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Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I got my most recent edition of CSAA's Signals today. The first item is a call for commentary on CSAA's standards and draft standards. The review period is going on now, so stop on by and voice your opinion. The CSAA Standards Committee and its chair, Lou Fiore, announced the opening of a public comment phase for four CSAA standards and draft standards. Two of these standards are already ANSI standards but are being updated. The first is CSAA_CS_V_01_2004, Alarm Notification and Verification Procedures. This will be the second public comment period for the rewrite of this standard. A current draft is available online here. Please forward us any comments or questions, using this form. Be sure to sign the form and submit it to Celia Besore. The second is CSAA-CS-CO-01-2008, Carbon Monoxide Alarm Supervising Station Response. A copy of the standard is available online here. Please forward any comments or questions to CSAA using this form. Be sure to sign the form and submit it to Celia Besore. Two draft standards are again open for public comments. The first is CSAA-CS-V-02-200x, Video Verification Procedures for Burglar Alarms. The current draft is available online here . Please forward CSAA any comments or questions using this form. Be sure to sign the form and submit it here. The second draft is CSAA-CS-AUD-01-200x, Audio Verification Procedures for Burglar Alarms. The current draft is available online here. Please forward CSAA any comments or questions using this form. Be sure to sign the form and submit it to Celia Besore. The public comment period will end on October 26, 2009.

PSA-TEC/ESX overlap

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Okay, as promised, I have the exhibitors who were at both PSA-TEC and ESX last year (thanks to the efforts of publisher's assistant Cath Daggett - you didn't think I knew how to use Excel, did you?). It's not as big a list as I would have thought, actually. Just 17 companies: Aiphone Altronix Axis Bosch Brivo ComNet GE Security GEM Electronics Honeywell Minuteman NVT OnSSI Panasonic Pegasus Rainbow CCTV ScanSource Sedona Office For some of those companies (Honeywell, Panasonic), being in both places might not be a problem. For others of those companies (Pegasus, Rainbow), it might be more difficult. Whether there's really a conflict there is hard to say. But, between them, they only totaled 242 booths in 2009, and both would like to grow. That's where the conflict might come in. Normally, each other's exhibitor list might be a good lead sheet. This year, maybe you may be asking exhibitors to choose, which could lead to bad blood between organizations in the CSAA, NBFAA, and PSA that have always played nicely as far as I know.

This has the makings of a cage match

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009
So, on Friday afternoon (surprisingly, a big time for news in security) I got the press release regarding the dates and location for PSA-TEC 2010. Mostly, though, I focused on the location, since the former location, the Pheasant Run, where I've had the pleasure of attending PSA-TEC the last three years, is, let's say, less than modern (actually, on the web site, they make it look pretty good - I guess it's not terrible or anything, just really brown). Also, it's like an hour from O'Hare and you have to rent a car to get there, etc. So, boy was I pleased to see this news:
PSA Security Network announced today that PSA-TEC 2010 will be held at The Rosemont Convention Center in Rosemont, IL on June 14 – 18, 2010. The Rosemont Convention Center is conveniently located just five minutes from Chicago’s O'Hare Airport and will provide updated facilities in a single building to host education, networking, and trade show events, as well as provide available space for PSA-TEC to grow.
I mean, really: Huzzah! Seriously, check it out. But then my attention was drawn more closely to those dates. Haven't I seen those dates before? Well, yes I have: They are the dates of ESX 2010, in the lovely city of Pittsburgh! (And I don't use exclamation points loosely.) It seems like that would create a little competition, no? The attendees might be somewhat disparate, as ESX tends to attract those companies with central stations and more residentially focused firms, while PSA members tend to be commercially focused systems integrators, but what about the vendors who support both of those conferences? Where is Pelco going to send its RV? Will companies be able to exhibit in both places? Will vendors be able to offer training in both places? Will industry publications like ours be able to cover both events? It's a conundrum in these offices, for sure. Those are two of our favorite events of the year, with both offering huge swaths of content for our readers. So, where will people go? I'm hoping it's settled via cage match, much like this classic from 1983 where Jimmy "Supafly" Snuka lost to the unheralded Bob Backlund when he attempted a jump from the top of the cage in Madison Square Garden. Watch the below, and imagine the two combatants are Bill Bozeman and Mike Miller. Who would you put your money on?

