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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.

Memoori: Security Industry Will Confidently Ride Out 2012's Economic Storm

Memoori: Security Industry Will Confidently Ride Out 2012's Economic Storm

Editor / Provider: Submitted by Memoori Business Intelligence | Updated: 1/30/2012 | Article type: Hot Topics

Traditionally this is the time for reflection on the past year and forecasting the trends over the next 12 months.

Memoori's annual report on the world's Physical Security industry showed that in 2011, despite a troubled economic climate, it increased revenues and profitability whilst merger and acquisition surged by more than double in the last 2 years to $9.847 billion.

So the security industry looks like a safe port in the storm with 2 main factors contributing to its robustness. The first being the continued growth in emerging markets particularly Asia where they shrugged off the global economic downturn and the second is the growth in network video surveillance solutions. The latter will certainly continue to increase its market share despite poor economic trading conditions in 2012 and the former likewise will increase their share. The question now on everyone's mind is will the problem of sovereign debt in the Euro zone receive the political action necessary to solve it? The jury is still out on this one.

Our report showed that in the last quarter of 2011 growth in demand looked a little flaky with the dynamic companies delivering high tech products with a balanced exposure to emerging markets maintaining a solid performance and those with less innovative mainstream products being far less confident about the future. On the basis of this we forecast an annual growth of 2.4 percent down from an aggregate 4 percent in the previous 2 years. This time round the aftershock from the financial meltdown in 2008 has left us with less ammunition to fight off a recession and the public sector budget will be trimmed to help pay off the sovereign debt resulting in an almost certain decline or no growth in GDP in many developed countries. Even allowing for a decline in growth our forecast would be optimistic, if it were not for the fact that the industry is in a much healthier state with a product portfolio that can deliver more attractive opportunities for their clients to improve security and at the same time profit from it.

The only way to reduce the impact of poor economic trading conditions is to continue with the innovation programme of delivering more effective systems at lower prices. Now has to be the time to dig even deeper and increase all efforts in delivering against 5 developing and emerging technology trends that can drive up demand. Our report shows that this may be best achieved through merger and acquisition and alliance and these activities have in both volume and value terms increased significantly in the last 2 years.

Wireless technology is now getting traction with the highest penetration of wireless communication being in commercial and transportation verticals whilst banking & finance are still concerned that these security systems can be breached. Education and Health buildings look to be the next growth markets. The main drivers for the emergence of the wireless culture, staying mobile, reducing investment cost and improving productivity has got estate managers leveraging wireless throughout their organizations.

IP Network products whether for access control, intruder alarms but particularly for video surveillance grew rapidly in 2011 and they are believed to be on the verge of a long and strong run. Falling IP prices together with much easier to install products and improved performance have all conspired to increase the Return On Investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership of this fast growing technology.

MSaaS & VSaaS is becoming an attractive solution to the physical security industry for it delivers a lower point cost, because providers can host multiple customers on a shared infrastructure. The Cloud economies of scale and flexibility also offer both the user and supplier a better deal. The prevalence of broadband along with 3G and 4G connections is making video accessibility easier than ever. So we expect the market will be looking up to the cloud to provide further cover.

Video Analytics is the segment of the market that appears to be the laggard. In 2010 there was a distinct lack of new products coming to market. This year was more promising with more developments. It remains to be seen if the patience of the investors will continue long enough for them to succeed and / or if a new generation of companies enters the fray.

In the last 18 months there has been a rapid rise in demand for both Physical Security Information Management, (PSIM), and Physical Identity and Access Management, (PIAM), systems.

Both are examples of emerging software solutions that are designed to remove inefficiency and manual process within security operations. Physical Identity and Access Management (PIAM) enable common policy, workflow, approval, compliance automation and life cycle management of the identity / badge holder across disparate physical security systems. PIAM solutions offer operational cost reductions that can be delivered through this platform providing a bridge between the disparate systems without stripping out and starting again. PIAM is currently getting a lot of exposure. We are now seeing the emergence of PIAM to join together with PSIM to drive strategic and operational value for physical security departments in large operations.

