The Global Security Exchange (GSX) seems smaller this year, which is not surprising given the absence on the show floor of several big companies such as Hikvision and Assa Abloy (although their subsidiary HID Global has a big booth). A trend affecting the number of companies exhibiting at GSX 2018, and other trade shows, is industry consolidation, which is impacting the show even beyond the fewer exhibitors this year in Las Vegas. GSX is the new branding for the trade show formerly known as ASIS.

There was an impressive crowd of visitors waiting for the show floor to open Tuesday morning; the conference part of the program began on Monday. After the attendees filed through the doors, the foot traffic seemed brisk throughout the morning, and was somewhat steady until the end of the first day. Exhibitors as a whole seemed pleased with the first day and cautiously optimistic about the rest of the show.

Acquisitions And Consolidation

HID Global announced on the first day that they will acquire Crossmatch - emphasizing the impact of consolidationEmphasising the impact of consolidation on the industry as a whole, and on this show, was an announcement from HID Global on the first day that they will acquire Crossmatch, a biometric identify management and secure authentication solutions provider. It’s a comparatively large acquisition for the company specializing in trusted identity solutions.  

Just days earlier, another acquisition also seemed to confirm the trend when UTC Climate, Controls and Security — the owner of Lenel — announced an agreement to acquire S2 Security.

The fruits of another recent acquisition was on display at the GSX 2018 hall, where Isonas took its place near the front entrance as part of the Allegion booth, just three months after the global security provider acquired the ‘pure IP access control company.’

Isonas is well positioned in two of the three fastest growing segments of the access control market — IP hardware, which is growing 41 percent per year globally, and access control as a service, or ‘cloud’ technology, which is also outpacing the overall access control market. Allegion also has the third fast-growing segment, wireless locks, covered with its Schlage brand.

"New Avenues Of Growth"

The early days of new ownership is opening fresh opportunities for both organizations as Allegion seeks to leverage Isonas’ intellectual property and the smaller company finds new avenues of growth in the larger organization, says Rob Lydic, Isonas Global Vice President of Sales. Motorola joined Avigilon in a higher profile role at their booth, emphasizing consolidation in the industry

Lydic sees a likelihood of additional acquisitions in the near future in the security space, given the large amount of capital currently available to be deployed, and the large number of entrepreneurial companies looking to make the leap, as Isonas did, from a small booth at the back of the hall to front-and-center as part of a big industry player.

Another reflection of consolidation: Motorola Solutions is taking a much higher-profile role in the Avigilon booth. In addition to signage, ownership by Motorola is also impacting the Avigilon product offerings. For example, the Motorola Ally security incident management and communications system has been integrated with Avigilon’s analytics-based event detection, and is being positioned to serve the enterprise market.

The system simplifies security operations with a single platform that allows access to critical data, including video and access control systems, directly from any web-enabled device.

In addition to signage, ownership by Motorola is also impacting the Avigilon product offerings
Another reflection of consolidation: Motorola Solutions is taking a much higher-profile role in the Avigilon booth

Avigilon is displaying Motorola Solutions’ CommandCenter Aware integrated with Avigilon’s systems for use with public safety applications to provide dispatchers and intelligence analysts with video feeds, incident details, alerts, data mapping and responder location.

Avigilon has also integrated its AI-driven Appearance Search technology with its Access Control Manager system, so video searches can be performed based on a badge credential. The system can automatically pull up any information, whether video or events in the access control system, based on the badge information. It can also be used to search for lost badges, or to view where a person is located in the building.

Avigilon introduced an AI appliance that allows existing cameras to be integrated with Appearance SearchThe company introduced an AI appliance that allows existing (non-Avigilon) cameras (up to 20 two-megapixel cameras) to be integrated with Appearance Search. Also, the next generation of analytics allows detection of more things, such objects a person may be holding, or detection based on what they are wearing.

