Subscribe to

Blogs

Jim McMullen wants to acquire more wholesale centrals

 - 
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Jim McMullen, president and COO of Lydia Security Monitoring, as well as president and COO of COPS Monitoring, is interested in purchasing more third-party central stations. Lydia’s recent purchase of wholesale central station UCC was a big topic at ISC West 2016, both in COPS’ booth and in UCC’s.

“We would like to go out there and buy other companies that specialize in a particular segment of the [monitoring] marketplace, so that we can draw on their expertise and grow it from there,” McMullen told me.

He identified access control, video, and PERS as three areas of the monitoring industry where Lydia would be “very interested in making acquisitions,” adding that the company has plenty of financial backing to do so.

“Each company [under Lydia] will have its own personality,” according to McMullen.

He described how the three brands under Lydia Security Monitoring—COPS Monitoring, UCC, and AlarmWATCH—each have their own focus. The COPS Monitoring brand would appeal to a larger dealers with a high volume of accounts.

“If you’re looking toward us for help, to teach you—the alarm company—more about how to sell, and how to market … UCC would probably be a better fit for you, because they focus on that more than [COPS does],” McMullen said.

“We’re looking at AlarmWatch for, possibly, the fire sector,” he said. “They’re … doing special things with fire systems.”

David Smith, COPS director of marketing and communication, stressed the separation between brands under Lydia. At ISC West 2016, Smith said, “People came into our booth and said ‘yeah, I’m with UCC,’ or ‘We’ve been looking at UCC,’ [and added] ‘but that’s you guys now, right?’ And honestly, it’s not. It shares an executive team, but past that … it’s a whole separate entity,” Smith said. 

ISC West also brought people outside the industry to COPS’ booth, McMullen said. He gave the example of wearable manufacturers wanting professional monitoring for their devices.

McMullen said that the company had similar conversations at CES, talking about the possibility of professionally monitoring personal drones.

The resi buzz at ISC West

 - 
Wednesday, April 13, 2016

At this year’s ISC West, the big theme on the residential side was the connected home, and all of the possibilities now available to dealers who are looking to provide interactive services, including some DIY options, to the homeowner.

The DMP Owners Forum, a daylong training event for dealers, included the introduction of new products and services tailored to help dealers take advantage of the connected home and DIY.

The smart-home theme continued on the ISC West show floor, as I visited residential smart home providers including Icontrol One, Alarm.com, Qolsys, 2GIG and Honeywell Security & Fire—the biggest booth at ISC West 2016 this year.

As you will see in my ISC West Roundup, many of these companies unveiled new technology, and outlined the increased support and options now available for dealers looking to provide these options to their customers.
 
After the show, I caught up with David Paja, president, Honeywell Security & Fire, to see if he was hearing the same kind of buzz at this year’s show. 

“For us it was probably one of the busiest shows in the past few years,” Paja said. “ISC West was very exciting for us this year as there is a lot going on in the industry right now, and I had a lot of discussions about connected homes, connected buildings, and new technology and software development in those areas.”

At the booth, Paja said the company was excited to launch its Lyric Security offering, which he said he has been talking about for over a year, but is now officially in production. “We are bringing together with Lyric our connected home offering across Honeywell, which is a family of products that cover security, safety and comfort (energy management and thermostats, for example), and the response from the marketplace has been phenomenal and the orders that we are booking are more than we anticipated.”

Paja also noted that two recent company acquisitions—RSI and Xtralis—are helping to expand Honeywell’s offerings and position in 2016.

“Everything is going visual—that is what we believe in the industry,” said Paja. “Historically, alarm notifications were enough, but with visual video verification we are seeing a strong demand from end users, as well as law enforcement in an effort to manage and reduce the cost of false alarms, as well as for central monitoring stations. This big push toward visualizing the alarms and the events is a long-term trend in our view, and RSI has a unique and leading position in terms of video verification solutions, one that we did not have in the U.S.”

As these residential-focused companies reposition themselves to stay at the forefront of trends in the industry, dealers will be able to change with the times as well, and not let new technology pass them by.

 

ISC West monitoring news

 - 
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

I got to start the last day at the show by talking on camera with Bart Didden, president of the newly founded company SDN, Security Dealer Network. Didden, who created SDN as a separate entity to help dealers wanting the DragonFly DIY offering, said that discussions went well with dealers at the show. Dealers were able to sign up at ISC West.

My next video interview was with Mike Zydor, managing director for Affiliated Monitoring. It was nice to talk more about the company’s upcoming conference, Catalyst, focused on the sales and marketing of PERS devices. Specifically he mentioned the recently announced keynote speaker, former MLB player and manger Bobby Valentine.

George Fletcher, advisory board member for Mission 500, stopped by the media stage. It was nice talking with him about Thursday’s 5k/2k.

Back on the show floor, I briefly met with Alarm Monitoring Services’ CFO, Dera Jolet. I also caught up with Jeff Cohen, president of Quick Response, a monitoring center based in Cleveland.

Monitoring America Alarm Co-op was anew company for me this year. It was nice talking to president Ron Wies and vice president Jason Campbell about the unique structure of a co-op wholesale central station, where each dealer is a part owner in the company.

Cliff Dice, CEO of Dice, told me that the company has had a lot of conversations about it’s alarm industry signaling network, which handles alarms from POTS lines. The company is also preparing for its users group conference later this month in Michigan.

I met with Garner of Freeus yesterday just off the show floor, but was gladly able to stop by the company’s booth today to hear about how the shows been from GM Brock Winzeler and national sales manager Marc McGrann. When showcasing the new Belle mPERS device, they said that the month-long battery life really sets the solution apart from other mPERS offerings.

At Acadian Monitoring Services’ booth I met with director of operations Brandon Niles, and president Blane Comeaux. Niles and I talked about the company’s ESOP program, and, by extension, SSN’s latest news poll on ESOP in the security business. He said that employees have more stake in the business being part-owners. Niles also said that video monitoring is a big trend for the company.

Larry Folsom and I both found it interesting how out meeting was the last meeting on the show floor for both of us, just as it had been at last year’s ISC West. I also met with other members of the team: Nicola Oakie and Jennifer Tagle.

 

It was great to catch up with so many folks at this years show and hear about the wide range of topics, from mPERS to Cybersecurity.

Thursday, April 7

Just as I had expected, getting out and off the Vegas strip for the Security 2k/5k was a great start to the morning. The fresh air and being able to stretch my legs—before a good amount of walking the show floor—was really nice.

My first scheduled meeting of the day was with COPS Monitoring’s Jim McMullen, company president and COO, and David Smith, COPS director of marketing and communications. A big topic of the day was UCC’s acquisition by COPS’ parent company Lydia Security Monitoring. McMullen was telling me about how the companies would work together, referring dealers they met to the monitoring center that would better fit their needs, whether it is UCC or COPS. McMullen said that Lydia would also be open to expanding more with future acquisitions.

From there I went to the other side of the show floor to see SentryNet. It was nice seeing David Avritt—company president—again, and meeting Alain Jamet, SentryNet VP of operations, and Julie Beach, vice president, Americas sales, software and controls for Stanley Security. Avritt said that SentryNet’s acquisition by Stanley has been a big topic for the company at the show. The company will not change in any large way, he said—it would remain focused on the independent dealer, and have the “same faces.”

When I stopped by UCC’s booth, and met with president Teresa Gonzalez and SVP Mark Matlock, I heard similar things about the recent acquisition as when I talked with COPS. Most similarly the execs at UCC echoed McMullen's statement that dealers would be referred to one or another as best fit them. “Our goal is not to compete with each other, it’s actually to complement,” Gonzalez told me.

Bold Technologies was talking a lot about its cloud offering at this year’s ISC West, according to Rod Coles, Bold’s CEO. He said that the company is focused on the next version of its central station automation platform, to be called Neo, which should be available by the end of the second quarter, in time for Bold’s Users Group Conference, he said.

Coles and I walked from the Bold Technologies booth down the aisle to White Rabbit Electronics space on the show floor. Coles, also CEO of White Rabbit, said the company is awaiting final steps of approval before beginning full production.

I then got to catch up with All American Monitoring. Tammy Zappa, the company’s manager, talked with me about how All American is seeking further certifications. While the central station is already UL-listed and CSAA Five Diamond certified, it is looking into FM and ETL certifications as well, Zappa said. “That adds legitimacy to who we are and what we do,” she said. It was good to see Bob Keefe, All American’s president, while I was at the booth as well.

Walking up to MKS’ booth, things looked a little different than last year. Many of the team members had stethoscopes around their necks, there were MKS branded prescription pads on the desks along with test tubes filled with mints. President Victoria Ferro explained to me that it's the new theme for this year: MKS has the “cure” for common hassles for central stations, such as manual data entry, lacking automation, and long operator training.

At Monitronics’ booth, I met with Peter Tonti, VP of product management, Frank Guido, CMO, and Renee Mallonee, marketing manager. We chatted a bit about the company’s recently restarted dealer council. The council’s most recent meeting was held on Tuesday, addressing topics like increased demand for home surveillance, including multiple cameras and NVRs. Montironics also recently announced a new package for the show: a $10,000 value for dealers signing on between now and June 1. Dealers signing up with the company in that time get benefits like four eContract tablets, 20 free customer leads, and marketing materials.

This is the second year that CentraLarm has had a booth at the show, and it was great to stop by and meet so many members of the team: Scott Mailhot, VP of operations, Julie Robillard, western regional sales director, Trudy McManus, regional account manager, and Stephanie Helmig, vice president of finance.

One of the big topics when I met with EMERgency24 last year was its incident command and control system, which works with BluePoint Alert Solutions. Patrick Devereaux, SVP at EMERgency 24, said the technology’s also one of the biggest topics for the company this year, with the difference being that more people have heard of the technology and sought out E24, Devereaux said. I also got the chance to catch up with Kevin McCarthy, national sales manager, andBernie Ramos, director of operations. 

Wednesday, April 6

My day started with attending the keynote presentation “Lights! Camera! Action! How Paramount Pictures delivers enhanced safety and global security while driving operational efficiency and sustainable ROI.” The panel consisted of three from the studio, Scott Phemister, executive director of global risk and crisis management, Jeff Reider, senior analyst for global risk and crisis management, and Steve Tiffany, director, studio systems, and moderated by SSN’s Martha Entwistle.

The panel offered five pieces of advice: 1. Examine response methodology, i.e. what the interface looks like, and, for Paramount, this included the point that operators shouldn't have to leave the main interface to respond to alarms. 2. Do your homework; for Paramount this meant looking at each of the more than 150 buildings on the company’s campus and uploading site plans. 3. Configure the system for an event driven response. Reider said you’ve got to know your desired outcome, what priority to assign each alarm, and who should handle each situation. 4. Preparing to go live, such as with fine-tuned operator training. 5. Maintain the system, including system audits and looking to newer better technologies that would fit.

From there I went to my first meeting on the show floor: hearing from Security Partners’ director of product services Andy Stadler. He said it’s good to reach the one-year anniversary for the company’s Las Vegas facility, which it cut the ribbon on just before last year’s ISC West.

I left the show floor to meet in a side room with AvantGuard and Freeus CEO Josh Garner. When asked about the state of the PERS/mPERS industry in the years to come, Garner said, “We’re betting pretty big on mobile.” He doesn't think the market will become entirely mPERS, but does expect a shift, where most solutions will be mPERS within the next five years—possibly sooner.

At a press event for Assa Abloy, I heard about some of the company’s latest solutions. Two points that stood out to me where key fobs that have back-and-forth exchanges with the access control panel, updating access privileges by the day, and “greener” solutions like solar panels paired with outdoor electronic locks.

At IBS’ booth I caught up with Jens Kolind, who told me more about the company’s personal safety app and a new version that’s designed for use on first dates.

It was nice to meet Tim Smokoff, group VP, health and wellness, for Nortek, in person. We had spoken recently on Numera’s latest PERS solution, the Numera Home Safety Hub. Outside of personal monitoring, Smokoff pointed to vice interaction as a big trend for the industry, possibly leading to the demise of the app, “The more you do with voice, the less you do with apps.

I conducted two video interviews today, both of which went really well. I got to meet one of our “20 under 40” Class of 2015 award winners, Nicole Swartwout, who recently launched an mPERS company, CallSafe. Having come from a security background, previously with integration company CallTeks, she said that it’s a much different ISC West experience coming with a PERS/mPERS focus.

My second interview was with Jay Hauhn. We chatted about CSAA and the latest developments with the ASAP to PSAP program. Hauhn said that there’s been progress with getting PSAPs to come on line after ADT announced its participation last year. There are about 20 PSAPs live now, he said, and another 75 working on going live with it. I also saw Elizabeth Lasko, CSAA met Becky Lane, both of whom had come to watch the interview.

Back on the show floor, I visited with Steve Schmit from UL he said that the recently announced Cybersecurity Assurance Program has come up a few of the company’s conversations on this first show floor day.

I stopped by Rapid Response Monitoring’s booth to speak with Christopher Denniston, the company's marketing and communications manager, about the latest from the company. One recent initiative for the company: a new website, which launched in the past week according to Denniston. When asked what were big topics for the monitoring industry, he said, “Communication paths and dealers looking for a long term solution" saying that 3G may have a sunset as early as 2020.

From there I went and met some of the team from CMS, including Tony Wilson, president of CMS, Jennifer Marshall, company marketing and communications manager, and Rose Sabourin, operations support manager. 

Even though my feet are a little sore from this first day, I’m still looking forward to tomorrow’s Security 5k/2k with Mission 500, bright and early. Not a bad way to start the morning—fresh air and stretching my legs off of the strip.

Tuesday, April 5

I made it safely in Las Vegas—luckily, it was a smooth trip all the way from Maine. Gearing up for the show, I'm looking forward to catching up with many different companies on the show floor. It was nice to kick off the show with a good evening with the folks at Altronix, in the Wynn.

Leading up to the show, it seems like quite a few of the companies exhibiting have had a lot to talk about.

UL just released its new Cybersecurity Assurance Program, a new standard that can set companies apart in terms of the safety of their products.

Monitronics recently announced a partnership with Qolsys, bringing the Qolsys line of equipment to the monitoring company's dealers.

Last week I talked with Freeus about the company's growth in its post-acquisition year, after buying the PERS assets of Securus. The mPERS manufacturer will have its first ISC West booth on the show floor this year.

Check here for daily updates on my interviews and booth visits. I'm on my way to Vegas right now and my first meeting is with Altronix today, shortly after I arrive. Also, if you think there's something I really shouldn't miss at the show, feel free to email me.

ISC West Report

 - 
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Monday, April 4

I made it—Vegas, baby! But it wasn’t easy. Starting with a de-icing of my plane in Maine, followed by a gate change that added a few thousand extra steps to my airport stroll, a delay in Charlotte, and a long flight sitting next to some women who were more than excited to talk to me about going to Vegas without their husbands, and I finally touched down in Sin City.

Looking forward to a busy week of booth visits, forums, events, parties and meetings, and making face-to-face connections with people in the industry.

And don’t forget to stop by the SSN/ISC West Media Stage and say hello to the SSN team, as we will be doing video interviews for ssnTV as part of our coverage at ISC West.

Keep checking back each day for a report on each day’s happenings.

More to come …

Tuesday, April 5

My first full day at ISC West 2016 was spent with the good folks at DMP, who provided a great daylong ownership forum in support of its dealers.

DMP’s VP of product design Jeff Britton introduced the XTLplus Wireless Security Control Panel. He pointed out that DMP developers and engineers strove to create a panel for "fast installation, reliable security and ease of operation." The panel includes "all the features and benefits dealers will need in a residential or small commercial panel, in a single small footprint," including 48 zones of 900Mhz 2-way wireless, cellular and Wi-Fi communication and Z-Wave Plus all in one.

For customers who also want to the convenience and power of mobile control via the Virtual Keypad App Wi-Fi is a great option, and cellular backup as communication to the Central Station is also available.

Several dealers commented that they were happy to see that DMP is responding to the latest trends—DIY and home automation—while also providing a forum where they can give feedback about the direction DMP is taking with its products and services.

Many dealers had one, two and even six questions in one case, and were able to have these questions answered by DMP product designers in attendance who actually created the new panel.

Dealers were also able to ask questions about DMP’s new OnDemand Monitoring solution, which allows customers to purchase monitoring from a security company for however long they will need it—one day, three days, etc.

In addition to the introduction of new products to help dealers, the forum also provided two excellent keynote speakers, Rory Vaden and Mark Murphy.

Rory Vaden, who is author of the best-selling book Take the Stairs, is a self-discipline strategist and award-winning entrepreneur and business leader, who co-founded Southwestern Consulting, a multi-million dollar global consulting practice. Dealers in attendance seemed to get a lot out of Rory’s message about the habits and discipline required to be a “top performer” or “ultra performer,” which ultimately helps dealers "improve all aspects of the their lives and businesses," he said.

Mark Murphy, whose bestselling books include Hundred Percenters: Challenge Your People to Give It Their All and They’ll Give You Even More and Hiring for Attitude has created some of the biggest ideas in leadership. Mark did an excellent job of getting to the root of "what makes great leaders great," as he said, and the steps that are needed to be the best company owner or leader you can be.

More to come …

Wednesday, April 6

I started the day at the 9th annual Axis Communications breakfast, which turned out to be a great way to prepare for ISC West, while learning about the newest camera technology and solutions the company was unveiling. Using a Fairy Tale theme and the Goldilocks and the Three Bears story, Axis CEO Martin Gren pointed out how Axis has solutions to fit the needs of small, medium and enterprise locations.

During the presentation, Gren unveiled the Axis Companion Line, a comprehensive out-of-the-box solution to help small businesses address their security needs that also offers a focused support program for local installers called the Axis Companion Specialist initiative, as well as delivering quality benefits of IP-based video surveillance. The company also introduced three new mini-dome network cameras to its M30 Series, two multi-sensor panoramic cameras, and Perimeter Defender, a video analytics application for intrusion detection that is best suited for the enterprise market. AXIS also unveiled its Camera Station 5, a full-featured video management software best suited for mid-sized installations, and updates to its popular Zipstream technology.

Keeping with the theme of video solutions, great food and good people, I was able to attend a press event hosted by Genetec, Bosch Security and SecureXperts, and the unveiling of their Cyber Secure IP Video Solution featuring CHAVE, which stands for Credentialed High Assurance Video Encryption. With cybersecurity such a hot topic right now, those in attendance were eager to hear about how CHAVE is resilient against unauthorized access, malware, brute force cracking and other exploit techniques.

For my booth visits, I was able to get some unique glimpses into some great new technology and products being introduced at ISC West 2016.

My visit to the Salto Systems booth gave me a summary of the company's evolution, new software and security access control solutions. Salto’s VP of Marketing Jennifer Stack provided a comprehensive overview of the company’s wire-free electronic locking solutions, and the future direction the company is going both domestically and internationally.

My visit to the SRI Identity booth allowed me to see the company's exciting biometric technology first-hand. SRI Identity’s Steven Perna, executive director of products & solutions, gave me a demo of the power of biometric technology featuring iris recognition—the future of identity and access control is here!

I then stopped by the STOPware booth, where the STOPware team of Paul Terschuren, company president/CEO, Phil Mantia, senior account manager, and Debbie Pendleton, VP of sales and marketing, gave me a fascinating look at the capabilities of the company’s secure visitor identification and tracking technology—so many applications and options available!

I also was able to get some face-to-face time with the marketing team at Icontrol Networks/Icontrol One—David Box and Greg Roberts—who shared with me the company’s evolution and success with its interactive security and home automation products and services, as well as how the company is helping dealers to benefit from the new opportunities available in the connected home market. 

I also had an opportunity to tour the Honeywell Security & Fire booth—the biggest booth this year at ISCWest2016. Honeywell’s George Janelis, senior channel manager, gave me some informative demos of the amazing technology Honeywell now has available for the connected home, and outlined the increased support and options now available for Honeywell dealers looking to provide these options to their customers.
 
More to come …

Thursday, April 7

What an exciting day at ISC West 2016, as we started the day bright and early with the Security 5K/2K with Mission 500, a great charity in support of children and families in need. This year’s race raised $95,000, and awareness of how much more still needs to be done.

Back at the expo hall, I was able to conduct two video interviews at the SSN Media Stage for ssnTV. My first interview was with Tom Kerber of Parks Associates, a leading market research company, who shared with me some interesting insights from the show as he was able to meet face-to-face with so many from the security industry. He noted that ISC West is an opportunity to gather “qualitative evidence to support some of the data and research we are seeing in areas like RMR growth, for example.”

My second video interview was with Loud Security Systems President John Loud, who shared some insights on the industry, and the importance of this show for him, as he was able to meet with fellow dealers at the DMP Owners’ Forum on Monday, which “was outstanding this year, as they introduced some new products and services that can help give dealers more opportunities” in the connected home and DIY space, which is getting so much attention right now. He also noted that ISC West gives him a chance to visit with other partners such as Honeywell to see firsthand the newest products, services and training the company provides in support of its dealers. 

In the afternoon I was back on the trade show floor visiting booths, and checking out the latest and greatest in the industry.

I visited BeON, a company that CEO Alexei Erchak said “is taking a preventative approach” to security with its smart light bulbs that learn your schedule, and provide a simple but effective burglary deterrent.  As he pointed out and demonstrated, you just use your light switch to turn it on and off just like any other bulb, but you recharge the built-in smart battery each time the light is on.

At the Altronix booth, Kirby Han gave me an informative overview of the company’s newest security, access, fire and surveillance products, which he pointed out “are evolving to meet the needs of dealers,” from residential to commercial.

At the Galaxy Control Systems booth, I was able to meet with Rick Caruthers, executive vice president, and Robert Laughlin, president, who spent some valuable time giving me his unique perspective on an industry he has been working and innovating in for more than 35 years. He pointed that the company provides a “complete and secure solution” for dealers, one that is based on decades of proven research and development from some of the best minds in the industry.

Visited the Nortek Security & Control booth, where Greg Stone, video product line manager, gave me a demo on the full line of new 2GIG IP video solutions for the residential and small business markets.

Also sat down with Mitchell Klein, new executive director of Z-Wave Alliance, who shared with me the company’s unique vision for the smart home, including a look at the direction the company is going with its amazing products and technology.

Also met with some other interesting exhibitors, including Fibaro Home Intelligence, where I spoke with Rich Bira, managing director, USA, and Sightlogix, outdoor video specialists, where I spoke with John Romanowich, president & CEO, as well as RSF Security, where I met with Dennis Bitton, general manager.

Was also able to make it over the Axis Communications booth, where I got a tour of the company’s newest camera and surveillance technology and products. 

Also visited with OnSSI, On-Net Surveillance Systems, an award-winning IP-based surveillance software company that shared with me the next evolution of its software.

Also made it over to Universal Electronics, which specializes in sensing and control technologies for the smart home. The companuy announced at the show that Ecolink Intelligent Technology, Inc., its wholly owned subsidiary, has entered into an agreement with Interlogix, which operates as UTC Fire & Security Americas Corporation, Inc. Through this agreement Ecolink security sensors will be available exclusively through all Interlogix sales channels within the residential and commercial security segment.

More to come ...

Friday, April 8

I finished my first ISC West strong, packing as much excitement as I could into the shortened last day, and powering through like I did at the finish line of the Security 5K the day before.

All I can say is, I survived the race, and my first ISC West!

All and all, the overall buzz for the week on the show floor was positive, with many saying traffic and attendance seemed equal to or stronger than past years, although official numbers are not in yet.

For my video interview for ssnTV today, I sat down with ESX chairman and security industry veteran George De Marco, who shared with me his experiences at ISC West this week, as well his vision on the industry moving forward. He also gave me a preview of ESX 2016, which is June 8-10, in Fort Worth, Texas. De Marco said he is “expecting a great show this year. We have a robust educational lineup, as well as exciting keynote speakers, events and training lined up.”

To start the day off on the trade show floor, I swung by the award-winning DMP booth to congratulate the team and see up-close some of the products the company had unveiled earlier at the DMP Owners Forum on Tuesday, including its new XTLplus Wireless Security Control Panel.

