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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

GTCR, a private equity firm based here, today announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire GreatCall Inc, a large provider of PERS and cellular devices to seniors.

GTCR has some roots in the security space: GTCR bought Protection 1 in 2010 for $828 million, then sold the company to Apollo Management Group in 2015.

GreatCall has more than 800,000 subscribers across its cellular phone and PERS device business. The company operates its main monitoring center in Carlsbad, Calif., with a secondary facility in Reno, Nev.

“Everything they do, I think we would characterize as PERS—they deliver it a bunch of different ways. Some of it is cell phone based and comes with a cellular service as well. Some of it is traditional mobile PERS, pendant based.” David Donnini, managing director for GTCR, told Security Systems News. “There’s access to an operator in everything they offer.”

“We focus on recurring revenue service businesses, by and large—whether they’re B2B, B2C. A lot of them are technology enabled. We do a fair bit of healthcare investing as well, [along with] some technology, media and telecom. This investment hits on a lot of what we do across our firm,” Donnini said.

It was GTCR’s experience with security alarm monitoring that led the firm to GreatCall, Donnini said.

“Our goal is to continue to work with the company to continue to grow it. They have a business plan around entering more [of] the commercial side of the industry as well, providing the service to health care insurers, health care facilities, operators and so forth who can benefit from it as well,” Donnini said. “In our model, M&A is always an opportunity as well. I think there’s strategic businesses in this space that we’ll hope to acquire.”

What stood out to GTCR about GreatCall? “I think the thing that leapt out to us about GreatCall is efficiency, some of the best performance metrics and return on investment—as well as growth—in the industry,” Donnini said.

GTCR has thought of the PERS space as an interesting area for investment opportunity over the past five to 10 years, according to Donnini.

“We are excited to partner with GTCR as we continue to provide seniors with exceptional services that provide peace of mind and extend independent living,” David Inns, GreatCall’s CEO, said in a prepared statement. “GTCR brings significant resources and experience in building industry-leading companies, and we believe they will be a valuable resource in the long-term expansion of our business.”

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017. “The existing owners of GreatCall decided to sell a few months ago. So, the discussions have been ongoing for a couple of months now, we’ve been evaluating the company and working on a transaction which we agreed to [in early June],” Donnini said.

Jefferies LLC served as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to GTCR. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as financial advisor and DLA Piper served as legal advisor to GreatCall.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I’ve been hearing a lot about PERS and mPERS lately. Specifically, I’ve been interested to hear views on how older PERS users feel about technology.

When discussing Essence’s Care@Home Active offering, which uses a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone, company head of marketing Rafi Zauer said, “The obvious question is: How many seniors have smartphones now-a-days? There’s ample evidence … [smartphone use] is going to become almost ubiquitous over the next few years with seniors for several reasons.”

Zauer continued, “The availability of old phones, or non-smartphones is depleting. … Plus, the baby boomers in the next few years are becoming seniors themselves, and we know baby boomers use smartphones almost across the board.”

Following that conversation, as well as others, I was interested to come across a new report from Pew Research Center, titled “Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults,” which looks at older Americans and their stance on technology.

The report’s authors, Monica Anderson, Pew Research Center research associate, and Andrew Perrin, research assistant, had some interesting figures about the way older generations could view technology.

The report reads: “recent Pew Research Center surveys find that seniors are also moving towards more digitally connected lives. Around four-in-ten (42%) adults ages 65 and older now report owning smartphones, up from just 18% in 2013. Internet use and home broadband adoption among this group have also risen substantially. Today, 67% of seniors use the Internet—a 55-percentage-point increase in just under two decades. And for the first time, half of older Americans now have broadband at home.”

The report also mentions higher tech adoption in some areas among seniors that are younger, between ages 65 and 69. “Seniors ages 65 to 69 are about twice as likely as those ages 80 and older to say they ever go online (82% vs. 44%) or have broadband at home (66% vs. 28%), and they are roughly four times as likely to say they own smartphones (59% vs. 17%),” it read.

Though, the report also notes, that some seniors chose to “remain largely disconnected.” Anderson and Perrin write, “One-third of adults ages 65 and older say they never use the internet, and roughly half (49%) say they do not have home broadband services. Meanwhile, even with their recent gains, the proportion of seniors who say they own smartphones is 42 percentage points lower than those ages 18 to 64.”

I’ll be curious to find out if increased technological familiarity among seniors will change the way PERS devices are designed in the years to come. 

