Bonsai plant
At the Chicago Botanic Garden individual bonsai are displayed on pedestals equipped with alarm detection strips to prevent visitors from touching and disfiguring the rare forms.

Call it ambulance-chasing if you’d like, but I think some of SDM’s fine readers should be following Leigh and Leslie around the country with a demo kit and a monitoring contract.

As they say in the flea market business, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

One of my favorite new television shows, “Buried Treasure,” involves antique-appraiser twins Leigh and Leslie Keno digging through ordinary folks’ attics, barns and garages in search of unrealized treasures. A recent episode featured a woman who had a variety of rare items mixed in with so much “stuff” that she had little clue of what she even owned. Turns out she was holding onto a 1200 B.C. Minoan bronze bowl that had been ploughed up in a field by her grandfather. The Keno brothers expected it would cause a stir among museums because of its rarity, and perhaps sell for $40,000 to $60,000. But that wasn’t all. The woman was a descendant of Charles Dickens and she owned an autographed portrait of him, estimated to bring between $20,000 and $30,000 at auction.

Many of the people the Keno brothers visit don’t know the worth of their antiques. As Leigh and Leslie enlighten them, I believe you can count on many of these folks to realize the need for greater security of their collections. Call it ambulance-chasing if you’d like, but I think some of SDM’s fine readers should be following Leigh and Leslie around the country with a demo kit and a monitoring contract.

You never know which items someone may place value on, and therein lies the opportunity for security companies. It may be an antique vase or painting, a collection of rare wines or even rare plants. This past summer my son and I visited the Chicago Botanic Garden, and lo and behold what did we see? Dozens of rare and elegant bonsai mounted on pedestals and protected by security detection strips. It wasn’t likely that a visitor would want to tuck a bonsai under his jacket and run for the parking lot. A more likely scenario is that a curious hand would mar the shape of the plant or break off one of its delicate branches.

As a security dealer or integrator your head is wrapped around detecting and preventing theft; but plenty of sales opportunities center on detection and prevention of damage and loss, as well. Consider the risk of an HVAC failure in a server room; a gross temperature change in a fine restaurant’s wine storage room; water leakage in a library; or an after-hours cooler malfunction in a grocery store’s fresh meat or seafood department. SDM contributing writer, Linda Pohle, examines the possibilities in her feature article, “Specialty Monitoring: Think Inside the Box,” beginning on page 98 of this issue.

Related to the idea of specialty monitoring is the information advantage that security systems give to businesses to tighten up their operations and inch up their sales. Think of the countless access control systems around the globe recording every entry and exit and the innumerable cameras silently collecting video. There is a flow of raw data constantly streaming from them all. That non-stop data collected from security systems can be converted into information, and that information can provide business intelligence — a valuable add-on to your clients’ security services. Learn more about this opportunity in SDM’s cover story, written by Senior Editor Heather Klotz-Young, beginning on page 56.

We’d like to hear from you — tell us about the systems and services your company is deploying in these areas. We may post your story online at Contact me at