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Net neutrality ruling looks good so far, AICC says

Unknown specific details will tell the whole tale
 - 
03/11/2015

WASHINGTON—The recent FCC ruling on net neutrality appears to give security professionals a “level playing field,” but it remains to be seen if it will fully satisfy the industry, according to Lou Fiore, chairman of AICC.

AICC takes on net neutrality, dropped signals

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

CSAA recently posted on its site about the matter of net neutrality, as well as sending out a message from Alarm Industry Communications Committee chair Lou Fiore concerning the topic. Capitol Hill has various items up for consideration on net neutrality, according to Fiore.

 “Our goal at this point is simply to let Congress know we are here again and what our needs are as primarily small businesses. At some point legislation will move forward, probably as a rewrite of the Telecommunications Act, and we want to ensure we are not forgotten,” Fiore said in the message.

Net neutrality is the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated the same by Internet service providers. This has been an ongoing issue for the security industry and carries with it serious implications.

“Our primary concern is that broadband and wireless network providers are increasingly offering services that compete with us in providing home and business security services. Without some protection for smaller players, these network providers will have an incentive to favor their own security services and ‘throttle’ or ‘block’ our emergency signals in order to gain a competitive advantage,” CSAA said on its site.

CSAA also provides a letter template to be sent to key members of Congress, along with contact information for these key people. CSAA urges its members to contact their local congressperson by Feb. 26, and to emphasize the personal aspect of their company's situation in this issue.

The association has also posted other stances the industry has taken on this issue, as well as a portion of the 1996 telecommunications act, on its site.

In addition to this push towards net neutrality, AICC announced today the start researching the matter of dropped signals from digital alarm communications transmitters. This will be done through a survey also available on CSAA's site.

According to a recent press release from CSAA, findings from this effort will be made available at the next AICC meetings in March and June of 2015.

'Net neutrality' necessary for alarm signals

Industry takes action to ensure ISPs do not interfere with alarm data; ESA, AICC petition FCC
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09/10/2014

WASHINGTON—Concerned about fair, reliable and accurate transmission of alarm data, the ESA and the Alarm Industry Communications Committee are urging the FCC to support net neutrality.

CSAA launches pair of surveys

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07/01/2014

VIENNA, Va.—The Central Station Alarm Association has launched a pair of surveys, one dealing with the proposed “Alarm Monitoring Model Licensing Act,” and another with industry compensation practices, according to separate news releases from the CSAA.

Is the 2G sunset causing outages?

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Friday, September 27, 2013

AT&T’s 2012 announcement that it would phase out 2G service left most in the alarm industry, well, unfazed. With wireless technology, such changes come with the territory. Moreover, it’s not the alarm industry but the mobile phone industry that dictates network “sunsets.” As Lou Fiore, Chairman of the Alarm Industry Communications Commission, put it in a recent conversation: “As long as you go cellular, there is no endgame here.”

A few months after the initial announcement, AT&T attached a deadline (Jan 1, 2017) to its 2G sunset. Since that time, the AICC has established a regular line of communication with AT&T, which sends a representative to attend the organization’s quarterly meetings.

AT&T informed AICC that, while interim changes would take place in advance of the 2G sunset, the changes would not affect the alarm industry. AICC members, Fiore said, were “skeptical.”

“We tried to impress upon [AT&T] the fact that our control sets hang on the wall, and if you change the operating parameters of that network, it may not work anymore,” Fiore said. “You can’t ask the homeowner to move the unit around to see if it works.”

Fiore, who is in the process of gathering information regarding possible outages for units tied to AT&T’s 2G network, said that in given locations, customers might still get 2G coverage but that there’s a chance it “won’t be as deep as it was before.”

Fortunately, there are some steps alarm companies can take to mitigate outages. Companies can switch to AT&T's 3G or 4G network by choosing matching hardware from a cellular alarm communicator, or to one of AT&T's competitors (the 3G and 4G networks of Verizon and Sprint are an option, Fiore said). Certain companies may be able to go with a wired network, but this is highly contingent upon business model, Fiore noted.

Still three years from the deadline, AT&T’s 2G sunset promises to be a story with several more chapters. I’ll be watching closely to see what kind of ripple effects it has on the industry.

Monitor America debuts at ISC East

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

SecureWatch 24’s new Fusion Centre in Moonachie, N.J., has a new tenant: Monitor America.

That’s the name of the company that will be operating the 25,000-square-foot central station at the facility, which served as an emergency command post for police and municipal officials after Hurricane Sandy.

Jay Stuck, chief marketing officer for Monitor America, said the company “brings together virtually all existing alarm and hosted video services available today, including video analytics, in one central point.”

