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Vivint gets millions more in financing, surpasses RMR milestone

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ever since rebranding last year, Vivint has seemed to do nothing but grow. The latest sign of that is the announcement yesterday from the residential security and home automation provider that it has surpassed a $30 million milestone in RMR, putting it among the top three largest security companies in the nation.

Also, the Provo, Utah-based summer-model company said, it has added another $50 million to its financing, bringing its total senior debt financing to $812 million.

That refinancing comes on the heels of a $72 million financing boost the company announced just over three months ago. It then had $762 million in total financing.

I’ve reached out to Vivint officials to learn more about these developments. In the meantime, here’s what they had to say in a news release:
 

“Surpassing the $30 Million RMR benchmark is quite an accomplishment and is a testament to our loyal customers and employees,” said Alex Dunn, Vivint’s chief operating officer. “We look forward to growing our customer base with continued product innovation and a corporate focus on customer service.”

… Chris Black, Vivint’s chief financial officer, commented, “We continue to enjoy a very strong relationship with our lenders and are pleased to have added an additional $50 Million to our existing facility, increasing the bank deal to over $800 Million. The increase will be used to support organic growth of the business and continued expansion of our customer base.”

“I am very proud of the accomplishments that Vivint has been able to achieve,” added Todd Pedersen, Vivint’s chief executive officer. “None of this would have been possible without the support of our customers who trust us to protect what is most important in their lives, and the talented team we’ve assembled who are passionate about creating exceptional customer experiences every day.”

Vivint is not without its critics, however. A recent television news report from South Carolina cites a homeowner and CPI Security Systems, a North Carolina-based security monitoring company, in saying that Vivint used deceptive sales tactics to steal customers from CPI.

However, the TV report says Vivint issued a statement saying: "Vivint does not condone aggressive or misleading sales tactics. To ensure the highest level of customer service, Vivint conducts a recorded telephonic survey where the customer is asked to confirm their understanding of the terms of their agreement and that Vivint is not affiliated with any other company."

Vivint rebranded from APX Alarm Security Solutions in February 2011 to better reflect its expansion beyond security into home automation services.

Showdown at the cableco corral? ESX has ammo

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The big, bad cable giants and telecoms are riding into town, aiming to steal your horses and accounts and whatever else they can toss a lasso around. Everyone knew the day was coming, but now that it’s here, are you prepared to hold your ground? Do you really have what it takes to compete, or will you forever be at the mercy of the black hats?

Rest assured there’s hope, and you can tap into it at ESX. A number of sessions are planned to help alarm companies deal with this new landscape by staying technologically savvy and by offering what has long been seen as the silver bullet for the industry: superior customer service.

At the ESA Industry Luncheon and Annual Meeting on June 28, Kristen Simmons, managing partner at Lightswitch and former VP of marketing for Mazda North America, will share her expertise about what it takes to earn customers and turn them into advocates for your business. Simmons led Mazda’s “Zoom Zoom” ad campaign and also founded LiveSmart Security, a boutique provider of home security services.

“Over the next five to 10 years, one factor will become ever more critical to the success of manufacturers, security integrators and monitoring companies alike: the customer experience,” Simmons said in an ESX news release. “New technology and integrated approaches have enabled a far more captivating experience for security customers than the traditional ‘detect and respond’ model. Leveraging these capabilities will be an enormous catalyst for customer loyalty, RMR growth and bottom-line profitability.”

On the technology side, at least a dozen sessions are planned at ESX to help attendees take on the telecoms and cablecos. A recent addition to the schedule features Patrick Egan, owner of Lancaster, Pa.-based Security Partners, who will host a series of interviews with industry leaders on how alarm companies can compete with the big boys entering the market. Egan will talk with each executive for about 15 minutes, then open the floor for a 15-minute Q&A.

The sessions are scheduled to run from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. on June 27 at the Security Partners booth (No. 725) at the Nashville Convention Center. Seating is first come, first served. Executives on board so far include Kirk MacDowell from GE, Lance Dean from 2GIG, Gordon Hope from Honeywell, and Jay Kenny from Alarm.com.

“With all the buzz in the marketplace, we think this is going to generate a lot of interest,” said Joseph Mitton, marketing coordinator for Security Partners.

To check out the full list of ESX seminars, go to www.esxweb.com. See you in Nashville …

IMS on whole-building trend, benefits of being 'super-integrator'

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Monday, June 18, 2012

IMS released a report this morning about the whole-building trend.

The research group says that 25 percent of installed building automation systems in the Americas and EMEA were integrated with lighting control systems in 2011, and predicts that number will increase to 35 percent by 2016.

It's an opportunity for security systems integrators, but only if your company has a "robust understanding of multiple system types and strong IT networking knowledge," according to a prepared statement from IMS's Will Rhodes. IMS says what it's dubbed "super-integrators" have that capability, while "traditional integrators "often have a good understanding of one buidling system, but may lack wider IT knowledge."

Rhodes is quoted as saying that observers believe "traditional integrators are starting to lose business to 'super integrators' when a building owner or managment cmopany wants to integrate across building systems."

The overlap between security integration and building automation is a trend that Honeywell Security Products president Scott Harkins talked about at the HIS Forum (HIS dealers are Honeywell's high-end integrator partners) which took place in May in Chicago. "We hear every day about building management companies that want to get into this space," he warned about 80 integrators who attended the event.

