Insider News & Business: August 2011
CSAA Takes Next Step in Central Station-to-PSAP Communications
The next frontier in monitoring communications is automated data exchange. In its January issue, SDM covered an automated data exchange pilot program being tested in Houston, Texas (pg. 17). With the program fully implemented in Houston, the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) is looking to expand and open it up to the industry.
The new program, named Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP), allows monitoring stations and public safety answering points (PSAPs) to communicate and exchange data through the International Justice and Public Safety Network (Nlets). “Nlets is the link that connects all of the state, local and federal law enforcement agencies into shared databases,” explained Pam Petrow, president of Vector Security and a member of CSAA’s Executive Committee. “Public safety agencies don’t want Internet connections in PSAPs due to concernes over hackers and other potential issues such as viruses. Nlets gives us a secure network.”
The implementation of ASAP in Houston, and earlier in Richmond, Va., was carried out in conjunction with CSAA becoming a strategic partner of Nlets, putting in place an initial agreement that allowed for connections between three monitoring companies and three PSAPs. Currently, the three monitoring companies communicating via ASAP to the Houston Emergency Center are Vector Security, United Central Control and Monitronics. According to a press release, the city of Houston expects this program will represent annual savings of $1 million to $2 million.
With this successful execution in Houston, the CSAA is working towards expanding its partnership with Nlets to allow for more monitoring stations to go online.
In order to do this, the organization has begun recruiting UL- ETL- and FM-certified companies to become charter members of ASAP and contribute to the $300,000 initial investment necessary to set up the necessary additional servers. The servers will not store data, but rather function as gatekeepers to the network, passing and distributing data while logging which authorized companies are accessing it. The CSAA expects to have these servers up and running by September, at which point it will work to bring other PSAPs into the program.
Petrow said that CSAA will approach companies in phases. At the time of writing, ASAP has close to 40 charter members. For the next few months, CSAA will approach its members with the opportunity to become charter members of ASAP. The next phase will extend the opening to other certified, non-CSAA-member central stations. As more PSAPs and stations are added to the program, Petrow explained, charges will depend on usage. Charter companies who join the program in these two initial phases, however, will receive reduced rates.
One of the key determinations made very early on by the companies involved in building this program was ensuring this would be a “small guy game” as much as an opportunity for big companies. “Any big company could create its own connection [with Nlets] to be a strategic partner. The problem with that is most small companies can’t afford that type of an annual fee. We want to take the cost and offer the service to companies of all sizes and be the gatekeeper. CSAA is paying to be strategic partner and it gets allocated back to people using network depending on usage as opposed to company size,” Petrow noted.
According to a press release, Bill Hobgood, project coordinator for APCO and project manager for the city of Richmond’s Department of Information Technology Public Safety Team, said, “ASAP is a public-private partnership designed to eliminate telephone calls from alarm companies, eliminate miscommunications by alarm company operators and 911 PSAP call-takers, and reduce 911 processing time by two to three minutes or more. The reduction in 911 processing time has the potential for an equivalent reduction in response times by public safety first responders, resulting in a likelihood of increased law enforcement apprehensions made, fires more quickly extinguished and lives saved. The outcome for Houston and the rest of the nation is huge.”
The program’s success in Houston has sparked the interest of PSAPs across the country, Petrow noted. “We have a list of cities that have requested to participate,” she said. She added that in order to ensure continued success of the program, the CSAA aided by APCO — one of the developers of the ASAP standard — will have to carefully manage through the process of bringing PSAPs in.
“We want to make sure we’re doing this in a manner that’s a positive experience,” Petrow said. “We have to make sure we’re providing the service in the area where there’s the most need. Cities with charter members will go first and where there are numbers with enough density to be a positive experience for the PSAP.”
Drawing on her experiences from the Vector side, which also contributed to developing the standard and testing it in Houston, Petrow commented, “We found in our monitoring center that after IP, this has been the most substantial change we’ve seen in more than 20 years. — By Sabrina Gasulla, Associate Editor.
ULwebCerts Introduced for Alarm Certificate Service Customers
UL (Underwriters Laboratories) announced the availability of ULwebCerts, a new online service of its Alarm Certificate Services division that allows alarm service providers to manage their UL Alarm Certificates and certificate applications online. With ULwebCerts, UL Alarm Certificate Service customers can now request alarm certificates and receive immediate delivery of their certificate serial number and a “proof of Certificate request,” quickly satisfying authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ) requests. For information, visit www.ul.com/alarmsystems.
SDM Announces 4th Annual Channel Partner Awards
SDM announced the recipients of its fourth annual Channel Partner Awards during ESX in Charlotte, N.C. on June 9. These awards are presented to manufacturers in the security industry based on nominations and votes received from SDM magazine subscribers via a two-part online survey process conducted by Clear Seas Research. The awards recognize the superior support these companies provide to the dealer and integrator channel.
“Winning an SDM Channel Award is like getting an A+ on your report card,” said Mark McCourt, publisher of SDM. “SDM readers deal with these companies on a daily basis and this program truly represents the voice of the customer.”
The 2011 Channel Partner Awards include awards for the top nominees in 14 specific categories: Sales Support, Technical Support, Marketing Support, Brand Reputation, Education & Training, Wholesale Monitoring Partner, Managed Services Vendor, and Technologically Advanced Products. The Technologically Advanced Products category is divided into seven subcategories.
Clear Seas Research conducted the research and determined the winners for each category, as follows:
Best Overall Sales Support
Best Overall Technical Support
Best Overall Marketing Support
Best Technologically Advanced Offerings: Access Controls
Best Technologically Advanced Offerings: Fire Alarm/Life Safety
Best Technologically Advanced Offerings: Identity Management
Best Technologically Advanced Offerings: Intrusion Alarm
Best Technologically Advanced Offerings: Remote Monitoring Solutions
Best Technologically Advanced Offerings: Smart Home Systems, Automation & Entertainment
HAI – Home Automation Inc.
Best Technologically Advanced Offerings: Wire & Cable, Power Supplies, Accessories
Best Brand Reputation
Best Education & Training
Best Wholesale Monitoring Partner
Rapid Response Monitoring Inc.
Best Vendor of Managed Services
Priority Response Gains Traction
As the trend of non-response ordinances across the country continues to spread, so is a countermeasure that ensures police dispatch to locations where an alarm is verified. Earlier this year, the Boston Police Department put in place a new policy designating exclusive priority codes for video-verified intrusion alarms. And in North Carolina, for the past two years, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department worked on implementing a policy of its own that assigns video verified alarms a “priority one” dispatch, labeling them “crimes in progress.”
Charlotte has been a leader in false alarm reduction, adopting and enforcing a well-written ordinance with permitting and fines. False alarm reduction is important, but ultimately this only minimizes a negative. Charlotte is now taking steps to maximize the positive and make arrests. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department implemented an alarm response policy that gives priority response to alarms confirmed with video so that they can catch the bad guy.
What is interesting about this policy is that it overrides the department’s false alarm reduction ordinance. The ordinance states that in order to warrant police dispatch, all residences and businesses with security alarms must hold a permit — renewed every year — that can be suspended after police respond to a number of false alarms. After “three strikes,” each false alarm incurs a progressively higher fine, which must be paid in order to reinstate a permit. With or without a permit, hold up alarms, panic alarms and duress alarms coming from a monitoring company are entered for dispatch, but only video verified alarms are entered as priority one calls. Video intrusion alarms of a burglary trump the ordinance and the result is greater community safety.
“We have to have evidence that it is a crime in progress. We would not respond the same way unless there was video to verify,” said Major Eddie Levins, commander of the Administrative Services Bureau, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. “If there’s an immediate risk of loss — where there’s a crime in progress — we respond immediately, even if you’re on the cut-off list.”
Major Levins estimates that since implementing priority response for video verified alarms, arrest rates may have gone up as much 50 percent for video-verified alarms. This is due, he notes, not only to the fact that responding officers know they are going into a crime in progress, which changes the way they approach the call and makes them more vigilant, but also due to advantages gained from knowing how many perpetrators they are looking for and where, whether they are armed and even what they’re looking for. “They’re looking for more — seeing more,” he said.
At the Electronic Security Expo held in Charlotte, N.C. this month, Levins spoke during an educational session about the evolution of 911 response and video intrusion alarms. He explained that issues affecting response go beyond false alarms. A crash on the interstate for example, he said, can overload a 911 call system and takes someone else’s ability to access emergency response. The evolution of 911 centers, he said, will lead to different ways of communicating need for dispatch that can include video as well as still images.
As far as the growing spotlight on the relationship between police departments and security companies, Levins said that, “Everybody understands their role now.” He adds that the biggest change has been that currently everyone can work together in trying to apprehend criminals. He attributes this in part to non-response ordinances that are letting both alarm owners and security companies know that false alarms are a huge drain on police resources. “[Police] can’t be a personal security guard to every person with an alarm,” he comments. “It seems punitive to charge people for false alarms, but people have to take some individual responsibility. They have to do their part, too.” — By Sabrina Gasulla, Associate Editor.
Stanley Bids $1.2 Billion for Niscayah
Stanley Black & Decker Inc., New Britain, Conn., made an offer to acquire Niscayah, Stockholm, Sweden, a global provider and integrator of security solutions. The bid represents a premium of approximately 23.8 percent over a previous bid made by Securitas, Stockholm, on May 16, 2011.
The Niscayah business was a division of Securitas under the name Securitas Systems until 2008, when it was spun off and renamed. According to a Bloomberg report, Soeren Lontoft Hansen, an analyst with Sydbank A/S in Aabenraa, Denmark, noted there may be a counter-offer from Securitas as, “Niscayah is very good at IT security systems that Securitas is dependent on, and Securitas is Niscayah’s largest customer.”
According to Bloomberg in late June, a spokeswoman from Securitas said, “We’re still interested in acquiring Niscayah and we think we have offered the price tag that Niscayah is worth for us. We have made our best offer.” There is, however, speculation from analysts that Securitas may offer a higher price.
Stanley’s offer of $1.2 billion is subject to customary conditions, though Stanley stated that the independent committee of Niscayah’s board, a group appointed by Niscayah’s board of directors to evaluate this and other potential offers, “has unanimously recommended that Niscayah shareholders and warrant holders accept the offer. Niscayah shareholders representing approximately 19.5 percent of Niscayah shares have committed to accept the offer under certain conditions.”
The acquisition would represent a significant global footprint expansion for Stanley’s Convergent Security Solutions business, the company said.
Stanley CSS and Niscayah are the No. 5 and No. 8 largest security integrators respectively, according to SDM’s 2011 Top Systems Integrators Report.
Stanley’s chief operating officer, James Loree, stated, “Further, it diversifies our business mix and improves our value proposition to customers by providing a global platform for customers who want to deal with one source of supply for their electronic security needs.”
If approved, Stanley expects to complete the acquisition in September 2011.
Samsung Techwin America Appoints New President
Samsung Techwin America, Ridgefield Park, N.J., appointed Soon Hong Ahn as president of the video surveillance and security products supplier.
As the former vice president of global sales and marketing for the security division of Samsung Techwin Co. Ltd. in Korea, Ahn is familiar with the unique challenges and opportunities of the security and video surveillance markets in North America and Latin America. A frequent traveler to both regions, Ahn provides valuable management perspective and leadership as Samsung Techwin America continues on its path of sustained sales growth, the company said.
“I am very pleased to now be able to focus my full attention on the important security and video surveillance markets in the Americas,” Ahn commented. “My new position provides a great opportunity to help position Samsung Techwin America as the market leader. I am especially interested in receiving feedback from the dealer, integrator and end user communities to help guide our efforts to improve and to earn new business.”
As a strategic thinker with global experience, Ahn has already been a strong supporter of Samsung’s evolution and growth in the North American and Latin American markets in the last two years. Samsung has focused on being a comprehensive supplier of security systems including video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection and alarm systems.
