The Security Week That Was: A Recap - July 8-14, 2006

July 14, 2006
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl gives a weekly surveillance of news shaping your profession

Installing cameras? Then there’s good news. A report out of Ireland by the firm Research and Markets, which predominantly releases technology-focused growth reports, puts international video surveillance growth at 37 percent for the next three years. The firm credited the steady increases as largely being driven by the whole switch from analog to IP-based, and by increased funding for cameras in the wake of terrorism’s spread. The result? It’s time to make haste in CCTV sales as this technology becomes more accepted from a privacy viewpoint and as an increasingly relied-upon component of the overall security system.

In the world of video surveillance, a news article appeared this week from the Copley News Service that looks at how video analytics is really taking off. If cameras are expected to see 37 percent growth in volume, then we can only imagine what video analytics’ growth may be. It’s an unsaturated market with a variety of technologies that have moved beyond the bleeding edge and into real deployments. “I think there's tremendous promise in the technology," said Mark Denari, director of aviation security and public safety at San Diego's Lindbergh Field, speaking of how his airport is embarking on a video analytics test.

While we’re on the theme of “Going Big,” I should mention that yesterday I had the pleasure to sit in on a web-based audio call hosted by Victor Lee, a senior consultant with N.Y.-based biometrics research and consultancy firm International Biometric Group. The discussion from the vendor-neutral firm was focused on how biometrics integrates into the healthcare sector. According to Lee, the real gains aren’t going to be made in physical access control. Biometrics deployment, he says, is more likely to be deployed to authenticate the healthcare recipients and healthcare providers. It’s going to be especially driven by HIPAA, the act which specifies that medical records have to be kept private and only accessed by authorized healthcare providers. But Lee also noted that biometrics can be used to validate that a recipient did indeed present at the facility, and can be used to combat systemic medical billing abuses where insurance companies are billed for services that weren’t actually rendered. My full report on Lee's discussion appears here.

Budgeting for Chemical Plant Security
Senate approves DHS budget with funding for border security, chemical facilities

If you haven’t heard by now, then let us tell you. This week the Senate OKed a budget of $32.7 billion for the Department of Homeland Security. To put that in perspective, it means that every man, woman and child in the United States is paying an average of $109 per year to fund security (that’s based on an estimated population of 300 million). So what’s new here? Well, there’s been some flack that the Senate didn’t fully endorse funding for terror grants, but also included in the bill is language that gives the Department of Homeland Security some authority over security for chemical plants. It’s very limited, but the read on this is that there will eventually be federal standards on chemical plant security. It’s likely to be welcome news from the chemical industry, which has opposed state control of chemical plant security because the states tend to lack the standardization necessary when chemicals are transported across state lines. It’s an issue I touched on months ago in a feature about chemical security legislation that was inspired by a visit to see Honeywell’s security system at a chemical plant in Louisiana. That earlier feature is linked here.

Lost Baggage...Not a Problem. Stolen Baggage...Big Problem

As much as we all complain about airports’ baggage handling, be glad you don’t regularly fly to third world countries where lackadaisical security sometimes means that baggage is outright stolen. To combat this problem, some airports are turning to RFID tags to allow for baggage asset tracking. Not only can the systems help prevent theft, but the systems also offer natural operational insights. And while many integrators and end-users agree that the technology is still too expensive to use for most applications, in airports where baggage theft is prevalent, the systems can quickly pay for themselves.

"That's where the money is"
As ATM thefts become more common, investigators break a robbery ring

The famous quip “that bank robbers steal from banks because that’s where the money is” may need to be updated for 2006. With a high success rate for apprehending suspects for in-branch robberies, the thieves have repeatedly turned toward the outside of the banks. ATMs are the new target, and brazen thefts that sometimes involve forklifts and fire department quality metal cutting instruments are appearing on the scene. In Maryland, prosecutors now have suspects for a string of ATM robberies, and the story of this theft ring is sure to be of note for any of you with ATMs and banks to protect.

Acquisition News

On the vendor side of the news, the top story this week was that RAE Systems, which has a number of chemical and radiological threat sensors, has acquired video surveillance firm Aegison Corporation for $2 million. The systems have been integrated for homeland security-type threats; RAE Systems’ COO Rudy Mui says it was only natural to link video with threat detectors.

For more acquisitions, we turn to the news that Diebold Security acquired Actcom. Actcom, an integration firm based primarily on the East Coast, brings a stable of expertise on HSPD-12/FIPS 201 implementation to Diebold.

Be Smart, Be Trained

The NBFAA, ADI and Slayton Solutions are teaming up to offer the networking training that many security dealing companies so desperately need. Get the whole story here.

That wraps it up for leading news this week, but hit the home page for more great stories and links to section areas that affect your business. We close as always with a look at the most popular stories of the week: