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Mission 500 recaps 2017 efforts

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mission 500, a non-profit charitable organization focusing on the security industry and dedicated to serving children and families in need across the U.S., recently gave an overview of its efforts throughout 2017, including the annual Security 5/2K at ISCW, the summer Security Softball Game and the Miami Mixer among other events.

“Engaging and giving back to children and communities in need is at the core of our mission here in the U.S.,” Jeff Eichenlaub, director of strategic partnerships for Mission 500, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to contributing to causes that are important to the security industry again in 2018.”

At the Miami Mixer, Mission 500 raised more than $15,000 for children in need in South Florida, according to the announcement. The event had more than 70 attendees and included a fashion show, raffles, an auction and karaoke. Proceeds were donated to children attending to Crosspointe Elementary School, a Title One School in Boynton Beach and Centro Campesino, a not-for-profit organization that hosts a summer camp for children of migrant farm workers living in severe poverty in South Florida.

At the Axis Connect & Converge Conference, Mission 500 spoke to conference attendees about corporate social responsibility awareness in the security industry and why it is important. Conference attendees assembled School Refill Packs for 600 students at a Title One School in Seattle, which will provide students with enough school supplies to get through the second half of the school year, the announcement said.

Axis Communications hosted another event at the company’s new Southeast Experience Center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The event was dedicated to assembling School Refill Packs for 200 low-income students impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the storm that impacted Houston in August 2017.

At the 2017 California Alarm Association Winter Conference held in San Francisco in November, Mission 500 helped attendees assemble School Refill Packs for 200 low- income children impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

At the NY Fire and Executive Security Club Dinner, Mission 500 honored Alan Forman of Altronix Corporation, Zygmunt Staszewski of Z.S. Engineering D.P.C, and Lew Walters of Affiliated Monitoring for their philanthropic contributions. All proceeds from the event benefited children supported by Mission 500, in addition to the NY Firefighters Burn Center Foundation Children’s Camp.

In 2018, Mission 500 is already planning for the eighth annual Security 5/2K at ISC West as well as the annual Mission 500 softball game which will take place in the fall.

Allied Universal partners with Robotic Assistance Devices

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

On the Move Systems recently announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary Robotic Assistance Devices has executed a strategic agreement to supply its intelligent robotic solutions through Allied Universal, a leading facility services company and one of the largest security forces in North America with more than 150,000 employees.

The robots will be leveraged to help Allied Universal customers supplement existing security professionals and improve safety, increase situational awareness and drive efficiency across the enterprise.

“The RAD portfolio augments the core competencies of our guard personnel because it offers fully autonomous patrolling that stakeholders can leverage to make rapid, informed decisions,” Ty Richmond, president, Integrated Security Solutions and Technology, Allied Universal, said in the announcement. “The data captured by the security robot will prove valuable in post-event investigations, enabling our customers to quickly address ongoing issues, close cases and identify trends. We are excited to explore the possibilities alongside RAD.”

RAD founder and president Steve Reinharz said in the announcement that RAD’s S5 Security Robots add significant benefits to the Allied Universal product and services portfolio by delivering a cost-effective solution to augment traditional guarding services, and serve as a force multiplier that removes security personnel from potentially dangerous situations, reducing injuries and liability. He noted that the combination of human personnel with robotic technologies creates a strong value proposition that results in new levels of security and streamlined operations.

“The market is primed to embrace the combination of human personnel and robotic guarding, and we expect this trend to increase significantly in the coming year,” Reinharz said. “We are thrilled with our already valuable partnership with Allied Universal and the size and quality of the sales funnel we’ve been able to create together.”

When Security Systems News spoke with Richmond recently, he noted that Allied Universal continues to work closely with drone and robotics manufacturers “to provide another technology tool that allows you to extend your security operations. We are very bullish on robots and we see them as an augmentation to our man-guarding business.”

And speaking of robots in security, Reinharz and Allied Universal will both be participating on a session/panel at our SSN TechSec Solutions conference, Feb. 26-27, in Delray Beach, Fla. Click here for more on the session and the entire education program.

Top monitoring topics in 2017

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

YARMOUTH, Maine—Now that we are in the second half of December, it seems like a natural time to look back over the year and some of the common topics from the monitoring side of the industry in 2017. 

The Monitoring Association had some notable developments this year, including changing its name from CSAA in March—a change made to better portray the focus of the organization.

It was great to attend TMA’s Annual Meeting this year. You can read an overview of that event here. At the close of the meeting TMA welcomed its new president, Ivan Spector, president of Montreal-based Sentinel Alarm Co., along with several other officers. You can read more about that here.

And, more recently, TMA announced its new Level 1 training course for monitoring center operators.

PERS, yet again, was a big topic of the year.

Affiliated Monitoring held its second annual Catalyst conference in Miami in mid-May, examining the sales and marketing aspects of the PERS industry.

AvantGuard held its fourth PERS Summit in late September, in Park City, Utah, covering a variety of topics.

Medical alert provider Medical Guardian also announced a change-up to its branding and marketing, looking more at overcoming one of the biggest obstacles in the PERS industry, which is “the perception of the service,” according to company founder and CEO, Geoff Gross.

PERS manufacturer Freeus also started a dealer education initiative. There were also some acquisitions announced; VRI made a purchase in the PERS space, as did Tunstall Americas, and GTCR was purchased by a private equity firm. PERS company ONKÖL started production.

There were also a few notable hires and role changes at monitoring companies: Security Partners named Randy Hall as its president, Justin Bailey became the president of AvantGuard in addition to being its COO, MONI’s Bruce Mungiguerra was promoted from SVP to COO, and NMC recently hired Nicola Oakie as its new director of national sales.

 

MONI renews relationship with Skyline Smart Home Protection

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

DALLAS—MONI Smart Security on Dec. 11 announced a renewed relationship with Skyline Smart Home Protection, based out of Los Angeles. Starting on Jan. 1, 2018, Skyline will begin selling exclusively for MONI.

“We’re really excited about it and it really comes at a good time for us—to start off the year with a great new partner,” Jeff Gardner, CEO of MONI, told Security Systems News. “One of the things that drives our revenue growth at our company is the strength of our dealer program, so … adding a dealer with the prominence of Skyline and the size of Skyline will send a great message.”

Skyline was previously a MONI dealer, from 2010 to 2014. Gardner said that increased advertising and publicity for the MONI brand, as well as MONI’s sales training opportunities were among factors that drew Skyline back to MONI’s dealer program. “We’re just thrilled to get them back,” Gardner said.

“I am thrilled to be partnering again with MONI,” Edwin Arroyave, CEO of Skyline, said in a prepared statement. “It has always been important for Skyline to align itself with partners who understand the value and importance of technology and innovation, while consistently providing the highest levels of customer service. MONI shares these values and I could not be more excited to be renewing our relationship. I look forward to the opportunities ahead.”

Skyline was founded in 2004 and offers home security products and services, such as interactive and home automation, mobile apps, video monitoring and energy management products. The company currently has more than 80,000 smart home customers across more than 30 states.

“They’re going to be one of the largest dealers in the MONI program,” Gardner said. Skyline is “the largest dealer partner that we’ve recruited since I’ve been here, and I’ve been here just a little over two years,” he said.

“I’m hopeful that Skyline will be the first of many new dealers that we add to our program in 2018,” said Gardner.

Alexa for Business?

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

No one can refute the impact that Amazon’s Echo device has had in the home—if I had a nickel for every time someone yelled out the name Alexa in the home, I would be on a warm beach somewhere instead of trying to keep the cold drafts at bay in my office here is chilly Maine. But I digress.

With the success that Amazon has had with Alexa in the home, it is not surprising to see the company try to move into the office with the introduction of Alexa for Business, which was announced earlier this month at the AWS Re:Invent event.

As much as this raises interesting questions about possible uses within the office—in addition to the way these devices interact with other IoT devices in the office—it also raises many questions in regard to the place for voice assistants and voice assistant devices outside of the home.

In the home, Parks Associates estimates that nearly 50 percent of U.S. broadband households use a personal assistant through an application or dedicated device. And currently 10 percent of U.S. broadband households own a smart speaker with a personal assistant, such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home.

Parks Associates recently released a new whitepaper, Enabling Voice in the Smart Home, with research showing 49 percent of U.S. broadband households use a personal assistant through an app or dedicated device, which is a key use case for a voice-based user experience. The whitepaper, sponsored by the ULE Alliance, examines the influence of the voice-first interface on the adoption of connected products and presents market strategies for long-term success in the voice technology market.

“Collectively, companies are competing to stay in the race for dominance in the voice-first market,” Dina Abdelrazik, research analyst, Parks Associates, said in a prepared statement. “Amazon, Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung continue to announce new product enhancements in order to stay ahead of the demand for voice technologies. As the voice-first landscape expands, we will see voice capabilities embedded into a variety of devices, from appliances to thermostats to lighting. Voice alleviates complexity in the user experience for these products, and as a result, voice will serve as a prime differentiator in the user experience for the smart home.”

But will this same battle for the smart home play out in the business world as well? That is a question that only time will answer, but Amazon is hoping that the demand at home will influence and drive the demand outside the home, as consumers come to expect the same kind of convenience and seamless experience in the office.

Amazon offered up some interesting use cases at the launch of Alexa for Business, such as having Alexa make calls, send messages, record important meetings and control thermostats, lighting, and other IoT-enabled devices around the office, for example, but what role will voice play in the overall smart building ecosystem that we are moving toward as an industry right now? This is a question that is loaded with other concerns, such as privacy and cybersecurity, to name just a few.

What do you think the role of the voice in the office will be and how far are we from hearing Alexa called out incessantly in the office as well?

SIA launches new robot-focused working group

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Security Industry Association on Dec. 1 announced its new Autonomous Security Robots Working Group, appointing Mark McCourt as the group’s chair. McCourt talked with Security Systems News about the group’s formation and core focuses.

McCourt said that he’s been working on the group since September. “We thought about getting out in front of this topic by taking the robotics, the drone, the anti-drone [or] drone defense, underwater unmanned vehicles, that section of the market that serves security, and start early on what SIA’s platform should be to help grow this industry successfully as a partner.”

This would give robotics companies a more direct reason to be a part of SIA, getting a voice at the table with SIA’s various segments, such as its legislative, education and standards teams, McCourt added. The Autonomous Security Robots Working Group is a part of SIA’s existing Public Safety Interest Group. The working group is currently seeking input and participants.

“We want to create good communications around this topic that we can get out and talk to people about.”

The working group will be looking at a variety of relevant topics. “One of the things we want to do is hone in on the go-to-market strategy and the role of channel partners,” McCourt said.

Education for end users and security practitioners—to inform them of the benefits of robots within security—will be a goal of the working group. “It’s not all about job replacement and cost reduction,” McCourt said. There are other elements of productiveness, and allowing people who might have their jobs impacted by robots doing other tasks to add value to their organization

“Robotics technology, especially when powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, has the potential to reshape how we think about security,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in a prepared statement. “The Autonomous Security Robots Working Group will help industry members and end users manage and leverage this change to greatly enhance the protection of people and property.”

McCourt currently works with Cobalt Robotics, helping the company with commercialization.

ASIS changes conference name to Global Security Exchange

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

ASIS International announced this week that it has changed the name of its annual security conference from the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits to the Global Security Exchange (GSX). Building on its 60-plus year legacy as a premier security event, the newly branded GSX will take place in Las Vegas, Nev., Sept. 23-27, 2018, in partnership with InfraGard and ISSA.

