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TechSec focus group planned

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Prior to the start of our TechSec Solutions conference, coming up this Feb. 26-27, in Delray Beach, Fla., Security Systems News is planning a special focus group dinner and discussion. The topic of discussion for this focus group is “Technology trends that impact your business model” and we are extending a special invitation to systems integrators to participate in this dinner and discussion at TechSec on the evening of Feb. 25 (the evening before the start of the TechSec conference) at the Delray Beach Marriott.

Spots are limited (looking for 12 integrators, ideally) and only available to TechSec 2018 attendees. If you’re interested in joining us for this focus group, please register for TechSec using the Promo Code—Focus2018—that takes $200 off of the regular registration rate. Plus, for those focus group attendees at the dinner, there will be random drawing for two free passes to TechSec (registration refunds will be given).

To join the focus group and register for TechSec, as well as see the great program and lineup of speakers that we have this year, please click here.

TechSec Solutions 2018 is coming up!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Security Systems News’ 2018 TechSec Solutions conference is coming up—Feb 26 and 27, down in Delray Beach, Fla., at the Delray Beach Marriott—and now we’re extending a new offer to attend at a lower registration rate.

Last week, our Early Bird registration rate ended. However, we are offering another chance to get $100 off of the conference registration, if you use the promo code EML100 (which can’t be combined with other offers). To register, see the entire educational program or view more information on the conference, visit

We’re preparing a great line up of speakers and panels to address some of the most relevant security topics today, including AI, how IT impacts the integrator, robots and the next technologies for access control.

In addition to the line-up of educational sessions, we’re excited to have two great keynote speakers. On Day One, Jim Dearing, senior analyst, Security & Building Technologies for the research firm IHS Markit, will present data on some of the trends impacting the industry. On Day Two, Hart Brown, EVP and COO of Firestorm Solutions LLC, will take a look at cybersecurity and the risks involved.

Another feature of the conference that we look forward to each year is the poolside networking reception where we honor the most recent class of Security Systems News’ “20 under 40” award winners. This is a unique opportunity to meet some up-and-coming professionals in both the end user and integrator arenas.

We hope to see you there!

Registration open for new TMA event

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

VIENNA, Va.—Registration is now open for The Monitoring Association’s recently announced “TMA Technology Summit,” an inaugural event to be held March 19-21, 2018 in Salt Lake City. The event is coordinated by TMA’s Technology Committee, which is co-chaired by Sascha Kylau, vice president of sales, Onetel Security and Steve Butkovich, CTO, CPI Security Systems.

“We invite CTOs, CIOs, and IT directors of monitoring companies to participate in the first TMA Tech Summit to learn about and discuss technology issues that directly affect monitoring centers,” Kylau said in a prepared statement. “By attending, these tech pros will learn about the newest technologies—hardware, software and services—to run their central stations securely and efficiently, minimizing downtime and protecting them from internal and external threats,” he continued.

“We also welcome dealers, owners, and interested participants from manufacturing companies,” Butkovich said in the announcement. “We’ll be talking about all the things that matter when it comes to technology and running and securing an effective business.”

Sessions and topics will include:

•           Intelligent apps and analytics

•           MPLS, SD-WAN, secure VPNs (what are they and what is best for my business)

•           Contact Center 2018 (speech recognition for QC, text to speech, AI, and more)

•           Data storage (new storage options and best practices for storage and data retention)

•           3G, LTE, FirstNet, 5G and beyond

•           Next gen Linux mainframe

•           Cybersecurity (gap & risk assessment—It’s a business issue, not just an IT issue)

•           Next gen firewalls and other cyber hardware tools

•           Data backup and recovery solutions

•           Data encryption

In the announcement, TMA noted that the Technology Summit will be modeled after its Fall Operations Management Seminar. Both days of the conference will conclude with round table discussions of the day’s presentations. The room block for the event is now open as well.

Smart home, we have a problem

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The rise of the smart home has generated a lot of attention among security dealers lately, as it has disrupted the way potential customers look at and are willing to pay for security.

