Subscribe to


Inside ASIS 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Security professionals from around the world converged on the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Sept. 12-15, for ASIS International’s 62nd Annual Seminar and Exhibits conference. ASIS International, which has more than 35,000 members and 34 councils, provided an ideal setting for learning, networking and exploring the latest and greatest products on the show floor.

“Registered attendance for the event exceeded 22,000, representing roughly a 10 percent increase compared to 2015,” Peggy O’Connor, communications manager for ASIS International, told Security Systems News via email. “In addition, more than 80 percent of our exhibitors have already signed up for 2017 in Dallas.”

At the opening general session, ASIS President David C. Davis spoke about the importance of the inaugural Security Week, which was held in conjunction with the conference, noting that Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer “thanked him” for organizing it, particularly in the wake of the most recent tragic shootings in Orlando.

ASIS International’s new executive vice president and CEO Peter O’Neil addressed attendees at the opening session as well, telling the packed reception hall that he is “awed by the dedication and commitment” to the industry by ASIS members. He also spoke about a “new strategic plan,” and promised to look at all aspects of the organization in an effort to make improvements, be more efficient and a better resource for members.

ASIS International also highlighted the three security certifications that are available for members, including PSP, CPP and PSI certifications. Several members who recently achieved one, two and all three of these designations were brought on stage to be honored for helping to continue to drive the industry forward.

One of the highlights outside the classroom and exhibit hall was keynote speaker Ted Koppel, whose bestselling book Lights Out has garnered a lot of attention for raising awareness of the possible threat of a cyber attack on our nation’s three power grids. He noted that a cyber attack on just one grid alone would leave tens of millions of people without power for months, telling the riveted audience, “I researched this book for a year and a half, and as best as I can determine, there is no plan,” he said. The government, including major cities like Manhattan, do not have a viable plan in place to provide the kind of support—most notably food, water and sanitary conditions—that would be required in the wake of such an incident, he explained.

Koppel pointed out that countries like Russia and China are already able to hack into our power grid, but because of so many common interests these countries have with the U.S., it is unlikely that they would attempt such an attack. But, he said that it is just a matter of time before a country like Syria or an organization such as ISIS has that same capability, but the difference is, they will “not hesitate to act on it,” he said.

He also shared a funny story of trying to make it through two airports without any identification after he had lost his wallet. Koppel said that many of the TSA agents recognized him immediately, but that wasn’t enough, so he asked them to Google his name, at which point several images with his name and bio popped up. “Isn’t this enough proof of my identity?” Koppel said, in that iconic dry wit and delivery that we have all come to associate with great journalism. He got through security, but his eventual point was, the government won’t make the kind of investment needed to provide for such a cyber disaster but is willing to pour billions into creating and maintaining the TSA, which he pointed out, when it has been tested, has an astonishing “95 percent failure rate,” said Koppel

In addition, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and FBI director James Comey spoke during the conference, emphasizing the need for the public sector to work more closely with the private sector to help secure the security of this nation.

On the show floor, attendees had an opportunity to see demos and check out for themselves all of the new technology available, including the next evolution of cameras; VMS with a wide range of analytic capabilities; mobile access/remote credentialing, verification and controlling; cybersecurity; robots; drones; K9s; and a ton more.

Another overriding theme on the show floor was interoperability, and many exhibitors highlighted their many recent integration successes with other manufacturers, enabling them to offer integrators and end users the options and solutions they are asking for. 

The following is a summation of SSN editor Paul Ragusa’s three days on the trade show floor.

Day One

Milestone Systems, a provider of VMS solutions, highlighted its many integrations. Milestone’s manager of PR & communications Courtney Dillon Pederson said that Milestone’s “seamless open platform” includes “hundreds of partners, from storage to video analytics to RF spotter.” The company also offers a system-hardening guide for customers.

Jonathan Lewit, the new chair of ONVIF’s Communication Committee and director of Technology Leadership for Pelco, spoke about the final release of ONVIF’s Profile Q, which provides “easy set-up and installation for integrators and end users,” he said. He also talked about ONVIF’s work with the IEC and the soon to be released Profile A for access control.

DMP showcased products that include new features for end users, new tools for dealers, more wireless devices, and a focus on panel and video communications. DMP also announced that The Company Store, which allows the dealer into the DIY market, will go live this month. The Company Store was unveiled at ISC West in April and is for dealers that want to participate in the new millennial marketplace, without having to invest millions in back-end fulfillment

Feenics director of sales Brian Matthews said the company’s integration with Allegion allows customers to “leverage both the security and convenience of the Schlage wireless locks while harnessing the power of an open, cloud-based security platform.” Keep by Feenics is a cloud-based access control and ID management platform based on industry standard hardware.

