The Security Week That Was: A Recap - Aug. 20-26, 2005

Aug. 26, 2005
SIW Editor Geoff Kohl recaps the week of ISC East and other news shaping the profession

We're back from ISC East and still stuck in a New York state of mind, so let's recap the show first.

ISC East, for those of you who weren't able to attend, kicked off Wednesday morning. Besides being New York's biggest security show, the show is also the place where a lot of business gets done for organizations like SIA, SIAC, and the NBFAA. So that means there were a lot of industry "big wigs" in attendance. But the bulk of folks were either exhibitors (who were asking dealers to sell their stuff) or dealer attendees (who were looking for more stuff to sell, or better stuff to sell, or better deals on the stuff they already sell). The fare on the show floor was fairly standard technology, and other than a handful of companies, most weren't showcasing any really new, blow-you-away kind of systems. Overall, it was a fairly quiet show except for the constant prattle from a PA system where two men were selling a miniature camera/video camcorder/audio recorder/MP3 player that looked like it was a James Bond original. Most of the hum came from the deal making going all around. There were vendors courting distributors, distributors courting dealers, vendors directly courting dealers, associations courting members, and all the usual promotional elements of the show in addition to some great speakers like SIW columnist Charlie Pierce.

We're still distilling a lot of what we heard, and we're piecing together the bigger stories from the show. Look for those on Monday or in Tuesday's newsletters, but for now, check out some live updates that came directly from the show. Look over for the Wednesday update, the Thursday update and page 1 and page 2 of our show photos.

Now that "East" has been back in New York for two years now, is the show a big deal? The opinions are mixed. Wednesday's floor traffic was good; Thursday's was slow. Some vendors were really happy by the turn-out, and other thought it had become just a regional show. The fact is that ISC East is not supposed to be a clone of ISC West. This is a show that's great at serving the densely populated East Coast an alternative to the ISC West show. In reality the East Coast is so packed with national-level dealers and integrators and government contractors, that this will never be just a regional show.

Beyond ISC East

Okay, enough for now about ISC East. ASIS is right around the corner, so we'll be focusing on that show soon anyway. But for now, it's back to the news of our industry.

The big buzz of the week was, as you might have guessed, a $212 million contract to put surveillance cameras and sensors in the New York City subway system (the MTA). If you haven't heard by now, Lockheed Martin landed the contract, and I think that has rattled a lot of people within the security industry. Let's face it, the government goes back to its old favorites and its looking for people it has worked with before and who have proved that they can handle big contracts. Does that mean that no one else will get a piece of the pie? I don't think it signals that kind of blanket statement, but this project will certainly feel like trickle-down economics if you're looking for bread crumbs from this big job's dining table.

For something even more recent, consider this: The Securitas vault in Stockholm, which is a major distribution point for money to/from financial institutions (and we can also assume to retail locations), was hit with a major breach when heavily armed thieves rammed the facility with a tractor, and smashed their way to the vault. They were using automatic weapons and simply hit fast and got away even faster. It sounded a lot like the Munch Museum theft, and is a reminder that thefts don't always happen after hours with burglars trying to avoid motion sensors. Brute force still remains a possibility of entrance and egress, even if you've got the latest card reading system.

Finally, we recap a story that is decidedly "interesting" -- because it may mean a change in how you offer security services to chemical producing facility, or how you secure your facility. Here's the meat: the EPA is studying its authority to make chemical security decisions. A report is out that says that a portion of the Clean Air Act and "other statutes" may mean the EPA has some say over security for chemical operations. The EPA is coming across as hesistant to accept that responsibility, but as we know, there are a lot of senators interested in seeing some definitive government control over security at chemical plants.

And, now, a look at the most read stories of the week: