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by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, August 25, 2011

So I blogged last week about Detroit's decision--effective Monday, Aug. 22--to no longer respond to unverified alarms. I wrote a story last year about the city working cooperatively and successfully with SIAC to enact an ECV policy, an outcome the guys at SIAC called a victory given that the alternative was a much more severe verified response policy.

Well, less than a year later here we are stifling that sigh of relief as Detroit goes ahead and enacts the tougher of the two options.

What's the difference you might ask between ECV and VR?

Both aim to reduce needless police dispatch by requiring the alarm company to take certain actions before calling the police to dispatch to the alarmed premise. However, ECV doesn't require visual (either in person or via video) or auditory proof of a  break in or crime in progress. It only requires more than one call to multiple numbers be made to ascertain if the alarm activation was accidental or not. Verified response is something I've written about numerous times, covering companies like Cernium, RSI, Sonitrol, and Provident.

Since I wrote that blog about Detroit's move to a more strict policy, I've reached out to and heard back from SIAC, have picked up some chatter about the policy change on the ACCENT Listsrv and have left voice mails with the Detroit PD.

Here's what some are saying on ACCENT:

From Mike Riley (csguru@wideopenwest.com):

All,

In case you had not heard Detroit has instituted a new policy for burg disp.

Details attached (If Accent will allow a pdf attachment) however in short Detroit will only respond as follows:

1) Someone has confirmed from the premise that the PD are required

2) Remote video or audio verification that PD are required

3) Multiple Alarm Trips

A) 1 Perimeter AND 1 interior alarm activation,

B) 3 or more interior trips.

If either of these are cause for a dispatch an email with alarm activity is supposed to be sent to a specific address @ DPD. "Upon receipt of a verified alarm, the EC shall immediately enter the information into the CAD system for police response."

If the attachment doesn’t work and you would like a copy email me and I will send it.

I've got that letter from the DPD to alarm companies right here. It explains their policy and gives you a contact at the DPD for further questions. His name's Commander Todd Bettison. I've spoken with him before. He's a good guy who's willing to talk. Shoot him an email or give him a call at 313-596-5402.

Jeff Smith (jsmith@midstatesecurity.com) had the following to say about changes in Detroit:

You also can get updated information as it happens at: http://bfaam.org/

The Burglar and Fire Alarm Association of Michigan as well as SIAC is actively working on this and hopefully either repeal it or have the policy at least rethought. It creates a public safety issue with alarm owners having to respond to their own alarms. There is of course the guard response possibility, but getting people to pay for that or even put in cameras to verify that there is a crime is an expensive endeavor for most.

I can affirm that SIAC is still at work in Detroit since executive director Stan Martin got back to my inquiry right away:

Dan, Yes we're still working Detroit. But it is a very tough situation. Right now they are enforcing the policy change and I do believe they are putting citizens at unnecessary risk by not allowing a longer period of transition. We've appealed to the mayor to work with us, restore response and let us bring to fruition a plan we set in place over a year ago... that includes an ordinance that would provide $2million plus in revenue to the city while continuing to reduce alarm dispatches. We're confident that we can achieve 60-80% in those dispatches, targeting the chronic abusers and not the 80% of the systems that have one or less dispatches per year.

We recognize Detroit has serious issues and want to work with them. There are no plans for any alarm industry coordinated efforts to throw gasoline on this volatile situation by stirring up the alarm customers. Every alarm company has an ethical if not contractual duty to notify their customers of this change and give them options. SIAC does not recommend inflammatory rhetoric be included in that communication, only the facts and options.

Sounds like good advice: cooperation is always best.

Back over to ACCENT. Bob Dolph expresses concern about having alarm company employees or end users showing up to verify alarms.

Is the public aware that the PD is requiring that a civilian stay on location once they have reported the crime?  Sound very dangerous to me.

