Risk management and crime deterrent solutions developer The SmartWater Group has announced the appointment of Baba Devani as CEO. Devani becomes the first externally appointed CEO in The SmartWater Group’s near 30-year history.
The SmartWater Group comprises a broad portfolio of integrated security solutions that enable customers to predict, prevent and detect criminal activities. In addition to the traceable forensic marking liquid for which the company first became known, its capabilities span real-time crime analysis, rapidly deployable video surveillance and solutions for access control and intruder detection.
With operations in the UK and Europe, the Group services hundreds of clients in sectors spanning critical infrastructure, construction, retail, leisure and hospitality, transportation and industry.
Backed by The SmartWater Group’s majority shareholder Freshstream and a refreshed senior leadership team, Devani will be responsible for driving the continued strategic growth and geographical expansion of the business.
Critical business services
Previously the CEO of Survitec Marine, a global leader in critical safety equipment, Devani brings more than 25 years’ experience in critical business services and has held leadership positions at organisations including Berendsen, British Airways and Babcock International.
Devani commented: “I was immediately drawn to The SmartWater Group because of its excellent reputation and the unparalleled levels of knowledge and customer focus that exist within the business. I’m passionate about leading a business whose growth is achieved through providing peace of mind to our customers and communities.”
Andrew Tyler, chairman of The SmartWater Group, added: “We’re very much looking forward to seeing how Baba seizes upon the opportunities that lie ahead to expand our geographic reach, further develop our offer and serve our customers even better and faster.”
Comelit-PAC has appointed Peter Kernachan to champion training in its Manchester office, facilitating new opportunities for customers to build on their knowledge of Comelit-PAC products and services.
Kernachan is evolving his role in the team at what is an exciting time for Comelit-PAC, which now stands as an all-encompassing provider of door entry, IP access control, CCTV and compliant fire safety systems.
Importantly, Kernachan has built up a significant product knowledge since joining the PAC company in 2013 after having worked for 29 years in the electronics servicing industry. He can now apply his knowledge to Comelit-PAC and the development of new training opportunities.
Investment in the future
Kernachan informed Security Matters: “Training is an investment in the future of not only our own business, but also those of our customers. As a company, Comelit-PAC is committed to establishing a way forward and forming partnerships, while also recognising the time pressures faced in today’s market. It will be my duty to be involved in the opportunity to create a portfolio of courses designed to support growth.”
Further, Kernachan observed: “Each of our products and services offers unique features and possibilities for different market sectors. My role is designed to ensure courses can be developed and tailored to suit different requirements dependent on projects. It’s also about making sure that our sales and technical team members are ready to offer advice for every stage of a works schedule.”
Steve Riley, division director at Comelit-PAC, noted: “I’m pleased to see Peter’s role evolve to support our training opportunities. The skills acquired from his previous position within the company will allow him to curate courses that are individually designed to support and meet the needs of our customers, both new and existing.”
Riley concluded: “This is yet another step forward in Comelit-PAC’s continuous development as a company. Our objective is to be ‘With you always’ for our customers. I’m sure Peter will make a significant contribution to our future business development.”
A recent review conducted by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has found that some challenger banks have significant weaknesses within their financial crime controls and need to improve how they assess financial crime risk.
The review, which was conducted during 2021, has revealed that, in some instances, challenger banks did not have financial crime risk assessments in place for their customers. It also identifies a rise in the number of Suspicious Activity Reports reported by challenger banks, in turn raising concerns about the adequacy of these banks’ checks when taking on new customers.
The review focused on challenger banks that were relatively new to the market and offered a quick and easy application process. This included six challenger retail banks, which primarily consist of digital banks, and covered over eight million customers.
The review did find some evidence of good practice, for example when it comes to the innovative use of technology to identify and verify customers at speed.
Cyber crime on the rise
Sridhar Iyengar, managing director at Zoho Europe, commented: “Today, cyber crime and fraudulent activity is rapidly on the rise with more sophisticated episodes taking place all over the world. It’s no surprise that challenger banks are being impacted, but being able to verify customers at speed is no use if suspicious activity is being missed. As it stands, money launderers are still able to evade detection by capitalising on the shortfalls within a banks’ technological infrastructure.”
Iyengar continued: “There are many new features that can help make systems more secure or raise red flags early. Companies including banks can now benefit from the likes of Artificial Intelligence-based systems to help identify potential fraudulent activities. Immediate action can be taken and customers will remain sheltered from risk.”
