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ESX 2015—The monitoring report

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Friday, Day 3

Today started on the show floor with a visit to All American Monitoring's booth. There I saw Lisa French, national sales representative, and Laura Hutchinson, national dealer support. I met both of them last month at the NEACC show where they were talking about the company’s MeyeView cameras. At this show they were showcasing the company's new proprietary GSM.

From there I headed to the Dice booth. Much like at ISC West, Cliff Dice, company president CEO, said that there was a good response to the company's hosted central station platform.

At Rapid Response booth I talked with Bryan Bardenett, the company’s senior account manager. He said what the company was talking about most at this year's ESX was the upcoming expansion to its Syracuse facility, adding 35,000 square feet to its current 40,000.

Michael Zydor, Affiliated's managing director, and Daniel Oppenheim, Affiliated's VP, said that one thing that kept appearing in their conversations with dealers on the exhibition floor was the 2g sunset.

From there I briefly stopped by the Acadian Monitoring Services booth and talked with Jason Caldwell, the company’s national sales representative.

Woodie Andrawos, NMC's executive vice president, mentioned the hot topic of DIY. When asked about the combination of DIY systems and professional monitoring, brought up in a Wednesday panel, Andrawos said professional monitoring is a must. "It has to be professionally monitored to be true security."

I stopped by the AvantGuard and Freeus booth again today, this time meeting Troy Iverson, AvantGuard's VP of sales and marketing, and Chris Pyle, Freeus VP of product. During this visit at the booth I heard more about AvantGuard's PERS Summit, to be held in Park City, Utah, this year at the end of September.

When I stopped by COPS Monitoring's booth, I heard more about the company's Mpower app, which David Smith, company said gives the dealer more information on their account activity, such as how each alarm was resolved or concluded.

At Security Central's booth I saw Darryl Bray again; we first at ISC West. Brett Springall, company CEO, talked with me about the company's latest promotion, a $50,000 incentive, up to that amount in free monitoring, for dealers that switch to their central station. Springall said that, when talked about with dealers, the offer got a pretty good response.

Luciana Harrison, Monitronics' Eastern regional sales manager, said that the show looked like it had some slower traffic, but it was still good for meeting dealers. The company is soon moving to its new campus Bre Otero, dealer sales and marketing coordinator for Monitronics, said that the process of moving each department started a week ago and will last about a month. One department is moving at a time to ensure minimum disruption for customers, Otero said, with the central station moving last. "It'll be great to have everybody back in one building," Otero said.

My final floor meeting was a brief discussion with Nik Gagvani, president of CheckVideo, and Ed Troha, company director of marketing, about Security Systems News' new conference, Cloud+.

As the show floor was winding down I headed to the closing keynote luncheon, featuring economist Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics.  He projected that the economy would be pretty good for the next 15 years, with a dip around 2019. Many factors in this good economy had relevance for the security sector, he said; as the home market and mortgage lending rates look better more people will be buying houses. With a notable rise in disposable income, Beaulieu said that this could bring new installation opportunities for security companies. One market in particular he mentioned a growth in was the PERS space, with higher numbers of seniors expected in coming years. This comment made for a nice transition to my next event.

My last educational session of this year's show, "To PERS or Not to PERS," had a more intimate session than most. The speakers took chairs off the stage, turned off the projector and the microphones, and asked attendees to move up to the first row, making the session an impromptu "round table" based in questions and answers. Panelists included Yaniv Amir, president of Essence, Justin Bailey, COO of AvantGuard, and Daniel Oppenheim, VP of Affiliated Monitoring. Joe Miskulin, central station manager for State Farm, served as moderator. The panelists were in agreement that it is better to separate PERS operators from those handling traditional burglary and fire alarms. Special attention need to be given to PERS operators in terms of training and support; central stations should evaluate whether they can handle that in-house, or it would be best left to larger centrals with those capabilities.

Thursday, Day 2

At the start of Day 2, for me, was the panel “False Dispatch Reduction Update.” The panelists were Thomas Waugh, division chief, permit and code enforcement for Baltimore City in the Alarm Reduction Section; Kristine Walker, Alarm Services Manager for Vector Security; Derrick Jackson, dispatch reduction manager for Vector Security; and Maria Malice of Bonds Alarm.

They addressed various forms of reducing false alarms, including Enhanced Call Verification. Waugh and Jackson both spoke on noticing generally lower rates of false alarms in recent years. Malice said that without reducing false alarms, the next step for a city is verified response, “and that is not where any of us want to be,” she said.

I bumped into Jay Stuck today in the hall who introduced me to Steven Paley, president of Rapid Security Solutions based in Sarasota, Fla.

Speaking of chance meetings, I have been talking to SIAC for as long as I’ve been the associate editor at SSN and it was great to finally meet a couple of them face to face; Stan Martin, executive director, and Steve Keefer, national law enforcement liaison.

ESA and CSAA hosted a presentation on deceptive sales practices, featuring Diane Pruitt, recently solicited by a deceptive security company in Baltimore, Derrick Layton, a retired Baltimore police officer and another who was solicited with deceptive sales practices, Jay Hauhn, executive director for CSAA, Marshall Marinace, president of ESA, David Bleisch, Chief Legal Officer for ADT, and Casey Callaway, on the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Pruitt and Layton shared their recent experiences, both emphasizing how persistent the sales people were, even when being pushed out the door or shown a police badge. Hauhn noted that there is a difference between a door-knocking company, which is a fine practice, and the deceptive sales practices used in scams.

From there, I headed to the opening keynote luncheon. Before the keynote, Security Systems News’ Tim Purpura announced its latest conference Cloud+, focusing on cloud technologies and how it can be applied in the security industry. Retired US Army special forces officer Major Gen. James Champion then gave his keynote address, sharing some of his experiences with the Green Berets and his observations on leadership. “When people look at an organization, where do they look first? They look at the top,” Champion said; an organization’s leadership lets others know where it is heading. Champion also outlined what his cause, the Green Beret Foundation does; helping Green Berets transition into civilian lifestyles, which is often a slower pace than they are used to. At the conclusion of the keynote, ESA presented a check to Champion and the foundation for $5,000.

I stopped by EMERgency24’s booth to briefly meet Kevin McCarthy, the company's national sales manager. I spoke with him recently over the phone and it was nice to put a face to a voice.

Next to EMERgency24 was Essence’s booth—my next meeting. I saw Daniela Perlmutter, Essence VP and head of marketing, in the previous day’s panel on central stations entering the DIY market, and it was nice to hear a bit more about the DIY offerings that Essence provides. While there I also met with Yaniv Amir, president of Essense USA, Brian Katz, Essence VP of business development, and Ritch Haselden, VP of sales for Essence USA.

It seems like it wasn't too long ago that I was talking to AvantGuard’s Josh Garner about its sister company, Freeus, acquiring the PERS business of Securus. It was great to meet some of each team at ESX this year; Justin Bailey, COO of AvantGuard, Matthew Brandon, Avantguard’s national sales manager, Brook Winzeler, GM for Freeus, and Marc McGrann, National sales manager for Freeus.

I stopped by for a quick chat with Warren Hill, product marketing manager in the Americas for intrusion for Interlogix. He told me a bit about the company’s ZeroWire home automation hub and the UltraSync app that connects it with various devices.

From there I headed to the Telguard booth to meet with Pamela Benke, company director of marketing, and Shawn Welsh, VP of marketing and business development. They both told me a lot about their home automation technologies, HomeControl, as well as HomeControl Flex.

At the Quick Response booth I met Jeff Cohen, company president, Renee Trebec sales manager, and Mark Penwell, Business development and retention manager. Jeff Cohen described the main footprint of the company as being around the Midwest and the Great Lakes. The company has been family owned since 1969.

This show was the first time I’d met or spoken with Alarm Central; proof that I am always reaching out and hearing from more central stations. At the booth I met Jeremy Wyble, GM for Alarm Central, and Jeff Herdman, central station manager. “Our main focus is to allow our dealers to grow with us,” Herdman said. “[If] they grow, we grow.”

I stopped by Bold Technologies' booth for a brief chat with Chuck Speck, the company's president. Back in November, when he and Bold CEO Rod Coles founded White Rabbit Electronics, I spoke with them about the timeline for the company; they hoped to showcase White Rabbit at ISC West, which they did, and distribute by ESX. Updating that, Speck said they are pretty close to that timeline, and hope to be rolling it out soon. 

At UCC’s booth, I met Mark Matlock, and Ron Bowden for the first time. I talked with both of them not too long ago about UCC’s expansions. I also met Mike Lamb, who was in the “Innovative Training Techniques for Central Station Operators.” Lamb and I talked a bit more about Generation Y and the point that UCC hasn’t tried to tailor all aspects of its training to younger applicants. Instead, Lamb noticed that they gravitate more toward the company’s existing principles of creating a peer environment and working collaboratively.

