The security week that was: 08/28/09

GE going up for sale?

Rumors have been floating around for about a year about the possible sale of GE's security business, but now with the New York Times confirming that GE has hired JPMorgan to assist in such an endeavor, the rumors could become a reality. This would be no small sale; GE's security business might go for $2 billion, as it's a rather robust collection of systems, ranging from integrated security systems, fire alarms, threat detection systems for airports, fiber optics, access control, video surveillance, and burglar alarm/intrusion detection. There are very few companies that have the global management structure to even handle such a wide array of products and services, not to mention an established dealer channel. Tyco and UTC were the companies suggested as possible courtiers, and that seems about right. Of course, besides having acquired some really good companies over the years, GE has always brought the benefit of a really good corporate brand (100-plus year brands don't come around everyday, and those brands do mean a lot to companies and to their customers).

School security update
1 in 10 teachers don't feel schools are ready to protect students

While editors from all manner of security trade publications were joining ADT for a media summit (see our roundtable report and SDI magazine's report) that allowed us to talk with some of their end user customers, sales and marketing, management and technology gurus, the integration company released data from a survey it sponsored on school security. What they found was that 1 in 10 teachers didn't feel there school's security was good enough. Take the flipside of that and you've got 9 out of 10 teachers who think their school's security is good enough. I asked ADT's public safety advisor whether he thought 90 percent of schools were properly secured and his answer was "no." Fiel should know; this guy formerly headed up security at D.C.'s schools.

Speaking of school security, join us next month, on Sept. 17th, for a webinar on preventing school violence and how to use electronic security systems to help respond to violent situations when prevention is unsuccesful. We'll be having Dewey Cornell, Ph.D., director of Virginia's Youth Violence Project and the leading thinker on student threat assessments, speak on the program plus we'll have a vendor panel to discuss real-world use of technologies during live events. Register here for this program (registration is free).

In other news...
Mystery laptops, Hosted video surveillance, Stanley continues Sonitrol acquisitions

Unsolicited "mystery" laptops have been showing up at some state offices, making security officials wonder who's behind the purchase of these devices. Some suspect that the units might be a "trojan horse" ploy to get into the state data networks. ... Forum members are discussing the business model of hosted video surveillance solutions; register yourself and join the discussions. ... Video surveillance company Wren Solutions has picked up Wal-Mart and Home Depot loss prevention and security leader Eric White as the company's director of retail strategy. He'll also be blogging for the company. ... Stanley continues to purchase select Sonitrol dealerships; this week the company announced it had picked up Sonitrol of North Georgia. ... There were two signs this week that the technology industry may be picking back up: Intel is forecasting better revenues and Dell is also finding positive signs in PC sales. Here's hoping that positive mark shines on our industry as well.