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SSN welcomes new publisher

 - 
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

This week Security Systems News welcomed a new team member; Rick Rector is stepping into the role of president and publisher for SSN.

"I'm excited to be working with the talented and dedicated Security Systems News team. And I'm eager to meet as many industry participants as possible at ISC West next week," Rector stated.

While Rick is new to the Security Systems News side, he has worked with United Publications Inc.—SSN’s parent company—since 2000. His career has included positions with media across diverse industries such as gardening and small farming, the State of Maine, international finance, seafood, IT support, gourmet retail food, call centers, fitness clubs and healthcare.

He was a founder and former chairman of the Maine Venture Fund, the venture capital fund of the State of Maine. In addition he was a founder and former executive director of the POPTECH conference, an annual conference exploring the impact of technology on people and society. Currently he serves on the boards of the Points North Institute and the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting as well as the Personnel Board for his town.

If you’d like to contact him about a meeting at ISC West, he can be reached at rrector@securitysystemsnews.com or 207-846-0600 x 267.

SentryNet to host 23rd SentryCon

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

BILOXI, Miss.—As SentryNet is preparing to host its 23rd annual SentryCon, in Biloxi, Miss., from April 23-26, I thought it would be a good time to hear more about the event, its history and what the company is planning for this year. Peggy Page, marketing manager for SentryNet, and Julie Beach, STANLEY Security’s vice president of Sonitrol and SentryNet dealers sales, each shared their perspective on the upcoming conference.

Speakers come from both in- and outside of the industry, according to Page. “We bring speakers in from not only the industry but from the business world as well, to teach them not only how to install a product—because we do have a lot of vendors that participate—but how to build their business, how to grow their business, how to hire employees, how to keep employees, how to face attrition and compete against the big-box companies,” she said.

This year’s speakers include Mark Brown, professional speaker from Southwest Consulting. Brown will discuss recognizing challenges and how to overcome them. Ron Davis, president of Davis Mergers and Acquisitions Group, will address the current concerns of alarm dealers.

Bob Harris, president of Attrition Busters, is another speaker for this year’s SentryCon. “He’s a great speaker. He spoke at SentryCon last year, too, and he did such a good job [that] we asked him to come back and give us another presentation on attrition management,” Beach said.

In addition to speaking at SentryCon, Harris will also give a presentation at SentryNet’s ISC West booth this year.

“We have a select group of dealers that we invite to be on our dealer advisory board every year,” Beach said, and a dealer advisory board meeting is held in conjunction with SentryCon each year. “The purpose of our dealer advisory board meeting is just to talk about any trends that we’re seeing in the market, any new type of technologies, maybe new threats. … And then we also talk about enhancements to what SentryNet does.”

Beach added, “It’s a really good opportunity for them to network with each other and learn from each other, and even though a lot of them might be competing in the same markets, they’ve really come to form a pretty good working relationship.”

The dealer advisory board was introduced following SentryNet’s acquisition by STANLEY in 2015.

Time management will be a topic at this year’s SentryCon, according to Page. “One of the biggest complaints of installers is they don’t have time. They don’t have time to learn the new technology, they don’t have time to train new employees, they don’t have time to seek new employees. And it’s not necessarily [that] they don’t have time, they’re just not managing their time very well.”

The event also includes social events tailored to the area around the conference, including a baseball game, fishing and golf outings and skeet shooting.

Last year, SentryCon hosted 200 professionals, which has been typical of the past five years, according to Page. “I’m actually thinking attendance is going to be a little higher this year,” she said. Now have over 225 people registered to attend, Beach said about a month prior to the event.

SentryNet has about 765 dealers, spread across the United States, Canada and Mexico, according to Page.

“Originally, SentryCon was part of the Mississippi Alarm Association annual event. We hosted jointly with them for probably the first three or four years before we broke off and made it our own event,” said Page.

What do you most hope attendees walk away from the conference with? “That change isn’t as scary as we think it is, and … that if you’re willing to change with the industry, you’re going to be a lot more successful,” Page responded.

Beach said, “I hope that they walk away with something that they didn’t know already, … something that’s going to help them grow their business or do something to keep their business relevant in this fast-changing market.”

Spending bill provides funding for school safety

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

School safety grants administered by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)—a major policy priority for the Security Industry Association (SIA) since 2008—will provide $25 million immediately, and $33 million annually, as provisioned in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, which was officially signed into law by the president earlier this week.

The new law provides $25 million immediately for school security technology and equipment in addition to emergency communications systems and other coordination with law enforcement to enhance response capabilities. Administered through the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), $33 million is authorized annually for the program beginning next year. Overall, the STOP School Violence Act included in the spending measure authorizes a total of nearly $1 billion in funding for DOJ school safety grant programs through 2028.

“As the Congressional Safety Caucus founder and co-chair, I am proud this year’s spending bill included over $2 billion in funding for school safety measures, including the STOP School Violence Act, to provide our nation’s schools with tools and technology needed to keep students and faculty safe so they can learn in a safe environment. I am committed to working with my colleagues in Congress to provide our children and families the peace of mind they deserve,” noted Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind.

As SIA pointed out in its announcement lauding the grant money, federal grant assistance specifically for facility security measures had been unavailable since fiscal 2011. SIA, along with stakeholders representing the law enforcement and education communities including The School Superintendents Association (AASA), the National School Boards Association (NSBA), the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) and other like-minded organizations, worked to support the reviving of this grant assistance, particularly in the aftermath of the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012.

“SIA commends the leadership of Senator Hatch, R-Utah, and Congressman John Rutherford, R-Fla., in authoring the STOP School Violence Act, and recognizes the unwavering support provided by the Congressional School Safety Caucus led by Congresswoman Susan Brooks, R-Ind., and Congressman Rick Larsen, D-Wash. who authored reauthorization legislation, the School Safety Act, and has led supporting efforts in the House since 2015,” Jake Parker, SIA director of government relations, said in a prepared statement. “As school systems consider investments to improve security, it is critical that finite resources support effective, affordable and appropriate, solutions.”

SIA is a cofounder of the Partner Alliance for Safer Schools (PASS), a consortium of school security experts that developed threat- and income-based guidelines for schools housing grades K-12 to implement appropriate, layered security measures. Those guidelines are available to help guide school investments.

In addition, please participate in SSN’s News Poll this month, which looks at security companies’ role in emergency preparedness and response for schools.
 

Alert Protective Services acquires in Chicago area

 - 
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

NORTHBROOK, Ill.—Alert Protective Services recently purchased substantially all the assets of Alert Alarm Corporation, based here, which was finalized in February. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The focus is really on making sure there’s no disruption to service, that the new customer base gets to know our friendly and highly skilled staff and becomes familiar with the way to engage with us,” David L. Silberstein, president and CEO of Alert Protective Services, told Security Systems News.

Alert Protective has been implementing new measures to help future growth, both organically and “aggressive pursuit of acquisitions,” according to Silberstein. “Alert Protective Services has invested materially in the last 18 months in operating, accounting, and marketing infrastructure. … The process is fairly seamless for us, given that we have a strong platform to bolt on acquisitions like this,” he said.

“We are opportunistically always in the market for acquisitions and believe we are the perfect partner for owners of alarm companies looking to sell or realize a liquidity event,” said Silberstein.

Alert Protective was founded in 1982, and a majority of the company’s work is residential with a growing commercial division as well. Alert Protective offers smart and interactive alarm systems, fire alarms, video surveillance, intercoms and access control among other services.

Based in Chicago, Alert Protective also has customers in Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana.

Alert Alarm Corp. has customers in the Chicago area. Silberstein said that Alert Alarm’s mix of residential and commercial customers is similar to Alert Protective’s account base. “It overlapped nicely with our current customer base, but definitely helped in terms of expanding a bit more in the Northshore region of Chicagoland,” Silberstein said.

The companies have “similar DNA,” Silberstein said, both focusing on customer service and providing a company with a local feel.

The two companies even have similar names and branding, Silberstein noted. “Alert Alarm Corp. made the transition to the customer base very simple,” he said.

ISC West and SIA getting it right …

 - 
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

With April right around the corner and ISC West almost here, we at Security Systems News thought it was the ideal time to highlight the tremendous education program Security Industry Association (SIA) has developed for ISC West 2018. When the industry needs education and guidance now more than ever—to make sense of all of the new technology and trends—ISC West, sponsored by SIA, has stepped up to the plate and delivered.

In preparation for this year’s conference, SIA strove to create an education program that addresses this year’s most significant emerging threats and business opportunities. And following SIA’s research to develop the Security Megatrends—an annual research project that reports on the top trends reshaping the security industry—SIA and ISC West worked together to make sure those themes would be addressed at the 2018 event, particularly as part of the “SIA Education@ISC” lineup.

“A top priority is making education one of the most valuable, robust parts of ISC West,” Don Erickson, CEO of SIA, said in the Megatrends announcement. “We identified these top 10 trends—what we call the Security Megatrends—and reviewed how they would pose significant impacts on 2018’s converged security landscape. We then used these insights to lay the groundwork for the 85+ educational sessions we’re offering at the ISC West show, making it possible for attendees to leave feeling confident and equipped to tackle the emerging security threats, as well as the business challenges and opportunities that inevitably come their way.”

SIA’s 2018 Security Megatrends include:
1.    Booming growth of the IoT
2.    Cyber meets physical security
3.    Accessing and analyzing smart and big data
4.    Evolution of risk management
5.    Transformation of the channel
6.    Shakeup of the status quo: entrance of entrepreneurial buyers and outsiders
7.    Mobile everything
8.    Control through cloud: driving greater efficiencies and promoting managed services
9.    Integrating with social media
10.  Emerging connected services: consumers want convenience at their fingertips.

Click here for more detail from SIA's research on each of the 10 Megatrends.

“We’re laser-focused on providing attendees with all-inclusive education at ISC West, which is why we’re thrilled to have SIA as our trusted partner,” Will Wise, group vice president of ISC Security Events, said in the announcement. “These top 10 trends really hit on what’s to come at the show. These themes impact nearly every type of attendee in some way, from government/enterprise security decision-makers and end-users, to integrators, installers and dealers. This year’s show is designed to be the most educational and information-packed yet, and we’re looking forward to seeing the peer-to-peer mindshare that takes place.”

And speaking of education at ISC West, on Wednesday, from 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., yours truly will be moderating a session, “Seeing is Believing - Drones, Robotics and the Integration of Video Applications,” with a very talented panel that includes Steve Reinharz, president of Robotic Assistance Devices, Jack Wu, co-founder & CEO, Nightingale Security, and Jumbi Edulbehram, regional president, Americas, Oncam. I hope to see you there, or on the trade show floor, or at the great Mission 500 Security 5K/2K charity event on Thursday morning.
 

Celebrating women in security

 - 
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Just in case you weren’t aware, March is National Women’s History month, and a great reason to shine a light on the contributions women are making in the security industry today.

And just in case you weren’t aware, Security Systems News has made it its business to celebrate women in security. In fact, for the past 10 years we have devoted an entire issue each year, usually in December, to highlight many of the leaders in the security industry who just happen to be women.

As I attend PSA TEC in Denver this week (look for my full wrap-up in the coming days), and listen and learn from the many female speakers here at the conference, there are reminders of the wonderful impact women are having on the security industry today. Leaders like Christine Lanning, president of Integrated Security Technologies—and the first woman on the PSA Board of Directors (congrats!)—Janet Fenner, director of new business development for Dahua, Sandy Jones, founder and principal for Sandra Jones & Company, Rebecca Bayne, president of BCSI, and Jennifer Phillips, national deployment program manager, PSA, to name just a few.

Another great reminder of how far we have come in this industry is the announcement from the Security Industry Association (SIA) last week—fittingly on International Women’s Day—of the establishment of the SIA Women in Security Forum to support the participation of women in the security industry. Through programs, professional development and networking events, the committee will engage members, both men and women, who share this goal.

We at SSN applaud SIA for raising greater awareness to the importance of further supporting the participation of women in the security industry, as this is a very important step that we will look back on as sort of a watershed moment or milestone in the evolution of the security industry.

The inaugural steering committee for the SIA Women in Security Forum includes (listed alphabetically by company):

•    Elaine Palome, Axis Communications
•    Chelsea Render, Bosch
•    Kelly Bond, Brivo
•    Vicky Lowe, Convergint Technologies
•    Janet Fenner, Dahua Technology USA
•    Sherida Sessa, ISC Security Events
•    Dawne Hanks, Milestone Systems
•    Christine Hamberis, ScanSource
•    Alice DiSanto, Sharp Intellos
•    Maureen Carlo, Videotec Security

“It is an honor to serve on SIA’s new Women in Security committee as it recognizes the countless women working in this industry, and our collective achievements and contributions," Dahua’s Fenner said in the announcement. "It also presents a great opportunity to engage, mentor and help further empower a new generation of women executives in the physical security industry,”

Sharp’s DiSanto added: “It is a privilege to serve a forum keenly focused on propelling women within the security industry. Providing a venue where future female leaders can strengthen their know-how, while networking and brainstorming around future solutions with peers can only improve competency and esteem.”

Palome of Axis Communications pointed out,. “Our success depends on the quality skill, and values of our employees. At Axis, we believe that a diverse and talented workforce is a key competitive advantage and that different backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences are important drivers of innovation. We are pleased to be taking part in this joint initiative with SIA,” said

Potential goals for the forum include:

•    Create mentorship/sponsorship programs to advocate for advancement and build confidence in the workplace.
•    Connect women in the industry through networking events.
•    Develop a recruiting program for next generation female professionals and leaders.
•    Initiate an ongoing dialogue between male and female leaders to enhance mutual understanding.
•    Identify platforms that can provide visibility for women.
•    Spearhead an issue that will create opportunities for women to work together and be at the forefront of a major initiative.

Membership is open to SIA members in good standing (nonmembers are eligible for up to 90 days). To get involved or to get more information, contact Kim Landgraf, SIA staff manager, at klandgraf@securityindustry.org.

 

Medical Care Alert discusses company growth

 - 
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

YARMOUTH, Maine—PERS seems to have come up quite a bit this month. I spoke with Affiliated about its upcoming Catalyst conference and COPS Monitoring about its approach to mPERS.

I also spoke with Bryan Stapp, president of Medical Care Alert, a PERS dealer based in Northville, Mich. The company, started in 2008, has seen strong growth in the past few years and Stapp gave me some perspective on the PERS industry, both within his company and the market overall.

Medical Care Alert recently earned a distinction from Stapp’s alma mater for its growth. The company has experienced a CAGR of 34.27 percent over the last three years, earning the company a spot on the Gator100, a list of the fastest growing companies owned or operated by University of Florida alumni.

This is the second time Medical Care Alert has appeared on the list, ranking number 68 this year and 88 in 2017. “It’s a nice thing for the team here to see that our growth and our efforts are being recognized,” Stapp said.

Certain technologies have played a role in that growth, according to Stapp. “In terms of the product line, the mPERS devices—what we call the HOME & AWAY line—has really been our biggest growth engine, and that’s clearly where people are headed,” he said.

Stapp continued, “Either because they’re still really active or because we’re hitting a younger demographic, or they’ve gotten rid of their traditional phone line, so there’s no more POTS line or VoIP line to connect a traditional medical alert system up to—the HOME & AWAY has been really popular.”

Medical Care Alert uses two different devices under its HOME & AWAY category: the Numera Libris and a device manufactured by Micron. Stapp lauded the fall detection of the Libris device and the tracking abilities enabled by the Micron device. “The devices are great, they’re rock solid, they’re very reliable. We’re very happy with the quality of the devices, and that’s important for us, obviously, for customer satisfaction, for customer service, and then also for … keeping our return rate really low.”

Building out the company with additional sales people and customer service representatives has also assisted the company’s growth over the past few years. The company had about four or five people three years ago, according to Stapp, and now it has 15.

“In general, we’ve been able to staff up with the growth and we’ve been very fortunate to have extremely low turnover,” Stapp said. “The folks that are with us tend to stay with us for a while. … That’s been very, very helpful.”

Stapp pointed to the company’s updated website as another recent improvement. Last year, Medical Care Alert made the website more mobile-friendly, revamped the ordering process and included a tool to help consumers with product selection, he said.

In the announcement of Medical Care Alert’s second Gator100 recognition, Stapp stressed the company’s focus on customer service. “For us [customer service] means a couple things. One is making sure that we are reaching out to our clients when we see events come through on their account,” he told SSN. “The other thing we do is, through our telephone system, we make sure that people are not on hold for long, if at all. That’s a combination of your phone routing and your staffing.”

Medical Care Alert also recently recieved its sixth consecutive Angie's List Super Service Award.

Stapp is positive on the PERS industry’s future. “I see the industry just continuing to grow. There seems to be a very wide acceptance of the product and the technology,” he said. There are some market segments want advanced features that are coming out—such as Wi-Fi tracking—and there is also still a large market of consumers looking for a more basic system that will simply get the user help when they need it, said Stapp.

“I continue to believe that, if you’re truly viewing this as an emergency response system, that it has to be really simple. That’s why we like things that have a big, easy to push button,” he said.

SIA honors Axis Communications’ James Marcella

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Security Industry Association (SIA) has selected James Marcella, director, Technical Services, Axis Communications Inc., as 2017 SIA Committee Chair of the Year for his work with the SIA Education Committee.

With this award, SIA honors Marcella for his work in strengthening education programming for the security industry through SIA Education. SIA Chairman Denis Hébert will present the 2017 Committee Chair of the Year Award to Marcella at The Advance, SIA's annual membership meeting, scheduled to occur on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, during ISC West in Las Vegas.

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized for my work with SIA,” said Marcella. “SIA serves as a keystone for the security industry, connecting many different companies together in a common cause. It serves as a powerful platform for promulgating the latest industry education, whether to share news of regulations and best practices or to update professionals on the latest developments in state of the art technology. I look forward to continuing to guide SIA course offerings as the association’s Education Committee Chair.”

Scott Dunn, senior director, Business Development Solutions & Services, ‎Axis Communications, said, “James takes every opportunity to educate our current and new team members on the mission and values of SIA and the importance of being involved in moving our industry forward to meet the challenges we face. He is a great internal teacher as well. He instructs us on our work with SIA and how to maximize the efforts with various other committees to bring value to SIA and its members. He has made us all better in that work.”

SIA CEO Don Erickson added, “I very much appreciate the time James has put into leading the Education Committee and working with SIA. I recognize there are many different places he could spend his time with associations and the fact that he has made so many important contributions to help educate the industry in this role is greatly appreciated!”

The contributions Marcella has made as SIA Education Committee Chair include:

•    Co-creating the curriculum for the Systems Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree in Security Systems and Technologies, and serving as the main instructor
•    Leading the update of the Security Project Management Common Body of Knowledge Guidebook
•    Serving as a member of the ISC Education Conference Advisory Board
•    Assisting with the development of Securing New Ground executive conference program content
•    Championing the Certified Security Project Manager certification
•    Promoting SIA across the security industry

Hébert will present the Sandy Jones Volunteer of the Year Award and SIA Chairman's Award, at The Advance, held during ISC West in Rooms 505/506 of the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Tuesday, April 10, 10:30-11:30 a.m. The Advance is co-located with ISC West, produced by ISC Security Events. Find more info, click here.
 

Planning underway for ISC West 2018

 - 
Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Just over a month from now the Security Systems News team will be making our way to Las Vegas for this year’s ISC West Conference. That means that planning has certainly begun for exhibit floor visits and other commitments at the show.

My primary focus in the security space is the world of alarm monitoring. So, if you are a monitoring center, or are related to that side of the industry, and would like to meet up at the show, feel free to email me at sives@securitysystemsnews.com. It would be great if you’d also tell me a bit about what your company is planning for the show this year.

Though, I’m interested in many other areas of security as well. If you don’t fit in the above category, feel free to email me just the same. Be sure to include an overview of your company and what you'll be discussing at the show.

We've also got this month's SSN News Poll asking about companies' plans for the show. Are you planning to attend ISC West 2018? ISC West hosts several expos during the show—which interests you? How many people is your company sending to the show? Feel free to share your thoughts here

Whether we've spoken at each ISC West since my first in 2015, or if we haven't yet met, I hope to see you in Las Vegas come mid-April.

IC Realtime announces new Ella feature

 - 
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A couple of months back, I got the chance to speak to Matt Sailor, CEO of IC Realtime, about the company’s new natural language video search platform Ella. Yesterday, the company announced its first update: including a time-lapse compiler and creation tool.

“With this new update, users can create a time-lapse video from a range of time or by a specific query to produce more detailed and relevant results. The same natural language processing included within Ella is leveraged to create time-lapse videos that can be specific to a certain object, color, or vehicle make and model,” the announcement read.

“Never before have customers had the ability to request and generate time-lapse videos within seconds and customize those time-lapse videos to narrow down the results down to very specific objects, colors, vehicles, or user-created zones,” Sailor said in a prepared statement.

Sailor continued, “One area where we see great opportunity is within the construction market for customers interested in monitoring construction sites to ensure personnel safety but also want to create easy-to-view time-lapse videos that showcase job-site progress or start-to-finish projects. This new feature can also be used by new or existing customers who need to monitor sensitive or restricted access areas and produce time-lapse videos across a day, week, month, or any duration of time.”

The new tool is available now for Ella users and can be used system-wide across all Ella subscribed cameras.

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