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Entering PERS: problematic or practical?

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

PERS. It’s come up a lot lately—everywhere I look it seems that I’m hearing about new angles to the market, and new contenders. One thing I’ve also heard plenty of is that it’s not a space for everyone. But some seem to be finding it a very sensible new market.

Just recently the cellphone provider Consumer Cellular entered the market, choosing this as a logical space to make its first step outside of cell phones. I think it’s interesting that a market avoided by some can be an easy fit for others.

Another newcomer is Blue Star. The company took a look at a certain area it saw as underserved: the veteran community and their families. Now, Blue Star is looking to triple sales by the fall.

It was even a lively discussion at ESX. AvantGuard’s COO Justin Bailey said that mPERS is a quickly growing market. PERS isn’t for everyone, panelists said, because it can take a toll on your operators that you need to be prepared for. Daniel Oppenheim, VP for Affiliated Monitoring, said that it might be best left to those centrals that can handle it.

Now, the Medical Alert Monitoring Association is looking toward its annual meeting, catering specifically to the medical alarm space.

So, it seems that the PERS market is particular, a very specific niche in the industry of monitoring, but there is space for those companies willing to look into the space and work their way into it.

2015 Northeast Security Systems Contractors Expo roundup

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Yesterday, May 21, I headed down to this year’s Northeast Security Systems Contractors Expo, in Marlborough, Mass. It was great to catch up with some of the companies I met at ISC West, and meet some new ones. In central stations, the biggest theme I heard about was that regional shows help monitoring centers get to know their dealers, in person and face-to-face.

Just as I was starting my first lap of the show floor, I briefly met Russ Ryan, organizer for the show.

After that, I ran into Jessica DaCosta, director of sales for ESA, and chatted about the upcoming ESX show.

I also met with Worthington Distribution’s Nolan Male, director of training. Worthington is a security disitributor based in Tafton, Penn., in the northeast part of the state.  

I met with a few members of the Affiliated Monitoring team out in Vegas last month, but at this show I got to meet Jesse Rivest, company territory manager. Rivest was recognized as one of SSN's "20 under 40," Class of 2013. He mentioned that the Northeast Security Systems Contractors Expo is a good way to stay in touch with current dealers, and get to know prospective ones.

At Alarm Central’s booth, I got to meet the company’s vice president, Kerry-Anne McStravick. She told me about the benefits of being a smaller central station—Alarm Central monitors around 40,000 accounts, she said—like getting to know dealers on a more personal basis. Alarm Central is based in Quincy, Mass.

When I spoke with All American Monitoring at ISC West, I heard about its new offering: cameras under the company’s MeyeView brand. Lisa French, national sales representative, and Laura Hutchinson, national dealer support, told me that there had been a great response to the cameras since their announcement last month at ISC West and during demos at this expo.

Rapid Response is another company I got to meet at ISC West, but it was great to see Danial Gelinas, Bryan Bardenett, company senior account manager, and Ron Crotty, in charge of new business development/corporate training. Bryan told me that a big benefit to regional shows is getting to know dealers in their area, and hearing about the issues and concerns affecting that area.

I got the chance to briefly catch up with COPS Monitoring. Bart Weiner, COPS’ senior account executive, also mentioned the benefit of regional shows to connect on a more personal level with dealers and “put names to faces.”

I stopped by Centra-Larm’s booth. Scott Mailhot, company VP of operations, and I talked about the eye-catching booth design, which I could recognize from the sidewalk—before even entering the show. This booth design is the same one that made its premier at ISC West last month.

Daniel Shaw is the assistant central station manager for NEXgeneration Central, based in Providence, R.I. He told me a bit more about the company, defining the footprint for its 35,000 accounts as predominantly on the east coast.

Keith Jentoft, president of RSI Video Technologies, walked me through the company’s various camera models and the variety of places they can be applied.

Tom Camarda, national sales executive for U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp., gave me a demo of the monitoring center’s recent integration with SmartTek, putting a GPS tracking and monitoring service into an app.

