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US company to offer microchip implants to employees

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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Over the past few years, the security industry has begun to embrace many new technologies—robotics, the cloud, biometrics, for example—but one company here in the U.S., Three Square Market, is pushing the boundaries of RFID technology by offering to implant tiny RFID chips—the size of a grain of rice—into its employees’ hands between the thumb and forefinger.

The chip would allow employees to not only buy snacks in the break room but also have their hands function as a mobile key to gain access to the building and other doors, which makes me think of the possible applications/ramifications within security.

Implanting chips in employee’s hands is already being done in Sweden, where an organization named Epicenter is having success with an increasing number of employees there opting to get the implant. Here in the U.S., Three Square Market says it has approximately 50 employees who are interested in getting the implant, and unlike in Sweden, the company is paying for the $300 procedure for its employees. Three Square Market partnered with a Swedish firm, BioHax International, to make the chip and is planning to sell the technology to other companies.

"Eventually, this technology will become standardized, allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.," chief executive Todd Westby wrote in a blog post announcing the program, noting that there is even potential for storing medical/health information, and for use as payment at other RFID terminals.

But one has to wonder what security vulnerabilities this could create, especially in protecting the data on that chip from being hacked, stolen and/or compromised, etc. Not to mention, the “creepy” factor here, as mass adoption of microchip implants is dubious, at best.

Maybe some day, like in the year 2112, but in the short term, I do think there is good fodder here for a futuristic sci-fi movie.
 

SSN talks with I-View Now about recent Eagle Eye integration

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HENDERSON, Nev.—Recently, I-View Now announced a new integration with Eagle Eye Networks. I got the chance to catch up with I-View Now president Larry Folsom to hear a bit about this partnership and how it works.

“The I-View Now integration with Eagle Eye Networks is a cloud to cloud integration,” Folsom said in an email interview. “We appreciate the architecture in that it is a smart appliance that can be used with inexpensive or expensive cameras depending on the opportunity and requirements. We think this is important for scale (as opposed to cloud systems that require expensive cameras). We found the Eagle Eye Networks APIs to be robust and well thought out.”

Folsom discussed how the partnership will benefit I-View Now’s customers.

“We believe this is another great video partner for our dealers and central stations to utilize while protecting their customers,” Folsom said. “It is import to see that the Eagle Eye Networks video will work with all I-View Now compatible signaling integrations (security systems) and will play in the same universal player for operators, end users, and law enforcement.”

Folsom noted that I-View Now has had a busy year; it partnered with COPS Monitoring and earlier this year announced that cameras from Bosch, OpenEye and Hikvision can now come I-View Now Ready. “We currently have a backlog but we are working our way through it and have been actively hiring engineers to build out the team to support the demand,” he said.

When asked what the company is currently working on, Folsom pointed to the company’s work with Digital Barriers, announced in early June.

“This integration is fun because every clip we produce will be processed with the video analytic,” said Folsom. “The process will add intelligence (percent of likelihood of a person) to all of our existing video integrations to reduce false alarms and add bounding boxes so the agent and the end user can see where the changes occurred.”

PSA TEC 2018 call for presentations now open

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The PSA Security Network, a security and systems integrator cooperative with headquarters in Westminster, Colo., is accepting presentations through Aug. 4, 2017 for its TEC 2018 annual conference. Proposals can be submitted at www.psatec.com/cfp.

TEC 2018, which will be held at the Sheraton Downtown Denver in Denver, Colo., March 12-16, 2018, is a premier education and networking event for all professional systems integrators in the security and audio-visual markets. TEC features education and certification programs, networking, and dedicated exhibit hours designed to advance the skills and expertise of industry professionals nationwide. This training venue is open to all industry professionals and is designed to meet the educational needs of all employees within an integrator’s organization.

PSA Security Network’s president and CEO Bill Bozeman told Security Systems News that the move from Westminster—where the conference had been held for several years—to downtown Denver fro 2018 was needed to accommodate the growth of the show.

“The hotel [Downtown Denver Sheraton] is bigger, so we look forward to having everyone under one roof,” Bozeman told SSN. “In addition, I think some of our younger members and supporters are going to enjoy being in downtown Denver, where there is so much to do.”

The education program will deliver sessions tailored to physical security and audio-visual integrators focused on emerging technologies, critical issues in the industry, and tool development to augment attendees’ knowledge needed to continue to drive these industries forward. Sessions will be selected that serve a variety of disciplines including business management, sales and marketing, HR and recruiting, project management and operations, and installation and service.

Proposals are welcome for both certification programs and general education sessions for the security and audio-visual markets. All sessions must be unbiased and minimize commercial references and overt branding. Submissions are evaluated based on topic relevance, speaker expertise, and originality of the content. Additional guidelines are available within the call for presentations submission tool.

