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Siemens Security Products now part of Vanderbilt

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Vanderbilt Industries on Monday announced it has completed the acquisition of the Security Products business from Siemens.

The deal, announced in October, expands Vanderbilt’s footprint, R&D capabilities and product portfolio. The Siemens' division has been rebranded as Vanderbilt and is headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Joseph Grillo, Vanderbilt managing director, spoke to Security Systems News in November about the deal. Here's a llink to that story where he said Vanderbilt will look for more acquisitions.

And here's a link to a story about proprietary versus open systems. It's based on a TechSec educational session that Grillo participated in.

In Monday's announcement, Vanderbilt said it will expand beyond its presence here in North America and in Europe and is particularly interested in South America and Asia Pacific.
 


The Security Products division brings with it access control, intrusion alarm and video surveillance products. Its brand names include: Aliro, Alarmcom, Bewator, Cotag, Europlex, SPC and Vectis. Vanderbilt plans to retain existing brand names.
 


In a prepared statement, Grillo said the company has "a commitment to reinvest at least 10 percent of our annual revenue into new research and development, and therefore, look forward to introducing new innovations that exceed industry expectations and drive sustained growth

Monitoring companies called to action on NFPA vote

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The alarm monitoring industry is taking notice of the NFPA. There are two motions proposed for vote at NFPA’s meeting this year that could have a serious impact on the industry. This pair of motions directly refers to the NFPA 72 Nation Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, which, in the current draft of the 2016 edition states that listed central stations can be used for fire alarm monitoring. A group based in northern Illinois opposes this language, and seeks to alter it, giving local municipalities more authority in the matter.

“What’s happening in Chicago is that some of these communities are operating their own monitoring center. … This [code] would enable that community to have an effective monopoly on alarm monitoring,” Kevin Lehan, executive director for the Illinois Electronic Security Association and EMERgency24’s manager of public relations.

Lehan noted that, while the authority pushing these motions is from Chicago, it is still a national code. “This is a nationwide problem. If this can happen in Illinois … it could happen in [any community].”

Jay Hauhn, CSAA's executive director, agreed, saying that if either of the motions passed, “other municipalities may see it as a revenue opportunity and also seek to prohibit the use of non-government monitoring centers.”

“The big problem is: This is happening in Illinois, and it’s being challenged by the Illinois fire inspectors,” Ed Bonifas, executive VP of Alarm Detection Systems, told me. “The fire departments that feel this way the most can come out in force, because it happens to be here.”

The vote will be held at the NFPA’s 2015 meeting, at McCormick Place in Chicago, June 25. In order to vote, you must have been a member of NFPA before Dec. 25, 2014, and you must be there in person to vote.

“Right now the language that is in place … for the revised 2016 edition states that the AHJ shall allow central stations to provide this service,” Lehan said. The first motion, 72-8, seeks to alter this languag, adding the prefix "When permitted by the Authority Having Jurisdiction,” again giving the AHJ the ability to disallow independent central stations as an option for fire alarm monitoring. This motion would revert the language to how it appeared in the previous, 2013, edition.

The second motion affecting this code, motion 72-9, would entirely strike the line 26.5.3.1.3. CSAA, as well as others in the industry, are pushing for a negative vote for both motions.

“If either one of those motions passes, customers will not necessarily … have the ability to use UL-listed monitoring centers for their [fire monitoring],” Hauhn said. For this reason, CSAA and others are pushing for a negative vote to both motions.

“The alarm industry here in Illinois has been struggling with the fire service that wants to monitor alarms and prevent alarm companies from doing the same,” Bonifas said. Alarm Detection Systems is based in Aurora, Ill.—approximately 40 miles outside of Chicago.

“It’s my contention that there’s a huge conflict of interest when the authority—the fire department—is participating in the business, and then is able to be the one to decide who else can participate,” Bonifas said.

“All the monitoring industry is trying to do is level the playing field so that government run monitoring centers must meet the same high standards that commercially operated monitoring centers adhere to,” Hauhn said.

