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by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, March 3, 2011

I got an email from Andy Stadler over at Security Partners yesterday. He wanted to pass on a link to a video he'd made explaining video monitoring and the video services Security Partners offers. I welcome such videos from my readers. I'd love to get a look and write about what you're doing.

I hadn't talked with Andy for a while--not since I wrote about Security Partners launching their annual Video Monitoring Symposium Network convention.

Looks like video’s something they’re really getting into these days.

“As a boutique wholesale central station with under 50k accounts we needed to differentiate ourselves from our competition so we bought Immix in 2008 and decided to get ahead of the curve if we could,” Andy told me. “We partnered up with a dealer in the Midwest who was had a vertical for video monitoring to replace on-site guards and we have been cutting our teeth together in this complex process for the last two years.”

I asked Andy if they’d started to specialize their operators out into intrusion-specific and video-specific pods such as has been done at other monitoring centers, and he said that may be on the way.

“At this time we have our video and traditional alarms co-mingled within our staff, but typically a supervisor handles the video alarms since it requires a higher skill set,” Andy said. “Our goal is to eventually create an entirely separate video division when the demand gets to a certain point.”

Video’s pretty cool.

I’ve talked a lot with security industry folks who do high-end video for business clients, folks who do a lot of municipal monitoring and folks who like having video in the home.

All of them agree, video is becoming more and more ubiquitous as technology improves and prices come down.

Thanks for the video, Andy.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Come on, you know you're gonna find yourself uttering that phrase to yourself at least a couple times in Vegas next month. I know I will... But then I'm saying that pretty much every day by 2 o'clock like a mantra anyway. So maybe it's just me.

Regardless, I was happy to get a press release from San Antonio-based United Central Control today. Looks like they're going to have licensed massage therapists on-... uh... hand (no pun intended) at ISC West in their hospitality booth to provide free back and attitude adjustments to ease your marching up and down the nearly sold-out aisles of the Sands Convention Center! That's awesome! I'm definitely going to stop by and take a load off...

I'm hopeful about the Yoo-Hoo, as well...

I've written about UCC before. Specifically, I've covered Tracey Ritchie when she was in our annual 20 Under 40 list and again when she was promotoed to UCC's new GM at ESX last summer.

Here's the release from UCC:

UCC Offers Free Hospitality Suite at ISC West

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (February 14, 2011) – ISC West attendees can take a break, relax, and maybe even win an iPod Touch at United Central Control’s (UCC) “Relaxation Booth”.  The room will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 and Thursday, April 7, in the Galileo Ballroom 902, between the Sands Convention Center and Venetian Hotel. 

“If folks just want to get off their feet and wind down for a few minutes, or learn more about UCC and out team members, they’re welcome to stop by.  No RSVP is required to come by the suite.  In addition to refreshments, we’ll have certified massage therapists on site to work out the travel kinks,” said UCC Senior Vice President Mark Matlock.  “We’ll also have a drawing for an iPod Touch.”

Similarly, Wednesday evening, April 6, Team UCC is inviting ISC West attendees to join them at its Eighth Annual ISCParty.  It is scheduled for the DEF room at the Treasure Island Hotel on the second floor convention level, from 7:30-10:30 p.m.

“We’ll have a magician and a pianist for entertainment as well as a “surprise celebrity impersonator”.  Again, anyone is welcome, but we do want folks to RSVP for the party beforehand,” Matlock said.

RSVP to either Kathryn Schultz at kschultz@teamucc.com, (866) 907-4712 or at the UCC Web site www.teamucc.com. “We are also looking into hiring a Frank Sinatra impersonator but we haven’t nailed that detail down just yet,” Matlock added.

Sounds like a pretty good deal! See you in the massage/Yoo-Hoo tent! Stop by and see us. We'll grab a Yoo-Hoo.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, February 24, 2011

I was reading through my Google Alerts today and found a story from al.com on Ion 247 deploying the building-wide access control system SafeRise from Israeli security company FST21 at a senior housing facility. I wrote about FST21 a while back when they first came to the U.S. and their technology seemed, admitedly, a bit sci-fi...

