Blog Posts

Electronic Security Expo


November 29, 2022 Hannah Boone
[Full Video of Interview on Security Nation Podcast is Below]

During the COVID-19 pandemic many industries experienced a recession of technology and growth. Fortunately, the security industry and more specifically, the MDU (Multi-Dwelling Unit) vertical was one of the exceptions. The Electronic Security Expo in June 2022 hosted a peer-to-peer education sessionTop 5 factors you need to know before entering the MDU market, that explored the MDU market’s latest trends, go-to-market strategies, and what makes it a unique vertical in our industry. This session was led by 4 presenters with each offering a unique industry perspective. 

Growth & Trends in the MDU (Multi Dwelling Units) Market  

The presentation began with taking a closer look at the latest MDU market trends. At the beginning of the year, Yardie Matrix published an article regarding new construction permits that are being pulled. It shows that there is a steady trend for the next five years with an average of almost 4000 units being built, which is astronomical. “It is also important to note that more people start renting when there is a recession.” says Mariam Rogers “So, it is great to see that the MDU marketing has sustained throughout the pandemic, and it is still growing steadily. It really is a recession-proof vertical.” Rogers adds. 

Additionally, the presenters discussed how apartment operators are getting smarter and more creative. For example, some developments might be running a building that’s 90% traditional apartments and then 20% that are co-living.

“There is just this incredible amount of diversity that is starting to happen in the multifamily market.” says Preston Grutzmacher “Once there is a diverse population in buildings with totally different use cases, then the demand for technology grows as well.”  

Jennifer Doctor then explained that historically in the MDU market, any kind of multi-dwelling unit had three elements; the property automation itself, the resident amenities and automation, and the building security. “Before the last three years or so, these elements were treated as separate components in the environment. Now we are seeing them merge into one solution request. That’s really where the true growth is for our industry.” 


Market Strategies to Motivate Buyers 

After going over the MDU market’s growth potential and trends, the discussion moved into go-to-market strategies. They explained how marketing efforts have been changing over the years. If you were to rewind the clock in the security industry ten years, your marketing spend would have been directed entirely towards a security reseller. But in more recent years there has been a need to bring qualified leads to your channel partners and keep their business going. One of the ways that you can do that is by marketing to the different types of organizations inside of multifamily. Marketing to developers, investors, and to general contractors. Because the more excitement that you can build with those organizations, the more demand you can create to supply your channel partners. “Remember, there’s an entirely different set talk tracks when it comes to communicating the products to each of your different audience members.” Grutzmacher advises

“If you’re talking to a property manager, their needs are different from the leasing agent, from the developer, from the owner, and you must start asking yourself, ‘Who are our customers?’ –  For dealers entering the market, don’t write anyone off. Your next sale could come from a ton of diverse groups within any property.” Grutzmacher continues. 

Doctor added that during those conversations about the types of buildings with different audiences on value, you must keep the end user adoption and what their needs are front of mind. “If you’re in an apartment with a month-to-month rental, the products you bring in are potentially different from those of a condominium. Plus, all of that can change if you’re in a multi-unit dwelling that caters to a senior citizen environment.” explains Doctor. Essentially, you must be able to adjust your talking based on all these audiences to truly present your value and what makes you unique and the better solution. “It’s not the product. We can all build the products, it’s the conversations of how to present them.” Doctor adds 

How Does Managed Wifi Fit in the Picture? 

This portion of the presentation explored managed WiFi solutions. Grutzmacher pointed out, if a building has managed WiFi, with each residential unit is charged $20 from their ISP, but they’re selling the WiFi to each individual resident at $50. That’s created $30 of RMR per unit that they never had before. “Managed WiFi is the next frontier in prop TAC for multifamily. When we get to the world of managed WiFi, all of a sudden that property has a revenue source.” says Grutzmacher.

