Safety in the Wake of COVID-19: How Technology Can Get You Back to Work

As mandatory lockdowns end and the American people prepare to slowly return to their normal routines, businesses across the country have become concerned about precautions they need to take to create a safe workplace. No business can survive without its workers, but an outbreak at the office, warehouse, or hospital ward can mean even more downtime and a potential shutdown. After months of slow or no business, it could be an existential threat. Not only that, if a worker or customer ends up getting sick and believes the company was too lax in taking precautions, they might pursue legal action. There can be other, less obvious issues as well. Tensions are running high, for example, increasing the likelihood of physical confrontations in offices, store aisles, warehouses, waiting rooms and hallways.


Mass Notification Simplified: Automated 2-Way Discreet Messaging

One of the biggest problems in dangerous scenarios, such as active shooters, natural disasters and medical emergencies, is communication. How do you get word to the other side of a building or campus to let others know of the danger, so everyone has time to escape or find shelter or a hiding place? Until now, primary options for communicating dangerous events – other than running down the hall in person – were phones (voice or text), email, two-way radio and panic buttons, each activated separately, by different people. The time lag, exposure to human error and incomplete coverage could be, to put it delicately, deadly.

Now, thanks to a new ability to easily combine technologies and automate plain-language mass messages, the risks of dangerous events have been decreased. Lynx’s Duress and Emergency Notification System is saving lives and it leverages your existing infrastructure reducing the costs.


The Key Differences Between Unified Security and Integrated Security

The inception of electronic security systems began in a world of card access and analog CCTV deployments, where the system operations, although straightforward, were fragmented and siloed. There were one set of monitors for video surveillance, another for card access and so on down the line depending on the complexity of the security solution. IT departments were smaller, and typically the equipment provider was heavily relied upon for service and support.


Facial Recognition Software is Not as Scary as You Think

It’s amazing how many imagined technologies from old science fiction books and movies are becoming realities these days. Recently, one of these “future-world” technologies exploded into tangible present-day prominence: facial recognition. As intriguing as the technology is, there is definitely controversy centered around facial recognition preventing many from taking advantage of its benefits for crime mitigation. In some cases, hesitation to utilize facial recognition could potentially cost lives. The purpose of this writing is to provide reassurance and guidance to those considering a facial recognition solution, and by doing so provide you with information to help you to move forward with confidence.

In this article, we would like to dispel a few myths surrounding security-based facial recognition software and increase your knowledge in this reliable and safe technology.


How to Conquer Vaping in Schools and Get Students Back to Learning

Kids will be kids. It’s their job to find ways to fit in and push back against authority. In the previous decades, this natural tendency has resulted in challenging trends ranging from ducktail hairdos, sagging jeans and disruptive toys, such as the “clicker-clackers” of the 1970s, to serious, illegal habits such as street racing, drinking, smoking and sniffing solvents. It’s a never-ending challenge for parents and educators.

One of the latest worrisome youth trends is e-cigarettes, or “vaping,” an activity that is putting kids in danger and taking too much focus off learning. Teachers and administrators are taking drastic, time-consuming action to fight the trend with little to no positive impact. However new technology, according to first-time users, has all but stopped vaping in some schools.


3 Things to Consider When Developing Your Emergency Plan: Starting with Your Technology

In our schools, workplaces and government buildings, we fear the unimaginable: an armed intruder.

Because these unfathomable scenarios are becoming more common, this increases the need for a fully-integrated emergency response plan. If disaster strikes without one, nothing goes to plan—the proper personnel are not alerted, radio frequencies are overcrowded blocking the transfer of messages, and delayed video footage prevents law enforcement from efficiently tracking and evacuating the scene. Each of these examples were a reality on February 14, 2018 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The sales and engineering team from Prime Communications Inc. (PCI) recently completed a training session with Jerry Wilkins, PSP® NREMT®-EMR, and professional active-shooter emergency plan operations expert from Active Risk Survival, Inc. During the training he shared security footage from the scenario described above and the Virginia Beach shooting. No, it was not easy to watch.

“The most difficult aspect of the video,” said Shannon Neubauer, PCI’s Director of Security Engineering, “was the fact that the footage being monitored by first responders was 20 minutes old.” By the time it was used for situational assessment, the shooter already had left the area and some of the people in the video had lost their lives.

It’s not unusual for an organization to find it is not as prepared as it thought when a real incident happens. “I see so many companies who go through the time and effort to put together an emergency response plan but when I ask them how they are leveraging their technology with the plan, the response is I didn’t take that into consideration,” Wilkins explained.

As a society, we can do better. And we want you to know your technology integrator can help.


Securing Security: The Top Vulnerabilities and How to Solve Them

If you work for a large organization where it’s assumed that the business security solutions have been investigated and researched carefully or a small company with limited resources, as a security professional it’s unsettling to read headlines like, Equifax Data Breach Settlement: What You Should Know. Whether you had the foresight and funding to protect yourself from potential threats at the start or had to quickly respond to a specific incident when it arose, you’ve studied and purchased cameras, card access, electronic locks and cybersecurity software to establish a secure environment. But have you researched deeply enough to discover unexpected vulnerabilities that could allow your security solutions to be compromised? You should be actively, continually examining your system to protect it.


Understanding the Nuances of Integrated Hospital Security and Safety Systems: Saving Time, Money and Lives

It’s no secret that technology has exponentially increased the ability of hospitals to operate more efficiently, protect patients and staff in new ways, and of course improve services. With all this new tech, things can get confusing. The sheer amount of technology in a hospital after years of installations can cause a drop in efficiency rather than improving it. For many hospitals, it may be time to begin thinking seriously about technology integration.

Technology tools are commonly added one at a time as a hospital can afford them or as problems arise and solutions are found. Violence in an emergency room, for example, may lead to the purchase of new surveillance cameras and access controls – a type of technology that tends to be one of the first upgraded safety and security tools a hospital feels it can afford to install. In fact, after a violent event, many hospitals believe they can’t afford NOT to install these tools.


Is cloud-based video management a fit for retail physical security? Here’s when it makes sense…

A multi-location retail security solution typically comes down to two components: (1) use hardware and software to prevent loss and (2) make it cost effective. In the past, these two needs have pushed against one another — the more effective the loss prevention, the higher the price of the hardware, software and services needed.

Now, with the adoption of cloud solutions for physical security these two targeted needs are becoming more closely aligned. In other words, the best technology is improving effectiveness and getting less expensive in certain scenarios.

Are cloud-based solutions right for your enterprise? Brian Freeman, National Sales Manager with Prime Communications Inc. (PCI), said it depends. “Using cloud applications for physical retail security is not right for everyone. The common belief is that everybody’s doing everything in the cloud, but there is a point where the technology is prohibitive based on the size of the deployment.”

This article discusses the benefits of cloud-based video management for physical retail security, explains how it works, and provides three scenarios to help you visualize how such a system might be used in your operation.


How to Manage Active Shooter Incidents in K – 12 Schools: Pairing Technology with Strategy

It was about 2 p.m. one afternoon when Shannon Neubauer found himself walking down an empty hallway at the Nebraska junior high school he had attended nearly 25 years earlier. As he reminisced, he heard sounds coming from the boys’ bathroom. He walked through the doorway and saw three students attacking a fourth boy. He was aware only school personnel should intervene, so he quickly exited and notified a teacher across the hall.

It was pure luck that Shannon happened to be passing by the restroom. The irony is that he is a security professional by trade, who was at the school to discuss installing additional cameras and other equipment to an existing unified security platform – with audio elements that can “listen” 24 hours a day for incidents just like the one he witnessed.

“Technology is giving us a way to take fallible humans out of safety situations, and that’s a good thing, especially when it comes to active shooter situations in K – 12 schools,” Neubauer said. “People can’t be everywhere at once. And we can’t always depend on humans to follow through in the heat of the moment.”

It’s not unusual for training to fail during a violent event. “During a panic, the school secretary may forget to press a panic button, or they might be the first one targeted by a shooter,” Neubauer explained, “If a manual panic button protocol fails for whatever reason, then lives are doubly at risk.”

Schools are not the only ones that need to remove the human element when seconds count. As technological tools have advanced over the past few decades, schools, retail establishments, government buildings and many other venues increasingly have been able to use technology to improve security – and save lives.

Today’s best-practices for school security systems are composed of three main elements: access control, event detection and response, and having these all feed into a unified security platform.

The key is to combine technology with well-thought-out strategies and training.