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Behavioral analytics in Houston

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

BRS Labs, providers of “behavioral analytics”, which made some loud pronouncements at ASIS [and who will have an end user participating in TechSec 2012] announced the other day that Houston will use its software in its city surveillance “critical infrastructure protection program.”

BRS say its software “AISight,” [which it pronounces “eyesight”] can “attach to existing video surveillance infrastructure and watch, learn, and identify unusual behavioral patterns in real time …  to proactively identify security violations, potential criminal activity and more serious threats.”

In a press release, Hobby Wright, BRS Labs VP for Strategic Programs said: "We are seeing substantial demand for our reason-based video surveillance software and the City of Houston is one of many American cities deploying and developing programs that incorporate our intelligence into their video surveillance operations."

Very interesting—curious to  learn how it works out.

More love for 'phone as credential'

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Monday, November 7, 2011

Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies, manufacturer of Schlage contactless smart credentials and readers, released a report today that says “two-thirds of American college students are interested in using their cell phone in place of an ID card.” The press release I received said it was “independent research undertaken by Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies” but it did not include hard numbers, sample size or information about margin of error. While I assume I could get those numbers from IR, in this case, I’m not skeptical at all about their findings, even without seeing their numbers. If anything, I’d guess their numbers are low.

The press release points out that “people will almost always notice that their phone is lost faster than noting a card is missing.” During a presentation at ASIS, where HID CEO Denis Hebert, talked about their NFC pilot project at Arizona State University, Hebert said it takes a student like six minutes to realize that they lost their phone, whereas it could take up to 24 hours to realize they lost a key.

The release said that nearly half of all students identify their cell phones as their favorite personal electronic device. Again, that’s probably an understatement--and it's not just college students who are attached to their phones. Here’s a funny NYT OpEd from a month ago about how iPhone owners’ response to their phones is more akin to love than anything else.

Back to the release, in a statement, Beverly Vigue, Ingersoll Rand Security Technologies VP of education markets said: “There are a great number of early adaptors in the college population that are already sold on cell phones being a credential, just like they were sold on the use of smart cards and biometrics previously … [this] ties in nicely with the budding discussion of NFC (near field communication) which will inevitably end up on cell phones. No Visa card; no MasterCard card…only your cell phone will be needed for cashless payments or to show your identity.” Further, she notes that  “the solution is still in the testing phase and not yet ready for mass commercialization … plus, it is hard to determine what the phone providers will charge for having this attribute.”

So a variety of manufacturers are clearly all over this new technology, but how soon will phone credentials be ready for prime time in the commercial market?

Funny you should ask. This is one of the many topics that will be discussed at TechSec 2012 (Delray Beach, Fla. Feb. 7&8). One session: “The Smartphone: ID of the Future,” will explore NFC and its use for various physical access control applications. In addition to the ASU pilot, HID is doing pilot projects with non-education end users, and those end users will be at TechSec to talk about whether the love for “smartphone as credential” is just as strong in verticals other than education. More important, Hebert, the end users and an integrator will discuss what it will take to move this technology into the maintstream and what this emerging technology will mean for integrators' bottom line.

Tyco post-split talk Part II: Are acquisitions in the air?

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Here’s Part II (I posted Part I yesterday) of a blog with some Tyco post-split details, which I found in the process of reviewing the Tyco International Conference Call. The call took place on the day that Tyco announced its plan to split into three publicly traded companies.

On that day, most of the industry, including yours truly, was running around the ASIS show floor. The quotes below are courtesy of Seeking Alpha.

Was the split construed to ready Fire & Security or ADT for acquisition? And, is there any government regulation that would preclude the acquisition of ADT or Commercial Fire and Security from taking place in the next 18 months?

Asked if Tyco had “not had substantive conversations with any outside parties about the sale of any of these businesses?” Tyco CEO Ed Breen said: “We are well aware of the laws and regulations out there and … we are very careful about what we do. So I will leave it at that.”
 
OK, well is there anything to preclude one of the entities from being acquired in the next 18 months?
“If anyone approaches us about a piece of the … our Board would have to take that under advisement. It is our fiduciary responsibility, but it is not our plan. Our plan is to get these out there on their own and let them play in the their industry,” Breen said.

Answering a question on a different topic, Breen said: “I’m a big believer that there going to be consolidation in these industries. I think you’ve already been watching some of that occur and we want our businesses to be able to play in that environment in their respective industries.”

Asked about the split between resi and commercial security, Breen said much of the separation has occurred already, when ADT split into residential and commercial divisions.

And, in terms of the monitoring operation, Breen said they have a plan about how to separate the two and “it’s easier than it sounds.”

Whey didn’t they bifurcate the two businesses back in 2006? The companies were too fragmented at that time, Breen said. “The management teams were more fragmented and there wasn’t consistent performance.”
 

System secures windows from burglars, drafts

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I live in Maine, where the fall weather can be up and down—wintry one day, almost balmy the next. On the warm days, I’m likely to yank open a window to make the most of the fresh air before we batten down the house for the winter. But afterwards, I sometimes forget to lock my windows. That’s why an announcement this week of a new system designed to alert homeowners if their windows are unlocked caught my eye. It was developed by Honeywell and Andersen Corp., of window fame, and it seems it would be useful not only for security reasons, but to make sure that your windows are locked up tight against winter drafts. The system works for doors too.

Here’s more from the Oct. 31 release:
 

Honeywell and Andersen Corporation are collaborating to provide a first-of-its-kind system that allows security alarms to alert homeowners if their windows or doors are unlocked. The VeriLock sensor technology embeds Honeywell’s widely used 5800 series of wireless sensors inside the locking mechanisms of a select group of windows and patio doors manufactured by Eagle Window & Door Manufacturing, Inc., a subsidiary of Andersen Corporation.

Similar technology can only detect if a window or door is open or closed. VeriLock sensors are the first that can detect whether they are actually locked or unlocked, in addition to open or closed.

“Statistics show a large number of home invasions are the result of an intruder simply walking in, and not ‘breaking in,’” said John Kovach, Honeywell’s global director of marketing for sensor products. “Whether it’s people rushing out of the house or simply going to bed forgetting to lock up, it’s easy to leave a door or window unlocked and easily accessible. This is the only technology to offer another layer of home protection.”

VeriLock sensors will initially be available on Eagle Axiom casement and awning windows, Talon double-hung windows, and Ascent hinged French patio doors and sliding patio doors. The sensor devices are ideal for single-family homes, multi-unit light commercial dwellings such as assisted-living complexes and remodel projects. In addition to security, VeriLock sensor technology can help reduce home energy use by notifying homeowners when doors and windows are unlocked .

“Windows and doors are a home’s first layer of protection for both comfort and security.  It’s important to make that layer ‘smarter’ for added protection.” said Holly Boehne, senior vice president of Andersen Corporation’s research, development and innovation.

The VeriLock sensor technology is available January 1, 2012 on Eagle products from select Andersen window and door dealers in North America.

 

Tyco post-split Part I: Dealer news; New Fire & Security group to save $

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Will ADT grow its dealer or internal sales groups post split? How will Tyco save $400 million to $500 million mostly from the new Commercial Fire and Security division?

I found some interesting details on those questions when I finally had a chance—on a recent long plane ride—to review the Tyco International Conference Call. The call took place on the day that Tyco announced its plan to split into three publicly traded companies.

On that day, most of the industry, including yours truly, were running around the ASIS show floor. The quotes below are courtesy of Seeking Alpha.

ADT to grow internal sales force

ADT residential currently derives about half of its business from its dealers and half from its internal sales force, but the goal is “to get more internal sales people, [and] keep the dealer channel where it’s at,” said Tyco CEO Ed Breen during a recent Tyco earnings call.

“We have a good business there, but [we will] continue to increase on the direct side of the house,” he added. ADT serves more than 6 million homes and small businesses, has more than $3b in annualized revenue (90 percent of that from RMR.) Its average creation cost for accounts is $1,000, according to the call.

Naren Gursahaney, who is now president of Security Solutions and who joined Tyco in 2003, will become CEO of ADT. And, ADT will no longer be officially headquartered in Switzerland with the rest of Tyco. Presumably it will be in Boca Raton, its U.S. headquarters. Asked about ADT’s resi business abroad, Breen said that most of its business outside of the U.S. is commercial, and regardless, ADT overseas business has always been managed by commercial…so there’s not a change there. Of the estimated $10 billion in revenue Commercial Fire and Security, about $1 billion is RMR from fire and security and most of the security business is commercial, with a little residential, he said.

Commercial Fire and Security business key to to $400m - $500m savings

When the fire and commercial security business are combined, the new approximately $10 billion entity will be the “largest global provider of fire and security products and service.” This entity will continue to list Schaffhausen Switzerland as its headquarters. Its CEO will be George Oliver.   

Breen said Tyco as a whole will save $400 to $500 million over “multiple years” as a result of the split. The bulk of that savings will come from Commercial Fire and Security and the Flow Control business, he said.

At Commercial Fire & Security “we’re bringing together a security commercial company and a fire commercial company, all extremely global with all the back offices. So you can imagine not only do we get those synergies htat we talked about but when we bring those two businesses together, which have been managed separately, that helps us a little more create that synergy.”

He said the combined businesses will make a “big push” to go after enterprise business and said that “we’ve created key verticals, on one of our key verticals, for instance in Security and Fire is oil and gas … we’re not going to miss the opportunity to really go dive deep on those…”

Look for more on Tyco post-split tomorrow in this space.

Verizon securing nation’s homes

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It was big news in January when Telecom giant Verizon debuted its new home security/home automation offering at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Now it’s even bigger news that the company has finished beta testing the product in New Jersey and launched it for real to Verizon broadband customers nationwide in mid-October.

The company’s Home Monitoring and Control Service—which has no professional monitoring component—costs $9.99 per month, with equipment packages starting at $69.99. Verizon said the service “enables customers to remotely access, control and monitor doors, thermostat controls and appliances well as view home-energy use in near-real time—all via a smart phone, PC, FiOS TV and, eventually, a connected tablet.”

And this may be only the beginning. A Verizon spokesman, Clifford Lee, told me last week that Verizon may consider the possibility of adding a burglar alarm security option in the future. Lee said it’s too early to discuss specifics, so it’s not clear if this would be a professionally monitored option or not.

So what does Verizon’s offering mean to professional home security providers?  Is this going to cut into your business or is there enough business to go around for everyone? Verizon also is known more as a communications/entertainment provider … will customers trust the company to also provide security as much as they do professional security providers?

I’m talking to industry experts to find out the answers to those questions and more for a Market Trends story in our upcoming December issue. Also, I’d love to hear your answers to those questions. Please participate in our December Newspoll on this topic, which you can find by scrolling down to the bottom of our site. Let us know what you think!

Personnel changes at Diebold, Pivot3

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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pivot 3 has a new CEO, and Diebold is looking for a new leader of its security division, according to announcements, released today by the two companies.

Excepts from releases below:

Diebold’s Stephenshon to retire, Engelhardt to serve as interim VP

Diebold announced that Bradley J. Stephenson is retiring from his current post as leader of the company’s security division. Diebold is conducting a national search to identify a replacement for Stephenson, according to the company.

In the meantime, Kevin Engelhardt, vice president, security operations, will serve as interim vice president, security solutions.

Stephenson joined Diebold in 1973 and during his tenure has been part of the significant evolution of the company’s security business. He has served in a variety of senior management and technical positions, including general manager of physical security, card systems, fire services, NexusSoftware and the original equipment manufacturer division. He led the company’s electronic security division from 1996 to 1999, developing security solutions to meet the needs of financial services, retail and higher education clients. Appointed to his current role in 2009, Stephenson’s retirement will be effective in December.

Engelhardt joined Diebold in 2004 via the company’s acquisition of New York’s Antar-Com, Inc. In his operations role, Engelhardt is responsible for the business operations of electronic security solutions in North America for all vertical markets. He has managed and executed a multitude of successful project implementations, including those underway at World Trade Center (WTC) Tower 4 and the WTC Transportation Hub.

