Subscribe to

Blogs

Monitronics prefers Alarm.com

 - 
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Alarm.com will continue to be the preferred supplier of smart home technology for Monitronics and its dealers, Alarm.com announced today.

“We are committed to giving our customers and dealers the best technology options available and our renewed partnership with Alarm.com positions us to continue to capitalize on the rapidly growing smart home and home automation services category,” Bruce Mungiguerra, SVP of Operations for Monitronics, said in a prepared statement.

“Alarm.com’s partner services are also key to efficiently supporting and managing accounts across our dealer programs, and help deliver the exceptional customer experience that is so important to our business,” Mungiguerra said in the release.

Alarm.com’s Partner Services Platform offers customer acquisition programs, streamlined installation apps, remote troubleshooting and support capability, and business advice.

Steve Trundle, Alarm.com’s president and CEO, said in the statement, “We place great value on our long-term strategic partnership with Monitronics and we are excited to reaffirm our commitment going forward so that we can each provide great services to the leading independent security dealers in North America.”

2G sunset opens doors to resi acquisitions

 - 
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Now that it is the New Year—2016—it is also the year of the 2G sunset, with the effective end date for 2G signals being Dec. 31 this year. A lot of people have been talking about it, such as how to prepare for it, how to approach mass radio conversions and when dealers need to start. Lately, I’ve heard that the 2G sunset will play a role in the 2016 acquisition market.

Specifically, I’ve heard that dealers that have not completed, or perhaps haven’t started, their 2G conversions may find it easier to sell their accounts to a company that can and is willing to take on the project.

Last week, I heard from John Loud, president of LOUD Security, that the conversion might play a role in 2016 acquisitions for the company.

This week, Doug Smith, president of the commercially focused business Redwire, shared a similar sentiment—that there could be opportunities to buy resi accounts as a result of the 2G sunset.

At Honeywell’s 2015 CONNECT, there was a discussion on how dealers should get started on 2G conversions. A recurrent point was that all alarm companies should have started by now, especially as some areas have already lost 2G signals.

One speaker at CONNECT, Spencer Smith of APS, said that his company hired additional staff—a technician and a coordinator—to focus solely on the conversion.

'Poison pill' at Avigilon

 - 
Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Video surveillance company Avigilon on Tuesday adopted a "shareholder rights" plan, an anti-takeover measure that's sometimes called a "poison pill." The plan has been accepted by the Toronto Stock Exchange, but it needs to be approved by shareholders within six months. Avigilon plans to present the plan at is 2016 annual meeting.

Avigilon said it "is not aware of any proposed take-over bid at this time."

We've seen some major video surveillance acquisitions recently with Axis and Milestone being acquired by Canon, and recently, FLIR buying DVTEL.

One can see how Avigilon may be attracting attention from a larger entity looking to get into physical security. Avigilon has well-regarded video and access control technology, including the former VideoIQ portfolio. It owns a lot of video analytics IP, and I hear it has very good relationships with integrators. Plus its stock is down considerably. Yesterday its stock closed at $12.90; Avigilon's 52-week range is $11.20 to $25.62.

It's also had a lot of movement internally with managers. Here's a blog I wrote about that.

Under Avigilon's proposed shareholder rights plan, one "right" will be issued for each Avigilon common share. The rights can only be exercised if an aquirer announces an intention to acquire shares that would take their holding to "at least 20 percent of Avigilon's outstanding share capital." The rights would allow shareholders, "other than the acquirer, to purchase additional shares at a substantial discount." A "permitted take-over bid" would not trigger the rights plan. 

 

Rapid hires

 - 
Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Rapid Response Monitoring is holding a hiring event at the Destiny USA mall in Syracuse, N.Y. Rapid Response held a similar event about 12 months ago.

Christopher Denniston told Security Systems News that last year’s event was “a very big success, so we’re doing the same thing again this year.”

“We’re working on expanding the Rapid team on both coasts,” Denniston said. The company is looking to have a similar event close to its Corona, Calif., facility, he said, but hasn’t finalized the event yet.

Denniston talked about the company’s goals for this event. “We’re looking to fill over 70 positions immediately, and then once the expansion is completed, that’ll bring that total to over 100,” Denniston said. The company is working on expanding its Syracuse headquarters from 40,000 to 75,000 square-feet this year.

“The 70 openings are primarily newly created positions, but some will fill roles vacated through internal career growth,” he said.

2015 was a good year for the company, Denniston said; Rapid Response “added some significant international business [last] year.”

How much international business did Rapid Response do previously? “We provided monitoring for a few dealers in the Caribbean on a smaller scale, but we’ve expanded that. … Today, we are monitoring for dealers in Bermuda and Cayman.”

Body parts battle: See it at TechSec

 - 
Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Body parts battle?

Yes, among the highlights of TechSec this year will be a session we've dubbed "Battle of the body parts," and not just because it's a catchy title. We're going to have a little competition at TechSec.

I've been hearing from more and more integrators that biometrics are coming of age. They're more affordable and they're more reliable, you've told me.