The Growth Of The Cannabis Market

Although attendees at GSX are generally understood to be more end users than integrators, Joe Grillo, CEO of ACRE, the parent company of Vanderbilt Industries and ComNet, says he sees little difference in attendees at GSX compared to the ISC West show in the spring. “We see all our resellers here,” he says. Grillo noticed that Day One booth traffic was “not consistently busy, but steady.”

Grillo says ACRE expects to be active again soon in the mergers and acquisitions market. The company has grown through six acquisitions since its founding, and has had one divestiture (when it sold Mercury Security to HID last fall). Since selling Mercury, ACRE has been ‘back in the buying mode,’ just looking for the right opportunity, says Grillo. New markets are a theme at GSX, and one of the biggest new opportunities is the cannabis industry. Marijuana has been legalized in dozens of U.S. states, and Canada is on the verge of legalizing the drug.

March Networks works with multiple cannabis operators to provide video solutions, point-of-sale transaction data, and customer analytics

March Networks is among the companies targeting the cannabis industry in a big way. Already across the U.S., March Networks works with multiple cannabis operators to provide video solutions, point-of-sale transaction data, and customer analytics. The business intelligence solutions also aid compliance in the highly-regulated industry.

March Networks provides radio frequency identification (RFID) tag to track plants throughout the channel, and tracking is integrated with video systems to provide correlated video views. A couple of exhibitors mentioned to me the need for commercial companies to deploy a comparable level of automation as their employees are accustomed to in the smart home environment. That suggests a need for things such as smartphone integration and voice commands.

One exhibitor putting its toe in the water is Hanwha Techwin, which showed an Amazon Echo device used to control a video management system (VMS) with voice commands.

Could the simple integration be a preview of the future of control rooms, where security officers merely talk to their equipment rather than operating controls? We’ll be talking to more companies (and maybe a few machines) on Day Two of the show, and will be reporting what we hear.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

Author profile

Larry Anderson Editor, SecurityInformed.com & SourceSecurity.com

An experienced journalist and long-time presence in the US security industry, Larry is SecurityInformed.com's eyes and ears in the fast-changing security marketplace, attending industry and corporate events, interviewing security leaders and contributing original editorial content to the site. He leads SecurityInformed's team of dedicated editorial and content professionals, guiding the "editorial roadmap" to ensure the site provides the most relevant content for security professionals.

In case you missed it

Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security
Water Plant Attack Emphasizes Cyber’s Impact On Physical Security

