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Rush bust-cam manufacturer not disclosed

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

You've probably heard that radio personality Rush Limbaugh has been memorialized in the Missouri state house with a bronze bust. Click here to see a photo.

Limbaugh was inducted into the “Hall of Famous Missourians” a couple of weeks ago in a closed-door ceremony, which, according to this AP report, had police posted at the door to prevent any disruption of the event.

Worried about vandalism of the bronze sculpture, the House spent $1,100 on a security camera to keep an eye on Rush’s bust. While the Limbaugh statue was paid for with private funds, taxpayer funds were used for the camera.

There was an existing security camera in the state house rotunda, but Rush’s is the only bust with its very own camera, according to the story.

Missouri House Clerk Adam Crumbliss, who signed off on the purchase, is quoted as saying that the Rush bust-cam is serving as a beta for possible future video purchases. He’s quoted as saying that the House is considering installing cameras to broadcast its sessions live and the Rush bust-cam perfomance will help House leaders assess resolution and picture quality.

Curious about the manufacturer of the Rush bust-cam? About who installed the camera?  I spoke with Missouri House communications director Trevor Fox last week, and he said he’d get back to me. Called him again today.

Will let you know when I get a call back.

LifeShield socially savvy about home security

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Monday, June 4, 2012

A lot of companies talk about the need to employ social media to promote home security, but LifeShield Security doesn’t just talk about it—it’s really using the social online space in a wide variety of ways. It doesn’t just have a Facebook page, according to a recent company news release, but uses all kinds of social media, from virtual pinboards to viral memes and videos.

Yardley, Pa.-based LifeShield offers wireless digital home security systems that are self-installed and professionally monitored. I’ve written here before about LifeShield’s penchant for tapping into the popular zeitgeist. For example, LifeShield in 2010 brought on NFL Hall of Famer Dan Marino as an investor and to help market its product on TV. In 2011, the company added John Timoney—“America’s Top Cop”—as an advisor to help the company and customers protect against burglars with the aid of Timoney's inside knowledge of criminals’ minds.

Also, LifeShield last year piggybacked on the popularity of Airbnb—an Internet "bed-and-breakfast" service though which people can rent rooms or homes for vacations from private home and apartment owners—by offering a free home security camera promotion to Airbnb landlords.

Recently, LifeShield put out a release detailing its “multi-tiered approach” to social media to attract customers. Here’s more from the June 1 release:
 

LifeShield has learned how to connect with its users in new ways while also providing a social online atmosphere where customers can engage with each other.

"Popular contests, thousands of Facebook followers, and a growing library of viral videos show just how much consumers have come to love LifeShield," said Shannon Dominello, CMO, LifeShield. "Because LifeShield's wireless technology is as much a lifestyle choice as it is a financial one for customers, we have embraced social media as a way to reach out to them on a personal level and it has really paid off.  We now have a direct line into how they think, communicate and react to us as a company, as well as to general interest news and topics.  This helps us better understand our customers and ultimately, deliver a better product."

LifeShield is present on the Web in multiple ways for customers and potential customers to get involved and have some fun. A sampling of LifeShield's social media presence includes:

•    Infographics on topics like Best Guard Dogs, Residential Home Security and others that deliver real data and information in an easy format with clever images that's fun to read.
•    Facebook page with thousands of followers.  Activity spikes around frequent contests and giveaways where consumers can win the latest tech gadgets.
•    YouTube Channel for Fan and How-To videos for hooking up your LifeShield system. Customers post new videos regularly offering tips and techniques for fellow customers on best ways to install and unique ideas    on securing different areas around the home.
•    Home Security Blog covers crime and home security articles in the news as well as lifestyle and general interest stories.
•    Family and Parenthood Blog for general interest stories geared to Moms.
•    Viral memes and videos is a page listing helpful and entertaining home security "shorts" to help keep the bad out of your home and neighborhood. Samples include "Bad Home Security Ideas" and "Protect what You Love" videos.
•    DIY Pinterest images to interact with customers through virtual pinboards. We pin everything from wireless tech gadgets to DIY home tips.

 

Good news from The Hill

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Friday, June 1, 2012

The Security Industry Association  this morning announced some good news for the industry. The House on May 30 passed H. R. 1299, the Secure Border Act.

Thanks to SIA’s efforts in the past year, the bill includes provisions important to the security industry.  As SIA’s press release put it: The bill “promotes the use of a comprehensive technology plan for major surveillance and detection technology programs, including a justification and rationale for technology choices and deployment locations."

I spoke to Marcus Dunn, SIA’s director of government relations, this morning and he had more good news:  Prospects are good for passage in the Senate.

The bill passed on suspension in the House—that means that it was passed by a supermajority on a voice vote. When bills are passed on suspension “the assumption is that it’s non-controversial,” Dunn said.

“Given that, we should have the ability to get it passed in the Senate,” he said. "If Congress can get [bills passed] without too much hassle before November, they are generally interested in doing that,” Dunn said.

If the Senate is able to do the same thing as the House, (it’s called unanimous consent in the Senate) the bill won’t have to go to conference and can quickly be signed into law by the president, Dunn pointed out.

The measure will be sent to a Senate committee early next week, although there is a process where the bill could skip committee assignment and go straight to the floor calendar for a vote, according to SIA's manager of government relations Stephen Holton.

"We are monitoring this legislation closely and intend on weighing in with comment once the proper committee jurisdiction is determined," Holton told me in an email.

Here’s some more information from the SIA news release:

“The bill was introduced by Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan, by recommending strategies that feature video cameras and other security technologies, ensuring that the use of electronic physical security equipment would be a priority within the Department of Homeland Security’s border security strategies. H.R. 1299 promotes the use of a comprehensive technology plan for major surveillance and detection technology programs, including a justification and rationale for technology choices and deployment locations.

“The Secure Border Act will direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit to Congress a comprehensive strategy for gaining operational control of the international borders between U.S. ports of entry, and also calls for the development of a five-year plan to ensure the vision of complete operational control is being met in border areas
The strategy will propose, among other things, staffing requirements, infrastructure investments, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicle, detection, and security equipment.
The bill is awaiting introduction into the U.S. Senate, which goes back into session on Monday, June 4.  SIA will restate its support for passage of this measure to the appropriate Senate committee once the jurisdiction of this bill is determined.

New ADT Pulse app gives customers personalized 'Home View'

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Friday, June 1, 2012

ADT announced today it’s offering a free upgrade for users of ADT Pulse, which it launched in October 2010. ADT's new automated “Home View” application will allow customers to “remotely interact with home devices via a personalized floor plan viewed on a mobile device or the Web,” the company said in its June 1 release.

Here are more details from the release:
 

This additional software feature allows ADT Pulse customers to easily and quickly map a virtual floor plan of their home and then remotely monitor and interact with their ADT Pulse devices via any web enabled PC, iPhone or iPad.

Once a customer sets up Home View via their personal ADT Pulse sign in page, they can view color-coded icons of their security devices, lights, thermostats and cameras. By clicking on the icons, customers can easily control their home’s lighting, climate and many small appliances. And if they have cameras, customers can quickly view real time video by simply clicking the video icons. A Home View video demonstration is available at www.ADTPulse.com/Home-View.

I’ve got a call in to Boca Raton-based ADT to find out more about how this new app can help dealers gain more business.

 

Gunfire pinpointed, then privacy debated

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ShotSpotter, produced by a company that bills itself as the “world leader in gunshot detection,” added to its media credits this week with an article in The New York Times. But while many police departments are singing the praises of the acoustic monitoring technology, it continues to raise concerns about how far law enforcement can go to do its job.

The system, developed by SST Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., pinpoints the location of gunshots by triangulating the sound via sensors mounted on utility poles, buildings and other structures. It produces alerts that detail the number and exact time of the rounds fired, the position of the shooter (or shooters), and their speed and direction of travel if they are moving.

Cities can buy the equipment from SST and monitor the alerts themselves, or they can contract with the company to do it for them. Technicians at SST assess each alert to determine its accuracy, then send it to the appropriate PSAP “within seconds,” the company says. SST claims a 99 percent accuracy rate in differentiating gunfire from other loud noises like fireworks or cars backfiring.

