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N.C. school district moves from people to tech for access control

42 schools to receive Aiphone system
 - 
09/11/2014

WILMINGTON, N.C.—Visitors to most schools in the New Hanover County district at the start of the new school year will be viewed on video before being allowed in. For the 42-school district, which previously “relied on people” for access control, that’s a big security move, its safety director said.

Securing the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Plaza and Pavilion

‘The first instinct is to customize something, but you don’t want to fall into that trap. You stick with proven technologies’
 - 
07/28/2014

NEW YORK—Cameras, access control, intrusion detectors, magnetometers, radio communication: There’s much involved in designing a new facility’s complete security system. When you’re designing that system for the 9/11 Memorial Museum, Plaza and Pavilion, which opened in May, it’s even more complicated.

Viscount will be highly visible at ASIS

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Viscount, the access control system that is software-based and does not have a panel, will be highly visible at ASIS, according to CEO Dennis Raefield.

Raefield joined Viscount at COO in December of 2013 and became CEO of the company, replacing Steve Pineau, in January of 2014. In February, Viscount "raised $2.4 million in new cash in a  private placement." He's used that funding to "staff up" adding tech support and sales people including hiring Michael Pilato, as VP of sales and marketing. Pilato has worked for Schlage/Ingersoll Rand, Assa Abloy, Honeywell Security, and Sensormatic/Software House (now Tyco).

"We went from 26 to 36 employees," Raefield said. "We now have dedicated tech support from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on-call support 24/7," he said.

Viscount has been in business for 12 years, but its Freedom Encryption Bridge access control product is relatively new. It made traction with the federal government, in banking and it is  installed at Microsoft's GSOC.

"Our biggest deal is with the Department of Homeland Security, the CIS (Citizens Immigration Services) Group. [Freedom] is installed all over the country in 30 different sites and the plan is to roll out 200 more sites in the next year," Raefield said.

Freedom is doing well for two reasons, Raefield said. "One. It's highly secure from hacking for a very simple reason. The traditional [access control] panel has a database ... that is highly vulnerable to hacking. ... What we did is very simple. We took that database out of the panel," he explained. "We use a little thing called a bridge that converts all information at the door ... sends it to the company's own computer. Our software is on their server and the server makes the decision [about access]." This makes the IT director much more comfortable than a traditional access control system where a security appliance that is out of the IT director's hands is hanging on the company's network, he said.

Because the Freedom access control system is behind a company's firewall, it is as secure as any other application on an end user's network, Raefield pointed out.

Raefield noted that the recent Target data breach which received so much publicity and resulted in the firing of the Target CEO "was not a frontal assault on the IT infrastructure" but rather a "backdoor breach"—the result of a stolen HVAC contractor's password. That kind of backdoor breach cannot happen with this access control system, he said.

The second reason the federal government likes Freedom, according to Raefield, is that "our little bridge is much less expensive that anyone's panel. ... "You take out the expensive control panel and the dedicated computer for security and you now have a significaly lower total cost of ownership," he said.

The security director now can worrry about physical security instead of managing hardware and computers, he added.

Viscount Systems did about $4.1 million in revenue in 2013. About $3 million of that came from Viscount's legacy telephone entry system, a product called Mesh Enterphone, which is used in highrise buildings. It's been a "stable bread and butter" product for Viscount for 12 years. Raefield is also investing in that product, making it "high end with a touch screen." It can also be integrated with the Freedom access control system. The remaining $1 million in 2013 revenue was from Freedom, which Raefield said went from $0 to $1 million in one year. Raefield expects Viscount, which is a publicly traded company based in Vancouver, to do "between $6 and $8 million" in revenue in 2014.

Asked about whether Freedom can be used as a managed access control system, Raefield said yes. "The long term strategy is that [Freedom] will be able to be managed on site, in the cloud, any of the above, because it's all software."

Viscount is currently working with major integrators such as Stanley, Convergint and Johnson Controls. At ASIS, the company plans to make its case from a big booth to the integrator community that "this is the next direction and a smart direction," Raefield said.

Pilato said that Freedom has been rigorously tested by the federal government, it has shown itself to be "secure, scalable architecture" and it's ready for wider deployment in the commercial market, in K-12 schools, in banking and elsewhere. "ASIS will be the official commercial launch of Freedom," Pilato said. "The commercial side of the house is ready for prime time."

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMAG selected for Hudson Yards

 - 
07/22/2014

TORRANCE, Calif.—Hudson Yards has selected AMAG Technology’s Symmetry Enterprise v7.0.1 Card Access Control System to secure 10 Hudson Yards in New York City, the first office tower under construction in the development.

ONVIF, SIA announce access control standards cooperation

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06/10/2014

SAN RAMON, Calif.—ONVIF, a global standardization for IP-based physical security products, announced recently that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Security Industry Association, signaling cooperation toward the further development of IP-based interop

Disaster recovery within 15 minutes at Delta

Duplicate site and drills ensure business continuity
 - 
05/28/2014

ATLANTA—If Delta Air Lines’ Operations Control Center is incapacitated due to a fire, extreme weather or bomb, it can set up within 15 minutes at a duplicate facility already in place nearby. That’s been proven during yearly drills.

Viscount Systems wins in Maine and Fla.

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05/05/2014

BURNABY, British Columbia-Viscount Systems, a provider of security software and services, won two additional U.S. federal government contracts to secure facilities in Maine and Florida.

Talking panels and keypads with Don Childers

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03/05/2014

STATESVILLE, N.C.—After a day of heavy lifting on the job as an electrical contractor, Don Childers, COO of Security Central, made the following remark to a coworker: “There has to be a better way to make a living than this.”

DirectView explores legal marijuana vertical

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Though 18 states had previously legalized marijuana for medical use, it was the pair of initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington that legalized the substance recreationally that seems to have made the security industry more attentive to what kind of possibilities lie ahead in this new and rapidly expanding market.

It’s not difficult to see why. Those operating dispensaries and growing facilities will require security solutions for many of the same reasons an end user at a jewelry store would: They have to protect hundreds if not thousands of lightweight and expensive consumer products. End users will likely pull out all the stops on an integrated solution, relying on motion detectors, sensors, access control, dozens of cameras with status monitoring and, perhaps for larger storage facilities, virtual guard tours. Because the industry is in its nascent stages and still very much evolving, it’s difficult to forecast what the industry will look in even five to ten years from now.

New York-based DirectView Security, a provider of onsite and remote video and audio surveillance solutions and a subsidiary of DirectView Holdings, recently announced in a news release that it’s entered into “early stage discussions with several marijuana industry companies to provide a number of potential video surveillance and access control solutions.”

Though in many states marijuana laws are becoming more lax, the substance remains illegal under federal law. This adds an interesting wrinkle to the current security landscape in connection with this market. Federal pressure on banks has made it extremely difficult for pot dispensaries to get loans. As a result, they’ve had to rely primarily on cash, making them an even bigger target for robbers than they already were.  

It’s been well documented that ADT last year made a policy decision not to sell security systems to businesses engaged in the marijuana industry because it’s still illegal under federal law. It’s conceivable that other companies both large and small will also take that approach. But it will be interesting to see what companies take the reins in the market and to see to what kind of impact it will have on business.

In the news release, Roger Ralston, CEO and chairman of DirectView, expressed a good deal of optimism about doing just that: “Having worked to provide security products and solutions for large hotels and several banks, we have a strong understanding of complex security needs and how to provide the most cost-effective solutions,” he said, adding that he views the new market as “strong growth driver for our business in the coming years.”

Q&A with Axis co-founder Martin Gren

 - 
02/18/2014

Martha: I just returned from the Milestone conference where partners, including Axis, extolled the virtues of the VMS. Why does Axis really need to develop its own access control product?

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