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Summing up the 2019 Genetec Press Summit

 - 
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

I’ve spent the last two days in Montreal, learning all about Genetec but also learning tidbits of powerful information about the security industry. I will be sharing my thoughts, observations and knowledge in the days to come, so stay tuned to our website. Here is a preview of what’s to come:

We sometimes take for granted how “precious an average day is and how much it takes just to make a day average,” Andrew Elvish, vice president, marketing & product management, Genetec said when it comes to ensuring safety and security each and every day. Further, we have to “make sure everything happens every day.”

Genetec does its part to ensure everything happens every day by creating security solutions as well as partnering with others who do the same. The company has a global footprint in which they grow organically and currently, it employees 1,500 people of whom speak 23 different languages. The company also invests 28 percent of their topline into R&D. Expansion efforts are focused on entering a market at the right place at the right time with an emphasis on building channels and channel partners.

Yesterday was filled with open, authentic discussions around hot topics within the industry with Genetec employees as well as people from outside the organization who work with Genetec. Topics of discussion included: the role of privacy in a digital democracy, the future of AI in security, privacy matters in security, ALPR and the role of parking in cities and a panel discussion about cannabis and security.

Today, I get the unique opportunity to visit the Montreal Casino’s command center to see security in action, demonstrating how everything happens every day.

Again, stay tuned to SSN’s website and print publication for in-depth coverage and knowledge sharing of this event.

North America to lead growing global stadium security market

 - 
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The increasing focus on safe cities and securing sports events and concerts in stadiums is aiding expansion of the global Stadium Security Market. 

The global market was valued at $6.2 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $16.1 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 12.8 percent during the forecast period, according to a new report from Fortune Business Insights based in Pune, India.

The report, titled “Stadium Security Market: Global Market Analysis, Insights and Forecast, 2018-2025,” offers insights into the market and the rising importance on public safety and security in stadiums across the world. According to the study, stadium owners are now installing well-equipped security systems including metal detectors, intrusion alarm systems, access control systems, CCTV cameras, facial recognition systems and fire alarm systems.

“Technological advancements such as adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) in stadium security systems is expected to enhance the spectator experience,” noted one of the lead analysts on the study. “Upgradation of stadium security plan can offer a convenient and personalized experience to spectators and simultaneously ensures complete security.” Moreover, IoT adoption helps in the effective management of stadium infrastructure, contributing towards the growth of the market, he said.

As per seating capacity, stadiums with capacity between 30,000 and 50,000 are anticipated to grow at a rapid pace driven by rising number of events and concerts, growing at a CAGR of 13.4 percent and. On the other hand, stadiums with a capacity of less than 30,000 seats are projected to account for the highest share in the global market. However, this segment is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 12.5 percent during the forecast period.                     
                                                                         
North America is expected to lead the global Stadium Security Market in the forecast years. Predominantly, Canada and the U.S are on alert for terrorist attacks, which compels the stadium owners to adopt stadium security solutions. Rapid technological advancements in stadium security systems and growing demand for maintaining stadium infrastructure are driving the market in North America. The market in Asia Pacific is expected to gain an impressive share in the forecast years.
 
Increasing terrorist threats and pressing need for ensuring public safety are compelling companies to develop innovative and smart stadium security measures. “To gain an edge over strong competition, several leading players are installing stadium security systems at some major stadiums to maintain their position in the global market,” the research firm found.

The top 10 players covered two-third of the share in the global market in 2017, the study noted, including:
•    Avigilon Corp.
•    AxxonSoft
•    BOSCH Security Systems
•    CISCO Systems Inc.
•    Dallmeier
•    Genetec Inc.
•    Honeywell International Inc.
•    Intel Corporation
•    NEC Corporation
•    Rapiscan Systems
 

Guiding IoT manufacturers to safer, more secure and private horizons

 - 
Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Featured in Time magazine’s “Top 10 Public-Service Announcements,” the popular one from the 1960s, 70s and 80s went something like this: “It’s 10pm … do you know where your children are?” Being the ripe age of 42, I vaguely remember the tail-end of this campaign where a celebrity or publicly known person — Joan Rivers, Jane Seymour, Darryl Strawberry, Paul Stanley, etc. —would appear on the TV screen at 10pm or 11pm, depending on location, and ask this almost sinister-like question of moms and dads waiting for their dose of the nightly news. During this time, several cities across the U.S. had adopted new curfew laws and this was the late-night reminder to parents. 

Since then, it’s been parodied several times: CNBC asks, “It’s 4 o’clock … do you know where your money is?” while Monster.com asks, “It’s 6 o’clock … do you know where your career is?” And, my personal favorite: “It’s 10am … do you know where your coffee is?” While these are fun and playful sayings and marketing tactics, there’s a lot of truth to be discovered by answering that simple, historical question that remains ingrained in society. So, I ask you, the IoT manufacturer, the security installer, the IoT user: “It’s 10pm … do you know what your IoT devices are doing?” If you can’t answer that question, you may have a security/privacy issue. 

In response to IoT devices, their security/privacy issues, and the lack of laws and governance of these little electronic baubles, several organizations have developed IoT “guidelines” to help developers create, manufacturers build, and consumers purchase and use more secure IoT products:

Security Systems Engineering: Considerations for a Multidisciplinary Approach in the Engineering of Trustworthy Security Systems

By: National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) 

This publication, targeted toward security engineering professionals, provides principles and concepts, and how these can be effectively applied to the creation of IoT devices and other security-related device. It is recognized that no system can be engineered to by absolutely secure and trustworthy, but rather, the focus should be on “adequate security,” making sure the device address the users security concerns. 

With several free, downloadable publications related specifically to IoT security, the IoT Security Foundation is on a mission to “Build Secure, Buy Secure and Be Secure.” They offer a tool called “IoTSF Compliance Checklist” that helps IoT manufacturers create devices that are within contemporary best practices. The checklist opens as an Excel document, with tabs that take the person through the entire process of compliance, starting with assessment steps; includes device hardware, software, operating systems and interfaces; and concluding with issues such as encryption, privacy, cloud and network elements and device ownership transfer. 

IoT Security Guidance

By: The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP)

With the familiar look of a Wikipedia page, this guide speaks directly to IoT manufacturers, developers and consumers, offering specific and general recommendations. It’s laid out in an easy-to-read chart and bullet point format. It addresses 10 key categories such as insecure web interface, poor physical security, privacy concerns and insecurity cloud interface; tells what security issues the manufacturer, developer and consumer should be aware of; and offers recommendations to remedy such issues. 

Future Proofing the Connected World

By: Cloud Security Alliance’s IoT Working Group

This PDF guide offers 13 steps to developing secure IoT products, but it also describes exactly why IoT security is needed and addresses some of the common security challenges for IoT users. The 13-step process starts with developing a secure methodology and ends with performing internal and external security reviews. 

IoT Security Guidelines and Assessment

By: GSMA

The goal of these guidelines and assessment is to help create a secure IoT market with trusted, reliable and scalable services. The guidelines include 85 secure design, development and deployment recommendations; security challenges, attack models and risk assessments, and examples while the assessment, based on a structured approach yet providing a flexible framework, address the diversity of the IoT market while addressing the whole ecosystem.

Five-year study of security alarms released

 - 
Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Fire is the biggest risk for both residential and commercial properties, followed by burglaries, which tend to spike in the summer and winter months, according to a new study completed by American Alarm and Communications of verified alarms from homes and businesses across Greater Boston and central New England.

“Given our monitoring footprint in New England, and our systems for tracking alarm events, we use this data to understand local trends and to help people better manage risk in their homes or places of business,” Wells Sampson, president of American Alarm, said about the study. “When we decided to look at five years of data, and saw the results, we felt there would be public benefit if we released the information so everyone in our region is aware of these trends.”

