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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.

 

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, January 20, 2016

PSA Security Network, which has been out ahead on the cybersecurity front, has assembled a Cybersecurity Advisory Committee tasked with leading PSA's cyber program "by offering expertise, resources and services to the PSA community."

The "cyber-savvy" group includes people from "a variety of practice areas including physical security manufacturers, integrators, security consultants and engineers, cybersecurity experts and cyber law,"  Bill Bozeman, president and CEO of PSA Security Network, said in a statement.

Andrew Lanning, committee chairman, co-founder, Integrated Security Technologies; Paul Cronin, SVP, Atrion Networking; Salvatore D’Agostino, founder and CEO, IDmachines; Dan Dunkel,VP-strategic partners, Eagle Eye Networks; Wayne Smith, president, Tech Systems; Rodney Thayer, security consultant, Smithee, Spelvin, Agnew and Plinge; Darnell Washington, president/CEO, SecureXperts; David Willson, attorney; Bill Bozeman, president and CEO, PSA Security Network.

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Video surveillance company Avigilon on Tuesday adopted a "shareholder rights" plan, an anti-takeover measure that's sometimes called a "poison pill." The plan has been accepted by the Toronto Stock Exchange, but it needs to be approved by shareholders within six months. Avigilon plans to present the plan at is 2016 annual meeting.

Avigilon said it "is not aware of any proposed take-over bid at this time."

We've seen some major video surveillance acquisitions recently with Axis and Milestone being acquired by Canon, and recently, FLIR buying DVTEL.

One can see how Avigilon may be attracting attention from a larger entity looking to get into physical security. Avigilon has well-regarded video and access control technology, including the former VideoIQ portfolio. It owns a lot of video analytics IP, and I hear it has very good relationships with integrators. Plus its stock is down considerably. Yesterday its stock closed at $12.90; Avigilon's 52-week range is $11.20 to $25.62.

It's also had a lot of movement internally with managers. Here's a blog I wrote about that.

Under Avigilon's proposed shareholder rights plan, one "right" will be issued for each Avigilon common share. The rights can only be exercised if an aquirer announces an intention to acquire shares that would take their holding to "at least 20 percent of Avigilon's outstanding share capital." The rights would allow shareholders, "other than the acquirer, to purchase additional shares at a substantial discount." A "permitted take-over bid" would not trigger the rights plan. 

 

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Body parts battle?

Yes, among the highlights of TechSec this year will be a session we've dubbed "Battle of the body parts," and not just because it's a catchy title. We're going to have a little competition at TechSec.

I've been hearing from more and more integrators that biometrics are coming of age. They're more affordable and they're more reliable, you've told me.

So, we decided to take a look at which biometric technique works best and where the promise still exceed the reality.

SecuritySpecifiers' Ray Coulombe will lead the session and he's gathered experts on four biometric technologies—facial recognition, eye scan, fingerprint, and hand geometry—to speak. Those representatives will state their cases. These will not be manufacturer' pitches. Those are not allowed at TechSec and would be booed off the stage. Rather they'll be biometrics experts talking about specific technology fundamentals (rather than their companies or products), advantages and best application areas.

To help figure out who wins the battle we'll have a panel of judges drawn from our "20 under 40" award winners.

Face, eye, finger, hand ... Come to Delray Beach, Fla. Feb. 2-3 to find out which body part is victorious in 2016. Here's a link to the program.

And, stay tuned for the announcement of our super cool keynote speaker early next week.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, December 16, 2015

NORTH CANTON, Ohio—While Diebold Electronic Security waits on the close of one deal—its acquisition by Securitas—it has closed another: a 500-location national account deal.

The national integrator will provide intrusion, fire, access and monitoring services as well as its online customer portal, SecureStat, for Rack Room Shoes, a national footwear chain that also owns Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse. Diebold will also provide an enterprise video and access control system for the company’s newly expanded corporate headquarters in Charlotte. Rack Room Shoes made the announcement Dec. 14.

Diebold has “the vision, knowledge and resources to be that partner, truly vested in Rack Room Shoes and our loss prevention strategies and results," Johnny Turner, director, loss prevention, Rack Room Shoes, said in a prepared statement.

Tony Byerly, EVP, electronic security, Diebold said in a prepared statement: “As a national retailer, Rack Room Shoes needs a security provider that focuses solely on the unique needs of business customers with the resources to deliver monitoring services and the necessary standardization of technology, solutions and processes across the United States."

When the Diebold/Securitas deal is closed, the contract will be transitioned to Securitas. The deal is expected to close early in 2016.
 

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, December 9, 2015

At the very last session of the Cloud+ conference, Brivo's Jonathan Healey noted that the Cloud+ conference began with a speaker from Microsoft and ended with a speaker from Google. "Five years ago [the idea that you'd have that line-up at a physical security conference] would be preposterous, he said.

He's right, our industry has come a long way in five years. That was a recurring theme at the Cloud+ conference, but we've also got a long way to go.

Speaker after speaker talked about the opportunities—for integrator and end user alike—in cloud-based systems. There are two stories in our newswire today about the conference: one about the keynote speaker, Monica Hopelian of MIcrosoft and one about investment and "the new security dealer," a session presented by John Mack and moderated by yours truly.  Amy's blog this week gives an overview of the sessions.

Look for more stories over the next week.

One of the topics John Mack talked about was M&A activity and investor interest in cloud-based technology. I can tell you there was investor interest at the conference this week. Many attendees were asking me if I could get them audio from the sessions and Powerpoint slides. Two attendees pulled me aside halfway through day two and  said it would be really great if I could get them the slides "within the hour." I told them they would need to wait until I was done emceeing the event.

Clearly some valuable information at Cloud+

One of the most popular sessions at Cloud+ was about cybersecurity in the cloud, presented by Rodney Thayer. Before you get too excited about your "Cloud Bling," you (both the folks who are making the stuff and the folks who are integrating the stuff) better ensure you're following cyber-safe practices, he advised. Is the Internet of Things, really just  the "Internet of Trouble?" he asked. Well, it could be. He reiterated what keynote speaker Monica Hopelian and another speaker Diebold's Jeremy Brecher said: that the physical security group should not be the weakest link in the chain. Thayer talked through some scary potential scenarios, before offering a series of practical guidelines and resources for integrators and manufacturers.

Interested in this topic? (yes you should be) Thayer will be at TechSec 2016. Here's a link to the educational program.  talking about cybersecurity on an educational session led by Kratos' Chris Peckham. Also speaking on that educational session will be Joe Coe of Hikvision. Hikvision, one of the fastest growing security companies in the world, has also suffered a couple of major cyber breaches. Don't miss it!

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by: Martha Entwistle - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Can you make money from cloud-based video and access control? Are cloud-based systems more vulnerable to cybersecurity attacks? Is it too early to embrace cloud-based technology?

These are just three of the many questions that we'll be answering at Cloud+, a new conference that I've been putting together over the past several months. The conference is around the corner: Dec. 7-8 in Silicon Valley, but it's not too late to sign up!

Over that past two weeks, I've had conference calls with a very cool lineup of speakers who will be looking at cloud-based technology in a way that our industry has not previously done. We'll give you many more than 10 ways to make money from cloud. 

--The educational sessions will cover everything from basic definitions to the implications of central station infrastructure sitting in the cloud and the possibilities of cloud-powered biometrics.

--Our keynote speaker from Microsoft will talk about which industries are doing a good job taking advantage of cloud and how they're doing it.

--Leading integrators will give you expert advice and real-life examples of how to make profit and provide ROI from cloud-based access control and video.

--We’re excited to have Rodney Thayer, who’s adept at both security consulting and hacking, doing a presentation about cybersecurity and how to ensure safety in the cloud.

--The exhibit hall will be educational too. It's the first venue ever to showcase cloud-based physical security technology side-by-side in one place.

Hope to see you in California Dec. 7-8! Here's a link to the program and registration.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The stories in our newswire this week are part of our annual Women in Security special report. When I interviewed Bodil Sonesson, VP global sales for Axis Communications, we were talking about her work outside of Axis, as a member of the board of directors of a public company based in Norway. I was interested to learn that public companies in Norway are required to have a certain percentage of women on their corporate boards. 

Sonesson said that she was recruited for the board. It wasn't easy, the headhunter told Sonesson, to find a woman with extensive experience with global sales and marketing and an advanced business degree. To find a woman who met that profile the headhunter told Sonesson, he just needed to "try harder." 

"I wouldn't be on the board if it wasn't for that quota," she said. "Once they found me, I had a chance. It was up to me to do a good job," she said.

The story reminded me of a joke we have at my house. When they were younger, my kids would open the refrigerator and without looking inside they'd say, "Mum, where's the butter?" I would remind them, that just because the butter, or whatever they're looking for, did not fall into their outstretched hand, it does not mean there's no butter in the fridge. Sometimes you need to take a few extra minutes and look around.

Sonesson, who oversees a global sales team that's grown eightfold under her leadership, said she believes diversity in the workplace is important, and advises recruiters she works with to "try harder" to find the right candidates for jobs.  

Today there are more women than men on the corporate board where Sonesson is a director. And, yes, it's a profitable company that's doing well.

Trying harder to increase diversity of all kinds—gender, race, age, ethnicity, experience—makes good business sense. Think about it. Your shareholders may thank you.

This year we've profiled four leaders in our industry, Bodil Sonesson, Axis Communications VP global sales; Jill Lloyd, owner of Lloyd Security; Bethany Taylor, Dakota Security director of operations; Judy Randle, president of Central Montoring. Our Five Questions this month features Cassie Weaver, operations coordinator for Dakota Security. We also have a general news story about how security companies use social media which features three women: Rebecca Matson Purtz of director of business development for Matson Alarm; Alison Shiver, residential sales and marketing manager; and Kristin Milner, ADS director of marketing.    

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