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by: Martha Entwistle - Thursday, January 10, 2008
Does this company just not have a security director? The plan is to put data centers on boats and then move them around to where they're needed, for disaster recovery situations and what not. Okay, for the temporary disaster recovery market, maybe I can see the need for this. But for a long-term data center solution? Aren't the risk factors a little too numerous? While every other data center does its best to remain anonymous, surrounds itself with bollards and two-foot-thick concrete walls, and talks about hot-redundancy, these guys float around on the ocean, open to the weather, with crazy people looking to pull a USS Cole, and talk about using the heat from the servers to warm their staff. In an ideal world, this might be a great idea. In the risk-laden world in which real people do business, this strikes me as borderline insane.
by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Well, there's plenty of security-related news coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas right now, but I don't feel like getting into much of it because I'm trying to get a paper out the door. Instead, I'm pointing you to this blog, where people seem to have the same opinion of giant shows in Las Vegas that I do (people who don't like naughty language, do not follow this link - you've been warned). My favorite bit? You can't walk five feet on the show floor without hearing some horrible line of moronic marketing speak come out of the mouth of an overly perky 5-foot-tall PR girl in a pantsuit, and it makes me want to stab myself in the ears. Not that I would know anything about that.
by: Martha Entwistle - Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Argyle Security, a rapidly growing international integrator born out of the San Antonio-based ISI, has announced three buys just now. The total purchase price is $14 million, so none of them is a big move, but they have collectively caused the company to up its revenue projections from between $105 and $115 million to between $128 and $142 million. If they're paying $14 million for about $25 million in year one revenue, that's not too bad, right? I'll have more about this on the wire Thursday.
by: Martha Entwistle - Monday, January 7, 2008
News just came over the wire that L-1 has entered into a definitive agreement to buy Bioscrypt, recently named the biometric market leader by an IMS study. In a stock-for-stock deal, L-1 will pay about $44 million Canadian, which isn't bad considering the 3Q results you can find here for Bioscrypt. Basically, the company will do about $20-$22 million in 2008, but lost $10 million in the three quarters ending Sept. 30, 2007. This statment from L-1's version of the release thus seems a little optimistic: It is expected to be Adjusted EBITDA accretive in 2009. The cost-savings measures L-1 has planned must be something special, especially considering Bioscrypt will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary and keeps its current locations. I'll have more on the newswire Thursday.
by: Martha Entwistle - Monday, January 7, 2008
Stories like this one about the nuclear industry's new panic about sleeping guards just couldn't be better marketing fodder for those of you out there peddling remote monitoring and video analytics. Perhaps the most shocking part is the ridiculously hypocritical nature of the operators of the power plants themselves. While they protest that they're very (VERY) concerned about security, it takes a borderline heroic security guard to embarrass them on local television before they take his claims about sleeping guards seriously. Check it out: I admire, actually, Wackenhut's realism here. The author paraphrases it this way: Wackenhut says that the entire nuclear industry needs to rethink security measures if it hopes to meet the tougher standards the NRC has tried to impose since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. As in, "Dudes, you were fine with the sleeping guards for the past 50 years. Did you think they'd all of a sudden get much more attentive?" Everyone knows guarding a nuclear power station is some seriously boring work. Unfortunately, the one time guards are needed to act every 10 years or so is a pretty important situation. Thus, it makes sense that the guards need to be patrolling (i.e., moving) and video analytics and central monitoring stations need to be taking care of the surveillance.
by: Martha Entwistle - Thursday, January 3, 2008
For those of you eyeing the home automation space, it might be interesting to note that the CEA now believes at least half of all U.S. homes have a digital television. I'm not sure about the logic that HD TVs equal a need for surround sound and other home automation perks, but it's probably true that HD TV buyers are early adopters of technology in general and have more disposable income for home technology in general. Is it worth trying to partner up with HD TV retailers, a la the Geek Squad, so you know when a new HD TV has been purchased and you can swoop in and offer your services? Anyone got numbers on how much crossover there is between HD TV owners and home security owners? I bet there's a fairly high correlation.
by: Martha Entwistle - Thursday, January 3, 2008

We just received word here at SSN HQ that Tim Whall has left his post as CEO/headman at HSM (A Stanley Works Company). National sales manager Tony Byerly has taken over the job, effective immediately. I'd link to the news, but there's apparently no official release yet. Guess they'll want to change this page. When Stanley paid big bucks for HSM not much more than a year ago, there was a lot of talk about how Whall's presence was part of the value there. As in these quotes: Sandra Jones, head of consultant group Sandra Jones & Co., said buying HSM is "like buying the Hope Diamond, a one of a kind thing, and so it becomes much more valuable ... You're better off paying a high multiple for a good company than less for a company built on smoke and mirrors." Jones singled out Tim Whall as one of the best executives in the industry. Les Gold, a lawyer with Mitchell, Siberberg & Knupp who brought Stanley and HSM together roughly a year ago, echoed Jones's praise of Whall: "He's just as good as they come." In an interview with Stanley Convergent Technologies Group head Brett Bontrager, I got this: "What we've wound up with is a world-class management team. What Tim [Whall, HSM COO] has put together is really exciting. The culture that they have for winning starts and ends with providing world-class service; everything else will fall in place. It's a culture we'd like to spread throughout our entire convergent security group ... They put their metrics in place and diligently manage to those metrics and they're based on service to the customer." Let's hope Stanley made quick work of spreading Whall's culture throughout the group, or that Byerly and his team have plenty of that culture in petri dishes in the storage closet. Anyone want to hazard a guess on where Whall winds up? He's been in the business a long time; seems like he'd be sticking around.
by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Okay, so I'm watching the original Tom Cruise remake of Mission:Impossible, and it gets to that very famous scene where Cruise is hanging from the air conditioning duct and can't make the temperature go up, or make a sound or touch the floor or the security system goes off and he's toast. As he's doing this (catching his sweat drop along the way), he's logging into the single most important CIA computer mainframe (do they still call them that? Mainframes?) with the password that he got from the guy who normally mans that ultra-secure room (who's in the bathroom because they poisoned him just a little). This is all very exciting, but the whole time all I can think is: Jeez, how hard is it to link the security system to the computer network so that it knows that the network can't be accessed by a person who hasn't just keyed in the door? Of course, the movie was made in 1996, and Tom Cruise emails people through a little program that shows him a digitized post card with a digitized stamp, but it really doesn't seem like it should have been that difficult even back then. It really blows my mind how late IP communication came to security.
by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, January 2, 2008
In our January issue, you'll find an article about former HID/Assa Abloy boss-man Joe Grillo joining XceedID's board of directors. In the piece, he talks about looking around for other opportunities "focusing on the RFID space outside the security-and-lock industry." Well, here it is. Grillo has been named CEO of the newly enlarged Digital Angel, which just merged with Applied Digital Solutions and does lots of stuff with RFID and GPS tracking, including implanting chips in your dogs and making sure they never get lost. Or, to quote: Digital Angel's products are utilized around the world in such applications as pet identification using its patented, FDA-approved implantable microchip; livestock identification and tracking using visual and RFID ear tags; and GPS search and rescue beacons for use on aircraft, ships and boats, and by adventure enthusiasts. That doesn't sound like Grillo will be working much with the security installation channel, but maybe he'll bring more of the products into our arena. It's worth watching.
by: Martha Entwistle - Sunday, December 30, 2007
Wondering why analytics seem like such a good idea? See this story. The big question is whether alarm events can programmed to produce small electronic charges.