The security week that was: 07/01/11 (Fishing wires)

A weekly surveillance of the news shaping your profession


As some of you who personally know me are aware, I like to play "Bob the Builder" in my spare time. Some people, as one of my coworkers says, are normal and like to hang out by the pool on their time off. I like to pull on Carhartt work pants and a leather tool belt, grab a hammer and a screwdriver and tackle home improvement projects.

One of my projects of the day is performing electrical upgrades to an old home that still had some knob-and-tube wiring from the 1920s. Those of you who are old-timers probably remember this stuff, all the ceramic tubes and knobs to route the wires, the often frayed cloth insulation. It's not a bad wiring system (if properly maintained), and the quality of the metal in those old wires is better than what you'd find today because wire had a higher copper percentage back then.

I'm not going to call it the good old days, or be one of those people who says that things were made better back then, because I'm not that nostalgic. I also know that a GFCI circuit is a heck of a lot safer than a 60-amp slow-burn fuse panel.

Doing this wiring upgrade has meant learning how to fish wires, and it has given me a profound amount of respect for the wire fishing skills that our industry's techs have. It's one thing to spend the time to configure a DVR while sitting in an air-conditioned room, and it's another thing to use all of your spatial thinking to problem solve how to get a wire from point A to point B, all while sweating profusely and crawling through mouse droppings.

Today, of course, systems are going wireless because the wireless technologies have become so much better with companies like Honeywell, Visonic, and Inovonics producing dependable wireless security solutions. As I was aiming a 3/4-inch auger bit to start the process of providing a dedicated 20-amp Romex circuit to my fridge, I was thinking about these wireless systems and wondering if our industry might someday find that fishing wire through walls becomes a lost art. Will the techs of tomorrow still need luminescent fishing sticks? Will they know what a double-weave pull grip is? Will they carry those heavy duty auger bits that can grind studs and nails? Will they have a selection of wobbly flex bits clattering around in their vans? Will fishing wire just mean that monofilament stuff you use on your rod-and-reel when you're at the lake, or will it still be part of a honest day's labor?

Hats off to you guys who are pulling the wires for today's security systems. I hope you kick back this July 4th weekend, exchange your crawl space gear for a t-shirt and shorts, fire up your grill, and enjoy the fruits of your labors. To all of our audience, have a very celebratory Independence Day weekend. I think the work of the security industry is, in many ways, a direct extension of the patriotism which founded this nation.

In other news:
OV's #2 lawsuit, Alarm signal prioritization, COPS opens Nashville facility, and more

Video content analytics firm ObjectVideo has filed a second lawsuit against Bosch, Samsung and Sony, alleging patent infringement. The court venue has changed, but the lawsuit is generally the same as the April 2011 suit that was filed in District Court. ... SIW's Joel Griffin wrestles the false alarm alligator by taking a look at how video is affecting prioritized alarm response. ... COPS Monitoring has officially opened its Nashville monitoring station. ... IT and security products distributor Bluestar has announced its VARTECH conference series. ... Stanley made a $1.2 billion bid for Niscayah. Securitas had previously made an offer to buy back its prior subsidiary but the Stanley offer was significantly higher and was recommended to shareholders.