From there Rogers added that every tech stack must have a network that is reliable. Residents want to be able to make phone calls in the elevator or parking garages without them dropping. Without the proper infrastructure that all the technology is layered on, connections will fail. “If you start looking at things like Smart Appliances that are running on WiFi, there must be a backbone to keep everything, and everyone connected. That’s where managed WiFi is a great solution. You use systems that have a cellular backhaul and if the celluar connection isn’t stable and there’s no WiFi, you’ve got to get very creative with your design or you’re going to have a lot of unhappy customers.” says Rogers 


First Step… Find a trusted partner 

During the question-and-answer porting of the ESX education session, an attendee asked for what one’s first step should be when entering the MDU market. The presenters all concur that everyone should start by finding a trusted partner. Doctor cautioned that if your first partner is not one that you totally trust and feel has your back, then you need to go with someone else and trust your intuition. “Not all partners will put your interest before their wallet. You need somebody at the very beginning that is going to help you go through this process as a team to help your goals, not theirs.” explains Doctor 

Rogers challenged those entering the MDU market to ask potential partners a set of questions to ensure that they are legitimate and have industry knowledge.  

  • Is the partner SOC compliant? 
  • How long has the partner been in business? 
  • Is the partner working from a startup fund or are they operating in the black? 

“You can’t rely on everyone that’s selling to you to be an expert on all things technology. You need to partner with people who understand the whole tech stack and the multifamily ecosystem as a whole.” cautions Rogers. 

In the session’s closing the presenters remarked on the Electronic Security Assocation’s role to educate integrators and channel partners and make sure that the industry is on the same page and understands how unique multifamily is. 

“ESA in terms of helping present the education and building awareness is beyond necessary right now for the industry. They are finding ways to present the specific nuances of the different markets too. ESA and this event the Electronic Security Expo (ESX) has the voice and the authority to do this and help all of us and we appreciate everything they do every day.” says Doctor 

If you find this peer-led education format beneficial to your security business, make sure to register to ESX 2023. It will be held June 5-8 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

Security Nation Podcast Episode 10


November 29, 2022 ESX

The Electronic Security Expo, is where cutting edge business practices meet inspiration and where visionaries and industry decision-makers get down to business. This conference and trade show for electronic security and life safety dealers, integrators, and monitoring companies is the must-attend event for industry professionals who are serious about growing their business and competing at the next level. Please read this call for presenters if you are interested in speaking at the Expo. 

ESX offers the most comprehensive educational sessions with presenters that have real-world industry experience, and it wants security pros like you to offer your expertise. Does your company excel in selling RMR services? Do you have a success story of rolling out cloud based access control? Does your company nurture leads with social selling? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then ESX would love to hear from you! To learn more about the selection process, keep reading below. If you are ready to sign up as a presenter, fill out the form here: Electronic Security Expo Presenters ( 

What ESX Searches for in Presenters 

One of the goals of ESX is to provide peer-to-peer learning opportunities to its attendees. This means that ESX’s search for presenters focuses on security dealers and integrators who have had success implementing a new practice, business model, product or service. The goal of all sessions is to deliver practical and meaningful business and industry intelligence for entrepreneurs, C-level executives, functional managers, and influencers. The ESX Advisors have identified the key topics for the 2023 education program which is set to be announced to the public in the coming months. This call for presenters officially closes on MARCH 11, 2023

November 29, 2022 ESX


ESX is the UNevent, providing more than the traditional tradeshow. Here, you’ll get connected with the electronic security and life safety ecosystem — with peers, vendor advisors and more you can tap throughout the year. ESX is “Security Connected.” Hear what real attendees have to say when asked what “Security Connected” means to them. Register here – #ESX #SecurityConnected


November 11, 2022 George DeMarco

There are a variety of factors to consider in maintaining a successful security business. Critical elements include recruiting and retaining talent, assessing employee and customer attrition, and growing sustainable recurring revenue and EBITDA. By far, the number one issue facing the security industry is a limited viable workforce. Consequently, dealers, integrators, and monitoring centers must rethink compensation packages, professional development, and employee retention programs for both new and existing employees. In addition, a good leadership team will strive to build the right culture, the right purpose, and the right vision that attracts the right people for all levels of the organization.  

Building the Right Team

Gaining the right employees is the first step. Keeping them is equally as important. Leadership and management training will be vital in this process. In addition, employee attrition should be tracked and analyzed to understand its cause and effect, subsequently using the data to improve employee retention. Improving employee retention and engagement will also have a direct and positive impact on customer attrition. 

Keeping Your Customer Base

That brings us to customer retention. Measuring customer attrition is critical to understanding the make-up of your company’s customer base and corresponding recurring revenue stream. For example, if your customer base is primarily focused on a market segment that can be hit hard by a recession or is highly concentrated in a particularly vulnerable segment, your attrition rate will likely trend much higher than normal. Understanding your customer attrition will also provide valuable insights into your product and service offerings and the delivery of the customer experience. 

In addition, more than ever, recurring revenues must be assessed to determine how vulnerable the company may be during this uncertain economic climate. Consider the value of understanding your exposure to possible industries that may be acutely or permanently damaged in the coming months or years. This exercise will also help you focus more clearly on the market segments that remain sustainable and profitable and identify emerging sectors to add to your go-to-market strategy.  You can also minimize your risk by diversifying your customer portfolio so that you are not too highly exposed to any one sector or customer type. 

Assess your EBITDA

Credit markets are becoming more challenging for companies that are not financially disciplined enough to meet lending covenants, especially dealers and integrators focused mainly on the residential market. We all understand that recurring revenues are good, but a solid plan to refocus on growing your EBITDA is even better. Whether you’re thinking about selling your company next year or the next decade, you should run your company like you’re going to sell it tomorrow.   

Security professionals who are interested in taking a deeper dive into the industry’s trends should register and attend ESX 2023 in Louisville, KY, June 5-8. Over the course of 3.5 days, attendees will experience industry-leading education programs, best practices, and more to take their business to the next level. 


November 1, 2022 ESX

When it comes to tight labor markets, not only is there recently a workforce shortage but as competition for skilled labor increases, so do wages and benefits. Coupled with remote, hybrid, and flexible work policies, employees have more options in the current workforce environment. Because of this, employee acquisition and retention are becoming competitive differentiators.  

In Fort Worth, TX in June 2022, Dee Ann Harn, CEO of RFI and Gretchen Gordon, CEO of Boost Profits led the “Navigating A Tight Labor Market – Find. Retain. Augment” peer-to-peer educational session at the Electronic Security Expo (ESX). Together they brought their years of expertise and explored key points that position your company for success during this industry trend. 


According to Dee Ann and Gretchen, the first key point is to attract the right employees. Using job ads properly can be extremely powerful. Ads are always huge in any industry, but it is important to put the right information out into the world. The right information includes demonstrating your company brand, culture, and values. It is crucial to have these identified in advance to hiring new team members. If this is accomplished it will be much more transparent for you as a manager, to identify who will be well suited for the company and the culture. However, a lot of companies fail to consider what attracts a valuable employee
and forget that the hiring process goes both ways. Dee Ann and Gretchen emphasize making sure your company is living out its culture in a tangible way
to the employee,
which leads us to retention. 


It is important to think about your company values and culture and think of the value proposition from the perspective of the employee. Is this a good work environment? Would someone enjoy working for your company and why? 65% of job seekers say that a company’s reputation influences their decision on whether they chose to apply to a job and 64% of job seekers say that reviews on Glassdoor and Indeed influence their perception of what it’s like to work at that company.  

When employees feel seen and valued, they are less likely to look for different work opportunities. In this day and age, many young employees are choosing positive and healthy work environments over simply having a career and good salary. Now, people are looking at the package deal. Salary, benefits, PTO, remote and hybrid opportunities, flexibility and so much more. The days of living to work are far behind us and many young people are choosing to work to live instead, with many still wanting to have a healthy work-life balance lifestyle available to them.  


It is crucial for companies to identify who fits with the company and to be transparent from the beginning. Using accurate job descriptions is one part of doing this. Employees should know what they are getting into so a month or two in, they aren’t struggling, surprised, or at risk of resigning. Ensuring there is growth in the company plays a big role as well. Employees want to know that they can grow and succeed within a company long-term, and that they have the resources available to them to do so.  

Overall, with the right tools and resources, employers should be able to be successful in hiring long-term candidates who can bring success not just to the company but to their own career as well. Companies should firstly solidify their brand, use that brand to advertise to a specific target of job seekers, identify from applicants who is well-suited for the company culture and lastly be able to offer that employee proper tools and resources to succeed. 