All of these technologies embrace a wide divergence of skills and expertise and clearly it will require large research and development budgets to take them forward. It is unlikely that any one company in the security industry will master them all.

One thing is for sure, the security industry is going to ride out this turbulence because it is in a healthy state and has the confidence that in has overcome financial turbulence before.

Hikvision Secures Frankfurt's Light-Rail Stations

Hikvision Secures Frankfurt's Light-Rail Stations

Editor / Provider: Hikvision | Updated: 1/19/2012 | Article type: China Corner

Hikvision, a surveillance product and solution provider in China, was selected to deploy its high definition (HD) network cameras for 16 light-rail stations in Frankfurt, Germany. The company also provided a customized solution to meet requirements for Frankfurt's tough weather conditions.

As an important center for finance, business and transportation in Germany, Frankfurt has worked hard to improve overall city infrastructure. The city decided to implement Hikvision's HD network cameras at 16 light-rail stations to enhance its transportation systems.

The implementation was completed by German integrator Indanet. It was designed to upgrade the existing analog surveillance solution. The project satisfied customer demand for high quality images and remote monitoring in real time, as well as quick response for emergencies.

Project Challenges
All of the light-rail stations are outdoors, presenting difficulties in withstanding harsh weather conditions in Germany. Jurgen Fuchs, Indanet's Director of Strategic Projects, explained, “As a result of low temperatures in Germany, we face more challenges for these outdoor stations. Thus, our products need to hold up despite tough weather.”

Aside from ruggedness, image quality is essential to offer more detail for surveillance. In such large-scale project with 16 stations, an IP-based solution was requested for operators to monitor the scenes remotely in real time and respond quickly to situations.

Tailor-Made Solutions
To meet the requirements, Indanet chose Hikvision's 1.3-megapixel vandalproof network domes for the general platforms. “The cameras are IP65-rated and work stably in bad weather. These fulfill the client's demands,” Fuchs said. Fuchs continued, “The camera housing is vandal-proof to withstand the extreme climate in Frankfurt. An internal heater was equipped to control the temperature in winter. With waterproofing keeping rain, snow and condensation out, the domes operate well for outdoor stations.”

For certain stations, cameras were mounted to monitor emergency columns, equipped with emergency buttons for passengers to use. Mini 2-megapixel network domes were installed within the column.

Passengers only need to press the button when there is an emergency. The cameras will be triggered immediately and stream real-time video to the control center, alerting security personnel to the situation. “Furthermore, a voice panel allows staff to speak with the passengers,” Fuchs said. “With an efficient all-in-one tool, the cameras allow a full realization of security by immediately diagnosing the situation.”

To see clearly, the system enabled operators to view high resolution video at 1,280 by 960. Personnel in the center were able to view real-time HD video with H.264 video compression, which helped identify problems and formulate the appropriate response.

“Additionally, all video footage is permanently recorded and stored for 48 hours, which is the maximum duration allowed by the authorities,” said Fuchs. The adoption of network cameras improved the system's efficiency. These cameras were compatible with the Nexus VMS and worked well with Frankfurt public transportation network system.

With the stations centrally monitored, the IP solution enabled users to view the video through computers. “This feature is especially important to first responders such as firefighters,” Fuchs said. “They can visually see what is happening in real time. The system not only helps respond to emergencies, but actually prevent them.”

The combination of Hikvision's technology and Indanet's integration skills eased security challenges, creating a robust and secure solution for Frankfurt's public transportation.

Learning to Do More With Less: Adapting Campus Security for Lean Times

Learning to Do More With Less: Adapting Campus Security for Lean Times

Editor / Provider: Tevin Wang | Updated: 1/31/2012 | Article type: Education

In this third and final article, a&s analyzes what value-added vendors and integrators can bring to higher education, how to do more with less and the outlook for campus security.

In the education market, security funding is limited. “The biggest challenge is the education market does not always have full control over its own funding,” said John Moss, CEO of S2 Security. “Forces are unpredictable as politics may enter into security buying decisions.” “In North America, the security market is very much tied to the construction market. This year in higher education in North America, construction slowed down considerably due to the economic situation, as well as the political landscape,” said Barbara Winkler-Chimbor, Director of Global Education Market Development, Genetec. “There are no longer federal grants related to security in the U.S. like in the past. In the U.S. as well as Canada, the education market depends heavily on local state or province funding.” Governments are experiencing significant budget shortfalls and are focusing funds on providing competitive teacher salaries instead of capital improvements for security.

