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Roundup of debut Honeywell Connect2013

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Honeywell Connect2013 event, which took place November 8-10 in Los Angeles, was declared a success by all the dealers I spoke to.

Of course, dealers generally enjoy themselves at these conventions. There are networking events and parties, educational sessions and parties, awards and parties, speeches and more parties. You get the idea. Honeywell works hard to ensure that its dealers are treated well.

But this particular event was new; It's the is first time the manufacturer gathered all three dealer programs for one convention in one place: First Alert Professionals, CSS Dealers, and HIS dealers. So you've got resi-focused dealers, commercial installers and systems integrators. Honeywell pulled it off—that's what I heard.

The two general sessions featured Honeywell executives talking about priorities, trends, new products and initiatives. A handful of dealers from all three programs also gave 10-minute talks during the general sessions. Here are some highlights:

John Loud of LOUD Security, spoke about the builder market. It was something LOUD was heavily invested in pre-recession. Business dwindled during the recession, but has since been revamped and revived. Loud talked about the "LOUD way" his company rebuilt the new LOUD Builder Program. In the past 12 months, that program has generated $1 million in new revenue for LOUD Security and also helped generate a 72-percent increase in interactive services revenue.

Dave Hood of First Alarm sounded the alarm about going with the all-in-one L5100 panel. Tradition is good, but staying traditional means losing business, he said.

RFI's Brad Wilson, a systems integrator, does business in Silicon Valley with some of the most tech-savvy customers in the country. Wilson obviously has some insight into how security technology—and Honeywell dealer attitudes and priorities—need to progress. He talked about the importance of "building your bench" in the workplace, the advent and affect of the cloud on the security business, importance of RMR even in large systems integration projects, and how many technologies are coming down market, and fast.

Honeywell Security president Ron Rothman talked about sales and advised attendees to spend more time figuring out why you won the someone's business than analyzing why you lost another job. Think about this, he said, and then share what you learn with your employees.

Keynote speaker Roy Spence, of Southwest Airlines fame, talked about the need for thosein the room to reenergize their "entreprenuerial drive to get the 75 percent of the market [that does not have home security.]" He advised the group to think about "where your talent [in security] and the needs of the world intersect." That intersection, he said, is "peace of mind." The same way Southwest Airlines "democratized air travel," the security industry can "democratize peace-of-mind." He warned that if the security industry doesn't take this task to heart, someone else will.

Arturo Ramirez Jr. received the Honeywell Life Safety Award this year for rescuing a woman and four children from a fire. The award is always given by Larry King via video presentation. This year, Larry King presented the award in person. King said: "I couldn't be here in spirit, so I thought I'd come in person." Yup, it was Larry King Live this time.

Jeremy Bates of Bates Security talked about social media. It's part of the company's overall marketing plan. Bates Security engages in a number of social media but focuses its efforts on Facebook, and it hired a marketing specialist to oversee company efforts. A couple of interesting statistics: 46 percent of consumers turn to social media before making a purchase; 70 percent of people on social media don't post, they "lurk." Bates says he wants to ensure that those lurkers have plenty of information about Bates Security available to them via social media.

Todd Bertocchi of Safeguard Security discussed the benefit of managed and hosted service, making the analogy of security dealers moving "from being peddlers [of products] to partners." He said that "hosted systems create RMR, standalone systems do not."

Other product annoucements and initiatives announced at the show:

Total Connect with Voice. Honeywell had a little clubhouse outfitted like a livingroom with "Total Connect with Voice" at the Thursday night cocktail party. In a demonstration for some members of the media, Honeywell's David Gottlieb would say a command for the room to go into nighttime mode: Instantly shades drew shut, the television shut off and lights dimmed. When he issued the command for daytime mode, it all reversed. Very George Jetson.

Honeywell announced that it will have a Casi-Rusco migration solution. There's "a huge installed base, it's a huge opportunity for you," Honeywell's senior director of marketing, Alan Stoddard said.

Stoddard gave these details on the soon-to-be-released Honeywell LYNX Touch 7000/L5200: You can view video on display and connect 84 zones. It has a 7-inch display; two-way voice over wifi, and a number of other newer features.

Honeywell's Marek Robinson talked about how the manufactureris helping FAP, CSS and HIS dealers with demand creatioin. He said that in 2013 year to date, the Honeywell website has "generated 2,000 plus leads that its given to dealers. His goal is to "double that in 2014."

Robinson also described two new partnerships. Honeywell is launching a partner program in Atlanta where it will sell alarm systems from kiosks at Sprint stores. The pilot project will commence next month with Ackerman Security in Norcross, Ga. Honeywell declined to comment further on the deal at this point. I saw Ackerman's Jim Callahan at the event, and he promises to fill me in on details at a later date.

The other partnership is with LifeWay Christian Stores. The goal of this program, according to my notes, is to generate a whopping 40,000 leads for commercial facilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Off to L.A. for Honeywell Connect2013

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I'm getting ready for a quick trip to the West Coast for the HoneywellConnect 2013 event, which is taking place Nov. 7-10 in Los Angeles. This is a debut event for Honeywell, combining what used to be its First Alert Professional conference with events it did with its CSS and HIS dealers. I heard they're expecting more than 800 people. I'm looking forward to catching up with Security Systems News' readers that fall into all of those categories.

I was just checking out the App for the program. I'm impressed. The App includes descriptions and locations for the educational sessions and other events and a list of attendees. It also allows you to set up a personal schedule. What I like the best, however, is it allows you to send a message to another attendee from the App itself. Great idea. If you're reading this and have news to share, send me a message via the App. 

The educational sessions at FAP have always been well attended and interactive, and I'm assuming Connect2013's will be as well. I'm looking forward to these sessions in particular: Connected Home/Connected Small Business; Integated Systems Revenue Opportunities; Strategic Business Planning; Demand Creation; 2G to 4G Migration; Grant Writing; Business Metrics; The Right Acquisition Strategy; Server Virtualization; Hosted Video; Regulatory Compliance Management; and Vertical Market Success.

I'll be blogging and tweeting during the event. Look for updates here Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Going to be a busy three days.

Intel invests $15m in Prism SkyLabs

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Prism Skylabs, a two-year-old startup founded by Ron Palmeri and 3VR’s Steve Russell today announced a $15 million Series B funding round led by Intel Capital, Intel Corporations’ investment and M&A business. The round included investments from Presidio Ventures, Triangle Peak, Data Collective, Expa, and some existing investors, Russell told me.

Prism Skylab is a cloud service that transforms any video camera “into visual merchandising, auditing and business intelligence tool that can be accessed in real time from any device.”

“On the business side, it’s hard to overstate the value of having [an investor] like Intel for a company like Prism,” Russell said.

The funding round was announced today in San Diego at the 14th Annual Intel Capital Global Summit where Intel awarded a total of $65 million in funding to 16 companies.

“At this conference we are able to look at how Prism might integrate with next-gen mobile devices [as well as the possibilities, for example, of using] new techniques in a data center that will allow us to increase our performance over 100-fold.”  

“The core of our business is the R&D and product work we do, and we’ll continue to invest in that,” Russell said, but the bulk of the funds from this round will be used for sales and marketing.

Since its launch, Prism has “brought on a host of interesting first customers, the new challenge for the business is to continue to serve the large customers we’ve won already and to build out our sales and marketing team to expand [the customer base] even further.”

Prism SkyLabs has “well north of 50 customers” that include Fortune 500 companies and well-known brands that fall into the category of “large distributed retail companies.”

“We solve one or two important problems for them,” Russell said. “We provide a set of data and instruments in the real world that heretofore you could only get for online properties. … The other value we provide is allowing global brands to peek in and better manage their stores,” he added.

“It’s the analytic and visual [capabilities] that are really the secret sauce,” he said.

Prism now has about 30 employees and Russell expects to double the size of the company within the next 12 months.

Prism raised $7.5 million in funding in October 2012.

“Intel Capital has long been known as a hands-on investor,” Russell said. Among the ways the investor will assist Prism include “providing networking and matchmaking [among] its truly vast portfolio [of partners].”

The Intel Summit “[has] been an incredibly productive and fun three days for us,” he said.

Women in Security: 2013 Special Report

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The editorial mission of Security Systems News is distinct from other publications in the security industry. We focus on breaking business news (as opposed to products, how-to information or case studies). More specifically, we focus on writing stories that will help our readers make good decisions about their businesses.

In our November issue, we will dedicate one story in each section of our publication—Commercial and Systems Integration; Fire Installation; Monitoring; Residential; and Suppliers—to a woman leader in security. In addition, two women leaders—a consultant and a legislative expert—are profiled in our General News section. Those profiles will also be online this week.

This year, we interviewed Terry Basford of 4b Technology, Elizabeth Hunger of SIA, Karen Head of Kratos PSS, Jennifer Jezek of York Electronic Systems, Betsy Francis of AT&T, Elle Daley of COPS Monitoring and Deb Spitler of HID.

It’s our annual Women in Security special report. This is the fifth year in row that we’ve compiled this report. We don’t go through a formal nominating process, so this is not a vote-driven selection. Rather, we ask our readers to send in nominations and then Tess, Leif and I decide who we’d like to profile.
 
I’m happy to tell you that we get more and more nominations every year. It seems like it’s not as difficult to find women leaders in all sectors of security as it was five years ago. The women who were nominated but were not chosen this year will, in many cases, be interviewed for SSN news articles in the future.

While the women profiled all have unique stories, there’s one noticeable common thread. They love their work and they’re making a difference in their respective workplaces. That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news is that we still hear about how women are “tested” in the boardroom or field because men assume they don’t understand technology, and we still see a paucity of women in the industry—across all sectors.

Read through the profiles in our Women in Security special report and you’ll notice how well this special report aligns with Security Systems News’ editorial goal of helping you make good decisions about your business.

There are plenty of studies that show that there's a correlation between the presence of women in a company's boardroom and profitability. Time after time, studies reveal that companies that have a higher percentage of women executives also have higher corporate profitability on average. Period. Here’s a good story about those studies.

Of course, it’s difficult to prove causation—to show that the reason one company is profitable is because it hires more women executives.

However, ponder that correlation as you read through this year’s profiles. We believe this industry can use more people like HID’s Deb Spitler, Kratos’ Karen Head and the others profiled here.

Hiring smart, ambitious people is a good business move. Making the extra effort to hire a few smart, ambitious women, may prove to be an even better move for your business.

IHS: More security systems in homes in next four years

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The research group IHS believes—as others have predicted—that the penetration rate of home security systems in North America will rise in the next few years.

That rate has been stuck at 20 percent for the past couple of decades, but many have predicted that the “new entrants” into the industry, cablecos and telecoms, through their advertising and other efforts—will help finally move the needle on that particular statistic. IHS has jumped on that bandwagon in is its newly released report, “The World Maker for Intruder Alarms–2013 Edition.”

In a news release, IHS says that there is “realistic momentum with the growing trend to combine home automation and home security systems, on a single platform.”  

The report says that “the residential sector accounted for 40.7 percent of the $2.7 billion global intruder alarm market in 2012, and is forecast to be one of the fastest-growing verticals with a five-year compound annual growth rate of 5.3 percent from 2012 to 2017.”

In a statement, Adi Pavlovic, analyst for access control, fire and security at IHS “Home-management integration is gaining the most popularity in North America, which will increase the penetration rate of intruder alarm products into the residential sector. Europe also may not be too far behind, as energy-management features are making their way into more homes every year. Deployment in Asia, however, is expected to be the slowest due to its large multifamily-apartment culture and the absence of professional monitoring services.”

The story is different on the commercial side, according to IHS. “While the trend to integration is becoming popular in single-family homes, its progress in the commercial sector continues to be slow.” The research group blames the “lack of unified legislation across each technology platform” for the stagnation it sees in the commercial side, noting that  regions “with more lenient regulations, such as the Middle East, benefit from having the opportunity to integrate multiple systems into a single solution. Such an approach is not only more convenient, but also saves time and lowers costs by working with just one installer.”

