Barnes Buchanan update

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02/13/2009
I returned late Friday night from the Barnes Buchanan Security Alarm Conference, but haven't had time to blog about it because I've been busy with our March issue which has now been sent to the printers. There will be lots in the March issue about the conference, but here are a few highlights and some fun stuff that won't be in the book. First some background: BB is a conference that brings together the financial people and dealers and integrators for the purpose of talking about what's going on in the market. Presentations delve into market values, operating metrics, growth patterns and predictions, industry trends, new technology--you get the idea. It's co-sponsored by Barnes Associates, an investment banking and consulting firm that specializes inthe security alarm industry and the law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney. It takes place at The Breakers in Palm Beach, and, as one speaker said: "We were all wondering if people were going to come to Palm Beach to The Breakers this year." Guess what? Attendance was up this year. Not by a lot, and some of the faces had changed, but there were about 10 more people there compared to 2008. There was plenty of talk about financial Armegeddon in the markets and sobering signs in the industry, but the outlook from Barnes and others was that things could be a lot worse. Compared to other sectors, the security industry is doing OK. Here's the newswire story I wrote for this week with some more details. In addition to MIke's much-anticipated talk. I feel like "much anticipated" is part of the title, but it's true. The room is packed for that presentation and people are always clambering for the hand-out. Really. An investment guy I was talking to grabbed two of them when they were handed out. There were company presentations including one from George Broady of Kings III of America, who, in an aside, quipped about the benefits, these days of not being a public company. He was quoted over and over during the conference. Daniel Demers, CEO of Reliance Protectron was asked about the Canadian economy and how it compares to the U.S. economy.
The economy in Canada? My vision is that the Canadian banking system is completely different. We read that it’s one of the best the world … Plus there are laws in place to prevent people from accessing property they cannot afford.” With that said, Demers noted that “80 percent of our economy is tied into the United States. I predict within six to nine months it’s going to hit us. We can feel it already.
If you happen to have a 12-year-old son, like I do, you may have heard of the movie Paul Blart Mall Cop. I hadn’t been tempted to see it, but may have to now. Seems one of the movie’s co-writers worked at Doyle Security (in Rochester, NY) in the 1970s when it still had a guard business and that experience was the inspiration for this movie. John Doyle, CEO of Doyle Security told the crowd this during a presentation he made and noted that the movie exceeded his expectations. Joe Nuccio of ASG talked about health care and government being a strong vertical for them, something that others involved in systems integration also said. Ira Riklis of COPS stayed on-message during his presentation: He had this message for lenders: a company's alarm accounts are your collateral. If you have them at a proprietary central station during tough times, that's risky. Wholesale, and more specifically, COPS, is the way to go. John Murphy CEO of Vector and CSAA booster was perhaps even more on-message than Ira. His message: Join the CSAA; it's your responsibility--especially if you're among the top three alarm companies. He said joining CSAA is the smart thing to do. Also, when in Rome, (at a CSAA meeting) do as the other CSAA members do: Network. And another post script: Wholesale monitoring is not necessarily the way to go for everyone. ApxAlarm had a big presence at the event. I counted four executives and there may have been a couple more. More impressive was that Apx had its very own suite, where it held a series of meetings from 9-6 on Thursday. That’s what the sign said outside the large room that everyone had to pass on the way to the Ponce de Leon room where the Barnes Buchanan presentations took place. This post is almost as long as one of Sam's. I'm going to quit here, but I've got more notes from BB for later blogs. Stay tuned.