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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Interesting piece of news in my inbox this morning having to do with research that VMS provider Milestone Systems (recently acquired by Canon)  is working on.

The VMS provider is working with Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Aalborg University, Securitas and Nabto, on a research project that looks at using video for operational intelligence.

The news release said that Milestone is putting some of the research into practice already. From the release: “Research that is ongoing in a 3-year project to develop technological innovations is already paying off: the latest release of Milestone XProtect 2014 launched a new metadata framework that vastly improves the speed of searching and analysis with the video software. … Milestone's software manages video for security uses, but can also support and optimize activities in production, logistics, marketing, sales, healthcare, intelligent buildings, environmental control, and other analytical applications. Thanks to the XProtect open platform architecture, other companies are integrating software applications with Milestone's video management software to adapt it for particular operational needs in different business sectors.”

The Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation provided funding (DKK 15 million) for the project. The goal is “to interpret the recorded video material so the content can be described automatically.”

In a prepared statement, Hans Jorgen Skovgaard, Milestone VP of R&D said:
"We are still in phase one and expect to present to the market several new solutions for searching in metadata—the framework has already been released in XProtect 2014. During the next phases, we will do research among other things on how the software can learn to distinguish between normal and abnormal activity in video images. This means video surveillance can proactively give an alert before an incident occurs, and further enable use as a business tool in many more operational scenarios. … For example, if there is an accident or an assault at a bus station, the police or security personnel can search for the exact area where the incident happened by linking GPS coordinates with the video recordings from the buses, and within a few seconds they will have the relevant recording of the offender or other people involved.”
 
The release says that the metadata technology “can also be used with mobile phones as moving security cameras where GPS coordinates and compass information can be stored with the video. Operators thereby will know precisely where the video was recorded. Used in this way, mobile phones can increase security and safety, and threatening behavior can easily be proven. The technology can also be used as evidence of pollution emissions, for resolving insurance claims, or many other applications yet to be explored.”

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Now is the time for you to submit your nominations for the Security Systems News "20 under 40" Class of 2014. Click here to make your nomination.

It’s the eighth year that SSN has solicited nominations of young people, ages 40 or younger, who display leadership characteristics, are tech-savvy and are dedicated to the security industry.

To be eligible, nominees must work for an installing fire or security dealer or integrator or work for a monitoring company. Sorry, employees of manufacturing companies and consultants are not eligible.

End users are not eligible for SSN’s “20 under 40” awards, but if you know a talented young end user, please nominate them for the “20 under 40” awards of our sister publication, Security Director News.https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/sdn20under40
So, nominate a colleague, a customer or yourself, and do it before the Aug. 1 deadline.

The “20 under 40” awards process will culminate in an awards ceremony for both SSN and SDN “20 under 40” award winners at TechSec Solutions, the industry’s premier conference for integrators, end users, consultants and manufacturers to discuss and debate the effects of new and emerging security technologies on their bottom line.
This year’s conference will take place Feb. 3 and 4 at the Delray Beach Marriott in Delray Beach, Fla. At the end of the first day, we take time out from the discussions and debate and head out to the pool for the SSN/SDN “20 under 40” awards reception.

It has become a tradition at TechSec and the social event that all TechSec attendees look forward to.

In addition to being honored, the “20 under 40” winners participate in the conference, some as speakers and some as active audience members. The heavy participation of the “20 under 40” demographic is one of the things that sets TechSec apart from other conferences.

The younger TechSec participants bring a variety of expertise and perspectives and enrich the discussion and debates at TechSec. Their participation is encouraged and valued by other attendees and presenters, as well as organizers.
 
We’re proud that the conference tends to attract “20 under 40s,” both past and present. Many people first came to TechSec as “20 under 40” honorees and now come back to TechSec every year.

But we need your help identifying the young leaders that we’ll honor this year. Get your nominations in, and if you have any questions about the “20 under 40” awards or TechSec, give me a call or send me an email.

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bob Sawyer, who has been with AMAG Technology for 40 years, the past 19 as president and CEO as of July 1, is now chairman of AMAG’s Board of Directors.

The new president of AMAG is Matt Barnette, who been with AMAG for 10 years, most recently as EVP of global marketing and sales.

Barnette will report to G4S Technology CEO, Keith Whitelock.

