AT&T to Sunset 2G Service by 2017

Dealers advised to install current technology

Following several years of speculation, telecommunications giant AT&T recently announced in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it plans to stop supporting 2G service. The company said in its filings that its wants to “redeploy” the spectrum currently being used for basic 2G service to support mobile Internet service on its 3G and 4G networks. AT&T said that it expects to fully discontinue service for its 2G networks by Jan. 1, 2017.

The date shouldn’t come as a surprise to vendors in the industry, according to Shawn Welsh, vice president of marketing and business development for Telguard, Atlanta, who says they were advised of these plans as early as March 2011.

"We knew that date all along, but were under a gag order not to say it. The fact that AT&T is finally on the record should bring it home for the alarm industry; now it’s real."

Welsh estimates that the majority of alarm communicators use AT&T’s 2G network, and that there are probably around 3 million of the 2G cellular alarm communicators installed in the U.S.

Welsh’s advice to dealers is simple. He says they shouldn’t install another 2G unit unless they have no plans to be working with that customer in four years when AT&T’s 2G support is all but gone. But since the average account lives are over five years in the industry, it’s better to go ahead and put in current technology today, rather than to have to upsell that customer and roll another truck in four years.

Court Rules Against Ill. Fire District

Lisle-Woodridge barred from monitoring fire alarms

A federal court has issued a modified permanent injunction against the Lisle-Woodridge Fire District in Illinois, which prohibits the district from engaging in activities related to the monitoring of fire alarms. The ruling comes nearly three years after the district passed an ordinance requiring all commercial alarm system owners in the area to terminate their existing monitoring contracts and switch to a system owned and operated by the district. The following summer, five private alarm companies including ADT, Alarm Detection Systems, D.M.C. Security Services, Illinois Alarm Services and SMG Security Systems, filed a lawsuit against the district alleging violations of state laws, as well as federal antitrust laws.

The court initially entered a permanent injunction against the district in August 2011, but they appealed to the 7th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, which issued an order staying the injunction. The case was later directed back to the U.S. District Court in Illinois where the modified permanent injunction order was issued last month. The district has been ordered by the district court to shut down its alarm board by Oct. 4. They have until Sept. 6 to appeal the permanent injunction. Lisle-Woodridge Fire District Bureau Chief Jim French said that the district could not comment on the case at this time.

LG Re-Enters U.S. Security Market

Company enlisting the help of new distribution partner this time around

More than a year after announcing a distribution agreement with now defunct security products distributor GVI Security, consumer electronics giant LG recently announced that it is launching a new line of surveillance cameras and DVRs for the U.S. market.  

With its entrance into the market, the company is rolling out 14 new security products including both IP and analog cameras, as well as hybrid DVRs. LG is working with Observint Technologies, a provider of operations, finance, marketing, and other services for surveillance companies, to help build a distribution network for the company’s products.

According to John Taylor, a vice president with LG Electronics USA, the company is not new to security business and has done well selling its products in the Asian, European and Latin American markets. "The United States is kind of the last, untapped, major developed market for LG security products," he said.   

Taylor said a variety of factors came into play before LG decided to make its U.S. debut. "Looking at our own product line versus what the competitive landscape is out there right now, finding the right partner to launch this from a distribution standpoint and all of the stars aligned and made this an attractive time for LG to enter the market," he said.

Mobotix to Raise its Profile in Home Automation

Company announces partnership with Savant Systems

German-based surveillance solutions manufacturer Mobotix is making a push into the home automation market as the company announced that it has joined home automation and control systems provider Savant Systems’ "Partners in Excellence" cooperative program. Mobotix General Manager for the Americas Steve Gorski said that the company is relatively new to the home automation space and he believes that this new marketing partnership with Savant will help boost their presence in the market which the company has targeted as one of their areas for growth.

"I think it will significantly help for a couple of reasons. Number one, (Savant Systems) is one of the leaders in that space with their home automation systems. Being able to connect with one of the market leaders is really, really going to help us," he explained. "Because they have some Apple-based products for home automation, there’s obviously significant tie-in with Mobotix and Apple as well and we’ll be coming out with some applications on that and I think that’s really going to help us."

In addition, Gorski said that the partnership will also bolster the company’s exposure in the home automation channel.

"We think this a very exciting space and there is a lot more to come from Mobotix and our partners and our distribution partners," Gorski said. "One of the things we’ve been talking about internally is that we’re pretty excited about working with a lot the home automation resellers, because in many cases, a lot of these folks are kind of early adopters with new technologies and they really seem to embrace that. They seem to be very technical and they pride themselves on being up to speed on technology. Some of the guys that we’ve worked we’ve really been very impressed with their level of expertise and they understand how important training is. Not to say that the security resellers don’t understand, but… I think they are a little bit of a step ahead from a technology standpoint because there are a lot of technologies that go into home automation."

Mercury Security Settles Dispute with Lenel

Companies reach long-term agreement

Mercury Security Corporation has inked a new long-term contract with Lenel to support its access control products, ending an ongoing legal dispute between the two companies. According to Mercury Security Co-Founder and CEO Frank Gasztonyi, the lawsuit the company filed against Lenel last July for alleged copyright infringement and breach of contract has been dismissed as a result of the negotiation of this new long-term contract.  

"We’re happy that this finally came to be. We’ve been working on this and we’ve been very close for a couple of months and it’s finally become official after going through (the corporate legal process)," he said. "We’re really back on very good terms with each other and I think we’re seeing that our businesses are aligned and we will be working together into the next decade."

At issue in the lawsuit, according to Gasztonyi, was the use of I/O modules that Lenel’s parent company, UTC, built referred to as "U" boards that were being connected into Mercury’s system controllers, which they have agreed not to do any longer. However, Gasztonyi said that Mercury would support existing "U" boards in the field. "We are making sure that the customers do not experience any pain," he said.

Industry Acquisitions

Protection 1 is expanding its geographic footprint as the company recently acquired Las Cruces, N.M.-based Central Alarm Inc. and Montgomery, Ala.-based Advanced Solutions Inc. … Security Service Company will be adding commercial and residential alarm accounts to its’ rolls in Pennsylvania following its acquisition of Four Star Electronic Security. … Access control accessories manufacturer Alarm Controls, based in Deer Park, N.Y., will be joining with Securitron and HES to serve the market after being bought by Assa Abloy. … Francisco Partners, a Calif.-based private equity firm, has acquired biometric identity systems provider Cross Match Technologies, which has more than 250,000 products deployed in over 80 countries. … Security products distributor Tri-Ed/Northern Video recently expanded into the Orlando, Fla. market with its purchase of Seabreeze Security Distributors.

Factoid: Latin America expected to be a boon for the security industry - According to recent reports, the demand for security equipment in Latin America is expected to see a significant uptick over the next several years. According to the Security Industry Association, the market for electronic security equipment in Brazil alone is expected to more than triple to $1.8 billion by 2017. IMS Research forecasts the video surveillance market in Latin America to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 20 percent for the next five years.

Factoid: IP overtakes analog in the Middle East – Sales of network video solutions overtook that of analog in the Middle East last year, according to a new report from IMS Research. The market wasn’t expected to reach the tipping point until this year, however, a weaker impact from the global recession and an increase in oil demands have fueled infrastructure projects in the region, which have subsequently driven sales of IP surveillance products.

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PSA’s Bill Bozeman to be recognized with Lippert Award

PSA Security Network President and CEO Bill Bozeman will be honored by the Security Industry Association with the George R. Lippert Memorial Award next month at the SIA Security Week Gala in New York in recognition for his contributions to the association.

About the Author

Staff Reports

Editorial and news reports authored by the media team from Cygnus Security Media, including, Security Technology Executive magazine and Security Dealer & Integrator (SD&I) magazine.