IQ Board Member Michael Allen Director - 2010-2011 Southern Utah Alarm, LLC 620 W. Industrial Road Cedar City, UT 84721 P: 435-867-6412 F: 435-867-6412 E: firstname.lastname@example.org IQ Board Member Joseph Benoit Public Safety Director - Fire Service 2010 Greenwich Fire Dept. 75 Holly Hill Lane Greenwich, CT 06830 P: 203-622-3950 F: 203-622-8062 E: email@example.com IQ Board Member Timothy Creenan Chairman / Director 2009-2010 Amherst Alarm, Inc. 435 Lawrence Bell Drive Amherst, NY 14221 P: 716-632-4600 F: 716-632-1156 E: firstname.lastname@example.org IQ Board Member Jackie Currier Secretary / Director 2010-2011 Rapid Response Monitoring Services 400 West Division Street Syracuse, NY 13204 P: 800-970-8871 F: 866-851-6347 E: email@example.com IQ Board Member Ronald Galippo Director 2009-2010 Total Watch Security, Inc. Dinah Shore Drive #404 Palm Desert, CA 92211 P: 760-770-6519 F: 760-770-9128 E: RJLW1998@aol.com IQ Board Member Steven Heggemann Public Safety Director - Law Enforcement 2010 Baltimore County Alarm Reduction Team Room 149 - 400 Washington Avenue Townson, MD 21204 P: 410-887-4951 F: 410-296-0931 E: firstname.lastname@example.org IQ Board Member Matt Schue Public Safety Director - State Regulator 2010 Oklahoma State Department of Health Alarm Division 10416 White Oak Canyon Road Oklahoma City, OK 73162 P: 405-271-5779 F: 405-271-5286 E: email@example.com IQ Board Member Dave Simon Vice Chairman / Director 2009-2010 Broadview Home Security, Inc. 8880 Estres Blvd. Irving, TX 75063 P: 972-871-3778 E: firstname.lastname@example.org IQ Board Member Deborah Sokol Treasurer / Director 2010-2011 Monitor Controls, Inc. 178-180 Center Street Wallingford, CT 06492 P: 203-269-3591 E: email@example.com Non Voting - Committee Chair Gail Schreiner Non Voting - Committee Chair Membership Committee AlarmWATCH P.O. Box 81 Hunt Valley, MD 21030 P: 410-785-3300X211 F: 410-527-3915 E: GailSchreiner@alarmwatchinc.com Non Voting - Committee Chair Dave Currie Non Voting - Committee Chair Grievence Committee Chair Security Response Center 506 Christina St. N. Sarnia, Ontario N7T5W4 P: 519-704-1479 F: 519-336-7508 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
We are all familiar and concerned with audio interception. For the most part you know you can't install it. But video surveillance is not yet subject to widespread legislation. Other than statutes and case law that prohibits video surveillance in areas where privacy is expected restrictions are defined more by moral considerations than legal ones. By that I mean, you may be permitted to install a camera in your back yard that ends up also covering parts of your neighbor's yard, perhaps even your neighbors swimming pool or other recreational area. However, if that neighbor has a daughter who likes to swim naked that same camera may be prohibited. Legislation that prohibits video recording of another without his/her permission would without question affect the security industry. CCTV technology and the use of CCTV surveillance is one of the fastest growing areas in the alarm/security industry. Any legislation that restricts the use of CCTV will of course inhibit that growth and limit profit potential to security integrators.I've written a number of stories recently about the uptick in interest in video, not just as specialized surveillance, but as a regular aspect of intrusion alarms as well. So the question remains, will there be new federal law on video surveillance? According to the above referenced NYT blog post:
Senator Arlen Specter, a Democrat of Pennsylvania, is proposing to amend the federal wiretap statute to prohibit visual spying that is not approved by a court in advance. Congress should move quickly to make this change.Ken advised the industry to keep an eye on the ongoing legislation, be informed and be active.
The alarm industry needs to keep an eye on this proposed legislation to ensure that any statute to emerge does not have the same impact as the audio legislation. Joe, thanks for bringing this to our attention. By the way you can read the audio / video statutes in your state at http://www.kirschenbaumesq.com/avstatutes.htm Let me know if your state law needs to be updated on my website.I'm interested to hear any input any of you might have.