"In what will be our 64th year of delivering the security industry's flagship event, the Global Security Exchange, or GSX for short, will build upon the change and reinvention introduced at ASIS 2017," Peter J. O'Neil, CAE, CEO, ASIS International, said in the annoucement. "This name reflects the Society's commitment to unite the full spectrum of security—cyber and operational security professionals from all verticals across the private and public sector, allied organizations and partners, and the industry's leading service and solution providers—for the most comprehensive security event in the world."

The education program, led by ASIS, InfraGard, and ISSA subject matter experts, will deliver an immersive and interactive learning environment for security professionals at all experience levels. The exhibit hall will be transformed into a learning lab environment, showcasing new and emerging products and technologies such as machine learning, robotics, forensic analysis, and artificial intelligence. In addition, the revitalized networking events will facilitate relationship building and the sharing of best practices with peers from across the globe.

"From the Internet of Everything and soft target attacks to data breaches and drones, the velocity of change and risks knows no boundaries," Thomas J. Langer, CPP, 2017 president, ASIS International, said in the announcement. "GSX fills the industry's need for a global event that brings together the entire security industry, to exchange ideas and lessons learned, keep informed of current and emerging risks, and gain exposure to the emerging technologies shaping society and our workplaces."

While the annual event's new name is debuting now, the full rebrand will launch at the 2018 ASIS International Leadership Conference, which will be held Jan. 16-19, in Arlington, Va.

Reed announces Unmanned Security & Safety Expo

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Reed Exhibitions on Nov. 14 announced the launch of Unmanned Security & Safety Expo 2018, set to take place Nov. 14 & 15 in New York City, alongside next year’s ISC East show at the Javits Center. The launch is an expansion of the Unmanned Security segment at Reed Exhibitions’ ISC West event.

“The all-new event is focused on drones and robotics for commercial and government security and safety use-cases and drone detection/anti-drone solutions,” Reed said in its announcement.

“We’re excited to launch this cutting-edge event co-located with ISC East in New York in 2018,” Will Wise, ISC group vice president, said in a prepared statement. “Reed Exhibitions’ security portfolio strives to provide the industry with the latest products, technologies and education in security and safety. Unmanned Security & Safety Expo directly embraces an essential need in the industry for addressing the in-depth issues and opportunities of security and safety for UAVs and UGVs. In line with this launch and continued rapid expansion of unmanned security and safety coverage across our portfolio of events, we’re enthusiastic to also announce a collaboration with the Commercial Drone Alliance.”

In its announcement, Reed gave an overview of how drones have entered the space, after the FAA updated Part 107 of its guidelines in June 2016, which governs the commercial use of UAVs/drones. The changes reduced barriers for UAVs in commercial applications.  Increasing the adoption of drones for security.

“The launch of Unmanned Security & Safety Expo directly addresses this need in the marketplace,” Reed said, adding that 67 percent of ISC’s traditional audience is interested in evaluating unmanned technology products, and 75 percent of attendees are interested in learning more about ongoing FAA adaptions to UAV regulations and policies. The Unmanned Security & Safety Expo will include education sessions and product demos on the exhibit floor.

“Our Commercial Drone Alliance has been heavily focused on security concerns and the growth of the drone security market, and we’re thrilled to support the Unmanned Security & Safety Expo at ISC West & ISC East in 2018”, Gretchen West, co-executive director, Silicon Valley - Commercial Drone Alliance, said in a prepared statement. 

Attendees of the inaugural Unmanned Security & Safety Expo in New York will also have full access to the ISC East 2018, Reed announced. ISC East has a built-in audience of 4,500 security professionals, all of whom will also have access to Unmanned Security & Safety Expo. Both events are also supported by the Security Industry Association.

SIA applauds passage of Power and Security Systems Act

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

President Donald Trump recently signed into law the Power and Security Systems (PASS) Act, P.L. 115-78, culminating a yearlong effort led by the Security Industry Association (SIA) to preserve an important provision in federal energy efficiency requirements critical to the operation of security and fire alarm systems.

"The PASS Act provides much-needed certainty to manufacturers, installers and service providers who are among thousands of Americans that work in the security industry … but ultimately it benefits the millions of American consumers that depend on such security and life safety systems." Jake Parker, SIA Director of Government Relations, said in the SIA announcement.

Drafted with assistance from SIA and in collaboration with the energy efficiency community, the PASS Act extends a policy exempting security and life safety external power supplies (EPS) from having to meet a "no-load mode" energy efficiency standard, since they must always be connected and in active mode by design and no efficiency gains would result.

The new law makes the exemption essentially permanent by removing the July 1, 2017 expiration date on the exemption and providing the U.S. Department of Energy with authority to retain the common-sense policy in any future updates to energy efficiency standards governing external power supplies.

SIA led a coalition of industry groups in working with Congress to secure the exemption in 2011, which included a "sunset provision"—a common way of ensuring a new policy set forth in legislation is reviewed by Congress before becoming more permanent.

Preserving this exemption was a key concern for security manufactures and systems integrators, according to SIA, noting, “Without it, product redesign and adjustments to manufacturing processes would needlessly increase the cost of the equipment by 200-300 percent according to industry estimates, affecting not just manufacturers but the entire value chain.”

Enactment of this important solution would not have been possible without the bipartisan leadership of the bill's sponsors Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), as well as Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), and Susan Brooks (R-Ind). Over the past two years, Gardner, Welch and Brooks have been recognized with SIA's Legislator of the Year award for their support of this and other policies important to the security industry.

Updates from Honeywell's CONNECT 2017

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Friday, November 10, 2017

This afternoon, I landed in San Diego to attend this year’s Honeywell CONNECT conference. Below you’ll find an overview of educational sessions I’ve attended and key themes and technologies highlighted throughout the conference. Be sure to check back as I’ll be updating it for each day of the event.

Saturday, Nov. 11

In CONNECT 2017’s third general session, Michael Flink, president of Honeywell Security and Fire who flew in the previous night to address the event’s attendees, talked about the company’s perspective and approach. He talked about how new entrants to the security industry from Silicon Valley have the model of putting out a product to learn from customers and improve on it.

This is the process that Honeywell is taking with its new DIY security system; using a crowdfunding site to get a product in the hands of interested consumers to learn from them and improve it.

Additionally, Flink said that the company is looking to invest significantly in research and development in the near future. Similar to DeBiasio, Flink discusses the company’s decreasing time from a product’s development to its release.

Jason Dorsey, a consultant and speaker from The Center for Generational Kinetics, was brought back after a popular performance at Honeywell Connect 2014. He addressed some myths and realities of millennials, such as their spending habits and their presence in the work place, as well as how their key attributes compare to other generations.

After the general session, I attended “We’re Here to Help: Leveraging HIS Resources, Services and Programs to Grow your Business,” to hear about the ways Honeywell supports its HIS dealers. The session was presented by Deanna Smith, sales supervisor for Honeywell Integrated Security. and JoAnne Goldman, HIS channel manager.

Goldman and Smith showed the HIS dealer website and its feauters. In the session, they covered a variety of topics, including online resources—such as webinars, articles and case studies, training materials, and specifying tools among others.

From the last selection of breakout sessions at Honeywell Connect 2017, I went to listen Honeywell’s Quentin Gunther and Russ Ackerman, industry veteran and the new residential sales manager for Bates Security’s Jacksonville, Fla., branch. The two presented on how to approach a customer and decide which items to sell in a home security setting in a session entitled, “When Do I Sell What in Residential?”

Throughout the session, Ackerman and Gunther highlighted the benefits of using a questionnaire in sales to determine key information about a potential customer, such as the reason they’re looking to get a system, the amount of time they are typically outside of the home and what they most want to protect.

Customers don’t always value what seems most important to the salesperson, Ackerman noted, citing an instance where a potential customer had a home and a family but was not interested in monitored fire protection.

In the session, the two speakers role-played a customer interaction—with Ackerman as the salesperson and Gunther as the prospective customer—to illustrate the type of information that can come out of using a questionnaire, the importance of how questions are asked and the difference in response when a customer is asked to expand. For example, a customer might say they don’t travel much, but, in actuality, they are away most weekends.

