The security week that was: 06/26/09

For IP video, it's time to make a move

From a presentation that Security Dealer & Integrator magazine's Publisher Carol Enman conducted with the Lusax Informatics research group, which included Thomas Kalling and Paul Pierce from Lund University, come some very pointed thoughts for companies considering getting into IP video. The main suggestion from their presentation is that today -- in 2009 -- it's still not too late to transition your company into IP video. You haven't missed the boat yet, but you can't be too slow either. The boat's crew is already untying the dock lines and readying to sail.

"It's time to make a decision on how you are going to pursue IP surveillance as part of your business," said Kalling, head of the research project studying IP video and the technology's effect on security integrators. "The danger of waiting is that the value added resellers (VARs) will steal your business if you don't step up your competence."

Kalling said that any successful company ready to make that decision can't just give a verbal commitment to learning the technology and using it. It takes, he said, a strategic plan created by management to say that - 1) we're going to be doing this much IP video business by this date, 2) we're going to have this many people trained in these select data networking skills by this date, and 3) we're going to commit to doing this many projects involving this technology this year, next year, etc.

From the end-user side, Enman notes that security directors are not going to be the ones holding this trend back. "IP surveillance is only a modest challenge for your typical security director," she said. "This is because they are already interfacing directly with their IT directors on security topics."

But, the hold-up, she said, is the resellers who aren't willing to adopt the technology yet. Sometimes, Kalling said, that hold-up comes from within the technical ranks of dealers, not from the management level. The way to get around that, he said, is simple: Incentives. Dealers have to provide incentives to their staff to get IP trained. The training and the knowledge is really quite attainable, said Kalling, who noted that it's much easier for traditional security dealers and integrators to get the networking, PC and IT training than it is for IT VARs to get the physical security training they would need to compete on a level playing field with dealers.

But even with security dealers and integrators holding the relationships with the clients and knowing the ins-and-outs of site surveys and physical security, if the resellers in our industry don't get moving now, the boat will sail.

ESX show report
Despite slow economy, show builds momentum

The Electronic Security Expo concluded yesterday afternoon after bringing together many alarm dealers and security systems integrators. The training sessions were excellent as always. The networking was priceless. The tradeshow floor attendance seemed somewhat affected by a down economy (it's tough to commit to travel to a show during slow economic times), but even with light traffic there, businesses told me they were finding new partners and resellers.

The show is primarily driven by attendance of NBFAA and CSAA members, but walking the show floor and attending the sessions, it's clear that these folks aren't just traditional burglar alarm installation and monitoring companies. On the monitoring side, we talked to quite a few companies who had added analytics into their central stations, in addition to things like managed access control, hosted video, GPS tracking and more. Talking with a couple of industry old-timers who were at the show, I was overwhelmed to hear them say how excited they were that the industry is changing, that the technology is changing, and that some of the business models are changing. Our coverage of the Electronic Security Expo appears here, and we want to remind you to mark your calendars for the 2010 ESX in Pittsburgh, June 14-18.

In other news:
Bank cybercrime, cargo screening, facial recognition

Bank robbers didn't hit the Dwelling House Savings & Loan Bank with guns drawn or notes passed to tellers. The bank is reported to be teetering on the edge of financial collapse thanks in part to a cybercrime ring that digitally transferred funds out of the bank's accounts. ... An ADT-led consortium has been selected for a cargo screening pilot project. ... A Japanese retailer is testing out a facial recognition system that uses Hitachi's technology and the retailer's security cameras to spot known criminals. ... Finally, it's not too late to still register for this afternoon's webinar on Retail Security & Loss Prevention. The program starts at 1 p.m. ET.