Having alarm company personnel respond to the facility is crazy. I remember a similar requirement in Milwaukee many years ago. The alarm company did not hold a key most of the time, but still had to show up. Police would ask why I was there and I said because you said I had to be. They would ask me to open up the premises and I would simply say I do not have a key. There were several times that I accidentally walked in to a police shotgun. What are they thinking?

As we all know there are model ordinances that can reduce false alarms. Maybe some day they will listen to the security professionals. NOT!!

In my early years in the industry we had a police department complain about false alarms. In a meeting with them I simply asked, If all alarms systems were turned off and you had to have a police officer on every street corner, how many extra personnel do you think you would have to hire? Sometimes they have to remember the overall public service alarm systems provide.

Bob

I've written about this before. Having end users respond to alarms is ludicrous. I interviewed Mike Jagger last year for a market trends piece I did on alarm verification.

Sending a client to investigate their own alarm is both dangerous and stupid. Sending the Police to respond to every alarm is both stupid and a colossal waste of taxpayers' money. Nevertheless, thousands of times a day, alarm companies do both. This isn't a two option only situation. There are many ways to provide safe and efficient verification, either using properly trained guards providing immediate response or using technology. Either option works. At some stage, alarm companies need to take responsibility for the service that is being provided and acknowledge that professional response, or at least technical verification, is an essential part of providing a real service. Sending a client into a potentially dangerous situation is half-assed. Collecting money for it is worse. Using it as an example as to why Police departments should fund our service delivery model is criminal.

Strong words? Maybe, but aren't they (at least a little) true? Mike also spoke with SSN editor Martha at ISC West last year and explained that proactive verification and could be a real opportunity to increase positive contact with end users on a regular basis. Regardless of how you view it, change is coming.

I'll update or add a new post when and if I hear back from the DPD.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I saw a release online the other day from Envysion. They were touting some impressive growth they've seen in the first half of 2011.

I've spoken with Envysion's vice president of product and marketing Carlos Perez on the phone a number of times as well as in person at trade shows. He's a good guy with a passion for what he does.

Of the growth Envysion has seen this year, Carlos told me he thought it boded well, not just for his company, but for the whole managed services ecosystem:

We’re proud of our success in the first half of 2011. We believe our tremendous growth is not only reflective of differentiated power and value of Envysion’s MVaaS solution but also signals an accelerating pace of adoption for managed solutions overall and is recognition of the impact managed solutions can deliver.  We have believed all along that Managed Video as a Service will be a disruptive force and will change the way customers use and think about video.   MVaaS puts easy-to-use, video based business intelligence into the hands of an entire organization so they can make profit impacting changes in their day-to-day jobs and breaks the legacy model of only using video reactively when incidents occur.  Over the last six months we’ve seen increasing evidence of this market disruption, particularly as large enterprises continue to chose our MVaaS solution over traditional video products.  

When last I spoke with Carlos, he was telling me all about the Managed Video Summit they do. They had their second outing with that in June, just prior to ESX.

The third installment is planned for next year.

The release I saw online runs with the headline: "Envysion Reports Exceptional 1st Half of 2011 Delivering 70% Growth in Recurring Revenue." I thought that sounded pretty impressive. From the Envysion release:

“2011 has already been a phenomenal year for Envysion, having signed large deals with Cinemark, By the Rockies and several other new customers. We now have the largest MVaaS deployments in the restaurant, retail and cinema segments, further demonstrating the broad applicability of our MVaaS solutions and the tremendous impact we deliver for our customers. We are excited to continue this growth and further expand the MVaaS market,” says Matt Steinfort, president and CEO of Envysion. “During the first six months of the year we also witnessed incredible market validation, both for the industry and specifically for Envysion with the success of our second annual Managed Video Summit, partnerships with major industry players and recognition from industry awards.”

The release then goes on to list some of the restaurant, cinema and retail clients it has picked up in the last year:

In the first half of 2011, Envysion continued to realize strong growth in the restaurant segment, while also rapidly expanding into the cinema and retail segments. The company’s exceptional growth is highlighted by several large new customers, including:

* Industry leading big box retailer selected Envysion and will immediately begin an enterprise-wide deployment of the Envysion Insight solution to more than 1,200 retail locations

* By the Rockies, LLC, the second largest franchisee of Carl’s Jr.   and Hardee’s, selected the Envysion Insight solution for all 100+ of its locations

* Cinemark USA selected Envysion as its MVaaS provider and began initial rollout

* Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., operator of 120 restaurants under the Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation brands, selected Envysion Insight as its exclusive video solution

* Wireless City, a Premium Retailer for Verizon Wireless selected Envysion as its exclusive video provider for all locations

* Wireless Express, one of the largest Preferred Retail partners of Sprint with 50+ retail locations, selected Envysion for a complete enterprise rollout

It certainly looks like Envysion is growing, adding prominent end user clients.

I also wrote a while back about Envysion's Insight Marketplace.

The release mentions a partnership with Sony that came out of the second annual summit, as well.

it's probably a good sign for folks in the video monitoring segment that more and more businesses are seeing the value in live video monitoring as opposed to video documentation via a DVR. I've written in the past about the difference between video verification services and true video monitoring companies.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, August 18, 2011

I picked up on a news story the other day from The Detroit Free Press about the city's new policy--effective Monday, Aug. 22--of no longer responding to alarms that aren't verified by the alarm system owner or the monitoring company.

Of course, verification is something I've written a lot about, covering stories from companies like RSI Video Technologies (avid readers know that I field a lot of calls from RSI's Keith Jentoft), Sonitrol, and Provident Security that have a strong verification aspect to their business model. In fact, shortly after seeing the Detroit Free Press story, I picked up a tweet from Provident's main man Mike Jagger. I've talked with Mike about his company's business model of private response to all alarms for verification purpose before. Mike said in his tweet he thinks that all municipalities should stop responding to unverified alarms.

I wrote about Detroit going to an ECV policy late last year. That policy was drafted with help from SIAC. ECV requires a second phone call to a different number to help determine if an emergency exists. This new change in policy is what SIAC had hoped to avoid last year. The new verified response policy states that the DPD will no longer respond to an alarm unless it is verified by the alarm company by private response or by technological means (video or audio) that there is actually a crime in progress.

From the Free Press story:

'We at the police department are working hard to serve the citizens; however, nowadays we have to rely more on technology to help solve our problems because we're not getting any more resources,' said Detroit Police Cmdr. Todd Bettison.

'Our main goal is to respond to crime, and if we can utilize modern technology, then so much the better. We feel very passionate about this,' Bettison said. 'We've been looking at this for a long time and from what we've observed this is definitely the way to go. Verified response will take us to the next level.'

Citing a U. S. Department of Justice report, a department press release said verified response is a reliable practice toward eliminating waste and improving police service. Since 1991, approximately 30 police departments in the U.S. and Canada have adopted the policy, including Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., and Fremont, Calif.

Godbee said verified response will result in significant time savings for police, allowing more time for preventive policing activities while freeing officers to respond to higher priority calls.

Video Security Monitoring of Oak Park is among a handful of local companies that already offer video verification. The company issued a news release Monday touting its service.

Sounds like strong advocacy for video and audio (or private guard) verification of alarms.

I've got emails out to the guys over at SIAC to see what the word is there.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, August 16, 2011

So I picked up this somewhat interesting article via SIA's Daily Update email (which is pretty cool--you can sign up for your edition here). They picked up a story from a local Allentown, Pa. paper, The Morning Call. That paper was carrying a story on municipal video surveillance, which is something I've written about before.

I'm interested in video, surveillance, analytics, biometrics, access control--oh and robots and flying cars--and all that other stuff that brings us closer to a sci-fi-ish future.

