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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, March 30, 2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—Have you heard enough about cybersecurity dangers for physical security integrators and manufacturers?

Here’s a new, and perhaps more welcome, angle of the cybersecurity story.

At the Interoperarability Fest on Wednesday night, April 6 at ISC West, you'll be able to see "Eidola." Click here for time and location.

What's Eidola? It's a technical automation and security system lifecycle management platform that’s designed to help integrators and installers secure their installations from the testing and installation stage through the maintenance stage. And it’s also designed to be used to generate RMR for integrators.

Eidola is a new product from IDmachines that “manages the lifecycle of a security solution from a cybersecurity perspective,” Sal D’Agostino, founder and CEO of IDmachines told me. "Eidola checks the make, model, firmware versions and other detailed device information, as well as strength of the device’s connection (authentication) on the network."

D’Agostino is an entrepreneur who has “always been involved in automating things.” He is the former EVP of Core Street and CEO of Computer Recognition Systems, Inc.

D’Agostino said “the complexity of security systems is growing astronomically and there’s a huge skills gap in terms of networking and cybersecurity skills.”  Today’s security systems include “IP-connected devices of all shapes and sizes on the network … you’ve [also] got network gear and stuff on virtual machines,” he said.

D’Agostino has said before that security integrators should “be deploying security solutions not vulnerabilities.” Eidola helps ensure this, he said.

Eidola can be used to test the configuration of a system’s components, and it also provides “a real live sandbox that can emulate an enterprise network,” D’Agostino said.

After that’s done, Eidola can be used to document IP addresses/MAC addresses and ports, so the integrator can deliver “more than just as-built drawings,” D’Agostino said. The integrator can give an end user a document that outlines the “state of the network." The integrator “get a sign-off by the customer on the documented system delivered that can be used again during the operation and maintenance lifecycle.”

This documentation is useful for the end user and integrator and can help identify problems in the future.  

Because Eidola can be used to check on the health of a security system, it can also be used to capture RMR, he said.

Andrew Lanning, co-founder of integration firm IST, said Eidola will be a very important tool for IT-savvy integrators working in enterprise environments, but its greatest value may be for a security company installer who is not an IT expert.

Those installers are adept at using a multi-meter to test voltage levels. D'Agostino describes Eidola as a "multi-meter for the 21st century." Lanning agrees, saying at its most basic level, Eidola is “really a network multi-meter that can let the installer know that a network is sound,” he said.

The roll out of Eidola is underway. It will be “generally available in the next 30 to 60 days” to a select group of integrators. The roll out will include “training, technical training and business model training on how to sell the product,” D’Agostino said.

The integrator will get an Eidola kit and a licence to resell Eidola as a service. “There are a number of different ways in which the product can be monetized by the integrator,” D’Agostino said.  

The Eidola kit has five components: 1. a high-performance, rugged industrial computer with multiple network connections, serial ports and digital I/O that provides the sandbox for the integrator or user's test environment. "This computer can also be left behind in those cases where longer term or harsh environmental testing requirements exist," D'Agostino said. 2. a portable field device (the 21st century multimeter) that also has network, serial and digital I/O. but on a smaller scale. 3. a set of connectors and cabling for easy installation and testing. 4. a travel case 5.training and documentation
 
D'Agostino said that the first two items "have an ad hoc wireless network that can connect to any Wi-Fi supported device, typically a smartphone or tablet, which provides an easy-to-use, push-button interface for performing the diagnostic, configuration and viewing and sharing the reports."

A broader roll out of the product is planned for later this year.
 

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

On Tuesday, I moderated a discussion in Cambridge, Mass. with MIT security director Tom Komola; Cambridge Public Schools security director John Silva; Brad Baker, president of Quincy, Mass.-based integration firm FTG Security; and two technology providers, Jumbi Edelbehram of Oncam Grandeye; and Jacob Hauzen of Genetec. The event is designed to create a dialogue about the risks that today's educational facilities face and how those risks can be mitigated. We had a few introductory slides to start the event including the one below, which really illustrated the importance of these kinds of discussions. 

