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by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, August 5, 2010

mhealthlogoSo I’ve gotten a number of announcements about the upcoming mHealth Summit. It looks like an interesting event, and I’ve put out some feelers to some of the participants to find out what’s going on. Hopefully there’ll be more coverage, ongoing.

First, I got an announcement in early July about some of the sponsors for the event:

Washington, D.C. (July 06, 2010) - Industry leaders Abbott, Microsoft Research, Pfizer, Qualcomm, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Skype and Verizon Wireless have joined the 2010 mHealth Summit as sponsors, the conference organizers announced today.

I, of course, gravitated to the mention of telco sponsorship, and have reached out to Verizon for follow up. I bumped into a Verizon marketing person at ESX in Pittsburgh in June and exchanged pleasantries and cards, so hopefully, she’ll be able to get back to me soon with some input on Verizon’s future plans in security, PERS and mobile health.

This is the second annual mHealth Summit and this year’s event promises to keep the ball rolling from last year.

Building on the momentum from last year’s event, the second annual mHealth Summit will feature an expanded format that includes:

* keynotes delivered by leading corporate executives, philanthropists, policy-makers and social entrepreneurs;

* super sessions with key stakeholders from policy, research and technology communities;

* concurrent sessions addressing a range of relevant topics such as the intersection of mHealth and mFinance, and opportunities for mHealth in the current policy and regulatory environments, and;

* networking events to drive collaboration.

The event is expected to attract some 2,000 attendees, including international and domestic C-level executives, medical professionals, technologists, researchers, and policy makers, and over 150 exhibitors.

And then just a couple days ago I got the announcement that Mr. Microsoft himself would be keynoting the Summit.

Bill Gates Named Keynote Speaker at the 2010 mHealth Summit

High-level conference to explore role of research, technology & innovation in mobile health

Washington, D.C., August 3, 2010 - Bill Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will provide a keynote address on the opportunity of mobile technologies to improve health outcomes in the developing world at the 2010 mHealth Summit, the summit organizers announced today. The summit, organized by the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the mHealth Alliance, will be held November 8-10 in Washington, DC.

There are some heavy hitters involved here. If I were a traditional security guy, I’d maybe look at PERS, telehealth and mHealth and say, “There’s maybe some opportunity here for me to expand my business model, especially given the sponsorship dollars here.”

From the Gates keynotes release:

Mobile Health, or “mHealth,” is rapidly becoming a transformative solution for improving quality healthcare services in poor and remote regions around the world. With over 5 billion mobile subscriptions globally, cell phones are becoming a tool to help close the digital divide and increase access to a range of services, including healthcare.

The mHealth Summit will transpire from November 8-10, 2010 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.


by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I was talking with Keith Jentoft over at RSI the other day about his efforts to get a priority response commitment for enhanced alarms from municipalities. In a real coup for Keith, the Chief of the Dallas Police has thrown his backing behind the idea, according to Keith.

Another victory for the Motion Viewer Man comes in the form of an official endorsement from the National Sheriffs’ Association for the Videofied product.

From a release on the NSA site:

NSA is proud to grant our endorsement of the following:

The NSA Board of Directors voted to endorse Videofied, a cordless outdoor video alarm system, during the Anaheim Conference.

Videofied is a cordless outdoor video alarm system – instant portable video security for remote sites including anhydrous tanks, utility substations, vacant property, fenced lots and parked vehicles. Wireless video alarm detects intruders and immediately sends a 10-second clip of the actual event over the cell network enabling immediate response for more arrests. The cordless system operates outdoors in harsh environments (-20 F to +140F) for up to four years on one set of batteries. Videofied security systems are being used by sheriffs to protect remote assets on a budget. A single system can include up to 24 portable MotionViewers (motion detector with an integrated night vision camera) for large scale protection. This affordable system, because it is totally wireless, can be deployed and redeployed as needed for instant action resolving problem crimes.

I’ve done plenty of reporting on Videofied and, as Keith pointed out to me, it seems like law enforcement is starting to take notice of proactive steps the industry can and does take to cut down on false alarms… Whether you confirm a real dispatch necessity through technology like video (Videofied, CheckVideo, or another type of advanced video monitoring like that provided by G4S, Viewpoint CRM, and Stealth Monitoring, to name a few) or audio (Sonitrol… I’m currently working a piece about some great stats from Kimberlite, dba “Sonitrol Security” throughout the San Joaquin Valley and Bay Area), or personally check out every alarm like the guys at Provident, it looks like law enforcement’s down with that.

Here’s another bit from the NSA endorsement release:

Excerpt from the due diligence report prepared by the endorsement committee:

“All Central Station Alarm Service providers, Alarm System Integrators, Customers, and Sheriffs Offices that were surveyed commented favorably regarding the overall level of service and support they receive from RSI Video Technologies Inc. or their sales representatives. All of the survey respondents rated the Videofied Alarm System as one of the more reliable Alarm Systems that they use. Survey respondents indicated that law enforcement officials favorably receive the Videofied Alarm System because alarm conditions are supported by video clips that allow Central Station operators to verify the intrusion before reporting the alarm condition to law enforcement authorities. They indicated that the video technology associated with the system allows Central Station operators to provide responding officers with information on the number of intruders, their descriptions, and other information, increasing the probability of apprehension and arrest. Many of the respondents provided case histories reflecting that property crimes were reduced or eliminated at customer locations that installed these systems.”

When alarms can be verified beforehand, shouldn’t they be? I’m just saying if the means are there and they work, what’s the argument for not doing it?

by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, July 28, 2010

mace5dJust got a press release announcing the newest member of the CSAA Five Diamond club. Congrats to Mace CSSS. I’ve written plenty about the Five Diamond process and have even undergone some of the training required of operators at Five Diamond centrals. I’ve got my certificate and patch hanging on my wall!

There are approximately 2,700 U.S.-based central stations that interact with the law enforcement, fire and emergency services agencies. Of this group, less than five percent have achieved Five Diamond status. In order to be certified Five Diamond all operators at the applying central have to pass the course, as well as demonstrate: proficiency in alarm verification, which helps reduce false alarms; proficiency in communications with the Public Service Answering Points, such as the Emergency 911 centers; knowledge of electronic communications equipment, including radio; an understanding of the codes and standards of such organizations as Underwriters Laboratories, Factory Mutual, the National Fire Protection Association and others; proficiency in the area of emergency preparedness under a wide scenario of possibilities. Central station managers interested in undergoing the certification process can learn more about it here and demo the operator Level 1 training course for free here.

, , , ,

CSAA director of marketing and communications Celia Besore has said Five Diamond companies have demonstrated an exceptionally high degree of responsibility to their local community and their customers through the investment of time, money and commitment to 100 percent quality operator training. “Whether a small company or a large one, these [Five Diamond] companies are committed to being engaged and active. We believe their engagement exposes them to the best ideas in the industry and makes them better each day,” Besore said.

Mace CSSS VP & GM Morgan Hertel was proud of the progress the central has made in the last couple years. “We have invested heavily this last year in technology, people, and programs to make us the frontrunners in the wholesale monitoring industry,” Hertel said in a statement.

Located in Anaheim, Calif., Mace CSSS. is a national UL listed central station that monitors approximately 40,000 end user accounts on behalf of approximately 300 dealer clients. Mace CSSS, Inc. also provides high quality nationwide video monitoring services, including CCTV, IP and other configurations.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, July 26, 2010

We all know false alarms are a nuisance to society: they cost taxpayers money, waste police resources, potentially dull response times and put officers’ lives in danger, and damage the relationships alarm companies have with municipalities and the public, among other scourges. I’ve written plenty of stories about false alarms and false alarm reduction efforts. But did you know they may also have helped to cause one of the largest ecological disasters in human history?

A July 23 story from The Los Angeles Times reports an investigation has uncovered the fact that alarms on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that monitored for fire and gas leaks were “inhibited” (meaning they would not sound at all–even if there was a real emergency) for as long as a year before the explosion occurred because those in command of the rig did not want their sleep interrupted by false alarms blaring out in the night.

Wow, really? I gotta be honest, if I were a worker (or another upper management type–Jeez, if I was on that rig at all, no matter who I was) on that rig (basically a humongous pile of hot, clanking, moving, metal parts sitting on top of and poking at an unbelievably large pressurized pocket of explosively flammable gas and oil) and I heard they’d shut off the alarms that were potentially saving me from getting blown up and/or burned alive, I’d probably be like, “ya know, why don’t you go ahead and just leave those on–better safe than sorry.” Eleven people were killed in the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon, and we’ve all seen the footage of BP’s growing oil slick.

I like this paragraph from the LA Times story:

“The alarm systems could have been helpful to alert crew members of catastrophe and initiate an emergency shutdown system that could have shut down the engines — a dangerous ignition source — as soon as a surge of flammable natural gas surged up the oil well onto the rig.”

Nothing like stating the obvious. The also say in the story that workers had continually accidentally tripped emergency shut down systems and alarms and that they had become something of a nuisance. People do the same thing with their home alarm systems–stop using them because they don’t want to keep setting them off by mistake. They don’t want to keep paying the false alarm fines. The problem is that the alarm is only good if it’s used. The solution is to learn how to use the equipment properly, not to shut off the equipment.

Here’s the thing. The disaster may have happened anyway, even if the alarms had been in place since it is believed a belch of natural gas that erupted up the oil line caught fire and caused an explosion. However, had the alarms been functioning properly, rather than intentionally disabled, lives may have been saved, property not blown up and ecosystems not destroyed. Doesn’t all that benefit outweigh the sleep quality of the guy in charge? They’re called earplugs, buddy, look into them.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, July 23, 2010

A recent story from the Citizens Voice (”Citizens’ Voice, Standard-Speaker have fastest-growing newspaper readership in U.S.,” the paper advertises), a paper out of Luzerne County, Pa., claims the local resi market is growing. That’s gotta be good news, right? I mean, obviously, it’s good news for local integrators and dealers and their monitoring centers. But does it bode well for the rest of the industry? One can probably assume what’s happening in one suburban Pennsylvania county may be happening elsewhere as well. I can’t wait to get a look at the data. Where’s the research from? How big was the sample pool? What are the numbers and percentages?

From the story:

More people seem to be buying residential-security systems in Hazleton and Hazle Township, officials from both areas say.

Though neither the Code Enforcement Department and Police Department of Hazleton nor the Hazle Township zoning officer keep statistics on the number of homes with the systems, Hazleton Code Enforcement and Zoning Officer Rich Wech and Hazle Township Zoning Officer Frances Calarco said they are seeing more security-system signs outside homes in their respective jurisdictions.

Ah… well… we know from past experience that that doesn’t actually mean there’s a system inside. People have been known to use bogus yard signs and window decals as a cheaper prophylactic measure than actually investing in the system. After all, how does the potential bad guy know if you really have a system or are just saying you do? Though, neither the sticker nor the yard sign are going to call the police for you if there’s a break in or other emergency.

Actually, I ganked the ADT yard sign pic above from a blog called Live for Improvement, which says its aim is to be “a self help blog, designed to improve the quality of life through simple tips and tricks.”

“Tricks” implies subterfuge, hence the props to the bogus yard sign.

From said blog:

A yard sign and decals can be purchased on eBay for around $30-$50. These identifiers obviously don’t provide the protection of an actual system, but it can greatly affect the odds of a break in. There are even companies that specialize in making fake security signs, but I heard burglars can tell the difference.

The story mentions APX, which had a license to sell in the area for only 30 days, the story reports. The story, though not in-depth by any means (note the assertion that resi is on the rise, despite the second graph admitting there’s no real data to back the assertion up) manages to mention door-knocking and annoyingly persistent salespeople, false alarms and some of the good points of security in its 500 words. The story quotes a resident who has nothing but good things to say about APX and his APX system.