Joseph Granitto, Morse Watchman’s director of technology solutions, demoed the company’s wide range of asset protection products, including AssetWatcher, which uses RFID technology to provide secure lockers for asset protection. The company’s KeyWatcher technology is “10 times as fast with 10 times the memory,” said Granitto.

Hikvision showcased its video surveillance solutions and services for the enterprise market. To compete in the enterprise space, Bob Germain, Hikvision director of product management said, “you have to have a broad product range, and solutions that are tailored to vertical markets like education, retail and critical infrastructure.” He said that the company “works with integrators to meet their needs and their customers’ needs.”

Allied Universal CEO Steve Jones said the combination of its security professionals with its new “Machines as a Service” robots helped to ensure a safe and secure environment at this year’s conference. “It is a great example of us integrating technology and our manguarding force,” said Ty Richmond, president, national accounts and integrated security systems for Allied Universal.

Sharad Shekhar, CEO, Pelco; SVP Schneider Electric, said the security camera and surveillance company will have “a new line of cameras out before the end of the year.” Shekhar said the company is developing SMEs across all of its cross-functional vertical teams, in addition to its advanced technology engineering team, which are all driving “innovation withing product development,” he said.

Global surveillance company IDIS showcased the next generation of its Total Solution offerings, including the most powerful and feature-rich 4K NVR brought to market by IDIS to date; the IDIS Smart UX Controls; and the IDIS Solution Suite, a “powerful VMS among the industry’s most functional and flexible,” said Benjamin Bryant, public relations consultant for IDIS. Additionally, IDIS partner and homeland security solutions specialist Edge360 exhibited its Rapidly Redeployable Mobile Surveillance Solution in the IDIS Technology Partners section.

Jim Hoffpauir, president of Zenitel USA, said his company is trying to “change the paradigm when it comes to intelligible audio,” which he said is “achievable.” He spoke about innovations around intelligible voice communication and criteria users can evaluate when making security decisions for their organization. Zenitel has created a scorecard to help understand and tailor each solution to each user’s need.

Matthew Ladd, president and COO of the Protection Bureau, spoke about Security-Net, which is made up of 21 systems integration companies all working together to fulfill the needs of a vast network of national accounts. Established in 1993, Security-Net maintains approximately 60 regional offices and 1,400 dedicated professionals.

Princeton Identity, formerly SRI Identity, highlighted its iris biometric technology now being used with Samsung products. Mark Clifton, CEO of Princeton Identity, said the entire biometrics line of business from SRI is now part of Princeton Identity, which will help the company focus on completing its next generation of products. Clifton said by “getting the cost out of iris technology,” there will be “wider adoption.”

Andres Caballero, vice president and general manager, Honeywell Building Solutions, discussed how “we are helping organizations use their buildings as business drivers with integrated technologies and new technology innovations.”  These include technologies that improve building insight and control, improve end user engagement, from occupants to building managers, and empower end users to be more active participants in their environments. Keith Jentoft, Integration Team, Honeywell Security and Fire, spoke about the benefits of Honeywell’s purchase of his video verification company Videofied (RSI Video Technologies).

Rochelle Thompson, senior director of global marketing for Quantum Secure by HID, said the company’s physical identity and access management platform “automates the process” for all aspects of management, “lowering the risk posture of the organization.” Quantum Secure’s SAFE Software Suite solution is designed for managing identities and provisioning access in any physical security infrastructure.

Quantum Corp. VP of intelligence, surveillance and security, Wayne Arvidson said that when it comes to storage, “there is a new set of dynamics” with all of the info and data coming from cameras today. Storage solutions today are much more “scalable and configurable out of the gate,” he said, and the industry continues to see an evolution in capacity with lower cost.

Day Two

Wes Moore, FLIR’s director of marketing, security, highlighted the integration of its thermal security cameras with VMS, and how integrations such as this help FLIR provide a “total end-to-end solution,” he said. The open VMS platform makes it easy to integrate, with thousands of cameras already integrated.

Galaxy Control Systems executive vice president Rick Caruthers highlighted the company’s reinforced customer-first focus including new partners and integrations to provide cloud-based, real-time managed access and monitoring. Integrations with Bold Technologies, Dynamark and Advanced Access Security are “driving cost-effective hosted access control solutions,” he said, “which are getting a lot of traction.”

