American Alarm sings new tune

Headquarters moves from police building to former car dealership
Friday, July 1, 2005

ARLINGTON, Mass.--American Alarm and Communications changed its tune in May from Folsom Prison Blues to Fun, Fun, Fun when the company relocated its corporate headquarters from an old police building to a former car dealership.
Previously based within the same town, the company operated its central station in a former men's cell block. The new facility in the former auto dealership is 32,000 square feet, an increase of 12,000 square feet.
"We wanted to make the central station the show piece of the business," said co-owner and Vice President Wells Sampson. The company does not provide third-party monitoring services and handles approximately 11,000 accounts.
Company executives refer to its central station as the command center because not only alarm signal monitoring takes place there, but also administrative duties such as customer support and service dispatch.
American Alarm started operations in 1971 in Winchester, Mass. Its most recent space served as its headquarters since 1983. The company operates branch offices in Worcester, Mass., and Manchester, N.H., and employs 115.
As the cell block proved small over the years, the new location enables the company to grow as needed. This includes additional headcount and equipment. "We really wanted to expand the central station and to do that we needed to expand into a larger space," Sampson said.
With the new office came an upgrade to its monitoring platform with Dice and plans to undergo a second upgrade next month. The newer version of the software will enable better control of remote video monitoring applications.
As a result, Sampson is considering layering GPS services into the central station. This would assist the company with its installation division, "so we can streamline our service activity," he said.
New hardware included servers, receivers, a phone system and duel video screens integrated into operator workstations.
The new central station is located on the lower level of the space and pre-existing windows provide natural light. American Alarm owns both facilities and currently rents the former to a medical monitoring company.
In addition to the central station operations, American Alarm's headquarters are also home to accounting, support, marketing, technicians and executive personnel.
Sampson declined to disclose how much money the company invested in the location. But he did say planning took approximately 18 months before the move in early May.