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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

AMAG Technology, Inc., a G4S company headquartered in Torrance, Calif., announced this week that Kurt Takahashi, senior vice president, sales, has been promoted to president.

Takahashi, who began at AMAG in February 2015, successfully grew the business through his management of the sales, sales engineering and business development teams.

Prior to AMAG, Takahashi was the vice president of global sales and marketing at Quantum Secure, helping increase the global pipeline and revenue growth.

Takahashi told Security Systems News that he looks forward to helping AMAG Technology sustain the strong 20 percent year-over-year growth the company experienced from 2015 to 2016. 

“We had a great year and part of the reason why we have had good growth is because the industry is now starting to understand that AMAG is more than just an access control company,” he explained. “That message is really starting to resonate, because if you look at the growth of the company, we grew in every category of our business.”

Last year, AMAG released its Symmetry product line with Symmetry GUEST, the company’s web-based visitor management system, and Takahashi said he will continue to focus on delivering unified solutions that will help end users mitigate risk, meet compliance requirements and reduce costs.

“Our visitor management solution, which is a hosted service, is more than just a basic visitor management system—it is a policy-based system that has lots of full-featured integrations with third party products with calendaring systems,” he noted. “It automates how we manage different types of visitors, whether international visitors or different types of MBAs or safety certifications or acknowledgements, and things like that—really automating the experience of how companies actually manage their visitors.”

This year, the company is going to be releasing a rewrite of its Symmetry Connect platform. “We are looking forward to releasing that this year and that is going to help us to automate all of the onboarding and off-boarding and audits and compliance requirements for a lot of our customers.”

He pointed out that the success of these products can be attributed partly to the effort the company has put toward understand the needs of its customers.

“We spend a lot of time sitting down with our customers in the command center next to the guard or the officer watching every click, asking, ‘How do I simplify it?’ These are the things that we are building into our application to simplify that process, whether it is through Connect or through new applications that we are building to augment things within Symmetry.”

He said that the company also gets a lot of great feedback and direction from customers at its annual AMAG Security Engineering Symposium. This year, the event is being held from Feb. 17-20 at the La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas.

“That is really a big event for us that helps us determine if we are on track or if we need to make some adjustments,” he said. “We invite consultants, integrators and end users all to the same event and we feel that the collaboration of all three entities brings tremendous value to us in terms of how we define what features need to be changed within our application, what new types of technology or products need to be looked at, from either developing it ourselves or seeking out another third party to enhance their experience.”

In the spirit of new ideas, the company is releasing around mid-year 2017 a new Linux-based security panel called Crypto, which Takahashi said is “moving toward a much more nimble, flexible API that is incorporating more Web services, so it makes it easier for us to make updates and add new integrations with other third party companies,” he explained. “So it gives us more flexibility down the road and puts a lot more technology in the panel. We are looking at some good increases in that area for our business.”

He continued, “Overall, we are going to continue to look at the industry as a whole and see where we can enable new technology.”

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

With the 2017 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show wrapping up on Sunday, it is always fun to see what technology trends are coming out of the show and how these will influence the security industry.

Over the past few years, the smart or connected home has made its way into the fabric of the show, growing in size and presence each year. Many prominent companies in the industry made big announcements at the show this year, including some notable unveils from ADT, Vivint, Alarm.com, Nortek Security & Control, Bosch, and Z-Wave Alliance, which featured its Z-Wave Experience Smart House demo area.

Vivint CMO Jeff Lyman told Security Systems News, “The show was marvelous for us—we doubled the size of our presence there this year having learned a lot from doing it last year for the first time in 2016. We were really pleased with how the show turned out. There is a large smart-home presence at CES, and it is a growing section of the show.”

Lyman also talked about the company’s big announcements at CES, most notably Vivint Sky, the company’s new smart home assistant that uses artificial intelligence, or AI, to manage all of the devices in a connected home. Vivint Smart Home also announced a new Flex Pay option with Citizens Bank, as well as partnerships with Airbnb and Vivint Solar.