I had a chance to correspond via email with Matt yesterday and asked him to fill me in on any new deals AMAG has closed since I last saw him at PSA-TEC in May.

"Since I saw you last at PSA-TEC, we’ve secured several Fortune 100 companies with our Audit, Credentialing & Compliance software. We have installed our Symmetry SR product at two 5,000+ card reader end-users (one in telecommunications and the other in energy sector) and we continue to gain marketshare with our Symmetry Video platform. We are launching Symmetry v8 in August, so there is a lot of momentum right now," he said in the email.
 
I also asked him about plans for the future. "Fortunately, we have a fantastic foundation here to build from. My plan is to accelerate growth by increasing our Business Development team, both in North America and Internationally, to help blanket the end-user and consultant community to update them on our tremendous products and services. In addition, [I want to] increase our footprint in services revenue by scaling that organization to meet the higher demands of the global accounts we’ve captured. We’ve found customers enjoy a much higher level of product satisfaction when they have a Symmetry Certified ProService Engineer working closely with them."

In a prepared statement, Bob Sawyer said: "Matt Barnette has a deep knowledge of all major aspects of the security products industry coupled with over 20 years of experience building and leading teams. Over the last 10 years, Matt has done an exceptional job leading the sales and marketing teams, while working closely with AMAG’s senior leadership to support the growth of the company’s global organization.  His contributions, experience and integrity make him the ideal candidate to succeed me as president of AMAG Technology."

Prior to AMAG, Barnette worked for Andover Controls in its Integral Technologies Division. 

AMAG Technology is based in Torrance, Calif., and has offices throughout the U.S., offering security and video solutions to government and private-sector customers in North America through authorized dealers.
 

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Like many in the security industry, I was saddened to learn about the death June 12 of Tim Feury, president of systems integration firm Altec Systems. Feury was 56 and died of complications of heart failure, according to an obituary in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

I've interviewed Tim and his wife and business partner, Mary Feury, several times and enjoyed getting to know them at various events, especially PSA Security events. I have been in touch with Mary this week and plan to publish a more detailed remembrance of Tim once she and I have a chance to talk in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, here are a couple of links to stories I've written about Tim and Mary and Altec Systems. In this story from March, they were getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Altec systems (and their 10-year wedding anniversary as well.) And here's one from 2011 that talks about how Mary brought IT services to Altec Systems.

Tim Feury graduated from James Caldwell High School in New Jersey and moved to Atlanta in the early 1980s. In addition to his wife, Tim Feury is survived by sons, Andrew Feury of Atlanta, Matthew Feury of Atlanta, and Ryan Feury of Marietta; sisters, Patricia Borys of Marietta , MaryAnn Baker of Flanders, N.J. and Elizabeth Feury of Mount Olive Township, N.J.; brothers, John Feury of Verona, N.J. and Robert Feury of Lincoln Park, N.J.; and one grandchild.

 

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Have you heard of Feenics? It’s a new cloud-based access control platform that’s being run by an industry vet and that attracted the attention of some integrators who are demoing, or getting ready to install “Keep” which is Feenics’ first product.

Paul DiPeso, who was most recently with Lenel, is running the show for Feenics as VP and GM, and this week he’s at the Feenics’ office in Ottawa conducting a “voice of the customer” meeting with some integrators, including Alpha Corp, GS Security, Contava, TRL Systems, Open Systems and Koorsen Security.  

I had a chance to speak to Di Peso as well as Skip Sampson and Shannon Martindale from Koorsen, and I’ll have a regular story on the whole Feenics offering next week.

Suffice it to say, Sampson and Martindale are excited about the offering. Sampson believes Keep will be an RMR generator for his company and a product that his customers will like.

Sampson installed Keep at the Koorsen office and tested it for six months. “We gave [developers] feedback and they were quick to acknowledge and implement [some changes],” he said.

He’s sold two systems and “has quite a few in the pipeline,” he said. Asked about hosted and managed services, Sampson said he’s dabbled in hosted video, but he believes that managed access control is "the most viable managed service. You don’t need a huge pipe, huge SAN or attached storage, a DSL works just great,” he said.

And with Keep, which works with standard Mercury panels “there’s comfort that if the customer for some reason doesn't like it, you can put in something else without replacing the infrastructure. I think Sam was wise in doing that. We play on that point.”

