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Nortek to buy 2GIG for $135m

Deal includes five-year supply agreement with Vivint
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02/14/2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Nortek, parent company of Linear, announced this morning that it will acquire 2GIG Technologies for $135 million.

Vivint acquires Space Monkey, ‘next generation cloud’ startup

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vivint has acquired a Utah-based startup, Space Monkey, to enhance Vivint’s new Vivint Sky smart home platform, according to a news release issued today.

What is Space Monkey? Founded in 2011, the company calls itself a "next generation cloud" provider that offers “both a local storage and remote network backup for higher levels of data security and redundancy,” according to the news release.

And Space Monkey bills itself as a cheaper, faster alternative to a data center, according to information the company provided during its Kickstarter campaign last year, when it successfully raised nearly $350,000.

The campaign information decries data centers as too costly and cumbersome: “These are high-cost buildings tightly packed with expensive computer equipment. They need costly fire suppression systems, diesel backup generators, expansive power distribution systems, premium network equipment, biometric access controls, security patrols, and consume vast amounts of electricity and air-conditioning. They require 24/7 staffing and Network Operations Centers. The ongoing daily costs of keeping data centers running is exorbitant compared to the actual cost of the hard drives that store your data in the cloud.”

Instead, according to the Space Monkey’s campaign information, “It’s time to change how the world stores data, forever. What if we took the cloud out of the data center and put it a little box that you plug in at your house? What if we put software on it that allows it to cooperate with millions of other devices plugged in all over the globe to create a storage network that not only is orders of magnitude cheaper than data centers, but is also more reliable, faster, and better for the environment? Space Monkey is the answer.”

It continues: “Space Monkey is the next generation cloud. ... You get a full terabyte (1000 gigabytes) of storage you can use anywhere, any time. Space Monkey does the work behind the scenes to make your data safe and secure, using the entire network of Space Monkey devices around the world to store encrypted pieces of data in a way that makes data loss a thing of the past.”

The small device, complete with a little logo of a monkey in a space suit, costs $199, the Space Monkey website says. The first year's subscription cost is free and then is $49 annually, the site says.

It also said that “Space Monkey is up to 60x faster than any other cloud service you've used (or heard of).” However, on Space Monkey’s website it has downgraded that claim to “up to 30x faster.”

Still, that’s very fast. And Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security provider Vivint says the acquisition supports the growth and development of the Vivint Sky smart home platform that Vivint introduced this summer. The solution includes the Vivint SkyControl panel featuring proprietary cloud technology that learns from homeowners’ behaviors and makes intelligent suggestions to help them control their homes better and more conveniently.

“It’s a natural fit for us to be a part of Vivint’s technology for the smart home,” Clint Gordon-Carroll, who co-founded Space Monkey with partner Alen Peacock, said in a prepared statement. “We look forward to working with Vivint as we continue to innovate and invest in the product.”

No information was provided about how much Vivint paid for Space Monkey. SSN continues to report on this story.

Vivint Solar seeks to raise $200m through IPO

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The fact that Vivint Solar officially filed with U.S. regulators last week for an initial public offering of common stock is an indication that solar continues to be a hot option for security companies.

Vivint Solar’s parent company is Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security company Vivint, which was bought by The Blackstone Group in 2012 for more than $2 billion.

Now, Reuters reported Aug. 26, Vivint Solar has filed for an IPO and set its fundraising target at about $200 million. And the news service said Vivint Solar lead underwriters to the offering are Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith and Credit Suisse.

The company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VSLR, Reuter said. The company plans to use the IPO proceeds to repay debts, make investments and for “other general corporate purposes,” the news service said.

Reuters had reported earlier in August that Vivint Solar had confidentially filed for an IPO. Around that same time, Protection 1, one of the nation’s largest home and commercial security, also announced it would be launching a solar division called Brite Energy. Sales of solar panels to homes and businesses are expected to begin this fall.

And earlier this year, GHS Interactive Security, a new California-based security company, announced it was partnering with Solar Universe, a leading nationwide residential solar company, to combine security and solar into a comprehensive home automation package.

Since its launch in 2011, Vivint Solar has grown to be the second largest solar installer in the country.

Reuters said that the nation’s residential solar energy market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 28 percent, to about 1,713 megawatts of capacity in 2017, according to research firm GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.

 

Solar is hot commodity—but can pose fire risks

Security companies branching out into the solar business should be aware of photovoltaic fire hazards
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08/18/2014

QUINCY, Mass.—As security companies get involved in solar panel installation, they should be aware of potential fire hazards posed by solar panels.

Protection 1 adding solar to its mix

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08/08/2014

ROMEOVILLE, Ill.—Protection 1, based here, is joining the trend of security companies selling solar, the company has announced.

Protection 1 on the block?

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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Home security giant Protection 1 is up for sale for more than $1.5 billion, according to a Reuters news report this week.

GTCR, the private equity firm that bought Protection 1 in 2010 for $828 million has asked Morgan Stanley to help in the sales effort, the news service reported Aug. 4.

I’ve reached out to Romeoville, Illinois-based Protection 1 for comment on the report, which Reuters ascribed to unidentified sources.

Protection 1 is one of the largest full-service business and home security companies in the United States. As of the end of 2013, it had 1.5 million customers and $28 million in RMR, an increase of nearly 8 percent over the previous year, according to published reports. Revenues exceeded $429 million.

By contrast, home automation/home security company Vivint—which was acquired by The Blackstone Group in 2012 for more than $2 billion—ended 2013 with more than $42 million in RMR, an increase of 23 percent over the previous year. Provo, Utah-based Vivint, which has more than 800,000 customers, had in excess of $500 million in revenues in 2013, according to published information.

Stay posted. I'll be updating this story as I get more information.

 

Vivint creates CSO position, hires federal cyber expert Joe Albaugh

New Vivint CSO Albaugh was security chief at DOT, FAA
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07/30/2014

PROVO, Utah—Joe Albaugh, who today joined Vivint in the newly created position of chief security officer, brings significant cyber expertise, having previously served as chief information security officer at the U.S. Department of Transportation and also at the Federal Aviation Administration.

Vivint providing actionable intelligence for smart homes

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The BusinessDictionary defines “actionable intelligence” as data “that can be used to boost a company's strategic position against industry peers.” But with a new partnership announced this week, Vivint is using data collected from sensors in smart homes to “identify actionable insights to enrich their customers’ lives.”

Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security company Vivint has partnered with Cloudera, which offers businesses “one place to store, process and analyze all their data,” according to a July 15 news release.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Cloudera provides businesses with “fundamental new ways to derive value from their data.” In Vivint’s case that means, according to the news release, that “for the first time, Vivint is able to apply a new lens to data generated from intelligent devices and systems embedded with sensors in and around homes.” More than 100,000 data points “from smart sensors embedded in devices [are now] visible with Cloudera,” the release said.

Brandon Bunker, Vivint’s senior director of customer analytics and insights, put it this way in a prepared statement: “Vivint has been at the forefront of the connected home for decades, and now with the emergence of [the] IoT (Internet of Things), we are truly able to innovate by collecting and analyzing vast amounts of data from sensors embedded in our devices. We've taken that one step further with Cloudera and can now look across many data streams simultaneously for behaviors, geo-location, and actionable events in order to better understand and enrich our customers' lives.”

Vivint has more than 800,000 customers using various third party, smart-enabled devices, the release said. Each home has from 20 to 30 sensors, it said.

Here, according to the release, is how Cloudera’s services will make a difference with data from those sensors:

“Many of those devices come in the form of thermostats, smart appliances, video cameras, window and door sensors, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Without a central internal repository to gather and analyze the data generated from each sensor, Vivint was previously limited in its ability to innovate and to add higher intelligence to its security offerings. For example, knowing when a home is occupied or vacant is important to security -- but when tied into the heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system, you can add a layer of energy cost savings by cooling or heating a home based on occupancy. Similarly, by adding geo-location into the equation, you can begin to adjust temperature changes to a home based on the proximity to an owner's arrival, for instance, when the owner has a connected vehicle.”
 

Such "actionable intelligence" would be a sellling point for Vivint because consumers can save from 20 to 30 percent in energy costs by turning off their HVAC systems when they’re away or sleeping, the release said.

Vivint said it chose Cloudera because it has a proven track record and a very broad “big data ecosystem, to ensure support as more and more devices are connected to the Internet each day.” The company also ensures the data’s security, the release said.

And that traditional definition of “actionable intelligence,” about boosting a company’s position against industry peers?

Well, that’s actually a part of the partnership too, according to Vivint. “This platform has differentiated our business and given us a tremendous competitive advantage,” Bunker said in his statement.

 

Vivint taps into DIY with new online Support site

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Vivint is not a DIY company—it offers professionally installed and monitored home security. But its new online Support site—which the company announced this week—is geared toward those who like to take things into their own hands.

Vivint notes that it already offers customer support 24/7/365. But in addition to that, the Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security company has launched the new Support site. Here’s how it describes its new online service:  

“If you’re a go-getter, a do-it-yourself-er, a knowledge-seeker, or a hate-being-put-on-hold-er, then this is great news for you. On our new Support site, you’ll find video tutorials, step-by-step instructions, troubleshooting, FAQs and more for anything from changing the batteries on your electronic door lock to adding a new camera to your system.”

I checked out the site. It’s easy to read and it provides answers to basic questions that range from “Where can I send my payment?” to “Why do you use a door-to-door approach?” Vivint’s answer to the latter is that it’s more personal and allows a sales rep to customize systems for each homeowner.

But in case anyone is wondering, Vivint stresses that the site does not replace its traditional customer service. “If you’re a I’d-rather-just-talk-on-the-phone-er, we will always be here to answer your call,” the company says.

Vivint set to close Washington state sales center today

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06/27/2014

PROVO, Utah—Vivint last summer opened a new 400-employee sales center in Liberty Lake, Wash., suburb of Spokane. Now, barely a year later, the home automation/home security company said it was closing the center as of today.

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