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ISC West 2018 coverage

 - 
Friday, April 6, 2018

ISC West 2018, held in Las Vegas, April 10-13, continued to build on the momentum it has built up over the past few years. From the educational sessions, many of which were standing-room-only, to a crowded and buzzing trade show floor, this year’s ISC West did not disappoint. Will Wise and Sherida Sessa from ISC Security Events confirmed my initial impressions of the show during our video interview for ssnTV on the ISC West Main Stage, noting that although they didn’t have final numbers yet, “key metrics” indicate that attendance is up again this year, in addition to an increase in the total number of exhibitors and new companies exhibiting.

In addition to the many video interviews I was able to do for ssnTV on the ISC West Main Stage, I was able to visit a number of booths throughout the week, as well as attend many key events and meetings led by industry leaders. The following is a recap of my time at ISC West.

Tuesday and Wednesday

Arriving on Monday proved wise, as I was able to attend some interesting educational sessions led by both SIA and PSA, which hosted a full day of educational sessions on Tuesday, many focused on leadership and helping integrators build and grow their businesses. For example, Chris Peterson, co-founder and principal, Vector Firm, presented a session, “Building Managed Service into your Business - Benefits to you and the Customer,” and Paul Boucherle, principal/founder, Matterhorn Consulting LLC, presented, “The Key to Executing Business Strategy.”

The SIA educational sessions I was able attend were spot on, including one of the most popular sessions on Tuesday, “The Future of Physical Security: The Decade Ahead,” presented by Terry Gold, principal analyst, D6 Research, who looked at how physical security will significantly change over the next decade, mostly defined by end users looking for value and comprehensive solutions that address both the physical and IT challenges faced today.

As has become a tradition at ISC West, I began Wednesday bright and early with the great folks at Axis Communications, which hosted its 11th annual press breakfast. Celebrating 30 years as a company here in the U.S., Fredrik Nilsson, VP Americas, and Martin Gren, founder, led us through a fun game of security-themed Jeopardy, with questions and answers that highlighted the many video and other product accomplishments the company has made over its storied history. In addition to “being an innovator” in the video space, Gren noted that IP audio provides a “huge opportunity for us to grow,” as the company continues to add new products within this category.

At the Feenics press event, the company made a couple of big announcements, including the steps it has taken in the area of cybersecurity, as well as its new pricing structure. Company president Denis Hebert pointed out that Keep by Feenics’ API service has achieved VerAfied certification by Veracode. He also outlined the company’s new pricing approach, Transaction-based Pricing, for large-scale enterprise installations or VAR’s running managed service operations. As Hebert noted, “The client only pays for what they use.”

At the Robotic Assistance Devices press event, company president and founder, Steve Reinharz, unveiled RAD’s newest artificially intelligent guarding solution—the Security Control and Observation Tower or SCOT—a standalone, remote, portable, self-sufficient intelligence observation tower designed to expand an organization's security reach instantly. SCOT, combined with the company’s robots, are part of what Reinharz calls a “paradigm shift for the industry,” which is beginning to leverage AI and robotics as a force multiplier within many verticals.

Moving to the ACRE booth, I was able to chat with Kim Loy and Joe Grillo about both the Vanderbilt and COMNET brands, and how the two “complement” each other nicely. They also gave me an update on Vanderbilt’s ACT365, a Cloud-based access control and video management solution that is now launched here in the U.S. after success globally. The company will be making “a big push” this year with ACT365 both here in the U.S. and globally, they said.

At the ASSA ABLOY booth, I attended the company’s press event, which was led by Mark Duato, executive vice president, aftermarket, ASSA ABLOY who provided an overview of the company’s strategy to stay at the forefront of innovation within access control. The company made several announcements during the show, including a new Intelligent Keys certification program developed to connect systems integrators with more business opportunities as well as a recurring revenue model for integration businesses. The company also announced new partnerships with Averics, BluB0X, Dot Origin, Identiv and Viscount.

Alarm.com made a big splash this year with the announcement of its “Alarm.com for Business,” a solution for the SMB market that the company unveiled just before the show. Matthew Zartman, director of communications, walked me through the new solution, which combines intelligent intrusion detection, video surveillance, access control and energy management into a single solution that is controlled through Alarm.com’s app. Zartman noted the focus is on “making it easy for dealers” to get more business, specifically on the commercial side.

