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Botched software update disables unlocking function on hundreds of smart locks

LockState The demise of the humble mechanical lock and key might be some way off yet. For all the possibilities they open up, so-called smart locks can readily become dumb in several scenarios. Hundreds of people recently discovered that they were unable to open their doors by their usual means when their smart locks were disabled digitally, at least by a botched software update.

Earlier this month LockState issued an update to its 6000i series smart locks that was designed for its later-generation 7000i models. The 6000i locks were subsequently unable to reconnect to the company s web service. As well as the remote locking and unlocking function, the mistake cost users access to remote access, status alerts and keypad entry code-management. The company couldn t even remedy the situation with a remote fix, meaning customers have to return part of the lock for repair turnaround time one week or wait three weeks or longer for delivery of a replacement lock. In a statement, the company attempted some damage limitation by giving owners one free year of access to connected services. Roughly 500 locks have been affected, says LockState. Users had to resort to the time-honoured method of inserting a metal key. Anyone using the locks for Airbnb hosting may be more inconvenienced still. Users of the peer-to-peer accommodation portal can make letting out property easier in theory by recruiting the services of LockState through the Host Assist program.

Around 200 Airbnb hosts are reported to have been affected. Free download: The video surveillance report 2017 Sponsored by IDIS The Video Surveillance Report 2017 covers all things video surveillance based on a poll of hundreds of security professionals. Specifically looking at topics such as open platforms, 4K, low-light cameras, video analytics, warranties and this year due to the growing threat posed, the cybersecurity landscape.

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Radiation-blocking underwear and 18 other bizarre smart things that could let hackers into your smart home (and one device to protect you)

No object, however mundane, cannot be improved with a computer chip: this seems to be the philosophy driving development of smart things in the smart home arena. It was partly this scattergun approach that prompted Wired magazine to prophesise the demise of the internet of things (IoT) at the start of 2017. Click on the icons in our infographic below to check out 19 of the most bizarre or according to IoT sceptics pointless devices that are creating new vectors of attack for cybercriminals.

Security is little more than an afterthought on too many devices, with criminals able to guess default usernames and passwords by trawling Google. We haven t chosen these 19 devices based on security some may have very rigorous security mechanisms in place. Rather, we chose the most bizarre devices, and paradoxically, in this context, bizarre also means mundane the point being: is a smart hair brush or smart fork really going to deliver benefits that warrant creating new avenues through which hackers could break into your home network? Several products designed to boost IoT security were launched at CES 2017, suggesting the industry is waking up to the threat. We ve included one of them below flagged with a red icon. Free Download: the Cyber Security Crashcourse This report contains 40 slides packed with insight into the trends shaping the industry and how you can protect yourself. Eric Hansleman from 451 Research presents a rapid-fire overview of cyber security.

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The pioneer behind the world s first unpickable lock: Abloy celebrates 110th birthday

Security lock pioneer Abloy is celebrating its 110 th birthday. The venerable Finnish brand, which merged with ASSA in 1994, revolutionised the locking industry when it patented the disc cylinder-operated lock in 1919. The innovation was the brainchild of founder Emil Henriksson, who in 1907 decided to redeploy the rotating detainer discs inside cash registers inside locks.

The precision mechanics engineer patented the idea 12 years later and registered the Abloy trademark. Virtually unpickable, the lock propelled Abloy to being a market leader not just in Finland but globally too. Henrickkson later integrated electromechanical technology with the mechanical lock, during the 1960s and 1970s. In 1994, Abloy merged with ASSA to form the ASSA ABLOY group. In recent years Abloy has developed access control systems such as PROTEC2 CLIQ and CLIQ Connect, which reduced the number of keys required. Abloy s product range includes both mechanical and electric locks, as well as access control systems, which are deployed in a wide range of sectors. From museums and sporting venues to hospitals, airports and government buildings, its locks protect some of the world s most iconic landmarks.

Architect says sprinkler installation at Glasgow Hospital was used as an excuse to flout other buildings standards

Cost-cutting Credit: George Allison under CC BY-SA 4.0 An architect who helped design Scotland s largest hospital has warned that corners were cut in the construction of the 14-storey complex in the name of keeping down costs. Robert Menzies, now retired from his role at BMJ Architects, believes the installation of a sprinkler system in Glasgow s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital has been used as an excuse for flouting other building standards. He says the complex, which includes a children s hospital, adult hospital and laboratory, lacks exit stairways and exceeds size limits on fire compartments, while a hose-reel for firefighters is too short and some fire doors open in the wrong direction.

Insulation panels used in Grenfell tower are also fitted to the hospital, although the health board has insisted they are safe. Menzies drew up the hospital s exemplar design which sets criteria that firms bidding for construction projects must meet as senior healthcare architect at BMJ. He says the construction contract was given to London-based Brookfield Multiplex in defiance of architects recommendations that a bid from Balfour Beatty be accepted on the basis of cost , he suspects. They ve then made the stairs the minimum width possible. Surely you d want to make them wider to compensate for not having enough stairways in the first place? Robert Menzies, BMJ Architect We thought we would provide a monitoring role right through to completion of the actual build, in terms of where this is compliant and where it s not, so we were surprised to be told we were no longer required, Menzies told the Glasgow Evening Times. I had read the winning bidder s fire strategy and it concerned me a lot. It was almost like they the health board didn t want us around asking questions. It was very odd.

Lack of stairways On the lack of stairways he said: They are supposed to provide three stairways minimum as an emergency escape route if there are more than 100 people per storey. In the adult tower, there are 112 patients per floor but only two stairways. They are only slightly over, but that s just the patients there are also staff and visitors. They ve then made the stairs the minimum width possible. Surely you d want to make them wider to compensate for not having enough stairways in the first place? At least one fire compartment was too big in the original designs, says Menzies at least for the limit prescribed in Scotland, set at 1500sq, whereas it did meet the 2,000sq metre limit set in England. Pointing to the high failure rate of sprinklers in US hospitals 20% of which have had fires where sprinklers failed Menzies told the Glasgow Evening Times that an over-reliance on sprinklers was foolish. If you re putting sprinklers in and you re saying a fire will never occur as a consequence, then why do you need escape stairs? Why do you need anything?

But what happens when the sprinkler system fails? They re not 100%. A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde did not dispute the veracity of Menzies claims, but pointed out that all buildings in the hospital complex were certified as compliant with Scottish fire safety and building standards by Glasgow City Council in 2015. Health Facilities Scotland also endorsed the hospital s fire strategy, he said. He said: It is important that everyone working in and coming to these world class facilities for healthcare know that we take fire safety extremely seriously and that there are heat/smoke detection and early warning fire alarm systems combined with automatic fire suppression sprinkler systems fitted in all areas. The hospitals are further protected by designated fire-fighting and fire evacuation lifts, as well as multiple fire escape stairwells. A spokeswoman for Brookfield Multiplex said: The final design met all the requirements of the building regulations and was signed off progressively through construction by Glasgow City Council s building control office.

Construction consultancy firm Currie & Brown has been appointed to verify the hospitals construction and certification process following the Grenfell blaze.

Wireless intrusion sensors: Adoption still weak in the commercial sector

Analysis Texecom Ricochet wireless external motion sensor IHS Markit estimates that 68 million intruder alarm sensors were sold globally in 2016 of which 41% were wireless, according to the latest intruder alarm and monitoring database. However, just 4% of those wireless intrusion sensors were destined for the large commercial sector. Residential and small-medium business sectors jointly accounted for the remaining 96% of the wireless sensor market.

Wireless benefits Although the use of wireless sensors remains limited in the commercial sector, the popularity of these products is on the rise for several reasons: Wireless sensors carry significantly lower installation costs as the installation process is much simpler and quicker. The lower install cost that comes with wireless sensors allows companies to allocate a greater portion of their security budget to hardware, enabling them to invest in additional or higher-quality sensors, or upgrades for the system, such as integration with video surveillance. Wireless solutions are also more practical in unique installations like remote areas without easy access to the power mains. To overcome range issues, mesh networks, which act as signal repeaters, are used for larger installations. Moreover, as the use of wireless sensors proliferates across commercial applications, consumers may choose to adopt wireless control panels, to allow for easier future addition of extra sensors, as they won t require on-site IT configuration to add to the system. Prices of wireless sensors have also fallen fast , decreasing by 16% since 2012. Battery lifespan of wireless sensors has also improved in recent years, now lasting between one and five years depending on circumstances. Although enhancements have been made, limited lifespan of sensor batteries will put pressure on the security systems manager, necessitating the procurement of software that will allow to easily manage battery statuses. More wireless sensors are available with UL certification , a prerequisite for many professional monitoring and insurance providers.

Wireless misgivings Although wireless sensor technology is making inroads into commercial projects, concerns remain such as encryption, sensor price and ongoing maintenance costs: Despite improvements to encryption for wireless systems, the risk of being hacked is still a common concern among large commercial end users. For example, wireless sensors are susceptible to jamming and signal interference, and if the system s control panel is compromised the entire network of wireless sensors can be rendered useless by disabling the wireless module. Wireless sensors are also more expensive than their wired counterparts . For example IHS Markit found that globally, a wireless PIR sensor costs 30% more than a wired variant on average. The maintenance costs of wireless sensors are also higher, with the requirement to buy and maintain a set of spare batteries for replacement or recharging. Long-term opportunities for vendors and installers Despite the challenges facing wireless security sensors in large-commercial applications today, manufacturers and installers that promote and install wireless sensors will likely reap long-term benefits of the devices: Vendors with strong after-sales service, such as customer service and maintenance, would be able to improve efficiency and speed of s ervice by capitalising on the greater ease with which wireless sensors can be added to the system. This will lead to shorter installation times allowing them to serve more customers in a set period of time. As wireless sensors are adopted on a wider scale, the significance of battery management system solutions will become apparent. Suppliers with the best battery management software, that is easy to use with interactive interface, are likely to seize the best of this opportunity.

Manufacturers of wireless sensors could further improve their products market opportunities by working closely with insurance providers and educating them about the benefits of wireless systems in commercial applications as well as their technological features. Entering into partnership with insurance providers may provide avenues for long-term impact. Free download: The video surveillance report 2017 Sponsored by IDIS The Video Surveillance Report 2017 covers all things video surveillance based on a poll of hundreds of security professionals.

Specifically looking at topics such as open platforms, 4K, low-light cameras, video analytics, warranties and this year due to the growing threat posed, the cybersecurity landscape.

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The Axis Partner Showcase to return with integrated solutions from 35 vendors

Installers and integrators Axis Communications is inviting security installers and integrators to attend its Axis Partner Showcase event in October. Scheduled for 11 October 2017 in Manchester, the open day will showcase technologies from 35 vendors that integrate with Axis surveillance solutions. The products on show, which will encompass fields beyond security, will include the latest in retail analytics, behavioural analysis, hosted services and cybersecurity, among other areas.

Confirmed exhibitors include Morphean, Milestone Systems, Genetec and ASSA Abloy. Axis ran its first Axis Partner Showcase in 2015 and said feedback was overwhelmingly positive. New possibilities As connectivity and the integration of products continues, the security needs of businesses change opening up new possibilities, said Daren Lang, regional manager of business development for Northern Europe at Axis Communications. Our strategies and solutions must therefore change to meet the new opportunities created. We are thrilled to announce the return of the Axis Partner Showcase. This event is designed to demonstrate how our partners, in conjunction with Axis, can deliver solutions that stand the test of time whether looking at the shift from forensic to real time analysis, how to deal with issues around cybersecurity, or keeping pace with new regulations such as GDPR. As security requirements shift, we see an increasing demand for alternative solutions. Instead of focusing on surveillance alone, businesses are increasingly seeking ways in which smart systems can be integrated, ensuring technology is flexible and future facing. This is how we help ensure that technology is not only fit for purpose, but fit for the future.

Atul Rajput, regional director for Northern Europe at Axis Communications, said: The pace of innovation is core to Axis philosophy and is of critical importance to keep each of our customers and partners up-to-date with the technology available today as well as its potential for tomorrow. Our showcase event brings this under one roof, providing the best forum available to experience these innovations in person. The Axis Partner Showcase takes place on 11 October 2017, between 10am and 4pm, at Tenants Hall, Tatton Park, Knutsford, Cheshire, WA16 6QN.

Register here to attend. Free download: The video surveillance report 2017 Sponsored by IDIS The Video Surveillance Report 2017 covers all things video surveillance based on a poll of hundreds of security professionals. Specifically looking at topics such as open platforms, 4K, low-light cameras, video analytics, warranties and this year due to the growing threat posed, the cybersecurity landscape.

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Home automation: A beginner s guide

Home automation has come a long way since the 1960s when British racing driver Stirling Moss fitted his newly built House of the Future in London s Mayfair with the latest gadgets. The extension of commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) controls into the residential market alongside smart lighting and security solutions has since revolutionised the way home owners interact with domestic systems and appliances using an expanding combination of hardware, communication protocols and electronic interfaces. Certainly use of devices such as IP cameras for domestic surveillance systems, motion detection hardware, door opening sensors and remote controls have surged, though from a low base.

The ubiquity of wireless networks using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and to a lesser extent ZigBee and Z-Wave in the home has also helped, providing the communications channel that devices, sensors and back end software systems need to transmit, store and analyse the information being collected. Security is the biggest are of demand amongst smart home users, with sales of connected cameras and remotely controlled door and window locks driving much of that usage. But the volume and diversity of deployments and applications is diverse, including connected white goods appliances (fridges, cookers, washing machines etc) alongside audio devices and entertainment hubs, lighting and heating controls, pet and baby monitors, and even products designed to automate the watering and monitoring of plant growth. Developments elsewhere may also have a galvanising affect, particularly the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT) which is forecast to connect over devices by 2020. This vast network of interlinked monitors, sensors, computers, controllers, switches and other industrial and consumer gadgets will collect and analyse information from systems as diverse as manufacturing, retail, transportation, automotive and agriculture. The considerable efforts being put into driving the IoT market by the likes of Cisco, Intel, IBM, Microsoft and other heavyweight information communications technology (ICT) companies will inevitably help to push home automation systems (a form of consumer IoT) into the spotlight. Barriers to adoption But while there is a strong feeling that the home automation industry stands on the brink of mass market adoption, significant barriers to its further development remain. The lack of interoperability between so many different devices, protocols, networks and applications continues to undermine user confidence, for example. Home owners also find systems difficult to use, a problem exacerbated by those incompatibility issues and a general lack of familiarity with home automation in general.

Though they have steadily fallen in price, home automation devices remain expensive and are likely to remain so until their popularity reaches a tipping point that will persuade large scale manufacturers to drive down costs further by producing equipment in higher volumes. Long device replacement cycles push suppliers to charge a premium for current deployments and make it difficult for them to build profitable businesses based on recurring revenue streams one reason why many seek to push consumers into managed services contracts wherever possible. Housebuilders are building smart heating controls and thermostats into new homes designed to give residents greater control over their energy costs, but retrofits on older properties remain more difficult and expensive and a thriving DIY market makes it difficult for professional installers to compete. The potential for cyber security breaches to cause disruption is finally starting to be recognised, if not necessarily addressed. But the biggest barrier is the technological fragmentation of the smart home ecosystem that involves so many different types of devices, networks and software systems, and needs them all to work together to deliver value to the house owner. Market adoption rates One analyst firm has gone so far as to predict that sales of home automation hardware, software and services will exceed US$78bn by 2022, with more conservative estimates forecasting US$20.78bn by 2020. As ever with analyst forecasts, there can be discrepancies of definition that tend to skew the numbers one way or another however, though research firm Gartner has predicted that the average home could contain as many as 500 smart devices by 2022. Much of that turnover will continue to be driven by the larger population base of the US and China, followed by Japan ahead of Europe and the UK which are collectively yet to show the same levels of enthusiasm. Figures from Statista suggest that the number of smart homes in the US will grow from 4.6m households in 2015 to 24.5m by 2020 for example, compared to 400,000 growing to 3.3m in Japan and 300,000 increasing to 2.1m in China over the same period.

Statista calculates Germany to be the single largest European market, with 300,000 smart homes last year growing to 2.4m by 2020 compared to 200,000 in the UK increasing to 1.5m in the same period. Key players Research published by CBInsights earlier this year suggests that a lot of venture capitalist funding is going into home automation start-ups such as Nest Labs. These now fight for market share alongside established industrial automation companies which have moved into the home automation space (Honeywell International, GE, Legrand, Siemens, ABB, and United Technologies Corporation, for example) but also home automation specialists such as Crestron Electronics, Savant and Control4. Technology giants such as Samsung, Google and Amazon are also coming to the fore, having spied parallel opportunities for mobile apps, devices and operating systems alongside information processing platforms that they can exploit. Flagship home automation products to date include the Nest smart home thermostats and cameras, Sonos music systems, GE s Z-Wave components and Samsung SmartThings Hub. Amazon s Echo and Google s Home voice activated smarthubs are also driving usage by delivering Internet connected, multimedia gadgets that can also be used to control smart thermostats and other devices. Free download: The video surveillance report 2017 Sponsored by IDIS The Video Surveillance Report 2017 covers all things video surveillance based on a poll of hundreds of security professionals.

Specifically looking at topics such as open platforms, 4K, low-light cameras, video analytics, warranties and this year due to the growing threat posed, the cybersecurity landscape.

Click here to Download now

Are UK building regulations fit for purpose?

FSF launches Approved Document B survey

Survey The Fire Sector Federation (FSF) has intensified its long-running campaign for a review of Approved Document B in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. It recently published a brochure that cites changes in building design, practice and materials since the framework was last reviewed more than a decade ago in 2006 that render the current document not fit for purpose. Now the FSF is inviting the industry to share its views on the topic by completing a survey.

The survey, which was already in the pipeline before the Grenfell tragedy unfolded, has been put together with the help of NBS Research, an independent research organisation. In canvassing the views of professionals across the supply chain, the FSF hopes to gauge the degree to which the practical guidance in Approved Document B meets the requirements of fire protection in the construction industry in 2017. The survey findings will form the basis of a submission to the DCLG to help those responsible for making sure building regulations and Approved Document B are as effective as possible.

The survey is open until August 2017.

Complete the survey

BT Redcare and Cougar Monitoring announce midlands roadshow aimed at fire and security installers

installer training Cougar Monitoring and BT Redcare have announced a joint roadshow aimed at fire and security installers in the midlands region. Taking place on 6 October 2017 in Birmingham city centre (venue to be confirmed), the roadshow will feature presentations from both companies, with representatives from each of their technical departments on hand to provide advice, guidance and training. BT Redcare has been in the alarm signalling market for over 30 years, said Eric Roberts, CEO of Cougar Monitoring.

It s tried, tested and the majority of its products are third-party certified. Having met with the new BT Redcare management team recently it s clear that they have a renewed focus and intention to work closer with us and installers. We re delighted to join them to reinforce that message to our installers. John Ware, general manager of BT Redcare, said: I met personally with the senior leaders of Cougar Monitoring recently and it s clear that they, like us, are looking to the future and to expanding their operation. And we re perfectly placed to help them do this. The combination of our expertise in the market and their reach to installers means attendees to the roadshow will get the best advice, value and support from both companies. BT Redcare, which is one of the biggest players in the alarm signalling market, recently revamped its website and pledged to work closer with ARCs and installers to help grow their businesses. Cougar, which was established in 1996, is approved by the Security Industry Authority as an approved contractor for keyholding, security guarding and public space CCTV and has received the NSI s Gold Standard EMS & Health and Safety accreditations. More details on the roadshow will be issued soon but installers can register their interest straightaway.

Free download: The video surveillance report 2017 Sponsored by IDIS The Video Surveillance Report 2017 covers all things video surveillance based on a poll of hundreds of security professionals.

Specifically looking at topics such as open platforms, 4K, low-light cameras, video analytics, warranties and this year due to the growing threat posed, the cybersecurity landscape.

Click here to Download now

Advanced launches peripheral expansion network node for more flexible, configurable networking

Fire systems Advanced claims its latest new product makes networking more flexible and configurable than ever. The PENN (peripheral expansion network node) is a card and network node that accommodates Advanced s range of peripheral input and output cards anywhere on the network, and up to 1.5km from the nearest fire panel or next PENN node. Covering everything from input, interface and i/o cards to relay, sounder, LED and switch cards, up to 32 peripheral cards can be attached to a PENN and 199 PENNs can be added to a network.

More than 6,000 peripheral cards can therefore be added almost anywhere around the network. Until now, peripheral cards could only be connected to a fire panel s P-BUS although Advanced stresses that this remains an option and no more distant than 10 metres from the panel. Advanced s ease-of-use and the power and resilience of its networking are already well understood and admired, says Aston Bowles, head of marketing at Advanced. The PENN provides our customers with more freedom, even simpler installation, and configuration that improves performance and reduces installation costs. Freeing the peripheral cards from the panel is a good idea, but the creative ways our customers are using the PENN and peripheral cards to solve installation and configuration challenges is genuinely surprising, and we re seeing it used on all manner and sizes of projects.

The PENN is currently compatible with Advanced s MxPro multiprotocol panels and Axis EN fire systems.