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How I use my system: Talking panels and keypads with Dan Krumme of Cam-Dex

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08/14/2013

Dan Krumme, branch operations manager at the Cam-Dex Security Corp. office in St. Louis, is a fourth-generation employee at the company, a Security-Net partner. “I grew up in the industry,” he said.

Observations on a surveillance camera discussion forum

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Friday, August 9, 2013

A topic surfaced today on the Security Industry Group’s LinkedIn forum that piqued my interest at first on a particular level, but then on a broader, more general one.

The topic was initiated by a link to an instructional sequence relating how some ne’er-do-well can erect homemade spray paint contraptions to blot out hard-to-reach surveillance cameras, rendering them ineffective. The device appears laughably crude, but that’s not to say it couldn’t achieve its ends. Assembling it requires a hodgepodge of junk, including but not limited to a tree pruner, a bicycle brake bar and a wine bottle opener.

The link was clearly offered as a launching pad for discussion about a potential industry-related problem. It proved instead to be the source of some acrimony. The respondent who posted the link was charged by critics with being irresponsible for disseminating the information and, by extension, aiding the hooligans who might be inclined to undertake in the destruction of surveillance property.

While I might not agree with the criticism, I can see the rationale. The harm in taking part in the transfer of this kind information, so the reasoning goes, ultimately outweighs the good that might result from an open discussion about it. But here’s the thing about the Internet: The information’s already out there. It’s already totally accessible to whomever cares to find it. Another respondent, defending the original poster, correctly pointed this out.

The web is an ambiguous medium. It has the capacity to facilitate the transfer of information both good and bad. But there’s also some danger in merely dismissing a problem on the grounds that doing the opposite—confronting it head-on—could somehow help siphon the information to the wrong people. Speaking only in whispers about a problem could prove even more counterproductive.

At its core the web is a medium that wants to be open, not closed. It wants to include, share, inform, engage, improve, discuss, inquire. From a professional standpoint, industry-based forums like the many on LinkedIn can be a valuable stage for these kinds of discussions. If someone in the industry identifies a problem or vulnerability, what simpler or faster way to get a broad industry perspective on that topic than by crowdsourcing other professionals online? 

Hackett Security acquires Avery Security

Integrator actively seeking acquisitions in certain strategically diverse locations
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08/07/2013

ST. LOUIS—Hackett Security’s acquisition of Avery Security will bring a number of retail customers likely to be interested in Hackett’s video monitoring and other services, according to Michael Hackett, CEO and president of Hackett Security.

Ex-NYC police and fire commissioner to keynote CSAA conference

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08/07/2013

VIENNA, Va.—Howard Safir, former police and fire commissioner of New York City under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, will keynote the 2013 Central Station Alarm Association International Annual Meeting, to be held Oct.

Yesterday is gone, tomorrow is here: Notes from the webinar

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Earlier today I listened in on a technology webinar, hosted by Ken Kirschenbaum, an industry attorney, that featured several voices both in the industry and in intersecting fields. Many of the speakers are at the forefront of technological innovation as it pertains to the central station space, so naturally the discussion dealt primarily with how to stay competitive by leveraging new technology that can improve retention and carve out new sources of RMR.

A recurring theme of the talk, unsurprisingly, was the emergence of the cableco and telecom giants, and what the competitive implications are with respect to their entry.

In 10-minute intervals, panelists presented commentary on a range of products and services. Some were pretty compelling, not only from a novelty standpoint, but also because many of the products seem like they could have some allure for monitoring companies and their distributors.

One of the more non-traditional services was presented by John Hoffe, president and CEO of Linked24, a product suite with several applications for mobile devices. Designed for dealers, the service features a GPS locator which, depending on the mobile device, can report an updated location of a loved one every three minutes. But that may actually be the company’s least buzzworthy product.

Another offering from Linked24 is its “Safe Text” service, which monitors incoming and outgoing messages for anything untoward, such as “inappropriate language and acronyms,” according to the website. If it detects any one of more than 750 pre-selected words, the text is uploaded to a customer portal for review. It’s a helicopter parent’s dream, and, brave new world though it is, it’s tough to imagine this product won’t find a home somewhere. But we’ll have to wait and see if that home will be among the dealer networks of wholesale monitoring companies.  

That’s not all. There’s also an “Emergency Shake” product that allows a customer in dire straits to open a Linked24 application then shake or drop their phone, whereupon a camera is engaged to shoot a 10-second video clip. The administrator of the account is then automatically notified.

Some of these offerings may come across as a bit intense from a personal privacy position, but there’s no question some have the potential to thwart an unforeseen problem, particularly the phone shake feature. And, with the mobile surge in full swing, it’s not unrealistic to imagine dealers giving strong consideration to products of this ilk to help boost their RMR.

It dawned on me just now that I’ve alluded to one speaker thus far, despite the fact there were several more who offered insight and product commentary that were more than worthy of mention. In my next blog or two, I’ll be sure to highlight the most resonant points offered by some of the other knowledgeable panelists. Stay tuned...

Florida company succeeds with unique business model

Just one branch of Crime Prevention Security Systems is a Guardian dealer while the company’s main office operates independently
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07/31/2013

GAINESVILLE, Fla.—Founded by a microbiologist and a special education teacher, Crime Prevention Security Systems wasn’t your typical security company when it began 38 years ago and it still stands out from others today.

Doing your due diligence

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07/17/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—When a bank considers making a loan to a security company it goes through a standard due diligence process, so if you’re a security company looking to acquire a competitor, “you should look for the same things that we look for in your business,” according to Jennifer Holloway, managing director in the Security Industry Group at The PrivateBank.

New options driving connected home growth

Home safety products top homeowners’ wish list of additional features
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07/17/2013

DALLAS—A survey of consumers by Parks Associates found that the more features homeowners have in a home control system, the more likely they are to recommend the system to family and friends.

Valenteen returns to The Protection Bureau

Despite a serious ailment and medical procedure, Wanda Valenteen’s comeback to The Protection Bureau is complete
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07/17/2013

EXTON, Pa.—She’s back. A few things might have changed during Wanda Valenteen’s two-year hiatus from the monitoring world, but the evolution of the industry, no matter how difficult to stay abreast of, is nothing compared to her experiences away from the professional sphere.

Silent Knight offers MNS, CO detection training

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07/15/2013

NORTHFORD, Conn.—Silent Knight by Honeywell recently announced that its nationwide series of fire alarm training courses has been expanded to cover IntelliKnight’s mass notification and carbon monoxide detection capabilities.

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