Subscribe to

Blogs

Post acquisition, Intertech is $41m integrator

 - 
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Breaking news with afternoon from Pittsburg: Intertech Security, is now a $41 million integrator after the acquisition, announced today of Accent Electronic Systems Integrators, which is known as Accent ESI, a privately-held integrator based in Bridgeville, Pa.

The deal brings Intertech 40 new employees including Paul Caruso, an owner and principal manager of Accent ESI, who will become VP and GM of the Accent Division.

Former Accent ESI employees will continue to work from Accent’s  Bridgeville, Pa and Akron, Ohio office for the immediate future.

I have not had a chance to contact Ron Petnuch, president of Intertech Security yet, but he said in a statement that the companies have complementary capabilities. A company statement said that Intertech’s “expertise in integrated security systems combined with Accent ESI’s expertise in fire systems, sound systems, networks, audio visual and intercom systems provides additional opportunities and products for Intertech’s growing customer base in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, Florida and Texas.”

The statement said that Accent ESI has a “strong presence in the K-12 education market and new construction market” and said “coupled with Intertech’s experience in the end-user, client service market will enhance Intertech’s continuing growth.”

SIA working group updates 'keystone' alarm standard

 - 
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

To survive, adapt. Those words have become an industry maxim of late. A similar sentiment holds true for those in the standards writing arena who strive to stay current with the technological arc of the industry.

The CP-01 Working Group, a special group of the SIA Intrusion Subcommittee, this week unveiled a false alarm reduction standard that includes definitions for remote devices and updated language, stemming from requests for interpretation from the last update of the standard, completed in 2010.  

Called the ANSI/SIA CP-01-2014, the updated standard is intended for use by manufacturers in the design of control panels and alarm signal receivers, and for reference by security system installers, specifiers, central station operators and manufacturers of central station-related products.

“As technology continues to evolve, it is important that we keep this useful standard up to date with it,” Lou Fiore, chairman of the CP-01 Working Group, said in a prepared statement. “Increasingly, panels are being armed and disarmed using remote devices including smartphones and tablets, we thought it was time to address that in CP-01.”

Revisions to the CP-01 standard have been made over the past two decades in response to technological evolution in the sphere of false alarm reduction. According to a SIA statement, CP-01-compliant panels have been instrumental in reducing false alarms by as much as 90 percent, saving municipalities and responders time and money.

For the next few years, the updated standard will presumably be the measuring stick for due diligence as far as minimizing false alarms. But as anyone in the industry can attest, technological development is unpredictable, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see this “keystone” CP-01 standard updated again in the next five years. As the industry adapts, so too must its best practices and standards.

Submit nominations for 'Women in Security' issue

 - 
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Readers: We're looking for your help.

As we've done for the past five year, SSN is preparing to do a special report about women in security.

We'll be choosing six women who work in different sectors of the physical security industry to profile. The profiles will appear online and in the November printed issue of Security Systems News.

The sectors correspond to the "beats" in our publication, which are: Suppliers [manufacturers]; Commercial and systems integrators; Fire installation; Monitoring; Residential Security; and General News. So, we're looking for women who are leaders in these different sectors of the industry. For the "general news" category, we're looking for women who work in the physical security sector, but do not fall into the other categories. For example, they could work for a lender to the security industry, an industry association, or they may be a consultant.

We're working on the November issue right now, so need your suggestions ASAP. Please email your nominations to me at mentwistle@securitysystemsnews.com.

Here are the profiles from 2013. Click on the name to read the profile:

Terry Basford, 4b Technology,
Elizabeth Hunger, SIA,
Karen Head, Kratos PSS
Jennifer Jezek, York Electronic Systems,
Betsy Francis, AT&T,
Elle Daley, COPS Monitoring,
Deb Spitler, HID

Vivint protects its intellectual property with Intelligent Ventures partnership

 - 
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

With Vivint this summer launching Vivint Sky, a new cloud-based smart home solution featuring the company’s own control panel and software, an announcement this week that Vivint has taken steps to protect its intellectual property with patents really is not surprising.

Vivint has entered into a long-term partnership with Intellectual Ventures (IV), based in Bellevue, Wash., IV announced Sept. 16.

The company is one of the nation’s largest patent holders in the world, according to CNNMoney. IV says it holds more than 40,000 patents in 50 technology areas. CNNMoney says they’re in fields that include health care, communications and energy.

Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security giant Vivint is now a customer of IV's IP for Defense program, according to IV’s news release. “Under this agreement,” the IV release said, “Vivint was granted rights to IV's extensive patent portfolio and obtained more than 20 patents in areas of interest to the company.”

IV says that “companies in rapidly growing industries rely on IV to provide ongoing guidance on the invention rights relevant to their product roadmaps. IV's IP for Defense program is also designed to level the playing field for companies faced with claims from competitors—a common issue many businesses now have to address. Under this agreement, Vivint can purchase patents from IV's portfolio on an as needed basis to protect its business.”

But CNNMoney recently termed IV “the world’s most notorious patent troll company.” Wikipedia defines a patent troll as “a person or company who enforces patent rights against accused infringers in an attempt to collect licensing fees, but does not manufacture products or supply services based upon the patents in question, thus engaging in economic rent-seeking.”

There have been patent infringement cases in the security industry but they’ve typically been brought by the makers of products. For example, Object Video sued Sony, Samsung and Bosch in 2011 for alleged patent infringement of some of OV’s video analytics.

I asked IV about the “patent troll” characterization, and Cory Van Arsdale, senior VP of global licensing at Intellectual Ventures, responded.

“We can’t control how other people characterize us, but we are no different than any other company protecting its IP assets,” Van Arsdale said in an email interview. “Core to our business model is developing a robust marketplace for inventors. Our latest deal with Vivint is a great example of that invention marketplace at work – a marketplace in which IV has invested billions to compensate inventors for their great work while also providing companies like Vivint access to those innovations to best meet their strategic business goals.”

In the news release, Van Arsdale explained: “Over the last 15 years, IP has come into its own as an asset class because companies of all sizes have recognized the value and competitive advantage that patents can offer. Vivint recognizes that building their patent portfolio and acquiring access to inventions in deals like this with IV provides economic and strategic value as they position themselves for continued growth.”

I reached out to Vivint to learn more about how the partnership will benefit the company, but Vivint public relations manager Jenna Cason told me the company is not commenting beyond what is in the IV news release.

In a prepared statement, Paul Evans, Vivint VP of intellectual property, said, “At Vivint, we offer our customers smart tools for simple, affordable home automation. By investing in the development of our own IP strategy with Intellectual Ventures, we have taken the steps necessary to safeguard our company's growth, and in turn, our customers' connection to their most valuable assets—their homes, families, and businesses.”

Vivint acquires Space Monkey, ‘next generation cloud’ startup

 - 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vivint has acquired a Utah-based startup, Space Monkey, to enhance Vivint’s new Vivint Sky smart home platform, according to a news release issued today.

What is Space Monkey? Founded in 2011, the company calls itself a "next generation cloud" provider that offers “both a local storage and remote network backup for higher levels of data security and redundancy,” according to the news release.

And Space Monkey bills itself as a cheaper, faster alternative to a data center, according to information the company provided during its Kickstarter campaign last year, when it successfully raised nearly $350,000.

The campaign information decries data centers as too costly and cumbersome: “These are high-cost buildings tightly packed with expensive computer equipment. They need costly fire suppression systems, diesel backup generators, expansive power distribution systems, premium network equipment, biometric access controls, security patrols, and consume vast amounts of electricity and air-conditioning. They require 24/7 staffing and Network Operations Centers. The ongoing daily costs of keeping data centers running is exorbitant compared to the actual cost of the hard drives that store your data in the cloud.”

Instead, according to the Space Monkey’s campaign information, “It’s time to change how the world stores data, forever. What if we took the cloud out of the data center and put it a little box that you plug in at your house? What if we put software on it that allows it to cooperate with millions of other devices plugged in all over the globe to create a storage network that not only is orders of magnitude cheaper than data centers, but is also more reliable, faster, and better for the environment? Space Monkey is the answer.”

It continues: “Space Monkey is the next generation cloud. ... You get a full terabyte (1000 gigabytes) of storage you can use anywhere, any time. Space Monkey does the work behind the scenes to make your data safe and secure, using the entire network of Space Monkey devices around the world to store encrypted pieces of data in a way that makes data loss a thing of the past.”

The small device, complete with a little logo of a monkey in a space suit, costs $199, the Space Monkey website says. The first year's subscription cost is free and then is $49 annually, the site says.

It also said that “Space Monkey is up to 60x faster than any other cloud service you've used (or heard of).” However, on Space Monkey’s website it has downgraded that claim to “up to 30x faster.”

Still, that’s very fast. And Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security provider Vivint says the acquisition supports the growth and development of the Vivint Sky smart home platform that Vivint introduced this summer. The solution includes the Vivint SkyControl panel featuring proprietary cloud technology that learns from homeowners’ behaviors and makes intelligent suggestions to help them control their homes better and more conveniently.

“It’s a natural fit for us to be a part of Vivint’s technology for the smart home,” Clint Gordon-Carroll, who co-founded Space Monkey with partner Alen Peacock, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with Vivint as we continue to innovate and invest in the product.”

No information was provided about how much Vivint paid for Space Monkey. SSN continues to report on this story.

SIA announces inaugural award winners

 - 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Security Industry Association has long championed the value of public-private partnerships in the security industry, and a new annual honor given out by the association makes those advocacy efforts abundantly clear.

The Security Industry Association recently announced it will present the first annual Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award at SIA Honors Night on Nov. 19, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York.

The inaugural award, honoring Jay Hauhn, Tyco Integrated Security’s chief technology officer and VP of industry relations, has two recipients: Mike Howard of tech giant Microsoft, and Tom Cellucci of Cellucci and Associates.

Howard, according to a statement from SIA, has been instrumental in forging a collaborative relationship between SIA and the International Security Management Association, a prominent end user organization. Cellucci is being honored for dedicating time to “building a relationship between SIA and the County Executives of America,” according to a SIA statement. He also helped encourage collaboration between SIA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate.

The annual award is intended for individuals working with SIA member companies who “strengthened collaboration between the association and the industry or end user organizations,” the statement noted. Forms of collaboration could include efforts that pursue common public policy priorities, active involvement in the development of SIA standard proposals, spurring SIA membership growth and leveraging SIA’s educational expertise at conferences or through online education efforts.

“I’m pleased to receive this award, but I’m more pleased to help make vital connections between the security suppliers of SIA and the security practitioners of ISMA,” said Howard. “The alliance between the two organizations will go a long way toward keeping Chief Security Officers informed of advancements in technology as well as providing insights to corporate executives as to the challenges facing Chief Security Officers.”

SIA members possess valuable security industry expertise and experience, while public sector organizations are responsible for the development of detailed operational requirements to ensure the protection of our nation’s people and assets. It’s only reasonable that the public and private sectors work together—in and open and transparent way—to enable our country’s Homeland Security Enterprise to work more efficiently and effectively.”

Honeywell Security Products gets new president

 - 
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Honeywell today named Inder Reddy president of Honeywell Security Products Americas.  Reddy succeeds Scott Harkins, who accepted a new role within Honeywell in June.

Honeywell Security Products Americas is a provider of intrusion, access control and video surveillance technologies.

Reddy is out of the office all of this week, but Honeywell has promised me an interview in the next couple of weeks.

Reddy joined Honeywell in 2010 and most recently served as VP of global marketing for Honeywell Security Group for four years.

In a prepared statement Honeywell Security Group president Ron Rothman, praised Reddy’s “extensive business strategy experience and Honeywell portfolio knowledge.” 

Look for my interview with Reddy in an upcoming newswire. I’m also hoping to meet Reddy at ASIS at the end of the month.

