The security week that was: 02/05/10

Good news for manufacturers

There was a sign this week that the overall U.S. economy may be seeing the start of a turn-around. The manufacturing sector posted job gains of 11,000 positions in January 2010, the first time the sector had seen gains in three years, and the largest gain since April 2006 (yes, it's been that long). In our industry, we saw a number of job losses among top security product manufacturers as they were faced with over-production during the economic recession of the last two years. Many security products distributors were simply over-stocked and cut back on new orders for product from manufacturers. Similarly, manufacturers that tend to sell through the channel directly, rather than through distributors (which then sell to the channel VARs), scaled back on production as their channel's product order pipeline shrunk.

While the Labor Department numbers by no means specifically focus on the physical security industry, let's hope that our industry patterns the overall manufacturing sector with a regain of jobs.

Panetta: Al Qaida attack likely
CIA director says methodology changing and that threats loom

CIA Director Leon Panetta has warned the U.S. Congress that there is high probability that Al Qaida will attempt an attack on U.S. soil within the next three to six months. Panetta also warned that Al Qaida (a.k.a. Al Qaeda) is adapting its methodology, and that the group may be inspiring homegrown extremists to conduct attacks that are not affiliated with the Al Qaida network.

Alarm industry responds to end of POTS
AICC wants an orderly transition

A week ago, AT&T indicated that it is losing interest in the plain old telephone system (POTS) and is eager to move into alternative communication protocols such as IP and broadband. That news woke up the alarm industry, which has traditionally relied on phone lines to communicate alarm signals for both burglar alarms and fire alarms. Some dealers told SIW they were ready to get away from POTS (also called the public switched telephone network, PTSN), and certainly technology is available to communicate alarm signals over IP connections. However, for many homeowners who are your customers, this is going to be a significant change.

In response to this potential technology change, the Alarm Industry Communications Committee, which reflects the interests of the ESA, CSAA and SIA, has requested the FCC ensure an "orderly transition." AICC's Lou Fiore wrote: "The wholesale conversion of the PSTN to packet-based voice services provided by broadband providers must be 'managed' so that compatibility can be maintained, thus assuring that life-safety systems are not rendered useless."

CFATS education
Archived webinar provides insight to standards process

Tuesday's webinar from on the topic of CFATS (Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards) was highly attended by the U.S. chemical industry and featured Evan Wolff from Hunton & Williams, DeWayne Rush from Threat Advisors and Ryan Loughin from ADT Advanced Integration's petrochem/energy unit. The program gives a clear update about the CFATS process for the chemical industry (and for some non-chem industries as well) and this webcast addresses questions like whether DHS is prescribing certain physical security technologies. The archived CFATS webinar is now available; it is free to view and stream.

In other news
Olympics security, Sanyo-Panasonic, Rothman to follow in Cornett's shoes

Vancouver has over 1,000 outdoor security cameras set up to monitor and record surveillance video for the 2010 Winter Olympics. They've also tapped outside police forces to build a unified force of 15,000 sworn officers. That's in addition to the scores of private security officers who are running around the Games. ... SD&I magazine's Deborah O'Mara shared us notes from an interview on the topic of the Panasonic-Sanyo unification that has been happening in Japan. The word from Sanyo is that although the company is being merged in with Panasonic at a corporate ownership level, Sanyo will still very much continue to exist as its own brand -- and that applies to its division that makes security cameras. ... Finally, we learned that industry icon Ben Cornett is set to retire from his position as president of the Honeywell Security Group. Ron Rothman, who has served as president of Honeywell's Security and Custom Electronics Group (a subset within the overall security group), will step up into Cornett's position. Rothman will oversee all divisions of Honeywell's Security Group, which includes Security & Custom Electronics, Video Systems, Access Systems and Distribution.

Watch video version of "The Security Week That Was" on SIW TV: