Audio monitoring innovations are expanding, and that’s good.
According Richard Brent, the CEO of Louroe Electronics, sound is as important as sight to accurate security threat detection and investigations.
A microphone can hear glass breaking, gunshots or people needing assistance. As more and more municipalities require secondary verification before responding to alarms, audio serves as a necessary tool to verify crime in progress, duress or other events requiring a response. Using a two-way audio system paired with video cameras, a monitoring station can view a person approaching a building or facility and verbally engage them without needing to dispatch a security officer. In the event of an incident, audio can provide additional evidence. By hearing a suspect’s voice, a security system will capture names, accents, languages and other vital identifying information.
Talking up innovation, in partnership with audio classification developer Sound Intelligence of the Netherlands, a new gunshot detector integrates microphones, select cameras and video management software. The solution has an excellent detection range, recognizing gun discharge up to 3,000 feet away in quiet environments, and accurately analyzes gunshots from a variety of weapons including handguns, shotguns, rifles and automatic rifles.
And aggression detector software using advanced audio analytics, also with Sound Intelligence, integrates microphones, IP cameras and video management software. Similar to how the human ear processes audio, the program analyzes noises through advanced algorithms and detects specific sounds such as verbal aggression. As a result, end users can identify high-risk situations in real-time and prevent acts of physical aggression before they happen.
Companies better known for their security officer and investigative services, and the thin margins that go with those offerings, are aggressively moving into physical and cybersecurity technology, integration and cloud services for their existing and new clients.
Take for example G4S and its Secure Integration operation, headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska. Steve Ellis, vice president service, G4S Secure Integration, calls it “service 2.0,” and sees this evolution as part of the journey from reactive to predictive security. These joined solutions help enterprise security leaders’ awareness of issues such as video path based uptime, video retention compliance and video stream delivery indexing for preventative maintenance, diagnosis and repair.
Joe Young, director, cloud monitoring services for G4S Secure Integration, adds that through the service, CSOs gain insight into the health of their VMS systems, as service providers monitor video feeds to ensure the system is running properly without accessing the video images. Through this system, they can remotely connect into a client’s infrastructure and fix something, or provide advanced information for a technician.
Another firm. Dunbar, known for its security personnel and armored car services, just branched out.
Recently, Dunbar Security Systems formally unveiled the next chapter in its nearly century-long history: a new security operations center (SOC) designed to provide its customers with a managed, full-service approach to physical, protective and cybersecurity.
The new division fully integrates Dunbar’s existing cybersecurity, security systems and protective services businesses and provides mid- to large-sized customers with enhanced protection against a full range of threats by monitoring facilities and networks, dispatching guards and conducting threat assessments from the SOC.
The new, high-tech SOC includes a real-time cyberthreat screen powered by Norse, state-of-art access control and video systems and an in-house developed big data platform called Cyphon that collects, filters and bottles data into custom alerts, depending on the customer’s needs. This platform is the heart of the newly rebranded managed offering, Dunbar Security Solutions.
Darren McCue, president of Dunbar Security Solutions, says that out of the 80 million cyber-related incidents annually, 70 percent go undetected, and most of these events include both physical and IT components. McCue gave the example of a retail client that might have gaps in their data devices, non-functioning security cameras and other issues. His firm’s mission is to tighten up those gaps and make sure the network is secure. One key aspect of the SOC, he adds, is to tie the physical and digital security together to stop threats before they happen by not looking at security in a siloed environment. Physical and cybersecurity operators sit side-by-side and will be able to easily share information, trends and threats they see on their screens.
For convenience and security, license plate recognition (LPR) is catching on in innovative ways.
License plate recognition is an image-processing technology used to identify vehicles by their license plates. This technology is used in various traffic applications and security such as the access control. In one example: While a vehicle approaches the gate, garage entrance or lot, the LPR unit automatically “reads” the license plate registration number, compares it to a predefined list and opens the gate if there is a match.
The technology concept assumes that all vehicles already have the identity displayed (the license plate) so no additional transmitter or responder is required to be installed or read in or on the car.
The system uses a camera to take the image of the front or rear of the vehicle, then image processing software analyzes the images and extracts the plate information. This data is used for enforcement, data collection or access control.
Another advantage is that the system can keep an image record of the vehicle for forensics. Sometimes, an additional camera can focus on the driver’s face and save the image for security reasons.
Sounds simple, but it is not always, according to John Chigos, CEO of PlateSmart Technologies. There are multiple types of LPR systems to choose from, and not all of them would be the right fit for every installation. Some are fixed-location solutions, some are mobile, and some hinge around cloud-based hosting solutions. Chigos suggests looking for an open system that works with any camera and a system that processes images in color. Systems that can be trained and can connect into existing and created databases are additionally useful.
Innovative LPR technology can read any license plate from any state and can distinguish state jurisdictions, can be easily integrated with third-party hardware and software packages and fully scalable.
If you are tired of reading that this is the year that innovative biometrics will break out of the gate, stop reading here. But, myriad biometrics methodologies have landed for secure identity, access control and convenience. Biometrics has not so suddenly grown to a $26 billion industry and is becoming one hot access control technology of choice into 2016.
Just look at SRI International, founded as a research institute within Stanford University in 1946. The R&D gurus there are responsible for some of today’s most cutting edge technologies across biometrics, cybersecurity and robotics. SRI’s Iris on the Move (IOM) biometric systems cover various applications from access control and workforce management to digital identification, according to Mark Clifton, president, products and solutions division at SRI International.
Customers can easily integrate innovative face capture and iris recognition components directly into their own turnstiles, infrastructures or entrances, creating a true “walk-through” system. Beyond DNA, Clifton contents, iris recognition is the most accurate.
Some on-the-horizon biometrics are bubbling up from places like Kickstarter, based in Brooklyn, New York and which has built a global crowdfunding platform focused on creativity.
Dallas, Texas-based Biometric Signature ID unveiled its BioTect-ID on Kickstarter – a mobile security app for Android and iOS devices, using a gesture-based biometric to authenticate uses instead of physical biometrics like fingerprints. The software measures how a user writes – the length, speed, direction, angle and height of each stroke – to create a unique biometric profile. To defeat the system, says CEO Jeff Maynard, a hacker would have to replicate the user’s drawing style exactly, in addition to knowing their password.
According to Finish Conner, president and CEO of BluStor PMC, enterprises need to remove vulnerabilities by eliminating the need for users’ unsecure usernames, passwords or PINs. The BluStor solution is a secure mobile briefcase – a wireless personal biometric identification and data storage card that fits into an employee’s wallet or purse. This CyberGate card supports multi-factor biometric authentication and replaces or augments traditional usernames, passwords and PIN numbers with multi-factor biometric authentication and never on a mobile device or cloud-based service. It can work with wireless Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low-Energy and near field connectivity as well as with facial, fingerprint and iris on-card biometric matching.
Identity and age verification now has moved from flashing a driver’s license at Irish Eyes bar to websites through a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
As EMV, the technical standard for smart payment cards, payment terminals and automated teller machines, continues to gain traction in the United States, it is expected that fraud will shift to website applications. This, in combination with an increased amount of businesses moving products and services to the card-not-present environment has lead criminals to alter their methods and move their activities online.
As new fraud schemes arise targeting online applications, businesses will need to take increased action to boost their identity verification and fraud prevention programs, advises John Dancu, president and CEO of IDology, an identity and age verification provider.
Dancu sees innovative technology providing multi-layered verification, especially within mobile applications, in order to combat shifting fraud methods and growing needs to secure mobile transactions. Mobile identity can bind to the phone and move the identity from one carrier to the next as needed, he says.
As malicious actors change their tactics, enterprise security leaders must remain aware and alter their own defenses.
Gartner, Inc., the information technology research and advisory company, recently spotlighted its top 10 technology trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2016 at its Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.
The Device Mesh:The device mesh refers to an expanding set of endpoints people use to access applications and information or interact with people, social communities, governments and businesses. The device mesh includes mobile devices, wearable, consumer and home electronic devices, automotive devices and environmental devices.
Ambient User Experience:The device mesh creates the foundation for a new continuous and ambient user experience. Immersive environments delivering augmented and virtual reality hold significant potential but are only one aspect of the experience. The ambient user experience preserves continuity across boundaries of device mesh, time and space. The experience seamlessly flows across a shifting set of devices and interaction channels blending physical, virtual and electronic environment as the user moves from one place to another.
3D Printing:Advances in 3D printing have already enabled 3D printing to use a wide range of materials, including advanced nickel alloys, carbon fiber, glass, conductive ink, electronics, pharmaceuticals and biological materials. These innovations are driving user demand, as the practical applications for 3D printers expand. It also sets up incidents of copyright, trademark and intellectual property infringement.
Information of Everything:Everything in the digital mesh produces, uses and transmits information. This information goes beyond textual, audio and video information to include sensory and contextual information. Information of everything addresses this influx with strategies and technologies to link data from all these different data sources.
Advanced Machine Learning: In advanced machine learning, deep neural nets (DNNs) move beyond classic computing and information management to create systems that can autonomously learn to perceive the world on their own. The explosion of data sources and complexity of information makes manual classification and analysis infeasible and uneconomic. DNNs automate these tasks and make it possible to address key challenges related to the information of everything trend.
Autonomous Agents and Things: Machine learning gives rise to a spectrum of smart machine implementations including robots, autonomous vehicles, virtual personal assistants and smart advisors that act in an autonomous or at least semiautonomous manner. While advances in physical smart machines such as robots get a great deal of attention, the software-based smart machines have a more near-term and broader impact.
Adaptive Security Architecture:The complexities of business and the algorithmic economy combined with an emerging “hacker industry” significantly increase the threat surface for an organization. Relying on perimeter defense and rule-based security is inadequate, especially as organizations exploit more cloud-based services and open APIs. Security leaders must focus on detecting and responding to threats as well as more traditional blocking and other measures to prevent attacks. Application self-protection as well as user and entity behavior analytics will help fulfill the adaptive security architecture.
Advanced System Architecture:The digital mesh and smart machines require intense computing architecture demands to make them viable for organizations. Providing this required boost are high-powered and ultra-efficient neuromorphic architectures.
Mesh App and Service Architecture: Monolithic, linear application designs are giving way to a more loosely coupled integrative approach: the apps and services architecture. Enabled by software-defined application services, this new approach enables Web-scale performance, flexibility and agility. Microservice architecture is an emerging pattern for building distributed applications that support agile delivery and scalable deployment, both on-premises and in the cloud.
Internet of Things Platforms:IoT platforms complement the mesh app and service architecture. The management, security, integration and other technologies and standards of the IoT platform are the base set of capabilities for building, managing and securing elements in the IoT.
Those in the know are often eager to share.
How should enterprise security executives evaluate new innovations and technology? According to Amag Technology President Matt Barnette, enterprise security executives should be leery. Determine if the company will be around long-term, and look at the cost to install and maintain the system. Barnette believes that most security industry R&D is in access and video. And when it comes to integration, he says that there is a shift back to access control as the core platform with video as an add-on.
One tech challenge: Provisioning of people across large organization, especially teams of people regarding compliance, observes Barnette. The cloud can help with self-registration workflow processes or to enable administrators to configure access rights remotely. He sees access panels as less needed in the future with smartphones as a credential and continued growth of biometrics.
Vance Kozik, director of product marketing for IP surveillance at D-Link, the influential networking equipment manufacturing corporation, sees that the infrastructure backbone is more critical today as enterprises move to higher megapixel cameras although such a transition for many will take a few years. Managed Ethernet switches also enable users to reboot cameras, log in remotely and see how much power each device is using.
When asked about video storage, Kozik acknowledges that with higher resolution, there is the need for more storage as retention periods grow. He suggests that enterprises store critical data locally, and when they need higher speed and reliability. Hybrid approaches are becoming more popular, he notes.
The D-Link executive adds that video analytics is getting better as well as integration of security into business processes. For example, he says, a security director at a chain of grocery stores equipped shopping carts so that if they do not go through a checkout lane but attempt to go through the main door instead, the cart’s wheels lock up, stopping a potential shoplifter in his or her tracks.
As Ron Grinfeld, director of global vertical marketing at DVTEL, sees tech things, at the heart of it all is a single operating platform for managing security systems and integrating with access control systems, video analytics, GIS systems, license plate recognition programs and perimeter systems. This demands an extensive range of communication protocols to connect to other systems (TCP/IP, XML, Restful API, text files and more).
One ultimate integration, according to Grinfeld, is the concept of smart cities, which originally centered around surveillance, but is transforming into essential hubs for sensors and big data applications.
Another tech area of awareness is security of security. For example, Grinfeld’s IP-mmune Cyber Defense Suite addresses one of the biggest concerns in the IP video industry today, and probably the greatest danger for corporate IT networks: the threats of cyber vulnerability exploitation. The innovative technology uses a multi-layered protection approach designed to ensure that video surveillance solutions are sealing IT corporate grids from cyber penetrability.
“The network is the matrix” is the mantra of Pierre Racz, president of Genetec. Unified platforms go one step beyond integration, he says, agreeing with Grinfeld about the importance of security of security. Cyber attacks on surveillance cameras have hit all levels of installations, including residential and DIY types. Video encryption is needed at the application level, he says.
Racz is seeing regulations among other drivers pushing high length of video retention, which can vary by enterprise from 30 days to 730 days. So there is a purpose for cloud archives services for extended video retention and reduced storage investment. Another tech trend: integration of security with business systems and processes.
You should fear the backdoors, advises Christopher Camejo, the director of threat and vulnerability analysis at NTT Com Security, which specializes in information security and risk management through consulting services, managed security services and technology solutions.
As much time as enterprises spend keeping malicious actors away from the network entrance, the business’s backdoors may be left less guarded, Camejo says. One solution: network behavior alerting. When it comes to compliance, enterprises should be away of the difference between ticking off the boxes and examining the real threats, he adds.
The sweet spot is situation management for Dr. Bob Banerjee, senior director for training and development at Qognify (formerly Nice Security). He says that as security shifts from being a cost center to serving the broader needs of the enterprise – managing situations to keep the enterprise running – maintaining relationships with other departments and keeping track of the big picture is essential.
Looking to the future, Banerjee believes that technology is not the limiting factor of what enterprises can achieve. CSOs should look at use cases and business solutions to move the enterprise forward.
Higher resolution cameras are finding their niche, observes Charlie Hare, national category manager, security and mobile video solutions at Panasonic, who predicts that H.265 will go mainstream this year. High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), also known as H.265, is a newer video compression standard. It can provide twice the compression efficiency of the previous standard, H.264. Hare says that security has “already crossed the threshold” of migrating from analog to network video.
Hare adds that storage platforms will continue to drop in price over time. It is obvious that there is a lot of interest in body-worn and in-car video where storage also plays a role. Panasonic System Communications Company of North America, a provider of advanced mobile technology and video evidence solutions for the government and public sector, recently announced that customers using Panasonic video evidence solutions can now take advantage of Microsoft Azure Government cloud storage. Along with Panasonic’s Arbitrator BWC (body-worn camera), Arbitrator 360º HD in-car video system and Unified Evidence Management System, Azure Government makes it easier than ever for public sector agencies – including those in law enforcement, emergency response, homeland security, corrections and the military – to capture, manage and store high-quality video evidence in a cost-effective and flexible manner.
As production and manufacturing systems become more interconnected, the exposure to network-based cyber incidents increases, putting production, reputation and, ultimately, profits at risk, alerts Paul Rogers, president and CEO of Wurldtech Security Technologies of Vancouver, Canada and general manager of industrial cyber security for General Electric. Attacks on critical infrastructure such as in oil and gas, utilities, smart grid, transportation, medical facilities and others can lead to serious consequences in the economic, political, personal, public safety and privacy arenas, he adds.
