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by: Martha Entwistle - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Protection 1 CEO Tim Whall has always been big on data and measurable metrics. It appears Protection 1 is further fine-tuning its data-driven strategy with the announcement today that the full-service business and home security company is launching a new Field Services Organization.

The new group will be led by Paul Straten in the newly created role of VP, field services. Straten, who has been with Protection 1 for 14 years, will report to Don Young, chief information and operating officer.

Protection one say the new organization "will focus on the service delivery platform to support its rapidly growing commercial and national accounts business." Straten's group will "provide actionable data through the use of technical tools to help the field organization continue to improve upon their delivery capabilities."

The goal, according to a prepared statement from Young is to provide "the most sophisticated service delivery platform in the industry.”

Working with Straten will be Marcel Van Someren who has been promoted to the position of director, field technology and Helton De Oliveira who will serve as director, field services.
Van Someren will  "standardize training on the wide variety of products and services that Protection 1 offers and create educational channels that make it straightforward and impactful for technicians to access and learn."  De Oliveira is charged with "the production and distribution for all reporting related to field production, efficiency measurement, and related operational reporting data. The strategy behind this position is to streamline much of the available reporting and create a universal channel of access by field teams so they have the most accurate and current data available."

Protection 1 has 2 million business and home security customers, 3,500 employees,  70 office locations and five UL Certified monitoring centers across the country. It also has a Network Operations Center with a Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Express Partner Certification.
 

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Video surveillance provider Samsung Techwin has a new majority owner, Hanwha Group, a $34 billion conglomerate based in South Korea.

The deal, announced Dec. 5  is "a stock transaction, not an acquisition," Samsung's senior marketing group manager Tom Cook said during a Dec. 8 conference call.

Samsung Electronics announced Dec. 5 that it had entered into an agreement to sell its shares, which amount to a 32 percent stake in Samsung Techwin to Hanwha, which has expressed an interest in increasing its position in the security and defense industry. Samsung's second-largest shareholder is South Korea's government pension plan, according to Cook, the rest of the shareholder hold much smaller stakes.

How will the deal affect the Samsung Techwin's North American operation, which is based in Ridgefield, N.J.? There won't be any immediate changes, Cook said.

Contrary to some earlier published reports, Samsung Techwin will retain the rights to the Samsung name. For how long? Cook said that was "still a negotiating point" but he said it would retain the rights for "many years" and noted that there is precedent for Samsung allowing its brand to be used for extended periods of time. Renault has used the Samsung brand for more than 20 years, he said.

Soon Hong Ann, Samsung Techwin CEO and all management will stay in place, Cook said. All R&D, manufacturing, sales and marketing operations will remain unchanged, he said. Hanwha does not have manufacturing facilities and it does not own any other businesses that manufacture or do R&D of security devices. It does have a systems integration business "which can benefit by selling SamsungTechwin products in the Asian market, but in North America, I do not see any of that occuring," Cook said.

Independent of this deal, Samsung Techwin America is looking into establishing an additional "assembly and manufacturing facility in the U.S. that would allow us to fall under the branding of 'Made in America'," Cook said. Cook said that Samsung Techwin is interested in doing this to increase its business with the U.S. government, which gives preference to domestically produced products.

Cook said Samsung Techwin's North American operation has grown rapidly in recent years. "In 2013 we were up 40 percent over the previous year, and 2014 we will end up 70 percent over 2013."

The company has had several big wins including General Mills and Qualcomm [where Samsung is working with Milestone Systems] and General Motors [where it is working with Genetec].

Asked about additional funds for R&D and other investments, Cook said "Hanwha acquired this stock because they're interested in growing in the security and defense market" and added that Samsung Techwin Americas "has never been held up because of resources in the past."

Cook said that Samsung Techwin will be introducing 5 megapixel and 4K cameras, "an all-in-one IP kit that we believe the market is ready for."

Cook said Samsung Techwin will have a 100-foot by 60-foot booth at ISC West and it will be situated next to the market leader. [Axis Communications] "We are neighbors aond purpose and we're going to take them head-on," Cook said. It will also hold a dealer meeting and an A&E meeting at ISC West.

Samsung Techwin is currently the fourth largest video surveillance provider in North America. Cook believes "by the end of 2015 we will be in the position of second."

"To be number one, that is our goal," Cook said.

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I normally fly when I travel from Maine to New York City. But, for ISC East a couple weeks ago, I was late making a reservation and the airfares went throught the roof, so I took the train.

It was actually a bus from Portland to Boston and then a train from Boston to Penn Station. It took a little longer than a flight and transport from the airport into Manhattan would have taken, but not that much longer and overall it was a very comfortable and hassle-free travel experience. You can't help but notice, however, the lack of security on buses and trains—especially when you compare it to air travel.

It's not that I want to have to remove my shoes at Penn Station, but it's noticeable and it's something that we have talked about here in the office.

In this week's newswire, three stories touch on transportation security. First, we have integration firm Minuteman Security getting into product development. Minuteman has developed a new mobile video surveillance and health check monitoring system. It test drove the system at the fifth largest tranportation authority in the country and others are showing interest in the system. Here's a link to the story.

Our monthly "Stats" story delves into a report from TechNavio that projects that the market for mass transit security will reach $5 billion in North America by 2018. Here's a link to that story. 

And finally, our monthly Legislative Update, takes a look at SIA's work with FRA, the Federal Railroad Administration, to set requirements for video and audio security technology on passenger and freight trains. Read that story here.

 

by: Martha Entwistle - Monday, November 24, 2014

This week is the first week in 37 years that Jay Hauhn is not reporting to work at Tyco (or former sister company ADT). Hauhn's last day was on Friday. I had a chance to catch up with Jay last week at ISC East.

Jay said he's looking forward to taking the next 6 to 12 months to "decompress" from the day-to-day corporate world. But he'll stay connected to the security industry in a volunteer capacity: Hauhn serves as president of the Central Station Alarm Association, and he's also looking forward to "re-engaging with SIA [in some volunteer capacity.]"

Jay began his career with a temporary job at ADT as a "key runner," where he literally carried a metal keybox to businesses when there was an alarm. After six months, he moved to an engineering position where he worked on the "very beginnings of computerization of central stations." He later worked in the World Trade Center in New York where did further work with ADT central stations (There were 165 at the time; today there are fewer than five.)

In the course of his career, Hauhn has worked on the systems integration side of the business, has been responsible for products, and has worked as CTO.

Asked about the most important technological change he witnessed in his career? The digital dialer, he said. "The digital dailer created the residential businesses' ability to cost effectively protect homes. That was a paradigm shift," he said. Many security companies are about 70 percent residential, he noted. "[The digital dailer] led to the growth in this industry."

More recently, an important technological advancement has been managed services and in particular hosted access. Where previously a security company that did card access and video "was lucky to get a maintenance contract," hosted access changed that.

"Steve Van Till [Brivo CEO] did this," Hauhn said. "He showed this industry how to sell card access and get RMR out of every sale."

The industry is not there yet with hosted video, he said.

Hauhn said he's a huge believer that workable video analytics will be the key to hosted video.

"That's where managed video is going to finally get traction," he said. Then, only important snippets of video will be sent to the cloud.

Then that video data will be mined. "It will be more about business operation improvement as opposed to security. That's where the ROI [for end users] would be—in improved business metrics."

I asked him about the most fun stuff he's done working in the security industry.

Hauhn spent some time in the late 80s and early 90s working for ADT's federal group. "I got to design security systems for some places that don't exist," he said. "I'm still not allowed to talk about those, but to go to those federal DoD locations and know the importance of those places, and I got to design the security systems to protect them. That was neat," he said.

Hauhn also really liked some work he did with the Navy SEALS. He declined to elaborate beyond: "I got to play with some of their toys—boats and vehicles. That was fun."

Hauhn said he may do some consulting after a year or so, but he also may decide not to.

