In a world filled with people, there are still many instances when individuals can be alone and vulnerable in the workplace. Consider the security officer making his rounds on a sprawling college campus, or the healthcare worker making his or her way through a maze of corridors in a hospital after hours. Even construction personnel can find themselves separated from co-workers when they are working on a large project such as tunnel construction.
While security cameras have served individuals well as a tool to record difficult and dangerous situations as they happen, the video is often viewed only after someone has gone missing and needs to be found.
In contrast, technologies such as lone worker transmitters are increasingly sounding the alarm that something is amiss in real time, protecting individuals who are operating alone or who are not always within visual or verbal range of co-workers.
If a person is attacked or suffers some sort of illness or injury that keeps him from getting help on his own, he can use the transmitter — which can be carried, worn as a pendant or attached to a belt — to sound an alarm. A local positioning system within it can help pinpoint the person’s location via interface with infrared or low frequency beacons. And this can be done quickly and efficiently, helping to guide rescue workers to the precise location of the individual in need.
While these types of transmitters can be lifesavers, if not designed properly, they can also be potential sources of frustrating false alarms. Like the boy who cried wolf, if the devices sound too many false alarms, the efficacy of the technology comes into question, often resulting in people not using them or responders ignoring the call for help.
Fortunately, the means by which an alarm is triggered — pushing on a front button, double squeezing the device or pulling out a cord —has improved vastly so false alarms are rare. Although triggering an alarm in these instances requires active participation by the holder of the transmitter, there are also means by which an alarm can be sounded if the person is disabled.
A fall detection feature can send an alert if the device is no longer vertical. For instance, if a nurse is wearing it on her belt and is knocked down during an attack, an alarm will be triggered because the device is no longer in the proper position. Or if a person who is wearing the device falls ill and faints, the fall detection feature will be activated.
To reduce false alarms, the transmitter can be programmed so if the wearer just bends over, or sets the device down on a table, it won’t send a false alarm.
The advent of the lone worker transmitter is providing a new sense of safety for security, corrections, healthcare and other professionals who may be unaccompanied and at risk. This technology ensures that responders can get to a person quickly, while knowing that the alarm is a legitimate one.
Want to learn more about the benefits of employing lone worker transmitter technology?
Click here to find out more about the Elpas Lone Worker Transmitter.
Discussions of global warming aside, just about everyone can agree that the weather and environmental conditions are ever changing and have become a major consideration when putting together specifications for a security system.
While much attention is paid to what physically needs to be secured and the best cameras, readers and sensors to achieve this, none of that will matter much if the products chosen aren’t up to rigors of temperature, wind, rain, snow and sea.
With the need to secure just about everything these days, it is incumbent on integrators, installers and security personnel to select equipment that can truly weather the storm. The growing emphasis on perimeter security has shifted the focus to not only what works for interior settings, but what is feasible for the exterior as well. And these may not always be the same products.
The oil industry is a good example of where security equipment needs to stand up to varying outdoor conditions. A pipeline running through Alaska or Canada will require cameras that can operate in freezing temperatures as well as work through icing/thawing conditions. An oil rig in the sea, however, presents a different scenario that calls for equipment designed to handle corrosive salt water, high winds and varying hot and cold conditions. And desert-based oil refineries present yet another challenge from sand, wind and extreme heat.
Fortunately, the security industry has been responding to the needs of customers operating in these harsh environments by developing products with special enclosures and even tablet-style technology that work well in these conditions.
So what should specifiers be looking for? In selecting appropriate products it becomes necessary to identify those that can operate in the appropriate temperature range, have dustproof or non-corrosive housings and are UL certified for operating in extreme conditions. Readers can be especially vulnerable because of their location and frequent use, so it’s important to make a good choice here.
It also is important to look at the make up of the building or structure itself and whether the cameras, readers or other equipment can be adequately mounted to the wall, fence or door.
