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ISC West 2015—My Day-by-Day Doings

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Friday, April 10, 2015

Wrapping it up at ISC West 2015/Friday/Show Day 3

I put in a phone call to Jake Parker, SIA’s director of government relations, about every other month. Jake gives me the rundown on activities on Capitol Hill that have direct impacts on the physical security industry. I then report on those impacts for Security Systems News. Jake is an invaluable source for SSN, but I’ve never had the chance to meet him face-to face until now. We finally sat down together at ISC West and had a friendly conversation along with discussing a few security topics thrown in for good measure. Thanks for making the time, Jake!

I met with three execs from BeOn, CEO Alexei Erchak, COO Arvind Baliga and VP of marketing Mark Komanecky. I was so intrigued by their new “preventative security” technology that our meeting extended beyond the designated 30 minutes. The technology targets the “impulsive burglar.” BeOn’s unique lightbulbs, which fit into regular, existing sockets, “learn” homeowners typical movements—on a daily basis, when do they turn on, for example, the front porch light, the master bedroom light, the living room light?  After the learning process, the bulbs turn on to naturally make it look like someone’s at home when the house is empty. The bulbs also have a microphone function that will respond to the home’s doorbell and will progressively turn on lights as the owner would if he or she were upstairs and had to make their way downstairs to answer the door. Eventually, The microphone function can also trigger the sound of a dog barking, music playing and more.  A Kickstart company, BeOn’s focus is on reaching security-conscious homeowners who, nevertheless, have no desire to install a full-fledged home security system. Check back with SSN for more info on this interesting new company …

Things were still going strong when I took a final stroll around the show floor. For a Friday, the third day of the show, it was bustling. I hope you all had a good show, I know I did.

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'Thursday/Show Day 2

My workday started out by volunteering at the Mission 500 5K/2K run/walk and ended at the Mission 500 awards ceremony, always so inspirational. Congratulations to the fundraisers and race winners. Security Systems News is proud to be a sponsor of this annual, important charitable event that aids children in need.

I did three video interviews today, first with experienced industry pro Joel "Disruptive" Matlin, whose new resi company, Think Protection, is right on track to be up and running in June. Next up was Don Moore of Moore Protection, or, as I like to call him, resi provider to the stars. He serves high-end clients in the Los Angeles area, from movie studio bigwigs to celebrities to other million- and billionaires.My third video interview was with Margaret Spitznas, general manager of family-owned Washington Alarm, based in Seattle. Each of my video interviewees had unique perspectives on the industry. Stay tuned to the Security Systems News website to watch the videos. You’ll learn a lot.

During a visit to Alarm.com, Anne Ferguson, senior director, partner marketing, and Matthew Zartman, director of communications, told me about the company’s multi-faceted Partner Resources program, available to their 5,000 dealers. They also discussed the impact of home automation on their company. In previous years, dealers who had been in the business for a long time—those with physical security at their core—were hesitant to embrace the smart home, Ferguson said. But now, much to their benefit, they get it, she said. They know that if they don’t take home automation “to heart,” someone else will be installing those services to their customers over the next three years. Alarm.com dealers are hungry for training, which Alarm.com is happy to provide, she said. At the same time, Alarm.com is paying close attention to expanding beyond the home. For example, through their "wellness" offerings, they can connect a customer with an elderly parent’s residence. The customer would be able to see if your aging-in-place mother opened her medicine cabinet by a specified time and would get an alert if she didn’t, which might signify she didn’t take her medication on time as prescribed. Home automation has transformed the security industry, Ferguson and Zartman said, and the industry is in a great position to prosper.

Two years ago, Doug Farber, chief of security for the new World Trade Center complex, was one of our “20 under 30” winners. I spoke to him by phone a number of times, but due to work commitments—the construction project and its security implications were HUGE— he was unable to make it to that year’s TechSec conference to receive his award. A former Secret Service agent, Farber had impressed me with his passion for his job and his patriotism. Finally, finally, I got to meet him in person today. We talked about his challenges at such an emotion-ridden site—and we talked about his 9-month-old daughter! Doug is a great guy, a true patriot and professional, and I’m so glad we finally met up. Here’s to you, Doug! Keep doing what you’re doing so well!

