Interface expands reach with LPM

National integrator adds IP networking capabilities
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Saturday, September 1, 2007

ST. LOUIS--Interface Security Systems, one of the largest security system installers in the United States, announced July 19 the acquisition of Loss Prevention Management, Inc., a network services and IP integration firm with roots in the security industry. Terms of the deal were not released, but the Albuquerque, N.M.-based LPM will bring 15 employees, many of them Cisco- and Microsoft-certified engineers, while the company's Salt Lake City-based networking operations center will be folded into Interface's UL-listed, Five Diamond central station here.
Perhaps the biggest prize LPM brings is a nationwide high-speed IP aggregation network that can deliver secure Internet protocol applications, such as credit authorization, video surveillance and IP telephony, without forcing customers to put their information on the public Internet.
"We've made the investment with Cisco hardware," said former LPM chief executive officer Robert Aranda, now president of the LPM division of Interface, "to literally aggregate regional operating companies and competitive local exchange carriers anywhere in the country back to a single managed service and deliver the service privately, not on the public Internet."
"Because our managed network is secured," emphasized Michael Shaw, Interface chief executive officer, "we know the status of every subscriber's facility, and we can manage it from edge-to-edge, and therefore it becomes a secured means of transmitting VoIP, or video, or whatever is needed. That's the distinguishing factor: It's managed 24/7." Otherwise, Shaw said, subscribers would have no assurance of total security, as the public Internet is open to all manner of outside influences.
"The typical telco provider," said Aranda, "if you need Internet access, they'll just nail it up and walk away from you. We'll apply rules, filtering, virus checking, ward off all of those bad things that happen on the network. It is an IP-managed service."
This allows Interface, already a large national player in residential and commercial installation, to dive headfirst into IP security systems and a number of managed services, like remote guarding or remote video management, that were previously beyond their capabilities.
"Interface has historically been a security integrator," said Shaw, "and LPM has been a services and IP integrator," though it grew out of a Sonitrol affiliation that goes back nearly 20 years. "Given this combination that's taken place, and bringing our resources together, we're not just a security systems company anymore, and we're not a systems integrator as the industry has traditionally looked at it ... We're brainstorming on what we want to call ourselves now. Certainly we are now a multi-faceted systems company and we run the gamut from installing alarm systems in homes and commercial retail establishments, but certainly the emphasis going forward will be on the multi-technology IP world that's emerging."
Though Aranda and Shaw had a long-standing relationship that started with partnership discussions, one factor that drove the timing of the acquisition was a pair of contracts LPM recently landed with a major restaurateur and a major gaming company that required a national footprint. Thus, Shaw said hospitality and gaming will be prime verticals going forward: "When you consider the number of cameras that will need to be converted from analog to digital, we think there will be hundreds of millions of dollars that will be invested to bring all of those systems up to current digital technology and there's a limited number of players in that space. We fully expect to capture our fair share of that significant growth market."