Skip to Content

Security industry goes virtual during crisis

Security industry goes virtual during crisis

YARMOUTH, Maine—As more and more city-based governments across the U.S. order residents to “shelter-in-place” and “non-essential” businesses to close, not only is security considered an “essential” business that can and must remain open and functional, but it's been quite refreshing to see that the industry has transitioned to the virtual world, almost frictionlessly and seamlessly. Of course, “shelter in place” roughly translates to “work from home” for most of the industry and this has best been seen with various security-related associations and companies offering virtual learning and presentations, complete with video; interactive conversations; and live question and answer sessions.

Over the past few days, I have attended six security-related virtual sessions, with even more on my calendar, each offering inspiration and positivity, during this time, and some offering unique security products for integrators and consultants.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

To address a missing capability in the video surveillance market, Ai-RGUS developed an AI software that automatically inspects cameras, finds the ones with view problems — a tilted or blocked view; obstruction of some type; has glare or low light; or the feed is down — and presents results in a dashboard format, enabling and empowering end users to make immediate decisions.

“Our AI was developed in-house, so it can easily be adjusted as needed,” Joelle Grunblatt, chief marketing officer, Ai-RGUS told Security Systems News (SSN). “Software updates are seamless and constantly being pushed.”

Duke University has been using the Ai-RGUS solution since September 2017 on 2,000+ cameras and according to Duke's Office of Information Technology, only an average of five minutes per day is spent inspecting those 2,000+ cameras. Other Ai-RGUS adopters include the City or Durham N.C. with 300+ cameras; Green Valley Grocery, Las Vegas with 1,200+ cameras and U-Penn Public Safety Department with 1,600+ cameras.

Additionally, “cameras must be verified,” Grunblatt said, adding that manual verification is not enough as it takes extensive time to look at every single camera view, plus it's expensive, error prone and hard to audit as everyone involved needs different information. Therefore, the Ai-RGUS solution helps ensure the security images end users need after incidents, such as slip-and-fall; theft; etc.

Using AI in a different way is Alcatraz AI. The company debuted at ISC West 2019, introducing facial authentication for physically access control that replaces badging with AI-based enrollment and anti-tailgating alerts. Since then, Alcatraz has grown, tripling in team members. Former Apple engineer and Alcatraz AI CEO, Vince Gaydarzhiev told SSN that the company has been hard at work developing a solution in which they refer to as the “Rock,” which will be useful in the prevention of tailgating.

“We look holistically at how we can improve access control in an enterprise environment,” Gaydarzhiev said. “The issue is not about the first person coming in; it's about the people behind, so we developed technology detect that in addition to tailgating when the door is open.”

The Rock uses AI to recognize tailgating behavior and to notify security personnel, and works with any access control provider. It is a great solution for healthcare, where less touch and more frictionless access control means the spread of fewer germs, as well as a datacenter environment, where guidelines are strict in controlling who access certain areas.

“We learned a lot though pilot programs during the past year,” said Gaydarzhiev. “All the companies we worked with require heavy security; nothing in the cloud; and everything on-prem on their local network, so we've built special tools to make sure we comply.”

Body cam

In true Axis Communications style, their annual press breakfast that has been offered for the past 12 years, wasn't about to be cancelled this year, so as they say, “the show must go on” even if that means virtually for lucky press breakfast number 13!

“In Pursuit of Innovation: Big Developments in the Journey Toward a Smarter, Safer World,” this year's press breakfast introduced the Axis Body-Worn Solution, a body cam that's a full system including a 12-hour, rechargeable battery; a 140-degree field-of-view, dual docking stations and microphones; picatinny rail mount; and more.

“Axis entered the body cam category due to growth to tap into existing customer as well as new ones,” Fredrik Andersson, global product manager, Axis said during the event. “Shares of body worn cameras are predicted to grow and easy to deploy and use solutions are needed.”

According to Axis, use cases for this solution are wide open and in addition to the obvious public safety use, the company sees use in coming in the retail, logistics and healthcare verticals.

“We design new products with partners and the ecosystem, as a whole, in mind,” Axis Co-founder Martin Gren said, mentioning that some of the company's partners have been requesting a body cam solution.