I then made it over to first-time exhibitor, Alarm.com. It was great meeting Jay Kenny, senior vice president of marketing, face-to-face earlier in the week, and to see the new products the company was unveiling at ISC West this year, including a Wi-Fi Doorbell Camera - Skybell HD Edition.Alarm.com also launched a new V521IR indoor infrared camera, and a new eight channel SVR100 continuous in-home video recorder. Although this was the first time Alarm.com was exhibiting, the company has had a strong presence at the show for many years, providing training for its dealers in an ideal industry setting.

I had the opportunity to visit the Kwikset booth, and get a demo of the company’s latest smart lock and access control technology products from Keith Brandon, VP, sales & marketing, residential access solutions. At the show this year, Kwikset unveiled its Kevo Home Connect Bridge, an all-new bridge device accessory that seamlessly integrates the Bluetooth-enabled Kevo smart lock with home automation and security systems. The company also announced its keyway-less touchscreen lock, its signature series motorized deadbolt with home connect technology, and its smartcode touchscreen deadbolt.

I also visited some companies in the DIY space, including the Nest/Google booth, as well as the Smanos booth, where I met with General Manager Brian Stark, who shared with me the company’s vision for 2016, especially on the residential side, including the ISC West launch of its UFO Panoramic WiFi HD Camera and Smart Video Doorbell as new additions to its comprehensive range of easy-to-use smart home security products. The smart home company also showcased its award-winning K1 SmartHome DIY Kit. 

Well, as they say, that’s a wrap! See you next year!

 

 

Martha's ISC West 2016 updates

 - 
Tuesday, April 5, 2016

After some pre-ISC West meetings, the first official event I attended at ISC West was the Market Leaders Reception at the Omnia at Caesar's. SSN was a sponsor of the event this year. Kudos to SIA on its choice of venue, a nice, open-air terrace. The event lived up to its name. The attendees were the leading manufacturers, integrators and consultants.  Among the many folks I talked to was Kratos’ Jim Henry, a loyal TechSec Solutions attendee, who had some (many) suggestions about adding a new element to TechSec2017. It’s in the works. More on that later.

On Wednesday morning, the first day of ISC West, my day started at 8:45, with the ISC West Keynote Educational Session, which I moderated. Called “Lights, Camera, Action: How Paramount Pictures Delivers Enhanced Safety and Global Security While Driving Operational Efficiency and Sustainable ROI,” speakers included Paramount Picture's Scott Phemister, Jeff Reider and Steve Tiffany. The three provided insight—from security, IT, and management perspectives —on how they collaborated to build a global security operation, implement a PSIM in 90 days, and derived some serious ROI.
I had a chance to visit Paramount Pictures and see the GSOC in action last fall. The session was very well attended and there were a lot of questions about how Paramount was able to implement its PSIM so quickly. And the question of the day after the session: What kind of PSIM was it? SureView Systems.

I stopped by Arecont Vision and spoke to Jeff Whitney about simplification of install on all models, and the company’s Mega Video Flex for gas stations, banks, buses.

At the ISC West Media Stage I did an ssnTVnews interview with Phil Aronson, ASG CEO and Ed Bacco, former CSO of Amazon, now with ASG. The big news is that Aronson Security Group is redefining itself. It’s not a a systems integrator any more, now it’s a Security Risk Management Services provider.

Over at the Connected Security Expo @ISC West, I spoke to Nate Kube of Wurldtech. Wurldtech has expertise helping to cybersecure operational technology in oil, gas applications. It wants to do same for physical security.

Back at the ISC West Media Stage, I interviewed Dean Drako, CEO and president of Eagle Eye Networks and chairman of Brivo Systems. We talked about the growing acceptance of  the cloud/subscription model in physical security. Eagle Eye was announcing a new wifi video product, and a free  first responder product at the show.

The next video interview was with Andrew Lanning, head of PSA Security’s Cybersecurity Committee, and co-founder of integration firm IST. Lanning’s committee plans to release the preliminary “cyber playbook” for integrators (all integrators welcome, not just PSA Security members) in May at PSA-TEC in Westminster, Colo.
 
Kathleen Chigos, CEO of PlateSmart said,"ALPR is no longer a luxury." What's on the horizon? HD capability, she said.
 
Oliver Mitre  of Teleste, a provider of display systems with embedded cameras, talked about company's success dealing with terrorist attacks in Paris.

Jake Brecheen of Confluence Security Group talked about its unique model: it’s a hybrid IT security integrator that works with electric grid, government entities.

Yaron Zussman, CEO America for FST Biometrics talked about FST’s rapid expansion into the commercial market.

Security Systems News has been running its “20 under 40” program for talented young security integrators and end users since 2007, so there are a lot of alumni out there. It’s not often that I see four in one place, however at Affiliated Monitoring, I got a photo of four Security Systems News “20 under 40” alumni Aaron Salma, Class of 2014; Jesse Rivest, Class of 2013; Joe Parisi, Class of 2013; Jake Mrkvicka, Class of 2015. We convinced Daniel Oppenheim, VP Affiliated Monitoring, to join in the photo as well.

:
 

I had a chance to speak to Jeff Kessler of Imperial Capital between his appointments. The latest Monitor with insights into public companies and recent deals is out this week.

Mark Sandler of SPP was only spotted three times at ISC West.

Had a chance to see David Box, Letha McClaren and Paul Dawson of iControl. The company is excited about demoing its iControl 1 at the show.

Hikvision’s Alex Asnovich said a highlight of the show was Hikvision’s Ultra HD 4K Smart IR PTZ camera winning the top prize in the SIA New Products Showcase for HD video surveillance cameras.

Did you know that “orange is the new blue”? Samsung Techwin is now Hanwha Techwin. The company’s big booth displayed the new logo and color scheme. Hanwha’s Janet Fenner and Tom Cook both predicted that Samsung Techwin will move up to the No.1 spot for video surveillance provider in the next few years.

