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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—PSA TEC, PSA Security Network’s annual conference in support of its integrators, vendors and members—including ProAV professionals following PSA Security Network’s recent acquisition of USAV and CI Edge—provided some valuable education and networking, including some important takeaways for attendees.

In addition to training and certification opportunities from manufacturers as well as from SIA, ASIS and CompTIA, this year’s educational program touched on many of the top trends in the industry today, from the cloud, biometrics and IoT to robots, drones and data analytics.

One of the big themes for the show this year was cybersecurity, which the PSA Security Network has “taken a leading position on,” according to president and CEO Bill Bozeman, who pointed out that PSA has put a lot of time, effort and money into providing resources, education and support for members on this increasingly important topic. Bozeman noted that PSA Security Network’s cybersecurity committee has made “great strides in just this past year.”

This year’s keynote, Matthew Rosenquist, cybersecurity strategist for Intel Corporation, in his presentation “Cybersecurity Risks and Recommendations—Where Your Focus Needs to Be,” provided a nice launching point for many of the day’s cybersecurity sessions and discussions.

Rosenquist pointed out, “Ten years ago we weren’t having this discussion,” noting that today it is absolutely imperative that the security industry has these cyber discussions, as “physical security and cyber have converged.”

He told integrators in the audience that as much as there are risks as well as challenges in preventing and combatting cyber threats, there are also “opportunities here” to provide services to protect both physical security and cybersecurity. IT professionals, including CIOs and CTOs, he noted, now have great influence over security matters and decisions and have much more in terms of budget and funding, so getting IT at the table with security folks is key.

In the “State of the Industry” session, Bozeman told integrators, “We need to figure out how to sell cyber,” pointing out the goal is to provide—similar to what is available on the physical security side—“a set of services for cyber that integrators can sell.”

The State of the Industry session was moderated by Bozeman with a panel that included keynote speaker Rosenquist as well as Gunvir Baveja, CEO, eVigilant Security, David Sylvester, founder and president, 3SE, and Chuck Wilson, executive director, NSCA.

In addition to cybersecurity, the group looked at the impact of third party managed services businesses on the industry.

“This is a new problem for us,” Wilson said, adding that these companies often come in after the project is done to offer managed services. He noted it is important “to grab that service contract early on” in the project.

Baveja said that his company offers the first year free to ensure that they get the service contract, noting that he has found that by using that approach “95- to 98 percent will sign a monthly maintenance contract.”

“As the integrator on the project, you already have your foot in the door,” added Sylvester, providing integrators with an advantage over third party companies in regard to offering a service contract. “Even cyber, too,” he said.

Getting back to cybersecurity, and ways in which integrators can sell these services, Baveja, whose company has a division devoted to cybersecurity, confirmed what Rosenquist said during his keynote—that more and more security procurement decisions are being made by IT professionals, the CIOs, for example. “It is important to get the CSO and the CIO at the same table during a project,” he said.

This topic of “selling cyber” also came up during the session, “Providing Cyber Ready Solutions and Services for Successful Lifecycle Project Implementation,” which was presented by a PSA Security Network cross-committee panel that included PSA cybersecurity committee chair Andrew Lanning, co-founder, Integrated Security Technologies; PSA project management chair Robert Flynn, senior VP, operations, Aronson Security Group; PSA sales and marketing committee chair Sharon Shaw, client development manager, Tech Systems, Inc.; and PSA technical committee member Chris Peckham, SVP, CTO and special projects, Kratos Public Safety & Security Solutions, Inc.

Lanning pointed out that the committee has “come a long way in the past year” creating resources, improving processes, but he asked, “Where is the ROI? How can we monetize the value we can bring?”

He said that the “cross-pollination between committees” is helping to identify the value that integrators can bring to the cyber discussion, including providing guidance and services.

“Where do you want to play?” Lanning asked the packed room. “With the government and military, they require it [cybersecurity],” he noted, pointing out that in many cases, depending on what vertical a company works in, there are compliance standards that are regulated. “The demand is there and many clients are unknowledgeable but open to discuss,” he said, noting that he “bundles cyber with our other services.”

Peckham added, “Offer good, better, best; the value proposition is there—we just need to sell it.”

Peckham pointed out that an often-overlooked aspect in the cyber discussion is employee education and training, which can include mandatory online training courses, in-house discussions and memos, even signs around the office. “Preventive measures are key in the workplace,” he said.

Shaw added that she finds that people often need something they can relate to before it really sinks in. “Storytelling—giving examples and sharing occurrences—is very effective,” she said. “Educate clients on their risks, including offering penetration testing.”

The panel also agreed that the onus is partially on the manufacturers, which “aren’t hardening products the way they should,” said Flynn. He noted that many within the industry have their “head in the sand” on cybersecurity, which “needs to be addressed from sales to service.”

During the State of the Industry, the panel got into the need for insurance on the cybersecurity side of things. Many on the panel agreed that coverage varies greatly from company to company, with Baveja pointing out, “Insurance companies are just trying to figure things out right now.”

Rosenquist noted, “The insurance companies don’t have it figured out because actuary data is not available. There is no predictability as attacks change constantly.” He also said that coverage costs—as well as what is covered for the same project/job—can vary dramatically. “Even the application process varies wildly,” he said, from a one-page application to one that can be upwards of 100 pages.

Bottom line: Expect your customers to ask for it.

The State of the Industry panel also agreed that this is a good time to be in the industry, which will continue to see a 6- to 8 percent annual growth rate moving forward, aided greatly by a booming construction market that includes increased technology infrastructure building and growth in the U.S.

To ensure that integrators continue to stay profitable, PSA Security Network provided an informative panel presentation called “PSA Financial and Operational Metrics.” Nadim Sawaya, principal, EPC, has worked closely with PSA to help provide useful metrics that integrators can take home and start using right away. He went through some of the highlights and important aspects of a 70-page document that the PSA Security Network created as a resource for integrators.

All and all, PSA TEC was a great event, from the educational sessions, training and networking to the vendor awards, sponsor hospitality suites and trade show portion on Wednesday that featured more than 100 exhibitors in an intimate setting.

For those looking to next year, PSA TEC is changing its location and dates. PSA TEC 2018 will be at the Downtown Denver Sheraton from March 11-15.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

At ISC West last month it was nice to meet and catch up with Convergint Technologies' executive chairman and founder Dan Moceri, and president and CEO Ken Lochiatto, who were both kind enough to participate in an ssnTVnews video interview on the Security Systems News' trade show floor stage.

The global systems integration company has been very busy recently—and since its inception in 2001—and just completed an acquisition this week of Operational Security Systems Inc. (OSS), an Atlanta, Ga.-based security integrator with an additional location in Orlando, Fla. Founded in 1972, Operational Security Systems is run by president Jim Coleman, who along with more than 50 colleagues from the company will be joining the Convergint team.

Moceri told SSN that he is excited to have Coleman and his entire team joining the Convergint Technologies family, as the company shares many of the same values as Convergint.

“We have a lot of respect for Jim and his company as he has created a strong culture and team that is very focused on the service side of the business, which is how we have grown our organization,” said Moceri. “In addition to being strong from a service perspective, Jim has developed a very strong engineering company and a solutions provider that brings additional capacity and capabilities to our team.”

“Operational Security Systems and Convergint Technologies share two common core values: looking after the needs of our customers and looking after our fellow colleagues,” Jim Coleman said in the announcement. “Joining the Operational Security Systems team with Convergint Technologies brings deeper resources to our clients and new and exciting opportunities for our colleagues. This acquisition will prove beneficial to all involved.”

Convergint Technologies has seen a steady track record of both organic growth and growth through acquisition since its founding in 2001.

“We continue to grow very aggressively organically, but you can only grow so fast organically, so when we have an opportunity like this to bring in good quality people all at one time, we certainly want to take advantage of that,” he said.

Will Convergint continue to stay active on the acquisition front? “Absolutely—stay tuned,” said Moceri. “As always, we’ve got a nice pipeline of acquisitions and we expect another exciting year on that front. We’ve started off very strong in the first quarter along with very strong organic growth over the last year and we continue to supplement that growth with acquisitions.”

In addition to this acquisition, the company just opened an office in Toronto, which is part of the company’s planned expansion in the greater Toronto area. The new office is strategically located in the Bell Trinity Square beside the Eaton Centre on the PATH system, which is mostly an underground walkway that links about 30 km of shopping, services, and entertainment in downtown Toronto, the company noted.

“This exciting new location enables us to be at the doorstep of the downtown Financial District and to support all of our existing and future clients in the area while delivering our Values & Beliefs to be our best customers’ best service provider,” Greg Taylor, vice president, Eastern Canada Operations for Convergint Technologies, said in the announcement.

Security and building automation technicians, as well as locksmith services, will also be added to this location to provide rapid response for clientele, and the new office will also serve as a satellite learning center. “We plan to host Lunch & Learns at the site with our technology partners to provide our clients with information about the latest trends and technologies in electronic security and building automation solutions,” Eric Heagle, business development manager for Convergint Technologies, said in the announcement.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

At ISC West 2017 earlier this month, Galaxy Control Systems solidified its commitment to cloud-based solutions with the announcement of its new Cloud Concierge, a cloud-based access control and monitoring solution. Galaxy also just released a new whitepaper this week entitled, “Understanding Cloud Services for Access Control,” further exemplifying the company’s commitment to its customers by providing education and awareness. 

“Galaxy Control Systems recognized early on that cloud services had the potential to deliver new flexibility and benefits for the security market,” Lukas Le, director of Cloud Services, Galaxy Control Systems, told Security Systems News. Le said that Galaxy has been working with cloud and hosted solutions for years to develop a high level of experience and expertise so the company could provide leadership and strong support for its customers.

“We have also been watching the market to gauge the increasing level of interest, knowledge and acceptance of this new approach,” he explained. “Today, we see that the current mature state of the necessary technologies will let us leverage the recent release of our mobile applications while delivering on a business model that is mutually beneficial for the integrator, end user and Galaxy alike.”

“Security professionals—both channel and end users—are recognizing the operational and cost benefits of a hosted collaborative access control solution,” Rick Caruthers, executive vice president, Galaxy Control Systems, said in the announcement. “With Cloud Concierge, we’ve reduced the complexity to allow resellers to comfortably sell a cost-effective solution to their base without having to assume responsibilities associated with system monitoring and management.”

He continued, “By joining the Cloud Concierge program, integrators who specialize and excel in their specific areas can focus on what they do best rather than trying to provide an end-to-end solution themselves. Best of all, by working with trusted partners to deploy, administer and maintain systems, end users can devote their time and energy to their
core business and operations.”

Unlike a traditional access control system, where door locks and controllers are connected to on-premise access control servers that store the system settings, enrollees and rules, and run the access control software application, with the new Galaxy Control Systems cloud-based access control solution, the access control servers are located remotely.

“Door locks and controllers communicate with the remote cloud servers through an encrypted Internet connection,” said Le. “This arrangement offers security and maintenance advantages, and lets system administrators and service staff access the system from anywhere they can reach the Internet using a standard browser, with no special software required on their devices.”

Le said that there is an up-front cost savings for customers who are installing new systems, and for customers with existing systems “the choice of timing might be dependent on the age of the on-premise hardware, availability of service and maintenance staff, and similar factors,” he noted. “Initially, we will focus our efforts on our current dealers, and we expect that continued education using webinars, workshops and similar hands-on methods will continue to increase adoption.” 

Although there are many customers who understand the cloud, cloud service adoption “is primarily about educating our customers about the benefits.” Le said. “For those already familiar with the benefits of cloud services, it’s an easy discussion—these customers can’t wait to move their access control into the cloud. For those that are less familiar or less comfortable with cloud services, they will need a bit more education to prepare them to make this move.”

