New UL2050 trend offers opportunity for more RMR?

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

THE INTERNET—One of the most discussed UL listings lately is UL 2050, otherwise known as the National Industrial Security Systems standard, which establishes that integrators and central stations are qualified to install and monitor security systems in federal government facilities.

What does the listing mean or not mean? What can it do for your business? What do you need to do to capitalize on the opportunities it opens up?

To answer many of these questions, CSAA held another free educational webinar on July 21. Moderated by CSAA's VP of marketing and programs Celia Besore and presented by UL section manager, Alarm Certificate Services Pete Tallman, the hour-plus-long webinar addressed this burgeoning trend, highlighted new RMR opportunities, and answered questions from the 100+-person audience.

In discussing whether or not UL2050 was a right fit for attendees, Tallman made several compelling points. "Could this listing be right for you? You have to weigh out the value. The way the category is structured, it allows a small independent company with a small population of employees and a small service territory to compete equally with a large or nationally based company," Tallman said. "Another point is that each room or area is going to receive its own alarm system because each area holds different materials for a different project or program, so they're all independent systems. This introduces additional recurring revenue streams in each of these areas."

Tallman said interest in UL2050 had been on the rise. "This segment of the security industry offers many opportunities for service providers that are interested in developing it," Tallman said. "As for monitoring companies expressing an interest in the national industrial monitoring station category, we are receiving a steady flow of inquires."

Tallman, who was one of the principal engineers who worked on the creation of UL2050, covered the genesis of the two categories, National Industrial Security Systems (CRZH) and National Industrial Monitoring Station (CRZM), that fall under UL2050 listing. CRZH is for the service company, dealer or installer, and CRZM is for the central station. More information on UL2050 and the four government manuals dictating security requirements, as well as information on finding the government contractor opportunities can be found at UL's site, CSAA's site, the ASIS site, and the National Classification Management Society site.

Tallman said the cost to apply for UL2050 was around $3,500 and the timetable was largely dependent on the applying company's ability to meet the requirements of listing.

Jim Essam, president of Beaverton, Ore.-based Alarm Central Station, had been thinking about UL2050 for a while when he decided to attend and learn what he could. "It's something I've looked at and had some discussions about earlier. And it's something I had some misconceptions about," Essam said. "I started off in the military as a military police officer … The facilities I worked in were facilities that dealt with the kind of thing UL2050 deals with. Unlike many military police officers, I was also working in the realm of intelligence, so this is just bringing things home to me."

Dallas-based Monitronics has also been looking into UL2050 listing. "My team and I felt the training was very insightful. It gave us a good understanding of what is needed to obtain the endorsements to our UL certification," said Monitronics central station director Mary Jensby. "Every six months the FBI does a criminal history background check on my employees and myself for us to handle government accounts in our central station … I am getting the information together to proceed to obtain [UL2050 listing]."

"There's a lot of opportunity here for members of our industry, and we wanted our members to be aware and know about this," Besore said. "We had great feedback." Slides from the presentation are available for download at CSAA's website.