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HDCCTV Alliance details

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
For those of you wondering about this amorphous HDCCTV Alliance, check out my full story here. I've known about this stuff for a couple weeks, but I was honoring an embargo until they got their web site ready and the specification posted. You can find further information at their web site. Since this is the blog, I'll say that some of this HDCCTV stuff does sound attractive. Certainly, if the picture is as good as they say it is for live viewing, people are going to dig that. I've yet to see something on a show floor that's as good as a high-def TV viewing experience, and they say they can deliver that. End users will eat that up. And for upgrading a current analog system to HD or "megapixel" capability without having to rewire? That does seem like a no-brainer in some instances. As long as the DVR is still addressable, there are a lot of places were an IP camera would just be overkill if you could get two megapixels with analog. It's going to be interesting to see how this shakes out.

Watch Bart on FOX TV, (Didden not Simpson)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Assuming you're not like me, one of the very few in the U.S. who has neither cable, nor the newfangled converter needed to watch TV, you can watch Bart on FOX TV today. And I'm not talking about Bart Simpson, I'm talking of course, about Bart Didden. And by the way, have you heard just about enough from Bart already? (Bart, if you're reading this. I'm kidding.) Bart along with photo was in the New York Times today and a couple weeks ago, and now this. If you're in the security industry and don't know Bart yet, you will soon enough. And if he has your email, you probably got a note from him today about his appearance on FOX. From the email:
The last time I announced I was going on Fox News’s Hannity & Colmes in December 2006, I was preempted by the death of President Ford. So barring any national or international catastrophe in the next 3 hours, I am confirmed to appear with “Your World w/ Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel today. As a way of background, many of you knew that I was the target of what I called an extortion attempt that involved eminent domain and the taking of my property that had obtained all of its governmental approvals to build a CVS drug store but instead was given to another private individual, over my objections and numerous court actions which included a filing to the United States Supreme Court, to build his own Walgreen’s drug store. My loss at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals was presided over by Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who is now President Obama’s nominee to The United States Supreme Court. My comments today will not revolve around her education, life’s experiences or her race. My comments will center on how after 54 weeks of deliberation she issued a 4 paragraph ruling, (unsigned just like the one for the New Haven, CT Firefighters), that upheld the lower court that violated (in my opinion) the Court Rules (rule 12(b)) and how she does not meet the standard for being a Supreme Court Justice as set forth by President Obama. The President said in his introduction remarks of Judge Sotomayor that –A Supreme Court Justice must command the, “ability to hone in on the key issues and provide clear answers to complex legal questions.” A Supreme Court Justice “means seeing life from the perspective of the powerless” A Supreme Court Justice must ”be able to stand in somebody else's shoes and see through their eyes and get a sense of how the law might work or not work in practical day-to-day living." I surely was powerless against a private person standing in the shoes of government with the full use a such a powerful process, to take someone’s property, regardless of just compensation. In recognition of the President’s standards for what makes a person qualified, I don’t believe that Judge Sotomayor comes close to this standard based on the decision she issued in my case. I call on both sides, Democrats as well as Republicans to have an effective Voir Dire with this nominee and if she does not meet the standards as set by President Obama there is only one way to vote. I invite you (barring other events) to tune in.

Platinum vs. Pinnacle, and what about Absolute?

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Monday, June 15, 2009
I got a comment on Friday's blog about Pinnacle Security telling me that I was way off base calling Platinum one of the two dominant players. This reader said Pinnacle ate Platinum's lunch in 2008 and was going to do it again in 2009. (Specifically the commenter said Pinnacle doubled Platinum's business in 2008.) So setting the record straight here. I spoke to Jeremy Pixton, partner at Platinum, and he said Platinum sold about 60,000 accounts in 2008. I have a call into Pinnacle President Kelly Walker to find out the official numbers for Pinnacle, but haven't heard back yet. (It's still early in Utah right now, I know!) However, the word on the street is that Pinnacle sold about 66,000 or 67,000 last year. I fall on the sword for saying that Pinnacle is smaller than Platinum. I was wrong. My dear reader, however, was not correct in saying Pinnacle doubled Platinum's business last year. And I think you'd find lots of folks at Platinum who'll be willing to argue with that reader's assertion that Pinnacle will double Platinum's business this year. Jeremy told me: "Because most companies in the summer sales industry are concerned with recruiting sales reps for the upcoming year, there is much said about production that's not entirely accurate. From what sources have told me, Pinnacle's production was about 5% more than Platinum's last year. This is far from double." I'd say Platinum and Pinnacle are both in the running for the number two spot--with Apx clearly number one --for summer model alarm companies based in Utah. I have to say, I love the competition and I wish you all well. One word of advice though. You might want to keep your eye on Absolute Security in Virginia. I wrote about Absolute in June. Click here to see the story. Both Curtiss and Jeremy (from Platinum) will be featured in our July "20 under 40" feature (where we choose 20 leaders in the industry under the age of 40.) Curtiss runs the second largest ADT dealer in the country and Absolute derives 60 percent of its sales through door knocking. Curtiss said he'll soon be expanding his door knocking operations to all regions of the country where he does business. On an entirely different topic, (see Friday's blog) Bart Didden was back in the New York Times again today. The story--more on his connection with Supreme Court Justice nominee Sotomayor--is on page 13, along with another photo of Bart.

