MONI prepared for Fourth of July spike

Company director of monitoring discusses how MONI predicts and accommodates for increased alarm traffic
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Friday, July 7, 2017

DALLAS—Ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, MONI’s director of monitoring Grant Graham and his team had an idea of what to expect: increased alarm traffic.

“We have enough historical data at this point to be able to somewhat predict an increase in alarm traffic for the different holidays,” Graham told Security Systems News. “Specifically talking about the Fourth of July, just based on the past two years, we know that we are going to see roughly a 9 percent increase on burglary alarm activity and roughly a 30 percent increase in fire alarm activity.”

Graham added: “That’s typically related to consumer behavior.” The burglar alarm activity is driven up by more traffic through the home. While some of the increased fire alarm activity could be related to fireworks, the company’s experience points more toward cooking, either in- or outside the house, he noted.

“We can really narrow down—even further­—when this type of activity is going to hit us,” Graham said; the company sees an increase in alarms in the afternoon when people typically start barbecuing and again in the evening around firework shows.

“What this really allows us to do is just increase our staffing. Responding to alarms and meeting the customer expectation in terms of response time, it’s really, almost always, a resource game,” said Graham.

“What we will do is actually make sure that we’ve got an adequate number of operators on the alarm room floor, staffed, ready to handle the alarm traffic,” Graham said. When MONI expects an alarm traffic increase, it adds between two and seven additional operators; it staffed between six and seven operators for this year’s July 4.

“That doesn’t mean we have to staff six to seven operators for an eight-hour shift,” Graham said, as the company has extra operators for one or two hours. Instead, MONI targets the expected peaks in alarm traffic, and has operators “stay for a couple hours extra overtime, maybe people come in a little early for a shift,” he said.

Graham said that all holidays come with unusual alarm traffic compared to normal weekdays or weekends. “We’ll use analytics to try to predict when and where we can expect that activity, and staff accordingly,” he said.

MONI looks at the last two years of alarm traffic to identify trends, Graham said.

Another consideration around a holiday is anticipating employee shrinkage—employees wanting to take the day off.

MONI also focuses on being a good employer around holidays, Graham said. “We do festivities the day of, and so we’re increasing our staffing to allow a proper balance between the alarm traffic that is expected as well as being a good employer and making sure that the employees are appreciated for being there the day of [a holiday].”

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