At an Oldsmar, Fla., water treatment facility on Feb. 5, an operator watched a computer screen as someone remotely accessed the system monitoring the water supply and increased the amount of sodium hydroxide from 100 parts per million to 11,100 parts per million. The chemical, also known as lye, is used in small concentrations to control acidity in the water. In larger concentrations, the compound is poisonous – the same corrosive chemical used to eat away at clogged drains. The impact of cybersecurity attacks The incident is the latest example of how cybersecurity attacks can translate into real-world, physical security consequences – even deadly ones.Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. The computer system was set up to allow remote access only to authorized users. The source of the unauthorized access is unknown. However, the attacker was only in the system for 3 to 5 minutes, and an operator corrected the concentration back to 100 parts per million soon after. It would have taken a day or more for contaminated water to enter the system. In the end, the city’s water supply was not affected. There were other safeguards in place that would have prevented contaminated water from entering the city’s water supply, which serves around 15,000 residents. The remote access used for the attack was disabled pending an investigation by the FBI, Secret Service and Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. On Feb. 2, a compilation of breached usernames and passwords, known as COMB for “Compilation of Many Breaches,” was leaked online. COMB contains 3.2 billion unique email/password pairs. It was later discovered that the breach included the credentials for the Oldsmar water plant. Water plant attacks feared for years Cybersecurity attacks on small municipal water systems have been a concern among security professionals for years. Florida’s Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that the attempt to poison the water supply should be treated as a “matter of national security.” “The incident at the Oldsmar water treatment plant is a reminder that our nation’s critical infrastructure is continually at risk; not only from nation-state attackers, but also from malicious actors with unknown motives and goals,” comments Mieng Lim, VP of Product Management at Digital Defense Inc., a provider of vulnerability management and threat assessment solutions.The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online “Our dependency on critical infrastructure – power grids, utilities, water supplies, communications, financial services, emergency services, etc. – on a daily basis emphasizes the need to ensure the systems are defended against any adversary,” Mieng Lim adds. “Proactive security measures are crucial to safeguard critical infrastructure systems when perimeter defenses have been compromised or circumvented. We have to get back to the basics – re-evaluate and rebuild security protections from the ground up.” "This event reinforces the increasing need to authenticate not only users, but the devices and machine identities that are authorized to connect to an organization's network,” adds Chris Hickman, Chief Security Officer at digital identity security vendor Keyfactor. “If your only line of protection is user authentication, it will be compromised. It's not necessarily about who connects to the system, but what that user can access once they're inside. "If the network could have authenticated the validity of the device connecting to the network, the connection would have failed because hackers rarely have possession of authorized devices. This and other cases of hijacked user credentials can be limited or mitigated if devices are issued strong, crypto-derived, unique credentials like a digital certificate. In this case, it looks like the network had trust in the user credential but not in the validity of the device itself. Unfortunately, this kind of scenario is what can happen when zero trust is your end state, not your beginning point." “The attack on Oldsmar’s water treatment system shows how critical national infrastructure is increasingly becoming a target for hackers as organizations bring systems online for the first time as part of digital transformation projects,” says Gareth Williams, Vice President - Secure Communications & Information Systems, Thales UK. “While the move towards greater automation and connected switches and control systems brings unprecedented opportunities, it is not without risk, as anything that is brought online immediately becomes a target to be hacked.” Operational technology to mitigate attacks Williams advises organizations to approach Operational Technology as its own entity and put in place procedures that mitigate against the impact of an attack that could ultimately cost lives. This means understanding what is connected, who has access to it and what else might be at risk should that system be compromised, he says. “Once that is established, they can secure access through protocols like access management and fail-safe systems.”  “The cyberattack against the water supply in Oldsmar should come as a wakeup call,” says Saryu Nayyar, CEO, Gurucul.  “Cybersecurity professionals have been talking about infrastructure vulnerabilities for years, detailing the potential for attacks like this, and this is a near perfect example of what we have been warning about,” she says.  Although this attack was not successful, there is little doubt a skilled attacker could execute a similar infrastructure attack with more destructive results, says Nayyar. Organizations tasked with operating and protecting critical public infrastructure must assume the worst and take more serious measures to protect their environments, she advises. Fortunately, there were backup systems in place in Oldsmar. What could have been a tragedy instead became a cautionary tale. Both physical security and cybersecurity professionals should pay attention.

Expert Roundup: Healthy Buildings, Blockchain, AI, Skilled Workers, And More
Expert Roundup: Healthy Buildings, Blockchain, AI, Skilled Workers, And More

Our Expert Panel Roundtable is an opinionated group. However, for a variety of reasons, we are sometimes guilty of not publishing their musings in a timely manner. At the end of 2020, we came across several interesting comments among those that were previously unpublished. Following is a catch-all collection of those responses, addressing some of the most current and important issues in the security marketplace in 2021.

Smart Offices: How Is Mobile ID Changing The Way We Access The Office?
Smart Offices: How Is Mobile ID Changing The Way We Access The Office?

