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Burglar alarm companies top chart when it comes to complaints, Utah BBB says

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

For the third consecutive year, burglar alarm companies ranked first on the Better Business Bureau of Utah’s Top 10 list of the industries that generated the most complaints, according to a recent report by The Salt Lake Tribune.

There was a silver lining for burglar alarm companies in that unflattering ranking. Their resolution rate for the complaints increased—to 97 percent, according to the report.

Here’s more from the Jan. 4 story:

The Better Business Bureau of Utah has released its Top 10 list of the industries that generated the most complaints last year, with burglar alarm companies once again topping the chart.

The BBB said it received a total of 16,144 complaints in 2012 — down 5 percent from 2011 — and resolved nearly 77 percent of the cases, while the number of consumers accessing its reviews of businesses was up nearly 15 percent.

Among the industries on the BBB's Top 10 complaints list were computer, hardware, software and services.

… In 2012, for the third year in a row, burglar alarm companies drew the most complaints, with 1,825. Although the resolution rate for alarm companies improved, the number of complaints rose by more than 61 percent. Nearly 97 percent of the complaints were resolved.

Complaints against alarm companies usually involve sales issues, billing and contract renewal.

The second-highest number of complaints, 380, were logged against loan mortgage audits, or companies that promise to examine payments to make sure the amount is applied correctly.

Other industries that made the BBB’s list, in order of the number of complaints, were:

• Health and medical products, primarily those making promises about weight loss, with trial offers and hidden monthly fees

• Training program companies, such as firms offering instructions on how to start a business or make money on the Internet.


Protection 1 makes biggest buy in its history


ROMEOVILLE, Ill.—Protection 1—which bills itself as the nation’s second-largest business and home security company—announced this week that it has acquired Vintage Security, which is based in the nation’s capital and has more than 15,000 customers. Protection 1, based here, says the acquisition is the largest it has made in its 25-year history.

ADT adding remote health monitoring to Pulse

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.

IMS: Integration market in Americas to top $30 billion in 2016


The security integration market in the Americas will grow at an average annual rate of 7 percent through 2016, when it will exceed $30 billion, according to a new report from IMS Research.

Spinoff enhances ADT as job creator

Additional employees to fill corporate positions previously covered by Tyco and because ADT is growing

BOCA RATON, Fla.—The ADT Corp. already has about 16,000 employees, but since spinning off from Tyco International in the fall, the home security giant has become even more of a job creator, adding hundreds of new hires around the country.

Couple loses $’s, electronics, ‘peace of mind’ relying on self-monitored security system

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A story about a home robbery over the holidays reported by a North Carolina news outlet on New Year’s Day caught my eye. That’s because it illustrates the potential costly drawbacks of relying on a self-monitored security system.

A Raleigh, N.C. couple lost $1,500 in cash and electronics and also their “peace of mind” after three thieves invaded their home while they were away for the holidays, according to The report excitedly touts that the couple has video of the burglary, which they have posted on YouTube in hopes of catching the thieves.  But I can’t help thinking that if they had a security system that was professionally monitored 24/7 by a central station, the thieves could already have been caught and they wouldn’t have suffered the loss of their valuables and the terrible feeling of having their home violated.

Here are some more details from the report:

Matt Robinson installed eight cameras in different places around his home as a way to keep an eye on his dog.
The cameras can be accessed online or by using a smartphone, but Robinson said he and his wife had trouble pulling them up Saturday night while they were out of town for the holidays.
A relative went to their home to check things out and found the house had been burglarized.
"Three kicks is all it took" to break through the back door, Robinson said Tuesday.
He retrieved the video that recorded the burglary. It shows the three thieves casually walking around the house for nearly 15 minutes looking for valuables. One of them even used a knife to open a box.
"Imagine seeing your own house and people that should not be there going through your stuff. It is not a good feeling," Robinson said.
One of the thieves eventually noticed the video cameras and is seen in the video cutting the cables to at least one of them. Bleach also was poured over a box that records the video from the cameras, but it wasn't enough to erase the images of the burglary.
Robinson put the video on YouTube and has passed out fliers in his neighborhood, asking anyone who recognizes the people on the tape to call police.
The thieves stole about $1,500 in cash and electronics, he said, but they also took something on which he cannot put a dollar figure.
"It's very violating, unsettling, and you lose your peace of mind," he said. "That is hard to get back."

