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New ADT Pulse app gives customers personalized 'Home View'

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Friday, June 1, 2012

ADT announced today it’s offering a free upgrade for users of ADT Pulse, which it launched in October 2010. ADT's new automated “Home View” application will allow customers to “remotely interact with home devices via a personalized floor plan viewed on a mobile device or the Web,” the company said in its June 1 release.

Here are more details from the release:
 

This additional software feature allows ADT Pulse customers to easily and quickly map a virtual floor plan of their home and then remotely monitor and interact with their ADT Pulse devices via any web enabled PC, iPhone or iPad.

Once a customer sets up Home View via their personal ADT Pulse sign in page, they can view color-coded icons of their security devices, lights, thermostats and cameras. By clicking on the icons, customers can easily control their home’s lighting, climate and many small appliances. And if they have cameras, customers can quickly view real time video by simply clicking the video icons. A Home View video demonstration is available at www.ADTPulse.com/Home-View.

I’ve got a call in to Boca Raton-based ADT to find out more about how this new app can help dealers gain more business.

 

Good news from The Hill

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Friday, June 1, 2012

The Security Industry Association  this morning announced some good news for the industry. The House on May 30 passed H. R. 1299, the Secure Border Act.

Thanks to SIA’s efforts in the past year, the bill includes provisions important to the security industry.  As SIA’s press release put it: The bill “promotes the use of a comprehensive technology plan for major surveillance and detection technology programs, including a justification and rationale for technology choices and deployment locations."

I spoke to Marcus Dunn, SIA’s director of government relations, this morning and he had more good news:  Prospects are good for passage in the Senate.

The bill passed on suspension in the House—that means that it was passed by a supermajority on a voice vote. When bills are passed on suspension “the assumption is that it’s non-controversial,” Dunn said.

“Given that, we should have the ability to get it passed in the Senate,” he said. "If Congress can get [bills passed] without too much hassle before November, they are generally interested in doing that,” Dunn said.

If the Senate is able to do the same thing as the House, (it’s called unanimous consent in the Senate) the bill won’t have to go to conference and can quickly be signed into law by the president, Dunn pointed out.

The measure will be sent to a Senate committee early next week, although there is a process where the bill could skip committee assignment and go straight to the floor calendar for a vote, according to SIA's manager of government relations Stephen Holton.

"We are monitoring this legislation closely and intend on weighing in with comment once the proper committee jurisdiction is determined," Holton told me in an email.

Here’s some more information from the SIA news release:

“The bill was introduced by Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan, by recommending strategies that feature video cameras and other security technologies, ensuring that the use of electronic physical security equipment would be a priority within the Department of Homeland Security’s border security strategies. H.R. 1299 promotes the use of a comprehensive technology plan for major surveillance and detection technology programs, including a justification and rationale for technology choices and deployment locations.

“The Secure Border Act will direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to submit to Congress a comprehensive strategy for gaining operational control of the international borders between U.S. ports of entry, and also calls for the development of a five-year plan to ensure the vision of complete operational control is being met in border areas
The strategy will propose, among other things, staffing requirements, infrastructure investments, and the use of unmanned aerial vehicle, detection, and security equipment.
The bill is awaiting introduction into the U.S. Senate, which goes back into session on Monday, June 4.  SIA will restate its support for passage of this measure to the appropriate Senate committee once the jurisdiction of this bill is determined.

Integrated opening new office in N.C.

Integrated Security & Communications takes a hybrid approach to integration
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05/30/2012

TOMS RIVER, N.J.—Propelled by its work in the pharmaceutical vertical, Integrated Security & Communications is opening a new office in Raleigh, N.C.

DVTEL moves beyond startup mode, looks down market for growth

Stern’s goal is to grow north of 18 percent annually
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05/30/2012

RIDGEFIELD PARK, N.J.—One year after taking the helm, DVTEL CEO Yoav Stern says the company is eyeing the middle market for growth as it transitions from its startup phase to become a larger player in the IP video surveillance space.

Ackerman launches five-year plan

The Atlanta-based super-regional moved outside of Georgia for first time in 2010, plans to do it again within the year.
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05/30/2012

ATLANTA—Ackerman Security Systems has a new president, plans to expand to a new market within about a year, and has revealed an ambitious new growth plan that calls for doubling its revenue over the next five years.