It also mentions ADT and quotes Bob Tucker. Overall, not a bad piece of publicity for resi security.

In all honesty, more yard signs probably does mean that resi is on the rise in the area, which strikes me as a good sign.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, July 20, 2010


It’s a subject near and dear to my heart. POTS is going away. I’ve looked into the sunset, blogged about current and coming technologies, written news stories about the impending government mandated sunset, and done polls on it. SSN, for its August issue, conducted a tangential poll on the eventual sunset of current GSM technology, as well. Also check out SSN/SDN executive editor Sam Pfeifle’s in-depth look at GSM.

That poll had a lot of you scratching your heads.

“While you may be aware of a likely POTS sunset, are you aware current GSM technology will likely be obsolete in as little as five years?” the poll asked. Most of you who voted–76 percent–did not know current GSM technology had a limited lifespan. Most of you voters in that poll also said you were still installing POTS as the primary communications path, with 60 percent installing POTS, 34 percent installing GSM and eight percent installing radio networks.

It seems like POTS may be the first and last great, long-lived communications technology. It came, it had a great run, and now it’s on its way out as bells and whistles and consumers’ desire for cool stuff (and service providers’ desire to cash in on that) replaces Ma Bell.

IMS has a study out now that looks at the future of POTS over the next five years. They’re saying the money you guys will be getting from accounts monitored over POTS will be down by 20 percent by 2015. Who knows, really. I personally don’t know all that many people who still have a landline, but that don’t mean they ain’t there. So I guess if you want to continue to see the same levels of RMR in the years ahead, you’ll need to invest; the days of free are over.

According to IMS, most (90 percent last year? Does that sound right to all of you?) of the RMR you guys know and love was coming from accounts monitored over POTS. Time to start (or continue, if you’re already doing it) embracing the other techs like radio, GSM and broadband, all of which are making big strides. I’ve spoken with Shawn Welsh over at Telular and Keith Jentoft over at Videofied about their GSM solutions. I had a nice interview with Mike Sherman at AES Intellinet about their mesh radios, and have spoken with Steve Nutt over at IP Alarms and Bryan Field-Elliott over at VoIPAlarm about their solutions as well. There many well-tested options. But they ain’t free.

From the IMS release:

According to a new report from IMS Research, monitored alarm accounts using POTS (plain old telephone lines) transmission accounted for nearly 90% of RMR (recurring monthly revenue) in North America in 2009. However, this is forecast to decrease to nearly 70% by 2014.

Like I said, I think that POTS lines are a generational thing… I think there will be an exponential drop in their usage (no younger end users are going to want to pay to have them) as the younger generation ages and begins buying security systems to protect their more valued, aged lives and acquired property. Therefore the RMR you’ll see generated from accounts monitored over POTS will dwindle pretty quickly.

Again from the release:

The alarm industry is heavily dependent upon communications networks to provide an acceptable level of service, but with all the recent talk about the end of POTS, it is hard for dealers to know what to do.

True dat, IMS. One of the constants I’ve encountered when speaking with any of the advocates for all the current and emerging communications alternatives is that you need to get involved, get informed and ask LOTS and LOTS of questions. Continue to check in for more POTS, GSM, broadband and radio news.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Okay, I can’t really say I just got this news… I’ve actually been sitting on it for a few weeks. Things have actually been kind of busy around here with another source book in the works and our annual 20 under 40 list coming together. But I did want to take a minute and take a look at the Maximum Impact Award winners. Now, if you’re an avid reader of SSN (and who ISN’T?), you know my editor Sam already posted the winners in his blog in a timely fashion a few weeks back. However, I wanted to take a look at the winners I’ve talked with before and look at the products and services I’ve written about. Turns out I’ve written a lot about these guys and their innovations. Some of them, I haven’t but I hope to in the future. It’s nice to look at some of the stuff I’ve written about and see it recognized. Congrats to all the winners.

From an ESX press release:

The Electronic Security Expo (ESX) awarded its Maximum Impact Award Recipients on their largest exhibit show floor ever.

Their Maximum Impact Awards program is the first and only awards program to critically examine the business impact of a product or service as the foremost criterion for praise. The awards recognize both

new and recently introduced products in a wide variety of electronic security product and service categories.

So let’s take a look at the winners.

Paxton Access won for the LCD Graphics Reader in the Access Control/ID Systems: Card Readers Category. Our latest source book, mentioned above, is all about access control. There’s a lot of new technology and change coming to that market.

DICE picked up a prize for their Mobile Service Management with Signature Capture in the Accessories and Aids: Dealer Company Software Category. Way to go, DICE! I talk with them often.

Paxton again took home a prize, this one for the PoE Access Control Power Supply in the Accessories and Aids: Power Supplies and Batteries Category.

System Sensor won for the InnovairFlex Watertight Duct Smoke Detectors in the Alarm Equipment Fire/Smoke/Gas Detectors Category. I have not written about System Sensor, since they’re not in my beat, but my colleague, Martha has.

Telular–a company I’ve written about before–took home a prize for the Telguard TG-1 Express in the Alarm Equipment: Alarm Signal Transmission Equipment Category. I wrote about the TG-11 in 08.

Our friends at Videofied won an award for the XV Videofied Panel in the Alarm Equipment: Enhanced Video Alarm Category. I’ve written extensively about enhanced alarms recently. Keith’s been tirelessly advocating verification of alarms for a while now.

Digital Monitoring Products took a prize for the XTL Wireless Burglary Control Panel in the Alarm Equipment: Intrusion Alarm Control Panels Category.

Videofied took another award for its MotionViewer - MultiMode in the Alarm Equipment: Intrusion Sensors/Detectors Category. Good for the MotionViewer Man. He works hard.

LogicMark took a prize for the LifeSentry in the Alarm Equipment: PERS Hardware Category. I’ve spoken with Mark Gottlieb before and met up with him again at ESX.

Honeywell Security won an award for the LYNX Plus in the Alarm Equipment: Wireless Alarm Systems category. I wrote a story about the LYNX Plus earlier this year.

Bold Technologies took a prize for the PBXAssistant in the Central Station Equipment: Central Station Software Category. I’ve done some writing about Bold this past year, as well.

UTC Global Security Products won an award for the Two-Way Talking Touch Screen for the Residential Custom Electronics: Home Automation Systems Category. I’ve not written about UTC yet (except for our top five stories of 2009 wrap up), but I certainly have covered the convergence of home automation and security. Lots of opportunity there, according to some.

NuVo Technologies won a MIA for its Renovia in the Residential Custom Electronics: Multi-Room Audio Systems Category. Not really something I cover here at SSN.

And Intertek took a prize for the Alarm System Certification Program in the Services: Dealer Marketing Services Category. I just met with Tom Connaughton and Jeff Baum of Intertek to discuss their long struggle to get Intertek recognized as an official certifying NRTL by the security industry. CSAA just recognized them at this year’s ESX.

SedonaOffice won a MIA for SageQuest in the Services: GPS/Mobile Tracking Category. I’ve not talked with SedonaOffice yet, but have covered GPS/Mobile tracking solutions over the past few years.

Next Level Security Systems took the prize for NLSS Gateway Micro in the Services: Integrated Security Solutions Category.

Crest Electronics won an award for ID Medics in the Services Specialized Central Station Services Category .

Axis Communications took a prize for the Q1910-E (Thermal) in the Video Surveillance: Cameras Category.

DVTel was lauded for the Intelligent Security Operations Center (iCOS) V6 in the Video Surveillance: Video Surveillance System Category. I just wrote about some new developments at DVTel.

Additionally, the overall winner, earning the 2011 Best Maximum Impact Award, was presented to Next Level Security Systems for the NLSS Gateway Micro. Congrats to the folks over at Next Level.

Next year’s ESX will be in Charlotte, N.C. I hope to see everyone there.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I wrote a while back about a central station called Mason Monitoring that was embarked on a campaign to undersell the competition with unbeatably low monitoring prices. That story sparked kind of an uproar from some of my readers who thought my news reporting constituted endorsing the Mason brand. At that point I decided it would be a good idea to take a look at price and examine whether it was the most important factor in a service industry.

I recently came across an interesting tweet from Canadian security company Provident Security’s president Mike Jagger. He’s saying, basically “Look, you get what you pay for, and security is NOT somewhere you should skimp.”

Take a look at the video Provident’s got up. Interesting stuff. Mike’s video bears not only on the price discussion I had going in my SSN stories, but also on the verified alarms discussion I’ve had going, as well.

Provident has a cool business model, I think. Also, check out Provident-sponsored aspiring Olympian Kevin Jagger (Mike’s younger brother). That’s a pretty cool story, too.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, June 28, 2010


I wrote a while back about this company mobiDEOS that was allowing you to access your cameras from any web enabled device, including your iPhone. Now it looks like they’ve done up an app for the Android as well, which is good, since one of the many security guys I met at ESX said his only wish was that there were more security related apps for his Droid phone.

Well, here you go.

MobiDEOS is a provider of applications, technologies and services to help users realize the value and potential of live video streaming on their mobile devices. MobiDEOS claims to work with 95 percent of mobile device models, including but not limited to iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and now Droid.

According to a mobiDEOS press release, users can now purchase the MobileCamViewer directly from mobiDEOS and have the application up and running in three minutes. The release says the app will be available soon on Android Market place.

Interested parties can trial the app for free here.

From the release:

MobileCamViewer seamlessly connects with ALL Microsoft compatible webcams, popular IP Cameras and DVR/NVRs such as JVC, Panasonic, Axis, Dedicated Micros, Milestone, Vivotek, Sony,Toshiba, Canon and many more.


MobileCamViewer has been on the market for over two years and works on wireless networks from carriers across the globe such as AT&T, Verizon, Sprint/Nextel, Telstra and Orange.

When I originally interviewed the folks at mobiDEOS, they said their mission was to open up surveillance everyone. “All of this already exists in separate pieces, or it’s bundled with specific hardware. They give you a live picture or a piece of video, but you have to buy their equipment. Or you have to have a specific phone,” Palasamudram said. “We don’t restrict the end user and say, ‘You must use this phone and buy our equipment.’ We don’t believe in that … If you want to give true value, you want to give them freedom to choose, whatever phone you carry. That’s where the value comes in.”

by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, June 25, 2010


I got an email from CSAA VP of marketing and programs Celia Besore yesterday. Looks like the results of the CSAA’s first Security Trends Survey are in and ready to be acquired, digested and utilized by y’all.

From Celia’s email:

The monthly survey showed some interesting results for April and May and should become a valuable benchmarking and forecasting tool for your business going forward.

The first installment of the survey is 31 pages of industry-specific data designed to help you run your business more efficiently and smartly.

Celia makes clear in her email the fact that in order for this survey to continue to deliver the goods–good goods, worthwhile goods, timely and informative goods–you all need to participate!

Remember, the goal of the short online survey is to deliver real-time insights to CSAA members on a monthly basis. In order to continue to improve this product, we are looking to get increased participation in the coming months. Don’t miss out on future opportunities to participate in this valuable tool. 

If you’re interested in pitching in and helping to create this valuable tool going forward, please email Celia or give her a call at 703-242-4670, Ext. 16.

In other CSAA news, CSAA’s book, “A Practical Guide to Central Station Burglar Alarm Systems–4th Edition” is out now and available for purchase. You can obtain your copy either through contacting Celia (seriously, is there anything that woman DOESN’T do?) at the above number or email, or through this order form.