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New voices join alliance for video-verified alarms

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Partnership for Priority Video Alarm Response has added four new voices to its campaign to increase arrests and reduce property losses through the use of video-verified alarms.

Joining the PPVAR’s board of directors are Jacqueline Grimm, vice president of security solutions for Diebold Inc.; Douglas Curtiss, president of Sonitrol New England; Jon Bolen, chief technology officer for Interface Security Systems; and Robert Baxter, president of Radius Security.

The new directors from the security industry will work with representatives from the National Sheriffs Association and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an alliance of groups that would have seemed unlikely a few years ago.  

“We’re pleased to join PPVAR to promote priority response to video alarms that are verified by a certified central station,” Grimm said in a prepared statement from the partnership. “[Diebold has] offered alarm verification services for many years, and our focus on priority response, apprehension and risk reduction provides comprehensive threat protection. Also, by assisting law enforcement with a second-by-second situation analysis, we can help improve officer and customer safety while increasing criminal apprehension rates.”

Bolen, who was the chief product officer for Westec before it was recently acquired by Interface, is a 15-year veteran of video verification. He cited its benefits by breaking down the numbers.

“We have reduced and maintained our dispatch rate to less than 3 percent of events handled by our operators, meaning that over 97 percent of the alarms we receive are resolved without the costly, and often needless, intervention of authorities,” he said in the PPVAR statement. “We are pleased to join an organization promoting this kind of value.”

Curtiss of Sonitrol, which has a history working with police to make arrests through audio verification, echoed Bolen’s sentiments.

“Whether it is audio or video, the operator is a witness to a crime in progress,” he said. “From my perspective, the ‘V’ in PPVAR is ‘verification.’ We support his organization and its work to reduce false alarms and make more arrests.”

Canada gets a nod in the PPVAR with the addition of Baxter. He is president of Radius Security, a Greater Vancouver video monitoring central station.

“Alarm response in many cities in Canada has been degrading as budgets and police resources decline,” he said. “Video-verified alarms help us provide greater security for our customers and reduce false alarms for our law enforcement partners.”

Innovations make Time & Alarm stand out

Integrator succeeds with marketing strategies ‘other companies don’t think about’
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12/10/2012

MIRA LOMA, Calif.—Time & Alarm Systems is one of Gamewell-FCI’s top distributors, and company CEO and President Keith Senn points to some innovative marketing initiatives as an important factor in the company’s success.

Pivot3 expands services to integrators

Following profitable year, storage provider restructures sales, offers IT consultations
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12/07/2012

AUSTIN, Texas—As it moves into its 10th year in business, serverless storage provider Pivot3 has restructured its sales force and added new services for integrators.

Fidelity Alarm upgrades fire system at major transit facility

Silent Knight system chosen for large maintenance complex owned by transportation authority in Pennsylvania
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12/07/2012

PHILADELPHIA—Ease of use was one reason why a new Silent Knight by Honeywell fire alarm system was chosen to upgrade a huge facility owned by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), one of the nation’s largest transportation hubs, according to the company that handled the project.

Vivint rapidly automating Canadian homes

 - 
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Vivint signaled it was one of the nation’s home automation market leaders nearly two years ago when it changed its name from APX Alarm to Vivint, rebranding to reflect its expansion beyond home security into home automation services. The company has done so well that it has entered into a deal to be sold to the Blackstone group for more than $2 billion.

Now the Provo, Utah-based summer model company seems to be turning its focus to Canada. A recent press release from the company says that country “ranks among Vivint’s fastest growing markets.”

Here’s more from the news release:

"More than two out of three (68 percent) of Vivint’s Canadian customers in 2012 adopted one or more home automation features after purchasing a Vivint home security system. That was up from 57.6 percent compared to the previous year. Vivint’s home automation features include live video feeds of a home from a smartphone or computer, app-controlled door locks, thermostats, lighting features, alarms, motion detectors, and a variety of sensors."

It appears that Canadians are really eager for home automation services.

 

Are you getting all you can out of your dispatchers?

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Picture the perfect world for a monitoring manager: Every dispatcher takes every call efficiently and professionally, with no need for motivation beyond a paycheck and the satisfaction of a job well done. There are no prizes, awards, back-patting or cajoling, saving you time, money and maybe even a bit of your hairline.

If your central station has a work force that rises to that level, congratulations. Chances are, though, that no matter how many self-motivators you have, you also have employees who are content to just do their time—punch in, punch out, repeat. Maybe the work they’re doing can be considered satisfactory, but that’s not going to cut it in an industry that is getting more competitive by the day.

So how do you get those staffers to take it up a notch to help themselves and your company? To answer that question, the CSAA has recruited Amy Becht and Michelle Lindus, central station managers for Vivint, to share their expertise in a Dec. 12 webinar titled “Measuring Performance for Excellence.”

The session will focus on what the CSAA calls “the nuanced art and science” of measuring and improving staff performance. That includes assessing objective and subjective customer call metrics, promoting professionalism among dispatchers, and implementing incentives. Becht and Lindus will highlight some of the best practices employed by Vivint, which was named 2012 Central Station of the Year by the CSAA.

