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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?

 - 
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

 - 
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.
 

Prism Skylabs launches partner program

Integrators can make ‘$100-plus per site per month’
 - 
11/27/2012

SAN FRANCISCO—Prism Skylabs, a cloud-based service that enables business owners to use data from existing video surveillance cameras for business intelligence, marketing and other purposes, last week launched a partner program.

ADT makes RMR forecast

 - 
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The ADT Corp., which just became independent in September, says its Pulse product is doing so well that it predicts that recurring revenue will grow by 4.9 percent to 5.2 percent in fiscal year 2013, the company said this week in a report on its Q4 and fiscal year 2012 results.

“We delivered solid recurring revenue growth fueled by the continued success of Pulse in the residential and small business security markets,” ADT CEO Naren Gursahaney said in a statement. “Our focus for 2013 is to deliver meaningful shareholder value by leveraging our competitive strengths to accelerate growth and through the efficient deployment of capital.”

ADT reported that in Q4, recurring revenue was $742 million, up 5.2 percent. The company said that was "driven by 4.4 percent growth in average revenue per customer, which rose to $38.87, and 1.1 percent net growth in customer accounts."

ADT also is initiating a dividend and has a share buyback plan. Here's what Bloomberg News had to say on that this week:
 

ADT Corp. authorized a $2 billion share repurchase program and initiated a quarterly dividend after investors George Soros and hedge-fund manager Keith Meister called on the home-security company to buy back stock.

The buyback will end in November 2015 and the quarterly dividend will amount to 12.5 cents a share, the Boca Raton, Florida-based company said in a statement today. ADT was spun off from Tyco International Ltd. (TYC) in September.

In October, billionaire Soros joined Meister in urging ADT to buy back about 45 percent of its stock with borrowed money to take advantage of low interest rates after they became the company’s biggest investors. ADT today reported adjusted earnings per share of 43 cents in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, matching the average analyst estimate. Recurring revenue rose 5.2 percent to $742 million.

The company has more than 6 million customers in the U.S. and Canada, providing security to homes and businesses with products including the ADT Pulse system.

 

MCS Fire & Security wins university MNS contract

 - 
11/26/2012

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—MCS Fire & Security, based here, recently announced it won a contract to upgrade the fire alarm system at Texas Christian University and use it as the backbone of new mass notification/emergency communication system.

Clerk’s death brings call for mandatory video surveillance

 - 
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

City-mandated video surveillance? It’s on the table in Pine Bluff, Ark.

In the wake of the unsolved killing of a convenience store clerk, local leaders are considering an ordinance to require convenience stores and restaurants to install and maintain surveillance cameras on their properties, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported on Nov. 12.

The move was prompted by the shooting death of Mohammad Islam during an attempted robbery Sept. 25 at the Big Red Food Mart. The shooter has not been apprehended, a situation that police investigators say has not been helped by the fact that security cameras inside the store were not working at the time of the crime.

“What we want to ensure is the safety of people working in these stores,” said Alderman George Stepps, who sponsored the ordinance. “That’s the bottom line here.”

Fines of up to $1,000 could be assessed against storeowners, managers or clerks at properties found in noncompliance. The city’s Fire and Emergency Services Department would inspect properties and ensure that cameras are operational.

According to the Democrat-Gazette, Pine Bluff—population 49,083—could be the first city of its size in the state to have such an ordinance.

Capt. Greg Shapiro of the Pine Bluff Police Department told the newspaper that the department supports the proposal and sees it as a crime deterrent.

“We asked for this piece of legislation following [Islam’s] murder,” Shapiro said. “We don’t want to place a financial burden on any business, but this is 2012, and the technology is available and affordable to protect employees [of these businesses] and help us deter, as well as solve, crimes.”

Keith Jentoft, president of RSI Video Technologies, said the proposed ordinance is a sign of the times: using technology to fight crime instead of throwing declining law enforcement personnel against it.

“What I find fascinating is that the motivation is not to reduce false alarms, but to make arrests,” Jentoft told Security Systems News. He said Pine Bluff’s ordinance and similar legislation can help the alarm industry “upsell an entire community of businesses so that their alarm systems can do a better job of protecting people.”

The Pine Bluff City Council on Monday night postponed a vote on the proposal.

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