The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Sept. 23-29, 2006

ASIS 2006 marked two years of's presence on the web. As a bit of a tribute to you, our readers, who have made us the number one site for physical security, I want to take a moment to look back over our first two years. And I especially want to give credit to our staple of industry experts who have made the site what it is today.

We launched at ASIS 2004, live from the show floor in Dallas, Texas, beside our associates from sister publications Security Dealer, Security Technology & Design and Locksmith Ledger. With a large LCD screen showing the site, we introduced the site to a resounding, "Huh?" Our industry had never had a comprehensive news and information portal at its fingertips, and we did our best to explain what the site was, and how you could drill down to the news, features, columns and other information affecting your particular part of the business. Your response to our community and web offering has been overwhelming since that ASIS show, and we at are honored to be your online community and information site of choice.

What was going on back then in September 2004? We launched with a guest column from Jack Gin (Extreme CCTV) detailing how to make license plate capture work, even in low-light scenarios. GE was just announcing its research work on a device to protect containers; today that system, CommerceGuard, is being delivered around the world by GE, Siemens, Mitsubishi and others.

In the time since then, we've had a number of excellent columnists. Jim Coleman, whose integration firm, OSS, is a member of SecurityNet, wrote about The IT Vortex that integrators were facing two years ago. Jim did a great job on getting us perfectly up-to-speed on what our content needed to present to the integration community, and we are indebted to him for that.

Charlie Pierce, a renowned CCTV expert who's been teaching seminars on surveillance systems for decades, came on board to write the popular "Our Man in the Field" columns, starting with a piece on integrating the security system, and then later created an excellent series on The Process of the IP Solution where he detailed the creation of an IP-based video system.

Sharing another perspective on the move to IP video – which can undoubtedly be credited as the biggest trend of the two years since we launched – was Fredrik Nilsson of Axis Communications. He published a unique series in 2005 about the myths of IP video (and there were a lot of myths going on in 2005 about this technology). The series was so popular that we brought him back on in 2006 to talk about the Ten Steps to a Successful IP Surveillance Installation, another series that walks you through this growing technology area.

For security dealers, we started with business-focused stories. The folks at Vector Security shared how they used background checks to ensure a quality dealer workforce. published an early feature on the issue of VoIP, which then was worrying dealers about how consistently alarm signals could be relayed, and what would happen if the home or business' power was lost. In 2004 and 2005, we saw a great number of cities revisiting alarm ordinances as community police departments were faced with tighter budgets and more responsibilities; we covered this news on the local level, realizing that all business is truly a local sale.

Bob Harris, formerly of Pacific Alarm, joined with earlier this year and began a series of articles on customer service issues for alarm installing and monitoring companies, including his hugely popular column on The Cost of Cancellations. His perspective is one of honesty and one of aspirations for the alarm industry, and we hope his writings motivate you to make your own business the best it can be.

Along the way, we've enjoyed some great guest columns. Liz Martinez authors columns on the retail/loss prevention market, and she started at the core for that industry with a piece on shoplifting in the holidays. Around the same time, Frank Pisciotta, CPP, began writing for SIW. He looked at preventing pharmacy thefts, which were then being plagued by robberies of prescription drugs. Frank later looked at some interesting research from the Secret Service which could help schools prevent violent incidents. His article, written in the wake of shootings in Tennessee, seems especially relevant these last couple weeks. On that same subject, ADT education specialist and former head of security at D.C.'s schools Patrick Fiel joined SIW for an interview about how policy needs to change to improve campus safety.

The good folks at SAI (Security Assessments International) offered to join's staple of columnists. Their crew of security consultants was determined to shed light on current issues in healthcare security, JCAHO regulations and more. Quite notable was their 2-part series on securing forensic patients, which seemed especially relevant in August when a criminal shot a police officer and guard at a hospital in Virginia. How-to articles have become cornerstones of the website, from Alan Fontanella's article on key security features in ID cards and badges to an April 2005 article on training your staff for report writing. Many experts have given us the up-to-the-minute look at issues on homeland security and, of course, air travel security. Henry Nocella, CPP, now retired but formerly a leader on the ASIS global terrorism council, gave us his thoughts on the implications of the July 7th London Bombings. When the news broke of the liquid explosives threat of UK-to-U.S. bound aircraft, William McGuire of Global Security Associates filed a report of what the planned attacks meant for his company, which is heavily involved in air security.

In the process, there have been some fantastic interviews with top professionals, including ADT mass transit security expert Barry Einsig, casino security consultant Alan Zajic, Cisco's Steve Collen, and a plethora of other top business leaders from dealer and integrator companies, and a wealth of security directors who have sat down with to talk shop. As a first for the industry, we launched the SIW Radio podcasts in March of this year, featuring a thoughtful discussion with GVI's Steve Walin, and since then we've had great podcast Q&As with other industry leaders. We thank everyone who has been involved in our webinar series, including our overwhelming popular webinar featuring Michael Butler of the DoD and the GSA on HSPD-12 implementation.

To all of our contributors, columnists and expert sources, I want to thank you for making the incredible online resource it has become. And I thank you, our readers, for making the premier online community for the industry. To any of you who want to put fingers to keyboard and share your expertise via a guest column on a pressing security topic, please know that my inbox is always open to you at Here's to the next two years and to an even stronger online community for security pros.