The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2005

It was the bane of most air travelers: Having to dig through purses and carry-on luggage to make sure that no "sharp objects" were on hand. This morning, the TSA formally announced that it is rescinding the prohibition of those items. The move will free up TSA screeners to focus time and resources on detection of explosives, which the agency has deemed more important.

On the national level, the Senate is yet again looking at national legislation that would affect security of chemical plants. The new proposal would require the DHS review security plans, and the DHS would organize chemical plants in tiers, with specific security measures required for all plants in each level.

Here Comes the Guards

While much of the buzz in our industry regularly focuses on surveillance technologies, the guard services industry continues to be a primary driver. Proof that it's still the big business reached our desks this week with the announcement that Canadian company Garda World Security has bought Vance International. Garda also finalized the acquisition of United Armored Services, a top mid-western provider.

Securitas has also been on the move, picking up Hamilton Pacific, which provides electronic security services primarily to the mid-to-large financial and retail clients. Securitas also sold off its unprofitable German cash-handling business to German company Heros. After announcing the Securitas acquisition of Hamilton Pacific, there was also news that Hamilton Pacific and March Networks had reached an agreement where the company would use March's video surveillance technology for its clients in the retail and financial sectors.

Busy at the Malls caught up with mall security expert John Lusher (from mall security company IPC International) on Monday to talk about what the scene is at malls today. Lusher filled us in on the use of detection technology, keeping open malls safe and what top concerns are today. Check out his interview here.

It was a bit chaotic at Wal-Marts, which can create unique crowd-handling issues due to the "door-buster" specials they offer on popular items. That rush turned slightly "chaotic" at two Wal-Marts, though according to Lusher, the security departments have become more attentive to these kind of crowd-inducing sales and are being able to deal with the mass confusion better.

From the World of Biometrics

We tend to think of biometrics systems as equipment that is best suited for high-security locations like nuclear plants, evidence control rooms, laboratory access, and other "limited use" facilities within facilities, but in Japan they're moving biometrics to the residential sector. In Tokyo, biometrics access control readers are becoming popular at high-rise condo towers. Though the technology is still seeing a lot of "wait-and-see" attitudes in the U.S., we believe that controlled enrollment situations like condo towers could be the next wave of acceptance for this technology set. Dealers and integrators, put these kinds of applications on your radar as you enter 2006 sales.

Viisage, known for its technology's use in law enforcement and background checks, will be expanding its biometrics offerings. They have acquired Integrated Biometric Technology, a biometrics software firm which has clients in the federal sector.

Selling Automatic License Plate Recognition

License plate recognition technology (known as Automatic Number Plate Recognition, ANPR, in the U.K.) has been a hot area for dealers promoting expanded use of surveillance cameras. But while it's often used at parking facilities, the technology is proving it can move beyond controlled, lane-specific applications. Police in Bath and South Wales (OK, these are not exactly U.S. locations, but are still worth noting in today's global environment) have tied in the plate recognition software and database to the town's municipal video surveillance network to provide almost city-wide sweeps for stolen vehicles or vehicles owned by sought-after criminals.

Finally, we close with a look at what your peers have been reading this week: