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RedShift gets $6m more in funding

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Thursday, February 19, 2009
The investor community continues to commit money to the security industry and ancillary manufacturers. You'll see on the home page a story about new investment in Alarm.com, which the CEO calls a good sign for the industry. And I found on the wire today this story about RedShift, which develops thermal surveillance technology, getting another $6 million in funding from a collection of investors:
RedShift will use the funding to complete development of its Thermal Light Valve(TM) -based camera platform, which is designed to be the lowest-cost and easiest-to-integrate thermal imaging solution for OEMs. Thermal imaging is a critical technology for enabling a range of emerging energy efficiency products such as intelligent HVAC, energy auditing in buildings, adaptive data center cooling and network power management. Until RedShift, thermal imaging was largely unaffordable for use in these and many other applications. “We are thrilled that Emerson has decided to back RedShift,” said Matthias Wagner, Chairman and co-Founder of RedShift. “There is tremendous fit between our technology and Emerson’s businesses and I expect this investment will be the start of a very productive relationship.”
They don't actually mention security, but I'm sure someone could creatively use such technology, and I know they have some exposure to security in general. Also, want to point out where I found this information. PeHUB provides great coverage of the venture capital and investor world and you can get a daily email from them by clicking here. The author of the email, Dan Primack, is quite good. Almost makes all that money talk seem interesting.

Brink's news: profits up, Soros is among stockholders

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Thursday, February 19, 2009
Brink's Home Security released Q4 earnings today. Below is a a brief AP report on that, and further down an item on billionaire and big Democrat George Soros, who bought a little more than 1,100,000 shares of Brink's Home Security stock before the end of the year, and before that stock price went up.
Brink's Home Security's 4Q profit gains 21 percent Brink's Home Security 4th-quarter profit rises on bigger subscriber base Wednesday February 18, 2009, 9:46 am EST IRVING, Texas (AP) -- Brink's Home Security Holdings Inc. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit increased 21 percent due to a larger subscriber base and lower royalty expense. Net income rose to $14.8 million, or 32 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, from $12.2 million, or 27 cents per share, in the year-ago period. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast a fourth-quarter profit of 39 cents per share. The estimates typically exclude items. The company said it benefited from a reduction in the royalty rate charged by its former parent for November and December. Typically, the rate equaled about 7 percent of revenue, but decreased to 1.25 percent in November. Quarterly revenue gained 7 percent to $135.2 million from $126 million in the previous year due to growth in subscriber base and higher average monitoring rates. The company said its subscribers increased to 1.3 million, up more than 6 percent in the same period a year ago. For the year, earnings increased to $57.1 million, or $1.25 per share, from $44.2 million, or 96 cents per share, in 2007. Analysts were predicting earnings of $1.59 per share. Yearly revenue rose to $532.3 million from $484.4 million.
And this on George Soros:
New Purchase: BRINKS HOME SECURITY HOLDINGS INC (CFL) George Soros initiated holdings in BRINKS HOME SECURITY HOLDINGS INC. His purchase prices were between $15.5 and $23.5, with an estimated average price of $19.6. The impact to his portfolio due to this purchase was 0.82%. His holdings were 1,146,542 shares as of 12/31/2008.

CSAA looking for 2009 Central Station Excellence Awards entrants

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Get the Recognition Your Company and Employees Deserve! The CSAA has announced it's looking for entrants for it's annual Excellence Awards. Three years ago, CSAA initiated the CSAA Central Station Excellence Awards program to recognize the industry's central station, central station manager and the central station operator that best exemplified excellence in central station operation. In every industry, there are outstanding companies, managers and operators who all perform to the highest levels and standards. In fact, these are the companies and people that are constantly exploring new ways to raise the standards of performance and quality in an industry. The Board of Directors of CSAA feels that it is fitting that we continue to recognize the efforts of extraordinary companies and the extraordinary people who make them work. The CSAA Awards are open to all UL Listed and/or FM Approved Central Stations—including company-owned, proprietary, and wholesale (third-party) central stations. This year CSAA will again recognize the best central station and individuals with three distinct awards: The Central Station of the Year Award The Central Station Manager of the Year Award The Central Station Operator of the Year Award The winners will be announced and the awards conferred at the CSAA Awards Breakfast on June 24, 2009 during the 2009 Electronic Security Expo in Baltimore, Md. How to Participate IMPORTANT: New this year, you will be asked to submit some of your responses on a downloadable spreadsheet: 1. Click here to download the spreadsheet. (Please ignore any messages indicating that the file is corrupted). 2. Save the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet on your computer under a new name (do not complete the form on the browser). 3. E-mail the completed spreadsheet before April 8, 2009 to the CSAA. 4. Download the rest of the materials by visiting the CSAA. You will also receive a mailing with the main application form. 5. You may e-mail the rest of the application as well, or you may send 10 completed copies of the rest of your application to CSAA, 8150 Leesburg Pike, Suite 700, Vienna, Va. 22182; Attention: Celia Besore. If you have any questions, please contact Celia Besore at 703-242-4670, Ext. 16. The deadline for submitting your Awards entries is Wednesday, April 8, 2009. All materials submitted are held in the strictest confidence. This is your opportunity to let your central station, your best manager, and your best operator get the recognition they deserve. Thank you for your commitment to raising the quality and standards of our profession and good luck!

File under: Well, of course

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Goverment Computer News gives us the following headline today: Physical security and cybersecurity go hand in hand Revelatory, I know. And I'm not trying to bust on GCN. I think they're among many who are just now coming to the same conclusion. And this isn't even about "convergence." It's about making sure you control access to your data center, keep track of your laptops, make sure people don't just walk out of your facility with USB drives filled with data they're not supposed to have access to. The thing is, public companies are way out in front on some of this because of Sarb-Ox regulations, which require that you have an audit trail of who had access to what data, those same regulations put in place by the U.S. government, but apparently not practiced by the U.S. government. Shocker. This seems to be the crux of the problem:
In the early days of computing physical and cyber security were one and the same. Mainframe computers were locked in computer rooms and accessed by hardwired dumb terminals. But as computers became smaller, smarter and more ubiquitous, property and data were dealt with separately and there traditionally has been little reintegration of physical and cyber security. Today, data in any form can be the most valuable asset in any organization, government or private, and the proliferation of devices on which it resides means that physical security is becoming as critical to protecting it as cyber security.
There seems to be a logical problem with that paragraph. As in: At first, we locked the doors to the computer room, then computers got smaller, so we didn't worry about controlling access to them anymore. Huh? Anyway, what's done is done. And if anyone read my live blog of the Focus event last week, you'll remember that this obliviousness to the importance of protecting data is widespread, according to Dan Dunkel:
“One major concern is that $200 billion annually in intellectual property theft is occuring. U.S. doesn’t manufacture much anymore. It’s our technology and intelligence, and it’s getting ripped off by the Chinese, the Russians, the Israelis, the French. It’s a huge, huge problem.
Sure, intellectual theft can happen via hacking, but it can also happen via someone walking off with your laptop. This is why it's not surprising to me that every time I ask about biometrics, integrators tell me they sell most biometric access systems for the protection of data centers and data rooms. The data needs protecting more than anything else the facility. As in, from GCN:
True, breaches caused by hackers can generate huge losses and big headlines. The recent hacking of Heartland Payment Systems Inc. potentially exposed data from hundreds of millions of online transactions a month for an untold number of compromised persons. But don’t ignore the physical risks. One of the largest government data breaches occurred with the 2006 theft of a Veterans Affairs laptop containing records of more than 26 million persons. That incident has cost the VA $20 million in a settling a class action suit.
I'm not sure why people are just making this connection now, but it's worth reiterating, so kudos to GCN for putting it out there to their readership.

Robbie Murray dead at 61

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This sad news arrived from Potter Electric Signal Company on Friday. I thought I'd share it as many of you knew Robbie Murray.
It is with great sadness that Potter Electric Signal Company, LLC announces that Robinson ‘Robbie’ P. Murray, Age 61, passed away on Thursday, February 5, 2009 at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. Robbie was hired by Potter in May 2008 as Global Product Training Manager for the Fire and Security Division. Prior to Potter, Robbie held several key roles within the industry over the last 25 years. These roles included 10 years as ADT Security System’s Manager of Fire Design and 11 years as Cooper Wheelock’s Director of Global Business Marketing “We were extremely fortunate to have of Robbie as a part of the Potter family, even if it was only for a brief time.” says Hugh Blair, V.P. of Potter’s Fire and Security Division. “Robbie had such an extensive understanding of the product and people and will be missed greatly both as a colleague and friend.” says Blair. Robbie is remembered by many as living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment with his family and friends. Robbie is survived by his devoted wife, Barbara Sue (nee-Sabatino) and his loving daughter, Ashleigh