The map above shows locations of school shootings in the United States in the past year. The red tags are shootings with multiple fatalities; the yellow tags are shooting with one or no fatalities.  One year.

We had a great discussion about the challenges of securing a world class university like MIT and how that task is similar in some ways and very different in others to securing a large, diverse urban school system like the Cambridge Public Schools. Komola and Silva both talked about the importance of collaboration with different department and entities inside and outside of their schools.

In addition to working with school administration and staff, Silva's team works closely several local- and state public health and safety departments to coordinate the best security program for 14 different schools. The team also works closely with the city council and school committee. Technology is relatively new in his security program. Four years ago, Silva didn't have any cameras in the schools. Today, he has more than a hundred cameras, mostly thanks to government grants, and more camera and access control are planned. His challenges, like most public school districts, include resources, both financial and in terms of staff. He also has to keep parents and the community informed about how the security measures benefit students and staff. 

Silva's program may be just getting started in terms of technology, but it's highly organized and many-layered, and far ahead of most public school systems of comparable size in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

In comparison to a K-12 public school, MIT has many resources, financial and otherwise. However, Komola points out that his security program has scaled very quickly. Seven years ago he had a couple hundred cameras. Today, he has more than 1,800. Komola stands out among security directors that I've talked to in the past in that he said he has a "great relationship with the MIT IT department." The two departments collaborate daily and support each other in getting tech projects planned and implemented. Moreover, Komola said it's been that way since they started the security technology program years ago. Perhaps the key to that working relationship is that both security and IT report the same executive (the highest ranking non-academic exec at MIT) and they're expected to work together.

Komola told a funny story about MIT students hacking an access control system. Fortunately, the students then showed him where the weakness in the system existed, so he could correct it. 

FTG's Brad Baker talked about how integrators know that the success of projects ride on IT and security working together effectively. Early on in meeting with customers, he "takes the temperature" of the customer's IT deparment to see "how they feel about physical security." He's fortunate, he said, that FTG's sister company, FTG Technnologies, is a telecom solution provider. This is something that makes an end user's IT folks comfortable.

What's on the Komola and Silva's technology wish lists?  Komola said he wants analytics and smart cameras. "I'm looking for technology that does the work, that's foolproof." Silva is also interested in smart tech, but he also needs "the budget to cover it."

Asked about where technology is going, Oncam's Edulbehram talked about the growing importance of analytic alerts for access control and video. Mobility--being able to access security system information from your phone or other device--is equally important. It's critical, he said, to have "mobile apps across the board for security systems." He also said that cloud technology is the wave of the future.

Genetec's Jarrod Fullerton echoed that sentiment. Big data, from video and other sensors, needs to be processed, and "the only place that can analyze all that data is a big private data center or the public cloud."

The event also included some cool technology demos from Oncam Grandeye and Genetec. Oncam makes 360-degree cameras. The cameras take a photo-in-the-round that looks like a normal fisheye shot, but the cool thing is seeing different elements of the photo "dewarped", straightened out so it looks like a normal photo.

Tuesday's event was the first of three OnCampus Security Symposiums. Two more events are planned: one in Chicago and one in San Jose, Calif.

 

 

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

When we did an educational session at TechSec 2014 about the possibility of security systems falling victim to an APT (advanced persistent threat), cybersecurity wasn't something we heard about every day at Security Systems News. Here's a link to a story about that educational session.

Times have changed. As we do advance ISC West show reporting this year, cybersecurity is cropping up over and over again.

A standard story we do each year is about the biggest booths at ISC West. Here's a link to the story, which is in our newswire today. Spencer spoke to three of the largest exhibitors for the story. Asked what they'll be talking about in Vegas, two of those exhibitors, Hikvision and Axis, are leading with their cybersecurity efforts. The third, Hanwha Techwin (formerly Samsung Techwin), is focused on its new name first, which makes sense. However, Hanwha's Tom Cook said cybersecurity was an important topic of discussion at the manufacturer's recent dealer meeting and said it's a topic the company will be talking more about.

We've continued to talk about cybersecurity at TechSec in 2015 and 2016.  This year we had Rodney Thayer at TechSec and at Cloud+ talking about cyber, both sessions were highly rated by attendees. Thayer is an excellent presenter—super knowledgeable and amusing too. He's leading an educational session at ISC West called "Cybersecurity: Three steps to counter external attacks on physical security systems" on Thursday, April 7,  from 3:30 - 4:15 in Casanova 603. My guess is that it will be a worthwhile session to attend.

Security Systems News has been on this story for more than two years, and we'll continue to keep you informed. If you hear of any particularly impressive or interesting cybersecurity efforts or stories, please let me know. I can be reached at mentwistle@securitysystemsnews.com

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Planning for ISC West 2016 has begun.

Paul Ragusa, our new managing editor;  Spencer Ives, SSN associate editor;  and yours truly are starting to schedule appointments for the biggest show of the year, but some events are already in place on my schedule.

I am moderating two awesome educational sessions including the ISC West Opening Keynote: "Lights! Camera! Action! How Paramount Pictures Delivers Enhanced Safety and Global Security While Driving Operational Efficiency and Sustainable ROI." It will take place on Wednesday morning from 8:45 to 9:45, right before the show floor opens. Here's a link with more information.

I toured Paramount's GSOC in Los Angeles last fall. The Paramount folks have a great story to tell—and they're very open about how they do things and what the potential pitfalls are. You won't want to miss this one.

I'll also be moderating an educational session on April 7, Thursday morning, at 10 a.m. That means I will have to run the Security 5k fast in order to get back to the Sands and be ready to go at 10. What's the Security 5k?, you ask. It's only the funnest event at ISC West. It's your chance to get away from the casinos, get some exercise and you'll be making a real difference in needy kids' lives. Walk 2k or run 5k. Here's a link with more information.

The April 7 educational session that I'm moderating after the Security 5K is called "Access Control Trends in the Education Sector."

We'll hear from two great speakers: Tara Steelman from the College of Saint Rose, and Gary Rodman from Ripon College. They'll talk about why they chose the access control systems the did and how those systems help them make informed decisions, act quickly in the event of an emergency and gather important intelligence for investigations. Matthew Zimmerman of LaForce will be on hand to give the integrator perspective. Definitely plan to attend!   Here's a link.

Do you have news to share? Are you interested in speaking to Security Systems News at ISC West this year? We'll be doing booth visits and video interviews on the ISC West/Security Systems News Media stage. Security Systems News focuses on breaking business news. We're interested in new products, but we want to know how those products and your business plans will affect our readers--the integrators and installers and monitoring companies. We don't want to talk to product folks, we want to speak to your business executives about what you're doing now, what your plans are for 2016. 

The editors' coverage areas are as follows: I cover the commercial and systems integration market; Paul covers residential; Spencer covers monitoring. Please email me at mentwistle@securitysystemsnews.com, Paul at pragusa@securitysystemsnews.com, or Spencer at sives@securitysystemsnews.com to inquire about setting up an appointment.

See you in Vegas.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Systems integrator SEi has moved to it new headquarters in Omaha, Neb. and launched a new Remote Services division, which will support SEi's growing managed services business.

SEi has "been doing managed access control for 30 years if not more," SEi EVP Tom Hruby said. But now it's doing more cloud hosting. With its managed access control business growing and its "hosted video seeing a huge uptick" there are more customer service questions too.

"The remote services group deals with issues connected with managed services," Hruby said. Questions often arise when a user updates a phone. They'll need information on code changes, setting up their iPhone app, or tablets or web interfaces, among other things.

