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by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ESX is one of the fastest-growing trade shows in the country, a distinction that hasn’t been lost on the industry’s top monitoring and integration companies. The expo floor is already more than 70 percent sold for this year’s event, which will be moving down the street from Nashville’s Convention Center the new Music City Center.

More than 140 exhibitors were on board as of Monday, including 30 companies that weren’t on the floor last year. Among the new participants from the monitoring world are Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS), Metrodial and SAFE Security.

Some of the busiest real estate at ESX 2013 is likely to be found at the NexTech Zone, where exhibitors focused on home automation, energy management, IT and interactive services will display the latest products and services. With Time Warner, ADT and other big players increasingly moving into this space, it’s probably a good idea for central stations to stay ahead of the curve (or at least not fall behind it).

There also will be 10 educational sessions at ESX focusing on central station operations and technology. Topics range from how to find and retain quality operators (and customers) to the monitoring world beyond PERS, with some of the top names in the industry leading the discussions. To find out more about what ESX has to offer—pencil in June 17-21 if you haven't already—or to register, click here.

by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Telguard has expanded its reach into the PERS marketplace by licensing its cellular technology to Mytrex, a South Jordan, Utah-based manufacturer of medical alarm systems.

Mytrex is targeting independent seniors who are doing away with POTS but still want medical response service. The technology used in Telguard’s TG-P cellular PERS communicator can now be found in Mytrex’s MXD3G “turnkey” PERS solution.

Mytrex President Richard Bangerter said his company was looking for a partner “with proven cellular technology and service to enhance our product line and help us address the growing no-landline senior population.” That led to Telguard, which provides solutions for wireless monitoring of intrusion and fire systems.

One of the selling points for the MXD3G is that it's "central-station agnostic," eliminating the need to purchase and maintain proprietary equipment.

“As long as a dealer’s central station advertises support for two-way voice, the MXD3G using Telguard service can be installed to deliver it,” the company said in a prepared statement.

The device is available through Telguard or Mytrex.

Work hard, play hard: COPS Monitoring is planning a Dealer Appreciation Bonanza during ISC West that will include cocktails, dinner, line dancing and a mechanical bull riding competition for anyone brave enough to saddle up.

“We wanted to celebrate the opening of our 8,000-square-foot central station in Texas and our recent acquisition of AlarmWATCH,” COPS President and COO Jim McMullen said in a prepared statement. “Our dealers work hard all year long. We thought that it would be exciting if we hosted an event that gave them the opportunity to play hard as well.”

The gathering will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. at Gilley’s at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. There will be door prizes and dealers will be able to commemorate the evening with a Western-themed picture from the event photo booth. Co-sponsors are Alarm Funding Associates, CheckVideo, the SS&Si Dealer Network, Telguard and TimePayment.

Space is limited and is reserved for qualified alarm dealers and their guests. For more information or to find out if you qualify for complimentary tickets, click here or call Betty Hudson at 800-367-2677, Ext. 1256.

by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, March 6, 2013

More than 12,000 false alarms in one year, including 81 from just one address? It’s enough to make a deputy reach for the Screech.

For those who think our neighbors to the north don't have security-related problems, think again. In St. John’s, Newfoundland, police have their hands full in a way that would have many of their U.S. brethren nodding sadly in agreement.

According to a report last week by CBC News, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is being overwhelmed by false alarms. In 2012, they accounted for almost a quarter of the calls that the RNC handled in the St. John’s area.

“It has a dramatic impact on our service delivery,” Ab Singleton, deputy chief of the RNC, told the CBC.

The refrain will sound familiar to anyone who has dealt with the issue south of the border: Each of the 12,000 calls went to the RNC’s Communications Centre, where a dispatcher created a file, notified the alarm company and moved the call through the RNC system. An officer then responded unnecessarily, taking him away from other enforcement duties.

Singleton said the biggest problem with false alarms can be traced to a small number of businesses that have not trained their employees to properly use their security system, or have not replaced malfunctioning systems. The top six offenders in 2012 accounted for 344 false alarms, he said.

“The people either owning or operating the system, or the business, does not take the alarm or the work that we do seriously,” Singleton told the CBC.

The resulting waste of resources is unlikely to be stemmed any time soon. Police said the problem is getting worse, with more calls coming in and the percentage of false alarms rising. An increase in new homes pre-wired for alarm systems has been partly to blame, they said.

by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mobile PERS is fast becoming the land of the giants.

AT&T is the latest to get into the game, announcing on Feb. 21 that it will provide the wireless network and location services for Libris, a mobile health management system from Seattle-based Numera Inc. The news follows ADT’s announcement in January that it’s getting into mobile PERS by partnering with Toronto-based health tech provider Ideal Life.

The target market for both ventures is similar: active senior citizens looking for an extra measure of safety, and those with chronic conditions who want health monitoring inside and outside the home. Libris delivers by integrating biometric readings, two-way mobile voice, automated fall detection and location tracking.

“Incorporating continuous monitoring of an individual’s activity, location and important health measurements, [Libris] breaks new ground in bringing together personal safety and telehealth in a mobile device,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president of emerging devices for AT&T, in a prepared statement.  

While the competition for remote patient monitoring is getting more intense, there’s probably a lot of room left in the sandbox for players of all sizes. The telecare and telehealth market is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2016 and grow to $6 billion by 2020, according to Numera.

Puro resigns at CRN Wireless: In other PERS-related news, e3 Investment Partners announced this week that Nicholas Puro has resigned as CEO of CRN Wireless. He will focus on other opportunities in network services, monitoring and security, according to an e3IP news release.

“I am particularly interested in network services and wireless monitoring in the medical and pharmaceutical field,” said Puro, who is listed on LinkedIn as managing director of e3IP. “There are vast opportunities for new products and services ranging from fully mobile personal emergency response systems to wireless monitoring of pharmaceuticals through the cold chain.”

Earlier this month, CRN Wireless launched two 4G cellular alarm communicators through its AlarmPath division.

by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ISC West can bring on sensory overload, from the din of the crowd to the glitzy displays to the lower-limb fatigue that comes with keeping yourself upright for eight hours at a stretch. Throw in the never-ending (and endlessly varying) spectacle that is Las Vegas and you have a lot to wrap your head around.

It’s quite a scene, especially for industry newcomers. That was the boat I was in last year for my Vegas initiation, which I’m glad to say resulted in little long-term damage. Aside from sleep deprivation blamed on three nights of frat house auditions in an adjacent hotel room, I emerged none the worse for wear.

Now it’s time to gear up again.

The emails with “ISC West” in the subject line are already flying and appointments are being penciled in. For those who haven’t taken a close look at the calendar lately, it might come as a surprise to learn that a return to the Sands is only seven weeks away. April will be here before you know it, with much to prepare for in the meantime.

With that in mind, I started an ISC planner yesterday. It’s quickly filling up. The educational sessions alone are enough to keep attendees focused squarely on the show instead of what might await after-hours. Here are a few sessions that drew my interest:

— “Staying Connected: Leveraging the Cloud and Mobile Applications for Enhanced Security.” Everything in the world, security included, is going mobile. If you don’t believe it, ask anyone with a smartphone—assuming they’ll look away from it long enough to answer you.

— “Counterfeit Products in the Security Industry: A Very Real Problem for All of Us.” If you don’t think they’re out there, you’re wrong. And like other knockoffs, they’re probably only going to get more difficult to detect.

— “60 Sites, 50 Miles and 5 Key Lessons Learned: How One School District Made the Move to IP Video Surveillance.” In the wake of Newtown this will be a hot-button issue, with an obvious upside for security interests.

— “The Great Debate: What to Use, What to Lose.” Technology is exploding, but "assets" deployed improperly can become expensive liabilities. Jay Hauhn of Tyco Integrated Security and Fredrik Nilsson of Axis Communications will help attendees learn from others’ mistakes and successes.

