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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This is an old-fashioned industry in too many ways, so I'm always thrilled when I hear news like this: the Security Industry Association, ISC and the Women’s Security Council will be awarding a full scholarship for a woman student enrolled in the new Mercer County Community College security degree program in 2015.

“This scholarship program is made possible with financial support from SIA and ISC and we are incredibly honored by their support and generosity,” Rhianna Daniels, founding committee member of the WSC, told me. “The overall goal of the program is to increase diversity in the industry and allow more women to gain access to the great opportunities available in today's security market.”

The scholarship was announced at the Women’s Security Council reception at ISC West by Ed Several of Reed Exhibitions, which produces ISC events, and Don Erickson, CEO of SIA.

“The lack of women in the security industry is not a new problem, but in this role [CEO of SIA] I really believe it’s something we need to draw more attention to. This is a small example of how we’re doing this,” Erickson said.

The Mercer County Community College security degree program will be launched in the fall of 2015. It is a two-year program that will award degrees in: project management; security integration; product technology and security sales.

A SIA committee came up with the idea for the program last summer. Key participants on that committee are Dave Lyons of System Sensor, Pierre Trapanese of Northland Control Systems and Frank De Fina of Samsung.

De Fina said the industry continues to struggle to find qualified candidates, even though jobs in this industry pay well and offer advancement opportunity.

In addition, De Fina said there’s a “tremendous lack to diversity in the security industry” and said one of the reason organizers chose Mercer County Community College for this program is because it “draws a higher-than-normal percentage of African Americans, Hispanics and women. We need to expose these people to our business,” De Fina said. And this degree program is one way to do it.

SIA has signed a memorandum of understanding with Mercer and is in the process of recruiting industry professionals to teach courses at Mercer.

De Fina pointed out that high grades in the associates degree program at Mercer can lead to a bachelor’s degree. “If you go through the program with a 3.5 GPA or better, you’re assured spot in a four-year program at Rutgers [University],” De Fina said.

Both the scholarship and the degree program are smart moves for the security industry. Congratulations to SIA, ISC and the WSC.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Monday, April 14, 2014

I’m here in Alabama, my first time in this state, for a Tyco event—the ribbon-cutting ceremony for it new Global Center of Excellence (GCoE) in Birmingham. The event starts in an hour, so I’ll have more info later: Below is some stuff from the press release.

“The GCoE enables multinational companies to streamline and standardize their security systems around the world. The GCoE develops standards, technical specifications and detailed work plans that enable consistent security installations globally, while also providing customers with remote system audit services to verify functionality and compliance to corporate standards.

With the increasing number of global clients supported by the GCoE, the expansion of the center will allow Tyco to better serve clients with a single point of contact for their global security needs. Fortune 500 customers are seeking to streamline and standardize their global integrated security systems by consolidating the number of local system integrators they work with worldwide. Managing multiple integrators across hundreds of locations can lead to operational redundancies, quality degradation, compliance issues, and increased costs.
The center will also play a key role in the company’s effort to create comprehensive solutions for customers that encompass a range of building systems.

The new 24,000 square foot facility currently houses 90 employees, including certified design engineers, computer-aided design operators, program managers, system engineers and other specialists, who design and document global security standards for enterprise-level intrusion security, access control, video management, fire systems and integration. The GCoE’s diverse team has multiple competencies, including fluency in 14 languages, and is well-versed in the business and cultural nuances required to successfully conduct business in the 38 countries the center supports, so customer standards and technical specifications can be maintained and updated as needed."

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Intelligent Access Systems—a rapidly growing systems integrator that was acquired by Securadyne in January—has made a move in the Midwest, expanding into Cincinnati and tri-state region (comprising Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana).

IAS employee Kevin Grice has relocated to the area and hired Cincinnati native and industry veteran, Jeremy Brewer.

Securadyne Systems’ branch network is now in more than 15 locations, from Texas to Maine.

Founded by Ron Oetjen in 2004, IAS specializes in integration for critical infrastructure, health care, and higher education vertical markets. Oetjen now serves as SVP of Securadyne Systems

I saw Ron in the serpentine cab line at McCarron last week and asked him about a Twitter comment I’d seen about Jeremy Brewer—but I didn’t have a chance to speak to him at any length at the show. I have a call into Ron to get talk more about this move and to see what else is planned in the next month.

by: Martha Entwistle - Monday, March 31, 2014

Updated April 3, 2014, with information about ISC West Day 2

Day two started with the fifth annual Security 5K, a benefit race for the wonderful organization, Mission 500. More than 700 people registered for the race and we raised $90,000 to help save lives.

We had a very special guest at the Security 5K events this year, someone who knows well the good work of Mission 500. Before the race, and also at the Security 5K race reception we heard from Dr. Diego Alejandro Garcia, a pediatrician who was sponsored at the age of 3 through World Vision/Mission 500.

Today he is Director of the Colombian Ministry of Health Vaccination Program..

He spoke about his experience with Mission 500 and what a real impact it has on young children.

I don’t think I was the only one in the crowd who found Diego’s remarks—and presence at the even this year—very moving

The Security 5k was founded by United Publications, publishers of Security Systems News and Security Director News, and we’re the organizing sponsor of the event. Other sponsors are Reed Exhibitions, proprietors of ISC Expos; and Mission 500. Core sponsors of the 2014 Mission 500 5K/2K are Alarm.com, Altronix Corporation, Axis Communications, Ditek, HID Global, Honeywell, LRG Marketing Communications, Pelco by Schneider Electric, and Safety Technology International. Additional sponsors include Cops Monitoring, Digital Monitoring Products (DMP), Samsung, Brivo, Freeman, Monitronics, Qolsys, Bolide Technology Group, Security Industry Association, and PSA Security Network.

Find out more about this wonderful organization here. http://mission500.org/2014/

After the race I had 30 minutes to get back to the show floor where I got to participate (with Mission 500’s George Fletcher, Diego Garcia, Charlene Foglio) in the opening ceremony for ISC West Day 2.

Then the meetings started. Here’s a brief overview of who I saw:

I met with Jay Hauhn of TycoIS and we talked about the hosted video cloud service that TycoIS is planning to launch in June. TycoIS is working with Next Level Security Systems on project. I asked Jay how he feels about ADT getting into larger commercial security projects (greater than 7,500 square feet after its non-compete with TycoIS expires in September.) “Just another competitor,” Hauhn said.

John Romanowich of Sightlogix filled me in on the company’s newest camera—it’s faster, more accurate and the price has come way down. He said it “brings accurate outdoor security to the mass market.” And because the power requirements are so low, it can be wireless and run on solar. He noted that it's the trenching for wiring that costs money and necessitates design work.

Steve Gorski of MOBOTIX said he’s talking to lots of integrators about the company’s new VMS software, which he called “user-friendly, icon-driven, Apple-ish.”

At Speco Technologies, Laura Mastroberti and Jim Pascale showed me the new IP version of Speco’s mini-cams. I also saw their a recreation of their H2H training center they have in their booth this year.

I spoke to Pierre Racz Genetec. They’re showing Bosch’s 4K camera and he called Genetec’s collaboration with Bosch on the 4k cameras proof that "the best of breed is the way to go"

Had an interesting chat with Brian Schmode at Avigilon. We were talking about how much work the company does with IT resellers. He said it’s the end user that drives which reseller Avigilon uses, and said the company is definitely seeing more end users working with IT resellers.

Off the show floor I caught up with Marty Guay and Paul Barratta at the Stanley Security suite. We talked about the new version of Stanley’s eSuite customer portal.

Updated April 2, too late at night

It’s 10 p.m. and ISCW2014 Day 1 (Wednesday, April 2) is a wrap! Good day on and off the show floor.

No numbers yet from Reed Exhibitions, but it was crowded today. I heard from several exhibitors that they saw more people in the first half of today than they normally see in two days. I even heard that from one access control provider who is located in the more far flung reaches of the hall.

I started the day at the Axis Communications breakfast. I don’t really love events before the event, but the Axis breakfast/press conference proves to be worthwhile year after year. The theme this year was 4. Yup, you guessed it, Axis introduced its 4k line, the P14 Series. Fredrik Nilsson Axis GM Americas touted the P14 28E. It’s better, he said, because: it follows the ITU standard (4k res in 30 fps); it’s easy to install; the lens fits the solution ‘perfectly’ (IR corrected 8MP lens0; correct depth of field and image clarity; and , it’s $999 and “ready for outdoors.”

Axis folks talked about other “4s” as well. After asking if  people would be running the annual Security 5K race tomorrow, Nilsson said: “some of us will wish it’s a 4k tomorrow.”

Axis co-founder Martin Gren gave a brief (and really amusing) history of Axis and the company’s “culture of innovation.” He noted that 2014 is the 30th anniversary of Axis, and mentioned that the original name of the company was G&K Firmware. “Isn’t that a cool name?” he said.

We saw a demo of the P14 28E. Cool, clear picture. And we also saw a demo of Axis’ (4th generation) camera station.

Next up, was the BRS Labs press conference, where Ray Davis spoke about the company’s new Saas solution. This means that BRS Labs is bringing “the same technology that the US military, several cities and some countries” use to commercial customers. The company wants its customers to include not only the “Googles, Amazons and FedExes” but small and medium size businesses. It also has its eye on the residential market.

Davis called the offering a “pre-crime systems” that is better than an alert or alarm that only goes off once a criminal is on premises.

BRS Labs will be making a concerted effort to woo integrators, dealers and residential installers and will launch a full channel partner program this summer.

At Pivot3, Ron Nash spoke about VSTAC edge product “a first class solutions for a customer with multiple locations” and how the company’s VDI product line can help make mobile access secure.

Scan Source has a brand new booth, dedicated to its new “security on demand,” an educational and information portal that the distribution company launched today. For all current and (for a time)prospective clients, the portal features short videos with content that’s relevant to resellers.

I spoke to Joe Morgan at FLIR was the company’s new low cost thermal bullet camera ($499) which the company expects to “open doors to more vertical markets.”

Most of the afternoon was spent at the SSN Media studio doing video interviews with readers. I spoke to:

Joe Liguori, partner at ACT, an integration company (and Security-Net member) based in New Jersey. Ligouri is planning to grow his company from about a $13m to $20m in revenue over the next few years. He talked about the training-intensive culture at ACT and how that’s necessary to customer service, internal efficiency, and also to the planned rapid growth the company is looking for.

So, one of my favorite activities at ISC West is generally HID’s Denis Hebert’s lunchtime trends talk. He generally draws a great crowd and generates some good discussion. Well, HID had alternate plans this year, but Hebert agreed to come talk to ssnTVnews about trends. The most important, this year, he said, is convergence and secured identity solutions. We talked about HID’s decision to leverage Bluetooth LE (in addition to NFC) with its mobile solutions. Finally he talked about the complexity of solutions for integrators—and what HID is doing to help its integrator partners with sales and education.

Holly Tsourides, CEO of Matrix Systems, talked about the integration arm of Matrix, “Xentry.” She believes the newly named business unit has great potential to increase the services it sells to existing customers and to bring on new customers.

G4S Technology president Sam Belbina talked about providing the “total solution” to customers and how G4S is in a unique position to do just that because its sister companies offer monitoring and guard solutions.

Eric Yunag, CEO of Dakota Security, talked about what he’s seeing on and what he’s not seeing on the show floor. Incremental technology feature improvements he sees a lot of. That can be interesting, he said, but what he wants to see from manufacturers is the showcasing of security outcomes. He also talked about his frustration with standards and how this industry needs to feel a little more urgency about standards. IT companies—“have the potential to exert a technical advantage … and exploit a significant weakness [of security companies], he said, unless this industry gets up to speed on standards.

I talked some more on this topic with Brent Franklin, president of Unlimited Technology. IT companies have their eye on the security space, he said. All integration companies need to understand that, he said. We also talked about Franklin’s plans to grow Unlimited Technology’s revenues 30 percent in 2014. It added 15 staff in 2013 and plans to add 16 this year.

At the Brivo Labs press conference Lee Odess talked about the company’s launch of its SAM API (social access management), which allows developers to create applications that allow people to use their social identities for access control to places and identities. He also demo’ed OKDoor which allows a person to use their social media identity to send a message when they arrive at a destination.

Among the receptions I attended tonight: DVTel, alarm.com, Affiliated Monitoring, Samsung, and my personal favorite Women’s Security Council. The WSC threw another great event to honor the 2014 Women of the Year. Read about that here.

updated March 31, 2014

It snowing and sleeting here in Maine as I try to get out the door to leave for the desert, and of course, there's also news breaking.

Video surveillance providers Vicon and IQinVision announced this morning that they're merging into what will be a $56 million company. Read details here. 

Also, NMC announced it's opening a new $6 million location. Check out the details here. 

Check back for news from the ISC West show floor. Leif, Tess, Amy and I will all be updating our blogs daily. On Tuesday, I'll be attending some meetings in the afternoon, stopping by the SIA event, the Security-Net event and a Diebold event as well.

On Wednesday morning, I go to the Axis breakfast. I go every year, and every year, so far anyway, it's informative and entertaining. I'm expecting the same this year.

After that, I'm heading to our Meet the Editors event. Tess, Amy, Leif and I will be at the SSN booth/ISC West Media Studio from 9:30 to 10. It's right outside the entrance to the show floor. You can't miss it. Please stop by and introduce yourself.

Also, remember to tweet using the #ISCW14 hashtag. You can see all the relevant tweets at the Security Systems News Twitter Wall, located just inside the entrance to the show floor. We'll be awarding an iPad Mini at 12:30 on Friday, April 4 to the MVT the Most Valuable Tweeter. To be a competitive MVT candidate, be informative and compelling and use the  #ISCW14 hashtag.

See you in Las Vegas!

 

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Will ADT move into the larger commercial security market when its non-compete expires with Tyco?

I contacted ADT to see if I could talk to someone about it. Cheryl Stopnick, director of dealer communications, responded, and told me that ADT's not going to discuss business plans at this time.

They may not be discussing plans, but it certainly seems like they’re making them.

Right now ADT does commercial security for small businesses, which ADT defines as those businesses that are 7,500 square feet or less. ADT and Tyco came up with that definition when ADT spun off from Tyco. At that time it entered into a non-compete agreement with Tyco Integrated Security. That agreement expires Sept. 30, 2014.

As Luis J. Orbegoso, president of ADT’s Small Business Unit, said during a Dec. 6 investor call (according to seekingalpha.com), the “ADT brand has supported not only small businesses but also medium and enterprise businesses for almost 140 years. And our current definition of a small business as a location that is 7,500 square feet or less is somewhat arbitrary and not necessarily a true reflection of the market. It was actually the result of our non-compete zone improvement with Tyco, which expires in 10 months.”

Orbegoso knows commercial security. He joined ADT in 2013. Before that he was with UTC for five years, where he led the commercial security business (though I think he held a few titles while he was there, which seems to be the norm for the security folks at UTC). He came to UTC as part of the GE Security buy.

During the Dec. 6 conference call, (again, according to seekingalpha.com) Orbegoso said “once this noncompete expires, we will have the ability to take a look at possible adjacencies, such as commercial fire solutions and larger commercial and enterprise security offerings that we can integrate and leverage with our existing infrastructure and customers. These adjacencies could potentially quadruple our addressable markets. And again, today we are extremely encouraged by the momentum that we have in this space and our ability to execute.”

The potential is definitely there with the larger commercial projects, according to the folks at Imperial Capital. Jeff Kessler estimates that the security market in businesses smaller than 7,500 square feet is $2 to $3 billion, but the the market segment that includes businesses that are 7,500- to 25,000 square feet is an $18 billion to $20 billion market segment.

I spoke to some folks in the industry (aside from TycoIS) who currently do work in that market segment and they fully expect ADT to jump in to that market.

And while it’s an opportunity, not everyone believes it's an $18 billion-plus opportunity. It may be on paper, but one integrator told me “that’s a segment that’s been stuck in neutral for a lot of years.”

The commercial fire business, on the other hand, if you can get the right people on board—and ADT certainly has the resources for that—could be a more immediate opportunity.

Orbegoso has instituted many changes in the way ADT approaches security for small businesses. It was typically treated as a kind of  “extension of residential security,” but that’s the not the case any more. It will be very interesting to see how Orbegoso and ADT approach this new, larger, more complex market segment.

There may be disagreement about market segment size, but there’s general agreement that ADT has the potential to have some meaningful impact in this segment.

by: Martha Entwistle - Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Avigilon will soon have more cash for purchases.

The HD surveillance provider on March 17 increased a previously announced financing to $100 million (Canadian).

The official statement said that the “company intends to use the net proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes and for potential strategic acquisitions.”  

I have a call in to Avigilon to see if they'll comment on why they're increasing the financing.

The offering is expected to close just after ISC West this year “on or about April 8, 2014,” the company said.

The financing, “a bought deal offering of common shares of Avigilon,” is an expansion of a previously announced bought deal offering for $69 million, which was announced in November, just before Avigilon acquired VideoIQ on Dec. 31.

Under the terms of the expanded financing, a “syndicate of underwriters led by GMP Securities L.P. and including BMO Capital Markets, National Bank Financial Inc., CIBC World Markets Inc., RBC Capital Markets and PI Financial Corp. have agreed to purchase, on a bought deal basis pursuant to the filing of a short form prospectus, an aggregate of 3,448,280 Common Shares at a price of $29.00 per common share for aggregate gross proceeds to Avigilon of $100,000,120,” the announcement said.

The syndicate may purchase an additional 517,242 shares at the same price up to 30 days after the closing. If that happens, an additional $15,000,018 will be raised, and Avigilon’s gross proceeds will be $115,000,138.

by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Magnus Ekerot is no longer CEO of network camera provider Mobotix. The company announced that Mobotix CFO, Klaus Gesmann, will take on the role of CEO and sales oversight “until further notice.”

According to a statement from Mobotix, Ekerot “was released of his position” on Feb. 17.

In response to questions from Security Systems News, Mobotix co-founder Sabine Hinkel said in an email that Mobotix is “not looking for a replacement for Dr. Magnus Ekerot. Our actual focus is the reorganization of the company back to its roots. There is no deadline to find a replacement for him.”

Hinkel declined further comment on Mobotix reorganization plans.

Ekerot joined Mobotix as chief sales officer in 2011; he was promoted to CEO in October 2013.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Updated March 5 with interviews with DW's Wade Thomas and Ian Johnston of ISD.

Whenever a big company like Digital Watchdog acquires a start-up like Innovative Security Design (ISD), as happened earlier this week, a common concern is whether the acquired company will be allowed to continue to innovate. Executives from both DW and ISD told Security Systems News, there’s no need to worry.

Most companies want an acquisition to “assimilate into [its] culture, revenue and business model,” Wade Thomas, Digital Watchdog president told me. “We want to let ISD do what they do best and give them runway to grow.”

Digital Watchdog, a privately held manufacturer of video surveillance products, on March 3 announced that it had acquired ISD.

ISD will remain an independent entity within DW, and it will continue to work with OEM partners.

ISD was founded by Ian Johnston, former CTO of IQInvision, in 2012. Here's an interview I did with Johnston when he launched the company. ISD turned some heads at ISC West last year when it introduced its netSeries camera—the first IP camera that uses Microsoft Windows as its base operating systems. Here's an interview I did with Johnston about the netSeries camera last May.

This week, Johnston said that most of ISD’s suitors were established IP camera companies, were he would have to “go in and change their minds and break up their notions of what an IP camera is.”

In some ways, ISD is more of a “design house or solutions factory so-to-speak,” Johnston said. And, DW will let ISD continue that way. “DW has great manufacturing experience and depth that will help us be price competitive,” he added.

It will also allow ISD to “build inventory and be attractive to really large companies that are looking to partner with us on an OEM [basis].”

DW's products include: IP and analog cameras, DVRs, NVRs, software and apps. It has been in business since 1987. In addition to its corporate office in Tampa, Fla., it has an office in Cerritas, Calif. It will keep ISD’s office in Irvine, Calif. Its business is concentrated in North and South America and has about 75 employees in the United States.

DW has engineering and manufacturing facilities in Seoul, Korea. Its products are assembled in the U.S., however.
Thomas declined to release terms of the deal.

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by: Martha Entwistle - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Aronson Security Group, the Seattle-based systems integrator, is putting more resources into its Business Optimization Center.

The integrator announced this week that Nigel Waterton has been promoted to SVP of Corporate Strategy and Development for ASG. in this new role, Waterton—who was a speaker at TechSec 2014 on the topic of big data—"will guide the value proposition for ASG’s professional services, engineering, implementation, and performance that their management teams fulfill."

In a statement, Phil Aronson, CEO of Aronson Security Group, said: “Our growth demands another layer of leadership to identify and lead existing and future senior leadership. As well, Nigel will be extending and evolving our new Business Optimization Center which is a key foundation to our business model.”

ASG's Business Optimization Center helps security executives create a "Common Operating Picture" for their security program. ASG takes a look at the end user's the current operation to "understand the gaps between the as-is and to-be vision."

The next step, is to “establish a roadmap that guides the strategy, execution, measurement and budgeting of the program as it evolves over time,” Waterton said in a statement.

Waterton served in the British military for 16 years before he started working in the security industry in 1996.

Congratulations to Nigel!

by: Martha Entwistle - Friday, February 14, 2014

Security Networks of America has changed its name.

The organization of 36 independent security companies is now "NetOne." Together, the 36 companies serve 775,000 customers throughout the U.S. and Canada. The group "shares best practices and compare performance to ascertain the most effective methods of giving customers what they need—and projecting what they may need in the future." Among other trends, the group "foresee[s] a rapid expansion of the remote interactive services our companies offer."

In an announcement, SNA managing director David Carter said: "The name acknowledges that we function as a network, reflecting the unity of purpose of our member companies —sharing information and expertise to foster best practices and evaluating new technologies, so their customers are provided with a broad range of solutions to meet their expanding security needs and improve business operations.”

The name change is also an acknowledgment that times have changed since the group was founded way back in 1988. In a prepared statement SNA chairman Scott Elkins, CEO of UAS in Philadelphia said: "Customers want to control facilities and systems remotely, and they want to be able to use the operational insights they gain from these systems to manage their companies more efficiently and effectively."

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