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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, March 9, 2016

From my coworkers here at Security Systems News, to the many in the industry that I have already had the opportunity to connect with, one thing that has softened the challenging and hectic transition to my new job as managing editor is the warm welcome that I have received from all.

During those particularly stressful moments of my first few days on the job, I must admit that seeing SSN Publisher Tim Purpura walk down the office hallway wearing a lobster hat—in preparation for the upcoming ISC West show next month in Las Vegas—brought a smile to my face, and unfortunately for Tim, some lame lobster-related puns about buttering him up that I can never take back. But I'm pretty sure I made him laugh … so I think my job is secure.

And speaking of security, job or otherwise, it was also heartwarming to find that an industry that is in the business of securing millions of homes and people, can have such a disarming nature. In my first week, I have been able to speak with a handful of industry professionals, who not only are helping me to get my arms around the market, but also assuring me that their doors are always open for a chat or a quote — whatever!  

Whether it was talking with Tom Kerber, director of research for Parks Associates, who shared some very interesting research the firm is doing, or chatting with industry professionals including Jeff Lyman, chief marketing officer for Vivint, John Loud, president, Loud Security, John Cerasoula, president/CEO, ADS Security, and Matthew Zartman, consumer marketing senior manager at Alarm.com, I am already finding that the industry is made up of people with diverse backgrounds, comprehensive experience and expertise in their areas, and not least of all, colorful personalities.

As we begin the mad dash to ISC West—and my preparation for the annual 5K run/2k walk charity event that SSN sponsors—I encourage our readers to reach out to me, if I don’t get to you first, to talk about the industry and the upcoming conference.

Email me at: [email protected].

by: Amy Canfield - Monday, December 7, 2015

Cloud+ — It's a wrap!

One and a half days jam-packed with info, curiousity, interaction and networking for all involved. Where do I start? I'll be writing more about all this later, but here are some highlights:

Keynoter Monica Hopelian, cloud specialist for Microsoft’s state and local government team, said the cloud is here to stay and offered advice on finding the "right cloud." Among her advice, which you can read about in detail on the Security System News website soon, was making sure your cloud is flexible. "Tiering off into the cloud" is important to meet different requirementS and compliance issues. 

Up next was John Mack, EVP, co-head of investment banking and head of mergers and acquisitions, Imperial Capital. Mack said use of the cloud will lead to more funding for M&A. "Private equity is very interested in the cloud-based business model," he said. You can read more about that on the SSN site today.

Christian Morin, VP Cloud Services, Genetec; Steve Van Till, president and CEO, Brivo; and Jeremy Brecher, VP Technology and Electronic Security, Diebold; discussed public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. "Cloud will transform this [physical security] industry," Morin said. 

BluBox Security's CEO and co-founder Patrick Berry spoke on "The possibilities of cloud-powered biometrics." "Do more, own less, protect yourself—that's what cloud does for you."

Day 2 kicked off Rodney Thayer's talk about ensuring cybersecurity in the cloud. "You can't stop thinking about security just because you've moved to the cloud," he said. "Your data is next to another customer's data. You have to verify, trust, but verify." Thayer is a cybersecurity expert, a consutlant with Smithee, Spelvin, Agnew & Plinge.

Cliff Dice, president and CEO of DiCE; Hank Goldberg, VP, Secure Global Solutions; and Jens Kolind, president and CEO of Innovative Business Software discussed the cloud's usefulness and benefits for central stations. With everything geting more technical, they said and with it becoming more cost-effective, it only makes sense. That discussion was moderated by Jay Hauhn, CSAA president.

Security customers want simplicity, according to Bob Ryan, SVP of Protection1, and Brian Lohse, director, sales for SecureI and Alarm.com. That's why video in the cloud is good for both customers and providers. There's a value to convenience and sales forces need to be trained to sell that. 

Three leading integrators, Morgan Harris, director enterprise solutions, Protection 1; Chris Peckham, SVP, CTO and special projects, Kratos Public Safety and Security Solutions; and Jerry Cordasco, client development manager, Tech Systems, said cloud is the absolute right choice for a variety of customers, including those who need access control, video and health monitoring.

Alice Debiasio, general manager, cloud services, Honeywell Security and Fire; Jay Kenny, SVP of marketing, Alarm.com; and Letha McLaren, chief marketing, Icontrol, discussed the opportunities, now that cloud has taken off with resi customers, for the commercial side. It's easier than ever today to make that transition, they said.

Finally, Seth Page of Unikey and Mayank Upadhyay, director of engineering for Google, said they want keys and passwords to become obsolete. The phone should become the key, and they're working on it. That panel was moderated by Jonathan Healey of Brivo. 

More later!

by: Amy Canfield - Monday, November 30, 2015

Just days before the 50th Super Bowl will take place, the assistant chief of public safety for New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome, which has hosted many of those spectacular games in the past, will discuss what goes into protecting thousands upon thousands of spectators.

Ross Bourgeois will speak at the TechSec Solutions conference on Feb. 3 in Delray Beach, Fla. The conference, presented by Security Systems News, will be held Feb. 2-3 at the Marriott there. The conference brings together security directors, integrators, installers, industry experts and advisors, manufacturers and consultants to look at where physical security is headed and how businesses can seize new opportunities.

Bourgeois, a former New Orleans police officer, will talk about what it takes to ensure safety at a decades-old venue in the heart of a “small big city.”

Bourgeois also is in charge of security for the downtown Smoothie King Center, home to Final Four college basketball championships and more, and Champion Square.

What does he seek to secure his urban facilities? What are his frustrations with the security industry? How does he meld customer service with making sure fans stay safe?

This interactive session will offer valuable information for those who work in other verticals.

Bourgeois is a 2015 SSN “20 under 40” End User award winner and will be honored, with his fellow awardees, at the conference.

by: Amy Canfield - Monday, November 23, 2015

I am one of the 60 percent of reported Americans who own pets. Apparently, this will drive me to be a smart home customer.

I have two cats. One is older, one is a kitten. I love them to death. Do I need to watch them 24/7? No. They wake up after hours of sleep about 4 a.m., jump on my sleeping head and clamor for breakfast. After they eat, they are rambunctious, then they go back to sleep. For hours. How do I know where they are without a camera? I see their inches-deep hair on my living room sofa.

They greet me at the door when I arrive home about 6 p.m., run around for a few minutes and then go back to sleep. This is no insightful news to cat owners.

But according to Vivint, we should be using smart home technology to take better care of our pets’ “safety, health and overall care.” We can monitor their activity level and food intake. 

The “passion people have for their pets … means a large market opportunity for those companies connecting pets and smart home technology,” the study says.

I get the IoT thing to find lost pets. What I don’t understand is people wanting to check in on their indoor pets, including monitoring their eating habits. One of my cats, the older one, is very fat. “Pet management,” including “smart pet food monitoring,” could become a driving force in the IoT market, the study said. I just prefer to give my fat cat less food.

I’m skeptical, but also interested in who uses this technology. I’ve heard it’s mostly Millennials, but Vivint says the use of smart home tech for pet care “is likely to be one of the strongest demand drivers for the smart home in coming years.”

Pet owners’ passion “could be a significant entry point for many into the smart home,” it said. I have passion for my pets, but they are, afterall, pets. I don’t feel the need to watch them all the time and see where they’re sleeping. I will spare you my opportunity to post photos of them here (but they are both cute, trust me); they don’t need me watching them around the clock. 

Who has another view?  Am I just a bad pet owner?

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by: Amy Canfield - Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The University of Phoenix College of Security and Criminal Justice and SIA have partnered to provide those who have completed a SIA Certified Security Project Manager credential with 21 credit hours to apply toward a bachelor of science in security management.

The goal, according to a prepared statement, is to respond to industry demands by providing flexibility to security professionals to advance and increase skills in the ever-changing industry.

“University of Phoenix is proud to partner with the Security Industry Association to provide security professionals with flexible learning options and industry-aligned curriculum that will further their education and build upon the skills gained through a CSPM certificate,” Spider Marks, executive dean for University of Phoenix College of Security and Criminal Justice, said in the statement.

Security professionals holding CSPM certificates have a minimum of approximately three years of hands-on project management experience. However, a survey by the Project Management Institute found that the majority of CSPM certificate holders in the United States do not have college degrees. 

“The increasing complexity in the security industry has resulted in expanding demands for educated professionals,” said Don Erickson, SIA chief executive. “This agreement offers seasoned practitioners who already possess management experience to apply their practical skills toward a degree that supports their career advancement while also meeting industry needs.”

The agreement between University of Phoenix College of Security and Criminal Justice and SIA is just one example of a growing list of strategic initiatives the college is undertaking as it increases its focus on meeting educational needs within the security sector, it said. 

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by: Amy Canfield - Wednesday, November 11, 2015

XANDEM HOME in Salt Lake City is launching its new DIY home security and automation product that tracks the location of moving people.

The product, which can be installed by homeowners in about 15 minutes, the company says, allows users to monitor where people are moving throughout their homes without using invasive cameras. Think of the safeguarding lasers of the “Mission Impossible” movies, because that’s what it looks like.

The product detects and locates movement through walls and furniture to cover the entire house; integrates with other smart-home systems such as lighting and audio; triggers a siren to scare intruders away and sends mobile app notifications; and includes an API so developers can use the company’s Detect and Locate technology in their own apps and products.

XANDEM, started in a basement in 2008, has been selling in prototype form, but has made advancements such as the phone app and so forth, Joey Wilson, company founder and CEO, told Security Systems News.

“We’re taking orders for XANDEM HOME via Indiegogo soon,” he said. 

The company recently received grants from DHS and the National Science Foundation.

“What we’re seeing is that it used to be if you wanted a security system in your home, you could go to a custom professional or get a rinky dink local package and they could slap it down,” Wilson said. “But now … DIY and MIY are growing rapidly.

“We’re very connected to the IofT. We are not an alarm company. We’re an amazing technology company, not even a security company. We’re like Nest or Dropcam. You can put this in yourself or have an integrator put it in,” Wilson said.

He added that he’s seen a lot of interest from integrators.

 

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by: Amy Canfield - Tuesday, October 27, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY—The downtown venue that is home here to the Utah Jazz NBA team and is the region’s premier concert and entertainment spot will now be called the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

The renaming comes along with a partnership between Vivint and Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment. Financial terms of the 10-year agreement were not disclosed, according to a prepared statement.

The 19,911-seat facility, formerly known as EnergySolutions Arena, hosts about 1.8 million guests and more than 100 sports and entertainment events each year, the companies said.

“The Utah Jazz and the arena are proud to have Vivint as our new naming rights partner,” LHMSE president Steve Starks said in the statement. “Vivint is a long-time supporter of the Jazz, is a Utah-based company, and has a deep commitment to the community and our fans. These were all qualities we looked for when we began this process.”

Headquartered in Provo, Vivint says it has more than 1 million smart home and security product customers and 8,000 employees in the United States and Canada.

“The Utah Jazz and the arena have been an incredible economic engine for this region, and have created a tremendous sense of pride among Utahns,” Todd Pedersen, CEO of Vivint, said in the statement. “This agreement extends far beyond a typical ‘logo-on-the-building’ arrangement —it’s a true partnership built around innovation, community impact and the drive to elevate the prominence of Utah.”

LHMSE and Vivint say they have formed a multi-faceted strategic marketing partnership that will include an interactive “Vivint Smart Home Experience” on the arena concourse, expertise in products and services to improve the game night fan experience along with upgraded security and automation technology at the basketball facilities.

