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A fully converged security company?

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Busy, busy today, but here's something you'll see on our newswire this week: Entrance Controls to Purchase Portland, Ore.-based 1Pointe Acquisition to Create Leading West Coast Security Applications, Equipment and IT Company You might remember an interview I did with Entrance's Scott Ferguson where he said this would be happening. Still, this is an interesting development, and the first time I've heard of a traditional security integrator actually just buying a traditional IT networking firm outright. Very cool, in my opinion. SEATTLE--Entrance Controls, a security-focused information technology company that provides comprehensive security management systems for business has acquired Portland, Ore.-based 1Pointe, a network monitoring, security, and information technology company. The transaction, which closed Nov. 4, makes 1Pointe a solely owned independent company of Entrance Controls. Good marketing speak, there: "a security-focused information technology company." That's nice. The combined organization creates one of the largest comprehensive security-focused companies on the West Coast and will be one of the only companies in the nation to offer the full spectrum of physical, logical and virtual security solutions. This includes, access control, video surveillance, monitoring, storage, gate and perimeter protection, and IT security solutions for business. I'll have more for you on the wire on Thursday. I met with David Pelkey, the Entrance Controls president, at ASIS, and we had a great discussion. He's really got a great vision for where he's taking his company and where the industry is headed.

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Wow, is this a bad idea

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Monday, November 10, 2008
This is a little bit outside my normal focus on physical security, but I wanted to post something about this just to show you the kind of crazy ideas that are being proposed in the name of "safety." On the newswire today, a professor from Millersville University (where's that?) posted a press release calling for a "Universal ID" on the Internet, similar to a universal driver's license. Millersville University of Pennsylvania computer science professor Dr. Nazli Hardy says it is no longer okay to be anonymous on the Internet. She is calling for a Universal Personal ID to restore safety on the Internet. "Imagine people owning homes and cars and working at jobs under aliases where they create a fantastical identification for themselves - there would be utter security chaos," explains Hardy. "The current state of Internet security is really a misnomer. There is no security. However, there is a way to make using the Internet safe again, a Universal Personal ID." Wow, if that analogy held any weight, it would be really scary. Unfortunately, it doesn't. This woman wants to stop criminals from doing bad things on the Internet. Sounds good. Does she think that when people rob banks, they have a giant ID on their chest that tells people their name and where they live? Does she think that respectable businesses on the Web don't make it very clear who they are and where they do business? Does she think that spammers would comply with the universal ID law? People who buy cars and steal identities certainly don't comply with laws about providing real IDs when they make purchases. I absolutely can imagine people owning homes and cars and working under aliases. It happens all the time. They're criminals! Further, when we go about our daily lives, it's not like we have our drivers' licenses strapped to our chests in large letters. We have all kinds of anonymity in our normal day. When I go to a Sox game and yell absurd things at the batter, I'm fairly certain no one actually knows who I am - that's kind of the point. People love the anonymity of crowds. When I'm at a concert dancing around like a freak show, I'm pretty happy people can't identify me and then post pictures of the editor of Security Systems News making an ass of himself. When I'm at the toy store buying my fifth Wiffle bat of the summer, and I pay in cash, I'm kind of glad no one knows I don't have any kids old enough play Wiffle ball and the game if for me and my buddies. Further, further, this would only give criminals and people with bad intents more ammunition: "Hey, that guy said something I don't agree with online. I have his ID, which gives me his address, I think I'll go knock on his door and give him a piece of my mind. And, what's that, he's got a daughter that goes to school with mine? Well, I'll tell my daughter to tear her hair out!" Etc., ad nauseum. This constant inclination by well meaning people to strip rights and privileges from the law-abiding in an attempt to cut down on crime just doesn't make any sense to me. It strikes me as incredibly cynical: Let's punish everyone because it's impossible to simply punish the bad guys. Well, I say, "no." Let's get better at finding the bad guys and punishing them, and keep the Internet free for open discussion and anonymity where it's appropriate. People who want to build their reputations and make successes of themselves with the power of the Internet will certainly make their identifications known, and people who have something to hide because of their nefarious intent will continue to hide themselves, just as they do outside of their Internet activities.

All mashed-up: Cisco and IBM

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Friday, November 7, 2008
Hip-hop fans (hi, both of you) in the security industry should be familiar with the concept of the mash-up, where a DJ takes tracks from, say, the Beatles and Jay-Z, and layers them on top of one another and splices them up to create a whole new song that may or may not be enjoyable. Now, IBM is allowing users to do something similar with web applications. These mash-ups take two different applications, like Mapquest and a restaurant reviewing site, for example, and provide you with a combination that gives you something new, like a site that not only reviews the restaurant, but shows you where it is and provides directions. This week, Cisco and IBM built a video surveillance mash-up: Cisco Systems used IBM's Mashup Center to build a mashup that lets users convert feeds from a physical video surveillance camera into an app that security personnel can manipulate by clicking a mouse. I prefer mash-up to mashup. The latter reads like a Massachusetts-based Native American tribe, but maybe that's just my New England roots. Anyway, this kind of IP surveillance design on the fly is pretty intriguing, no? The IBM-Cisco mashup, which took eight hours to build, also enables users to execute instant messaging chats via IBM Lotus Sametime so that security workers can communicate in real time. In short, Cisco exposed an API to its devices, IBM created a widget representation of it and put it into Mashup Center. The idea, which IBM and Cisco landed on a month ago, is to take something from the physical realm, digitize it and render it more actionable in a business context via a mashup, a composite app made up of other apps. IBM happens to have a boatload on such technologies and is widely considered a mindshare leader in the space. Mindshare, not market share, because the enterprise market for mashups has yet to take off. To wit, there are no current plans to productize the mashup. One wonders whether there is even a call for such technologies in the surveillance industry. What would 007 say? Well, 007 really doesn't have anything to do with modern security, of course, but I guess there is a new Bond movie coming out (love the new theme song, actually - that Jack White can do no wrong), so maybe that's a product placement? Anyway, if integrators get hip to this kind of customization, just think of the way they can solve problems for end users and tie themselves to their customers. "What's that? You wish you could have something pop up in this situation that would demand the operator send a message to his superior? Yeah, I can make that happen." It would take away the need for manufacturers to put so much time into functionality ahead of time, and just leave open lots of possibilities for what the end user actually wants to be able to do. It's a very cool concept.

NY Times buys what InGrid's selling

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Thursday, November 6, 2008
It's becoming pretty clear that InGrid possesses one of the savvier marketing departments in the industry. I showed you over the summer how they weaseled their way into all kinds of newspapers with free "editorial." (Good for them. I admire weasels.) Now they've landed themselves a story in the New York Times that isn't exactly complimentary to the alarm industry as a whole. As you might expect in what appears to be a planted sort of story, it's sort of riddled with inaccuracies. I'm not one who slags the New York Times as a rule, but there's some pretty embarrassing stuff here, and I don't think John Biggs is a frontline NYT reporter. Wirelessly, Home Security Becomes a D.I.Y. Project By JOHN BIGGS WHEN Ken Jongsma built his new house, he found that the builders had already installed a basic security system — sometimes called a prewire. A tinkerer and engineer, Mr. Jongsma, 50, decided to upgrade and monitor the system on his own. “What most people do not understand is that a residential alarm prewire is a come-on by alarm companies to get you to sign up for their — usually expensive — monitoring,” he said. A "come-on." Or, a sales tactic. Or, a value-add installed by the builder. Why is this article so combative toward the alarm industry from the get-go? Until recently, Mr. Jongsma’s attempt to install and maintain his own security system would have been impossible. Now, however, with a little knowledge, even nonengineers can add a security system to their homes for less than a standard prewired installation by a professional. Most security systems consist of two parts: the hardware and the monitoring service. For decades, the hardware (window and door sensors and motion detectors, for example) was often installed by professionals, as it required some wiring and cabling. And while those sensors may have been connected to a siren or flashing lights, the real benefit to having an alarm has always been that someone will call the police when it goes off. For many years, that was also something the alarm companies were happy to provide — witness the countless television ads that have featured thoughtful and hyper-competent people staffing an alarm company’s command HQ, ready to call the police and offer reassurance to the homeowner. Hmm. I must have missed those "countless" ads. And is it bad to be hyper-competent? It's a benefit, right? As King Gillette discovered with razors and cellphone providers have popularized with monthly fees, the real money to be made in alarms is not in the hardware — it’s in the monitoring. The hardware can be subsidized by the security company almost to the point where it is free, but paying an alarm service about $30 a month for years and years to watch over your system more than makes those companies whole. Okay. Nothing new there. What's the point? People aren't supposed to try to make money in this country. We should be trying to build business plans that fail and don't make money? Newer systems, however, can reduce the total cost of alarm ownership. Instead of relying on installers to rewire the house, new “security systems in a box” use a combination of battery, wireless and cellular technology to make installation simple and quick for most homeowners. Some systems can even bypass monitoring firms directly and contact the owner instead of a third party when the alarm is set off. One such system is sold by InGrid Home Security. The basic package, available for $199 at ingridhome.com, includes an alarm console, a phone that doubles as an alarm control and three window or door sensors. The entire kit fits in a box about as big as a shoebox. The sensors stick to doors and windows with sticky tape and are completely wireless. They are powered by tiny watch batteries and connect automatically with a few taps on the cordless handset. You can monitor the system online, even taking video and images using an optional video camera. The system took about an hour to install in a two-story home. No tools were necessary but there were a few snags while activating sensors and base stations. And that would be better than someone else installing the alarm system wirelessly for a $99 initial fee why? It's better to do the work yourself and pay $100 more? What am I missing here? It's pretty clear that all of this guy's information is being supplied by InGrid. How is the total cost of ownership less, exactly? The monitoring service costs $20 a month and discounts are available with a yearly contract. What? I thought we were getting rid of the monitoring service. And where did that magical $30 a month figure come from before? It's a total straw-man argument. Set up some mythical $30 a month standard, then - WOW - InGrid is $10 a month cheaper than that! This is absurd. There are plenty of places the reporter could have acquired an industry standard for a monitoring fee (the CSAA comes to mind), and then maybe there could have been some discussion of what that monitoring fee gets you. And InGrid isn't using some kind of special monitoring service. They use Guardian Protection! What, do they charge old dummy alarm customers $30 a month for monitoring, but new self-install smarty-pants $20 a month? This is the height of crappy reporting. How much does Guardian charge if they install an InGrid system and then monitor it? How much does ADS charge when they install an InGrid system and then monitor it? Then we might have a real total cost of ownership discussion that made at least some sense. Right now? Not so much. A video camera costs $130 and temperature and water sensors — for basements or unattended summer homes — cost $60 each. The service offers 24-hour monitoring as well as access to video feeds over the Internet. Smoke and siren detectors cost $100 and $50 respectively. LaserShield, another company offering a monitoring and hardware package, focuses more on motion detectors in the home. The starter kit, which costs $200 and is available at lasershield.net, includes a motion sensor and keychain remote. It requires a standard telephone connection for monitoring and for sending alerts; monitoring costs an additional $20 a month. You can control the system through a Web site. Again, why do you want to pay more to install the system yourself? And why do you want to be the one installing your motion detectors, etc., when you have no clue about range and sensitivity and whether your dog is going to set them off? This is an option, sure, but not the obvious choice it's being made out to be. Within a few weeks , the company will release the LaserShield Pro, a professional grade security system that is designed for easy do-it-yourself installation. For under $300, the new pro kit includes a motion detector, control panel, and two door or window sensors. For an extra