October 19, 2022 ESX

Registration is now open for the 2023 Electronic Security Expo (ESX), a trade show and educational conference owned by the Electronic Security Association (ESA). The event designed by and for electronic security and life safety integrators/dealers will be held June 5-8 at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky. 

ESX provides security professionals a forum in which to learn about the latest technology innovations; acquire proven business strategies; gain new insights based on best practices; and connect with peers to grow a trusted network.

The lowest registration pricing (Early Bird) will be available until April 7, 2023, so we encourage security professionals to register soon while the savings last.  

Additionally, ESX offers special team registration discounts. Four security pros registering for the same pass can bring a fifth from their company free. This creates an opportunity to bring your whole team to ESX for best practice sharing at a discounted cost. Interested security pros can register at 

“ESX is a great place to keep up on new technologies, make connections and reassess your vision and direction for your company.” says George DeMarco, ESX Chairman “Getting ‘plugged in’ to your industry accelerates your professional development and helps you and your team gain valuable and thoughtful insights. Great networking opportunities are a catalyst for personal growth and business success, giving your organization a better opportunity to attain operational and financial excellence,” DeMarco continues 

 On ESX’s expo floor, attendees aren’t subjected rattled-off product pitches. They can expect to tap exhibitors for advice on marketing, sales, installation training, merchandising, and more. ESX is uniquely only open to the pro-installed channel, so exhibitors can better target their conversations – it is a more focused experience for everyone involved. By design, the event is said to offer attendees from across the industry a more intimate experience to facilitate one-on-one interactions and quality conversations.  

In addition to the expo experience, dealers, integrators, and monitoring professionals with the Deluxe or Executive Pass will have access to quality education driven by peers and thought leaders with real-world advice. It has been boasted as the strongest educational programming in the industry. Over 80% of ESX 2022 attendees rated the education sessions VERY GOOD or EXCELLENT. ESX 2023’s education sessions will be divided into the 4 following tracks: 

  • Sales: Learn to develop your brand and go-to–market strategy to keep the focus on building your RMR. Identify complementary markets, new products, and services that will give your sales teams the edge over the competition. Explore new sales management processes that will accelerate sales performance and increase your revenues and RMR. 
  • Operations: Discover best practices that will improve your company’s operational excellence and customer experience. Explore ways to build efficiencies in installation, service methodologies and human resources. Examine how others are solving today’s most common operations struggles like recruiting and retaining employees, supply chain lags, truck rolls, job safety, training, and more. 
  • Management: Learn to implement and manage key performance indicators that help to streamline processes and improve top and bottom-line results. Find ways to build a strong culture that helps you drive transformational leadership and change throughout the organization. Examine emerging trends and leading-edge technologies that will excite your customers’ changing demands and open new markets to evolve your business. 
  • Executive Leadership: These exclusive workshops will provide attendees access to experts from a variety of fields to offer a deep dive into valuable insights that stretch leaders and unlock new opportunities for growth in their organizational, personal and interpersonal lives. Workshop speakers will cover areas that hone in on building skills to be a better leader, coach, and influencer so that participants can enhance their companies’ success through encouraging innovation and collaboration amongst their teams. 

ESX differs from other industry tradeshows as it focuses on quality engagements and creative ways to encourage interactions that break the ice. ESX attendees can expect a diverse blend of networking events that focus on shared experiences that forge lasting connections, including the Opening Celebration, Pub Crawl, and the ESA’s 75th Diamond Jubilee and Weinstock Celebration where security pros will honor the Morris F Weinstock Person of the Year and ESA’s 75th anniversary.


October 12, 2022 ESX

The Electronic Security Expo (ESX), being held June 5-8 in Louisville, Kentucky, has announced the opening of its 2023 Innovation Awards Program. New products and services with proven impacts on electronic security and life safety integration/installation companies are encouraged to apply.    

The awards program distinguishes excellence and identifies next-gen products and services that offer significant opportunities for growth and operational excellence. 

The awards program has been created to recognize innovative products and services that push the industry forward. Awards will be assigned categories, including Access Control and ID Systems, Cabling Products and Accessories, Cyber Security, Intrusion Systems, Fire/Life Safety, Video Surveillance, and more.  

Submissions will remain open through March 31. Interested companies may apply at Innovation Awards – ESX ( 

 A panel of industry professionals will judge entries on the following: 

  • Features and functions 
  • Innovation 
  • End-user experience 
  • Revenue growth potential 
  • Company value and efficiency impact 
  • Regulation Compliance 

Now through March 31, 2023, manufacturers and service providers are invited to submit their products or services for the chance to be named the best-of-the-best in specific electronic security and life safety industry categories.  

Award recipients will receive a trophy and be featured in the Security Nation Magazine. Additionally, they will be recognized in an official ESX Innovation Awards press release to trade media and considered for competition in ESX Tech Vision Challenge, which is a “Shark Tank” style competition to be held live at ESX 2023.  

Submission categories include Cybersecurity, Cabling Products and Accessories, Video Surveillance, Access Control and ID Systems, Intrusion Systems, and more. Visit our website for a complete category list at Innovation Awards – ESX ( to begin planning for your application. Watch the following video to learn more: 


October 4, 2022 ESX

Alarm monitoring has evolved and matured markedly over the years. For ADT, those years number 145, as the company has been working to protect homes longer than any other in the industry! There have been exponential advancements in monitoring technologies over all those decades, so it made good sense that ADT presented a peer-to-peer educational session at ESX in June that explored some of the most important innovations impacting modern day monitoring capabilities.  

ADT Security’s Vice President of Monitoring Technology, Larry Folsom, led this “Monitoring Innovation in Actionsession. He was joined by co-presenters Anthony Iannone, Director, Affiliated Monitoring, Nicole Pitts, Calipsa’s Account Director for the Americas, and John Chiaramonte, President, Consulting Services, Mission Critical Partners. 

The four presenters offered various perspectives from different facets of the industry, which enabled attendees to explore the same issues from different views and experiences. In addition, the emerging ANSI-based monitoring association standard – the TMA-AVS-01 Alarm Validation Scoring (AVS) Standard, which is set to be released around 2024 – was also discussed. (Details on this important standard can be found on the TMA website at: The Monitoring Association (

While each of the presenters shared topics from their industry perspective, all concur that, in today’s ever-changing marketplace, it’s critical for monitoring centers to stay on top of technology innovations, new enhanced services, and monitoring trends in order to remain relevant and successful. It can, undoubtedly, be a delicate balancing act for monitoring centers to process a huge influx of alarm signals while also striving to deliver a high-touch customer experience. Thankfully, state-of-the-art innovations and automation tools are answering the call that monitoring centers need to advance their services and deliver a quality customer experience, including improving operational efficiencies.   

Interactive Innovations

From ADT’s perspective, Folsom reports that they’re seeing better interaction with customers courtesy of text messaging, which is resulting in an impressive 58% reduction of false alarms. The ability to text message customers and speak directly with them is one of the larger trends they’re seeing, noting that it’s so important to be able to interact with customers in ways that are now truly relevant to the way they communicate. “We still make phone calls, but it’s an example of how our industry is reacting to today’s technology,” Folsom says. “Interactive monitoring messages during an alarm event are a very relevant trend.”  

This emerging trend is indicative of how evolving customer demands and expectations are impacting the way monitoring stations operate.

“We’ve got to communicate with customers in the way they communicate in an emergency,” Folsom adds.

“Call center workflows and our customers are not necessarily receiving phone calls, so it’s important to have better information in order to make better choices. Google took an investment in ADT, and I’ve connected Google platforms to ADT monitoring so we’re bringing relevant info appropriately to those end users. Communicating with customers on their terms – those are the grandest opportunities.”  

Iannone concurs, saying that much of Affiliated Monitoring’s innovation – which is really the development of new software tools and customer-facing applications – is driven by a competitive need to enhance the customer experience while reducing unnecessary dispatches. “Text messaging and push notifications, which are key to our efforts at improving the customer experience, is a solution we’ve implemented over the past few years. It balances innovation in technology with a better customer experience, is a worthy upgrade for all monitoring providers, and clearly makes a difference for both our dealers and our end users.”   

He adds that a topic of great interest to attendees is video analytics and how they can be leveraged by monitoring providers to offer enhanced video monitoring services. “The explosion of video analytics has certainly changed how we monitor large, challenging locations, and how our dealers market their video services.” 

Calipsa’s Nicole Pitts is well-equipped to speak to this topic, as Calipsa is a uniquely cloud-based platform that uses machine learning technology to reduce the number of CCTV alarms. “Video analytics and other AI-based technologies are game-changers in alarm monitoring centers by automating high-effort, low-value tasks such as continuously watching live footage,” she explains. “Now, operators can concentrate on effective incident response with video analytic platforms, which can keep watch 24/7/365 without losing focus or getting tired. Technology like Calipsa’s advanced video analytics filter out nuisance alarms, allowing operators to focus and respond quicker to valid alarms, avoid operator fatigue, and deliver better customer service,” she adds. “Innovations can provide a deeper understanding of sites and installations using metadata from cameras, video, clips to ensure the best results.”  

As President of Consulting Services for Mission Critical Partners, which provides expertise and comprehensive solutions across the entire critical infrastructure and public sector ecosystem, Chiaramonte added an interesting and pertinent perspective to the presentation, as well.

He notes,

“Although there is no question that the alarm industry is delivering innovative solutions and continuing to leverage emerging technologies, a high percentage of alarm calls ultimately do not require a response from police, fire, or emergency medical services. Many 911 centers are reporting that 10% or more of all incoming calls are alarm related. And, with the high rate of false alarms, the situation has desensitized first responders alike to alarms which, regrettably, can negatively affect responder safety.”

Like many organizations across the U.S., 911 services are facing unprecedented staffing challenges, he contends, with some centers operating at 50% of their authorized complement of staff.   

The good news, Chiaramonte explains, is that industry professionals are encouraged to see modernization efforts underway across the 911 community and some of these enhancements will improve how emergency dispatchers and the monitoring industry work together. Throughout the nation, he reports, several states are making a transition to Next Generation 911 (NG911) – an all-Internet Protocol (IP)-based solution – that will provide an opportunity for alarm monitoring agencies to directly connect to emergency services networks and 911 centers to share valuable information. Chiaramonte adds that the emerging Alarm Validation Scoring (AVS-01) standard also holds great promise to help 911 and law enforcement make better response decisions.    

This joining of industry experts from four different facets of the monitoring and monitoring-adjacent spaces made for a meaningful discussion on how modern-day innovations are continuing to advance the industry. As Iannone aptly sums up, “With representatives from both first-party and third-party monitoring centers, along with representation for the response agencies themselves and a leading provider of video analytic-driven event intelligence, the panel was able to provide attendees a holistic view of the realities of responding to emergency events today.” 

The Electronic Security Association’s Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution on August 24, 2022, to support efforts to reduce false alarms through more efficient and effective notification methods. One of the greatest threats to the electronic security and life safety industry is the high rate of false alarm dispatches. This threat can cause many problems, including jurisdictions to push for “non-response” or “verified response,” which would drastically alter the value and the operations of many security companies across the nation.  

The ability to directly message customers when verifying alarm signals is a significant enhancement that the ESA Board supports. “At ESA, we have a long history of working with our members, other associations and our public safety community to reduce false alarms,” says ESA Chairman and president of LOUD Security Systems in GA, John Loud. “Now, monitoring centers are investing in modern technology so that we, as an industry, can partner with them to create a better solution for communicating with our customers and as a result, reduce attrition by meeting our consumers where they are.”  

“People tend not to answer their phone if the number is unknown and are more likely to respond to text or chat,” he continues. “By using group chat for verification, we’re able to connect quickly with the customer and verify the alarm signal and in many cases, we can cancel the dispatch. By leveraging more effective communication methods, our monitoring center partners are more efficient, our public safety community will be responding to far fewer false dispatches and, ultimately, our subscribers are happier — which leads to lower attrition.”  

The mission of ESA’s resolution is to encourage a mass adoption of this innovative alarm dispatch reduction technology, creating better communication with consumers in the way they connect during a potential emergency. 

“I want to encourage our ESA members and all security integrators to start a dialogue about how this investment from monitoring centers could help them reduce their attrition and enhance their customer experience.” says Loud