Cox launches home security in Phoenix

The cable company expands its trial of Cox Home Security, which started in Tucson last summer
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05/30/2012

ATLANTA—Cox Communications has expanded the trial of its home security/home automation offering to Greater Phoenix. The expansion follows the success of a trial of Cox Home Security in Tucson, Ariz., which began last June, the company said.

GPS ‘a different animal’ for central stations

Experts say mobile devices bring new challenges that require new approaches
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05/30/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—What’s worse than a false alarm? A moving false alarm, according to panelists at a recent ESX webinar, who cited a growing challenge for monitoring companies as they move deeper into the world of GPS and mobile PERS devices.

Fire sprinkler industry to make history with new expo

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Mexico has a brand new fire sprinkler industry group—the Mexican Fire Sprinkler Association or AMRACI. Canada has the Canadian Automatic Sprinkler Association or CASA. And of course there’s the National Fire Sprinkler Association or NFSA, based in Patterson, N.Y.

Now all three groups plan to make history by hosting what is being billed as “the first ever North American Fire Sprinkler Expo,” to be held next April in Las Vegas.

In a statement, NFSA’s new president, Russ Fleming, said: “I am absolutely delighted that both CASA and AMRACI have agreed to partner with NFSA to host what will be the first ever North American Fire Sprinkler Expo. By bringing together fire sprinkler industry interests from all over the continent for the NFSA Annual Seminar and North American Fire Sprinkler Expo, for the very first time in the history of the industry we will have created a unique opportunity for contractors, suppliers and manufacturers from all over the continent to meet in one place to network, conduct business, discuss issues of common interest and to learn from the industry’s foremost authorities.”

NFSA said the expo—still in the very early planning phase—is be held in conjunction with its annual seminar being held April 4-6, 2013 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

For more on the event, go to NFSA’s website.

Gunfire pinpointed, then privacy debated

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

ShotSpotter, produced by a company that bills itself as the “world leader in gunshot detection,” added to its media credits this week with an article in The New York Times. But while many police departments are singing the praises of the acoustic monitoring technology, it continues to raise concerns about how far law enforcement can go to do its job.

The system, developed by SST Inc. of Mountain View, Calif., pinpoints the location of gunshots by triangulating the sound via sensors mounted on utility poles, buildings and other structures. It produces alerts that detail the number and exact time of the rounds fired, the position of the shooter (or shooters), and their speed and direction of travel if they are moving.

Cities can buy the equipment from SST and monitor the alerts themselves, or they can contract with the company to do it for them. Technicians at SST assess each alert to determine its accuracy, then send it to the appropriate PSAP “within seconds,” the company says. SST claims a 99 percent accuracy rate in differentiating gunfire from other loud noises like fireworks or cars backfiring.

Proponents say ShotSpotter speeds the response of police officers to the scene of a shooting, bolstering arrest rates, deterring additional crimes and saving the lives of victims who otherwise might have died. “Now when we pull up on a scene, we have 100 percent knowledge if there was actually a shot,” says a Springfield, Mass., police sergeant quoted on the company’s website. “It makes your approach different.”

One problem, critics say, is that the system also can record other sounds of the city—doors slamming, cars honking, people arguing—while it records the gunshots. The Times said a ShotSpotter recording of a street argument in New Bedford, Mass., in December is likely to play a role in the case of two men charged with murder.

A defense attorney in the case said the recording could constitute a privacy violation and that the technology is “opening up a whole can of worms. If police are utilizing these conversations, then the issue is where does it stop?”

The company says that voices do not trigger ShotSpotter sensors, “which are placed in elevated locations in order to enhance their capability as well as ensure citizen privacy.” James Beldock, a company VP, told the Times that the system was not intended to record anything except gunfire and that cases like New Bedford’s were extremely rare.

The issue could end up playing out in the courts, but in the meantime, it’s likely that law enforcement will continue to turn to ShotSpotter and other gunfire detection systems as police budgets are trimmed and hosted subscription services become more available. It’s a monitoring trend worth watching.

Security providers early winners in home automation/home security space

But telecoms and cable companies also are ‘in it to win’ and shouldn’t be discounted, an industry analyst says
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05/29/2012

DALLAS—Security providers have a “first mover” advantage in home automation/home security right now, but the big telecoms and cable companies entering the space are serious competitors who may be game-changers in the future, according to a market research company analyst.

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