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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.

Thank you and happy holidays

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

For those of you who have been following my blog, you may know that I haven’t been in the industry very long. But, in the past couple months, I’ve been trying my best to learn as much as I can about the industry.

As such, I’ve picked up things here and there that make a lot of sense to me. A poignant summation of the purpose behind it all came from Chris Newhook, central station manager for American Alarm and Communications when I visited recently; that monitoring is about comfort, making sure people feel—and are—safe at all times.

So this blog post goes out as a recognition to the people in the central stations this holiday, making sure that others are safe, and providing that same level of care and comfort as any other day.

Especially to those individuals, but to everyone else in the industry as well: Thank you and happy holidays.

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.

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