Mesh Without Wires

April 21, 2011

Firetide Launches an Aggressive Campaign Targeting WLAN for Education ‎

Filed under: Wireless LAN,WLAN — kseniacoffman @ 12:13 pm
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Yesterday we announced an aggressive campaign targeting education wireless LAN (WLAN) market. Firetide’s MIMO and non-MIMO access points (APs) and WLAN controller bundles are now available at significant discounts to North America based educational institutions, where the need for multimedia-capable WLAN is especially urgent.

WLAN controller feature licenses

WLAN controller feature licenses do add up! (Click to enlarge)

Firetide’s Wi-Fi access solutions have long been a staple of our outdoor deployments for government and commercial verticals. We are now bringing the same level of performance and security to indoor WLANs, targeting the education sector where we can meet the need for cost-effective and easy to maintain solutions.

Multimedia-optimized WLAN

Along with performance and security, we also bring our core video expertise to the WLAN market. Having established market leadership in wireless infrastructure mesh for video surveillance in the Americas (See: Firetide Lands at #1 Spot in Video Mesh in the Americas), we now set sight on the education market where multi-media streaming and video conferencing for distance learning are key requirements. Application-based quality of service and traffic shaping algorithms that Firetide implemented for its infrastructure mesh now drive video performance across WLAN.

No-hassle pricing and no feature licensing

With the aim of establishing a foothold in the WLAN market, Firetide implemented a surprisingly radical (given the practices in the space) pricing for its WLAN controller and AP scaling. Management of up to 50 APs are included in the controller price, with no per-AP licensing. Many features that WLAN vendors often charge for are also included, among them intrusion detection and policy management.

I did a quick comparison with the controller pricing of a leading WLAN manufacturer, using an actual price list of said vendor (see illustration above). The result speaks for itself: Firetide’s all inclusive controller capable of managing 50 APs is $5,000 US list, while competitor’s bundle comes up to almost $15,000. Note that this competitor does not have a 50-AP WLAN controller model, but the cost of various features relative to the controller are based on actual license pricing and should be a good approximation.

Up to 3 controllers can be stacked to support up to 150 APs. While we do not do per AP, or per 10-AP licensing, our pricing is such that it’s still competitive even if you have to buy 2 controllers to support 60 APs.

North America education discount: 25% to 50%

The program announced yesterday offers an attractive price point to educational institutions in North America with discount pricing available through June 30, 2011.

Firetide offers a 25% discount on 802.11n MIMO indoor APs bundled with a WLAN controller capable of managing up to 50 access points. Even more aggressive pricing is offered on 802.11a/b/g indoor access points, with 50% discount off list price for the overall bundle. Bundles range from five APs to 20 APs; each bundle includes a WLAN controller.

To take advantage of this limited time offer or to test drive a Firetide WLAN, contact a Firetide authorized partner or email partners@firetide.com.

In the words of Rohit Mehra, Director of Enterprise Communications Infrastructure at IDC:

“It is not surprising to see Firetide enter the enterprise WLAN market with an aggressive push. Performance, scalability, security and ease of use are key requirements in the enterprise WLAN space. Firetide’s track record in infrastructure mesh, with its emphasis on real-time video streaming, will make the company a contender to watch especially in key vertical segments of the WLAN market.”

For more posts on WLAN, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

April 14, 2011

Municipal Video Mesh Surveillance Comes to Ontario, Canada

It’s always nice to be featured in local news – this time in The Intelligencer of Belleville, Ontario.

Belleville ON video mesh

Belleville ON video mesh: Firetide node and Bosch camera

The newspaper reports that 15 cameras have been activated in downtown Belleville. When the project is completed there will be 17 cameras in 9 locations, for a total cost of $183,000. (As an aside, this roughly translates into $20K per camera location, which is the  ballpark I give when asked “how much do these systems cost?” Note that the figure includes all equipment – not just Firetide’s – plus design and installation. Sometimes the number also includes upgrades that are needed in the IT datacenter, such as storage, monitoring room equipment, plus system maintenance.)

Systems integrator is Quinte-Kawartha Alarm System. About 13 Firetide mesh nodes have been deployed for the project. IP cameras and video management have been provided by Bosch and Genetec respectively.

Quoting from the article:

CCTVs keep an eye on the street

The eye in the sky is now all-seeing. There are 15 security cameras in the skies of downtown Belleville and they’ve been activated, keeping an eye on street activity.

The CCTV system, or closed-circuit television camera network, was installed last March on storefronts and parking lots for a total cost of $183,000.

Police Chief Cory McMullan said Wednesday during an overview of the project and a tour of the the monitoring room at police headquarters: “A priority in the downtown area is to assist victims, prevent victimization, deter potential crime, assist members (of the police service) with evidence required to solve crimes and improve the overall feeling of safety by citizens while in downtown Belleville.”

For the full story, including more photos and video from the press conference, see: The Intelligencer: CCTVs keep an eye on the street

For more coverage of Firetide’s video mesh installations, see:

Image via The Intelligencer

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

April 9, 2011

Day 2 ISC West Impressions #ISCW11

Filed under: Physical Security,Technology — kseniacoffman @ 10:54 am
Tags: ,

Muni Surveillance Panel: Wireless Infrastructure

ISC West 2011

ISC West 2011

In the morning, I presented at and moderated the panel Muni Surveillance Panel: Wireless Infrastructure. During the Q&A portion, we again discussed how to get video off transit busses and police cruisers. The options vary: cellular broadband; wi-fi hotspots; mesh infrastructure mobility (placing mesh nodes in cars/vehicles); and wireless offload at depots and police stations for non-real-time video.

Below is my presentation from the session:

Or view the presentation directly on SlideShare: ISC West 2011 Muni Surveillance Panel: Wireless Infrastructure

Women in Security Panel

I was not able to attend this session; so if anyone blogged about it, please let me know! (You can link to any relevant posts in the comments).

IMS Research Market Update Panel

Key takeaways on the video surveillance side (I did not capture as much information on the access control or PSIM trends). The presentations focused on the Americas physical security market; so the comments below reference the trends in the Americas rather than worldwide.

  • IMS expects M&A activity to continue in video surveillance space
  • Per IMS, Axis Communications continues to lead in network video
  • Commercial thermal cameras trend: Pelco, Bosch and Axis all have lower cost solutions. Lower costs enable new applications; these cameras are effective for perimeter protection
  • The market is all about HD/megapixel; standard definition cameras will begin to (edit 4/18; see note below on timing) be phased out in 2-3 years, per IMS. Phase out of standard definition cameras in the Americas driven by production costs; HD vs standard definition production cost differential negligible. (So manufacturers are really driving this trend, vs the end-users. Big implications for both wireless networking and storage).
  • 3D video surveillance (1st time hearing of it) won’t be commercially available for a long while, per IMS
  • Per IMS, HDCCTV will have 4-6 percent market share by 2014 (rather small)

[Added 4/18] On the phase-out of standard definition cameras, IMS’s Gary Wong adds: “The phaseout will begin in next 2-3 years, however the vast majority of new network cameras released to the market now will be of HD or higher resolution. IMS Research believes that this trend is common to all manufacturers.”

Networking and More Networking

Thursday was networking overload! By the end of the day, I tried to get out of the company dinner, but the CEO said “absolutely not!” so I did not get to my room until 10 pm. A separate post on the networking opportunities, and how I did against my tentative plan (Tweetups, Networking, and More Things to Do While at #ISCW11) is coming up. As a side note, it’s much nicer to stay at a non-casino hotel – once you leave Venetian, you are done with this place and the whole casino scene.

Note on Wireless

Firetide booth at ISC West 2011

Firetide booth at ISC West 2011

Wireless connectivity was bad! Both at the Sands (3G) and Wi-Fi in my hotel; Venetian suite Wi-Fi wasn’t much better. That is why this post is being published Saturday: I just could not upload the presentation, especially in the evening when I assume more people were on Wi-Fi. Tweeting pictures from the show floor was also a challenge – I could not upload a single one while at the Sands. This picture of the booth was tweeted when the show closed already.

This experience echoed the comment from the co-panelist on the Muni Surveillance panel: if you try to do mission critical communications (and especially video) over a shared network, that network would be the first to let you down in case of a big event. So, dedicated mesh all the way!

(Just to illustrate my point: I was finishing up this post at the airport, and almost commented that their Wi-Fi was the best that I saw in Vegas. But just as I was about to hit publish, McCarran Wi-Fi kicked me off the network, and I had re-login. On the other hand, I’m adding this comment while on the plane using portable hotspot feature on my Nexus S. So wireless FTW, but be careful with mission critical traffic, and have something more solid than cellular or public Wi-Fi).

For more ISC West  2011 posts, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

April 7, 2011

Day 1 ISC West Impressions #ISCW11

Filed under: Physical Security,Technology — kseniacoffman @ 8:41 am
Tags: ,

ISC West is in full swing! Here’s the recap of day 1 of the show.

Follow ISC West virtually through Twitter hashtag #ISCW11

Follow ISC West virtually through Twitter hashtag #ISCW11

Executive Club breakfast

We started the day with the breakfast with the Executive Club members (Firetide and TESSCO are jointly sponsoring the lounge, so our team was invited). One of the ‘perks’ of being an Executive Club member (besides the very nice lounge) is the access to the show floor at 9 am on Thursday. We’ll see today how many people actually show up!

Security specifiers become mediators

Continuing on the theme of security specifiers, I had a change to sit down with a security consultant who specified a couple of large municipal projects that ended up including Firetide as the wireless infrastructure. He shared with me that in the last year a so he’d been involved more in project mediation and expert witnessing on the projects that he’s not specified anything new (shame!). His new role (and more profitable as it seems) is to mediate between the end-user, A&E consultant, general contractor and the integrator, to avoid going to litigation. Echoing what was said on the yesterday’s panel, one of the issues is the 3-year old, cut-and-paste spec: “in security industry, it’s dog years – the project is 21 year behind the curve even before it gets started.”

Mobile video mesh demo

Another highlight of the day was the mobile mesh demo on Axis Communications booth (check it out on booth 18051). There was a lot of interest in the demo, including the mesh connectivity portion of it.

Mobile video mesh demo at ISC West 11 - 'Firetide-inside'

Mobile video mesh demo at ISC West 11 - 'Firetide-inside'

The mobile mesh node is placed in the trunk of the car, while a fixed mesh node is located on the booth. This setup is what we call “infrastructure mobility” – the police cruiser is now essentially a mobile command center, connected to the mesh infrastructure and able to control the cameras on the fixed network. (For more information on infrastructure mobility, please see Technology Behind Wireless Infrastructure Mobility).

Social media for dealers and integrators

On Wednesday, I presented on the panel Social media and web marketing for dealers and integrators.” Here’s my presentation – gives you food for thought on why it’s important that you get started with social media now.

Or view the presentation directly on SlideShare: ISC West 2011 Social Media for Dealers & Integrators

See you at the show!

The show opens today at 10 am. I hope to see you in my session Muni Surveillance: Wireless Infrastructure (10:15 am to 11:15 am Thursday April 7, Room 204), and on Firetide booth 24083!

Follow @firetide and @kseniacoffman on Twitter for updates from the show. For the ISC West Twitter stream, follow hashtag #ISCW11.

For more ISC West  2011 posts, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

April 6, 2011

Day 0 ISC West Impressions #ISCW11

Filed under: Physical Security,Technology — kseniacoffman @ 7:00 am
Tags: , ,

The ISC West 2011 show has not started yet, but I’ve already been in Vegas for almost a day and a half, so a daily recap is in order.

Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

The booth setup went smoothly, apart from a monitor damaged in transit, a video camera that finally gave out, and a shipment that did not arrive (aka the usual). But, the wireless is up and running, so it’s all that matters!

Working with Security Specifiers

On Tuesday, I was able to join one of the ISC West Education sessions: Working with Security Specifiers. The panelist presented a good mix of perspectives: integrators, consultants and end-users. Here are a few take-aways (adopted from my tweets from the session):

