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Maybe there WILL only be one card someday

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Thursday, May 28, 2009
So, HID already teamed with Dell to make it so one card gets me in the door and on the network. Cool. But not nearly as cool as that same card being my debit card. That's REALLY cool. For some reason, HID put out a press release with a bunch of hot links all throughout it, but didn't actually post the link on their web site, so I can't link to it, but here's the news:
IRVINE, Calif., May 28, 2009 – HID Global, the trusted worldwide leader in providing solutions for the delivery of secure identity, today announced that its iCLASS®secure contactless technology for physical and logical access control has been successfully combined with INSIDE Contactless’ MicroPass®contactless payment platform featuring Visa®payWave capability to enable the industry’s first converged card solution that incorporates identity and access control with payment. Recently debuted in a pilot for U.S. Bank, the converged solution enables U.S. Bank and Visa issuers worldwide to create new card programs using this converged solution, providing users with a single card that offers them the ability to gain access to secure buildings and facilities and make purchases. No longer are users required to carry multiple cards or tokens.
Let me summarize that for you, in case you didn't make it all the way through the 57-word first sentence: HID can now make it so one card lets you get in the door, get on the network, and buy groceries. Cool. (Okay, so it's not really your debit card, per se, but it's close to that.) If I worked in a place that had any access control whatsoever or actually gave a crap at all about network access privileges, I would be all over that! I have to actually leave some of my cards at home because they don't all fit in my wallet. If you can make it so I have fewer cards, you are my new best friend. Gosh I wish some of my cards were access card thingees so that I could then take advantage of this new cool capability on the part of HID and have fewer cards. Dang crime-free Maine! I think it goes without saying that this is a killer app for college campuses, where mommy and daddy are constantly refilling the account that goes along with the ID card kids use for getting stuff at the dining hall and vending machines and the laundry. Now that card can be both a picture ID and the only way into the dorm and the only way to get onto the school network/log on to their school provided laptop? Seems like a no brainer. Maine will do something like this with our driver's licenses in 2055, but they'll expect us to be impressed that not only is it an ID card, but it's also great for scraping the ice off your windshield AND removing annoying sap deposits on your hood. How's THAT for convergence?!?

Good Samaritan security Co. saves day

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Thursday, May 28, 2009
I came across this story from azfamily.com this morning and thought it was an interesting example of altruism in the industry, the more so because when I called Central Security Group seeking comment, the central station manager I spoke with had no idea what I was talking about. I relayed the story to him , and he checked their monitored account database and confirmed. "We're monitoring them, all right," he said, and promised to escalate my call to higher ups and see if I could get some more commentary on why Central decided to help these poor people out. It sure is nice to see people doing the right thing and not publicizing it; doing the right thing because it's right not because it will win them the recognition of news outlets like 3 On Your Side and SSN, who notice when people do the right thing. It's nice to see people in the industry doing nice things to keep public perception of the industry from tarnishing, even if it means they're eating the cost of some monthly RMR. I called PCA Security to try and get some input from them on what happened, and (actually, this is kind of funny) the same girl who answered the phone for poor Dawn Stapley when she tried to follow up with her alarm company answered my call. Just as in the azfamily story, the girl answered "Security, please hold!" before putting me on hold, which came complete with loud and--to my mind--unpleasant guitar rock music. She did eventually come back, though, and, after hearing why I called, asked me to call back later and speak with the boss, which I will do. I'll follow up on this story as more input becomes available.

Wall Street discovering Brink's Home Security, but are they doing their homework?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Here's another Wall Street convert talking about what a smart investment BHS is Mostly, it's more of what we already know: Brink's Home Security is a very well run company. One problem I note, is that this guy's not reading Security Systems News. It's obvious, because loyal readers know well that BHS is about to undergo a major change. The name Brink's Home Security is going away and the company plans to rebrand within the next few months. I'm not doubting the ability of Brink's to survive the rebranding (or acquisition by another brand perhaps?) After all, it will still be a smart company run by smart people. Still, you can't underestimate the importance of brand names. Just look at the buzz caused by Smith & Wesson Security Services when they've barely gotten off the ground.

Help with the system, score free dope?

