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Challenges of Creating Smart Cities

Challenges of Creating Smart Cities

Editor / Provider: by a&s International | Updated: 3/20/2012 | Article type: Residential & Consumer

Constructing smart cities require careful consideration and specific objectives. Technology must consider people and process. The city needs to determine what its priorities are. “Critical supply infrastructure and traffic management are at the core of each city and need to be protected,” said Erika Gorge, Communications Manager, Bosch Security Systems. “A trend in the security industry is the convergence of different critical infrastructural monitoring systems, such as city surveillance and transportation systems, energy/water distribution, waste management and communication networks. The convergence of those systems will coordinate and interconnect the police and fire brigades, in the case of accidents, natural disasters or criminal activities.”

However, the decentralized organizational structure of a city can deter a cohesive response from all agencies. This requires setting goals and establishing processes, on top of technology. “Process driven response is key to optimize the coordination during a safety crisis, because the success of the intervention does not rely only on the skills and training of the individuals handling the alarms, but, in addition, the whole process is automatically aided by the established emergency plans,” said Maria Ruiz, Strategic Project Manager, Fire Safety and Security Strategy, Siemens Building Technologies. “The technology is prepared to provide the functionality described, but the coordination of all the involved stakeholders in the city is challenging.”

It is crucial for cities to have an agreed vision and a disciplined implementation approach. “The people in the city are the change agents to drive transformation,” Bartlett said. “It's not just the technology, but the process, people and the roles people will take.” Shahpurwala agreed. “Collaboration among agencies means lower crime, better citywide services and better information — a smarter city at work.”
 
Smart cities require planning and communicating to the extreme, as it affects citizens, city administration and local businesses. “Getting the systems up and running and integrating seamlessly are really a shared responsibility of all parties involved: city representatives, users, integrators and manufacturers will have to collaborate unconditionally to be able to make smart cities a reality,” said Maarten Mijwaart, GM of Automatic Vehicle Identification, Nedap. “Excellent project management and clear ownership of responsibilities alone will not be sufficient. Introducing anything that affects the lives of people and the business of local entrepreneurs requires additional efforts and skills to be able to keep all parties aligned, keep the project going while managing the potential public debate.”

Lack of Benchmarks
There is no IQ test for city “smartness,” so most projects follow the money. “It is important to realize the cost and impact of crime on economies, be they developing economies or those in the developed world,” Shahpurwala said. “It can be very significant, ranging from 5 percent to 15 percent of the GDP in some cases.

Other figures include the cost of congestion, which takes into account the loss of productivity and wasted fuel. Studies of Los Angeles and New York City calculated congestion cost each city US$10 billion or more, which could be a significant drain on developing economies, Shahpurwala said.


Diversity is one reason why it is difficult to quantify results. “A city may have a harbor district while another may have a chemical complex; others would have an important business hub, or a focus on education or health care campuses,” said Maria Ruiz, Strategic Project Manager, Fire Safety and Security Strategy, Siemens Building Technologies. Contracting for smart integrated solutions and services depends on city-specific needs, which may involve multiple vendors. City agreements must clearly outline corresponding responsibilities, particularly as the line between IT and physical security blurs, bringing more providers together.

Future Developments
Internet of Things
In the future, systems based on new architectures will connect smart sensors that gather timely information. “The much discussed Internet of things, although currently still at an early stage of development, will certainly shape our future,” Gorge said. “The establishment of uniform standards is already a top priority today. The Internet of things will help close the information gap between the real world and the virtual world. This will assure more accurate and efficient processes, which are of highest importance in times of stretched resources.”

This elaborate sensor network opens up a new set of potential improvements. “Networks for smart-city systems or even normal video surveillance systems will have integration with the cloud,” said Cosimo Malesci, VP of Sales and Marketing, Fluidmesh Networks.

Community Services
Smart and safe cities provide more data for better and faster decisions. One exciting development of smart cities is e-health. “People are living longer, thankfully, but the burden on medical care is increasing,” Gorshkov said. “The bandwidth is available at more assisted-living facilities, so people can live in their homes while they receive health care monitoring. More telemedicine applications allow patients to connect to doctors, without having to use transportation for convenience and environmental benefits. They can communicate one-on-one with the doctor via VoIP and couple up with diagnostic equipment.”

Communities will benefit from improved access to medical services. “In smart cities, it will be important to transform health care delivery beyond traditional models of health care, and telehealth addresses a broader range of customer needs by delivering care at a distance — care without boundaries,” Shahpurwala said.

Responsible Governance
Smart cities provide many benefits, but those advantages can be abused. “The future is a continuing growth of collection and analysis of data, but citizens would need to have legal structures on how the information is used,” said Richard Smith, Professor in the School of Communication and Director of the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology, Simon Fraser University. “Without the law, there will be individual lawsuits. A company can be bankrupted for the misuse of data, such as a database of credit card data. The law ensures companies follow best practices.”

As cities grow, they must execute effective governance through people, processes and technology. Sustainability is an abstract concept, until the costs of wasted fuel, energy and water result in pollution and resource shortages. Affordable networked solutions hasten the proliferation of smart cities, improving the lives of city dwellers and the next generation.

Mauritius City Improves Public Safety with Dahua Solution

Mauritius City Improves Public Safety with Dahua Solution

Editor / Provider: Dahua | Updated: 3/9/2012 | Article type: Government & Public Services

On October 21st, 2011, a grand ceremony was held to celebrate the fulfillment of the project of CCTV Street Surveillance System and Island-wide Digital Radio Communication System (hereafter referred as the project) in Mauritius.

In recent years, Mauritius has enjoyed a continuous urbanization and its floating population is also on the rise, which inevitably brings some difficulties and pressure on the management of social security; but the limited police force failed to meet the increasing security demand on such a large scale. Therefore, Mauritius government attached great importance to the said project and was intended to have the very best providers. Many Chinese-owned enterprises, including the leading companies in every filed, all took a great response to this call. With months' preparation, Dahua Technology finally went through strategic passes of all levels and won the tender to provide total solutions and CCTV products for this project.

With arduous efforts and devotion, the construction came to completion lately and passed the acceptance of the national expert group. After that, the project was successfully handed over to Mauritius National Police Administration. The Mauritius officials remarked that Mauritius will definitely benefit a lot thanks to this project, since it gives the reassurance to the people and builds harmonious environment for the country's development.

This project was firstly applied in the capital city—Port-Louis and the popular travel resort—Grand Bay to assist local police to restrain crimes. Many local citizens highly spoke of the project and expressed that they've been much relieved and less scared when walking or driving in the crime-ridden areas. Thanks to the surveillance devices, the police in the control center will take immediate actions to crack down the malicious attempts to rescue the citizens in danger. The recording video also serves as the forensic material to provide accurate evidence to protect victims' interests and maintain the legal justice. Besides, this system also brings positive effect on traffic surveillance system, since the traffic flow and congestion could be easier under control via this system: the three key factors, namely, pedestrians, motorized/non-motorized vehicles and roads would be better interacted and thus not only improves the transportation efficiency with less consumption , but also reduces congestion and traffic accidents.

Axis Solution Secures Onboard Cable Cars in Italian Ski Resort

Axis Solution Secures Onboard Cable Cars in Italian Ski Resort

Editor / Provider: Axis Communications | Updated: 2/24/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

Cable Car Merano 2000 needed to equip the new facility at the Merano 2000 ski resort with a surveillance system that would enable reliable, quality monitoring of the 3 stations, the cabins and the path. The solution needed to be rugged and reliable, given the difficult installation conditions of some system components.

Itel di Locatelli, a firm from Bolzano who installs and manages video surveillance, telephone and cable systems, chose to equip the facility with 13 fixed dome AXIS Network Cameras. The cameras were installed along the path of the cable car, inside the stations and the two cabins.

The solution adopted proved to be completely satisfactory for the client. Thanks to continuous monitoring of the stations, cabins and the exterior, users are able to enjoy a safe, cutting-edge transportation system.

Verticalization: VMS Sticks Up For End Users

Verticalization: VMS Sticks Up For End Users

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 2/21/2012 | Article type: Tech Corner

VMS is evolving according to the needs and expectations of end users. One method to meet user needs is to design VMS with specific verticals in mind. In this article, we discuss what variables change between VMS for different verticals.

VMS vendors are offering versions of their product tailored for specific verticals. This means that if you are planning to monitor traffic, you can buy a VMS suited for transportation. Or if you are monitoring a chain of convenience stores, you can purchase a VMS that has been designed with retailers in mind. Given the very different settings of video surveillance, providing vertical solutions seems like a natural next step in the evolution of VMS. End users can purchase suitable VMS without having to request a customized product. Let's take a look at the ways in which vertical-specific VMS can differ from one another.

System Architecture
Depending on the vertical, the architecture of the video surveillance system and scalability will affect how it is deployed. Video surveillance in retail often needs VMS that can handle local management at individual stores as well as centralized video management at headquarters. Large enterprises often take this to the extreme, requiring several layers of video management, corresponding to local, regional, national and international tiers of an organization. In these cases, end users will want to consider VMS that have enterprise management capabilities that allow sites to locally manage video, but that can also allow video to be centrally managed. Verticals with multiple sites may also need to consider bandwidth issues. VMS with bandwidth control features or VMS that have the ability to reduce bandwidth consumption may allow surveillance systems to operate more smoothly.

Notoriously Big
Some verticals require a large number of cameras, accessories and users, and need to find a VMS that can reliably support surveillance on such a large scale. Airport video surveillance systems are typically composed of hundreds or thousands of cameras. “A suitable VMS needs to have the appropriate scalable architecture in order to support this infrastructure,” said Francis Lachance, PM at Genetec. “A large camera count system also comes with a large number of users, alarms, workflows and more, which in turn needs to be supported by the VMS.”

High Availability
Besides being large and having complex architecture, airport surveillance must also be redundant. In addition to the number of hardware components, the number of clients on a server can also take a toll on the system. Marc Holtenhoff, CEO of Aimetis, said that many airports are not adequately equipped to deal with availability issues. “A lot of the top airports in the world can only get 25 concurrent clients on a server. That's a big deal when there's an event at the airport. Everyone's accessing the server at the same time, and the server will just crash. There's no tolerance for downtime.”

Lachance warns that critical surveillance systems should protect the video recording from failure via a built-in mechanism in the VMS to offer continuous system access, uninterrupted video streaming, health monitoring and system self-check.

