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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ADR Security, a full-service electronic and physical security provider based in New York City, on Aug. 11 announced a new business: ADR Security Monitoring, a joint venture with Security Partners that caters to the specific security needs of high-end jewelers in New York City.

ADR Security services about 4,500 individual sites, offering intercom, intrusion, electronic access, video surveillance, fire and life safety, locksmith and AV cabling among other services. The business, by sales, is 90 percent commercial with 10 percent in high-end residential.

“What we were trying to do was figure out a way to go to market with a solution in the jewelry industry,” Peter Goldring, EVP and COO of ADR Security, told Security Systems News. ADR found that working with Security Partners provided the best outcome. “We’re going to be able to issue central station certificates here in the New York market, serviced out of New York,” said Goldring.

Security Partners operates four redundant, UL listed, TMA Five Diamond monitoring centers throughout the United States; in Lancaster, Pa., Anaheim, Calif., San Antonio and Las Vegas.

Goldring described ADR Security Monitoring as “an extension of a retail business that still has very deep roots into the wholesale, third party business. And, it—of course—will afford the opportunity for the other third party dealers to work with ADR Security monitoring, to partner with us, to issue certificates where necessary.”

This business differs from that of a traditional alarm dealer-monitoring center relationship. “ADRSM is the full-circle approach, the operator is able to take service requests, is able to dispatch the runner. Everything is in house, under the roof of Security Partners’ facilities, helping us with the day-to-day operation of the business. So, it really is a much more intense relationship, but it truly is a partnership,” Goldring said.

“We believe there is a huge, underserved market for certificate service – bigger than ever before – and this is a great opportunity for us to partner with a strong, independent and financially solid company like ADR Security,” Patrick Egan, founder of Security Partners, said in a prepared statement.

ADRSM’s announcement mentioned the possibility of expanding after establishing a presense in New York’s Diamond District, and the company is exploring locations for its next markets. “The next two most significant markets are in California, in Los Angeles, … and then of course there’s a fairly large industry in Las Vegas, with a number of jewelry stores and high-end boutiques that often requires the certifications,” Goldring said. “Those are probably the next areas that we’ll jump into.”  

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, August 9, 2017

PITTSBURGH—Vector Security announced in early August that Newport News, Va., is now live with Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP). Newport News joins other municipalities in the state of Virginia using ASAP, such as the City of Richmond, James City County, York County, and Henrico County.

The ASAP to PSAP program, created by The Monitoring Association—formerly CSAA—and the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials automates communication between alarm monitoring central stations and 911 centers.

Transmitting alarm information digitally, results in improved accuracy and faster emergency responses by eliminating the need for communication over the phone between PSAP centers and monitoring centers.

Vector Security was the first alarm company to use ASAP in the City of Richmond, Va. in 2012. Vector Security assisted with implementation in Newport News by helping to perform extensive testing prior to the system going live.

“Alarm users in Newport News, including several hundred Vector Security customers, will benefit from faster and more accurate emergency response with the implementation of ASAP,” Anita Ostrowski, vice president of central station services at Vector Security, said in a prepared statement. “We hope the positive impact that ASAP will bring to Newport News will encourage other major 911 centers in the nation to adopt this technology as well.”

Ostrowski continued, “As a security provider, we seek ways to promote ASAP’s value to municipalities and public agencies, and help other alarm companies implement it for the greater good of the industry and the safety of our communities.”

Other municipalities that have implemented ASAP include Houston and High Point, TX; Washington D.C.; James City County, York County and Henrico County, Va.; Tempe and Chandler, Az.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Cary and Guilford County, N.C.; Kernersville and Durham County, N.C.; Johnston County, N.C.; Denton County and Grand Prairie, Texas; Morgan County, Ala.; Delaware County, Ohio; Bucks County, Pa.; and Highland Park, Texas.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, August 2, 2017

WILLIAMSTOWN, N.J.—COPS Monitoring, a brand under Lydia Security Monitoring, on July 27 announced its Grow Your Business roadshow, with seminars currently planned for Denver, Colo., Boca Raton, Fla., Salt Lake City and Williamstown, N.J., with more to be announced.

“The genesis of the seminars actually began with our UCC dealer customers; we started these … sometime in the 2015 time frame,” Ron Bowden, director of dealer development for Lydia’s UCC brand and leader of these seminars, told Security Systems News. The Grow Your Business seminars is an example of collaboration between COPS and UCC following Lydia Security Monitoring's acquisition of UCC in January 2016

“The thought process is that we would put together a business class that worked in helping our dealers in certain areas of their business: in sales, in attrition control, in … installation efficiencies, compensations plans, sales recruiting. [These are] things that a small- to mid-sized business could take and apply in their business that could get immediate results without spending large sums of money,” Bowden said. 

The seminars are not exclusive to COPS and UCC dealer customers, Bowden pointed out, and the workshops suit a range of dealers. “In our class [on Aug. 3], we had dealers that are small to just getting started, to people that have been in business twenty years that have a several-thousand account base,” he said. “I think the basics and the principles apply to all—it’s just how they’re used.” 

“Since the beginning, COPS has been dedicated to supporting independent alarm dealers world-class monitoring along with the tools, services, and education they need to help them run their business and improve their bottom line,” David Smith, VP of marketing and business development at COPS, told SSN via email.

“Now that UCC is part of the Lydia team, Ron’s ‘Grow Your Business’ seminars seemed like a natural fit to our longstanding tradition of helping our dealers succeed.  Though COPS and UCC continue to operate as separate brands, on separate monitoring platforms, and with separate management teams, we still learn from each other and share best practices – especially when it brings value to our dealers," Smith said.

The Grow Your Business seminars will teach dealers how they can increase sales with lead generation programs and other professional marketing services from My Studio [Pros], an agency dedicated to helping dealers of all sizes successfully grow their business in the security and smart home automation market.

Updated on Aug. 3.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

PARK CITY, Utah—AvantGuard has several speakers lined up for its upcoming PERS Summit, to be held here Sept. 26-28, as well as some of the events.

This year’s PERS Summit will start with a tour of AvantGuard’s recently remodeled facility. “We’ve got about 25,000 square feet and three levels, and the building will be completely remodeled, inside and out, by the time the event starts. So, people will really get to see—hands on—how that monitoring of the PERS devices works,” Sonja Jorgenson, AvantGuard’s director of marketing, told Security Systems News.

Aron Ralston will be one of the conference’s keynote speakers. “His story is told in that movie, 127 hours,” Jorgenson noted. Ralston was exploring a Utah canyon when his arm got caught, forcing Ralston to amputate the limb.

One of the speakers will be Eric Allen, an attorney who can speak to certain marketing techniques. “His expertise is … issues that are raised when businesses are contacting customers through texting and automated calls. He really understands that, the regulations, and the new rules that are coming out in 2017.”

Laurie Orlov, another speaker at the conference, is focused on aging-in place.  “She has an interesting background in technology, especially targeted to aging seniors,” Jorgenson said. “She’s going to share some predictions about what those technology trends are going to look like in 2017 and beyond.”

The Summit’s other speakers have not yet been announced.

“Then, every year, we have a panel of experts in the industry and we talk about a relevant issue. Last time, we talked about fall detection and [the panelists’] feelings about that, and where [the technology] was and if it was really helpful,” Jorgenson said. “We haven’t disclosed what that topic will be yet, but that panel discussion’s always a big talking point.”

Jorgenson said that AvantGuard hopes to give attendees more access to the presentations at this Summit, which will allow attendees to further review information after returning from the conference. “I think there will be a lot of information, … so, it’s a lot to digest in just a couple days,” she said.

The company also sends an anonymous survey to its dealers, which asks about a range of topics, including the software that dealers use or the types of customers dealers are seeing, AvantGuard marketing assistant Alex Flitton said. “We actually have a lot of really good feedback so far,” he told SSN. “All of this information will be compiled and interpreted by some of the experts in the industry, to present to our attendees.”

Networking is another benefit of the event, Flitton noted. “It just puts a lot of like-minded people in a really solid environment where they can interact,” he said.

The Summit will be held at The Chateaux Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. The conference has been here for each conference.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, July 19, 2017

HENDERSON, Nev.—Recently, I-View Now announced a new integration with Eagle Eye Networks. I got the chance to catch up with I-View Now president Larry Folsom to hear a bit about this partnership and how it works.

“The I-View Now integration with Eagle Eye Networks is a cloud to cloud integration,” Folsom said in an email interview. “We appreciate the architecture in that it is a smart appliance that can be used with inexpensive or expensive cameras depending on the opportunity and requirements. We think this is important for scale (as opposed to cloud systems that require expensive cameras). We found the Eagle Eye Networks APIs to be robust and well thought out.”

Folsom discussed how the partnership will benefit I-View Now’s customers.

“We believe this is another great video partner for our dealers and central stations to utilize while protecting their customers,” Folsom said. “It is import to see that the Eagle Eye Networks video will work with all I-View Now compatible signaling integrations (security systems) and will play in the same universal player for operators, end users, and law enforcement.”

Folsom noted that I-View Now has had a busy year; it partnered with COPS Monitoring and earlier this year announced that cameras from Bosch, OpenEye and Hikvision can now come I-View Now Ready. “We currently have a backlog but we are working our way through it and have been actively hiring engineers to build out the team to support the demand,” he said.

When asked what the company is currently working on, Folsom pointed to the company’s work with Digital Barriers, announced in early June.

“This integration is fun because every clip we produce will be processed with the video analytic,” said Folsom. “The process will add intelligence (percent of likelihood of a person) to all of our existing video integrations to reduce false alarms and add bounding boxes so the agent and the end user can see where the changes occurred.”

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Central Security Group on July 6 announced that it received an incremental first lien term loan of $40 million, as well as a 12-month maturity extension to its credit facilities.

The new funding “is part of a broader $350 million financing the company started in 2014. This was an add on to that financing,” Richard Ginsburg, president and CEO of Central Security Group, told Security Systems News in an email interview. CSG finances through Credit Suisse, Ginsburg noted.

Asked about growth initiatives, Ginsburg said, “We continue to grow our business through our long-standing Authorized Dealer Program, supplemented by our organic efforts.”

In the recent announcement, Ginsburg mentioned that the funding will help the company with geographic expansion, acquisitions and growing its account base. The announcement also emphasized the company’s Alert 360 offering, which provides interactive security.

Concerning acquisitions, Ginsburg told SSN, “We are always looking but are very selective.”

Ginsburg discussed what CSG looks for in an ideal acquisition. “We would consider quality companies with customers put on through more traditional marketing,” he told SSN. “We also look for companies with good employees and managers who are hitting glass ceilings because of the company's size and who would benefit from a company like ours, with more resources, financing, and a positive culture.”

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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The Alarm Industry Communications Committee recently opened its sixth annual communications survey, which asks about monitored accounts using POTS, VoIP digital dialers, as well as other technologies used for transmitting alarm data.

AICC started conducting the survey in 2012 because there was a lack of data on communication paths, according to AICC chair Lou Fiore. “The idea is to figure out what communications is in use, from the premises to a central station,” Fiore told Security Systems News.

“When we go to congress and the FCC and we want to ask that they retain something, or ask for new services, we have data to back it up,” Fiore said.

“This year, I introduced a question regarding AES, as opposed to cellular. But, in previous years, we’ve lumped AES … or private one-way radio with cellular, [calling] it all ‘wireless,’” Fiore said.

Part of the survey covers wireless technologies. “In 2016, 58 percent of new installations were using some form of wireless. Back when I started that part of the survey in 2013 it was about 45 percent. So, it’s steadily ticking up, and I’m sure this year it will [increase] even more,” Fiore said.

In 2012, 83.5 percent of monitored accounts used POTS digital dialers, either as a sole method of transmission or along with another method, Fiore said. “Now, it’s down to 58 percent,” he said, adding that he expects it to be lower this year.

The survey also asked what percentage of accounts use another technology—such as radio, IP, or cellular—as the sole method of transmission. “In 2012, it was 14.5 percent. 2016, it went up to 40 percent,” said Fiore.

In 2013, when the survey began asking about accounts that use IP exclusively, 15.6 percent used IP exclusively. That figure decreased to 9 percent in 2016, Fiore said. “IP exclusively, the use of Internet … is not as popular as everyone’s thought. It’s actually decreasing; it’s been steadily decreasing through the years.”

The survey can be found here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/R9SH7JC. Participation is not limited to TMA or AICC members. Fiore will share results after the survey closes on Aug. 11.

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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Monitoring Association today announced that Ivan Spector, president of Montreal-based Sentinel Alarm Co., was voted to be the next president of TMA at its general membership meeting, held on June 13 during ESX in Nashville Tenn.

“I am very honored and humbled to serve in the position of President,” Spector said in TMA’s announcement. “I look forward to continuing our successes and I thank all of our members for their support and participation.” 

Spector is a Superior Court of Canada-acknowledged and accepted expert witness. Spector is a graduate of McGill University and he and his wife Jodi live in Montreal with their four children. Sentinel Alarm Co. is a full-service ULC-listed and Five Diamond designated monitoring station.

“In addition to his ownership of Sentinel Alarm, Spector is a leader in advancing alarm management in both Canada and the United States,” TMA said in today's announcement. For CANASA, Spector has served on the Board of Directors, was national president, and chair of the Response Committee. He was also a founding member and longtime board member of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition and he currently serves on the Executive Committee of TMA.

In addition to the election of Spector, officer positions for the next two years were proposed and accepted by vote of the membership: Don Young, ADT’s chief information officer; Morgan Hertel, VP of technology and innovation for Rapid Response; and CPI’s chief technology officer Steve Butkovich, will become vice presidents of the association and Alan Gillmore IV, Gillmore Security, will become TMA’s treasurer.

“Congratulations to Ivan and our other new officers,” TMA's current president Pamela J. Petrow, said in a prepared statement. “I have had the pleasure of working with all of them during my presidency, and know that the Association will be in very good hands under their leadership.”

These leadership changes become official at the conclusion of the TMA Annual Meeting in Scottsdale October 7-11.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

In the past couple of weeks, Vivint has made two announcements. The first announcement, which came out on June 13, was about the company’s new facility. Then, on June 20, Vivint announced its new solution for property developers and managers—Vivint Smart Properties.

According to Vivint’s announcement, the new facility will be a 43,000-square-foot building, capable of housing up to 400 employees and includes a demo home equipped with a Vivint smart home system, a full-size basketball court, fitness center and six training rooms, including a technical training room and a hands-on product training room.

“We look forward to tapping into the strong business and engineering talent of the Utah State University community and contributing to Utah’s growth as a tech hub,” Alex Dunn, president at Vivint Smart Home, said in a prepared statement.

"We are very pleased to provide space for Vivint Smart Home on the USU Innovation Campus," Noelle Cockett, Utah State University president, said in the announcement. "The center will afford employment opportunities for people in Cache Valley, including USU students. Also, we anticipate USU research and outreach faculty engaging with Vivint R&D personnel in areas of common interest," Cockett continued.

Vivint Smart Properties will bring smart home devices to single- or multi-family rental properties, marketed specifically toward property managers. Harrison Jenkins, senior director of product integrations, told Security Systems News that this program is essentially “taking what we’ve been offering to single-family residential homeowners for years and making it accessible to renters. So, [that includes] lights, locks, thermostats, doorbell cameras, security.”

The customer, property managers, looks a little different from the company's typical customer, Jenkins noted. “It’s just a different model for us, but I think we have a good understanding of how it needs to happen and we’re ready to deploy it.”

Tom Few, Vivint Smart Home's vice president of business development, described how the new offering benefits both renters and property managers.

“We believe that it’ll help drive occupancy, it’ll help drive net operating income with increased rents,” Few told SSN. “I believe that it allows the renter to have control of their apartment, whether it be through video, door access, thermostats, lighting. These are all things that people are becoming accustomed to having and I think it’s going to be an amenity that’s going to attract more renters to that property.” 

