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ESX Innovation Awards to recognize top products at Expo

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Each year, the ESX Innovation Awards program recognizes outstanding products and services that drive the electronic security and life safety industry forward. This year’s winners will receive their awards on the expo floor at ESX on June 4 and be featured in the Innovation Awards Showcase during expo hours, June 4-5 at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

To determine the best from each category, judges select winners from a pool of applications from manufacturers and service providers, serving the industry with innovative end-user offerings and tools that help dealers, integrators and monitoring professionals become more efficient and profitable.

“The nominees for ESX Innovation Awards were extremely impressive this year and nicely represent the electronic security and life safety industry,” George De Marco, ESX Chairman said in the announcement. “Solving everyday problems is the key to growth opportunities for dealers, integrators and monitoring companies to better compete in the marketplace.”

The winners selected are recognized as next-gen products and services that offer significant opportunities for growth. Judges from across the country are invited to provide their expert opinions. This year’s judges are: Rodger Reiswig, Johnson Controls (Florida); Grady Medcalf, Spectrum (Colorado); Michele Monheim, Amherst Alarm (Upstate New York); Steven E. Paley, Rapid Security Solutions (Florida) and Adam Thompson, Wired-Up Systems (Arizona).

Entrants to the Innovation Awards program are judged on: Features and functions, innovation, end-user experience, ability to solve a problem, revenue growth potential, impact on company efficiencies and compliance with regulations. These metrics provide a rubric that determines the most innovative and exceptional products and services in the industry.

Winners of the Innovation Awards will be featured in the ESX Innovation Awards Showcase in Booth 615 during live expo hours, June 4-5.

To determine the best in show, the ten most innovative category-winners will enter the TechVision Challenge – a “Shark Tank” style competition before a panel of judges at ESX. The winner of the TechVision Challenge will be announced live from the expo floor at ESX Central on June 4.

Registration is still open for ESX. For more information and to register, visit ESXweb.com.

The eavesdropping Alexa … is it really that much of a shock?

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

For the past few weeks, I have been rather intrigued with IoT devices, smart homes, and security and safety of people in this context. (After all, aren’t our homes supposed to be our safe haven … our place of escape from the crazy, hurried world we live in?) After perusing the internet regarding this topic, I thought I had read about almost everything imaginable, but I was thrown a curve ball by a man, Geoffrey A. Fowler, technology columnist, The Washington Post, who literally made a song out of the recordings Alexa had of him! (Click here to listen.) 

Fowler reported that he listened to four years of his Alexa archive that highlighted fragments of his life: spaghetti-timer requests, houseguests joking and random snippets of a once-popular TV show. Alexa even captured and recorded sensitive conversations—a family discussion about medication and a friend conducting a business deal—apparently triggered by Alexa’s “wake word” to start recording. So, why are tech companies recording and saving our voice data? According to Amazon, “when using an Alexa-enabled device, the voice recordings associated with your account are used to improve the accuracy of the results.” 

Fact or fiction? Maybe both, because another main reason is to train their artificial intelligence (AI). 

I may be going out on a limb here, but if people’s voice data is being recorded and USED without their knowledge, isn’t this an invasion of privacy? I say, “Yes, without a doubt!” Not only that, but shouldn’t these tech companies hire and pay people for their voice data to train their AI? I mean, “free” saves the companies money, but to the extent of people’s private conversations and information being recorded and used without permission?  

So, what can be done? Defeating the purpose of Alexa would be to mute its microphone or unplug it, but, in my opinion, if I was going to have a private conversation, that would be better than putting my personal business out there. Another option would be to delete Alexa voice recordings, but Amazon warns

  • “If you delete voice recordings, it could degrade your experience when using the device.” 
  • “Deleting voice recordings does not delete your Alexa Messages.” 
  • “You may be able to review and play back voice recordings as the deletion request is being processed.” 

(I wonder what a “degraded Alexa experience” entails and I also wonder how long it takes to process a deletion request, as during this time voice data can be used.)

For me personally, I will stick with the “old-fashioned” way of living to preserve and protect my privacy—physically stand up, walk over to the window and close/open the blinds by hand; set alarms manually on my smartphone or built-in timer on my microwave; and even use the remote to turn the TV off and on, change channels and control the volume. 

By the way, don’t forget to listen to your own Alexa archive here or in the Alexa app: Settings > Alexa Account > Alexa Privacy. What all does Alexa have on you? 

 

PERs, Mickey Mouse and … sharks? Heading to Orlando to cover Affiliated Monitoring’s Catalyst 2019

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

As the Jaws warning theme song plays in my head, along with the ‘Baby Shark’ song that became an internet sensation, patterns of “do-do-da-do” fill my head as I anticipate the first-ever Affiliated Monitoring Shark Tank at Catalyst 2019. I’m excited to be heading out to sunny Orlando’s Four Seasons at Walt Disney World Resort® to get a first-hand look at the PERs/mPERs niche of the security industry. This is Affiliated’s 4th Catalyst Conference and I feel congratulations are in order, so on behalf of the SSN team, “Congratulations Affiliated Monitoring!” 

As of February 28, 2019, at noon, via email, I got word that teams from over 70 companies were registered to attend this event. This is a marvelous turn out all on its own, but the final attendee count is yet to be determined since the event doesn’t even start until today! Soon, golfers will be yelling “four” as they swing their carefully chosen clubs at Tranquilo Golf Course on the Four Seasons Resort to determine who reigns supreme on the course in best ball with additional challenges for longest drive and closest to the pin. Afterwards tips for free and almost free tools, tricks and marketing strategies to grow a PERs business will be presented with a welcome cocktail reception closely following at the Four Seasons’ Pool Bar & Grill all on Wednesday, May 8th.

Then, bright and early on Thursday, May 9th, the live action will start on my Twitter feed @SSN_Ginger, and continue on until the end of the conference, sharing the highlights of each day. Thursday will be a PERs-related montage of Daniel Oppenheim of Affiliated Monitoring delivering the day’s keynote: a view of the demographic changes driving the growth in the PERs industry along with PERs-specific trends; presentations; sessions; and networking intermingled with coffee and food. 

Of course, on Friday, May 10th, there will be coffee and food, but more important, taking the stage is Executive Keynote Speaker and President, Healthcare Division at Connect America, Richard Brooks, an industry icon with story after story of priceless knowledge about leading and growing multiple PERs and telehealth businesses. Attendees will gain insights to take their PERs business to next level by learning the top things no one ever tells about when scaling a PERs company. Attendees are then invited to “swim” on over to the Shark Tank where innovators will come face-to-face with the Sharks, industry veterans who will listen to contestants’ pitches and decide if they are interested! 

Innovators include the brave: 

  • Jean Anne Booth, CEO, UnaliWear
  • Steve, Chazin, VP, product, Alarm.com 
  • Mara Perlmutter, founder & CEO, TrelaWear.

Sharks include the blood-hungry: 

  • Geoff Gross, president, Medical Guardian
  • Rob Flippi, CEO, MobileHelp
  • Sindee Shaulinski, general manager, medical monitoring, Doyle Security Systems.

I personally can’t wait to see (and Tweet about) what goes on in THIS tank! 

The day, and Catalyst 2019, will conclude with Brainstorming Roundtables with voted-on topics to include: 

  • Growing Your Connected Health Portfolio
  • Managing the 4G Transition
  • Payor Sources: Medicare, Medicaid & Beyond
  • Secrets of Reducing Customer Churn

This year’s Catalyst seems to be full of learning and building relationships while taking time to have fun. Here are some tips to get the most out of Catalyst 2019: 

  1. Follow me on Twitter @SSN_Ginger to keep up with live highlights of Catalyst 2019. 
  2. Bring a notepad and writing utensil to take notes of the amazing knowledge your will learn. 
  3. Before Friday, May 10th review the Brainstorming Roundtable topics and create questions to ask during each. Write them down in your notebook and leave space below each one for the answer to keep your notes organized.
  4. If you’re escaping to Epcot for the scavenger hunt, casual or athletic clothes are recommended. Sneakers are REQUIRED by Disney; NO open toed shoes allowed. 
  5. Download the official Catalyst App to stay connected at the conference.

NFPA conference set for San Antonio next month

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) will host its annual Conference & Expo at the Henry B. González Convention Center in San Antonio, June 17-20. This comprehensive event brings together thousands of the industry’s leading professionals who will attend more than 120 educational sessions and special events addressing the latest issues, challenges and trends in the world of fire, electrical, and life safety.

This year’s expo, featuring more than 325 exhibitors, brings to life the products and services needed to meet and maintain compliance with prevailing codes and standards in the design, construction and operation of buildings and facilities of every kind. The expo floor will also feature an emerging technologies and electrical pavilion, offering product displays with hands- on learning and an immersive virtual reality experience for contractors and electricians, inspectors and building officials, among others.

Notable presentations include:

Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response and NFPA 3000TM(PS) Program: Lessons Learned and a New Standard
June 18, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
With an increase in gun-related incidents around the nation, a panel of experts will explain recent events that led to the creation of the NFPA 3000TM(PS), Standard for an Active Shooter/Hostile Event Response (ASHER) Program. The session will include lessons learned from the specific events in which active shooters were involved, followed by a discussion that includes an overview of the content of the standard and the roles and responsibilities of those working to prevent future incidents.

Is it time to P.A.N.I.C.? Shifting Community Risk Reduction from Concept to Reality
June 17, 8 - 9 a.m.

Find out what the P.A.N.I.C. is all about! Community risk reduction (CRR) is a process that identifies and prioritizes local risks to ensure integrated and strategic resource investment to reduce the occurrence and impact of dangerous risks. While CRR is discussed in many fire departments, a full implementation is often hindered by challenges. During this interactive discussion, presenters will break down five strategic actions—modeled in the acronym P.A.N.I.C.—to drive successful CRR implementation and overcome common barriers. Attendees will find out why successful CRR programs include input from officers, operations, and the overall community, learn real-world examples of the process in action, and have the chance to generate additional solutions.

Making Hot Work Safety an Everyday Practice
June 17, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m.
In its 2016 fire incident report, “Structure Fires Started by Hot Work,” NFPA presents data showing a U.S. annual average of over 4,000 fires caused by hot work—and that doesn’t account for those in industrial occupancies, including oil and gas sector worksites. US Chemical Safety Board, OSHA, and industry-specific reports confirm that hot work incidents are becoming increasingly common. Participants will receive practical guidance regarding flammable liquids or gases, including the essentials for monitoring concentration buildup of vapors that cannot be seen or detected without special monitoring devices.

When Uber Meets Octane: Fire Code Requirements for On-Demand Fueling
June 18, 5 - 6 p.m.
NFPA 30A and the 2018 International Fire Code have new provisions for on-demand fueling where gasoline or diesel fuel can be delivered directly to a consumer's vehicle using a smartphone. This presents a variety of regulatory and emergency response issues to the fire service. This presentation reviews key technical requirements in NFPA 30A, 2018 IFC, US DOT regulations and the potential risks to emergency responders.

A New Standard for Energy Storage Systems: NFPA 855
June 12, 9:15-10:15 a.m.
As the energy storage industry continues to grow, NFPA is engaged in a number of initiatives aimed at promoting the safe and sustainable expansion of this renewable technology. One of NFPA's most substantial contributions is the creation of NFPA 855, Standard for the Installation of Stationary Energy Storage Systems. Get the most up-to-date and in-depth information on the contents of the new NFPA 855, which should be published or may have notices of intent to make a motion (NITMAMs) at the 2019 NFPA Technical Meeting.

Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess

Americans’ trust issues, or lack thereof, with IoT devices and other security-related issues

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The last blog I wrote, “What your connected smart home IoT devices are really doing,” highlighted the fact that there are no security standards for IoT manufacturers to follow when creating networked devices. This should cause concern or at least pause for people using such devices, especially in their homes. But, just how aware are consumers about potential risks and do people actually trust the devices they use every day? 

ASecureLife conducted a survey of 300 Americans nationwide to determine how much participants trust the technology they use regularly in their homes as well as people’s biggest concerns related to smart home technology, home security and online privacy. The survey found:

1. A quarter of Americans are NOT concerned with being monitored online by criminals. This nonchalant attitude resulted in 23 percent of American households having someone victimized by cybercriminals in 2018, according to GALLUP

Additionally, in 2017, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 300,000 complaints, totaling more than $1.4 billion in monetary losses for victims. 

2. Americans are more concerned about being monitored online by the government than by businesses.

3. Two-thirds of Americans believe their smart devices are recording them. While it’s time consuming, and to be honest, boring, thoroughly read a company’s terms and conditions so you know what personal information that company is collecting from you, and how they’re using it.

Tip: Adjust the settings on your smart equipment to maximize your privacy. For example, turn off Amazon Echo’s “Drop In” setting to prevent the it from automatically syncing and conversing with other Echo devices. 

4. About one in five parents would let Alexa entertain their kids while they’re away. WOW! Parents are actually trusting their children’s safety and security to the virtual world!? (We’ll be discussing this later on in this blog post! Read on!) 

5. Seventy-five (75) percent of Americans believe smart homes can be easily hacked, but 33 percent have and use some type of smart home technology. This indicates that consumers are indeed buying these gadgets. In fact, a joint-consumer survey conducted by Coldwell Banker Real Estate and CNET found 47 percent of Millennials, aged 18 to 34 years, have and use smart home products. 

6. Women are typically more concerned with home security than financial security, and the opposite is true for men. Participants were asked if they fear a home invasion more than identity theft: 53 percent of women participants said “yes,” compared to 44 percent of men.

Participants were also asked which of the following they would rather do: stop locking your doors or change all your passwords to “1234.” Men’s responses were split evenly, while 59 percent of women preferred to change their passwords to this all-to-common numerical sequence. 

7. Americans aged 55 and older are more protective of their financial security than their home security; the opposite is true for younger people. Participants over age 54 were asked if they feared home invasion more than identity theft to which 70 percent answered “no.” However, participants under age 34 were more likely to fear home invasion. 

While all the findings were eye-opening, for me personally, the one that haunted me pretty deeply was the one about Alexa “babysitting” kids. It’s one thing for parents to allow their children to use Alexa under their supervision, but to allow minors to access Alexa while they are away can be extremely dangerous, in my opinion and based on the news we see every day concerning criminals hacking into security systems, devices recording home-based conversations, apps giving away data to advertisers, and the list goes on and on. 

Question for you parents out there: Would you allow your children to access Alexa when you aren’t at home? Why or why not? 

 

Mission 500 surpasses fundraising goals at ISC West

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Mission 500, a 501c3 charitable organization born from the professional security industry to serve children and families in need across the U.S., raised over $145,000 at its 10th annual Security 5K/2K Run/Walk at this year’s ISC West show, April 9-12 in Las Vegas.

Mission 500 Founder George Fletcher told Security Systems News during a video interview at ISC West that the organization was able to surpass this year’s goal thanks to “sponsor support, signed up runners and individual fundraisers — our three primary sources of revenue — and our volunteers.”

Fletcher pointed out that Mission 500 relies heavily on volunteers, and had around 20 who showed up at five in the morning to help set up the race. “They come out every year and are passionate about what they are doing to help children and families,” he said.

Tom Nolan, director, strategic partnerships for Mission 500, added, “We had amazing volunteers — I think that was the best part of it for me.”

Some of the proceeds from this year’s 5K/2K event have already been put to great use during ISC West 2019 with volunteer and monetary donations made to Habitat for Humanity in Las Vegas to help provide a family in need with a new home, and a Mission 500 Care Pack drive during the event sponsored by HID Global, Freeman and the ISC West Security Events team.

 “We are extremely thrilled at how the security industry continues to band together to and raise money for children and families in need,” Mission 500 Chairman of the Board Tim Purpura said. “The 10th anniversary of the Mission 5K/2K event was our most successful single event to date, and we are extremely grateful to all of the participants, volunteers and sponsors that made this wonderful event possible.”

The Mission 500 Club, which recognizes volunteers who raise $500 or more, had 12 members at this year’s 5K/2K that raised a combined $21,000. Ronnie Pennington of Altronix was the top fundraiser with $4,425 in pledged donations, followed by Nick Arthur of Brinks Home Security™ with $1,130, which was matched by his employer for a total of $2,825. The top fundraising team was Brink’s Home Security, which raised a total of $15,331.

This year’s fastest female was Karen Salerno of ISC Events with a time of 21:07. The fastest male and overall winner was Mitchell Vanderhagen of Everbridge, who completed the 5K course in 18:23. Complete race times can be found at https://elementalracetiming.com/the-security-5k-2019/.

At the Mission 500 5K/2K awards ceremony, this year’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award was presented to Brinks Home Security for their outstanding philanthropic work through the year. Dave Foglio, Founder of First Response Security, received the Mission 500 Humanitarian Award for his outstanding charitable work.

Hikvision’s General Manager Eric Chen, and the Hikvision team, also increased their corporate social responsibility efforts at ISC West 2019 by donating an additional $860 to Mission 500 on behalf of all industry partners in attendance at their partner celebration at Tao.

The Security 5K/2K is a joint collaboration organized by United Publications, the publisher of Security Systems News, ISC Events and Mission 500. Confirmed charter sponsors include Alarm.com, Altronix Corporation, Avigilon, Axis Communications, Bosch Security Systems, Brinks Home Security, CMAC, COPS Monitoring, Dahua Technology, DITEK Corporation, DMP, Freeman, Galaxy Control Systems, HID Global, LENSEC, Hikvision, Intelligent Security Systems (ISS), LRG Marketing Communications, Milestone Systems, Napco Starlink Fire, PSA Security Network, Safety Technology International, Inc., and ZKTecko USA. The event is managed by Las Vegas Running Company, a race management company that stages approximately 25 road races each year across Southern Nevada.

For more information on Mission 500, contact Tom Nolan at [email protected] or call 516-903-7291.

Smile, you’re on candid camera: Jetblue passenger blows lid on DHS facial recognition program

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

I know I am aging myself here, but after reading about the JetBlue passenger who was none-too-happy to find out that her face would be used as ID for boarding, I thought back to the TV show of my youth called Candid Camera. Now if you are younger than 50 (yes, I am less than a month away from a half century old), you probably won’t remember this show that featured a hidden camera with lovable host Allen Funt (and later with son Peter), who at the end of each skit would tell the person they are on a hidden camera show. Laughter would ensue and everyone would agree that it was all good fun. 

The difference between then and now, though, is this whole concept of consent to being on video, not to mention current comfort levels within society today of having your identity out there in a database. I mean, let’s be honest, the idea of DHS/Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) collecting and protecting millions of biometric profiles is a bit frightening, but that is exactly what the agency plans to do in the next four years, with the ultimate goal of making access as frictionless, and hopefully, as safe as possible.

In fact, according to its fiscal report for 2018, DHS/CBP built a facial biometric matching service using biographic Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) manifest data and existing photographs of travelers boarding international flights. The biometric matching service is a robust cloud-based service that leverages existing advance passenger information to create a pre-positioned “gallery” of face images from U.S. Government holdings. The galleries are smaller, more manageable data sets that can be segregated based on APIS data for specific flights. The photographs can come from passport applications, visa applications, or interactions with CBP at a prior border encounter where CBP typically takes a photograph. The biometric matching service then compares a live photo of the traveler to the gallery of face images for that flight to identify the traveler and enable CBP to confirm the traveler’s crossing. 

On exit, the matching service identifies the traveler, creates an exit record, and enables CBP to biometrically confirm the departure of in-scope, non-U.S. citizens. CBP is working towards full implementation of biometric exit in the air environment within the next four years to account for over 97 percent of departing commercial air travelers from the United States. In order to realize full implementation, CBP partnered with airports and airlines to deploy solutions to use biometric exit data-utilizing cameras (supplied by airports or airlines) that are integrated with the biometric solution.  

As a result of the demonstrations and partnerships described above, CBP determined that facial recognition technology at the airline departure gate is a scalable solution for biometric exit in the air environment. At the end of FY 2018, biometric exit solutions were operational at 15 locations, and CBP has received many commitment letters from airport authorities and/or air carriers supporting biometric exit operations. Since its inception, over two million passengers on over 15,000 flights have used the technology on exit, with an average biometric match rate of 98 percent. As of December 2018, over 7,000 Out-Of-Country Overstays have been biometrically confirmed. Furthermore, similar successes have occurred when using the biometric technology in the air entry environment; CBP has to date used this data to identify six travelers attempting entry presenting travel documents not belonging to them, or presenting altered travel documents.

In FY 2018, CBP expanded the use of the Biometric Exit Mobile (BE-Mobile) program at land borders nationwide. CBP deployed mobile technology to the land border POEs, which allowed CBP officers working outbound pulse and surge operations to process exiting travelers using the BE-Mobile application. The BE-Mobile application creates a biometrically confirmed exit record for a departing traveler. This capability is another means by which CBP can close out entry/exit records biometrically, thus, helping to resolve some potential overstay records. From December 2017 through November 2018, CBP officers created a biometric exit record on over 23,000 travelers at the land border.

The agency is also working on both the southern and northern border using biometric technology, with plans to expand the application to identify people in cars.

What is your thought on the safety and security of protecting airports and borders with biometric solutions?

What your connected smart home IoT devices are really doing

 - 
Wednesday, April 24, 2019

As more and more people connect IoT devices to their homes, making them smarter, living machines, the more fodder hackers have to breach systems and gain access to consumers’ personal identifiable information, or even gain entrance into their humble abodes. The fact is, no security standards exist for IoT manufactures to follow when creating networked devices. 

Lawmakers and states are stepping up, looking at ways to help protect consumers.

Industry talk of late about protecting owners of IoT devices have circled around the Cybersecurity Improvement Act of 2019 which would require the National Institute of Standards and Technology to develop new recommendations for device makers to follow. Even some states have created specific rules for IoT device creators to follow, such as California, that will require devices to be shipped with unique passwords or force users to set or reset passwords when setting up a device as of January 1, 2020.

But, are laws really the answer to this seemingly never-ending debacle? Shouldn’t the security industry come together as a whole to offer protection to consumers, their data and their homes? After all, we are in the business of protecting people while offering comfort and ease of living. I think a more proactive approach is in order, where device manufacturers step up to protect consumer data as well as empowering consumers to protect themselves.

A group of computer scientists from Princeton University and the University of California, Berkeley created a tool called Princeton IoT Inspector, an open-source desktop application that passively monitors smart home networks, showing potential security and/or privacy issues. It identifies all IoT devices on a smart home network, shows when these devices communicate/exchange data with an external server, and determines which servers these devices contacted and if those communications are secure. According to the IoT Inspector website, the goal is to answer three questions:

  1. Who do your devices talk to?
  2. What information is gathered?
  3. Are the devices hacked?

Sounds great, right? Well, there are two cautions to be noted when using this tool. First, device names are included in the data sent, so that data will be accessible by Princeton. The app asks users to consent to this the first time the app is used. (Tip: Make sure your devices don’t include your name or any other personal identifiable information. If they do, rename them.)

Second, the research team is using a specific technique the “bad guys” typically use called ARP spoofing, a type of attack where a malicious actor sends false Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) messages over a local area network. Personally, I think it’s creative and smart to use the same techniques to beat the bad guys at their own games, turning malicious acts into something good. Just be sure you trust Princeton should you decide to use this tool. 

Currently, Princeton IoT Inspector is only available on macOS, but there is a waitlist for Windows, which will be released next month, and Linux to be released the week of April 24th, 2019.

 

ISC West 2019 wrap-up

 - 
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

ISC West 2019 wrapped up on April 12 in Las Vegas after another record-breaking year in terms of attendance, according to Mary Beth Shaughnessy, Event Director - ISC Events and Unmanned Security Expo at Reed Exhibitions, who spoke to Security Systems News on the SSN Media Stage during the event.

“The show is bigger this year and we are looking at being up about 4 percent in attendance overall this year,” she said. “We’ve got a number of new areas that are growing. Our emerging technologies zone has grown over 40 percent from last year to this year. New companies are up year over year and our connected security area is up this year as well. Just overall participation with the security industry, in general, with all of the new technologies coming out — everyone is just anxious and excited to get their products in the marketplace.”

Shaughnessy confirmed what many of us were hearing on the showfloor, as exhibitors noted that their booths were jam packed with quality people each day. In addition, the education sessions were very popular again this year, with overall attendance up.

“The education this year is great, and it is all programmed by SIA,” she pointed out, noting that she is excited to continue the relationship with SIA moving forward. “We’ve had great attendance, up from last year, at many of the sessions … Some of the top sessions looked at the convergence of physical and cybersecurity.”

The following is a look at my time at ISC West:

Day One: Tuesday, April 9

Excited to be here in Vegas for ISC West 2019, the security industry’s biggest conference and trade show of the year.

Started day one on Tuesday with The Advance, The Security Industry Association’s annual membership meeting where SIA gave an update to a packed house on the state of the association, while also giving out several membership awards and voting in new members to the board of directors.

Scott Schafer, chairman of the SIA Board of Directors, hosted the event, which he called “the fastest hour at ISC West” and he was not joking, as a lot was covered in just a little over an hour’s time.

Schafer pointed out that in addition to the security industry’s continued solid growth, SIA is also in very good shape financially and in terms of growth on the membership side, which Schafer was confident will surpass 1,000 members any day now.

On the financial side, the association saw $7 million in revenue, with $6.4 million in expenses, leaving approximately a half million in surplus. Investments showed a 57 percent increase for 2018.

Schafer also pointed out that SIA signed a 10-year agreement with ISC Events with a 5-year clause, which he said is a “very exciting announcement” as the two have many events planned for the future with this continuing partnership.

SIA also gave out several membership awards at the Advance, including:
•    Member of the Year Award: Axis Communications
•    Chairman's Award: SIA Women in Security Forum
•    Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award: Mark McCourt, Cobalt Robotics
•    Committee Chair of the Year Award: Chris Grniet, Guidepost Solutions

In addition to award presentations, Sal Mani, security systems manager for Google, spoke on the workforce imperative of developing cross-functional skill sets to stay competitive in the security industry.

New SIA Board members voted in at meeting include:
•    Greg Hill, Director, Intrusion Architecture, Johnson Controls
•    Kim Loy, Chief Marketing Officer, ACRE
•    Jody Ross, VP, Sales, AMAG Technology
•    James Rothstein, SVP, Global Security Solutions, Anixter
•    Brian Wiser, Regional President, Bosch Security Systems

Day Two: Wed., April 10

Started the first day of the trade show at the Hikvision Media Event, where Hikvision North America's Director of Global Public Affairs Michael Gutierrez, President Jeffrey He, Director of Cybersecurity Chuck Davis, and new General Manager for Hikvision USA and Hikvision Canada, Eric Chen, gave invited press an update on the current state of the company. Jeffrey He addressed some of the challenges that Hikvision faces, with growing anti-China sentiment, trade tensions, tariffs and government bans topping the list, noting that these “will likely impact us on the global front.”

Chen looked at how the company continues to grow and prosper in the face of these growing challenges, noting that in North America Hikvision business showed $7.4 billion in revenue and 18.8 percent in year-over-year growth in 2018, as well as 40 percent compound growth from 2010 to 2018. The company worldwide has approximately 34,000 employees, with 6,000 engineers, he noted.

Chen said the company is “still going to invest in North America,” focusing on SMB and the midmarket and “shifting from product selling to solution selling,” with retail and education two of the company’s biggest verticals.

While Hikvision continues to introduce new cameras, like the new 32MP multi-directional camera it unveiled this year, Chen pointed out that this year’s theme for ISC is “Focused on Your Success,” highlighting the company’s customer-focused programs.

Davis, who teaches ethical hacking and serves on the SIA cybersecurity committee, outlined the company’s cybersecurity strategy and milestones over the past few years, including the use of pen testing and ethical hacking for all cameras with a third party; the establishment of a cyber hotline in 2017; cybersecurity education roadshows (22 in the U.S. and Canada); joining FIRST.org, a global incident response organization and consortium; and creating a whitepaper that covers the testing and process of the lifecycle of a product before it reaches a consumer.

“This [white paper] is an important document for us to be transparent, and show that we are holding ourselves to a high standard,” said Davis, noting that Hikvision is the only company to have a code transparency center where “anyone can come and do an audit.”

Noting the importance of the network as the “first line of defense,” Davis said Hikvision’s SSL encryption process is held to the highest NIST standards, including the FIPS 140-2 standard.

Next, I headed over to the Genetec booth, where I spoke with Andrew Elvish, VP of marketing and product management and Derek Arcuri, product marketing manager, who outlined some of the company’s cool new features in the new version of Security Center, the company’s open-architecture platform that unifies video surveillance, access control, automatic license plate recognition (ALPR), communications and analytics. Some of the cool new features include customizable live dashboards, enhanced privacy protection features, a brand-new map-driven mobile app, and new functionalities that help users actively monitor the health of their system and ensure compliance with cybersecurity best practices. What makes Genetec stand out from the crowd, Elvish noted, is its “unified enterprise platform that gives a unique view into the data, allowing you to make informed decisions.”

Over at the FLIR booth, I met with Fredrik Wallberg, director of marketing – Security & ITS, and Haley Coveny, public relations coordinator, who explained that the company is looking to be more of a “solution provider” rather than just a provider of products. In addition to its wide range of thermal camera solution, FLIR highlighted its new solutions for Smart Cities and perimeter protection applications. The company’s new TruWITNESS wearable sensor platform is designed to expand true, real-time situational awareness for public safety operations. Combining video, audio, location data and IoT capabilities, TruWITNESS enables sensors to send alerts and stream data back to a central command center running FLIR United VMS for improved incident analysis and intervention.

Moving to the G4S/AMAG Technology booth, I spoke John Kenning, regional CEO for G4S Americas, who spoke about the company’s continued commitment to using technology to help security professionals be more efficient and accurate, whether they are out in the field or back in the command center. The company is also taking a more “risk-based” approach as a “trusted advisor” who is there to evaluate and consult based on operational and compliance needs. “We are a top 5 integration business and a top 3 man-guarding business, which is a great combo.”

Next, I visited with Benjamin Bryant, global public relations consultant for IDIS, which celebrated five years at ISC West with a comprehensive showcase of the South Korean manufacturer's IDIS Total Surveillance Solution. Highlights of the company's fifth anniversary with ISC West included areas of special emphasis on cybersecurity, deep learning analytics and facial recognition, and solutions for the retail and banking sectors. On the product side, the company released its new Compact IR Fisheye, featuring its dual-side dewarping in a smaller, more versatile approach. The company also unveiled its new 12MP Panamorph Fisheye and the full IDIS Compact Solution.

At the Allegion press event, Robert Lydic, Allegion’s VP of PACS OEM Business, discussed how Allegion brings strength to the security industry with a legacy of knowledge and quality behind them and how that strength will be leveraged into forward-thinking solutions with the right balance of security, convenience and efficiency. Allegion is “a five year old company with brands that have been around for 100 years,” he said, noting that these are brands that people trust, such as Von Duprin, the producer of the first "panic bar" style door mechanism, and Schlage, one of the oldest and “most tested and trusted” lock manufacturers. Lydic also noted that Allegion’s mobile ecosystem is founded on the belief that providing physical access control should have an open, secured architecture offering customer-centered solutions.

Day Three: Thursday, April 11

Started the day bright and early at 5:30 a.m. volunteering with Mission 500, which hosted its 10th annual Security 5k/2k, bringing the entire industry together for a great cause. As Mission 500 Founder George Fletcher and Board Chairman Tim Purpura pointed out at the award ceremony on Thursday, this year’s race was a huge success with more than $145,000 raised to help Mission 500 children and families in need. It felt good to get out there with SSN Regional Sales Manager Brad Durost, and walk — yes walk, sorry! —along with others to help this amazing organization.

Started the morning with Alarm.com, with Matthew Zartman, director of communications, who gave me a tour of the latest and greatest on both the residential and commercial side of the business, where the company has been growing its presence, especially in the SMB space, Zartman noted. For example, Alarm.com is making it possible to manage access control and video across multiple business locations. Just as Alarm.com informs the homeowner using data in Insights Engine, it can use data on the business side to provide business intelligence on top of access control and video surveillance management.

I next visited with Robin Regina Baker, CTO, SilverShield, which was showcasing its cloud-based safety and information system at ISC West, demonstrating the capabilities of their visitor management and communication software. Originally developed for school campus applications, the software incorporates a fully integrated suite of modules including visitor management, lockdown initiation and more. Designed to expedite emergency security procedures, the SilverShield Visitor Management System enables manned or unmanned visitor screening at all types of facilities. In addition to offering an incident and event management system, the company’s in-app SilverShield HR & Safety Resource Center connects schools and businesses with local, highly trained security professionals to develop a security assessment, plan and documentation.

Visited next with Alcatraz AI, winners of the Judges’ Choice Award in the SIA New Product showcase. I spoke with CEO and Founder Vince Gaydarzhiev about the company, which specializes in secure facial authentication for physical access control, replacing badging in the workplace with AI-based enrollment and anti-tailgating alerts. The three-year-old startup, which was founded by a team coming from Apple, NVIDIA and Lily Robotics — with venture-backing from JCI Ventures — is currently doing pilots with mid-size and large corporations in Silicon Valley. The company is using AI and machine learning, he pointed out, to simplify the enrollment process and make it as seamless and painless as possible.

I next met with UmboCV, which was featuring its new product, AiCamera, one of the first cameras in the industry with “AI processing on the edge,” said CEO and Co-Founder Shawn Guan, who explained that the company always believed that the best video security experience comes from a perfectly integrated solution of intelligent Internet devices and the cloud, powered by machine learning. He showed me how the company’s new AiBullet camera increases event detection distance while reducing baseline bandwidth usage to a fraction of a typical Internet camera. Guan also showed me how the camera provides 150 feet of daytime and nighttime event detection.

At the ISS booth, Shawn Mather, director of sales, gave me a tour of the booth, demonstrating why the company is one of the leaders in the VMS business, demonstrating how the company’s native, or in-house, analytics help differentiate the company from other VMS providers. On the product side, the company recently introduced its SecurOS v.10 VMS featuring an updated, highly-intuitive GUI designed to accommodate multiple clients and the ability to easily manage large systems with infinite scalability. And while the company creates its own analytics in-house, he pointed out that it also fully integrates with top companies in the industry today, such as Axis, Hanwha, and Bosch.

I next spoke with Tracie Thomas, vice president of marketing for Boon Edam, which demonstrated its integrated entry solutions that mitigate tailgating at ISC West 2019. Integrated with access control and biometric technologies, the company’s security entrances demonstrate “real world” capability to “stop piggybacking and tailgating,” she explained. The company also continues to show how it integrates with other companies to provide a comprehensive solution and experience from the perimeter all the way into the building and key areas within the facility. The company’s focus this year at ISC is to “show end users what the total experience is when you have key partners,” said Thomas. She pointed to key integrations with Stonelock, IrisID and HID Global, as examples of Boon succeeding by partnering.

At the Sielox booth, I met with Karen Evan, president and CEO, who was excited to be celebrating the company’s 40th year and a newly designed website. The Sielox portfolio of layered security systems address the complexity of providing the right combination of features and configurations to best accommodate specific applications and needs. Featured solutions include: the new release of Pinnacle v.10.4 Access Control Solution; Sielox CLASS Crisis Lockdown Alert Status System; AnyWare Browser-Based Access Control Platform; and the company’s highly-touted 1700 Intelligent Controllers.

Off the show floor, I met with Stehapnie Mayes, VP, business development and Greg Alcorn, divisional director – transport and infrastructure, for Synectics, a global leader in the design, integration, control and management of advanced surveillance technology and networked security systems, for environments where security is operationally critical. With over 30 years’ experience, Mayes pointed out that the company has gained an intimate understanding protecting critical infrastructure and assets, including oil and gas, gaming, transport and infrastructure, and high security in public spaces. By integrating systems and bringing relevant data into one platform, or “one pane of glass” as Mayes noted, the company’s technology allows operators to be more efficient and accurate, preventing incidents, as opposed to reacting to them.

Day Four, Friday, April 12

Started the final day with a keynote from Juliette Kayyem, a national leader in America’s homeland security efforts, as part of the SIA Women in Security Forum breakfast event highlighting the group’s efforts since forming last year. SIA’s Women in Security Forum is a group for both women and men that offers programs, professional development opportunities and networking events with the goal of supporting the involvement of women in the security industry.

Kayyem, who is the faculty director of the Homeland Security Project, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, gave a truly inspiring talk on the major events that have shaped her life and career, including raising a family while trying to create a Homeland Defense program after 9/11. 

In addition to booth visits and covering events, I was able to do many video interviews on all three days of the trade show on the SSN Media Stage on the trade show, which can be found at www.securitysystemsnews.com/videos in the weeks following the show. The following is the list of video interviews I conducted at ISC West:

•    ACRE: Joe Grillo, CEO
•    Arcules: Andreas Pettersson, CEO
•    AvantGuard: Justin Bailey, President
•    Briefcam: Stephanie Weagle, Chief Marketing Officer
•    DICE Corp.: Cliff Dice, CEO and President
•    Dynamark: Hank Groff, Senior VP, Sales and Business Development
•    ESIConvergent: Pierre Bourgeix, President
•    IDIS: Keith Drummond, Senior Director of Sales and Marketing
•    JCI: Eli Gorovici, General Manager, Tyco Access Control and Video Solutions
•    Milestone: Tim Palmquist, VP Americas
•    Mission 500: George Fletcher, founder, and Tom Nolan, director, strategic partnerships
•    Morse Watchmans: Tim Purpura, International Sales Manager, George Lawson, Account Executive
•    National Monitoring Center (NMC): Woodie Andrawos, President
•    OnCam: Scott Brothers, Chief Operating Officer
•    ONVIF: Per Bjorkdahl, Steering Committee chairman and Stuart Rawling, Steering Committee member
•    Pivot3: Brandon Reich, Vice President, Security and IoT
•    Qognify: Marc Whalen, Vice President of Sales
•    Rasilient Systems, Sean Chang, Co-founder, CEO and President
•    SAST: Nikolas Mangold-Takao, VP Product Management
•    USI Insurance Services: Robert Tockarshewsky, Vice President, Property & Casualty
 

Coverage from ISC West 2019

 - 
Monday, April 8, 2019

It sounds cliché to say, but “I’m excited about ISC West this year.” This is my first ISC since returning to the security industry and while I have memories of sore feet, late nights and early, sleepy mornings, I gladly welcome all because that means I have the opportunity to get reacquainted with old friends in the industry, and see and interact with new security products and services. 

In addition to booth visits, breakfasts, happy hours and dinners, and of course, live tweeting @SSN_Ginger, I was invited by ADT to moderate their consumer privacy panel, “Consumer Privacy – How Can Security Lead the Way?” on Thursday, April 11th from 9:45 am to 10:45 am in the Sands Expo Center room 307. I cordially invite you to grab a cup of coffee and join myself along with panelists Kenneth Olmstead, internet privacy & security analyst, Internet Society; Brandon Board, chief information security officer, Resideo Technologies, Inc.; and Dylan Gilbert, policy fellow, Public Knowledge as we explore current practices and opportunities for the industry to strengthen their leadership in privacy standards. There will be an audience Q&A afterwards, so bring your questions and comments for our panelists. 

Check out my blog for daily recaps this week and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @SSN_Ginger for live show updates.

And, in the blink of an eye, ISC West 2019 has come and gone, and the happenings of those days will forever be written in security industry history. 

Leading up to the event, people are filled with excited wonder about seeing industry connections, making new acquaintances and establishing new industry relationships, and interacting with new and legacy products manufacturers display in their elaborate booths. 

At the event, SIA offers education sessions that qualify for CE hours; the security industry joins forces to raise money for Mission 500 to help underprivileged children and their families; companies host breakfasts, happy hours and dinners, some complete with awards as symbols of appreciation to their integrator partners; and the showroom floor is literally alive with a humming buzz of conversation and an unexplainable energy that attendees can’t help but feel. And, that’s just scratching the surface. ISC West is truly a “wonderland” for the security industry. 

Then, of course, there is the post ISC West reflection after everyone returns home, has time to rest and then think about the week gone by. The following is an excerpt from my ISC West daily diary with tid-bits from industry professionals: 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The day before the show floor opened, DMP hosted their 9th annual Owner’s Forum for its top 100 dealers, where like-minded executives and owners network and learn from acclaimed speakers on how to grow their business. Morning keynote speaker, Tim Whall, former CEO at ADT, imparted his knowledge to the room full of integrators, inviting them to think about why someone would buy from them. When employees are taken care of, this pride trickles down to the customers and profits will follow.

“How much effort are you willing to put into your business,” Whall asked. “Make it [your business] meaningful by engaging with your employees; they must know you care about them as people and your vested in their success. Develop and acquire the necessary tools for success, establish pride by formulating team goals and define employees’ duties so they can expand and grow.” 

Dealer attendees were awarded diamond, platinum, gold and silver level awards and a year in review video was presented, highlighting all of DMPs achievements, such as adding dealer analytics into Dealer Account, the company’s online platform for integrators; launching their video doorbell with audio and local storage on the device; and introducing LTE Communicators with a lifespan until the year 2030. 

The event concluded with the afternoon keynote speaker, Mark Murphy, CEO, Leadership IQ, who encouraged integrators to “clearly articulate to employees about their work performance so they know they are doing right.”

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The 12th Annual Axis Press Breakfast, hosted by Fredrik Nilsson, vice president of the Americas, and Martin Gren, company co-founder, kicked off my ISC West-centric festivities with coffee, scrambled eggs and the key components of a smart city, which include safety and security, waste management, critical infrastructure and IoT/cybersecurity. 

“Can you ever have too many cameras,” Gren queried the audience, to which heads shook left to right, indicating the answer as ‘no.’ 

Gren agreed, but said that obtaining a permit to install a camera in a city is sometimes the most expensive part of the process. He offered this solution: “The more sensors you add, the more money you save because only one permit is needed.” 

Energized from the breakfast, I went onto the showroom floor to visit company’s booths, starting with Vintra, where I learned about FulcrumAI, the company’s AI-powered video analytics solutions. 

“There are a number of deep learning concepts that are producing false positives,” said Brent Boekenstein, CEO, Vintra, “but Fulcrum was built from the ground up using the company’s own AI technology, and it works on fixed and mobile systems.” Vintra created their own algorithms and they are able to explain exactly how the technology was built to integrators and end users. Coming in Q3 is a concept called “person re-identification,” in which body recognition will be used. 

