Author: John Davies
When you think about security, most of us (rightly) think about the protection of people as the priority. You can replace things, but not people, and security needs to put human life first.
Having said that, the property is also important, and its loss can threaten livelihoods and even people’s lives (think about medical equipment for example), so it is still highly important too!
TDSi’s systems have always been designed to protect people and assets, the two often being inextricably linked. Modern integrated security systems take this a step further by ensuring people and assets are all protected by connected systems, be this checking the safety of a facility or ensuring items aren’t moved or removed without authorisation.
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags are a popular and reliable way of keeping track of assets. In theory, they can be attached to any item, from vital medical systems to IT devices and even livestock.
The tags attached to beef cattle’s ears, for example, use RFID technology to track the origin and movement of livestock, as well as tracking them down if they are removed or escape from their owner’s property. When a cow goes off for slaughter the butcher has a record of exactly where the beef has come from, right back to the farm.
RFID tags can equally be used to ensure certain items don’t end up in the wrong place. For example, containers with dangerous chemicals or radioactive substances being removed from a secure containment area (either by accident or deliberately).
There is a lot of capability within modern integrated security systems to protect assets, not just using access control, but also surveillance systems such as CCTV and video analytics.
There are analytic systems that can check if a specific item has been removed, or if an object has unexpectedly been placed into a field of view that wasn’t there before. In areas with open public access or where there are valuable or rare assets on display (such as a museum or gallery), this is particularly useful.
Imagine a jewellery store that has many high-value, but small items. An electronic eye can keep a far more accurate watch on stock than any human security guard or shop assistant!
The other side of this is the monitoring of suspicious packages left in a vulnerable or public place, especially airports and train stations – favourite targets for terrorists. This would equally be useful in remote locations to protect infrastructures such as dams, oil wells, power lines, or cellular telephone masts.
Data is one of the most precious commodities in the modern world. Protecting data centres involves securing physical security just as much as online security. Access control and the lockdown of server rooms (and even the server racks themselves) have become vital.
Some government institutions also now use RFID tags in laptops and mobile devices to ensure they stay within restricted areas. These laptops aren’t supposed to be removed from the work environment because they physically contain sensitive material. If anyone tries to remove the machine from the office, the RFID tag triggers an alarm and alerts the security team.
The Broader Picture
Inter-connectivity of security systems means that the safety of people and assets is becoming even more closely aligned. If you can keep track of people and what they are doing, it’s also possible to see how they interact with the property as well.
Sophisticated AI has made it possible for security systems to monitor and understand the wider picture, checking that people are safe but also that assets are protected, raising the alarm if there are any conflicts between the two.
There is no need to separate the security and safety of people and assets anymore, intelligent systems are ensuring that protection encompasses everything and everyone!