There are more than 60 educational sessions planned, starting on April 9 and running for three days. There also will be three rotations (April 10-12) of networking on the 200,000-square-foot show floor, so heels are strictly optional (for this writer, anyway). Other common-sense advice for first-timers includes not skipping breakfast—it’s easy to go through a day at the show and realize at 5 p.m. that you haven’t eaten anything—and bringing a water bottle to stay hydrated. For a complete schedule and more survival tips, go to www.iscwest.com.

by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It was what the Colorado Springs Police Department calls a Priority Three alarm: A minor incident “requiring a response that is dispatched based on the availability of patrol units.” What followed was the nightmare scenario dreaded by police, alarm companies and alarm users alike.

According to CSPD spokeswoman Barbara Miller, a security alarm was triggered at the home of David Dunlap and Whitney Butler at 11:10 a.m. on Jan. 14. The alarm company, ADT, then called Dunlap’s cellphone and left a message for him to call back. At 11:18, ADT called police to notify them about the alarm.

Based on department policy to reduce the burden of false alarms in the city, officers were not dispatched.

“We had no units available,” Miller told Security Systems News. “We do priority calls. … If there is a ‘crime in progress’ call [with a life-threatening situation], those are first. If it’s a human-activated alarm or a panic alarm, that’s also a high priority. We would respond immediately to that.”

At 11:25, Dunlap returned ADT’s call and was informed about the alarm, but he did not call police, Miller said. Thirty-five minutes later, CSPD responded to a report of shots fired at the couple’s Bassett Drive address. Police say Dunlap and Whitney were killed as they entered their home by 17-year-old Macyo January, who was arrested three days later and charged with first-degree murder.

Miller said the incident calls attention to a common and potentially dangerous oversight by alarm users: If an alarm is activated, they should not assume there will be an immediate response from law enforcement.

“Many times, the alarm company will notify the owner that their house alarm has been activated. If that person returns to his or her home to check on the alarm, they must be extremely cautious and vigilant,” she said. “For instance, if they notice a front door that might be slightly opened or a broken window, or see a suspicious vehicle parked outside their home, we would strongly recommend that they call 911 so an officer can check for a possible burglary in progress or burglary that just occurred.”

Miller said that Colorado Springs police will respond to any activation when there is evidence that a crime has been committed—“i.e., a responsible party is on scene and has told the alarm company there is a broken window at the residence or business. Another example would be an alarm service indicates they have video surveillance inside of the business and they can see someone inside of the location.”

Ron Walters, director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, told SSN that virtually all police agencies, even those with scaled-back response policies, handle human-activated alarms “at a fairly high priority.” That goes for video intrusion alarms as well, but as Walters pointed out, there is only so much a security company can do.

“Alarms are designed as a deterrent and cannot stop a crime from happening,” he said. “The best deterrent remains the threat of response by a well-trained and armed police official.”

by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The world of mobile PERS and remote health monitoring continues to expand.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, ADT announced that it was getting into the game by teaming with Ideal Life, a Toronto-based company whose health monitoring and information technology will be integrated with ADT Pulse to provide “proactive prevention” for people managing chronic health conditions. The system uses digital, wireless, secure two-way communicators to measure and relay information about glucose levels, blood pressure, body weight, oxygen saturation and heart rate.

Royal Philips Electronics, which has long been a player in personal emergency response systems, also made news at CES by introducing Lifeline GoSafe. The mobile PERS system combines the company’s AutoAlert fall-detection capability with two-way cell communication and up to seven user-location technologies.

“Our intention is that GoSafe will provide users with the confidence to get back to activities or go to places they have scaled back on, knowing that help is easily accessible,” Rob Goudswaard, senior director of product and service programs for Philips Home Monitoring, said in a prepared statement.

The need to provide more protection for seniors as they maintain their independence isn’t lost on Mace Security International, which is “looking hard” at getting into the mobile PERS space, CEO and President John McCann told SSN last week.