â€œThere are already many places in the country where paramedics do charge for false dispatches of paramedics. However, I believe in the years ahead that more and more municipalities will start charging for false alarms for paramedic dispatches. The PERS market has been in the past a very simple, straight-forward service, and generally two-way voice has prevented false dispatches from occurring. Now, however, with much more competition in the PERS industry and the rollout of telehealth and telemedicine serviceâ€”like remote medication management and vital sign monitoringâ€”more false dispatches will continue to occur.â€There does seem to be a lot going on in the world of PERS. Check out the SSN PERS webinar and find out how to get on board.
I think the bottom line on this is that the alarm industry has maybe four alternatives. One is POTS. We know itâ€™s going away, we donâ€™t know when, but it is going away, and that has always been reliable. You have the Internet, which has incredible problems, incredible delays. Try pinging a central station in Boston. Try it several times a day. The ping time will vary all over the place. That's not security-grade reliability. It's the same thing with GSM--which is cellular radio--it's patchy. The networks 'busy-out' ... Smartphones are sucking the life out of the GSM system because they use so much data. So the GSM system, like broadband, has finite bandwidth. Then there's IntelliNet. This is the dealer's network. The dealer owns it and controls it ... With IntelliNet, finally, the dealer owns and controls the communications piece. Itâ€™s always been owned by the phone company or the cellular company or the cable company. Itâ€™s the communications piece that makes the dealersâ€™ service possible ... The other thing is that you canâ€™t surf the web on it, you can't play games on it, you canâ€™t shop on it, you canâ€™t download stuff on it. Itâ€™s been designed specifically for the security industry. It's been optimized for security monitoring, so it meets the five nines reliability that the security industry relied on way back when it created itself and relied on POTS.Sherman, in speaking about the "busy-out" problem GSM has, cited an article from BusinessWeek. Interesting read... Reed claimed NextAlarm's answer utilized the system the end-users were flocking to, the system in which the government is already heavily investing--broadband--and made that system more reliable.
We actually recognized four years ago as people started to move from POTS to VoIP and that's when we started developing our product... We've got one patent issued and a second patent granted ... Obviously, we believe that IP is the way to go. Our solution is agnostic to panel and agnostic to central station. We think that for legacy panels, that's the way to go. Many companies are looking to GSM, and thereâ€™s a couple challenges with that. One of them, obviously is congestion. If youâ€™re in a congested downtown, urban area, itâ€™s getting harder and harder to get a reliable GSM signal, particularly here in the US--you don't see it in Europe or Asia--we have such a good wired infrastructure that telcos have not put in as many towers. The problem is that the instant someone needs help--whether it's PERS or some other alarm--they need help. You can't hope and cross your fingers that you get a GSM signal. Another challenge is that most of GSM is metered. If you want something that's cost-effective for a customer who wants to do open/close reporting, wants to have two-way voice and those kinds of things, GSM can get very expensive. Most of the plans only have six or seven metered signals a month. If you're doing open/close you could have as many as 60 a month ... And finally, the GSM expense to add to a panel is pretty expensive. The device we're providing today is available for dealer purchase from ADI for $99. What are the advantages of IP? Very low cost for bandwidth. We've got a small fee per signal, but there's no metering, so you have the ability to do open/close, you have the ability to do two-way voice.What about Sherman's critique of unreliable signal transmission with broadband? Reed provided a brief description of the NextAlarm solution. From Reed's info:
VoIPAlarm by NextAlarm.com was built to solve these problems. VoIPAlarm allows customers to enjoy the benefits and cost savings of Voice-over-IP service, while still allowing their alarm systems to accurately communicate with their monitoring centers. VoIPAlarm operates over your standard Cable Modem, DSL, or Terrestrial Wireless Broadband Internet connection, and works with any alarm system capable of sending signals using the Contact ID format (including the Abbra Professional Series by NextAlarm.com). VoIPAlarm requires no changes to your existing alarm system, other than a one-time purchase of a Broadband Alarm Adapter from NextAlarm.com. Simply plug the Broadband Alarm Adapter into your home network, and plug your alarm panel into the Adapter (rather than into your regular telephone line), and NextAlarm.com will immediately begin to monitor your security system over Broadband. VoIPAlarm even offers Line Security, a new security measure not available with standard telephone line hookups. Our servers are in constant communication with our Adapter installed at your home or business. If we should lose contact with the device, our E-Notify service can alert you in a matter of minutes. This extra security measure is only possible through the always-on, always-connected nature of VoIPAlarm.Regardless of which technology you go with, it seems pretty clear that the time to make changes and talk with your customers is now. Sherman warned of potential consequences if the communications path is not made a top priority:
The industry is based on a recurring revenue business model, and if the communication is not there, or not reliable that threatens our business model. The security industry cannotâ€”cannotâ€”afford to sustain any newsworthy, bad releases. We have to deal with the reliability of the communications because if we donâ€™t weâ€™ll all be punished. You need to understand the importance of the decision when you opt for a technologyâ€”whether itâ€™s IntelliNet or something else. Know what youâ€™re getting. Look past the glossy brochure that the purveyor provides you.Reed said there were definite, necessary steps ahead, and those steps would not get easier with time:
You've got start this conversation today--and it's not going to be an easy conversation ... Itâ€™s like with the kids who hide their bad grades, and forge mom's signature and pretend nothing's wrong for three months and then itâ€™s worse when the truth comes out. The industry canâ€™t hide from this. It's like a ticking time bomb. We need to go out now and talk with our customers and give them a communication solution that works. Thatâ€™s what weâ€™ve been pounding the drum for. With the POTS Sunset on the horizon, it makes the drum beat that much louder and faster. We can try and hold back the flood, but the industryâ€™s not big enough to hold it back. We have to say, 'Itâ€™s going to happen, we may as well get ready for it.' Weâ€™ve got maybe a seven or eight year window.
"[SafetyCare's] focus is on the PERS part of the business," he said. "This is a product that over the next five or six years is going to be an extremely large growth market. We wanted a partner with a central station that is focusing primarily on that channel, and not being all over the place ... This partnership adds another channel of RMR to the residential market. SafetyCare is a great tool to help dealers close sales."I've written all kinds of stories on PERS legislation, and industry standbys like SafetyCare, and PERS newcomers with innovations like Vaica Medical and Medical Alarm Concepts. I've written stories about Acadian and American Two-Way and Visonic, and Bay Alarm Medical and GE... I've written a LOT of PERS stories. I'm sure I've forgotten to mention a lot of them by name, but you get the picture. If you've been thinking about making some more money... and who hasn't, now may be the time to check out how to get into PERS. Register today for SSN's PERS webinar and expand your possibilities.
National Sheriffs Convention Holds Workshop on 'Priority Response' The National Sheriffs Association June convention, attracting more than 4,000 sheriffs from across the United States, will include a workshop on Priority Response to Enhanced Video Alarms. The Priority Response concept avoids the negativity of local false alarm battles with fines/ordinances and instead focuses on a positive message, asking Law Enforcement, 'Would you give higher priority to Enhanced Video Alarms?' Instead of ordinances, the goals of priority response are simply a dispatch policy change: 1. Adoption of a special code by Dispatch Centers designating a higher priority response for Enhanced Video Alarms than standard alarms. 2. An email address in dispatch centers where participating central stations can send video clips of intruders for possible review by the dispatch operators. Example: VideoAlarm@citypolicedept.gov.â€ Keith Jentoft, a spokesman for the Priority Response initiative, and president of RSI Video Technologies Inc, explains that Enhanced Video Alarm is a generic category where the alarm system also delivers a short video clip to the central station who confirms the presence of an intruder. This is not surveillance, but an incremental step in the detect/notify process that alarm companies have been doing for decades. In addition to a standard alarm signal, central station operators view a video of what caused the alarm and dispatch accordingly. Jentoft states, 'These alarms can be delivered by at least three different technologies available from many manufacturers; the key is that Priority Response is a win for all security stakeholders. Law Enforcement gets more arrests, greater officer safety and more efficiency. Consumers have greater protection and life-safety and the industry is able to provide services that have greater value than "blindâ€ systems. Adding two-way voice makes the concept even stronger.'Sonitrol's always tweeting out news blurbs of how their audio-verified alarms bring the cops quickly and result in an apprehension... I wrote a story on the developing verification trend last year. Looks like this issue might be heating up. Keith had a valid point when he said, "rather than try and minimize a negative by dealing with the false alarms after they happen, why not try and maximize a positive" by embracing enhanced alarms to begin with and ensuring higher-priority police response? Is it time to get verified? Again from the NSA press release:
The Priority Response concept which has been embraced by Law Enforcement in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Alabama, Massachusetts and Texas has already had a positive impact on budgets and apprehensions.Keith's missive in Sheriff includes the following quote from an open letter from Calhoun County, Ala. Sheriff Larry Amerson (who is third Vice President of the NSA).