According to the story, the city had leveraged government money to put up 97 municipal "blue light cameras," so named for their adjoined, flashing blue, cruiser-like lights to watch city streets. However, that money is now drying up and the city is turning to the private sector--area businesses to chip in and cover the cost of adding more.

A little surprisingly to me, some businesses are down with the expense and are ponying up.

"Capital Blue Cross became the first company to chip in, paying the city $16,670 to install a blue-light camera at Hamilton and Jefferson streets, across from its 1221 Hamilton St. offices, near its employee parking lot," the story reads.

That's pretty cool. Here's a business that understands the value in municipal monitoring and is working with the city for the benefit of its own employees as well as law enforcement and the general citizenry.

I did an extensive piece on municipal video surveillance in our 2011 Video Surveillance Sourcebook. Specifically, I looked at privacy concerns and whether or not a proliferation of municipal cameras could stave off crime. Some have said no, but the statistics from Allentown seem to say otherwise.

The cameras have reduced crime in areas where they have been installed, mostly by pushing it into un-monitored areas, said Assistant Police Chief Daniel Warg. For example, a chronic drug market at the corner of Sixth and Turner streets evaporated when the city installed a camera there, he said.

There's no way to prove the cameras prevent violent crime, but in 2010, the city recorded nine murders, the lowest number since 2002 and less than half the record 21 killings that took place in 2007, the year Allentown installed its first surveillance cameras.

Let's hope more communities start this kind of privately funded municipal program. Seems to me it would mean improved industry/municipality relations, businesses more invested in their communities, safer streets for citizens and probably increased work for local integrators and monitoring companies.

 

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, August 11, 2011

Yeah, I wish... Unfortunately, it's not in the budget. Of course my headline alludes to the upcoming CSAA Annual meeting. I've heard all about them and read all about them and, of course, written about them, but I've not had the opportunity to go yet. (If anyone has room in their luggage, I'm not a large man... I'd probably fit in a carry-on ;-))

I spoke last year with Keith Jentoft from RSI Video Technologies. He told me at the time, that last year's move back to the states (last year was in the Greater Tucson area—a real favorite of mine) after being in Greece the year before, was an effort on CSAA's part to be sensitive to its mostly financially strapped (given the economic climate) constituents. Keith said he thought the cost issue wasn't really all that relevant, though.

“I think the CSAA is doing its level best to be responsive to its members—and carry out their mission. In these economic times ‘perception’ often is reality, whether or not it is true. I don’t really think the cost difference between exotic/local is as significant as people think. It is more perception,” Keith told me last year. “I think that alternating between something more exotic and something less exotic is a good compromise and will be effective in today's environment. I think that the fact that the CSAA is willing to adjust and make changes based upon input from their members demonstrates that Ed Bonifas and the board really do want to serve their members and listen to what they say.”

I also spoke with Keith the year before in '09 when the Annual Meeting was in Greece. He really hit the importance of the meeting (and I've heard this from a few different people over the years...)

"What’s cool about this is that you get all the AHJs in one place ... The most important people there are the AHJs. you’ve got the president APCO—the 911 people. etc., you can just ride the bus with these guys. if you’re an integrator, you can get your views heard," Keith told me on location from Greece in '09.

Anyway, the whole reason I bring this up is that the most recent edition of CSAA's Signals wants you all to know that early bird pricing for the Venice trip is due to expire next Friday, Aug. 19. Early bird registration secures $150 savings per person off the regular rate.

Here's some of what you can expect at the Annual Meeting, should it be in your budget to go:

Early bird registration deadline: Friday, Aug. 19, 2011

Registration deadline: Friday, Sept. 16, 2011

Special tours registration deadline: Friday, Sept. 16, 2011

Hotel reservation/cancellation deadline: Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011

Airport transportation form deadline: Friday, Sept. 16, 2011

2011 CSAA Annual Meeting: Oct. 14-19, 2011

The keynote address is being given by FST21 founder Israeli general Aharon Zeevi Farkash. I've met the General a few times and interviewed him at this past year's ISC West. That promises to be a good talk. FST21's been seeing a lot of press lately, too.

