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Infinova ready to buy?

 - 
Monday, March 7, 2011

Camera manufacturer Infinova, which went public in December with a $300 million IPO in China,  announced today that it’s hired someone to lead the acquisition strategy: Stephen G. Cannellos. Cannellos, whose title is VP of strategic business development has worked at Assa Abloy, Tyco and Software House and GE. According to the release, he’s shown “success at three venture-backed technology start-ups.”

I inquired about those start-ups and heard heard back from Cannellos via email. The start-ups he was involved with were: "Apollo computer (Computers, Network, Operating systems),Voicetek Corporation (Telecom), Cognition (Mechanical Computer Aided Engineering systems).I did my own start-up, EXOS Systems, in the Integrated GPS and Access Control system market after leaving Tyco.  That was with angel investors and my own."

Infinova CEO Jeffrey Liu told me in December that the company had just started looking for acquisitions but that “another small manufacturer would be likely.”

From the release: “We are starting to look for suitable technology companies to form partnerships and alliances that will advance Infinova solutions and acquisition of complementary companies to grow our market share.  We look forward to Stephan helping us accomplish this,” Liu said in a prepared statement.

Infinova has 290 engineers. Its goal is to “enable end-users to extend the life of their existing analog equipment by having it co-exist with their new IP video equipment, Infinova provides core equipment for video control rooms, megapixel, IP and analog surveillance cameras, specialized cameras, fiber optic communications products and customized systems.”

 

Proposed N.J. legislation ‘anti-competitive?’

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

TRENTON, N.J.—Hot on the heels of the New York licensing flap over Article 6-E, proposed legislation in New Jersey that looks to restrict doing business in the state to alarm companies that have business offices here has at least one alarm company owner concerned.

“This is being done quickly and quietly,” said Peter Rogers, COO of McLean, Va.-based FrontPoint Security of A-2394. “What it really comes down to is making life more difficult for any out-of-state competitors. Think of all the companies in New York or Pennsylvania, or Delaware and even farther afield who are following all the rules, but suddenly they can’t operate. It’s anti-competitive and bad for consumers.”

FrontPoint is licensed to do business in New Jersey, but maintains no brick-and-mortar presence there.

The NJBFAA said it proposed the legislation to protect consumers from out-of-state companies that could potentially operate “under the radar.”

“The benefit from this is that it will substantiate the regulations to make sure that permitting for jobs is being properly done by a business qualifier or a licensed individual and to provide onsite supervision,” NJBFAA president Rich Trevelise said. “That way if an issue comes up on a project it can be addressed in a timely fashion by an onsite license holder.”

Eric Pritchard, attorney with Kleinbard Bell & Brecker, said A-2394 is not groundbreaking.

“States are permitted to regulate these sorts of activities, and in fact many do regulate security and fire services,” he said. “Many states have requirements like that being considered in New Jersey.”

The legislation continues to go through revisions and gain momentum. Particularly onerous according to Rogers is a recent amendment that removes a clause allowing out-of-state companies to do business if they at least maintain a power of attorney in New Jersey.

What will be the impact of this legislation if it passes?

“The question becomes, what’s driving this. And from an outsider’s perspective this will be viewed as an anti-competitive effort on the part of those within the state. The impact will certainly be that it lessens competition,” Pritchard said. “Part of what I’ve been told is that what’s driving this is regulating the summer programs. I have tell you, if I represented a summer model company that was trying to do business in New Jersey, I don’t think it would be that difficult to comply with this law. I think this will lead to office-sharing arrangements—which exist in other states already—where a number of alarm companies get together and rent space or pay a service fee to a service provider to act as the local office. It happens in all industries all the time in all states.”

What’s next for A-2394?

“We passed the first milestone in mid-February when it made it through the assembly,” Trevelise said. “The next step is for it to go to the Senate.” The NJBFAA said it welcomes all comments from the industry.

 

Security videos on video monitoring

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

I got an email from Andy Stadler over at Security Partners yesterday. He wanted to pass on a link to a video he'd made explaining video monitoring and the video services Security Partners offers. I welcome such videos from my readers. I'd love to get a look and write about what you're doing.

I hadn't talked with Andy for a while--not since I wrote about Security Partners launching their annual Video Monitoring Symposium Network convention.

Looks like video’s something they’re really getting into these days.

“As a boutique wholesale central station with under 50k accounts we needed to differentiate ourselves from our competition so we bought Immix in 2008 and decided to get ahead of the curve if we could,” Andy told me. “We partnered up with a dealer in the Midwest who was had a vertical for video monitoring to replace on-site guards and we have been cutting our teeth together in this complex process for the last two years.”

I asked Andy if they’d started to specialize their operators out into intrusion-specific and video-specific pods such as has been done at other monitoring centers, and he said that may be on the way.

“At this time we have our video and traditional alarms co-mingled within our staff, but typically a supervisor handles the video alarms since it requires a higher skill set,” Andy said. “Our goal is to eventually create an entirely separate video division when the demand gets to a certain point.”

Video’s pretty cool.

I’ve talked a lot with security industry folks who do high-end video for business clients, folks who do a lot of municipal monitoring and folks who like having video in the home.

All of them agree, video is becoming more and more ubiquitous as technology improves and prices come down.

Thanks for the video, Andy.

ADT goes to the movies

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

A new thriller movie is expected to be released on DVD/Blu-ray this month—and the film features ADT Security Services alongside its star, Academy Award winner Hilary Swank.

“It’s a kind of different tactic for us—going Hollywood,” Bob Tucker, ADT director of public relations, told me. “This is the first time in recent memory that ADT has had a product placement on a major motion picture.”

The film is called “The Resident.” According to a press release from Image Entertainment, it’s about a young doctor, played by Swank, who begins a new life in Brooklyn after separating from her husband. “Her stunning and spacious loft seems too good to be true, and when mysterious occurrences lead her to believe she’s not alone, she discovers the unthinkable … someone is watching her,” the release says.

Enter, stage left, ADT. In a trailer for the film now running on TV and the Internet, you can see the character played by Swank turning to an ADT interactive services solution for protection. The name of the company appears on a computer screen as an actor playing an installer sits in front of the screen explaining to Swank how the security systems works.

Tucker, like the rest of us, has to wait until later this month to see the rest of the film, which he said is going straight to DVD instead of opening in theaters. But he said he’s heard that there are other references to ADT in the film.

“We did this as a cool way to promote our new technology and believe the partnership with the studio was mutually beneficial,” Tucker said.


 

Stanley acquires in the U.K.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

At the Barnes Buchanan conference last month there was conjecture that Stanley CSS may make a big play in the residential security space this year.

No news on that front yet, but Stanley CSS did announce this afternoon that it acquired three, mostly commercial, security companies in the U.K.

While the three companies that were acquired are in the U.K., the company that owned the three companies is a North American company. The owner was Verifier Capital, which is based in Florida.

According to its web site, Verifier Capital’s traditional specialty is providing capital to small- and medium-sized alarm companies with financing needs from $1m to $10m. 
It “traditionally served the Sonitrol franchise network,” (which would explain why it’s working with Stanley) but “recently expanded its operations to the broader US commercial security alarm industry, where we provide capital to security alarm companies engaged in all types of monitoring services, from traditional intrusion detection to CCTV and remote video monitoring.” Not sure how recently this happened, but I’ll be talking to the president this week.

The companies that Stanley bought, include Smiths Security Services, Raysil Security Systems, and SRP Security Systems, located in Oxfordshire, Surrey and Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom, respectively.  The companies are “mostly commercial accounts including top universities, telecommunications, financial, healthcare and retail customers throughout the UK," according to the Stanley release. Terms of the sale were not disclosed. 

Tony Byerly, President Stanley CSS North America and is also president of United Kingdom Direct. Stanley CSS already has six offices in the United Kingdom and a new monitoring center in Swindon, UK

Does this affect the North American security market? Felix Gonzales
 VP strategic initiatives & business development, told me via email, yes.

"This acquisition has an impact on U.S. market. Many U.S. based companies are expanding their businesses overseas and globally. This acquisition expands & strengths Stanley’s direct service capabilities for customers wanting to do business with one security provider for their locations in North America and UK; along with France."  

 Stanley has more than 75 offices and serves more than 120 of the largest metropolitan markets in North America. Stanley CSS designs, installs, monitors and services security systems for industrial, government, commercial, residential and national account customers.  It has 300,000 customers in North America.

 

"Dude, all this security's got me beat... I need a back rub and a Yoo-Hoo!"

 - 
Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Come on, you know you're gonna find yourself uttering that phrase to yourself at least a couple times in Vegas next month. I know I will... But then I'm saying that pretty much every day by 2 o'clock like a mantra anyway. So maybe it's just me.

Regardless, I was happy to get a press release from San Antonio-based United Central Control today. Looks like they're going to have licensed massage therapists on-... uh... hand (no pun intended) at ISC West in their hospitality booth to provide free back and attitude adjustments to ease your marching up and down the nearly sold-out aisles of the Sands Convention Center! That's awesome! I'm definitely going to stop by and take a load off...

I'm hopeful about the Yoo-Hoo, as well...

I've written about UCC before. Specifically, I've covered Tracey Ritchie when she was in our annual 20 Under 40 list and again when she was promotoed to UCC's new GM at ESX last summer.

Here's the release from UCC:

UCC Offers Free Hospitality Suite at ISC West

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (February 14, 2011) – ISC West attendees can take a break, relax, and maybe even win an iPod Touch at United Central Control’s (UCC) “Relaxation Booth”.  The room will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 and Thursday, April 7, in the Galileo Ballroom 902, between the Sands Convention Center and Venetian Hotel. 

“If folks just want to get off their feet and wind down for a few minutes, or learn more about UCC and out team members, they’re welcome to stop by.  No RSVP is required to come by the suite.  In addition to refreshments, we’ll have certified massage therapists on site to work out the travel kinks,” said UCC Senior Vice President Mark Matlock.  “We’ll also have a drawing for an iPod Touch.”

Similarly, Wednesday evening, April 6, Team UCC is inviting ISC West attendees to join them at its Eighth Annual ISCParty.  It is scheduled for the DEF room at the Treasure Island Hotel on the second floor convention level, from 7:30-10:30 p.m.

“We’ll have a magician and a pianist for entertainment as well as a “surprise celebrity impersonator”.  Again, anyone is welcome, but we do want folks to RSVP for the party beforehand,” Matlock said.

RSVP to either Kathryn Schultz at kschultz@teamucc.com, (866) 907-4712 or at the UCC Web site www.teamucc.com. “We are also looking into hiring a Frank Sinatra impersonator but we haven’t nailed that detail down just yet,” Matlock added.

Sounds like a pretty good deal! See you in the massage/Yoo-Hoo tent! Stop by and see us. We'll grab a Yoo-Hoo.

Security “Oscar” goes to “Unstoppable.”

 - 
Monday, February 28, 2011

The envelope, please. And the winner in the category of a film that best depicts the realistic use of modern security technology in mainstream media is … “Unstoppable.”

OK, the 2010 movie, which stars Denzel Washington and Chris Pine as two railroad employees racing against the clock to try to stop an unmanned, half-mile-long train barreling toward a city before a catastrophe occurs, didn’t win an Oscar. It actually didn’t even get nominated for one.

But the movie took Moore Protection’s highest film honor for its portrayal of security technology. That Los Angeles residential security firm, whose clients include “many of the movers and shakers in the entertainment industry,” has awarded its annual Morpheus Award to the movie’s director Tony Scott.

Don Moore, company president, said the film stood out. Not only was the action thriller “a great movie,” Moore told me, but “closed circuit television played a big part in it … They used CCTV to track the progress of the train.”

Moore, who timed the announcement of the award to coincide with the Academy Awards, told me that Moore Protection “wanted to find a way to publicize the positive uses of security technology in Hollywood, especially during awards season.”

Also, he said, “the Morpheus Award is an excuse to remind customers to use their alarm systems.”

"It never fails that someone experiences a burglary during one of the many awards shows,” he said. “Thieves know when they see limousines all over these affluent hillside communities of L.A. that the chances of finding an empty home full of valuable goodies increase exponentially. It’s a target-rich environment for burglars all year long, but the odds of a homeowner distracted by thoughts of red carpets and neglecting to arm their security system before leaving for an event make their illegal activities a lot easier.”

In Greek mythology, Morpheus was the name of the god of dreams and visions. Moore said the vision aspect relates to CCTV. Also, he said, the word sounds somewhat similar to his company’s name.

For years, the company has usually just announced the award internally and to clients, Moore said. This year he announced it publicly, and he wants to make it even more of an event in the coming year. That’s why he said he’s opening it up “to dealers nationwide to send nominations” of 2011 films they see that make the best use of security technology. Moore said nominations should go to the company’s VP of sales and resident movie buff, John Akouris, at jakouris@mooreprotection.net.

 

Biometrics-based access control could be the next big thing...

 - 
Thursday, February 24, 2011

I was reading through my Google Alerts today and found a story from al.com on Ion 247 deploying the building-wide access control system SafeRise from Israeli security company FST21 at a senior housing facility. I wrote about FST21 a while back when they first came to the U.S. and their technology seemed, admitedly, a bit sci-fi...

Security Industry luminary and former Mace Security Services Division president Peter Giacalone said it best: 

"It’s rare when you come across technology that you get excited about—I mean there’s a lot of cool stuff out there, but it’s all just better versions of what you’ve seen before—this is almost like Star Wars,” Peter told me in late 2009.

Think of that scene in "Minority Report" after Tom Cruise gets his eye transplants... He's trying to make a slick, quick and sly getaway and ducks into a GAP to escape his pursuers... Unfortunately, biometrics are in wide use and the store recognizes him--or at least the eyes he's currently got jacked into his skull--and addresses him as the former owner of the ocular orbs... Yuck factor aside, that's pretty cool.

And becoming more and more real every day so it would seem.

My former editor Sam also wrote about them when Kent security took on the rather large and involved solution and began deploying it.

From the al.com story in which Ion 247 president Ed Welden is interviewed:

 

Because Ion 247 is the first to deploy the system in the region, Welden said he thinks Birmingham is in a good position as its use grows. He said his firm is preparing to install the SafeRise system at facilities in Mobile, St. Petersburg and Houston.

"We want Birmingham to be the hub of the new technology," Welden said.

Welden said his firm tested the system in its offices for three months before marketing SafeRise to others and installing it at Faush Metropolitan Manor.

 

Basically what the solution does is mesh different technologies inlcuding facial recognition, voice recognition and behavior pattern recognition (as well as more traditional if less cool and sci-fi technologies like smartcards) to make the individual desiring entry the actual key.

The execs at FST21 feel pretty strongly that this is what the future of access control looks like.

Again from the al.com story:

"We have to find a new intelligent, convenient way to access buildings," Farkash said in a video teleconference interview from Israel. "The fusion of technologies gives you very close to 99 percent positive identification."

Farkash knows a bit about security. He retired as a major general after spending 40 years in the Israeli military, including time spent leading the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Farkash will be in Birmingham on Feb. 23 for a 9:30 a.m. demonstration of SafeRise at Faush Metropolitan Manor.

"When we put all three technologies together, we turn your body into a key to access buildings," Farkash said. "It's very, very difficult to imitate this key."

While the systems can cost up to $60,000, they represent the kind of security technology that many observers have predicted would become a reality someday.

"We believe this is the way people will access their buildings in the 21st Century," Farkash said, noting that the technology is still in its infancy, much like cell phones were once large, clunky devices that were limited in what they could do.

A recent report, "CCTV Based Remote Biometric & Behavioral Suspect Detection: Technologies & Global Markets – 2011-2016," from the Homeland Security Research Corporation also forecasts significant growth in this new market of converged biometrics for access control. Keep your eyes on this emerging tech... unless you agree with Wired and feel biometrics' only use is as a cool way to lock your iPad...

ADT acquires Down Under

 - 
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

When I was at the Barnes Buchanan conference the week before last, John Koch, president of ADT North America, Residential and Small Business, gave a presentation which was mostly an update on the integration of Broadview Security.

More on that later, but basically he said it’s ongoing, on schedule, and that they’ve followed through with “a best of both” approach to integrating Broadview. That is, as opposed to simply assimilating Broadview into the ADT mold, ADT is adopting some best practices (notably customer service-related) of Broadview.

He also said that the next generation ADT panel will include some functionality that was part of Broadview’s proprietary panel. He declined to elaborate when asked, but said ADT’s interest centered around functionality that enables communication between ADT and the customer’s panel that would enable ADT to be more proactive in working with customers.

Koch also said that with the Broadview integration well underway, the company was looking for acquisitions. There’s no news in North America yet, but they did announce today the acquisition of Signature Security Group, of  Sydney, Australia, which has more than 980,000 commercial and resi customers in Australia and New Zealand,  for AU $171 million. Here's the release on that.

 

Fire chief to break ice

 - 
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Security Systems News is based in Maine, so the term “icebreaker” makes me think of the Coast Guard cutters that break up the ice on tidal rivers here so the floes don’t jam up in the spring melt and cause flooding.

But a different kind of icebreaker event will take place at the Electronic Security Expo in June—a kind of icebreaking very important to the industry because it focuses on building relationships between security professionals and public safety officials.

Jon Hannan, fire chief and homeland security director for Charlotte, N.C., will be the Industry IceBreaker Speaker at the Industry IceBreaker Luncheon on June 7.

Hannan said in a statement that he’s looking forward to speaking at the event. “I believe the relationship between security professionals and public safety officials is incredibly important,” he said. “I applaud and support any opportunity that allows us to come together to educate and empower each other so that we can become a proactive force for public safety.”

ESX, which is put on by the Electronic Security Association and the Central Station Alarm Association, is the education and networking event for security integration and monitoring companies. It will be held this year from June 6-10 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.

Also given out at the luncheon will be the SIAC William N. Moody Award. That Security Industry Alarm Coalition award acknowledges individuals who give of their time and talents to alarm management issues.

In addition, the Police Dispatch Quality Award will be given to the alarm installation/monitoring company team that achieves the highest police dispatch quality in a North American city/county. The deadline for submission is next Monday, Feb. 28. For more information, click here.

 

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