March 2009 Archives

The Wireless Imperative

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Wireless networking and applications stand to be one of the emerging stories out of this week's ISC West Conference and Exhibition in Las Vegas. Wireless has always been an element in the convergence story across the entire industrial supply chain. The security industry has proved no exception.

Wireless angles featured in a number of pre-show announcements that have hit my inbox since late last week. Several involve products and solutions that have been developed jointly between and among security vendors and manufacturers of wireless systems. They serve as yet another demonstration in the way the conventional security industry has also begun encompass telecom and mobile computing as well as basic IP networking.

First off, Orsus announced that, in partnership with Sprint Nextel and Xora Inc., it has implemented a wireless system for the Virginia Port Authority (VPA) that tracks visitors that do not have a Transportation Work Identity Card (TWIC).

The program, which VPA calls Trusted Agent, allows visitors access to secure areas of the port by providing them with a Sprint Nextel phone equipped with a GPS-based personnel tracking application from Xora, Orsus said. When integrated with Orsus' Situator situation management system, the wireless system serves as a virtual escort, giving VPA security staff the ability to track and monitor visitor whereabouts on the property and directly contact them. If the visitor enters an off-limits area, the mobile tracking system sends an alert.

The wireless system addresses one of TWIC's stickier compliance problems--the $130 cost of creating issuing a TWIC biometric card for port visitors who may only need them once, such as cargo truckers and contract workers.

Elsewhere, Alvarion, which supplies standards-based wireless networking systems for video surveillance, will be demonstrating its BreezeACCESS wireless networking solution, which was used to provide video security during January's presidential inaugural ceremonies in Washington. The system provides interoperable broadband connectivity for IP-based cameras from numerous manufacturers. Alvarion partners with Vigilant Technology Inc., which supplies networked-based digital video recording systems.

Finally, in the I-want-one-of-these department, Black & Decker is introducing a motorized electronic deadbolt lock that can be locked and unlocked remotely using any IP-enabled device, including a cell phone, iPhone or BlackBerry,or a remote PC. Black and Decker has partnered with iControl, which supplies broadband and home security platforms for home security services companies such as ADT Security Services and GE Security. The electronic deadbolt will be available through these channels in the fall, a spokeswoman told me. There are no plans as of yet to offer a version for small and medium sized businesses, but, from my perspective, there is no reason the technology could not scale up.

March 2009 Archives