Security Industry luminary and former Mace Security Services Division president Peter Giacalone said it best: 

"It’s rare when you come across technology that you get excited about—I mean there’s a lot of cool stuff out there, but it’s all just better versions of what you’ve seen before—this is almost like Star Wars,” Peter told me in late 2009.

Think of that scene in "Minority Report" after Tom Cruise gets his eye transplants... He's trying to make a slick, quick and sly getaway and ducks into a GAP to escape his pursuers... Unfortunately, biometrics are in wide use and the store recognizes him--or at least the eyes he's currently got jacked into his skull--and addresses him as the former owner of the ocular orbs... Yuck factor aside, that's pretty cool.

And becoming more and more real every day so it would seem.

My former editor Sam also wrote about them when Kent security took on the rather large and involved solution and began deploying it.

From the al.com story in which Ion 247 president Ed Welden is interviewed:

 

Because Ion 247 is the first to deploy the system in the region, Welden said he thinks Birmingham is in a good position as its use grows. He said his firm is preparing to install the SafeRise system at facilities in Mobile, St. Petersburg and Houston.

"We want Birmingham to be the hub of the new technology," Welden said.

Welden said his firm tested the system in its offices for three months before marketing SafeRise to others and installing it at Faush Metropolitan Manor.

 

Basically what the solution does is mesh different technologies inlcuding facial recognition, voice recognition and behavior pattern recognition (as well as more traditional if less cool and sci-fi technologies like smartcards) to make the individual desiring entry the actual key.

The execs at FST21 feel pretty strongly that this is what the future of access control looks like.

Again from the al.com story:

"We have to find a new intelligent, convenient way to access buildings," Farkash said in a video teleconference interview from Israel. "The fusion of technologies gives you very close to 99 percent positive identification."

Farkash knows a bit about security. He retired as a major general after spending 40 years in the Israeli military, including time spent leading the Directorate of Military Intelligence. Farkash will be in Birmingham on Feb. 23 for a 9:30 a.m. demonstration of SafeRise at Faush Metropolitan Manor.

"When we put all three technologies together, we turn your body into a key to access buildings," Farkash said. "It's very, very difficult to imitate this key."

While the systems can cost up to $60,000, they represent the kind of security technology that many observers have predicted would become a reality someday.

"We believe this is the way people will access their buildings in the 21st Century," Farkash said, noting that the technology is still in its infancy, much like cell phones were once large, clunky devices that were limited in what they could do.

A recent report, "CCTV Based Remote Biometric & Behavioral Suspect Detection: Technologies & Global Markets – 2011-2016," from the Homeland Security Research Corporation also forecasts significant growth in this new market of converged biometrics for access control. Keep your eyes on this emerging tech... unless you agree with Wired and feel biometrics' only use is as a cool way to lock your iPad...

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, February 17, 2011

From the first story I wrote about Article 6-E, the proposed central station licensing legislation being kicked around over in New York, through the blog posts and follow up stories and videos, I've come across A LOT of printed material. From the proposed bill itself, to pro- explanations thereof and con- dissections as well.

The most recent story on Article 6-E, which includes industry impressions of the Feb. 10 meeting, is on our site now, as well.

In talking with a few other security industry executives, I decided it would be a good idea to start putting all of these letters and emails to which I've been privy up online in one place where everyone could get a look.

A few words on permissions to reprint: If the letter/email appears here it was posted online for general consumption, or I have either asked for and received permission from the organization of origin to post it or it was sent directly to me by the organization of origin.

I do not claim to have ALL the letters that were sent to the NYBFAA prior to their Feb. 10 meeting (I sure would like that...), but have included the ones I've managed to come across. I would ask that if you don't see your letter here and you want it posted for the industry to read, PLEASE SEND ME A PDF AND I'LL ADD IT TO THE DIRECTORY.