Steve Connor, director of product marketing for Nortek Security & Control, like Lyman, pointed to the growth of the smart home at CES, telling SSN, “The Smart Home section had solid traffic and this time we saw a lot of our dealers, which was nice, and different from past years. The show went very well for us and we had some big announcements.”

Most notably, Nortek Security & Control unveiled its new 2GIG Vario Hybrid Security System, which Connor said is the culmination of “a lot of hard work and innovation.” The complete Vario system consists of a security control panel with on-board hardwire inputs and outputs, which can add wireless capabilities to take advantage of 2GIG’s existing wireless solutions. [Note: An article on this is coming soon, so check back on the site over the next few days for my full interview with Connor.]

Another top provider on the residential side, ADT, made a big splash at CES this year as well, making several announcements including expansions to its Canopy platform, which brings the company’s professional monitoring to various smart device partners in an on-demand offering, as well as new integration partners and ADT Anywhere. ADT also announced that its Canopy offering will be available with the launch of LG’s Smart Security product—an all-in-one security and home automation device with video capabilities. Also at CES, ADT announced integrations with Samsung’s Gear S2 and Gear S3 smart watches.

CES also offered glimpses at the future, with self-driving and autonomous cars, including one unveiled by Bosch with biometric capability, as well as drones and robotic technology as part of an overall security system solution.

Speaking of drones at CES, Alarm.com announced at the show plans to develop autonomous, video-enabled drone applications to extend the capabilities of smart home and business security systems. Alarm.com’s multi-sensor awareness and property intelligence, together with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Flight drone platform, will deploy drones to investigate unexpected activity. The drones will be designed to autonomously navigate through the property and provide a high-resolution video feed to the property owner. Alarm.com also unveiled at CES its Insights Engine, a multi-sensor learning capability that recognizes and proactively responds to unexpected activity around a property.

I look forward to speaking with Alarm.com's chief product officer Dan Kerzner later this week to get more on this interesting development for the company.

And while we are on the topic of new and emerging technologies, I would be remiss if I did not get in a shameless plug for SSN’s TechSec Solutions show, where we will be looking at how to leverage new technology over a day and a half of educational sessions, networking and product displays. Click here to register and get the early bird discount!

Hope to see you at TechSec in Delray Beach, Fla., Feb. 27-28!
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Security Systems News is excited to announce this year’s TechSec Solutions educational program and keynote speaker—Jack Wu, co-founder and CEO of Nightingale Security, an innovator in the area of robotic aerial security.

In his keynote, Wu will look at the current and future role robotics has in security and potential applications across many different verticals. Wu co-founded the company with John Hsu, whose vast experience in aeronautics and astronautics, Ph.D. from Stanford University and work at SpaceX on Falcon’s navigation system provide the technological vision and know-how that helps drive the company’s advancements in aerial robotic technology. Come see the company’s latest security drone up close and personal in Delray Beach, Fla., Feb. 27-28.

Beyond the keynote, we are tackling some of the bigger technology trends that are impacting the security industry today and will continue to shape the industry in the future, from IoT and big data to biometrics and mobile access. And, of course, cybersecurity and the cloud will make it into many of the conversations as well.

As a new and emerging technologies conference, the underlying theme for the educational program is looking to the future of technology—where we are and where we are going and how the industry can leverage these advances. We will also be looking at where the industry is in terms of standards and best practices.

For example, this year's session entitled, The Future of IoT: Taming Security’s Wild West, will delve into how the Internet of Things or IoT is a virtual wild west, and is transforming into the Internet of Everything (IoE). This session will try to make sense of it all, looking at what is being done in the area of standards, best practices, interoperability, cybersecurity and more, led by panelists Neil Lakomiak, director of business development & innovation, UL; Mitchell Klein, executive director, Z-wave Alliance; Jon Lewit, communication committee chair, ONVIF, and director of technology leadership, Pelco; and integrator Jim Coleman, president, Operational Security Systems, Inc.

