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Vector expanding into Cleveland market, gets new look

Company acquires 5,000 accounts in Ohio and updates its logo to reflect new business strategy
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06/20/2012

PITTSBURGH—Vector Security has acquired American Alert Corp. based in Geneva, Ohio. The acquisition adds 5,000 customers and will help Vector expand into the Cleveland market, according to Art Miller, VP of marketing for Vector, which is based here.

Corrections gradually embraces innovation in access control

Biometrics, upscale perimeter detection augment touch-screen technology and PLC-based systems
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06/20/2012

Biometrics, hand-held alarms, more reliable perimeter detection and other advanced technologies for protecting, identifying and tracking humans are finding their way into North America’s prisons, jails and detention centers despite the corrections industry’s reputation for foot-dragging when it comes to embracing cutting-edge security.

Mass notification and risk analysis: Readers favor doing your homework

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06/20/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—Designing and installing mass notification systems is a growing segment of the security and fire market. But is it really worth conducting a risk analysis before starting a project, or is it just a waste of time and resources?

Fire companies in NYC will need certificate to inspect and service

The industry says measure will ensure high standards
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06/20/2012

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—By August, anyone who inspects, tests or services fire alarm systems in New York City must be officially certified to do so by the city’s fire department.

Vivint gets millions more in financing, surpasses RMR milestone

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ever since rebranding last year, Vivint has seemed to do nothing but grow. The latest sign of that is the announcement yesterday from the residential security and home automation provider that it has surpassed a $30 million milestone in RMR, putting it among the top three largest security companies in the nation.

Also, the Provo, Utah-based summer-model company said, it has added another $50 million to its financing, bringing its total senior debt financing to $812 million.

That refinancing comes on the heels of a $72 million financing boost the company announced just over three months ago. It then had $762 million in total financing.

I’ve reached out to Vivint officials to learn more about these developments. In the meantime, here’s what they had to say in a news release:
 

“Surpassing the $30 Million RMR benchmark is quite an accomplishment and is a testament to our loyal customers and employees,” said Alex Dunn, Vivint’s chief operating officer. “We look forward to growing our customer base with continued product innovation and a corporate focus on customer service.”

… Chris Black, Vivint’s chief financial officer, commented, “We continue to enjoy a very strong relationship with our lenders and are pleased to have added an additional $50 Million to our existing facility, increasing the bank deal to over $800 Million. The increase will be used to support organic growth of the business and continued expansion of our customer base.”

“I am very proud of the accomplishments that Vivint has been able to achieve,” added Todd Pedersen, Vivint’s chief executive officer. “None of this would have been possible without the support of our customers who trust us to protect what is most important in their lives, and the talented team we’ve assembled who are passionate about creating exceptional customer experiences every day.”

Vivint is not without its critics, however. A recent television news report from South Carolina cites a homeowner and CPI Security Systems, a North Carolina-based security monitoring company, in saying that Vivint used deceptive sales tactics to steal customers from CPI.

However, the TV report says Vivint issued a statement saying: "Vivint does not condone aggressive or misleading sales tactics. To ensure the highest level of customer service, Vivint conducts a recorded telephonic survey where the customer is asked to confirm their understanding of the terms of their agreement and that Vivint is not affiliated with any other company."

Vivint rebranded from APX Alarm Security Solutions in February 2011 to better reflect its expansion beyond security into home automation services.

Showdown at the cableco corral? ESX has ammo

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The big, bad cable giants and telecoms are riding into town, aiming to steal your horses and accounts and whatever else they can toss a lasso around. Everyone knew the day was coming, but now that it’s here, are you prepared to hold your ground? Do you really have what it takes to compete, or will you forever be at the mercy of the black hats?

Rest assured there’s hope, and you can tap into it at ESX. A number of sessions are planned to help alarm companies deal with this new landscape by staying technologically savvy and by offering what has long been seen as the silver bullet for the industry: superior customer service.

At the ESA Industry Luncheon and Annual Meeting on June 28, Kristen Simmons, managing partner at Lightswitch and former VP of marketing for Mazda North America, will share her expertise about what it takes to earn customers and turn them into advocates for your business. Simmons led Mazda’s “Zoom Zoom” ad campaign and also founded LiveSmart Security, a boutique provider of home security services.

