Following up on a story Security Systems News broke back in November of 09, Safeguard Security has completed construction of its cutting-edge Dallas-based video monitoring facility to be occupied by monitoring partner Stealth Monitoring. A Business Wire release announced the center's completion. Stealth is set to switch all monitoring functions over to the new, larger center today at 5 p.m. central time.
Just went through my Google Alerts from over the New Year's weekend and came across a story from the Greensboro, N.C. News & Record highlighting the city's reactivation of its false alarm ordinance. I covered the story about Greensboro putting its ordinance on hold last month in one of SSN's top stories of the month. It looks as though owners of alarm systems need to be vigilant once more. At the time of the suspension, SIAC executive director Stan Martin said "Weâ€™ll probably have [someone] go in there to support the chiefâ€™s position (and ours) that fining is necessary. However, it is a strong reminder that police are there to respond to the needs of the community and if the citizens, through city council, are willing to spend those resources that way, thatâ€™s their choice. Our job is educate them on the downside or consequence of that decision.â€ Martin today reaffirmed SIAC's willingness to aid municipalities looking to sort out their false alarm woes. "[SIAC law enforcement liaison] Glen Mowrey has been in contact with Greensboro PD and of course we support reasonable fines as a deterrent," Martin said. "There is still much work to be done there and Glen is planning a visit to the PD this month to help with a new plan for the city council to consider." According to the News & Record:
A property owner will be subject to a $50 fine after a third false alarm within a year. But at least one councilman would like to investigate other ways to handle false alarms. â€œIf there are repeat, repeat, repeat offenders, somethingâ€™s got to give,â€ Councilman Zack Matheny said. Matheny said the city could consider changing the number of false alarms allowed before a property owner is fined.The ordinance was originally temporarily shelved due to a small holiday crime wave in a particular neighborhood. Police bowed to citizen pressure that fines during this time could discourage citizens from arming their alarms and could increase break-ins perpetrated by opportunistic criminals looking for peoples' stash of holiday gifts.
I got a call from Rapid Response events coordinator Brian Beckwith last night. He was calling to let me know he was going to email me a press release on the next User's Group. What a nice guy... and some kind of Ninja or something, if memory serves... Brian you can set me straight if I got that wrong. Seems the Rapid Response Users' Group 2010 has been slated for Aug. 1-4 and will once again be held at the beautiful Turning Stone Resort in Verona, N.Y. The 2009 RRUG was a huge success according to attendees I spoke with. They cited Rapid's care, attention to detail and willingness to go to any lengths for victory over mediocrity. I also thought it was a success because I walked outta the joint $500 richer from some slot dabbling, which was nice. I wrote about my RRUG experiences--the road trip, the gambling, the education, the gambling, the road trip--earlier this year. I was blown away by the scale of the event. I'm looking forward to the 2010 event and will start working on my publisher Tim Purpura, post haste. I don't have a link but here's the release I got from Brian.
Jeffrey Atkins, President of Rapid Response Monitoring Systems, Inc., has announced the dates and location of RRUG 2010, the Second Annual Rapid Response User Group Event. The Companyâ€™s dealers, service providers, exhibitors and vendors are invited to attend the Event being held August 1-4, 2010 at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York. An active program of training courses and breakout sessions, technical orientations, guest speakers, exhibitions and tours of the Rapid Response facility, RRUG 2009, the inaugural User Group Event, was a resounding success attended by over 400 dealers. It was also held at the Turning Stone Resort, a world-class resort featuring lavish dining, luxury accommodations, gaming and PGA golf courses. 'The success of RRUG 2009 was very instructive,' Atkins said. 'It became increasingly obvious during the Event that, in spite of hard times, if we just came together and shared a dedication to success, we could achieve it. Consequently, for RRUG 2010 we are designing our programs to emphasize teamwork and a more unified response to industry and business problems that can lead to a successful future for all of us.'I hope to see everybody there. Last year I saw Medical Alarm Concepts CEO Howard Teicher, Keith Jentoft president of RSI (if you haven't checked out Keith's awesome music video yet, please do so!!), and OzVision president of security Avi Lupo who will now also fill the role of GM at FST21's US operations, to name a few. I also got to sit down one-on-one with the top brass at RR and SGS... Not too shabby. Hopefully, this year's RRUG will be just as eventful.
I got an email today from the Security Industry Association. Apparently they're getting ready to compile a study of security project management and are asking for help from anyone in the security industry (not just SIA members) engaged in overseeing security projects and managing people. Interested participants should check out SIA's release at their website. Join in and help SIA protect and advance its members' interests by advocating pro-industry policies and legislation on Capitol Hill and throughout the 50 states. I think it's important for the security industry to take part in initiatives like this and like the recent study conducted by CSAA, in order to assure that the industry shares best practices and grows through education and communication.
