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by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, February 1, 2010
So I don't know if anyone else is wondering, but I sure am. What did my boss' tweet from the floor of TechSec Solutions mean? Here it is: Around 10 a.m. Security Systems News' editor Sam_Pfeifle tweeted "From techsecsol: 'the proprietary central station is becoming redundant. If I was at barnes, I'd be looking to sell my accounts now.'" Huh? I have an email out to Sam looking for clarification and would love to get any commentary from any of my readers. What does this mean to you? If the proprietary central is on its way out, what's going to replace it? Any comments?
by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, January 29, 2010
You know, there's a lot of news out there about false alarms and problems with the life safety industry. Lord knows (and you, for that matter, if you read my blog) I've written about problems caused by false alarms, and what some in the industry do to help combat the problem. I've also written about problems caused when PERS monitoring hasn't gone right. However, most times dispatchers for PERS and security systems do their jobs right, and the results are gratifying, with lives saved and property protected. I was going through my Google Alerts this morning and came across this story out of Pueblo, Colorado. While disheartening that someone--the perpetrator in this case, of course, was wearing all black--would attack, rob, attempt to murder (suffocation with a plastic bag) and then leave for dead this defenseless 94-year-old man, it makes me happy to read that the man was able to activate his Lifeline PERS system. The quick action of the dispatcher, who called the victim, Michael Lindvay, most likely saved the man's life. Upon receiving no answer at the victim's home, the Phillips Lifeline dispatcher immediately phoned emergency responders, who showed up quickly and brought Lindvay to the hospital where he's currently recovering. PPD has asked anyone with information on the attack or the cowardly perpetrator (apparently this guy didn't even have the gangsta-ish self-respect to actually break in--no, he asked if he could borrow a cup of sugar and then forced his way in when Lindvay turned away from the door to get the sugar and thereby by helpful) contact the Pueblo Crime Stoppers at 719-542-7867. Let's hear it for PERS, and let's hope they catch the guy who did this.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, January 27, 2010
How topical and timely! The Central Station Alarm Association held it's first free webinar last year to positive response. That first webinar was moderated by Bob Harris of Attrition Busters and provided useful information on battling attrition and getting out of the trap of competing by price alone. Now CSAA is gearing up for the their second free webinar, the first of 2010. CSAA is holding the next installment on Feb. 17 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Eastern, and this time they're focusing on social media tools including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and CSAA's wikis. From the latest edition of CSAA's Signals:
Sign-up to our First Free Webinar of 2010 CSAA Webinar: Social Media Networking: Help or Hype Five Ways to Boost your Company Image You are invited to participate in the first CSAA webinar of 2010 on February 17, 2010 2:00pm-3:00pm ET! Find out why CSAA is involved in Social Media, whether your business should use these social networking / collaborative tools, and more.
I spoke with CSAA's VP of marketing and programs Celia Besore and she said the webinar furthered CSAA's misison. "Part of CSAA's mission is to help our members become better and better-known," she said. "This is part of that." Celia said now was the time to address social media and attempt to educate CSAA members on the potential benefit to their business of learning about and embracing social media tools. "This is not just for the media or just for teenagers," she said. "Corporations are using these tools seriously every day. They have entire divisions and legal departments dedicated to running their social media programs." Celia sent me another mailing with more specifics on the webinar:
Find out how Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Wikis are being successfully used by companies outside and inside the alarm industry. Find out how you and your company can take advantage of these tools to increase your company's visibility in the marketplace and improve performance. The panelists are: Moderator: Wanda Valenteen, Central Station Manager, The Protection Bureau Presenters: Cheryl Perez, Director of Marketing, Alarm Detection Systems, Inc. (LinkedIn) Melissa M. Courville, Client Services & Head of Marketing, Dice Corporation (Facebook) Jennifer Bruce, Account Executive, The Bold Group (Twitter) Celia Besore, Vice President of Marketing & Programs, Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) (Wikis)
Interested in attending? I'll be there doing coverage for SSN, and if you want to participate, you can reserve your free seat here or by contacting Celia Besore, CSAA VP of marketing & programs at 703-242-4670, Ext. 16. This kind of education is extremely important as social media becomes more popular. One certainly wants to avoid certain social media faux pases (is that the plural of faux pas?) such as these gaffs addressed by my fearless leader, Sam in a recent post.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, January 25, 2010
I just got an email from ESA (I'm not sure how long I'm going to do these little parenthetical reminders, but... for those of you who've been living under a rock, that's the new and improved, evolved NBFAA), and it seems their annual Leadership Summit came off really well. I blogged earlier in the year about the upcoming summit and what it hoped to accomplish. Did they succeed in their mission this year? According to the release, yes.
At their first event since voting for a name change, Electronic Security Association (ESA) members from across the nation enthusiastically supported the 2010 ESA Leadership Summit in Fort Worth, Texas, Jan. 12 – 14. Three days of meetings, seminars, networking receptions and an awards dinner were planned for more than double the number of attendees over last year’s event.
In this economy, any trade event that got bigger since last year is doing something right. Some of the highlights of the Jan. 12-14 event were ESA committee and board of directors meetings (at which the recent FCC public notice on a possible POTS sunset was discussed) and the Young Security Professionals meeting. Educational seminars targeting social media, non-dues revenue and 2010 megatrends rounded out the three-day event. ESA also unveiled a brand-spanking new logo pictured in high res detail below... esalogo And announced a new educational video on YouTube. Here it is: Speaking of videos, I'm going to embed Keith Jentoft's "Video Killed the Blind PIR" video again, too, because it's so much fun. Here it is, and it was no easy feat (all kinds of copyright issues, I guess...) I guess Keith was on the phone with SSN's big cheese Sam Pfeifle today. Keith was apparently in Freeport, just right next door to SSN's global headquarters in Yarmouth. Please, Keith--or any security industry pro.--any time you're in the area, feel free to drop us a line and stop by.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Friday, January 22, 2010
Couldn't resist blogging about this interesting little item. Going through my Google Alerts this morning and came across this crisp little, lyrical moment captured in a pretty piece of poetry. A blogger going by the handle Feed Store Girl has created a haiku dedicated to the false alarm. As an English major, I'm fond of language, am wooed by words choreographed into associations of poetry and prose. So I was gratified to see someone address the violent juxtaposition to normal life of the false alarm (something to which I dedicate a large portion of my working, reporting life) in a tidy tidbit of verse. I love, especially, the last line, which captures the shifts in emotion that come from the scream of a siren in the middle of the night... shift... to the feelings of contrition for worrying everyone over nothing... shift... to the feeling of relief that nothing was wrong. I linked the haiku above, but here it is in all it's brevity and entirety:
Four a.m. Choteau Siren wailing, come, hurry! Sorry. No fire. Whew.
Not addressed in the haiku, but potentially there or imminent, are the feelings of irritation that the alarm went off without reason, yet again... and feelings of being raked for cash when the false alarm fine arrives in the mail.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, January 20, 2010
I noticed a sort of alarming trend in my Google Alerts the last few days. It seems there have been some false alarms at nuclear facilities recently, and I find this worrisome. The first false alarm I read about is perhaps the most upsetting to me. It was an actual false security alarm at a nuclear weapons assembly plant... That right there made me go "huh..." Apparently these two guys, who worked at this plant, putting nuclear weapons together thought it would be cool to get their guns and go duck hunting inside the security perimeter of the office. They make nuclear weapons there guys... don't go crouching around in the bushes outside with firearms. What's your security company supposed to think when they're checking the security camera footage on that one? I love this line from the report: "The men apparently decided to use their day off hunting ducks, a pastime in the area." Another popular pastime in the area is assembling weapons of mass destruction. Call me naive, but why do we have a factory where people are still putting together nuclear weapons? Aren't we (or maybe, "shouldn't we be" is more realistic) all about disarmament? Anyway... The other story just came across my desk today and spotlights a loud alarm going off at a nuclear power plant. Apparently, local residents were shaken and called local authorities for answers. No kidding. I hope there's some kind of false alarm fine for the that one. How do you do ECV on that alarm?
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Just came across this story at the Orange County Register. Seems they've been having a real doozy of a time with false alarms lately over in Irvine, Calif. The IPD holds a quarterly alarm awareness class for interested residents and businesses with alarms. The class is not mandated for offenders, but is voluntary and offers incentives. The next class will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19, at the Civic Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza. Sharon Elder VP of sales at NMC's Aliso Viejo central station will co-run the class with IPD personnel. I visited the (at-the-time) brand-spanking-new Texas center on the way to last year's TechSec. Nice center. There is a $15 registration fee, but attendees get a false alarm fee credit they can use at some point in the future. Interested in attending? Contact IPD regulatory affairs supervisor Cristine Gaiennie at 949-724-7066. Elder said it's important for the industry to participate in educational efforts like this. "The class is actually written into the ordinance. It started back in 1996. I've been the police liaison since then. Christine has been involved since then, as well. It's in the 'good and good for you' category. Clearly we need to work together with municipalities to be sure citizens are educated." Quesions for Sharon on alarm awareness education can be directed to her at 800-353-3031. Gaiennie agreed cooperation was the key ingredient to educating the public and curtailing the false alarm problem. "It's a real tag-team effort," Gaiennie said. "We've held this class for years, and Sharon has been teaching it for years." This is a good example of the municipality and the industry working together to help educate end-users and thereby save resources. Good work.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, January 11, 2010
Even though I won't be there traipsing up and down the aisles of the Sands with all y'all this year, I'm still looking forward to ISC West. I'm looking forward to following all the news from my colleagues, Sam, Martha and Leischen as it unfolds. I regret I will be unable to participate in the Security 5K to Benefit Mission 500, but hope everyone has a blast doing some good for a worthy cause. I also recently learned Bob Harris would be bringing the Attrition Busters treatment to ISC West with a workshop on Wednesday, March 24. Bob did a cool free webinar for CSAA last year that was very successful according to exit poll results. Overheads of the webinar can be found at the CSAA's website. From Bob's press release:
Once again the ISC West educational advisory board has asked me to step up and give something back to the industry. As a result, I am delighted to once again provide my most in demand corporate two-hour session called “The Solutions Challenge: A Role-Play Workshop.” ... This year I am asking attendees to come loaded with their toughest customer retention and sales related challenges. Collectively, we’re going to tackle those challenges and empower everyone to go back to work full of tools to use in effectively resolving these extremely difficult situations.
You can contact Bob at his email address.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Wednesday, January 6, 2010
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.
by: Daniel Gelinas - Monday, January 4, 2010
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 "We’ll probably have [someone] go in there to support the chief’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, that’s their choice. Our job is educate them on the downside or consequence of that decision.” 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. “If there are repeat, repeat, repeat offenders, something’s got to give,” 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.

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