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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.

 

SecurTek offers sky miles

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Having written a report this week about SentryNet’s latest campaign to encourage dealers to add accounts and sell new services (while giving them the chance to earn tickets to a cruise), I came across news of another monitoring company making it a bit easier for dealers to do their jobs.

SecurTek, based in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, is offering customers air miles through a recently unveiled partnership with AIR MILES Reward Program. When customers sign standard monitoring contracts, they can now top-up their loyalty rewards tally to earn miles, according to a company statement.

New customers can earn 50 reward miles upon signing a 36- or 60-month contract, and then can earn an additional 50 reward miles on their contract anniversary date if they remain SecurTek customers.

Whether at events put on at industry tradeshows or through promotional campaigns, central stations go to great lengths not only to make dealers feel appreciated but to ensure they’re equipped with the knowledge they need to thrive in the current climate. It’s no surprise. In a boundary-less, IP-based environment where more and more centrals are looking to vault from regional players into national ones, competition is going to increase. As a result, central stations are going to explore new ways to engage dealers and stand out against competitors.

Booking appointments for ASIS

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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Going to ASIS? Interested in meeting with Security Systems News or Security Director News while you're there?

Amy Canfield (lead editor for Security Systems News' sister publication Security Director News) and I will be at the show Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 and have just started booking appointments. We get way more requests for appointments than we are able to take. Below is some information about how we set our schedules and some ideas about what we want to see and who we want to talk to at trade shows like ASIS.

SSN and SDN do have a booth on the show floor. (#4610) That's an OK place to leave a note for us, or to pick up the latest issue of Security Systems News, but you're unlikely to find Amy or I there.

We'll be in the educational session or out on the show floor. We'll be checking out products, for sure, but mostly trying to catch up with our readers. For Amy, that's the end users. Have a great new product and want to get Amy to come check it out? A good way to get Amy to stop by is if you have one of her readers--an end user--in your booth who she can speak to.

For me, I'll be looking at new products, especially new product categories  (as opposed to the newest version of a product you've manufactured for years.) And, remember we're not a product publication or a how-to publication. Security Systems News aims to help its readers--the integrators--make good business decisions that will increase their bottom line. We're also interested in manufacturer's businesses. Business trends you're seeing, new intiatives within your company, what you're doing that's new for the channel--that stuff is more interesting to us than the 3.7 version of your flagship product.

Having a press conference? Great. Let us know when and where it is. Please try to have it during the show hours, and let us know what the press conference is about. One company sends us an announcement before every ASIS, ISC West, and ISC East inviting us to their press conference. Asked what the press conference will be about, we get an email saying that they'll be announcing that later. There are others who want us meet with "someone from their company," but they won't tell us who.

Don't be those companies!

Amy and I look forward to meeting as many of you as possible, learning about your businesses (and in some cases seeing the 3.7 version of your flagship product), so email us. Let us know why the readers of Security Systems News and the readers of Security Director News would be interested in the news you're sharing at ASIS, and we'll try to fit your into our schedules. Often, if we can't fit you into our schedules, we can schedule a call after ASIS.

 

 

Idaho AG: Door-knocking company must reform sales tactics

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

I’ve written before about how ADT filed not just one, but two lawsuits against Orem, Utah-based Vision Security, accusing the door-knocking company of scamming customers. And I’ve also written about how Vision Security contends it is being unfairly targeted.

Now, a new settlement Vision has reached with the Idaho Office of the Attorney General paints a picture of Vision sales reps engaging in unfair sales practices in that state.

I reached out earlier this week to Vision attorney Sean Brown for that company’s comments on the settlement but I haven’t yet gotten a response.

However, according to the office of Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Vision reached a settlement with that state after being accused of violating Idaho's Consumer Protection Act.

The settlement requires Vision “to implement significant changes to the way its sales representatives interact with Idaho consumers,” according to a July 18 news release from the AG’s office. Also, consumers who paid extra fees because they were scammed may be entitled to a refund from Vision if they submit a complaint form to the AG’s office by Sept. 8, the release said.

Here’s more of what the AG had to say in the release:

"The purchase of a home-security system is a significant investment and consumers should feel safe knowing that the people selling them are providing truthful and honest information, without hidden fees or misrepresentation," Attorney General Wasden said.

Consumers reported to the Attorney General that Vision Security's door-to-door sales representatives misrepresented the terms the company's security system contracts, and that representatives failed to fulfill their promises to "buy-out" consumers' current security system contracts.

Consumers often ended up paying monthly monitoring fees to two companies or paid large termination fees to cancel one of their monitoring agreements. Additionally, Vision Security's door-to-door sales contracts failed to provide consumers with accurate information about the time allowed to cancel contracts.

The settlement requires Vision Security to make several changes to how it does business in Idaho. For example, the company's sales representatives:

*Must wear identification that includes the sales person's name and affiliation with Vision Security.
*Must inform the consumer of his or her three-day right to cancel the agreement.*Must not tell consumers that their current alarm monitoring company went out of business or is affiliated with Vision Security.
*Must not misrepresent the number of security systems Vision Security has installed in the consumer's neighborhood or misrepresent that a consumer's home is located in a high-crime area
 *Must not misrepresent the condition or operability of the consumer's current security system.
 *Must not promise to "buy-out" a consumer's current monitoring agreement.
 

Hmmm…this list reads a lot like some new revisions the Electronic Security Association made to its code of ethics this summer in response to some new sales scams that ADT and other companies have complained door-knocking companies are using.

 

 

Security Electronics completes backyard account purchase

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Security Electronics, a home and business security company based in Muskego, Wis., near Milwaukee, recently purchased the accounts of Milwaukee Dynamic Security, a company headquartered on the north end of the Milwaukee metro area.

In a news release from the Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group, which assisted Milwaukee Dynamic Security in the transaction, Don Larson, founder of Security Electronics, suggested the backyard account purchase will unite a pair of like-minded companies with similar regional roots.

The companies are also compatible on the technical level.  

“We both are in the same central monitoring facility and use much of the same equipment,” Larson noted in the release.

Jim Veith, owner of Milwaukee Dynamic, will remain with the company during the transition period, after which he plans to retire, the release noted.  

In the coming days I plan to connect with personnel at Security Electronics to discuss the implications of the deal, and how the backyard account purchase fits into the company’s near- and long-term strategies.

BRS Labs to get new CEO, build cloud facility, do IPO

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

BRS Labs has a full plate in the next month--it's working on finding a new CEO, finding a spot to build its own cloud facility, and it's prepping for an IPO.

BRS Labs is a provider of “self-learning behavioral recognition software," which its sells as an enterprise software solution, for monthly lease, or as "software-as-a-service. BRS Labs president John Frazzini recently announced during a Fox Business News interview that the company--(which he said he has a stake in) would be doing an IPO.  In a news release, the company today announced that the search is on for a new CEO who will take charge of the IPO process.

It is also planning to move its headquarters to a new location in Houston and plans to build a cloud storage facility in that location.

The goal is to raise funds to move into more vertical market segments, the company announced today.

I hope to catch up with Frazzini at the ASIS show next month to get an update on these initiatives.

BRS Labs was founded by Ray Davis in 2005 and Davis has served as CEO since that time. He is stepping down as CEO but role will continue as chairman for the immediate future and will head up the search for a new CEO. Davis said in a statement that he will concentrate his search in Houston.

“The company plans to find a Houstonian who understands the value of a public company in this market, and who has previous operational experience leading a company through the process of going public,” according to a company statement.

BRS Labs’ is known for its AISight platform, an “artificial Intelligence-based analytics solution that teaches itself to recognize and alert on suspicious or unexpected behavior within massive volumes of data.”

In a prepared statement, Davis said he’s “always loved building and running companies and have done so for thirty-five years. Based on the growth we have experienced here at BRS Labs, the time is right for us to take the company public, and we need to bring in an individual who has expertise in this area. I will continue to serve in my role as Chairman until that person is comfortably in place and positioned to take BRS Labs to the heights we know it is capable of reaching.”

BRS Labs says it “owns an approximate 60 percent share of the video analytics market.”

It recently expanded into Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) industry for oil and gas as well as other Smart Utility Grids.

Further expansion into other vertical markets is planned. One of the reasons the company plans to go public is “to raise funds to expand into Information Security, Building Management Systems, and other big data applications.”

“Our Artificial Intelligence-based technology has dominated the initial market we applied it to: video analytics,” Davis said in a statement.

“It is now time to take this proven technology and address the other serious safety and security issues facing the world today. …We need to rapidly and simultaneously move into these new vertical markets to explore the many ways in which our technology can be used, while expanding our footprint in existing markets.”

 Davis said that access to public funds “will position us for simultaneous penetration into these markets and allow us to expand the company while producing exponential returns for our investors.”

BRS Labs currently works with third-party cloud providers, but it will provide in-house cloud storage to its customers once it moves to a new location in Houston.

In addition to its headquarters in Houston, BRS Labs has offices in Washington, DC, London, Sao Paulo, and Barcelona.

 

Systems Depot gets new president

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Distribution news this week: The Systems Depot has hired Scott Hay as president.

Scott is out of the office this week, but I expect to interview him next week. Hay comes to The Systems Depot from Protection 1, where he was operations manager for North and South Carolina. He's been in the industry for 20 years and has also worked at Iverify as director of installation. He was also the  founder and owner of Custom Automation and Security in Dallas, N.C.

In a prepared statement, Hay said that The Systems Depot is building a “National Technical Sales Center in Hickory for hundreds of associates and outfitting it with the latest in technical hardware, training tools, work stations; all designed for employee productivity and comfort.”

“The National Sales Center will be reaching out to more than 15,000 companies in the US,” the report said.

“When these in-house advancements are coupled with the broad product assortment currently provided to dealers and integrators nationally, and with our Depot Express same-day delivery, we are positioning ourselves for strong and sustained growth,” Hay said.

I look forward to getting more information about specific growth projections and plans from Hay when I speak to him next week.
 
Founded in 1996, in Winter Park, Fla., The System Depot moved here in 2000 after a series of mergers. It has locations in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia and California.

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