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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Earlier this week CSAA announced the keynote speaker for this year’s CSAA Annual Meeting, held in Marco Island, Fla., from Oct. 22-27: Tasha Eurich, organizational psychologist and author of New York Times bestseller Bankable Leadership.

“We are pleased to feature a next-generation speaker at the Annual Meeting,” CSAA president Pamela J. Petrow said in a prepared statement. “CSAA members are always looking toward the future, and Dr. Eurich is sure to provide them with new strategies to stay ahead of today’s leadership challenges.”

Eurich is principal of The Eurich Group, an executive development firm that helps companies improve the effectiveness of their leaders and teams. She has a Ph.D in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Colorado State University and serves on the adjunct faculty of the Center for Creative Leadership.

“By pairing her scientific grounding in human behavior with a pragmatic approach to business challenges, she has helped thousands of leaders over the last 15 years,” CSAA said in its announcement.

When I’ve spoken to executive director Jay Hauhn in the past, he’s said that CSAA is retooling the structure and format of its annual meeting.

This certainly seemed to have an impact, as last year’s annual meeting was one of the best attended in the organization’s history. “2015 saw the largest attendance CSAA has had in recent years, and we are confident our reimaging of the meeting will top last year’s record when we convene this fall in Marco Island,” Petrow said in the announcement.

“CSAA is entering the second phase of the reimaging of its Annual Meeting,” Petrow said. “In 2015 a new emphasis was placed on educational programming, and the general sessions were a hit with attendees. CSAA intends to bolster that emphasis on fresh, meaningful education in 2016.”

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Telguard recently announced its new Freedom program: providing dealers with funding and equipment for 2G conversions for a $9.95 monthly fee per 2G account. Shawn Welsh, Telguard’s SVP of product line management and marketing, told me that the program helps the dealers who haven’t yet figured out how to deal with the sunset.

The sunset is an old topic, and Welsh said dealers have probably gotten a little fatigued hearing about it. He said that Telguard looked to why some dealers hadn’t started.

“What it came down to—what we heard a lot of times—was [that] some of the smaller independent dealers just simply didn’t have access to the cash that they were going to need to go and try to swap everything out,” he said.

Barriers specifically include the cost of the hardware, sending out a truck for installation, and the concern of whether the customer would disconnect their service after hearing about the needed upgrade. “When the security dealer installs the unit, we will actually … pay them [$50] for the installation of the unit,” he said. 

“We also include the ability to integrate our home automation platform, HomeControl Flex, as well as Arlo cameras from Netgear, all for that same price,” he said. “Now the dealer can go in and he can try to upsell the customer to new features.”

The program is open to all dealers, Welsh said. Telguard announced the program at ISC West.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Jim McMullen, president and COO of Lydia Security Monitoring, as well as president and COO of COPS Monitoring, is interested in purchasing more third-party central stations. Lydia’s recent purchase of wholesale central station UCC was a big topic at ISC West 2016, both in COPS’ booth and in UCC’s.

“We would like to go out there and buy other companies that specialize in a particular segment of the [monitoring] marketplace, so that we can draw on their expertise and grow it from there,” McMullen told me.

He identified access control, video, and PERS as three areas of the monitoring industry where Lydia would be “very interested in making acquisitions,” adding that the company has plenty of financial backing to do so.

“Each company [under Lydia] will have its own personality,” according to McMullen.

He described how the three brands under Lydia Security Monitoring—COPS Monitoring, UCC, and AlarmWATCH—each have their own focus. The COPS Monitoring brand would appeal to a larger dealers with a high volume of accounts.

“If you’re looking toward us for help, to teach you—the alarm company—more about how to sell, and how to market … UCC would probably be a better fit for you, because they focus on that more than [COPS does],” McMullen said.

“We’re looking at AlarmWatch for, possibly, the fire sector,” he said. “They’re … doing special things with fire systems.”

David Smith, COPS director of marketing and communication, stressed the separation between brands under Lydia. At ISC West 2016, Smith said, “People came into our booth and said ‘yeah, I’m with UCC,’ or ‘We’ve been looking at UCC,’ [and added] ‘but that’s you guys now, right?’ And honestly, it’s not. It shares an executive team, but past that … it’s a whole separate entity,” Smith said. 

ISC West also brought people outside the industry to COPS’ booth, McMullen said. He gave the example of wearable manufacturers wanting professional monitoring for their devices.

McMullen said that the company had similar conversations at CES, talking about the possibility of professionally monitoring personal drones.

by: Spencer Ives - Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I got to start the last day at the show by talking on camera with Bart Didden, president of the newly founded company SDN, Security Dealer Network. Didden, who created SDN as a separate entity to help dealers wanting the DragonFly DIY offering, said that discussions went well with dealers at the show. Dealers were able to sign up at ISC West.

My next video interview was with Mike Zydor, managing director for Affiliated Monitoring. It was nice to talk more about the company’s upcoming conference, Catalyst, focused on the sales and marketing of PERS devices. Specifically he mentioned the recently announced keynote speaker, former MLB player and manger Bobby Valentine.

George Fletcher, advisory board member for Mission 500, stopped by the media stage. It was nice talking with him about Thursday’s 5k/2k.

Back on the show floor, I briefly met with Alarm Monitoring Services’ CFO, Dera Jolet. I also caught up with Jeff Cohen, president of Quick Response, a monitoring center based in Cleveland.

Monitoring America Alarm Co-op was anew company for me this year. It was nice talking to president Ron Wies and vice president Jason Campbell about the unique structure of a co-op wholesale central station, where each dealer is a part owner in the company.

Cliff Dice, CEO of Dice, told me that the company has had a lot of conversations about it’s alarm industry signaling network, which handles alarms from POTS lines. The company is also preparing for its users group conference later this month in Michigan.

I met with Garner of Freeus yesterday just off the show floor, but was gladly able to stop by the company’s booth today to hear about how the shows been from GM Brock Winzeler and national sales manager Marc McGrann. When showcasing the new Belle mPERS device, they said that the month-long battery life really sets the solution apart from other mPERS offerings.

At Acadian Monitoring Services’ booth I met with director of operations Brandon Niles, and president Blane Comeaux. Niles and I talked about the company’s ESOP program, and, by extension, SSN’s latest news poll on ESOP in the security business. He said that employees have more stake in the business being part-owners. Niles also said that video monitoring is a big trend for the company.

Larry Folsom and I both found it interesting how out meeting was the last meeting on the show floor for both of us, just as it had been at last year’s ISC West. I also met with other members of the team: Nicola Oakie and Jennifer Tagle.

 

It was great to catch up with so many folks at this years show and hear about the wide range of topics, from mPERS to Cybersecurity.

Thursday, April 7

Just as I had expected, getting out and off the Vegas strip for the Security 2k/5k was a great start to the morning. The fresh air and being able to stretch my legs—before a good amount of walking the show floor—was really nice.

My first scheduled meeting of the day was with COPS Monitoring’s Jim McMullen, company president and COO, and David Smith, COPS director of marketing and communications. A big topic of the day was UCC’s acquisition by COPS’ parent company Lydia Security Monitoring. McMullen was telling me about how the companies would work together, referring dealers they met to the monitoring center that would better fit their needs, whether it is UCC or COPS. McMullen said that Lydia would also be open to expanding more with future acquisitions.

From there I went to the other side of the show floor to see SentryNet. It was nice seeing David Avritt—company president—again, and meeting Alain Jamet, SentryNet VP of operations, and Julie Beach, vice president, Americas sales, software and controls for Stanley Security. Avritt said that SentryNet’s acquisition by Stanley has been a big topic for the company at the show. The company will not change in any large way, he said—it would remain focused on the independent dealer, and have the “same faces.”

When I stopped by UCC’s booth, and met with president Teresa Gonzalez and SVP Mark Matlock, I heard similar things about the recent acquisition as when I talked with COPS. Most similarly the execs at UCC echoed McMullen's statement that dealers would be referred to one or another as best fit them. “Our goal is not to compete with each other, it’s actually to complement,” Gonzalez told me.

Bold Technologies was talking a lot about its cloud offering at this year’s ISC West, according to Rod Coles, Bold’s CEO. He said that the company is focused on the next version of its central station automation platform, to be called Neo, which should be available by the end of the second quarter, in time for Bold’s Users Group Conference, he said.

Coles and I walked from the Bold Technologies booth down the aisle to White Rabbit Electronics space on the show floor. Coles, also CEO of White Rabbit, said the company is awaiting final steps of approval before beginning full production.

I then got to catch up with All American Monitoring. Tammy Zappa, the company’s manager, talked with me about how All American is seeking further certifications. While the central station is already UL-listed and CSAA Five Diamond certified, it is looking into FM and ETL certifications as well, Zappa said. “That adds legitimacy to who we are and what we do,” she said. It was good to see Bob Keefe, All American’s president, while I was at the booth as well.