Friday, Nov. 10

Three words were projected above the stage before the first general session: Differentiate. Disrupt. Deliver. These three words serve as the main themes for Honeywell’s 2017 CONNECT and I saw some of that in the previous day’s sessions; differentiating your company by being more involved in the community.

The general session started with a video address from Michael Flink, president of Honeywell Security and Fire. He highlighted the theme and introduced Mandy Harvey, a singer who differentiated herself by singing and making music despite having lost her hearing. Harvey performed her original song “Try” live on stage here in San Diego.

Following Harvey’s performance, Scott Harkins, Honeywell’s GM connected home, came on stage and addressed the theme of “Disruption.” Companies that want to do well in the industry need to be open to the idea that disruption is possible in the industry, he said.

Harkins addressed the recent spin-off of Honeywell’s residential and ADI businesses, which total a $4.5 billion entity. The commercial security and access control sides, a $5.5 billion business, will remain within Honeywell. This will allow both businesses the ability to be more disruptive.

Harkins outlined the market into three categories of U.S. households; the 20 percent without broadband internet, 60 percent that have internet but don’t currently have a security system, and an additional 20 percent that have internet and a security system installed. Honeywell recently announced a DIY-installed home security system, and it is currently on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. This system is a way for Honeywell dealers to compete in the other 60 percent of the market, Harkins said, calling it “professionally-enabled DIY.”

Alice DeBiasio, Honeywell’s VP and general manager of software solutions, took the stage to talk a bit about the company’s work in 2017. This year, Honeywell launched 10 products in its hardware business and more than 10 software offerings.

The company has also improved its pace of release, she noted: it launched its lyric platform in 12 months time, then its Lyric Gateway in less than 10 months, and the company’s new DIY system is on pace to be less than 9 months.

The company released a new version of its Total Connect app, which has been highly rated by users, DeBiasio said.

One thing the company is working on now: partitions. Honeywell is working to enable users to arm and disarm different partitions of their property and assign different users to different partitions.

Josh Linkner, the first keynote speaker of this year’s CONNECT, delivered his presentation "Harnessing Innovation: Fresh approaches to Growth, Creativity, and Transformation." Linkner has authored three books and founded multiple companies, including Eprize and Detroit Venture Partners.

To open, he said his goal was making the terms disruption and innovation more tangible and accessible. A theme throughout his presentation was that people should can, and should, stop and apply creativity in their business challenges.

He challenged attendees to think of one new idea for innovation; even if it’s not implemented, professionals will start to think in that direction and that can even spread to coworkers, he said.

After Linkner’s presentation, Honeywell’s Medal of Honor award was presented to Doyle Security Systems and accepted by Kevin Stone, Doyle’s chief operating officer. 

Jerry Camarillo, operations manager for Dillard Alarm Company, presented one of the day’s first sessions “Building RMR into Your Video Business Model.” One of the technologies that Camarillo highlighted was MAXPRO Cloud, Honeywell’s cloud-based hosted services platform for access control and video surveillance. "There's a different way to make RMR now," Camarillo said.

In his presentation, Camarillo pointed to a few benefits of using Honeywell products, such as recognition and trust with the brand and resources for technical support if a dealer needs help.

Within the “Building RMR into Your Video Business Model” session, Tim Sutliffe, regional sales manager for Honeywell Security and Fire, looked at a couple examples where equipment that is being installed today could utilize MAXPRO Cloud. When looking at the examples, Sutliffe pointed out that there’s a certain amount of up-front revenue, but more RMR that can be gained through adding this offering.

Adding RMR services to a system that was already being sold by a dealer is a way to be disruptive in the industry, Sutliffe noted.

John Cerasuolo, president and CEO of ADS Security, gave advice for onboarding, ways companies can make their best first impression to new employees with some examples from ADS’ processes. "I really spend most of my time on building the culture of our company,” he said, underlining company culture’s importance. "Sometimes it's easy to overlook the cultural stuff."