Further, Iyengar stated: “In highly competitive markets such as banking, having modern IT systems in place can make a real difference in terms of providing business value and positively impact customer trust and the customer experience as a whole. For market challengers, this is even more important.”
The growing cyber risk, coupled with the growth of hybrid working, which can potentially add further security risks, makes it imperative for all businesses to assess their current IT systems.
Iyengar concluded: “Keeping operations secure, efficient and compliant with regulations is a different endeavour to what it was just a few years ago, and demands that all organisations modernise their IT systems such that the latter are fit for purpose in the post-COVID business landscape.”
Sarah Pritchard, executive director for markets at the FCA, said: “Our three-year strategy highlights our commitment to reducing and preventing financial crime. This is important in terms of creating confidence for consumers and market participants in financial services and in demonstrating that the UK is a safe place in which to do business.”
Pritchard concluded: “Challenger banks are an important part of the UK’s retail banking offer. However, there cannot be a trade-off between quick and easy account opening and robust financial crime controls. Challenger banks should consider the findings of this review and continue to enhance their own financial crime systems in order to prevent harm being done by criminals.”
Mul-T-Lock’s high-security MTL500 patented cylinder system has been installed by MB Locks across hospitality suites and stands at Headingley Stadium as part of Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s investment programme designed to achieve strict Test Match cricket and Super League rugby dual criteria.
Headingley Stadium is a double-faced sports stadium that works seamlessly for both Yorkshire County Cricket Club and the rugby league club Leeds Rhinos.
The jointly-owned stadium is undergoing a significant £50 million investment programme over a 20-year period, which itself involves architects and designers co-ordinating over security requirements at the location.
From the initial design process, Mul-T-Lock has worked in partnership with EM-B – part of the MB Group – in the role of technical design consultant for door hardware, checking on compliance across the premises with a keen focus on hospitality and stand security in order to bring the project together.
To date, over 250 MTL500 cylinders have been installed on a master key suite, providing high-security protection and flexibility to accommodate the different access control requirements across the stadium complex.
Meeting the standards
Rob Oates, commercial director at Headingley Stadium, explained: “We continue to invest a significant amount of money to ensure that Headingley Stadium meets the strict criteria for both Test Match cricket and Super League rugby. We need to ensure every level of detail is commissioned to be as secure as possible both now and into the future, with no compromise when it comes to aesthetics and finishing styles.”
Oates continued: “Together with Mul-T-Lock, MB Locks demonstrated the advantages of MTL500. I’m particularly impressed with the flexibility of the master key system and its ability to incorporate all of our key access requirements. The MTL500 master key suite is now installed in the stadium’s hospitality areas and stands. Pleasingly, there has been minimal disruption to the dual ground operations.”
Mul-T-Lock’s MTL500 is the first cylinder in the UK to be supported by a key authorisation magnetic strip card. This card must be presented to a registered MTL500 locksmith before any additional keys can be supplied to ensure very tight control when it comes to key duplication.
Philip Goldberg, managing director of MB Locks, informed Security Matters: “Headingley Stadium presents something of a unique challenge, as both the Leeds Rhinos Rugby League Club and Yorkshire County Cricket Club have very different needs and requirements for the project in terms of security, accessibility and aesthetics. We worked on both sides of the stand including boxes, changing rooms, hospitality areas and concourses.”
Goldberg continued: “The benefit of working with Mul-T-Lock is our long-standing relationship, meaning that the specification could be quickly translated by the technical and sales team to design a master key suite, using MTL500 as a protective opportunity to meet the requirements. This solution can provide the ultimate in security, delivering a high-quality access control system with a huge number of usable combinations.”
Lee Mitchell, Mul-T-Lock’s regional sales manager, stated: “The specification for Headingley Stadium, and notably so for the hospitality areas, was exceptionally high. There had to be very high levels of security and access control for corporate and players’ entrances.”
Mitchell added: “Mul-T-Lock worked with EM-B Locks to deliver a tailor-made solution that could accommodate the different access requirements, all without compromising on aesthetics or security. The solution operates from the high-protection MTL500 master key system to offer strict levels of patent protection throughout the dual stadium premises.”
ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK and Ireland has unveiled its new website, which boasts a fresh design, updated content and a streamlined experience for users of the platform.