Distribution company acquired

 - 
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Controlled Products Systems Group, a Denver-based distribution company that bills itself as the “largest wholesale distributor of perimeter access control equipment in the US,” on Sept. 2, was acquired by The Duchossois Group.

CPSG distributes perimeter access control and gate automation security systems. It has more than 10,000 SKUs and 31distribution centers, and serves more than 4,000 dealer-installer customers.

I have not had a chance to catch up with the folks from the Duchossois Group  or CPSG yet, but the new release I received said that Duchossois, based in Elmhurst, Ill. is a privately held, family-owned operating and investment company that has “significant investments in the access control solutions market.”

CPSG will continue to be run as a stand-alone business led by Brian Huitt, President. CPSG’s headquarters will remain in Denver, Colorado.

“Being acquired by TDG gives us long-term stability and access to the resources and infrastructure of a larger, focused parent company,” Huitt said in a prepared statement. “I am excited to continue growing CPSG through leadership products, total solution consultation, and unrivaled technical expertise and customer support.”

Investment banking services are provided by Harris Williams.  
 
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Vivint Solar seeks to raise $200m through IPO

 - 
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The fact that Vivint Solar officially filed with U.S. regulators last week for an initial public offering of common stock is an indication that solar continues to be a hot option for security companies.

Vivint Solar’s parent company is Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security company Vivint, which was bought by The Blackstone Group in 2012 for more than $2 billion.

Now, Reuters reported Aug. 26, Vivint Solar has filed for an IPO and set its fundraising target at about $200 million. And the news service said Vivint Solar lead underwriters to the offering are Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith and Credit Suisse.

The company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VSLR, Reuter said. The company plans to use the IPO proceeds to repay debts, make investments and for “other general corporate purposes,” the news service said.

Reuters had reported earlier in August that Vivint Solar had confidentially filed for an IPO. Around that same time, Protection 1, one of the nation’s largest home and commercial security, also announced it would be launching a solar division called Brite Energy. Sales of solar panels to homes and businesses are expected to begin this fall.

And earlier this year, GHS Interactive Security, a new California-based security company, announced it was partnering with Solar Universe, a leading nationwide residential solar company, to combine security and solar into a comprehensive home automation package.

Since its launch in 2011, Vivint Solar has grown to be the second largest solar installer in the country.

Reuters said that the nation’s residential solar energy market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28 percent, to about 1,713 megawatts of capacity in 2017, according to research firm GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

 

ASAP extended to non-charter members

 - 
Wednesday, September 3, 2014

More companies will soon be able to reap the benefits of the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol, as the CSAA moves into its next stage of deployment by extending the program to non-charter members.

So far, the 100 CSAA members that have helped fund the program have been able to contract and connect to the system, which is designed to increase the efficiency and reliability of emergency electronic signals form central stations to Public Safety Answering Points, commonly known as PSAPs. In total, 42 companies have contracted for connection, though some do business in areas that do not yet have an active PSAP.

Currently, seven PSAPs are enrolled in the ASAP program, with Washington, D.C. and Houston representing the largest urban areas. In a recent press release, the CSAA said it expects to add Boston and Seattle to the mix in the coming year, along with the entire state of Delaware.

In August, Romeoville, Ill.-based Protection 1 became the largest participant to go live with the ASAP to PSAP program. Ed Bonifas, co-chair of CSAA’s ASAP steering committee, said in a prepared statement that Protection 1’s coming online would add “considerable traffic to the participating PSAPs.”

Later that month, Guardian Protection Services, based in Warrendale, Pa., in conjunction with the CSAA announced it was coming online with the program in Richmond, Va., where it has a solid presence. Jason Bradley, director of central station operations at Guardian, told me that implementation in Washington, D.C. was the next step.

It’s no exaggeration to say broader adoption of the ASAP to PSAP program will transform the industry, making signal transmission a faster and more informative process. To be sure, the program is expanding at a steady pace, and I imagine it’ll be sooner than we think before dealers are going to expect centrals, where possible, to join the ranks.

Pages