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A warm welcome …

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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

From my coworkers here at Security Systems News, to the many in the industry that I have already had the opportunity to connect with, one thing that has softened the challenging and hectic transition to my new job as managing editor is the warm welcome that I have received from all.

During those particularly stressful moments of my first few days on the job, I must admit that seeing SSN Publisher Tim Purpura walk down the office hallway wearing a lobster hat—in preparation for the upcoming ISC West show next month in Las Vegas—brought a smile to my face, and unfortunately for Tim, some lame lobster-related puns about buttering him up that I can never take back. But I'm pretty sure I made him laugh … so I think my job is secure.

And speaking of security, job or otherwise, it was also heartwarming to find that an industry that is in the business of securing millions of homes and people, can have such a disarming nature. In my first week, I have been able to speak with a handful of industry professionals, who not only are helping me to get my arms around the market, but also assuring me that their doors are always open for a chat or a quote — whatever!  

Whether it was talking with Tom Kerber, director of research for Parks Associates, who shared some very interesting research the firm is doing, or chatting with industry professionals including Jeff Lyman, chief marketing officer for Vivint, John Loud, president, Loud Security, John Cerasoula, president/CEO, ADS Security, and Matthew Zartman, consumer marketing senior manager at Alarm.com, I am already finding that the industry is made up of people with diverse backgrounds, comprehensive experience and expertise in their areas, and not least of all, colorful personalities.

As we begin the mad dash to ISC West—and my preparation for the annual 5K run/2k walk charity event that SSN sponsors—I encourage our readers to reach out to me, if I don’t get to you first, to talk about the industry and the upcoming conference.

Email me at: pragusa@securitysystemsnews.com.

SEi adds new remote services division

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Systems integrator SEi has moved to it new headquarters in Omaha, Neb. and launched a new Remote Services division, which will support SEi's growing managed services business.

SEi has "been doing managed access control for 30 years if not more," SEi EVP Tom Hruby said. But now it's doing more cloud hosting. With its managed access control business growing and its "hosted video seeing a huge uptick" there are more customer service questions too.

"The remote services group deals with issues connected with managed services," Hruby said. Questions often arise when a user updates a phone. They'll need information on code changes, setting up their iPhone app, or tablets or web interfaces, among other things.

Creating this new division is all part of SEi's focus on "the experience economy." Hruby said "Customers today will pay more for experience than services," Hruby said. "When they pay for a service, they have experience expectations. If we don't meet those expectations, they'll go pay for the service somewhere else."

"We focus on the experience at SEi; we call it 'The SEi difference," he said.

When it moved into new headquarters, SEi wanted to expand its central station, "create a great place to work and do business, ... add all new technology and furniture," he said.

SEi's new headquarters here—it's first move since it was founded in the '70s—is double the size of its former headquarters. It has room for 65 employees, warehouse space and its new U.L. listed central station is now called SEi's  Customer Care Center. 

In business for more than 45 years, SEi has 167 employees and 16,000 customers. Its 2015 total revenue was $27.6 million with $850,000 RMR.

 

 

 

 

Jay Hauhn talks on Honeywell-RSI deal

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Yesterday it was announced that Honeywell acquired RSI Video Technologies (Videofied) for $123 million. Jay Hauhn, executive director for CSAA, talked with SSN about the deal.

The deal could help RSI further develop its offerings, he said. “Adding Honeywell’s R&D proficiency to RSI’s verification competencies is very powerful from a product functionality perspective.”

Having Honeywell and RSI could benefit central stations from a monitoring perspective. “I expect the combined offering to be an innovative fully integrated verification solution. Getting that from a single source is very attractive to a central station,” he said.  

Honeywell in its announcement highlighted RSI’s video verification capabilities. Hauhn said the acquisition is an efficient way for Honeywell to enhance its portfolio of verification offerings.  “When evaluating technologies needed within a product roadmap, a frequent question for a manufacturer is, ‘Do we develop it or do we acquire it?’ … Honeywell obviously decided their fastest path to market was going to be accomplished by acquiring RSI, a proven verification technology.”

“I suspect that there are significant sales synergies between RSI and Honeywell, often targeting the same alarm dealers,” Hauhn said.

SSN's '20 under 40' winners gathered at TechSec

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Security Systems News' TechSec Solutions conference went very well this year—everything from the educational sessions to the weather. A highlight of the conference was having "20 under 40" Class of 2015 award winners in attendance. Eleven honorees from the integrators' class and six honorees from the end users joined us in Delray Beach, Fla. Included here are photos from the reception. You can find the complete collection of integrator profiles here, and the list of end user profiles here.

Above are the "20 under 40" integrators,  from left: Monitronics’ Barbara Holliday, CONTAVA’s Scott Ranger, Protection 1’s Matt Cooper, Advance Technology’s Rob Simopoulos, Northland Controls’ Henry Hoyne, Tech Systems’ Andy Chambers, Security Equipment’s Matt Vellek, Diebold’s Josh Long, Femac Security’s Corey Hendrix, Wayne Alarm Systems’ Shawn Crocker, Per Mar Security Services’ Brian Duffy, and SSN’s Martha Entwistle and Spencer Ives.