Get in the access control source book

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Monday, June 15, 2009
Hey, if you work for an access manufacturer, or do PR for one, see the below: It's time again to start putting together the Access Control and Biometrics Source Books for Security Systems News and Security Director News. In order to be listed in our product grid, you must be a manufacturer of an access control or biometrics product and fill out the survey here: http://vovici.com/l.dll/JGs83D783D7C7lnfD9U240550J.htm The deadline for filling out the survey is June 24. If you do not fill it out by then, you will not be included in the source books.

Mission 500 helps kids at Expo Seguridad Mexico

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Monday, June 15, 2009
A release from Richard Hahn and Associates shows that altruism is alive and well in the security industry. According to the release, Mission 500, a non-profit, security industry-focused initiative that is dedicated to serving the needs of children and communities in crisis, raised funds to sponsor 70 needy children at the recent Expo Seguridad Mexico. In addition to an auction featuring donated electronics from corporate sponsors including Bolide, GE Security, Giprex, Samsung GVI, and Syscom, Mission 500 also received a $10,000 donation (from ticket sales) from Giprex and Ventas de Seguridad. Former Miss Mexico, Letty Murray was on hand to emcee the event and help motivate the crowd. Other corporate sponsors of and donors to the Mission 500 auction included Altronix, Bosch, CAA, DSC, HID Global, Inalarm Distribution, ISC West, LRG Marketing Communications, Expo Seguridad Mexico, Panasonic System Solutions Company, SIA, Ventas de Seguridad, and Quaddrix, among others. I blogged about another Mission 500 auction at ISC West that raised more than $12,000 for children in need.

Maybe the facial recognition technology isn't that good, then

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Monday, June 15, 2009
Couldn't pass up an opportunity to be snarky: Nebraska has started instructing people not to smile for their driver's license photos. Why?
The new slight-smile rule is part of several security upgrades that will be made to the state's licenses next month. And smiles can cause problems for the facial recognition software Nebraska plans to use.
I'm really curious as to which facial recognition software they've invested in (and for what purpose) that doesn't work well if people are smiling. The only guess I can come up with is that they'd have a database of criminal faces and the computer storing the driver's license photos would be linked to that database, identifying matches so that criminals can't get false licenses (otherwise, the name alone would trigger a match with anyone wanted for a warrant or something). And the criminal faces would all be mug shots (not known for containing a lot of smiles, I'm guessing). Still, I wouldn't want to be the salesman trying to push the facial recognition software that only works if the two faces are wearing the same expression. I mean, what happens if the guy grows a mustache? Are you just totally screwed then? Nor would I want to be the guy policing smiles at the DMV: "I'm sorry, ma'am, but that's too much of a smile. We're only allowing a slight smile ... nope, that's still not slight enough ... mmm, okay, a little too frowny, actually, go with slightly more smile ... okay, hold it, hold it - got it. Thanks ma'am, that should be ready in a couple minutes."