If you’re a security or facilities manager, you may already be aware of the quiet revolution that’s taking place across businesses and organizations up and down the country. By the end of 2020, 20% of all ID and access control systems featured mobile capability, and this is set to increase by a further 34% over the next three years. There’s no doubt that using a smartphone or mobile device in place of traditional credential and access control is a growing trend that’s only been sped up by the pandemic. It’s true that many businesses are still very much focused on remote working, although many are now starting to implement new-and-improved strategies that are better suited to protect the workforce moving forward. Mobile ID systems As the next normal becomes clearer, businesses will be reviewing procedures such as access control, occupancy monitoring, reducing touch points, and tracking visitors. Mobile ID systems are ideally suited to this task. But what are the key reasons for considering such a setup in 2021? But why is this new technology so well-suited to future-proof your physical access system, and why is it becoming so popular? Eradicating outdated legacy credentials Have you seen just how vulnerable outdated Proximity card technology can be? Low-frequency 125kHz cards can be cloned in a matter of seconds with the use of cheap, readily available tools. Despite their weaknesses, they are still used by a huge majority of businesses – big and small. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential Replacing such a system with a mobile-enabled system is one of the best ways to increase security ten-fold. Thanks to a cloud-based infrastructure, mobile ID offers best-in-class security and cryptography. All smartphones include two industry-standard features that make them perfect for operating a secure, contactless credential. Bluetooth Smart and NFC (Near Field Communication) make them the best product to operate such a credential via a secure app. If you’re looking for best-in-class security in 2021, mobile access is most definitely the way forward. Removing touch points across the business Reducing touch points and the adoption of touchless facilities has become a key priority for businesses in the wake of COVID-19. Even as businesses start to return to the office and operate a home/office split, it will be imperative that unnecessary contact is kept to an absolute minimum between staff. The traditional issuance of identification and access control credentials can pose problems in this regard. Facility and security managers who are responsible for onboarding and processing ID have done the process face to face. Mobile access makes it possible to carry this process out without people coming into direct content. First, the security manager has access to a secure portal, allowing them to create, manage and edit credentials anywhere. They can upload and remotely transfer mobile ID and access control credentials directly to users’ smartphones over the air. Via the secure app, users can view and see their credentials and immediately begin using it for ID and access control by simply placing their smartphone over card readers. Enabling a more flexible way of working The way in which we work has changed for good. Even as people more people return to the office in 2021, a majority of businesses will be operating a home/office split indefinitely. This once again reinforces the need for a smarter, more adaptable onboarding system. Implementing mobile ID is the perfect way of doing this: over-the-air delivery of credentials and security data is now a given, helping businesses create the perfect balance between the home and the office. No longer do people have to come into the office for the onboarding process. Increasing convenience and user experience More often businesses are realising the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security Ok, so mobile ID is the perfect way of increasing security and adapting workplaces to a post-COVID way of working. And we’ve not even touched on the most obvious advantage yet: Convenience. How many times have you forgotten your ID card? We’re sure it’s more times than you forget your smartphone. These powerful processors have become intertwined with the way we carry out tasks on a daily basis. They’re so vital that people will soon notice if they’ve forgotten it. From an employee’s perspective, mobile ID and access control is simple, convenient, and extremely user-friendly. More and more businesses are realizing the value mobile ID can have for enhancing the work experience as well as security. From the employer’s perspective, mobile ID means it’s easier for administrators to manage access and credentials. Future-proofing access control now will ensure that in the longer term, mobile ID is well worth the investment. The annual expenditure of printing ID cards and purchasing credentials can be vast, while reissuance costs can also quickly add up for larger organizations. These issues are a thing of the past for businesses using mobile ID. Mobile ID perfect tool for 2021 and beyond Until mobile ID, new and improved credentials’ main focus was on increasing security. Mobile ID not only delivers that, but it also provides a more convenient way of accessing the office in a way that’s perfectly suited to returning to the office in 2021. If there was ever a time to upgrade, now is the time. Summing up, mobile access is changing the way we access the office by: Eliminating weak links in security systems such as outdated legacy card technologies Eradicating the need for touch points across multiple areas of the workplace Enabling a smarter, more flexible approach to onboarding Increasing convenience – for both employers and employees.