High Tech learning a focus at CSAA event

Saturday, July 1, 2006

SAVANNAH, Ga.--At the 2006 Central Station Alarm Association Electronic Security Forum & Exposition Program held here in May, more than 300 attendees, including central station owners, managers, staff, manufacturers and consultants, networked with peers and attended technical product presentations and continuing education classes, which examined video verification, techniques and access control, for example.
The program was spilt into three tracks: operations management, sales and technical training, the three major functions of a central station, regardless of size and reach.
Although participants represented boutique to large proprietary centrals, a common sentiment was shared: a desire to learn the latest technology for the monitoring market and bring what was learned back to the central station to implement.
One heated topic at the show was video monitoring. Don Childers, director of technical training at Security Central, in Statesville, N.C., presented "Video Verification in the Central Station: Implementation and Practices," a presentation discussing this area. As Childers presented the information, many questions arose.
The market is growing into video, said E.J. Rodrigues, manager of corporate services at Monitronics. "The hard part is getting alarm dealers that will invest in it." Rodrigues added, "Standards haven't been set ... not every software out there is going to make the video work."
These challenges of video monitoring can be cumbersome. Childers agreed there are "so many variables." However, he said, "If we have dialogue maybe we will get some solutions."
At the continuing education classes, participants saw a handful of technologies and services that are pushing into the market. For some, the classes helped to map out plans to offer and implement services such as PERS or GPS monitoring for dealers. For others, the classes affirm these technologies must occur in order to be in line with the direction in which the industry is going.
United Monitoring Services' Brad Glore, director of sales and operations, said, "Everyone seemed to be interested in video verification. I heard some smart and creative ways to use the technology and I'm sure we will be hearing of many more."
Security Industry Alarm Coalition executive director Stan Martin's "Who Will Respond?" course examined the importance of educating all parties on ways to work through reducing false dispatches.
"We see the same questions being asked 30 years ago. We want to share information with dealers, police departments and end users," Martin said.
Lou Fiore, president of L.T. Fiore and a consultant for the industry, moderated "Alternate Communications Paths: IP, Radio, GSM."
"We had every seat occupied and folks standing in the back," Fiore said after the presentation. The hour and a half time slot was not enough he said. Fiore suggested one course just on IP alone. He said some attendees came to him and said, "'I wish we heard more about IP and less about radio.' So I think in the future that will be added." Overall, "the content was terrific and well attended," he said.