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Vivint using social media to recruit sales talent

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Everyone likes to gab about their workplace, whether it’s to colleagues at happy hour after work, or by posting on Facebook or your social media channel of choice. But your workplace paying you to talk about it? That’s what Vivint is doing for its employees.
According to a news release this week, the Utah-based summer-model home automation and security company is utilizing redKonnect, “a word-of-mouth marketing web application,” to help it reward employees who pass the word to friends that Vivint has job openings and is a good place to work. The company says data show the retention rates for friend-referred employees are much higher than those of employees recruited through other means.
Here’s more from the July 17 release:

With the help of redKonnect, a word-of-mouth marketing web application, Vivint is rewarding its employees with cash for simply posting about Vivint job openings on social media. That is, Vivint is incentivizing its most loyal employees to tell their friends that Vivint is hiring inside salespeople.
In fact, every time their Vivint employees post and tweet about Vivint using redKonnect, they get paid, and every time their friends click on their post tweets they get paid more. Posts, tweets and clicks generate points and redKonnect, which their employees can convert to cash on PayPal with the click of a button. Talk about giving back.
As for some hard stats, since launching their campaign with redKonnect, Vivint fans and employees have generated, on average, 9 clicks with every endorsement. And dozens of these endorsements were generated within just a few days of the campaign launching.
Given the premium sales-centered companies place on recruiting, Vivint’s redKonnect campaign seems to represent an innovative and exemplary move toward better utilization of social media for recruiting of talented salespeople.

Vivint seems confident employees will give the company a strong endorsement. Vivint says it has “some of the highest rates of employee satisfaction and productivity.”
Benefits the company says it offers workers include health and dental coverage, paid vacation days, and a generous 401K package, as well as free lunch, casual dress and exercise facilities.
The release quotes company CEO Todd Pederson as saying, “My father always told me that if you treat the people who work for you like gold, everything else will fall into place.”

 

The best of ESX: And the winners are ...

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just off the show floor after a very busy Wednesday at ESX, starting with the CSAA Excellence Awards Breakfast. There were a number of great seminars throughout the day and the floor was abuzz with networking. I assume everyone saved a little energy for the ESX Crawl …

I’m about to get out there myself to sample a little of that Nashville hospitality, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the award winners who highlighted the day. For those who might have missed it:

CSAA Central Station of the Year: Vivint
Honorable mention: United Central Control

CSAA Central Station Manager of the Year: Amy Becht, Vivint
Honorable mention: John Williams, Alarmco

CSAA Central Station Operator of the Year: Gale Gordon, The Protection Bureau
Honorable mention: Jorge Rodriguez, Monitronics

CSAA Central Station Support Person of the Year: David Palacios, UCC
Honorable mention: Kate Brickner, Vivint

ESX also announced its Maximum Impact Award winners for 2012. Hats off to the following:

Overall winner: 2GIG Technologies Go! 2.0

Best Access Control/ID Systems—Access Control System: Interlogix TruPortal

Best Access Control/ID Systems—Biometrics: 3M Cogent MiY-Card

Best Access Control/ID Systems—Telephone Entry Control/Intercom Systems: Optex iVision Plus

Best Accessories & Aids—Dealer Company Software: DICE Matrix Tech Service

Best Accessories & Aids—Mobile Applications: SedonaOffice, SedonaFSU Web Edition

Best Accessories & Aids—Installation Tool/Tester: Salient Systems, Salient University eLearning

Best Alarm Equipment—Alarm Signal Transmission Equipment: Telguard Cellular Communications for 3G/4G Networks

Best Alarm Equipment—Annunciators, Bells, Sirens, Strobes: Metis Secure Solutions, Metis Secure ENS

Best Alarm Equipment—Enhanced Video Alarm: Videofied-RSI Video Tech, IP Upgrade Kit with Videofied Free

Best Alarm Equipment—Intrusion Alarm Control Panels: Interlogix Simon XTi

Best Alarm Equipment—Intrusion Sensors/Detectors: Honeywell Security Group 5816OD

