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Pelco's back in

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Thursday, April 9, 2009
Maybe ISC West was a REALLY good show. Not only has John Honovich starting thinking about turning around his dire predictions for 2010, but Pelco has decided IFSEC isn't such a bad investment after all. Check it out:
Pelco to Participate in IFSEC 2009 Clovis, CA (April 8, 2009) – Pelco is excited to announce that after careful evaluation and reconsideration, it will once again be participating in IFSEC 2009. This is a shift from an announcement made late last year that the company would not participate at the 2009 IFSEC show. “Following some last minute discussions with the show organizers we have reached agreement for Pelco to exhibit in the IP section of the show, albeit with a much smaller stand than in previous years, in order to launch several exciting new products including the Sarix megapixel camera range and the new Endura HD Optimised, enterprise-class video management system,” says Kevin Smith, Pelco Regional Manager for the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Pelco stand will be located in Hall 5, stand D80.
Those "discussions" might have gone something like this: IFSEC: Come on! We'll give you a free booth. Seriously, are you really not coming? Pelco: Birmingham is the suck, and there's no good hotel rooms left anyway. No way, we're not coming. We'll see you when you move back to London. At least then we can eat at some decent restaurants. IFSEC: Look, we'll put you in the IP section. You can say it's just because the demand for your new Sarix cameras is so high that you just couldn't deny the UK market a look at them. And we've got some rooms stashed at a sweet hotel right next to the river. You can have them. Seriously. Just come. Pelco: Right on the river? IFSEC: Seriously. Right on the river. They have a rooftop jacuzzi, too. Pelco: Alright, we're in! We'll put out a press release and stuff. Good news all around.

Background check legislation filed

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Thursday, April 9, 2009
The NBFAA announced today that Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has filed legislation on its behalf that would allow fire and security companies to access to background checks before hiring personnel.
H.R. 1939, the “Electronic Life Safety and Security System Federal Background Check Act of 2009,” permits industry access to a database which can be used to check a potential employee’s criminal history. Congress has authorized similar access in the past to groups such as banks, credit unions and private security guards. “It is outrageous that a potential felon could have access to our citizens’ homes and businesses without the employer knowing his or her record, and that is why this legislation is so important,” Luetkemeyer said. “It would be irresponsible to allow this to continue because it puts those families and businesses who think they are being protected at risk.” States are not currently able to stay apprised of crimes committed from one state to another, and many private background check services do not capture complete law enforcement information upon which to base a hiring judgment. Some states have no background check requirements for this industry. The legislation is not a government mandate, but simply offers the electronic life safety and security industry access to the same background information that is currently available to many other groups. Americans do not want a person with a questionable criminal background installing systems designed to keep them safe in facilities such as child daycare centers, schools, public pools, chemical plants, water and nuclear facilities, banks, hospitals, port facilities and air terminals. “I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this commonsense legislation to keep our families, businesses, and critical infrastructure safe,” Luetkemeyer said. Once the legislation is passed, the industry will need to secure support from the Attorney General to permit states to access the database. The bill also recommends certain standards for the Attorney General and Department of Justice for those states wishing to participate, including a reciprocity requirement and NBFAA’s involvement as part of the background check process. The bill will require significant support to pass both the House and Senate, as other groups are requesting background check access, creating a long delay in accommodating non-law enforcement organizations such as NBFAA. With the help of the security industry, NBFAA will work on securing a senate bill and seek to pass the legislation.

Silent Knight success story

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I got an email today from Ken Scott, of Philly fire installation company FAMCO, who I'd written a story about a couple years ago. Here's the story Ken sent a follow-up about how the Silent Knight system he installed worked during an April 1 fire. Here's the bulk of the email. Thanks Ken for sending this along.
At 5:31 PM on December 30, 2000 a tragic fire happened at Simpson House that resulted in 3 deaths. (see NFPA Journal Sept/October 2001 and Security System News January 2007) After this fire FAMCO installed an IFP-1000. At 5:44 PM on April 1, 2009 a fire started in a residents room when a lamp was knocked into a trash can full of paper. Within seconds a smoke detector in the hallway activated sounding the general alarm and the Fire Department was dispatched. The IFP-1000 continued to send signals to our Central Station as the Water Flow, additional Smoke Detectors, and Pull Stations were activated. Due to the early warning provided by the IFP-1000 all residents and staff were safely removed from the building. The Fire was contained to one room. The fire was very hot and 4 sprinkler heads activated during the fire. FAMCO responded and within a few hours all of the damaged Smoke Detectors had been replaced and the IFP-1000 was fully functional again. No lives were lost and no one was hurt. This is remarkable due the fact that a lot of the residents use walkers to get around. Congratulations to Silent Knight for building a product that has worked and continues to work 24 hours a day for the past 9 years. A product that gives the residents and staff of Simpson House confidence it a Life Safety System. This is what it is all about, saving lives.

CSAA to have new Operations Management Committee chair

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009
The CSAA announced In March CSAA board member Joe Miskulin, superintendent of State Farm Insurance, will take over for Pam Petrow, COO of Vector Security, as chairperson for the Central Station Operations Management Committee. "We are very excited the Joe has volunteered to head this important CSAA committee," said Steve Doyle, executive vice president of CSAA. "Joe has been involved with the group for many years and has a keen understanding of its history and of the needs of this group." Miskulin recently joined the CSAA Board of Directors as the Board representative of the CSAA Proprietary Council.

