Washington, D.C. Wins Smart Cities Dive Award for City of the Year

Washington, D.C. is our nation’s capital, but beyond the Federal Government, the District is a continually growing center for innovation, technology and connectivity.

The 2017 Smart Cities Dive Awards, which recognizes the industry’s top disruptors and innovators, recently announced that Washington, D.C. won the City of the Year Award.

Smart Cities Dive noted that D.C. earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s first LEED for Cities Platinum certification, in addition to other outstanding performance factors including the city’s resilience, sustainability, equitability, transparency and collaboration.

In 2017, Washington installed North America’s first “intelligent” wastewater pumping system, updated city trash cans with sensors, added five dock-less bikeshare pilot programs and installed free Wi-Fi across nearly 20 percent of the city. These investments and more are overseen by Smarter DC, an interagency group made up of city departments like the Office of the CTO (OCTO), District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) and DC Water.

As Vidsys has seen firsthand, working with cities around the globe from Houston, Texas to Abu Dhabi, UAE, collaboration between various agencies within a city is the key to a successful smart city platform.

In 2018, the city will focus on mobility, public safety and the environment, looking to become more strategic in leveraging data and driving resiliency efforts through the NIST public safety innovation program and will work with the DOEE on planning based off the LEED Platinum certification.

Vidsys is proud to be headquartered in a city leading the smart cities charge in the U.S., and looks forward to the smart and resilient developments to come.

To read about a recent Vidsys smart city project, click here.

integration & connectors blog series

Integrations & Connectors Update: Latest Versions of Milestone XProtect, Pelco VideoXpert, Avigilon ACC and More…

The Vidsys team is excited to announce a new blog series – Integrations and Connectors – where we will highlight new connectors and integrations that are available with our technology platform. Our Converged Security and Information Management (CSIM) software has the ability to integrate any type of software or physical hardware technology with our system.

Vidsys is pleased to announce the addition of the following Video Connectors to its existing library of connectors:

  1. Digifort v7.2
  2. Milestone XProtect Corporate v2017
  3. Avigilon ACC v 6.2
  4. Pelco VideoXpert
  5. Flir Latitude 8.0

Using Vidsys’ CSIM Platform, security organizations can integrate and analyze information from traditional physical security devices and systems, and resolve situations in real time.

Vidsys NVR connectors integrate 3rd party NVR/DVR’s with Vidsys CSIM software, allowing operators to view real-time and recorded video from their desktops.  Video can be displayed in response to manual user selection, and can be automatically displayed when an event detected by CSIM-integrated access control, intrusion detection or other system(s) is reported.

CSIM operators can control PTZ cameras and playback stored video using standard controls (forward, pause, reverse, etc.) that are consistent across different video recorder products.  Operators may define and store video clips and snapshots in CSIM situation records to facilitate post-event analysis.

Vidsys offers a growing list of connectors that enable integration between the Vidsys CSIM platform and other industry-leading converged and physical security products.

If you would like to find out more about this integration or other integrations, contact us here for more information or a demo.

 

This entry is part of a blog series on Integrations and Connectors. You can revisit previous entries here

3 Things We Expect to See from D.C.’s First “Greenfield” Smart City

As the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow, more and more U.S. cities will work with private companies and organizations to improve the quality of life for residents through the use of technology. While San Jose, New York City and Dallas are some of the larger cities to create these initiatives and begin integrating various technologies across each infrastructure, the Washington, D.C. area will soon be home to a $700 million Smart City development, right in our own backyard.

Gramercy District is a fully integrated, hyper-connected campus with luxury residential, coworking, education, high-rise office, hotel and retail space on a 24-acre site located in Ashburn, Virginia, integrating a mixed-use development with artificial intelligence and machine learning.

As the first greenfield smart city in the D.C. area, and one of the first in the country, we are excited to see how this development will make an impact and be received by the community. Here are three things we expect to see from this new smart city.

Adaptability

One major challenge for urban communities is ensuring that citizens’ fundamental needs are being met. Systems such as water, food, transportation, power and even healthcare are all interdependent and require thoughtful integration and optimization when building a smart community from the ground up. Add in unexpected events such as a power outage, construction carriers or severe weather and a beautifully constructed city can become ill-functioning quite quickly.