Best Alarm Equipment—PERS Hardware: SilverFox Link Watch/Pendant PERS System

Best Alarm Equipment—Wireless Alarm Systems: 2GIG Technologies Go! 2.0

Best Central Station Equipment—Central Station Software: DICE Matrix Fire Inspection

Best Central Station Equipment—Remote Video Monitoring Equipment/Software: SureView Systems Immix Cloud

Best Services—Alarm Monitoring: Bold Technologies UniversalConnector

Best Services—Dealer Marketing Services: BlueStar Security Solutions FUSION

Best Services—Security as a Service (SaaS): Honeywell Security Group MAXPRO Cloud

Best Services—Video Monitoring Services: I-View Now

Best Video Security—Cameras: Altronix eBridge IP over Coax Adapters

Best Video Security—Video Analytics: CheckVideo, CheckVideo HD Megapixel IP Bullet Camera (CV135)

Best Video Security—Video Surveillance System: Axis Communications, AXIS Camera Companion

That’s it for now. The weather prognosticators are calling for a summer stew over the next couple of days in Nashville, so the ESX show floor will be the place to be. See you out there …

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.

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.

AT&T enters security market, but can it become a billion-dollar business?

One way to build scale would be to acquire the largest player
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05/09/2012

DALLAS—When AT&T announced on Monday that it will begin trials this summer of Digital Life, its home security/home automation service, here and in Atlanta, mainstream newspapers reported that the company was looking to potentially grow the service into a $1 billion business.

Comcast adds more markets across the country

In March, the telecom introduced its home automation/home security product in locations that included San Francisco, Connecticut and Utah, home of the summer-sales security companies
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04/23/2012

PHILADELPHIA—March was an active month for Comcast as it launched its new home automation/home security service in a number of additional major markets across the country. Xfinity Home is now being offered in Atlanta, the San Francisco Bay area and parts of Connecticut and Vermont—and Utah.

Technology pays off in hands of techs, sales reps

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

There’s a growing trend in the security industry of companies leveraging the latest technology by putting it in the hands of their frontline employees out in the field. A recent story I wrote about ADT putting iPads in the hands of its 4,000 sales reps to help boost sales is a good example.

Here’s another example, announced today by Vivint, the Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security giant. The company says it has developed a new app for field service technicians that makes them more productive.

Here’s more from Vivint’s April 11 news release:
 

The app was developed completely in-house, and was designed specifically to address the needs of Vivint service technicians, who are stationed throughout Vivint’s service area. By using the app, technicians can receive schedules, manage inventory and interact with the customer service center remotely – spending less time in planning and logistics and more time working with customers. Built using HTML5, the web-based application enables technicians to access the information they need to do their jobs quickly and efficiently from wherever they are on any internet-enabled mobile devices.

“What we’ve developed with this Vivint app has really increased the functionality of what we had been using before, and we couldn’t be happier with the results so far,” said Scott Taylor, director of field services. “This app will really help us give our customers the high level of service they have come to expect from Vivint. We’ve already seen response time increase by 20 percent.”

Since rolling out the new app, the first-time fix rate average for Vivint customers has increased to 95 percent. Other features that increase productivity and efficiency include a mapping option that provides the best route to get to a job and a tech-locating element that helps Vivint technicians connect with other technicians in the area.

 

A Platinum Protection founder goes solar

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Chance Allred, one of the founders of Platinum Protection, has come home to Vivint again—in a way.

Platinum, a summer-model sales company based in American Fork, Utah, in February this year abruptly laid off virtually all its employees and shut down its summer sales program. The company, founded in 2006, hasn’t talked publicly about the reasons why, but it appears to be in severe financial distress.

Since then, Vivint, a summer-model giant based in Provo, Utah, has hired about 130 of the unemployed Platinum sales reps, Vivint told me. It’s not clear what percentage of Platinum’s former sales force that represents, but it’s just 4 percent of Vivint’s sales force, that company said.

