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News & Updates

2017 in numbers

31.12.2017 ‑ December update
After an impressive 2016, many “experts” predicted “the syndrome of the second season” for us. These are the people who say that Apple is going out of style every year and wait for the bitcoin to collapse. But we have invited top specialists into our team, increased production, expanded our presence on the international market, and received one of the most important award in the field of security. Now, first things first.
Team

Our numbers have increased — fact, so much so that we will soon have to think about getting an even bigger office. But although we have grown in numbers, everyone still knows each other on a personal basis. We hope it will always be this way.

It’s great to see that Ajax attracts talented people. On average, we receive a few dozens responses to each job vacancy. Specialists are attracted by the ambitious challenges they will face, and the freedom they will have to make decisions. This independence allows us to solve problems more effectively.

Product

In the summer we released a brand new operating system — Hub OS Malevich. This has been like a tectonic shift for our ecosystem. Malevich allows us to easily and quickly develop and launch new features that extend the functionality of the security system. Thanks to the new OS, we have already implemented two important features — the integration of video cameras and street detectors. Next year, we plan to launch an entirely new version of Ajax Cloud with enhanced functionality.

Awards

This year, Ajax has become the most renowned wireless security system in Europe. Moreover, we received awards from the professional community in several countries. What a result!

Business

If last year focused on speed, then in 2017 the focus was on quality. Partners who believed in our strength a year ago were impressed with the results of Ajax sales at home. And now Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Denmark have become the markets in which Ajax is growing at a fast pace and volumes are increasing quarterly.

What’s next

For us, 2018 will be the year of new sectors. We have a number of new developments in store in the areas of video, street security and smart home. In addition, we will continue to improve and strengthen our position in the international arena. We are so excited by these new developments, it gives us shivers!

Hub OS Malevich

20.12.2017 ‑ December update
During the development of the operating system for Ajax Hub, we provided for the possibility of updates that increase the functionality of the entire security system. These updates are free for all owners of Ajax alarm systems. We are launching new functions as part of our vision for the whole ecosystem, as well as considering requests from installers and the most popular suggestions from users.
What’s new in Hub OS Malevich 2.5

Arming permission feature

This function is mandatory for professional security systems. It prevents activation of armed mode if a window in the premise is open, if the detector lid is open or if the connection with one of the devices is lost. Before, it was possible to get round this block by arming the system using a key fob or keypad. This is no longer the case, and this change is here to stay.

It is possible to manage restrictions in the “Service” menu of the hub settings. There are blocking options when arming is activated in two steps after a warning of malfunctions. Or a complete block on activating arming even in the event of one minor malfunction. All hub users will be notified of successful and non-successful attempts to activate arming with a list of malfunctions.

Please note that all SpaceControl key fobs with software version up to 3.18 will arm the system even if there are malfunction warnings.

How to update the hub’s operating system

If the automatic software update function enabled, the hub will carry out all updates by itself when not in the armed mode. When this is done, you will see the notification about the successful update in the event log.

If you have disabled the automatic software update function, you will see a notification of a new version of the Hub OS in the Ajax Security System mobile application, and you will have to give permission for it to install the update.

The hub update will take place in waves over the course of two weeks, starting from today. Therefore, you can access it anytime.

Please note that to see a new function you have to update the Ajax Security System mobile application for Android to version 2.12, and for iOS to version 2.9.

Historic triumph

22.11.2017 ‑ Security & Fire Excellence Awards. We are awesome.
On November 22, 2017, a man in a tuxedo and a bow-tie walked onto the stage of the London Hilton on Park Lane to receive a statuette for “Intruder Alarm or Exterior Deterrent Product of the Year.” Just seconds earlier, the entire room had froze when they heard that the award had been given to Ajax, a relative newcomer, rather than to one of the giants— Avigilon, Axis, Tyco or Pyronix. For the first time in the history of the Security & Fire Excellence Awards, the laurel wreath went to a manufacturer from Eastern Europe.

We are a little skeptical of awards in general, but to overtake our competitors who have succeeded in the market— that’s priceless. Every day at Ajax Systems, we think of ways to make people’s lives safer. And this victory confirms that everything we’ve been doing has been for a reason. All those years of development, the second generation of the Ajax security system, creating a unique operating system for the hub, handling our own production without outsourcing.

The trophy we received from the strict international jury is, without a doubt, an important award. But for us, the more important prize is the confidence of our customers, the people who count on Ajax every day: those who live, work and go on vacation while our security systems protect their houses and all their property. Above all, we will always think about you, and then about everything else.

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It’s nice to win the most prestigious award in the world for security. David beat a team of Goliaths. Ajax Systems is just 6 years old. We’ve been in the international market for a little over a year and a half. Over that time, we have learned to produce 35 thousand devices per month in Kyiv, while selling them in over 50 countries and growing by 7-10% per month. A real business that, right now, is already making the world safer. And starting today, Ajax is the highest titled professional wireless security system on the market.
Valentine Hrytsenko
CMO Ajax Systems
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The European professional community hadn’t yet heard much about Ajax. But now they’re convinced that we are serious. We are about innovations that allow people to live confidently in a not-so-peaceful world. And we will continue to win the favor of the European professional security market. Thank you to the competitors who make us stronger. And special thanks to our partners for the joint effort. We are awesome.
Aleksandr Konotopskyi
Founder and CEO Ajax Systems

About Security & Fire Excellence Awards
The most innovative and reliable products on the security and fire protection markets have been selected under the auspices of IFSEC International and FIREX International exhibitions — which are the industry’s largest — since 1999. Every year, hundreds of the world’s leading companies fight to win an award in one of the 25 categories. And winning one is unequivocal recognition of being the best. 

Security & Fire Excellence Awards

Smoke detectors

21.11.2017 - How smoke detectors are tested and why they need EN 14604 certification
FireProtect is the fire safety barrier of the Ajax system. It can connect to the Ajax Hub or work independently— just turn it on and hang it under the ceiling to get round the clock protection. It detects both smoke and sudden temperature increases. The device allows you to configure different types of alarm and can work in unison with other Ajax fire detectors — if just one detects a fire, all the sirens will turn on. FireProtect is wireless and self-powered. Using the Ajax mobile application, you can monitor the device status, adjust the settings or even test the smoke chamber (yes, there’s no more need to climb up to the ceiling and try to press that tiny button). And all off this can be done from anywhere in the world.
In order to enter the world fire safety market and to compete with other professional solutions, FireProtect had to earn certification from an independent laboratory for compliance with certain industry standards. If the device could manage to pass all the tests, then there would be no doubts about its quality and reliability.
So we sent 20 FireProtect detectors to an independent lab. Here’s what they had to survive in order to be awarded EN 14604 certification.
It doesn’t matter what’s burning

Every fire is unique. The rate of temperature increase depends on the materials in the room, as well as the conditions there. The smoke can be billowing, or there can be practically none. It can vary in density and transparency. But, nevertheless, a fire detector needs to raise the alarm in time. And you need to be able trust that it will.

The laboratory checked whether the detector is able to react to smoke over and over again, whether it loses effectiveness after its first alarm. Technicians placed FireProtect in a smoke channel — a stand with a controlled smoke flow — and delivered smoke six times in a row. Then things got interesting. They began to change the position of the device in order to determine whether it could detect smoke from all sides. Once it became evident that FireProtect was in accordance with the standards, it was on to the fires.

A fire detector needs to react to different types of smoke with different physical properties. To verify that ours does, four FireProtect detectors were placed in a test fire room, where wood, cotton, plastic (polyurethane) and liquid (n-heptane) were burned alternatively. Once it managed to raise all the alarms in time, the testing continued.

No threat from the elements

Determining a fire in time is a top priority, but it’s also important that FireProtect doesn’t make mistakes under adverse conditions. After working around the clock for years on end, detectors can experience temperature changes, including heat and bitter cold. It can be exposed to drafts and blinding sunlight. So the next battery of tests determined its ability to resist the elements.

FireProtect had already proven its ability to detect smoke under optimal conditions, so researchers changed the situation: they simulated gusts and drafts. They raised the room temperature to 55°C and cooled it down to 0°C. They combined heat with high humidity (40°C at 90% humidity). They shined bright lamps on the device. The detector was checked at each extreme to see whether there would be any false positives, whether it would react to smoke in time and whether its normal operation would be disrupted. Once these tests were passed, there were no doubts remaining about the detector’s ability to withstand changing conditions— and false alarms aren’t a worry either.

Strong and resistant

There’s no use in relying on a fire detection device that fails when it’s dropped or hit. Or when it deals with vibration, electrostatic or electromagnetic fields. Of course, within the context of possible real-life scenarios (as opposed to someone actively trying to destroy the detector at any cost).

Experts tested the impact resistance of FireProtect with a moving hammer: one strike has the force of 1.9 joules. Only it’s in the (potentially) weakest spot. And once everything checked out, it was on to the vibration stand, electrostatic impact and electromagnetic field tests.

More requirements!

