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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, Brissete 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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by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, June 7, 2017

GTCR, a private equity firm based here, today announced that it has entered a definitive agreement to acquire GreatCall Inc, a large provider of PERS and cellular devices to seniors.

GTCR has some roots in the security space: GTCR bought Protection 1 in 2010 for $828 million, then sold the company to Apollo Management Group in 2015.

GreatCall has more than 800,000 subscribers across its cellular phone and PERS device business. The company operates its main monitoring center in Carlsbad, Calif., with a secondary facility in Reno, Nev.

“Everything they do, I think we would characterize as PERS—they deliver it a bunch of different ways. Some of it is cell phone based and comes with a cellular service as well. Some of it is traditional mobile PERS, pendant based.” David Donnini, managing director for GTCR, told Security Systems News. “There’s access to an operator in everything they offer.”

“We focus on recurring revenue service businesses, by and large—whether they’re B2B, B2C. A lot of them are technology enabled. We do a fair bit of healthcare investing as well, [along with] some technology, media and telecom. This investment hits on a lot of what we do across our firm,” Donnini said.

It was GTCR’s experience with security alarm monitoring that led the firm to GreatCall, Donnini said.

“Our goal is to continue to work with the company to continue to grow it. They have a business plan around entering more [of] the commercial side of the industry as well, providing the service to health care insurers, health care facilities, operators and so forth who can benefit from it as well,” Donnini said. “In our model, M&A is always an opportunity as well. I think there’s strategic businesses in this space that we’ll hope to acquire.”

What stood out to GTCR about GreatCall? “I think the thing that leapt out to us about GreatCall is efficiency, some of the best performance metrics and return on investment—as well as growth—in the industry,” Donnini said.

GTCR has thought of the PERS space as an interesting area for investment opportunity over the past five to 10 years, according to Donnini.

“We are excited to partner with GTCR as we continue to provide seniors with exceptional services that provide peace of mind and extend independent living,” David Inns, GreatCall’s CEO, said in a prepared statement. “GTCR brings significant resources and experience in building industry-leading companies, and we believe they will be a valuable resource in the long-term expansion of our business.”

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017. “The existing owners of GreatCall decided to sell a few months ago. So, the discussions have been ongoing for a couple of months now, we’ve been evaluating the company and working on a transaction which we agreed to [in early June],” Donnini said.

Jefferies LLC served as financial advisor and Kirkland & Ellis LLP served as legal advisor to GTCR. J.P. Morgan Securities LLC served as financial advisor and DLA Piper served as legal advisor to GreatCall.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

I’ve been hearing a lot about PERS and mPERS lately. Specifically, I’ve been interested to hear views on how older PERS users feel about technology.

When discussing Essence’s Care@Home Active offering, which uses a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone, company head of marketing Rafi Zauer said, “The obvious question is: How many seniors have smartphones now-a-days? There’s ample evidence … [smartphone use] is going to become almost ubiquitous over the next few years with seniors for several reasons.”

Zauer continued, “The availability of old phones, or non-smartphones is depleting. … Plus, the baby boomers in the next few years are becoming seniors themselves, and we know baby boomers use smartphones almost across the board.”

Following that conversation, as well as others, I was interested to come across a new report from Pew Research Center, titled “Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults,” which looks at older Americans and their stance on technology.

The report’s authors, Monica Anderson, Pew Research Center research associate, and Andrew Perrin, research assistant, had some interesting figures about the way older generations could view technology.

The report reads: “recent Pew Research Center surveys find that seniors are also moving towards more digitally connected lives. Around four-in-ten (42%) adults ages 65 and older now report owning smartphones, up from just 18% in 2013. Internet use and home broadband adoption among this group have also risen substantially. Today, 67% of seniors use the Internet—a 55-percentage-point increase in just under two decades. And for the first time, half of older Americans now have broadband at home.”

The report also mentions higher tech adoption in some areas among seniors that are younger, between ages 65 and 69. “Seniors ages 65 to 69 are about twice as likely as those ages 80 and older to say they ever go online (82% vs. 44%) or have broadband at home (66% vs. 28%), and they are roughly four times as likely to say they own smartphones (59% vs. 17%),” it read.

Though, the report also notes, that some seniors chose to “remain largely disconnected.” Anderson and Perrin write, “One-third of adults ages 65 and older say they never use the internet, and roughly half (49%) say they do not have home broadband services. Meanwhile, even with their recent gains, the proportion of seniors who say they own smartphones is 42 percentage points lower than those ages 18 to 64.”

I’ll be curious to find out if increased technological familiarity among seniors will change the way PERS devices are designed in the years to come. 

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 24, 2017

FLIR Systems Inc. announced yesterday that James J. Cannon has been appointed president and CEO, effective June 19, 2017. Cannon will succeed Andy Teich, whose retirement after 33 years of service was previously announced on February 14.

"The opportunity to join this outstanding leadership team and serve alongside over 3,000 talented FLIR employees worldwide as the company's next CEO is a great honor," Cannon said in a prepared statement. "The FLIR brand is synonymous with continuous innovation and delivering value to customers around the world. From my own personal experience having relied on FLIR technology as a combat veteran, I've seen firsthand the powerful, life-saving impact the company's portfolio of solutions can have for our customers.”

Cannon served in the U.S. Army for 10 years as an infantryman and armor officer in a wide variety of assignments around the world, including Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in Iraq.

Prior to joining FLIR, Cannon served for more than 16 years in a variety of senior leadership positions at Stanley Black & Decker Inc., most recently as president of Stanley Security North America & Emerging Markets, FLIR noted.

“As President of Stanley Security North America & Emerging Markets, Mr. Cannon held direct P&L responsibilities across five business units, managed over 5,000 employees, and oversaw the operations of numerous manufacturing plants and distribution centers. In this role, he successfully developed and executed a strategic plan that reduced complexity and cost while driving continued and sustained improvement,” the announcement read.

Prior to his role as president of Stanley Security North America & Emerging Markets, Cannon was president of the Stanley’s Industrial & Automotive Repair business unit, first in North America and subsequently in Europe and Latin America, before then serving as president of Stanley Oil & Gas.

"We are delighted to appoint a chief executive of Jim's caliber," Earl R. Lewis, chairman of the FLIR board of directors, said in a prepared statement. "Jim's proven track record of achieving strong results in both business and the military make him uniquely well qualified to serve as FLIR's next CEO.”

Cannon serves on the board of directors of Lydall, Inc. and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration/Marketing from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. Cannon will be based out of the company's Wilsonville, Ore., headquarters.

by: Spencer Ives - Tuesday, May 16, 2017

MIAMI—On Monday I headed down to Aventura, Fla., just outside of Miami, to attend Affiliated Monitoring's second annual Catalyst, a conference focused on the sales and marketing aspects of PERS technologies. There have been a lot of interesting conversations happening at the conference; included below is a brief overview of the conference and some of the topics discussed.

Prior to the first official day of this year's Catalyst, the company held a PERS marketing primer for attendees. Mike Zydor, Affiliated's managing director, and Matt Solomon, director of software solutions for Affiliated, presented the introduction to the technology and the market. The number of people aged 65 years and older will increase in years to come, they said, adding that the typical PERS customer is in their low- to mid-eighties.

"We have lots of seniors and they live at home, they own their own homes and they want to stay in their own homes," Solomon said. Solomon and Zydor highlighted the point that often in selling PERS, a dealer is not interacting directly with the user, but with the user's adult children.

The two gave an overview of products on the market, such as in home technologies, fall detection, mobile PERS.

Zydor and Solomon delved into marketing in two key areas, direct-to-consumer and through partnerships. In discussing direct-to-consumer options, they gave an overview of paid search marketing, content marketing and SEO, print advertising, and social media among others. Of these, content marketing and SEO was highlighted as a good possibility for local efforts.

When looking for partnerships in the market, Solomon and Zydor said a dealer can look to hospitals, home healthcare agencies and senior services, among others.

The first day’s educational sessions started with an opening keynote on the state of the PERS industry, presented by Affiliated VP Daniel Oppenheim.

"You are living in the golden age of PERS right now, the opportunity is right now," Oppenheim said. He stated that he wanted to give attendees three main things to consider and take away from the opening address.

Firstly, he pointed out several products in the industry and their impact. While the majority of units are still in the home, Oppenheim said he’s seen fast growth in mPERS over the last two years.

The second item Oppenheim discussed is that dealers should learn more about their customers. Affiliated looked at figures from its interactions with PERS in 2016. PERS is about peace of mind, he said, pointing to the statistic that action was needed in response to a PERS button press 10 percent of the time during 2016.

Additionally, the company found out that of mobile PERS button presses, 53 percent of those users were at home. Similar to the previous years, the average age of a PERS user is 81 and the average age of an mPERS user is 78.

Lastly, Oppenheim discussed “the sale after the sale,” and that a good customer is not only one who has it delivered but one that uses it. He shared a figure: if a PERS user tests their system within the first 30 days of getting it, they were five times more likely to still be a subscriber a year later, as compared to those that didn’t test the unit within that time.

Oppenheim also noted that this year marks Affiliated Monitoring’s 40th anniversary.

Following the opening keynote, Matt Solomon presented “Agile Management in Action.” He described agile management as a methodology, or way of thinking about a business, in order to improve business efficiency.

Solomon discussed key aspects of the agile management philosophy, such as placing value in people and interactions instead of processes, delivering on the premise, working with customers and responding to change.

Agile management is a way of empowering employees to make decisions, he said. The methodology is also focused on shorter-term time frames, such as two weeks, as opposed to nine or 12 months. Agile is also about delivering value, he said.

Solomon gave attendees the chance to collaborate in a group activity, which was centered around working together, making decisions about prioritization, and ultimately seeing how the amount of work required for a task adds to the value of a business.

Prioritize, collaborate and get stuff done were three main points Solomon underlined.

“Executive Spotlight: DRTV and the Senior Market,” was the next session. Here, Daniel Oppenheim sat across from Peter Koeppel, founder and president of Koeppel Direct, a direct response media firm. In this session, Koeppel and Oppenheim had a conversation about direct response television advertising, or DRTV, and how it might fit into the PERS industry.

To start, Koeppel defined DRTV as a TV ad designed to get a consumer’s immediate response. Examples of DRTV would include commercials that instruct viewers to dial a number or visit a website to order a product or receive more information.

Koeppel said that seniors in particular are watching more TV, and they watch during the daytime, which is generally a less expensive spot for advertising. Longer time spots can work better with the senior market, he noted, allowing the number to remain on screen longer and slower talking in the commercial.

Koeppel showed two commercials as examples of DRTV and case studies for how they work—both chosen because they were designed for the senior market, much like PERS. Afterward he gave examples of how responses changed based on changes in the advertising, such as a better response to a rebate as opposed to other incentives, and more responses with a “repeater number” such as 555-1212.

In “Thought Leader Discussion: The Future of PERS,” Mike Zydor moderated a discussion with four executives from the industry: Ryan Bangerter, VP of business development for Mytrex; Yaniv Amir, president of Essence USA; Scott McGeHee, VP of sales and marketing for Climax; and John Carpenter, VP of channel engagement for Nortek.

Zydor opened the session with a specific question for each speaker. Noting that Mytrex has a focus on in-home units, he first asked Bangerter about what led Mytrex to stay focused on this area of the industry. "The biggest thing is looking at demand," Bangerter said, adding that there is a demand for in-home products.

After mentioning that Essence focuses on monitoring aspects of daily living, Zydor asked Amir where he sees the market going. One of the things Amir pointed out is that monitoring daily living habits through Essence’s system doesn't necessarily require a pendant, which can help. "A pendant is perceived [as] losing their independence,” Amir said.

Zydor asked McGehee about Mytrex’s work with both mobile and in-home PERS. McGeHee said that dealers look for an easy to use, simplified offering, which fits a senior who is not comfortable with an abundance of technology.

Next, Carpenter was asked for what he sees as key features of interest in the market, particularly considering that Nortek is involved with telehealth. Carpenter said that he sees being able to add more features and functionality as a benefit amidst other offerings that look to compete on price.

The second day of Catalyst 2017 started with "Keynote Conversation with Ken Gross- Executive Spotlight: Unrivaled Success in the PERS Industry," featuring a conversation between Daniel Oppenheim and Ken Gross, founder and chairman of Connect America. The two discussed Gross' approaches and successes in the industry.

Oppenheim opened with a question about Gross' history and how he came to the PERS industry. Gross answered that he first started an alarm business in 1977, sold it in 1989 and subsequently entered a 10-year non-compete. He returned to the industry in 1999 with a new business that he sold five years later in 2004. At that time he was investing in domain names, one of which was medicalalarm.com, which led him to enter the PERS business in 2004.

When Oppenheim asked about the key turning points in Gross' business, Gross pointed to two events, one which led to the other. The first event was a positive review in Good Housekeeping, which Gross said helped the company in forming a partnership with CVS. Through this partnership, Gross’ business put a display in 6,000 CVS stores.

Oppenheim also brought the conversation to a topic from the previous day's conversation on DRTV. Gross said that he has used specific numbers, such as 800 numbers—as opposed to 877 or 833—and repeating numbers.

Gross underlined one piece of advice at a couple of occasions: picking the right partners, including the right vendor and the right central stations for the business. "Pick the right partners and stick with it," he said.

Dr. Robert Rohm, corporate trainer and author, gave the final presentation of the day, covering personality types and the best ways to interact with different types of personalities.

Personalities are oriented in a couple of different ways, according to Rohm. People are either more task oriented or more people oriented; they are also either more outgoing or reserved.

Outgoing and task oriented tends to make for a dominant personality, he said. This group of people is filled with natural born leaders and likes seeing results. This group can also be defiant.

Outgoing and people oriented means a person is very fun-loving, looks to be liked, though can be illogical at times. Incorporating fun into a sales call with an outgoing and people oriented person will help, he said.

If a person has both reserved and people oriented traits, they will be supportive and generally like teamwork and appreciation. This group of people values peace and harmony, Rohm said. This group can be a “sucker,” he said.

The last group Rohm addressed is those that are task oriented and reserved. This group looks for value and quality answers and likes to be right. These traits mean a person likes patterns and to know what is expected of them. People who are task oriented and reserved can come off as cold, Rohm noted.

Attendees seemed really pleased with the event and the educational sessions, with quite a few returning from last year. Attendees were also positive on the networking opportunities and this year’s location.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

UNION, N.J.—On Monday, connected living solutions provider Essence USA announced a new program, created in partnership with Affiliated Monitoring, to benefit dealers of Essence’s PERS products.

“The fully customizable program gives dealers a range of options about how to best run their PERS offerings, including order fulfillment - direct to the consumer or distributed to the dealer, customer service, invoicing and collections, equipment retrieval and refurbishment, and branding options,” the announcement read.

“PERS is a major focus at Affiliated,” Daniel Oppenheim, Affiliated’s vice president, said in a prepared statement. “We are excited to be able to provide this advanced system to our dealers who are interested in a turnkey PERS program.”

“We can customize a program for any dealer to make it easier to get into PERS,” Affiliated Managing Director Mike Zydor said in the announcement. “For the dealers already in the market, we can provide access to preprogrammed, leading-edge products at discounted rates.”

Essence’s Care@Home suite of PERS products benefits both dealers and end-users, Essence said in its announcement. The offering has a large radio communications range for devices, “allowing users maximum flexibility in moving around their home and property. They also offer a wide variety of safety and security sensors, giving dealers an attractive and scalable offering for their customer base,” the announcement said.

“Essence is on the forefront of in-home PERS technology and has a veteran management team behind it,” said Yaniv Amir, President, Essence USA, in the announcement. “Essence historically has only worked directly with larger players in the space, and we are excited to now bring our products to all Affiliated dealers.”

The program is scheduled to launch within the Affiliated dealer network at the end of May.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Security Systems News, for the 11th year in a row, is seeking the best and brightest young professionals in the security industry for its annual “20 under 40” awards.

"The award recognizes the next generation of leaders in our industry—the ones who are going to help push the security industry forward and drive the constant evolution in technology necessary to keep it strong and vibrant," said Paul Ragusa, editor of Security Systems News.

Nominations are now open. If an integrator, installer, monitoring center professional, dealer or end user stands out to you, feel free to submit their name here. Please specify which class your nomination is for—integrator, which encompasses roles within the industry, or end user. The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 30.

Employees from manufacturing or consulting companies are not eligible. However, they are encouraged to nominate an integrator or end user that is eligible. Nominees must be age 40 or younger—born in 1977 or later. You can nominate more than one person, and you can nominate yourself.

"Each year we look for security professionals who make everyone around them better through their dedication and hard work, and through their innovation and ambition to make a difference at their company or organization, and in the communities they work in," Ragusa said.

Profiles of each “20 under 40” award winner will appear at www.securitysystemsnews.com and in our print editions later this year.

All “20 under 40” award recipients will be honored at a special reception at SSN’s TechSec Solutions conference, held in Delray Beach, Fla., in February 2018. TechSec Solutions is the industry’s premier conference on new and emerging technologies, and “20 under 40” winners are often invited to speak at the conference.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—The Monitoring Association, formerly CSAA, announced details of its 2017 Annual Meeting—the first since the name change—which will be held at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Ariz., October 7-11. Jack Uldrich, a global futurist, speaker and author of 11 books, will deliver the conference's keynote on Oct. 9.

Uldrich is a frequent speaker on emerging technology, change management and leadership and has addressed hundreds of corporations, associations and not-for-profit organizations, TMA noted in its announcement. 

“In the near future, the greatest change will be the accelerating rate of change itself,” Uldrich said in a prepared statement. “I’ll outline the trends transforming the world of tomorrow, as well as identify concrete actions business leaders can take today to future-proof themselves and their companies against ‘the tides of tomorrow,’” he added. 

“Over the past several years, we have ‘reimagined’ our annual meeting to provide participants with the kind of value in both content and engagement that is unmatched at any other industry event,” TMA president Pam Petrow said in a prepared statement. “2017 will build on our past successes – we’ll present a program of the kind of top-level engagement and professional development that our members have come to expect from our Annual Meeting, while we celebrate our new name and our mission to advance the professional monitoring industry.”

Additional education sessions at the Annual Meeting, which will be held Oct. 9 to 11, will focus on helping leaders address critical issues and challenges facing the monitoring industry, such as best practices in operations, executive management, technology updates, and telecomm issues, TMA said in its announcement. The complete roster of speakers will be announced over the summer. TMA will hold Board of Directors and Committee meetings October 7-8.

To see the preliminary schedule, register, and reserve hotel rooms for the TMA Annual Meeting, visit tma.us/2017am. The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess is approximately a 30-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

by: Spencer Ives - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

On the front page of this site, you’ll begin to see ssnTVnews video interviews posted each week from several members of the team, including myself, our editor Paul Ragusa, and SSN’s VP and group publisher Tim Purpura.

Each ISC West we talk on camera with a variety of companies—residential and commercial companies, monitoring centers, integrators, installers, research firms and manufacturers—to both hear about their latest initiatives as well as gain insight into the benefits of ISC West for companies that we speak with.

Up online now is my interview with Justin Bailey, COO of Avantguard, as well as Paul’s interview with PSA Security Network CEO Bill Bozeman.

In upcoming weeks, more videos will be released, featuring Dynamark, Security Partners, Convergint Technologies, Red Hawk Fire & Security and others.

One thing I’ve said about each industry event, including ISC West, is that it gives the editors a great chance to meet and talk face-to-face with companies; seeing as the Security Systems News office is based on the coast of Maine, most of our interviews are conducted over the phone.

Besides the opportunity to in person with professionals in the industry, it was great to be right on the show this year, able to see and feel the energy of this year’s attendance—which is up 3 percent from the previous year.

Additionally, early responses for our latest News Poll, asking readers about their experience with ISC West 2017, are also saying that traffic is up this year.

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