In addition to his talk, CSAA will also offer the following educational sessions at its Annual Meeting:

* An AHJ president’s open forum.

* The current state of acquisitions and mergers.

* Alarm communications technologies.

* A nationwide public safety broadband wireless network.

* The ASAP to PSAP program.

* An update on PERS’ initiatives.

* Cloud computing: security as a service.

* Residential technologies of tomorrow.

For more information on the annual meeting head to CSAA's site, or call John McDonald, CSAA Vice President of Meetings, at 703-242-4670, ext. 17.

 

 

 

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, August 4, 2011

So I was reading through my email the other day and I came across the most current edition of Ken Kirschenbaum's e-newsletter on the security industry.

One reader of Ken's asked about POTS and legislation regarding the imminent demise of the communications pathway with which the industry has grown up.

Ken put the question out there and asked if anyone could offer some help.

Now POTS lines, communications pathway alternatives and the FCC's actions with POTS and other communications mediums are topics about which I've written a lot.

I have a call out to my contact at the FCC as well as to a friend with the AICC to see if there is anything current to report on the FCC's developing Broadband Plan as well as any legislation out there currently.

Here's the question posed to Ken in its entirety:

Hello Ken,

We are about to embark on a new marketing campaign to "cut the cord" and I wanted to know what legislation is currently out there on landlines. I know there has been some talk about landlines coming to an end within the next decade or so, but I was wondering if there was anything more specific-maybe at a state level. I am having trouble finding information on line and was told by Amy that you are the expert in the field. Could you maybe point me in the right direction on where to search?

Thanks for your time. I greatly appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Last time I talked with FCC spokesman Mark Wigfield in the beginning of 2010 he told me there was going to be a big job of work getting any sort of solid plan ready for implementation.

"There was a requirement in the stimulus bill that the FCC develop a national broadband plan for congress within a year. The purpose of the plan is to look at how to make broadband more universal and more affordable and address a number of national purposes, including national security, public safety, homeland security and education—a whole laundry list of things. So we’ve been gathering a lot of data. There were 28 public notices, directly relevant to broadband," Mark told me last year. "The broadband plan is supposed to be delivered to congress by Feb. 17 and it’ll have a lot of recommendations on rulemaking that the commission should move forward on. I can’t say right now what the recommendation would be, but this public notice certainly asks for a lot of data."

While I was putting this post together I heard back from Mark over at the FCC. He said he didn't think there was anything going on right now.

"I think certainly there's a recognition that networks are evolving to more IP-based networks, but I don't think there is any sort of proceedings to shut down the PSTN. AT&T has filed a petition talking about that and it's out for comment," Mark told me. "Certainly, we're focused on incentives for IP networks in terms of how the current regulatory structures may incentivize people who might want to keep older networks rather than make networks that are more advanced, IP-based networks ... But there's nothing else to really report, other than AT&T's petition."

AT&T's petition can be found here.

At that time, when rumblings of a possible POTS sunset began to surface, I also talked with Vector Security's Rick Simpson. He was pretty insistent that even if POTS went away today the tech exists to make the transition.

"If you called me up today and said, ‘Listen I don’t have any landline phones in my house. I have an alarm system and I have a network connection. Can you monitor me?’ I’d say ‘Yeah, we can.’ Honeywell, Bosch, DMP a couple others out there today have devices that allow us to take that information and transmit it back to the central station,” Rick told me at the time. “This is not a major issue … There’s enough technology out there available to us to be able to connect and monitor any system out there.”

I also have a call out to Lou Fiore at the AICC, from whom I waiting to hear back now.

On the same topic, I also picked up a LinkedIn discussion started by IPAlarm's Steve Nutt in the Alarm Monitoring Group. I've talked with Steve before about telcos, the PSTN and alternative communications pathways like VoIP, GSM and broadband.