So, we decided to take a look at which biometric technique works best and where the promise still exceed the reality.

SecuritySpecifiers' Ray Coulombe will lead the session and he's gathered experts on four biometric technologies—facial recognition, eye scan, fingerprint, and hand geometry—to speak. Those representatives will state their cases. These will not be manufacturer' pitches. Those are not allowed at TechSec and would be booed off the stage. Rather they'll be biometrics experts talking about specific technology fundamentals (rather than their companies or products), advantages and best application areas.

To help figure out who wins the battle we'll have a panel of judges drawn from our "20 under 40" award winners.

Face, eye, finger, hand ... Come to Delray Beach, Fla. Feb. 2-3 to find out which body part is victorious in 2016. Here's a link to the program.

And, stay tuned for the announcement of our super cool keynote speaker early next week.

One central finds efficiency in the cloud

 - 
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Home Security Monitoring Center, a family-owned wholesale central station based in Stowe, Vt., is focusing on virtualization, “Putting more and more information up on the cloud,” according to company president Scott Trowbridge. The company mainly uses the cloud for business efficiency.

Trowbridge said that HSMC has been using the cloud for years, but named it as a priority moving into 2016 and beyond. “It’s not going to be done tomorrow. …  Having to commit to something like that is a very big choice. … It’s one of those things that doesn’t make you money, it just … saves time and makes you more efficient.”

The company uses the cloud to store information that is relevant for the “daily running of the business,” according to Trowbridge. Fewer computers means lower power consumption and fewer IT issues, “it makes us more cost-effective to push things into the cloud to some degree.”

The cloud makes the company more flexible, Trowbridge told me, both in terms of getting information and notifications to dealers as well as allowing staff access to information while not in the office.

“We’ve got to be very careful about how we put [information] into the cloud, and making sure that the most critical information—customer’s information—stays local so that it doesn’t get compromised,” he said.

In addition, by leveraging the cloud, workstations in HSMC are able to access a variety of functions from one spot, allowing employees to pick up their work at any location.

Trowbridge says that the company cross-trains its employees, “In order to keep things interesting and fresh, we try to rotate tasks out for our operators to … round-out the education.” These roles range from alarm monitoring to data entry and putting accounts on and off test. 

Diebold lands 500-location national account

 - 
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

NORTH CANTON, Ohio—While Diebold Electronic Security waits on the close of one deal—its acquisition by Securitas—it has closed another: a 500-location national account deal.

The national integrator will provide intrusion, fire, access and monitoring services as well as its online customer portal, SecureStat, for Rack Room Shoes, a national footwear chain that also owns Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse. Diebold will also provide an enterprise video and access control system for the company’s newly expanded corporate headquarters in Charlotte. Rack Room Shoes made the announcement Dec. 14.

Diebold has “the vision, knowledge and resources to be that partner, truly vested in Rack Room Shoes and our loss prevention strategies and results," Johnny Turner, director, loss prevention, Rack Room Shoes, said in a prepared statement.

Tony Byerly, EVP, electronic security, Diebold said in a prepared statement: “As a national retailer, Rack Room Shoes needs a security provider that focuses solely on the unique needs of business customers with the resources to deliver monitoring services and the necessary standardization of technology, solutions and processes across the United States."

When the Diebold/Securitas deal is closed, the contract will be transitioned to Securitas. The deal is expected to close early in 2016.
 

From Microsoft to Google at Cloud+

 - 
Wednesday, December 9, 2015

At the very last session of the Cloud+ conference, Brivo's Jonathan Healey noted that the Cloud+ conference began with a speaker from Microsoft and ended with a speaker from Google. "Five years ago [the idea that you'd have that line-up at a physical security conference] would be preposterous, he said.

He's right, our industry has come a long way in five years. That was a recurring theme at the Cloud+ conference, but we've also got a long way to go.

Speaker after speaker talked about the opportunities—for integrator and end user alike—in cloud-based systems. There are two stories in our newswire today about the conference: one about the keynote speaker, Monica Hopelian of MIcrosoft and one about investment and "the new security dealer," a session presented by John Mack and moderated by yours truly.  Amy's blog this week gives an overview of the sessions.

Look for more stories over the next week.

One of the topics John Mack talked about was M&A activity and investor interest in cloud-based technology. I can tell you there was investor interest at the conference this week. Many attendees were asking me if I could get them audio from the sessions and Powerpoint slides. Two attendees pulled me aside halfway through day two and  said it would be really great if I could get them the slides "within the hour." I told them they would need to wait until I was done emceeing the event.

Clearly some valuable information at Cloud+

One of the most popular sessions at Cloud+ was about cybersecurity in the cloud, presented by Rodney Thayer. Before you get too excited about your "Cloud Bling," you (both the folks who are making the stuff and the folks who are integrating the stuff) better ensure you're following cyber-safe practices, he advised. Is the Internet of Things, really just  the "Internet of Trouble?" he asked. Well, it could be. He reiterated what keynote speaker Monica Hopelian and another speaker Diebold's Jeremy Brecher said: that the physical security group should not be the weakest link in the chain. Thayer talked through some scary potential scenarios, before offering a series of practical guidelines and resources for integrators and manufacturers.

