Diebold implements ECV at central

Friday, April 1, 2005

NORTH CANTON, Ohio - In an effort to reduce false alarms, Diebold implemented enhanced call verification for burglar alarms at its event-monitoring center on the first of the year.

Enhanced call verification is a system that monitoring centers deploy when an alarm signal arrives at the station. Rather than notifying the police once a burglar alarm is tripped, the central station tries to confirm the need for emergency services by placing a call to the customer and related contacts.

“It’s a benefit and our customers don’t want to get hit with fines,” according to Steven Ipson, business development manager at Diebold’s monitoring center, on why the company changed its policy.

Last year, the Security Industry Alarm Coalition proposed such a standard to the Central Station Alarm Association and the CSAA announced its intention to receive American National Standards Institute support. If approved, the standard would modify Underwriters Laboratories’ UL-827 standard, which requires alarm verification calls to last no more than one minute.

Some of the advantages of verification, according to Ipson, are that it reduces calls out to emergency agencies and helps prevent authorities from moving to non-response policies.

“It’s outstanding that a company like Diebold has chosen to implement this standard,” said Stan Martin, executive director of the Security Industry Alarm Coalition. “Anything we can do to get dispatches reduced is tremendous.”

SIAC’s charter is to educate police, dealers and end users on how to reduce dispatches.

False alarms have plagued the security industry for years. The national trend finds almost all false dispatches to be a result of user error and not a malfunctioning system. Police departments, who have been faced with the rising costs to react to these calls, have in recent times announced non-response policies.

On March 20, Fremont, Calif., became the first city within California to enforce such a policy. And a second city in the state, Simi Valley, is now discussing non-response as well, according to Martin.

By shifting to enhanced call verification Diebold looks to reduce the number of false dispatches, strengthen its relationship with local police departments and prevent drastic measures mentioned above.

There are a number of ways to verify if a response is present. For one, the central station retains a list of contacts for a business. When an alarm goes off, an operator will call a limited amount of people on the list until the alarm can be verified or not.

Another method is through the use of technology. If video cameras or a two-way voice system is present at the location, an operator can either view or listen to determine if an emergency actually exists.

Diebold primarily monitors financial institutions in addition to retail and commercial locations for its own subscribers and third-party vendors. It handles more than 30,000 accounts, of which 10 percent feature two-way voice or video systems.

Ipson stressed that the company is only shifting to enhanced call procedures for burglar alarms, not panic alarms.

“Fire is priority number one. You call the fire department right away” when such a call arrives, he said.