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MIT gives Pro 1 kudos for 'working smarter'

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A study by the MIT's Center for Information Systems Research gives Protection 1 kudos for Working Smarter.

At MIT, Working Smarter is a proper noun, a concept the group defines as having "an organization-wide habit of using a digitized platform to optimize each individual's contribution to enterprise business objectives."

MIT surveyed more than 200 public companies in 2010 and said that those who adhere to practices of Working Smarter "were significantly correlated with higher business impact from IT." Yeah, yeah, that's nice, but you'll be interested in this "and higher impact from IT was, in turn, significantly (and positively) associated with return on equity."

This is not a new study (it was released in February 2012), and Security Systems News has previously reported on many of the details of the Protection 1 operation, its daily scorecard, Tech Tracker, removing its IVR (getting a real person rather than a computer when you call) etc., nevertheless, I thought this report gave a nice snapshot of the operation.

Below are some paraphrased and quoted highlights:

The report says that P1 CEO Tim Whall "set out to explain how individual employees throughout the company could contribute to this goal [delivering outstanding customer service] —in other words, how they could work smarter."

Don Young, P1 CIO spent five months developing a daily scorecard on the metrics related to Whall's "five touchpoints that could make or break customer  relationships: sales, monitoring, billing , installation, and service response." Those metrics include: "Time to installation, time to service, number of sales activities, number of cancellations, retained monthly revenue, and new sales." The scorecard summary and detailed results can be accessed online by top executives, regional leaders and branch managers. They're updated every day and "Thus line managers have come to see it as a reliable guage of their daily operating performance."

The study says: "What's unique about Protection 1's scorecard is that it does not report financial data." This is particularly interesting to me. P1 execs have told me they do not talk to their employees about financial goals but about customer service. This study backs that up.

There's a quote in the study from Don Young: "The P&L will take care of itself if we make sure that the metrics on the scorecard are up to par." And, Joe Sanchez, SVP Operations, is quoted as saying: "There's no analysis paralysis going on here. You want to have a good day? You know what's on the scorecard."

The report says: "The power of the daily socrecard is that the underlying data can be traced back to the daily performance of front line workers."

In addition to removing the automated call system, Whall mandated that all calls be answered within 60 seconds, that service backlogs be eliminated, and that installers and techs show up on time for 8 a.m. appointments.

Technology improvements include Tech Tracker, and Sales Central, which automated the quote, approval, contract submission, record of sale, parts ordering and commission payments.

P1 execs, the report says, think of themselves as coaches rather than managers and offer leadership training to help develop coaching skills for all front line managers.

The report concludes: "In companies that are working smarter, leaders focus attention not on stock price or quarterly P&L, but on determining every day whether everyone is having a good day. Protection 1 achieves working smarter by: 1.developing and constantly enhancing the underlying information 2. articulating and, where appropriate, automating business expectations 3. clarifying individual accountabilties 4. persistently coaching individuals to ensure they understand how they contribute to business success. This is hard work. But if management doesn't commit to helping everyone work smarter, no company can expect its technology to lead to success in the digital economy."

Here's a description of CISR: It "conducts field-based research on issues related to the management and use of information technology (IT) in complex organizations. Established at the MIT Sloan School of Management in 1974, our mission is to develop concepts and frameworks to help executives address the IT-related challenges of leading increasingly dynamic, global, and information-intensive organizations."

The authors of the report are Jeanne W. Ross, Director and Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Sloan School’s Center for Information Systems Research, and Cynthia M. Beath, Professor Emeritus, University of Texas, Austin.

 

Biggest ADT sign ever?

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

I’m in the Big Apple to cover a ceremony tomorrow morning in which the newly independent ADT will ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange. While walking around today, I’ve been noticing that many businesses here display a small octagonal blue ADT sign in the corner of their windows.

But that sign really hit me in the eye today when I went to check out the NYSE on Wall Street. A huge white banner bearing the trademark blue ADT sign was stretched across the stately columns that mark the entrance to that venerable institution. The banner was about four stories high and some sixty feet wide—probably one of the biggest ADT signs ever.

Another banner underneath proclaims that ADT is now trading on the NYSE and is “always there.”

The ceremony tomorrow, Oct. 8, will mark The ADT Corp.'s first week of trading and judging from the sign, ADT plans to make a splash.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based ADT began trading last week on Oct. 1. It opened at $36 according to news reports, and was at $38.24 at closing time on Friday.