A good example of Galaxy’s ongoing commitment to educate and inform is the publishing if its new whitepaper, which provides insights into the growing realm of cloud-based services and how they are changing the way access control systems can be deployed and used. In the paper, readers will find an overview of cloud technology and learn how and where access control cloud services can be applied for maximum economic and security benefits to the organization. The whitepaper also touches on decision factors to assess when considering a move to cloud services, each of which helps inform the decision-making process.

“We recognize that not everyone in the security industry has the time or resources to stay current with new technologies,” Caruthers said in the whitepaper’s release. “We developed our new whitepaper to provide information for our community, to help accelerate their understanding of the benefits of access control cloud services.”

To access the full whitepaper, click here.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

LOWELL, Mass.—Consumers see more clearly how smart home devices can directly benefit their lives, and are planning to purchase more smart home devices in the future, according to a consumer survey commissioned by PlumChoice Inc., a provider of premium technical services for IoT and cloud brands, and the Z-Wave Alliance, an open consortium of leading global companies deploying Z-Wave.

According to this second annual consumer benchmark survey, titled, “2016: Year of the Smart Device,” 52 percent of all respondents plan to buy a smart device in the next two years, and of those who own smart devices, 84 percent said they may make another smart purchase in the next two years

“It’s clear from our data that not only has the smart home arrived, but the benefits of adding connectivity to the things in our home are finally being realized,” Mitchell Klein, executive director of the Z-Wave Alliance, said in the announcement. “It’s exciting to finally see consumers understanding the value of connecting multiple devices together and to see categories like smart security, thermostats and safety grow year over year.”

The report helps device makers and their partners understand current connected and smart home device ownership, interest in future purchases and perceived smart home device benefits. In addition, it outlines the services that brands can tie to these products to drive more revenue and consumer loyalty, and highlights the need for companies to provide consumers a user experience that allows their smart home devices to fit easily into their lives.

With the majority of consumers reporting owning a total of four to six smart home devices (61 percent having interconnected some of those devices), interoperability becomes a key factor as consumers add more connected devices, according to the report.
   
“The smart home industry is thriving, and many companies are recognizing that their success is dependent on a seamless consumer user experience,” Noelani McGadden, vice president of IoT at PlumChoice, said in the press release. “Last year was a pivotal year for the smart home industry, with the number of people who own a smart device increasing by a staggering 259 percent. As smart home device adoption continues to grow, brands must cater to consumers who are expecting support services as part of their purchase, and at the very least provide installation support.”

According to the report, smart appliances (smart refrigerator, washer/dryer, etc.) and smart smoke detectors are among the smart home products with the highest year-over-year growth, with 267 percent and 250 percent respectively
   
All types of services and support expected from brands increased since 2015, with installation support listed as a top need at 68 percent, the report found.

The survey also examined consumer behavior—including purchase drivers and rate of adoption—of homeowners compared to renters, along with comparisons between age, gender and current device owners.

To see the full report, click here.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Just starting to recover from ISC West 2017, which is a testament to how busy and well attended the show was this year. I am still waiting for final numbers from ISC but Sherida Sessa, industry vice president, ISC Events & Connected Security Expo, did say by email that both the number of attendees and exhibitors was up from last year.

There was also a sense of renewed optimism—and a healthy buzz on the show floor—about the security industry in general and where it is headed in this age of high tech products.

Speaking of new tech, there was an abundance of new products, and new companies at ISC this year, and the SIA New Product Showcase (NPS) award winners (see list below) exemplifies how tech-driven the industry has become and will continue to be moving forward. [See my and Spencer Ives’ daily blog coverage of ISC West for more].

This year’s Best New Product in the SIA New Product Showcase was CrucialTrak’s Biometric Access Control System (BACS), which according to the company is the “world’s first” multi-biometric authentication technology, providing the highest security measures by layering four different biometric authentications into one terminal. In each BACS module, up to four biometric identification technologies are considered: touchless fingerprint, iris patterns, vein patterns and facial recognition authentication.

“Many returning companies entered the SIA New Product Showcase this year, and many new entrants also competed in the showcase,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement. “New and familiar faces did very well in the 2017 showcase. I congratulate CrucialTrak for distinguishing itself as Best New Product overall in a very competitive year.”

In addition, the prestigious Judges' Choice Award was presented to Thermal Imaging Radar for Hydra. The Thermal Radar Hydra provides wide area intrusion detection through continuous 360° thermal intrusion detection combined with 360° targeted surveillance from a 30X zoom laser IR starlight PTZ, said the company.

The SIA NPS had 120 entries from small, medium and large companies in the security industry, representing roughly a 20 percent increase over last year and set a record for entrants in recent years, according to SIA. The NPS judges presented awards in 29 product and service categories.

2017 SIA NPS Award Winners

Access Control, Devices and Peripherals
HES (1500/1600 Electric Strike Platform)

Access Control, Devices and Peripherals, Wireless
HID Global (Location Services)

Access Control, Software and Controllers
Tyco Security Products (Istar Ultra Video)

Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection
Patriot One Technologies (Nforce CMR 1)

Cloud Solutions
Feenics (KEEP)

Commercial Monitoring Solutions
Secure Global Solutions (Next Stage)

Convergence and Integrated Software and Solutions
RightCrowd (Software Essentials)

Emergency Communication/Mass Notification Systems
V5 Systems (Acoustic gunshot sensor)

Fire/Life Safety
Honeywell (5800 COMBO Smoke CO2 Detector)

Green/Sustainable Solutions Products
ASSA ABLOY Americas (IN220)

Hosted Solutions/Managed Services
SureID (Certified Edge)

Intrusion Detection and Prevention Solutions
Optex (Redscan RLS2030S)

Intrusion Detection and Prevention Solutions, Wireless
Bosch (Zigbee Multi-Sensor)

Law Enforcement/Guarding Systems
Sharp Electronics (Intellios Aug V)

