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ASIS opens with a wake

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Monday, September 24, 2007
As visitors crowded into the Las Vegas Convention center here for the opening of this year's ASIS International conference, they were greeted with the sounds of bagpipes as IP access control manufacturer Viscount held a "wake" for the control panel, which featured a procession through the red-carpeted aisles. There was even a coffin. And arm-bands with blinking Viscount lights. And booze. It was pretty funny, actually.

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ASIS opens with a wake

 - 
Monday, September 24, 2007
As visitors crowded into the Las Vegas Convention center here for the opening of this year's ASIS International conference, they were greeted with the sounds of bagpipes as IP access control manufacturer Viscount held a "wake" for the control panel, which featured a procession through the red-carpeted aisles. There was even a coffin. And arm-bands with blinking Viscount lights. And booze. It was pretty funny, actually.

Help for small Canadians

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Or, maybe, small Canadian businesses would be more accurate. Joe Cosentino and a group of four small independent distributors have founded the Canadian Association of Independent Security Distributors, which will operate something like a co-op, offering members collective buying power. I'll have an interview with Cosentino in our November issue, but he basically just says this is a way of leveling the playing field for independent distributors who are competing with the likes of ADT and Tri-Ed, who obviously have a little bit of buying power of their own. The CAISD is hoping for a total of about 40 paying members, but there will also be an opportunity for dealers to join as free memebers, and receive discounts on products and even services in the way that monitoring centers can often offer deals on telecom services and the like. It's based in Toronto, but there's nothing in the group's by-laws that says you have to be a Maple Leafs fan.

GE, Smiths call off joint venture

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Thursday, September 20, 2007
News has come out of the UK that Smiths Detection and GE have called off their collaboration to tackle the market for scanning devices used in airports and other screening applications. I consider that big news. A number of news organizations have speculated that Smiths is being broken up, which could mean the Smiths Detection arm is simply up for sale. Who's buying? I still wonder what this means for Registered Traveler.

Icx is pretty thermal, too

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Thursday, September 20, 2007
Speaking of thermal cameras (see Flir item, below), icx imaging systems certainly has some nice product, though I'm not sure how much they're selling. Want to take a camera for a test drive? Sorry, I'm a sucker for cool web tricks.

Flir is getting hot (or should I say, "thermal"?)

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
My European counterpart alerted me to the fact that Flir has agreed to pay more than $40 million for Cedip Infrared Systems, a provider of infrared cameras and stabilized gimbaled systems, based in suburban Paris. First of all, how can you not get psyched about using the word "gimbaled," but, second, I think it's clear now that Flir is taking names in the infrared/thermal market. Check out the awards they've announced here. That's more than $60 million in business in the last two months. Not too shabby. Speaking of thermal cameras, have you heard about these SARS/Avian Flu detecting cameras. Basically, they provide alarms for people with high body temperatures, or, as the site says, "fever-like symptoms." What, exactly, would be "fever-like"? Don't you either have a fever or you don't? Supposedly, this would make sense to install in an airport at customs. But wouldn't it pick up anybody with a fever? Just because I have the flu doesn't mean I should be retained as a potential SARS case.

Security and OJ Simpson

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I've got to admit that I am beyond shocked that video footage of OJ Simpson in the Palace Station in Vegas hasn't appeared yet. We all know how much has been invested in security at casinos and hotels in the city of sin, yet all we're being given is a bad audio tape made by one of Simpson's victims and some footage from Simpson's bail hearing. I'm deeply disappointed in the security director at the Palace - shouldn't he or she have sold that footage to Fox News for a million bucks by now? Maybe the Palace hasn't upgraded to IP yet and they're still looking for the video on their VCRs....

Piling on

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Okay, so the New England Patriots cheating scandal has officially reached the realm of the ludicrous. Now comes word from Kimmons Security Services, an outfit based in Houston doing investigations and debugging and the like, that head honcho Rob L. Kimmons thinks law enforcement should investigate the team for possibly audio-recording opposing teams' offensive audibles. "If this is true," Kimmons writes in a press release that was distributed through all the normal channels, "and conversations were covertly intercepted without participants' knowledge, this could very well be a criminal offense. In most states, at least one party in a conversation must know it is being intercepted or taped, or a criminal law has been violated. Some states require all party consent for audio monitoring." Okay, that's all well and good, but is this really the way you'd like your tax-payer-funded law-enforcement officers spending their time? Investigating whether the Patriots illegally taped their opponents? Mightn't we simply let the league police their own on this one? If Kimmons was serious about this, woudn't he have researched which laws actually applied in New Jersey? Hey, I'm all for attention grabbing by companies who'd like to get themselves on ESPN or CNN. That's what American mainstream media is today, a giant opportunity for building your brand. But this seems particularly shameless. For one, it implies that the law-enforcement types whose jurisdiction is the Meadowlands aren't aware of laws surrounding audio surveillance. For another thing, something makes me think this guy is a Texans fan. Look, it's not the Patriots' fault your team didn't draft Vince Young. And just because you're 2-0, don't start thinking you're going to the Super Bowl.

Fun with franchising

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Friday, September 14, 2007
There seems to be some interest in the EYESthere franchise story, so let me point you to their competition: MonitorClosely.com. I wrote about them here. It's a totally different idea, actually, in that MonitorClosely franchisees have zero inventory, and really just act as outside sales people, from what I can tell.

EMC's sex-discrimination woes

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Friday, September 14, 2007
This is pretty ugly. I've written in the past that the new blood entering the security industry could be good for ushering out a conservative and chauvinistic aura that can surround the marketplace. Apparently, the IT industry has chauvinistic problems of its own, as represented by storage giant EMC. There was a disturbing article on the front page of the Journal this week about the way women are treated there, and since EMC has made a security play already, I'm afraid I have to comment. It's a long article, so I'll highlight a few paragraphs (Journal's words in bold): EMC says it has long had a written antiharassment policy. It prohibits conduct that, "if unwelcome," could constitute harassment, including "sexual epithets, jokes...gossip regarding one's sex life" and downloading suggestive material from the Internet. The Journal is right to highlight the "if unwelcome" part, as it adds a ridiculous burden of proof. I can just hear a manager saying in a courtroom, "well, she seemed to welcome it at the time." Of course, at the time, she was trying to impress her boss or her coworkers with her tough salesperson-ness. I mean, what woman wouldn't want to go to a strip club, really? Only one who wasn't tough and savvy, I'm sure. Twelve former saleswomen who worked for EMC between 1997 and 2006 said sales offices often were places where men freely made disparaging remarks about women. Four former saleswomen said that between 2000 and 2003, EMC national sales meetings and meetings with customers were sometimes followed by trips to strip clubs. A saleswoman who used to work in the Denver office says that at the annual sales kick-off meeting in Atlanta in 2001, managers, from vice presidents on down, took groups to such clubs. Though the lawsuits are more about equal pay than workplace environment, this kind of stuff is completely baffling to me. What manager at any company would think it's appropriate to mix strip clubs and a workplace environment? Even if it's after hours, a gathering comprising only employees is essentially a business meeting and I can think of zero reason why naked women (or men, for that matter) would be welcome at such a meeting. Mr. Hauck says that when he took over the sales force in 2001, he tried to make it clear that EMC wouldn't tolerate a hostile environment for women -- consistent, he says, with previous policy. Shortly after he took over, he says, a controller showed him an expense account from a salesman who wanted to be reimbursed for taking a client to a strip club. Mr. Hauck says he told the controller to refuse to pay the bill and to tell the sales force EMC wouldn't reimburse that type of client entertainment. He says he was reiterating an existing corporate policy. Oh, what a big man Mr. Hauck is. He won't reimburse a salesperson who took a client to a strip club. No. He. Won't. Um, how about you fire that salesperson for embarrassing the company and insulting the intelligence of the client. Even if it was the client's idea, it shouldn't be that hard for a good salesperson to say something along the lines of, "gee, sir, I'd be pretty uncomfortable looking at naked women with you while we're talking about your company's storage needs." This is absurd to the highest level and shows that Hauck simply doesn't get why women aren't all that keen on working at his company. With women making up ever higher percentages of college graduates and advanced degree seekers, the security industry needs to make hiring and retaining women a higher priority than ever. One good way to retain female employees? Don't make it clear that your business does business in strip clubs.

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