Walking up to MKS’ booth, things looked a little different than last year. Many of the team members had stethoscopes around their necks, there were MKS branded prescription pads on the desks along with test tubes filled with mints. President Victoria Ferro explained to me that it's the new theme for this year: MKS has the “cure” for common hassles for central stations, such as manual data entry, lacking automation, and long operator training.

At Monitronics’ booth, I met with Peter Tonti, VP of product management, Frank Guido, CMO, and Renee Mallonee, marketing manager. We chatted a bit about the company’s recently restarted dealer council. The council’s most recent meeting was held on Tuesday, addressing topics like increased demand for home surveillance, including multiple cameras and NVRs. Montironics also recently announced a new package for the show: a $10,000 value for dealers signing on between now and June 1. Dealers signing up with the company in that time get benefits like four eContract tablets, 20 free customer leads, and marketing materials.

This is the second year that CentraLarm has had a booth at the show, and it was great to stop by and meet so many members of the team: Scott Mailhot, VP of operations, Julie Robillard, western regional sales director, Trudy McManus, regional account manager, and Stephanie Helmig, vice president of finance.

One of the big topics when I met with EMERgency24 last year was its incident command and control system, which works with BluePoint Alert Solutions. Patrick Devereaux, SVP at EMERgency 24, said the technology’s also one of the biggest topics for the company this year, with the difference being that more people have heard of the technology and sought out E24, Devereaux said. I also got the chance to catch up with Kevin McCarthy, national sales manager, andBernie Ramos, director of operations. 

Wednesday, April 6

My day started with attending the keynote presentation “Lights! Camera! Action! How Paramount Pictures delivers enhanced safety and global security while driving operational efficiency and sustainable ROI.” The panel consisted of three from the studio, Scott Phemister, executive director of global risk and crisis management, Jeff Reider, senior analyst for global risk and crisis management, and Steve Tiffany, director, studio systems, and moderated by SSN’s Martha Entwistle.

The panel offered five pieces of advice: 1. Examine response methodology, i.e. what the interface looks like, and, for Paramount, this included the point that operators shouldn't have to leave the main interface to respond to alarms. 2. Do your homework; for Paramount this meant looking at each of the more than 150 buildings on the company’s campus and uploading site plans. 3. Configure the system for an event driven response. Reider said you’ve got to know your desired outcome, what priority to assign each alarm, and who should handle each situation. 4. Preparing to go live, such as with fine-tuned operator training. 5. Maintain the system, including system audits and looking to newer better technologies that would fit.

From there I went to my first meeting on the show floor: hearing from Security Partners’ director of product services Andy Stadler. He said it’s good to reach the one-year anniversary for the company’s Las Vegas facility, which it cut the ribbon on just before last year’s ISC West.

I left the show floor to meet in a side room with AvantGuard and Freeus CEO Josh Garner. When asked about the state of the PERS/mPERS industry in the years to come, Garner said, “We’re betting pretty big on mobile.” He doesn't think the market will become entirely mPERS, but does expect a shift, where most solutions will be mPERS within the next five years—possibly sooner.

At a press event for Assa Abloy, I heard about some of the company’s latest solutions. Two points that stood out to me where key fobs that have back-and-forth exchanges with the access control panel, updating access privileges by the day, and “greener” solutions like solar panels paired with outdoor electronic locks.

At IBS’ booth I caught up with Jens Kolind, who told me more about the company’s personal safety app and a new version that’s designed for use on first dates.

It was nice to meet Tim Smokoff, group VP, health and wellness, for Nortek, in person. We had spoken recently on Numera’s latest PERS solution, the Numera Home Safety Hub. Outside of personal monitoring, Smokoff pointed to vice interaction as a big trend for the industry, possibly leading to the demise of the app, “The more you do with voice, the less you do with apps.

I conducted two video interviews today, both of which went really well. I got to meet one of our “20 under 40” Class of 2015 award winners, Nicole Swartwout, who recently launched an mPERS company, CallSafe. Having come from a security background, previously with integration company CallTeks, she said that it’s a much different ISC West experience coming with a PERS/mPERS focus.

My second interview was with Jay Hauhn. We chatted about CSAA and the latest developments with the ASAP to PSAP program. Hauhn said that there’s been progress with getting PSAPs to come on line after ADT announced its participation last year. There are about 20 PSAPs live now, he said, and another 75 working on going live with it. I also saw Elizabeth Lasko, CSAA met Becky Lane, both of whom had come to watch the interview.

Back on the show floor, I visited with Steve Schmit from UL he said that the recently announced Cybersecurity Assurance Program has come up a few of the company’s conversations on this first show floor day.

I stopped by Rapid Response Monitoring’s booth to speak with Christopher Denniston, the company's marketing and communications manager, about the latest from the company. One recent initiative for the company: a new website, which launched in the past week according to Denniston. When asked what were big topics for the monitoring industry, he said, “Communication paths and dealers looking for a long term solution" saying that 3G may have a sunset as early as 2020.

From there I went and met some of the team from CMS, including Tony Wilson, president of CMS, Jennifer Marshall, company marketing and communications manager, and Rose Sabourin, operations support manager. 

Even though my feet are a little sore from this first day, I’m still looking forward to tomorrow’s Security 5k/2k with Mission 500, bright and early. Not a bad way to start the morning—fresh air and stretching my legs off of the strip.

Tuesday, April 5

I made it safely in Las Vegas—luckily, it was a smooth trip all the way from Maine. Gearing up for the show, I'm looking forward to catching up with many different companies on the show floor. It was nice to kick off the show with a good evening with the folks at Altronix, in the Wynn.

Leading up to the show, it seems like quite a few of the companies exhibiting have had a lot to talk about.

UL just released its new Cybersecurity Assurance Program, a new standard that can set companies apart in terms of the safety of their products.

Monitronics recently announced a partnership with Qolsys, bringing the Qolsys line of equipment to the monitoring company's dealers.

Last week I talked with Freeus about the company's growth in its post-acquisition year, after buying the PERS assets of Securus. The mPERS manufacturer will have its first ISC West booth on the show floor this year.

Check here for daily updates on my interviews and booth visits. I'm on my way to Vegas right now and my first meeting is with Altronix today, shortly after I arrive. Also, if you think there's something I really shouldn't miss at the show, feel free to email me.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Securus and the two companies that acquired its assets.  

Securus, a company focused on GPS tracking and PERS, was divided and sold in two parts in the first quarter of 2015. The PERS side of the business was sold to Freeus, a newly founded sister company to AvantGuard, formed for the purpose of acquiring this part of Securus. BrickHouse Security acquired the GPS business.

I find this interesting lately because BrickHouse yesterday started a Kickstarter to fund the development of mBand—a new mPERS solution designed for independent women. 

The mBand is taking an interesting approach to the mPERS device: making it into a ring, instead of a bracelet or pendant. At the time of writing this, 53 “backers” have supported the idea with $8,900.

Securus has also been on my mind because I was just speaking with Freeus’ GM Brock Winzeler about how the company has done in the year after it’s acquisition of Securus PERS business. The company has more than doubled the customer base since the purchase. You can read more about that here.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Although it seems hard to believe, ISC West 2016 is fast approaching and now less than two weeks away. I’m currently working on my schedule for show floor meetings and it is filling up pretty quickly.

As I was last year, I’ll be making my way around the show floor and trying to visit with as many monitoring-related companies as I can. If your company has new developments with its monitoring center, or simply wants to tell me about your approach for the rest of 2016, feel free to reach out to me. My direct phone line is 207-846-0600 ext. 254, or you can send me an email at sives@securitysystemsnews.com.

If your company is more residentially focused, you might want to reach out to our new managing editor, Paul Ragusa, at pragusa@securitysystemsnews.com. Or, if your business is commercial or systems integration, email SSN editor Martha Entwistle at mentwistle@securitysystemsnews.com.

Last year was my first ISC West, actually my first security industry trade show—which some called “a baptism by fire.” It was great to meet a lot of companies at one time, and this year I look forward to checking in and seeing the latest with each of you.

One thing I know I’m headed to is the Security 5k on Thursday morning, April 7, benefiting Mission 500 and founded by Security Systems News. Shuttle busses will leave from the Sands Convention Center Taxi Ramp between 6:15 a.m. and  6:45 a.m. Speaking from experience last year, it was great to get off the show floor and the strip for a little be and have some fresh air. Feel free to register here, and keep an eye out for the new SSN team shirts (photo on left). I hope to see plenty of you there!

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Local news source Syracuse.com recently reported that Rapid Response Monitoring is looking to expand its presence further in Syracuse with plans submitted for a new three-story building. The company is currently working on a 35,000 square-foot expansion of its headquarters, to be unveiled this spring.

Security Systems News has reported on Rapid's rapid growth previously. Here's a story about the expansion of the headquarters.

The report said, “The state has agreed to provide a $1 million grant through Gov. Andrew Cuomo's regional economic development council initiative to assist with the building's construction. According to Rapid Response, the 41,000-square-foot building will cost an estimated $8 million to build and approximately 50 jobs will be created.”

Contacted by Security Systems News, Rapid Response declined to comment on the project at this time.

The building will be mixed-use, according to Syracuse.com, with offices and residential space. “The plans filed with the city Planning Commission show offices and a restaurant on the first floor, offices on the second floor, and offices and three apartments on the third floor. Rapid Response would occupy a portion of the building,” Syracuse.com reported.

The new building will be about a two-minute walk from the company’s current headquarters. Rapid acquired the space in 2014, the report said.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 9, 2016

ESX recently announced its educational tracks for its 2016 show; Run Your Company, Grow Your Business, Maximize Your Central Station, and Rethink the Future. At the end of 2015, I wrote about the biggest trends of the year for monitoring, and I see quite a few of those topics coming up in the Maximize Your Central Station track at this year’s ESX.

ASAP to PSAP had a big year last year, with the announced involvement of big names like ADT, Vivint and Stanley. On June 9, ESX has a session on the program, called “ASAP to PSAP - The Game Changer for the Central Station.”

Cloud came up quite bit last year too, with IBS, Dice, and Bold Technologies each announcing a cloud-based central station platform. The session   “The benefits and limitations of cloud storage in a central station environment,” and, “How UL-827 will impact you and what will be required to secure your technical configurations.”

Other topics sound new and intriguing. Lela Panagides, founder and CEO of Leap Into Leadership, will present a two-part session on “The Art of De-stressing Your Central Station.” The first part will address “How to Know When Your Team Needs a Chill Pill,” and the second will seek to give attendees “The Healthy Workplace Toolkit.”

The complete list of sessions in this track, as well as the others, is available on ESX’s website, www.esxweb.com.

Topic:
by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Yesterday it was announced that Honeywell acquired RSI Video Technologies (Videofied) for $123 million. Jay Hauhn, executive director for CSAA, talked with SSN about the deal.

The deal could help RSI further develop its offerings, he said. “Adding Honeywell’s R&D proficiency to RSI’s verification competencies is very powerful from a product functionality perspective.”

Having Honeywell and RSI could benefit central stations from a monitoring perspective. “I expect the combined offering to be an innovative fully integrated verification solution. Getting that from a single source is very attractive to a central station,” he said.  

Honeywell in its announcement highlighted RSI’s video verification capabilities. Hauhn said the acquisition is an efficient way for Honeywell to enhance its portfolio of verification offerings.  “When evaluating technologies needed within a product roadmap, a frequent question for a manufacturer is, ‘Do we develop it or do we acquire it?’ … Honeywell obviously decided their fastest path to market was going to be accomplished by acquiring RSI, a proven verification technology.”

“I suspect that there are significant sales synergies between RSI and Honeywell, often targeting the same alarm dealers,” Hauhn said.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Security Systems News' TechSec Solutions conference went very well this year—everything from the educational sessions to the weather. A highlight of the conference was having "20 under 40" Class of 2015 award winners in attendance. Eleven honorees from the integrators' class and six honorees from the end users joined us in Delray Beach, Fla. Included here are photos from the reception. You can find the complete collection of integrator profiles here, and the list of end user profiles here.

Above are the "20 under 40" integrators,  from left: Monitronics’ Barbara Holliday, CONTAVA’s Scott Ranger, Protection 1’s Matt Cooper, Advance Technology’s Rob Simopoulos, Northland Controls’ Henry Hoyne, Tech Systems’ Andy Chambers, Security Equipment’s Matt Vellek, Diebold’s Josh Long, Femac Security’s Corey Hendrix, Wayne Alarm Systems’ Shawn Crocker, Per Mar Security Services’ Brian Duffy, and SSN’s Martha Entwistle and Spencer Ives.

The photo on the left is the six end users who joined us, from left: Western Kentucky University’s Jeppie Sumpter, Beth-Israel Deaconess Hospital’s Christopher C. Moore, Marvel Studios’ Matthew Slatoff, City of Windsor’s Mike Cholubko, Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s Ross Bourgeois, and Comcast’s Reggy Timothee.

Thanks to all of our attendees this year, and another congratulations to all of our 2015 "20 under 40" winners.

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