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Numera releases new wearable line

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Numera this week announced a new selection of wearables to complement its Libris mPERS device while users are at home.

The center of this announcement is the new Smart Cradle, which connects the Libris device with the new wearables while charging the mPERS, Anu Herannen, marketing manager for Nortek Security and Control, told SSN. 

The new wearables include a Fall Detection Pendant, a Convertible Help Button which can be worn as a pendant or on the wrist, and a Simple Help Button Pendant.

Herannen said that a noticable difference between the Fall Detection Pendant and the Libris device is their weight. The Libris is about 2.1 ounces, she said; the Fall Detection Pendent only weighs about half an ounce. The pendant is also 40 percent smaller by dimensions.

She said the two biggest benefits for end users are the ability to have a personal safety device while the Libris is charging and the option for a more comfortable device while around the house.

“[Users] can leave their Libris in its Smart Cradle, because all of the mobile PERS devices do have a battery that needs to be charged, … and they are still equally protected,” she said. The Libris has a battery life of 36 hours, she said, while the wearables’ batteries last for several years.

The new wearables also continue to track users in the EverThere program. “The Smart Cradle connected with any of the wearables provides exactly the same experience in EverThere that we do in the Libris device.” The Smart Cradle is also upgradable, via Over-The-Air software updates.

Herranen said that the ability to wear a help button on the wrist is new for the Libris offering. She said the wrist-worn help button was specifically designed for wear during sleep.

The Libris still has features that the new wearables don’t, such as voice capabilities and GPS location. 

Outsmarting the smart home

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Talked about heavily at ISC West in April, cybersecurity is the buzzword in the industry right now, as manufacturers and dealers on the residential side try to figure out how to navigate through the potential minefield of new smart home products and devices that may leave their security systems vulnerable to hacking.

In a study unveiled this week, Cybersecurity researchers at the University of Michigan were able to hack into a leading "smart home" platform and essentially get the PIN code to a home's front door.

Their "lock-pick malware app" was one of four attacks that the cybersecurity researchers leveled at an experimental set-up of Samsung's SmartThings platform, and is believed to be the first platform-wide study of a connected home system. The researchers weren’t picking on Samsung, as the overall goal of the research was to show how vulnerable these new connected home devices and systems are to hacking.

The researchers found “significant design vulnerabilities from a security perspective," noting that hackers’ attacks can “expose a household to significant harm—break-ins, theft, misinformation and vandalism. The attack vectors are not specific to a particular device and are broadly applicable."

The findings will be presented on May 24 at the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in San Jose, in a paper titled "Security Analysis of Emerging Smart Home Applications."

At the very least, this study—as well as numerous stories of hackers finding their way into connected home devices, from smart TVs to baby monitors—raises important questions that manufacturers and dealers must ask themselves in this new world of advanced technology and interactivity.

As Samsung works out the kinks in its system, many other smart home companies can benefit from this study, as it sounds an alarm—no pun intended—of the importance of cybersecurity. While no system is completely immune from hacking, the research also underscores the fact that smart home companies and dealers need to make sure they are adhering to, at a minimum, the industry’s best practices and guidelines.

One resource is UL’s new Cybersecurity Assurance Program, a standard by which companies can have their products tested and verified by UL for guard against well-known cyber risks.

Having your products and systems third-party tested is a good first step in addressing any security flaws that may be present, as well as any potential fixes, and provides a measure of comfort for customers who are making their first forays into this bold new world of connected home technology.

 
 

The 'New ADT' is here

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The "New ADT" is here. As of May 2, the Protection 1/ADT deal is closed, and ADT is no longer trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The deal, initially announced in February, was the third major security investment for Apollo Global, which announced it would buy ADT for $6.9 billion and merge it with Protection 1.

I tried to get a call scheduled with Tim Whall who is the CEO of the combined company or someone else at “The New ADT,” but have not heard back yet.

The official announcement had little new information, it mentioned that the headquarters of the combined company will be ADT’s headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla., and said that the company will “operate primarily under the ADT brand.”

Will the Protection 1 name go away completely? Who will run the resi business? What about ADT's nascnet commercial business? Is CMS staying or going? CMS has the opportunity to go after the cablecos/telecom business and DIY business that other wholesale monitoring companies are doing well with. Will it? As a non-public company, ADT can concentrate on slow smart growth--something observers say it has done well with, even under the constant scrutiny of the stock market. So many questions to ask.

Goldman, Sachs served as lead financial advisor to ADT and BofA Merrill Lynch also served as financial advisor to ADT.  Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and RBC Capital Markets, LLC served as financial advisors to Apollo and Protection 1 and provided debt financing.  PSP Investments Credit USA LLC also provided debt financing.

The deal also provided an entry for the Koch Brothers into physical security. An affiliate of Koch Equity Development LLC, the investment and acquisition subsidiary of Koch Industries, provided $750 million of preferred equity financing.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as legal advisor to ADT. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP served as legal advisor to Protection 1 and Apollo.  Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP served as legal advisor to Koch.

 

Affiliated’s Catalyst PERS conference sold out

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Friday, April 29, 2016

Affiliated Monitoring’s new PERS conference, Catalyst, sold out three-and-a-half weeks prior to the inaugural event on May 17.

Affiliated’s VP Daniel Oppenheim told SSN that Catalyst booked so quickly due to its “focus on sales and marketing, and Affiliated’s reputation as a PERS specialist.”

“We have 160 attendees, and including staff and vendors, we're going to be at about 200 total,” Oppenheim said. Oppenheim believes it will be the largest PERS conference ever held.

Oppenheim said that Affiliated will unveil three new services at the show, but declined to give more detail.

Former major league baseball player and manager Bobby Valentine will be giving the keynote address. “We were looking for someone who we felt has managed teams,” Oppenheim said. “He has very practical knowledge about bringing in people with different backgrounds, different skill sets. … He really can talk about the grind, day-in and day-out and trying to get teammates to perform.”

He said the company will look for a larger venue for next year. “We’ll probably do it again in Florida, just at a larger resort, around the same time.”

Finding security in smart home products

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

With the “smart home” taking over talk on the residential side of security, it is no surprise that research and studies continue to pop up in an effort to quantify and qualify what is going on in this growing connected-home market.

Results of a study conducted in March by August Home and Xfinity Home give some further insight into the relationship between home security and connected home devices.

When asked why they would consider adopting smart home technology, the study found that 63 percent of consumers said security or “keeping their family safe” is their top motivation.

In addition, in a Parks Associates’ survey of homeowners with broadband connections, those with a security system were more likely to say they intend to buy a smart home device in the next 12 months.  

So at a time when dealers are trying to emphasize the importance of security first in this new smart home world, it looks like consumers are heeding their message.

In terms of how many plan to add smart home technology, the August Home and Xfinity Home survey found that 18 percent of respondents said they’d likely buy a new smart home product over the next 12 months, including 56 percent of those who have already installed at least one connected device in their home.

What smart home devices are they planning on buying? Video is at the top of the list with 4 in 10 consumers (40 percent) saying a connected camera would be the product they’d most likely add to their home, followed by a video doorbell (26 percent), connected light bulb (19 percent) and smart lock (13 percent).

When asked which device they’d most like as part of a smart home-powered security system, over 63 percent of respondents chose a connected video camera inside or outside the home, while 61 percent of those with a smart home said that a video camera was the device they’d most like to access and control from their smartphone.

This is all good news for the residential security industry, and for dealers who are taking the time to reconnect with their customers who continue to find security in this emerging world of connected products.

 

Security robotics and regulation

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A couple weeks ago I wrote about PSA-TEC, PSA Security’s annual training and education conference, which will take place in Westminster, Colo. May 9-13.

Kudos to PSA for being the first in the industry to take a close look at security robotics. PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman is among those who believe security robotics will be “the next big thing” in security.

Courses at TEC will explore ground-based, aerial and marine robotics. You can check out the educational sessions here.

In many ways, this robotic technology is here. Drones are being used for surveillance by movie studios and on colleges campuses. And, systems integrator Northland Controls even has robots patrolling its parking lot in Fremont, Calif.  

However, security robotics is in its nascent stage though, and the security industry has to figure out how to harness the technology more broadly, and in a way that makes business sense for end users and integrators.

Also, it’s not clear at all how the government is going to regulate security robotics in general, and drones in particular. There’s a bill in the U.S. Senate right now that would make drone regulation a federal responsibility. One thing for sure is that security robotics will be regulated. And, that makes sense. While drones may be safely used for surveillance in some areas, drones and other robotics may pose a risk in certain locations, such as airports. Questions of privacy will need to be addressed as well. Like it or not, some degree of regulation is inevitable and advisable.

The Security Industry Association is keeping an eye on this issue, and you should too. Jake Parker of SIA told me the “FAA is in the process of finalizing regulations that [drone] operators must follow and chances are this will evolve in the future.” He also noted that there are “significantly different requirements for law enforcement use versus private/commercial security.” He added that this topic will be discussed at SIA’s June 17 Government Summit.

I’m looking forward to the security robotics educational sessions at PSA-TEC, and I’m also looking forward to seeing the robots and drones in Colorado. Bozeman says they’ll be there.

CSAA announces 2016 annual meeting keynote

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Earlier this week CSAA announced the keynote speaker for this year’s CSAA Annual Meeting, held in Marco Island, Fla., from Oct. 22-27: Tasha Eurich, organizational psychologist and author of New York Times bestseller Bankable Leadership.

“We are pleased to feature a next-generation speaker at the Annual Meeting,” CSAA president Pamela J. Petrow said in a prepared statement. “CSAA members are always looking toward the future, and Dr. Eurich is sure to provide them with new strategies to stay ahead of today’s leadership challenges.”

Eurich is principal of The Eurich Group, an executive development firm that helps companies improve the effectiveness of their leaders and teams. She has a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Colorado State University and serves on the adjunct faculty of the Center for Creative Leadership.

“By pairing her scientific grounding in human behavior with a pragmatic approach to business challenges, she has helped thousands of leaders over the last fifteen years,” CSAA said in its announcement.

When I’ve spoken to executive director Jay Hauhn in the past, he’s said that CSAA is retooling the structure and format of its annual meeting.

This certainly seemed to have an impact, as last year’s annual meeting was one of the best attended in the organization’s history. “2015 saw the largest attendance CSAA has had in recent years, and we are confident our reimaging of the meeting will top last year’s record when we convene this fall in Marco Island,” Petrow said in the announcement.

“CSAA is entering the second phase of the reimaging of its Annual Meeting,” Petrow said. “In 2015 a new emphasis was placed on educational programming, and the general sessions were a hit with attendees. CSAA intends to bolster that emphasis on fresh, meaningful education in 2016.”

ESX 2016: Keynotes look to question the status quo

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Keynote speakers for ESX 2016, June 8-10 at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas, were announced and include author Nicholas Webb, Provident Security founder and CEO Michael Jagger, and ITR Economics president Dr. Alan Beaulieu. Security Systems News editors caught up with each keynote speaker to get a glimpse of what to expect at the show this year.

NICHOLAS WEBB
At the Opening Keynote Luncheon, world-renowned business futurist and innovation thought leader Nicholas Webb, author of Innovation Playbook and The Digital Innovation Playbook, will provide his perspective on what he said is “a very pivotal time in the security industry.”

He told me during our talk that there are three trends—disruptive innovation, consumerization and connective architecture—that have “hit the security industry hard and are going to hit them extremely hard over the next 24-36 months,” he said.

As a successful inventor with more than 48 patented technologies, Webb understands the power of a product or service that becomes a disruptive innovator, such as what Uber did in the taxi industry.

“With disruptive innovation you blow it up in a nuclear mushroom cloud and replace it with something that is a completely different model but significantly better to whoever your consumer is,” he said. “Uber is a good but overused example, and disrupters are out there and they are destroying everything by leveraging the fact that consumers are very consumerized—meaning that they have lots and lots of options available to them—and they are leveraging these connected devices to be able to research you in terms of looking at what better options there may be, including how well you currently serve your customers.”

One point that Webb wants to drive home during his keynote is that “you either become a hacker—a disruptive innovator—or you get hacked by a disruptive innovator.”  

He also wants ESX attendees to make the distinction between reactive intervention and proactive intervention. “Proactive innovation stops things from happening and reactive intervention, which has happened for the last 40 years in the security industry, just catalogs bad things that happen,” he said. “If there is going to be sea shift in security, it is going to be moving away from reacting to events to interacting prior to an event. And the Ring is a good example of this type of proactive innovation.” 

Webb said he also wants to stress the importance of the customer experience during his keynote, and pointed out that security companies “need to understand the five touch points of the customer journey, and how to invent better experiences across those five touch points.”

Ultimately, he said, security companies need to do a better job of knowing their customers. “After 36 months of research we saw how the best companies on the planet were using ‘customer typing’ as a way to deliver the most relevant and exquisite value to their customers.”

MICHAEL JAGGER
Michael Jagger, founder and CEO of Provident Security, flew to Tokyo specifically to go to Sukiyabashi Jiro, a three-star Michelin restaurant located in the basement of an office building.

It’s a 10-seat sushi bar presided over by master chef Jiro Ono. The plane ticket was expensive as was the sushi, but Jagger said, “It turned out to be an exceptionally cheap trip” because of what he learned from the experience.

Jagger will deliver the keynote at the Industry Excellence Breakfast at ESX. He’ll talk about what he learned from Jiro specifically, and why he believes it’s essential to look outside of the security industry for inspiration for “how to set your business apart in your market.”

Jagger has been looking outside of the industry for a number of years. He’s spent time at companies such as Toyota, FedEx, Tesla.

“The consumer has too many choices,” he said. “We’re all in business to look after our customers. If you’re not remarkable, or perceived to be remarkable, your customers will go elsewhere,” Jagger said.

He’ll discuss how he took what he learned from different innovative companies and applied it to his company culture, processes and customer experience.

ALAN BEAULIEU
Economist Alan Beaulieu, who spoke at ESX last year, will return as the ESX closing keynote speaker this year.

Asked for a preview of where the economy is headed in 2016, Beaulieu told Security Systems News, “We’re in a different place than we were last year.”

Beaulieu plans to talk about leading economic indicators, consumer activity and business activity. Hint: Things look good.

A principal of ITR Economics, Beaulieu will share his economic forecast with an emphasis on how macrotrends are affecting the security industry in 2016.

He plans to touch on what has happened in states that produce oil and gas shale. “They face a different economy [from other states]. I’ll break out when oil prices will come back,” he said. Oil prices have a major effect on business and new home construction, and both of these obviously affect the physical security and alarm industry.

In general consumers are earning more money and there are more jobs available. “There’s a lot of good news for the essential client base for ESX attendees,” he said.

Want to know the implications for the security industry of the tight labor market, rising interest rates, the presidential election? Beaulieu will give his take on all of the above.

Beaulieu hopes the audience will come armed with questions. “I really enjoy questions during and after that presentation,” he said. “I want to maximize the takeaway value.”

Beaulieu is an editor of Industry Week and is the co-author of the book “Prosperity in the Age of Decline.” ESX chairman George De Marco said that several ESX attendees have told him that they read Beaulieu’s book after his keynote address last year, and one security company owner required all of his managers to read the book and rerouted his business plan as the result of listening to Beaulieu and reading his book.

SSN editor Martha Entwistle contributed to this report.
 

Dahua cameras now easier to get in North America

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

China-based camera manufacturer Dahua this week took a major step to expand its presence in North America: ADI Global Distribution will now carry Dahua products in its 103 store locations in the U.S. and Canada.

Dahua has plans to grow its presence in North America in a big way, Tim Shen, Dahua Technology marketing director, told me at ISC West.

The China-based camera manufacturer established its North American office in Irvine, Calif. in 2014. At ISC West this year, Dahua invested in one of the biggest booths at the show. It was 3,600 square feet, double the size of its 2015 ISC West booth.
 
I requested an interview with Shen or another Dahua executive to discuss the announcement. None were immediately available, but Raleigh Gerber, Dahua's newly hired communications manager, sent me some background information. She said that in addtiion to making the product more readily available to North American integrators, working with ADI "gives Dahua an opportunity to listen and learn more about the fast-moving video surveillance market, to gain insights about systems integrators’ needs and better help them."

She added that the partnership with ADI "supports Dahua’s open platform solutions, allowing us to provide seamless and flexible integration with our software and hardware partners, and system integrators."

 Dahua's products include its 1.3-4MP IP cameras, 8 and 16 channel POE NVRS, 1080p HDCVI cameras and tri-brid HCVRs.
 

Telguard frees dealers from 2G obstacles

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Telguard recently announced its new Freedom program: providing dealers with funding and equipment for 2G conversions for a $9.95 monthly fee per 2G account. Shawn Welsh, Telguard’s SVP of product line management and marketing, told me that the program helps the dealers who haven’t yet figured out how to deal with the sunset.

The sunset is an old topic, and Welsh said dealers have probably gotten a little fatigued hearing about it. He said that Telguard looked to why some dealers hadn’t started.

“What it came down to—what we heard a lot of times—was [that] some of the smaller independent dealers just simply didn’t have access to the cash that they were going to need to go and try to swap everything out,” he said.

Barriers specifically include the cost of the hardware, sending out a truck for installation, and the concern of whether the customer would disconnect their service after hearing about the needed upgrade. “When the security dealer installs the unit, we will actually … pay them [$50] for the installation of the unit,” he said. 

“We also include the ability to integrate our home automation platform, HomeControl Flex, as well as Arlo cameras from Netgear, all for that same price,” he said. “Now the dealer can go in and he can try to upsell the customer to new features.”

The program is open to all dealers, Welsh said. Telguard announced the program at ISC West.

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