Tri-Association award winners

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Monday, June 15, 2009
They've announced the winners of the Tri-Association Awards (that's SIA, the NBFAA, and the CSAA). No link, but the details are as follows:
SIA, CSAA and NBFAA have announced the winners of the 2009 Tri-Association awards: Alan Forman, president of Altronix Corporation, will be honored with the George R. Lippert Memorial Award and John Murphy, president of Vector Security, will receive the Triton Award.
EDIT: Der, Dan wrote about this already. Looks like the CSAA's press machine is about two weeks faster than SIA's.
Each year, the Security Industry Association (SIA), the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) and the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) honor two members of the security industry at the fall Tri-Association Awards Dinner. The Lippert Award, which was first presented in 1989, recognizes outstanding contributions to SIA and the security industry, while the Triton Award, which began in 2004, recognizes industry statesmanship and efforts to promote good working relationships among the three associations. “Over the past few decades, the security industry has evolved to be more advanced, more responsive and more effective,” SIA Chief Executive Officer Richard Chace said. “Alan and John have each had a huge role in that evolution. Not only have they helped businesses thrive, they have helped to make the world a safer place.” Alan Forman has served as a member of the SIA board of directors, president of the Staten Island Alarm Association and a member of the Metropolitan Burglar & Fire Alarm Association of New York board. He is involved with several charitable organizations, serving on the advisory boards of Gift of Life International, Technion Research and Development Foundation, and Mission 500. In 2005, he was inducted into the Security Sales & Integration Hall of Fame. “Alan is a wonderful, soft-spoken, caring guy,” Bud Wulforst, president of CSAA, said. “There has never been a time where Alan has not been one of our strongest and most loyal supporters. Alan’s long-term association with our industry, his hard work, and his generosity has made our alliance of low-voltage professionals better.” John Murphy has more than 30 years of experience in finance and corporate management and has led Vector Security since 1991. He was president of CSAA from 2005 to 2007, he is involved with NBFAA and the Alarm Industry Research & Educational Foundation, and he is a member of the Alarm Industry Communications Committee. In 2008, he received CSAA’s highest honor – the Stanley C. Lott Memorial Award – in recognition of his contributions to CSAA and the industry. “John has always gone above and beyond when contributing to the industry as a whole and encourages his staff to be involved with the industry organizations and take leadership roles,” Wulforst said. “His contributions have positively affected virtually every CSAA committee. I don't know anyone more deserving of this award from all of the associations than John Murphy, and I offer my most heartfelt congratulations.” The Tri-Association Awards Dinner is scheduled for Oct. 28 in New York City.
Um, you've kind of ruined the surprise for the dinner, don't you think? I guess they want lots of time to sell tickets.

New York Times discovers summer alarm companies

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Friday, June 12, 2009
Anyone who knows me knows how much I like the fire installation business and the residential security business. Aside from politics and art, they're my two favorite sports. I know I'm not alone. Well, I've got some good news for those of you, like me, who can't get enough of this kind of news: the mainstream press seems to be catching on to these hot topics. It was a mere two weeks ago that Bart Didden, of USA Central Station Alarm Company, had his photo in the front section of the New York Times (See May 28 entry.) Today topped that. There was a story about summer model alarm company Pinnacle Security on the front page of the New York Times this morning. The reporter did a good job with the story, although he didn't seem to realize that Pinnacle is one of many summer-model alarm companies, and that it's smaller than the two dominant players--Apx Alarm and Platinum Protection. I did like that he didn't hesitate to come right out with the fact that most of the kids who work at these summer model companies are Mormons who've previously spent two years as a missionary pushing a much harder sell--God.

Surreal Friday

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Friday, June 12, 2009
Maybe this will be a recurring item (like Twitter's Follow Friday or something): Surreal Friday. Today's surreality involves someone who spent $214 and a great deal of ingenuity involving a motion-detecting network cameras in getting his cat to stop jumping up on the counter. It's called the Blender Defender. You owe it to yourself to check it out. Seriously, I think this guy deserves a job offer from Convergint or something. Big thanks to Ling-Mei at A&S International for turning me on to this. It's genius.

Day 2 NFPA, and just say no to round eyeglasses

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Thursday, June 11, 2009
The second day at NFPA was considerably more crowded, which was welcomed by the exhibitors I spoke with. I got a chance to catch up with Jeff Moore at Fike, the fire company that just acquired Video Smoke Detection company axonX. Look for more activity from Fike in the next few months, Moore said. I said a quick hello to SimplexGrinnell president Jim Spicer, who promised he'd tell me more about their video smoke detection solution, which SG was showing in its booth. Stopped by UL, FM and ETL, but my contacts there were all walking the showfloor themselves or maybe in committee meetings. Speaking of committee meetings, I ran into Shane Clary of Bay Alarm, who is normally in committee meetings. Shane is my go-to code guy--he's like a human encyclopedia of fire code knowledge and history. He told me that the new code to watch is NFPA 3, which has to do with the commissioning of security and fire systems. Commissioning is, as Honeywell's Isaac Papier said, "what you need to do before you turn the switch on." If Shane says it's the code to watch, it's the code to watch. I'll be eager to hear the post-convention opinions of attendees. Even though the travel day home on Tuesday was a 12-hour nightmare, it was nice to go to a show in Chicago. I had a chance to walk around the city a bit on Sunday and Monday night. It's a great town. I did notice one disconcerting thing as I was walked around downtown Chicago. It's something I think you'll find disconcerting as well. I saw a few otherwise stylish people wearing round eyeglasses. I didn't think about it much until I read in the New York Times today that round specs are the trendiest new fashion. Here's the story Round eyeglasses, yuck. Fortunately, I didn't see a soul in round glasses at the (definitely fashion-forward) NFPA show, so I guess I can safely stick with my square shades.

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