The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Feb. 25-Mar. 3, 2006

While much of the fracas in Washington has quieted down regarding the Dubai Ports World purchase of operations at U.S. ports, thanks in part to a proposal that would give the purchase a more in-depth security review and a delay, had the pleasure of publishing a guest column from Scott Gane, CPP.

Gane, who works for industrial security services provider Initial Security, has handled a number of port projects for that company, and brought a unique look at the government programs in existence that are designed to keep our ports safe. When we see a leading national and international news story, and when all the political players are trumpeting around Washington speaking of risk and terrorism and background checks, Gane's point-by-point look at current government programs for port security is a breath of fresh air. If you haven't read his commentary yet, you can find it here.

Shared interests

Security installers and security directors alike are undoubtedly familiar with Wheelock Industries full line of speakers, speaker-strobes, bells and other safety alert devices. The company made news this week when UK-based Cooper Industries purchased Wheelock for an undisclosed amount. Cooper, which has a number of product lines that are well known in the European market, but less so in the U.S., will be a strong complement to the Wheelock line. While some of the product lines overlap, the addition of Wheelock's broad notification business works well for a company that has already established itself in fire panels, security and emergency lighting and other business/industrial necessities.

Also in line with the whole cross-Atlantic trend that has linked American and European companies, Honeywell, owner of security products distribution company ADI, picked up one of Europe's larger security distribution chains, Gardiner Groupe Europe. The acquisition should see some synergies in distribution models, and has a real chance for ADI -- which already has a presence in Europe -- to expand the U.S. brand even more. The takeaway: Security distribution is no longer just a regional, or even national, endeavor.

Got enough fiber in your security diet?

There has been a great rise in interest in fiber optic communications for enterprise security projects; still, most businesses have stuck with either patch-worked jobs that tie-in the coaxial lines with the low-voltage systems often employed in surveillance and access control installs. The Los Angeles International Airport, on the other hand, is stepping into the future with a full fiber-optic system for connecting security systems within the airport. With a 24-hour surveillance program and a high-risk environment, LAX contracted with Opticomm to give the airport a connection of single-mode fiber throughout the entire airport so that all security data (video, sensors, etc.) can be routed to the central airport police station. The cost of maintaining the existing coax, and the need to pipe high-res imaging were listed among the chief factors in the purchase.

Not IP hype, just education

At ISC West this year, on Tuesday, April 4, before the main exhibit hall opens, Reed Expos and Gompers are teaming up to deliver the aptly named "IP Institute." With presentations from Cisco, Microsoft and Jim Gompers, as well as Axis, HID and Lenel, this program is designed to bring dealers, integrators and end users up to speed on IP networking and what it means for security solutions. The program is part of a continuing IP education program. SIW will be featuring an in-depth report on this much-needed education program on Tuesday, but until then, you can find out info at the IP Institute web landing page on the ISC West site.

RFID tagging in healthcare facilities

Healthcare buildings have a unique challenge. They have to be open enough to allow quick movement of patients, secure enough to make sure drugs don't "check out" from internal pharmacies, private enough to ensure that patient information doesn't end up in the wrong hands, accessible enough for visiting family to feel like they're not in a prison...and the list goes on. Part of the challenge many hospitals have seen is that they often have very expensive equipment moving among secured and unsecured areas. To prevent this equipment from walking off to the black market, the UK's National Health Service is turning to RFID tagging of high-priced equipment. Not only should it provide an operational benefit of being able to know where a piece of equipment is, the RFID program should cut down on thefts, too.

Finally, a look at our most popular stories of the last week: