What's new in the connected home and fire industry at ISC West?
Updated April 4
Among the exciting news I learned about on Thursday at the show was that Honeywell’s new wireless LYNX 7000 won Best Intrusion and Detection Device in this year’s ISC West New Product Showcase event, according to Ralph Maniscalco, Honeywell’s director of marketing communications.
The company describes the LYNX 7000 as “an all new version of Honeywell’s self-contained wireless touchscreen security and home automation system. The product is the first of its kind to control up to four cameras and two-way voice over Wi-Fi.”
Among its features is a “water valve,” Maniscalco told me, which can turn off the water if necessary to prevent flooding. Also, he said, LYNX 7000 customers “get weather free.”
Honeywell also is developing a new app to help dealers in selling the LYNX 7000. Marketing communications specialist Natasha Ramjit told me that previously sales reps have had to lug around a “big demo kit,” but with the app, which can be used on an iPad or Android device, all the features of the system can easily be demonstrated to the homeowner. “It just puts everything at anyone’s fingertips,” explained Ramjit.
Speaking of awards, there was great excitement at the Eaton Cooper Notification booth because Cooper’s new ALERiTY line of IP network-based mass notification solutions won the Best Emergency Communication System award in the ISC West New Product Showcase.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” Marla Moran, Cooper’s global commercialization leader, told me.
The company describes ALERiTY, released late in 2013, as “a one-click solution to launch critical messages across its three layers of MNS—in building, wide area and distributed recipient. The advanced IP technology provides seamless interoperability with life safety and communication systems such as fire alarm control panels, sensors, paging and LED digital display signs.”
“You can program it all in one button if you choose,” Moran told me.
How does it function in the real world? Dan Moceri, CEO of Convergint Technologies, dropped by the Eaton Cooper Notification booth to explain that to me.
He said that as a systems integrator, Convergint aims to provide a total solution for customers. It had strong security and fire solutions to offer them, but until now with ALERiTY it “didn’t have a robust solution on the communications side” to complete the package, Moceri said.
He added that Convergint also demands that its partners be of high quality and Eaton Cooper Notification fits that bill, offering “best in the industry” service and support.
Moceri cited large community college campuses in Portland, Ore. and Texas as places where Convergint has used ALERiTY as a solution.
Ted Milburn, Cooper’s VP of marketing, added that ALERiTY is “a scalable product” allowing each end user “to do the piece you want.” For example, an end user might need only the in building and wide area applications, but can add the distributed recipient component, such as text messages and emails, in the future as needed.
Also on Thursday, I talked to John LaFond, VP of integrated systems, strategic business unit, for Linear, which provides access control, health and wellness and security solutions.
LaFond talked to me about the e3 OneBox. The company describes OneBox as combining “Linear’s embedded browser IP-based access control platform with Digital Watchdog’s full-featured DW-VMAX digital video recording capability within one enclosure to create a fully integrated access and video solution.”
LaFond noted that access control is about 8-10 percent of the market and video is about 12-14 percent. However, he said, combine they comprise about 20 percent of the market. “Integrated systems is a much larger proposition,” he said.
In OneBox, is Digital Watchdog leading video technology meshes with Linear’s top access control products, LaFond said. “We’re combining our product knowledge, combining that technology at the right price point,” LaFond said.
He said that “creates a market opening for a dealer base.”
Nicholas Brown, of Caster Communications, which represents Linear, talked to me about the advantage of Linear and 2GIG being under the Nortek umbrella. Nortek companies are “compatible with each other and have a shared vision.”
He said the companies all work together to provide home automation/security solutions that help dealers look at “the big picture of what they can be to the homeowner and not just a security installer.”
Linear at the show also was touting Linear Enterprise, which it described as “a browser-based, embedded network appliance and access control system available through select Linear dealers and equipped for large-scale installations. Enterprise offers remote management, low total cost of ownership (TCO), an easy path to VMS integration, and a unique license key system that makes integration and expansion easier than ever.”
I also attended a very interesting press conference on Thursday, put on by Mircom, a Toronto-based manufacturer and distributor of intelligent building and life safety solutions.
You’re familiar with the connected home—well, Mircom is focused on the connected condo, taking home automation features into the condos and apartments of multifamily units.
It introduced its TX3 InSuite and its TX3 Community at the show. Those are the latest additions to its TX3 Platform, which the company says “provides a total management, communication and security solution.”
Jason Falbo, VP of engineering, explained that “the previous generation of the products were focused at the lobby of the building,” providing such services as access control. But InSuite, Falbo said, “allows to get a footprint inside the tenant suites of the building as well, for a total management solution.”
He continued: “It’s a revolutionary home automation platform. Most of our competitors are focused on the single family home market but we’ve leveraged our experience and skill set in the multifamily sector and developed this home automation controller to provide the best in functionality from standard home automation equipment and, in addition to that, we interface with what were previously stand alone building solutions.”
For example, Falbo said, “with our controllers, not only can you manage the devices within your own home or condo, things such as door contacts, motion sensors, door locks, thermostats, lighting etc., you can also receive alerts, notifications and emergency notifications from systems such as the fire alarm detection system, the mass notification system, the building automation system and the energy management system.”
At the Kwikset booth, that residential security door look manufacturer had on display its touchscreen version of the company's SmartCode 914 deadbolt lock. “The SmartCode Touch provides all of the features of SmartCode—including keyless entry—combined with the added convenience and enhanced aesthetics of a capacitive touchscreen,” the company said in a news release.
Larry Goldman, Kwikset’s North American sales and business development manager, told me lock “is very robust” because while it has a sleek-looking appearance appealing to a homeowner’s aesthetic, its lock cylinder is the only residential lock cylinder that meets commercial grade standards.
It’s also “the only Z-Wave lock you can put on a fire door” because it’s fire-rated to not melt or become dysfunctional during a fire, Goldman said.
An added benefit, he said, is that the LED lights on its touchscreen are designed so they can be seen in all types of lighting conditions and won’t be obscured by glare.
Goldman said dealers are saying, “Finally, a beautiful residential lock with an incredible touchscreen.”
I also talked with Dirk Wyckoff, VP of sales and marketing for UniKey, an access control technology provider. Wyckoff told me about updates to the firmware in the Kevo lock, which is powered by UniKey. The company bills the lock as “the only keyless Bluetooth residential door lock on the market.” Wyckcoff also noted that it’s a “mass market solution.”
Among features Wyckoff highlighted is UniKey’s Inside vs. Outside Intelligence technology, which enables the lock to determine if the homeowner is inside or outside the home, preventing accidental unlocks if a person is just passing by the door.
At the Tyco Security Products booth, Tim Myers, product line director, intrusion, talked to me about the large number of products that DSC, part of the security products business unit of Tyco, was touting at the show. “In all, we’re releasing in excess of 30 new products. … This is the biggest product launch we have ever done,” Myers said.
Products he highlighted included the PowerSeries Neo line. The company describes that as “a new scalable commercial and residential line of products, which combines the flexibility of a modular, hardwired system with the simplicity of a wide range of compatible wireless devices.”
Myers said Neo is cost effective for dealers and offers a variety of control panels. It also leverages PowerG, which the company calls “the industry’s leading-edge wireless intrusion technology,” in wireless devices that are easy to install.
The company also was introducing a number of devices, such as keys, detectors and sirens, which are powered by PowerG and compatible with Neo.
In all, Myers said, the new products “will position DSC very strongly in the wireless world” for both residential and commercial applications.
At the Potter Electric Signal Co. booth, national sales manager Craig Summers told me how well the company’s new fire alarm panel designed specifically for sprinkler monitoring has been selling.
The PFC-6006 Sprinkler Monitoring Panel was just released last summer and touted as an industry first. “We’ve sold hundreds and hundreds of units,” Summers said.
The affordable panel comes with a dual-line dialer built into the panel and also has the ability to be monitored via IP. That’s important because the 2013 version of NFPA 72 requires backing up phone lines that send signals to a central station with an alternate technology.
If dealers are in a jurisdiction that has adopted the 2013 version of the code, “this panel is very attractive,” Summers said.
He also said Potter’s facility management software now can be downloaded off the company’s website and is free for a limited period of time.
Also on Thursday, I attended an Alarm Capital Alliance reception, where I chatted with President and CEO Amy Kothari and also with Jason Grelle,
VP of sales and dealer program development.
Updated April 2
New initiatives and new products—I got to hear about lots of those kinds of developments on Wednesday, the first day the show floor opened.
I started the day out doing some video interviews for SSN TV News. Look on our site in the near future for my interviews with Steve Firestone, the new president of Lancaster, Pa.-based Select Security; Patrick Egan, owner and CEO of Select Security and also Security Partners; John Bergher, EVP of marketing and customer care for Sacramento, Calif.-based GHS Interactive Security; and Jim Vogel, the new VP of ADT’s dealer program. In the meantime, though, I’ll share a few highlights of what we talked about.