But it comes as no surprise that all is not golden in the world of the smart home. It turns out, more than one in three U.S. adults experience issues setting up or operating a connected device, according to data released from the Customer and Product Experience 360 (CPX 360 ) Survey by iQor, a global managed services provider based in St. Petersburg, Fla.

With the number of smart home devices being connected in the home today—security cameras, smart locks and sensors of all kinds—it is inevitable that there would be a few hiccups along the way. In fact, Gartner reports that IoT-enabled devices will reach 20.4 billion globally by 2020, almost doubling from an estimated 11.1 billion in 2018.

Traditional security dealers, who have been challenged to offer smart home services and devices, in addition to security, have been saying all along that when homeowners struggle to figure out how all of these smart home gadgets work and connect, that they will be there to pick up the pieces. Well, it looks like they could be right.

According to the CPX 360 survey, consumers report having to take more than eight steps to resolve a technical problem or issue with a smart device. Further, consumers are spending, on average, close to 1.5 hours of their own time resolving these issues and one hour working with customer service. Nearly one in four consumers (22 percent) couldn’t resolve the issue or simply gave up, and returned the product for a refund.

Throughout the customer and product service journey, the CPX 360 survey reports consumers dealt with an average of 2.1 companies, over 2.7 sessions and with 3.1 different people as they attempted to install and engage with new connected technology in their home. For 17 percent of respondents, the challenge was even greater and involved dealing with five or more people when trying to resolve an issue.

According to the data, the inability to provide a seamless, frictionless experience across all support channels creates frustration and confusion for the consumer as they interact with multiple people and companies in the resolution process. Throughout this process, only about one in three indicate their information was always retained between customer service steps. Among those whose information was not retained, 81 percent indicated this delayed their resolution and 85 percent found it to be somewhat or extremely annoying.

“Adoption of connected devices is on the verge of transitioning from early adopters to the mainstream as popularity and integration of IoT expands and homes become smarter,” Autumn Braswell, COO, LinQ Integrated Solutions at iQor, said in the study. “It is crucial that organizations streamline and improve the support process now to reduce the number of steps, people and brands required to unlock the intended value of the connected device and ensure that the customer service challenges are addressed before mass adoption.”

So, this should be a call to all security dealers about how important it is to offer a full suite of smart home services and devices beyond just security, and be that single point of contact that creates the smart and safe home people are clamoring for.

PSIA elects execs from Convergint, JCI

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA) announced it has elected Mike Mathes, EVP of Convergint Technologies, as its chairman, and Jason Ouellette, product general manager-access control for Johnson Controls, as its vice chairman. The PSIA membership develops specifications for enabling standards-based sharing of digital data and intelligence throughout the physical security and enterprise ecosystems.
"Mike and Jason bring us strong technology, commercial and industry leadership skills," David Bunzel, executive director, the PSIA, said in the announcement. "They will be powerful evangelists for how standards-based physical security systems can help the industry create new opportunities for systems integration and data sharing while solving cost and complexity challenges." 
As PSIA Chairman, Mathes will work closely with the PSIA Board to identify industry needs for new and enhanced PSIA specifications. He will be responsible for growing the organizations membership and helping companies determine migration strategies needed to specify and/or adopt and implement PSIA specifications. "With an expanded membership base, we'll see further adoption of open standards, which will drive down the cost of system integration for the end user," Mathes, said in the announcement. At Convergint, Mathes leads the Advanced Solutions Group.

Ouellette's role as PSIA Vice Chairman will include defining the technical aspects of PLAI necessary to make this an effective commercial standard, including enhancing and promoting a robust set of test tools to assure industry compliance and interoperability for PLAI. Ouellette, who at JCI is responsible for the global access control businesses, specific to program management, product management, and engineering functions, said in a prepared statement, "The PSIA specifications make it easier for integrators to offer high quality solutions with less integration time and lower total cost of ownership."

Peter Boriskin, vice president product management at ASSA ABLOY Americas, will continue as the PSIA's treasurer.

"PSIA open standards can solve real enterprise problems for customers in way that is not possible through standard integrations,” Boriskin said in the announcement. “I am looking forward to working with Mike, David and the rest of board to help the industry understand our use cases and encourage rapid adoption of PSIA specifications, in particular through the development of PLIA adaptors by manufactures."

ISC West gears up for 2018 show, educational sessions

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Earlier this month ISC West announced the program for its SIA Education@ISC for the 2018 show, to be held April 10-12. I got the chance to speak with Sherida Sessa, industry VP for ISC events, and Kimberly Roberts, SIA’s director of education and training, about some of the sessions and themes that attendees can look forward to at ISC West 2018.

“We’re very excited that we have over 85 sessions scheduled for this year. They really run the gamut, they cover most of the new and trending topics that we’re seeing in the industry, many are technologically based,” said Sessa. “You’re going to see a lot of new content this year,” she added.

“This year, we do have a standards in interoperability track … and also a security professionals under 40 track, and those are two brand new tracks that we have not had before in previous years,” Roberts said. The professionals under 40 track will be “more geared towards professionals on the integrator and manufacturer side,” she added.

Several themes from the show floor are represented in the educational sessions, Sessa said. “We’ve done that strategically. It really makes it easier for the attendees if they can learn about something in the classroom and then walk upstairs and actually see it in a working environment on the show floor,” she said.

A core theme to ISC West 2018 is comprehensive security, Sessa said. The theme encompasses the Connected Security Expo @ ISC West, which has been part of the show since 2016. “That’s actually in its third year now and is an entire area of the exhibit floor that provides holistic solutions from the IT and IoT perspective. That translates right over into our education program as well, we do have two tracks of education that focus on that: a people and process track and a technology track,” Sessa said.

This year’s ISC West show floor will also have the Unmanned Security & Safety Expo @ ISC West, which started last year and has been growing, according to Sessa. “Kimberly and the SIA team have done an excellent job of adding content to the education program that corresponds to that trend as well,” she said.

The show floor will feature more connected home technologies and there are educational sessions on these technologies as well. 

ISC West 2018’s show floor will introduce a new area for start up companies, called the Emerging Technology Zone. “It’s going to be located just near registration … on level one of the show. So, it’ll be an all new exhibit area,” Sessa said. “It’s really designed to offer an entry option for companies that are brand new to the industry.”

She continued, “We hear from attendees all the time, in our survey research, that they really come to trade shows specifically to find cutting-edge technology and brand new products. So this is one way to make it a little bit easier for them to do that.”

SIA has planned an interesting session for the Tuesday before the show floor opens, called “What’s New at ISC West?” Here, Steve Oplinger, systems design manager for Integrated Fire and Security Solutions, and J Kelly Stewart, managing director and CEO of Newcastle Consulting LLC, will present a preview of key technologies and companies they think attendees should see on the show floor.

One session that Roberts highlighted was the Active Shooter Workshop, which is a session that SIA is bringing back from 2017. “Unfortunately, in the day and time that we live in, there’s certain situations that we can’t control,” she said, adding that the presented will help end users and integrators look at technologies to implement.

Sessa highlighted another track, Security Megatrends, which includes sessions on the smart home, the DIY market, artificial intelligence, and access control.

Both Roberts and Sessa gave credit to the Education Advisory Board for the lineup of sessions coming to this year’s ISC West.

Red Hawk acquires two

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOCA RATON, Fla.—Red Hawk Fire & Security LLC, a leader in fire, life safety and security services based here, announced this week the purchase of two companies to build upon its capabilities in the special hazard fire suppression business and the integrated security services arena.

In separate transactions, Red Hawk announced the purchase of Anaheim, Calif.-based Diversified Protection Systems, Inc., (DPSI) and ATCi Communications, Inc. (“ATCI”), headquartered in Miami, Florida. The two purchases represent Red Hawk’s fifth and sixth acquisitions in the last 20 months as the company continues to grow both organically and through strategically aligned acquisitions.

“The purchase of both DPSI and ATCi are consistent with our core strategy of bringing on the teams from well regarded, client-centric companies to build on our existing service presence or to expand our geographic footprint to further set Red Hawk apart from our competition,” Michael McWilliams, Red Hawk Fire & Security president and CEO, told Security Systems News. “Joining forces with these two great companies on opposite U.S. coasts elevates our expertise and complements our existing geographic presence while also presenting a broader suite of innovative solutions to our valued clients to further our aim of being the preferred choice for all our customers’ fire, life safety and security needs.”

DPSI’s expertise includes special hazard clean agent and water mist fire suppression, early warning smoke detection & controls, hazardous gas monitoring & specialty cooling systems. DPSI President Dominic De Maria will remain with Red Hawk helping develop the new Red Hawk Fire & Security “Critical Infrastructure Division.”

“We are just as enthusiastic about this purchase as Red Hawk,” De Maria said in the announcement. “Not only does it advance Red Hawk’s posture in the fire and life safety industry by adding our specialized team of professionals, but it expands the resources and geographic reach we can now offer our clients as well.”

 As South Florida’s largest independent security systems integrator, ATCi Communications brings an expert team that designs, installs and provides technical support and maintenance services of enterprise-level, intelligent video surveillance systems, access control and intrusion alarms for federal and local government facilities and law enforcement agencies, luxury residential and mixed-use properties and large scale commercial projects. ATCI also expand’s Red Hawk’s “best in class” specialty portfolio of capabilities through its market leader position in providing customized CityWide Surveillance (CWS) and Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) solutions to municipal clients.

“Being able to now offer fire and life safety services to our existing security portfolio is a win-win for our customers, our people and Red Hawk as well,” Vincent. J. Vento, ATCI’s founder and president, said in the announcement. “We look forward to combining our sales and business development efforts to maximize our potential across all product and service lines throughout the entire Florida market.”

Los Angeles-based Imperial Capital, LLC and Miami-based Pacifica Capital Group LLC co-represented ATCI as financial advisors for the transaction.

Comcast brings home automation to more customers

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Updated 1.24.18

PHILADELPHIA—Comcast recently announced that it will expand its smart home capabilities to the company’s Xfinity platforms, including xFi, Xfinity Home, Xfinity Mobile and X1—its TV and voice remote. This will make home automation available to more than 15 million Xfinity customers at no additional cost, according to the company's announcement.

"Our latest announcement reaffirms our commitment to offer our customers an easy to use platform that can help them make their home technology work for them," Neal Foster, vice president of product management, Xfinity Home, told Security Systems News in an email interview.

"By integrating home automation across the Xfinity platform, we are able to unlock new experiences for customers. For example, smart home devices can be automatically detected by our gateway and users can be instantly made aware of the automation experiences that the device can do within the Xfinity platform," Foster said.

Down the road, Comcast is looking to further expand the plaform's capabilities. "Long term we will be able to add even more smart home devices into our platform making it easy for our customers to add the devices they need and manage and control every device from the Xfinity platform. Through the increased breadth of the platform, we will be able to target new solutions across a broad range of areas including peace of mind, protection, entertainment, wellness, energy and home maintenance," said Foster.

In the announcement, Comcast highlighted key smart home developments for the company. In September 2017, Comcast acquired Stringify, which provides a cloud-powered automation service for more than 500 IoT products and digital services. “Stringify’s technology will soon be integrated into Xfinity’s products and services, significantly expanding the capabilities of Xfinity automation,” the announcement read.

Additionally, Comcast’s ‘Works with Xfinity’ program facilitates the integration of smart home devices into its Xfinity platform. “The company plans to expand its partner ecosystem to include new product categories such as: wearables, automotive, voice assistants, email, social media platforms, and more,” according to the announcement. “New partners will help improve an Xfinity customer’s lifestyle, whether for convenience, entertainment, peace of mind, or to help run their home more efficiently.”

In May 2017, the company launched xFi, a digital dashboard for customers to set up and control aspects of their home Wi-Fi network, including seeing what devices are connected and setting parental controls.

The company also recently added enhanced features to Xfinity Home Security Cameras. "Its new AI-powered platform identifies movement, centers on the subject, and delivers a crystal-clear thumbnail image to customers so they can always know what’s happening with just a glance in our app," the announcement read.

