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by: Paul Ragusa - Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Thursday, June 21

A key theme for the second full day of ESX was meaningful and interactive education, as the morning and late afternoon educational sessions had something for everyone.

I had the good fortune to start my day moderating a session—“Top 5 Disruptive Technologies Impacting The Commercial Market”—featuring a stellar panel of Steve Butkovich, chief technology officer, CPI Security and Rodger Reiswig, VP, Industry Relations, Johnson Controls Inc., who really played well off each other, presenting their perspective and expertise on each of the five disruptive technologies we decided were most impactful today.

The Top 5 Disruptive Technologies Impacting The Commercial Market that we collectively decided on are:

1.    Cloud-based Solutions
2.    Cybersecurity (IoT, Adaptive Risk, etc.)
3.    Mobile/5G Connectivity
4.    AI/Machine Learning
5.    Biometric Identity Solutions
 
As a group we came up with a definition for what disruptive technology is: "Technology that displaces, replaces or improves on an existing technology or business process and protocol in the marketplace, producing something new and more efficient."

Reiswig and Butkovich looked at how each of these technologies are changing and disrupting what is currently in place, the benefits and potential for each within security, as well as some excellent use cases and examples to illustrate their points.

I also sat in on highly informative session, “Industry Outlook - What You Need to Know,” featuring Jeff Kessler, managing director, Institutional Research, Imperial Capital and Blake Kozak, principal analyst, Smart Home and Security Technology, IHS Markit.

Kozak presented first looking at IHS research on the total equipment market (by technology type) for 2017, pointing out that IHS estimated the total security market in 2017 is worth about $31 billion. By 2021, Kozak said the market is estimated to reach $42 billion globally. Not surprisingly, video surveillance equipment was the leading technology at more than $18 billion.

What was surprising is how much video surveillance dwarfed others on the list, including access control as the next closest at $4 billion, followed by entrance control, intruder alarms, enterprise storage, consumer video surveillance and mobile video and body worn cameras. The two fastest growing areas over the next five years will be enterprise storage and consumer video, like Nest, Kosak said.

Kozak also presented a global forecast for the electronic access control equipment market that showed a CAGR of 6.2 percent from 2016-2021. The global market was worth $4 billion in 2017 and will grow to over $5 billion by 2021. Of this amount the U.S. represents about $1.2 billion or about 33-35 percent. The U.S. market will not decline.

Kozak also got into cybersecurity, noting that recent data suggests that more than 420 million companies were hacked, including data breaches, in 2011, which increased to 4 billion breaches in 2016, “more than a 200 percent increase in a short time,” he pointed out. 

Kessler looked at monitoring trends and how they are affecting the residential and commercial markets and the convergence of physical and logical security.

Kessler presented some interesting findings from a recent survey that Imperial did with 400 police agencies looking at “who gets the first response from a verified call” when given a choice between a professionally monitored security system versus a self monitored DIY system. Interestingly, 331 out of 400 agencies said they give priority to professionally monitored systems, which Kessler astutely pointed out is good news for monitoring companies as it shows the value of professional monitoring today.

Wednesday, June 20

Great to be here in Nashville for ESX 2018, which is off to a great start, from the opening celebration on Tuesday, June 19, at the Country Music Hall of Fame, to a packed first full day on June 20 that featured a stellar—and hilariously funny—keynote presentationfrom from Scott Stratten, president, Unmarketing, entitled “The Age of Disruption: Everything Has Changed and Nothing is Different.” at the Opening Keynote Luncheon (more on this later).

At the OpenXchange breakfast on Wednesday, ESX chairman George De Marco led a diverse panel that included Michael Simmons, CEO, Driveway, Mike Soucie, senior product marketing manager, Google, and Jeremy Warren, chief technology officer, Vivint Smart Home. The group looked at how disruptive technologies are changing the security landscape.

The panel also looked at how the world we live in is becoming more connected and more automated, from our home to our car to our place of work. The group discussed the relevance of integration services, how to adopt IoT offerings and how to provide more value to customers by taking the complexity out of making a wide variety of devices work together for a truly intelligent home. They also tackled topics such as data privacy and the role of the integrator and dealer in an ever-increasing DIY industry.

Looking at the future of the smart home, Warren said it is “not about the devices, but about the platform that ties it all together.” As the home becomes more of a “thoughtful home,” Warren asked, “What services will homeowners be willing to pay for in the future?”

Soucie added, “Devices should fade into the background,” noting that there are opportunities to “monetize solution bundles.”

The group also got into a good discussion on privacy. With the increase in video and data being produced today, homeowners are becoming more comfortable “trading privacy for convenience,” De Marco pointed out.

De Marco also moderated the counterpoint session of the day, “How will MAGA affect You and the Industry?” featuring Robert Few, managing partner, The Connection Xchange and Kirk MacDowell, president, MacGuard Security Advisors Inc., who looked at how MSO’s, Apple, Google and Amazon (MAGA) is impacting and reshaping the security industry and challenging security dealers today.

Both panelists agreed that MAGA is good for the industry, as they are raising greater awareness for a residential market that has been stuck around the 20 percent penetration rate for as long as anyone can remember. Few said that he believes that these entrants are helping already to drive this penetration rate up into the high 20s.

“I am excited they are here,” Few said. “They make our businesses better.”

Few also pointed out dealers really need to focus on connecting with their customers. “Engagement is key,” he said. “The more, the better.”

This counterpoint session provided some valuable opportunities for the audience to participate and guide the discussion. There was some good discourse around questions about competing with MAGA on pricing and creation costs, as well as installation, support and maintenance, which are key areas where dealers and integrators can differentiate themselves, the panelists pointed out.

Moving to the opening keynote luncheon, Stratton started out looking at the importance of brand, but from a slightly different perspective. He gave a great example of the great extent Ritz-Carlton’s employees went to get a lost teddy bear, Joshie, back to a family that had stayed at the hotel. Hotel staff went above and beyond, overnighting Joshie back to the family, along with sending pictures of Joshie enjoying his extended stay at the pool, Joshie working at the hotel, etc., as well as a Joshie employee badge—the ultimate customer service response that started with the laundry room staff member who found the bear all the way to the front desk person who made sure this issue was resolved.

“We all want word of mouth,” said Stratton, noting that many times companies aren’t doing things that are worthy of it. His example also illustrates the need for great leadership that is willing empower and trust their employees to do the right thing. For example, the Ritz-Carlton, he said, allows an employee $2,000 to make things right with a guest who has any issue or needs special attention.

“The frontline changes the bottom line,” said Stratton, for better and for worse, depending on the tone and direction from leadership, which is something that is often mistaken for management. “From 30,000 feet up you can’t see the cracks on the ground,” said Stratton, noting that leadership requires that you listen to your employees.

What made this presentation so great was the way Stratton weaved in funny stories and witticisms that resonated with everyone in attendance, from millennials to Gen Xers to baby boomers. 

Following the keynote, and the expo hall ribbon cutting, the winner of the ESX 2018 TECHVISION Challenge Best-of-Show competition was announced. DMP's Virtual Keypad and Dealer Admin took home the top prize.

In addition to the Innovation Awards, attendees honored the recipient of ESA's 2017 Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award, Tom Donaldson, during the Opening Celebration. “I’m honored that anyone would take a moment to think that I could stand with these gentlemen,” said Donaldson as he received the award.

The Monitoring Association's 2018 Excellence Awards were also announced and congratulated, including: Patricia Fody, Vector Security, Operator of the Year; Carmelo Mosca, Affiliated Monitoring, Manager of the Year; and Beth Bailey, ADT LLC, Support Person of the Year. Affiliated Monitoring took home the association's coveted Monitoring Center of the Year award.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

I am excited to be heading to Nashville next week for ESX 2018, especially with Security Systems News as the premier media sponsor once again this year. As always, we love supporting this key industry conference each year.

If you don’t find me at the SSN booth, roaming the trade show floor, or at one of the many keynote events lined up this year, come and check out one or both of the two interesting sessions that I will be moderating this year.

The first one, “Top 5 Disruptive Technologies Impacting The Commercial Market,” is on Thursday, June 21, from 8:00-9:15AM in room 101 D, and features two great speakers—Steve Butkovich, chief technology officer, CPI Security and Rodger Reiswig, VP, Industry Relations, Johnson Controls Inc. I don’t want to reveal what those “Top 5” technologies are just yet, but one will be cloud. You will have to come to the session to find out the other four!

The second session that I am moderating, “Proven Customer Care Programs: Tips For Getting Started” is on Friday, June 22, from 11:00AM-12:00PM in room 101 A, and features two excellent speakers—John Bazyk, vice president of sales, Command Corporation, and Philip Pearson, president, Smart Home Consulting Group. Each of these speakers has a unique perspective on the topic and brings a wealth of information, resources and guidance on how to engage with your customers, lower attrition and improve retention and profitability long term.

Looking forward to a great week of education, networking and fun—Pub Crawl anyone?

See you in Nashville!

 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Convergint Technologies made its second acquisition outside the U.S. this month, with the acquisition of Integrators Australia, a systems integrator based in Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

One of the world’s largest systems integrators, Convergint continues to grow its global footprint via organic growth and acquisition. Integrators Australia is Convergint’s second international acquisition in 2018, and it provides Convergint with a physical location and a group of experienced colleagues to expand its service in the local market.

“Acquiring Integrators Australia is another major step in building out our global service platform,” Ken Lochiatto, CEO of Convergint, said in the announcement. “The addition of Integrators Australia greatly expands our presence in the Australian market and strengthens our ability to meet the service needs of our global customers in Australia. We welcome Dean Monaghan and his entire team to the Convergint organization.”

Founded in 2005 by Dean Monaghan, Integrators Australia is one of the largest independent integrators in Australia, servicing key clients across both Australia and New Zealand. Convergint chose to join forces with Integrators Australia because of its dedication to excellent customer service, a key component of Convergint’s own culture.

“We are very excited to become a part of Convergint Technologies, in which we have found a like-minded culture of service-first delivery,” Monaghan, managing director of Integrators Australia, said in a prepared statement.  “It has taken 13 years of dedication from our entire group to reach the strong level of capability and expertise that we offer today, and joining Convergint marks the next step in our evolution.”

Dan Moceri, Convergint’s co-founder and CEO told SSN after the acquisition of Paris-based systems integrator Astrec Security in early May that he sees many more opportunities to grow the company’s global presence.
 

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The U.S. House of Representatives on May 24 passed H.R. 5515, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, which includes an amendment prohibiting the federal government from purchasing video surveillance equipment from several China-based manufacturers, including Hikvision and Dahua. The bill still needs to make it through the Senate before being signed into law by the president.

In response to this legislative action, Jeffrey He, president, Hikvision USA Inc. and Hikvision Canada Inc., told Hikvision channel partners in an emailed letter, “We are actively working to assure our North American stakeholders that Hikvision strictly abides by the laws and regulations of each country in which it operates. We also reaffirm the fact that we hold our products to the industry’s global cybersecurity standards, including North America.”

He continued, “As we continue to monitor and further deploy the necessary resources to address this matter over the coming weeks and months, please know that we will vigorously defend Hikvision from dangerous and unproven accusations about the cybersecurity of our products and solutions.”

Dahua issued an official response to the proposed legislation, saying, “Dahua Technology is a commercial enterprise with high level of business integrity. As an international company, Dahua Technology complies with all related laws and regulations in the countries where it does business.”

As this bill heads to the Senate for any revisions and ultimately to the president for signature, it will be interesting to see if specific references to Hikvision and Dahua will be included in the final bill.

SSN continues to report on this story.
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, May 23, 2018

LAS VEGAS—Security Systems News caught up with ACRE COO Ron Virden, who this week published a great piece titled, “Electronic Access Control & The Future of Security: Is the Lock and Key Obsolete?”

Virden noted in his article that the end of the traditional lock and key may be here as wireless technologies transform “the possibilities for electronic access control.”

With Google and Amazon getting into the residential space, they are “really helping to drive that tipping point and you will see the consumer demand speed this up into the corporate space, especially the SMB market where we are already seeing this happen,” he told SSN. “But for the larger [enterprise] groups, where you still have to have the identification piece that a badge provides, the migration will take longer and I don’t know if it will ever be a 100 percent migration to mobile.”

And while wireless locks have been in existence for a long time, “next-generation products equipped with near-field communication and Bluetooth represent a quantum leap forward,” he noted in his article. “With established players such as ASSA ABLOY, Allegion and Dormakaba bringing their high-tech products to the market, wireless will rapidly become the standard means of managing access.”

He continued, “This is game-changing because it extends monitoring and control capabilities to a far wider range of access points. Today, most organizations limit digital locks and access credentials to the first line of defense—external doors. With nextgen wireless, any internal or external door can be added to the network so that traffic can be monitored and controlled throughout the building or complex. Not only does this improve the level of security and visibility, it also has the potential to provide valuable usage data that can help to reduce energy consumption, enhance safety and comfort and even provide predictive analytics that can guide space allocation or development.”

But before the industry can realize this new generation of wireless and mobile technologies, Virden said there are some challenges to overcome.

“The market is fragmented and territorial with lock manufacturers and mobile access firms focused on developing proprietary credentialing systems that protect their market share,” he explained in his piece. “However, that doesn’t serve the needs of the consumer or business market, both of which are resistant to being ‘locked’ into a specific brand of hardware or software.”

This is why, Virden told SSN, "open platform" is so important. “If you look at the intrusion business, you can go in and take over a panel and you can change who your provider is, so we have to have some way in the future for companies to not just be wed to one platform, and if you want to change who your credential provider is, you are able to do that,” he said.

Companies that focus on open platform and working well with others will benefit the most moving forward. “Focusing on hardware-agnostic software or credential-agnostic hardware will generate a bigger, more sustainable market,” he noted in his article. “Players that adopt a collaborative approach, aim for the mid-market, and look for ways to add value—whether through enhanced safety, convenience or data-driven insight—will see big opportunities in the coming years.”

For the full version of Virden’s article, click here.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, May 16, 2018

LOS ANGELES—Arecont Vision announced this week that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the District of Delaware, and agreed to have substantially all of the company’s assets acquired by an affiliate of Turnspire Capital Partners, LLC, an equity firm that is known as a turnaround specialist. In the Arecont press release, the company stated that the proposed transaction will enable Arecont “to pursue accelerated development of new, industry-leading video surveillance products and better meet the needs of its customers today and beyond.”

Raul Calderon, Arecont Vision’s chief operating officer and general manager, said in the announcement, “Through this transaction, Arecont Vision will shed its debt and make bolder decisions to invest in our future versus maintain the status quo. We are excited to have found a partner in Turnspire who shares our vision and will ensure an exciting future for the Company to the benefit our customers, employees, and partners,”

He continued, “Manufacturing, customer service, and sales activities will continue uninterrupted. Our employees will receive their wages and benefits as before, and our own vendors and suppliers will be paid in the ordinary course of business going forward.”

Arecont said that current management will continue to lead the company, and business “will continue uninterrupted, and operations will be supported by debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing provided by Arecont Vision’s current secured lenders.”

The Turnspire bid will be subject to an auction at which it will be subject to higher and better offers, and require Court approval. The Company anticipates the transaction will move swiftly and close within 60-75 days.

“Arecont Vision implemented key strategic initiatives beginning in mid-2017 that continue in the current year, all aimed at enhancing customer engagement, increasing revenue, and optimizing business processes. The goal is to better address the needs of the market and maintain and expand our industry technology leadership,” said Calderon. “While these efforts bore fruit immediately, we can now accelerate that progress unburdened by excess debt. Ultimately it was determined that using the chapter 11 process to facilitate a reorganization and sale was the swiftest and most efficient way to reduce debt while accelerating sales growth and product development.”

The Company is advised by the law firm of Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl & Jones LLP, Armory Strategic Partners as the Company’s chief restructuring officer and financial advisor, and Imperial Capital as the Company’s investment banker.

Court filings as well as other information related to the restructuring are available here.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Canon today announced the acquisition of BriefCam, a provider of Video Synopsis and Deep Learning solutions. Closing of the deal is subject to customary closing conditions.

“The acquisition will create even greater synergies between the BriefCam Video Content Analytics platform and Canon’s Network Video Solutions portfolio,” Trevor Matz, president & CEO of BriefCam, told Security Systems News. “BriefCam will continue to innovate and deliver best-of-breed video content analytics enabling law enforcement,  public safety agencies and major enterprises transform their video surveillance footage into actionable intelligence and dramatically shorten the time-to-target for security threats while increasing safety and optimizing operations.”

Masanori Yamada, Canon Inc. managing executive officer and group executive, Network Visual Solution Business Promotion Headquarters, said in the announcement, “We are very excited to work with such an innovative organization and we welcome BriefCam into the Canon Group. With BriefCam, we can deliver an even broader range of leading-edge technology and solutions in the fields of network cameras, video management software and video content analysis software to customers and partners across the globe.”

BriefCam will continue to operate under the leadership of its current management structure, remain an open platform, and continue to provide its software to the market through its own sales channels.

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with a global leader in digital imaging,” said Matz. “The acquisition will allow BriefCam to continue to deliver industry leading video content analytics solutions, while remaining a standalone company within the Canon Group. The opportunity is a testament to the innovative technology we have built, the outstanding team we have assembled, and the rapidly growing business we have created.”
 
The acquisition will also enable BriefCam to enter new markets, deliver stronger vertical solutions, and serve global customers even more effectively, he said.

Founded in 2007, BriefCam’s Video Synopsis and Deep Learning solutions are used for rapid video review and search, smart alerting and quantitative video insights.

Note: SSN continues to report on thsi story.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Amazon announced last week that it is jumping into the home security business—with both feet I might add—with the unveiling of five security packages for both homeowners and renters. What is most interesting about this announcement, though, is Amazon’s go-to-market strategy, which involves no monthly fees, just an upfront cost for the equipment package. Plus, all five equipment packages include free installation and visits from Amazon smart home experts to go over what is the best fit prior to choosing an option.

For those who have been following the success of Amazon’s Alexa, this move really shouldn’t come as a surprise, especially considering all of the inroads Amazon has been making in the smart home space, from its acquisition of Ring, the smart doorbell company, to its new in-home delivery service, Amazon Key, that features its Cloud Cam and partnerships with smart lock providers. 

It will be interesting to see how this will shake up the current home security market, which traditionally has existed on a RMR model that includes spreading some of equipment cost out over several months or years. It will also be interesting to see how this move succeeds overall for Amazon, as the security packages get a bit costly on the higher end.

So, let’s take a look at what packages they are offering, many of which work in tandem with Amazon’s Echo and Alexa. Amazon is offering two outdoor security packages and three indoor packages. The first outdoor package, for $240, includes “expert smart lighting that will make it look like you’re home,” the website reads, while the Outdoor Plus package adds in a smart doorbell. For indoor security, the base package for $320, which is “perfect for renters” the website says, includes motion, door and window sensors, an indoor camera, smart siren and smart home hub. Homeowners can choose from Smart for $575 or Smartest for $840, each of which adds devices to the base package.

As consumer buying seems to be moving more toward a subscription-based model, this seems like a bit of risk to ask homeowners to pay that much up front, but it may be a risk that pays off for Amazon. For one, consumers who may not have taken the leap into the smart home or home security will see this as a way to get both—the Alexa voice assistant and home security—all from one provider in a very seamless way.

SSN would love to hear your thoughts on this, so feel free to comment below.

 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), an organization dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices to help ensure a secure cloud-computing environment, recently released its State of Cloud Security 2018.

The report, authored by the CSA Global Enterprise Advisory Board, examines such areas as the adoption of cloud and related technologies, what both enterprise and cloud providers are doing to ensure security requirements are met, how to best work with regulators, the evolving threat landscape, and the industry skills gap.

“The state of cloud security is a work in progress with an ever-increasing variety of challenges and potential solutions,” Vinay Patel, chair of the CSA Global Enterprise Advisory Board and managing director at Citigroup, said in the announcement of the report. “It is incumbent upon the cloud user community, therefore, to collaborate and speak with an amplified voice to ensure that their key security issues are heard and addressed. We hope this document will serve as a roadmap to developing best practices in the establishment of baseline security requirements needed to protect organizational data.”

Key takeaways from the report include:

•    Exploration of case studies and potential use cases for blockchain, application containers, microservices and other technologies will be important to keep pace with market adoption and the creation of secure industry best practices.
•    With the rapid introduction of new features, safe default configurations and ensuring the proper use of features by enterprises should be a goal for providers.
•    As adversaries collaborate quickly, the information security community needs to respond to attacks swiftly with collaborative threat intelligence exchanges that include both providers and enterprise end users.
•    A staged approach on migrating sensitive data and critical applications to the cloud is recommended.
•    When meeting regulatory compliance, it is important for enterprises to practice strong security fundamentals to demonstrate compliance rather than use compliance to drive security requirements.

Noting that “innovators and early adopters” have been using cloud for years for quicker deployment, greater scalability, and cost saving of services, the report noted that the growth of cloud computing “continues to accelerate offering more solutions with added features and benefits, including security. In the age of information digitalization and innovation, enterprise users must keep pace with consumer demand and new technology solutions ensuring they can meet both baseline capabilities and security requirements.”

Interestingly, the report pointed out that increased adoption in cloud services has followed consumer confidence with the security of cloud providers, who continue to invest in the security of their platforms. CSA referred to a McAfee survey, Navigating a Cloudy Sky, which found that complete trust in public cloud offerings increased 76 percent in 2017.

As CSA noted in this report last year, technology is outpacing the skills sets within companies and businesses to adopt them, according to CSA’s report. “As organizations react to this demand to stay competitive, secure adoption of these technologies becomes an even greater challenge. With cloud and new IT technologies, the supply chain ecosystem needs to collaborate so that large enterprises and regulators can understand how to securely adopt new technologies and new features on existing provider technologies. Each party must play a role in securing customer data and sharing best practices for secure operations.”

Ultimately, education and awareness still needs to improve around provider services and new technologies for the enterprise. “Small-scale adoption projects need to be shared so that security challenges and patterns can be adopted to scale with the business and across industry verticals. This skills gap, particularly around cloud and newer IT technologies, needs to be met by the industry through partnership and collaboration between all parties of the cyber ecosystem.”

For the full report, click here.

 

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, April 18, 2018

We here at Security Systems News are excited to announce the dates and location for Cloud+ 2018, which will be held in beautiful Delray Beach, Fla., on September 5-6. The conference will take place at the Delray Beach Marriott—an intimate, Mediterranean-style hotel located on the Gold Coast at the corner of A1A - Ocean Boulevard and famed Atlantic Avenue, located directly across the street from the beach. This is also the same location where we host our TechSec Solutions conference each year.

Last year’s Cloud+ education program received high marks from attendees, and we are hard at work putting together another top-notch program that makes Cloud+ the education destination for those who are pioneering within the cloud community.

Click here for more info on the conference, the location and to see last year’s program and speakers, who are the “who’s who” of the industry. And stay tuned for more on the show, including announcements of the keynote speaker and full education program.

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