First Alarm adds leading edge technology to its service line-up

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Saturday, April 1, 2006

APTOS, Calif.--Later this year, First Alarm, a full-service alarm company with a northern California reach, will join the Central Station Alarm Association, adopt Enhanced Call Verification and weave technology and protocol into its proprietary central.
The idea of adding ECV sprung from subscribers who live in non-response locations. "One of our monitoring areas is Fremont, Calif., which is non-response. That was a wake-up call for us," central station manager Jeffrey Samuels said. "It is not just in Las Vegas; non-response is happening in our own backyard."
With non-response ordinances popping up, the company hopes it will curb the issue, "so our customers are not forced to go with a more expensive solution," Samuels said.
Samuels added the company would offer its high-risk establishments, such as financial institutions, the opportunity to not participate in this service.
While the company focuses on CCTV applications for the large part of its account base, which is 70 percent commercial and 30 percent residential, the company said remote video monitoring requests are gaining speed.
Earlier this year, the company converted to MASterMind Business software, and within a few months it will be incorporating the automation company's monitoring software. The upgrade answers the needs of First Alarm customers.
"In the old days, getting a phone call was sufficient, now customers are expecting real-time notification," he said.
Being in the life-safety business, First Alarm seeks ways to improve the flow of service.
It deployed an updated recording system called VoicePrint throughout the central station to maintain quality assurance and when appropriate the service can be sent to subscribers to resolve concerns, and to law-enforcement agencies to aid investigations and prosecution.
"Calls can be reviewed at the desktop level and .wav files can then be sent by email," Samuels said.
The company recently brought online a language-translation service to assist dispatch operators when communicating with non-English speaking callers.
"We were having requests and inquiries from customers on whether or not we could handle it," he said. Although the requests have been infrequent, noted Samuels, by having the service available, the company will be able to satisfy this market.
Along with the monitoring facility, First Alarm has a uniformed security guard and patrol services arm and installation technicians. It monitors 95-percent of its own accounts and monitors a small portion of third-party accounts.