ESX 2018 recap: Amazon dominates discussions

June 26, 2018
Products honored and awards bestowed while dealers talk residential and smart home in Nashville

NASHVILLE – The alarm industry descended once again on Nashville for the annual ESX conference and expo, where dealers and integrators focused on the rapidly changing world of home security – headlined by Amazon’s announcement of the new Ring Alarm DIY security system with monitoring for $10 a month. The DIY market and Amazon’s attempt to disrupt it, in fact, dominated the discussion in multiple educational sessions.

“This is like the fifth session in the last few days that has addressed this,” joked Bryan Melancon, Cox Communications Southeast Region Operations Manager, during a panel discussion on the top five disruptors in the residential market.

“One of the big (worries) with Amazon, besides the fact it is such a powerful name, is the low-cost monitoring,” said industry veteran and panel moderator Peter Giacalone. “While the industry has faced that time and again, it has never faced it from a source as great and powerful as Amazon – that is the most significant challenge to traditional companies.”

Editor’s Note: Be on the lookout for SD&I’s August issue, which will delve much deeper into the potential impact of Amazon/Ring, as well as many of the other market drivers in the residential security and smart home industries.

While the deep analysis of MAGA – what ESX conference director George DeMarco used as the catch-all for MSOs, Amazon, Google and Apple – led to some fear and worry, the majority of the observations of this new market force were positive.

“When you start to see these other players come into the industry, it brings more recognition to our products and this industry to a broader range of people,” Melancon said. “Amazon is a very powerful company; they have been a disruptor in a lot of industries already, but just like big companies that have come into this industry in the past, when they come in and advertise, it has really convinced people it is a product they need and want, even if it starts in the home automation space and then moves to security.”

In fact, a representative of one of those so-called MAGA companies, Mike Soucie, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Google, sat on the panel of the OpenXchange breakfast – the first educational event of the conference, which was sponsored by SD&I and He took the more optimistic approach for the traditional dealers/integrators in attendance, in essence, courting their partnership: “We actually believe there’s a tremendous marketing opportunity for this channel,” Soucie said. “We are getting into a high level of complexity when talking about so many products working together to anticipate (a user’s) needs. It is a tremendous opportunity to really take Nest and Google’s brand and bring it downstream.”

From the Show Floor

ESX saw two major product launches from its show floor – both vastly different, but targeting the same group of dealers/integrators.

FLIR launched Saros, an outdoor perimeter security camera that combines multiple traditional perimeter protection technologies – including thermal imaging, 1080p/4K video, IR and LED illumination, video analytics and two-way audio – into a unified solution. According to Dwight Dumpert, the company’s Director of Product Management, the product was launched at ESX because of its cost-effectiveness (combining multiple form factors into a single device), and its usefulness in alarm verification on the perimeter, which, of course, is a primary concern for both alarm dealers and central stations (ESX’s primary attendees). “It brings the benefits of thermal to a broader consumer base,” he said.

Honeywell provided the second major launch in Nashville (this one a soft launch), previewing its as-yet unnamed total home security and automation system, which includes a hybrid solution, 5-inch and 7-inch panels, hub, and a range of keypads and sensors designed to replace the Lyric line and integrate with Total Connect and AlarmNet. According to company VP Scott Harkins, the new product line is still in development, but “over time, this will be our entire residential security offering.”

More details on the product offering are anticipated for later this year, Harkins added.

Additionally, ESX’s Innovation Awards program recognized “outstanding products and services that drive the electronic security and life safety industry forward.” The winners of each Innovation Award are pitted against each other in a “Shark Tank” style competition for expert security dealer judges to determine the “Techvision Challenge” winners for the show.

For the second year in a row, DMP was named the Techvision Challenge winner – this year it was for its Virtual Keypad Access, which the company calls “the natural progression of DMP’s Virtual Keypad app that manages intrusion systems.” Virtual Keypad Access provides the flexibility for users to remotely manage system users, schedules and profiles, plus control public doors. It also allows users to view and record video.

“We love ESX and like the concept of the Techvision Challenge,” DMP Executive Director of Marketing Mark Hillenburg said. “We are honored to have been included and judged by this group of dealers.”

The Optex Fitlink Series was awarded Techvision runner-up. Here’s a list of the other Innovation Award winners:

  • Yale Locks & Hardware – Nest x Yale Lock
  • Nortek Security & Control – Linear Smart Garage Door Operator and 2GIG Stove & Grill Guard Sensor
  • Comtrend – PG-9172PoE Powerline Adapter with PoE (Power over Ethernet)
  • Mag Daddy – ¾” Bridle Ring with 65# Magnet and its Camera Mounting Kit
  • Essence – Care@Home Communicator
  • NAPCO Security Technologies – FireLink
  • DMP – Dealer Admin 2.0 and Virtual Keypad 6.0
  • M2M Services – MQ03-LTE Cellular/Radio Communicators
  • Alula – Connect+ Two-Way Voice Platform
  • OPTEX – WFX-360 Series
  • Honeywell – Honeywell Lyric Controller and Apple Homekit and Total Connect Wireless HD Video Camera Family
  • NMC – Proactive Video Monitoring
  • Interlogix – Interlogix Command Button and UltraSync Doorbell Camera
  • Nightingale Security – Robotic Aerial Security
  • DICE Corporation – Cloud Video Recording
  • Hikvision USA Inc. – Thermal Bi-Spectrum Camera System
  • EIZO Inc. – DuraVision FDF2304W-IP
  • Dahua Technology – 2MP AI Network Box Camera (IPC-HF824FN-FR)

Association News and Awards

The Electronic Security Association announced the end of Angela White’s two-year tenure as president, and Chris Mosley, President and CEO of New Jersey-based Complete Security Systems Inc. (CSS), was sworn in as the 43rd president of ESA. Mosley is the founder and president of CSS, which has been providing both commercial and residential security and fire safety services to the greater New Jersey area since 1983.

Additionally, Don Childers, Chief Operating Officer of Security Central, will serve as the one-year term Vice President. Two open positions for two-year term vice president were filled by Tim Creenan of Amherst Alarm and Jamie Vos of Security Solutions NW. Steve Firestone of Select Security was installed for another two-year term as Secretary. Steve Paley and Dee Ann Harn will continue to serve in their positions as treasurer and vice president, respectively.

Attendees honored Tom Donaldson, recipient of ESA’s 2017 Morris F. Weinstock Person of the Year Award during the Opening Celebration. Donaldson is the president of Ohio-based AT Systems and has been an active voice in the electronic security industry for more than 32 years.

Winners of The Monitoring Association (TMA)’s 2018 Excellence Awards were also announced. They were: Patricia Fody of Vector Security (Operator of the Year); Carmelo Mosca of Affiliated Monitoring (Manager of the Year); and Beth Bailey of ADT (Support Person of the Year). Affiliated Monitoring was named Monitoring Center of the Year.

Finally, after two straight years in Nashville, ESX announced it will move the 2019 show’s venue to Indianapolis. It is set for June 2-6, 2019.

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