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Lake Forest, Calif.—National Monitoring Center (NMC) recently unveiled its new website, designed to support its strategic goal to provide an exceptional experience to dealers and integrators through an intensive focus on quality, simplicity and consistency.“The primary goal was to enhance value by creating a unified platform that improved visibility, functionality, and ease of access to information,” NMC President, Woodie Andrawos said in the announcement. “This website achieves this and demonstrates NMC’s unwavering commitment to developing opportunity for our dealers.”The multi-phase project involved feedback from dealers and integrators, as well as NMC sales, customer service representatives, engineering, commissioning, onboarding, operations, dealer relations, and management teams. The professional development team used the insights and pain points to identify new opportunities as a clear context for design and navigation.Goals for the new NMC website included:Simplifying the site by reducing options to the most critical actions allowing users tonavigate easily to the appropriate pageEnhancing, highlighting, and streamlining dealer and integrator tools and resourcesIncrease value as a repository of thought-leadership, tools, and appsIntegrating functionality and features to create a seamless user experienceThe new website represents an intuitive market-leading platform that allows users to quickly access information and capabilities that support business growth.“The launch of the new website has been hugely successful and will allow our partners to respond to changing and growing monitoring needs with informed agility,” Andrawos added. “It is a new era in the security industry and we are excited to move forward with a platform that complements the new dynamic,”To view the new website, click here.National Monitoring Center (NMC), a Netwatch Group Company, is the premier third party monitoring company in the United States with monitoring centers in CA and TX. As part of The Netwatch Group, NMC expands its suite of wholesale monitoring services with proactive video monitoring, exclusively available through its channel partners. For further information, please call 877-353-3031 or email at sales@NMCcentral.com.

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ARLINGTON, Va.—The first-ever, all-digital CES 2021 made history as the largest digital tech event with approximately 2,000 companies taking part in the global virtual expo.Owned and produced by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), the all-digital CES 2021 featured product launches from startups to tech giants and security companies, keynotes from global industry leaders and more than 100 hours of conference programming covering topics such as privacy, the future of AI and health care, autonomous transportation, trends in retail and tech policy.“The all-digital CES 2021 engaged the global tech community to experience innovation, make connections and conduct business,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA. “CES showed how the pandemic accelerated the arc of innovation and illustrated the resilience and innovative spirit of our industry. From the latest innovations for the home and entertainment, and advances in 5G, vehicle technology, AI and digital health, the technologies at CES 2021 will pave the way for a brighter tomorrow.”Nearly 2,000 companies launched products during the all-digital CES 2021, including almost 700 startups from 37 countries. “The industry came together digitally at CES 2021. This was a medium for companies to make announcements, launch products and connect with their audiences,” said Karen Chupka, executive vice president, CES. “The all-digital format brought new voices to the tech conversation.”  Keynote AnnouncementsIndustry leaders took to the all-digital CES keynote stage to make major announcements, including:Verizon: Hans Vestberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon, demonstrated the immersive 5G experience across sports, education, connected communities and live music, and announced partnerships with the NFL, UPS, Live Nation Clubs and Theaters, The Met and the Smithsonian.General Motors: Mary Barra, chairman and CEO of General Motors (GM), launched new product lines from GM, including the Cadillac eVTOL, a concept air taxi; and a new business unit devoted to electrifying the goods delivery market.AMD: Dr. Lisa Su, president and CEO of AMD, revealed the new Ryzen 5000 series mobile processors with two categories – the H-series, for laptops intended for gaming and content creation and the U-series, for ultraportable notebooks.Best Buy: Corie Barry, CEO of Best Buy, shared how the company shifted during the pandemic and put the customer in control of buying, whether from home, curbside or in person.Future Reimagined: Michael Miebach, CEO of Mastercard, and Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, predicted tech trends they expect to see over the next decade.Walmart: Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, discussed ways 5G, AI and robotics will change the business; how Walmart pivoted to keep employees healthy and customers satisfied; and the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.Microsoft: Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, gave his vision on ensuring cyber security and customer privacy protection, and discussed the tech industry’s responsibility to exercise our conscience.Key Themes at CES 2021The all-digital CES 2021 featured groundbreaking innovation that will improve our world, from health to safety, sustainability and accessibility.Tech Innovation Accelerated by COVID-19Tech companies innovated during the pandemic, with companies at CES 2021 featuring smart masks, disinfecting robots, body sensors that detect COVID-19 symptoms and smart air filtration systems.Consumer Privacy and TrustThe heads of privacy at Amazon, Google and Twitter discussed new privacy regulations and the need to increase consumer trust, stating that tech companies must give users more control over their data.Diversity CommitmentCTA continued its commitment to driving diversity in tech with its latest investment, announcing an investment in VC fund Plum Alley. This is part of its $10 million commitment to venture firms and funds that invest in women, people of color and other underrepresented entrepreneurs. Plum Alley invests in founding teams of women, and women and men and has an impressive representation of women founders from many backgrounds and ethnic groups in the STEM fields including Dr. Jennifer Doudna, who recently won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. CTA announced its $10 million funding commitment on stage at CES 2019.Content can be accessed on demand through Feb. 15, 2021. CES 2022 will take place in person in Las Vegas, and digitally, Jan. 5-8, 2022.