The photo on the left is the six end users who joined us, from left: Western Kentucky University’s Jeppie Sumpter, Beth-Israel Deaconess Hospital’s Christopher C. Moore, Marvel Studios’ Matthew Slatoff, City of Windsor’s Mike Cholubko, Mercedes-Benz Superdome’s Ross Bourgeois, and Comcast’s Reggy Timothee.

Thanks to all of our attendees this year, and another congratulations to all of our 2015 "20 under 40" winners.

Honeywell and UTC?

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Honeywell is reportedly shopping its Building Solutions Group, according to a report today in the Wall Street Journal. The Honeywell Building Solutions business, which the WSJ says is worth between $3 billion and $4 billion, provides security systems integration and other services to commercial buildings globally.  

It is a separate business unit from Honeywell Security and Fire (HSF), but they are both part of the Automation and Control Solutions unit. Alex Ismail is the president and CEO of the $14 billion Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions division.

The Wall Street Journal says Honeywell has hired Goldman Sachs Group to work on the sale, which has been ongoing for about three months.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that Honeywell was in talks to merge with UTC. While those reports were followed by comments from UTC that they deal would run into trouble with anti-trust regulations, the Wall Street Journal today said “Honeywell has signaled that it isn’t ready to give up yet on a merger with United Technologies, which would be one of the biggest deals at a time when such activity is booming.”

Would Honeywell sell the building solutions business if it does merge with UTC? The Wall Street Journal report asked that question to itself and answered “I don’t know.” It also added this editorial caveat: “In any event, as always, there may be no deal at all.” 

According the WSJ report, Honeywell is working with Centerview Partners and Lazard on the UTC deal, while UTC is working with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co

After ADT's news, Ascent stock rises

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ascent Capital Group’s stock price rose yesterday, on news of the ADT/Apollo deal.

I asked Imperial Capital’s Jeff Kessler about the stock’s jump and he characterized it as a “knee jerk reaction to the fact that the only other company in the United States that’s public, being traded, is being taken over.”

Yesterday (Feb. 16) Ascent’s stock price rose as high as 49 percent over its previous close of (Feb. 12) of $8.27 per share.  Yesterday’s high was $12.29. The stock closed at $11.00 and had been hovering around that price today.

Ascent’s stock price has been declining over the last 12 months. This time last year the stock price was $47.50.

Kessler pointed out that AlarmForce, another publicly traded alarm company, also saw a small increase after the news of ADT’s acquisition agreement. “If ADT is taken private [Alarm Force and Ascent] will be the only two publicly traded alarm companies,” he said.

Ascent Capital Group is a more well known peer to ADT, Kessler said, which is why Ascent’s price was affected more than that of AlarmForce.

“It will certainly have more people eyeing Ascent, to see whether or not there is some value in the Ascent monitoring capability for another buyer,” Kessler said. “Certainly I would think that private equity firms are looking at Ascent, because the stock has fallen down so far … but there’s no guarantees.” 

Billion dollar deals

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Billion dollar deals are not exactly daily news in the physical security industry, except in the past three weeks, that is.

Two of the biggest deals in the history of the security industry have been announced in the past three weeks. On Jan. 25 Johnson Controls announced a deal to merge with Tyco.

Yesterday, Apollo Global Management, a $170 billion private equity company, announced it has an agreement in hand to acquire Tyco's former sister company, ADT, for $6.9 billion. Here’s that story.

Apollo first entered the security industry last May when it purchased Protection 1 and ASG.

When the Apollo/ADT deal closes, Apollo plans to combine ADT with Protection 1 under the leadership of Protection 1 CEO Tim Whall.

When JCI announced that it plans to merge with Tyco it said it will lose the Tyco name. Good idea. Even though Dennis Koslowski and his $600 shower curtain and $2 million birthday parties on Sardinia are long gone, the Tyco name is forever linked to ridiculous excess and greed.

On the other hand we have ADT. The combined ADT/Protection 1 company plans to operate “primarily under the ADT brand.”  Not everyone loves ADT of course, but the name is synonymous with security and as someone said to me yesterday: People know the ADT name, whether you like them or not, you feel like you can trust them.

I haven’t had a chance to speak to Protection 1 yet, but in a canned quote in the news release Whall talked about the promise of the combined commercial business.

I spoke to Jeff Kessler of Imperial Capital yesterday and he noted that ADT is really still getting its commercial business off the ground. Protection 1 can help them a lot, he said.

He noted that Tim Whall’s team “invented the scorecard for the industry” idea back when he was at HSM.

The idea behind the scorecard is to find out customers really want (from a security and business improvement perspective) and set up metrics.  Protection 1 (or HSM or Stanley) then measures itself on its ability to meet certain metrics. I’ve written about different iterations of the Tim Whall Scorecard many times.