PSA, SIA and ISC launch cybersecurity conference

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

DENVER—Cyber:Secured Forum, a cybersecurity summit focusing on integrated systems, will launch with an inaugural gathering here, on June 4-6, 2018, under a partnership formed by PSA Security Network, the world's largest systems integrator cooperative, ISC Security Events (Reed Exhibitions, the global tradeshow company) and the Security Industry Association (SIA), a leading trade association for global security solution providers.

“Sophisticated cybervulnerabilities and threats are emerging every day, and it is critical for the physical security and systems integration industry to accelerate its delivery of compelling education to help all industry stakeholders mitigate the risk of cyberattacks to business continuity,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement.

Cyber:Secured Forum will feature in-depth content on cybersecurity trends and best practices as related to the delivery of physical security systems and other integrated systems. Content is being collaboratively developed by SIA and PSA Security Network’s education teams and will feature top cybersecurity leaders.

“Cybersecurity is no longer just a threat—it’s a real issue knocking on the doors of security and IT professionals on a daily basis,” Bill Bozeman, president and CEO, PSA Security Network, said in the announcement. “The time for just being in reaction mode is behind us now. As security leaders, we have a responsibility to step forward and be part of the frontline defense when it comes to cybersecurity, just as we have been part of the frontline defense when it comes to physical security issues for decades. The goal of this conference is to empower attendees with real tools and knowledge to do just that.”

The two-day event will provide leaders in the IT and physical security industries with opportunities to connect and share information on risks and liabilities, responding to cybersecurity threats, and establishing security control standards across IT systems and particularly when integrating physical security solutions and devices on IT networks.

Additionally, sponsor exhibits will help showcase solutions related to cybersecurity, integrated systems and physical security solutions.

“At our recent ISC West and ISC East events, the educational sessions on cyber-physical integration and connected security have been in high-demand,” Will Wise, group vice president of the Security Portfolio, Reed Exhibitions. “In-depth education, training and industry collaboration is essential to ensure safe and secure systems for the market. We’re enthusiastic about this partnership with PSA Security Network and SIA to address this important market need.”

For more information about this new event and to be added to the event mailing list, visit

Mission 500 recaps 2017 efforts

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mission 500, a non-profit charitable organization focusing on the security industry and dedicated to serving children and families in need across the U.S., recently gave an overview of its efforts throughout 2017, including the annual Security 5/2K at ISCW, the summer Security Softball Game and the Miami Mixer among other events.

“Engaging and giving back to children and communities in need is at the core of our mission here in the U.S.,” Jeff Eichenlaub, director of strategic partnerships for Mission 500, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to contributing to causes that are important to the security industry again in 2018.”

At the Miami Mixer, Mission 500 raised more than $15,000 for children in need in South Florida, according to the announcement. The event had more than 70 attendees and included a fashion show, raffles, an auction and karaoke. Proceeds were donated to children attending to Crosspointe Elementary School, a Title One School in Boynton Beach and Centro Campesino, a not-for-profit organization that hosts a summer camp for children of migrant farm workers living in severe poverty in South Florida.

At the Axis Connect & Converge Conference, Mission 500 spoke to conference attendees about corporate social responsibility awareness in the security industry and why it is important. Conference attendees assembled School Refill Packs for 600 students at a Title One School in Seattle, which will provide students with enough school supplies to get through the second half of the school year, the announcement said.

Axis Communications hosted another event at the company’s new Southeast Experience Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The event was dedicated to assembling School Refill Packs for 200 low-income students impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the storm that impacted Houston in August 2017.

At the 2017 California Alarm Association Winter Conference held in San Francisco in November, Mission 500 helped attendees assemble School Refill Packs for 200 low- income children impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

At the NY Fire and Executive Security Club Dinner, Mission 500 honored Alan Forman of Altronix Corporation, Zygmunt Staszewski of Z.S. Engineering D.P.C, and Lew Walters of Affiliated Monitoring for their philanthropic contributions. All proceeds from the event benefited children supported by Mission 500, in addition to the NY Firefighters Burn Center Foundation Children’s Camp.

In 2018, Mission 500 is already planning for the eighth annual Security 5/2K at ISC West as well as the annual Mission 500 softball game which will take place in the fall.