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Posts Tagged ‘Warehouse security’

Are veterans at risk of becoming mass shooters?

The latest mass shooting – this one at a veterans’ home in California – touches on the usual concerns around workplace violence and violence in medical facilities.

This incident, however, raises a new concern: are veterans a risk for committing violence?

The shooter in the incident in Yountville, California was a veteran who had been part of the home’s program for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While his motives are currently unknown, he had recently been dismissed from the program. He returned to the facility armed, and took the lives of three staff members before taking his own.

While people with ties to the military have been involved in recent high-profile shootings, including the perpetrator in the mass shooting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport last January, and the shooter in the Sutherland Springs church shooting last September, statistics do not show an increased risk for veterans.
According to this report in the San Diego Union Tribune, several studies and data from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics show no evidence that military veterans are more prone to lethal violence than others.

Even so, in the search for answers in the wake of traumatic events like mass shootings, some might seize on link together common factors such as military service to construct a narrative. In the case of veterans with PTSD, data doesn’t support the narrative that they are more likely to act out violently toward others.

How can facilities managers protect themselves, their employees and the people they serve? Some tips:

• Take any and all threats seriously. Communicate threats from former staff members, customers, clients and any others to the proper authorities.

• Develop policies and procedures that guide staff members on the steps to take in the event of an active shooter. Drill regularly.

• Design facilities with security in mind. Whether designing for initial construction or retrofitting an existing facility, ECT Services can help create spaces that are safer, more energy efficient and seamlessly connected.

Contact us at (800) 567-1180 today for a consultation.

Security starts in the construction phase.

Strong security includes good integrated systems – video, indoor gunshot detection, alerts – backed up by well-thought out policies.

Those are great and crucial elements, but have you considered your physical space?

Good security planning starts in the construction of design phase. Some elements to consider:

Getting in, getting out. Are primary entrances and exits for each building located where employees have easy access to secure from the inside? In an emergency, employees should be able to quickly access doors and secure them from the inside.

What about secondary entrances and exits? Employees should also have access to secondary exits that lead into more secure interior spaces in the event of an emergency.

Safe rooms. Does your facility have one secure room large enough to accommodate several staff and guests in an emergency? Walls should be reinforced so bullets can’t pass through. Door frames and doors should be strong enough to take a battering and not cave in or break open.

Reliable communications. Safe rooms and other key areas should be equipped with landline phones that can be used for emergency calls. While mobile phones are ubiquitous, they might not be able to get a strong enough signal in some places to reach out in the event of an emergency.

Keeping an eye on things. Video camera placement is key. For all facilities, cameras should be trained on entrances and exits, high traffic areas and parking areas. For retail facilities, cameras might be positioned to keep an eye on merchandise and cash registers. Manufacturers and warehouses might need to keep an eye on loading docks. All camera placement should be well-thought out and well-documented in facility schematics.

Make space for the home team, and a traveling team, too. If on-site monitoring and security is in your plans, make sure the team is placed appropriately within the space. But don’t forget to include provisions for off-site, remote monitoring, too.

Need help designing and documenting your new build’s security features? We can help. Call us at (800) 567-1180 to discuss your goals.

Could domestic violence policies reduce workplace violence risks?

Without question, the United States holds the dubious distinction of leading the world in mass shootings. As we grapple with answers as to why mass shootings take place more frequently here than in other parts of the world, a new insight has emerged: the link between domestic violence and mass shootings.

The shooter who opened fire during a worship service in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last fall, killing more than two dozen men, women and children, had a history of domestic violence. So did the shooters in recent mass shootings in Las Vegas, San Bernardino and Orlando. In fact, domestic violence was involved in 54 percent of mass shootings between 2009 and 2016, according to a study by Everytown for Gun Safety.

What can businesses and other public institutions do to reduce risks associated with domestic violence? Here are a few ideas:

Establish policies and supports. Providing employees who are victims of domestic violence with safety and job security is a strong first step. Employees who fear losing their jobs due to dealing with the aftermath of domestic violence may be reluctant to disclose their situation. That lack of awareness may leave a workplace vulnerable to threats. Craft policies that protect victims of domestic violence by helping them change work hours or locations, by providing them with escorts to parking areas, and more. Be aware that courts and some state laws recognize victims of domestic violence as protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and reasonable accommodations must be made for them.

At the same time, consider offering an employee assistance program that would afford employees access to counseling and other services. Make it safe for those who are at risk of lashing out to seek help.
Keep lines of communication open, but discreet. Instruct supervisors and managers to only disclose information on a need to know basis, and map those disclosures out as part of your policy development. For instance, security teams will need to be aware if protective orders have been issued.

