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Weathering the Blizzard of 2015 while preparing for TechSec

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

As what has been forecasted to be an epic blizzard bears down on us here in the Northeast—and from what the howling wind sounds like outside it would seem the forecast will come to fruition—we are making our final preparations for TechSec 2015 in sunny, warm, blizzard-free Florida.

We're thankful the storm is hitting now so as not to delay us from flying down to Delray Beach next weekend for what we expect to be one of the greatest TechSec conferences ever. (Check out the lineup ... )

Meanwhile, though, I have to think of some of our conference participants, those security folks out there in the blizzardy trenches. Just last week, Martha and I were speaking with Ralph Nerette, our second-day opening speaker—and also a recent past “20 under 40” award winner. Ralph is the director of security and emergency management at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston with excellent insights into the ever-growing health care security vertical.

Early during our conference call, Ralph said there had been a shooting next door at Brigham and Women’s Hospital that he was closely monitoring; it was having an impact on security at DFCI, what with all the police officers and police helicopters in the area and nearby roads cordoned off.

A few minutes later, he had to end our call to deal with the fallout at his hospital in the aftermath of the fatal shooting of Brigham cardiac surgeon Michael Davidson’s and the suicide of the shooter.

Giving Ralph some time to breathe, I sent an email to him this past Monday to reschedule our discussion in advance of TechSec. He responded quickly that he was in the middle of preparing his hospital for the blizzard, but that he would get back to us as soon as he could. He’s a busy guy, that Ralph.

Ralph is a dedicated professional, one of many whom you will meet at TechSec. His talk, “Five things you may not know about health care security,” will be moderated by the always entertaining Rob Hile, director of strategic accounts for SureView Systems. We are pleased to have both of them participate in our conference, along with all the many other dedicated, insightful security pros who are scheduled to speak and those who will offer ther expertise from the audience.

I look forward to seeing you at TechSec. And stay safe (and warm!) out there everyone!

Tyco acquires wireless fire alarm/detection developer

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Tyco has acquired “substantially all of the assets” of Commercial Wireless Systems International, it announced today in a prepared statement.

CWSI will be integrated into Tyco’s Fire Protection Products business unit, thus broadening Tyco’s offerings and expertise in wireless technology and systems, Tyco said in the statement.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Florida-based CWSI, in business for 30 years, develops wireless fire alarm and detection products. Its UL-listed products serve industrial, residential, hospitality, education, airports and other sectors.

The CWSI acquisition “allows us to expand our reach through adjacent sales channels and in segments of the market where we have not been present,” Raj Arora, general manager, fire detection, for Tyco Fire Protection Products, said in the statement.

It also advances Tyco’s vision for the “Internet of Things,” he said.

DVS acquired by Ross & Baruzzini

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Every month, Security Systems News prints a feature piece titled Specifically Speaking, interviewing individuals who specialize in security consulting in order to get his or her perspective. News was made in that side of the industry recently when consulting firm Ducibella Venter & Santore was acquired by Ross & Baruzzini, announced on Jan. 8.

According to a recent press release from Ross & Baruzzini, the acquisition will bring added opportunities in areas of consultation, design, engineering documentation, construction supervision and final turn-over implementation for technical and physical security.

DVS is currently working on a variety of notable projects, including the World Trade Center, and the new Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Conn.

“DVS is extremely well respected in some very specialized security sectors that will allow us to expand our current security portfolio outside our existing markets.” Craig Toder, president and CEO of Ross & Baruzzini, said in a prepared statement.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our staff to realize new projects and growth opportunities. Becoming part of an international firm will strengthen the services offered to our existing clients in addition to allowing us to compete on a larger scale for full-service projects,” said Philip Santore, Senior Principal of DVS, in the same release.

DVS is based in Hamden, Conn., with a branch office in New York. Previously, the firm worked with the New York Stock Exchange, Madison Square Garden and the Bank of America headquarters near Times Square.

Ross & Baruzzini, headquartered in St. Louis, specializes in planning, design and consulting for the government, healthcare, and transportation markets among others.

Security Systems News will be following up with DVS to hear more about this acquisition and what it means for the industry. 

Siemens to OEM Milestone's VMS

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Siemens announced this morning that it has entered into a "long-term strategic partnership" with Milestone and will be OEMing Milestone's VMS software for its Siveillance VMS.

Siemens said Siveillance includes "software-based security platforms and modules that are used in critical infrastructures and by enterprise customers." It is also working with Milestone on "another application for the video technology ... Desigo CC management platform for building and security technology."

The Siveillance VMS in available in three versions.
    •    VMS 100 supports up to 128 cameras and is suitable for small and medium-sized facilities.
    •    VMS 200 meets the demands of centrally managed systems with the high scalability requirements typical of major industrial facilities.
    •    VMS 300 is used in systems that are distributed over multiple locations. It centrally manages user and system data. VMS 300 has a redundant design and is therefore available during network interruptions. It is suitable for critical infrastructures such as airports.


Long-term strategic partnership with Milestone
Siemens' OEM partner Milestone specializes in open, IP-based video management software. Its flexible technologies have been proven in thousands of installations worldwide.
"We are pleased to have won a leading provider of IP video management software like Milestone as our strategic partner and technology supplier," says René Jungbluth, who heads the solutions business at Siemens Building Technologies. "Siemens is a key player in the security industry, and VMS is a vital module in our Siveillance portfolio. It helps further focus and expand our enterprise security solutions business. Because the video technology can also be integrated into the Desigo CC building management platform, the software is an outstanding addition to our Total Building Solutions portfolio as well."
"The worldwide strategic partnership with Siemens is very important to us. It is not only proof of how important open platforms are, but also represents a benchmark in our long-standing business relationship," says Lars Thinggaard, president and CEO of Milestone.

CSG buys again

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

CSG is adding density near its headquarters with the purchse announced yesterday of Allied Protective Systems, based in Oklahoma City.

The deal adds 6,000 customers to CSG's Guardian Security Systems, an installing security company that CSG owns.

CSG CEO Richard Ginsburg was on a plane today, but Amy will catch up with him later this week and have more to report on the deal next week. Ginsburg has been on the acquisition trail. Amy reported in October that CSG purchased two companies in Texas. Here's that story.

CSG intends to offer its new customers its "full line of interactive security and home automation options," Ginsburg said in the release.

Johnnie Fletcher, who owned Allied for 30 years, sold the company to CSG when he decided to retire after 50 years in the alarm industry, according to the news release.

CSG says it's the 8th largest residential security monitoring company in the United States. It has 200,000 customers, $7 million in RMR,  a dealer program; a monitoring and customer care center in Tulsa; a branch network; and customers in 17 states.

Vertex Capital advised CSG on this deal.
 

New positions at ADS, Rapid Response

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Alarm Detection Systems, based in Aurora, Ill., sought to strengthen its executive team by promoting six people to new roles. And today, as I write this, Rapid Response is looking to fill 70 or more positions for its headquarters in Syracuse N.Y.

As I’m looking over the current events of the industry, growth has been quite the theme, and these are companies that are growing by notable proportions.

At ADS, Amy Becker will become VP and Controller; Nick Bonifas, Corporate Counsel; Ken Mish, VP of Alarm Service and Call Center Operations; Peggy Raper, Call Center Manager; Rick Raper, VP of Central Station Services, Mark Schramm, VP and CIO.

“The alarm industry has changed more in the last five years than in the previous fifty. We need the talent, dedication and intelligence of every employee for ADS to remain the leading provider of security services. Fortunately, we have a committed staff that is up to the task,” said Bob Bonifas, ADS founder and CEO in a prepared statement.

Rapid Response is holding a career fair today to find candidates for openings, most of which are new positions, related to the company’s growth.

I plan to follow up with ADS to learn more about contributing factors to this growth, and the roles of these new executives. Check back with Security Systems News to find out more.

U.S. Cellular launches DIY security system

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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

U.S. Cellular’s OnLook Digital System, a self-installed security and home automation system, is now available in Iowa and in the Tulsa, Okla., market in U.S. Cellular retail stores, online and over the phone.  The system can be managed over a smartphone, tablet or computer, according to the company.

The OnLook Digital System is powered by Alarm.com's cloud-based software platform. It has three DIY package options available starting at $99.99 with a two-year contract. The options include Essential Security, Advanced Security and Advanced Security + Energy.

U.S. Cellular says that every package includes 24/7 professional monitoring and standard components such as a control panel, two door/window sensors, one motion sensor, one key fob, security signs and decals and 24/7 monitoring.

Customers will receive real-time notifications via their mobile phones if something is happening, the company says. Customers are also offered several security and automation accessories and add-on packages that allow customers to customize the solution to best fit their specific needs.

Industry analyst Jeff Kagan of Wireless told a number of news sources that “U.S. Cellular has not seen the kind of growth in wireless that larger competitors have seen in the last several years. So moving into this new market segment sounds like a good idea if it can help U.S. Cellular show solid growth again.”

U.S. Cellular is not alone seeing this as a growth opportunity in home automation and security services. Other companies, such as AT&T Mobility and Comcast Xfinity, see the same opportunity, Kagan said.

I have scheduled an interview to speak with U.S. Cellular to follow up on what this means for its future. So stayed tuned.

ADT and Google-Nest? No big 'surprise'

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

ADT CEO Naren Gursahaney announced during an interview with Forbes magazine last month that ADT is “working feverishly to develop” a partnership with Google-Nest.