Sam is Sam Shalaby, former owner of FSC, who developed the product. Shalaby is still 100 percent owner of Feenics and sits on the board of advisors, but he is not involved in the day-to-day business.

Sampson acknowledged that there are “multiple other products that do similar things, but what’s different with Sam’s is that he didn’t take a product that’s been out there for 10 to 15 years and take the same GUI, and same layout and try to make it work as a hosted product. He started to build it with an integrator’s mindset. It’s not an access control panel-centric product.”

Sampson called it “fresh and new and relevant,” and said it has “kind of a Google look to it.”  

Working with DiPeso are Dave Charles who does business development, Ralph Shillington who is CTO and who developed the original software, and Anthony Shalaby who is running logistics.

Check back next week, for more details on Feenics’ and DiPeso’s go-to-market strategy.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Honeywell’s Scott Harkins is transitioning to a new role.

Honeywell spokeman David Gottlieb today confirmed that “Scott Harkins has accepted a new role within Honeywell to help develop global growth opportunities within the Connected Home space. He will leave his current post as president of Honeywell Security Products Americas by the end of June.”  

Honeywell Security Group has not yet announced a successor to Harkins. “Honeywell Security Group has a strong leadership team in place committed to delivering for our customers and ensuring a smooth transition while we execute our succession plan. We will share news regarding our new leadership as soon as we finalize this process,” Gottlieb said in a prepared statement.

Harkins joined Honeywell in 1995. Before he was named president of HSPA in December 2011, he oversaw Honeywell’s video surveillance and access control divisions.

I don't know if Harkins' new role will include working with Honeywell's Lyric thermostat, which it launched yesterday. There's been much in the mainstream news today about Honeywell partnering with Apple to "take on" Google's NEST. (Some of these guys do seem to forget that Honeywell HAS been in the thermostat business for a few years.)

Here's a report from Apple Insider And here's a report from Bloomberg, which goes on to talk about the connected home. 

 

 

 

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, June 4, 2014

In two separate, but related transactions, Securitas is getting into electronic security and Iverify is nearly doubling in size and adding new capabilities.

Guarding giant Securitas is making a concerted move into electronic security and “integrated guarding” with the purchase, announced June 2, of a 24 percent stake in remote monitoring firm Iverify. In a related move also announced Monday, Iverify bought 100 percent of the shares of commercial security and fire company TransAlarm.
 
Iverify is the Charlotte, N.C.-based full-service security company noted for its “high-touch remote security monitoring” offering. Sean Forrest recently joined the company as its CEO.

Securitas has offered  Iverify services to some of its customers for the past couple of years, Jim McNulty, EVP of Securitas USA told me. “We liked what we saw,” he said.

“We had our toe in the pool, now we’re jumping into the pool,” he said. Using Iverify, Securitas plans to roll out “integrated guarding services” across the country.  Integrated guarding is a mix of traditional guarding, mobile and remote monitoring services.  Securitas has 100,000 employees, 400 offices and does $3 billion in revenue annually.

This will update Securitas' offering, McNulty said, so it can "leverage traditional onsite guarding with mobile and remote services—to give customers a more efficient and higher value security offering."

In the second transaction, Iverify bought TransAlarm, which is based in Burnsville, Minn., just outside the Twin Cities. Now, with the goal of really boosting their national accounts business, the two companies are merging. Sean Forrest will be CEO of the combined company and current Trans Alarm CEO, Steve Champeau will become president.

Trans Alarm has 120 employees, combined with Iverify, there will be more than 300 employees. 

Like Iverify, Trans Alarm has a UL-listed 5 diamond certified central station. It has branch offices in Nebraska, Northern Wisconsin and Wyoming. It also has deeper capabilities in traditional security offerings such as intrusion, access control, CCTV than Iverify. On top of that, it has a network of installers located across the U.S. What it does not have, Forrest told me, “is the high touch remote video security monitoring that Iverify has. Conversely, Iverify didn’t offer the other services in a big way and didn’t offer fire at all.”

“This gives us a full spectrum to offer customers and significantly improves what we have to offer. The commonality between the two companies is that we’re both very customer-service focused,” Forrest said.

