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A Platinum Protection founder goes solar

 - 
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chance Allred, one of the founders of Platinum Protection, has come home to Vivint again—in a way.

Platinum, a summer-model sales company based in American Fork, Utah, in February this year abruptly laid off virtually all its employees and shut down its summer sales program. The company, founded in 2006, hasn’t talked publicly about the reasons why, but it appears to be in severe financial distress.

Since then, Vivint, a summer-model giant based in Provo, Utah, has hired about 130 of the unemployed Platinum sales reps, Vivint told me. It’s not clear what percentage of Platinum’s former sales force that represents, but it’s just 4 percent of Vivint’s sales force, that company said.

In addition, Allred in March was hired as VP of sales for Vivint Solar, a sister company of Vivint that offers residential customers the opportunity to purchase power generated by Vivint solar panels on their homes.

That’s kind of interesting because before helping to found Platinum, Allred used to work for APX Alarm, which is what Vivint was called before it rebranded last year to highlight the fact it offers home automation and other services beyond security.

Alarm.com: New Smart Schedule smart for dealers

New feature matches home activity to thermostat schedules and makes customers ‘stickier’
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04/02/2012

VIENNA, Va.—Alarm.com has added a new feature to its emPower home automation and energy management platform, one that it says makes homeowners even more invested in their security systems because it allows them to use data the security systems collect to better program their thermostats to save energy and money.

Firsts on the first day of ISC West

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today was the first day of ISC West 2012 and I started my day off at a Honeywell breakfast where Scott Harkins, the new president of Honeywell Security Products, talked about a series of “firsts” the company was announcing at the show.

“We’re very excited that this show, the ISC show, is where we’re launching the great technology revolution in the intrusion space,” Harkins said.

He cited a series of products and technologies that he said are “firsts for us and first for our industry” include 2G/3G/4G radio, “one module that can do all three,” switching to whichever has the strongest signal. “We’re the only manufacturer in the industry with that,” Harkins said.

Among other innovations, Harkins said Honeywell’s Wi-Fi enabled system is “clearly a first,” and also said the company is the first to have an IP video system “that’s literally three clicks to get up and running.”

Honeywell wasn’t the only company talking about “firsts” today.

I stopped by the Cooper Notification booth, where Ted Milburn, vice president, marketing, and Jacquiline Townshend, marketing channel leader told me about that company was having a soft launch at the show of its Exceder LED, which Milburn described as “the first to replace the traditional strobe with an LED.”

They said the device is energy efficient, having a lower current draw than a traditional notification device, and is easier and less costly to install and has a smaller profile.

The device, which Townshend said would be available in May, is priced the same as a traditional one. “We think if the function is the same, the price should be the same,” Milburn said.

Over at the Fire-Lite by Honeywell booth, customers were acting like a product that the company introduced about four years ago was brand new this year.

While I was there a steady stream of people were showing up to learn more about Fire-Lite’s IPGSM-DP Commercial Fire Communicator, which is used to upgrade a fire system from reporting to the central station by phone lines to one that uses an IP or GSM cellular path.

The product saves end users money by letting them get rid of their telephone lines, and dealers can use that fact as a selling point to generate more business for themselves, the company says.

Beth Welch, public relations manager for Honeywell Fire Systems, told me interest in the IPGSM has suddenly taken off. “We’re just now seeing the real, true adoption of this. It’s a landslide,” she said. “Dealers are using this to get their foot in the door with new accounts.”

She said there are a variety of reasons why the product has taken off now, but believes one is just that AHJ’s are seeing how well it works and so are endorsing it.

I also talked today to Alex Dunn, COO of Provo, Utah-based home security/home automation giant Vivint. Vivint has to be the first security company to start a new company to sell solar panels to residential customers. Vivint Solar was created almost a year ago.

Although the two companies are separate, I asked Dunn if there was any sales crossover. He said there was and will continue to be.

“I think you’ll see in the future more integration from a sales perspective, even from a technology perspective, when the control panel integrates with the solar panels, Dunn said.

Among other people I met on the show floor today was Don Moore, president of Redondo Beach, Calif.-based Moore Protection, who stopped by the Security Systems News’ booth for our “meet the editors” event. Moore’s security company is the first to create its own “Security Oscar”: At the time of the Academy Awards each year it gives out the Morpheus Award to a film that best depicts the use of security. This year “Tower Heist” was the winner.

It was great to meet Don in person and while chatting, he told me another interesting fact about his company. It turns out that the graphics for the company’s lawn sign were designed some years ago by George Lois, an advertising wizard who is known as “The Original Mad Man,” a real-life version of Don Draper on the AMC television series.

Now, that’s got to be a first!

 

Barnes Associates/SSN release results of 2012 Wholesale Monitoring Study

Growth in 2011 is 5.7 percent, down slightly from 2010
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03/23/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—By most measures, the economy is slowly improving. But that doesn’t mask the pain of the past four years, and for many sectors—the security industry included—the recovery has been a case of two steps forward, one step back. Caution still abounds and it continues to temper growth in jobs, investment and spending.

In the face of this sluggishness, how has the monitoring industry fared when it comes to keeping and adding customers? To find out, Barnes Associates, a consulting and advisory firm specializing in the security alarm industry, teamed up with Security Systems News for a second annual survey of wholesale monitoring companies.

“The Trip to Bountiful”: Comcast now "at home" in Utah

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Comcast is now selling home security in Utah, right in the backyard of the major summer-model security companies.

When it comes to telecoms and cable companies getting into home security, I’ve written before about how Comcast has been in the forefront of that trend. It launched its Xfinity Home Security product in 2010.

It also recently renamed the product as just Xfinity Home to reflect the fact that the service includes many home automation features in addition to home security.  And Comcast has launched the product in numerous major markets around the country and continues to introduce Xfinity Home in even more places. For example, it had a Seattle launch in February and this month Comcast announced it’s now offering the service in Utah, home to residential security giants like Vivint and Pinnacle Security.

I’ll be talking to them about their take on this new player both in their home state and nationwide. Keep your eye on this site for more!

Vivint closes $762m refi

Deal includes nine new investors, most new to security
 - 
03/07/2012

PROVO, Utah—In a deal that includes 20 lenders, Vivint announced Feb. 29 that it has closed a new $762 million senior debt financing, $72 million more than the residential security and home automation provider’s previous financing.

Select Security branches out to Utah

Super-regional to open Orem, Utah office
 - 
10/06/2011

LANCASTER, Pa.—Select Security--a super-regional based here that has spent the past two summers trying to beat the big summer-model companies at their own game by running its own door-knocking program--is upping the ante.

Vivint promotes Jim Nye to VP of product management

SSN Staff  - 
09/13/2011

PROVO, Utah—Vivint on Aug. 31 announced that Jim Nye has been promoted to vice president of product management.

Pinnacle lawsuit: Ex-employees, consultant “conspired” to start rival company in Canada

However, one ex-employee has filed his own lawsuit, accusing Pinnacle of breach of contract
 - 
08/25/2011

OREM, Utah—Pinnacle Security is suing two former employees and an industry consultant, claiming they “conspired together” to create a new Canadian company, Titan Alarm, to compete against Pinnacle in Canada. Pinnacle contends the employees were working for Pinnacle at the time and that the new company was created by “unlawfully using Pinnacle resources and in violation of contractual and fiduciary duties.”

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