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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Prior to the start of our TechSec Solutions conference, coming up this Feb. 26-27, in Delray Beach, Fla., Security Systems News is planning a special focus group dinner and discussion. The topic of discussion for this focus group is “Technology trends that impact your business model” and we are extending a special invitation to systems integrators to participate in this dinner and discussion at TechSec on the evening of Feb. 25 (the evening before the start of the TechSec conference) at the Delray Beach Marriott.

Spots are limited (looking for 12 integrators, ideally) and only available to TechSec 2018 attendees. If you’re interested in joining us for this focus group, please register for TechSec using the Promo Code—Focus2018—that takes $200 off of the regular registration rate. Plus, for those focus group attendees at the dinner, there will be random drawing for two free passes to TechSec (registration refunds will be given).

To join the focus group and register for TechSec, as well as see the great program and lineup of speakers that we have this year, please click here.
 

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The rise of the smart home has generated a lot of attention among security dealers lately, as it has disrupted the way potential customers look at and are willing to pay for security.

But it comes as no surprise that all is not golden in the world of the smart home. It turns out, more than one in three U.S. adults experience issues setting up or operating a connected device, according to data released from the Customer and Product Experience 360 (CPX 360 ) Survey by iQor, a global managed services provider based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

With the number of smart home devices being connected in the home today—security cameras, smart locks and sensors of all kinds—it is inevitable that there would be a few hiccups along the way. In fact, Gartner reports that IoT-enabled devices will reach 20.4 billion globally by 2020, almost doubling from an estimated 11.1 billion in 2018.

Traditional security dealers, who have been challenged to offer smart home services and devices, in addition to security, have been saying all along that when homeowners struggle to figure out how all of these smart home gadgets work and connect, that they will be there to pick up the pieces. Well, it looks like they could be right.

According to the CPX 360 survey, consumers report having to take more than eight steps to resolve a technical problem or issue with a smart device. Further, consumers are spending, on average, close to 1.5 hours of their own time resolving these issues and one hour working with customer service. Nearly one in four consumers (22 percent) couldn’t resolve the issue or simply gave up, and returned the product for a refund.

Throughout the customer and product service journey, the CPX 360 survey reports consumers dealt with an average of 2.1 companies, over 2.7 sessions and with 3.1 different people as they attempted to install and engage with new connected technology in their home. For 17 percent of respondents, the challenge was even greater and involved dealing with five or more people when trying to resolve an issue.

According to the data, the inability to provide a seamless, frictionless experience across all support channels creates frustration and confusion for the consumer as they interact with multiple people and companies in the resolution process. Throughout this process, only about one in three indicate their information was always retained between customer service steps. Among those whose information was not retained, 81 percent indicated this delayed their resolution and 85 percent found it to be somewhat or extremely annoying.

“Adoption of connected devices is on the verge of transitioning from early adopters to the mainstream as popularity and integration of IoT expands and homes become smarter,” Autumn Braswell, COO, LinQ Integrated Solutions at iQor, said in the study. “It is crucial that organizations streamline and improve the support process now to reduce the number of steps, people and brands required to unlock the intended value of the connected device and ensure that the customer service challenges are addressed before mass adoption.”

So, this should be a call to all security dealers about how important it is to offer a full suite of smart home services and devices beyond just security, and be that single point of contact that creates the smart and safe home people are clamoring for.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) announced it has elected Mike Mathes, EVP of Convergint Technologies, as its chairman, and Jason Ouellette, product general manager-access control for Johnson Controls, as its vice chairman. The PSIA membership develops specifications for enabling standards-based sharing of digital data and intelligence throughout the physical security and enterprise ecosystems.
 
"Mike and Jason bring us strong technology, commercial and industry leadership skills," David Bunzel, executive director, the PSIA, said in the announcement. "They will be powerful evangelists for how standards-based physical security systems can help the industry create new opportunities for systems integration and data sharing while solving cost and complexity challenges." 
       
As PSIA Chairman, Mathes will work closely with the PSIA Board to identify industry needs for new and enhanced PSIA specifications. He will be responsible for growing the organizations membership and helping companies determine migration strategies needed to specify and/or adopt and implement PSIA specifications. "With an expanded membership base, we'll see further adoption of open standards, which will drive down the cost of system integration for the end user," Mathes, said in the announcement. At Convergint, Mathes leads the Advanced Solutions Group.

Ouellette's role as PSIA Vice Chairman will include defining the technical aspects of PLAI necessary to make this an effective commercial standard, including enhancing and promoting a robust set of test tools to assure industry compliance and interoperability for PLAI. Ouellette, who at JCI is responsible for the global access control businesses, specific to program management, product management, and engineering functions, said in a prepared statement, "The PSIA specifications make it easier for integrators to offer high quality solutions with less integration time and lower total cost of ownership."

Peter Boriskin, vice president product management at ASSA ABLOY Americas, will continue as the PSIA's treasurer.

"PSIA open standards can solve real enterprise problems for customers in way that is not possible through standard integrations,” Boriskin said in the announcement. “I am looking forward to working with Mike, David and the rest of board to help the industry understand our use cases and encourage rapid adoption of PSIA specifications, in particular through the development of PLIA adaptors by manufactures."

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Red Hawk Fire & Security LLC, a leader in fire, life safety and security services based here, announced this week the purchase of two companies to build upon its capabilities in the special hazard fire suppression business and the integrated security services arena.

In separate transactions, Red Hawk announced the purchase of Anaheim, Calif.-based Diversified Protection Systems, Inc., (DPSI) and ATCi Communications, Inc. (“ATCI”), headquartered in Miami, Florida. The two purchases represent Red Hawk’s fifth and sixth acquisitions in the last 20 months as the company continues to grow both organically and through strategically aligned acquisitions.

“The purchase of both DPSI and ATCi are consistent with our core strategy of bringing on the teams from well regarded, client-centric companies to build on our existing service presence or to expand our geographic footprint to further set Red Hawk apart from our competition,” Michael McWilliams, Red Hawk Fire & Security president and CEO, told Security Systems News. “Joining forces with these two great companies on opposite U.S. coasts elevates our expertise and complements our existing geographic presence while also presenting a broader suite of innovative solutions to our valued clients to further our aim of being the preferred choice for all our customers’ fire, life safety and security needs.”

DPSI’s expertise includes special hazard clean agent and water mist fire suppression, early warning smoke detection & controls, hazardous gas monitoring & specialty cooling systems. DPSI President Dominic De Maria will remain with Red Hawk helping develop the new Red Hawk Fire & Security “Critical Infrastructure Division.”

“We are just as enthusiastic about this purchase as Red Hawk,” De Maria said in the announcement. “Not only does it advance Red Hawk’s posture in the fire and life safety industry by adding our specialized team of professionals, but it expands the resources and geographic reach we can now offer our clients as well.”

 As South Florida’s largest independent security systems integrator, ATCi Communications brings an expert team that designs, installs and provides technical support and maintenance services of enterprise-level, intelligent video surveillance systems, access control and intrusion alarms for federal and local government facilities and law enforcement agencies, luxury residential and mixed-use properties and large scale commercial projects. ATCI also expand’s Red Hawk’s “best in class” specialty portfolio of capabilities through its market leader position in providing customized CityWide Surveillance (CWS) and Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) solutions to municipal clients.

“Being able to now offer fire and life safety services to our existing security portfolio is a win-win for our customers, our people and Red Hawk as well,” Vincent. J. Vento, ATCI’s founder and president, said in the announcement. “We look forward to combining our sales and business development efforts to maximize our potential across all product and service lines throughout the entire Florida market.”