Offer workplace violence and active shooter drills as part of your overall disaster preparedness planning. Use the Department of Homeland Security’s “Run, Hide, Fight” protocol as the basis for your planning.

Include integrated security systems solutions. The Guardian system automatically detects and reports shots fired indoors, and will notify authorities and alert stakeholders immediately and accurately. Automatic detection and alerts shave precious minutes off response times.

Want to know more? Call (800) 567-1180 now to learn more about our upcoming Live Fire demonstrations.

Will 2018 be the year artificial intelligence makes a big impact on your business?

As 2017 winds down, trend watchers are looking ahead to 2018 and thinking about the trends taking shape. Artificial Intelligence is top of mind for many.

What is Artificial Intelligence (AI), and what is the difference between AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning? According to techopedia, “Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an area of computer science that emphasizes the creation of intelligent machines that work and react like humans.” AI computers might be used for speech recognition, learning, planning and problem solving.

Machine Learning takes AI a step further, allowing computers to be challenged by and learn from new scenarios for testing and adaptation. The goal is for the machines to use pattern recognition and trend detection to “learn” so that it can make independent decisions about similar situations in the future.

Deep Learning collects what Machine Learning computers have learned and uses those algorithms to develop larger networks that mimic the high-powered decision-making capability of the human brain.

AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning all have significant potential for real-world application, particularly in video security.

The boom in digital video means a voluminous amount of data is available to analyze. Couple that data with more data available via API – weather data, financial data, etc. – and the possibilities for pulling together patterns and making predictions is nearly endless.

“While the technologies aren’t particularly new, this year they have more than ever captured the attention of the market due to various factors: an increase in data that’s available for meaningful analysis, the emergence of hardware devices with high computing power, as well as the maturity of networking infrastructure for both landline and wireless transmissions,” wrote William Pao of a&s International in a recent post on asmag.com.

Some are predicting a boom in AI-driven analysis. “The next step in video analytics is to dive deeper to gain very specific insights into video content, including analyzing human behavior through the use of neural network video analysis. Video will not only be used to track the usual movement of cars and people or detect items left behind, but will also be relied on more frequently to bring behaviors of interest to the attention of security personnel,” said Jammy DeSousa, Senior Product Manager for Security Products for Building Technologies and Solutions at Johnson Controls in the post.

Others are slightly more conservative in their outlook. “Machine or deep-learning is mostly used for video analytics, but I expect the technology will be an important component in many different applications and products in the future. Over time it will become a common tool for software engineers and will be included in many different environments and devices,” said Johan Paulsson, CTO of Axis Communications in the post. “However, the surveillance industry has a history of sometimes over-promising with video analytics, and we are especially conscious of that when it comes to deep learning. We think deep learning has to mature further before it is ready for market in a broader perspective.”

Interested in learning more about new products and integrations on the horizon for 2018? Contact us at (800) 567-1180.

Showtime documentary series details the impacts of mass shootings

Mass shootings have become such a phenomenon in the United States that they now have their own television series.

Showtime launched a new documentary series “Active Shooter: America Under Fire” this fall. The show airs on Friday nights at 9 p.m. Eastern. The producers include documentary veterans Eli Holzman (“Undercover Boss”), Aaron Saidman (“Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath”) and Star Price (“Penn & Teller: Bull—t!”).
The series pieces together archival footage, interviews and more to explore significant mass shooting events through the eyes of first responders and survivors.

The show was inspired when producers heard about the experiences of a 911 operator haunted by the 2013 shooting spree in Santa Monica, California, Saidman told a reporter with the Orlando Sentinel.

“Eli and I looked at each other and said, ‘Oh, this is an epidemic that is affecting people we never think about, and it’s affecting them in these cruel and immeasurable ways,’ ” he said in a recent interview with the paper. “The series is a way to consider these people as relatable human beings who have suffered a horrible tragedy — not just statistics.”

Mass shootings have left deep and lasting scars on first responders.
“As a first responder’s spouse, your biggest fear was, ‘Are they going to come home?’ ” Jessica Realin, wife of a former Orlando police officer who responded to the Pulse nightclub shooting, said in an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “You never realize the fear of, ‘Well, they came home, but they’re not the same person anymore.’ ”

The producers hope the series sparks constructive conversation around ways to reduce gun violence in the United States.

“Something has to be done,” Price told the Review-Journal. “We don’t suggest that we have all the answers, but we have to start talking about this and being open about what the issues are, and how all of us as a country can come together to try to stop this from happening.”

Episodes feature mass shootings in Aurora, Colorado; San Bernardino, California; Charleston, South Carolina; Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Florida; Santa Monica, California; Oak Creek, Wisconsin; and Columbine, Colorado.

