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Resi video on the rise? Some say yes, and maybe that's a good a thing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

So I got my SIA Update email this morning and I have to say, I'm liking the work SIA's doing here. There's no reporting like what we do at SSN, but they're doing a really nice job of tracking important issues and trends and blasting them out in a daily email.

Anyway, today I noticed a particular entry on resi video monitoring. According to this story, residential video is on the rise. I've been writing about video—traditionally used more commonly in commercial and municipal applications—for quite a while, and it looks like video may be crossing over more into the resi market. I wrote a story recently about video, security and access control converging in a residential high-rise application that may just be evidence of a new trend. The story from the SIA email notes that the technology is accessable and the price points are coming down. Video pricepoints have been coming down according to many I've spoken with. My fearless editor Martha also recently blogged down in Charlotte at ESX that some security folks were forecasting a sizeable uptick in resi video over the coming years.

What have you noticed out there, avid readers? Are you installing or monitoring more residential video? I'm curious.

Of course, something to which I've paid a lot of journalistic attention is the ongoing movement of municipalities advocating a priority response for verified—either via video, audio, or dual zone, or eyewitness verification—alarms. Why, just recently at the ESX show in Charlotte, N.C. I sat down briefly with RSI Video Technologies' Keith Jentoft and Major Eddie Levins of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD. Levins affirmed that if there's event based video tied to an alarm, police respond faster… It just makes sense.

"We're much more excited about the captures and arrests than we do about going up to the same places and rattling the doors," Levins told me. "We get a lot of repeat offenders, too, so when we get the chance to actually apprehend these guys, it reduces our overall workload. We respond better when there's better information. Our policy's so strong now, that even with alarms that we've cut off due to excessive false alarms, when there's better information like video, we respond. A crime in progress, no matter where it is trumps everything."

They told me that the CMPD has an official policy to upgrade a situation in which video surveillance is a factor. Dispatchers in the municipality are advised to enter any calls where the alarm monitoring company has actual live streaming video of subjects in the premise or on the perimeter as a breaking and entering call to residence or business.

I'm interested to keep my eye on this and see whether video becomes a normal part of residential systems.


Mace makes progress

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mace Security International, which has had its share of distractions as it works to become a pure-play security company, has reached a court agreement to settle one of those headaches. 

In addition to owning wholesale monitoring companies CSSS and The Command Center, and being a manufacturer of security prodcuts, Mace Security International is the owner of Mace Personal Defense (producers of the Mace spray.)  Late in 2010, the U.S. Attorney for Vermont conducted an investigation into the personal defense spray business regarding alleged violations concerning the storage of hazardous waste from 1998 to 2008 at the personal defense spray headquarters in Bennington, Vermont.

One June 2, Mace announced that the Federal District Court for Vermont accepted the guilty plea of Mace Personal Defense, Inc., (producers of Mace spray) to one felony charge of storing hazardous waste at its Bennington, VT facility and to pay a fine of $100,000.

In a prepared statement, Dennis Raefield, Mace’s CEO and president said:  “Our Board of Directors and I are satisfied with the resolution of the environmental charges that related back to 1998 through 2008. At no time was there any leak or risk to the public, and the site has been fully remediated with new environmental safety policies and procedures put into place.”

From the press release: "On November 16, 2010, the U.S. Attorney filed a one count indictment charging Mace Security International, Inc. and Jon Goodrich with a felony of storing hazardous waste without a permit under 42 U.S.C. Section 6928(d)(2)(A). Mr. Goodrich is the President of Mace Personal Defense, Inc., the Company's defense spray division located in Bennington, Vermont. The Company resolved the indictment brought against it through a Plea Agreement entered into between Mace Personal Defense, Inc. and the U.S. Attorney. On May 26, 2011, the Court accepted the Plea Agreement and the guilty plea of Mace Personal Defense, Inc., to one count of violating 42 U.S.C. § 6928(d)(2)(A) (Storage of Hazardous Waste Without a Permit). The Court also imposed a fine of $100,000 (the "Fine") and a court assessment of $400 against Mace Personal Defense, Inc; $34,000 of the Fine was paid on May 26, 2011, and two additional installments of $33,000 each, are due on July 4, 2011 and January 4, 2012. The Company guaranteed the payment of the Fine. The United States dismissed the indictment that was brought against the Company and agreed not to prosecute Mace Personal Defense, Inc. (excluding the charge to which Mace Personal Defense, Inc pled guilty ) or the Company for any criminal offenses known to the United States Attorney's Office of Vermont as of the date of signing of the Plea Agreement committed by the Company or Mace Personal Defense, Inc. in the District of Vermont relative to the storage, shipment, handling or disposal of hazardous waste, including any associated record keeping or reporting offenses. Mace Personal Defense, Inc was placed on probation until the Fine is paid in full. The charges against Mr. Goodrich are still pending and are being defended by Mr. Goodrich."

