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The Protection Bureau moves into Virginia

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Systems integrator The Protection Bureau has opened a new branch office in Richmond, Va.

I talked to Matthew Ladd, CEO of The Protection Bureau, about the new office today. “We had an opportunity that came to us with people in Richmond who wanted to work for the Protection Bureau,” he said. The integrator has 152 clients in the area and has had “an ongoing service need in region,” he said.

“It was the perfect fit and opportunity. It made sense to open a branch office and we were able to do that with two technicians, a branch manager and a part-time office person,” Ladd said.

“It all came together in two weeks,” he said. The new staff members visited The Protection Bureau headquarters in Philadelphia last week and this week the office manager is in Richmond “teaching them about our systems and procedure so they can blend into The Protection Bureau way of doing business.

The Richmond office will service current and future Protection Bureau customers and Security-Net customers as well. The branch manager will handle sales initially, but Ladd plans to add more sales personnel. “We’ll look to expand and grow the office and make it another success for The Protection Bureau,” he said.

The Protection Bureau does about $15 million in sales annually and has 97 employees. In addition to its headquarters in Philly, it has a satellite office in Plainfield, N.J. That office has three technicians, but Ladd said it's not a branch office. “It’s a service point for our clients in North Jersey through New York and into New England.”

Ladd said that business in 2015 has been good and he’s hearing the same thing from other integrators. “The overall economy is getting stronger.”

CPI looks to add 300 employees

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A lot of companies seem to have their employee environment on the mind, especially when it comes to designing a new space. CPI Security broke ground on Friday for its new 120,000 square-foot facility, to be built adjacent to its current building in Charlotte, N.C. Alongside this development, the company announced that it plans to add 300 employees, to its current total of 540, over the next couple years.

The new building will hold training facilities, R&D, and the company’s central station, which is CSAA 5 Diamond certified and UL listed, CPI said in a recent release. For the company’s employees, there will be a gym and a dining facility.

This news comes in at a time where others like Vivint and Monitronics are moving into new spaces—both of which incorporated a close-by body of water, interestingly enough. Vivint underlined the benefits employees get from something as simple as natural light. Monitronics talked about an open floor plan keeping groups together.

One thing I’ve been interested to hear about, from both Vivint and Monitronics, has been the process of the move. Monitronics appointed “move captains” and Vivint did it in the space of one shift.

I’m curious to hear more about how CPI will physically move into its new space, and hope to follow-up with the company soon. 

More conflicting news on the home security/home automation front

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I spoke with Tom Kerber of Parks Associates this morning about a survey the company recently did that showed that telecoms and cablecos are making big gains in the home automation industry. 

When I was at ISC West and ESX a few months ago, I spoke to a number of companies who told me that home automation is a giant opportunity for traditional resi dealers to up-sell—and basically stay alive in this ever-increasing competitive market. Those companies are moving forward.

Millenials—they're everywhere!—are the biggest buyers of home automation products, according to a report from Icontrol.

Then I read reports from the likes of Argus Insights about how consumers are already, and I paraphrase, fed up with home automation. That party is over, Argus said.

Meanwhile, Kerber at Parks Associates says that a greater number of traditional dealers need to get into home automation. I can’t think of one company I’ve spoken to over the past few months who isn’t offering these services. Who isn’t? 

What's the deal?

A new locale for ESX

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

ESX will take place west of the Mississippi for the first time in its history next year when it moves to Ft. Worth, Texas.

The tradeshow organizers announced that the show will take place June 8-10, 2016. Organizers said Fort Worth was chosen because of ease of access from most cities, hotel selection, state-of-the-art convention center, and a "walkable and safe urban environment."

ESX will announce the schedule of events and the educational program in January.



Monitronics moved

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Eighty-seven percent of Monitronics’ 1,100 employees were fully moved into the company’s new campus by the end of July (photo of new facility on left). Now all that’s left is to move the central station, which will happen around the beginning of Q4 this year, according to Bruce Mungiguerra, Monitronics’ SVP of operations. I caught up with Mungiguerra recently to hear about how the move went.

