The security week that was: 05/30/08

More on the TWIC program...

Two weeks ago at the IFSEC show in Birmingham, England, I was able to catch up with the folks from Hirsch Electronics, Lars Suneborn and Rob Zivney, who have been tracking the development of the TWIC port worker ID program. In an article from that show, we covered the technology and usability challenges that vendors and the government are facing in rolling out the systems. Now this week, we find that there is another usability problem: The help desk.

The issue is that calls to the TWIC enrollment help desk are taking upwards of 16 minutes to be answered, while government standards for responding to help desk calls is 3 minutes. The help line is being managed by Lockheed Martin, and the company has promised to improve that wait time, but it’s just another instance showing the challenges of getting such a massive ID project off the ground. Read the coverage on the IFSEC TWIC report here and the story about TWIC help desk delays here.

There’s actually good lesson here for any security department. ID/access control departments need to be sensitive as to how they service their employees to ensure that IDs and access cards facilitate access, not bungle access.

Fremont verified response update
Savings for responders up, but so are burglaries

A few years ago, we covered the advent of verified response in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Fremont. Now, there are actual numbers to report on regarding how well that program has worked. First off, the city is reportedly saving $600,000 a year in response costs by requiring alarms be verified before police will respond. However, on the flipside, it looks like burglaries are up 20 percent since 2005, so it’s a difficult situation to determine whether verified response is effective. More than likely the city would say yes, and anyone robbed since the ordinance went into effect would likely say it's not a good thing. And so the debate continues.

ESX update
Events, awards and technology groups

We’re getting closer to the inaugural Electronic Security Expo (ESX) event which arrives next month in Nashville. The event is co-owned by the NBFAA and the CSAA and will reportedly have between 100 and 150 exhibitor booths, plus a number of education sessions. On top of that, the NBFAA will be presenting the Weinstock and Jackson awards and will host its annual membership meeting. Also scheduled is a “Big Bash” celebration/party that will highlight the NBFAA’s 60th year of serving security dealer firms. The NBFAA is also developing Technology Interest Groups to help plot the organization’s roadmap for training and communications in areas of fast-developing technology.

In other news...
ST&D Innovation Awards now open, Sports security advisory board, more

Our sister magazine, Security Technology & Design, is now accepting applications for the 3rd Annual ST&D Innovation Awards. The program is designed to recognize innovative security applications. Georgia Power was recognized for a massive access control project in 2006, and the 2007 winner was Loyola University in Chicago’s big IP video project. Our article on the Innovation Awards includes a link to a PDF form used for applying to the awards.

The University of Southern Mississippi has formed a national advisory board for the Center for Spectator Sports Security Management. Among the advisory board members are representatives from the DHS, MLB, NFL, NASCAR, Indy racing, NBA, USTA, NHL and more.

ICx Technologies, a company which develops sensor solutions and systems to manage remote sensors, has acquired S3I, a company which has a technology for biological threat detection. Details are pretty quiet on the S3I technology, but the acquisition brings aboard sensing innovator Dr. David Silcott, who has a number of patents in this area. Both companies’ businesses are driven by their work with the DHS, the military and other government agencies and departments.

ATEME and Barco are partnering on H.264 video compression solutions. ... Lenel’s OnGuard has been named a product of the year. ... A new business continuity planning toolkit is available in Spanish. ... Ingersoll Rand names new VP of commercial sales for the Northwest. ... Henry Bros. Electronics has changed its Colorado office subsidiary’s name from Securus to Henry Bros. and has named John Seckman as general manager for the Colorado region.

Finally, we close as always with a look at the most read stories of the week: