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by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, May 26, 2011

I got my most recent edition of CSAA's Signals (complete with it's new waveform promotional art) and was reminded that the CSAA Fall Operations Management Seminar is coming up in November.

It brings back fond memories...

(cue flashback music and scene-disolve visual effect)

I had just started at SSN in September of 2008 and was still trying to wrap my head around all the security industry's three-letter-acronyms and just exactly how the industry ecosystem worked... what it looks like... My head was spinning. And that's when my editor told me I was going to go on a roadtrip down to Peabody, Mass to attend the CSAA's Fall Operations Management Seminar. I enjoyed the experience, depsite being nervous. I got some good video footage and met some pretty cool people, including Vector's Pam Petrow, CSAA's Becky Lane, and Soutwest Dispatch's Ty Davis (now with Life Alert)

I got a lot out of my visit to the Ops Seminar in '08. I haven't been able to attend them all since then, but I've covered the goings on...

If you're not doing anything Nov. 13-15... heck, even if you are... if you're involved in the world of central station monitoring, you could do worse than spend a few days in Chicago sharing best practices with the best and brightest in your industry.

Give a shout out to CSAA director of marketing and communications Monique Silverio if you're interested in checking it out.

Here's the release from CSAA on the upcoming Fall Operations Management Seminar:

CSAA’s Fall Ops Management Seminar: Nov. 13-15

Looking for top-notch educational sessions geared specifically toward central station operators and managers? Then you won’t want to miss CSAA’s 2011 Fall Operations Management Seminar, which will be held Nov. 13-15, 2011 at the Embassy Suites Chicago Lombard/Oak Brook.

This two-day top-notch educational seminar will be loaded with up-to-the minute information; it also offers participants continuing educations credits (CEUs).

The CSAA Fall Operations Management Seminar will be hosted by Alarm Detection Systems, Inc. of Aurora, Ill., and will culminate in a tour of Alarm Detection Systems’ central station on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Detailed meeting and registration information will be made available soon.


by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, May 17, 2011

SSN Managing Editor Dan Gelinas and DCRM vice president Tina Simolaris discuss the future of access control.I went on a road trip this past weekend. I've been on road trips before, down to the CSAA Fall Operations Management Seminar, down to G4S' Monitoring and Data Center, down to Viewpoint CRM, over to the Rapid Response Users' Group and last summer down to visit a whole bunch of security peeps in the Lonestar State.

This past weekend, I traveled down to Lynn, Mass. to check in on an ongoing deployment of FST21's SafeRise solution at a senior housing complex. It's not the first time I've been to Lynn... I visited Wayne Alarm and Ralph Sevinor's security industry museum back in 2008. It's also not the first time I've written about FST21. I first covered them when they came to the U.S. from Israel, and SSN covered them when Kent Security checked them out. I also wrote a blog post recently about ion247 monitoring the solution at a senior housing facility down south.

I met with them at ISC West, where they won product of the year in SIA's New Product Showcase. It was nice to sit down with the folks at FST21, the folks at Ocean Shores Apartments, the folks at DCRM (I'm pictured above with DCRM president Tina Simolaris), which worked in a consulting capacity with property management (with whom I aslo met). I also met, via conference call, with the folks from ion247, a monitoring center that's monitoring the SafeRise solution, and with the folks from Chubb who did the integration of the smart building system.

Dave Dearborn of consultants DCRM hosted the meeting and brought all the players together at Ocean Shores for a sit down discussion and demonstrations of the solution in action. Tune back in to SSN Videos in the coming days for a video of that visit.

One thing everyone agreed on was that this project exemplified where the future of security/access/surveillance might be headed. Solutions are becomming more complex conglomerations of what used to be disparate systems. It's all about offering more services, more uses for the infrastructure than just video or just intrusion or just mass notification or just access. It was a neat visit.

I'll provide more coverage of this and other FST21 projects going forward.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Got an email via the ACCENT Listserv the other day. Grace Fanzo who runs the list for the CSAA after SIA gave it up, wanted to let all us central station types know about an educational opportunity going down.

"What will central stations look like at the end of this decade--the equipment mix, the makeup of its workforce, the types of services that it provides?" The posting from Grace read. "Stay on top of this ever-evolving topic at ESX."

Now if all goes well, I'll be at ESX and I can tell you this sounds pretty cool and exactly like something I want to sit in on.

Actually, I just wrote a story about CSAA's new membership marketing campaign, which highlights the important role of the association as an educator. Here's the rest of Grace's posting:

The session, "Central Station 2020: Technologies and Operations of a Central Station of the Future," taps some of the industry's most forward looking technologists and operators to provide you with a vision. Get great input for your central station technology and a human resources roadmap.

Speakers include: Morgan Hertel, Director of Central Station Operations, Mace CSSS Inc.; AND Matt Riccoboni, Global Director of Marketing, Oz Vision.

For more information, including date/time and additional courses in the Central Station Operations Track, visit

Hurry! Discounted registration rates expire THIS FRIDAY, May 13.

I actually just wrote a piece for our Central Station Source Book (coming up in the June issue) that examined how the central station was changing in form and function and what changes were likely to take place in the near future. Look for that online in the premium section after the beginning of June. In the meantime, don't forget to register for ESX, which authorities say is going to be bigger and better than last year.


See you all in Charlotte!

by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, May 4, 2011

So I was going through my email the other day and I came across a press release from video monitoring company Iverify. Seems they recently won a pretty hefty video monitoring and loss prevention services (LP) contract with an unnamed major U.S. retailer. I jumped right on it and got some fresh feedback from Iverify president Mike May. I'm still sort of hopeful that the reatiler will come around and release its name, but until that happens, here are the particulars written up along with some of the feedback I got from my interview with Mike:

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Iverify on April 27 announced it had been awarded a five-year contract valued at $39 million dollars to provide guard replacement and shrink-reduction services for an unnamed national retailer throughout its 550 stores. According to a release from the company, it’s the largest such video monitoring contract in the history of the industry.

Iverify president Mike May said Iverify brought big savings to the table for the client.

“The client is using a robust application that uses Cernium analytics for location-based risk assessment that triggers local announcements in the vicinity of high-shrink products. Further, with sophisticated time-based analysis it then escalates the risk profile and engages a live intervention from a protection specialist,” May told Security Systems News. “They then assess and respond to a protocol based in the actual risk. This is a best case model leveraging intelligent video coupled with a loss-prevention certified specialist that responds and reduces the customer’s potential shrink losses.”

According to May, Iverify will provide its “I Guard” and “I Control” products, delivering projected savings of $62.5–$70 million.  The suite of services will reduce guard costs, lower losses from theft, and improve employee safety, according to May.

“We think we have developed an effective forward-leaning service that drives value and safety to the point of protection,” May said.

Michael Barnes, a partner in the consulting and advisory firm Barnes Associates, which specializes in the security alarm industry, and co-sponsors the Barnes Buchanan Conference, felt Iverify had a lot to offer.

“Iverify has been at the forefront of delivering improved value in security operations for national retailers while reducing the cost of security expense,” Barnes said in a statement. “Mike May has built a sophisticated team of loss prevention professionals that remotely deliver security services at a very low cost. They have driven robbery and shrink rates down by over 50 percent at a number of national retailers.”

Iverify’s May made headlines in SSN a year ago when he was onsite doing a risk assessment for a client, a large, urban retail store in Detroit. While he was there a gang of youths attacked, and brutally beat a lone individual. May’s quick action—prompted by 10 years of law enforcement and EMT experience—very likely saved the victim’s life.


by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, April 29, 2011

So I'm getting ready for an interview I have today with Keyscan director of marketing Steve Dentinger when I notice an intriguing tweet from Monitronics. It linked to a sad (not sad as in, "oh, that's so sad, I think I'll cry," but sad as in "Wow... That guys a complete idiot... I'm amazed his head hasn't frozen from lack of neural activity.") story about this guy John Paul Rorech who purposefully perpetrated a false alarm in order to  escape being issued a speeding ticket.

I've written plenty about false alarms and how they're no joke. I've covered how they've lead end users to disillusionment and even inspired some to wax poetical about the false alarm.

I'm just glad they caught the guy... Calling in a fake shooting and wasting officer time and tax payers' money to avoid a speeding fine? Not cool, man, not cool.




by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, April 27, 2011

MJ Vance accepts her Presidential Award from the Missouri Fire Marshal's Association.

I got an email from MJ Vance the other  day and leanrd that she's left CenterPoint Technologies. She's not sure where she's going yet, but is keeping all her prospects open. Asked why she was moving on, MJ said the departure was amicable and simply a sign of growth.

MJ also told me that she wants to stay within the security industry, and is particularly interested in the PERS industry. In the meantime, she said she "may take the summer off and ride cross country on my Harley."

I wrote not too long ago about another well-known and well-liked leader in the central station space moving over into PERS when Southwest Dispatch's VP Ty Davis moved to Life Alert.

I first interviewed MJ back during my first trip to ISC West in 2008. I interviewed her on camera for our then newly-launched ssnTVnews. That was a popular interview on our site--testament to MJ's stature in the industry.

I also spoke with MJ in 2010 when she hired a new operations manager and won the Presidential Award from the Fire Marshal’s Association of Missouri (pictured above).

Good luck MJ! 


by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So I'm looking at following up on the AICC National Monitoring License Subcommittee's work so far for a source book article. You'll recall that since the flap over Article 6-E proposed legislation in New York for licensing central stations, momentum has really shifted to a federal-level push.

I talked with AICC chairman Lou Fiore today about how things were going, where the committee was at, what work had been done and what remained.

First of all, Lou pointed me to the comment website that had been set up. This is the place you can--and should--go to read the proposed legislation, which is the proposal late Vector president John Murphy developed years ago, and offer your tweaks. The subcommittee hopes to get lots of feedback from all of you, so take some time, go to the site, download the proposal, read it, think about it and make some suggestions through the website's online form.

Also, I'd love to hear what you think about the proposal the way it stands. How do you feel about a national monitoring license? Drop me a line or give me a call (207-846-0600 ext. 254) and let me know.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, April 14, 2011

Recently, I've been doing some thinking about, reporting on, and writing about municipal video surveillance. Our upcoming source book is all about video surveillance. Our most recent poll is all about video surveillance. People sure do have varying and strong opinions.

We here at SSN received a well-thought out answer to recent Chicago-focused criticisms of the ACLU’s Illinois chapter from Iverify’s Mike May. Mike sent us a letter, part of which I used in the sourcebook but his thoughts are so compelling, I thought I’d post them up here for everyone to read in their entirety.

From Mike:

I am writing to comment on the position adopted by the ACLU regarding the City of Chicago video surveillance system. As a career security and law enforcement professional I have a deep and abiding respect for the constitutional protections that we as Americans enjoy. The world is fraught with example after example of human rights being trampled when adequate protection of people are not embraced as foundational principles of society.

The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, the right to the quiet enjoyment of our lives and the freedom to exercise free  speech are all part of the bedrock of  American society. Those protections also extend to the rights of our citizens to live free of fear from crime, to  live their lives peacefully in their neighborhoods, and the right of our children to travel the streets of our cities without being victims of drug addicts, career criminals and predators.

We seem to have lost our way when it comes to the protection of individual freedoms. Our society has an obligation to provide a safe and secure community that is free of intimidation, where predation by criminals is prevented and where our families can go about their daily lives earning a living, gaining an education, participating in their community or enjoying their retirement without fear.

The ACLU has been a bright beacon for individual rights and the balance of governmental authority. I believe the ACLU needs to have its leadership walk the streets of Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Columbus. Our core rustbelt cities are fighting a death struggle every day to maintain a semblance of freedom for its residents and its businesses. Our company works in the most challenged urban locations in the country and we see the impact every day to those folks who are working hard to make a living in the face of violent unconstrained crime.

The City of Chicago has established itself as a leader in the use of modern technology solutions in an effort to identify those involved in urban crime and terrorism. The ACLU should step back and thoughtfully look in the mirror and adopt a position that they are as concerned about the rights of the folks who strive to get by and make a living every day in our cities as they are about public positioning. Only then will they be living up to their name as the American Civil Liberties Union and could legitimately claim the moral high ground in this important dialogue.

Mike May

President and CEO


Check out the Video Surveillance Source Book for more on the civil rights story playing out in municipalities around the country.


by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, April 5, 2011

So I'm in sunny (and HOT) Las Vegas. It's been one heck of a long day of travel. I left my house up in Raymond Maine (on the shores of Sebago Lake) at around 4 a.m. this morning and headed to the airport in Portland.

The trip was pretty uneventful except that my connection in Minneapolis/St. Paul was delayed for a bit. Gave me a chance to catch up on some reading.

I sat next to an interesting and congenial (not to mention attractive) young woman named Meghann on the way out to Vegas. We talked the entire flight, which was nice. She told me about her industry that she was in, and I got to tell her all about the show going on in Sin City this week. She promised to check out the Security 5K Thursday morning (providing she's up and at 'em).

Anyway, I checked into the Mirage, unpacked, ironed my jackets and shirts and headed over to the Sands to see if I could hook up with any of my fellow Newsbreakers. As luck would have it, I stumbled upon SSN publisher Tim Purpura and associate publisher Gregg Shapiro. Now all my loyal readers will remember that Tim and I and Gregg and I have had some wild security adventures over the last couple years.

Let me tell you, setting up the ssnTVnews booth where we'll be hosting the Meet the Editors event tomorrow morning from 8:30-10:30 a.m. was no less of an adventure. Location is everything, and we're right there when you round the corner to head downstairs and register. We'll be there with complimentary coffee ready to shake hands and chat you up about your plans for the show. Don't miss it!

See you bright and early tomorrow! Of course, first I'm hitting the CAA Industry Breakfast with ADT's Jon Sargent to get a little omelet on, but then I'll be over for coffee and lots of introductions.

I look forward to meeting you all tomorrow!

by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, April 4, 2011

Well, it's the North American security industry's big week this week out in Las Vegas. A bigger, bolder, rebounded ISC West is ready to go down in Sin City at the Sands Convention Center, and the editors of Security Systems News and Security Director News will be there, talking with industry players and bringing you the news you need as it happens.

If you'll be traveling out to Vegas to take in the show, please stop by and see us at our Meet the Editors event, which will take place at the ssn/sdnTVnews desk (right outside the exhibition hall) on Wednesday morning from 8:30-10:30 Pacific. We'll be handing out complimentary coffee and asking people about their plans for the show and for the coming year.

Start your day off right with the News!

Of course, we'll all (Martha, Tess, Leischen and I) be tweeting and blogging live from the floor, as well as interviewing select luminaries on camera for ssnTVnews and sdnTVnews. Drop by SSN and SDN often for updates.

Now, recently I told you all about the Security 5K happening on Thursday morning. There's still time to register if you want to walk or run in this great charity race to benefit Mission 500. If you can't make the show or the race, but want to tune in live, you can check out SSN's live Security 5K Channel at Ustream. You can check out SSN publisher's assistant Cath Dagget and I kicking the race off with our rousing rendition of the National Anthem, followed by the starting gun, the launch of the pack (the SSN/SDN Newsbreakers will be at the tip of the phalanx, I'm certain) and live highlights throughout the race. Watch Twitter for a tweet when the Security 5K Channel goes live on Thursday morning.

I'm looking forward to seeing you all in Vegas!