Accepted and approved presenters will receive complimentary registration to TEC 2018 and will have the opportunity to solidify their reputation as an industry resource and subject matter expert while expanding their own professional network and gaining access to strategic partnerships. PSA does not pay honoraria or expenses for accepted proposals.

Sandy Springs considers fining dealers for false alarms

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The new Sandy Springs, Ga. alarm ordinance, which is set to be voted on July 18, is alarming many in the security industry as it looks to force alarm dealers to pay their subscriber's false alarm fees and fines.

“This makes as much sense as a car rental company being responsible for paying your speeding tickets if you get caught speeding in their car,” Dan Gordon, president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety and Security Association (GELSSA), and owner of Ga.-based Gordon Security, told Security System News.

Gordon, as well as many security companies working in Georgia, including LOUD Security and Ackerman Security, are rallying others in the industry to pay attention to what is going on in Sandy Springs.

“If Sandy Springs passes this, which city goes next?” John Loud, president of LOUD Security Systems, told SSN, noting that he does not think this ordinance will help Sandy Springs reduce false dispatches.

“They outsource the collections to a firm called CryWolf (Public Safety Corporation),” Loud explained. “Their service includes collecting the assessed fines. The cost to Sandy Springs is the same, whether the bill goes to the end users of the alarm system or the alarm company. But the alarm company’s costs will increase. They will now have to bill their customers and establish a collection process, increasing the workload for their personnel.”

Loud and others in opposition to the ordinance believe this will actually cause an increase in the amount of false dispatches.

“Citizens will usually respond to citations from their local police or city municipality,” he explained. “If a vendor or service provider sends an assessment, they could very easily change monitoring companies and get additional false alarms through new providers. They can choose to never pay and continually change companies.”

He noted that this would result in more false dispatches as the end user would never be forced to change their behavior.

Loud also pointed out that the court systems of Sandy Springs will have a lot more cases. ”Either the alarm companies will be filing suit to collect monies from customers refusing to pay or the city will be pursuing alarm companies for nonpayment of fines they do not have the money to pay.”

He continued, “You will likely see many alarm companies choosing to not do business with residents/businesses that must comply with this ordinance. In Sandy Springs, most alarm companies charge only $25 per month. While false alarm fees can cost hundreds of dollars, the accounts receivable process will likely make it financially impossible for fire/alarm companies to take on such risk.”

He said that Sandy Springs could achieve greater reduction in the false dispatches if they would enforce all of their current ordinance provisions, such as:

- Follow the Enhanced Call Verification Georgia State law that went into effect in 2013. “The 911 operator could very easily ask for the two phone numbers the alarm company called prior to dispatch request,” said Loud.

- Do not allow dispatch on the subscribers that have not paid for previous fines—put them on a do not dispatch list.

- Do not allow dispatch for subscribers that have had 10 false alarms in a permit year.

- Activate the false alarm school the ordinance allows for, which will provide the training and prevention of future false alarms.

“Another step Sandy Springs could pursue is a higher fee structure for excessive false alarms,” said Loud. “This would force subscribers to either fix their system, teach others to use it properly or they could choose to stop arming their system. All three of the options result in reduced dispatches.”

He continued, “While I certainly see there are many ways to help unite with the City of Sandy Springs and help them achieve their ultimate goal of reducing false dispatches and wasting government recourses, I do not believe requiring the alarm companies to pay the fees is the answer.”

The GELSSA, along with strong industry voices like Loud's, are urging those in the industry to reach out to the mayor of Sandy Springs to voice their concerns, and for security dealers in the Sandy Springs area to attend the planned vote on July 18.

CSG gains $40 million in financing

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Central Security Group on July 6 announced that it received an incremental first lien term loan of $40 million, as well as a 12-month maturity extension to its credit facilities.

The new funding “is part of a broader $350 million financing the company started in 2014. This was an add on to that financing,” Richard Ginsburg, president and CEO of Central Security Group, told Security Systems News in an email interview. CSG finances through Credit Suisse, Ginsburg noted.

Asked about growth initiatives, Ginsburg said, “We continue to grow our business through our long-standing Authorized Dealer Program, supplemented by our organic efforts.”

In the recent announcement, Ginsburg mentioned that the funding will help the company with geographic expansion, acquisitions and growing its account base. The announcement also emphasized the company’s Alert 360 offering, which provides interactive security.

Concerning acquisitions, Ginsburg told SSN, “We are always looking but are very selective.”

Ginsburg discussed what CSG looks for in an ideal acquisition. “We would consider quality companies with customers put on through more traditional marketing,” he told SSN. “We also look for companies with good employees and managers who are hitting glass ceilings because of the company's size and who would benefit from a company like ours, with more resources, financing, and a positive culture.”

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AICC opens annual survey

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Alarm Industry Communications Committee recently opened its sixth annual communications survey, which asks about monitored accounts using POTS, VoIP digital dialers, as well as other technologies used for transmitting alarm data.

AICC started conducting the survey in 2012 because there was a lack of data on communication paths, according to AICC chair Lou Fiore. “The idea is to figure out what communications is in use, from the premises to a central station,” Fiore told Security Systems News.

“When we go to congress and the FCC and we want to ask that they retain something, or ask for new services, we have data to back it up,” Fiore said.

“This year, I introduced a question regarding AES, as opposed to cellular. But, in previous years, we’ve lumped AES … or private one-way radio with cellular, [calling] it all ‘wireless,’” Fiore said.

Part of the survey covers wireless technologies. “In 2016, 58 percent of new installations were using some form of wireless. Back when I started that part of the survey in 2013 it was about 45 percent. So, it’s steadily ticking up, and I’m sure this year it will [increase] even more,” Fiore said.

In 2012, 83.5 percent of monitored accounts used POTS digital dialers, either as a sole method of transmission or along with another method, Fiore said. “Now, it’s down to 58 percent,” he said, adding that he expects it to be lower this year.

The survey also asked what percentage of accounts use another technology—such as radio, IP, or cellular—as the sole method of transmission. “In 2012, it was 14.5 percent. 2016, it went up to 40 percent,” said Fiore.

In 2013, when the survey began asking about accounts that use IP exclusively, 15.6 percent used IP exclusively. That figure decreased to 9 percent in 2016, Fiore said. “IP exclusively, the use of Internet … is not as popular as everyone’s thought. It’s actually decreasing; it’s been steadily decreasing through the years.”

The survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R9SH7JC. Participation is not limited to TMA or AICC members. Fiore will share results after the survey closes on Aug. 11.

Camera demand growing as prices plummet

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The world market for professional video surveillance equipment grew by 3.9 percent in 2016, despite a drop in camera prices, according to recently published estimates from IHS Markit through its Video Surveillance Intelligence Service.

“This is a higher rate of growth than in 2015 (1.9 percent) but still low by historical standards,” Jon Cropley, principal analyst, video surveillance, IHS Markit, said in the announcement.

IHS forecasts a slightly higher growth in the global market for 2017—at 5.5 percent—and as a result, the world market will be worth $16.2 billion in 2017.

Accounting for more than 40 percent of global revenues measured in U.S. dollars, the Chinese market grew by 7.2 percent in 2016, according to IHS, which noted that exchange rate changes did play a role in suppressing a higher calculated growth in that currency (as the average annual exchange rate of the Chinese Yuan Renminbi to the U.S. dollar fell by 6.6 percent in 2016). In the report, Hikvision took the top spot in several categories.

“The world market excluding China grew by just 1.6 percent in 2016,” Cropley pointed out. “Demand for security cameras grew rapidly but prices fell considerably, affecting revenues. In fact, revenues declined in a number of countries.”

IHS also found that the supply base for professional video surveillance equipment is gradually becoming more concentrated, although it remains highly fragmented compared with supply to many other markets.

“The top fifteen vendors accounted for 58 percent of revenues in 2016,” noted Cropley. “In 2016, a number of Chinese vendors continued to gain market share rapidly in regions outside China. They tend to offer products with low prices and this has been a major factor in average price erosion in those regions.”

The report also found that 59 percent of all security cameras shipped in 2016 were network cameras, and shipments of HD CCTV cameras more than doubled. Less than 1 percent of network cameras shipped were 4K-compliant, according to IHS.

Note: Check back for more on this report, including additional comments from IHS’ Jon Cropley.

Ivan Spector voted president-elect of The Monitoring Association

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Monitoring Association today announced that Ivan Spector, president of Montreal-based Sentinel Alarm Co., was voted to be the next president of TMA at its general membership meeting, held on June 13 during ESX in Nashville Tenn.

“I am very honored and humbled to serve in the position of President,” Spector said in TMA’s announcement. “I look forward to continuing our successes and I thank all of our members for their support and participation.” 

Spector is a Superior Court of Canada-acknowledged and accepted expert witness. Spector is a graduate of McGill University and he and his wife Jodi live in Montreal with their four children. Sentinel Alarm Co. is a full-service ULC-listed and Five Diamond designated monitoring station.

“In addition to his ownership of Sentinel Alarm, Spector is a leader in advancing alarm management in both Canada and the United States,” TMA said in today's announcement. For CANASA, Spector has served on the Board of Directors, was national president, and chair of the Response Committee. He was also a founding member and longtime board member of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition and he currently serves on the Executive Committee of TMA.

In addition to the election of Spector, officer positions for the next two years were proposed and accepted by vote of the membership: Don Young, ADT’s chief information officer; Morgan Hertel, VP of technology and innovation for Rapid Response; and CPI’s chief technology officer Steve Butkovich, will become vice presidents of the association and Alan Gillmore IV, Gillmore Security, will become TMA’s treasurer.

“Congratulations to Ivan and our other new officers,” TMA's current president Pamela J. Petrow, said in a prepared statement. “I have had the pleasure of working with all of them during my presidency, and know that the Association will be in very good hands under their leadership.”

These leadership changes become official at the conclusion of the TMA Annual Meeting in Scottsdale October 7-11.

New resi research promising

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017

U.S. households with professional security monitoring will generate nearly $14.7 billion in 2021, reaching a five-year CAGR of 4.7 percent from 2017-2021, according to Parks Associates’ Home Security NUMBERS research.

“Our last number from the fourth quarter of 2016 shows that 21.5 percent of broadband households, which is about 80 percent of overall households, have professionally monitored security,” Tom Kerber, Parks' director of IoT strategy, told Security Systems News. “So when you look at that number on an overall household basis, the number ends up being around 18.8 percent that have professionally monitored security.”

That is approximately 22 million households, and by 2021 Parks estimates that number will rise to 26.6 million, or 21.6 percent of households overall, having professionally monitored security, representing an approximately 3 percent growth rate.

“Over the last decade it has never been close to that 21.6 percent number,” noted Kerber. “In 2010, the number was 13 percent, so that is strong growth. Although from a conventional wisdom perspective it doesn’t sound like much, it is substantial. We had significant recovery from the recession from 2013-15, and now the growth is more modest, but it is still growing.”

When asked about the impact of the telecoms into the space, Kerber noted that Comcast is making waves.

“Comcast when they went public with their subscriber count at 957,000 as part of their annual reporting, that was substantial, representing a 40 percent growth over the prior year,” he said. ”Whether it is bundling with their core services, or subscribing people when they move, or more aggressive sales tactics mixed with their call center operations, they obviously have figured out how to move the needle in a substantial way. At a million subscribers, they are equivalent to Moni, or Vivint to some extent. So you can’t discount that type of success.”

He continued, “Telecoms, led by Comcast, are growing at a faster rate than the market is growing, so they are gaining market shares. And when we look at some of the smaller players, they are not growing at the same rate as others in the market, and we are trying to understand why this is happening through some current research that we are doing.”

Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst, Parks Associates, told SSN that some of the smaller local dealers “are a little more hesitant to provide smart home controls. I don't know if it is more of an infrastructure basis—they don’t have the employees to do so or the technological savvy to do so—but they are falling behind in terms of providing these controllers in the home that consumers are actively asking for. So, of course, if consumers can’t find it through their local dealer, they are going to look to those who can provide it for them.”
 

Vivint announces new campus, new solution

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

In the past couple of weeks, Vivint has made two announcements. The first announcement, which came out on June 13, was about the company’s new facility. Then, on June 20, Vivint announced its new solution for property developers and managers—Vivint Smart Properties.

According to Vivint’s announcement, the new facility will be a 43,000-square-foot building, capable of housing up to 400 employees and includes a demo home equipped with a Vivint smart home system, a full-size basketball court, fitness center and six training rooms, including a technical training room and a hands-on product training room.

“We look forward to tapping into the strong business and engineering talent of the Utah State University community and contributing to Utah’s growth as a tech hub,” Alex Dunn, president at Vivint Smart Home, said in a prepared statement.

"We are very pleased to provide space for Vivint Smart Home on the USU Innovation Campus," Noelle Cockett, Utah State University president, said in the announcement. "The center will afford employment opportunities for people in Cache Valley, including USU students. Also, we anticipate USU research and outreach faculty engaging with Vivint R&D personnel in areas of common interest," Cockett continued.

Vivint Smart Properties will bring smart home devices to single- or multi-family rental properties, marketed specifically toward property managers. Harrison Jenkins, senior director of product integrations, told Security Systems News that this program is essentially “taking what we’ve been offering to single-family residential homeowners for years and making it accessible to renters. So, [that includes] lights, locks, thermostats, doorbell cameras, security.”

The customer, property managers, looks a little different from the company's typical customer, Jenkins noted. “It’s just a different model for us, but I think we have a good understanding of how it needs to happen and we’re ready to deploy it.”

Tom Few, Vivint Smart Home's vice president of business development, described how the new offering benefits both renters and property managers.

“We believe that it’ll help drive occupancy, it’ll help drive net operating income with increased rents,” Few told SSN. “I believe that it allows the renter to have control of their apartment, whether it be through video, door access, thermostats, lighting. These are all things that people are becoming accustomed to having and I think it’s going to be an amenity that’s going to attract more renters to that property.” 

Vivint has dedicated that is focused on property managers, developers and owners, according to Few. “We are presenting the opportunity to them, we are getting to the decision makers, and … everybody that we have spoken to has been happy to talk to us and interested in the offering,” he said. “Now, it’s just about creating that demand and actually deploying it.”

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