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Sorry, couldn't help myself: "NDSU gets half of needed funds for hemp research security." Anybody doing business in North Dakota and want to get in on the ground floor with the hemp industry? I'm sure you'll score some brownie points...

Feds have screwdriver-proof system

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Great story out of the Kansas City Star exploring the heights of human idiocy: "Man tries to break into KC's Federal Reserve Bank with a screwdriver." Well done by Christine Vendel, with perfect just-the-facts writing and a beautiful last sentence: "Police believe he was intoxicated." Hilarious.

Another contest winner

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
As I do some reporting on who won the American Security Challenge (I'll have that up later today), I did come across this release (maybe password protected) from AlertEnterprise, a company that didn't return my phone calls when they recently grabbed some venture capital money. They've won the Security Summit's "coveted Most Innovative Product and Service award in the Information Assurance, Cyber Security and Security Software category." (And it's true - I hear people all the time saying, "Gosh, I really hope we win the Most Innovative Product and Service award in the Information Assurance, Cyber Security, and Security Software category at the Security Summit! Do you think we have a chance?" I always tell them, "no, that award is much too coveted by other people. You have no shot.") They do seem to have cool secret sauce that allows you to correlate physical and logical access control, which Imprivata and a few others can do, but maybe not quite as easily, since AlertEnterprise works like this:
AlertEnterprise products are available as COTS (Commercial Off The Shelf) software that works with existing enterprise systems and physical access control systems delivering incremental return on investments in applications like ERP systems, IT security automation solutions and critical infrastructure management solutions for energy management, oil and gas, chemicals processing and mass transport.
I think other solutions require an appliance of some sort and can't be done simply with software, but I'm not totally sure about that. Anyway, awards are fun, right? I know I like to win awards. I got a really spiffy mug for being the bestest soccer coach ever this past fall, for example. I still drink out of it every day and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. It doesn't say what AlertEnterprise got, but "AlertEnterprise delighted attendees and judges in all categories and was also named runner up for the Best in Show award," so I'm sure they got a plaque or something, at least. Can't drink out of a plaque, though, so what good does it do you, really?

Tune in Thursday to see NBFAA's Merlin Guilbeau & 'Safety Chick' talk security

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Look what just popped into my inbox: NBFAA's executive director Merlin Guilbeau is ginning up some nice publicity for the industry. Mark your calendars, on Thursday, May 28, Merlin will do a live satellite broadcast from ADT's central station in Aurora, Colo., where he'll discussing safety tips and answering questions from the media. He'll be joined by the 'Safety Chick' Kathleen Baty. Below are listed the TV and radio stations that will be participating.    6:50-7:00 AM ET WHO     NBC / 073 - DES MOINES - TV / LIVE   7:15-7:20 AM ET KGAN    CBS / 089 - CEDAR RAPIDS - TV / LIVE   7:35-7:45 AM ET WLKF-AM / 013 - TAMPA - RADIO / LIVE   7:45-7:55AM ET WFNC-AM / 028 - RALEIGH - RADIO / LIVE   8:10-8:20 AM ET WYAM   IND / 084 - HUNTSVILLE - TV / LIVE   8:45-8:55 AM ET KRNV    NBC / 110 - RENO - TV / LIVE   9:05-9:10 AM ET WSAT-AM / 025 - CHARLOTTE - RADIO / LIVE   9:10-9:15 AM ET KWTX   CBS / 095 - WACO - TV / TAPE   9:15-9:20AM ET WXMI   FOX / 039 - GRAND RAPIDS - TV / TAPE   9:20-9:30 AM ET WTVR   CBS / 061 - RICHMOND - TV / LIVE   9:30-9:40 AM ET WFIN-AM / 088 - TOLEDO - RADIO / TAPE 9:40-9:45 AM ET KVAL    CBS / 120 - EUGENE - TV / LIVE 9:45-9:50 AM ET WNEM   CBS / 066 - FLINT - TV / TAPE 10:05-10:10 AM ET KCMN-AM / 091 - COLO SPGS. - RADIO / LIVE 10:10-10:20 AM ET CABLE RADIO NET - NATIONAL - RADIO / LIVE 10:20-10:25AM ET WFTX   FOX / 062 - FT. MYERS - TV /TAPE 10:35-10:40AM ET WBRC   FOX / 040 - BIRMINGHAM - TV / TAPE   10:50-11:00 AM ET WDIS-AM / 009 - BOSTON - RADIO / TAPE   11:00-11:15 AM ET KTOK-AM / 048 - OKLAHOMA CITY - RADIO / TAPE**   11:25-11:40AM ET Something You Should Know - NATIONAL - RADIO / TAPE#   11:15-11:25 AM ET KWIX-AM / 137 - COLUMBIA, MO - RADIO / TAPE   11:40-11:50 AM ET KBFX    CBS / 126 - BAKERSFIELD - TV / LIVE   11:50AM-12:00 PM KPQ-AM / 176 - YAKIMA - RADIO / TAPE   12:20-12:25 PM ET WDTN   NBC / 058 - DAYTON - TV / LIVE   CUST. GENERIC KGNS    NBC/187 - LAREDO - TV/GENERIC **This Oklahoma City booking will also air on the following stations: KEBC-AM, KJYO-FM, KHBZ-FM, KTST-FM, KXXY-FM   # Something You Should Know airs nationally on 150 radio stations  

