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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Security Systems News, along with the entire security industry, was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Mountain Alarm’s Rod Garner on Feb. 18, 2018, as a result of complications from surgery. Rod’s sons, Eric and Josh, reached out to SSN by email, noting that their father, Rodney Grant Garner, of Pleasant View, Utah, “returned home to our Father in Heaven.”

Born on June 11, 1948, Rod Garner began working with his father in law at Mountain Alarm in 1973. As president and CEO of Mountain Alarm, he grew that small four-person operation to one of the largest security companies in America. Today, Mountain Alarm has more than 43,000 customers and employs more than 275 security professionals with 11 locations across six states. Mountain Alarm has a strong DIY brand, Link Interactive, which he “was so proud of,” his sons said, noting that he was passionate about his work and never planned to retire.

Eric and Josh shared by email the following remembrances of their father:

Rod made friends everywhere he went. He considered many in the security industry to be some of his best friends. He valued honesty and loyalty above all else and others saw that in him.

Rod loved acquiring other alarm companies. Often sellers would choose to sell their business to Rod solely because they trusted him to do what he said he would and care for their customers. Rod helped Mountain Alarm acquire over 30 security alarm companies over his 45-year career.

Above all else Rod loved his customers. Almost daily Rod would call a number of his 43,000 customers to make sure they were happy and satisfied. In fact, a few weeks ago he noticed a house he passed on his way to work everyday had a competitor's sign in their yard instead of a Mountain Alarm yard sign. Immediately he stopped and knocked on the door to see why the customer switched to the competitor. He introduced himself as the CEO and mentioned he noticed the change in yard sign. Luckily, the customer only bought solar from the competitor and still had Mountain Alarm for their security system. Rod gave the customer his card and told them if they ever needed anything to call him personally. The customer was in awe that the CEO would stop and knock on their door.  He also quickly replaced the yard sign. The day before Rod passed away, his primary care doctor called to check on him and Rod said after the call, “Dr. Hanson really loves his patients, just like I really love my customers.”

Rod’s greatest desire was to perpetuate his legacy in the alarm industry. His sons Josh and Eric Garner will carry on that legacy at AvantGuard Monitoring Centers and Mountain Alarm respectively.

Rod recognized that his greatest achievement was his family. Each of his five children and 21 grandchildren believed he or she was his favorite. He did an excellent job balancing his work and family life. He spent lots of time with everyone he loved sitting on beaches, skiing, fly fishing, pheasant hunting, and discussing the mysteries of life.

A celebration of his life will be held at 11am on Friday Feb. 23, 2018 at the LDS chapel, 3602 N 500 W Pleasant View, UT. A viewing for family and friends will be held at Linquist Mortuary, 2140 N 400 E, North Ogden, Utah, Thursday February 22nd from 6-8pm and at the chapel from 9-10:30am just prior to the funeral.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, February 14, 2018

PSA, one of the world’s largest systems integrator cooperatives, announced it will host an education track with sessions and a workshop during ISC West in Las Vegas, Nev., April 10-13, 2018. The PSA education track will be held exclusively on Tuesday, April 10.

Members of PSA Committees, PSA executive leadership team, and other industry experts will lead the six sessions that are included in the PSA Track. Focus areas include leadership, sales, cybersecurity, marketing, RMR, and project management.

PSA President and CEO Bill Bozeman told Security Systems News that the education at ISC West and the new cybersecurity show that PSA recently launched with the Security Industry Association (SIA) and ISC Security Events (Reed Exhibitions, the global tradeshow company), are good examples of everyone coming together for the greater good of the industry.

“It really isn’t self-serving,” said Bozeman. “If you want to do something for the whole industry, you can’t just do it with PSA, so the three of us partnering together can really make a difference, and I am really excited about this partnership.”

Bozeman is also excited about the exclusive education track being offered during ISC West, which will include:

Essential Leadership Skills for the Emerging Leader
April 10, 2018, 9:00am - 10:00am
Organizations are facing complicated organizational challenges that demand the hasty development of new and agile leaders. Emerging leaders must swiftly learn and implement fundamental management skills, develop an extensive strategic perspective, and take their leadership skills to the next level. Attendees will discover key behaviors and essential skills needed in today’s marketplace for the up-and-coming leaders of tomorrow.
Presenters: Paul Boucherle, Matterhorn Consulting; Sharon Shaw, Tech Systems; Scott Ranger, Paladin Technologies; Jerrod Johnson, PetSmart

Leading Conflict: Using Conflict to Foster Leadership
April 10, 2018, 10:15 am – 11:15 am
All organizations encounter conflict, however perceptive leaders will use conflict to propel an organization rather than disrupt. The leader’s role in handling conflict is knowing why people disagree, having a process to resolve the conflicts and knowing when to intervene. This panel discussion will provide attendees strategies to utilize conflict to propel the organization forward. These strategies will help attendees create high-performing, successful teams and develop leaders throughout the organization.
Presenters: Paul Cronin, Cronin Corp.; Nigel Waterton, Aronson Security Group; Christine Lanning, Integrated Security Technologies; Ric McCullough, PSA

The Art of Client Loyalty - How to Build, Earn, and Retain Loyal Customers
April 10, 2018, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
How likely are your clients to do repeat business with you? Loyal clients are your most valuable customers and happy customers spend more money and more often. A happy customer is someone that will bring their business back again and again, and cut down on your own efforts to attract new business since they are usually willing to refer others to you. In this session, attendees will examine how to create customer loyalty, how to determine the wants and needs of customers, and how to deal with difficult customers.
Presenters: Tim Brooks, PSA; Christine Lanning, Integrated Security Technologies; Bruce Pontier, Security Consultant; Jerrod Johnson, PetSmart

Cybersecurity Tier Zero - A Guide to the First Steps of Cyber Hardening
April 10, 2018, 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm
Let’s face it- there are a lot of excuses when it comes to implementing cybersecurity controls into your business. It’s too difficult, too time consuming, and too expensive. The only certainty is that it’s too risky to NOT do it.  This presentation will introduce you to PSA’s Cybersecurity Tier Zero Playbook. This playbook and resource guide will provide you with the simple and effective steps, questions, answers, and resources to begin the implementation of your own cyber plan.
Presenters: Bill Bozeman, PSA; Andrew Lanning, Integrated Security Technologies; Paul Schmick, Alliance Security; Darnell Washington, SecureXperts

Building Managed Service Into Your Business - Benefits to You and the Customer
April 10, 2018, 2:45 pm – 3:45 pm
With hardware and software sales increasingly commoditized, the motivation for building managed services into your business has never been greater. Listen to industry experts discuss best practices for creating a managed service program. What are the important steps in building true recurring monthly revenue into your business? What is the value to your business and your customer? Join this panel while they discuss some decisions companies need to closely consider that could mean the difference between success and failure in building managed services into your business.
Presenters: Chris Peterson, Vector Firm

The Key to Executing Business Strategy
April 10, 2018, 4:00 pm –5:00 pm
People are more productive when they clearly understand their individual and team roles within a business strategy process. Ambiguity in role clarity around a defined process often occurs when a person’s “talents” begin to morph their role and responsibilities. This can typically occur during the hiring or promotion process. Derailed hires can impact your organization, culture and customers. Hear real world experiences to help you understand best practices in disciplined hiring, role clarity and process definition that delivers long-term tactical execution results that will meet your long- term strategic business goals.
Presenters: Paul Boucherle, Matterhorn Consulting LLC

To register for the ISC West conference or learn more about the PSA education track, click here.
 

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Prior to the start of our TechSec Solutions conference, coming up this Feb. 26-27, in Delray Beach, Fla., Security Systems News is planning a special focus group dinner and discussion. The topic of discussion for this focus group is “Technology trends that impact your business model” and we are extending a special invitation to systems integrators to participate in this dinner and discussion at TechSec on the evening of Feb. 25 (the evening before the start of the TechSec conference) at the Delray Beach Marriott.

Spots are limited (looking for 12 integrators, ideally) and only available to TechSec 2018 attendees. If you’re interested in joining us for this focus group, please register for TechSec using the Promo Code—Focus2018—that takes $200 off of the regular registration rate. Plus, for those focus group attendees at the dinner, there will be random drawing for two free passes to TechSec (registration refunds will be given).

To join the focus group and register for TechSec, as well as see the great program and lineup of speakers that we have this year, please click here.
 

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The rise of the smart home has generated a lot of attention among security dealers lately, as it has disrupted the way potential customers look at and are willing to pay for security.

But it comes as no surprise that all is not golden in the world of the smart home. It turns out, more than one in three U.S. adults experience issues setting up or operating a connected device, according to data released from the Customer and Product Experience 360 (CPX 360 ) Survey by iQor, a global managed services provider based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

With the number of smart home devices being connected in the home today—security cameras, smart locks and sensors of all kinds—it is inevitable that there would be a few hiccups along the way. In fact, Gartner reports that IoT-enabled devices will reach 20.4 billion globally by 2020, almost doubling from an estimated 11.1 billion in 2018.

Traditional security dealers, who have been challenged to offer smart home services and devices, in addition to security, have been saying all along that when homeowners struggle to figure out how all of these smart home gadgets work and connect, that they will be there to pick up the pieces. Well, it looks like they could be right.

According to the CPX 360 survey, consumers report having to take more than eight steps to resolve a technical problem or issue with a smart device. Further, consumers are spending, on average, close to 1.5 hours of their own time resolving these issues and one hour working with customer service. Nearly one in four consumers (22 percent) couldn’t resolve the issue or simply gave up, and returned the product for a refund.

Throughout the customer and product service journey, the CPX 360 survey reports consumers dealt with an average of 2.1 companies, over 2.7 sessions and with 3.1 different people as they attempted to install and engage with new connected technology in their home. For 17 percent of respondents, the challenge was even greater and involved dealing with five or more people when trying to resolve an issue.

According to the data, the inability to provide a seamless, frictionless experience across all support channels creates frustration and confusion for the consumer as they interact with multiple people and companies in the resolution process. Throughout this process, only about one in three indicate their information was always retained between customer service steps. Among those whose information was not retained, 81 percent indicated this delayed their resolution and 85 percent found it to be somewhat or extremely annoying.

“Adoption of connected devices is on the verge of transitioning from early adopters to the mainstream as popularity and integration of IoT expands and homes become smarter,” Autumn Braswell, COO, LinQ Integrated Solutions at iQor, said in the study. “It is crucial that organizations streamline and improve the support process now to reduce the number of steps, people and brands required to unlock the intended value of the connected device and ensure that the customer service challenges are addressed before mass adoption.”

So, this should be a call to all security dealers about how important it is to offer a full suite of smart home services and devices beyond just security, and be that single point of contact that creates the smart and safe home people are clamoring for.

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) announced it has elected Mike Mathes, EVP of Convergint Technologies, as its chairman, and Jason Ouellette, product general manager-access control for Johnson Controls, as its vice chairman. The PSIA membership develops specifications for enabling standards-based sharing of digital data and intelligence throughout the physical security and enterprise ecosystems.
 
"Mike and Jason bring us strong technology, commercial and industry leadership skills," David Bunzel, executive director, the PSIA, said in the announcement. "They will be powerful evangelists for how standards-based physical security systems can help the industry create new opportunities for systems integration and data sharing while solving cost and complexity challenges." 
       
As PSIA Chairman, Mathes will work closely with the PSIA Board to identify industry needs for new and enhanced PSIA specifications. He will be responsible for growing the organizations membership and helping companies determine migration strategies needed to specify and/or adopt and implement PSIA specifications. "With an expanded membership base, we'll see further adoption of open standards, which will drive down the cost of system integration for the end user," Mathes, said in the announcement. At Convergint, Mathes leads the Advanced Solutions Group.

Ouellette's role as PSIA Vice Chairman will include defining the technical aspects of PLAI necessary to make this an effective commercial standard, including enhancing and promoting a robust set of test tools to assure industry compliance and interoperability for PLAI. Ouellette, who at JCI is responsible for the global access control businesses, specific to program management, product management, and engineering functions, said in a prepared statement, "The PSIA specifications make it easier for integrators to offer high quality solutions with less integration time and lower total cost of ownership."

Peter Boriskin, vice president product management at ASSA ABLOY Americas, will continue as the PSIA's treasurer.

"PSIA open standards can solve real enterprise problems for customers in way that is not possible through standard integrations,” Boriskin said in the announcement. “I am looking forward to working with Mike, David and the rest of board to help the industry understand our use cases and encourage rapid adoption of PSIA specifications, in particular through the development of PLIA adaptors by manufactures."

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Red Hawk Fire & Security LLC, a leader in fire, life safety and security services based here, announced this week the purchase of two companies to build upon its capabilities in the special hazard fire suppression business and the integrated security services arena.

In separate transactions, Red Hawk announced the purchase of Anaheim, Calif.-based Diversified Protection Systems, Inc., (DPSI) and ATCi Communications, Inc. (“ATCI”), headquartered in Miami, Florida. The two purchases represent Red Hawk’s fifth and sixth acquisitions in the last 20 months as the company continues to grow both organically and through strategically aligned acquisitions.

“The purchase of both DPSI and ATCi are consistent with our core strategy of bringing on the teams from well regarded, client-centric companies to build on our existing service presence or to expand our geographic footprint to further set Red Hawk apart from our competition,” Michael McWilliams, Red Hawk Fire & Security president and CEO, told Security Systems News. “Joining forces with these two great companies on opposite U.S. coasts elevates our expertise and complements our existing geographic presence while also presenting a broader suite of innovative solutions to our valued clients to further our aim of being the preferred choice for all our customers’ fire, life safety and security needs.”

DPSI’s expertise includes special hazard clean agent and water mist fire suppression, early warning smoke detection & controls, hazardous gas monitoring & specialty cooling systems. DPSI President Dominic De Maria will remain with Red Hawk helping develop the new Red Hawk Fire & Security “Critical Infrastructure Division.”

“We are just as enthusiastic about this purchase as Red Hawk,” De Maria said in the announcement. “Not only does it advance Red Hawk’s posture in the fire and life safety industry by adding our specialized team of professionals, but it expands the resources and geographic reach we can now offer our clients as well.”

 As South Florida’s largest independent security systems integrator, ATCi Communications brings an expert team that designs, installs and provides technical support and maintenance services of enterprise-level, intelligent video surveillance systems, access control and intrusion alarms for federal and local government facilities and law enforcement agencies, luxury residential and mixed-use properties and large scale commercial projects. ATCI also expand’s Red Hawk’s “best in class” specialty portfolio of capabilities through its market leader position in providing customized CityWide Surveillance (CWS) and Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) solutions to municipal clients.

“Being able to now offer fire and life safety services to our existing security portfolio is a win-win for our customers, our people and Red Hawk as well,” Vincent. J. Vento, ATCI’s founder and president, said in the announcement. “We look forward to combining our sales and business development efforts to maximize our potential across all product and service lines throughout the entire Florida market.”

Los Angeles-based Imperial Capital, LLC and Miami-based Pacifica Capital Group LLC co-represented ATCI as financial advisors for the transaction.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, January 10, 2018

DENVER—Cyber:Secured Forum, a cybersecurity summit focusing on integrated systems, will launch with an inaugural gathering here, on June 4-6, 2018, under a partnership formed by PSA Security Network, the world's largest systems integrator cooperative, ISC Security Events (Reed Exhibitions, the global tradeshow company) and the Security Industry Association (SIA), a leading trade association for global security solution providers.

“Sophisticated cybervulnerabilities and threats are emerging every day, and it is critical for the physical security and systems integration industry to accelerate its delivery of compelling education to help all industry stakeholders mitigate the risk of cyberattacks to business continuity,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement.

Cyber:Secured Forum will feature in-depth content on cybersecurity trends and best practices as related to the delivery of physical security systems and other integrated systems. Content is being collaboratively developed by SIA and PSA Security Network’s education teams and will feature top cybersecurity leaders.

“Cybersecurity is no longer just a threat—it’s a real issue knocking on the doors of security and IT professionals on a daily basis,” Bill Bozeman, president and CEO, PSA Security Network, said in the announcement. “The time for just being in reaction mode is behind us now. As security leaders, we have a responsibility to step forward and be part of the frontline defense when it comes to cybersecurity, just as we have been part of the frontline defense when it comes to physical security issues for decades. The goal of this conference is to empower attendees with real tools and knowledge to do just that.”

The two-day event will provide leaders in the IT and physical security industries with opportunities to connect and share information on risks and liabilities, responding to cybersecurity threats, and establishing security control standards across IT systems and particularly when integrating physical security solutions and devices on IT networks.

Additionally, sponsor exhibits will help showcase solutions related to cybersecurity, integrated systems and physical security solutions.

“At our recent ISC West and ISC East events, the educational sessions on cyber-physical integration and connected security have been in high-demand,” Will Wise, group vice president of the Security Portfolio, Reed Exhibitions. “In-depth education, training and industry collaboration is essential to ensure safe and secure systems for the market. We’re enthusiastic about this partnership with PSA Security Network and SIA to address this important market need.”

For more information about this new event and to be added to the event mailing list, visit cybersecuredforum.com

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On the Move Systems recently announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Robotic Assistance Devices has executed a strategic agreement to supply its intelligent robotic solutions through Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and one of the largest security forces in North America with more than 150,000 employees.

The robots will be leveraged to help Allied Universal customers supplement existing security professionals and improve safety, increase situational awareness and drive efficiency across the enterprise.

“The RAD portfolio augments the core competencies of our guard personnel because it offers fully autonomous patrolling that stakeholders can leverage to make rapid, informed decisions,” Ty Richmond, president, Integrated Security Solutions and Technology, Allied Universal, said in the announcement. “The data captured by the security robot will prove valuable in post-event investigations, enabling our customers to quickly address ongoing issues, close cases and identify trends. We are excited to explore the possibilities alongside RAD.”

RAD founder and president Steve Reinharz said in the announcement that RAD’s S5 Security Robots add significant benefits to the Allied Universal product and services portfolio by delivering a cost-effective solution to augment traditional guarding services, and serve as a force multiplier that removes security personnel from potentially dangerous situations, reducing injuries and liability. He noted that the combination of human personnel with robotic technologies creates a strong value proposition that results in new levels of security and streamlined operations.

“The market is primed to embrace the combination of human personnel and robotic guarding, and we expect this trend to increase significantly in the coming year,” Reinharz said. “We are thrilled with our already valuable partnership with Allied Universal and the size and quality of the sales funnel we’ve been able to create together.”

When Security Systems News spoke with Richmond recently, he noted that Allied Universal continues to work closely with drone and robotics manufacturers “to provide another technology tool that allows you to extend your security operations. We are very bullish on robots and we see them as an augmentation to our man-guarding business.”

And speaking of robots in security, Reinharz and Allied Universal will both be participating on a session/panel at our SSN TechSec Solutions conference, Feb. 26-27, in Delray Beach, Fla. Click here for more on the session and the entire education program.

by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

No one can refute the impact that Amazon’s Echo device has had in the home—if I had a nickel for every time someone yelled out the name Alexa in the home, I would be on a warm beach somewhere instead of trying to keep the cold drafts at bay in my office here is chilly Maine. But I digress.

With the success that Amazon has had with Alexa in the home, it is not surprising to see the company try to move into the office with the introduction of Alexa for Business, which was announced earlier this month at the AWS Re:Invent event.

As much as this raises interesting questions about possible uses within the office—in addition to the way these devices interact with other IoT devices in the office—it also raises many questions in regard to the place for voice assistants and voice assistant devices outside of the home.

In the home, Parks Associates estimates that nearly 50 percent of U.S. broadband households use a personal assistant through an application or dedicated device. And currently 10 percent of U.S. broadband households own a smart speaker with a personal assistant, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Parks Associates recently released a new whitepaper, Enabling Voice in the Smart Home, with research showing 49 percent of U.S. broadband households use a personal assistant through an app or dedicated device, which is a key use case for a voice-based user experience. The whitepaper, sponsored by the ULE Alliance, examines the influence of the voice-first interface on the adoption of connected products and presents market strategies for long-term success in the voice technology market.

“Collectively, companies are competing to stay in the race for dominance in the voice-first market,” Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst, Parks Associates, said in a prepared statement. “Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung continue to announce new product enhancements in order to stay ahead of the demand for voice technologies. As the voice-first landscape expands, we will see voice capabilities embedded into a variety of devices, from appliances to thermostats to lighting. Voice alleviates complexity in the user experience for these products, and as a result, voice will serve as a prime differentiator in the user experience for the smart home.”

But will this same battle for the smart home play out in the business world as well? That is a question that only time will answer, but Amazon is hoping that the demand at home will influence and drive the demand outside the home, as consumers come to expect the same kind of convenience and seamless experience in the office.

Amazon offered up some interesting use cases at the launch of Alexa for Business, such as having Alexa make calls, send messages, record important meetings and control thermostats, lighting, and other IoT-enabled devices around the office, for example, but what role will voice play in the overall smart building ecosystem that we are moving toward as an industry right now? This is a question that is loaded with other concerns, such as privacy and cybersecurity, to name just a few.

What do you think the role of the voice in the office will be and how far are we from hearing Alexa called out incessantly in the office as well?

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by: Paul Ragusa - Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ASIS International announced this week that it has changed the name of its annual security conference from the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits to the Global Security Exchange (GSX). Building on its 60-plus year legacy as a premier security event, the newly branded GSX will take place in Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 23-27, 2018, in partnership with InfraGard and ISSA.

"In what will be our 64th year of delivering the security industry's flagship event, the Global Security Exchange, or GSX for short, will build upon the change and reinvention introduced at ASIS 2017," Peter J. O'Neil, CAE, CEO, ASIS International, said in the annoucement. "This name reflects the Society's commitment to unite the full spectrum of security—cyber and operational security professionals from all verticals across the private and public sector, allied organizations and partners, and the industry's leading service and solution providers—for the most comprehensive security event in the world."

The education program, led by ASIS, InfraGard, and ISSA subject matter experts, will deliver an immersive and interactive learning environment for security professionals at all experience levels. The exhibit hall will be transformed into a learning lab environment, showcasing new and emerging products and technologies such as machine learning, robotics, forensic analysis, and artificial intelligence. In addition, the revitalized networking events will facilitate relationship building and the sharing of best practices with peers from across the globe.

"From the Internet of Everything and soft target attacks to data breaches and drones, the velocity of change and risks knows no boundaries," Thomas J. Langer, CPP, 2017 president, ASIS International, said in the announcement. "GSX fills the industry's need for a global event that brings together the entire security industry, to exchange ideas and lessons learned, keep informed of current and emerging risks, and gain exposure to the emerging technologies shaping society and our workplaces."

While the annual event's new name is debuting now, the full rebrand will launch at the 2018 ASIS International Leadership Conference, which will be held Jan. 16-19, in Arlington, Va.

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