Exclusive Q&A: Alula President Dave Mayne

Oct. 2, 2023
Take a closer look at Alula's merger with M2M Services, as well as the future of the brand, product development, leadership and more

The company Alula was born in 2018 – the product of a merger between Resolution Products and ipdatatel. Five years later, the Alula name will now become a flagship brand within M2M Services, after a merger between the two companies.

On the surface, it seems like a logical combination: M2M Services, founded and headquartered in Sofia, Bulgaria, has long been a provider of universal communicators, connectivity, and interactive services to thousands of alarm companies. Alula has been aggressively courting alarm dealers for these past five years with its combination of alarm communicators and interactive services, as well as alarm panels and sensors.

Still, the combination and the timing likely caught much of the industry by surprise. Security Business magazine caught up with Alula President Dave Mayne to discuss this news, including future plans for the company, the Alula brand, its dealers and more.

With both companies in the alarm space, how will the technologies come together?

Mayne: What we have focused on at Alula tends to be more extensive interactive services. When you add our alarm communicator to an existing panel, you can add a touchpad and get your dealer branding. We can add, Z wave automation and a variety of other services to it. Everything we've been building is really to try and create a set of tools that allow a dealer to become core to using the Alula offering.

The synergies between the two companies are really around multiple fronts. As we looked at trying to bring the organizations together, we found a lot of complementary capabilities. We are the same in that we are trying to solve challenges that professional security [integrators] face today to remain competitive. They need remote connectivity; they need to be able to remotely manage and have reliable, secure products that bring a new layer of services to customers to deal with not only the cellular sunset, but phoneline sunset, and then ideally, expansion into a broader range of devices that are becoming part of the security ecosystem. Both companies have been striving to solve these problems for decades.

For both M2M and Alula to get scaled to become a core offering, we need technical resources that allow us to innovate, and we now have more than doubled the size of our collective R&D resources. We are now a company of 250 employees combined, and we can now unify those resources and accomplish more. If you want to be a core offering, you need to be able to solve your dealers’ challenges. They need to be able to take over accounts, they need to be able to address customers dropping a landline, but they also need new wireless panels, new hybrid panels, and the combination of M2M and Alula brings all of those offerings to the table and really gives the independent dealer a toolset to ‘I have all the tools necessary to solve new installations, to do takeovers, and even to deal with acquisitions where I have a kind hybrid set of panels out there.

Meanwhile, we take all of our R&D resources, and we can aim them at future challenges that that the dealers face, so they can become more efficient providers of services to their customers.

With the company now being named M2M Services, will the Alula brand name be retired?

The product brands remain, but in order to realize what I just said, we need to operate as a single company. I felt it was important right out of the gate to be one company with three brands – Uplink, Alula and M2M. Each brand is part of our portfolio, and they each solve different problems have different unique customers. Those are going to exist. Alula as a brand will exist, but we now have tools to address market challenges under a single company entity. M2M services is the single company name, and we will now have segments of business. We will still have the Affinity Program, the Alula Pro program, and a set of products that would go to the 300 [Alula] Pro dealers.

What about leadership changes?

Alula CEO Brian McLaughlin is moving on – we will have one CEO [M2M CEO] Peter Tzvetkov, and I will be running the North American operations and global sales and marketing. The CFO from Alula [Gregg Waldon] is going to be running the financial side, and Alula’s Andrew Ralston will be the CTO of the new combined entity. Supply chain and operations will fall under [M2M’s] Boris Panchev. Dealer sales will be run by Matt Gehr. It is a real mix of leadership, and our cultures are nicely aligned.

Has new product development already begun?

We actually have some new products that that we're going to be hitting the market with at ISC East, called the BAT Mini, which is a collaborative effort coming from the two sides of the organization. We have a whole series of new products and services that we will be bringing to market in the first half of 2024, including the Connect X IP, our hybrid panel, Connect Flex, which is a next generation of our wireless security panel, Connect Plus, as well as and several new communicator offerings that we are bringing to the market, starting at ISC East.

Our ability to leverage intellectual property that both sides have developed is going to accelerate the innovation train for us. A good portion of M2M’s business has been international, and we are bringing some Alula products into international channels that we haven't really had much traction in historically.  

What message is this merger sending to Alula dealers and potential new dealers as well?

Every dealer out there is trying to align themselves with companies that listen and who become true partners with them. As you talk to dealers, many of them have done business with both Alula and M2M, and consistently hear that we listen and try to solve problems.

There's a lot of disruption out there. Companies are discontinuing product lines, and some companies have disappeared, like Interlogix. This is creating heartburn for any professional dealer out there. What we are forming here is a company that has the size, the scale and the personality to work with [integrators] to help them become a stronger business.

Alula has been very aggressive in courting new dealers in the past. Will this continue under the M2M Services brand?

100% yes, but I don't just want dealers as customers – we're truly trying to build partners here. We get stronger because the dealers work with us. We engage with them directly on our Facebook user group, and sometimes they're not very nice, other times they are very complimentary. Either way, we engage and we learn from them and hopefully they learn from us. That's what I want to find. That's what we do find in the partners that come to us – they are not here just to buy products or services, they are here to improve their business and hopefully we can improve our business in working with them. That's what we want to find, and that's where it gets fun. It's truly exciting.

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine, a printed publication partner of SecurityInfoWatch.com and a part of Endeavor Business Media.

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com.