J. Matthew Ladd
Round table contributions
If we didn’t have manufacturers, integrators wouldn’t have anything to sell. But what is the role of manufacturing companies when it comes to taking those products to market? Effectively managing the sales channel – helping resellers be successful without somehow undermining their efforts or (heaven forbid!) selling direct to an end user – is an ongoing and delicate challenge for manufacturers. They want to do everything in their power to ensure success of their products in the marketplace, and they want to support their integrator partners, whose success is synonymous with their own. So we asked our panel this week: How can manufacturers add value to the selling process without undermining their installers, integrators and/or distributors? Or, more generally, how should manufacturers engage with end user customers?
“Buyer beware” is always good advice in the security marketplace – or in life for that matter. But the age-old warning is more timely than ever in our age of global commerce and given our fragmented market with thousands of products manufactured all over the world. Complicating the picture: our market is also inching toward commodisation and facing downward pricing that shrinks margins for manufacturers. So the question becomes: When is an item merely a good deal or somehow “too good to be true?” Counterfeit products are flooding a wide range of markets, so it seems unlikely the security market would be immune. So we asked our panellists this week: How is counterfeiting of security equipment a problem for the market, and how should it be prevented?
This week’s Expert Panel revisits a classic question that has been around since the advent of IP video: Should an enterprise’s video system have its own network, or should it share the corporate network? Our panellists' responses reflect new IT trends, technology changes and shifting priorities that are impacting how the question is approached. Rising concerns about cyber-security (such as fears that video might provide a hacker entry into the enterprise system) are one new aspect. New trends like virtualisation are also changing the economics of IT systems, while bandwidth demands continue to be an issue. Let’s take a look at our panel’s latest takes on this classic network video system dilemma.
The retired police officer who takes a cushy job as a security director is almost a cultural cliché. Like any cliché, the idea has roots in the real world, where police departments have often been a rich source of the security industry’s leadership talent. Former military personnel often find their way to the security industry, too, and realise that the familiar elements of discipline and command structure translate well. We wondered about the impact of this historic trend and whether it is changing as the security industry itself evolves. We asked our panel: What effect has the traditional recruitment of corporate and institutional security leaders from the law enforcement and/or military communities had on the security marketplace? Is the tradition changing and why?
Articles by J. Matthew Ladd
As anyone who has ever flown on a commercial airline since 2001 knows, security measures at airports are well enforced and the emphasis on traveller safety is all around the airport and its grounds. Mass transportation, meanwhile, presents a special but not any less significant challenge when it comes to determining security issues. These facilities need to develop the means to protect a constantly changing and large population of passengers. And unlike airports these facilities often have hundreds of points of entry and exit on multiple modes—buses, subways, light rail, commuter trains, even ferries. About 2 million Americans will use the nation’s airways on a given work day, while 35 million people will board some form of public transportation. In fact, statistics have shown that nearly 11 billion trips are taken on public transportation every year. In some large metropolitan areas in North America where mass transit is well established, more than 20 percent of the area’s inhabitants get around via public transportation.About 2 million Americans will use the nation’s airways on a given work day, while 35 million people will board some form of public transportation Solving mass transit security For transportation officials and their security providers, solving the mass transit security issue begins with determining the key concerns and then creating the proper responses via security systems, policies and procedures to mitigate the risks. Although vandalism and graffiti are very visible signs of criminal behaviour in mass transit settings such as bus stops and subway stations, this is not where transportation officials typically focus their energy. Fences and gates can secure out-of-service buses and train cars, as can remote surveillance methods to keep such vandalism at a minimum. Instead, it is the day-to-day safety and security of transit riders and employees that should become the highest priority. This begins with creating the safest environment possible that is highlighted with appropriate signage and, when necessary, audible warnings, and supporting that with technology, such as surveillance cameras, that will document what has happened if an incident occurs.Analytics can also be useful in alerting security about other suspicious behaviours at a transit stop, such as an untended bag or package Crime prevention in transportation Analytics can also be useful in alerting security about other suspicious behaviours at a transit stop, such as an untended bag or package Incidents of concern within a transit setting can take several forms, ranging from legitimate accidents or crimes to false claims such as faked fall down the stairs to potential and actual suicides. Bus and subway stations also have become magnets for homeless people who may put themselves and others in harm’s way by trying to access less secure public areas within a station as temporary shelters. If someone is injured on a subway platform and the transit provider is held liable, it could be on the hook for hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Suicides are a major concern for operators, with personnel now being trained to look for individuals who seem distressed, are loitering in the area or are intentionally putting themselves in a dangerous situation, such as standing too close to the edge of a platform. The deployment of video analytics, which can be programmed to send alerts when certain pre-set actions occur, can help determine when such dangerous behaviours come into play. Analytics can also be useful in alerting security about other suspicious behaviours at a transit stop, such as an untended bag or package or a person going into a restricted area. Whether it is on the bus, train or ferry or at the stops themselves, cameras and intuitive video management systems are the key to both active and forensic transit security. Some cities use buses that are up to 60 feet long and those can be equipped with up to a dozen cameras Train security and safety By using the proper cameras and recording systems in a transit environment, quick-acting personnel can locate a person of interest who boarded a train at one station, follow him during his trip and produce a crisp, clear identifiable image at the end. Those setting up the system thus should keep in mind proper camera positioning, resolution and motion-based changes to framerates or other compression settings. A typical 30-foot bus often has six cameras—one each at the front and middle doors, two more within the bus and then one looking forward and another looking behind the bus. The latter two are important in the event of accidents to verify liability. Some cities use buses that are up to 60 feet long and those can be equipped with up to a dozen cameras.Train stations often deploy high-definition cameras to better support facial recognition software to get that actionable image Train cars are similarly equipped with two to four cameras to view activity down the centre aisle. Within the stations themselves, there can be from 15 to 30 or more cameras capturing wide-angle shots. Train stations, which have a restricted point of egress, often deploy high-definition cameras to better support facial recognition software to get that actionable image. Installing the right technology for the solution Although bandwidth and storage can be a concern, with motion-based recording, the resolution can be bumped up during event, resulting in a 1-megapixel stream jumping to 4 or even 8mbps when needed. By changing the resolution on demand, end users can cut their storage needs significantly. Transportation settings often rely on the same technology used in other security installations, primarily mini dome cameras, although there are some mini transit domes built specifically for the environment with the proper aesthetics. Because of vandalism threats, transit typically avoids pendant mounts, which can be more easily grabbed and damaged. Temperature ratings for cameras also come into play in cold climates with cameras often getting outdoor exposure.Today’s new buses and trains are constructed with the cameras onboard and newer stations also take security into consideration at the earliest design stage As trains and buses move along their routes, especially those that service outlying areas, Internet connectivity becomes an issue as well. Because it may be difficult for video to be sent in transit, security bus barns are equipped with Wi-Fi so video from onboard cameras can be downloaded at the end of the day. And the use of hardened recorders at the stations allows security personnel to retrieve recorded video. Transit security with modern technology Today’s new buses and trains are constructed with the cameras onboard and newer stations also take security into consideration at the earliest design stage. Older infrastructure from long-standing subway and bus terminals can prove to be a challenge when adding security, but these issues aren’t insurmountable. Often the solution is to add more cameras to cover the same square footage because of less-than-ideal sight lines and to place conduit wherever it works best, which may mean positioning it under platforms or in other out-of-the-way places within older stations. Looking ahead, transit security will continue to evolve, not only as new stations and modes of transportation are added to the system, but in terms of communicating with commuters. People can expect to get mass notification alerts on their mobile devices, and those same devices can provide vital data to transportation entities to better develop their overall systems.
The security market is very active right now. Business is strong, according to most of the people that I talk to in the industry. In 2017, we at The Protection Bureau had one of our best years ever revenue-wise. Because of a strong economy, businesses are spending money on security. 2017 growing trends The trends that happened in 2017 vary. One trend that is growing is the national account concept. This is because clients are deploying more and more enterprise-level systems and taking advantage of network-based systems. Another trend this past year is growth of the IP video market, a strong technology in the market because and where many integrators generate their revenue. We also saw many clients with older surveillance systems invest in updating their technology, such as replacing older IP-based systems with newer versions and taking advantage of analytics and greater recording options and storage solutions. Many of our customers also invested in updating their access control systems by replacing their older Weigand cards with more secure card formats. Unexpected challenges One of the unexpected challenges we ran into this past year related to technical roadblocks that integrators hit with products. For example, a camera manufacturer may increase the capabilities of the camera, but the capabilities of the recording systems have not caught up. Or, the access control system has to integrate with other systems, but the application programming interface (API) is not finished. That has perhaps been one of the biggest surprises this year as an integrator. Looking ahead to 2018 The economy looks like it will be as strong in 2018 as it was in 2017. I expect that cybersecurity will continue to have a strong impact on the security market because there are greater network security issues. It’s important that security systems integrators understand that the cybersecurity impact is going to be huge in 2018.There is currently a battle going on as to who can provide the lowest-cost camera - this means that integrators are going to have to watch their margins Some other impacts I expect to take shape involve the IP camera market. There is currently a battle going on as to who can provide the lowest-cost camera. This means that integrators are going to have to watch their margins. For example, if the integrator buys a camera for $500 and sells it for $1,000 that is a good margin. However, if that camera now cost $100, and the mark-up is $200, that will greatly reduce profits. Strong IT service providers will win The biggest winners in the market will be those who position their companies to be strong IT service providers. The trends are changing very quickly, and security systems integrators who are geared towards providing a high level of technical expertise are going to be more successful.There is currently a battle going on as to who can provide the lowest-cost camera. This means that integrators are going to have to watch their margins Business at The Protection Bureau is up 19 percent over last year. We also completed projects in 39 states and one country, so our national accounts business is extremely strong. Our successes have been in the organisation, project management and sales of national accounts. The challenge going forward is to keep up that level of revenue, profitability and manpower. If you talk to any integrator around the country and ask them what is your biggest headache, they will tell you it’s finding good people trained on IT and networks. Certified Security Project Manager qualifications 2017 was also an extremely strong year for Security-Net, of which The Protection Bureau is a member, especially relating to the national account work we do with each other. Last year we achieved $17.8 million in revenues with national level projects and expect to beat that number in 2018. The quality of the members of Security-Net continues to grow. We are also really pleased that all of our security project managers are becoming a Certified Security Project Manager (CSPM) through the Security Industry Association. This is going to have a positive impact on Security-Net and every member’s business.
Security-Net, Inc., a global provider of security system services, is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year, a testament to the strength of the organisation that today brings together the best independent security systems integrators to collaborate on enterprise-level projects, technology acumen and business practices. Security systems integrators group Since its founding in 1993, Security-Net has been recognised as the top group of security systems integrators within the industry Since its founding in 1993, Security-Net has been recognised as the top group of security systems integrators within the industry. Its members are regularly included in the SDM 100 Top Systems Integrators list, an annual listing of the top security systems integrators in North America, and the Security Systems News 20 Under 40, an annual award that recognises the top up and coming security systems integrators. “The idea for Security-Net originated during a manufacturer’s award trip when several security systems integrators expressed a desire to discuss common problems and business best practices with industry peers,” said Bill Savage, President of Security Control Systems of Houston and one of the four original founders of Security-Net. “A year later we had an organisation formed.” Security-Net project management platform Over the past 25 years, Security-Net has evolved into an organisation that now collaborates on national projects, helps its members stay up to date on the latest technology issues and trends, and provides sales and project management training to its members. The group has also launched its own project management platform. “We’re proud of how Security-Net has grown dynamically over the years,” said J. Matthew Ladd, a member of the Security-Net Board of Directors. “Within the past 10 years we’ve added numerous sub-committees, including Tech-Net, Ops-Net and Sales-Net, and provided member companies with access to programs to strengthen their sales and project management skills.” Global security services Today, Security-Net members regularly collaborate with other member companies on projects that expand beyond their geographic areas of business, providing customers with global security services through its network of security systems integrators. Security-Net’s membership based currently includes 21 members a combined 50 offices in North American, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, the United Kingdom and Europe.
The Protection Bureau is one of the top-10 security integrators in the US You really can’t talk about The Protection Bureau without discussing its founder, the late Keith Ladd. If you’ve been in the industry any length of time, you probably had a chance to meet him. I certainly did. In fact, when I was a cub reporter with one of the first security publications I ever worked for, my inaugural visit to a customer and central station was to The Protection Bureau. That’s where I met Keith Ladd. He was a busy man, but took time out to talk to me about the nuances of the security industry. Most of all, he was kind and understanding, patient with my (extremely rudimentary) questions about security. Keith Ladd’s 40-Year legacy And now, this summer, The Protection Bureau celebrated 40 years of exemplary service – thanks not only to Keith but to his son J. Matthew Ladd, chief executive officer, and daughter Karen Ladd Baker, senior vice president, who continue to lead the central station company into new technologies and services – but always with an emphasis on the customer and their employees. Keith Ladd was an extraordinary person with a knack for technology even when he started the company, which he ran for 35 years until turning it over to Matt and Karen to operate. Keith Ladd passed away in 2009 at the age of 74 and has been remembered posthumously throughout the industry with awards and accolades. Today, The Protection Bureau operates in 38-plus states with more than $15 million in annual revenue and some 95 employees. The company is one of the top-10 security integrators in the country, with a professional central monitoring station, also in Exton, and an office in South Plainfield, N.J. The Protection Bureau was at the forefront of the industry’s move into the world of services, offering managed access control security in the late 1990s and video monitoring in 2009. Growth driven by employee engagement J. Matthew Ladd credits the company’s continued growth both to his father’s legacy and “can do” attitude, and to active participation in every aspect. “My sister and I were not just handed the company by my father,” says Ladd. “We were always very involved and let our employees also be part of its success by embracing their opinions and new technologies. We have a fantastic team and have built a company that can grow by itself.” “My sister and I were not just handed the company by my father. We were always very involved and let our employees also be part of its success by embracing their opinions and new technologies. We have a fantastic team and have built a company that can grow by itself”, says J. Matthew Ladd, CEO of The Protection Bureau Ladd says his father started the company in his garage in 1975. Now the firm has a 16,000-foot Central Station Alarm Association Five-Diamond certified central station and a fleet of 67 vehicles. The central monitoring station has fully redundant virtual servers and handles fire alarms, intrusion alarms, forced and held door alarms, environmental supervision, medical, holdup, intercom door control and fully managed video and access control services. Customer-focused strategy The Protection Bureau is also a member of the Electronic Security Association, Security-Net and is a PSA Security Network owner/member. The company’s offerings include all the latest services, including home automation and interactive services and video, in addition to intrusion detection and a vast array of complete home and commercial security services. According to J. Matthew Ladd, the company continues to expand its technology services, but the real story behind its success is a solid focus on the customer. “Our mission as a systems integration company has not changed. Our charge is to provide the most professional services to our customers, treat everyone with respect, and work closely alongside current and future members of the community and the industry. In this way, we know we can all succeed and provide the peace of mind everyone deserves.”