Where wire and fire meet the road

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

ADI, a supplier of security and low voltage products, is holding a “Wire to Fire Roadshow” around the country this month and next.

ADI, which is based in Melville, N.Y., says it is hosting a series of training events across “to help our partners provide end-to-end fire solutions to their customers.”

The company said, “The one-day events will feature technology from leading manufacturers including Silent Knight, System Sensor and Honeywell Genesis Wire. Attendees will have the chance to see and test the latest solutions, receive product discounts and enter raffles to win fire products.”

ADI Wire to Fire events, of which all sessions run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will be held at the following locations on these dates: 

Hackensack, N.J., June 15

Dallas, June 16

Elmsford, N.Y., June 23

Elk Grove, Ill., June 28

Kent, Wash., June 29

Tampa, Fla., June 30

Gaithersburg, Md., July 7

Portland, Ore., July 8

Raleigh, NC July 12 10am – 2pm

ADI Charlotte, N.C., July 13

San Francisco, July 19

Allston, Mass., July 19

Louisville, Ky., July 20

St. Louis, Mo., July 21

For more information, visit


Greetings from ESX in Charlotte

Thursday, June 9, 2011

What I’m hearing from people on the floor and at different ESX events, is that they’re pleased with the show this year. There were more booths (and notably some bigger booths—Mobotix for one) and more people, everyone agreed.

It seems like in year four, expectations have been managed for ESX. It’s not a deal conference, but it’s a great venue for networking—is what I hear.

And I’d agree, that’s primarily what Dan and I are doing here, although Dan is also attending a bunch of educational sessions and went on the CPI central station tour as well.

I also had a chance to catch up with some manufacturers I didn’t get to talk with at ISC West.

I’m also moderating  a couple of panel discussions. Today at 3:15 I’m moderating a panel called “The door-to-door sales paradigm shift.” For the record, I did not name the panel but I am looking forward to it. I’ve got Alex Dunn, COO of Vivint (formerly APX Alarm) the biggest summer model company; John Strade, ADT’s director of training, who’s trained hundreds of ADT dealers in door-to-door sales; and Patrick Egan, president of Select Security, a traditional, full-service security company based in Penn. Last year, Pat went to Utah, recruited a bunch of college kids who he brought back to Penn. To sell Select Security door to door. It worked so well, he’s doing it again this year.

If it’s anything like the door-knocking panel I moderated last year, it will be lively. Stop by Room 207D if you’re in Charlotte.

On Tuesday I moderated a discussion with Joe Nuccio, CEO of ASG Security and Michael Barnes, partner in Barnes Associates about “trends in valuation.” Specifically, how do those new services (hosted, managed services, home automation add ons, etc) affect the value of your company.

I’ll have more on this later, but in general, Joe Nuccio said that many, many of these services are tried and tested, plug and play, and as long as your company has the infrastructure to support the services and it fits with your company profile—they’re a no brainer. (Interestingly, ASG VP of sales and marketing Bob Ryan, who was in the audience,  predicted that ASG would sell “about 300”  more residential cameras this year than it will sell commercial cameras. “And we sell a lot of commercial cameras,” he said, adding that “if you told me that would be the case two or three years ago, I would have said you were crazy.”)

However, Nuccio said, you’ve got to be cautious, test them first, and choose your manufacturers carefully.

Mike Barnes advised caution as well. Services that complement your specialty and vertical market focus can be great. They should contribute to the growth of the company, however. And you should be able to document that growth.


Full service alarm company CPI co-hosts ESX and provides hopping operations tour

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

CPI Security was started by company owner/president/CEO Ken Gill in 1976. The company's been in the Carolinas since the early '90s and today boasts around 90,000 accounts in a roughly 80/20 resi/commercial mix supported by over 300 employees. The company's footprint is all through the Carolinas and they just recently branched into Georgia.

I'm down here in Charlotte, N.C.—the heart of CPI territory—for the ESX show, which CPI co-hosted. I've never been down to the Carolinas… As a matter of fact the furthest south I've really ever been was a trip one time to visit my former in-laws down in Florida… Oh, and I've been to Rhode Island a few times… Needless to say, the heat, humidity and grits at breakfast have bowled me over.

The tour of CPI's headquarters started with a short bus ride from the Charlotte convention center. We were greeted at the door of CPI by polite, gracious employees and Ken Gill himself. Inside the awesomely air conditioned lobby guests picked up name tags and headed into an adjacent (it looked like it was probably a training room, but the folks at CPI truly transformed it) lounge, complete with excellent food, an open bar and a jazz duo in the corner.

So I haven't had a lot of experience being in the south, but I've been to a few awesome security companies and monitoring centers. CPI has an impressive operation in Charlotte, spread out throughout roughly 50,000 square feet. The monitoring center is CSAA Five Diamond-certified (a process about which I've written extensively and with which I am personally acquainted.), and UL-listed.

Everyone had a chance to mingle and meet, see old friends and colleagues. I had a chance to exchange cards with some industry folks I've spoken with in the past, but never met. Some fellowship, nosh and cold beverage were a nice way to start the tour.

I had a chance to speak briefly with CPI customer care manager John Shocknesse who filled me in on a little of CPI's philosophy.

"We like to put on a good face and be very active in the organizations, CSAA and ESA," Shocknesse told me. "And I think personally it's great to be as engaged as possible with other companies and share ideas and make the industry better."

CPI broke the sold-out group of tourists up into several groups and passed them off to different executive guides who led the separate groups to different areas of the headquarters. Groups passed each other in the halls but never bunched up, felt crowded or got in each others way, and everyone got to see every aspect of the organization, with everyone reconvening in the jazz lounge for another bite and cocktail before heading back to the convention center.

All-told a nice tour with knowledgeable and friendly people who were willing to answer tourist questions and satisfy our curiosity.


Honeywell app makes “on the go” easier

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Security professionals increasingly rely on mobile technology as they make sales calls and do installation. Now Honeywell has just released an app that will make it easier for professionals to get product information using their iPads in such situations.

Here’s more from a press release Honeywell sent today, entitled “Honeywell iPad App gives security professionals easy access to product information on the go.”

“Available for free in the Apple iTunes App Store, the Honeywell Security Group  App provides easy access to sourcebooks, videos and product brochures for dealers, integrators and installers that serve both the residential and commercial markets. Once the App is retrieved, users can read and store as many items as needed. Honeywell will continuously add resources to the app as new tools become available."

To download the app, go to The app free also is compatible with Apple iPhone. For more information, visit

Honeywell Security Group, based in Melville, N.Y., is a subsidiary of Honeywell International, which is based in Morris Township, N.J.


Charlotte-bound for ESX

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Charlotte-bound at altitude...So I'm sitting in my hotel right now down in Charlotte, N.C. for ESX. It was a good trip... Not as eventful as some of my other travel days, but I did have a security industry exec recognize in the airport in Charlotte, which was at once kind of weird and at the same time a little gratifying. I assume that means you guys are reading our blogs and watching our videos over at ssnTVnews. Feels good.

I'm ready to check out ESX tomorrow and am looking forward to the CSAA and ESA tracks as well as some of the meetings I have set up so far. Avid readers of my blog will recall that at last year's show in Pittsburgh, I shared an elevator with a Verizon exec checking out the show floor... I never did get any responses out of that telco rep, depsite numerous emails... There were certainly big telco announcements in the last year, however. I have a meeting set up this year with some security industry suppliers and another telco that promises some big news... Stay tuned for more.

Avid readers of this blog will also recall that just about this time last year, I was also on the road along with SSN associate publisher Gregg Shapiro. We were on a lightning tour of the Lonestar State's security heavy hitters...

Is it coincidence that Gregg and I again shared a flight? This time down to N.C.? Coincidence that we once again found ourselves schlepping over to a rental car counter and plugging in a vaguley Brittish-sounding GPS device to locate my hotel? I think not!

Now, if you check out the picture from this year, you'll see that we weren't quite riding in the same style as last year, but one can't be upgraded to a cherry-red Camaro every time, I suppose...

Drop by SSN's booth #900 and see us. We'd love to say hi and catch up on what's going on and how your show's going.

And incidentally, if you haven't downloaded your ESX app yet, get going! That's one slick little app. Functional and useful!


ADT colleagues mourn passing of Bill Welch

Monday, June 6, 2011

I did not know Bill Welch, a longtime ADT’s employee, who passed away May 31, but I received several nice tributes to Bill from friends and colleagues. He was obviously well liked and respected during the 30-plus years he worked at ADT.

Mike Meacham, a former ADT associate of Bill Welch said: “Bill started as a service tech with no formal training and advanced through the ranks of ADT to become the president of the Southeast Group prior to his retirement. But throughout his career and his many company achievements he was one of the few folks I have worked with to rise to the levels he did without truly ever forgetting where he started and where he came from,” Meacham wrote.

“He always interacted with everyone the same, whether it be the CEO of one of the nation's largest textile or banking companies to the newly hired installer or inspector. He treated everyone with respect and dignity. I, as well as many at ADT, and throughout the industry, mourn his passing and will always remember him with many fond memories,” Meachem said.

Erich Schappeler, group director at ADT Security Services, had this to say:  “In my 36 years, Bill was one of the most respected individuals in the company.”

Jay Hauhn, ADT chief technology officer, called Welch a “true gentlemen and one of the most genuine people I have ever met in my career.” He echoed Meachem’s comments:  “Around 1982, when I was a very low-level manager out of the corporate office, I had occasion to visit his office. He met me personally, spent an incredible amount of time with me and treated me like I was a senior exec that was visiting his office.”

According to an online obituary, William John Welch, 73, of Covington, Ga. was born June 1, 1937. He was an Army veteran and a member of Rehoboth Presbyterian Church in Decatur. He loved fishing and farming. He is survived by his wife: Shirley B. Welch, Lawrenceville; children: Scott & Teresa Welch, Highland, NC; Pat & Paige Welch, Dawsonville; sister: Vera Ann Tyson, Duluth; grandchildren: Chris Welch, Brittany Welch, Addison Welch, Hannah Burdette, Skye Welch; great grandchild: Blaine Welch; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. Services were held this past weekend.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to the American Diabetes Association, Georgia Affiliate, 17 Executive Park Drive, NE # 115, Atlanta, Georgia 30329

Look for the union label on your facial recognition system

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Certain biometric manufacturers have a friend in the union up North, according to a news item I saw in a SIA update yesterday.

The update said that a union representing Canada Border Services Agency employees "wants more intensive screening of travelers, including a biometric face-recognition tool to pinpoint security threats and wanted criminals. And it’s pushing for an end to closures and reduced hours at land-border crossings.”

According to the update "The article stated that the union would like to have a system in place that would match faces of travelers entering the country with images stored in a database. The hope is by having this capability, border workers would be able to 'zero in on security threats, criminal fugitives and fraudulent immigration cases.'”

Any manufacturers you know do that?

The update also said  the union want "to use biometric measures on people exiting the country to potentially catch wanted criminals or those with deportation warrants. As the CTV website article stated, “The Canada-U.S. declaration envisions such a system, saying the countries will work toward the exchange of information such that ‘documented entry into one country serves to verify exit from the other country.’”


Embattled fire marshal resigns

Thursday, June 2, 2011

I blogged here a few months ago about a Connecticut fire marshal and how contracts his wife won for her fire alarm company, Pull Stations, raised conflict-of-interest questions.

Now, according to a June 1 news report, fire marshal Brian Badamo resigned this week, shortly before the Board of Fire Commissioners was to hold a meeting to review the results of a town of Hamden, Conn. investigation into whether he had violated any rules.

Here’s more from yesterday’s report from the HamdenPatch, a local news site:

“Badamo came under scrutiny last November when several complaints were filed, including one alleging that he strong-armed a local condominium community two years ago to purchase a fire alarm system from a company his wife owned. He also allegedly failed to reveal his wife's connection to the company when it was chosen to install a system at the Miller Memorial Library, the New Haven Register reported.

A special meeting of the Fire Commission was scheduled for Wednesday night to discuss the results of that investigation but Badamo tendered his resignation.”

According to news report, Badamo has been off work on workman’s compensation since last November and wasn’t available for comment.

The HamdenPatch reported that town Mayor Scott Jackson said Badamo indicated in his letter of resignation that it was “in the best interest of himself and his family to resign.”

The news site said that the town’s investigation of Badamo, which reportedly cost $80,000, is complete, but has not been released publicly.