Blog Posts

Electronic Security Expo

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February 8, 2023 ESX 2023

The Electronic Security Expo (ESX), presented by Electronic Security Association (ESA), has released its full educational lineup for 2023. The conference will take place at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville, Kentucky on June 5-8, 2023. 

In addition to its main stage presentations, engaging networking opportunities, and interactive expo floor, ESX 2023 will bring over 30 educational sessions spanning four tracks and two additional focus areas carefully designed for security professionals. The sessions cover tactical advice in Sales, Operations, Management, Monitoring, and Executive Leadership to help businesses grow and stay competitive.

Special emphasis is paid to building RMR or recurring revenue and a special three-part series will delve deep into the business of fire alarms. 

Attendees who are looking to address a specific business challenge or opportunity can look at the collection of focused sessions, with specialties designed to meet the needs of all managers from your company, including installation and service, finance, executive leadership, sales and marketing and more.

80% of ESX 2022 attendees rated best-practice sharing sessions “Excellent” or “Very Good.” 

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. Sessions in Sales Track:  

 

Operations 

Discover best practices that will improve your company’s operational excellence and the 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. Sessions in Operations Track:  

 

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. Sessions in Operations Track:  

 

Monitoring 

Delivering quality security and life safety monitoring services to end-users, including cloud-based lifestyle enhancements, is mission critical 24/7. Discover best-of-breed operator training, state-of-the-art technology infrastructure, and vital monitoring processes and procedures for next-gen central stations. Learn from seasoned professionals who share best practices to maximize your 24/7 monitoring operation effectively and profitably. Sessions in Monitoring Track:  

 

Bonus best-practice sharing sessions and sessions in ESX’s exclusive Executive Leadership Track to be announced soon. 

“The industry continues to be faced with a changing competitive landscape that is relentless and unforgiving.” says George DeMarco, ESX Chairman “Albert Einstein once said, ‘Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance, you must keep moving.’ In the same vein: Business is like riding a bicycle, to keep your competitive edge, you must keep moving forward. ESX educational sessions can help with that, teaching security professionals how to stay balanced, keep their competitive edge and keep moving forward. ”

“The educational sessions will cover a variety of topics such as developing sales consultants and leaders, finding technical staff, understanding next-gen residential and commercial applications and services, and tips on building your recurring revenue. ESX is focused on taking you and your team to the next level, on a smooth, successful ride to the top.” says George DeMarco, ESX Chairman

All educational sessions for ESX are curated and taught by the industry’s top electronic security and life safety technology pros, who are passionate about sharing their experience and helping security businesses grow and succeed. ESA and its partners are eager to help companies drive growth, improve their customer experience, and prepare for the future. Come bring your team to learn from the industry’s best and take home top knowledge and tips to help your business grow. 

“I don’t know of a more insightful convention to attend. This was the most beneficial 3 days of my career. I’m left with a ton of ideas I can’t wait to share with my colleagues.” says one ESX attendee.

For access to these classes, Executive or Deluxe Passes are required at registration. Register your team at ESXweb.com/register.


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December 13, 2022 ESX 2023

ESX is Security Connected, immersing dedicated security professionals in a niche pro-installed environment, where they are provided actionable ideas, strategies, and collaboration opportunities to move the industry forward. ESX is where the industry gathers. 

“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 

Bring The Team to ESX 

Registration is open for the ESX 2023, and offers several attendance options, including access to the Expo Only and an Executive pass for access to exclusive leadership sessions. Discounted prices on all registration types expire April 7th, 2023. Additionally, ESX offers a special where if 4 security pros register for the same pass, they can receive a 5th for free. This creates an opportunity to bring your whole team to ESX for best practice sharing at a discounted cost. 

ESX attendees learn new skills, make new connections, get exposed to new products, and inspirational moments. ESX is a meaningful event open exclusively to the professional security and life safety integrator and is designed to allow passionate professionals the ability to learn more, share more and interact more. No chaotic crowds. Just tailored networking and educational sessions designed to help you and your team grow your business. 

Here are four things you and your team can expect to experience by attending ESX: 

Skill Development 

ESX features keynote presentations and educational sessions from industry experts and influencers. These presentations aim to teach attendees new skills, best practices, and provide actionable takeaways to achieve long-term success. If you and your team are attentive and eager to learn, they’ll leave with new tools and ideas to incorporate into their day-to-day workflow. 

“Best education sessions I have ever attended.” 

Networking Opportunities 

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 (# of networking events ) that focus on shared experiences that forge lasting connections, including the Opening Celebration, The Pub Crawl, and the ESA’s Weinstock Celebration where security pros will honor the Morris F Weinstock Person of the Year and ESA’s 75th Year, The Diamond Jubilee. 

“ESX has always been a great social event to meet new people and strengthen relationships with both new and existing peers” 

Experience New Products 

Be more than just a badge scan. The expo floor is open exclusively to security and life safety integration and monitoring professionals; it isn’t diluted or redirected for end users. It is a targeted resource for productive business conversations and features the latest products and services in categories, including access control; video surveillance; central station technology; intrusion and fire alarms; custom electronics; IT and networking; monitoring services; identification systems, and more. 

Additionally, ESX is the event to promote your products or services. If you are interested in sponsorship and expo booth options, take a look at ESX’s sponsorship brochure here: esxweb.com/electronic-security-expo-sponsorship. 

“The quality of the conversations that we’ve had and the leads that are going to be coming out of this have been fantastic.” says Steven Coughlin, Account Executive at Bold Group and exhibitor at ESX 2022   

Be Inspired 

Everybody’s motivation dips from time to time. When you go through the same routine every single day, it’s natural to lose focus or burn out. ESX provides a great opportunity to step away from the day-to-day grind and experience something fresh and exciting. You and your team will build skills and gain actionable insights while at ESX, but they will also feel reinvigorated after spending time in a new, high-energy atmosphere. You may think that spending time out of the office will hurt productivity – but once your employees return, they will likely be more productive than ever thanks to their newfound motivation and inspiration. 

“I don’t know of a more insightful convention to attend. This was the most beneficial 3 days of my career.” 


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December 13, 2022 ESX 2023

As a powerful educational experience for the electronic security and life safety industry, the Electronic Security Expo takes great care to select a distinguished group of professionals to provide insight and input on its advisory board. As the only national tradeshow designed by and for security and fire integration/dealer and monitoring professionals — you can be assured that the experience is timely, relevant, and well-positioned to benefit your company.  

Dealers, integrators, and monitoring professionals will have access to the industry’s leading educational programming, including reviewing proven marketing tactics, sales team management tips, operations best practices, and more

The 2023 ESX Advisory Board includes: 

  • Jeremy Bates- President of Bates Security 
  • Cameron Fleck- President of NewVision Security 
  • Morgan Hertel- Vice President of Technology and Innovation at Rapid Response Monitoring  
  • Paul Hevesy- FAST Board of Directors Chair 
  • Mark Hillenburg- VP of Industry Relations, DMP 
  • John Loud- President of Loud Security 
  • David Morgan- Co-founder & Vice President of Security Dealer Marketing 
  • Tom Nakatani- VP of Custom Monitoring Technology for ADT
  • Elizabeth Parks- President of Parks Associates 
  • Rodger W Reiswig- VP of Industry Relations for Johnson Controls 

Because of these minds, ESX can bring you some of the best educational sessions in the industry. They work hard to produce top materials to serve you and your business. To do so, they carefully review attendee feedback surveys and attendance data from previous years and take into consideration their own business’ challenges to develop a list of possible sessions. Up to 120 session ideas are considered in an in-person meeting with ESA’s team. Those ideas are then narrowed down to the top 28 through a detailed and thorough process to ensure only the most powerful content is delivered at the event. 

Our ESX Advisors invest hundreds of combined hours to make ESX what it is in order to serve you and your company. Thank you to our 2023 ESX Advisors!  

Join us next on June 5-8 to experience the programming this team of professionals has designed for you. 


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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


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November 29, 2022 ESX 2023

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 (esxweb.com) 

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
 


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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. 


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November 1, 2022 ESX 2023

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. 

Find.

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. 

Retain.

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.  

Augment.

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. 


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October 4, 2022 ESX 2023

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 (tma.us)

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 

 


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October 4, 2022 ESX 2023

ESX delivered on its promise of providing security professionals a forum for networking, education, and coming up-close-and-personal with the latest security tech. And while the Electronic Security Expo 2022, held in Fort Worth, Texas this June is now in the rearview mirror – and plans are already revving up for ESX 2023 – there are many key takeaways that should stay top-of-mind for security professionals. Among them are lessons learned from the educational sessions presented at the Expo. Those who may have missed some of the sessions on the roster need not miss out on the insights and instruction imparted. Here, we take a look at the topics covered in the Powerful Hacks to Grow Your Recurring Revenue” presentation, led by Melissa Brinkman, CEO of Custom Alarm and ESA Board of Directors. 

Brinkman is well equipped to speak on the RMR topic, as Custom Alarm has been successfully serving the security needs of customers in Minnesota for some 50 years now. Their services span fire alarm, intrusion, video surveillance, access control, home automation and more in both the commercial and residential spaces.  

Like all of the peer-to-peer educational offerings on the ESX lineup, the “Powerful Hacks to Grow Your Recurring Revenue” presentation was designed to help electronic security pros move their business forward towards efficiency and productivity. Attendees were primarily security dealers and system integrators, eager to learn more about the RMR-related topics covered in the session.  

Recurring revenue is the heartbeat of every security business. Although it’s certainly not new to the security industry, innovative and profitable ways to grow recurring revenue can help a security company increase its average RMR per customer, which leads to greater profitability, sustainable growth, and higher enterprise value.  

Why Reviewing Your RMR Pricing Model Is Good Business  

This portion of the presentation explored the various reasons why it’s so important to regularly review your pricing models. Service agreements, labor costs, inspections, etc. should all be considered. As Brinkman pointed out, some security companies don’t look at implementing rate increases. She advises that they should take a closer look at their recurring revenues across the board, either annually or at the least, every other year, and ask themselves if those rates are at a minimum. If so, those RMR rates should be increased by a certain percentage that makes sense and keeps the company profitable. The best way to determine a reasonable rate increase is by looking at your pricing model and determining your overall operating costs and how they have changed since the last increase. Costs for everything and for everybody are going up in today’s economy. It’s likely you’re servicing a lot of customers at a cost below what your rate should be, so it’s worth considering that it’s time to communicate to them the value of your services that justify a reasonable rate increase. She cautions that companies that don’t regularly adjust their RMR margins are likely leaving money on the table.  

Newer Technologies and Services Based On A Subscription-based Model 

Simply stated, the times are changing. Are you? Brinkman, together with her co-presenter, Randall Renfroe, President, All State Security Industries, addressed some of the newer technologies that today’s security dealers and integrators should consider adding to their arsenals.  

Cloud-based solutions ranked high on the list. The model is being much more widely adopted and becoming an attractive alternative to traditional, on-site physical access control and video surveillance systems. The number of organizations making the migration is on the rise, as many end users are looking to lower their upfront investment costs, as well as their system maintenance costs. 

In terms of access, credentialing is actually markedly easier with a cloud-based system than it is with a physical access system which requires ongoing issuing and returning of access cards or key fobs. With a cloud solution, administrators can instantly grant or revoke access from any Internet-connected device.  

“If you’re not offering cloud options you should be looking at it,” Brinkman advises. “If we’ve learned anything in the last two years, it’s that many more businesses are operating remotely.”

“Pre-COVID, most offices opened at 8 and closed at 5, but now management teams are tasked with keeping their businesses safe at all different hours and with varying numbers of staff onsite. Cloud and mobile access technologies enable users to manage their system anywhere, anytime.” 

The good news for security dealers and integrators is that a cloud-based access or video surveillance system means customers pay one simple monthly subscription fee. This opportunity for dealers and integrators to create new RMR is a huge benefit, and one that also allows for more realistic budget planning for future growth.  

It’s All About That Base, That Base, That Base

A very smart place to start segueing into selling cloud-based solutions and other additional RMR-generating services is with existing customers who already know and trust you. While it’s always prudent to continually prospect new customers, Brinkman contends that there are usually many opportunities to sell more RMR within your existing customer base. This formula has worked well within her own company, Custom Alarm, as she reports that between 60-70% of their additional sales come from existing customers.  

As discussed in the “Powerful Hacks to Grow Your Recurring Revenue” presentation, there are many ways to successfully upsell more services to your existing roster of clients. As highlighted in the

session, it’s very likely that your security company is now offering newer solutions that your customers aren’t even aware of. You are already their trusted security integration partner, so never take that relationship for granted. Keeping in touch on an ongoing basis is vitally important. Customers look to you to keep them apprised of new technology capabilities that can help improve their operations and ensure their security systems are working optimally. Communication should be an integral part of your ongoing service to customers. This can be as simple as regular check-in calls, to sending out marketing pieces that keep customers informed of new offerings they may want to implement. Regardless of how security dealers and systems integrators maintain communication with their existing customer base, the important thing is to recognize how important that customer base is to their business and how vital it is to keep those relationships healthy, happy, and ongoing. 

Security dealers and system integrators rely on monthly recurring revenues to sustain their business and remain profitable. In turn, end users need to rely on their trusted security partners to keep their operations safe, secure and profitable.  

Savvy security professionals know that staying on top of the latest technologies ensures that their customers are reaping the benefits of the most reliable and robust security solutions available. 


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September 20, 2022 ESX 2023

With Speaker Sherry Vidal Brown, PHD, SMU Cox School of Business 

When it comes to hiring, it can be challenging to identify who could be the right fit for the company, and sometimes new hires are not well suited for a specific job. So how do we find a “team player” and someone who will be a successful new hire?  

Your Company’s Brand is Your Hiring North Star 

Sherry Brown, leader of this Leadership Workshop, recommends that as a company it is important to first understand and define what it is and what its values are. This is integral because if your company’s core values are “working as a team” then you to look into new hires that share that value as well. Once hiring managers are aware of specific company values, they can know who their target audience is and who to target with job postings. Hiring new talent means looking at what sets them apart from everyone else. Managers should also have proficient interviewing skills, have questions tailored to core value and brand, and know how to screen resumes based on the company’s values and needs. When a company knows what their brand is, it is easy to identify who falls in line with that brand and message as an employee. 

Retaining The Talent 

Retaining employees has been a challenge in the market for a few years now. So how do you make sure that your talent doesn’t walk away? The importance comes from being able to hire someone that falls in line with the company goals and values. If an employee can see career growth and is in tune with the company culture, benefits, and environment then it will be very hard for them to walk away. It is well known that when employees feel seen, valued and taken care of by their employers they prefer to stay long-term at their jobs. 

Fulfill Your Brand’s Promise 

However, this is all easier said than done. Sherry Brown says it is important for companies to be consistent in their branding, values, and culture as well as how they treat and value their employees. The company should do assessments of itself to screen if they are living out their core values and brand message for their employees. This is a key factor in being able to retain talent. Employees want to know that their employers care and respect them.  

Ultimately, Sherry Brown tells us that firstly, companies need to be able to identify “who” they are as a whole in terms of culture, values and branding. Secondly, identify specific talent based on who they are and see if they are a good match for that. Thirdly, have managers be able to screen successfully with interview questions tailored specifically to those core values. Last but not least, keeping your employees cared for by implementing your brand’s promise goes a long way and will result in long lasting employment.