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by: Daniel Gelinas - Saturday, May 2, 2009
My fearless editor Sam sent the link for a company he'd stumbled across called Hi-Tech CCTV Monitoring to me the other day. My first thought was, "Cool, another managed services company I can report on." Then, upon investigating the site, I realized that they were based in India. I don't cover the security industry in India, so I put the link away and relegated my initial curiosity to the back burner. Then I realized, "Wait a minute... Their business model is to try and get U.S. security companies to outsource their managed services, specifically Video-as-a-Service, to India where cost savings is a huge selling point. VaaS is something I'm interested in, and have written about for SSN before. From the section of Hi-Tech's site called "Why Outsourcing Business to India":
Outsourcing businesses to India enables global business to effectively contain the expenses associated with handling non-core functions and concentrate their resources in other areas. Clients will not have to spend any more on advanced tools and skilled workforce to fulfill their needs. Outsourcing to India implies the best in quality and cost savings.
Well, it seems like every time I need to call someone, some creditor or service provider, I end up speaking with someone in Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore, so maybe this is just the way things are going, and security is sure to follow suit. However, I have to imagine that U.S. security companies offering VaaS have something to say about this. I'd love to hear from anyone with an opinion on the matter. I've tried to contact Hi-Tech via their online job quote form, as well as through direct email, but have yet to hear back from them. Again, I'd love some feed back on this trend.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Following up on an earlier story I wrote for SSN, false alarm ordinance compliance efforts in Seattle have been successful, according to a recent press release from SIAC. False alarm dispatches have fallen by 26 percent. That's a good sign that something's working. Earlier in the year when I wrote about the initial compliance push, Seattle PD detective Christopher Hall, false alarm administrator at the SPD, said compliance was not about cracking down. “In 2004, they rewrote the law that basically started billing the alarm companies instead of the consumer, and it included all these provisions, and now we’re finally getting around to enforcing them,” Hall said. “This past year has really been the first time we’ve done a real big push and started enforcing the no response aspect of our ordinance. And we’ve seen some good results from that.” According to Ron Haner, alarm response manager for the WBFAA, "Seattle is an excellent example of the positive effects that come from enforcing a cooperative alarm ordinance between law enforcement and the alarm industry." Everyone wins when false alarms are reduced. A recent ordinance passed in Lynn, Mass. was also lauded for it's involvement of private citizens, the security industry, and public officials. In the words of SIAC executive director Stan Martin when he discussed with me a nascent ordinance in Chicago, "A little communication is good for everyone."
by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monitronics last week announced the winners, selected at random, of the contests it held out of its booth at ISC West this year. Monitronics gave away to Spokane, Wash.-based King Marketing owner/operator Brady Nelson an all expense paid trip to see a UFC match between Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua which took place April 18. Liddell had been a celebrity booth presence for Monitronics at ISC West. [caption id="attachment_1845" align="aligncenter" width="200" caption="Monitronics UFC fight giveaway winner Brady Nelson with Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell at the Monitronics booth at ISC West '09"]Monitronics UFC fight giveaway winner Brady Nelson with Chuck [/caption] Monitronics also awarded a tropical cruise to the Caribbean for two to Jesse Depew of Canadian alarm dealer Liberty Security. I spoke with Montronics' Mitch Clarke at ISC West this year, and I wish he'd mentioned the contest to me. I love winning stuff. Congrats to Nelson and Depew! And condolences to Liddell, who many are saying should think of retiring. Shogun Rua beat the Iceman with a TKO in the first round.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I just came across this story from the Silicon Valley Mercury News. Looks like another municipality is contemplating getting into the security industry. I wrote a story a while back about another municipality getting into intrusion alarm monitoring. I've got calls out to the appropriate AHJ and will follow up on this story as it develops.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, April 23, 2009
NYMPC Monitoring Center has renewed it's Five Diamond Certification through the Central Station Alarm Association. The CSAA is a non-profit trade association representing the major burglar and fire alarm central monitoring stations. The CSAA's Five Diamond Certification program is designed to create standards of excellence for the industry. In order for a central station to earn its Five Diamond Certification, all its operators must undergo the online training course and pass a test, demonstrating proficiency in: alarm verification (reduction of false alarms); communications with public service answering points such as 911; electronic communications equipment; the codes and practices of such standards organizations as Underwriters Laboratories, Factory Mutual, and the National Fire Protection Association; the handling of a wide scenario of emergency preparedness situations. According to the CSAA, there are over 2,700 central stations in the United States, and of this group fewer than 100 (less than 3%) central stations have undergone the process and achieved certification. According to NYMPC president Wayne Wahrsager, achieving Five Diamond status is something his employees cherish. "The CSAA Five Diamond Certification is one of our proudest achievements," Wahrsager said in a press release. "Only a select few central stations are honored with this prestigious award, and we're proud to be able to be certified, year after year, assuring our customers of the high standards we uphold." Celia Besore, CSAA director of marketing and communications, said that Five Diamond companies have demonstrated an exceptionally high degree of responsibility to their local community and their customers through the investment of time, money and commitment to 100 percent quality operator training. “Five Diamond Certification guarantees to the customer that this is a company that meets the highest standards designed by their peers,” Besore said. “We’ve had people say to us, `Since we became Five Diamond, we’ve doubled our business.’”
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Greenville, Miss.-based monitoring company, SentryNet, is holding it's annual dealer conference next week. I had a chance to message back and forth with SentryNet VP, Operations Michael J. Joseph recenlty about ISC West and the upcoming dealer conference. While the SentryNet dealer conference may not be as big as ISC West, it certainly sounds like a fun and informative couple of days. Best wishes to all attendees. I look forward to chatting with Mike again after the dealer conference is over and finding out how it went.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, April 21, 2009
GE Capital announced April 20 that it had sold its entire stake in SAFE Security, one of the larger full service security alarm companies, with accounts in 44 states. SAFE Security is involved in purchasing, financing and servicing residential and commercial security alarm monitoring contracts, as well as installing alarm systems. SAFE Security has recently streamlined its operation with initiatives such as software upgrades, and consolidation of monitoring stations. Bank of America provided a $25 million senior credit facility as part of the transaction between GE Capital and private equity firm Rustic Canyon/Fontis Partners, LP. Rustic Canyon/Fontis Partners has also invested an undisclosed amount of new equity capital SAFE Security, and while the firm has assumed a majority ownership position, SAFE Security's founder and CEO Paul Sargenti will remain in the picture with a significant ownership interest.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, April 20, 2009
The Security Industry Alarm Coalition announced April 14 the launch of a new, easier to navigate website. According to a SIAC press release, the new site "allows for easier navigation and information gathering." According to SIAC executive director, Stan Martin the site is the culmination of a year's hard work. "We've been working on this update for close to a year now, to make sure we included a wide set of tools to help all the groups we work closely with. Information, technology and effective alarm reduction techniques are constantly evolving, and we wanted our web page to stay current with these changes." The new site features information on important topics like verified response, alarm systems standards, how to create an alarm user awareness school for your municipality, and a model ordinance for both intrusion and fire as approved by the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association and the False Alarm Reduction Association. The new site is also more accessible to alarm system owners since "succesful alarm dispatch management begins with the end-user." End-user focused learning tools include "5 Quick Tips for Proper Alarm Use," "Be Aware of Unlicensed Door to Door Sales People," and "How to Sell a House with an Alarm System."
by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, April 17, 2009
Hey, I suppose if you're going to be wasting tax payer money, and the valuable time and resources of first responders, it might as well be a police run institution doing the wasting, right? I came across this story this morning at, an ABC News affiliate for Australia, and had a chuckle. The Alexander Maconochie Centre, a new prison located in the town of Hume in the Australian Capital Territory, has been having some problems with it's alarm systems, both security and fire. The story states the security system problems were ironed out before the first batch of inmates were moved in September 2008 (good thing, I would say... don't you want a pretty airtight security system at your local prison?), but the fire alarm system continues to cause problems, apparently activating and necessitating dispatch 33 times since the prison opened. According to corrections minister John Hargreaves "some of the false alarms were triggered by inmates smoking, which is banned in the prison." Huh? First of all, does cigarette smoke normally set off fire alarms? Secondly, if they're not supposed to be smoking in prison, why are they smoking in prison? Aren't the inmates pretty much under lock and key? Isn't pretty much every single one of their actions monitored? I hope so. I love this particular excerpt... It seems to scream out "we need someone to lay down the rules":
Vince McDevitt from the CPSU [Community and Public Sector Union] says the union is in talks with jail management to allow inmates and staff to smoke in designated outdoor areas. Mr McDevitt says it is also important for jail officers to be able to permit inmates to smoke inside the jail, in certain situations. "For instance a prisoner who became agitated or potentially had some mental issues, if they start for example, to head butt the cell bars like a rhinoceros screaming for a cigarette, then the superindentant, it's important that they have a discretionary power to allow an individual to smoke," he said.
Again, I say Huh? Why? That's like when my son doesn't want to eat his peas, but does want ice cream. I tell him "no, that's not allowed," and he throws a tantrum. So it's important that I give him the ice cream so he'll stop his tantrum? That makes absolutely no parenting sense at all. How about this for a different tack: "No, you can't smoke. You're in prison and have lost that right." I guess I just feel that if prisoners sneaking smokes is costing money through false alarm dispatch, they should be stopped from smoking. I mean home and business owners the world over get severe financial penalties at far fewer than 33 false alarms. Just my opinion. I welcome yours.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, April 16, 2009
Iveda Solutions marketing manager Bryce Witcher emailed me yesterday to let me in on some exciting news.
Our experience at ISC West was beneficial to the company. We met so many new prospects that will take our sales people quite a while to get through. Our ‘coming out’ was a success. Also, after our meeting, we found out that we got our Safety Act certification from Homeland Security. That was really cool news.”
SAFETY Act certification comes from Subtitle G of Title VIII of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, also called the Support Antiterrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002, which provides critical incentives for the development and deployment of technologies for potential use for anti-terrorism by providing liability protections for providers of qualified anti-terrorism technologies. It's all about developing tech that can save lives. Again, according to Witcher:
Accordingly, Iveda Solutions provides its customers robust real-time IP video hosting and real-time remote surveillance services designed to be used by multiple first responders in cases of threat from criminal or terrorist activities. The technology is a set of services designed to secure a site through the monitoring of a video security system installed by a third-party partner of Iveda Solutions. The services include the data center, centralized video hosting, and remote monitoring/surveillance. The technology also includes training of the intervention specialists and third-party partner selection criteria. This designation will expire on April 30, 2014. Many companies that work on getting certified know it is a huge project to complete. HUGE. Because of the perceived infancy of the real-time surveillance service sector, we believe we are in the right place at the right time, that this will help us be recognized as a company that can actually provide true real-time remote surveillance. Having the certification shows others that the Department of Homeland Security has recognized Iveda Solutions as utilizing technologies that truly work and are applicable to preventing or combating malicious activity.