Creating this new division is all part of SEi's focus on "the experience economy." Hruby said "Customers today will pay more for experience than services," Hruby said. "When they pay for a service, they have experience expectations. If we don't meet those expectations, they'll go pay for the service somewhere else."

"We focus on the experience at SEi; we call it 'The SEi difference," he said.

When it moved into new headquarters, SEi wanted to expand its central station, "create a great place to work and do business, ... add all new technology and furniture," he said.

SEi's new headquarters here—it's first move since it was founded in the '70s—is double the size of its former headquarters. It has room for 65 employees, warehouse space and its new U.L. listed central station is now called SEi's  Customer Care Center. 

In business for more than 45 years, SEi has 167 employees and 16,000 customers. Its 2015 total revenue was $27.6 million with $850,000 RMR.

 

 

 

 

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Honeywell is reportedly shopping its Building Solutions Group, according to a report today in the Wall Street Journal. The Honeywell Building Solutions business, which the WSJ says is worth between $3 billion and $4 billion, provides security systems integration and other services to commercial buildings globally.  

It is a separate business unit from Honeywell Security and Fire (HSF), but they are both part of the Automation and Control Solutions unit. Alex Ismail is the president and CEO of the $14 billion Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions division.

The Wall Street Journal says Honeywell has hired Goldman Sachs Group to work on the sale, which has been ongoing for about three months.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Honeywell was in talks to merge with UTC. While those reports were followed by comments from UTC that they deal would run into trouble with anti-trust regulations, the Wall Street Journal today said “Honeywell has signaled that it isn’t ready to give up yet on a merger with United Technologies, which would be one of the biggest deals at a time when such activity is booming.”

Would Honeywell sell the building solutions business if it does merge with UTC? The Wall Street Journal report asked that question to itself and answered “I don’t know.” It also added this editorial caveat: “In any event, as always, there may be no deal at all.” 

According the WSJ report, Honeywell is working with Centerview Partners and Lazard on the UTC deal, while UTC is working with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Billion dollar deals are not exactly daily news in the physical security industry, except in the past three weeks, that is.

Two of the biggest deals in the history of the security industry have been announced in the past three weeks. On Jan. 25 Johnson Controls announced a deal to merge with Tyco.

Yesterday, Apollo Global Management, a $170 billion private equity company, announced it has an agreement in hand to acquire Tyco's former sister company, ADT, for $6.9 billion. Here’s that story.

Apollo first entered the security industry last May when it purchased Protection 1 and ASG.

When the Apollo/ADT deal closes, Apollo plans to combine ADT with Protection 1 under the leadership of Protection 1 CEO Tim Whall.

When JCI announced that it plans to merge with Tyco it said it will lose the Tyco name. Good idea. Even though Dennis Koslowski and his $600 shower curtain and $2 million birthday parties on Sardinia are long gone, the Tyco name is forever linked to ridiculous excess and greed.

On the other hand we have ADT. The combined ADT/Protection 1 company plans to operate “primarily under the ADT brand.”  Not everyone loves ADT of course, but the name is synonymous with security and as someone said to me yesterday: People know the ADT name, whether you like them or not, you feel like you can trust them.

I haven’t had a chance to speak to Protection 1 yet, but in a canned quote in the news release Whall talked about the promise of the combined commercial business.

I spoke to Jeff Kessler of Imperial Capital yesterday and he noted that ADT is really still getting its commercial business off the ground. Protection 1 can help them a lot, he said.

He noted that Tim Whall’s team “invented the scorecard for the industry” idea back when he was at HSM.

The idea behind the scorecard is to find out customers really want (from a security and business improvement perspective) and set up metrics.  Protection 1 (or HSM or Stanley) then measures itself on its ability to meet certain metrics. I’ve written about different iterations of the Tim Whall Scorecard many times.

He noted that Protection 1 has a "very, very disciplined team." (Even with two verys, I'd say that's an understatement.) They've got CMO Jamie Haenggi, CFO Dan Bresingham, and Don Young, who Kessler calls "a superstar, the leading entity in the industry on integrating platforms."

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Unified security solution provider Genetec is going with a “cloud-first strategy,” Genetec’s Christian Morin said this week.

“The bulk of our innovation will be delivered [as a] cloud-based product first,” Morin said.

Popularized a few years ago when in 2011 the U.S. government mandated that federal agencies consider a cloud-based IT systems, the term “cloud first” is heard more, and talked about more favorably in the business community over the past couple of years.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, for example, announced the company’s “mobile-first, cloud-first” strategy in 2014.

As VP Cloud Services at Genetec, Morin has been a vocal evangelist for cloud-based systems. Here’s a link to a story about cloud from TechSec 2015.

The world is moving to the cloud for sound business reasons, Morin said this week. "The marketplace in changing. Integrators are realizing that they need to adapt. If they don’t, they’ll be left behind,” Morin said.

Morin shared several impressive percentages—triple digit growth—related to the company’s Stratocast and other cloud products. Admittedly, it’s hard to know what those figures really represent when there are no revenue figures attached. (The private company declined to share actual revenue figures.) However, Morin shared stories of customers who are using Genetec’s cloud products. Suffice it to say, they are big customers and there are a number of them.

Morin discussed Genetec’s work with the LAPD at the Special Olympics in July, interconnecting a number of different entities such as universities, the convention center and the Staples Center into one command center.

He also described a project with an unnamed big box retailer where Genetec was used to federate 800 stores, each with 50 to 80 cameras.

Customers are looking for Genetec’s access control as a service product, which is currently in beta, he said. “Not a week goes by that a customer doesn’t ask. There’s tremendous market demand especially among large customers who want central access control across many different facilities,” Morin said.

Genetec is having a lot of success with cloud in city surveillance applications—its “Project Green light” in Detroit is a notable example—and Genetec is actively working with groups of stakeholders in many different U.S. cities to pull together similar projects.

Genetec is also in discussion with telecom companies to bundle its commercial cloud services with the telecom’s traditional services. It’s a model that might work very well with city surveillance. The telecom would bring “brand power, network and billing mechanisms” to the plate. How would that work with integrators? Would the telecom be stepping on their business? Unlikely, Morin says. The telecoms don’t want to get involved with fulfillment, he said.

Morin said there are four reasons customers want cloud: you pay as you go; upgrades are the responsibility of Genetec, lessoning the burden on internal IT; simple and easy for integrators; scalability and elasticity.

The two main challenges Genetec faces with cloud is the reluctance of customers to “not see my server anymore” and customers and integrators getting used to the subscription model.

To get integrators and end users accustomed to the subscription model, Genetec will begin offering its on-premises platform Omnicast as a subscription model. The platform will still be the same, it’s just a different payment option.

While Morin is convinced that the move to the cloud will inevitably become a stampede, he said Genetec believes in a hybrid cloud model. “There are many good reasons why some customers don’t want to move everything to the cloud,” he said.  They may want a little cloud or a lot of cloud and they may want the transition to be very slow, he said.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Diebold Securitas deal, announced in October, closed on Monday.

Tony Byerly, former EVP of Diebold Electronic Security, has been tapped to lead the newly named Securitas Electronic Security.

In a statement, Byerly touted the benefits of being part of an $8 billion global security services provider, saying the new parent company brings “scale, stability, focus and resources necessary for us to grow, innovate and reach even higher customer satisfaction and performance levels in the years to come.”

This deal is the latest example of a company combining electronic security services with guarding and other security services. We’ve seen this combination on a very large scale with G4S (which has a NOC and acquired the former Adesta systems integrator business.) And we’ve also seen a number of guard companies and integrators partner in recent years.   

In his statement, Byerly said Securitas customers can benefit “from on-site security officers to mobile guarding to remote guarding to alarm monitoring and systems integration, as well as other electronic security solutions.”