I have not included a lot of material that has appeared either on ACCENT or in Ken Kirschenbaum's newsletter. If you contributed something to those sources and would like it included here, please turn it into a .pdf and send it to me and I'll do my best to keep this index current.

Please feel free to add your comments on this posting or on Article 6-E in general. I welcome all viewpoints and opinions.

Enjoy.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I picked up a tweet today from ADS Security.

It said "ADS Corporate, Central Station & Nashville Sales went head-to-head in a @Soles4Souls shoe drive. Who secured the win?" Of course, I was intrigued and had to click.

I've been spotlighting security companies that do cool charity type stuff for a while. I've certainly covered ADS' efforts before.

And since they mentioned the central station throwing down against the other divisions, I had to check it out.

It appears that the central station, ADS Security corporate, and the Nashville sales office all formed teams and brought in as many shoes as possible for needy families. From ADS' Facebook page:

ADS kicked off the work week by counting the number of shoes that had been collected for a recent Soles 4 Souls shoe drive. Corporate, Central Station and Nashville Sales competed head-to-head for the title of “most shoes collected” and Central Station was a `shoe-in' with a total of 114 pairs. Combined, the groups were able to proudly donate 267 pairs of shoes! Congrats and thank you to everyone that participated.

Here's a pic from ADS' Facebook page that lists the final score of the ADS Shoe Drive Showdown:

267 pairs of shoes for the needy is pretty awesome. But what's awesomer (yes, that IS a word) is that the Team Central Station picked up 114 pairs! GO Central Station! Go Monitoring!! I love my beat.

You can follow ADS on Twitter and me on Twitter if you want to hear more.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, February 10, 2011

So the NYBFAA's board of directors meeting is going on right now at ADI's Albany headquarters. Last time I spoke with NYBFAA executive director Dale Eller he told me that just prior to the Feb. 3 deadline for submission of written comments on Article 6-E there were 20 RSVPs to attend the meeting and open discussion forum. He also said just prior to the Feb. 3 deadline for written submissions there were a dozen concerned security industry members who had voiced their opinion in writing.

This promises to be a busy, boisterous and vocal day over in Albany!

I first wrote about this proposed legislation last year when USA Central Station's Bart Didden began making noise about it on the CSAA-administered ACCENT Listserv. I've since written a follow up story and done a bit of blogging about the issue and discussed it at ssnTVnews as well.

Regardless of how you feel about Bart or his stance, he sure did get the ball rolling.

One security industry exec to whom I spoke, and who requested anonymity, told me that in his 30 years in the industry he had never seen a bigger story than that into which Article 6-E was turning.

I spoke with early critics like John Doyle and with CSAA president Ed Bonifas, who at first said he felt CSAA had to remain neutral until a consensus was reached. It appears that consensus has occured.

I got a letter from Ed to NYBFAA president Joe Hayes on Feb. 8 in which Ed steps away from the middle and places CSAA's stance clearly in the anti 6-E camp.

Dear Joe:

As you know, the issue of the proposed NYBFAA Licensing legislation, known as '6-E,' has been discussed within the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) membership for the past several weeks. It is our understanding that the proposed legislation would require the licensing of central stations and operators within and outside of New York State.

The New York State licensing issue was discussed at length during our recent Long Range Planning meeting. After hearing both sides of the issue, a majority of those participating indicated that they are opposed to any further licensing that may add burdensome costs and add little to public benefit.

The issue was then referred to the CSAA Board of Directors, who voted nearly unanimously not to support the proposed legislation in its current form.

The view of most CSAA members with whom we have discussed this issue is that while licensing reciprocity is something we would all like to see, addressing it on a state-by-state basis would only create more impediments, costs and regulatory requirements than are necessary. CSAA believes that this issue should be addressed instead at the federal level.

We hope that you will express our opposition to this proposed legislation to your members. You have received numerous individual letters from our membership and others to the same effect. Our official position on this matter represents the will not only of our board and members, but also numerous non-members in the central station industry who have communicated their concerns to us about the proposed New York State licensing legislation.

Sincerely,

Ed Bonifas, CSAA president

Really, Ed isn't saying much of anything new. He said, when I spoke with him that he felt the issue should be tackled on a national level rather than a state-by-state approach, but then said CSAA was neurtal... Really, saying that state-by-state is the wrong way to go, is anti-Article 6-E.

I also picked up some chatter about 6-E over at Ken Kirschenbaum's newsletter. Mike from CSS asked Joe Hayes through the newsletter "I have read the proposed law (several times).  Can you tell me who decided to bring this issue to Ex, Senator Foleys Office? Who were the main players in writing this proposal?" To Mike, I can tell you that I found after speaking with both the Article 6-E Review Committee and the ex-senator's office a discrepancy about where the proposed legislation came from. Each party said the other originated the proposed legislation. You can read about that in the first story I wrote on 6-E, as well as in its follow up.

Also via Ken's newsletter, Danny Dunson from Direct Alarm in Griffin, Ga. gives a few very good reasons why the legislation is unneeded.

Dear Mr. Hayes and board members,

I would like to express opposition to the proposed legislation, known as 6E, which would require state licensing of Central Monitoring Stations in New York.   Though Direct Alarm does not do business in the state of New York,  we are against any unwanted legislation that may set a precedent for other states to follow.  While the proposed legislation may have good intentions behind it, the legislation is unnecessary for the good or  betterment of the electronic security industry or its consumers. The following are a couple of reasons that we feel make the legislation unnecessary.

Central Stations are already governed by their clients.

Electronic security companies demand quality from the central station that they use so that their end-users are satisfied with service and response. A few of the things that electronic security companies demand from their central stations are: a UUFX Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) listing, a Factory Mutual (FM) approval, and a CSAA certification.

Government is not competent enough to provide a service to this industry.

Professionals at Underwriter's Laboratories, Factory Mutual, and CSAA have spent decades researching the industry in order to provide ample, precise, and stringent standards and requirements which Central Monitoring Stations use to govern themselves. In no way will the government of the state of New York be able to provide a positive or useful service to the electronic security industry or the central station industry in the face of what is already present and changes daily.

Thank you for considering our firm stance on the proposed legislation 6E. I hope that you will govern yourselves accordingly and do what is best for the industry and its consumers and do away with this proposal and all that bear similarity to it.

Regardless of whether you're pro or con or have no opinion either way, this is looking like a seminal event in the industry, if it can get enough people talking and enough momentum to address the issue on a national level. I'll continue to cover this story as it develops.

I spoke with Doyle Security president John Doyle late yesterday. He was leaving the NYBFAA meeting in Albany. He seemed pleased with how the meeting had gone:

"There was a great turnout at the meeting of members and guests. I was just pleased that they had this meeting. It was well organized and everyone got to say what they wanted to say. I feel like I was listened to and I feel it was a healthy airing of thoughts and opinions."

John also said that CSAA’s message arguing the issue of state licensing/reciprocity should be handled on a national level did get through. Again, I'll have more as it becomes available...

by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, February 9, 2011

ESX on Tuesday, Feb. 8 announced its keynote speaker for ESX 2011. ESX 2010  in Pittsburgh introduced me not only to Verizon sniffing around security (and we all know how that story played out...), but to football great Rocky Bleier, as well. Seriously, I'm not a sports guy, so I'd never heard of him, but I was impressed with his presence, humor and ability to relate his old football yarns to business intelligence.

Perhaps hoping to cash in on that same magic formula from 2010, this year, ESX has announced football coach and NASCAR team owner Joe Gibbs as its keynoter for the show in Charlotte, N.C. from June 6-10.

From the ESX release:

This former NFL football coach and NASCAR Championship team owner, is well known for his work ethic, transforming the average NFC Washington Redskins team into Super Bowl titans and taking drivers Bobby Labonte and Tony Stewart to the finish line with NASCAR Cup Series Championships.

'I think all industries require solid relationships and hard work to thrive. I believe very strongly in these core values and I think many people connect with that message," said Joe Gibbs. "I'm looking forward to sharing my story at ESX.'

This game plan constructing legend will address security integration and monitoring companies as they revitalize their own profitable business plans at the only show organized exclusively for their needs.

It's a neat tactic to take someone who acts kind of as a Rosetta Stone to explain business principals in an atypical yet not uncommon language.

It will be interesting to attend the keynote address and see how it compares to last year.

ESX chair and dedicated security luminary George DeMarco seems excited about the choice of keynoter.

I am thrilled that Joe will be with us, delivering his perspective on the world of football, NASCAR and life outside of sports. He has inspired NFL football teams and NASCAR drivers alike. I believe his leadership skills and unique blend of energy and experience will take this year's keynote address to an entirely new level.

Gibbs’ keynote address luncheon will be held at the Charlotte Convention Center on Wednesday, Jun. 8 at 11:45 a.m.

Don't forget to register for ESX ASAP. It's an important show and I hope to see you there.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Thursday, February 3, 2011

I've been doing a lot of coverage of Article 6-E. I first wrote about it last year, when it starting causing a stir among users of the ACCENT listserv. I followed the initital story up with another story and a blog post and an edition of ssnTVnews.

Last time I wrote about 6-E I told you that the NYBFAA was looking for input and would hold a discussion forum at its board of directors meeting on Feb. 10. They asked interested attendees to RSVP and said if you couldn't make it, your voice could still be heard by submitting your opinion in writing by the deadling... which is today.

Dale Eller, executive director of the NYBFAA told me that interest was pretty high so far.

Currently, the NYBFAA is preparing to hear arguments pro- and con- at its Feb. 10 board of directors meeting. Dale said that as of the Feb. 3 deadline for submission of written comments on Article 6-E there were 20 RSVPs to attend the Feb. 10 board of directors meeting and open discussion forum. He also said right now there were a dozen concerned security industry members who had voiced their opinion to him in writing.

“The best thing that has come from this experience is the fact that it got everyone talking about what was best for the industry,” Dale told me. “And how everyone could work together proactively to benefit the consumer, public safety and the dealers and monitoring companies.”

Now, most recently over the weekend, I got another letter to add to the ones I've received from Russ MacDonnell at Rapid Response and John Doyle at Doyle Security. This letter was from Jim McMullen at C.O.P.S. Monitoring. They've got four central stations now, and what that means--especially with their technique of active load sharing--is that if 6-E gets passed, they may have to license every single central station operator in all four centrals in the state of New York. Obviously not something that's that cost effective.

From the lettter:

As a general statement, we believe that the services our industry provides are of principal importance to consumers and C.O.P.S. supports all relevant and meaningful regulatory efforts that effectively protect their best interests. In reading the proposed language in article 6E, it is evident to me that the objectives of the legislative review committee are also of this intent and we appreciate your position.

Our experience with state level licensing has been nothing short of interesting. As a national monitoring company, we have amassed a great deal of knowledge from every state that requires licensing. We have encountered strenuous compliance requirements, testing material devoid of any monitoring-related materials, and mandates that we run criminal background checks for our employees in states 3,000 miles away from their homes. The sum of this experience has helped us realize that, even with good intentions, adopted standards do not necessarily protect the consumer the way they intended - nor in a way that even truly makes sense.

With that being said, it is the position of C.O.P.S. Monitoring that alarm dispatcher licensing should be pursued at the national level and not handled on a state-by-state basis. It is on this front that we plan to focus our greatest resources. I am hopeful that the potential exists to make significant progress on this endeavor in the coming months. We respectfully believe that a national standard for dispatchers that focuses on monitoring-related details would ultimately be in the best interests of all concerned parties – including consumers. We would like to see what unfolds by the end of this year resulting from our national efforts before putting any further energy into pursuing implementation of this particular bill.

CSAA president Ed Bonifas has also said that he feels the best route to take is for the industry to focus its energies on a national bill, rather than fight the battle out state-by-state.

Whatever your opinion, fire off an email to Dale Eller over at NYBFAA and get your voice heard.

by: Daniel Gelinas - Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I'll admit it, when I first saw the headline "Leading security industry bodies call for single industry representative" in my inbox this morning, I was pretty tickled. See I wrote a story a while back examining the notion of a single industry body/person to be a representative to the world and the government.

Upon reading the story, I quickly realized it wasn't what I thought and was focused on the UK security industry. I don't pretend to understand how the industry works across the pond, but I have reached out to someone I know in the UK security industry and am hopeful that she'll be able to explain to me the finer nuances of what's going on over there.

Regardless of not understanding all the particulars, it seems clear that the industry over in the Old World is looking for consensus, unification and a single voice with the aim of promoting "a major uplift in the performance of the private security industry, supported by government through UKTI and other agencies, she stated that the aim should be to ensure that UK expertise and innovative security solutions are marketed more effectively both at home and overseas."

That sounded interesting to me, even if they're not calling for Merlin Guilbeau to be the face of the industry the way I did... So just what is the UKTI?

UKTI, or UK Trade & Investment, is an agency that  "works with UK-based businesses to ensure their success in international markets, and encourage the best overseas companies to look to the UK as their global partner of choice."

Hmmm... Sounds like the UK security industry is trying to become more consolidated, more unified, more focused so that they can expand more effectively and more efficiently--both at home and abroad...

I also wrote stories recently about what the US security industry can learn from the UK and about UK security players moving into the US market...

Puline Norstrom director of worldwide marketing for the UK's AD Group, which owns Dedicated Micros among other security interests, in a May interview with me advised the US video monitoring industry to learn from what they had already done in the UK.

Norstrom said her company, along with the British Security Industry Association had developed a video monitoring standard that could easily cross the Atlantic. “The standard—BS 8418—was originally created by the BSIA and it was written around the code of practice that RemGuard was using. That formed the basis of the document,” Norstrom said. “They took it to the British Standards Institute during which time there was a public consultation and lots of industry input, and after about two years the standard was ratified and published in the UK. The standard has been adopted by the police and they issue a URN—unique reference number for a site that is accredited for 8418. What that gives to the user is a guaranteed first level response.” Norstrom said level one meant police respond immediately. Anything other than level one means the police respond “when they get around to it, or they don’t respond at all.”

Now they've formed a whole UK security industry association called the Security Alliance to try and get things done.

This whole thing might merit some close watching...

by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, January 24, 2011

I first wrote about Article 6-E, the proposed NYS legislation that would require licensing of all central station employees involved in the business of monitoring security systems in New York, a few months ago. Article 6-E is intended to be similar to 6-D, which requires licensing of the installers and service techs who actually go into end users' homes... There have been many voices pro and con, and a good debate is brewing... In addition to speaking with me and getting their voice heard, folks have also been sending their comments in to Ken Kirschenbaum's email newsletter. I've correlated some of the response I've seen there below.

Comments on New York's proposed monitoring license

To: Whom It May Concern:

From: Robert Keefe,  All American Monitoring

RE: Article 6E New York State

 

I have recently read of the New York State article 6E proposal regarding the separate licensing of Central Monitoring Stations and do not profess to know its content.

I also read Russ MacDonnell’s (of Rapid Response Monitoring) comments and do not detract from them.

I have been in this business as both a Monitoring and Installation Company for almost 38 years. I have seen Licensing and Alarm Ordinances come from nowhere to the bureaucratic and financial situation it is today for all of us.  Over the years, questions have been raised as to its purpose from quality of service to money to restraint of competition.

Fortunately, on the latter, while I have heard those voices over the years, always in the end wiser minds prevailed and restraint never materialized for the good of all.

We also are a Wholesale Central Station Monitoring Company for 1450 Alarm Dealers across the United States.  I agree with MacDonnell, that Dealers are very concerned regarding the monitoring of their accounts to the point we receive their visits from all parts of the country as far away as Alaska on a regular basis.  We welcome their visits and these Dealers go back home feeling they and their customers are in good hands.

Both they and us would have it no other way.

On the Licensing side, let me tell you a little bit about us.  We have been a Central Monitoring Station since 1973 and UL Certified since 1981.  We monitor in all of the United States and are licensed in all states where required with many, many municipal licenses as well. Yes, it is very time consuming and expensive, yet every state and municipality feel their purpose is beyond reproach so on it goes.  I’m not sure it stops as it seems to be the system in place and these jurisdictions want to police their area.

I am in continuous continuing education as you might imagine.

Regarding our Central Station Operation, we have two SIA trained Instructor Operators and all Operators are Level 1 or 2, CSAA certified. They are all fingerprinted and checked for criminal history by the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement. They are well paid and our well qualified trained staff are second to none.

Our technology is the latest and greatest. We meet all the qualifications of a CSAA Five Diamond Central Station.  With all that we would seem to be qualified to monitor anywhere which is true except one location, that is NYC Fire Monitoring which seems to be a very closed group, and extremely difficult to become part of, which is where the tone of my letter is going.  New York State will do as New York State will do and as so many others have done including my state of Florida, so I’m not sure I’m in a place to tell them what to do.  On the restraint side, I get even more concerned and I hope there is no consideration there.

As I said, you would think with our qualifications we would be qualified to monitor Fire Alarms in NYC, but it seems very difficult to accomplish, so we are unable to do that while NYC Monitoring Companies with a Florida License are permitted to monitor Fire Alarms in all areas of Florida as far as I am aware.  If there is to be free and open fair trade, the American way, then I guess New York State will not be much different than most which brings me to my final question, regarding New York City.  If New York State implements Central Station Monitoring Licensing and its intent is not to be restrictive as we would all expect, would that then mean we would be qualified for Fire Monitoring in NYC?

While we all understand that AHJ is the final authority, I would hope NYC Fire Monitoring would be an easier task to accomplish then it currently is for well qualified Central Station’s such as we are.  I would appreciate being advised by someone in the know.

Robert makes a good point: In order to be a successful monitoring station and compete in a free market with other businesses, aren't you already doing a pretty good job of vetting your employees? Why go with more licensing?

Joe Hayes of the NYBFAA has some counterpoints:

Regarding the licensing of alarm monitoring firms.

Point #1 Those who work in NY and hold the Article 6D license (Business of Installing, Maintaining and Servicing Security and Fire Alarm Systems) are required to be fingerprinted and to fingerprint our employees, resulting in a background check of the employees. Hopefully, we all comply with that requirement. We then obtain sensitive information from our subscribers (pass codes, open and closing times, vacation schedules, etc,) and give that information to a monitoring station who may or may not (ask them, and trust but verify) fingerprint their employees. Seems that there is a glaring vulnerability that needs to be closed.

Point #2 It wont be long before some enterprising member of our industry decides to open a monitoring station in, say Mumbai or some other third world call center area. How secure would you feel exporting your client's information to an offshore monitoring station? And what about those alarm companies who monitor critical infrastructure (consider sewer plants, water pumping, electrical substation, I could go on)? Would you feel secure in having someone in a time zone 7 hours or so away monitoring those accounts? Or having access to the account information?

Point#3 There are some in our industry who have been very vocal in their opposition to the proposed Article 6E monitoring law. Those of you who have, just be man enough to take the responsibility for opposing this law (and not proposing an alternative or improvement)  when an event happens that gives a black eye to your industry. An event will happen, it's not a case of if, but when. And then, take responsibility for the law that gets rammed down out throats by the "we need to protect the people" political types. It will be worse than anything we, as an industry create. Coming from a law enforcement background, I know it is always better to police yourself than to have "outsider" police your organization.