Videolarm sells for $45m

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009
In what seems to be a good sign for the security industry in general, large component manufacturer Moog (not, I think, the maker of the legendary Moog synthesizer) has purchased Videolarm for a princely sum of $45 million. I say "good sign" because it seems as though Moog is diversifying its assets to avoid getting hit too badly by the economy, and it seems to think security is a pretty safe bet. Assuming their M&A team don't suck at their jobs, its good that smart money guys don't think security will be too badly hit. I say "princely sum" because, without knowing very much about the deal, it seems $45 million to acquire a manufacturer with $19.5 million in 2008 revenues is a pretty good deal for Videolarm. If camera and housing manufacturers are being valued at 2.25x trailing 12 months sales, that's great. The company paid a lot, too, for QuickSet, which makes PTZ motors and gears. So maybe Moog is cornering the market on pieces and parts of IP cameras. It will be interesting to see what else they buy in security. I'm trying to line up a call with them.

Professor Polk: 'Evil Persists'

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Friday, February 13, 2009
Here are some notes from CapitalSource's Bill Polk's talk at the Barnes Buchanan Conference. Professor Polk gave an informative and amusing lecture on the state of the debt markets. (He's not actually a professor to my knowledge, he just seems like one.) He provided nice historical perspective on the "immense volatility" in the markets today and some scary details about being in the "midst of unprecedented challenges to the global financial markets." Times are tough and the price of debt is going up, but (like Mike Barnes and others) he called his message "relatively positive for the security industry." In perhaps the most repeated phrase of the conference, Polk said security's not a bad place to be because "Evil persists and the capital markets know it." Debt may be getting more expensive for security companies, but "let me assure you that there are industries out there that don't have a prayer of raising a dime of debt." "Expect to see more club deals," he said. "More lenders working together to structure deals to diversify risk." Adding to something Henry Edmonds talked to me about before the conference, (Edmonds is CEO of The Edmonds Group in St. Louis and a former business partner and business school buddy of Polk's) Polk said the "distressed transaction market will open up." In some instances the deals will come up not because the operating company itself is in trouble, but because the "hedge fund investor is in trouble." (Here's the story I wrote from my conversation with Henry.) And, repeating something I've heard Polk say before, "a great CFO is a great investment," especially now. He advised alarm companies to "go out and get a great guy or girl and treat them well."

Barnes Buchanan update

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Friday, February 13, 2009
I returned late Friday night from the Barnes Buchanan Security Alarm Conference, but haven't had time to blog about it because I've been busy with our March issue which has now been sent to the printers. There will be lots in the March issue about the conference, but here are a few highlights and some fun stuff that won't be in the book. First some background: BB is a conference that brings together the financial people and dealers and integrators for the purpose of talking about what's going on in the market. Presentations delve into market values, operating metrics, growth patterns and predictions, industry trends, new technology--you get the idea. It's co-sponsored by Barnes Associates, an investment banking and consulting firm that specializes inthe security alarm industry and the law firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney. It takes place at The Breakers in Palm Beach, and, as one speaker said: "We were all wondering if people were going to come to Palm Beach to The Breakers this year." Guess what? Attendance was up this year. Not by a lot, and some of the faces had changed, but there were about 10 more people there compared to 2008. There was plenty of talk about financial Armegeddon in the markets and sobering signs in the industry, but the outlook from Barnes and others was that things could be a lot worse. Compared to other sectors, the security industry is doing OK. Here's the newswire story I wrote for this week with some more details. In addition to MIke's much-anticipated talk. I feel like "much anticipated" is part of the title, but it's true. The room is packed for that presentation and people are always clambering for the hand-out. Really. An investment guy I was talking to grabbed two of them when they were handed out. There were company presentations including one from George Broady of Kings III of America, who, in an aside, quipped about the benefits, these days of not being a public company. He was quoted over and over during the conference. Daniel Demers, CEO of Reliance Protectron was asked about the Canadian economy and how it compares to the U.S. economy.
The economy in Canada? My vision is that the Canadian banking system is completely different. We read that it’s one of the best the world … Plus there are laws in place to prevent people from accessing property they cannot afford.” With that said, Demers noted that “80 percent of our economy is tied into the United States. I predict within six to nine months it’s going to hit us. We can feel it already.
If you happen to have a 12-year-old son, like I do, you may have heard of the movie Paul Blart Mall Cop. I hadn’t been tempted to see it, but may have to now. Seems one of the movie’s co-writers worked at Doyle Security (in Rochester, NY) in the 1970s when it still had a guard business and that experience was the inspiration for this movie. John Doyle, CEO of Doyle Security told the crowd this during a presentation he made and noted that the movie exceeded his expectations. Joe Nuccio of ASG talked about health care and government being a strong vertical for them, something that others involved in systems integration also said. Ira Riklis of COPS stayed on-message during his presentation: He had this message for lenders: a company's alarm accounts are your collateral. If you have them at a proprietary central station during tough times, that's risky. Wholesale, and more specifically, COPS, is the way to go. John Murphy CEO of Vector and CSAA booster was perhaps even more on-message than Ira. His message: Join the CSAA; it's your responsibility--especially if you're among the top three alarm companies. He said joining CSAA is the smart thing to do. Also, when in Rome, (at a CSAA meeting) do as the other CSAA members do: Network. And another post script: Wholesale monitoring is not necessarily the way to go for everyone. ApxAlarm had a big presence at the event. I counted four executives and there may have been a couple more. More impressive was that Apx had its very own suite, where it held a series of meetings from 9-6 on Thursday. That’s what the sign said outside the large room that everyone had to pass on the way to the Ponce de Leon room where the Barnes Buchanan presentations took place. This post is almost as long as one of Sam's. I'm going to quit here, but I've got more notes from BB for later blogs. Stay tuned.

