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More on the stimulus

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I continue to be wary of people who think the stimulus package is going to be a boon for security. Here's another article talking about how ports are likely to use the money. Security isn't what they're concerned about:
The American Association of Port Authorities says more than 200 projects are available for funding to the tune of about $8.5 billion. Projects range from a $100 million lock replacement in the Soo locks to dock wall reconstruction for the Ports of Indiana and numerous dredging and channel maintenance projects around the county.
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"Ports got a push after 9/11 with port security, but the transportation infrastructure component has really been given short shrift," he said. "There are people on the Hill and in the administration that understand both domestic and international trade is what really helps propel the economy, and if we're going to nurture that business, we've got to make sure the transportation connections are efficient."
Security will be a part of this stimulus, but when they say infrastructure, they mean infrastructure. There's going to be a lot of concrete poured and steel bent because of this stimulus package, but maybe not as much wire pulled and cameras installed as the industry might have hoped.

Bay Alarm getting into medical monitoring

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
It looks like another big traditional alarm company has gotten into the medical alert monitoring business. I've blogged recently about traditional security companies getting into medical alert monitoring, and about other companies exploiting an under-served market. It just seems once you've got the equipment in place, medical monitoring, personal tracking--protecting people rather than locations--is a natural extension. Should more traditional alarm companies jump on the bandwagon? Should traditional medical alert monitoring companies like SafetyCare be worried? As Christopher Baskin of American Two-Way once said to me, "A rising tide floats all boats."

Smart money likes Brink's and so does Laura

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Monday, March 23, 2009
I'm just brimming with happy news today. Here's a report about what a smart buy Brink's Home Security is ... or will be in the long run. And Brink's booster Jerome Lande's (of MMI hedge fund fame) got nothing on my eighth-grade daughter, Laura, who "bought" this stock as part of a social studies project. She bought it at $20 and the stock's up $2 since her purchase. She keeps me updated, via text, sometimes more than once a day, on its movements.

From the good news folder: Michigan fire co has best year ever

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Monday, March 23, 2009
Wolverine Fire Protection Company,a Michigan fire alarm and sprinkler company that did $38 million in business last year is having "its best year in half a century," according to this story from the Flint Journal. (which I'm sure is thrilled to have some happy economic news to report for a change) This family-owned business has 130 employees and six offices in five states.

Good to see a security firm leading community

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Monday, March 23, 2009
Here's a nice story about Per Mar Security moving back into offices that were destroyed by flooding along the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids. While some security companies spend too much time in the background, I think it's important that they have prominent roles in their community. If security firms are seen as community leaders they're less likely to be seen as taking advantage of people's fears and insecurities. Here's the video - good press for Per Mar:

This is not convergence

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Monday, March 23, 2009
U.S. Senators, scared by Chinese hacks of their computers, are calling for a cyber-security czar. You know, someone who reports directly to the president and would be in charge of ensuring the nation's confidential and classified documents aren't being downloaded by foreign governments. But isn't that already somebody's job? Like the Chief National Security Advisor or the Secretary of Defense or somebody else who already reports to President Obama? I'm reminded of Jack Johnson's keynote from TechSec where he made it clear that it's impossible to separate physical and logical security. Say, as part of that hack of a senator's computer, the hacker downloads an iCal file (this is clearly make-believe; no senator is actually on a Mac, I'm sure), and therefore knows where that senator will be every day for the next month. Isn't that a significant physical security threat? Of course it is. The protection of files and data is tantamount to the protection of people and places and the more you go about separating the two tasks the weaker you'll be in the end. If you want to emphasize the importance of cyber security, hire a bunch more logical security experts and place them in the service of your top national security people, but don't elevate the threat to a cabinet-level position just because you don't really understand it.

Free home security systems for pols and AIG derivitives unit employees?

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Friday, March 20, 2009
Home security was all over the news today. There were a bunch of stories yesterday about the former Ohio AG, Marc Dann, using campaign funds to pay for his $27,000 home security system. Must be a nice system. The Ohio Elections Commission decided to fine Dann $1,000 and his treasurer $250 for signing off on the security system. The story does not say whether he'll refund the $27,000 to his campaign war chest, but the story's not over yet. He's facing a bunch of other charges of using campaign funds for family trips and other unauthorized uses. Guess who else is looking for home security? The New York Times this morning reported that the guys from AIG derivatives department are looking for more security, and some have received death threats. That same story says former Merrill Lynch employees are also looking for private security.
A.I.G. employees are not the only ones seeking protection: An executive at Merrill Lynch, where bonuses have also come under fire, said that some employees had asked whether the firm would cover the cost of private security for them. Scott Silvestri, a spokesman for Bank of America, which bought Merrill in December, would not respond to that claim, but said in a statement, “The safety and security of our associates is paramount, and we will always take the appropriate steps.”
I think these guys are absolutely entitled to be protected. I also think that anyone who keeps even part of those bailout bonuses should be required to volunteer in an unemployment office. Might help them understand the anger.

For centrals, customer service needs to come first

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Friday, March 20, 2009
I just came across this blog post this morning, and I have to say, I'm a little disappointed, if not surprised. In trying to gather information for existing stories and even to just say hello and see what's new, I've come across the same hang ups, and the same very short behavior. In the preceding, linked blog post, this poor person was met not only with rudeness from her central station operator, but an overwhelming display of nonchalant unconcern. You can almost see the operator shrugging and staring off into space while jawing on a wad of gum like cud, as if to say "not my problem." A central station operator is the most important facet of an alarm system owner's interaction with the security industry. The operator is the liaison between the end user and everyone else. Most likely, when an operator is dealing with an end user the end user is going to be scared, worked up, angry, confused... the list goes on and on. It's an operator's job to be calm, kind, helpful, knowledgeable and accommodating. Training, training, training. It's just too bad this end user now has bad feelings about not only the security industry, but humanity in general, due to one operator's specific handling of an incident. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Protection One moving to new, bigger location

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Friday, March 20, 2009
Just got this press release through my Google Alerts. Looks like the bad economy isn't hitting everyone. Well, there's some good news. And it's the first day of spring, so that's not so bad either. And if you're in the Wilkes-Barre region you've got free Italian Ice, which also rocks. Enjoy the day.

Hopefully, no one listens to this guy

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Friday, March 20, 2009
The recession is bringing out more and more of these so-called business experts teaching people how to make money. This guy advocates promoting your door-to-door security business with a checkered dog: I find him strangely entertaining. But also a moron.

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