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Pinnacle “Going Beyond Borders”

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I’ve written here before about the work Orem, Utah-based Pinnacle Security has been doing through its Securing Hope charitable initiative. Efforts have included Pinnacle employees traveling to Honduras to build homes and install solar panels and hook up electricity to other homes—in some cases for the first time—to meet residents’ energy needs.

Now the company is reaching out to help the needy in Africa.

Pinnacle announced yesterday that through its Securing Hope program it will partner with Going Beyond Borders, an international nonprofit, to raise funds to help build a hospital in western Kenya. The company also said Pinnacle volunteer teams will travel to Kenya in November to help construct the building.

“Pinnacle, as a company, is dedicated to the cause of helping people secure the important things in their lives,” Stuart Dean, Pinnacle’s vice president of corporate communications, said in a statement. “Through our Securing Hope program, we have been able to participate in relief efforts throughout the country and around the world in places like Missouri, Haiti, Honduras and now, Kenya. We are pleased to work with Going Beyond Borders to help build this hospital.”

Here’s more from the May 30 press release: “The new Elukhambi Hospital will replace a facility that closed recently, requiring people in the area to travel several hours to reach the nearest hospital, making minor accidents or injuries life-threatening events. The new building will house a full-service hospital that includes a radiology clinic as well as an eye center and dental center.”

The company said Pinnacle will help raise funds in a variety of ways, including sponsored events, donations from employees, company representatives and the public, in addition to proceeds from its annual 5K run held every fall.


Calculating what your integration company is worth, with and without RMR

Thursday, May 26, 2011

If there’s one message that PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman likes to hammer home with PSA integrators it’s this: Those who offer managed services, maintenance and service plans, and have other RMR generators as part of their business will have more, happier, and stickier customers.

Bozeman's been talking about that for many years. But, according to Jeff Kessler managing director for Imperial Capital, those with RMR, also have more valuable companies.

Kessler spoke about the economic outlook for the security industry on May 18 at the PSA TEC meeting in Westminster, Colo. last week. He was asked by PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman to give a ballpark company valuation of a hypothetical company.

“The alarm guys know what they’re worth,” Bozeman said. “I get calls every day from integrators asking me: ‘What am I worth?’” 

Kessler said that the price goes up for an integrator who offers at least some service. Kessler likes to talk about valuations in terms of EBITDA (although he acknowledged that EBITDA can be calculated in different ways). He said that Bozeman’s hypothetical $7 million integrators that’s 100-percent installation with no RMR could expect to get five- or six-times EBITDA. The same company with at least some RMR, on the other hand, could expect to get six-times to nine-times EBITDA.

In addition to being more valuable, financial players (who are more actively looking at systems integrators than any time in the past five years according to Kessler) are more interested in working with integrators who have “at least some recurring revenue."


NFPA makes antifreeze topical this summer

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It’s spring here in the Northeast and our thoughts are turning to summer (well, they would be if it would stop raining and the sun would come out). But despite the warming weather, antifreeze remains a hot topic when it comes to fire sprinkler systems.

This summer, to give you the latest on code changes impacting the use of antifreeze in sprinkler systems, the National Fire Protection Association is offering a free web updates on that subject.

The NFPA, based in Quincy, Mass, this month announced the updates on the changes to NFPA sprinkler-related codes. The changes are the result of  “Tentative Interim Amendments (TIAs) regarding the use of antifreeze in sprinkler systems,” according to a press release.

Matthew Klaus, a senior fire protection engineer who will host the web updates, said in a statement: “Based on recent full scale testing of various antifreeze concentrations in sprinkler systems, NFPA 13, NFPA 13R, NFPA 13D, and NFPA 25 have modified the requirements for antifreeze usage through recently approved TIAs. The purpose of these broadcasts is to provide a brief history on the use of antifreeze in sprinkler systems along with an explanation of the new requirements and a discussion of alternatives to antifreeze.”

There will be an opportunity for participants to ask questions following the presentation.

The updates will be broadcast on June 28, July 7, and July 19. For more information and to register, visit




What're you doing Nov. 13-15? Get your education on!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

I got my most recent edition of CSAA's Signals (complete with it's new waveform promotional art) and was reminded that the CSAA Fall Operations Management Seminar is coming up in November.

It brings back fond memories...

