly secured, any attack could possibly lead to hazardous consequences. In order to be able to instantly respond to a threatening incident, the solution has to allow operators to deploy every subsystem in the site through the same centralized management platform. More importantly, the centralized management platform should be able to communicate with both new and legacy systems. To answer the unique requirements of the critical infrastructure sector, many situational awareness systems, particularly PSIM solutions, have been strongly promoted in this market.

ADOPTION OF PSIM
During the last few years, adoption of PSIM solutions has dramatically increased in the critical infrastructure sector. As an emerging segment, the PSIM market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 25.8 percent from 2013 to 2019, due to the decreasing prices and increasing awareness among end users, according to Transparency Market Research. “It can be said that by pure volume, PSIM software may still be in the innovation phase of adoption, which is around 2.5 percent of all available customers; on the other hand, there are some indicators that suggest that PSIM software adopting has moved into an early adoption phase, which is around 13.5 percent of customers,” said Joshua Phillips, Director of Marketing of Enterprise and Critical Infrastructure of Video Intelligence Solutions at Verint Systems.

PSIM solutions are being increasingly used in government applications, such as law enforcement agencies, the military, ports, airports, transit systems, civilian agencies, and corporations with critical infrastructure assets. For instance, the city of Baltimore, U.S., has used PSIM to link assets and creat interoperability between around 50 agencies for large-scale public events. While, the new World Trade Center complex in New York City, U.S., has decided to use PSIM software as part of the ground-up solution for security and building management systems, according to Darren Chalmers-Stevens, VP of EMEA at VidSys.

PSIM: TOTAL INTEGRATION PLATFORM
PSIM solutions seem to be the answer to the demand of centralized management systems, offering efficient threat-response procedures. PSIM software provides organizations with a seamless interface, integrating security systems, building management, and on-site facilities and subsystems that enable operators to deploy every device when required. Furthermore, PSIM software is able to integrate systems — such as perimeter, intrusion/motion detection, video surveillance, access control, fire alarm, mass notification systems, audio, gas detection, radio communication, Internet, IT, and building automation — both legacy and new, making them interoperable on the same interface and workable with supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems.

Pre-Programmed Course of Responses
In addition to enhancing centralized management, PSIM software can proactively protect critical sites from potential threats and minimize damage with a series of coordinated and predetermined responses. “A PSIM solution allows organizations responsible for critical infrastructure protection (CIP) to take a proactive approach to security by implementing measures supported by resilient business processes for identifying, investigating, responding to, and recovering from a range of security threats,” stated Keith Bloodworth, CEO of CNL Software. “The pre-programmed response is done by tailoring the solution to manage the standard operating procedures as dictated by the plant or facility and by building an effective network of communications with external systems, and in an emergency, this may prevent a disaster turning into a tragedy with massive impact.” Once the system is aware of danger or an abnormal event around the site, the PSIM software will send out notifications to related individuals, and suggest a series of tailored operating procedures.

As an open software platform, PSIM software is able to integrate analog and IP-based devices and systems, aggregate information from all facilities, communicate among integrated systems, and then provide real-time alarm and event verification, as well as prioritize emergency response, which can ease labor intensive operations and increase efficiency, as Chalmers-Stevens explained. For instance, if an alarm is triggered by a sensor or motion detector somewhere on the site, corresponding live surveillance images from around the location will then be automatically presented to an operator in the security center. In the mean time, the geospatial location will be sent to the PSIM system, which then identifies the incident site on a map and responds to the threat accordingly. Since the threat-response procedures are all pre-programmed, any operator on that shift would know exactly how to deal with the problem.

REMINDERS BEFORE CHOOSING PSIM SOFTWARE FOR CIP
PSIM software is used for situation management; however, it has become harder to satisfy end users' requirements from various verticals, as this software is mostly focused on security and overlooks specific demands from different sectors. For example, “In areas subject to flooding and landslides, the cost-benefit of the pluviometer [rain gauge] integration far outweighs the value many PSIM solutions provide by integrating to the standard players in the security area,” Phillips pointed out. “The critical infrastructure customer finds it more affordable to replace one or more of the existing video systems than to wait for a PSIM provider to adapt to their environment.”

Despite the fact that PSIM software can provide critical infrastructures with a totally integrated platform, there are still some challenges that PSIM vendors have to contend with. One problem is reaching a consensus on total integration between all the departments in an organization, especially the IT and security teams. Since different departments have different security concerns, some might be nervous about sharing access to a database and servers on a centralized platform for example, according to Chalmers-Stevens.

In addition, critical infrastructure is a competitive sector in the security market, especially since required solutions and security management platforms can be provided by not only PSIM companies but many other VMS companies as well. A PSIM solution can be far above most end users' budgets — critical infrastructures usually have a higher budget for hardware, but software products are not always given the same consideration, according to Bloodworth. In order to deploy similar integration and management systems, end users must sometimes make compromises, opting for other affordable solutions and products that offer them acceptable and alike functionality.

FINAL WORDS
Even though past obstacles remain as issue, PSIM software manufacturers continue to pay attention to the education of end users in critical infrastructures every year. PSIM software, as an example here, demonstrates how important it is for critical infrastructures to improve their total security via situational awareness systems and the benefits they can get from the systems. It could be expected that, in addition to PSIM solutions, the adoption of situational awareness systems will peak significantly in the coming years.

Critical infrastructure aspires for comprehensive protection

Critical infrastructure aspires for comprehensive protection

Editor / Provider: Michelle Chu, a&s International | Updated: 4/8/2014 | Article type: Infrastructure

The critical infrastructure sector has been regarded as one of the most important sectors in terms of national security around the world since it is highly vulnerable to terrorist threats. There were about 2,500 attacks on critical infrastructures around the world that can be linked to terrorist organizations from 1996 to 2006, according to a report by Electric Power Research Institute. To prevent possible disastrous consequences, governments usually adopt various high-tech security products that come with better risk management systems and also higher prices. It is forecast that the global infrastructure market will grow from US$63.7 billion in 2013 to $105.9 billion in 2018, at a CAGR of 10.7 percent, by MarketsandMarkets. North America will remain as the market with the most revenue, whereas the markets in Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa are expected to experience greater market traction.

MAJOR SECURITY THREATS TO CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURES
Critical infrastructures have always been one of the most prominent security focuses of national security. Critical infrastructures refer to several essential and fundamental facilities, interdependent systems, and assets that support a country's politics, economy, transportation, security, energy, health, education, communication, etc. — to put it simply, it has a huge impact on the public's daily activities. For instance, if any power plant is damaged, it can jeopardize a country's security and lead to unimaginable public consequences and inconveniences, as it can take several weeks to months for total site functionality to be restored.

Critical infrastructures are mainly threatened by terrorism, vandalism, intrusion, and espionage, and are often considered a major target of anti-government actions. These critical sites should also be protected from industrial accidents and natural disasters which will instantly endanger the public once they occur. If a dam, for instance, is sabotaged, the damage may cause insufficient water resources, flood control failure, agriculture irrigation failure, and even disable electricity from being generated around that area, or worse, across the country. If a power grid is attacked, the damage may lead to chemical leaks and cause further destruction.

An example of this is the power grid attack in California last April, which has recently been disclosed as an act of domestic terrorism, in which 17 transformers were fired at by unknown snipers for 19 minutes. The attackers had cut the fiber optic telecommunication cables in an underground vault near the site before entering the site and shooting at the oil-filled cooling systems of the transformers, causing massive oil leaks and the transformers to overheat. Fortunately, the damage was controlled; however, it still took 27 days for the facility and the damaged transformers to be repaired — each transformer can cost millions of dollars to build, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

KEY CHALLENGES IN CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION
A power grid is usually set up with multiple buildings, assets, and facilities, spread over a vast geographical area. Critical infrastructures generally invest in various technologies over time, resulting in the wide adoption of legacy and new devices, according to Darren Chalmers-Stevens, VP of EMEA at VidSys. Regarding overall size, number of buildings, and vast system deployments, managing a power grid in an organized manner is the primary challenge of protecting critical infrastructures. In order to efficiently and conveniently manage the entire energy station across multiple locations, it is crucial for critical infrastructures to centralize operations and increase situational awareness on both physical and logical threats through greater system integration.

MULTI-LAYERED PERIMETER DETECTION AT THE FRONT LINE
Risk management of critical infrastructures could be a great challenge to a site operating manager, due to complex deployment of disparate systems, devices, and facilities within a vast area. Critical infrastructures tend to favor multi-layered perimeter systems, which are able to comprehensively prevent various threats, like vandalism, trespassing, terrorist acts, and etc.

It is forecast that the global market size for electronic perimeter security sensors and video in electrical utilities and oil refineries will top $160 million in 2014, despite the economic slowdown in 2011 and 2012. This strong growth is resulting from the trend of using remote video and networked sensors in order to remotely configure and conduct devices from a distant location, according to a report by IMS Research, an IHS company.

For energy grids, any security threat or attack might lead to catastrophic results, which is exactly why managers are prone to using multi-layered perimeter detection systems.

A nuclear site is the perfect candidate for a multi-layered perimeter system. “A common architecture for nuclear power stations and other high security sites is an initial layer of a volumetric-tall sensor (4m to 6m high) with very high possibility of detecion; once an alert is generated, the intruder has to penetrate a fence which would delay the intruder for a few minutes to move on, even if the intruder is well equipped,” suggested by Hagai Katz, Senior VP of Marketing and Business Development at Magal Security Systems.

"Behind the layer, there is typically a clear space of about 10-meters wide; it is an area always kept clear, facilitating ease of verification, be it by cameras or another detection layer, such as microwave sensors, buried volumetric cables, or even IR detectors. And finally there is a second fence for further delay, which may be equipped with a smart fence mounted sensor.”

Integration of Video Surveillance and Intrusion Systems
In perimeter security, it is crucial to properly integrate video surveillance with intrusion systems. If individuals or vehicles intend to breach a critical site, the intruder will trigger the perimeter sensors. The system will then immediately send out a security notification to the command center with a corresponding image from the camera at the particular site so operators will know how to respond.

“Without integration between video surveillance and intrusion systems, it would be difficult to maintain a high level of awareness when a sensor detects a break-in — it would be time consuming for a security operator to find the appropriate video footage of an event,” Joshua Phillips, Director of Marketing of Enterprise and Critical Infrastructure of Video Intelligence Solutions at Verint Systems stated.

There could be up to hundreds of surveillance cameras installed at the site of an energy grid to make sure that the entire area is completely covered. As the front line of a critical infrastructure site, a perimeter system especially requires constant monitoring with surveillance devices, in order to have the site comprehensively controlled.

However, for the security guard and operator, it is almost impossible to continuously concentrate on watching every camera during their shift, not to mention identifying the correct on-site camera and location right when the security alarm goes off. Adopting video analytics not only helps the operator to prevent an intrusion or attack, more importantly, it makes sure that the guards and operators will not miss any suspicious actions. “Upon motion detection or other abnormalities detected, security operators can get a geospatial location on the targeted suspect and immediately dispatch a response,” Phillips mentioned. Physical motion detection can help security operators spot threats effectively even in harsh external conditions and weather.

A TOTAL INTEGRATION PLATFORM
A common goal, when it comes to critical infrastructure protection, is the ability for security guards and operators to identify and respond to threats in the shortest time possible. In order to immediately and efficiently react to possible threats on site for large-scale operations, it is crucial to have a central management system with an open platform to allow for integration between different security measures and subsystems.

Besides, security systems like video surveillance, access control, and perimeter security, a total management integration platform should be able to connect effortlessly with other major systems. These systems include IT, fire and smoke detection, alarm, extinguishing, telephone, radio communication, and building automation that might be in the critical sites. These systems should be easily integrated through a single platform, regardless if they are new or legacy products and devices.

This total integration platform can make sure that any operator is able to manage all systems on site whenever a natural disaster, unexpected incident, or attack occurs. “The integration of video surveillance, access control, intrusion alarm, and fire detection is an ongoing and growing phenomenon which requires a tailor-made approach on behalf of the vendors and integrators, as some of the systems, such as access control, are quite old, but still operable,” said Aluisio Figueiredo, COO of Intelligent Security Systems.

