Subscribe to Monitoring Matters RSS Feed

Monitoring Matters

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Monitoring Association, formerly CSAA, announced details its 2017 Annual Meeting—the first since the name change—will be held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz., October 7-11. Jack Uldrich, a global futurist, speaker and author of 11 books, will deliver the conference's keynote on Oct. 9. 

Uldrich is a frequent speaker on emerging technology, change management and leadership and has addressed hundreds of corporations, associations and not-for-profit organizations, TMA noted in its announcement. 

“In the near future, the greatest change will be the accelerating rate of change itself,” Uldrich said in a prepared statement. “I’ll outline the trends transforming the world of tomorrow, as well as identify concrete actions business leaders can take today to future-proof themselves and their companies against ‘the tides of tomorrow,’” he added. 

“Over the past several years, we have ‘reimagined’ our annual meeting to provide participants with the kind of value in both content and engagement that is unmatched at any other industry event,” TMA president Pam Petrow said in a prepared statement. “2017 will build on our past successes – we’ll present a program of the kind of top-level engagement and professional development that our members have come to expect from our Annual Meeting, while we celebrate our new name and our mission to advance the professional monitoring industry.”

Additional education sessions at the Annual Meeting, which will be held Oct. 9 to 11, will focus on helping leaders address critical issues and challenges facing the monitoring industry, such as best practices in operations, executive management, technology updates, and telecomm issues, TMA said in its announcement. The complete roster of speakers will be announced over the summer. TMA will hold Board of Directors and Committee meetings October 7-8.

To see the preliminary schedule, register, and reserve hotel rooms for the TMA Annual Meeting, visit tma.us/2017am. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is approximately a 30-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On the front page of this site, you’ll begin to see ssnTVnews video interviews posted each week from several members of the team, including myself, our editor Paul Ragusa, and SSN’s VP and group publisher Tim Purpura.

Each ISC West we talk on camera with a variety of companies—residential and commercial companies, monitoring centers, integrators, installers, research firms and manufacturers—to both hear about their latest initiatives as well as gain insight into the benefits of ISC West for companies that we speak with.

Up online now is my interview with Justin Bailey, COO of Avantguard, as well as Paul’s interview with PSA Security Network CEO Bill Bozeman.

In upcoming weeks, more videos will be released, featuring Dynamark, Security Partners, Convergint Technologies, Red Hawk Fire & Security and others.

One thing I’ve said about each industry event, including ISC West, is that it gives the editors a great chance to meet and talk face-to-face with companies; seeing as the Security Systems News office is based on the coast of Maine, most of our interviews are conducted over the phone.

Besides the opportunity to in person with professionals in the industry, it was great to be right on the show this year, able to see and feel the energy of this year’s attendance—which is up 3 percent from the previous year.

Additionally, early responses for our latest News Poll, asking readers about their experience with ISC West 2017, are also saying that traffic is up this year.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

By many counts, this year’s ISC West was a fantastic show. Walking the show floor, the traffic seemed great. Beyond that, there seemed to be a good level of engagement at the booths.

The SSN team gathered this week to talk about what really stood out at the show. One thing my colleagues and I heard—and saw—was the importance of integrations and partnership in this industry.

In my first discussion on the show floor, EMERgency 24’s Deanna Blair, independent sales representative, and I talked about how integrations and partnerships are crucial, as well as the company's recent integration with Aiphone's IX series. 

At MONI Smart Security's booth, I enjoyed speaking with Jeffery Gardner, company president and CEO, and Peter Tonti, vice president of product development, about the company's approach to partnerships. Recently, the company partnered with AAA and AARP. Tonti said that the company looks for organizations where values overlap. 

On the show floor, I talked with I-View Now a bit about the company's latest partnerships such as with Bosch, Hikvision, and Honeywell cameras as well as end user communication devices like Bold's NotifyMe and Affiliated's AlertMessage. This week I spoke with the company more about its latest partnership with COPS Monitoring.

For a full wrap-up of my show floor meetings you can click here. You can also find an overview of SSN editor Paul Ragusa's travels at the show here. It will be intersting to see in the future how companies partner and work together.

by: Spencer Ives - Monday, April 3, 2017

Day 3

I-View Now exhibited at ISC West 2017 with its own booth space, a first for the company. When I stopped by I met with I-View Now president Larry Folsom and Nicole Swartwout, who is focused on platform integrations with the company. At the show, the company was discussing a few new integrations at this year's show. Particularly, that Bosch, Hikvision and OpenEye cameras can now come I-View Now ready.

In addition to these integrations the company has brought video to end users for alarm confirmation, through Affiliated's AlertMessage offering and Bold Technologies' NotifyMe, Folsom said that functions like these can really impact the industry.

This year, DICE brought two of its sister companies to the booth, IPtelX and Aventure6. In addition to catching up with Cliff Dice, DICE CEO, it was great to meet HR Topham, senior account manager with Aventure6, and Jordan Dice, president and CEO of IPtelX.

Cliff Dice said that the company was talking quite a bit with attendees about its cloud based automation solution, which now has more than 1 million accounts across 50 central stations.

Mark Matlock, UCC's senior vice president, said that at ISC West the company has been talking about the acquisition by Lydia Security Monitoring, COPS Monitoring's parent company, 14 months ago and how it has benefited the company. Matlock said that the company is preparing to activate its back up central station, which is collocated with COPS' Dallas-based monitoring center, approximately 320 miles away from UCC's own central station in San Antonio.

Matlock said that the company has experienced some growth recently, adding on 10,000 accounts since the beginning of the year.

The Fortress UTM—standing for unified threat management—is a recently announced device that takes the place of an Internet router and monitors communications between connected devices, bringing cybersecurity into the residential market. On the show floor I got to meet Roumen Kassabov, Fortress Information Security's software engineer, Juliet Okafor, Fortress Information Security's VP of global business development, and Michael Monroe, Fortress Cyber Security's senior engineer, product lead.

At the Kwikset booth, the company was showcasing some of its most recent locks, which were also announced at this year's CES. Its Obsidian lock is a keyhole-less design that only has a number pad to control the lock. Nick English, the company's national sales manager, told me that the design, as well as others, better fit consumers looking for a more modern or contemporary look. The company was also showcasing its Convert, a system that can turn stand locks into smart locks.

I was glad to meet with MivaTek’s Joe Liu, company chairman and CEO, and Elaine Kuo, MivaTek's marketing director. MivaTek provides a platform to access connected devices from a smartphone, review and record video clips. This can allow users to verify that an alarm is real and then call contacts, such as the local PSAP, from the app.

For my final booth visit, I met with Matthew Davis, project manager and help desk for Z-Wave Products. He showed me how the company's Z-Wave Tool Box can help an installer visualize connectivity and traffic between smart devices in order to better diagnose an issue.

All around I thought that this was a great year—one thing I heard at just about every booth was how traffic was really good. I look forward to seeing how the technologies announced and discussed at the show progress over the next year. 

Day 2

The weather was very nice for the walk, and—as it always is—it was great to step away from the strip and the convention center for some more tranquil fresh air. I was happy to be alongside so many others in the industry, raising money for Mission 500, which benefits children in need.

Back on the show floor my day started out with a series of video interviews at Security Systems News’ media stage.

First, I spoke with Hank Groff, senior vice president, sales and business development for Dynamark, about the show and Dynamark’s focus of partnering with security dealers to provide them with more than third party monitoring.

John Wells, operations manager for Comtronics, and I talked on camera about the company’s switch from operating its own central station to using wholesale monitoring with NMC and how that has helped the company look at new technologies.

Tony Byerly, president of Securitas Electronic Security, talked on camera about the company’s final phases for incorporating its acquisition of Diebold’s North American electronic security division.

My last ssnTVnews interview was with Mike Donegan, national sales manager for Security Partners, and Jacob Trone, VP of Financial Security. We discussed Security Partners' new funding program for dealers and the benefits to it.

Each of these video interviews, as well as my talk on Wednesday with Justin Bailey, AvantGuard’s COO, will be available online in the future.

At COPS Monitoring’s booth I had the chance to catch up with Jim McMullen, COPS president and COO, and David Smith, VP of marketing and business development. McMullen said that several show attendees have stopped by the booth and mentioned that they like COPS’ redundancy across multiple sites. The company has five monitoring centers throughout the United States, including in New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Arizona.

OneEvent is, as I mentioned earlier, one of the companies I got the chance to speak with ahead of the show. On the show floor I got to meet a few of the team members face-to-face: Kurt Wedig, co-founder and CEO, Dan Parent, co-founder, COO and VP of engineering and Bob Mullaly, the company's chief data scientist. The company is initially looking at how its data analytics engine can help to predict a fire, based on environmental factors.

Mullaly mentioned that the system, beyond early detection and prevention, also has the capability to give first responders more information on the nature of the event if a fire does take place.

I spoke with Everbridge recently about its acquisition of IDV Solutions. I stopped by the IDV Solutions booth on the show floor to meet Scott Morrison, IDV Solutions’ executive vice president of marketing, and Annie Asrari, director of product management for Everbridge. While I have talked with the companies about IDV Solutions Visual Command Center, it was great to see what it looks like and how it works in person.

At Vanderbilt’s booth I met with Mitchell Kane, company president, and Kim Loy, the company’s director of marketing. I had a great chat with Kane about trends in the industry. He identified mobile credentials in access control and cloud-based or hosted systems as major trends in the industry. Both of these categories are fairly mature from a technology standpoint, Kane said, but have not matured much in the market.

MONI Smart Security is exhibiting at ISC West for the first time since its rebranding; Jeffery Gardner, company president and CEO, and Peter Tonti, vice president of product development, said that dealers’ responses to the new name and look, as well as its more consumer facing presence, have been very positive. At the end of March MONI announced that the company is offering a sign on bonus at the show, which Gardner said can really help a new dealer get started.

In early February, Bold Technologies officially released the latest version of its automation software, ManitouNEO. At this year’s ISC West, Coles and Matt Narowski, company director of development, gave me a brief demo of the new platform. Among the latest innovations is a new video interface and the ability to funnel more data on a central station’s performance into the platform’s dashboard.

At UL’s booth I met with Steve Schmit, engineering manager, Lou Chavez, principal engineer, security and life safety, and Neil Lakomiak, director of business development and innovation with UL. It was interesting to hear what the organization is focusing on, such as upcoming standards for tactical video solutions—such as thrown cameras; alarms, detectors and shut off systems for water leaks; and mPERS systems.

My last booth meeting of the day was with March Networks. Nathan Dinning, March Networks’ product manager, Donna Reid, director of marketing, and Dan Cremins, global leader of product management, talked with me about some of their latest systems. At ISC West, the company is showcasing a new camera, purpose built to bring high quality video into an ATM camera. March Networks also is debuting an integration between its Searchlight business intelligence offering and FLIR’s Brickstream 3D Analytics Sensor, as well as a new 9000 series of video recorders designed to fit well into all-IP environments.

Day 1

Starting out the show, it was great to hear the opening keynote: Philip Celestini, section chief for the FBI Cyber Division, sharing the FBI’s view of cyber threats, trends and protective measures. He talked about the four levels of cyberthreat from his perspective: certain nation-states, international crime syndicates, insider threats, hacktivists and then—at the bottom of the list—terrorists.

My first meeting on the show floor was with Kevin Lehan, PR manager with EMERgency 24 and Deanna Blair, independent sales representative. It was great to hear more about the company’s Incident Crisis and Control Service, or ICCS, which opens two-way communication with first responders in the event of an emergency. Blair discussed how critical partnerships and integrations are in the industry today. The company has recently partnered with Aiphone to offer its ICCS through Aiphone’s IX series. E24 comleted the video capabilities with Aiphone by last year’s ISC East and the two-way voice capabilities before the show.

I was able to speak a bit with Aiphone’s general sales manager, Bruce Czerwinski, and the company’s marketing manager, Dana Pruiett, about what they plan to discuss at the show. Czerwinski said that the company is focused on the message that it is not only focused on door entry, but instead multiple communication paths.

From there, I stopped by Affiliated Monitoring’s booth. This year the company decided to bring ISC West attendees on a tour of their headquarters in Union, N.J., with the help of a virtual reality headset. This was my first experience with any virtual reality system, and I found it quite interesting. I also got a live demo of Affiliated’s AlertMessage system, which allows an alarm’s call list to discuss the alarm, from Matt Solomon, who does marketing for Affiliated. The company recently brought video clips, through I-View Now, into the tool to aide the contacts in identifying if the alarm is true or false.

I’ve spoken with AvantGuard Monitoring about a few things lately, such as the company’s new hybrid monitoring models and its new chat feature. In an ssnTVnews interview, I spoke with the company’s COO Justin Bailey on camera about some of the feedback AvantGuard has been hearing at the show on these new offerings.

Brad McMullen, vice president of national accounts for STANLEY Security, told me that the company has been working on a few new things, including a personal safety offering, a new offering in data insights and a tool to help control shrink in the retail industry. The personal protection offering, STANLEY Guard, will help companies protect their workers outside of the building, he said. Through a mobile application, a user is able to trigger an alert and record both video and audio of a situation. Stanley is just rolling this out now.

With data, McMullen said the company is now reviewing data, such as with an access control system. He gave the example of a terminated employee still attempting to gain access to the facility, or another employee trying to open a door late at night.

Lastly, for the retail sector, the company is rolling out an offering that will help detect shrink at the point of sale, such as with mis- or un-scanned items. These alerts can be compiled for the user, or given in real time in order to address the problem before the consumer in question leaves the store.

At the Rapid Response booth, I spoke with Christopher Denniston, marketing and communications manager, and Morgan Hertel, VP of technology and innovation. Hertel spoke about how the industry has been changing over the last five years, particularly with video and analytics playing a larger role. When asked what he sees changing most, Hertel pointed to the users. “Your user base is radically changing,” he said. “They’re younger, they’re more savvy, and they have different expectations.”

At the Z-Wave Alliance booth I got to catch up with Mitchell Klein, Z-Wave’s executive director who was also at this year’s TechSec solutions conference, and meet Sigma Designs’ vice president, Z-Wave business line, Raoul Wijgergangs. In addition to the company’s new S2 framework, the company also has been working on a new device, the Certified Installer Toolkit, which helps installers diagnose problems by allowing them to visualize the connectivity between different connected devices.

IC Realtime was discussing an interesting new product: a silent and rapidly deployable aerial surveillance solutions that uses an industrial balloon. The system is called PLAS, or Persistent Low Altitude Surveillance. Robert Mitchell, IC Realtime’s SME on government practice and law enforcement referred to the system as “emergency management in a box.”

Nortek Security and Control on Tuesday, April 4, launched its new 2GIG Rely, a new DIY system. I enjoyed talking with Robert Beliles, Norek Security and Control’s vice president of product, about the system. Outside of the DIY market, the system has appeal for renters, customers with a second home, and those who don’t want a contract. Beliles also underlined the focus on creating a small and aesthetically appealing system.

Robotic Assistance Devices, or RAD, is working on several things, including a robot that will be “walking” in tomorrow’s Security 5k/2k—Steve Reinharz, RAD’s president, really liked the idea of “robots raising money for humans.” The company’s robot has many different uses as the robot can be equipped with a variety of sensors. Reinharz said that the company’s roadmap includes an autonomous charging station for the robot. Speaking generally on robots in security, he said, “This is not security integration, this is not security guards, it’s its own thing.”

At the Honeywell booth I had the pleasure of speaking with Ilan Dee, director of product marketing, cloud services, Honeywell Security and Fire, and Alice DeBiasio, general manager of Cloud Services, Honeywell Home and Building Technologies, about the company’s latest advancements with Alarmnet 360. The offering can now show dealers a visual representation of their customer base which could be broken down into areas of communication type, communication failures by area, home automation services and other categories. Debiasio and Dee pointed out how this information could be used to upsell and gain more RMR from a company’s existing customer base.

Also at the Honeywell booth I got to speak with Samir Jain, general manager, enterprise solutions at Honeywell Security and Fire, and Susan Adam, marketing director, enterprise solutions at Honeywell Security and Fire. Jain and Adam told me a bit about the company’s recent enterprise access control system, Pro-Watch, which incorporates mobile credentialing as well as mobile management and controls. The company is also talking about its advancements in fire notification, such as its new L-series.

As I mentioned in my short post yesterday, I made sure to save time to see the inaugural Unmanned Security Expo @ ISC West. I was interested to see robotics, such as with RAD, but also some of the anti-drone companies. One company, DroneShield, looks to audio detection to notice drones in the area and then couples that with a gun of sorts that electronically makes the drone land. Apollo Shield takes a different approach, detecting drones and then directing them to return the way they came.

I look forward to walking in tomorrow’s Security 5k/2k. The weather looks like it will be pretty nice for tomorrow, starting off cool but warming up throughout the morning.

Pre-Show

I arrived safe and sound in Las Vegas mid-day Tuesday and am certainly excited the show this year. I've spoken with several people about what they will be exhibiting at this year's show and look forward to being able to see the technology in person. For example, I plan on stopping by OneEvent’s booth on the show floor to hear more about the company's data analytics system and its capabilities in the fire detection space. I also look forward to seeing how MONI Smart Security’s booth has been redesigned to reflect the name change. I've also made sure to carve out some time to see the inaugural Unmanned Security Expo @ ISC West.

Check back here for daily updates on my show floor meetings and some of the latest technologies.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 29, 2017

ESX has made several announcements recently regarding its 2017 conference, to be held at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tenn., from June 13-16.

“Every year, planning a show like ESX is both challenging and rewarding. For 2017, it is more challenging than most,” ESX chairman George De Marco told Security Systems News via email. “Being our 10th anniversary of ESX, we want to make the attendee experience commensurate with celebrating this milestone.”

ESX looks for feedback from its attendees, De Marco said. "From this feedback, we learn the most important reasons why ESX matters to them, and continue to tweak ESX to fine tune the attendee experience. For 2017, the education will emphasize the practical and proven methods that improve operational and financial results. Some of them are basic, but even professional athletes are coached on fundamentals every year," he said. 

Bestselling author Dr. Robert Kriegel will be the ESX 2017 keynote speaker. His presentation, “Innovate or Else,” will focus on various strategies for addressing change, challenge and competition in the industry.

Kriegel will deliver five strategies for developing new opportunities, ESX wrote in its announcement. He will also discuss the four most common obstacles to innovation and how to overcome them, outlining how to prepare for change and challenging the status quo.

“Innovative ideas often come from places you haven’t looked before,” Kriegel said in a prepared statement. “One of the best sources is to look outside of your industry.”

Kriegel’s clients include AT&T, BP Chemical, Boeing, Comcast, Exxon Mobile, Kraft General Foods, Nike, and the U.S. Navy as well as others.

The keynote for this year’s luncheon will be author, speaker and aviator Carey Lohrenz, She is a former Lieutenant in the United States Navy and was the first female aviator to fly an F-14 Tomcat.

“In a fast-paced environment, leading fearlessly is not easy, but it can be done,” Lohrenz said in a prepared statement. “The ability to work through fear kept me alive as I operated under dangerous conditions and in life-or-death situations on the flight deck.”

Lohrenz will speak from experience on the foundation for strong leadership, team motivation and how companies can elevate their business.

The ESX Keynote Luncheon is sponsored by Security America RRG. Security Systems News is the media sponsor of the luncheon.

In late March, ESX announced it added 30 new booths to the show floor. "Over 200 exhibiting and sponsoring companies will participate in ESX," ESX said.  

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 22, 2017

VIENNA, Va.—On March 16, CSAA announced that it is officially The Monitoring Association.

To recap: the name change was discussed among members in the second quarter of 2016. It was voted on, and passed, during CSAA’s general membership meeting in early June, 2016, in Fort Worth, Texas.

SSN spoke with executive director Jay Hauhn and the organization’s vice president of marketing and communications about CSAA’s plans for 2017, including the process of changing the name.

In a letter to the CSAA membership, president Pamela J. Petrow noted that “our new name reflects our renewed commitment to our mission: to advance the professional monitoring industry through education, advocacy and public safety relationships. It also emphasizes our long range goals to grow the association beyond our traditional services to embrace the opportunities of our changing industry.” She added that the new name’s meaning “will be reflected in all future initiatives of [the] association.”

Association programs including Five Diamond, Excellence Awards, Online Training, and the Annual Meeting and Fall Operations Management Seminar are also undergoing rebranding and will be re-launched under the new name, the organization noted in its recent announcement.

“The term ‘Central Station’ no longer has wide recognition outside of our industry,” Lasko said in the announcement. “Our new name will facilitate our efforts to educate the public about the critical role TMA members play in public safety,” she said.

“Monitoring life safety events in the traditional central station model remains our core business,” Hauhn said in the recent release. “That will not change. However, our demographics surveys show that members increasingly monitor more than traditional fire and burglar alarms – they monitor medical devices, access control, and other non-emergency but meaningful events. Our new name allows room for the association to encompass all the areas our members are beginning to monitor and any into which they may move in the future.”

TMA’s website can be found at www.tma.us. Member ID numbers and login information for the website will not change. TMA staff will use the email suffix “@tma.us.” All emails to the previous “@csaaintl.org” address will be forwarded.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

CARIBOU, Maine—In Northern Maine, Virtual Managed Solutions LLC recently opened a wholesale monitoring center.

“I have wanted to develop a central station for a number of years,” CB Smith, CEO of Virtual Managed Solutions, said. The development of the monitoring center started in September 2016, and Smith credited the company’s VP and CIO Steve Boddy with much of the due diligence and technological setup.

Virtual Managed Solutions, or VMS, has operated a contact center here since 2007 and will be the parent company to VMSCS. “We’ve had a couple of really good years of growth and financial stability, so we’ve recently invested and we are online,” Smith said.

“We recognize that we have a skillset, we certainly have the network and we have the redundancy—of course—and now … the UL certification,” Smith said. “We are, as I see it, able to present ourselves as an apples-and-apples comparison to any other wholesale [station] out there in the country.”

The center, which officially opened at the end of February, currently monitors for about 150 accounts, Smith said. VMSCS is using Bold Technologies’ Manitou Cloud Services for its automation system. In addition to traditional alarms, the company will also do PERS and video monitoring.

Smith said that having the contact center business, collocated with the central station, will allow the monitoring center to offer “quite aggressive” pricing.

The company will be dedicating employees to monitoring center services, separating them from other call center operations in VMS. Picking the right people was important to the company, Boddy told SSN. “We’re looking for people that use customer service not as a job but as a career, because they’re going to put people first,” he said.

“Business development is obviously a big part of any business operation,” Smith said. The company is starting to grow its account base through contacting local dealers, he said. VMSCS is increasing its marketing and has created a new website. “From there, it’ll just be spreading our wings and going to different geographic areas of the state and then outside of the state of Maine as well,” Smith said.

Smith has a variety of experience with the industry, working with SimplexGrinnell, and Maine-based integrator Norris Inc, before working with VMS. “Since I opened this contact center with my team here, I’ve had a vision of coming into that world and working in that world. … I recognize the potential,” Smith said.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 8, 2017

As I’m watching the weather forecast for Maine predict a drop into single digits temperatures, I can’t help but think about the great weather we had in Delray Beach Florida for this year’s TechSec Solutions conference, held Feb. 27 and 28.

Though there was a bit of rain during the day, the weather worked out perfectly in the evening for our “20 under 40” Class of 2016 reception. It was great to see a variety of award winners able to make it down—seven from our end user class and six from our integrator class. Below is a photo of all the winners that could attend this year's conference.

Reviewing the feedback we’ve gotten, many said that they enjoyed the networking opportunities. Each year, I find that the poolside “20 under 40” reception is a great place to spark those conversations and meetings.

Beyond making it to the reception, it was great having so many of these winners also participate on panels. Paramount Pictures’ Jeff Reider, National Oilwell Varco’s Bob Bernazal and Brian Phillips of Alexion Pharmaceuticals—all three of which are 2016 end user winners—gathered for a conversation, moderated by Guy Morgante from Northland Controls, on the nature of GSOCs today.

Phillips also moderated the session on big data in the physical security world, which you can read more about here.

Class of 2016 integrator Andrea Kuhn, from Kastle Systems, moderated the panel on the mobile security technologies that are out there today.

Kuhn also served as a panelist on “Class of 2016 ‘20 under 40’ winners take on the future,” along with fellow integrator winner Jeremy Brooks, with CSG Security, and end user winners Michael Brzozowski from Symcor and Tyrone Chambliss of Flex. Together, these four panelists discussed various hot topics in the industry, including the Internet of Things, smart buildings, cybersecurity and drones.

It is very rewarding each year to recognize up and coming professionals in this industry, and it was great to see some of them at this year’s TechSec conference and hear their perspective on the latest industry trends.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 1, 2017

One theme that I was happy to see at this year's TechSec Solutions conference, held in Delray Beach, Fla., on Feb. 27 and 28, was that conversations were picked up in- and outside of sessions.

Many topics in the industry impact more than just one sector, vertical or business. Drones, IoT, cybersecurity, biometrics—these technologies have many different applications and their changes and developments have a wide impact.

This year, we wanted to continue the conversation on biometrics after a very interesting "Battle of the Body Parts" at TechSec Solutions 2016. In the end, iris scan technologies proved to have the most potential, for its security as well as its applicability. This year, we brought back reigning champion Blaine Frederick, vice president for product management with EyeLock, to talk more about iris scan technologies’ developments and opportunities with Jeff Kohler, product line and business development director of the newly named Princeton Identity.

Cybersecurity has come up a lot in the industry, and it was definitely brought up a few times during the conference. During the last session of this year's conference, moderator Jay Hauhn, executive director for CSAA, pointed out how he liked that cybersecurity was addressed as it specifically related to each conversation.

The first panel session, "The future of IoT: Taming security's wild west," looked at IoT's current standards and developments. This topic was then picked up and added to by both our panel of "20 under 40" winners from the class of 2017 and the second day's session on the latest trends in monitoring. 

At our "20 under 40" reception I discussed the hot topics with Brian Cote, product manager for Eizo. He made an interesting point about the maneuverability Nightingale Security's Jack Wu showed in his drone demo, comparing the free range of rotation to a more traditional camera's pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities.

Thank you to everyone that came out and participated!

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Mass notification system provider Alertus Technologies recently entered a partnership with AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions, bringing its customers more capabilities when it comes to weather alerts and emergencies.

Alertus, founded in 2002, has included weather alerts in its system and has been developing and automating these alerts. “We wanted to partner with AccuWeather since they really are the leader in that space, and have a lot of additional services that they bring to the table,” Amanda Sassano, Alertus director of commercial sales, said. 

Formerly, the company relied mostly on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. “[Previously], there was a certain radius outside of a ZIP code, and that area would be notified if there was a tornado watch or warning—they were very basic alerts,” Sassano said. “Now, with the partnership with AccuWeather, we’re able to tap into their resources—or their feeds as well, and leverage if they have severe weather packages—from hurricanes, to snow, to lightning—to their SkyGuard Service.”

AccuWeather’s SkyGuard service provides users with real-time data relevant to their local areas from a meteorologist. This information will be brought directly into Alertus' ThreatWatcher tool.

Alertus has a broad customer base, Sassano said. The company’s most matured market is in higher education, she said, “they’re the early adopters in mass notification. But, we work in verticals like state and local government, healthcare, corporate, manufacturing, … stadiums, sports arenas, aviation, k-12 [and] military.” The company sells its offerings through security integrators as well as directly servicing customers.

What sets Alertus apart from other MNS technologies? “Definitely our approach. We’re very interoperable with all technologies, whether that's existing infrastructure on the emergency asset side—like access control, fire panel integration, cameras—to leveraging existing infrastructure that's not emergency assets, like VOIP phones [and] desktop computers,” Sassano said.

Pages