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Big "Mac" Data

 - 
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Confession: When I was a kid, I ate way too many cheeseburger Happy Meals and played countless hours with Ronald McDonald, that purple lad, Grimace, and the mysterious masked Hamburglar on the old-school playground of yesteryear at McDonalds. 

This trip down memory lane leads me to what “Mickey D’s,” as I affectionally call the fast-food restaurant, is super-sizing on today — machine learning via the acquisition of Dynamic Yield, a Tel Aviv startup that provides algorithmically driven “decision logic” technology. The burger joint will be using this technology to meet and exceed the customer experience with innovation. Here’s how:

We all know the saying “time is money” in this swiftly paced world we live in, so the first deployment of the technology will be in McDonald’s drive thru to speed things up and increase sales. If the drive thru is moving slowly, a digital display could highlight simpler-to-prepare items to speed things up or likewise, when it’s slow highlight more complex-to-prepare, higher-priced food items. While customers grab a French fry out of the bag as they drive off and more fill the drive thru line, algorithms will be noshing on data — weather, time of day, local traffic, nearby events, historical sales data and data from other stores, for example — and then show customers on the display other popular items to prompt potential upsells as they place their order to a voice inside of a box. 

That seems a bit “big brother” in my opinion. I know when I get “hangree,” I’ll order whatever I want, no matter what a digital screen tells me and no matter how long it takes to prepare. But, I digress. 

Beyond the drive-thru, McDonald’s is currently using geofencing around its stores to know when a mobile app customer is approaching and how to prepare their order accordingly. 

The company is toying with the idea of adding the personal touch, turning their mass collection of data into usable information. Think in-store kiosks, mobile order and pay, customers identifying themselves to the store to personalize their hamburger experience, license plate recognition (LPR) that allows the system to identify a specific customer as they approach and adjust the menu based on their specific purchase history, and more. 

Of course, with what sounds like the most glamorous fast-food dining experience ever, I see two major types of risk involved: 

Privacy: The possibility of sensitive data being compromised, like credit card numbers, names, email addresses, phone numbers and real-time location identification is not only real but happens daily, threatening physical and financial safety and security.

Ethical issues: There’s a fine line between personalization and suggestive selling/influencing someone to buy something. While McDonald’s could personalize the experience and perhaps quicken the ordering process by displaying previously ordered items in the form of touchscreen ordering, they could also display only the most expensive items previously bought in an effort to increase sales without the customer being the wiser. 

Digital Yield will remain independently operated, even after the McDonald’s acquisition, and according to Wired, the offer was over $300 million, which makes it the restaurant’s largest purchase since its acquisition of Boston Market in 1999. 

I did the math based on the price of a single Big Mac in the Dallas, Texas area being $3.99. Adding this technology will cost McDonald's approximately 75,187,969 in Big Macs.

What other security risks can you think of related to this technology?

Mission 500 to honor award winners at ISC West 2019

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Mission 500, a charitable non-profit organization engaging security professionals to raise money for children in need across the U.S., has announced the winners of its annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Humanitarian awards, The award presentation will be on April 11, 2019 at ISC West in Las Vegas at 5:00 p.m. on the Security Systems News stage on the show floor. All are welcome to attend.

We here at SSN are honored and excited to partner with and support Mission 500 and congratulate this year’s well-deserving winners — Dave Foglio, Founder of First Response Security, is this year’s Humanitarian Award winner and Brinks Home Security is this year’s CSR Award winner. [Brinks Home Security was featured in Security Systems News’ article on companies working with Mission 500]

The following is a closer look at each of this year’s award winners:

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award

Brinks Home Security is being acknowledged with the 2019 Mission 500 CSR award, which honors companies in the security industry that dedicate significant volunteer time and resources to help those in need.

The Brinks Home Security Corporate Social Responsibility Program’s goal is to enrich the lives of at-risk and needy children and families. The company partners with local and national organizations, including Mission 500, MetroCrest Services, Notre Dame School, Agape Resource and Assistance Center and Carrollton/Farmers Branch Independent School District (ISD).

Brinks Home Security believes that their employees are their greatest asset. Its team has proven their commitment to the community in a variety of ways, including a 2018 food drive that collected 51,164 items for MetroCrest Services, more than 4,000 items for Hillside Food Pantry in Evanston IL, and 8,000 items for Harvesters Community Food Network, serving neighbors in Manhattan and St. Mary’s, KS.

Other examples include: nearly 300 Brinks Home Security runners participated in an annual Brinks Home Security 5K, which raised $52,000 for children in need; employees have donated nearly 100 hours of their time to mentor students in the Carrollton and Farmers Branch school system; and several of Brinks Home Security employees traveled to Notre Dame School in Dallas for an annual holiday celebration.

Brinks Home Security also continues to provide free alarm monitoring for homes run by the Agape Resource and Assistance Center. The homes provide shelter for former homeless women and children.

In addition to Brinks Home Security, nominees for the CSR award for 2018 included, Circle K, Power Home Technologies and Security 101, who all deserve recognition for their outstanding efforts.

Past winners of the CSR Award include: Altronix, NorthStar Home, Alliance Security, Fluent Home, Protection 1, Pelco by Schneider Electric, Vivint and Convergint Technologies.

Humanitarian Award

Dave Foglio, Founder of First Response Security is being honored with the 2018 Mission 500 Humanitarian Award, which acknowledges individuals in the security industry who make important contributions to those in need.

For the past six years, Foglio has traveled around the country with Samaritan’s Purse, helping homeowners in need following hurricanes, floods, fires and more. Last year, he traveled to Texas in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, where he helped homeowners with their water-damaged homes. Foglio has also been to South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, California and Colorado since he started working with Samaritan’s Purse, helping clean up homes and debris following natural disasters.

Foglio’s desire to help also carries over to his local community, where on a monthly basis he is splitting wood and personally delivering it as a form of heat to those who cannot afford it, or serving meals at the Portland Rescue Mission, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing food and shelter to those affected by homelessness in downtown Portland. Foglio’s generosity has also carried over into his working life. He founded First Response Security in 1989 and instilled a solid foundation of stewardship in the company, which as of today, has a motto of “A commitment to charitable donations and philanthropy”. First Response gives back 10 percent or more of its company profit each year to charities, both local and overseas.

First Response Security has been named #10 on Portland Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Awards in 2018 (its fifth year in a row ranking on the list). In addition, they provide installation, service and monitoring to local non-profit organizations at a significant discount to keep overhead as low as possible while still providing superior protection. “If we’re going to be working here and providing services, we want to make sure that we’re also giving back,” Foglio has said.

“I can definitely say that Dave Foglio and the Brinks Home Security Team are an example of life-changing work to help communities and people who are in need,” said Tom Nolan, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Mission 500. “They are driven by purpose, which is a constructive force and to drive positive changes in communities across the U.S. I am honored to honor these individuals.”

Other nominees of the 2018 Humanitarian Award included Ben Brookhart, CEO of Power Home Technologies; Beth Hahn, President of Berkshire Systems Group; Jeff Gardner, CEO of Brinks Home Security; and Jenna Wardle, Global Customer Insights at HID Global.

Past winners of the Humanitarian Award include The Hurricane Harvey Heroes (Curtis Kindred, Harley Schild, Todd Fitch), Jay Gotra, Sean Sportun, Anne Glickstein, Charles “Dom” D’Ascoli, Alan Forman, Mary Jensby, Barb Holliday and Michael Keegan.

Mission 500 will hold the annual Security 5k/2k Race on April 11 at Sunset Park at 7:30 AM in Las Vegas. To register to run the Security 5k/2k Race visit www.security5k.com/.

For more information on Security 5K/Mission 500 Race, contact Tom Nolan at [email protected], or call 516-903-7291.

Look for SIA’s ‘Top 8’ technology advancements on the ISC West showroom floor

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Times are exciting and abuzz here at Security Systems News, with thoughts of ISC West and preparation taking place for booth visits, video interviews, happy hours and dinners, and connecting/reconnecting with industry professionals to learn about new trends and offerings available for security. Personally, I enjoy talking about industry trends, new technologies and where people predict the industry to be heading in the future. It’s quite fascinating when you stop to think about just 10 years ago and how far the security industry has come since. 

The Security Industry Association (SIA) shared the top eight technological advancements the organization feels is most significantly impacting physical and cybersecurity and public safety. Here’s what to look for on the showroom floor: 

  1. Cloud – Video surveillance as a service (VSaaS), specifically recording, storage, management, analytics and monitoring solutions in the cloud, especially residential video with low camera counts, according to Joseph Gittens, director of standards, SIA, via ISC West’s website.
  2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) – analytics applications for automated motion and trespassing detection, advanced algorithms performing identification and categorization within scenes and systems, and leveraging data from multiple sensors to help reduce false alarms and enhance home automation. 
  3. Robotics/autonomous systems – improvements in robotics and drones around AI, power storage and mobility, in which many companies are allowing users to pay for services provided by these security solutions.
  4. Mobile credentials – SIA predicts the public will become comfortable using these credentials to complete transactions other than access control. In turn, more commercial security installations should be seen along with systems migrating into unified systems that grant and manage access. 
  5. Security audio – specialized solutions that monitor and apply analytics to audio. Audio can also be a lucrative value add-on to video security systems. 
  6. Facial biometrics – look for solutions that provide acute verification accuracy and more affordability with these solution offerings.
  7. 5G LTE – glimpses of mobile video security solutions with public safety and smart cities applications. 
  8. Voice control – new home security and home automation products with existing or “coming soon” integration with voice control/smart speaker providers.

Let’s go on a treasure hunt at ISC West 2019! When you see one of these technologies in action on the showroom floor, take a picture or short video and tweet it to our hashtag #SSNTalks and tag our editors @SSN_Editor and @SSN_Ginger! 

SIA to recognize Axis and others at ISC West

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Security Industry Association will be honoring several industry leaders with awards at its annual membership meeting and event on Tuesday called The Advance, which will take place during ISC West on Tuesday, April 9, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas.

There will be several SIA membership awards presented at the Advance, including:
•    Member of the Year Award: Axis Communications
•    Chairman's Award: SIA Women in Security Forum
•    Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award: Mark McCourt, Cobalt Robotics
•    Committee Chair of the Year Award: Chris Grniet, Guidepost Solutions
•    Milestone Awards: TBA

In addition to award presentations, The Advance attendees will enjoy a high-impact presentation from Sal Mani, security systems manager for Google, on the workforce imperative of developing cross-functional skill sets to stay competitive in the security industry. SIA will also submit five nominations to the SIA Board of Directors for ratification, recognize volunteer achievements for the previous year and exchange market intelligence for the year ahead with members. Lunch will also be provided.

Member of the Year

Axis Communications is the recipient of the inaugural Member of the Year Award, which honors SIA member companies that have shown noteworthy involvement in SIA committees and working groups, SIA events and the SIA [email protected] conference program; leadership activity; recruitment of SIA members; and contributions to SIA thought leadership and the industry overall. SIA will present Axis with the award at The Advance, SIA’s annual membership meeting, during ISC West.

Axis takes an active role in SIA’s committees, working groups and interest groups, with its representatives serving as chairs of the SIA Education and Training Committee, Transportation Policy Working Group, Health Care Security Interest Group and RISE Committee. The company is also highly involved with SIA’s education and training programs. Additionally, Axis has helped to recruit speakers for SIA events and invited SIA to participate in its corporate events.

“Axis Communications is honored to receive the inaugural SIA member of the year award. I personally first got involved with SIA in 2007, discovering a plethora of opportunities to support the industry and drive positive change,” said Fredrik Nilsson, vice president of the Americas at Axis Communications, a former member of the SIA Board of Directors and SIA Executive Committee and the 2016 recipient of the George R. Lippert Memorial Award. “I also quickly realized that the more you give, the more you get. Getting many Axis team members involved over the years has helped further SIA and the industry, as well as their careers. Our hope is that this award can inspire other companies to get involved.”

Committee Chair of the Year Award

SIA has selected Chris Grniet, CPP, as the recipient of the 2018 SIA Committee Chair of the Year Award, which recognizes individuals for excellence in leading SIA committees and advancing member objectives.

Grniet – a security industry veteran with over 26 years of experience in the field – chairs the SIA New Product Showcase Committee and also serves as regional vice president of the security and technology consulting division at Guidepost Solutions, a global security consulting and investigations company and SIA member. He has been involved with the SIA New Product Showcase (NPS) for nearly a decade, serving as a committee member and vice chair before becoming chair; he will chair his third SIA NPS program at ISC West 2019.

“I am truly honored to be recognized for my contributions as committee chair for the New Product Showcase and would like to thank Don Erickson and the rest of the SIA staff as well as my fellow NPS committee members and our judges for their trust, support and encouragement. I am passionate about the NPS vision – to be the premier source for the security industry in the identification of innovative security solutions,” said Grniet. “While it serves as a valued marketing opportunity for program participants, I believe it also a cornerstone of the missions of SIA and ISC West – to educate professionals and fuel the advancement and success of the security industry.”

Chairman’s Award

SIA has selected the SIA Women in Security Forum as the recipient of the 2018 Chairman’s Award, which recognizes SIA members’ diligent efforts in furthering the SIA mission and overall commitment to the association’s future. SIA will present the award at The Advance, SIA’s annual membership meeting, during ISC West.

The SIA Women in Security Forum supports the advancement of women in the security industry through programs and opportunities for professional development, networking and thought leadership. The group – led by a dedicated committee of volunteers – was established on International Women’s Day in 2018.

“The Women in Security Forum got off to a remarkable start in its first year by quickly and effectively building the program, forming a charter and developing a strong committee,” said Scott Schafer, chairman of the SIA Board of Directors. “The leaders of the forum have demonstrated outstanding engagement of SIA membership and the security industry, planned and executed top-quality, well-attended events and advanced the mission of promoting professional development, mentorship and a path to success for women in the security industry.”

Key Women in Security Forum offerings include the SIA Progress Award, which celebrates individuals who advance opportunities and pave the way to success for women in the security industry; networking and professional growth events for women in the security industry; SECURE Perspectives, a monthly column that supports the participation of women in the security profession by highlighting successful women in the industry; and an all women-authored issue of the SIA Technology Insights journal.

“The Women in Security Forum is thrilled to be recognized with the 2018 Chairman’s Award as we celebrate our first anniversary. We are working diligently to create a movement by collaborating with industry leaders – men and women – to develop programs and initiatives that empower women and influence change,” said Maureen Carlo, co-chair of the Women in Security Forum Steering Committee. “Thank you to SIA for allowing us to embrace this opportunity; it is exciting to see our efforts come to fruition during the most important security event of the year. A talented and diverse industry will grow when we support each other – the best is yet to come!”

At ISC West, members of the Women in Security Forum will participate in two panel sessions on women in security on Tuesday, April 9 – Being a Woman Business Owner in the Security Industry Is an Advantage, Not a Disadvantage and Bridging the Gender Gap in the Security Industry. The Women in Security Forum will also host its annual meeting and a complimentary breakfast event on Friday, April 12, featuring networking and insights from special guest Juliette Kayyem, a national leader in America’s homeland security efforts. Kayyem previously served as President Obama’s assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s homeland security advisor.

“Over the last year, the core leadership group that makes up the Women in Security Forum has come together to create a unique opportunity to diversify the leadership voices in security as we move toward the next iteration of innovation for our industry and beyond,” said Dawne Hanks, co-chair of the Women in Security Forum Steering Committee. “Providing opportunities for fresh voices to take the lead in driving where we go and how we change the world is at the heart of what we are trying to do and will drive growth for the future. I am honored that SIA has seen fit to present the Chairman’s Award to this esteemed group of women that, together with SIA, are looking to drive actionable change to diversify and grow our industry.”

Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award

SIA has selected Mark McCourt as the recipient of the 2018 Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award, which recognizes SIA volunteers who have made tireless efforts to expand SIA’s programs and services. SIA will present McCourt with the award at The Advance, SIA’s annual membership meeting, during ISC West.

Mark McCourt, head of commercialization at Cobalt Robotics, has made valuable contributions to SIA, including his efforts to establish and lead SIA’s Drones and Robotics Working Group, which brings together members of the security industry, end users, technology experts and other interested parties to promote best practices regarding the use of robots in security, develop research, offer guidance on legislative and regulatory matters and enhance communication and collaboration.

The Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award is named in honor of Sandra Jones, principal of Sandra Jones and Company, a prolific SIA volunteer and co-founder of the executive conference Securing New Ground.

“Sandy was among the first to call me when I entered the physical security market in 2005, and she became a coach, friend and business partner,” said McCourt. “Her work has made a tremendous contribution to many, and it was Sandy who inspired me to become a SIA volunteer. To receive an award in her name is an honor beyond words.”

In his role as chair of the Drones and Robotics Working Group, McCourt provided critical input in the development of Market Spotlight: Extending the Capabilities of Human Security Officers With Modern Robotics, a report produced exclusively for SIA by research firm IDC that examines the opportunity, benefits and reasons for growth in the robotic security market. The report highlights the evolution of robotic technology, real-world scenarios for robotic security, these robots’ impact on the security market and more. He has also initiated work to publish a second robotics paper in partnership with IDC and is an active member of SIA’s Membership and Marketing Committee, which guides the association in creating member value, new member development and overall member engagement.
 

AI coming to the aid of security-related applications

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Our May 2019 News Poll got me really thinking about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), and the possibilities. My previous AI-related thoughts have been around Watson, the IBM-created, question-answering computer system that answers in natural language, and robots, and how AI can take over the world one day, according to some! Spooky! But, I wanted to know if AI is a legit, practical application for security-related functions, so I scoured the internet and found some exciting and unique, currently deployed uses. 

Physical Security

According the to China Morning Post, AI is revolutionizing physical security in Asia. It can detect people acting out of the ordinary and flag them, and then transmit that information to a command center, where human operators can make an informed decision. Additionally, AI and high-definition cameras can work together to first communicate to a human that a smoke detector, for example, has been activated, with the cameras identifying the exact location of the fire. 

Financial Security

Shoplifting literally costs billions of dollars here in the United States, which trickles down to honest consumers who end up paying more for goods and services. Vaak, a Tokyo-based company, spent more than 100 hours showing their AI system closed-circuit television footage of honest shoppers and shoplifters. The system can now identify suspicious activity based on more than 100 aspects of shoppers’ behavior including gait, hand movements, facial expressions, clothing choices and even “restless” and “sneaking” behaviors. Store employees are alerted of suspiciousness via an app and they can decide what to do. 

Life Security

Paris-based startup, Pharnext, was founded by Daniel Cohen, who “mapped” the human genome and demonstrated it is possible to use Big Data and automation to speed up the processing of DNA samples. Today, Cohen is using AI to analyze and map the chain of reactions of disease in the body. With this information, he and his team are combining existing drugs, known as “repurposing,” to create therapeutic effects that each drug lacks on its own. His overall goal is to use existing medicines to treat all disease, preventing the design of new medicines. 

Cybersecurity

Post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford University, Dr. Srijan Kuman, is developing an AI method — REV2 — to identify online conflict using data and machine learning to predict internet trolling before it happens. (Trolling is an action by a person who posts inflammatory and often deceptive and disinformation online to provoke others to respond on pure emotion.) Kuman uses statistical analysis, graph mining, embedding and deep learning to determine normal and malicious behaviors. His method is currently being used by Flipkart, an online store, to identify fake reviews and reviewers, and he was able to accurately predict when one Reddit community will troll another. 

Be sure to check out our editor’s blog that talks about worldwide spending on AI systems to reach $35.8 billion in 2019, according to International Data Corporation. 

 

Spending on AI to skyrocket

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

One of the biggest buzzwords in security today is AI, or artificial intelligence, as one of the challenges today is determining if the technology is being overpromised and under-delivered. Security Systems News’ News Poll this month addresses these very questions, as we try to figure out where the industry stands on this topic.

Although the technology is still in its early adoption phase within security, a new study finds that spending on AI systems will continue to skyrocket within the next five years.

Worldwide spending on artificial intelligence (AI) systems is forecast to reach $35.8 billion in 2019, an increase of 44.0 percent over the amount spent in 2018, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC). With industries investing aggressively in projects that utilize AI software capabilities, the IDC Worldwide Semiannual Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide expects spending on AI systems will more than double to $79.2 billion in 2022 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 38.0 percent over the 2018-2022 forecast period.

Global spending on AI systems will be led by the retail industry where companies will invest $5.9 billion this year on solutions such as automated customer service agents and expert shopping advisors & product recommendations. Banking will be the second largest industry with $5.6 billion going toward AI-enabled solutions including automated threat intelligence & prevention systems and fraud analysis & investigation systems. Discrete manufacturing, healthcare providers, and process manufacturing will complete the top 5 industries for AI systems spending this year. The industries that will experience the fastest growth in AI systems spending over the 2018-2022 forecast are federal/central government (44.3 percent CAGR), personal and consumer services (43.3 percent CAGR), and education (42.9 percent CAGR).

"Significant worldwide artificial intelligence systems spend can now be seen within every industry as AI initiatives continue to optimize operations, transform the customer experience, and create new products and services," Marianne Daquila, research manager, Customer Insights & Analysis at IDC, said in the announcement. "This is evidenced by use cases, such as intelligent process automation, expert shopping advisors & product recommendations, and pharmaceutical research and discovery exceeding the average five-year compound annual growth of 38%. The continued advancement of AI-related technologies will drive double-digit year-over-year spend into the next decade."

The AI use cases that will see the most investment this year are automated customer service agents ($4.5 billion worldwide), sales process recommendation and automation ($2.7 billion), and automated threat intelligence and prevention systems ($2.7 billion). Five other use cases will see spending levels greater than $2 billion in 2019: automated preventative maintenance, diagnosis and treatment systems, fraud analysis and investigation, intelligent process automation, and program advisors and recommendation systems.

Software will be the largest area of AI systems spending in 2019 with nearly $13.5 billion going toward AI applications and AI software platforms. AI applications will be the fastest growing category of AI spending with a five-year CAGR of 47.3%. Hardware spending, dominated by servers, will be $12.7 billion this year as companies continue to build out the infrastructure necessary to support AI systems. Companies will also invest in IT services to help with the development and implementation of their AI systems and business services such as consulting and horizontal business process outsourcing related to these systems. By the end of the forecast, AI-related services spending will nearly equal hardware spending.

"IDC is seeing that spending on both AI software platforms and AI applications are continuing to trend upwards and the types and varieties of use cases are also expanding," David Schubmehl, research director, Cognitive/Artificial Intelligence Systems at IDC, added. "While organizations see continuing challenges with staffing, data, and other issues deploying AI solutions, they are finding that they can help to significantly improve the bottom line of their enterprises by reducing costs, improving revenue, and providing better, faster access to information thereby improving decision making."

On a geographic basis, the United States will deliver nearly two thirds of all spending on AI systems in 2019, led by the retail and banking industries. Western Europe will be the second largest region in 2018, led by banking, retail, and discrete manufacturing. The strongest spending growth over the five-year forecast will be in Japan (58.9% CAGR) and Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan and China) (51.4% CAGR). China will also experience strong spending growth throughout the forecast (49.6% CAGR).

"AI is a big topic in Europe, it's here and it's set to stay. Both AI adoption and spending are picking up fast. European businesses are hands-on AI and have moved from an explorative phase to the implementation stage,” said Andrea Minonne, senior research analyst, IDC Customer Insight & Analysis in Europe, said in the announcement. “AI is the game changer in a highly competitive environment, especially across customer-facing industries such as retail and finance, where AI has the power to push customer experience to the next level with virtual assistants, product recommendations, or visual searches. Many European retailers such as Sephora, ASOS, and Zara or banks such as NatWest and HSBC are already experiencing the benefits of AI, including increased store visits, higher revenues, reduced costs, and more pleasant and personalized customer journeys. Industry-specific use cases related to automation of processes are becoming mainstream and the focus is set to shift towards next-generation use of AI for personalization or predictive purposes,"

The Worldwide Semiannual Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide sizes spending for technologies that analyze, organize, access, and provide advisory services based on a range of unstructured information. The spending guide quantifies the AI opportunity by providing data for 25 use cases across 19 industries in nine regions. Data is also available for the related hardware, software, and services categories. Unlike any other research in the industry, the detailed segmentation and timely, global data is designed to help suppliers targeting the market to identify market opportunities and execute an effective strategy.

PSA TEC 2019 opens in Denver

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Excited to be here in Denver, Colo. this week for PSA TEC 2019, a conference hosted by PSA, a global systems integration consortium made up of progressive security and audio-visual systems integrators in North America.

Approximately 1,200 security professionals converged on Denver — ahead of a blizzard, yes blizzard, that is coming — to learn, network and explore the many opportunities and challenges facing system integrators and the security industry as a whole.

What is unique about this conference is that it brings together an incredible array of security professionals all focused on the same goal: Improving security for their customers while pushing the industry forward during a highly volatile and quickly changing security landscape.

Interestingly, PSA members combined boast over 400 branch locations, employ over 7,500 industry professionals and are responsible for over $4.5 billion annually in security, fire, life safety and pro audio-visual installations.

Some of the bigger themes for the conference this year — and for the industry overall as well — are:

•    Cybersecurity and the physical and data convergence;
•    How integrators are adapting to and adopting more of a managed services, RMR model;
•    The continued rise and adoption of cloud-based solutions;
•    Hiring, training and retaining good people;
•    Adapting to the increasing role of IT within security
•    The benefits and challenges of open architecture systems and platforms vs. end to end systems;
•    Compliance and regulations, including GDPR; and
•    Data privacy

 

Congress introduces legislation to establish security standards for government devices

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Based on analyst firm Gartner’s research, 20.4 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be deployed by 2020; that’s more than double the world’s population! Hackers tend to gravitate toward the weakest link in the security chain, and because more and more IoT devices have questionable defenses, they make easy targets. This has caused the U.S. government to take notice.

To date, there is no national standard for IoT security, leaving it up to each company to decide how they want to security their connected devices. So, on Monday, March 11th, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives members introduced the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act. If passed, this legislation would set minimum security standards for connected devices used by the government in an effort to prevent the federal government from purchasing hacker friendly devices. 

While the legislation won’t set security standards for all IoT companies—just the ones wanting to win federal contracts— it could provide a baseline of best practices for all connected device manufacturers to consider. 

Should the bill pass, here’s what would happen: 

  • Security standards from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), such as secure development, identity management, patching and configuration management, would be required; 
  • NIST would review every five years; 
  • All IoT venders selling to the U.S. government would have a vulnerability disclosure policy, allowing government officials to learn when the devices are open to cyberattacks.

 

Do you think this legislation would compel all connected device makers to adopt these security requirements or just the ones wanting to do business with the government? 

 

MercTech 5 reveals trends, educates attendees, provides networking opportunities and more

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Venturing off to Coronado Island, right outside of San Diego for MercTech 5 was an exciting adventure into the open architecture world of physical security. Various trends were identified, company announcements made, valuable networking with security companies was experienced as well as education and fun. 

To kick off the conference, Matt Barnette, president, Mercury Security, announced that this year, the company will be formally converting to HID Global and they are always looking for new partners. (HID Global purchased Mercury Security, an OEM supplier of controllers for physical access control, in 2017.) Thus far, Mercury Security has kept their original logo, with the added phrase: “part of HID Global.” 

Serra Luck, VP end user and consultant business, HID Global followed with three major trends in the physical access control market: the evolution of identity; service oriented and convergence of video, biometrics, access control, lighting and more to be controlled by a single device. Luck identified what she termed “BIMruption,” building information modeling in which a wholistic view of a building, including its vulnerabilities, can be seen before the structure is actually built. This enables the simulation of possible terror attacks, physical breaches, structural integrity and more so that security consultants, integrators and end-users can become even more proactive in preventing security-related issues.

Donna Chapman, consultant relations business development manager, ASSA ABLOY compared how she “talks up” security consultants to their partners. She likens it to doing taxes. 

“Can I do taxes,” she asked the audience, hypothetically. To which she answered, “yes, but am I up-to-date on all the tax regulations…no, and that’s ‘ok’ unless I get audited. So, it’s easier and safer to have my taxes done by a professional…same with security consultants.”

The two full days of the conference continued on with valuable education as well as meetings with various Mercury Security partners, followed by amazing dinners and networking events. Partners were available in various suites in a “speed dating” type of format, 45 minutes in length, where security consultants learned about their solutions as well as got their questions answered. 

A consultant roundtable took place, in which hot topics were discussed, one of which was the adoption of Open Supervised Device Protocol (OSDP), a communication standard developed by the Security Industry Association (SIA) to improve interoperability among access control and security devices. Security consultants were also concerned with specifying manufacturer’s certifications, asking if companies could possibly add certification numbers or some sort of identification so each certification is easier to “spec.” 

As the event concluded and I began to reflect, one of the most valuable takeaways from the whole conference emerged. Steve Wagner, president of Open Options, said the following during a speed dating session: “Everyone employed with Open Options is empowered to make decisions on behalf of customers; if a mistake is made with any such decisions, it will be to the benefit of the client.” This customer/client-first mentality, in my opinion, is a big piece of the pie that security companies must incorporate into their culture for maximum success. 

 

TMA, ESA dispute Google’s claim

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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Monitoring Association (TMA) and the Electronic Security Association (ESA) are calling out Google on its recent statement — “security systems often use microphones” — noting that such statements “misrepresent the vast majority of today’s residential security systems installed throughout the country.”

The dispute follows recent reporting by Business Insider, CNN Business and many other publications that have highlighted the undisclosed, on-board microphone discovered in Google’s Nest Guard Security Device — raising serious privacy concerns among consumers.

Since audio recording includes privacy and legal complexities, it’s not extremely common in residential installations, the associations noted, pointing out that security professionals and integrators consult with customers and ensure all federal and state laws are abided by.

“Adding audio surveillance can certainly make for a more robust system,” ESA President Chris Mosley said in a prepared statement. “We’re seeing exciting advancements in the audio surveillance category, such as acoustic sensors and microphones that can help us detect gunfire or when voices become elevated that could indicate potential violence. However, sweeping statements to infer that residential systems commonly have this feature are simply not accurate.”

Richard Brent, CEO, Louroe Electronics, an ESA Member company and 40-year-old manufacturer of audio-based technologies, agrees, noting, “Sound-based technology in security systems is common in law enforcement, institutional, and smart city installations. However, the use of microphones for surveillance in residences is extremely rare on account of heightened expectations of privacy.”

According to both associations, adding microphones and audio capabilities to security systems adds another level of precaution that must be taken to install the system in a way that protects the privacy of the consumer.

“Security systems are now an important part of the customer home experience in that we can integrate with audio assistance,” TMA President Ivan Spector said. “However professionally installed and monitored security systems are not designed to record data and conversations unbeknownst to our customers.”

Professionally installed systems have the backing of technology experts who know the full capability of the system and its components and can appropriately safeguard these systems, so as not to compromise privacy.

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