He shared a story and topical question:

How not to handle migration away from PSTN

I was recently contacted by an alarm monitoring company in Bulgaria who had switched all the lines within their own premises from PSTN to VoIP. The majority of their systems stopped functioning correctly and they were getting all sorts of communication errors.

Bulgaria has the highest level of software piracy in Europe and it was quite funny how they contacted me with the expectation that I would immediately send them everything we had ever developed without pausing for a moment to discuss the simple matter of cost.

Anyhoo, it reminded me of a misconception (one of many) that I had stored in my head about the demise of PSTN. I had only ever thought about what would happen when customers no longer had the option of a landline, when in fact the situation could arise where a monitoring company no longer had the option either.

I have no idea if this is what happened to the monitoring company in Bulgaria as our communication ended very abruptly, but I can't help wondering how many other monitoring company owners worldwide have contemplated this happening to them.

I am working with a company in the Caribbean and the owner told me it's not possible for anyone to order a new installation of a PSTN line any more. I'm not sure how many countries would have a similar situation right now, but you'd have to guess that the number might increase rapidly over the next five years.

What is the situation with PSTN in your country?

Security industry consultant and CTO at Systems Support Specialists Mark Fischer responded:

Here in the U.S. the problem on the central station side is that the communications carriers are using VoIP as part of their network "upgrades." So the central station my be served by PSTN or T1 connections, and the subscriber may have plain POTS, but all of sudden systems stop communicating form certain areas, because backbones from an area are being routed over a VoIP connection by a carrier in the routing chain.

What I find amazing is the number of installing alarm companies that are in denial about the problem, they believe that because they made a format change or are able to get a few test signals through that they have provided reliable communications. What they do not understand is how VoIP really works and how it is treated on the Networks, the difference between tier1, facility based solutions and secondary level providers, and the effects of network load. Not to mention backup power issues both on site and off.

The fact is that VoIP is the going to be the future of land line telecommunications for the foreseeable future. Central Stations and installing companies need to provide migration paths for their subs to ensure reliability of monitoring services.

There are lots more comments that I won't get into here.

Interesting conversation. I'll update this post and tweet should I hear back from Lou from the AICC side.

Let me know what you've heard in your municipalities re: POTS or PSTN legislation.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I received some emails lately that remind me of the importance of converged verification technologies in security. I'm talking about verification, of course, something about which I've written plenty.

Of course, avid readers of my blog and stories are familiar with Keith Jentoft and his company RSI Video Technologies whose Videofied has been delivering verification, apprehensions and deterrence and securing priority response from increasing numbers of PDs everywhere. There's more than one way to verify an alarm, however. Sonitrol Pacific is tweeting out success stories pretty regularly, too. Of course, not everyone's down with verification and I've looked at that too. And of course, not all the verification/priority response legwork is coming from the Videofied camp.

Recently, I got an email from David Smith over at C.O.P.S. He wanted to let me know how thrilled they were to catch some bad guys in the act, report to the local PD and be an active part in apprehending some perps. Dave said C.O.P.S. couldn't be happier.

"I thought you might like to know that we caught a burglar in the act!" Dave told me. Dave shared a link with me of the verified crime in progress and the apprehension. Nice work guys.

I also recently got an email from Minu Seshasayee with Interprose PR. She was letting me know about a new gig for March Networks helping to protect, via video, a large solar farm in Italy. I met Minu at ISC West recently. I always appreciate hearing what's going on in the world of video surveillance.

I've written about similar situations here in the U.S. where expensive equipment like solar panels, and of course copper piping are at constant risk of theft.

Seems like a no brainer to me. Verification is a value add.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, July 21, 2011

I was going through my email this morning and I have to say, I'm digging what the associaitons are doing these days with outreach.

