Seven Hot Technologies
 
Seven Hot Technologies

Sep 1, 2003 12:00 PM
BY JAMES GOMPERS jgompers@gtdgrp.com

Remarkable advancements in the world of security technology seem to happen every day. Let's look at several fast-moving technologies that are becoming smarter, more sophisticated and better adapted to today's integrated environments. The following developments are shaping the industry as a whole and will have a profound impact on the way organizations operate.


  1. IMAGING

    One of the newest and most exciting developments in security technology comes from ! no surprise ! the video surveillance market. Several companies are focusing on true digital imaging by placing an analog-to-digital (AD) converter on each pixel of the imager itself. They have also created pathways for each of these ADs to the processor instead of using a common pathway that once had to be either PAL or NTSC. By using this new imager, the camera can accommodate both video formats. By having an AD on each pixel, the need for cross-pixel saturation is eliminated. This means light can be adjusted at the pixel level, removing the need for auto-iris lenses in some applications. Because digital zoom at the pixel level is also possible, resolution and zoom capabilities are far superior to system-based digital zoom. What's more, the imager has undergone a dramatic increase in its dynamic range, thus improving image quality in areas with variable lighting conditions.
  2. ENTERPRISE-LEVEL STORAGE

    A real need exists today for enterprise storage systems that can accommodate both IT and security requirements. A search for longer and more reliable video storage has even led some of the biggest and best players from the IT world to look to the security market for solutions. Among the advancements in the field of security is IP-based video surveillance, an enterprise solution that uses a company's network and Internet technology to transmit and store images. This hot technology is not only propelling the DVR industry; it is also helping to drive the convergence of IT and security.
  3. BIOMETRICS

    Biometric technology is also receiving a lot of attention lately, and it is gaining widespread adoption in airports, businesses and even public places. More and more people are starting to realize that the technology ! based on unique physical identification ! is far more advanced than traditional forms of security. Two areas of promise in the realm of biometrics are fingerprint identification and iris recognition. Fingerprint-based identification, the oldest biometric technique, is one of the most effective ways to determine a person's identity. This type of identification is very good for verification applications and it is also relatively inexpensive.

    Fingerprint identification may be the oldest technique, but iris recognition ! the process of determining the accurate identity of a person based on the pattern of his or her iris ! is perhaps the most accurate biometric today. Because the iris is a protected organ and iris patterns are random, scanning is a reliable method of authentication. This type of identification offers high levels of protection, low probability for false positives and has a relatively easy enrollment process.
  4. MIDDLEWARE

    Although middleware is also a very hot item these days, the security industry has yet to understand and embrace its full potential. A relatively new term, middleware enables applications and systems to interact in a heterogeneous systems environment. It allows applications, information and functionality to be accessed easily and smoothly across different system architectures, communication protocols and networks. For a multi-location, multi-system solution, middleware increases operational effectiveness with the use of a unified graphical user interface (GUI), which helps to control, administrate and monitor all locations and all systems. Middleware also performs highly complex behind-the-scenes automation in an effort to improve efficiency and provide better data.
  5. SMART CARDS

    Smart cards are among the newest and most exciting phenomena in the world of IT. Whether they are used in medicine, banking, transportation, telecommunications or security, these intelligent tokens are changing the way business and our daily lives are conducted. Roughly the size and shape of a credit card, smart cards contain a microprocessor that stores and transmits electronic data. Because smart cards restrict access to all but the authorized user(s), they are of particular interest to organizations that want to physically secure property and personnel at the same time. Data encryption provides an additional layer of security and makes it the ideal format to identify and protect vital information.
  6. CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL DETECTION

    Since the terrorist attacks, there has been a big push to develop fully integrated chemical and biological detection solutions. On guard at all times, these solutions enable organizations to take immediate protective measures against chemical or biological agents. More and more access control manufacturers are quickly realizing the importance of detection systems in today's security environment and are beginning to integrate these solutions into their building control and management suites. These comprehensive systems are now able to shut down air handlers, contain contaminants and help evacuate personnel.
  7. RADIATION DETECTION SENSORS

    The ability to detect and measure dangerous radioactive material is becoming increasingly critical in today's society. In response, companies are developing comprehensive radiation detection systems to prevent nuclear or dirty bombs from reaching their target(s). Port authorities are currently installing and using more radiation detection sensors in an effort to better protect U.S. shores. It is possible that these systems will eventually be implemented at almost every entry point into the United States. Organizations that may be a target or in danger of radiation exposure should look into this technology to help mitigate risk and liability.


Technologies at Work: Hospitals Overwhelmed

It's no surprise that hospitals have a number of critical assets needing protection, including patient records, proprietary information, computing devices and medical equipment. But when it comes to developing and implementing an effective security strategy, the health care industry often falls short.

A number of health care facilities have invested heavily in data and network security solutions, including encryption, firewalls and biometrics. While these technologies certainly help to protect critical data and prevent unauthorized network access, they should not be a hospital's only safety net. In an effort to protect sensitive data, hospitals should also consider physically securing storage areas, offices, pharmacies and other areas with network access.

Equally important, hospitals should develop proper plans and procedures to prevent unauthorized access to high-risk areas; however, tracking a high volume of people over a 24-hour period may prove difficult. One approach might be to enforce that visitors check in after hours, wear a smart card visitor's badge and remain only in the area(s) they are intended or allowed to be, restricted by secured doors and access control readers. This will help security personnel keep better track of who's coming and going from the facility.

Another issue hospitals need to consider is keeping the air safe and clean. Because a number of facilities perform ongoing testing and research, there is always the slight chance of inadvertently contaminating the public. In an effort to make sure this does not happen, hospitals should consider integrating chemical, biological and radiation detection systems with HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning) systems to contain any possibility of cross contamination. This is also a good preventive measure against acts of terrorism.

The good news is: More and more health care facilities are stepping to the plate and integrating advanced solutions into their environments in an effort to provide enhanced security to their patients and personnel.

James Gompers is founder of GOMPERS TECHNOLOGIES DESIGN GROUP INC. and Gompers Technologies Testing and Research Group Inc. He has more than 20 years of expertise in the security industry as a consultant from the end-user perspective. This is another in a series of columns he is writing for Access Control & Security Systems. E-mail him at jgompers@gtdgrp.com.

 
  • 17" Color Flat Panel TFT-LCD Quad Monitor Observation Systems w/ 4 Cameras
  • B2B security: At the new TidePoint Corp., physical security is a key component
  • MONITORS THE OLD, THE NEW, THE FUTURE
  • Las Vegas show biggest ever
  • Security at READER'S DIGEST
  • Hidden Camera Detector helps you locate hidden cameras.
  • Listen up!
  • Anti Surveillance Bug Scanner - Detect Hidden Cameras
  • Tailoring access control to fire codes
  • Applications: Miami Airport uses ADT technology
  • VIDEO'S (R)EVOLUTION
  • Cheap Security Camera