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by: Paul Ragusa - Friday, August 23, 2019

Anyone who has fallen victim to the dreaded “porch pirates” can understand why the current smart home trend of in-home delivery of packages continues to catch on. Nothing sucks more than having video footage — from a video doorbell or camera — of someone grabbing your goods off your stoop and having no power to do anything about it. 

It is this convergence of technology and convenience that is driving interest in, and spending on, security. In fact, nearly half of consumers who currently own or intend to buy a smart door lock, a smart garage door opener or video doorbell value the ability to remotely allow Amazon package deliveries, according to new research from Parks Associates, an internationally recognized market research and consulting company specializing in emerging consumer technology products and services.

“Battle for the Front Door: The Access Control Ecosystem” reports that one-third of owners or future buyers rate this capability as very valuable, with 37 percent of smart access control device owners or intenders willing to pay up to $1.98 per package for delivery inside their home or garage.

“The growth of online shopping from sites like Amazon and Walmart has led to an increasing problem of package theft but has also created a new use case for the smart home,” Chris O’Dell, research associate, Parks Associates, said in the announcement. “As consumers increasingly rely on home package delivery, and look for ways to make this process more secure, they have a greater awareness of access control devices like video doorbells, smart door locks and smart garage door openers.”

The prospect of package theft creates opportunity for smart home device manufacturers and service providers to boost consumer confidence by guaranteeing safe package delivery with in-home and in-garage delivery services. Amazon’s 2019 partnership with Chamberlain highlights this potential. Among consumers who own or plan to buy a smart door lock, a smart garage door opener or video doorbell, 43 percent find the ability for FedEx or UPS to perform in-garage delivery to be valuable.

“Enabling home services will ultimately drive adoption of access control devices by expanding their value to consumers,” O’Dell said. “Traditional garage door openers typically have a lifecycle of 10 or more years, so companies need a strong and unique value proposition with smart garage door openers in order to expedite growth in the market. The promise of safe package delivery, combined with partnerships that incent purchase and ease installation concerns, can be that driver.”

Found in the report is an assessment of the access control ecosystem, profiles of key players in each device category and evaluations of home services strategies. It also includes five-year forecasts of smart door lock, video doorbell and smart garage door opener adoption. For example, one-quarter of U.S. broadband households plan to purchase a video doorbell in the next year.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, August 21, 2019

If you’re part of the security industry, there’s little doubt you haven’t heard about the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rule announced last week that started the ball rolling on the prohibition to procure certain Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment. The key word here is “certain,” meaning not all equipment is part of the rule, and security contractors are left scrambling trying to figure out exactly what to do.

The Security Industry Association (SIA) jumped into action and released a preliminary analysis of the rule that focuses specifically on the video surveillance equipment and services covered. SIA also stated that they will update the analysis with additional insight and information as needed, and the association will host a webinar tomorrow, August 22 at 1pm ET to brief members on its analysis of the NDAA prohibition and acquisition rules.

According to SIA’s analysis, security contractors need to understand the following:

Remember the effective date, August 13, 2019. Why is this so important? Because all solicitations, contracts and contract awards issued on or after this date will include clauses prohibiting procurement of covered equipment and services.

Disclosure requirements for new contracts. Beginning on the effective date, all offerors must provide self-certification as to whether ANY of their offerings to the federal government include covered equipment or services. This also extends to subcontractors.

Reporting requirements. Beginning on the effective date, contractors and subcontractors are required to report any covered equipment, system or services provided and discovered during contract performance within one day of discovery. In addition, within 10 days, the contractor must explain mitigation actions taken or recommended.

Scope of prohibition. Extends to purchases below the minimum purchasing threshold (up to $10,000 in 2019), regardless of the commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) waiver.

Government-only waivers. Contractors and companies cannot obtain waivers; they are only available for government entities.

Tailored approach to collected information. GSA has issued its tailored implementation rules.

For more detailed information about NDAA and FAR, including a answers to frequently asked questions relating to the ban, please check out SIA’s full analysis here, and attend SIA’s webinar.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, August 14, 2019

On Tuesday, Aug. 13, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) rule implementing the first subsection of the procurement prohibition on certain Chinese telecommunications and video surveillance equipment was announced.

Notably, the rule covers only the provision of the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Section 889 set to go into effect one year following enactment — subsection (a)(1)(A) relating to direct government procurement of covered equipment and services. The remaining provisions of Section 889 (including applicability to the use of federal grant funds) are scheduled to go into effect in August 2020.

While the Security Industry Association (SIA) is working to provide members with a preliminary analysis of the rule as quickly as possible, these rules and contract clauses added to the FAR should be carefully reviewed by suppliers of video surveillance equipment to the government.

