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by: Tess Nacelewicz - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I wrote recently about Barry Bruce becoming Guardian Protection Services’ new senior VP of corporate sales. Bruce formerly was VP of national sales for Devcon Security, the residential security company that ADT acquired last summer.

Now Warrendale, Pa.-based Guardian has hired another former Devcon VP, Guardian announced today.

Michael Brand, who was VP of sales at Devcon, joined Guardian on April 3 to become director of Guardian’s southern region, assuming responsibility for all sales and operations, the company said. The region includes branches in Austin, San Antonio, Tampa, Charlotte and Philadelphia.

Brand was hired by Devcon in 2010 and then worked for ADT after it bought that company. “During his tenure,” Guardian said in a news release, “Mr. Brand held the positions of area manager, regional director and vice president of sales, including responsibilities for sales and field operations for the residential, commercial and HOA (home owners association) business segments.”

Before he joined Devcon, Brand worked for Brink’s, where he was general manager for that company’s Deerfield, Fla. branch, the news release said.

His previous experience includes leading New Jersey and Massachusetts branches of Enterprise Rent-a-Car, and being a sales training coach with AT&T’s broadband division, according to the news release. It said Brand has a B.A. in communication from Hofstra University.

In a prepared statement, Bruce praised his new (and former) colleague: “I have worked with Mike Brand in the past and have great confidence in his capabilities. I have no doubt he will help us achieve new levels of success in our southern region.”


by: Tess Nacelewicz - Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It was big news early this year when Google decided to buy Nest Labs, a  California-based maker of smart smoke detectors and thermostats, for $3.2 billion. But now it appears that Nest Lab’s intelligent new smoke/carbon monoxide detector isn’t as smart as billed. News reports say sales of the device have been stopped because it’s possible users can deactivate it without meaning to do so.

The smoke/CO detector, called Nest Protect, is so smart it can talk to home residents to warn them if there’s a fire or dangerous levels of CO. But now a feature of the device that allows users to simply wave at it to turn it off has been identified as a potential problem and sales have been halted, Reuters reported this week.

Here’s more of what that news service had to say:

Nest co-founder and Chief Executive Tony Faddell said that, under a unique set of circumstances the alarm's "Nest Wave" feature, which allows a user to switch off the device with a wave of the hand, could be inadvertently activated.

Faddell, one of the creators of Apple Inc.’s iPod, apologized in the blogpost for a problem that was discovered during recent laboratory testing. He added that no customer had complained so far.

"We observed a unique combination of circumstances that caused us to question whether the Nest Wave could be unintentionally activated. This could delay an alarm going off if there was a real fire," he said. "The fact that it could even potentially happen is extremely important to me and I want to address it immediately."

He did not specify that set of circumstances.

Nest will immediately disable the Wave feature—one of many innovative design elements that has won the company and its devices acclaim—in all smoke alarms that are Wi-Fi-connected while it works on a software update to fix the possible defect. It said the fix, plus regulatory approvals, could take two to three months to complete.

Customers without Wi-Fi-connected devices should either disable it or return it for a full refund, the company added.

Security experts have said the industry should take note of Google’s Nest Labs buy, saying this first venture by Google into the connected home could portend more Google home automation products and possibly a security offering.



by: Tess Nacelewicz - Friday, March 28, 2014

Updated April 4

Among the exciting news I learned about on Thursday at the show was that Honeywell’s new wireless LYNX 7000 won Best Intrusion and Detection Device in this year’s ISC West New Product Showcase event, according to Ralph Maniscalco, Honeywell’s director of marketing communications.

The company describes the LYNX 7000 as “an all new version of Honeywell’s self-contained wireless touchscreen security and home automation system. The product is the first of its kind to control up to four cameras and two-way voice over Wi-Fi.”

Among its features is a “water valve,” Maniscalco told me, which can turn off the water if necessary to prevent flooding. Also, he said, LYNX 7000 customers “get weather free.”

Honeywell also is developing a new app to help dealers in selling the LYNX 7000. Marketing communications specialist Natasha Ramjit told me that previously sales reps have had to lug around a “big demo kit,” but with the app, which can be used on an iPad or Android device, all the features of the system can easily be demonstrated to the homeowner. “It just puts everything at anyone’s fingertips,” explained Ramjit.

Speaking of awards, there was great excitement at the Eaton Cooper Notification booth because Cooper’s new ALERiTY line of IP network-based mass notification solutions won the Best Emergency Communication System award in the ISC West New Product Showcase.

“We’re pretty excited about it,” Marla Moran, Cooper’s global commercialization leader, told me.

The company describes ALERiTY, released late in 2013, as “a one-click solution to launch critical messages across its three layers of MNS—in building, wide area and distributed recipient. The advanced IP technology provides seamless interoperability with life safety and communication systems such as fire alarm control panels, sensors, paging and LED digital display signs.”

