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Leading an integration company: Tips and stories at PSA-TEC 2012

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I arrived late in the afternoon yesterday in Westminster, Colo. for one of my favorite events of the year, PSA-TEC.
 
The conference,  which started on Sunday and runs through Friday, was well underway when I arrived. Lisa Cole Miller, PSA Security Network marketing director said attendance is up about 10 percent over last year with more than 65 integrator companies here. (Some of those companies send up to 10 employees.) In addition, there are consultants, end users, and more than 40 vendors exhibiting on a show floor here.

“When you think about it, it’s a bargain,” Miller said, “For $500, you get breakfast and lunch, four days of classes, a trade show and parties.”

I arrived in time for PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman’s presentation “What every integrator needs to know about being an effective executive.”

This class is part of the PSA Leadership Institute, which PSA launched in October at the PSA Convention in Puerto Rico. Here’s a story with details about the program.

It was the end of the day and Bozeman spoke for more than an hour about the highlights of the business book “The Effective Executive,” which was written 40 years ago by Peter Drucker.

I’m not one for long presentations—but Bozeman is a good speaker. Ever hear an engaging preacher give a good sermon? He’s got a little bit of a preacher’s cadence, and he tells some pretty funny stories too.

There were about 50 integrators and a few vendors in the room for his presentation. Bozeman’s clearly taken to heart one of Drucker’s tenets: “if you’re going to call a meeting, make if effective.”

Highlights of the talk included:

—“Manage yourself.” To lead you’ve got to show discipline—show up on time, have passion for what you’re doing.” Bozeman told a story about visiting a PSA member who’s business wasn’t going well. Bozeman said he was not surprised that business was bad when he visited the office.

“The shades were drawn, there was no light, the owner was walking around [hunched over, with his hands on his forehead, looking like the sky was falling]. And the employees were doing the same thing—walking around like zombies. It was the most depressing place I’ve ever seen.”

—Drucker said he never, in 45 years, came across a single, natural executive who didn’t have to learn how to be an effective executive. It’s something you need to work on.

—Identify company objectives, how you spend your time, and don’t let people waste your time. Focus on the positive and motivating your people.

Pierre Trapanese, owner, Northland Control Systems, as an example of effective executive. Trapanese (who will be speaking at the conference today and who spoke at TechSec in 2010,  bought a small integration company “that needed  a lot of work” Bozeman said and turned it into a fast growing company.

“Through leadership and vision, he’s grown that company beyond what [anyone] thought was possible,” Bozeman said.  Recently, Trapanese chose an annual goal for the company. “This year we’re going to have fun,” is what he said, according to Bozemen. “He’s got people knocking down his doors wanting to work there, and he doesn’t pay the highest salaries in the areas.”

—Manages to peoples’ strengths, and surround yourself with people who have strengths that you don’t possess.

—Veto hiring anyone with substance abuse problems or who’s dishonest in the least.
  
—Read the fine print, hire legal counsel.
—“Don’t take pride in being King Kong… become more visionary and less the doer.”

Time to head over to the conference. There’s an M&A panel at 8, followed by a panel of successful integrators  and fast-growing integrators, a panel on market drivers, and one on social media. I’ll have more tomorrow.

Report: G4S to shed some operations for $174 million

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Monday, May 14, 2012

Mega-security company, G4S—which does systems integration, guards and monitoring— has done a lot of acquiring in recent years domestically and some selling abroad.   According to a Reuters report this morning, it’s about to do some more selling—but not in North America, in Denmark.

The report says says G4S is preparing to sell its “alarm centres in Denmark” I’m assuming “alarm centres” are monitoring operations, but guess they could possibly be alarm installation companies. I’ll get some clarification on this.

The report says G4S will keep its guard operations in Denmark. “Several private equity firms” are reportedly interested in buying and the deal is expected to be work “more than 1 billion Danish crowns ($174.13 million), “

Here’s some more from the story:

“Security firm G4S is preparing to sell a large part of its Danish operations in a deal that is expected to be worth more than 1 billion Danish crowns ($174.13 million), Danish financial daily Borsen said on Monday.

Borsen cited banking and legal sources familiar with the matter as saying that G4S was close to a sale of its alarm centres in Denmark, but would keep its Danish uniformed guards business.

“G4S has not been able to earn decent money from the infrastructure part (of the business) in Denmark so now they are selling it,” a source representing a potential buyer told the newspaper.

