The Security Week That Was: A Recap - June 3-9, 2006

As part of my duties in maintaining, I get to read the news from a number of cities across the country. An editorial column from The Boston Globe grabbed me this week, and we simply had to post it on the site.

In it, the editorial board of the newspaper addresses the new DHS funding plan. Boston, like New York, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco all saw security funding cut (and in D.C. and NYC, the cuts were around 40 percent). The DHS' advisors recommending funding levels noted that New York City did not have any "national monuments or icons." The Globe then astutely asks what might the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Empire State Building, Grand Central Station and the New York Stock Exchange be considered if they’re not “icons” of our culture and economy. (See the Globe’s full column on homeland security funding; I predict that you will not be disappointed.)

It’s a laughable oversight, that’s for sure. But it’s not just a good political column. I think the points which the newspaper makes also has implications for the facilities you secure. When you’re conducting a site assessment, or designing the technology for an electronic security system, what are you forgetting about? Have you funded security in the small offices but forgotten about the big risks at the main facility? Have you become too focused on technology and product buys that you have weakened the budget on recurring expenses like guard hours and investigations? Sometimes the macrocosm of national security is just a scaled-up version of the microcosm of security at your own place of business.

Reading the Acquisition Tarot Cards
March makes Trax; Lockheed Martin gets Savi

March Networks, which has become known for their complement of DVRs, isn't going to solely be a DVR company anymore. The company announced this week that it has formed an agreement to fully acquire Trax, a retail solutions provider whose store management software has been heavily focused on loss prevention (LP) operations. It's part of a move in our industry beyond simple hardware/product sales. In today's retail marketplace, vendors and systems from dealers/integrators have to provide more than simply security; these need to provide operational benefits as well. It's no surprise that the retail sector is pushing so much change in how the security industry operates. It was for this industry that the smoke-colored dome was designed, and it's still this competitive margin industry which is driving much of the cutting edge hardware and software integration.

Lockheed Martin is diversifying its talent pool a bit more this summer with the acquisition of Savi Technology, an acquisition that was completed this week. Savi provides RFID tags and readers, and this technology has been hotly considered (and implemented) for government supply chains. Similar to the March/Trax detail, the value in the acquisition to the end user is one of increased operation performance, and security just happens to be a by-product.

Acquisition deal maker Frank Lanza, 74, passed away this week. Lanza, the CEO and co-founder of security and defense contractor L-3 Communications, was recovering from a previous surgery when he died unexpectedly. That led to speculation that L-3 (which also owns Raytheon's Commercial Infrared products) could itself be the target for an acquisition, with the financial pundits bandying names like Honeywell, UTC, GE and others as possible suitors. But as of now, the company has announced no plans to sell.

That's How It's Supposed to Work
When towns work with alarm companies for alarm ordinances

Chris Russell, who heads up the North Texas Alarm Association, a group of security systems dealing companies in Dallas and surrounding areas, reported in to this week about how the town of Carrollton, Texas, was able to work with the association to create an ordinance that was positive for the town and for security dealers. Unlike Dallas, which went to the mat with the NTAA and others and which eventually became a "verified response" town, Carrollton was able to avert that kind of extreme decision and used the enhanced call verification (ECV) protocol which seeks to eliminate false alarms by trying additional phone numbers to reach a system owner or operator. See Russell's report here: Carrollton goes to ECV.

Where's Cisco Now?

And for those of you who were wondering how Cisco could get involved in physical security, here's the answer (at least the first answer). The company's Linksys division, best known for its wireless routers, unveiled a self-installable small business surveillance camera loaded with a surprisingly decent feature set. And while we don't believe for one second that CCTV cameras are the production goal of Cisco, it is certainly notable how quickly after the acquisition of SyPixx that a Cisco division comes out with a network video technology.

Finally, a look at our most read stories of the week: