Subscribe to On the Editor's Desk RSS Feed

On the Editor's Desk

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

No one can refute the impact that Amazon’s Echo device has had in the home—if I had a nickel for every time someone yelled out the name Alexa in the home, I would be on a warm beach somewhere instead of trying to keep the cold drafts at bay in my office here is chilly Maine. But I digress.

With the success that Amazon has had with Alexa in the home, it is not surprising to see the company try to move into the office with the introduction of Alexa for Business, which was announced earlier this month at the AWS Re:Invent event.

As much as this raises interesting questions about possible uses within the office—in addition to the way these devices interact with other IoT devices in the office—it also raises many questions in regard to the place for voice assistants and voice assistant devices outside of the home.

In the home, Parks Associates estimates that nearly 50 percent of U.S. broadband households use a personal assistant through an application or dedicated device. And currently 10 percent of U.S. broadband households own a smart speaker with a personal assistant, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Parks Associates recently released a new whitepaper, Enabling Voice in the Smart Home, with research showing 49 percent of U.S. broadband households use a personal assistant through an app or dedicated device, which is a key use case for a voice-based user experience. The whitepaper, sponsored by the ULE Alliance, examines the influence of the voice-first interface on the adoption of connected products and presents market strategies for long-term success in the voice technology market.

“Collectively, companies are competing to stay in the race for dominance in the voice-first market,” Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst, Parks Associates, said in a prepared statement. “Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung continue to announce new product enhancements in order to stay ahead of the demand for voice technologies. As the voice-first landscape expands, we will see voice capabilities embedded into a variety of devices, from appliances to thermostats to lighting. Voice alleviates complexity in the user experience for these products, and as a result, voice will serve as a prime differentiator in the user experience for the smart home.”

But will this same battle for the smart home play out in the business world as well? That is a question that only time will answer, but Amazon is hoping that the demand at home will influence and drive the demand outside the home, as consumers come to expect the same kind of convenience and seamless experience in the office.

Amazon offered up some interesting use cases at the launch of Alexa for Business, such as having Alexa make calls, send messages, record important meetings and control thermostats, lighting, and other IoT-enabled devices around the office, for example, but what role will voice play in the overall smart building ecosystem that we are moving toward as an industry right now? This is a question that is loaded with other concerns, such as privacy and cybersecurity, to name just a few.

What do you think the role of the voice in the office will be and how far are we from hearing Alexa called out incessantly in the office as well?

Tags:
by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ASIS International announced this week that it has changed the name of its annual security conference from the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits to the Global Security Exchange (GSX). Building on its 60-plus year legacy as a premier security event, the newly branded GSX will take place in Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 23-27, 2018, in partnership with InfraGard and ISSA.

"In what will be our 64th year of delivering the security industry's flagship event, the Global Security Exchange, or GSX for short, will build upon the change and reinvention introduced at ASIS 2017," Peter J. O'Neil, CAE, CEO, ASIS International, said in the annoucement. "This name reflects the Society's commitment to unite the full spectrum of security—cyber and operational security professionals from all verticals across the private and public sector, allied organizations and partners, and the industry's leading service and solution providers—for the most comprehensive security event in the world."

The education program, led by ASIS, InfraGard, and ISSA subject matter experts, will deliver an immersive and interactive learning environment for security professionals at all experience levels. The exhibit hall will be transformed into a learning lab environment, showcasing new and emerging products and technologies such as machine learning, robotics, forensic analysis, and artificial intelligence. In addition, the revitalized networking events will facilitate relationship building and the sharing of best practices with peers from across the globe.

"From the Internet of Everything and soft target attacks to data breaches and drones, the velocity of change and risks knows no boundaries," Thomas J. Langer, CPP, 2017 president, ASIS International, said in the announcement. "GSX fills the industry's need for a global event that brings together the entire security industry, to exchange ideas and lessons learned, keep informed of current and emerging risks, and gain exposure to the emerging technologies shaping society and our workplaces."

While the annual event's new name is debuting now, the full rebrand will launch at the 2018 ASIS International Leadership Conference, which will be held Jan. 16-19, in Arlington, Va.

