When Qognify announced the latest version of its Ocularis video management system (6.0) in December 2020, one of the most ground-breaking additions was the bi-directional event interface. This new functionality addresses one of the biggest painpoints security operators have in handling incidents in real-time – juggling between the VMS and access control system.

When an incident is in progress and every second counts. Switching between the VMS and access control system to obtain a clear operating picture and take the necessary actions, distracting and waste precious time. The new bi-directional interface within Ocularis solves this problem, as access points can now be controlled directly from the VMS user interface. This powerful capability has now been enhanced further by the news that Qognify has joined the LenelS2 OpenAccess Alliance Program and the entire Qognify portfolio including Ocularis, Cayuga and VisionHub has received LenelS2 factory certification.

With Ocularis now interfaced with Lenel’s OnGuard® access control system, security operators are alerted to events from including “access granted” and “door opened.” Conversely, live and archive videos from cameras managed by Ocularis can be displayed in the OnGuard system.

John Marchioli is the OAAP Product Management at LenelS2 and he comments on this important interface: “Qognify has completed required factory testing at LenelS2 to validate the functionality of its interfaces to the OnGuard system. These interfaces provide great options for end users who prefer expanded integrated security solutions.”

For more information about Ocularis 6.0 and the new bi-directional interface click here

In the latest issue of Global Railway Review Mark Grisdale, Strategic Account Manager for Enterprise Incident Management at Qognify, discusses how train stations will adapt and improve their services in order to accommodate the changing behavior and needs of passengers after the COVID-19 pandemic.


The editorial round table in Global Railway Review brings key people from the rail and public transport industry together and allows them to share their opinions on the role of train stations within the overall travel experience, and how these spaces might look in the future, considering the changing demands of tomorrows’ passengers.


Read the full article here.

In this article on the InternationalAirportReview website, Andreas Conrad, Head of Marketing at Qognify discusses how Enterprise Incident Management (EIM) and next generation Video Management Systems (VMS+) can help to improve how airport incidents are managed as they unfold.

Read the article on the InternationalAirportReview website.

Learn more here about the Gatwick Airport Case Study.

In this article on the SecurityInfoWatch website, Jeremy Howard, Vice President of Sales, Physical Security for the Americas at Qognify explains how an EIM can help organzations to achieve the goal of making their video surveillance operation more proactive.

Read the article on the SIW website.

How does a large national bank reduce false alarms by 97%, increase the efficiency of its security operations by 48%, decrease its costs per site by 34%, all while reducing personnel costs by 23%? The secret behind these impressive results in banking incident management was revealed during a Qognify webinar, featuring special guest, Julio Molano, CEO of the Bogota, Colombia-based security services company – Siete24.
In conversation with Qognify’s Nick Karakulko, Julio took attendees on a fruitful journey from 2014 to present day. At the time Siete24 began working with the bank, it was operating 800 branches, 27 offices and 3200 ATMs, all requiring round-the-clock protection. Their security infrastructure included more than 90,000 sensors, 15,000 surveillance cameras, 3,000 DVRs and 1,500 access points. The bank was managing this expansive enterprise by operating five independent systems, using legacy software and was heavily reliant on the knowledge of its operators. Julio highlights the scale of the challenge: “In 2014 the bank was receiving two-million alerts per month, which was far more than it could effectively handle.”

Anticipating Future Incident Management Needs

With the bank planning major expansion, they needed a solution that would not only deliver immediate benefits but have the ability to scale significantly. The solution that met this need was the market-leading enterprise incident management system – Qognify Situator.
Situator is tried, tested and proven in the banking sector, and this was an important consideration in selecting the system. Used by Millennium BCP in Portugal since 2011 (case study), Situator reduced their false alarms from more than 20,000 to 1,200 per annum.
Since Siete24 began its work with the bank six years ago, the scope of the project has grown. The number of sites being monitored doubled and the volume of sensors increased by 50%. “Today, Situator is handling up to 18 million alerts per month, of which 71,200 are verified and 109 confirmed as an incident. Each incident is managed using best practice procedures we have defined within the system,” explains Julio. “Despite this dramatic increase in the size of the project, our average response time to critical events has fallen from five minutes in 2016 to just 50-seconds in 2020. We have found that the more alerts we process the more efficient and effective we become.”
Situator has created such a positive impact on operational performance, the bank recently extended its contract with Siete24 for a further three-years. Julio concludes: “The bank requires that we have 99.9% availability, and we are financially accountable for any losses. Situator has not only met our service level obligations but has given the bank far more than it anticipated.”

Qognify has once again been recognised for introducing some of the most innovative new technologies to the security industry. For the second consecutive year, the company is shortlisted for the Benchmark Innovation Awards. The all new VisionHub VMS+ is an enterprise-class security management solution. It goes beyond the pure management of video streams, to include superior workflow support, situational awareness and system management capabilities.
The first version of VisionHub was launched in 2016 to much industry acclaim. It was awarded the Security Industry Association’s (SIA) New Product Showcase Best Video Surveillance Management System, as well as the CCTV System of the Year at the Security & Fire Excellence Awards. Announced in March 2020, VisionHub VMS+ is the ideal security management solution for organizations such as airports, seaports and operators of critical infrastructure, delivering…

  • Situational Awareness – Advanced geo-positioned maps help to localize and assess an event within seconds. Its built-in incident management component provides step-by-step guidance through the resolution process.
  • Incident Response Management – Actionable guidance and facilitating collaboration throughout the process of resolving an incident.
  • Enhanced Resiliency – Avoid the loss of video footage with redundancy across all VMS components and with active dual recording.

With a multi-award-winning video management portfolio comprising VisionHub VMS+, Cayuga, Ocularis and NiceVision, Qognify has the most comprehensive range of solutions available on the market today. Whether an organization operates from a single high-security facility, or has a highly complex distributed infrastructure across hundreds of sites and many thousands of cameras, Qognify has a solution to meet its exact specifications.
The winners of the Benchmark Innovation Awards 2020 will be announced later this year.

by Marc Whalen, Vice President of Sales, Enterprise Incident Management at Qognify

Over the past month, it has become very clear that the impact of a Global pandemic was something most organizations and industries were unprepared to manage. That of course, is the very nature of emergencies. They often catch us unaware and unsure of how to respond. Depending on the scope of your organization and systems, it can be difficult to coordinate responses in real-time. The longer it takes to make and implement critical decisions, the higher the risk of disrupting business continuity. This especially applies to highly regulated environments, where even the slightest breach of policies or procedures can lead to the inefficient deployment of staff, costly disruptions to your operations and potential penalties.
With the dramatic and sudden reduction of on-site security, safety and operational staff at critical locations such as airports, mass transit, financial and critical infrastructure sites, the need to leverage technology becomes even more vital. Even with limited resources, organizations still need to monitor, validate and dispatch the proper personnel efficiently during real-time during incidents.
As global governments and organizations evaluate what will be required to reopen their economies, it is uncertain what will be required to bring employees and customers back to their facilities. However, what is becoming clear is this will require the implementation of new technologies, policies, procedures and anticipated regulations. This may also include the ability to monitor, track, respond, and report in real-time, to ensure the safety and security of employees and the general public. With so much change ahead, is your organization prepared for the next decisive moment?
With the right plans and systems in place, you can position your organization to leverage available personnel to respond efficiently and effectively during times of crisis and ensure the premium outcomes you need.
Here are a few questions you should be asking as you look to improve or put your incident management protocols:

  1. 1. Is your system providing you with a true incident view?

Connecting systems can provide you with situational awareness to allow you to see what and where something is happening. However, without proper logic and process rules, simply connecting all your systems will only lead to information overload. When an incident occurs, it is key to have a solid informational basis to assess its severity to decide the appropriate next step. The most effective systems will correlate the data from a large number of sensors and third-party data sources and help facilitate decisions. Utilizing an advanced logic and correlation engine will filter out the noise and bring forth only the relevant data, so you have the information you need to proceed with decisive pre-planned and coordinated actions.

  1. 2. Do you have the ability to guarantee an outcome with policies, procedures and regulations — every time?

A truly effective enterprise-wide incident management system will provide you with workflows that automatically adapt to the incident at hand. Deploying these workflows quickly allows your organization to successfully enforce procedures and also ensures compliance with regulations. Depending on the complexity of your policies you may need to develop an easily deployable or equally complex workflow that captures the incident data in the correct format. This sort of rapid adaptability results in faster response times, quicker incident resolution and more comprehensive reporting. These processes can make the difference in how quickly an incident escalates and its ultimate impact on the organization.

  1. 3. Can you avoid the next incident?

Unfortunately, we cannot completely avoid incidents or a crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, but organizations can become better at identifying the trends and leading indicators to get ahead and possibly minimize the impact. You can do this by leveraging a platform that collects and stores vast amounts of data, filters and performs historical analysis and creates the logical algorithms to identify the patterns leading to specific incidents. This kind of operational intelligence will help your organization to move from being completely reactive to a more proactive posture to improve safety, security and operations.

“A safe organization effectively resolves incidents but smart organizations avoid them.”
Marc Whalen, Vice President of Sales, Enterprise Incident Management

In this article, published in the April 2020 edition of the International Security Journal, Andreas Conrad, Head of Marketing at Qognify provides some useful tips when it comes to choosing video analytics.

Download the PDF here.

The article was provided for publication courtesy of ISJ.

Technology alone doesn’t make a city safe or smart
Safety is a basic human requirement. This is why most cities have at very least a plan – and in most cases an existing program – to make themselves safe cities, and meeting that fundamental need often requires the use of technology. Now, many cities are undergoing a transition to become smart cities: urban areas where security solutions work in unison with other systems, extending the benefits of technology beyond security and into other city operations. Even though this transformation from safe to smart has yet to become a widespread reality, the next crucial transition – from smart city to cognitive city – is already appearing on the horizon. In the first of three posts about this 3-level transition, we’ll focus on “smart” and explain why “smart” means much more than technology.
The world is becoming increasingly urban. Three years ago in its World Urbanization Prospects report, the United Nations reported that 54% of the world’s population lived in cities. That same report projected that by 2050, that number will hit 66%. From New York City to New Delhi, density follows development. There are many reasons for this: cities tend to provide more opportunities for jobs and education, as well as greater access to amenities like public transportation, sports, and cultural events.
These advantages result in growth, and with growth comes strain on existing public services, infrastructure, and resources. Not to mention keeping the city’s residents safe by preventing crime from growing with – or even outpacing – the population.
Increasingly urban
Increasingly urban
This basic need for urban public safety is one of the biggest forces driving the adoption of “smart city” solutions: approaches which seek to solve urban challenges through technological means. The thinking behind these initiatives is that with enough Internet connectivity and real-time data, surely environmental, social, economic, and public health issues should become more manageable. If technology can transform entire industries, why can’t it also make our power grids more resilient, transportation systems efficient and municipal water supplies more sustainable? Surely, more data can only lead to better outcomes… right?

Tech for tech’s sake

To quote a sharp American journalist and satirist – H. L. Mencken, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong”. In this context, you’d think the answer would be: “just add more technology”, right? Although tech is necessary for an urban area to transition to being a safe and smart city, tech alone isn’t sufficient. Truly smart cities are savvy cities, and that includes how they employ software, sensing, communications and other technologies to meet their needs.
There are types of problems which connected sensors, data, and software can provide straightforward and effective solutions. One example of these includes network-connected traffic cameras which can relay real-time traffic conditions to both city managers and the public at large, data which morning commuters can then access from a mobile app and adjust their route accordingly.
Smart electricity meters are another example. By monitoring and reporting energy usage in real time, residents can get instant feedback on how their lifestyle choices impact their energy consumption and their monthly bill. Utilities can also benefit from this data, as it could highlight both specific times and areas of high demand, as well as identify sections of the distribution network that are under heavy strain.
Both of these examples highlight the obvious need to collect the relevant data first, and thus explain why smart city initiatives have focused on the widespread collection of data (especially video) through the deployment of large numbers of monitoring and recording devices, like CCTV cameras and license plate readers. Some of those initiatives, however, like red light cameras or computerized flight passenger screening systems, have amounted to little more than “security theater”, which might waste limited resources and further delay the smart city transition due to over-hyped solutions and unrealistic projected ROI.
In other words, technology doesn’t necessarily result in more safety.

Safety and privacy

This new era of surveillance technologies can also assist law enforcement in maintaining public order and safety. The thought is the more areas we observe, the longer we observe them, and the more surveillance data we store and index, the more likely we are to be in possession of the information we need. But does this mean we are also more likely to quickly find what we need? Cities need solutions that help find what you need (e.g. a missing child or a suspect) and convert the “too much information” into “actionable intelligence”.

Crowd monitoring
Crowd monitoring
There is one major caveat to smart city solutions: the data tends to flow in one direction from what are ultimately surveillance devices to government officials (as we pointed out above), leading to tensions between personal privacy and government goals of safety and higher efficiency. Without a clear understanding and buy-in from all stakeholders (especially the citizens, law enforcement, and city management), those tensions will only escalate as wireless broadband connectivity becomes cheaper and faster, sensor and processing technologies get even more miniaturized and affordable, and big data tools like cloud resources and storage technology grow even more robust as they catalog more and more digital breadcrumbs of our physical lives.

Here’s the takeaway: even in smart cities, dialogue, public input, careful analysis, and consensus are still more critical than any technology. This is because city residents are not only consumers of public services and amenities, but also citizens with legal rights. In our next post, How a smart city can benefit both consumers and citizens, we’ll see how smart cities can benefit both.


How a smart city can benefit both consumers and citizens
In our previous post, Technology alone doesn’t make a city safe or smart, we explained why becoming a safe and SMART city requires a lot more than resorting to technological solutions for meeting urban challenges. As the global population becomes ever more concentrated in cities, limited resources (like drinkable water) and existing infrastructure (like roads) will have to be more efficiently used and prudently managed.
In this blog post, we will highlight a few issues to keep in mind, issues which illustrate the limitations and responsibilities that successful smart cities must navigate when they adopt smart technologies.

Personal Data is Often the Price of “Free”

Smart city initiatives can get tricky. Amazon is able to accurately recommend other products you might want to buy because the company meticulously records and analyzes your order history and browsing behavior on its site. Facebook’s behemoth “free” social networking platform is made possible by generating revenue through advertising from the information you freely (and unknowingly) hand over to the company, including your age, gender, political views, and education level. Users benefit from the free service, and companies earn revenue from the data those users give up in exchange.
Urban residents, however, aren’t mere consumers, they are citizens. Consumers provide revenue in return for a vendor giving them the goods or services they ordered. Citizens have defined legal rights, as well as responsibilities. This is one of the key reasons why the tech transformation that has occurred in the private sector has yet to have an equal impact on city life. Their governments likewise have specified legal authority, but no overriding profit motive like Google, Apple, Microsoft, or Salesforce.
While many informed consumers may balk at the privacy they forfeit for free or enhanced web services, asking citizens to volunteer data to their government in return for safety or more convenient access to public services is often a different calculus than trusting Facebook with a very complete and quantified digital portrait.

Safeguards for a Safe and Smart City

Even though many current smart city approaches depend on what are fundamentally surveillance technologies (as we pointed out in our previous article), the current transition to smart cities can benefit not only the city government and municipal managers but also all residents – both as consumers and citizens.
For example, lower cost, better service, and quicker resolution times for services such as transit and utilities (gas, water, sewage, electricity) appeal to consumers. On the other hand, skipping waiting in line for legal forms and proceedings (transfer of title, car registration, birth certificate, voter registration, voting, etc.) appeal to citizens. Since these groups largely overlap, a smart city must provide for the needs of both.

Smart public transportation
Smart public transportation

Due to the privacy issues surrounding government collection and storage of data, all smart city initiatives must effectively convey those benefits to all stakeholders (business community, non-profits, community organizations, the general public) in a compelling way, and put in place appropriate safeguards for the protection and use of all collected data, as Europe is about to do with the GDPR.
In a smart city, a lot of data flows from residents to the government. In one of our clients, a large city that has been using a combination of Qognify’s Situation Management solution (Situator), and video management together with video analytics, every citizen can approach the authorities and ask for a video clip (useful for traffic accidents, lost wallets, and the like). The security solution is then used to retrieve the precise clip and assist in resolving the situation. Obviously, this calls for clear permission levels as for who can see the footage and what it can be used for. As an external control, citizens can vote to provide feedback to the government (e.g. throw out all the officials who approved the technology that is deemed too intrusive).
Consumers provide feedback too, most notably through voting with their wallet. Additionally, they can provide the kind of continuous feedback and interaction that’s integral to modern tech-enabled businesses and do so in a way which augments their legal power as citizens.
In our third and final post in this series, Cognitive cities: correlation and constant citizen interaction, we’ll discuss why.