The study, entitled “Regional Security Report: Five-Year Study of Verified Alarms, 2014-2018,” analyzed data collected at the company’s monitoring center that tracks activity from its professionally installed and maintained security and life-safety systems at nearly 30,000 locations, primarily in greater Boston, central Massachusetts, Rhode Island and southern New Hampshire.

During the five-year period studied, 1,644 verified alarms occurred, including 532 fire alarms, 333 burglar (intrusion) alarms, 224 elevator entrapments and 185 panic alarms (also called hold-up alarms). A verified alarm is defined as a signal caused by an actual event that posed a threat and required intervention.

The following is a summary of results:
•    Fire is the biggest risk for residential and commercial property, followed by burglary;
•    Fire alarms spike in January and February, doubling the monthly average;
•    Burglar alarms are more frequent during the summer and winter months;
•    Burglar alarms are concentrated in late evening and overnight hours;
•    Panic alarms peak in the mornings and afternoons at banks, and in the late evenings at gas stations and convenience stores; and
•    Elevator alarms are mostly from commercial buildings and clustered during business hours.

For more information on the types and timing of alarms, see the report here.

Demand for cloud-based solutions within security growing

 - 
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

One of the top themes at ISC West 2019 this past April was the increased adoption of cloud-based services, products and solutions. This month’s News Poll looked to gauge how the cloud is being adopted within security today, asking readers if they have seen the use of cloud-based solutions increasing.

Not surprisingly, 76 percent of respondents said they “get asked more and more,” for cloud-based solutions, while another 18 percent said they “see a slight uptick in interest.” Only 5 percent said they did not see “much traction yet.”

As one respondent summed it up, “Cloud is the Future. Either get on the bus or get run over by it.”

When looking at where readers see the greatest adoption of cloud, 57 percent said, “for video surveillance, storage and data,” 35 percent said “within access control,” and 8 percent said it is best suited “for cybersecurity/IT” purposes.   

“I have worked for a cloud-based access control provider for over 15 years. The rate of cloud adoption has never been higher for us,” Dave Williams, VP of Strategic Accounts for Brivo, wrote in. “There has always been multiple access control companies to fit specific vertical market needs, there will continue to be multiple providers. At some point, much like the sunsetting of DVR technology, access control servers will become a thing of the past. There might be a niche vertical some place that still holds on to older technology, but by far the vast majority will be Cloud.”

In terms of where the industry is at when it comes to the adoption of cloud, 32 percent of respondents said, “We are still in the early adoption phase,” while another 32 percent said, “It will all be cloud-based someday.” Interestingly, 37 percent of respondents said they “see a hybrid approach winning out,” which would include a combination of on-premise and cloud-based systems being used.

“There will be a long term need still for on-premise systems, due to bandwidth costs, and in enterprises where there is no Internet access to the video surveillance or access control systems permitted,” noted one respondent. “However, the market for software running on the Cloud will grow, since this allows the vendor to maintain the software system at its data center and frees up the Integrator or end user from periodic software updates.”

You decide: should 9-1-1 telecommunicators be classified as a “Protective Service Occupation?”

 - 
Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Being a part of the security industry as a journalist, it intrigues me as to the wealth of security-related knowledge floating around out there in cyberspace, magazine articles, books, newspapers, tv … any and all media outlets really. Take just a moment and think about this: at any given time, we can access information via our smart devices about any topic we choose. Seriously, let that soak in for a minute … 

The conclusion? Knowledge is power, as the saying goes; there’s even a Twitter hashtag dedicated to the adage: #KnowledgeIsPower. And, as I learned from my dad, it’s the one thing no one can take away from you. But I want to challenge this with: knowledge is power, but taking action based on that knowledge is powerful. Knowing something is only half the battle; it’s action taken because of knowledge that creates power-filled outcomes that truly supports, and adds truth and value to this concept.

With that in mind, The Monitoring Association (TMA) has joined with APCO International, the world’s oldest and largest organization of public safety communication professionals, calling on us — security industry professionals — to support a bill. To make an educated decision, we must gain knowledge: 

Name of the bill: 9-1-1 SAVES Act.

Type of bill: bipartisan, bicameral, simple and zero-cost.

What the bill would do: fix the federal classification by appropriately grouping Public Safety Telecommunicators with other “protective” occupations. 

Why this is important: our federal government currently classifies 9-1-1 operator positions as administrative/clerical, in the same group as secretaries, office clerks and taxicab dispatchers. While 9-1-1 operators do sit at desks, working on computers and phones, would you agree or disagree that this is an inaccurate classification and a disservice to the lifesaving work and dedication of these professionals?

TMA’s and APCO’s argument: Public Safety Telecommunicators should be classified as Protective Service Occupations. This includes a broad range of “protective” occupations such as lifeguards, gambling surveillance officers, fish and game wardens, parking enforcement workers, firefighters, playground monitors and more. These organizations believe reclassification is common sense, and about getting Public Safety Telecommunicators the recognition they deserve for the work they do every day to protect and save the lives of the public and first responders. 

Now that you have the knowledge, it’s time to take action. Here are your two choices: 

  1. Do nothing. After all, not taking action is in essence making a decision.
  2. Send a letter. APCO’s website offers a dynamic form where individuals can provide key contact information and the appropriate letter is sent automatically to your U.S. senators and representatives. (I just did. It literally takes less than 1 minute.) 
 

Why’s everyone “trippin’” about IoT devices?

 - 
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

According to urbandictionary.com, the somewhat “official” definition of “trippin’” means “when someone is overreacting or getting all ‘bent out of shape’ over something small.” And while most of the more popular IoT devices present themselves as a small physical footprint — for example, Google Home is only 3.79 inches in diameter, 5.62 inches in height and only 1.05 lbs. while on the other side of the ring, fighting for market share is the Amazon Echo Plus Voice Controller, 2nd Generation, standing at 5.8 inches tall, 3.9 inches in diameter and weighing in at 27.5 ounces — they can pack a huge, unsettling punch when it comes to security. 

Having taken an interest in IoT devices in terms of security, I’ve written previously about what connected smart home IoT devices are REALLY doing as well as covered IoT devices from the perspective of trust, in which California is the first state to pass a bill, Senate Bill No. 327, that will require IoT manufactures to equip devices with “reasonable” security features, effective in the year 2020. Maybe government control of IoT devices is a step in the right direction, maybe not, but the fact remains that, according to a report from Zscaler, over 90 percent of data transactions from 270 different IoT devices developed by 153 device manufacturers, including smart watches, digital home assistants, medical devices, smart glasses, industry control devices and more are UNencrytped! This exposes these devices to hackers intercepting traffic and stealing or manipulating data, known as man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks. 

Let’s take a moment to explore a real-life MitM attack and how these attacks can rob people just like you and me of our security. 

Meet Paul and Ann Lupton from England: happy, proud grandparents of baby Oliver, who had purchased a flat (aka apartment) in south London for Oliver’s mother and their daughter, Tracey. After the birth of Oliver, Tracey moved to a bigger home, so the Luptons decided to sell the flat for approximately $429,200 … quite a nice chunk of change and apparently some “others” thought so too.

Perry Hay & Co. in Surrey emailed Mr. Lupton requesting his bank account details for the money from the sale to be paid into, and he replied, sending his Barclays bank account number and sort code (a six-digit number that identifies the bank, in this case Barclays, and the branch where the account is held). A seemingly innocent action that led to his email getting intercepted by fraudsters who posed as Mr. Lupton quickly emailing Perry Hay & Co. again from Mr. Lupton’s email account instructing the company to disregard the previous banking information and send the money to a different account.

The sale completed and Mr. Lupton, none the wiser, sent the funds to the criminals’ account totaling almost half a million U.S. dollars! 

Mr. Lupton responded by contacting Perry Hay & Co. and the crime was (very fortunately) discovered, and it was fairly easy since Barclays was the account provider for all three involved —the Luptons, Perry Hay & Co. and the fraudsters (hmmm, maybe not too smart on their part?!). The Luptons ended up retrieving about $342,000 of their money. 

While the Lupton’s situation didn’t involve IoT, per se, and it did have a rather happy ending since they got some of their money returned, it demonstrates what could happen if a hacker taps into one of your IoT devices, your smart home speaker, for example, and listens while you discuss private issues — account numbers, addresses to schools your children attend, when you’re going on vacation so your home can be burglarized and the like — with your household.

By no means am I an IoT “hater,” (as Urban Dictionary so eloquently puts it). I understand the useful and positive impacts these devices can have on the everyday; however, I do believe security should be the top priority when introducing an IoT device into your life. 

Maybe more manufacturers should be "trippin’" and then “encrytpin’” their IoT devices’ data!

The race to control the smart home

 - 
Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The battle for the smart home has raged on for quite some time now, with the big players like Amazon, Google and Apple making major plays to dominate the space. But, with the smart home market flooded with a ton of IoT devices — and many more to come — the new race is to see who will come up with the go-to platform to make all of these devices work in perfect harmony … I can dream, can’t I?

A new Parks Associates research report — Race to Control the Smart Home Ecosystem: Attracting Partners — looks at this dilemma, and finds that adoption of connected point solutions and the advent of smart speakers will drive demand for platforms to coordinate and centralize control of smart home products and capabilities in U.S. households. The report reviews the strategies of major smart home platforms in the consumer electronics and security industries and their approach to attracting manufacturers to their ecosystem.

"The percentage of U.S. broadband households highly familiar with smart home platforms increased across all platforms from the end of 2017 to the end of 2018," Chris O'Dell, research associate, Parks Associates, said in the announcement. "Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant saw the biggest jumps of all listed platforms, so voice control is a key factor in driving consumer interest in the smart home and the adoption of multiple devices per household."

The report states that as device adoption continues to increase each year, smart home platforms will help establish order out of the chaos that comes from the steady influx of connected devices in consumers' homes. According to Parks Associates research, 28 percent of US broadband households now own at least one smart home device, and device-owning households own an average of six devices in their home.

"Companies competing in the smart home ecosystem can leverage platforms to provide a reliable, interoperable ecosystem with a simplified user experience and deliver expanded value through enhanced features such as cloud intelligence and data privacy and security," O'Dell said.

When implementing a smart home ecosystem in their home, consumers care less about name brands of key devices and more about a seamless experience where all devices in the ecosystem work together smoothly, Parks found, noting: “Consumer preferences favor vertically aligned players, such as Comcast and Vivint Smart Home, which have introduced their own branded devices to optimize the experience on their platforms while also maximizing profits.”

Additional questions addressed in the report include:
•    Who are the major smart home ecosystem players by category?
•    How is the rise of voice-first control platforms affecting smart home ecosystems?
•    How can smart home ecosystems help the smart home industry overcome interoperability issues and concerns?
•    What are the smart home platform strategies of the leading CE and security industry players?
•    What approach are these companies taking to attract manufacturers to their ecosystem?

For the complete report, click here.

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ESX 2019 full of passion from start to finish

 - 
Monday, June 10, 2019

From the showroom floor and education sessions to motivational speakers, one-on-one interviews and central stage talks lead by SSN as the premier media sponsor of ESX, the goal of #PassionateSecurity was more than fulfilled. In my opinion, this passion for security was best seen as industry peers openly shared their experiences with others via conversations, interactive education sessions, networking events and receptions—even if that meant sharing with the competition, all in the name of keeping security as top priority.  

