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by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, September 2, 2009
My publisher Tim Purpura and I just got back from the inaugural Rapid Response Users Group in Verona, N.Y. What a time. Everyone I spoke to at the event had the same impression: that the event was a well-oiled machine and that Rapid really was there to support it's dealers and integrators. One attendee even went so far as to tell me, basically, (I'm paraphrasing) "this may look like a whole lot of showing off, but it's not. Jeff Atkins backs it up." The impression I got was that Rapid would do whatever it could to curtail turnover in it's central station, provide new applications and services as dealer differentiators, lower costs, and improve service. Overall, it was a well-done event with lots of staff from RR and AE ventures--who did PR and event planning and execution--checking in to be sure everyone had everything they needed. I got to sit down with RR president Jeff Atkins and chairman and CEO Russ MacDonnell and Secure Global Solutions' VPs Hank Goldberg and Thom Meyer to discuss what Goldberg said was a "15-year quest to get Rapid as a client." Atkins used his welcome breakfast address to announce that Rapid was in the process (projected to be complete in early 2010) of converting to the stages central station monitoring platform. Atkins went so far as to say the "synergy of Rapid Response and stages will revolutionize third party monitoring." I chuckled a little and he just said "You watch. You just watch us." We're watching. Check out the Rapid Response Users Group site for more material from the RRUG.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, August 31, 2009
Security Systems News publisher Tim Purpura and I pulled into the lot of the Fairfield Inn late last night after an hours long quest for an Applebees. (Note to those traveling I90: There is nothing for food but little pizza houses between West Springfield, Mass. and Albany, N.Y.) This morning dawned clear and cool & I feel ready to embrace the Rapid Response Users Group, meet some people and learn more. On tap for today? Here you go: 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.: Welcome breakfast 9:00 - 10 a.m.: Welcome by Jeffrey Atkins & overview of Rapid Response monitoring facility 10:15 - 12:45: Exhibit viewing, vendor demos and product training. (Group 1 tour of RR monitoring facility) 1:00 - 2:30 - Luncheon Presentation - Introducing the Rapid Response Monitoring Dealer Network 2:30 - 6:00 Exhibit viewing, vendor demos and product training (Group 2 tour of RR monitoring facility) 7:00 - 9:00 Opening Night Reception & Dinner featuring Stand-up comedian Nick DiPaolo I'm looking forwared to the exhibits and training, at which I hope to meet lots of people. I'm also looking forward to a tour of the facility. Depending on how the day goes, I might just heckle DiPaolo, too... we'll see. I can't help notice (I'm in the lobby of the Fairfield waiting for Tim to head over to the Turning Stone Resort, and the news is on) that the New York State Fair is going on right now, as well. They're focusing on all things dairy at the fair right now, with cheese auctions, milk tastings and other events where the bovine is divine. Looks like this year is eclipsing last year as far as attendance goes. I Love security as much as the next guy, but I may just sneak out of the security extravaganza of the RRUG and go bid on some cheese. I'll let you know how it goes. Check later for more.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, August 28, 2009
It's the last weekend of August. It was 52 degrees on the shores of Sebago Lake (where I live in Raymond, Maine) when I got up this morning at 6:30. For the first time since they bloomed earlier this season, my morning glories hadn't yet opened. That means it's getting colder. That means summer (such as it was) is pretty much over. That also means it's time for me to pack my bags and head off to Verona, N.Y. for Rapid Response's Users Group. SSN's publisher Tim Purpura and I will hit the road together and partake of the Users Group, which Rapid promises "to be a 'don't miss' event for Rapid Response Dealers, with workshops, seminars, feedback forums, and top companies from all areas of the Security Industry." I look forward to meeting industry folks in attendance and touring the RR facility. I'm also looking forward to hopefully touring Rapid's EMT-staffed Life Safety Monitoring facility, which handles PERS monitoring for Medical Alarm Concepts. There is even going to be a talk by special keynote speaker, Space Shuttle pilot Colonel Richard Searfoss, which I'm looking forward to (I'm a science/space/sci-fi geek), and, though I don't golf, myself, there's even a golf tournament to cap things off. Overall, it promises to be a productive few days sandwiched between lots of windshield time, during which I'm sure Tim and I will argue over whose iPod takes precedence...
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I was writing a story on Iveda teaming with mobiDEOS the other day, and I noticed in my interviewing the terms "cloud computing" and "in the cloud" and "cloud technology" were being dropped a lot. I had to be honest with myself and admit, while I kind of got the basic idea of cloud computing, I wasn't exactly sure what it meant, how it worked, and what kind of effect its advent would have on the security industry. The cloud, and cloud computing has been mentioned in a couple of SSN stories recently, and I felt it was time I educated myself. I found a well done article on the emerging phenomenon at Datamation. It gets into just what cloud computing is, how the emerging cloud is being shaped, and what ramifications it will have on numerous industries, including security. There's also a list of 85 cloud computing vendors battling it out for market share right now. Interesting stuff, and useful info with implications for both the physical and data security industries. Enjoy.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, August 24, 2009
I was going through my email this morning when I came across a Google Alert claiming "Bay area officers weary of false alarms." I thought to myself, well there's some news... false alarms are wearisome? The link is from San Francisco Bay Area CBS affiliate CBS 5. There's a neat video report from one of the news anchors and what caught my attention was mention of a "Do Not Respond" list that the report asserts is taking hold in the area. The police interviewed in the spot are with the Vallejo, Calif. PD, where the Do Not Respond list was started 2 years ago, but other towns mentioned in the report include, Concord, Berkeley, San Francisco, Livermore, Fremont (where 99.7 percent of alarms are false, according to the report) and Palo Alto. Another thing that struck me about the CBS 5's news clip is the prominent parade of alarm company signage... There're yard signs and window decals from Bay Alarm, Edison Security, Brinks Home Security (CBS 5 couldn't be bothered to go and find a Broadview sign, it appears), and Morgan Alarm (a company without a website, it would appear) popping up right and left. The thing that's kind of funny is that, despite the plethora of security industry advertising displayed, CBS 5 didn't bother to talk to anyone from the security industry. Huh? If you're going to include all those advertising materials from the industry, shouldn't you at least make an attempt to contact them? I mean, I know the Westphals don't really talk to the press, but there must have been someone from one of the other companies who would have loved to talk to the media, right? Oh, actually, they did get a nice soundbite from a German shepherd, presumable guarding a location... Does that count? I've got emails out to some industry folks to see what their take might be. More on this later.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, August 21, 2009
CenterPoint VP Ops & Biz Dev MJ Vance recently passed on some info on the St. Louis-based monitoring center's next big event coming up in October. The Communications Industry Expo will be held Oct. 7. Info and registration forms can be found here. The event is a great way to stay current on your CEUs and is preceded by the 5th Annual Alarm Association of Greater St. Louis Golf Tournament at Pevely Farms, which takes place on October 6. So drop MJ a line and get your training and your eagle on!
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I came across this blog post in my Google Alerts this morning. Someone needs to give this guy a call and let him know how they can help him. I've only been covering the security industry for a little less than a year, but it seems to me that there has to be lots of options out there.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, August 17, 2009
If you live in the Fort Lauderdale area and you've paid false alarm fines, you may have reason to expect a refund from the city. This story from the South Florida Times paints an interesting picture of residents and businesses being improperly fined and overcharged for false alarm runs, possibly for the last nine years. The potential reparations? Over $450,000, according to the article. This whole situation has the potential to get very nasty with forecasts of lawsuits if the financially strapped municipality (no offense Fort Lauderdale, but honestly, who isn't financially strapped these days... and if you weren't financially strapped, why overcharge your citizens in the first place?) doesn't refund the money to the residents and businesses who were improperly fined. I do not envy the powers that be in Fort Lauderdale. The article also links to an itemized list of all the overcharges.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, August 13, 2009
Just got an announcement from Dallas-based Monitronics. They're very excited to be celebrating their 15th anniversary this month. I guess in this economy, who wouldn't be excited to still be going strong after 15 years? According to the release:
since it's inception in 1994 as a small start-up, this alarm monitoring company has grown to nearly 700 employees and 600,000 customers.
Monitronics has celebratory events throughout the month of August, leading up to a company-wide celebration on Aug. 21. Monitronics' VP of marketing Mitch Clarke had this to say:
This month is an opportunity for us as a company to recognize our customers and our dealers and thank them for their loyalty. We strive to provide the best service to them day in and day out.
Congrats to Monitronics on their 15th birthday.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, August 11, 2009
So my fearless editor Sam forwarded a release on to me from MobiDEOS (though the one linked here is from Iveda) about a partnership with Iveda Solutions that could allow just about anyone with a cell phone to enjoy interactive access to their cameras for 24/7 viewing from anywhere in world. Pretty cool stuff. Of course, my particular model of LG phone doesn't support MobiDEOS' MobileCamViewer, which makes it all possible. I mean, I wasn't really considering trying this whole thing out, since I don't have any surveillance cameras or CCTV systems at my disposal... Then I read that Webcams are included in this everyday Joe surveillance solution, and that the MobileCamStreamer could be downloaded for free. Running this, I could (if I had an iPhone) log onto my laptop at home, which I leave running all day, and see a view of whatever my built in Webcam is seeing... My laptop becomes a sort of low-cost surveillance system. pretty cool. Of course, being able to log on and see the person who breaks in to steal my laptop doesn't really aid me in any way... But if I want to spy on my family, then this is right up my alley. I'm working on a story about all of this, so keep your eyes open.

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