AMS '09 Dealer Conference a success

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The Alarm Monitoring Services 2009 Dealer Conference exceeded expectations as AMS dealers gathered together in New Orleans for three education-filled days, according to a release from Richard Hahn and Associates. I think it's a good sign that conferences appear to continue to do well, despite a poor economy. An industry needs investment in the form of educational endeavors, of which there were many at the 09 AMS Dealer Conference. Conference speakers included AMS' dealer services manager Brad O'Malley, Stiel Insurance's Marvin Brosset, C.J. Bruno of Compass Capital Management, industry lawyer Ken Kirschenbaum of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, PC, Roger Wahden of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., Louisiana-based CPA Pat Buckley, OzVision's Stan Silberstein, and AMS' own Rick and Dera Jolet I've written about it before: Keep participating, keep learning and continue to be good stewards of the industry. Plans are already in motion for next year's event, which will also celebrate Alarm Monitoring Services' 30th anniversary.

TSA: Out with the puffers!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Not that I find this remotely surprising, but those puffer machines some of us have had to stand in at airports are no longer. Does this have anything to do with GE Security's decision to sell its Homeland business to SAFRAN? Hmmmm. TSA says the puffers were a pain. Yeah. No kidding. 94 machines were deployed, at $160,000 each, and managed to wrack up $6 million in maintenance just since 2005. $6 million/94=$63,830 per machine=holy crap! I love how sanguine Smiths Detection is:
"They got frustrated with the technology and moved on to something else — I think is the short story," Smiths Detection vice president Brook Miller said of TSA. Miller said the puffers had maintenance issues early on because they puff air and then suck it into the system to analyze it. "It just wasn't to be in the airport environment," he said. Puffers are still used at facilities with less human traffic to detect drugs, he said. Smiths Detection, which is based in England, is one of the manufacturers of the full-body imaging machines that will replace the puffers.
Oh well. You don't like our $160,000 machines? I guess they just weren't meant to be. Who really could have predicted that? Certainly not us, who make them and tested them extensively. We had no idea they'd crap out in an airport environment. But, here, we've got some other machines you can buy. We're pretty sure they'll work. And don't mind that privacy stink people are putting up. We're sure that won't be a problem. We'll even give you a deal: 10 percent off if you buy 200. As a frequent traveler, I'm not sure which is worse: Having to stand in an enclosed tube and be puffed or knowing that some TSA employee is staring at my junk.

Special delivery for ASG's Bob Ryan

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Friday, May 22, 2009
Big news this week out of super-regional ASG. Yeah, they acquired another company. Here's that newswire story. The bigger news, though, is that ASG's marketing guy, Bob Ryan, (and his wife Angele) this morning welcomed their twin daughters to the world. Elizabeth and Ava are beautiful! (I'd post the picture, but you know the deal, our techies can't figure out how to get me permission to do that.) Congratulations Bob and Angele!

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