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Exacq and others on Inc's 2011 fastest growing company list

Thursday, September 1, 2011

VMS provider Exacq Technologies made Inc. 500 for second year in a row. Exacq had revenues of $9.7m in 2009 and $19.2m in 2010. Its three-year growth percentage is 851 percent, according to the Inc 500 list. Exacq was number 401 on the list.

Will the company double its revenues again in 2011 and make the 2012 list? Roger Shuman, marketing manager for Exacq, told me that he’s not sure they’ll go through the process again, but that revenue numbers for 2011 thus far show that “we’ll be very close to doubling revenues again.”

Exacq is not alone among physical security companies on the expanded Inc 5,000 list this year.

Intelligent analytics and search solution provider 3VR came in at # 531 with 635 percent growth and $14.4m in revenues.

VMS Alarms of Warwick, R.I. was # 573 with 572 percent growth and $12.2m in revenues.

Megapixel camera manufacturer Arecont Vision is # 756 with 416 percent growth and $51m in revenues.

An ADT dealer, Integrity Alarms, is #989 with 310 percent growth and $6.5m in revenues.

DTT Surveillance is #1491 with 187 percent growth and $14.3m in revenues.

Ron Oetjen’s systems integration firm Intelligent Access Systems of N.C. grew 125 percent and had revenues of 11.1m.

Here’s the list of the top security companies on the 2011 Inc. 5000 list, though many of these are not physical security providers.

Back to Exacq, Shuman said the key to Exacq’s growth is the company’s three-tier approach with its software and hardware—offering “Start, Pro, and Enterprise level ... built on the same kernal software.” Exacq’s products are “scalable and cross compatible,” he said.

Shuman said the company has seen growth across all vertical markets. “We certainly do a lot of schools and hospitals, just as many corporate installations.” The company has added 30 new employees since 2010 (and hired two more this week, Shuman said. “The strategy is to continue to bring on new engineers and sales people and expand into other [vertical] markets.”

Exacq has formalized its certified reseller program, offering one-day training programs. IN addition, it’s added ADI and Ingram Micro to its list of distribution partners. “We work with most of the major players in the physical security [and now,] the network IT world, as well.

AT&T’s purchase of T-Mobile blocked with government lawsuit?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I wrote a while back about AT&T's bid to purchase T-Mobile. I wanted to look whether or not having such a large provider as the only choice for a GSM carrier would be damaging to the security industry. Whether or not it might prompt others to throw their hat in the ring as wireless service providers to the industry.

I, and others, argued that it might be dangerous from a service and pricing perspective to have one giant wireless provider being the only place security folks could go for their GSM needs.

I picked up this story today from the New York Times. Apparently the US Justice Department is suing to block the acquisition, claiming "The combination of AT&T and T-Mobile would result in tens of millions of consumers all across the United States facing higher prices, fewer choices and lower quality products for their mobile wireless services." That last quote was from James M. Cole, the deputy attorney general. The Justice Department’s complaint was filed in United States District Court in Washington on Aug. 31.

Of course, their looking to block the acquisition with an eye on the end user. However, it stands to reason that the same negatives listed above would plague security folks looking to leverage GSM technology in security solutions, doesn't it?

AT&T has vowed to "vigoriously contest" the matter in court.

The Times story points out AT&T has some pretty strong reasons to want the deal to go through:

AT&T has one powerful incentive to try to salvage the deal. Under the terms of the agreement that AT&T signed with Deutsche Telekom, AT&T would pay a breakup fee of $3 billion in cash, as well as a roaming agreement and spectrum rights — an estimated total value of $6 billion — if the acquisition did not go through for regulatory reasons.

Other wireless providers, such as Sprint, which entered the security industry as a partner with Cernium this summer, have voiced opposition to the merger.

“Sprint urges the United States government to block this anticompetitive acquisition,” Vonya McCann, Sprint’s senior vice president for government affairs, said back in March. “This transaction will harm consumers and harm competition at a time when this country can least afford it.”

