Security Watch

Secured Cities: Sold-Out Crowd Hears Messages from Municipalities
First conference surpasses attendance expectations

More than 170 attendees turned out for the first Secured Cities conference, produced by Cygnus Business Media, including SecurityInfoWatch.com; Security Technology Executive; Security Dealer & Integrator; Law Enforcement Technology; Officer.com; and Law Enforcement Product News.

Held at the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel in Atlanta, the conference was sponsored by vendors Anixter, Axis Communications, Ciber, Cisco, Firetide, Milestone Systems, Pivot3 and Siemens. Cisco also was the official sponsor of the networking reception held during the two-day event.

Billed as the premier conference on municipal video surveillance, the inaugural event was expected to have some 95 to 100 in attendance, and well surpassed those numbers with its 170+ registered attendees.

Geoff Kohl, Secured Cities conference director and editor-in-chief/associate publisher of SecurityInfoWatch.com opened the conference by thanking attendees and indicating that the time for municipal video systems had certainly come. "This is the first conference dedicated to municipal surveillance," Kohl said. "Before this, cities had to figure all this out on their own, but that's no longer the case."

"Municipal video system projects are rapidly expanding, both in small and large jurisdictions," he said. "Video is a force multiplier and adds situational awareness." These systems are being installed in downtown areas and other areas as well, many being tied into other video systems, such as those by private businesses. Private-public partnerships are helping increase the use of video. "This is not the big brother conference, our goal is to make citizens feel safe," Kohl added.

Conference sessions were divided into operations/management and technical tracks and included topics on strategies; funding; video monitoring and applications; wireless; safe neighborhoods and cities; lessons learned; IT infrastructure and data integration; how video affects crime; and public-private partnerships. Secured Cities also included a tour of Atlanta municipal surveillance facilities, including the 911 Integration/Real-Time Crime Analysis center; the Zone 5 video monitoring center; and key street camera locations.
Speaker Rob Hile, director of Integrated Security Solutions for Siemens Industry Building Technologies Division, Buffalo Grove, Ill., led the session: "A Vision for Safer Neighborhoods, Safer Cities." Hile presented information on a new video integration project at the Chicago Housing Authority and also shared trends Siemens has witnessed in the industry. He said the top three concerns by cities are money, or a lack thereof of funding; energy; and security.

Next Up: Secured Cities Baltimore

The next Secured Cities conference is slated for November 10 through 11 in Baltimore and will follow a schedule similar to the Atlanta inaugural event. Watch www.securedcities.com for more information on the educational conference and sponsorship opportunities.

New Launch: Database of Projects and Consultants

Integrators, manufacturers and others now have a dedicated database to help find those in the industry who are actively specifying security and related systems.

According to Ray Coulombe, founder and managing director of SecuritySpecifiers.com, the resource was launched with the goal of becoming the largest searchable database for physical security and intelligent transport systems and a platform for the industry to interact with them.

"The Physical Security Specifier Database is designed to put integrators and others in touch with the people who are actually specifying security systems," said Coulombe. "The first part of it is the construction database of some 1,100-plus specifiers and growing. We wanted to create a site that works for consultants and provides value for them and vendors and integrators as well."

Coulombe estimated that specifiers drive in access of $10 billion in security product sales annually.

Enabling security specifier interaction

SecuritySpecifiers.com is the only resource of its kind for those seeking to identify specifiers of physical security and surveillance systems for the purposes of sharing company information, gaining enhanced visibility or initiating an engagement, he added.

"Successful integrators in the security industry understand the importance of effectively engaging with those firms and individuals who design systems and write bid specifications for them," Coulombe said. "They know how to establish working relationships without violating the integrity of the consulting process."

SecuritySpecifiers.com provides access on a subscription basis to security consultants and engineering firms with a security practice, searchable by geography and market sector. It is available for consultants to add or update individual or company qualifications at no charge. Subscriptions can be purchased for specific regions, but there is no charge for the consultant to obtain a listing. Owners and end-users are now able to obtain temporary search credentials at no charge, also.

Coulombe said the site is the largest access database of security consultants and engineering firms and is growing weekly. The site is guided by an advisory board consisting of some of the most experienced security industry practitioners. "The site helps extend the footprint of specifier contacts in the industry and helps guide new project architecture and design," he said. "It also may assist in getting certain products and services specified and aid in project visibility. For the integrator, it provides valuable information on the entire specifying chain."

Visit www.securityspecifiers.com to see the more than three dozen searchable market sector categories or e-mail info@securityspecifiers.com for more information.

WSC Launches New Programs at ISC West

The recently launched Women's Security Council (WSC) debuted its new series of networking and educational events at ISC West in April and also just released its new website at www.wscouncil.com.

A networking reception the night prior to show opening drew 100-plus women-integrators, sales professionals, manufacturers, distributors, consultants, public relations and others from every rank up and down the channel. Event sponsors included Reed Exhibitions-ISC Events, Siemens Industry, Mobotix, Milestone Systems, Next Level Security Systems and CompassPR. Media sponsors were Security Dealer & Integrator, Security Systems News and Security Director News.

An educational event: "The Woman's Handbook to Professional Success in the Security Industry," drew close to 60 attendees, who heard three notables: JoAnna Sohovich, president of Honeywell Security & Communications in the Americas; Linda Mansillo-Kear, global director of Marketing Communications, Tyco International; and Sandra Jones, Principal of Sandra Jones Company. SD&I magazine moderated the panel.

Visit www.wscouncil.com for information on membership and additional events slated for ISC Solutions.

Chicago TUNES IN TO WIRELESS TRENDS

Cellular Specialties' Lunch & Learn event, Chicago, addressed questions last month regarding all things wireless, including what works, what doesn't and what do you need to know about the next generation of applications. Also discussed were the latest trends in enterprise wireless, the secrets to successful deployments as well as how to make the most of your existing infrastructure. SD&I sat down with David Tuttle, director of Sales, to get further details on how the security industry can prepare for the continuing evolution of wireless technologies.

Q: In security, more alarm companies and resellers are moving away from hardwired solutions and are implementing wireless alarm panels and wireless receivers for the end-users. There's also the continuing discussion of POTS lines disappearing, as some statistics confirm that POTS lines will be gone as close as five years from now. What should alarm industry professionals be paying attention to as far as wireless technologies that can better serve them in continuing to provide wireless solutions? And better serve them during onsite installation?

A: Wireless coverage assessment...cellular doesn't penetrate all buildings equally. Types and locations of buildings drastically affect cellular RF characteristics. The higher the building floor often results in less than optimal adequate signal quality. If the alarm is dependent on cellular backhaul, coordination with the carrier is strongly recommended. Additionally, one should determine from the carrier how redundant is the coverage for the desired area.

Q: One of the other important aspects mentioned in the session is that folks should start aligning themselves more with the wireless carriers on the market. You also pointed out that one of the benefits of partnering with a wireless carrier is they may be able to fund some of the cost associated with ones system. Does this apply to the security alarm professionals of the security industry as well? Should they be paying attention to what's going on with the wireless carriers?

A: Wireless carriers today offer wireless (cellular) modem options. Also, wireless air cards may suffice dependent upon adequate interface to the alarm panel. Carriers often have dedicated solution engineers to work with the alarm vendor.

Q: Also discussed in the session was how Cellular Specialties implements site surveys to determine a potential customers weakest/strongest wireless signals in an area. Will alarm professionals see an increased need to start implementing site surveys as they provide more wireless alarm communication software and services?

A: If they are dependent on cellular backhaul/connections for alarm patency, than yes. The issue really is interpreting what RF characteristics and data exists once the walk is completed. The equipment is very expensive and interpretation requires an RF engineer. There is no simple gadget to capture and determine what is good versus poor signal. Another consideration is, where coverage exists today may change tomorrow. For example, new building construction, network frequency changes for a carrier, rush hour or even a major sporting event may increase demand and reduce capacity and therefore affect the coverage quality and penetration characteristics.

Q: How should alarm professionals address some of the challenges such as concrete or steel structures during the installation phase? Would this be something they should consider when designing wireless alarm communication devices/panels/receivers? Or now that devices are becoming wireless, will this become less of a concern?

A: External antennas are one option, however for more robust and reliable solutions, an in-building amplifier is more often the selected option. This installation is often done with the carrier's coordination. Any reproduction of radio frequency of an FCC licensed band requires the licensee's permission. It's not as simple a phone call to the carrier. Because repeaters are bi-directional (they amplify RF within a building, they also amplify the signal out of the building), an incorrect installation can create havoc with the carrier outdoor network that affects the macro cellular towers. There is more to consider than simply building density. Items such as anodized windows, what other RF existing in the building, total number of cellular devices in a building and how the devices are used (voice vs. data) significantly influence coverage predictions.

Streamline the Cost and Complexity of Custom Identity Badging Projects

Implementing a corporate-wide badging project as part of a technology upgrade, regulatory compliance initiative or rebranding effort can be challenging. Increasingly, companies are outsourcing their badging projects to service organizations that have the scale and resources to handle large-volume orders with tight deadlines that would otherwise be difficult for an individual credential issuer or integrator to accommodate on its own.

One example is HID Global's Identity on Demand service, which was recently enhanced to include a secure Web portal that further simplifies project management while giving customers easier access to the company's expertise and its broad offering of contactless card technologies. Portals like these provide a simple and secure way for customers to upload and communicate data, photos and other information while reducing the cost and complexity of maintaining and operating a corporate-wide badging infrastructure. Portals also make it easier to manage and re-order existing formats, simplify project status tracking, and increase confidence that sensitive data is protected and that issuance needs can be met within budget and on time with consistently high quality.

Custom card personalization is increasingly critical. HID Global's Identity on Demand service provides access to a wide range of visual security elements that protect against tampering and forgery, including:

- Registered embedded holograms
- Holographic over-laminates
- Smart card contacts
- High-definition, lithographic and digital printing
- Over-the-edge high-definition printing
- Personalized record data and variable graphics
- Sub-surface lithographic and digital printing, and embedded anti-counterfeiting

Bringing these and other elements together into a successful badging project can require significant planning, resources and logistics. Offloading this work to an experienced service bureau can reduce total overall costs while ensuring consistently high quality and on-time delivery performance. Now, with the advent of secure, web-enabled project management from companies like HID Global, customers also can more easily manage data transfers and re-order existing formats while simplifying project status tracking and monitoring.

Revolutionizing Service, One Customer at a Time

The Tech Tracker service from systems integrator Protection 1, Romeoville, Ill., is not a new concept. The process is two-fold: First, the automated attendant was removed and instead, callers are connected to a live attendant, typically within a matter of three seconds or within one ring. Second, the Tech Tracker technician notification service lets the customer go about his or her day, notifying them when their technician is en route; and it provides a photo of their technician with a list of certifications and qualifications to provide the customer with piece of mind. It's no surprise the service has been well-received by customers of the systems integrator.

"We're all consumers outside of our jobs," said Jamie Haenggi, chief marketing and customer experience officer, Protection 1. "We wait for the phone company, we call the plumber, we wait for the cable company-we all have our experiences. But it comes down to the matter of top-down leadership and really making customer service a true priority." Haenggi recalled the day one of the first challenges President and CEO Timothy J. Whall presented to the Protection 1 team-to get rid of the automated attendant. "A lot of companies talk about how important it is to save customers and create the experience but the reality is, they invest a lot in new sales," continued Haenggi.

"Two of the greatest frustrations of customers - whether they're homeowners or business owners - are calling in for customer service and waiting around for service technicians to arrive," said Whall. "Tech Tracker is just one more way we're using technology and good old-fashioned common sense to enhance our customer service."

The training process

The team invested a lot of time and money and resources in training agents who respond to customer calls using the TechTracker, confirmed Joseph Sanchez, senior vice president of Customer Operations.

"The training environment for our agents consists of in-classroom and online time with a mentor and actually taking calls," said Sanchez. "But you really can't keep them in the training environment and teach them every last thing they need to know before they get on the phone with a client." To train their agents, Protection 1 utilizes a lot of concepts heavy on the customer experience. "We also train them on where to go to get the information," necessary to assist a caller, explained Sanchez. "We don't expect all our representatives to know everything, but we do expect them to know where to go to get the user manuals to talk somebody through simple items, such as changing a user code or turning your chime on and off or adjusting the light on the back of your keypad," he continued.

The removal of the auto attendant as well as the new Tech Tracker service, which is now available nationally, have both been met with numerous customer accolades.

Newsmakers

Arecont Vision, Glendale, Calif., promoted Raul Calderon to senior vice president of Marketing and appointed Jason Schimpf to director of Partner Relations...Atronic Alarms, Lenexa, Kan., appointed Neil Atha as vice president...AMAG Technology, Torrance, Calif., appointed Bernice Noriz as business development manager...DORMA Architectural Hardware, Reamstown, Pa., appointed Wil VandeWiel company president...DVTel, Ridgefield Park, N.J., appointed Yoav Stern company president and chief executive officer...Linear, LLC, Carlsbad, Calif., appointed Michael O'Neal company president and Dan Stottlemyre vice chairman of the Linear Group...Pelco by Schneider Electric, Clovis, Calif., promoted Herv‚ Fages to senior vice president, Global Product Marketing, for the Schneider Electric Buildings Business...Protection 1, Romeoville, Ill., appointed Alicia Scheffler director of Organizational Development & Training...The Security Industry Association (SIA), Alexandria, Va., appointed Steve Van Till, president and chief executive officer, Brivo Systems, to Chair of the SIA Standards Committee.

 

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