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SSN editors want to meet you at ISC West

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Before you hit the ISC West show floor, I hope you’ll stop by our “Meet the Editors” event.

Rich will be coordinating newswires and doing other editorial projects from the home office in Maine, but (SSN managing editor) Tess, (SDN managing editor) Amy and I look forward to meeting you at the event, which will take place from 9-10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 10 at the ISC West Media Stage.

The stage is right outside the entrance to the show floor—you can’t miss it. Stop by and introduce yourself, tell us about your plans for ISC West, what's going on at your company. Complaints, compliments, suggestions, scoops--happy to hear them all.

Industry veteran Don Trask dies at 75

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Sad news out of Texas: Don Trask, former vice president of operations for Online Alarm Quotes, died last week in Dallas at age 75.

“Don was one of the very first employees of Monitronics and helped build their central station,” Tom Fowler, president of Online Alarm Quotes, told SSN. “A very good soul. He was one of the nicest people I ever encountered in any walk of life. Please make mention of his passing and keep his family in your prayers.”

Trask was the executive vice president and CEO of Trask Enterprises, doing business as New West Security in Duncanville, Texas. Before his employment at Online Alarm Quotes and Monitronics, he worked for Southland Corp., the Arthur Trask Corp. and 3M Corp., according to his profile on LinkedIn.

Trask was born and raised in the Chicago area and attended the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth Sheri Trask; daughters Nancy and Elizabeth; stepson Corey, and his grandchildren.

“Don was the kind of friend that renewed faith in people,” Fowler said. “He was there for you without asking and without question.”

Floor space filling up fast at ESX

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

ESX is one of the fastest-growing trade shows in the country, a distinction that hasn’t been lost on the industry’s top monitoring and integration companies. The expo floor is already more than 70 percent sold for this year’s event, which will be moving down the street from Nashville’s Convention Center the new Music City Center.

More than 140 exhibitors were on board as of Monday, including 30 companies that weren’t on the floor last year. Among the new participants from the monitoring world are Criticom Monitoring Services (CMS), Metrodial and SAFE Security.

Some of the busiest real estate at ESX 2013 is likely to be found at the NexTech Zone, where exhibitors focused on home automation, energy management, IT and interactive services will display the latest products and services. With Time Warner, ADT and other big players increasingly moving into this space, it’s probably a good idea for central stations to stay ahead of the curve (or at least not fall behind it).

There also will be 10 educational sessions at ESX focusing on central station operations and technology. Topics range from how to find and retain quality operators (and customers) to the monitoring world beyond PERS, with some of the top names in the industry leading the discussions. To find out more about what ESX has to offer—pencil in June 17-21 if you haven't already—or to register, click here.

What you should have on your calendar: 7:30 a.m., April 10, 2013

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

As you’re putting your ISC West calendar together, make sure that you have The Security 5K on your list. Now in its fourth year, the race (and 2K walk) will take place on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30 a.m. The start line is within easy walking distance to the Venetian. Click here for the link to sign up.

Security Systems News and Security Director News founded this event with Mission 500 four years ago. We’re proud to be involved and pleased that the list of generous manufacturer sponsors is getting longer.

Whether you walk, run or show up to cheer your industry colleagues along, The Security 5K is a fun way to start your second day of ISC West.

You and your colleagues can sign up as a team or individually online or at ISC West on Wednesday. We had more than 400 runners and walkers last year and expect even more this year.

However, the most important way you can participate is by sponsoring a runner or walker. All of the proceeds go to benefit Mission 500, a wonderful organization that literally saves children’s lives. It provides basic necessities, food, clothing and housing for some of the neediest children in the world. Last year we raised $90,000, making a real difference in children’s lives. Your participation matters. See you there.

 

Billionaires bet on ADT

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I’ve been writing here about the sunny outlook for The ADT Corp. stock since the newly independent company began publicly trading last fall after spinning off from Tyco International. But don’t just take my word for it—apparently 10 billionaires also think ADT is a good investment.

Gurufocus.com, a web site that's oriented toward value investing, noted this week that 10 billionaire investors have all recently invested in Boca Raton, Fla.-based ADT.

Here’s more from what Gurufocus had to say:

ADT got the attention of Investor Gurus Julian Robertson, John Burbank, Dodge & Cox, George Soros, Jean-Marie Eveillard, John Keeley, Mario Gabelli, Steven Cohen, James Barrow, and Paul Tudor Jones--all bought ADT shares for the first time on Dec. 31, 2012, at $48 per share, with a change from average of 14%. Current share price is $49.43. Top buyer Dodge & Cox bought 6,810,838 ADT shares, followed by Jean-Marie Eveillard who bought 1,526,071 shares. At the low-end, Guru Paul Tudor Jones bought new holdings of 10,000 ADT shares. See detailed Guru Trade info here.

A leading provider of electronic security, detection, and monitoring for home and business, ADT features interactive and automated products and services for active people with increasingly mobile lifestyles. The Florida company employs approximately 16,000 people at 200 locations, and serves six million customers. This week ADT announced that its Board of Directors had declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.125 per share of common stock, to be paid on May 15, 2013 to stockholders of record as of the close of business on April 24, 2013.

… GuruFocus performed a thorough financial and performance checkup on ADT and found only one warning sign. The ADT price of $49.43 is close to its one-year high of $49.46.

 

Avigilon locates ‘global sales HQ in U.S.’

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vancouver-based Avigilon, manufacturer of megapixel cameras and other video surveillance products, is opening a U.S. headquarters in Dallas, the company announced this morning.
 
This location will also be the “global headquarters for sales.” Employees will include sales, business development and customer support.  The company plans to “add additional customer support personnel over the next year.”  

Bryan Schmode, executive vice president of global sales, will run the office.

Avigilon became a public company in the fall of 2011and has reported impressive growth and ambitious revenue goals since.  Some management changes were announced in October of 2012.

In a statement, Alexander Fernandes, president and CEO at Avigilon, noted that the “U.S. market accounts for a healthy percentage of our revenue.” Notable installations include: Minnesota Twins' Target Field, the Hard Rock Casino and Hotel in Albuquerque and the Dallas Love Field Airport.

"We chose Dallas because it is a business-friendly city. With access to an incredible talent pool and quality infrastructure it's no wonder several major corporations call this city home,” Fernandez said in a prepared statement.

Telguard gets PERS partner; COPS plans Gilley’s bash

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Telguard has expanded its reach into the PERS marketplace by licensing its cellular technology to Mytrex, a South Jordan, Utah-based manufacturer of medical alarm systems.

Mytrex is targeting independent seniors who are doing away with POTS but still want medical response service. The technology used in Telguard’s TG-P cellular PERS communicator can now be found in Mytrex’s MXD3G “turnkey” PERS solution.

Mytrex President Richard Bangerter said his company was looking for a partner “with proven cellular technology and service to enhance our product line and help us address the growing no-landline senior population.” That led to Telguard, which provides solutions for wireless monitoring of intrusion and fire systems.

One of the selling points for the MXD3G is that it's "central-station agnostic," eliminating the need to purchase and maintain proprietary equipment.

“As long as a dealer’s central station advertises support for two-way voice, the MXD3G using Telguard service can be installed to deliver it,” the company said in a prepared statement.

The device is available through Telguard or Mytrex.

Work hard, play hard: COPS Monitoring is planning a Dealer Appreciation Bonanza during ISC West that will include cocktails, dinner, line dancing and a mechanical bull riding competition for anyone brave enough to saddle up.

“We wanted to celebrate the opening of our 8,000-square-foot central station in Texas and our recent acquisition of AlarmWATCH,” COPS President and COO Jim McMullen said in a prepared statement. “Our dealers work hard all year long. We thought that it would be exciting if we hosted an event that gave them the opportunity to play hard as well.”

The gathering will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. at Gilley’s at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. There will be door prizes and dealers will be able to commemorate the evening with a Western-themed picture from the event photo booth. Co-sponsors are Alarm Funding Associates, CheckVideo, the SS&Si Dealer Network, Telguard and TimePayment.

Space is limited and is reserved for qualified alarm dealers and their guests. For more information or to find out if you qualify for complimentary tickets, click here or call Betty Hudson at 800-367-2677, Ext. 1256.

Cableco expands home security to Canada’s ‘Golden Horseshoe’

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I wrote recently about two Canadian giants, cable company Rogers Communications and telecommunications company Bell Aliant, planning to offer home security/home automation for the first time in Atlantic Canada this spring. And now Rogers has announced it’s expanding the service in its Ontario footprint.

Rogers launched its Smart Home Monitoring in its cable footprint in Ontario in August 2011. And today, Toronto-based Rogers announced it is now expanding its offering to Ontario’s “Golden Horseshoe.” That’s a region of southern Ontario that includes Greater Toronto and is quite densely populated, with about 26 percent of Canada’s population calling the region home, according to Internet sources.

Rogers said its service now will be available to residents of the Golden Horseshoe, which includes Oakville, Lincoln, West Lincoln, Grimsby, Hamilton and the Greater Hamilton area, Burlington, Niagara Falls, Thorold, Pelham, Niagara-on-the-Lake, St. Catharines, Wainfleet, Welland, Fort Erie and Port Colborne.

Roger’s offering, like Bell Aliant’s NextGen Home Security, is professionally installed and monitored. Both offering are powered by California-based iControl’s OpenHome software platform.

