General Assembly 2011, Bucharest
'Little Paris of the East'
The spectacular setting of Bucharest in Romania was the scene of Euralarm's successful three-day 2011 General Assembly from 21-24 May – kindly hosted by our colleagues from ARTS, the Romanian Association for Security Technique.
Described as the 'Little Paris of the East', and situated on the banks of the Dambovita River, the city of Bucharest worked its magic on delegates, who appreciated the charming old Romanian capital's eclectic architecture, wide boulevards, parks and monuments.
Those delegates arriving on day one – many of whom came through Otopeni international airport – enjoyed a welcome reception and dinner at the Crowne Plaza hotel, giving them an advance opportunity to settle into their surroundings, catch up with colleagues and prepare for a day's sightseeing in advance of the GA business.
The first full day involved a visit to the 1100-room, 12 storeys high neoclassical Palace of the Parliament building (above), which many Romanians call the People's House (Casa Poporului).
Following lunch at a traditional Romanian restaurant, delegates also had an opportunity to visit the popular tourist destination of Mogosoaia Palace (left), some 10km from Bucharest, originally built between 1698-1702 in the Romanian Renaissance style, a combination of Venetian and Ottoman elements.
GA business programme
Day three saw the official start of the GA business agenda, which began with opening addresses from both the ARTS and Euralarm Presidents. Sections members meetings then preceded a variety of reports including one from Euralarm President Hansjüerg Mahler, who presented his outlook for 2011/12 (see his report below). The day's formal proceedings concluded later with a gala dinner.
Opening up the final GA session, on day four, Mr Mahler provided delegates with an overview of the European Security Initiative/European Security Project (also covered separately in this newsletter) and the Plenary Session subsequently concluded with feedback/questions from the members and an open round table discussion.
Details on all the GA programme sessions are available in PDF format in the GA 2011 Members Working Area on the Euralarm website.
Positive progress for Euralarm
Euralarm President Hansjüerg Mahler provided the GA with a positive report and outlook for the future in his address to delegates at Bucharest.
The 'headlines' of his address covered…
• the foundations that have been laid for political lobbying in Europe to make Euralarm a more effective operation in this area
• promising initiatives in terms of CertAlarm
• good progress being made in service standardisation
• influential work being done by the three Sections
• plus important moves on the European security project – including the 16 June Euralarm/GESA conference.
Providing details on all these activities, Mr Mahler pointed out that the CertAlarm certification scheme is now complete and able to provide high quality EA-approved (European co-operation for Accreditation) services – a unique position in Europe. He noted that while the CertAlarm structure and organisation works well, more members, certification partners and marketing capacity is required. To help address these specific areas, professional lobbying will be needed, while a Marketing Advisory Group is being created in tandem with the appointment of a CertAlarm 'Ambassador'. "The next two years are a critical time," he warned. "We can make use of political 'tailwinds' but more Euralarm members need to participate in CertAlarm activities by actively using its services and promoting it. Changing the European certification landscape will take a decade, but the coming two years will be decisive. The outcome of this initiative is important because it will influence our chances of realising other strategic Euralarm goals."
Work with other Associations
Mr Mahler said Euralarm is building up a close working relationship with Eurofeu, as well as CoESS, and has also recently become a member of the German European Security Association (GESA). GESA is an active and well connected lobby organisation for security in Brussels and the joint (Euralarm/GESA) organisation of a pilot conference on 16 June will address the topic 'Crisis and Emergency Response in the European Union: Towards a Public European Alert?'
Important work carried out by the three Sections over the past year has included the transition (in the Fire Section) from the CPD to the CPR (see separate report in this newsletter), as well as an IP position paper. The problems with EN54-14 lead to reflections on EU codes of practice in general. Meanwhile the Security Section has addressed issues including the provision of a stronger voice for small manufacturing enterprises (SMEs ) and investigations to understand the full impact of the recent removal of the IBER. The Service Section is running enquiries about the current national regulation landscape in Europe re. fire & security services and the impact of the Service Directive. Progress has been made in European Technical Specifications for remote alarm verification .