charge, LaserShield will also offer a flood detector, a glass-break detector and a wireless siren. The starter kit is fairly easy to install. You simply place the motion sensor in one room and the base in another, near the Internet or telephone lines. The alarm announces when it has been tripped and begins by calling your own phone number and then notifying the police if there is no reply. It took about 10 minutes to set up the hardware and activate the system. So, the inexpertly installed motion detector calls you on your cell phone when your dog sets it off. You're in a meeting and the phone is off. Next call is to the cops! I doubt there will be any false alarms generated there. Did anybody clue this guy into the false alarm problem at all? Doubtful. (Also, this guy can't decide if LaserShield is one word or two, but we'll let that slide.) For an additional $230 you can buy Laser Shield’s Cyclone, a stand-alone cellular transmitter that provides a connection to the company’s monitoring station even if phone lines are cut. Adding the Cyclone increases the monthly monitoring fee to $30. Those without landline telephones or VoIP services like Vonage will have to purchase Laser Shield’s Sparrow for an additional $130 (plus an extra $10 a month), which allows the alarm system to work over the Internet. What? Now we're back to $30 a month? That's what those old-school guys charge, right? So, I do all the work myself, I pay more for the initial package, and then I pay the same for the monitoring? Wow. That's a way better deal. Where do I sign up? Look, I'm being overly dramatic and I know that monitoring fees are all over the map in terms of what you pay for what types of service, etc. And that's my point. This isn't an in-depth exploration of whether you should DIY your alarm system or not. This is just a long (and it is long, so he did have the space to actually call someone from the industry - or call anyone, for that matter; the only quotes in here are from some random guy who self-installed a system, and he's an engineer!) advertisement for InGrid and LaserShield. What's the point of writing that? There's a reason LaserShield and InGrid are courting alarm dealers to install their products: People don't want to install their own security systems. And why should they? Look, I could install my own brand-new washer if I wanted to, but why would I? If I buy it from Sears, they come and do it for me, and then I get a service plan and all kinds of add-ons if I want them and that's where Sears makes their buck. Good for them if my washer never breaks. Good for me if (and of course, it does, generally when I'm on the road and the kids are sick) breaks and doesn't work. Of course, I could buy it online somewhere and have it appear at my door and lug it around and screw everything in and then fix it myself when it breaks, but why would I want to do that? I've got two freakin' kids that keep me plenty busy. Couldn't there be some discussion of the fact that InGrid and LaserShield products are both also sold by traditional alarm dealers? That this wireless thing is indeed cool, but mostly because it brings down the cost of professionally installed alarm systems? I just feel like this is a really pointless article to be in the New York Freakin' Times. Even big telecommunications companies are getting into the D.I.Y. security game. Steve Loop, director for business development at AT&T, says that home security has benefited from wireless connections. That is what prompted AT&T Wireless to offer AT&T Remote Monitoring. Originally aimed at small-business owners, the AT&T products do not contact the police in an emergency but instead send cellular text and e-mail messages to the homeowner when something is amiss. The basic kit starts at $299 and $25 a month. It includes one door sensor, a system controller and a remote camera. It also includes a system for transmitting video over home power lines. The kit also supports add-ons like temperature, motion and water sensors. Mr. Loop said he would not call AT&T remote monitoring a fully fledged security system. The system is truly D.I.Y. because the owner has to follow through when the alarm is set off. “The system lets you keep in touch with locations that matter to you when you’re not there,” he said. Mr. Loop said that some AT&T employees used the system to keep track of dogs and cats and even keep an eye on a babysitter while at work. The additional sensors act as triggers, allowing homeowners to keep track of sump pumps, heaters or air conditioners remotely. The installation and activation took about 30 minutes. I can't even get into how silly this part about AT&T is. For one, they charge a monthly fee for what's not even, by their own definition, a security system (wasn't that what we were trying to avoid?). For another thing, there is a monitored service you can get from AT&T as well, and it's run through C.O.P.S. And, finally, why are we talking about AT&T employees who use the system? Are there no AT&T customers? Not everyone, however, wants to go the D.I.Y. route. Dave Simon, spokesman for Brink’s Home Security, pointed out that many installations benefited from having a local expert installer. Experts can help decide which windows and doors to arm and which add-ons to include. Mr. Simon estimates that a full-service installation would cost about $200 for a basic system and a few hundred more for a more complex system. Brink’s also offers a monitoring service for $30 a month. “Brink’s installs the systems and monitors as well. Not every company does that,” he said. Most companies, he said, hire outside contractors to plan and install security systems using their products. This is classic. I expect this was the conversation in the news room: Editor: Dude, John, this story is utter crap. You didn't even talk to anyone in the security industry. What, did you do this whole story last night? Call some alarm company and get a quote or two for Christ's sake! John: Okay, hold on a minute. 10 minutes pass John: Okay, I'm all set. I talked to this guy at Brink's and he gave me some stuff we can just tack on the bottom. No sense actually incorporating it up into the story where it would have made sense. And get this? They charge $30 a month for monitoring, so we're totally all set! Editor: Sweet. Let's grab a drink. But let's go back to the central premise here: You can install your own system if you want. And how much did it cost? $199 for InGrid. So, let's see, I could install the system myself, pay $199, and have it monitored for $20 a month. Or I could have a professional person come to my house, install the system for $199 (I'm guessing Dave's rounding up), and have it monitored for $30 a month, but also have a service plan in case anything breaks, have an actual person to call if there are false alarm issues, etc. That's a no-brainer if you ask me. DIY, baby!

