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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 14, 2018

PERS seems to have come up quite a bit this month. I spoke with Affiliated about its upcoming Catalyst conference and COPS Monitoring about its approach to mPERS.

I also spoke with Bryan Stapp, president of Medical Care Alert, a PERS dealer based in Northville, Mich. The company, started in 2008, has seen strong growth in the past few years and Stapp gave me some perspective on the PERS industry, both within his company and the market overall.

Medical Care Alert recently earned a distinction from Stapp’s alma mater for its growth. The company has experienced a CAGR of 34.27 percent over the last three years, earning the company a spot on the Gator100, a list of the fastest growing companies owned or operated by University of Florida alumni.

This is the second time Medical Care Alert has appeared on the list, ranking number 68 this year and 88 in 2017. “It’s a nice thing for the team here to see that our growth and our efforts are being recognized,” Stapp said.

Certain technologies have played a role in that growth, according to Stapp. “In terms of the product line, the mPERS devices—what we call the HOME & AWAY line—has really been our biggest growth engine, and that’s clearly where people are headed,” he said.

Stapp continued, “Either because they’re still really active or because we’re hitting a younger demographic, or they’ve gotten rid of their traditional phone line, so there’s no more POTS line or VoIP line to connect a traditional medical alert system up to—the HOME & AWAY has been really popular.”

Medical Care Alert uses two different devices under its HOME & AWAY category: the Numera Libris and a device manufactured by Micron. Stapp lauded the fall detection of the Libris device and the tracking abilities enabled by the Micron device. “The devices are great, they’re rock solid, they’re very reliable. We’re very happy with the quality of the devices, and that’s important for us, obviously, for customer satisfaction, for customer service, and then also for … keeping our return rate really low.”

Building out the company with additional sales people and customer service representatives has also assisted the company’s growth over the past few years. The company had about four or five people three years ago, according to Stapp, and now it has 15.

“In general, we’ve been able to staff up with the growth and we’ve been very fortunate to have extremely low turnover,” Stapp said. “The folks that are with us tend to stay with us for a while. … That’s been very, very helpful.”

Stapp pointed to the company’s updated website as another recent improvement. Last year, Medical Care Alert made the website more mobile-friendly, revamped the ordering process and included a tool to help consumers with product selection, he said.

In the announcement of Medical Care Alert’s second Gator100 recognition, Stapp stressed the company’s focus on customer service. “For us [customer service] means a couple things. One is making sure that we are reaching out to our clients when we see events come through on their account,” he told SSN. “The other thing we do is, through our telephone system, we make sure that people are not on hold for long, if at all. That’s a combination of your phone routing and your staffing.”

Medical Care Alert also recently recieved its sixth consecutive Angie's List Super Service Award.

Stapp is positive on the PERS industry’s future. “I see the industry just continuing to grow. There seems to be a very wide acceptance of the product and the technology,” he said. There are some market segments want advanced features that are coming out—such as Wi-Fi tracking—and there is also still a large market of consumers looking for a more basic system that will simply get the user help when they need it, said Stapp.

“I continue to believe that, if you’re truly viewing this as an emergency response system, that it has to be really simple. That’s why we like things that have a big, easy to push button,” he said.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Just over a month from now the Security Systems News team will be making our way to Las Vegas for this year’s ISC West Conference. That means that planning has certainly begun for exhibit floor visits and other commitments at the show.

My primary focus in the security space is the world of alarm monitoring. So, if you are a monitoring center, or are related to that side of the industry, and would like to meet up at the show, feel free to email me at It would be great if you’d also tell me a bit about what your company is planning for the show this year.

Though, I’m interested in many other areas of security as well. If you don’t fit in the above category, feel free to email me just the same. Be sure to include an overview of your company and what you'll be discussing at the show.

We've also got this month's SSN News Poll asking about companies' plans for the show. Are you planning to attend ISC West 2018? ISC West hosts several expos during the show—which interests you? How many people is your company sending to the show? Feel free to share your thoughts here

Whether we've spoken at each ISC West since my first in 2015, or if we haven't yet met, I hope to see you in Las Vegas come mid-April.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A couple of months back, I got the chance to speak to Matt Sailor, CEO of IC Realtime, about the company’s new natural language video search platform Ella. Yesterday, the company announced its first update: including a time-lapse compiler and creation tool.

“With this new update, users can create a time-lapse video from a range of time or by a specific query to produce more detailed and relevant results. The same natural language processing included within Ella is leveraged to create time-lapse videos that can be specific to a certain object, color, or vehicle make and model,” the announcement read.

“Never before have customers had the ability to request and generate time-lapse videos within seconds and customize those time-lapse videos to narrow down the results down to very specific objects, colors, vehicles, or user-created zones,” Sailor said in a prepared statement.

Sailor continued, “One area where we see great opportunity is within the construction market for customers interested in monitoring construction sites to ensure personnel safety but also want to create easy-to-view time-lapse videos that showcase job-site progress or start-to-finish projects. This new feature can also be used by new or existing customers who need to monitor sensitive or restricted access areas and produce time-lapse videos across a day, week, month, or any duration of time.”

The new tool is available now for Ella users and can be used system-wide across all Ella subscribed cameras.

by: Spencer Ives - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ESX recently announced the keynote speaker for its 2018 show in Nashville, Tenn. Scott Stratten, a disruptive marketer, best-selling author, and president of UnMarketing, will talk about the current business climate on the ESX Main Stage, Wed., June 20 from 11:30 a.m. 12:45 p.m. in Nashville’s Music City Center.

"Today’s business climate is changing at an unprecedented rate,” Stratten said in the announcement. “Every week, it seems there is a new strategy, social media site or technology that is a ‘must use’ or a ‘game changer.’ What we lose in this endless quest for the next bright shiny business object is that at the core of business while everything has changed, nothing is different. Trust, connection, consistency and service will always trump any new app to hit the market."

His presentation, titled “The Age of Disruption: Everything Has Changed and Nothing is Different,” is no stranger to the limelight. His clients include Walmart, Microsoft, IBM, Toyota, Pepsico, and Edelman.

“At ESX, he will draw on information learned while writing his five best-selling business and marketing books to teach ESXers about the Millennial myth, social media, and how customers make buying decisions in a digital world,” the announcement read. “Stratten’s presentation is one of three Main Stage events at ESX intended to educate, energize and inspire audiences to elevate their personal and professional lives.”

The ESX Opening Keynote Luncheon is sponsored by Security Dealer Network and endorsed by Security Systems News.

Registration for ESX is open and early-bird pricing is in effect for a limited time; Premium Passes are currently priced at $199 for a limited time.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Sargent and Greenleaf, a STANLEY Security subsidiary and manufacturer of high security locks, recently named Keith Deaton as the company’s new COO. I got the chance to talk with Deaton and hear a bit more about the role and his experience in the industry.

Deaton officially started as the COO of S&G at the end of January. “I have had extensive experience with the business through varying leadership capacities over the last several years. So, I like to say ‘I’m new to the role, I’m not new to the business,’” he said, adding that the company is “executing a seamless transition in leadership.”

Deaton started in the security industry by being recruited by Ingersoll Rand, and worked with the company for about six years.

In 2010, Deaton joined Stanley Black & Decker in an operations finance role for the company’s mechanical solutions, a business unit which was sold to dormakaba at the end of 2016. Deaton became the CFO of S&G in early 2017 and also served as the interim CFO for STANLEY’s Canadian automatic door and electronic security business from mid-2017 to the end of the year.

The new role at S&G expands the scope of his leadership, Deaton noted. “It’s really being not only involved in leading those day-to-day operations—all of the way from the front end of the business, through the manufacturing and fulfillment part of the business—it’s also really working to set strategic direction for the business.”

One of the commonalities in his new position is the similar focus on innovation, Deaton said. “We’re focused on innovation as an enterprise,” he said.

“S&G is about a 160-year-old business, and … it has just amazing brand equity and loyalty really across this high security space,” Deaton said. S&G serves financial, commercial, retail, residential safes and residential mechanical security markets.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Security Systems News’ 2018 TechSec Solutions conference is coming up—Feb 26 and 27, down in Delray Beach, Fla., at the Delray Beach Marriott—and now we’re extending a new offer to attend at a lower registration rate.

Last week, our Early Bird registration rate ended. However, we are offering another chance to get $100 off of the conference registration, if you use the promo code EML100 (which can’t be combined with other offers). To register, see the entire educational program or view more information on the conference, visit

We’re preparing a great line up of speakers and panels to address some of the most relevant security topics today, including AI, how IT impacts the integrator, robots and the next technologies for access control.

In addition to the line-up of educational sessions, we’re excited to have two great keynote speakers. On Day One, Jim Dearing, senior analyst, Security & Building Technologies for the research firm IHS Markit, will present data on some of the trends impacting the industry. On Day Two, Hart Brown, EVP and COO of Firestorm Solutions LLC, will take a look at cybersecurity and the risks involved.

Another feature of the conference that we look forward to each year is the poolside networking reception where we honor the most recent class of Security Systems News’ “20 under 40” award winners. This is a unique opportunity to meet some up-and-coming professionals in both the end user and integrator arenas.

We hope to see you there!

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, January 31, 2018

VIENNA, Va.—Registration is now open for The Monitoring Association’s recently announced “TMA Technology Summit,” an inaugural event to be held March 19-21, 2018 in Salt Lake City. The event is coordinated by TMA’s Technology Committee, which is co-chaired by Sascha Kylau, vice president of sales, Onetel Security and Steve Butkovich, CTO, CPI Security Systems.

“We invite CTOs, CIOs, and IT directors of monitoring companies to participate in the first TMA Tech Summit to learn about and discuss technology issues that directly affect monitoring centers,” Kylau said in a prepared statement. “By attending, these tech pros will learn about the newest technologies—hardware, software and services—to run their central stations securely and efficiently, minimizing downtime and protecting them from internal and external threats,” he continued.

“We also welcome dealers, owners, and interested participants from manufacturing companies,” Butkovich said in the announcement. “We’ll be talking about all the things that matter when it comes to technology and running and securing an effective business.”

Sessions and topics will include:

•           Intelligent apps and analytics

•           MPLS, SD-WAN, secure VPNs (what are they and what is best for my business)

•           Contact Center 2018 (speech recognition for QC, text to speech, AI, and more)

•           Data storage (new storage options and best practices for storage and data retention)

•           3G, LTE, FirstNet, 5G and beyond

•           Next gen Linux mainframe

•           Cybersecurity (gap & risk assessment—It’s a business issue, not just an IT issue)

•           Next gen firewalls and other cyber hardware tools

•           Data backup and recovery solutions

•           Data encryption

In the announcement, TMA noted that the Technology Summit will be modeled after its Fall Operations Management Seminar. Both days of the conference will conclude with round table discussions of the day’s presentations. The room block for the event is now open as well.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Earlier this month ISC West announced the program for its SIA Education@ISC for the 2018 show, to be held April 10-12. I got the chance to speak with Sherida Sessa, industry VP for ISC events, and Kimberly Roberts, SIA’s director of education and training, about some of the sessions and themes that attendees can look forward to at ISC West 2018.

“We’re very excited that we have over 85 sessions scheduled for this year. They really run the gamut, they cover most of the new and trending topics that we’re seeing in the industry, many are technologically based,” said Sessa. “You’re going to see a lot of new content this year,” she added.

“This year, we do have a standards in interoperability track … and also a security professionals under 40 track, and those are two brand new tracks that we have not had before in previous years,” Roberts said. The professionals under 40 track will be “more geared towards professionals on the integrator and manufacturer side,” she added.

Several themes from the show floor are represented in the educational sessions, Sessa said. “We’ve done that strategically. It really makes it easier for the attendees if they can learn about something in the classroom and then walk upstairs and actually see it in a working environment on the show floor,” she said.

A core theme to ISC West 2018 is comprehensive security, Sessa said. The theme encompasses the Connected Security Expo @ ISC West, which has been part of the show since 2016. “That’s actually in its third year now and is an entire area of the exhibit floor that provides holistic solutions from the IT and IoT perspective. That translates right over into our education program as well, we do have two tracks of education that focus on that: a people and process track and a technology track,” Sessa said.

This year’s ISC West show floor will also have the Unmanned Security & Safety Expo @ ISC West, which started last year and has been growing, according to Sessa. “Kimberly and the SIA team have done an excellent job of adding content to the education program that corresponds to that trend as well,” she said.

The show floor will feature more connected home technologies and there are educational sessions on these technologies as well. 

ISC West 2018’s show floor will introduce a new area for start up companies, called the Emerging Technology Zone. “It’s going to be located just near registration … on level one of the show. So, it’ll be an all new exhibit area,” Sessa said. “It’s really designed to offer an entry option for companies that are brand new to the industry.”

She continued, “We hear from attendees all the time, in our survey research, that they really come to trade shows specifically to find cutting-edge technology and brand new products. So this is one way to make it a little bit easier for them to do that.”

SIA has planned an interesting session for the Tuesday before the show floor opens, called “What’s New at ISC West?” Here, Steve Oplinger, systems design manager for Integrated Fire and Security Solutions, and J Kelly Stewart, managing director and CEO of Newcastle Consulting LLC, will present a preview of key technologies and companies they think attendees should see on the show floor.

One session that Roberts highlighted was the Active Shooter Workshop, which is a session that SIA is bringing back from 2017. “Unfortunately, in the day and time that we live in, there’s certain situations that we can’t control,” she said, adding that the presented will help end users and integrators look at technologies to implement.