IHS advises manufacturers “interested in integrated solutions should continue to focus on the residential market while integration in commercial applications remains sluggish, as the industry as a whole awaits standardization.”

 

ASIS 2013 roundup: Highlights from the show floor

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10/02/2013

CHICAGO—Security cameras features that give security directors “actionable, business intelligence” and take the potential for human error out of the equation were common themes at this year’s ASIS International, which drew more than 20,000 here to the McCormick Center Sept. 24-27.

ASG, guard company team up?

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Thursday, September 5, 2013

I received an announcement today from Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group about super-regional security company ASG establishing a strategic relationship with Ray Cannedy Security & Investigations (RCSI), a guard company based in Wichita Falls, Texas. According to their website, RCSI is a provider of: patrol service, armed and unarmed guard service, courier service, and armored car service. Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group represented RCSI in the transaction, the announcement said.

Integration companies partnering with guard companies is a trend we've seen lately. Securitas and Convergint partnered in 2011. Here's that story. Stanley partnered with U.S. Security Associates in April. Here's that story. And in 2009 guarding giant G4S got into integration with the acquisition of Adesta. Here's that story.  So I assumed at first that this was the same sort of partnership, except on a much limited basis. However, I just spoke to Ralph Masino, CFO at ASG, and he clarified that the deal was, in fact, a  small account acquisition deal.  RCSI historically has done both guarding and some limited alarm monitoring, he said. The company decided to shed its  alarm monitoring accounts, which were acquired by ASG, Masino said. RCSI is still continuing with all of its guard services.

 

 

Remote doormen: No jacket required for RMR, but mind your data

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Does anyone remember Carlton, the heard-but-never-seen doorman from the forgettable ’70s sitcom “Rhoda”? Little did anyone realize it, but the character was destined to become a model for RMR more than 30 years later: a remote gatekeeper providing access without the need for actual flesh and blood at the doorway.

Carlton and his real-life colleagues have increasingly given way to remote doorman service, with access granted after audio and video review by a central station operator. Depending on the technology that has been installed, the operator can also escort a person through the building after allowing entry. It’s typically safer and cheaper than a 24/7 doorman, and it negates the need for mindless chitchat.

The problem lies in the recording of the encounter, or more specifically what can happen to the data after the encounter. A security company generating RMR from a remote doorman needs to know what regulations are in place to govern the surveillance and what can happen if they don’t meet the letter of the law.

Industry attorney Ken Kirschenbaum took on the topic in a recent online missive that serves as an effective primer for anyone looking to dip into this stream of revenue. Here’s a bit of what he had to say:

The service necessarily has to be concerned with state video and audio laws. Video laws vary; some are rooted in voyeurism laws and others refer to using another’s picture for commercial gain. Audio laws are more similar and are either one-party consent or all-party consent. 

“As with any video or audio system or services, you run the risk of misuse. You also can’t escape the likelihood that other non-consenting people may be in the range of the equipment. For example, while escorting the mailman or the pizza delivery guy in the building, the operator may pick up video or audio of a tenant or others in the corridors or lobby. While the mailman may understand that he is talking with an operator who can see him on video, others [who] may be picked up and recorded are not so advised, and in any event have not consented.

“The real problem is not in the listening or recording, but in the improper use of the data. If data is not disclosed to anyone, then no one is the wiser. It's when the data [becomes] public or it is used for an improper purpose—such as blackmail—that you need to be concerned with violation of the video and audio laws and the consequences that flow from such improper conduct.

For more information on the audio and video laws that could affect your company, click here.

Does retail sell security short? Readers split on value of stores

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06/25/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—Selling home security at retail stores is one of the hottest trends in the industry. Comcast, AT&T and Lowe’s are among the big players doing it, and some smaller companies are carving a niche there as well. But the majority of SSN poll respondents see it as something else: a fad that won’t be supported in the long run by customers.

ADT taps former telecom exec as new CIO

In the newly created position, Kathleen McLean will use IT strategy to support business operations
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06/24/2013

BOCA RATON, Fla.—The ADT Corp. recently created a new position—that of chief information officer—and has appointed a former telecom executive to the position.

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