Subscribe to

Blogs

NBFAA helps out PD, FD families

 - 
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I got this release from the NBFAA recently, and was impressed with the altruistic nature of their actions. According to the release, the NBFAA has awarded more than $45,000 in scholarships through the Youth Scholarship Program. Currently, a dozen state chapters participate in the national program. These states conduct local and state programs and their top student competes for the national NBFAA scholarships. The state programs generally award $1,000 or more to their winners. The NBFAA is the nation's oldest non profit trade association dedicated to representing, promoting, and supporting the electronic life-safety and security industry.

NFPA expo Day 1

 - 
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The first day of the NFPA Expo was yesterday from 3:30 to 7:30, and all the usual suspects were there. Traffic appeared light compared to last year in Vegas, but as one person pointed out to me, the center aisle was huge. Even if it was packed, traffic would appear slow with that veritable freeway of an aisle. So I spoke to Lorraine Carli, NFPA director of communications about their Twitter experience, and she said, "the verdict is out." They're giving it a whirl she said, to see if it has value as a business tool. She runs a smart communications operation at NFPA that's focused on news, so it makes sense that they're trying it out--(and that she's skeptical.) She said they had 445 followers, and they use it to drive traffic back to their Web site where they have further information on events, studies, statistics. (We've done some experimenting with Twitter here at United Publications. Not me but Sam and Rhianna. I'd say the verdict is still out for us as well.) So it was mass notification a-go-go at NFPA yesterday--at all the Honeywell Fire Group, Seimens, GE Security, and Simplex Grinnell. Interestingly, SimplexGrinnell was launching a new VSD--video smoke detection, you know like axonX and DTec, in its booth. They're working with a Chinese company called WizMart and the product will be available in North America within 60 days, according to SG's David Brooks. UL and FM had booths on either end of the front row of the show, while ETL, a relative newcomer to the market, was a little further back. Both Fike and Bosch told me last month that they want to take their place among the top four fire providers in the industry within the next 4-5 years. The four dominant players now are: Tyco, Siemens, Honeywell & GE. Fike, which acquired axonX recently, had a big booth a couple rows back from the front, but Bosch had a big honkin' booth in the front row. I saw some familiar faces in a different place yesterday. Former Silent Knight guys, Jeff Hendrickson, Karl Eiden, Hugh Blair and Dave Kosciuk are now working for Potter. Bernie Lears has hired some pros. I have lots more info, but no time. Had hoped for a run along the lake --what a great place to run!--this morning, but work's getting in the way. Gotta check out of the hotel and get to the show for a couple hours before I head back to Maine.

Security by the three rivers

 - 
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Just got word that ESX 2010 will be in Pittsburgh, which isn't nearly as bad as it might initially sound. Pittsburgh gets a bad rap, I think. People think steel-town, gritty, boring, but it's actually got a lot going on for it. The Andy Warhol Museum rocks, for example. They've got Carnegie Mellon, where a bunch of technology has originated that you're using in the industry today. And the South Side is a great place to party. Start pre-gaming here. Maybe the best thing about this new show on the schedule is that it's taking us to places we don't go all that often on the show circuit. Baltimore this year is kind of boring, sure, but Nashville last year was kick ass and Pittsburgh will be a blast. My votes for upcoming years (knowing that it's not going to be West of the Mississippi for a while) include Savannah and Memphis. NFPA's choices of Chicago and Boston lately have been spot-on, too, I guess, but I don't go to the fire events. That's what Martha does.

NFPA show opens today

 - 
Monday, June 8, 2009
I'm here in Chicago, getting ready to head down to McCormick Place convention center, which I hear is the largest in the country, for the opening of the National Fire Protection Association Conference and Expo. I'm staying a little north of the convention center. Wanted to check out the fire protection system at the Chicago Art Institutes' new modern wing, which just opened a couple weeks ago. The NFPA show opens today at 3:30, but NFPA events have been ongoing for a couple days. In particular, there were a couple of behind-the-scenes tours on Saturday, one at the Fermi Lab and one at UL. I wasn't in town for those events, but here's some great coverage from the NFPA press staffHere's their blog You've got to check it out--fun entries and LOTS OF COOL PICTURES of the tours. [Sam calls writing in all capital letters "yelling in print." United Publications techies: can you hear me? SURE WISH I COULD POST PHOTOS.] You know, the NFPA press staff has gotten frightfully hip in the last year. In addition to their blog, they're also twittering (I think the verb is tweeting) from the event. I can't wait to get [NFPA's director of communications] Lorraine Carli's take on this twitter thing. I'm trying to keep an open mind on Twitter, but it's not easy. What's next? Flapping, Yammering, Blathering? What do you think about Twitter? About NFPA 2009? Stop by the Security Systems Booth at NFPA (Number 1337) to let me know.

