ESX Report: Smart Homes and Other News from Nashville

June 15, 2017
The connected home remains a hot topic among security dealers; vendors make news at the show

NASHVILLE – ESX kicked off its 2017 show by announcing it will again hold the event in Nashville in 2018, and then moved right into its formidable educational sessions, led by the OpenXChange Breakfast, sponsored by SD&I magazine and, and attended by hundreds of alarm dealers.  

The panel discussion,  moderated by George DeMarco, featured Rob Martens of Allegion, Scott Harkins of Honeywell, Justin Wong of IFTTT and Andrew Thomas of Skybell, focused on the business challenges and opportunities posed by the connected home. As you may have expected, in a show full of residential alarm dealers, much of the education focus of the show surrounded smart home adoption.

“You have to nail the base case (of security and protection), but consumers expect these products to have a place in their home and weave into all the things they do,” Wong explained. “All these use cases are out there – it is how you present these stories to customers.”

Added Harkins: “Every DIY product is 100% connected or enabled for a smartphone – that's the biggest risk to the pro security market. We are still hovering around 50-60 percent connected, and there is a level of expectation by consumers that their systems will be connected. We need to sell that connected piece.”

Vendor News from Nashville  

Smart home excellence took center stage again at ESX, when DMP won the show’s annual “TechVision Challenge” – a competition among the ESX Innovation Award winners – with its Secura high-volume residential dealer program.

Introduced originally at ISC West in March, Secura centers around a new line of products – a hub, sensors, sounders, keypads, cameras and other z-wave devices – tailored for fast installations in homes. The program additionally includes an entire sales program.

The runner up at the TechVision Challenge was the Essence Care@Home Active mPERS system.

Several vendors also made news with product and partnership announcements:

* Resolution Products announced a new partnership with Pella, under which new Pella doors and windows will come pre-equipped with security sensor technologies. “We found it very interesting that they are designing sensors and automation into their windows and doors,” Resolution Products VP of Marketing Dave Mayne says. “That’s a challenge for security dealers – if you want to put a sensor in a window, it is very difficult to install. There are aesthetics issues if it is surface-mount, and if you drill into those doors you are voiding warranties. With the sensor embedded inside, it is a win for the dealers and a win for the consumer. By working with Resolution, we can take those sensors and make them compatible with any security system on the market.”

The sensors will be available on Pella’s Designer Series windows and patio doors and Architect Series entry doors, according to Pella product manager Regan Katje.

This marks the fourth major technology partnership announced this year for Resolution Products. The previous partnerships include Clare Controls, LTS and ipDatatel.

* Telguard announced a broad line of LTE-based residential and commercial cellular alarm communicators, which Marketing Director Pam Benke describes as a universal, panel agnostic downloading solution that their “dealers have been asking for,” she says.

The approach uses virtual modem software technology installed on the back office PC to work seamlessly with any panel manufacturer’s downloading software. The virtual modem automatically detects the Telguard alarm communicator connected to an account’s security panel, providing technicians with a fast and simple solution for downloading panel configuration settings.

“It is an exciting development for our dealers because it helps them avoid costly truck-rolls while empowering them to install the hardware and software they choose,” Telguard’s Shawn Welsh said in a press release.

* Camcloud showcased a video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) solution as part of its partnership and joint solution with Hanwha Techwin. The joint solution ensures that Hanwha Techwin cameras are auto-discovered on the network, the necessary firmware and Camcloud software is installed in the background, and the cameras are auto-configured for the cloud from an easy-to-use mobile app. The solution enables dealers to add an unlimited amount of cameras, while eliminating the need for specialized on-site hardware.  

* Finally, Axis Communications announced enhancements to its Zipstream compression technology to support the increased data streaming and storage demands of 360-degree panoramic cameras and 4K resolution. Zipstream ensures that important forensic details of video footage are maintained, while minimizing bandwidth and storage requirements by an average of 50 percent or more, according to a press release. The AXIS M3047-P and AXIS M3048-P compact mini-dome fisheye cameras will now include the enhanced technology.

Industry Honors & Awards
Associations handing out awards at ESX included The Monitoring Association (TMA), the Electronic Security Association (ESA) and the Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC). Here’s a roundup:

The winners of the 2017 TMA Monitoring Center Excellence Awards included: 

  • Monitoring Center of the Year: Vivint SmartHome
  • Monitoring Center Operator of the Year: Craig Pierce, Safe Systems
  • Monitoring Center Manager of the Year: Keith Godsey, Dynamark
  • Monitoring Center Support Person of the Year: Laura Jacobson, Cooperative Response Center

“The companies and individuals chosen as winners this year are shining examples of how seriously the monitoring industry takes its responsibility to protect life and property,” said Elizabeth Lasko, Vice President of Communications, TMA.

Additionally, TMA named John M. Merklinger, Director of the Rochester/Monroe County 911 Center and 311 Call Center, as the recipient of its 2017 Public Sector Award, given in recognition of a public sector individual’s contribution to the alarm industry. “It is our pleasure to recognize John for his tireless efforts to advance the implementation of ASAP – the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol – in New York State,” said TMA President Pamela J. Petrow. ASAP is a technology that automates communication between alarm monitoring central stations and 911 centers, resulting in improved accuracy and speed of emergency response. 

The Electronic Security Association awarded $12,500 in scholarship funds to students from Virginia and New Jersey as a part of the association's annual Youth Scholarship Program, sponsored by COPS Monitoring and DMP. Jessica Hill of Bristow, VA received top honors with a first-place scholarship of $9,000 and Michelle Bello of Pennsauken, NJ won $3,500 for second place. Since its creation in 1996, the ESA Youth Scholarship Program, ESA and its affiliated chartered chapters have donated over $621,000 in scholarship funds to children of police officers and firefighters.

Additionally, ESA Secretary Jon Sargent was officially awarded the 2016 Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year honor – announced originally at the ESA Leadership Summit – at ESX. 

SIAC recognized Engineered Protection Systems Inc., of Grand Rapids, Mich., with its 2016-17 Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award, given to the company that promotes best practices working with law enforcement to reduce the number of unnecessary dispatches to alarm customers. “Engineered Protection Systems has consistently shown itself to be extraordinarily conscientious, exacting and effective where it comes to alarm management and dispatches,” said Stan Martin, SIAC Executive Director. “These efforts have garnered EPS Security recognition as a PDQ runner-up on multiple occasions, which is quite an achievement in itself.”

“Winning this award was the result of focus towards dealing with alarm issues for the benefit of our valued customers and the community as a whole,” said Kevin Carlson, EPS Security President. “Reducing unnecessary dispatches is vital to the health of our industry and our ability to serve and protect the community.”

Leo Guthart, a veteran of more than 35 years in the security industry, was recognized for his leadership and contribution to the industry with the William N. Moody Award. Started in 2004 by SIAC, the Moody award is given annually to an individual who demonstrates a passion for advancing positive alarm management and best industry practices.

"The false alarm problem is very, very important to this industry," Guthart said. "The whole economic basis of our industry revolves around monitoring. If the police won't respond because there are too many false alarms, it weakens the industry. SAIC is sponsored by all the major industry associations, including the Canadian Security Association, TMA (formerly CSAA), ESA and SIA. It is a nonpartisan, nonpolitical group that is focused solely on solving this problem."

Guthart began his career in 1964 at Ademco and left the security industry after Ademco (Pittway Corporation) was sold to Honeywell. He stayed on with Honeywell long enough to help with the transition. In August 2000 he founded the Topspin companies comprise a venture capital and buyout group.

Paul Rothman is Editor in Chief of Security Dealer & Integrator (SD&I) magazine. Access the current issue, archives and subscription links at