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Speco launches factory outlet

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New York-based Speco Technologies, which provides residential and commercial video surveillance, electronics accessories and audio products, has opened an online factory outlet store.

That’s right, a factory outlet store.

Security Systems News, being just down the road a piece from Freeport, Maine, one of the nation’s outlet meccas, knows a thing or two about factory outlet stores. A lot. But an outlet security store? Hmmm. That’s interesting. Is this a new trend?

Speco’s online outlet store will offer limited-inventory closeout and refurbished items at “bargain prices,” according to a statement from the company.

A perusal of the e-store site found a variety of indoor and outdoor cameras, monitors, NVRs and power supplies and switchers, among other products.  

Specostore.com is a full e-commerce site with SSL encryption, which allows users to browse and purchase products and track and follow up on orders, all through a secure login, the company says. All products sold through Specostore.com will have a 90-day warranty.

A call into Speco wasn’t answered by press time, but we’ll certainly update if we can.

Touring and learning about an industry

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

American Alarm and Communications, a full-service security company with a central station based in Arlington, Mass., was kind enough to host me Dec. 15 to help me learn about the industry I recently signed on to cover.

Maria Moretti, command center manager, Chris Newhook, central station manager, and Keith Hunt, technical manager, led my visit. Starting with a tour of the administrative offices, then into the “Command Center.” Ending with a session of observing central station operators.

Being new to the industry, there was a lot of value for me in witnessing first-hand the everyday workings of a central station, learning the exact process by which alarms come in and are handled by the operators.

In an industry that is changing, faster almost every year, especially as newer technologies are introduced and updated, there are more openings to pursue, explained Newhook, expanding opportunities for security company employees.  

American Alarm encourages its employees to follow whichever growth path they are more geared towards. This approach, from my perspective, makes the industry seem more dynamic in a positive way—one of supported exploration.

“If you've been in it long enough, you won't just have one job, you wear many hats,” said Hunt.

One thing I can say is that I find the industry to be one thing in particular—easy to learn about. It is full of good people, such as those at American Alarm and Communications; people pushing themselves to help others learn and adapt.

Protection 1 has a new field services organization

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Protection 1 CEO Tim Whall has always been big on data and measurable metrics. It appears Protection 1 is further fine-tuning its data-driven strategy with the announcement today that the full-service business and home security company is launching a new Field Services Organization.

The new group will be led by Paul Straten in the newly created role of VP, field services. Straten, who has been with Protection 1 for 14 years, will report to Don Young, chief information and operating officer.

Protection one say the new organization "will focus on the service delivery platform to support its rapidly growing commercial and national accounts business." Straten's group will "provide actionable data through the use of technical tools to help the field organization continue to improve upon their delivery capabilities."

The goal, according to a prepared statement from Young is to provide "the most sophisticated service delivery platform in the industry.”

Working with Straten will be Marcel Van Someren who has been promoted to the position of director, field technology and Helton De Oliveira who will serve as director, field services.
Van Someren will  "standardize training on the wide variety of products and services that Protection 1 offers and create educational channels that make it straightforward and impactful for technicians to access and learn."  De Oliveira is charged with "the production and distribution for all reporting related to field production, efficiency measurement, and related operational reporting data. The strategy behind this position is to streamline much of the available reporting and create a universal channel of access by field teams so they have the most accurate and current data available."

Protection 1 has 2 million business and home security customers, 3,500 employees,  70 office locations and five UL Certified monitoring centers across the country. It also has a Network Operations Center with a Cisco Cloud and Managed Services Express Partner Certification.
 

Rapid Response hires new people has 'record year'

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

While searching for what’s new out there, I noticed that a Syracuse publication posted online that Rapid Response Monitoring hired 11 new people.

Upon following up with Christopher Denniston, marketing and communications manager for Rapid Response Monitoring, he stated that 2014 was a year of record growth for Rapid Response—the best year in its history.

“More dealers have chosen to transition to Rapid than ever before and our dealers have also experienced positive organic growth,” Denniston told Security Systems News in an email interview.

“Our people are our greatest asset and our dealer and account growth requires an increase in staff. Our hiring criteria are extremely stringent. We hire only four percent of applicants—the best of the best,” he said.

Rapid Response hired Dustin S. Jesmer, Lishay M. Mack, Carlos M. Valle Wemett, Connor J. Brown, Emily K. Buss, Steve L. Delgado, Amanda S. Lewis, David J. Martin and Aglaeth M. Vazquez as control center specialists. Cathryn M. Mahoney and Olivia N. Nobile were hired as accounting assistants.

Denniston listed further examples of this growth; “Our fully redundant monitoring center in California will have a grand opening in Q1 of 2015 and our headquarters' facility is undergoing an expansion bringing it from 40,000 square feet to 75,000 square feet.”

Samsung has new majority owner

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Video surveillance provider Samsung Techwin has a new majority owner, Hanwha Group, a $34 billion conglomerate based in South Korea.

The deal, announced Dec. 5  is "a stock transaction, not an acquisition," Samsung's senior marketing group manager Tom Cook said during a Dec. 8 conference call.

Samsung Electronics announced Dec. 5 that it had entered into an agreement to sell its shares, which amount to a 32 percent stake in Samsung Techwin to Hanwha, which has expressed an interest in increasing its position in the security and defense industry. Samsung's second-largest shareholder is South Korea's government pension plan, according to Cook, the rest of the shareholder hold much smaller stakes.

How will the deal affect the Samsung Techwin's North American operation, which is based in Ridgefield, N.J.? There won't be any immediate changes, Cook said.

Contrary to some earlier published reports, Samsung Techwin will retain the rights to the Samsung name. For how long? Cook said that was "still a negotiating point" but he said it would retain the rights for "many years" and noted that there is precedent for Samsung allowing its brand to be used for extended periods of time. Renault has used the Samsung brand for more than 20 years, he said.

Soon Hong Ann, Samsung Techwin CEO and all management will stay in place, Cook said. All R&D, manufacturing, sales and marketing operations will remain unchanged, he said. Hanwha does not have manufacturing facilities and it does not own any other businesses that manufacture or do R&D of security devices. It does have a systems integration business "which can benefit by selling SamsungTechwin products in the Asian market, but in North America, I do not see any of that occuring," Cook said.

Independent of this deal, Samsung Techwin America is looking into establishing an additional "assembly and manufacturing facility in the U.S. that would allow us to fall under the branding of 'Made in America'," Cook said. Cook said that Samsung Techwin is interested in doing this to increase its business with the U.S. government, which gives preference to domestically produced products.

Cook said Samsung Techwin's North American operation has grown rapidly in recent years. "In 2013 we were up 40 percent over the previous year, and 2014 we will end up 70 percent over 2013."

The company has had several big wins including General Mills and Qualcomm [where Samsung is working with Milestone Systems] and General Motors [where it is working with Genetec].

Asked about additional funds for R&D and other investments, Cook said "Hanwha acquired this stock because they're interested in growing in the security and defense market" and added that Samsung Techwin Americas "has never been held up because of resources in the past."

Cook said that Samsung Techwin will be introducing 5 megapixel and 4K cameras, "an all-in-one IP kit that we believe the market is ready for."

Cook said Samsung Techwin will have a 100-foot by 60-foot booth at ISC West and it will be situated next to the market leader. [Axis Communications] "We are neighbors aond purpose and we're going to take them head-on," Cook said. It will also hold a dealer meeting and an A&E meeting at ISC West.

Samsung Techwin is currently the fourth largest video surveillance provider in North America. Cook believes "by the end of 2015 we will be in the position of second."

"To be number one, that is our goal," Cook said.

Penn's gov-elect will pay for own security at private residence

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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Pennsylvania's governor-elect, Tom Wolf, plans to use his own money to rent office space for state police security officers to guard him at his private residence, according to a Wolf transition team spokesman.

We here at Security Systems News would also like to know what security technology Wolf already has in place, or will be putting in place, at his home in light of this announcement.

An Associated Press report said that Wolf, who has has declined to live at the official governor’s residence in Harrisburg, will pay out of his own pocket to secure his personal residence in Mount Wolf, about 20 miles south of Harrisburg.

Wolf, who takes office Jan. 20, will personally pay the rent for space in a building across the street from his home. Wolf transition team spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan told AP that he didn’t know if the security team would be allowed inside Wolf’s residence when he is there.

Wolf, who reported $1.3 million in adjusted gross income in 2013, also has turned down the governor’s salary of $191,000.

Security Systems News has a call in to Wolf’s transition team inquiring about any security technology he may be using. Stay tuned.

Security market confidence on rise

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

New product introductions, sales and new orders drove SIA’s Security Market Index up to 74.6 in November, SIA reports.

That’s up from 72.3 in September and 62 in July.

Independent researcher Maddry Associates conducted the bimonthly Internet survey of nearly 100 executives from SIA member companies.

"Across the board, security companies indicated that they are feeling bullish about the performance of the security industry in the coming months," Ron Hawkins, SIA manager of special projects and partnerships, said in a prepared statement. "The survey's findings are consistent with the performance of the U.S. economy overall, with strong growth in the past two quarters providing hope that we are, perhaps, about to finally escape the post-Great Recession doldrums."

Executives participating in the survey gave this take on how they expected their companies to do during the next three months:

  • 38 percent, they would fare much better
  • 42 percent, a little better
  • 15 percent, no change
  • 4 percent, a little worse
  • 1 percent, much worse

The full results of the SIA Security Market Index are available to SIA members and can be found here.

Security in transit

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

I normally fly when I travel from Maine to New York City. But, for ISC East a couple weeks ago, I was late making a reservation and the airfares went throught the roof, so I took the train.

It was actually a bus from Portland to Boston and then a train from Boston to Penn Station. It took a little longer than a flight and transport from the airport into Manhattan would have taken, but not that much longer and overall it was a very comfortable and hassle-free travel experience. You can't help but notice, however, the lack of security on buses and trains—especially when you compare it to air travel.

It's not that I want to have to remove my shoes at Penn Station, but it's noticeable and it's something that we have talked about here in the office.

In this week's newswire, three stories touch on transportation security. First, we have integration firm Minuteman Security getting into product development. Minuteman has developed a new mobile video surveillance and health check monitoring system. It test drove the system at the fifth largest tranportation authority in the country and others are showing interest in the system. Here's a link to the story.

Our monthly "Stats" story delves into a report from TechNavio that projects that the market for mass transit security will reach $5 billion in North America by 2018. Here's a link to that story. 

And finally, our monthly Legislative Update, takes a look at SIA's work with FRA, the Federal Railroad Administration, to set requirements for video and audio security technology on passenger and freight trains. Read that story here.

 

Volunteers fight false alarms in Carson City, Nev.

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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Steve Keefer, western U.S. law enforcement liaison for SIAC, noticed that Carson City, Nevada, is trying something different in the attempt to reduce false alarms—utilizing volunteers through the sheriff’s office. This is an approach that is very new to SIAC, Keefer said.

These volunteers are “regular citizens that just want to help out in the community,” Keefer told Security Systems News.

The Carson City Sheriff’s Office started this approach at least five years ago, but SIAC hadn’t heard about it until recently, according to Keefer. 

The sheriff’s office has two volunteers that speak with false alarms offenders and discuss ways of reducing the problem. Apparently, these efforts, more often than not, are met with full cooperation.

Keefer said that these volunteers in Carson City, Nev., are currently speaking with commercial alarm users, but Keefer believes this process could have a residential application as well.

SIAC is an organization that is always focused on reducing the numbers of false alarms and the strain that puts on local authorities. As such they’ve been keeping an eye on people that approach this matter from different angles.

"What was unique about Carson City's Sheriff Office- they don't even have an ordinance," he said. Keefer mentioned that this could be a model that SIAC would recommend to other sheriff's offices if SIAC sees this lead to positive results in Carson City. 

This certainly seems to be a different way of going about the matter, as opposed to reforming ordinances or imposing fines for false alarms. This shows that the matter is not just one sided, that both citizens and authorities care about reducing false alarms.

More on Honeywell Life Safety award ...

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Monday, November 24, 2014

I couldn’t resist. I wrote about Honeywell presenting its annual Life Safety award at its Connect2014 event a few weeks ago.

But when I received a photo from Honeywell from the awards ceremony and remembered the moving tribute, I had to repost with some more details to give this amazing kid as well as the outstanding first responders in Palm Bay, Fla., their due.

Six-year-old Romeo Rodriguez, one of the recipients of the award, was instrumental in saving his friend, an 8-year-old girl, Kathy. He found her unconscious at the bottom of a swimming pool during a Memorial Day party. He swam to her, brought her to the surface and yelled for help.

Adults came to his assistance, called 911 and started CPR. A Palm Bay police officer, Amy Revis, was enroute. Upon her arrival, she instructed one of the adults to continue CPR while she applied an AED and followed its advice about how many shocks to give, if at all. Palm Bay Fire/Rescue arrived and took over. The girl started to show signs of life. She was taken by helicopter to a hospital and made a full recovery.

The young survivor was on stage at the Honeywell Connect2014 event to hand out the awards to her rescuers, and she gave a brief speech thanking them for the fact that she was alive. Romeo, who received a personalized fire helmet from the fire department in addition to his medal, showed grace and confidence way beyond his years in front of the audience of hundreds.

The audience, by the way, gave the first responders, the kids and the rescuing civilians a very long standing ovation.

Here’s an explanation of the event from TV news personality Larry King, who notes that it shows how a community “came together to save a young girl’s life.”

Bravo young Romeo, Roger Fox, Jana Watts, Officer Revis, Lt. Brian Gent, Driver Engineer Mike Kurrus and Firefighters Kevin Plunkett and Randy May. 

On this Thanksgiving week, I can truly say we here at Security Systems News are thankful for people like you.

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