He has also managed purchasing, warehouse operations, contract administration and finance activities. In his current role, Engelhardt will be responsible for leading Diebold’s security business, with a focus on large-scale enterprise security sales and installations. He will also continue to lead all security related application and project engineering teams, as well as Diebold’s government, retail and event monitoring security business efforts.

Pivot3 names Rich Bravman CEO

Storage provider Pivot3, Inc, today announced that Rich Bravman has been named the company’s new CEO, effective immediately.

Bravman takes over for Robert Fernander, who has served as the company's president and CEO since 2007. Fernander will continue in a business development role for Pivot3.

“Rich is a proven leader with an impressive track record in taking start-ups to global publicly-traded technology leaders. Having grown through the ranks from software engineer to CEO, and having been associated with technologies that are a mix of both hardware and software makes Rich a perfect fit for Pivot3,” said Ron Nash, Chairman of the Board of Pivot3 in a prepared release.

Most recently, Bravman served as vice president of corporate development and chief marketing officer at NCR Corp, a Fortune 500 technology leader in self-service solutions for ATM machines, retail and airline check-in systems. At NCR, Bravman was responsible for all corporate marketing, business development activities, and forged several strategic partnerships for the company. Previously, Bravman was chairman and chief executive officer at Intelleflex, Inc., where his leadership helped the RFID technology start-up raise $51M in venture funding and develop key partnerships with

Lockheed Martin, Mitsubishi and Motorola. Bravman started his career at Symbol Technologies where, during his 26-year tenure at the company, he held several positions with increasing responsibility and eventually assumed the role of chief executive officer and vice chairman. As CEO, Bravman led a major turnaround effort at Symbol, which paved the way for the company’s acquisition by Motorola in 2007.

 

Mace Security sells IVS

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Costar Video Systems, which is based in Coppell, Texas—and is technically a division of Sielox, Inc., which should not be confused with Sielox Access and Video Solutions. Here are the details on that —on Oct. 21, completed the purchase of IVS, a distributor of high-end digital and machine vision cameras and professional imaging components which has been in operation since 1989. Costar paid $517,000 cash paid at closing plus an additional $100,000 consideration payable if certain revenue levels are achieved by Costar in the first 90 days following the sale.
I spoke with Jim Pritchett, CEO of Costar this morning, and he told me this security operation benefits from the purchase because “it’s a much higher preforming camera … our engineers will benefit [because they’ll learn] how to build a lower cost security camera.”
The sale includes “inventory, trade accounts receivable and payable and IVS’ related intangible assets, including its customer list and trade names,” according to a press release from Mace.
“We are pleased to announce the sale of this non-core related business. This continues our strategy of monetizing non-core assets and allowing management to focus on its key security related businesses,” Michael Smith, CEO of Mace, said in a prepared statement.

Guardian Security expands dominance in Tulsa

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Here’s a tidbit about Guardian Security Systems, located in Tulsa, Okla. It just bought a block of accounts from another Tulsa company, NEOSAT Alarms, according to an announcement yesterday by the Long Grove, Ill.-based Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group, which represented NEOSAT in the transaction.

Here’s more from the Oct. 26 release:
 

Mark Garrett, owner of NEOSAT Alarms, stated that he “was very pleased to be able to place his subscribers with a high-quality central station that has a local Tulsa presence.” Glenn Albers, Guardian Security Systems Vice-President Dealer Operations, stated that “Guardian was enthusiastic about the opportunity to add high-quality accounts to further expand their dominance of the Tulsa market.”

Guardian Security is the name under which Central Security Group—one of the nation’s top providers of security alarm monitoring services headquartered in Tulsa—does business in Oklahoma. CSG was acquired by Summit Partners, a Boston-based growth equity investor around this time last year.

Then earlier this year CSG announced it was taking that infusion of new capital and putting it to work to grow the company—by adding new technology and creating a new brand for its dealer program.