Altronix, a designer and manufacturer of low voltage electronics for the video surveillance, security, fire, access control and automation markets, premiered some new products including the eBridge 8-Port EoC Receiver with Integral PoE+ Switch, as well as the NetWay4EWP Managed PoE+ Hardened Switch with 1GB Fiber Uplink for long distance applications. The “expanding eBridge with LINQ technology creates RMR for companies,” said Kirby Han, art director.

OnSSI VP, sales & marketing, Ken LaMarca highlighted some of the company’s latest enhancements to its Ocularis VMS, which now provides “even greater stability, more robust security, new integrations and innovative features,” he said. The Ocularis platform also features new technology partnerships and new products from existing partners, enabling the company “to offer additional features and capabilities beyond typical VMS applications,” he said. 

Moti Shabtai, president, Qognify, formerly NICE Security, provided an overview of its Suspect Search, real time video analytics software that helps users locate and track specific people, expediting forensic video searches. He said Qognify’s new operational intelligence module for Situator helps organizations “better leverage the masses of data flowing into their control centers,” by monitoring large volumes of data and detecting deviations in leading indicators, which are often precursors to incidents and unfolding events.

Dean Drako, Eagle Eye Networks president and CEO, highlighted the company’s new Cloud Video Replication, which delivers cloud video backup for legacy DVR, NVR and video management
systems. He said that organizations can “extend the capabilities of their existing video surveillance system” to include an off-site or long term copy of their video. On the Brivo side, Brivo’s CEO Steve Van Till said the company’s Partner Portal, which is in preview mode, is a “great tool for dealers,” and is getting a good response so far.

Kevin Wine, Verint’s VP of marketing for video and situation intelligence solutions, provided a glimpse into the company’s analytics capabilities, which includes a “deep-rooted suite of analytics that allows users to gain crucial insight,” from the data that is mined, captured and processed. This provides a “big picture” that includes actionable intelligence for enterprise-level threat protection and situation intelligence solutions, he said.

Pivot3’s Brandon Reich, senior director of surveillance solutions, said the company is “solving the data storage problem” within video surveillance. He said that the goal is to bridge the gap between physical security and IT for integrators. This past year the company introduced Edge Protect, which takes “enterprise-class solutions and makes them available to small- to medium-sized businesses as well,” he said.

Ross McKey, director of products for Lenel, which is part of the UTC family, spoke about the launch of the company’s mobile credentialing solution, which is a virtual credential that provides a “safer extra factor of authentication,” he said. McKey said he sees “an explosion in the mobile credentialing market” over the next few years, providing “security on demand, anywhere you are.”

Fredrik Nilsson, VP, Americas, Axis Communications, unveiled the first joint venture between Axis and Canon, a high-end product where “professional photography meets video surveillance,” he said. It was announced prior to ASIS that Axis will assume responsibility for the marketing and sales of Canon’s entire network video product portfolio in North America starting Oct. 1, which shows “Canon’s strong commitment to build a long-term presence for Axis in the market,” said Nilsson.

Tom Cook, VP of sales, North America for Hanwha Techwin, said that the camera company was featuring “46 new products to show our strength,” he said. “We are doubling down on product development, and we are one of the few who design our own processors and chips.” He highlighted the company’s Q Series, a quality line with 24 models that are “competitively priced,” as well as the company’s P Series, which is the premium line featuring 10 models.

The Protection 1 exhibit marked the company’s first appearance with ADT since the announcement of their integration in May 2016. Protection 1 has expanded its footprint with ADT and showcased Cyber Security, eSuite2.0, Network Managed Services and Remote Video Services. “We’re bringing together the breadth of ADT’s footprint with Protection 1’s excellent customer service and state-of-the-art solutions to provide the ultimate protection for our customers,” said Bob Dale, senior vice president, national account sales, Protection 1.

Andrew Elvish, VP, marketing and product management for Genetec, an open-platform software provider for large enterprise locations, said the company is launching Mission Control, which allows users to “take the alarm, qualify it, and then take meaningful action,” he said. The company also highlighted Stratocast, a unique service that records video in the cloud, eliminating the need for any on-premises servers, which is ideal for small-scale operations, he said.

Stephen Carney, TycoSP senior director, video and integrations solutions, highlighted the company’s “purely open network” that has allowed the it to provide a comprehensive network of integrated products to offer the best solutions. The solutions include the Complete Security Solution, an integrated package of video surveillance, intrusion, and access control that allows small- to mid-sized business customers to access and manage video, intrusion and access control from one, single interface. Also on display were identity and biometric authentication solutions from Innometriks.

Oncam’s Jumbi Edulbehram, regional president, Americas, provided an overview of the increasing capabilities of the company’s 360-degree fish-eye cameras. The cameras are “omni-directional, providing one solution to cover a large space,” he said, and now feature cloud capability. With the cloud service, “it provides the ability to access and manage your entire system on any device,” he said.  A suite of analytics is coming soon.

Day Three

Mitchell Kane, president, Vanderbilt Industries, said that the company is focused on “strategic expansion through integration.” The company recently acquired Access Control Technology (ACT), a Dublin-based company that designs and manufactures enterprise level and cloud-based access control and video management solutions. ACT365 is a cloud-hosted system that provides value to the end user as well as possible RMR for integrators.

March Networks, a global provider of intelligent IP video solutions, unveiled a new Security Audit tool to help systems integrators evaluate and improve the security of their video installation configurations. Daniel Cremins, global product management leader for March Networks, said the GURU Security Audit provides technicians with “a very quick and convenient way of assessing the security of the configuration by running through a checklist and offering fixes for possible errors.” The company’s new ME4 Series IP Cameras capture critical detail in all lighting without straining network and storage resources.

TycoIS VP & general manager Joseph Oliveri highlighted the company’s product innovations, including its technology center in Tel Aviv, Israel. “We are always looking for new concepts and new technologies that we can bring to market or champion to help our customers,” said Oliveri. TycoIS announced prior to the show that it will partner with EyeLock LLC, a company that specializes in iris-based identity authentication solutions, to offer iris identity authentication technology to its customers.

Allegion showcased its Schlage LE Series wireless lock for mortise doors and other innovative products. Benjamin Hopkins, product manager, commercial electronic locks, said the LE Series features ENGAGE technology, which is designed to affordably extend electronic access control deeper into the building. Allegion also worked with Feenics to provide a new offering that will integrate the Schlage NDE Series wireless locks with ENGAGE Technology and the Keep by Feenics cloud-hosted access control and security management platform.

Bryan Sanderford, national sales manager, Dortronics Systems, showcased the company’s recently released 4800 Series Smart Interlock Controllers that can be “user configured in the field,” he said, to accommodate up to five doors with ample flexibility for various input/output configurations. Dortronics also showcased its lineup of handicap accessible push button switches.

AMAG Technology, a provider security management systems, highlighted its Symmetry system, which provides a scalable enterprise platform that integrates with the facilities and IT systems to deliver command and control for access control and video surveillance, including capabilities for audit readiness and advanced reporting. AMAG’s Symmetry Blue is a new Bluetooth reader that delivers a highly secure, convenient and intuitive alternative to open doors. The reader combines Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) with card reading capabilities to deliver integrated access control for Symmetry customers, according to Kim Rahfaldt, public relations manager.

HID director of global public relations and corporate communications, Anthony Petrucci, said, “the next frontier for the company is mobile,” including compliance in a mobile environment and ensuring safe corporate networks. The company’s solutions and services address the specific needs of government, healthcare, corporate/enterprise, financial and education markets, including mobility solutions that “transform the user experience by making it possible to confidently connect and use more applications on-the-go,” said Petrucci.

Assa Abloy’s senior product manager, Benjamin Williams, outlined the many steps the company is taking to “provide more sustainable features, and minimize its carbon footprint,” he said. With a multitude of both wired and wireless lock options available, he said the company is working with integrators to show the savings that can be achieved through its sustainable products, including ease of installation and a reduction in power usage for users.

Arteco, a global provider of event-driven intelligent video management solutions, continues to “experience significant adoption of its Video Event Management Solutions (VEMS)” in target markets, such as education, critical infrastructure and commercial, according to Steve Birkmeier, VP, sales and business development. He said that customers including USS Iowa and Lexus of Lakeway have experienced streamlined integration, shortened tactical response times, and better visitor and customer service through the incorporation of the company’s event-based intelligence solutions.

Arecont Vision VP of marketing Jeff N. Whitney, highlighted the company’s new products, including its new cameras, which are “made in America,” and feature auto-focus and are “easy to install and use,” he said. With everything developed and engineered in-house, Whitney said that the company strives to “stay at the forefront, leading the way in megapixel technology,” he said.

Kyle Gordon, VP campus solutions, Stanley Security, spoke about making the most of access control data. He said that feedback from customers indicates that they are looking for smarter ways “to leverage the data” that they are amassing. Gordon said that analytics can help integrators use that “big data to their advantage,” including creating risk profiles and improving overall operational efficiencies.

Securitas Electronic Security, formerly Diebold Security, introduced a strategic brand transition that will leverage the global brand recognition and reputation of Securitas while integrating the seven-decade legacy and unparalleled security expertise of Diebold Security. “We are excited and proud to introduce the new face of unparalleled security through Securitas Electronic Security,” said Felix Gonzales, senior vice president, strategy and business development, Securitas ES.


American Alarm acquires in Massachusetts

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

ARLINGTON, Mass.—American Alarm and Communications recently acquired Electralarm Security Systems, adding on 500 accounts. The deal brings American Alarm to about 25,000 accounts total, Lou Sampson, the company's CFO, told Security Systems News

"We were in discussions for about three or four months earlier in 2016. The discussions began when Paul D’Amato Sr. [Electralarm's founder] reached out to us (through his broker)," Sampson said via email. "Paul had known of American Alarm for years, and our family, and he knew of our business reputation and our commitment to quality service, which was very important for him."

Electralarm's account base was pretty evenly divided between residential and commercial, Sampson said, but "slightly weighted towards residential." American Alarm's account base also has a slight lean toward residential in terms of number of accounts, he said. "But in terms of scale of systems, our commercial portfolio is larger, and it is growing significantly."

Paul "Chip" D'Amato, Electralarm's lead technician, will join American alarm in a similar capacity, American Alarm said. 

Integrating Electralarm's account base into American's has been "seamless," according to Sampson. "One of the most important parts of the successful transition has been Chip D’Amato’s efforts. He hasn’t missed a beat. He’s still working with the Electralarm customers, to help with the transition," Sampson added. 

The deal is the 27th acquisition American Alarm has completed, Sampson pointed out, and most of those purchases have been in the past 12 to 15 years. "We are always prepared to work with other companies and respond quickly when opportunities arise," he said.

Electralarm was based in Abington, Mass., approximately 20 miles south of Boston. The company handled its own monitoring, which will now be done through American Alarm's UL-listed, CSAA Five Diamond central station. 


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

It has been about a month since I used this space to talk about the rising need for cybersecurity, a topic that is increasingly popping up in conversations within the physical security space.

Just this week, a report on the Cyber Security Market from global research firm MarketsandMarkets shows that the cybersecurity market is estimated to grow from  $122.45 billion in 2016 to $202.36 billion by 2021, at a CAGR of 10.6 percent. North America is expected to hold the largest share of the cybersecurity market in 2016 due to the technological advancements and early adoption of cybersecurity in the region, the report found.

The major forces driving the cybersecurity market, the study found, are the rise in security breaches targeting enterprises and need for stringent compliance and regulatory requirements, as well as the growing security needs of Internet of Things (IoT) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trends and increased deployment of web & cloud-based business applications.

This rise in cybersecurity breaches is the reason why Surveillance Systems Incorporated, a Rocklin, Calif.-based security integration company, recently launched a new cybersecurity division, SSI Threat Protect.

In my conversation with SSI president Todd Flowers, he shared with me an ironic, yet poignant story about an inexpensive drone he had ordered that arrived on day one of the Threat Protect division launch. Flowers said drones are a part of the physical security space he is excited about, and thought it would be cool to use the drones for prizes—“a fun little thing to do for some customers,” he said.

“The first day I launched our new cyber division, this drone shows up, and I plug it in—the interface is super easy and it is on Wi-Fi—but it won’t work,” Flowers explained. “So I get my IT guy over and he pulls up the network and turns off our firewall to see what is going on. Now this thing is just supposed to work internally on Wi-Fi and does not require the Internet, but when he turns off the firewall, this thing starts transmitting packets of data to Japan and Korea. The drone was trying to transmit internal information from our servers, and basically opened up a pipeline of critical information to servers in Japan and China.”

Although this scary situation was remedied immediately, it exemplifies what Flowers said he sees happening within the next five years: “The physical side of what we do and the cyber side of security will converge,” he said.

Are you ready for it?

CSAA focuses on cybersecurity

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

At CSAA's upcoming annual meeting—to be held on Marco Island, Fla., Oct. 22 through 26—there will be a panel devoted to cybersecurity, which the association announced more about this week.

