Tag Archives: Utilities

Scottish tech firm creates ‘ZIVA’ robotic solution for security and agriculture inspections

Edinburgh-based Casta Spes Technologies has unveiled a new robotic security vehicle offering security and inspection solutions across multiple sectors including agriculture, energy/utilities and construction.

Named ZIVA, the multi-terrain, high-performance robot saves 92% on the cost of a manned patrol by combining autonomous navigation with multiple software add-ons, such as licence plate recognition and threat classification. ZIVA was designed to reduce the cost and time associated with false alarms, using its dynamic and flexible nature to cover blind spots, which can be a major drawback with static cameras.

ZIVA provides 360-degree CCTV coverage and can be driven remotely or set to automatically patrol specified routes using multiple sensors and autonomous navigation.

ZIVA is the first product from Casta Spes Technologies, set up by 24-year-old graduates Selby Cary and Michael McDonald. Designed using funding from pre-seed tech accelerator Seed Haus and Scottish Enterprise support, it’s currently deployed onsite with several companies including West Coast Capital Properties.

L -R Selby Cary and Michael McDonald co-founders

Selby Cary (left) and Michael McDonald pictured with their ZIVA solution

Cary, the CEO of Casta Spes Technologies, completed a Masters degree at Heriot-Watt University, which is known for its robotics research and teaching. He explained: “It’s estimated that the perimeter security market will be worth over $197 billion by 2022, with the global market for surveillance robots expected to reach $10.2 billion by 2025. This is a massive growth industry.”

He continued: “ZIVA works by analysing the images it sees, allowing it to take on important perimeter security roles in remote areas or locations with limited infrastructure, such as warehouses, industrial properties and construction sites.”

Leader in robotic technology

Cary believes Scotland has already demonstrated that it’s a leader in robotic technology and development. “Scotland is fast becoming the robotics capital of Europe with the National Robotarium under construction in Edinburgh and the city playing host to some of the world’s leading robotics experts. We believe Scotland’s capital is the ideal springboard from which to launch ZIVA. Furthermore, the terrain and weather conditions are ideal for testing. Once we knew we had something that could work in the Scottish weather, we were confident we could make it work anywhere.”

Able to reach speeds of 19 km/h and capable of tackling rough terrain, including gravel and long grass, ZIVA overcomes many of the challenges faced by competitor robot security vehicles due to its innovative design. It can also provide a range of agricultural functions, such as checking crops for disease or monitoring livestock.

ZIVA’s mechanical design combines multiple innovations in one platform. Its dual-wheeled system means it has a greater payload capacity, offers energy efficiency and can overcome rough terrain without becoming stuck. ZIVA’s flexible and modular design means that clients can customise it to their own requirements, thereby providing an affordable, real-world solution to their remote security needs.

Casta Spes Technologies plans to deploy more units into the field shortly and will launch a suite of software add-ons and data analytics plug-ins to enhance ZIVA’s CCTV capabilities over the next 12 months.

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New wave of UK universities adopts SafeZone solution from CriticalArc

UK universities including the University of Greenwich, the University of South Wales, the University of East Anglia, the University of Manchester and the University of Central Lancashire are adopting CriticalArc’s SafeZone service for improved campus security.

With more than 25% of universities now using SafeZone across the UK, it has grown from being an innovative technology deployed by pioneering institutions to become a mainstream ‘must-have’ solution for the higher education sector.

SafeZone addresses key challenges for universities by enabling students and staff alike to quickly and easily reach their campus safety and security teams and by allowing first responders to respond to calls for assistance up to 50% faster.

It improves the safety, security and well-being of students and staff, both on campus and off, and raises security team preparedness for a full range of events they may face, including major incidents. SafeZone enhances student satisfaction as well as student well-being and is now helping universities to succeed globally as they work to attract and retain students with safer and more welcoming learning environments.

University Building

Through its advanced Command and Control software, SafeZone OmniGuard enhances team efficiency, with real-time situational awareness making it easier for command teams to see and co-ordinate resources to address incident ‘hotspots’. Safezone also supports heat mapping to enable patrol pattern optimisation and improves workplace Health and Safety, serving as a powerful lone worker solution.

Expanding the team

Announcing the latest wave of adoptions, CriticalArc confirms that it’s also expanding its team with the appointment of two new customer success managers. They will work closely with system users to spread Best Practice, provide support and help deliver maximum benefits from SafeZone.

Sean Edge takes on this important role for CriticalArc in the UK, while Karl Palma will be working with customers in Australia.

Darren Chalmers-Stevens, managing director for the EMEA and APAC regions at CriticalArc, stated: “With the number of SafeZone users now expanding rapidly, we’re investing not only in developing the technology and its capabilities, but also in delivering and sustaining high-level customer support for our growing network of users.”

In tandem with its success in the higher education sector, SafeZone is also being adopted increasingly in other key areas including implementations in the critical infrastructure, transport, utilities, Government and healthcare sectors, with rapidly developing markets in the US, Australia and, indeed, globally.

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Axis Group hosts Institute of Customer Service Breakfast Briefing for CEOs

Axis Group hosted an Institute of Customer Service Breakfast Briefing for CEOs during October’s National Customer Service Week, with the event specifically designed to bring UK business leaders together and engage them in the importance of customer service for their organisations.

CEOs attended from sectors ranging from housing and construction through to tourism and the utilities. Themes discussed included how to develop and implement a vision for the UK as a global service leader, how organisations can connect customer service and satisfaction measures to bottom line business performance, what skills and competencies are required in the Boardroom and accountability and reporting.

Challenges faced by the UK’s service industry, such as Brexit, cyber security, Artificial Intelligence, skills shortages and the growing powers of customer review-centric websites were discussed, alongside the growing importance of trust and reputation.

Axis Group joined as a member of The Institute of Customer Service last year and is currently working towards The Institute’s ServiceMark accreditation – the national standard for measuring an organisation’s service levels and commitment to continuous improvement.

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Jo Causon, CEO at The Institute of Customer Service, explained: “A huge Thank You to the Axis Group for hosting our latest CEO Breakfast Briefing event. The debate highlighted the importance of a focus on customer-centricity at Boardroom level and the improvement in business performance this brings. At a time of even greater uncertainty, a sustained approach towards delivering an exceptional customer experience has never been more important.”

Jonathan Levine, Axis Group’s CEO, responded: “The event provided some fascinating insight. We were shown the clear and measurable benefits of investing in customer service in terms of retaining business and customer recommendations, as well as the link between an engaged workforce and excellent customer service. Customer service and focusing on our employees being our greatest asset is key to our business strategy. We must always seek to mitigate the challenges that our industry faces.”

The Institute of Customer Service is the leading independent expert setting and upholding the necessary standards to enable its customers to improve their business performance through service. By supporting members in transforming customer service and professionalism within their organisations, the organisation’s aim is for customer experience to make a positive and sustained impact on individuals, organisations and, indeed, the economic well-being of the UK.

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Cable-free access control solutions specialist LOCKEN celebrates 15 years of innovation in security sector

LOCKEN was established in 2003, combining the knowledge and expertise of its three founders: Arnaud Flecchia, Roland de la Chapelle and Stéphane Conreux. Those founders have “transformed” the business of access control thanks to breakthrough technology based on intelligent keys and user-friendly software, bringing to market a solution that required no wiring or maintenance. This was a remarkable leap forward that has fully benefited security provision for major telecoms, energy and water distribution infrastructures, where isolated and sensitive external sites are the norm.

In 2004, just a year after the company was established, the LOCKEN key was sending its data via a remote device directly connected to the system. Awarded the Trophée de l’Innovation in 2007, LOCKEN picked up the pace of innovation from then on.

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In 2009, the company released the LOCKEN Web Request software application, a complementary module improving co-ordination of the activities of technicians on sites. 2014 saw the advent of the MyLocken application and new customised services were developed around access control. 

The following year, the application took on a new dimension in order to meet the specific needs of customers with customised functions, such as authorisations, declarations of presence on site and reporting of anomalies, combined with new technologies like beacon and RFID.

In 2015, LOCKEN completed development of the software application termed LOCKEN Smart Access (LSA), the first multi-technology access management platform, making it a major breakthrough that would emerge as the cornerstone of its future strategy since the system was now capable of controlling different types of identifiers such as keys, badges and smart phones.

Last year, LSA’s ergonomics were upgraded to a more graphic approach in line with new practices using applications like Google Maps.

LOCKEN15Years2

Over time, major companies in the transport industry, banking and local Government sectors have followed the lead of multi-site companies and turned to LOCKEN for assistance, attracted by its “customer business line optimisation” philosophy.

In 2016, the merger with Italian manufacturer ISEO opened up new avenues and the contactless key with a Bluetooth module arrived on the scene. More efficient and more secure, it has allowed LOCKEN to build leading-edge equipment into its offer.

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JB Corrie accreditation sees fourth company approved to install ArmaWeave

A fourth company has now been accredited to install ArmaWeave, the approved high-security perimeter fencing system manufactured by Zaun. Specialist fencing installer JB Corrie has committed to training its site operatives in the installation methods for ArmaWeave developed by Zaun over time to make best use of the solution’s high-security woven fabric.

Impressed with the versatility of the system, JB Corrie is now installing the Zaun mesh on several security sites.

The company joins expert installer Allen Fencing Limited, systems integrator Crime & Fire Defence Systems and premier prison fencing installer Binns Fencing, a Zaun subsidiary, as an approved installer.

Contracts director Norton Welch said: “We’re delighted to have received this accreditation and look forward to working closely with Zaun to install its security products in the future.”

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JB Corrie’s contracts director Norton Welch (centre) and senior sales and estimating manager Luke Ryan (left) receive their accreditation to install ArmaWeave from Zaun’s sales and marketing director Chris Plimley

The company – which has been in business for over 100 years and is now in the ownership of the fourth generation Corrie family – installs integrated perimeter protection systems for high security applications and boasts military bases, utilities, power stations and airports among its clients.

Zaun established the installer scheme after increasing requests from customers to recommend contractors with suitable installation, quality and safety standards.

Panels can be raked

ArmaWeave is produced on the world’s largest steel loom at Zaun’s West Midlands manufacturing base. It boasts properties that give it distinct advantages against more traditional welded mesh systems, such as panels that can be raked to accommodate slopes. Therefore, installers require the necessary skill sets to set this up.

The wire of the panels has a tensile strength typically more than double that of welded panels so special methods are needed for cutting the panels during installation.

Zaun trained JB Corrie’s installation teams on the properties and tolerances of ArmaWeave and how it’s manufactured. The training is for ‘fencers’ with proven experience in high-security fencing work who are sponsored by a company that can demonstrate its professionalism through membership of a relevant trade organisation and valid UKAS-accredited ISO 9001 certification.

The certificate of training is only valid while the individual is working for the host company. This ensures that trained individuals are working properly under quality management to install the product.

With its partners, Zaun hopes to increase the adoption of ArmaWeave as the standard for secure sites of Critical National Infrastructure – such as the utilities, Data Centres and nuclear sites – while ensuring consistent installation quality.

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Zaun develops SR3 fencing for Critical National Infrastructure applications

A high-security fence for rail and other Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) applications that resists sustained attack with specialist power tools for more than five minutes has been developed by steel mesh fencing manufacturer Zaun.

Zaun has received a revised Certificate of Product Approval from the Loss Prevention Certification Board to include its brand new CorruSec SR3 approved to Security Rating 3. The fencing system incorporates corrugated HiSec 3-5-10 mesh sandwiched between further panels of HiSec 3-5-10, a special welded steel wire fence panel similar to the type of mesh usually used for prison fencing, whose name is derived from its mesh size: 3″ × 0.5″ × 10 gauge.

The original concept was the idea of Zaun co-founder and director Alastair Henman and has been developed by R&D manager Adam Christie. Christie explained: “Alastair conceived the design by looking at the construction of cardboard, in particular the corrugated kind and how the corrugated element created a much stronger three-dimensional material. We started experimenting with a corrugated mesh centre section to give fencing greater rigidity and increase its thickness without adding much to the material content and weight in order to counter the kind of tools attackers might use.”

ZaunSR3Fencing

CorruSec SR3 has been subjected to sustained attack by testers from the Building Research Establishment wielding a range of hand and power tools, yet they couldn’t breach the CorruSec SR3 in less than five minutes.

The fencing system is manufactured to BS 1722 Part 14 and is approved at heights from 2.4 metres to 6 metres above the ground, in ground or base-plated options.

Each individual panel features a 76.2 mm x 12.7 mm mesh configuration with 3 mm horizontal and vertical wires. The corrugated section is pressed to approximately 100 mm in depth. All three layers are bolted together using bolts fixed into place in a grid pattern throughout the combined fence panel.

CorruSec SR3 provides good through visibility for use with CCTV cameras, while security toppings can be added to suit.

Alastair Henman explained: “The current specification for CrossRail stations is a ‘5-minute fence’, so we set about seeing if we could create a viable product. Across our customer base, operators of CNI are upgrading their most sensitive sites given  the heightened fear of terrorist threats and advances in technology.”

As well as rail applications, SR3 fencing is ideal for protecting assets at water utilities, oil and gas compounds, Data Centres and other CNI sites.

 

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Abloy UK advises companies to secure remote sites in wake of record £20 million fine for Thames Water

Abloy UK is advising companies to secure remote sites and minimise the risk of substantial fines by dint of using innovative new access control technology. This advice comes in light of the recent record fine of over £20 million given to Thames Water for polluting the River Thames with 1.4 billion litres of raw sewage.

Thames Water was functioning with reduced operational resources, in turn resulting in unmanned sites. When alarms were raised signalling issues, they were not attended to immediately – including one being ignored for 37 hours*.

Abloy UK suggests that a system such as PROTEC2 CLIQ with CLIQ Connect could prevent these kinds of events from happening by allowing access to be granted remotely, such that incidents can be dealt with on a swift basis.

AbloyUKCLIQWater

PROTEC2 CLIQ allows for the remote management of disparate or large electronic master-keyed sites, provides audit trails on locks and padlocks and allows lost or stolen keys to be invalidated, in turn assuring secure key management at all times.

CLIQ Connect enables PROTEC2 CLIQ keys to be activated through a smart phone using Bluetooth 4.0 technology, offering flexibility, time-saving and ease of use of remote access control. The system is ideally suited to organisations that have a number of engineers and contractors visiting remote sites, and offers a solution for many different sectors including defence, the utilities, telecoms, transport, education and healthcare.

Steve Wintle, head of Critical National Infrastructure at Abloy UK, said: “We can see from the example of Thames Water that businesses can be under resourced. This is often how mistakes and accidents can happen. Investment in a system such as CLIQ Connect could have saved a business such as Thames Water a significant fine, not to mention the cost of negative publicity and the impact this could have on share price. By de-centralising the authentication of access, the system can act as a secondary confirmation. Access and actions can be double-checked, thereby preventing costly incidents such as this one from occurring.”

*http://www.henleystandard.co.uk/news/home/107177/thames-water-fined-record-20million-over-sewage-leaks.html

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