New C.O.P.S. Central Station in Nashville
On June 24, 2011, C.O.P.S. Monitoring, headquartered in Williamstown, N.J., opened its fourth central station in Nashville, Tenn. “We’re excited to launch locally in Tennessee,” stated Jim McMullen, president and chief operating officer of COPS Monitoring. “Nashville will make a great home for C.O.P.S. Because Tennessee borders eight key states and is in very close proximity to three others, our new site will allow us to connect even better with dealers in this region by expanding our hometown presence. The addition of our Nashville central station also further strengthens our already high levels of redundancy and reliability.”
McMullen also hinted that this would not be the last central added to the C.O.P.S. Network, which also includes 24/7 UL-Listed central stations in New Jersey, Florida and Arizona. Today, each central station is actively load sharing, which means that every dispatcher contributes by handling alarm traffic for the entire company. This improves its overall quality of service and response time, the company said.
All of the dispatchers at the C.O.P.S. Monitoring’s Nashville central station are CSAA Five Diamond Certified. C.O.P.S. also has plans to have the central station Five Diamond Certified upon the completion of the UL-Listing of its Nashville site.
Third Indiana Acquisition for Per Mar
Per Mar Security Services, Davenport, Iowa, announced it acquired Employer’s Security of Elkhart, Ind. The company, which had been in business since 1956, was owned and operated by Nathan Soward and Gayle Davis. Employer’s Security offered full electronic security and guard services including burglar and fire alarm systems, access control, CCTV installations, security officer, mobile patrol and alarm response. Per Mar will continue to offer these services and the operation will move into its existing Mishawaka office, which will ensure that exceptional service continues to be provided to Employer’s Security’s former customer base, the company said. An additional 150 employees and 500 alarm customers have become a part of the Per Mar family, servicing a total of more than 3,000 customers in this area.
The company’s home office is located in Davenport, Iowa, with 21 branch offices located throughout Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska.
Stanley Builds Up National Sales Program
Stanley Convergent Security Solutions Inc. (Stanley CSS), Naperville, Ill., announced several leadership changes to its North American National Accounts sales program. Among them, the company named Christopher BenVau to senior vice president of national accounts.
A security expert with 19 years in the security industry, BenVau joined Stanley CSS in 2006 as the national account vice president for the West region. In 2007, BenVau was promoted to vice president national accounts for the United States. Under BenVau’s leadership, the National Account Program for Stanley CSS doubled in sales over the four year period and now accounts for more than 50 percent of the Stanley CSS North American business.
In his new role, BenVau will lead the Stanley CSS North American National Accounts sales program consisting of Stanley associates in core national account sales, enterprise solutions, government program, corrections, national account applications engineering and national account customer relations, business development and administration.
Stanley CSS also promoted Patrick Mulhern to vice president national accounts — eastern United States.
Mulhern’s career in the security industry spans three decades with roles in all functions of security operations including sales, monitoring, operations and executive leadership.
Also earning a promotion, Ray Radis is the new vice president of national accounts for the western United States.
With more than 29 years of security expertise, Radis is a proven leader in account management, strategic customer partnerships and business development. Prior to working at Stanley CSS he held key sales positions at other security companies including regional director of sales and senior national account manager.
Partnership to Add Security to Home Management Ecosystem
iControl Networks Inc, Palo Alto, Calif., a provider of broadband home management, and Visonic Ltd., Tel-Aviv, Israel, a developer and manufacturer of wireless home security and safety systems and components, partnered to integrate Visonic security peripherals into the iControl OpenHome™ software platform. The joint development and marketing initiative combines Visonic’s experience in wireless security with iControl’s advanced home management technology in order to enable a versatile range of security sensors and other devices dedicated for use with OpenHome.
“The addition of Visonic to the iControl Partner Program is a major milestone for us as it enables sensors and devices that are critical to our broadband service provider deployments,” said Jim Kitchen, vice president of strategy at iControl Networks. “With its advanced technologies and years of experience in wireless security, Visonic is an ideal partner to help us accelerate our home management ecosystem.”
The new Visonic devices will communicate with the iControl platform using the ZigBee RF communication protocol, driven by a system on chip (SoC) from Ember Corporation. ZigBee technology offers benefits for security devices designed to operate as part of a home management solution, including long battery life and long range. The first Visonic iControl-certified security sensors and peripherals will be available later this year.