“I think you’re going to see a shift from just home security to security 24/7,” McCann said. “As you look at that shift in the world, and I use my dear sweet mother as an example, I’m a little more worried when she’s on the road than when she’s at home. Therefore we’re looking at how do we increase that fence around her so she’s safe, so loved ones feel that the person they’re worried about is safe.”

Security dealers who want to take advantage of this growing market might want to think about attending the second annual PERS Summit, which will be held Sept. 10-12 in Park City, Utah. Last year’s inaugural session brought together more than 100 dealers, service providers and manufacturers’ reps for three days of networking. To learn more, go to www.perssummit.com.

by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, January 23, 2013

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has attended ESX in the past couple of years that it’s one of the fastest-growing trade shows in the country.

There was confirmation of that recently from Trade Show Executive magazine, which named the Electronic Security Expo one of the publication’s Fastest 50 winners for audience growth. Attendance at ESX grew 15.1 percent from the 2010 event in Pittsburgh to the 2011 event in Charlotte, N.C., easily outpacing average trade-show growth of 1.9 percent across a wide spectrum of industries, according to Darlene Gudea, president of the Trade Show Executive Media Group.

“At a time when most trade shows were battling the Great Recession and could barely maintain attendance levels of the past, along came the Electronic Security Expo, achieving a dramatic 15 percent jump in attendance,” Gudea said in a prepared statement.

The performance lifted ESX to 45th on the magazine’s list, “a success story that others can emulate and … a tribute to [the show’s] organizers,” Gudea said.

George De Marco, ESX chairman, said the growth is based on a winning formula: enhancing the show floor each year, adding to the education program and providing an array of networking events for integration and monitoring companies.

“We remain focused on executing our strategy of providing a dynamic ecosystem for security professionals to experience at ESX, helping them develop new partnerships, uncover new business opportunities and connect with colleagues,” De Marco said in the statement.

ESX moved to Nashville in 2012—hello, Tootsie’s—and it will be held there again in 2013, with events running from June 17-21 at the new Music City Center. For more on what to expect, go to www.esxweb.com.

by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Mace Central Station announced late Tuesday that Michael Kallio, the company’s vice president of business development, died Jan. 10 after a battle with cancer.

Kallio was a 26-year employee of Mace CS in Anaheim, Calif., and was a member of the California Alarm Association.

“Michael was a dedicated, loyal manager and he helped guide the company to be one of the most respected central stations in California and the West,” said Michael Joseph, vice president and general manager of Mace CS, in a prepared statement.

Mace Security International announced that it will create the Michael Kallio Spirit Award and will provide matching funds for a scholarship endowment in his honor. The endowment will help deserving students with their college educations.

Kallio was promoted to vice president of business development at Mace CS in April 2012. Previously, he was manager of business development and operations manager. He was also a real estate agent at Joshua Realty & Loan in Orange County, according to his LinkedIn profile.

by: Rich Miller - Wednesday, January 9, 2013

ADT is getting into the health monitoring game.

The company announced this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it has teamed with Toronto-based Ideal Life to offer at-home and mobile health management services. ADT will integrate Ideal Life’s health monitoring and information technology into ADT Pulse, which gives customers remote access to home automation and security features.

Ideal Life bills its monitoring system as “proactive prevention” for people managing chronic conditions such as congestive health failure, hypertension, diabetes, asthma or obesity. The system utilizes digital, wireless, secure two-way communication devices to measure and relay information about glucose levels, blood pressure, body weight, oxygen saturation and heart rate.

“Ideal Life’s solutions empower consumers by educating them on the status of their conditions as well as the advantages of prevention,” Don Boerema, ADT’s chief corporate development officer, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with their team to offer these valuable new services to our customers.”

Other monitoring companies have been into remote health management for a while, so it will be interesting to see what kind of traction ADT gets and how soon it will have an impact. But given the company’s size and marketing power, its push into the field will be hard to ignore.

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