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Guardian increases tech efficiency with mobile app

MASmobile Technician means the company’s techs spend less time on the phone, more with customers
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05/14/2014

WARRENDALE, Pa.—A new mobile app that Guardian Protection Services’ technicians are using has dramatically streamlined their work schedules, giving them more time to devote to customers, according to Randy Tecza, Guardian VP of operations.

Emergency messaging explained

New guidelines to help installers and end users in all 'rapid onset events'
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05/13/2014

QUINCY, Mass.—Emergency communication systems (ECS) were developed because a fire alarm alone is not always sufficient to tell building occupants what to do in case of an emergency. But what exactly should an ECS message say? There have been no guidelines for that—until now.

Once IR spins off security division, will others follow?

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Once IR spins off its security division, will others follow? Poking around some investor conference info recently, I came across this tidbit on Seeking Alpha

“Stanley Black & Decker Chairman John Lundgren made an interesting revelation during his chat at the Electrical Products Group Conference yesterday. [The conference took place in late May]. The exec says the company will keep an eye on the spinoff from Ingersoll Rand of its security business to see if a similar move would make sense for SWK with its security business. On strategy: "Because if we are convinced a year or two years from now that we have got a 12x EBITDA business trapped in a 7 or 8x business, we will make it bigger."

Through my Stanley contacts, I asked Brett D. Bontrager, SVP and Group Executive, Stanley Security Solutions, for further comment on Lundgren’s statement. Bontrager declined comment saying that there was nothing more to say beyond what John Lundgren stated.

You may recall that Ingersoll Rand announced in December that it would spin off its security products business.  Here’s my story. The IR security business—which includes brands such as Schlage locks and other electronic and biometric access control products—will be a $2 billion company once it is spun off. The remaining IR business will be a $12 billion business.

Following the IR spinoff announcement, reports, such as this one from Bloomberg, speculated that the new standalone IR security company will present an acquisition target. This report said potential acquirers include Stanley Black & Decker (to add to its security businesses and further diversify from its power tools), Tyco (might be interested in IR’s commercial products but not its resi security products) and UTC. The report also notes that IR, which is headquartered in Swords, Ireland, presents certain tax advantages.

The IR spinoff was prompted by activist shareholder Nelson Peltz, whose Trian Fund Management owns about 7.3 percent of IR stock.

During ISC West, IR announced that Patrick Shannon will serve as senior VP and CFO of the new security spinoff and Barbara Santoro will serve as SVP and general counsel. They will report to the CEO, who has yet to be named.

Day 3 and done ISCWest 2013

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Monday, April 15, 2013

On Friday, April 12, Day 3 of ISC West, many were already heading to McCarren, but I was heading back to the show floor. And this year, though the crowd had thinned considerably, so were a lot of other folks.

Very decent crowd for Friday of ISC West.

While I had early rallies on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I didn’t have any official appointments until 10 a.m. on Friday. My first was with IMS/IHS’s Niall Jenkins. We caught up on a few things including plans for TechSec 2014. Yes, plans are underway, and Amy and I have some great ideas—you’ll hear all about them in September.

Next was a meeting with Matt Barnette of AMAG. I was supposed to go to the AMAG A&E and integrators’ event in March. Unfortunately, lengthy flight delays derailed that plan—so I spent some time catching up on some news announced at that event. AMAG is all excited about their new Symmetry SR series retrofit controllers, which can be used to convert competitor’s legacy systems to AMAG’s Symmetry solution. “Our engineers used our existing hardware platform and changed the form factor so it’s a direct pin for pin [upgrade] solution for traditional Casi Rusco solution,” Barnette said.

A couple of years ago, UTC (parent company of Casi Rusco) announced that it would end-of-life its Secure Perfect and Picture Perfect solutions and would transition those customers to a product called Facility Commander. AMAG considers this change in UTC’s roadmap as an opportunity to get those UTC (Casi Rusco) customers to instead transition to AMAG.

Back at the video studio, I did two more ssnTVnews interviews, one with Rob Hile, CEO of IFSS, an independent integrator in Florida and one with Levy Acs of American Integrated Security Group.

Hile and I talked about IFSS’s successful migration to a services-based model, and Acs and I did a follow-up interview on this story I wrote last month about his ambitious growth plans.

The rest of Friday was spent walking the show floor and hanging around the ssnTVnews studio chatting with folks who stopped by.

What was the theme of ISCWest 2013? There was continued talk about mobility and cloud. More manufacturers are figuring out how to offer the two and integrators are starting to see possibilities for making money offering the same. The big theme it seems to me, however, was optimism. There was a vibe at this show I haven’t sensed in many years and, frankly, it’s not what I was expecting after the not-so-crowded ASIS show last fall.

I heard the same from nearly everyone I spoke to. Good to see; nice to be a part of.

AES launches first phase of Interactive Security Services

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01/23/2013

PEABODY, Mass.—AES-IntelliNet, a provider of radio networks to the fire and security industry, is launching the first phase of its new Interactive Security Services, according to a company statement.

Standards bodies making progress

News from SIA, PSIA and ONVIF speak of strides being made
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06/21/2011

YARMOUTH, Maine—The security industry bodies that have stepped forward to advocate for a standardized future for physical security have all made moves and issued press releases recently that tout progress being made. SIA, PSIA and ONVIF all say that in the short time since ISC West, more and more compliant products have been released and have been demonstrated to work seamlessly together.

SSN’s top 10 stories of 2010

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12/22/2010

YARMOUTH, Maine—As 2010 draws to a close the editors at Security Systems News take a look back and see what the most read stories of the year were. What was making the news? What were you most interested in knowing?
Below is a non-sequential, categorized rundown of the top 10 most read stories on our site from Jan. 1 to Dec. 11, followed by a linked top 10 list.

UTC to layoff 1,500 through 2011

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I’m still looking for details, but reports are out that UTC has plans to layoff 1,500 through the end of 2011, after laying off 900 already in 2010.

This isn’t unexpected, though. In March 2009, we reported that there were plans to lay off as many as 11,500 through 2009, so this is likely just the finishing up of that restructuring, which didn’t even include GE Security at the time.

And the likelihood that these will be in fire and security? I’ve got a call in on that.

Regardless, it may be that the end is in site for the layoffs as a whole. The numbers UTC reported this week were relatively good: profits up 14 percent, revenues up five percent. Looks like those layoffs increased operating margin, which is what Wall Street wants to see.

And things are a hell of a lot better than last year:

A year ago, UTC reported a 23 percent drop in second-quarter profits on a 17 percent fall in revenues, and a 20 percent decline in earnings per share.

Which has the CFO saying there are signs the worst is behind us:

Speaking to Wall Street analysts in a call Wednesday morning, Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes cited higher order rates for a variety of UTC goods among the “signs that the worst is behind us,” even if the economic forecast remains hard to read.

That’s not exactly a thrilling endorsement of the economy as a whole, though, is it?

And there’s other evidence, too, that Fire & Security might be spared the layoffs, since that segment is performing well:

Operating profits grew at all six divisions, more than tripling at the Fire & Security division, thanks to acquisitions. That division makes fire suppression equipment, alarms and access controls.

Edit: Digging a little deeper into the most recent SEC filings, it looks like for the first six months of 2010 UTC Fire & Security recorded $29 million in restructuring charges, or 19 percent of the overall charges. If you extrapolate that to the layoffs, which are part of those charges, you could figure that Fire & Security also experienced 19 percent of those 900 layoffs, which is about 170 people.

Going forward, they expect Fire & Security to experience $15 million more in restructuring, which is 27 percent of the $55 million more in restructuring the company has planned. So 27 percent of the 1,500 jobs that go with that restructuring is 405 or so, which seems like a reasonable estimate based on the available numbers.

And, yes, I can see why some people would question layoffs when Fire & Security went from $148 million in operating profits to $291 million in operating profits for the first half of 2010. Seems like they’re doing alright. But any acquisition like this is going to come with redundancy and pieces the company just doesn’t want.

Further, it’s true that, if you back out the acquisition, UTC F&S did experience “organic revenue contraction,” in the second quarter of 2010. So it’s still not all roses and daisies over there.