Tag Archives: Europe

Next Generation Networks is focus of Euralarm Task Group Forum

The Europe-wide transition of traditional (ie PSTN) telecom networks towards all-IP communications networks that’s in different stages is having a significant impact on alarm signalling systems across countries. With this in mind, Euralarm’s Task Group on Next Generation Networks is now focusing on that transition.

Euralarm members the British Security Industry Association (BSIA) and the Fire Industry Association are hosting a high-profile forum on how changes to the UK telecommunications network may affect the fire and security industry. The event will be held on Thursday 15 March at the offices of UBM in central London and offers the opportunity to hear from the experts about what the impact of the transition will be.

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Euralarm’s Task Group is also running a Workshop prior to the conference. To be held the day before, the Workshop is centred on developing an understanding of progress around Next Generation Networks across Europe. Members of the Task Group will consider what guidance and direction is of value to industry members and their customers going forward.

Euralarm members and other stakeholders and interested parties are invited to participate in the open forum, while the Workshop is for Euralarm members only.

More details about the Workshop can soon be found on the Euralarm website. Further information on the forum is available on the BSIA’s website.

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ATG Access research shows Brits welcome more armed police at public events

Over one third of the British public want to see more armed police at public events to make them feel safer in light of recent terror events. According to new research, 36% of Brits are calling for more armed officers to patrol public events, such as music concerts, and 57% would like to see more security officers on duty around event locations.

The survey of 1,000 people, conducted by ATG Access, found that almost half of the public will not let recent terror attacks stop them from enjoying organised events, 39% would feel more at ease if the Emergency Services were on site and easily visible.

It’s not just visible front line service personnel that will help alleviate fears this year. 44% of people would now like to see visible security measures – such as bollards and barriers to separate crowds from nearby traffic – put in place to prevent possible vehicle-borne attacks.

Almost half (48%) of the public surveyed would welcome bag searches and 33% think metal detectors should be used at event entrances to spot suspicious behaviour. Further, 41% of respondents would like to see more CCTV and flood-lighting to help monitor festive events and public areas.

The study was conducted as part of ATG Access’ ‘Protecting the Future of Multi-Functional Cities’ Report, which looks in detail at how cities in Britain are being transformed into bustling multi-functional spaces, and the obstacles that are preventing public events from taking place.

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Gavin Hepburn, director at ATG Access, informed Risk UK: “With the increasing number of terrorist attacks that have taken place across Europe, tensions have understandably been heightened. The general consensus among the public seems to be that they’re not going to let the threat of terror ruin their spirit, but there are still some concerns around security and safety at public events.”

Hepburn added: “Brits are now calling on the authorities to implement more visible security measures, such as more armed police on our streets and physical solutions like bollards and barriers to protect public events. The most important thing to bear in mind is that these measures must not create a ‘fortress mentality’. While the public may feel safer knowing that security is being improved, solutions shouldn’t incite more fear and should enable people to enjoy the event. There are robust physical solutions now available that can blend in with their surroundings so that they’re almost invisible.”

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Europe is the world’s top tourist destination… but are tourists safe?

Worldwide, tourist travel is on the rise. Indeed, international tourism actually dwarfs any other type of leisure business in terms of growth. One of the global regions benefiting the most from this trend is Europe: the world’s first tourism destination.

Central to the dynamism of European tourism is accommodation: hotels, B&Bs and online-rented space, but due to a loose legislative framework for safety, which is rapidly becoming obsolete as our habits as tourists evolve, hotels might also become European tourism’s Achilles’ heel.

Of all the dangers posed to a tourist’s safety in a European hotel, fire remains the biggest. Currently, the legal basis on the matter is a 1986 EU Council Recommendation on fire safety in hotels. Since EU Recommendations are, by their very nature, non-binding legal acts, this has resulted in mainly localised and incomplete measures. Fast forward 30 years later, and it’s clear that the Recommendation has had limited effect on hotel safety in Europe: a fact acknowledged by hotel federations and consumer associations alike.

The main issue is that local self-regulation resulting from the EU Recommendation hasn’t guaranteed an even level of safety across the EU. Enforcement varies considerably from country to country, and even from city to city, including in the same region, and largely depends on the size of the hotel. All-too-often, small hotels are less well scrutinised, and somewhat more ill-equipped than bigger ones to deal with fires. Local laws frequently link the number of rooms with compliance to the Recommendation.

Global trends

An analysis of global trends in tourism shows that, as our tourist habits evolve, the risk resulting from the current situation increases: more and more travellers choose to go ‘off the map’ opting for smaller hotels rather than big chains. This new type of tourist also tends to visit exactly those countries where safety in hotels is less controlled.

Add to this the relatively unregulated development of increasingly popular online ‘homestay’ networks, such as Airbnb, and you have a flammable cocktail. The situation seems to be calling for a fast reaction.

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The most recent attempt to initiate binding legislation on tourism accommodation safety arose in October 2015. A Resolution of the European Parliament called for a consistent European approach around risks related to fire. Reactions to the Resolution from various Brussels-based influencers highlighted a novel situation. All parties involved – ie consumer associations, hotel federations and Euralarm, the European Trade Association representing the electronic fire and security industry – now seem to agree that a legally binding EU Directive would be the right solution to address the issue.

