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Posted by: In: Blog 10 Oct 2015 0 comments

ASSA ABLOY Access Control’s latest Aperio® wireless cylinders, PINpad escutcheon and L100 – the world’s first complete wireless security lock, have all been integrated into the latest Software House access control system.

Aperio® is designed to upgrade mechanically locked doors and wirelessly connect them online and to new or existing access control systems. With minimal modification to doors and premises; Aperio® offers a cost effective and simple security upgrade.

tyco-assa

Rafael Schrijvers, Product Marketing Manager for EMEA at Tyco Security Products, said:

“Our C•CURE 9000 system is one of the industry’s most powerful and flexible security management systems, allowing our customers to monitor events and manage personnel.

“Aperio® is wireless; therefore avoids invasive cabling, allowing quick and easy installation that will not be intrusive, ideal for installation listed buildings and other heritage projects.

“We have already deployed the solution across a number of healthcare and education projects and are looking to potentially integrate with more Aperio® in the future.”

Posted by: In: Blog 05 Aug 2015 0 comments

Nest Labs, the home automation company bought by Google for $3.2 billion last year, has launched its first new product since the acquisition – a home security camera

Google-owned thermostat and smoke alarm maker, Nest Labs, has announced it is moving further into the ‘connected home’ with the launch of its first security camera, called Nest Cam.

Nest Cam builds on the features of Dropcam – the start-up Nest acquired for $555m (£326m) in 2014 – including the ability to upload videos to the cloud and live stream them to a smartphone or computer.

However, Nest has added a slew of new features including full high-definition (1080p) video quality, improved night vision and a new design with a magnetic base that can twist around, bend at an angle, or be mounted upside down.

“It was always a no brainer that a camera would have a place in the home,” said Lionel Paillet, Nest’s general manager for Europe. “We spent a lot of time building on the Dropcam experience to nail it and really get it right.”

Nest Cam has a 130-degree viewing angle and a glass lens with a digital zoom that can magnify the picture up to eight times, allowing users to see fine details even from across the room.

Eight infrared LEDs and new algorithms have been added to improve night vision and motion detection. Nest Cam is smart enough to tell the difference between a torch and sunlight, so it won’t get confused and switch to day mode if an intruder shines a light at it.

Nest Camera

The Nest Cam costs £159 and will be available to purchase from a range of retailers including Amazon, John Lewis, Currys, PC World and B&Q.

For an additional monthly fee, users can subscribe to the Nest Aware cloud service, which allows them to scroll through 10 days of content for £8 per month or 30 days for £24 per month.

All video is stored and processed in the cloud. This allows Nest Cam to provide more accurate alerts when it detects movement in the house, and identify areas where common false alarms occur, like shadows moving across ceilings.

Users can make and share up to three hours of clips, including timelapses, and create custom ‘activity zones’ around areas of interest – such as a door – so they can be alerted to anyone coming in or going out.

“The cloud is not just used for video recording, but when you stream back to your phone, it can also be used for image processing – whether it’s algorithmic or to enhance resolution in certain areas or just get more depth, and you do that in real time,” said Mr Paillet.

The Nest Cam has a built-in microphone and speaker, so the user can talk to whoever is in their home via the smartphone app. Nest said that all data is encrypted in the cloud and while it is being transmitted between devices, to ensure it remains private and secure.

Although the primary purpose of the camera is home security, Nest also sees the potential for it to be used as an entertainment device. Nest is piloting the ability for users to stream directly to YouTube Live from a Nest Cam.

Unbox Therapy creator Lewis Hilsenteger, American videographer Devin Graham and YouTube personality Justine Ezarik have all been taking part in the pilot, giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at their lives.

Nest said that some of the most popular camera feeds will stream directly to Nest’s own YouTube channel, so people can see live video of everything from puppies to scenic landscapes.