At the Eagle Eye Systems booth, I chatted with company founder Dean Drako about the company’s “continued growth,” as well as many new announcements at the show, including the company’s new HD video over coax solution; a globalization project to meet the needs of multi-national customers; enhanced video analytics offered within the Eagle Eye Cloud Security Camera VMS; and a partnership with Hikvision USA to extend the Eagle Eye Cloud Security Camera Video Management System to include body worn cameras.

Over at the Genetec booth, I had a great conversation with Genetec VP of marketing Andrew Elvish, who spoke about the company’s commitment and focus on the cybersecurity of its products and partners, as well as how the company is working closely with end users and integrators to meet their needs. The company highlighted its new range of market-specific solutions developed to address the needs of airports, cities, educational institutions, retailers, and transportation customers. Elvish also spoke about how Genetec is helping its North American security directors to get ready for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Visiting the Hanwha Techwin booth, Miguel Lazatin, director of product and channel marketing, North America, updated me on the company’s continued evolution and growth over the past year. Lazatin said the company continues to “make huge investments in people and products.” The company announced five new IP-based Wisenet thermal cameras as well as a new line of mobile cameras, both of which are new categories for the company, Lazatin noted. The company also unveiled new multi-sensor camera options.

At the ISONAS booth, Melissa Stenger, VP of product management and marketing, and Rob Lydic, Global VP of Sales, talked with me about the evolution of the company’s IP access control solution and its hyper focus on cybersecurity and network protection, including ongoing PEN testing and third party testing of its products and systems. The company launched its IP-Bridge 2.0, a more powerful tool to help migrate old legacy systems into the IP era, including more processing power and additional functionality local to the device. The company also announced a new integration with Genetec software.

Thursday and Friday

Sat down with Kami Dukes, director of business development for AMAG Technology, who walked me through the company’s latest addition to their portfolio, RISK360, a global incident and case management system that investigates and analyzes incidents to help organizations operate more efficiently, save money, enforce compliance and mitigate risk. Dukes pointed out that the key is that RISK360 integrates seamlessly with AMAG’s Symmetry Access Control software, so events in RISK360 are communicated to Symmetry Access Control, and alarms in Symmetry generate events in RISK360.

At the Boon Edam booth, Tracie Thomas, VP of marketing, explained how the company’s “increased brand awareness” has led to “double-digit growth in the U.S.” The company has been growing its enterprise team as it expands on its full range of products that go way beyond the “turnstile” products to a full suite of access control solutions from the exterior of a facility to the most important spaces inside as well. Thomas talked about how the company is allowing security providers to be more proactive and predictive using its solutions to mitigate risk and avoid liability.

I spoke with Galaxy Control Systems’ president Robert Loughlin at their booth about new enhancements and integrations for the company’s flagship System Galaxy on-site access control software, and its cloud-based Cloud Concierge SaaS offering, which has gained tremendous traction with resellers since its introduction last year. Additional news includes the launch of a new A&E Program, and an OEM agreement with an international company based in Singapore to design, develop, manufacture and deliver OEM access control hardware and software that will be white labeled for sale exclusively in the EMEA region.

At the Altronix booth, Kirby Han, art director, gave me an overview of the company’s newest additions and updates to its growing product line, including its Trove series, which has added kits “to help dealers,” Han noted. The Trove Access and Power Integration Solutions simplify board layout and wire management, while providing extreme flexibility and scalability when designing and deploying access systems. Also new are the Altronix Dual Voltage Access Power Controller, which reduces costs and saves valuable enclosure space, and the NetWay Spectrum 2-Port Media Converter/Injector, which converts one fiber cable into two Ethernet ports.

Over at the IrisID booth, I spoke with Mohanned Murad, VP, global sales & business development, who showed me the company’s iCAM M300 Biometric Multimode Android Phone, a SIA New Product Showcase winner in the Mobile Apps category. Murad noted that the goal is to create the most “non-frictional biometric” as possible, providing a reliable and cyber-secure mobile app that is cloud-based and offers an easy path to a mobile credential solution for all levels of security, including critical infrastructure.

At the Lenel booth, Ross McKay, director of products, spoke about how the company continues to focus on leveraging the cloud, providing more browser-based products and developing reliable and safe mobile credentials. Key Lenel products showcased include
OnGuard version 7.4, which supports several browser-based clients, eliminating the need for onsite server hardware; the LNL-4420 intelligent controller, which has been added to the GSA’s approved product list for use by agencies implementing programs to meet Federal Identity, Credential and Access Management (FICAM) requirements; and a new version of the BlueDiamond app that can anticipate users’ door and reader selections to reduce authentication time.

I sat down at the Pivot3 booth with Bruce Milne, VP & chief marketing officer, and John D’Avolio, analyst relations director, who both spoke about how the company continues to partner with other companies to provide “end to end” solutions for their customers. Milne listed companies like Lenovo, Hytrust and Iron Mountain as key partnerships toward that goal. For example, he pointed to how the partnership with Iron Mountain led to the introduction of Iron Cloud, which delivers a secure and scalable cloud-based solution for managing video content.

At the OnSSI booth, I spoke with Ken Lamarca, VP, sales and marketing, who noted that “business is strong” as the company showcased its latest Ocularis 5.5 Video Management Software (VMS) platform, which includes new integrations and automation functions that increase overall performance and cost-efficiency. Lamarca said the platform uses the “highest encryption” standards available as well as proven hardening protocols. The company also highlighted several partnerships, including with ConvergenceTP (C2P), CyberExtruder, Jemez Technology and NetApp.

At the Oncam booth, I chatted with Jumbi Edulbehram, regional VP, Americas, about the company’s growth and increased demand for 180- and 360-degree video solutions that deliver “higher levels of situational awareness” than traditional fixed cameras. He also highlighted the introduction of the Evolution Stainless Steel form factor in both the 5MP and 12MP versions to meet the needs of customers operating in extreme environments where resilience and compliance to stringent regulations are critical. The company also launched its revamped Technology Integration Partner Program, which is built to ease integration with Oncam technologies and provide extensive support to aligned technology partners.

Over at the Manything… booth, Laura O’Sullivan, head of marketing, and James West, CEO & Co-Founder, talked about how the company is responding to the needs of integrators, developing a “much cheaper pricing” model that “integrators love,” West noted. Manything, which began as an app allowing users to turn spare smartphones and tablets into home security cameras, has now grown to empower professional security dealers and integrators to offer remote viewing and offsite cloud surveillance recording, creating a new source of RMR, he noted. The company also unveiled its Manything Pro, a cloud SaaS solution that allows users to access their video through an Apple or Android mobile app.

NOTE: In addition to daily reports, look for ssnTV video interviews from the show floor under the Video tab on this website, including top execs from Brivo, Northland Controls, ONVIF, ISC Security Events, IHS Markit, Bates Security, and many more.
 

ACRE announces senior leadership changes

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

ACRE, a global leader in providing security products and solutions for the access control, intrusion, smart traffic and video surveillance markets, announced today the promotion of Andrew Acquarulo Jr. to president of ACRE Americas. Ronald Virden, who was recently named ACRE COO, will also assume the role of president of ACRE International. The evolution of the company's leadership roles will allow ACRE to refocus its efforts based on geographic regions, providing greater alignment between its Vanderbilt and ComNet brands in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and APAC. 

Virden, who will assume his expanded role effective June 1, 2018, will be based in Dublin, Ireland, and take over the Vanderbilt CEO role from Joe Grillo, who will continue to serve as ACRE CEO. All of the management of Vanderbilt's international operations, as well as ComNet's UK-based operations, will fall under Virden's purview. Virden will also remain COO of ACRE.

“Joe [Grillo] has had the foresight to create a successful independent security company, and as I contribute to adding to that legacy, it's critical to ensure ACRE continues upon its growth trajectory,” Virden said in the announcement. “I'm eager to take on the additional responsibility as President of ACRE International, focusing on growing and streamlining operations across its global markets.”

As president of ACRE Americas, Acquarulo will be responsible for the strategic vision, operations and sales initiatives for both of the company's ComNet and Vanderbilt brands in the Americas under the ACRE moniker, effective April 1, 2018. Acquarulo has served as president and CEO for ComNet since 2010, leading the company's strategic vision across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and APAC. He played an instrumental role in positioning ComNet into developing more networked-based solutions and guiding it to offer a combination of fiber optic, electrical and wireless solutions to increase options for its global customer base. Acquarulo also helped transition the brand into the ACRE group in 2016.

“As the market continues to transition into one driven by emerging technologies, such as cloud services and intelligent platforms, ACRE is poised to continue its leadership role in these segments,” Acquarulo said in a prepared statement. “This evolution marks a tremendous opportunity for ACRE to extend its leadership position in the industry, and I look forward to being a part of it.”

Acquarulo will oversee sales and revenue growth, and prepare the brands for new expansion opportunities. He will report directly to Grillo and Virden.

“Andy had the foresight to help shift ComNet toward the emerging trends across the security and intelligent transportation systems market long before many of the company's competitors, and Ron brings a significant amount of global executive experience to our team,” said Grillo in the announcement. “ACRE continues to look for ways to streamline operations and make continued investments in its leadership team, which will help propel our brand forward and solidify our strength in the marketplace. We are also interested in positioning the ACRE brand for future expansion that will allow additional revenue streams and the addition of key markets across the globe.”

Founded in 2012, ACRE’s Vanderbilt and ComNet brands deliver advanced solutions to thousands of customers around the world. Today, ACRE employs more than 325 employees in more than 15 countries.
 

SSN welcomes new publisher

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

This week Security Systems News welcomed a new team member; Rick Rector is stepping into the role of president and publisher for SSN.

"I'm excited to be working with the talented and dedicated Security Systems News team. And I'm eager to meet as many industry participants as possible at ISC West next week," Rector stated.

While Rick is new to the Security Systems News side, he has worked with United Publications Inc.—SSN’s parent company—since 2000. His career has included positions with media across diverse industries such as gardening and small farming, the State of Maine, international finance, seafood, IT support, gourmet retail food, call centers, fitness clubs and healthcare.

He was a founder and former chairman of the Maine Venture Fund, the venture capital fund of the State of Maine. In addition he was a founder and former executive director of the POPTECH conference, an annual conference exploring the impact of technology on people and society. Currently he serves on the boards of the Points North Institute and the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting as well as the Personnel Board for his town.

If you’d like to contact him about a meeting at ISC West, he can be reached at rrector@securitysystemsnews.com or 207-846-0600 x 267.

Spending bill provides funding for school safety

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

School safety grants administered by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)—a major policy priority for the Security Industry Association (SIA) since 2008—will provide $25 million immediately, and $33 million annually, as provisioned in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which was officially signed into law by the president earlier this week.

The new law provides $25 million immediately for school security technology and equipment in addition to emergency communications systems and other coordination with law enforcement to enhance response capabilities. Administered through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), $33 million is authorized annually for the program beginning next year. Overall, the STOP School Violence Act included in the spending measure authorizes a total of nearly $1 billion in funding for DOJ school safety grant programs through 2028.

“As the Congressional Safety Caucus founder and co-chair, I am proud this year’s spending bill included over $2 billion in funding for school safety measures, including the STOP School Violence Act, to provide our nation’s schools with tools and technology needed to keep students and faculty safe so they can learn in a safe environment. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to provide our children and families the peace of mind they deserve,” noted Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind.

As SIA pointed out in its announcement lauding the grant money, federal grant assistance specifically for facility security measures had been unavailable since fiscal 2011. SIA, along with stakeholders representing the law enforcement and education communities including The School Superintendents Association (AASA), the National School Boards Association (NSBA), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and other like-minded organizations, worked to support the reviving of this grant assistance, particularly in the aftermath of the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.

“SIA commends the leadership of Senator Hatch, R-Utah, and Congressman John Rutherford, R-Fla., in authoring the STOP School Violence Act, and recognizes the unwavering support provided by the Congressional School Safety Caucus led by Congresswoman Susan Brooks, R-Ind., and Congressman Rick Larsen, D-Wash. who authored reauthorization legislation, the School Safety Act, and has led supporting efforts in the House since 2015,” Jake Parker, SIA director of government relations, said in a prepared statement. “As school systems consider investments to improve security, it is critical that finite resources support effective, affordable and appropriate, solutions.”

SIA is a cofounder of the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), a consortium of school security experts that developed threat- and income-based guidelines for schools housing grades K-12 to implement appropriate, layered security measures. Those guidelines are available to help guide school investments.

In addition, please participate in SSN’s News Poll this month, which looks at security companies’ role in emergency preparedness and response for schools.
 

SentryNet to host 23rd SentryCon

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

BILOXI, Miss.—As SentryNet is preparing to host its 23rd annual SentryCon, in Biloxi, Miss., from April 23-26, I thought it would be a good time to hear more about the event, its history and what the company is planning for this year. Peggy Page, marketing manager for SentryNet, and Julie Beach, STANLEY Security’s vice president of Sonitrol and SentryNet dealers sales, each shared their perspective on the upcoming conference.

Speakers come from both in- and outside of the industry, according to Page. “We bring speakers in from not only the industry but from the business world as well, to teach them not only how to install a product—because we do have a lot of vendors that participate—but how to build their business, how to grow their business, how to hire employees, how to keep employees, how to face attrition and compete against the big-box companies,” she said.

This year’s speakers include Mark Brown, professional speaker from Southwest Consulting. Brown will discuss recognizing challenges and how to overcome them. Ron Davis, president of Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group, will address the current concerns of alarm dealers.

Bob Harris, president of Attrition Busters, is another speaker for this year’s SentryCon. “He’s a great speaker. He spoke at SentryCon last year, too, and he did such a good job [that] we asked him to come back and give us another presentation on attrition management,” Beach said.

In addition to speaking at SentryCon, Harris will also give a presentation at SentryNet’s ISC West booth this year.

“We have a select group of dealers that we invite to be on our dealer advisory board every year,” Beach said, and a dealer advisory board meeting is held in conjunction with SentryCon each year. “The purpose of our dealer advisory board meeting is just to talk about any trends that we’re seeing in the market, any new type of technologies, maybe new threats. … And then we also talk about enhancements to what SentryNet does.”

Beach added, “It’s a really good opportunity for them to network with each other and learn from each other, and even though a lot of them might be competing in the same markets, they’ve really come to form a pretty good working relationship.”

The dealer advisory board was introduced following SentryNet’s acquisition by STANLEY in 2015.

Time management will be a topic at this year’s SentryCon, according to Page. “One of the biggest complaints of installers is they don’t have time. They don’t have time to learn the new technology, they don’t have time to train new employees, they don’t have time to seek new employees. And it’s not necessarily [that] they don’t have time, they’re just not managing their time very well.”

The event also includes social events tailored to the area around the conference, including a baseball game, fishing and golf outings and skeet shooting.

Last year, SentryCon hosted 200 professionals, which has been typical of the past five years, according to Page. “I’m actually thinking attendance is going to be a little higher this year,” she said. Now have over 225 people registered to attend, Beach said about a month prior to the event.

SentryNet has about 765 dealers, spread across the United States, Canada and Mexico, according to Page.

“Originally, SentryCon was part of the Mississippi Alarm Association annual event. We hosted jointly with them for probably the first three or four years before we broke off and made it our own event,” said Page.

What do you most hope attendees walk away from the conference with? “That change isn’t as scary as we think it is, and … that if you’re willing to change with the industry, you’re going to be a lot more successful,” Page responded.

Beach said, “I hope that they walk away with something that they didn’t know already, … something that’s going to help them grow their business or do something to keep their business relevant in this fast-changing market.”

Alert Protective Services acquires in Chicago area

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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

NORTHBROOK, Ill.—Alert Protective Services recently purchased substantially all the assets of Alert Alarm Corporation, based here, which was finalized in February. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The focus is really on making sure there’s no disruption to service, that the new customer base gets to know our friendly and highly skilled staff and becomes familiar with the way to engage with us,” David L. Silberstein, president and CEO of Alert Protective Services, told Security Systems News.

Alert Protective has been implementing new measures to help future growth, both organically and “aggressive pursuit of acquisitions,” according to Silberstein. “Alert Protective Services has invested materially in the last 18 months in operating, accounting, and marketing infrastructure. … The process is fairly seamless for us, given that we have a strong platform to bolt on acquisitions like this,” he said.