Los Angeles-based Imperial Capital, LLC and Miami-based Pacifica Capital Group LLC co-represented ATCI as financial advisors for the transaction.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

DENVER—Cyber:Secured Forum, a cybersecurity summit focusing on integrated systems, will launch with an inaugural gathering here, on June 4-6, 2018, under a partnership formed by PSA Security Network, the world's largest systems integrator cooperative, ISC Security Events (Reed Exhibitions, the global tradeshow company) and the Security Industry Association (SIA), a leading trade association for global security solution providers.

“Sophisticated cybervulnerabilities and threats are emerging every day, and it is critical for the physical security and systems integration industry to accelerate its delivery of compelling education to help all industry stakeholders mitigate the risk of cyberattacks to business continuity,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement.

Cyber:Secured Forum will feature in-depth content on cybersecurity trends and best practices as related to the delivery of physical security systems and other integrated systems. Content is being collaboratively developed by SIA and PSA Security Network’s education teams and will feature top cybersecurity leaders.

“Cybersecurity is no longer just a threat—it’s a real issue knocking on the doors of security and IT professionals on a daily basis,” Bill Bozeman, president and CEO, PSA Security Network, said in the announcement. “The time for just being in reaction mode is behind us now. As security leaders, we have a responsibility to step forward and be part of the frontline defense when it comes to cybersecurity, just as we have been part of the frontline defense when it comes to physical security issues for decades. The goal of this conference is to empower attendees with real tools and knowledge to do just that.”

The two-day event will provide leaders in the IT and physical security industries with opportunities to connect and share information on risks and liabilities, responding to cybersecurity threats, and establishing security control standards across IT systems and particularly when integrating physical security solutions and devices on IT networks.

Additionally, sponsor exhibits will help showcase solutions related to cybersecurity, integrated systems and physical security solutions.

“At our recent ISC West and ISC East events, the educational sessions on cyber-physical integration and connected security have been in high-demand,” Will Wise, group vice president of the Security Portfolio, Reed Exhibitions. “In-depth education, training and industry collaboration is essential to ensure safe and secure systems for the market. We’re enthusiastic about this partnership with PSA Security Network and SIA to address this important market need.”

For more information about this new event and to be added to the event mailing list, visit cybersecuredforum.com

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On the Move Systems recently announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Robotic Assistance Devices has executed a strategic agreement to supply its intelligent robotic solutions through Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and one of the largest security forces in North America with more than 150,000 employees.

The robots will be leveraged to help Allied Universal customers supplement existing security professionals and improve safety, increase situational awareness and drive efficiency across the enterprise.

“The RAD portfolio augments the core competencies of our guard personnel because it offers fully autonomous patrolling that stakeholders can leverage to make rapid, informed decisions,” Ty Richmond, president, Integrated Security Solutions and Technology, Allied Universal, said in the announcement. “The data captured by the security robot will prove valuable in post-event investigations, enabling our customers to quickly address ongoing issues, close cases and identify trends. We are excited to explore the possibilities alongside RAD.”

RAD founder and president Steve Reinharz said in the announcement that RAD’s S5 Security Robots add significant benefits to the Allied Universal product and services portfolio by delivering a cost-effective solution to augment traditional guarding services, and serve as a force multiplier that removes security personnel from potentially dangerous situations, reducing injuries and liability. He noted that the combination of human personnel with robotic technologies creates a strong value proposition that results in new levels of security and streamlined operations.

“The market is primed to embrace the combination of human personnel and robotic guarding, and we expect this trend to increase significantly in the coming year,” Reinharz said. “We are thrilled with our already valuable partnership with Allied Universal and the size and quality of the sales funnel we’ve been able to create together.”

When Security Systems News spoke with Richmond recently, he noted that Allied Universal continues to work closely with drone and robotics manufacturers “to provide another technology tool that allows you to extend your security operations. We are very bullish on robots and we see them as an augmentation to our man-guarding business.”

And speaking of robots in security, Reinharz and Allied Universal will both be participating on a session/panel at our SSN TechSec Solutions conference, Feb. 26-27, in Delray Beach, Fla. Click here for more on the session and the entire education program.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

No one can refute the impact that Amazon’s Echo device has had in the home—if I had a nickel for every time someone yelled out the name Alexa in the home, I would be on a warm beach somewhere instead of trying to keep the cold drafts at bay in my office here is chilly Maine. But I digress.

With the success that Amazon has had with Alexa in the home, it is not surprising to see the company try to move into the office with the introduction of Alexa for Business, which was announced earlier this month at the AWS Re:Invent event.

As much as this raises interesting questions about possible uses within the office—in addition to the way these devices interact with other IoT devices in the office—it also raises many questions in regard to the place for voice assistants and voice assistant devices outside of the home.

In the home, Parks Associates estimates that nearly 50 percent of U.S. broadband households use a personal assistant through an application or dedicated device. And currently 10 percent of U.S. broadband households own a smart speaker with a personal assistant, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Parks Associates recently released a new whitepaper, Enabling Voice in the Smart Home, with research showing 49 percent of U.S. broadband households use a personal assistant through an app or dedicated device, which is a key use case for a voice-based user experience. The whitepaper, sponsored by the ULE Alliance, examines the influence of the voice-first interface on the adoption of connected products and presents market strategies for long-term success in the voice technology market.

“Collectively, companies are competing to stay in the race for dominance in the voice-first market,” Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst, Parks Associates, said in a prepared statement. “Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung continue to announce new product enhancements in order to stay ahead of the demand for voice technologies. As the voice-first landscape expands, we will see voice capabilities embedded into a variety of devices, from appliances to thermostats to lighting. Voice alleviates complexity in the user experience for these products, and as a result, voice will serve as a prime differentiator in the user experience for the smart home.”

But will this same battle for the smart home play out in the business world as well? That is a question that only time will answer, but Amazon is hoping that the demand at home will influence and drive the demand outside the home, as consumers come to expect the same kind of convenience and seamless experience in the office.

Amazon offered up some interesting use cases at the launch of Alexa for Business, such as having Alexa make calls, send messages, record important meetings and control thermostats, lighting, and other IoT-enabled devices around the office, for example, but what role will voice play in the overall smart building ecosystem that we are moving toward as an industry right now? This is a question that is loaded with other concerns, such as privacy and cybersecurity, to name just a few.

What do you think the role of the voice in the office will be and how far are we from hearing Alexa called out incessantly in the office as well?

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ASIS International announced this week that it has changed the name of its annual security conference from the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits to the Global Security Exchange (GSX). Building on its 60-plus year legacy as a premier security event, the newly branded GSX will take place in Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 23-27, 2018, in partnership with InfraGard and ISSA.

"In what will be our 64th year of delivering the security industry's flagship event, the Global Security Exchange, or GSX for short, will build upon the change and reinvention introduced at ASIS 2017," Peter J. O'Neil, CAE, CEO, ASIS International, said in the annoucement. "This name reflects the Society's commitment to unite the full spectrum of security—cyber and operational security professionals from all verticals across the private and public sector, allied organizations and partners, and the industry's leading service and solution providers—for the most comprehensive security event in the world."

The education program, led by ASIS, InfraGard, and ISSA subject matter experts, will deliver an immersive and interactive learning environment for security professionals at all experience levels. The exhibit hall will be transformed into a learning lab environment, showcasing new and emerging products and technologies such as machine learning, robotics, forensic analysis, and artificial intelligence. In addition, the revitalized networking events will facilitate relationship building and the sharing of best practices with peers from across the globe.

"From the Internet of Everything and soft target attacks to data breaches and drones, the velocity of change and risks knows no boundaries," Thomas J. Langer, CPP, 2017 president, ASIS International, said in the announcement. "GSX fills the industry's need for a global event that brings together the entire security industry, to exchange ideas and lessons learned, keep informed of current and emerging risks, and gain exposure to the emerging technologies shaping society and our workplaces."

While the annual event's new name is debuting now, the full rebrand will launch at the 2018 ASIS International Leadership Conference, which will be held Jan. 16-19, in Arlington, Va.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, November 15, 2017

President Donald Trump recently signed into law the Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act, P.L. 115-78, culminating a yearlong effort led by the Security Industry Association (SIA) to preserve an important provision in federal energy efficiency requirements critical to the operation of security and fire alarm systems.

"The PASS Act provides much-needed certainty to manufacturers, installers and service providers who are among thousands of Americans that work in the security industry … but ultimately it benefits the millions of American consumers that depend on such security and life safety systems." Jake Parker, SIA Director of Government Relations, said in the SIA announcement.

Drafted with assistance from SIA and in collaboration with the energy efficiency community, the PASS Act extends a policy exempting security and life safety external power supplies (EPS) from having to meet a "no-load mode" energy efficiency standard, since they must always be connected and in active mode by design and no efficiency gains would result.

The new law makes the exemption essentially permanent by removing the July 1, 2017 expiration date on the exemption and providing the U.S. Department of Energy with authority to retain the common-sense policy in any future updates to energy efficiency standards governing external power supplies.

SIA led a coalition of industry groups in working with Congress to secure the exemption in 2011, which included a "sunset provision"—a common way of ensuring a new policy set forth in legislation is reviewed by Congress before becoming more permanent.

Preserving this exemption was a key concern for security manufactures and systems integrators, according to SIA, noting, “Without it, product redesign and adjustments to manufacturing processes would needlessly increase the cost of the equipment by 200-300 percent according to industry estimates, affecting not just manufacturers but the entire value chain.”

Enactment of this important solution would not have been possible without the bipartisan leadership of the bill's sponsors Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), as well as Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Susan Brooks (R-Ind). Over the past two years, Gardner, Welch and Brooks have been recognized with SIA's Legislator of the Year award for their support of this and other policies important to the security industry.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, November 1, 2017

YARMOUTH, Maine—With the recent announcements from Nest, Ring, and Samsung/ADT, as well as Honeywell’s announced plans to offer a DIY solution, many in the industry are speculating on the impact DIY security systems could have on the security industry.

New research from Parks Associations shows aggressive innovations in smart DIY solutions will reinvigorate the home security market. Parks found that new and more economical DIY systems from key players, including Nest, Ring, Samsung, and ADT, are part of a key step in expanding the security market. The international research firm also notes that new smart DIY solutions will reinvigorate adoption of home security, particularly among younger consumers.

“Consumers value security and safety use cases, but the security market has struggled to move beyond the traditional 20% penetration level in the U.S.,” Brad Russell, research director, Connected Home, Parks Associates, said in the announcement. “Aggressive moves by companies such as Ring, which launched its inexpensive Ring Protect DIY home security system in October, will help attract new and younger consumers into the security market. Ring’s pricing strategy also puts downward pressure on other players to lower prices.”

Parks Associates reveals that 37 percent of smart home device owners report safety is the main reason they purchased a smart home device and nearly 30 percent bought a smart home device primarily to monitor their home while away. The firm notes that DIY innovations with on-demand, no-contract monitoring options could help expand the market for device makers and for monitoring providers who seek inroads to young consumers.

“Samsung and ADT have joined forces for the ADT Home Security Starter Kit, which expands the self-installable DIY segment,” Russell said. “Meanwhile, hub-based security systems are an intentional strategy to stake out a controller position in the home for a variety of future device and service offerings.”

This latest Parks’ research comes on the heels of findings from London-based research firm IHS Markit, which estimated that in 2016 the Americas was the largest market for DIY security alarm sales, expected to grow at a 20 percent CAGR over the next five years.

Security Systems News is also looking at the impact of DIY on security in its latest News Poll.
 

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