The paper said that several private equity firms were interested in the operations that G4S was selling. The paper said the sale would be similar to divestments of operations in Norway, Poland and Sweden that G4S has carried out after the company failed last year to acquire Danish outsourcing firm ISS in a 5.2 billion pounds ($8.4 billion) deal.
In March, G4S said it would return to targeting emerging markets, including Brazil, China and India, following the failed ISS takeover attempt. ($1 = 5.7429 Danish crowns) ($1 = 0.6212 British pounds) (Reporting by John Acher; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)”

Xandem TMD sensing technology ‘sees through walls’

Startup has piqued the interest of some integrators
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05/11/2012

SALT LAKE CITY—Xandem is a startup company that’s attracted some mainstream media attention and technical awards, as well as interest among some security integrators who think the company’s motion sensor system may solve some common security problems.

Brivo Blue, new for dealers

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05/11/2012

BETHESDA, Md.—Brivo Systems has about 300 dealers, but it did not have a formal dealer program until recently. The cloud-based access control provider launched Brivo Blue at ISC West.

No. 1 ADT dealer: Doing good is good for business

Philanthropy can improve the bottom line, says founder of Defender Direct
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05/11/2012

INDIANAPOLIS—David Lindsey, the founder of Defender Direct, the nation’s No. 1 ADT dealer, based here, recently stepped down as CEO to focus on philanthropic mission work and encourage other companies to do the same.

AT&T to do home security in Dallas, Atlanta

Professionally installed ‘Digital Life’ systems will be professionally monitored as well
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05/09/2012

DALLAS—AT&T has announced plans to bring its home security/home automation offering to Atlanta and Dallas this summer.

Owners driving market for mass notification systems

Corporate campuses and manufacturing facilities are among those looking for ways to protect themselves from a variety of threats
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05/09/2012

BURLINGTON, Mass.—Fear of newspaper headlines is helping drive the market for mass notification systems, Jack Poole, a fire protection engineer and member of the NFPA 72 Technical Committee, said at a recent emergency management seminar here.

Industry wins court case where municipality limited fire alarm business

Massachusetts’ high court says a city can’t require use of just one fire system when the state building code allows four
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05/09/2012

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—After a three-year legal battle, the industry emerged victorious in a case in which the city of Springfield was mandating that commercial and other buildings have a municipally-connected fire alarm system that uses a radio box instead of other types of systems allowed by the state’s building code.

AT&T enters security market, but can it become a billion-dollar business?

One way to build scale would be to acquire the largest player
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05/09/2012

DALLAS—When AT&T announced on Monday that it will begin trials this summer of Digital Life, its home security/home automation service, here and in Atlanta, mainstream newspapers reported that the company was looking to potentially grow the service into a $1 billion business.

Pet owners lapping up security

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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The American Pet Products Association reported this spring that Americans spent nearly $51 billion on their pets. The organization said that's an all-time high—and security dealers, you should be aware the pet market is a “purr-fect” marketing opportunity for you.

Honeywell pointed that out in a blog posted today during National Pet Week, which runs May 6-12. Angela Remmert, a media specialist with Honeywell Security, writes that 72.9 million homes have pets and that many owners consider their pets family.

And she said Honeywell has many products that will appeal to such pet owners. “Our wireless pet immune sensors have been providing pet owners with interior protection since 1998. Then, the technology had pet immunity up to 40lbs. Today, our IS2500 Series ups the detection with selectable immunity for animals weighing up to 80lbs. Our CO and smoke detectors offer life-saving benefits and our outdoor contact can be placed on a gate to notify the owner if a gate is left open. With environmental sensors, you can even alert them to a low temperature or flood so they can ensure a safe environment.”

She also goes on to talk about a program Nashville-based ADS Security has to developed to protect pets: “ADS Security understands what pet owners are looking for from a security company.  In fact, they’ve created a program around it. It’s called ADS Pet Alert & Watch Systems (PAWS) [and is] designed … to keep pets safe in the home when owners are away. The program monitors smoke and CO levels and the monitoring center also keeps pet profiles on file for those who want to give additional info to help emergency workers remove pets safely in an emergency. In addition, they also have distributed hundreds of PAWS rescue decals across the Southeast, which are available to all pet owners within their service area.

One of the most popular parts of the program is Honeywell Total Connect, which they market as pet cams. From the road or at the office, these animal lovers can check in and actually see their loved ones, whenever they like. If you haven’t seen it already, take a minute to watch our video … You can embed it on your web site or YouTube channel to reach the pet owners in your area.”

(You can check out Angela’s blog here.)

So, if you have yet to put your mark on the pet security market yet, consider National Pet Week a good time to think about doing so!

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