Industry-led survey

Unfortunately, the initiative derailed due to a lack of reliable supporting data. The exact level of risk existing for the flows of tourists travelling to and inside Europe remains a question mark.

Outside of empirical observations, statistics on safety in tourism are notoriously hard to come by, with reputational issues hampering self-reporting. An EU Commission-initiated data collection programme launched in 2008 resulted in a blatant failure.

The focus now is on a survey led by the industry, rather than the EU. Among others, Euralarm has asserted its readiness to help with new data collection efforts. The organisation has also offered to provide support and expertise to the EU Institutions and the CEN-CENELEC European standardisation platform for the development of the relevant legislation and necessary standards needed to improve fire safety in hotels.

Progress in European legislation and standardisation is often slow unless the issue makes it to the news headlines. In 2004, after a number of tunnel fires with resulting casualties, the EU Commission was forced to publish a Directive on tunnel fire safety. Should we wait any further before adopting a Directive on tourism accommodation safety?

Time to act

Any failure to act quickly could lead to another cost for Europe. As tourism is now more globalised than ever, competition becomes fiercer, and parts of the world with more stringent and well-established regulations for safety in tourism accommodation might hold a key advantage.

In the United States for example, a Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act has been in place since 1990. Potential future incidents resulting from poor regulation could hit Europe’s tourism industry particularly hard. Its reputation as a safe destination has already taken a blow due to recent terrorist attacks.

Tourism is one of the engines of the European economy and an important source of jobs. Eurostat reports that one-in-ten non-financial enterprises in Europe belong to the tourism industries, and that these 2.2 million enterprises employ an estimated 12 million people. That’s more than one-in-five of individuals employed across the services sector.

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TDSi reports 25% increase in export market visitors to its stand at IFSEC International 2015

Reporting a 25% increase in export market visitors to its stand at IFSEC International 2015, integrated security solutions developer TDSi believes this reflects the continued and rapid expansion of the global security market. Interest at the show also indicated a continued customer demand for fully-integrated solutions rather than just security components.

Post-event, TDSi’s managing director John Davies told Risk: “IFSEC International is a great barometer of the state of the security sector. It was obvious from this year’s event that the market has become truly globalised, with a sizeable increase in visitors travelling from other regions to see the latest and best solutions that the security sector has to offer.”

Davies continued: “I’m also pleased to say that the feedback we had from visitors is that our own approach to fully-integrated security systems is essential in the post-recession market. Rather than just purchasing security products, the evolving security consumer wants intelligent, flexible and comprehensively integrated systems. These are exactly what TDSi offers and continues to research and develop.”

The international nature of the event also confirmed assumptions on the geographical markets’ strengths and weaknesses. “In comparison to China, South East Asia and the Middle East,” urged Davies, “the European market has somewhat plateaued, partially due to a degree of uncertainty still looming over the Euro Zone. In the UK, TDSi is benefiting from a healthy upturn in the market and we anticipate a very healthy growth figure of 10+% this year. This may be partially due to having a new majority UK Government and thus a stable business environment for the next five years, in contrast to the situation that’s pertaining in Europe.”

TDSi's stand at IFSEC International 2015

TDSi’s stand at IFSEC International 2015

Security, IT and building control systems

Davies also explained to Risk UK that the demand for security systems designed to work with IT and buildings control systems is rapidly becoming truly global in nature.

“Security operators and consumers have become very well versed in what’s possible,” he said, “largely because of the rise in trends such as the Internet of Things. They now demand this flexibility from all of their technology purchases. These are exciting times with real optimism and increased funding. For their part, providers need to stay on top of demand and offer the very best solutions in what continues to be a highly competitive and ‘savvy’ buyers market.”

There was also a noticeable increase in the volume of new visitors at IFSEC International, as TDSi’s product and marketing manager Sarah Phillips observed during the show (which ran from 16-18 June at London’s ExCeL).

“IFSEC International has always been an excellent opportunity for security solutions providers, installers, integrators, consultants and end users to make contact,” stated Phillips. “That was very apparent this year. IFSEC remains an ideal platform to reacquaint with both existing partners and customers.”

Phillips added: “Many end users approached our team for advice. Naturally, we’re very keen to preserve the channel structure of our business so we do actively refer customers to our partners, but equally this gives us a greater insight into the needs of security operators. This kind of detail is invaluable for our business and product development streams.”

One of the main themes on TDSi’s stand at IFSEC International 2015 was a demonstration of the considerable benefits of using the company’s solutions in conjunction with those produced by other specialist manufacturers, among them Texecom, Milestone Systems, ASSA Abloy and SimonsVoss.

Sarah Phillips (centre) with Team TDSi at London's ExCeL

Sarah Phillips (centre) with Team TDSi at London’s ExCeL

This year, visitors took particular interest in TDSi’s new range of readers (including MIFARE Plus, DESFire and NFC technologies for added security and flexibility) as well as the enhanced web access portal for EXgarde.

In conclusion, Phillips explained: “Visitors are always excited to see brand new products and the readers are one of the staple lines in our product portfolio. IFSEC International is one of the highlights of our year and, with our continued success at the show, that situation will remain so for many years to come.”

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