Sometimes the desire to adopt the newest technology needs to be set aside in these unique settings. The enticement of wireless locks may be great from a system standpoint, for instance, but as yet most don’t have the same waterproof and dustproof capabilities of the more seasoned traditional keypads.
Some of the other newer systems, such as facial recognition or hand readers, also require more pristine environments and may not be the right choice for a weather-challenged site, despite their advanced security offerings.
What it comes down to in the end is doing the due diligence on the site, defining the requirements, reviewing the conditions and physical setting and then specifying those products that can perform best. Then let the rain, snow and winds come — you’ll be ready.
How do you go about selecting the right access control system for a harsh environment?
Like the latest designs that fill its stores’ racks, retailer Century 21 considers itself a leader in the adoption of the latest in security technology. And for good reason - the company’s high-fashion, low-price stores in the New York/New Jersey area are filled with products that range in value from a few dollars to thousands, requiring an advanced loss prevention program.
Even in its strides to stay on top of security advancements, Century 21 does so with very specific goals in mind. While on board with analog to IP video conversion, the company wanted to migrate to an IP solution only if it could maintain or exceed its current standards for security.
Recently, the stores’ loss prevention professionals sought a means to address one of the less-desirable byproducts of IP technology — latency.
Latency, which is the delay between joystick movement used to command camera movement and the camera’s actual response to the command, can be devastating in active surveillance situations. Losing sight of a person because of slow camera response time wasn’t an option when it came to protecting inventory, personnel, and patrons. Low latency and high picture quality were on the top of Century 21’s shopping list.
The Illustra 625 IP PTZ cameras have the ability to move into position as fast as 512º per second, providing accurate tracking control when loss prevention personnel are tracking suspected shoplifters through a retail location or when other suspicious events occur within the store. The cameras provide Century 21’s loss prevention personnel with an efficient means to undertake active surveillance and effective tracking of suspicious behavior.
Another key part of the solution is how the video is recorded and accessed for forensic purposes. The retailer wanted to make the best use of loss prevention personnel. Having tools that could reduce the time spent watching recorded video was also critical, and technological improvements have helped answer those needs.
Century 21’s VideoEdge video management system platform, through the use of metadata collection and motion search tools, greatly reduces video search-and-review times. Security team members aren’t tied to a desk or office any longer — they can access the NVMS via iPhones or iPads, giving them the ability to monitor situations remotely.
Companies such as Century 21 are investing in the latest technology not only to reach their loss prevention goals, but also to bring value to other store operations. The same surveillance system and analytics used to spot potential thieves or detect in-house loss prevention issues can be deployed in non-security situations. They can be used to track consumer shopping patterns which result in better store layouts and optimized staffing levels.
It’s a return on a cutting-edge investment that can improve the retailer’s bottom line in new and exciting ways.
Tyco Security Products’ Illustra 625 PTZ Dome Camera was recently named Best Camera by IFSEC Global. Find out more about how its fast tracking and superb zooming speed earned the Illustra 625 PTZ this industry honor!
Long ago, security professionals utilized VCR tapes for video storage, which entailed endless hours of searching for video evidence. Video storage has since evolved with smarter, easier options. Now, integrators and end users have a variety of options for video storage based on their needs and budgets.
Certain industries, such as gaming, will probably continue to rely on centrally based applications to support the hundreds and even thousands of cameras deployed in this type of setting. But for other security installations, either edge or cloud-based storage are two options that should be considered.
Benefits of Edge Storage
Edge storage is gaining popularity, especially among smaller installations, because it can be a cost-saving solution. Instead of investing in a separate server, the video management system (VMS) runs directly on the IP camera and stores video to the camera’s SD card. Video can also be archived to network storage appliances for even more versatility.
Edge storage is ideal as a stand-alone, distributed solution or part of a complete enterprise installation. Businesses ranging from gas stations to branch offices or utility buildings with fewer than a dozen cameras on site may find edge storage to be more practical than adding another server. In addition to remote locations and installations with low camera counts, edge storage works well for environments with unreliable wireless or WAN connectivity. The camera records video and audio even when the network is down.
It also provides high reliability for operators because there is no single point of failure. Each camera continuously records as long as the camera has power. The cameras operate independently, so even if one fails and is no longer able to store video, the other cameras continue to function.
Benefits of Cloud-Based Storage
On the other end of the spectrum, companies looking to handle massive amounts of video may benefit from the cloud model. This includes the financial industry, which has considerable storage requirements.
Of course, with cloud-based storage comes a higher bandwidth demand. More bandwidth is required to move the video data that is being constantly generated from the cameras into the cloud. And at this point, it is a more costly option than is feasible for many users.
Also, cloud storage still has to overcome concerns about data safety. Certain industries such as gaming, defense and government may not be ready to — or are restricted from — exploring this option.
Analytics Processing on the Camera
With both edge and cloud-based storage, the focus is turning more and more to the use of video analytics to reduce costs associated with recording high-resolution video. By applying analytics within the camera, selective recording can take place, capturing only those images that are necessary and at the proper resolution.
For instance, a camera can be programmed to detect faces within a specific zone and automatically increase the bit rate for additional clarity, while still maintaining an overall low constant bit rate.
The bottom line for determining what storage option is appropriate comes down to which solution offers the right level of security, timeliness for retrieving data and cost model to fit the unique needs of each business.
Find out more about Edge storage options, including the typical days of video able to store using Edge storage.
Advances in access control have been a bit slower to happen when compared with other sectors in the security industry, such as video, where the advent of IP technology has caused dramatic and transformational change. Spurred by that momentum, the migration to IP technology is also making definitive waves in the access control market, where integration has become essential, costs have come down and new technologies have become available. A product’s ability to integrate, its capacity for saving large amounts of data and accessibility to new technologies has become important to integrators and end users, as has ease of installation and use.
So when it comes to access control, what are some of the top trends to pay attention to in the coming year?
One change within access control and video is a shift from integration to unification. With integrated platforms, the access control and video systems work together, but may still have multiple user interfaces, some operational incompatibilities and/or use multiple servers. A unified access control/video platform can allow for a single server system, provide richer features and lower the overall cost of ownership. Among these increased capabilities is access to deeper sets of analytics and reporting, making it easier for customers to identify and understand trends within their operations.
Another significant evolution has been the adoption of wireless locks. As prices have gone down enough to become accessible to all sizes of businesses, they provide the same security as traditional key-based solutions with the added benefits of accountability and auditing. With a wireless lock, specialized access for each employee can be created, such as in a hospital pharmacy for as low as $500-1,000 per entryway.
The cloud is making waves in access control, as it is in most industries. Concerns remain however, regarding data privacy, bandwidth usage and local accessibility of data in a disaster scenario. In a new report by research house IHS, data shows that adoption of cloud storage for access control systems will remain slow until these specific areas are adequately addressed. Despite these concerns, hosted and managed solutions are growing in popularity, due to their ability to access the power of the cloud.
Enterprise access control is another developing trend. Customers want a single source for information, and there are very few brands in the field today that can offer that. Really, any business with a WAN system can benefit from using Enterprise access control. Without an Enterprise approach, customers are at the mercy of WAN communications, which can be slow, especially when generating reports and using analytics features.
There is no question that biometrics has been the “it” technology for some time. So far, high costs and reliability issues have kept its scope relatively small, but in recent years technology and adoption have increased. The newest focus in biometrics will be non-contact, frictionless access control with upcoming technology likely finger/palm vein and face recognition.
Join us on Wednesday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. EST for a fast-paced webinar that takes a top-level assessment of the emerging technologies in access control and what they will mean for the architects of security. Attendees of this webinar are eligible for 1 CEU to be applied toward recertification of the ASIS professional certification.
It’s a new world out there. Everything has become smart. Smart car. Smart device. Smart home. But which intrusion devices work best with all of these other intelligent devices and systems?
As you try to make sense of the smart revolution, here are a few things to keep in mind when considering intrusion devices for the smart home.
As electronic devices get smarter and offer more features, data and capabilities, they can also become difficult for the home user to operate and understand. Manufacturers in the intrusion market and beyond recognize that data and operation fatigue are real and can dissuade customers from even considering buying new technology. As a result, some manufacturers are designing intrusion devices that are easy to integrate with other smart products. When shopping for intrusion devices, a top feature to look for is the device’s ability to integrate with other technologies and aggregate controls into a single interface, an interface that is intuitive enough for daily use and that provides immediate value to the smart home owner.
The challenge for device manufacturers, of course, is how to make all these technologies work together and how to bring the functionalities of various smart home technologies together into this simple, intuitive user interface. With this aim in mind, intrusion device manufacturers have formed partnerships with manufacturers of other smart home devices. When manufacturers of intrusion devices and other smart home devices work together in the design and production of their hardware, it is much easier to create the simple and seamless operation that the customer desires.
In order to stay relevant and to provide the best customer experience, smart home intrusion systems must keep pace with broader technological advancements, as well as with partner technological advancements, and integrate them effectively into new products and versions. A product line that is updated often signals that the manufacturer is interested in keeping up with the latest developments in the intrusion market and broader technology market.
Simple and intuitive data analysis is a must have when choosing intrusion devices for the smart home. Being barraged by multiple data streams can be overwhelming. A simple and easy to digest data analysis capability, either native to the intrusion device or in the device’s integration with a larger system, can give a home owner an accurate snapshot of what is happening in the home right from a smart phone.
Though the choices in intrusion devices and smart home components can seem myriad, focusing on these four basic features can help you choose devices that will prove easy to use and give you greater knowledge of your home and its safety.
Learn more about how you can join the SMART Revolution with Integrated Intrusion Solutions by clicking HERE.
With everything that is involved in managing a business – human resources, facilities maintenance, finance — it’s no wonder that small to medium sized organizations can get distracted with running their business and, as a result, have less time to spend actually growing it. To combat this, companies are finding creative ways to be able to concentrate on their core competencies and outsource non-core services such as payroll, IT services, as well as building security and access control.
It used to be that access control or other security processes had to be handled in-house – often requiring current employees to take on these important responsibilities as a part-time job. This sometimes resulted in continual training on the system, which in turn created maintenance inefficiencies and security breaches. When employees take on security as a part-time role, their primary job suffers and so does the access control system.
The advent of cloud based access control is allowing companies to refocus their time and energy back to their core business. Whether a company has a few doors and a couple hundred people to manage or it needs coverage for thousands of people and entry points, the scalability of cloud based access control makes it easy for businesses to meet their ever-changing access needs.
Outsourcing security also reduces capital and operating expenses by eliminating the need to hire and train specialized staff and commit dedicated resources, such as PCs, software, OS updates and IT involvement. By migrating to a cloud based access control system, companies can return some of the funds that would have paid for infrastructure or IT involvement to their core business. The total annual cost of a cloud based access control system is less than that of a traditional access control system.
Managed services can also offer businesses an à la carte choice of security services tailored to the unique needs of the enterprise, where organizations can choose how much of the access control system functions they would like to retain inhouse — such as creating a photo ID card — or what functions are better outsourced. The rise of mobile and web-delivered applications also allows security managers on the go to easily control many of these common security functions. In a managed service environment, business can not only choose their own level of involvement in their system but can also choose when, where and how they can use the system with mobile and browser based system interfaces.
Managed services is the sum of all that’s good: cost savings, improved security, an unparalleled experience and the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your security solution is being professionally managed.
Leave us a comment below to tell us what you think about Managed Services: The Future of Access Control.
Communication is at the heart of any successful business and that goes for systems as well as people.
It’s so much easier to run an operation when we have access to critical information on an ongoing basis. Who hasn’t been frustrated by trying to back track to get data after an event, especially when trying to retrieve information on something that adversely impacts operations, such as a theft or a system failure?
Think about a data center. Something goes wrong with a server and it’s your job to determine who was been involved. The room may have an access control system that shows who has entered and exited the room, but the individual server racks are locked with an ordinary key given to anyone with access to the room. Or, worse case scenario, there are no locks on the racks at all.
Instead, there is a logbook nearby with a note instructing anyone who accesses the servers needs to write down their name, date and time. But that simple task can be easily overlooked or ignored. So when the problem occurred, the only recourse was to look at the access data for the room itself and back track, hoping that you could determine from that who you need to contact and interview.
But what if your locks could do the “talking”? Advances in door controller technology now enable businesses to include wireless locks as part of the access system. Wireless locks on server racks or similar ones placed on drug cabinets can provide the detailed information that the written logs or door access can’t guarantee.
Healthcare operations, under the requirements of HIPAA regulations, need to have an audit trail telling them who is accessing drug carts or cabinets, or even medical files. Using a wireless lock linked to a door controller that captures access data will provide that critical information.
The use of wireless locks tied into the access system provides users with a higher level of security as well as a means to track and record data that may be needed when a situation occurs.
Additionally, this information isn’t just available to someone at the site where the servers are located, or limited to IT personnel working in the hospital. Instead, access to this data can be gained remotely, so the head of IT at the corporate data center can see who has unlocked a server at their facility across the country. And the person overseeing security for a group of hospitals can determine who is opening a drug cabinet even if they are in a different building or city. Further, any wireless lock can be tied to a specific video camera, such that an alarm on the wireless lock will cause that camera to pop up at a guard’s station to alert the operator and provide a live feed of the situation.
Wireless locks and how they interface with the overall security system has become an important line of defense and source of information for many enterprises.
How are you leveraging your wireless lock technology data at your company or with your clients?
Learn more about our available wireless lock solutions.
As summer winds down, we begin thinking of cozy days indoors, apple cider, sitting by a fire or of the upcoming holidays. For those of us in the physical security market, we also begin thinking
about the autumn trade shows on the horizon. Trade shows give us a chance to check out new technologies, share our own new products, to see old friends and make new ones. This year’s ASIS International’s 60th Annual Seminar and Exhibition is no exception. As one of the biggest and most widely attended events within the industry, this year’s gathering promises to bring together the best and brightest in physical security.
With more than 20,000 attendees from 80 different countries and 600 exhibitors expected at this year’s ASIS International, there will indeed be a lot to see and do. Hosted this year in Atlanta, Georgia, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, the seminar and exhibition will be held in the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), in downtown Atlanta. The GWCC is a 3.9 million square foot convention center and is part of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which ranks among the top five largest convention destinations in the country as well as one of the best sports and entertainment campuses in the world. So bring your walking shoes!
Speaking of Atlanta, a big thank you to our friends at the Cherokee County School District for participating in a recent case study for Tyco Security Products. CCSD is located in metro Atlanta and is comprised of 57 schools and preschool centers, with approximately 40,000 students and 4,500 staff — a small city itself. We are honored that the district chose TSP as a partner in helping them update the school district’s security systems.
The keynote speakers for ASIS 2014 are Gen. Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.) and former U.S. Secretary of Defense, with Jon Huntsman, Jr., the 16th governor of Utah (2005-2009) —presentations certain to draw crowds at the conference. Prominent themes predicted for this year’s show include sabotage, internal theft, monitoring communications, the mandates of the Affordable Care Act and how to hire top security professionals. Trends to anticipate seeing in the more than 200 educational sessions include cyber fraud, security metrics, drones and aviation security.
Tyco Security Products will be showcasing a new slate of innovative technology innovations at
ASIS. And we have a lot to showcase. Making its debut at ASIS 2014 is CEM Systems, with emerald, the industry's most multifunctional intelligent touch screen terminal. This intelligent edge device has already received top honors in the ASIS Accolades contest, with the 2014 Security’s Best Award. Also on tap, on the video side, is the E-Series encoder and the latest release of the exacqVision 6.4 VMS from Exacq Technologies, along with the VideoEdge Micro from American Dynamics. You can see a full list of what’s on display at ASIS 2014 from Tyco Security Products.
With the opportunity to get to know our customers better, to see what is new in the industry, and to garner feedback on how we are doing, each ASIS International proves rewarding.
We hope to see you there this year at booth 710.
Or if you’re unable to visit us this year at ASIS, please feel free to speak with us using the comments section below.
The era in which we’re living could one day be called the Visual Age. Screens and monitors are integrated into virtually every facet of everyday life. Video surveillance keeps us safe at the airport and shopping mall. Our smartphone tells us how to get places, how healthy we are, and how to stay in touch with each other via social media. Each device contains a dizzying array of features, each promising to connect us in new and ingenious ways, and in high resolution, making the possibilities potentially overwhelming.
The same holds true when researching and choosing a video management system (VMS) software. Whether you’re a seasoned integrator or a director of security or even a small business owner, the features available in a VMS can be hard to prioritize. What will I be using the software for primarily? Will I be able to give individual users different levels of access to the system? What type of searching and exporting capabilities will I need? How technology-savvy will my staff need to be in order to use the system to its full potential?
To help narrow the field of choices, we’ve provided below four VMS software features to look for when considering a VMS. All VMS software platforms have features that make them unique. These are the priority features that all end users, regardless of industry, should look for when purchasing a solution:
- First, choose a VMS that is fast and capable of easy searching and video management. While monitoring live video is important, most end users utilize VMS software for investigations and finding video evidence. Most of us don’t have time to waste watching video for hours to find a specific segment. There are several different ways to search on most VMS interfaces, including thumbnail and timeline search. Bookmarking and case management functionality lets users permanently save, label and manage important segments of video, audio and data for later reference. Additionally, all bookmarks are retained and protected against deletion. A VMS should have an intuitive interface to quickly find desired video and export the clip to CD or DVD or save it to provide to law enforcement as evidence. The easier and faster the search interface is, the more time it saves.
- Look for systems with centralized administration and configuration. A centralized user interface that allows users to seamlessly administer user privileges, notifications, cameras, storage and more across all servers on the system is essential. Simple and complex video management tasks should all be available from a single screen, making it easier on the end user to navigate and access needed information. Video archiving and extended storage for an entire VMS network should be accessible from the same user interface.
- A VMS’ ability to build a cross-platform, integrated security system is the third essential feature to consider when evaluating a VMS. Many customers have an existing infrastructure, including already established camera vendors or access control systems. A good VMS will integrate with any number of these systems from multiple manufacturers to provide a best-of-breed solution. From access control to point-of-sale analytics, the VMS client should offer users options for a complete surveillance solution of their choice. Intelligence features such as smart search, license plate detection, line cross and more should be possible in the VMS software. The more integrations available through a VMS provider, the more flexibility the end users have to maximize their systems to their specific needs. The VMS software should also be available on multiple operating systems and devices so that end users can easily access live and recorded video.
- And let’s not forget the power of the edge device. A smart video management system will employ the power already available in various edge devices, such as IP cameras, to perform functions like motion detection and video analytics, while sharing the resulting information via an already established network connection. This reduces the need for expensive server hardware and frees up the server’s processing power for other vital uses. Some VMS software can even be directly installed on certain IP cameras, eliminating the need for a separate server. This is ideal for remote locations that need to be connected to a larger, enterprise video security network.
When looking for a VMS system, keep these key features at the top of your list: fast, easy search and video management, centralized administration and configuration, open-platform integrations and powerful edge-based functionality. Who knows? Maybe choosing a VMS with these essentials in mind will prove easier than picking out your next new cell phone.
What other considerations have helped you choose a VMS Software? Please leave me a comment below.