“Obviously, moving a thousand people … is never an easy task,” Mungiguerra said. “Providing … the service to our customers without a hiccup was the important part. So, we staggered the move on a weekend-by-weekend basis.”

In these weekend time windows departments, like customer care, tech support, and dealer development, were guided by identified “move captains.” Moving groups department-by-department made the move easier, Mungiguerra said.

I’ve heard a lot about the move over the past several months. I remember talking with Mungiguerra earlier this year about what the move would add to the company’s culture. Here’s a story on that. Not too long ago, when I was at ESX I heard more about it from the company’s dealer sales and marketing coordinator, Bre Otero. "It'll be great to have everybody back in one building," Otero told me.

Now, the bulk of the move is finished. Mungiguerra, when I spoke with him recently, said he was surprised at how smoothly the process went, always waiting for the unexpected to happen—but it never did.

“I don’t think we could have even anticipated that it went as well as it did,” said Mungiguerra. “[I] couldn’t be happier with how the entire company pulled together to make it as successful as it was.”

New product debuting at ASIS?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Do you have a new product to introduce at ASIS next month?

If so, get it in gear, folks, and submit relevant information for Security Systems News’ ASIS New Show Products section. Just giving a shout out for your benefit and for your last chance. The SSN show issue is always popular and space is limited, so please get in touch asap! We want to know, and so do our readers!

All companies exhibiting at the show can submit a product that is making its debut at ASIS 2015 in September. Companies that have more than one product division may submit one product for each division.

To take advantage of this free editorial opportunity, please send an email with the following information in the body of the text to

1.  Company name
2.  Company website
3.  Product name
4.  Three bullet points that describe your product, each 12 words or less
5.  ASIS booth number (essential; you must be exhibiting at ASIS)
6.  Image of product (JPEG file with a DPI of 300 or greater. No PDFs, please.)

We can wait until Friday, but that’s it.

Space in the issue is limited, so submitting early ensures you a place in the section!

Hope you all have a great show!'s commercial move solidifying

Wednesday, August 5, 2015, the interactive services platform provider, made its first foray into the commercial market, with the purchase, earlier this year of Secure-i. Here's that story.

Its recent integration with Tyco Security Products marks another move for the interactive services platform provider into the small-to-medium commercial market.

Tyco is integrating its PowerSeries Neo platform with’s cloud-based services (interactive security, intelligent automation, video monitoring and energy management solutions). This, Tyco said, gives dealers the opportunity to offer small-to-medium commercial customers "simple and scalable" interactive services.

PowerSeries Neo "combines the flexibility of a modular, hardwired system with the simplicity of a wide range of compatible wireless devices," Tyco said. This platform uses PowerG wireless intrusion capabilities for a hybrid intrusion system. PowerSeries Neo features built-in Z-Wave capabilities through CDMA and HSPA (3G) communicators.

“We’re excited to bring the next generation of smart technology to the commercial space with the PowerSeries Neo powered by,” Dan Kerzner, chief product officer,, said in a prepared statement.

“We have seen smart home technology dramatically improve the safety and efficiency of homes and create more value for our dealer partners, and we believe there are significant opportunities in the commercial market to help business owners manage their locations, secure their properties and make them more efficient.”

Tim Myers, director of product management, Intrusion, Tyco Security Products said in a prepared statement that “The integration of PowerSeries Neo and uniquely anticipates the future needs of the connected environment, whether a residence or a multi-tenant commercial property, and provides infinite opportunities to maximize the system."

What do you know—We will be talking about this very development at Cloud+, SSN's new conference focused entirely on cloud-based technology. Here's a story about the conference and here's a link to the website.

Will DIY, MIY impact you?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What’s the future normal for home security? According to an article from Business Insider, it’s DIY and MIY, all from Silicon Valley giants Google and Apple along with telecom big names.

What do you think?

I speak to resi dealers five days a week. They tell me that DIY is often a selling point for them and that it works very well for some of their customers—especially in helping homeowners understand their systems better—but that MIY, on the other hand, is not beneficial. What happens if you’re an MIYer and you’re 1,000 miles away from home on vacation or a business trip?