Firestone, who became president of Select Security Jan. 1 after holding the position of that company’s EVP of sales and marketing since 2012, talked about the company’s Utah call center’s new director, Tony Roberts. “We’re delighted that Tony is part of the organization,” because of his more than 20 years of experience in management and call center development, Firestone said.
He said one part of the call center will support Select Security’s residential direct sales program, which he said aims to add about 2,500 new residential customers this summer. In another part of the call center, Firestone said, “we are about to start an inside sales outbound telemarketing organization” and the company is in the process of recruiting employees for that.
I then talked to Egan, Select Security’s CEO. Egan said Select Security has plans for growth through acquisition this year and promised to make some announcements soon. One buy is going to expand the super-regional reach into another state, he said.
GHS’ Bergher had some exciting news to share about a new partnership that GHS has formed with Solar Universe, which the companies say is the first instance of an alarm company and solar company teaming up to provide a comprehensive solution that involve security, home automation and solar. It will be interesting to see where the new venture takes these companies.
ADT’s Jim Vogel just started his new job March 17. He comes from outside the industry—he most recently was a VP for Allstate Insurance—so this is his first ISC West show.
He spoke about how impressed he was with the enthusiasm of the crowds at the show and about some of the opportunities the ADT dealer program offers dealers.
I also heard about some exciting new life safety developments from Beth Welch, public relations manager for Honeywell Fire Systems and also from David George, director of marketing communications for System Sensor.
Welch told me, “It’s a very busy show. It seems like there’s more interest from security integrators to do fire.”
She said there’s increasing interest in Silent Knight by Honeywell’s combined smoke and carbon monoxide detector, the SK-FIRE-CO Detector. “It’s one of the few, if not the only one, sold over the counter, so it’s non-proprietary,” Welch told me. The device also saves money and is easier to install because it’s one device and not two, she said.
Welch said demand is being driven by such things as AHJs increasingly enforcing new CO laws and requiring that CO detectors be connected to a fire alarm to ensure they’re supervised at all times.
Silent Knight also just launched a new website on Monday with a lot of new resources, she said.
Among other developments at the show, Welch also spoke about Fire-Lite by Honeywell’s new Emergency Command Center, a mass notification system the company introduced at last year’s ISC West. She said MNS is often thought of as only for applications like protecting big college campuses. However, the ECC is “like having mass notification for the down market” because dealers can promote it for a variety of smaller applications, ranging from churches to office buildings.
Also, she said, the system now has a new interactive module, called the Remote Telephone Zone Module (RTZM), that is designed to provide authorized users remote access to send out emergency notifications through a building’s ECC via any phone. She explained that it would, for example, allow a school principal to call in and issue an emergency warning from a remote location, such as five miles down the road from school, if the principal spots a tornado approaching.
At the System Sensor booth, George talked about how many people don’t know that in states or regions that have adopted the 2010 or 2013 edition of NFPA 72, all new commercial sleeping places must have a an audible device that produces a low frequency tone centered around 520 Hz. The requirement became effective Jan. 1.
George said System Sensor has launched an education campaign to get the word out, and also to let those in the affected region know that the company has some new low frequency notification appliances, just launched last summer, that meet that requirement. “It’s an issue with codes changing and compliance taking months, if not years, to kick in,” George told me.
He also said System Sensor has a “brand new website” on which dealers will find it easy to download documents and data and access training webinars.
I then went to talk to Jay Kenny, VP of marketing at Alarm.com, who had many exciting developments to talk about.
The highlights included an announcement that Alarm.com’s cellular-based interactive technology will soon be available with Verizon’s 4th Generation, Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) network. “It’s really the beginning of the 4G life cycle,” Kenny said. He said it “opens up new opportunities to deliver things over the cellular connection” in a managed network way.
Another announcement was that Alarm.com and LiftMaster announced the integration of the MyQ Universal Garage Door Controller, so that now all major garage door brands now integrate with Alarm.com’s connected home platform.
Kenny said, “It’s essentially compatible with anything built after 1992.”
Among other highlights, Kenny said Alarm.com was “enhancing our video solutions.”
For example, the company said in a news release, “it enhanced its video monitoring service with the addition of a high performance, continuous video recording solution. The new solution captures a 24x7 stream of what’s happening at a property and provides cloud-based streaming and video clip access from anywhere. Alarm.com’s Video Monitoring service now includes continuous high definition recording, anytime live streaming, smart clip capture with secure cloud storage, and instant video alerts.”
At the Interlogix booth, I sat down with Warren Hill, product marketing manager, to talk about some new technology Interlogix has acquired in its recent buy of Ultra High Speed (UHS) from Australian company Hills Limited. The acquisition will “broaden [Interlogix’s] global portfolio of intrusion product offerings and services,” according to Interlogix, which is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Tepchnologies Corp.
Hill said the new technology resulting from the deal was creating a lot of buzz at the show. “Lots of dealers are coming to see the new products we have,” he said.
Among them, according to a company news release, were “a self-contained panel that includes native Wi-Fi and Z-Wave to interface with popular lifestyle management devices such as lights, locks and thermostats; new accessories for the NX platform … including a touch-screen module that adds a graphical interface to the control panels; and a modular, hybrid panel that allows features to be added through a unique, DIN-rail mounting system, providing the utmost installation flexibility for system components in both residential and small-to-medium enterprise applications.” The company said interactive services will use native IP and “embedded Web servers to provide remote programming and mobile applications across product platforms.”
Next, I headed to the LILIN booth to find out news about Control4. Control 4 partners with camera manufacturer LILIN. At the show, Control4 was showcasing enhanced integration for surveillance cameras and NVRs for residential and commercial systems.
Paul Williams, Control4 VP of security and communications products spoke to me about Control4’s Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP) technology, which he described as being able to “automatically identify and load drivers for supported IP-connected devices.”
Williams said SDDP increasingly supports many surveillance cameras and NVRs, helping provide Control4 dealers with more security monitoring options in residential and commercial applications.
On Wednesday evening, I chatted with Russell Cersosimo, CEO of Guardian Protection Services, at a Guardian event. We talked about Guardian’s dealer program and how a top California dealer recently joined the program, drawn by the innovative new financing plan the program offers.
Stay posted as I continue to update this blog.
Updated April 1: Day 1 of ISC West
My first morning at ISC West 2014 featured mind reading, that “dirty little word: cable,” and tips on hiring employees who are not just skilled but have the right attitude a company needs to succeed.
I began my Tuesday at the DMP Owners Forum. The Springfield, Mo.-based manufacturer event is an annual one—it’s now in its third year—and this year’s event in Las Vegas included talk of how the new cable and telecom players are impacting the industry and employee hiring. And mind reader Eric Dittelman helped kick off the forum.
As he took the stage, Dittelman reminded attendees that DMP also gets into the minds of the consumer with its focus on customer-driven products.
“DMP mind reads with the help of technology,” he told the audience.
Among his feats was correctly identifying which one of five people had a dollar hidden in his closed fist instead of a penny, which the other four had, even though he hadn’t seen the person put a dollar in his hand.
Bob Harris, owner and president of Attrition Busters, was up next. He warned the crowd he was going to “speak about that dirty little word: cable.”
But although he said the cablecos and telecoms should not be discounted, he said professional security companies still have plenty of opportunity to successfully compete with them.
“Some people believe that there’s a monitoring bubble about to burst,” Harris said. “…I'm here to tell you that’s not true. … This may be the best time to be in the alarm business and grow your company.”
But he said security companies can’t sit back and do such things as “walk past recurring monthly profit.” He asked, “On every single service call, how often do we stir the pot so our service techs bring intel back?”
Also, Harris said, employee training is vital. “Every single employee in our company is in the sales department and I’m talking about the company operator,” he said. All employees frequent restaurants and local business and have friends and family who call can be potential customers.
Harris also warned against “devaluing professionalism by competing on ‘price’ as the significant differentiator.”
He said security companies have to stress to customers they stand out from cablecos and telecoms in that they’re the local providers who are members of the community.
Professional security compannies also should bundle more services, like the big players do, Harris said. “We need to educate our teams with new levels of possibilities that empower them to lose the fear of selling value bundles,” he said.
Also, he said, adding fire services is a way to distinguish a company. “I don’t see a cable company going out to do a fire systems anytime soon,” Harris said.
He continued, “There’s a litany of things we can do to make a sticky customer, just by default.” When it comes to cable and telecom competitors, Harris said, “proactive or reactive? It’s up to you.”