 

More changes at UTC: New roles for Barry, Orbegoso, Haskins, Hamberlin

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Since UTC announced Sept. 28 that it merged UTC Fire & Security and Carrier Corp  to form UTC Climate, Controls and Security Systems  under the leadership of Geraud Darnis, more personnel changes have been made that affect the security and fire businesses.

The company has made internal announcements and sent notices to some integrator customers about personnel changes, however it has yet to make "official" publilc announcement Asked for confirmation and comment on the changes, a spokesperson for UTC Fire & Security confirmed that personnel changes have occurred at Lenel and Interlogix, but declined further comment saying that press releases outlining changes would be forthcoming.  

Security Systems News received copies of the following notices. On Oct. 21, personnel changes and at Lenel, Interlogix and the Fire Detection and Alarm business were that were announced included:

Building Automation & Access Control - Laird Hamberlin will lead this business unit which will include building automation with Automated Logic Corporation, enterprise security management with Lenel and intelligent locking devices with Onity. This strategic combination provides a growth platform, which will allow us to compete more effectively in the building management space including the fast-growing emerging markets.
 
Sensing & Controls - Bob Haskins will lead this business unit comprising all security panels, intrusion detection, video, HVAC controls and key management products. It includes the current operations of the Interlogix, Carrier Electronics and Supra businesses. This grouping provides for significant technical and manufacturing excellence in the area of embedded software-driven devices.
 
Detection & Alarm - Luis Orbegoso will lead this business unit which will include fire alarm panels, fire detection, mass notification, combustion controls, and specialty and high hazard detection. It encompasses the current operations of the Autronica, Edwards, Kidde Airsense, Detector, and Combustion Control businesses. Together the group will be a world leader in the design and manufacture of detection devices and will offer additional channels to market for existing products.

Prior to those announcement, in a Sept. 30 “message from Geraud Darnis” sent to some UTC customers, it was announced that “UTC Climate, Controls and Security Systems will operate through five business units."

Two business units, Automation & Controls Solutions and Transicold will operate globally. The three remaining business units will serve customers in the Americas; Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA); and Asia regions. "As we begin, I am pleased to announce the following leadership appointments," the message said.

Mark Barry—who in May 2011 was named president to UTC Fire & Security’s Global Fire Products—will now lead Automation & Controls Solutions, comprising all detection and control devices that sense, operate, interface, detect, communicate and manage HVAC, fire and security systems in buildings and other applications around the world. It includes building automation with Automated Logic Corporation, HVAC controls with Carrier Electronics, security access controls with Lenel, security panel controls and videos with Interlogix, fire detection and suppression including specialty detection as well as fire fighting.

Darnis’ message said, “This strategic move unlocks a terrific growth platform and opportunity with combined revenues approaching $3 billion, which will allow us to compete more efficiently in the global marketplace.”

Climate, Controls & Security Systems – Americas will be led by Bob McDonough and comprises Carrier’s Residential and Commercial Systems (RCS), Fire & Security field operations in North America (AFSS), Fire & Security’s Global, Residential and Commercial business (GRC) and Carrier’s Latin American Operations with combined revenues approaching $6 billion.
“The new organization will benefit from tremendous scale and geographic reach with strong customer relationships across both North and South American markets,” the message said.

Climate, Controls & Security Systems – EMEA will be led by Philippe Delpech and includes Fire & Security’s Continental Europe and Northern Europe South Africa (NESA) organizations as well as Carrier’s HVAC EMEA and Commercial Refrigeration businesses with combined revenues approaching $5 billion.

Climate, Controls & Security Systems – Asia will be led by Ross Shuster and includes Carrier’s HVAC Asia business and Fire & Security’s Asia and Australasia businesses with combined revenues approaching $3 billion.

Darnis’ message also included the announcement of seven functional leaders to support the five business units:
Elizabeth Amato, Vice President, Human Resources
Mark George, Vice President, Finance & CFO
Rajan Goel, Vice President, Strategy
Nora LaFreniere, Vice President and General Counsel
John Mandyck, Vice President, Sustainability, Marketing & Communications
Ray Moncini, Senior Vice President, Operations
Bill Striebe, Vice President, Business Development

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