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Posts Tagged ‘video surveillance’

Federal grant money available for nonprofit, church security enhancement

The waning months of 2019 brought news of a several attacks on churches and religious gatherings, including an attack on a Hanukkah gathering in New Jersey and an active shooter at a church in Texas.  

In the wake of these attacks and others, Congress has appropriated an increased amount of $90 million to fund grants for enhanced security programs and churches, synagogues, mosques and other nonprofit organizations. President Trump signed the bill into law at the end of January.

The Nonprofit Security Grant Program expands access to funds that will enable nonprofit organizations to enhance their security systems using fencing, surveillance cameras, enhanced entry ways, windows, alarms and communications systems, staff and personnel training, and contract security guards.

Applying for a federal grant can be intimidating, but the Department of Homeland Security is hosting a series of free conference calls and webinars to help potential applicants understand more about the grants and the application process. To register, click the webinar title below:

February 20th, 2pm: Protecting Your Organization: The FY2020 Nonprofit Security Grant Program and other Resources to Help Keep Your Facility Safe (No call-in, webinar audio only through the link).

February 26th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3914.

March 5th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3915.

March 12th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3916.

March 19th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3917.

March 26th, 2:30pm: Nonprofit Security Grant Program Overview, 877-446-3918.

ECT Services also offers security training and complete security system enhancement and servicing, including access control, video and gunshot detection. For a free consultation to review your organization’s current security systems and look for opportunities to enhance your capabilities, call 800 567-1180.

Innovation, integration central to museum security update

I’m always on the lookout for great stories highlighting innovation and integration and this recent post from ASIS really caught my eye.

The story details the Detroit Institute of the Arts’ approach to updating their security system. Given our partnership with the Speed Museum in their renovation and our deep relationship with Axis the story was especially intriguing.

The DIA was long overdue for security overhaul when Eric Drewry, CPP, took them helm as director of security in 2015. Museum visitors can wreak havoc on exhibits both accidentally and intentionally. DIA  needed a solution that would protect the art collection while not disrupting the visitors’ experience.

A few key insights from the solution:

Keep your customer central. Designing a solution to keep valuable artwork safe could be very straightforward; lock it all up in a vault and it will never get damaged, lost or stolen. But keeping artwork safe isn’t the entire goal. Preserving art for the enjoyment and edification of the public is the goal, and it’s difficult to engage with artwork that is locked away or otherwise inaccessible.

DIA kept museum visitors central. The security system functions like a channel for dialog between museum staff and visitors. Staff uses the solution to gather data points about traffic patterns and issues to gain insights into visitor needs. For instance, staff observed that visitors were consistently getting too close to a particular object to peer at notes on the artist and work. They determined that more prominent signage was needed to help visitors engage with the work while keeping a safe distance.

Keep your context in mind. Like many public buildings – the Speed definitely comes to mind – the facility was historic and additions had been added throughout the years. We have significant understanding of how important innovation is in retrofitting systems in historic buildings. The infrastructure didn’t lend itself to cables and wires required for high tech equipment.

Fortunately, Axis’ camera line was a perfect fit. Axis modular cameras required only one cable for four cameras, and the cameras’ quality and coverage made it possible to cover an entire gallery with just four cameras and one cable. That saved a lot of risk and resources and helped gain efficiencies in cost and installation.

Need an innovative partner for your systems integration project? We can help. Call (800) 567-1180 to connect for a consultation.

Genetec Clearance camera registry helps fight crime through collaboration

Your business has been struck by a criminal. They were able to break in and make off with thousands of dollars worth of valuable equipment and inventory. Your cameras didn’t capture clear images of the perpetrator or their transportation, but there’s a good chance that better images might be available from other businesses along your street.

But it may take days before police are able to identify cameras, track down owners and get their permission to view footage.

Thanks to Genetec, there’s now a solution to that problem.

When it comes to preventing and solving crime, public and private entities now have a new collaborative tool at their fingertips.

Genetec announced today the release of a new camera registry module for its Genetec Clearance platform. Genetec Clearance is a digital evidence management system.

“The Genetec Clearance camera registry allows organizations to reduce the time to fulfill access requests and share video evidence between stakeholders operating across different systems, departments, and jurisdictions,” said Erick Ceresato, Genetec Product Manager in a company press release. “The technology allows organizations to maximize the use of their staffing and provides investigators faster access to evidence to help enhance their response, and focus on public safety within their communities.”

According to the release from Genetec, the new camera registry module simplified the video request process. The registry allows organization to share a registry of their cameras and allow authorized users to request captured video footage from relevant cameras to aid in investigations.

The registry replaces the routine legwork that is typically part of investigating. Rather than spending time hunting down cameras, identifying who owns or has authority over a camera, contacting the camera’s owner and requesting footage, the registry gives public safety agencies and private businesses or citizens a place to collaborate.

The system allows administrators to set up their own custom request forms and approval workflows. Once release of a video is approved, an encrypted version is released and tracked appropriately. The new camera registry module is a great example of innovation from one of our valued partners. For more innovative ideas, contact us for a consultation.

Is video surveillance a marketing tool for college campuses?

When it comes time to select a college, you might think that prospective students and their parents focus on factors like academics, cost, beauty of the campus and even the quality of the football and basketball teams. Another important factor? Safety.

Campus safety is a significant factor in choosing a college, particularly for parents. A recent poll conducted by CollegeBoards.com found that 86 percent of parents ranked safety high on their list of requirements, edging out even academics.  

It’s not surprising that 28 percent of colleges and universities highlight their video cameras in their marketing material, according to the 2018 Campus Safety Magazine Video Surveillance Survey.

Video plays a crucial role in campus safety, expanding the reach of campus safety officers into nearly every physical space on campus. A solid 96 percent of survey respondents use video surveillance daily or weekly to keep campuses safe. Top use cases on college and university campuses include theft, crime from community members coming from off campus, and incidents during evenings and off hours.

Video surveillance is used in real time, and for later review. According to the survey, 59 percent of campus security professionals report using video to investigate crimes, while 26 percent report that they are used to deter criminal activity in the first place. Video surveillance is also used by 52 percent of respondents to monitor live events where safety and security issues could arise, like concerts, sporting events and protests. Thirty three percent of respondents find video surveillance to be a force multiplier.

Given those use cases, image quality and reliability are key factors in choosing video surveillance tools, along with integration with other systems and data analytics tools to extend the reach and insights even further.

ECT Services partners with leaders in video surveillance cameras like Axis. We build integrated systems that connect seamlessly with other tools like access control solutions offered by HID and active shooter alert systems like The Guardian by Shooter Detection Systems.

Want to learn more? Contact us at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation today.

Axis expands capabilities with video, audio, management options

Axis Communications, a market leading network video provider, is innovating again with new product offerings that build on its core video capabilities.

In addition to announcing the release of two new rugged, fixed-dome outdoor cameras, Axis also recently announced the launch of a new cloud-based monitoring platform and an audio management tool. The new products build on Axis’ extensive line of security video cameras, platforms and more.

Axis has added two new video cameras to its Q35 series, the AXIS Q3518-LVE, the AXIS Q3517-SLVE.

According to a press release from Axis, the two new cameras includes support for Axis OptimizedIR illumination, Forensic WDR and Lightfinder technology, as well as Zipstream technology, which preserves important details in full image quality while significantly reducing storage and bandwidth needs. The cameras also include sophisticated onboard analytics for proactive surveillance; the ability to insert additional condition information into the video feed; external sensors that detect tampering and trigger alarms; relays to light activation and access control; redundant power and Ethernet; and easy installation.

The cameras are designed to operate in extreme temperatures from -50 C to +60 C and can withstand 50 joules of impact, with image stabilization that provides steady video even during intense impact.

The AXIS Q3517-LVE delivers 30 fps in 4K, while the AXIS Q3517-SLVE offers 5 MP. The SLVE offers a marine-grade stainless steel casing resistant to damage from salt, detergents and other chemicals.

Axis Communications also announced the release of its new AXIS Audio Manager C7050 Server. According to a press release from the company, the new Manager offers a complete audio management hardware and software package that allows users to manage and control all their network audio devices – including network speakers, audio bridges, microphones and horn speakers — from a single user interface.

Use cases include multi-site retail and educational environments. The manager allows users to control an entire network system from a desktop, tablet or mobile device.
Axis Communications also announced this week the release of its Guardian cloud-based remote monitoring solution. Guardian enables security vendors to partner more strongly with customers for off-site monitoring. Guardian easily integrates with existing systems, and is easily scalable to meet changing needs. The system allows remote monitors to accurately check alarms and deploy appropriate resources, reducing the need for onsite personnel. The system is fully accessible to customers as well, allowing for efficient collaboration.

Axis Communications has been a long time partner vendor with ECT Services. For more information about Axis’ innovative solutions and how they can meet your needs, call ECT Services at (800) 567-1180 for a consultation.

Axis Device Manager is on task for the future.

Remember that time hackers wiggled their way through security weaknesses in Internet-connected security cameras and unleashed the Mirai botnet, taking down major sites such as Twitter and Spotify?

The event highlighted the vulnerabilities exposed by IoT (Internet of Things) devices. The same devices that offer us incredible scalability and insight can also be used to disrupt our world when exploited by bad actors. That event and many others like it have prompted device developers to innovate and launch new platforms that step up security for connected devices.

Axis’ new Device Manager is the latest entry in the market. The new platform, which replaces Camera Management, offers users the ability to manage thousands of cameras, access control and audio devices in one place. Features include the ability to automatically assign IP addresses; install, configure, replace or upgrade devices; set restore points and factory default settings; upgrade device firmware; manage user accounts and passwords; copy configurations between thousands of devices; connect to multiple servers and systems; and deploy and renew HTTPS & IEEE 802.1x certificates.

“Being able to access and efficiently install, adapt and secure all of the devices on your network saves a tremendous amount of time and effort. AXIS Device Manager is the go-to tool for reaching all Axis devices — whatever stage of their lifecycle — and make needed adjustments,” said Ola Lennartsson, global product manager, System Management at Axis Communications in a press release.”

“In today’s fast-paced world, any device or network that is static is not only old-fashioned, it is potentially prone to cyber threats. Therefore it is important we ensure our customers can use a tool that allows them to easily, rapidly and decisively manage all of the devices on their network. AXIS Device Manager is that tool.”

Dynamic, centralized control of devices makes it easier to stay a step ahead or security threats, especially for larger installations across multiple locations.

Interested in learning more? Our team can take you through a system integration project from design to completion. Call (800) 567-1180 to arrange 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.

Security video can help improve retail sales

For most bricks and mortar retailers, ‘tis the season for high-volumes of foot traffic through stores. The last two months of the year are make-or-break, and understanding how customers are moving through retail space, where they are stopping to look, how long they are waiting for help or waiting in line are all key to maximizing sales.

Did you know that security video systems can do double-duty as merchandising analytics tools?

It’s possible using Bosch Security Systems’ In Store Analytics. The cloud-based service uses position data generated by its cameras to provide detail on how shoppers move through a retail space.

Bosch panoramic IP cameras are installed and positioned to take in as much of the retail floor space as possible, so the maximum amount of data can be captured. Shopper position data is captured and transmitted to the cloud, where it is further analyzed and delivered back to merchandising managers for review via a customized dashboard. The interface is designed to be easy to use, and doesn’t require any advanced query or data mining capabilities on the part of the user.
From the position data, merchandising managers can see how shoppers are moving through the retail space. They can see which displays are attracting shoppers, at which are not. They can identify peak times of day for traffic down to the display level, and position staff appropriately. The data also reveals how long shoppers linger in different areas, and how strongly they are engaged with merchandise or sales personnel. The intelligence gathered can be used to reposition displays or personnel to maximize sales.

In Store Analytics may be just the tool bricks and mortar retailers need to better compete with online retailers. Online retailers have the distinct advantage of being able to collect large amounts of significant customer data, including the purchasing journey. Bricks and mortar retailers often miss that piece, and have difficultly pinning down just how customers move through the process to purchase. In Store Analytics can help close that gap by providing actionable insights on customer flow and helping identify missed opportunities.

The In Store Analytics platform is suitable for large footprint retail spaces and scalable across multiple sites. Bosch also plans to roll out In Store Analytics dashboards for operations and loss prevention managers.

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.

Convergence of security and communications

Security systems and communications systems used to be two entirely different propositions.


Security teams were responsible for evaluating and procuring video cameras, ID badge systems and the like for their particular use cases. They oversaw the installation and use of those systems, and owned any associated data.

Communications systems were typically owned by IT teams. They evaluated and procure phone and conferencing systems for their particular use cases; oversaw the installation and use, and owned any associated data from those systems.

Security and communications systems operated differently, with no connection, often on entirely different networks.

All that is changing. The move away from analog systems to digital was the first step towards converging security and communications systems. The next step is figuring out how to make disparate IT and security systems work together and exchange data.
Through its DevConnect program, Avaya, a segment leader in communications systems, has opened the door to convergence a little more. The program empowers partners to create, verify and market Avaya-enabled solutions. DevConnect offers access to almost all SDKs offered by Avaya products, as well as technical education, tutorials and sample applications, forums, and in some cases, technical developer support on the use of Avaya APIs.

Axis, an ETC Services partner and market leader in security systems, is an active participant in Avaya’s DevConnect program. Through the partnership, they’ve developed integrations between their Network Door Stations and Avaya systems. Axis Network Door stations combine communication, video surveillance and remote entry control into a single device, and allows users to identify visitors and grant them access to a facility from a single platform, from anywhere in the world.

Perhaps more powerfully, converging the security and communications systems means data can be combined. Security data that was once entirely separate can now be integrated with other data streams and used for other business purposes, extending the value.

For more on how Avaya and Axis are partnering together, listen to this episode from the Avaya DevConnect 8 & Out podcast.