Subscribe to

Blogs

“The Trip to Bountiful”: Comcast now "at home" in Utah

 - 
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Comcast is now selling home security in Utah, right in the backyard of the major summer-model security companies.

When it comes to telecoms and cable companies getting into home security, I’ve written before about how Comcast has been in the forefront of that trend. It launched its Xfinity Home Security product in 2010.

It also recently renamed the product as just Xfinity Home to reflect the fact that the service includes many home automation features in addition to home security.  And Comcast has launched the product in numerous major markets around the country and continues to introduce Xfinity Home in even more places. For example, it had a Seattle launch in February and this month Comcast announced it’s now offering the service in Utah, home to residential security giants like Vivint and Pinnacle Security.

I’ll be talking to them about their take on this new player both in their home state and nationwide. Keep your eye on this site for more!

Help for “fear of IP” sufferers!

 - 
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dealers, do you have a fear of IP? If so, Honeywell has a cure for you.

The industry is transitioning from analog to IP, but some dealers are a bit fearful of the new technology, according to
Shannon Wilson, marketing manager for Honeywell Systems.

“Maybe they think it’s hard to set up; it’s too complicated; they don’t know the IP address of the camera, or they’re just not sure how to do it,” she wrote in a posting today on the Honeywell’s “The Security Channel” blog.

In response, Wilson said said, Honeywell has “simplified the process with our new network video recorder and performance IP cameras. We’re saying it’s 3 clicks to live video, and it’s true.”

To prove that, Wilson said, Honeywell set up a “Honeywell IP Challenge” at one of its ADI sites to let dealers find out for themselves. Check out the video of dealers overcoming their fear of IP.

Pro1 goes after national accounts in N.C.

 - 
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Protection1 announced on Monday that it has acquired Camtronic Security Integration of Wilmington, N.C.

I’m scheduled to do an interview with Protection1’s Jamie Haenggi, who is on the road, so I’ll have more in a story later this week. From the press release, it’s the national accounts that attracted P1 to this buy. After he took over P1 in 2010, CEO Tim Whall said national accounts would be a priority.  Last fall, Haenggi spoke to us about Pro1’s national accounts research

Judging by its web site, Camtronic seems to be soley focused on retail accounts. Its client list includes:  Winn Dixie, Coach, Saks Fifth Avenue, Safeway, Louis Vitton and Whole Foods.

In business since 1991, the founder and president is Jay Linton. Linton, Jim Finley, Camtronic’s vice president, managing director, and Paul Yezzi, managing partner of Camtronic, and the rest of the Camtronic employees will stay on with Pro1.

Does it seem like more owners are staying on with companies after acquisitions? It does to me. At the Barnes Buchanan conference this year, Michael Barnes said that keeping owners and staff is increasingly something sellers are looking for in today’s market.

 Pro1 acquired accounts from Sting Alarm in Feb. 2010

Pro1's 'Security Switch' TV ad stars Mike of "Mike & Mike"

 - 
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I just had a chance to speak to Jamie Haenggi, Protection1 chief marketing & customer experience officer, who filled me in on the Camtronics Security Integration acquisition. There's some info in a blog I wrote earlier today. I'll be writing a story with comments from Jamie this week. 

In addition to the Camtronics deal, Protecton1 is undertaking another effort to beef up its national accounts business: launching its first ever television commercial last Sunday (March 12) starring Mike Greenberg of ESPN “Mike and Mike” fame.

“It’s aimed at our commercial and national accounts customers,” Haenggi said.

“It’s a very different concept from [security commercial which tend to focus on home security] than anything you’ve seen before,” she said. “It’s set up like a game show, like The Dating Game, and it’s called Security Switch. Mike Greenberg is stars as the client and there are three security companies,” Haenggi explained. “Mike asks contestants questions. There’s good humor in there,” she said. And, the commercial “draws the competition in to play.”

The point is to highlight P1’s value proposition, she said “which is that we take your security personally.

“It’s all about building brand awareness. We’re the second-largest security provider out there and we’re the best-kept secret. We’ve got high-profile clients moving over to us, and we don’t want to be a secret anymore,” Haenggi said.

Look for the commercial on ESPN stations. 

Pinnacle settles with Florida AG

 - 
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pinnacle Security recently settled a claim by Florida’s attorney general that reps with the Utah-based summer-sales-model company were using deceptive sales practices.

But the voluntary agreement states that it is not an admission of guilt on Pinnacle’s part, and that the company entered into it “solely for the purpose of ending the investigation,” which the AG began in 2010.

And Stuart Dean, VP of corporate communications for Pinnacle, sent me this statement by the company regarding the settlement:
 

Pinnacle Security is pleased that it has resolved the Florida Attorney General's investigation to the parties' mutual satisfaction.  Over the last several months, Pinnacle worked cooperatively with the AG's office to address issues related to customer complaints regarding certain alleged sales practices that occurred primarily before 2010.  Since 2010, Pinnacle has implemented industry-leading compliance initiatives to help ensure the professional delivery of its sales and services.  As part of its agreement with the AG’s office, Pinnacle will continue to ensure that all of its customers receive superior customer care and service.  Pinnacle looks forward to continuing its relationship with the State and to protecting the security of Florida's citizens.  As part of the agreement, Pinnacle is also pleased to donate $25,000 to Seniors vs. Crime, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and protecting Florida's senior citizens.

Pinnacle, which sells nationwide and in Canada, has previously said the company had some issues in past years with “rogue” door-knocking sales staff. But in 2010, Pinnacle announced it had made a company cultural shift to emphasize a code of ethics for employees and the implementation of new ways to monitor their behavior and enforce the code.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi put out a news release March 8, describing the settlement. It said:

Pinnacle Security, a Utah-based home-alarm company, will reform its business practices and compensate Florida consumers, many of whom are seniors, for high-pressure sales tactics. Under the agreement, Pinnacle will offer refunds to customers who were misled about Pinnacle's relationship with other security companies or the cost of its services. Additionally, customers who could not get defective Pinnacle equipment repaired promptly or were overcharged when they cancelled their Pinnacle contracts will be offered compensation. Pinnacle will also make a charitable contribution of $25,000 to Seniors vs. Crime, a project set up by the Attorney General in which elderly Floridians help each other and the authorities fight criminal activity.

The Attorney General's Office opened an investigation after receiving complaints about the company's door-to-door salesmen. Among other complaints, homeowners said salesmen induced them to sign up with Pinnacle by claiming it had taken over or had some other special arrangement with their existing home-security companies.

Under the agreement, Pinnacle will improve its disclosures to consumers about its services, charges and repairs. Additionally, the company will make it easier for consumers to cancel their contracts if they so desire, and will ask new customers for detailed information about their interactions with salesmen to ensure compliance with the company’s required business reforms.

Hertel steps down at Mace CS

 - 
Monday, March 12, 2012

Morgan Hertel, VP and general manager of Mace CS, has stepped down for personal reasons, Mace Security International announced today. A replacement wasn’t named, but a Mace news release said Hertel “will be working closely with Mace CS in a consulting role over the next several months.”

Hertel, who was named director of operations at Mace shortly after the CSSS acquisition in 2009, could not be reached for comment. “Our clients remain in the very capable hands of the Mace CS professionals who have a high degree of technical expertise and training for the positions they hold,” he said in the company’s statement.

Hertel is a well-known figure in the monitoring world, with more than 30 years of experience and active service on many industry committees. He was a panelist for a discussion on cloud security at the recent TechSec conference in Delray Beach, Fla., and is scheduled to speak at ISC West at a session titled “NFPA 72: Are You Ready for the Changes?”

As for professional changes for Hertel, I hope to learn more soon.

 

Guard deal in California

 - 
Monday, March 12, 2012

Guard company Universal Protection Service, which is based in Santa Ana, Calif., and made a major acquisition this past fall when it acquired SFI
made another, smaller acquisition. It acquired Silver Shield Security, based in San Jose, Calif. UPS, the company announced on March 7.

Robert H. Perry & Associates, initiated and managed the deal for Silver Shield.

I’ll be talking to UPS parent company, Universal Services of America, this week, but in a prepared statement, Brian Cescolini, chairman and co-CEO of Universal Services of America said the “addition of Silver Shield Security will make us a formable presence in that [Silicon Valley] marketplace, servicing many of the large dot-com companies, and our national presence will enable us to expand our contracts with many of the largest companies in the U.S.”

Universal Protection Service says it’s the 6th largest security company in the U.S. and the 4th largest U.S.-owned security organization. It is a division of Universal Services of America, which includes Universal Building Maintenance, Universal Protection Security Systems, Universal Fire/Life Safety Services, Security Forces LLC and SFI Electronics.
Founded in 1965, Universal Services of America combines an innovative mix of tradition with cutting edge systems and technology to keep is headquartered in Santa Ana, Calif., with offices located throughout Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Fire company saved by fire alarm

 - 
Friday, March 9, 2012

I got a kick out of reading the following little news article from the Lewiston Sun Journal, a newspaper in Maine, which is where Security Systems News is based. It just underlines that, no matter who you are or what your business is, it pays to have a fire alarm system.

Here’s what the March 8 article had to say:
 

DURHAM — A potentially disastrous fire was averted early Wednesday morning thanks to a monitored alarm system at the Durham Fire and Rescue building on Hallowell Road, fire Chief Bill St. Michel said.

Firefighters were called at 2:28 a.m. and discovered a hanging gas-fired heating unit was smoking in one of the bays. The access panel to the unit was removed, and it was determined the fire in it had gone out.

After ventilating the building and checking all storage areas, the alarm was reset and the five fire trucks and two ambulances were returned to the building.

The monitoring alarm system, while expensive, more than paid for itself in this instance, St. Michel said. Without it, the fire probably wouldn't have been reported until it was spotted by a passing motorist. Although the building is insured, the loss of it and the equipment would mean the town would have to rely on other departments.

St. Michel reminded residents Wednesday that when they turn clocks ahead Sunday to daylight saving time they should replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

 

Barnes/SSN survey takes pulse of industry

 - 
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

How did the wholesale monitoring industry hold up in 2011? Michael Barnes knows.

Barnes, founding partner of Barnes Associates, a consulting and advisory firm specializing in the security alarm industry, recently completed a joint survey with Security Systems News that involved the biggest players in the industry. It was the second year that Barnes has conducted the survey with SSN, and it provided some interesting insights.

Without completely tipping Barnes’ hand, let’s just say that the industry grew. I had a chance to find out more about it this week in conversations with two leaders of the monitoring world, Russ MacDonnell of Rapid Response and Don Maden of COPS Monitoring. They both confirmed what the Barnes/SSN survey found, and that bodes well for the industry.

I’ll have more about the survey soon, both on the SSN website and in the April issue.

CSAA webinars: The Central Station Alarm Association has two sessions on tap that promise to be of interest to members and nonmembers alike.

“Building a Partnership with Insurers,” scheduled for 1 to 2 p.m. March 14, will focus on how insurers are resurrecting the insurance/alarm industry/law enforcement triad for lower losses and greater profits. “Social Media in the Central Station,” set for April 18 from 1 to 2 p.m., will examine the benefits and hazards of Facebook and Twitter in the monitoring workplace.

For more information on either webinar, contact Stephanie Morgan at smorgan@csaaintl.org or call 703-242-4670, Ext. 15.

Pages