Furthermore, as operational technology (OT) leverages the benefits of the network, the threat of a successful cyberattack greatly increases with the expanded attack surface. System operators and security directors face challenges in responding to the growing number of security threats they face in today’s environment. Specifically, they need a solution that addresses five areas:
- ICS/SCADA (Industrial Control System/Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) equipment is difficult to patch;
- OT protocols can easily be misused to disrupt critical systems;
- Factory networks are very hard to rewire for proper segmentation;
- Limited visibility into attacks on the industrial network; and
- IT security staff lacks experience with industrial equipment.
Among innovative solutions is technology which protects these ICS and SCADA operations. It defends unpatched systems with strong perimeter and field defense, plus it inspects and controls industrial protocol traffic.
Part of any fire and life safety system at the nation’s schools and colleges is that wall-mounted red pull station. In its simplest form, a student, teacher, administrator or visitor activates the alarm by pulling the handle down, which completes a circuit and locks the handle in the activated position, sending an alarm to the fire alarm control panel and sometimes interfacing with other systems and functions.
While fires continue to be a risk at schools, colleges and other buildings, new-age concerns now unfortunately center on armed intruders, violent incidents, bomb threats, active shooters and similar emergencies.
So it’s not surprising that among the innovative new products at ISC West in Las Vegas was a blue-colored wall-mounted device that company co-founders John McNutt and John Shales are betting will be seen in a school corridor near you. Kept separate from the hard-wired fire system, their Rapid Emergency Response System (from BluePoint Alert Solutions) is designed to speed the response times of law enforcement/first responders and notify building occupants when life-threatening incidents occur within schools and other facilities.
The technology uses a secure 900 MHz wireless network that is completely dedicated to response alerts and independent of other building systems. The wireless system covers the entire building or campus, plus any surrounding areas, points out McNutt. Once a wearable mobile pendant device or pull station sensor is activated, an alert goes to BluePoint’s central station monitoring partner EMERgency24, and immediately sent to local law enforcement with the building address and exact incident location. At the same time, building occupants are instantly notified to take precautions through public address, phone systems or mobile phones as well as blue strobe lights inside and outside the building. It sends building occupants, security professionals and administrators a text and/or email notifications, as well as voice calls with pertinent data. The system also establishes a two-way communications flow between a central command group and building occupants.
The technology “is the best intruder alert system available to schools. It allows any student or staff member the ability to notify occupants of an active shooter while simultaneously contacting police,” says Kreg Wesley, director of operations for Sycamore (Illinois) School District #427. “The automated system is more efficient because it eliminates the human error when contacting police and notifying building occupants. Our students and staff are safer today because we have implemented the alert system throughout our district.”
In my humble opinion (IMHO), there’s a good case that Power over Ethernet (PoE) should be best friends forever (BFF) with security professionals. Especially as the third and more powerful version of PoE rolls out.
It’s an alphabetic soup of upgrades – af to at to bt – but the bottom line is that newer PoE is more powerful, provides more supervision and can handle more devices, ranging from access control readers and panels to security cameras.
There is a standard from IEEE, but some proprietary versions continue.
The IEEE standard for PoE requires category 5 cable or higher for high power levels, but can operate with category 3 cable if less power is required. Power is supplied in common mode over two or more of the differential pairs of wires found in the Ethernet cables and comes from a power supply within a PoE-enabled networking device such as an Ethernet switch or can be injected into a cable run with a midspan power supply.
The original IEEE 802.3af-2003 PoE standard provides up to 15.4 watts of DC power to each device. Only 12.95 watts is assured to be available at the powered device as some power dissipates in the cable. The updated IEEE 802.3at-2009 PoE standard also known as PoE+ or PoE plus, provides up to 25.5 watts of power. The 2009 standard prohibits a powered device from using all four pairs for power.
With the introduction of a new PoE standard, IEEE 802.3bt, power to end user devices will at least double and perhaps as much as triple the power delivered. The proposed change to the 802.3 standard uses all four pairs as compared to two in former standards.
PoE continues to innovate and encourage diverse cabling and installations.