Vivint has dedicated that is focused on property managers, developers and owners, according to Few. “We are presenting the opportunity to them, we are getting to the decision makers, and … everybody that we have spoken to has been happy to talk to us and interested in the offering,” he said. “Now, it’s just about creating that demand and actually deploying it.”

by: Spencer Ives - Tuesday, June 13, 2017

I've arrived safely in Nashville, Tenn., for the 10th ESX show. Looking at the educational sessions, I am seeing a lot of engaging topics. Over the next few days, quite a few of the sessions I'm planning on attending will be in the "Maximize Your Monitoring Center" track. I'm particularly interested in the monitoring-focused, three-part leadership boot camp on Friday, presented by Justin Robbins, content director for HDI & ICMI. Be sure to check this blog daily, as I'll be updating it with some key points from the educational sessions as well as some highlights from my trips to the show floor.

Day 1

To start the first day, I attended the OpenXchange Breakfast, featuring a presentation on "The Changing Competitive Landscape." This session brought up a variety of points and perspectives from each of the panelists. The moderator, ESX chairman George De Marco, addressed an interesting topic: whether consumers are more drawn to the connected home or security.

Justin Wong, VP of business development for IFTTT, said there needs to be a defined difference between the two. For example, a consumer may purchase a home camera, not connected to a security system, and believe they have security. The product they have is more for awareness than security, and a security dealer can focus on that messaging.

Andrew Thomas, SkyBell's co-founder and chief revenue officer, said, “The thing that keeps you safe also needs to keep you connected.” Dealers can use connected home as a bridge into offering security.

At another point De Marco asked about the DIY space. Robert C. Martens, futurist and VP of strategy and partnerships for Allegion, said that the space has done well, which attracts new entrants viewing the market as an opportunity.

When De Marco asked about potential use cases for IoT, Scott Harkins, Honeywell’s VP of Honeywell Connected Home, had an interesting take on IoT as an opportunity. He wondered about the potential for more mixing between DIY and professional security, such as through partnerships or professional systems being as easy to install as DIY systems.

Following the breakfast, I went to "Raising the Talent Bar: Your Guide to Finding Qualified Employees," featuring panelists Don Childers, Security Central's COO; Cathy Rempel president of American Security Integrators; and Dee Ann Harn, CEO, RFI Enterprises. Rebecca Bayne, president and consultant for Bayne Consulting and Search Inc., served as the moderator.

I found this topic to be particularly interesting as SSN both heard from a variety of professionals about the challenge of hiring and in our April News Poll readers weighed in on the topic, saying that finding the right people can be a challenge.

The panel addressed some points that I’ve heard before, such as culture being the key to attracting good applicants. Childers in particular had a point that companies need to offer incentives that are different, which might not be more monetary compensation, but could be more time off.

Harn said that a referral system that rewards employees for recruiting new employees has been successful for RFI. "In every different market, it's a different kind of a challenge," she said, but highlighted that companies need to know who their employees are.

Rempel said that her company often looks to hire from within. She noted that in order for that system to work, employees need to know what is expected of them to advance, such as certain skill sets.

I found Bayne had a memorable way of looking at what applicants need to know about a company; they want to know about the CLAMPS: culture, lifestyle, advancement, money, people and stability.

In the opening keynote luncheon, Carey Lohrenz, author and the first female U.S. Navy F-14 tomcat pilot, translated her experiences with adversities into ways that businesses can approach changes. In the Navy, Lohrenz faced a variety of challenges including aspiring to be a pilot when law prohibited females as well as the physical challenges of flying at Mach 2—twice the speed of sound.

One piece of advice she gave was to simultaneously focus on long term goals and do the difficult, short-term work to achieve those.

Lohrenz discussed how certain training techniques were designed to break people down, mentally and physically; she also said that these were instrumental in getting people to overcome a fear of failure and operate at the best possible levels.

She stressed the importance of being fearless in moving ahead. While taking the safe route, someone else can move ahead, she said. “Sometimes not taking a risk can be the biggest risk you can take," Lohrenz said.

On the show floor, I got to catch up with a variety of people. I was pleased to meet Randy Hall, Security Partners’ new president, face-to-face.

Also on the show floor, De Marco announced the winners for this year’s TechVision Challenge. The TechVision Challenge was started ahead of ESX 2015. The contestants were chosen from this year's Innovation Award recipients. DMP’s Secura, Dealer Services, Marketing Support won, with Essence’s Care@Home Active being named the runner-up. 

Day 2

For me, the second day of ESX 2017 began with “Advanced database Management for the Monitoring Center—Unlocking the Power of this Major Asset.” This session had quite a line-up of speakers: Dave Bhattacharjee, vice president of IOT for Stanley Security; Jens Kolind, president and CEO of Innovative Business Software; Sandra Maples, director of IoT product management for Verisk Insurance Solutions; and Mark E. McCall, Security Central’s general manager. The moderator was Mary Jo Lakhal, senior program manager for West Safety Services.

Bhattacharjee opened with a point about different aspects to data coming in, such as the categories of structured and unstructured data. He continued by defining data with three other points: the variety of the data, the volume of it, and the velocity of how fast it can be processed.

Kolind concurred, adding a separate way to look at data: by its size, the type of data, and what it is the company wants to do with it. Kolind also said that visualization and analysis of data has become more important.

Maples also touched on the concept of visualization. She advised audience members to consider third party tools and look at good colors and contrasts for laying out data. Data that will be interpreted and used in a monitoring center needs to be well laid out, she said, because it can mean the difference between correctly using it and making a mistake.

Wholesale monitoring centers have a couple of key uses for data, which McCall touched upon; using it internally as well as sharing it with the company’s customers.

Next, I went to the session “Monitoring Industry Update: Part 1: ASAP to PSAP: Your Electronic Link to Profitability and Part 2: Checklist Working Session for UL 827 and UL 1981,” with TMA’s executive director and CEO Jay Hauhn and UL’s engineering manager Steve Schmit.

As it turned out, the session was reversed, with Schmit presenting first. He examined various aspects to UL standards that affect monitoring centers—UL 827 and UL 1981—how they will change in their next editions and areas where UL sees the most non-compliance issues.

UL 1981, focused on central station automation systems, will now be more focused on software in its new third edition, Schmit said.

Among potential non-compliance issues for UL 872, he listed needing multiple ISPs and MFVNs if possible or where available and needing a trained staff member or contracted service to fix the secondary power solution.

Most requirements for UL 827 new eight edition are effective on Jan. 31, 2018, with redundant site requirements effective May 29, 2020.

Recognizing a wide range of attendees in the session, Hauhn discussed a variety of aspects relevant to The Monitoring Association’s ASAP to PSAP program, such as how it works and its benefits.

The program seeks to improve accuracy and speed of communications between central stations and PSAPs by transmitting alarm information digitally. Among other benefits, Hauhn noted on the time saved per call, about one-and-a-half minutes per call. From the approximately 190k dispatches using ASAP in the last 15 months, the time saved adds up to about 4,748 saved hours, he said.

Giving an update on the program’s progress, Hauhn mentioned getting parts of New York online with the program with help from Doyle Security Systems.

The general session, “Innovate or Else” presented by Dr. Robert Kriegel, best selling author and owner of Kriegel 2 Inc., talked about approaches to business—particularly the difference in a winning attitude and trying not to lose.

Kriegel pointed out that industries are changing. “The digital revolution has changed everything, dramatically changed everything," he said.

He invited the audience to play a game with a person next to them, asking them first to play to win. Attendees had a different strategy when asked to play not to lose, becoming more cautious and taking fewer risks.

Everybody is playing-not-to-lose in one area of their life, Kriegel said, and that is an opportunity for growth. “What's one thing that you could be doing right now that's a play to win strategy?"

Among other advice, Kriegel spoke against the “110 percent” mentality, saying that a passionate and more easy-going 90 percent is better than a stressed 110 percent.

