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Farce & Falsity of the Chinese Thermal Gun

In the Unlock phase, with people moving out of their home premises, one thing that’s seen everywhere is the temperature check gun. Gosh! The toy gun on your head measuring your temperature and giving you a green signal to move ahead, life’s taken a 360-degree turn with the Coronavirus fear all over. Is this all that we need to stay cautious during this pandemic situation?

The accuracy of these Chinese guns is highly debatable and calls for immediate attention. It’s not medically certified, using them to measure human temperature is an area of high concern due to its ineffectiveness and inaccuracy.The thermometer has proved in several conditions, a complete farce with heightened absurdities. Though the mechanism using the infrared sensor has a definitive process by which temperature check is attained, ideally the gun was meant to be used indoors to check a baby’s temperature, but with the pandemic spreading panic everywhere, the demand suddenly exploded overnight and its use multiplied unexpectedly.

The futility of using these guns has proof in the fact that these guns were the primary source of spotting infections at airports. This gives a clear enough indication to why the infection spread so far and wide.

In cases where the person doesn’t show any symptoms of the fatal disease, this device is absolutely worthless. The thermometer gun would not be able to detect any anomalies if the person affected doesn’t show any symptoms, in spite of being infected by the virus. This goes on to say that these thermometer guns do not provide accurate estimates of the infected people.

With the global Coronavirus up to the hilt,the thermometer gun has become a new normal at all public places. Wherever we go, the security guards or the allocated staff does this exercise of measuring temperatures; it is a sight we have to learn to live with and of course abide by the same. By any means, God forbid, if we are caught in the radar of high temperature, we will have to face those abandoned looks and leave the premise immediately, as we won’t be granted entry to that particular premise come what may! Innocent people are surely at gunpoint; like it or detest it;this has become a way of life!

Moreover, the feature of non-contact of this device makes it an iconic design object, giving it an interesting angle, supposedly preferable in this peculiar Covid situation, where contactless has become a rage, a new normal so to say!The device can measure someone’s surface temperature without needing to touch them, thus eliminating contamination risk, at least in theory. But spare a thought to the man guard doing his duty, what if he is infected screening hundreds of visitors each day? He could pass on the virus innocently to every visitors he screens.

The distance and environment is crucial in the use of these guns. It makes no sense if the accuracy of these primary factors is not maintained strictly and systematically.

The infrared thermometer works using an infrared sensor. The sensor measures surface temperature from a distance without touching the skin. It measures the temperature by pointing the center of the forehead. You have to hold it approximately 3 cm from the body surface.The infrared thermometer measures the heat emanating from the surface of a person’s body. If it is not held close enough to a person’s forehead, it would give very low readings.Alternately, if it is too close, it will give off a high temperature reading.

Environment matters. So if the road is too dusty, the heat is too high or if you have taken a medication to suppress the fever, it won’t work.

Some of these devices have been found to be of extremely low quality and the readings highly questionable and astounding!

Moreover, why rely on anything made in China in the wake of the current Indo-China crisis?Additionally, with the call for Vocal for Local creating huge waves across the country, it’s high time we look for corrective and safe measures to fight the fierce effect of the pandemic. If we fail at the precautionary stage itself, cure will be too afar. It’s time to introspect and arrive at a conclusion, and accordingly employ ways by means of swift action and accurate measures in the right direction.

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The Beautiful Game of Soccer & Sales – An Intriguing Take

I have been since time memorial mesmerized by the game of soccer. It’s such a thrilling experience watching a fast-paced, action-packed soccer game. In almost 90 minutes flat while watching the game, one can enjoy the game and also pick up so many valuable lessons in Sales Management. There are several common touchpoints that the game and sales per se share in common; it’s absolutely enticing. A few key attributes are jotted as under:

  1. Skills – If one needs to excel in sales, it’s a must to have technical, tactical and practical skills to win over your opponent or competitor.
  1. Values -The core values of any salesperson and his team comprise of – Attitude, Honesty, Performance, Delivery, and Return on Investments both to the company he is working and for the customer he is serving.
  1. Fitness – Like the proverbial, a fit mind has a fit body. It’s important for a salesperson to maintain physical fitness, which will in turn allow for a faster body recovery caused due to work pressure, stress, and the endurance to fight any competition.
  1. Training – Most salespersons don’t like to attend training programs. I am part of the herd as well, feeling the same, I hated every minute of training, but I tell myself, “Don’t quit, suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
  1. Discipline – It’s a bridge between your goals and accomplishments. Without discipline, no salesperson can ever be successful in his career.
  1. Ambition – A salesperson’s worth can never be greater than his ambition. A salesperson without ambition is like a fish without water.
  1. Passion – Passion is energy, passion makes impossible things happen, if you make your passion your purpose, success is ascertained. Salespersons then treat sales as fun, akin to playing soccer instead of it begin a mundane job.
  1. Practice – Salespersons should practice as if they have never sold, practice like they have never lost an order. It’s bettering the skill every time with practice, which makes a salesperson perfect over a period of time.
  1. The Winning Spree – Winners are not people who never fail; they are people who never quit, Salesperson should always have a winning attitude, in adversity one should not break down, instead break records.
  1. Money –This is the real sauce to any salesperson. You can make a million excuses or you can make a million dollars. The choice is yours, you can write your own paycheques.

Be it the soccer game or business, there are certain qualities that define a winner. Overall, the right blend of attitude, determination to excel, and perseverance to emerge a winner makes all the difference! Obstacles may be many, but the goal should be set and that should be to reach the top to become Top Notch.

Remember, where there is a will, there will always be a way!

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Fret, Fume Or Fly: COVID-19 Is Here To Stay

 

As the COVID -19 pandemic continues spreading across the globe, it has brought together the world of the unknown and a flurry of uncertainties. Its apparent now, the whole universe is in the state of unprecedented crisis; the magnitude and scale never ever witnessed in the history of mankind.

In the panel session on “Crisis & Everyday: The Role ofPhysical Security in a World of Change” in Genetec’s Virtual Tradeshow, Connect’ DX, the Principal & Managing Consultant of The Brekke Group, Brad Brekke emphasized just how complicated the pandemic’s effect on the security industry is.“This is a unique challenge,” Brekke said. “This is a biological risk, and it’s unknown — there is lack of data, not just for the security industry, but for the world. There’s a lot of uncertainty as we navigate this, and we’re being challenged in a way I’ve not seen before.”

How does this translate to the future of our Indian Security Industry? What lies ahead for all of us? What happens to our business goals and growth? What damages will it do to our business model and our cash flow? What’s our future going to look like? Too many unanswered questions, difficult to comprehend and assess, but a few things to my mind are explicit and they are as under:

 

  1. The emerging of SaaS (Security as a Service) model will come off age. Enterprising customers will now re-assess their security cover and make changes in the light of the new pandemic. However, tight cash flows and fresh investment in capital equipment will be very tough and hard. These new age customers will increasingly adopt the SaaS model since it involves no upfront capital investments, its pay per use and strict on service SLAs. The best part is it comes at Zero Investment and Zero Management, a big boon during this time of uncertainty. It may be a wee expensive, but the good part is that the onus is on the vendor to perform to recover his investment.
  2. Security Project Business may slow down to over 50 % owing to tight working capital and other business priorities. The biggest losers could be the government projects, mainly the Smart City projects that may not get the required attention from the authorities. The bigger risk could possibly be cancellation in business projects depending on how much havoc the pandemic continues to create going forward. In the Unites States, research shows that in March, survey respondents reported that 11 percent of their active business had been cancelled, while 40 percent was delayed and 49 percent was on schedule. On April 16, 21 percent of business was cancelled, 34 percent was delayed and 44 percent was on schedule. This trend may happen in India too. On the positive side, government spending will take place to ramp up their security measures to protect critical infrastructure and its fight against COVID-19. CCTV-based video surveillance systems will be in good demand to protect critical assets and government infrastructures. Solutions such as IP CCTV cameras, thermal imaging cameras and AI-enabled video analytical solutions will be the business drivers contributing significantly to the market growth. It’s believed this market will grow minimum 10% plus CAGR over the next three years.
  3. Customer Service is one of the most neglected areas in the security and safety industry. It’s one of the most commonly made mistakeson a daily basis per se and it’s so deep-rooted in the DNA. The old adage “ The customer is always right “ does not seem to ring any bell in the daily service delivery. Henceforth,thevigilant customers won’t accept this kind of attitudeany further. While they will compare the products and prices, they will also compare the service experience, which they come across in their daily lives with other category of services. They will talk about service twice more than the products and this will remain a constant challenge to keep the bar on the service levels high,especially when most things are common between competitors. Today, customer service has taken over a new definition and is surely more important than marketing; this is the only differentiator in this world of clutter. Remember it takes 5 to 10 times more efforts to acquire a new customer, while it’s easier to retain the existing one.
  4. Keeping the staff motivated and engaged is another challenge that will be faced by the industry. They too are staring at an uncertain future and not sure what lies ahead for them and the organization they are working for. Salary cuts, salary payouts, future growth, performance bonus, and career enhancement – all of this is creating a huge physiological impact.Many choose to remain silent instead of speaking about it since it may carry the risk of being negative or pessimistic.  In such trying times, it’s important to boost the morale and energy of the staff by repeated reassurances and positive news on the future of the company.

