The security week that was: 03/18/11 (Nuclear crisis planning)

ISC West warms up

It's that time of year again. You know, the time which I start to receive scores of new product announcements about never-before-seen technologies that will be gracing the aisles of the ISC West tradeshow… Companies that stayed quiet about their R&D for months start to elicit whispers. Big overseas camera companies hint about major product line offerings. Small tech firms promise "revolutionary" products that are going to change our industry. To that I can only say, bring them on!

Here are some things I'm seeing. First, cameras keep getting smaller and cheaper, and PoE is becoming standard. Case in point? How about this M31-VE camera from Axis? Second, the GUI is important. Genetec will be showing a robust camera mapping/interface solution, and it seems like GUIs typically are what really sell end-users on VMS platforms today. Third, DVRs aren't dead yet. I've received two notes announcing new DVRs in the last two days. That's pretty impressive considering there was a vendor a year or two ago that hung a "DVRs are dead" in their booth. Anyone remember who that was? You can check out all the incoming new products on the SecurityInfoWatch ISC West 2011 coverage page. Vendors: If you're showing a new product introduced within the last few months, or to be announced at ISC West 2011, send me a note at and we'll add you to the product list if you get us info in time!

Nuclear plants and security management
Is a nuclear catastrophe part of your contingency planning?

Do nuclear plants factor into your risk management and crisis management plans? They probably should now after we've seen the impact on the nuclear industry following the tsunami/earthquake in Japan. If you're old enough to remember Three Mile Island, you might have them in your plan as well. But how close are you to a nuclear plant? Most of the plants in our nation are built in the eastern states, and most of these plants have been strategically positioned in predominantly rural areas. But that doesn't mean they are hundreds of miles away. The nuclear plant in Buchanan, N.Y., is a 30-mile drive to Yonkers and maybe 50 miles to the southern tip of Manhattan -- and less than that as the crow flies (or as the plume blows, to use nuclear terms).

You can study your distance to the nearest active nuclear plant using a very cool interactive map that CNN Money has posted on its website. At the very least, the maps might give you a sense of whether you should consider adding nuclear catastrophe to your company's risk and response plan.

Finally, if you haven't already, please do something to help the Japanese people. Not sure where to go? The American Red Cross made it really easy on this page. Just check "Japanese Tsunami" and go from there.

Debate: LP agents with cell phones
In their pockets, or left in their lockers?

Do you tell your employees to turn their phones off while at work – or at least only use them during their personal breaks? Do they comply? Do you ask that they leave them in their lockers or in their cars? Now picture the world of loss prevention, where blending in is part of the job description, and where quick response is part of the duties as well. For anyone in security, a personal cell phone can become a lifeline for response, and even a redundant communication device. The best tip I heard was this: "If you cannot trust your own LP staff to not fiddle with their phones when they should be working, get a new LP staff." I tend to agree with that statement, but do you allow your security staff to carry their personal phones while on the job? Weigh in on this topic in the SIW Forums.

In other news
Panoramic cams, Which frequencies do you use?, Municipal surveillance multiplied by 3

Panoramic technology fights for credibility every year at the tradeshows, and I just received word from another company bringing panoramic surveillance cameras to market. Check out this video of Arktran Systems’ cameras. ... We’ve been talking a lot about municipal surveillance, and if that interests you, come join me next Thursday as I host a webinar with the police chief and city manager from Freeport, Texas, as they discuss their town’s security challenges and how technology is coming into play to solve those security and situational awareness issues. ... Also, if municipal surveillance interests you, you might also want to join us in Atlanta this May for the Secured Cities conference, and before you head down, you can apply for a new award recognizing public-private partnerships. The award has been established by the ASIS International Law Enforcement Liaison Council. ... The AICC wants to know how dealers use radio technologies (and specifically which frequencies) for carrying signals back to central monitoring stations. Give 'em your feedback in their survey.