Online marketing for dealers

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009
You knew it was coming - it just took a little longer for the security industry than most others. Here you have a company dedicated to nothing but educating security dealers about online marketing and selling them solutions to their problems. Here's the pitch:
Membership and training from SecuritySelling.com skyrockets your sales, grows your profits and increases lifetime customer value. Designed by industry professionals for security and life safety business owners and senior managers, SecuritySelling.com gives members and students sales and marketing strategies and tactics that work. No hype or theoretical jargon … just practical, put-to-work now methods that produce results.
They've got some free downloads available for tips on online marketing, how to evaluate a web company, and what exactly to make of Google rankings. And they've got a back story:
Brian Offenberger today announced the opening of Security Selling – a web marketing agency helping security companies, life safety companies and integrators increase online sales. The inspiration for Security Selling came from a security dealer complaining about the poor quality of web companies able to understand his business, recalled Offenberger, president and founder of Security Selling. “The dealer complained that his website never produced leads and how hard it was getting to find new customers via traditional marketing methods,” said Offenberger. “And on top of it all, he couldn’t find a web company that understood the industry, its customers or its products.” The idea that there could be a better way to increase online sales for security companies, life safety companies and integrators caught the attention of Offenberger, a 20+ year management veteran of the industry and a certified internet marketing expert. Pounds of almond M & M’s later, Security Selling was born.
Offenberger was a regional director for Siemens and was on the executive team for one of the big indies. It also says he's "a certified web marketing specialist by the eMarketing Association, Google, and Yahoo." You can be a certified web marketing specialist? Anyway, it's $20 a month. Might it be worth it? Hard to say, really. The site's pretty ugly, and the endorsements are all anonymous (which always makes me think they're fake, but I'm cynical that way), but it's not like security dealers couldn't use the help with their online presence. And they do have a money-back guarantee.

Dice introduces new Dean of Quantum University

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Wednesday, April 8, 2009
I got a press release from my favorite Dice client services rep. Melissa Roedel the other day. Dice has just hired Bill Pavlov as its new director of training. One of Pavlov's main jobs, it appears, will be overseeing the company's future products, their training programs, training materials, and the online Quantum University classes, which will be geared toward instruction for the bevy of Quantum-branded products Dice has in the pipeline, including Quantum Video, and Quantum Access Control. Dice also envisions a Wiki comprising all the Dice-originated training, as well as Dice customer-contributed info. It's nice to see security companies hiring people, promoting people, instituting more education and participation from the industry. Nice going Dice.

Show me the stats

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Here's another story about how alarm sales are up because everyone's afraid of crime. (This one's from Hawaii.) Are you seeing as many of these kinds of stories as I am? Do you ever see any crime stats included in these stories? Why the heck is I everyone's so nervous? If there's a crazed killer on the loose or a spike in home break-ins in certain neighborhoods, then I'd understand. There's no mention of any later-day Jack the Ripper in this story, or in any other "Bob and Betty Brewer, scared to death in East Pleasantown, buy a security system" story I've seen recently. Maybe I don't watch enough TV. (I watch none.) I read a blog yesterday about people being so scared of burglars and killers that they were buying guns to protect themselves. One guy was quoted as saying that he was too old to "fight people off" so he needed a gun. [If you're too old to fight someone off, how are you going to do as a new gun handler?? Now that's scary.] There are plenty of good reasons to buy a security system, but I just can't believe that killers are really prowling the mean streets of every suburb in the country.

Mace finally name drops

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009
In its earnings call today, Mace announced the name of that central station they're buying: CSSS. They've been around a while and apparently do about $3 million in revenue. Still no word on what they paid/are paying. But he told me he didn't get a discount, so figuring about 30x RMR, I'm guessing something in the $7.5 million range, which is about half the cash they had on hand. Best thing about the deal, obviously, is that it will be cash positive from day one and as long as they don't tinker too much with it should completely pay for itself in the not too distant future.

Do you know the NBSP?

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Had a good meeting with Integrated Biometrics at ISC West. Just when I thought biometrics, especially fingerprint, had reached the point where people were just wrapping different pieces of plastic and tin around the same old technology, here was Wallace Seaborn, CEO of IB, to set me straight. For instance, did you know you could do "live" fingerprint reading, so that you can't spoof the reader with a rubber finger or a dead finger? I hadn't seen that before. IB does it with "light emitting sensor scanning technology." They've also got some interesting things to say about curved surfaces with Teflon that read better (no smudging out the finger to get flat) and last longer (1.5 million touches without degradation, which seems like a lot). Wallace also put me on to the National Biometric Security Project, an independent body that tests and certifies biometric devices based on performance standards for false acceptance rates, false rejections and failure to acquires, failure to enroll rates, and throughput rates. Apparently, IB is the only fingerprint solution to be certified thus far (which is why they pointed me in the direction of the NBSP in the first place, of course). Does anyone know about this group? Their board of directors seems solid. But why haven't I ever heard of this organization before? Here's their pitch:
NBSP, a non-profit organization, was established after the events of 9/11 with the support of the US Congress. NBSP widely supports government and private sector efforts to standardize, test, acquire, and deploy biometric technology; and to do so in an environment compatible with rational social objectives in preserving individual privacy and civil liberties.
The support of the US Congress? What does that mean? I'm not sure why I'm sounding so skeptical of this organization. I guess I figured I would have heard about them before now.

Whole body scans are coming to an airport near you

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The New York Times has been paying more attention to security technology recently, if only to stoke privacy fears. Still, this isn't a bad article on the new body screeners that will eventually be at every airport. Oh, no! There's a naked picture of me somewhere! Despite assurances that the images won't be stored, I imagine eventually there will be some kind of porn web site where you can view weird body-scan images of ugly Americans naked. It will probably be quite popular: "Ooh, look at the rolls of fat on that one! So sexy!"

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