Providing a safety and security solution that integrates different systems into a single, multi-modal, administrative solution is not just about merging equipment, devices, and systems — it is about putting into place a solution to support clearly defined working routines whilst ensuring rapid, compliant, and efficient response to emergency situations along with the mandatory, post-incident reporting analysis, according to Siemens Building Technologies.

CONCLUSION
Security deployment in a critical site is never an easy task, as there are many obstacles and concerns, such as environment, budget, and consensus among every department, which will affect the final security procurement in a critical infrastructure. Despite the challenges, the security market in the critical infrastructure sector is still full of opportunities for providers due to its importance in national security and safety.

Proximex expands partnership with Bosch Security

Proximex expands partnership with Bosch Security

Editor / Provider: Tyco | Updated: 3/28/2014 | Article type: Security 50

Proximex, part of the Security Products business unit of Tyco, announces the continued expansion of its partnership with Bosch Security Systems, through the integration of its Surveillint Physical Security Information Management (PSIM) solution with video management and intrusion detection and control systems from Bosch. These enhancements, which represent integrations with the Bosch Video Management System (BVMS), the company's latest intrusion control panels -- G Series (GV4) and B Series – and improved support for Conettix D6600 Communications Receivers, continue to add value for joint customers who require the accurate display and correlation of critical information to manage a security incident more efficiently from their PSIM system.

“This partnership with Bosch underscores our desire to continue to collaborate with our partners and innovate in all areas of security, helping Surveillint users to do their jobs more quickly and realize the full value of their security investments,” said Chatura Liyanage, Group Product Manager, Proximex. “The new integration with the Bosch video management platform and the continued improvements to the alarm monitoring integrations are significant extensions of that collaboration and innovation.”

BVMS 4.5 is an enterprise-class client/server based video management system offering superior alarm handling, and a mobile client for viewing live and playback video. Using Surveillint, which connects and correlates information from disparate systems into one centralized environment, users can manage Bosch video alerts with workflow automation for improved and faster incident response and create event reports for more proactive management of security operations.

Additional integrations between Surveillint and Bosch G Series and B Series panels and the Conettix D6600 Receiver enable end users to receive information from the panels into Surveillint as well as collect, analyze and display detailed alarm information through Surveillint.

“Joining our detailed video streams and reliable alarm communications with data from other systems through Surveillint provides a complete picture of security activity in a single view,” says Brad Eck, Integration Manager, North America, Bosch Security Systems. “The partnership with Proximex provides our mutual customers with a higher level of situational awareness to improve how security events are handled and to mitigate risk.”

These latest integrations will be demonstrated at the Bosch Security Systems Booth 14051 at ISC West, April 2-4 at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

Bosch DINION IP imager 9000 HD cams enhanced safety for critical infrastructures

Bosch DINION IP imager 9000 HD cams enhanced safety for critical infrastructures

Editor / Provider: Bosch Security | Updated: 3/28/2014 | Article type: Security 50

The new DINION IP imager 9000 HD camera from Bosch Security Systems is especially designed for perimeter protection and the surveillance of critical infrastructures, such as power plants and water treatment facilities. These types of applications require robust and reliable IP video surveillance solutions that proactively guard the property's fences day and night, regardless of weather and lighting conditions. The DINION IP imager 9000 HD has an extremely rugged design and built-in active infrared lighting to withstand harsh weather condition and penetrate darkness. Its unique features ensure that relevant objects of interest are captured with the highest level of detail possible through the Bosch specific intelligent Auto Exposure feature. And this is irrespective of any disturbing backlight or front light, while maintaining the lowest possible network burden benefiting from the intelligent Dynamic Image Noise Reduction feature reducing significantly the data bit rates and storage requirements.

