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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Each year, Security Systems News features notable women throughout the industry and we’d really like to hear from you about women we should feature this year.

This has been a great way to highlight women making a name for themselves, to hear about their businesses and focuses, and learn how far the industry has come in terms of diversity and including women in key roles through the physical security space.

One woman is typically featured in each section of our publication—General News, Commercial and Systems Integrators, Monitoring and Residential.  If you have a woman in mind, please nominate them by emailing our editor, Paul Ragusa, at pragusa@securitysystemsnews.com.

By clicking here, you can read about the women featured last year.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Kan.—Earlier this week StoneLock, a biometrics company focused on designing and manufacturing access control and identity management solutions, announced that Jim Trani is the company’s CTO.

"My job, basically, is to create that vision of what we need to do to take us out of our advanced startup mode into a full-blown, high-tech producer, and to implement that,” Trani told Security Systems News.

StoneLock’s readers use near-infrared light to see multiple layers of a persons face. “We process a near-infrared image, and from that, we derive our biometric data that is used for match on subsequent verification,” Trani said. This process is completed at an edge device, as opposed to leveraging surveillance cameras and servers, he noted.

“[Biometrics] has never really made the inroads that I think it could make. And, I think our introduction of near-infrared, and the performance we get from that, and bringing it out to the edge like we do, really allows facial recognition to emerge as the gold standard for biometrics,” Trani said.

He continued, “I believe that over the next three to five years, with the way we’ve structured ourselves, biometrics can be in every household, and it can affect your life in many more ways than just being a mechanism to get you through a door at some institutional facility.”

Trani has “40 years of experience in research and development of engineering solutions,” the announcement noted. Trani previously worked with Tyco, Pelco, Infographic Systems and Compass Technologies/Wheelock.

StoneLock was started in 2012. The company, based here, has about 40 employees globally.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Here at Security Systems News, we cover a variety of topics related to the physical security industry. As a result, we get to track trends in the industry; we see when they first come up and we see when they become more prevalent. The matter of false alarms is one that I can say I've been watching since I started with SSN.

Some municipalities have sought to fine alarm companies for users’ false alarms. In late 2014, shortly after I joined the publication, I was speaking with the Security Industry Alarm Coalition about the City of Chico, Calif., that passed an ordinance like this. The city then revised the ordinance after a response from SIAC and California Alarm Association.

More recently, Sandy Springs, Ga., also looked to bring fines for false alarms to the dealers.

California has now stepped in to stop alarm companies in the state from being fined for false alarms that the installation or the equipment didn’t directly cause. Read more about that here.

Security Systems News’ latest monthly News Poll asks about whether false alarm ordinances, particularly the ones that fine alarm dealers and installers, pose a large problem for the industry. Feel free to weigh in on that here. Additionally, feel free to share your thoughts on the best methods for reducing false alarms.

Different areas have taken different approaches to false alarms. In 2015, New Orleans considered outsourcing alarm fine collections to CryWolf, which specializes in issuing and collecting fines, permit fees, and compiling alarm system data. This is a practice that SIAC recommends.

Back in 2014, I spoke with another SIAC’s, Steve Keefer, about an interesting approach: using volunteers to reduce false alarm dispatches. These were “regular citizens that just want to help out in the community,” Keefer said, by notifying repeat false alarm offenders and discussing ways to reduce false alarms.

 

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ADR Security, a full-service electronic and physical security provider based in New York City, on Aug. 11 announced a new business: ADR Security Monitoring, a joint venture with Security Partners that caters to the specific security needs of high-end jewelers in New York City.

ADR Security services about 4,500 individual sites, offering intercom, intrusion, electronic access, video surveillance, fire and life safety, locksmith and AV cabling among other services. The business, by sales, is 90 percent commercial with 10 percent in high-end residential.

“What we were trying to do was figure out a way to go to market with a solution in the jewelry industry,” Peter Goldring, EVP and COO of ADR Security, told Security Systems News. ADR found that working with Security Partners provided the best outcome. “We’re going to be able to issue central station certificates here in the New York market, serviced out of New York,” said Goldring.

Security Partners operates four redundant, UL listed, TMA Five Diamond monitoring centers throughout the United States; in Lancaster, Pa., Anaheim, Calif., San Antonio and Las Vegas.

Goldring described ADR Security Monitoring as “an extension of a retail business that still has very deep roots into the wholesale, third party business. And, it—of course—will afford the opportunity for the other third party dealers to work with ADR Security monitoring, to partner with us, to issue certificates where necessary.”

This business differs from that of a traditional alarm dealer-monitoring center relationship. “ADRSM is the full-circle approach, the operator is able to take service requests, is able to dispatch the runner. Everything is in house, under the roof of Security Partners’ facilities, helping us with the day-to-day operation of the business. So, it really is a much more intense relationship, but it truly is a partnership,” Goldring said.

“We believe there is a huge, underserved market for certificate service – bigger than ever before – and this is a great opportunity for us to partner with a strong, independent and financially solid company like ADR Security,” Patrick Egan, founder of Security Partners, said in a prepared statement.

ADRSM’s announcement mentioned the possibility of expanding after establishing a presense in New York’s Diamond District, and the company is exploring locations for its next markets. “The next two most significant markets are in California, in Los Angeles, … and then of course there’s a fairly large industry in Las Vegas, with a number of jewelry stores and high-end boutiques that often requires the certifications,” Goldring said. “Those are probably the next areas that we’ll jump into.”  

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

PITTSBURGH—Vector Security announced in early August that Newport News, Va., is now live with Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). Newport News joins other municipalities in the state of Virginia using ASAP, such as the City of Richmond, James City County, York County, and Henrico County.

The ASAP to PSAP program, created by The Monitoring Association—formerly CSAA—and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials automates communication between alarm monitoring central stations and 911 centers.

Transmitting alarm information digitally results in improved accuracy and faster emergency responses by eliminating the need for communication over the phone between PSAP centers and monitoring centers.

Vector Security was the first alarm company to use ASAP in the City of Richmond, Va. in 2012. Vector Security assisted with implementation in Newport News by helping to perform extensive testing prior to the system going live.

“Alarm users in Newport News, including several hundred Vector Security customers, will benefit from faster and more accurate emergency response with the implementation of ASAP,” Anita Ostrowski, vice president of central station services at Vector Security, said in a prepared statement. “We hope the positive impact that ASAP will bring to Newport News will encourage other major 911 centers in the nation to adopt this technology as well.”

Ostrowski continued, “As a security provider, we seek ways to promote ASAP’s value to municipalities and public agencies, and help other alarm companies implement it for the greater good of the industry and the safety of our communities.”

Other municipalities that have implemented ASAP include Houston and High Point, TX; Washington D.C.; James City County, York County and Henrico County, Va.; Tempe and Chandler, Az.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Cary and Guilford County, N.C.; Kernersville and Durham County, N.C.; Johnston County, N.C.; Denton County and Grand Prairie, Texas; Morgan County, Ala.; Delaware County, Ohio; Bucks County, Pa.; and Highland Park, Texas.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

WILLIAMSTOWN, N.J.—COPS Monitoring, a brand under Lydia Security Monitoring, on July 27 announced its Grow Your Business roadshow, with seminars currently planned for Denver, Colo., Boca Raton, Fla., Salt Lake City and Williamstown, N.J., with more to be announced.

“The genesis of the seminars actually began with our UCC dealer customers; we started these … sometime in the 2015 time frame,” Ron Bowden, director of dealer development for Lydia’s UCC brand and leader of these seminars, told Security Systems News. The Grow Your Business seminars is an example of collaboration between COPS and UCC following Lydia Security Monitoring's acquisition of UCC in January 2016

“The thought process is that we would put together a business class that worked in helping our dealers in certain areas of their business: in sales, in attrition control, in … installation efficiencies, compensations plans, sales recruiting. [These are] things that a small- to mid-sized business could take and apply in their business that could get immediate results without spending large sums of money,” Bowden said. 

The seminars are not exclusive to COPS and UCC dealer customers, Bowden pointed out, and the workshops suit a range of dealers. “In our class [on Aug. 3], we had dealers that are small to just getting started, to people that have been in business twenty years that have a several-thousand account base,” he said. “I think the basics and the principles apply to all—it’s just how they’re used.” 

“Since the beginning, COPS has been dedicated to supporting independent alarm dealers world-class monitoring along with the tools, services, and education they need to help them run their business and improve their bottom line,” David Smith, VP of marketing and business development at COPS, told SSN via email.

“Now that UCC is part of the Lydia team, Ron’s ‘Grow Your Business’ seminars seemed like a natural fit to our longstanding tradition of helping our dealers succeed.  Though COPS and UCC continue to operate as separate brands, on separate monitoring platforms, and with separate management teams, we still learn from each other and share best practices – especially when it brings value to our dealers," Smith said.

The Grow Your Business seminars will teach dealers how they can increase sales with lead generation programs and other professional marketing services from My Studio [Pros], an agency dedicated to helping dealers of all sizes successfully grow their business in the security and smart home automation market.

Updated on Aug. 3.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

PARK CITY, Utah—AvantGuard has several speakers lined up for its upcoming PERS Summit, to be held here Sept. 26-28, as well as some of the events.

This year’s PERS Summit will start with a tour of AvantGuard’s recently remodeled facility. “We’ve got about 25,000 square feet and three levels, and the building will be completely remodeled, inside and out, by the time the event starts. So, people will really get to see—hands on—how that monitoring of the PERS devices works,” Sonja Jorgenson, AvantGuard’s director of marketing, told Security Systems News.

Aron Ralston will be one of the conference’s keynote speakers. “His story is told in that movie, 127 hours,” Jorgenson noted. Ralston was exploring a Utah canyon when his arm got caught, forcing Ralston to amputate the limb.

One of the speakers will be Eric Allen, an attorney who can speak to certain marketing techniques. “His expertise is … issues that are raised when businesses are contacting customers through texting and automated calls. He really understands that, the regulations, and the new rules that are coming out in 2017.”

Laurie Orlov, another speaker at the conference, is focused on aging-in place.  “She has an interesting background in technology, especially targeted to aging seniors,” Jorgenson said. “She’s going to share some predictions about what those technology trends are going to look like in 2017 and beyond.”

The Summit’s other speakers have not yet been announced.

“Then, every year, we have a panel of experts in the industry and we talk about a relevant issue. Last time, we talked about fall detection and [the panelists’] feelings about that, and where [the technology] was and if it was really helpful,” Jorgenson said. “We haven’t disclosed what that topic will be yet, but that panel discussion’s always a big talking point.”

Jorgenson said that AvantGuard hopes to give attendees more access to the presentations at this Summit, which will allow attendees to further review information after returning from the conference. “I think there will be a lot of information, … so, it’s a lot to digest in just a couple days,” she said.

The company also sends an anonymous survey to its dealers, which asks about a range of topics, including the software that dealers use or the types of customers dealers are seeing, AvantGuard marketing assistant Alex Flitton said. “We actually have a lot of really good feedback so far,” he told SSN. “All of this information will be compiled and interpreted by some of the experts in the industry, to present to our attendees.”

Networking is another benefit of the event, Flitton noted. “It just puts a lot of like-minded people in a really solid environment where they can interact,” he said.

The Summit will be held at The Chateaux Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. The conference has been here for each conference.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HENDERSON, Nev.—Recently, I-View Now announced a new integration with Eagle Eye Networks. I got the chance to catch up with I-View Now president Larry Folsom to hear a bit about this partnership and how it works.

“The I-View Now integration with Eagle Eye Networks is a cloud to cloud integration,” Folsom said in an email interview. “We appreciate the architecture in that it is a smart appliance that can be used with inexpensive or expensive cameras depending on the opportunity and requirements. We think this is important for scale (as opposed to cloud systems that require expensive cameras). We found the Eagle Eye Networks APIs to be robust and well thought out.”