The rule prohibits federal agencies from buying “covered telecommunications equipment or services as a substantial or essential component of any system, or as critical technology as part of any system” from designated Chinese entities, including:

•    Telecommunications equipment produced by Huawei or ZTE and their affiliates;
•    Video surveillance and telecommunications equipment produced by Hytera Communications Corporation (Hytera), Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Company (Hikvision), Zhejiang Dahua Technology Co., Ltd. (Dahua) or their affiliates for the purpose of public safety, security of government facilities, physical security surveillance of critical infrastructure and other national security purposes;
•    Telecommunications or video surveillance services provided by any of these entities or using any such equipment; and
•    Telecommunications or video surveillance equipment or services produced or provided by an entity that the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence or the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, reasonably believes to be an entity owned or controlled by, or otherwise connected to, the Chinese government.

In a comprehensive analysis of the interim rule, Morrison & Foerster said, “DoD, GSA and NASA are working to update the online System for Award Management (SAM) to allow contractors to represent annually whether they sell covered equipment or services. Only contractors that provide an affirmative representation in SAM will be required to provide offer-by-offer disclosures in their proposals for contracts or task orders. This option is not available yet, so contractors should expect to see the representation incorporated into solicitations starting August 13.

“The second clause — FAR 52.204-25 — incorporates Section 889’s prohibitions and definitions into the contract and also imposes a significant reporting requirement on the contractor. The reporting requirement obligates the contractor to report through DIBNet if it identifies any activity prohibited by the rule during contract performance. Contractors must do so within one business day of identifying the activity, and then follow up within 10 business days with any additional information about mitigation actions undertaken or recommended.”

Morrison & Foerster also pointed out that by October 14, 2019, the Secretary of Commerce “must issue new restrictions implementing the May Executive Order declaring a national emergency over the influx of telecommunications technology developed by ‘foreign adversaries’ and entities controlled by them. Implementing regulations will identify covered entities and transactions, almost certainly targeting entities like Huawei and ZTE,” Morrison & Foerster analysts opined.

Stay tuned for more on this topic.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The role of robotics within security continues to increase, as the technology can act as a force multiplier, expand the scope and effectiveness of security around and within a perimeter, including everything from small to expansive areas. Drones, for example, have come a long way in just a couple of years, and are starting to be used in commercial and industrial senarios, as well as in and around home.

With drone technology advancing at a fast rate, FAA regulations loosening, and more accessible off-the-shelf solutions available, we may be at a turning point when it comes to increased adoption of drones within security, according to a recent whitepaper, Drones in Security & Surveillance, by FlytBase, an enterprise drone automation company.

“The physical security market is primed for drone automation and scaling — the time, cost and safety benefits of autonomous drone fleets can create significant business value for this industry,” FlytBase CEO Nitin Gupta, said in the announcement of the white paper. “Drone patrols will augment human guards and enable security agencies, risk managers, security directors, system integrators and other stakeholders to make faster, better decisions for real-time incident response, remote security operations, event management, disaster response and more.”

The ability to deploy in a multitude of 24/7 security and surveillance use-cases is helping to drive increased demand and adoption of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), said Flytbase, noting that UAVs address many user/customer pain points, including:
     •    High turnover of security guards;
     •    Operations at night and in hostile scenarios;
     •    Surveillance of hard-to-reach locations;
     •    Liabilities associated with human and helicopter patrols;
     •    CCTV blind spots; and
     •    Need for real-time situational awareness in emergencies, etc.

“The time for aerial security is now ripe because the prosumer drone market has matured so rapidly in the last few years that commercial-off-the-shelf drones can be used commercially, instead of (expensive, monolithic, low reliability) custom drones, in all but the most demanding security and surveillance use-cases,” according to the white paper. “The physical security market is one of the most compelling target segments for the commercial drone industry. As automation technology is adopted for industrial and commercial security, drone fleets will play a central role, given that they can be deployed autonomously, at scale.” 

The two obvious obstacles for driving broad adoption of drones in aerial security use-cases tended to be:
     •    Hardware (battery life, sensor quality, flight stability, etc.); and
     •    Regulation (especially for beyond visual-line-of-sight i.e. BVLOS operations)

However, these are now turning enablers, with the emergence of:
     •    Reliable, off-the-shelf drones that are affordable and programmable; and
     •    FAA integrated pilot programs, EVLOS relaxations, Part 107 certifications and UAS Remote ID.

As UAV regulations mature, security agencies in particular are expected to rapidly   adopt drones to substantially reduce their operating costs, improve perimeter coverage and awareness, and to minimize occupational, health and safety risks to human guards.  Despite a variety of relevant use-cases, the enterprise adoption of drones in this sector remains at the proof-of-concept and pilot stage; for production deployments to become widespread, three enablers are needed:

     1.    Drone-in-a-box hardware that is cost-effective and yet reliable;
     2.    SaaS solutions that automate drones, are scalable and yet hardware-agnostic; and
     3.    Integrated offerings that require low investment, & hence pay back in < 1 year.

“For VLOS and EVLOS security operations, the drone-in-a-box requirement is less critical,” the white paper noted. “Thus, security agencies, domain consultants, drone  system integrators, managed service providers and end users can all get started with off-the-shelf, prosumer-grade drones and existing SaaS offerings, and eventually add docking stations and charging pads to their autonomous drone security operations.”

Click here for the complete white paper.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Security industry confidence continues to rise with the summer temps, according to The Security Industry Association’s latest Security Market Index, a bimonthly measure and outlook for the security industry.

While confidence in the state of the market had already seen a bump in May with a Security Market Index (SMI) of 63, up from the March SMI of 60, hopes are even higher this month with a July 2019 SMI of 71, SIA reported, noting that any Index above 50 indicates that conditions within the industry are largely positive and that security industry professionals are predominantly confident in their business outlooks.

Special focuses of the July 2019 SMI include:
•    A continuously climbing SMI for security consultants;
•    Despite other sectors' increases, a dip in confidence for the video surveillance SMI;
•    Integrators increasing spending among decreases in overall confidence in business conditions; and
•    Expected security spending increases in government and education.

For its July SMI, SIA found that 48 percent of security professionals rated current business conditions as “excellent,” and 45 percent said they were “good.” Only 7 percent said conditions were “average,” and no Security Market Index respondents considered current conditions to be “fair” or “poor.” In May 2019, 49 percent of respondents said conditions were “excellent,” and 38 percent rated conditions as “good.” Eight percent said conditions were “average,” 5 percent rated conditions as “fair” and no Security Market Index respondents rated conditions as “poor.”

SIA noted that multiple respondents said that there is a strong demand from customers for security system upgrades, as well as new installations, while others pointed out the strong acquisition activity currently happening within the security market. And while the responses were mostly positive, some pointed out what they see as current issues in the industry. “While the economy appears strong, we’re seeing a lot of pressure to cut prices,” said a respondent working in the access control sector, who rated current business conditions as “good.” One respondent who works as an engineer in the industry rated current business conditions as “good,” but expressed worry over the U.S. president’s relations with Europe, saying, “Unnecessary business risk results.”

While numbers remained steady in most key factors (new orders; product/service sales; new product intro; and capital equip spend) this July, SIA found that the percentage of respondents who said they plan on increasing their number of employees or hours worked jumped to 76 percent, when only 56 percent said so in May.

Within the next three months, 90 percent of security professionals believe business conditions will be either “much better” or “a little better,” SIA found, with 10 percent expecting no change to business conditions, and zero Security Market Index respondents expecting conditions to be worse. This is slightly more optimistic than in May, when 87 percent expected improved conditions within three months.

When SIA asked which vertical market they think has the most potential for increased security spending in the next five years, many respondents to the July SMI answered government and education, with 24 percent answering government, and 21 percent answering education. Other answers included healthcare (17 percent), cannabis (10 percent), office buildings (7 percent) and energy (3 percent).
  
In regard to increased government business, SIA referenced a Dec. 2018 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, Federal Building Security: Actions Needed to Help Achieve Vision for Secure, Interoperable Physical Access Control, which pointed out the need for improved security in government buildings and a government-wide approach to regulate access to controlled areas in federal buildings using access control systems such as card readers.   

“Implementation of physical access control systems at federal agencies represents a significant federal investment,” stated the report. “For example, over the next five years the Transportation Security Agency plans to spend about $73 million to implement physical access control systems . . . In addition, according to GSA officials, GSA has spent millions of dollars to test these systems.”   

School security has also proven to be a booming market for the security industry, with bills requiring security spending in schools and grants for security systems in schools being introduced at a rapid rate, SIA reported.  The education sector of the market for security equipment spending and services reached $2.7 billion in revenue in 2017, according to a 2018 report from IHS Markit, School Security Systems Industry – U.S. Market Overview. The market is expected to grow an average of 1 percent annually, reaching $2.8 billion by 2021. However, the report warns that since so much progress has been made in securing schools over recent years, security spending may actually slow in the market.