Rick Britton, DMP CEO and president, also urged the dealers to take steps to compete with the big players, such as offering a single bill for bundled services. And adding interactive services is a way for dealers to double and triple RMR, he said.
“I think that’s a real opportunity for us,” Britton said.
He said of the cablecos and telecoms, “I think we can beat them all day long, any place, any time” because professional security providers are known, trusted providers. “We are providing something completely different,” Britton said.
Also on the agenda was Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ and author of The New York Times best-seller, “Hiring for Attitude.”
He said, “Hiring for attitude is important because [the wrong attitude] is why employees tend to fail and drive you nuts.”
But how to hire for attitude? Murphy told a story of how Southwest Airlines asked pilots coming in for interviews, who were dressed in suit and ties, to change out of their dress pants and put on some brown shorts. He said only a few pilots agreed to make the change and look silly—and those were the ones Southwest chose to continue with the interview process. That’s because the company wants employees with a sense of fun, Murphy said.
He urged security companies to figure out what the “brown shorts” values are in their companies and then devise some open-ended interview questions to find out if applicants share those values and will fit in with the company’s culture.
Murphy said that companies that are able to “find your brown shorts,” draw up relevant interview questions and build a key to interpret the answers will make a “pretty significant dent” in hiring more high performers in about a month’s time.
Tuesday evening found me at an Altronix event. The company, which manufactures low voltage power supplies and transmission solutions for the electronic security industry, held a press conference touting a number of new products here at the show, such as its introduction of the latest edition of eBridge Plus. The company said in a press release that “eBridge100RMT Ethernet over Coax/CAT5e Adapter Kits transmit full duplex data at 100mbps and pass PoE compliant power over coax 304m (1000 ft), or CAT5e cable up to 500m (1640 ft) without repeaters.”
“This is kind of a game changer when it comes to the Ethernet,” Ronnie Pennington, Altronix National Accounts manager, said at the conference.
Alan Forman, Altronix president, explained it this way in a prepared statement: “The ability to accommodate IP cameras and edge devices over coax cabling has proven to be an extremely pragmatic solution and a cost-effective way to upgrade analog systems to a networked platform. And the ability to transmit data and deliver power extended distances over Ethernet cabling without repeaters provides added savings.”
The company also said it was continuing to expand its NetWay product line with NetWay1D and NetWay1DWP. “These single port midspan injectors provide Hi-PoE up to 60W in addition to being PoE/PoE+ compliant.” In a statement, Forman said, “These new midspan injectors provide solutions for the ever increasing power demands of IP cameras, PTZs and edge devices.”
Pennington said the Netway line “saves a lot of labor and time and wire.”
The company also announced it was introducing Pace UTP/CAT5e Long Range Ethernet Adapter Kits.
“The latest addition to Altronix’s expanding line of adaptive transmission solutions, Pace1PRMT makes it possible for users to upgrade surveillance and security systems with new IP cameras and edge devices using existing or legacy infrastructure at distances greater than 100m (328 ft) without repeaters,” the company said.
Pace1PRMT is PoE/PoE+ compliant and transmits data at 100mbps full duplex over CAT5e or higher cable up to 500m (1640 ft), and up to 150m (500 ft) over single twisted pair (UTP).
Forman said at the press conference that Altronix products allow integrators “to enhance a current system or expand it [without running more cable].”
Well, there's plenty more of ISC West to come. Stay posted as I continue to update this blog.
Friday, March 28
I’m heading off next week to ISC West 2014. I’m eager to abandon the piles of snow still lingering here in Maine (where it’s only spring on the calendar!) and get to sunny Las Vegas to learn about what’s new in the industry. And I’m looking forward to meeting many of you and keeping you updated here in my blog about what I learn at the show.
I cover residential security and fire for Security Systems News and virtually every minute of my time at the show is scheduled for meetings with dealers and vendors who will be filling me in on the latest news on the connected home and fire. And each night, I’ll be updating this blog to tell you what I’ve learned, so please stay posted to find out what’s new.
And you’ll also have an opportunity to meet me and my colleagues—SSN editor Martha Entwistle; SSN associate editor Leif Kothe; and Amy Canfield, managing editor of our sister publication, Security Director News—at our special “Meet the Editors” event at the show. That will take place Wed., April 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. We’ll be at the SSN booth, adjacent to the ISC West Media Stage.
The stage is located in the big hallway right outside the main entrance doors to the show floor, so as you head in, please take some time to stop by. I look forward to meeting our readers in person. See you in Vegas!