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ONVIF, SIA announce access control standards cooperation

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06/10/2014

SAN RAMON, Calif.—ONVIF, a global standardization for IP-based physical security products, announced recently that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Security Industry Association, signaling cooperation toward the further development of IP-based interop

Women and security technology

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I’m here at PSA-TEC in Westminster, Colo., where today I had a chance to catch up with Christine Lanning, president of systems integration firm IST.

Christine and her husband Andrew (CEO) founded IST, a PSA Security owner, in 1998. Here’s a story I wrote about the company a couple years ago.  This year, Christine was honored as one of this year’s Women’s Security Council 2014 Women of the Year.

IST just finished moving its headquarters to a new facility that they own, (and saving 30 percent owning rather than leasing, thanks mostly to favorable conditions for an SBA loan.)

It was a year-long transition for IST to deal with permits and build out the new headquarters. “That meant we were without a demo or training space [in house] for a year,” she said.

Christine said they didn’t realize how much they missed having those capabilities in house, for business and training, of course, but also because she’s a techy.

I asked Christine why she got interested in technology.

Her interest started early. Technology was something that was promoted and valued in her home as a child, she said. “Our weekend jaunts were to Radio Shack where we’d get circuit boards to solder LED lights to.”

In high school Christine was the only girl in an elective electronics class.

Christine has an undergraduate degree in business and a Master’s degree in IT. At grad school in Hawaii, she was one of three women out of 50 students in the class.

Christine met Andrew when they were both working at an alarm company in Hawaii. They left that alarm company to start IST. Christine ran the business side, until as the company grew, it became clear that the company techs didn’t understand IT—a necessity for IST, which always did systems integration. “In 2004, I took over operations. I still ran administration and accounting, but I was really pushing that IT knowledge to the staff."

She’d sit the staff down for “lunch and learns" regularly. “I’d have discussions with the staff about IT: What does ARP mean? Trace RT? How do you ping a device? We had conversations about how to do things.”

And she’d go out in the field and teach techs to mount cameras, program devices in the field, patch systems, configure servers.

Is her teaching style different from a guy tech? Perhaps. She describes her approach as collaborative. She may be the boss, but “what I’ve found is that people really respond when you talk to them as a peer.”

As I’ve written many times in this space, there’s a dearth of women in the security industry, but only a small percentage of the women in security have either a technical role or work closely with technicians and engineers. That may be starting to change however. Women are beginning to be welcomed—even recruited—into those roles, at least among the smartest integrators.

While Christine and I were talking in the lobby of the Westin Westminster, we saw Bethany Taylor, who I learned from Christine, is the director of operations for Dakota Security. She oversees the engineering group at Dakota. And, after the interview I ran into Kirsten Klokis, who works for Northland Control Systems. Kirsten came to Northland out of college and is learning all aspects of the business, including spending time in the field with the technicians.

SIA is actively working to get young people interested in technical entry level jobs in the security industry. It's launching a security degree program at a community college in New Jersey next year. And, SIA, ISC West and the Women's Security Council are creating a scholarship for a woman to attend the college program. Here's that story. Asked where else the industry should look for women who may be interested in security, Christine Lanning suggested women with a military background.

"They have great training, understand structure, and are used to working in a male-dominated environment," she said.

ESA takes to the Hill

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

ESA just wrapped up its annual Day on Capitol Hill, bringing to the attention of lawmakers several topics of consequence for the security industry, including school security.

The ESA has positioned itself as a partner with Security Industry Association in developing a comprehensive guide to help end users and legislators better understand what electronic security technologies they have at their disposal to bolster school security.

“Most school districts don’t know what type of security to install, and many legislators don’t understand all the technology that’s out there and what exists,” said Daniel Gelinas, who attended the event in his capacity as government liaison for Rapid Response Monitoring. ESA’s Electronic Security Guidelines for Schools, he said, were designed as an authoritative resource to address that knowledge gap.  

The timing of the school security guide is especially good, in light of the latest appropriations act cleared by Congress in January, which contains $75 million in funding for assessing methods to improve school security.

But ESA’s activities on the Hill weren’t limited just to school security matters. The association and industry members are also pushing for expanding the industry’s access to the FBI’s background check database, allowing security companies to better vet their employees for prior criminal activity.

Gelinas said the pair of bills addressing this (one in the House, another in the Senate) would not be a mandate. Rather, if enacted, they would allow security companies in the 26 states without the licensing requirement for the database to access it.

The organization was also in the Capitol promoting funding measures that would protect against elderly abuse through expanded use of video surveillance in nursing homes. Gelinas noted that this would not be a mandate for health care facilities, but would instead give concerned families the option to use electronic security systems to ensure that elderly relatives are getting proper medication and care.

The final area of focus for ESA was getting Congress to back a balanced approach for smoke alarms and other early fire detection systems, putting them on “the same footing as sprinklers” when it comes to receiving tax incentives and government grants, Gelinas said. That would involve amending the Fire Sprinkler Incentive Act to include life safety, fire and smoke alarms.

I plan to give more space to this final issue, and some of the aforementioned ones, in an upcoming legislative roundup.

Silent Knight fire/CO detector wins top SIA honors

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04/24/2014

NORTHFORD, Conn.—Silent Knight by Honeywell’s IntelliKnight SK-FIRE-CO fire and carbon monoxide detector has been named the top fire/life safety solution in the Security Industry Association’s New Product Showcase (NPS) competition, the company announced in April.

What does the Ryan-Murray deal do for integrators?

By eliminating near-term cuts from the sequester, the bipartisan deal increases DHS appropriations from 2013 levels
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03/05/2014

WASHINGTON—Hailed in some corners as a rare example of political compromise, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, known as the Ryan-Murray agreement, could also be the near-term fiscal solution that integrators are looking for.

SIA hire signals new focus for group

SIA will concentrate on regulatory affairs with new legislative director Jake Parker
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01/22/2014

WASHINGTON— In an appointment designed to bring about some shifts in the organization’s direction, the Security Industry Association has hired Jake Parker, a 12-year veteran of Capitol Hill, as its new government relations director, Don Erickson, CEO of SIA, told Security Systems News.

Integrator opportunity with CFATS

SIA working on legislation to better manage CFATS performance guidelines, establish permanently authorized standards
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01/15/2014

WASHINGTON—Integrators could reap the benefits of a bill in the works that would improve how DHS manages a set of performance-based guidelines for high-risk chemical facilities, known as the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards or CFATS.

Boxer is SIA’s Legislator of the Year

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12/19/2013

SILVER SPRING, Md.—The Security Industry Association has named Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., its 2013 Legislator of the Year for “her tireless dedication to school safety,” according to a news release.

SIA’s new Hauhn Award honors collaboration

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11/25/2013

SILVER SPRING, Md.—The Security Industry Association announced the creation of a new award—the Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award—in a Nov. 22 release.

SIA: DHS acquisitions process needs more ‘predictability’

CEO optimistic legislation will ‘pass the House in some form’
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11/20/2013

WASHINGTON—The Security Industry Association has drafted a bill that would provide security integrators who contract with the Department of Homeland Security a more comprehensive and long-term picture of what DHS agencies need, Don Erickson, CEO of SIA, told Security Systems News.

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