Panels migrate toward adopting CP-01 standard

Friday, July 1, 2005

The industry looks to lower false alarms by regulating entry and exit times, and enacting several other measures
The problem with false alarms has resulted in many actions, ranging from communities levying fines against homeowners and monitoring companies to the call for verified response.
On the manufacturing side, the creation of the American National Standards Institue and Security Industry Association CP-01-2000 standard has resulted in alarm control panels with added security features designed to reduce false alarms in residential and commercial properties.
According to a description from Security Industry Alarm Coalition, CP-01 "covers event recognition and information handling sequences, as well as provisions for system layout testing. Addressing both user- and equipment-caused false alarms, it is intended for use or reference by all security industry professionals." The 2000 version strengthened the user interface features to increase prevention from user caused false alarms and includes installer programming options and recommended test procedures.
Brad Shipp, executive director of the False Alarm Reduction Association, said the decision by local communities or even states to make CP-01 mandatory is just now becoming an issue, in part because CP-01 compliant panels haven't been widely available previously.
"What we've been hearing in the past year or so," said Shipp, "is the (supply) problem is resolved. Now, manufacturers have one or more (CP-01) panels available."
Shipp said the CP-01 standard, which he helped to develop, "came about because people weren't aware of options in control panels."
Installers put in panels using the standard programs, rather than adjusting them to increase exit and entry times, he said. Under CP-01, "panels pick the best settings to decrease false alarms."
Before, said Shipp, "entry and exit delays were beat-the-clock exercises for the user. CP-01 has brought some rationality to it."
Manufacturers of panels concurred with Shipp's assessment that more CP-01 compliant control panels are available to installers these days.
"False alarms are still very high in the minds of installing companies and the industry in general," said Al Lizza, director of marketing-residential for Honeywell Security and Custom Electronics.
"We support the CP-01 initiative. We have a line of CP-01 compliant products and always will," he said.
Where the "jury is still out," added Lizza, is among the installer community. He said there is some uncertainty about how installers are accepting the panels, which he said, "lose some of the configurability they are interested in."
Industry pressure, rather than end-user demand, is what is driving the move toward adoption of the CP-01 standard for control panels, said Jay McLennan, president of HAI.
He said a firmware change can bring HAI's panels into compliance.
"It's an example of the industry addressing the false alarm issue," he said.
The security industry driving the issue and educating end users will likely increase the call for CP-01 panels, said Richard Perry, president and chief executive officer of Security Networks.
Currently, he said, "it hasn't come to my attention as an issue. Perhaps when it comes to the city or town level and it becomes a mandate" there will be more focus.
Rodney Brown, product manager at Digital Monitoring Products, said DMP is currently in the process of switching over its panels to comply with the CP-01 standard.
Brown said while manufacturers at this point aren't required to convert panels, "to sell in communities that have added it (to their ordinances), we need to do it."
He said all of DMP's burglary panels in current production will meet the CP-01 standard, with some of them now awaiting UL approval.
Before implementing the change in its XR500 product, Brown said he searched online to see what code changes were taking place to require CP-01 panels. While the mandate isn't widespread, Brown said he did see requirements or proposals popping up in communities in the Southwest and California.
Texas is the first state to consider mandating CP-01 panels. According to a Texas House bill, the use of CP-01 compliant panels would need to become the norm beginning in January 2007 (See Security Systems News, June 2005).
Bosch Security Systems Product Marketing Manager Tom Mechler said he has also seen activity and discussion on CP-01, "but we're not seeing enforcement."
He said the industry is watching to see if communities adopt CP-01 as part of their alarm ordinance.
Within Bosch, Mechler said all newly developed panels will meet the CP-01 standard. "CP-01 is table stakes for all projects going forward," he said.
The company already has a CP-01 compliant panel and is about to introduce a new residential panel that meets the CP-01 requirements.
Replacement, rather than retrofit, is most likely to happen when adopting the CP-01 standard, said Mechler. "It probably doesn't make sense to retrofit. There are a lot of little things that make it CP-01 compliant, so the end user really can't get a retrofit."
If someone wanted to update their current system, he said, it would just require replacing the head-end panel and keypads. In the case of frequent false alarms, noted Mechler, this kind of upgrade may make sense.
At Bonds Alarm in Phoenix, President and Chief Executive Officer G. Thomas Eggebrecht said his company is putting CP-01 panels in all new installations.
In addition, he said, "where we have big abusers of false alarms we are putting in the new equipment."
That may mean, said Eggebrecht, that his company is footing the bill for the new panels. "We've spent thousands of dollars to fix the (false alarm) problem," he said. In more than half the cases, he noted, the consumer understands the impact of chronic false alarms and will pay for the upgrade. "But if they don't pay, we will," he said.
The biggest false alarm abusers among Eggebrecht's clientele are commercial companies, he said, describing them as "the large manufacturing-type operations with people coming and going."
Although he doesn't track the outcome specifically, Eggebrecht said in general "where we put it (a CP-01 compliant panel) in on high offenders, it gets rid of the (false alarm) issue."