The security week that was: 03/20/09

My ISC wish list

In less than two weeks, we'll be at the ISC West 2009 tradeshow covering not only the news happening on the tradeshow floor, but also the news from the meetings going on off the floor. We promise to get no more than 4 hours of sleep a night so you can see the news first on SIW. But before we get into that show, here's my "wish list." It's a list of what I hope vendors will be showcasing to tradeshow attendees:

  • Security devices that are faster than ever to install and configure. In consumer electronics, you've seen things like batteries pre-loaded in devices where you just yank the tab and the device is live. That's the kind of mindset we need to push for in the security industry, making devices easier to configure with the devices they interact with.
  • Security systems and video systems software without bugs. It seems like the world of software-based security and video systems aren't tossing out new product features every week like they were a year or two ago, so let's hope the new technology is tested, stable and well-integrated.
  • Realistic product spec sheets. One complaint I always hear from integrators and security customers is that the spec sheets sometimes use mythical numbers. For anyone launching new product, please produce accurate spec sheets so that integrators, consultants and specifiers can accurately compare these numbers for their end-user clients.
  • Even more news of easy tie-ins with other vendors' systems for integrations of security products. Buyers don't want to hear about siloed technology. My Sony TV works with my Yamaha receiver and my Panasonic DVD player and it didn't take 100 hours of coding to make it work. That's what people want; let's provide it.
  • New financing models. Let's get "stimulating" in our industry's finances. Lease options and other financial ideas should be explored to make sure buyers, whether they are a reseller/VAR/integrator or an end-user, have a variety of financing and payment plan options.

The point of this is that 2009 isn't the time to introduce some marginal, whiz-bang technology that only three people will buy. It's time to refocus your work on efforts that make our industry better and stronger (and easier). Based on some early press releases I'm seeing, it looks like many vendors are taking this to heart.


Going wireless
Industry security system "marionettes" are losing their wires

A little earlier this week, I enjoyed an extensive conversation with Honeywell Security CTO Ken Addy about the growth and technology of wireless alarm systems. I'm more convinced than ever that wireless is where our industry has to head. Pulling wires to each sensor is going to become an even more rare requirement, and if you compare what's happening in consumer electronics with iPods and Kindles than can wirelessly connect and download music and books, it's not hard to see the writing on the wall. Ken Addy's main point was the technology has become quite reliable and that the extra costs of wireless devices are now lower than the costs of having to pull wiring through many homes. With better battery life, more efficient micro-controllers and new applications for sensor monitoring (outdoor motion, outdoor video, asset tampering), Ken thinks wireless is the future for our industry. Read more of my update on wireless alarm systems and interview with Ken.

Standards get going
PSIA does API for IP

There's been more talk about security standards for surveillance in the last year than there had been in the previous five years combined. That's a good thing, and it's also good to see one of the "standards" organizations releasing a device API for IP video. The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) released its v1.0 API on Wednesday to help make video surveillance devices interoperable. The organization also recently announced the adoption of the "REST" architecture. The group is holding a developers meeting at ISC West.

In other news...
Infinias launches, BSI launches biometrics info site, Municipal surveillance systems

New company Infinias bought the Pelco Intelli-M electronic access solutions when Pelco left the EAS business; now Infinias has announced they're officially open for business. … The British Standards Institution launched a new website about standards development for biometrics replete with basic biometrics FAQs. … Together with experts from Atlanta's Downtown Improvement District and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, I'm hosting a webinar about best practices for municipal surveillance systems on March 26th. The webinar has been graciously sponsored by Dedicated Micros, which keeps the event free for our audience. Sign up today.