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Edge Integration is now Reach Systems

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008
There are puns to be had and bad jokes galore here, but I'm going to maintain decorum in telling you that IP access manufacturer Edge Integration Systems is now Reach Systems. The press release tells us: Edge chose to rename the company and flagship product, the Edge Access Control System (Edge ACS), to further differentiate our unique service-based access control solution from other legacy security products using the word “Edge” in their name. Many of these similarly named products belong to our valued partners like respected card reader manufacturer, HID Global. Not to cast aspersions, but I'm guessing HID Global was maybe respectfully involved in getting that name change accomplished. They've been working hard to establish their Edge line of IP access products, and probably weren't too keen on confusion with a start-up. Reach, nee Edge, makes a good product, allowing tons of web-based control of access systems, offering a great solution for multi-site businesses that aren't huge, for example, or for integrators to offer managed access control to SMB customers. I had a good interview with Dennis Raefield about it here.

Book reports industry mooches off taxpayers

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008
So after a few days on backorder from my favorite local bookstore, I finally got around to reading Free Lunch by David Cay Johnston. The main argument is this: taxpayers foot the bill for responding to false alarms which equals the profits reported by the security industry. Hence, the free lunch reference. Here’s the argument verbatim: “These profits are huge because the alarm industry does not pay its largest single cost, labor to check out alarms. The taxpayers pick up this expense. Each time the police check out an alarm it costs more than $50, the police in Seattle and other cities have determined. The average alarm goes off more than once each year. The police responded to about 38 million alarms in 2000 at a total cost to taxpayers of $1.9 billion. The burglar alarm industry collected $7.9 billion from residential and commercial burglar alarm customers that year. So if the industry’ estimates are reliable, it means that profits were almost $1.9 billion, almost exactly the value of the taxpayer subsidy in having police check out false alarms.” Johnston concludes with this: “The burglar alarm industry charges hefty fees for a service that costs it very little. Then the industry dumps onto the taxpayers the real costs of providing the very service it sells. This is economic pollution sold to people under the guise of making them safe. In fact, it makes them less safe.” The “safe” argument that Johnston tries to work into his argument is fairly weak, in my opinion, and a manipulation of numbers, but I won’t divert to that right now. Instead, I would say that the alarm industry is certainly aware that false alarms are an issue, but the real question is: How will the industry deal with this negative public image? Any ideas?

Do you know your overtime laws?

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008
This article caught my eye today, especially considering the Brink's back-pay settlement we wrote about a few months back. Basically, lawsuits against small businesses are on the rise, where employees are paying more attention to "the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, which mandates time-and-a-half wages for any hours worked beyond 40 a week." This line is particularly auspicious: A New Orleans security company was assessed $185,385. I'm kind of assuming that's a guard company, but there's no way to know (I've never understood why mainstream reporters don't name companies specifically in stories like this. The information is right in front of them. Do they think it would be embarrassing for the company named? Isn't it worse to be hit with $185,385 in back wages?). Regardless, for you integrators and installers that might be sending people out at odd hours to fix stuff, or are pushing to finish up a job with salaried employees, you might want to make sure everybody's working the proper amount or being paid more.

New NBFAA Web site

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008
It's been up for a few days, but I just checked out the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association's new Web site. It's slick and easy to use, and there's lots of information on members and services there. Check out the membership directory, for example.

Caught with his thumb in the pie

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Monday, January 21, 2008
Sorry to be away from the blog for a while, but here's a solid mid-afternoon pick-you-up. Why do we need security systems in schools? To catch this kid. Apparently, he had a hankering for pie at 4:15 a.m. Who doesn't, really?

New comments all over the place

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Monday, January 21, 2008
Just an FYI that Blogger has been hiding some comments from me for reasons undetermined and that you can see what some other people said if you scroll back down through the January posts. Okay, well, it's the Tim Whall post where people had the most to say. Check it out. Jan. 7. I think I've got the problem solved going forward, so you keep up the comments, and I'll keep up the random thoughts on Mission:Impossible.

Meet Potter's new owners in St. Louis

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Friday, January 18, 2008
St. Louis-based Potter Electric Signal, a fire and security systems manufacturer, and a family-owned business that was most recently owned by descendents of founder Charles Potter has been acquired by Two Rivers Associates, a St. Louis VC firm. New investors also include Potter Electric executive management. I'm having trouble linking directly to the press release, but here's their Web site. Click on "What's New" to read their press release.

Alarm One's harassment is OK as long as it's equal?

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Thursday, January 17, 2008
Alarm One of Anaheim, Calif., which should have won some kind of "most likely to be mistaken for a trogloydyte" award for seeking to motivate its employees by corporal punishment and humiliation, has been one-upped, in my opinion, by an attorney who helped reverse a sexual harassment decision against the company. Please read on. In 2006, Janet Orlando was awarded $1.7 million in a sexual harassment case against her former employer, Alarm One. That judgment was reversed this week by an appeals court according to this story which ran in the Fresno Bee today. Orlando and other employees were subjected to spankings as part of Alarm One's “team building exercises.” Here’s our story on the lower court decision. According to today's Fresno Bee story, the jury of the lower court should have been instructed to determine if Orlando was spanked because she's a woman. Orlando's attorney Nicholas Wagner indicated he'll attempt to bring the case back to trial and said, "I'm kind of surprised that the court has taken the position that, if men and women are harassed the same way, then it's OK." I saw in an AP story that Alarm One had gone out of business. Maybe something good will come out of this after all.

CCTV in "Little Guyana"

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Wednesday, January 16, 2008
It's hard to pass up these mainstream videos from news organizations covering the proliferation of cameras in public spaces. It's such a great window into how the general population feels. We talk often about educating the end user, but maybe not often enough about educating the level below the end user. Is this something SIA could take on? A general public educational campaign about the benefits of CCTV? It might get more municipalities buying, I think, with less public uncertainty and cynicism. Go here to check out the latest from NYC. Pardon the ad that starts the video - everybody's got to pay the bills somehow.

Nice mainstream piece on a courthouse installation

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008
I always point out when the mainstream press gets security wrong, so I thought I'd point out this article that really does a nice job of explaining to the general public what's going on at their local courthouse. Nothing revolutionary, but the installer is interviewed and the nuts and bolts are outlined well. On a smaller note, I can't decide what to think about this quote: "The courthouse can be a violable place," Armentrout said. "If something were to happen, we hope to be able to respond to it adequately." Did he really say volatile or violent, and violable is a typo, or did he really say violable, using an archaic adjectival form of the verb to violate? Meaning, I guess, the courthouse can be a place where people are violated, in the broad sense of the word?

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