I spoke with Jay Hauhn, CSAA’s executive director, recently about the meeting as well as other focuses for the association.

Hauhn said that the annual meeting's cybersecurity panel was going to approach the subject in a new way, looking to focus on what companies should do about cybersecurity.

“We are not going to repeat what has been done ad-nauseum and have someone stand at the front of the room and scare everyone about cyber threats,” Hauhn told SSN. “We are going to focus on something actionable.  We are having experts talk about how to put a cyber protection program together.”

The panel, entitled “Cyber Security is a Business Risk (Not Just an IT Risk),” will include Justin Bailey, AvantGuard’s COO, Todd Neilson, president for Secuvant Security, Sascha Kylau, VP of central station solutions and service at Onetel, and Steve Butkovich, CPI Security Systems’ chief technology officer.

CSAA is going to be looking at cloud based central station automation platforms in a similar way at the meeting, Hauhn said. The panel will not only approach the features of the cloud, but what businesses’ cost savings could be and how they can get started with a cloud based platform. 

Currently, the association has an early bird rate for the meeting, which ends this Friday, Sept. 9.

CSAA is also keeping an eye on other emerging technological issues. Hauhn mentioned that the industry is changing, and standards are needed for newer technologies; CSAA recently put out the call for SMEs to assist with new technology standards.

“Monitoring life safety events in the traditional central station model remains our core business. That will not change. However, new innovative applications and services are being offered by our members. Best practices need to be created, that outline the actions monitoring centers take in this expanding environment,” said Hauhn.

“For example, when a service that monitors an asset in motion requires a dispatch of police or EMS, we have to be able to accommodate the asset traversing municipalities,” he said.   

SDN hears positive feedback

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

In a recent SSN News Poll readers said that DIY offerings can add new streams of revenue to a traditional security business and open a company up to new customers. A couple of those respondents specifically pointed to the DragonFly offering from Honeywell, which pairs DIY installed equipment with professional monitoring.

Earlier this year, Bart Didden of USA Central Station started a new venture, Security Dealer Network, or SDN, to help dealers offer the DragonFly product with professional monitoring from USA Central.

This week, SDN announced that its heard some positive feedback from dealers.

“As a professional security dealer and installer, I’ve been concerned about the quick growth of DIY security products. The DragonFly Security System gives me the chance to get a piece of that business, along with the confidence that my customers are getting the quality of products that I would want to represent my name,” Kimberly Rescigno, director of sales and marketing for Security Specialists in Stamford, Conn., said in a prepared statement.

“This program gives us the ability to offer a tried and true product with a high performance rating as a DIY product. There is absolutely no risk for us to participate. And the upside—a new source of profits that could be substantial,” Patty Terada, president of Alarm & Access Control Technologies, Inc., located in West Linn, Ore., said in the announcement.

Joseph V. Bonafede, president of Technocality Inc. of Hamilton, N.J., said in a prepared statement. “Anyone on the front lines who is selling and installing security systems knows that DIY video and security products have become a main source of competition. As the old saying goes, ‘If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.’ That’s exactly what SDN allows dealers to do with its unique do-it-yourself video surveillance products and central station monitoring offering.

SSN spoke with Didden in Las Vegas at this year’s ISC West to hear about some of the initial responses to SDN and the DragonFly offering. Click here to watch the ssnTVnews interview.

We're all connected

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

With all of the technology available today, the world we live is becoming much smaller.

And it is also becoming a much more connected world, where systems and technologies are talking with each other, and more and more products are working with each other, all in an effort to provide the most cutting-edge and user-friendly experience for customers.

One look no further than what is going on in the residential space, with the emergence of the smart home, and smart everything, for that matter—thermostats, lights, doorbells, refrigerators—you name it.

Just this week alone, there have been a number of big announcements from major players in the smart home world, from Amazon, Google, Apple, Coldwell Banker, and even Facebook.

This week Amazon Echo announced that it now works with Sonos, the popular speaker manufacturer, so homeowners can tell Alexa to play something from their Spotify account, for example, using their voice alone. And Amazon continues to partner with companies to bring voice control to the smart home world.

And as Google prepares to launch Google Home to compete with Amazon Echo, it was announced this week that engineers responsible for the Nest Labs platform will move to Google to work on smart home projects for the company.

