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Running, walking and talking—Day 2 at ISC West

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 2 of ISC West started off with a bang … as in the bang from the starter’s pistol as I ran in the annual Mission 500 Security 5K, the running race that Security Systems News helps sponsor.

Not only does the race do good—this year the more than 500 participants helped raise about $80,000 for needy children in Mexico, India and Tanzania—but it’s a legitimate excuse to take some time to exercise at this busy show. And this year it featured new event, a 2K walk. I heard from several people on the show floor later that they’ve wanted to participate in the race previously but can’t run 3.2 miles. They said a walk would be more doable and said they may participate in that part of the event next year. So, I’m betting that at ISC West 2013 we’ll see even more people joining in this good, healthy—and fun—cause.

Speaking of Mexico, during my visit to the 2GIG booth, Todd Santiago, president of the Carlsbad, Calif.-based home security systems developer told me the company is expanding to Mexico and other Latin American countries this year. “We see international expansion as a huge opportunity,” he said. “We have significant demand for our security offering.”

He said the company, founded about two years ago, also is doing great in North America, with more than 1,100 dealers now.

Among other Day 2 meetings I had were with a couple of fire dealers who impressed me with their innovative ideas.

One was Carter Rierson, founder and president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection of Waunakee, Wis.
Among things that Rierson and I discussed were his trademark “cellevator,” a cellular solution that enables people in an elevator to summon help in an emergency. Rierson said customers like his solution because it costs half of the traditional solution, which is a phone line voice connection to an elevator.

I also talked to Mark Popkowski of Texas-based Modern System Concepts, a Texas fire and security company. He told me he’s outfitting all the company’s technicians with iPads. He’s also saving time and money by having them do fire inspections with a new inspection app that his company developed. He plans to beta test the new software and then market it to other companies this summer.

He said the app allows companies to “have multiple technicians out in the field on an inspection and they can be doing one part of the inspection and somebody else can be doing the other” but they both produce one report.

ISCWest Day 2, some notes

Friday, March 30, 2012

So much to write about Day 2 at ISC West 2012, but here are some notes from the day:

Stanley held a luncheon reception to introduce the new combined leadership of Stanley CSS and Niscayah. The combined company serves 460,000 customers from 80 North American locations. The team includes: Marty Guay, VP-national accounts and market solutions; Mike Bishop VP-field operations; Pete Straka, VP-human resources; Steve Walker, VP ProtectionNet customer service centers; Damon Kanzler, VP-opeartions support; Joe Richards, VP-infomation technology, Felix Gonzales, VP-Strategic Initiatives& business development; Jim Kopplin, VP-field sales & integration leader; Tony Byerly, president North America; Ina Staris, senior legal counsel; John Nemorofsky, VP market solutions; Raymond Radis, VP-national accounts.

--I did a number of video interviews including ones with Jamie Haenggi, chief marketing and customer experience officer for Protection 1, where we talked about Protection 1's focus on national accounts.

--Sharon Shaw, PSA Security director of education filled me in on what's new at PSA-TEC this year for integrators.

--Kristen Simmons, founder of LiveSmart Security, and a veteran marketing executive of several Fortune 500 companies. Kristen will be delivering the keynote address at ESX this year and talking about the customer experience as the "next battleground" for security companies.

--Jay Hauhn, CTO for the newly named Tyco Integrated Security,  talked about what Tyco International's priorities once it splits into three separately companies and Tyco International becomes a pure play security and fire group for the first time.

I did several booth visits, but one of the most interesting was speaking to Yohav Stern, CEO of DVTEL. Stern talked about the company's new "TruWitness" product which turns a smartphone into a camera on your surveillance network. Stern also talked about how DVTel has changed in the past year since he assumed leadership. The  R& D team now has some simple but firm guidelines. Products being innovative is not enough, he said, they need to be reliable, scalable,  end-to-end solutions that are also open.

Trendy in Vegas

Friday, March 30, 2012

ISC West 2012 is now a wrap, the show having ended a few hours ago. Day 3 proved as thought provoking as the first two.

I started out today talking to Rick Robinson, president of Qualified Commercial Electronics Co. (QCECO), a fire and security company in Phoenix, Ariz. in business for 25 years.