Point#4 The NYBFAA is holding an open meeting on Feb 10, 2011 in Albany to hear comments from the industry. Your thoughts? Oh, before you comment, I suggest reading the proposed bill on our website.  Thanks

Joseph Hayes, CPP, PSP, CET

President, NY Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NYBFAA)

Interesting... Joseph argues that it's better to police oneself than to wait for municipalities to be hurt by rogue central stations or operators from Mumbai...

Someone calling himself Portland Paul also comes down in favor of the licensing, saying it won't be that expensive...:

Let me figure out the increased cost of the proposed licensing requirement in New York  that will be passed on to the Rapid Response Dealers based on the cost of a license in my state, which is $310's every two years.  1200 dealers divided by $310.00 equals $3.87 per dealer every two years or $1.94 a year. Hopefully they already have their insurance coverage handled. That shouldn't change whether you are licensed or not. If you are already following good sound business practices, I doubt the law will have you change anything so your cost shouldn't go up to meet the requirements. If your are using good business practices in the security industry, than you are probably overcharging the dealers anyways. I will pay that $1.94 increase in a heart beat to know that I am dealing with a company that is regulated and following the law. Stop whining. Get licensed. You are already doing it other states, so what is the big deal.

Portland Paul

Someone else going by the name Dusan says it's not about the cost, but about the principle...:

To Portland Paul: It is a big deal! It isn't about the fee. It is about government control, extortion, fines and punishment of working people and businesses. When you allow the government to create unreasonable laws, or laws not clearly black&white on LOCAL LEVEL, then every County, every Town will have different laws. You won't be able to know, or follow the laws, you may not even be allowed to work in a ZIP code other than your own, and if you do, you may face fines and imprisonment. You may get busted by cops, locked up, your truck impounded or broken in - because you failed to recognize some local law which was never published and you couldn't even know existed. That's what LOCAL government control will do.

Dusan

Morgan Hertel over at Mace CSSS comes down against the proposed licensing law:

To all:

Regarding  6E, and state licensing of out of state central stations.

First of all if you don’t post your real name and company on Kens list no one takes you seriously.

1, New York has no money to fund and administer this program, read the papers they are laying off people everywhere.

2, Even if it were passed NYS has no standing outside their borders, no money to travel and prosecute and therefore cannot enforce this, the only people that will get this is the good guys that already have licensing and good employee screening and training, the rest of the companies will not get licensed and no one will care or be able to do anything about it.

3, The ordinance is poorly written in my opinion, having things like 69-EE, Section 5, Page 6 were principals SHALL be held responsible for the actions committed by their operators is a huge mistake, if you have not read the entire thing you need to.

4, To the group that thinks that legislating competition away is the answer, this is a mistake, dealers are very sophisticated today, saying that there is a threat of having central stations in India will take over is a farce, and if you really are concerned next time you call your bank and get an out of the country call center are you going to pull out of the bank, the world is changing but market forces are much better suited to deal with these concerns.

5, Everyone I have spoke with in the monitoring industry is committed to having cleared, smart and trained operators working, but what we don’t need is to license the same person 100’s of times in all the states and communities in North America, what we want is one federal monitoring license.

It only makes sense, the feds have the best resources to background check, they have standing everywhere in the country. We can still register with the states even pay a fee for this for those states looking for revenue.

Having a federal requirement assures everything you want to accomplish in 6e, makes it enforceable and makes it easier for the national monitoring companies.

Morgan Hertel

Vice President and General Manager

Mace CS

What's your opinion? Voice it here, or better yet, go to the NYBFAA meeting on Feb. 10 or at least draft your POV in a letter or email for the NYBFAA. Get educated by reading the proposal and stay informed. Get involved and make a difference now--when your efforts matter--and not after the decisions have been made when there's nothing to be done.

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