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physical security

Disaster recovery within 15 minutes at Delta

Duplicate site and drills ensure business continuity
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05/28/2014

ATLANTA—If Delta Air Lines’ Operations Control Center is incapacitated due to a fire, extreme weather or bomb, it can set up within 15 minutes at a duplicate facility already in place nearby. That’s been proven during yearly drills.

Sequoia pumps $57m into SimpliSafe

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In the modern security environment, there’s no shortage of relatively new, tech-savvy companies intent on revising the traditional alarm monitoring business model. That some of these upstart companies, such as Cambridge, Mass.-based SimpliSafe, are now attracting serious outside investment interest is a development that bears watching.

SimpliSafe, which provides wireless security systems and professional monitoring services without long-term contracts, recently partnered with Sequoia, a prominent venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, to raise $57 million. On its website, the company claims to have 100,000 customers.

SimpliSafe describes itself as a “disruptive tech company working to help people live safely,” while touting its in-house maxim that “being safe should be simple.”

Interestingly enough, SimpliSafe doesn’t fit perfectly into the DIY/MIY mold; it’s really more of a hybrid between those types of systems and more traditional security units. A Wall Street Journal blog noted that a SimpliSafe system with sensors and other burglary protection components, along with a hardware package, typically costs about $260. The company also offers monitoring services for $14.99 per month, but doesn’t require customers to purchase them.

In a company blog, Chad Laurans, CEO of SimpliSafe, said the following: “We’ve eliminated unnecessary middlemen, so we can pass the savings onto our customers and pour our resources into product innovation and customer service.”

Down the road, one of the biggest threats to central station RMR could be the proliferation of increasingly sophisticated DIY/MIY systems that unite ease of use and installation with competitive pricing models. As of yet, there’s no clear writing on the wall that says central station RMR will suffer the effects of “disintermediation” at the hands of innovative MIY products. But a $57 million infusion is no small sum for the security industry. It goes without saying that an investment of this scale can be transformative from a product development standpoint.

It will be interesting to see if this pared down version of security and alarm monitoring indeed proves to be disruptive, and if so, how the monitoring industry responds to the challenge. 

UCC names new head of dealer development

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05/27/2014

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—In a move to bolster dealer growth and services, United Central Control, a provider of monitored security services based here, has named Ron Bowden as director of dealer development, according to a news release.

Five Questions: Ken Frank, RFI Communications & Security Systems

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05/27/2014

Ken Frank recently became a senior account executive for RFI Communications & Security Systems, a multisystems integrator based in San Jose, Calif. His background includes 20 years of integration experience as well as nine years as a regional sales manager in access control and video systems. He will work with new and existing customers, assisting in the development of business, as well as new concepts to be applied within a range of vertical markets. Security Systems News caught up with Ken in March and asked him five questions:

SW24 tests national strategy in Manhattan’s Diamond District

‘Hey, you in the red tie,’ SW24 woos customers with Fusion Centre, armed guard capability, retail store and lighthearted ad campaign
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05/21/2014

NEW YORK—It has ambitions to become a national enterprise-level security provider, but SecureWatch 24, a full-service security company based here, also has identified a strong market in its own backyard—the roughly 3,000 high-end jewelry stores in Manhattan’s famous Diamond District.

COPS bringing more information to customers' fingertips

The grouped access enhancement allows subscribers to place up to five accounts on test at once from a mobile phone
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05/21/2014

WILLIAMSTOWN, N.J.—COPS Monitoring is enhancing its mobile subscriber access product—called MPower Me—by introducing “grouped access,” which allows customers to view and manage multiple accounts from their smart phones at once.

Online wireless locks moving forward, but not locked into the market

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05/21/2014

Online wireless locks are making inroads in the security industry, particularly on the perimeters of large buildings with hundreds of doors inside.

CO restaurant death leads to new laws, but can industry do more?

A fire company president calls for digital displays of CO levels on system-connected detectors, but a manufacturer says other safeguards are already in place
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05/21/2014

CENTEREACH, N.Y.—The death of a Long Island, N.Y. restaurant manager from carbon monoxide poisoning has prompted several Long Island communities to pass new CO requirements.

Private equity firm invests in mPERS company

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The PERS market has become somewhat notorious for its lack of acquisition activity, a surprising reality given the demographic trends in America that appear to favor such a market.

Many industry watchers on the private equity side attribute the lack of acquisitions to valuations that have yet to ripen. Some hold that as churn decreases, generating longer average account lives, outside investment is bound to pick up. With greater scale and higher multiples, the acquisitions will follow.

Enter Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners, a Tampa-based private equity firm that recently invested an undisclosed amount in MobileHelp, a mobile PERS provider based in Boca Raton, Fla.,—this according to multiple reports, including an article form the Tampa Business Journal.

Stonehenge summarizes its investment strategy on its website, noting that it typically invests in growth stage businesses and “aims to catalyze rapid growth of companies in up-and-coming markets.” The firm also says its typical investment size is between $1 and $5 million, and that it typically targets companies that have at least $3 million in revenue and are profitable.

Like many investment firms, Stonehenge likes the recurring revenue business model.

No question, then, that MobileHelp fits many of the firm’s ideal investment characteristics. Henry Edmonds, president of The Edmonds Group, an investment bank in St. Louis, said it’s very good news that private equity investors are supporting PERS businesses. He added that it’s unsurprising Stonehenge chose to invest in MobileHelp, which Edmonds characterized as a “leading provider of mobile PERS solutions,” that has distinguished itself in an increasingly competitive market.

“I think we’ll see a lot more of this as people get beyond the early stage and nascent products and once they’ve established a niche in the industry as MobileHelp has done,” Edmonds said. “I think it will be likely that these kinds of companies will attract new capital, because it’s an exciting space.”

He described the PERS and mobile PERS market as “the wild wild west,” in a certain sense, because there are a lot of products currently vying for attention.

“But if you can rise above the fray as MobileHelp has done, it’s a great opportunity because of all the current and expected growth in mobile PERS and mobile security,” Edmonds said.

I’ll be following up on this story in the coming days. I plan to piece together an article about the implications of this investment, bringing together the perspectives of MobileHelp, Stonehenge, and others on the private equity side who’ve been monitoring the PERS valuation market for some time now.

Global Link adds monitoring for Bosch systems

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05/20/2014

TORONTO—Global Link, a monitoring and security services company based here, is now offering monitoring services for Bosch intrusion detection systems out of its two central stations, according to a news release.

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