“We are opportunistically always in the market for acquisitions and believe we are the perfect partner for owners of alarm companies looking to sell or realize a liquidity event,” said Silberstein.

Alert Protective was founded in 1982, and a majority of the company’s work is residential with a growing commercial division as well. Alert Protective offers smart and interactive alarm systems, fire alarms, video surveillance, intercoms and access control among other services.

Based in Chicago, Alert Protective also has customers in Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.

Alert Alarm Corp. has customers in the Chicago area. Silberstein said that Alert Alarm’s mix of residential and commercial customers is similar to Alert Protective’s account base. “It overlapped nicely with our current customer base, but definitely helped in terms of expanding a bit more in the Northshore region of Chicagoland,” Silberstein said.

The companies have “similar DNA,” Silberstein said, both focusing on customer service and providing a company with a local feel.

The two companies even have similar names and branding, Silberstein noted. “Alert Alarm Corp. made the transition to the customer base very simple,” he said.

ISC West and SIA getting it right …

 - 
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

With April right around the corner and ISC West almost here, we at Security Systems News thought it was the ideal time to highlight the tremendous education program Security Industry Association (SIA) has developed for ISC West 2018. When the industry needs education and guidance now more than ever—to make sense of all of the new technology and trends—ISC West, sponsored by SIA, has stepped up to the plate and delivered.

In preparation for this year’s conference, SIA strove to create an education program that addresses this year’s most significant emerging threats and business opportunities. And following SIA’s research to develop the Security Megatrends—an annual research project that reports on the top trends reshaping the security industry—SIA and ISC West worked together to make sure those themes would be addressed at the 2018 event, particularly as part of the “SIA Education@ISC” lineup.

“A top priority is making education one of the most valuable, robust parts of ISC West,” Don Erickson, CEO of SIA, said in the Megatrends announcement. “We identified these top 10 trends—what we call the Security Megatrends—and reviewed how they would pose significant impacts on 2018’s converged security landscape. We then used these insights to lay the groundwork for the 85+ educational sessions we’re offering at the ISC West show, making it possible for attendees to leave feeling confident and equipped to tackle the emerging security threats, as well as the business challenges and opportunities that inevitably come their way.”

SIA’s 2018 Security Megatrends include:
1.    Booming growth of the IoT
2.    Cyber meets physical security
3.    Accessing and analyzing smart and big data
4.    Evolution of risk management
5.    Transformation of the channel
6.    Shakeup of the status quo: entrance of entrepreneurial buyers and outsiders
7.    Mobile everything
8.    Control through cloud: driving greater efficiencies and promoting managed services
9.    Integrating with social media
10.  Emerging connected services: consumers want convenience at their fingertips.

Click here for more detail from SIA's research on each of the 10 Megatrends.

“We’re laser-focused on providing attendees with all-inclusive education at ISC West, which is why we’re thrilled to have SIA as our trusted partner,” Will Wise, group vice president of ISC Security Events, said in the announcement. “These top 10 trends really hit on what’s to come at the show. These themes impact nearly every type of attendee in some way, from government/enterprise security decision-makers and end-users, to integrators, installers and dealers. This year’s show is designed to be the most educational and information-packed yet, and we’re looking forward to seeing the peer-to-peer mindshare that takes place.”

And speaking of education at ISC West, on Wednesday, from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., yours truly will be moderating a session, “Seeing is Believing - Drones, Robotics and the Integration of Video Applications,” with a very talented panel that includes Steve Reinharz, president of Robotic Assistance Devices, Jack Wu, co-founder & CEO, Nightingale Security, and Jumbi Edulbehram, regional president, Americas, Oncam. I hope to see you there, or on the trade show floor, or at the great Mission 500 Security 5K/2K charity event on Thursday morning.
 

Celebrating women in security

 - 
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Just in case you weren’t aware, March is National Women’s History month, and a great reason to shine a light on the contributions women are making in the security industry today.

And just in case you weren’t aware, Security Systems News has made it its business to celebrate women in security. In fact, for the past 10 years we have devoted an entire issue each year, usually in December, to highlight many of the leaders in the security industry who just happen to be women.