Day 2 and 3 started bright and early at the sixth annual Security 5K2K. I had a chance to catch up with Axis Communication and Mission 500 board member Lora Wilson on the ride over to the race, which takes place in a really pretty park a short ride, but light years away, from the Vegas Strip. We had a great showing and best of all, we raised $95,000 for kids. Congratulations to all the participants, to Mission 500, and to our very own Tim Purpura, SSN VP and group publisher, who along with Lora Wilson and other dedicated Mission 500 board members, makes this awesome event—and other important Mission 500 events during the year—happen.

Mission 500 is making a positive difference for kids right here in the U.S. Don't know about Mission 500? Read about it here and plan to get involved in the Security 5K2K next year!

After the 5k, I headed back to the Sands to moderate another great educational session called “Access Control Trends in the Education Sector.” Speakers included two end users who talked about the threats faced today by college campus security directors and how their new access control systems address those threats: Tara Steelman from the College of St. Rose and Gary Rodman from Ripon College. The audience had lots of questions about the specific capabilities of the access control systems. Matt Zimmerman of Green Bay, Wis.-based LaForce provided the integrator’s perspective, while Brian Adoff of SwiftData Technology
and Brian Mathieu of Vanderbilt spoke about the how the technology is used at other college campuses.  

Back on the show floor, I heard more about tech on college campuses during a discussion with Mohamed Murad of Iris ID.

At Genetec, I spoke to Andrew Elvish and Kevin G. Clark about two cybersecurity hardening partnerships, one with Bosch and one with Axis Communications. We also spoke about Genetec's work to extend its subscription-based business model for Security Center.

There were multiple announcements from HID at a lunch meeting. They announced a collaboration with NXP Semiconductors to embed HID’s Seos credential in NXP’s smartMX-based secure element devices, enabling wearable devices to open electronic locks. HID announced its new goID platform for mobile IDs which enables feders, state and local government agencies to issue credentials over the air to citizens’ smartphones for drivers licenses, passports, social aecurity cards and other national iD documents. This is intended to make it possible for a smartphone to be an all-in-one secure credential and ID reader. HID also announced new mobile access capabilities for Apple Watch, Adroid Wear and tablets.  

Security integration firm RFI's CEO Brad Wilson spoke at the HID event about using mobile access for Netflix. He predicted HID’s Seos technology will be at core of tech advances in this realm.

I did an ssnTVnews interview with Tony Byerly and Jeremy Brecher of SES (Securitas Electronic Security). Formerly with Diebold, which was acquired by Securitas in February, Byerly and Brecher talked about what’s changed and what hasn’t. There are new opportunities for technology R&D, an ongoing strategic alliance with Diebold and happier customers, they said. Look for a report next week on this. Brecher was also promoted to SVP Technology & CIO, SES announced at the show.

I also interviewed Alarm.com’s Jay Kenny for ssnTVnews. Kenney. We talked about the new HQ and how dealers are using Alarm.com’s newest capabilities—and more connected devices—to better connect with their customers and reduce attrition.

Do you know how to pronounce Dahua? The giant China-based camera manufacturer was having some fun at the show asking attendees that question and recording their answers on video. Dahua is a big company, and it had a big booth at ISC West, 3,600 square feet this year, double the size of its 1,800 square foot booth last year. I spoke to newly hired corporate communications executive Raleigh Gerber and Tim Shen, marketing director. The company established an office in Irvine, Calif., in 2014, and it wants to “transfer its global success to U.S. and North America.”

At an IoT educational session, Honeywell’s Gordon Hope said the value in collecting data will be seen later. 
“Future analytics will unlock insights,” he said. Speaking at the same session, Axis’s Fredrik Nilsson said,” Cybersecurity is not an event, it’s a process.”

At Schneider, I spoke to Steve Turney about the company’s new cloud-based integrated security management system called Access Xpert. It partnered with Feenics on the project. Turney said Schneider’s dealers are “chomping at the bit” for the solution. He said 50 dealers stopped by in the first few hours of the show. One of the things they like about the system, he said, is that it works with Mercury panels.

I also caught up with Matt Barnette of AMAG, a provider of integrated access control, video management and identity management solutions. While AMAG had several new updates to its Symmetry platform and a new integration with Axis Communication’s Network Video Door Station to talk about, Barnette said he was focused on talking about providing “a policy-based system that provides a better experience [and ROI],” for the end user. AMAG was also giving a preview of a its new Bluetooth-enabled multi-technology reader that it plans to officially launch at ASIS in September. It's a card reader that can also read a credential that’s downloaded via an app to an iPhone or Android. AMAG plans to give the credential away at no cost. Barnette said card technology will be around for a while, but this new reader will allow “customers to move to Bluetooth technology.”  Among the benefits are the fact that the signal can be read from 25 feet away.

One year after IDIS, an end-to-end video surveillance solution provider that has been an OEM manufacturer for almost two decades, introduced itself and the IDIS brand to the physical security industry, the market is starting to understand what IDIS has to offer, said Keith Drummond, IDIS senior director. “We had to drive demand for the brand … we did outreach to systems integrators and end users.” The result, he said, was “a massive increase in the booth traffic this year from ISC West last year, ASIS, IFSEC and the other shows we’ve been to.” Drummond said that some important introductions that will lead to new business for some systems integrators happened at the booth this year.

BEFORE THE SHOW OPENED:

Add me to the list of SSN staff members who had a challenging trip to ISC West. I escaped the snow in Portland with no problem, but had quite a flight from Philly to Vegas. In the row behind me, three middle-aged adults (two who work in security) became fast friends, got heavy into the airplane bottles of red wine and vodka, and were really smart and interesting to listen to for five-and-a-half hours. Yes, there was singing. Earplugs didn't help. Warning: They're planning a "reunion" on a flight to California on May 6.

At least my cab driver didn't get arrested. Check with Sarah Flanagan for the details of her trip.

So, I'm prepping for my panel discussion tomorrow morning in room 701 at 8:45 a.m.  Come hear about Paramount Studio's global security operations center. Here are the details.

We have several ISC West related stories in our newswire, including an interview with Honeywell's David Paja and Todd Rief.

I have a full slate of booth visits, ssnTVnews interviews, and I'm also moderating an educational session at 10 a.m. Thursday about access control in higher ed. It's in room 301. Here are the details

Below are some other ISC West related announcements: 

Video surveillance provider Hikvision USA is launching a new level of its Dealer Partner Program—Diamond—designed to meet the needs of enterprise-level dealer partners.
The Hikvision Dealer Partner (HDP) program rewards partner loyalty with relationship-based advantages and recognition. Through this program, Hikvision extends exclusive access to products, business assistance, and priority service to key industry partners. Differentiation of Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Diamond levels are based on a dealer’s annual spend on Hikvision products, and each tier builds upon itself with additional benefits. These benefits include product discounts through authorized distribution partners, extended warranties, priority technical support, and discounted demo equipment, among others. The Diamond level was created to meet the needs of enterprise-level partners via built-in incentives for enhanced profitability, enriched training certification, and specialized support.

Tyco Security Products has several announcements including a new Complete Security System which brings together access and manage video, intrusion and access control from one, single interface, enabled by the native integrations between the Kantech, exacq and DSC brands. TSP will also be talking about its Cyber Security Program, a multifaceted program that offers a holistic approach to cybersecurity awareness for physical security through each phase of the product development life cycle will also be formally announced tomorrow at ISC West. It will also the hattrix Five Diamond Program Launch event begins at 3:30pm on Thursday, April 7 in The Sands Expo Center’s San Polo Room, 3401. Attendees of the free event can learn more about the hattrix Five Diamond Program and its data center alliance, which provides the highest level of data security in the market for cloud-based access control systems.

Avigilon, which had its banners at McCarron airport again this year,  will launch its new H4 Edge Solution Camera line combines high-definition imaging, self-learning video analytics, network video recorder functionality, and embedded Avigilon Control Center video management software to create an all-in-one intelligent surveillance solution. The H4 Edge Solution Camera records video directly to an onboard solid-state drive, eliminates the need for a separate network video recorder, and reduces installation and system costs.

News with Securus' buyers

 - 
Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Securus and the two companies that acquired its assets.  

Securus, a company focused on GPS tracking and PERS, was divided and sold in two parts in the first quarter of 2015. The PERS side of the business was sold to Freeus, a newly founded sister company to AvantGuard, formed for the purpose of acquiring this part of Securus. BrickHouse Security acquired the GPS business.

I find this interesting lately because BrickHouse yesterday started a Kickstarter to fund the development of mBand—a new mPERS solution designed for independent women. 

The mBand is taking an interesting approach to the mPERS device: making it into a ring, instead of a bracelet or pendant. At the time of writing this, 53 “backers” have supported the idea with $8,900.

Securus has also been on my mind because I was just speaking with Freeus’ GM Brock Winzeler about how the company has done in the year after it’s acquisition of Securus PERS business. The company has more than doubled the customer base since the purchase. You can read more about that here.

Hey Siri ...

 - 
Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The other night while activating my new phone, my son overheard me setting up the voice-recognition feature, dutifully repeating the set-up phrase, “Hey Siri,” which prompted sarcastic questions from him like, “Hey Dad, are you sure you know how to do that?” and “You want me to help you set that up?”

And while his ribbing was good-natured, he got me thinking about how his post-Millennial generation is growing up in a world where automation and voice activation—in all aspects of life—are expected and even sought out. And not just for asking where the closest vegan restaurant is or the best recipe for lasagna.

In fact, findings from a recent Home Automation Report from the Connected Intelligence Division of the NPD Group, a market research company, found that nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of smart home product owners used a smartphone to control or monitor their home automation devices. Additionally, 73 percent of smart homeowners already use voice commands, with 61 percent of those consumers expressing an interest in wanting to use voice to control more products in their homes.

With the rise of home automation products and services on the residential side, combined with the ever-increasing need for homeowners to have complete control over their systems, dealers and installers find themselves scrambling to keep up with the current pace of technology.

In my discussions with security dealers leading up to ISC West in Las Vegas next week, voice technology and integration is at the top of most of their must-see lists on the tradeshow floor. They realize that residential consumers today are starting to take a serious look at the capabilities of the connected home, especially if they can control it all with an app and the sound of their voice.

And with new players on the resi side now offering DIY and home-automation options and services sans the need for a security system, dealers today need to move swiftly to compete for the smart home market, while effectively imparting to their customers that the two—home automation and security—should be mutually inclusive.

With smart home technologies changing the way homeowners look at security and home-automation, dealers also need to have a staff that is trained to have the right answers for today’s tech-savvy customer.

If they don’t, there are others who are eager to move in and provide that answer and solution, by way of a security system or otherwise.

 

Eidola, created for integrators to ensure cybersecurity

 - 
Wednesday, March 30, 2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—Have you heard enough about cybersecurity dangers for physical security integrators and manufacturers?

Here’s a new, and perhaps more welcome, angle of the cybersecurity story.

At the Interoperarability Fest on Wednesday night, April 6 at ISC West, you'll be able to see "Eidola." Click here for time and location.

What's Eidola? It's a technical automation and security system lifecycle management platform that’s designed to help integrators and installers secure their installations from the testing and installation stage through the maintenance stage. And it’s also designed to be used to generate RMR for integrators.

Eidola is a new product from IDmachines that “manages the lifecycle of a security solution from a cybersecurity perspective,” Sal D’Agostino, founder and CEO of IDmachines told me. "Eidola checks the make, model, firmware versions and other detailed device information, as well as strength of the device’s connection (authentication) on the network."

D’Agostino is an entrepreneur who has “always been involved in automating things.” He is the former EVP of Core Street and CEO of Computer Recognition Systems, Inc.

D’Agostino said “the complexity of security systems is growing astronomically and there’s a huge skills gap in terms of networking and cybersecurity skills.”  Today’s security systems include “IP-connected devices of all shapes and sizes on the network … you’ve [also] got network gear and stuff on virtual machines,” he said.

D’Agostino has said before that security integrators should “be deploying security solutions not vulnerabilities.” Eidola helps ensure this, he said.

Eidola can be used to test the configuration of a system’s components, and it also provides “a real live sandbox that can emulate an enterprise network,” D’Agostino said.

After that’s done, Eidola can be used to document IP addresses/MAC addresses and ports, so the integrator can deliver “more than just as-built drawings,” D’Agostino said. The integrator can give an end user a document that outlines the “state of the network." The integrator “get a sign-off by the customer on the documented system delivered that can be used again during the operation and maintenance lifecycle.”

This documentation is useful for the end user and integrator and can help identify problems in the future.  

Because Eidola can be used to check on the health of a security system, it can also be used to capture RMR, he said.

Andrew Lanning, co-founder of integration firm IST, said Eidola will be a very important tool for IT-savvy integrators working in enterprise environments, but its greatest value may be for a security company installer who is not an IT expert.

Those installers are adept at using a multi-meter to test voltage levels. D'Agostino describes Eidola as a "multi-meter for the 21st century." Lanning agrees, saying at its most basic level, Eidola is “really a network multi-meter that can let the installer know that a network is sound,” he said.

The roll out of Eidola is underway. It will be “generally available in the next 30 to 60 days” to a select group of integrators. The roll out will include “training, technical training and business model training on how to sell the product,” D’Agostino said.

The integrator will get an Eidola kit and a licence to resell Eidola as a service. “There are a number of different ways in which the product can be monetized by the integrator,” D’Agostino said.  

The Eidola kit has five components: 1. a high-performance, rugged industrial computer with multiple network connections, serial ports and digital I/O that provides the sandbox for the integrator or user's test environment. "This computer can also be left behind in those cases where longer term or harsh environmental testing requirements exist," D'Agostino said. 2. a portable field device (the 21st century multimeter) that also has network, serial and digital I/O. but on a smaller scale. 3. a set of connectors and cabling for easy installation and testing. 4. a travel case 5.training and documentation
 
D'Agostino said that the first two items "have an ad hoc wireless network that can connect to any Wi-Fi supported device, typically a smartphone or tablet, which provides an easy-to-use, push-button interface for performing the diagnostic, configuration and viewing and sharing the reports."

A broader roll out of the product is planned for later this year.
 

Calling all monitoring companies at ISC West 2016

 - 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Although it seems hard to believe, ISC West 2016 is fast approaching and now less than two weeks away. I’m currently working on my schedule for show floor meetings and it is filling up pretty quickly.

As I was last year, I’ll be making my way around the show floor and trying to visit with as many monitoring-related companies as I can. If your company has new developments with its monitoring center, or simply wants to tell me about your approach for the rest of 2016, feel free to reach out to me. My direct phone line is 207-846-0600 ext. 254, or you can send me an email at sives@securitysystemsnews.com.

If your company is more residentially focused, you might want to reach out to our new managing editor, Paul Ragusa, at pragusa@securitysystemsnews.com. Or, if your business is commercial or systems integration, email SSN editor Martha Entwistle at mentwistle@securitysystemsnews.com.

Last year was my first ISC West, actually my first security industry trade show—which some called “a baptism by fire.” It was great to meet a lot of companies at one time, and this year I look forward to checking in and seeing the latest with each of you.

One thing I know I’m headed to is the Security 5k on Thursday morning, April 7, benefiting Mission 500 and founded by Security Systems News. Shuttle busses will leave from the Sands Convention Center Taxi Ramp between 6:15 a.m. and  6:45 a.m. Speaking from experience last year, it was great to get off the show floor and the strip for a little be and have some fresh air. Feel free to register here, and keep an eye out for the new SSN team shirts (photo on left). I hope to see plenty of you there!

Smart homes—all is not golden?

 - 
Wednesday, March 23, 2016

While the “smart home” may be a vision of the future—with the rise in interest and demand for these technologies and services continuing unabated—all is not golden in this quickly emerging world of interconnectedness. Potential concerns include cost, ease of set-up and self-service, and support services.
 
Following data released in December by Argus Insights that shows growth in consumer demand for connected home devices slowing in 2015, findings from a recent survey reveal the specific challenges consumers are facing.

SSN reported on a June 2015 study from Argus, “Connected Home or Ho-Hum?” that showed a similar downward trend for smart home services, although many in the industry disputed the report, and many leading smart home companies are showing increases for 2015 in the adoption rate for their smart home interactive services.

As the industry continues to show interest in, and adopt the myriad new smart home services now available—controlling everything from your lights and heat to tracking your sleep patterns and even when your toast is done—there still may be some growing pains for this quickly emerging market.

To gain a better understanding of these challenges and explore possible solutions, Support.com, a provider of cloud-based software and services, surveyed more than 3,000 U.S. consumers in an effort to look at drivers and barriers of smart home usage and consumer behavior for both smart homeowners and potential buyers.

While nearly a quarter of respondents (23 percent) indicated that they have a smart home system installed in their home, the survey found key areas (cost, ease of set-up and self service, and support services) that may be causing some challenges or obstacles for existing and potential new consumers.

Despite the enhanced value to a home, the survey found that the perceived cost of smart home systems is a deterrent for many consumers, with 42 percent saying that price was their greatest frustration when purchasing, installing and maintaining their smart home systems.

The complexity of installing and configuring smart home systems is also frustrating users and causing hesitation in potential buyers. The survey found that 31 percent of smart home owners struggle with the complexity of setup, configuration and ongoing support for their devices, while 18 percent of smart home owners said their biggest frustration is when all of the devices don’t properly communicate and work together, and 43 percent of potential smart home buyers are concerned about the complexity of installing and configuring smart home devices and systems.

According to the survey, of current smart home owners, 61 percent want to fix issues on their own and become frustrated if they can’t, and 57 percent installed, connected and set-up all the devices and services themselves to save money on installation. Of potential buyers, 39 percent would rather install, connect and set-up all the devices and services on their own and save the money, and 22 percent would not buy a smart home system because they perceive it would be too complicated to install and set up on their own.

So while these findings are showing some hesitation as consumers try to make sense of the potential this new world of interconnectedness has, they also point to the need for security dealers and installers to connect more with their customers—and potential new customers—to bridge that gap between their interest in these new smart home technologies and their fear of taking the leap into this cool new world of interactive services.

By addressing these concerns up front, and adding some more transparency to the overall process, companies and installers may find that this initial resistance to smart home technology and services gives way to understanding and wider acceptance and adoption.

 

Pages