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Nortek to buy 2GIG for $135m

Deal includes five-year supply agreement with Vivint

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Nortek, parent company of Linear, announced this morning that it will acquire 2GIG Technologies for $135 million.

Avi Rosenthal opens consulting firm

IoT industry veteran to help up-and-coming companies enter the marketplace

SAN DIEGO—Avi Rosenthal, who has worked in the IoT realm for 20 years, has opened a full-service consulting firm, IoT Consulting, to help companies get their products manufactured and marketed.

Apple Watch SOS and mPERS: Apples and oranges?

PERS execs compare features, assess competition

YARMOUTH, Maine—On first inspection, the Apple Watch’s newly announced ‘SOS’ feature may seem similar to an mPERS device, but PERS experts who spoke to Security Systems News said comparing an Apple Watch with an mPERS device is like comparing apples and oranges.

Nortek acquired

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Melrose Industries Plc, a UK-based investment firm with a penchant for quick turnarounds, announced today that is has acquired Nortek, Inc., a global company with brands including 2GIG, NuTone and Elan. What this means for Nortek Security & Control, which specializes in residential security and home automation products and services, is still unclear.

As I wait to hear back from both Nortek and Melrose for more on the particulars of this deal, the big question is: What kind of impact will this have back here in the U.S., as Nortek is now in 18 million U.S. homes, and has positioned itself with the recent acquisition of Nuiku, a natural language processing company, as a leader in the area of smart home technology.

In a prepared statement, Nortek's president and CEO Michael J. Clarke said, "We are very pleased to have reached the proposed agreement with Melrose Industries, which represents a significant premium for our shareholders, We believe this partnership with Melrose will enhance Nortek's ability to further leverage its industry-leading brands and market positions to continue driving profitable growth. We believe this transaction will be a positive for our employees and customers alike."

From what I can see, Melrose has an excellent track record in investing in and improving businesses before reselling them within a two- to three-year window, and has been able to increase operating margins by five to nine percentage points in all of its historical investments.

Melrose's chief executive, Simon Peckham, said in a prepared statement that although Nortek “serves attractive end markets at good points in their cycle, with strong brands and market positions … there remains solid potential for further improvement under Melrose’s guidance. Our ability to apply our industrial experience and investment expertise, as well as to liberate Nortek from its current capital structure will transform the prospects of the business."

Melrose's chairman Christopher Miller said in a prepared statement that since the firm’s inception it has created and returned more than £2.8 billion ($3.5 billion) of value to its shareholders and he believes that “Nortek presents an excellent opportunity to build substantially on that track record.”

The acquisition will be implemented principally by way of a cash tender offer to Nortek shareholders by Nevada Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Melrose. The offer price of $86 per Nortek Share, net, in cash and without interest, values the issued and outstanding shares of Nortek at $1.436 billion with an enterprise value of $2.810 billion.

Check back for more on this developing story, including interviews with Melrose and Nortek management.

Will Apple take bite out of the PERS market?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Apple recently announced a new ‘SOS’ feature coming to the Apple Watch—similar to a PERS device.

If an Apple Watch user holds down the device’s side button, emergency services local to that user’s location will be notified, as well as emergency contacts.

I spoke with former Numera CEO, current Group VP of the Nortek Innovations & Incubation Foundry, about how the Nortek offerings compare to the announced features of the Apple Watch SOS. He said one particular differentiator for Nortek is "the advanced fall detection capabilities. In order to have highly reliable fall detection, you need to have something around your torso."

Smokoff noted the difference in battery life. The Apple Watch lasts about 18 hours and the Libris mPERS device lasts “about 2-and-a-half days on average,” he said.

There is a gap in price between the Apple Watch, which needs an iPhone to work, and the Libris mPERS device which stands alone and costs less than the Apple Watch by itself.

While I’ve heard of new and emerging markets for personal emergency devices—such as hikers, lone workers or for college campus safety—many of the PERS and mPERS companies I’ve spoken with point to the aging-in-place market as the market’s main demographic.

It seems to me that there are several reasons why the Apple Watch SOS feature wouldn’t break into the aging-in-place market. Firstly, both the Apple Watch and the user’s iPhone need to be charged and both devices need to be near each other.

Second, older PERS or mPERS users may not be as comfortable with technology and, therefore, less likely to own and operate an iPhone in conjunction with an Apple Watch.

Should people take notice of Apple’s entrance in the market? Will Apple take customers away from dealers in the PERS and mPERS space? If you have any thoughts, feel free to email me:

Nortek unveils technology think tank

Incubation team led by former Numera CEO Tim Smokoff

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—In conjunction with the recent acquisition of Nuiku, a natural language processing platform for use with home automation and other applications, Nortek has launched a technology incubation think tank—the Nortek Innovations & Incubation Foundry.

Nortek acquires voice recognition company Nuiku

Natural language platform will drive company’s home automation efforts

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Nortek Inc., a global company with brands including 2GIG, NuTone and Elan for security and home automation applications, has acquired Nuiku, a natural language processing platform for use with home automation and other applications.

Numera releases combination life safety-PERS hub

Tim Smokoff: Users’ activity levels are passive and active

CARLSBAD, Calif.—Nortek Security and Control on March 31 announced its new Numera Home Safety Hub, an expanded way to monitor the activity levels of PERS users.

Numera expands EverThere offering

Users can create health alerts with info from connected devices

LAS VEGAS—EverThere, the activity-tracking platform attached to Numera’s Libris mPERS, can now include data from a variety of medical devices, Nortek announced during CES this year.

Numera releases activity tracking platform EverThere

Company’s acquisition by Nortek Security & Control adds backing for Numera

SEATTLE—Numera is rolling out EverThere, a new proactive activity tracking platform attached to its Libris mPERS, allowing users or family members to track activity levels, note trends and set alerts.