ISC West monitoring news


I got to start the last day at the show by talking on camera with Bart Didden, president of the newly founded company SDN, Security Dealer Network. Didden, who created SDN as a separate entity to help dealers wanting the DragonFly DIY offering, said that discussions went well with dealers at the show. Dealers were able to sign up at ISC West.

My next video interview was with Mike Zydor, managing director for Affiliated Monitoring. It was nice to talk more about the company’s upcoming conference, Catalyst, focused on the sales and marketing of PERS devices. Specifically he mentioned the recently announced keynote speaker, former MLB player and manger Bobby Valentine.

George Fletcher, advisory board member for Mission 500, stopped by the media stage. It was nice talking with him about Thursday’s 5k/2k.

Back on the show floor, I briefly met with Alarm Monitoring Services’ CFO, Dera Jolet. I also caught up with Jeff Cohen, president of Quick Response, a monitoring center based in Cleveland.

Monitoring America Alarm Co-op was anew company for me this year. It was nice talking to president Ron Wies and vice president Jason Campbell about the unique structure of a co-op wholesale central station, where each dealer is a part owner in the company.

Cliff Dice, CEO of Dice, told me that the company has had a lot of conversations about it’s alarm industry signaling network, which handles alarms from POTS lines. The company is also preparing for its users group conference later this month in Michigan.

I met with Garner of Freeus yesterday just off the show floor, but was gladly able to stop by the company’s booth today to hear about how the shows been from GM Brock Winzeler and national sales manager Marc McGrann. When showcasing the new Belle mPERS device, they said that the month-long battery life really sets the solution apart from other mPERS offerings.

At Acadian Monitoring Services’ booth I met with director of operations Brandon Niles, and president Blane Comeaux. Niles and I talked about the company’s ESOP program, and, by extension, SSN’s latest news poll on ESOP in the security business. He said that employees have more stake in the business being part-owners. Niles also said that video monitoring is a big trend for the company.

Larry Folsom and I both found it interesting how out meeting was the last meeting on the show floor for both of us, just as it had been at last year’s ISC West. I also met with other members of the team: Nicola Oakie and Jennifer Tagle.


It was great to catch up with so many folks at this years show and hear about the wide range of topics, from mPERS to Cybersecurity.

Thursday, April 7

Just as I had expected, getting out and off the Vegas strip for the Security 2k/5k was a great start to the morning. The fresh air and being able to stretch my legs—before a good amount of walking the show floor—was really nice.

My first scheduled meeting of the day was with COPS Monitoring’s Jim McMullen, company president and COO, and David Smith, COPS director of marketing and communications. A big topic of the day was UCC’s acquisition by COPS’ parent company Lydia Security Monitoring. McMullen was telling me about how the companies would work together, referring dealers they met to the monitoring center that would better fit their needs, whether it is UCC or COPS. McMullen said that Lydia would also be open to expanding more with future acquisitions.

From there I went to the other side of the show floor to see SentryNet. It was nice seeing David Avritt—company president—again, and meeting Alain Jamet, SentryNet VP of operations, and Julie Beach, vice president, Americas sales, software and controls for Stanley Security. Avritt said that SentryNet’s acquisition by Stanley has been a big topic for the company at the show. The company will not change in any large way, he said—it would remain focused on the independent dealer, and have the “same faces.”

When I stopped by UCC’s booth, and met with president Teresa Gonzalez and SVP Mark Matlock, I heard similar things about the recent acquisition as when I talked with COPS. Most similarly the execs at UCC echoed McMullen's statement that dealers would be referred to one or another as best fit them. “Our goal is not to compete with each other, it’s actually to complement,” Gonzalez told me.

Bold Technologies was talking a lot about its cloud offering at this year’s ISC West, according to Rod Coles, Bold’s CEO. He said that the company is focused on the next version of its central station automation platform, to be called Neo, which should be available by the end of the second quarter, in time for Bold’s Users Group Conference, he said.

Coles and I walked from the Bold Technologies booth down the aisle to White Rabbit Electronics space on the show floor. Coles, also CEO of White Rabbit, said the company is awaiting final steps of approval before beginning full production.

I then got to catch up with All American Monitoring. Tammy Zappa, the company’s manager, talked with me about how All American is seeking further certifications. While the central station is already UL-listed and CSAA Five Diamond certified, it is looking into FM and ETL certifications as well, Zappa said. “That adds legitimacy to who we are and what we do,” she said. It was good to see Bob Keefe, All American’s president, while I was at the booth as well.

Walking up to MKS’ booth, things looked a little different than last year. Many of the team members had stethoscopes around their necks, there were MKS branded prescription pads on the desks along with test tubes filled with mints. President Victoria Ferro explained to me that it's the new theme for this year: MKS has the “cure” for common hassles for central stations, such as manual data entry, lacking automation, and long operator training.

At Monitronics’ booth, I met with Peter Tonti, VP of product management, Frank Guido, CMO, and Renee Mallonee, marketing manager. We chatted a bit about the company’s recently restarted dealer council. The council’s most recent meeting was held on Tuesday, addressing topics like increased demand for home surveillance, including multiple cameras and NVRs. Montironics also recently announced a new package for the show: a $10,000 value for dealers signing on between now and June 1. Dealers signing up with the company in that time get benefits like four eContract tablets, 20 free customer leads, and marketing materials.

This is the second year that CentraLarm has had a booth at the show, and it was great to stop by and meet so many members of the team: Scott Mailhot, VP of operations, Julie Robillard, western regional sales director, Trudy McManus, regional account manager, and Stephanie Helmig, vice president of finance.

One of the big topics when I met with EMERgency24 last year was its incident command and control system, which works with BluePoint Alert Solutions. Patrick Devereaux, SVP at EMERgency 24, said the technology’s also one of the biggest topics for the company this year, with the difference being that more people have heard of the technology and sought out E24, Devereaux said. I also got the chance to catch up with Kevin McCarthy, national sales manager, andBernie Ramos, director of operations. 

Wednesday, April 6

My day started with attending the keynote presentation “Lights! Camera! Action! How Paramount Pictures delivers enhanced safety and global security while driving operational efficiency and sustainable ROI.” The panel consisted of three from the studio, Scott Phemister, executive director of global risk and crisis management, Jeff Reider, senior analyst for global risk and crisis management, and Steve Tiffany, director, studio systems, and moderated by SSN’s Martha Entwistle.

The panel offered five pieces of advice: 1. Examine response methodology, i.e. what the interface looks like, and, for Paramount, this included the point that operators shouldn't have to leave the main interface to respond to alarms. 2. Do your homework; for Paramount this meant looking at each of the more than 150 buildings on the company’s campus and uploading site plans. 3. Configure the system for an event driven response. Reider said you’ve got to know your desired outcome, what priority to assign each alarm, and who should handle each situation. 4. Preparing to go live, such as with fine-tuned operator training. 5. Maintain the system, including system audits and looking to newer better technologies that would fit.

From there I went to my first meeting on the show floor: hearing from Security Partners’ director of product services Andy Stadler. He said it’s good to reach the one-year anniversary for the company’s Las Vegas facility, which it cut the ribbon on just before last year’s ISC West.

I left the show floor to meet in a side room with AvantGuard and Freeus CEO Josh Garner. When asked about the state of the PERS/mPERS industry in the years to come, Garner said, “We’re betting pretty big on mobile.” He doesn't think the market will become entirely mPERS, but does expect a shift, where most solutions will be mPERS within the next five years—possibly sooner.

At a press event for Assa Abloy, I heard about some of the company’s latest solutions. Two points that stood out to me where key fobs that have back-and-forth exchanges with the access control panel, updating access privileges by the day, and “greener” solutions like solar panels paired with outdoor electronic locks.

At IBS’ booth I caught up with Jens Kolind, who told me more about the company’s personal safety app and a new version that’s designed for use on first dates.

It was nice to meet Tim Smokoff, group VP, health and wellness, for Nortek, in person. We had spoken recently on Numera’s latest PERS solution, the Numera Home Safety Hub. Outside of personal monitoring, Smokoff pointed to vice interaction as a big trend for the industry, possibly leading to the demise of the app, “The more you do with voice, the less you do with apps.

I conducted two video interviews today, both of which went really well. I got to meet one of our “20 under 40” Class of 2015 award winners, Nicole Swartwout, who recently launched an mPERS company, CallSafe. Having come from a security background, previously with integration company CallTeks, she said that it’s a much different ISC West experience coming with a PERS/mPERS focus.

My second interview was with Jay Hauhn. We chatted about CSAA and the latest developments with the ASAP to PSAP program. Hauhn said that there’s been progress with getting PSAPs to come on line after ADT announced its participation last year. There are about 20 PSAPs live now, he said, and another 75 working on going live with it. I also saw Elizabeth Lasko, CSAA met Becky Lane, both of whom had come to watch the interview.

Back on the show floor, I visited with Steve Schmit from UL he said that the recently announced Cybersecurity Assurance Program has come up a few of the company’s conversations on this first show floor day.

I stopped by Rapid Response Monitoring’s booth to speak with Christopher Denniston, the company's marketing and communications manager, about the latest from the company. One recent initiative for the company: a new website, which launched in the past week according to Denniston. When asked what were big topics for the monitoring industry, he said, “Communication paths and dealers looking for a long term solution" saying that 3G may have a sunset as early as 2020.

From there I went and met some of the team from CMS, including Tony Wilson, president of CMS, Jennifer Marshall, company marketing and communications manager, and Rose Sabourin, operations support manager. 

Even though my feet are a little sore from this first day, I’m still looking forward to tomorrow’s Security 5k/2k with Mission 500, bright and early. Not a bad way to start the morning—fresh air and stretching my legs off of the strip.

Tuesday, April 5

I made it safely in Las Vegas—luckily, it was a smooth trip all the way from Maine. Gearing up for the show, I'm looking forward to catching up with many different companies on the show floor. It was nice to kick off the show with a good evening with the folks at Altronix, in the Wynn.

Leading up to the show, it seems like quite a few of the companies exhibiting have had a lot to talk about.

UL just released its new Cybersecurity Assurance Program, a new standard that can set companies apart in terms of the safety of their products.

Monitronics recently announced a partnership with Qolsys, bringing the Qolsys line of equipment to the monitoring company's dealers.

Last week I talked with Freeus about the company's growth in its post-acquisition year, after buying the PERS assets of Securus. The mPERS manufacturer will have its first ISC West booth on the show floor this year.

Check here for daily updates on my interviews and booth visits. I'm on my way to Vegas right now and my first meeting is with Altronix today, shortly after I arrive. Also, if you think there's something I really shouldn't miss at the show, feel free to email me.