The remaking of Pelco continues

 - 
Monday, June 8, 2009
Considering they were purchased by the Europe-based Schneider Electric, and that they just announced a restructuring for their global sales efforts, it should come as no surprise that their leader of EMEA sales has a new job, but all of this change has to have some kind of effect on Pelco, no? The new news is that IndigoVision, IP video manufacturer, has appointed Ivo Drent as senior vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). Before joining IndigoVision, Ivo headed up EMEA for Pelco the last 10 years, "during which time he led their growth from nothing to $100m sales." Now, I have no way of knowing whether the quoted statement is true, or whether that $100m number is actually underperforming considering Pelco's products, name recognition, and the amount of investment they made in EMEA, but I do know you hate to have a former head of your sales organization, anywhere, selling against you. It's not like Ivo's going to start slandering Pelco six ways from Sunday, as that would undermine any trust he'd built with customers over the years, but he certainly knows who's due for an upgrade, or who really likes to get a fruitbasket at Christmas time, or what Pelco's product weaknesses are. And IndigoVision is going to go right after that. Good hire for IndigoVision, I'd say.

Fire sprinklers to get day on Hill?

 - 
Friday, June 5, 2009
Here's an opinion piece which is mostly about House Ways and Means Chair Charlie Rangel, but also talks about the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. This guy complains that the National Fire Sprinkler Association is lining Rep. Rangel's pockets (nicely, to to tune of $20,000) and will be rewarded with a legislative hearing, finally, on this pet project of theirs, the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act. Here's the piece This guy notes that the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act is not a bad piece of legislation. Indeed, as the name suggests, it gives tax breaks to businesses (and in some cases, homeowners,) that install fire sprinklers.
But the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act is no boondoggle for the industry. It's a fairly modest tinker to tax law. Currently, if a building owner--residential or commercial -- installs automated fire sprinklers, he cannot claim the entire cost as a tax deduction that same year, but he has to spread that deduction over about 30 years, taking a deduction on the annual "depreciation" of the sprinkler system rather than the actual cost. Many long-term capital investments are treated the same way. NFSA wants to speed that depreciation up to five years, thus increasing the tax savings for sprinkler buyers, and thus spurring their purchase. The makers and installers of fire sprinklers -- NFSA's members -- clearly benefit. Landlords and developers benefit. Public safety benefits if more buildings have these sprinklers.
His complaint is really more with Rangel than with the fire industry--although he does say that "this obscure industry"--that's you, fire people--will benefit from the bill if passed. He also makes this statement:
The loser is the federal Treasury, because revenue would decrease in the short term.
Which, as my middle school kiddos would say, is a lame claim, in my book. Yes guy, be worried about revenues and the Treasury, but don't worry about the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, for heaven's sake. Someone should direct him to the NFPA's recent fire sprinkler demos which I referenced in my most recent blog. It's convincing stuff. Here it is again in case you missed it.

A surreal Friday

 - 
Friday, June 5, 2009
I'm slaving away on some ESX products and the 20 under 40 feature, so not much time for anything thoughtful, but I thought I'd pass along the most surreal thing that's come up in a YouTube search lately. I present to you the Cupcake Security Camera. Enjoy.

PERS news: Life Alert wins injunction

 - 
Friday, June 5, 2009
Life Alert (previously called LifeCall), the PERS company that gave us the iconic "Help, I've fallen, and I can't get up!" has won a victory in court. A year ago Life Alert was locked in a lawsuit with pharmacy chain CVS Caremark and its PERS partner, Connect America Medical Alarm Company, which markets its PERS products through CVS' retail chains. My predecessor Leischen Stelter wrote all about. On May 26, the U.S. District Court sided with Life Alert in its legal battle against Medical Guardian, LLC, Tracking Now, LLC and Tracking Now president Geoff Gross--Wait a minute... is he related to Connect America president Ken Gross, who was involved in the aforementioned lawsuit against CVS? ATTENTION GROSS FAMILY: PLEASE STOP MESSING WITH AMERICA'S ICONIC PERS COMPANY!! Medical Guardian, Tracking Now and Geoff Gross are now permanently enjoined from using Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc. trademarks in any way, including but not limited to, bidding on them as keywords in internet search engines. The injunction stems from a lawsuit filed by Life Alert against Tracking Now and Geoff Gross in July of 2008. Life Alert has been providing PERS services and helping seniors get back up for 22 years.

Apparently, many in the security industry don't have the Internet

 - 
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Because, if they did have the Internet, they wouldn't go around saying things that are fairly obviously not true. A couple days back I made fun of Alarm.com for saying they were first when they weren't, so it's only fair that I pick on an integrator for basically doing the same thing. Here's a story out of Bethlehem, PA (maybe registration required), about an upgrade to the municipal wireless video system by Intelligent Decisions and Let's Think Wireless, which is cool and all, but let me get to the good part in a hurry:
"The city of Bethlehem has been able to start a true Public/Private partnership within the city by soliciting the support and contributions from various residents and business entities," said Mickey Branson, Senior Director of National Sales at Let's Think Wireless. "This partnership, which may be the first of its kind, has allowed this project to grow rapidly while putting virtual feet on the street, almost overnight."
Come on, duder. It "may be the first of its kind"? As though it would be impossible to check that out. Well, let me google that for you. And if the Google results don't satisfy you, try reading your industry periodicals. (And, yeah, I wrote that story in 2007.) I mean, come on - you thought you guys were the first to think of having private entities fund publicly used surveillance cameras? Really?

Video analytics at work

 - 
Thursday, June 4, 2009
A lot of you have probably already seen this, but here's a video where analytics pick up a woman who walks toward some traintracks, lies down in between them, and then lets a train travel over top of her before getting back up and walking away. I wonder what the general public thinks of all the green circles and what not. Do they understand that's video analytics at work? Are they curious about them at all?

Pages