In addition, Allred in March was hired as VP of sales for Vivint Solar, a sister company of Vivint that offers residential customers the opportunity to purchase power generated by Vivint solar panels on their homes.

That’s kind of interesting because before helping to found Platinum, Allred used to work for APX Alarm, which is what Vivint was called before it rebranded last year to highlight the fact it offers home automation and other services beyond security.

Alarm.com: New Smart Schedule smart for dealers

New feature matches home activity to thermostat schedules and makes customers ‘stickier’
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04/02/2012

VIENNA, Va.—Alarm.com has added a new feature to its emPower home automation and energy management platform, one that it says makes homeowners even more invested in their security systems because it allows them to use data the security systems collect to better program their thermostats to save energy and money.

Firsts on the first day of ISC West

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Today was the first day of ISC West 2012 and I started my day off at a Honeywell breakfast where Scott Harkins, the new president of Honeywell Security Products, talked about a series of “firsts” the company was announcing at the show.

“We’re very excited that this show, the ISC show, is where we’re launching the great technology revolution in the intrusion space,” Harkins said.

He cited a series of products and technologies that he said are “firsts for us and first for our industry” include 2G/3G/4G radio, “one module that can do all three,” switching to whichever has the strongest signal. “We’re the only manufacturer in the industry with that,” Harkins said.

Among other innovations, Harkins said Honeywell’s Wi-Fi enabled system is “clearly a first,” and also said the company is the first to have an IP video system “that’s literally three clicks to get up and running.”

Honeywell wasn’t the only company talking about “firsts” today.

I stopped by the Cooper Notification booth, where Ted Milburn, vice president, marketing, and Jacquiline Townshend, marketing channel leader told me about that company was having a soft launch at the show of its Exceder LED, which Milburn described as “the first to replace the traditional strobe with an LED.”

They said the device is energy efficient, having a lower current draw than a traditional notification device, and is easier and less costly to install and has a smaller profile.

The device, which Townshend said would be available in May, is priced the same as a traditional one. “We think if the function is the same, the price should be the same,” Milburn said.

Over at the Fire-Lite by Honeywell booth, customers were acting like a product that the company introduced about four years ago was brand new this year.

While I was there a steady stream of people were showing up to learn more about Fire-Lite’s IPGSM-DP Commercial Fire Communicator, which is used to upgrade a fire system from reporting to the central station by phone lines to one that uses an IP or GSM cellular path.

The product saves end users money by letting them get rid of their telephone lines, and dealers can use that fact as a selling point to generate more business for themselves, the company says.

Beth Welch, public relations manager for Honeywell Fire Systems, told me interest in the IPGSM has suddenly taken off. “We’re just now seeing the real, true adoption of this. It’s a landslide,” she said. “Dealers are using this to get their foot in the door with new accounts.”

She said there are a variety of reasons why the product has taken off now, but believes one is just that AHJ’s are seeing how well it works and so are endorsing it.

I also talked today to Alex Dunn, COO of Provo, Utah-based home security/home automation giant Vivint. Vivint has to be the first security company to start a new company to sell solar panels to residential customers. Vivint Solar was created almost a year ago.

Although the two companies are separate, I asked Dunn if there was any sales crossover. He said there was and will continue to be.

“I think you’ll see in the future more integration from a sales perspective, even from a technology perspective, when the control panel integrates with the solar panels, Dunn said.

Among other people I met on the show floor today was Don Moore, president of Redondo Beach, Calif.-based Moore Protection, who stopped by the Security Systems News’ booth for our “meet the editors” event. Moore’s security company is the first to create its own “Security Oscar”: At the time of the Academy Awards each year it gives out the Morpheus Award to a film that best depicts the use of security. This year “Tower Heist” was the winner.

It was great to meet Don in person and while chatting, he told me another interesting fact about his company. It turns out that the graphics for the company’s lawn sign were designed some years ago by George Lois, an advertising wizard who is known as “The Original Mad Man,” a real-life version of Don Draper on the AMC television series.

Now, that’s got to be a first!

 

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