That’s why IoT data is so important, to provide real-time data, integrate relevant data sets and models to identify normal operating metrics, various asset conditions and vulnerabilities, and flag risks. IoT data allows smart cities to quickly adapt to fix unforeseen obstacles and adapt to the needs of its inhabitants, using efficient artificial intelligence (AI) to manage large amounts of data quickly.

Simple replication

The replication of proven smart city solutions has become a common trend both in the U.S. and around the globe. Different coalitions are gathering together commitments addressing the development of smart city strategies and plans in order to facilitate an experience exchange on the development processes, applied methods and tools for upscaling and replication.
IoT and smart city spaces are a $1.5 trillion to $2 trillion market. Gramercy District will serve as a “smart city in a box” platform that can be replicated across the country. Through this process, successes and room for improvement can be measured and applied to future projects.

Create and experiment in-house

The smart city can essentially become an immense laboratory to test and analyze various projects and methods. Different cities are currently carrying out intelligent urban innovation experiments, linked to environmental protection, the development of new digital applications or services or green living. One of the roles of smart cities is to more effectively manage the mobility of people, objects and goods, making it a perfect playing field to examine the type of technical and social experiments carried out to achieve this objective.

Additionally, the Gramercy District development will include the launch of a coworking business accelerator run in partnership with the Center for Innovative Technology, which will bring in companies that advance technology around real estate development, where they can run test projects on their own smart city.

To read about a recent Vidsys smart city project, click here.

ASIS 2017: The Importance of Physical Security to Enterprises

With the start of the ASIS 2017 Conference, organizations from around the world will be turning to the top global security leaders to identify new ways to approach security within their business. While IT and cybersecurity threats are growing, it is important for companies to not neglect their physical security strategy.

Organizations with widely dispersed assets should be cognizant of the overall protection of confidential resources. Although many companies often focus on the technical and administrative elements of security, physical security is intended to protect the assets and facilities of an organization with the preeminent responsibility of safeguarding employees and facilities. Without protection from a physical security breach, all other security measures would be useless.

A couple of different factors can affect physical security, including unintentional natural disasters or intentional malicious groups. Natural disasters such as a flood or fire can destroy data or make it very difficult to recover, while malicious groups such as hackers, thieves or terrorists can lead to the misuse of highly classified information.

Attackers often have an easy opportunity to exploit data and gain unauthorized access to penetrate networks. To maintain strong physical security and help slow down criminals from bypassing layers of security, enterprises should consider:

  • Cameras
  • Access Control
  • Sensors
  • Building Management
  • Alarms
  • ID management
  • GIS Mapping
  • Perimeter security such as mantraps, fences, gates and turnstiles
  • Safe locks
  • Store backup devices in a secure place with authorized access only

As physical security becomes more challenging than ever with the increase in sensitive devices that make data much easier to steal, implementing a Converged Security and Information Management (CSIM) software platform can help organizations with a large physical footprint through geo-spatially aligning information and assets into a single user interface.

Vidsys software is programmed to identify and present potential situations for evaluation by the command center operator, and the organization’s approved con-ops are automatically provided on-screen to ensure compliance and swift resolution. So when a threat occurs, it can be resolved accurately, efficiently and consistently.

If you will be at ASIS this year, sign up to attend our Intelligent Global Security Operations Center demo with Micro Focus. Learn more and sign up here.

Micro Focus Guest Blog: Faster And Better Decisions With Real Threat Awareness

Vidsys is partnering with Micro Focus for our Intelligent GSOC at the ASIS 2017 Conference next week. As we count down to ASIS, we’re sharing this blog post from Joe Leung, Micro Focus Analytics Marketing Manager, about generating real-time, data-backed decisions in response to threats.

“If only I knew that” is probably one of the most dreaded phrases to be uttered. This is especially true in the world of security where the stakes could be unimaginably high. Decisions such as locking down a school campus, shutting down a major event, or closing an airport terminal are serious ones with significant consequences. These consequences vary as they depend upon how quickly such a decision is made, and how effective the decision is in mitigating the risk. The challenge is to get as much relevant information about the threat as quickly as possible. So how do we tackle this information trinity – comprehensiveness, relevancy, timing – in security decision making?

Comprehensiveness – Are we tapping into all the data sources available to us so a real understanding of the threat can be established? CCTV is a well-established source where a diversity (human, vehicle, scene) of images may be available for threat analysis. Are we taking full advantage of all these different types of images? What about audio sensors? Would the sounds of glass breaking, people screaming or gun shots indicate a higher level of threat? What about communications in public (protest organization in social media) or in private (threatening email messages)? Would these communications be another critical piece of the threat puzzle?

Relevancy – Find what truly matters from the noise in the face of massive volume of diverse data is daunting. While a truck parked illegally may just constitute a minor traffic infraction, if the license plate does not match the make and model of the truck, and the truck driver’s face matches a picture on a watch list, these three individual incidents collectively provides highly relevant information that may call for a security response, which could be very different from responses for the individual incidents.

Timing – In a world where every second counts, any delay may mean a rapid escalation of potential carnage and/or damage. While it is hard to argue against the need to get all the relevant data for an intelligent decision, the disparate data sources, the varying data formats and the tsunami-like data flow are overwhelming the traditional human operator centric surveillance systems. Not only does the system have to spot a real threat in real-time, it must be able to alert the appropriate parties so the responders don’t miss a beat in addressing the threat.

The partnership between Vidsys and Micro Focus (formerly Hewlett Packard Enterprise) is laser-focused on addressing ALL of the above in one joint solution so security operators don’t have to compromise on either speed or effectiveness of their actions. If you are attending ASIS 2017, please register here to attend a reservation-only briefing on the big data analytics powered Intelligent GSOC, and to meet in-person the architects behind the solution.

See the original post on the Micro Focus blog here, and if you’ll be at ASIS, make sure to sign up to come to one of our demos here.

ASIS 2017: 3 Steps to Create an Enterprise Security Risk Management Program

At ASIS, one of the key themes will be how global organizations can create an effective security risk management program. But where should they start?

Businesses today are faced with a multitude of risks due to the complexity of technologies, regulations, system vulnerabilities, security threats and more. As your company’s information flows through networks, applications, databases and servers, it must be readily available, free from tampering and confidential to those only with authorized access.

To manage this complex environment of information, installing an intelligent software platform can convert your large amounts of unorganized, unstructured data to valuable, actionable information through correlations based on time, location, duration, frequency and type. An enterprise security risk management program should have the ability to integrate to other systems and subsystems, so that the software enables users to focus on managing situations rather than managing disparate technologies.

When implementing an enterprise security program to benefit your entire organization, follow these 3 steps for a holistic approach to IT security.

1. Prepare for challenges

Vulnerabilities, risks and threats all pose potential complications and can serve as a source of danger to your company’s information assets. Weaknesses or flaws in the system can lead to a security breach and can exist not only in technologies, but in people and business processes as well, and risks, such as loss of network connectivity, can result in devastating outcomes for your business. To prepare for these challenges, list out and categorize pertinent threats, assess vulnerabilities based on potential impact to the company, and prioritize risks based on likelihood and impact.

2. Manage outside your business

An enterprise security risk management program often entails dealing with third parties like vendors and suppliers. It is crucial for businesses to select trustworthy third-party companies, as those with unsecure networks or corner-cutting practices can create vulnerability and subsequent security threats. Be sure to know what security measures these companies have set in place, list out all of the third-party companies your business deals with, and then prioritize based on information overlap and criticality.

 3. Enable security controls

Effective IT security includes non-technical controls set in place for management and operational protocols, and technical controls implemented as a safeguard incorporated into hardware, software and firmware. As CIOs begin to establish these security controls such as deciding which monitoring and filtering technologies to purchase, they must work with other parts of the company to make business decisions collaboratively as the technology will have an impact on employees and processes.

As an organization’s ecosystem of information grows increasingly complex, information security becomes a critical factor to the entire company. By implementing a strong enterprise security risk management program, your entire organization will benefit.

Want to talk with one of our in-house security experts? Come to our Intelligent Global Security Operations Center demo with Micro Focus. Learn more and sign up here.

ASIS 2017: Global Responses to Global Threats

During the ASIS conference this year, one of the panels will be focused on the importance of information sharing and collaboration among policing and intelligence community partners (federal, state, and local) to successfully combat terrorism and protect communities worldwide.

At Vidsys, we provide converged security for global organizations and major cities across the globe, and understand the importance of collaboration in protecting businesses and communities. While this panel specifically focuses on federal and state and local governments, we see an increasing need for enterprises to address global threats as well.

As companies expand regionally, nationally and globally, being prepared for global threats is crucial. See below for ways to heighten your organization’s security and create a strong base for organizational safety, efficiency and success.

Build a customized GSOC

A Global Security Operations System (GSOC) is designed to empower security personnel with a platform delivering ongoing prevention, detection, protection and mitigation of threats to a company’s virtual and physical assets. This system can uncover weak areas, respond to potential threats and address any incidents, virtually or physically, occurring within your organization. While many companies believe an advanced operations center is too expensive to actualize, organizations can lower risk, increase operational efficiency and situational awareness without a major cost increase through proper planning and technology.

Manage data

Converged Security and Information Management (CSIM) provides a central operations dashboard where decision makers can see their organization’s data in an intelligent way. This technology platform assembles a common operating picture of all organizational asset data. Through tailored rules and regulations, organizations can set boundaries for what should be flagged as a risk. Warning signs for risk often begin with unusual activity virtually on an IT system. By collecting data from disparate sensors, devices, systems and subsystems, software tools are able to identify patterns that are unusual on any monitoring or sensor device

Integrate systems

Security sensors and video footage can help keep an organization physically secure, but businesses can leverage powerful technology to integrate data and receive automated, intelligent information that cuts out the risk of human error and facilitates the security process, saving an organization time and money and increasing employee safety. CSIM gathers video data and other information from access control systems, sensors, alarms, ID management, GIS and other data sources to create situational awareness and provide appropriate actions.

Whether your organization is already a global entity or you are currently expanding, consider your company’s approach to your operations, data management platform and various system structures to ensure that your organization is ready for if – or when – a global threat might strike.

If you will be at ASIS this year, sign up to attend our Intelligent Global Security Operations Center demo with Micro Focus. Learn more and sign up here.

How Smart Cities are Gaining Momentum

Abu Dhabi was recently named the #1 Safest City in the world in a list of the top 9 safest cities. Vidsys has been supporting Abu Dhabi’s Monitoring and Control Centre (MCC) to deliver an Open Architecture solution utilizing the Vidsys Converged Security & Information Management (CSIM) Platform to interconnect all public spaces as part of the Safe and Smart City objectives for Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi MCC and its stakeholders utilize Vidsys’ real-time situation management software technology for security operations.

Future cities, safe cities, smart cities – regardless of what you call them – are beginning to realize the need for more intelligent systems to better manage their populations. Cities are getting smarter through using IoT, enterprise technology, and systems like Vidsys to help them achieve “smart” status. Here are three ways that smart cities are gaining momentum.

Making the most of data

A smart city’s physical security, IT systems, transportation and social media data sources must coexist and communicate in real-time to provide successful solutions. An integrated platform such as Converged Security and Information Management (CSIM) makes the integration of security sensors, IoT devices, artificial intelligence and metadata necessary for such coexistence possible. Data without meaning is useless, so making sure that data isn’t siloed – but rather is connected with other sources of data is crucial to begin building smart city solutions.

Building a public safety platform

The use of data must become fully integrated in real-time, representing a holistic picture of city operations. For example, Vidsys’ partnership with Current, powered by GE, helps cities establish an increased level of situational awareness by collecting and correlating real-time data through a smart city IoT sensor network that provides actionable intelligence. Obviously, there is a limit to how much a city can build, with only so many highways, parking lots, and driveways being possible. Transportation is one area in which smart cities can excel as a result of their digital capabilities. Constructing intelligent roads using sensors and traffic data to change basic elements, such as signal times, efficiently moves traffic in and out of smart cities.

Embracing Internet of Things technology

Everything generates data. A call to 9-1-1 is no longer the first line of information regarding an emergency – it often is first shared through social media and found through metadata. The utilization and integration of these numerous sources of data is necessary and can be more effectively utilized through connecting IoT hardware to a central hub. While many concerns are still present regarding the security of IoT, the transition to increasingly connected devices is inevitable and can provide immense value for city operations.

At Vidsys, we work with transportation, energy, utility, healthcare, and government organizations to collect, correlate, and convert considerable amounts of data into intelligent solutions, helping organizations and digitally-enabled cities become even smarter.