I enjoyed reading my latest edition of Signals last week where I learned that Major General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, founder, chairman and president of award-winning biometrics-based access control company FST21, will present the Keynote Address at CSAA’s Annual Meeting in Venice this October.

I've met with and interviewed General Farkash a couple different times, at ISC West and at ESX. Talk about a guy with a presence. If you have the travel budget to go to Venice, that will be a talk not to be missed.

When I talked with Farkash in Charlotte, he explained to me that the real-life, political setting in Israel and his experience in the Israeli military helped to forge a company and solution that had to work, and had to work quickly and well.

Farkash explained the impetus for the SafeRise solution to me in Charlotte.

"Every day there are 40,000 Palestinians who come to work in Israel," Farkash told me. "How do you find the one suicide bomber without making everyone feel they're not welcome to come and work?"

I've written about FST21's smart building solution SafeRise a number of times and even took the ssnTVnews cameras on the road to visit and installation. It's a slick solution.

Here's a little bit from Signals:

 

Farkash has held numerous prominent positions with the Israel Defense Forces in his distinguished 40-year career of public service. From 1990-1993, he headed the prestigious Israel SIGINT National Unit (8200), after which he held senior positions in the Planning Branch for five years. Promoted to the rank of general in 1998, he subsequently served as head of the Technology & Logistics Branch until 2001. He was then appointed to lead the Directorate of Military Intelligence (Aman), where he served until retiring from the IDF in 2006.

I also liked looking through ESA's Integrator, the current edition of which has a legislative focus. The first item on that mailing is the State Legislative Report, brought to us by ESA's director of government relations John Chwat. I had a chance to sit down one-on-one with John at ESX recently, and he told me about one of his primary foci as of late.

"We have a primary federal bill that would permit ESA members ... to access the FBI database for criminal background for licensing ... we have a bill--HR1331--that would allow non-state governmental bodies, or non-law enforcement entities--in other words the security industry, which would normally need to go through congress to gain access to the FBI database--to gain access ... We have nine cosponsors so far and it's bipartisan ... My main concern was I wanted to secure initiall support from the FBI to gain acess, and we got that."

Here's a little bit from the Integrator on what the 2011 State Legislative Report covers:

The June 1 - July 1, 2011 State Legislative Report, researched and compiled by the ESA Government Relations department, is now available online. You can access the report at www.ESAweb.org from the Members Only Resource Center. To access the report, you will be required to log in using your member user login and password.

Included in this state legislative report are the following key issues being monitored:

19 bills related to Licensing

19 bills related to Fire Sprinklers/Suppression Systems

13 bills related to Alarms

8 bills related to Automatic Contract Renewal

4 bills related to CCTV

5 bills related to Taxes

3 bills related to State Regulations

2 bills related to Contracts

1 bill related to Electronic Monitoring Devices

1 bill related to Lighting 1 bill related to Exit Doors

1 bill related to Fire Districts

1 bill related to Emergency Communications

1 bill related to Private Security Companies

That's a lot of information! Sign up for the Integrator and Signals and don't get left out.

I also have been enjoying reading through SIA's Daily Update, which while not original reporting, sure does collate and centralize some pretty cool and topical security-related news stories. One in particular caught my attention today:

 

Police Deaths Up 14% This Year

For the second year in a row, law enforcement fatalities rose sharply nationwide during the first half of 2011, including 40 officers killed by gunfire—the highest number in two decades, according to a release.

It's always concerning to hear (in this case the SIA blurb is from a USA today story) about an uptick in crime, particularly violent crime towards police officers. No wonder PDs are so willing to throw their support behind solutions that are fortified with video or audio verification. It could be the difference between life and death. I got an email from RSI's Keith Jentoft recently in which Keith forwarded on a notice from the Washoe County, Nevada Sheriff's Dept. The notice concerns a change in response policy to alarms. Here's a bit from the notice:

Because the vast majority of intrusion alarm responses are for false alarms, Patrol Deputies will no longer respond to residential or commercial alarms unless there is additional information from a responsible party that indicates an actual crime may be in progress or have occurred.