One of the unique things that happens at industry events is an overarching theme will emerge, one in which “everyone” seems to be talking about. At ESX 2019, that was the customer and employee experience. This takes empathy and the ability for security professionals to put themselves into the shoes of their customers as well as their employees to understand how they feel and what they truly need. The result? Employees feel appreciated, leading them to embrace a “servant” mentality toward customers, doing whatever it takes to ensure nothing but greatness, which fosters excellent customer experiences when working with your company. (Hence, #PassionateSecurity.)

Case in point: I was honored to moderate the education session “Sales vs. Operations: 6 Ways to Turn Conflict into Collaboration,” where Jeremy Bates of Bates Security, Paul Hevesy of Stanley Security; and Suvankar Roy of Xfinity Home shared some amazing tips on how to bond together sales and ops teams so that the customer benefits. One easy-to-implement tip presented was “Thankful Thursdays,” where people on the sales team identify someone they are thankful for on the ops team and why, and of course, the ops team does the same for the sales team, and then voice this during cross departmental meetings. This fosters a culture of appreciation and gratitude within the company, which spills over into customer interactions by sales and ops team members, and helps to enhance the overall customer experience. 

And, speaking of unique … this year at ESX, SSN live-broadcasted the central stage talks, hosted by Editor Paul Ragusa, via Twitter. Below you will find a list of informative quotes that emerged from each on-stage security professional. Simply click on their name to be transported to their specific talk to gather even more valuable tips, tricks and insights. It’s like sitting in your living room with knowledgeable security professionals, sharing a cup of coffee and chatting about the industry! In fact, grab a cup of coffee and sip along as you view! And, please don’t forget to “like,” share and comment on each one.

ESX 2019 Central Stage Talks

“The two touchpoints today are the voice of the customer and the customer experience. At the end of the day, I think it’s the personal relationships that are going to differentiate those well-sought-after companies.” 

Ivan Spector, president, TMA

“They [the customer] want the latest video camera, door locks, but at the same time they don’t want to have 50,000 apps. They want simplicity.” 

Celia Besore, executive director, TMA

“Really what we need are salespeople who can ask better questions: what’s the problem we’re trying to solve? What is it that they [the customer] is trying to accomplish? Not just be so product oriented but solution oriented.” 

Gretchen Gordon, president, Braveheart Sales Performance

“One of the strategies we use is to let citizens know how a policy like verified response, which means that it confirms some criminal or attempted criminal activity before the police will respond, will affect them.” 

Stan Martin, executive director, SIAC

“Almost all the features that we do in our panel, all the technologies that we put in there, are a direct result of listening to our customer’s feedback.”

Jeremy Mclerran, senior director of marketing at Qolsys Inc.

“ … there’s DIY and DIT, “do it together,” and I think dealers are figuring out how that’s going to work … customers are taking some responsibility for their systems … I think the more that there is opportunity for the consumer to become aware of their security system and some of the features it delivers for them, whether it be convenience featured of peace of mind features, the more they’re willing to spend to add onto and grow, I think that will grow our entire industry.”

Mark Hillenburg, executive director of marketing, DMP

“On average, consumers spend four hours or more installing their DIY security system in the home, so the market tends to push toward ‘do it for me.’” 

Dina Abdelrazik, senior analyst, Parks Associates

“We [ESA] are launching an assessment exam which I think is something we’ve needed in the industry for a long time … because we have so many training courses, we have this vast array of test questions. So, we took all that information and put it together in a software package; we can actually have a technician take an exam, and that will give us the information we need to understand where their strengths are from a technical standpoint and where their weaknesses are. And, then we can develop a roadmap for the member to put that technician on a path to improve their weaknesses and maybe even accentuate their strengths.” 

Merlin, Guilbeau, executive director, ESA

“One of the great things around the smart home being more common and more useful is it brings a lot of awareness. It wasn’t too long ago, we’d have to explain to a client or prospective client what was possible with their system; whereas now, people understand you could control your lights with your phone. You can decide whether or not that’s of interest to you.” 

Mike Jagger, president, Provident Security 

“On the commercial side, it’s really all about cameras; it’s really about video and everything that video can do … that’s not just driven by market demand, but it’s also driven by legislation and local governance.” 

Steve Firestone, president, Select Security 

 

ESX 2019 wraps up in Indy after memorable event

 - 
Monday, June 10, 2019

ESX 2019, one the key security industry conferences, wrapped up last week in Indy, with the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and The Monitoring Association (TMA) organizing another great event. As the premier Media Sponsor for ESX each year, Security Systems News is always proud and honored to support the conference.

As I said in my introduction of the opening keynote, it is inspiring to be in a room filled with so many professionals who are so “passionate” about security. This passion is what differentiates them from others, and makes them so successful at what they do. This passion for security is also what made ESX 2019 stand out.

One of the ways that SSN has tried to bring better and more-timely content from key conferences like this is through live videos and social media. Throughout my wrap-up and SSN Managing Editor Ginger Schlueter’s wrap-up coverage you will find links to live videos (mostly SSN Live Twitter Feeds), as well as footage of the SSN Video Interviews that were done on the Expo floor at the ESX Central Stage.

The conference started with what has become a staple at ESX, the Open Exchange Breakfast, which always seems to deliver a high-level content focused on industry specific topics. This year was no different, as ESX Chairman George De Marco moderated an interactive panel that included Alex Pachikov, Founder, Sunflower Labs, and Nate Williams, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Kleiner Perkins.

Williams, who founded UNION Labs, spends his time these days discovering the next big businesses at the intersection of Connectivity (IoT), DataScience (AI/ML) and Autonomy/Automation as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Kleiner Perkins.

Williams said that “security” is one of those areas that “couldn’t be hotter” as more and more IoT devices are connected and exist on a platform that must be secured. The sensorfication of security, he noted, will continue at an ever-increasing pace, and security is going to need to keep up, even stay one step ahead. And as Silicon Valley continues to innovate in the space, partnerships with these companies can be very advantageous to more traditional players within security.

He also pointed to the potential to mine and use all of the data that is being generated today and in the future — from our phones, our cars, our homes, cities, etc. — pointing out that the “breadth and depth of it is enormous,” noting that the data can help security professionals run their companies smarter and better serve their customers in the process.

When it comes to the truly smart home, Williams pointed out that there is still a “divide between the dream of the connected home and reality.”

Pachikov, who is a founding member and longtime leader of business development at Evernote, has since become a specialist in emerging trends in the mobile and robotics industries. His Sunflower Labs’ company features an autonomous drone-based security solution that he demonstrated for attendees, showing just how far drone technology has come over the past few years. You can tell that he has spent years perfecting the system, overcoming many challenges that first existed for this technology, such as flying in bad weather, which he showed the audience how he was able to overcome.

Pachikov said he believes the “next revolution will come from autonomous drones” because they offer many unique advantages, including:
•    Coverage of large properties (up to 150m radius);
•    Tracking of moving targets;   
•    Proactive deterrence; and
•    Standalone or integrated with existing security systems.

Overall, he said, “The time is right and technology is ready … I am excited to bring this to market.”

As Williams pointed out, ultimately it is about “capturing your customer” and finding out how to address their “pain points” and provide the right solutions for them, whether it is through technology, or services, or both. Pachikov’s drone system is a good example, he said.

Another highlight of ESX this year was the Opening Keynote Luncheon: Making an Impact, which was delivered by the amazingly charismatic Dr. Rick Rigsby (click here for the full keynote), who spoke about how important it is for us to get back to the basic values — kindness, compassion, ethics, morals, decency, to name just a few — that many times get overlooked in today’s “look at me” society we live in.

