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Guardian Protection Services hires VP of dealer program

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Weeks after the announcement that Hank Groff, formerly the director of the dealer program at Guardian Protection Services, was tapped to run the partner program at Dynamark, Guardian has made a hiring of its own.

The super-regional, based in Warrendale, Pa., hired Brian Helt to be its new VP of the authorized dealer program, a newly created position, according to a company statement

A 15-year veteran of the industry, Helt comes to Guardian from Interlogix, where he held several sales leadership positions and managed departments dedicated to acquiring and developing business relationships with dealers.

Prior to Interlogix, Helt served in management roles at UTC Fire and Security and GE Security, while being the owner and operator of his own security business in Kansas City.

Helt has experience growing dealer programs, so it will be worth tracking what kind of impact his hiring has for the company, and to see what responsibilities he takes on in the new role. I’m also interested to see what the move means as far as Guardian’s national footprint is concerned.

Roundup of debut Honeywell Connect2013

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Honeywell Connect2013 event, which took place November 8-10 in Los Angeles, was declared a success by all the dealers I spoke to.

Of course, dealers generally enjoy themselves at these conventions. There are networking events and parties, educational sessions and parties, awards and parties, speeches and more parties. You get the idea. Honeywell works hard to ensure that its dealers are treated well.

But this particular event was new; It's the is first time the manufacturer gathered all three dealer programs for one convention in one place: First Alert Professionals, CSS Dealers, and HIS dealers. So you've got resi-focused dealers, commercial installers and systems integrators. Honeywell pulled it off—that's what I heard.

The two general sessions featured Honeywell executives talking about priorities, trends, new products and initiatives. A handful of dealers from all three programs also gave 10-minute talks during the general sessions. Here are some highlights:

John Loud of LOUD Security, spoke about the builder market. It was something LOUD was heavily invested in pre-recession. Business dwindled during the recession, but has since been revamped and revived. Loud talked about the "LOUD way" his company rebuilt the new LOUD Builder Program. In the past 12 months, that program has generated $1 million in new revenue for LOUD Security and also helped generate a 72-percent increase in interactive services revenue.

Dave Hood of First Alarm sounded the alarm about going with the all-in-one L5100 panel. Tradition is good, but staying traditional means losing business, he said.

RFI's Brad Wilson, a systems integrator, does business in Silicon Valley with some of the most tech-savvy customers in the country. Wilson obviously has some insight into how security technology—and Honeywell dealer attitudes and priorities—need to progress. He talked about the importance of "building your bench" in the workplace, the advent and affect of the cloud on the security business, importance of RMR even in large systems integration projects, and how many technologies are coming down market, and fast.

Honeywell Security president Ron Rothman talked about sales and advised attendees to spend more time figuring out why you won the someone's business than analyzing why you lost another job. Think about this, he said, and then share what you learn with your employees.

Keynote speaker Roy Spence, of Southwest Airlines fame, talked about the need for thosein the room to reenergize their "entreprenuerial drive to get the 75 percent of the market [that does not have home security.]" He advised the group to think about "where your talent [in security] and the needs of the world intersect." That intersection, he said, is "peace of mind." The same way Southwest Airlines "democratized air travel," the security industry can "democratize peace-of-mind." He warned that if the security industry doesn't take this task to heart, someone else will.

Arturo Ramirez Jr. received the Honeywell Life Safety Award this year for rescuing a woman and four children from a fire. The award is always given by Larry King via video presentation. This year, Larry King presented the award in person. King said: "I couldn't be here in spirit, so I thought I'd come in person." Yup, it was Larry King Live this time.

Jeremy Bates of Bates Security talked about social media. It's part of the company's overall marketing plan. Bates Security engages in a number of social media but focuses its efforts on Facebook, and it hired a marketing specialist to oversee company efforts. A couple of interesting statistics: 46 percent of consumers turn to social media before making a purchase; 70 percent of people on social media don't post, they "lurk." Bates says he wants to ensure that those lurkers have plenty of information about Bates Security available to them via social media.

Todd Bertocchi of Safeguard Security discussed the benefit of managed and hosted service, making the analogy of security dealers moving "from being peddlers [of products] to partners." He said that "hosted systems create RMR, standalone systems do not."

Other product annoucements and initiatives announced at the show:

Total Connect with Voice. Honeywell had a little clubhouse outfitted like a livingroom with "Total Connect with Voice" at the Thursday night cocktail party. In a demonstration for some members of the media, Honeywell's David Gottlieb would say a command for the room to go into nighttime mode: Instantly shades drew shut, the television shut off and lights dimmed. When he issued the command for daytime mode, it all reversed. Very George Jetson.

Honeywell announced that it will have a Casi-Rusco migration solution. There's "a huge installed base, it's a huge opportunity for you," Honeywell's senior director of marketing, Alan Stoddard said.

Stoddard gave these details on the soon-to-be-released Honeywell LYNX Touch 7000/L5200: You can view video on display and connect 84 zones. It has a 7-inch display; two-way voice over wifi, and a number of other newer features.

Honeywell's Marek Robinson talked about how the manufactureris helping FAP, CSS and HIS dealers with demand creatioin. He said that in 2013 year to date, the Honeywell website has "generated 2,000 plus leads that its given to dealers. His goal is to "double that in 2014."

Robinson also described two new partnerships. Honeywell is launching a partner program in Atlanta where it will sell alarm systems from kiosks at Sprint stores. The pilot project will commence next month with Ackerman Security in Norcross, Ga. Honeywell declined to comment further on the deal at this point. I saw Ackerman's Jim Callahan at the event, and he promises to fill me in on details at a later date.

The other partnership is with LifeWay Christian Stores. The goal of this program, according to my notes, is to generate a whopping 40,000 leads for commercial facilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Honeywell’s new keypad line has boomer appeal

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Honeywell this week released its new 6100 Series Custom Alpha and Fixed-Language Keypads—and it’s great that the keypads will benefit dealers by giving customers a wider range of choices and saving installation time and money.

But as a boomer, I must confess that what jumped out at me is the fact that the keypad’s display area is 32 percent larger and the words and icons easier to read. I’m not in marketing, but it seems to me that feature is a great way to promote these keypads to boomers. That’s a group for whom security and home automation is important—but who also would like to be able to read the darn panel without having to hunt down their eyeglasses!

Here’s more from  Honeywell’s Nov. 4 announcement:

Honeywell today released the 6100 Series Custom Alpha and Fixed-Language Keypads, giving security dealers a broader portfolio to accommodate a range of homeowner budgets and lifestyles. The Custom Alpha keypads feature VISTA Intelligent Programming (VIP)—an intuitive, menu-based programming option for the most common functions that helps reduce installation time and labor costs. VIP is currently available with Honeywell’s VISTA-20P control panels.

Easy-to-use graphics and a symmetrical design give the 6100 Series the same look and feel as Honeywell’s home and business controllers with touchscreen displays. The seven-model suite offers larger screens with light, neutral backlighting that blends with most interiors. The devices occupy less wall space while providing 32-percent larger display areas with bold fonts and graphic icons, which are ideal for the elderly or visually impaired. Additionally, function and arming keys provide quick set-up and easier use. These new models offer voice, integrated RF or a hardwired zone to best meet the needs of the installation, and the homeowner’s budget.

Off to L.A. for Honeywell Connect2013

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

I'm getting ready for a quick trip to the West Coast for the HoneywellConnect 2013 event, which is taking place Nov. 7-10 in Los Angeles. This is a debut event for Honeywell, combining what used to be its First Alert Professional conference with events it did with its CSS and HIS dealers. I heard they're expecting more than 800 people. I'm looking forward to catching up with Security Systems News' readers that fall into all of those categories.

I was just checking out the App for the program. I'm impressed. The App includes descriptions and locations for the educational sessions and other events and a list of attendees. It also allows you to set up a personal schedule. What I like the best, however, is it allows you to send a message to another attendee from the App itself. Great idea. If you're reading this and have news to share, send me a message via the App. 

The educational sessions at FAP have always been well attended and interactive, and I'm assuming Connect2013's will be as well. I'm looking forward to these sessions in particular: Connected Home/Connected Small Business; Integated Systems Revenue Opportunities; Strategic Business Planning; Demand Creation; 2G to 4G Migration; Grant Writing; Business Metrics; The Right Acquisition Strategy; Server Virtualization; Hosted Video; Regulatory Compliance Management; and Vertical Market Success.

I'll be blogging and tweeting during the event. Look for updates here Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Going to be a busy three days.

SecurTek taps new CEO

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Some hiring news surfaced this week from north of the border. Yorkton, Saskatchewan-based SecurTek, which has three central stations in Canada and commercial and residential accounts in several provinces, hired Darrell Jones to be its new president and CEO, the company announced in a news release.

Jones comes to the SecurTek, a subsidiary of SaskTel, a Canadian telecom company, from outside the industry. He worked previously at the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation, and his background also includes active involvement as a board member with the Real Estate Institute of Manitoba.

He’ll now be at the helm of a company with a dealer network of 150 partners, in retail, wholesale monitoring and security servicing. In addition to its commercial and residential security offerings, SecurTek provides video and medical monitoring.

“Darrell has established strong and positive working relationships with the non-profit sector, stakeholder organizations, and the private sector in his role with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation,” Ron Styles, SaskTel President and CEO, said in a news release. “Darrell will be a strong addition to the SecurTek team and I’m confident under his leadership SecurTek will continue to grow and thrive.”

In the coming week I hope to speak with Jones about the transition to the security industry, and to explore how his background in real estate could be a boon to someone hoping to expand the company’s residential and commercial account bases.

Ascent Capital's largest stockholder sells half of his preferred shares

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Some intriguing financial news out of the Monitronics/Ascent Capital camp. Ascent Capital Group’s largest direct stockholder, media mogul John Malone, recently sold half his preferred shares—worth $32.7 million in cash—back to the company, according to a news release from Ascent Capital. The divestment comes nearly three years after Ascent acquired Monitronics in a $1.2 billion deal.

Malone, who sold 351,734 shares, now owns the same number of Series B shares, plus 198,540 Series A shares, which together comprise 21.6 percent of the Ascent shareholder vote, the release noted.

In an email exchange, Henry Edmonds, president of The Edmonds Group, a St. Louis-based investment bank, indicated that the move would likely please shareholders. "Ascent has had plenty of cash on its balance sheet so this is not a bad use of funds to help stock price," he said.

It will be interesting to see what (if any) effect this has on operations at Monitronics, a wholly owned operating subsidiary of Ascent. An investor I contacted seemed to believe it would not have much effect. Yesterday, the company announced that it will report its earnings on Nov. 12, 2013. On that date, the company will host a conference call in which management will give an update on Ascent’s operations, including the financial performance of Monitronics, and “may also discuss future opportunities,” the release said.

In all likelihood I’ll be dialing into that conference call, which I’m hoping will shed some light on what those opportunities might be. 

Shaw joins Tech Systems Inc

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sharon Shaw, who is well known in the security industry as an evangelist of managed services, a skilled trainer and director of education, has taken on a new role at Tech Systems Inc, an Atlanta-based systems integrator.

Shaw was formerly president of Integrator Support, and director of education for PSA Security. (She's also part of my TechSec Advisory board. )

Here's a link to a story I wrote about Tech Systems Inc. in January. TSI appears to be a great fit for Shaw's skills. She told me she was drawn to the company's "service-centric culture." The services piece—managed as well as services in general—is something Shaw knows well. And it's not an overstatement to say that TSI is big into service. When I did that story in January, Larry Simmons, TSI VP of client services, told me that if a customer is not interested in “a strong service offering, we don’t waste resources [on that job].” As a result, TSI in January was “very close to achieving our goal of being able to cover 100 percent of our operating costs [with] recurring revenue."

AT TSI, If service techs want to leave a job site without completing a service call for any reason, the request must be approved by a regional manager, a director, and ultimately by the CEO or Simmons before that tech may leave the job without finishing. TSI’s service program is called FOCUS, and the company reports some impressive results. “In 2012, TSI responded to 16,467 FOCUS-related service calls. We only failed to either achieve response time or functionality 30 times, giving TSI a 99.99 percent success rate. Our success rate has not dropped below 99.7 percent over the past three years,” Simmons said.

In her new role as Client Development Manager, Shaw will develop continuing education programs for Tech Systems’ customers and staff.  The idea is to have a “quality communications programs and [see that there’s] a continuing stream of relevant information so everyone is informed and when they’re making decisions, they have the best tools and resources available to them,” she told me.

Tech Systems has 164 employees across the country. Headquartered here, it has other brick-and-mortar offices in North Carolina and California. Employees elsewhere work from virtual offices.

Congratulations to Shaw, and kudos to TSI for a smart hire.

 

 

 

 

SAFE Security acquires thousands in accounts, RMR

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The good news keeps on coming from SAFE Security. I just wrote recently how the San Ramon, Calif.-based company—celebrating its silver anniversary this year—has doubled in size. Now, SAFE has announced this week that it has acquired more than 16,000 accounts, representing $650,000 in RMR.

The new accounts are CastleRock Security residential and commercial alarm monitoring subscriber accounts.

“These accounts fit very nicely into our U.S. and Canada footprint,” Paul Sargenti, SAFE president, CEO and founder, said in a prepared statement in an Oct. 29 news release. “With this acquisition we have more than doubled our account base since 2012. We are well equipped to assimilate them and look forward to providing the highest standard in security services to these new subscribers.”

Sargenti added, “SAFE is firmly positioned as a full service alarm company and this purchase complements our other growing revenue channels.”

The company says it also is seeing strong organic growth from its dealer program, SAFE Dealer Network.

New role for Jay Hauhn

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Jay Hauhn, chief technology officer and VP of industry relations at Tyco Integrated Security, has been named president of CSAA. The announcement was made at the organization’s recent annual meeting in Quebec City. Hauhn, who most recently served as vice president for the organization, assumes the role held by Robert Bean, whose term expires this year.

Hauhn is actively involved in several industry organizations. Since 2011, he has served as chairman of the board at The Security Industry Association, a role in which he has executive responsibility for all interaction with industry associations, regulatory agencies and state and federal governments. His current term as Chairman of the Board at SIA ends this year.

Hauhn also sits on the board of directors at the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, and he is chairman of the Electronic Security Association’s government relations committee.  

I’m scheduled to speak with Hauhn later this week about his expanded role at CSAA. In that interview, I’ll discuss some of Hauhn’s short- and long-term ambitions as the newly minted leader of the organization.

Intel invests $15m in Prism SkyLabs

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Prism Skylabs, a two-year-old startup founded by Ron Palmeri and 3VR’s Steve Russell today announced a $15 million Series B funding round led by Intel Capital, Intel Corporations’ investment and M&A business. The round included investments from Presidio Ventures, Triangle Peak, Data Collective, Expa, and some existing investors, Russell told me.

Prism Skylab is a cloud service that transforms any video camera “into visual merchandising, auditing and business intelligence tool that can be accessed in real time from any device.”

“On the business side, it’s hard to overstate the value of having [an investor] like Intel for a company like Prism,” Russell said.

The funding round was announced today in San Diego at the 14th Annual Intel Capital Global Summit where Intel awarded a total of $65 million in funding to 16 companies.

“At this conference we are able to look at how Prism might integrate with next-gen mobile devices [as well as the possibilities, for example, of using] new techniques in a data center that will allow us to increase our performance over 100-fold.”  

“The core of our business is the R&D and product work we do, and we’ll continue to invest in that,” Russell said, but the bulk of the funds from this round will be used for sales and marketing.

Since its launch, Prism has “brought on a host of interesting first customers, the new challenge for the business is to continue to serve the large customers we’ve won already and to build out our sales and marketing team to expand [the customer base] even further.”

Prism SkyLabs has “well north of 50 customers” that include Fortune 500 companies and well-known brands that fall into the category of “large distributed retail companies.”

“We solve one or two important problems for them,” Russell said. “We provide a set of data and instruments in the real world that heretofore you could only get for online properties. … The other value we provide is allowing global brands to peek in and better manage their stores,” he added.

“It’s the analytic and visual [capabilities] that are really the secret sauce,” he said.

Prism now has about 30 employees and Russell expects to double the size of the company within the next 12 months.

Prism raised $7.5 million in funding in October 2012.

“Intel Capital has long been known as a hands-on investor,” Russell said. Among the ways the investor will assist Prism include “providing networking and matchmaking [among] its truly vast portfolio [of partners].”

The Intel Summit “[has] been an incredibly productive and fun three days for us,” he said.

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