The Security Week That Was: A Recap - March 4-10, 2006

We love to hear about showcases of cutting-edge technology -- especially those which aren't just for show. Thus, it piqued our interest this week when the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced that government contractor Raytheon had earned a $100 million contract to up the ante on airport security around New York City. The project will piece together a dramatic perimeter security system that moves well beyond just chain link and barbed wire. In the mix for this "virtual fence" are radar, infrared detection systems, cameras, motion sensors and fence sensors.

Hard as it to believe that some airports still only use a high chain-link fence monitored by occasional guard patrols, this installation should serve as a model for tomorrow's airports. Not surprisingly, we're already seeing similar projects happening elsewhere. If you look back at our archives, two Houston-area airports started working with a similar system from Honeywell Security that ties in video and radar. These perimeter security installations, while admittedly rather expensive, are the wave of the future.

In fact, they're making their way beyond airports. Representing Cygnus Security Group (, Security Technology & Design and Security Dealer), just yesterday I saw this kind of technology on display at a chemical plant in Geismar, La., operated by Honeywell's specialty chemicals division. While the high-end, integrated technology at that plant is not yet standard in the chemical industry, the tour was proof that these high-end security technologies are rapidly expanding in scope to critical infrastructure outside the transportation sector. Look for a full report on the security of that plant forthcoming on and in Security Technology & Design.

While we're on the topic of infrastructure that becomes a homeland security concern, it's worthy of note that the Port Authority of NY/NJ has dropped a large chunk of change on container security. The Port Authority is spending some $5 million to use sealed container security devices that also serve for asset tracking purposes. The devices are part of a test to look into tracking of cargo being shipped to the U.S., and to ensure the sealed integrity of that cargo while in transit.

From Routers to Video

It's been a conversation that pops up from time to time: What happens if a Cisco buys into our industry? Finally, after a couple of years of speculation that the company would buy into physical security, the shoe dropped and SyPixx, a maker of IP video tools, was picked up by Cisco.

The acquisition is, in one sense, a major milestone as it represents the kind of convergence that we've been talking about for years. However, to keep the acquisition in perspective, SyPixx isn't exactly a household security name, and is only really known in the casino security market where it has continued business ties to one of the bigger names in gaming. Yet, the amount that Cisco paid for the company (a tidy sum of $51M), has already made rumblings in the industry, with some potential acquisitions already asking for more money for their own company. Many believe that the acquisition of SyPixx also shapes the way for a more centralized video security acquisition by Cisco.

Defusing the Situation

Congress hadn't exactly made it easy on Dubai Ports World to manage operations at some U.S. port terminals, and yesterday the company made an about-face, announcing it would not be managing port operations in the U.S., and would instead turn those operations over to a U.S. entity. There is still clamor from Congress that the "entity" must be in no way affiliated with the Dubai company, but for now, this political battle seems to have quieted.

Connecting the Dots

Also in the news this past week, Sanyo's CCTV business lined up a partnership with well-known casino security integrator and design firm North American Video. The move is expected to help Sanyo further establish itself in that specialty market area. And while we're connecting the dots, Devcon finished up the final paperwork and dealings to acquire Guardian International; the move gives Devcon bigger play in Florida and New York markets.

What Is a Weapon?

SIW continually reports on the latest surveillance and detection technologies, but if you "detected" an SUV in your cameras, would you feel threatened? The University of North Carolina experienced an incident of this type last Friday, when a student, who allegedly sought to revenge atrocities against Muslims, sped a large SUV at a popular student hangout called "The Pit." While no students were killed, the attack illustrates 1) the changing nature of what can be a weapon, 2) the need for physical control devices like bollards and other vehicle stopping barriers, and finally, 3) the out-of-left field attacks that are going show up on your radar screen.

Finally, we share a look at the most read stories of the week. Looking at the list, interest in port security is off the charts, not only because of the Dubai Ports World deal, butt also because transportation industry security practices have tended to shape almost all other security market sectors.