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Introduction and CSAA's rescheduled meeting

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

To formally introduce myself, my name is Spencer Ives and I’m the new associate editor here at SSN. I’ll primarily be covering the central station monitoring beat. I’m brand new to the security industry and am looking forward to getting to know you. I'm excited about writing about new developments in your businesses, the evolution of monitoring technology and general trends in the monitoring world. 

The first notable item that has cropped up under my watch has been the 2014 CSAA Annual Meeting being cancelled due to a hurricane in Bermuda. However, bouncing back, the CSAA has found a new time and place for the event: It will now be held on Wednesday, Dec. 3, at The Crystal City Marriott, 1999 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Va.

Elizabeth Lasko, VP of marketing and communications for CSAA International told me, “The difficulty was that we had two-and-a-half days of solid information sessions. Those can’t be rescheduled. ...We can’t get all 25 to commit to a second two-and-half day segment of time.” While, it may be scaled down, the meeting will go on. The CSAA Board of Directors Meeting will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the General Membership Meeting from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The "Monitoring Matters" blog is meant to be a forum for discussion. Please feel free to comment, and if you have news tips, suggestions for stories or if you simply want to introduce yourself, feel free to call me at 207-846-0600, ext. 254, or email me at sives@securitysystemsnews.com.

 

 

Hurricane threat cancels CSSA annual meeting in Bermuda

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10/16/2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—Hurricane Gonzalo has forced CSAA International to cancel its 2014 Annual Meeting, scheduled for Oct. 17-22 in Bermuda.

Will mobile worker apps become ‘ubiquitous’ in security?

An analyst from Frost & Sullivan expects mobile worker apps for sales personnel and technicians to be the norm
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10/14/2014

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—Among recent trends gaining traction in the security industry, mobile worker apps stand out as one of the most highly deployed and frequently discussed. Such tools have transformed the way field sales personnel and technicians do business, allowing them to be more efficient and effective on the job.

Springall named CEO of Security Central

First non-family member to be named CEO in company’s 50-year history
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10/08/2014

STATESVILLE, N.C.—National third-party monitoring station Security Central today announced the promotion of Brett Springall, formerly Security Central’s director of IT, to the position of CEO.

Is 'wake-up' device the answer for mPERS?

Securus, a mobile security solutions provider, has found a way to minimize lingering concerns about battery life
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09/03/2014

CARY, N.C.—Mobile PERS units are emerging as a monitoring staple, but that doesn’t mean the device is without its share of skeptics.

Henry Edmonds presents on PERS valuations

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

As I encounter new theories and projections about PERS valuations, I continue to find a refreshing lack of consensus among the experts. That’s not to say there aren’t areas of agreement. There are. Those watching the market often cite similar determinants of valuation, such as attrition rates, cash flow and the costs of creating new accounts. But experts seldom invest the same metrics with equal importance.     

For example, Barry Epstein, president of Dallas-based Vertex Capital, believes reducing attrition rates to be a critical component of increasing PERS valuations. Conversely, Mark Sandler, a principal with SPP Advisors, downplayed the importance of churn, saying instead that a company’s value hinges more on how efficiently they can redeploy their units.

Today I came across a presentation on PERS valuations delivered by Henry Edmonds, president of The Edmonds Group, at the Medical Alert Monitoring Association conference held last week in Orlando. Edmonds’ insights reflect another nuanced interpretation of the market. In the presentation, he boiled PERS valuations down to four key metrics: cash flow; churn (attrition rate); growth rate/new account volume; and creation cost.

Just as vital for maximizing value is the ability of dealers to compile solid data on these metrics, Edmonds noted in one of the slides.

Edmonds developed some pretty in-depth calculations that he believes dealers should be cognizant of. For instance, churn rate metrics should account for total lost RMR on a trailing 12-month or trailing six-month basis. That figure should then be divided by average outstanding RMR. With respect to the cash flow, Edmonds advises dealers to focus on adjusted EBITDA and steady state free cash flow.

Edmonds’ presentation also offered a trove of information about buyers. He noted that buyers will create finance models for target companies, develop key assumptions based on a target company’s past performance and determine a capital structure based on current market conditions.

Edmonds also provided the following aphorism: “Buyers never pay more than they think they have to.”

In the coming weeks I plan to speak with Henry Edmonds himself to get a more in-depth take on PERS valuations and the state of the market in general. Stay tuned.

Customizing PERS to specific health needs

Essence USA president says new PERS system has many options, can function in large radius, monitor an individual’s temperature and routine
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09/11/2013

HOBOKEN, N.J.—Essence USA, a manufacturer and developer of security systems and monitoring and health care solutions that is based here, has launched its third-generation PERS product—the EverGuard-Care, a wireless home health monitoring system.

TrendNet: A Cautionary Tale?

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Hundreds of TrendNet customers found out the hard way that products they purchased, billed as home security cameras, weren’t all that secure. In January 2012, a hacker was able to breach TrendNet’s website, circumvent security credentials and access some 700 live-camera feeds monitoring inside customers' homes. Many of the videos were then disseminated on the Internet, a curious fact by itself in light of the complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission, which said security flaws in the cameras allowed for the “unauthorized surveillance of infants sleeping in their cribs, young children playing, and adults engaging in typical daily activities.” The online community continues to recover from the trauma of being exposed to such tedium.

But for obvious reasons, customers were unnerved. The FTC wasn't happy either. The oversight committee’s complaint alleging that TrendNet misrepresented its software as secure and failed to adequately protect its customers resulted in a settlement, which was reached last week, according to multiple reports.

The story reached mainstream news. Unsurprisingly, it’s on the alarm monitoring industry’s radar as well, as I discovered in a short conversation with Stephen Doyle, executive vice president and CEO of CSAA. Doyle said he just returned from an Alarm Industry Communications Committee meeting in which 65 industry members were briefed by an industry lawyer on the legal ins and outs of the TrendNet snafu.

In terms of pertinence to the industry, the case seems fringy in some respects, relevant in others. It’s true, after all, that TrendNet cameras are unattached to alarms, and designed specifically for remote monitoring of homes via smartphones and other mobile devices. But it's relevant to the industry insofar as it deals with a few topics in the forefront of people's minds.

One of those topics is the viability and security of do-it-yourself monitoring systems. Another is cloud security, a topic that stands to grow in significance with the spread of IP panels, and as more companies migrate information and services to the cloud. Whether a company’s data becomes more or less secure when it’s transferred to the cloud is a hot-button industry debate with little consensus. Cloud adoption is likely to expand, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be skeptics. Either way, the TrendNet case perhaps intensifies the debate.

At TechSec 2014, Jeremy Brecher, VP of technology, electronic security at Diebold, will tackle some issues in this vein as part of the educational program, while also exploring ways security companies can thrive in an increasingly cloud-based environment.

SAFE Security gets new CFO and COO

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09/03/2013

SAN RAMON, Calif.—SAFE Security has announced a pair of management changes.

Fired AlarmForce CEO fighting his ouster

Joel Matlin, who founded the company, says he has a legal strategy to remove board members who forced him out
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08/07/2013

TORONTO—The recently ousted CEO of AlarmForce Industries, one of Canada’s largest security companies, said he’s planning a legal strategy designed to replace the board members who fired him.

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