At Genetec, I met with Andrew Elvish, VP marketing and product management, and Georges Karam, the new chief commercial officer. Genetec has so much going on. The company is growing, it’s introducing new products and is preparing to expand into market sectors it hasn’t broached before. Its Security Center upgrades and Cloud Link are on the cutting edge.

I did a spin around the show floor a couple of times during the day and was happy to see crowded booths and enthusiastic attendees, and this was even before the happy hours broke out! I’m interested to see the attendance data for ISC West 2015. Anecdotally, it’s been a very strong show.

I have a morning’s worth of appointments tomorrow, so stay tuned.

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Wednesday/Show Day 1

Home automation, device aesthetics, intuitiveness and ease of installation were recurring themes of the day as I made my way around the jam-packed show floor.

At Honeywell, Richard Conner, director of marketing for the SED Channel talked about the wireless trend for fire alarm systems. Requests for voice notification also have gone up, he said, along with making sure the devices look good. I also got demos of Honeywell’s Lyric and MAXPRO Cloud. Honeywell had a new booth design this year, with all of its products on interactive display in one big area, kind of like an Apple store. It looked great and was effective.

At the Nortek booth, Larry North, director of marketing, talked about the integration of 2Gig, GoControl and Linear products and how Nortek’s name change to Nortek Security & Control was a way to bring about cohesiveness and a closer relationship between the companies. Expect bundled, full-service sets from them in the near future along with PERS innovations down the road. Nortek’s booth had a new look this year, too, with all sister companies in one place. It also featured “A Day in the Life of Home Control.”

At the Z-Wave Alliance Pavilion, with nine member companies displaying their wares, alliance board member Avi Rosenthal also discussed home control. The ultimate goal is to have not just a connected home, but a true “smart home” that thinks for itself, he said. This is the year of industrial design, he said, with the focus on slick, European-style designs. “It’s the 'wife-acceptance' factor. She’s the one who decorates, so the devices must look cool on the wall,” he said. Form and functionality matter for all products, from sensors to switches to control panels.

Jim Vogel, VP of dealer services for ADT, said he’s excited by the company’s growth opportunities. He’s optimistic that the uptick in the housing market will mean more business for his company. (And its ad campaign featuring Ving Rhames hasn’t hurt a bit, either.) Pulse has taken off, he said, with 1.1 million ADT customers out of a total of 7.2 million using it. Meanwhile, ADT is “future-proofing” the Internet of Things, he said.

At OnGuard, product manager Brian Tripp had interesting info about intelligent elevators. In a high-rise apartment building, for example, a resident would swipe his access card, which would then identify which floor he needs to go to. The display would tell him which elevator car to take to make his ride up more efficient. That’s a win-win for both the user and for the building owner, who can cut costs by decreasing the time elevators are running up and down haphazardly. The user’s swipe also could alert his home automation system that the lights need to be turned on, thermostat needs to go up, etc.

I’d written about Icontrol’s new Icontrol One, designed for independent dealers, before, but I got to see it in action on Wednesday. Greg Roberts, VP of marketing, pointed out the usefulness of Icontrol One’s web portal, which allows the user to set up and revise the system, see alerts and easily find and watch video clips. “It’s a one-step stop for security for the entire home. The end user uses the web portal to do all,” he said. The portal, which is automatically updated so therefore doesn’t need to be refreshed, also offers the user a “home view” feature using the layout of his own home that shows the location of all the devices in the house and let’s the user monitor them from there. That feature also is available in 3-D. “Visual” people like that feature, he said. The system is intuitive, easy to install and, yes, its devices are especially designed to be aesthetically pleasing.

Mike Hackett, SVP sales and marketing for Qolsys, also emphasized the intuitiveness, ease of installation and good design looks of his Internet of the Home. Users—and installers— immediately understand and appreciate the value of the plug-in devices, he said. One feature that stood out for me was the easy way to change both the setting labels and voice instructions from English to French or Spanish. With two touches on the control panel all the information is translated. Dealers no longer have to figure out how many French or Spanish models they need to buy, Hackett said. It’s all in one.

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PRE-SHOW

Before the official kickoff of ISC West 2015, I spent Tuesday afternoon at the DMP Owners Forum and then attended the Women in Security Council reception and awards ceremony.

At the DMP forum, keynoter Patrick Thean spoke on "Rockefeller Habits: How to Differentiate, Execute and Win!" An international speaker and author, Thean is a serial entrepreneur who founded, among other companies, Metasys. He most recently co-founded and is CEO of Gazelles Systems and is the creator of Rhythm Software, designed to assist companies in setting and executing strategic plans for growth. There are three ways for companies to improve, he said: eliminate mistakes, shorten cycle times and improve business models. He also emphasized the importance of articulating core values and purpose and making sure the right people are in the right jobs. A strategy and execution plan should fit on one page, and that goes for companies that are startups all the way up to multimillion firms, he said. He provided attendees with a worksheet to help formulate those goals, create a leading indicator to drive results and a format to track progress. 

Next up was Deputy Chief Paul Calvaruso of the Akron, Ohio, Police Department, who talked about his recent experience instituting verified alarm response in his city. The department was facing layoffs due to budget constraints, and he knew it had to better manage its calls for service. Alarm response was "the low-hanging fruit," he said; he was looking at a 98.5 percent false alarm rate. For advice, he visited the Las Vegas P.D., which already was making use of verified response. He was told to include local alarm companies in his "campaign." He did so, and their advice was valuable, he said. Six months after Calvaruso got the program in place, 22 percent of the burglary and robbery alarms were verified and manpower hours were saved. He stressed that his department is "very supportive" of monitoring stations, which have a key role to play. Even if homeowners can get alarm alerts and video verification via smartphones, most don't have their phones available to them 24/7. Video verification is where the industry is headed, he said, and "I'm very glad we did it. I hope to continue to have good relationships with alarm companies. It's been a heck of a ride."

I then sat down with three dealers for an informal round-table discussion on their challenges and opportunities and how they differentiate themselves from their competitors, both big and small. Michael Hackett, president and CEO of Hackett Security in St. Louis, Mo.; John Bazyk, director of sales and marketing for Command Corporation in E. Granby, Conn.; and Dustin Reeves, sales manager for Blue Ridge Security Solutions in Anderson, S.C., had many good insights, which you can read about here. Teaser: Video verification will change the industry.

Early in the evening, there was a great and enthusiastic turnout for the Women in Security event. WSC director Rhianna Daniels Hile introduced the Women of the Year Award winners and encouraged attendees to spread the word about the good work that WSC is doing. She's always looking for sponsors for WSC, she added, so get in touch with her about that. 

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I'll be updating this post daily from ISC West, so please check back to find out who I met with, what cool technology I saw and how much money I lost on the slots. (OK, just kidding about the last one; I learned my lesson last year!)

10 named industry's Women of the Year

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A diverse group of women, including high-placed executives and end users, are the recipients of the 2015 Women of the Year Awards from the Women’s Security Council.

Each was chosen from wide range of nominees, ranked on industry and work experience, volunteer roles within the industry and their communities and their reputation within the industry, according to a prepared statement from WSC.

“These impressive women … strive to make an impact not only in the field of security, but also in the business sphere and community-at-large,” Rhianna Daniels Hile, WSC director and CompassPR managing director, said in the statement.

The winners are:

Kristy Bradley-McMurtrie, director, safety and security, Conestoga College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning.

Ellen Cargill, chief technology office, Scallop Imaging.

