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Minnesota integrator expands westward

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Minnesota systems integrator Identisys, which in June acquired the ID division of Claritus, is moving forward with its stated plan to expand geographically. Yesterday, Identisys announced that it's  acquiring the Identification, Security and Presentation divisions of Mountainland Business Systems. Mountainland Business Systems is based in Salt Lake City, Utah and has additional offices in Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Montana and Wyoming.

I will have more on this deal after I interview Deb Ferril, president and COO of IdentiSys, on Thursday, but MIchael Shield, founder and CEO of Identisys, said in a prepared statement: "Our strategy in this case, targeted expansion further west of our headquarters in Minnesota. With the addition of the Mountainland Business Systems Divisions, we now offer sales and on‐site services in over 50% of the U.S., including Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.”

IdentiSys is a $40 million company that is privately owned by Shields. It began 13 years ago as an integrator of pure identification systems, but it does full security integration in a variety of vertical markets.

IdentiSys has made 10 acquisitions over the past seven years and this deal is the third acquisition in the past 6 months.

Mountainland's specialty is "providing identification technology solutions including digital photo ID systems, embossed card personalization systems, loyalty or membership card systems, smart card/biometric applications, secure access/access control/CCTV and patient identification solutions to the corporate, government, healthcare, education, membership/loyalty, first responder and emergency management markets in Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Montana and Wyoming."

 

 

Attention shoppers! AT&T goes retail with its new security/home automation services

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

I reported in May that AT&T was entering the security space with summer trials in Dallas and in Atlanta of its home security/home automation services called Digital Life. The telecom also spoke then of its plans to transform that space through such innovations as letting customers try out its new Digital Life offering in its 2,000-plus retail stores around the country.

Now, the first demos of Digital Life are about to begin in AT&T’s first flagship retail store on Chicago’s famous Magnificent Mile, the company announced today.

The 10,000-square foot store will open this Saturday, Sept. 1. AT&T said that among the products and services “also found at AT&T’s more than 2,300 retail stores nationwide, the Michigan Avenue store offers customers a glimpse of the future, including AT&T’s first retail demos of the new AT&T Digital Life home security and automation services and of a connected car that shows how wireless technology can aid driving. … With more than 100 digital screens throughout the space, every aspect of the store is designed to educate customers about future wireless technologies and services.”

According to the company, the demos will be in the “Family Life” area of the store. “Customers can see how the services will enable them to adjust the temperature, raise and lower a window shade, and control their home using AT&T wireless devices,” the company said.

“Our Michigan Avenue store is where customers can immerse themselves in everything AT&T is about and truly explore the technology we have to offer,” said Paul Roth, president of AT&T retail sales and service, in a prepared statement. “AT&T is about delivering innovation that makes a difference in our customers’ daily lives. All of that will be ready for customers to experience at our flagship store.”

Notable politicians at ASIS

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

In case you haven't had enough of politicians this election year, you'll have a chance to hear some notable politicos at ASIS this year. ASIS yesterday announced that, as she did last year, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano will speak deliver a keynote address on the first day of the show, September 10, from 12 to 1:30.

Other keynote speakers include former defense secretary Robert Gates and former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (from 1997-2009) and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei

ElBaradei will speak on Tuesday, Sept. 11, from 8 to 9 a.m. From the program: "In his last months as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohamed ElBaradei found himself at the explosive crux of the world’s nuclear politics, leading negotiations between the Obama administration and Tehran in an effort to break the stalemate over Iran's nuclear program. He had been intimately involved with this crisis in the previous six years as the IAEA worked to verify the nature of the Iranian program. Drawing on his career as a diplomat, international civil servant and scholar, Dr. ElBaradei will address global security, the peaceful use of nuclear energy, nuclear nonproliferation and disarmament, international organizations and international law."
 
Gates, who served as U.S. Secretary of Defense from 2006 to 2011, will speak at 8 a.m. on the last day of the show, Wednesday, September 12. 

One of the most respected leaders in recent U.S. history, Robert Gates served as a trusted advisor to eight U.S. presidents, driving U.S. intelligence and defense policies over the past four and a half decades from the Cold War to today’s ongoing war on terrorism. As Secretary of Defense under two presidents—Barack Obama and George W. Bush—and through two wars—Iraq and Afghanistan—Gates shares his candid insights on global politics and world affairs, U.S. intelligence and defense strategies, leadership and leading change in a large institution, and the global challenges of the 21st century. Join us for this provocative presentation.
 

Texas twist: N.Y. city outsourcing to collect alarm fines

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Long Island, N.Y., city frustrated by unpaid false-alarm fines is taking a familiar corporate path to change its fortunes: It’s outsourcing the collection work.

Long Beach Police Commissioner Michael Tangney told CBS News that the city of 35,000 is the first on Long Island to hire an outside company to go door-to-door collecting the fines.

“I’m proud that we are innovative and the first ones doing this,” Tangney said. “And I think many municipalities will follow suit.”

The City Council on Aug. 7 voted to hire Texas-based PMAM Corp. to collect the fines, which start at $100 and rise to $700 for chronic offenders. The company will receive 24 percent of all revenues collected.

While the work went to a firm with stateside headquarters instead of one based in Mumbai, many city residents have voiced their displeasure about the outsourcing and have questioned why the city can’t do the job itself.

“I think it shows how desperate the community is for collecting revenue, and turning it over to a collection agency is a little ridiculous,” business owner Steve Felix told CBS.

City Manager Jack Schnirman defended the move, saying the city doesn’t have the resources to collect the money.

“Like many other municipalities across the nation, this is the form we’re choosing to move forward and go out and collect the fines,” he told the Long Beach Patch, adding that outsourcing is “a lot more cost-effective.”

Apparently lost in the discussion is what could be done to reduce the 1,100 false alarms that city police respond to annually, which would mitigate the fines and the need for the collection work.

Maybe a SIAC session is in order.
 

VES-Afternoon tea and sushi

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Four years ago, fire manufacturer VES was acquired by Kentec Electronics, a U.K.-based manufacturer of fire panels. At the time, an executive at VES (formerly Viking Electronic Services) said that “joining with Kentec brings us the international experience we didn’t have previously.” The official cited India, Saudi Arabia, Dubai and other Arab countries as the markets the company would move into.

Now, it looks like VES’ international experience may get even broader as its parent company, Kentec, is acquired by a Tokyo-based fire manufacturer.

According to a recent news report, Hochiki Corporation Japan has entered into an agreement to acquire Kentec’s stock as of Oct. 1. Then, the report said, Kentec will become part of the Hochiki Group of Companies.

The Aug. 23 release said that “Kentec Electronics will continue to be run by its current management team as a separate unit within Hochiki Corporation Japan and will continue to use existing suppliers and support all of its customers including the current sensor partners.”

And it said that its American subsidiary, VES, “will be amalgamated with Hochiki America Corporation and continue to operate from its east coast base in the United States.”

The release said that Hochiki was established in 1918 as Japan’s first fire alarm manufacturer. The report called Hochiki “a leading manufacturer of fire detection products with an expanding presence across the world.”

Kentec was founded in 1985. Together with VES, it “produces and supplies a range of control panels for fire detection, extinguishing media release, water and smoke detection and sprinkler control,” the report said.

The report said that Kentec “believes this is an opportunity to benefit both parties and to further develop its business and allow access to new World wide markets.”

How specifically will VES benefit? I’ve reached out to the company, and hope to find out.

ASIS' product awards

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

ASIS on Aug. 27 announced its choices for its "ASIS Accolades," what it considers the ten most innovative products/services/solutions that will be shown at the Sept. 9-12 ASIS International 58th Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Philly.

AlertEnterprise, Booth #3859
Alert-n-Prevent
Alert-n-Prevent enhances security through behavior and predictive analytics with risk-scoring capabilities. Critical Infrastructure Protection is enforced by monitoring physical access as well as logical access that includes both IT systems and SCADA systems controlling plant operations. A rules-based engine ensures enforcement of security policies while ensuring compliance with regulations.

ASSA ABLOY Americas, Booth #1708
HES K 100 Cabinet Lock
The HES K100 battery-operated cabinet lock with Aperio™ technology makes it easy to bring access control and asset protection to cabinets, lockers and drawers. It communicates wirelessly with existing access control systems & offers real-time communication without the inconvenience of wiring. K100 offers seamless integration with existing iCLASS® credentials.

ASSA ABLOY Americas, Booth #1708
Securitron ICPT Wireless Power Transfer
The Securitron ICPT Power Transfer ports power wirelessly and invisibly across the door gap to run electrified hardware on the door. The ICPT can be installed at the latch side or hinge side of the door and transfers power without pins or wires, eliminating points of vulnerability and wear … and no need to core the door!

