Subscribe to RSS - SSN

SSN

Integrators get a sales edge with edge storage

More manufacturers offering video recording on the camera itself
 - 
09/27/2013

*/

Skyhawk Security completes acquisition

 - 
Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In another illustration of the industry’s evolution, Baton Rouge La.-based Skyhawk Security, which offers remote video monitoring, IP camera systems and access control systems for commercial customers (most in Louisiana, but some as distant as California), acquired local IT firm Big Networks. With the purchase of the firm’s assets and intellectual property, the Skyhawk Group (the name of the merged company) will have an in-house IT unit to supplement its security offerings.

The move establishes an interesting hybridized security company in the Louisiana capital. Brett Lofton, one of three managing members with Skyhawk, said the acquisition, in addition to bringing in an “in-house IT decision maker,” also presents some major cross-selling opportunities, particularly with respect to some of the clients the company inherited through the Big Networks buy.

Lofton said some of these accounts could potentially be a boon to Skyhawk’s security business. “We’ll certainly be cross-selling and trying to get in front of them to talk about [our security offerings],” Lofton noted, adding that this applies especially to companies with guards—customers who could find the security services palatable. Commercial customers may find value in the prospect of replacing or supplementing nightshifts with video monitoring, Lofton said.

Skyhawk also plans to explore cross-selling its hosted access control service, which Lofton believes is gaining traction. It will be interesting to follow what kind of role video monitoring and access control play in the company’s primary near-term plan: organic growth—much of which could be fueled by business in its own backyard. Stay tuned for more on Skyhawk’s plans and near-term goals in Louisiana and beyond.

Axis enters access control market

AXIS A101 Network Door Controller introduced at ASIS; will launch first in U.S. market, during Q4 of 2013
 - 
09/24/2013

Updated on Sept. 26 with an interview with Fredrik Nilsson, GM Americas for AXIS Communications.

CHICAGO—Network camera provider AXIS Communications is now also a provider of network access control.

SIA eyes federal budget resolution

Sequestration could be a factor in determining funding for major security grant programs
 - 
09/24/2013

WASHINGTON—The crisis in Syria only further roils what was already expected to be a turbulent few months in Congress leading up to the holidays. Despite the din, the Security Industry Association has developed a plan to advance some of its own objectives, of which there are many.

Who are today’s women leaders in security?

Security Systems News editors look for input on annual special report on women leaders in the security industry
 - 
09/23/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—The November issue of Security Systems News will include the annual special report entitled “Women in Security.”

PERS: What we know, what we don't

 - 
Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The projected expansion of the PERS market will be fueled by several realities playing in its favor. First and foremost, the demographics, highlighted by an aging baby boomer population, are compatible with growth in the PERS space. Similarly, PERS devices make seniors better equipped to remain in their homes and possibly reap considerable cost savings. The market is relatively resilient. The technology is simple. One of the biggest barriers to entry may be tapping into the right marketing channel, Josh Garner, CEO of AvantGuard Monitoring Centers, told me in a conversation we had earlier this year on the state of the PERS industry. The marketing hurdle is not to be underestimated. But it also seems far less an obstacle than, say, mastering the technical ins and outs of a product truly difficult to integrate or install.

These are all PERS-relevant realities of which the industry already has a fairy sound understanding. While much is known, many questions still linger with respect to the future of the market. That much became clear in a recent conversation with Barry Epstein, president of Dallas-based Vertex Capital.

One question with many ramifications for the market: what will reduce the annual attrition rates for PERS devices? Will it simply come down to a broader (and younger) customer demographic? Metrics are far from perfect, and the market is still green from an acquisition standpoint, but Epstein says the attrition rate for PERS devices hovers somewhere between 24 and 36 percent. Even at the lower end of that spectrum, these rates are not conducive to huge RMR value, and they could make private equity firms leery about getting involved, at least right now. A huge ancillary question to the one posed above will be what kind of innovations, on either the dealer or manufacturer end, can companies make to reduce these less than sterling rates.

Another question: Can smaller alarm companies do PERS? Or is the market going to remain the province of larger dealers or wholesale monitoring companies who can afford to support a PERS-only division? To what extent will traditional alarm companies have a share in the space at all? Epstein, who recently moderated a panel at the PERS Summit in Park City, Utah, said the conference naturally featured an abundance of PERS dealers, but only a small fraction of them had alarm accounts.  

The development of this market will be worth watching closely. When will the acquisition tipping point occur? What will be the force behind it? What factors, as yet undeveloped, stand to drive the market’s upward trajectory? And what about mobile PERS units?

In a broad sense, we're mostly sure where the PERS industry is going. But regarding specifics, questions abound.

Honeywell broadens focus on industrial fire market

Company's new customer experience and training center in Houston, targeted at industrial clients, is one example
 - 
09/17/2013

HOUSTON—Honeywell is expanding its focus on the industrial fire protection market and its new Life Safety Training and Customer Experience Center, which will have its grand opening here Sept. 18, is one indication of its renewed interest in the space, according to the company.

TrendNet: A Cautionary Tale?

 - 
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hundreds of TrendNet customers found out the hard way that products they purchased, billed as home security cameras, weren’t all that secure. In January 2012, a hacker was able to breach TrendNet’s website, circumvent security credentials and access some 700 live-camera feeds monitoring inside customers' homes. Many of the videos were then disseminated on the Internet, a curious fact by itself in light of the complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission, which said security flaws in the cameras allowed for the “unauthorized surveillance of infants sleeping in their cribs, young children playing, and adults engaging in typical daily activities.” The online community continues to recover from the trauma of being exposed to such tedium.

But for obvious reasons, customers were unnerved. The FTC wasn't happy either. The oversight committee’s complaint alleging that TrendNet misrepresented its software as secure and failed to adequately protect its customers resulted in a settlement, which was reached last week, according to multiple reports.

The story reached mainstream news. Unsurprisingly, it’s on the alarm monitoring industry’s radar as well, as I discovered in a short conversation with Stephen Doyle, executive vice president and CEO of CSAA. Doyle said he just returned from an Alarm Industry Communications Committee meeting in which 65 industry members were briefed by an industry lawyer on the legal ins and outs of the TrendNet snafu.

In terms of pertinence to the industry, the case seems fringy in some respects, relevant in others. It’s true, after all, that TrendNet cameras are unattached to alarms, and designed specifically for remote monitoring of homes via smartphones and other mobile devices. But it's relevant to the industry insofar as it deals with a few topics in the forefront of people's minds.

One of those topics is the viability and security of do-it-yourself monitoring systems. Another is cloud security, a topic that stands to grow in significance with the spread of IP panels, and as more companies migrate information and services to the cloud. Whether a company’s data becomes more or less secure when it’s transferred to the cloud is a hot-button industry debate with little consensus. Cloud adoption is likely to expand, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be skeptics. Either way, the TrendNet case perhaps intensifies the debate.

At TechSec 2014, Jeremy Brecher, VP of technology, electronic security at Diebold, will tackle some issues in this vein as part of the educational program, while also exploring ways security companies can thrive in an increasingly cloud-based environment.

Physical security market to reach $85 billion by 2018

New applications for video surveillance, biometrics and access control expected to drive growth in North America
 - 
09/10/2013

PUNE, India—Demand among government agencies, large enterprises and tech establishments is expected to push the global physical security market, currently worth about $55 billion, to a value of $85 billion by 2018, according to a new report by the research company MarketsandMarkets.

A chat with SIAC’s Stan Martin

 - 
Friday, September 6, 2013

This morning I had the opportunity to chat with Stan Martin, executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition. He proved to be a valuable font of information about the current state of the alarm industry, in particular the three-pronged relationship involving alarm monitoring companies, law enforcement and municipal governments—all of which play huge collaborative roles in responding to legitimate alarms and mitigating false ones.

When I asked him what he considers an ideal alarm ordinance, it became abundantly clear just what kind of challenges an effective alarm ordinance has to address. A whole constellation of considerations go into curbing false alarms. 

“We’ve studied alarm management issues for twenty plus years, and we know what best practices will reduce these unnecessary dispatches,” Martin said. “We list them in our model ordinance.”

A model ordinance, Martin said, should require all alarm systems to be registered with local police. It should mandate the use of Enhanced Call Verification, or two-call verification, a protocol that requires alarm monitoring stations to attempt to confirm a signal is valid before requesting dispatch. It should require that panels feature the newest equipment standards, meaning they are compliant with the ANSI/SIA CP-01 Control Panel Standard – Features for false alarms—a standard that minimizes the single biggest cause of false alarms: human error.

Martin also emphasized the tremendous importance of strict enforcement of an alarm ordinance, but acknowledged that enforcement measures vary by municipality, and are often dictated by local politics—particularly with respect to the number of free responses permitted. The SIAC recommends no more than one or two free responses. It also recommends suspending response once a fixed number, generally between the range of six and 10, has been surpassed. 

Martin says this curtails chronic abuse and holds some of the larger commercial entities accountable. “You do need to stop responses,” he said. “Otherwise, the higher-end clients, commercial clients, banks in particular, will just write the check. They consider that easier. It’s the cost of doing business. But when police say they’re not going to come any longer, they have to take some kind of corrective action.”

Pages