David Ly, Chairman & CEO – His Story David Ly was 3 years old when he escaped the Communist regime of his native Vietnam. He was just old enough to understand the need to be quiet as he hid in the jungle with his aunt, Nancy Ly. “Ideally, you get rescued, or you die,” he said. “Technically, I was a boat baby.” Ly remembers his feet being bitten by sand crabs as they hid waiting to escape during the fall of Saigon on April 30, 1970.His grandfather bought them passageon a fishing vessel to escape. Ly saidroughly 70 people huddled inside thehull as the Vietnamese captain steeredthem away from Communist boats seekingescapees. Once they had been ferried into the Pacific Ocean, they transferred onto a ship from Holland, one of a group ofhumanitarian crafts anticipating refugees.Ly said he climbed a rope ladderonto that ship, which was headíng to Osaka, Japan. Ly and his aunt enteredthat country and lived in a refugee campfor two years. “The Japanese took care of us, fed and educated us,” Ly remembers fondly. Another of his aunts, Susan Ly, already lived in the U. S. She sponsored the pair to come to the U.S., and they were granted immigration rights fairly quickly to move to San Jose, California, when Ly was 5. His life there became much more Americanized as he started kindergarten. It helped that his teacher was Japanese, so he was able to talk with her. “It was just luck and destiny,” he said. “I didn’t know English, and so I had to learn it in kindergarten.” Ly’s father, who was in the South Vietnamese military, also avoided arrest and came to the U.S. when Ly was almost 7. His mother stayed in Vietnam to take care of a younger brother and wasn’t able to come to the U.S. until Ly was 16. Stricter immigration policies made it more difficult. “I was fortunate my family stayed intact and no one died,” he said. “My whole family had to start over. I’ve never expected anything for free. If you really want it, wake up and get it yourself.” Ly learned to be independent at an early age as both of his aunts worked, so he traveled to and from school by bus with a house key around his neck. “I have perseverance,” he said. “You got to keep pushing. No one else is going to do it for you.”Although he was in the U.S., his family’s traditional Vietnamese culture remained intact. As such, he had three career options his family would approve: doctor, lawyer or engineer. He was scared of blood and didn’t like reading, so he fell into engineering. Ly put himself through college, getting loans and grants and working – first at RadioShack, then at a telemarketing firm and finally at Metricom, selling the Ricochet wireless Internet modem before the advent of Wi-Fi. He was a tech sales rep, selling the product to universities. “I knew from high school watching American movies, especially ‘Wall Street,’ I wanted to be a businessman,” Ly said. “I envied the suit environment and wanted to be in charge. I was intrigued on how to become that, although I wasn’t quite sure what that meant.” He graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in civil engineering, then was offered a fulltimejob at Metricom. He was promoted to an applications engineering positionas a sales engineer, and he moved toArizona. That’s where he found his firstreal opportunity to get into the corporatearena. “I was always very passionate about technology,” he said. “I traveled the country doing technical training and testing the product. It was fun, but lonely. I thought: This is great, but it sucks.” While Ly was ready to move forward, Metricom wasn’t. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2001. He stayed in the wireless communications industry, working with T-Mobile and Nextel. While working at T-Mobile, Ly started a Mesa company called IntelaSight in 2003 at age 28. He changed the company name to Iveda Solutions Inc. in 2007. Download Phoenix Business Journal Article in PDF
Bird’s-eye view David Ly, CEO and founder of video surveillance provider Iveda, agrees that DOT resistance to cloud storage will melt away. He says that the future of video surveillance is in the cloud rather than with box-based systems involving cables, chops, hard drives or even VHS tapes. “Too many companies and DOTs believe they can just invest in hardware and a few tech guys, and pray that magic happens along the way – but it’s inefficient,” Ly says. “The cloud has evolved in support of IT and the same is true of video surveillance. If you can have all the research and development done for you, and systems built for you, it makes your life as an end user easier. The old box systems are not scalable, whereas we can pull together video streams from thousands of cameras in multiple locations into a single command-and control center. It is imminent that all video will be in the cloud.” Iveda’s largest contract is with New Taipei City, in Taiwan, through its subsidiary MEGAsys. New Taipei City’s SafeCiti surveillance system comprises more than 13,500 cameras integrated into one centrally managed platform. The system has benefits for police forces, but also for remote surveillance of traffic. “They use it to monitor the flow of traffic in real time,” explains Ly. “After distress calls, they are able to instantly share live video data with first responders. Putting the data in the cloud makes it easier to archive and review.” Ly claims that cloud-based video surveillance could be of great value for DOTs in the USA, but the concept faces an uphill battle for acceptance. “Some people cry intrusion of privacy if you point a camera at the moon – in case people see them smooching in the reflection,” he says. “But video surveillance is not about intrusion of privacy; it’s about responding efficiently if a car hits a pole. You need to make quick decisions about how many fire trucks to send.” The second major concern for DOTs, he says, is security in the cloud. “But the cloud is flexible now and DOTs need to realize they are not sending their data to ‘kingdom come’. There are now private, public or hybrid systems. A DOT can define its own cloud – where it exists, its size, and whether or not to build security walls.” Open PDF
Small and medium-sized businesses (5MB) are anything but small and medium-sized in terms of their impact on a country’s economy. According to the US Small Business Administration (SBA), there are roughly 28 million small businesses, businesses with fewer than 500 employees, which make up 49.2 percent of private sector employment in the U.S. A statistical release by the UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (B IS) from October 2013 revealed that 99.9 percent of all private sector businesses in the U.K. fa ll under the category of a SMB defined by the European Commission (EC) as a business with 249 employees or less. The BIS release further noted that UK SMBs employ 14.1 million people and have a combined turnover of around US$2.6 trillion, which accounts for approximately 48.1 percent of private sector turnover. These numbers clearly show that although SMBs may be small in physical size, their economic impact is not to be underestimate d. For this reason, the security industry has taken more notice and begun focusing more of its energies on this important market sector. Small or Medium? What defines a SMB differs not only between country, but organization as well. The country with the broadest definition of what constitutes a SMB is the U.S. While the SBA defines small businesses as any enterprise with less than 500 employees, Gartner, an information technology research and advisory company, defines SMBs as businesses that have less than 999 employees and annual revenue of less than S 1 billion. Gartner further breaks down SMBs by categorizing small businesses as those with less than 100 employees and annual re venue of $50 million, and medium-sized businesses as those with 100 to 999 employees and annual revenue of more than $50 million but less than $1 billion. On the other hand, the EC defines SMBs as enterprises with less than 250 employees and a turnover of less than $65.4 million. This definition is further broken down into three subcategories: micro (zero to nine employees) , small (10 to 49 employees), and medium (50 to 249 employees). Differently, in India , SMBs are divided into two categories – enterprises engaged in the manufacture, production, processing , or preservation of goods; and enterprises engaged in providing or rendering of services-based on the amount invested in plant, machinery, and/or equipment, according to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Act 2006. Furthermore, according to the Indian Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises, mic ro, small, and medium enterprises contribute nearly eight percent of the country’s GOP, 45 percent of the manufacturing output, and 40 percent of exports. While many security companies use the above types of standards to define SMBs, some use their own definitions. “Traditionally, the market segments were defined by the employee numbers. But with more and more automation and technology evolving , a small company could generate more revenue than a medium size company. For the surveillance market, we would like to define SMB by the scale of the infrastructure or by the amount of data increasing or used per year- small businesses 50TB or fewer and mediums ized businesses 50TB to 1,OOOTB;’ said Daniel Lin, Sales Director at Qsan Technology. WHAT SMBS WANT SMB security spending in the U.S. alone is expected to surpass $5.6 billion in 2015, twice the rate of SMB IT spending over the same period, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). When it comes to what SMBs want in terms of security, industry players note SMBs want the same level of security that both large commercial and government projects require. “The SMB is likely to be more agile and reach a buying decision quickly, yet they are demanding the same features and benefits of large corporations: performance, return on in vestment (ROI), lo wer cost of ownership and maintenance, and often a level of integration;’ said Jamie Barnfield, Senior Sales Manager at lOIS. Not only do SMBs want the same features and benefits that big enterprises want, they also want simplicity, according to Barnfield. “They want something that works and does exactly what it says on the tin. They especially don’t want complexity:’ Barnfield attributes the desire for simplicity to the lack of resources SMBs have to deal with complicated systems. These needs also have an effect on SMB buying patterns. John Davies, MD of TDSi points out that the complexity of large commercial and government projects causes sales cycles to be 12 to 24 months or longer, which means that technology requests can be out of date by the time tenders get underway. SMBs, however, “have a much faster process, requesting the latest applicable technology and are looking for immediate results:’ SMBs are also looking for more bang for their buck. As a result, improving customer ROI is becoming ever more important. One factor that has increased awareness for better ROI was the global economic slowdown, which Barnfield named as a major reason for changes in SMB buying behaviors and expectations. “The tough global recession leaves a legacy of price-sensitivity and so demonstrating a clear ROI for us [IDIS] is priority:’ Total cost of ownership is another concern for SMBs. “SMBs are looking for solutions with the best price/performance ratio and the perfect balance between cost, speed, and reliability while remembering that these systems need to cope with data vo lume growth and hence offer an element of scalability;’ according to Lin. In terms of brand purchasing, limited budgets and lack of in-house IT have typically caused SMBs to invest in lower cost and lesser known brands. However, SMBs are getting smarter, realizing that low prices can often mean low quality, which ends up costing more in the long run. On the smaller end of the SMB spectrum, deployment of major brands is still not high; this according to Davies is due to tighter budgets and less stringent security concerns. However, a growing number of medium sized businesses- such as health care, financial services and insurance, clothing retailers, manufacturing and production, professional services, and construction and real estate- are looking to major brand names depending on budget, losses incurred, and specific needs, according to David Ly, Chairman and CEO of Iveda. “Based on our own experiences, a lot of SMBs have relied on their traditional security integrators or consults, peddling what they are most comfortable with- typically these are the major brands. Aside from cost, consideration of a major brand is influenced by your own experience and comfort working with a particular brand or recommendations from your security integrator or consultants;’ said Ly. Furthermore, “For the most part, they don’t have time to experiment with unknown names and products. The risk of things not panning out to their expectations is what keeps most medium-sized businesses from implementing new [brands], even if what’s new has obvious benefits and value:’ Other reasons SMBs are choosing major brands include the demand for simplicity of operation, fast implementation, and longer system life cycle, which often equal major brands they can trust, according to Barnfield. THE RISE OF IP-BASED SECURITY First generation IP-enabled and HD surveillance left a sour taste in the mouth of many SMBs, as explained by Barnfield. “Projects ran over time and budget, performance was limited by bandwidth restrictions, full HD across simultaneous operations was rarely the reality, while the installation process and day-to-day operation were complex, requiring a certain leve l of network knowledge:’ However, SMBs have learned from these early experiences, now demanding full-HD across simultaneous live viewing, recording, and playback, as well as hassle -free implementation and simple day-to-day operations, according to Barnfield. Despite increased demand for more “advanced” functions, not every SMB requires such intense functionality. So who does? Small SMBs contracted to manage government or financialoperations may need to have highly efficient and scrutinized audit trails in its security measures, which may involve monitoring of staff movement and activities, informed Davies. “In this case, the SMB may want to be seen or indeed might be contractually mandated to be using the most modern and stringent security measures:’ Furthermore, insurers may even require that SMBs prove that measures are in place to mitigate risk, which might result in reduced insurance premiums. It is in cases like this, that more advanced functions, such as full HD and live viewing, may not prove to just be useful, but possibly required. Integration and “advanced ” features can also be of particular benefit to SMBs in the retail market. “We’re seeing these demands across a range of SMBs such as retail, where the benefits of HD are obvious to detect and prevent shrinkage and improve health and safety, while a net wo rked system enables a re mote and/or centralized monitoring capability;’ according to Barnfield. He further added, “Although not as sophisticated as the large commercial projects, SMBs wan t to realize the benefits derived from integration with other security systems such as access control or with other systems such as ATMs and POS:’ Whil emigration from analog to IP -based systems in the SMB sector is expected to be steady and gradual, as previously reported by a&s International, now with more experience and savvy, the declining price of IP -based devices has opened a door for SMBs. “I n the past, it was mainly them in SMB or IT and technology businesses that really wanted IP-based security systems;’ said Davies. “How ever, things have very much changed in the last few years with all businesses aspiring to have well integrated IP-based systems that are easier to install and operate:’ Similarly, Ly pointed out, “All types and levels of SMBs have been considering IP-based security systems for faster deployment, ease of use, and flexibility: ‘Ly attributes rapid advances in virtualization, provisioning, and automation technology as drivers for SMB IP-based system growth. Additonally, an increasing number of apps being developed specifically for IP-based products and cloud service delivery are also making the cloud and IP-based products a more viable alternative. Open PDF
Iveda Solutions (OTCBB:IVDA) is an established and innovative company that delivers secure, open source and enterprise-class managed video services by leveraging the power of cloud computing. The company is passionate about espousing cloud-based video surveillance services that ensure the security of individuals, businesses and communities. They have built a solid organization, including and enterprise-class cloud-based video hosting architecture that utilizes robust data centers and allows scalability, flexibility, and centralized video management. As a result, customers are able to remotely access centrally managed live and archived video, without the burden of buying and maintaining software and equipment. Iveda Solutions is a provider of enterprise-class Video Surveillance as a Service (“VSaaS”). Cloud-hosted video surveillance does not require buying and maintaining DVRs, servers, and software. Its the cloud services consolidate management and access to live and recorded video, from multiple locations. Video can be access 24/7 using a single online dashboard. They address the availability and capacity bandwidth issues by working closely with various broadband providers for remote applications and utilizing local infrastructure when available to support the requirements. Iveda Solutions is the first and currently the only company, offering real-time IP video hosting and remote surveillance services with a SAFETY Act Designation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Iveda Solutions has held the SAFETY Act Designation since 2009. Iveda Solutions provide customers with the ability to instantly access from one to thousands of cameras. One of their services is IvedaXpress utilizing Zee Cameras, a Plug & Play Video Surveillance System, which allows multiple cameras to be viewed on a single dashboard on the customer’s computer, tablet or smartphone, wherever they are in the world. This solution is designed especially with consumers and small businesses in mind. Another service is IvedaOnBoard utilizing VEMO, which is the first fully integrated in-vehicle surveillance system streaming live to the cloud using cellular network. Live and recorded video from vehicles is hosted in the cloud, centrally managed and viewed on a sing dashboard. Open PDF
As competition in residential and commercial security/automation intensifies, the ability to bring up customized solutions to suit clients’ need will be the game changer. We examine some of the latest residential and commercial solutions, potentials and challenges of video verification service and prindples to follow when OEM partnering with security service providers (SSP) and remote monitoring providers. The integration of the video and alarm services allows an entry for alarm monitoringCompanies into the video market. As the integration brings video andalarms together, video verificationcan make bigger margins on remote video services compared to merely alarm monitoring. Video verification can be a cost effective solution to some customers. According to a study conducted by Simon Hakim, Professor of Economics at Temple University, US police responds to 35 million alarms in any given year and about 95 percent are false alarms and there goes US$2 billion down the drain. “Many businesses that have numerous false alarms even have budgeted money for false alarm costs. Alarm companies pass this cost to police departments and taxpayers,” said David Ly, President and CEO of Iveda Solutions. “Thus, there have been many city ordinances throughout the U.S. charging home owners and business owners for false alarms. Some police departments simply don’t respond to unverified alarms.” Verification requirements for police response vary widely across the U.S. and even from one city to another. Integrators can become involved with the different state associations to stay up to date on new and existing ordinances and policies. Cutting down on false alarms with video verification service (VVS) is a big cost saver for SSP as it helps reduce the number of false alarms, allowing more efficient dispatch operations and cost-savings for end users without real guard patrolling fees. “The integration of video and alarm enables central station operators to receive both the alarm signal and the corresponding video clips to verify whether it’s a crime in progress and dispatch law enforcement,” said Robert Lien, Assistant VP of R&D Department for Taiwan, Secom. ”Operators can now view multiple alarm clips, trigger remote relays, establish a two way call and send arm/disarm commands, which saves time and money from an operator’s viewpoint.” Video verification has huge potential in verifying response locales. “Commercial users are beginning to adopt video verification more rapidly in these cities in order to protect their assets,” said Lisa Ciappetta, Senior Director of Marketing, Protection1. “We offer video verification and remote guard tour services to commercial customers. With verified response becoming more prevalent, video verification makes sense to many users that need to keep their business protected.” Video guard service offers a cost-effective alternative to physical guards. It allows customers to reduce the cost of 24-hour security guards. According to ADT, video guard service can provide immediate return on investment -as much as four to one – when compared to physical guard expense. Video guard tours have been around the commercial market for some time. “End user adoption is rapidly increasing due to the economic realities faced by today’s corporations,” Ciappetta said. “Remote video services can allow them to augment or replace physical guards at a fraction of the cost, and associated video quality and tour reporting capabilities have increased to the point where users are more comfortable with supplementing physical security with technology.” Video guard service may also include two-way audio feature so that operator can make pre-scripted announcements when suspicious persons are viewed at a location. Besides offering a sense of safety and security, there was an even bigger market for remote video technology in businesses that have multiple locations in multiple markets. More new applications driven by effective business operations than by security surfaced. For example, remote video technology can be used by a retail store manager/retaurant owner to see if the store/restaurant is clean, if staff levels are sufficient to handle customer load, and if the staff is in proper uniform. With remote monitoring, employees’ habits and customers’ behavior I preference can be improved and better served. Commercial real estate market continues its slow recovery due to economic uncertainty. SSP no longer enjoys the benefits of installing systems for the builders at time of construction. The good news is that IP technologies offer a whole new opportunity to connect with current customers and sell upgraded systems to existing households. “For VVS, we predict larger demands from residential and SMB as they typically employ alarm monitoring to meet their security needs,” Ly said. ”With the growing false alarm issues and the high cost associated with it, more and more alarm companies will want to partner with us to make alarm monitoring more useful, less strain on police departments, and virtually no added cost burden on their customers.” As IP technology is emerging and increasing interest from consumers, different markets and different levels of consumer spend will decide the pace of adoption. “For residential customers, the concerns of consumer privacy and the potential for huge amounts of activity received by the monitoring station must be overcome in order for it to take off residentially,” Ciappetta advised. Alarm companies must address the privacy concerns first when an operator accesses remote cameras to verify or dismiss an alarm activation. OPERATOR TRAINING Video verification is quite new that most companies and even police departments are still trying to figure out how to effectively use video verification. In terms of how law enforcement is dealing with it and using video verification, it is still relatively new. The industry also needs monitoring center standards for video verification as this feature is new to alarm station operators/dispatcher as well. Since video verification is new to dispatchers, operators will have to “explain” what they are seeing from video. For instance, operators have to be fully descriptive about the alarm, what they saw from the alarm-triggered video and how they interacted with police dispatch. Therefore, operator training is crucial for alarm companies or SSP. THE CAUTIOUS LEAP Despite new opportunities and integrations, video is not something to jump into lightly. “Local alarm companies and dealers need to make a clear plan and consider how it will affect their operations and infrastructure before they make the Leap,” cautioned Lien. For instance, adding video means that review “time” spent on incident also increases which reflects increased video services accordingly. The way and time alarm monitoring operators respond must also be equally efficient to pace with video verification. A regular intrusion alarm incident might take a total of 90 seconds of an operator’s time; however, with video, operators might not able to receive the video dips until 90 seconds later, due to the lag time of the system sending the video over a cellular network. SSP or alarm companies must first harness the transmission issue along with operator response time before fully taking advantage of video verification without latency. While plenty of SSP and alarm companies are eager to make the most out of VVS, video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) seems to be not as intriguing as VVS. Despite IMS Research’s rosy prediction, the market is still quite immature and it is still unclear who makes money. Large partnerships might be seen in the future as a cost/risk share strategy and to roll out at a national level. SELECTING THE RIGHT PARTNERS New opportunities draw new faces as well. While telcos have the advantage of bandwidth directly to end users, SSP and alarm companies might re-examine their cancellation rate. As consumers have become more tech savvy and are interested in add-on solutions like wireless capability, remote access and video verification that integrate with smartphones and handheld devices. Selecting hardware for alarm stations means the solutions have to run reliably around the clock. Suppliers have to demonstrate that their products meet the standards required by the market. “When picking our OEM partners as we request greatest standard in reliability to lower the related maintenance costs,” Lien said. “OEM partners need to adjust their box-moving and minimum-spec-meeting selling strategies to a more customized support base. Besides reliability and minimum spec requirement, those who are willing to put the need of operators into consideration and production are those we like to work with.” Manufacturers also need to avoid price competition to win orders. “Provide good quality and value to customers, do not rat race and miss out on long term,” said Sri Palasamudram, CEO of Mobideos. “Customers won’t like it if you support part of their infrastructure and try and trick them. When you are selecting VSaaS option, make sure you partner with someone who knows how to scale and provide good quality video streams for large number of users concurrently.” Systems should be easy to integrate instead of one-time customizations. “Software should head into the direction of being more open, flexible, and allow for more interoperability rather than be brand or make specific to a device,” Ly said. The IP migration in security brings more integrations and opportunities. The integration of video and alarms requires SSP and alarm companies to branch out of their comfort zone. As competition heats up, the challenge to stay on top of market is to create more comprehensive products and solutions, and the connection through network and mobile devices. The hardware and software are available and affordable and the market is asking for such solutions. As. an old saying goes, “Opportunity only favors the prepared mind.” Source: A&S International Magazine Author: Tevin Wang PDF Article
Source: The Journal Cloud-based tools are giving K-12 collaboration efforts a boost. Across the US, innovative collaboration practices are happening in the cloud: Sixth-graders participate in literary salons. Fourth-graders mentor kindergarteners. And teachers use virtual Post-it notes to advise students as they create their own television shows. In other words, cloud computing is no longer just used to manage administrative technology–thanks to its accessibility, ease of use, and versatility. All over the country, teachers, students, and administrators are trying different cloud-based solutions–some free or inexpensive–that allow multiple users to collaborate in innovative ways. Here are nine examples from K-12 educators who have found creative ways to get their heads in the cloud. Wixie Equals Buddies The cloud is giving some fourth-grade “teachers” in Colorado the sense of accomplishment that comes with having their own students whom they can be proud of. That’s thanks to Melissa Swenson, a teacher and librarian at Meiklejohn Elementary School in Arvada, CO who introduced Wixie, a cloud-based solution that allows students to create original art, voice recordings, and written communication in one place online. With the help of Wixie, the school is conducting a pilot program across all of its classrooms that turns some older students into mentors for younger ones. Fourth-graders at the school recently paired up with their kindergarten “buddies” to work side-by-side on desktop computers in class. The older students designed math activities using the online application, and then worked one-on-one to teach them to the younger pupils. “The kindergarteners were learning about shapes, so the fourth-graders used Wixie to design shape activities for them with directions like, ‘Fill in the triangle shapes with red,’ or ‘Drag the shape word inside the shape,'” Swenson explains. One older student took the lesson plan to a new level by integrating a project on proper nouns into the mix. Working on his computer screen, the kindergartener had to drag the proper nouns into one box, and the regular nouns into another. When Swenson wondered out loud if the lesson would be too difficult, the older student answered, “Oh, it’s okay, my buddy is really smart!” “When they can get online and work on their own, or in a group format by logging into a program like Wixie,” Swenson says, “it opens up a whole new world for them, and for their teachers.” (Not So) Far Afield Field trips have come a long way since the days when students were whisked away on a bus to explore new terrain, only to forget about the experience the next day. The School District of Palm Beach County (FL) is using cloud technology to ensure that the experience resonates with students, starting days or weeks before the field trip itself. With the help of Adobe Connect Pro, the district’s technology team has set up a way for students, teachers, and outside parties who might participate in a field trip–like forest rangers and university scientists–to collaborate online before, during, and after the field trips. In advance of a recent trip to a local state park to explore its different ecological zones, for example, Palm Beach students met online with park rangers via a video chat to ask questions, obtain beach reports, and gather other pertinent information. Once out in the field, students were armed with laptops, cameras, and scientific probe devices that allowed them to gather data for use in the classroom the next day. Final reports (both written and video) were completed online and shared with teachers back at the school. Teachers were able to connect with the students in real time with feedback to the information they were uploading, ask additional questions, and even immediately grade the assignments students were completing back at the park. “Using technology, teachers can make the lesson much more compelling and extend past a single day’s trip,” says Kim Cavanaugh, the district’s technology program specialist. “They can also latch onto the enthusiasm immediately, and use it as a motivational tool for students.” Google Docs and Pop-ins When Lloyd Mitchell’s first assignment for his fifth-graders at the start of the school year was to set up a folder system in Google Docs for all the work they would complete, little did they know it would give him the ability to “pop in” almost any time they had a class assignment to prepare. The Unquowa School in Fairfield, CT, began using Google Apps about two years ago, and today about 85 percent of the institution’s teachers use the cloud-based solution for word processing, spreadsheets, and presentations. Using the application also holds students more accountable: Excuses like “the dog ate my homework” don’t fly in the virtual world. “My students come to class prepared,” says Mitchell. “That alone creates a more enriching and efficient classroom environment.” The homework that the dog didn’t eat can be as simple as a few chapters to read or as complex as a classroom project that involves several students. Students are alerted when Mitchell makes changes or notes in the application, and can quickly address those comments. For an assigned reading project, as an example, students used Google Docs to take notes in an outline format. Once the assignments were finished and dropped into their respective online folders, Mitchell was able to correct them immediately. If Mitchell happens to be online while students are working on their assignments, he can simply “pop in.” Students can communicate him or other students via instant message. Mitchell can also give instant demonstrations, and the students can follow up immediately with questions. “Being able to handle that quick back-and-forth discussion online really helps students do better on their assignments,” Mitchell says. You Read It; No, You Read It! Managing feedback from teachers on essays and other projects is one thing, but having peers comment on their work–and vice versa–can be downright daunting for many students. Ryan Gilbert, an English teacher at Ohio Hi-Point Career Center in Bellefontaine, OH, has found that cloud collaboration is one way to alleviate some of that pain. Gilbert’s cloud tool of choice is StudySync, which connects students to an extensive, online library of classics, modern texts, video-based lessons, and, most important , peer-to-peer communication tools. Gilbert, who teaches college prep and honors English, began using StudySync’s peer review feature at the start of the current school year. After completing their writing assignments, students log into StudySync and submit their work to Gilbert, and also for review by their classmates. At the same time, they are randomly assigned a certain number of their classmates’ work to review. “The random assignment helps to alleviate clique-forming,” says Gilbert. Students use the system to complete objective reviews with a pre-determined rubric. When submitting their reviews, they can share their names, or not. “I can see who did what, but it’s up to them to share with one another,” says Gilbert, who sees the anonymity as a good way to elicit honest reviews. The online system also helps alleviate some other issues students deal with when working on desktop- or laptop-based computer programs. System crashes, for example, are a thing of the past. “The cloud offers everybody the ubiquity of being able to access your material everywhere,” says Gilbert. Wiki Fever in Georgia Vicki Davis says her “wiki fever” has spread throughout the Westwood Schools in Camilla, GA, where she is a computer science teacher–and way beyond. Until just recently, wikis only allowed a handful of “editors” to work at one time, she says. “We’re now at the point in education where we can have massive wikis with literally hundreds of students involved,” adds Davis, “all editing and working together for a common cause.” Her technology-centric classroom revolves around the multiple wikis that she has set up over the last five years at the school where she teaches technology to students in grades 8 to 12. One wiki is the focal point for her computer science class, with a Google Calendar that’s populated with lesson plans, assignments, and other pertinent information created for students. Most recently, Davis got involved with a wiki whose reach extends well beyond Westwood Schools. Roughly 500 students worldwide are working together online to create and edit a wiki that examines current trends in college education. For example, in looking at digital textbooks on campus, students examine the characteristics of their various generations and make predictions about the use of e-books over the next five years. “They are all working together to write an authentic, unique research report in the cloud,” says Davis. “The end result will be a great wiki document on how their generation will actually use various technology tools in college.” The Virtual Post-it Note Kieran Ryan is the type of teacher who once had a lot of sticky notes pasted to her desk, stuck to her computer monitor, and taped to her personal calendar. That’s why the sixth-grade teacher at Loudonville Elementary School in Albany, NY, is particularly enthused by her latest online find: Lino, an online web sticky note service that can be used to post memos, to-do lists, ideas, and photos anywhere on an online web canvas. Ryan’s use of the tool goes beyond just posting information and giving students access to it. She has turned Lino into a collaborative workspace. “Students use it to post images, upload movies, share ideas, and talk to one another,” says Ryan. For a recent homework project, students used Apple’s GarageBand software to create a television show on ancient Indian and Chinese civilizations. The show was modeled after the TV quiz show Cash Cab, in which unwitting passengers play a trivia game for money. “We set up the project to mimic those online game shows, with students focusing on questions about ancient civilizations,” says Ryan. The footage was shot outside of the school, and students brought the materials into class, where they worked together to assemble complete shows using GarageBand. The projects were then uploaded to a Lino page, where Ryan was able to collaborate with students by providing feedback and input directly through Lino’s sticky notes and conversation tools. Once finalized, the projects were uploaded to a dedicated PBworks wiki page, which served as a “home base” for the shows. “This is a great way to communicate and for me to see the work they’re doing both in and out of school,” she says. Eyes on the Prizes Iveda’s Camina may not give vision-impaired children new sets of eyes, but it does give their teachers a wayOn Cloud Nine to see what their students are doing. Visually impaired children who live in remote rural areas have had very specific challenges. Many school districts depend on a small number of itinerant teachers (or, in many cases, just one) who work with those children. Because the teacher’s physical presence was required, students would have to wait for that single teacher to appear before they could complete their work. In the spring of 2009, the Foundation for Blind Children launched a six-month pilot program that aimed to prove that a cloud-based, assistive-technology instruction model could allow teachers of the visually impaired to conduct lessons, adapt materials, consult with classroom teachers, and work with students remotely in real time. The secret to success was a video surveillance services provider called Iveda Solutions and its product, Camina “camera in a bag”–a mobile, pan-tilt-zoom camera system, with cellular-broadband connectivity and cloud-based video hosting services, that would allow the teacher to monitor the student’s activities from a remote location. The camera solution meant that the teacher and student could communicate–and the teacher could monitor the student’s work–without being physically present. The high-quality, portable, cloud-based camera could go anywhere the student went. It also allowed students access to any number of teachers who could provide the best instruction for a specific task (without the teacher being physically present). “Iveda revolutionized how we teach blind and visually impaired students,” says Marc Ashton, CEO of the Foundation for Blind Children. Hip Kid Lit San Francisco’s Francisco Middle School has a culturally diverse student body and a large limited-English population. So, many teachers rely heavily on individualized learning projects to engage their students. Elizabeth Fierst, a sixth-grade language arts teacher, has used the district’s School Loop website to create a cloud-based project called Novel Podcasts. Students in her class choose one of three novels to read and then participate in virtual literary study groups with peers who have chosen the same novel. In the online study groups, they share personal reading responses and discuss character, setting, and plot. Fierst is able to keep track of each student’s progress throughout the project with the School Loop website’s virtual discussion threads and assignment-based discussions. The student’s peers, as well as Fierst, can leave their feedback in response to updated progress on the project as it is completed by the student. Students are able to virtually keep track of their notes and feedback in their own School Loop digital lockers, which allow for unlimited data storage, document sharing, and remote retrieval of information. Once they have finished reading their novels, each study group of students creates and uploads its own podcast, accompanied by a three-paragraph written script, as a virtual book report. After viewing the presentation, classmates are asked to leave final feedback by replying to the post and explaining what they liked about the presentations and what could be improved. The completed project, as well as feedback and grades from Fierst, then can be viewed by parents who are able to see for themselves that students are meeting goals and on track to succeed. Core Scores Common Core State Standards are slowly but surely replacing state standards of learning, which may be causing anxiety for educators who must make changes to the way they teach and assess as a result. Fortunately, a recent educational technology startup called MasteryConnect has created a free, cloud-based solution to help teachers collaborate to track student mastery of Common Core Standards. “It’s great to be able to build my own personal learning network around the core,” says Alisa Belliston, a second-grade teacher at Riverton Elementary School in Riverton, UT. “When teachers I’m following in my school, district, or other states share their common assessments around the core, I can instantly see how other teachers are assessing and tracking mastery.” MasteryConnect has taken aim at the old average-based grading system, and focused on providing a way for teachers to visualize the progress of student mastery of concepts and standards. That information is then made available to parents and administrators in real time and shows exactly how well students are doing. As with many cloud services and web 2.0 models, MasteryConnect’s “freemium” solution has both free and paid features. Teachers can use all the social tools, common assessment sharing, mastery tracking, and parent reporting features for free. The components teachers must pay for include what the company calls “time-saving assessment tools” for the iPod, iPad, web browser and paper-based bubble sheet scanning from a web or document camera. Author: Bridget McCrea, Marty Weil Open PDF Article
Remote Site Security: Protecting Critical Infrastructure and Key Resources As a remote site operator, supervisor or field technician you’ve seen your fair share of disparate geographical sites, each with varying levels of safety and security concerns along with extreme weather conditions. However, one concern that is not often kept top-of-mind, mostly due to competing essential needs and low operating budgets, is the emergency response and preparedness to terrorist attacks. Catastrophic Failure Although it may seem lofty and far-fetched for some remote site operators to believe their site might be targeted as part of an interconnected threat, directors and operators of key resource facilities must maintain their vigilance to the risk prevention, protection, and preparedness to the seriousness of these potential threats. Poised to cause catastrophic failure to our nation’s critical infrastructure, one malicious attack to a remote critical site or key resource can be devastating to an entire population. It can leave residents and commercial businesses without water, electricity, gas or other precious resources. Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security has identified the risk to catastrophic failure as a complex mix of manmade and naturally occurring threats and hazards, including terrorist attacks, accidents, natural disasters and other emergencies. Not only can an initial attack cause harm to the targeted sector and its physical location of the incident, but it can also produce a cascading effect on all other sectors due to their dependency and interdependency upon each other’s resources. For example, the energy infrastructure is divided into three interrelated segments: electricity, petroleum, and natural gas. This sector alone fuels and breathes life into the heart of all other resources. The incapacity or destruction of this sector would leave a debilitating impact on our safety, security, public health, economy and the continuity of our everyday life. And, although there are many safety and security measures available today, our nation’s critical infrastructure has become directly and indirectly vulnerable, pushing key resource directors to advance towards innovative security measures such as Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology (QATT). Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology Mesa, Arizona’s Energy Resource Department, who provides electric utility service to approximately 15,000 residential and commercial customers along with natural gas to more than 52,000 homes and businesses within a 365-square-mile area have already jumped on-board and begun capitalizing on cloud-based video surveillance services that offer Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology. QATT is any technology that is designed, developed, modified or procured for preventing, detecting, identifying or deterring acts of terrorism or limiting the harm such acts might otherwise cause. Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, congress enacted The Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002 (SAFETY Act). This federal law provides unprecedented immunity, liability caps, defenses and other incentives available to private or governmental entities who use products, technologies or services, whether for protecting themselves or protecting others, that attempt to deter, identify, protect against, prevent or mitigate a terrorist act. In short, a company that implements technology designated or certified per the SAFETY Act has the right to seek immediate dismissal of civil claims if sued following an act of terrorism. That company also has the same right if sued for property or personal injury damages caused by failure of the QATT. Although Mesa has not experienced any interconnected threats that warrant a matter of national security, its remote site operators and directors have found comfort knowing their key resources and critical infrastructure is safe and protected by qualified anti-terrorism technology. “The comfort of knowing that a location with tens of thousands of dollars of equipment is safe and secure is one less item to be anxious about,” said Frank McRae, Director of Energy Resources Department for Mesa. McRae quickly recognized the benefits of (QATT) and employed Iveda Solutions a DHS SAFETY Act Designated provider of real-time remote video surveillance and centralized video hosting services. Implementing Innovative Services Iveda Solutions’ enterprise class video hosting architecture, utilizing a secure, remote, data center, allows customers like Mesa’s Energy Resource Department to access and manage their security surveillance systems from any Web browser anywhere in the world there is Internet-connectivity. Prior to installing surveillance cameras and using managed video services, remote access to Mesa’s critical site proved challenging due to an understaffed department and lean city budgets. This in turn forced McRae to rely on Mesa’s over extended Police Department to patrol the area at random, an expensive alternative that highlighted the need for live video surveillance through cloud computing. Cloud computing is not a new concept. However, live video surveillance through cloud computing is new. Instead of using physical security or on-site digital/network video recorders, surveillance video is centrally hosted at a remote data center. This allows end-users immediate access and retrieval of live and archived video footage; much like online banking and E-mail is accomplished through a Web browser. When using video surveillance hosted in the cloud, customers simply log in, customize their settings, and start watching their cameras no matter where they are geographically located. Cloud computing allows remote site operators to increase their safety and security measures based on immediate needs and without having to invest in new infrastructure or training new personnel. The result is usually lower cost and greater efficiencies, not to mention rapid deployment of proven and effective technology. “It is now 2011, not 1999. Technology has evolved. There are innovative approaches to accomplishing many tasks that we would not have been able to economically or effectively see work in the past. What’s important here is that organizations need to give these innovations a try, and then develop policies for scalable and continued success,” said David Ly CEO and Founder of Iveda Solutions. “We have a unique capability to be able to support our nation’s critical infrastructure safety and security needs through Iveda Solutions’ hosted services,” added Ly. Using Internet-accessible cameras, hosted by Iveda Solutions, McRae, his staff, and the Mesa Police Department are now able to simultaneously gain live visual verification of events as they unfold a proactive versus after-the-fact solution. “Initially, the services were planned to catch perpetrators. Since several initial responses by PD to suspicious behavior, the potentially criminal activity has diminished,” said McRae. When asked what McRae believes to be the key success to the diminishing presence of criminal or suspicious activity at his remote site, he said, “continuous surveillance.” Although continuous surveillance may seem cost prohibitive for some remote site directors, McRae implemented a solution that he and his staff have found to be a success while operating within their budget. Mesa’s Energy Resource Department has employed the help of Iveda Solutions’ intervention specialists to watch their critical site in real time, from a remote location during designated hours. Because operators in McRae’s department are extremely busy running critical systems and monitoring existing alarms their personnel does not have the time to effectively oversee any more sites, equipment or much less watch a live streaming video feed from their cameras, twenty-four hours a day. Instead, McRae established a protocol that allows his department to keep an eye on the cameras during the day while Iveda Solutions’ intervention specialists watch the cameras at night. Depending upon the seriousness of a situation, and the type of activity occurring on the site, intervention specialists notify his staff or the Mesa Police Department. When McRae goes home for the night intervention specialists take over to watch his cameras in real time. When he returns to work McRae is able to quickly review any incidents through a daily surveillance report (that he receives via email) with time and date stamped snapshots, including detailed descriptions of events that were captured the night before. This solution has not only allowed McRae, his staff and the Mesa Police Department to reduce false alarms and the cost associated with dispatching personnel or police officers to the site, but has also increased the safety and security of the neighboring vicinity resulting in diminishing criminal activity and fewer graffiti vandals. McRae’s innovative strategy for implementing the use of Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology to protect Mesa’s critical infrastructure and key resources has proven itself so effective that McRae is now committed to installing between 10 and 20 self-contained, wireless surveillance units to perform simultaneous spot checks at an increased number of critical sites and high-need areas. Since most of these disparate sites have limited Internet-connectivity these portable surveillance units are well-suited because they run on leading broadband cellular networks and come pre-configured and ready for deployment. All that is needed is power and a cellular data card. Real-Time Security Solutions Whether you’re a remote site operator with just one critical site or a director overseeing hundreds of disparate geographical key resources throughout the globe, you need a security solution that provides live visual verification and situational assessment of each site at a moment’s notice. With the advancement of high-speed, broadband technology and the convergence of physical security melding with Internet-based services live video surveillance and centralized video hosting through cloud computing may be the answer… Remember, the key to preventing threats and mitigating risks is having the proven and effective technology to detect and deter acts of terrorism before it happens. Vendors that display the SAFETY Act designation logo offer products and services approved as Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology, providing proven effectiveness and levels of liability protection to its users. Jason Benedict is the marketing manager for Iveda Solutions (OTCBB:IVDA), a provider of online security technology including video hosting and real-time video-surveillance services. Iveda Solutions was awarded the SAFETY Act designation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as a Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology provider. For information, call 480-307-8700; visit www.ivedasolutions.com. Author: Jason Benedict Front Cover Photography: Jason Benedict Open PDF ArticleSource: Remote Site & Equipment Management
Network Centric Security The forecast calls for computing and storage in the cloud Perhaps you’ve heard of cloud computing and thought maybe you should look into it one day — just to see what all the hype was about. Well, the cloud isn’t some far-fetched figment of a science fiction writer’s imagination. It’s here today, settling over the security horizon, and you need to hop on. Innovative security companies have already begun to capitalize on the cloud’s potential for surveillance applications. Innovators in the field are using the cloud in conjunction with networkable cameras to provide remote IP-video hosting for a range of public and private entities, including government agencies, utility companies, law enforcement, schools, and a wide variety of business and property owners. The other rapidly growing segment in cloud-based security service provider business is the ability to offer a remote human surveillance and intervention team that can monitor and report on client video in real-time — virtual guards, if you will. So, what is cloud computing? Simply put, rather than running an application on a local server, that same program runs on a remote server provided by a security/surveillance service provider. And what does that mean for you? A whole new world of security options will be literally at your fingertips. Video Hosting Before cloud computing, simultaneous users of a single camera feed were limited by the available bandwidth at the client facility. Basically, simultaneous users shared a camera’s bandwidth. Unless an in-house data center with abundant upload bandwidth was available, the sheer size of a quality video file meant that if more than one person accessed a camera at the same time, the video quality and/or frame rate deteriorated. Video security service providers who rely on the cloud have solved that problem by routing the video data through their own secure central data server. All customer video is then hosted online, allowing multiple users simultaneous remote access via the Internet using a standard Web browser, with no degradation of quality. The video monitoring service, the client and anyone else with secure access privileges can all remotely monitor the same incident at the same time. “Many clients simply did not have adequate bandwidth on their own; with that T1 or T3 line installed they need to monitor just three to six cameras effectively and get good quality video,” said David Ly, CEO of Arizona-based cloud-based security service provider Iveda Solutions. “The pictures you see, no matter how wonderful the security camera, are only going to be as good as the connection transmitting the data. With a good video-hosting program, the expenditure to have the appropriate connection is not the client’s responsibility, but the service provider’s.” If it is part of the client protocol, in addition to field technicians and office supervisors, first responders, such as police officers, fire and EMTs, also can access live and or recorded events, providing actionable intelligence with visual verification. Unlike other systems that are connected to alarm triggers, the cloudbased systems provide real-time monitoring, which means you can catch perpetrators in the act and prevent or minimize property damage. Another exciting development made possible by the cloud is the ability to monitor video on the go — from police cruisers and school buses to public transit and fleet operation. Anywhere there is a networkable camera on the road, base operations can monitor the action. Iveda Solutions offers real-time, mobile streaming video surveillance wherever there is cellular data network coverage. Since the surveillance video is stored in a central data center, there is no need to have a local recording solution onboard. The video can be transmitted in real time to any number of first responders simultaneously. Video hosting also is ideal for customers who manage multiple cameras at multiple locations, such as national retail stores or storage facilities. Hosted video services allow the customer to view their cameras from those locations in one easy-to-use dashboard. Video data also can be archived securely off-site for 24/7 access, providing an excellent redundancy system as well as forensic evidence specifically for security and compliance applications. The Cloud as Force Multiplier Real-time remote surveillance packages offer end users an economical, highly reliable video surveillance solution. Trained personnel employed by the video hosting company watch specific cameras at times designated by the client — from key security risk moments up to 24/7 full coverage. These intervention specialists provide proactive information. They are not simply responding to an alarm but can supply realtime critical information before or as a crime occurs. Real-time, offsite video surveillance allows for live visual verification, drastically reducing false alarms and drawing prompt attention to problems by responding police departments. At the end of each live video surveillance shift, a daily report can be e-mailed to each customer with time-stamped snapshots and detailed descriptions of events. Ly said cloud computing will raise the bar for traditional security integrators. “They tend to sell products — cameras, software, DVRs and NDVRs — while cloud-computing-based security providers work with clients to leverage their existing quality equipment to do more,” Ly said. “The client buys a subscription, and we work with what they have, constantly upgrading and updating service. We can provide full management capabilities, a turnkey solution for everything from traditional analog cameras to IP systems. Cloud computing offers security providers and their clients a number of advantages over traditional hardware-specific, sitebound systems.” Improved video quality and managementSource:
- Allows video to be viewed clearly from any Internet connection: home, office or business on-the-go.
- Consolidates all types of surveillance video from a wide variety of cameras, including standard visible light cameras, lowlight cameras and thermal cameras.
- Displays video from disparate geographic locations or facilities in a single location that can be accessed regionally, nationally or even globally.
- Makes accessing video simple: Clients simply log in, customize and start using the system.
- Enables extremely fast set-up in most cases — security video can be on the cloud almost immediately.
- Makes upgrades, patches and system performance no longer a client chore, but a security company responsibility.
- Simplifies camera management since everything is secured remotely, via the Web, rather than using proprietary software that over time may become incompatible with future investments.
- Provides convenient, economical coverage via a predictable monthly subscription so you only pay for what you use.
- Frees IT departments from the burden of managing a video system requiring supplemental equipment, space, power and bandwidth, which may have not been considered when pricing out cameras alone.
- Uses an open source platform that allows clients to add any camera, anywhere, anytime.
- Provides scalable, flexible infrastructure that can evolve to suit requirements over time, be it more storage and more access.
- Can provide clients with liability protection from malicious or criminal acts against their property or personnel, as a result of failure of products or services that were installed with the intent to prevent such an occurrence under the Department of Homeland Security SAFETY Act. Currently, Iveda Solutions is the only real-time IP video hosting and remote surveillance service company that has received the SAFETY Act designation, meaning that Iveda’s products and services are Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology with proven effectiveness.