“A comprehensive solution for high availability is not cheap,” said Patrick Lim, Director of Sales and Marketing, Ademco Far East (an Ademco Security Group company). “ But more businesses now realize that they cannot afford the downtime.”

Video Forensics
Video surveillance is often used for post-event investigations, rather than responding during an event. Verticals that may use video surveillance as evidence should consider a VMS' forensics functions, such as smart archive analysis or integration with VCA. “The advantages these systems have to offer are evident since the video surveillance system's work is largely the work with the video archive,” said Evgenia Ostrovskaya, Global Business Development Director, Axxonsoft. “This work used to mean long and not necessarily effective analysis of the entire video archive, whereas new features allow users to quickly find a video frame by relevant criteria or look through all the events captured within a set period of time. This makes working with the video archive much more efficient and reliable, as operators get tired after watching archived video for a long time and can easily miss a significant event.”

VMS Components
Being open platform means VMS is integrated with different manufacturer cameras, but also access control, alarms and more. However, the VMS may not be compatible with the preferred access control standard for a certain vertical. A VMS's ability to operate with other systems is an important consideration for vertical-specific applications.

The addition of VCA means the combinations and possibilities are endless. In retail, integration with PoS allows supervision of cashier operations. VCA often allows the display of transaction information on the video, which is useful for cashier supervision, fraud prevention and more.

In banking, an ATM solution can integrate video, transactions and alarm data. This can determine whether individuals are involved in suspicious banking transactions. It can also identify VIP customers, which would improve an institution's customer service.

Additional benefits depend on creative ways to exploit technology. Aluisio Figueiredo, COO, Intelligent Security Systems (ISS) said, “In Argentina, they have a program against compulsive gambling. Pictures of compulsive gamblers are stored in a police database. Every time one of these people walk into a casino, a camera is going to recognize them, send a message to security and security will take them out of the casino.” [NextPage]

Business Tools
VMS with VCA technology can move beyond traditional security by gathering business intelligence and driving decisions. Business Intelligence can count the number of people that come into a store and provide shopper conversion, said Debjit Das, VP of Marketing at Verint Systems. By using video surveillance as a business tool, it can be used to improve an end user's bottom line.

This is an exciting development for security, which has traditionally been used to protect businesses against risks to decrease expenses. Businss Intelligence can help to increase revenue. Any development in video surveillance that helps businesses decrease expenses or increase revenue benefits end users. By helping end user profit margins,, VMS providers will help their own bottom line.

Automation
In certain verticals, VMS that can trigger security functions in the absense of people may be useful. Enter video surveillance automation. Gadi Piran, President,On-Net Surveillance Systems, said that a system with intelligent video analytics can combine multiple video analytic events using rules dependency to trigger an alarm and to minimize false alarms.

Automation can include lighting, door management and door unlocking during emergencies. It can also include more complicated tasks. “In shops, we can immediately alert security, with video and audio cues, if a cell phone or laptop is removed from the display case,” said Carlos Eduardo Bonilha, President, Digifort. “In schools, we can notify city police if a panic button is triggered. In hospitals, we can control the entry and exit of people in nurseries.”

Automation is important for remote sites. “Software features such as smart tracking of personnel, activities and events become very important, as the sites may have very limited security manpower looking at cameras over a very large area,” Lim said.

Usability
As video surveillance systems become more complex, VMS still needs to be simple to use. Buyers will need to balance their desired capabilities against user friendliness. Some powerful VMS offerings are also complex to use. End users should consider who their operators are and what their security needs are.

This is challenging as not just security personnel may want to access the surveillance system, but also administration and IT staff. Different users will have unique needs when accessing video. “There's a security customer who has certain wants and needs, as well as a business user and administrator, and [their needs] are not all the same,” Holtenhoff said. “Being able to have an interface that communicates with these different groups is important.”

No, Not Yet…
Regardless of the increasing VMS capabilities, poor customer communication means trouble. If the client has expectations that far exceed the capabilities of the VMS and surveillance system, they will be disappointed.

It is important to communicate limitations. For example, many surveillance systems nowadays are installed on networks that are already available on-site. In these cases, surveillance systems will need to work with the limitations of the available network. “If working with an existing network, sometimes we don't know what's already on there,” said Gerry Pittman, Manager of Global Security Technology – Building Efficiency, Johnson Controls. “Customers aren't aware that there are network limitations. They want what's best, but sometimes the network isn't capable.”

Often, users do not define what exactly they want from their VMS. Figueiredo discussed the confusion that can arise from a relatively simple installation: a VCA that issues tickets to drivers who run red lights at intersections. “Often times, the end user does not know what they want. Who is going to review the footage? Do they need video? How many pictures of the license plate do they need? Do they need to know what state it comes from? How do they want the pictures to appear on the screen? Do they want to review every ticket? Everyone wants to monitor traffic. Nobody has a clue of what they want. You need to educate the customers. You need to explain the options and that takes a long time.”

Decision Making
Vertical-specific VMS makes life easier for end users. There are many flavors of VMS out there with different features and capabilities. In this way, end users can compare VMS based on the features they deem important.