(cue flashback music and scene-disolve visual effect)

I had just started at SSN in September of 2008 and was still trying to wrap my head around all the security industry's three-letter-acronyms and just exactly how the industry ecosystem worked... what it looks like... My head was spinning. And that's when my editor told me I was going to go on a roadtrip down to Peabody, Mass to attend the CSAA's Fall Operations Management Seminar. I enjoyed the experience, depsite being nervous. I got some good video footage and met some pretty cool people, including Vector's Pam Petrow, CSAA's Becky Lane, and Soutwest Dispatch's Ty Davis (now with Life Alert)

I got a lot out of my visit to the Ops Seminar in '08. I haven't been able to attend them all since then, but I've covered the goings on...

If you're not doing anything Nov. 13-15... heck, even if you are... if you're involved in the world of central station monitoring, you could do worse than spend a few days in Chicago sharing best practices with the best and brightest in your industry.

Give a shout out to CSAA director of marketing and communications Monique Silverio if you're interested in checking it out.

Here's the release from CSAA on the upcoming Fall Operations Management Seminar:

CSAA’s Fall Ops Management Seminar: Nov. 13-15

Looking for top-notch educational sessions geared specifically toward central station operators and managers? Then you won’t want to miss CSAA’s 2011 Fall Operations Management Seminar, which will be held Nov. 13-15, 2011 at the Embassy Suites Chicago Lombard/Oak Brook.

This two-day top-notch educational seminar will be loaded with up-to-the minute information; it also offers participants continuing educations credits (CEUs).

The CSAA Fall Operations Management Seminar will be hosted by Alarm Detection Systems, Inc. of Aurora, Ill., and will culminate in a tour of Alarm Detection Systems’ central station on Tuesday, Nov. 15. Detailed meeting and registration information will be made available soon.


Vector reaches out in upstate N.Y.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

When Vector Security early this year moved into the Hudson Valley area of New York for the first time with the acquisition of Poughkeepsie, N.Y.-based Hammond Security, Vector pledged its support to the communities served by Hammond, according to Dave Merrick, Vector’s VP of marketing.

Now, Pittsburgh-based Vector has just announced the creation of scholarship program in honor of a Poughkeepsie police officer killed while responding to a domestic violence incident in which man kidnapped his 3-year-old son and killed his estranged wife.

John Falcone, an 18-year veteran of the Poughkeepsie Police Department, was fatally shot on Feb.18, according to a Vector press release. The 3-year-old’s father was holding the child and waving a pistol when Falcone arrived on the scene, the release said. It said that after Falcone wrestled the child free, a struggle for the weapon ensued, and Falcone was shot in the head. The shooter then committed suicide. His estranged wife was found dead in a nearby vehicle and police theorize that the man shot his wife first, kidnapped his son and then met up with Falcone, the release said.

“The creation of our Officer John Falcone Scholarship Program is indeed a strong demonstration of our commitment to the communities we serve,” Merrick said in an email to Security Systems News.

Vector’s scholarship program will support educational opportunities for students who plan to pursue careers in law enforcement or criminal justice, the company said.


Tyco about to close $110m deal?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rueters on Wednesday reported that Tyco CEO Ed Breen said Tyco's closing on a "$110 million (deal) but it's technology that actually has revenue with it and that really fits in to one of our core platforms and will really give us a competitive advantage."


Breen made the remarks during an investor conference and provided no other details, according to the report. He did say :"We'll spend another $500 million to $600 million on bolt-on acquisitions over the next year," however.

Rueters notes, in the report that "Tyco talk" over the past month has centered on whether France's Schneider Electric might make a play for Tyco, or parts of Tyco. At the same investor conference, Schneider CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire said, for like that third official time, that no large acquisitions are planned "for the foreseeable future," according to the report.

He's told us three times, does he need to tell us again?


The future of access?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

SSN Managing Editor Dan Gelinas and DCRM vice president Tina Simolaris discuss the future of access control.I went on a road trip this past weekend. I've been on road trips before, down to the CSAA Fall Operations Management Seminar, down to G4S' Monitoring and Data Center, down to Viewpoint CRM, over to the Rapid Response Users' Group and last summer down to visit a whole bunch of security peeps in the Lonestar State.

This past weekend, I traveled down to Lynn, Mass. to check in on an ongoing deployment of FST21's SafeRise solution at a senior housing complex. It's not the first time I've been to Lynn... I visited Wayne Alarm and Ralph Sevinor's security industry museum back in 2008. It's also not the first time I've written about FST21. I first covered them when they came to the U.S. from Israel, and SSN covered them when Kent Security checked them out. I also wrote a blog post recently about ion247 monitoring the solution at a senior housing facility down south.

