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A central station in every home? There’s an app for that

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Using video technology to spy on Fido or your terrible teens while you’re away from home isn’t new. But now a California company has launched an app that will allow you to use a smartphone for the job, bypassing the need for a traditional IP camera system.

People Power, a Palo Alto-based software firm, is touting its Presence app as a way to monitor and protect the homefront for free via WiFi. “Use it … as a webcam, security cam, baby cam, party cam, you name it,” the company states on its website. “Customize and get meaningful alerts that give you [the] peace of mind you need knowing that loved ones are safe.”

The iOS app provides real-time audio and video streaming, motion-detection video alerts and two-way voice. The idea is that your outdated iPhone or iPad can be converted into a remote camera, with you as Big Brother—or Big Mother—watching it all on a similar device at your office or favorite watering hole.

And that’s all well and good. Like other DIY systems on the market that offer video, being able to see when Jimmy gets home from school or who is polishing off the last of the ice cream has its merits. As for Fido, now you can reprimand him from the cloud when he gets into the trash. Talk about Big Brother ...

Then there’s the protection angle. Users can program the app to record a 5-second video clip when motion is detected and then send them an email alert. If you have a collection of unused iOS devices, they can be arrayed to cover different areas of the home.

“We really are creating this disruptive app that really creates an inexpensive security system,” People Power CEO Gene Wang told the Los Angeles Times.

The translation is that the app user is now the central station. But does the average homeowner really know what that entails?

A number of questions immediately come to mind. For starters, what happens when Presence detects an intruder, or what the user thinks is an intruder? Should he call the police, or maybe a neighbor to check on the house? If it is an intruder and the intruder is hostile, what happens then? If the police are called and it’s a false alarm, how will municipalities handle that?

It will be interesting to see how it pans out. While Presence without question has some very attractive features—don’t forget that it’s free—taking it into the security realm comes with responsibilities that might be best left to professionals. As with most services, typically you get what you pay for.

IHS: Market for wireless infrastructure radios to hit $705m by 2017

Low-cost systems help drive growth
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04/02/2013

LONDON—The market for wireless infrastructure radios used in video surveillance applications grew 11 percent last year, rising from $274 million in 2011 to $304 million in 2012, according to a study by the research firm IHS. Demand will continue to increase, IHS predicts, and global revenues will reach $705 million in 2017.

SSN editors want to meet you at ISC West

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Before you hit the ISC West show floor, I hope you’ll stop by our “Meet the Editors” event.

Rich will be coordinating newswires and doing other editorial projects from the home office in Maine, but (SSN managing editor) Tess, (SDN managing editor) Amy and I look forward to meeting you at the event, which will take place from 9-10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 10 at the ISC West Media Stage.

The stage is right outside the entrance to the show floor—you can’t miss it. Stop by and introduce yourself, tell us about your plans for ISC West, what's going on at your company. Complaints, compliments, suggestions, scoops--happy to hear them all.

Milestone debuts embedded VMS

Arcus runs on Linux, Mac or Windows
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03/25/2013

COPENHAGEN—With an eye toward taking advantage of consumers moving from analog to IP-based systems, open-platform VMS provider Milestone has announced a new embedded video surveillance platform for its hardware partners that is specially designed to make the installations of IP-based video surveillance systems easy and inexpensive.

Checkpoint sells CheckView; Richmond honored for ASAP

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Checkpoint Systems, a global supplier of loss-prevention products and solutions for the retail industry, announced earlier this month that it was negotiating the sale of its CheckView integration and monitoring business. On Monday, the buyer was ID’d: Platinum Equity, a California-based private equity firm, which will make the deal for $5.4 million.

In a blog Tuesday, Seeking Alpha analyst Brenon Daly called the deal “one of the more financially lopsided divestitures we've seen in some time. ... The electronic security unit generated roughly $77 million of revenue in 2012, although it did run slightly in the red.”

The transaction includes CheckView’s CSAA Five Diamond-certified central station in Chanhassen, Minn. CheckView also sells digital video cameras and monitors to combat retail crime, along with fire and intrusion alarm systems for that vertical.

In a prepared statement, Checkpoint said its board of directors had determined that CheckView could better serve its customers as an independent, entrepreneurial and more focused organization. George Babich, who was named Checkpoint’s CEO and president on March 4, said that Platinum Equity has “a strong track record helping companies reach their full potential. … We are committed to support CheckView throughout the sale process to ensure an orderly transition with full continuity of service to customers.”

“CheckView will act as a platform acquisition and allow us to focus on the core business while pursuing organic-growth initiatives and strategic add-ons in a highly fragmented space,” said Platinum Equity principal Jason Leach.

On March 5, Checkpoint reported a fourth-quarter loss of $35.4 million, or 86 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $19.1 million, or 47 cents per share, a year earlier. The company’s shares closed at $13.43 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange.

ASAP honors for Richmond: Computerworld, which bills itself as “the leading source of technology news and information for IT influencers,” recently gave a nod to Richmond, Va., for a tech program that’s been making headlines in the alarm world: the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol.

Richmond’s participation in ASAP earned the city a 2013 Computerworld Honors Laureate, an award that recognizes “visionary applications of information technology promoting positive social, economic and educational change.” Richmond was one of three public safety answering points that served as charter municipalities for the program; six were participating by the end of 2012.

“Receiving Computerworld’s Honors Laureate acknowledges the outstanding achievement and advancement of our city’s Department of Information Technology and 911 staff in providing excellent service to Richmond’s residents,” Mayor Dwight Jones said in a prepared statement. “The benefits of the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol program are tremendous as it reduces 911 processing times, reduces response times by first responders, and provides an extremely accurate data exchange between the alarm monitoring companies and [PSAPs].”

Videofied makes ‘mainstream’ move

Company looks to expand indoor video verification with distribution deal
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03/26/2013

VADNAIS HEIGHTS, Minn.—Videofied has made what President Keith Jentoft calls “a big move” to bring indoor video verification into the mainstream, partnering with an independent distributor for the first time to expand the company’s reach in the United States and Canada.

Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act: Still pending after all these years

First proposed in 2003, Congress has yet to pass the measure, even though it has broad support
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03/25/2013

QUINCY, Mass.—The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation recently launched an online letter campaign in support of the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act, which is expected to come before Congress again in 2013, 10 years after it was first proposed.

Industry veteran Don Trask dies at 75

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Sad news out of Texas: Don Trask, former vice president of operations for Online Alarm Quotes, died last week in Dallas at age 75.

“Don was one of the very first employees of Monitronics and helped build their central station,” Tom Fowler, president of Online Alarm Quotes, told SSN. “A very good soul. He was one of the nicest people I ever encountered in any walk of life. Please make mention of his passing and keep his family in your prayers.”

Trask was the executive vice president and CEO of Trask Enterprises, doing business as New West Security in Duncanville, Texas. Before his employment at Online Alarm Quotes and Monitronics, he worked for Southland Corp., the Arthur Trask Corp. and 3M Corp., according to his profile on LinkedIn.

Trask was born and raised in the Chicago area and attended the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Sheri Trask; daughters Nancy and Elizabeth; stepson Corey, and his grandchildren.

“Don was the kind of friend that renewed faith in people,” Fowler said. “He was there for you without asking and without question.”

A2 Systems launches in Mass.

Industry vets open new firm
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03/22/2013

BURLINGTON, Mass.—A2 Systems, a new systems integration firm located here and founded by industry veterans Pat Connors and Matt Leonard, has completed its first job for an energy company and is now delving into two more jobs—one in the pharmaceutical vertical and one in retail.

What you should have on your calendar: 7:30 a.m., April 10, 2013

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

As you’re putting your ISC West calendar together, make sure that you have The Security 5K on your list. Now in its fourth year, the race (and 2K walk) will take place on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 a.m. The start line is within easy walking distance to the Venetian. Click here for the link to sign up.

Security Systems News and Security Director News founded this event with Mission 500 four years ago. We’re proud to be involved and pleased that the list of generous manufacturer sponsors is getting longer.

Whether you walk, run or show up to cheer your industry colleagues along, The Security 5K is a fun way to start your second day of ISC West.

You and your colleagues can sign up as a team or individually online or at ISC West on Wednesday. We had more than 400 runners and walkers last year and expect even more this year.

However, the most important way you can participate is by sponsoring a runner or walker. All of the proceeds go to benefit Mission 500, a wonderful organization that literally saves children’s lives. It provides basic necessities, food, clothing and housing for some of the neediest children in the world. Last year we raised $90,000, making a real difference in children’s lives. Your participation matters. See you there.

 

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