Becht, honored as the CSAA’s Manager of the Year, oversees monitoring at Vivint’s central station in St. Paul, Minn. She talked about home security in SSN’s “How I Use My System” feature in the September 2012 issue. Lindus is manager of Vivint’s central station in Provo, Utah.

The webinar will run from 1 to 2 p.m. EST and is free for CSAA members. Click here to register or go to www.csaaintl.org.

SIA pursues waiver to increase flow of port funding from DHS

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12/04/2012

WASHINGTON—The election is a memory, the robocalls have ceased and Congress is locked in a lame-duck session. While the so-called “fiscal cliff” is generating the lion’s share of discussion inside the Beltway, port funding is the talk of the town in the security profession.

ADT to add 120 jobs at Florida HQ

 - 
Friday, November 30, 2012

The ADT Corp. won praise from Florida Gov. Rick Scott at an event this week at which ADT announced it will add 120 jobs at its Boca Raton headquarters, according to a newspaper report.

Florida state, county and local governments have pledged $1.6 million in a public funding incentive package to persuade ADT to stay in Florida and create the jobs, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. It said the jobs would be created over the next couple of years and be in “human resources, information technology, finance, legal and other positions needed at a corporate headquarters and public company.”

The paper quoted ADT CEO Naren Gursahaney as saying at the event that ADT already has added 600 new employees this year in its offices throughout the state, and that ADT has “committed to continue to grow our workforce here."

Here’s more from the Sun-Sentinel report:
 

The security company was offered a $1.6 million incentive package to remain in Boca Raton and create at least 120 jobs. Palm Beach County approved a $184,000 job growth incentive grant as part of the package.

Gov. Scott [who attended the event] said the incentive package is based on a formula to provide a "five times" return on taxpayer dollars. Enterprise Florida has given economic incentives to about 140 companies this year that have made commitments to create 22,000 to 23,000 jobs, he said.   

Scott said he was pleased ADT chose Florida for its headquarters instead of Texas, his rival in job-creation efforts. ADT has a large office in Dallas.

Palm Beach County Commission Chairman Steven Abrams pointed out that of the 46 corporate headquarters in Palm Beach County, nearly half of them are in Boca Raton.

"You have to have a plan. The City of Boca Raton has a plan backed up by dollars and that's making a difference," Abrams said.

In 2010, ADT was offered $1.3 million in incentives to invest in its new North American corporate headquarters at 1501 Yamato Road. At that time, the company committed to creating 20 jobs over five years.

ADT has 16,000 employees worldwide, 700 of whom work in South Florida.

Sarah Cohn, ADT director of media relations, has told me that it is “normal practice” for a lot of companies to seek such public incentives. “Many state and local governments seek to incentivize companies to stay in their areas," she said.

In fact, ADT, which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 1, was just one of three companies that Palm Beach County commissioners recently unanimously approved to receive such incentives, according to the Sun-Sentinel. Aerospace company Pratt & Whitney and Digital Risk, a financial services company, each was approved for $300,000 in county grants and millions more in state and city funding to create jobs, the newspaper said.

 

Tri-Ed/Northern buys SGI

Deal brings 13 branch offices in the Southwest, and Tri-Ed will also open an office in Cincinnati
 - 
11/30/2012

WOODBURY, N.Y.—Tri-Ed/Northern today closed a deal to buy San Antonio-based SGI, a wholesale distributor with 13 branches and about 80 employees, Pat Comunale, Tri-Ed/Northern president and CEO, told Security Systems News.

Monitor America debuts at ISC East

 - 
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SecureWatch 24’s new Fusion Centre in Moonachie, N.J., has a new tenant: Monitor America.

That’s the name of the company that will be operating the 25,000-square-foot central station at the facility, which served as an emergency command post for police and municipal officials after Hurricane Sandy.

Jay Stuck, chief marketing officer for Monitor America, said the company “brings together virtually all existing alarm and hosted video services available today, including video analytics, in one central point.”

Stuck said Monitor America is developing a third-party sales initiative and a traditional dealer program. It will all be anchored by the advanced technology at the Fusion Centre, with a 40-by-11-foot video display wall overlooking stadium-style seating for 36 operators.

“It looks like something NASA might put together—our dealer customers and integrators will be knocked out by it,” he said.

Monitor America is hosting a sneak preview of its new facility during ISC East and is expected to begin formal operations by the end of January.

After the storm: How did you cell carrier measure up?

It’s only been a month since Sandy, but officials are already deep into assessing its impact on everything from tunnel vulnerability to emergency communications. Part of the evaluation concerns cellular service, with FCC hearings set early next year on network performance during and after the storm.

Lou Fiore, chairman of the Alarm Industry Communications Committee, said the group plans to weigh in and is seeking comment on the following:

1) How alarm service was adversely affected by cellular carriers’ handling of the storm.
2) How cell carriers handled prioritizing restoration of service.
3) How cell carriers communicated with alarm companies about storm issues.
4) How any problems can be resolved.

Fiore said the issue will be discussed at the AICC’s Dec. 6 meeting and all comments are appreciated. Responses can be sent to Ltfiore@aol.com.
 

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