LoJack launches SafetyNet to track and rescue wanderers

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Friday, February 13, 2009
LoJack, best known for helping bust crooks who try to steal your car is moving into people tracking with the launch, announced this week, of LoJack SafetyNet, which fills a market need for a solution that tracks and aids in the rescue of people who are at risk of wandering, including those with cognitive and developmental disabilities like Alzheimer's, autism, Down syndrome and dementia. The SafetyNet launch comes on the heels of LoJack's acquisition of Locator Systems, which provided technology to Project Lifesaver International (PLI), a network of more than 900 law enforcement/public safety agencies nationwide, which have been trained and certified in the use of electronic search and rescue technology. LoJack is now in the process of rendering Locator Systems technology more durable, eliminating equipment costs for law enforcement and public safety agencies, and establishing a working relationship with PLI. This seems like a natural expansion of the PERS market, and one that PERS providers could potentially get in on. It brings to mind a recent story I wrote on WindTrac and its admonishment that the industry do more, exploit all the avenues for growth before it, and go mobile. I'll be adding quotes from Paul McMahon at LoJack when I talk to him.

So, do the cops in Indiana still support ECV?

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Thursday, February 12, 2009
Maybe I've got Michael Phelps on the brain, but this story struck me as particularly amusing:
SOUTH BEND, IN (AP) - Mother Nature helped police uncover a home marijuana-growing operation. Police say a gust of wind set off a security alarm at a home in western St. Joseph County Tuesday, prompting Indiana State Police Trooper Mick Dockery to investigate. Dockery found the back door of the home open. Inside the home, his police dog indicated the presence of drugs. Police found 19 marijuana plants and 40 grams of processed marijuana. No arrests have been made, but St. Joseph County prosecutors are reviewing possible charges against the homeowners.
Anyone know the central that dispatched this? I'd love to know if they used enhanced call verification? Because I just can't imagine why some stoner who's growing dope would purchase and maintain a monitored security alarm. Was he scared someone would steal his dope? Then go after the guy for grand larceny? Makes you wonder if the cops are still so in favor of ECV, right? I mean, if they had reached this guy on a cell, do you think he'd have recommended the police investigate the premises? Just how many drug arrests is ECV preventing - that's what I'd like to know. Also, this strikes me as a perfect market for InGrid and Total Connect and the like: The dope-growing market. Clearly, these guys want to protect their stash, so I'm sure they'd love an alarm system that sent an alert by text straight to their mobile devices. You know, they're out at the burrito joint, taking care of their munchies, when all of a sudden they get a text: "Motion in Zone 1." Stoner 1: "Dude, did you put the dog out?" Stoner 2: "Dude, I don't know, dude. Maybe?" Stoner 1: "Ah, man, Total Connect just texted me: Someone might be stealing our stash!" Stoner 2: "That's cool. I've got the camera rigged up to my iPhone. Hold on a sec and I'll see what's the haps ... Yep, it's toootally the dog! We're all set, dude. Can you pass the hot sauce, man?" Maybe InGrid could make one of their cool promotional videos along these lines with guys from Pineapple Express? I renounce all copyright to the above script, if so. My gift to them.

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