The launch of Nest Cam coincides with a refresh of the rest of Nest’s product portfolio, with the launch of the second-generation Nest Protect smoke alarm, new features for the Nest Learning Thermostat, and a new app for Android and iOS.

The new Nest Protect includes a sensor that can detect the small particles generated by fast-burning fires, as well as the large particles from slow-burning fires. It also carries out automatic safety checks and allows users to silence false alarms from their phones.

The Nest Learning Thermostat is getting new features via a software update, including safety temperature alerts to warn users if their home gets too cold, and the ability see smoke and carbon monoxide alerts from their Nest Protect on their thermostat screen.

Meanwhile the new app has a new look and added features that make it easier to control Nest products, as well as the ability for users to view live videos of their home via a Nest Cam and record clips.

“We’ve built a portfolio of best-in-class products that each stand on their own while doing more together,” said Nest chief executive Tony Fadell. “The result? Energy saved, lives spared, and countless memories recorded and shared.”

The new Nest Protect costs £89 and is available for purchase at nest.com. The new Nest Learning Thermostat software will begin rolling out today and will take up to two weeks to reach Nest customers. The Nest app is available for free in the Google Play Store and iOS App Store.

 

Posted by: In: Blog 14 Jul 2015 0 comments

Biometric technologies have been around for years, primarily providing physical access control or time and attendance. With the mounting integration of biometric readers into physical security network devices, such as desktops, laptops and mobile wireless devices, the shift has started a trend toward a more all-encompassing credentialing solution that strives to unify chief security officers (CSO) and their security colleagues. Another significant trend centers on the integration of biometrics into access card readers and badges that could be replaced with biometric devices.

Biometric devices quickly and automatically confirm the identity of end users by comparing patterns of physical or behavioral characteristics in real-time against enrolled computer records of those patterns. Leading technologies accomplish this by scanning data files of an individual’s fingerprint, hand, iris, palm or voice for authentication.

Functionality Going Well Beyond Physical Access

Many security industry insiders contend that biometrics enhance privacy by erecting a barrier between personal data and unauthorized access. Technically, biometrics-based capture devices create electronic digital templates that are encrypted, stored and then compared to encrypted templates derived from “live” images to confirm identity. The templates are generated from complex and proprietary algorithms and are then encrypted using strong cryptographic algorithms to secure and protect them from disclosure.

A number of post-9/11 federal government requirements are also driving biometrics into achieving dual functionality in both physical and logical security. For instance, with FIPS 201-1, CSOs are empowered with a tool to check the identity and status of individuals requiring access to enterprise or government resources. This increases capabilities beyond those of most legacy physical access credentials. It is important to understand the different authentication mechanisms and the levels of threat they mitigate. A CSO is in the best position to decide how to employ the FIPS 201-1 credential within the context of an overall security plan, bearing in mind requirements for throughput and operational and interoperability considerations for future expansions.

The high cost of data breaches and the need to meet compliance regulations are also pushing organizations to adopt heightened identity and access management (IAM) processes. Companies are looking to physical and logical identity convergence to increase security, reduce redundancies and create complete audit trails.

Converging physical and logical identity and access management enables organizations to more closely monitor which employees are requesting access to certain spaces and facilities, and not only when but also from where. In essence, identity convergence enables organizations to add a fourth factor of authentication. Traditionally, there are three possible ways in which employees can prove their identities: through (1) what they know via a password or personal identification number (PIN), (2) what they have via a proximity or smart card and (3) who they are via a biometric identifier. When physical and logical identity management processes are converged, companies can also use a fourth factor —where a person is — to verify identity.

Unified Credentialing Can Enhance Efficiencies

Without a unified policy, a person’s user accounts and credentials can become rogue identities that can be used by others to gain unauthorized access to information. With unified identity and access management processes, all of a person’s user accounts and credentials are managed centrally under a single identity. When he or she leaves, the identity and associated rights and privileges are removed, effectively disabling all of the user’s accounts and credentials assigned during the course of employment.

