Tag Archives: Google

RISCO Group introduces “pioneering” RISCO Stars Partners Programme

RISCO Group, the manufacturer of end-to-end solutions for the professional security market, has announced the launch of its RISCO Stars Partners Programme – described as a “pioneering rewards scheme” that’s designed to help the company’s loyal distribution and installation partners grow their businesses and enhance their marketing activities.

Participants simply collect ‘Stars’ through the purchase of eligible RISCO Group products and redeem them against a wide selection of activities that will help increase visibility and sales.

Being part of RISCO Stars couldn’t be easier. By downloading the free RISCO Group HandyApp from the Apple App Store or Google Play, individuals simply register their details and then, after every purchase, scan the QR code on the packaging. RISCO Stars are then added to their account, which can be reviewed online at any time. Not only that, but each product that’s scanned receives an automatic six-month warranty extension, with an additional 12 months for RISCO Stars members.

RiscoStars

Once sufficient RISCO Stars have been collected, they can then be redeemed for rewards. These rewards comprise a range of tried and tested marketing activities that are proven to increase business exposure and help reach potential customers.

The rewards have been carefully chosen and include the development of a business Facebook page, bespoke e-mail marketing templates, printed company literature, a third party website audit with an improvement strategy, branded videos, Google AdWords and branded workwear.

Commenting on the company’s latest initiative, Greg Smith (marketing manager for the UK and Ireland at RISCO Group) commented: “RISCO Stars is a totally new and unique rewards scheme that’s designed to offer our valued distribution and installation partners genuine ways in which to improve their levels of business activity. We’ve now made gaining access to first class specialist marketing support as easy as possible through the purchase of our innovative products and training, so that there’s always something for everyone to save for.”

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Xtralis VESDA-E VEA aspirating smoke detector receives major endorsement from Intrepid

The recently released VESDA-E VEA aspirating smoke detector has received a major endorsement from Intrepid Electronic Systems Inc, a leading fire, security and technology solutions provider serving the greater San Francisco Bay Area of the USA.

Intrepid is a certified VESDA PRO – an elite, invitation-only group of dealers dedicated to delivering excellence in design, installation, commissioning, service and maintenance for Xtralis’ detection products. Intrepid clients are some of the world’s most famous brands and include Google, Novartis and Pixar Studios.

“Intrepid Electronic Systems Inc has installed and evaluated the VESDA-E VEA in our Oakland and San Jose offices and performed demonstrations to a number of prestigious corporate customers,” commented Kurt Brinkman, the owner of Intrepid Electronics Systems. “After seeing the VESDA in action, they ordered a VEA system for their own evaluation in a riser application to control smoke dampers using VEA addressable sample points.”

Brinkman went on to state: “The VESDA-E VEA was simple to install and worked perfectly during customer demonstrations. The key features that stood out to the clients were that the VEA provides end-to-end system integrity monitoring, integrated blowback to clean sample points and ease of annual testing and maintenance. Access to the sample point was not necessary for regular testing and maintenance. These features overcame any access issues they had for their riser application. From my own perspective, I was impressed with the performance of the VEA. The concept of centralised maintenance is great. I can see many applications where uninterrupted servicing is of value to our customers.”

VESDA-E VEA is the only addressable detector on the market that delivers ‘assured detection’ through active sampling, proactive self-supervision, auto-cleaning and the highest longevity with sustained sensitivity for the laser detection chamber.

The centralised detection architecture (exhibiting up to 120 sampling points), coupled with auto supervision and cleaning, lowers servicing time by up to 90% and decreases total cost of ownership. Dealers can multiply their service revenues and margins with the dramatic increase in productivity.

End user customers will benefit from unobtrusive and interruption-free servicing that’s a ‘must’ for environments like hospitals and other 24/7 operations.

Superior connectivity options and an iVESDA mobile app allow for remote monitoring and ensure effective response at the local level and by Fire Brigades, in turn minimising the loss of property and business interruption.

*Further information is available by visiting: www.xtralis.com/VEA

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NSI Installer Summit seminars focus on business solutions advice

The National Security Inspectorate’s (NSI) second Installer Summit was held in Manchester on Thursday 20 November and proved to be a major success, with over 100 delegates and 35 exhibitors in attendance. Brian Sims reports.

The NSI Installer Summit took place at the Worsley Park Marriott Hotel and showcased contributions from a wide array of top security brands, industry experts and business solutions providers, in turn offering delegates a perfect platform from which to learn about the latest innovations within the industry – including new products and solutions, equipment and tools – and, of course, the latest news from the NSI.

The Installer Summit’s programme of bite-sized seminar sessions delivered by industry experts included a focus on the importance of integrity and performance through the buying chain (presented by Simon Banks of CSL DualCom), the value apprenticeships can bring to a business (described by Kings Security’s Anthony King), Google marketing (courtesy of Clinton Porter from NVisage), employment law tips and advice (discussed by Citation’s Louise Lockett), funding for capital growth (Rob Donaldson of Baker Tilly) and the myths of cloud security (Steve Riley of RISCO Group).

In addition, there was a timely update from ACPO on the reduction of false alarms due to improving technology.

The next NSI Installer Summit takes place in Birmingham next March

The next NSI Installer Summit takes place in Birmingham next March

Speaking about the first NSI Installer Summit to take place in the North West, the NSI’s CEO Richard Jenkins commented: “Following the success of the first NSI Installer Summit in Birmingham last March, we listened to our installers and brought the event to Manchester. The NSI Installer Summit is a truly unique event for our approved companies, providing them with the opportunity to network, see at first hand the latest products from the leading manufacturers, hear from NSI technical experts about developments in standards and be given solutions advice from a number of business-related specialists.”

Jenkins continued: “We believe the Installer Summit adds real value to ‘The NSI Community’, ensuring that NSI approved installers are well informed about developments that impact their industry and their businesses. Given the exceptionally positive feedback we’ve received from both events, we’re delighted to announce that our next Installer Summit will take place in Birmingham on Tuesday 10 March 2015.”

*View a selection of photos from the day via the NSI’s Pinterest site at: http://www.pinterest.com/nsi1/nsi-installer-summit-manchester/

**Download the presentations: http://www.nsi.org.uk/information-centre/nsi-events/nsi-installer-summit-manchester-2014/nsi-installer-summit-manchester-programme/

***If you’re interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at the next NSI Installer Summit (which takes place at the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham on 10 March 2015, please contact the NSI via e-mail at: exhibit@nsi.org.uk or telephone 01628 764843. Delegate registration for this event will be launched in the New Year

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Office of Surveillance Commissioners issues warning over social media snooping

The Office of Surveillance Commissioners (OSC), led by Chief Surveillance Commissioner The Rt Hon Sir Christopher Rose, has published its Annual Report for 2013-2014. Emma Carr (director of Big Brother Watch) highlights some of the main points.

*Intrusive surveillance authorisations have increased from 362 to 392
*Directed surveillance by law enforcement agencies (LEAs) has increased from 9,515 to 9,664
*Directed surveillance by public authorities (PAs) has decreased from 5,827 to 4,412
*Active LEA covert human intelligence sources: 4,377 were authorised, 3,025 remain authorised
*Active covert human intelligence sources (non-LEA): 53 were authorised

The Commissioner notes that the information included in the 2013-2014 Annual Report is for 100% of LEAs and 96.6% of all other PAs. However, Sir Christopher Rose notes: “I am once again slightly disappointed that a few public authorities appear to treat my request for statistical returns as an option” and that: “I have therefore decided that, as from next year, those public authorities which have failed to respond within the set deadline will be named in my Annual Report.”

The Commissioner also raises the fact that there have been a number of occasions where senior officers have failed to meet with inspectors. These comments would therefore indicate that among some LEA and PAs there’s a potential problem of the OSC not being taken seriously.

The Commissioner also notes that, since the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 was introduced, there has been a “downward trend” in the number of applications made and authorisations granted which “may or may not be attributable to this enactment.”

Emma Carr: director of Big Brother Watch

Emma Carr: director of Big Brother Watch

The Commissioner raises concerns about the lack of a common approach from councils towards the authorising process now that it’s controlled by Magistrates. He goes on to warn that “the knowledge and understanding of RIPA among magistrates and their staff varies widely.” The Commissioner notes that there’s certainly a need for “adequate training or magistrates” and their colleagues.

Worryingly, the Commissioner cites two examples of inappropriate authorisations: one having granted approval for activity retrospectively, and another having signed a formal notice despite it having been erroneously completed by the applicant with details of a different case altogether.

Social media and covert investigations

One of the most interesting sections of the report relates to the use of social media for covert investigations by PAs. The Commissioner states that he “strongly” advises all public bodies to put in place proper policies designed to deal with social media investigations due to a lack of demonstrable understanding of the law from some workers involved in investigations.

The report states that: “In cash-strapped public authorities, it might be tempting to conduct online investigations from a desktop as this saves time and money and often provides far more detail about someone’s personal lifestyle, employment and associates, etc, but just because one can does not mean one should.”

While long overdue, the Commissioner is absolutely right to acknowledge that many PAs around the country may well be covertly gathering intelligence from social media sites on an illegal basis.

RIPA 2000 was created while Google was still in its infancy and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. It would therefore be ridiculous to expect that the legislation would allow the use of the Internet to proportionately investigate crimes while ensuring that safeguards are in place to protect the public’s privacy.

A far more open discussion about what data should be monitored – as well as whether the legal framework is truly fit for the digital age – is now required.

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IHS Research Note: ‘Residential Security – Something for everyone’

In the company’s latest Research Note, Blake Kozak (senior analyst for security and building technologies at IHS) discusses the impact of the ‘smart home’ on residential security.

The residential security market will never be the same. In 2012, several MSOs (multiple-system operators) in the USA began offering home automation in conjunction with security which has altered the perception and demand from end users. Prior to this paradigm shift, the use of a residential burglar alarm system was often a purchase to protect a property and, in many cases, an ‘after the fact’ purchase as a result of a break in.

While many reasons exist as to why a homeowner may purchase security equipment, the reason is no longer solely security, with many end users looking to add additional features which are both life safety and convenience-driven.

IHS estimates the world market for security devices in traditionally monitored homes [for example – ADT] to be worth about $2.9 billion in 2014 compared with $670 million for smart homes [for example – ADT Pulse].

By 2018, the revenue of smart homes is forecast to top $2.4 billion. That’s according to a recent report from IHS.

Smart Home Security: market size and rate of growth

Smart Home Security: market size and rate of growth

These rapid changes to the residential security market have been mostly positive. However, the influx of competitors has dramatically changed the make-up of this industry.

Ten years ago, professionally installed, centrally monitored systems were the main offer available to end users. However, this situation has changed. Today, products are offered by monitoring companies, MSOs, electric companies, retailers and DIY equipment manufacturers.

End users can find innovative products from new market entrants such as Google and Apple which, until recently, did not have an offering for the residential security or home automation space.

So what does this mean for the ‘smart’ residential security market moving forward? For manufacturers, it means that despite the increase in competition, the market offers ample opportunity for all due to the current low penetration rate of smart products.

For end users, it means more product/solution and pricing options are available than ever before.

Finally, as far as the dealers, installers and monitoring companies are concerned, the release of new and innovative products/solutions creates better sales opportunities by dint of being able to better meet customers’ needs and budgets.

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ICO requires “stronger powers” and “a clearer guarantee of independence”

UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham has warned it has never been more important that the general public has an independent regulator overseeing the handling of people’s personal data.

Speaking at the launch of the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) Annual Report earlier today, Christopher Graham highlighted how the troubled launch of care.data, Facebook’s research and the so-called Google ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling show why there’s a need to have an independent regulator.

Christopher Graham: the Information Commissioner

Christopher Graham: the Information Commissioner

Graham also warned that independence relies on strong powers and sustainable funding.

The Annual Report shows that the ICO responded to a record number of data protection and Freedom of Information complaints this year.

Sometimes the State is the issue

“Facebook, care.data, Google: it’s clear that organisations’ use of data is getting ever more complicated,” stressed Graham. “People need to know someone is watching over their information. That someone needs to be independent of Government and business so the public know the regulator can be trusted. Sometimes the State is itself the issue. When the Intelligence and Security Committee wanted to know how the Snowden revelations fitted with data protection law, it turned to the Information Commissioner.”

Graham added: “Independence means someone who has the resources to take on this ever-growing number of cases. The last twelve months have witnessed a record – more complaints resolved than ever, more enforcement action taken and more advice given through our Helpline. It also means having the powers to act on the more serious complaints. A strong regulator is needed if a data breach affects millions of people.”

In conclusion, the Information Commissioner explained: “That someone is the Information Commissioner. We’re effective, efficient and busier than ever but, to do our job properly and to represent people properly, we need stronger powers, more sustainable funding and a clearer guarantee of independence.”

The report’s figures in detail

This year’s Annual Report shows that the ICO has handled 259,903 calls to its Helpline and resolved 15,492 data protection complaints – in both cases a rise of over 10% on the previous financial year.

The ICO has also decided on 5,296 Freedom of Information complaints (a 12% rise on last year’s figure), and received 161,720 reports from people concerned about spam texts and nuisance calls.

For the past five years the ICO has faced a reduction in its funding for FOI, while the proposed EU data protection reforms would remove the notification fee that funds the ICO’s work under the Data Protection Act.

The ICO’s written submission to the Intelligence and Security Committee in February is now available.

The Information Commissioner will appear before the Intelligence and Security Committee in the autumn.

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Home Office: “Joint action to tackle mobile phone theft”

A Home Office Summit aimed at tackling the growing number of mobile phone thefts has stepped up its work to look at how security features might be used to make handsets less attractive to thieves.

A new online advice service is among options being considered by the Home Office, all the while working with the industry in a bid to tackle mobile phone theft.

The move comes after crime prevention minister Norman Baker met representatives from mobile phone industry leaders including Samsung, Google, Apple, Nokia and BlackBerry to consider new action against the growing problem.

The Government agreed to look at ways in which to support industry efforts, including encouraging the public to make more use of phone security features. This includes looking into launching an online advice service which would give people ideas on how to better protect their phone.

826,000 people in England and Wales have experienced mobile phone theft in the past year. That equates to around 2% of mobile phone owners. This percentage has stayed more or less constant since 2005-2006

826,000 people in England and Wales have experienced mobile phone theft in the past year. That equates to around 2% of mobile phone owners. This percentage has stayed more or less constant since 2005-2006

The UK is a world leader in responding to mobile phone crime, with the industry and the police having worked together to block stolen phones within 48 hours – stopping them being re-used in this country and making them less valuable.

At the meeting, manufacturers outlined a range of new security features they are adding to phones which will make it harder for criminals to use stolen handsets.

Mobile phones are becoming an increasingly attractive target for thieves, with more than 800,000 stolen in the past year alone across England and Wales.

Handsets can be sold for hundreds of pounds overseas, where the newest models are not yet available.

Increase in theft from the person

“Recorded crime is down by more than 10% under this Government,” said Baker, “but we’re seeing signs of an increase in theft from the person, mainly smartphones. Mobile phone technology is changing all the time, and we need innovative solutions to ensure we stay ahead of the criminals. I want to make mobile phone theft as difficult as possible. This meeting with telecom leaders is an important step forward.”

A spokesperson for Samsung said: “Samsung is pleased to be supporting the UK Government in its goal to reduce the serious issue of mobile phone crime theft. Samsung phones already have features such as ‘Find My Mobile’, which gives people control over how their devices are used if lost or stolen, as well as ‘Reactivation Lock’ on new mobile devices which prevents a reset of the device if it isn’t recovered.”

The spokesperson continued: “Samsung strongly encourages everyone to use the features available on their device to protect it in the event that it is lost or stolen, and we’re continuing to explore new and innovative ways in which to prevent the use of stolen devices.”

A Nokia spokesperson added: “Nokia has a long history of working with Governments, operators and retailers to reduce the theft of mobile phones. It’s good to see this renewed focus on protecting users.”

The following organisations were represented at this latest round of discussions: Apple, BlackBerry, Google (Android), Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft and the Global System for Mobile Communications Association.

According to the Crime Survey, 826,000 people in England and Wales have experienced mobile phone theft in the past year. That equates to around 2% of mobile phone owners. This percentage has stayed more or less constant since 2005-2006.

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