Perimeter protection often struggles with fluctuating back and front light during the day. These fluctuations, caused by sunlight or other illuminated objects in the scene disturb video surveillance images. The Bosch Intelligent Auto Exposure feature (iAE) overcomes this challenge by automatically adjusting the camera's settings to increase the dynamic range of the camera. As a result, iAE ensures that moving objects or those of interest are enhanced and can be easily identified. At night, the camera's built-in active infrared lighting offers additional assistance, allowing objects up to 120 meters away to be detected even in complete darkness (0 lux). Overall, the Bosch DINION IP imager 9000 HD ensures that all relevant details are captured in highest quality thanks to its Bosch unique built-in technologies and full HD 1080p resolution day and night.

The Bosch unique integrated Intelligent Video Analysis package proactively supports security guards around the clock in focusing their attention on relevant incidents when something or someone breaches pre-defined alarm rules which can be set by the user.

Furthermore the Bosch Intelligent Video Analysis package (IVA), is ideal to also help securing unmanned facilities, such as petrol depots or pipelines. The Bosch camera continuously analyses the scene and automatically triggers alarms should one or more predefined rules be breached. In order to minimize the risk of false alarms, up to eight different IVA alarm rules can be combined and are active at the same time to provide a robust video surveillance solution. Security guards are notified when certain situations need their attention regardless of where they are. Since they cannot be everywhere or watch everything at the same time, IVA alerts can also be sent to mobile devices. Another advantage of IVA is that it adds sense and structure to IP video material in the form of metadata already being defined in the camera, allowing users to find relevant evidence among hours of recorded video quickly and easily within minutes or even seconds.

An ever-increasing need for image detail and in turn higher resolution, leads to a continuously growing amount of video data. As a result, IT infrastructures are often stretched to their maximum and system costs driven by data transmission and storage cost increase substantially. Especially storage capacity accounts for a large percentage of these costs. Consequently, it becomes apparent that cameras' bitrates need to be managed and optimized to ensure a minimum of network burden and storage costs. As with all the other Bosch IP cameras, the DINION IP imager 9000 HD is equipped with intelligent Dynamic Image Noise Reduction (iDNR). This makes use of the fact that in video surveillance a lower bit rate is needed when there is little movement. iDNR continuously analyses the content of the scene, dynamically adjusting the bitrate depending on the amount of movement. In average scenes, this saves up to 30 percent on bitrate and thus storage requirements, while equally reducing the network strain by only using as much bandwidth as is needed. The camera has the capability to temporarily store data and decide through its embedded intelligence when data streams are being send through the network to the recording unit checking always for free network capacities.

The entire Bosch IP portfolio is designed to seamlessly integrate with software and recording solutions from Bosch and other vendors. Third-party integration is ensured by the ONVIF conformity of all Bosch IP cameras, as well as by the Integration Partner Program (IPP), which simplifies the interoperability of video surveillance products. The IPP portal provides access to a comprehensive library of software development tools, services, and information about compatible software and products. More information is available from: ipp.boschsecurity.com.

Hikvision Technology secures Puma energy Tanzania

Hikvision Technology secures Puma energy Tanzania

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 3/28/2014 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Ganesh R. Iyer, Head of Sales & Business Development at ComSec Security Systems, had a number of significant security hurdles to overcome when designing a CCTV overhaul for Puma Energy's Head Office & Depot facility in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania.

This Puma Energy facility, consisting of both an office headquarters complex and a oil processing depot, is Tanzania's largest oil refinery. Dar-Es-Salaam, the nation's biggest and richest city, underscores the importance of the facility's larger relevance in the region.

However, installing a CCTV solution wasn't simply a hardware issue. As Mr. Iyer explained, "Of course, combating issues such as theft, as well as safety, were paramount. However, this solution was asked to do something more: help change an unfortunate cultural norm that readily looks the other way in issues of theft."

As such, Mr. Iyer looked to Hikvision to help:
* upgrade a pre-existing and underperforming CCTV system
* take into account the stark differences between the office and depot environments
* design a unique, two-pronged, CCTV method for both environments
* combat a larger cultural acceptance of theft that is gradually ruining the economy

IP Replaces Lagging Analog

Originally, Puma Energy purchased this facility from British Petroleum. With the facility, Puma Energy also acquired BP's existing CCTV solution. However, the new owners found the previous analog system unsatisfactory.

Thus, Tanzanian-based ComSec Security Systems Ltd. was contracted to act as turnkey contractor of a new CCTV solution to dramatically improve overall video quality.