Traditional home security systems are still the mainstay, but not for long, according to the report from Citi, the primary source in the Business Insider article. Even though traditional systems/companies currently make up 93 percent of the home security market and DIY/yet professionally monitored make up 4.7 percent, Citi says in the article, that’s all going to change.

Google’s Nest and Dropcam and Apple’s HomeKit control 2.3 percent of the market.

That 2.3 percent market share will grow to 34 percent in the next five years, Citi says, with the traditional professional systems dropping to 61.6 percent.

How will this play out? Do you agree with the Citi study? I’m interested in your opinions for future articles in Security Systems News. Please let me know. Comment, email me at or call me at 207-846-0600. Thanks!




AvantGuard PERS Summit looks at fall detection, other trends

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

AvantGuard’s PERS Summit is coming up at the end of September in Park City, Utah, and the company recently released the event’s itinerary. This event is held every two years now, with the last being in 2013. 

While MAMA is also hosting its annual meeting this fall, the two cover different areas of PERS monitoring, even complementing each other. “We’ve created this conference for specific PERS dealers. It’s apples and oranges different from MAMA, where they’re more focused on the government aspect,” Troy Iverson, AvantGuard’s VP of sales and marketing. AvantGuard is a member and supporter of MAMA, he said, and isn't looking to compete with its efforts.

“Fall detection technology is going to be … a hot topic in the industry,” Iverson said. This year’s summit has a panel specifically discussing the technology: “Fall Detection… Is it the ‘Holy Grail’ of PERS?” On this panel will be representatives from PERS manufacturers Climax, Mytrex, Numera.

Some of the other sessions are “State of the PERS Industry,” “PERS Monitoring Trends” and “PERS Contracts: Cover Your Assets.”

The keynote speaker for the event will be NFL’s Steve Young, talking about his experiences as well as meeting with attendees.

The summit will start with a tour of Avantguard’s facility. Networking and sharing best practices between PERS dealers is a big part of the summit, Iverson said. “Our whole goal of this is to bring … AvantGuard dealers, non-AvantGuard dealers, manufacturers, industry experts together for three days, and let’s grow—let’s grow together.”

De Fina: A forward-looking industry veteran

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Like others here at Security Systems News and across the industry, I was saddened to learn of Frank De Fina's death.

Over the past 10 years I got to know Frank and I admired him a lot. He was a great businessman who knew his technology and the security industry inside and out, but one of the reasons I liked talking to him is because he knew as much about music and art as he did about IP video.

And more than just talk about music, he was a musician. If you've been to PSA-TEC, you've probably enjoyed watching Frank play guitar at Bill Bozeman's annual PSA Jam. Here's a link to a 2010 performance.  And here is a photo of Frank playing at the House of Blues in Chicago at ASIS a couple of years ago.

Frank was a security veteran—he spent more than 30 years in security—but he was not one to pine for the good old days of the security industry.

He welcomed a challenge and he was forward-thinking.

Recognizing that the security industry is too gray, too male and too white, he worked to prepare the security industry for a financially healthy and vibrant future in many ways.

He was a mentor to many, he was active in security industry associations, and he was the driver behind a security college degree program at Mercer County Community College, which will launch in September.  De Fina worked with the Security Industry Association, Northland Control's Pierre Trapanese and System Sensor's Dave Lyons on the idea. The two-year program  will combine security-specific training, liberal arts and business classes and will lead to an associate's degree in applied sciences. 

As the industry “aggressively moves into IP, these new [degree-holding] professionals will be well equipped to fill upcoming positions,” De Fina told me in an interview. He was excited that the new degree program will expose young professionals to the security industry, an industry that most college students do not know about. Noting the "tremendous lack of diversity in the security industry," De Fina said one of the reason organizers chose Mercer County Community College for this program is because it “draws a higher-than-normal percentage of African Americans, Hispanics and women."

Frank did great things at Panasonic and Samsung and he was poised to do the same at Hikvision, but he leaves a legacy that goes way beyond impressive profits and sales goals achieved. As SIA CEO Don Erickson pointed out "he put forth ideas and proposals that would strengthen the industry rather than any one single company." 

And I think he had fun doing it. Frank De Fina was a multi-talented guy who was one of the most well-liked and respected people in our industry. He will be missed.