It was great to see Mike Bodnar, Security Partners’ president, again, following my visit to their newest central station in Las Vegas. Security Partners recently hired Tom McNeil as VP of sales; he told me about a back-to-basics approach for the company, working more to develop relationships with customers.

My final floor meeting was with Rick Stevens, response center sales and technical support for International Response Center, based in Rockford, Minn.

Wednesday, Day 1

On my way to today’s first panel, I happened to run into a few people I’d either met or talked to before. First was Keith Jentoft, who I first met at the NEACC expo, near the end of May. Second was Robert Forsythe. It was great to put a face to a voice, after I spoke with him earlier in June about US Monitoring’s new app. Third was Jens Kolind, who I met back at ISC West.

My first panel of the day was “Monitoring for the DIY Market.” Jay Stuck, EXP and chief marketing officer of SecureWatch 24, and Daniela Perlmutter, Essence’s VP of marketing, were speakers. Joe Miskulin, central station manager for State Farm, served as moderator.

State Farm operates a proprietary central station to monitor its buildings across the country. From Miskulin’s perspective, DIY is a great solution for small proprietary centrals, due to the ease of shipping systems for DIY installation, and connection back to the central station. Another point that stood out to me was Stuck’s; that a big issue in professionally monitoring DIY systems would be customer service, knowing how to handle end-user questions. Perlmutter, who identified herself as an “avid” DIY user, said there is definitely value in the DIY market—evidenced by big entrants like Google—and professional security companies have the edge of experience and expertise.

I then went to the Networking and Public Safety Luncheon. At this event SIAC presented its William N. Moody Award, recognizing those with comendable devotion to the the alarm industry, to Ron Rothman whose retirement from Honeywell was announced in January. SIAC then surprised Stan Martin, SIAC's executive director with his own William N. Moody award for his service to SIAC.

Also at this event, CSAA presented its inagural Public Service Award to Bill Hobgood, project manager for the public safety team in the City of Richmond, Virginia's IT department, for his work to promote the ASAP program.

Baltimore's Deputy Police Commisioner Kevin Davis then gave his key note address, filling in for Anthony Batts, the city's Police Comissoner originally announced as the keynote speaker. He talked about teh recent unrest in Baltimore and the important role security plays in identifying those "people who harmed this city." Davis reassured attendees that Baltimore is "a great city, and a safe city." He also identified body cameras as a security technology that many Baltimore police officers are in favor of. 

It was at the Networking and Public Safety Luncheon that I first heard about ESX 2016, to be held in Fort Worth, Texas, June 8-10.

On my way to the next panel, it was nice to see Michael Zydor, managing director for Affiliated Monitoring.

My second session was “Central Station Technology” with CSAA’s executive director Jay Hauhn, Bosch Security’s marketing manager Chris Larcinese, and IBS’ VP of external partnerships Jens Kolind. A lot of intriguing points were brought up. The cloud looks like it’ll be a big technology in years to come, according to Hauhn. Larcinese said, “In some regard, [cloud is] a logical progression of the technology.” Kolind said that one thing cloud provides central stations with is the benefit of not having to worry about upgrades or other programming matters.

In “Increase RMR with Video Monitoring Services” there were also some really interesting perspectives shared. Larry Folsom, president and CEO of I-View Now, presented a few things to keep in mind when considering video services, like the sales side, having a strategic vision, and doing the best monitoring for it using best practices. Michael Jagger, president of Provident Security and fellow panelist, gave examples of how he video monitoring it into his business. “It’s great business, it’s a great way to grow your RMR: through video,” said Tom Szell, final panelist and SVP for ADS Security.

My last session of the day was “Innovative Training Techniques for Central Station Operators.” Stephen Smith, the national professional development manager of customer care for ADT, shared some of his thoughts on ways to best train current applicants, particularly those of more recent generations. One suggestion Smith gave was to look at how learning styles are changing; between kinesthetic, auditory and visual.

Mike Lamb of UCC was stepping in for Mike Gelvin, UCC’s assistant central station manager, to represent the company on the subject at this panel. Lamb made one point in particular that really has stayed with me. He said that those of Generation Y, born between 1980 and 2000, like to know that there’s value in what they do. This shouldn’t be too hard to impress on them, Lamb said, when you address that the root of security monitoring is protecting the lives and homes of other people.

Today was definitely very educational for me, as a newer person in the industry. I’m really looking forward to hearing more tomorrow and walking the show floor. 

Prior to the show

I'm really looking forward to ESX, held in Baltimore this year. This is where you can find the most recent updates on what I've seen, who I've talked to, and what's cropping up in monitoring from the show. Check back later, as I will be updating the blog daily from the beginning of the show on Wednesday. Hopefully I'll see you there, feel free to email me if you think there is something I should keep an eye out for at the show.

And here's ESX 2015!

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Monday, June 22, 2015

BALTIMORE—Rapid change in the industry, home automation, the IofT and DIY were prevalent themes at the sessions I attended today.

First up was the OpenXchange, a forum featuring Mike Hackett of Qolsys, Rod Coles of Bold Technologies, Syed Zaeem Hosain of Aeris and Alexei Erchak of BeON, moderated by George De Marco, ESX chairman.

De Marco asked audience members if they were ready to be disrupted. Emerging technology and cloud-based security is changing the industry forever, he said. “Is your company just surviving or experiencing transformational success? What differentiates you?”

The panelists discussed the need for manufacturers to keep up with the pace of change by responding to customers’ feedback; the impact of home automation and DIY and how to meld those into the security business and more.

I’ll be writing in more detail about this interesting overview soon, so stay tuned.

Next was “DIY Security—Competition or Opportunity?” with Brian Leland of Interlogix and Sterling Barnes of Melaleuca Security, moderated by Kirk MacDowell of Alarm.com.

Interlogix looks at DIY as a long-term strategy, it will only keep growing, Leland said. It’s the fastest evolving market and there’s a lot traditional security providers can learn from it, he said.

Barnes said he doesn’t see a need to be in direct competition with DIY. “Our customers come to us because they want a professionally installed system,” he said. “Don’t be worried that NEST and Google will ruin your business, but customers will want some of those features.” I’ll be writing further about this discussion as well.

Next, Jamie Kane, president of Sandler Training, talked to company heads about “Assuming the Right Leadership Role.” This interactive session had audience members discussing their jobs as mentors, supervisors, coaches and trainers, and how to find the right balance for their specific company’s success. What should be their primary focus? I sat in on an “audience group” with Brendan Armstrong, president of Trinity Wiring and Security Solutions; Ritch Haselden of Essence; and Robert Irish of Mediacom. Those three gentlemen were passionate about their roles as company leaders and took the session seriously. Takeaway? Delegate. Don’t train and supervise when others can do it. Motivate and coach.

“Monetize the Internet of Things,” moderated by Kirk MacDowell, aimed to “unbaffle and provide clarity” about IoT, he said. People are frustrated by all the products out there. What to do? Qolsys’ Hackett, Alarm.com’s Jeff Bedell, Honeywell’s Gordon Hope and ADT’s Paul Plofchan all noted that most people most trust security companies to monitor their home automation systems, so that’s a prime opportunity. “The opportunity is to sell into the demand. The risk is that as an industry we let someone else do it,” Bedell said.

Said Hope, “What do we say when the customer says, ‘I don’t need your monitoring. I can get it direct from my app for free.’” The answer is, he said, “We’re not free because we provide value. You can DIM, but apps won’t keep your house from burning down. Notifications are great, but what if you’re halfway around the world?”

Tell customers why you’re not free and why you’re unique, Hope said, adding that “we will not survive as an industry without offering home automation. Embrace the change, there’s much more upside than downside.”

At ESA Celebrates, De Marco encouraged donations to the ESA philanthropy project, ESA Gives Back! This year, donations go to the Green Berets’ Next Ridgeland, a program that helps Green Berets transition from active duty to the next step in their lives. De Marco’s daughter sang one of the loveliest renditions of “I’m Proud to be an American” that I’ve ever heard.

All in all, a great day. Well done, ESX 2015.

This morning, Security Systems News publisher Tim Purpura officially announces our new conference, Cloud+. Much more about that to come.

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BALTIMORE—I had a very nice conversation with BeON CEO Alexei Erchak late this afternoon, who was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule here in ESX-Land to fill me on his company’s growing success. (That took place after we both, being New Englanders, complained just a little, tiny bit about this city’s oppressive heat.) 

Since I last spoke to him at ISC West, BeON has “made a lot of progress on a lot of fronts,” he said.

The LED lightbulb preventative security system has passed UL testing, dealers are clamoring for it and BeON is shipping now to beta testers and Kickstarter backers. He’s here at ESX to talk further with dealers.

BeON is targeting the 80 percent of the market that says that it doesn’t want a home security system.

Erchak has heard from numerous consumers who appreciate his company’s approach, he said. Women in the 25- to 35-year-old range who live with roommates or with a spouse who travels a lot, for instance, tell him that they like the system because it makes it look like more people are home when they just might be there by themselves.

Feedback has been key to BeON’s growth, he said. “People are giving us ideas for protection, ideas we never even thought of,”  he said.

“By this time next year we’ll be talking about interoperability,” Erchak said.

I’ll certainly keep in touch with Erchak to see how his company progresses.

Tomorrow I’ll be attending a number of ESX educational sessions to get up to date on the latest trends and challenges in the physical security sector, so stay tuned.

Right now there’s a fierce thunderstorm outside my hotel, so I won’t be venturing out much. I hear the restaurant downstairs has awesome crabcakes, so here I go. 

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Tomorrow, June 23, I am en route to Baltimore for ESX 2015. I’m a veteran of ASIS and ISC West and a number of other, smaller shows, but this will be my first time at the Electronics Security Expo. I’ve heard great things about it from colleagues and from industry pros, so I’m looking forward to it. (Plus, I am a big fan of Maryland crab.)

After the great whirlwind on the show floor at ISC West, I will enjoy the opportunity to attend a number of educational sessions to dig deeper into topics of import to the resi industry and the chance to catch up with some of my sources as well.

I’ll be updating this post daily about who I see, what I learn and what is trending, so please check back often. I’ll also be tweeting. And stay tuned, because I’ll be posting stories from the ed sessions, too. See you at ESX!

 

 

Honeywell fired up about latest tech

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The other day I sat in on Honeywell’s virtual press conference on its latest industry trends in commercial life safety systems. The company had a nice lineup of their pros on hand to discuss their work and what they'll be highlighting at next week's NFPA World Safety Conference and Expo. 

Brian Carlson, manager of strategic marketing, Gamewell-FCI, said the S3 Series fire alarm system for small- and medium-sized buildings allays users’ fears about “pressing the wrong button” and thus eases stress and confusion during an emergency.

As the industry’s only small, addressable panel with a color touch-screen, “everything that needs to be pressed is highlighted. It gives people confidence,” Carlson said. Building owners especially like the custom function and shortcut function keys, he added.

Susan Adam, NOTIFIER’s marketing director, talked about how SWIFT—Smart Wireless Integrated Fire Technology—is helping dealers win jobs at construction sites and renovation projects because of its easy installation and removability when the job is finished. Sites and even separate building areas under construction or renovation still need to be protected, she emphasized, “and SWIFT can differentiate dealers.” SWIFT recently was installed at two large temporary buildings at the World Ski Championships in Vail, Colo., and at a 100-year-old mansion in Massachusetts that was being renovated.

On the Fire-Lite Alarms, Silent Knight, side of things, marketing director Richard Conner discussed the company’s growth with low-frequency alarms, especially for children, young adults and the hearing-impaired. I spoke with Conner about this at ISC West, but learned a little more this time around about the alarms’ use in college dormitories, motels, hotels, assisted living facilities and the like. Studies have shown that the low-frequency signal is most effective in waking up children and young adults, he said during the press conference, and are more effective than bed- and pillow-shakers.

Christa Poss, senior manager of product marketing, System Sensor, said the latest addition to the FAAST smoke detector product portfolio, FAAST XS, targets smaller areas, up to 5,000 square feet. Those areas include elevator shafts, cable ducts and boiler rooms. FAAST XS offers “extension communication and connectivity options all without the need for new hardware,” Poss said. FAAST is now available in three varieties to protect from 5,000 square feet to up to 28,800 square feet.

Charles Simek, industrial, product and technology specialist, Honeywell Industrial Safety, gave an overview of Honeywell’s optical flame detection analytics’ success, and Gene Pecora, business leader, industrial fire, Honeywell Fire Safety, discussed areas where Honeywell is getting into new areas or expanding its capabilities.

“Incidents occur in the petrochem industry all the time,” Pecora said, to the tune of $20b a year. It’s not uncommon in process locations to have small incidents that don’t make the news as the big events do, but those incidents need accurate and reliable equipment just the same, he said.

He said Honeywell’s new HS-81 is a unique, “all-in-one-solution” for smoke, flame, gas and extinguishing that meets global certifications.

The red herring: Where is Alarm.com in the IPO process now?

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The red herring: Where is Alarm.com in the IPO process now? We got some new information about the Alarm.com IPO on Monday, June 15, when the interactive service provider filed its preliminary prospectus for its IPO. It will offer 7 million shares of Alarm.com for “between $13 and $15 per share,” according to the document. Assuming shares go for $14, Alarm.com will raise $98 million.

Monday’s announcement comes about three weeks after its May 22 IPO S-1 filing with the SEC, which was valued at $75 million. Here’s my report on that filing.

Why did the value of the IPO change in three weeks and what’s the prognosis here? To get up to speed on Alarm.com’s  IPO process and what to expect in coming weeks, I made a few calls to some friendly finance mavens for an IPO primer.

Below is what I learned.

The first step, which Alarm.com took on May 22, is the filing of its S-1 with the SEC. That’s the 250-page tome that commandeered my office printer for a while and is now sitting on a shelf in my office. As part of the filing, Alarm.com has to provide various required documents to the SEC and to the other organizations. They also have to choose underwriters.

Who are these underwriters?  They’re investment banks that agree to underwrite or take risk on the new shares. In the Alarm.com case, the underwriters are –well, about every bank you’ve ever heard of: Goldman, Sachs & Co.; Credit Suisse; BofA; Merrill Lynch; Stifel; Raymond James; William Blair; and Imperial Capital.

What do the underwriters do? It’s their obligation to stand behind the stock in the IPO process. They weigh in on the preliminary prospectus, particularly on the business description. Did I mention that the preliminary prospectus is a second 250-page document, which I did not print out.

Between the S-1 and the preliminary prospectus, the estimated value of the IPO went from $75 million in the S-1 filing to $98 million in the preliminary prospectus. That jump represents what the lead underwriter believes the market will bear.

The preliminary prospectus has another name. It’s called a “red herring.” Not a very flattering name for a document you’re going to base an investment on, if you ask me. But that’s because I didn’t know the third definition of red herring until today.

Here are three possible meanings for a red herring:

1. A smoked fish, which is red and has a pungent smell.
2. Something intended to divert attention from the real problem or matter at hand; a misleading clue.
3. Also called red-herring prospectus. Finance. a tentative prospectus circulated by the underwriters of a new issue of stocks or bonds that is pending approval by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission: so called because the front cover of such a prospectus must carry a special notice printed in red.

Now we’re ready for the next step: The road show. “Red herring” in hand, the underwriters and Alarm.com folks visit big cities and talk to investors about how great Alarm.com is.

The roadshow will last one- to two weeks while underwriters "build a book"—that is, compile a list of potential investors. Their goal is to build the book to well beyond what they need to sell. So if they have to sell 7 million shares, for example, they want to get orders of more than 7 million. That’s because in the aftermarket, there are people who may flip the stock for a small profit.

Most of the stock will still be owned by the Alarm.com management and their private equity investors. Those guys cannot sell the stock for a certain period of time—roughly 150 days.

Typically an IPO represents only 25- to 40 percent of the value of the company sold to the public. The public shareholders are the ones who could possibly flip the stock. Still, it’s good to have lots of orders for the stock above and beyond what’s required. It stabilizes the price in the case of flippers.

Once the underwriters are comfortable that the book is robust enough, the IPO happens.

About a week after the IPO, the final prospectus comes out and anyone who owns stock gets this final prospectus.  It is no longer a red herring! It includes information on final commissions, who sold what stock, disclosures about how much the underwriters got paid, and ultimately the net proceeds.

Alarm.com and the underwriters are in road trip mode now. If all goes well the IPO should happen by the end of the month. In the first week or so of July, we should have a new and improved number on the value of the IPO and the fully diluted market value for Alarm.com.

According to the red herring prospectus, the common stock to be outstanding after this IPO will be 44,846,440 shares. The underwriters will get a 30-day over- allotment option to purchase up to an additional 525,000 shares.

 

Hawaii-based PERS dealer acquired

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tunstall Americas on June 9 announced its acquisition of Kupuna Monitoring Systems, a PERS dealer based in Aiea, Hawaii. While the number of accounts and the price of the deal were not released, Allison Frazer, Tunstall Americas’ director of marketing, told me it was part of an ongoing company strategy.

Tunstall focuses on supplying and monitoring PERS devices for seniors. As such, Frazer said the company is actively looking to have a larger presence in warmer climates, which tend to have higher concentrations of seniors, Frazer said. “Hawaii alone has over 40,000 seniors who we believe can benefit from our services," she said.

These accounts will be monitored from Tunstall’s 87,000 square-foot “Connected Care Center” in Pawtucket, R.I. Kupuna’s accounts were previously monitored by Philips. 

Frazer said that Kupuna would start offering Tunstall systems, which it hadn’t done previously, and will transition all existing Kupuna customers to Tunstall equipment. 

"We are proud of the work we have done the past 10 years to support the elder community throughout Hawaii, and very grateful for the trust people have put in KMS,” Cullen Hayashida, president and founder of KMS, said in a prepared statement.