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FLIR Systems Inc. announced yesterday that James J. Cannon has been appointed president and CEO, effective June 19, 2017. Cannon will succeed Andy Teich, whose retirement after 33 years of service was previously announced on February 14.

"The opportunity to join this outstanding leadership team and serve alongside over 3,000 talented FLIR employees worldwide as the company's next CEO is a great honor," Cannon said in a prepared statement. "The FLIR brand is synonymous with continuous innovation and delivering value to customers around the world. From my own personal experience having relied on FLIR technology as a combat veteran, I've seen firsthand the powerful, life-saving impact the company's portfolio of solutions can have for our customers.”

Cannon served in the U.S. Army for 10 years as an infantryman and armor officer in a wide variety of assignments around the world, including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Iraq.

Prior to joining FLIR, Cannon served for more than 16 years in a variety of senior leadership positions at Stanley Black & Decker Inc., most recently as president of Stanley Security North America & Emerging Markets, FLIR noted.

“As President of Stanley Security North America & Emerging Markets, Mr. Cannon held direct P&L responsibilities across five business units, managed over 5,000 employees, and oversaw the operations of numerous manufacturing plants and distribution centers. In this role, he successfully developed and executed a strategic plan that reduced complexity and cost while driving continued and sustained improvement,” the announcement read.

Prior to his role as president of Stanley Security North America & Emerging Markets, Cannon was president of the Stanley’s Industrial & Automotive Repair business unit, first in North America and subsequently in Europe and Latin America, before then serving as president of Stanley Oil & Gas.

"We are delighted to appoint a chief executive of Jim's caliber," Earl R. Lewis, chairman of the FLIR board of directors, said in a prepared statement. "Jim's proven track record of achieving strong results in both business and the military make him uniquely well qualified to serve as FLIR's next CEO.”

Cannon serves on the board of directors of Lydall, Inc. and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Cannon will be based out of the company's Wilsonville, Ore., headquarters.

by: Spencer Ives - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

MIAMI—On Monday I headed down to Aventura, Fla., just outside of Miami, to attend Affiliated Monitoring's second annual Catalyst, a conference focused on the sales and marketing aspects of PERS technologies. There have been a lot of interesting conversations happening at the conference; included below is a brief overview of the conference and some of the topics discussed.

Prior to the first official day of this year's Catalyst, the company held a PERS marketing primer for attendees. Mike Zydor, Affiliated's managing director, and Matt Solomon, director of software solutions for Affiliated, presented the introduction to the technology and the market. The number of people aged 65 years and older will increase in years to come, they said, adding that the typical PERS customer is in their low- to mid-eighties.

"We have lots of seniors and they live at home, they own their own homes and they want to stay in their own homes," Solomon said. Solomon and Zydor highlighted the point that often in selling PERS, a dealer is not interacting directly with the user, but with the user's adult children.

The two gave an overview of products on the market, such as in home technologies, fall detection, mobile PERS.

Zydor and Solomon delved into marketing in two key areas, direct-to-consumer and through partnerships. In discussing direct-to-consumer options, they gave an overview of paid search marketing, content marketing and SEO, print advertising, and social media among others. Of these, content marketing and SEO was highlighted as a good possibility for local efforts.

When looking for partnerships in the market, Solomon and Zydor said a dealer can look to hospitals, home healthcare agencies and senior services, among others.

The first day’s educational sessions started with an opening keynote on the state of the PERS industry, presented by Affiliated VP Daniel Oppenheim.

"You are living in the golden age of PERS right now, the opportunity is right now," Oppenheim said. He stated that he wanted to give attendees three main things to consider and take away from the opening address.

Firstly, he pointed out several products in the industry and their impact. While the majority of units are still in the home, Oppenheim said he’s seen fast growth in mPERS over the last two years.

The second item Oppenheim discussed is that dealers should learn more about their customers. Affiliated looked at figures from its interactions with PERS in 2016. PERS is about peace of mind, he said, pointing to the statistic that action was needed in response to a PERS button press 10 percent of the time during 2016.

Additionally, the company found out that of mobile PERS button presses, 53 percent of those users were at home. Similar to the previous years, the average age of a PERS user is 81 and the average age of an mPERS user is 78.