When a VMS vendor offers VMS for two different verticals, how different are they? “Roughly 90 percent of VMS features are the same regardless of what vertical they're in,” Holtenhoff said. “It's the last kilometer that makes the difference, but it's an important last kilometer.” All end users want to be able to efficiently manage their video surveillance system, but the application of the surveillance system will determine the importance of everything else

Indonesia Stands Out With Strong Potential

Indonesia Stands Out With Strong Potential

Editor / Provider: the Editorial Team | Updated: 2/15/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

Unlike the devastating aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Indonesia sailed through the 2009 global economic storm peacefully and experienced growth. John Shi, Editorial Director of a&s magazines explores the latest developments and hot vertical segments in this dynamic market.

The Asian financial crisis in 1997 and 1998 hammered Indonesia hard. Ten years later, the global recession struck. However, this economic hardship did not hurt the Indonesian market. Even at its lowest point in 2009, GDP growth remained above 4 percent, reaching 6.1 percent in 2010. Strong domestic demand along with government stimulus packages fueled economic growth. New projects, construction and infrastructure are underway and the security market looks promising in the near future.

“Our estimated market size for security system equipment before 2008 is US$25 to $28 million per year. The market grew 30 percent in 2009 so the market size for 2009 could be $30 to $35 million,” said Vincentius Liong, Director of Integrated Security System Solution, Elektro Data Sistem Integrasi.

The security market is growing at an annual rate of 10 to 20 percent. Government projects, private sectors and oil and mining industries each make up a third of the market, said Reyky Yonathan, Account Sales Manager, Honeywell Indonesia.

Market Drivers
General security awareness was relatively low in the 90s, with most systems using only access control without surveillance and alarms, said Indah Fajarwati, Sales Manager, Secom Indonesia. “At that time, not too many companies sold security products, mostly international brand. The market was mainly project-based while domestic usage was not so popular,” recalled Ir. Darwin Lestari Tan, Director of TelView Technology.

The Asian financial crisis was a start. It triggered demonstrations, riots and looting. Mass riots typically involved vandalism and the destruction of private and public property, which was how the Indonesian security business first picked up. While most companies were cutting jobs, security companies at the time were hiring more employees. The security market had 40 percent growth since there were bombings and attacks during the Asian financial crisis, Liong said. During the crisis, companies increased their investments into security, as it became a must.

Indonesian security spending dramatically increased after the 9/11 attacks and the 2002 Bali bombings. Police mandates required the installation of surveillance cameras for public monitoring. Also, banks installed surveillance systems due to regulations from the Indonesian central bank, Liong said.

Security awareness increased as well, as it no longer was perceived as a luxury. “The Bali bombing made people aware of the issue of security and the importance of it,” Tan said. “Before that, hotels and the hospitality industry were reluctant to install surveillance equipment and viewed it as a violation of privacy. But now, surveillance equipment is a must.”

Buying Behavior
Indonesian market is very pricesensitive, while government projects are more concerned about good solutions rather than costs, Yonathan said. While some buyers understand quality differences in price, they cannot afford the price. Only around 30 to 50 percent of buyers do not consider price when quality is concerned, said Lasmaria Agustin, Manager of Business Communication Division, Galva Technovision.

Liong added that some commercial buildings and universities have budget concerns. For example, retail stores or shopping malls just want to purchase cheap solutions that have OK quality.

“Money is no issue for government projects or large banks, telecoms and commercial businesses,” Liong said. “They don't want to buy cheap products. Instead, they prefer not just to buy the right product but the right solution as well. They care about technical support and after-sales service. This is the current market trend these years. The cheapest ones are not always the favorites now.”

Government projects,oil companies or central banks prefer branded products from European or US providers, Fajarwati said. The brand reputation is the first priority along with meeting bid criteria, then price consideration comes next, Fajarwati said.

Lian-Seng Lim, Regional Manager of ASG Asia, agreed. Unless bidders have even better quality offers than leading brands, officials will not take them into consideration.

While price remains the deciding factor in the entry and midrange market,it depends on the application. Despite budget concerns, some verticals such as hotels demand the most suitable price-performance products.

The booming Indonesian market attracts more dealers and distributors, which makes products more price-competitive. Products with the same technology two years ago were too expensive, but are now more affordable. They are not limited to government projects or the petrochemical industry anymore, said Yee Wen Shing, MD of Camware International. More cost-effective and better quality solutions are available, which offers great opportunities for market expansion. [NextPage]

Hot Verticals
Indonesia comprises more than 17,000 islands scattered over more than one-tenth of the equator, between Southeast Asia and Australia. Despite the spread-out geography,the commercial segment is mostly in the major cities of Jakarta, Surabaya and tourist hotspots in Bali. Oil and gas developments are concentrated in Kalimantan and Sumatra, while government projects depend on different territorial developments.

Some verticals such as financial institutions are thriving because of government regulations and a strong market outlook. Other market segments such as retail and end-users are a direct result of Indonesia's vibrant economy. Currently the most active markets are financial institutions, the commercial sector and airports.

Banking
Banking is a booming industry fueled by government security regulations. In addition, financial institutes tend to have more budgets for security. Many distributors are optimistic because banks and ATMs are increasing in major Indonesian cities, Lim said. In addition to surveillance cameras, alarms and integrated solutions are required as well, making banking a market with strong potential.

Commercial
The commercial sector, with offices, hotels and retail stores, has increased security demand after the Bali bombings, especially in Jakarta, Yonathan said. Jakarta is the center of security market.

As Indonesia moves from mom-and-pop stores and street vendors to supermarkets and shopping malls, demand for electronic security equipment increased as well. This market segment is more price-sensitive, compared to banks and public projects. However, no one can ignore the increased number of offerings for entry-level cameras and equipment. The volume of this segment should not be underestimated, Shing said.

Airports
“Airports are the big ongoing projects since we are an island country,” Fajarwati said. With more than 17,000 islands under the republic's flag, the main mode of transportation for interisland travel in Indonesia is air. It is reported that Indonesian government will boost capital spending to ($140 billion) next year to solve infrastructure bottlenecks and spur growth, among fears of a global economic slowdown. These infrastructure projects include the development of 14 airports. Airport modernization and expansion will be significant for surveillance and access control players.

IP Uptake
IP solutions and network cameras are growing in Indonesia. “IP applications in Indonesia may not be as widespread as in Japan, Korea or Singapore but more Indonesian customers are looking at it for surveillance,” Fajarwati said. It is a popular trend as it enables flexibility in remote monitoring and integration.

Network camera market development in Indonesia depends on several key factors — the development of new infrastructure in major cities and the improvement of compression and storage technology. Increases in megapixel resolution are not the driving force, while bandwidth stability has always been a crucial issue in expanding the local market, Lim said. Bandwidth availability presents one of the major challenges for network surveillance. The realization of IP application is still limited in major cities and only for entry-level network cameras.

Large corporations are still the major users of network cameras, while government projects may not specify them. Budget is another key factor. “If companies understand which megapixel network cameras have quality, they definitely know the cost and they have budget for that,” Lim said.

End users are getting more interested in network cameras and IP applications. This might be attributed to the popularity of smartphones in Indonesia, as nearly every businessman owns one. Users can access security cameras via tablets or smartphones. “Security is more like a lifestyle,” Tan said.

Remote access ibility and smartphone monitoring are the best selling points. “Many retail store owners want to install network equipment because of smartphones,” said Shing.

However, analog cameras still remain dominant and are doing very well. For installers and system integrators, the introduction of network cameras is good news since IP has clear benefits and offers higher margins than analog cameras. However, for distributors, network cameras may require too much work, requiring time and money in network maintenance. In the long run, the heavy maintenance cost may cancel out the margin, said Shing. [NextPage]

Stay in the Game
As the Indonesian market is picking up the pace, more players are moving in and intensifying the competition. Price, quality and service that meet customer needs are keys for survival. Chinese products are more price-competitive, while some manufacturers focus on cus tomized products. For instance, to cope with hot temperatures, humidity and stormy weather in Indonesia, Camware designed its own cameras by assembling Korean parts locally. By doing so, its products were more price-competitive without sacrificing quality, Shing said.

Bosch, on the other hand, offers its clients timely service with 25 branches across Indonesia. “Compared with other brands, this is our advantage,” Liong said. These branches assure immediate support in every major city. In rural areas, Bosch works closely with local dealers, partners and engineers to provide service.

Promising Outlook
Indonesia's banking system virtually collapsed in the late 1990s during the Asian financial crisis. The global recession was a completely different Indonesian story. Indonesia eme rg ed f rom the e c onomi c downturn nearly unscathed. “Despite the global market being hit, the domestic demand for security was still strong,” Lim said. “There was no sense of an economic downturn, since people increased their spending on safety.”

Security players are confident that 2011 will yield stronger growth than 2010. “We grew 30 percent in 2010 and expect 40- to 45-percent growth in 2011, due to new projects, public service and new buildings,” Fajarwati said. “Infrastructure and the economy have been good.”

“Profit margin is shrinking due to numerous players,” Tan said. The booming market attracted more players and intensified competition. Competition is tough, especially for surveillance. Local brands are competing with products from China and well-known brands. Even global brands are lowering costs by moving production to China, Liong said.

Compared to markets such as Thailand and Malaysia, the Indonesian market is relatively young, price-sensitive and lacking education. There are still many customers who cannot tell the difference between quality and cheap solutions, Shing said.

The outlook for the Indonesian economy is stable. Inflation is low, and national reserves are larger. Its investment climate and communications have been favorable. “The infrastructure and bandwidth were fairly limited five years ago,” Liong said. “Today we have broadband, fiber-optic and 3-G networks. Everything is possible now.”

In all aspects, the Indonesian security market looks promising

Port of Tacoma Selects AMAG's Homeland Security Management System

Port of Tacoma Selects AMAG's Homeland Security Management System

Editor / Provider: AMAG Technology | Updated: 2/14/2012 | Article type: Infrastructure

AMAG Technology has been awarded the Port of Tacoma TWIC access control project. AMAG will be providing a fully integrated, concentric layered security solution across several port facilities. The Port of Tacoma will be installing AMAG's Security Management System, which will be integrated with Codebench's software suite to provide a government compliant security solution that meets the Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC) requirement. All Port employees, terminal operators, longshore workers, merchant mariners, truckers and others who require regular, unescorted access to restricted Port areas and vessels are required to carry a TWIC.

“The AMAG management systems and Codebench integration will provide the Port of Tacoma with a tightly integrated security management system that will meet the Port's operational needs, including TWIC authentication with DesFire processing at both portable and fixed MorphoTrak readers. The solution will also support the validation of FRAC and US Government issued HSPD-12 credentials for further interoperability. The solution will monitor incoming traffic, employees, visitors, contractors and drivers,” said AMAG Technology, Manager of Business Development, Bernice Noriz. "It meets and exceeds all TWIC requirements for authentication and helps the Port meet ever-changing government demands.”

“We are proud to once again provide a comprehensive, HSPD-12 and TWIC compliant solution to another major U.S. port with our good partners at AMAG Technology and MorphoTrak,” said Geri B. Castaldo, CEO of Codebench. Global Government Services provide consulting and design services to the Port of Tacoma. GGS is the Port's Security Consultant for the design and execution of the access control and video management solutions.

The Port of Tacoma, located on Commencement Bay in Washington State, serves as a leading North American seaport. In 2010 the Port handled approximately $28 billion in trade and 1.5 million TEU's (20-foot equivalent units). It has more than 2,400 acres and serves as a major gateway to Alaska and Asia.

Buffalo Airport Deploys SightLogix Thermal Cameras for Perimeter Security

Buffalo Airport Deploys SightLogix Thermal Cameras for Perimeter Security

Editor / Provider: SightLogix | Updated: 2/13/2012 | Article type: Infrastructure

An evaluation by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has confirmed 100 percent video analytics accuracy of the SightLogix SightSensor thermal camera system in the challenging environment typical of many airports. According to the TSA's final report, the “evaluation team performed over 900 scenarios of which every alarm instance was accurately reported” on the SightLogix perimeter security system.

“Achieving effective outdoor security comes down to detection accuracy, intrusion assessment, and solution cost,” said John Romanowich, President and CEO, SightLogix. “This TSA test validates that the selection requirements have been met and can be replicated at other airport perimeters.”

Buffalo airport officials also report cost savings with the SightLogix video analytics solution compared to competing technologies based upon SightLogix' longer range coverage, reducing the number of poles, trenching and communications. The use of Thermal video detection camera enables detection of intrusions even in complete darkness, removing the additional costs otherwise needed for illumination.

Additionally, the TSA reports that “video detection camera target tracking capabilities were available and 100 percent functional throughout the evaluation period.” Integrating the video detection camera into the existing video management system was “smooth and without issue,” the TSA reports.

During the week of March 7th-11th, 2011, TSA evaluators conducted 900 test scenarios to challenge the SightLogix system throughout several regions of the Buffalo Airport protected by Thermal video detection camera. The TSA report states that “each alarm prompted the system to display the alarm video, location information, nearest camera reference numbers, date and time, and an audible alarm signal.”

Corporate Social Responsibility: Beyond Your Bottom Line

Corporate Social Responsibility: Beyond Your Bottom Line

Editor / Provider: a&s International | Updated: 2/9/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

What is all the fuss about corporate social responsibility (CSR)? Isn't it enough for security solution providers to make security products and deliver services? Not anymore. CSR is a global phenomenon that security players should be aware of.

The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is frequently misunderstood. Though commonly confused with corporate philanthropy, CSR comprises a broader range of actions and beneficiaries. CSR means considering the interests of all stakeholders in company decision-making, even those not traditionally seen as company stakeholders. In addition to executives, employees, investors and clients, the environment and society as a whole are factored into company undertakings. CSR is not only the traditional support of nonprofit organizations and charities, but also the restructuring of business policies and models to reflect corporate values and responsibilities.

CSR matters — it is no longer the domain of hippies and radical activists, nor is it a flash-in-the-pan destined to fizzle out. Notice how in the last few years, concepts such as fair trade, carbon footprints and social entrepreneurship have entered our public consciousness. The rise of CSR is a reflection of changing times, and businesses need to pay attention. CSR is becoming increasingly important in the eyes of the people, and thus increasingly relevant to businesses. Given how widespread CSR is becoming, not participating is becoming less of an option. It is no longer enough to just play by the rules; you need to act in the best interests of society or risk public antagonism. As Brennan Peyton, Category Manager of Europe Imaging Group, Panasonic System Networks, reminded us, “The corporation, as a public institution, is only able to exist if it receives the support of society and therefore, in turn, must contribute to society.”

Businesses with CSR initiatives do not have to start out with a substantial war chest. Using management expertise, employee manpower and available resources, a company can increase its CSR profile. Several security players shared their CSR experiences, with ideas suited for businesses of all sizes.

Supporting Worthy Causes
Little steps go a long way. A little time, some money and human capital are what Canadian manufacturer and installer i3 International gives in its corporate-giving program. The company chooses charities that will receive monetary donations raised by employees that are then matched by the company. One such recipient of its generosity was the Lupus Foundation. The connection between i3 and this charity was forged after the passing of a staff member afflicted with lupus. Employees have also helped to raise money following various natural catastrophes. Grace Baba, GM said, “This past year, our staff members raised more than US$1,600 themselves, which the company matched, to help in the relief efforts for the victims of the Japanese tsunami/earthquake/nuclear disaster.”

Along with fundraising, i3 holds food drives for its local food bank. It also supports Habitat for Humanity, an international nonprofit that builds or repairs houses by partnering with homeowners. Some i3 employees have used their personal time to participate as volunteers in housebuilding projects.

Mobotix had a different take on donation in its latest CSR endeavor. Greenpoint Reformed Church, located in New York, is home to a soup kitchen, food pantry, and a variety of activities, including children's art and music classes, a youth soccer league, a runner's club, a meditation group and 10 different 12-step groups. By running programs like these, the Greenpoint Reformed Church is able to foster a better sense of community and help those in need. However, this also means that the church is opening itself up to security risks.

This is when Mobotix stepped in with cameras and accessories; security equipment the church would have been unable to afford otherwise. Greenpoint Reformed Church was able to continue its programming, helping those in need in the community. Mobotix did not need to stretch far beyond its expertise to make a positive contribution. Steve Gorski, MD of the Americas, said, “We provided the church with a complete high-resolution, IP surveillance system to enable the organization to monitor activity and research events after the fact to close investigations quickly and easily, and they have allowed us to promote the success they have had with our technology.”

Sustainable Policies
With an ever-expanding global population of more than 7 billion, the depletion of natural resources and the buildup of waste are becoming serious problems. Global warming is a serious concern that affects everyone. The environment is an important stakeholder in all of our lives, and many companies are taking steps to address environmental concerns.

CSR initiatives targeting the environment often take the form of sustainability policies, including more efficient manufacturing processes, recycling, resource conservation and responsible waste disposal. Axis Communications published a sustainability report for the first time this year. Publicly available on its website, its sustainability report looked at how sustainable operations were from a business perspective, as well as an environmental perspective. It found that the impact of transportation on the environment was higher in America than Europe, so Axis decided to create a shipping center based in the U.S.

One particularly interesting evaluation that Axis undertook was a life cycle analysis for products to determine when,during their lifespan, they were most environmentally damaging. By evaluating the environmental impact of the product during production, usage and disposal, Axis is able to reduce its environmental impact. It found that cameras were most environmentally harmful during usage because of the amount of energy they consume, and are now working on reducing the energy needs of its cameras. As Margareta Lantz, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications Manager, said, “Axis' ambition is that environmental considerations must be applied to the entire value chain, from the selection of materials for components to the use of the final product.”

HID Global (an Assa Abloy company) also undertook an evaluation of its company's environmental sustainability by setting up a company-wide, cross-functional task force. Simon Siew, MD for APAC, said, “HID selected a crossfunctional team since we thought it was important to understand and improve the environmental footprint of our operations and products by setting ambitious goals for certifications and business process improvements as well as measuring our progress routinely.” Since then,HID has implemented multiple measures to increase its environmental sustainability. It has installed printer authentication, so that people can only print with HID credentials. This helps reduce the amount of paper waste at the company.

HID has also sought to include sustainability measures into its products. Some of its products have energy saving modes that help reduce energy consumption by 75 percent compared to normal operating modes. HID uses recycled materials in some of its products, which have helped it earn leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) credits. The plastic cards that it manufactures use BioPVC, which degrades five times more quickly than standard PVC. In combination, these measures help to reduce the environmental impact of HID's products. [NextPage]

DIY CSR
Sometimes, instead of donating to existing worthy causes, companies identify a need and create projects to fill that need. Panasonic's Kids Witness News program lends kids video cameras and other equipment necessary to make their own videos. Around 10,000 children from more than 650 schools in 26 countries and regions around the world participate in Kids Witness News. By giving kids the ability to make their own videos, Kids Witness News allows children from Singapore to Russia to the U.S. to express their own points of view.

On the Kids Witness News YouTube channel, people can see Russian children testing water quality for their fish, or Chinese school children exploring bullying and classroom social dynamics. One video featured a high-school student from Singapore who conducted a social experiment on water conservation. Over the course of 30 days, he challenged himself to use only 27 liters of water a day. Not only are these students developing their creativity and communications skills, they are also lending a voice to issues that are important to them — such as water conservation.

However, not all meaningful programs require multinational funding or global reach. Some creativity, knowledgeable partners and a little heart go a long way. Planet Technology, a medium-sized R&D, marketing and outsourcing enterprise in Taiwan, received local recognition for its commitment to CSR, from environmental site cleanups and trash sorting, to running an after-school activity program for children.

One of its CSR initiatives focuses on children's education. The first of its kind in Taiwan, its education trust is comprised of 10 percent of the money raised from the company's IPO in 2004. After looking at community issues, Planet Technology found a community need it could do something about. The solution was services for disadvantaged children who, due to broken home lives, get caught up in drugs, gangs and end up struggling throughout their lives. These children were broken down into different categories depending on whether they were from financially struggling families, and whether the children had suffered from neglect, or physical and emotional trauma. Depending on their individual situation, children are given counseling services and homework assistance to help them catch up and adjust in school. These children also participate in group activities to teach them how to socialize with other children. “The cause of each child's problems is different, and their needs are unique. Therefore, we need to use different ways to help each of them,” said Christine Hsu, VP.

Hsu recognized that the company itself did not have the expertise to teach and counsel these children, but it knew there were nonprofit organizations that did have the expertise. Planet Technology uses its business know-how to coordinate these different groups and run this program. A stone's throw from the company, this program is small and local but makes a big difference in the lives of those children.