While dark clouds are looming large, we will have to learn to live with this demonic illness. The choice is ours, to continue fretting, fuming and staying timid, or to figure out ways to fight it fiercely and lead the path to emerge victorious in the fight to defeat this virus vociferously.

 

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Covid -19 : Enterprise Security to undergo Sea Change

The lift door opens and Ms. Rhea D’Souza and her boss move together towards the office main door. The boss fling opens the main door and keeps his finger on the Biometric Access Control Time and Attendance Reader to gain entry into the office. Ms. Rhea is now skeptical to keep her finger on the same device. She uses the hand sanitizer kept at the office reception, cleans the biosensor and then registers her biometric attendance. Enter to the new world of  “Zero Trust Security” which may well be the future at most enterprises across India. The complete paradigm of safety and security in offices is all set to change forever.

The war against Covid-19 is a real one, which Corporate India will have to grapple without a choice.  Covid-19 poses some very serious security and safety challenges at our work place. The enemy cannot be seen, its shape and form is not known, it does not get tired, it’s ruthlessly aggressive and worst, it kills. While Covid-19 continues showing its devastating effects,Corporate India will have to work out a strategic plan to combat this menace to keep its environment and people, safe and secure.

Once the lockdown opens, the government is most likely contemplating to make CEO of companies take full responsibility of managing the Covid-19 infection from spreading within their individual enterprises. The current business situation is extremely fluid as every day conditions continue to change, be it guessing how long the lockdown will last, uncertainty of future earnings, lost business scale and size, customers cancelling business contracts or refusing to meet up sometime soon, supply chain issues and the impending fear to go to work.

So what are the security and safety remedies or solutions that enterprises need to embrace to make their workplace insulated against the menace of Coronavirus?

Here are a few recommendations:

  • Contactless Access Control: Face Recognition System integrated with Non-Contact Medical Accuracy Temperature Detection is a next generation access control and attendance terminal. Access control device features include fast and precise Face Recognition, coupled with Non-Contact IR based Wrist Temperature Detection System. Face Mask Detection feature with alarm warning and access restriction to employees and visitors not wearing masks. Non-Contact Wrist Detection with access restriction measuring abnormal body temperature with a 2 degree centigrade+above the normal. A dedicated temperature display system showing real time count of people restricted for high temperature detection with the highest temperature recorded during the day.
  • Body Temperature Screening Thermal Camera: When this thermal camera detects someone into the monitored area, there is a voice alert, “ Kindly go to the measuring point for temperature measurement.” When the body comes near, within 1 metre and 30 degree of the camera field of view, it will measure the temperature within 0.5 seconds, display the temperature on the terminal and send this information if required on the cloud for future reference.
  • Virtual Security Guard: During lockdowns, manpower guarding of premises poses a huge challenge. Plus add to it the cost and efficiency of having expensive security guards for securing business premises. To mitigate this risk, enterprises could opt for Virtual Security Guards for securing their business premises. There is zero human dependency plus it is very cost-effective and reliable. In case of any break ins’, an alarm is triggered in the central monitoring station, video verification is initiated to check the scene of crime, two way audio is used to speak and warn the intruder and raise the siren from the command and control station, after which calls are made to the local police station or the QRT (Quick Response team.) This service is expected to just cost 15 % of the cost of annual manpower services.
  • Video Housekeeping using CCTV Cameras: To check and identify staff and visitors not wearing face masks, gloves, Personal Protection Gears, not maintaining sufficient social distancing, checking hygiene conditions at all the common areas, including all the working desks. Triggers are generated when any violation of the company policies are noticed and reported to the HR department or to the monitoring desk.
  • Employee Productivity Monitoring: With fewer staff, enterprises need to ensure that every employee at the work place is highly productive. With CCTV monitoring using AI algorithm, one keeps a watch on the operations to ensure all the employees are engaged in doing work and not wasting their working hours. Rules can be created using AI tools, wherein any exceptions are reported to the HR Department and to the monitoring desk.
  • De-Sanitization: This is a new compliance, which every enterprise now needs to adhere to. Cleaning and de-contamination of the entire premise, especially entrance gate of the building, canteen, meeting rooms, lifts and equipment, washroom, interior and exterior walls etc. It will also be important to de-sanitize all transport vehicles owned by the company that are commonly used.At the work place to have a hand sanitizer preferably with touch-free mechanism at all entry and exit points.At locations where the number of people entering and exiting the premise is very high, one should consider installing a sanitizing tunnel or chamber which is gaining more and more acceptance with each passing day.
  • Medical Facilities:  Medical Insurance to be made compulsory for all the workers.Hospital and Clinics in the nearby areas which are authorized for Covid-19 testing should be identified and the list to be made available at the work place at all times or with the HR department.
  • Workplace Measures: All employees to wear masksat the work place continuously while maintaining a distance of one meter between two co-workers. Lunch timings need to avoid over-crowding and maintain social distancing. If any worker falls sick, it must be reported to the nearest health authorities. All employees and their families should download the ‘AarogyaSetu’App.

Vigilance will have to become the buzzword in the world post Covid-19. Safety & Security wise, itwill be a relatively new environment that each one of us will have to learn to live and cope with. Health being the first priority, all due measures will have to be taken unfailingly and strict adherence to it, a compulsion for a safe and healthy environment and ultimately for a secure future ahead. The bugle has been sounded, it’s time for enterprise security to undergo a sea change.

 

Pramoud Rao

Managing Director

Zicom Electronic Security Systems Ltd.

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Impact of COVID – 19 on Security Industry

The mega C (Covid-19) has started showing its devastating impact on most of the profitable sectors and industries from Airlines to Hospitality, Infrastructure to Real Estate, Retail to Tourism, SME and SMB!The tsunami effect is expected to cause an all round economic destruction, the likes of it never seen in history before. It is estimated that the global unemployment scenario is looking bleaker by the day. In the United States more that 700,000 lac jobs have been lost in the last three months and still counting! India too is expected to face a similar situation.Dark times are looming large across the world.

With rising unemployment and low and poor sources of income, there will be more theft, robberies, murders and threat to life and property. It’s possible that the entire world might become like the undeveloped backward countries. For one’s survival, the human race may go to any extremes. To what extent the government will play a part to overcome this critical situation, only time will tell. Healthcare and National Security will become crucialconcerns for the government to handle. How will the present scenario impact the business of electronic security and what transformation will it ensue?

According to my knowledge and experience, the electronic security industry will now play a key role for the safety and security of our country. Its positive impact will be noticeable on the business, which will grow by leaps and bounds with newer technologies and products being offered. Here are a few pointers what we can and should do to empower the nation with tight security measures:

  1. Make in India: Currently, China produces more that 90 % of the Video Surveillance Equipment and accounts for 45 % of the world’s 20 billion $ revenues! India should now grab this opportunity and create a robust eco-system for local manufacturing. A few local companies like Sparsh, Securico, etc. have taken a head startin this direction to localize manufacturing which is truly commendable, but unless we build the entire eco-system of technology, manufacturing capabilities, product quality, distribution, scale of operations and after sales services, our dependence on China will not end anytime soon. We must stop the Chinese invasion of security products into our country.
  1. Upgrading Access Control: With the humongous impact of the novel Coronavirus, all enterprises will have to upgrade their access control system to non-touch technologies like facial recognition coupled with temperature and mood sensing to check if the employee entering the office premise is unwell. Going ahead, most of the companies will invest in new age non-contact entry control technologies to avoid any contamination due to Coronavirus.
  1. Cost Reduction and Improving Productivity:With enterprises now having to face the prospect of declining business, focusing on all round cost control measures may now become focal areas of concern. Security hardware and software will have to go beyond surveillance. The role of CCTV Cameras will multiply, Video Analytics to be used for functions like people counting, attendance monitoring, access control, fire alert management, weapon detection, facility management functions, business process enhancement etc., technologywill have to come of age as never before.

The economic impact of Coronavirus is uncertain since we have just entered phase 3 and it’s still very early to predict how long this menace will continue to haunt and economically damage us over the period of time. But one thing that can be ascertained is the fact that whenever there is a socio-economic imbalance, the need and demand for safety and security devices has always grown exponentially.

 

PramoudRao

Managing Director

Zicom Electronic Security Systems Ltd.