Tags:
by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, November 15, 2017

President Donald Trump recently signed into law the Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act, P.L. 115-78, culminating a yearlong effort led by the Security Industry Association (SIA) to preserve an important provision in federal energy efficiency requirements critical to the operation of security and fire alarm systems.

"The PASS Act provides much-needed certainty to manufacturers, installers and service providers who are among thousands of Americans that work in the security industry … but ultimately it benefits the millions of American consumers that depend on such security and life safety systems." Jake Parker, SIA Director of Government Relations, said in the SIA announcement.

Drafted with assistance from SIA and in collaboration with the energy efficiency community, the PASS Act extends a policy exempting security and life safety external power supplies (EPS) from having to meet a "no-load mode" energy efficiency standard, since they must always be connected and in active mode by design and no efficiency gains would result.

The new law makes the exemption essentially permanent by removing the July 1, 2017 expiration date on the exemption and providing the U.S. Department of Energy with authority to retain the common-sense policy in any future updates to energy efficiency standards governing external power supplies.

SIA led a coalition of industry groups in working with Congress to secure the exemption in 2011, which included a "sunset provision"—a common way of ensuring a new policy set forth in legislation is reviewed by Congress before becoming more permanent.

Preserving this exemption was a key concern for security manufactures and systems integrators, according to SIA, noting, “Without it, product redesign and adjustments to manufacturing processes would needlessly increase the cost of the equipment by 200-300 percent according to industry estimates, affecting not just manufacturers but the entire value chain.”

Enactment of this important solution would not have been possible without the bipartisan leadership of the bill's sponsors Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), as well as Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Susan Brooks (R-Ind). Over the past two years, Gardner, Welch and Brooks have been recognized with SIA's Legislator of the Year award for their support of this and other policies important to the security industry.

Topic:
by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, November 1, 2017

YARMOUTH, Maine—With the recent announcements from Nest, Ring, and Samsung/ADT, as well as Honeywell’s announced plans to offer a DIY solution, many in the industry are speculating on the impact DIY security systems could have on the security industry.

New research from Parks Associations shows aggressive innovations in smart DIY solutions will reinvigorate the home security market. Parks found that new and more economical DIY systems from key players, including Nest, Ring, Samsung, and ADT, are part of a key step in expanding the security market. The international research firm also notes that new smart DIY solutions will reinvigorate adoption of home security, particularly among younger consumers.

“Consumers value security and safety use cases, but the security market has struggled to move beyond the traditional 20% penetration level in the U.S.,” Brad Russell, research director, Connected Home, Parks Associates, said in the announcement. “Aggressive moves by companies such as Ring, which launched its inexpensive Ring Protect DIY home security system in October, will help attract new and younger consumers into the security market. Ring’s pricing strategy also puts downward pressure on other players to lower prices.”

Parks Associates reveals that 37 percent of smart home device owners report safety is the main reason they purchased a smart home device and nearly 30 percent bought a smart home device primarily to monitor their home while away. The firm notes that DIY innovations with on-demand, no-contract monitoring options could help expand the market for device makers and for monitoring providers who seek inroads to young consumers.

“Samsung and ADT have joined forces for the ADT Home Security Starter Kit, which expands the self-installable DIY segment,” Russell said. “Meanwhile, hub-based security systems are an intentional strategy to stake out a controller position in the home for a variety of future device and service offerings.”

This latest Parks’ research comes on the heels of findings from London-based research firm IHS Markit, which estimated that in 2016 the Americas was the largest market for DIY security alarm sales, expected to grow at a 20 percent CAGR over the next five years.

Security Systems News is also looking at the impact of DIY on security in its latest News Poll.
 

Topic:
by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, October 25, 2017

On the Move Systems announced today that its wholly-owned subsidiary Robotic Assistance Devices will make its S5 Security Guard Robot available to members of PSA Security Network, one of the world's largest systems integrator cooperatives in North America, encompassing more than 400 branch locations and employing more than 7,500 industry professionals, with more than $4.5 billion annually in security, fire, life safety and pro audio-visual installations.

By leveraging the power of the PSA Security Network, RAD will expand the geographic reach of the innovative S5 Security Guard Robot solution while allowing PSA members to gain access to the rapidly growing artificial intelligence market.

Steve Reinharz, president and CEO of RAD, told Security Systems News that he is excited to offer a robotic solution through another channel as part of PSA's expansive integrator network.

“This is a big announcement for us and another great way for RAD to be introduced to end users through the integrator channel,” he said. “We already have a couple of PSA affiliated members signed up as RAD dealers. It was really great meeting and working with [PSA president and CEO] Bill Bozeman on this partnership. The foresight he has—he really understands this opportunity—and we both feel it is important to include integrators in the RAD ecosystem. Previously I had been focusing on guarding companies, but because of Bill Bozeman and others on my team, I have opened up the channel to integrators as well.”

“Robotics is the wave of the future, and PSA strives to be a leader in the delivery of cutting-edge technologies,” Bozeman said in the announcement. “RAD enables PSA integrators to deliver advanced solutions that streamline efficiency, are cost effective and strengthen overall security. We are excited to have the opportunity to add RAD to our rich portfolio of technology partners.”

Reinharz noted that this partnership not only allows RAD to expand its market reach, but also to “educate more end users on how these solutions can solve today's most complex security problems," he said. "PSA members will now have the ability to not only offer a cutting-edge technology to their customers, but also add additional revenue to their business through our robots-as-a-service model."

RAD robotics “redefines the security services market, allowing organizations to augment the value of traditional manned guarding services with high-tech robotics,” the press release read. “Through the incorporation of advanced analytics and strategic technology integrations, the artificial intelligence solutions created by RAD accelerate deep learning, automate the security patrol process and build situational awareness for leaders and first responders in the event of an incident.”

RAD currently has a sales pipeline of more than 50 Fortune 500 companies and more than 25 qualified dealers and distributors that have a combined customer base of more than 35,000 end-user corporations.

 

Topic:
by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Honeywell began notifying customers this week about the launch of a new DIY home security system.

“We are actively working with our professional security dealer and installer customers to grow their businesses as this industry evolves," Brian Casey, vice president and general manager, Residential & Intrusion Solutions, Honeywell Security & Fire, told Security Systems News. “We believe the rapidly growing self-installed security space represents an opportunity for professional security dealers to expand their existing business models. The new Honeywell Smart Home Security solution gives our dealers an opportunity to sell to a different type of customer, and compete against the new players expanding into this space.”

Honeywell said through email that the new solution—called the Honeywell Smart Home Security System—is “targeting tech savvy consumers. The new solution will be an all-in-one, self-monitored and self-installed system that is attractive to the estimated 60 percent of U.S. households who aren’t interested in traditional security services and contracts. Honeywell Smart Home Security System will be available for professional dealers early next year to help them reach this market.”

This is a very interesting announcement, especially coming on the heels of all the recent developments in the DIY space, including announcements from Samsung/ADT, Ring and Nest.

In addition, SSN’s News Poll is focused on the topic this month.

Topic:
Tags:
by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Alarm.com announced today the launch of its PowerUp Conference, an intensive multi-day training program exclusively for Alarm.com's service provider partners. At the training conference, scheduled for Nov. 14-16, 2017 in Dallas, Texas, participants will learn technical and operational skills, and sales expertise in the smart home and business security fields. Created by the Alarm.com Academy training program, PowerUp offers a customizable schedule of specialized, hands-on training and industry insights.

"PowerUp is a comprehensive, immersive learning environment designed to ensure that our service provider partners come out of the conference with actionable skills and knowledge to improve their business," Katie Refano, Alarm.com's director of training, said in the announcement. "With more than 25 sessions to choose from, as well as presentations from Alarm.com executives and product updates from hardware partners, attendees will be able to tailor a learning experience to their exact company role and business needs."

PowerUp is the latest addition to the Alarm.com Academy, Alarm.com's program of in-person and online training for service providers. Continually refreshed and expanded to keep service providers ahead of the latest innovations and market trends, the program offers end-to-end training across all areas of a service provider's business, helping Alarm.com's partners to become experts in selling, installing and supporting Alarm.com products and services.

In terms of overall growth for the Academy, Matthew Zartman, director of marketing for Alarm.com, told Security Systems News that from 2015 to 2016 “we’ve seen a 57% increase in in-person training participation. From 2015 to 2016 we’ve seen more than 170% increase in participation in our online training program."

PowerUp offers a broad array of focused training sessions for different roles within service providers' businesses, including:

•    Installation: Technicians can learn how to get every installation right the first time and avoid future truck rolls with Alarm.com's mobile tools, while earning Continuing Education Units that keep their qualifications up-to-date.
•    Operations: Managers can learn how to get hands-on with system integrations, business intelligence reporting and account set-up tools.
•    Sales & Marketing: Sales personnel will learn to use Alarm.com's end-to-end suite of resources to increase close rates, grow RMR, and maximize lifetime customer value.
•    Customer Support: Join advanced workshops in remote troubleshooting led by Alarm.com's C.O.R.E. support experts.

Alarm.com service providers can register to attend PowerUp by clicking here, or by emailing: academy@alarm.com.

 

Topic:
by: Paul Ragusa - Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Excited to be in Dallas for ASIS 2017. My first two days of the show were packed with excitement, including intellectually stimulating keynotes, meetings and sessions as well as conversations with more than 30 companies, from manufacturers to integrators. I racked up about 15,000 steps on day one, but was rewarded with an invite to the Securitas’ event at AT&T stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys and the most famous cheerleaders in the world.

As I tweeted out, Securitas pretty much had a ‘drop the mic’ moment, creating a memorable experience for everyone in attendance, whether you were taking pictures with those aforementioned cheerleaders, catching passes in the back of the end zone (yes, that was me!), or just taking in the warm sound of country rising star Jennifer Nettles. This event will be hard to top next year. Big thanks to Securitas Electronic Security President Tony Byerly!

Back on the trade show floor, I saw a continuation of some of the themes that were discussed at ISC West, from cybersecurity, video analytics and big data, to cloud-based solutions, AI/machine learning, robotics and IoT.

It is also great to see the industry and manufacturers continuing to move away from proprietary systems, as partnerships and playing nice with others is helping these companies provide more comprehensive solutions. The vibe on the show floor, and within the industry is one of open architectures, seamless integration of complimentary products and companies providing open APIs that their partners can write to easily and securely, opening up so many opportunities for both integrators and end users.

And getting back to some of the emerging technologies in the industry today, it finally feels like we are starting to fulfill the promise of some of them, especially in the area of video and data analytics. As many pointed out to me, there is so much more being done with data and meta-data today, as we can now take the data from all of these disparate systems—access control, video surveillance, fire and life safety, for example—and bring them into one platform where that data can be turned into actionable info, providing greater opportunities for integrators to move into the managed services and recurring revenue model, while giving end users the power to leverage their data for not only better and more predictive security, but also operational efficiencies, business intelligence and business continuity.

I also see greater adoption of cloud-based solutions among not only manufacturers but integrators as well. And on the cyberssecurity front, I am impressed with the way the industry has mobilized to address this issue, hardening their products, providing education and resources to integrators so they can speak more intelligently on the topic.

I also see the industry continuing to embrace mobile solutions, whether it is mobile credentialing or having the power to remotely interact and manage your systems. As many pointed out, the same kind of evolution that we have seen on the residential side is moving to the commercial side. People want that same convenience and ease of use and control they have at home in their work and professional lives as well, and the opportunities that can be had with smart buildings and smart cities is really exciting; I am already seeing companies—both suppliers and integrators—making an impact on crime, and mitigating risk using these new advanced IP and cloud-based solutions.

And I would be remiss to not mention all of the M&A activity going on the industry right now. In addition to talk about ACRE selling Mercury Security to HID Global and the recent merger of ipDatatel and Resolution Products, attendees got to see the new JCI, post Tyco merger. Also, there was plenty of speculation and gossip around the convention center about who will be in the next M&A breaking news headline.

This really is any exciting time to be in the industry!
 

Topic:
Tags:
by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Survey results from Unisys show a trend away from traditional on-premises data centers toward cloud-based hosting. Survey respondents indicated that use of on-premises data centers will decrease from 43 percent now to 29 percent in 2019, while private cloud use will increase from 20 percent now, up to 28 percent in two years. Over the same period, public cloud use will rise from 18 percent to 21 percent, hybrid cloud from 11 percent to 13 percent, and use of community cloud (a private cloud shared by multiple organizations with a common mission) will hold steady at 9 percent.

"The results of this survey show that government decision makers understand the importance of embracing the cloud to help achieve their modernization goals," Venkatapathi "PV" Puvvada, president of Unisys Federal, said in the survey report. "But it also showed that nearly two-thirds are encountering unanticipated difficulties as they move to the cloud. Fortunately, those respondents who are actively working with industry partners to facilitate their cloud transitions reported a much easier road to cloud adoption by a two-to-one margin."

The respondents show widespread agreement on the benefits enterprises expect from the cloud. At least 94 percent cite improved disaster recovery/business continuity, agility and flexibility, more efficient storage, reduced capital costs and standardization of IT as being at least somewhat important. Improving agility—the capability to deploy IT resources nimbly in response to quickly changing business conditions and the factor most closely aligned to gaining competitive advantage—is the top driver overall, with 78 percent of respondents saying it is critical or very important.

In addition, many respondents report encountering unexpected roadblocks, with 60 percent saying those impediments slowed their cloud migrations and 17 saying that the roadblocks brought their migrations to a standstill.

While nearly two-thirds of respondents (62 percent) rated cybersecurity as the top priority for agency modernization projects over the next year, nearly the same percentage (59 percent) reported that they think their agency's IT modernization efforts have resulted in an increase in the IT security challenges they face. And when asked to grade their agencies' modernization efforts, 43 percent graded those efforts at "satisfactory" or lower when it comes to improving cybersecurity.

"The results of this survey tell us that many federal agencies may not have adequate staff and resources to manage security challenges in today's more complex and modernized IT environments, which in our view explains the feedback about modernization efforts exacerbating security challenges," said Puvvada. "To achieve successful digital transformation, agencies must make security a priority and embark on projects that enhance security at the core, as well as boost operational efficiency to meet mission-critical goals."

Here at Security Systems News, we feel also feel that cloud will continue to play an increasingly influential and disruptive role in security, transforming how we look at physical security in today’s digital world. For others who share this view, or are just curious about the role of cloud in security today and in the future, SSN invites you to attend our Cloud+ conference, which is Nov. 28-29, 2017, in Austin, Texas. Click here for more on the education program and to register.
 

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Honeywell announced today that it has appointed Richard (Rich) Lattanzi as the president of Honeywell’s global security business and Dino Koutrouki as the president of Honeywell’s global fire business.

In their new leadership roles, Lattanzi and Koutrouki will drive greater customer focus, the press release read, and both will continue to report to Michael Flink, president of Honeywell Security and Fire.

“Serving our customers and growing our business are at the core of everything we do in our security and fire businesses,” Flink said in the announcement. “Having two independent teams focused on their business will bring us closer to our customers, maximizing our core strengths and enabling increased efficiencies. I am confident that Rich and Dino will drive performance in their respective businesses to better serve our customers.”

As the new president of security, Lattanzi will be responsible for all operations, business strategy and growth for the global security business. He previously served as the vice president and general manager for Honeywell Security and Fire Americas, and prior to that held the position of global vice president and general manager for buildings within Honeywell’s Environmental & Energy Solutions (E&ES). Lattanzi joined Honeywell through the acquisition of Elster, where he was president of the global thermal solutions business.

As the new president of fire, Koutrouki will be responsible for all operations, business strategy and growth for the global fire business. He previously served as the vice president and general manager for Honeywell Security and Fire EMEA, and prior to that held the position of vice president and general manager for the Honeywell Scanning and Mobility APAC organization. Koutrouki joined Honeywell as part of the EMS Technologies acquisition, and held a variety of leadership roles across the company.

Honeywell Security and Fire is part of the Home and Building Technologies strategic business group.

Topic:

Pages