While Calhoun County Sheriffâ€™s Deputies will continue our current policy of responding immediately to all intrusion alarms, we believe that enhanced video alarms offer enhanced protection to you and help us in our efforts to keep Calhoun County citizens safe and protect their property. We believe that the delivery of a video of the specific event that triggered the alarm is a tremendous improvement in alarm technology that will lead to a reduction in false alarms saving valuable budget dollars. While we are not endorsing a specific provider or brand of product, we support the efforts of the security industry to provide their customers with the best protection possible and we look forward to being able to use enhanced video alarms to improve the life safety of our county.â€I'd love to hear what you all think about adding video or audio for verification. Chime in and let me know if you see a trend developing in your municipalities of police pushing for verification or no-response. Are municipalities around you charging alarm companies instead of the end user for false alarms?
The plan calls for several actions over the next decade, including the transition from a circuit-switched telephone network to an IP-based network. Section 4.5 of the plan suggests the FCC start a proceeding on the transition that asks for comment on a number of questions, including whether the FCC should set a timeline for a transition. The Section concedes that such a transition will take â€œa number of years.â€Many in the industry to whom I spoke felt the time was now to begin moving away from POTS dependence. I wrote about a new solutions from IP Alarms and Honeywell earlier this year. And this pic snapped on the ISC West show floor by my editor, Sam, sure shows that many are ready to move away from POTS and IP and move toward radio. From Section 4.5 of the Broadband Plan:
Increasingly, broadband is not a discrete, complementary communications service. Instead, it is a platform over which multiple IP-based servicesâ€”including voice, data and videoâ€”converge. As this plan outlines, convergence in communications services and technologies creates extraordinary opportunities to improve American life and benefit consumers. At the same time, convergence has a significant impact on the legacy Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), a system that has provided, and continues to provide, essential services to the American people. Convergence raises a number of critical issues. Consumers benefit from the options that broadband provides, such as Voice over Internet Protocol. But as customers leave the PSTN, the typical cost per line for Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS) increases, given the high fixed costs of providing such service. Between 2003 and 2009, the average cost per line increased almost 20 percent. Regulations require certain carriers to maintain POTSâ€”a requirement that is not sustainableâ€”and lead to investments in assets that could be stranded. These regulations can have a number of unintended consequences, including siphoning investments away from new networks and services. The challenge for the country is to ensure that as IP-based services replace circuit-switched services, there is a smooth transition for Americans who use traditional phone service and for the businesses that provide it.It's really not any wonder that AT&T is pushing for POTS requirements to be dropped. It gets more and more expensive to maintain that infrastructure that fewer and fewer people are using. In a January interview with me, Lance Dean, co-founder of 2GIG Technologies spelled it out pretty clearly: "Thereâ€™s 700,000 lines going down a month. If you do the math, thatâ€™s 8 million a year. In a few more years there wonâ€™t be any more landlines." I've got emails out to folks at AICC and ESA for further comment and will continue to report on this story.
The Award program added an additional Award this year, the Central Station Support Person of the Year Excellence Award. Is there an exceptional person in your organization other than the central station manager or operator, who makes your central station a better place--perhaps a data entry staff member, a trainer, the IT guru, the tech that fixes everything, the employee that keeps morale high? This Award recognizes the exceptional contributions of that person to the successful operation of the central station.The CSAA Excellence Awards recognize UL-listed central stations and their personnel who significantly contribute to the alarm profession while providing exceptional service to their customers and community. Judged by a blue-ribbon panel, the awards were established to honor those who have made the most significant contributions to the industry and promote the distinctive level of professionalism attained by UL-listed central stations. I wrote about last year's big winners, DGA Security last November. During the CSAA Excellence Awards ceremony at last year's ESX show in Baltimore, DGA was honored three times, including taking the Central Station of the Year award and the Central Station Manager of the Year award (awarded to DGA central station manager James Riti) as well as receiving an honorable mention for Central Station Operator of the Year (for DGA dispatcher Charles Balletto). Applications for specific awards must be sent to the CSAA by mail and your company's info spreadsheet can be emailed.
Here's how it apparently went down: In the early hours of March 14, an unknown number of thieves scaled the exterior walls of Eli Lilly & Co.'s Enfield, Conn. drug warehouse, cut a hole through the roof (how long must that have taken?), and repelled using climbing gear down into the stockpiles of antidepressants and antipsychotics therein. According to published reports, including stories from the WSJ, the Courant, the Associated Press and USA Today, the history-making thieves took at least a couple hours to locate at least a dozen wooden pallets of desired drugs, painstakingly hoist them up through the hole, load them into a waiting truck and calmly drive away. With $75 million in prescription drugs. That's not only the largest drug heist of its kind, it's also just the latest in a growing trend in recent years, according to an AP report. Far be it from me to blame anyone here, but one has to wonder how this could have happened. How long must it have taken to get this job done? These perps had to have been breaking in, and hoisting those pallets and loading that truck for at least a few hours. None of the published reports says how the in-place security system was circumvented, just that it was. Several reports mention lenses of security cameras being blacked out with spray paint (shouldn't there be tamper alarms on those?) and discs being removed from DVRs (oh, so it wasn't live surveillance but CCTV). I don't want to come off as a commercial, but in this particular situation, the in-place system was blind and deaf (and basically useless). I have to believe that a Sonitrol system would have picked up the sawing through the roof. I also have to believe that a 10-second video clip sent to the central station from a Videofied system would have been cause for dispatch. The point is--and I wrote about this back in October last year--if the alarm had been verified, things might have worked out differently. I'd love to hear from all of you on how this could have or should have turned out differently. And it's not just the drug company that's going to come out a loser here. Their insurance premiums are going to go up, which means drug prices might go up for consumers. The stolen drugs could be tampered with or stored improperly and resold and end up back in the marketplace and bought by unsuspecting consumers. And of course, the security industry in general is a big loser here... I love this line from a Hartford Courant story: "Police were dispatched to the warehouse Sunday about 1:50 p.m., when the theft was discovered, according to a police report. A state police dog was called in to search for suspects, but none was found." Really? That's because thieves (and especially ones as organized as these ones appear to have been) don't stick around till 1:50 p.m. and wait for you to realize the disc has been stolen from your DVR and that the only thing you can do is dispatch a dog to try and follow the scent trail of the criminals... which in this case ascends through the air and up through the ceiling where the dog can't follow. Maybe that sounds sarcastic. Maybe it is. I don't think this is a case where the powers that be should be congratulated for doing all they can. More should have been done by those charged with protecting the premises and assets beforehand. It does very little good to investigate a loss after the loss occurs. So far there are no suspects and no leads, just a whole bunch of people standing around scratching their heads. The WSJ piece also mentions the previous record holder for a drug heist was a $44 million job carried out when the drugs were in transit. My colleague Leischen has covered this growing trend, as well. The WSJ talks with Bob Furtado of Lojack's Supply Chain Integrity unit. I spoke with Bob last year about their move into more traditional security. Perhaps the message here is that good enough just isn't good enough any more. Perhaps it's time to verify all alarms. Perhaps it's time to stop protecting perimeters and locations and begin protecting individual people and assets. It's the security industry's job to see the need before the curve and before the loss occurs.