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Samsung leader departs

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Samsung Techwin America’s EVP Frank De Fina announced May 28 that he is leaving Samsung for personal reasons.

"As of June 2, I will no longer be there. I made the decision on my own, the departure is amicable," he said. A replacement has yet to be named, though De Fina said there are "a couple of obvious potential choices. There is a very capable management team there."

De Fina joined Samsung in February 2010, and said he is proud of how far Samsung has come in the security industry since then. "Five years ago we didn't even appear on the IMS [Research, now part of IHS]  list [of top IP camera providers]," he said. "This year our business grew over 75 percent." And he expects to "move up a couple of notches on the IHS list."

De Fina, who has "retired" twice before, said he is not even going to say he's retiring now. He is simply "taking a breather" and will likely return to the industry, perhaps in a consulting role.

Asked about the biggest challenges getting Samsung up to speed, he said "building the brand and credibility in the security space."

"I will take credit for organizing a great team," De Fina said. "But the credit for building the business goes to [that team]," he added.

"I'm leaving Samsung in much better shape [than when I arrived] and the team is spectacular," he said.

Before Samsung, De Fina was the long time president of Panasonic Systems. He retired from Panasonic Systems in 2008 to run Paul Reed Smith Guitars for two years before joining Samsung.

De Fina can play guitar in case you didn’t know. Here’s a video that my former colleague Sam took at the PSA-TEC jam a few years ago. Scroll down to the video; it features Paul Michael Nathan on harmonica, Frank De Fina on guitar, Daved Levine on bass, and Jerry Cordasco on drums.

The biggest opportunities in the security industry? De Fina said he did lots of research during a recent month-long tour of the Silicon Valley. "I spoke to big name companies [Google, Yahoo, others] and asked them what their [security] concerns are. "They look at us [the security industry] as a bit naive" in terms of cyber security. They also are concerned about the physical security of some critical infrastructure in this country such as data centers and cell towers, De Fina said.

De Fina identified the biggest challenge for integrators as shrinking margins. He recommends that integrators "pay attention to solving the problems that are not so easy to solve ... to reinvent themselves to mimic the growth opportunities I mentioned earlier."

De Fina is vice chairman of the Security Industry Association Board of Directors Executive Committee.

He was instrumental in the establishment of a security degree program that will be launched in 2015 at Mercer Country Community College.

He also holds positions in the International Biometrics Industry Association (IBIA) and is a board member of the Paley Center for Media (formerly Museum of Television and Radio) as well as a member of the board of the New York Friar’s Club Foundation.

Eagle Eye debuts 'modern, open' API

Drako: ‘You don’t have to use Windows to program’; he hopes lots of non-security applications are developed
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05/28/2014

AUSTIN, Texas—Cloud-based VMS provider Eagle Eye Networks on May 27 announced the launch of its Eagle Eye Video API, which CEO Dean Drako hopes will be used to “develop lots of applications that are not security-based.”

ADT offers up to $25K to expose security sales scams

Whistle-blowers can collect if they provide evidence leading to successful civil prosecution of offending companies
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05/28/2014

BOCA RATON, Fla.—ADT is offering as much as $25,000 to anyone willing to blow the whistle on security companies that train their door-to-door sales teams to use deceptive sales techniques, the home security giant announced this week.

Bay Alarm makes 'strategic move' with SDA buy

Super-regional adds commercial strength, density
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05/28/2014

SAN DIEGO—Super-regional Bay Alarm’s May 21 acquisition of SDA Security, based here, adds commercial strength and density in southern California, David Carter, CEO of NetOne, told Security Systems News.

Cloud-based smart home installed base to grow to 44.6 million by 2018

Key elements of growth: platform that can integrate many devices, resistance to cyber hack
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05/28/2014

LONDON—The security industry is just one business sector expected to play a role in the rapid expansion of the global market for cloud-based home management systems, whose installed base is poised to skyrocket over the next five years, rising from 5.6 million at the end of 2013 to 44.6 million by 2018, according to a new report from IHS Research, a market research firm whose U.K. headquarters is based here.

Disaster recovery within 15 minutes at Delta

Duplicate site and drills ensure business continuity
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05/28/2014

ATLANTA—If Delta Air Lines’ Operations Control Center is incapacitated due to a fire, extreme weather or bomb, it can set up within 15 minutes at a duplicate facility already in place nearby. That’s been proven during yearly drills.

Sequoia pumps $57m into SimpliSafe

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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In the modern security environment, there’s no shortage of relatively new, tech-savvy companies intent on revising the traditional alarm monitoring business model. That some of these upstart companies, such as Cambridge, Mass.-based SimpliSafe, are now attracting serious outside investment interest is a development that bears watching.

SimpliSafe, which provides wireless security systems and professional monitoring services without long-term contracts, recently partnered with Sequoia, a prominent venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, to raise $57 million. On its website, the company claims to have 100,000 customers.

SimpliSafe describes itself as a “disruptive tech company working to help people live safely,” while touting its in-house maxim that “being safe should be simple.”

Interestingly enough, SimpliSafe doesn’t fit perfectly into the DIY/MIY mold; it’s really more of a hybrid between those types of systems and more traditional security units. A Wall Street Journal blog noted that a SimpliSafe system with sensors and other burglary protection components, along with a hardware package, typically costs about $260. The company also offers monitoring services for $14.99 per month, but doesn’t require customers to purchase them.

In a company blog, Chad Laurans, CEO of SimpliSafe, said the following: “We’ve eliminated unnecessary middlemen, so we can pass the savings onto our customers and pour our resources into product innovation and customer service.”

Down the road, one of the biggest threats to central station RMR could be the proliferation of increasingly sophisticated DIY/MIY systems that unite ease of use and installation with competitive pricing models. As of yet, there’s no clear writing on the wall that says central station RMR will suffer the effects of “disintermediation” at the hands of innovative MIY products. But a $57 million infusion is no small sum for the security industry. It goes without saying that an investment of this scale can be transformative from a product development standpoint.

It will be interesting to see if this pared down version of security and alarm monitoring indeed proves to be disruptive, and if so, how the monitoring industry responds to the challenge. 

UCC names new head of dealer development

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05/27/2014

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—In a move to bolster dealer growth and services, United Central Control, a provider of monitored security services based here, has named Ron Bowden as director of dealer development, according to a news release.

Five Questions: Ken Frank, RFI Communications & Security Systems

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05/27/2014

Ken Frank recently became a senior account executive for RFI Communications & Security Systems, a multisystems integrator based in San Jose, Calif. His background includes 20 years of integration experience as well as nine years as a regional sales manager in access control and video systems. He will work with new and existing customers, assisting in the development of business, as well as new concepts to be applied within a range of vertical markets. Security Systems News caught up with Ken in March and asked him five questions:

SW24 tests national strategy in Manhattan’s Diamond District

‘Hey, you in the red tie,’ SW24 woos customers with Fusion Centre, armed guard capability, retail store and lighthearted ad campaign
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05/21/2014

NEW YORK—It has ambitions to become a national enterprise-level security provider, but SecureWatch 24, a full-service security company based here, also has identified a strong market in its own backyard—the roughly 3,000 high-end jewelry stores in Manhattan’s famous Diamond District.

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