New Bold module monitors Twitter, Facebook

Tracking social media could mean more revenue for central stations, company says
 - 
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Bold Technologies is rolling out software that will allow customers to monitor traffic on Twitter and other social media sites, potentially opening the door to a new revenue stream for central stations.

The Social Media Monitoring Module tracks messages and triggers alarms when certain pre-determined keywords or phrases are used. Schools, for example, can monitor for words related to bullying, or for a combination of words like gun and bomb that could signal dangerous activity.

The module delivers the alarms into Manitou, Bold’s central station automation software. As with traditional alarms, operators are given steps to follow after an alarm is received, including a list of people to call. The module also can be used for mass-notification postings on Twitter, according to Bold.

Rod Coles, president and CEO of Bold, said keywords can be weighted differently based on parameters established by the customer. When a certain threshold is reached, an alarm is generated.

“Let’s say that I want to search in the Fort Collins (Colo.) area,” Coles told Security Systems News. “I can search for ‘CSU’ [Colorado State University] and give that five points. If somebody types ‘gun,’ I’m going to give that 20. If somebody puts in ‘shoot,’ I’m going to give that 20. You could set your threshold at 30 points and say with anything above that, I’m going to send in an alarm.”

Geo-fencing can be used to limit the monitored area to a city block or a neighborhood, or the target area could be global, Coles said.

“I could set up [parameters] with ‘Security Systems News’ and ‘Bold Technologies’ so that any time those two things are Tweeted together anywhere, or maybe mentioned on Facebook, I would receive an alarm,” he said.

Bob Bishop, a product manager for Bold, said during a recent ESX webinar that a customer in the United Kingdom is using the module to monitor venues at the upcoming Summer Olympics in London.

“One of the things that we’ve noticed is a lot of different organizations are starting to use Twitter as a means to create a flash mob or to get participants involved,” he said. “By offering the social media [module], we now have a means to monitor for anything that may be dangerous or malicious and present that as an alarm to an operator.”

Bold is also marketing the module to companies that want to monitor product trends or keep tabs on their online reputation.

“Say it’s a hotel chain,” Coles said. “Maybe one of the bathrooms is blocked up. Well, people will Tweet about it before they’ll complain to management. So you can even monitor what is happening in your hotel.”

Coles said the module will give central stations and alarm companies a way to differentiate themselves from competitors and tap markets that previously may not have been available. The module is in the beta phase and will be officially launched at ESX in Nashville, Tenn., at the end of June.

“We haven’t designed this purely as a way for central stations to generate revenue, but I think that will come,” he said. “I saw this as something that was coming into our industry and I wanted us to be the first to bring it to the central station environment.”