Folsom discussed how the partnership will benefit I-View Now’s customers.

“We believe this is another great video partner for our dealers and central stations to utilize while protecting their customers,” Folsom said. “It is import to see that the Eagle Eye Networks video will work with all I-View Now compatible signaling integrations (security systems) and will play in the same universal player for operators, end users, and law enforcement.”

Folsom noted that I-View Now has had a busy year; it partnered with COPS Monitoring and earlier this year announced that cameras from Bosch, OpenEye and Hikvision can now come I-View Now Ready. “We currently have a backlog but we are working our way through it and have been actively hiring engineers to build out the team to support the demand,” he said.

When asked what the company is currently working on, Folsom pointed to the company’s work with Digital Barriers, announced in early June.

“This integration is fun because every clip we produce will be processed with the video analytic,” said Folsom. “The process will add intelligence (percent of likelihood of a person) to all of our existing video integrations to reduce false alarms and add bounding boxes so the agent and the end user can see where the changes occurred.”

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Central Security Group on July 6 announced that it received an incremental first lien term loan of $40 million, as well as a 12-month maturity extension to its credit facilities.

The new funding “is part of a broader $350 million financing the company started in 2014. This was an add on to that financing,” Richard Ginsburg, president and CEO of Central Security Group, told Security Systems News in an email interview. CSG finances through Credit Suisse, Ginsburg noted.

Asked about growth initiatives, Ginsburg said, “We continue to grow our business through our long-standing Authorized Dealer Program, supplemented by our organic efforts.”

In the recent announcement, Ginsburg mentioned that the funding will help the company with geographic expansion, acquisitions and growing its account base. The announcement also emphasized the company’s Alert 360 offering, which provides interactive security.

Concerning acquisitions, Ginsburg told SSN, “We are always looking but are very selective.”

Ginsburg discussed what CSG looks for in an ideal acquisition. “We would consider quality companies with customers put on through more traditional marketing,” he told SSN. “We also look for companies with good employees and managers who are hitting glass ceilings because of the company's size and who would benefit from a company like ours, with more resources, financing, and a positive culture.”

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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Alarm Industry Communications Committee recently opened its sixth annual communications survey, which asks about monitored accounts using POTS, VoIP digital dialers, as well as other technologies used for transmitting alarm data.

AICC started conducting the survey in 2012 because there was a lack of data on communication paths, according to AICC chair Lou Fiore. “The idea is to figure out what communications is in use, from the premises to a central station,” Fiore told Security Systems News.

“When we go to congress and the FCC and we want to ask that they retain something, or ask for new services, we have data to back it up,” Fiore said.

“This year, I introduced a question regarding AES, as opposed to cellular. But, in previous years, we’ve lumped AES … or private one-way radio with cellular, [calling] it all ‘wireless,’” Fiore said.

Part of the survey covers wireless technologies. “In 2016, 58 percent of new installations were using some form of wireless. Back when I started that part of the survey in 2013 it was about 45 percent. So, it’s steadily ticking up, and I’m sure this year it will [increase] even more,” Fiore said.

In 2012, 83.5 percent of monitored accounts used POTS digital dialers, either as a sole method of transmission or along with another method, Fiore said. “Now, it’s down to 58 percent,” he said, adding that he expects it to be lower this year.

The survey also asked what percentage of accounts use another technology—such as radio, IP, or cellular—as the sole method of transmission. “In 2012, it was 14.5 percent. 2016, it went up to 40 percent,” said Fiore.

In 2013, when the survey began asking about accounts that use IP exclusively, 15.6 percent used IP exclusively. That figure decreased to 9 percent in 2016, Fiore said. “IP exclusively, the use of Internet … is not as popular as everyone’s thought. It’s actually decreasing; it’s been steadily decreasing through the years.”

The survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R9SH7JC. Participation is not limited to TMA or AICC members. Fiore will share results after the survey closes on Aug. 11.

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