The Times story notes shares of AT&T dropped nearly 4 percent on the news of DOJ's suit, to less than $29. Shares of Deutsche Telekom, the parent of T-Mobile, fell 5 percent in trading in Frankfurt. Shares of Sprint Nextel were up nearly 6 percent, according to the Times.

It will be interesting to see how the deal--or if the deal--goes down.

Fifteen companies have the IQ

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Security Systems News has written before about how IQ Certification provides what amounts to a “seal of approval” for alarm companies.

IQ is a quality certification program for security alarm systems. Companies participating in the voluntary program have to comply with ethical guidelines regarding the selling, designing, installing and monitoring of alarm systems.

Seems to me that showing that you have the IQ and are reputable can only help a company’s bottom line. Apparently, many businesses feel the being in the program is worthwhile, as evidenced by the fact that the board of IQ recently announced that 15 companies earned their recertification this month.

The companies are: AAA Security, Diamond Bar, Calif.; Affiliated Central, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Alarm 2000, Cardiff, Calif.; All Secure Protection Systems, San Diego, Calif.; Allied Central Services, (a division of Altronics Security Systems), Bethlehem, Pa; General Monitoring Services, Huntington Beach, Calif.; Monitoring America Alarm Co-Op, Tulsa, Okla.; Murrey Installations, Phoenix, Md.; ProTec II Security Systems, Dayton, Ohio; Protech Security LLC, El Paso, Texas; Pyramid Telephone Service, McFarland. Wis.; Schultz Technology Solutions, Pottstown, Pa; Security On-Line Systems, Ambler, Pa.; Security Response Center, Sarnia, Ontario; and Shenandoah Valley Security, LLC, Waynesboro, Va.

“To ensure that these companies continue to meet the IQ Certification standards, they must annually demonstrate to the Board that they meet the IQ Certification guidelines,” Tim Creenan, an IQ board member, said in a statement. “They continue to seek recertification each year because they have seen the value of IQ Certification for their companies, for the industry and for their customers.”

For more information visit


A security cluster grows in Ohio

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I saw an interesting story this morning in a Cleveland Heights publication about intelligent access control company FST21 establishing a demo center in the city of Cleveland Heights.

Turns out this is the beginning of a security business initiative designed to make Cleveland Heights a regional center for security technology development.

Howard Thompson, economic development director for Cleveland Heights, told me that he wants to establish Cleveland Heights as a hub for security manufacturers and integrators and installers. The effort will be branded as the “Smart Safe Security City Initiative.”

The “cluster” of security technology related business and initiatives will initially be located in a former school—called the Coventry School in Cleveland Heights. There are some business and non-profit organizations located there currently. FST21 will be establishing a Midwestern office in the Coventry School building and will also have a demonstration center. Thompson is working with FST21, SGI Global Business Advisors and other entities to get other security companies to locate in Cleveland Heights.

“The goal is to provide a high-quality and value added operating platform from which high-technology companies can develop and drive the region’s economic competitiveness,” according to an outline that Thompson sent me.

The former Coventry School building has 54,000 square feet, but there are other buildings in Cleveland Heights (including other former schools) that will be available and Thompson wants the new tenants to be security manufacturers and installers.

This “cluster approach” is a tested model Cleveland region, he said, citing the  “Cleveland Clinic’s biomedical cluster driven by BioEnterprise; aerospace cluster driven by NASA and the Ohio Aerospace Institute; energy cluster driven by Nortech and other economic entities.” No other Midwestern city is trying to develop a security cluster, he said.

Cleveland Height’s cluster will be driven by FST21. Thompson said plans are in the works for city officials and SGB Global executives to travel to Israel in January with FST21 CEOs Avi Lupo and Ahron Farkash to talk to other Israel-based security companies about establishing an office in the U.S., based in Cleveland Heights. Thompson and other partners will also be working to entice domestic security companies (including integrators) to locate in Cleveland Heights.

The initiative, if successful, would bring jobs and investment to this region, but what can Cleveland Heights offer businesses that locate here?

Thompson said the city will provide a liveable, affordable location for businesses. It will provide business leads for companies. (He said that FST21 has a project for the local police department on the books, and has had discussions with other public  and private sector companies in the area.)

The City of Cleveland Heights, working with the federal Small Business Administration, the Ohio Department of Economic Devleopment and the Monte Ahuja College of Business Administration at Cleveland State University will help companies find financial resources, as well as other business development resources such as marketing and sales help. “Those are the value-added resources,” he said. “I have federal block grants that I can use for business expansion and attraction and I’m looking for more,” Thompson said. “We’re very serious [and have the capability] to bring more resources to the table.”

Judge AGAIN sides with alarm industry in Illinois

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I’ve written recently about the battle in Illinois over public entities taking control over fire alarm monitoring. A federal court judge’s ruling this week again supports the industry’s side in this battle—for the second time this summer.

A federal judge in July issued a partial summary judgment and a permanent injunction against the Lisle-Woodridge fire district, which had invalidated contracts that ADT and other companies had with their customers and put itself solely in charge of commercial fire alarm monitoring in that Illinois fire district. ADT and the other companies have sued the district and the case is making its way through the courts.

The judge in his July 20 ruling slapped down the fire district, saying state law does not give public fire districts any legal right to be in the fire alarm monitoring business.

But the fire district, which maintains it needs to take control of fire alarm monitoring for safety reasons, then asked the judge to stay the injunction, which essentially reinstated the alarm companies’ right to resume fire alarm monitoring in the district. However, the judge denied that motion this week and gave the fire district a blistering scolding.

“This case involves an act of illegal self-aggrandizement by a fire protection district,” Judge Milton Shadur wrote in his Aug. 23 decision. He also said the district had violated “fundamental principles” by “trampling on the rights of companies going about their legitimate business of providing alarm security services.”

Kevin Lehan, executive director of the Illinois Electronic Security Association (IESA), which has been fighting the attempt by public entities to monopolize the fire alarm monitoring business in the state, hailed Judge Shadur’s decision in an email this week.

Lehan described as “most interesting” another of the judge’s statements. The judge said: “And District's
 claimed bugaboo of endangering the health and safety of the alarm monitoring systems customers glossed over—or more accurately ignores entirely—the record's silence as to any such risks during the years that the independent alarm companies have been providing their services to customers within the fire protection district.”

Or, as Lehan put it, “In other words, the ‘public safety argument’ that some try to use to promote their ‘self-aggrandizing’ agenda just does not hold water.”


Following up on the Detroit verified response issue

Thursday, August 25, 2011

So I blogged last week about Detroit's decision--effective Monday, Aug. 22--to no longer respond to unverified alarms. I wrote a story last year about the city working cooperatively and successfully with SIAC to enact an ECV policy, an outcome the guys at SIAC called a victory given that the alternative was a much more severe verified response policy.

Well, less than a year later here we are stifling that sigh of relief as Detroit goes ahead and enacts the tougher of the two options.

What's the difference you might ask between ECV and VR?

Both aim to reduce needless police dispatch by requiring the alarm company to take certain actions before calling the police to dispatch to the alarmed premise. However, ECV doesn't require visual (either in person or via video) or auditory proof of a  break in or crime in progress. It only requires more than one call to multiple numbers be made to ascertain if the alarm activation was accidental or not. Verified response is something I've written about numerous times, covering companies like Cernium, RSI, Sonitrol, and Provident.

Since I wrote that blog about Detroit's move to a more strict policy, I've reached out to and heard back from SIAC, have picked up some chatter about the policy change on the ACCENT Listsrv and have left voice mails with the Detroit PD.

Here's what some are saying on ACCENT:

From Mike Riley (


In case you had not heard Detroit has instituted a new policy for burg disp.

