The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Feb. 10-16, 2007

I have had the pleasure of attending two security industry events this past week. First, I made my way to Miami, where Milestone Systems (makers of the leading IP video management platform) was having its partner event. Miami in February is always worthwhile just for the fact that you can stop shivering and shed some sweaters. It's an added bonus that you can meet with some of the leading IP product vendors (Milestone, ACTi, IQinVision, Axis, etc.) and top-notch integrators and end users from around the world (I think the farthest traveled award was earned by either an Aussie or a Kiwi).

This was no beach trip. Over the course of the Saturday program which I attended, I was able to hear about some cutting-edge integration projects (video at scrap yards, cruise vessels and a lot more unique case studies) and had a chance to speak with some of Milestone's executives and technology development staff. I'll be sharing some of those interviews with you in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned for an in-depth look at a company leading the market share of IP video management.

Back in Atlanta on Tuesday, I made my way to an IP UserGroup USA conference, which was being held among the skyscrapers of Midtown Atlanta. You can read my report on that roaming conference here. At both events, I think there was an overwhelming optimism shared by the vendors and the integrators about the bright future of networked security solutions. Admittedly, the integrators were much more guarded about their optimism than the vendors, but they were convinced of the digital direction nonetheless because, as a group, they said they were really starting to deliver more of those types of networked projects.

Legislatures and RFID
New report looks at bills that would affect card-based access control

This week marked the first update from Kathleen Carroll of HID Global, who many of you know we featured in a podcast program a couple weeks ago on the topic of RFID privacy. Kathleen will be submitting regular reports on what is happening in state and national legislatures regarding bills affecting RFID and access control. This first report looks primarily at bills in California and Washington (the state). Washington's House Bill 1031 is a curious piece of legislation that would require that the access control cards and ID badges are labeled as to which radio-frequency based technologies they use, and would require written consent from each employee before they would be required to use an access control system. Kathleen's reports will be featured on our Access Control and our Standards & Legislation sections of the website.

Corporate Security Bruises
Mail bombs threaten companies; business argument at office center turns deadly

It was a tough week for corporate security. Financial-type firms were on alert for mail bombs that have been sent out by a mysterious person, not unlike the M.O. of the Unabomber. The fortunate fact of the mail bombs is that neither detonated. One was described as a pipe-style bomb device. The threats of these bombs go back to 2005, according to a report from Texas-based security/risk consulting firm Stratfor. Business security was at issue at Philadelphia's former naval base, now the Philadelphia Naval Business Center, which saw an apparent business argument at one of the tenants turn deadly with a fatal shooting. If there was any question why workplace violence remains the top concern for corporate security, this was it.

Tech Report of the Week
A look at H.264 video compression

Techies and video integrators will want to read Barry Keepence's write-up on H.264 video compression. Keepence is the CTO for IndigoVision, one of the early adopters of his new compression algorithm. Keepence compares storage rates using H.264, MPEG-4 and MJPEG. While H.264 adoption is still slow (many complain that the compression requires a great deal of processing power, and thus has not been applicable to a number of the processors in use by our industry), Keepence's report seems to indicate that there are significant enough storage savings (even in today's world of cheap storage) to make H.264 a worthy competitor of MPEG-4. As Keepence concluded, "H.264 will not replace MPEG-4 overnight, but sit alongside it providing a wider choice of solutions to the end user." To submit your own tech report for publication, email me with your concept for a technical resource column.

Finally, we close with a brief look at the most read stories of this week from