My day in Marlborough ended by talking with Keith Jentoft again. This time we spoke a bit about PPVAR, and the importance of finding common definitions—like the Texas Police Chiefs Association did in early April.

ISC West 2015—The daily monitoring report

 - 
Monday, April 13, 2015

Friday, Day 3

The last day, like the first, started off with a great meeting at the media stage. This time I met George De Marco, ESX chair, and talked about how the different ways booths look to bring in visitors, everything from booth design to attractions. 

Then I headed into the show floor for a meeting with Cliff Dice, company president and CEO, and Carol Enman, Dice SVP for strategic business. We talked a lot about the reception of Dice's cloud-hosted central monitoring software platform, now UL certified. "I actually thought there would be more resistance to it when we came out with it," Dice said, pleased with the positive reactions he's heard at the show.

Just after noon, outside the show floor, I did a video interview with Darryl Bray, sales manager for Security Central. We talked about the company's upcoming CSAA Five Diamond certification and increasing sales efforts.

I then went back in to the show to visit EMERgency 24's booth to hear about the partnership with BluePoint. I met with Patrick Devereaux, SVP of EMERgency 24; John Shales, partner at BluePoint; John McNutt, partner and CEO at BluePoint; and Terri Douglas, co-founder and principal at Catapult public relations firm.

My final meeting of this year's ISC West was with Larry Folsom, president of I-View Now, who told me about the company's latest integration with Honeywell's Total Connect.

I thought it was a great show. I look forward to hearing more from the people I met with, and seeing them at future shows.

Thursday, Day 2

Helping out at the Security 5k in Sunset Park was certainly not a bad way to start the day. It was sunny, with very little wind—all around a great day to get out for fresh air and a walk or run. On the ride back, I met Kevin G. Clark, global communications & PR for Genetec who was kind enough to point out some of Las Vegas' notable buildings along the strip for this new-comer.

One of the things I liked hearing from central stations at this show is what makes each of them stand out. My first show floor meeting of the day was with Acadian Monitoring Services, where I met with Jason Caldwell, national sales representative, Tim Newman, business development, and Kristin Hebert, security operations manager. "Where we really differentiate [ourselves] is our special focus on video monitoring and medical monitoring," Caldwell told me. The company also operates the second largest AES network in the country, according to Caldwell, which has seen a bit of growth lately. "We're seeing a lot of growth on that network now," with upwards of a thousand customer radios added recently, he said.

From there I went over to IDIS, one of the top 10 biggest booths at the show this year, to hear about what the company was doing with all the space. Right away, I met Benjamin Bryant, IDIS public relations consultant and Tara Farley, IDIS marketing and PR consultant. While at the booth, I was able to talk with a couple of people from 4sight imaging, one of IDIS' partners. Brook Jackson, managing director for 4Sight, and Marcus Boden, business development director,  talked with me about 4Sight's license plate recognition and gave me a demo. I also met with Young-Dal Kim, company CEO. 

Jens Kolind is the VP of external partnerships at Innovative Business Software. We spoke a couple of months back about SBN Cloud, the first UL-listed cloud-hosted monitoring automation platform. It was great to meet him and amazing to see what a UL central station could look like with SBN Cloud, below.

I met Kevin Helmig, president and CTO for Centra-Larm, and Scott Mailhot, VP of operations, not too long ago, but it was good to see them again and their first ISC West booth.

I circled back to the IDIS booth a little later, to talk with Keith Drummond, senior director of sales for IDIS America. He told that this event really signals the company's entrance to the American market, a key step in becoming a global company. While this regional launch was preceded by two others, UK and Middle East launches, the American extension of IDIS was planned before the first step outside of the company's native Asia region. Launching in America was a very strategic process, according to Drummond. "The one thing I'm letting people know is that we are here to stay." I got a chance to meet IDIS America president Andrew Myung on this second trip to the booth.

I briefly met Brett Springall, Security Central's CEO, at the media booth. He mentioned that the company has been increasing its sales team lately.

After that, I met with a.p.i. Monitoring's Lewis Jacobson, the company's director of dealer sales. He told me that a big thing for the company at this show is the release of their partnership with Numera's mPERS.

Monitronics' Bruce Mungiguerra, the VP of operations, told me that the company is moving to a new facility, 165,000 square feet large. This will be the consolidation of three different Monitronics buildings in the Dallas area under one roof. The new building will be three stories, which makes more sense for a central station than the current building's six floors. The new building is on a lake, with walking trails in the surrounding area, and two gym facilities. This will create "a campus environment that our employees can be proud of," he said.

One of the biggest things I heard about when talking with COPS Monitoring, is that the company is expanding in both staff and technology. In terms of staff, it is adding 30 dispatcher stations at its Florida center, with similar expansions planned for COPS' Tennessee and Arizona facilities, Jim McMullen, president and COO said. In technology, the company is upgrading its capacity to be able to handle as many as 3.4 million accounts. 

"We've been talking a lot about the econtract app" at the show, Michael Zydor, Affiliated Monitoring's managing director, said. Apps were the big thing this year, with a new end-user app, which takes functions from the company's previous end-user app and puts it into a newly made format, made much "simpler," according to Zydor.

Next, I met with Steven Schmit at UL to talk about new standards under the new version of UL827, published last Fall. Central stations will now need more redundancy and capablities and cybersecurity measures. This is the first time Cybersecurity has been directly involved in requirements, Schmit said. "Now with that in the standard we're going to have conversations about [central stations'] network security, how they keep their customers' data secure." The current plan is for these standards to be required by late 2016. I also met with Neil Lakomiak, director of business development and innovation, at the UL booth. Lakomiak and I talked about some of the other technologies that could see standards with UL, such as mPERS.

My final floor meeting was guided by Tiffany Coles, marketing manager for Bold Technologies. I started by talking with her and Chuck Speck, company president about the next version of its Manitou platform, Neo. From there, Tiffany and I walked over to White Rabbit's booth, where I met Rod Coles, White Rabbit's CEO, as well as Toby Prescott, White Rabbit's product engineer, and saw a demonstration of their products which are designed to lead DIY and home automation back to the central station.

After leaving the show floor, I attended Dynamark's party, held in the renaissance suite in the venetian—quite a view from the 36th floor. There, I met Trey Alter, president and CEO, and Hank Groff, senior VP of marketing and business development.

My final event for the day was to have dinner with Galaxy Control Systems at Carnevino in the Palazzo. It was nice to meet Rick Caruthers, company VP, and Luke Krawec, account executive with LRG Markerting. 

 

Wednesday, Day 1

As I've mentioned in previous blogs, this is my first ISC West show. Day 1 of the show went pretty well, from start to finish, I thought. I got the chance to finally meet some people in person whom I've talked to via phone about multiple times, like Christopher Denniston of Rapid Response and David Smith of COPS.

My day started with the "Meet the Editors" event at the media stage outside the show floor. Here I briefly met Jim McMullen, president and COO of COPS Monitoring. I also met two members of the CheckVideo team: Nik Gagvani, president and GM, and Ed Troha, director of marketing.

My first meeting on the show floor was with Christopher Denniston and Dan Gelinas of Rapid Response. Unlike every other person listed in this day's blog entry, Gelinas is one person I had met before, at Security Systems News' office in Yarmouth, Maine. I had a question on my mind for a couple of months; what is Rapid Response referring to in he company's ad which states that on "everything changes" on 4.15.15, today. When I met with Christopher Denniston, he told me that it referred to the company's new mobile apps for monitoring one or multiple PERS, updates on existing dealer and customer apps, as well as the increased redundancy in the company's relatively new California facility. The facility will be able to handle the company's entire account load at one time, he said.

All American's patriotic booth was the site of my second visit. The company decided to use ISC West 2015 to launch its My View brand of cameras specifically for its dealers. Bob Keefe, the company's president, told me that the company has spent a while testing the cameras. "We've been testing it with our sister company (EMG Alarm, a Florida-based installer), making sure the product was as good as we hoped it would be before we sold it to our dealers," Keefe said. I also met with Rob Keefe, company VP, and Tammy Zappa. Zappa said Bob Keefe is "constantly" looking for new items to offer dealers.

MKS's booth really represented part of its 30th anniversary changes, with the whole staff dressed in the company's new color scheme of orange and grey. I met with Bailey Bhogal, MKS' marketing specialist, Joe Ligouri, the CFO and COO, and Victoria Ferro, president. The company was recently awarded at the show. Ferro was named one of the 10 WSC Women of the Year on Tuesday. 

My last show floor meeting was with Alarm Monitoring Service, where I got the chance to meet Rick Jolet and Dera De Roche, the co-owners, as well as Bob Gates the company's VP of sales. Jolet is also the CEO, and Dera is the CFO. They talked to me about a few of the things that make their monitoring center unique. One thing that Dera pointed out was that the company has an answering service for its customers.

My evening was quite busy. After leaving the show floor, I went to Affiliated's cocktail reception in the lovely Lavo, in the Palazzo. Here I got a chance to meet Daniel Oppenheim, the company's vice president, Michael Zydor, the managing director, and Stanley Oppenheim, president of DGA Security.

From there, I went to the Bellagio's Hyde lounge for National Monitoring Center's annual event. I met with Michael Schubert, the president, Woodie Andrawos, the executive vice president, and Sharon Elder, NMC's vice president of sales. During my time at the event, I was lucky enough to catch the Bellagio's fountain show.

My final event for the evening, and Day 1, was COPS Monitoring's third annual "bonanza" at Gilley's in Treasure Island. Amidst good food, live music, and a bull-riding competition, I met Donavan Maden, the company's executive vice president, and David Smith, COPS' director of marketing.

Now I'm preparing for tomorrow's Security 5k!

 

Tuesday, before the show

After landing, my first meeting of the week was with Mike Bodnar, president of Security Partners, at the new facility—the next installment of On Location: Central Station. The station is brand new, having officially opened on Monday. There was certainly a "new" look to it, especially with slideshows of photos taken before and after the renovations. It was really interesting to hear from Bob Schott, Security Partners' director of information technologies, about items carried over from the buildings previous use as a government data center. I also met John McCann, who talked with me about the new line of exclusive Mace-brand products that Security Partners' dealers will be offering, among which is a diesel tank monitor. 

From there I attended Altronix's dinner, held at the DB Brasserie in the Venetian. Alan Forman, Altronix president, presented on the latest products from the company, including technology to monitor power supply. I also enjoyed meeting and talking to Kirby Han, Altronix Art Director and Rodney Thayer, a consultant with Smithee, Spelvin, Agnew & Splinge.

Prior to leaving

I'll be updating this page every day this week to stay current on my adventures at this year's ISC West. This is my first security trade show, and I'm looking forward to it. To hear about the future plans of central stations and monitoring companies, be sure to check back in!

For Affiliated Monitoring, an app can make an impact

Part of a main thread at company
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02/11/2015

UNION, N.J.—What a monitoring company offers its dealers makes a difference, according to Michael Zydor, managing director for Affiliated Monitoring, which strives to continually update its dealer app as well as monthly dealer reports.

’20 under 40’ 2014—Aaron Salma

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10/21/2014

Aaron Salma, 31
Account manager, Affiliated Monitoring, Union, N.J.

Monitoring everything

‘The Internet of Things’ brings opportunities for non-traditional monitoring
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08/04/2014

“The Internet of Things,” the ever-increasing number of devices that are connected to the Internet, may represent a new frontier in monitoring. As the number of connected products rises, so do the revenue and service opportunities for security dealers to monitor those devices.

Centrals get social

Social media on the rise for many reasons
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07/30/2014

Social media may not be a major revenue generator at this point, but third-party monitoring stations are making more use of popular social media sites to reinforce traditional sales and marketing efforts, according to a group of executives from five well known third-party monitoring companies who spoke to Security Systems News for this report.