Among the afternoon sessions I was drawn to “Residential Security: Innovation, Competition, and Channel Growth,” with panelists Derrick Dicoi, executive director for Xfinity Home Product Management, Comcast, Tom Few, senior vice president of business development for Vivint, Timothy McKinney, Vice President of ADT Custom Home Services, and moderator Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst for Parks Associates.

Abdelrazik opened with some perspective from Parks Associates’ research, including that the penetration rate for the industry has been steady over the past several years and key triggers to buying a security system are the move to a new house or a break-in experienced in the neighborhood.

The format for this session was largely around attendee questions, which covered a range of topics including whether lower cost options could canablize a company’s higher RMR base as well as Vivint’s new FlexPay options and its partnership with Best Buy.

Day 3

I spent the morning of ESX 2017’s third day attending the three-part leadership boot camp, presented by Justin Robbins, content director for HDI and ICMI. "Boot camp is not always comfortable, it's not always fun, but it gives you information that you absolutely need to move forward," Robbins said in the first session.

The first part was entitled, “Leadership Fundamentals in the Monitoring Center.” He examined the variety of aspects related to a monitoring center, defining it as a “coordinated system of people, processes, technologies and strategies that provides access to information resources and expertise, through appropriate channels of communication, enabling interactions that create value for the customer and organization.” From there, Robbins defined leadership in a monitoring center as having everything to “handle an accurately forecasted workload, at service level and with quality.”

Among a variety of factors that impact monitoring centers, Robbins took a close look at three driving forces: workload arrival patterns, visible or invisible queues and customer tolerance factors.

In “Resource Planning in the Monitoring Center,” the second part of the leadership boot camp, Robbins focused on the concept of "having the right people, in the right place at the right time."

Here, he outlined steps of the planning and management process, such as choosing service level and response time objectives, collecting data, forecasting workload and calculating base staff.

Robbins stressed the importance of getting this right, adding that there are consequences of having too many or too few staff on at a time. Companies should be looking at workload in short time periods throughout a day, such as half-hour intervals as opposed to the workload over an entire day. Companies can then accommodate by bringing on or taking off employees as workload fluctuates throughout a day.

Another concept Robbins examined in his second session was “shrinkage,” the average amount of time an employ would not be able to work as a result of training, time off or other factors.

In the last portion, “Inspiring Operator Performance in the Monitoring Center,” Robbins looked at various groups of employees, including those that are tuned out, on hold, engaged, overwhelmed or burnt out.

He touched on engagement and satisfaction. These topics are not necessarily linked, he said; A person can be satisfied with all of the compensation and benefits, but they are not engaged, or a person could be engaged, but dissatisfied with their benefits or pay.

Robbins said that people leave bosses more than they leave jobs. He added to this point by illustrating the differences in why a person joins a company and the reasons they might leave.

People generally join a company first for its compensation, second for the job itself, and lastly for who their supervisor would be, he said. However, when they chose to leave, the biggest reason is often the employee's supervisors, followed by the job’s responsibilities, and lastly for the compensation.

Robbins underlined the impact of seemingly simple gestures, like a hand written thank you note when someone does something above and beyond.

ESX 2017 was capped off by the “Public Safety Luncheon: Video Surveillance – Focusing on the Evidence,” where Miles Brissette, principal in the Law Offices of Gill & Brissette, spoke on factors of how video surveillance is used in the courtroom.

I was interested to hear Brissette talk about how the face is generally not focused on, and other factors are used to identify criminals captured on video. He showed a video where a person was recognized on video because of characteristics in their bag that tied them to a crime, not their face.

In another video example, Brissette showed a clip and highlighted that the person committing a crime was identified due to the appearance of their jeans.

Among other pieces of insight, Brissette highlighted the importance of having something colorful in the field of view of a camera, which can be used for color calibration.

It was great to be in Nashville, Tenn. for ESX 2017 and I hope to see another great line up of educational sessions and keynote speakers at ESX 2018, to be held in Nashville, June 19-22, 2018.

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