ESX 2015—The monitoring report

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06/22/2015

Friday, Day 3

Today started on the show floor with a visit to All American Monitoring's booth. There I saw Lisa French, national sales representative, and Laura Hutchinson, national dealer support. I met both of them last month at the NEACC show where they were talking about the company’s MeyeView cameras. At this show they were showcasing the company's new proprietary GSM.

From there I headed to the Dice booth. Much like at ISC West, Cliff Dice, company president CEO, said that there was a good response to the company's hosted central station platform.

At Rapid Response booth I talked with Bryan Bardenett, the company’s senior account manager. He said what the company was talking about most at this year's ESX was the upcoming expansion to its Syracuse facility, adding 35,000 square feet to its current 40,000.

Michael Zydor, Affiliated's managing director, and Daniel Oppenheim, Affiliated's VP, said that one thing that kept appearing in their conversations with dealers on the exhibition floor was the 2g sunset.

From there I briefly stopped by the Acadian Monitoring Services booth and talked with Jason Caldwell, the company’s national sales representative.

Woodie Andrawos, NMC's executive vice president, mentioned the hot topic of DIY. When asked about the combination of DIY systems and professional monitoring, brought up in a Wednesday panel, Andrawos said professional monitoring is a must. "It has to be professionally monitored to be true security."

I stopped by the AvantGuard and Freeus booth again today, this time meeting Troy Iverson, AvantGuard's VP of sales and marketing, and Chris Pyle, Freeus VP of product. During this visit at the booth I heard more about AvantGuard's PERS Summit, to be held in Park City, Utah, this year at the end of September.

When I stopped by COPS Monitoring's booth, I heard more about the company's Mpower app, which David Smith, company said gives the dealer more information on their account activity, such as how each alarm was resolved or concluded.

At Security Central's booth I saw Darryl Bray again; we first at ISC West. Brett Springall, company CEO, talked with me about the company's latest promotion, a $50,000 incentive, up to that amount in free monitoring, for dealers that switch to their central station. Springall said that, when talked about with dealers, the offer got a pretty good response.

Luciana Harrison, Monitronics' Eastern regional sales manager, said that the show looked like it had some slower traffic, but it was still good for meeting dealers. The company is soon moving to its new campus Bre Otero, dealer sales and marketing coordinator for Monitronics, said that the process of moving each department started a week ago and will last about a month. One department is moving at a time to ensure minimum disruption for customers, Otero said, with the central station moving last. "It'll be great to have everybody back in one building," Otero said.

My final floor meeting was a brief discussion with Nik Gagvani, president of CheckVideo, and Ed Troha, company director of marketing, about Security Systems News' new conference, Cloud+.

As the show floor was winding down I headed to the closing keynote luncheon, featuring economist Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics.  He projected that the economy would be pretty good for the next 15 years, with a dip around 2019. Many factors in this good economy had relevance for the security sector, he said; as the home market and mortgage lending rates look better more people will be buying houses. With a notable rise in disposable income, Beaulieu said that this could bring new installation opportunities for security companies. One market in particular he mentioned a growth in was the PERS space, with higher numbers of seniors expected in coming years. This comment made for a nice transition to my next event.

My last educational session of this year's show, "To PERS or Not to PERS," had a more intimate session than most. The speakers took chairs off the stage, turned off the projector and the microphones, and asked attendees to move up to the first row, making the session an impromptu "round table" based in questions and answers. Panelists included Yaniv Amir, president of Essence, Justin Bailey, COO of AvantGuard, and Daniel Oppenheim, VP of Affiliated Monitoring. Joe Miskulin, central station manager for State Farm, served as moderator. The panelists were in agreement that it is better to separate PERS operators from those handling traditional burglary and fire alarms. Special attention need to be given to PERS operators in terms of training and support; central stations should evaluate whether they can handle that in-house, or it would be best left to larger centrals with those capabilities.

Thursday, Day 2

At the start of Day 2, for me, was the panel “False Dispatch Reduction Update.” The panelists were Thomas Waugh, division chief, permit and code enforcement for Baltimore City in the Alarm Reduction Section; Kristine Walker, Alarm Services Manager for Vector Security; Derrick Jackson, dispatch reduction manager for Vector Security; and Maria Malice of Bonds Alarm.

They addressed various forms of reducing false alarms, including Enhanced Call Verification. Waugh and Jackson both spoke on noticing generally lower rates of false alarms in recent years. Malice said that without reducing false alarms, the next step for a city is verified response, “and that is not where any of us want to be,” she said.

I bumped into Jay Stuck today in the hall who introduced me to Steven Paley, president of Rapid Security Solutions based in Sarasota, Fla.

Speaking of chance meetings, I have been talking to SIAC for as long as I’ve been the associate editor at SSN and it was great to finally meet a couple of them face to face; Stan Martin, executive director, and Steve Keefer, national law enforcement liaison.

ESA and CSAA hosted a presentation on deceptive sales practices, featuring Diane Pruitt, recently solicited by a deceptive security company in Baltimore, Derrick Layton, a retired Baltimore police officer and another who was solicited with deceptive sales practices, Jay Hauhn, executive director for CSAA, Marshall Marinace, president of ESA, David Bleisch, Chief Legal Officer for ADT, and Casey Callaway, on the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Pruitt and Layton shared their recent experiences, both emphasizing how persistent the sales people were, even when being pushed out the door or shown a police badge. Hauhn noted that there is a difference between a door-knocking company, which is a fine practice, and the deceptive sales practices used in scams.

From there, I headed to the opening keynote luncheon. Before the keynote, Security Systems News’ Tim Purpura announced its latest conference Cloud+, focusing on cloud technologies and how it can be applied in the security industry. Retired US Army special forces officer Maj. Gen. James Champion then gave his keynote address, sharing some of his experiences with the Green Berets and his observations on leadership. “When people look at an organization, where do they look first? They look at the top,” Champion said; an organization’s leadership lets others know where it is heading. Champion also outlined what his cause, the Green Beret Foundation does; helping Green Berets transition into civilian lifestyles, which is often a slower pace than they are used to. At the conclusion of the keynote, ESA presented a check to Champion and the foundation for $5,000.

I stopped by EMERgency24’s booth to briefly meet Kevin McCarthy, the company's national sales manager. I spoke with him recently over the phone and it was nice to put a face to a voice.

Next to EMERgency24 was Essence’s booth—my next meeting. I saw Daniela Perlmutter, Essence VP and head of marketing, in the previous day’s panel on central stations entering the DIY market, and it was nice to hear a bit more about the DIY offerings that Essence provides. While there I also met with Yaniv Amir, president of Essense USA, Brian Katz, Essence VP of business development, and Ritch Haselden, VP of sales for Essence USA.

It seems like it wasn't too long ago that I was talking to AvantGuard’s Josh Garner about its sister company, Freeus, acquiring the PERS business of Securus. It was great to meet some of each team at ESX this year; Justin Bailey, COO of AvantGuard, Matthew Brandon, Avantguard’s national sales manager, Brook Winzeler, GM for Freeus, and Marc McGrann, National sales manager for Freeus.

I stopped by for a quick chat with Warren Hill, product marketing manager in the Americas for intrusion for Interlogix. He told me a bit about the company’s ZeroWire home automation hub and the UltraSync app that connects it with various devices.

From there I headed to the Telguard booth to meet with Pamela Benke, company director of marketing, and Shawn Welsh, VP of marketing and business development. They both told me a lot about their home automation technologies, HomeControl, as well as HomeControl Flex.

At the Quick Response booth I met Jeff Cohen, company president, Renee Trebec sales manager, and Mark Penwell, Business development and retention manager. Jeff Cohen described the main footprint of the company as being around the Midwest and the Great Lakes. The company has been family owned since 1969.

This show was the first time I’d met or spoken with Alarm Central; proof that I am always reaching out and hearing from more central stations. At the booth I met Jeremy Wyble, GM for Alarm Central, and Jeff Herdman, central station manager. “Our main focus is to allow our dealers to grow with us,” Herdman said. “[If] they grow, we grow.”

I stopped by Bold Technologies' booth for a brief chat with Chuck Speck, the company's president. Back in November, when he and Bold CEO Rod Coles founded White Rabbit Electronics, I spoke with them about the timeline for the company; they hoped to showcase White Rabbit at ISC West, which they did, and distribute by ESX. Updating that, Speck said they are pretty close to that timeline, and hope to be rolling it out soon. 

At UCC’s booth, I met Mark Matlock, and Ron Bowden for the first time. I talked with both of them not too long ago about UCC’s expansions. I also met Mike Lamb, who was in the “Innovative Training Techniques for Central Station Operators.” Lamb and I talked a bit more about Generation Y and the point that UCC hasn’t tried to tailor all aspects of its training to younger applicants. Instead, Lamb noticed that they gravitate more toward the company’s existing principles of creating a peer environment and working collaboratively.

It was great to see Mike Bodnar, Security Partners’ president, again, following my visit to their newest central station in Las Vegas. Security Partners recently hired Tom McNeil as VP of sales; he told me about a back-to-basics approach for the company, working more to develop relationships with customers.

