Several of Faith Group’s security staff attended ISC West at the end of March 2023: Joe Fallon, Clint McGraw, Jarod Stockdale, Jimmy Houlihan, and Roy Ener. Our technical staff regularly attend shows like this to stay up to date on the latest product offerings, use cases, standards, and best practices, along with walking some of our clients around the expo floor to help them with product evaluations. Each of our staff have provided their recap of the best tech and lessons learned from the Conference.
VIDEO ANALYTICS IN ACTION
As I review all of the amazing products and conversations with peers at ISC West this year, I am reminded that the overall focus of the show this year was artificial intelligence (AI) and the expanding use cases of the vast amount of data now being gathered by traditional security systems. This data is now being leveraged to gain insight into operational efficiencies and to predict situational-based cause and effect in all facets of an enterprise and its respective business. Two primary areas where AI is excelling are IOT monitoring and trending and machine learning. IOT monitoring allows end users to be more proactive in managing their systems and even predict events including failures before their occurrence. Machine learning, which is now embedded in most video AI platforms, allows users to recognize behavioral anomalies and their traditional AI such as facial recognitional and subject tracking.
Our Director of Security and Construction Services, Joe Fallon, experienced first-hand the power of security and video analytics, as he describes his ISC experience below:
My wife, who spent the week of the ISC West show enjoying all the things Las Vegas had to offer, cashed in her chips on the way out of our hotel, at which point we proceeded to the airport. Upon check-in, she realized she had lost her wallet somewhere between the cashier cage and the airport! We immediately tried to call the cab company, but our cab receipt was damaged, so we did not know the company name or cab number. We called the hotel and, of course, nothing had been turned in to lost and found. So we quickly returned to the hotel where I went to the security desk and explained the situation. Security had my wife return to the cashier’s cage and then used their VSS and associated analytics to run her live image to find and track her movements from where she turned in her chips, to the cab line, and then into the cab. They then knew (in a matter of maybe two minutes) that she had her wallet when she entered the cab, and they were able to tell us the company was “New Cab” and provide us with the cab number! Yes, in under two minutes! I called the cab company and got in touch with the driver, who immediately returned to the hotel and handed us her wallet, and then gave us a ride back to the airport. The amazing part, even as a member of this industry for 25+ years, is the speed and efficiency of the security operators in locating her and following her every movement from cashier to the cab. It goes to show that a properly designed system coupled with properly trained security professionals can truly save the day!
SHOT DETECTION THAT AVOIDS THE NOISE
The product that stood out for me the most was Databuoy’s Shotpoint system, which works extremely well in a noisy environment. They held a live active shooter detection demo on Las Vegas’s Fremont Street. We witnessed the Databuoy team fire several live blank shots, and I watched the action on the Databuoy’s Sales & Operations Manager’s cell phone. Within seconds, the shots were showing on the site map following the shooter from one location to the next. We did not have the opportunity to see the system work with a shooter in an elevated position, but I’m sure it would have performed with the same impressive results. This system will integrate with video management systems and access control systems to send notifications to first responders to expedite response times and increase safety.
UAS / C-UAS AND UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS
With each passing year, the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) or drones, becomes more advanced and accessible. ISC this year certainly highlighted this fact, as drones of all types were on display. These included ATVs, “dogs,” traditional copter style, and even those which resembled humans. Drones are utilized across many industries, including law enforcement and the military as well as aviation and critical infrastructure. With the advancement of these technologies comes the risk of potential harm caused by malicious use of drones, with the biggest challenge being unauthorized access of users flying unregistered drones or flying drones within controlled airspace.
As UAS technology advances, Counter Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-UAS) advance too. True airspace security requires a tiered approach, consisting of technology, legislation, and training. There are multiple technologies implemented today that have the capability of monitoring airspace for the use of unauthorized drones. Typically, these solutions utilize sensors consisting of one or more of the following technologies: radio frequency (RF), radar, cameras and acoustics. Once a drone is detected, different mitigation options can be implemented to intercept or repel unauthorized UAS. These mitigation methods consist of kinetic mitigation, cyber takeover, directed energy burn or jamming.
There have been several UAS incidents reported in the US. For example, in December 2020, an unauthorized drone flew into Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, causing significant damage. Currently, only four federal agencies are authorized to conduct C-UAS operations under certain circumstances. There is no current legislation allowing state and local agencies to intervene with an unauthorized drone.
ADVANCEMENTS NEEDED IN AUDIO ANALYTICS
For me, the biggest lesson learned at this year’s Show was that the audio analytics market, as it is today, is quite unreliable. Essentially, there exists a “library” of sound profiles that most manufacturers use for their comparisons and filtering algorithms that consist of only +/- 500 data sets or sounds. Granted, there are several other complexities that are involved when expanding data sets and advanced filtering, including more processing power, storage, etc., but at the same time, the limited data reveals why audio analytics are still unreliable. For example, with audio analytic gunshot detection, some are devices are dedicated to a single function, some contain a camera that has a microphone and includes it as a feature, and others may have multiple factors like the addition of an infrared sensor looking for muzzle flash to “verify” the sound as a shot from a gun. The problem with all of them is they tend to trigger false alarms, which is a huge problem for first responders. Ignoring contributing issues like low-quality microphones, when the data set that is used for filtering is very limited, results can be unreliable.
WHY OPEN SUPERVISED DEVICE PROTOCOL (OSDP)?
ISC West, I attended the SIA OSDP Boot Camp class. This class answered the question of why OSDP should be used over Wiegand and other older card reader to reader interface board communication formats. What I took away from this session was that access control system (ACS) specifications need to adequately describe what is required to accommodate this protocol. Items such as cabling requirements, OSDP version, use of terminating resistors, reader addresses, Secure Channel (key) setup and regular rotation, and other requirements need to be called out to support the use of OSDP.
While it is safe to say that OSDP is becoming the new standard protocol for communication between the card reader and reader interface board, the use of this protocol has not been standardized. For example, not all ACS manufacturers support the remote configuration of OSDP-capable readers. When the system is administered and maintained by the client, we need to make sure they understand how to do so with respect to the use of OSDP. Future maintenance can become quite time-consuming and expensive if every reader must be locally visited for updates and configurations. Additionally, just because a manufacturer supports the use of OSDP, it does not necessarily mean that they take advantage of all of the features that OSDP provides. When I visited the various vendor booths of major access control manufacturers and asked how the readers were configured and administered, I don’t think I was given the same answer twice.
THE TRUTH ABOUT CAMERA RATINGS
For certain technologies such as WDR (wide dynamic range), two manufacturers may show identical WDR values, but still may not be the same, since they may be based on completely different baseline lumen levels, which may or may not be identified in the data sheet. Cameras are tested under controlled conditions; however, field and laboratory conditions are different. Regarding the various manufacturer cameras that show identical values, although they have similar specifications, they may appear and react differently to different environmental conditions. It is just as important to understand the environment where the camera will be installed and the capabilities of cameras across multiple manufacturers. In other words, having a relationship with manufacturers and attending in-person demonstrations of their equipment is of high importance.
IMPORTANCE OF VIRTUALIZATION
Integrators who do not include virtualization in their bids have a lower chance of winning the job. While this does not necessarily apply to us as designers, since we would tell the integrator what is required, the idea that virtualization can minimize the footprint of servers within our client’s data center IS important.
BENEFITS OF CLOUD- AND HYBRID-BASED SECURITY SYSTEMS
Cloud-based and hybrid-cloud security systems are growing in consideration by airports. They require less equipment, less future maintenance costs, and are easier to implement. When I asked if there were any major hurdles for an integrator implementing a cloud-based system for a high-security facility, the answer was “not really.” It can actually be easier. The integrator can make all of the configurations in the cloud outside of the client’s facility and perform testing at the integrator’s lab (which takes up much less room since there’s no need for using local servers). The minor hurdle at the client’s site is the network/firewall configuration.
WHY USE SECURITY NETWORK MANAGERS?
With the increase of IoT in the security industry, the need to manage all the network-connected security devices has grown in importance. This management software is similar to network managers (such as Solar Winds) but is geared specifically for security. They promote being able to configure and administer devices, such as cameras, remotely. So, there will no longer be a need to spend hours configuring each camera individually. While many manufacturers have software to perform this function, they can be clunky and do not provide the ability to monitor, configure, and/or administer ALL security devices on the network. These specialized network managers also provide a slick front end that appeared to be easy to use. Another idea to consider is that these security-focused network managers could provide us with insights as to how many security devices are present on their network, their current firmware/software versions, and other information that we might find useful when performing a site survey.
Many products and integrations have been expanded and/or refined, and many of the larger access control and video surveillance vendors (such as Genetec, Lenel, etc.) offer the ability to integrate with many other vendor products. When I spoke with a Genetec representative, he said that they can integrate with just about anybody.
EASY ALL-IN-ONE BIOMETRICS
One particular biometric reader, Suprema, only required an Ethernet connection and contained a card reader, pin pad, integrated camera for facial recognition, and a SIP (session initiation protocol) intercom. The range of the camera could also be adjusted, to allow for the viewing of someone who may not be right at the level of the reader. The readers at the booth were all mounted at 48” AFF (above the finished floor) and worked flawlessly while boasting integration with most major ACS manufacturers.