Lock Systems and Secure Storage Containers
Securitech (Auto-Bolt Max)

Loss Prevention and Article Surveillance Solutions
March Networks (Search Lights)

Mobile Apps
STid (Mobile ID)

Network Support Solutions
KPC Networks Limited (Thru-Link)

Outdoor Perimeter Protection
Ontech (Wardium Perimeter)

Residential and Monitoring Solutions
NAPCO (Starlink Connect Z-Model)

Tools and Hardware
Axis Communications (Site Designer)

User Authentication, Identification, Credentialing and Management
FST Biometrics (iMiD Access 4.0)

Video Analytics
UMBO Computer Vision (UMBO Light)

Video Surveillance, Advanced Imaging Technologies
Thermal Imaging Radar (Hydra)

Video Surveillance, Cameras HD (Megapixel)
Wireless CCTV (Body Camera Connect)

Video Surveillance, Cameras IP
Axis Communications (Q6155E PTZ Dome)

Video Surveillance, Data Storage
Quantum Corp. (Quantum StorNext 5.4)

Video Surveillance, Hardware and Accessories
V5 Systems (Camera Agnostic Platform)

Video Surveillance, Management Systems
FLIR (United VMS)

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by: Paul Ragusa - Monday, April 3, 2017

Day one

On Tuesday, I attended the annual DMP Owners Forum, which is “one the ways we show our gratitude to our dealers,” Jon Adams, DMP dealer development manager, told a room full of DMP’s top 100 dealers.

This year’s speakers included Major Gen. (Ret.) Vincent Boles, who shared the wisdom he has gained throughout his military career, as well as some of his views on what makes a true leader. Boles gave out his book—4-3-2-1 Leadership: What America’s Sons and Daughters Taught Me on the Road from Second Lieutenant to Two-Star General—to all attendees. The other featured speaker was former Southwest Airlines senior level leader, Jason Young, author of the books The Culturetopia Effect and Servicetopia.

Attendees also learned how DMP is giving dealers access to new markets through a variety of new platforms, including DMP’s CompanyStore, which enables dealers to participate in the DIY marketplace; Secura, a new high-volume residential dealer program; OnDemand Monitoring, a new revenue generator for dealers to offer to consumers that don’t want to sign long term contracts; and new avenues in home automation, including integration with AppleTV, Amazon Echo and Google Home.

DMP executive management also featured sessions on new technology that will be available this summer, including previews of the DMP’s Gunshot Detector that goes on Existing DMP XR Series panels and DMP’s new Doorbell Camera, which Mark Hillenburg, DMP’s executive director of marketing, said is “deeply integrated” and will “provide new highly sought after functionality to the existing DMP Virtual Keypad, App and control panel family."

Jeff Britton, DMP’s VP of product design, also walked attendees through DMP’s Tech App Platform, which was “developed to save time on new installs and service calls and really to eliminate some of the service calls you are having to make today. The platform will continue to grow because we feel there are a lot of things that your techs should be able to do right from their phone or their tablet.”

Day Two

On Wednesday, I began my day at Axis Communications’ 10th annual press breakfast. With the theme of “The Magic of IoT,” Fredrik Nilsson, VP Americas, and Martin Gren, founder, who were both dressed as magicians—you gotta love these guys!—talked about how the company plans to bring the same innovation and “magic” that it brought to camera technology to other products, such as its Network Speakers, which make up an integrated audio system that is ideal for retail settings. Axis also teamed up with Cognimatics to develop analytic capabilities for its True View People Counter, which is also ideal for retail environments, providing valuable business intelligence data.

Gren also provided a preview of its newest technology—the AXIS D2050-VE Network Radar Detector, an outdoor motion detector with radar technology that can provide cost-efficient perimeter protection and decrease false alarms. The Company is also previewing at ISC West a selection of products that will be launched later this year, including new high resolution fixed domes in AXIS M30 Series, AXIS P32 Series, and AXIS Q35 Series. Axis also unveiled its AXIS FA Series with modular cameras for highly discreet, cost-efficient video surveillance, and three new additions to AXIS P13 Series that offer 4K resolution in full frame rate and that enable coverage of large areas with high image detail.

Following the breakfast I headed to the show floor, which was abuzz with high traffic and early indicators point to a record year in terms of attendance for this year’s show.

My first booth visit was at Legrand, a global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures. Manny Linhares, director of strategy, IoT, told me about Eliot, a Legrand global IoT program, that “brings the promise of interoperability, providing the building blocks and infrastructure to enable IoT and bring connectivity to where it is needed.”

Moving to the Qolsys showcase room, I was able to test drive the company’s second generation panel, which is sleeker and more powerful with some very cool new capabilities. Kevin Woodworth, director of technical account management, pointed out that the panel is the culmination of “all of the lessons we learned from our first panel, and what we learned from dealer feedback.” The panel has a 7-inch HD touchscreen with built-in 5MP camera and multiple wireless radios, as well as LTE connectivity, advanced encryption, a built-in router, a glass break detector, dual path connectivity and Bluetooth disarming, to name just a few of the upgrades.

Over at the FLIR Systems booth, I was given a demo of the FLIR United VMS 8.0, the latest version of the company’s comprehensive, enterprise-level video management solution for managing video security operations. The company introduced three high-performance security cameras, including the FLIR PT-Series HD thermal and visible camera system, the FLIR Quasar 4K fixed box camera, and the FLIR Ariel 3MP (3-megapixel) corner camera. All three cameras integrate with FLIR United VMS 8.0 and expand the company’s end-to-end line of security solutions. I also got a demo of the company’s Cameleon command and control platform.

At the Interlogix booth, the company was highlighting TruVision Navigator 7, the latest release of its popular video management software. TruVision Navigator 7 now works seamlessly with Interlogix TruPortal access control systems and IFS network switches, allowing end users to manage their entire security system from one single, easy-to-use interface.

This year’s ASSA ABLOY Press Event focused on “Security in the IoT Age,” and Martin Huddart, president, looked at how IoT will affect security. He aptly pointed out, “We are producing data, not products today,” noting that the key as we move forward as an industry is “bringing all these devices together.”

Next, I caught up with Denis Hebert, president, Feenics, a provider of cloud-based access control solutions. The company launched its enterprise Keep by Feenics platform that delivers scalability, flexibility and advanced security. The new cloud-based access control as service (ACaaS) platform integrates native visitor management, and incorporates RESTful API that dramatically simplifies integrating complementary systems plus connecting Keep to applications outside of the organization. Built specifically for the cloud and hosted by Amazon Web Services, Keep significantly minimizes costs through simple, maintenance-free upgrades and patches. 

At the LifeSafety Power booth, Joe Holland, vice president of engineering, gave me a glimpse into how the company continues to “innovate the category of power,” with new predictive analytics and critical reporting capabilities. The company announced a breakthrough in connecting intelligent power management analytics to leading software manufacturers directly through Authentic Mercury Security hardware.  “This truly enhances and expands the potential for systems integrators to offer remote power management to customers who will benefit from predictive analysis and detailed reporting on the health and well-being of their solutions,” said Holland.

I also met with Glen L. Smith, director, dealer operations, ADT, who told me about the great strides the ADT Dealer Program has made in the past year alone. In the area of support for dealers, the company went from a net promoter score of -9 to 76 in just 18 months. How did they do this? “We asked our dealers what was broken,” said Smith, who noted that response time was a big issue for dealers. In response to this concern, Smith said they went from a two-hour hold time to a zero hold time in just one year.

At the Bosch Security Systems booth, the company featured a completely new portfolio of IP cameras and video analytics that extend surveillance beyond security, services that create recurring monthly revenue opportunities for dealers, and an all-in-one wireless multi-sensor that can be configured as a door/window contact, water or tilt sensor. Bosch also introduced In-Store Analytics, a solution to provide retailers with valuable insights on store traffic for improving operations, customer engagement and sales.

At the Alarm.com booth, Brian Lohse, director, commercial sales, talked about the company’s strategy to take what it has been doing on the residential side and bring that to the SMB space. On the residential side, the company’s open platform continues to expand integrations with a broad range of devices to help its dealer partners extend their footprint in the smart home. Alarm.com has also extended 4G LTE communications capabilities.  In addition, Alarm.com highlighted its Business Intelligence service that helps its dealer partners lower attrition by analyzing data points.

Next, I caught up with Jeff Whitney, VP of marketing for Arecont Vision, who went over some of the big announcements for the company at the show, including Arecont Vision SNAPstream bandwidth reduction technology that supports multiple new and existing megapixel cameras; SurroundVideo Omni G3 Omnidirectional multi-sensor cameras with remote setup; Arecont Vision Compact MicroBullet indoor/outdoor, day/night megapixel camera; and Arecont Vision MicroDome G2 with Integrated IR indoor/outdoor day/night ultra-low profile megapixel camera.

At the Pelco by Schneider Electric booth, Sharad Shekhar, CEO, Pelco SVP, video line of business, and Diane Feliciano, VP, global marketing, spoke about how the company has spent the last 12-18 months “transforming and repositioning the company” for the future. “We have been making changes across the entire organization for the last couple of years, from technology developments to new sales, support and operations programming,” said Feliciano. Pelco also showcased several new and enhanced products and systems, including its VideoXpert Video Management System (VMS); Sarix Enhanced IP Cameras with preloaded analytics on every model; ExSite Enhanced Explosion-Proof Cameras; and Optera Panoramic Multi-Sensor Cameras.

I finished my day with a visit to the Altronix booth, where Kirby Han, art director, took me through the company’s latest upgrades and new products, including its new NetWay Spectrum Fiber Solutions, its eBridge 800E EoC Receiver with Integral PoE Switch and its expanded NetWay Line with new managed midspans and endspans.

Day Three

I started day three at the Allegion Trends Talk breakfast, where I was able to speak with Rob Martens, futurist and VP, strategy & partnerships, about how the company is leveraging the latest technologies to provide the best solutions for customers. “I am the tip of the spear when it comes to new technology,” he said. “I create the chaos that the company has to deliver on.” Product wise, the company’s Engage platform is expanding to include many more products, “so that level of connectivity is now getting rolled out and becoming a reality.”

At the Genetec booth, I spoke with Andrew Elvish, VP, marketing and product management, about the success of the company’s Mission Control system, which he said is “a game changer,” as the decision support system provides organizations with heightened levels of situational intelligence, visualization, and complete incident management capabilities. He also pointed to how the company’s Retail Intelligence application provides business intelligence and operational efficiencies. The company also highlighted the latest capabilities of its Synergis access control system, part of its Security Center unified offering.

At the AMAG Technology booth, I met company president Kurt Takahashi, and spoke with Kim Rahfaldt, public relations manager. The company unveiled Symmetry CONNECT, its new policy-based identity management system that delivers an easy to use, automated software platform to manage employee, contractor and visitor identities, satisfy regulatory audit and compliance requirements and reduce the administrative costs of the security team. When used with Symmetry Access Control, organizations have a robust identity management system that utilizes data to secure people, property and assets, and automates business processes for better operational efficiency.

At the HID Global booth, I spoke with Anthony Petrucci, director of global public relations and corporate communications, about the company’s new indoor Location Services for workforce optimization, which won the SIA New Product Showcase award. The Location Services provide organizations with visibility into the location of their workforce in a facility, making it possible to analyze room usage for better building management and increased operational efficiency. He also spoke about how the company is leveraging Bluetooth low energy (BLE) for new and emerging applications in the connected environment, as well as the role of mobile access, advanced smart card technology and biometrics in the company’s overall strategy.

At the Milestone booth, I spoke with Courtney Dillon Pederson, communications manager, about the company’s strategic alliance with Lenel, which will begin selling Milestone Systems Video Management Software (VMS) solutions directly through the Lenel Value Added Reseller (VAR) channel in North America. “We are really excited about this partnership and believe this is a great combination,” she said, noting that this alliance will reduce the total cost of ownership for users.

I next visited the Eagle Eye Systems/Brivo booth, and sat down with Dean Drako, president and CEO for Eagle Eye, who shared his views on the “continued adoption of cloud.” He also talked about the technology partnership with Hikvision to deliver customers a seamless and cybersecure cloud video surveillance solution. Eagle Eye also highlighted that is has added Camera Cyber Lockdown to all its products, which blocks cameras from communicating with the Internet, stops them from being attacked and compromised. Drako also spoke about the company’s implementation of two-factor authentication, which “will be the standard for the industry moving forward.”

At the IDIS booth, I was able to sit down with company president and COO Albert Ryu, who shared his views on how the company is poised to leverage technology to provide the customized solutions for customers. He also spoke about how the company, which is celebrating 20 years, is “bringing AI to security.” On the product side, the company featured H.265 IPC/NVR products, including the new IDIS 12MP Super Fisheye Camera. Also featured were new low light and long distance solutions, and end-user focused enhancements to the company’s award-winning PTZ tracking controls, IDIS Smart UX Controls v2.0 and retail analytics/business intelligence suite IDIS VA in the Box. The company also highlighted its powerful 64-channel IDIS DR-8364 NVR, which delivers enterprise-level performance at an NVR price.
 
Moving over to the Hanwha Techwin booth, Miguel Lazatin, director of product and channel marketing, North America, walked me through all of the new features and capabilities of the Wisenet 5 chip, which was unveiled recently. The new chip powers the Wisenet X series, a new product line that features 27 models split up between 2MP and 5MP camera lines. Features include 150dB WDR performance and clear images in extreme low light conditions, convenient USB port is also available for easy setup and installation, as well as license-free audio and video analytics, dual SD card slot for increased onboard storage and image stabilization using gyro sensors. The company also announced that it is investing $100 million to create a security-only manufacturing facility in Vietnam.

Next, Dahua product marketing manager Jennifer Hackenburg, gave me a tour of the booth, showing me how the company is embracing “deep learning,” pointing out that the company is “ahead of the curve” in leveraging all of the enhanced capabilities that deep learning can provide. The company announced that it is working with NVIDIA to bring artificial intelligence (AI) functionality to its next-generation deep learning products. Equipped with NVIDIA GPUs, the Dahua DeepSense advanced high-capacity video analytics server provides deep learning capabilities. The technology delivers a powerful, scalable method of extracting rich metadata and processing structural data to deliver fast and accurate analytics. Dahua also announced that Movidius’ Myriad 2 Vision Processing Unit (VPU) technology will power select Dahua video surveillance cameras with advanced intelligence functions that train the devices to gather, analyze, and retain information much like the human brain.

I next visited with Jim Hoffpauir, president, Zenitel, at the Vingtor Stentofon booth. He showed me how the company’s Turbine Intercom Station can provide a multitude of solutions, in any setting, from schools to airports to military and government applications. He also talked about his dedication to educating customers on how to pick the right system, and he created a scorecard to follow. He noted that it is important to have three key features—intelligibility, interoperability and the “ilities,” which relates to “high availability, scalability, defensibility and maintainability.”

At the Tyco-Johnson Controls booth, I spoke with Roger Barlow, senior director, product management, TycoSP about a number of new products across its intrusion, access control and video divisions, and how the company is benefitting from the “synergies between Tyco and Johnson Controls,” he said. He also showed the DSC iotega, the company’s new innovative security and lifestyle management platform. A full-featured security technology, iotega facilitates home automation enhancements and add-ons via software apps. The company also announced its SG System 5 now supports PSTN line cards on the SG-System 5 receiver to give central stations the flexibility to monitor both IP and PSTN alarm signals, and how its EntraPass Go Support for Apple Watch is the “industry’s first Apple Watch mobile credential that allows card holders to use the watch as a mobile access control credential."

At the Sureview Sytems booth, Simon Morgan, chief technology officer, gave me a demo SureView PSIM Solutions, which he pointed out, “improve security, optimize operations and reduce costs. He showed me how the Immix CC Platform delivers more integrations, easy deployment and simple operation. He said SureView Immix CC Simplifies PSIM deployment and operation, featuring “intuitive UI, more integrations and unique architecture, which deliver unprecedented ease of operation and versatility.”

Next, I visited Ditek, a surge protection company that works closely with the security industry to protect vital systems and equipment from being damaged by power surges, saving money in the process. Jorge Andino, field sales engineer, pointed out that the company does this by providing a site survey for each project, giving that customer the right surge protection equipment to meet their needs. “Our surge protection equipment acts as the sacrificial lamb, preventing costly damage to the equipment.”

I finished my day speaking with Rick Caruthers, executive VP, Galaxy Control Systems, who told me about the company’s new announcement that is “committing resources and manpower to providing cloud solutions to our customers,” he said. The Galaxy Cloud Concierge solution is a complete turnkey, cloud-based, fully hosted and managed access control and monitoring solution that includes professional 24/7 management and supports industry standard access technologies.

Day Four

On Friday I started the day at the Morse Watchmans booth speaking with George Lawson, account executive, and Joseph Granitto, COO, about the company’s key control and access management security systems, which are getting smarter and safer with a lot more functionality. “We take feedback from customers to add new features and make our products easier to use,” said Lawson. In addition to an improved motherboard powering its systems, the company is unveiling a new enterprise-based software system. And its Asset Watcher, which the company tested exhaustively over the past year, is set to come out soon as well.

At the Pivot3 booth, I spoke with Brandon Reich, surveillance business leader, about the company’s strategic original equipment manufacturer (OEM) relationship with Intelligent Security Systems (ISS), an innovator in the development of advanced video management and video analytics software. Under the agreement, ISS will license the Pivot3 hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) platform and integrate it with ISS video management software (VMS) to supply more robust security intelligence and video storage options to customers. “We are really excited about that partnership,” said Reich. “We can provide a great solution set together.”

At the Eizo booth, I spoke with Keisuke Akiba, product and marketing manager, and Brian Cote, about the company’s security and surveillance monitoring solutions. The IP decoding monitors come equipped with visibility enhancement technology for improving the clarity of video footage in real time. Akiba demonstrated the multi-monitor flexibility and showed me the 4k IPS 31.5-inch monitor with 3840 x 2160 native resolution.

Over at the Boon Edam booth, Tracie Thomas, marketing manager, gave me an overview of the company’s many entry solutions, as well as news on the company’s expanding sales and customer service staff to support record sales growth. The company also announced the expansion of its product-training schedule, with more programs and locations. And, soon, Boon Edam will offer its revolving door specifications on the ARCOM MasterSpec platform, which is widely used by architect and design firms in North America for commercial buildings.

At the 3xLOGIC booth, Suzi Abell, tradeshow and events manager, shared show news, including the company’s new integrated, hosted video and access control solution for the SMB market and the company’s partnership with Bold Technologies to offer an advanced video solution. The companies recently completed integration of Bold’s ManitouNEO with the 3xLOGIC VIGIL video platform, which supports cloud-managed video. The company also announced the release of a new multi-sensor camera and updated VIGIL software.

At the Panasonic booth, Charlie Hare, national category manger, security and evidence management solutions, walked me through some of the company’s big announcements at the show, including the company’s expanded portfolio of i-PRO Extreme Surveillance Technology and its new i-PRO Extreme PTZ Camera with Advanced Analytics, as well as its latest video surveillance solutions. The i-PRO features a new chip set that produces “amazing picture quality,” said Hare.

Over at the ReconaSense booth, Clayton Brown, product manager, described the company’s next-generation situational awareness platform, which provides “the tools to perform real-time critical analysis,” he said. John Carter, the CTO of ReconaSense, is a former NASA engineer. The software leverages the IoT and big data with access control and video analytics to drive “proactive response” across diverse systems. By connecting the dots and alerting operators of suspicious events, the technology facilitates better decision-making and optimal resource allocation.

My final booth visit was over at NVIDIA, which was showcasing some of its latest IVA-related, AI technology for smart and safe cities, featuring many partners such as IBM, Hikvision and Dahua. Deepu Talla, VP/GM, autonomous machines, showed me how the company’s GPU computing is not only powering its many partners but “driving the latest applications for safety and security in AI cities,” he said, including public safety, traffic management, behavior analysis, video analytics, anomaly detection, facial recognition, fast forensics, parking management and robotics.

NOTE: In addition to daily reports, look for ssnTVnews video interviews from the show floor, including my video interviews with Bill Bozeman, president and CEO, PSA Security Network; Dan Moceri, executive chairman and founder, and Ken Lochiatto, president and CEO, Convergint Technologies; Maureen Lally, VP of marketing, TycoIS; Richard Tampier, senior director, sales and product strategy, Red Hawk Fire & Security; Craig Layers, senior VP. sales and marketing, ADS Security; and Jon Cropley, principal analyst, video vurveillance, IHS Markit.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, March 29, 2017

It is only March, but I think it is safe to call 2017 the “year of cybesecurity” as the industry has doubled down on its focus to secure everything IP.

This cyber mania, so to speak, is not unfounded, as the security industry is learning firsthand—from recent highly publicized DDoS attacks and increased ransom-ware attacks to more and more stories of compromised cameras and security systems—that the convergence of physical security and IT is creating a new set of challenges and security risks.

As I prepare for ISC West, I am not surprised to see that this year’s keynotes will be focusing on cybersecurtiy. I am very interested to hear what Philip Celestini, section chief, FBI Cyber Division, has to say in his keynote, “The FBI View of Cybersecurity: Threats, Trends and Protective Strategies,” on April 5 at 8:45 a.m.

I am particularly interested to hear how far the FBI has come in the past year in its war on cybercrime, as Celestini spoke on this topic at ESX 2016, providing some eye-opening statistics on the high cost of cyber attacks.

For example, at ESX last year Celesini pointed out that ransom-ware attacks went from causing $25 million in losses to $200 million in just one year in the U.S., as well as an astonishing $2 trillion in cyber crime losses worldwide. I wonder where those numbers are this year?

The next morning at 8:45, a panel discussion, “DDoS Threat Landscape & Defensive Countermeasures,” will look at how October 2016’s attack on Dyn’s DNS infrastructure was a gloomy wake-up call to the online community at-large. The panel will look at the role that IoT devices played in the attack against Dyn, as well as the attack against Krebs prior to it, as well as defensive countermeasures with a strong emphasis on preparedness ahead of these attacks.

And later in the day at 1:45 p.m., Matthew Rosenquist, cyber security strategist for the Intel Corporation, will present his keynote, “How Cyber-Attacks are Changing the Expectations of Security, Privacy, and Safety,” looking at the growing types of incidents and challenges in the industry that are driving shifts in expectations for security, privacy and safety, presenting a glimpse of the future where both risks and opportunities abound.

See you in Vegas!

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Companies across industries are increasingly leveraging the cloud for security applications, with 42 percent of respondents in a new study commissioned by Schneider Electric indicating they currently run security applications in the cloud and almost half (45 percent) stating they are likely or extremely likely to transition security operations to the cloud in the future.

The survey, conducted by Morar Consulting, included input from more than 300 U.S. CIOs, CTOs, IT directors, security/facilities managers and operations personnel across industries including construction and trade, education, financial services, healthcare, IT/technology, manufacturing and industrial and professional and business services.

“Leveraging the cloud for security applications is becoming increasingly accepted—and required—as we move into a 24/7 digital world,” Steven Turney, security program manager, Schneider Electric, said in the announcement. “Especially for companies where security management improvements are imminent, it makes sense to consider innovation at every level of their organization to meet their security needs. As businesses are required to be more agile, the cloud helps to unify and simplify security measures so an organization’s data, people and assets are constantly protected.”

