ASIS in Orlando ...Feds Seek Private Sector Help; Security Through Environmental


No discussion of a security conference would be complete without noting the government’s influence on the industry of late. A story on that very subject kicks off our last of three special reports from the ASIS International Show in Orlando, Fla.

The Government and a Push for Security Standards

Besides generating a lot of work via U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security initiatives, perhaps the biggest impact from the federal government is a firm, but cordial, push for security standards for both products and design.

According to Jon Kinsey, business development manager for the government services group of Simplex, Dublin, Ohio, it starts with the Safety Act. “When you register with the government to get your product approved for use in Homeland Security projects, you must meet these standards,” he said (see for more).

Kinsey's company is currently a pre-qualified vendor with the U.S. General Services Administration, so he's not surprised by the mandate. The federal government has been moving in this direction for the past several years. Furthermore, he believes, these requirements will eventually trickle down to state, county and municipal projects as well.

There are benefits to this qualification, says Kinsey, because the standards set under Homeland Security provide vendors with a degree of indemnification in the event of product failure, such as the case of a catastrophic event like the collapse of the World Trade Center.

But the halo of Homeland Security is reaching beyond government projects. According to Alan Calegari, president and division regional head of security systems for Siemens Building Technologies, Buffalo Grove, Ill., pharmaceutical and chemical companies—or, for that matter, anyone else who might be a target for terrorist acts—are being strongly “influenced” by the government to adopt Homeland Security protocols.

But what exactly are these protocols? “Many of our customers are asking us what we know about Homeland Security and how much experience we have," said Calegari.

For SBT, it's been such a booming business that the company is relocating its division to the Washington, D.C. area to be in a better position to take advantage of federal work.

Part of this opportunity stems from the fact that the department is still growing and lacks expertise. Compounding that issue is the fact that the department has very strict prerequisites for qualifying its staff.

“I knew of a young man who graduated with his Ph.D. at 28 and was very smart, but couldn’t get hired [by Homeland Security] because you need something like 15 years of federal experience to qualify,” Calegari said.

As a result, the government is turning to the private sector for help. Calegari likened it to being in a pool of pre-qualified defense contractors. “The government is really looking at outside companies to be innovators,” he said. “We've had success to date, because we've brought in a whole new methodology and value-added concepts and solutions they're not used to.”

Another thing the government is not used to is working without standards. But that's also being addressed by the private sector. According to Kinsey’s Simplex colleague Mike Lohr, the National Fire Protection Assn. just recently got into the security game, having just approved the NFPA 731 standard.

“Until now, there haven’t been any guidelines on CCTV, etc. The new standard is not mandatory, but we are seeing it start to appear in specs,” said Lohr.

Lauris Freidenfelds, a security consultant with Sako Assocs., Chicago, who sat on the NFPA 731 committee, said the new standard is a great start, but there’s still a long way to go, as it was not something that was approved jointly by ASIS or SIA, even though both bodies participated in the process.

“We went through NFPA, frankly, because they're very good at getting standards adopted into code,” said Freidenfelds. “I'm really personally pushing to get ASIS and SIA to back the standard.”

Calegari, who also is involved with SIA, said his personal take is that security manufacturers don't want a lot of regulations, but the government’s desire to go this route is really going to be the driving factor. The big question, in his mind, is who is going to enforce these standards. “Is it NFPA or SIA?” he queried. “I'm not sure. Historically, fire has been managed by one entity—the fire department—with local marshals dictating codes. But with security, there’s no one enforcer.

Keeping Security Costs Down

There are many design considerations for security systems, and Frank Carpency, CPP, PSP, P.E., Carpency and Assocs., Gaithersburg, Md., tackled several of them in the second of a three-part seminar series on security systems design at the ASIS International show.

In his presentation, Carpency introduced the concept of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED), a situational crime prevention concept adhering to the premise that the physical environment can be changed or managed to produce behavioral effects that will reduce the incidence of fear and crime. Incorporating CPTED principles is one of the considerations he lists for designing security systems, along with thinking integration from the very start, addressing operational issues and incorporating human factors (training, software, hardware, maintenance and transition planning).

Another concept Carpency focused on was that of the rule of ascending cost, where each of the below items is more expensive that the one that precedes it:

• Procedures $
• Passive barriers $$
• Active barriers $$$
• Electronics $$$$
• Personnel $$$$$

The key to security cost control, he says, is selecting the proper mix.

Carpency also listed some potential design cost pitfalls:

• Incorrect or improper quantities
• Not including ALL cost components (design, inflation, terminations and compensatory security measures)
• Price increases
• Fixed quantities (e.g., spools of cable)
• Ongoing or near-term site changes
• Believing what you hear instead of gathering facts

Conversely, he also offered advice on how to keep security costs down, including using existing LAN, conduit and cable where practicable and realizing that money spent in the design stage will return many times over in installation and cost savings (minimizing rework and change orders).

New Security Stuff

As always, the tradeshow floor at this year’s ASIS show was a vast, carpeted landscape of surveillance cameras, monitors and bulletproof vehicles.

Meeting with clients and attending educational sessions (and not making it to the show) can make putting in quality floor time tough. That’s where Roy N. Bordes, president and CEO of the Bordes Group, Inc., Orlando, Fla., comes in. He provided a summary of what peaked his interest in his seminar “What’s New on the Floor: ASIS 2005.” Bordes’ picks include:

Cogent Systems introduced Searchgate, a biometric fingerprint sensor that stores up to 1,200 templates at the reader location and boasts a search rate of 500 templates per second. According to the company, it has the fastest one-to-none search rate in the industry.

HID Corp.’s Vertex is a network-driven access control system that uses all classes of access cards and is designed to work in a legacy environment.

On-Net Surveillance Systems displayed its setup of IP controls for entire CCTV systems, which can integrate cell phones and PDAs into the video reporting stream and features map-based interfaces for camera selection.

Cernium’s Perceptrak, a CCTV product that features real-time analysis of a scene, is scalable up to several hundred cameras and alerts users to up to 16 suspicious events in real time.

Verint presented a video management system for use in public transportation applications. It can capture video, audio and data from any location in the network and transfer it wirelessly to security personnel. It also works with existing security infrastructures.

Guardia A/S introduced a biometric access control product that uses advanced 3-D geometry (most systems currently use 2-D geometry) to grant access. It also uses infrared for temperature patterns, allowing complete creation of the human head.

Fujifilm Software released a facial recognition tracking system capable of finding a person in a crowd or high-clutter environment using a “top-speed” database search.

Digital Acoustics introduced an IP communications management software package called Talkmaster that can tie an intercom system into a building automation system via Ethernet. It features LAN/WAN interconnections, selective or master call to stations or groups and audible paging circuits for systems integration.

This concludes our report from the 2005 ASIS International Seminar and Exhibits. So long from Orlando!

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