The Security Week That Was: A Recap - March 31-April 6, 2007

SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

The backbone of our industry has been alarm systems and key pads, and despite the fact that there are decades and decades of improvements and production behind these products, the technology has always managed to push forward. From advances in terms of integration with garage door remotes that automatically disarm a system, to codeless arming and disarming, to network connection modules that allow for remote access via the Internet, or even simple changes in buttons and programming which allow your customers to more fully use the features the alarm systems come with, this market has never ceased to amaze me. It can take a product line that has been performing the same function for 30+ years and still find ways to improve how the customer interfaces with the system.

Command and control systems are designed for large-scale security installations, and they create a unified perspective on a variety of security data. While these systems may be a specialized subset of our industry, even these C&C systems are finding major interface improvements. One of the best moves has been to integrate "procedures notifications" in the case of a security event. That simple move means you can take the procedures out of the big, black operations binders sitting on the shelves of the security office and integrate those recommended procedures right into the technology system that your security staff is using day-in and day-out.

I could go on and on, but the point is that while very few technologies were truly earth-shattering, almost every one of the established systems we're accustomed to dealing with are getting beyond the point of lab-ware, which has a "can we do it?" type of mission, and moving into a real-world, "how can we do it better?" type of mission in development. And that, my friends, is good news to both the installer/reseller and the eventual end-user.

More in the News
Acquisitions; Retailers working with FBI; Cost of bomb threats

Industry news usually goes a bit dormant right after big tradeshows, a condition I ascribe to a need for business leaders to get back to emails and respond to customer calls, but two companies made waves this week with major announcements. First, on the last day of ISC, UTC (parent company for Lenel, Chubb, etc.) announced it was buying the Initial Electronic Security Group from Rentokil. Rentokil had been selling off its security components over the last year, and this integration firm was the last big component of Rentokil's security business. Lockheed Martin purchased the 360-degree-surveillance technology from RemoteReality, called the OmniAlert360. SIW featured this technology back in mid-December as part of our regular podcast series of audio-format news and interviews.

When you wake up Monday, you may not notice it immediately, but a major database which links major retailers with FBI input will be making its debut. The system is designed to help retailers share information on the increasing threat of organized retail crime.

Almost daily, businesses and organizations respond to bomb threats. Schools are a common target, sometimes performed as malicious student prank with no substance behind the phone call. Nonetheless, the response is serious and involves business or school downtime, police costs, and a number of hidden costs that will vary depending upon response. After a recent bomb scare hit the Hampden Academy near Bangor, Maine, the school decided to pin down a number on what a bomb threat cost the school. The final number? A whopping $22,400 – plus lots of "soft costs" in terms of lost education hours for students which can't be quantified.