The security week that was: 09/11/09

Excerpts from President Obama’s 9/11 address:

“Eight Septembers have come and gone. Nearly 3,000 days have passed -- almost one for each of those taken from us. But no turning of the seasons can diminish the pain and the loss of that day. No passage of time and no dark skies can ever dull the meaning of this moment.”

“Let us renew our resolve against those who perpetrated this barbaric act and who plot against us still. In defense of our nation we will never waver; in pursuit of al Qaeda and its extremist allies, we will never falter.”

“Let us renew our commitment to all those who serve in our defense -- our courageous men and women in uniform and their families and all those who protect us here at home. Mindful that the work of protecting America is never finished, we will do everything in our power to keep America safe.”

CEDIA hits Atlanta
Finding security amid piles of home theater equipment

I spent yesterday at the CEDIA Expo in downtown Atlanta; this is the leading event for the home automation and home/small business custom theater/audio-visual market. It’s the kind of show where you can walk down an aisle and be pulled into a booth by some tradeshow huckster pushing his company's stereo speakers that start at $22,000 for a pair (that’s the base model, I was told).

What I was most interested in, however, wasn’t the oversized TVs (there was a 103” TV in Panasonic’s booth) or the leather-covered, over-stuffed home theater seats, but where security was hitting this market. So, where was security at this show?

We found them here and there such as at Dedicated Micros, which was showcasing its integration with companies like Crestron, AMX and Elk, or at Cernium, which was showing its ArcherFish video analytics solution for small businesses and homeowners. We saw companies like Schlage and Kwikset doing more with remote home access, and Panasonic’s consumer division introducing new network security cameras (these are entirely different from the ones you will see in two weeks at ASIS).

We did see quite a few small home video monitoring solutions, but most of them were designed purely for live “look-ins”, not actual recording (although some, such as HAI’s systems, could add recording). I was impressed to see companies like Crestron discussing how they can integrate directly with the security system (Crestron partnered with Sequel recently for a communicator, so that the security system seems to operate natively through Crestron’s control devices).

In talking with two representatives from an up-east security and custom home systems product distributor, I was told that because of the economy, they’d seen a lot of residential custom A/V dealers get into security because they thought it would hold out better than the custom residential market, and they said that at the same time, a lot of residential security dealers got into custom A/V because they thought it would fare better than security. For all of that interplay, there wasn’t a great deal of cross-over at this show. Sure, we saw SentryNet promoting its alarm monitoring offerings, but they were the only monitoring company exhibiting. Dedicated Micros had an interesting story to tell, but they were the only CCTV company at the show. There has been lots of talk over the years about how security and home automation are going to align. After visiting CEDIA 2009, I’m seeing movements in that direction, but that ship is yet to arrive at the destination harbor.

Convictions in 2006 liquid explosives terror plan
Men had conspired to bring down U.S.-bound airliners

Three Muslim men were convicted by a British court for a liquid explosives plot against U.S. bound airliners. It was a bit of a let-down for the prosecution, who saw five other defendants earn acquittals. The three men had conspired and planned to use liquid explosives inside plastic bottles to bring down jets, but were under surveillance by UK police officials and were arrested before the attacks could occur. The Guardian newspaper (UK) wrote a nice piece giving the history of the plot (and the police work to break the plot), which we have published on

NBFAA to become ESA
Group votes to change name to Electronic Security Association

To members it’s big news; to others it may be ho-hum news, but the long-standing presence of the NBFAA is now going to be rebranded as the Electronic Security Association. It does have a nice ring to it, and the name is designed to stop the NBFAA from being perceived as an alarm system dealer’s association. The members have clearly been doing more than alarms for years (access control and video surveillance are two big installation categories for the association's members), so it’s a ripe time for the association to adjust its name and reflect that change in its constituency.