Despite that pronouncement in the national magazine, ADT since has been mum on the potential partnership. It told Security Systems News and other publications that basically, at any given time, it is in regular conversations with a number of tech companies about potential partnerships.

There is nothing to report at this time, an ADT spokeswoman said via email in response to an inquiries from SSN after the Fortune article appeared and then again on Jan. 6.

But Imperial Capital, in a report released Dec. 30, said an ADT-Nest partnership is “not a surprise … especially since Nest has been running its ‘work with Nest’ developer program for connecting its products with other smart-products with some of the same companies as ADT."

“Mercedes Benz, Jawbone, Whirlpool, Logitech and IFTTT are among the growing list of companies with which Nest is integrating. ADT is now working with many ‘new-age,’ cloud based technology companies—several of them overlapping with Nest. ADT needs to show investors that it has the full range of technology and services capabilities ranging from experts in installing the plain old telephone line (POTS) systems, to installers and servicers who have the ‘IT-IQ’ to make ADT into a technology leader in the residential alarm monitoring industry.”

A partnership between ADT and Nest “could open up a significant opportunity for ADT to provide professional monitoring for [Nest’s] Dropcam users (and potentially other DIY products in the coming quarters,” Imperial said in the report.

 

 

Why managed access gets adopted, why it doesn't

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Managed and hosted access control systems, or access control as a service "ACaaS" has been on the rise for some time now. IHS's Blake Kozak put out a research note today with some interesting ACaaS projections.

From the report: "IHS estimates that newly installed hosted and managed access control doors represented about 3 percent of the total new readers and electronic locks installed in the Americas in 2013. A total of about 80,000 doors of ACaaS were added in the region in 2013. IHS has forecast there will be about 1.8 million total doors of ACaaS in the Americas by 2018."  

ACaaS is good for end users and integrators alike, the report points out.

For integrators, it's a source of RMR and it also increases "stickiness" of accounts. For end users, outsourcing access control provisioning and permissions to an integrator removes a major hassle internally. Very important also, is that the fact that ACaas is sold as a service, so the funds come from the operating budget rather than the capital expenditure budget, making it easier for end users to "sell" internally.

However, Kozak notes that it's not always possible to fully fund ACaaS through the OpEx budget. "For example, a system with 100 doors and 400 card users would likely not use a 100% opex model. The integrator/installer will need to obtain some amount of revenue upfront."
    
Kozak also says that "Web-based panels are continuing to experience growth, potentially impacting the adoption of ACaaS."
    
IHS predicts that we'll see more hybrid systems "a mix of onsite management, monitoring and hosted infrastructure."
    
Finally, the note brings up another important topic: Big Data. A buzzword for sure, but if they can figure out how to capture and collate the data efficiently, access control data, like video data, should be in important source for advanced business intelligence in the future.

Recent calls and the new year

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In the last couple weeks, I’ve talked to a lot of people about how things fared in 2014, and what their plans are for this brand new year. Two conversations in particular stand out to me.

Larry Halpern, president of Safe Systems, said the company is looking at how to service its continued growth, possibly through moving to a bigger facility. When I spoke with David Bitton, COO for Supreme Security Systems, he mentioned updating the company website.

It’s a recurrent topic, but always interesting. This is even the question we’ve posed to our readers in the newest SSN News Poll, and one that I’ve enjoyed hearing about.

The last time SSN talked with Safe Systems was back in January of 2013, shortly after it acquired two Colorado-based companies.

Halpern told SSN that, because of its continued growth, Safe Systems is considering moving to a larger facility to accommodate its wealth of accounts.

There are no definite plans, according to Halpern, but it’s something that may come up in mid- to late-2015. “This isn’t something we can just jump into, it’s got to be well planned. … We think out what we do and are diligent about the process to make sure we do it right,” Halpern said.

Safe Systems, established in 1982, is a full-service security company that monitors more than 10,000 accounts in the state of Colorado. About 70 percent of these accounts are commercial, and 30 percent are residential. Based in Louisville, Colo., the company of about 80 employees is actively looking for acquisitions, Halpern told Security Systems News. The company has also considered expanding with a new branch office in Denver.

Supreme Security Systems, family owned since its start in 1929, has around 7,000 accounts– 60 percent residential and 40 percent commercial—in and around New Jersey. Bitton mentioned that one of the company’s upcoming plans is to launch a new website to be new, updated and more responsive.

“It’s important to stay—and look—current,” Bitton said, “If it looks or feels like 1996 then that’s the type of company [people] are going to think [they’re] doing business with.”

Lately, I’ve been trying to hear from prominent businesses in the industry. If you have news about your central station, or would like to tell me about your company and how you do things, feel free to call me at any time at 207-846-0600, ext. 254. 

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