If the device is powered by batteries, it must warn users in advance when batteries are low and need to be replaced. The EN 14604 standard requires audible warnings one month before the batteries are completely depleted and at least a year of detector operation, taking into account routine testing (our FireProtect lasts up to 4 years). And the device should monitor the status of the backup battery at all times, alerting users if there’s a problem.

If there’s a fire, everyone needs to know: people in the next room, deep sleepers and those hard of hearing. For that reason, the siren may not have a sound level below 85 dB at a distance of 3 meters. Once experts have measured the loudness, they check whether the buzzer is able to work continuously for a long period of time— 8 hours, alternating between 5 minutes of sound and 5 minutes of rest. It’s worth noting that FireProtect, in addition to using its built-in buzzer, can alert users to a fire using other Ajax sirens installed in the premises, as well as via calls, SMS and push notifications— something that’s not required, but we think is essential.

Verified. Certified.

In order to get certified, the fire safety device must successfully overcome each test— react to smoke in time, withstand the trial, maintain its operating efficiency. And 20 different devices have to go through these “nine circles of hell,” which means you can’t pass on luck. By earning EN 14604 certification, Ajax FireProtect has proven that it is reliable and that it can be entrusted to protect both property and people.

Connect cameras

11.10.2017 - How to connect cameras to the Ajax security system
Video surveillance has long been a top feature request from Ajax security system users. And there’s a reason we ask users for feedback! Now the Ajax Security System app for iOS and Android can broadcast RTSP streams from security cameras. The video surveillance in addition to protection against break-ins, fire and flooding, as well as automation.
Why do you need a camera?
  • To know exactly who has entered your home (especially in case of a break-in)
  • To keep an eye on the cleaners while you’re away
  • To watch your kids, even when you’re halfway across the globe
  • To monitor whether your employees are at their desks at 9:00 sharp

You can connect any IP camera that uses the RTSP protocol to the Ajax security system. There are no restrictions on brands or models, and the application supports up to 10 cameras or streams.

We didn’t choose RTSP by accident — the protocol is supported by hundreds of cameras. It gives users the maximum possible freedom of choice when it comes to video surveillance equipment. Although this means that connecting a third-party camera is somewhat more complicated than connecting our Ajax devices (when you just need to scan a QR-code to connect Ajax products). We are currently working to integrate popular cameras into the security system. And then you’ll be able to store video on a server and view it online. But in the meantime, you’ll need a third-party DVR to record video streams.

Using the Ajax Security System app, go to the menu to add new devices (cameras). This is where you’ll be able to specify the name, the RTSP URL and the room:

In order to view the video stream, just open the camera in the Ajax Security System application:

To provide access to the cameras to users of the security system, activate “View cameras” setting through the hub menu:

We know that it can be difficult to set up a camera and a router, then find a usable RTSP link. These tasks aren’t exactly trivial, especially for a user who isn’t confident in their technical abilities. So unexpected difficulties or nuances may come up. If you have trouble connecting a camera to Ajax while following these instructions, we strongly recommend contacting the manufacturer of the router or camera (depending on what you’re having issues with), asking for help from a tech savvy friend or finding a specialist.

Ajax application updates

11.10.2017 - Connecting video cameras, automation scenarios and new settings
The Ajax Security System app for iOS and Android has received a serious update. Now, cameras can be connected to the system, the partial arming logic has been changed and the first WallSwitch relay scenarios have been implemented. But that’s not all of the innovations.
The mobile application plays a crucial role in the Ajax security system. It’s used to connect new detectors and to tune and test installed detectors. The program arms and disarms objects. It receives messages and alarms through push notifications. If the hub is a brain trust, then the Ajax Security System app is a control panel. It’s always with you and ready to work.
Here are the newest features of the Ajax Security System mobile application (iOS v.2.8.1 / Android v2.11.1):
Video surveillance support via RTSP

Video surveillance was the most common feature request from users. So now, the Ajax Security System app allows you to connect up to ten IP cameras. They just need to support RTSP video streaming. That means Hikvision, Dahua, Foscam, and ActiveCAM cameras will work, just to name a few. You can now monitor your premises in real time and switch between cameras.

This is a universal solution, but we’re already working on tight integration with popular video cameras. We also have plans to allow storing videos on a server so that you can browse online and easily navigate through the history. For the time being, third-party DVRs can be used to save the video stream.

We know that it can be difficult to set up a camera and a router, then find a usable RTSP link. These tasks aren’t exactly trivial, especially for a user who isn’t confident in their technical abilities. So unexpected difficulties or nuances may come up. If you have trouble connecting a camera to Ajax while following these instructions, we strongly recommend contacting the manufacturer of the router or camera (depending on what you’re having issues with), asking for help from a tech savvy friend or finding a specialist.