All signs indicate series producers will continue to have subjects for future episodes. Just two days after the series premiered, an active shooter opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing 58 and wounding hundreds more. It is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

At least it is for now.

According to the Mass Shooting Tracker project, there have been 369 mass shootings so far in 2017.

Until we can figure out how to prevent the problem of mass shooter incidents, the next best thing we can do is protect people from mass shooter incidents. One way to do that is through rapid, effective shot detection.

The Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System uses acoustic and infrared sensors to automatically detect shots fired and initiates response, including alerting authorities and those in the vicinity. Guardian integrates with other systems to trigger alerts, lock doors and more. Guardian reduces emergency response time significantly.

Interested in learning more about the Guardian Indoor Active Shooter Detection System? Call (800) 567-1180 or register now for a Live Fire event to see a demonstration of Guardian’s capabilities.

Is “reducing false alarms” on your radar?

… It’s on Axis’ radar, too.

The network video leader recently rolled out a new offering: motion-detecting radar.

The Axis D2050-VE uses radar technology to minimize false alarms triggered by spiders, small animals, shadows and light reflections. Once motion is detected, the device can trigger camera recording and/or activate a horn or lights to deter unauthorized access to property or a facility. The radar can be used alongside cameras with video motion detection, and can be used to track movement with PTZ cameras.

Reducing false alarms is key to good security. Not only are false alarms annoying, they impact operational readiness. Repeated false alarms fatigue personnel, and can make it possible for more credible threats to be disregarded.

“Radar closes a gap as it offers good area coverage, detects movement with high accuracy, and reduces false alarms,” explained Andres Vigren, Global Product Manager, Axis Communications, in a press release. “Compared to simple motion detectors, AXIS D2050-VE provides additional information of detected objects which allows for auto tracking with Axis PTZ cameras. Customers can now easily add proven radar technology to their existing or new surveillance systems to protect their premises.”

The radar detector was designed to be used in medium industrial installations. While its effectiveness is maximized when part of a complete surveillance system, it can also be used as a standalone tool. It integrates with other Axis products, including cameras and management software, and is also compatible with other systems thanks to its open interface design.

The Axis D2050-VE Network Radar Detector is wall mounted detector and designed for outdoor use. It offers detection coverage of 120 degrees and 164 feet, and is powered by Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+). The Axis D2050-VE has IP66, IK08 and NEMA 4X ratings for tough environments, and can be operated in temperatures ranging from -40°C to 60°C (-40 to 140°F), well within the typical temperature range for the Ohio Valley.

Interested in learning more? Contact our team at (800) 567-1180 for more information about Axis products.

Axis finds ‘sweet spot’ for reducing storage needs while maintaining image quality

There’s no question that 360 degree panoramic cameras deliver excellent coverage and rich image detail.

But those qualities come at a price, and for 360 degree video, the cost comes in the form of higher bandwidth and storage usage.

Photo credit: Axis

For many end users, finding the sweet spot between the need for coverage and quality and the desire to keep bandwidth and storage costs low has been a challenge. Axis Communications, one of ECT Services trusted partners, is meeting that challenge with the release of updates to its Zipstream compression technology.

Zipstream analyzes and optimizes the video stream in real time. The technology automatically detects low value areas like walls, lawns and vegetation, and ‘smooths’ them out, saving bandwidth and space. At the same time, the technology automatically detects important forensic details such as faces, tattoos and license plates and isolates and preserves them. A dynamic rate controller is enabled automatically when a camera is panned, tilted or zoomed. The result is a 50 percent decrease in bandwidth and storage requirements for surveillance video with no loss in frame rate or resolution.
“Storage and bandwidth make a significant part of the total cost of a surveillance system. Axis developed Zipstream to address the specific needs of the security industry. That is, to minimize these requirements without losing forensic details,” said Johan Paulsson, Chief Technology Officer at Axis Communications in a company press release. “We are happy and proud to announce that the enhancement of Zipstream now embraces both panoramic and ultra-high resolution cameras.”

Two new Axis compact fixed mini dome ‘fisheye’ network cameras, AXIS M3047-P and AXIS M3048-P, take advantage of the enhanced Zipstream technology to deliver 360-degree coverage on a budget.

AXIS M3047-P, with a 6-megapixel sensor, and AXIS M3048-P, with a 12-megapixel sensor, both deliver full frame rate video, according to the release.

Zipstream also works with Axis’ fixed and fixed dome, PTZ, thermal and explosion-protected cameras as well as door stations.

Axis releases explosion-protected cameras

If you’ve got a need for to keep an eye on critical, sensitive areas in potentially hazardous contexts, Axis Communications may have the solution.