The easy navigation makes it simple for users to find an access control solution that’s right for their organisation and project, with support and advice just a few clicks away. Users are able to quickly find the information they need, with dedicated areas for ‘solutions’, ‘services’ and ‘stories’.
Alongside a general overview of the products available from Opening Solutions, there are solutions recommended for different situations, such as fire safety and inclusive design. The website also features industry-specific information for sectors including healthcare, education and transport.
Kevin Campbell, sales director at ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions UK and Ireland Door Group, said: “Opening Solutions has the most complete and comprehensive range of doors and ironmongery available to the construction sector, and our new website has been designed to showcase the solutions available. It’s not just doors we offer, though. As a global leader in access solutions, we provide the most comprehensive range of door products including mechanical and electromechanical locks, master key systems, architectural hardware, door controls, door sealing systems, access control solutions and more.”
Campbell added: “We work closely with clients, architects and contractors to provide tailored door set solutions based on individual project requirements. We want our website to be the first stage of the customer journey, opening the door for us to work together and assist in any way needed.”
ASSA ABLOY Openings Solutions offers a complete service from specification, consultation and product and standards training right through to the supply and installation of products and an aftercare service encompassing fire door inspections, maintenance and repair functions, all of which can be seamlessly connected to support the golden thread ethos through the BIM application, namely the Openings Studio.
Global trade body the International Hologram Manufacturers Association (IHMA) has welcomed a new European Union report that paves the way towards “significant” opportunity and growth for anti-counterfeiting and security devices such as holograms.
The IHMA has commented on the Intellectual Property Crime Threat Assessment Report for 2022 by the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and Europol. According to this document, piracy and counterfeiting continue to pose a serious threat to the European economy as well as people’s health and well-being. Imports of fake and illicit goods reached a value of €119 billion in 2019, which represented 5.8% of all goods entering the Eurozone.
More than 66 million counterfeit items were seized by EU authorities in 2022 – “a staggering amount”, according to the IHMA – as pharmaceuticals, food items, cosmetics and toys (among other goods) were targeted by criminals and counterfeiters looking to cash in on unwary consumers during the pandemic.
However, accessories and luxury products remain among the most prevalent categories for counterfeit goods, suggests the report, while spare parts and alcohol are also seen as being at high risk.
The pandemic has been lucrative for the trade in counterfeit and pirated products, says the IHMA, and criminals continue to see opportunities as global supply chains and economies re-adjust in the post lockdown economic and social landscapes.
The trade body is calling for additional pressure to be applied by manufacturers, brand owners, Government authorities and law enforcement to increase investment in anti-counterfeiting technologies to help stem the tidal wave of fake products flooding into the EU.
Security devices on packaged goods can ensure quality and check the distribution and smuggling of illicit products, while items not displaying security holograms can be seized and destroyed.
Commenting directly on the EUIPO and Europol report, IHMA chair Dr Paul Dunn has stated that the ongoing ‘war’ on counterfeiting is a hard one to win and that efforts should never slacken.
He noted: “Holography has a key role to play as an effective and highly flexible weapon in the ongoing battle to thwart counterfeiters and fraudsters. All involved in the supply chain will be reassured by the presence of holograms on products and recognise the benefits they provide.”
Dunn continued: “The use of authentication solutions, as advocated by ISO 12931, enables examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from fake products emanating from counterfeiting ‘hotspots’ in Asia and eastern Europe. Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if that item carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.”
Advice for traders and enterprises
Dunn also points to the fact that the EUIPO’s Anti-Counterfeiting Technology Guide outlines advice to help traders and enterprises understand the main types of anti-counterfeiting technologies such as electronic identification, digital security devices and tracking tools.
“With counterfeiting on the rise,” he concluded, “there’s never been a more pressing need for the enforcement authorities to work together effectively, preferably with IP crime returning to become a priority in the fight against international crime. However, companies both large and small also need to maximise their protection against fakes by taking advantage of the numerous technical solutions out there to protect ownership rights and supply chains.”
Vemotion Interactive, the UK manufacturer of low-latency, high-performance, ‘plug and play’ live video streaming solutions for systems integrators and OEM solutions providers, has appointed Chris Connor in the role of channel partner manager.
Connor will be supporting the UK market in his new role, with a focus on generating new business in the public sector and the Emergency Services sector, delivering detailed end user system specifications and expanding Vemotion’s system integrator partner network.