“You can program it all in one button if you choose,” Moran told me.

How does it function in the real world? Dan Moceri, CEO of Convergint Technologies, dropped by the Eaton Cooper Notification booth to explain that to me.

He said that as a systems integrator, Convergint aims to provide a total solution for customers. It had strong security and fire solutions to offer them, but until now with ALERiTY it “didn’t have a robust solution on the communications side” to complete the package, Moceri said.

He added that Convergint also demands that its partners be of high quality and Eaton Cooper Notification fits that bill, offering “best in the industry” service and support.

Moceri cited large community college campuses in Portland, Ore. and Texas as places where Convergint has used ALERiTY as a solution.

Ted Milburn, Cooper’s VP of marketing, added that ALERiTY is “a scalable product” allowing each end user “to do the piece you want.” For example, an end user might need only the in building and wide area applications, but can add the distributed recipient component, such as text messages and emails, in the future as needed.

Also on Thursday, I talked to John LaFond, VP of integrated systems, strategic business unit, for Linear, which provides access control, health and wellness and security solutions.

LaFond talked to me about the e3 OneBox. The company describes OneBox as combining “Linear’s embedded browser IP-based access control platform with Digital Watchdog’s full-featured DW-VMAX digital video recording capability within one enclosure to create a fully integrated access and video solution.”

LaFond noted that access control is about 8-10 percent of the market and video is about 12-14 percent. However, he said, combine they comprise about 20 percent of the market. “Integrated systems is a much larger proposition,” he said.

In OneBox, is Digital Watchdog leading video technology meshes with Linear’s top access control products, LaFond said. “We’re combining our product knowledge, combining that technology at the right price point,” LaFond said.

He said that “creates a market opening for a dealer base.”

Nicholas Brown, of Caster Communications, which represents Linear, talked to me about the advantage of Linear and 2GIG being under the Nortek umbrella. Nortek companies are “compatible with each other and have a shared vision.”

He said the companies all work together to provide home automation/security solutions that help dealers look at “the big picture of what they can be to the homeowner and not just a security installer.”

Linear at the show also was touting Linear Enterprise, which it described as “a browser-based, embedded network appliance and access control system available through select Linear dealers and equipped for large-scale installations. Enterprise offers remote management, low total cost of ownership (TCO), an easy path to VMS integration, and a unique license key system that makes integration and expansion easier than ever.”

I also attended a very interesting press conference on Thursday, put on by Mircom, a Toronto-based manufacturer and distributor of intelligent building and life safety solutions.
You’re familiar with the connected home—well, Mircom is focused on the connected condo, taking home automation features into the condos and apartments of multifamily units.

It introduced its TX3 InSuite and its TX3 Community at the show. Those are the latest additions to its TX3 Platform, which the company says “provides a total management, communication and security solution.”

Jason Falbo, VP of engineering, explained that “the previous generation of the products were focused at the lobby of the building,” providing such services as access control. But InSuite, Falbo said, “allows to get a footprint inside the tenant suites of the building as well, for a total management solution.”

He continued: “It’s a revolutionary home automation platform. Most of our competitors are focused on the single family home market but we’ve leveraged our experience and skill set in the multifamily sector and developed this home automation controller to provide the best in functionality from standard home automation equipment and, in addition to that, we interface with what were previously stand alone building solutions.”

For example, Falbo said, “with our controllers, not only can you manage the devices within your own home or condo, things such as door contacts, motion sensors, door locks, thermostats, lighting etc., you can also receive alerts, notifications and emergency notifications from systems such as the fire alarm detection system, the mass notification system, the building automation system and the energy management system.”

Interesting concept!

At the Kwikset booth, that residential security door look manufacturer had on display its touchscreen version of the company's SmartCode 914 deadbolt lock. “The SmartCode Touch provides all of the features of SmartCode—including keyless entry—combined with the added convenience and enhanced aesthetics of a capacitive touchscreen,” the company said in a news release.

Larry Goldman, Kwikset’s North American sales and business development manager, told me lock “is very robust” because while it has a sleek-looking appearance appealing to a homeowner’s aesthetic, its lock cylinder is the only residential lock cylinder that meets commercial grade standards.

It’s also “the only Z-Wave lock you can put on a fire door” because it’s fire-rated to not melt or become dysfunctional during a fire, Goldman said.

An added benefit, he said, is that the LED lights on its touchscreen are designed so they can be seen in all types of lighting conditions and won’t be obscured by glare.

Goldman said dealers are saying, “Finally, a beautiful residential lock with an incredible touchscreen.”

I also talked with Dirk Wyckoff, VP of sales and marketing for UniKey, an access control technology provider. Wyckoff told me about updates to the firmware in the Kevo lock, which is powered by UniKey. The company bills the lock as “the only keyless Bluetooth residential door lock on the market.” Wyckcoff also noted that it’s a “mass market solution.”

Among features Wyckoff highlighted is UniKey’s Inside vs. Outside Intelligence technology, which enables the lock to determine if the homeowner is inside or outside the home, preventing accidental unlocks if a person is just passing by the door.

At the Tyco Security Products booth, Tim Myers, product line director, intrusion, talked to me about the large number of products that DSC, part of the security products business unit of Tyco, was touting at the show. “In all, we’re releasing in excess of 30 new products. … This is the biggest product launch we have ever done,” Myers said.

Products he highlighted included the PowerSeries Neo line. The company describes that as “a new scalable commercial and residential line of products, which combines the flexibility of a modular, hardwired system with the simplicity of a wide range of compatible wireless devices.”

Myers said Neo is cost effective for dealers and offers a variety of control panels. It also leverages PowerG, which the company calls “the industry’s leading-edge wireless intrusion technology,” in wireless devices that are easy to install.

The company also was introducing a number of devices, such as keys, detectors and sirens, which are powered by PowerG and compatible with Neo.

In all, Myers said, the new products “will position DSC very strongly in the wireless world” for both residential and commercial applications.

At the Potter Electric Signal Co. booth, national sales manager Craig Summers told me how well the company’s new fire alarm panel designed specifically for sprinkler monitoring has been selling.

The PFC-6006 Sprinkler Monitoring Panel was just released last summer and touted as an industry first. “We’ve sold hundreds and hundreds of units,” Summers said.

The affordable panel comes with a dual-line dialer built into the panel and also has the ability to be monitored via IP. That’s important because the 2013 version of NFPA 72 requires backing up phone lines that send signals to a central station with an alternate technology.

If dealers are in a jurisdiction that has adopted the 2013 version of the code, “this panel is very attractive,” Summers said.

He also said Potter’s facility management software now can be downloaded off the company’s website and is free for a limited period of time.

Also on Thursday, I attended an Alarm Capital Alliance reception, where I chatted with President and CEO Amy Kothari and also with Jason Grelle,
VP of sales and dealer program development.

Updated April 2

New initiatives and new products—I got to hear about lots of those kinds of developments on Wednesday, the first day the show floor opened.

I started the day out doing some video interviews for SSN TV News. Look on our site in the near future for my interviews with Steve Firestone, the new president of Lancaster, Pa.-based Select Security; Patrick Egan, owner and CEO of Select Security and also Security Partners; John Bergher, EVP of marketing and customer care for Sacramento, Calif.-based GHS Interactive Security; and Jim Vogel, the new VP of ADT’s dealer program. In the meantime, though, I’ll share a few highlights of what we talked about.

Firestone, who became president of Select Security Jan. 1 after holding the position of that company’s EVP of sales and marketing since 2012, talked about the company’s Utah call center’s new director, Tony Roberts. “We’re delighted that Tony is part of the organization,” because of his more than 20 years of experience in management and call center development, Firestone said.

He said one part of the call center will support Select Security’s residential direct sales program, which he said aims to add about 2,500 new residential customers this summer. In another part of the call center, Firestone said, “we are about to start an inside sales outbound telemarketing organization” and the company is in the process of recruiting employees for that.

I then talked to Egan, Select Security’s CEO. Egan said Select Security has plans for growth through acquisition this year and promised to make some announcements soon. One buy is going to expand the super-regional reach into another state, he said.

GHS’ Bergher had some exciting news to share about a new partnership that GHS has formed with Solar Universe, which the companies say is the first instance of an alarm company and solar company teaming up to provide a comprehensive solution that involve security, home automation and solar. It will be interesting to see where the new venture takes these companies.

ADT’s Jim Vogel just started his new job March 17. He comes from outside the industry—he most recently was a VP for Allstate Insurance—so this is his first ISC West show.
He spoke about how impressed he was with the enthusiasm of the crowds at the show and about some of the opportunities the ADT dealer program offers dealers.

I also heard about some exciting new life safety developments from Beth Welch, public relations manager for Honeywell Fire Systems and also from David George, director of marketing communications for System Sensor.

Welch told me, “It’s a very busy show. It seems like there’s more interest from security integrators to do fire.”

She said there’s increasing interest in Silent Knight by Honeywell’s combined smoke and carbon monoxide detector, the SK-FIRE-CO Detector. “It’s one of the few, if not the only one, sold over the counter, so it’s non-proprietary,” Welch told me. The device also saves money and is easier to install because it’s one device and not two, she said.

Welch said demand is being driven by such things as AHJs increasingly enforcing new CO laws and requiring that CO detectors be connected to a fire alarm to ensure they’re supervised at all times.

Silent Knight also just launched a new website on Monday with a lot of new resources, she said.

Among other developments at the show, Welch also spoke about Fire-Lite by Honeywell’s new Emergency Command Center, a mass notification system the company introduced at last year’s ISC West. She said MNS is often thought of as only for applications like protecting big college campuses. However, the ECC is “like having mass notification for the down market” because dealers can promote it for a variety of smaller applications, ranging from churches to office buildings.

Also, she said, the system now has a new interactive module, called the Remote Telephone Zone Module (RTZM), that is designed to provide authorized users remote access to send out emergency notifications through a building’s ECC via any phone. She explained that it would, for example, allow a school principal to call in and issue an emergency warning from a remote location, such as five miles down the road from school, if the principal spots a tornado approaching.

At the System Sensor booth, George talked about how many people don’t know that in states or regions that have adopted the 2010 or 2013 edition of NFPA 72, all new commercial sleeping places must have a an audible device that produces a low frequency tone centered around 520 Hz. The requirement became effective Jan. 1.

George said System Sensor has launched an education campaign to get the word out, and also to let those in the affected region know that the company has some new low frequency notification appliances, just launched last summer, that meet that requirement. “It’s an issue with codes changing and compliance taking months, if not years, to kick in,” George told me.

He also said System Sensor has a “brand new website” on which dealers will find it easy to download documents and data and access training webinars.

I then went to talk to Jay Kenny, VP of marketing at, who had many exciting developments to talk about.

The highlights included an announcement that’s cellular-based interactive technology will soon be available with Verizon’s 4th Generation, Long Term Evolution (4G LTE) network. “It’s really the beginning of the 4G life cycle,” Kenny said. He said it “opens up new opportunities to deliver things over the cellular connection” in a managed network way.

Another announcement was that and LiftMaster announced the integration of the MyQ Universal Garage Door Controller, so that now all major garage door brands now integrate with’s connected home platform.

Kenny said, “It’s essentially compatible with anything built after 1992.”

Among other highlights, Kenny said was “enhancing our video solutions.”

For example, the company said in a news release, “it enhanced its video monitoring service with the addition of a high performance, continuous video recording solution. The new solution captures a 24x7 stream of what’s happening at a property and provides cloud-based streaming and video clip access from anywhere.’s Video Monitoring service now includes continuous high definition recording, anytime live streaming, smart clip capture with secure cloud storage, and instant video alerts.”

At the Interlogix booth, I sat down with Warren Hill, product marketing manager, to talk about some new technology Interlogix has acquired in its recent buy of Ultra High Speed (UHS) from Australian company Hills Limited. The acquisition will “broaden [Interlogix’s] global portfolio of intrusion product offerings and services,” according to Interlogix, which is a part of UTC Building & Industrial Systems, a unit of United Tepchnologies Corp.
Hill said the new technology resulting from the deal was creating a lot of buzz at the show. “Lots of dealers are coming to see the new products we have,” he said.

Among them, according to a company news release, were “a self-contained panel that includes native Wi-Fi and Z-Wave to interface with popular lifestyle management devices such as lights, locks and thermostats; new accessories for the NX platform … including a touch-screen module that adds a graphical interface to the control panels; and a modular, hybrid panel that allows features to be added through a unique, DIN-rail mounting system, providing the utmost installation flexibility for system components in both residential and small-to-medium enterprise applications.” The company said interactive services will use native IP and “embedded Web servers to provide remote programming and mobile applications across product platforms.”

Next, I headed to the LILIN booth to find out news about Control4. Control 4 partners with camera manufacturer LILIN. At the show, Control4 was showcasing enhanced integration for surveillance cameras and NVRs for residential and commercial systems.

Paul Williams, Control4 VP of security and communications products spoke to me about Control4’s Simple Device Discovery Protocol (SDDP) technology, which he described as being able to “automatically identify and load drivers for supported IP-connected devices.”

Williams said SDDP increasingly supports many surveillance cameras and NVRs, helping provide Control4 dealers with more security monitoring options in residential and commercial applications.

On Wednesday evening, I chatted with Russell Cersosimo, CEO of Guardian Protection Services, at a Guardian event. We talked about Guardian’s dealer program and how a top California dealer recently joined the program, drawn by the innovative new financing plan the program offers.

Stay posted as I continue to update this blog.

Updated April 1: Day 1 of ISC West

My first morning at ISC West 2014 featured mind reading, that “dirty little word: cable,” and tips on hiring employees who are not just skilled but have the right attitude a company needs to succeed.

I began my Tuesday at the DMP Owners Forum. The Springfield, Mo.-based manufacturer event is an annual one—it’s now in its third year—and this year’s event in Las Vegas included talk of how the new cable and telecom players are impacting the industry and employee hiring. And mind reader Eric Dittelman helped kick off the forum.

As he took the stage, Dittelman reminded attendees that DMP also gets into the minds of the consumer with its focus on customer-driven products.

“DMP mind reads with the help of technology,” he told the audience.

Among his feats was correctly identifying which one of five people had a dollar hidden in his closed fist instead of a penny, which the other four had, even though he hadn’t seen the person put a dollar in his hand.

Bob Harris, owner and president of Attrition Busters, was up next. He warned the crowd he was going to “speak about that dirty little word: cable.”

But although he said the cablecos and telecoms should not be discounted, he said professional security companies still have plenty of opportunity to successfully compete with them.

“Some people believe that there’s a  monitoring bubble about to burst,” Harris said. “…I'm here to tell you that’s not true. … This may be the best time to be in the alarm business and grow your company.”

But he said security companies can’t sit back and do such things as “walk past recurring monthly profit.” He asked, “On every single service call, how often do we stir the pot so our service techs bring intel back?”

Also, Harris said, employee training is vital. “Every single employee in our company is in the sales department and I’m talking about the company operator,” he said. All employees frequent restaurants and local business and have friends and family who call can be potential customers.

Harris also warned against “devaluing professionalism by competing on ‘price’ as the significant differentiator.”

He said security companies have to stress to customers they stand out from cablecos and telecoms in that they’re the local providers who are members of the community.

Professional security compannies also should bundle more services, like the big players do, Harris said. “We need to educate our teams with new levels of possibilities that empower them to lose the fear of selling value bundles,” he said.

Also, he said, adding fire services is a way to distinguish a company. “I don’t see a cable company going out to do a fire systems anytime soon,” Harris said.

He continued, “There’s a litany of things we can do to make a sticky customer, just by default.” When it comes to cable and telecom competitors, Harris said, “proactive or reactive? It’s up to you.”

Rick Britton, DMP CEO and president, also urged the dealers to take steps to compete with the big players, such as offering a single bill for bundled services. And adding interactive services is a way for dealers to double and triple RMR, he said.

“I think that’s a real opportunity for us,” Britton said.

He said of the cablecos and telecoms, “I think we can beat them all day long, any place, any time” because professional security providers are known, trusted providers. “We are providing something completely different,” Britton said.

Also on the agenda was Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ and author of The New York Times best-seller, “Hiring for Attitude.”

He said, “Hiring for attitude is important because [the wrong attitude] is why employees tend to fail and drive you nuts.”

But how to hire for attitude? Murphy told a story of how Southwest Airlines asked pilots coming in for interviews, who were dressed in suit and ties, to change out of their dress pants and put on some brown shorts. He said only a few pilots agreed to make the change and look silly—and those were the ones Southwest chose to continue with the interview process. That’s because the company wants employees with a sense of fun, Murphy said.

He urged security companies to figure out what the “brown shorts” values are in their companies and then devise some open-ended interview questions to find out if applicants share those values and will fit in with the company’s culture.

Murphy said that companies that are able to “find your brown shorts,” draw up relevant interview questions and build a key to interpret the answers will make a “pretty significant dent” in hiring more high performers in about a month’s time.

Tuesday evening found me at an Altronix event. The company, which manufactures low voltage power supplies and transmission solutions for the electronic security industry, held a press conference touting a number of new products here at the show, such as its introduction of the latest edition of eBridge Plus. The company said in a press release that “eBridge100RMT Ethernet over Coax/CAT5e Adapter Kits transmit full duplex data at 100mbps and pass PoE compliant power over coax 304m (1000 ft), or CAT5e cable up to 500m (1640 ft) without repeaters.”

“This is kind of a game changer when it comes to the Ethernet,” Ronnie Pennington, Altronix National Accounts manager, said at the conference.

Alan Forman, Altronix president, explained it this way in a prepared statement: “The ability to accommodate IP cameras and edge devices over coax cabling has proven to be an extremely pragmatic solution and a cost-effective way to upgrade analog systems to a networked platform. And the ability to transmit data and deliver power extended distances over Ethernet cabling without repeaters provides added savings.”
The company also said it was continuing to expand its NetWay product line with NetWay1D and NetWay1DWP. “These single port midspan injectors provide Hi-PoE up to 60W in addition to being PoE/PoE+ compliant.” In a statement, Forman said, “These new midspan injectors provide solutions for the ever increasing power demands of IP cameras, PTZs and edge devices.”

Pennington said the Netway line “saves a lot of labor and time and wire.”

The company also announced it was introducing Pace UTP/CAT5e Long Range Ethernet Adapter Kits.
“The latest addition to Altronix’s expanding line of adaptive transmission solutions, Pace1PRMT makes it possible for users to upgrade surveillance and security systems with new IP cameras and edge devices using existing or legacy infrastructure at distances greater than 100m (328 ft) without repeaters,” the company said.
Pace1PRMT is PoE/PoE+ compliant and transmits data at 100mbps full duplex over CAT5e or higher cable up to 500m (1640 ft), and up to 150m (500 ft) over single twisted pair (UTP).

Forman said at the press conference that Altronix products allow integrators “to enhance a current system or expand it [without running more cable].”

Well, there's plenty more of ISC West to come. Stay posted as I continue to update this blog.

Friday, March 28

I’m heading off next week to ISC West 2014. I’m eager to abandon the piles of snow still lingering here in Maine (where it’s only spring on the calendar!) and get to sunny Las Vegas to learn about what’s new in the industry. And I’m looking forward to meeting many of you and keeping you updated here in my blog about what I learn at the show.

I cover residential security and fire for Security Systems News and virtually every minute of my time at the show is scheduled for meetings with dealers and vendors who will be filling me in on the latest news on the connected home and fire. And each night, I’ll be updating this blog to tell you what I’ve learned, so please stay posted to find out what’s new.

And you’ll also have an opportunity to meet me and my colleagues—SSN editor Martha Entwistle; SSN associate editor Leif Kothe; and Amy Canfield, managing editor of our sister publication, Security Director News—at our special “Meet the Editors” event at the show. That will take place Wed., April 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. We’ll be at the SSN booth, adjacent to the ISC West Media Stage.

The stage is located in the big hallway right outside the main entrance doors to the show floor, so as you head in, please take some time to stop by. I look forward to meeting our readers in person. See you in Vegas!

by: Tess Nacelewicz - Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I recently wrote about a new ABI Research report that predicts professional security companies’ share of the smart home market will be cut in half by 2019 as telecom and cableco competitors leverage their own strengths in the space.

However, not all security companies will fare the same, according to a new report from Imperial Capital, a New York City full-service investment bank. Imperial Capital says that large security companies will do much better than smaller ones as the smart home market grows.

Imperial Capital’s latest prediction on the market for the next six to seven years was released today. It differs from the ABI report in that it drills down more on how size matters.

Simply put, what Imperial Capital predicts is that the top 30 residential security companies will do well over that time period, whereas “the bottom 80 percent of security providers” will see negative growth.

The report, authored by Jeff Kessler, Imperial Capital’s managing director of institutional research, says that Imperial Capital’s and ABI’s views on the market are “generally consistent.” However, Kessler writes, “our biggest difference with the ABI report may be that it does not separate out the top 30 security companies from the rest of the industry, which may very well have customer generation problems.”

Those big companies will do well, Imperial Capital says in its report.

“Our estimates are that the market for home services will grow about 10 percent annually over the next seven years to over 50 million homes, driven by new applications form the security industry, new home services offerings, and marketing from cable and telcos,” the report says. “We estimate the top 30 residential security companies will grow subscribers at about 5 percent annually, from about 11 million current users to about 16-17 million users, driven mainly by life-safety focused subscribers to whom professional response and service and the certainty of police, fire, and personal emergency response is more important than price and bundling convenience.”

However, the report says, “this is offset in our analysis by all other smaller security companies falling from 12 million to 5 or 6 million by 2020.”

When you add those companies—which Imperial Capital says comprise 80 percent of security providers—to the top providers, “we see the security industry as flat to down in this period. In fact, because of this estimated decline in the revenues of small companies, our aggregate estimate of market share is actually more conservative [in] stance than the ABI Study.”

Imperial Capital also believes the smart home market will grow even more than ABI predicts.

“Where we also diverge with the ABI report is in the size of the market six to seven years from now,” the Imperial Capital report says. “ABI estimates a market in six years that is 37 percent larger, and Imperial Capital estimates that it will almost double in six years. The difference, we contend, is new services and technologies from the likes of, Vivint, and iControl … [and also more] “PERS” (personal emergency response systems) home health care and emergency response users. These advanced PERS applications are also being developed.”

by: Tess Nacelewicz - Wednesday, March 19, 2014

When you think about it, all the marketing and sales work a security company does can be largely undone if that company’s technician makes a bad impression at an install or service call.

Guardian Protection Services, based in Warrendale, Pa., believes that the interaction between technicians and customers is so vital that it has added a new field service management system designed to empower technicians and help them be more productive.

Here’s more of what Guardian announced today about how its selection of TOA Technologies’ cloud-based field service management application, ETAdirect, will help its technicians be on time, efficient, and prepared with the right tools and information to do their jobs:

“A quality experience is reliant on a smooth service process, which can only happen if every technician is on time, responsive and has the right knowledge about the customer and the job requirements. TOA’s ETAdirect solution will help to achieve this by providing us with a different approach to field service – one that creates personalized workdays unique to the routine of each of our field service employees. This will make their lives easier on the road, set them up for success in the customer’s home or business and drive efficiencies in the process. For example, ETAdirect will allow us to create daily schedules that start and end near our technicians’ homes – and still cut drive time between appointments significantly,” said Eric Aulbach, CIO of Armstrong Group of Companies, which owns Guardian.