"Tyco and ADT have been very good to me," he said. "I know it sounds corny, but I've really met some fantastic people in this industry," he said. "There's a lot of cameraderie and people care about what they do—protecting assets and property."

 

 

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ISC East kicks off this morning here on a beautifully sunny morning in New York City.

Conference sponsor SIA said it expects to “see increased attendance at this year’s event.”

SIA introduced a mobile app (sponsored by Genetec) for this year’s event that’s free to download at www.isceastmobile.com The app has a list of exhibitors and their locations, the educational schedule and other planning features.

In addition to the show floor exhibits and educational sessions, the annual SIA Honors Night will take place tonight at Chelsea Piers. Honeywell’s Gordon Hope will receive the George R. Lippert Memorial Award at that event.  

Check back here for reports about this year’s show.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Razberi Technologies, which was reinvented three years ago by Tom Galvin, today announced that it received a $3m investment from a new investor, LiveOak Venture Partners of Austin, Texas.

I had a chance to speak to Galvin about the deal. “We launched the company exactly three years ago, in November 2011. We’ve been growing nicely through word of mouth but we got to the point where, to sustain growth, we needed outside capital,” he said.

The funds will be used “to invest in sales, marketing and branding awareness to fully leverage what we’ve built here in our product line and to invest in R&D. We want to continue to evolve and to develop the product line,” Galvin said.

Razberi’s flagship product is its ServerSwitch, which combines “the functions of a network video recorder and ethernet smark switch into a single compact appliance.”  These appliances, “go where IT doesn’t go because of cost or form factor,” Galvin said. Currently in development are a “ruggedized line for outdoor applications. There’s a growing energy business in the U.S., with oil and natural gas and windmills and they all need video surveillance,” he said.  

Galvin also announced that Ken Boyda has joined Razberi as non-executive chairman of its board of directors.

Boyda built Interlogi company, which he sold to GE Security and was subsequently sold to UTC. Galvin and Boyda worked together at GE before Boyda retired. Boyda has stayed active in the industry, Galvin said, serving on the board of VideoIQ before its acquisition by Avigilon. He also currently serves on the board of PSIM provider VidSys.

Boyda introduced Galvin to LiveOak Ventures.

“Razberi [which is based in Carrollton, Texas] is LiveOak’s first investment in North Texas. There’s a start-up market here that’s underserved by financial [backers], and LiveOak saw us a real opportunity,” Galvin said.

Jiri Modry, whom Galvin called “one of the pioneers,” has also joined Razberi’s board. “He developed the first DVR for security and sold it to Interlogix [which was sold to GE.] … The GE DVR line at the time was based on Yiri’s technology. It’s great to have his expertise on the board as well,” Galvin said.

Ben Scott and Krishna Srivivasan, both of LiveOak Venture Partners, also joined the board.

Razberi also hired Rich Anderson as its CTO. “He’s a key hire for us. He served in different executive capacities at GE and Casi Rusco back in the day,” Galvin said.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Tri-Ed will continue to be the brand name for the security division of Anixter following the recently completed acquisition of Tri-Ed by Anixter.

That seems like a smart move, and also probably not a huge surprise to those who have followed this deal.

The company also announced that Pat Comunale will serve as president of global security solutions for Tri-Ed. James Rothstein will serve as SVP of global marketing and Dirk Foreman, who headed up sales to high-end integrators for Anixter previously, will continue in basically the same role for Tri-Ed. His new title is Global/National Integrator Sales. Rothstein and Foreman will report to Comunale.

I caught up with Pat Comunale yesterday, who said he’s more invigorated today about the possibilities for Tri-Ed than he was 10 years ago when the distribution company was launched.

“The opportunity is much larger than building a brick-and-mortar business,” he said. The new Tri-Ed is a “real value-added distribution platform. The services we can provide using the Anixter lab, the capabilities, infrastructure and support we can offer for large customers inside and outside of security … it's a very powerful solution.”

