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Readers divided on need for early termination fees

SSN News Poll finds sharp split on long-term contracts
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06/04/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—Early termination fees are a standard in the security industry, but now The ADT Corp. is facing a class-action lawsuit over them on consumer protection grounds. Are the fees necessary to help companies recover installation costs and the loss of profit, or are they just an anti-competitive tool used to lock in customers?

Iconic Chicago tower thrives on friendly security

Security director has ‘open’ philosophy while protecting 12,000 employees
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06/04/2013

CHICAGO—At 110 stories, 1,450 feet tall and 4.5 million square feet, the Willis Tower is an architectural icon in the United States. Formerly known as the Sears Tower, the building’s area is equal to about 100 football fields or 17 Chicago city blocks if laid out flat.

SIA steps up fight for school security funding

Industry faces new hurdle on TWIC as report faults pilot program
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05/24/2013

WASHINGTON—The Security Industry Association has expanded its fight for school security funding, taking the issue to the House and asking the Senate to consider a stand-alone bill after grant money was denied during the debate over gun control.

Oklahoma integrator High Tech Tronics rides out storm

Marc Bradley: ‘We’re thinking seriously about getting a [tornado] shelter at the office’
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05/22/2013

OKLAHOMA CITY—All employees of High Tech Tronics, a PSA Security systems integrator based here, survived the May 20 tornado, but one employee lost his home, CEO Marc Bradley told Security Systems News.

New venture takes MJ Vance wherever she is needed

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The last time SSN caught up with Mary Jo Vance, she was exploring opportunities in security consulting after a stint with 1 Time Inc. in Nevada and the Central American nation of Belize. Now the CSAA’s 2007 Manager of the Year has launched a venture that combines her love of travel with her dedication to the industry: plugging in as a temporary central station manager whenever and wherever she is needed.

“It’s a new concept and I truly believe there is a market for it,” Vance said last week from her home base outside of St. Louis. “When I came up with the idea, I asked myself what makes me happy and what am I good at. … I used to fly many years ago for British Caledonian, which is now British Airways, and I was always ready to pick up and go. And what’s my passion? The security industry. So what’s tying me down now? Nothing.”

Vance, better known in the industry as MJ, said the “have manager, will travel” concept will appeal to companies that need an experienced hand to fill in at vacation time, to help groom a new monitoring supervisor, or to handle more pressing concerns.

“I just got a call last night from a prospective client who said he had a central station manager who had some personal problems and just up and left,” she said. “Although that’s not the best way to exit, it does happen, so what do you do? Who fills in until a seasoned manager is hired? That’s where my services come in.”

Vance’s experience includes eight years at CenterPoint Technologies, where she was vice president of operations and business development. She also has served as the president of ESA of Missouri, president of the St. Louis Alarm Association, and treasurer of the Missouri Burglar and Fire Alarm Association. She received the Presidential Award from the Fire Marshals’ Association of Missouri in 2010.

Vance said she keeps the identities of her clients confidential and that her services aren’t limited to the United States. “I have passport, will travel. It’s current,” she said with a laugh. To find out more, drop her an email at mjvancemj@hotmail.com.

Tornado spares CSG office in Oklahoma City

Branch manager’s daughter, top-five dealer lose homes in storm
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05/21/2013

TULSA, Okla.—Monday’s devastating tornado spared Central Security Group’s office in Oklahoma City, but the homes of the branch manager’s daughter and a CSG dealer were among the hundreds that were destroyed, CSG’s Glenn Albers told Security Systems News on Tuesday.

Making managed services work

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05/21/2013

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—Once you make the decision at the management level to sell managed services, how do you get your sales staff to follow through?

Demand for security equipment projected to rise 7 percent a year through 2016

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05/20/2013

CLEVELAND—Global demand for security equipment will increase 7 percent annually to $117 billion in 2016, driven by a strong rebound in construction activity and advances in electronic security technology, according to a new report from The Freedonia Group.

New CO laws lead to more detector demand

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05/17/2013

ST. CHARLES, Ill.—A new Washington state law that went into effect Jan. 1 mandates carbon monoxide detectors in new single-family homes and all new and existing apartments and rental houses.

Enhanced call verification now law in Georgia

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

“It’s a good day in Georgia.”

That was the reaction from John Loud, president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association, after Gov. Nathan Deal signed enhanced call verification into law on May 6. GELSSA, with an assist from the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, had been pushing for ECV for years and finally saw it brought to fruition with House Bill 59.

It wasn’t an easy process. As HB 687, the initiative made it through the Georgia House last year and through state Senate committees, but the legislative session ended before the bill could be brought to a vote on the Senate floor, Loud said. Then, HB 59 had to overcome resistance from those questioning the need for ECV.

“Some of the legislators were asking us, ‘Well, if it’s so great, why don’t you guys do it on your own? Why do you have to make it a law?” Loud said.

The explanation comes down to competition, with some alarm companies in pockets of Georgia using ECV—or lack thereof—to their advantage while ignoring the problem of false dispatches.

“They tell customers, ‘We only have to make one call [for police dispatch],’ so people would go against alarm companies that are doing ECV—‘You don’t want to monitor with them, they have to make two calls,’” Loud said. “And now this kind of equalizes it across the board. It’s right for the industry, it’s right for municipalities and it’s certainly right from the taxpayers’ standpoint.”

Law enforcement worked closely with GELSSA on the initiative, with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police endorsing ECV. Loud said there were a few initial concerns from the state Fire Marshal’s Office, “but once they understood that this is not about fire, they came on board and supported us right away.” ECV will not be required in the case of a fire alarm, panic alarm or robbery-in-progress alarm, according to the statute.

Loud said success also hinged on “getting the right folks to adopt and carry the bill forward for us.” The legislation was sponsored by state Republican Reps. Tom Taylor, Kevin Cooke and Lynne Riley.

SIAC Director Ron Walters said Georgia is the fifth state to legislate ECV, joining Delaware, Virginia, Tennessee and Florida. The law goes into effect on July 1.
 

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