Signal pathway key challenge for new CSAA leader

Bob Bean takes on ASAP, proposed auction of radio frequencies
 - 
Wednesday, December 7, 2011

VIENNA, Va.—Bob Bean, the new president of the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), learned the value of effective communication early in his career. Currently vice chairman and director of Honolulu-based Alert Holdings Group, he took a simple and direct approach to taking ownership of the company nearly 30 years ago: a lunchtime conversation and a handshake.

“I joined the alarm security industry in 1975, serving as the sales manager for a local alarm company,” he told Security Systems News. “During that time I met the owner of Alert Alarm, Don Damon. He pressed me to work for him, wanting me to become CEO of Alert.”

Bean had another idea.

“We would meet for lunch from time to time, and during one of those lunches I said, ‘Why don’t I buy Alert from you?’ At that lunch we worked out the simple details, wrote them on a placemat, shook hands and I became the owner of Alert Alarm. That was in 1982. We formalized the deal several years later.”

Bean, who was named the 31st president of the CSAA at its annual meeting in October, now sees communication–or more accurately, communications–as the major issue facing the organization as it moves into the world of ASAP (Automated Secure Alarm Protocol) and other technical and educational challenges.

“How will we communicate alarm signals in the future?” he said. “We know that POTS is going away, and the Internet, although good, is far from the most reliable option. What about radio? The current Congress and the FCC are talking about auctioning off radio frequencies (that) include some used in our industry. This is probably the most important concern for our association today.”

As CSAA president, Bean said he will continue to play a supporting role for two panels that are taking the lead on these challenges: the Alarm Industry Communications Committee, which works to stay current with Congress, the Federal Communications Commission and other agencies; and the ASAP committee, which is spearheading the program to speed dispatches to PSAPs by transmitting alarm information by computer instead of by phone.

“The ASAP program is truly the future of communications between the central stations and their 911 center,” he said. “ASAP virtually eliminates the normal conversation (between the parties) by using electronically transmitted data so that alarm information is error-free. This will greatly improve relationships between 911 centers and police, because among other things it will reduce false dispatches.”

Bean brings a wealth of CSAA experience to his new position. He joined the group in 1988 and has been a member of the Executive Committee for 14 years and chairman of the Membership Committee for eight years. He has also served as first vice president, second vice president and secretary.

As first vice president, Bean worked closely with Ed Bonifas, immediate past president, during his two-year term. Bonifas said the mission of the CSAA will be “in great hands” with Bean at the helm.

“He’s active, he’s engaged, and he deserves all of our respect and our support,” Bonifas said. “And I just know he’s going to get it.”