Saturday, Oct. 24
Alison Levine is a New York Times best-selling author, she worked on Wall Street for several years, and she has climbed the highest peak on each of the seven continents and skied to each of the geographic poles. She is also the second day keynote for this year’s CONNECT.
Levine translated her experiences climbing Everest—twice—into business advice. On her first attempt she did not reach the summit. Storm clouds were moving in, Levine told the audience, and she made the decision to turn the team around several hundred feet from the summit, knowing that there wouldn’t be enough supplies to try to reach the summit again. Levine stressed that it’s not always about following a plan, but reacting to the situation that’s important.
Levine did reach the summit on her second attempt. You don’t need to be the best or strongest climber to reach the summit, Levine said, “You just have to be relentless about putting on foot in front of the other.”
Following that was the next round of breakout sessions. Judy Randle, president at Central Monitoring, presented “Run your Business like a Franchise: Why Policies, Processes and Procedures are Important.” Randle outlined the different manners for establishing systems within a business, like setting up checklists, creating manuals on company culture as well as rules for individual roles.
A main objective is giving staff a measure of what’s expected of them, so they can be held accountable. Having employees initial checklist items instead of crossing them off also makes them accountable, she said.
An attendee of the session pointed out that these tactics are about managing processes, not people—to which Randle agreed.
Before heading into my last educational session, I met another one of the Wayne Alarm Systems team, Zachary Preman, company sales consultant.
During this session block, I attended “Twitter Tales/Facebook Follies/Let’s LOL with LinkedIn.” To start, Jason Lutz, a business development manager with Honeywell, said that this presentation would be more like a panel; it featured Rebecca Matson Purtz, director of business development for Matson Alarm, Kristin Milner, director of marketing at ADS Security, and Alison Shiver-Hime, residential sales and marketing manager from Shiver Security Systems.
Shiver-Hime started the session with the point that companies should have a “media calendar,” updating certain content on certain days or specific media. For example, on Mondays, Shiver Security posts about benefits of having a system, and on Wednesday’s they share “dumb criminal” stories.
ADS has been on social media since 2009, Milner said. She mentioned several ways the company has positively used social media, including Facebook, blogging and sharing images and videos. Milner also addressed social media outlets that haven’t worked for ADS, such as Pintrest and only sharing product-related posts.
Matson Purtz said that Matson Alarm primarily uses Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The company sees the most engagement with “scary stories,” statistics on crime for local cities.
Over lunch, I had a very nice conversation with John Colehower, managing director of Mergers & Acquisitions, about the sessions of this year’s CONNECT. He found yesterday’s keynote, Jason Doresy to be particularly valuable.
After lunch, I ran into Michael Duffy of Per Mar Security Services again. I chatted with Duffy and Jim Dewitt, president of Legends Security & Sound, about topics like DIY and the 2G sunset panel from yesterday. Just as I was heading out, I met John Cerasuolo of ADS Security.
That about wraps up my Honeywell CONNECT 2015 experience. I’ve had a great time here in Scottsdale, and look forward to hearing more about Honeywell and its authorized dealers in the future.
Friday, Oct. 23
I started out the second day of CONNECT by meeting Duncan Hubbard, central station manager for Holmes Security Systems, at breakfast, along with two people from Ackermany Security Systems: Teresa Reynolds, national accounts manager and Terrail Brown, commercial accounts. Also at the table was James Neeley, owned of Allied Security.
Marek Robinson, Honeywell’s president of authorized dealer programs, opened the first general session by thanking those dealers who participated in Honeywell’s first charity incorporated into CONNECT, packing hygiene kits for a homeless shelter for young adults.
The session also introduced some large concepts: the connect home, connected business, and the idea of “fast forward”—what the industry will look like in the coming years. Connectivity is going to grow, said Inder Reddy, Honeywell VP of global marketing, but “As systems get more complex, our job is to demystify them.”
Todd Rief, GM of the newly formed Honeywell Security and Fire division, shared his perspective, placing emphasis on partnership, execution, and innovation for the future.
Robinson then introduced the first guest speaker, John Cerasuolo, president and CEO of ADS Security. Cerasuolo stressed the importance of preparing your company to adapt, in light of the difficulty of predicting the future. His advice for this included staying informed about industry trends, investing in your people and picking the best partners.
Following Cerasuolo, Dave Sweeney, CEO of Advantech, came on stage to talk about other strategies of planning for future growth. He pointed to the next generation, and attracting members of it by staying active on social media and creating a positive company culture.
Lastly, Bob Pearson, president of W2O group, continued with the topic of social media, impressing the value of representing your company on it as well as the low cost of it.
My first session for the day was Barry Epstein, president of Vertex Capital, presenting “Timing Your Exit: An Update on Multiples and the Multiple Threats to Your Account Base.” A prevailing message was that private equity groups are currently—and will continue—showing strong interest in the security industry. Epstein also discussed DIY and telecoms as among forces threatening RMR bases.
From there I went to the session “Net Promoter,” presented by Todd Julien, director of sales for Doyle Security. The company has been using the Net Promoter Score, based around the question of whether customers would recommend Doyle to a friend or relative, to gain a “window” into how their clients view them.
Understanding this metric can show who’s likely to promote and refer business on to others, as well as which customers are most displeased. Doyle first started monitoring its NPS in 2011, and has seen it rise 20 percent since then.
At lunch I enjoyed speaking with Troy Dillard, president and CEO of Dillard Alarm Company—one of the companies awarded with Honeywell’s Circle of Excellence award earlier in the day.
Just before heading into the second general session, I met Scott Haynes, president for Seacoast Security, and Steve Haynes, company VP—others who had come to CONNECT all the way from the great state of Maine.