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The remote workforce phenomenon, brought on by COVID-19 and stay-at-home directives in many of the hardest hit states, has changed, possibly forever, how companies and organizations do business. According to Gartner Research’s recent report on Remote Work, more than 48 percent of employees will continue to work remotely post COVID-19.While there are clearly some positives for moving to a remote, or hybrid workforce model, there are also some pitfalls, or challenges, to such an approach, especially long-term.With so many people working from home in 2020, and many companies having to change the way they do business, this month’s SSN News Poll looked to see if the remote workforce movement is just a trend or something that is here to stay in 2021 and beyond.When asked the big question – is your company considering staying with a remote or hybrid workforce? – 63 percent said “yes,” with another 5 percent still considering it (saying “not yet”), and only 33 percent saying “no.” The top benefits of going with this approach for respondents included being more adaptable and nimble (42 percent), creating happier employees (32 percent) and cost savings (26 percent).“The doubters that remote work would never work have been silenced,” said one respondent. “We’ve found employees are just as productive and happier since doing away with the ‘normal’ daily grind of commuting and work.”Another reader added, “Productivity has improved, occupancy rates have improved and employee morale is better. That, coupled with cost savings of lease space equals a permanent remote workforce.”While many companies are clearly moving to, or considering, a remote or hybrid workforce, for the approximately one third who are not looking at this model long-term, some of the concerns with this approach include negatively affecting company culture (70 percent), lack of accountability (20 percent) and lost productivity (10 percent).“There are certain employees and positions that will continue to operate remotely [but] it will not be full time and it will be limited,” said one respondent.  “We have seen issues with accountability and company culture with long term deployment of employees. We plan on allowing deployed workforce on limited basis, based on productivity of the individual. New employees will be office based until they have been assimilated to company culture and operating standards.”Another respondent agreed, adding, “We will come back to the office but will allow for remote days as needed.”Hopefully, the successful rollout of vaccines in the first half of 2021 will create an atmosphere that brings back business as usual. 

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WILLIAMSTOWN, N.J.—COPS Monitoring, the largest provider of wholesale professional alarm monitoring services in North America, announced that it has taken all necessary steps to prove its good faith effort to achieve compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  By doing so, COPS has earned Seal of Compliance, a distinction issued only to organizations that have implemented an effective HIPAA compliance program through the use of Compliancy Group’s exclusive program, The Guard.By completing Compliancy Group’s Implementation Program, COPS Monitoring has demonstrated its adherence to the meticulous regulatory standards outlined in the HIPAA Privacy Rule, Security Rule, Breach Notification Rule, Omnibus Rule, and HITECH.  Through the use of The Guard, COPS Monitoring can manage its continued compliance.HIPAA is comprised of a set of regulatory standards governing the security, privacy, and integrity of sensitive healthcare data called protected health information (PHI). PHI is any individually identifiable healthcare-related information. If vendors who service healthcare clients come into contact with PHI in any way, those vendors must be HIPAA compliant.”We have a profound respect for what it means to be a professional monitoring provider of millions of homes and businesses,” explained COPS Monitoring’s president Jim McMullen. “Our dealers and customers place a tremendous amount of trust in us; not only for their physical security and wellbeing, but also to keep their data and personal information safe.  In addition to protecting their data with state-of-the-art technology, we believe the independent verification of our HIPAA compliance is another step in the right direction to guarding our dealer and customer, and a valuable addition to our SOC 2 attestation.”Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Williamstown, NJ, COPS Monitoring (a Lydia Security Monitoring brand) is the largest provider of professional monitoring services in the United States. Its award-winning network of central stations with locations in New Jersey, Florida, Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, and Maryland, is trusted by 3,500 independent alarm dealers to safeguard more than 3.3 million homes and businesses in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. COPS is UL listed, FM approved, IQ certified, TMA Five Diamond certified, and has been named Central Station of the Year by The Monitoring Association. For more information about COPS Monitoring, visit copsmonitoring.com.

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LAS VEGAS—Digital Guard Force (DGF), a remote guarding solutions provider, announced its new partnership with Reliance Security, a veteran-founded security leader, for the Las Vegas market.The partnership will enable real estate owners, business operators, and property managers in the Las Vegas area to augment their security eco-system and save on operating expenses.DGF’s remote guarding system combines high-tech security hardware, computer vision (AI) software, and remote guards to protect multifamily and commercial real estate properties nationwide. Clients benefit from an eco-system designed by a security expert that combines the hardware, software, and human elements to enhance security. The technology allows for significant cost savings versus the cost of on-site guards only.“We’re excited to be working with Joel and his team at Reliance Security in the Las Vegas market,” Digital Guard Force CEO Donal Warde said in the announcement. “The partnership allows clients to benefit from Reliance’s extensive local knowledge and DGF’s security technology solutions. It’s a win-win. Eco-systems are customized based on the unique needs of each property.”Serving the Las Vegas community since 2004, Reliance offers cutting-edge security services for individuals, businesses, properties and events in Las Vegas and select markets in Nevada. Clients include high-profile hotels and resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, gated communities, apartments, HOAs, condominiums, commercial buildings, retail stores, construction sites, government buildings, healthcare facilities, and more.“The DGF partnership takes our service offerings to the next level, allowing clients to benefit from the latest advances in technology, which will enhance the security effectiveness for clients. This solution is really for any type of business or property that’s wanting security and facing any kind of budget constraint,” added Reliance Security CEO Joel Logan.Remote guarding is an ideal solution for properties that want security, but have limited resources. It’s also beneficial for large properties with complex security needs.“For instance, large casinos might be looking to scale back its on-site guards. This would allow them to still maintain a high level of security, but have it managed remotely from a secure location,” shared Warde.Many properties have also experienced budget pressures due to COVID.Logan continued, “We’re seeing a challenging combination of budget constraints and increased security needs from some of our clients. The new partnership will allow us to broaden the scope of solutions we offer in a cost-effective manner.”

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SALT LAKE CITY—Security industry business management software company, AlarmHive, announced a new partnership with INVISUS, a cybersecurity and identity theft protection company located in American Fork, Utah.This partnership enables alarm dealers to package cybersecurity and identity theft protection when selling alarm systems, adding significant value to the customer, and providing the dealer with an opportunity to increase RMR from both new and existing customers.“AlarmHive wants to provide increasing value to everyone with whom we come into contact with,” AlarmHive Co-Founder Richard Brimhall said in the announcement. “Helping alarm dealers add cybersecurity and identity theft protection helps us increase the value for our customers and their end-users. The end-user receives protection for their digital life, as well as their physical life, and the dealer increases their recurring monthly revenue (RMR) by providing such protection to their customers. We certainly feel that this partnership helps us meet our purpose.””The demand for a new layer of protection within the alarm industry has skyrocketed,” reported Todd Williams, VP Channel Marketing and Partner Sales with INVISUS. “We are thrilled to be able to offer Home Cyber Protection directly through AlarmHive software. We are obviously thrilled to partner with an innovative organization like AlarmHive and see this as an incredible opportunity for us.”Since 2001, INVISUS has been a pioneer in protection and risk management for the digital age for both businesses and consumers. The company’s mission is to develop and provide innovative, simple and affordable cybersecurity solutions that enable both businesses and consumers to proactively defend against cybercrime, identity fraud and other growing threats to their privacy, security and financial future. The company is based in Utah and has customers throughout North America and abroad.

