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Vivint

Are you getting all you can out of your dispatchers?

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Picture the perfect world for a monitoring manager: Every dispatcher takes every call efficiently and professionally, with no need for motivation beyond a paycheck and the satisfaction of a job well done. There are no prizes, awards, back-patting or cajoling, saving you time, money and maybe even a bit of your hairline.

If your central station has a work force that rises to that level, congratulations. Chances are, though, that no matter how many self-motivators you have, you also have employees who are content to just do their time—punch in, punch out, repeat. Maybe the work they’re doing can be considered satisfactory, but that’s not going to cut it in an industry that is getting more competitive by the day.

So how do you get those staffers to take it up a notch to help themselves and your company? To answer that question, the CSAA has recruited Amy Becht and Michelle Lindus, central station managers for Vivint, to share their expertise in a Dec. 12 webinar titled “Measuring Performance for Excellence.”

The session will focus on what the CSAA calls “the nuanced art and science” of measuring and improving staff performance. That includes assessing objective and subjective customer call metrics, promoting professionalism among dispatchers, and implementing incentives. Becht and Lindus will highlight some of the best practices employed by Vivint, which was named 2012 Central Station of the Year by the CSAA.

Becht, honored as the CSAA’s Manager of the Year, oversees monitoring at Vivint’s central station in St. Paul, Minn. She talked about home security in SSN’s “How I Use My System” feature in the September 2012 issue. Lindus is manager of Vivint’s central station in Provo, Utah.

The webinar will run from 1 to 2 p.m. EST and is free for CSAA members. Click here to register or go to www.csaaintl.org.

Vivint contributes $10,000 to ESA youth scholarships

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11/29/2012

IRVING, Texas—The Electronic Security Association announced that Vivint has stepped up as the exclusive sponsor of the 2013 ESA Youth Scholarship Program with a contribution of $10,000, according to an ESA statement.

Vivint raises $1.5 million from summer charity initiative

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10/23/2012

PROVO, Utah—Vivint today announced it has raised $1.5 million from its Vivint Gives Back “Summer of Service” initiative, according to a press release.

CAA symposium to feature four top industry execs

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10/10/2012

SAN FRANCISCO—Leaders from four security companies will speak at an executive symposium at the California Alarm Association’s 2012 Winter Convention, to be held here Dec. 5-8.

Vivint reveals key to success

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Friday, October 5, 2012

As we all know by know, Vivint has worked out a deal to be sold by the end of this year to the Blackstone Group for the whopping amount of more than $2 billion.

If you’re wondering what its secret is, the 13-year-old Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security provider offered an answer in a recent press release this week, during National Customer Service Week. It said its key to success is excellent service to its more than 675,000 customers throughout the United States and Canada.

Here’s some of what Vivint had to say:
 

"Customer service professionals answer calls, tackle problems, manage teams, and are the frontline responders in making someone's day a little easier," said Steve Dixon, Vivint's vice president of operations. "You can have world-class products and attractive pricing, but if you don't back that up with professional, friendly and effective customer service you won't succeed."

Tina Brewer, of Fredericton, New Brunswick, recalls a personal experience when Vivint's customer service representatives offered timely and effective advice.

"I came home from work and attempted to enter my passcode," Brewer said. "I received a message that it was an invalid code and attempted to re-enter the code. However, when I started to do so, a loud alarm sounded. I was startled and unsure what to do. The voice of Vivint's support staff came on the speaker and walked me through the necessary steps to stop the alarm."

Brewer was also connected to Vivint's technical support team who taught her how to properly use her keyless entry. "Vivint's support staff was so kind and so helpful. I was completely overwhelmed," Brewer added. "They were helpful and supportive. I know that if I were in an unsafe situation, having their support would come as a great comfort."

Vivint has won numerous awards for its customer service. It was honored as the gold winner of "Customer Service Department of the Year" at the 2012 American Business Awards, a top annual business recognition program. Vivint also earned gold medal honors from Contact Center World. In addition, Vivint received top honors from the Central Station Alarm Association for its exceptional service to customers and community.

At Vivint, outstanding customer service extends beyond the initial sign-up of a customer. Damien Seabrook, of North Charleston, N.C., was surprised at the fast and friendly manner of Vivint's installation technicians, who arrived at his home in less than 15 minutes after he verified his account.

"I was blown away by the quick response and have never had that happen in my life," Seabrook said. "Once the technician verified what package I was getting he got right to work. In 45 minutes I had a new system and he even took the time to show me how to work everything. The great part about it is he even downloaded the app to my phone."

 

Vivint active on legal turf

Vivint’s Few says lawsuits filed because company is looking out for its customers
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10/03/2012

PROVO, Utah—Several new lawsuits involving Vivint are pending in federal court in Utah, two of them initiated by the company and one in which it’s a defendant.

Alarm.com: ‘Reduce Your Use’ will help increase RMR

Company says new partnership with utility will save customers money and drive demand for ‘smart’ thermostats and security systems
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09/26/2012

VIENNA, Va.—Alarm.com has found a new way to tap into consumers’ growing interest in saving energy: It is partnering with a California utility in a program that gives Alarm.com customers extra savings on their utility bills if they cut energy usage during peak demand times.

Kessler on the multiple paid for Vivint

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Whenever a big company in the industry sells, there’s interest in the specific metrics of the deal.

I called Jeff Kessler at Imperial Capital to talk about the pending sale of Vivint to the largest private equity group in the country, Blackstone and the numbers.

It’s not every day there’s a $2 billion deal in the security industry.

While Kessler has high praise for Vivint, he says that certain metrics are not as off-the-charts as one might think, at least according to his calculations.

Kessler pointed out that the sale of Vivint for north of $2 billion includes not only Vivint’s home security/automation business, but 2GIG (a manufacturer of alarm/home automations systems) and Vivint Solar.

So while the total enterprise value for the is “north of $2 billion”, the enterprise value for Vivint home security/automation is less than $2 billion, he said.

Which doesn’t mean the valuation is not impressive, it just means “the multiple of RMR, EBITDA or steady state cash flow will be less than the total amount given for the entire company,” he said.

In terms of a multiple of RMR, Vivint has said it has $30 million in RMR. Kessler said RMR will be higher by the time the sale closes at the end of the year. “If you assume that RMR will be higher, and you assume that [Blackstone will pay] something less than $2 billion for Vivint [home automation/security], the multiple of RMR paid would be in the 50s.”

However, Kessler doesn’t like to talk about multiples of RMR. He prefers to look at multiples of steady state cash flow, because that “really gets rid of the accounting variance that really riddles EBITDA,” he said.

Based on his estimates of Vivint’s [home automation/security’s] steady state cash flow, he said the multiple to be paid is actually “at lower end of the 10 to 13 times [steady state cash flow] range paid for larger, quality companies over the past 18 to 24 months.”

Kessler based his assumption on certain transactions such as Bain & Hellman buying Securitas Direct; Ascent Capital buying Monitronics, Summit buying Central Security Group and Oak Hill Capital buying Security Networks.

(I'm quite certain I'll hear from others who's assumptions and math differ from Kessler's. Please leave a comment on this blog or contact me.)

The important thing is that if you're trying to figure out a mulitple of RMR, steady state cash flow or EBITDA, you need to back Vivint Solar and 2GIG out of the equation.

And if you're trying to figure out if your company's ripe for a sale, take a good look at what Vivint's doing, Kessler said. 

Kessler called Vivint is a “model company” that’s taking advantage of new technology and providing  “a value-added proposition at a premium.” The company’s average RMR per new subscriber is the highest at over $50, and they’re doing good things such as moving away from all summer-sales and increasing in-house sales resources.”

The Blackstone deal “should allow Vivint a lot of growth [with the] forward-looking ideas it has on its platter. … This will allow capital runway for projects like increasing the size of their non-summer sales force, increasing their ability to move into new markets such as small and medium sized commercial security, and to fund the growth and development of new products in home and business services, some of which are not even on paper yet.”

There will be lots more deals done in the security industry in the next year. The capital players are interested, but Kessler said it’s the security companies, like Vivint, what he calls the “haves,” those that are taking advantage of new technology and which have a finely tuned sales and marketing efforts that will be the most sought after.

Putting the Vivint sale in perspective

Michael Barnes and George De Marco on the $2 billion valuation of Vivint, whether its growth plans are realistic, and its plans for expansion into commercial security
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09/19/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—News today that the Blackstone Group, a $180 billion private equity firm, will acquire home automation and security company Vivint in an agreement worth more than $2 billion is another “huge shot of support for the industry,” Michael Barnes, founding partner of Barnes Associates, a consulting and advisory firm that specializes in the security alarm industry, told Security Systems News.

Vivint to be sold to Blackstone in $2 billion deal

CEO Pedersen: Vivint has plans to become one of the largest national players in commercial security
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09/18/2012

PROVO, Utah—Vivint has entered into an agreement with the Blackstone Group to be acquired in a deal worth “north of $2 billion,” Todd Pedersen, Vivint CEO, told Security Systems News.

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