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Going mobile

The changing PERS market presents opportunities, challenges for central stations
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07/25/2012

America’s elderly population is increasing and is becoming increasingly mobile, with health care technology advancing in lock step. That fact hasn’t been lost on the monitoring world, which is gearing up for new revenue opportunities that will accompany the growth of personal emergency response systems (PERS) and mobile PERS devices.

Rapid’s expansion plans reach east and west

Company moving ahead with headquarters project, new central station
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07/25/2012

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Double-digit growth at Rapid Response is fueling a two-pronged expansion strategy, with plans proceeding for a new central station in the western United States and $11.3 million of new construction proposed at the company’s headquarters here.

Lights out for 2G? 'Sunset' debate heats up

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Still looking for clarity about the “2G sunset” and whether you’ll be left holding the bag if you don’t upgrade your cellular alarm communicators to 3G (or even 4G) right now?   

You’re not alone. The buzz continued last month at ESX, with manufacturers jockeying to try to sway alarm dealers. Telguard, the company sounding the loudest warning about the sunset, went one step further by announcing a program that gives dealers up to $25 for every 2G cell communicator they replace with a Telguard 3G/4G product. The company does not sell 2G.

“We estimate the industry has 3 million 2G radios that will have to be replaced in the next five years,” said Shawn Welsh, vice president of marketing and business development for Telguard.

Unlike AMPS, the date for the 2G sunset will not be determined by the FCC; it will determined by cellular carriers based on capacity constraints and customer demand for 3G. Carriers have already begun reallocating frequency spectrum to accommodate 3G, Welsh said, cutting into the effectiveness of 2G equipment.

But not everyone believes the sky is falling when it comes to 2G, at least not in the next few years. Among those taking a different approach is Mike Boyle, general manager of Uplink. The company is continuing to offer 2G lines while rolling out 4G at the same time.

“People are still buying a lot of 2G products,” he said. “We think we may continue to sell 2G beyond the third quarter of this year. Everything we see in the network says it will be around.”

Uplink backs its business plan with the following assertions on its website:

—2G is a proven technology with falling price points as manufacturing costs decrease.
—No carrier has announced a sunset date for its 2G network.
—Uplink’s communicators operate with multiple carriers and will continue to provide nationwide coverage late into the decade or longer.

The company also offers a lifetime guarantee to replace its 2G products with 4G if the 2G units fail to operate due to a carrier technology change. Boyle said the approach covers all bases by recognizing the realities of the marketplace.

“Requests for 4G are minimal,” he said. “When a guy asks for 4G, we ship 4G. But our business is still 98 percent 2G.”

An industry source who spoke to Security Systems News on condition of anonymity said a sunset announcement from AT&T would be made “in the next few months,” which could knock a lot of people off the fence if they’ve been considering a move to 3G/4G. But longevity is key for alarm dealers, and if they can hang onto their 2G gear for another year or two (or four), many probably will.

It’s the nature of the beast.

Prevent CO poisoning: Alarm companies should help Californians help themselves

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

It’s now more than a year since California’s new law mandating carbon monoxide detectors in all single-family homes with an attached garage or fossil fuel source. However, a new survey shows many residents remain unprotected.

Seems to me there’s a marketing opportunity here that alarm companies would do well to take advantage of—to not only help themselves but also California residents.

It’s true that the new law, which took effect July 1, 2011, doesn’t require Californians to opt for monitored alarms instead of ones they can buy at the hardware store. But in a story I wrote last summer, John Hopper, president of the California Alarm Association, said he believes many residents will chose the monitored option as the safest.

“The state law has positioned us to perhaps increase revenues for the industry, from sales of the devices and associated monitoring,” he told me then.

A year later, perhaps this new survey will provide added impetus for residents and alarm companies.

Below is more from a recent news release on the survey, which was done on behalf of Kidde, a manufacturer of residential fire safety products, and the California Safe Homes Coalition. Kidde is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp.
 