“The 2016 draft of the code that’s being considered right now has new language in it that says that listed central stations can monitor alarms. … That sets up a competitive landscape; government can monitor alarms, and private companies can if they follow the code,” Bonifas said.

“Competition is good for the consumer because it creates better pricing, but it also creates better service,” Bonifas said.

Wait, what year is this?

 - 
Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My colleague, Spencer Ives, has been keeping me updated on our latest Security Systems News Poll about women in the security industry.

What do I have to say?

Here’s what I say: I am appalled.

I can’t believe I am even writing these words in 2015. Some of the comments responding to our poll are unbelievable, so misogynistic that I can’t even put them on here. (Hint: It’s better for a woman to be barefoot and pregnant.)

While some people talk about how vital it is to have women in the physical security workplace, others—women—speak of how they’ve been discriminated against, how they’ve had to leave their jobs because of harassment; the “good old boys’ network” has a complete and solid divide when it comes to women in security positions.

I have met so many enthusiastic women in the security field. Dynamic, smart and successful women. I have attended Women's Security Council gatherings to honor women who have served so well and who do such a great job at the executive level.

I have also met many men in the industry who would never, ever, say a disparaging remark about their female coworkers. They're partners; they work to the best of their abilities to serve their customers. 

Here's to all of you who do such great job, no matter your gender!

Former Vivint CFO on the Alarm.com IPO

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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Alarm.com's announcement that it will go public has a lot of people talking inside and outside of the security industry. Many of the insiders, however, will not talk on the record, at least not right now.  

I was interested in talking to someone who knows IPOs, understands the security industry and is familiar with Alarm.com, and I came up with Chris Black. Black is the former CFO of Vivint who helped Vivint prepare for the sale to Blackstone. He's also helped other companies go public. Today he works outside of the industry as CFO of Viamedia and as a board member of Sports Information Group which owns the Daily Racing Form.  

In an email interview Black called Alarm.com "a terrific company with a strong management team that I gained a lot of respect for during my interactions with them while I was at Vivint."

He said an IPO can "have a transformational impact on the business" and a positive affect on the industry.

"The IPO will provide them with access to another source of capital to continue to grow the business and invest in new products and opportunities. I also think it is a great event for the security industry as a whole. It serves as further validation of the space and will bring in new equity investors that may or may not have looked at security companies in the past,"

The only potential downside, Black said "is the amount of time the management team, particularly the CEO and CFO, are required to spend on investor relations activities including calls with equity analysts, investors and presentations at equity conferences and the like."

How might the IPO affect customers?

"This is really just another form of financing the growth of the business and shouldn't have an immediate impact on Alarm.com's customers one way or the other. Longer term, one could assume that access to public equity will allow the company to invest in the business and continue to develop new products and enhance existing ones either organically or through acquisitions, or both," he said.

Who are your brightest end users?

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The alumni list for Security Systems News’ “20 under 40” awards for end users is outstanding. Past winners work for hospitals, public school districts, utilities, Google, retail chains big and small, Facebook, universities and major corporations.

We’re seeking nominations now for more of these young, intelligent and dedicated end users for our upcoming awards.

Please take a few moments and think of your customers: Who is the most up-to-date on the latest technology and knows what they need to physically secure their workplaces? Who is dedicated and passionate about their responsibilities?  Or, maybe, you just need to look in the mirror. Do you fit the bill? You are perfectly welcome to nominate yourself.

Honoring these men and women means a lot to them. I’ve heard from past winners who say the award helped them advance in their careers and gave them more cred with the c-suite.

In addition to being profiled on the SSN website and in our print publication, each of our past “20 under 40” end user winners, who we honor at the annual TechSec Solutions in February in Delray Beach, Fla., have added greatly to the conference’s discussions and networking. Many of them have served on educational panels at the event; some have become members of our expert advisory panel. All in all, their input is vital to the success of the show.

Nominate them here. The deadline is July 1. I’m looking forward to getting to know them.

 

 

 

2015 Northeast Security Systems Contractors Expo roundup

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Friday, May 22, 2015

Yesterday, May 21, I headed down to this year’s Northeast Security Systems Contractors Expo, in Marlborough, Mass. It was great to catch up with some of the companies I met at ISC West, and meet some new ones. In central stations, the biggest theme I heard about was that regional shows help monitoring centers get to know their dealers, in person and face-to-face.

Just as I was starting my first lap of the show floor, I briefly met Russ Ryan, organizer for the show.

After that, I ran into Jessica DaCosta, director of sales for ESA, and chatted about the upcoming ESX show.

I also met with Worthington Distribution’s Nolan Male, director of training. Worthington is a security disitributor based in Tafton, Penn., in the northeast part of the state.  

I met with a few members of the Affiliated Monitoring team out in Vegas last month, but at this show I got to meet Jesse Rivest, company territory manager. Rivest was recognized as one of SSN's "20 under 40," Class of 2013. He mentioned that the Northeast Security Systems Contractors Expo is a good way to stay in touch with current dealers, and get to know prospective ones.

At Alarm Central’s booth, I got to meet the company’s vice president, Kerry-Anne McStravick. She told me about the benefits of being a smaller central station—Alarm Central monitors around 40,000 accounts, she said—like getting to know dealers on a more personal basis. Alarm Central is based in Quincy, Mass.

When I spoke with All American Monitoring at ISC West, I heard about its new offering: cameras under the company’s MeyeView brand. Lisa French, national sales representative, and Laura Hutchinson, national dealer support, told me that there had been a great response to the cameras since their announcement last month at ISC West and during demos at this expo.

Rapid Response is another company I got to meet at ISC West, but it was great to see Danial Gelinas, Bryan Bardenett, company senior account manager, and Ron Crotty, in charge of new business development/corporate training. Bryan told me that a big benefit to regional shows is getting to know dealers in their area, and hearing about the issues and concerns affecting that area.

I got the chance to briefly catch up with COPS Monitoring. Bart Weiner, COPS’ senior account executive, also mentioned the benefit of regional shows to connect on a more personal level with dealers and “put names to faces.”

I stopped by Centra-Larm’s booth. Scott Mailhot, company VP of operations, and I talked about the eye-catching booth design, which I could recognize from the sidewalk—before even entering the show. This booth design is the same one that made its premier at ISC West last month.

Daniel Shaw is the assistant central station manager for NEXgeneration Central, based in Providence, R.I. He told me a bit more about the company, defining the footprint for its 35,000 accounts as predominantly on the east coast.

Keith Jentoft, president of RSI Video Technologies, walked me through the company’s various camera models and the variety of places they can be applied.

Tom Camarda, national sales executive for U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp., gave me a demo of the monitoring center’s recent integration with SmartTek, putting a GPS tracking and monitoring service into an app.

My day in Marlborough ended by talking with Keith Jentoft again. This time we spoke a bit about PPVAR, and the importance of finding common definitions—like the Texas Police Chiefs Association did in early April.

Got design in mind?

 - 
Wednesday, May 20, 2015

You’ve heard the old real estate sales mantra: “Location, location, location.” For many in the residential security industry today, the new mantra is “Design, design, design.” 

At ISC West this year I met with a long list of security pros, from manufacturers to dealers to providers, most of whom proclaimed that on top of tech advancements their equipment was made “to look good.” 

They’re right. Their designs are looking good.

Panels, switches, sensors and more are sleek with a European-design feel. They will be less than obtrusive when mounted on a wall. No more huge black or brown boxes in the front foyer—these blend in. 

The equipment, mostly white and thin, reminded me of the first, very early, iBook I owned. So pretty and neat, small and clean. That was a number of years ago, and my iBook eventually met its demise, but I still remember it fondly, mostly for how it looked in comparison to other bulky laptops of the day. 

“This is the year of industrial design,” Avi Rosenthal, board member of the Z-Wave Alliance and VP of security and control for Nortek, told me early on at the Las Vegas show.  His comments resonated as I visited other booths after that. 

For homeowners, form is equally as important as function for all products, he and others said.

“It’s the ‘wife-acceptance’ factor. She’s the one who decorates, so the devices must look cool on the wall,” Rosenthal said.