Brink's: Back in the game

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Friday, September 4, 2009
It's late on a Friday afternoon before Labor Day, but didn't want this to wait. It looks like the Brink's Company isn't ready to give up on integrated security systems, and may even be preparing to compete in the very commercial security sector that its spin-off, Broadview, has been ramping up efforts to attack. Today, Brink's announced the acquisition of a majority stake in ICD, a commercial integrator with 200 employees and offices throughout Asia, for $12 million. The press release doesn't mention U.S. offices, but I believe it's the same ICD that I wrote about early last year:
BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.—ICD Security Solutions, a security systems integrator with headquarters in Beijing, opened its first U.S. offices here in September. It is the fifth country in which the company has established operations, joining China, India, Singapore, Japan and Taiwan.
Sounds pretty similar to the company Brink's just bought:
ICD designs, installs, maintains and manages high-quality commercial security systems. With principal operations in China, ICD also has offices in Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Australia.
But a little different... I'll try to figure it all out. It's kind of conspicuous that there isn't one of those "About ICD" paragraphs for a web site listed for the company on the press release that Brink's put out. I'm pretty sure it's this ICD, and here is the U.S. sales office (seems like they moved to West Palm). But why wouldn't Brink's mention the U.S. presence? I guess it's just a small part of the company, but the company only does $12 million in revenue, so it's not like any one office is huge for them. Maybe they don't want to be too overt about the fact they'll be competing with Broadview? Regardless, it's clear Brink's liked the electronic security market all along and the big question now is how heavily they get back in.

Canon pulls out of ASIS

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Friday, September 4, 2009
I've actually never had this happen before: I got a call from a PR agency asking if I'd like to meet with Canon at ASIS. I'd seen them a little bit at ESX, and they talked about making a much bigger commitment to security, so I said, "sure." I made an appointment for 10:30 a.m. to meet with Kevin McCarthy at booth #359. (I'd link to a map of the show floor so you could see where and how big that booth is, but ASIS doesn't provide such a feature.) Anyhoo, I just got a call on this lovely Friday before the Labor Day weekend from the same PR guy: "Hey Sam" (this is not an actual transcript) "while Canon NVS is expanding its marketing and advertising in the security space to support its exciting new product launch September 9, Canon has decided not to visit ASIS. So, the time you've got scheduled to talk with them you can now use to peruse the ASIS show floor." Huh? Three weeks before the show and they pull out? With a big product announcement to support? I've had people blow me off for appointments and just not show up, but I've never had an appointment say, "sorry, we won't actually be there."

Salient Systems making a play?

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Friday, September 4, 2009
I really don't know much about Salient Systems, but a release they put out this week just caught my eye:
Salient Systems Corporation, a leading provider of advanced, network friendly video management software solutions announces the expansion of their national sales presence with the appointment of Christopher Meiter, as Director of Sales - Midwest; Phillip Heydt, Regional Sales Manager - Southeast and Kenneth Frank, Regional Sales Manager - West Coast. They will be responsible for all business development in key vertical markets, integrator recruitment, and development of strategic accounts.
I know, I know: Who cares about regional sales-guy hires at a manufacturer you've never heard of (despite their assurances that they're a "leading provider")? Well, they must be doing something right - they've got to have a bit of cash on hand and some good technology to lure they guys from their last jobs: Mr. Meiter recently served as Director of Business Development at Honeywell Video. Mr. Heydt recently served as National Account Manager at Diebold. Mr. Frank recently served as Regional Sales Manager at Honeywell Integrated Security. I've heard of all of those companies, certainly. Who knows what those titles really mean, and who knows if they left of their own accord or got asked to leave? Still, it made me notice Salient and I'll be paying attention to see what they do next.

Why that Trustmark thingee matters

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Friday, September 4, 2009
Not sure how many people have seen the article on CompTIA's new Security Trustmark, administered by none other than Security Dreamer Steve Hunt, but today I ran across a case in point. Apparently, the cops in Plymouth Township, Pa., just caught a guy they think has committed 40 or so burglaries. Ho hum. Crooks are everywhere. If they weren't, you'd all be out of business. But then there's this:
Sources tell Fox News Mack is a former employee of a security company that was hired to guard corporate centers. He had access to the security codes that gave him access to the buildings where some of the burglaries occurred.
Does your company have a policy about what happens when an employee leaves? What information was that employee privy to? What customers could be compromised if that employee should decide he'd rather be a criminal than a security company employee? If I were a corporate client, that would be one of the first things I'd ask of a security company - what happens when one of your guys gets fired? I'm guessing CompTIA's new certification addresses that kind of thing. You show the Trustmark, you don't get asked the question (assuming the end user knows what a Trustmark is - that's going to take a while).

The smartest thing Diebold's done in a while

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Thursday, September 3, 2009
Things have been fairly quiet on the Diebold front since they turned down UTX's bid to buy them and finally got some long-awaited earnings numbers out. Lately, they've been pumping up the fact that they're 150 years old and are ringing the NYSE opening bell. Whoopety-do! (Sorry, I'm sure that's a big deal.) But, the news today that they're selling their elections division to their rivals ES&S is a great move for their security division and the company as a whole. Whether it made money or not, whether their technology was good or not, that thing was an albatross that created nothing but headaches and bad press (check this story out, if you don't believe me, and that's Information Week, not some rogue blog (not that all blogs are rogues)). Now the company is a pure-play security company (ATMs can be called security, in a way) and can focus on that mission exclusively. It comes with a price-tag, though:
Diebold has agreed to sell its elections systems business for $5 million in cash plus future cash payments representing 70% of any cash collected on the outstanding U.S. election systems business accounts receivable as of August 31, 2009. As a result of this transaction, Diebold expects to recognize a pre-tax loss in the range of $45 million to $55 million. The pre-tax loss includes the assets and liabilities of the business, certain retained legal liabilities, and other transaction costs. This business will be reported as a discontinued operation. Excluding the impact of this divestiture, Diebold's full-year earnings per share outlook for 2009 remains unchanged.
Ouch. They must have really wanted to get rid of that, huh?
In 2008, Premier generated $88.2 million in revenue, or 2.8 percent of Diebold's total reported revenue for the year.
They sold $88 million in revenue for $5 million? Double ouch. Still, good to have it off their chests.

So who's gonna 'revolutionize third party monitoring?'

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009
My publisher Tim Purpura and I just got back from the inaugural Rapid Response Users Group in Verona, N.Y. What a time. Everyone I spoke to at the event had the same impression: that the event was a well-oiled machine and that Rapid really was there to support it's dealers and integrators. One attendee even went so far as to tell me, basically, (I'm paraphrasing) "this may look like a whole lot of showing off, but it's not. Jeff Atkins backs it up." The impression I got was that Rapid would do whatever it could to curtail turnover in it's central station, provide new applications and services as dealer differentiators, lower costs, and improve service. Overall, it was a well-done event with lots of staff from RR and AE ventures--who did PR and event planning and execution--checking in to be sure everyone had everything they needed. I got to sit down with RR president Jeff Atkins and chairman and CEO Russ MacDonnell and Secure Global Solutions' VPs Hank Goldberg and Thom Meyer to discuss what Goldberg said was a "15-year quest to get Rapid as a client." Atkins used his welcome breakfast address to announce that Rapid was in the process (projected to be complete in early 2010) of converting to the stages central station monitoring platform. Atkins went so far as to say the "synergy of Rapid Response and stages will revolutionize third party monitoring." I chuckled a little and he just said "You watch. You just watch us." We're watching. Check out the Rapid Response Users Group site for more material from the RRUG.

That's the way to step up

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Just a little story I came across on the web today: Hi-Tech, out of Houston, helped out a youth center that's been victimized frequently lately by donating some surveillance equipment. Well done. Great magnanimous quote, too:
"It just touched me that I had the opportunity to do something about it," said Eric Cooley, Vice Principal of Hi-Tech Integrated Solutions.
I know you guys do stuff like this all the time, but it's good to see the local news types appreciate it.

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