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ADT goes 'Undercover'

Company exec poses as entry-level employee on TV reality show to learn inner workings of operation
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03/27/2013

BOCA RATON, Fla.—“James” is a tough former Marine, but he found his first day working at an ADT central station daunting.

ADT sued over burglary at warehouse

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03/22/2013

HARTFORD, Conn.—ADT is being sued by pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, which alleges a security contractor’s carelessness allowed thieves to take millions of dollars in drugs from a Connecticut warehouse, according to a report from UPI.

ADT targeted over early termination fees, unilateral price increases

A federal class-action lawsuit calls the practices 'deceptive and unlawful'
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03/20/2013

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.—It’s standard practice for security companies to charge customers early termination fees, but now a federal class-action lawsuit is targeting ADT for the penalties it imposes for early termination and also its unilateral price increases on monitoring contracts. The practices violate federal and state consumer protection laws, the lawsuit contends.

Mace Security hires industry veteran

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03/08/2013

SOLON, Ohio—Mace Security International has hired Troy Bruce as director of sales, the company announced March 14.

Incentives keep ADT in Denver suburb

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03/06/2013

AURORA, Colo.—ADT plans to expand and create new jobs in this Colorado city after the city council unanimously approved an incentives deal, according to an article from the Aurora Sentinel, a newspaper located in the city.

Proprietary ‘smart home’ systems losing ground to open standards

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03/06/2013

Annual shipments of proprietary wireless technologies for home automation are expected to double by 2017, but proportionately their deployment in “smart homes” will be cut in half as service providers including ADT and AT&T drive a move toward open standards, according to a new report by IMS Research.

AT&T gets into mobile PERS; Puro resigns at CRN Wireless

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mobile PERS is fast becoming the land of the giants.

AT&T is the latest to get into the game, announcing on Feb. 21 that it will provide the wireless network and location services for Libris, a mobile health management system from Seattle-based Numera Inc. The news follows ADT’s announcement in January that it’s getting into mobile PERS by partnering with Toronto-based health tech provider Ideal Life.

The target market for both ventures is similar: active senior citizens looking for an extra measure of safety, and those with chronic conditions who want health monitoring inside and outside the home. Libris delivers by integrating biometric readings, two-way mobile voice, automated fall detection and location tracking.

“Incorporating continuous monitoring of an individual’s activity, location and important health measurements, [Libris] breaks new ground in bringing together personal safety and telehealth in a mobile device,” said Chris Penrose, senior vice president of emerging devices for AT&T, in a prepared statement.  

While the competition for remote patient monitoring is getting more intense, there’s probably a lot of room left in the sandbox for players of all sizes. The telecare and telehealth market is expected to exceed $1 billion by 2016 and grow to $6 billion by 2020, according to Numera.

Puro resigns at CRN Wireless: In other PERS-related news, e3 Investment Partners announced this week that Nicholas Puro has resigned as CEO of CRN Wireless. He will focus on other opportunities in network services, monitoring and security, according to an e3IP news release.

“I am particularly interested in network services and wireless monitoring in the medical and pharmaceutical field,” said Puro, who is listed on LinkedIn as managing director of e3IP. “There are vast opportunities for new products and services ranging from fully mobile personal emergency response systems to wireless monitoring of pharmaceuticals through the cold chain.”

Earlier this month, CRN Wireless launched two 4G cellular alarm communicators through its AlarmPath division.

ADT Pulse adds remote door locks

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02/20/2013

BOCA RATON, Fla.—ADT Pulse customers will now be able to lock or unlock doors in their home using tablets, smartphones or desktop computers, the company announced Feb. 20. The ADT Corp.

Martha talks to Mike Barnes: RMR growth rate, other metrics revealed

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I had a chance today to talk to Mike Barnes about last week's Barnes Buchanan Conference. Below are some highlights of our conversation.

Interested in more insight on RMR and related growth? Check out the April issue of SSN for the 3rd annual Special Report of the SSN/Barnes Associates Wholesale Monitoring study. The study will also be available online on www.securitysystemsnews.com, and featured in a future Thursday morning newswire

The SSN/Barnes Associates Wholesale Monitoring study tracks the number of accounts monitored by the wholesale monitoring segment. As Barnes says, "There has always been great clarity on the performance of the top players, which on a combined basis have an approximate 51 percent market share." The challenge has always been to determine what is happening with the many thousands of smaller alarm companies that comprise the other half of the industry—this survey sheds light on that question. This year the response rate was even greater, thanks in part to the CSAA Contract Monitoring Council, which is a new co-sponsor of the survey.

Martha: What's the Barnes outlook for 2013?

Mike: We are bullish on 2013.  Even with the economy still sputtering and some remaining challenges in the commercial segment, I think 2013 is likely to be better than most people are predicting.
 
Martha: What highlights can you share about the categories you generally hit on: growth, structure, operating metrics, market values?

Mike: The big surprise for 2012 was how much the industry grew RMR and related revenues. Our research indicates that these revenues grew by an astounding 8 percent. Quite a bit higher than expected. Overall industry revenues were flat, due to the decline in installation revenues. That is, installation revenues were down and RMR was up. This dynamic appears to be a combination of price shifting, where lower average-installation fees are exchanged for higher ongoing service charges, and continued shrinking revenues in the large commercial systems segment.