I emailed Rhodes this morning to get a sense of how IMS is defining super integrators. "We would classify a ‘super integrator’ as a company that can integrate across multiple building systems. They can integrate building automation and physical security or security and lighting or multiples of the above," he told me in an email.

So, major integrators like JCI and Siemens clearly have the scale to do this kind of work. What about mid-sized or smaller companies? Rhodes pointed to Advantech as a good example of a super integrator. He also said that Tridium’s integrators of many sizes fall into the same category. They use Tridium's Niagara framework to integrate across many building system types.

Vector Security Acquires in Ohio

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06/15/2012

Content: PITTSBURGH—Vector Security has acquired American Alert Corp., based in Geneva, Ohio, Vector announced this week. The acquisition adds 5,000 customers and makes Vector a stronger player in the Ohio market, the company said.

SDI secures investments from LLR Partners, Monument Capital Group

CEO Gupta says SDI gets dry powder for acquisitions and a brain trust out of the deal
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06/13/2012

CHICAGO--When David Gupta, CEO of systems integrator SDI, began discussions with private equity firms, he was looking for capital of course, but he was also looking for a firm with specific expertise.

Platinum sued again, but two other cases dismissed

Ohio AG accuses Platinum of deceptive sales practices, but Monitronics and CPI withdraw their lawsuits against the company
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06/13/2012

AMERICAN FORK, Utah--Financially beleaguered Platinum Protection, a summer-model company here that laid off most of its employees in February, is facing another lawsuit, this one filed by the Ohio attorney general, charging that Platinum engaged in "false and misleading"

Mason Monitoring faces challenge over use of symbol, name

State Masonic lodge seeks 'appropriate remedy' against N.Y. company
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06/13/2012

KINGS PARK, N.Y.--Mason Monitoring Inc., a Long Island-based company that has drawn attention for offering $2 burglar and fire alarm accounts, is being challenged over the use of a Masonic symbol and the word "Mason" in its marketing.

IAS branching out in Charlotte

CEO Oetjen says he's got 'the right person, the right opportunity and the right city'
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06/13/2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Intelligent Access Systems, a PSA Security integrator, is opening its sixth office here this month.
 

F.E. Moran expands into Kansas and Indiana with acquisitions

Super-regional boosts national accounts, will build new central station
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06/13/2012

CHAMPAIGN, Ill.—F.E. Moran has completed two acquisitions that expand its footprint into Kansas and Indiana, boost its national accounts business, and bring in key personnel that CEO Brett Bean predicted will help the company pass a major milestone in the next 18 months.

First day at NFPA: SimplexGrinnell and Tyco split; Siemens guarantees no false alarms; and social media ROI

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

How the Tyco International split this fall will benefit SimplexGrinnell; Siemens’ no-false-alarm guarantee; and how to maximize your ROI using social media are among things I learned about at my first day here at the annual NFPA Conference & Expo, being held in Las Vegas this week.

I started Tuesday morning at a pre-show reception where SimplexGrinnell president Bob Chauvin talked about Tyco International’s pending split into three publicly traded companies Oct. 1. The new companies will be ADT North America residential security business, Tyco Fire and Security, and Flow Control.

SimplexGrinnell, a Tyco International company, will be part of Tyco Fire and Security, “a global, mostly commercially-focused fire and security company,” Chauvin said.

“I think for us and for the life safety industry it means some very positive things,” Chauvin said. “What one is that we’ll be the only pure-play company that is singularly focused on the commercial fire and security business globally. Many play there, but I like to call it the privilege-of-focus opportunity: We have the opportunity to uniquely focus just in the life safety and security business.”

Secondly, he said, “SimplexGrinnell will be a significant part of this new company,” which he said is expected to do about $10 billion in sales, have almost 70,000 employees in about 1,200 locations and serve about 100 countries.”

Chauvin said he was excited and predicted that “our business will thrive with the change.”

SimplexGrinnell also was touting its eservices platform at the show, which it described as an “advanced suite of integrated web-based technologies can provide more value to customers through improved efficiency, added productivity, and lower life-cycle costs.”

Over at the Siemens booth, that company was promoting its long history of innovative technologies and its no-false-alarm guarantee.

Ron Ouimette, a Siemens product manager, said Siemens believes it is “the only company in the industry that offers a no-false-alarm guarantee. If trucks are rolling and there’s no fire, we pay.”

Company officials said the company has had that policy since 1997 because Siemens is so confident in the quality of its products.

Among the products the company is promoting at the show is its new ASAtechnology. ASA stands for Advanced Signal Analysis and its fire and fire and carbon monoxide detectors use “state-of-the-art forward/backward light scattering technology,” the company said.

The detectors also have two thermal and two optical sensors. All those features, combined with a built-in algorithm that allows for detection profiles that can be easily tailored for spaces as diverse as an office and an industrial warehouse give them very fast, reliable detection capabilities, the company said.

I also attended an educational seminar titled “Taking Your Social Media Presence to the Next Level.” It featured Lauren Backstrom, NFPA social media manager, and Michael Hazell, division manager, Web, for NFPA.

Among the surprising things I learned is that baby boomers aren’t as social media averse as we’re often made out to be. Backstrom said that while 89 percent of the members of Gen Y use social networking, and 79 percent of Gen X use social networking, baby boomers aren’t too far behind at 72 percent.

In fact, Backstrom said that boomers are “the fastest growing adopters of social media at this point.”

That’s something to think about when figuring out what customer bases you want to reach through social media.

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