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As we embark on a new year, we have a tendency to take a look at trends to follow over the next few months. In the security industry, a number of video surveillance trends to look for in 2021 were recently released in a report by Eagle Eye Networks.The rise of cloudOne of the trends that the report outlined is that there is more of a customer demand for cloud video security. The report states, “The shift to the benefits of cloud in the video surveillance space is powerful and undeniable, including major cost savings, heightened data security, remote access and maintenance, flexible storage and retention, scalability, increased stability, and disaster recovery.”One of our 40 under 40 winners, Haley Glover, senior security consultant for Sapphire Risk Advisory Group, talked about how more clients are utilizing cloud technology for their security systems.“Many of our clients in the cannabis industry have locations across multiple states,” she said. “Having access to all of their systems is a necessity and having an option like cloud-based services makes that process a bit easier for the user and for the integrator.”AI-powered analyticsA second video surveillance trend the report highlighted is that advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) will transform video surveillance systems into even more valuable business solutions. “Ultimately, smart cloud video surveillance will make businesses smarter and more customer-focused and communities safer and more engaged,” the report states. “In addition, it will enable manufacturers to provide higher-quality products in a safer, more timely manner.”Another 40 under 40 recipient, Michael Amaro, director of security engineering for Sentinel Consulting, pointed out that the interest in analytics was emerging as one of the top trends in the security industry today.“For analytics, it’s more than just facial recognition,” he said. “We are seeing more calls for analytics like que monitoring and packages left behind where we can provide the client with a much better response to potential threats. Using these analytics to automate the alarm and response process is helping clients become more efficient and allows them to utilize a more mobile approach to their security plan. This has proven most beneficial for clients who don’t have a full-time operations center.”  Compliance and the role of ITA third trend revolves around the fact that compliance requirements are constantly evolving. Video surveillance is becoming more widely adopted across various industries, including cannabis, healthcare, banking and law enforcement.In the February issue, we focus on the security measures that cannabis dispensaries are implementing, while adhering to federal, state and local mandates.Bryan Sanderford, national sales manager for Dortronics Systems, Inc., noted, “As long as federal laws prevent cannabis retailer locations from using the banking system, large amounts of cash stored on site will require extra security.” Other trends outlined in the report include the fact that information technology (IT) departments are engaging with, and in many cases owning, video surveillance, and that customers are expecting systems to be open and connected to “make it possible for businesses and developers to integrate any number of applications on a single video management system (VMS) platform.”Forecast for 2021What do these video surveillance trends mean for the security industry, as a whole, in 2021, especially after such a challenging year in 2020? Hans Kahler, vice president of operations at Eagle Eye Networks, forecast what lies ahead in the area of video surveillance in the coming months.“Combine the promise of AI and cloud video surveillance with the volatility, instability, and remote work environment of 2020 and we have an environment where people are looking for their video surveillance and security systems to deliver more business value than ever before,” he said. “The acceleration of cloud adoption and use of analytics to provide improved security and drive business improvement will make 2021 a transformative year for the industry.”We’ll take “transformative” after what 2020 brought us. Happy New Year! 

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THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. and ARLINGTON, Va.—Teledyne Technologies Inc. and FLIR Systems Inc. jointly announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Teledyne will acquire FLIR in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $8 billion.Under the terms of the agreement, FLIR stockholders will receive $28.00 per share in cash and 0.0718 shares of Teledyne common stock for each FLIR share, which implies a total purchase price of $56.00 per FLIR share based on Teledyne’s 5-day volume weighted average price as of Dec. 31, 2020. The transaction reflects a 40 percent premium for FLIR stockholders based on FLIR’s 30-day volume weighted average price as of Dec. 31, 2020. “We could not be more excited to join forces with Teledyne through this value-creating transaction,” FLIR President and CEO Jim Cannon said in the announcement. “Together, we will offer a uniquely complementary end-to-end portfolio of sensory technologies for all key domains and applications across a well-balanced, global customer base. We are pleased to be partnering with an organization that shares our focus on continuous innovation and operational excellence, and we look forward to working closely with the Teledyne team as we bring our two companies together to capitalize on the important opportunities ahead.”FLIR Chairman Earl Lewis added, “FLIR’s commitment to innovation spanning multiple sensing technologies has allowed our company to grow into the multi-billion-dollar company it is today,” said, of. “With our new partner’s platform of complementary technologies, we will be able to continue this trajectory, providing our employees, customers and stockholders even more exciting momentum for growth. Our Board fully supports this transaction, which delivers immediate value and the opportunity to participate in the upside potential of the combined company.”As part of the transaction, Teledyne has arranged a $4.5 billion 364-day credit commitment to fund the transaction and refinance certain existing debt. Teledyne expects to fund the transaction with permanent financing prior to closing. Net leverage at closing is expected to be approximately 4.0x adjusted pro forma EBITDA with leverage declining to less than 3.0x by the end of 2022.“At the core of both our companies is proprietary sensor technologies. Our business models are also similar: we each provide sensors, cameras and sensor systems to our customers,” said Teledyne Executive Chairman Robert Mehrabian. “However, our technologies and products are uniquely complementary with minimal overlap, having imaging sensors based on different semiconductor technologies for different wavelengths. For two decades, Teledyne has demonstrated its ability to compound earnings and cash flow consistently and predictably. Together with FLIR and an optimized capital structure, I am confident we shall continue delivering superior returns to our stockholders.”Teledyne expects the acquisition to be immediately accretive to earnings, excluding transaction costs and intangible asset amortization, and accretive to GAAP earnings in the first full calendar year following the acquisition.

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DUBLIN—Allegion recently made donations to hunger-relief organizations around the world amounting to more than $500,000. These one-time gifts were designated on behalf of all Allegion employees to help support the growing number of people facing food insecurity in the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.“As we close out what’s been a very challenging year for many, it’s important to reflect on our blessings, but also the needs of others,” said Allegion President, Chairman and CEO David Petratis. “If there’s one Allegion value that I know our global team members hold very close to their hearts, it’s ‘serve others, not yourself.’ Giving financially where we see a great need at our local foodbanks and other hunger-relief organizations is more important than ever given the impact COVID-19 has had on our communities.”Nearly half of the funds will support Feeding America – the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States – and its community affiliates. The organization has a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, providing meals to more than 40 million people each year.The remaining financial gifts are supporting additional hunger-relief organizations in communities throughout countries where Allegion operates, like Australia, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico and New Zealand, among others.Allegion and its team members regularly give back to the communities where they work and live. In addition to the December hunger-relief donations, during calendar year 2020, Allegion provided more than $450,000 in support to community organizations and nonprofits around the world, including Habitat for Humanity, the American Heart Association and Ronald McDonald House Charities. The company also contributed nearly $1 million in in-kind security product donations – which included hardware for homes, as well as hundreds of bicycle lights and locks for essential healthcare workers in need of safe commutes to work. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Allegion additionally supported healthcare providers with a total donation of 45,000 masks.“At Allegion, we’re grateful for essential and frontline workers – those servant leaders who are fighting this pandemic and its negative impacts, like hunger, every day. And we’re thankful we can give back at a time when it’s needed most,” Petratis added.

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Sorry about the classic movie reference – cue that epic western movie theme music now please – but this year will be remembered as one of the most challenging in American history, and the security industry has not been immune, with the impact of this past year being felt in all facets of the industry, certainly some more than others. The 2020 M&A market, in particular, has had some wild activity. Just in the last six months alone we have seen some big deals, most notably:Allied Universal-G4SSecuritas-FE MoranBrinks Home Security-Select SecurityAlarm.com-Shooter Detection SystemsADT-CellBounceACRE-RazberiADT Commercial-Percepta LabsJohnson Controls-QolsysMotorola Soluitions-PelcoThe goodWhile the commercial SMB space probably took the greatest hit from COVID in 2020, the commercial systems integrator M&A market, in general, will continue to be active in 2021, according to John Mack, executive vice president, co-head of investment banking with Imperial Capital.“I think you will continue to see companies like ADT Commercial, Allied Universal, Securitas, Prosegur, Convergint, for example, continue to use M&A for growth, so I think you will see good activity in the commercial M&A space [in 2021],” said Mack, noting that he is seeing “significant interest” in the commercial side of the business.“If you look at the Securitas and FE Moran transaction, that is indicative of that trend, as there is a lot of interest – and at reasonable valuation multiples – on the commercial side of the business,” Mack explained. “With FE Moran, it was a hybrid alarm and systems integration business, so it was a meaningful security integration business alongside a commercial alarm company with no residential business whatsoever. That profile, it turns out, is quite attractive.”He continued, “There just aren’t that many pure-play commercial alarm companies in the market so you will not see a lot of deals, but you will continue to see transactions in the commercial integration space, in general, and you may see deals in the alarm space at more attractive valuations when the business has a meaningful commercial base.”The bad and the uglyWhile valuations on the commercial side of the business are getting more attractive, the outlook is not as rosy on the residential side of the business, and it looks like consolidation will continue into the first half of 2021 as alarm companies that have struggled will be forced to sell, including many that are backed by larger investment companies and banks.“The amount of regular way M&A is substantially reduced because the valuations are way down, so anybody that has a business that is performing well doesn’t want to sell right now because of the low valuation dynamic,” noted Mack. “We are going to continue to see a meaningful amount of distressed transactions in the first six months of next year. The preponderance of these struggling alarm businesses are going to be forced into transactions in the first six months of next year because of just the nature of restructurings that goes on with these deals. So, there are a bunch of deals that are going to hit the market in that six-month period, and you will see a flurry of deals but they will not be at attractive valuations.”Let’s hope 2021 is a big rebound year for the country and the security industry as a whole! Cheers to the New Year and new beginnings!

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