Increasing lobbying strength
Euralarm is making concerted efforts to become a recognised force in political lobbying (see separate news item in this newsletter) as a complementary activity to its traditional strengths. This move is also designed to increase the efficiency of the organisation's standardisation and regulation work and to provide a better overall service to members. The principles on which this lobbying are founded include a focus on the most important issues, Board approval for the positions taken, and a demonstration of Euralarm's 'constructive citizenship' –we seek efficient solutions following our strategy, which is in line with European agendas.
EU security agenda
Turning to the EU Commission and Council's 'European Homeland Security' initiative, Mr Mahler noted that the goal of improving the protection of people and the EU's infrastructure, as well as the European security industry's competitiveness, are fully supported by Euralarm. The organisation's creation of a European Security Project, to help facilitate these aims, are also covered in a separate news report within this special GA round-up.
Describing the strengths and challenges to Euralarm's organisational structure, the President said demand on Technical Manager Brian Harrington's time has exceeded his capacity over the past two years. Brian's impending retirement requires more than just a successor to him though – additional capacity that includes technical lobbying and project management capacity is needed too. Therefore, an additional Technical Director's post has been created. This role will include a remit to increase potential income sources to fill the forecasted deficit of expenses over income from member fees.
In future, Mr Mahlerannounced, Euralarm must consider all options, including being prepared to change its legal status and move to Brussels or become an employer if the need arises.
In conclusion, the immediate focus areas for 2011/12 cover areas such as political lobbying, strengthened networking and a drive on marketing and PR activities, together with the European Security Project, additional income through Euralarm services, the promotion of CertAlarm, and maintained momentum on EU service standards and codes of practice. "Our goals are ambitious," Mr Mahler said, "but tackling them with the whole Euralarm team behind us will give us strength of purpose."
Technical Manager's report to members
Technical Manager Brian Harrington's report to members started with the subject of alarm verification and the progress of a draft standard offered (in 2009) to CLC TC79 by Euralarm.
Following project approval by CLC BT, a large volume of comments on the draft were received in 2010 forcing – at the behest of one country – major structural changes. It's hoped that comments on this will be completed in Q3 and hopefully circulated during Q4, possibly as a second 'enquiry' stage.
Moving on to cover remote services, Mr Harrington updated delegates on the work of TGs by both the Services Section and Fire Section to investigate various elements involved (eg IP technology) and make a number of detailed recommendations, which are now to be considered and acted upon.
CLC 'SmartHouse Project'
'SmartHouse' is a concept designed to integrate all types of domestic systems, including security, enabling them to communicate both internally and to remote locations through common systems. For instance, this would involve security systems sharing an IP communications bus with other application systems such as domestic computer systems, downloading of movies and intelligent kitchens, allied to sharing remote communication to/from such systems through a 'smart meter'. "It's technically possible to achieve the desired results, but an exercise is needed to identify technical elements such as the protocols, based on the work done to date," Mr Harrington told members.
He added that a 'roadmap' identifying a number of project deliverables is in place and that Euralarm has responded to this by identifying some problem areas. However, the significance of system resilience had not been adequately recognised by other interested parties. Nevertheless, Euralarm was invited to make a presentation at a public meeting concluding the project's initial phase and the opportunity was taken to highlight Euralarm's potential to lead the project because of the expertise of its service providers and manufacturers. However, Security and Life Safety systems are what they say and cannot be compromised by other interconnected systems.
Standards (eg TS 50398) are already in place to regulate this and must be followed. Security and Life Safety systems must therefore set the standards for all other integrated systems, or remain stand-alone elements.
"The significance of system resilience factors began to dawn after this meeting and Euralarm's realistic, practical approach towards the issues involved was widely praised. The Telecare/TeleHealth industry particularly recognises the potential synergy with alarm systems and has requested cooperation," Mr Harrington reported, before proceeding with a detailed overview of this area of the project.
The EN 50131 series of standards anticipates the possibility of sharing interconnections or other parts of the IAS bus structure. TS 50398 identifies requirements for integration with other systems, of any kind, while new protocols to standardise TeleCare/TeleHealth applications are being developed too, Mr Harrington informed the conference: "The UK TeleCare/TeleHealth industry, recognising the synergy it shares with FDAS and IAS, wishes to cooperate with our industry in developing these protocols."
The implications, he added, include completed protocols being available as a basis for interoperability within our own industry as well as outside. This potentially opens new markets too, with detectors being suitable for both applications and a simpler route open to companies involved in both areas. However, it appears easier for the TeleCare/TeleHealth sector, as a large and relatively wealthy/politically influential industry, to extend its applications to include security functionality rather than the other way around. Nevertheless, it is better for Euralarm members to cooperate than be left behind, Mr Harrington commented.
Turning to CEN TC391 issues, he noted that documentation was being prepared to guide standards for all equipment with a 'human element', eg ease of use of keypads (especially at times of stress) and the ergonomic design of monitoring centres to improve the effectiveness of their operators. Meanwhile, BS 8484 for lone worker device services is under review in the UK, covering a range of requirements and applications extending to eg medical uses, social workers and lorry drivers. TC 391 members have been invited to assist in the revision process, with a view to adopting this into the CEN work programme.
Meanwhile, there are proposals to develop standards for security management systems (general) – pulling together aspects including manned guarding, electronic, physical and personal security – as well as security management for healthcare centres, and the management of security companies (CoESS is drafting a document intended for submission as a basis for this), Mr Harrington reported.
Concluding the presentation, he said experts were being sought to implement the EU action plan for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear (and Explosives) [CBRN(E)] risks and a workshop on this topic has been arranged for 7 July. Finally, CEN TC391 is to coordinate the responses of CEN, CLC and ETSI to EC Mandate EC/487 to establish security standards.
'European Homeland Security' moves
Ahead of the GESA conference held on 16 June in cooperation with Euralarm, on the topic of 'Crisis and Emergency Response in the European Union: Towards a Public European Alert?', Euralarm President Dr Hansjuerg Mahler provided a useful insight into the topical subject of the 'European Security Initiative' (ESI) at the General Assembly in Bucharest.
In the June Special Newsletter, he explains how the creation of a European Security Project (ESP) by Euralarm is designed to contribute to this initiative in the best interests of Euralarm members.
Lobbying for Euralarm's EU objectives
Euralarm has made a significant step in its political lobbying activities, as Michael von Foerster, Chairman of TC Lobbying (pictured), explained to the GA.
Describing Euralarm's relatively low awareness outside its peer group, and poor media coverage of the Association's activities, he said one reason for this is Euralarm's unclear profile.
Despite the increasing relevance of EU legislation and reputation of its members, Euralarm has not been directly present at EU level and its knowledge on EU developments is accordingly mainly based on intelligence gained by its members, making this fragmentary as a result. Mr von Foerster added that Euralarm also relies on its member associations (eg ZVEI), big member companies (such as Honeywell) and alliance partners to assert its political interests.
By contrast, he pointed out, other associations such as GESA (which Euralarm is joining, and holding a joint conference on 16-17 June) and the European Organisation for Security have taken advantage of Euralarm's absence in Brussels to actively position themselves and contribute towards political decision-making.
Euralarm's EU objectives
Besides raising awareness of its objectives in Brussels, Euralarm wishes to position itself as a key partner for security and safety legislation in the EU. Additionally, it aims to become the central 'forum', or primary contact point, for EU decision-makers and opinion-formers on a range of issues, such as R&D, standards and industry policy. In summary, said Mr von Foerster, the immediate objective is to establish Euralarm as the key organisation in electronic protection and related services.
To achieve these ambitions, Burson-Marsteller has won a tender process to act as Euralarm's lobbying agency, making use of its EMEA network including an office in Brussels, 650 staff and combination of government relations, strategic communications and digital expertise. A contract with Burson-Marsteller is now being finalised.
CertAlarm – the first year's progress…
An important and topical update for members on CertAlarm's first year of operations.
As the only European Accreditation-endorsed certification scheme for the fire and security industry, its President Wouter Blom's address was presented by Morten Pederson of new member (and partner company) Intertek Testing and Certification Ltd.
Mr Blom reported that nine certificates have so far been issued to six manufacturers (three security and six fire). In terms of finance, loan contracts have been signed with three members of Euralarm and 275,000 € received. A funding arrangement with Euralarm has been signed too and CertAlarm's cash reserves are ahead of target.
Turning to acceptances in Europe, Mr Blom noted that, for security, Norway and Spain are in place, while Denmark and Finland have been applied for. The Netherlands is expected and in the UK he said there was "a fair chance" of success. In Belgium and Sweden applications are under 'investigation'. For fire, no proof has been obtained yet. But overall, he remarked, CertAlarm is "more or less on target" in this area.
The situation on members and partners currently involves 6-7 members – ANPI, Applus (applied), DNV, Intertek and Telefication, as well as Euralarm and Zurich Insurance. There are 3-6 partners to date – ANPI (CCB and RTL), Kriwan Testlabor (RTL), and Telefication (CCB and RTL), plus DNV (in audit), Intertek (applied) and Applus (expected).
Plans and prospects
CertAlarm's plan is to be more active in obtaining acceptance in the market, convincing industry of the scheme's merits and promoting the CertAlarm scheme with the aid of a part-time 'Ambassador' who will be appointed shortly. The good news is that CertAlarm's partners "are in discussion with the industry about a huge number of new products and transfers – once one leaps over the ditch, all the rest will follow," Mr Blom remarked.
A separate report last year on CertAlarm by Wouter Blom appears in Euralarm's July 2010 newsletter – see our archive section for details.
Spain – regulation impact comparisons
An interesting insight into changes in the Spanish security market, following the introduction of new government regulation, was presented to the GA by AES, the Spanish Security Association.
The Spanish security market has been regulated for nearly 20 years, since 1992, and security installations have been mandatory in operations including banks, pharmacies, and jewellery shops. There is a sizeable monitoring business in the country and fines of up to 30,000 € for false alarms. Nevertheless, only 5% of alarms are caused by criminal acts.
The Spanish private security landscape comprised 1494 certified security companies in 2010, of which 1038 were installation and maintenance operations and 172 alarm receiving centres (ARCs). While only certified security firms are allowed to carry out installations there is no product regulation at all.
Supporting the EQM
AES has held the Secretariat in Spain for TC79 since 1990 and has adhered to Euralarm's formal request to support the European Quality Mark (EQM). Additionally, regular meetings are held with other industry associations, end users and security industry members to promote the use of EN norms. AES also has regular meetings with government bodies and state security representatives to reinforce the need for, and importance of, EN norms. It has a close working relationship, too, with AENOR, the Spanish association for standardisation and certification – for example, in acting to ratify the EN50131 norm in Spain.
In terms of the Services Directive, there is a new opportunity to implement the 50131 norms and increase business in the country – given the 30% volume decrease that has occurred since 2007. Indeed, EN 50131-1 will be mandatory from 19th August 2011.
Changing the guard
Comparing the Spanish security 'landscape' up to 18th August, and beyond 19th August, anyone will be able to install systems in the future with the exception of connections to an ARC or a Control Centre with Guards (CECON). This change is being introduced following a Royal disposition and five ministerial orders.
Although EN 50131 will be mandatory there will be a 10-year adaptation period, designed to 'evolve' current installations to the 50131 norm. Under 50131 four security grades will exist, with four methods of verification (sequential, audio, video and personal, ie security guards. The subject of training is one area that the new regulatory regime will present a challenge.