According to Tony Diodato, chief technology officer at Cypress Integration Solutions, PoE brings a lot of advantages to end users including:
- Built-in supervision capabilities for access control, which allow for remote troubleshooting;
- The benefit of using structured wire already present in commercial buildings, including significant cost savings; and
- An added measure of quality control, since PoE eliminates any power supply installation variables.
“It’s a matter of getting extra capability through use of the existing infrastructure. You can power a reader, panel or camera using the same wire [that communicates data],” observes Diodato. There is also the important benefit of supervised power. “Injectors are for the most managed intelligent switches, end of line device supervision.”
ONVIF, an open industry forum promoting and developing global standards for interfaces of IP-based physical security products, encourages technology innovation in the security industry. But there are “different manufacturers. Many interfaces, drivers. We address mature features; test tools for video management systems, for example,” says ONVIF Steering Committee Chairman Per Björkdahl. The organization now has 500 members and more than 5,000 products.
With the concept of the Internet of Things, “all security systems will interact with one another one day. Without standards, that cannot happen,” observes Björkdahl, who sees the future including at the edge processing and more security use of smartphones and tablets.
“ONVIF has made incredible strides since our formation in 2008,” Björkdahl says. “Together, we have developed five profiles, offered education and networking opportunities to thousands of people and have gained broad acceptance within the physical security industry.”
Security magazine shared a bit of time with two top integrators with Security-Net. The group of companies focuses on the integration of end-to-end security solutions including technologies such as access control, video surveillance, emergency mass notification and perimeter detection systems. Individual member companies, which make up the company’s regional locations, regularly share design solutions, troubleshooting tips, technology updates and marketing ideas to provide the most effective, up-to-date security management system for customers.
The two: J. Matthew Ladd, president and CEO of The Protection Bureau, Exton, Pennsylvania, and Jim Coleman, president of Operational Security Systems, Atlanta, Georgia.
You can tell how technology times have changed, “since technicians today are different; certification for hardware, software and IT,” says Ladd.
Innovations depend on elements beyond technology. “Margins are different. Pricing models are different,” says Coleman, who suggests not to jump on the new tech video bandwagon. “New technology is expensive. Look at cameras that use the existing infrastructure. Cameras are turning into small computers with analytics and at the edge processing. Focus on how helpful is this video information for you.”
On the access end, “The weakness is standards. Cloning cards. Bluetooth. Smartphone. Wireless locks. More data on card technology,” comments Coleman.
Current radio frequency identification or RFID devices are simply not suitable for secure proximity identification, say some experts. They can be subject to skimming, eavesdropping and relay attacks. An attacker can fool the system by simply relaying the communication between the legitimate reader and token over a greater distance than intended.
Skimming occurs when the attacker uses an unauthorized reader to access information on an unsuspecting victim’s RFID card or tag without consent. From that point on, the attacker can control when and where unauthorized entries may occur. An eavesdropping attacker recovers the data sent during a transaction between the legitimate reader and card. In a relay attack, the invader relays communication between the reader and a tag which lets the attacker temporarily possess a “clone” of a token, thereby allowing the assailant to gain the associated benefits.
For organizations worried about such invasions of their proximity or smartcard systems, access control system manufacturers and leading integrators that deploy proximity/smart cards and readers can provide increased security (MAXSecure from Fairpointe Data), which provides a handshake, or code, between the card, tag and reader to help prevent credential duplication and ensure that proximity and smart card readers will only collect data from these specially coded credentials. For those familiar with mechanical access control, it’s the electronic security equivalent of a mechanical key management system, in which a specific organization is the only one that has the individual key that they use. Such keys are only available through their integrator and their integrator never provides another company with the same key.
With a third of all business meetings happening in a virtual setting and technical difficulties and security concerns thwarting the experience and productivity of these meetings, innovative technology can help reduce risk.
For example, taking features from MobileDay Pro for individuals and adding functionality that directly addresses team-based problems, MobileDay aims at business executives that need a better way to participate in meetings and connect to their team from any location.
All MobileDay products automatically pull call schedules and dial-in details from native calendars and dial phone numbers, conference IDs or PIN codes so that business executives are connected with a single tap. The same levels of security exist across products to ensure that important information remains on an individual’s device.