Among the things that Robinson, who said his company is a Silent Knight dealer, talked about with me was trends. One trend he said he sees in the industry is that “the technology is consistently getting better and less expensive. I think the products we have available to us now, and that we’re offering to our customers, are selling themselves so to speak because they’re so good compared to the way things were 10 to 15 years ago.”

Robinson’s words seem to me to sum up very well what I was seeing and hearing this past week in Las Vegas. And the show also seemed reflective of other trends.

A case in point is the home energy management trend. Consumers already are demanding ways to manage their use of energy and that demand is expected to grow phenomenally in the next decade, according to a new study.

It was clear at the show that the security industry is already anticipating that demand with a variety of products that help consumers track their energy usage to save money., a Vienna, Va.-based technology provider of interactive security solutions is among those doing that through its new Smart Schedule Activity Patterns. The feature helps homeowners optimize their thermostat settings based on data from their security systems. at the show was also promoting its new location-based services, called Geo-Services.

One of those services, to be released next month, is an arming reminder alert, said Jay Kenny,’s VP of marketing.

He said the service will make use of a homeowner’s GPS device on their mobile phone to determine if they’ve left a “geofence” around their home without arming their system. “If I leave that fence I can get a notification [that says]‘You forgot something on your system,’” Kenny told me.

He said such services all are part of a larger trend.

“The solution is really starting to be bigger than just security, more the management of these critical things in the home, [such as] energy, locks on the door, and two-way video systems,” Kenny told me. “That connected solution is something we’re seeing consumer interest in, and our dealers who are adopting the approach of selling that type of solution are having a lot of success right now.”

Firsts on the first day of ISC West

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today was the first day of ISC West 2012 and I started my day off at a Honeywell breakfast where Scott Harkins, the new president of Honeywell Security Products, talked about a series of “firsts” the company was announcing at the show.

“We’re very excited that this show, the ISC show, is where we’re launching the great technology revolution in the intrusion space,” Harkins said.

He cited a series of products and technologies that he said are “firsts for us and first for our industry” include 2G/3G/4G radio, “one module that can do all three,” switching to whichever has the strongest signal. “We’re the only manufacturer in the industry with that,” Harkins said.

Among other innovations, Harkins said Honeywell’s Wi-Fi enabled system is “clearly a first,” and also said the company is the first to have an IP video system “that’s literally three clicks to get up and running.”

Honeywell wasn’t the only company talking about “firsts” today.

I stopped by the Cooper Notification booth, where Ted Milburn, vice president, marketing, and Jacquiline Townshend, marketing channel leader told me about that company was having a soft launch at the show of its Exceder LED, which Milburn described as “the first to replace the traditional strobe with an LED.”

They said the device is energy efficient, having a lower current draw than a traditional notification device, and is easier and less costly to install and has a smaller profile.

The device, which Townshend said would be available in May, is priced the same as a traditional one. “We think if the function is the same, the price should be the same,” Milburn said.

Over at the Fire-Lite by Honeywell booth, customers were acting like a product that the company introduced about four years ago was brand new this year.

While I was there a steady stream of people were showing up to learn more about Fire-Lite’s IPGSM-DP Commercial Fire Communicator, which is used to upgrade a fire system from reporting to the central station by phone lines to one that uses an IP or GSM cellular path.

The product saves end users money by letting them get rid of their telephone lines, and dealers can use that fact as a selling point to generate more business for themselves, the company says.

Beth Welch, public relations manager for Honeywell Fire Systems, told me interest in the IPGSM has suddenly taken off. “We’re just now seeing the real, true adoption of this. It’s a landslide,” she said. “Dealers are using this to get their foot in the door with new accounts.”

She said there are a variety of reasons why the product has taken off now, but believes one is just that AHJ’s are seeing how well it works and so are endorsing it.

I also talked today to Alex Dunn, COO of Provo, Utah-based home security/home automation giant Vivint. Vivint has to be the first security company to start a new company to sell solar panels to residential customers. Vivint Solar was created almost a year ago.

Although the two companies are separate, I asked Dunn if there was any sales crossover. He said there was and will continue to be.

“I think you’ll see in the future more integration from a sales perspective, even from a technology perspective, when the control panel integrates with the solar panels, Dunn said.

Among other people I met on the show floor today was Don Moore, president of Redondo Beach, Calif.-based Moore Protection, who stopped by the Security Systems News’ booth for our “meet the editors” event. Moore’s security company is the first to create its own “Security Oscar”: At the time of the Academy Awards each year it gives out the Morpheus Award to a film that best depicts the use of security. This year “Tower Heist” was the winner.

It was great to meet Don in person and while chatting, he told me another interesting fact about his company. It turns out that the graphics for the company’s lawn sign were designed some years ago by George Lois, an advertising wizard who is known as “The Original Mad Man,” a real-life version of Don Draper on the AMC television series.

Now, that’s got to be a first!


Interface buys Westec and other stuff I learned at ISC West on Day 1

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Big news from yesterday was the acquisition of Westec by Interface Security Systems. The story is on our front page or click here . You can also see my video interview with Jeff Frye of Interface Security Systems about the Westec deal on our front page or by clicking here.

Winning the procrastination award for latest to announce a press conference at ISCWest  2012 is BRS Labs. I got the announcement a little after midnight--8 hours notice!

It's not a strategy I'd recommend, but there was a good crowd in the press room at 9 a.m. today. John Frazzini, president of BRSLabs, showed several examples of how the software "learns" how a certain venue should look day and night and then goes into alert when there’s an anomaly. The first example was subway tunnel. The alert went off when a regular automobile tried to follow the subway into the subway tunnel.

BRS Labs, just received its umbrella patent, and some of its wins are part of the public record, including a $2 million deal with the San Francisco.

Frazzini believes the future is bright for behavioral analytics. He said that IMS predicts that behavioral analytics will be a $2.1  billion addressable market by 2015. On the other hand, traditional video analytics have been a $57 billion market through  2010,  and is expectd to grow to $108 million market by 2015. Frazzini called that growth "immaterial and irrelevant" and said a behavioral analytics is causing a “real disruption in the marketplace.”


In another unscheduled—at least in my book—press conference, I heard Ingram Micro’s Brian Wiser talking about that company's renewed push into the physical security business.

Wiser said the Ingram Micro physical security business has doubled in the past year.  He said Ingram Micro considers physical security a “strategic high growth focus [area, and said the company intents to]  dedicate disproportionate resources to this business unit.” Integrators should not be afraid of making the leap into IP systems, he said. “Ingram can help them make the leap—to enable them to do it themselves [or if they need help with a particular project] we can connect you with someone who can do that for you in a non-competitive fashion.”

Wiser said that Ingram Micro—which had 20,000 square feet of show floor space, 30 partner vendors and 450 VARS—intends to enter the industry in a big way—to "dive in and dive deeply," he said.


I had a great meeting with Tammee Thompson who is the new VP and GM global fire and security for Johnson Controls. Her appointment was announced last week, but she’s been in place for about 5 months.  

This is the first time the global fire and security unit has been organized into a global PL. Thompson has spent the past four months traveling around visiting teams in the field, understanding the capabilities the groups have and need to grow the business. The goal, she said, is to the become the integrator of choice.

In North America, JC has 80 branch offices that offer security and fire as well as services and HVAC. “That will help us on a regional basis to offer entire portfolios to customers,” she said.
AT ISC West, Thompson's team is looking at technologies, not devices. JCI has an access control platform that integrates with 17 VMS providers. At this show Thompson's team is  nvestigating complimentary platforms such as PSIM and Identity Management.


At 12: 45 I moderated a Women’s Security Council meeting with three very cool and accomplished women: Kelly Bond, senior vice president of sales & marketing for Alarm Capital Alliance; Renae Leary, ADT Global Accounts Senior Director; and, Juliette Gustavsson, Milestone Systems Head of Corporate Marketing. Lots of tips, tactics and resources for career advancement. I’ll have a full story on this next week.


I stopped by S2 and spoke to John Moss about what’s new there. He’s particularly excited about forensic capabilities of his new products enabled because of the tight integration between the access control and video.  More on this and other show floor stuff later.

I'm late getting to the show floor. The Security 5K was great this morning. Lots of people, great weather. Come to the reception on the show floor at 4:30 this afternoon.

Did you see the story about ADT commercial changing it's name that I posted on Tuesday? Gonna get some more info on that today from Jay Hauhn. Much more to report from Day 1 and Day 2 later today. Stay tuned.


Taking it all in at ISC West

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quite the first day for a first-timer at ISC West, and for a first-timer to Vegas to boot. Now I can understand what all the fuss was about leading up to the show.

Day One started with a “Meet the Editors” session at the SSN booth—No. 27065, stop by if you get a chance—which was followed by a full slate of media gatherings and meet-and-greets. Here were a few:

— I got the lowdown from ASSA ABLOY on what it’s doing to fill the “medium security” gap for access control, or components targeting the void between $200 and $4,000. The company sees a growth market there and is moving to take advantage.

— Bill Hobgood, project director for the Department of Information Technology, Public Safety Team, for the city of Richmond, Va., gave a firsthand account of what ASAP can do for speeding the flow of information between central stations and PSAPs. If you’re still holding on to the phone as the future, Richmond’s experience will change your mind.

— Chris Holbert, CEO of SecuraTrac, told me how the company’s new app, SecuraFone, disables social media sites when in motion—hello, distracted teens—along with immobilizing email and texting. Other features include physical tracking and more importantly, emergency response for seniors. SecuraTrac is teaming with Mace CS to expand along this avenue in the future.

— Bosch acknowledged the hectic pace of the day with a 5 p.m. session that featured a truck giveaway and happy hour refreshments, which turned out to be a real crowd-pleaser. A great way to end a long day on the floor.

My day isn’t done yet—I’m about the step out the door to attend a UCC cocktail party—and Day Two and Day Three await, so I’ll sign off for now. Much more ahead, hopefully with a decent night’s sleep to take it all in. The young and lively door-bangers in the room next door may have something to say about that, though. This is Vegas, after all …    

Hertel named VP of operations at Rapid Response

Monday, March 26, 2012

Morgan Hertel has been named vice president of operations at Rapid Response Monitoring.

That information, courtesy of a new posting on his LinkedIn profile, greeted me today as I packed up my laptop and headed out the door to ISC West. It marks a quick turnaround for Hertel, who just two weeks ago stepped down as vice president and general manager for Mace CS.

In a March 12 news release from Mace Security International, the company said Hertel’s departure was “for personal reasons” and that he would be “working closely with Mace CS in a consulting role over the next several months.” Hertel took over as director of operations at the company’s wholesale central station in Anaheim, Calif., shortly after the CSSS acquisition in 2009.

As for what lies ahead at Rapid, the 30-year industry veteran states on LinkedIn that he’s working on “several high-level projects and initiatives. … At Rapid Response I have many resources, some of which include a complete software development team, a huge IT and technical staff and one of the most educated and talented operations and finance groups consisting of almost 400 staff members.”

Hertel will be a panelist at ISC West at an educational session titled “NFPA 72: Are You Ready for the Changes?” If I can’t catch up with him before I get on the plane, hopefully I’ll get a chance to do so at the show. It will be interesting to see how his expertise comes into play at Rapid.  

See you in Vegas!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Getting ready today (Monday) to leave for ISC West--the three-day show that gets longer every year. I’m arriving Tuesday afternoon and have several meetings and events before the show floor even opens. I’m not complaining—I'm actually looking forward to these events.

Our newswire will go out as usual on Thursday morning, but Tess, Rich, Whit (managing editor of our sister pub Security Director News) and I will be tweeting from the show and updating our blogs daily, so go to the SSN and SDN homepages throughout the show to catch up on what we’re seeing at at the show

Today and tomorrow are the classic days for industry announcements, though folks, believe me, they are the worst days for company announcements. (I am complaining now.) I’m generally at the Portland airport when I see that something newsworthy has broken. It's a bad time to announce news. Everyone is traveling, so the news gets missed—by reporters and readers alike. Or it gets buried in news that was released and written in advance.

Of course, sometimes there’s news that you’re obliged to put out for one reason or another, but you really don’t want it reported. If that’s your situation, put that press release out Wednesday morning about 10 a.m. as the ISC West show floor is opening. It’ll get stomped on—at least for a little while.

So this is what the beginning of my show looks like: On Tuesday, after an on-time landing, I’ll be meeting with some folks about the ESX show (Nashville in June), heading to a event, checking out an Altronix press conference, swinging by the Women’s Security Council reception at Pinot Brasserie, and then going to another industry reception/dinner. See you in the hallways running from event to event.

For me, Wednesday morning will begin with the Axis Breakfast. I’m no fan of breakfasts before the show, but I make an exception for this annual early rally. Axis generally does a good job of keeping it short, informative and lively, and making execs available—plus they’ve made some interesting announcements in recent days which I’m eager to learn more about.

When the showfloor opens at 10 on Wednesday, Tess, Rich, Whit and I will be at our booth (27065) for an hour of "Meet the Editors". Please stop by and say hi.

I’ve got a couple booth visits and a press conference, after which time I’ll be moderating the WSC educational session “Sell yourself, but don’t sell yourself short.” Going to be an interesting discussion, plan to stop by.

Between booth visits, I’ll be interviewing Tammee Thompson—who on March 21 was named vice president and general manager, global security and fire for Johnson Controls on March 21; Niall Jenkins from IMS (which was acquired last week by IHS); Carey Boethel and Ken Francis, who a couple of weeks ago launched Securadyne, and PSA Security's Sharon Shaw.

There's much more, but you'll have to check back here for details.

One more thing, there’s still time to sign up for the Security 5k. Run for fun and make a difference in a needy child’s life.

Check back here for more from ISC West 2012.

Are you really my friend? Meet me at ISC West!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It’s a rainy, chilly March Sunday in Maine, and a perfect way to escape the gray weather is enjoying the beautiful artwork at the Portland Museum of Art. One exhibit currently on display there got me thinking about my trip this week to sunny, warm Las Vegas for the ISC West show … and how the show is such a good opportunity to connect with people.

The exhibit is by Maine photographer Tanja Alexia Hollander, titled: “Are You Really My Friend?” Hollander set out to reach beyond cyberspace by traveling around the world to meet her Facebook friends—she has more than 600 of them. She created photographic portraits of her cyber-friends that are now on display in the museum.

The exhibit got me thinking about how many of you in the industry I feel I know because we talk on the phone and email and tweet to one another. But in many cases, we’ve never met.

So, I'm looking forward to meeting many of my cyber-friends in the security industry in person while I’m at ISC West. I’ve scheduled the three days I’ll be at the show full of booth visits, interviews, lunches and dinners.

And I’m also excited about meeting even more cyber-friends at our “Meet the Editors” hour that we at Security Systems News and Security Director News (our sister publication) have scheduled for Wed., March 28, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. We've been urging everyone to start their  ISC West show by stopping by the ISC West Media Studio (booth # 27065).

And please also swing by our booth at other times to grab a copy of Security Systems News and catch up on the latest industry happenings, and to say hello to our staff. Break through the bonds of cyberspace and meet me and my colleagues!

Women in security and your business

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I hope you’ll make room on your ISC West calendars to attend the second annual Women’s Security Council educational session focusing on networking and career advancement for women in the security industry, which will be moderated by yours truly.

The session will take place on the first day of the show, Wednesday, March 28, 2012, from 12:45pm-1:45pm in rooms 206-207.

What can your business do to hire and retain highly qualified women?

This is one of the topics the panelists will address. And we've got three awesome security industry executives on the panel: Kelly Bonds, Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Alarm Capital Alliance, Media, Pa.; Renae Leary, Senior Director, ADT Global Accounts, Boca Raton, Fla.; and Juliette Gustavsson, Head of Corporate Marketing at Milestone Systems in Copenhagen.

Kelly is responsible for increasing sales through acquisitions and driving the overall marketing and business-to-business development strategy. Renae has more than 15 years of managerial experience in strategic sales and marketing, with eight years of global responsibility. Juliette oversees brand and marketing initiatives, and is responsible for the Milestone Systems website, video, graphics and collateral teams.

Panelists will share tips, tactics, and resources with the audience and participate in a question and answer session.

And speaking of the WSC, make sure to stop by the WSC cocktail reception at the Pinot Brasserie at the Venetian on Tuesday night, March 27, between 6 and 9. Winners of the first annual WSC Women of the Year awards will be announced.

Questions about the WSC? Email Rhianna Daniels at