The Security Week That Was: A Recap - March 17-23, 2007

March 23, 2007
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Whenever a gun is fired at our nation's schools, or when a teacher finds a knife hidden in a backpack, parents get outraged, the news cameras roll up, and on sites CNN and, industry experts pontificate about what should be done. Should we install more cameras? What about metal detectors? Should every kid be tested for drugs?

But in the end, a school isn't an easy thing to secure. The fact is, you have lots of users who may not be the most responsible people in terms of affecting their own security (What were you like when you were 12 and carrying your PB&J in a lunchbox? Do you think you could have remembered to wear a student ID badge when you were rushing to eat your Cheerios and catch a school bus?). Schools also present situational problems like numerous access doors, sprawling architectural layouts, plus an environmental design which purposefully conveys openness and interaction with others.

On top of that, you have budgets that are strapped, teachers that are often underpaid, and taxpayers who love to give lip-service to more educational spending but don't want it to hit their tax bill. You have impressionable youth, kids who are bullies, anger at the cliques, anger at too much homework, anger that Johnny didn't make the football team. OK, maybe I'm pointing out the worst problems of schools, but the point is that a school is a difficult thing to secure and we really have been lucky that security incidents at schools are really quite rare, especially considering these negative factors.

Yet, through it all, those of you in the electronic and physical security industry know that a few technologies (access control, visitor management, video surveillance) could probably drastically improve school security. Well, on this Friday, I want to recognize a Massachusetts alarm dealer who put his company where his mouth was.

Reading the online version of the Springfield Republican newspaper this morning, I caught wind of a man named John Waitt, who happens to be president of IBS Electronics and Security there in Southwick, Mass. John isn't just a "security guy"; he's also a concerned parent of a Southwick student. John, recognizing that budgets are thin, donated his company's effort and time to install a $20,000 school security system that featured electronic access control and video surveillance. The access system is based on user rights to allow access to different campus buildings, and the cameras are an ongoing deterrent to vandalism, plus an incident response and investigation tool.

In this effort and thanks to his donation of products and time, John became a security hero in his own community. Thank you, John.

Back in the Business World
Bioscrypt goes 3D, Brijot now Relivio, EMI sold to Mayville

News shaping our industry this week was somewhat quiet, a condition that I ascribed to "ISC Westitis" – the calm before the storm, so to speak. Despite a seemingly quiet week, deals and plans were shaping the security industry.

• Biometrics firm Bioscrypt reported that it will be showing finger and 3D facial recognition products at ISC West, due largely in part to their somewhat recent acquisition of A4Vision.

• The company that founded millimeter-wave detection systems firm Brijot Imaging Systems has renamed itself from Brijot to Relivio. This news is somewhat confusing – Brijot Inc. founded Brijot Imaging Systems but is a separate company. Brijot Imaging Systems isn't changing its name. Are you confused yet?

• EMI Security Products is now owned by Mayville, not APW. EMI makes a number of enclosures for surveillance cameras.

• Visual Defence and Bell Security Systems Inc. announced that they've completed an upgrade of the surveillance system for Air Canada.

• Meanwhile, Canada's airports received poor grades on a security report card from the Canadian Senate, which cited "way too many holes".

• And for those of you working to secure sporting events, take note that Rushmans announced a new conference in England that will combine sporting event management and sporting event security.

Finally, a look at the week's most read news stories shaping your world of security: