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SIA working group updates 'keystone' alarm standard

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

To survive, adapt. Those words have become an industry maxim of late. A similar sentiment holds true for those in the standards writing arena who strive to stay current with the technological arc of the industry.

The CP-01 Working Group, a special group of the SIA Intrusion Subcommittee, this week unveiled a false alarm reduction standard that includes definitions for remote devices and updated language, stemming from requests for interpretation from the last update of the standard, completed in 2010.  

Called the ANSI/SIA CP-01-2014, the updated standard is intended for use by manufacturers in the design of control panels and alarm signal receivers, and for reference by security system installers, specifiers, central station operators and manufacturers of central station-related products.

“As technology continues to evolve, it is important that we keep this useful standard up to date with it,” Lou Fiore, chairman of the CP-01 Working Group, said in a prepared statement. “Increasingly, panels are being armed and disarmed using remote devices including smartphones and tablets, we thought it was time to address that in CP-01.”

Revisions to the CP-01 standard have been made over the past two decades in response to technological evolution in the sphere of false alarm reduction. According to a SIA statement, CP-01-compliant panels have been instrumental in reducing false alarms by as much as 90 percent, saving municipalities and responders time and money.

For the next few years, the updated standard will presumably be the measuring stick for due diligence as far as minimizing false alarms. But as anyone in the industry can attest, technological development is unpredictable, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see this “keystone” CP-01 standard updated again in the next five years. As the industry adapts, so too must its best practices and standards.

SIA announces inaugural award winners

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Security Industry Association has long championed the value of public-private partnerships in the security industry, and a new annual honor given out by the association makes those advocacy efforts abundantly clear.

The Security Industry Association recently announced it will present the first annual Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award at SIA Honors Night on Nov. 19, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York.

The inaugural award, honoring Jay Hauhn, Tyco Integrated Security’s chief technology officer and VP of industry relations, has two recipients: Mike Howard of tech giant Microsoft, and Tom Cellucci of Cellucci and Associates.

Howard, according to a statement from SIA, has been instrumental in forging a collaborative relationship between SIA and the International Security Management Association, a prominent end user organization. Cellucci is being honored for dedicating time to “building a relationship between SIA and the County Executives of America,” according to a SIA statement. He also helped encourage collaboration between SIA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.

The annual award is intended for individuals working with SIA member companies who “strengthened collaboration between the association and the industry or end user organizations,” the statement noted. Forms of collaboration could include efforts that pursue common public policy priorities, active involvement in the development of SIA standard proposals, spurring SIA membership growth and leveraging SIA’s educational expertise at conferences or through online education efforts.

“I’m pleased to receive this award, but I’m more pleased to help make vital connections between the security suppliers of SIA and the security practitioners of ISMA,” said Howard. “The alliance between the two organizations will go a long way toward keeping Chief Security Officers informed of advancements in technology as well as providing insights to corporate executives as to the challenges facing Chief Security Officers.”

SIA members possess valuable security industry expertise and experience, while public sector organizations are responsible for the development of detailed operational requirements to ensure the protection of our nation’s people and assets. It’s only reasonable that the public and private sectors work together—in and open and transparent way—to enable our country’s Homeland Security Enterprise to work more efficiently and effectively.”

Vivint acquires Space Monkey, ‘next generation cloud’ startup

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vivint has acquired a Utah-based startup, Space Monkey, to enhance Vivint’s new Vivint Sky smart home platform, according to a news release issued today.

What is Space Monkey? Founded in 2011, the company calls itself a "next generation cloud" provider that offers “both a local storage and remote network backup for higher levels of data security and redundancy,” according to the news release.

And Space Monkey bills itself as a cheaper, faster alternative to a data center, according to information the company provided during its Kickstarter campaign last year, when it successfully raised nearly $350,000.

The campaign information decries data centers as too costly and cumbersome: “These are high-cost buildings tightly packed with expensive computer equipment. They need costly fire suppression systems, diesel backup generators, expansive power distribution systems, premium network equipment, biometric access controls, security patrols, and consume vast amounts of electricity and air-conditioning. They require 24/7 staffing and Network Operations Centers. The ongoing daily costs of keeping data centers running is exorbitant compared to the actual cost of the hard drives that store your data in the cloud.”

Instead, according to the Space Monkey’s campaign information, “It’s time to change how the world stores data, forever. What if we took the cloud out of the data center and put it a little box that you plug in at your house? What if we put software on it that allows it to cooperate with millions of other devices plugged in all over the globe to create a storage network that not only is orders of magnitude cheaper than data centers, but is also more reliable, faster, and better for the environment? Space Monkey is the answer.”

It continues: “Space Monkey is the next generation cloud. ... You get a full terabyte (1000 gigabytes) of storage you can use anywhere, any time. Space Monkey does the work behind the scenes to make your data safe and secure, using the entire network of Space Monkey devices around the world to store encrypted pieces of data in a way that makes data loss a thing of the past.”

The small device, complete with a little logo of a monkey in a space suit, costs $199, the Space Monkey website says. The first year's subscription cost is free and then is $49 annually, the site says.

It also said that “Space Monkey is up to 60x faster than any other cloud service you've used (or heard of).” However, on Space Monkey’s website it has downgraded that claim to “up to 30x faster.”

Still, that’s very fast. And Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security provider Vivint says the acquisition supports the growth and development of the Vivint Sky smart home platform that Vivint introduced this summer. The solution includes the Vivint SkyControl panel featuring proprietary cloud technology that learns from homeowners’ behaviors and makes intelligent suggestions to help them control their homes better and more conveniently.

“It’s a natural fit for us to be a part of Vivint’s technology for the smart home,” Clint Gordon-Carroll, who co-founded Space Monkey with partner Alen Peacock, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with Vivint as we continue to innovate and invest in the product.”

No information was provided about how much Vivint paid for Space Monkey. SSN continues to report on this story.

Honeywell Security Products gets new president

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Honeywell today named Inder Reddy president of Honeywell Security Products Americas.  Reddy succeeds Scott Harkins, who accepted a new role within Honeywell in June.

Honeywell Security Products Americas is a provider of intrusion, access control and video surveillance technologies.

Reddy is out of the office all of this week, but Honeywell has promised me an interview in the next couple of weeks.

Reddy joined Honeywell in 2010 and most recently served as VP of global marketing for Honeywell Security Group for four years.

In a prepared statement Honeywell Security Group president Ron Rothman, praised Reddy’s “extensive business strategy experience and Honeywell portfolio knowledge.” 

Look for my interview with Reddy in an upcoming newswire. I’m also hoping to meet Reddy at ASIS at the end of the month.

Vivint Solar seeks to raise $200m through IPO

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The fact that Vivint Solar officially filed with U.S. regulators last week for an initial public offering of common stock is an indication that solar continues to be a hot option for security companies.

Vivint Solar’s parent company is Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security company Vivint, which was bought by The Blackstone Group in 2012 for more than $2 billion.

Now, Reuters reported Aug. 26, Vivint Solar has filed for an IPO and set its fundraising target at about $200 million. And the news service said Vivint Solar lead underwriters to the offering are Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith and Credit Suisse.

The company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VSLR, Reuter said. The company plans to use the IPO proceeds to repay debts, make investments and for “other general corporate purposes,” the news service said.

Reuters had reported earlier in August that Vivint Solar had confidentially filed for an IPO. Around that same time, Protection 1, one of the nation’s largest home and commercial security, also announced it would be launching a solar division called Brite Energy. Sales of solar panels to homes and businesses are expected to begin this fall.

And earlier this year, GHS Interactive Security, a new California-based security company, announced it was partnering with Solar Universe, a leading nationwide residential solar company, to combine security and solar into a comprehensive home automation package.

Since its launch in 2011, Vivint Solar has grown to be the second largest solar installer in the country.

Reuters said that the nation’s residential solar energy market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28 percent, to about 1,713 megawatts of capacity in 2017, according to research firm GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

 

ASAP extended to non-charter members

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More companies will soon be able to reap the benefits of the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol, as the CSAA moves into its next stage of deployment by extending the program to non-charter members.

So far, the 100 CSAA members that have helped fund the program have been able to contract and connect to the system, which is designed to increase the efficiency and reliability of emergency electronic signals form central stations to Public Safety Answering Points, commonly known as PSAPs. In total, 42 companies have contracted for connection, though some do business in areas that do not yet have an active PSAP.

Currently, seven PSAPs are enrolled in the ASAP program, with Washington, D.C. and Houston representing the largest urban areas. In a recent press release, the CSAA said it expects to add Boston and Seattle to the mix in the coming year, along with the entire state of Delaware.

In August, Romeoville, Ill.-based Protection 1 became the largest participant to go live with the ASAP to PSAP program. Ed Bonifas, co-chair of CSAA’s ASAP steering committee, said in a prepared statement that Protection 1’s coming online would add “considerable traffic to the participating PSAPs.”

Later that month, Guardian Protection Services, based in Warrendale, Pa., in conjunction with the CSAA announced it was coming online with the program in Richmond, Va., where it has a solid presence. Jason Bradley, director of central station operations at Guardian, told me that implementation in Washington, D.C. was the next step.

It’s no exaggeration to say broader adoption of the ASAP to PSAP program will transform the industry, making signal transmission a faster and more informative process. To be sure, the program is expanding at a steady pace, and I imagine it’ll be sooner than we think before dealers are going to expect centrals, where possible, to join the ranks.

Distribution company acquired

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Controlled Products Systems Group, a Denver-based distribution company that bills itself as the “largest wholesale distributor of perimeter access control equipment in the US,” on Sept. 2, was acquired by The Duchossois Group.

CPSG distributes perimeter access control and gate automation security systems. It has more than 10,000 SKUs and 31distribution centers, and serves more than 4,000 dealer-installer customers.

I have not had a chance to catch up with the folks from the Duchossois Group  or CPSG yet, but the new release I received said that Duchossois, based in Elmhurst, Ill. is a privately held, family-owned operating and investment company that has “significant investments in the access control solutions market.”

CPSG will continue to be run as a stand-alone business led by Brian Huitt, President. CPSG’s headquarters will remain in Denver, Colorado.

“Being acquired by TDG gives us long-term stability and access to the resources and infrastructure of a larger, focused parent company,” Huitt said in a prepared statement. “I am excited to continue growing CPSG through leadership products, total solution consultation, and unrivaled technical expertise and customer support.”

Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams.  
 
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Of integrators and ice buckets

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Since we're coming up on the long weekend, and saying good bye to summer this week, I thought I'd go easy on mergers and acquisitions and prep for ASIS stuff, and instead use this space this week for a couple of videos you may be interested in.

Yup, it's more ALS ice bucket challenge videos. This time, starring folks from integration firms and central monitoring stations.

You may be getting tired of seeing everyone and her sister pouring buckets of ice over their heads, or you may not. Either way, you've got to love the fact that this challenge is raising some serious cash to battle a horrible illness, and helping educate the general public about ALS. Here's a link to the ALS Web site, which has some information about the disease and the origin of the challenge.

And here are some of your collegues in challenge mode:

Here's a link showing Emergency24 Senior VP Patrick Devereaux .



And here's a link to a bunch of Dakota Security folks partaking in the challenge.

U.S. general to keynote CSAA annual meeting

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Monday, August 25, 2014

General George W. Casey, the 36th chief of staff of the U.S. Army, will deliver the keynote address at the CSAA Annual Meeting, slated for Oct. 17-22 at the Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda.

Casey, who led the U.S. Army from April 2007 to 2011, commanded from 2007 to 2007 a multi-national force in Iraq, guiding a coalition of more than 30 countries through some of the most difficult stretches of the Iraq war, a news release from CSAA noted.

“General Casey has a unique story to share with our members,” Steve Doyle, CSAA EVP, said in the release. “His background and experience have formed the basis for his viewpoints on leadership, vision, organizational culture and leading transformational change. I know our members will be impressed with his insights and how they can use them to improve their own businesses.”

Since retiring from his post with the U.S. Army, Casey has lectured on leadership at Columbia, Yale, Denver University and the University of North Carolina business school, while also addressing a number of large corporations.

In addition to the keynote, the education sessions will focus on several themes germane to the monitoring world. Seminars on the schedule will deal with the rise of DIY and self-monitoring systems, monitoring and the Internet of Things phenomenon, and the continued value of central station alarm monitoring.

In the release, CSAA president Jay Hauhn said senior leadership from the national Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) first responder associations will be present, giving members the chance to talk industry issues with them one on one.

Chinese fire manufacturer to target U.S. market from new $30m plant in Quebec

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Fire alarm manufacturer Maple Armor is investing nearly $30 million to build a new plant near Montreal, from which it intends to target the U.S. market, the company announced this week.

The full name of the company is Solutions D'alarme Incendie Maple Armor Canada and it’s a division of Beida Jade Bird Universal Fire Alarm, which is a subsidiary of the Chinese company Beida Jade Bird Group. Maple Armor’s plan to build the plant in Saint-Bruno, on Montreal's South Shore, is making big news in Canada because it’s one of the first Chinese companies to invest in manufacturing there, a company news release says.

A Quebec government agency, Investissement Québec, is contributing $4 million to the cost of the $30 million plant—with a $1 million grant and $3 million in interest-free loans, according to The Gazette, a Montreal newspaper.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the plant took place yesterday, Aug. 19, and the plant, which will have 70 employees, is expected to open by the end of 2015, the company said.

According to The Gazette, a Montreal newspaper, the plant “will build components for fire alarms, such as control panels, sprinklers and heat and smoke sensors.”

Interestingly, about 70 percent of its products initially will be shipped to China because of a strong demand for certified alarm products there, according to the company and news reports.

The Gazette said a major reason the company chose to build in Canada is that it “has a certification process that meets stringent international norms for the alarm systems.”

The plant would cost more to build in China because the process for certifying fire alarm systems is complex there, the newspaper said. Also, The Gazette said, by building in Canada, the Chinese company is eligible for NAFTA.

But the company made clear it plans to expand into the U.S. market. The Gazette reported that Maple Armor simply found it easier to build in Canada. Here’s what the newspaper had to say:

“Weimin Cai, president of Beida Jade Bird Universal Fire Alarm Devices, told The Gazette that the company is indeed targeting the U.S. market, but that Quebec offered more of a sure investment perspective.

“We think we can meet the U.S. demand from here,” Cai said. “China’s relations with Canada are very good, but sometimes China-U.S. relations suffer.

“So I think this is a better investment climate.”

In the company’s news release, Zhendong Xu, chairman of Beida Jade Bird Group, said, “We wanted to set up operations in North America to develop a new product line that meets the highest industry standards. Considering the ease of access to new markets and the presence of a highly qualified labor force, we are pleased to pursue our growth here in Quebec.”

I’ll be reporting more on this story. Stay posted.

 

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