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Don Erickson

Video surveillance holds the key in Boston bomb probe

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Marcus Dunn was late for the phone call Tuesday morning, but there was no need to apologize (although he did so anyway). As director of government relations for the Security Industry Association, he had been in a meeting to discuss the bombings in Boston and it ran longer than expected.

Our conversation—we speak every month about legislative issues affecting the industry—quickly turned to Monday’s deadly attack. Less than 24 hours had passed and speculation was rampant about who had done it and why. There were few new facts, but police had started to sift through surveillance video that likely will be key to solving the crime.

That provided a silver lining, however slim, for Dunn.

“When these things happen, despite all the craziness, there’s a little bit of pride in being with an organization that often prevents these types of things or plays a large role in apprehending those responsible,” he said. “There are some critics of the technology and how there are cameras on the streets, but I think we’ve seen time and time again that they’re effective in preventing crime and certainly very effective in capturing perpetrators.”

Dunn said that was the case after bombs killed 52 people aboard three London trains and a city bus on July 7, 2005. The examination of CCTV images helped investigators identify the suicide bombers and arrest others connected to the attacks.

“We’re trying to determine what was deployed in the area in Boston and if a [SIA] member company had equipment deployed there,” Dunn said. “In London, it’s just decked out—there are cameras everywhere. That’s what they used [in 2005]. They were able to go through the surveillance footage very quickly.”

In the aftermath of Monday’s attack, there was also the realization that “soft targets” like the Boston Marathon will always be vulnerable. No matter what security precautions are taken, the risk can never be eliminated—at least not in a free society. With it comes a loss of innocence that deepens the grief.

“The marathon is one of those things that is very open, you can come and go,” Dunn said. “Those days are gone now.”

After SIA’s meeting Tuesday morning, CEO Don Erickson—who is also a marathon runner—echoed the thoughts of many with the following statement:
“As someone who has personally experienced the strong community spirit that exists on marathon days, I am incredibly saddened by the horrific events that tragically occurred yesterday in Boston. On behalf of SIA, our thoughts and prayers are extended to those who were injured and to the families of those who lost their lives on what should have been a day of accomplishment and excitement for the city of Boston. We extend our thanks to the first responders who acted so quickly to help the victims of this attack.”

SIA, N.J. college to launch security degree program

Goal is to develop work-ready college grads, expand program nationwide

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—In an effort to increase the number of well-qualified job candidates for security integrators and manufacturers, the Security Industry Association is working with Mercer County Community College to launch a new security systems and technology degree progr

Fire alarm + ECS = Award-winning combo

Friday, April 6, 2012

I wrote recently about a new “all-in-one” fire alarm and emergency communications system just introduced by Silent Knight by Honeywell. Now the new Farenhyt Emergency Communications System has been honored by the Security Industry Association with an award.

The company says the combo fire alarm/emergency communications systems is an easy and cost-effective way to respond to a growing demand by such customers as schools, hospitals and government and military facilities for more than just a fire alarm system so they can also address emergencies such as severe weather or an armed intruder. And SIA categorized the Farenhyt ECS as one of the “leading edge” products helping to drive the industry forward.

Here’s more from a Honeywell news release today:

NORTHFORD, Conn.—Silent Knight by Honeywell announces its new Farenhyt Emergency Communications System has been recognized by SIA (Security Industry Association) as the top Mass Notification solution in the 2012 NPS (New Products Showcase) competition. In its 33rd year, this annual SIA contest received 70 entries, all vying for the top seed in one of 21 categories.

"Once again, the companies competing in the NPS presented the kinds of leading edge entries that are the hallmark of the program," states SIA CEO Don Erickson. "These new technologies and solutions are the drivers that are moving the security industry forward."

Silent Knight's Farenhyt ECS (Emergency Communications System) provides both cutting-edge fire protection and a system for broadcasting real-time communications within a facility, big or small. By integrating mass notification capabilities with its proven fire alarm technology, Silent Knight aims to offer an all-in-one system that is easy-to-use, cost-effective and benefits from the stringent requirements placed on fire alarm systems …

The Farenhyt ECS line delivers real-time, intelligible communications over a completely supervised system that meets the latest NFPA 72, UL 2572 and Department of Defense (DoD) standards. Farenhyt ECS control panels include customizable switches for as many as 15 pre-recorded messages and a microphone for live paging - all simple-to-use technology which enables users to direct general or emergency communications to all or select areas of a facility.

As many as seven Farenhyt ECS-RCUs (Remote Command Units) can tie into a facility's Farenhyt ECS and be conveniently placed throughout a facility to provide a quick means for live paging. Complete operation of fire alarm and ECS functions can also be performed through an ECS-RCU, which is UL-listed and meets the DoD mass notification system requirements of an LOC (Local Operator Console).

The Farenhyt ECS runs on most wire-types, making it a cost-effective retrofit option when existing fire alarm wire is used. Fire alarm speaker intelligibility requirements combined with regular system testing code mandates ensure this integrated fire alarm and ECS communicates clearly and is well maintained.”

For more information go to


What you need to know about PIV

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

If you don't do work with the federal government, should you care about what's going on with PIV (Personal Identity Verification) credentials? Isn't it just a credential that government agencies are required to use for access control?

PIV may not be moving into the private sector as rapidly as some proponents predicted years ago, but there is movement in that direction. Rob Zivney of Identive Group, David Belchick of Citibank, and Don Erickson, CEO of SIA, did a great educational session at TechSec this year about how PIV, the PIV-I (PIV-Interoperable) and CIV (Commercial Identity Verification) are moving into the private sector and how integrators can and should take advantage of this opportunity. (I’m working on a story for next week about that discussion).
But there was more information released today by the Smart Card Alliance Identity Council and Access Control Council, which I’ll be taking a look at and maybe you’d like to check out as well.

The groups released a white paper about PIV-I deployments at Booz Allen Hamilton; SAIC; XTec Incorporated; and the Commonwealth of Virginia. They also released a brief with general information and comparisons of the credentials. Both can be downloaded at the Smart Card Alliance website.

If you’re attending ISC West, you can learn more at a workshop "Standards-Based Secure Identity Credentials: Leveraging the Personal Identity Verification (PIV) Specifications for Commercial Credentialing Programs," on March 27th from 8:00 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. in Sands Room 104. Registration is available on the workshop webpage at

New TechSec sessions announced


TechSec organizers have released details on several new educational sessions that will cover trends pushing strong authentication into the private sector, new and emerging video surveillance technology, and innovations in sport stadium security.

ISC Solutions kicks off with news

Don Erickson named SIA CEO

NEW YORK—ISC Solutions kicked off at noon on Nov. 2 with the usual ceremony and an announcement of some notable news.