Tag Archives: Retail Sector

Connelly Security Systems Ltd boosts market share following AFA Fire & Security Ltd acquisition

A Glasgow-based firm has “become the premier provider of security solutions in central Scotland” following the acquisition of a security alarm business.

Connelly Security Systems Ltd (CSS) has acquired AFA Fire & Security Ltd of Bathgate in a seven-figure transaction. The deal has allowed CSS to increase its market share and boost its turnover to over £9 million per annum.

Serving both the commercial and residential sectors, CSS provides a comprehensive range of products and services which allow customers to fulfil all of their security requirements with a single provider. The CSS product range includes intruder alarms, fire alarms, CCTV, retail product tagging, access control and monitoring (all of which are supported by comprehensive service and maintenance support).

Handshake

The deal, which is supported by Clydesdale Bank Cashflow Finance, has also increased CSS’ customer base to over 25,000.

Paul Connelly, managing director at CSS, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to increase both the customer base and geographic coverage of CSS through the acquisition of a quality business which the vendors have developed over the last 18 years. I was delighted to receive the continued support of Clydesdale Bank, whom we have worked with for over 30 years, which enabled the acquisition terms to be agreed quickly and completion achieved in a short timescale. It’s an important milestone in CSS’ journey and we look forward to continuing to grow the business and enhance the service we can offer to our customers.”

CSS, which launched in 1986, is based in the Possil Park area of Glasgow and the acquisition sees its headcount increase to 130.

Mark Young, director of SME Cashflow Finance at Clydesdale Bank, added: “We have developed an excellent working relationship with CSS. Its ongoing commitment to delivering the optimal customer experience at every interaction is an approach that makes the company a successful business. The business has been involved in a number of acquisitions which have been successfully integrated into the CSS operating model. This has created strong sustainable cashflow enabling this sizeable acquisition to be funded through our Cashflow Finance offering.”

David MacKay, the previous owner of AFA Fire & Security Ltd, will continue to be involved in the business in the short term to ensure a smooth transition. The acquisition will not result in any reduction in workforce.

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Veracity set to join partners at BETT 2017 as education sector demands reliable and long-term storage of HD video

Veracity – a leading provider of innovative and intelligent solutions that solve real-world IP video challenges in transmission, storage and display – has just announced its inaugural attendance at the BETT Show.

The BETT Show takes place between 25-28 January at London’s ExCeL, and is the largest education technology event in Europe. By partnering with Kingsfield Computer Products Ltd on Stand G372 and Kent CCTV & Data Ltd on Stand E370, Veracity will show visitors from schools, colleges and the further education world that choosing to use higher definition cameras to record in much greater detail is now perfectly possible by dint of using the company’s award-winning surveillance storage product COLDSTORE.

Depending on the environment and the use of open platform cameras, it’s also possible to reduce the systems’ overall total cost of ownership by recording direct to COLDSTORE from the cameras, cutting out the additional hardware, VMS licence and energy costs of NVRs.

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Alastair McLeod: Group CEO of Veracity

“No longer need you worry about reducing the recorded resolution from your cameras to conserve hard disk space,” explained Alastair McLeod, Group CEO of Veracity, to risk and security managers operational in the education sector, “or recording in high definition for short periods only. Security teams looking after retail centres are already realising the benefits of being able to record continuously in high definition, enabling them to retrospectively interrogate CCTV footage in greater detail than previously possible.”

McLeod added: “COLDSTORE’s recording design, which uses only two hard disk drives at a time in a mirrored overlapping pair sequence, extends the life of those disks considerably and reduces system energy consumption by around 90% when compared to similar-sized RAID systems.”

Veracity’s transmission products will be available for visitors to view. These include the industry-benchmark HIGHWIRE family of products, enabling the latest IP cameras to be installed over legacy coax networks without re-cabling and associated business disruption.

Also of interest will be the POINTSOURCE Wireless solution, which enables security installers to locally view IP cameras on a smart phone during installation

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Milestone Systems and Community Partners deliver high profile retail surveillance solution across Middle East and North Africa

Milestone Systems, the developer of open platform IP VMS, has delivered a flexible and scalable surveillance solution for Majid Al Futtaim’s multi-site operations across the Middle East and North Africa. The solution integrates Best-in-Class technologies from Community Partners.

As a fast-growing business, Majid Al Futtaim realised that managing large camera networks and risks across multiple sites and countries posed several challenges. First, the outdated analogue surveillance infrastructure was in need of being modernised. Second, the sheer size of the operation, with multiple sites across several countries and more than a thousand cameras at some sites, had to be addressed.

Following a comprehensive vetting process, Majid Al Futtaim chose a state-of-the-art security and video surveillance solution in order for the business to remain at the forefront of operating safe and secure retail and leisure environments.

The Milestone XProtect Corporate VMS permits Majid Al Futtaim to operate the entire surveillance solution from a single management interface in the UAE. Being able to access all the sites from one location enables the operations team to co-ordinate surveillance and management efforts across those sites. Other relevant parties can also leverage the information directly from mobile clients, in turn enabling more efficient safety operations.

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Top-of-the-range Axis Communications cameras and Pivot3 hyper-converged server infrastructure guarantee the host business lives up to Government regulations. iCetana’s dynamic live monitoring system helps offset the challenges of actively monitoring the large camera networks and enables a real-time assessment and response capability.

Operational costs related to the hardware, servers and cameras have been reduced from 23% to 7%. Real-time response capability helps make overall security operations more effective by immediately identifying risks. Today, there are approximately 10-12 incidents actioned per 300 cameras.

“We are honoured Majid Al Futtaim has chosen Milestone as its primary VMS and we look forward to continuing to support them now and into the future,” enthused Peter Biltsted, director for the Middle East and Africa at Milestone Systems.

“iCetana is proud to provide ongoing support to Majid Al Futtaim throughout the MENA region, and also to be part of Milestone’s Partner Community as key components of Majid Al Futtaim’s video surveillance infrastructure,” added Stephen Bose, head of business development at iCetana.

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IFSEC International 2016: Smart Zone launched by UBM

IFSEC International organiser UBM has announced the new Smart Zone exhibition and feature area for the 2016 event, which takes place at London’s ExCeL from 21-23 June.

Security systems and services are playing increasingly vital roles in building automation which makes IFSEC a strategically significant platform to present current technologies and research to the market.

The IFSEC Smart Zone will concentrate on two key areas. #ifsecsmarthome will focus on the burgeoning home automation sector which will provide installers, integrators, housebuilders, housing professionals and architects with an opportunity to see and experience the latest in home automation technologies from leading suppliers such as Texecom, Y3K, Paxton Access, Yale and LILIN.

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#ifsecsmarthome will come to life as an actual house located at the centre of the exhibition area wherein visitors can meet and discuss the systems’ capabilities with suppliers and trial the technologies on offer. Exhibitors will be able to showcase their products and solutions for all visiting IFSEC professionals with an interest in the home automation sector.

Jason Hill, group vice-president at LILIN, stated: “IFSEC is embarking on an exciting new path with the introduction of #ifsecsmarthome as it’s an area of significant growth on the global stage. The integrated home is very much a reality today and represents a tremendous opportunity for progressive installers and integrators. With security consistently reported as the key driver for home automation, we feel this is the logical direction for IFSEC to move in. We feel we’re well placed to centrally support IFSEC with this new feature.”

#ifsecsmartbuildings for 2016

On a larger scale and of direct relevance to the commercial, public and residential sectors alike, #ifsecsmartbuildings will look at how a fully connected building provides cost and efficiency benefits to building managers.

#ifsecsmartbuildings will take the form of an interactive display showcasing a full range of integrated building management solutions. The feature will highlight integrated solutions aimed at property management, retail, transport, the utilities and energy, providing visitors with a complete overview of how real-time networked smart solutions interact and deliver tangible business information.

In addition to the IFSEC Smart Zone feature areas will be the Smart Zone Theatre which will provide free learning and development seminars focused on home automation and smart buildings. The programme will be delivered by a range of leading experts and concentrate on key areas such as the Internet of Things, systems integration, business intelligence, building information management, cyber security and a series of highly relevant Case Studies.

Continuing evolution of the show

Gerry Dunphy, event director for IFSEC International, explained: “The IFSEC Smart Zone is an important part of the show’s continuing evolution as we look to present new and diverse applications of security products and services as vital aspects of building management systems. #ifsecsmarthome will promote exciting developments in home automation that will be of direct interest to installers looking to supplement their range of services. For its part, #ifsecsmartbuildings will present integrators, consultants, architects, facilities directors, civic authorities and building owners with key solutions to make their assets more sustainable, productive and cost-effective.’’

IFSEC International will once again be presented as part of UBM EMEA’s Protection and Management Series, the UK’s largest event dedicated to protecting and managing property, people and information.

The series incorporates major events including FIREX International, The Facilities Show, Safety & Health Expo and Service Management Expo.

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The Risk UK Interview: Kevin Waterhouse (executive vice-president at VCA)

Over recent years, VCA has achieved significant success promoting its analytics as an OEM edge-based solution which can be incorporated into other manufacturers’ IP cameras and devices. No less than 250,000 video channels worldwide are now using the company’s analytics.

VCA has now launched its own brand of IP network devices and software. Here, Kevin Waterhouse (executive vice-president for global sales at VCA) explains to Risk UK the thinking behind this bold step of introducing a new range in a marketplace that’s not short of manufacturers competing for the attention of installers, systems integrators and end users.

Risk UK: Until now, your business model has been based on offering the VCA analytics platform as an OEM solution. What has motivated you to change direction?

Kevin Waterhouse: We remain committed to offering our analytics technology as an OEM solution. Customers can be assured that our long-term strategy includes plans to work closely with an increasing number of manufacturers of surveillance cameras and other devices, as well as Video Management Software (VMS) providers, to ensure this important part of our business will continue to grow.

However, what we have embarked on is a twin-track approach whereby VCA will also directly support systems integrators to help them generate new revenue streams by supplying them with ‘out-of-the-box’ analytics built into the VCA brand of IP network devices.

Kevin Waterhouse of VCA

Kevin Waterhouse of VCA

Risk UK: What are these new revenue streams to which you refer? 

Kevin Waterhouse: The new revenue streams relate to the opportunity to provide end users with intelligent video surveillance solutions that can do so much more than just deter or detect criminal activity. The analytics incorporated into the new VCA range enhances our ability in the video monitoring sector to reduce false alarms and improve detection.

It also opens up the opportunity to gather reliable and verifiable data to help a diverse range of businesses and organisations such as banks, casinos, hospitals, educational establishments, retailers and hospitality venues achieve a greater understanding of the behaviour of people who work at or visit their premises.

The technology is capable of capturing metadata that can be graphically displayed in customisable reports to provide marketing, Health and Safety, Human Resources and other operational departments with the information they need to achieve their business objectives.

By dealing directly with systems integrators, we’ll be able to ensure that they benefit from the extensive knowledge and expertise of our pre- and post-sales support teams such that they’re equipped with the necessary tools and have the confidence to be able to offer the full benefits of VCA to their clients.

Risk UK: Can you give us some examples of how this will help your new customers generate new revenue streams? 

Kevin Waterhouse: The analytics built into the VCA devices will enable them to offer their clients added value from their investment in video surveillance systems and, if they wish, offer the cameras as part of a ‘Security as a Service business model. We intend to work closely with a hand-picked network of customers to help them profit from this model and, in the process, offer tangible benefits to their clients. 

In the retail sector, for example, with training and support from VCA, systems integrators can offer their clients the opportunity to increase productivity with less staff, improve customer satisfaction by minimising delays at check-outs or identify the best times and locations for product promotions.

These are just a few goals that can be achieved with very little effort with the help of devices featuring VCA analytics. It also provides security personnel with a powerful tool to detect and combat theft and other criminal activity. 

Risk UK: There are now a large number of other analytics solutions available for customers. How does VCA stand out from the crowd? 

Kevin Waterhouse: ‘User friendly’ may be an overused phrase, but it is in fact an accurate description of VCA analytics. The significance of this should not be underrated, as there’s a perception in the marketplace that analytics can be difficult to implement and use.

We will be adding to the user friendliness of our analytics over the coming months with a new dashboard graphical user interface which will make it even easier for any business to view both real-time and historical business intelligence.

VCA analytics has also established a reputation for being highly accurate and, when employed for intruder detection purposes, has a very low rate of false alarms. This is particularly important in outdoor environments. Here, false alarms continue to be a major issue for organisations who need an effective perimeter protection solution to detect intruders.

It’s now taken for granted that HD cameras from any reputable manufacturer should be able to capture evidence grade images. However, our on-board video analytics significantly upgrade the capability of VCA cameras which, for this type of application, should perhaps be better described as ‘Intelligent Video Detectors’.

In this respect, they provide a great opportunity for VCA installers, remote monitoring centres and end users to work in harmony when it comes to reducing the time-consuming and costly impact of false alarms. It’s just another excellent example of how VCA can support the supply chain by generating new revenue streams while at the same time providing end users with a robust and reliable solution.

Risk UK: You’ve spoken about the new devices carrying the VCA brand, but you also mentioned VMS providers. Can you expand on this part of your strategy?

Kevin Waterhouse: Sure. In addition to our edge-based devices, we’ve developed a server-based software tool that will make the integration of our VCA software very quick and with little CPU overhead. The software can be added to either Linux or Windows-based software.

We already have a number of VMS clients embedding VCA and expect many more to follow along with PSIM, access and intelligent building software providers. In addition, we will shortly be launching a new device which will allow VCA to be added to any IP camera providing an RTSP stream.

Risk UK: So is VCA not developing its own VMS?

Kevin Waterhouse: Absolutely not. We have a very good relationship with the leading VMS providers and have worked closely with them to develop our VCA software tool. However, we have now released some application-specific software to support our edge devices. Ucountit, for example, is our cloud-based Business Intelligence service and Utrack is a unique auto tracking software tool. Both have been introduced because we believe it’s important to provide application solutions that fully exploit our analytics technology.

Risk UK: So you have new products and new services, but will you have sufficient resources to directly supply and support these systems integrators? 

Kevin Waterhouse: We will not hesitate to continue investing in HR to ensure that our pre- and post-sales services more than match any increase in sales. It’s already the case that we have a strong technical support team in place and have recently recruited three seasoned security professionals to ensure that we can support customers worldwide.

Gary Mercer has joined VCA as UK sales manager while Ami Paz is our new business development manager for Israel and Çağlan Dilber has been appointed business development manager for the MENA region.

Ian Young has also joined the EMEA team to drive the software and applications developments and business.

All four have extensive global experience in the design and implementation of analytics applications across many different market sectors. Recently, we’ve extended our US team. There’ll be more news on this in the near future.

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Axis Communications introduces F34 Surveillance System for retail and office sector end users

Axis Communications is now offering a cost-efficient, four-camera surveillance solution for the retail and office markets. The Axis F34 Surveillance System comes with all the necessary hardware and software for a complete and integrated remote video monitoring and management solution.

The Axis F34 Main Unit adds to the company’s flexible and modular F Series. “We’ve focused on putting together a smart and efficient solution that’s easy to install and use,” explained Erik Frännlid, director of product management at the Lund-based company.

“Everything that’s required for a video surveillance system is in one box. Business receive a highly discreet, four-camera surveillance system with easy and secure remote monitoring and management, even from mobile devices.”

The Axis F34 Surveillance System includes one F34 Main Unit with an external power supply and four thumb-sized F1004 Sensor Units that can be discreetly recessed or surface-mounted on ceilings and walls using the included accessories. Also supplied are two Axis Surveillance microSDXC Cards 64 GB (with SD card adaptors) specifically engineered to handle continuous overwriting for lasting performance.

The cards are compatible with the F34 Main Unit’s built-in SD card slots for local storage of recordings and enable the system to run independently without the need for an external PC or a recording device for day-to-day operation.

Another important component of the system is the use of the freely downloadable video management software – namely Axis Camera Companion 3.10 – for easy and secure remote monitoring and management from any device with the software application.

The system operates efficiently with two Axis 64 GB cards that allow one-to-two weeks’ worth of video recording to be retained before overwriting takes place. Recording and storage are optimised thanks to smart programs and technologies in the Axis’ F34 Main Unit and Axis Camera Companion 3.10 that enable:

*Automatic configuration of the F34 Main Unit for recording based on video motion detection

*Support for Video Motion Detection 3, a video analytics program that has a false alarm filter to ignore motion such as swaying trees and small animals such that it can reliably detect moving objects of interest

*Axis’ Zipstream technology: a more efficient implementation of the H.264 video encoder that can lower bandwidth and storage use by an average of 50% or more for many surveillance scenarios

Divided network camera concept

Axis F34 is part of a series of products based on a divided network camera concept whereby the camera is split into a sensor unit (made up of a lens and image sensor with a cable) and a main unit, which is the body of the camera. The cable connects the sensor unit with the main unit and affords security installers the flexibility to mount the small sensor unit discreetly or in tight places, while the main unit can be placed elsewhere where there’s space.

Four-channel main units such as the Axis F34 can connect to four sensor units at any one time.

With the Axis F34 Surveillance System, the four F1004 Sensor Units can be installed in four different indoor locations up to 15 metres away from the F34 Main Unit. Since F1004 supports 720p resolution, the main unit can simultaneously stream full frame rate HDTV 720p videos from the four connected sensor units through its one Ethernet port.

When the F34 Main Unit is used with 1080p F Sensor Units, the main unit can stream 1080p videos at 12.5/15 frames per second (50/60 Hz) or 720p videos at full frame rate (25/30 fps) from each channel. F34 also supports quad view streaming, which combines four separate views from the connected sensor units into one for simultaneous viewing.

Besides Axis’ Zipstream technology and Video Motion Detection 3, the F34 Main Unit supports active tampering alarm and third party applications based on the Camera Application Platform. The main unit can be powered using PoE or an external power supply.

*For instructional videos and more information about the Axis F Series visit: www.axis.com/products/axis-f-series

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