While more than half of Californians are aware of a law requiring residential carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, many residents remain unprotected, according to a survey from independent research group, Qualtrics. Nearly half (46 percent) of respondents do not have a CO alarm in their home despite the overwhelming presence of both fuel-burning appliances (84 percent) and attached garages (75 percent) – the state-determined criteria for installation and primary risk factors for accidental CO poisoning.
 
The results come on the eve of the law’s one-year anniversary on July 1. Nearly half of respondents without a CO alarm stated they know they need one, but haven’t found the time to install the life-saving device. Another one-third of respondents believe that they do not need an alarm even though it is the only safe way to detect CO, an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas.

“We are encouraged that many California residents have heard our message, understand the dangers of CO poisoning and have installed an alarm,” explained Kevin Nida, president, California State Firefighters’ Association (CSFA), a supporter of the California Safe Homes Coalition and co-sponsor of State Bill 183. “However, we urge those who have not yet acted to do so now. Carbon monoxide is perceived as an issue that only impacts cold-weather states, and that’s not a safe assumption. We’ve experienced the tragedy of CO poisonings here in California all too often.”
 
Called the ‘silent killer’ because many people do not realize they’re being poisoned until it’s too late, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It claims 400 lives and injures another 20,000 each year nationwide. California officials estimate CO poisoning causes 700 avoidable injuries and hospitalizations annually.
 
“I miss my sister every day. Unfortunately, no one in my family knew about CO poisoning until it was too late,” said Walnut, Calif. resident Ta Juan Campbell.  His sister, Tyra Lynn, died of accidental CO poisoning in her Beverly Hills apartment in 1998. Campbell founded the Tyra Lynn Foundation to raise awareness of CO poisoning.  “If you’ve put off installing a CO alarm, don’t wait. It could save your family.”
 
California’s law aims to protect families, while reducing the number of associated casualties.  A final phase requiring CO alarms in existing multi-family residential dwellings goes into effect Jan. 1, 2013.

 

Double hemispheric camera called ideal for hotel, bank applications

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07/24/2012

NEW YORK—Mobotix in July introduced a new “flexible" double hemispheric camera called the S14 FlexMount, which the company said can fully secure two rooms “located next to or on top of one another” with one camera.

S2 launches S2 Global

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07/23/2012

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.—Network-based integrated security system provider S2 Security on July 17 launched its S2 Global product. Designed for customers with multiple dispersed facilities, S2 Global connects multiple devices in security management systems and video management systems.

Lowe’s launches home automation/home security service

Company's Iris offering is self-installed and self-monitored; Lowe’s ‘will evaluate’ installation assistance
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07/19/2012

MOOREVILLE, N.C.—Lowe’s, the world’s second-largest home improvement retailer, announced July 19 that it has launched Iris, its new home automation/home security service. The do-it-yourself, cloud-based service currently is available on Lowes.com and will be offered in the company’s 500 stores nationwide late in August, Sarah-Frances Wallace, a spokeswoman for Lowe’s, told Security Systems News.

Bright lights, big tabs: Readers sound off on ISC in NYC

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07/18/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—ISC East or ISC Solutions? For a majority of respondents in Security Systems News' latest monthly poll, the name of the trade show isn’t an issue (it’s ISC East again after a two-year stint with its alternate moniker). But what about the fact that it’s still being held in the Big Apple, the most expensive U.S. city for business travel?
Well, now you’ve got something to chew on.

CSSC in right place for success

Southern Colorado fire company thriving on big contracts with military, hospitals and more
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07/18/2012

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Location, location, location—and being the only authorized Notifier integrated systems distributor in southern Colorado—has helped Commercial Specialists of Southern Colorado (CSSC) land such fire alarm contracts as one for the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Future Security Controls concentrates on margins

Independent integrator looks to sell its managed services offering to other integrators
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07/18/2012

OTTAWA—Future Security Controls is a small independent integrator that is enjoying enviable margins—north of 15 percent—in the past couple of years, according to CEO Sam Shalaby.

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