I met with them at ISC West, where they won product of the year in SIA's New Product Showcase. It was nice to sit down with the folks at FST21, the folks at Ocean Shores Apartments, the folks at DCRM (I'm pictured above with DCRM president Tina Simolaris), which worked in a consulting capacity with property management (with whom I aslo met). I also met, via conference call, with the folks from ion247, a monitoring center that's monitoring the SafeRise solution, and with the folks from Chubb who did the integration of the smart building system.

Dave Dearborn of consultants DCRM hosted the meeting and brought all the players together at Ocean Shores for a sit down discussion and demonstrations of the solution in action. Tune back in to SSN Videos in the coming days for a video of that visit.

One thing everyone agreed on was that this project exemplified where the future of security/access/surveillance might be headed. Solutions are becomming more complex conglomerations of what used to be disparate systems. It's all about offering more services, more uses for the infrastructure than just video or just intrusion or just mass notification or just access. It was a neat visit.

I'll provide more coverage of this and other FST21 projects going forward.

UTC Fire & Security makes presidential changes

Monday, May 16, 2011

I wrote here recently about UTC Fire & Security's announcement that it had a new president: Scott Buckhout. Buckhout, previously president of Global Fire Products, was appointed president of the company in mid-March.

Now today, the Farmington, Conn.-based company has announced more appointments to its senior leadership team. According to a company press relase, Mark Barry has been appointed president, Global Fire Products, succeeding Buckhout in that job. Kelly Romano will succeed Barry as president, Global Security Products. The company said both appointments were effective immediately.

Here's more from the release:

"Barry joined UTC Fire & Security in 2010 through the acquisition of GE Security and drove strong results in his previous position as president, Global Security Products. Barry has spent more than 20 years in the security and life safety industry, including senior leadership positions at Tyco, ADT, and most recently at GE Security."

Regarding Romano, the release said: "Romano most recently served as UTC Fire & Security’s senior vice president, Sales & Marketing. She joined UTC Fire & Security in 2010 from Carrier, where she held various senior leadership positions including president, Building Systems & Services and President, Carrier Distribution Americas. Romano brings more than 27 years of UTC broad-based experience to her new role, including expertise in general management, business development, customer relations and marketing.

Buckhout issued statements about the two new presidents: “Mark’s deep industry and global experience positions him well to assume this critical leadership role in our fire products business. Mark’s responsibility for Global Fire Products includes 27 factories and significant operations in North and South America, Western Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia."

And he said of Romano: “Kelly’s multiple general management roles, coupled with her strong customer focus and her broad experience in working with dealers, distributors and contractors, make her uniquely qualified for this leadership position in our Global Security Products business. Global Security Products is a global enterprise made up of four complementary businesses –Interlogix, Lenel, Onity and Supra – and a growing research, development and engineering footprint in a number of key geographies, including North America, Western Europe and India."

Buckhout in his new position succeeded William Brown, who was promoted to senior vice president, corporate strategy & development, of United Technologies Corp. UTC Fire & Security is a unit of UTC, which is based in Hartford, Conn.


Schneider Tyco saga continues" NY Post says deal not dead

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Schneider/Tyco deal, rumors of which first surfaced about a month ago, is not dead, according to the New York Post.

Just before midnight last Thursday the Post reported that Schneider Electric is talking to to private-equity firms about partnering on a $30 billion-plus bid for Tyco International. The report cited “two sources close to the situation.”

The NYPost said Schneider is in the process of choosing which PE firms to work with. Schneider’s plan, according to the Post, is to split Tyco’s assets, keeping the fire and security businesses (ADT and SimplexGrinnell make up the biggest parts of those two units) and ditching the flow control unit and part-ownership Tyco still has in has its electrical and metal units, (most of which was sold to last year for $713 million to PE firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. ) Tyco split into three separately traded companies in 2007.

The Post also says that “several PE firms” may go it alone and make their own offer for Tyco.

The Post story, and several other news outlets which cited the New York Post report, noted the Schnieder denies that it was in talks with Tyco or even interested. On April 20 on Schneider CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire said"There is no plan of large-sized acquisitions now and in the foreseeable future.”

But the reports point to Tyco CEO Ed Breen’s comments during Tyco’s April 28 conference call as evidence that Tyco wouldn’t object to the bid. Here’s the blog I wrote after listening to this call.

