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See you at Booth 5047

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Thursday, March 26, 2009
Sam and I were arguing over who would get to blog about this press release from The Spy Place. I won. What's The Spy Place? It's a security business that's going to start a franchise. Franchisees will do GPS monitoring, document destruction, (and, I'm unclear, but have some kind of security gift shop?) Anyway, the whole shebang will be introduced at ISC West. First: I love the name. Spies are cool. Harriet the Spy was my favorite book in elementary school. I took my kids to the Spy Museum when it opened in DC. There were a few years when I actually wanted to be a spy ... Nice name. And I like franchises. We've reported on a lot of franchises lately, so I'm interested in this trend. I'm really interested in this press release though. The release gives some history of The Spy Place, which has "humble beginnings" in Indiana. There's talk of the "energy" created by this name and how the opportunity represents a "paradigm shift." The final quote is a paradigm shift in setting expectations. What, you think The Spy Place might stink? Well think again. Spokesperson Smock says:
”We packaged it. We packaged it like it has never been packaged before. We wrapped it up, along with our most unique business model and plan, in the most easily recognizable, electrically charged, energy generating way. The Spy Place is sure to become the most recognized name in the security industry, period,” explains Ms. Smock.
You can't keep me away from Booth 5047. See you there, and here's the rest of the release.
The Spy Place Franchising, LLC Offering a Full-Service, Fully-Integrated Security System Debuts at ISC West—Booth # 5047 Las Vegas, NV (April 1, 2009) From its humble beginnings as a security shop in Fort Wayne, Indiana, The Spy Place has developed into a full-service, fully-integrated security system franchise that is being introduced at the International Security Conference (ISC) West, at the Sands Convention Center, April 1—3, according to Tammy Smock, The Spy Place spokesperson. “The Spy Place is geared to become a leading security and surveillance franchise company. The energy created by this name and system are unlike anything in the industry. We are committed to helping entrepreneurs take full advantage of the energy and industry diversity created by The Spy Place,” notes Ms. Smock. “We have all seen successful businesses that service only one aspect of the security or surveillance industry such as GPS vehicle tracking software, mobile document destruction, limited access or lighting. That corporate model can only go so far and is self-limiting. We believe that franchising a system that allows for one business to serve every aspect of the industry is a paradigm shift that will allow this industry to grow and develop,” says to Ms. Smock. “We pride ourselves on being an innovative franchisor utilizing the highest quality training and systems for our franchisees. The Spy Place franchisees will run our exciting James Bond-type retail store complete with the most innovative and exciting spy gadgets. Our unique system and trademarked name, The Spy Place, allow for a panoply of surveillance services far beyond the generalized business model of installation and monitoring, limited access and lighting control. There is no limit as to what our franchisees can do in this industry. In addition to the general business model, our franchisees can also service GPS vehicle tracking, document destruction, vehicle recovery, personal protection, private investigation, computer forensics, and any other niche from within the industry. In essence, the franchisees will be running several different businesses under one name,” adds Ms. Smock. In order to train franchisees, the company will provide a fully-integrated sales training program including “Perception Training” at The Spy Place University in its world headquarters located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. During the two-week course, franchisees will be provided insight into the company’s operating system, along with its business knowledge and leadership. Because of the combined buying power of a franchise system, The Spy Place has arranged for franchise owners to receive preferred pricing from its approved surveillance industry suppliers. What did The Spy Place do for the surveillance and security Industry? ”We packaged it. We packaged it like it has never been packaged before. We wrapped it up, along with our most unique business model and plan, in the most easily recognizable, electrically charged, energy generating way. The Spy Place is sure to become the most recognized name in the security industry, period,” explains Ms. Smock. For additional information on this extraordinary franchise opportunity, please go to www.TheSpyPlace.com .

EMERgency24 launches new site with lead generator

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I just got a press release from EMERgency24. They've got a brand new site up and running. The new site features all kinds of educational features and a lead generation function, which should be helpful for dealers. The site actual looks pretty cool, and could serve as a nexus for the many different aspects of the world of security, from end-users to dealers, to AHJs. It's good to see more and more education going on out there. I've blogged about it before a few times.

Feel like poking around the NetVersant case?

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Have at it. It's currently making my head hurt, but I think I've pulled out some interesting information. Look for a story on our newswire tomorrow.

Cantronic buys in China

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Not a huge deal, but I think it's interesting that Canadian infrared video maker Cantronic has bought into Chinese video management firm AVINFO. IMS is talking about China being a $3 billion surveillance market. I guess Cantronic's trying to get in while the getting's good:
"The combination of AVINFO's network management software and Cantronic's camera products will allow us to offer a complete solution in China's rapidly expanding security and surveillance market," stated James Zahn, president and CEO of Cantronic. "AVINFO has established its software as one of the leading management platforms for monitoring and surveillance, with small and large installations in some 60 Chinese cities. As these cities expand their networks they are more likely to choose a proven software solution with a user interface that their staff has been trained on. With AVINFO, Cantronic has improved its product offering, acquired a growing customer base in China and added talented technical and sales management. Cantronic is now well positioned to achieve its China growth strategy."

Video surveillance is unbiased

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009
There's an interesting article in the Times today about video surveillance being used against police officers, either in vindicating accused individuals or in the process of perjury investigations against officers. I won't get into the specifics of the article, though it's a good read, because what did or didn't happen isn't really relevant. What I find interesting is that video gets us to a place that seems to be harder and harder to find nowadays: the truth. In a litigious society that's fallen in love with the argument at the expense of fact, good video surveillance delivers an unbiased eye and shows us what actually happened, rather than forcing us to rely on memories and explanations. There's real power in being able to see what actually happened. For those who cry "Big Brother" every time another camera is installed, this is yet another argument for more cameras to be installed. People are not watching these cameras in real time. No one is watching what you're doing. But if you're assaulted by a police officer, you can prove it happened. Isn't that empowering for the the little guy in this country who might be worried about being marginalized by a growing government? Isn't making everyone more accountable a good thing? As long as they're used correctly, video cameras offer public protection in a very real way.

Get in the central station source book

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
It's time for SSN's annual central station/monitoring source book, where we list all the third-party centrals and the services they offer. To get in, all you need to do is fill out this survey: http://vovici.com/wsb.dll/s/3cdcg24684 But do it now, because the DEADLINE IS MARCH 26. Why so soon? Because we've found that no one fills it out after the first week we send announce anyway. And the sense of urgency might actually generate more responses. Plus, everyone's going to be at ISC West after that.

More on the stimulus

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
I continue to be wary of people who think the stimulus package is going to be a boon for security. Here's another article talking about how ports are likely to use the money. Security isn't what they're concerned about:
The American Association of Port Authorities says more than 200 projects are available for funding to the tune of about $8.5 billion. Projects range from a $100 million lock replacement in the Soo locks to dock wall reconstruction for the Ports of Indiana and numerous dredging and channel maintenance projects around the county.
...
"Ports got a push after 9/11 with port security, but the transportation infrastructure component has really been given short shrift," he said. "There are people on the Hill and in the administration that understand both domestic and international trade is what really helps propel the economy, and if we're going to nurture that business, we've got to make sure the transportation connections are efficient."
Security will be a part of this stimulus, but when they say infrastructure, they mean infrastructure. There's going to be a lot of concrete poured and steel bent because of this stimulus package, but maybe not as much wire pulled and cameras installed as the industry might have hoped.

Bay Alarm getting into medical monitoring

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009
It looks like another big traditional alarm company has gotten into the medical alert monitoring business. I've blogged recently about traditional security companies getting into medical alert monitoring, and about other companies exploiting an under-served market. It just seems once you've got the equipment in place, medical monitoring, personal tracking--protecting people rather than locations--is a natural extension. Should more traditional alarm companies jump on the bandwagon? Should traditional medical alert monitoring companies like SafetyCare be worried? As Christopher Baskin of American Two-Way once said to me, "A rising tide floats all boats."

Smart money likes Brink's and so does Laura

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Monday, March 23, 2009
I'm just brimming with happy news today. Here's a report about what a smart buy Brink's Home Security is ... or will be in the long run. And Brink's booster Jerome Lande's (of MMI hedge fund fame) got nothing on my eighth-grade daughter, Laura, who "bought" this stock as part of a social studies project. She bought it at $20 and the stock's up $2 since her purchase. She keeps me updated, via text, sometimes more than once a day, on its movements.

From the good news folder: Michigan fire co has best year ever

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Monday, March 23, 2009
Wolverine Fire Protection Company,a Michigan fire alarm and sprinkler company that did $38 million in business last year is having "its best year in half a century," according to this story from the Flint Journal. (which I'm sure is thrilled to have some happy economic news to report for a change) This family-owned business has 130 employees and six offices in five states.

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