The winning products and services of the 2019 Innovation Awards were revealed at ESX 2019 on June 4 in Indianapolis. Each year, the ESX Innovation Awards programme recognises outstanding products and services that drive the electronic security and life safety industry forward. This year’s winners continue that legacy with novel innovations and improvements. To determine the best of the best, judges selected winners from a pool of applications from manufacturers and service providers serving the industry with innovative end-user offerings and tools that help dealers, integrators and monitoring professionals become more efficient and profitable. Category winners were as follows: Access control pdqSMART+, Grade 1 Cylindrical Lock by PDQ Industries Enterprise Access Control by Alarm.com OmniAssure Touch by Honeywell Commercial automation / control systems / networking TruProtect™ Integrated Security Solution by Interlogix Dealer services QuoteAnywhere G2.0 – Mobile Sales Quote & Sign Platform by WeSuite CSR Readiness PRO by CSR Privacy Solutions, Inc. Digital health / well-being systems Essence 3D Sense Fall Detector by Essence Smart Care Fire / life safety DynamixSmoke by Advanced Honeywell Home SiXCOMBO Two-Way Wireless Smoke/Heat and Carbon Monoxide Detector by Resideo Installation / service tools fireNspec by PnewSoft, LLC. System Surveyor by System Surveyor Intrusion systems BX Shield Outdoor Boundary PIR Series by Optex, Inc. IQ Panel 2 Plus by Qolsys 1122 Wireless (PIR) Motion Detector by DMP - Digital Monitoring Products BAT-Connect Communicator by Alula Mobile apps for consumers Honeywell Total Connect VISTA Partitions by Resideo Video Verification App by DICE Corporation Smart Signal by Alarm.com Monitoring station CHeKT Visual Verification Bridge by CHeKT Specialty products & services WattBox 150 IP Power Outlets with OvrC (1 controlled bank, 2 outlets) by SnapAV Video surveillance SecureCom Video NVR™ by DMP - Digital Monitoring Products Thermal-Optical DeepinView Turret Camera DS-2TD1217-3/V1 by Hikvision USA Umbo AICamera by Umbo Computer Vision DuraVisionDX0211 by EIZO Inc. Umbo Light by Umbo Computer Vision Next-gen products Judges from across the country were invited to provide their expert opinions The winners selected are recognised as next-gen products and services that offer significant opportunities for growth. Judges from across the country were invited to provide their expert opinions based on thorough criteria. This year’s judges were: Rodger Reiswig, Johnson Controls (Florida); Grady Medcalf, Spectrum (Colorado); Michele Monheim, Amherst Alarm (Upstate New York); Steven E. Paley, Rapid Security Solutions (Florida) and Adam Thompson, Wired-Up Systems (Arizona). Criteria of judging Entrants to the Innovation Awards program were judged on: features and functions, innovation, end-user experience, ability to solve a problem, revenue growth potential, impact on company efficiencies and compliance with regulations. These metrics provided a rubric that determined the most innovative and exceptional products and services in the industry. Winners of the Innovation Awards were featured in the ESX Innovation Awards Showcase in Booth 615 during live expo hours.
Jennifer A. Theobald has joined the senior leadership team of Rapid Security Solutions, LLC (RSS) as Vice President of Operations. Theobald is a veteran of electronic security, holding high-profile positions at leading manufacturers and a preeminent central station monitoring company during her industry career. Critical time in company development Most recently she was a Business Development Manager for Axis Communications; her other credentials include sales, project management and operations positions at Bold Technologies, Milestone Systems and Rapid Response Monitoring. Theobald assumes the new role at a critical time in the company’s development, according to Steven Paley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Rapid Security Solutions. “We are at an inflection point where we will surpass our revenue goals for 2017 and need an experienced senior operations leader, like Jennifer, on our team to facilitate our continued growth. With our long-term plan to expand the business in a scalable, profitable and more efficient manner, the timing made sense to add a dedicated senior level manager whose focus is RSS operations.” "We want to make certain RSS is ready and prepared for its next stage of growth in every aspect of operations" Paley said he was familiar with Theobald through various industry organisations and associations and knew her top credentials would make her the right person to oversee and orchestrate this important position. “She is a proven leader with more than a decade of experience in electronic security and a track record of success in managing high-growth operations,” he added. Driving RSS towards future growth Theobald said she is excited to have been actively recruited by RSS and will focus on refining current operating procedures with the goal of gaining greater efficiencies at the company’s headquarters and five Florida branch locations. “We want to make certain RSS is ready and prepared for its next stage of growth in every aspect of operations”, she said. “Having worked in the manufacturing and monitoring sides of the business allows me to leverage my past knowledge and relate it to better practices at RSS. All the different experiences that have led me here will provide a good basis for success as we continue moving forward in this exciting and rapidly changing market.” As Vice President of Operations, Theobald will lead, manage and maintain responsibility for all RSS production and client service operations and team members. She will be highly focused on implementing and reinforcing process and procedure to further drive RSS to a scalable, highly efficient operation that can handle the future growth the company envisions.
Recent news of Canon’s $2.83 billion cash bid for network surveillance leader Axis Communications came as a surprise to some, but many could easily digest the move as more consolidation of the marketplace, especially the crowded video surveillance space. Systems integrators weighed in on what they expect and the long-term outlook for IP camera leader Axis and Canon, a Japanese firm predominate in broadcast, optics and consumer electronics. Joe Liguori, a partner at Access Control Technologies Inc., Clifton, N.J, says he is a little surprised by the announcement, but even more amazed by the purchase price. “Obviously, the price Axis was able to command tells of the magnitude of the size of the market and their position,” says Liguori, a past president of Security-Net who currently chairs the group’s national accounts program. “But there needs to be consolidation in the marketplace, because potential growth won’t support all the players.” Liguori says the fact that Canon is buying the company also came as a revelation; he says Canon has been “a quiet company” in the security industry. “I’m sure they are looking at how they can complement their existing business to become more powerful.” He adds that at the time of the interview he had not heard directly from Axis; Security-Net is a Platinum Channel Partner for the IP camera firm. Bob Stockwell, chief technology officer, Stanley Security Solutions, Indianapolis, says Axis reached out to them following the announcement and reassured the company it would be business as usual as they continue to operate as a separate entity. He adds that Stanley is one of the largest partners for Axis, ranking about third in camera sales and with about 80 percent of Stanley’s surveillance installations using Axis brand IP cameras. “I think it makes an interesting combination with what Canon has to offer,” Stockwell says. “They are big in broadcasting and consumer electronics and manufacture optics. Hopefully it will be business as usual, and we will be able to work with the same Axis team members. We also look forward to even more interaction and believe the combination will result in additional technology innovation.” Stockwell echoes Liguori’s comment about Canon being a bit of a sleeping giant. “It’s interesting to see Canon go on an aggressive stance with this acquisition because they’ve always been quiet in the security space. We’ll see how the companies mix, but I think it’s wonderful.” Axis reached out to Stanley Security and reassured the company it would be business as usual Jeffrey Nunberg, president and chief executive officer of Integrated Security Systems in Miami, says the future is still unknown as far as whether or not Canon will let Axis run independently. “It’s hard to say what will happen. Typically you don’t see any change for a year, so we’ll have to wait at least 12 months. Canon claims they will let the company remain as it is, and nothing will change. But everything changes. If Canon maintains the Axis team that gives the company their flavor, their mojo, everything will be OK. It’s certainly a good time to be a shareholder,” Nunberg adds. Nunberg comments that the IP camera market is becoming commoditised, so even Axis’ double digit growth may be compromised in the future. Even so, Integrated Security Systems stands by the Axis brand with about 90 percent of its cameras purchased from the company. “We love Axis and are big fans. We can install their products faster and they rarely have any units bad out of the box.” Integrated Security Systems has been installing Axis cameras for about six years and is a Gold Channel Partner. Nunberg says he called the company after hearing about the acquisition. “If there is change, I hope it means more innovation. At this point I don’t know what Canon brings to the table. If I were Canon, I would let Axis run their business. They have a lot of experience in security,” he adds. Rapid Security Solutions LLC in Sarasota, Fla., is not a channel partner but sells Axis cameras. Steve Paley, president and chief executive officer, says he is hopeful the purchase will allow Axis to provide a better focus to smaller companies operating in the U.S. market. “I think it’s important for international or non-domestic manufacturers to really understand the U.S. market. A product may be good, but perhaps it’s not supported properly. If Canon truly puts their resources and capabilities behind Axis to further support the U.S. market in a way that has not been done before, then the acquisition is a good thing.” Paley says Axis has not focused on selling to small- to medium-size integration companies. “For the smaller integrators, there’s huge potential, but we haven’t been able to fire on all cylinders because the programs and structure were not necessarily friendly to the smaller integrator. That’s how I think it can be a positive; if they recognise the potential for installations with the smaller companies in the systems integration industry. Canon obviously bought Axis because there’s potential to bring their company to a new level. The Axis product is great, and they have some great people. I think there’s an opportunity to strengthen their partnerships with small-to-medium integrators, where typically we have been frozen out because of pricing and structure.”
Two reports recently resurfaced – one online and the other on national television – that cited potential vulnerabilities of wireless intrusion door contacts and window sensors, devices commonly used to secure the perimeter of protected premises. These reports came after two independent researchers who work in the industry, but announced their findings independent of their positions, cited that alarm signals from sensors and detectors to the control panel could be subverted to “suppress the alarms or create multiple false alarms that would render them unreliable.” False alarms were initiated using a hacking tool some 250 yards from the system, but the actual disabling of the alarm required a closer action about 10 feet from the home. The report indicated that intruders could walk to a door, suppress the alarm and conduct their activity without alarm notification. The problem occurs with the signals emanating between the door and window sensors to the control panel. According to the researchers, the signal is not encrypted or authenticated, making it easy for someone to intercept the data, decipher the commands/codes and play them back to control panels at will. Other potential problems uncovered included the ability to jam signals and intercept communications, thus rendering the system unresponsive. This type of signalling is separate from the home’s Internet connection via a wireless network. According to the Electronic Security Association, it’s paramount for homeowners to secure their WiFi network with encryption such as strong passwords and other measures. While the possibility of these types of risks may be remote, it’s certainly something for the alarm industry to consider and investigate further, especially as wireless systems become more commonplace, says Steven Paley, President and CEO of Rapid Security Solutions LLC, Sarasota, Fla. Paley is the President of the Electronic Security Association of Florida and holds numerous committee positions with the national ESA. "If the manufacturer offers authentication and anti-hacking in the product, then it’s up to the dealer to use those safeguards, but they need the tools to do that” “Anything is possible,” Paley says. “With one of the providers I use, the keypad isn’t wireless and the system runs over GSM radio. So if someone hacks into the log-on or the system, it goes to their hosted server. It’s certainly more advantageous for dealers and installers to use wireless, and more practical in many instances depending on the nature of the premises. But if someone can disable the system and create a security breach, the obvious solution is for the dealer to avoid installing those devices.” Paley says it’s up to manufacturers to provide remedy so signals from their devices can’t be hacked or intercepted. “If it’s an add-on module that can do this, then it becomes the role of the systems integrator to deploy it. But it’s incumbent upon those manufacturing hardware to put in some safeguards, and the onus shouldn’t be on the dealer. If the manufacturer offers authentication and anti-hacking in the product, then it’s up to the dealer to use those safeguards, but they need the tools to do that.” Paley says he believes the risks of this type of compromise are low, but it’s something that needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis for each customer. “I don’t know of any instance of these breaches occurring, but you have to understand the risks and weigh those for each customer.” He says the issue has been illuminated, and the industry needs to become better educated on the situation. “I suspect if you could hack in and get control of the keypad, then that’s a problem, but we need to know more. It’s on us to investigate it. Security dealers are on the front lines, not the manufacturers, but what I can say is that the first company that develops something to prevent that type of compromise is the one I’m going with.” Seems this also makes another case for video verification of alarms.