This integration also simplifies assigning employees new privileges when they take on new roles. Administrators can simply delete individuals from one user group and assign them to another to grant physical and logical access to everything necessary for the new role. This prevents the time lag that generally occurs in starting up a new user account — a period in which employees are unproductive or tempted to borrow each other’s account in-formation, a clear violation of many compliance regulations.

Physical and logical convergence also enables companies to use the same credentials, such as a fingerprint biometric, for physical and logical access. This can lower the cost of access control accessories as one authentication factor can be used for both, achieving a significant return on investment.

Using the same credential for both physical and logical identification requires technological interoperability. For example, the biometric reader on an employee’s laptop should use the same template to make a match at the biometric reader at the employee entrance.

Physical and logical convergence can also help organizations create more complete audit trails, enabling them to monitor not only the who, what, when and why of when confidential information is accessed, but the where and to whom as well. Security equipment manufacturers are moving rapidly to capitalize on a broad range of biometric applications, giving integrators an opportunity to help customers with much more than just security-related solutions.

Human eye being scanned by a futuristic interface. Digital illustration.

Human eye being scanned

Posted by: In: Blog 07 Jul 2015 0 comments

The global smart security market is expected grow at 18.6% CAGR over the next few years until 2019, according to Infiniti Research.

The forecast covers end users of smart security such as residential users, commercial sector, utility sector and government sector.

The research indicates that the rise in terrorist attacks has forced many countries to implement smart security solutions. The U.S. government has taken initiatives to investigate and identify criminals by using security systems like video surveillance, access control systems, intruder alarms, perimeter intrusion prevention systems and advanced software.

Also, the study mentions that terrorism has increased significantly in areas like the Philippines in the last few years, resulting in an increased number of deaths from 2012-2013. This has led to higher demand for smart security solutions.

The report emphasizes cloud-based video surveillance systems, which provide a more cost-effective and flexible solution for end users to invest in.

Smart security solutions are used to monitor the activities and behavior of people in areas that are more prone to unauthorized access or damage, such as enterprises, educational institutions, commercial buildings and utility infrastructure.

Smart security includes advanced security systems such as IP surveillance cameras, biometric access control systems, integrated perimeter intrusion prevention systems and wireless alarms.

These solutions can secure an area from miscreants, terrorist activities and data theft.

Posted by: In: Blog, Video 07 Jun 2015 0 comments

This caught our eyes as we are always looking for enhanced products to bring to our clients especially in the CCTV space. There are a great deal of products on the market and most are average at best.

This new FLIR TCX Thermal Mini Bullet camera (pictured is the ceiling mount version) looks interesting. The makers say it combines 24/7 thermal video and built-in video motion detection. FLIR TCX is powered by the company’s Lepton camera core.

FLIRTCXceilingmount CCTV Camera

FLIR say that their TCX outperforms visible-light cameras by providing the advantage of seeing clearly in darkness without any illumination, in bright sunlight, through smoke, dust or even light fog – reducing false alarms. The makers say that their product is suitable for indoors and out – even in temperatures as cold as minus 40 degrees C – and for public buildings, factories, large and small businesses, or residential areas. Featuring intrusion detection and accurate video alarm verification in one device, TCX supports lighting control, people counting, retail traffic flow, and queue management, and enables other applications, including:

• Intrusion/presence detection: vehicles, people, animals
• Video alarm verification
• Night vision – 24/7 CCTV
• Residential security
• Short-range perimeter security
• Safety and fire assessment

John Distelzweig, Vice President and General Manager of FLIR Security, said: “Whether you’re a small business looking for intrusion detection and video alarm verification, a retail company looking for a solution to monitor customer traffic flow, or a small business trying to prevent break-ins, the TCX Mini Bullet is an extremely accurate solution.”

Contact Simon at SCS to lear more.

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.”

nest-protect-1

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.