Guardian Protection Services will use ETAdirect to:

    Build better customer relationships thanks to field service technicians who arrive at the client’s home or business on time and have all the right tools and information at their fingertips

    Create schedules that leverage the skills and strengths of each field service technician

    Enable service technicians to communicate directly with each other to ask for help or to provide support when needed – all performed within the same mobile field service application they use to access job details and complete work

    Ensure technicians arrive to appointments in a timely manner, and keep customers in the loop regarding the status of those appointments

    Generate efficiencies in travel time and costs, appointment duration and jobs completed per day

    Seamlessly connect field service delivery to its billing systems using the solution’s powerful APIs

“With ETAdirect, Guardian can better connect the field service processes to the holistic customer service experience, while realizing unique savings and benefits across the board,” said Yuval Brisker, co-founder and CEO of TOA Technologies, a provider of field service and mobile workforce management software solutions.


by: Tess Nacelewicz - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

ADT misled consumers by paying experts to promote ADT Pulse on NBC’s Today Show and through other media outlets without revealing the experts were paid—giving the impression the experts’ reviews were independent, the Federal Trade Commission alleges.

The administrative complaint is part of the FTC’s “ongoing crackdown on misleading endorsements in advertising,” according to an FTC news release. Now, to resolve that complaint, ADT has reached a settlement with the FTC that prohibits ADT “from misrepresenting paid endorsements as independent reviews in the future,” the March 6 news release said.

I asked Boca Raton, Fla.-based ADT about the matter. The company provided this response: “ADT has a tough disclosure policy that follows the FTC endorsement guidelines. That’s why we are happy to have resolved the matter amicably, and why we are willing to commit publicly to maintain that policy.”

Here’s what happened, according to the FTC:

ADT paid three spokespersons, including a child safety expert, a home security expert, and a technology expert, more than $300,000 to promote the ADT Pulse, with one spokesperson receiving more than $200,000. Two of those spokespersons also received a free ADT Pulse security system, valued at approximately $4,000, and free monthly monitoring service, according to the complaint. In exchange, the spokespersons appeared on more than 40 different television and radio programs nationwide and posted blogs and other material online.

ADT set up media interviews for the endorsers through its public relations firms and booking agents – often providing reporters and news anchors with suggested interview questions, and background video, also known as b-roll, according to the complaint. The paid ADT endorsers were introduced by program hosts as experts in child safety, home security, or technology, usually with no mention of any connection to ADT. The endorsers sometimes demonstrated child safety, home security, or technology products other than the ADT Pulse, adding to the impression that they were providing an impartial, expert review of the products.

The settlement is not official yet. The FTC has given unanimous preliminary agreement to it, but the commission won’t take a final vote until a March 6-April 7 public comment period closes.

Here are more specifics of the agreement, according to the FTC’s news release:

             [The order]

-Prohibits ADT from misrepresenting that any discussion or demonstration of a security or monitoring product or service is an independent review provided by an impartial expert.
-Requires ADT to clearly and prominently disclose, in connection with the advertising of a home security or monitoring product or service, a material connection, if one exists, between an endorser and the company.
-Requires the company to promptly remove reviews and endorsements that have been misrepresented as independently provided by an impartial expert or that fail to disclose a material connection between ADT and an endorser.


by: Tess Nacelewicz - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Each year, California-based Moore Protection announces its choice of a movie that best shows the use of modern security technology. The security company calls its honor the "Morpheus Award," a name inspired by Morpheus, the god of dreams and visions in Greek mythology. But I've dubbed it the "Security Oscar," since it’s always announced around the time of the Academy Awards.

The 2014 Morpheus Award winner is—hand me the envelope, please—“The Purge,” by writer/director James DeMonaco and starring Ethan Hawke.

According to Moore Protection, which announced the award March 1, Hawke plays “a security salesman in an America of the near future where crime has been eliminated for all but one night of the year. However, once a year for twelve hours, all crimes are legal, thus making a good security system even more valuable than in our present day. DeMonaco’s premise is that government sanctioning of this cathartic “purge” of mayhem for one night quells citizens’ inherent inclination toward violence for the rest of the year.”

Interesting premise. I’m curious to see it—and to find out how RMR would work in that brave new world!

Here’s a little more detail on this fun annual award from the company, which is based in Redondo Beach, Calif.:

Don Moore, president of Moore Protection, instituted the Morpheus Award as a friendly reminder to members of the entertainment community to regularly and personally use their security systems. Mr. Moore said, “Few things frustrate us more than hearing about a celebrity or industry exec being burglarized while their security system was not armed. Show business people often have assistants and household staff to whom they have delegated the task of arming their alarm systems, and this is a dangerous practice. If a crime is committed while the system is disarmed it is the owner, not the assistant, who is the victim. I encourage all my clients to personally arm and disarm their systems daily and test them at least monthly.” It is also for this reason that the “Morphie” is presented during Awards Season in Hollywood, said Moore.  “The paparazzi are not the only ones who know the stars are away from home on the night of a big awards show!”
For more information or to nominate a film for consideration for next year’s Morpheus Award contact Dave Lofstrom at


by: Tess Nacelewicz - Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The number of Vivint's net new subscribers in 2013 was 219,034, the most in the company’s 15-year history, Vivint President Alex Dunn told investors this week at the J.P. Morgan Global High Yield and Leveraged Finance Conference. APX Group Holdings, of which Provo, Utah-based home automation/home security company Vivint is a subsidiary, presented at the conference on Feb. 25.

According to information on the presentation provided by the company, Dunn presented Vivint to investors as a key player in a “large, growing and recession-resistant industry” with a “unique and differentiated sales model,” according to the company.

Vivint estimated its market share in 2013 was on par with Monitronics’—with each having a 3 percent share. Only three companies had a greater share than those two: ADT, with 21 percent; Tyco with 6 percent; and Stanley, with 5 percent, according to Vivint’s estimates.

Dunn said that average RMR per Vivint new subscriber was $58.35, compared to average revenue per subscriber of $53.05.

Direct sales accounted for about 77 percent of new subscribers for the door-knocking company but Vivint's growing inside sales program was responsible for the other 23 percent, the company said.

Dunn also said Vivint’s RMR was $42.2 million and that revenues were up about 10 percent and that attrition was 12.8 percent.

In an APX Group Holdings conference call in November, Dunn reported similar Q3 results and the numbers he discussed Tuesday also trended positive.

The publicly traded Blackstone Group bought Vivint in 2012 in a deal worth more than $2 billion.

In other news, Vivint today named Nike veteran Jeff Lyman as its chief marketing officer. “As CMO, he will lead marketing and communication initiatives that elevate Vivint's brand awareness and drive adoption of its security, home automation, and energy management services,” the company said.

Before his promotion to CMO, Lyman was Vivint's vice president of consumer experience and previous to that had spent about 10 years at Nike.

I’ll be talking more to Jeff next week. Stay posted.

by: Tess Nacelewicz - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It hasn’t been a year yet since AT&T in April 2013 launched Digital Life, its home security/home automation product, but the telecom has lost no time in making the professionally monitored, professionally installed service available. As of this Friday, Digital Life will be available in a total of 63 markets around the nation.

The company will launch in four new markets that day: Albany, N.Y.; Dayton, Ohio; Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Wichita, Kan., according to an AT&T news release.

As of Feb. 21, customers in those markets can receive a live demonstration and buy Digital Life in company owned retail stores or make the purchase online. The company has 1,378 retail stores around the nation where the product is available, AT&T said.

The Dallas-based telecom had set a goal when it first launched Digital Life to have the service in 50 markets by the end of 2013, but surpassed that goal this past October.
And AT&T is predicting even more growth for Digital Life in 2014.

Kevin Petersen, president of Digital Life, said in a prepared statement: “This year is going to be exciting for AT&T Digital Life and the connected home industry. We’re going to expand our footprint and add features to the platform while being aggressive in the market to show customers how convenient it is to control your home with our easy-to-use technology.”

Also this year, the release said, “AT&T Digital Life joined the AllSeen Alliance, a nonprofit consortium dedicated to driving the widespread adoption of products, systems and services that support the Internet of Everything with an open, universal development framework supported by a vibrant ecosystem and thriving technical community. The alliance is a broad cross-industry consortium aimed at advancing adoption and innovation in the “Internet of Everything” in homes and industry.”

According to the news release, “AT&T Digital Life makes customers’ lives easier by simplifying the management of their home, offering security, convenience and peace of mind, in a customizable and easy-to-use experience from a smartphones, tablet or computer.”

Packages for Digital Life range from Simple Security, for $29.99 a month plus $149.99 for equipment, to Smart Security, for $39.99 a month plus $249.99 for equipment. Automation packages, such as camera or energy packages, can be added to the Smart Security for an additional monthly cost.

by: Tess Nacelewicz - Wednesday, February 12, 2014

It was big news in 2011 when Verizon got into home security/home automation with the launch of its Home Monitoring and Control service, which did not have a professional monitoring component. Now there’s an even bigger buzz because it has now apparently discontinued the $9.99 per month DIY product.

Verizon this past October stopped accepting new orders for the product, although it is continuing to let existing FiOS subscribers continue with it, according to the FierceCable website.

I haven’t heard back from Verizon yet, but I have some questions. Does this mean that Verizon is getting out of home security and home automation?

Or perhaps it’s just dropping home security and will offer a new stand-alone home automation product? There’s some precedent for that. I reported last year that Comcast last year was offering Xfinity Home Control, a home management package for customers who don’t want security but do want home automation. That offering is distinct from Xfinity Home Secure, a product that has professional monitoring.

It’s not clear what Verizon’s latest move portends but FierceCable did report this:

“Verizon officials suggested that the telco may introduce a new home automation product, but wouldn't say if the company is considering adopting a wireless-based approach similar to AT&T Digital Life.”

I’ll continue to follow on this story. Stay posted.