I was reading through my Google Alerts this morning and came across a story from NorthJersey.com about the false alarm ordinance in Englewood, N.J. There are some interesting points addressed in the story. One resident complains that just because there is no damage to her window or door, does not mean someone didn't try to break in. That's true. The same resident also said that every time she attempted to take the educational, online alarm course offered by her municipality at the police department website, the site was down. This problem continued, she said, until the the full fine she could have avoided through taking the course was finally levied. I think it's probably normal as an end user to get angry with the police for not showing up at your property after you've had too many "false" alarms. I think it's probably also pretty normal to get angry with your town or city when they bill you for excessive "falses." Industry attorney Ken Kirschenbaum, Esq of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC recently pointed in his industry-related email newsletter to an online essay on what he thinks of the false alarm problem. Some interesting thoughts there. What really caught my eye, however, was the comment on the story. A comment from someone calling him/herself (probably the former, though it's hard to tell when people use aliases online...) Popeye points out the truth that the alarm industry is a private industry, and not a division of publicly-funded law enforcement. Popeye warns people to blame their alarm companies and not the police. I really liked where he said:
don't blame the cops, blame your alarm suppliers. Remember, alarm systems are private contracts for private service from a private firm. Police are not part of the contract. Nearly all calls for help from alarm monitoring firms simply mean they want help to complete their monitoring process with a free site inspection to determine IF it is an emergency, not because of an emergency. Said differently, the alarm industry technology is so outdated and sloppy that nearly all site inspections (police response) are unnecessary.Just more proof the industry needs to be proactive in working with municipalities and law enforcement agencies, and support associations like SIAC and FARA in order to assure it's not perceived as a nuisance.
Just got my latest edition of CSAA's Signals and see that they're conducting a survey on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn in the security industry (I'm going to take it as soon as I blog about it, tweet about it, and post it to my Facebook page). There are a lot of tools out there for spreading the word, reaching out to existing and potential customers, and sharing thoughts and best practices with your peers. Drop Celia a line and ask about filling out that survey and pitching in. Of course, those of you who read this post earlier, know that I originally had link posted here to the survey. That link was actually tailored to me, and there were some problems reported by people trying to follow it and participate. The actual link is here.
Got my Alarm/Security Industry Legal Newsletter from Ken Kirschenbaum yesterday. Seems another municipality may be on the path to use its alarm ordinance as a revenue generator rather than as a means to curtail wasteful false alarms. Ken is raising the alarm and urging concerned alarm companies who do business in the Oakland area to attend. Here's a little of what Ken had to say about the situation:
They can call it false alarm reduction, better protection for the public or anything else they want--but it's revenue raising for the city and that's about it. It also appears that at least one private company will benefit, ATB Services--engaged to administer the new program.The included invitation to the meeting urges industry participation:
The City of Oakland's Police Department invites members of the alarm industry to attend an important meeting to discuss the implementation of the City's revised alarm ordinance. If you plan to operate any type of Alarm Company Installation or Monitoring activity within the city limits of Oakland, Calif., you should plan to have a representative attend this meeting.Questions, comments and concerns regarding the agenda can be forwarded to ATB's Janie Morin at 800-861-5944 ext. 101. The meeting is set to take place tomorrow (Dec. 16) at the OPD auditorium, located at 455 Seventh Street in Oakland. The new ordinance can be found here. And what's interesting is to read what Ken really thinks of false alarm laws and the false alarm problem in general. Ken asks some valid questions. Security Systems News will continue to follow this story.
What do you want for Christmas this year? And you can't say world peace or a better economy... I already called those. How about a fully-integrated bundle of home services, including cable TV, digital phone, super-fast connection to the the Internets, home security, and home automation, allowing you to control your security system, heat, lights, cable-connected DVR and maybe even your access control through your laptop or smartphone and pay for it all on one bill? If you're an end user, that probably sounds pretty dang good (visions of super-teched-out sugarplums...). If you're a traditional security guy, maybe you're thinking "well, I got the security part covered." If you're a telco that's already in the home, you're probably saying "added services, added services, added services.... check, check and check." (Unless you're Comcast). The telcos are really coming, guys. I wrote a story earlier in the year about the bad economy and how it was creating a market where people were looking for and expecting more for the money they shelled out. At the time, Tricia Parks of Parks Associates, suggested that traditional security guys really should get into adding more services in order to compete with the telcos that would inevitably be looking at security as one more thing to offer and thereby differentiate themselves. Just last month I covered a rather involved partnership between NewWave, Comporium, uControl and SMC Networks (the manufacturer of the total solution's touchscreen control panel). NewWave and Comporium are telcos. Comporium has had a developed security division for a while, though. Now they're all working together to put telco provided and monitored security in a bundle with a whole bunch of other services and offer it to new and existing customers. Yikes. Just this morning I got a press release on another new telco/home automation mash-up going on across the pond, in the old world. Here's the headline: "Intamac to offer telcos and utilities home monitoring and energy management solutions." I don't have a link, but here's the some of the release:
Northampton, UK, December 9, 2009 - Intamac, a market leader in web-based device management, today announced the company has been working with D-Link, a global leader in network devices, to develop new turnkey product and service solutions for telcos and utilities that want to deploy new offerings to their consumer base as part of their quad play and smart grid strategies. Work on the project has been ongoing for some time but the companies will unveil new product solutions at CES in Las Vegas on January 7-10, 2010, including interactive devices for energy management, security, home automation, video surveillance and telecare. 'Weâ€™re excited to be working with D-Link,' said Kevin Meagher, CEO, Intamac. 'Between us, we offer service providers and utility companies low-cost, turnkey solutions that will enable them to quickly deploy a range of over-the-top services that complement their core offerings.' At the heart of the new ecosystem is a new low-cost IP hub capable of supporting smart grid, Zigbee or Z-Wave devices, giving consumers the ability to select from a broad range of products and interactive services to remotely monitor and control their home environment. There will also be options for mobile management with widget-based solutions downloadable to handsets or integrated Java solutions for the iPhone. Third-party vendors have the ability to exploit APIs on the platform to add their own devices into this ecosystem. New Black & Decker door locks with Zigbee control have already been embedded.I was speaking with Monitronics VP of marketing Mitch Clarke recently about their new dealer training program, MoniX. "If you'd asked me a year ago, I'd have said interactive services were neat, but weren't yet part of security," Clarke said when our conversation strayed to new interactive services coming into the security space. "Interactivity is forcing people to put in new levels of service and apply price points to all of this ... There's less and less to differentiate people now, so if you can't talk about another widget or another service, you're at a disadvantage." Maybe the Comporium/NewWave/uControl/SMC Networks mash-up is a sign... start finding content/solution/service provider partners with whom to dance. The music's starting and you don't want to find yourself standing alone.
Came across this release on PRNewswire. Actually, my colleague Martha forwarded it on to me. Not sure if she's hinting that it might be something I should look into getting that special someone (of course I'm talking about you, Mom) in my life for the holidays or not. It's basically a PERS pendant from Alert Alarm designed to look like dressy piece of jewelry, which is pretty cool if you're concerned about people knowing you're wearing a personal emergency response system pendant... The device pictured in the release is dressed up with black crystal beads. I have calls out now to see if the dressy, crystal-beaded necklace can actually leave the house... I mean, it's nice to have a PERS pendant you could wear with an elegant black evening gown out to a dinner party or dinner and dancing... but what's the point if you can't wear it away from the solution's base unit? Unless, of course, you're throwing the dinner party at your house... In which case there would be plenty of guests around to call 911 or help you get up, should you fall... Sort of kills the need for the pendant--decorative or otherwise--in that case... In which case, why wouldn't you skip the incognito PERS pendant for the evening and just wear your best jewels... I think too much. Obviously, I'm not one who dresses up around my house... It's sweatpants, flip flops and a T-shirt for this guy when not at my SSN desk, so I don't really get the point of a decorative PERS pendant. But then, I'm not a woman.
It's that time of year again, when we all (hopefully) stop thinking of ourselves and start thinking about others... at least until the holidays are over. I thought it would be nice to highlight a few of the altruistic endeavors being carried out by industry peeps in a humble attempt to give props where props are due. I recently wrote about ADS stepping up to the plate with a hugely successful peanut butter drive to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank. Their efforts will help feed many hungry, needy people in Tennessee. I also recently touched on Cothron's Security, who donated time and resources to a local, non-profit animal shelter in Texas, Animal Trustees of Austin. Today I got a press release from Monitronics about some holiday-spirit motivated donating they'd done. Apparently some expensive tools were stolen from a Habitat for Humanity worksite in North Collin County, Texas. The theft of equipment was going to delay the completion of the home--for a single mother and her two children--until after Christmas. With Monitronics' donation, hopes are high that the family will truly be able to be home for the holidays. And finally, the editorial staff at Security Systems News has been hard at work on conceiving of, organizing and publicizing a 5k road race, The Security 5k to benefit Mission 500. The Security 5k--sponsored by SSN, Security Director News, Reid Exhibitions, and deister electronic--will take place at ISC West 2010 in Las Vegas, so start training now! SSN will let you know when it's time to register.