In the second general session, Alan Stoddard, Honeywell senior director of marketing started by identifying four “pillars” of the connected home; it needs to be open to bringing in other technologies, well integrated, easy to use and still remain secure.
From there, Rick Koscinski, Honeywell’s sales leader—central, talked on the connected business and its many opportunities, twice that of the connected home, he said.
Alice DeBiasio then presented on Honeywell’s views toward the cloud. Mirroring Stoddard, she pointed out four pillars to cloud: accessibility, cost effectiveness, scalability, and fast implementation.
Robinson then came on stage to introduce CONNECT 2015’s first keynote speaker Jason Dorsey, a best-selling author focused on Millennials. Dorsey, in a comedic and high-energy presentation, highlighted differences between Millennials, Gen Xers, and “Boomers,” such as cell phones, work ethic and learning styles of Millennials alongside training techniques for them.
Of the first afternoon sessions, I went to “Three Strategies to Combat Attrition,” presented by two from Alarm Capital Alliance: Kelly Bond, company SVP of business development, and Jason Grelle, VP of business development.
Grelle first defined attrition simplistically as “loosing customers you once had.” From there Bond further subdivided attrition into two groups: gross attrition and net attrition, the latter factoring in customers gained as well as those lost.
There’s two other groups of attrition: ordinary, and extraordinary. “Ordinary” is events outside of the company’s control, such as the death of a customer, while “extraordinary” attrition is something a company can control, like poor service.
Two other key points were that understanding attrition is important to knowing the sellable value of the accounts, and tracking attrition can reveal problems or the opportunities to better help customers who haven’t been paying.
My final session for the day was “Radio Transmission and WiFi Communication Strategies,” presented by Quentin Gunther, a business development manager for Honeywell, and Spencer Smith, president of Alarm Protection Systems.
One main theme to the session is that transferring accounts to 4G in preparation for the 2G sunset takes a specific and detailed plan. Smith shared his experiences, highlighting the best result from bringing on one coordinator and one technician, specifically to handle the task of 4G conversion.
On the topic of Wi-Fi communications/IP signals, Gunther said that, in recent years, reliability of internet connectivity has increased as well as customer acceptance of the internet as a main mode of communication.
Thursday, Oct. 22
I arrived in Phoenix about 4 p.m. local time, got to the hotel with plenty of time for the opening reception. I had a great time meeting new folks and seeing some familiar faces, all while hearing about expectations for this year’s CONNECT.
It was great to meet John Loud, President at LOUD Security System, and chat about how the CONNECT event has changed over the 10 or so years he’s been attending. He says this year brings more educational opportunities.
Dave Hood, president of First Alarm and a 19-year veteran to Honeywell’s annual gathering, also told me that more education has been a trend.
Per Mar has been in headlines lately; with its recent acquisition of Northern Safety and Security, and Brian Duffy, Per Mar’s president—electronics division, was named a 2015 SSN “20 under 40” winner. Tonight, I met both Brian Duffy and Michael Duffy, company president, in person.
From Honeywell, I briefly chatted with Angela Remmert, company media specialist, Tony Martin, marketing communications, and Steve Mott, video editor.
I briefly talked with Chuck Speck, president of Bold Technologies, who said that the company’s seen some good growth this year. Bold should be on track to add 50 central stations to its automation this year, he said.
I got the chance to meet Barry Epstein, president of Vertex Capital. Tomorrow he’s presenting “Timing Your Exit: An Update on Multiples and the Multiple Threats to your Account Base”—I look forward to attending it.
Bart Didden, CEO of USA Central Station, is one of the people I’ve spoken with but—until now—hadn’t met face-to-face.
Robbie Robinson, a detective with the City of Phoenix intvestigating repeat false alarm offenders, was telling me about his perspective on current problems in false alarms. One example he gave of a current issue was commercial businesses being mislabeled as home residencies, misleading responders to thinking its misinformation when they arrive at a storefront.
It’s always nice talking with Mike Keegan, here representing Security America Risk Retention Group. We first met back in Baltimore during ESX.
Phil Dumas, president of Unikey, told me that the company has some interesting integrations coming up.
I briefly met All Guard's David Coon, company sales leader, and Sean Cooke, account manager.
From Criticom Monitoring Services, I got to meet Jennifer Marshall, the company’s business development support rep, as well as Jackie O’Neil Townley, CMS business development rep.
It was nice seeing Jeff Kahn, COO at Wayne Alarm Systems, again. Last time I saw Kahn was when I visited Wayne’s headquarters in Lynn, Mass.
I also chatted with Brent Franklin, president of Unlimited Technology.
Scott Srolis, national sales director for URC, was telling me a bit about the company's approach to the smart home: integrating connected devices into remote controls.
I had a nice talk with Gary Hutter as well. Hutter is the VP of Western Alarm Services, based in Lake Havasu City, Ariz., on the far western side of the state.
Wednesday, Oct. 21
Tomorrow, I’m making the trip from Maine to Scottsdale, Ariz., to attend this year’s Honeywell CONNECT conference. Check back in on this blog to hear about encounters and sessions from the show, as I’ll be updating it daily.
A few sessions have caught my eye right off the bat. “Timing Your Exit: An Update on Multiples and the Multiple Threats to Your Account Base,” and “Twitter Tales/Facebook Follies/Let’s LOL with LinkedIn,” both sound really interesting. Feel free to let me know which sessions you think will be the biggest.
If you’ll be at the show and have something new or exciting happening with your company, feel free to email me at email@example.com or send me a message through the Honeywell CONNECT 2015 app. If you’ll be there, I look forward to seeing you in Arizona!