For more details on TechSeec Solutions and to register, click here.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Z-Wave Alliance, an open consortium of global companies deploying the Z-Wave smart home standard, is adding a security requirement to its long-standing interoperability certification.

According to Mitchell Klein, Z-Wave Alliance executive director, the Alliance Board of Directors voted to mandate all devices receiving Z-Wave Certification after April 2nd, 2017 to include the new advanced Security 2 (S2) framework, an important addition to the Alliance’s certification program that will require manufacturers to adopt a stronger level of IoT security.

“The recent spate of hackings and DDoS and other things going on are more or less happy coincidences and not motivation on our part, and the reason I put it that way is because something as complex as the S2 Security protocol that we’ve established has been in development for more than four years,” Klein told Security Systems News. "No one can afford to sit on their hands and wait—consumers deserve IoT devices in their home to have the strongest levels of security possible. IoT smart home technologies that don't act will be left behind."

Klein said that the update is backwards compatible, so any devices that are running on the current chip sets can be firmware updated to include S2 without having to make any hardware changes, and the updates can be pushed.

“The reason why we moved forward with it is because we wanted to ensure that as we got more and more complex devices, and more and more complex systems, that security becomes a base part of all devices and everything in the system,” Klein explained. “In order to achieve that, we had to take it up a level and make sure that it is going to run on the current chip set, so that our members don’t have to go and change or redesign hardware.”

Z-Wave's S2 framework was developed in conjunction with cybersecurity hacking experts, giving the already secure Z-Wave devices new levels of impenetrability, according to Klein. “We are so confident that this is hack proof, that we actually post the S2 protocol on the website and it is publically available,” he said.

Klein said that by securing communication both locally for home-based devices and in the hub or gateway for cloud functions, S2 also completely removes the risk of devices being hacked while they are included in the network. By using a QR or pin-code on the device itself the devices are uniquely authenticated to the network as well. Common hacks such as man in the middle and brute force are "virtually powerless" against the S2 framework through the implementation of the industry-wide accepted secure key exchange using Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH), he said.

Finally, Z-Wave also strengthened its cloud communication, enabling the tunneling of all Z-Wave over IP (Z/IP) traffic through a secure TLS 1.1 tunnel, removing vulnerability.

By changing the way security is implemented, Klein said that there are a number of improvements. “You will find that the response time from things like door locks, which actually had to require authentication, is much quicker, and with much less overhead (single exchange as opposed to a back and forth exchange),” he said.

For 2017, from a technology perspective, Klein said there will be discussions about a new generation Z-Wave chip. “We have a lot of things up our sleeve on what that is going to do and I think that is going to put a lot of smiles on people’s faces,” he said.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 7, 2016

News continues to pour in on the portential of cloud-based services, especially on the heels of Security Systems News' Cloud+ conference, which brought early adopters of the cloud together in Austin, Texas, to look at how the security industry will continue to adopt and leverage the cloud, not only to increase RMR but to provide better and more cost-effective solutions for customers.

Many of the Cloud+ speakers, from integrators and consultants to end users and manufacturers, highlighted the many challenges of educating people on the benefits and solutions the cloud can provide within security, such as in the management of data and video, two areas expected to see tremendous growth over the next few years.

According to new findings from global research firm IHS Markit, based in London, the video software market is expected to rise from $6 billion in revenue in 2015 to more than $9 billion in revenue by 2021.

According to the new Video Software, Security, and Analytics Intelligence Service from IHS Technology, the atomization of media distribution and the switch from hardware-based technology solutions to cloud implementations are key drivers for the $3 billion in revenue growth over the next five years.

“Taken together, these two forces have created a market where value is shifting towards the frontend,” Cecilia Zhu, analyst at IHS Technology, said in the announcement. “A superior user-experience has become fundamental to securing increased consumer spend.”

Globally, content security accounts for 32 percent of the digital video software market, according to IHS.

“While demand for robust security solutions is unlikely to deteriorate,  particularly in the presence of high-value UHD and HDR content,  the segment is effectively saturated,” Zhu said.

By contrast, Online Video Platform solutions will continue to generate large, year-on-year returns through 2021. “The necessity of online distribution backed by a platform pre-integrated across a rich ecosystem of partners, means demand for OVP solutions will rise over the next five years,” Zhu said.

According to IHS, North America is the key region for the video software market, generating roughly $2.9 billion, and the region’s value relates primarily to confluence of three factors: the presence of large media companies, their outright scale, and their sheer number.

“The region’s economic dominance should not, however, overshadow the existence of cutting-edge video services in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and the technology demand that these services generate,” Zhu said.

According to the research firm, Cisco has a 15 percent share of the video software segment, the largest globally. “The company has proven adept at transitioning into the video space, and at using its longstanding presence in core, metro, and access-network infrastructure to cross and upsell video-specific software,” Zhu said.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The one common lament I hear from those in the security industry today—from dealers to integrators to end users to manufacturers—is how difficult it is to find good young professionals.

Many of our Class of 2016 “20 under 40” winners, both in the integrator and end user categories, are great examples of what this next wave of young security professionals are capable of, and many are involved in their local chapters of organizations such as ASIS International, SIA and ESA, which recently held its Rising Leaders Forum at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Wash., an event that was designed to gather rising leaders and industry veterans to participate in a leadership and team-building program.

Terry Peters, CEO and founder of Leader Solutions and Decision Support LLC, developed the team-building program. “Leadership is the art of influencing people in such a way as to gain their willing desire to accomplish the mission,” he said in the announcement. “Leaders are followed because their actions impact the environment in which they operate and people see them as a catalyst to achieve the desired outcome.”

This ESA event included multiple hands-on activities that turned strategy into action. It began with a fitness boot camp where attendees teamed up. Groups worked together to accomplish physical tasks such as carrying a makeshift gurney and 150-lb ‘dummy’ while exercising mental skills in communication and adaptation. Peters led a “lively” keynote presentation discussing leader development, team building, and change management from a Special Forces perspective, ESA said in its announcement.

Michele Monheim of Eastern States Sentinel Alarm Services said in the announcement, “The Rising Leadership Forum had a different spin than the usual trade show. It gave us a chance to get to know each other better in a more relaxed environment and look at leadership in a different perspective. Great job on the event and thank you for a great experience.”

The Leadership Development Discussion Panel featured Kirk MacDowell, vice president of platform sales at Alarm.Com, Bruce Mungiguerra, senior vice president of operations at Moni, and Greg Simmons, co-owner and vice president at Eagle Sentry. This team was joined by Robert Few, director at Charter Communications-IntelligentHome, as moderator for a group exchange of real-world experiences, implemented best practices, and industry-specific leadership strategies.

The YSP Rising Leaders Forum was center stage for the culmination of ESA’s Class of 2016 Mentorship Program. There were group presentations highlighting workforce development, customer lifecycle and experience and corporate social responsibility.

“The YSP event in Stevenson, Washington was the culmination of a wonderful nine-month experience,” Mentor Don Childers said in the announcement. “Working with my mentee was an absolute joy. And now, I not only have business contact, but I have a friend for life that I would not have had if it were not for this program. A truly wonderful experience and I thank everyone involved.”

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

There has been a lot of good news coming out lately on the state of residential security, which over the past few years has been bolstered by interactive and connected services, home automation, DIY and the emergence of mobile everything.

Technavio recently released a report on the residential security market, which shows that from 2016 to 2020 the global market for residential security will grow at a 7.34 percent CAGR—from $21.93 billion to $31.25 billion. The North American market will rise to about $15 billion in 2020, up from $12.51 billion in 2016, at a CAGR of 4.56 percent.

On the heals of that research, a report on home automation from Zion Research shows that the global home automation market was valued at around $5.0 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach $21.0 billion in 2020, growing at a CAGR of around 25 percent between 2015 and 2020.

Interestingly, the home automation market was dominated by North America, which accounted for about 40 percent of the total market in 2014. North America is followed by Europe and Asia Pacific, with Europe expected to witness robust growth in home automation systems market owing to strong demand from Germany, UK and France, according to the report.

The report also noted that the wireless system management segment dominated the home automation market in 2014, accounting for more than 40 percent of the overall market in 2014. With increasing use of products enabled with Wi-Fi technology, demand for wireless system management is expected to go up, the report said.

From my conversations with residential dealers, many are taking advantage of these new opportunities, providing scalable smart home packages that provide their customers with the kind of home automation customization and interactive services they are clamoring for, while increasing the potential RMR for an account.

Dealers are also finding that the more customers interact with their security and home automation systems, the more likely they are to stay a customer and add on services in the future. In addition to providing greater control over their security, surveillance, lighting and heating systems, homeowners are realizing energy savings, reduction in insurance costs, and overall greater peace of mind as a result of this smart home revolution. 

As the studies mentioned above bear out, the potential within residential security is limitless.

 

 

 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Last week’s malware attack sent a sobering chill through the security industry, as it illuminated the cybersecurity vulnerabilities of IoT products, showing how easy it is to hack into unsecured IP devices.

The hackers, who were able to affect sites including Twitter, Spotify and CNN, launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack using tens of millions of malware-infected devices connected to the Internet to overwhelm Dyn, a provider of Domain Name System services.

Although the attack amounted to a temporary inconvenience for millions, it underscored the need for cybersecurity standards for the IoT world.

Toward that end, the Cloud Security Alliance (CSA) released this month a new guidance report titled “Future-proofing the Connected World: 13 Steps to Developing Secure IoT Products,” which was created to help designers and developers of IoT-related products and services understand the basic security measures that must be incorporated throughout the development process.

With the release of this report, the CSA looks to provide much needed education and direction to product developers who know their products are at risk of compromise, but may lack the understanding as to where to start the process for mitigating that risk.

“It is often heard in our industry that securing IoT products and systems is an insurmountable effort,” Brian Russell, chair IoT Working Group and chief engineer, cyber security solutions with Leidos, said in the announcement. “However, with the help of our extremely knowledgeable and dedicated volunteers, we are providing a strong starting point for organizations that have begun transforming their existing products into IoT-enabled devices, as well as newly emerging IoT startups. We hope to empower developers and organizations with the ability to create a security strategy that will help mitigate the most pressing threats to both consumer and business IoT products.”

Specifically, the report lays out 13 considerations and guidance for designing and developing reasonably secure IoT devices, to mitigate some of the more common issues that can be found with IoT device development. Additionally, realizing that often times there is a need to quickly identify the critical security items in a product development lifecycle, researchers also outline the top five security considerations that when applied will begin to increase an IoT product’s security posture substantially.

The CSA IoT Working Group is focusing on understanding the relevant use cases for IoT deployments and defining actionable guidance for security practitioners to secure their implementations. The group is led by Russell, with initiative leads Priya Kuber and Dr. Shyam Sundaram. Nearly 30 CSA IoT working group members contributed to development of the 80-plus page guidance report.

The full report is available at https://cloudsecurityalliance.org/download/future-....

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.—Several reports have come out in the past month looking to quantify growth within security, each illuminating the fact that the industry is growing both here in North America and globally as well.

In terms of the global security market, the first Worldwide Semiannual Security Spending Guide from International Data Corporation (IDC), released last week, forecasts that worldwide revenues for security-related hardware, software, and services will grow from $73.7 billion in 2016 to $101.6 billion in 2020—at a CAGR of 8.3 percent, more than twice the rate of overall IT spending growth over the five-year forecast period.

The largest category of investment will be security-related services, which will account for nearly 45 percent of all security spending worldwide in 2016, and the largest segment within that category, managed security services, is forecast to generate revenues of $13 billion this year. Security software will be the second largest category in 2016, with endpoint security, identity and access management, and security and vulnerability management software driving more than 75 percent of the category's revenues.

The industries making the largest investments in security solutions in 2016 will be banking ($8.6 billion), followed by discrete manufacturing, federal/central government, and process manufacturing. The industries that will see the fastest growth in their security investments will be healthcare, followed by telecommunications, utilities, state/local government, and securities and investment services. Each of these industries will experience CAGRs above 9.0 percent over the forecast period.

Interestingly, one of the fastest growing segments of the security products market will be user-behavior analytics software—growing at a CAGR of 12.2 percent through 2020, an area that many of our "20 under 40" Class of 2016 winners, both integrators and end users, mentioned as one of the most promising technology areas right now in the industry.

Many are working to get to a point where all of the data coming in, including video, can be mined and managed for use with predictive analytics, better time management, faster and more accurate alarm verification, operational efficiencies—the list goes on an on.

The topic also generated a lot of interest in this month's News Poll, where we asked you, our readers, about the top emerging technologies coming out of ASIS 2016 in September. According to 43 percent of respondents, video surveillance and VMS was the most talked about technology at ASIS 2016, with thirty-one percent saying that big data/analytics was the most talked about.

All told, there is a lot to get excited about in the industry right now.

 

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, October 5, 2016

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.—Convergint Technologies, a global systems integration company with headquarters here, completed its seventh acquisition of the year with the purchase of Go Security Solutions, a systems integrator based in Westborough, Mass.

Dan Moceri, executive chairman and co-founder of Convergint Technologies, told Security Systems News that he is excited to have the Go Security Solutions team join the Convergint family.

“The company fits the criteria that we are looking for, which includes a strong culture—similar to Convergint’s—that is focused on service and the customer,” said Moceri. “They have a great reputation in the marketplace and really bring additional capabilities to extend service to our customers.”

Founded in 2009, Go Security Solutions is a full-service systems integrator specializing in electronic access control, video surveillance, alarm systems, and mechanical security solutions. 

Moceri said the deal increases Convergint’s footprint in the Northeast. “It is a highly populated area, and we need to add resources,” he said. “We are growing in excess of 20 percent, and we are hiring more than a person a day somewhere in the world to support that growth and be able to provide the type of service that our customers have come to expect from us.”

Go Security Solutions is the seventh acquisition that Convergint has completed since January of 2016. 

“We continue to grow organically but we also have supplemented that with strategic acquisitions where it makes sense to do that, and in some cases it is geographic coverage,” Moceri explained. “Our business in the northeast has been growing very nicely, and we are hiring people as fast as we can, but in some cases we are supplementing that with key acquisitions that can bring us additional resources.”

What is the key to Convergint’s success? “We invest a lot in the training and development of our team,” said Moceri. “There is a tremendous amount of work that goes into the infrastructure to support the growth, and we’ve spent a lot of time and money identifying the future leaders, and a lot of those leaders will come out of the organization itself, but we also look to some of the acquisitions to supplement the leadership needs of the organization as well.”

In terms of overall growth, Moceri said that Convergint “will get close” to the $600 million revenue mark for 2016, which “is up significantly from the $470 million that we were at last year,” he said.

When asked if Convergint is done on the acquisition front this year, Moceri said, “We’ve got quite a few acquisitions in the pipeline, and now that we are getting toward the end of the year, timing is everything. We have the potential of closing at least one more deal by the end of the year, and we expect to be just as active in 2017 as we were in 2016.”

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