Andrea Ferrando, industry vice president and show director, Expo Sequridad Mexico.

Victoria Ferro, president, Micro Key Solutions.

Christie Hamberis, vice president of merchandising, ScanSource Security.

Vivian Hodges, global procurement manager, Northland Control Systems

Barbara Holliday, director of dealer services, Monitronics.

Shannon Kenney, program manager, corporate security, emergency and protective services, City of Ottawa.

Irene Lam, vice president of research and development and engineering, Tyco Security Products.

Jill Lloyd, president, Lloyd Security

The winners will be honored at a networking reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday—the eve of the official opening of ISC West—at Delmonico’s at the Venetian in Las Vegas.

I’ll be there to congratulate these outstanding women in person, will you? Please say hello if you’re there!

 

Chico revises ordinance, stops fining alarm companies

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In October, the City of Chico, Calif., passed an ordinance to fine alarm companies for false alarm dispatches. The California Alarm Association and SIAC responded, citing precedence in Fontana, Calif., where a similar ordinance was overturned. Now, the City of Chico has opted toward the standard action of fining alarm users for false alarms.

Jon Sargent in November told Security Systems News that SIAC remained available to help revise the ordinance.

SIAC is please with the outcome, Stan Martin, executive director for SIAC told me in an email interview.

Chico’s city council voted unanimously for the ordinance that fined alarm companies , and now it has voted unanimously to fine alarm users.

The new ordinance will fine alarm users $50 for the first false alarm, $100 for the second, and $200 for the third. The Chico Police Department can cease responding to repeat offenders, reported the Chico Enterprise-Record. The new ordinance also seeks alarm verification before dispatch.

The original ordinance proposed fining $100 to the alarm company after a first false alarm, and rising to $400 after consecutive false alarms.

“We are going to get a reduction in false alarms. That’s is what we wanted all along. If we get that, whether it’s the alarm user or the company, that is what we want,” Chico police Capt. Mike O’Brien said in the report. 

Is 4K so 2014? Avigilon turns it up to 7K

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Monday, April 6, 2015

Some pre-ISC West announcements today were led by news today from Avigilon that it will be showing a single-sensor 7K (30 megapixel) security camera in Las Vegas next week.

Last year every camera manufacturer and his brother unveiled, or announced intent to release, a 4K camera. Avigilon today announced that it will demo a 7K and release a 6K (24 megapixel) HD camera at this year's ISC West show. That's "horizontal resolution exceeding 7,000 pixels and more than 30 million total pixels." Avigilon already has 4K (8 megapixel) and 5K (16 megapixel) cameras.

Known for its mega-megapixel cameras, Avigilon has grown through a number of acquisitons beyond its HD surveillance roots to become an end-to-end provider of: HD network VMS, megapixel cameras, access control and video analytics. 

I have a request into Avigilon for an interview. I'm interested to find out when and where a 7K security camera might be useful, when Avigilon plans to actually release the 7K and how the price compares to other high-megapixel count cameras.   

The company said that the 7K camera uses power, bandwidth and storage efficiently when paired with its Avigilon Control Center software (which uses Avigilon's high definition stream managment technology.)

Avigilon will be at Booth # 22043 at the ISC West.

Daily dispatches from ISC West

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On Monday I’m headed out to ISC West. I’ll have my boots—well, actually, my sandals because it is Vegas, after all—on the ground Tuesday through Friday.

I’ll be adding to this blog post each day, keeping you updated with the news I find and the people I talk to on the show floor. So check back here often. You may just read something you’ll want to check out on your own while you’re there.

One of the best things about ISC West is the opportunity it gives me to meet with our readers. It’s helpful to know why they read Security Systems News, learn more about their work and what they’re seeing as industry trends on the frontlines. Please stop by our Meet the Editors event from 9:30 to 10 a.m. Wednesday and say hello. It’s informal, just a chance for the editorial staff to say hello and in many cases put faces to the names we’ve interviewed and talked to so often on the phone. The event will be held at the SSN Media Stage, right near the main entrance to the show floor.

My schedule is pretty full, but if you can’t make it to Meet the Editors and would like the chance to say hello in person, shoot an email to acanfield@securitysystemsnews.com and I’ll work hard to make it happen.

Tuesday I’ll be attending the DMP Owners Forum and then, that evening, the Women in Security Council’s 2015 Women of the Year Awards and Networking Reception.

Wednesday, after the aforementioned meet-and-greet, I’ll be hitting the show floor, interviewing and visiting with, among others, Honeywell, 2Gig, Qolsys, Interlogix and Icontrol. 

Bright and very early Thursday I’ll be participating in the Mission 500 5K/2K with SSN’s Security Sys-tahs team. I’ll be doing the 2K walk. (Maybe the 5K race next year?) Then it’s back to the media stage where from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. I’ll be conducting interviews on camera with four key players in the industry. Want to know who? You'll have to come and watch live! The videos will be posted later on the SSN website, but we do have comfy audience chairs if you need an informative break. After that, it'll be back to the show floor for meetings that include those with Alarm.com, Guardian Protection and Genetec, before returning to the SSN stage for the Mission 500 5K/2K awards ceremony.

I have a few other appointments set up for Friday and hope to spend some time meandering through the exhibits and booths on my own.

I’ll be tweeting throughout the week, and you should, too! You could win a prestigious plaque from Security Systems News for being the Top Twitterer on our Twitter Wall. Use #ISCW15. Read more about our Twitter Wall and contest here.

My colleagues, Martha Entwistle and Spencer Ives will be providing their daily news from ISC West as well. Be sure to check out their blogs, too.

Meanwhile, have a great show and I hope to see you there!

Jay Hauhn outlines plans for CSAA

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Jay Hauhn, 38-year industry veteran and former Tyco Integrated Systems’ CTO, is the new executive director for CSAA.

Hauhn told Security Systems News his biggest goal is to “increase and drive member value.”  

Hauhn served as president of CSAA, a volunteer role, since October of 2013. In his new role, which begins April 6, he’ll be more involved with the organization’s day-to-day workings.

“Instead of being the [president], with the vision and just stating what it is you want done, when you become executive director it’s your responsibility [to get it done].”

Hauhn also wants to recruit more CSAA volunteers. “To do that, you’ve got to make sure that you have the correct programs in place with a vision of what those programs are going to accomplish.”

Hauhn said that his experience as CTO of Tyco will help him lead CSAA. “It is [the] rapidly escalating and changing technology that is changing the industry.”

“We are a standards-driven industry,” Hauhn said. “So working with UL on the future of the industry is going to be incredibly important. That will really use my technical expertise.”

He cited home automation, eliminating POTS lines, net neutrality and the adoption of CSAA’s ASAP program as examples of current technological changes in the industry.

Hauhn said he considered that possibility of becoming CSAA executive director after Steve Doyle retired in October. He was officially offered the position on March 23.

“I was not really sure I was ready to actually retire. So this gave me an opportunity to come back and do something that’ll be fun, and I know that I can bring CSAA forward,” Hauhn said. 

Rock on Don Hseih

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

As a rule, Security Systems News doesn't do much writing about awards, but this particular award caught my attention because of the topic: food safety.

Food safety is one of those things I don't even like to think about. The food supply chain should be safe; the potential problems if it's not are huge. Talk about critical infrastructure.

(That's one of the reasons Maine is a great place to live--more and more you can buy food that's grown locally even in the winter—but that's a different discussion entirely.)

TycoIS's Don Hsieh was recognized by a food logistics publication as a "rock star of the supply chain."  A 30-year employee of Tyco, Hsieh is director of commercial and industrial marketing for TycoIS. The award is for "influential individuals in the food and beverage industry whose achievements, hard work and vision help to attain milestones in safety, efficiency, productivity and innovation throughout the global food supply chain," according to a TycoIS statement.