Axis Communications, Booth #2622
Axis Camera Companion
AXIS Camera Companion is the market’s easiest IP video surveillance solution for small systems up to 16 cameras. The system is an all-in-one, easy-to-use IP-based surveillance solution consisting of Axis cameras and/or encoders, SD cards, a switch or router and free recording software - no DVR, NVR or computer is needed for operation.

CAST Lighting, Booth #4239
CAST LED Perimeter Light
The CAST LED Perimeter Lighting System is comprised of low-voltage lighting fixtures that provide an extremely cost-effective highly-targeted region of illumination along perimeter fence lines. Mounted directly on the fence at 20 or 30-foot intervals, these 7W LED fixtures are glare-free and provide sufficient illumination for intruder detection and deterrence.

D3 Security Management Systems, Booth #2024
Geospatial Intelligence Analytics (GIA)
D3’s GIA is the next generation security management system created to protect organizations from internal, external, local and global threats. It provides security professionals with the situational awareness and information they require to assess risks and react appropriately and effectively to deal with threats or emergency situations.

Gamma Two Robotics, Booth #1463
Vigilus™ Mobile Camera System
The Vigilus™ Mobile Camera System is your robotic partner in patrol and report security, carrying IP-ready devices such as cameras and authentication tools. Using voice commands or the (supplied) Command Console interface, the robot is your reliable, affordable asset on the ground, where you need it, when you need it.

HID Global, Booth #1509
iCLASS Seos™ Card
HID Global’s iCLASS Seos™ smart card is based on a secure, standards-based technology to manage and authenticate identities within the Seos ecosystem. This breakthrough credential leverages HID’s Security Identity Object™ (SIO); streamlines migration by concurrently supporting multiple technologies; and can store data for multiple applications on a physical card or mobile device.

iView Systems, Booth #1901
iGWatch® IP iDentify Face Search
The iDentify biometric solution automates database person searching, by instantly narrowing down possible subjects from 1000s, to one or more individuals in seconds. This solution replaces manual systems such as operator comparison of known subjects to “mug” books, providing a real-time aid in the identification of persons of interest.

SpotterRF, Booth #1244
SpotterRF C40 Compact Surveillance Radar
The Spotter C40 is an IP Radar that makes PTZ cameras smart by providing 20 acres of automatic tracking and cueing in a package that weighs a mere 1.5 lbs. The C40 is the first of its class and makes radar as inexpensive and easy to use as IP cameras.

Who in security topped the Inc. 5000 this year?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Inc. 5000 has released its 2012 list, and again, there are a number of physical security companies included.

Top among the physical security companies that I saw on the Inc. 5000 list, which was officially released yesterday was VMS Alarms, a residential and small business security company and Monitronics dealer.

VMS Alarms ranks #526 on the 2012 List. It had a three-year growth rate of  731 percent; 2008 revenues of  $2.3 million, and 2011 revenues of  $19.5 million.

Here's my blog on security companies who made the list in 2011, and below are some other manufacturers and installers from the security industry:

#636 EP Technology: 2008 revenues of $2.8 million and 2011 revenues of $18.6 million. Manufactures and distributes intelligent video security products. Focuses on manufacturing and supplying closed-circuit television systems, security cameras and digital recording devices.

#770 Eid Passport: 2008 revenues of $5.3 million and 2011 revenues of $29.2 million. Offers products and services that combine identity authentication, background screening, and access management to make facilities, assets, and people safer and more secure. Eid Passport's patented programs enable highly secure facilities such as military installations, government buildings, manufacturing and distribution sites, ports, and commercial buildings to increase security and streamline access for authorized personnel.

#826 Exacq Technologies: 2008 revenues: $6.3 million; 2011 revenues: $32.3 million. Develops open architecture, video management system solutions for security and surveillance applications.

#943 Sting Alarm: 2008 revenues: $1 million; 2011 revenues: $4.5 million. Installs and maintains advanced video surveillance and burglar alarm systems for high-rise residential towers, casinos, retail chains, and other customers.

#1097 LogicMark: 2008 revenues: $2 million; 2011 revenues: $7.7 million. Manufactures a line of personal emergency response systems. Users, such as the elderly or those with serious medical issues, wear a pendant with a speakerphone, and can push a button to call for help.

#1123 Nationwide Security Solutions: 2008 revenues: $1.6 million; 2011 revenues: $6 million. Sells and installs residential and commercial security and automation systems. Serves as the primary distributor for represent Monitronics International, a producer of security and monitoring technology for burglar, fire and medical emergency systems. Also offers two-way voice, cellular, and medical monthly monitoring plans.

