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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

I am very excited to announce Security Systems News’ Cloud+ 2017 conference education program, which can be found here. The show is Nov. 28-29, and back at the beautiful and relaxing Lost Pines Resort in the tech-savvy city of Austin, Texas.

This year’s education program is expanded, as we strive to be the education destination for those who are pioneering within the cloud community, which is revolutionizing security today.

As you look through this year’s program it will quickly become apparent that “Selling the Cloud” is an underlying theme for the conference, as sessions will look at how integrators, specifiers, dealers, suppliers—anyone looking to increase revenue and profits while providing cost-effective solutions with a high ROI—are leveraging cloud technology and computing with great success. Some of the leading integrators in the industry will uncover how they are transitioning from the traditional sales model to a more managed services model that increases RMR and lowers creation cost. 

And subject matter experts from the leading cloud solution and services providers in the industry will not only be there on panels to share best practices and the latest advances and research, but also many will be exhibiting, so you can dive in deeper and get face to face with the top cloud companies working in security today.

There are also cloud-centered sessions looking at the rise of smarter, safer cities and the potential there for the security industry; cybersecurity in the cloud; how to hire IT-savvy employees who can talk cloud; and much more!

Click here to view the program and to register.
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The global smart home market is forecast to exceed $14 billion in 2017, with 10 percent of homes globally being smart by 2025, according to an IHS Markit report published this week.

“The smart home market has seen significant growth since 2010, when fewer than 0.5 percent of homes in the Americas region had connected devices such as thermostats, lighting, security and entertainment,” Blake Kozak, principal analyst, IHS Technology, said in a summary of the report. “By the end of 2017, nearly 7 percent of households in the region will have a connected home, averaging six devices per home.”

According to IHS, The global market for smart homes is currently worth $14.7 billion, with the Americas region representing 48 percent of global revenues, and by 2021, the EMEA region will represent the largest portion of device revenue with a 42 percent global share.

“When excluding large ticket items, such as major appliances, the global market size for smart home devices is forecast to be worth $3.3 billion by the end of 2017, reaching $9.4 billion in 2021,” Kozak noted. “Although the EMEA and Americas regions are expected to represent more than 70 percent of revenues for smart devices over the next five years, Asia is expected to dominate in terms of unit shipments. In 2021, the Asia region is expected to represent about 46 percent of unit shipments. Leading the unit shipments in Asia in 2021 will include light bulbs, air quality sensors and video cameras.”

The report also found that the top five players account for 36 percent of revenue in the space, including Nest, Amazon, Honeywell, Xiaomi and Netgear, who rounded out the top five for smart home revenue accounting for 36 percent in 2016 when excluding appliances. The top five players for unit shipments in 2016 accounted for 34 percent of global unit shipments and included Xiaomi, Amazon, Honeywell, Nest and Koninklijke Philips N.V.

“Globally, 19 manufacturers had more than 500,000 annual smart home device shipments in 2016,” said Kosak, while “46 manufacturers had more than $10 million in revenue in 2016, when excluding appliances.”

The top smart home devices to watch in terms of unit shipment growth include radiator valves, air quality sensors, smart speakers and appliances.

“Home audio (smart speakers) will continue to be one of the most disruptive trends in smart home through 2021,” Kosak pointed out. “The primary reason voice assistants in the smart home will gain significant traction across all three regions is the ability for these devices to aggregate disparate systems. So instead of using five different mobile applications in order to control the smart home features, voice can be used to aggregate all control, reducing the need to interact with a mobile device once the product is setup.”

Although appliances were the fourth largest device type in terms of unit shipments in 2016, they will be the most shipped device type in 2021, according to IHS, which noted that many appliances are already embedded with Wi-Fi capabilities that only need to be turned on by the manufacturer.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The $600 million Interface Security Systems deal has sent—as The Beach Boys once sang—“good vibrations” throughout the security industry, as it provides not only a vote of confidence for what Interface is doing as a modern systems integration company, but also a vote of confidence in the security industry, in general, as companies like Interface represent a new breed of integrator that is staying at the forefront of new technology and innovation.

John E. Mack III, executive vice president, co-head of investment banking and mergers & acquisitions at Imperial Capital, which acted as financial advisor to Interface on the deal, astutely pointed out that this deal goes beyond validation of what Interface is doing in the space.

“This is a very cool story for the sophisticated new-age security provider, which is what Interface is—the 2.0 version of what the right kind of security player should be,” he told Security Systems News. “We spend so much time in this industry talking about the residential side of the business, which is interesting, but there is a massive opportunity on the commercial side of the business that Interface is tapping into that I think is a compelling theme.”

He continued, “There is a lot of validation for a very successful business model here that Prudential is putting up $180 million of new capital, and SunTx is putting up additional capital into the deal. And that you’ve got a very attractive set of debt investors, and just the fundamental backing for the business, is a meaningful part of a positive message for the industry.”

Jeff Frye, SVP for Interface, told SSN that the support from equity partners is not only a stamp of approval for what the company is doing, but the “capital gives us more fuel to build on our current, better than 15 percent compounded annual growth rate, so we know that we can do more with a little more gas in the tank and we are anxious to prove it.”

Frye noted that the equity will allow the company to expand its products and services around providing business intelligence, as security is becoming so much more than just, well, security.

“As a network provider, and a managed services provider of network services and cybersecurity services, we touch a lot of aspects of our customers’ businesses,” Frye explained. “And as a leading purveyor of Internet of Things services, we are able to aggregate intelligence from all of those sensors and data sources to bring actionable insights to a customer’s business. There are some new verticals that we would like to focus on more, including financial services and banking, so this makes that horizon much brighter and much more approachable.”

And it also makes the security industry’s horizon a little brighter.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and one of the largest security forces in North America, marked its one-year anniversary this week after forming a year ago via the merger of AlliedBarton Security Services and Universal Services of America.

In the announcement, Steve Jones, Allied Universal CEO, thanked all of the company’s 150,000 employees and its clients “for their continued support and commitment that contributed to a phenomenal first year as our new company! I look forward to our continued success in the security and services industries."

Over the past year the company has made several acquisitions, as it continues to transform to a full-service security company, moving beyond the manguarding services the it has been known for.

Jones told Security Systems News, after the company’s most recent acquisition of ALERT Protective Services in May, that the company continues to look at acquisitions as a way to diversify its offerings.

“We’ve got a pretty robust pipeline of deals that we are looking at—some in the technology space and some in the traditional manguarding space—and we hope to announce a few more before the year is over that will help us to diversify our company and bring more value to our clients.”

In the press release announcing the one-year milestone, the company outlined some additional organizational achievements since the merger:

•    Became the unequivocal leader in guarding services throughout North America. Our security professionals and our company play a major role in keeping the U.S. and Canada safe and secure.

•    Provided service to over half of the Fortune 500 companies and nearly every major retail mall in the U.S. From healthcare facilities, commercial office buildings, manufacturing and industrial plants, residential communities, transportation facilities and government services, Allied Universal has a significant security presence.

•    Managed the integration of a workforce of over 150,000 security professionals to perform our jobs on a daily basis and serve our growing customer base.

•    Implemented a world-class training program, the AU Institute, which offers over 1,000 training assets and professional development programs to enhance our security professionals' delivery of service and protection.

•    Introduced several technological innovations to expand our physical and operational security solutions and service offerings to enhance the protection of client properties and assets.

 

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Over the past few years, the security industry has begun to embrace many new technologies—robotics, the cloud, biometrics, for example—but one company here in the U.S., Three Square Market, is pushing the boundaries of RFID technology by offering to implant tiny RFID chips—the size of a grain of rice—into its employees’ hands between the thumb and forefinger.

The chip would allow employees to not only buy snacks in the break room but also have their hands function as a mobile key to gain access to the building and other doors, which makes me think of the possible applications/ramifications within security.

Implanting chips in employee’s hands is already being done in Sweden, where an organization named Epicenter is having success with an increasing number of employees there opting to get the implant. Here in the U.S., Three Square Market says it has approximately 50 employees who are interested in getting the implant, and unlike in Sweden, the company is paying for the $300 procedure for its employees. Three Square Market partnered with a Swedish firm, BioHax International, to make the chip and is planning to sell the technology to other companies.

"Eventually, this technology will become standardized, allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.," chief executive Todd Westby wrote in a blog post announcing the program, noting that there is even potential for storing medical/health information, and for use as payment at other RFID terminals.

But one has to wonder what security vulnerabilities this could create, especially in protecting the data on that chip from being hacked, stolen and/or compromised, etc. Not to mention, the “creepy” factor here, as mass adoption of microchip implants is dubious, at best.

Maybe some day, like in the year 2112, but in the short term, I do think there is good fodder here for a futuristic sci-fi movie.
 

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The PSA Security Network, a security and systems integrator cooperative with headquarters in Westminster, Colo., is accepting presentations through Aug. 4, 2017 for its TEC 2018 annual conference. Proposals can be submitted at www.psatec.com/cfp.

TEC 2018, which will be held at the Sheraton Downtown Denver in Denver, Colo., March 12-16, 2018, is a premier education and networking event for all professional systems integrators in the security and audio-visual markets. TEC features education and certification programs, networking, and dedicated exhibit hours designed to advance the skills and expertise of industry professionals nationwide. This training venue is open to all industry professionals and is designed to meet the educational needs of all employees within an integrator’s organization.

PSA Security Network’s president and CEO Bill Bozeman told Security Systems News that the move from Westminster—where the conference had been held for several years—to downtown Denver fro 2018 was needed to accommodate the growth of the show.

“The hotel [Downtown Denver Sheraton] is bigger, so we look forward to having everyone under one roof,” Bozeman told SSN. “In addition, I think some of our younger members and supporters are going to enjoy being in downtown Denver, where there is so much to do.”

The education program will deliver sessions tailored to physical security and audio-visual integrators focused on emerging technologies, critical issues in the industry, and tool development to augment attendees’ knowledge needed to continue to drive these industries forward. Sessions will be selected that serve a variety of disciplines including business management, sales and marketing, HR and recruiting, project management and operations, and installation and service.

Proposals are welcome for both certification programs and general education sessions for the security and audio-visual markets. All sessions must be unbiased and minimize commercial references and overt branding. Submissions are evaluated based on topic relevance, speaker expertise, and originality of the content. Additional guidelines are available within the call for presentations submission tool.

Accepted and approved presenters will receive complimentary registration to TEC 2018 and will have the opportunity to solidify their reputation as an industry resource and subject matter expert while expanding their own professional network and gaining access to strategic partnerships. PSA does not pay honoraria or expenses for accepted proposals.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The new Sandy Springs, Ga. alarm ordinance, which is set to be voted on July 18, is alarming many in the security industry as it looks to force alarm dealers to pay their subscriber's false alarm fees and fines.

“This makes as much sense as a car rental company being responsible for paying your speeding tickets if you get caught speeding in their car,” Dan Gordon, president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety and Security Association (GELSSA), and owner of Ga.-based Gordon Security, told Security System News.

Gordon, as well as many security companies working in Georgia, including LOUD Security and Ackerman Security, are rallying others in the industry to pay attention to what is going on in Sandy Springs.

“If Sandy Springs passes this, which city goes next?” John Loud, president of LOUD Security Systems, told SSN, noting that he does not think this ordinance will help Sandy Springs reduce false dispatches.

“They outsource the collections to a firm called CryWolf (Public Safety Corporation),” Loud explained. “Their service includes collecting the assessed fines. The cost to Sandy Springs is the same, whether the bill goes to the end users of the alarm system or the alarm company. But the alarm company’s costs will increase. They will now have to bill their customers and establish a collection process, increasing the workload for their personnel.”

Loud and others in opposition to the ordinance believe this will actually cause an increase in the amount of false dispatches.

“Citizens will usually respond to citations from their local police or city municipality,” he explained. “If a vendor or service provider sends an assessment, they could very easily change monitoring companies and get additional false alarms through new providers. They can choose to never pay and continually change companies.”

He noted that this would result in more false dispatches as the end user would never be forced to change their behavior.

Loud also pointed out that the court systems of Sandy Springs will have a lot more cases. ”Either the alarm companies will be filing suit to collect monies from customers refusing to pay or the city will be pursuing alarm companies for nonpayment of fines they do not have the money to pay.”

He continued, “You will likely see many alarm companies choosing to not do business with residents/businesses that must comply with this ordinance. In Sandy Springs, most alarm companies charge only $25 per month. While false alarm fees can cost hundreds of dollars, the accounts receivable process will likely make it financially impossible for fire/alarm companies to take on such risk.”

He said that Sandy Springs could achieve greater reduction in the false dispatches if they would enforce all of their current ordinance provisions, such as:

- Follow the Enhanced Call Verification Georgia State law that went into effect in 2013. “The 911 operator could very easily ask for the two phone numbers the alarm company called prior to dispatch request,” said Loud.

- Do not allow dispatch on the subscribers that have not paid for previous fines—put them on a do not dispatch list.

- Do not allow dispatch for subscribers that have had 10 false alarms in a permit year.

- Activate the false alarm school the ordinance allows for, which will provide the training and prevention of future false alarms.

“Another step Sandy Springs could pursue is a higher fee structure for excessive false alarms,” said Loud. “This would force subscribers to either fix their system, teach others to use it properly or they could choose to stop arming their system. All three of the options result in reduced dispatches.”

He continued, “While I certainly see there are many ways to help unite with the City of Sandy Springs and help them achieve their ultimate goal of reducing false dispatches and wasting government recourses, I do not believe requiring the alarm companies to pay the fees is the answer.”

The GELSSA, along with strong industry voices like Loud's, are urging those in the industry to reach out to the mayor of Sandy Springs to voice their concerns, and for security dealers in the Sandy Springs area to attend the planned vote on July 18.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The world market for professional video surveillance equipment grew by 3.9 percent in 2016, despite a drop in camera prices, according to recently published estimates from IHS Markit through its Video Surveillance Intelligence Service.

“This is a higher rate of growth than in 2015 (1.9 percent) but still low by historical standards,” Jon Cropley, principal analyst, video surveillance, IHS Markit, said in the announcement.

IHS forecasts a slightly higher growth in the global market for 2017—at 5.5 percent—and as a result, the world market will be worth $16.2 billion in 2017.

Accounting for more than 40 percent of global revenues measured in U.S. dollars, the Chinese market grew by 7.2 percent in 2016, according to IHS, which noted that exchange rate changes did play a role in suppressing a higher calculated growth in that currency (as the average annual exchange rate of the Chinese Yuan Renminbi to the U.S. dollar fell by 6.6 percent in 2016). In the report, Hikvision took the top spot in several categories.

“The world market excluding China grew by just 1.6 percent in 2016,” Cropley pointed out. “Demand for security cameras grew rapidly but prices fell considerably, affecting revenues. In fact, revenues declined in a number of countries.”

IHS also found that the supply base for professional video surveillance equipment is gradually becoming more concentrated, although it remains highly fragmented compared with supply to many other markets.

“The top fifteen vendors accounted for 58 percent of revenues in 2016,” noted Cropley. “In 2016, a number of Chinese vendors continued to gain market share rapidly in regions outside China. They tend to offer products with low prices and this has been a major factor in average price erosion in those regions.”

The report also found that 59 percent of all security cameras shipped in 2016 were network cameras, and shipments of HD CCTV cameras more than doubled. Less than 1 percent of network cameras shipped were 4K-compliant, according to IHS.

