The CSAA wants you to know that it's almost time to renew your Five Diamond designation. If you're a Five Diamond central station, that is. If you're not, then you don't need to worry. But seriously, if you are a central station that isn't Five Diamond certified, it might be something to consider. The CSAA and the online training administrator CMOOR Group make the training fun and engaging (I enjoyed it, anyway, and now have a really cool looking certificate that I'm going to frame and hang somewhere in my cube), and it will move your central station into the elite top percent of certified centrals out there. The renewal date for Five Diamond certification is April 30, 2009. Information on how to renew as well as a download of the renewal form can be found here. The form must be signed by a company officer, notarized (except for Canadian centrals), and accompanied by a copy of your 2009 UL Listing certificate or FM Approval good through 2010, as well as the completion certificates (printed from the online course) of any new operators hired since the initial certification. The CSAA will also be sending out renewal packets in the mail, so keep your eyes open. Further questions can be directed to Becky Lane at 703-242-4670 ext. 18.
I had a chance to speak with OzVision founder and president of security Avi Lupo and CMOOR Group president Connie Moorehead recently. They wanted to talk to me about an exciting new feature being offered through the CMOOR Group at the OzVision website. Regular readers of SSN will recall the CMOOR Group from a story I wrote back in Dec. '08 on the online training offered by the CSAA forcentral station operators. The new training modules, which are currently under development will be available for perusal here. According to Lupo, since OzVision is an embedded part of the platforms used by many 3rd party monitoring centers, such as Guardian and Rapid Response that do video monitoring, the training modules needed to cover three areas: Sales, technical, and operations. An excerpt from the original release follows.
The first course will be focused on sales and the features and benefits of the OzVision suite of products. The second course is a technical course geared towards the installation and technical features of the product and the third course in the series will be an operations course designed around user features, operations and function of the OzVision product. OzVision has partnered with The CMOOR Group to develop this online training series. CMOOR is widely known throughout the security industry as being the premier custom content and media development solution provider to trade associations, manufacturers, integrators and dealers. Built with the latest technology, these courses are highly interactive and engaging for the students. Each student is provided a certificate of completion at the end of the course and continuing education credits will also awarded to participating students upon successful completion of the training. Each courses is anticipated to be approximately 60 minutes in length. To pre-order your training, contact The CMOOR Group at 502-254-1590. The course is $50 per student and volume discounts are available.Online training is obviously pretty cool, and the fact that students will get continuing education credits is a major plus. I've received my official certificate for passing the Central Station Operators Online Training Level I and have completed the educational modules for the CSAA Advanced Operator Online Training Course... Unfortunately, true to the modus operandi I adopted in college, I've waited a little too long to start the test at the end now, and am really nervous that I might need a serious cramming session to review all the notes I took before submitting to the assessment. Good luck to all future online students.
I got a release from Xanboo recently. NationWide Digital Monitoring Co., Inc., a central-station monitoring outfit since 1979, announced March 5 it will partner with Xanboo, Inc., for its line of remote security control devices and video monitoring technology. The partnership will immediately enable NationWideâ€™s dealer force to distribute, install or integrate Xanbooâ€™s products for new and existing customers throughout the United States. Xanbooâ€™s remote security solutions provide an end-to-end technology platform that enables access and control of devices locally or remotely over the Internet via a mobile phone or PC. Residential and commercial subscribers can use Xanbooâ€™s systems to control and monitor devices in their home or business from anywhere in the world with a standard Internet connection.
National Monitoring Center held an open house at their brand new, state-of-the-art 8,000 square foot facility here on February 12. The central station serves independent alarm dealers in the Texas market and has been in operation since the summer of 2008. The new UL-listed central station is fully redundant with NMCâ€™s original 10,000 square foot Aliso Viejo, Calif. central station that opened in 2002. More than 100 guests, representing alarm companies from Texas as well as various other states, attended the open house. The guests were given tours of the facility and had the opportunity to meet with the companyâ€™s management team. Included below are pictures of the event. First is NMC executive vice president Woodie Andrawos with director of operations Todd Shuff and president Michael Schubert. Second is NMC management with some of the guests who attended the open house of the new central station. Security Systems News toured the new facility on February 22, led through the rooms of glass, concrete and chrome by central station manager Stefan Rayner. Rayner spoke at length about the design and development of the new facility and the stringent requirements for attaining UL-Listing. Visit the Monitor This blog at www.securitysystemsnews.com for an account of the visit. â€œIâ€™ve been involved in the design of about six monitoring facilities during my 29 or so years in the contract monitoring business,â€ said Michael Schubert, NMC president in a release. â€œI believe our Texas location is the finest that Iâ€™ve been involved in because we put all of our experience as well as the latest technology into the design. With an experienced management team in place, we bring the Texas market a much needed state-of-the-art facility.â€ The central station uses the latest technology and is fully redundant with the California location, providing a high level of reliability and service to alarm companies and their customers. NMC purchased the newly constructed building and spent more than 18 months creating the most technologically advanced contract monitoring station serving the electronic security industry. â€œThe facility and technology along with an experienced management team and comprehensively trained staff offer alarm dealers the support they need to grow their business,â€ said Woodie Andrawos, NMC executive vice president in a release. â€œWe listen to our dealers every day and this facility and the services we provide reflect what they need to be successful in a very competitive market.â€ NMC is a UL-listed and FM-approved third party monitoring central station company that provides services to independent alarm companies. NMC is a member of various professional trade associations including Texas BFAA, and North Texas BFAA. For more information, call 800-662-1711 or visit the website.
I was emailing with Dice Corporation business development EA Melissa Roedel recently, and she was all excited about a new branding initiative Dice is ready to throw into high gear. Dice, a provider of security industry dispatch software, in February unveiled its newest offering, Quantum Operator, a software system designed using advanced human-like voice technologies to make calls on alarms. The system can handle 12 to 100 calls at a time, depending on how it is configured, and can allow human operators to concentrate on higher-level alarms. Dice president Mike Simpson said Quantum Operator is just one of more than 75 upcoming Dice products and services that will bear the Quantum branding. New York, N.Y.-based Statewide Monitoring recently installed Quantum Operator, and company president Steven Coppola said he has been pleased with the results. Simpson claimed the next few releases of the product may include such services as Collection Calls, Service Appointment Notification, Installation Quality Inspections, Sales Appointment Reminders, and Sales Presentation Calls. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.
Perhaps you caught this story a couple weeks ago in the Boston Globe. It did my heart good to read it. It's about a security company, Viewpoint CRM, that's projecting growth despite the economic turmoil the rest of the world is experiencing. Viewpoint CRM is a video surveillance company based in Lowell, Mass. One of their strong points is that in a tough economy, it makes more sense to use technology to make surveillance intelligent, and real time rather than dull, expensive and reactionary the way actual human guard services can be. I wrote a story on a similar company Virtual Guard Services a few months ago. According to Viewpoint CRM vice president of channel sales & marketing Michael Hanlon, the center will be up and running "in a couple weeks." Tune back in then for an update on this new advanced video monitoring facility, a couple pictures of which I've included below.
I just got off the phone with someone over at Rapid Response Monitoring. I wanted to call and see if someone at Rapid Response would be able to spend some time away from their own ISC West booth to drift on over to the Security Systems News booth for a sit down with me on camera for ssnTVnews. I found out that Rapid Response is not exhibiting this year at ISC West. It is perhaps a sign of the times. I was told that they will have reps there but will not have a booth. This will be my first visit to ISC West, so I have no point of reference, but I'm assured by my predecessor, Leischen Stelter that the Rapid Response booth was not to be missed. Perhaps next year.
I came across this story at www.wvgazette.com, and found it interesting. The economy is certainly bad. I mean, even the Girl Scouts have been effected. The question remains, however, if the bad economy is really driving a spike in crime. The above referenced story from West Virginia asks the question, "Do you really think honest people are losing their jobs in the bad economy and then making the tough decision to turn to a life of crime in order to pay the bills?" Probably not. The story points out it's more likely a natural ebb and flow of criminal activity, mostly related to drugs. However, the media (of which, I suppose, I am a part) hypes the increase in activity as a direct result of the bad economy, which leads many people to go out and invest in security systems to protect what's theirs from all those desperate people out of work. This story from Southern Maryland Online claims there is a direct link between bad economy and increased crime, again, due to people out of work turning to alcohol and drugs for escape and then getting into chemical-induced mischief. The thing is, those who would resort to crime are probably resorting to crime to buy more drugs or booze (especially once they're already drug-addled), which they would have done regardless of whether the economy was going gang-busters or in the toilet. Now I'm not complaining, exactly. The important thing about a security system is that it makes its owner feel more comfortable, more safe, so in that regard, the purchasing and owning of a security system self-fulfills, and is independent of the crime rate or the economy. And hey, the increase in business for all those security companies out there gives me something to write about for my paper.
So I'm back from TechSec Solutions, and I have to say the action was pretty awesome. This was my first time at TechSec Solutions and I really enjoyed meeting all the presenters and exhibitors. TechSec presented a valuable opportunity for me to meet a portion of the people who comprise this industry upon which I report, as well as a chance for me to learn a little more about what makes security such an important and resilient industry. My trip to TechSec was not without its challenges. I traveled from Portland, Maine on Monday morning, February 23. My flight (which the airline assured me repeatedly was due to depart "on time") was supposed to leave at 6 a.m. Now, being a conscientious traveler, I wanted to be there two hours early, which meant I had to be there at 4 a.m. I live about an hour from Portland Jetport, which meant leaving my house at 3 a.m. Okay, that's pretty darn early, but when you factor in the blizzard we were having (complete with downed trees across the major roadways and area-wide blackouts) that actually meant getting up at 2 a.m. to ensure quality shoveling time with the 14 inches of heavy wet snow blocking my driveway. I arrived at the Jetport at 4 a.m. and was a little gratified and a little irritated when the x-ray machine operator at the security check point chuckled and said "Buddy, you're the first one through... hope your plane actually leaves." "You mean 'leaves on time,' right?" I asked. "Yeah, whatever you say, man," he said, shaking his head. My plane did leave, but not until around 8 a.m., after we'd sat at the gate for two hours, the tug trying and failing on the icy tarmac to taxi the plane out of the gate. It had been a long day already, and I wasn't even off the ground in Portland yet. Once in the air, things got a little better. I had some pretzels and a Diet Coke and took a little nap, waking up just in time to land in Newark, N.J. Ten minutes after my connection took off. The first thing I did was call NMC's Irving, Texas central station manager Stefan Rayner with whom I had a scheduled visit that afternoon. Obviously, I would be later than we had planned. He said not to worry and that he'd wait around until I could make it out there for a visit to NMC's cool new facility. I then got myself on a later flight and settled in for my layover, feeling kind of uncomfortable and sticky (I lost power while shoveling my way out of my house in Maine. I thought nothing of it while shoveling, and didn't realize the full implications of having an electric water pump until I'd finished shoveling and tried to take a shower--no such luck. Fortunately, Portland Jetport had power, and I had lots of time to kill since I'd gotten there two hours early. So I grabbed a shave and cleaned up a bit, much to the later delight, I'm sure, of Stefan and everyone setting up at TechSec.) I was rewarded in several ways on landing in Dallas. First of all, the snow I'd battled in the wee morning hours that morning was nothing more than a chilling memory in warm, sunny Dallas. Secondly, my visit to NMC's new monitoring center in nearby Irving was all I could have hoped for. My predecessor Leischen Stelter visited NMC last year, but it was before the center was fully staffed and operational. The facility is all glass and steel and concrete and chrome with stylish blue shaded lights hanging from the shadowed recesses of a high ceiling filled with ducts and piping. Stefan met me in a conference room off of the lobby, and when I asked to see the actual operator area, he walked to a wall of frosted, opaque glass and pushed a button. The glass wall immediately faded to clear, and I could see the banks of work stations on the other side, positioned below two large ceiling-mounted monitors dominating the room. I had a nice tour and talked at length with Stefan about NMC's Irving facility, the monitoring they do there, and what it was like to move from Aliso Viejo, California (where NMC's other monitoring center is) to Texas. Stefan was one of only three people to move from the original California center out to Texas to oversee the launch of the new facility. The third way in which I was rewarded upon my arrival in Texas was checking in at the Fairmont in downtown Dallas, where I finally took a shower, dressed in a clean suit, picked up my badge and began meeting and greeting attendees. The show went well. Everyone I spoke with enjoyed the networking and educational sessions. See ssnTVnews for highlights.
I just came across this story from localnews8.com, which promises a real hassle of time to come for any central stations with accounts in the Northern Utah area code 801. Apparently strong population growth has exhausted the allotted phone lines, and the Utah Public Service Commission is being forced to add a new area code, 385, to accommodate. I just did a quick check at NBFAA's website. There're close to 30 security companies in 801 who're members. Yikes. This will of course require centrals to track down their accounts with numbers that need to be changed, and set up a truck roll with their local technician to go to each account and reprogram the panel. Seems like a big pain in the neck. But such is the price we pay for progress and population.