Martha: What was the most surprising metric this year?

Mike: By far the growth in industry RMR was the surprise metric. Additionally, it appears that this growth had a nice balance, with about half coming from higher average RMR per system, and the other half from a net increase in the number of systems.
 
Martha: Your bubble charts are always an interesting part of your Industry and Market Overview presentation. I heard there are now green bubbles on the bubble chart? What can you tell me about that? What new information do the new greeen bubbles bring to light?

Mike: Our bubble charts are a great way to graphically view acquisition activity. Each bubble denotes a transaction on a time-and-valuation multiple basis, with the size of the bubble indicating the amount of RMR involved. Basically you see three variables in a simple graphic. HIstorically, we have also added a fourth variable by shading the bubbles one of two colors to indicate the type of buyer, either an existing industry player or a new player buying a platform company. This illustrates how active each type of buyer is, and highlights the fact that new players entering the industry typically pay higher relative prices due to a combination of their selecting the better performers and paying a premium for their highly selective requirements. 

This year we introduced a third color (green) which reflected transactions where only accounts were sold. Take the recent sale of a block of accounts by Pinnacle to Monitronics: As one would expect, the pattern becomes clear that accounts and their associated RMR have a finite value and trade within a relatively tight range, which is, of course, supported by the activity in the dealer program market. It also highlights that fact that when the market trades security alarm companies above this range, it is typically because of the account-origination capability. That is, the ability of the company to originate new customer accounts and related RMR at a cost and volume that is accretive to value. 

It is often overlooked that when a company trades for a high multiple, say 45 times RMR, this is usually not an indication that the RMR sold was worth that amount.  Rather, it is probably the case that the existing account base was valued at something in the 30s as a multiple of RMR, and the difference is predominantly reflecting the value of the account generation engine. This helps bring better clarity to the valuations realized by Vivint and other higher growth companies, and ultimately help buyers and sellers have a more productive conversation when referencing market transactions in their negotiations.
 
Martha: Other than the "must attend" Barnes' Industry and Market Overview, were there any notable educational sessions or talks?

Mike: We were extremely proud of this year’s conference, both because we had both the right attendees and great content.  Our company presentations provided great insight into several players that are using new and innovative business models. Protect America is a great example. They are using a “direct to consumer” model that allows them to close the sale over the phone or internet, and to ship pre-programed and configured systems which are then installed by the consumer.  It was amazing to hear how successful and large the company has become. Our C-Suite Roundtable was also notable with 4 of the top executives of major companies, including ADT, discussing trends and issues associated with the industry. These segments, combined with ones focusing exclusively on the capital markets and the largest deals that occurred in 2012…and, of course our industry overview…really gave our attendees a great conference.

Deadly shooting follows low-priority alarm in Colorado Springs

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

It was what the Colorado Springs Police Department calls a Priority Three alarm: A minor incident “requiring a response that is dispatched based on the availability of patrol units.” What followed was the nightmare scenario dreaded by police, alarm companies and alarm users alike.

According to CSPD spokeswoman Barbara Miller, a security alarm was triggered at the home of David Dunlap and Whitney Butler at 11:10 a.m. on Jan. 14. The alarm company, ADT, then called Dunlap’s cellphone and left a message for him to call back. At 11:18, ADT called police to notify them about the alarm.

Based on department policy to reduce the burden of false alarms in the city, officers were not dispatched.

“We had no units available,” Miller told Security Systems News. “We do priority calls. … If there is a ‘crime in progress’ call [with a life-threatening situation], those are first. If it’s a human-activated alarm or a panic alarm, that’s also a high priority. We would respond immediately to that.”

At 11:25, Dunlap returned ADT’s call and was informed about the alarm, but he did not call police, Miller said. Thirty-five minutes later, CSPD responded to a report of shots fired at the couple’s Bassett Drive address. Police say Dunlap and Whitney were killed as they entered their home by 17-year-old Macyo January, who was arrested three days later and charged with first-degree murder.

Miller said the incident calls attention to a common and potentially dangerous oversight by alarm users: If an alarm is activated, they should not assume there will be an immediate response from law enforcement.

“Many times, the alarm company will notify the owner that their house alarm has been activated. If that person returns to his or her home to check on the alarm, they must be extremely cautious and vigilant,” she said. “For instance, if they notice a front door that might be slightly opened or a broken window, or see a suspicious vehicle parked outside their home, we would strongly recommend that they call 911 so an officer can check for a possible burglary in progress or burglary that just occurred.”

Miller said that Colorado Springs police will respond to any activation when there is evidence that a crime has been committed—“i.e., a responsible party is on scene and has told the alarm company there is a broken window at the residence or business. Another example would be an alarm service indicates they have video surveillance inside of the business and they can see someone inside of the location.”

Ron Walters, director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, told SSN that virtually all police agencies, even those with scaled-back response policies, handle human-activated alarms “at a fairly high priority.” That goes for video intrusion alarms as well, but as Walters pointed out, there is only so much a security company can do.

“Alarms are designed as a deterrent and cannot stop a crime from happening,” he said. “The best deterrent remains the threat of response by a well-trained and armed police official.”

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