Anixter now has more products to offer its customers and Tri-Ed can now get into the higher-end IP-products [and projects]. “We’re approximately a $2 billion security business globally, which is unparalleled in our industry,” Comunale said.

Tri-Ed has 65 locations and it is opening up four offices within the month in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Baltimore; St. Louis and in northern New Jersey, Comunale said.

Previously, Anixter only had physical sales offices for its security operation. It did not have not have branch distribution offices. “Now their customers can come to any Tri-Ed office for pick up,” Comunale said.

The security division headquarters, previously located in Glenview, Illl., will be based here.  Comunale said all of the back office functions of Tri-Ed and Anixter have been integrated. The last piece is getting both sales teams on one platform, Comunale said, which he expects will be accomplished in 9 months.

Comunale said his largest challenge is communication “keeping everyone informed of what’s happening. “We have a standard biweekly phone call [which everyone is invited to join] where we give a status update within the business.” In the future, Comunale plans to include some vendors and customers in those calls.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I’m on my way back to Maine from Chantilly, Va., where I attended most of day 2 of The Great Conversation's inaugural East Coast event.

Sponsored by Aronson Security Group, The Great Conversation brings together end users and selected integrators for discussions, case studies and panel discussions. It takes place annually in March in Seattle, where ASG is based.

The new East Coast event is co-sponsored by Kratos and the Security Executive Council.

Yesterday I attended a talk by Steve Goodman, the technology and communications center director for Brigham Young University. Goodman talked about a massive upgrade of its access control system, and how ASSA ABLOY worked with BYU to come up with a wireless lock solution that BYU could use with its existing 802.11 network and Software House system.

BYU served as its own integrator for the installation, only calling in its outside systems integrator as an advisor. Because it has a very strong IT department, that’s what BYU has always done, Goodman said. BYU will call in an outside integrator when it’s doing an installation that it has no experience with, such as when it upgraded its Software House CCure system to the newest version.

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Our collective alarm clock this morning felt like a sonic boom. It was just thunder, but it had to be directly overhead because it shook all of the challengers awake at about 5:45 a.m. Next came the downpour. As we all scrambled to pack our bags and take down our tents, a silly 80s song is running through my mind.

Then I realized I was actually hearing “Africa.”  Seems Joseph had hooked up a makeshift sound system in his Rav4.

The only challenger who missed part of “the rains of Africa” that morning was Paul, whom Kirsten found sleeping in their car.  Paul claims that it was not fear of the hippos nor rain that drove him out of his tent and into the car. No way. He was afraid of the snoring that was coming from nearby tents, he said.

Caffeine deprived and coated in dirt, I’m ready for day four. Guy and I leave with a convoy that included Pierre, Sebastian, Hartmut, Edward, Jim, Shad and Terry.  

Our destination today: Ruhengheri, Rwanda.

Driving the back roads of Uganda, you get a close-up view of how Ugandans spend their days.

Jim said he was struck by “the incredibly hard work that goes on as people try to lead their lives here. …They’re pushing bicycles with huge bunches of bananas [or other goods] up hills,” he said.

Jim said he was not expecting to see all of the small tea farms on the hillsides. “I don’t know how they walk on those hills, never mind work on them,” he said.

Indeed, we saw men, women and children toting all manner of produce, livestock, clothing and water vessels on their heads. I saw a few people carrying bricks made from the red Ugandan soil.
 

We saw people driving motorbikes strapped down with a dead pig, kids carrying 25-foot timbers, and we saw a group of people carrying someone in a homemade stretcher down a hill in the dark. The nearest big town was more than an hour away by car.
 
Guy observed that in many cases, especially in the more urban areas, what the Ugandans carry, appears to be their livelihood, their portable business.   
 
We drove through the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, which is one of the only habitats for gorillas in the world. It was a hilly drive with long vistas, and we stopped a lot to take photos.

Lunch break at the entrance ot Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

The border crossing from Uganda to Rwanda is not an orderly affair. You have to sort out where to begin, determine who needs to look at your passport and the various papers that you need to fill out. If you’re not driving the car, you must walk around the border gate to a building where you emigrate from Uganda at one window and immigrate to Rwanda at the next.
The process involved some standard questions about destination and purpose, which we all got through in a couple minutes. Edward, the last of our group to immigrate to Rwanda, received an extra lengthy interrogation.

The border guards had apparently had it up to here with the Northland Challenge vehicles by the time Vivian and Tim crossed as Vivian had an even longer interrogation than Edward.

Things looked up once we actually crossed into Rwanda. The main roads are quite nice, straight and lined with eucalyptus trees.  

The hotel is not far from the border and from my room I can see some of the Virunga Mountain volcanoes. The large one on the right extends into three countries, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The volcano on the far left is called “Sabyinyo” which means “old man's teeth”

Tomorrow, we’re off to bring light to the Janja school.

For more information about the Northland Challenge, check out these links:

The Northland Challenge: Security, service and globalization

Northland Challenge Day 1&2

Northland Challenge Day 3

Pierre Trapanese's blog

by: Martha Entwistle - Sunday, October 26, 2014

Day 3 of the Northland Challenge is over and I’m in my tent listening to a discordant chorus of hippos barking and roaring. We’re at a campsite in a wilderness park on the shores of the Ishasha River, which is the narrow divider between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The river is loaded with hippos, which can stay underwater for 20 minutes or more, so if you see 5 or 6, there are likely at least 5 or 6 more underwater.

And they’re not exactly friendly. As one of the guards at our camp told me, “the hippos will collect your visa if you try to cross the river.”

Three armed guards carrying AK47s (vintage, I’m told) patrol the campground perimeter.

They’ve been busy. Earlier tonight a hippo strolled through the campsite coming within 30 feet of the campfire and 27 challengers. Flashlights and guns in hand, the guards escorted the enormous animal past the campfire and us.

Before we headed off to Ishasha most of us enjoyed self-guided safaris through Queen Elizabeth National Park. My partner, Guy, took off very early with Jim in search of lions, while I had a more leisurely start to the day. I had a chance to ride with Edward, a safari veteran, who suggested I open the sunroof and ride on the roof of the Rav4 to get a better view.

Some view: We spotted elephants, warthogs, water buffalos, and lots of antelope. I was a little leery of elephants after Vivian and Tim’s encounter the day before, but we stayed a safe distance from the elephants.

It was George and Eric’s turn with the elephants today. “We made a mistake and really stumbled into the herd,” George said. “So, we sat there and tried not to give them a reason to attack us.” Several minutes later the elephants moved on. It was a vivid reminder, George said, of “the difference between animals in the wild and [animals who are] contained.”

Ishasha is the southern part of Queen Elizabeth National Park. On our way to Ishasha, Edward and I caught up with several other teams who’d stopped by the side of the road for lunch and we joined them (Cesar and Amanda, Andre and Joseph, Jim and Guy) in what was supposed to be a two-hour drive to the campsite.

The landscape of the park is exactly what I pictured Africa to look like, a savanna dotted with green flat-topped trees.

The delays commenced with our arrival at the Ishasha park gate (chatty gate attendant) and followed by a flat tire in the savannah.

Can't find the campsite, and Jim and Edward have a flat tire.

Cesar and Amanda decide to go find the campsite while others fix the flat tire.

Fixing the flat

It wasn’t far away, but it took another two hours before we found our way to the wilderness camp.

Terrry, James K, and Paul put up a tent

Kirsten said this was her favorite night because she hadn’t slept in a tent except in her backyard. She liked the fact that Terry took over as chef of the REI-freeze-dried pasta dinner and that Rob did a backflip off of a picnic table.


Drew, James C. and Eric

“I liked being disconnected. It’s just you and everyone in the group sitting around the campfire,” she said.

The campfire overlooking the Ishasha River.

For more information about the Northland Challenge, check out these links:

The Northland Challenge: Security, service and globalization

Northland Challenge Day 1&2

Pierre Trapanese's blog

 

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