The two companies say they will also be collaborating on an autism awareness campaign as part of their joint community outreach. 

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by: Amy Canfield - Wednesday, October 21, 2015

If you’re too focused on industry news these days, as many of us tend to be—present company included—here’s a look at what at least one mainstream media outlet has to say about the latest in home protection.

“What was previously only possible in sci-fi movies is now becoming reality,” the Huffington Post said.

Sometimes it’s helpful to get a look at what the “real” people out there are hearing—and to learn from that. Some of these are big “duhs!” from you industry folks, but I do think it’s important to hear.

So here goes—the following is taking off in the form of home security, according to the Huffington report:

·      Remote monitoring.

·      Smart door locks

·      Home sensors

·      Smart garage systems

·      Fingerprint scanners, including fingerprint door locks

·      Smart cameras

·      Complete home automation system

The report goes on to say that “the digital revolution has made its way into our homes.” For you readers, I hope it makes an even bigger dent in the near future.

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by: Amy Canfield - Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The mass notification systems at Umpqua Community College in Oregon may have failed when a gunman killed nine people and injured another nine on the campus, according to a newspaper account.

The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported that three associate professors said they did not receive a notification on their computers, and two of them said that, even being enrolled in campus alert system, they did not receive any text messages as promised under the system. They said they did receive one warning “sent manually” from a secretary after police arrived, the newspaper said.

Umpqua college leadership told the paper it is too early to tell about the extent—if any—of emergency notification malfunctions.

If we’ve heard anything, time and time again, especially from end users at our TechSec conference, it’s that all the best security equipment in the world is for naught if proper protocol is not in place.

Granted, this mainstream media article doesn’t get into the details, and I truly hope an emergency notification meltdown didn’t happen. It’s just such a tragedy, and this is where emergency notification comes into play in such an important way.

Security Systems News sends its condolences to those affected by this terrible event.

 

 

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by: Amy Canfield - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Icontrol Networks says it has won its patent fight with Alarm.com. Alarm.com says the solution to the "fight" was the result of a settlement with icontrol dated Jan. 1, 2014.  

In the latest activity, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this month canceled claims to Alarm.com’s claims to a patent about the use of a mobile app in smart home systems, saying the system was developed instead by icontrol.

Icontrol has been issued a new patent, covering methods and systems for interacting and synchronizing with home security and automation systems using mobile applications, according to icontrol.

“Recognition of icontrol as the inventor of this key mobile application technology for home control is a testament to the strength of our intellectual property, “ Richard Mosher, icontol’s general counsel, said in a prepared statement. “Early investments in developing our intellectual property portfolio have resulted in some of the earliest patent awards for cloud- and mobile-connected home solutions.”

The new icontol patent defines the mechanisms needed to deliver a mobile application that synchronizes with a premise security system, presents security system state information to the user and enables the user to in some way control the system.

“We focused on delivering home automation and remote control for mobile and cloud long before they were technology buzzwords, and we’re happy to see the USPTO recognizes our early leadership,” Bob Hagerty, icontrol CEO said in the statement.

Icontrol, contacted by Security Systems News, declined to comment further on the ruling beyond its prepared statement.

Alarm.com announced in 2014 that it had and settled and dismissed all patent infringement lawsuits between the two companies, including litigation involving Telular Corp. and FrontPoint Security.

"As part of the agreement, Alarm.com and iControl each retain all ownership and rights to their respective patents and have also expanded their respective portfolios of licensed intellectual property via certain cross-licensing agreements. The patents included in the cross-license agreement represent some of the earliest, seminal intellectual property for Connected Home technology today. The respective CEOs of each company commented that they were pleased to reach resolution around these serious intellectual property matters and each company is looking forward to refocusing on its customer’s deployments," Alarm.com said in the prepared statement. 

Alarm.com declined to comment further.

 

 

 

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