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GPS'ing Jesus remains hot

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Monday, December 15, 2008
Still kind of digging out from that ridiculous weekend storm up here (to top it off, I got a flat on Sunday morning on the way to the dump and had to change the tire on the side of the road in 15-degree weather - yes, I'm bitter), but wanted to let you know: That tracking Jesus story has legs. Check the Good Morning America bit. It's amazing what people will latch on to. Feel free to ride the bandwagon.

Not the best PR for Siemens

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Monday, December 15, 2008
Hey, I like the Siemens security guys, and there's no mention of security at all in this article, but it can't be the best PR when your parent company gets whacked with $1.3 billion in corruption fines. Yikes. On a side note, let me assure you, gentle readers, that none of those suitcases full of cash were used to bribe certain editors for favorable coverage.

Disaster preparedness

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Friday, December 12, 2008
Well, I'm hoping nothing important happens today, as we only recently got power back here in our Yarmouth, Maine, offices, and we're still without a reliable Internet connection (I'm using one of those Sprint wireless cards, but we have to share it among about 10 of us) or email server (that's totally kaput). Such is life in Maine, where we get blasted fairly regularly with ice storms (in this case), blizzards, and Nor'easters. But there's a lesson in all of this: Plug in your cell phone before a storm so that when you lose power, you don't lose your cell. We have a landline at home, but no long-distance service on it. So I could call for help if I needed it, but I couldn't get on conference calls I had, say, scheduled with certain prominent sources in the industry. Whoops! Anyhoo, no power is actually pretty fun when you're prepared for it. We cooked pancakes on the woodstove this morning and went tromping through the ice and snow to check out all the smashed up and broken trees. Big fun for a two-year-old and a five-year-old, I'll tell ya. Also, I'm thankful that our school district has invested in a mass notification system, but I could have done without the 5 a.m. phone call to tell us school was cancelled.

From the beach to the mountains

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Thursday, December 11, 2008
Did you see yesterday that ADT and Simplex parent company, Tyco, is mulling a move to Switzerland from Bermuda? Here's the story. I'm sure this has nothing to do with financial manuevers. Ed Breen must have taken up skiing, or maybe he's a jazz fan. Here's something to brighten your day, even if you're not Ed Breen: a young Oscar Peterson at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. Wow.

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SCM and Hirsch to merge

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Thursday, December 11, 2008
There's news out on the wire that SCM Microsystems, a logical access manufacturer, and Hirsch Electronics, a physical access manufacturer, are merging. They kept the numbers out of the press release, but the SEC filing makes it look like a $30 million acquisition of Hirsch by SCM, with Hirsch shareholders acquiring another $14.1 million worth of warrants to buy more SCM stock at $3 a share, which is about double the price it's trading at right now on NASDAQ. I'm looking to grab some interviews on this as we speak. My initial impression is that this is a cool move for both companies, and with all the real talk I've been hearing lately about physical and logical access convergence getting almost easy to accomplish, it seems like a good business decision, too. Though IP video might get more attention, the applications for IP-based access control solve a lot of real-world problems and people sure do hate having to carry around gobs of cards for access to different servers and locations.

Colorado Springs PD recognized with SIAC Director's Award of Distinction

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
A recent press release from SIAC spotlighted the Colorado Springs Police Department for its instrumental role in developing an open to the public process for creating an agreed upon false alarm ordinance for city officials to vote on. The SIAC award, presented to the CSPD at the city's Dec. 9 city council meeting, recognizes the CSPD's foresight in establishing an open public meeting process that ensured all parties with an interest in the alarm ordinance had a forum in which to express opinion on issues of concern. The award emphasizes the importance of the initiative's community spirit, exemplified by the coming together of law enforcement, private citizenry and the security industry in a decision making process, the results of which affect everyone. In the release, SIAC representative Dave Simon said he saw the action of the CSPD as trend setting. Over the past five years, many communities across the United States have revised their ordinance. The Colorado Springs Police Department stands out for openly engaging its citizens and setting an example of grassroots democracy for other communities across the country. By involving all interested parties, the Department should be saluted for its leadership in developing a consensus alarm ordinance document that can be emulated in other cities. In the release, Colorado Springs mayor Lionel Rivera praised the joint efforts of all to produce a document that was universally fair and acceptable. Good public policy is a direct result of hard questioning that has our community's best interests at heart. The open public discussions of the ordinance hosted by the police department and council's public hearings have resulted in an ordinance that is fair to the alarm users, alarm industry and our Colorado Springs taxpayers.

Tracking baby Jesus

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Ah, a fine Christmas fable. I'm a sucker for this kind of thing. While the TV news version of the story might be worthless (another mystery "security company") the full version put out by the AP is quite sweet and well reported. Just goes to show that there is, indeed, value in original reporting. Just look at this lede (that's a journalism term): When Baby Jesus disappeared last year from a Nativity scene on the lawn of the Wellington, Fla., community center, village officials didn't follow a star to locate him. A GPS device mounted inside the life-size ceramic figurine led sheriff's deputies to a nearby apartment, where it was found face down on the carpet. An 18-year-old woman was arrested in the theft. That's some good writing, that is. The story goes on to detail the frequent theft of the baby Jesus, and what churches are doing about it. And then there's the security company (BrickHouse Security, an online straight-to-consumer distributor, to be exact), that had the smarts to make a great PR decision: Sensing opportunity in that kind of success story, New York-based BrickHouse Security is offering up to 200 nonprofit religious institutions a free month's use of security cameras and LightningGPS products it distributes. Chief executive officer Todd Morris said the idea was born after a few churches asked about one-month rentals instead of longer contracts that are the norm. It doesn't look like they're using central station monitoring, just devices that can be accessed via web browser. Doesn't mean you can't steal their idea, though, and offer a more robust solution to holiday theft.

Getting the word out

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008
I saw this online this morning, it's Apx Alarm's holiday promo: Through Jan. 9, new customers get a free security system and a $50 certificate to Home Depot. Here's a press release Apx put out on PR Newswire about the promo. I'll be interested to see how this campaign goes for them, but this element of it doesn't cost any more than the writer's time, so why not?

Sony cutting 8,000 jobs

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008
There's no mention of security operations in this article, but it does say that all of the job cuts will come from the electronics division, where the CCTV section resides. It does mention the outsourcing of image sensors, but says those were intended for mobile phones. Not sure if the same chips go to surveillance cameras.

New president at Cooper

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Monday, December 8, 2008
Cooper Notification has a new president, Scott Hearn. Hearn was most recently the vice president, business development for Cooper Lighting. Before that he was with Trane Incorporated, where he served as iVP, Strategic Relationships and VP, Operations, Americas. Prior to Trane he held the position of president and CEO of GELcore, LLC, a Joint Venture with GE. He started his career with GE, holding a variety of roles within GE Lighting and GE Home Electric Products. I interviewed Scott this morning and will have something on the newswire this week.

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