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The robots are coming

Sharp Robotics Business Development is developing robots for security; Sharp is also founding sponsor of new Robolliance group
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05/11/2016

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—The robots are coming, and they represent one of “the biggest game changers” in decades for security integrators, according to PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman.

Robots: the next big thing? They'll be at PSA-TEC

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

PSA-TEC will have some new attendees this year: Robots.

There will be drones and ground-based robots at PSA Security’s annual education and training event PSA-TEC, which will takes place May 8-13 in Westminster, Colo.

Bill Bozeman, PSA Security CEO, believes security robotics is the next big opportunity—and challenge—for the security industry.

“We’ll have three sessions [related to robotics] at TEC,” Bozeman said. He noted that PSA Security led the industry on the cybersecurity front, holding its Cyber Security Congress early in 2015.

“We like to start the conversation at TEC about what the future will look like [in terms of technology],” he said.

In the days leading up to PSA-TEC, Bozeman will be attending a drone conference in New Orleans, where he’ll get a close look at aerial, ground and marine-based drones.

Bozeman said that he expects Security Robotics to be the next committee created by PSA Security.

PSA currently has five committees, relatively recently created, that explore topics of interest to security integrators. The committees are tasked with sharing information at PSA-TEC, through the PSA website and elsewhere, coming up “playbooks” for integrators and developing best practices and standards to save integrators time, money and resources.

The five committees are: Project Management Committee, Sales & Marketing Committee, Technical Committee, Leadership Committee, and the  Cyber Committee.

It seemed like everyone was talking about cybersecurity at ISC West. I had a chance to speak to Andrew Lanning, co-founder of integration firm IST, and chairman of the PSA Security Cyber Committee, at the show. Lanning’s group plans to share its preliminary cybersecurity playbook with integrators at PSA-TEC in May.

Lanning’s group is looking at processes and products with the goal of helping integrators, from the super IT-savvy integrators, to those who are just starting to educate themselves about IT best practices and cybersecurity, he said.

Anthony Berticelli, PSA director of education, oversees all of the committees. “There will be nine committee-led session at TEC,” Berticelli said. “There will be peer-to-peer sessions and roundtable sessions and several of the sessions will overlap [committee jurisdiction],” he said. 

PSA-TEC is open to everyone in the security industry. One does not have to be a PSA member to attend PSA-TEC. Here’s a link to information about the conference.

 

Advance Technology management reorg propels growth

Internal apprenticeship and internship programs bring high quality talent to integrator
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07/15/2015

SCARBOROUGH, Maine—Advance Technology president Rob Simopoulos credits a management reorganization with helping propel the company's growth. Simopoulos is projecting revenues of $9 million this year, a 37 percent increase over 2014.

PSA-TEC: Integrators on how to adapt and thrive

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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—The subtitle for this year’s “State of the Integrator” panel discussion at PSA-TEC was “Adapt or Die.”

Despite the foreboding subtitle, the panelists' outlook was decidedly optimistic ... for some integrators anyway.

Panelists agreed that independent integrators who do not embrace changing technology and update to service-centric business models will not survive, but Jorge Lozano, president of systems integration firm Condortech, pointed out why independent integrators are ideally suited to adapt and thrive.

“We’re nimble … and this is the time for nimble companies,” he said. If you look at government regulations, the threat of cyberhacks and new technology as opportunities, Lozano said, “the horizon looks good.”

The panel discussion was moderated by Bill Bozeman, PSA Security CEO, and included Lozano, Brent Franklin, president of Unlimited Technology, Ron Oetjen, SVP of Securadyne, and Christine Lanning, president of IST. It took place May 5 here, where PSA-TEC is ongoing this week. The event is attended by independent integrators of all sizes, and includes more than 100 classes and panel discussions.

Other speakers agreed with Lozano. Ron Oetjen said Securadyne’s growth strategy involved acquisitions, organic growth and this year the company has invested in a consulting division. However, the company’s growth strategy is not etched in stone: “Leadership is willing to talk about it [the best ways to grow and overcome obstacles] and re-write the book if we need to," Oetjen said.

Christine Lanning said it’s important to realize that top company executives “don’t know it all.” Lanning uses “the collective knowledge base” of information she gathers from a number of sources such as PSA Security, ASIS as well as from groups outside the security industry. She also seeks mentors “who I want to mimic or emulate … that has been extremely helpful to us.”

Bozeman asked the panelists which vertical markets the companies work in and which are the most profitable.  

Subject matter experts are important said Brent Franklin, especially when you’re working in regulated industries. Unlimited Technology “takes a team approach in attacking new business opportunities,” sending out staff members who best understand the particular vertical. Those staff members need to know more than the applicable regulations, he said. “They need to understand who [the customers] are, how the business works, what the challenges are.”

Oetjen said Securadyne “encourages sales teams to become experts in one of the six vertical markets we’ve identified.” In terms of profit margins, Oetjen said the “data center market is the strongest margin-wise” and they have to follow a number of regulations. “Number two is easily power and utility companies. Number three is the oil and gas guys … but that market is the most volatile,” he said. “Everything is tied to the gas price,” he said.

IST works in a lot of verticals including local, county and state government; DOD work; and, top commercial companies in Hawaii.

As a small company, IST relies heavily on manufacturers for required training and certifications, she said. The company has also started to do “lunch-and-learns and user-group meetings [for customers and potential customers]…. where we bring the technology to them.” This gives IST an opportunity to talk to end users and the end users in turn “get invested in the technology and nine times out of ten, they stick with you,” she said.

The most profitable vertical for IST tends to be the large commercial businesses IST works with because they tend to chose an integrator based on expertise rather than price.

Lozano said Condortech’s is really only in one major vertical, government, but that also involves hospitals, education and border security.

Bozeman asked Franklin and Oetjen to talk about the key to delivering novel and unique technology?

Franklin said his team is constantly scouting technology, but it’s important to stay connected to the customer so you “realize what the next steps are with that customer.” Also, “getting the manufacturer involved with the customer is not a bad thing,” he said.

Confronting novel technology is something to think about Oetjen said. “What are we going to do when there’s only one smart camera out there [instead of many]? When one smart camera replaces fire systems because the camera [can detect fire]?” In order to get a customer to “rely on you to deliver a novel solution and trust you to deploy and execute the solution, [the relationship] starts way back … you educate and consult with the customer over time,” he said.

“You prove your thought-leadership,” Oetjen said. “You need to talk to and educate your customer at the same time, not just send invoices and ask, ‘What other camera or door can I do?’”

What about developing a culture of innovation in a company? How should systems integrators go about doing that?

A culture of innovation starts with company leadership, Lanning said.  “Are you showing passion, curiosity, adaptability?”  It’s important to “evaluate yourself and how you come across to your employees.”

Lanning said IST has an all-company meeting every Monday and every third Monday they do a team building or other educational exercise. She also send weekly emails focused on innovation and inspiration to all employees.

Lozano concurred with Lanning saying that we’re on the cusp of a new industrial revolution. Company leaders need to be doers. “Leadership is an action, not a position,” he said.

Remembering Tim Feury, Altec Systems

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Like many in the security industry, I was saddened to learn about the death June 12 of Tim Feury, president of systems integration firm Altec Systems. Feury was 56 and died of complications of heart failure, according to an obituary in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

I've interviewed Tim and his wife and business partner, Mary Feury, several times and enjoyed getting to know them at various events, especially PSA Security events. I have been in touch with Mary this week and plan to publish a more detailed remembrance of Tim once she and I have a chance to talk in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, here are a couple of links to stories I've written about Tim and Mary and Altec Systems. In this story from March, they were getting ready to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Altec systems (and their 10-year wedding anniversary as well.) And here's one from 2011 that talks about how Mary brought IT services to Altec Systems.

Tim Feury graduated from James Caldwell High School in New Jersey and moved to Atlanta in the early 1980s. In addition to his wife, Tim Feury is survived by sons, Andrew Feury of Atlanta, Matthew Feury of Atlanta, and Ryan Feury of Marietta; sisters, Patricia Borys of Marietta , MaryAnn Baker of Flanders, N.J. and Elizabeth Feury of Mount Olive Township, N.J.; brothers, John Feury of Verona, N.J. and Robert Feury of Lincoln Park, N.J.; and one grandchild.

 

Cyber security a recurring theme at PSA-TEC

Drako: ‘Where was your DVR made? Is it connected to the Internet?’
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05/07/2014

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—The data breach that brought down Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel is being used as a cautionary tale here at PSA-TEC.

Shaw joins Tech Systems Inc

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sharon Shaw, who is well known in the security industry as an evangelist of managed services, a skilled trainer and director of education, has taken on a new role at Tech Systems Inc, an Atlanta-based systems integrator.

Shaw was formerly president of Integrator Support, and director of education for PSA Security. (She's also part of my TechSec Advisory board. )

Here's a link to a story I wrote about Tech Systems Inc. in January. TSI appears to be a great fit for Shaw's skills. She told me she was drawn to the company's "service-centric culture." The services piece—managed as well as services in general—is something Shaw knows well. And it's not an overstatement to say that TSI is big into service. When I did that story in January, Larry Simmons, TSI VP of client services, told me that if a customer is not interested in “a strong service offering, we don’t waste resources [on that job].” As a result, TSI in January was “very close to achieving our goal of being able to cover 100 percent of our operating costs [with] recurring revenue."

AT TSI, If service techs want to leave a job site without completing a service call for any reason, the request must be approved by a regional manager, a director, and ultimately by the CEO or Simmons before that tech may leave the job without finishing. TSI’s service program is called FOCUS, and the company reports some impressive results. “In 2012, TSI responded to 16,467 FOCUS-related service calls. We only failed to either achieve response time or functionality 30 times, giving TSI a 99.99 percent success rate. Our success rate has not dropped below 99.7 percent over the past three years,” Simmons said.

In her new role as Client Development Manager, Shaw will develop continuing education programs for Tech Systems’ customers and staff.  The idea is to have a “quality communications programs and [see that there’s] a continuing stream of relevant information so everyone is informed and when they’re making decisions, they have the best tools and resources available to them,” she told me.

Tech Systems has 164 employees across the country. Headquartered here, it has other brick-and-mortar offices in North Carolina and California. Employees elsewhere work from virtual offices.

Congratulations to Shaw, and kudos to TSI for a smart hire.

 

 

 

 

Kratos has new SVP

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Don EricksonAt the PSATEC conference earlier this month, SIA CEO Don Erickson was talking about government opportunities for independent integrators large and small. The contracts and jobs are out there, Erickson said.

One of PSA Security’s largest integrators, Kratos Public Safety and Security Solutions’ Public Safety & Security division has created a new SVP position to go after the “growing DoD/DHS market.”

James Cotter, who has been with Kratos since 2007, has been promoted to senior vice president of the Government Solutions Sector.

In his new role, he’s charged with working with Kratos leadership “researching, identifying and ultimately captur[ing] those opportunities.”

Ben Goodwin, president of Kratos’ PSS division called Cotter an “idea fit for this position.”

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.

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