Who wants something big, dark and ugly hitched to the wall just inside their front door? Not me. Neither did former ADT exec Christopher Carney when deciding on the look of his new Abode home resi system.

The pursuit of aesthecially pleasing design extended into the ISC West booths themselves this year. Honeywell, for example, had all of its products—from fire to resi—on interactive display in one big, nicely appointed space—think of an Apple store. 

Nortek had a new, interactive booth, too, with each of its sister companies representing myriad slick-looking products. 

How big a deal is this whole aesthetics thing to you and your companies? Are you feeling the need to adapt to the latest trends in home décor? Are you hearing this from your customers? 

If your products are less than pretty, you might want to consider how good design might add to your bottom line.

Perimeter security provider comments on projected market growth

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I couple weeks back, I wrote an article on the perimeter security market—primarily Technavio's projection that it will rise between 2015 and 2019. Jack DeMao, the CEO for Electric Guard Dog, called me today to talk about the report, how it matches up with his company, and trends from his side of the industry.

Electric Guard Dog offers solar-powered electric security fences, designed to “deter people at the fence line.” His interest was piqued when he saw exactly that style of perimeter security mentioned by Technavio as a trend in perimeter security.

DeMao has seen a rise in perimeter security first hand, he told me, citing between a consistent growth at his company, year after year. “I would say that people have greater interest to keep the bad guys out at the fence line,” he told me.

A new trend for his business, he said, is more IoT-type requests; “Like most security solutions, [customers] want to be able to turn their fence [and] their security systems on and off with their smartphones, and get information as to what’s going on at their site.”

Electric Guard Dog started offering smartphone abilities two or three years ago, DeMao estimated. At first, between 10 and 20 percent took this option. By 2015, that percentage has jumped to around 90 percent, he said. 

Apollo lands Protection 1, ASG

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Apollo Global Management is about to take one giant leap into security with its May 19 agreement to acquire Protection 1 and ASG Security.

Under the agreement, the combined companies will operate under the Protection 1 brand, with Protection 1 CEO Tim Whall at the helm.

Security Systems News reported on the proposed deal last week. Here's that story.

I had a chance to interview Protection 1 CEO Tim Whall, CMO Jamie Haenggi and ASG's CEO Joe Nuccio last night. I was looking for details about how the new management might be structured, but that will have to wait until the deal is closed. The earliest possible closing date would be July, Whall said.

The May 19 announcement did not include proposed terms of the agreement, though $2 billion has been reported by Rueters.

Whall said that the “combination of Protection 1 and ASG instantly gives both companies a wider footprint where they each did not have one and a greater density in the markets where we overlap. There is a definite benefit for the customers as well as the employees. And given our like-minded approach to the operations, the combination will be a force in the marketplace."

Haenggi added that “the combination of the two companies creates a $40 million recurring revenue and over $600 million entity, with more organic growth and acquisitions on the horizon. It has never been Protection 1’s or ASG’s goal to be the biggest—it has always been both companies aim to be the best both for our customers and our employees.”

Whall, Haenggi and Nuccio all spoke about the benefits of having a private equity group the size of Apollo (this group manages $163 billion) involved in the security industry. When Apollo gets involved, other funds take notice, Whall said.

That means more resources for Protection 1 and potentially for other security industry companies.

I spoke with Michael Barnes, a partner in the consulting and advisory firm Barnes Associates, who is advising Apollo. I asked him about the people at Apollo who are behind the deal. Barnes said while Apollo is a huge fund with many employees, "the team that has been focused on the security alarm industry and driving these deals is relatively small. They are very smart and they cycle through tough decisions quickly. They should make a great partner for P1 and ASG."

How might the group from Apollo work with managment? Barnes said, "From what we can tell, their philosophy seems to be to pick the best horse and jockey and then let them run. To extend the analogy, I am sure they will influence things like what races they enter, but as long as they are winning they will likely just focus on making sure they have the needed resources and otherwise stay out of their way."

I posed the same question to the folks at Apollo in a couple of calls last night, but they declined comment.

Whall, Haenggi and Nuccio also spoke about how the new Protection 1—with the staff, expertise and client base and geographic coverage that ASG brings—will be uniquely positioned in the industry.

Haenggi said that Apollo has been studying the industry for some time. They liked that Protection 1 has "not only has the national footprint, but also the breadth of services and markets serving residential, commercial and national accounts," she said.  "Back in the day, there was ADT that had the size and breadth. Today, there is no one serving across all of these segments with the size of Protection 1. We are in a position to take that lead but do it with a decidedly ‘Protection 1 approach’ to business."

Barnes concurred with Haenggi, saying P1, especially with ASG added, is the largest industry player with "a business model on which most of the industry was built. That is, having a large commitment to specific geographic markets and a broad range of product and services aimed at virtually the entire spectrum of customer types—everything from low-cost, entry-level residential systems, including a DIY offering, all the way up to large-scale systems for the commercial and institutional segments.

Both companies also know how to acquire and consolidate smaller companies, Barnes noted. "This robust approach is in contrast to virtually all of the other large, national players, who are more narrowly focused, such as Tyco, Stanley and Diebold on commercial markets, and ADT, Vivint, and Monitronics primarily on the residential market."

What does Tim Whall say about Protection 1's expansion plans? Will it expand beyond the U.S. market? “I think it's safe to say that Protection 1 will hold not just a U.S. footprint, but a North American footprint," he said.

Asked about possible aspirations for a global presence, Whall laughed and said: “Well, before we talk international, let’s get this deal signed first and over the line—we’ll see how international we get, but I certainly would not rule out lots of growth from Protection 1 over the next several years.”

Private equity is no stranger to security, especially in the past two years. Recent deals include: Vivint to Blackstone, SAFE to ICV Partners, ACA to Norwest Capital, and most recently, Ackerman to Imperial Capital, Barnes noted. However, this deal stands out, he said.  "I can’t remember an investor like Apollo making a first step into the industry, on this scale, doing two transactions at the same time, and particularly with such a good fit between the two."

To attract private equity investors, Barnes said you "have to have all of the requisite pieces of the puzzle…size, capability, management, and growth. In addition, you generally have to have a strong overall industry opportunity, since one is effectively competing against all other possible investment opportunities." 

The long list of dealmakers involved in this transaction include: Financing is provided by Credit Suisse, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Jefferies and RBC. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is acting as legal adviser to Apollo; Latham & Watkins LLP is acting as legal adviser to Protection 1; and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal adviser to ASG Security. Morgan Stanley and Raymond James are acting as financial advisors to Protection 1 and Goldman Sachs is acting as financial advisor to ASG Security. Barnes Associates is advising Apollo.

Allegion talks on recent acquisitions

 - 
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I saw that Allegion had some interesting news, recently finalizing its acquisition of sliding- and folding-door company Brio, based in Syndey, Australia. I got the chance to hear a bit more about it from Franklin McClelland, Allegion’s VP of business development.

“Brio and Allegion have a strong relationship in New Zealand as well as in Australia, where [the companies] have worked on projects together,” McClelland told me in an email interview. “As we started having more strategic dialogues with Brio’s parent, we came to realize that Brio is very complementary to Allegion: They are involved in specifications for door hardware, and there are synergies in terms of channel.”

Brio’s current GM will still manage the company in its Australia location, McClelland said. “We are working with a great management team [at Allegion], who will continue to grow Brio while creating a complementary platform for the other Allegion lines.”

Brio has an office in Rochester, New York, and has a “growing US presence,” according to McClelland.

Terms of the finalized deal, announced May 4, were not released.

Allegion’s announced the finalized acquisition of Zero International, a little over a month before, on April 1. Zero is a New York based provider of commercial door and window products.

“The Zero International acquisition allowed Allegion to expand its presence in the door and hardware accessories market, and there are synergies in terms of specification and channel,” McClelland said. “The new Zero suite of products gives Allegion an increased emphasis on green building applications that support heating and cooling efficiency, as well as delivering the sound dampening and fire and smoke sealing solutions that commercial customers are seeking.”

“Zero, [like Brio], has a global footprint we can leverage and strengthen for our customers,” McClelland noted.

Figures of the Zero acquisition were also not released.

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