Affiliated to unveil mobile app for dealers, technicians

It’s also exploring ways to monitor 'non-traditional devices'
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03/19/2014

UNION, N.J.—At its dealer summit in December, Affiliated Monitoring made clear that it was making a concerted push to develop its mobile aspect. The company is about to take another big step in that direction.

TechSec panels showcase perspectives of young leaders

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Less than a week remains until TechSec Solutions kicks off in the comparatively balmy climes of Delray Beach, Fla. The location itself will be a welcome respite for those of us coping with the deep freeze to the north, but it’s the quality of the speakers and panelists that stand to be the biggest draw.  

I wanted to use this space to draw attention to a pair of Next Gen Security Series panels slated for the opening day, one of which I’ll be moderating. For the panel, titled “Security integrators’ perspective: The changing landscape of security integration,” I’ll be asking four members of SSN’s latest “20 under 40” class a range of questions focused on new and emerging technologies, all with an eye toward identifying what implications such developments have for the industry as a whole.

The panelists for my session will be Johnny Cunningham, director of information technology at ADS Security; Robert Gaulden, VP of sales & marketing at Kratos; Jesse Rivest, territory manager at Affiliated Monitoring; and Joe Parisi, senior account executive at Rapid Response Monitoring. Considering the range of professional responsibilities, the panel provides a pretty strong snapshot of the industry.

The other Next Gen panel will include “20 under 40” winners from SSN’s sister publication, Security Director News, and that session will be moderated by SDN editor Amy Canfield.

From Delray Beach I’ll be following up with more coverage on the Next Gen panels, while covering several other events in the TechSec program. I’m eager to meet some new folks down at the conference, and eager to hear what those at the vanguard think of the industry’s direction.

Affiliated rolls out InView at Security Summit '13

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Friday, December 6, 2013

The big news emanating out of Affiliated Monitoring’s Security Summit ’13 was (as expected) the roll out of InView, the company’s new video monitoring platform. Compatible with a host of DVR and NVR manufacturers, the suite signals Affiliated's entrance into video verified alarms.

In his welcome speech, Affiliated president Stanley Oppenheim told dealers they can expect to provide services in the coming years that they may not even be thinking about now. And, based on vice president Daniel Oppenheim's keynote, InView may be the platform that tries to bear that philosophy out. The suite is designed to continuously add new functionalities, Oppenheim said, and though he couldn’t disclose all that was in the pipeline, it’s safe to say he expects the offering to be a powerful generator of RMR.

Befitting the introduction of InView, the morning session consisted of a sales strategy panel with Larry Folsom, president of American Video and Security and CEO of I-View Now, and Deanna Blair of Videofied, who describes herself as a “video verification evangelista.” The panel was moderated by Mike Zydor, managing director at Affiliated.

In the discussion, Folsom talked about the positive correlation between sales and demos with video verified alarms. Demos are a crucial step in selling verificatio technology, he said, because there’s no better way to demonstrate its unique value to subscribers. Both Blair and Folsom also stressed the importance of honing in on a specific market, and leading instead of finishing with video verification when pursuing a sale.

After an InView demonstration led by Affiliated’s Aaron Salma and Larry Weintraub, we were led by Ashley Owens, Affiliated territory manager for the south, on a tour of the central station. This proved to be a major highlight of the summit. The place is sleek, and it’s hard to imagine that just a few years ago the venue was a furniture warehouse. The main space for operators and dealer relations personnel is spacious, and still has ample room to accommodate personnel growth in the future. The interior of the facility underwent a wholesale revision. I was told by Jesse Rivest, regional sales manager at Affiliated, that the mezzanine overlooking the much of the central's interior did not even exist when Affiliated bought the facility.

The tour concluded with us given access to a room housing two enormous, bright yellow Caterpillar generators which, should the need arise, allow the facility to run without external power assistance for 24 days straight.

This blog is beginning to stretch the limits of its medium, so I’ll plan to follow up with more highlights from the show in a future post or in the summit roundup. 

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