Honeywell Welcomes Commercial Integrator as Authorized Dealer
Honeywell, Melville, N.Y., announced that RFI Communications and Security Systems joined the Honeywell Authorized Dealer for Commercial Security Systems program. In addition to customers, the San Jose-based security, fire and life safety integrator provides safety and security solutions for federal, state and local government agencies.
RFI, which maintains four offices in the western United States with more than 250 employees, serves customers in highly-regulated facilities such as universities and airports as well as multiple U.S. government agencies. The integrator specializes in end-to-end solutions that include video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection, GPS tracking and managed services. Additionally, RFI also owns and operates Security Command Center, a Five-Diamond certified, 24-hour UL-listed central monitoring station.
“Our customers operate in highly complex environments, and we work to understand those environments as best we can to develop the right solutions that will meet their needs, whether they be commercial facilities or government agencies,” said Brad Wilson, Certified Protection Professional (CPP®) and president of RFI. “Teaming with Honeywell ensures that we provide our customers with the top technology in the business to meet not only their security needs, but also government standards.”
Honeywell’s Authorized Dealer Program for Commercial Security Systems supports commercial and industrial security dealers by offering customized marketing support, targeted sales opportunities and technical training programs. The program is designed for dealers with expertise in intrusion and fire, video surveillance and access control.
“More commercial and government customers are seeking security solutions that not only protect their people and buildings, but also their bottom lines,” said Dave Kaufman, Honeywell’s director of dealer programs. “RFI understands that end-to-end solutions that create truly connected facilities represent the best way to achieve that objective. Its commitment to that approach makes RFI a great fit as a dealer in our Commercial Security System program.”
Security Video Standards: New Officers, Continued Focus
The Physical Security Interoperability Alliance (PSIA), a global consortium of physical security providers headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif., and focused on promoting the interoperability of IP-enabled devices, elected Larry Lien of Proximex of San Jose. Calif., as its new chairman and Marine Drive of Honeywell Security Group of Melville, N.Y., as vice chairman.
“We are pleased to have two extremely strong individuals help lead our initiatives and serve as advocates for interoperability in the security industry,” said David Bunzel, executive director, PSIA.
“The PSIA has demonstrated that a complete systems approach is the best way to meet the critical need for industry standards,” said Lien. “I see many important opportunities available for Marine and I to help raise the level of awareness and speed market adoption of the PSIA specifications. Better systems-level standards will advance the functionality and interoperability between systems to improve the end user experience and allow faster integration of disparate systems.”
In an interview with SDM, Lien commented on what’s to come for PSIA: “The industry is now paying attention to the standards topic. During the next year, PSIA will offer more educational opportunities about its standards and their benefits to organizations. This includes more marketing programs, educational series and testimonials from customers, specifiers and manufacturers. Outreach and continued communications of business benefits will also create awareness and drive adoption.”
Drive, global director of integration for Honeywell Security Group and a 12-year company veteran, played an instrumental role in authoring the PSIA Area Control standard and leading an integrated demonstration of the PSIA system specifications along with several other companies at ISC West 2011.
Commenting on Steve Van Till’s position paper on “standards harmony” for The Electronic Security Association (read the article at www.SDMmag.com and on page 44 of this issue), Marine told SDM, “Standards need to offer a real value to the customer, and not just be a ‘suite of protocols.’ Integration and interoperability, however, mean different things to different people in different industries. I don’t think a single standard will be able to address all use-cases from its prime play perspective. This is where interoperability between various standards organization becomes key, and Steve Van Till has rightly pointed it out.”
Systems Integrator Joins CABA Board of Directors
The Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) announced the addition of Diebold Inc., a provider of integrated self-service delivery, security and energy management systems and services, to its board of directors.
CABA is dedicated to advancing integration of automation for residential and commercial buildings, helping members create increased market opportunities, supporting multi-disciplinary partnerships, while serving as a preferred global source of information, knowledge and networking for key stakeholders.
Rod Reese represents Diebold on the CABA board. He currently serves as Diebold’s director of energy solutions, which interacts with the firm’s security business unit.
Reese joined Diebold in 1994 as a product manager for pneumatic tube systems, after holding various sales and marketing positions in the capital equipment business and transportation industry throughout the United States and Singapore.
Legrand Acquires Middle Atlantic Products
Legrand North America, West Hartford, Conn., a global specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures, completed its acquisition of Middle Atlantic Products Inc., a manufacturer of support and protection products to mount integrated AV systems in residential, commercial, broadcast and security applications, which now becomes the company’s new Commercial A/V division focused on AV products and solutions for commercial, residential, security and broadcast applications.
According to the company, the acquisition enables a more comprehensive offering of AV infrastructure products and solutions from one company to ultimately better service the needs of the growing AV markets.
“The Middle Atlantic brand, operations, and services are continuing as they always have, so our customers can continue to expect the exceptional experience we work hard to deliver every day,” said Mike Baker, Middle Atlantic president and now also president of Legrand’s Commercial A/V division. “Now that we have the backing and support of a global company, we will be able to consider new products and services that will only increase our ability to serve our customers and the installation community going forward.”
Security Company Ranked Top 5 Call Center
Protection 1, Romeoville, Ill., the second-largest electronic security company in the United States, was ranked in the top five of the Best in Class Call Center — Over 200 Staff category at the 2011 Call Center Excellence Awards held at the Planet Hollywood Casino, Las Vegas, in June.
The Call Center Excellence Awards honor, recognize and promote the most innovative call center solutions and individuals from the past year. With awards given in eight categories, they are dedicated to recognizing superior thinking, creativity and execution across the full spectrum of call center functions. Competing against international corporations, Protection 1 placed among well-known brands such as Discover, CIGNA Corp, ING Direct USA and Puget Sound Energy.
“This acknowledgement means a great deal to us,” said Protection 1 President and chief executive officer Timothy Whall. “Customer service is the cornerstone of our culture. Our focus has been to provide each and every customer with nothing short of extraordinary service at every turn. To be recognized alongside the companies that we were tells us that we’re on the right track to accomplishing that goal.”
Samsung Techwin America, Ridgefield Park, N.J., announced that Jennifer Pittman joined the company to fill the newly created position of south central regional sales manager. Her territory includes Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas. In her new role, Pittman works closely with the sales channel to bring Samsung Techwin’s physical security solutions to end users and to increase market share in the region.
Tri-Ed / Northern Video Distribution announced continued expansion of its North American footprint in Elmsford, N.Y. Managed by industry vet Leo De Lucca, the new Westchester, N.Y. branch is located at 400 Executive Blvd. in Elmsford (telephone: 914-345-0698 and toll-free, 800-298-7433). Mike Mullen also joined the staff as sales associate.
LogicMark, Fairfax Station, Va., appointed Arthur A. Von Ahnen as the company’s new national training manager. He has more than 30 years of experience in the security and home automation industry, and most recently four years in the PERS industry. Von Ahnen focuses on training of dealers to promote and market LogicMark’s unique line of PERS products. He appeared on the front cover of SDM in February 2003.
Pelco by Schneider Electric, Clovis, Calif., announced that as of July 1, 2011, Sam Belbina, currently vice president of systems integration for the company’s east region, is taking on a new role leading the Security Center of Excellence (COE) and the Video organization. Belbina has more than 20 years of experience in advancing sales and operational efficiencies.
Michael Ooten was appointed as regional sales manager for Honeywell Systems. In this role, Ooten focuses on growing sales of Honeywell’s video surveillance systems for Texas and Oklahoma. Ooten has more than 10 years of industry experience. He is based in Edmond, Okla.
Inovonics, Lousville, Colo. appointed Don Commare as director of product management.
In the article “How to Turn Your Techs Into Truck Warriors” (June SDM, pg. 67), John Cerasuolo was incorrectly identified as chief executive officer of ADS Security. He is, in fact, chief operating officer. Mel Mahler is the company’s chief executive officer. SDM regrets the error.