Details attached (If Accent will allow a pdf attachment) however in short Detroit will only respond as follows:

1) Someone has confirmed from the premise that the PD are required

2) Remote video or audio verification that PD are required

3) Multiple Alarm Trips

A) 1 Perimeter AND 1 interior alarm activation,

B) 3 or more interior trips.

If either of these are cause for a dispatch an email with alarm activity is supposed to be sent to a specific address @ DPD. "Upon receipt of a verified alarm, the EC shall immediately enter the information into the CAD system for police response."

If the attachment doesn’t work and you would like a copy email me and I will send it.

I've got that letter from the DPD to alarm companies right here. It explains their policy and gives you a contact at the DPD for further questions. His name's Commander Todd Bettison. I've spoken with him before. He's a good guy who's willing to talk. Shoot him an email or give him a call at 313-596-5402.

Jeff Smith ( had the following to say about changes in Detroit:

You also can get updated information as it happens at:

The Burglar and Fire Alarm Association of Michigan as well as SIAC is actively working on this and hopefully either repeal it or have the policy at least rethought. It creates a public safety issue with alarm owners having to respond to their own alarms. There is of course the guard response possibility, but getting people to pay for that or even put in cameras to verify that there is a crime is an expensive endeavor for most.

I can affirm that SIAC is still at work in Detroit since executive director Stan Martin got back to my inquiry right away:

Dan, Yes we're still working Detroit. But it is a very tough situation. Right now they are enforcing the policy change and I do believe they are putting citizens at unnecessary risk by not allowing a longer period of transition. We've appealed to the mayor to work with us, restore response and let us bring to fruition a plan we set in place over a year ago... that includes an ordinance that would provide $2million plus in revenue to the city while continuing to reduce alarm dispatches. We're confident that we can achieve 60-80% in those dispatches, targeting the chronic abusers and not the 80% of the systems that have one or less dispatches per year.

We recognize Detroit has serious issues and want to work with them. There are no plans for any alarm industry coordinated efforts to throw gasoline on this volatile situation by stirring up the alarm customers. Every alarm company has an ethical if not contractual duty to notify their customers of this change and give them options. SIAC does not recommend inflammatory rhetoric be included in that communication, only the facts and options.

Sounds like good advice: cooperation is always best.

Back over to ACCENT. Bob Dolph expresses concern about having alarm company employees or end users showing up to verify alarms.

Is the public aware that the PD is requiring that a civilian stay on location once they have reported the crime?  Sound very dangerous to me.

Having alarm company personnel respond to the facility is crazy. I remember a similar requirement in Milwaukee many years ago. The alarm company did not hold a key most of the time, but still had to show up. Police would ask why I was there and I said because you said I had to be. They would ask me to open up the premises and I would simply say I do not have a key. There were several times that I accidentally walked in to a police shotgun. What are they thinking?

As we all know there are model ordinances that can reduce false alarms. Maybe some day they will listen to the security professionals. NOT!!

In my early years in the industry we had a police department complain about false alarms. In a meeting with them I simply asked, If all alarms systems were turned off and you had to have a police officer on every street corner, how many extra personnel do you think you would have to hire? Sometimes they have to remember the overall public service alarm systems provide.


I've written about this before. Having end users respond to alarms is ludicrous. I interviewed Mike Jagger last year for a market trends piece I did on alarm verification.

Sending a client to investigate their own alarm is both dangerous and stupid. Sending the Police to respond to every alarm is both stupid and a colossal waste of taxpayers' money. Nevertheless, thousands of times a day, alarm companies do both. This isn't a two option only situation. There are many ways to provide safe and efficient verification, either using properly trained guards providing immediate response or using technology. Either option works. At some stage, alarm companies need to take responsibility for the service that is being provided and acknowledge that professional response, or at least technical verification, is an essential part of providing a real service. Sending a client into a potentially dangerous situation is half-assed. Collecting money for it is worse. Using it as an example as to why Police departments should fund our service delivery model is criminal.

Strong words? Maybe, but aren't they (at least a little) true? Mike also spoke with SSN editor Martha at ISC West last year and explained that proactive verification and could be a real opportunity to increase positive contact with end users on a regular basis. Regardless of how you view it, change is coming.

I'll update or add a new post when and if I hear back from the DPD.

Managed video company says good first half bodes well for managed services

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I saw a release online the other day from Envysion. They were touting some impressive growth they've seen in the first half of 2011.

I've spoken with Envysion's vice president of product and marketing Carlos Perez on the phone a number of times as well as in person at trade shows. He's a good guy with a passion for what he does.

Of the growth Envysion has seen this year, Carlos told me he thought it boded well, not just for his company, but for the whole managed services ecosystem:

We’re proud of our success in the first half of 2011. We believe our tremendous growth is not only reflective of differentiated power and value of Envysion’s MVaaS solution but also signals an accelerating pace of adoption for managed solutions overall and is recognition of the impact managed solutions can deliver.  We have believed all along that Managed Video as a Service will be a disruptive force and will change the way customers use and think about video.   MVaaS puts easy-to-use, video based business intelligence into the hands of an entire organization so they can make profit impacting changes in their day-to-day jobs and breaks the legacy model of only using video reactively when incidents occur.  Over the last six months we’ve seen increasing evidence of this market disruption, particularly as large enterprises continue to chose our MVaaS solution over traditional video products.  

When last I spoke with Carlos, he was telling me all about the Managed Video Summit they do. They had their second outing with that in June, just prior to ESX.

The third installment is planned for next year.

The release I saw online runs with the headline: "Envysion Reports Exceptional 1st Half of 2011 Delivering 70% Growth in Recurring Revenue." I thought that sounded pretty impressive. From the Envysion release:

“2011 has already been a phenomenal year for Envysion, having signed large deals with Cinemark, By the Rockies and several other new customers. We now have the largest MVaaS deployments in the restaurant, retail and cinema segments, further demonstrating the broad applicability of our MVaaS solutions and the tremendous impact we deliver for our customers. We are excited to continue this growth and further expand the MVaaS market,” says Matt Steinfort, president and CEO of Envysion. “During the first six months of the year we also witnessed incredible market validation, both for the industry and specifically for Envysion with the success of our second annual Managed Video Summit, partnerships with major industry players and recognition from industry awards.”

The release then goes on to list some of the restaurant, cinema and retail clients it has picked up in the last year:

In the first half of 2011, Envysion continued to realize strong growth in the restaurant segment, while also rapidly expanding into the cinema and retail segments. The company’s exceptional growth is highlighted by several large new customers, including:

* Industry leading big box retailer selected Envysion and will immediately begin an enterprise-wide deployment of the Envysion Insight solution to more than 1,200 retail locations

* By the Rockies, LLC, the second largest franchisee of Carl’s Jr.   and Hardee’s, selected the Envysion Insight solution for all 100+ of its locations

* Cinemark USA selected Envysion as its MVaaS provider and began initial rollout

* Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., operator of 120 restaurants under the Sweet Tomatoes and Souplantation brands, selected Envysion Insight as its exclusive video solution

* Wireless City, a Premium Retailer for Verizon Wireless selected Envysion as its exclusive video provider for all locations

* Wireless Express, one of the largest Preferred Retail partners of Sprint with 50+ retail locations, selected Envysion for a complete enterprise rollout

It certainly looks like Envysion is growing, adding prominent end user clients.

I also wrote a while back about Envysion's Insight Marketplace.

The release mentions a partnership with Sony that came out of the second annual summit, as well.

it's probably a good sign for folks in the video monitoring segment that more and more businesses are seeing the value in live video monitoring as opposed to video documentation via a DVR. I've written in the past about the difference between video verification services and true video monitoring companies.

New ISP group to host webinar

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Installation and service professionals: Listen up. A new one-of-a-kind group formed just for you is about to hold its first webinar.

