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Prism Skylabs raises $7.5 million

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Prism Skylabs has raised another $7.5 milliion in funding, the company announced today. Here's a link to the story. I've put a call into founder Steve Russell, (also founder of 3VR) and expect I'll get a chance to speak to him in the next few day. Prism Skylabs, which offers a cloud service that "leverages data from existing video surveillance cameras to unlock information on customer patterns, trends and behaviors",  was launched just before ASIS 2012. Here's an ssnTVnews video interview I did with Steve Russell at ASIS 2012, where he talks about the company, and its first investment round ($1.5 million from the SV Angel, Yuri Milner, Eric Schmidt, Aaron Patzer, Brad Garlinghouse, CrunchFund and others)

 

ADS growth plan: ‘one branch a year’

The company achieved that in 2012 with purchase of Mississippi security company; now looks toward 2013
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10/17/2012

NASHVILLE—ADS Security’s recent acquisition of a Mississippi security company not only gave ADS an entry into a new state but also fulfilled the company’s growth plan of adding a new office each year, according to John Cerasuolo, ADS president and CEO.

ECKey closes funding round

Investors include industry vet Robert Chefitz
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10/17/2012

LANCASTER, Pa.—ECKey, a startup manufacturer of smartphone access-control readers and systems, has closed its first funding round, Paul Bodell, ECKey president, told Security Systems News.

Two New Mexico security firms merge

New company touts ‘unique model’ of providing in-person response to alarms with its staff of veteran police officers
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10/17/2012

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Two security companies here, Select Security Systems and Armed Response Team, recently merged.

Security Partners opens Advanced Services Division

Demand for managed video and access control drives new offering
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10/17/2012

LANCASTER, Pa.—Security Partners, a wholesale monitoring company based here, has launched an Advanced Services Division to keep pace with market demand for managed video and access control and to boost RMR for dealers.

Management changes at Avigilon

COO Andrew Martz to step down
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10/17/2012

VANCOUVER—Avigilon, a rapidly growing provider of high-definition surveillance products, announced this week that COO Andrew Martz will resign at the end of the year. The COO position will be divided into two new roles: EVP of product development and EVP of global operations.

ADT wins public grant to aid in job growth

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The ADT Corp., the newly independent company created by the recent breakup of Tyco International, appears on its way to a public-private partnership in Florida that would result in ADT adding more than 100 new jobs.

Palm Beach County yesterday approved giving ADT a grant of $184,000 in return for the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company creating 120 new jobs and retaining 260 jobs at its headquarters, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel newspaper.

The county approval is just one step in the process. “The proposal also calls for ADT to get $184,000 form Boca Raton and about $1.3 million from the state,” according to the newspaper.

Sarah Cohn, ADT director of media relations, noted that the proposal is not finalized because the state still needs to sign off on it.

The proposed 120 jobs would be “a mixture of all different types of corporate positions,” she said.

Why is ADT, a leading home security company with some 16,000 employees and about $3 billion in sales each year, seeking such taxpayer-funded incentives?

Cohn told me that seeking such incentives is “normal practice” for a lot of companies. “Many state and local governments seek to incentivize companies to stay in their areas," she said.

Indeed, ADT, which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 1, was just one of three companies that county commissioners unanimously approved to receive such incentives, according to the article in 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.

The Sun Sentinel noted that there has been criticism about investing taxpayer dollars in private companies, but that county officials said creating jobs makes the investment worthwhile.

The newspaper quotes County Commission Chairwoman Shelley Vana as saying: "We are competing with a lot of other places for jobs. We are going to be smart about how we do it.”

Head of fire chiefs' group casts vote for ASAP

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

It’s the season of spin. But no matter how you slice it, the opening paragraph of last week’s commentary by Hank Clemmensen, president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, isn’t a ringing endorsement of central stations.

“I always had supported remote station monitoring for my city’s fire alarms, both because I believed it would provide faster notification and because I believed central stations always take too long,” wrote Clemmensen, the fire chief in Inverness, Ill., on the website FireChief.com. “Phone calls between the central station operators and our PSAP take way too much time, and the conversations are vulnerable to errors.”

It’s tough to argue with that. The garbling of names and addresses has long been an issue for police and fire departments, and when is an emergency call ever fast enough? But it turns out that Clemmensen doesn’t have an ax to grind with the alarm community, as he quickly makes clear in hailing a top industry initiative: the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol.

“The interface allows a central station operator who has to notify a PSAP of an alarm to transmit all the information directly to that PSAP’s CAD screen with only a few keystrokes,” he said. “… Think about an operator from the Deep South talking to a PSAP call taker from New Jersey or Boston. Both are speaking English, but the languages are different. The interface transfers data without a telephone conversation—eliminating the chance of the PSAP call taker misunderstanding the central station alarm operator.”

Clemmensen goes on to praise the Central Station Alarm Association and the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System for laying the necessary groundwork to secure the ASAP system. The computerized message broker for ASAP is at the Nlets facility in Phoenix.

“A core group of alarm companies financed the development and implementation of this system, and they are committed to getting jurisdictions with large numbers of alarms connected to ASAP,” he said.

Clemmensen’s take on the protocol has to be music to the CSAA’s ears. It also serves as a rallying point for other fire chiefs nationwide.

“Are you willing to reduce your response times by at least 1.5 to 3 minutes with quicker alarm notification and fewer errors? It sounds like a no-brainer,” he said. “The majority of fire alarms are not true emergencies, and if this new interface gets us the needed information sooner, responses could be modified. … This could just be one more tool to help reduce line-of-duty deaths and make sure everyone goes home.”

ADT job growth linked to public funding incentives

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Security Systems News has written previously about plans that The ADT Corp has to add 150 new monitoring jobs at its Irving, Texas facility by the end of November.

But now that new independent company—which emerged from the recent breakup of Tyco International and began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 1—also reportedly has plans to add 120 jobs at its headquarters in Boca Raton, Fla.

However, to create those Florida jobs, ADT is seeking as much as $1.62 million in state, county and local funding, according to the South Florida Business Journal.

Here’s some of what that publication had to say about the security giant, which it notes has revenues of more than $3 billion per year:
 

ADT Security Services received $1.24 million from the state in 2010 for creating 100 jobs as part of the construction of its Yamato Road headquarters. … On Tuesday, Palm Beach County commissioners will vote on whether to extend ADT an offer for $184,000 in job growth incentives. Boca Raton has pledged to give the company the same amount, while the state has offered ADT $1.25 million.
The money would be paid out over three years, should ADT create 120 jobs with annual salaries of $81,110, plus retain 260 current jobs. The company must also spend at least $400,000 retrofitting 175,000 square feet in its headquarters. … The regional economic model shown to the county states that ADT would have a $138 million economic impact over five years.

I’ve reached out to ADT to learn more about the jobs, the plan to redo its headquarters and why it’s asking for the public incentives. Stay posted!

 

Readers see reality of 'sunset' after AT&T sets 2G deadline

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10/16/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—AT&T’s 2G “sunset” announcement in August didn’t surprise many people in the alarm industry: Only 9 percent had doubted it was imminent, according to a recent SSN News Poll. But despite that perspective, a majority of respondents said they had not yet begun upgrade their cellular equipment to 3G or 4G.

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