Obama and the security industry

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Well, the results are in. I'll admit that for the first time in four presidential elections I've been able to participate in, I voted for a major party candidate and voted for Obama. In the end, I threw calculated analysis and tax issues and much of the rest out the window and voted for him because I liked the guy. I'm not ashamed to admit that at all. I think I was finally swayed, embarrassingly enough, by this interview he did with Chris Berman on Monday night: A playoff for college football. Man, that's a good answer. McCain went with performance enhancing drugs in sports, and I agree that's a problem, but that's not an answer a true sports fan would give. While PEDs affect my intellectual appreciation of sports, it doesn't really affect the way I watch the games. I never sit there and watch Manny Ramirez hit a 450-foot blast over the Monster and think, "Gee, I hope he's not on steroids." I think (or rather yell), "Holy smokes, that is a bomb!" Similarly, when Penn State is undefeated and ranked third behind Alabama and Texas Tech and faces the possibility of getting hosed out of the national title game, I think, "You've got to be #@*@*'ing kidding me!" Obama understood that Berman was asking him for a fan's answer, and he gave a fan's answer. And he knew his audience. Obama seems to have an empathetic quality that's rare and impressive, an ability to understand what people are going through and speak to them in their own language. I find that to be one of the most important qualities a person can have, and it's something I've sought to teach my children, to get them to step outside of themselves and their own concerns and to understand what it is the next person is thinking and feeling. I was incredibly proud when my girl's kindergarten teacher told us one of her best qualities was that she doesn't always need to get a turn. When Obama told the American people in his excellent victory speech last night that people would have to make sacrifices, would have to work for a common good, all I could think about was that people needed to understand that sometimes they don't get a turn, and they need to deal with that. I'm a bit of a federalist, and a libertarian, and I believe the governments that run our local towns and states need far more of the attention that we give to these federal issues. I'd like many of the responsibilities of the federal government to be transferred to the states, and I'd like the federal government to stick to its core founding jobs: protect our borders, interact with foreign governments, run the Post Office, insure unadulterated interstate commerce - those kinds of things. So, with those things said, I want a president who empowers us to solve our own problems, who is a powerful and charismatic ambassador for our country, and who is interested in the most-important needs of the people he leads. In the end, I thought Obama was that guy. Plus, he and his speechwriters are some of the most elegant wordsmiths I've ever come across and, as someone who writes for a living, I'm swayed by that on a very gut level. It's really, really hard to write speeches that well. Pundits will now rush to predict the impact of an Obama presidency on the country, and, more pertinently to this blog, on the security industry. Some of you, like John Honovich, will be pretty pessimistic. I understand that impulse. I'm withholding my predictions until I see what kind of cabinet he puts in place, what kind of overall shape his administration will take. It's certainly true that a change of administrations likely to be this drastic will put a few initiatives on hold, and some projects might be delayed, but the vast, vast majority of you, my readers, are not doing government-related work, and a switch of administrations is not going to affect your newly won school project, or condo development (are there any of those going up anymore?), or retail chain installation. The larger economic forces are far more powerful than the head of our federal government right now. I won't jinx things by saying Obama couldn't possibly make the economic environment much worse, but I will say that the current plan isn't exactly coming up roses, so it's worth giving him a shot. Senator McCain's speech last night wasn't quite as eloquent or well put together as Obama's, but his sentiment was equally apt and impressive. He called for his supporters to convey their support to his new president, as he would, and to put their energy toward repairing our tattered country. He was magnanimous and every bit the American hero I've always thought him to be. He wasn't bitter, and I hope those of you out there who were opposed to an Obama presidency will similarly put aside potential bitterness and at least give the guy a chance. Maybe his tax plans suck (that's a sophisticated economic term), maybe his energy plans are pie in the sky, maybe he's naive about the level of enmity that exists for American democracy. We'll certainly find out. But I feel good about the country this morning, and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

ONVIF announces open house

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Wednesday, November 5, 2008
If you want in on ONVIF, the Axis, Bosch, Sony collaboration to create a global open specification for IP Video integration, you can now register for their first open house here. It's Dec. 3 and 4, in Washington, DC, at the Sheraton Crystal City. A month's notice isn't bad. Let me know if you think you're going. I'm going to inquire as to whether the press is invited.

Vote!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Anyone who's worked on a political campaign will tell you that, win or lose, you spend the immediate post-campaign days swearing you'll never do it again--it's way too much work and it's all-consuming. And you really mean it, until the next election season when you get sucked into another campaign. The last time I worked full time on a campaign was a lot of years ago, just before kids. (Literally...my daughter was due on election day, but arrived early on Halloween.) The days of working full time on a campaign are over for me, but there's one day I always miss being right there in the middle of the action...today. Election day. We've all heard what the pundits and pollsters have to say about what's going to happen today, but the cliche is true: There's only one poll that counts. Make sure you get to your polling place and vote!

All you ever needed to know about voting, you learned well before kindergarten

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Monday, November 3, 2008
Think you've made a rational, well thought-out decision on how to vote in tomorrow's Presidential election? According to this story in yesterday's Boston Globe, we have less control over our political preferences than we may think. The story's about a study in a journal called Science, which shows that our political preferences are the result of our reactions to different stimuli, and are therefore pretty much pre-programmed at birth. From the story: Science, found that our immediate, unconscious reaction to threat - how much we startle at frightening images and noises - determines our political views on specific issues like gun control, national defense, the Iraq war, [In case you were wondering, here's the security-related part of this story] domestic surveillance, the torture of political prisoners, and even immigration.