Across 19 years of security industry experience, Connor has served as senior business development manager at Dedicated Micros, regional sales manager at
Avigilon/Motorola and in international senior roles at DeView (EMEA) and The Security Centre (Caribbean and the USA).
“I plan to assist blue light verticals and local authorities to combat a wide variety of challenges, including fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour, using Vemotion low-bandwidth streaming technology to help create cleaner environments and safer communities, while introducing high-value revenue streams for our integration partners,” explained Connor. “I look forward to bringing my wealth of experience and expertise to my new role and becoming a key member of the Vemotion team.”
Connor continued: “It’s great to be joining Vemotion at what is such an exciting time in the company’s growth and evolution. I cannot wait to share the benefits of Vemotion’s streaming products with existing and new partners, explaining how the company’s wireless video transmission solutions can provide unrivalled performance even in the most challenging of locations and conditions.”
Steve Haworth, CEO at Vemotion, responded: “We’re delighted to be welcoming someone of Chris’ experience to the Vemotion team. He will be a great fit for us. He joins a company with a continual commitment to delivering high-quality streaming video technology, combined with constant innovation of efficient video surveillance solutions and first-class customer support.”
*For further information about Vemotion’s encoders, servers, software viewers and deployable Polecam cameras visit www.vemotion.com
Abloy UK has launched its Digital Access Solutions Academy: a purpose-built facility designed to showcase the company’s extensive range of products, with a particular focus on new digital solutions and ecosystems.
The new Digital Access Solutions Academy is a very important and exciting milestone in the ongoing development of the comprehensive training and Continuing Professional Development offer from Abloy UK.
Education has been a critical focus at Abloy UK since it first launched the Abloy Academy back in 2008. The latter is now widely regarded as a Centre of Excellence for education within the industry.
The company recognised there was a need to create a new area of the Academy for its growing customer base in order to focus specifically on Abloy’s expanding range of digital access solutions.
Ian Miller, manager of the Digital Access Solutions Academy at Abloy UK, explained: “The first focus of training at the new facility centres around our Incedo access control product range, and is aimed squarely at security engineers and sales teams.”
He continued: “I truly believe people learn best by doing something, so the training is designed to be hands on and shows trainees how to specify and install access control solutions as well as support customers.”
Miller concluded: “Digital access solutions is a relatively new area for Abloy UK. My ultimate goal is to have a variety of training courses on our whole portfolio, equally benefiting our customers and Abloy UK.”
The City Security Council and the City of London Police have announced the launch of a new joint communications platform called CityINTEL that allows real-time incident information to flow rapidly between the latter’s Joint Command Control Room and the former’s members who are based in the City of London.
CityINTEL is a cloud-based, purpose-built platform that will be managed by the City of London Police Joint Command Control Room controllers. It has been tested over a period of months, with registered City Security Council members adding relevant security information about the buildings they operate to the platform to allow the Joint Command Control Room controllers visibility of the most appropriate individuals to whom they will send incident information as it becomes available.
Information can be targeted to individual buildings or by geofenced areas and used for broadcasting more generally to City Security Council members when an incident occurs, while Council members can send communications platform relating to a specific incident or a new incident back to the Joint Command Control Room.
The Corporation of London is also a signed-in partner to the platform with the expectation that other City-based organisations may join in the future.
Two-way information sharing
Ashley Fernandes, chair of the City Security Council, informed Security Matters; “Allowing the two-way sharing of information between the police and our security officers on the ground will not only help us to react and support the Emergency Services in times of need. It will also ensure that our responses are co-ordinated and robust. The platform will not add an unnecessary layer of communications because it has a specific use, such as advising on counter-terrorism threats or protests occurring, while allowing us to inform the police immediately of any issues taking place within the City of London.”
The new platform was officially launched by City of London Police Commissioner Angela McLaren who pushed the button to send the first communication from the platform to City Security Council members.
McLaren stated: “Working closely with our communities and security partners across the City is an important way for us to gather intelligence and share information that enables faster crime detection and prevention. We are constantly striving to find new and innovative ways in which to improve our processes. The introduction of CityINTEL affords us an opportunity to engage with our contacts on the ground more efficiently.”
Further, McLaren noted: “This new tool sends a distinct message to those with criminal intent within the Square Mile. We have a multitude of partners ready to act as our eyes and ears and report any instances of wrongdoing or suspicious activity. If you’re looking to commit crime in the City of London, you will be caught.”