Proponents say ShotSpotter speeds the response of police officers to the scene of a shooting, bolstering arrest rates, deterring additional crimes and saving the lives of victims who otherwise might have died. “Now when we pull up on a scene, we have 100 percent knowledge if there was actually a shot,” says a Springfield, Mass., police sergeant quoted on the company’s website. “It makes your approach different.”

One problem, critics say, is that the system also can record other sounds of the city—doors slamming, cars honking, people arguing—while it records the gunshots. The Times said a ShotSpotter recording of a street argument in New Bedford, Mass., in December is likely to play a role in the case of two men charged with murder.

A defense attorney in the case said the recording could constitute a privacy violation and that the technology is “opening up a whole can of worms. If police are utilizing these conversations, then the issue is where does it stop?”

The company says that voices do not trigger ShotSpotter sensors, “which are placed in elevated locations in order to enhance their capability as well as ensure citizen privacy.” James Beldock, a company VP, told the Times that the system was not intended to record anything except gunfire and that cases like New Bedford’s were extremely rare.

The issue could end up playing out in the courts, but in the meantime, it’s likely that law enforcement will continue to turn to ShotSpotter and other gunfire detection systems as police budgets are trimmed and hosted subscription services become more available. It’s a monitoring trend worth watching.

Fire sprinkler industry to make history with new expo

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mexico has a brand new fire sprinkler industry group—the Mexican Fire Sprinkler Association or AMRACI. Canada has the Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association or CASA. And of course there’s the National Fire Sprinkler Association or NFSA, based in Patterson, N.Y.

Now all three groups plan to make history by hosting what is being billed as “the first ever North American Fire Sprinkler Expo,” to be held next April in Las Vegas.

In a statement, NFSA’s new president, Russ Fleming, said: “I am absolutely delighted that both CASA and AMRACI have agreed to partner with NFSA to host what will be the first ever North American Fire Sprinkler Expo. By bringing together fire sprinkler industry interests from all over the continent for the NFSA Annual Seminar and North American Fire Sprinkler Expo, for the very first time in the history of the industry we will have created a unique opportunity for contractors, suppliers and manufacturers from all over the continent to meet in one place to network, conduct business, discuss issues of common interest and to learn from the industry’s foremost authorities.”

NFSA said the expo—still in the very early planning phase—is be held in conjunction with its annual seminar being held April 4-6, 2013 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

For more on the event, go to NFSA’s website.

Eaton Corp. to buy fire & security parent company for $11.5b

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eaton Corp.—a $13.7 billion diversified power management company that provides electronic components for the aviation and transportation sectors and whose CISO Gareth Webley delivered the keynote address at TechSec 2011 —announced yesterday that it’s acquiring Cooper Industries in an $11.46 billion cash-and-stock deal. Cooper Industries’ Cooper Safety business is a provider of fire, security, and mass notification equipment, among other products.

Here’s a story Tess wrote in May 2011 about a new training/research center that its CooperNotification (which specializes in mass notification equipment) opened last year.

After the closing, Eaton will move no longer be incorporated in the U.S. It will be domiciled in Ireland, which is where Cooper Industries' is incorporated.

Eaton is talking about how the move will “significantly increase the capabilities and geographic breadth of the combined company’s power management portfolio and electrical business.”

However, a Rueters story pointed out that Eaton is one of several corporations (including Tyco Flow Control, a soon-to-be former division of Tyco International) that have made plans to move offshorte and expect to gain tax advantages from doing so.

Asked about any planned changes to the fire and security operations, an Eaton spokesperson told me that the company would not be commenting on elements of the Cooper Industries’ businesses until after the transaction closes in the second half of 2012.

And on the benefits of moving offshore, he said. “There will be some global cash management and tax benefits as well as some [business] synergies.”
 
Eaton Chairman and CEO Alexander Cutler will head up the new company, which will likely be called “Eaton Global Corp.”

Under terms of the deal, each Cooper stockholder will receive $39.15 in cash and 0.77479 shares of the newly created company. That combination is worth $72 per share based on Eaton's closing price of $42.40 on Friday. Cooper currently has 159.1 million outstanding shares.

Jensby out at Monitronics; Simon moves on to Brink's

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mary Jensby, a well-known contributor to the alarm industry who served as central station and data entry director for Monitronics, is no longer with the company.

In a LinkedIn update posted on Monday, Jensby expressed thanks to all of her professional contacts for their "friendship and kindness… (I) appreciate all of your support in the loss of my job. … It has been my pleasure working with many of you through the ASAP project, FARA, TBFAA, NTTA and CSAA."

Jensby came aboard at Monitronics in June 2007. She previously worked for T-Mobile and MCI WorldCom, according to her LinkedIn profile. In March, she was named the recipient of the 2012 Humanitarian Award from Mission 500 for her volunteer work in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She received the award during a presentation at ISC West in Las Vegas.

Megan Weadock, communications specialist for Monitronics, said that Jensby's departure was announced on May 8. Weadock said the company was looking for a replacement "both internally and externally." No other details were announced.

Melissa Courville, head of marketing and communications for Dice Corp., served as co-chairwoman with Jensby on the CSAA's ASAP Outreach Committee. Monitronics is one of three alarm companies currently participating in the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol, along with Vector Security and UCC. Courville said the CSAA is evaluating who will fill Jensby's seat on the panel.

"Mary did a professional job of delegation where she was very organized and kept her information together, beyond being a sheer joy to work with," Courville said.

Ed Bonifas, co-chairman of the ASAP Program Committee, said Jensby "has been a great contributor to the ASAP Outreach Committee as well as a participant in the beta phase of the program. … (She) will undoubtedly land in another central station, carrying her knowledge to another participant."

Jensby could not be reached for comment, but said on her LinkedIn post that she hoped to be able to find another position in the security industry.

Simon moves on to Brink's: In another shift of industry personnel, David Simon has stepped down as SIAC's public relations chairman after being named the marketing communications manager at Brink's Inc. Simon said he will continue to contribute to SIAC, "blogging, posting to the website and Twittering, along with occasional other writing." Simon also served as the industry/law enforcement liaison for SIAC.

Opinions wanted: It's not too late to let the CSAA know where you stand on the future of the industry. The group is asking members to take a few minutes to fill out the "Emerging Trends in Security Monitoring" survey, which aims to determine where the industry is heading in areas including video monitoring and PERS. To participate, go to www.zoomerang.com/Survey/WEB22EUM64F659. The deadline is Friday, May 25. Those who respond will receive an executive summary of the report.

PBFAA celebrates its 30th at annual expo

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Happy 30th anniversary, Pennsylvania Burglar & Fire Alarm Association!

The association is one of the oldest such organizations in the industry, according to its executive director Dale Eller. So it’s got a lot to celebrate and is using its annual expo in June to do that. Here’s more from a news release the group sent out today:
 

The PBFAA will host their 30th Annual Membership Meeting, Golf Outing and Exposition on June 6-7, 2012 at the Lancaster Host Resort in Lancaster, Penn.

The event will commemorate the 30 years of association activity through several member activities.

Kicking off the event on June 6th is the PBFAA's annual golf outing which will host over 75 golfers in a shotgun scramble format.  The outing consists of several hole-in-one contests, including a par 3 with a $10,000 prize hole.  Other contests include longest drive and closest to the pin on the front and back nine holes.  The golf outing concludes with an awards luncheon for all of the outing participants.

The evening event incorporates the annual membership meeting, election of officers and the presentation of association awards such as the Associate Member of the Year, the Annual Scholarship Awards and the Keith Ladd Leadership Award, followed by a buffet dinner and concluding with PBFAA’s renowned Casino Night.

The second day of the expo starts off with five seminar tracks covering technical sessions, business sessions, sales sessions and two hosted session tracks sponsored by Interlogix, and NAPCO Security.

PBFAA technical sessions cover diverse topics such as speciality fire detection, DVR/NVR selection, and understanding access control hardware.  

The business sessions include presentations on understanding your business numbers, building bridges with public safety and legislators, and updates on PA's HICPA law.

The sales sessions offer insights on how to identify your prospect’s pain, understanding interactive services and sales of video verification and other expanded RMR offerings.

The PBFAA will also offer a special "keynote" seminar session conducted by industry expert witness Jeffrey Zwirn titled, Alarm Science Bootcamp, which will educate attendees on the actions and inactions of their daily activities that can land them in court, trying to defend their business practices.

From noon to 4:00pm on June 7th the PBFAA will host its annual vendor exhibits featuring over 40 industry product and service providers. Intermixed throughout the vendor exhibits will be a networking luncheon for the attendees, along with a silent auction benefiting the Association’s scholarship program.  The exhibits conclude with the presentation of the vendor door prizes.

The association is based in Erie, Pa. For more information, call (800) 458-8512 (in state) or (814) 838-3093 (outside Pennsylvania), or email Info@PBFAA.com.
 

Leading an integration company: Tips and stories at PSA-TEC 2012

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I arrived late in the afternoon yesterday in Westminster, Colo. for one of my favorite events of the year, PSA-TEC.
 
The conference,  which started on Sunday and runs through Friday, was well underway when I arrived. Lisa Cole Miller, PSA Security Network marketing director said attendance is up about 10 percent over last year with more than 65 integrator companies here. (Some of those companies send up to 10 employees.) In addition, there are consultants, end users, and more than 40 vendors exhibiting on a show floor here.

“When you think about it, it’s a bargain,” Miller said, “For $500, you get breakfast and lunch, four days of classes, a trade show and parties.”

I arrived in time for PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman’s presentation “What every integrator needs to know about being an effective executive.”

This class is part of the PSA Leadership Institute, which PSA launched in October at the PSA Convention in Puerto Rico. Here’s a story with details about the program.

It was the end of the day and Bozeman spoke for more than an hour about the highlights of the business book “The Effective Executive,” which was written 40 years ago by Peter Drucker.

I’m not one for long presentations—but Bozeman is a good speaker. Ever hear an engaging preacher give a good sermon? He’s got a little bit of a preacher’s cadence, and he tells some pretty funny stories too.

There were about 50 integrators and a few vendors in the room for his presentation. Bozeman’s clearly taken to heart one of Drucker’s tenets: “if you’re going to call a meeting, make if effective.”

Highlights of the talk included:

—“Manage yourself.” To lead you’ve got to show discipline—show up on time, have passion for what you’re doing.” Bozeman told a story about visiting a PSA member who’s business wasn’t going well. Bozeman said he was not surprised that business was bad when he visited the office.

“The shades were drawn, there was no light, the owner was walking around [hunched over, with his hands on his forehead, looking like the sky was falling]. And the employees were doing the same thing—walking around like zombies. It was the most depressing place I’ve ever seen.”

—Drucker said he never, in 45 years, came across a single, natural executive who didn’t have to learn how to be an effective executive. It’s something you need to work on.

—Identify company objectives, how you spend your time, and don’t let people waste your time. Focus on the positive and motivating your people.

Pierre Trapanese, owner, Northland Control Systems, as an example of effective executive. Trapanese (who will be speaking at the conference today and who spoke at TechSec in 2010,  bought a small integration company “that needed  a lot of work” Bozeman said and turned it into a fast growing company.

“Through leadership and vision, he’s grown that company beyond what [anyone] thought was possible,” Bozeman said.  Recently, Trapanese chose an annual goal for the company. “This year we’re going to have fun,” is what he said, according to Bozemen. “He’s got people knocking down his doors wanting to work there, and he doesn’t pay the highest salaries in the areas.”

—Manages to peoples’ strengths, and surround yourself with people who have strengths that you don’t possess.

—Veto hiring anyone with substance abuse problems or who’s dishonest in the least.
  
—Read the fine print, hire legal counsel.
—“Don’t take pride in being King Kong… become more visionary and less the doer.”

Time to head over to the conference. There’s an M&A panel at 8, followed by a panel of successful integrators  and fast-growing integrators, a panel on market drivers, and one on social media. I’ll have more tomorrow.

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