Keeping Your Essential Files on Your Smartphone for Offline Use

Have you ever needed an important file while on a plane with no internet service? All of the major cloud storage service (Google Drive, Microsoft’s One Drive, Dropbox, and Box) have an offline option to save those critical files on your smartphone. This is a great tip for frequent flyers who never know how good the plane WiFi is going to be.

Tim Hickey Joins CONTROLTEK as Senior Manager of Strategic Accounts and Asset Tracking Solutions

Bridgewater, N.J., (January 24, 2019)CONTROLTEK, an emerging leader in retail product protection, is proud to announce and welcome Tim Hickey as senior manager of strategic accounts and asset tracking solutions. Tim brings over 25 years in sales and retail technology, with a focus in asset protection, to the CONTROLTEK team.

“I couldn’t be happier that Tim has joined our exemplary team,” said Steve Sell, CONTROLTEK’s vice president of global sales and marketing.  “His extensive experience and proven track record in asset protection will be invaluable as we continue to evolve our asset protection and tracking solution offerings and help retailers take control of their inventory management.”

“CONTROLTEK’s strong vision and implementation of forward-thinking technologies is what drew me to this opportunity,” said Hickey. “I’m excited to contribute my knowledge and specialization in asset protection to our current partnerships, helping retailers protect their merchandise better and improving their operations.”

Prior to joining CONTROLTEK, Hickey served as director of business development of the Asset Tracking Division at LP Innovations and has held various sales positions at BlueTracs, Verint, and TYCO.  Hickey holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Stonehill College.

How to Check What Programs Are Draining Your Laptop’s Battery

Is your laptop battery dying too fast? Here is how to determine the cause, if you have Windows 10. You will need to open your Task Manager. Just right-click the Start button or taskbar and click Task Manager. In Task Manager click on the Processes tab where you will see a section called Power Usage and Power Usage Trend. (If you don’t see these columns listed, right-click in the header and click on them.) Keep in mind you must have the latest version Windows 10 with the October 2018 update. For some users, it may take 60-90 seconds for the data in this section to populate. You will then be able to see what programs are draining your battery so that you can uninstall or end them to increase your battery potential.

Security Theater: Feeling Safe at the Airport Does Not Make You Safe

(This article originally appeared in Loss Prevention Magazine)

Feeling safe and secure is a sentiment we all desire to obtain. We often reflect on investing in security systems and software for our personal settings. As for the nation and the world at large, security theater is an imperative option. However, it cannot be your whole program. Security theater has a lower cost than elaborate security methods. Nonetheless, it may divert parts of a budget for actually effective security measures. In this article, I will focus on security theater in airport settings.

So What is Security Theater?

Security theater offers precise security measures to make people feel more confident about their security. “Security theater is the practice of investing in countermeasures intended to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to actually achieve it,” according to “Security Theater and Learning Theater,” an article for Wired.com. As terrorism continues to occur, fear and devastating traumas arise in airports. The truth is that it can happen anywhere at any time. People should consider security theater, so they can feel safer without exerting a lot of effort. ID cards, for example, are to be checked by the guards even if there isn’t a legitimate explanation to request verification.

A similar route was taken after the 9/11 incident occurred. The National Guard had soldiers stationed at US airports holding guns with no bullets. Instead, the guardsmen carried loaded magazines on their belts, according to the Associated Press. In addition, metal detectors were placed in numerous places of business, shopping centers, and lodging centers after the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The metal detectors served as a deterrent without any plan of how to respond to an activation in some areas. Security theater offers some level of deterrence, yet no actual additional safety in these examples.

The practice of randomly searching bags through different systems, which is backed by huge funds, is also another example of security theater. In regard to airport security measures, programs such as Secure Flight, CAPPS (Computerized Assisted Passenger Prescreening System), TSA Precheck, and Clear are implemented and use screening profiles from airport passengers in the past. If a search is random, it offers a potential deterrent but nothing more.

Security theater will not keep people safe; it makes people feel safe. Due to the fear created by nonstop global terrorist attacks, this type of security practice has expanded outside the TSA (Transportation Security Agency). The TSA has shown to be 95 percent ineffective. It has failed to detect a threat in sixty-seven out of seventy tests conducted by the Homeland Security Office of Inspector General. A second round of tests showed little improvement.

The inclination for security theater originated from the interplay of both leaders and the public. When people develop a fear about their security status, leaders must do something to make the public feel safe, even though it will not necessarily make them safe.

Thus, many police departments have been using a show of force to imply that they are everywhere. The show of force happens when a heavily armed unit is placed in a specific area of a city, mall, or event, and rotated. While this is security theater, these units are fully equipped and ready to respond. The main difference is a show of force by the New York City Police Department Hercules unit has a real deterrent value because the unit is armed and mobile. The TSA on the other hand is not.

Infuse the Show with the Reality

To be clear, I believe everyone should use security theater to help mold the public perception and make people feel safe while offering a deterrence to deviance. The TSA uses real security measures that have an impact; however, my point is to remind all of us the importance of a balanced approach to security programs. Furthermore, the TSA has a mismanagement issue and leans more toward security theater because of its ease of implementation.

With all the measures related to security theater, its real purpose should be to infuse itself with actual security. People need to feel safer so that orderliness will be maintained, and they feel confident in whatever they do and wherever they go.


Tom’s column regularly appears on every issue of LP Magazine. To subscribe to the printed version of the magazine and enjoy other great content visit losspreventionmedia.com

2019 Retail Predictions: From the Rebirth of Brick and Mortar to the Death of Iconic Brands

(This article originally appeared in Loss Prevention Magazine)

The retail industry had a phenomenal year. Retail has an exciting future. The doom-and-gloom reporting of the “death of retail” has subsided.

The retail apocalypse is officially over.

The evolution of retail is not.

In 2017, over 7,000 retail locations closed. Less than half that number occurred in 2018.

In 2018, retailers focused more on customer experience and innovation…and won.

Here are some of my 2019 retail predictions:

1. The rebirth and rebuilding of brands. We will see some retailers resurrect. Brands that closed or filed for bankruptcy several years ago, will resurface with a focus on smaller footprint stores and customer experience. Additionally, we will see the rebuilding of brands with new store layouts and new offerings.

We may also see the demise of some other giants and hope one day they are reborn as well. Look for the new and improved Toys “R” Us and Circuit City in 2019. There may be some big things coming for Lowe’s in 2019 as they tackle the professional construction market.

2. Brick and mortar is back. What some would call the biggest comeback ever is more of looking at it from a different perspective. People are shopping in stores again. Retailers need to adopt the unified commerce approach: if a customer is buying from the business, the channel doesn’t matter.

Smaller footprint stores are abuzz. Grocery and c-stores now move toward more self service with pay and go, self-checkout 2.0, and cashierless stores. Some online brands will open brick-and-mortar stores (The RealReal and UNTUCKit). Destination-based shopping will see more shared or combined spaces. Restaurants, coffee shops, and lounges will be peppered into traditional retail establishments (such as Target concept stores, Starbucks, and Nordstrom’s small footprint). As customers look for different experiences, this will continue to be the key to success for most businesses.

3. The elephant in the room. Amazon continues to grow and gain market share. Retailers will need to build their 2019 strategy around a competitive advantage. Amazon’s Alexa AI will move to more third-party applications supporting retail in 2019. Retailers need to avoid becoming distracted by Amazon and focus on the customer experience.

Location and easy returns are a real problem for Amazon. Also, scalability related to service plagues Amazon. It is discouraged to force innovation. Instead, one should use innovation to help support one’s customers experience.

4. Social media and retail get married. Social selling will be a real thing in 2019. Social commerce will potentially be the most disruptive thing in retail in 2019. Facebook will hit retail big in 2019 with its reach and data. As some leave Amazon, Facebook and Instagram will fill in the void.

5. Some big Amazon acquisitions are coming. We may see the company buy a large retailer with a network of stores. Amazon will also partner or acquire a social network to battle Facebook and Instagram on the social commerce wave.

6. The Internet of things will grow. Technology interaction in the stores will drive customer experience. Think of a more immersive shopping experience, with augmented reality and more interactive smartphone apps. The retailers themselves will also adopt at a higher rate as well as more wearables for instore associates, drones, and wider adoption of virtual reality.

2018 was the death of the retail apocalypse. Be ready for the social commerce’s disruptive wave. Retail will continue to evolve. Technology is not here to eliminate us; it’s here to make our jobs and lives easier. Focus all your programs on the customer experience and customers will shop. 2019 will be a great year for retail. Happy New Year.


Tom’s column regularly appears on every issue of LP Magazine. To subscribe to the printed version of the magazine and enjoy other great content visit losspreventionmedia.com

Reverse Image Search

If you have a photo of a person and want to find out who it is, try socialcatfish. This is a great tool for investigators – all you need to do is upload the image and the site will perform a reverse image search of the publicly available social media sites.

Facial Recognition Might Save Lives but Has Technology Drawbacks

(This article originally appeared in Loss Prevention Magazine Online)

For some, facial recognition is only known in movies and television. To them, it is an imagined technology that allows one to identify someone using a computer to recognize a face. However, today, facial recognition is making a significant impact in multiple industries including healthcare, marketing, security, law enforcement, and even retail.

For most people, their contact with facial recognition technology is from their smartphone’s security features, how Facebook knows whom to tag in photos, or when passing through electronic passport gates. Nevertheless, whether we like it or not, our face is becoming a critical tool when accessing information and possessions.

In different sectors, facial recognition can be used to gather more information about consumer markets such as retail, gaming, and events. One of the applications facial recognition is increasingly used in is targeted marketing. Some businesses utilize facial recognition software to show ads based on the customers’ age and gender, showing the tech’s use in providing more relevant advertising. Some feel that this use is an invasion of privacy.

When it comes to security and safety, most understand and welcome facial recognition. Additionally, many airports around the world are using it to speed up the check-in process while also providing the added security.

The Secretive Use of Facial Recognition Software in Retail and Security Industries

In the US, if one is attending prominent establishments such as Madison Square Garden, it is more than likely that his or her face has been photographed. Depending on the location and when the picture was taken, your face will be analyzed and checked against varying databases. Mainly a database that checks an individual’s criminal background or lack thereof.

One may not realize it, but the same technology is most likely used all over the city, possibly across the country. Why are our pictures taken? Is that right? Is it a violation of our privacy? Many people share similar concerns, but since it was first developed in the 1960s, facial recognition has quickly risen to popularity as an essential security tool.

Initially, it was popular with the police for over a decade. In the last couple of years, however, facial recognition technology has also taken off with retailers as a way to stop shoplifting and organized retail crime (ORC). To the public, it was deemed as an essential security tool as it does help in quickly identifying wanted individuals and possible terrorists at public places.

The technology of facial recognition, when regulated, can indeed save many lives and is useful in multiple ways. Nonetheless, there is the fact that this technology is almost entirely unregulated. It is often used in places where millions of people gather and are subjected to the technology, unaware of what data is collected, who can access it, or how it’s used.

One high-ranking police executive who wished to remain anonymous said, “We use facial recognition daily, and it has helped us solve many crimes. We also have a human verify a potential match 100 percent of the time. It’s just one of the many tools we use. Several states use facial recognition in conjunction with driver license photos to solve crime.”

The Dangers of Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition is effective in strengthening security. However, as a technology, it is also susceptible to the same security concerns as other technology. While it is harder to compromise than voice or fingerprint recognition software, it also has its limitations. Facial recognition technology is not 100 percent accurate. Moreover, masks, glasses, long hair, and other obstructions can hinder its use.

Therefore, even though it is useful in easily and quickly recognizing faces, its efficiency depends on the software used and placement of cameras. Besides certain limitations in its function, a more serious issue regarding its use is its invasion of privacy. To be watched, have your face photographed, and maybe even entered into some database is an invasion of privacy.

Many people and organizations consider facial recognition to be a corporate invasion of privacy. Facial recognition apps can protect you from criminal suspects, but it cannot guarantee your protection against violation of privacy. Concerns about privacy are looming large, especially now in the internet age.

The concerns about facial recognition stem from how facial recognition apps, together with surveillance cameras, can very well track every move of an individual. When your data is gathered, combined, and then analyzed, a person’s activities and recent locations can easily be easily tracked and found. Facial recognition apps are not all bad. It is undeniable that they have practical uses, particularly in this age.

However, the misuse of these tools easily taints people’s perception about the technology, causing them to shy away from its use. The usage of face recognition continues widespread, but it is unsurprising how many people remain against it until it is properly regulated. It is my opinion that in the next three years as it becomes widely used at airports, borders, and transportation hubs, it will become acceptable to most. When the fingerprint reader was introduced years ago, the concerns were similar and have virtually gone away with that technology’s wider adoption. I think the same will occur with facial recognition.


Tom’s column regularly appears on every issue of LP Magazine. To subscribe to the printed version of the magazine and enjoy other great content visit losspreventionmedia.com