WallSwitch scenarios

The WallSwitch relay can now react to arming or disarming the Ajax system: it can turn on the power supply, disconnect it or remain unchanged. Here are just a few scenarios:

  • When arming the system, you can simultaneously activate an electric lock. Then, when you disarm, the lock will be deactivated. And you’ll be able to open a room remotely. For example, to let the cleaners in while you’re away.
  • When the system is armed, the relay can turn off your lights. Then, when it’s disarmed, the lights can automatically turn back on.
  • The power and water supply of a country home can be turned off while the system is armed. And you’ll have nothing to fear, since the WallSwitch can be activated from anywhere in the world using the application.
New partial arming logic

From now on, partial arming affects the detectors themselves, rather than the rooms. That means the detectors no longer need to be artificially grouped and rooms can serve their primary purpose — to organize security system devices.

Partial arming allows you to secure an individual area or perimeter without protecting the entire premises. For example, you could just monitor windows and doors at night or protect a rarely used storage space. And partial arming can be switched on as quickly as full arming — by clicking a button on the key fob, on the keypad or in the Ajax Security System application.

If partial arming is already configured on your Ajax system, the settings will be saved and the mode will continue to work. But the partial arming switch will move from the room parameters to the detector setup menu.

Adjust the brightness of the Hub light indicator

It’s best to install the Hub far away from prying eyes. But if you can’t find room for it in a pantry or closed box, adjusting the brightness of the indicator light can come in useful.

SIM card indicator in the device list

A miniature icon in the Ajax Security System App device menu will warn you if your SIM card stops working and your GSM connection is lost. As a reminder, the GSM connection is your system’s second communication channel. The new icon can also remind you to install a SIM card if you accidentally overlooked that step during the setup process.

SIM is missing SIM is defective
KeyPad display settings

The KeyPad settings now allow you to adjust the backlight brightness and the keypress sound volume. This will be useful if you’re trying not to draw too much attention to your security management device.

Two more languages

The Ajax Security System has learned to speak Spanish and Portuguese. Naturally, all previous languages still supported: English, Ukrainian, Russian, Dutch, Greek, Danish, Italian, Lithuanian, German, Norwegian (Bokmål), Polish, Finnish, Swedish and Latvian (Android only).

Ajax: Grade 2 approved

01.09.2017 - What are Grades and why is it so important for a security system to have them
Becoming the champion of an amateur sports league or even a local sports legend is a serious accomplishment. But we all know the real Big Game takes place in professional leagues. The world of security systems works similarly. First you have to pass independent inspection to be considered a truly professional security solution. Only then will security and insurance companies, as well as installers, be willing to work with your product. When a device passes certification, a manufacturer’s assurances about functionality, reliability and durability of technology become more than just words. Now they are proven facts. And users should have no doubts — they can entrust the product to protect both property and life.
So let’s talk about how security systems are awarded compliance certificates and about the degrees of reliability, which are known as grades. What are the key differences between them, what is the testing procedure and how does certification guarantee quality. And for us, this is more than just theory — over the course of 4 months, Ajax devices were tested in five laboratories for compliance with all kinds of rules, regulations and requirements. And they successfully earned certification.
Who evaluates security systems?

When technology is responsible for people’s property, as well as their lives, it must be as reliable as possible. And it would be irresponsible to rely solely on the declared characteristics and authority of the manufacturer — a qualified, independent examination is needed. In the European security market, the safety standard is EN 50131-1:2006.

Accredited laboratories put the security equipment through certain tests: on functionality, on whether the equipment is resistant to weather, how it resistants mechanical interference and external electromagnetic fields. The quality of radio communication is tested, as well as whether device operations can be affected externally. Test results are recorded and are examined by the certification body. If the required tests have been carried out, the correct methods have been chosen and the documents have been properly issued, then the organization awards certification and assigns a reliability grade to the devices.

What is the difference between grades?

The reliability of a security system is determined by its ability to fight off attackers with varying degrees of knowledge and equipment. The higher the grade, the more resistant the security system. There are two caveats: Grade 4 is rare in mass market systems, because the standard requirements are extremely high, and Grade 3 can only be assigned to wired security systems. So manufacturers of modern wireless security systems can be awarded either Grade 1 or Grade 2.