Note: Check back for more on this report, including additional comments from IHS’ Jon Cropley.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

U.S. households with professional security monitoring will generate nearly $14.7 billion in 2021, reaching a five-year CAGR of 4.7 percent from 2017-2021, according to Parks Associates’ Home Security NUMBERS research.

“Our last number from the fourth quarter of 2016 shows that 21.5 percent of broadband households, which is about 80 percent of overall households, have professionally monitored security,” Tom Kerber, Parks' director of IoT strategy, told Security Systems News. “So when you look at that number on an overall household basis, the number ends up being around 18.8 percent that have professionally monitored security.”

That is approximately 22 million households, and by 2021 Parks estimates that number will rise to 26.6 million, or 21.6 percent of households overall, having professionally monitored security, representing an approximately 3 percent growth rate.

“Over the last decade it has never been close to that 21.6 percent number,” noted Kerber. “In 2010, the number was 13 percent, so that is strong growth. Although from a conventional wisdom perspective it doesn’t sound like much, it is substantial. We had significant recovery from the recession from 2013-15, and now the growth is more modest, but it is still growing.”

When asked about the impact of the telecoms into the space, Kerber noted that Comcast is making waves.

“Comcast when they went public with their subscriber count at 957,000 as part of their annual reporting, that was substantial, representing a 40 percent growth over the prior year,” he said. ”Whether it is bundling with their core services, or subscribing people when they move, or more aggressive sales tactics mixed with their call center operations, they obviously have figured out how to move the needle in a substantial way. At a million subscribers, they are equivalent to Moni, or Vivint to some extent. So you can’t discount that type of success.”

He continued, “Telecoms, led by Comcast, are growing at a faster rate than the market is growing, so they are gaining market shares. And when we look at some of the smaller players, they are not growing at the same rate as others in the market, and we are trying to understand why this is happening through some current research that we are doing.”

Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst, Parks Associates, told SSN that some of the smaller local dealers “are a little more hesitant to provide smart home controls. I don't know if it is more of an infrastructure basis—they don’t have the employees to do so or the technological savvy to do so—but they are falling behind in terms of providing these controllers in the home that consumers are actively asking for. So, of course, if consumers can’t find it through their local dealer, they are going to look to those who can provide it for them.”
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Security Industry Association (SIA) announced this week the establishment of a political action committee (PAC) called the SecurityPAC, which was formed to bolster its advocacy efforts to fully engage within the U.S. political process on matters affecting the security industry.

The timing of this announcement couldn’t be better as it comes a week before the SIA GovSummit, a leading public policy forum for the security industry set for June 28-29 on Capitol Hill and at The Liaison Capitol Hill.

“SecurityPAC was established to strengthen the voice of the security industry on Capitol Hill, by enabling SIA members to support candidates for federal office who will champion issues that are important to the industry,” Joseph Hoellerer, SIA Government Relations manager told Security Systems News. “There are hundreds of trade associations in Washington with robust advocacy efforts and SecurityPAC provides SIA with an additional and important tool to advance the policy priorities of its members.”

The newly formed SecurityPAC will raise funds solely from SIA members to support candidates for federal office who champion important industry issues, and will support matters pertaining but not limited to issues such as homeland security, cybersecurity, federal procurement and critical infrastructure protection.

“The establishment of the SecurityPAC follows the core mission of SIA, which is ‘to be a catalyst for success within the global security industry through information, insight and influence,’” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement. “The Security Industry Association’s political action committee will enable the association to do just that by adding a vital voice to the national dialogue during federal elections. With SecurityPAC, we will support crucial causes for the improved security posture of the entire country.”

Contributions to SecurityPAC are strictly voluntary and in compliance with statutorily defined regulations of the Federal Election Commission. SIA members with user credentials can access the SecurityPAC website at www.siasecuritypac.org. Employees of SIA member companies interested in gaining access to the site should contact Joe Hoellerer at 301-804-4714 or jhoellerer@securityindustry.org.

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