Schneider issued another denial on Friday, May, 13. Here’s the Rueters report on that.

"Our CEO expressed himself clearly at the time of our earnings report on this topic and we have nothing to add," Schneider spokesman Anthime Caprioli said, according to the Rueters report.

Meanwhile, Tyco spokesman Paul Fitzhenry declined to comment.

From the Post story, here’s what analyst Brian Langenberg had to say:

“A private-equity firm would likely pay about eight times the flow control division's EBITDA, or $4.5 billion, he said. Schneider would likely have little interest, he added, in Tyco's 49 percent stake in its electrical and metal products business that it still holds after selling the rest of it last year for $713 million to PE firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. Tyco is in a cyclical downturn, making this a good time to buy and reap the benefits when revenue and earnings rebound along with the economy, Langenberg said. If Tyco begins a formal auction, Langenberg believes Siemens, which is rolling out a global cities platform, and United Technologies, whose head of business development used to run UTX's fire and security business, could take a look. "I don't think Tyco would go for less than $65 a share," he said."

Shares of Tyco were up on Friday. The last trade, according to Yahoo Finance was 50.78.

Finally, here’s a CNBC report that has options trader JJ Kinahan, talking about why he believes “unusual options activity on Tyco” on Friday suggests that no deal is on the table.

"When it's reported a company could be bought out, Kinahan said there are usually a lot of call buyers. But immediately following the Tyco report, there were a lot of put buyers. Options traders quickly bought the May 50 and June 49 puts when the stock was flirting with its highs early Friday. Traders are now buying the July 55/60 call spread, as well as the October 55/60 call spread.

This options activity suggests the takeover story will be short-lived, Kinahan explained. If the deal fades, it's going to fade quickly. So Kinahan said the options market doesn't put much merit into the takeover reports."


ADT media summit focuses on systems integration

Thursday, May 12, 2011

ADT’s media summit wrapped up yesterday. There were a number of sessions, but the message this year’s attendees were intended to come away with is that ADT Commercial is serious about positioning itself as a systems integration leader.

I attended a number of sessions, which I’ll be reporting on later, but a couple items here for now.

First, ADT is accelerating its relationship with Cisco. At the summit, we has a TelePresence conference with ADT director of integration strategy Jim Lantrip and Bill Stuntz, VP of Cisco’s physical security business unit.

I later had lunch with Lantrip (in person) and he told be about ADT’s relationship with Cisco.

The two companies have worked together for several years, but that relationship has accelerated in the past 18 months as the two jointly develop products and services for ADT’s commercial customers.

“The relationship came to a new level because of the leadership of John Kenning [ADT Commercial president],” Lantrip said.  Among several projects ADT and Cisco are collaborating on is digital media signage. “It can be used for any kind of marketing data during normal times, and during an emergency situation it can be used to direct people to a safe environment,” he said.

ADT is also using Cisco’s network assessment tools, Lantrip said, which greatly facilitates the network assessement process. “The assessment tools help us understand the weak points of the network, which is the first step in the assessment,” he said. “And because the assessment tools are so great, we don’t have to send a CCIE [highest certification] to do the assessment, we can send in a lower certified guy,” Lantrip said. 

Are ADT commercial customers typically installing parallel networks or using their own production networks?

It’s important to do the proper network assessment, and understand how the system will be accessed, Lantrip said. But typically the production network can be used. Usually, “we can get creative with the IT department and overcome those challenges,” he said.

The goal, said Bill Stuntz during the TelePresence press conference, is to “make security one of the business systems you run on the network so you can bring more value to the company.”

We also toured ADT’s new Integrated Solutions Center in Aurora Colorado via TelePresence. This center, known in other business venues as an executive briefing center, is a real focus for John Kenning and ADT’s commercial outfit. They expect to bring in 300 customers over the course of the year to see mock-ups of vertical market solutions. They have a permanent “retail vignette” set up and a permanent “banking vignette” set up. Another room can be set up in a number of different vertical markets, currently it’s set up for a “food defense solution.”

While customers come in to see and talk to ADT personnel and subject matter experts (in-person and via Cisoc's TelePresence) about a customized solution for their particular vertical, they often check out the other vignettes, Mike Abbott, ISC manager said.

Executive briefing centers are a proven method for increasing business, Lantrip told me. “The close rate goes up, the time between meetings and close shortens, and customers are happier because the focus is on them.”