Intelligent building technology company FST21 comes to the U.S.

Mace CSSS to monitor advanced, full-building access control/security solution
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

ANAHEIM, Calif.—FST21, a security technology company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, has brought its preventative security solution SafeRise to the U.S., setting up shop in Framingham, Mass., where OzVision president of security Avi Lupo will fill the role of GM. FST21 has also formed a partnership with Mace CSSS, and the California-based monitoring company will monitor what FST21 says is “the future of intelligent building safety and security solutions based on a fusion of second generation video/voice biometrics and analytics.”

Don Weintraub, FST21 VP of marketing and sales, said FST21 has retrofitted a school in Los Angeles already and has other projects (the Mace CSSS facility itself will be SafeRise’d in January) and partners in the works. “If we look at the target for this it’s real estate developers, the property management companies, the building systems integrators, the contractors, we’re also looking at architects,” Weintraub said. “We’re looking at partnerships with companies like UTC. We’re talking with them on a couple different fronts.”

Mace Security Services Division president Peter Giacalone felt FST21 brought a whole new world of opportunity and technology. “It’s rare when you come across technology that you get excited about—I mean there’s a lot of cool stuff out there, but it’s all just better versions of what you’ve seen before—this is almost like Star Wars,” Giacalone said. “FST and Mace are really going to the market together. We’re not an installing company and FST isn’t an installing company. The problem is you need to have the posture to be able to sell these systems. We’re going out and securing relationships and then pushing those down to the dealers … We’ll find a building management company and demo the solution, and we’ll say, ‘We have authorized dealers throughout the country.’ So we could bring an integrator to the second meeting with the management company and pitch the integrator as well.”

Weintraub agreed there was opportunity there for integrators who wanted to step up to the challenge of such a large install. “We’ll have our own people who will go out and float the projects, but certainly the idea is to have a reseller network. Some of the security integrators are definitely partners for us. We need the security integrators locally, because while Mace is the monitoring part of the solution, we’re not planning on having our own install guys in every location. So in each market we go into, we’re going to need a security systems integrator to work with who can install the system.”

Giacalone said while there were challenges to monitoring such an all-encompassing solution those challenges weren’t insurmountable, and ultimately the offering would mean more convenience for end users, which translates to an easier sell for dealers. “There are a lot of hurdles. The overall volume shouldn’t be that great, but this is all IP-based. It’s not your normal operator who’ll be monitoring this, and you need to have the right automation head end to bring all of this together,” Giacalone said. “However, the technology does most of the work here. In most cases, the central station won’t be involved. With most entries and exits, the signal isn’t even making it to the central station. The technology takes care of it all so there’s no inconvenience to the resident.”

Running with the end-user focused tagline “You Are the Key,” the SafeRise solution shuns keys, proximity cards and RFID and combines facial recognition, video analytics, speaker recognition (the system recognizes a speaker’s specific voiceprint), speech recognition (the system recognizes spoken commands), and license plate recognition to completely secure a building and allow access only to those pre-vetted to be there.

According to Lupo, SafeRise represents the future of access control. “Before I joined, I met with dozens of customers in Tel Aviv to find out if there is a need for this kind of thing. When you think about access control it’s always video and proximity cards and keyfobs and intrusive biometrics—fingerprints or retinal scans,” Lupo said. “People are not happy with what they have right now. So to have intelligent access into buildings—something that has the capability to listen, to see, to talk—it’s a real ‘wow’ factor. I truly, truly believe that it’s the beginning of something … this is the way people will access buildings in the 21st century.”