HID drinks some Nectar

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Monday, November 3, 2008
HID Global announced an acquisition just now, and it's slightly over my head, so I'll let the press release give you the details: HID Global Acquires .NET-based Nectar Smart Card Technology IRVINE, Calif., November 3, 2008 – HID Global, the trusted leader in providing solutions for the delivery of secure identity, today announced that it has acquired Nectarsmart card .NET technology, based on Microsoft.NET, from StepNexus and Hive Minded. I'm thinking that "Nectarsmart" is supposed to be two words there, but with these tech-heavy announcements, and all the wacky names things are given lately, it's hard to tell. And are StepNexus and Hive Minded the names of companies? Is one a division of the other? Did they both have a co-patent on the technology or something? I'll see what I can find out. Nectar is a commercial and licensable reference implementation of a .NET virtual machine for embedded systems with a smart card dedicated operating system. The acquisition is consistent with HID Global’s offering of a full range of smart cards and embedded products with high security and leading edge operating systems, supporting the company’s development initiatives in a number of ways: In fast-moving vertical markets such as transportation, financial transactions and physical access control, there is an increasing need to have the ability to define and program custom applications in HID Global’s extensive range of high security embedded systems. The ability to provide a .NET environment and development tool chain will reduce time-to-market and support costs while meeting the market’s requirement for flexible, extendable and programmable systems. New HID Global software platforms associated with the issuance of secure identity are being implemented on the Microsoft .NET platform. These include naviGO™, Asure ID®6.0, and iDIRECTOR™. Multi-technology smart cards support HID’s installed base of physical access control cards while reinforcing the global move to a single cross-platform card used for multiple applications. HID supplies and supports multiple smart card platforms and operating systems which are highly optimized to customer needs as well as the intended market application. This diversity and flexibility will be further enhanced and strengthened with the .NET platform. (Nodding my head to imply, "Of course I what all of that means and I know why that stuff is important!") “As a leading supplier in the delivery of secure identity, this acquisition reflects yet another positive step in HID’s growth in the support of multiple platforms and languages for smart cards,” said Denis Hébert, president and CEO of HID Global. “The ability to license the .NET reference implementation to third-parties supports our objective of expanding the HID offering into a variety of vertical markets that rely on secure identity to achieve compliance, security and convenience.” The Nectar virtual machine is a Microsoft .NET-compatible implementation of the standardized ECMA335/ISO 23271 Common Language Infrastructure. Nectar enables smart cards to integrate seamlessly with .NET execution environments through its use of standard Microsoft® tools and Windows® communication protocols. Nectar integration is performed using Microsoft’s Visual Studio tools to provide seamless support for multiple programming languages (including Visual Basic, C#, J#, and C++), allowing developers and solution providers to capitalize on existing skills and code as well as reducing time-to-market and support costs. I would have put this last paragraph higher. This made the most sense in terms of the: Why'd you buy it, exactly? Anyway, I'll set up some calls and figure out what this means for your average security installer. Edit: For those of you who are fairly sophisticated, here's a paper on writing for .NET-enabled smart cards. It's over my head, but might not be over yours.

Diebold's doing just fine, thank you

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Friday, October 31, 2008
Since Diebold's finances have drawn a lot of attention over the past year, what with the UTC bid, etc., I thought I'd post a link to their earnings report. Things look pretty good: Diebold, Incorporated today reported 2008 third quarter revenue of $890.3 million, an increase of 20.2 percent from the third quarter of 2007. The company also reported net income of $46.5 million during the third quarter of 2008, compared to net income of $28.1 million in the comparable period in 2007, an increase of 65.2 percent. Earnings for the third quarter of 2008 were $.70 per share, compared to $.42 per share in the third quarter of 2007, an increase of 66.7 percent. I guess the recession hasn't hit Diebold too hard. A net margin of 5 percent is solid, if not completely world-beating, but a 20 percent increase in revenue year over year, without a significant acquisition is better than most. Unfortunately, security is not exactly the engine of his growth: Total revenue for the 2008 third quarter was up 20.2 percent. Financial self-service products and services revenue increased 18.3 percent over the prior period, while total security revenue decreased 6.4 percent. During the quarter, election systems revenue in Brazil was $58.6 million, representing more than 85 percent of the increase in total election systems revenue. Of the 20.2 percent increase in total revenue, the net positive currency impact was 3.4 percentage points.

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