Outcomes
CSR helps to distinguish a company as “good.” It personalizes a company. Mobotix found CSR helpful for establishing their presence in the Americas. Gorski said, “Since Mobotix is still fairly new to the Americas market, it is important for us to get involved with local initiatives, and support our customers and partners when possible.”

CSR may help attract and retain talent. The younger generation has been raised with values of respect and tolerance. Concepts of environmentalism, philanthropy and respect of different peoples and cultures have been engrained from an early age. As a result, many youth want to work for companies that do good in the world. Not only do they want to earn a paycheck; they want to contribute positively to the world at the same time.

CSR can also be fun. Often, CSR initiatives that involve employees can give them a chance to bond over a common cause. i3 found that some of its CSR efforts boosted company morale. Baba said, “We enjoy seeing the competitiveness between some teams or between individuals to be the best ‘giver.' Among our sales people, there is often banter back and forth encouraging to give more.”

Sometimes, CSR initiatives lead to unexpectedly positive outcomes, such as new business opportunities. This is exactly what happened with Cisco Systems, when it lent a hand after the Sichuan earthquake in 2008. After the earthquake, Cisco decided to step in and started the Connecting Sichuan project. During this project, Cisco used its IT expertise to put 60 million insurance records online, build 21st century classrooms for 135,000 students and technologyenabled 60 health care and 102 educational organizations.

Aravind Sitaraman, President of Inclusive Growth, Cisco Systems, said, “The goal of the project was to create and deliver innovative solutions in health care and education that could be scaled and replicated throughout Sichuan, as well as other parts of China and beyond.” The productive project was concluded in June 2011 and was the first public-private partnership between an American business and the Chinese government.

Given the economic outlook for 2012, many may consider adjusting their CSR strategies. Baba commented on how i3 adjusted its CSR policies. “Even in recent years, i3 has continued to support causes by asking staff to donate time and energy as opposed to money,” she said.

Companies just getting started should start small. Planet Technology's disadvantaged education and counseling program took seven years from the program's inception, with continual adjustments, to bring the program to where it is today. “Don't think too much about trying to change the entire world,” Hsu said. “Just focus on small, meaningful contributions you can make within arm's reach. Just do it.”

Webgate HD Video Tracks Traffic Along Korean Expressway

Webgate HD Video Tracks Traffic Along Korean Expressway

Editor / Provider: Webgate | Updated: 2/4/2012 | Article type: Infrastructure

Webgate HD-Camera gives the public and first responders access to high-definition pictures.

The Korea Expressway Corporation (KEP) selected Webgate high-resolution cameras to provide a clear picture of traffic for its intelligent transportation system (ITS). "The old analog system with its black-and-white screens was almost impossible for recognizing details, especially in poorly lit areas at night," said Mr. Park, Traffic Control System Manager.

When KEP wanted to improve its traffic control center and monitoring system, it needed a solution which was compatible with the existing coaxial cable infrastructure.

Working with KEP, Webgate traffic systems specialist Mr. Min decided to install 27 cameras to cover all important sites. They can be remotely controlled by the control center. "The license-plate recognition function can help prevent crime," said Mr. Kim, a police officer. "Recently, there was crime, involving metal theft of subway tracks. The license plate was caught clearly on the monitor, enabling our team to track the criminal."

The good image quality enables identification of all individuals for about 20,000 square feet of public areas. Every moment can be recorded with the date, making it easy to identify when something occurred. "This system is very easy to use for operations and management, who can handle the existing analog system, and it's very stable," Mr. Park said. Webgate solutions have been used for almost two years without any drawbacks.

March Networks to Provide Stadium Security System for Hockey Games in Ottawa

March Networks to Provide Stadium Security System for Hockey Games in Ottawa

Editor / Provider: March Networks | Updated: 1/31/2012 | Article type: Commercial Markets

March Networks, a global provider of intelligent IP video solutions, announced that it has partnered with the Ottawa Senators to provide its next-generation video surveillance platform to enhance security and operations at Scotiabank Place – a world-class sports and entertainment facility and home to the National Hockey League (NHL) team. This week, the Ottawa Senators and Scotiabank Place will play host to the NHL All-Star Game.

The property management company is deploying the March Networks Command video management software (VMS) and megapixel IP cameras to replace an older surveillance system throughout the facility, which encompasses a 19,153-capacity multi-purpose arena, a fitness complex, multiple restaurants and other businesses. The solution delivers remote access to high-definition video, enabling Scotiabank Place staff to monitor activity in real-time and review recorded video quickly when needed – all from a central operations center.

In addition to indoor surveillance, Scotiabank Place will use the solution for key outdoor applications. March Networks pan-tilt-zoom IP cameras mounted on the facility's roof will be used to monitor parking lots and surrounding walkways. They will also help City of Ottawa transportation staff monitor traffic flow and more accurately adjust traffic signals to ease congestion before and after events.

The March Networks Command software, which incorporates a secure web-based browser, makes it easy for a variety of authorized users to leverage the system for security and operational purposes. The software scales seamlessly to support thousands of cameras, making it ideal for the Senators, who plan to extend the surveillance solution to a second recreational facility a few kilometers away later this year.

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