Lastly, Oppenheim discussed “the sale after the sale,” and that a good customer is not only one who has it delivered but one that uses it. He shared a figure: if a PERS user tests their system within the first 30 days of getting it, they were five times more likely to still be a subscriber a year later, as compared to those that didn’t test the unit within that time.

Oppenheim also noted that this year marks Affiliated Monitoring’s 40th anniversary.

Following the opening keynote, Matt Solomon presented “Agile Management in Action.” He described agile management as a methodology, or way of thinking about a business, in order to improve business efficiency.

Solomon discussed key aspects of the agile management philosophy, such as placing value in people and interactions instead of processes, delivering on the premise, working with customers and responding to change.

Agile management is a way of empowering employees to make decisions, he said. The methodology is also focused on shorter-term time frames, such as two weeks, as opposed to nine or 12 months. Agile is also about delivering value, he said.

Solomon gave attendees the chance to collaborate in a group activity, which was centered around working together, making decisions about prioritization, and ultimately seeing how the amount of work required for a task adds to the value of a business.

Prioritize, collaborate and get stuff done were three main points Solomon underlined.

“Executive Spotlight: DRTV and the Senior Market,” was the next session. Here, Daniel Oppenheim sat across from Peter Koeppel, founder and president of Koeppel Direct, a direct response media firm. In this session, Koeppel and Oppenheim had a conversation about direct response television advertising, or DRTV, and how it might fit into the PERS industry.

To start, Koeppel defined DRTV as a TV ad designed to get a consumer’s immediate response. Examples of DRTV would include commercials that instruct viewers to dial a number or visit a website to order a product or receive more information.

Koeppel said that seniors in particular are watching more TV, and they watch during the daytime, which is generally a less expensive spot for advertising. Longer time spots can work better with the senior market, he noted, allowing the number to remain on screen longer and slower talking in the commercial.

Koeppel showed two commercials as examples of DRTV and case studies for how they work—both chosen because they were designed for the senior market, much like PERS. Afterward he gave examples of how responses changed based on changes in the advertising, such as a better response to a rebate as opposed to other incentives, and more responses with a “repeater number” such as 555-1212.

In “Thought Leader Discussion: The Future of PERS,” Mike Zydor moderated a discussion with four executives from the industry: Ryan Bangerter, VP of business development for Mytrex; Yaniv Amir, president of Essence USA; Scott McGeHee, VP of sales and marketing for Climax; and John Carpenter, VP of channel engagement for Nortek.

Zydor opened the session with a specific question for each speaker. Noting that Mytrex has a focus on in-home units, he first asked Bangerter about what led Mytrex to stay focused on this area of the industry. "The biggest thing is looking at demand," Bangerter said, adding that there is a demand for in-home products.

After mentioning that Essence focuses on monitoring aspects of daily living, Zydor asked Amir where he sees the market going. One of the things Amir pointed out is that monitoring daily living habits through Essence’s system doesn't necessarily require a pendant, which can help. "A pendant is perceived [as] losing their independence,” Amir said.

Zydor asked McGehee about Mytrex’s work with both mobile and in-home PERS. McGeHee said that dealers look for an easy to use, simplified offering, which fits a senior who is not comfortable with an abundance of technology.

Next, Carpenter was asked for what he sees as key features of interest in the market, particularly considering that Nortek is involved with telehealth. Carpenter said that he sees being able to add more features and functionality as a benefit amidst other offerings that look to compete on price.

The second day of Catalyst 2017 started with "Keynote Conversation with Ken Gross- Executive Spotlight: Unrivaled Success in the PERS Industry," featuring a conversation between Daniel Oppenheim and Ken Gross, founder and chairman of Connect America. The two discussed Gross' approaches and successes in the industry.

Oppenheim opened with a question about Gross' history and how he came to the PERS industry. Gross answered that he first started an alarm business in 1977, sold it in 1989 and subsequently entered a 10-year non-compete. He returned to the industry in 1999 with a new business that he sold five years later in 2004. At that time he was investing in domain names, one of which was medicalalarm.com, which led him to enter the PERS business in 2004.

When Oppenheim asked about the key turning points in Gross' business, Gross pointed to two events, one which led to the other. The first event was a positive review in Good Housekeeping, which Gross said helped the company in forming a partnership with CVS. Through this partnership, Gross’ business put a display in 6,000 CVS stores.

Oppenheim also brought the conversation to a topic from the previous day's conversation on DRTV. Gross said that he has used specific numbers, such as 800 numbers—as opposed to 877 or 833—and repeating numbers.

