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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Doyle Security Systems acquired Albany Protective Services yesterday, adding 1,100 accounts to the company, almost doubling Doyle’s presence in the Albany area.

“It gives us a great expansion in our Albany market—just a much stronger presence,” John Doyle Jr., company president and CEO, told Security Systems News. Prior to the acquisition, the company had about 1,400 accounts in that area.

Doyle has been working on the deal for about 6 months. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Albany Protective’s account base is mostly commercial, Doyle said. “Their split is about 70 percent commercial and 30 percent residential.”

APS had operated its own UL central station, but Doyle is transferring the accounts to its monitoring center in the Rochester, N.Y., area. “They were on the same software platform as we were, which was really helpful—for both their monitoring and their billing,” Doyle said, both companies used Bold Manitou for automation and Sedona for billing. “It’s been a very smooth process. It’s not 100 percent done, but its pretty close.”

Four employees from Albany Protective Services are joining Doyle. Former president and majority owner of APS, Mark Foster, is joining Doyle’s Albany office in a management position, the company announced. Ross Foster, who was part owner of APS, will work in Doyle’s sales, and two service technicians are joining the team from APS.

“Mark Foster—he just has tremendous knowledge about the industry and his customer base. Bringing him on board was very important to us, and likewise with his brother Ross. … Having them on our team is just a huge plus for us,” Doyle said.

The company now has about 27,000 accounts. Doyle said that it is not every day you see two multi-generational family businesses joining forces. APS, a third-generation family business, was founded in 1935, and Doyle is a fourth-generation business, founded in 1919.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Abode, a DIY security company that got crowdfunded last year, is now offering professional monitoring—full time or on-demand—from UCC, and the company is actively looking for partnerships with security companies.

“We always had the plan to introduce [monitoring options], but our goal first was to get the product out in peoples’ hands and really drive some of the early feedback to actually make our product better, before we went down the road of charging people for services,” Chris Carney, abode’s founder and CEO, told Security Systems News. Prior to starting abode, Carney was in the traditional security space, working with ADT and Tyco.

The company offers its system with three plans. Its “Basic” plan is MIY with professional monitoring on-demand with no monthly fee. The “Connect” plan offers everything in the basic plan with a 3G cellular back up for $10 a month. Abode’s “Connect + Secure” plan gives users all the functionality of its Connect plan with full professional monitoring, for $30 per month.

The company started shipping products to consumers in November and currently has 1,000 users in 27 countries. “Our goal is to hit 10,000 users in our first twelve months,” Carney said. Users outside the U.S. are on the non-monitored option, but the company is currently integrating with foreign central stations to support other plans, he said.

Abode launched its monitoring options last week. The company offers two options for on-demand monitoring: $8 for three days or $15 for one week.

Abode is currently only sold directly to consumer, but that could change. “We do want to look at the security space as a place to partner with companies,” Carney said. This partnership would appeal to companies that want a DIY offering in their portfolio. Partnering companies would have abode accounts monitored through UCC, he said.

“We can get partners up an running on a pilot in a few weeks,” Carney said. “Our goal is to maintain our brand as part of these relationships, we would be willing to discuss other branding solutions with dealers on a case by case basis.”

Dealers would own the accounts and the possible RMR. “Our solution will also provide the dealers the opportunity to become the trusted advisor for the users entire connected home in addition to their security consultant,” Carney said.

The abode system can also verify alarms which can reduce false alarms. “Every system that we send has visual verification of events,” abode co-founder Brent Franks said.

“We’re focused 100 percent on security, but essentially our product is a smart home in a box,” Carney said. “We also have the ability to add other third party devices that are ZigBee or Z-Wave.” 

The insurance space is another area for possible partnerships, according to Carney. This could include a “co–branded solution directly sold by the partner to their customers as a security offering [or] offering the abode branded solution to their customers as way for their policy holders to save money on their insurance. These are still in testing stage, but look to be a very viable channel for our fully integrated solution.”

by: Spencer Ives - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Thursday, Day 2

This morning I got to speak with Ron Davis, president of Davis Group, and Adam Matlin, COO of Think Protection and one of Security Systems News’ “20 under 40” Class of 2015.

The first session was presented by Michele Shuster, founding partner at MacMurray Petersen & Shuster, “So You Want to Work with a Telemarketer: 7 Essential Tips.” Regulations around telemarketing are a serious issue, and carry with it large detriments to a company’s bottom line. Avoid assisting and facilitating liability, she said; "You are as responsible for your marketers as if you were doing it yourself." Tips included making sure that telemarketing scripts are compliant with both federal and state regulations and being aware of riskier practices like calling or texting a cellphone or using pre-recorded messages.

“Mobile Mania: Catch the Wave of Mobile PERS,” the day’s second session featured panelists Matt Campbell, Nortek Security and Control SVP of sales and business development, and Jake Chandler, co-founder of LiveFree Emergency Response. The session was moderated by Jesse Rivest, Regional sales manager for Affiliated Monitoring and an SSN “20 under 40” from the Class of 2013.

When Rivest asked about the biggest points to selling mPERS. Chandler said that it’s water resistant, ready for future communications with 3G, and that it can be strapped to the wrist. Campbell said that “really defining the user as someone who's active," helps, along with fall detection technology.

The battery life isn’t a challenge, Campbell said, because now users are more conditioned to know that they have to charge it at night. Chandler said that it’s important to know when a user is best suited for a PERS instead of a mobile PERS. “A lot of seniors should not have mobile PERS," Chandler said, because there are some customers that do not have the capability to remember to charge the system every night.

In the last session, “Executive Spotlight: How I Grew a Multi-Channel PERS Company,” Ritch Haselden, vice president of sales for Essence USA, talked about best practices for developing a PERS business. Before working for Essence, Haselden was with ResponseLink, PERS provider in the U.S., in charge of the company’s revenue creation.

Affiliated VP Daniel Oppenheim asked Haselden about who the most important first hires for a PERS company would be, “I would have a very strong operational person and a strong marketing person.”

He stressed the importance of finding a person who is in contact with seniors who were potential customers, and believed the system could help them. Haselden said he would take the effort of "Making sure that we knew that they cared about the customer."

Haselden also advised spending time “looking at referrals that were coming in and where they were coming from."

I thought it was a very informative conference, with lots of knowledgeable people in the PERS side of the industry. Catalyst will be in Florida again next year, also in May. It’ll be a special one, Affiliated founder Stanley Oppenheim said, as it will coincide with Affiliated’s 40th anniversary.

Wednesday, Day 1

The first day started off well for me, I got to have breakfast with Keith Jentoft, who is now part of the integration team at Honeywell following the company's acquisition of RSI, and David Stang, founder and president of Stang Capital Alliance. 

Zydor, as the event's emcee, started by giving an overview of the conference, saying that it is now "the largest PERS conference ever." He also underlined the value of networking at Catalyst, "We believe that the relationships that you create over the next few days are just as important as the content." Zydor backed this up by having each attendee in the room introduce themselves.

Zydor then handed the microphone to Affiliated VP Daniel Oppenheim, who projected a bright future for the PERS industry. He said that in 2030, just 14 years away, there will be 72 million people in the 65+ demographic, and these new seniors might be more tech savvy, given the current 30 percent prevalence of smartphones in the age group. He addressed mPERS. which has an average sign up age of 78, compared to traditional PERS' average age of sign up at 81. "'That is a meaningful reduction in years," he said. "Mobile PERS are bringing in younger users that will stay with us longer."

Oppenheim then announcce CareAlert priority group chat, a new offering exclusive for Affiliated dealers. When a PERS user activates their system, Affiliated's monitoing center sends out a text message to as many as four family or friends of the user. The text message contains a link that opens a group chat between the recipients. The recipeients can then discuss the user's condition, and even hit the 'On My Way' button, to let the other friends or family members know theyr'e headed to check on the user. This software was developed entirely in-house. 

The first session was the conference's first executive spotlight, "The Complete Guide to Building a PERS Company," featuring Geoff Gross, CEO of Medical Guardian. He said he focuses on culture and picking the right people. "When you go through the wrong people, you learn how to hire the right people," he said. 

He also spoke about hiring Florence Henderson, the actress who played Carol Brady in The Brady Bunch, as the company's spokesperson. Gross said that Henderson had some apprehension, not wanting to be portrayed "on the floor crawling around in bad shape." Gross said this was perfect, Medical Guardian wanted to let customers know that not ever PERS user is in failing health.

The second session was "Benchmarking: Is Your Sales Technology Holding You Back?" with Moderator: Matt Solomon, Affiliated director of software solutions, and panelists Nick Delis, Five9 regional VP enterprise sales, and Michael Marks, Perennial Software, co-founder. Solomon introduced the session by saying, "You can't be a successful sales and marketing organization if you don't have the right tools." With phone calls as such a big part of the sales and marketing job, companies need to monitor that activity, and that's one of the things that Five9's cloud-based software does. Marks said that CRM is made up of two components, the initial sales and then keeping the customers happy. Perennial's offerings include AlarmBiller and SedonaOffice.  

For the keynote presentation, "Managing in the Majors: Running a Big League Team," Bobby Valentine, a former professional baseball player and manager, got onstage to discuss his views on forming a team. Valentine first addressed the idea of luck and the role that plays, "If we all think it's about us ... I think we're making a mistake." Being in the moment is crucial, and that means that means to enjoy what you're doing now because you don't know what's going to happen later." And respect is key, "Teams that win understand respect, and the individuals usually respect themselves, respect the competition, and respect their teammates."

Tuesday night

I arrived this afternoon in Naples, Fla., to attend Affiliated's new PERS conference Catalyst, focused on the sales and marketing of PERS systems. The event began with a nice reception, where I got to catch up with Affiliated's managing director Mike Zydor and president Stanley Oppenheim. It's interest to see people gathered from all sections of the industry; PERS manufacturers, PERS dealers, those involved in insurance around the industry, and professionals from the banking world.

I met a lot of people tonight, but want to highlight a few. I enjoyed meeting Cathy Rempel, president of the California Alarm Association. It was nice seeing Yaniv Amir, president for Essence USA—which recently won an ESX Innovation Award. I had a great conversation with Chris Masse, technical sales manager, US corporate accounts for Tyco Security Products. He told me about how the smart home works well for a PERS user, such as automating lights to help users that have difficulty moving. I also got the chance to speak to Scot McGehee, director of operations for Climax. 

Check back here for daily updates on the conference.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

I’ve spoken with plenty of monitoring professionals about the difference between monitoring a PERS signal and a more traditional burg or fire alarm. Recently, I spoke with Todd Lindstrom, director of Life Safety Monitoring, about some of the things that differentiate the company's PERS-focused central station. 

Lindstrom said that PERS operators need to be segmented from operators that handle more traditional alarms because the mindset is different. “You tend to be more production orientated when you’re doing the burg/fire, … [focused on] speed, how they handle the call, how many calls they handled,” he said. “Here, we’re on the call a lot longer, because you’ve got patients that may not hear well, [or] they’re a little confused.”

The company has been doing more wellness calls with its users, Lindstrom said. “We call and ask them a few basic questions; if they’ve taken their meds, or how they’re feeling today.” Life Safety Monitoring has been doing these calls for about a year-and-a-half, he said.

Plans for wellness calls could include calls once a week, once a day or twice a day, he said. “It makes a son or daughter more comfortable to know that someone’s calling,” said Lindstrom.

These calls could be linked to activity tracking platforms, “If somebody doesn’t pass down a hallway … Then we’ll call and check, and if we don’t get a response then we’ll send somebody.” The company is currently working on integrating the Numera Libris in the next 30 days, he said. Particularly, the company is interested in the device's fall detection abilities. 

He said that activity monitoring platforms help with the quality of care, such as tracking items users might forget, like how many times they got up during the night.

Lindstrom said that only about 1 percent of the company’s monitored accounts are mPERS devices, but expects this segment will grow to 10 percent in the next year or 18 months. MPERS are good for a segment of users that like to spend the winter months in warmer climates, “Now, they don’t have to drag that stationary device.”

Life Safety Monitoring has 16 operators and monitors about 10,000 accounts, he said. 

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

CARLSBAD, Calif.—Numera this week announced a new selection of wearables to complement its Libris mPERS device while users are at home.

The center of this announcement is the new Smart Cradle, which connects the Libris device with the new wearables while charging the mPERS, Anu Herranen, marketing manager for Nortek Security and Control, told SSN. 

The new wearables include a Fall Detection Pendant, a Convertible Help Button which can be worn as a pendant or on the wrist, and a Simple Help Button Pendant.

Herranen said that a noticable difference between the Fall Detection Pendant and the Libris device is their weight. The Libris is about 2.1 ounces, she said; the Fall Detection Pendent only weighs about half an ounce. The pendant is also 40 percent smaller by dimensions.

She said the two biggest benefits for end users are the ability to have a personal safety device while the Libris is charging and the option for a more comfortable device while around the house.

“[Users] can leave their Libris in its Smart Cradle, because all of the mobile PERS devices do have a battery that needs to be charged, … and they are still equally protected,” she said. The Libris has a battery life of 36 hours, she said, while the wearables’ batteries last for several years.

The new wearables also continue to track users in the EverThere program. “The Smart Cradle connected with any of the wearables provides exactly the same experience in EverThere that we do in the Libris device.” The Smart Cradle is also upgradable, via Over-The-Air software updates.

Herranen said that the ability to wear a help button on the wrist is new for the Libris offering. She said the wrist-worn help button was specifically designed for wear during sleep.

The Libris still has features that the new wearables don’t, such as voice capabilities and GPS location. 

by: Spencer Ives - Friday, April 29, 2016

Affiliated Monitoring’s new PERS conference, Catalyst, sold out three-and-a-half weeks prior to the inaugural event on May 17.

Affiliated’s VP Daniel Oppenheim told SSN that Catalyst booked so quickly due to its “focus on sales and marketing, and Affiliated’s reputation as a PERS specialist.”

“We have 160 attendees, and including staff and vendors, we're going to be at about 200 total,” Oppenheim said. Oppenheim believes it will be the largest PERS conference ever held.

Oppenheim said that Affiliated will unveil three new services at the show, but declined to give more detail.

Former major league baseball player and manager Bobby Valentine will be giving the keynote address. “We were looking for someone who we felt has managed teams,” Oppenheim said. “He has very practical knowledge about bringing in people with different backgrounds, different skill sets. … He really can talk about the grind, day-in and day-out and trying to get teammates to perform.”

He said the company will look for a larger venue for next year. “We’ll probably do it again in Florida, just at a larger resort, around the same time.”

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Earlier this week CSAA announced the keynote speaker for this year’s CSAA Annual Meeting, held in Marco Island, Fla., from Oct. 22-27: Tasha Eurich, organizational psychologist and author of New York Times bestseller Bankable Leadership.

“We are pleased to feature a next-generation speaker at the Annual Meeting,” CSAA president Pamela J. Petrow said in a prepared statement. “CSAA members are always looking toward the future, and Dr. Eurich is sure to provide them with new strategies to stay ahead of today’s leadership challenges.”

Eurich is principal of The Eurich Group, an executive development firm that helps companies improve the effectiveness of their leaders and teams. She has a Ph.D in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Colorado State University and serves on the adjunct faculty of the Center for Creative Leadership.

“By pairing her scientific grounding in human behavior with a pragmatic approach to business challenges, she has helped thousands of leaders over the last 15 years,” CSAA said in its announcement.

When I’ve spoken to executive director Jay Hauhn in the past, he’s said that CSAA is retooling the structure and format of its annual meeting.

This certainly seemed to have an impact, as last year’s annual meeting was one of the best attended in the organization’s history. “2015 saw the largest attendance CSAA has had in recent years, and we are confident our reimaging of the meeting will top last year’s record when we convene this fall in Marco Island,” Petrow said in the announcement.

“CSAA is entering the second phase of the reimaging of its Annual Meeting,” Petrow said. “In 2015 a new emphasis was placed on educational programming, and the general sessions were a hit with attendees. CSAA intends to bolster that emphasis on fresh, meaningful education in 2016.”

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Telguard recently announced its new Freedom program: providing dealers with funding and equipment for 2G conversions for a $9.95 monthly fee per 2G account. Shawn Welsh, Telguard’s SVP of product line management and marketing, told me that the program helps the dealers who haven’t yet figured out how to deal with the sunset.

The sunset is an old topic, and Welsh said dealers have probably gotten a little fatigued hearing about it. He said that Telguard looked to why some dealers hadn’t started.

“What it came down to—what we heard a lot of times—was [that] some of the smaller independent dealers just simply didn’t have access to the cash that they were going to need to go and try to swap everything out,” he said.

Barriers specifically include the cost of the hardware, sending out a truck for installation, and the concern of whether the customer would disconnect their service after hearing about the needed upgrade. “When the security dealer installs the unit, we will actually … pay them [$50] for the installation of the unit,” he said. 

“We also include the ability to integrate our home automation platform, HomeControl Flex, as well as Arlo cameras from Netgear, all for that same price,” he said. “Now the dealer can go in and he can try to upsell the customer to new features.”

The program is open to all dealers, Welsh said. Telguard announced the program at ISC West.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Jim McMullen, president and COO of Lydia Security Monitoring, as well as president and COO of COPS Monitoring, is interested in purchasing more third-party central stations. Lydia’s recent purchase of wholesale central station UCC was a big topic at ISC West 2016, both in COPS’ booth and in UCC’s.

“We would like to go out there and buy other companies that specialize in a particular segment of the [monitoring] marketplace, so that we can draw on their expertise and grow it from there,” McMullen told me.

He identified access control, video, and PERS as three areas of the monitoring industry where Lydia would be “very interested in making acquisitions,” adding that the company has plenty of financial backing to do so.

“Each company [under Lydia] will have its own personality,” according to McMullen.

He described how the three brands under Lydia Security Monitoring—COPS Monitoring, UCC, and AlarmWATCH—each have their own focus. The COPS Monitoring brand would appeal to a larger dealers with a high volume of accounts.

“If you’re looking toward us for help, to teach you—the alarm company—more about how to sell, and how to market … UCC would probably be a better fit for you, because they focus on that more than [COPS does],” McMullen said.

“We’re looking at AlarmWatch for, possibly, the fire sector,” he said. “They’re … doing special things with fire systems.”

David Smith, COPS director of marketing and communication, stressed the separation between brands under Lydia. At ISC West 2016, Smith said, “People came into our booth and said ‘yeah, I’m with UCC,’ or ‘We’ve been looking at UCC,’ [and added] ‘but that’s you guys now, right?’ And honestly, it’s not. It shares an executive team, but past that … it’s a whole separate entity,” Smith said. 

ISC West also brought people outside the industry to COPS’ booth, McMullen said. He gave the example of wearable manufacturers wanting professional monitoring for their devices.

McMullen said that the company had similar conversations at CES, talking about the possibility of professionally monitoring personal drones.

by: Spencer Ives - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I got to start the last day at the show by talking on camera with Bart Didden, president of the newly founded company SDN, Security Dealer Network. Didden, who created SDN as a separate entity to help dealers wanting the DragonFly DIY offering, said that discussions went well with dealers at the show. Dealers were able to sign up at ISC West.

My next video interview was with Mike Zydor, managing director for Affiliated Monitoring. It was nice to talk more about the company’s upcoming conference, Catalyst, focused on the sales and marketing of PERS devices. Specifically he mentioned the recently announced keynote speaker, former MLB player and manger Bobby Valentine.

George Fletcher, advisory board member for Mission 500, stopped by the media stage. It was nice talking with him about Thursday’s 5k/2k.

Back on the show floor, I briefly met with Alarm Monitoring Services’ CFO, Dera Jolet. I also caught up with Jeff Cohen, president of Quick Response, a monitoring center based in Cleveland.

Monitoring America Alarm Co-op was anew company for me this year. It was nice talking to president Ron Wies and vice president Jason Campbell about the unique structure of a co-op wholesale central station, where each dealer is a part owner in the company.

Cliff Dice, CEO of Dice, told me that the company has had a lot of conversations about it’s alarm industry signaling network, which handles alarms from POTS lines. The company is also preparing for its users group conference later this month in Michigan.

I met with Garner of Freeus yesterday just off the show floor, but was gladly able to stop by the company’s booth today to hear about how the shows been from GM Brock Winzeler and national sales manager Marc McGrann. When showcasing the new Belle mPERS device, they said that the month-long battery life really sets the solution apart from other mPERS offerings.

At Acadian Monitoring Services’ booth I met with director of operations Brandon Niles, and president Blane Comeaux. Niles and I talked about the company’s ESOP program, and, by extension, SSN’s latest news poll on ESOP in the security business. He said that employees have more stake in the business being part-owners. Niles also said that video monitoring is a big trend for the company.

Larry Folsom and I both found it interesting how out meeting was the last meeting on the show floor for both of us, just as it had been at last year’s ISC West. I also met with other members of the team: Nicola Oakie and Jennifer Tagle.

 

It was great to catch up with so many folks at this years show and hear about the wide range of topics, from mPERS to Cybersecurity.

Thursday, April 7

Just as I had expected, getting out and off the Vegas strip for the Security 2k/5k was a great start to the morning. The fresh air and being able to stretch my legs—before a good amount of walking the show floor—was really nice.

My first scheduled meeting of the day was with COPS Monitoring’s Jim McMullen, company president and COO, and David Smith, COPS director of marketing and communications. A big topic of the day was UCC’s acquisition by COPS’ parent company Lydia Security Monitoring. McMullen was telling me about how the companies would work together, referring dealers they met to the monitoring center that would better fit their needs, whether it is UCC or COPS. McMullen said that Lydia would also be open to expanding more with future acquisitions.

From there I went to the other side of the show floor to see SentryNet. It was nice seeing David Avritt—company president—again, and meeting Alain Jamet, SentryNet VP of operations, and Julie Beach, vice president, Americas sales, software and controls for Stanley Security. Avritt said that SentryNet’s acquisition by Stanley has been a big topic for the company at the show. The company will not change in any large way, he said—it would remain focused on the independent dealer, and have the “same faces.”

When I stopped by UCC’s booth, and met with president Teresa Gonzalez and SVP Mark Matlock, I heard similar things about the recent acquisition as when I talked with COPS. Most similarly the execs at UCC echoed McMullen's statement that dealers would be referred to one or another as best fit them. “Our goal is not to compete with each other, it’s actually to complement,” Gonzalez told me.

Bold Technologies was talking a lot about its cloud offering at this year’s ISC West, according to Rod Coles, Bold’s CEO. He said that the company is focused on the next version of its central station automation platform, to be called Neo, which should be available by the end of the second quarter, in time for Bold’s Users Group Conference, he said.

Coles and I walked from the Bold Technologies booth down the aisle to White Rabbit Electronics space on the show floor. Coles, also CEO of White Rabbit, said the company is awaiting final steps of approval before beginning full production.

I then got to catch up with All American Monitoring. Tammy Zappa, the company’s manager, talked with me about how All American is seeking further certifications. While the central station is already UL-listed and CSAA Five Diamond certified, it is looking into FM and ETL certifications as well, Zappa said. “That adds legitimacy to who we are and what we do,” she said. It was good to see Bob Keefe, All American’s president, while I was at the booth as well.

Walking up to MKS’ booth, things looked a little different than last year. Many of the team members had stethoscopes around their necks, there were MKS branded prescription pads on the desks along with test tubes filled with mints. President Victoria Ferro explained to me that it's the new theme for this year: MKS has the “cure” for common hassles for central stations, such as manual data entry, lacking automation, and long operator training.

At Monitronics’ booth, I met with Peter Tonti, VP of product management, Frank Guido, CMO, and Renee Mallonee, marketing manager. We chatted a bit about the company’s recently restarted dealer council. The council’s most recent meeting was held on Tuesday, addressing topics like increased demand for home surveillance, including multiple cameras and NVRs. Montironics also recently announced a new package for the show: a $10,000 value for dealers signing on between now and June 1. Dealers signing up with the company in that time get benefits like four eContract tablets, 20 free customer leads, and marketing materials.

This is the second year that CentraLarm has had a booth at the show, and it was great to stop by and meet so many members of the team: Scott Mailhot, VP of operations, Julie Robillard, western regional sales director, Trudy McManus, regional account manager, and Stephanie Helmig, vice president of finance.

One of the big topics when I met with EMERgency24 last year was its incident command and control system, which works with BluePoint Alert Solutions. Patrick Devereaux, SVP at EMERgency 24, said the technology’s also one of the biggest topics for the company this year, with the difference being that more people have heard of the technology and sought out E24, Devereaux said. I also got the chance to catch up with Kevin McCarthy, national sales manager, andBernie Ramos, director of operations. 

Wednesday, April 6

My day started with attending the keynote presentation “Lights! Camera! Action! How Paramount Pictures delivers enhanced safety and global security while driving operational efficiency and sustainable ROI.” The panel consisted of three from the studio, Scott Phemister, executive director of global risk and crisis management, Jeff Reider, senior analyst for global risk and crisis management, and Steve Tiffany, director, studio systems, and moderated by SSN’s Martha Entwistle.

The panel offered five pieces of advice: 1. Examine response methodology, i.e. what the interface looks like, and, for Paramount, this included the point that operators shouldn't have to leave the main interface to respond to alarms. 2. Do your homework; for Paramount this meant looking at each of the more than 150 buildings on the company’s campus and uploading site plans. 3. Configure the system for an event driven response. Reider said you’ve got to know your desired outcome, what priority to assign each alarm, and who should handle each situation. 4. Preparing to go live, such as with fine-tuned operator training. 5. Maintain the system, including system audits and looking to newer better technologies that would fit.

From there I went to my first meeting on the show floor: hearing from Security Partners’ director of product services Andy Stadler. He said it’s good to reach the one-year anniversary for the company’s Las Vegas facility, which it cut the ribbon on just before last year’s ISC West.

I left the show floor to meet in a side room with AvantGuard and Freeus CEO Josh Garner. When asked about the state of the PERS/mPERS industry in the years to come, Garner said, “We’re betting pretty big on mobile.” He doesn't think the market will become entirely mPERS, but does expect a shift, where most solutions will be mPERS within the next five years—possibly sooner.

At a press event for Assa Abloy, I heard about some of the company’s latest solutions. Two points that stood out to me where key fobs that have back-and-forth exchanges with the access control panel, updating access privileges by the day, and “greener” solutions like solar panels paired with outdoor electronic locks.

At IBS’ booth I caught up with Jens Kolind, who told me more about the company’s personal safety app and a new version that’s designed for use on first dates.

It was nice to meet Tim Smokoff, group VP, health and wellness, for Nortek, in person. We had spoken recently on Numera’s latest PERS solution, the Numera Home Safety Hub. Outside of personal monitoring, Smokoff pointed to vice interaction as a big trend for the industry, possibly leading to the demise of the app, “The more you do with voice, the less you do with apps.

I conducted two video interviews today, both of which went really well. I got to meet one of our “20 under 40” Class of 2015 award winners, Nicole Swartwout, who recently launched an mPERS company, CallSafe. Having come from a security background, previously with integration company CallTeks, she said that it’s a much different ISC West experience coming with a PERS/mPERS focus.

My second interview was with Jay Hauhn. We chatted about CSAA and the latest developments with the ASAP to PSAP program. Hauhn said that there’s been progress with getting PSAPs to come on line after ADT announced its participation last year. There are about 20 PSAPs live now, he said, and another 75 working on going live with it. I also saw Elizabeth Lasko, CSAA met Becky Lane, both of whom had come to watch the interview.

Back on the show floor, I visited with Steve Schmit from UL he said that the recently announced Cybersecurity Assurance Program has come up a few of the company’s conversations on this first show floor day.

I stopped by Rapid Response Monitoring’s booth to speak with Christopher Denniston, the company's marketing and communications manager, about the latest from the company. One recent initiative for the company: a new website, which launched in the past week according to Denniston. When asked what were big topics for the monitoring industry, he said, “Communication paths and dealers looking for a long term solution" saying that 3G may have a sunset as early as 2020.

From there I went and met some of the team from CMS, including Tony Wilson, president of CMS, Jennifer Marshall, company marketing and communications manager, and Rose Sabourin, operations support manager. 

Even though my feet are a little sore from this first day, I’m still looking forward to tomorrow’s Security 5k/2k with Mission 500, bright and early. Not a bad way to start the morning—fresh air and stretching my legs off of the strip.

Tuesday, April 5

I made it safely in Las Vegas—luckily, it was a smooth trip all the way from Maine. Gearing up for the show, I'm looking forward to catching up with many different companies on the show floor. It was nice to kick off the show with a good evening with the folks at Altronix, in the Wynn.

Leading up to the show, it seems like quite a few of the companies exhibiting have had a lot to talk about.

UL just released its new Cybersecurity Assurance Program, a new standard that can set companies apart in terms of the safety of their products.

Monitronics recently announced a partnership with Qolsys, bringing the Qolsys line of equipment to the monitoring company's dealers.

Last week I talked with Freeus about the company's growth in its post-acquisition year, after buying the PERS assets of Securus. The mPERS manufacturer will have its first ISC West booth on the show floor this year.

Check here for daily updates on my interviews and booth visits. I'm on my way to Vegas right now and my first meeting is with Altronix today, shortly after I arrive. Also, if you think there's something I really shouldn't miss at the show, feel free to email me.

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