Secure City Technology Alliance: The Latest Example of the Security Convergence Trend

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A group of eight Canadian companies has formed a technology and marketing alliance aimed at delivering integrated video, messaging and sensor networks to urban and regional emergency operations centers with an emphasis on wireless.

secure-city.pngThe Secure City Technology Alliance (SCTA), announced this week, is the latest signpost on the road to the convergence of security and surveillance technology with IT and open networking. SCTA brings together companies such as March Networks, a supplier of IP-based video cameras and management systems, and BelAir Networks, a vendor of mesh wireless systems, with vendors of large-scale telecommunications and enterprise data networking hardware and software, including Benbria, Bridgewater Systems, DragonWave Inc., Mitel and Solace Systems. Their equipment, which ranges from intelligent mass notification systems to backhaul microwave systems to high-capacity sensor message routers, could easily fit into large-scale urban emergency operations centers (EOCs) now that are being built on open, interoperable platforms.

Indeed, that is the aim, said Robert Wu, managing director of SCTA and vice president of alliances and corporate development at March Networks. Alliance members seek to present a "pre-integrated" solution to end-user agencies and tier-one integrators that are building fusion centers and regional EOCs. Such centralized response centers, which can bring together a large number of agencies at federal state and local levels, are increasingly being seen as a cornerstone for coordinating cross-agency communications and response in the event of a natural disaster, industrial accident or terrorist attack. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has created 72 fusion centers across the country. Elsewhere, cities and municipalities are following the fusion center model.   

"We're offering a turnkey solution that can be deployed quickly," said Wu. "It will allow people to save time and money in implementing a best-of breed solution."

'Pre-integration'

"Pre-integration" means that equipment from the alliance members will interoperable out of the box. "Large customers will be able to do the integration themselves," said Stephen Rayment, chief technology officer at BelAir Networks. SCTA companies will also work through top level integrators that handle city contracts. The alliance will also leverage relationships its individual members have with customers and the reseller channel. When it comes to dealing with specific prospects, "the appropriate company will take the lead," Rayment said.

For members with IT and telecom backgrounds, such as Bridgewater, Mitel and DragonWave, the security segment represents a growing market for the IP infrastructure they sell. "They see it as a strong play," said Wu. Benbria, supplier of an intelligent mass notification system, and Solace Systems, which makes message routers for sensors, already have a presence in industrial safety and security and are looking to expand further into the public sector. Among all members, March Networks has the strongest presence in public sector security video security, and thus forms "the tip of the spear" for the group, Wu said.

BelAir Networks also provides additional security market strength for the alliance. BelAir deployed the Minneapolis wireless network that got high marks for its performance in supporting emergency response during the August 2007 I-35 bridge collapse. 

Solace Systems is an example of how enterprise data networking equipment can be applied to EOC and fusion center communications. The company's message and content routers were originally developed for the financial trading industry, to provide a platform that could support scalable and reliable transmission of trading orders. The same platform can support messaging from radiological or chemical sensors and nuclear power plants or industrial refineries, and has been doing so, said Wu. From there, it's only a small step to introduce the messaging platform into consolidated urban EOC. 

Benbria provides intelligent multimedia mass notification systems to enterprises and universities. These systems send messages via phone, email and text messaging, in emergency and non-emergency situations. They can be easily adapted for EOC support.

March Networks will provide video tie-in to both the Solace and Benbria systems. The company will demonstrate Benbria interoperability at the ASIS International annual conference in Dallas next month, Wu said.

The SCTA, Wu added, is open to new members. Right now, however, the alliance is something of a close-knit group. Not only are all members Canadian companies, but they are all based in Ottawa, Ontario. More significant, all except BelAir have received financing from the Wesley Clover International Corp., an investment firm headed by long-time data and telecom networking entrepreneur Terry Matthews. Along with funding, Wesley Clover has relationships with other start-ups, such as Magor, a developer of telecollaboration software, which may bring technology to the alliance at down the road.
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SCTA Members at a Glance


BelAir Networks supplies mesh wireless network systems that support video surveillance in municipal, industrial or military environments.

Benbria supplies intelligent IP-based mass notification systems.

Bridgewater Systems provides middleware to wireless service providers that manages personalization, authentication and delivery of third party applications such as mobile commerce, mobile video, and social networking.

DragonWave Inc. manufactures high-capacity backhaul microwave systems for next-generation IP networks.

March Networks provides IP-based cameras and scalable, open platform-based video management software for surveillance.

Mitel provides unified communications and collaboration software applications, IP telephony platforms, mobility applications and managed and network services.

Solace Systems supplies scalable, high-capacity sensor message routers.

Wesley Clover Group is an investment firm headed by long-time data and telecom networking entrepreneur Terry Mathews that brings both funding and additional technology to the alliance. The firm holds stakes in six of the seven companies that form SCTA.

A group of eight Canadian companies has formed a technology and marketing alliance aimed at delivering integrated video, messaging and sensor networks to urban and regional emergency operations centers with an emphasis on wireless.

secure-city.pngThe Secure City Technology Alliance (SCTA), announced this week, is the latest signpost on the road to the convergence of security and surveillance technology with IT and open networking. SCTA brings together companies such as March Networks, a supplier of IP-based video cameras and management systems, and BelAir Networks, a vendor of mesh wireless systems, with vendors of large-scale telecommunications and enterprise data networking hardware and software, including Benbria, Bridgewater Systems, DragonWave Inc., Mitel and Solace Systems. Their equipment, which ranges from intelligent mass notification systems to backhaul microwave systems to high-capacity sensor message routers, could easily fit into large-scale urban emergency operations centers (EOCs) now that are being built on open, interoperable platforms.

Indeed, that is the aim, said Robert Wu, managing director of SCTA and vice president of alliances and corporate development at March Networks. Alliance members seek to present a "pre-integrated" solution to end-user agencies and tier-one integrators that are building fusion centers and regional EOCs. Such centralized response centers, which can bring together a large number of agencies at federal state and local levels, are increasingly being seen as a cornerstone for coordinating cross-agency communications and response in the event of a natural disaster, industrial accident or terrorist attack. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has created 72 fusion centers across the country. Elsewhere, cities and municipalities are following the fusion center model.   

"We're offering a turnkey solution that can be deployed quickly," said Wu. "It will allow people to save time and money in implementing a best-of breed solution."

'Pre-integration'

"Pre-integration" means that equipment from the alliance members will interoperable out of the box. "Large customers will be able to do the integration themselves," said Stephen Rayment, chief technology officer at BelAir Networks. SCTA companies will also work through top level integrators that handle city contracts. The alliance will also leverage relationships its individual members have with customers and the reseller channel. When it comes to dealing with specific prospects, "the appropriate company will take the lead," Rayment said.

For members with IT and telecom backgrounds, such as Bridgewater, Mitel and DragonWave, the security segment represents a growing market for the IP infrastructure they sell. "They see it as a strong play," said Wu. Benbria, supplier of an intelligent mass notification system, and Solace Systems, which makes message routers for sensors, already have a presence in industrial safety and security and are looking to expand further into the public sector. Among all members, March Networks has the strongest presence in public sector security video security, and thus forms "the tip of the spear" for the group, Wu said.

BelAir Networks also provides additional security market strength for the alliance. BelAir deployed the Minneapolis wireless network that got high marks for its performance in supporting emergency response during the August 2007 I-35 bridge collapse. 

Solace Systems is an example of how enterprise data networking equipment can be applied to EOC and fusion center communications. The company's message and content routers were originally developed for the financial trading industry, to provide a platform that could support scalable and reliable transmission of trading orders. The same platform can support messaging from radiological or chemical sensors and nuclear power plants or industrial refineries, and has been doing so, said Wu. From there, it's only a small step to introduce the messaging platform into consolidated urban EOC. 

Benbria provides intelligent multimedia mass notification systems to enterprises and universities. These systems send messages via phone, email and text messaging, in emergency and non-emergency situations. They can be easily adapted for EOC support.

March Networks will provide video tie-in to both the Solace and Benbria systems. The company will demonstrate Benbria interoperability at the ASIS International annual conference in Dallas next month, Wu said.

The SCTA, Wu added, is open to new members. Right now, however, the alliance is something of a close-knit group. Not only are all members Canadian companies, but they are all based in Ottawa, Ontario. More significant, all except BelAir have received financing from the Wesley Clover International Corp., an investment firm headed by long-time data and telecom networking entrepreneur Terry Matthews. Along with funding, Wesley Clover has relationships with other start-ups, such as Magor, a developer of telecollaboration software, which may bring technology to the alliance at down the road.
___________________________________________________________________________

SCTA Members at a Glance


BelAir Networks supplies mesh wireless network systems that support video surveillance in municipal, industrial or military environments.

Benbria supplies intelligent IP-based mass notification systems.

Bridgewater Systems provides middleware to wireless service providers that manages personalization, authentication and delivery of third party applications such as mobile commerce, mobile video, and social networking.

DragonWave Inc. manufactures high-capacity backhaul microwave systems for next-generation IP networks.

March Networks provides IP-based cameras and scalable, open platform-based video management software for surveillance.

Mitel provides unified communications and collaboration software applications, IP telephony platforms, mobility applications and managed and network services.

Solace Systems supplies scalable, high-capacity sensor message routers.

Wesley Clover Group is an investment firm headed by long-time data and telecom networking entrepreneur Terry Mathews that brings both funding and additional technology to the alliance. The firm holds stakes in six of the seven companies that form SCTA.

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