“We're thrilled to now offer Rogers Smart Home Monitoring to residents of the Golden Horseshoe," Ian Pattinson, VP and general manager, Rogers Smart Home Monitoring, said in a prepared statement. “Since we launched a year and a half ago, our customers continue to discover new system features that keep their homes and families secure while helping them better manage their daily lives for ultimate peace of mind.”

The company said that customers’ alarms are monitored by the Rogers Central Monitoring Station, “a 24/7, real-time monitoring service provided by certified security experts with over twenty years of experience in security, monitoring and emergency services.”

Motorola makes $6.5m investment in BriefCam

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Video synopsis provider BriefCam has a brand new $6.5 million investment led by Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, the investment arm of Motorola Solutions.

I spoke to Droro Irani, CEO and president of BriefCam today who told me this is a Round 3 investment for Briefcam, but that  Motorola is a new investor and new strategic partner for BriefCam.

Irani is excited about the investment and the fact that Motorola joined “forces with us on the business side.” Motorola signed a worldwide reseller agreement with BriefCam. While the investment arm and business side of Motorola are separate businesses, the deals happened at about the same time, Irani said.

The new funds will be used to expand BriefCam’s presence in the U.S., China, South Asia, and other locations where Motorola has a presence.

BriefCam has “a lot of customers on the safe city [vertical] in the U.S.,” Irani said. He expects Motorola to introduce BriefCam to its many customers who work on “similar government-related projects,”

BriefCam’s flagship product is the Video Synopsis solution which enables the quick review, analysis and indexing of video surveillance footage.

Irani said BreifCam has had a lot of success in the U.S. and China with its “on demand” concept.

“The mindset and technology is still led by the U.S., and in China, there’s been a dramatic increase in the use and budget [for] public safety [installations],” he said.

The company has “several installations that include thousands of cameras and the new architecture allow us … to support really big installations like those that are typical in safe city installations,” he said. On the commercial side, BriefCam is looking to grow in the hospital, higher ed and critical infrastructure verticals. BriefCam and partners will be showcasing its solutions at ISC West, he said.

The funding round included participation from all of BriefCam’s exisiting investors. Another new investor is Hebrew University. “In a way it closes the circle,” Irani said. “Our IP comes out of Hebrew University and now [the university’s fund] decided to join in.”

 

ADT sued over early termination fees

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Early termination fees are pretty much standard in the security industry but now The ADT Corp. is facing a lawsuit over them, I’ve learned.

Earlier this week two law firms announced the filing of a class action lawsuit in federal court in California on behalf of ADT Home Monitoring Services customers regarding early termination fees, also termed early cancellation fees.

The law offices of Bursor & Fisher and of Jana Eisinger contend in a news release that the fees are illegal and the “lynchpin of ADT's ‘never let them go’ strategy.”

The attorneys are urging consumers who believe they were wronged to contact them.

Here’s more from the March 4 release:
 

The proposed class consists of two groups of consumers: (1) all current or former consumer subscribers of ADT who have been charged an early termination fee or are subject to being charged an early termination fee (also called an Early Termination Fee or Early Cancellation Fee, collectively "ETF", and comprising the "ETF class"); and (2) all current or former consumer subscribers of ADT whose rates were increased or are subject to increase by ADT without prior notice while in the initial contract period or during subsequent contractual extensions.

This class action is intended to redress ADT's wrongful practice of imposing early termination fees, the lynchpin of ADT's "never let them go" strategy. Early termination fees are unlawful penalties used simply as an anti-competitive device and do not compensate ADT for any true costs of breach. These penalties, which are unilaterally imposed by ADT - even when ADT fails to perform the services promised - also violate the consumer protection statutes of California and Illinois and similar laws nationwide.

The early termination penalty is extracted under circumstances which cannot be justified, when ADT has failed to perform the very services that form the basis of ADT's obligation. The penalty is also extracted from customers who contracted with ADT to simply monitor a system that was previously installed, requiring no equipment to be installed and resulting in a windfall to ADT upon termination. By charging the early termination fee ADT gets paid for years of monitoring without doing any monitoring to earn those fees.

In addition, Plaintiffs seek redress for ADT's pattern of unilaterally increasing alarm monitoring fees while consumers are under contract for lesser fees. These increases are implemented without adequate prior notice and without providing the appropriate and required disclosures necessary to ensure that customers consent to these increases in advance. ADT relies on small boilerplate text neither signed nor highlighted for customers to claim its "right" to unilaterally increase fees.

I contacted ADT and Sarah Cohn, ADT director of media relations, who responded that the company has a policy of not commenting on pending litigation. She noted however, that “termination fees are common in the industry when a company absorbs the upfront cost of the installation.”

I’ve also reached out to the lawyers involved to find out why they’re targeting ADT. Stay posted!

 

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