#1255 Integrity Alarms: 2008 revenues: $1.6 million; 2011 revenues: $6 million. An ADT authorized dealer that sells, installs, and maintains home security systems in California, Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware.

#1312 Radiant RFID: 2008 revenues: $1.9 million; 2011 revenues: $6.3 million. Designs, installs, and integrates technology that tracks, locates, and monitors people and products for government, education, and corporate customers. It can be used to keep track of and protect a company's physical assets; for access control in gated communities; to monitor attendance and capture traffic flow at large events such as trade shows; and to manage large-scale evacuations.

#1464 SecurityHunter: 2008 revenues: $2.3 million; 2011 revenues: $6.9 million. Designs, manufactures and installs electronic and physical security systems that are used by federal agencies, including the Department of Defense.

#1483 AMP Alarm: 2008 revenues: $8.5 million; 2011 revenues: $25.7 million. Sells and installs security systems to protect people, their homes, and their possessions and to arrest and prevent burglary, fire, and medical emergencies.

#1485 Alert Logic: 2008 revenues: $7.1 million; 2011 revenues: $21.4 million. Provides security services for cloud computing allowing customers to defend against security threats and address compliance mandates. Alert Logic partners with over half of the largest cloud and hosting service providers to provide fully managed intrusion protection, vulnerability assessment and log management for nearly 2,000 enterprise customers.

#1661 InVue Security Products: 2008 revenues: $36 million; 2011 revenues: $98.9 million. Designs and manufactures security devices that allow retailers to openly display electronic merchandise that poses a high risk of theft.

#1824 Smith Monitoring: 2008 revenues: $2.1 million; 2011 revenues: $5.3 million. Offers home security and monitoring systems, and home automation integration systems.

#1894 NDI Recognition Systems: 2008 revenues: $2.1 million; 2011 revenues: $5.3 million. Designs and manufactures automated license plate recognition technologies for use in law enforcement and other public safety applications. Its offerings include both mobile and fixed cameras, mobile processors, the Talon recognition engine, VeriPlate mobile application software, and installation and support.

#2056 Defender Direct: 2008 revenues: $312 million; 2011 revenues: $136 million. Sells and installs ADT home-security and Dish Network systems for homeowners.

#2192 IntraLogic Solutions: 2008 revenues: $1.4 million; 2011 revenues: $3 million. Provides security and surveillance services and systems to school districts, municipal clients, state offices, government agencies and private-sector clients. Designs, installs and maintains broad-spectrum security systems that use the latest technology and cost controls.

#2196 DTT Surveillance Systems: 2008 revenues: $7.9 million; 2011 revenues: $17.2 million. Supplies, installs and supports digital surveillance and monitoring equipment for the restaurant and hospitality industries. DTT's video systems include security, theft-prevention and quality-control products.

#2961 PowerHome Technologies: 2008 revenues: $9.6 million; 2011 revenues: $16.8 million. Specializes in the sale and installation of residential and small business security systems.

#3477 Intelligent Access Systems of North Carolina: 2008 revenues: $8.8 million; 2011 revenues: $13.5 million. Offers electronic security integration, primarily in the critical infrastructure, healthcare, and higher education markets.

#3842 Electric Guard Dog: 2008 revenues: $12.4 million; 2011 revenues: $17.5 million. Provides perimeter electric security fencing across the nation for industrial and commercial locations.

#4175 Sentry Communications: 2008 revenues: $3.9 million; 2011 revenues: $5.1 million. Installs and services security systems, including digital CCTV, fire systems, and access control, for commercial, industrial, and residential clients.

Department of Redundancy Department: Five for COPS

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Make it five for COPS.

The wholesale monitoring company, headquartered in Williamstown, N.J., has opened its fifth central station, an 8,000-square-foot facility in Lewisville, Texas. The new center will share live alarm traffic with the company’s centrals in New Jersey, Florida, Arizona and Tennessee.  

Four-year COPS veteran Derek Kopko will manage the new facility, which has 26 employees. Kopko relocated to Texas from COPS’ headquarters in December 2011 and has been hiring and training new dispatchers for the past seven months, the company said in a prepared statement.

Gene Reed, an industry veteran and COPS’ newest account executive, will oversee sales in the region.

David Smith, director of marketing and communications for COPS, told Security Systems News that adding central stations benefits the company in two key ways.