Also this week, Coldwell Banker announced that it is now promoting smart home staging kits that include August, Nest and Lutron products, all in an effort to be at the forefront of this smart home movement. This announcement from Coldwell Banker comes on the heels of Apple announcing that it is working with homebuilders—Brookfield Residential, KP, and Lennar—to support Apple’s HomeKit in new properties.

As if that is not enough smart home news for one week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced at a Facebook internal Q&A session in Rome, that he has been working on a project using AI software solutions from the engineers at Facebook to build a Smart House solution in his own home that he hopes to be able to show publicly in the next month.

While more and more companies enter the smart home space and become connected, so to speak, we are entering into an era of interoperability, where making everything work seamlessly together will become a necessity rather than a luxury, and an industry where partnering with others to maximize the customer experience will become the norm rather than the exception.

Monitronics offers benefits to AAA, AARP members

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

In the past couple of weeks, Monitronics has announced new benefits for active members of AARP and AAA, offering benefits both to members signing up for services with Monitronics as well as members who are current customers.

"These partnerships are set up uniquely utilizing various co-marketing strategies to make their respective member aware of the value and benefits that Monitronics can provide,"  Frank Guido, Monitronics' CMO, told Security Systems News in an email interview.

"These initiatives were started many months ago, but has been a strategic focus to fuel growth opportunities with high quality, well recognized partners," Guido said. "We are targeting channels that are synergistic to our business and the potential partner’s business.  We are selectively targeting similarly partnerships that provide win-win-win opportunities for customers first, our partner and Monitronics.

The company announced its partnership with AAA on Aug. 23, which named Monitronics as “the AAA-branded provider for professionally installed residential security monitoring in the organization's Ohio valley and Mid-Atlantic regions, which covers 11 states, including OH, KY, KS, IN, VA, WV, MD, DE, CT, PA, NJ, plus Washington DC.”

"AAA Alliance is a large regional club for AAA with a member base of over 5.5 [million] members. These members also have excellent attributes and are similar to our base," Guido said.

Brian St. Leger, managing director, discount partnerships and business for AAA Club Alliance, said in a prepared statement, "We are excited to partner with Monitronics to provide a valuable service at an exclusive discounted rate to our members.

"We know our members are active, traveling and out enjoying the world and this will help bring them peace of mind while they're away from their home," St. Leger said in the announcement.

AAA members signing up with the company will get discounts on a specialized AAA package, while members who are already customers will be offered discounts on additional equipment.

AARP members who sign up with Monitronics will receive equipment and free activation “as well as $5 off their monthly monitoring fee,” the company said in an Aug. 11 announcement.  Existing customers who are also AARP members will be offered discounts when they add on equipment in the future.

"AARP has a 38M member base and is highly respected brand. Their member base has many positive attributes and similarities to our customer base," Guido said. "Monitronics felt that it could provide AARP members with the best value proposition and service for security and automation. This was affirmed by AARP in the selection of Monitronics in their extensive RFP process."

How much overlap exists between these organizations' memberships and Monitronics' current customer base? "While there may be some overlap, these organization are vast and provide different avenues to reach new subscribers," Guido said.

Eagle Eye looking out for school safety

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Eagle Eye Networks, based in Austin, Texas, announced today that it has awarded $1.25 million in Drako Cloud Security Grants to schools throughout the United States.

Dean Drako, Eagle Eye Networks’ president and CEO, told Security Systems News that with so many deserving applications continuing to come in, he felt it was important to not only increase the grant money available but to also extend the application deadline (originally July 1) to Dec. 1.

“The applications that we received, some of them are heart-wrenching—it was just unreal to hear some of the stories of these schools in or near bad neighborhoods that are isolated and continuously experiencing problems but couldn’t address them because of a lack of funding,” said Drako. “So these grants will allow these schools to put in some basic video surveillance that will really help the school as well as the parents and students. This is one of the ways we can give back.”

A broad range of public and private schools have already been awarded the Drako Grant for a fully functional security camera system—including cloud management and recording, mobile phone remote access applications, cameras, networking equipment to connect IP cameras, and secure gateways to the cloud—at no cost for one year.

These cloud-based systems will not only help to improve school safety, but provide first responders with easier access. With Eagle Eye’s “First Responder Real-time Video Access,” which was announced at ISC West in April, Eagle Eye Security Camera VMS administrators have the option to pre-designate first responders who can receive immediate real-time security camera access during emergency situations; the cameras are shared only when an authorized user activates first responder access.