“We believe that our local service delivery and strong relationships with healthcare institutions and government agencies combined with Tunstall's world-class connected care monitoring products and services will create new opportunities to serve Hawaii’s kupuna and their families,” Hayashida continued, in the statement.

According to the release, Kupuna is the Hawaiian word for elder.

Tunstall also operates back up facility in Long Island City, N.Y.

Huronia Alarms sees very low attrition rates

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I talk to central stations across the gambit—large and small, national and regional—but the one thing I always like hearing about is what makes each stand out. For Huronia Alarms, based in Midland, Ontario, that’s a low attrition rate and its status as a “boutique” central station.

Huronia has an attrition rate of about 4 percent, Kevin Leonard, Huronia president and CEO told me.“Most of that attrition is just because people have sold their houses. We don't have a lot of customers leave us [because they’re unhappy].”

“Because we’re smaller, we can do the oddball things. We do a lot of work for process plants like water treatment plants … where it’s not your typical burg or fire alarm that’s coming through. It could be a high-chlorine alarm, or a clarifier alarm,” Leonard said.

The company currently monitors about 6,500 accounts, mostly their own with some third party monitoring. Huronia’s account growth is both organic and through acquisitions.

Leonard said that an emerging market in the area is monitoring for seniors, as more people are choosing to retire within Huronia’s footprint.

Huronia’s central station is CSAA Five Diamond certified. In addition to security, it has departments in fire and life safety, home audio and theater, locksmithing. The company has about 50 employees, Leonard said.

Drako-Brivo deal and ‘the new security dealer’

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

There’s been a lot of talk about cloud services and managed services proliferating in the security industry, but “to a large degree it has been a head fake,” according to John Mack, EVP and co-head of investment banking at Imperial Capital.

Many of the so-called cloud products are not true cloud-based systems, and managed services is in it infancy as well, Mack said.
 
He believes that the news that Dean Drako, owner of cloud-based VMS provider Eagle Eye and founder of Barracuda Networks, has purchased Brivo, the original cloud-based access control system, may help propel the emergence of a new kind of security dealer.

“These guys will be the leader,” he said.

“My guess is that we will see the evolution of a new class of dealer focused on the managed services and cloud-based model” who will do high volumes of business with small- and medium-sized businesses, Mack told me.

The combination of Brivo and Eagle Eye products (the companies will offer an integrated version of their products beginning in July) would provide a “complete solution” for dealers to sell as a managed services offering to the SMB market and multi-site location businesses, Mack said.

This new managed services security dealer would have to be more like an alarm dealer who focuses on RMR as opposed to an integrator who focuses on install revenue. They would also have to be “sales oriented guys not tech-oriented guys,” Mack said.

But, they’ll have to have the technical sophistication to deal with SMB owners, he said.

This model involves high-volume work, which requires capital to subsidize the installation, larger dealers would likely have to secure a lines of credit from banks.
 
But the RMR would be much higher than the alarm model. It could be as much as a couple hundred dollars versus $40 for an alarm monitoring contract, Mack said. Importantly, the attrition rate for Brivo customers “is meaningfully lower than the 12 percent you hear about [in the residential market],” Mack said.

“It will be a great business model that can create a ton of value for dealers,” Mack said. With a lot of managed services RMR, that dealer would be an attractive acquisition target for ADT, Stanley, Protection 1, and Diebold that want to increase their presence in the SMB and multi-location business market.

Who knows, Mack surmised, the future may find a Monitronics-type business that runs a dealer program and buy accounts from security dealers who sell Eagle-Eye/Brivo-type products. “That would take bank capital- raising out of the equation.”

“A lot of positive things for dealers could spin out of this business model,” Mack said.

Imperial Capital advised Brivo in the deal.

 
 

Siemens Security Products now part of Vanderbilt

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Vanderbilt Industries on Monday announced it has completed the acquisition of the Security Products business from Siemens.

The deal, announced in October, expands Vanderbilt’s footprint, R&D capabilities and product portfolio. The Siemens' division has been rebranded as Vanderbilt and is headquartered in Wiesbaden, Germany.

Joseph Grillo, Vanderbilt managing director, spoke to Security Systems News in November about the deal. Here's a llink to that story where he said Vanderbilt will look for more acquisitions.

And here's a link to a story about proprietary versus open systems. It's based on a TechSec educational session that Grillo participated in.

In Monday's announcement, Vanderbilt said it will expand beyond its presence here in North America and in Europe and is particularly interested in South America and Asia Pacific.
 