“Over the next five to 10 years, one factor will become ever more critical to the success of manufacturers, security integrators and monitoring companies alike: the customer experience,” Simmons said in an ESX news release. “New technology and integrated approaches have enabled a far more captivating experience for security customers than the traditional ‘detect and respond’ model. Leveraging these capabilities will be an enormous catalyst for customer loyalty, RMR growth and bottom-line profitability.”

On the technology side, at least a dozen sessions are planned at ESX to help attendees take on the telecoms and cablecos. A recent addition to the schedule features Patrick Egan, owner of Lancaster, Pa.-based Security Partners, who will host a series of interviews with industry leaders on how alarm companies can compete with the big boys entering the market. Egan will talk with each executive for about 15 minutes, then open the floor for a 15-minute Q&A.

The sessions are scheduled to run from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. on June 27 at the Security Partners booth (No. 725) at the Nashville Convention Center. Seating is first come, first served. Executives on board so far include Kirk MacDowell from GE, Lance Dean from 2GIG, Gordon Hope from Honeywell, and Jay Kenny from Alarm.com.

“With all the buzz in the marketplace, we think this is going to generate a lot of interest,” said Joseph Mitton, marketing coordinator for Security Partners.

To check out the full list of ESX seminars, go to www.esxweb.com. See you in Nashville …

IMS on whole-building trend, benefits of being 'super-integrator'

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Monday, June 18, 2012

IMS released a report this morning about the whole-building trend.

The research group says that 25 percent of installed building automation systems in the Americas and EMEA were integrated with lighting control systems in 2011, and predicts that number will increase to 35 percent by 2016.

It's an opportunity for security systems integrators, but only if your company has a "robust understanding of multiple system types and strong IT networking knowledge," according to a prepared statement from IMS's Will Rhodes. IMS says what it's dubbed "super-integrators" have that capability, while "traditional integrators "often have a good understanding of one buidling system, but may lack wider IT knowledge."

Rhodes is quoted as saying that observers believe "traditional integrators are starting to lose business to 'super integrators' when a building owner or managment cmopany wants to integrate across building systems."

The overlap between security integration and building automation is a trend that Honeywell Security Products president Scott Harkins talked about at the HIS Forum (HIS dealers are Honeywell's high-end integrator partners) which took place in May in Chicago. "We hear every day about building management companies that want to get into this space," he warned about 80 integrators who attended the event.

I emailed Rhodes this morning to get a sense of how IMS is defining super integrators. "We would classify a ‘super integrator’ as a company that can integrate across multiple building systems. They can integrate building automation and physical security or security and lighting or multiples of the above," he told me in an email.

So, major integrators like JCI and Siemens clearly have the scale to do this kind of work. What about mid-sized or smaller companies? Rhodes pointed to Advantech as a good example of a super integrator. He also said that Tridium’s integrators of many sizes fall into the same category. They use Tridium's Niagara framework to integrate across many building system types.

Vector Security Acquires in Ohio

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06/15/2012

Content: PITTSBURGH—Vector Security has acquired American Alert Corp., based in Geneva, Ohio, Vector announced this week. The acquisition adds 5,000 customers and makes Vector a stronger player in the Ohio market, the company said.

SDI secures investments from LLR Partners, Monument Capital Group

CEO Gupta says SDI gets dry powder for acquisitions and a brain trust out of the deal
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06/13/2012

CHICAGO--When David Gupta, CEO of systems integrator SDI, began discussions with private equity firms, he was looking for capital of course, but he was also looking for a firm with specific expertise.

Platinum sued again, but two other cases dismissed

Ohio AG accuses Platinum of deceptive sales practices, but Monitronics and CPI withdraw their lawsuits against the company
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06/13/2012

AMERICAN FORK, Utah--Financially beleaguered Platinum Protection, a summer-model company here that laid off most of its employees in February, is facing another lawsuit, this one filed by the Ohio attorney general, charging that Platinum engaged in "false and misleading"

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