While Iverify bought 100 percent share of Trans Alarm, this is a merger of the two companies both Forrest and Champeau told me.

“We’re going to become one company. That’s a key step for us,” Forrest said. Sales and service will be cross-trained and “both companies will focus on a single point of contact, rather than branch delivery [approach taken by other companies],” Forrest said. This is not a fold-in purchase, he said. All offices and operations will be retained.

Forrest declined to give revenue or RMR figures. He did say: “Both companies have been growing at a rapid rate and we expect, on a combined basis, that that growth will be accelerated.”

Both Iverify and Trans Alarm have customers in the national retail, property management and transportation verticals.

Champeau said said that Trans Alarm has sold and installed Iverify technology even before the deal was announced. He looks forward to “getting into additional markets that we haven’t pursued previously [with the Iverify technology].”

McNulty is equally excited about the capabilities of the combined companies, noting that “they complement each other. Their combined offering will be a “good vehicle [for Securitas] to further the whole idea of integrated guarding.” He likes the fact that the combined company will have redundant monitoring capabilities. He is also excited about the “vetted, capable, trained and qualified installers that Trans Alarm brings.”

The offering of integrated guard services will be a “company-wide effort. … We’re going to roll it out all over the place.”

Securitas put this together this venture with Driehaus Private Equity, the majority owner of IVerify since 2006. Driehaus is a co-investor with Securitas in the deal. The PrivateBank provided Iverify with debt financing. Raymond James & Associate advised Trans Alarm.

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Samsung Techwin America’s EVP Frank De Fina announced May 28 that he is leaving Samsung for personal reasons.

"As of June 2, I will no longer be there. I made the decision on my own, the departure is amicable," he said. A replacement has yet to be named, though De Fina said there are "a couple of obvious potential choices. There is a very capable management team there."

De Fina joined Samsung in February 2010, and said he is proud of how far Samsung has come in the security industry since then. "Five years ago we didn't even appear on the IMS [Research, now part of IHS]  list [of top IP camera providers]," he said. "This year our business grew over 75 percent." And he expects to "move up a couple of notches on the IHS list."

De Fina, who has "retired" twice before, said he is not even going to say he's retiring now. He is simply "taking a breather" and will likely return to the industry, perhaps in a consulting role.

Asked about the biggest challenges getting Samsung up to speed, he said "building the brand and credibility in the security space."

"I will take credit for organizing a great team," De Fina said. "But the credit for building the business goes to [that team]," he added.

"I'm leaving Samsung in much better shape [than when I arrived] and the team is spectacular," he said.

Before Samsung, De Fina was the long time president of Panasonic Systems. He retired from Panasonic Systems in 2008 to run Paul Reed Smith Guitars for two years before joining Samsung.

De Fina can play guitar in case you didn’t know. Here’s a video that my former colleague Sam took at the PSA-TEC jam a few years ago. Scroll down to the video; it features Paul Michael Nathan on harmonica, Frank De Fina on guitar, Daved Levine on bass, and Jerry Cordasco on drums.

The biggest opportunities in the security industry? De Fina said he did lots of research during a recent month-long tour of the Silicon Valley. "I spoke to big name companies [Google, Yahoo, others] and asked them what their [security] concerns are. "They look at us [the security industry] as a bit naive" in terms of cyber security. They also are concerned about the physical security of some critical infrastructure in this country such as data centers and cell towers, De Fina said.

De Fina identified the biggest challenge for integrators as shrinking margins. He recommends that integrators "pay attention to solving the problems that are not so easy to solve ... to reinvent themselves to mimic the growth opportunities I mentioned earlier."

De Fina is vice chairman of the Security Industry Association Board of Directors Executive Committee.

He was instrumental in the establishment of a security degree program that will be launched in 2015 at Mercer Country Community College.

He also holds positions in the International Biometrics Industry Association (IBIA) and is a board member of the Paley Center for Media (formerly Museum of Television and Radio) as well as a member of the board of the New York Friar’s Club Foundation.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

I spoke with John Chigos, CEO of license plate recognition provider PlateSmart, which bills itself as the only “software only LPR solution.”

It’s a newer company that got its start at the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. “That was our beta,” Chigos said.

Chigos officially introduced the product to the market in 2013 and it’s now deployed in locations such as the Port of Tamp, Florida hospitals, a large fashion house (for use at its distribution points, in traffic safety monitoring applications, and college campuses.

The 20-employee firm, based in Oldmar, Fla., is privately held. It has “growth equity from [undisclosed] VCs, and will continue to do that until we reach sufficient size to continue growth internally,” Chigos explained.  
 
The company is in growth mode right now, Chigos said, “bringing on additional sales and marketing people as well as increasing our development staff.”

Unlike the LPR “hardware/software solutions,” Chigos said he envisioned an open platform that would work with all kinds of hardware and software. PlateSmart is ONVIF compliant, works with Exacq, OnSSI and other VMS providers and it has relationships with a number of analog and IP camera providers including Pelco, Panasonic, Samsung and Axis.

Chigos says PlateSmart can “use existing equipment and [end users] get more robust analytics.”

Because no hardware is involved, customization is quick, he said.

PlateSmart offers a mobile application, designed for law enforcement, and a fixed-location platform called ARES. The next step will be to offer Platesmart in a cloud-based SaaS form, making it affordable smaller organizations, and also giving installers a new revenue stream.  

In addition, PlateSmart can read “jurisdictional data … it can recognize the state, province or country and provide that data with the plate-read,” which provides more data and accuracy for the end user, he said.

It can also read the color of the vehicle, which can help determine if a car has the correct license plate.

PlateSmart’s basic package is two cameras but it can easily scale to a couple hundred cameras, he said.

What about privacy concerns? Chigos said that “LPR does not provided the information many people believe it provides. Our technology carries out the process of [identifying vehicles of interest] for law enforcement …it’s not for enforcement on the other side of the equation [ie.] who’s running a red light.”

He describes PlateSmart technology as “speeding up the process [of identifying vehicles] that law enforcement and security have done visually for decades.”

Furthermore, he says “we never touch, see, or handle the [license plate] data. Only the end user of the technology can see or act on the data.”

Companies that get involved with LP data, particularly selling that data, are the ones that cause legitimate privacy concerns, he said.

Chigos quoted research group IHS, saying the worldwide market for LPR is estimated to be $600 million today and is projected to grow to $1 billion by 2018.

“Applications for LPR are growing everyday,” Chigos said. “It’s going to be a mainstay of security in this country because it delivers information in real time.”
 

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

There was lots of video analytics news today.

Avigilon, which acquired VideoIQ at the end of 2013, today came out with the first combined offering of VideoIQ and Avigilon products. Avigilon added Rialto to its portfolio. Rialto has three appliances (for IP, analog and thermal cameras) that will enable end users to add VideoIQ analytics to existing Avigilon or other manufacturers’ cameras. I have a call into Avigilon for more details.

Avigilon's analytics play is a good move according research firm TechNavio which announced today a new report that predicts global intelligent video analytics market will have a compound annual growth rate of 34.12 percent over the period 2013-2018.  

What will drive that growth? TechNavio said it’s the need for sophisticated tools to analyze the “unstructured data" generated by video surveillance systems, as well as increased security concerns.

The other, important driver is the “increasing demand for intelligent video analytics with business intelligence tools,” the report said.

“When operational data is integrated with BI features, companies can generate profits by identifying and implementing profitable projects, increase sales by applying fact-based selling tools, enhance customer loyalty, and retain customers by optimizing customer experience management,” said Faisal Ghaus, VP of TechNavio, in a prepared statement. “Organizations can use IVA solutions combined with BI tools to predict the future behavior of potential and existing customers, which is a major driver for the growth of the market over the forecast period.”

This all made me think about the very excellent educational session at TechSec 2014  “The IP camera of the future,” where there was lots of talk about the crucial nature of video analytics that work.

“The full potential of the business value of security cameras has yet to be realized,” said Ray Coulombe, an entrepreneur and CEO of SecuritySpecifiers.com, who moderated the panel.  “Analytics, big data implementation, and the proper mindset of security practitioners will develop to the point where security cameras, and other devices, will be viewed as a more integral part of the business fabric.”

The vendors involved with the TechNavio report were listed as: Agent Video Intelligence, Axis Communications, Honeywell, Bosch, Cisco. IBM, Infinova, Intellivision, Nice Systems, ObjectVideo, Verint, VideoIQ.

 

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