Gross underlined one piece of advice at a couple of occasions: picking the right partners, including the right vendor and the right central stations for the business. "Pick the right partners and stick with it," he said.

Dr. Robert Rohm, corporate trainer and author, gave the final presentation of the day, covering personality types and the best ways to interact with different types of personalities.

Personalities are oriented in a couple of different ways, according to Rohm. People are either more task oriented or more people oriented; they are also either more outgoing or reserved.

Outgoing and task oriented tends to make for a dominant personality, he said. This group of people is filled with natural born leaders and likes seeing results. This group can also be defiant.

Outgoing and people oriented means a person is very fun-loving, looks to be liked, though can be illogical at times. Incorporating fun into a sales call with an outgoing and people oriented person will help, he said.

If a person has both reserved and people oriented traits, they will be supportive and generally like teamwork and appreciation. This group of people values peace and harmony, Rohm said. This group can be a “sucker,” he said.

The last group Rohm addressed is those that are task oriented and reserved. This group looks for value and quality answers and likes to be right. These traits mean a person likes patterns and to know what is expected of them. People who are task oriented and reserved can come off as cold, Rohm noted.

Attendees seemed really pleased with the event and the educational sessions, with quite a few returning from last year. Attendees were also positive on the networking opportunities and this year’s location.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

UNION, N.J.—On Monday, connected living solutions provider Essence USA announced a new program, created in partnership with Affiliated Monitoring, to benefit dealers of Essence’s PERS products.

“The fully customizable program gives dealers a range of options about how to best run their PERS offerings, including order fulfillment - direct to the consumer or distributed to the dealer, customer service, invoicing and collections, equipment retrieval and refurbishment, and branding options,” the announcement read.

“PERS is a major focus at Affiliated,” Daniel Oppenheim, Affiliated’s vice president, said in a prepared statement. “We are excited to be able to provide this advanced system to our dealers who are interested in a turnkey PERS program.”

“We can customize a program for any dealer to make it easier to get into PERS,” Affiliated Managing Director Mike Zydor said in the announcement. “For the dealers already in the market, we can provide access to preprogrammed, leading-edge products at discounted rates.”

Essence’s Care@Home suite of PERS products benefits both dealers and end-users, Essence said in its announcement. The offering has a large radio communications range for devices, “allowing users maximum flexibility in moving around their home and property. They also offer a wide variety of safety and security sensors, giving dealers an attractive and scalable offering for their customer base,” the announcement said.

“Essence is on the forefront of in-home PERS technology and has a veteran management team behind it,” said Yaniv Amir, President, Essence USA, in the announcement. “Essence historically has only worked directly with larger players in the space, and we are excited to now bring our products to all Affiliated dealers.”

The program is scheduled to launch within the Affiliated dealer network at the end of May.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Security Systems News, for the 11th year in a row, is seeking the best and brightest young professionals in the security industry for its annual “20 under 40” awards.

"The award recognizes the next generation of leaders in our industry—the ones who are going to help push the security industry forward and drive the constant evolution in technology necessary to keep it strong and vibrant," said Paul Ragusa, editor of Security Systems News.

Nominations are now open. If an integrator, installer, monitoring center professional, dealer or end user stands out to you, feel free to submit their name here. Please specify which class your nomination is for—integrator, which encompasses roles within the industry, or end user. The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 30.

Employees from manufacturing or consulting companies are not eligible. However, they are encouraged to nominate an integrator or end user that is eligible. Nominees must be age 40 or younger—born in 1977 or later. You can nominate more than one person, and you can nominate yourself.

"Each year we look for security professionals who make everyone around them better through their dedication and hard work, and through their innovation and ambition to make a difference at their company or organization, and in the communities they work in," Ragusa said.

Profiles of each “20 under 40” award winner will appear at www.securitysystemsnews.com and in our print editions later this year.

All “20 under 40” award recipients will be honored at a special reception at SSN’s TechSec Solutions conference, held in Delray Beach, Fla., in February 2018. TechSec Solutions is the industry’s premier conference on new and emerging technologies, and “20 under 40” winners are often invited to speak at the conference.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—The Monitoring Association, formerly CSAA, announced details of its 2017 Annual Meeting—the first since the name change—which will be held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz., October 7-11. Jack Uldrich, a global futurist, speaker and author of 11 books, will deliver the conference's keynote on Oct. 9.

