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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!"

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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.”

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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...

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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

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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

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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.

 

Mass messaging and more at fire conference

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Learn what’s hot in the field at the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s 2011 Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference in March in Orlando.

Among the featured presentations will be the latest human behavior research and case study implementation of emergency communication messaging in the fire context, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Kathleen Almand, executive director of the research foundation, told me recently that the best way to formulate an emergency message is “an emerging topic because fire alarm systems are being used for emergencies other than fire … What are the right messages? … You don’t want to incur panic.”

She told me all the foundation's research is geared toward making NFPA codes and standards better.

The 15th annual SUPDET will run from March 22 to March 25.

The conference is for fire detection, suppression, and signaling professionals from around the world to exchange ideas, innovations, and the latest information on current research, according to the NFPA. The Fire Protection Research Foundation is an affiliate of the NFPA.

This year’s program will feature 35 presentations in six sessions: notification and human behavior; detection; sprinkler protection; water mist; clean agents; and featured research at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory.

 

The growing Article 6-E index

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Thursday, February 17, 2011

From the first story I wrote about Article 6-E, the proposed central station licensing legislation being kicked around over in New York, through the blog posts and follow up stories and videos, I've come across A LOT of printed material. From the proposed bill itself, to pro- explanations thereof and con- dissections as well.

The most recent story on Article 6-E, which includes industry impressions of the Feb. 10 meeting, is on our site now, as well.

In talking with a few other security industry executives, I decided it would be a good idea to start putting all of these letters and emails to which I've been privy up online in one place where everyone could get a look.

A few words on permissions to reprint: If the letter/email appears here it was posted online for general consumption, or I have either asked for and received permission from the organization of origin to post it or it was sent directly to me by the organization of origin.

I do not claim to have ALL the letters that were sent to the NYBFAA prior to their Feb. 10 meeting (I sure would like that...), but have included the ones I've managed to come across. I would ask that if you don't see your letter here and you want it posted for the industry to read, PLEASE SEND ME A PDF AND I'LL ADD IT TO THE DIRECTORY.

I have not included a lot of material that has appeared either on ACCENT or in Ken Kirschenbaum's newsletter. If you contributed something to those sources and would like it included here, please turn it into a .pdf and send it to me and I'll do my best to keep this index current.

Please feel free to add your comments on this posting or on Article 6-E in general. I welcome all viewpoints and opinions.

Enjoy.

Security industry lends a helping hand

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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I picked up a tweet today from ADS Security.

It said "ADS Corporate, Central Station & Nashville Sales went head-to-head in a @Soles4Souls shoe drive. Who secured the win?" Of course, I was intrigued and had to click.

I've been spotlighting security companies that do cool charity type stuff for a while. I've certainly covered ADS' efforts before.

And since they mentioned the central station throwing down against the other divisions, I had to check it out.

It appears that the central station, ADS Security corporate, and the Nashville sales office all formed teams and brought in as many shoes as possible for needy families. From ADS' Facebook page:

ADS kicked off the work week by counting the number of shoes that had been collected for a recent Soles 4 Souls shoe drive. Corporate, Central Station and Nashville Sales competed head-to-head for the title of “most shoes collected” and Central Station was a `shoe-in' with a total of 114 pairs. Combined, the groups were able to proudly donate 267 pairs of shoes! Congrats and thank you to everyone that participated.

Here's a pic from ADS' Facebook page that lists the final score of the ADS Shoe Drive Showdown:

267 pairs of shoes for the needy is pretty awesome. But what's awesomer (yes, that IS a word) is that the Team Central Station picked up 114 pairs! GO Central Station! Go Monitoring!! I love my beat.

You can follow ADS on Twitter and me on Twitter if you want to hear more.

Illinois fire-monitoring bill ignites protest

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The industry is raising an alarm over a proposed new law introduced this week in the Illinois General Assembly that would allow public fire districts in the state to take control over fire alarm monitoring.

The bill, which the security industry in this state considers a job-killing, monopoly-creating measure because it would allow fire districts to mandate that everyone in the district use the district’s monitoring business, has been pending for a while now. When I wrote about a court case relating to this issue back in December, I noted then that the Illinois Electronic Security Association didn’t like the proposal. Now that HB 1301, entitled the “Fire District Antitrust Exemption,” has been formally introduced, IESA likes it even less. The group is urging Illinois alarm dealers and others involved in the industry to contact their elected representatives in Springfield to tell them how passage of the law could negatively impact their business.

“The primary motivation of the proposed bill is to take over an area of private business that took over a hundred years for private industry to build. It is a revenue booster for fire districts. It does not, however, improve response time or increase firefighter safety. As such, HB 1301 should be rejected,” the IESA said in a statement released yesterday.

Supporters of the bill argue that allowing a district to have complete authority over a wireless radio network or other network within the district is a safer and faster way to do fire monitoring.

But the IESA said that the bill “is not about public safety.” “

It explained that “districts currently have the authority to adopt and enforce rules consistent with the national fire codes (such as the National Fire Protection Association) that provide comprehensive coverage of alarm monitoring (e.g., what technologies are allowed, what is required for alarm monitoring),” the IESA said. “This legislation is designed to allow districts to monopolize alarm monitoring and arbitrarily exclude viable technologies in direct opposition of the national fire codes.”

IESA also said there will an upcoming Legislative Day in the state capitol, the date of which has yet to be set, on which industry members can talk in person with lawmakers about this bill.

I’ll be talking to Kevin Lehan, executive director of IESA, next week to learn more about this issue. Stay tuned.

 

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