ADT Inc., SDM’s 2017 Dealer of the Year, recently announced the completed acquisitions of Aronson Security Group Inc. (ASG) and Acme Security Systems. ADT says these acquisitions will help it bolster commercial growth and expansion. 

Headquartered in Renton, Wash., and in business for 55 years, ASG employs nearly 170 team members, including risk and security program consultants, advanced integration services, consulting and design engineers and a national program management team, as well as technicians and business development and project managers, who work from locations across the U.S.

“Our commercial growth strategy incorporates acquisitions that bring both talent and resources to ADT that will not only extend our capabilities, but also serve as the right cultural fit with our customer-centric philosophy,” said Jim DeVries, ADT president. “We see Phil Aronson and his team at Aronson Security Group a great add to the ADT family in those regards — highly experienced in the integrated security solution market, tremendous leadership capabilities and a true passion for the customer — all the right components as we focus on strategic growth.”  

The moves are part of ADT’s strategy to bolster its commercial services. “ADT and Acme have a shared vision for exceptional service,” said Phil Aronson, president of ASG, “and this alliance not only enhances our leadership in the market, but substantially extends our service capabilities for our valued customers.”

Bill Bozeman, president & CEO of PSA Security Network, agreed, adding, “They acquired a very solid player — one of the key high-end systems integrators in the Pacific Northwest. … ADT would not do this unless they were really serious about building out their high-end commercial systems integration group, which is a separate division from their residential group.”

This marks a change in ADT’s business model, or rather a shift back toward a commercial model, which ADT was a big player in before it became known a residential powerhouse in the later 20th century. Bozeman attributes this change in part to the recent acquisition of ADT by Protection 1, which was more of a commercial integrator.

Bozeman says this isn’t a shift away from residential, but rather adding commercial integration. “They’re not going to give up residential; they’re the biggest in the world. But now with this new commercial group, it’s pretty strong there as well.”

Another thing Bozeman believes could be driving ADT’s foray back into commercial integration is the continuing threat of DIY. He explained that as the upcoming generation is more and more tech savvy and less afraid of technology, DIY is going to be an immediate threat to the entry level and mid-level video surveillance business.

“You almost have to wonder sometimes if a high-end integrator, like an ASG, which was much less threatened by the DIY model than a low-end integrator, is a hedge of sorts,” he explained. “The residential business is under attack by DIY, not so much on access control, but on video surveillance, I see low- to mid-level stuff being next. Both areas Aronson doesn’t participate in.”

Bozeman sees the DIY threat chipping away at low-end integration and slowly working its way up the chain, maybe up to mid-level integration, eventually.

Aronson believes this merger will help ASG better accomplish its own goals: “With ADT’s resources and breadth of capability, we can now do things that we only dreamed about, such as providing the services of a Network Operations Center (NOC) to support security and IT in the cyber defensibility and maintainability of their devices and architecture; and unleashing our Enterprise Security Risk Group (eSRG) to address a holistic approach to the security executive’s program,” Aronson said.

ASG management will be staying, Aronson said, and his employees are “already being promoted and provided an opportunity to build the biggest and finest commercial security risk management services organization in the world.”

Headquartered in San Francisco and founded in 1974, Acme is among the largest privately held security systems integrators in the Bay Area, focusing on electronic security systems, access control, video networks and more. 

“ADT and Acme have a shared vision for exceptional service, and this alliance not only enhances our leadership in the market, but substantially extends our service capabilities for our valued customers,” DeVries said.