Articles by Missy Dalby
“Netflix,” “twerk” and “selfie” were added to the dictionary. Boston Marathon bombing. Activist Nelson Mandela and actor Paul Walker died. Edward Snowden gave NSA classified documents to Wikilinks. These events may seem like they happened only yesterday, but they are some of the top news headlines from four years ago. Four years can feel like a very short time, and in four short years, every security panel installed by dealers to date will go dark. The current communication method for most home security systems is via CDMA and 3G (GSM) technologies. With the emergence of faster, better, and stronger 4G LTE technology, carriers are migrating away from old technology standards and methods towards new, more efficient ones. As such, the older technology is going dark, and soon. One year ago, AT&T stopped certifying new 3G parts. Meaning manufacturers of cellular modules, like Nortek Security & Control, have stopped making them. At the end of 2018 they will stop letting customers add systems utilising 3G radios to their channels. Knowing this, dealer programs like Monitronics and Guardian have already stopped or have significantly slowed the acceptance of 3G operated systems. Shifting From 2G To 3G Technology One of the big questions asked by most security dealers is: Should I roll a truck to replace the panel/cellular communication? To appropriately answer, let’s take a look back at the last time a shift in technology like this occurred. In 2016, 2G communication switched over to 3G and many dealers waited until systems failed to communicate before they started changing equipment, which is not a recipe for success. These networks help lay the foundation for how smart device technology interacts with a home security system and on which network To be fair, network providers don’t turn off bandwidth and access points like switching off a light. It starts slowly, as the provider starts to allow the technology to degrade over time. What dealers will experience is that parts of their service area will start to go down, or the service will become much slower than normal. Unfortunately, there is not a published schedule for where and when the services will decline, so the best advice is to begin to change the entire customer base early to avoid disruption. With that in mind, the answer about rolling a truck is a resounding yes. Dealers should figure out how many ticking time bombs they have, figuratively speaking, and start laying out a plan to upgrade them over time. Waiting can be a costly move that proves to be deadly to their business. It’s ideal to plan for the longest window to make this change to ensure that the majority of your customer accounts don’t sunset at once. Understanding 4G, 3G And CDMA The cellular market is shifting away from older communications standards with all major carriers quickly adopting 4G LTE technology. The benefits of LTE are a faster network and more broadband, which equates to faster Over-the-Air (OTA) programming and updating, and extended life without the need to roll a truck. Customers will experience faster home control response and faster streaming of CCTV video.Many telecommuniations providers are rolling out their 4G LTE offerings. For example, Verizon's 4G LTE network offers a super-fast cellular connection and the robust data capacity needed to rapidly deliver interactive services. AT&T is also rolling out 4G LTE, but due to coverage concerns, those radios will also be backward compatible with 3G – for a while. That backward compatibility tends to lead to more expensive radios, but ensures that the new radio you install today will work today and for years to come. The cellular market is shifting away from older communications standards with all major carriers quickly adopting 4G LTE technology These networks help lay the foundation for how smart device technology interacts with a home security system and on which network. This also allows for channel connection and using the network to send push alert notifications, updates, and other new and timely information. LTE Cat 1 Vs. Cat 3 And VoLTE Another nuance of LTE is Category 1 (Cat 1) vs. Category 3 (Cat 3) LTE. Cat 3 LTE is what is available now and offers data transfer speeds and voice quality similar to the smart phone on which you may be reading this article. Cat 1 LTE are less expensive modules and are available for data only applications but, the industry is waiting for VoLTE (Voice over LTE) certification on Cat 1 to ensure two-way voice functionality. Word is that lower cost LTE will be available soon, however the date is still unknown. The trade-off is lower speed (100 Mbps to 10 Mbps) but for the data transmitted by security systems the speed (security panel application) is not noticeable. Cat 3 supports two-way voice today. The latest sunset dates for existing cellular technologies came straight from Verizon and AT&T. Verizon is pushing to be the first U.S. based network fully on LTE, so they have an aggressive sunset date of December 31, 2019. AT&T is also working to switch to LTE, although their window for sunset is longer: the end of 2021. That said, AT&T has warned cellular module makers that at the end of 2018, they will no longer issue SIM cards for 3G devices, which moves up the need to jump on the LTE train significantly. AT&T has warned cellular module makers that atthe end of 2018, theywill no longer issue SIMcards for 3G devices Cost-efficient System Upgrades The choice is simple; do you want to create a plan to upgrade your current installation base and avoid costly disruptions of service and potential loss of customers, or wait until that decision is forced upon you? If you wait, you may find that entire sections of the towns or states that you cover go out overnight, leading to a service nightmare. Of course, there is a cost to making these service calls. After polling several dealers, I found that the costs hover between $150 and $250, including the cost of the new radio. This can also take a needed technician away from a new install. So, how can dealers try to turn the lemons of this forced change into lemonade? By finding ways to turn this need to upgrade equipment into a profitable visit. As service technicians plan for routine service calls, map out nearby customers and see if they are willing to have the technician that is already in the area make a stop to upgrade their system. Prepare For Future Technological Updates Some savvy dealers are offering promotions during these upgrades, offering home automation devices or new doorbell cameras, where they profit off of the sale of the new equipment and any increase in RMR helps to defray the costs of the service call. The new solutions also benefit the homeowner and make their system more valuable to them, which creates a win-win. Finally, be forward thinking and also switch out the panel to one with a replaceable cell sled, like the 2GIG GC3, so for future technological updates you don’t have to roll a truck and only have to mail out a new radio. The change is coming – will you be ready?
Our most popular articles in 2017 reflected changing trends in the U.S. security market, from deep learning to protection of mobile workers, from building automation to robotics. Again in 2017, the most read articles tended to be those that addressed timely and important issues in the security marketplace. In the world of digital publishing, it’s easy to know what content resonates with the market: Our readers tell us with their actions; i.e., where they click. Let’s look back at the Top 10 most-clicked articles we posted in 2017. They are listed in order here with the author’s name and a brief excerpt. 1. Las Vegas Massacre Demands Reevaluation of Hospitality Sector Security The Oct. 1, 2017, sniper attack from a 32nd-floor room at Mandalay Bay, overlooking 22,000 people attending a country music festival, has been compared to “shooting fish in a barrel.” When the bullets rained down, there was nowhere to hide. The attack came from outside the “perimeter” of the event, so any additional screening of attendees would not have prevented it. There are also implications of the Las Vegas massacre for the hospitality industry. Hotels and resorts such as Mandalay Bay have not generally embraced technologies like the explosives scanners or X-ray machines used at airport terminals, at least not in the United States. 2. Deep Learning Algorithms Broaden the Scope of Video Analytics [Zvika Ashani] Until recently there have been minimal applications of Machine Learning used in video analytics products, largely due to high complexity and high resource usage, which made such products too costly for mainstream deployment. However, the last couple of years have seen a tremendous surge in research and advances surrounding a branch of Machine Learning called Deep Learning. The recent increased interest in Deep Learning is largely due to the availability of graphical processing units (GPUs). GPUs can efficiently train and run Deep Learning algorithms The last couple of years have seen a tremendous surge in research and advances surrounding a branch of Machine Learning called Deep Learning 3. Home Security Systems: Why You Need to Upgrade From 3G to 4G Technology [Missy Dalby] The current communication method for most home security systems is via CDMA and 3G (GSM) technologies. With the emergence of faster, better, and stronger 4G LTE technology, carriers are migrating away from old technology standards and methods towards new, more efficient ones. As such, the older technology is going dark, and soon. Manufacturers of cellular modules have stopped making them. At the end of 2018 they will stop letting customers add systems utilizing 3G radios to their channels. 4. Diving into AI and Deep Learning at NVIDIA’s San Jose Conference [Larry Anderson] Video analytics applications fall under NVIDIA's “AI City” initiative, which they describe as a combination of "safe cities" (video surveillance, law enforcement, forensics) and "smart cities" (traffic management, retail analytics, resource optimization). Depending on the application, AI City technology must function in the cloud, on premises and/or at the edge. NVIDIA’s new Metropolis initiative offers AI at every system level, from the Jetson TX2 "embedded supercomputer" available at the edge, to on-premises servers (using NVIDIA’s Tesla and Quadro) to cloud systems (using NVIDIA’s DGX). 5. Physical Security Evolves to Protect Mobile Workers [Annie Asrari] With an increasing number of employees traveling and working remotely, the days of a dedicated worker who commutes to and from a single location every day of the week are just about over. Security professionals must take a second look at their policies and procedures for employee safety. To protect employees in this new mobile world, where people, assets and brand reputation threats may face higher than normal levels of safety and security risks, businesses must focus less on securing physical, four-wall perimeters and instead take a global approach to security that focuses on protecting traveling, remote and lone workers. Businesses must take a global approach to security that focuses on protecting traveling, remote and lone workers 6. New Security Technologies Driving Excitement on Busy ISC West Day One [Larry Anderson] ISC West in Las Vegas kicked off April 5 with an expanding focus on new technologies and new applications, including some that go beyond any narrow definition of security. “Technology is disrupting the market and executives are taking our solutions beyond security,” says Moti Shabtai, CEO and President of Qognify. “They are starting with security and quickly moving to other risk and business continuity issues in the organizations. They want a clear return on investment (ROI), which we can deliver if we move from covering a limited island of ‘security’ issues and give them the value of also managing risk, safety, and operations.” 7. Optimizing Building Automation for Good Return on Investment [Minu Youngkin] Smart buildings are on the rise around the world, not only because a growing number of companies are considering their environmental impact, but also because of the dramatic cost savings that can be realized through integration. In every building that has an integrated security and access control system, an opportunity awaits to also integrate the building’s energy use, water use, ventilation and more. The key is to effectively convey the tremendous potential of this new technology to the end user. 8. ISC West 2017: How Will IT and Consumer Electronics Influence the Secuirty Industry? [Fredrik Nilsson] A good way to predict trends [at the upcoming ISC West show] is to look at what’s happening in some larger, adjacent technology industries, such as IT and consumer electronics. Major trends on these fronts are the most likely to influence what new products will be launched in the electronic security industry. Proof in point is H.264, an advanced compression technology ratified in 2003 and adopted as the new standard by the consumer industry a few years later. By 2009, it became the new compression standard for the video surveillance industry as well. Violence will continue to challenge the healthcare sector in the future 9. The Future of Healthcare Security: Violence Response and Emergency Preparedness [Ben Scaglione and David LaRose] Violence will continue to challenge the healthcare sector in the future. Domestic violence, child abuse, behavioral health, drug and alcohol abuse will all continue to challenge hospital staff in the Emergency Department, Women’s Health, and behavioral health areas. The Hazard Vulnerability Assessments (HVA) along with facility wide risk assessments helps in defining risk severity and identifying historical patterns of violence. 10. Robot Revolution: Uncovering the Real Value of Security Robots [Steve Reinharz] The security coverage that a robot offers in the case of a shopping mall can be easily overshadowed by the fact that the machines seem to serve to entertain the population. Instead, security robots can best be utilized for more high-level roles, such as in critical infrastructure sites, corporate campuses and educational facilities, where wide, expansive spaces require continuous protection. In these locales, security can be difficult to achieve, as cost, location and lack of resources make the logistics of deployment difficult.