In his presentation, “Onboarding Employees for Success,” Cerasuolo looked at several phases and scenarios for new hires and new employees.

Presenting culture begins in the recruitment phase, Cerasuolo said, with the information from ADS. Specifically, ADS focuses on messaging about culture and the high-tech nature of the business.

Prospective employees also get information from sites like Glassdoor, which allows current and former employees to review an employer, Cerasuolo noted.

Companies can also get involved after an employee has been selected but before they start. ADS sends a fruit basket to new employees. "I can't emphasize enough how significant [that] is," Cerasuolo said.

When the employee starts, ADS’ main goal is to have them feel that they made the right decision in joining the company.

Companies should prepare for new employees, he said, meaning having all equipment—uniform, work phone, tablet, work vehicle—ready when a new hire arrives. Additionally, people in the company should be aware of the new hire.

In the first 90 days, ADS wants to have employees engaging with leadership and reflecting the company’s culture to its customers. Cerasuolo also said that asking employees of 90 days for feedback on their roles can be a good way to field objective suggestions for improving the business.

Clearly conveying the company’s culture is also important with onboarding employees following an acquisition, he said.

Conveying the right message to new employees isn’t something that owners and business leaders can delegate, according to Cerasuolo. "To do it right, it needs the involvement of the senior leaders," he said.

At the start of the day’s second general session, Quentin Gunther, Honeywell’s dealer development manager, gave awards to companies that have now been Honeywell dealers for 20 years—Interface Security Systems and Western Alarm—or 25 years: Golden Bear Alarm, KST Security, Pasek Corporation, and RFI Communications and Security Systems.

Several dealers got on stage to share their views on disrupting, differentiating and delivering.

First, ADS’ John Cerasuolo, talked about ways Honeywell products can help a business like ADS differentiate itself. ADS is exclusively using Honeywell products for its residential business, he said.

Specifically, Cerasuolo looked at the Lyric product, which has been positively reviewed by ADS’ installation team, sales team and its customers, he noted. He highlighted three main benefits to offering the Lyric. It allows dealers to more effectively control and manage the installation process, it helps reduce service costs, and with new features coming out for AlarmNet 360, it can help to cut attrition, he said. "That's a combination that you just can’t avoid," he said.

Alexandra Curtiss, Alarm New England VP, talked about her approach to starting a DIY business. One step Curtiss took was calling large competitors, such as LiveWatch and SimpliSafe, to see how they go to market. A lot of what Curtiss does is similar to large players in the industry, but is backed by a family-owned business.

Curtiss suggested that attendees should call their customers, to see if they are pleased with their service or if they might like more aspects to their system. By understanding the market, companies can better understand how they are different and teach their reps to speak to that differentiation. 

Scott Hightower, president and CEO of Verified Security, addressed the topic of delivering the best results, both for industry businesses and their customers. In order to deliver, Hightower said that companies need to do a few things: be innovative in the offerings, provide solutions, give reliability, and support the products and services.

Hightower also addressed several ways that companies can know if they are delivering, such as customer surveys, net promoter score or by getting reviews or testimonials.

Honeywell’s Life Safety Award was this year given to Graham Bloem, the founder of Shelter to Soldier, a charity that rescues dogs from shelters, fully trains them to be psychiatric service animals, and pairs them with a veteran who is recovering after returning home.

Veteran Vic Martin came on stage with his service dog to talk about how the program changed his life.

“Why believe in the cloud?” This question was the session title and main point for Scott Hightower’s educational session, one of the final selection of sessions for the day.

Hightower opened with an overview of what is good about the cloud. Cloud is well tested, Hightower pointed out, and cloud services have been in other industries longer than they have been in the security space. The cloud also presents an RMR opportunity for installers as well as lower initial costs for customers. Additionally, products in the cloud evolve faster, with quicker fixes to problems.

In the presentation, Hightower discussed his company’s work with the cloud, particularly with Honeywell’s MAXPRO Cloud offering. He lauded the product’s functionality and commented on the variety of deployment methods—hosted, managed or a hybrid model—and its mobile app among other benefits. The mobile app is a strong selling point, he said.

The platform also lets companies monitor the health of devices, and contact their customers when a product goes offline.

In terms of pricing, the industry tends to undervalue the services that it provides, he said. To help sell the service, Hightower noted that he puts an emphasis on compensating RMR that’s brought in.

Verified started with a measured deployment of MAXPRO Cloud, Hightower said, to ensure that his business could support it. Systems don't need to be entirely on the platform. Companies can have an NVR on premise and a selection of cameras linked to the cloud for redundancy, he said.

Thursday, Nov. 9

The first educational session I attended was “Maximizing you Monitoring: How to Ensure Your Central Station Is Working for You,” a presentation from Tony Wilson, president of CMS. Here, Wilson discussed key points and questions dealers should consider when looking at a wholesale central station.

Companies should look at their monitoring center in terms of its people, he said, advising companies to tour their monitoring facilities. “Go visit your central station. See the people, meet the people,” he said. Alarm dealers should also be looking at how the central station recruits, hires and trains its employees, as well as its process for quality assurance.

There’s also the level of service to consider; while a quick response is the goal in a monitoring center, representatives should also be courteous and polite, Wilson noted. 

When it comes to the center's technology, “Make sure your monitoring partner is not cutting any corners,” Wilson said.

Companies also should have the right tools available to them. He gave an overview of how CMS worked with a third party software developer to design its new CMS Compass dealer portal to better assist its partners.

Disaster recovery is another key consideration. Dealers should know their monitoring company’s policies around events—such as natural disasters—that may affect the station or otherwise increase alarm traffic. “Ask what the plans are for an evacuation,” he said.

In the end, companies should find a monitoring center that fits them best in terms of capabilities and overall attitude, he said.

APS owner Cat Fleuriet, EPS director of business development David Hood, and Custom Alarm CEO Melissa Brinkman, in the second session I attended, each gave their insight into how security companies can differentiate and better themselves by becoming more involved in their respective communities.

Fleuriet opened the session with her company’s approach to community service. APS, based just outside of New Orleans, hears what its employees care about; the company asks each of its new hires about the community service opportunities that are most important to them.

Helping out can, in turn, help the business too. People want to do business with a company that gives back to the community, said Fleuriet. It can also be a recruitment tool, Hood noted, with employees wanting to be aligned with a company that contibutes to the area.

Community service can be a simple gesture, Fleuriet said. As an example, APS delivered handwritten notes from its employees to residents of the Ville St. Marie Senior Living Community.

Security companies can also recognize a need in their area and fill it, Fleuriet said, such as with assisting after natural disasters. Gathering school supplies for children is one example she gave, stressing the importance of returning to normalcy after a difficult event such as a hurricane.

Hood said that EPS has been embracing community service more in the past 10 years.

EPS, based around Grand Rapids, Mich., is a local business that is competing with national companies and community service can make a difference, Hood said. Companies can also get benefits out of more local involvement, such as networking.

Earned media recognition, when a company gets recognized for its local efforts, can also be a valuable resource, Hood said.

Companies can get overwhelmed with requests for sponsorships or their desire to help many areas of the community—don’t overcommit, Hood advised. For example, EPS tries to only donate money where it will also donate its time. 

Custom Alarm is based in Rochester, Minn. Brinkman gave examples of how the company has gotten involved. The company has been very involved with United Way, said Brinkman, as well as with local efforts like Fire Prevention Week and Litter Bit Better, which gathers volunteers to clean up roadsides in the area.

Custom Alarm looks to focus its efforts on specific areas, such as aiding people in crisis and the development and support of children. Brinkman also organizes where it devotes resources, looking at who is suggesting the charity—a customer or an employee—and if it is an employee, whether they are also donating time or money as an individual.

While there can be positive benefits to a company helping its surrounding community, all speakers stressed that this should not be the largest factor in starting a community service effort.

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