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IAS branching out in Charlotte

CEO Oetjen says he's got 'the right person, the right opportunity and the right city'
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06/13/2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Intelligent Access Systems, a PSA Security integrator, is opening its sixth office here this month.
 

M&A and your company

PSA-TEC sessions look at measuring a company's growth and prospects for exiting this year
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05/23/2012

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—Thinking about selling your systems integration company this year? What kind of price can you expect for your business?

Leading an integration company: Tips and stories at PSA-TEC 2012

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I arrived late in the afternoon yesterday in Westminster, Colo. for one of my favorite events of the year, PSA-TEC.
 
The conference,  which started on Sunday and runs through Friday, was well underway when I arrived. Lisa Cole Miller, PSA Security Network marketing director said attendance is up about 10 percent over last year with more than 65 integrator companies here. (Some of those companies send up to 10 employees.) In addition, there are consultants, end users, and more than 40 vendors exhibiting on a show floor here.

“When you think about it, it’s a bargain,” Miller said, “For $500, you get breakfast and lunch, four days of classes, a trade show and parties.”

I arrived in time for PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman’s presentation “What every integrator needs to know about being an effective executive.”

This class is part of the PSA Leadership Institute, which PSA launched in October at the PSA Convention in Puerto Rico. Here’s a story with details about the program.

It was the end of the day and Bozeman spoke for more than an hour about the highlights of the business book “The Effective Executive,” which was written 40 years ago by Peter Drucker.

I’m not one for long presentations—but Bozeman is a good speaker. Ever hear an engaging preacher give a good sermon? He’s got a little bit of a preacher’s cadence, and he tells some pretty funny stories too.

There were about 50 integrators and a few vendors in the room for his presentation. Bozeman’s clearly taken to heart one of Drucker’s tenets: “if you’re going to call a meeting, make if effective.”

Highlights of the talk included:

—“Manage yourself.” To lead you’ve got to show discipline—show up on time, have passion for what you’re doing.” Bozeman told a story about visiting a PSA member who’s business wasn’t going well. Bozeman said he was not surprised that business was bad when he visited the office.

“The shades were drawn, there was no light, the owner was walking around [hunched over, with his hands on his forehead, looking like the sky was falling]. And the employees were doing the same thing—walking around like zombies. It was the most depressing place I’ve ever seen.”

—Drucker said he never, in 45 years, came across a single, natural executive who didn’t have to learn how to be an effective executive. It’s something you need to work on.

—Identify company objectives, how you spend your time, and don’t let people waste your time. Focus on the positive and motivating your people.

Pierre Trapanese, owner, Northland Control Systems, as an example of effective executive. Trapanese (who will be speaking at the conference today and who spoke at TechSec in 2010,  bought a small integration company “that needed  a lot of work” Bozeman said and turned it into a fast growing company.

“Through leadership and vision, he’s grown that company beyond what [anyone] thought was possible,” Bozeman said.  Recently, Trapanese chose an annual goal for the company. “This year we’re going to have fun,” is what he said, according to Bozemen. “He’s got people knocking down his doors wanting to work there, and he doesn’t pay the highest salaries in the areas.”

—Manages to peoples’ strengths, and surround yourself with people who have strengths that you don’t possess.

—Veto hiring anyone with substance abuse problems or who’s dishonest in the least.
  
—Read the fine print, hire legal counsel.
—“Don’t take pride in being King Kong… become more visionary and less the doer.”

Time to head over to the conference. There’s an M&A panel at 8, followed by a panel of successful integrators  and fast-growing integrators, a panel on market drivers, and one on social media. I’ll have more tomorrow.

Integrator insights in Florida

AMAG Technology expands its specifier event to include integrators
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04/09/2012

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.—Access control and security management systems provider AMAG Technology expanded its annual consultant event this year to include a handful of select integrators.

New offerings at PSA-TEC 2012

Registration is open to all security industry members
 - 
03/13/2012

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—PSA-TEC 2012, which will take place here May 14-18, will include the extensive training, certification, educational and networking opportunities that attendees have come to expect in the more than 30 years PSA Security has presented this event.

RFI Communications expands operation

Systems integrator opens fourth branch office
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03/13/2012

SAN JOSE, Calif.—With a healthy book of business already in the Los Angeles area, RFI Communications & Security Systems, a Security-Net partner based here, has decided to open a fourth branch office.

Consultants, manufacturers and integrators mix at AMAG SES

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I spent the past two days at AMAG Technology’s Security Engineering Symposium here in St. Petersburg, Fla.

It was the 11th annual AMAG SES event, with about 90 consultants in attendance. “We handpick the best consultants in the industry and invite them here,” AMAG director of business development Jody Ross told me. More consultants than ever before attended, she said, and about “45 to 50 percent of them were new faces.”

According to informal surveys at the event, business is good these days for the consultants. Eighty percent of consultants said they’re working on new business currently, as opposed to more jobs for existing clients. In a show of hands, about 75 percent said they are “busy or very busy” and about 40 percent say they’re looking to hire more consultants.

Ed Chandler of Security by Design, a frequent attendee at this event, said he checked up on improvements included in the new version (V7.1) of AMAG’s Symmetry access control and security management system. He also views the event as an opportunity to give product feedback to AMAG and other manufacturing partners who attend the event, he said.

Coincidentally, I’d just interviewed Ed’s wife and business partner, Lorna Chandler, last week. She will be SSN’s featured specifier in our “Specifically Speaking” column in the April issue of SSN. Each month, we do a Q & A with a different specifier, (supplied to SSN by SecuritySpecifiers.com), and I also had a chance to meet three other specifiers in person who are alumni of the SpecificallySpeaking column (Michael Crocker, Mark Peterson and Ted Wheaton)  

AMAG’s manufacturing partners this year, included HID and Stentofon, which have both been at all 11 AMAG SES symposiums. Dan Rothrock of Stentofon demoed a new (extremely audible) audio product called “Turbine.”

One point emphasized by Rothrock and AMAG at the event is that both are typically considered ideal for enterprise solutions, but both offer solutions for smaller applications,—that’s fewer than 16 readers for AMAG, and for Stentafon, “a two to 16-station IP-solution that doesn’t need a server or software licenses,” Rothrock said.  

Hawkeye Technologies showcased its Harmony web-based solution that enables users to interface with AMAG’s Symmetry solution using any device with a web browser.

SRI International Sarnoff  showed off its iris-readers, a walk-by solution and a handheld solution. I saw a demo where a guy’s iris was recognized when he was wearing tri-focal sunglasses. It’s not cheap, the readers run around $2,800 for the stationary readers and $20,000 for the handheld, but the price has come down substantially, and these guys claim that their solution—because it works at some distance (relative to other solutions) —is more valuable. Plus, they say it’s the most accurate biometric next to retinal scans and Stephen Piro, business development director for SRI said: “administration and recurring ownership cost is extremely low.”  It’s been implemented at an athletic facility at Auburn University and elsewhere. Niche-y but cool stuff.  

Assa Abloy brought its demo bus to the event. The focus was on its wireless lock lines, which I’d seen at ASIS and ISC West last year, and its new resi phones-unlocking doors solution—a collaboration between Verizon and Yale, which was introduced at the CES show in January, and some say may migrate into the commercial world.

NEC’s Miguel Llerena told me that specifiers and integrators need to take more of an interest in the “how virtualization will play a role in this industry. They need to be aware and prepared,” he said.
He said he’s working on eight access control systems, AMAG and others, that use a virtualized server. “Virtualization will happen first, then private cloud and then the public cloud,” he predicted, and suggested that integrators get certified on VM ware or other virtualization platform.

Other partners at the event included Innometriks, Intransa, Milestone,  and Winstead.

AMAG’s Tina Seraphin, who joined the company one year ago and is spearheading the company’s new professional services offerings, described the program, which she said was launched in response to requests from consultants.
 
I'll have more on this, but it’s an extensive, structured program that provides a variety of extra support for integrators. “More frequently, we’re finding consultants are writing into specifications that professional services must be included in the project,” Jody Ross said. “It’s a safeguard, an extra layer … everyone can sleep better at night.”
 
There were also about 19 integrators at the AMAG event, as well as PSA Security’s Bill Bozeman. This is the second year that integrators have been invited to attend some of the consultant sessions yesterday and to participate in a kind of mini-conference which is scheduled to take place today (March 7). They’ll hear from AMAG and AMAG partners, but they’ll also have a consultant/reseller panel discussion and break-out sessions.

AMAG did this with five resellers last year, and decided to expand the number of integrators this year. The discussion will focus on the best ways to work together, Ross said. Last year both the consultants and integrators said it was “valuable to get input from the other side,” she said.

One integrator, Dan Kilgore of RFI Communications, attended consultant sessions on March 6 and was looking forward to the joint sessions today.

“I wanted to hear what they are being presented with and what we’ll be presented with tomorrow. If I can understand how they get to their frame of mind, that might help me to be a better resource to them,” he said. While it’s important to maintain a separation between the consultant and integrator, the two professions “oftentimes live in separate vacuums,” and that’s not helpful for integrator, specifier, end user or manufacturer, he said.  
 

Charlotte integrator expands into fire, grows geographically

Enterprise Security Systems sees value in broad customer base
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03/07/2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C.—By the end of 2012, Enterprise Security Systems, a PSA Security systems integrator based here, expects to have two major strategic initiatives well under way: creating a new office in the Raleigh area and expanding into the fire business.

PSA Security launches Leadership Institute

Program designed to be relevant to integrators and flexible enough for company executives to participate in
 - 
10/27/2011

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico—The CEO of a successful independent integration firm is likely a great manager, but is he or she a great leader? Maybe, but not necessarily, said PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman on Oct. 24, when he announced the launch of a new training program for integrators called PSA Security Leadership Institute.

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