"I'm honored to be recognized for this award for the work I'm doing at TycoIS to educate food manufacturers and distributors on ways to mitigate risks to the food supply chain," Hsieh said in a prepared statement. "The food supply chain is particularly vulnerable due to its global nature and businesses that don't have the proper protocols in place to protect it are putting millions of consumers at risk."

TycoIS does a lot of work protecting the food supply chain. Its services include: intrusion detection, access control, video surveillance, fire and life safety, loss prevention, critical condition monitoring, emergency response planning and more.

I learned about its work (back when it was ADT Commercial) during a media event at 2011. Here's a story I wrote at the time. 

Congratulations to Don Hsieh on this recognition.

New series 'On Location: Central Stations'

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The biggest step I have taken, so far, in learning about the industry has been visiting American Alarm and Communications, back in December. This helped me learn a lot more about this side of the industry, to see first hand how one central station handles things.

Much like putting a face to a name, seeing the workings of American Alarm’s central station helped me piece together a bit more about how the industry works. It then sparked the idea to start an occasional series of articles along the same concept.

Now I’ll be visiting various monitoring centers to see how each one works and—more importantly—what makes each unique, as well as the new ways any company might be reshaping its station or its offerings in the future.

My next visit is with Centra-Larm, the wholesale monitoring center based, not too far from the SSN office, in Manchester, N.H.—I’m really looking forward to it. It’ll be interesting to hear about how this company does monitoring. Check back in next week for a full article on my visit.

Former ADT finance director wants to kick-start home security company

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Christopher Carney, a former director of finance M&A and director of finance, sales and marketing for ADT, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for his new company, Abode Systems.

The 45-day campaign aims to raise $100,000 by May 7 to bring the “new kind of home security and automation solution to market,” Carney said in a prepared statement. The solution “will put big security companies on notice,” he said.

Carney co-founded Abode, based in Palo Alto, Calif., with Brent Franks, previously an account executive with salesforce.com and EVP and co-founder of TerraSmart, a turnkey solar ground mount provider.

The DIY Abode system puts the customer in charge by allowing them to customize, he said.

"My last decade in home security showed me that big security companies have serious flaws and don't consider the changing lifestyles of today's consumers or accommodate new technologies and devices coming to market," CEO Carney said.  “When developing Abode, we had a vision for a self-installable security system that grows with you and your evolving needs, while also remaining capable of utilizing new technologies next month, next year, or further down the road."

Carney said the system offers portability in that it can be transferred to a new home with no reinstallation costs; it eliminates false alarms by sending real-time visual verification and, through its built-in body analysis technology, by being able to tell the difference between people and animals; has a built-in backup power and a 3G radio for use when Internet connections are lost; provides home automation capabilities at no extra cost; can be controlled through a web portal and mobile app; and has an optional 24-hour monitoring available.

The system includes the Abode gateway, motion camera, streaming camera, door and window sensors and key fob.

Who will be the top twitterer at ISC West this year?

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The top Twitterer of ISC West 2014, in terms of both quantity and quality, was the Security Industry Association.

Who will be the top Twitterer of 2015?

Once again Security Systems News is sponsoring a Twitter Wall at ISC West. This year it will be located near the ISC West Media stage, just outside the entrance to the show floor.

Stop by to check out real-time,140-character ISC West news and notes from a variety of sources. Better yet, join the conversation using this hashtag #ISCW15

Remember to turn out tweets that are newsy and original. Extra points for breaking news and also for making us laugh.

What's the reach of an ISC West tweet? Well, check out these stats:

Also tweeting  A LOT last year were: ISC West News, Microsoft Global Security, some of our friendly trade publication competitors, Identiv, Inovonics, Pelco, Tyco Security Products and yours truly @ssn_editor

If you're the Top Twitterer, you'll not only get your message out, you'll be the recipient of a Top Twitterer plaque. If you visit the SIA office, you can see their handsome "Top Twitterer" plaque in the office lobby.

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