  • Practitioner perspective: relationship with vendor and support they are able to provide are more important than intricate differentiators between vendors
  • Consultant perspective: Include manufacturer into the process, in addition to integrators, consultants, end users [KC: music to our ears!]
  • Integrator’s perspective: Goal of an integrator: Mitigate risk; provide compliance; deliver ROI for the project, and most importantly: build a long-term relationship with both the consultant and the end-user for ongoing project success
  • How can RFP response stand out? One example: send CEO to the pre-bid meeting!  (And provide your home number so that the end-customer can reach you) – That approach really stood out for one of the panelists.
  • How can you compete with a “low-bid integrator” in your RFP response? Define the price in terms of long-term value and project life cycle, vs “bill of materials.” Also, show domain expertise in a particular vertical; without a track record for this particular type of install, the integrator will be learning on the job at the user’s expense.
  • Validate claims of your bidders – e.g. visit offices of your prospective integrators (consultants may play this role)
  • One of the speakers (an end-user) cautioned against using a consultant who may be a one-man shop. He advised: Don’t be afraid to approach larger consultant firms with a smaller project; they may use junior associates who would work under a senior member’s oversight
  • New construction vs retrofit: in former case, harder to get to end user and communicate value. Consultants can be the conduit.
  • RFP needs to be written based on an assessment, not cut and paste from industry spec – This was a common concern regarding MEP firms (mechanical, engineering, plumbing).
  • When the panel was asked  “how do you handle a situation where a spec is clearly cut and paste?” – the integrator on the panel had an interesting perspective: Don’t just assign blame; use cut-and-paste or old spec as an opportunity to develop a relationship and educate the consultant for *next* project.

Overall, it was an interesting session: it was educational to see the emphasis on relationships and track record (although it’s hardly surprising).

Women’s Security Council

Another highlight of the day was the Women’s Security Council kick-off reception at the V Bar in the Venetian. I got there pretty late (7:30 pm) and was surprised to see the great turnout – most of the bar was dedicated to the event with a good crowd mingling. (Compare that to the conference session above, where I was the only woman among the 80-90 attendees).  I ran into the women I knew before, some who I only exchanged emails with, and met some new people. Thanks to Rhianna Daniels and the entire Council for organizing! Find out more about Women’s Security Council at the organization’s web site: http://wscouncil.com/

The show officially opens today at 10 am. I hope to see you in my session Social Media for Dealers and Integrators (4 to 5 pm Wednesday April 6, Room 202), and on Firetide booth 24083!

Follow @firetide and @kseniacoffman on Twitter for updates from the show. For the ISC West Twitter stream, follow hashtag #ISCW11.

For more ISC West  2011 posts, see:

By Ksenia Coffman – Connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

April 4, 2011

Tweetups, Networking, and More Things to Do While at #ISCW11

Filed under: Technology — kseniacoffman @ 2:16 pm
Tags: ,
Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

Register for a free ISC West exhibit pass courtesy of Firetide

Trade shows and conferences are not just about business meetings and panels. Here are some social and networking opportunities that I have on my radar:

Monday 7:30 pm

Informal ISC West kick-off tweetup at the V Bar at the Venetian.

Tuesday 6 to 8 pm

Women’s Security Council kick off reception at the V Bar at the Venetian (this event probably excludes 80 percent of ISC West attendees, but oh well). RSVP at http://wscouncil.com/

Thursday 7:30 am to 8:30 am

Security 5K race – good for your body, good for your mind! I’m not a runner, but have aspirations to walk it (maybe). Register at http://www.security5k.com/

Thursday 4 to 7 pm

ONVIF interoperability demonstration and reception at the Venetian in Galileo Meeting Rooms 1002 & 1003. Probably who’s who of IP video will be there, so it’s a good networking opportunity. Free registration.

Thursday 9:30 pm

Tweetup with SSN and SDN at the Treasure Island Bar. This is getting late in the day and late in the week, but if you have the energy, should be a fun time.

Dining off the beaten path

If hotel dining and the whole casino scene do not appeal to you, here are a couple of places you might want to check out:

Indian: Origin India
http://www.originindiarestaurant.com/

4480 Paradise Road #1200 Las Vegas, NV Phone: 702.73.INDIA

I discovered this place while staying at the Hard Rock. The restaurant is tucked in a shopping center next to CVS pharmacy, but inside it is a whole different experience: nice dining room and an elegant wine bar; a pleasant respite from non-stop rock music of the hotel. The food is artfully presented, and tastes great.

Sushi: Osaka Japanese Bistro

http://www.lasvegas-sushi.com/

4205 West Sahara Ave. Las Vegas, NV 89102 Phone: (702) 876-4988

Excellent place, and comes highly recommended from several physical security colleagues as well. I’ve only been to the Sahara location, so cannot vouch for the other one. If you want sushi in landlocked Nevada, this is the place to go.

For the “official” Firetide ISC West program, see my post: Attending ISC West? Here’s Where to Find Firetide Team at #ISCW11

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