As I attend PSA TEC in Denver this week (look for my full wrap-up in the coming days), and listen and learn from the many female speakers here at the conference, there are reminders of the wonderful impact women are having on the security industry today. Leaders like Christine Lanning, president of Integrated Security Technologies—and the first woman on the PSA Board of Directors (congrats!)—Janet Fenner, director of new business development for Dahua, Sandy Jones, founder and principal for Sandra Jones & Company, Rebecca Bayne, president of BCSI, and Jennifer Phillips, national deployment program manager, PSA, to name just a few.

Another great reminder of how far we have come in this industry is the announcement from the Security Industry Association (SIA) last week—fittingly on International Women’s Day—of the establishment of the SIA Women in Security Forum to support the participation of women in the security industry. Through programs, professional development and networking events, the committee will engage members, both men and women, who share this goal.

We at SSN applaud SIA for raising greater awareness to the importance of further supporting the participation of women in the security industry, as this is a very important step that we will look back on as sort of a watershed moment or milestone in the evolution of the security industry.

The inaugural steering committee for the SIA Women in Security Forum includes (listed alphabetically by company):

•    Elaine Palome, Axis Communications
•    Chelsea Render, Bosch
•    Kelly Bond, Brivo
•    Vicky Lowe, Convergint Technologies
•    Janet Fenner, Dahua Technology USA
•    Sherida Sessa, ISC Security Events
•    Dawne Hanks, Milestone Systems
•    Christine Hamberis, ScanSource
•    Alice DiSanto, Sharp Intellos
•    Maureen Carlo, Videotec Security

“It is an honor to serve on SIA’s new Women in Security committee as it recognizes the countless women working in this industry, and our collective achievements and contributions," Dahua’s Fenner said in the announcement. "It also presents a great opportunity to engage, mentor and help further empower a new generation of women executives in the physical security industry,”

Sharp’s DiSanto added: “It is a privilege to serve a forum keenly focused on propelling women within the security industry. Providing a venue where future female leaders can strengthen their know-how, while networking and brainstorming around future solutions with peers can only improve competency and esteem.”

Palome of Axis Communications pointed out,. “Our success depends on the quality skill, and values of our employees. At Axis, we believe that a diverse and talented workforce is a key competitive advantage and that different backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences are important drivers of innovation. We are pleased to be taking part in this joint initiative with SIA,” said

Potential goals for the forum include:

•    Create mentorship/sponsorship programs to advocate for advancement and build confidence in the workplace.
•    Connect women in the industry through networking events.
•    Develop a recruiting program for next generation female professionals and leaders.
•    Initiate an ongoing dialogue between male and female leaders to enhance mutual understanding.
•    Identify platforms that can provide visibility for women.
•    Spearhead an issue that will create opportunities for women to work together and be at the forefront of a major initiative.

Membership is open to SIA members in good standing (nonmembers are eligible for up to 90 days). To get involved or to get more information, contact Kim Landgraf, SIA staff manager, at klandgraf@securityindustry.org.

 

Medical Care Alert discusses company growth

 - 
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

YARMOUTH, Maine—PERS seems to have come up quite a bit this month. I spoke with Affiliated about its upcoming Catalyst conference and COPS Monitoring about its approach to mPERS.

I also spoke with Bryan Stapp, president of Medical Care Alert, a PERS dealer based in Northville, Mich. The company, started in 2008, has seen strong growth in the past few years and Stapp gave me some perspective on the PERS industry, both within his company and the market overall.

Medical Care Alert recently earned a distinction from Stapp’s alma mater for its growth. The company has experienced a CAGR of 34.27 percent over the last three years, earning the company a spot on the Gator100, a list of the fastest growing companies owned or operated by University of Florida alumni.

This is the second time Medical Care Alert has appeared on the list, ranking number 68 this year and 88 in 2017. “It’s a nice thing for the team here to see that our growth and our efforts are being recognized,” Stapp said.

Certain technologies have played a role in that growth, according to Stapp. “In terms of the product line, the mPERS devices—what we call the HOME & AWAY line—has really been our biggest growth engine, and that’s clearly where people are headed,” he said.