He noted that Protection 1 has a "very, very disciplined team." (Even with two verys, I'd say that's an understatement.) They've got CMO Jamie Haenggi, CFO Dan Bresingham, and Don Young, who Kessler calls "a superstar, the leading entity in the industry on integrating platforms."

CSAA 2016 meeting: management and tech

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

CSAA released a preliminary schedule for its 2016 annual meeting, to be held at the Marriot Resort on Marco Island, Fla., Oct. 22-26. Educational sessions will be held from Oct. 24-26.

CSAA wrote in its blog that long-time attendees will notices some changes. “The CSAA Board of Directors Meeting will be held on the first morning of the Annual Meeting, Saturday, October 22, with the Board/AHJ dinner that evening. CSAA committees will meet the morning of Sunday, October 23. The opening reception will take place Sunday evening,” the association wrote.

Each day of educational session has a theme: the theme for Monday, Oct. 24, is business management, for Tuesday it’s performance management, and for the final educational day—Wednesday, Oct. 26—it’s technology. CSAA said it will cover important topics for monitoring centers, including “workforce development, executive management, technology updates, and telecomm issues.”

You can view the full preliminary schedule here, which is subject to change. Housing information and registration coming soon.

Why Genetec is going "cloud first"

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Unified security solution provider Genetec is going with a “cloud-first strategy,” Genetec’s Christian Morin said this week.

“The bulk of our innovation will be delivered [as a] cloud-based product first,” Morin said.

Popularized a few years ago when in 2011 the U.S. government mandated that federal agencies consider a cloud-based IT systems, the term “cloud first” is heard more, and talked about more favorably in the business community over the past couple of years.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, for example, announced the company’s “mobile-first, cloud-first” strategy in 2014.

As VP Cloud Services at Genetec, Morin has been a vocal evangelist for cloud-based systems. Here’s a link to a story about cloud from TechSec 2015.

The world is moving to the cloud for sound business reasons, Morin said this week. "The marketplace in changing. Integrators are realizing that they need to adapt. If they don’t, they’ll be left behind,” Morin said.

Morin shared several impressive percentages—triple digit growth—related to the company’s Stratocast and other cloud products. Admittedly, it’s hard to know what those figures really represent when there are no revenue figures attached. (The private company declined to share actual revenue figures.) However, Morin shared stories of customers who are using Genetec’s cloud products. Suffice it to say, they are big customers and there are a number of them.

Morin discussed Genetec’s work with the LAPD at the Special Olympics in July, interconnecting a number of different entities such as universities, the convention center and the Staples Center into one command center.

He also described a project with an unnamed big box retailer where Genetec was used to federate 800 stores, each with 50 to 80 cameras.

Customers are looking for Genetec’s access control as a service product, which is currently in beta, he said. “Not a week goes by that a customer doesn’t ask. There’s tremendous market demand especially among large customers who want central access control across many different facilities,” Morin said.

Genetec is having a lot of success with cloud in city surveillance applications—its “Project Green light” in Detroit is a notable example—and Genetec is actively working with groups of stakeholders in many different U.S. cities to pull together similar projects.

Genetec is also in discussion with telecom companies to bundle its commercial cloud services with the telecom’s traditional services. It’s a model that might work very well with city surveillance. The telecom would bring “brand power, network and billing mechanisms” to the plate. How would that work with integrators? Would the telecom be stepping on their business? Unlikely, Morin says. The telecoms don’t want to get involved with fulfillment, he said.

Morin said there are four reasons customers want cloud: you pay as you go; upgrades are the responsibility of Genetec, lessoning the burden on internal IT; simple and easy for integrators; scalability and elasticity.

The two main challenges Genetec faces with cloud is the reluctance of customers to “not see my server anymore” and customers and integrators getting used to the subscription model.

To get integrators and end users accustomed to the subscription model, Genetec will begin offering its on-premises platform Omnicast as a subscription model. The platform will still be the same, it’s just a different payment option.

While Morin is convinced that the move to the cloud will inevitably become a stampede, he said Genetec believes in a hybrid cloud model. “There are many good reasons why some customers don’t want to move everything to the cloud,” he said.  They may want a little cloud or a lot of cloud and they may want the transition to be very slow, he said.

Byerly on benefits of becoming Securitas

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Diebold Securitas deal, announced in October, closed on Monday.

Tony Byerly, former EVP of Diebold Electronic Security, has been tapped to lead the newly named Securitas Electronic Security.

In a statement, Byerly touted the benefits of being part of an $8 billion global security services provider, saying the new parent company brings “scale, stability, focus and resources necessary for us to grow, innovate and reach even higher customer satisfaction and performance levels in the years to come.”

This deal is the latest example of a company combining electronic security services with guarding and other security services. We’ve seen this combination on a very large scale with G4S (which has a NOC and acquired the former Adesta systems integrator business.) And we’ve also seen a number of guard companies and integrators partner in recent years.   

In his statement, Byerly said Securitas customers can benefit “from on-site security officers to mobile guarding to remote guarding to alarm monitoring and systems integration, as well as other electronic security solutions.”

 

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