In order to meet Puma Energy's goal of a high-quality CCTV surveillance system, Mr. Iyer opted for a completely new CCTV model: an IP system on a fiber-optical backbone communication ring with industrial-grade switches in the field.

While this IP-based infrastructure provided the means to improve the CCTV system's performance, ultimately what would make-or-break the solution was the choice of hardware in the field. In this regard, Mr. Iyer chose Hikvision for both his camera and NVR needs.

Divergent Challenges

However, as previously noted, this overall facility is actually comprised of two highly-divergent work environments. Obviously a modern office building poses a different set of security questions when compared to an outdoor petroleum refinery. Regardless, both aspects of this facility brought unique challenges that needed to be overcome.

In the Head Office, Mr. Iyer elected to go with Hikvision's DS-2CD2712F-I 1.3MP Vari-focal Network IR Dome Camera for his IP camera needs. In this case, Mr. Iyer decided that "flexibility was key. We needed a camera that is able to quickly adjust its view and provide great resolution regardless of shorter or longer distances. This camera's 2.8 - 12mm vari-focal lens gives us a great many viewing options."

This is of particular significance in the reception area. Previously, fixed camera lens forced logistical problems. Now, the vantage can be quickly changed from the reception desk to the main door, to illustrate but one example.

Additionally, DS-2CD2712F-I's IP66 rating and vandal-proof housing solved an earlier problem. Mr. Iyer explained, "Previously, due to the indoor location, there have been issues where cameras were tampered with. Now, due to the sturdy nature of these new cameras, it would take a considerable amount of time to actually disable the units. This would not go unnoticed ... hence providing a great camera for access control and safety issues."

Staying indoors, Hikvision's DS-7732NI-SP 32 Channel NVR provides the means to record all these HD camera video images. Located in a centralized control room, the DS-7732NI-SP provides 32 channels for the Head Office. Currently, not every channel is needed, which also supplies an additional future-proofing aspect for later needs.

However, of current importance is the DS-7732NI-SP's 4 SATA HDD interface of up-to 4TB each providing the means for Puma Energy's 3 to 4 week video-storage requirement; while the up-to 5MP recording resolution ensures the pictures will be of the highest quality, regardless of when viewed.

Moving outdoors and into the large refinery facility, is the DS-2DF1-718 IR Speed Dome. Taking advantage of a 36x optical zoom and a 16x digital zoom, the DS-2DF1-718 proves a perfect tool for perimeter security. In fact, even adjoining facilities can now be clearly seen. Notably, "With this camera's up-to 80m IR range and 36x zoom, we get excellent coverage in the evening ... a time when most issues of theft historically occur," explained Mr. Iyer.

Also placed throughout the refinery, the DS-2CD2612F-I 1.3MP Vari-focal IR Bullet Camera helps secure the environment. Mr. Iyer notes that due to the oscillating lighting challenges, this camera's up-to 30m IR range and true day / night feature is paramount. Additionally, Digital WDR has proved an important function to compensate for the difficult bright and dim background lighting changes that the outdoor refinery experiences daily.

However, as with indoors, the DS-2CD2612F-I's 1.3 megapixel high resolution is vital to provide the sought-after resolution upgrade. For the refinery, the DS-9664NI-XT 64 Channel NVR was chosen for its robust storage combined with 160 mbs bitrate and up-to 5MP recording resolution for improved image clarity.

Slowly Changing a Culture

Mr. Iyer stresses that all of these tools help to ultimately combat the biggest threat to both Puma Energy and Tanzania's overall economy: the acceptance of a culture of debilitating theft.

Mr. Iyer noted that it isn't an issue of petty or grand theft, instead it is the idea that theft is okay that ultimately does the most damage. "The reality is, in Tanzania, the best recourse is a high-quality reactive CCTV solution. Of course, given unlimited funds, a proactive solution with both technology and liberal manpower would be great, but this is unrealistic. However, with our new Hikvision CCTV solution featuring greatly-enhanced resolution, thieves now understand that they will be ultimately caught. We have already seen noted improvement in this area," he summed up.

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