The company was formerly part of Switzerland-based Tyco International, but that company split into ADT, Tyco (which includes SimplexGrinnell and Tyco Integrated Securityl) and its former flow control business, now part of Pentair Ltd. ADT has nearly 6.4 million customers in the United States and Canada and nearly 16,000 employees.

Vivint reveals key to success

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Friday, October 5, 2012

As we all know by know, Vivint has worked out a deal to be sold by the end of this year to the Blackstone Group for the whopping amount of more than $2 billion.

If you’re wondering what its secret is, the 13-year-old Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security provider offered an answer in a recent press release this week, during National Customer Service Week. It said its key to success is excellent service to its more than 675,000 customers throughout the United States and Canada.

Here’s some of what Vivint had to say:
 

"Customer service professionals answer calls, tackle problems, manage teams, and are the frontline responders in making someone's day a little easier," said Steve Dixon, Vivint's vice president of operations. "You can have world-class products and attractive pricing, but if you don't back that up with professional, friendly and effective customer service you won't succeed."

Tina Brewer, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, recalls a personal experience when Vivint's customer service representatives offered timely and effective advice.

"I came home from work and attempted to enter my passcode," Brewer said. "I received a message that it was an invalid code and attempted to re-enter the code. However, when I started to do so, a loud alarm sounded. I was startled and unsure what to do. The voice of Vivint's support staff came on the speaker and walked me through the necessary steps to stop the alarm."

Brewer was also connected to Vivint's technical support team who taught her how to properly use her keyless entry. "Vivint's support staff was so kind and so helpful. I was completely overwhelmed," Brewer added. "They were helpful and supportive. I know that if I were in an unsafe situation, having their support would come as a great comfort."

Vivint has won numerous awards for its customer service. It was honored as the gold winner of "Customer Service Department of the Year" at the 2012 American Business Awards, a top annual business recognition program. Vivint also earned gold medal honors from Contact Center World. In addition, Vivint received top honors from the Central Station Alarm Association for its exceptional service to customers and community.

At Vivint, outstanding customer service extends beyond the initial sign-up of a customer. Damien Seabrook, of North Charleston, N.C., was surprised at the fast and friendly manner of Vivint's installation technicians, who arrived at his home in less than 15 minutes after he verified his account.

"I was blown away by the quick response and have never had that happen in my life," Seabrook said. "Once the technician verified what package I was getting he got right to work. In 45 minutes I had a new system and he even took the time to show me how to work everything. The great part about it is he even downloaded the app to my phone."

 

ADT celebrates independence

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I reported yesterday that The ADT Corp. had done well on the New York Stock Exchange on its first day Monday as a publicly traded company. The positive trading news seems to be continuing today. ADT’s stock was trading at $38.96 just after 2:30 p.m. today. It opened at $36, according to news reports.

To celebrate its first week as an independent company, Boca Raton, Fla.-based ADT is also gearing up for a ceremony this coming Monday, Oct. 8. That’s when the company, which has nearly 6.4 million customers in the United States and Canada and nearly 16,000 employees, will ring the opening bell at the stock exchange.

The company says that CEO Naren Gursahaney, Chairman Bruce Gordon, and CFO Kathryn Mikells and others will be joined on the bell podium by longtime customers Tom and Kathi Guarino of Glen Head, N.Y.

According to ADT, “thanks to ADT’s home monitoring system, the Guarinos were alerted last year during Hurricane Irene to dangerously high carbon monoxide levels in their home. The alarm prompted ADT’s trained call-center experts to contact local first responders, who raced to the Guarino residence and provided life-saving medical care. The family attributes their rescue to their ADT system, the company’s team of trained specialists and skilled first responders. The Guarinos also have an ADT system in their family-owned business in Glen Head and have been ADT customers for nearly 20 years.”

It sounds pretty impressive—and I’ll be there! Keep tabs on our site next week to learn more.

Profiles of Women in Security

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

As we  do every year, the November issue of Security Systems News will include a special report entitled "Women in Security."

We're using a slightly different format for the special report this year and are looking for your help.

We'll write six profiles of women leaders in security--one from each sector of the industry that we cover, and the profiles will appear throughout the publication. They'll also appear online. The sectors are: Systems Integrators and Commercial; Fire Installation; Monitoring; Residential Security;  Suppliers (that's what we call manufacturers). The sixth section of our publication is General News. In that section, we'll profile a woman who works in the industry (a consultant or industry lender for example.), but doesn't fall into the other categories.

We'll be writing these profiles soon. If you know someone who you think fits the bill, send me an email or give me a call: editor@securitysystemsnews.com, 207-846-0600, ext. 261

Wall Street likes the new ADT

 - 
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Yesterday marked the first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange for The ADT Corp., the new name for independent ADT post its split with Tyco International. It did well on the market, according to news reports.

Here’s more from Dow Jones Newswires:
 

Tyco International Ltd (TYC) and spinoff [The] ADT Corp. (ADT) received warm receptions from the market during their first day of trading as slimmed-down companies focused on different parts of the market for building security and safety.

Fire-protection-and-suppression equipment manufacturer Tyco on Monday closed up 3.1% at $28.50 a share. Meanwhile, home-security-monitoring service ADT finished up 3.5% at $37.27 a share after being lower for the first half of Monday's trading session. Analysts said ADT's performance reflected investors' cautiousness about assigning a price to a company with no natural market peers.

"The shareholder profiles for these two companies are quite different," said Nicholas Heymann, an analyst for Robert W. Baird. "You've got a cyclical growth stock [in Tyco] and basically an industrial utility stock" in ADT.

Tyco, which has its headquarters in Switzerland, was once one of the world's largest industrial conglomerates. It grew over years of accelerated purchasing under former CEO L. Dennis Kozlowski, who was convicted in 2005 of larceny, securities fraud and falsifying business records stemming from schemes that allowed him to reap hundreds of millions of dollars from Tyco and its stock to support his lavish lifestyle.

Edward Breen, who replaced Mr. Kozlowski in 2002, has spent the past 10 years methodically shrinking Tyco by selling dozens of businesses and spinning off parts of the company to shareholders as stand-alone companies.

A year ago, Tyco announced plans to further dismantle the company by spinning off ADT and the company's pipe and valve business as new public companies. The pipe and valve business merged earlier this year with pump maker Pentair Ltd. (PNR), leaving Tyco and ADT as the remaining pieces of the company in the breakup.

Tyco's focus is limited to fire-protection systems and equipment used in commercial buildings and institutions such as college campuses. Its Simplex Grinnell brand of sprinklers, fire-detection sensors and video-monitoring service are market leaders.

Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012/10/01/tyco-ad...

 

ADT adding monitoring jobs in Texas

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

ADT’s split from Tyco isn’t taking any steam out of the monitoring giant’s sails. In addition to becoming an independent publicly traded entity Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, it plans to add 150 jobs at its facility in Irving, Texas by the end of November.

“I think we’ve added 200 jobs in the last several months and we’re looking at another 150 as we continue to expand,” Shawn Lucht, senior vice president of operations at ADT, told NBCDFW.com on Sept. 27.

The additional jobs will be spread across many departments at the company’s Irving campus, one of the largest ADT facilities in North America. Among the departments standing to gain will be the monitoring center, one of six that the company operates.

Dinesh Chand, one of the newer employees hired at the monitoring center, told NBCDFW.com that the department has almost doubled in size during his tenure there.

“When I got here about a year or so ago, we had a little over 200 people,” he said. “Today, we have close to 400 folks here.”

The company is aiming to expand further through a pilot program with Best Buy. The consumer electronics retailer is selling ADT security systems at three of its stores, ADT CEO Naren Gursahaney recently told SSN’s Tess Nacelewicz.

Part of the approach is “to generate leads and create appointments,” he said, because the company still believes that security “is an over-the-kitchen-table type of sale.”

For anyone looking for company on the NYSE, it’s easy to find: the ticker symbol is ADT. Company officials will ring the opening bell there on Oct. 8.

ADT independence: Today’s the day!

 - 
Monday, October 1, 2012

Officially, ADT’s split from Tyco International took place last Friday, with the distribution of shares to stockholders. But today, Monday, Oct. 1, is officially the home security giant’s first operating day as an independent company trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Here’s more from the new release the Boca Raton-based company sent out to mark the momentous occasion:
 

The ADT Corporation, a leader in the electronic security, interactive home and business automation and alarm monitoring services industry in the U.S. and Canada, returned today to the public equity markets as an independent company after completing its spinoff from Tyco International Ltd. Founded nearly 140 years ago, ADT begins its next chapter as one of the most well-known and trusted brands in the security industry, with $3.1 billion in 2011 annual revenue and 6.4 million customers. Its shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ADT and it is a constituent of the S&P 500 index.

“The launch of ADT as an independent company is a great moment for our employees, and it marks an exciting milestone in our proud history,” said ADT CEO Naren Gursahaney. “ADT leads the security industry because of our commitment to customer service, focus on innovation and continued investment in our infrastructure and our people. But what really differentiates us is that we never forget what we do for a living – we help save lives.”

With nearly 16,000 employees in 200 locations, ADT maintains the largest sales, installation and service field force of all security providers. The company’s six fully redundant alarm monitoring centers comprise the industry’s most robust monitoring network. ADT serves one-fourth of the North American residential and small-business monitored security market, fully six times the size of its closest competitor.

The North American market for residential- and small-business-monitored security exceeds $12.5 billion in annual sales, up from $11.3 billion six years ago, according to ADT research and analyses of industry data. In addition, just one-in-five U.S. households possess a monitored security system today, leaving significant scope for ADT to expand in the overall market. ADT will use its spinoff from Tyco as an opportunity to pursue a unique growth strategy as a pure-play security company, focused on capturing additional market share through an expanded portfolio of offerings.

ADT’s broad range of products and advanced service offerings meet a range of customer needs for today’s lifestyles. They comprise:
 Residential Security: The core of ADT’s business, providing customers with burglar, fire, carbon dioxide and other essential alarm monitoring.
 Small Business: An important and growing market where ADT has tailored its best technology and services from other areas to provide a full range of intrusion detection, monitoring and surveillance and other essential services.
 ADT Pulse: A pioneering technology that lets residential and business customers access information and control their security systems remotely. Pulse delivers functions that record and view live video and text messages at a trigger event. When ADT launched Pulse in 2010, it was the first security company to offer a mass-market home automation system nationwide. Today, more than 1-in-3 home security units that ADT sells is a Pulse system.
 Home Health: ADT’s Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) provides customers with solutions that help sustain independent living by providing security and safety in the case of a fall or unexpected medical emergency. Driven by demographic trends and lifestyle changes, this is a growing market segment.

“As an independent company, we will invest for growth by uncovering new revenue streams and building our product portfolio through innovations and partnerships, including extensions to the ADT Pulse platform,” said Gursahaney. “I see a bright future ahead.”

 

Help the CSAA track trends in monitoring

 - 
Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What are central stations doing to keep up with times—and the competition—when it comes to technology, reducing false alarms and other issues of importance to the industry?

The Central Station Alarm Association would like to know.

The CSAA is looking for help in tracking technology trends and investments in personnel at monitoring centers across the country. The goal is to establish a databank “that will be useful in benchmarking performance” in the industry, according to CSAA Executive Vice President Steve Doyle.

The topics range from the basics—the number of accounts that a central handles and the certifications it has—to specifics about advanced technologies and operational policies. PERS, GPS-assisted calls, UL2050 accounts, video monitoring, video-verified alarms, ASAP protocols and employee training procedures—it’s all covered.

It’s important information that will allow the CSAA to see where the monitoring industry is and where it’s heading. The 25-question survey is also easy to complete—I filled out a placebo version in five minutes, faster than the refs could sort out a holding call in the Pats-Ravens game.

To complete the survey, click here. Participants will receive an executive summary of the findings, which will be released publicly Nov. 11-13 at the CSAA Fall Operations Management Seminar in Fairfax, Va.
 

Designing security

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Every month I call Ray Coulombe at SecuritySpecifiers.com to get the name of a specifier/consultant for “Specifically Speaking,” a Q&A column we run in our monthly printed publication.

These conversations give me a chance to talk to security experts who have a much different perspective from the integrators, dealers and manufacturers that I spend the rest of the month talking to.

This morning I spoke to Jim Elder, owner of Secured Design. We started talking about something I wrote about several years ago, CPTED, which stands for Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design.

Elder advocates for security specifiers getting involved really early in the design process of a building. Where a parking lot is located, which way elevators face, etc. can greatly affect the physical security system needs of a building/organization. These things can be changed early in the process, it’s much more difficult, or impossible later on—generally about the time the security consultant is called in to make recommendations.

The environment also affects how people (including criminals of course) feel in a certain location—which is anoth

Often specifiers are brought in much later in the design cycle and told “there’s not much money for security.” If the needs are high, the cost of the system will naturally be high as well.

A building that’s properly designed can be artful and efficient and designed with security in mind, Elder said. Cameras, readers and guards can be eliminated when the design is not “porous.” And, Elder points out, that money can be spent on paintings, finish elements, or maybe on an upgraded security system.

Check out the November issue of Security Systems News for the Q&A with Jim Elder.

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