For European and Asian institutions, their willingness to spend money on student safety is reactive. “Our experience shows that student safety or security projects are only funded when incidents occur,” Winkler- Chimbor said. “No funding is truly applied for security.”

With challenged funding and resources, it is even more essential for manufacturers and system integrators to address the unique requirements of each school. “It is important to be flexible and robust to adapt to these different requirements,” said Terence Lee, Director of APAC System Integration, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies. As financial realities limit the uptake of networked security in education market, it is crucial for venders and integrators to share best practices about how to balance an open learning environment and safety, so administrators can do more with less.

Do More With Less
Making the most out of existing IT infrastructure offers an efficient deployment. IP-based systems provide cost advantages without having to factor in wiring. “Educational facilities are often strained to find advanced technology while staying within budget,” said Steve Gorski, GM of the Americas, Mobotix.

Traditional, centralized structures have limitations since it requires high network bandwidth and the PC processing power is insufficient when using several cameras. The decentralized approach allows universities to gain access to the benefits of more resolution while maintaining cost effectiveness. “With the decentralized approach, the camera itself includes a processing computer and storage card, allowing PC to do the job of viewing video and camera control, thus putting less strain on PCs and reduces centralized storage needs,” Gorski said.

Maximizing Effectiveness
Campus safety is the fundamental reason for security systems. In a gloomy economy, vendors and integrators should consider what value their solution can add to colleges and universities beyond security. Some benefits of security can increase the effectiveness of existing security staff and improve resource management.

Remote monitoring allows a limited amount of personnel to cover a larger area while being more available. Security personnel can use the video captured by the system to determine what is happening before sending guards to the scene, thus multiplying the effective area the existing security force can patrol. “This allows universities to streamline their manpower operation and improve their process management,” Lee said. Integrated security solutions can translate to less data entry for staff members and less money spent on staff resources, meaning less dependence on physical guarding.

“Remote access to video also benefits other departments in a college or university, such as the maintenance department,” said Gadi Piran, President of On-Net Surveillance Systems. “Web-based access to cameras from any desktop can contribute to additional operational efficiencies campus-wide. Such opportunities should be considered when a system is designed — they can also boost a system's ROI.”

Security solutions also provide data to help staff make decisions. “Security solutions can be used for staff members to track traffic patterns,heavily used rooms or buildings on campus and more,” said Randy Montelius, VP of Engineering, Communications Engineering Company. In addition to keeping students and staff safe, cameras can help administrators undersatnd facility usage. Video can manage the flow of students, analyze bottlenecks that form between classes or view vehicle traffic flow.

“Video can track facility occupancy, especially during the weekend or off-hours,” Piran said. “Integrated with the HVAC system, video could help save energy costs, for example, by automatically turning up the air conditioner only when room occupancy reaches a certain number.”

Open Sesame
Colleges are seeking new ways to keep their buildings safe without breaking the bank. Issuing one smart credential also saves administrative costs. The cost of a single credential is lower than purchasing multiple forms of identification. The rollout of smart credential solutions for physical access control is typically done with card management systems that involve card issuance, personalization and access rights, simplifying management processes and distribution time. Smart card technology also helps enhance management efficiency.

For instance, by introducing smart credential-based authentication, a campus can immediately reduce the number of staff members needed to manage and control access to residence halls, recreation centers, laboratories and other buildings that only authorized students and staff should enter.

Maximizing the extent to which a credential can be utilized for campus living and activities is becoming more common. “Smart card technology offers universities multi-application functionality for logical access, cashless vending, canteen transactions, on-demand printing, library access and locker use, these applications enable the wider community controlled access to public services such as its buses, museum and swimming pools too,” said Simon Siew, MD for APAC, HID Global (an Assa Abloy company).

Transportation management is another common challenge that smart cards can address. “We have a case in Spain of school transportation solution that integrated GPS, text messaging and database capabilities,” Siew said. “All cards are personalized by the university and can be reprogrammed when the amount of transportation purchased expires. The university is considering opportunities for time and attendance and other future applications to be deployed using the same smart card technology.”

With limited resources and funding, selecting the right technology and laying the groundwork for deployment are the keys to make every penny count. Campus decision makers should look for platforms that are open to allow easy integration into other applications with minimal programming. An open access platform speeds up the time of deployment, reduces the cost of implementation and allows campus officials to get the most out of their investment. [NextPage]

Future Learning
Higher education tends to have excellent technology resources. Schools are seeing more IP uptake as security is shifting toward IP as well.

“At least in North America, we have seen a huge shift in the IT departments' budgets to support physical security applications,” Winkler- Chimbor said. “We are experiencing the IP shift in physical security within the education market. Our major North American accounts, which include top 10 universities, are driven and funded by IT.”

As smartphone adoption grows, the ability to monitor or to be notified via smart devices is a trend. Video can be provided to local emergency personnel through mobile applications that offer access to video through smartphones. “We strongly believe that due to the fact that higher education has access to students with IT degrees, they are more likely to use these resources in active projects on campuses which come at a minimum cost,” Winkler- Chimbor said. “Students offer to take the lead in testing and leading the way to new generation security applications that can provide mobile applications. We have experienced this factor at major universities in North America as well as abroad.”

Trends
Higher education institutions have a more dynamic and transient population. “In North America, there is an increased awareness about the need to control crowds at either sports or concert events or various student-organized protests on campus,” Winkler-Chimbor said. “Post-secondary education institutions are looking to add people counting at events to assess capacity at stadiums, as well as to properly plan evacuation procedures during emergency situations such as fires and weather related emergencies.” In the case of protests, institutions use surveillance tools to ensure campus security rules have been properly enforced and to provide legal evidence .

Beyond Security
Lack of funding and no new construction in North America have slowed down the higher education security market. Added-value services become crucial for both vendors and integrators. For example, security applications that can be modified by universities for learning or that can be integrated with existing student e-cards are becoming more common. Security technologies might be considered to improve productivity and are helping to edge security towards being a profit center, said Nigel Waterton, VP of Strategic Development, Aronson Security.

“We plan to expand our involvement in the higher-education market by focusing on VoIP solutions, wireless technologies and infrastructure, and multimedia classrooms that incorporate audiovisual as well as security solutions,” Montelius said. “Unlimited bandwidth has also allowed security solutions that make use of standard IP networks to create, publish and distribute rich media content for streaming. With these systems, lectures and presentations are recorded and archived, and students can stream these presentations back if they miss a class and want to listen to a lecture again.”

“There is progress occurring towards integrating multiple databases in the higher education market,” Waterton said. The key is integrating various solutions on one platform that is capable of processing all signals and immediately notify the responsible personnel, to increase the effectiveness of existing security resources.

While North America is contracting, emerging markets have strong potential. “Our international education markets in Asia, Australia, Europe and the Middle East grew almost 150 percent in 2011, indicating a strong adoption and need of security technology,” Winkler-Chimbor said.

Market Education
Institutions need a common consensus on their long-term technology plans, emergency procedures and trained response teams. “It is of the utmost importance to have IT technicians, maintenance staff and security officers work together to agree on a solution and take into consideration long-term goals and planning for years to come,” Montelius said.

Keeping campus crime low can improve an institution's ability to recruit new students and can limit liability costs if an incident occurs. “Keeping campus crime low also produces a marketing message for prospective students and families that encourages selection and attendance based on security values,” Montelius said.

Security must consider site-specific needs. The world of education emphasizes openness and is not always receptive to security. “It is crucial to understand individual market needs and it is important to be flexible and robust to adapt to these different requirements,” Lee said.

There is a fine line between policing and making students feel safe enough to learn. As IP security uptake continues, careful planning is required. There is no guarantee that a tragedy will never happen again, but the risks could be reduced to a minimum. Besides security technologies, every institution needs to plan for emergencies, from pandemics, toxic spills, active shooters or dangerous weather. While there is no way to plan for every scenario, higher education prepares for the worst so students can do their best.

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