Dr. Rigsby referred many times his book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout,” which is based on the timeless common-sense wisdom learned from his father, who as a third grade dropout taught himself how to read and write, all while working for his family at an early age, and supporting and guiding the moral compass of a large family as an adult.

Rigsby was quick with inspirational and thought-provoking quotes throughout his gripping presentation, where he asked attendees to pull their heads out from the insanity of the day-to-day and look at the bigger picture that is life itself. My favorite of his witticisms — “Ego is the anesthesia that deadens the pain of stupidity.” For more on Rigsby, I highly suggest you give his keynote a listen — just make sure you have a Kleenex handy!

Moving to the Expo hall, I was able to have some great conversations with many of the exhibitors as well as with many leaders within the industry during the SSN Live Interviews that were conducted on the ESX Central Stage. Below is a short recap and link to the interviews that I did on both days of the Expo floor:

Tuesday, June 4

Ivan Spector, President, and Celia Besore, Executive Director, The Monitoring Association.
During our conversation, these two key leaders of this important organization shared their thoughts on what the association is focusing on these days, how monitoring companies and stations are evolving and what is to come moving forward for professional security monitoring.

Gretchen Gordon, President, Braveheart Sales Performance
Be sure to check out my enlightening conversation with sales performance guru Gretchen Gordon, who shared many secrets of successful companies, including how top companies today are finding and retaining good employees.

Stan Martin, SIAC
It was nice to sit down with the head of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition and get an update on what SIAC is doing to combat the Sandy Springs Alarm Ordinance that has sparked such controversy over the past year.

Jeremy Mclerran, Sr. Director of Marketing at Qolsys Inc.
During our interview, Jeremy tells SSN about the company’s latest panel, which took home First Place in the ESX TechVision Challenge, a culmination of the ESX Innovation Awards, which were given out at the show.

Mark Hillenburg, Executive Director of Marketing, DMP
Mark speaks with SSN about DMP, which took home two ESX Innovation Awards this year.

Wednesday, June 5

Dina Abdelrazik, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates
SSN speaks with Dina about where the smart home is today, including the latest Parks research on smart home adoption, the future for smart home automation and what dealers and monitoring companies need to do to stay on top.

Merlin, Guilbeau, Executive Director and CEO, ESA
Check out my conversation with the head of ESA, who shares with SSN some details on the latest initiatives the organization has going, including a workforce development initiative with SIA that couldn’t come at a more critical time, as this is a major concern for everyone in the industry.

Mike Jagger, President, Provident Security
During my talk with a former ESX keynote speaker who runs a highly successful security company, Jagger shared some refreshing views on the industry that may alter the way you look at topics such as false alarms.

Steve Firestone, President, Select Security
During my talk with the head of one of the most successful and fastest growing companies in security today, Steve shares some of the secrets of Select’s success, as well as some of the areas of focus for ESA, which he serves on the Board of Directors for and helps guide strategy.

In addition, sitting in on the many educational sessions, and having the opportunity to moderate one myself, I was reminded of how important a conference like ESX is in helping to define where we are as an industry, and how we can continue to push the industry forward together — as an industry.

In my session, Installation Performance: On Time, On Budget, On Par for Quality, I had the pleasure of leading a great panel that featured Mike Williams, Project Manager, Security Pros; Cindy Ponder, General Manager, Bates Security; and Shuvankar Roy, Vice President, Xfinity Home.

Each of them pointed out in their own way that the customer is still king, and getting the job done right for them is the first and most overriding priority. Ponder, for example, outlined how the company was able to “create efficiencies and best practices within sales and operations” that have lifted the company to that next level, cutting a 16-week backlog for commercial jobs in half, “empowering staff and lifting morale of staff,” which as she pointed out, is the goal for any company today.

It is sessions like this and speakers like Rigsby that make ESX such a memorable experience.
 

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