I asked SIAC executive director Stan Martin what he thought and here's what he told me:

Sheriffs have much more flexibility with how they run things ... so this type of significant change is unlikely in a municipal or city setting ... City councils/managers are more demanding and chiefs work for them who in turn represent the citizens ... However, I do believe we will be seeing more departments moving in this direction, more subtle--a bit at a time ... budgets are tight, resources diminishing--all of them are asked to maintain services with less ... you can only divide a pie into so many slices ... This is why it is imperative that dealers do everything they can to reduce alarm dispatches ... top three 1) 2-call verification 2) Use ANSI SIA CP-01 approved control panels 3) Train all users of the alarm system properly

I've also talked with the guys over at SIAC recently who have been busy in California lately. Look for that story on our site today.

 

by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, July 12, 2011

So I was reading through my SIA Update dated 7/7/2011 and came across an entry on biometrics. I thought it looked pretty cool, so I checked it out. I've been writing about biometrics for a while, covering smart building company FST21's solution SafeRise, which took awards at both ISC West and ESX for its converged use of facial recognition (See our upcoming source book on access control and biometrics), voice recognition and other technologies. I also wrote a while back about biometrics company Hoyos, which was speculating about the imminent arrival of facial recognition analytics built into smart phones. I even speculated about about whether or not biometrics would have any place in the future of the security industry.

Interestingly, I just picked up a tweet from GCC, Inc. president George Cohen pushing a story in the Wall Street Journal about police forces being outfitted with smartphone-based facial recognition apps.

The entry from SIA references a report from the Homeland Security Newswire, which itself if referencing a report from Goode Intelligence. The report says that the market for biometrics-based access control technology on smartphones and other smart mobile devices is set to see some growth over the next four years, growing from $131 million to $161 million by 2015.

The story talks about onboard fingerprint sensors and voice recognition software. That's pretty cool and I have to assume a whole lot more secure than simply dragging the little "locked" icon up to the top of my touchscreen.

I have to admit I found a some aspects of the math in the Homeland Security Newswire story a little wonky... That report claims in the headline that the market will grow 500% by 2015... I'm not sure how growing from $131 to $161 million is 500% growth, but arithmetic was never my strong suit.

The Homeland Security Newswire story does reference another story from June from infosecurity.com, which doesn't mention anything about 500% growth. Nor does Good Intelligence's site say anything about percentages.

Regardless, biometrics on my phone would be pretty nifty.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, July 7, 2011

I was watching the tweets roll down my Twitter page the other day when I picked up on a tweet from Mike Jagger, president of Vancouver-based Provident Security. He was touting some verification work his company was doing and showing how verifying alarms can improve response times and lead to more arrests, which can increase a security company's value proposition and certainly improve relations with the local police.

I've written a lot about verified alarms and priority response for alarms that use video or audio to verify suspicious activity.

RSI's Keith Jentoft has done a lot of PR for the idea of proactively verifying alarms to gain priority response and to help police out. Most recently, I sat down with Keith and Major Eddie Levins of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD. They giving props to companies that verify.

Very recently, analytics provider Cernium joined with Sprint (I'm pretty sure this is the first use of CDMA in the security industry) for a solution that Cernium says could garner priority response from police.

I asked Mike about whether or not Provident used the Videofied solution.

"Videofied is one of the products we use," Mike told me. "We've branded the service NightOwl and choose the hardware required depending on the client's requirements."

We've talked with Provident about their business model, which is a little different than the average alarm company, before, and recently, Provident  Operations Centre manager Jane Swinglehurst was spotlighted in SSN's annual 20 Under 40 listing. Jagger himself is an alumnus from the class of '08.

Nice work on the verification and apprehensions guys (and better luck next time you face off against the Bruins!)! Keep it up.

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