TMA’s first-ever virtual Annual Meeting was a tremendous success. The event brought more than 150 professionals from across the monitoring and security industries for three days of high-impact educational sessions, interactive exchanges with leaders and peers, and stimulating discussions with industry product and service innovators.
Our sincere appreciation to our members, speakers, and sponsors for their generosity of time, talent, and support that made the event possible.
For our registrants, you may login to the Whova event app at any time to view session recordings through the end of April 2021.
Our 2021 Annual Meeting is set for Oct. 9-13, 2021 at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Preview the event.
View highlights from each meeting day:
Day 1 Highlights
TMA kicked off its 2020 Annual Meeting this morning with a keynote address from Google’s Managing Director, Hardware Business Development Wayne Thorsen. Thorsen’s presentation focused on the home and the safety and security it offers as the foundation of future innovations.
He shared that Google is looking for partners in various industries, like the security and monitoring industries, to do things they’ve never done before around the globe. More “personalized experiences” and “helpful moments” are the goal. He stated, “It’s all about the experience.”
Thorsen also spoke to the importance of interoperability and privacy standards during a follow-up Q&A session with TMA President Don Young.
Parks identifies opportunities for growth
Elizabeth Parks, President of Parks Associates, presented a comprehensive view of the DIY and home security market and how COVID-19 has impacted sales. Her most recent study revealed that 53% of US households reported they value technology more than ever before. Parks noted the wellness and health monitoring markets are ripe with opportunities for security services companies. Emerging services include loss prevention, indoor air quality, and asset tracking.
Today’s winners are:
Peggy Page, STANLEY Security
Winner of an Amazon Show from Altronix
Chris Newhook, American Alarm
Winner of a Monitoring Center Operator Online Level 2 Training Program from TMA
Congratulations Peggy and Chris!
Day 2 Highlights
Top reason for attrition in 2019 – Customer moves
Our first session of the day delivered top highlights from TRG Associates’ Annual Attrition Study.
An annual favorite among Annual Meeting attendees, TRG Associates’ President John Brady did not disappoint!
While there are many ways to measure attrition according to Brady, TRG Associates has undertaken this study using the same, consistent methodology for 19 years. Brady commented, “This report is a management tool for companies to understand the loss of customers.”
With this information, security executives can effectively focus on weaknesses and realign their business goals, with a focus on the sales side of the operation.
John E. Mack, III, Imperial Capital, LLC, facilitated today’s fascinating second session on the current state of Finance and M&As. Joined by colleagues with expertise in financial consulting, private equity, legal aspects of M&As, and industry banking, attendees walked away with valuable new insights into business valuation and the impact of COVID-19 on industry investments and lending. Bottom line, according to the panel, there are significant opportunities for growth in the security monitoring industry.
Working from home – Here to stay?
For our final educational session of the day, TMA President Don Young facilitated an interactive panel discussion with monitoring center executives and UL’s Steve Schmit, who has led the development of UL’s Virtual Work From Home Standard. Young posed a series of questions to the panel participants around their company’s response to COVID-19 and how they imagine the future.
The open discussion revealed the executives’ first and foremost consideration in any decision was the safety and wellbeing of their staff and customers. All companies represented on the panel reported having a portion of their monitoring and/or their non-essential employees working off-site and felt that this will continue for the foreseeable future.
From the smallest monitoring company to the largest, panelists recognized at least one significant positive they’d come to appreciate as a result of the changes to their business since the onset of COVID-19 – new and heightened levels of efficiencies.
Poolside with the Presidents, A virtual social hour
Attendees joined current TMA President Don Young and former presidents, Ivan Spector, Pam Petrow, Ed Bonifas, and Jay Hauhn, for an informal Q&A “by the pool.” TMA Executive Director Celia T. Besore facilitated the session. Attendees were asked to set their Zoom background with a favorite pool image and bring their favorite beverage. Lots of fun was had by all!
And today’s lucky winner is:
Cindy Smith, Universal Monitoring
Winner of an Amazon Show from Altronix
Day 3 Highlights
When it comes to cyber-attacks, it’s no longer “if”; it’s when
Our cyber panel of experts definitely got the hearts and minds of attendees racing with the news that it isn’t “if” your company is attacked; it’s when. The incidents of ransomware has more than doubled in the period between the end of 2019 and Q3 2020. According to the panel’s moderator, Sacha Kylau, Director Business Development, OnTel, “It is getting worse and worse. Plan for the day you will be hit.” Plans should include a business continuity plan and a disaster plan. The panel stated that company and customer data must be protected, but emphasized that it is impossible to 100% secure data. The panel advised attendees to implement a multi-layered approach. Staff training in accordance with the plans is imperative. Be proactive. It is too late when something happens.
Start small, diversify offerings, and stay-in-touch – secret to new business grow
According to our Session 7 panelist Ric Gibbey, President, 10x Smart Home, “We are selling consumers a lifestyle.” His co-presenter Jake Voll, President, SS&Si Dealer Network, agreed, adding, “Consumer preferences are driving our industry.” It seems the secret to growth today is to start small, perhaps even with a DIY system or hybrid. In their mutual experience, once a customer has a taste of the features and functionality of the smart home devices, they typically want more! “99% of my customers get a video offering of some sort,” observed Gibbey. Thermal scanners and air purification systems are now popular new add-ons. A successful strategy for growing individual accounts is to stay-in-touch with your customers. Reach out to check on the family and the performance of their system – no hard sell.
Social Media, Digital ads – How to best reach home shoppers
Centerfield Chief Marketing Officer & Managing Director John Busby shared some of the latest and most interesting stats and trends in home shopping with our attendees. He shared that 91% of smartphone users use their mobile device to complete tasks throughout their day. In line with this, 82% of smartphone uses have shown that their mobile device is used to research purchases. A Facebook ad on a mobile device have a click-through-rate (CTR) of 187% over those that are shown on a desktop. One, final stat for you – 80 million households are forecasted to purchase smart home products in 2021. Is your business ready?
Vision and courage critical for leaders in a time of crisis
Our closing speaker, Sue Swenson, Non-Executive Chairman, Vislink Technologies, Inc., challenged attendees to rethink the way they lead in a time of crisis. She called on attendees to first communicate a vision of the future inclusive of clear timelines and owners. Employees need to know what changes are planned, why, and how they will be implemented. A comprehensive communications plan in the center of all turnaround situations. “It is difficult to hold people to high standards, especially in a crisis,” she remarked, adding, “But, if you don’t, you will fail.” In her closing, Swenson advised that it takes courage and the ability to stay the course. “You need resilience to stand up to the nay-sayers.”
Final Contest Winners
$100 Gift Card – Crystal Madison, United Monitoring
$50 Gift Card – Peggy Page – Stanley
$25 – Chris Newhook – American Alarm
Leader Board Contest:
$100 Gift Card – Chris Newhook, American Alarm
$50 Gift Card – Sascha Kylau, OneTel
$25 – Marjorie Fitton, Dice
Photo Contest: $25 Gift Card – Chuck Collins, Centralarm Monitoring
Caption Contest: $25 Gift Card – Margret Sloma, UL
When your company joins TMA, you become part of the association that promotes and defends the interests of the monitoring industry, through its work in government relations, regulatory advocacy, and standards development.