Interested in this topic? (yes you should be) Thayer will be at TechSec 2016. Here's a link to the educational program.  talking about cybersecurity on an educational session led by Kratos' Chris Peckham. Also speaking on that educational session will be Joe Coe of Hikvision. Hikvision, one of the fastest growing security companies in the world, has also suffered a couple of major cyber breaches. Don't miss it!

CSAA’s CVEC project could reduce attrition

 - 
Wednesday, December 9, 2015

VIENNA, Va.—After CSAA announced its latest project with Verisk Analytics last week, I was interested to hear more about exactly the collaboration will cover. Keith Jentoft, chair of the CSAA/Verisk Exchange Committee (CVEC) and president of Videofied, told me that the project will develop a channel of communication between security companies and insurance providers, ultimately leading to a possible drop in attrition.

“What we’re doing here is, if you cancel [a monitoring subscription] there’s going to be a closed loop,” he said. “The insurer will, then, notify you that because you cancelled your alarm, your insurance is going up. So, it will have a real, direct effect on reducing attrition.”

The project will cover the value of separate security functions, such as water sensor with an automatic shut-off valve or video verification. This will mean incremental discounts for property owners, Jentoft said. All of the services that the CVEC is looking at are fully, professionally monitored, he said.

Verisk is the parent company to ISO, Jentoft pointed out, a group that works on risk ratings across the country, which can speed up the process of applying the valuations of security alarm functions. “We’re cutting years out of the implementation of this by working with Verisk.”

The project will be ongoing, according to Jentoft. “The tighter we get with the insurer, the more value we can create.”

The committee has a legal subcommittee and a technology subcommittee, focused on the data transfers between the two industries, which Jentoft said would be truly starting in January, “we hope to have some preliminary results by ISC West.”

Live from Cloud+

 - 
Monday, December 7, 2015

Cloud+ — It's a wrap!

One and a half days jam-packed with info, curiousity, interaction and networking for all involved. Where do I start? I'll be writing more about all this later, but here are some highlights:

Keynoter Monica Hopelian, cloud specialist for Microsoft’s state and local government team, said the cloud is here to stay and offered advice on finding the "right cloud." Among her advice, which you can read about in detail on the Security System News website soon, was making sure your cloud is flexible. "Tiering off into the cloud" is important to meet different requirementS and compliance issues. 

Up next was John Mack, EVP, co-head of investment banking and head of mergers and acquisitions, Imperial Capital. Mack said use of the cloud will lead to more funding for M&A. "Private equity is very interested in the cloud-based business model," he said. You can read more about that on the SSN site today.

Christian Morin, VP Cloud Services, Genetec; Steve Van Till, president and CEO, Brivo; and Jeremy Brecher, VP Technology and Electronic Security, Diebold; discussed public clouds, private clouds and hybrid clouds. "Cloud will transform this [physical security] industry," Morin said. 

BluBox Security's CEO and co-founder Patrick Berry spoke on "The possibilities of cloud-powered biometrics." "Do more, own less, protect yourself—that's what cloud does for you."

Day 2 kicked off Rodney Thayer's talk about ensuring cybersecurity in the cloud. "You can't stop thinking about security just because you've moved to the cloud," he said. "Your data is next to another customer's data. You have to verify, trust, but verify." Thayer is a cybersecurity expert, a consutlant with Smithee, Spelvin, Agnew & Plinge.

Cliff Dice, president and CEO of DiCE; Hank Goldberg, VP, Secure Global Solutions; and Jens Kolind, president and CEO of Innovative Business Software discussed the cloud's usefulness and benefits for central stations. With everything geting more technical, they said and with it becoming more cost-effective, it only makes sense. That discussion was moderated by Jay Hauhn, CSAA president.

Security customers want simplicity, according to Bob Ryan, SVP of Protection1, and Brian Lohse, director, sales for SecureI and Alarm.com. That's why video in the cloud is good for both customers and providers. There's a value to convenience and sales forces need to be trained to sell that. 

Three leading integrators, Morgan Harris, director enterprise solutions, Protection 1; Chris Peckham, SVP, CTO and special projects, Kratos Public Safety and Security Solutions; and Jerry Cordasco, client development manager, Tech Systems, said cloud is the absolute right choice for a variety of customers, including those who need access control, video and health monitoring.

Alice Debiasio, general manager, cloud services, Honeywell Security and Fire; Jay Kenny, SVP of marketing, Alarm.com; and Letha McLaren, chief marketing, Icontrol, discussed the opportunities, now that cloud has taken off with resi customers, for the commercial side. It's easier than ever today to make that transition, they said.

Finally, Seth Page of Unikey and Mayank Upadhyay, director of engineering for Google, said they want keys and passwords to become obsolete. The phone should become the key, and they're working on it. That panel was moderated by Jonathan Healey of Brivo. 

More later!

Pages