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Sandy Springs considers fining dealers for false alarms

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The new Sandy Springs, Ga. alarm ordinance, which is set to be voted on July 18, is alarming many in the security industry as it looks to force alarm dealers to pay their subscriber's false alarm fees and fines.

“This makes as much sense as a car rental company being responsible for paying your speeding tickets if you get caught speeding in their car,” Dan Gordon, president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety and Security Association (GELSSA), and owner of Ga.-based Gordon Security, told Security System News.

Gordon, as well as many security companies working in Georgia, including LOUD Security and Ackerman Security, are rallying others in the industry to pay attention to what is going on in Sandy Springs.

“If Sandy Springs passes this, which city goes next?” John Loud, president of LOUD Security Systems, told SSN, noting that he does not think this ordinance will help Sandy Springs reduce false dispatches.

“They outsource the collections to a firm called CryWolf (Public Safety Corporation),” Loud explained. “Their service includes collecting the assessed fines. The cost to Sandy Springs is the same, whether the bill goes to the end users of the alarm system or the alarm company. But the alarm company’s costs will increase. They will now have to bill their customers and establish a collection process, increasing the workload for their personnel.”

Loud and others in opposition to the ordinance believe this will actually cause an increase in the amount of false dispatches.

“Citizens will usually respond to citations from their local police or city municipality,” he explained. “If a vendor or service provider sends an assessment, they could very easily change monitoring companies and get additional false alarms through new providers. They can choose to never pay and continually change companies.”

He noted that this would result in more false dispatches as the end user would never be forced to change their behavior.

Loud also pointed out that the court systems of Sandy Springs will have a lot more cases. ”Either the alarm companies will be filing suit to collect monies from customers refusing to pay or the city will be pursuing alarm companies for nonpayment of fines they do not have the money to pay.”

He continued, “You will likely see many alarm companies choosing to not do business with residents/businesses that must comply with this ordinance. In Sandy Springs, most alarm companies charge only $25 per month. While false alarm fees can cost hundreds of dollars, the accounts receivable process will likely make it financially impossible for fire/alarm companies to take on such risk.”

He said that Sandy Springs could achieve greater reduction in the false dispatches if they would enforce all of their current ordinance provisions, such as:

- Follow the Enhanced Call Verification Georgia State law that went into effect in 2013. “The 911 operator could very easily ask for the two phone numbers the alarm company called prior to dispatch request,” said Loud.

- Do not allow dispatch on the subscribers that have not paid for previous fines—put them on a do not dispatch list.

- Do not allow dispatch for subscribers that have had 10 false alarms in a permit year.

- Activate the false alarm school the ordinance allows for, which will provide the training and prevention of future false alarms.

“Another step Sandy Springs could pursue is a higher fee structure for excessive false alarms,” said Loud. “This would force subscribers to either fix their system, teach others to use it properly or they could choose to stop arming their system. All three of the options result in reduced dispatches.”

He continued, “While I certainly see there are many ways to help unite with the City of Sandy Springs and help them achieve their ultimate goal of reducing false dispatches and wasting government recourses, I do not believe requiring the alarm companies to pay the fees is the answer.”

The GELSSA, along with strong industry voices like Loud's, are urging those in the industry to reach out to the mayor of Sandy Springs to voice their concerns, and for security dealers in the Sandy Springs area to attend the planned vote on July 18.

DMP Owners Forum helps dealers leverage trends

New products, services expand DIY, connected home options
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04/13/2016

LAS VEGAS—The DMP Owners Forum, held here April 5 at the Wynn Resort & Casino, brought together the top 50 DMP dealers to network, learn about new DMP products and services, and listen to industry acclaimed speakers. Hosted by DMP executive management, this event takes place the day before the ISC West exhibit opens, providing a daylong educational forum in support of DMP dealers.

Resi security industry preps for ISC West

New technology, meeting vendors tops ‘to-do’ lists
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03/16/2016

YARMOUTH, Maine—With ISC West right around the corner, Security Systems News asked some leading players on the residential security side to share their game plans for this year’s show at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas, April 5-8.

The security industry gives back

Twenty-three percent of companies reward employees for volunteering
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09/16/2015

YARMOUTH, Maine—Systems integration firm SSI founded Allegiant Giving to aid veterans and residential security company Alliance Security donates systems to domestic abuse victims. SSI and Alliance are not alone in their charitable efforts—Security Systems News’ latest News Poll shows 89 percent of responding companies involve themselves in charities.

LOUD Security to acquire three

Credit revolver fuels company’s growth
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03/25/2015

KENNESAW, Ga.—LOUD Security Systems plans to acquire three companies by June, according to owner and president John Loud.

LOUD Security Systems wins business award

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06/12/2014

KENNESAW, Ga.—LOUD Security Systems was named the 2014 Small Business of the Year by the Cobb Chamber of Commerce at the Chamber’s June First Monday Breakfast, presented by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, according to a news release.

Acquiring thy neighbor?

Best practices according to Jennings, Egan, Loud, Goldstein and Cerasuolo
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07/17/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—One of the best ways for security companies to build density is to acquire a local competitor, but there also are potential pitfalls when doing business in your backyard, according to five security company executives who have experience with these kinds of transactions.

AT&T bringing home security in Dallas and Atlanta this summer

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Monday, May 7, 2012

It’s official now …. AT&T plans to bring its home security/home automation offering to Atlanta this summer … and also to Dallas, the Dallas-based telecom announced today. It’s the start of a nationwide launch, the company said.

AT&T’s Digital Life services will be professionally monitored from AT&T owned and operated 24/7 monitoring stations, the company said in a May 7 news release.

The company announced this morning that it plans to begin trials of Digital Life in Atlanta and Dallas this summer. Connected devices offered will include cameras, window, door, smoke and carbon monoxide sensors, thermostats and appliance power controls, the company said.

I learned late last year that AT&T planned to come to Atlanta, where its new Digital Life Services division will be based. Although the company declined to confirm the move at that time, I talked to John Loud, president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety and Security Association and owner of Kennesaw, Ga.-based Loud Security Systems, who said he had learned about the plan from an AT&T representative.

According to a report in The Dallas Morning News, an AT&T spokesman said that its Digital Life offering will benefit from “AT&T’s involvement with a smart home startup company called Xanboo,” which it acquired in December 2010.

Just a year ago, Security Systems News reported that AT&T was terminating its Xanboo dealer agreement. AT&T wouldn’t comment on what the company was going to do with the Xanboo technology, but there was speculation then that AT&T was going to get directly involved in the security business.

I'll continue to report on this story. Here’s more from AT&T’s release:
 

AT&T Plans Nationwide Launch of Wireless-centric Home Security and Automation Services

Checking on the welfare of loved ones, protecting your home from intruders, fire or water damage,  unlocking a door for the repairman or changing the temperature setting on the thermostat – and doing it from wherever you happen to be, here or abroad  – can be as easy as if you were right at home.

AT&T today announced plans for a new portfolio of all-digital, IP-based home security monitoring and automation services.  Called AT&T Digital LifeTM, , the services will give users unparalleled control and security of their homes using any web-enabled device, PCs, tablets and smartphones, regardless of wireless carrier.

AT&T plans to begin trials in Atlanta and Dallas this summer.

Managed by a newly created Digital Life group, the remote monitoring and automation portfolio will feature web-based access to automation, energy and water controls, as well as professionally monitored security services.

“The AT&T Digital Life service has the potential to take home monitoring and home security solutions to another level,” said Larry Hettick, Research Director, Consumer Services, for Current Analysis. “The service promises to be as robust as anything in the marketplace today backed by the trusted AT&T brand. I am particularly impressed with its IP-based wireless platform, plans for a nationwide offering, and a wide range of devices that can be monitored and viewed from any carrier’s wireless or wireline Internet connection. These consumer-friendly capabilities will help grow this industry.”

AT&T Digital Life will feature a robust lineup of connected devices like:

    Cameras
    Window/door sensors
    Smoke, carbon monoxide, motion and glass break sensors
    Door locks
    Thermostats
    Moisture detection
    Appliance power controls

The devices will be wirelessly enabled to connect to the IP-based AT&T Digital Life platform inside the home.

"AT&T Digital Life will change the way people live, work and play -- and meets a clear need in the market,” said Kevin Petersen, senior vice president, Digital Life, AT&T Mobility.  “The service is smart, simple and customer centric– freeing homeowners to do the things they want to do without compromising on the things they need to do to care for family and home.”

Unique Digital Life Trial Features

AT&T Digital Life will include numerous unique features and benefits:

    Professional installation of the platform, sensors and other devices
    Integrated, wirelessly enabled platform that combines home security and automation capabilities
    AT&T owned and operated 24/7 security monitoring centers
    A state-of-the-art user interface application, which allows customers to customize a solution based on individual needs, and the ability to manage and control their services from the U.S. or while traveling abroad
    The option to experience and purchase the service in AT&T’s distribution channels, including AT&T company-owned retail stores. The service will also be made available for purchase on att.com when available commercially.
    The ability to add more features and services after the initial installation, hassle free

The Digital Life platform includes built-in AT&T mobile internet service and will also be capable of Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and wired broadband connections. Trial subscribers can use their own wired broadband solution with the Digital Life system and can access the service and remotely control the products from smartphones, tablets and PCs, regardless of carrier.

“We’re planning a unique suite of services, from start to finish, that will give homeowners control of their property and their possessions through an easy to navigate user interface,” Petersen said.  “Our focus is on providing our customers with a comprehensive home security and automation solution that offers the best possible customer experience, and uses the most advanced mobile internet technology on the market to make their lives easier and keep their families and property safer.”

In February, AT&T announced plans to launch an SDK for international providers to equip global service providers with capabilities to offer customizable, web-based home automation, energy and security services to their subscribers.

 

AT&T to enter Atlanta security market

The telecom is not yet revealing details of its products and services, but it will reportedly open its own monitoring station
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12/07/2011

KENNESAW, Ga.—The news that AT&T is creating a new Atlanta-based division to offer customers home security and home automation—and that it reportedly will open its own monitoring station—carries some positive implications for local alarm companies, said John Loud, owner of Loud Security Systems, which is based here.

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