Powering this game-changing initiative is Zinc Systems’ core product SYNAPSE, a globally recognised major incident management platform (and which has been branded ‘CityINTEL’ for this project). The platform is integrated with a supporting mobile smart phone application that allows City Security Council members’ security personnel to quickly alert the City of London Police Joint Command Control Room’s operators of live incidents as well as affording police officers the ability to push targeted messages to specific locations and stakeholders included on the platform.
Sophie Malone, commercial director at Zinc Systems, commented: “Our mission is to help organisations protect what matters. CityINTEL will deliver a safer City of London through an innovative approach to the management of incidents and the sharing of intelligence. Using powerful analytics, the platform will provide all the tools that the City of London Police Joint Command Control Room needs in order to gather, analyse and communicate data quickly, as well as deliver two-way communication with security teams, in turn helping everyone involved to be more prepared, take instant control and respond more effectively to events.”
*The City Security Council is a community interest organisation that represents a collective of premier city security companies with the specific purpose of improving incident responses by security companies in the City of London in times of major crises. For more information visit www.citysecuritycouncil.co.uk
Qognify, the provider of video and enterprise incident management solutions, has launched its new video management software Qognify VMS. Qognify VMS is designed to meet the specific physical security needs of organisations around the globe. It’s based on the proven technology of Qognify’s successful video management software Cayuga, which is used by many customers in thousands of security projects worldwide.
As a true next generation VMS, Qognify VMS combines the powerful core of an enterprise-class VMS with added values such as low total cost of ownership, business process support, advanced ecosystem integrations and cloud readiness.
One of the key requirements of modern video surveillance systems is flexible deployment options. While many organisations still rely on keeping sensitive data and systems on-premise, others are moving towards a corporate ‘cloud first’ strategy, which also includes physical security applications. For this reason, Qognify VMS allows the storage of video data in the cloud. That enables customers to keep the hardware footprint small, scale storage space quickly and benefit from the advanced resiliency of cloud technology.
Benefiting from the cloud
Steve Shine, CEO of Qognify, explained: “While cloud-based physical security solutions have been on the rise in smaller and medium-sized businesses for some time now, the adoption rate in enterprise organisations has been slower due to more complex system environments and demanding infrastructure requirements. However, rapidly evolving technologies and increasing network bandwidths are beginning to leverage the usage of cloud in this segment.”
He continued: “This is why we are now launching Qognify VMS with advanced cloud storage capabilities. At the same time, we’re working on further solutions that will enable customers to benefit even more from the advantages of cloud technology in the near future.”
In order to make on-premise deployments as easy as possible for partners and customers alike, a wide range of turnkey hardware solutions is available for Qognify VMS. The built-to-spec servers minimise the risks in planning, ensure optimal performance, accelerate roll-outs and allow for one-stop sourcing. All units are supplied with a comprehensive five-year warranty to protect the investment for years to come.
Physical security strategies
Qognify VMS helps organisations maximise the outcomes of their physical security strategies. One of the key elements to achieve this are its powerful, bi-directional integrations with many other solutions such as access control, intrusion detection and video analytics.
According to Steve Shine, this is only the first step for Qognify VMS to leverage the potential of a physical security ecosystem. “Our goal is to further increase the value for our customers by bringing our physical security and enterprise incident management applications even closer together,” he informed Security Matters, “for an improved situational understanding and an even faster and more targeted response.“
Compared to Cayuga, Qognify VMS comes with a number of significant improvements, one of them being the optimisation of web technologies used in the product. Carsten Eckstein, product owner Qognify VMS, commented: “With our decision to make Qognify VMS ready for the cloud, the requirements to process and display web-based content in the product are growing. For this reason, we have decided to fundamentally overhaul a number of technologies such as the built-in browser component in order to enable an even more seamless user experience for future integrations.”
Three product packages
For the EMEA and APAC, Qognify VMS comes in three product packages that reflect the typical requirements of different project profiles.
While Qognify VMS Basic covers the needs of smaller and less complex surveillance projects at a very attractive price, the flexible Advanced package is designed for larger and more complex projects.
Finally, the Infinity package fulfils all true enterprise requirements and includes a multitude of features at no additional cost.
Qognify Cayuga customers are entitled to upgrade to Qognify VMS at no extra cost if they hold an active SMA.