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The Risky Business of International Travel

The Risky Business of Travel

From a good article about international travel. Click through for some more good info.


When on business overseas, employees need to identify a safe, licensed method of airport transport and of transit around the locale. It is not uncommon for incognizant international travelers to walk out of airports and into unlicensed taxis or other vehicles, says Gruber. In the United States, taking unlicensed transport is unlikely to lead to any problems, but in some nations, these travelers become robbery or kidnap victims. In Mexico in 2011, for example, a criminal gang posing as taxi drivers picked up passengers and drove them to a secure location to rob them of their money, credit cards, and other valuables. Some of the abductees were sexually assaulted. The abductors only released the victims after they had maxed out the credit cards.

via The Risky Business of Travel.

Photo via Flickr user cerulean5000


New ANSI/BICSI Standard now allows Direct Attach of Category cable to cameras/devices


The need for security is almost as old as mankind itself. As technology has evolved with mankind, so too have the methods and systems of security evolved, integrating technology as needed.  This has continued into present day, with security systems converging onto the network and its cabling infrastructure at an increasing rate. However, as the systems used within security have become more complex due to utilizing the benefits of the network, so too has the cabling infrastructure to address both communication and security requirements. Little has been written to support this convergence of security and cabling infrastructure, until now. BICSI 005 bridges the two worlds of security and communications by providing the security professional the requirement and recommendations of a structured cabling infrastructure needed to support today’s security systems while providing the cabling design professional information on different elements within safety and security systems that affect the cabling infrastructure design. BICSI 005 also provides information on the concept of “direct attach” and how it may be used within many forms of ESS systems.

via ANSI/BICSI 005-2013, Electronic Safety and Security (ESS) System Design and Implementation Best Practices.

The New Mass Notification Standard: UL 2572

tornado siren

Here’s some background on mass notification systems, and the UL testing standard(s) that apply to them.

UL wrote a standard that laid out what is required of these technologies – and how they would be tested. UL 2572 is similar to UL 864, the standard to test fire alarm control units. UL 2572 sets the criteria for how the control units for mass notification systems will be designed and tested. Not only will the control units be tested, but all of the peripheral supporting equipment that will be connected to the control units will be tested as a complete system.

This equipment standard, which is an American National Standard, covers the construction, performance, operational testing, and production line testing of the control unit plus all components, including the speaker arrays and distributed recipient mass notification components. The products covered by UL 2572 are intended to be used in combination with other appliances and devices to form an emergency communication and/or mass notification system. These products are intended to communicate critical information within buildings and/or outdoor areas about emergency situations that may endanger the safety of the occupants of an area or facility.

For now, if there’s a property owner that is not required to have a fire alarm system in their building, but wants mass notification, the UL 2572 standard will apply to the technology they may want to use. A stand-alone mass notification control unit can be listed to UL 2572; it doesn’t need to be listed or tested to UL 864.

via April 2012 – Issue 54 – The New Mass Notification Standard: UL 2572 | Fire Protection Engineering.

Photo from Flickr user Nick Jones Everybody

An Inside Look at the Video Security of a Casino

In the near future cameras will have the intelligence to distinguish savvy players from hopeless newbs

Despite that, Whiting says facial recognition software hasn’t been of much use to him. It’s simply too unreliable when it comes to spotting people on the move, in crowds, and under variable lighting. Instead, he and his team rely on pictures shared from other casinos, as well as through the Biometrica and Griffin databases. (The Griffin database, which contains pictures and descriptions of various undesirables, used to go to subscribers as massive paper volumes.) But quite often, they’re not looking for specific people, but rather patterns of behavior. “Believe it or not, when you’ve done this long enough,” he says, “you can tell when somebody’s up to no good. It just doesn’t feel right.”

They keep a close eye on the tables, since that’s where cheating’s most likely to occur. With 1080p high-definition cameras, surveillance operators can read cards and count chips – a significant improvement over earlier cameras. And though facial recognition doesn’t yet work reliably enough to replace human operators, Whiting’s excited at the prospects of OCR. It’s already proven useful for identifying license plates. The next step, he says, is reading cards and automatically assessing a player’s strategy and skill level.

Next-Gen Video Format H.265 Is Approved


The ITU has approved a new video format that could bring 4k video to future broadband networks, while also making streaming HD video available even on bandwidth-constrained mobile networks. The H.265 standard, also informally known as High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), is designed to provide high-quality streaming video, even on low-bandwidth networks.

We’ll likely see this new codec being used in security cameras soon.

Former youth agency gave away security cameras but kept the pricey software

Five years ago, when a sex-abuse and cover-up scandal enveloped the Texas Youth Commission, authorities spent $18 million on cutting-edge security cameras to watch every nook and cranny in its lockups.

With five of the former youth lockups now closed in an agency consolidation, more than 1,700 of the high-tech surveillance cameras have been transferred to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to upgrade security in state prisons.

But the expensive computer gear that gave the highly touted camera system its high-tech cutting edge ??? allowing the cameras to be maneuvered and viewed remotely ??? didn’t come with the deal, officials said Tuesday.

The bottom line for taxpayers? A significant chunk of the multimillion-dollar surveillance system has been reduced to salvage value when, with better coordination between agencies, all the decommissioned cameras and related equipment could have been put to use at a higher level to protect convicts and guards.

“We only got the cameras,” confirmed Jason Clark, a spokesman for the prison system. “We’ve tested them, and they’re compatible with our systems ??? and we’re glad to have them. But we didn’t get hardware or software or anything else.”

Not sure how this headline (and whole article) is newsworthy. The youth agency still needs the software for their other facilities. They gave away the cameras that they could to another state agency. And that state agency says that the cameras work with their current system.