My final floor meeting was with Rick Stevens, response center sales and technical support for International Response Center, based in Rockford, Minn.

Wednesday, Day 1

On my way to today’s first panel, I happened to run into a few people I’d either met or talked to before. First was Keith Jentoft, who I first met at the NEACC expo, near the end of May. Second was Robert Forsythe. It was great to put a face to a voice, after I spoke with him earlier in June about US Monitoring’s new app. Third was Jens Kolind, who I met back at ISC West.

My first panel of the day was “Monitoring for the DIY Market.” Jay Stuck, EXP and chief marketing officer of SecureWatch 24, and Daniela Perlmutter, Essence’s VP of marketing, were speakers. Joe Miskulin, central station manager for State Farm, served as moderator.

State Farm operates a proprietary central station to monitor its buildings across the country. From Miskulin’s perspective, DIY is a great solution for small proprietary centrals, due to the ease of shipping systems for DIY installation, and connection back to the central station. Another point that stood out to me was Stuck’s; that a big issue in professionally monitoring DIY systems would be customer service, knowing how to handle end-user questions. Perlmutter, who identified herself as an “avid” DIY user, said there is definitely value in the DIY market—evidenced by big entrants like Google—and professional security companies have the edge of experience and expertise.

I then went to the Networking and Public Safety Luncheon. At this event SIAC presented its William N. Moody Award, recognizing those with comendable devotion to the the alarm industry, to Ron Rothman whose retirement from Honeywell was announced in January. SIAC then surprised Stan Martin, SIAC's executive director with his own William N. Moody award for his service to SIAC. Also at the luncheon, ESA presented its 2015 Youth Scholarship to Douglas Leonard.

Also at this event, CSAA presented its inagural Public Service Award to Bill Hobgood, project manager for the public safety team in the City of Richmond, Virginia's IT department, for his work to promote the ASAP program.

Baltimore's Deputy Police Commisioner Kevin Davis then gave his key note address, filling in for Anthony Batts, the city's Police Comissoner originally announced as the keynote speaker. He talked about teh recent unrest in Baltimore and the important role security plays in identifying those "people who harmed this city." Davis reassured attendees that Baltimore is "a great city, and a safe city." He also identified body cameras as a security technology that many Baltimore police officers are in favor of. 

It was at the Networking and Public Safety Luncheon that I first heard about ESX 2016, to be held in Fort Worth, Texas, June 8-10.

On my way to the next panel, it was nice to see Michael Zydor, managing director for Affiliated Monitoring.

My second session was “Central Station Technology” with CSAA’s executive director Jay Hauhn, Bosch Security’s marketing manager Chris Larcinese, and IBS’ VP of external partnerships Jens Kolind. A lot of intriguing points were brought up. The cloud looks like it’ll be a big technology in years to come, according to Hauhn. Larcinese said, “In some regard, [cloud is] a logical progression of the technology.” Kolind said that one thing cloud provides central stations with is the benefit of not having to worry about upgrades or other programming matters.

In “Increase RMR with Video Monitoring Services” there were also some really interesting perspectives shared. Larry Folsom, president and CEO of I-View Now, presented a few things to keep in mind when considering video services, like the sales side, having a strategic vision, and doing the best monitoring for it using best practices. Michael Jagger, president of Provident Security and fellow panelist, gave examples of how he video monitoring it into his business. “It’s great business, it’s a great way to grow your RMR: through video,” said Tom Szell, final panelist and SVP for ADS Security.

My last session of the day was “Innovative Training Techniques for Central Station Operators.” Stephen Smith, the national professional development manager of customer care for ADT, shared some of his thoughts on ways to best train current applicants, particularly those of more recent generations. One suggestion Smith gave was to look at how learning styles are changing; between kinesthetic, auditory and visual.

Mike Lamb of UCC was stepping in for Mike Gelvin, UCC’s assistant central station manager, to represent the company on the subject at this panel. Lamb made one point in particular that really has stayed with me. He said that those of Generation Y, born between 1980 and 2000, like to know that there’s value in what they do. This shouldn’t be too hard to impress on them, Lamb said, when you address that the root of security monitoring is protecting the lives and homes of other people.

Today was definitely very educational for me, as a newer person in the industry. I’m really looking forward to hearing more tomorrow and walking the show floor. 

Prior to the show

I'm really looking forward to ESX, held in Baltimore this year. This is where you can find the most recent updates on what I've seen, who I've talked to, and what's cropping up in monitoring from the show. Check back later, as I will be updating the blog daily from the beginning of the show on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll see you there, feel free to email me if you think there is something I should keep an eye out for at the show.

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