 

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, January 27, 2016

After spending the past 10 years divesting itself of non-core businesses, Tyco is now going to become part of a much larger company. And, after being a Milwaukee company since 1885, Johnson Controls will now have its official domicile, with Tyco, in Cork, Ireland. Here's a video interview I did with Mark Van Dover of Tyco Integrated Security about being a standalone company.

Tyco and Johnson Controls announced Monday that they would merge. We don’t generally see deals this big in the security industry. I don’t usually hear news about security deals on Marketplace when I’m driving home from work, or read presidential candidates’ remarks on security deals.  

Of course neither Kai Ryssdal nor Hillary Clinton were talking about how JCI and Tyco will merge branch offices or how the combined company will nurture relationships with security integrators, they were talking about the tax-driven nature of the deal.

In moving its headquarters, or at least its tax base, to Ireland, Johnson Controls will save $150 million in taxes it would normally have to pay the U.S. Government. Tyco is experienced with domiciling outside of the U.S. having lived in Bermuda and Switzerland previously.

Tyco CEO George Oliver and JCI CEO Alex Molinaroli said they expect an additional $500 million in "synergies" in the next three years. They expect $150 million in savings in corporate reductions--within the next two years, and within the next three years $350 million in savings as the result of business and operational improvement. 

People I talked to about these projections believe JCI and Tyco are good companies that are capable of reaching that $350 million in savings, but they say it could take longer than three years. 

Once the savings are realized, the new company's challenge will be growth. Both Tyco and JCI have had trouble growing in the past three years. Will the combined company present the security industry with a better integrator? Will the combined company, on the product side, be good at nurturing relationships with integrators?  

During the Monday investors call, Oliver and Molinaroli spoke a lot about the opportunity the combined company has to "provide building products, services and technology that can serve customers' needs holistically."  Molinaroli said the integration at the branch level will not be that complex. JCI is experienced with this kind of consolidation, having done the same when it acquired York, an HVAC company it acquired in 2005. Molinaroli said he was speaking "as someone who came from the branches."

Oliver pointed out complementary capabilities and geographies. One company has a big presence in Asia and the other in Europe, and both have a big presence in North America. 

Oliver said the combined company gives "us a big leadership position in the new market being developed in smart buildings." He added "we see our industry transforming" and the "real opportunity is [with] the Internet of Things and the smart building."

Here's a story from April 2014 when I visited Tyco's Global Center of Excellence in Birmingham, Ala.

I interviewed Oliver, Van Dover and Renae Leary, Tyco VP global accounts. During that visit, Oliver talked about the importance of connected systems and the information that can be derived from those systems. “Integration capability is fundamental to our success,” he said.

A little more from that interview:

Tyco’s enterprise-level security systems include intrusion, access control, video management, fire systems and integrated systems, but the new center will enable Tyco to tie more building systems into solutions for its global customers, he said.

One immediate opportunity is fire. According to Leary, an estimated 20 percent of Tyco’s current global enterprise customers use Tyco for fire as well as security. Tyco aims to get its existing global enterprise customers to all use Tyco for fire. She predicted that the number will increase incrementally as current customers upgrade existing fire systems and/or add new facilities, and as new customers come on board.

While many global customers are still working on integrating access and video, many are starting to want to integrate fire, identity management and PSIM. “Customers are starting to try some of these things,” Leary said. “It’s picking up steam [through] trials and pilot programs.”

The ultimate goal is to have all systems integrated on a single platform for these customers and to provide business intelligence, systems and solutions “to better manage data in real time and act on data immediately,” Leary said.

Leary said that the company’s “core commercial business is still a huge focus for us.” Oliver added that "the new Tyco" is designed to "serve [commercial] customers top to bottom; [we're] very competitive at all levels."

In addition to integrating systems together, adding new technology will also be important to Tyco’s growth and ability to serve businesses large and small, Oliver said.

 

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