Stuck said Monitor America is developing a third-party sales initiative and a traditional dealer program. It will all be anchored by the advanced technology at the Fusion Centre, with a 40-by-11-foot video display wall overlooking stadium-style seating for 36 operators.

“It looks like something NASA might put together—our dealer customers and integrators will be knocked out by it,” he said.

Monitor America is hosting a sneak preview of its new facility during ISC East and is expected to begin formal operations by the end of January.

After the storm: How did you cell carrier measure up?

It’s only been a month since Sandy, but officials are already deep into assessing its impact on everything from tunnel vulnerability to emergency communications. Part of the evaluation concerns cellular service, with FCC hearings set early next year on network performance during and after the storm.

Lou Fiore, chairman of the Alarm Industry Communications Committee, said the group plans to weigh in and is seeking comment on the following:

1) How alarm service was adversely affected by cellular carriers’ handling of the storm.
2) How cell carriers handled prioritizing restoration of service.
3) How cell carriers communicated with alarm companies about storm issues.
4) How any problems can be resolved.

Fiore said the issue will be discussed at the AICC’s Dec. 6 meeting and all comments are appreciated. Responses can be sent to Ltfiore@aol.com.
 

AICC: New law would supersede Delaware mandate for in-state office

Proposed federal legislation targets duplicative and ‘time-consuming’ requirements by states
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09/05/2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—A mandate for security businesses to have an in-state office to operate in Delaware would be superseded by legislation awaiting consideration by Congress, according to Lou Fiore, chairman of the Alarm Industry Communications Commission.

AT&T’s 2G shutdown in Oakland false alarm for industry

Frequency blackout didn’t affect alarm companies, CAA says
 - 
09/05/2012

OAKLAND, Calif.—AT&T’s move to partially disable its 2G service here at the end of August got the attention of California Alarm Association members, but the frequency blackout did not affect operations in the field, according to CAA Executive Director Jerry Lenander.

Bill to deregulate telecoms in Pa. concerns industry

AICC says legislation would give telecoms like Verizon unfair advantage over security company competitors, but Verizon denies that
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08/08/2012

HARRISBURG, Pa.—Proposed legislation in Pennsylvania to deregulate the telecommunications industry in the state would give an unfair advantage to telecom providers of home security services, according to an attorney with the Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC).

Talking mobile apps and new entrants at ESX

 - 
Tuesday, July 3, 2012

New entrants into the security industry and mobile apps where major topics of interest at the ESX show in Nashville, Tennessee where Tess, Rich and I spent the last week.

I moderated three panel discussions on three different topics on Tuesday, but both of these topics came up in all three. And they came up in many other educational sessions last week,

I moderated a panel called “Technology Trends Impacting your Business,” with Wells Sampson from American Alarm, David Carter of SNA, and Lou Fiore of AICC.

Much of the discussion centered around mobile apps. Both Carter and Sampson are proponents of offering mobile apps “at every sale.”

The new cableco and telecom entrants, and many traditional security companies, are going to be doing this, they said. You ignore this trend at your peril, they agreed.

However, it’s much easier said than done. To get his sales force on board with this initiative, Sampson took several steps. There was the educational piece, which is ongoing, but he has a staff member calling every customer to ensure that mobile apps are offered at every sale.

In addition, all of his sales people are equipped with an iPad, so that they can easily demonstrate how the apps work.

A person from the audience said that his sales people have this technology at home, and it’s made them better ambassadors for these services.

Several people questioned what the adoption rate is for mobile apps, and Sampson said the projections are admittedly low. He is not concerned with that at this point. He just wants to ensure that these services are being offered, so customers know they’re available.

I have heard figures during ADT investment calls that their new interactive services PULSE offering has an adoption rate north of 25 percent. 

And during a different panel discussion I moderated at ESX “The New Competitive Landscape: Telcos, Cable Companies and Beyond” one of the panelists, Joe Nuccio, CEO of ASG shared an interesting metric.

At ASG, from May 12, 2011 to May 11, 2012, 56 percent of new residential sales opted for “enhanced services.”

Of course, we’re talking about resi and small business sales here, but this trend is applicable to larger commercial and enterprise systems as well.

American Alarm and other SNA companies, and ASG both do a lot of large commercial/government systems, and those customers want mobile apps, Sampson, Carter and Nuccio said.

At the PSA-TEC conference in May, Jim Henry of Henry Brothers/Kratos held up his mobile phone and said: “We’re going to see more changes in the next 18 months in this industry than we’ve seen in the last 10 years.”

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