Without getting into specific technical details, grades reflect the stability and scope of the security system:

Grade 1
The system can resist inexperienced attackers. It protects the most obvious entry points, for example, the front door. It is suitable for spaces that face a minimal risk of robbery and don’t actually contain valuables.
Grade 2
The system can resist experienced attackers with special equipment. It protects doors, windows and other possible entry points. It is suitable for an apartment, house or office.
Grade 3
The system can resist intruders with professional skills and knowledge, who are using portable electronic equipment. Every possible entry point is protected, as well as walls and ceilings. It is suitable for large commercial facilities, such as shopping centers.
Grade 4
The system can resist professional groups who plan attacks in advance and are equipped with a full range of equipment. This is suitable for objects that face the highest risk of robbery or terrorist attack.

While grades are assigned to individual devices, security systems are evaluated as a unit. The system’s grade is determined by the system device with the lowest grade. If just one security detector is certified as Grade 1, then that entire security system will be rated Grade 1. Even if 100 other security devices in the same system were awarded Grade 3.

How did Ajax earn a Grade 2 rating?

We started the certification process with five devices: control panel Ajax Hub, motion detector MotionProtect, magnetic opening detector DoorProtect, glass break detector GlassProtect and outdoor siren StreetSiren. We gave our equipment to the certification body TREZOR TEST and to the following laboratories: TESTALARM, CMI Testcom, ABEGU, VZLU TEST and the EZU institute. All of them are reputable Czech companies with the proper accreditation and experts.

The devices were tested as part of the Ajax security system. The experts monitored their regular work, their interaction with the security ecosystem, their reliability and their resistance to external influences. All devices were tested under extreme temperature and humidity conditions. The tests lasted 21 days. The detectors, siren and hub were tested against vibration, electrostatic and magnetic fields. Attempts were made to open the devices with thin metal plates and the devices were torn from their SmartBracket mounts to check whether getting past our tamper protection would be possible. The devices were even physically beaten to check their strength.

The Hub was given the most attention, as it coordinates the rest of the devices. Experts checked how fast it sends commands to — and receives status updates from — the detectors. They checked how quickly the system reacts to the alarm button being pressed and whether the device statuses are displayed correctly. The switch from normal power to backup batter was checked, as well as whether the Hub could last the promised 15 hours. And both communication channels — Ethernet and GSM (GPRS) — were checked to see whether the backup is quickly switched on if the main channel is cut off. At the same time, the tests confirmed the strength of the Hub OS — the operating system cannot be replaced with a modified version.

Our Jeweller technology was also tested. Experts checked the two antennas, which were designed specifically for the hub, as well as the strength of the radio signal. They checked whether the actual pings correspond to the promised 12-300 seconds. The system was tested for its ability to resist jamming and find a free frequency in the event of radio interference. They also studied protection against counterfeit devices and the reliability of data encryption.

MotionProtect was tested on whether it can detect people in protected areas and for resistance to interference. Testers moved the detector diagonally and along the detection area, changing speed. They were searching for dead zones and whether they could trick the pyrosensor. The MotionProtect lens was blown with hot air (simulating an air conditioner) and was subjected to a halogen lamp at different angles (simulating sunlight).

To test GlassProtect, different types of glass panels were beaten. This included laminated and coated panels, as well as insulated glass. There were 18 tests in total. The two-factor protection against false alarms was tested by knocking against glass with plastic and rubber balls, as well as metal tubes. Different 80 dB sound frequencies were also tested.

DoorProtect had its own “bonus program”— the reed switch (which registers an opened door or window) was tested by being exposed to a large magnet along different planes and at different distances.

And StreetSiren was tested for its ability to run for 30 minutes at a power of 95 dB. It was also tested up to 113 dB. It faced different weather conditions — heat, cold and high humidity. As it turns out, the device complies with the IP54 protection standard, meaning it can work outdoors.

After 4 months of testing, all five Ajax security devices were issued EN 50131 certificates. The reliability of Hub, MotionProtect, GlassProtect, DoorProtect and StreetSiren were all determined to be Grade 2.

Why does a security system need a grade?

A manufacturer needs certification for their devices. It’s the only way a security system can compete on equal footing in the mass market and fight for users. Every professional security solution needs it. Property insurers and security companies require it.

Certification is a challenge for manufacturer. The EN 50131 standard lists the requirements for all aspects of a security device. By following these requirements, manufacturers won’t lose sight of two-way communication between system devices, data encryption or physical resistance to nature, vandalism and tampering. It forces manufacturers to seek out and find solutions and pushes them to create a truly reliable product. And while uncertified technology does not have to play by these rules, the flip side is that they can fail at any time.

And might be cliche, but it’s true: how high can the price be when it comes to safety and security?

INTERNATIONALE ONDERSCHEIDINGEN | 2017

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