When asked why Axis developed a new body cam solution as opposed to acquiring, Gren replied: “OEMing is not an option for core Axis products. It's part of Axis' DNA that we don't do OEMs. When [someone] buys from Axis, they know it's Axis.”

Axis' body cam solution will be available Q2 with “many components,” Andersson said. Equally as important to Axis is honoring “open” standards, and their body cam is no different from any of their other products. The API is based on open standards so partners don't need any skills to add this new solution. It also comes with full documentation.

Cloud

Just as AI can be used in different and unique ways, so can the cloud. LucidLink offers a cloud-native NAS replacement, built specifically for cloud, file service, connecting file systems to object-based cloud storage. Their technology allows end users to efficiently work with files from very far away.

“Usability is key,” LucidLink Co-founder and CEO, Peter Thompson, told SSN. “Data shows up like it's locally stored, but it's actually in the cloud. The LucidLink app sees and treats it like local storage, showing up as “L drive,” LucidLink in the cloud.”

The solution is end-to-end encrypted and starts immediately when the writing starts, with the end user the only one having the encryption key. In fact, Thompson said that LucidLink doesn't even have the key!

LucidLink offers a “single source of truth in the cloud,” Thompson said. “The software app is on a device and presents as local, streaming data on demand.”

LucidLink is going to market via managed service providers, with small and medium businesses their target market.

“Cloud doesn't have to be hard or complicated,” Thompson concluded.

Monitoring

The way in which people communicate in addition to false alarms are two major concerns within the monitoring community. In response to some false alarms resulting in significant fines to the end user of an alarm system in addition to the various types of communication, Rapid Response Monitoring launched their False Alarm Reduction Initiative during a virtual, media-only, pre-release sneak peek with the release of their new service, rapidSMS.

“The way we process most signals in a monitoring center is through some sort of phone call,” Spencer Moore, vice president of sales & marketing, Rapid Response said during the virtual event. “This used to work great when the majority of people had landlines. People would hear the phone ring during dinner and would jump up like Pavlovian dogs to answer it. However, the communication landscape is different now; the landline is a thing of the past; most folks don't have them and if they do, they don't answer it.”

Based on Rapid Response research of their millions of calls made, 73 percent of calls made by Rapid go unanswered and an increasing number of call list contacts electing to be contacted by text messaging, Rapid Response's rapidSMS service instantly notifies end users of an alarm by providing an app-like experience via text messaging. All mobile devices are fully supported by rapidSMS and no app is required.

According to the company, the rapidSMS has achieved a 40 percent reduction in false alarm occurrences during beta testing and will be in full production in April. They expect to see a reduction in calls for dispatch of up to 40 percent and to capture a significant percentage of “no-action” or “disregard” requests through the management of low-priority notifications.

To learn more, Rapid Response is hosting a digital premiere of rapidSMS on April 2nd at 2:00p.m., EDT. Register here.

SIA's The (virtual) Advance 2020

When The Advance happens at ISC West, it's touted as “the fastest 60 minutes of your day;” however, Kevin Murphy, director of member services, Security Industry Association changed it to: “because of the coronavirus, it's the safest 60 minutes of your day,” getting online laughter from participants.

As is typical of SIA's annual membership meeting, state of the industry was addressed.

“We're in a strong industry excited about where the industry is and where it's going and looking forward to emerging as a stronger industry,” Murphy reported.

Members of SIA are highly engaged and the numbers are growing as well, from 803 companies in 2017, to 907 in 2018 and 1,028 in 2019.

“Member growth drives participation and opportunities among companies, and we've got a compelling value prop,” Murphy said. “The biggest reason companies leave SIA is because of mergers and acquisitions; only one company memberships are needed when companies combine.”

As far as the 2019 financial report, SIA renegotiated their partnership with Reed Expositions, causing the budget to dip a little, but overall, finances are strong.

Key accomplishments during 2019 are plenty and include:

  • Active membership engagement;
  • Launching the SIA Center of Excellence;
  • Policy victories including Homeland security grants and school violence prevention program grants; and testifying on behalf and in support of facial recognition; and
  • Collaboration with other organizations to bring more value to members.

Concluding the meeting, awards were given and voting took place on new board of director members, while Pierre Trapanese, CEO, Northen Controls, was named incoming 2020-21 SIA chairman.

To learn more about SIA, visit their website: https://www.securityindustry.org

Comments

To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.