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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.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Red Hawk Fire & Security, a provider of fire, life safety and security services based in Boca Raton, Fla., is providing resources and integrated systems expertise as a charter donor for the command and control center at the new National Sport Security Laboratory (NSSL) at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg.

The lab officially opened on Sept. 1, bringing to life NCS4’s vision to be the world’s foremost academic research institution to address sport safety and security risks and threats. Since its inception in 2006, the NCS4 has worked to address the evolving security challenges of the growing $60-billion U.S. sports industry through quality training, research, technology assessments, certifications and professional development.

The new lab is designed to test, evaluate and showcase vendor neutral safety and security solutions as well as to assist the training, research and development needs of venue operators and security professionals at sports settings globally.

“Red Hawk is well-equipped to bring our practical, hands-on experience integrating systems at several prominent stadiums and arenas to enhance the efforts of NCS4 as they do the important work of responding to this significant community safety concern,” Rick Tampier, Red Hawk’s senior director of sales and product strategy, said in the announcement.

Daniel Ward, the director of the National Laboratory and Training Center, describes the new facility as a living laboratory that gives students, academia, industry and government a place to research and learn.

“The center incorporates cutting-edge technology which provides the university with capabilities to gather, process, analyze, display and disseminate planning and operations data for research and training,” said Ward.

The NSSL’s new center now connects to the numerous sport facilities on the University of Southern Mississippi’s Hattiesburg campus allowing researchers and solutions providers to immerse themselves in a real-life sports safety and security environment.

“Connecting our athletic facilities as part of our laboratory provides amazing opportunities for our students,” Dr. Lou Marciani, NCS4 director, said in the announcement. “They will be able to work with professional, intercollegiate, interscholastic and marathon sports organizations and facilities to test theories, translate lessons learned and best practices into real-world solutions while also building the sports safety and security profession for the future.”

NCS4 recently earned accreditation for its Certified Sport Security Professional (CSSP) certification program from the American National Standards Institute Personal Certification Accreditation Program (ANSI). CSSP is the nation’s first professional security credential designed for those responsible for the planning and overall security operations of sports venues and events.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Demand for security cameras in the U.S. is projected to increase 7.2 percent annually through 2021 to $2.8 billion, according to a new report entitled Video Surveillance Equipment Market in the U.S. from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based research firm.

The company found that gains will result from a variety of factors that support replacement demand and sales of higher value, upgraded versions, including:
•    Ongoing product advancements in camera technology.
•    Increasing affordability of cameras with expanded features, such as internal recording capabilities.
•    Continued shift toward upgrading existing legacy analog systems to either IP or HD analog systems in order to utilize more feature-rich cameras and systems.
•    Rising interest in higher value, more niche camera types—such as thermal or explosion resistant—as their prices continue to come down, which will work to expand the base of installed cameras.

In 2016, dome cameras accounted for the largest share of video surveillance camera demand with 42 percent, the report found. “Sales of these products have benefited from developments over the past decade, such as increased durability and higher resolutions,” the press release read. “This has allowed for broader use of dome cameras in both indoor and outdoor applications. Dome camera sales have also gained from the rising use of cameras indoors, where these constructions are still highly popular due to their discreet appearance.”

Through 2021, sales of all video surveillance products are projected to increase 5.6 percent annually to $4.9 billion, according to the Freedonia Group, which noted that growth “will be driven by the increasing affordability of feature-rich systems that incorporate enhanced capabilities, which will work to expand the base of end users that choose to install video surveillance systems and spur replacement and upgrade demand among existing users.”

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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.

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