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By: Science Daily

Researchers have developed a first-of-its-kind technique for creating entirely new classes of optical materials and devices that could lead to light bending and cloaking devices — news to make the ears of Star Trek’s Spock perk up. Using DNA as a key tool, the scientists took gold nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes and arranged them in two and three dimensions to form optically active superlattices. The structures could be programmed to exhibit almost any color across the visible spectrum.

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By: Security Systems News

Home security market to see 3.7 percent CAGR in number of broadband households with security

01/18/2018

Spencer Ives

DALLAS—Parks Associates recently published a report, “Home Security: Market Sizing and Forecasts,” that outlines the firm’s expectations in the market between 2017 and 2021.
“Overall, Parks Associates estimates that adoption of security systems among all U.S. households will be roughly 27 percent, or 30 percent of broadband households, by 2021. This will leave 70 percent of broadband households untapped by the security industry,” Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst for Parks Associates, told Security Systems News in an email interview. This figure does not exclude self-monitored systems, Abdelrazik said, which could be in 1.8 million U.S. broadband homes by 2021.
“Our 2017 estimate for professionally monitored systems is 22% of broadband households, while roughly 2% of broadband households have a self-monitored security system,” said Abdelrazik.
The home security market will experience a 3.7 percent CAGR in the number of broadband households with a security system, Abdelrazik said. “The number of households with professionally monitored security systems continues to increase, but growth remains slow. The forecast for 2017 shows a less than one percent increase over 2016 and less than one percent increases year-over-year through 2021,” she said.
Abdelrazik said that Parks Associates uses three main sources of information for its forecast. “These are data gathered from our quarterly consumer surveys of 10,000 U.S. broadband households to understand consumer behavior, adoption, and trends; interviews with industry-leading executives; and third-party resources such as financial reports,” she said.
There are a variety of developments or trends that influence the home security market, according to Abdelrazik. “While the emergence of smart home products extends the value of a security system, it also increases competition, as smart devices are often sold independently of a traditional security system. Many are self-installable, meaning consumers are increasingly becoming accustomed to self-installing systems.”
She continued, “Additionally, adoption of interactive services continues to rise, advancements in technology offer new value potential for security systems, and efforts to expand the market with new business models are all major trends impacting the professional monitored market.”
Abdelrazik also highlighted analytic and voice control technologies as improving user experience. “Video analytics enable features that distinguish individuals in a visual frame, audio analytics can identify a variety of noises, and voice control simplifies the experience with vocal commands,” she said.
Two main reasons drive consumers to install a security system: their property and their family. “Among U.S. broadband households acquiring a security system in 2016, 29% reported that protecting the home and its belongings as the main purchase driver, followed by 26% for protecting family and loved ones,” said Abdelrazik.
Asked about potential hindrances to the market, Abdelrazik said some consumers don’t see a security system as a necessary expense. “Consumers can perceive security system ownership as a luxury due to the associated monthly fees that may come with acquiring a system. For professionally monitored security, cost is the most commonly cited reason for canceling services.”
The North American region will continue to have a high number of monitored household alarm systems through the forecast period, compared to other regions, according to Abdelrazik. “We forecast that for 2017, and the following four years, the North American market will have the greatest number of households with professionally monitored security, followed by the Asia and Pacific region. Asia-Pacific is the second largest market with over 15 million households with professionally monitored security in 2017. Other regions such as Western Europe, Eastern/Central Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Western/Central Asia remain in the single digits for professionally monitored households.”
The report also discuses key vendors in the market, specifically within the professionally monitored segment, such as Vivint, MONI, and ADT. “They are referenced in regards to analysis of RMR growth in the industry. For instance, professionally monitored providers garner higher RMR averages by including interactive services and smart home controls. Vivint is able to capture industry-leading RMR due to the high take rate of its smart home services,” said Abdelrazik.
Parks has noticed a growing trend of self-installed security systems, Abdelrazik noted. “Self-installed systems have slowly been taking a larger share of the overall security systems market. They remain, however, in the minority,” she said. 


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The milliDelta robot integrates a new microfabrication technique with high-performance composite materials that can incorporate flexural joints and bending actuators, the milliDelta can operate with high speed, force, and micrometer precision, which make it compatible with a range of micromanipulation tasks in manufacturing and medicine.

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By: Security Systems News

Deal expands company’s reach into the high-end residential market

01/17/2018

Paul Ragusa

FALLS CHURCH, Va.—Kastle Systems International, an integration company that specializes in managed security solutions and services, recently announced the acquisition of Urban Alarm, a local D.C.-based security provider.
“We are thrilled to bring Urban Alarm into the Kastle family and to expand our business into several new areas including the single-family residential market,” Mark Ein, chairman of Kastle Systems, said in the announcement. “Our customer bases, product offerings and geographic coverage are extremely complementary, which will provide significant growth opportunities going forward. Above all and most importantly, Kastle and Urban Alarm share a culture, passion and reputation for providing the highest levels of service for clients with sophisticated security needs.”
Brian Eckert, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, told Security Systems News that Kastle now has an opportunity to take its innovations in technology and service, which was developed for commercial and multifamily real estate owners, into D.C.’s single-family residential homeowner market, providing a unified, seamless security experience for customers.
“We are excited to open the door to a seamless and unified experience for our customers via a single electronic credential for both the home and office,” Eckert told SSN. “We will look to incorporate additional innovations that benefit our customers, as well as leverage the collective team for new ideas that can extend and enhance our respective service offerings.”
Founded in 2003, Urban Alarm’s clients include a mix of high-end, single-family residential homeowners, as well as commercial, institutional, and property management organizations throughout the metro D.C. area. Urban Alarm is the security provider and patrol service to several of the area’s most prestigious single-family residential neighborhoods, such as Woodland Normanstone, and is responsible for many specialized security environments including embassies and ambassador residences. The company has also completed security projects for several large developers and properties including, in partnership with Kastle, The Wharf’s 3 million square-foot mixed-use development. Urban Alarm has earned a reputation for exemplary security service providing access control, video surveillance, guard patrol services, remote video monitoring and NICET certified fire and life safety services.
“This is a great opportunity for our business, our employees and our clients,” Miles Fawcett, CEO of Urban Alarm, said in the announcement. “By joining Kastle, we are part of an organization with a long-term perspective that will enable us to offer the same premium customer experience, and introduce new, innovative offerings that I know our clients will love.”
The acquisition includes several important synergies including the ability to leverage Kastle’s UL listed, TMA Five Diamond-certified central stations for alarm and video monitoring of Urban Alarm’s customers and providing Urban Alarm’s NICET certified fire and life safety services to Kastle’s extensive local customer base. Additionally, the combination of key talent and intellectual property will provide both companies the ability to comprehensively address the growing security needs across all sectors of the metro D.C. market.


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By: Security Systems News

New smart watch includes emergency response, transportation, and messaging capabilities

01/16/2018

Spencer Ives

LAS VEGAS—PERS company Medical Guardian at CES 2018 launched a new product, the Freedom Guardian, a smart watch designed specifically for seniors’ everyday use as well as for emergencies.
“It’s a smart watch for aging adults that was built with features just for them,” Medical Guardian founder and CEO Geoff Gross told Security Systems News. “All of a sudden, our average customer … is going to have a smart watch that resembles things that their kids and their grandkids have, but it’s made just for them.”
2018 was the first year that Medical Guardian had a booth at the Consumer Electronics Show. “We had a lot of positive response to the Freedom Guardian and everybody was really curious about the feature and excited about what it can do to expand the market,” Gross said.
“The core service of the Freedom is emergency help, which has always been our core service,” Gross said, adding that other features support this focus. The system has GPS and Wi-Fi included, making it “much more accurate as far as location services go.”
The Freedom Guardian can provide the time, weather forecasts, a step counter, and a transportation tool offered through a partnership between Medical Guardian and Lyft. “Through that, at the press of a button, [users will] be able to connect with our customer care department and we can arrange for a Lyft ride for our customers,” Gross said.
Increasing the transportation capabilities for users can help ward against other risks in the aging population, Gross pointed out. “Heart failure and falls are certainly something we focus on every day, but many are not focusing on loneliness and depression which can kill as well. So, we’re always focused on additional services that will get people moving, get them to where they want to go, keep people busy and happy, with the idea that it’ll increase the balance of life,” he said.
Users can also set alerts on the Freedom Guardian, such as medication reminders or calendar events. “Any reminder that you want—whether it’s done on a daily, a weekly or a monthly basis—will pop up on the watch, and give the user an opportunity to affirm the message,” said Gross. Caregivers can be alerted when the users affirm reminders. “We can do that one time a day, or five times a day—whatever’s needed.”
The Freedom Guardian also offers messaging features, where people can send text messages directly to the watch, to be read aloud to the system’s user who can then dictate a text message to be sent in reply. “We call it text-to-speech. So, you’ll be able to have a back-and-forth conversation simply by pressing a button and using your voice,” said Gross.
The system has a two-day battery life and communicates via 3G cellular. Gross said the Freedom Guardian should be available to consumers “by the end of Q1.”


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