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Intel invests $15m in Prism SkyLabs


Prism Skylabs, a two-year-old startup founded by Ron Palmieri and 3VR’s Steve Russell has announced a $15 million Series B funding round led by Intel Capital, Intel Corporations’ investment and M&A business.

Actionable intelligence leads camera features

ASIS 2013 roundup

CHICAGO—The 59th Annual ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits here drew more than 20,000 participants Sept. 24-27.

ASIS 2013: My first day

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

CHICAGO­—3VR, Cisco, Avigilon, Verint, March Networks, FLIR, Mobotix, Guardian 8 and more! Those were among the booth visits I made Tuesday at the 59th Annual ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits here.

Common themes among those I met with were making security cameras better and having them do more for actionable, business intelligence for a bigger ROI and taking the potential for human error out of the equation.

For example, 3VR’s Masa Karahashi, senior VP, engineering , and Cisco’s senior marketing manager Lindsay Hiebert and product manager Jenifer Piccioni told me about their products’ ability to troubleshoot, manage huge numbers of cameras and provide valuable “un-siloed”  data.

FLIR’s Mark Kline, business development manager for critical infrastructure in the western U.S., Latin America and Canada, talked about adaptive command through the company’s Cameleon and told me to look more into Skywatch, its manned mobile surveillance tower.

Avigilon was showing off its new Light Catcher, designed for hotels, restaurants, bars and other places that use low lighting. The cameras can capture colors in a way that others can’t in darkness or low light, said Ian Povey, director of product management and product marketing. Knowing if someone who just took a wallet from someone’s purse at a bar was wearing a red or blue shirt can be a big plus, he said. Avigilon had a very effective demo at its booth.

Verint end-users Rudy Wolter, director of North American security and investigative services for Citigroup, and Eric Biernatt, manager of public safety, physical and tech security for the Medical College of Wisconsin, talked about their success with Verint’s products across the verticals.

I also spoke with a Guardian 8 end user who is beginning to deploy the G8 ProV2, enhanced nonlethal device at his sites. (The end user did not want to be named as of yet, but he is from a nationwide company.) The deviceå provides a layered defense as an alternative to force from up to 50 feet away, including laser spotter, siren, strobe light, O.C. pepper spray, camera with voice and video auto-record functionality, push-to-talk communications capabilities, the company said.

It’s always nice to put faces to people I often talk with via telephone, so I stopped by the American Military University booth to meet in person my good source, Jeffrey Hawkins, manager of strategic initiatives for the private security sector.

I topped off the day with an excellent dinner hosted by Morse Watchmans at the Girl and the Goat restaurant (highly recommend!). There I had the opportunity to chat with colleagues in the security trade pub biz.

As an aside, I took a hilarious ride back from the show with nine strangers. It was a long route so I had the chance to get to know Tyler Sweatt from Toffler Associates, who served three years in Afghanistan. Great guy. We at Security Director News thank him for his service!

Now, it’s time for Day 2. Another busy day ahead. Stay tuned.



Prism Skylabs raises $7.5 million

Startup’s product will be available for download in November

SAN FRANCISCO—Prism Skylabs, a startup company that "leverages data from existing video surveillance cameras to unlock information on customer patterns, trends and behaviors," on Oct. 16 announced it had raised another $7.5 million in funding.

Mexican prisons deploy 3VR's facial recognition technology


LAS VEGAS—Several prisons in the Mexican state of Guanajuato are using facial recognition software from 3VR to manage visitors and keep tabs on suspects who act as intermediaries between gang members behind bars.

3VR strengthens CrimeDex network


SAN FRANCISCO–3VR this week announced several partnerships that it hopes will expand its collaborative crime-fighting tool, CrimeDex.

Is it possible to break the security cycle?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Normally, I have a lot of sympathy for security guards. I think many times they are the unsung heroes of security - the folks who are never paid enough, but are expected to save the day. They are the guys and gals out there making sure you and I are okay and if we're not, they know what to do. Unless, of course, their hands are tied by silly policies aimed to protect corporations or agencies from being sued. I understand liability. I talk to transit agencies regularly and one of their primary reasons for having video surveillance is to protect themselves from false claims just as much as it is to protect their patrons. Do you think forward-looking video cameras are to ensure that buses remain on the right route? No, it's to make sure that if the bus is involved in an accident, they have evidence about who's at fault and who has the right to sue. And while I think it's a sad testament to the world we live in, I'm okay with that kind of proactive security.

But, what happens when agencies take that fear of liability too far? The incident in Seattle where security guards stood there as a girl got beaten up is beyond disgraceful. And, in many ways, I'm sympathetic to the guards involved. Did they want to intervene? No one knows, but my guess would be yes. Very few of us choose to stand around and watch another human get hurt, knowing we can help. But, because the transit agency had a ridiculous, "observe and report" stipulation, these guards were restricted from intervening for fear of losing their jobs. And that's disgraceful. Disgraceful, especially, for the folks upstairs who make these policies.

But apparently that policy has been changed. Shocking, I know. According to this article: "Security guards in Seattle's bus tunnel now have the authority to break up a fight, or physically defend themselves." Great. I would say that's the public's definition of a security guard's duties. Glad those in charge are coming up to speed on this.

Seattle City Council met with Metro Police Chief Major Dave Jutilla, King County deputies and Seattle police to talk about the new security plan. "The focus really has been de-escalation of volatile situations, responding to hostile situations and give the security guards the basic skill to defend themselves,” Jutilla said.

As part of the new security plan, the tunnel guards working for Olympic Security Services will be given additional training and can step in to stop a fight or protect a bus rider.

Wow, so they can actually provide security? Really, that's monumental. What's so aggravating about this incident and the response it's garnered is that it's so typical: Something happens, everybody freaks out, a lot of money gets spent to fix the problem, and over time, when the public memory fades, those policies and solutions start going by the wayside, security budgets get cut again and likely the exact same vulnerabilities reappear. What will it take to break this security cycle?

Guard issues all over the news

Monday, October 19, 2009

A lot of talk about guards in the news lately. I just read this article that security guards at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have won their two-year long struggle to unionize.

Museum guards signed union authorization cards in November 2008, but couldn’t find a union willing to stand up to their employer—security industry giant AlliedBarton—to help them fight for recognition as a bargaining group. (Under the federal National Labor Relations Act, security guards are prevented from joining most labor unions.)

While guards  won the battle to unionize, they still have to negotiate a contract with their employer, AlliedBarton. I just put out a few calls to AlliedBarton to see what they have to say, but I think there's definitely a benefits for both sides to unionize. I'm sure guard companies would have to spend more money per guard in a union situation, but at the same time, it would likely lead to far less turnover and aid in professionalizing the industry as a whole, which would attract higher quality applicants, right? I'll let you know what they say.

And, because reality TV has no boundaries, a new show premiering on TLC will feature the life of mall security guards.

"Mall Cops: Mall of America" follows the daily routines of dozens of officers on the MOA's security force, following them as they respond to calls, provide security for celebrities and deal with the daily work of mall security.

Sounds exciting. The series premiers Thursday night at 9pm on TLC, and is scheduled to run through December. Too bad I still don't have cable.

This sorta reminds me of that DHS television series: “Homeland Security: USA” that debuted ran back in January.  I forget, how did that fare?

ASIS: Day one

Monday, September 21, 2009

Although day one here at ASIS International isn't quite concluded yet (I'm on west coast time, after all), I've had a very productive day at the show. Despite fairly light foot traffic at the onset, by this time in the day things seemed to have livened up. I've seen a lot of people pass through with luggage in tow, so I'm guessing that today was a travel day for many and tomorrow will show much stronger numbers.

I haven't had much time to wander the show floor (I usually save that for Wednesday of the show), but have had some great discussions with security practitioners as part of sdnTVnews. For example, I spoke with Brian Tuskan, senior director of Microsoft Global Security, about what he called the 'secret sauce' to security solutions. Tuskan, who is charged with protecting more than 700 sites in 100 different countries and over 90,000 employees said that Microsoft utilizes a variety of solutions and doesn't use an integrator, but instead partners with different companies (like PPM2000, for example) to put together a holistic solution. Microsoft even has a booth here at ASIS International displaying their solution.

Also, I sat down with Sergeant Chris Kovac from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department to talk about the deployment of everything from video surveillance to license plater reader technology and mobile fingerprint readers. He talked about the challenges that municipality's face and how these different types of technologies can really make departments more efficient and cost effective.

Both of those interviews will be on sdnTVnews in the upcoming weeks.

In addition, I also sat down with Steve Russell and Al Shipp from 3VR about some recent patents they've acquired concerning searchable video as well as their continued focus on the retail space. Since that ORC conference I attended a few weeks ago, my awareness of retail theft issues has certainly been heightened and it sounds like 3VR has a broad offering of video solutions tailored toward the needs of retailers. There was a mention of an integration of their solution with POS systems that has helped retailers identify internal theft and fraud issues. Hopefully I'll report in more detail on that one in the future.

As you might remember, Al Shipp is a former technology executive with Apple and he was quite impressed with SDN's launch of it's iPhone application that delivers the news right to your phone (how do you like that promo? I've really embraced the ASIS spirit, don't you think?). Actually, I didn't actually get to show Al the app (I'm a BlackBerry user myself), but I could tell by his reaction that he was indeed impressed with how innovative we are at SDN.

Anyway, several more interviews to look forward to in the next two days of the show and by every indication they will be equally as productive as today. Now off to catch Anaheim Angels vs. New York Yankees game. See you on the show floor!

Why is everyone always picking on me?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Well, there's a big security issue dominating the airwaves (NPR). News organizations (Boston Herald, OC Weekly) are talking about it, partly due to an op-ed piece submitted by AlliedBarton. The issue: Mall security guards are being misrepresented by Hollywood's portrayal of the "dopey" mall cop.

I know some of you saw Paul Blart: Mall Cop, which was released late last year. And if that wasn't enough mall security humor for you there is this weekend's Observe and Report, starring Seth Rogan, the hilarious guy from Knocked Up.

Do these movies portray mall guards in a less than perfect light? Yes. Does it harm the industry? Maybe. The public's view of security? Potentially. Is it funny? I guess you'll have to judge for yourself.

Hey, it must be a slow news day. I can imagine the budget meeting now.
Editor: Jimmy, what do you have for front page?
Jimmy: Well, we could lead with the pirate/hostage situation in Somalia especially since the captain being held hostage is from our great city.
Editor: Been done too many times. Next idea?
Jimmy: There was the job fair that stopped traffic yesterday. Nearly 10,000 people showed up.
Editor: Eh, that's not news — everyone knows were in the middle of a recession!
Jimmy: Well, there is that movie coming out this week about security guards.
Editor: That comedy that is like Paul Blart. Hmmm ... we could write an article on how Hollywood is picking on security guards. Perfect! Make some calls.

Hey, I don't condone making fun of any type of security guard. I have complete respect for them and the jobs they do on a daily basis, especially in llight of the fact that malls are an active shooter target. But let's be real: Every profession has been made fun of in the movies at one time or another. Journalists, editors, CEOs, police, you name it. We're are in the middle of some very tough economic times and we have to laugh sometimes and sometimes, that is going to be at someones expense.

We can't take ourselves too seriously. If we did, then we'd really be in trouble.