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Posted by: In: Blog 16 Sep 2014 0 comments

The Manager’s Handbook for Business Security is designed for new or current security managers who want build or enhance their business security programs. This book is not an exhaustive textbook on the fundamentals of security; rather, it is a series of short, focused subjects that inspire the reader to lead and develop more effective security programs. Chapters are organized by topic so readers can easily-and quickly-find the information they need in concise, actionable, and practical terms.

managers handbook

This book takes you through the business case for ‘crafting a measurably effective security program’. Chapters cover leadership (how to influence others, such as the legal and marketing people inside the business), risk assessment, selling the ‘security program’ to the business, information and physical security, how to raise awareness (and of what), resilience, good conduct (or ‘corporate hygiene’), the supply chain, and last but definitely not least metrics. Whole books have been devoted rightly to subjects that the authors whizz through in ten pages or fewer, such as ‘safe and secure workplaces’. That is no criticism; there’s simply so much to do, to push through change, to make security in an organisation professional, so that when an emergency or data theft happens, it’s tackled, and lessons are learned. The book ably sets out how the head of security management has to be a manager besides a security figure; and has to build a team, communicate well, and anticipate. Highly, highly recommended for the reader who aspires to be a chief security officer, or is in corporate security already and wants to brush up.

Available from Amazon for £57.00

 

Posted by: In: Blog 28 Aug 2014 0 comments

The rapid rise and innovation in Home Automation is poised to change many aspects of home security. The evolution of home automation technology, which is now easily attainable by a majority of consumers, has forever changed the landscape of the  home security market, according to a new research note from Blake Kozak, senior analyst for security and building technologies at IHS. Over the past several years, for example, a number of big cable and telecommunications companies have entered the market offering both security and home automation services, altering both the perception and demand for these systems in the process. Here is the rest of Kozak’s note on the state of the market.

Prior to this paradigm shift, the use of a residential burglar alarm system was often a purchase to protect a property and in many cases, an ‘after the fact’ purchase as a result of a break in. While many reasons exist to why a homeowner may purchase security equipment, the reason is no longer solely security, with many users looking to add additional features which are life safety and convenience driven. 

IHS estimated the world market for security devices in traditionally monitored homes [for example – ADT] to be worth about $2.9 billion in 2014, compared with $670 million for smart homes [for example – ADT Pulse]. By 2018, the revenue of smart homes is forecast to top $2.4 billion, according to a recent report from IHS.

These rapid changes to the residential security market have been mostly positive; however, the influx of competitors has dramatically changed the make-up of this industry. Ten years ago, professionally installed, centrally monitored systems were the main offer available to end-users. However, this has changed and today products are offered by monitoring companies, MSOs (multiple-system operators), electric companies, retailers and DIY (do-it-yourself) equipment manufacturers. End-users can find innovative products from new market entrants such as Google and Apple which until recently did not have an offering for the residential security or home automation space.  

So what does this mean for ‘smart’ residential security market moving forward? For manufacturers, it means despite the increase in competition, the market offers ample opportunity for all due to the current, low penetration rate of smart products. For end-users its means more product/solution and pricing options are available than ever before. Finally for the dealers, installers and monitoring companies, the release of new, innovative products/solutions creates better sales opportunities by being able to better meet customers’ needs and budgets.”

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The Google Nest is one of the first radically smart home products in that it monitors smoke and air quality levels and communicates with a home owner. We expect many more of these types of products to appear over the coming months. 

Posted by: In: Blog 02 Jul 2014 0 comments

Whether perimeter protection, traffic monitoring, people counting in retail stores, monitoring of logistic processes or home security – camera placement and configuration is key.

Systems provide a number of different analytic filters: like people or vehicle counting, object tracking, access control, dwell time or direction detection, these allow precise object monitoring and analyzing. Furthermore, a self-learning algorithm ignores light changes as well as repetitive movements such as swaying trees or rippling water. In order to use all benefits of the video analytics, a few simple rules should be considered, when installing  and configuring cameras. 

scs cctv slider 1280 400At first placing the camera is very important for the whole system. A too low placement of the camera can have a negative influence on the video analytics. Also too long or short distances between camera and objects, that should be analyzed, need to be avoided. Distant objects might still be detected, but do not provide a sufficient size to be successfully classified. Appears contrary an object directly in front of the camera, the system has not enough time to detect it properly. Additionally, the choice of the lens is very important. For example the detection of a passing car from a distance of 10 m with a focal length of 25 mm does not achieve a satisfactory result. Furthermore, light conditions have a significant influence of the precision of the analytics. Better light conditions lead to better results. Especially extreme backlighting should be avoided; as well as excessive movements. 

When the camera is installed correctly, the configuration of the video analytics can start. Again, a few rules should be kept in mind, because an incorrectly configured system can possibly ignore important things or create false alarms. First, the 3D calibration should be completed. It determines the sizes and is essential for the classification and several filters. After calibration the video analytics has all references for determination of sizes depending on distances. After the calibration the classification starts. That means object sizes, depending on their area and speed, are determined. Thus, the system differentiates animals, motorcycles, cars, trucks, pedestrians or pedestrian groups. Then the selection of filters follows. Various filters or filter combinations for any desired application are offered by a number of our suppliers. It is important to know exactly, what should be achieved with the analytics and which filters lead to the desired success. Only after a thorough examination and test run, correct working video analytics and alarming can be guaranteed.

Contact Simon for more information on available options.

Posted by: In: Blog 01 May 2014 0 comments

Google appears to be gearing up for a push into home security with its acquisition of Nest, launch of Google Fiber

According to industry research firm IHS, the residential intrusion alarm market in the Americas is expected to see substantial growth over the next couple of years, growing by 7.1 percent and 9.4 percent in 2014 and 2015 respectively. The commercial market is also expected to see modest gains, growing by 4.4 percent and 5.9 percent during this same time period.

google-fiberAdditionally, IHS said that the entry of various large telecommunications and cable providers to the market in recent years is helping to drive increased penetration of home security systems. As a result, IHS is predicting that the U.S. residential penetration rate for intrusion alarm products will increase by five percent to eight percent over the next few years.

Adi Pavlovic, market research analyst for IHS, said that cables and telcos are attempting to turn their triple play offerings (TV, phone and Internet) into “quadruple plays” by making home security services part of those packages, which is subsequently helping to increase the penetration rate.

“The home automation trend where you can simply access everything from your smartphone and see when someone entered your home and get access to video in your house, these are all security products but (the cable and telcos) are kind of pushing them toward home automation with smart thermostats and having the whole house connected,” said Pavlovic. “They’re offering these services and it all starts with the base that they’re your Internet provider and these systems are going to be working with GPRS or IP modules and they’re going use some kind of Internet or cellphone service to communicate.”    

Depending on who you ask, the penetration rate for residential alarm systems in the U.S. has hovered anywhere from about 18 percent to 22 percent for a number of years. According to Pavlovic, the reason for this stagnation has been due to a lack of overall innovation in the industry, but he said this is beginning to change.

“When you get guys like ADT and these large telecoms investing in the market, spending money on producing new products, marketing them, making partnerships, and then trying to sell them to an install base they already have, it’s a plethora of new customers that didn’t consider security before because they thought it was too expensive but now the person that provides their cable and Internet is telling them ‘hey, for $30 bucks extra a month you can secure your home,’” he said. “All of these guys are making these offerings and the customer base has grown. It would be really, really difficult for the penetration rate not to grow considering how much money these new entrants are investing and then also with the traditional security suppliers trying to match that and come out with their own offerings.”

Google’s Impact on the Market

“With what they’re doing with Google Fiber, they’re entering a new market where they’re going to be competing with the Comcasts and the AT&Ts,” explained Pavlovic. “So, in my opinion in just looking at what everyone is doing… they’re trying to enter this smart home market that’s in its infancy and the route they’re taking is a little bit different, but from our perspective it’s looks like they’re going for the same end goal. They want to get within the home and they’re finding different ways to do that; the Chromecast, Google Fiber and now with the nest acquisition they’re going to have some hardware products within your home.

“There’s this huge opportunity in intruder alarms and we’ve seen the penetration rate increase. Residential security is growing much faster than commercial at the moment and my question is they’re making the building blocks to penetrate this market, why would they not? It wouldn’t make a lot of sense if they decided not to get into the market, like if they decided to get into the home but draw the line before they get into a huge growth opportunity.”    

Pavlovic said that although the products currently offered by Nest are very “niche,” other industries, including the fire market, are paying close attention to their level of success because they’ve never offered a device like the intelligent smoke/CO detector that Nest provides because they never envisioned someone paying that amount of money for one.   

“Smoke detectors are not necessarily a luxury, they’re a necessity,” said Pavlovic. “I’m really more curious about what the reaction is going to be from the end user. I’m sure the distributors are eager to partner with (Nest) because that kind of puts them on the map and opens them up to a higher-end customer base that’s willing to spend on these products.”

Posted by: In: Blog 11 Apr 2014 0 comments

According to a new report from ABI Research, demand for smart home technology is continuing to grow at a rapid pace. In 2013, the research firm said that sales of wireless embedded smart home monitoring devices, such as contact and motion sensors, smart thermostats and smart plugs, grew to 17.23 million, almost double the amount of shipments in 2012. By 2018, it is expected that more than half-a-billion wireless smart home monitoring devices will be deployed in homes around the world.

ABI said that growth will develop as new users move to use smart home systems and as users extend their existing systems. Additionally, companies like Honeywell, GE, Nest (recently acquired by Google), Kwikset, UTC, as well as many others are increasingly adding wireless connectivity to their home devices, bringing network connectivity and remote management to their offerings in order to appeal to growing numbers of smart home consumers.

According to ABI, contact sensors for detecting whether windows and doors are closed were the most popular smart home monitoring device shipped last year while motion sensors were in second place. Both devices support smart home monitoring functionality but can also be used for additional applications such as energy management.

“Combined, over 84 million contact and motion sensors will ship annually by 2018; however, it is smart plugs, smart door locks and connected smoke and CO detectors that will see the greatest shipment growth,” ABI Research Senior Analyst Adarsh Krishnan said in a statement.

The research firm said that as the market for wireless smart home devices grows, competition between wireless protocols to capture market share will also continue. ABI said the market is currently dominated by proprietary wireless protocols, but that is expected to be challenged by standards such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart and ZigBee.

Each protocol has its advantages and disadvantages and some will play more to the smart appliance rather than smart device space.  For example, Wi-Fi support in residential home-area networks and mobile devices facilitates easy network set-up without additional gateways or bridges but power demands will push adoption into appliances and devices with a fixed power supply. For its part, Bluetooth Smart support in mobile devices will also drive significant adoption in smart home devices. Even so, other protocols will continue to compete and will be supported in a range of devices from security panels to gateways and smart devices.

SCS has considerable experience in the Home Automation and Security world. These news devices are expanding what is possible and making systems more affordable. Contact SCS if you would like to learn more on the changing home automation world.

 

Posted by: In: Blog 07 Mar 2014 0 comments

New SCS logo

We are proud to announce and show the new Specialist Complete Security logo.

 

SCS Logo New 330

This seeing eye is an extension of the older logo that we have used for many years. Thanks to our design team for their hard work. You will see this new logo on all of our communications: E-mail, letter head, invoices, car and vans.

Posted by: In: Featured, Portfolio 03 Mar 2014 0 comments

Specialist Complete Security Systems Ltd are an SSAIB recognized company that specializes in the design, installation and on-going maintenance of electronic security systems. Specialist Complete Security was founded by industry veterans Simon Benson and Neil Butler, who together have many years expertise in specifying, installing and maintaining security systems.

With a passion for customer service and attention to detail Simon and Neil continue to manage and run SCS providing security systems and associated knowledge to homes and business through London, and the Home Counties.

Posted by: In: Blog 18 Feb 2014 0 comments

Security is important to all building managers and owners. Over the years we have installed coutless door access control systems. We all always on the lookout for new and enhanced products that help us instal superior systems. One area of focus is the actual physical security of the systems. You would be amazed at the effort some people impose on entry systems in an effort to gain access. Some resort to extreme physical attack. 

We like this new and vandal resistant entry portal. Key features include:

  • Full colour video door entry system
  • 3mm 316 marine grade stainless steel panel
  • IK09 rated for ultimate impact resistance 
  • IP55 rated weatherproof design
  • Just 3 components, simply plug together
  • Units auto detect for easy installation
  • IP and PoE technology for fast and easy expansion
  • No need for specialist wiring diagrams
  • SIP compatible

Available as single door kit comes with a choice of VR panel: flush mount, surface mount, or surface mount with rain hood. 

Contact SCS for more details.

Posted by: In: Blog 03 Jan 2014 0 comments

Glass Doors look great but are tricky to secure as you can hide the wires – Until now.

Glass doors in a business or commercial setting can now benefit from Aperio wireless security. Stylish, contemporary glass is notoriously difficult to fit with wired access control. An extension to the ASSA ABLOY Aperio range allows security managers to equip meeting rooms, frosted office doors, and other interior glass with the latest in integrated access control, without spoiling important office and building visual aesthetics.

A new, easy-to-install plate allows glass doors to be fitted with an Aperio Euro-profile escutcheon. The glass door is then integrated into the building’s wireless access control system, and works with multiple RFID technologies.

Aperio is already fully compatible with ASSA ABLOY’s glass architecture solutions. Wireless cylinders and multiple locksets can be fitted to interior glass in a number of styles. All products and services available from the team at SCS.

 

Posted by: In: Blog 28 Nov 2013 0 comments

Apple’s iBeacons explained

Apple subtly introduced iBeacon as part of the mobile operating system iOS 7. When iOS7 was first shown in the summer at Apple’s developer conference the iBeacons feature was hardly mentioned.  Since then there is a growing understanding of what this new technology can do. A number of firms are producing iBeacon based solutions and products. We look at how this may impact communications and security. 

iBeacons essentially makes way for new range of apps and functions. With it, stores can pipe coupons to your phone, mapping apps can offer indoor navigation and more. Here’s the real clincher: iBeacon might just be that nail in the coffin for NFC.

So, what is iBeacons, and why does it matter? Read on to find out. 

1. What is iBeacons?

iBeacons is a brand name created by Apple for a specific technology. That technology allows mobile apps to recognise when an iPhone is near a small wireless sensor called a beacon (or iBeacons, as well). The beacon can transmit data to an iPhone – and visa versa – using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). iBeacon is a feature in iOS 7, thus Apple’s new iPhones will have iBeacon.

Let’s put this into a scenario: Say you own an iPhone 5S and you’re walking by a Starbucks that has a beacon. When you enter that beacon’s zone, the beacon will transmit special promotions, coupons, recommendations, etc, to your iPhone 5S via the Starbucks app. Beacons will also accept payments, so you can pay for a Starbucks coffee without having to bump or tap your phone against anything.

2. Who will make the beacons?

One company making headlines is Estimote. It manufactures BLE-enabled beacons that transmit data to any BLE-enabled device within range. PayPal is another company jumping on the iBeacon board. It recently announced Beacon (of course), which will allow people to make purchases via the PayPal app without having to interact directly with their phone. 

See PayPal’s promo videos below that shows how the beacons work.

3. What is Bluetooth Low Energy?

BLE is a technology meant for transferring data. It consumes minuscule amounts of energy and allows device batteries to last longer. However, BLE only supports low data rates; you can’t stream audio or send large files with it. BLE is ideal for transmitting smaller amounts of data though, such as fitness data to fitness trackers or payment data to beacons.

BLE is a feature in iOS 7 and Android 4.3.

4. Is iBeacons only good for shopping and coupons?

No. iBeacons also features micro-location geofencing. This is ideal for indoor mapping. For instance, GPS signals have trouble penetrating the steel and glass of buildings. This prevents many mapping apps from offering indoor navigation, but iBeacon’s micro-location feature hopes to solve the problem. 

An iPhone with iBeacon can connect to a nearby beacon to determine a GPS location. You could then navigate through an airport, casino or museum just by using a mapping app. And that’s only the beginning; the possibilities are endless. 

5. Why does iBeacons matter?

We know that Apple has yet to adopt NFC. It’s instead worked on improving the uses of Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. When Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice-president of software engineering, introduced AirDrop in iOS 7 at WWDC 2013, he said: “There’s no need to wander around the room, bumping your phone.”

His words were a direct jab at NFC – as the technology requires a close proxmity to transfer data. Our guess is that NFC will never be a reality in iOS devices, and the technology itself might go belly up. You could say iBeacon is the future. Apple still hasn’t published all the details of iBeacons, but it’s probably capable of so much more.

iBeacon seems like it was created with Apple Retail in mind,  but the technology could be used in other indoor locations including non-Apple retail stores in the future. Major League Baseball has already  begun testing iBeacons, aiming to personalized stadium experiences to iPhone users. Apple is apparently also testing a program for developers to easily integrate iBeacons support in their apps.

We see security and identification as key opportunities for iBeacon in access control systems. As smart phones and especially iPhones continue to expand their presence, security systems need to reflect these changes. The potential for iBeacons to monitor rooms and building with people tracking is immense.

6. More Accurate Ticketing And Access Control

Apple owns some very important foundational patents that allow for radio frequency to be the basis of not only ticketing and event passes, they also have patents for door locking and access control.  The iBeacon technology will form a backbone for these use cases.   Your Major League Baseball ticket will already be in Passbook and certain iBeacon events will interact with the Passbook ticket and grand turnstile iBeacon users only access and ticketing verification.

Stay tuned for more news.