Alarm.com, the home automation partner of Hills and QSS in Australia, is preparing to go public, with a Form S-1 filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on May 22 relating to a proposed initial public offering of shares of its common stock .
The number of shares to be sold and the price range for the proposed offering remain unknown but the S-1 shows registration for a $US75 million IPO. Alarm.com sells interactive home security systems controlled by smart mobile applications and partners locally with QSS and Hills Ltd. The owners of the company applied to list its common stock on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol ALRM.
Ongoing rollout of the national broadband network will carry 1 million alarm systems into a networked environment. Installers and monitoring stations need to plan ahead to make sure they don’t get caught out.
By February 2015, the NBN was available in around three quarters of a million premises across the country and was rolled out at twice the rate of the previous 12-month period. Similar increases in the pace of the rollout are expected this year and next. 2014 also saw the beginning of copper line disconnection and disruption to existing telephone and ADSL services prompting concern from some businesses. For example, as the NBN roll out continues and more disconnections take place, around one million back-to-base monitored alarms will require an upgrade to operate in an NBN world.
A report from Hewlett Packard suggests that many cloud-based security solutions are easily hacked thanks to poor password security and failure to set up mobile devices properly.
IT’S a timely reminder to security installers and monitoring stations that incorporating smart devices and cloud into security systems introduces exposure to a dangerous new ecosystem. The study also shows how important it is for alarm monitoring companies to provide high quality 24-hour protection of client premises. A combination of DIY installation and monitoring combined with poor network security leaves a home or business open to network and physical attacks. At particular risk, according to HP, are video feeds from IP video cameras.
Alarm monitoring trends in the U.S. are highly relevant to the Australian market, which experiences similar shifts in technology and application.
IT’S the similarities between long term trends in the U.S. and Australian markets, both of which use many of the same hardware and software solutions, as well as the same business models, that make the 2014 Security Sales & Integration Installation Business Report so interesting.
According to the report, just as they are in Australia, third-party central monitoring stations (bureau monitoring services) are very popular among American security installers. In the U.S. 74 per cent of installing security contractors use a third-party central monitoring station.
GEORGE Hindy has joined Calamity Monitoring as national technical manager. Most recently a service delivery supervisor at ADT Security, George joins Calamity with 20 years of hands-on experience in security sales, installation and service management.
"George will be fantastic at supporting our growing list of national and chain customers and their challenging security requirements across alarm, access and monitored CCTV systems,” said Daniel Lewkovitz, Calamity CEO.
“Calamity has achieved considerable recognition from its modern approach to security across both its monitoring and service/installation divisions. George was the perfect candidate bringing both an outstanding technical familiarity and a customer and contractor focus.”
Hindy will be based at Calamity's Centre for Advanced Security Technology and Leadership Excellence (CASTLE) in Sydney and will look after commercial customers country-wide.♦
Smart watch the next thing in security and home automation
Alarm.com, which is going to be pushing into the Australian alarm monitoring market in a big way over the next couple of years, has released an app that allows Apple Watch wearers to control security from their wrist.
IF you’re a certain age, there’s something very Dick Tracy about smart watches and that applies doubly if you’re talking about using them to control security systems. In a move that confirms the truism that today’s technologies are yesterday’s science fictions, Alarm.com has optioned its Alarm.com App to drive on the Apple Watch.
Wearables are being breathlessly described by tech houses as “the new internet” and while this might be over reaching, it’s still interesting to hear Alarm.com argue that controlling smart homes is one of the most compelling applications for wearable technology. As a generally objective commentator, I find myself agreeing.
Oriented stranded board before compression and gluing
HOMES built using oriented strand board (OSB), which is made of wood pieces compressed together then glued, burn 800 per cent faster than homes built with real timber.
As part of a UL experiment, Jacksonville Florida firefighters set a controlled fire under 2 solid wood beams and 2 OSB beams. Although charred, the solid wood beams remained intact throughout the test.
However, the OSB beams collapsed after just three and a half minutes because the fire had melted the glue holding the compressed wood pieces together.
It’s a strong argument that owners of new homes built using low cost OSB as part of their internal structures, should install multiple hard wired smoke sensors linked to the 24-hour zones of professionally monitored alarm systems.
Each year, more than 50 people die in house fires across Australia.♦
If anything is going to shape the nature of the alarm monitoring industry in years to come it will be the way people interact with information. It’s a seismic shift the industry still doesn’t seem to be entirely on top of.
YOU don’t have to walk far around Sydney’s streets to realise that every second person is walking online. Because I trudge through the CBD to work and because I find the practise of walking online deeply infuriating, I’m well positioned to have noticed this trend. It’s impossible to view such behaviour, in which humans seem to have internalised their latest-gen smart devices, without wondering about its impact on the way people would like to use broader technology.
A majority of residents are favour the idea of smart homes
A recent study suggests homeowners like the idea of automation and consider safety and security monitoring to be automation’s central role. But they have their own ideas about installation and monitoring.
LOWE’S 2014 Smart Home Survey reveals a majority of residents are favour the idea of smart homes. But some contradictory findings include that while around 50 per cent prefer do-it-yourself solutions, 62 per cent believe home automation solutions are most beneficial for real time monitoring of safety and security. At the same time, nearly 30 per cent of home owners want domestic access control solutions they can control remotely from smart devices or workstations.
Alarm installers and monitoring stations need a plan
Alarm installers need to sit down and map out a game plan to ensure their clients’ alarm solutions and their own businesses are prepared to handle the changes the market faces over the next 24 months.
It’s going to be a weird couple of years for the Australian alarm monitoring market. It’s not as if we had no idea this was coming but having everything going on at once is going to be a challenge. It’s goodbye to 2G, goodbye to PSTN, goodbye to rebates, and hello to new technologies and powerful new competitors.