According to the findings, organizations utilize the cloud for existing applications including data storage, human resources, email and security, and are eager to continue adopting it for security operations, with 57 percent of respondents believing the cloud is secure, including IT and technology professionals having the most confidence (78 percent), followed by education (70 percent), construction (68 percent) and financial services (52 percent). However, some skeptics remain, with 18 percent of respondents indicating they do not trust the cloud.

“Nearly three-fourths of respondents said network security is an important feature for security systems in their organizations,” the study’s authors found. “While the state of security continues to advance, respondents indicate security systems aren’t where they should be in order to adopt emerging technologies (54 percent), and despite business leaders being supportive of emerging technology (95 percent), many barriers to adoption exist.

Organizational/administrative barriers such as procedures, lack of perceived value and ROI were the top barriers identified that are inhibiting organizations from achieving their security goals, according to the study.

“While integration remains an obstacle to achieving security goals, almost 80 percent feel it is important to integrate security systems with other buildings and IT systems as part of an organization’s cloud strategy,” the study found. “Currently, photo ID badging, active directory, intrusion and CCTV are the top four systems organizations integrate into their security systems. The two top non-security systems organizations currently integrate with their security systems are automation and lighting.”

To learn more about the study, you can review the full results here.

Note: SSN continues to report on this story, including an upcoming interview with Steven Turney, security program manager for Schneider Electric.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

With drone technology gaining traction within the security space, it only makes sense that the discussion includes anti-drone technology, as the issues of privacy and rules and regulations regarding flight restrictions must come into play.

At this year’s ISC West in April, for example, the show’s inaugural Unmanned Security Expo—which has its own section of the show floor with a “flying cage” featuring ground-based robots and aerial drones in action—will also include an education portion addressing topics such as anti-drone technologies and drone use in law enforcement.

Many security companies have already developed or are developing anti-drone technology, ranging from machine-gun looking devices that can block communications and knock a drone from the sky, to technology that intercepts the drone’s signal, assuming control, so to speak.

The government is getting involved, of course; the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, Program Executive Office Unmanned Aerial Systems (PEO UAS), recently sent out a “request for information for participation” or RFIP, which “seeks technology solutions that are capable of detecting, identifying, and tracking, and identifying small unmanned aerial systems (SUAS) that are perceived as threats to people or critical infrastructure to participate in the DHS S&T 2017 Technical Assessment of Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (C-UAS) Technologies in Cities (herein called TACTIC).”

DHS S&T established the Program Executive Office for Unmanned Aerial Systems (PEO UAS) to lead DHS efforts in guiding, advising and enabling technology solutions in this area, and as part of this RFIP invites industry, academia, and other government organizations to submit applications addressing innovative technology solutions for assessment during TACTIC.

This is certainly an interesting time as we enter into the robotics as a service (RaaS) era within security. In our recent news poll, many respondents commented that they see great potential for drone and other robotic technology within security; many agreed that it is just a matter of how quickly these technologies are adopted.

 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Although a ton of research has been coming out recently looking at the high ceiling for smart or connected home growth over the next few years—Parks Associates says that half of homes will have a connected product by 2020—a recent study by research firm Gartner Inc. finds that only about 10 percent of households currently have connected home solutions.

Gartner found that adoption of “newer connected home solutions is still at the early adopter phase,” a conclusion based on responses from nearly 10,000 people in U.S., the U.K. and Australia during the second half of 2016. According to the study, “connected home solutions” consist of a set of devices and services that are connected to each other and to the Internet and can automatically respond to preset rules, be remotely accessed and managed by mobile apps or a browser, and send alerts or messages to the user (s).

"Although households in the developed world are beginning to embrace connected home solutions, providers must push beyond early adopter use," Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner said in the announcement. "If they are to successfully widen the appeal of the connected home, providers will need to identify what really motivates current users to inspire additional purchases."

The survey found that home security alarm systems, the more established of connected home solutions, have nearly double the adoption rates (18 percent) of newer connected home solutions such as home monitoring (11 percent), home automation or energy management (9 percent), and health and wellness management (11 percent). Overall adoption rates were five- to six percent greater in the U.S., where they were first marketed.

However, excluding home security alarm services for which a monthly fee is generally paid, solution providers may find monetizing connected services challenging as the survey revealed that less than half of households currently pay for subscription-based home monitoring and automation/energy management solutions.

“In the U.S., where the home monitoring industry is more developed, 59 percent of households with a home monitoring solution indicate they do pay a monthly fee, thus proving they see value for these solutions,” according to Gartner. “However, charging for subscriptions for home automation/energy management and health and wellness solutions is more of a challenge since more than half of current households are already using these services free of charge.”

Using a scale of 0 to 100, respondents were asked about their feelings and preferences toward the value of devices, appliances and applications in the connected home ecosystem. Three-quarters of respondents indicated they are happy to manually set temperature and lighting controls versus only one-quarter who expressed an interest in having devices anticipate needs in the home. Furthermore, 58 percent of respondents showed a preference for separate, independent, stand-alone devices.

The study found that respondents are starting to see the value of one app for integrating their connected home devices, appliances and services as well as the importance of brand certification for their connected home devices and services. More than half of the respondents (55 percent) rated 51 or more toward the preference of one app integrating connected home devices and services, while 58 percent rated 51 or more toward the importance of hardware and services being certified by a specific brand.

"Messaging needs to be focused on the real value proposition that the complete connected home ecosystem provides, encompassing devices, service and experience," Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner, said in the announcement. "The emphasis needs to be on how the connected home can helps solve daily tasks rather than just being a novelty collection of devices and apps."

Ekholm will provide further analysis on consumers’ use of technology at the Gartner Tech Growth & Innovation Conference 2017 taking place June 19-21 in Huntington Beach, Calif.

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