For the full Security Market Index, including a breakdown by segment click here

by: Paul Ragusa - Friday, July 19, 2019

For the past few years here at SSN we have been paying more and more attention to cybersecurity and its role within physical security, looking at it from as many different security perspectives as possible — end user, consultant, specifier, commercial integrator, supplier — you name it and we’ve probably written about it!

With cybersecurity playing such a prominent role in physical security today, we have added a section on our site that is completely devoted to our cybersecurity coverage. The convergence of physical and IT security is happening, and what better place to stay up to date on the latest happenings in the cybersecurity space than right here at SSN.

Some of our recent cyber-related stories include a great piece from SSN Contributing Editor Lilly Chapa, who attended the recent SIAGovSummit, about how the federal government aims to modernize physical security practices. As she points out, government agencies intend to evolve their security approach to address changing technology, threats and budgets, including working closer with cybersecurity and IT professionals.

Another interesting story worth checking out is by SSN Managing Editor Ginger Schlueter, who spoke with Cyber Criminologist Dr. Peter Stephenson about the art of data forensics.

Plus, she will be attending Cyber:Secured Summit at The Westin Dallas Park Central, July 29-31, and providing full coverage of the event here on the site as well, which you can find by just clicking on the Cybersecurity tab at the top of the site.

Dive right in here.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The increasing focus on safe cities and securing sports events and concerts in stadiums is aiding expansion of the global Stadium Security Market. 

The global market was valued at $6.2 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $16.1 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 12.8 percent during the forecast period, according to a new report from Fortune Business Insights based in Pune, India.

The report, titled “Stadium Security Market: Global Market Analysis, Insights and Forecast, 2018-2025,” offers insights into the market and the rising importance on public safety and security in stadiums across the world. According to the study, stadium owners are now installing well-equipped security systems including metal detectors, intrusion alarm systems, access control systems, CCTV cameras, facial recognition systems and fire alarm systems.

“Technological advancements such as adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) in stadium security systems is expected to enhance the spectator experience,” noted one of the lead analysts on the study. “Upgradation of stadium security plan can offer a convenient and personalized experience to spectators and simultaneously ensures complete security.” Moreover, IoT adoption helps in the effective management of stadium infrastructure, contributing towards the growth of the market, he said.

As per seating capacity, stadiums with capacity between 30,000 and 50,000 are anticipated to grow at a rapid pace driven by rising number of events and concerts, growing at a CAGR of 13.4 percent and. On the other hand, stadiums with a capacity of less than 30,000 seats are projected to account for the highest share in the global market. However, this segment is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 12.5 percent during the forecast period.                     
                                                                         
North America is expected to lead the global Stadium Security Market in the forecast years. Predominantly, Canada and the U.S are on alert for terrorist attacks, which compels the stadium owners to adopt stadium security solutions. Rapid technological advancements in stadium security systems and growing demand for maintaining stadium infrastructure are driving the market in North America. The market in Asia Pacific is expected to gain an impressive share in the forecast years.
 
Increasing terrorist threats and pressing need for ensuring public safety are compelling companies to develop innovative and smart stadium security measures. “To gain an edge over strong competition, several leading players are installing stadium security systems at some major stadiums to maintain their position in the global market,” the research firm found.

The top 10 players covered two-third of the share in the global market in 2017, the study noted, including:
•    Avigilon Corp.
•    AxxonSoft
•    BOSCH Security Systems
•    CISCO Systems Inc.
•    Dallmeier
•    Genetec Inc.
•    Honeywell International Inc.
•    Intel Corporation
•    NEC Corporation
•    Rapiscan Systems
 

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Fire is the biggest risk for both residential and commercial properties, followed by burglaries, which tend to spike in the summer and winter months, according to a new study completed by American Alarm and Communications of verified alarms from homes and businesses across Greater Boston and central New England.

“Given our monitoring footprint in New England, and our systems for tracking alarm events, we use this data to understand local trends and to help people better manage risk in their homes or places of business,” Wells Sampson, president of American Alarm, said about the study. “When we decided to look at five years of data, and saw the results, we felt there would be public benefit if we released the information so everyone in our region is aware of these trends.”

The study, entitled “Regional Security Report: Five-Year Study of Verified Alarms, 2014-2018,” analyzed data collected at the company’s monitoring center that tracks activity from its professionally installed and maintained security and life-safety systems at nearly 30,000 locations, primarily in greater Boston, central Massachusetts, Rhode Island and southern New Hampshire.

During the five-year period studied, 1,644 verified alarms occurred, including 532 fire alarms, 333 burglar (intrusion) alarms, 224 elevator entrapments and 185 panic alarms (also called hold-up alarms). A verified alarm is defined as a signal caused by an actual event that posed a threat and required intervention.

The following is a summary of results:
•    Fire is the biggest risk for residential and commercial property, followed by burglary;
•    Fire alarms spike in January and February, doubling the monthly average;
•    Burglar alarms are more frequent during the summer and winter months;
•    Burglar alarms are concentrated in late evening and overnight hours;
•    Panic alarms peak in the mornings and afternoons at banks, and in the late evenings at gas stations and convenience stores; and
•    Elevator alarms are mostly from commercial buildings and clustered during business hours.

For more information on the types and timing of alarms, see the report here.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, June 26, 2019

One of the top themes at ISC West 2019 this past April was the increased adoption of cloud-based services, products and solutions. This month’s News Poll looked to gauge how the cloud is being adopted within security today, asking readers if they have seen the use of cloud-based solutions increasing.

Not surprisingly, 76 percent of respondents said they “get asked more and more,” for cloud-based solutions, while another 18 percent said they “see a slight uptick in interest.” Only 5 percent said they did not see “much traction yet.”

As one respondent summed it up, “Cloud is the Future. Either get on the bus or get run over by it.”

When looking at where readers see the greatest adoption of cloud, 57 percent said, “for video surveillance, storage and data,” 35 percent said “within access control,” and 8 percent said it is best suited “for cybersecurity/IT” purposes.   

“I have worked for a cloud-based access control provider for over 15 years. The rate of cloud adoption has never been higher for us,” Dave Williams, VP of Strategic Accounts for Brivo, wrote in. “There has always been multiple access control companies to fit specific vertical market needs, there will continue to be multiple providers. At some point, much like the sunsetting of DVR technology, access control servers will become a thing of the past. There might be a niche vertical some place that still holds on to older technology, but by far the vast majority will be Cloud.”

In terms of where the industry is at when it comes to the adoption of cloud, 32 percent of respondents said, “We are still in the early adoption phase,” while another 32 percent said, “It will all be cloud-based someday.” Interestingly, 37 percent of respondents said they “see a hybrid approach winning out,” which would include a combination of on-premise and cloud-based systems being used.

“There will be a long term need still for on-premise systems, due to bandwidth costs, and in enterprises where there is no Internet access to the video surveillance or access control systems permitted,” noted one respondent. “However, the market for software running on the Cloud will grow, since this allows the vendor to maintain the software system at its data center and frees up the Integrator or end user from periodic software updates.”

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The battle for the smart home has raged on for quite some time now, with the big players like Amazon, Google and Apple making major plays to dominate the space. But, with the smart home market flooded with a ton of IoT devices — and many more to come — the new race is to see who will come up with the go-to platform to make all of these devices work in perfect harmony … I can dream, can’t I?

A new Parks Associates research report — Race to Control the Smart Home Ecosystem: Attracting Partners — looks at this dilemma, and finds that adoption of connected point solutions and the advent of smart speakers will drive demand for platforms to coordinate and centralize control of smart home products and capabilities in U.S. households. The report reviews the strategies of major smart home platforms in the consumer electronics and security industries and their approach to attracting manufacturers to their ecosystem.

"The percentage of U.S. broadband households highly familiar with smart home platforms increased across all platforms from the end of 2017 to the end of 2018," Chris O'Dell, research associate, Parks Associates, said in the announcement. "Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant saw the biggest jumps of all listed platforms, so voice control is a key factor in driving consumer interest in the smart home and the adoption of multiple devices per household."

The report states that as device adoption continues to increase each year, smart home platforms will help establish order out of the chaos that comes from the steady influx of connected devices in consumers' homes. According to Parks Associates research, 28 percent of US broadband households now own at least one smart home device, and device-owning households own an average of six devices in their home.

"Companies competing in the smart home ecosystem can leverage platforms to provide a reliable, interoperable ecosystem with a simplified user experience and deliver expanded value through enhanced features such as cloud intelligence and data privacy and security," O'Dell said.

When implementing a smart home ecosystem in their home, consumers care less about name brands of key devices and more about a seamless experience where all devices in the ecosystem work together smoothly, Parks found, noting: “Consumer preferences favor vertically aligned players, such as Comcast and Vivint Smart Home, which have introduced their own branded devices to optimize the experience on their platforms while also maximizing profits.”

Additional questions addressed in the report include:
•    Who are the major smart home ecosystem players by category?
•    How is the rise of voice-first control platforms affecting smart home ecosystems?
•    How can smart home ecosystems help the smart home industry overcome interoperability issues and concerns?
•    What are the smart home platform strategies of the leading CE and security industry players?
•    What approach are these companies taking to attract manufacturers to their ecosystem?

For the complete report, click here.

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