Best GPU / 3D graphics card

As GPUs (or graphics cards) evolve quickly, it can be challenging for a Fortem partner or customer to pick the right model within their budget. This is our CTO’s personal recommendation as of April 2017. Any NVIDIA Geforce GTX 9×0 (e.g. 970) or 10×0 (e.g. 1070) series will work great as long as it has at least 3GB video memory (VRAM). While they are primarily designed for video games, they work great with our software. The GTX 1070 and 1080 offer the best bang-for-the-buck and should offer good performance for years to come. I have a GTX 1070 at home, and I’m very pleased with it. I’m experimenting with Deep Learning during my spare time and the extra VRAM (8GB+) makes a huge difference there. As for manufacturers, EVGA, MSI, ASUS are all good brands. We cannot recommend the NVIDIA Quadro cards. These cards are designed for Workstation applications that use old-style OpenGL. Our software is optimized to act like a video game, so Quadro cards are overkill and on rare occasions, cause trouble. They are very pricy, they tend to be one generation behind their consumer cards, and they have subtle differences in their OpenGL drivers that sometimes cause problems for us. 3 years back, one of our customers was pressured into buying a Quadro card for $1500 instead of the $250K GeForce card we had recommended. They ran into a OpenGL driver issue we couldn’t reproduce in our office. In the end, they had to buy an extra Quadro card, ship it to us, and we had to spend 3 days diagnosing and working around the issue. Please don’t...

Accelerating adoption of Augmented Reality in the Enterprise

This post expands on Augmented Reality for Physical Security and explores how to accelerate the adoption of Augmented Reality (AR), in the security industry and beyond. Seamless integration of real-life devices in AR – a killer app It will take a couple of years before AR headsets become affordable by the mass market. Some early adopters will buy AR headsets simply to play games or for 3D design. But large companies and mission-critical government agencies are the most able to afford the first wave of headsets, and they will likely have one common objective: to enhance their productivity by integrating their existing stuff in AR: security systems, video cameras, GPS, industrial automation, etc. Think of it as the intersection of two buzzwords: IoT (Internet of Things) and Augmented Reality (AR). Whipping out a quick prototype integrating a few devices in AR will not be too complicated, so we can expect a lot of companies to dabble in AR, starting from scratch. But Enterprise customers demand proven, advanced features that require years of development and millions of dollars to develop, for instance: scalability to tens of thousands of devices, lots of concurrent users, multiple sites figure out the best abstractions for heterogeneous third-party systems – each with their own limitations, performance tradeoffs, etc. minimize latency, especially for video, Pan-Tilt Zoom (PTZ) control, positioning information, etc. automatic fail-over with no loss of critical data intuitive user interface that can readily adapt to each user’s position and orientation information security, access control, auditability, etc. Leveraging a proven code base and expertise like Fortem’s could bring considerable competitive advantage, save time and money. Adapting to a dynamic...
Augmented Reality for Physical Security

Augmented Reality for Physical Security

Why Augmented Reality (AR) will transform Physical Security Anticipated for decades by science-fiction movies, this technology is finally becoming useful and available for early adopters in 2016. In the next 3-5 years, AR will become widely available and affordable for consumers and enterprises alike. AR has the potential to change many aspects of our lives, including Physical Security. AR will grant personnel instant access to critical information, allow instant and intuitive control over equipment, and ultimately allow organizations to save money by eliminating costly infrastructure such as video walls. Along the way there will be a lot of hype. I’ll conclude with some of the most important limitations expected of the first batch of products coming to market in 2016. What is Augmented Reality? Augmented Reality devices are headsets or tablets that superimpose a computer-generated image on someone’s view of the real world. The best way to understand it is to look at the Microsoft Hololens video below. Example 1: Microsoft Hololens Example 2: Google Project Tango Anticipated Benefits for Physical Security #1: Project and interact with any information, anywhere Instead of looking at information through monitor, you’ll be able to walk around and look and interact with information attached to any object or surface. By waiving your hands in front of your face, you’ll be able to bring up more information and control equipment. A Security Director getting an emergency call in the middle of the night will no longer need to drive to his work place to manage a crisis. Instead, he will simply put on his glasses, go to his kitchen, and see the information projected on his table, on his walls and ceiling. It will feel as if...

TSA failed to detect 67 out of 70 weapons, explosives

ABC News reported yesterday that TSA airport screeners at dozens of U.S. airports failed to detect banned weapons, mock explosives and bomb vests, in 67 out of 70 tests. The top TSA official in charge has been replaced. Details will soon be available from the DHS OIG. Homeland Security News Wire covers the story. Experienced security managers remind me constantly that “what you don’t measure, you can’t improve”, and its corollary, “if you never test your performance, you’re failing and you don’t even know it.” Shockingly, even the most security-conscious US agencies often fail to apply these simple lessons until their own security incidents make the headlines. This incident should remind security managers that: Your weakest link is usually human complacency, especially amongst your lowest paid employees, therefore you must put in place a process that self-corrects and self-improves, through regular testing, checks-and-balances, redundancy, incentives (financial and otherwise). Reserve enough budget to conduct security penetration tests, held by external security consultants experienced in your industry. Resist pressure to go for the cheapest provider – your organization’s reputation is at stake and your job may be on the line. You don’t want to make the headlines… at least, not until you can demonstrate a quantified improvement in performance and justify your next pay raise! You need advance warning when problems are about to arise, e.g. response time is degrading for a specific facility, person. You must collect enough of the right metrics to pinpoint outstanding performance (e.g. to reward employees that work well or discovered new ways to improve productivity) and to correct bad performance (e.g. train or replace some employees or managers). Automation...