Uldrich is a frequent speaker on emerging technology, change management and leadership and has addressed hundreds of corporations, associations and not-for-profit organizations, TMA noted in its announcement. 

“In the near future, the greatest change will be the accelerating rate of change itself,” Uldrich said in a prepared statement. “I’ll outline the trends transforming the world of tomorrow, as well as identify concrete actions business leaders can take today to future-proof themselves and their companies against ‘the tides of tomorrow,’” he added. 

“Over the past several years, we have ‘reimagined’ our annual meeting to provide participants with the kind of value in both content and engagement that is unmatched at any other industry event,” TMA president Pam Petrow said in a prepared statement. “2017 will build on our past successes – we’ll present a program of the kind of top-level engagement and professional development that our members have come to expect from our Annual Meeting, while we celebrate our new name and our mission to advance the professional monitoring industry.”

Additional education sessions at the Annual Meeting, which will be held Oct. 9 to 11, will focus on helping leaders address critical issues and challenges facing the monitoring industry, such as best practices in operations, executive management, technology updates, and telecomm issues, TMA said in its announcement. The complete roster of speakers will be announced over the summer. TMA will hold Board of Directors and Committee meetings October 7-8.

To see the preliminary schedule, register, and reserve hotel rooms for the TMA Annual Meeting, visit tma.us/2017am. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is approximately a 30-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On the front page of this site, you’ll begin to see ssnTVnews video interviews posted each week from several members of the team, including myself, our editor Paul Ragusa, and SSN’s VP and group publisher Tim Purpura.

Each ISC West we talk on camera with a variety of companies—residential and commercial companies, monitoring centers, integrators, installers, research firms and manufacturers—to both hear about their latest initiatives as well as gain insight into the benefits of ISC West for companies that we speak with.

Up online now is my interview with Justin Bailey, COO of Avantguard, as well as Paul’s interview with PSA Security Network CEO Bill Bozeman.

In upcoming weeks, more videos will be released, featuring Dynamark, Security Partners, Convergint Technologies, Red Hawk Fire & Security and others.

One thing I’ve said about each industry event, including ISC West, is that it gives the editors a great chance to meet and talk face-to-face with companies; seeing as the Security Systems News office is based on the coast of Maine, most of our interviews are conducted over the phone.

Besides the opportunity to in person with professionals in the industry, it was great to be right on the show this year, able to see and feel the energy of this year’s attendance—which is up 3 percent from the previous year.

Additionally, early responses for our latest News Poll, asking readers about their experience with ISC West 2017, are also saying that traffic is up this year.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 12, 2017

By many counts, this year’s ISC West was a fantastic show. Walking the show floor, the traffic seemed great. Beyond that, there seemed to be a good level of engagement at the booths.

The SSN team gathered this week to talk about what really stood out at the show. One thing my colleagues and I heard—and saw—was the importance of integrations and partnership in this industry.

In my first discussion on the show floor, EMERgency 24’s Deanna Blair, independent sales representative, and I talked about how integrations and partnerships are crucial, as well as the company's recent integration with Aiphone's IX series. 

At MONI Smart Security's booth, I enjoyed speaking with Jeffery Gardner, company president and CEO, and Peter Tonti, vice president of product development, about the company's approach to partnerships. Recently, the company partnered with AAA and AARP. Tonti said that the company looks for organizations where values overlap. 

On the show floor, I talked with I-View Now a bit about the company's latest partnerships such as with Bosch, Hikvision, and Honeywell cameras as well as end user communication devices like Bold's NotifyMe and Affiliated's AlertMessage. This week I spoke with the company more about its latest partnership with COPS Monitoring.

For a full wrap-up of my show floor meetings you can click here. You can also find an overview of SSN editor Paul Ragusa's travels at the show here. It will be intersting to see in the future how companies partner and work together.

by: Spencer Ives - Monday, April 3, 2017

Day 3

I-View Now exhibited at ISC West 2017 with its own booth space, a first for the company. When I stopped by I met with I-View Now president Larry Folsom and Nicole Swartwout, who is focused on platform integrations with the company. At the show, the company was discussing a few new integrations at this year's show. Particularly, that Bosch, Hikvision and OpenEye cameras can now come I-View Now ready.

In addition to these integrations the company has brought video to end users for alarm confirmation, through Affiliated's AlertMessage offering and Bold Technologies' NotifyMe, Folsom said that functions like these can really impact the industry.

This year, DICE brought two of its sister companies to the booth, IPtelX and Aventure6. In addition to catching up with Cliff Dice, DICE CEO, it was great to meet HR Topham, senior account manager with Aventure6, and Jordan Dice, president and CEO of IPtelX.

Cliff Dice said that the company was talking quite a bit with attendees about its cloud based automation solution, which now has more than 1 million accounts across 50 central stations.

Mark Matlock, UCC's senior vice president, said that at ISC West the company has been talking about the acquisition by Lydia Security Monitoring, COPS Monitoring's parent company, 14 months ago and how it has benefited the company. Matlock said that the company is preparing to activate its back up central station, which is collocated with COPS' Dallas-based monitoring center, approximately 320 miles away from UCC's own central station in San Antonio.

Matlock said that the company has experienced some growth recently, adding on 10,000 accounts since the beginning of the year.

The Fortress UTM—standing for unified threat management—is a recently announced device that takes the place of an Internet router and monitors communications between connected devices, bringing cybersecurity into the residential market. On the show floor I got to meet Roumen Kassabov, Fortress Information Security's software engineer, Juliet Okafor, Fortress Information Security's VP of global business development, and Michael Monroe, Fortress Cyber Security's senior engineer, product lead.

At the Kwikset booth, the company was showcasing some of its most recent locks, which were also announced at this year's CES. Its Obsidian lock is a keyhole-less design that only has a number pad to control the lock. Nick English, the company's national sales manager, told me that the design, as well as others, better fit consumers looking for a more modern or contemporary look. The company was also showcasing its Convert, a system that can turn stand locks into smart locks.

I was glad to meet with MivaTek’s Joe Liu, company chairman and CEO, and Elaine Kuo, MivaTek's marketing director. MivaTek provides a platform to access connected devices from a smartphone, review and record video clips. This can allow users to verify that an alarm is real and then call contacts, such as the local PSAP, from the app.

For my final booth visit, I met with Matthew Davis, project manager and help desk for Z-Wave Products. He showed me how the company's Z-Wave Tool Box can help an installer visualize connectivity and traffic between smart devices in order to better diagnose an issue.

All around I thought that this was a great year—one thing I heard at just about every booth was how traffic was really good. I look forward to seeing how the technologies announced and discussed at the show progress over the next year. 

Day 2

The weather was very nice for the walk, and—as it always is—it was great to step away from the strip and the convention center for some more tranquil fresh air. I was happy to be alongside so many others in the industry, raising money for Mission 500, which benefits children in need.

Back on the show floor my day started out with a series of video interviews at Security Systems News’ media stage.

First, I spoke with Hank Groff, senior vice president, sales and business development for Dynamark, about the show and Dynamark’s focus of partnering with security dealers to provide them with more than third party monitoring.

John Wells, operations manager for Comtronics, and I talked on camera about the company’s switch from operating its own central station to using wholesale monitoring with NMC and how that has helped the company look at new technologies.

Tony Byerly, president of Securitas Electronic Security, talked on camera about the company’s final phases for incorporating its acquisition of Diebold’s North American electronic security division.

My last ssnTVnews interview was with Mike Donegan, national sales manager for Security Partners, and Jacob Trone, VP of Financial Security. We discussed Security Partners' new funding program for dealers and the benefits to it.

Each of these video interviews, as well as my talk on Wednesday with Justin Bailey, AvantGuard’s COO, will be available online in the future.

At COPS Monitoring’s booth I had the chance to catch up with Jim McMullen, COPS president and COO, and David Smith, VP of marketing and business development. McMullen said that several show attendees have stopped by the booth and mentioned that they like COPS’ redundancy across multiple sites. The company has five monitoring centers throughout the United States, including in New Jersey, Florida, Tennessee, Texas and Arizona.

OneEvent is, as I mentioned earlier, one of the companies I got the chance to speak with ahead of the show. On the show floor I got to meet a few of the team members face-to-face: Kurt Wedig, co-founder and CEO, Dan Parent, co-founder, COO and VP of engineering and Bob Mullaly, the company's chief data scientist. The company is initially looking at how its data analytics engine can help to predict a fire, based on environmental factors.

Mullaly mentioned that the system, beyond early detection and prevention, also has the capability to give first responders more information on the nature of the event if a fire does take place.

I spoke with Everbridge recently about its acquisition of IDV Solutions. I stopped by the IDV Solutions booth on the show floor to meet Scott Morrison, IDV Solutions’ executive vice president of marketing, and Annie Asrari, director of product management for Everbridge. While I have talked with the companies about IDV Solutions Visual Command Center, it was great to see what it looks like and how it works in person.

At Vanderbilt’s booth I met with Mitchell Kane, company president, and Kim Loy, the company’s director of marketing. I had a great chat with Kane about trends in the industry. He identified mobile credentials in access control and cloud-based or hosted systems as major trends in the industry. Both of these categories are fairly mature from a technology standpoint, Kane said, but have not matured much in the market.

MONI Smart Security is exhibiting at ISC West for the first time since its rebranding; Jeffery Gardner, company president and CEO, and Peter Tonti, vice president of product development, said that dealers’ responses to the new name and look, as well as its more consumer facing presence, have been very positive. At the end of March MONI announced that the company is offering a sign on bonus at the show, which Gardner said can really help a new dealer get started.

In early February, Bold Technologies officially released the latest version of its automation software, ManitouNEO. At this year’s ISC West, Coles and Matt Narowski, company director of development, gave me a brief demo of the new platform. Among the latest innovations is a new video interface and the ability to funnel more data on a central station’s performance into the platform’s dashboard.

At UL’s booth I met with Steve Schmit, engineering manager, Lou Chavez, principal engineer, security and life safety, and Neil Lakomiak, director of business development and innovation with UL. It was interesting to hear what the organization is focusing on, such as upcoming standards for tactical video solutions—such as thrown cameras; alarms, detectors and shut off systems for water leaks; and mPERS systems.

My last booth meeting of the day was with March Networks. Nathan Dinning, March Networks’ product manager, Donna Reid, director of marketing, and Dan Cremins, global leader of product management, talked with me about some of their latest systems. At ISC West, the company is showcasing a new camera, purpose built to bring high quality video into an ATM camera. March Networks also is debuting an integration between its Searchlight business intelligence offering and FLIR’s Brickstream 3D Analytics Sensor, as well as a new 9000 series of video recorders designed to fit well into all-IP environments.

Day 1

Starting out the show, it was great to hear the opening keynote: Philip Celestini, section chief for the FBI Cyber Division, sharing the FBI’s view of cyber threats, trends and protective measures. He talked about the four levels of cyberthreat from his perspective: certain nation-states, international crime syndicates, insider threats, hacktivists and then—at the bottom of the list—terrorists.

My first meeting on the show floor was with Kevin Lehan, PR manager with EMERgency 24 and Deanna Blair, independent sales representative. It was great to hear more about the company’s Incident Crisis and Control Service, or ICCS, which opens two-way communication with first responders in the event of an emergency. Blair discussed how critical partnerships and integrations are in the industry today. The company has recently partnered with Aiphone to offer its ICCS through Aiphone’s IX series. E24 comleted the video capabilities with Aiphone by last year’s ISC East and the two-way voice capabilities before the show.

I was able to speak a bit with Aiphone’s general sales manager, Bruce Czerwinski, and the company’s marketing manager, Dana Pruiett, about what they plan to discuss at the show. Czerwinski said that the company is focused on the message that it is not only focused on door entry, but instead multiple communication paths.

From there, I stopped by Affiliated Monitoring’s booth. This year the company decided to bring ISC West attendees on a tour of their headquarters in Union, N.J., with the help of a virtual reality headset. This was my first experience with any virtual reality system, and I found it quite interesting. I also got a live demo of Affiliated’s AlertMessage system, which allows an alarm’s call list to discuss the alarm, from Matt Solomon, who does marketing for Affiliated. The company recently brought video clips, through I-View Now, into the tool to aide the contacts in identifying if the alarm is true or false.

I’ve spoken with AvantGuard Monitoring about a few things lately, such as the company’s new hybrid monitoring models and its new chat feature. In an ssnTVnews interview, I spoke with the company’s COO Justin Bailey on camera about some of the feedback AvantGuard has been hearing at the show on these new offerings.

Brad McMullen, vice president of national accounts for STANLEY Security, told me that the company has been working on a few new things, including a personal safety offering, a new offering in data insights and a tool to help control shrink in the retail industry. The personal protection offering, STANLEY Guard, will help companies protect their workers outside of the building, he said. Through a mobile application, a user is able to trigger an alert and record both video and audio of a situation. Stanley is just rolling this out now.

With data, McMullen said the company is now reviewing data, such as with an access control system. He gave the example of a terminated employee still attempting to gain access to the facility, or another employee trying to open a door late at night.

Lastly, for the retail sector, the company is rolling out an offering that will help detect shrink at the point of sale, such as with mis- or un-scanned items. These alerts can be compiled for the user, or given in real time in order to address the problem before the consumer in question leaves the store.

At the Rapid Response booth, I spoke with Christopher Denniston, marketing and communications manager, and Morgan Hertel, VP of technology and innovation. Hertel spoke about how the industry has been changing over the last five years, particularly with video and analytics playing a larger role. When asked what he sees changing most, Hertel pointed to the users. “Your user base is radically changing,” he said. “They’re younger, they’re more savvy, and they have different expectations.”

At the Z-Wave Alliance booth I got to catch up with Mitchell Klein, Z-Wave’s executive director who was also at this year’s TechSec solutions conference, and meet Sigma Designs’ vice president, Z-Wave business line, Raoul Wijgergangs. In addition to the company’s new S2 framework, the company also has been working on a new device, the Certified Installer Toolkit, which helps installers diagnose problems by allowing them to visualize the connectivity between different connected devices.

IC Realtime was discussing an interesting new product: a silent and rapidly deployable aerial surveillance solutions that uses an industrial balloon. The system is called PLAS, or Persistent Low Altitude Surveillance. Robert Mitchell, IC Realtime’s SME on government practice and law enforcement referred to the system as “emergency management in a box.”

Nortek Security and Control on Tuesday, April 4, launched its new 2GIG Rely, a new DIY system. I enjoyed talking with Robert Beliles, Norek Security and Control’s vice president of product, about the system. Outside of the DIY market, the system has appeal for renters, customers with a second home, and those who don’t want a contract. Beliles also underlined the focus on creating a small and aesthetically appealing system.

Robotic Assistance Devices, or RAD, is working on several things, including a robot that will be “walking” in tomorrow’s Security 5k/2k—Steve Reinharz, RAD’s president, really liked the idea of “robots raising money for humans.” The company’s robot has many different uses as the robot can be equipped with a variety of sensors. Reinharz said that the company’s roadmap includes an autonomous charging station for the robot. Speaking generally on robots in security, he said, “This is not security integration, this is not security guards, it’s its own thing.”

At the Honeywell booth I had the pleasure of speaking with Ilan Dee, director of product marketing, cloud services, Honeywell Security and Fire, and Alice DeBiasio, general manager of Cloud Services, Honeywell Home and Building Technologies, about the company’s latest advancements with Alarmnet 360. The offering can now show dealers a visual representation of their customer base which could be broken down into areas of communication type, communication failures by area, home automation services and other categories. Debiasio and Dee pointed out how this information could be used to upsell and gain more RMR from a company’s existing customer base.

Also at the Honeywell booth I got to speak with Samir Jain, general manager, enterprise solutions at Honeywell Security and Fire, and Susan Adam, marketing director, enterprise solutions at Honeywell Security and Fire. Jain and Adam told me a bit about the company’s recent enterprise access control system, Pro-Watch, which incorporates mobile credentialing as well as mobile management and controls. The company is also talking about its advancements in fire notification, such as its new L-series.

As I mentioned in my short post yesterday, I made sure to save time to see the inaugural Unmanned Security Expo @ ISC West. I was interested to see robotics, such as with RAD, but also some of the anti-drone companies. One company, DroneShield, looks to audio detection to notice drones in the area and then couples that with a gun of sorts that electronically makes the drone land. Apollo Shield takes a different approach, detecting drones and then directing them to return the way they came.

I look forward to walking in tomorrow’s Security 5k/2k. The weather looks like it will be pretty nice for tomorrow, starting off cool but warming up throughout the morning.

Pre-Show

I arrived safe and sound in Las Vegas mid-day Tuesday and am certainly excited the show this year. I've spoken with several people about what they will be exhibiting at this year's show and look forward to being able to see the technology in person. For example, I plan on stopping by OneEvent’s booth on the show floor to hear more about the company's data analytics system and its capabilities in the fire detection space. I also look forward to seeing how MONI Smart Security’s booth has been redesigned to reflect the name change. I've also made sure to carve out some time to see the inaugural Unmanned Security Expo @ ISC West.

Check back here for daily updates on my show floor meetings and some of the latest technologies.

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