The Security Products division brings with it access control, intrusion alarm and video surveillance products. Its brand names include: Aliro, Alarmcom, Bewator, Cotag, Europlex, SPC and Vectis. Vanderbilt plans to retain existing brand names.
 


In a prepared statement, Grillo said the company has "a commitment to reinvest at least 10 percent of our annual revenue into new research and development, and therefore, look forward to introducing new innovations that exceed industry expectations and drive sustained growth

Monitoring companies called to action on NFPA vote

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The alarm monitoring industry is taking notice of the NFPA. There are two motions proposed for vote at NFPA’s meeting this year that could have a serious impact on the industry. This pair of motions directly refers to the NFPA 72 Nation Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, which, in the current draft of the 2016 edition states that listed central stations can be used for fire alarm monitoring. A group based in northern Illinois opposes this language, and seeks to alter it, giving local municipalities more authority in the matter.

“What’s happening in Chicago is that some of these communities are operating their own monitoring center. … This [code] would enable that community to have an effective monopoly on alarm monitoring,” said Kevin Lehan, executive director for the Illinois Electronic Security Association and EMERgency24’s manager of public relations.

Lehan noted that, while the authority pushing these motions is from Chicago, it is still a national code. “This is a nationwide problem. If this can happen in Illinois … it could happen in [any community].”

Jay Hauhn, CSAA's executive director, agreed, saying that if either of the motions passed, “other municipalities may see it as a revenue opportunity and also seek to prohibit the use of non-government monitoring centers.”

“The big problem is: This is happening in Illinois, and it’s being challenged by the Illinois fire inspectors,” Ed Bonifas, executive VP of Alarm Detection Systems, told me. “The fire departments that feel this way the most can come out in force, because it happens to be here.”

The vote will be held at the NFPA’s 2015 meeting, at McCormick Place in Chicago, June 25. In order to vote, you must have been a member of NFPA before Dec. 25, 2014, and you must be there in person to vote.

“Right now the language that is in place … for the revised 2016 edition states that the AHJ shall allow central stations to provide this service,” Lehan said. The first motion, 72-8, seeks to alter this language, adding the prefix "When permitted by the Authority Having Jurisdiction,” again giving the AHJ the ability to disallow independent central stations as an option for fire alarm monitoring. This motion would revert the language to how it appeared in the previous, 2013, edition.

The second motion affecting this code, motion 72-9, would entirely strike the line referring to central stations, 26.5.3.1.3, from the code. CSAA, as well as others in the industry, are pushing for a negative vote for both motions.

“If either one of those motions passes, customers will not necessarily … have the ability to use UL-listed monitoring centers for their [fire monitoring],” Hauhn said. 

“The alarm industry here in Illinois has been struggling with the fire service that wants to monitor alarms and prevent alarm companies from doing the same,” Bonifas said. “It’s my contention that there’s a huge conflict of interest when the authority—the fire department—is participating in the business, and then is able to be the one to decide who else can participate,” he said.

A negative vote on both motions would not exclude municipalities from providing monitoring, but instead, ensure that listed central stations are an option.

“All the monitoring industry is trying to do is level the playing field so that government run monitoring centers must meet the same high standards that commercially operated monitoring centers adhere to,” Hauhn said.

“The 2016 draft of the code that’s being considered right now has new language in it that says that listed central stations can monitor alarms. … That sets up a competitive landscape; government can monitor alarms, and private companies can if they follow the code,” Bonifas said. “Competition is good for the consumer because it creates better pricing, but it also creates better service."

Wait, what year is this?

 - 
Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My colleague, Spencer Ives, has been keeping me updated on our latest Security Systems News Poll about women in the security industry.

What do I have to say?

Here’s what I say: I am appalled.

I can’t believe I am even writing these words in 2015. Some of the comments responding to our poll are unbelievable, so misogynistic that I can’t even put them on here. (Hint: It’s better for a woman to be barefoot and pregnant.)

While some respondents talk about how vital it is to have women in the physical security workplace, others—women—speak of how they’ve been discriminated against, how they’ve had to leave their jobs because of harassment; the “good old boys’ network” has a complete and solid divide when it comes to women in security positions.

I have met so many enthusiastic women in the security field. Dynamic, smart and successful women. I have attended Women's Security Council gatherings to honor women who have served so well and who do such a great job at the executive level.

I have also met many men in the industry who would never, ever, say a disparaging remark about their female coworkers. They're partners; they work to the best of their abilities to serve their customers. 

Here's to all of you who do such great job, no matter your gender!

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