“First, because all five of our central stations are hot-redundant and actively share the signal load of the entire company, each central station we bring online reduces the probability that adverse local conditions [such as weather] will affect our response times,” he said. “Second, we believe that each geographical region presents its own benefits and challenges to alarm dealers. By operating central stations and having employees in these different regions, we have the opportunity to become more involved with our dealers and better understand how we can support them and help grow their business.”

Smith said the commitment to redundancy proved its worth last August during Hurricane Irene.

“When (Irene) went up the East Coast and actually hit our New Jersey headquarters, it only added about a second to our response time because we were able to overstaff all our other central stations,” he said. “The more we do that, the more that we diversify our staff, the more stable and dependable our fast response times become.”

Cox to expand home security

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First, Cox Communications began trialing its new home security/home automation in Tucson, Ariz. last summer. Then, it expanded the service to customers in Phoenix this April. Now, the Atlanta-based cable company announced yesterday, the pilot project has been such a success that the company plans to launch Cox Home Security—which is professionally installed and monitored by a third-party provider the company has declined to name—to other markets later this year.

Where? That’s still anybody’s guess. Todd Smith, director of media relations for Cox, told SSN that the company "plans to expand its Home Security service to several additional markets later this year, following a successful pilot over the last 12 months in Arizona. We’ll announce specific markets as we get closer to launch.” The company also is not saying exactly when that will be.

But Cox did say that it has appointed a new general manager for this new growth area: Vince Groff, formerly the company’s director of video product development.

Here’s more from a company news release:

“Cox Home Security provides advanced features not found in most traditional alarm systems with time-saving, cost-saving, and worry-saving features to help customers manage their family’s safety. The reliable, 24/7 secure monitoring systems feature: intrusion and home safety monitoring (includes fire, gas and flood); remote access so the system can be controlled away from home via a secure online site or Smartphone app; email/text alerts to notify customers of occurrences at the home; safety sensors to detect hazardous conditions such as carbon monoxide and smoke; secure video monitoring available via smart phone or a web browse; [and] control of home functions such as lighting and temperature.

One of Cox’s competitive advantages with this product is the ability to offer to customers through a Cox bundle. With the addition of home security services, all of a customer’s Cox services will appear on one bill …
 
As Cox moves to the next stage of deployment, the company has appointed Vince Groff to the new role of general manager of this new business. Groff led the initial Cox Home Security development and trial execution and will now be responsible for the broader rollout and ongoing management of this new business.

Groff joined Cox in 2000 and was a director of video product development before his promotion to executive director of new growth and development. Vince began his career in systems engineering at Delta Air Lines, and also spent time in strategy consulting and venture capital before coming to Cox.

Cox’s launch in 2011 made it a leader among the telecoms and cablecos entering the security market. Check back here for more developments on this new industry player.

 

Second security lapse at JFK reported

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Monday, August 20, 2012

A few days after a jet skier swam to shore and breached the security perimeter of JFK airport here by climbing a fence, reports of another security lapse has been reported.

The New York Post on August 16 reported that it had obtained a secret memo describing an unsecured gate on the airport property. The gate protects a main jet fuel supply line into the airport, the report said.
The gate “was left vulnerable because a security camera was either malfunctioning or not designed to pick up the image,” according the New York Post report.

The report includes quotes from Port Authority executive director Patrick Foye and Paul Nunziato, president of the Port Authority Police Department labor union (the PBA) Port Authority Police Benevolent Association.

However, on Aug. 17, the labor union issued a statement clarifying Nunziato’s remarks.

In that statement, Nunziato called the New York Post report “inaccurate” and said “there has been some misunderstanding of the terms utilized in reports concerning a security gate at JFK which was noted in a report as being unsecured … the gate in question was NOT unlocked and was NOT reported to be unlocked. This same information was also conveyed to the Post by the Port Authority.”
“The Post’s portrayal that I was at odds with Executive Director Patrick Foye’s comment regarding the report is not correct,” the statement continued.

The statement said that PBA “has repeatedly raised concerns regarding the effectiveness of the Port Authority’s Perimeter Intrusion Detection System (PIDS), procured and installed under the previous administration of former executive director Christopher Ward. Despite concerns over the security determinations made by the prior administration, Nunziato stressed: “the Port Authority’s current leadership of Chairman David Sampson, Vice Chairman Scott Rechler, Executive Director Patrick Foye and Deputy Executive Director Bill Baroni are clearly dedicated to improving Port Authority policing and security issues and we look forward to continuing to work with them toward achieving those goals.”
The Post report says that since the jet skier breached the security perimeter, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has “beefed up patrols and added a round-the-clock officer to the room where the fence is monitored by security guards.

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