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Advanced XANDEM taking orders

 - 
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

XANDEM HOME in Salt Lake City is launching its new DIY home security and automation product that tracks the location of moving people.

The product, which can be installed by homeowners in about 15 minutes, the company says, allows users to monitor where people are moving throughout their homes without using invasive cameras. Think of the safeguarding lasers of the “Mission Impossible” movies, because that’s what it looks like.

The product detects and locates movement through walls and furniture to cover the entire house; integrates with other smart-home systems such as lighting and audio; triggers a siren to scare intruders away and sends mobile app notifications; and includes an API so developers can use the company’s Detect and Locate technology in their own apps and products.

XANDEM, started in a basement in 2008, has been selling in prototype form, but has made advancements such as the phone app and so forth, Joey Wilson, company founder and CEO, told Security Systems News.

“We’re taking orders for XANDEM HOME via Indiegogo soon,” he said. 

The company recently received grants from DHS and the National Science Foundation.

“What we’re seeing is that it used to be if you wanted a security system in your home, you could go to a custom professional or get a rinky dink local package and they could slap it down,” Wilson said. “But now … DIY and MIY are growing rapidly.

“We’re very connected to the IofT. We are not an alarm company. We’re an amazing technology company, not even a security company. We’re like Nest or Dropcam. You can put this in yourself or have an integrator put it in,” Wilson said.

He added that he’s seen a lot of interest from integrators.

 

Vivint goes jazzy

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY—The downtown venue that is home here to the Utah Jazz NBA team and is the region’s premier concert and entertainment spot will now be called the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

The renaming comes along with a partnership between Vivint and Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment. Financial terms of the 10-year agreement were not disclosed, according to a prepared statement.

The 19,911-seat facility, formerly known as EnergySolutions Arena, hosts about 1.8 million guests and more than 100 sports and entertainment events each year, the companies said.

“The Utah Jazz and the arena are proud to have Vivint as our new naming rights partner,” LHMSE president Steve Starks said in the statement. “Vivint is a long-time supporter of the Jazz, is a Utah-based company, and has a deep commitment to the community and our fans. These were all qualities we looked for when we began this process.”

Headquartered in Provo, Vivint says it has more than 1 million smart home and security product customers and 8,000 employees in the United States and Canada.

“The Utah Jazz and the arena have been an incredible economic engine for this region, and have created a tremendous sense of pride among Utahns,” Todd Pedersen, CEO of Vivint, said in the statement. “This agreement extends far beyond a typical ‘logo-on-the-building’ arrangement —it’s a true partnership built around innovation, community impact and the drive to elevate the prominence of Utah.”

LHMSE and Vivint say they have formed a multi-faceted strategic marketing partnership that will include an interactive “Vivint Smart Home Experience” on the arena concourse, expertise in products and services to improve the game night fan experience along with upgraded security and automation technology at the basketball facilities.

The two companies say they will also be collaborating on an autism awareness campaign as part of their joint community outreach. 

CONNECT with SSN in Scottsdale

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

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 sives@securitysystemsnews.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!

A mainstream view: What’s hot in home security?

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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

If you’re too focused on industry news these days, as many of us tend to be—present company included—here’s a look at what at least one mainstream media outlet has to say about the latest in home protection.

“What was previously only possible in sci-fi movies is now becoming reality,” the Huffington Post said.

Sometimes it’s helpful to get a look at what the “real” people out there are hearing—and to learn from that. Some of these are big “duhs!” from you industry folks, but I do think it’s important to hear.

So here goes—the following is taking off in the form of home security, according to the Huffington report:

·      Remote monitoring.

·      Smart door locks

·      Home sensors

·      Smart garage systems

·      Fingerprint scanners, including fingerprint door locks

·      Smart cameras

·      Complete home automation system

The report goes on to say that “the digital revolution has made its way into our homes.” For you readers, I hope it makes an even bigger dent in the near future.

Former Dish Network exec named Tyco EVP and COO

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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

CORK, Ireland—Tyco today announced it has named former Dish Network executive Robert E. Olson, 56, EVP and CFO effective in November. He will replace Arun Nayar, 65, who will retire at the end of the year.

Olson comes to Tyco from satellite communications company DISH Network, where he was EVP and CFO. From 2006-2008, Olson served as CFO of Trane Commercial Systems, the largest operating division of American Standard. He also served as EVP and CFO of AT&T's Consumer Services division and later its Business Services division. He  held leadership roles at American Airlines.  

Olson has a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Alabama and a Master's degree in business administration from UCLA.

Nayar will serve as an advisor until the end of the year when he will retire from Tyco. 

In a prepared statement George R. Oliver, Tyco's CEO said: "Robert's effective record in chief financial officer roles combined with his broad experience in service-oriented technology companies will be especially valuable as we grow our services and solutions businesses."

In connection with the announcement, the company reaffirmed its guidance of $0.60 to $0.62 of earnings per share from continuing operations before special items for the fourth fiscal quarter of 2015.

Was Umpqua’s mass notification system working?

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The mass notification systems at Umpqua Community College in Oregon may have failed when a gunman killed nine people and injured another nine on the campus, according to a newspaper account.

The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported that three associate professors said they did not receive a notification on their computers, and two of them said that, even being enrolled in campus alert system, they did not receive any text messages as promised under the system. They said they did receive one warning “sent manually” from a secretary after police arrived, the newspaper said.

Umpqua college leadership told the paper it is too early to tell about the extent—if any—of emergency notification malfunctions.

If we’ve heard anything, time and time again, especially from end users at our TechSec conference, it’s that all the best security equipment in the world is for naught if proper protocol is not in place.

Granted, this mainstream media article doesn’t get into the details, and I truly hope an emergency notification meltdown didn’t happen. It’s just such a tragedy, and this is where emergency notification comes into play in such an important way.

Security Systems News sends its condolences to those affected by this terrible event.

 

 

Pot, a growing vertical market?

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

As marajuana, medical and otherwise, becomes legalized in states, pot appears to be growing vertical market.

DirectView Holdings, on Oct. 6 announced it landed a $150,000 contract to complete a "comprehensive security and surveillance installation" at a Colorado marajuana facility, which includes a large grow house, two dispensaries and management offices. The announcement said the installation will be complete by the end of the year. Here's some background on DirectView.

The installation will include  "DirectView IP megapixel security cameras, DirectView's NVR video and audio storage server as well as a access controls and a comprehensive intrusion alarm system."

DirectView will also provide alarm monitoring of the facility. The announcement did not say whether DirectView is providing the monitoring itself or if it is using a third-party monitoring provider. 

In a prepared statement, Roger Ralston, CEO and chairman of DirectView, said  this is "another cannabis installation [won as the result of its] exclusive security partnership with [a design and build firm for marajuana facilities] Cannamor. We continue to solidify our position as a trusted source for the security needs of the cannabis industry enabling us to win larger installation contracts like this one.  We are also beginning to gain traction in ongoing alarm monitoring services which can provide and important source of future recurring revenue. The cannabis industry continues to grow and we intend to work diligently to build on our momentum in Colorado and other geographic regions in the country."

 

 

A Bold move to the cloud

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bold Technologies has launched its new cloud-based automation platform, Manitou Cloud Services, and is working to add 30,000 accounts to it by the end of the year, Rod Coles, Bold’s president and CEO, told Security Systems News.

Designing the service to be UL compliant was the company's top priority, Coles said, and it is currently in the process of attaining that certification.

Coles said the release of Manitou Cloud Services was sooner than he expected and credited a rise in consumers’ confidence in cloud-based systems. “Hosted solutions seem to have a better reliability than individual service because they have so much redundancy.”

“The first installations will be on our existing Manitou platform,” Coles said, but the cloud automation will also be ready to use Manitou Neo, the next version of Bold’s central station automation, to be released in 2016. Coles estimated its release to be around ISC West 2016.

Bold first talked about the service at its annual Users’ Group Conference in early August, Coles said, and now has a couple of clients transitioning.

Bold has experience with hosted services, according to Coles, through similarities with the company’s disaster recovery center—a separate cloud-based center that Bold has been offering for years.

The cloud center will be based in Colorado Springs, Bold’s hometown, because of the area’s small risk for natural disasters and its location between both coasts, the company said.

Manitou Cloud Services can make operations easier for Bold users, according to Coles. “We’re getting to the stage now where people [have] to replace their hardware, every few years. They're also having to employ staff to look databases, to look after operating systems to make sure that these things are running 24/7. All of these [issues] go away when you have a hosted solutions.”

Icontrol says it is victor in patent fight with Alarm.com

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Icontrol Networks says it has won its patent fight with Alarm.com. Alarm.com says the solution to the "fight" was the result of a settlement with icontrol dated Jan. 1, 2014.  

In the latest activity, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office this month canceled claims to Alarm.com’s claims to a patent about the use of a mobile app in smart home systems, saying the system was developed instead by icontrol.

Icontrol has been issued a new patent, covering methods and systems for interacting and synchronizing with home security and automation systems using mobile applications, according to icontrol.

“Recognition of icontrol as the inventor of this key mobile application technology for home control is a testament to the strength of our intellectual property, “ Richard Mosher, icontol’s general counsel, said in a prepared statement. “Early investments in developing our intellectual property portfolio have resulted in some of the earliest patent awards for cloud- and mobile-connected home solutions.”

The new icontol patent defines the mechanisms needed to deliver a mobile application that synchronizes with a premise security system, presents security system state information to the user and enables the user to in some way control the system.

“We focused on delivering home automation and remote control for mobile and cloud long before they were technology buzzwords, and we’re happy to see the USPTO recognizes our early leadership,” Bob Hagerty, icontrol CEO said in the statement.

Icontrol, contacted by Security Systems News, declined to comment further on the ruling beyond its prepared statement.

Alarm.com announced in 2014 that it had and settled and dismissed all patent infringement lawsuits between the two companies, including litigation involving Telular Corp. and FrontPoint Security.

"As part of the agreement, Alarm.com and iControl each retain all ownership and rights to their respective patents and have also expanded their respective portfolios of licensed intellectual property via certain cross-licensing agreements. The patents included in the cross-license agreement represent some of the earliest, seminal intellectual property for Connected Home technology today. The respective CEOs of each company commented that they were pleased to reach resolution around these serious intellectual property matters and each company is looking forward to refocusing on its customer’s deployments," Alarm.com said in the prepared statement. 

Alarm.com declined to comment further.

 

 

 

FMC does more than its name says

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fire Monitoring of Canada has been working to increase awareness of its offerings outside of fire monitoring, Kevin Allison, GM for FMC told me.

“Obviously, we do installations of fire alarm monitoring, sprinkler monitoring—those are our primary focus, in terms of what we do,” he said, “But we also do—and the thing people might not know about us just given the [company’s] name—typical security installations and monitoring, CCTV, both IP and analog [services], access control, card access … nurse call systems.”

“Our name says fire monitoring, which is great from that perspective, because it is primarily what we do,” said Allison, but the company excels in many other areas as well, he added. At the same time, the company wants to maintain its core business in fire monitoring, Allison said.

Increasing awareness of FMC’s full service abilities will be an ongoing initiative for the company over the next 12 to 14 months, he said. The company gets its message out through radio and digital advertising, he said.

The company first increased awareness efforts about a year ago and the proportion of business other than fire and monitoring has increased, he said. Currently, about 70 to 75 percent of FMC’s business is fire and monitoring focused; about a year ago it was closer to 80 percent.

Allison said that much of FMC’s business is with buildings required by code to be monitored. FMC’s monitoring center is ULC-listed, CSAA Five Diamond, and based in St. Catherines, Ontario. 

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