Stapp continued, “Either because they’re still really active or because we’re hitting a younger demographic, or they’ve gotten rid of their traditional phone line, so there’s no more POTS line or VoIP line to connect a traditional medical alert system up to—the HOME & AWAY has been really popular.”

Medical Care Alert uses two different devices under its HOME & AWAY category: the Numera Libris and a device manufactured by Micron. Stapp lauded the fall detection of the Libris device and the tracking abilities enabled by the Micron device. “The devices are great, they’re rock solid, they’re very reliable. We’re very happy with the quality of the devices, and that’s important for us, obviously, for customer satisfaction, for customer service, and then also for … keeping our return rate really low.”

Building out the company with additional sales people and customer service representatives has also assisted the company’s growth over the past few years. The company had about four or five people three years ago, according to Stapp, and now it has 15.

“In general, we’ve been able to staff up with the growth and we’ve been very fortunate to have extremely low turnover,” Stapp said. “The folks that are with us tend to stay with us for a while. … That’s been very, very helpful.”

Stapp pointed to the company’s updated website as another recent improvement. Last year, Medical Care Alert made the website more mobile-friendly, revamped the ordering process and included a tool to help consumers with product selection, he said.

In the announcement of Medical Care Alert’s second Gator100 recognition, Stapp stressed the company’s focus on customer service. “For us [customer service] means a couple things. One is making sure that we are reaching out to our clients when we see events come through on their account,” he told SSN. “The other thing we do is, through our telephone system, we make sure that people are not on hold for long, if at all. That’s a combination of your phone routing and your staffing.”

Medical Care Alert also recently recieved its sixth consecutive Angie's List Super Service Award.

Stapp is positive on the PERS industry’s future. “I see the industry just continuing to grow. There seems to be a very wide acceptance of the product and the technology,” he said. There are some market segments want advanced features that are coming out—such as Wi-Fi tracking—and there is also still a large market of consumers looking for a more basic system that will simply get the user help when they need it, said Stapp.

“I continue to believe that, if you’re truly viewing this as an emergency response system, that it has to be really simple. That’s why we like things that have a big, easy to push button,” he said.

SIA honors Axis Communications’ James Marcella

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Security Industry Association (SIA) has selected James Marcella, director, Technical Services, Axis Communications Inc., as 2017 SIA Committee Chair of the Year for his work with the SIA Education Committee.

With this award, SIA honors Marcella for his work in strengthening education programming for the security industry through SIA Education. SIA Chairman Denis Hébert will present the 2017 Committee Chair of the Year Award to Marcella at The Advance, SIA's annual membership meeting, scheduled to occur on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, during ISC West in Las Vegas.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for my work with SIA,” said Marcella. “SIA serves as a keystone for the security industry, connecting many different companies together in a common cause. It serves as a powerful platform for promulgating the latest industry education, whether to share news of regulations and best practices or to update professionals on the latest developments in state of the art technology. I look forward to continuing to guide SIA course offerings as the association’s Education Committee Chair.”

Scott Dunn, senior director, Business Development Solutions & Services, ‎Axis Communications, said, “James takes every opportunity to educate our current and new team members on the mission and values of SIA and the importance of being involved in moving our industry forward to meet the challenges we face. He is a great internal teacher as well. He instructs us on our work with SIA and how to maximize the efforts with various other committees to bring value to SIA and its members. He has made us all better in that work.”

SIA CEO Don Erickson added, “I very much appreciate the time James has put into leading the Education Committee and working with SIA. I recognize there are many different places he could spend his time with associations and the fact that he has made so many important contributions to help educate the industry in this role is greatly appreciated!”

The contributions Marcella has made as SIA Education Committee Chair include:

•    Co-creating the curriculum for the Systems Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree in Security Systems and Technologies, and serving as the main instructor
•    Leading the update of the Security Project Management Common Body of Knowledge Guidebook
•    Serving as a member of the ISC Education Conference Advisory Board
•    Assisting with the development of Securing New Ground executive conference program content
•    Championing the Certified Security Project Manager certification
•    Promoting SIA across the security industry

Hébert will present the Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award and SIA Chairman's Award, at The Advance, held during ISC West in Rooms 505/506 of the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, April 10, 10:30-11:30 a.m. The Advance is co-located with ISC West, produced by ISC Security Events. Find more info, click here.
 

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