To learn more about our solutions for Smart Cities through a demo, click here.

 

 

 

 

3 Ways CSIM Supports Crisis Communications

When it comes to communicating during a crisis, timing is everything. The decisions an organization makes from when an incident starts to when law enforcement responds at the scene is crucial. That’s why it’s more important now than ever for organizations to lay the groundwork for an emergency plan that will enable intelligent decision-making if an incident occurs.

A key component of any emergency plan is effective communication and coordination – whether between different departments of a business or different agencies within a city or local government.

Converged Security and Information Management (CSIM) provides a central operations dashboard where decision makers can see their organization’s data in an intelligent way.

CSIM can interpret data from numerous data sources and send actionable insights to key decision-makers. This empowers organizations to minimize the amount of time it takes to sort through data, determine appropriate actions and respond.

Here are three ways that CSIM technology supports crisis communications:

Managing Data – CSIM technology brings together a common operating picture of all company and organizational asset data. Based on customized rules and regulations, organizations can set perimeters for what should be flagged as a “risk”. The first warning sign is usually unusual or unexpected activity, whether physically on your organization’s campus or virtually on your IT system. By collecting data from disparate sensors, devices, systems and subsystems, software tools are able to identify patterns that are unusual on any monitoring or sensor device.

Increasing Situational Awareness – Organizations can create a safer environment through the provision of a robust access control system.  The more secure a building is, the longer it will take for an intruder to enter the premises. Building in safeguards such as fewer entry access points, gated access to different parts of a building, RFID and in some cases biometrics, are all steps that building managers and companies should consider.

It’s also important to take a look at your infrastructure – both physical and IT assets – and ensure that the data from these devices is communicating to a central hub to create a 360° picture.

Integrating Systems – CSIM pulls together the video data along with other information from access control systems, sensors, alarms, ID management, GIS, and other data sources to create a holistic sense of situational awareness and provide appropriate actions.

While security sensors and video footage alone can help secure an organization, businesses can leverage powerful technology to integrate their data and receive automated, intelligent information that eliminates the risk of human error and facilitates the security process – saving your organization money, time, and in some cases employee safety.

If you’re interested in learning more about what a CSIM system can do for your business, you can visit our Vidsys CSIM solution page here.

Streamlining Smart Transportation Systems

Transportation executives face enormous challenges today as increased traffic and an increased number of people moving to cities has led to further congestion in urban environments. The reality is, there is a limit to how much you can build. There can only be a certain number of highways or a certain number of lanes in highways, so transportation officials and engineers are faced with the task of efficiently moving people and goods in and out of municipalities, cities and jurisdictions with little ability to increase physical capacity.

After considering a number of factors that could lead to improving transportation, officials are beginning to favor the development of intelligent transportation as a solution to the task at hand. The move towards an “Internet of Things” era, as a result of the sheer amount of data that we produce on a daily basis, is inevitable. Data is being generated by the public in massive quantities. Transportation officials are beginning to take advantage of filtering through this data to collect information and draw conclusions about how they can restructure or improve current systems and infrastructures.

In order to do this, transportation systems such as metro, trains, roads and highways must integrate sensors that capture traffic data and analyze this data effectively in operation centers throughout cities. Social media data must be analyzed as well to understand what is really happening on certain roadways, exits or side streets.

Transportation officials now have the ability to mitigate the risks involved with transportation through the effective management of data. This could include identifying areas where traffic lights are not performing as well as they should, areas where STOP signs should be installed, and monitoring crosswalk safety, among many other use cases. Intelligent transportation systems can flag risks such as vehicle accidents, subway fires or street flooding, and provide solutions to these risks. All of this leads to a more streamlined and effective urban transportation ecosystem.

Gathering all available data together in a meaningful fashion is a huge advantage for transportation centers and many of them are using our software to gain this advantage. Vidsys can actually convert data to allow first responders, operation centers and supervisors to immediately know what is happening near them so that they can make quick decisions on the spot.  Developing smart transportation in cities is a huge challenge, but it is undoubtedly the direction that we see transportation departments going.

Vidsys believes that we can be a serious asset to cities during this urban transition process by providing an affordable solution that integrates with legacy systems through a browser-based platform.

Read more about our CSIM technology solutions for city transportation here.