“Because Eagle Eye is a cloud-based system, we have all of that video up in the cloud and giving access to people can be managed, controlled and highly secure while it also can be done very dynamically,” said Drako. This is key for first responders, for example, who are heading to the site for whatever the situation is, as they can access the video on their smart phone or android device. Police HQ can also have access to the video and tell officers where to go, for example, all in real time, he noted.

“I am a firm believer in security and video surveillance,” said Drako. “Video is going to become a ubiquitous part of our lives—and security—and I think that that is going to happen primarily in the cloud. Just like email has moved nearly 100 percent to the cloud, video surveillance is going to move almost entirely to the cloud over the next 10-20 years.”

He continued, “There are compelling advantages to cloud-based surveillance systems, and I want schools to experience these advantages as we try to make schools safer.”


End of an era, beginning of another

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

As the new editor of Security Systems News, I am grateful to my predecessor, Martha Entwistle, for all that she has done for the publication. Martha, who had been with SSN for more than a decade, six of those years as editor, raised the newspaper to new heights, while maintaining the high standards SSN has come to be known for.

As we begin a new era here at SSN, it is exciting to take the helm, especially with newly promoted managing editor Spencer Ives helping me to steer the ship during this pivotal time in a quickly evolving and growing security industry. And as we strive to continue and build upon the strong tradition of editorial excellence here at the publication, we are eager hear from you, our readers, on what issues and topics are most important to you.

We also invite you to attend our upcoming second annual Cloud+ conference, which is set for Nov. 29 and 30 in the tech-savvy city of Austin, Texas. You can take a look at our educational program at, as well as register for what is shaping up to be an ideal forum to investigate the successes early adopters and innovators are having using cloud technology, which is no longer the future—it is here!

In addition to Cloud+, we here at SSN are also beginning to put together the program for our TechSec Solution’s New Technology Conference, which is Feb. 27-28, 2017, in Delray Beach, Fla. Whether you are a security director, IT professional, integrator, consultant, distributor, manufacturer or other security professional, this two-day event is the gathering place for security thought leaders to discuss the industry’s new and emerging technologies.

And speaking of conferences, I am excited to be attending the ASIS 2016 conference in Orlando, Fla., Sept. 12-15. For those of you who will be there as well, I encourage you to reach out to me to set up a time to meet, or just stop by the SSN booth to say hello!


PPVAR seeks volunteers

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

For the first time, PPVAR is looking to offer online operator training. Yesterday, the partnership put out the call for volunteers that would like to help write modules for this training.

The call was a "great success," with 47 total registrants, individuals had registered for it, PPVAR's immediate past president Steve Walker told SSN in an email interview.

Part of the call covered PPVAR's mission and approach, as well as its overall objective with the training. "The process of finding volunteers for any worthwhile initiative is difficult because qualified people have so many demands on their time," Walker said. "Therefore, we want our volunteers to understand the value of what we are trying to accomplish while also explaining how the process will ensure that we use their time respectfully, efficiently and effectively."

PPVAR has hired a professional training firm to do most of the "leg work," he said. "[O]ur volunteers will provide the creative oversight needed for ensuring a great final product that is creative, accurate, meaningful and effective."

"The ideal volunteers are people with experience in using verification technologies (audio and video) in monitoring centers today—people that can draw on their own experiences to know what works and doesn’t work in the real world. Owners, central station personnel (leaders and trainers) were all represented in the call," Walker said.  

"Our end goal is to develop seven different online training modules that will be useful for central station employees and PSAP employees, alike," Walker said. 

There are seven tracks that PPVAR is focusing on. According to PPVAR, the goal is to have the first module done in the next 30 to 60 days. 

“Crime in Progress Verification Monitoring – Introduction,” which focuses on audio and video verification as compared to other methods of reducing false alarms.

“Design of a Video Verified System,” which covers information on how verified systems are installed, as well as software platforms specifically for video verification.

The “PSAP Communications” module covers communication between operators and PSAPs regarding verification.

“Video Threat Levels and Flowchart” focuses on how operators should execute decision making within the Threat Level Flow Chart, as described in the Video Alarm Verification Best Practices.  

The “Design of an Audio Verified System” track will cover the installation of an audio verified system, as well as software platforms specifically for audio verification.

“Audio Threat Levels and Flowchart” looks at how operators should execute decision making within the Threat Level Flow Chart, as described in the Video Alarm Verification Best Practices.  

The final module, “Verification and Insurance Impacts,” is designed to make insurance agents able to better advise clients on options available in mitigating costs related to crime.