Sessa highlighted another track, Security Megatrends, which includes sessions on the smart home, the DIY market, artificial intelligence, and access control.

Both Roberts and Sessa gave credit to the Education Advisory Board for the lineup of sessions coming to this year’s ISC West.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Updated 1.24.18

PHILADELPHIA—Comcast recently announced that it will expand its smart home capabilities to the company’s Xfinity platforms, including xFi, Xfinity Home, Xfinity Mobile and X1—its TV and voice remote. This will make home automation available to more than 15 million Xfinity customers at no additional cost, according to the company's announcement.

"Our latest announcement reaffirms our commitment to offer our customers an easy to use platform that can help them make their home technology work for them," Neal Foster, vice president of product management, Xfinity Home, told Security Systems News in an email interview.

"By integrating home automation across the Xfinity platform, we are able to unlock new experiences for customers. For example, smart home devices can be automatically detected by our gateway and users can be instantly made aware of the automation experiences that the device can do within the Xfinity platform," Foster said.

Down the road, Comcast is looking to further expand the plaform's capabilities. "Long term we will be able to add even more smart home devices into our platform making it easy for our customers to add the devices they need and manage and control every device from the Xfinity platform. Through the increased breadth of the platform, we will be able to target new solutions across a broad range of areas including peace of mind, protection, entertainment, wellness, energy and home maintenance," said Foster.

In the announcement, Comcast highlighted key smart home developments for the company. In September 2017, Comcast acquired Stringify, which provides a cloud-powered automation service for more than 500 IoT products and digital services. “Stringify’s technology will soon be integrated into Xfinity’s products and services, significantly expanding the capabilities of Xfinity automation,” the announcement read.

Additionally, Comcast’s ‘Works with Xfinity’ program facilitates the integration of smart home devices into its Xfinity platform. “The company plans to expand its partner ecosystem to include new product categories such as: wearables, automotive, voice assistants, email, social media platforms, and more,” according to the announcement. “New partners will help improve an Xfinity customer’s lifestyle, whether for convenience, entertainment, peace of mind, or to help run their home more efficiently.”

In May 2017, the company launched xFi, a digital dashboard for customers to set up and control aspects of their home Wi-Fi network, including seeing what devices are connected and setting parental controls.

The company also recently added enhanced features to Xfinity Home Security Cameras. "Its new AI-powered platform identifies movement, centers on the subject, and delivers a crystal-clear thumbnail image to customers so they can always know what’s happening with just a glance in our app," the announcement read.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mission 500, a non-profit charitable organization focusing on the security industry and dedicated to serving children and families in need across the U.S., recently gave an overview of its efforts throughout 2017, including the annual Security 5/2K at ISCW, the summer Security Softball Game and the Miami Mixer among other events.

“Engaging and giving back to children and communities in need is at the core of our mission here in the U.S.,” Jeff Eichenlaub, director of strategic partnerships for Mission 500, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to contributing to causes that are important to the security industry again in 2018.”

At the Miami Mixer, Mission 500 raised more than $15,000 for children in need in South Florida, according to the announcement. The event had more than 70 attendees and included a fashion show, raffles, an auction and karaoke. Proceeds were donated to children attending to Crosspointe Elementary School, a Title One School in Boynton Beach and Centro Campesino, a not-for-profit organization that hosts a summer camp for children of migrant farm workers living in severe poverty in South Florida.

At the Axis Connect & Converge Conference, Mission 500 spoke to conference attendees about corporate social responsibility awareness in the security industry and why it is important. Conference attendees assembled School Refill Packs for 600 students at a Title One School in Seattle, which will provide students with enough school supplies to get through the second half of the school year, the announcement said.

Axis Communications hosted another event at the company’s new Southeast Experience Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The event was dedicated to assembling School Refill Packs for 200 low-income students impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the storm that impacted Houston in August 2017.

At the 2017 California Alarm Association Winter Conference held in San Francisco in November, Mission 500 helped attendees assemble School Refill Packs for 200 low- income children impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

At the NY Fire and Executive Security Club Dinner, Mission 500 honored Alan Forman of Altronix Corporation, Zygmunt Staszewski of Z.S. Engineering D.P.C, and Lew Walters of Affiliated Monitoring for their philanthropic contributions. All proceeds from the event benefited children supported by Mission 500, in addition to the NY Firefighters Burn Center Foundation Children’s Camp.

In 2018, Mission 500 is already planning for the eighth annual Security 5/2K at ISC West as well as the annual Mission 500 softball game which will take place in the fall.