I’ve written before about the Installation & Service Professionals Group, one of two new groups formed earlier this year by the Electronic Security Association. The ISP group, which the ESA says is the first of its kind, and the Sales & Marketing Professionals Group held their inaugural meetings this June at the ESX show in Charlotte.

Now, the ISP group is holding a webinar on Wed., Sept. 14 at 2 p.m. to discuss the results of a research survey that was conducted earlier this year. Sounds like some valuable information will be discussed.

Here’s more from the release:

This survey reveals relevant information about standard installation and service practices of ESA member companies and helps identify areas that are most important to ESA members in everyday business.

The survey also benchmarks ESA companies against peer companies in areas such as skills assessment, training, technician certification, productivity, labor management and information system solutions for the installation and service disciplines.

Led by Mark Grossman, vice president, branch operations, ASG Security, Beltsville, Md. (chair); and Trevor Block, vice president of field operations, Guardian Protection Services, Warrendale, Pa. (vice chair), the ESA ISP serves system design, installation and service staff of security integration companies, including vice presidents, directors and managers of installation and service and other leaders.

To register for the ISP webinar, go to Membership in ISP is free for employees of ESA member companies. For more information, contact Jaclyn Sion at or call (888) 447-1689.






Pro 1 acquires for the second time this year

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Earlier this year, Protection 1 made what it termed an exponential expansion of its national accounts business when it acquired more than 2,000 commercial security monitoring accounts from Las Vegas-based Sting Alarm.

Now, Protection 1 announced this week, it has acquired nearly 3,000 residential customers from Provo, Utah-based ICON Home Security.

“When we find an opportunity to grow our market share that makes sense, we’re going to take it,” Protection 1 president and CEO Tim Whall said in the Aug. 16 press release.

I’ve got a call in to Romeoville, Ill.-based Protection 1—one of the nation’s major providers of electronic security—to learn more about what this means for the company.


Detroit no longer responding to unverified alarms

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I picked up on a news story the other day from The Detroit Free Press about the city's new policy--effective Monday, Aug. 22--of no longer responding to alarms that aren't verified by the alarm system owner or the monitoring company.

Of course, verification is something I've written a lot about, covering stories from companies like RSI Video Technologies (avid readers know that I field a lot of calls from RSI's Keith Jentoft), Sonitrol, and Provident Security that have a strong verification aspect to their business model. In fact, shortly after seeing the Detroit Free Press story, I picked up a tweet from Provident's main man Mike Jagger. I've talked with Mike about his company's business model of private response to all alarms for verification purpose before. Mike said in his tweet he thinks that all municipalities should stop responding to unverified alarms.

I wrote about Detroit going to an ECV policy late last year. That policy was drafted with help from SIAC. ECV requires a second phone call to a different number to help determine if an emergency exists. This new change in policy is what SIAC had hoped to avoid last year. The new verified response policy states that the DPD will no longer respond to an alarm unless it is verified by the alarm company by private response or by technological means (video or audio) that there is actually a crime in progress.

From the Free Press story:

'We at the police department are working hard to serve the citizens; however, nowadays we have to rely more on technology to help solve our problems because we're not getting any more resources,' said Detroit Police Cmdr. Todd Bettison.

'Our main goal is to respond to crime, and if we can utilize modern technology, then so much the better. We feel very passionate about this,' Bettison said. 'We've been looking at this for a long time and from what we've observed this is definitely the way to go. Verified response will take us to the next level.'

Citing a U. S. Department of Justice report, a department press release said verified response is a reliable practice toward eliminating waste and improving police service. Since 1991, approximately 30 police departments in the U.S. and Canada have adopted the policy, including Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee and Madison, Wis., and Fremont, Calif.

Godbee said verified response will result in significant time savings for police, allowing more time for preventive policing activities while freeing officers to respond to higher priority calls.

Video Security Monitoring of Oak Park is among a handful of local companies that already offer video verification. The company issued a news release Monday touting its service.

Sounds like strong advocacy for video and audio (or private guard) verification of alarms.

I've got emails out to the guys over at SIAC to see what the word is there.