What's the 411 tweeting in from Athens?
ATHENS, Greece--So I was checking out my Twitter feeds from the CSAA Annual Meeting in Athens, Greece today, and there appears to be some pretty heavy stuff going on. And while it's true I'm definitely NOT in Athens, Greece right now (we had our first snowfall over the weekend in New England, which may or may not have helped the Pats trounce Tennessee...), through the magic of social networking, it's almost like I'm actually there covering the meeting. Vector Security's Pam Petrow's (Twitter handle PamPetrow) phone keyboard has been on fire during the sessions with topical (and perhaps tropical, given the meeting's location--according to the member survey at this year's meeting, next year's should be held in the Caribbean...) tweets on issues such as the new FTC Red Flag Rules, which will go into effect Nov. 1. The FTC Red Flag Rules apply to financial institutions and creditors and are intended to help protect consumers by fighting identity theft. At first, I was confused how this applied to the security industry, but then I saw a tweet from Pam that put it in perspective.
alarm ind.qualifies as creditor under FTC defn. If bill in arrears,extend credit,have mtple pymts you must complyMakes sense that the industry could qualify as a creditor if it regularly extends credit, through payment plans, to past due accounts. CSAA has been letting us know about these impending rules since last year. Another tweet--this one from CSAA VP of marketing and programs Celia Besore's Twitter handle CSAAIntl--let me know that ETL had, indeed, become the the next nationally recognized testing laboratory, allowing the industry more choice in whom they go to for their testing lab listing or approval. My colleague Martha Entwistle wrote about ETL's rise here. UL and FM were the two NRTLs approved by CSAA. ETL has been covered by SSN before, and the CSAA member vote to change the by-laws and allow companies listed by any CSAA-approved NRTL other than UL and FM to join association was expected. Pam also let us know Honeywell Security and Communications president Ron Rothman was approved to the CSAA Board to represent associate members. Martha also interviewed Ron back at ISC West. A kind of big issue facing the security industry today is the life expectancy of POTS (or Plain Old Telephone Service) lines, and the increasing need for solutions to have multiple pathways of communication between the panel and the central station. An announcement from Verizon--AICC-10 yr life projected on POTS by Verizon (as tweeted by Pam)--should raise even more concern from the industry. The AICC is a pan-association group, made up of the three main associations in the industry: the Security Industry Association, the Electronic Security Association (formerly the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association) and the Central Station Alarm Association. An SSN Market Trends piece from 2008 addressed the need get off of POTS post-haste. I'm actually working on a story right now about a partnership between NationWide Digital Monitoring and Visonic that will help dealers future proof their solutions with multiple pathways of communication. NWD EVP and chief technology officer Mark Fischer, in an interview with me the other morning, said the time to expand beyond POTS was now. "Right now, what's happening in the world is there's a move away from having POTS phone lines," Fischer said. "What you see is--especially with people 30 and under now--you go to houses and people don't have standard phone lines, period. If they even have phone lines--they're just cell only ... By allowing multiple paths you have a higher degree of security." It's all about more security.