The burglary is also making national news on sites like The Huffington Post.

New year, new urgency on AT&T's 2G sunset

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One of the most newsworthy items for the alarm industry in 2012 was AT&T’s announcement that it will shut down 2G service by Jan. 1, 2017. Everyone knew the day was coming, but there had been a lot of speculation in the field about exactly when cellular equipment would need to be upgraded to stay ahead of the sunset.

With the uncertainty gone, the industry now faces the reality of swapping millions of devices that use AT&T’s GSM/GPRS network. Choices must be made that involve assessing the longevity, coverage and cost of competing technologies. The larger the company, the larger the stakes.

SSN covered developments on the 2G sunset throughout 2012, presenting opinions from industry experts and a few rebuttals about the best path for dealers to take. For those still unsure about which way to go, a summation of options is provided by Syed Zaeem Hosain, chief technical officer at Aeris Communications, in the latest issue of CSAA Dispatch. Here’s what he had to say:

Change service to T-Mobile. It may be possible to move service from AT&T to T-Mobile by swapping the SIM [card] inside devices. This requires a truck roll. Furthermore, T-Mobile will also remove 2G eventually. Thus, this option only delays the inevitable by about two years; however, it allows additional time for implementing other options. It could require two truck rolls: one to replace the SIM soon, and another to replace the 2G GSM device later.

Replace with 3G HSPA. Alarm device suppliers are making new 3G HSPA devices. However, the HSPA coverage is much smaller than GPRS and, in time, HSPA spectrum also will need to be swapped for LTE. Thus, there is likely to be an “HSPA sunset” starting in about seven to eight years. This sunset would be worse, since the number of deployed alarm units will be much higher.

Replace with 2G CDMA. Alarm device suppliers have not yet supported this option, though it is likely the best. CDMA carriers have committed to 10-plus years of service longevity, and the 1xRTT coverage is better than GSM. Given the lower cost of 1xRTT radios and the large number of deployed 1xRTT applications in other industries (notably automotive and trucking) supporting the technology, using 1xRTT for alarm units makes sense.

Replace with 4G LTE. Deploying LTE devices is not viable for the alarm industry today. Radio costs are very high, and coverage is simply not sufficient for national deployments. Both will improve in time, but not at a pace that makes it a viable replacement option today. Carriers have not yet worked out LTE roaming agreements—these also will take time. Most importantly, the spectrum fragmentation for LTE means that current-generation LTE radios are single band (dedicated for use on a single carrier when in LTE mode). This is too restrictive, since these units can never be moved from one carrier to another.

Whichever route is chosen, it should be noted that the four-year window is a best-case scenario. Frequency harvesting is expected to dilute AT&T’s 2G coverage well before the sunset, with constraints already being reported in some areas. While the best choice for dealers seems to vary depending on who—or which manufacturer—you talk to, one thing is clear: Procrastination is no longer an option.

Devcon ‘getting back to core business’

Munday: Company actively seeking new owner, has ‘positive momentum’ despite setbacks

NEW YORK—At the Imperial Capital Security Investor Conference here on Dec. 13, Devcon’s chairman of the board, Christopher Munday, spoke frankly about the company’s challenges in the past couple of years—including an ill-fated branch expansion. He confirmed that the company is actively seeking a buyer and shared several operating and financial metrics to support his assertion that the company is on strong footing.

FutureSentry and Mi5 team up

Companies partner to produce solar-powered wireless cameras with automated detection system; debut expected at ISC West

MIAMI—FutureSentry and Mi5 Security in December announced a new partnership that will open up new markets for the two companies and provide a new solution for integrators working on critical infrastructure and other projects in remote locations.

Tribal business is specialty of Oklahoma company

York Electronic Systems is American Indian-owned, but its president says real key to winning jobs is good service

BROKEN ARROW, Okla.—Oklahoma has one of the greatest concentrations of American Indian tribes in the nation, and tribal businesses are an important vertical for York Electronic Systems, which is based here.