GE Capital announced April 20 that it had sold its entire stake in SAFE Security, one of the larger full service security alarm companies, with accounts in 44 states. SAFE Security is involved in purchasing, financing and servicing residential and commercial security alarm monitoring contracts, as well as installing alarm systems. SAFE Security has recently streamlined its operation with initiatives such as software upgrades, and consolidation of monitoring stations. Bank of America provided a $25 million senior credit facility as part of the transaction between GE Capital and private equity firm Rustic Canyon/Fontis Partners, LP. Rustic Canyon/Fontis Partners has also invested an undisclosed amount of new equity capital SAFE Security, and while the firm has assumed a majority ownership position, SAFE Security's founder and CEO Paul Sargenti will remain in the picture with a significant ownership interest.
The Security Industry Alarm Coalition announced April 14 the launch of a new, easier to navigate website. According to a SIAC press release, the new site "allows for easier navigation and information gathering." According to SIAC executive director, Stan Martin the site is the culmination of a year's hard work. "We've been working on this update for close to a year now, to make sure we included a wide set of tools to help all the groups we work closely with. Information, technology and effective alarm reduction techniques are constantly evolving, and we wanted our web page to stay current with these changes." The new site features information on important topics like verified response, alarm systems standards, how to create an alarm user awareness school for your municipality, and a model ordinance for both intrusion and fire as approved by the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association and the False Alarm Reduction Association. The new site is also more accessible to alarm system owners since "succesful alarm dispatch management begins with the end-user." End-user focused learning tools include "5 Quick Tips for Proper Alarm Use," "Be Aware of Unlicensed Door to Door Sales People," and "How to Sell a House with an Alarm System."
Hey, I suppose if you're going to be wasting tax payer money, and the valuable time and resources of first responders, it might as well be a police run institution doing the wasting, right? I came across this story this morning at abc.net.au, an ABC News affiliate for Australia, and had a chuckle. The Alexander Maconochie Centre, a new prison located in the town of Hume in the Australian Capital Territory, has been having some problems with it's alarm systems, both security and fire. The story states the security system problems were ironed out before the first batch of inmates were moved in September 2008 (good thing, I would say... don't you want a pretty airtight security system at your local prison?), but the fire alarm system continues to cause problems, apparently activating and necessitating dispatch 33 times since the prison opened. According to corrections minister John Hargreaves "some of the false alarms were triggered by inmates smoking, which is banned in the prison." Huh? First of all, does cigarette smoke normally set off fire alarms? Secondly, if they're not supposed to be smoking in prison, why are they smoking in prison? Aren't the inmates pretty much under lock and key? Isn't pretty much every single one of their actions monitored? I hope so. I love this particular excerpt... It seems to scream out "we need someone to lay down the rules":
Vince McDevitt from the CPSU [Community and Public Sector Union] says the union is in talks with jail management to allow inmates and staff to smoke in designated outdoor areas. Mr McDevitt says it is also important for jail officers to be able to permit inmates to smoke inside the jail, in certain situations. "For instance a prisoner who became agitated or potentially had some mental issues, if they start for example, to head butt the cell bars like a rhinoceros screaming for a cigarette, then the superindentant, it's important that they have a discretionary power to allow an individual to smoke," he said.Again, I say Huh? Why? That's like when my son doesn't want to eat his peas, but does want ice cream. I tell him "no, that's not allowed," and he throws a tantrum. So it's important that I give him the ice cream so he'll stop his tantrum? That makes absolutely no parenting sense at all. How about this for a different tack: "No, you can't smoke. You're in prison and have lost that right." I guess I just feel that if prisoners sneaking smokes is costing money through false alarm dispatch, they should be stopped from smoking. I mean home and business owners the world over get severe financial penalties at far fewer than 33 false alarms. Just my opinion. I welcome yours.
Iveda Solutions marketing manager Bryce Witcher emailed me yesterday to let me in on some exciting news.
Our experience at ISC West was beneficial to the company. We met so many new prospects that will take our sales people quite a while to get through. Our â€˜coming outâ€™ was a success. Also, after our meeting, we found out that we got our Safety Act certification from Homeland Security. That was really cool news.â€SAFETY Act certification comes from Subtitle G of Title VIII of the Homeland Security Act of 2002, also called the Support Antiterrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002, which provides critical incentives for the development and deployment of technologies for potential use for anti-terrorism by providing liability protections for providers of qualified anti-terrorism technologies. It's all about developing tech that can save lives. Again, according to Witcher:
Accordingly, Iveda Solutions provides its customers robust real-time IP video hosting and real-time remote surveillance services designed to be used by multiple first responders in cases of threat from criminal or terrorist activities. The technology is a set of services designed to secure a site through the monitoring of a video security system installed by a third-party partner of Iveda Solutions. The services include the data center, centralized video hosting, and remote monitoring/surveillance. The technology also includes training of the intervention specialists and third-party partner selection criteria. This designation will expire on April 30, 2014. Many companies that work on getting certified know it is a huge project to complete. HUGE. Because of the perceived infancy of the real-time surveillance service sector, we believe we are in the right place at the right time, that this will help us be recognized as a company that can actually provide true real-time remote surveillance. Having the certification shows others that the Department of Homeland Security has recognized Iveda Solutions as utilizing technologies that truly work and are applicable to preventing or combating malicious activity.
The most recent Somali pirate drama got me thinking. Should U.S. merchant ships be more secure? Should it become common practice to have armed security on-board? At least one ex-marine believes so. The point of a security system is protection of life and property, right? I mean, let's be honest, there's probably not going to be anything gained from installing intrusion alarms, motion sensors, and video monitoring on a ship which is out in international waters most of the time and in foreign jurisdictions a lot of the time, unless the first responders are right there on the ship. And unless they're equipped to deal with the menace these pirates increasingly pose. I say, arm the ships, and, to quote the aforementioned ex-marine, "smoke[d] every one of those guys." That may sound harsh, but these pirates aren't modern day Robin Hoods, they're criminals and murderers, and maybe need a little operant conditioning in the form of punishment. Just my opinion. I welcome yours. Oh, and I just have to comment on this line from the linked ABC story above:
Justice Department officials are trying to determine whether to try the pirate in the U.S. or leave him to a pirate court in Kenya that has yet to try anyone for piracy.Am I understanding this correctly? The U.S. Justice Department is actually considering handing the one surviving pirate of a band of pirates who terrorized hard-working Americans, over to a "pirate court?" Huh...? A pirate court that has yet to try anyone for piracy, no less. Really? How do we know this court to try pirates isn't run by pirates? Yeah, let's consider handing this guy over to the pirate court. Good thinking. Again, just my opinion.
The CSAA announced In March CSAA board member Joe Miskulin, superintendent of State Farm Insurance, will take over for Pam Petrow, COO of Vector Security, as chairperson for the Central Station Operations Management Committee. "We are very excited the Joe has volunteered to head this important CSAA committee," said Steve Doyle, executive vice president of CSAA. "Joe has been involved with the group for many years and has a keen understanding of its history and of the needs of this group." Miskulin recently joined the CSAA Board of Directors as the Board representative of the CSAA Proprietary Council.
I got a press release from my favorite Dice client services rep. Melissa Roedel the other day. Dice has just hired Bill Pavlov as its new director of training. One of Pavlov's main jobs, it appears, will be overseeing the company's future products, their training programs, training materials, and the online Quantum University classes, which will be geared toward instruction for the bevy of Quantum-branded products Dice has in the pipeline, including Quantum Video, and Quantum Access Control. Dice also envisions a Wiki comprising all the Dice-originated training, as well as Dice customer-contributed info. It's nice to see security companies hiring people, promoting people, instituting more education and participation from the industry. Nice going Dice.
I just came across this story at kait8.com, Jonesboro, Ark.'s ABC affiliate. This is just too much. Part of my job here at SSN is covering developments in false alarm reduction efforts around the country. Public safety answering points such as 911, as well as police and other emergency responders are already pretty stretched as far as resources go. I guess my point is if you have an alarm system, make sure it's inspected, tested, and in good working order. Be certain everyone who may be on the protected premises knows all the codes and passwords, knows how to operate the system. Obviously, acts of God, such as weather, hurricanes and the like can't be helped and can cause false alarms, and municipalities generally make allowances for such eventualities. If there's actually an emergency, and you need to hit your panic button, or call 911, then fine, but for the love of God, use your alarm system properly, and don't call 911 because your brothers, "they gone come up pootin' and pickin' on me."
I had a chance to sit down with Alarm.com director of product management, Bob McCarthy today. Alarm.com officially launched its standalone video offering at ISC West this year. It offers all the same features as the integrated security solution (full managed video services and home or business management functions like thermostat and lighting control). The integrated security offering was released in November. I also had the opportunity to speak with Gary Slavin and Kari Brua about Micro Key and their recent name change. Micro Key is now known as Micro Key Solutions. According to Slavin, the name change makes sense. â€œWhat weâ€™ve done for years is help alarm companies find total solutions,â€ Slavin said. â€œWeâ€™re not just a software company.â€ Micro Key Solutions also has a new tag line, â€œManage, Control, Succeed.â€ The changes, according to Micro Key Solutions president Wayne Torrens, are appropriate. â€œOur customers have assisted us in becoming more than just a software company. We have and will continue to offer complete solutions for alarm dealers and central stations of any size as well as systems integrators,â€ Torrens said during his speech at the Micro Key press conference. â€œWe have, and will continue to offer best-in-class software and customer support for the entire security alarm industry.â€ I also met with Cliff Dice and Phil DuPont of Dice Corporation, and we talked about all things Quantum. Dice said that they have been getting very positive feedback for their Quantum Operator platform and expect more positive feedback when they release such Quantum branded offerings as Quantum Video. Phil was also nice enough to agree to transport a little something I put together for Melissa Roedel. Happy reading Melissa.
So this is my first ISC West show, and I have to say, I'm a little overwhelmed by the sheer size of it. I'm very much looking forward to visiting booths and interviewing Jim McMullen from C.O.P.S., Mitch Clarke from Monitronics, Ed Bonifas from the CSAA, and MJ Vance from CenterPoint Technologies. It promises to be a good show. I arrived early today (Tuesday), having left my Monday open so I could pay a visit to Viewpoint CRM down in Lowell, Mass. I met with Viewpoint CRM CEO Brad Gordon, and VP channel sales and marketing, Mike Hanlon. Nice couple of guys with one heck of an operation (stay tuned for more on that.) I've already partaken of one of the convention's many, many educational pieces, attending a talk given by Honeywell's John Smith on expanding the role of the central station through offering managed services, specifically access control. I've seen lots of really neat booths coming together, with lots of lights and dazzle, and a few SUVs, one of which was a giant, mobile surveillance solution, one of which is sitting pretty and yellow at the Spy Place's booth. You'll remember my cohort Martha blogged about them last week. Can't wait to stop by booth 5047. See you all on the floor.