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Electronic Security Association

Bill to deregulate telecoms in Pa. concerns industry

AICC says legislation would give telecoms like Verizon unfair advantage over security company competitors, but Verizon denies that
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08/08/2012

HARRISBURG, Pa.—Proposed legislation in Pennsylvania to deregulate the telecommunications industry in the state would give an unfair advantage to telecom providers of home security services, according to an attorney with the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC).

Technology still top challenge for alarm companies, new ESA president says

John Knox takes helm amid advances that are reshaping the industry
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07/03/2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—Competition from telecoms and cablecos is drawing a lot of attention in the security world, but keeping pace with technology is still the biggest challenge facing alarm companies, new ESA President John Knox said at the Electronic Security Expo.

ESX on track to be largest ever

Organizers predict 30 percent increase in attendance
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05/07/2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—The 2012 Electronic Security Expo is on track to be the largest in the event’s five-year history, with more exhibitors and a projected 30 percent increase in attendance from last year, according to event organizers.

Getting home security from the cable guy: drawbacks along with benefits

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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

We’ve written a lot here at Security Systems News about more and more telecoms and cable companies getting into the security market. And now mainstream media is taking note. For example MSN Money had a recent post from its SmartMoney partner site, titled “Home security—from the cable guy.”

I read the post, thinking it would simply extol the convenience of bundling security with your cable. But it was actually a balanced piece that included the argument from professional security companies that the service they offer is safer. In fact, the subtitle of the piece was: “More cable TV companies are offering home-monitoring systems in their markets. Know the drawbacks before you sign.”

Here’s what the April 20 post had to say to consumers:
 

The same company that provides your home phone, Internet and television services now wants to offer some protection.

A growing number of telecom providers have added home security to their lineup of services. Their interactive systems use sensors and cameras to monitor the property, while apps let users check in remotely and receive alerts about trouble.

Comcast has expanded its Xfinity Home system to 65 percent of its markets since the 2010 pilot. In October, Verizon introduced Home Monitoring and Control in 12 states and Washington, D.C. Time Warner Cable launched IntelligentHome in markets including Los Angeles, Hawaii and upstate New York last summer. Cox Communications and AT&T are separately in the process of rolling out similar programs.

For the companies, the services are a way to "improve their revenue per user" by tapping into the $8 billion home security market, says Tom Kerber, research director for home controls and energy at Parks Associates, a research firm. Telecoms are worried about slowing broadband growth – 62 percent of households already have it, according to PewResearch –  as well as the rise in landline cord-cutting, he says.

CTIA-The Wireless Association reports that roughly a third of households are wireless only, up from 11 percent in 2006. It helps that smart-home technology has also become cheaper and more widespread in recent years, as consumers get used to using their smartphones to control the thermostat or sync with the car's entertainment system.

These companies say their smart-security set-ups let consumers have more interaction with their home than simply arming an alarm when they leave home and disarming it when they get back. Window and door sensors and cameras interact with apps and a control panel, letting customers set rules about when the system reacts, and how.

For example, "when doors open, the system takes a video of whatever made that door open, and I get an alert on my phone," says Mitch Bowling, a senior vice president for Comcast Cable.

Users can also set alerts for things that don't happen, such as if the front door doesn't open by 3:30 p.m. when the kids should be home from school. As an added benefit, most systems can tie in technology to control home appliances such as the thermostat, lights and door locks from afar. So you could set the system to turn on the light when that front door opens, or turn on the air conditioning when you're on your way home from work, says Ann Shaub, director of product management for Verizon.

Cheaper -- but is it better?

The services are typically cheaper than going through a dedicated security firm -- $10 to $40 per month instead of $30 to $75. But experts warn that consumers are likely getting less protection. More elaborate home security systems can monitor for threats as diverse as carbon monoxide and rising water levels that smart systems can't detect.

In addition, some telecoms' monitoring services only alert solely to you, without relaying an alarm in a central monitoring station that would call the police or fire department, says James Orvis, a past executive vice president of the Electronic Security Association and owner of Security Solutions in Norwalk, Conn. Miss the text that the door sensor tripped, and the police may not arrive in time to catch the burglar.

It's also added risk if you're at home during a fire, break-in or other emergency where calling for help yourself isn't easy or safe, he says.

On the other hand, alerts that go only to you limits the number of false alarms, which some police departments add a fine for responding to, Orvis says. Verizon's Shaub says Home Monitoring and Control, which doesn't use a central monitoring station, still provides peace of mind and keeps consumers in tune with what's going on in the house. At the very least, it's a way homeowners can keep tabs on their kids and pets.

Shoppers should also be careful to dig into package details to determine the full cost before signing up, says Chris McGoey, a Los Angeles-based security consultant. Telecom companies' $70 to $500 one-time equipment charge is typically for a basic kit with a monitoring station and a few sensors; consumers with a large house will need to buy extra equipment for thorough coverage. So will those who want remote control over more home devices.

Services may also charge extra for connectivity to a cellular network so alarms will sound even if the power goes out. "By the time you get the system that you really want, it costs you a heck of a lot more than the promotional offer," he says.

Consumers may have little recourse to change their mind, either: Some offers require a two-year service contract.

 

ESA launching Florida chapter

New chapter to focus on business development and lead generation for members
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04/09/2012

IRVING, Texas—The Electronic Security Association, based here, is launching a state-chartered chapter in Florida.

Security industry seeks access to disaster areas

Proper credentialing key for security personnel to access emergency zones to restart critical security/life safety systems
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02/01/2012

IRVING, Texas—In the aftermath of a tornado, hurricane, flood or other disaster, the security and life safety systems of everything from homes to banks to medical facilities need to be quickly restored to aid in the recovery. But without official procedures in place to ensure they have the proper credentials to enter emergency zones, critical security industry personnel may be unable to gain access to rewire and restart their customers

Vance in Vegas; Five Diamonds for Johnson Controls

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The last time SSN caught up with Mary Jo Vance, in April 2011, she was contemplating taking the summer off to “ride cross-country on my Harley” after leaving CenterPoint Technologies. Vance, better known in the industry as MJ, recently let CSAA members know she is “alive and very well in Vegas” after landing a new gig: manager of 1 Time Inc.’s new central station in Henderson, Nev.

MJ says she’ll have more details soon about her latest endeavor, but the company is still building its website and sorting through “new ideas and new adventures. … Right now we can’t give you the full picture.”

MJ served as vice president of operations and business development for CenterPoint for three years before what she described as an amicable departure last spring. A well-known and respected leader in the industry, she received the CSAA’s Manager of the Year award in 2007 and the Presidential Award from the Fire Marshals’ Association of Missouri in 2010.

Five Diamonds for Johnson: Congratulations to Johnson Controls’ central station in Milwaukee, which recently joined an elite group by earning Five Diamond certification from the CSAA. The station is among 132 of roughly 2,700 centrals nationwide to have received the distinction, according to the CSAA’s website.

To qualify, all of Johnson Controls’ central operators had to pass a CSAA online training course, proving their proficiency in alarm verification, PSAP communications, knowledge of electronic communications equipment and the standards of Underwriters Laboratories, Factory Mutual, the National Fire Protection Association and other organizations.

“This prestigious certification reflects the dedication and determination our central station operators bring to the job to help protect the many corporate customers we monitor every day in the U.S.,” Paul Pisarski, manager of field support and remote operations for the company’s Building Efficiency unit, said in a prepared statement.

Calling all duffers: Looking to get into the swing at ISC West before everyone hits the show floor? Then this one’s for you: the ninth annual Alarm Research and Educational Foundation (AIREF) golf tournament, scheduled for Tuesday, March 27 at the Revere Golf Club in Las Vegas.

The Electronic Security Association created the nonprofit AIREF in 1977 as a way to help raise money for industry research. Funding for the foundation is derived almost solely from the golf tournament, which promises players “a casual golf outing” with other industry professionals while supporting AIREF in the process.

To register for the tournament, visit www.airef.org. For more information, call 203-762-2444 or email Pat Remes at premes@airef.org.

When background checks aren't enough

Door-to-door security sales rep charged with rape and attempted murder, but company who hired him says it had no information showing he was threat
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01/04/2012

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—SecureWatch, an ADT authorized dealer based here, takes steps to make sure job applicants don’t have criminal backgrounds—such as paying a top-notch company to do background checks on them and searching the Internet for information about them, said company COO Paul Victor.
So the company was stunned to learn that a brand-new door-to-door sales rep it had hired—who Victor said had checked out clean—now stands charged with rape and attempted murder while on the job in Tampa, Fla.

Former MBFAA president dies

Jim L. Morris 1944-2011
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12/12/2011

IRVING, Texas—Jim L. Morris, founder and owner of American Detection Specialists Inc. in Springfield, Mo., died of a heart attack on Nov. 21.

Tribute to John Mabry

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Monday, November 28, 2011

I wrote last week about the loss of industry icon, John Mabry, 74, who died Nov. 18 in a car crash.

I recently received a copy of his moving obituary, which recounts many of his numerous accomplishments, and also describes Mabry, a Florida resident, as “ a lovable curmudgeon” who will be “long remembered for his outgoing personality, wry wit, high integrity, patriotism and strong dedication to family and friends.”

The obit also recounts some of his trademark saying, known as “Mabryisms,” including “The slow buffalo drinks dirty water” and “It’s like spitballs against a battleship baby!”
 

Here is more from the summary of the life and career of this remarkable industry leader:

After earning his bachelor’s degree from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., John joined the U.S. Navy where he served aboard the USS Ranger, CV-61, as a commissioned officer. While stationed in San Francisco, he met his future wife, Sue Dougherty, about whom John commented, “…I found my heart in San Francisco.”

Upon leaving the U.S. Navy in 1962, John launched a groundbreaking car wash franchise that eventually sold for over 1,000 times his original investment. In 1969, John founded the American Alarm Company that he sold to Honeywell, Inc. in 1983 …

From 1983 until 1993, John served as Vice President of Honeywell’s Protection Services Division and later Vice President of Sales and Business Development within Honeywell’s $3.4 billion Home and Building Control business unit. John was instrumental in advancing Honeywell’s expansion strategies that placed Honeywell in the forefront of the North American security market.

John served as president of Security Network of America (SNA) from 1993 through 2000 where he increased SNA membership from 20 to more than 40 UL listed entities, nationwide. Today, SNA has more than 82 member companies in North America representing more than $390 million annual revenue.

In 2003, John joined the board of directors of Integrated Alarm Services Group (NASD: IASG), Albany, NY. John was elected chairman of the board in 2006 with a mandate to restructure corporate management. As chairman, John was instrumental in replacing management, aligning priorities and resolving multiple financial issues resulting in a substantial increase of IASG’s share value. Later, John presided over the successful sale of IASG, valued at $140 million, to Protection One in 2007.

Throughout his career, John sought to bring cohesion to the security alarm industry. In 1972, John was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA).  Later, John was elected CSAA president from 1981 through 1983.  Afterwards, John continued as an Honorary and ex officio Member of the CSAA Board.  Similarly, as a member of the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association (Now Electronic Security Association), John’s, peers named him to the NBFAA’s Board of Directors. Recognizing John’s vision and leadership, John became President of the NBFAA serving from 1984 through 1986.  As President, John founded the NBFAA’s National Training School and grew membership to nearly 3,000 members.

Recognizing his many contributions to the alarm industry, John received the Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award in 1983. The award acknowledged John’s leadership, outstanding achievements and his continued efforts on behalf of the alarm industry and the Electronic Security Association.

John received further recognition in 2004 when the Central Station Alarm Association presented the Stanley C. Lott Award to John. The Lott award is the CSAA’s most prestigious recognition of leadership and honored John’s exceptional contributions to and tireless support of the CSAA and its membership.

John actively served on several alarm company boards, including ADS Security, Nashville, TN; for 14 years; American Alarm and Communications, Arlington, MA for more than 10 years; and, the Board of Protectron, Inc., Montréal, Québec, Canada …

The obit says Mabry is survived by his wife of nearly 49 years, four children and 13 grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are preferred to either of the following:

The Wounded Warrior Project
4899 Belfort Road, Suite 300
Jacksonville, FL  32256

The Tim Tebow Foundation
2220 County Road 210 West, Suite 108
Jacksonville, FL  32259

 

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