Next, I spoke with Russell Vail, EVP – market development, Alula, who introduced me to BAT-Connect, a device that easily upgrades legacy security platforms into mobile by bridging intrusion, video and automation between smart devices end users already use. 

“This is hot for dealers because major investments were made into legacy systems,” Vail said. “BAT allows the use of mobile to arm and disarm legacy systems, for example, giving new life to older products.” 

I then sat down with Dan Cremins, global leader, product management, March Networks who is taking on the integrator challenge of RMR via a new version of Insight, a self-service portal that can be sold as a service for monthly recurring revenue. 

“Insight provides scalable, system administration via a closed-loop system to understand all health management of all cameras at all locations,” Cremins explained. “This provides complete visibility of the system,” so, for example, integrators can monitor customer cameras and send a report indication which cameras at specific locations are coming close to using up their warranty, enabling proactive security and excellent customer service to help prevent attrition. 

Additionally, March Networks integrated their POS with Shopify, making this their first cloud-based integration. 

The topic of video evidence was next on my agenda, so I met with John Gallagher, vice president of marketing, Viakoo. The company announced the release of its Video Assurance Service (VAS) that provides oversight, automatic problem detection and continuous diagnostics, empowering teams to resolve issues onsite or remotely. Delivered as a managed service, integrators can use it to build “new recurring income with an out-of-the-box solution that delivers value to customers,” Gallagher said. “VAS provides integrators with a digital connection to their customers, enabling preventative maintenance to be done remotely” which furthers end-user satisfaction. 

Dortronics brought scalability to access control via the 4800 Series Intelligent Interlock Controllers. “With these controllers, a maze of two to five locked doors can be created, or scale up to 128 doors, all functioning off one controller, as facilities expand,” Bryan Sanderford, national sales manager, Dortronics said.

By this time, I was getting a bit weary. As I walked to my next appointment with Kirby Han, art director, Altronix Corp., I was excited to see the company-hosted coffee bar and helped myself to an expresso with dark chocolate shavings before jumping into the topic of power supply. New to Altronix is the Trove Access and Power Integration Series, a rack-mounted solution with a removable backplane that allows installers to easily configure and test the system before installation.

“Trove comes as pre-assembled kits to make installation easier and running wires underground isn’t necessary, which is costly,” Han said. 

Next was a conversation with Nancy Islas, president of Maxxess Systems, to discuss the access control software arena, with the introduction of the Maxxess InSite, a security solution that combines machine intelligence with human intelligence via a managed mobile communication system to empower employees to report their suspicions. 

“The mobile app gives employees power to report,” Islas explained, “and adding the human element of reporting allows for early detection of potential threats.” Hence, taking a proactive approach to security. 

Also unique is the Maxxess panic button, a feature found on the mobile app, wirelessly in the cloud via physical IoT devices and as hot keys on a keyboard. 

Usually surge protection comes as an afterthought, but when investing in expensive security systems, it is a cost-effective insurance policy for protecting equipment. Ditek, a surge protection company, urges installers to at least offer surge protection to end-users or specify it at the proposal stage because it can reduce warranty claims and increase customer satisfaction. 

Matt Virga, director of sales, LifeSafety Power, was my last visit of the day to discuss low voltage power solutions for access control solutions. OutSmart Technology provides visual voltage verification with a glowing blue LED light indicating 24 volts and a green light representing 12 volts of power. 

“With our efficiency of design, the integrator, installer and end-user all benefit,” Virga explained. “On the job, installers are able to simply switch a jumper from 12 to 24 volt or visa versa and end-users are provided with a unified solution.” 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The SSN team got up around 5:30am to participate in the Mission 500 race … well, almost the entire team! I opted out this year because I was honored to moderate ADT’s consumer privacy panel and then I was off again to more booth visits. First up, Resideo by Honeywell, where I saw solutions such as Buoy, a leak detector and their next generation ProSeries, a portfolio of products for a self-contained security system, that captures Resideo’s four key elements: comfort, security, water management and air. 

Next, I went over to the ADI Distribution and was met by John Sullivan, vice president of sales. He explained that all products housed on the company’s shelves are color coded for easy identification. ADI has a “pick up anytime” room that is open 24/7 so dealers can rely on ADI to keep solutions at the ready. They also have a “quick pick up” where dealers can call in, go online or use an app to order products and the order will be ready for pick up in one hour. 

Hanwha Techwin offered me a tour of their booth, demonstrating their cameras and explaining that trends seem to be moving into AI cameras and Android platform cameras. 

ADT unveiled its new ADT Commercial brand at the show. “When a dealer calls into support there is a zero wait time and emails are answered within two hours,” Dan Bresingham, executive vice president, ADT Command said. 

My next stop was IRIS ID, a biometric access solution that scans a person’s iris as the credential. When I asked why the iris instead of a fingerprint or different biometric, Mohammed Murad, vice president global business development and sales for IRIS said, “The iris has 240 to 400 data points that are analyzed compared to approximately 30 in fingerprints.” 

Moving on along the show floor, Christy Roth, marketing manager – applications and solutions took me through a journey through an actual simulated retail store to demonstrate the company’s integrated solutions such as video paired with voice. Bosch offers a variety of products, so “we are focusing on what individual solutions can do when used in conjunction with our other solutions,” Roth said. 

As the day second was coming to an end, I stopped by and visited with LenelS2 and Interlogix. These companies were highlighting mobile credentialing, using mobile devices to operate access control, home and building controls, and video surveillance

My final stop was with Nortek/2GIG to interact with some of the technology that was featured in my article “Joe Roberts of Nortek Security and Control predicts industry trends.”

Friday, April 12, 2019

I greeted the last day of ISC West 2019 at the Women in Security Forum breakfast which consisted of sipping coffee and networking with women (and men) in the industry. The whole room was in awe and inspired by guest speaker Juliette Kayyem, Harvard professor and most recently, President Obama’s Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, as she detailed the exact location of herself and her newborn baby when she first heard about the 9/11 incident. 

After an inspiring morning, I was ready to return home and back to work, excited to research and write all about what I learned. 

 

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