Axis announced earlier this week the release three new explosion-protected cameras for use in sensitive industrial areas: XF40-Q2901 Explosion-Protected Temperature Alarm Camera, XF60-Q2901 Explosion-Protected Temperature Alarm Camera, and XP40-Q1942 Explosion-Protected PT Thermal Network Camera.

“Industrial plant operators have a tremendously difficult task,” explained Martina Lundh, global product manager for thermal and explosion-protected cameras at Axis Communications, in a company press release. “They need to ensure efficiency and continuity in large-scale, critical industrial processes, while meeting all health, safety and environmental regulations, across multiple locations and, often, across huge areas. Our new cameras deliver critical real-time information, allowing for immediate incident response which can prove to be a life-saving benefit.”

The cameras allow plant operators to monitor remote, inaccessible, and sensitive areas, allowing for rapid incident response and protection of employees, machinery and critical industrial infrastructure, according to the release. The new cameras integrate with existing Supervisory control and data acquisition architectures. The cameras are based on industry standards and open protocols, and are protected in a heavy-duty enclosure.

Use cases for the fixed cameras include control and detection of temperatures of equipment and leaks in pipes, fire detection, and monitoring of equipment and perimeter protection. They can also be used to help visually inspect and verify functions and processes are running correctly, and provide remote assistance with planned maintenance.

Use cases for the pan/tilt include detection of people in restricted areas and safety of personnel in hazardous areas. XP40-Q1942 also supports electronic image stabilization, which improves video quality in situations where cameras are subject to vibrations, and Zipstream, which lowers bandwidth and storage requirements without compromising image quality.

The cameras are certified world-wide and will be available starting this month. Interested in learning more? Contact our sales team at (800) 567-1180.

5 tips to get your facility ready for fall

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Even with record-setting high temps dogging us well into November, fall and winter weather are bound to arrive in the Ohio Valley sometime soon. Is your facility ready?

Here’s how you can prepare:


Check your lighting. Even if it never cools off, the sun is setting earlier each day, and the time will change on Nov. 6. That “fall back” will cost us an hour of daylight in the evening. Be sure to adjust timers which automatically turn lights on and off.
Reassess security systems. Changes in daylight may also mean changes to safety and security threats. Will customers or staff members be entering or exiting your building when it is dark? Now is the time to walk through and around facilities and note any new or shifting risks.
Service your HVAC system. Clean and/or replace filters, and clean out duct work to reduce allergens and ensure peak efficiency. Have your entire heating system inspected by a qualified professional.
Check windows and doors. Inspect all windows and doors to make sure they are operating properly and the seals are tight.
Start coordinating holiday travel schedules. With the holidays approaching, key staff members may plan to take time off or travel. Don’t wait until the last minute to hand off duties, login information, vendor contacts and other key details. For more, check out our earlier post outlining key steps for planning around vacations.

4 keys to choosing the right video surveillance system

On Dec. 16, 2015, thieves broke into Frijoles and Frescas Grilled Tacos in Las Vegas. Security cameras recorded them breaking in a glass door (after a few rather week attempts) then yanking out two register drawers before making their getaway.

The next day, the restaurant trolled the burglars with a video that has now gone viral, racking up more than four million views on YouTube. The video features footage from security cameras places positioned inside and outside the restaurant. The tongue-in-cheek commentary suggests the burglars “Just want tacos” and ends will a plea for tips that will help catch the thieves.

Video surveillance cameras can help catch criminals in the act – and catch great footage for a hilarious marketing campaign – and they can also serve to deter crime from happening in the first place. Thinking about installing or upgrading a video surveillance system? Here are some questions to ask:

Cameras. Where will cameras be placed? These key questions will help you get started in identifying priority areas.. Camera placement will play a significant role in deciding what kinds of cameras are best suited for your application. Other considerations will include whether or not the camera is intended as a deterrent, if the camera will be positioned inside or outside, lighting and other conditions.

Storage. How much footage do you need to store? Memory cards may be sufficient for some applications, but longer term storage needs or more complex systems may require a more robust storage solution, such as digital video recorder (DVR) or network video recorder (NVR).

Monitoring. Will the cameras be monitored? Will monitoring take place on site, or remotely? Online remote monitoring is an increasingly attractive, cost-effective option.

Integration. Do you need to upgrade your current system? While an entirely updated system might be the best option, upgrading a legacy system doesn’t have to be frustrating or kludgy. Drop-in solutions are available that can bring your current system up to date without starting entirely from scratch.

Need help mapping out a new video surveillance system or upgrading an existing system? Call (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.