I just found out the City of Richmond, Va. has moved beyond the testing phase for the External Alarm Interface Exchange project I wrote about earlier in the year. The two year pilot program saw more efficient handling of data transmission from alarm panels to centrals to PSAPs and eventually led to the computer aided dispatch system being designated as an American National Standard. Vector helped with the program, and now Intergraph has put the program into practical application in Richmond. Proponents of the alarm signal automation standard say two to three minutes per alarm signal could be saved, allowing emergency responders to get on the scene of the emergency much more quickly, improving the chance of saving lives and protecting property. Look for a story on this at Security Systems News.
A release from Richard Hahn and Associates shows that altruism is alive and well in the security industry. According to the release, Mission 500, a non-profit, security industry-focused initiative that is dedicated to serving the needs of children and communities in crisis, raised funds to sponsor 70 needy children at the recent Expo Seguridad Mexico. In addition to an auction featuring donated electronics from corporate sponsors including Bolide, GE Security, Giprex, Samsung GVI, and Syscom, Mission 500 also received a $10,000 donation (from ticket sales) from Giprex and Ventas de Seguridad. Former Miss Mexico, Letty Murray was on hand to emcee the event and help motivate the crowd. Other corporate sponsors of and donors to the Mission 500 auction included Altronix, Bosch, CAA, DSC, HID Global, Inalarm Distribution, ISC West, LRG Marketing Communications, Expo Seguridad Mexico, Panasonic System Solutions Company, SIA, Ventas de Seguridad, and Quaddrix, among others. I blogged about another Mission 500 auction at ISC West that raised more than $12,000 for children in need.
I got this release from the NBFAA recently, and was impressed with the altruistic nature of their actions. According to the release, the NBFAA has awarded more than $45,000 in scholarships through the Youth Scholarship Program. Currently, a dozen state chapters participate in the national program. These states conduct local and state programs and their top student competes for the national NBFAA scholarships. The state programs generally award $1,000 or more to their winners. The NBFAA is the nation's oldest non profit trade association dedicated to representing, promoting, and supporting the electronic life-safety and security industry.
Life Alert (previously called LifeCall), the PERS company that gave us the iconic "Help, I've fallen, and I can't get up!" has won a victory in court. A year ago Life Alert was locked in a lawsuit with pharmacy chain CVS Caremark and its PERS partner, Connect America Medical Alarm Company, which markets its PERS products through CVS' retail chains. My predecessor Leischen Stelter wrote all about. On May 26, the U.S. District Court sided with Life Alert in its legal battle against Medical Guardian, LLC, Tracking Now, LLC and Tracking Now president Geoff Gross--Wait a minute... is he related to Connect America president Ken Gross, who was involved in the aforementioned lawsuit against CVS? ATTENTION GROSS FAMILY: PLEASE STOP MESSING WITH AMERICA'S ICONIC PERS COMPANY!! Medical Guardian, Tracking Now and Geoff Gross are now permanently enjoined from using Life Alert Emergency Response, Inc. trademarks in any way, including but not limited to, bidding on them as keywords in internet search engines. The injunction stems from a lawsuit filed by Life Alert against Tracking Now and Geoff Gross in July of 2008. Life Alert has been providing PERS services and helping seniors get back up for 22 years.
News from the CSAA informs us that Vector Security president John A. Murphy and Altronix Corp. president Alan Forman are deserving of some applause. The most recent edition of CSAA's Signals reports Murphy received the Triton Tri-Association Award in recognition of his industry statesmanship and his efforts to promote good working relationships among the three associations--CSAA, NBFAA and SIA. Established in 2004, the Triton Award recognizes an individual's commitment to advancing the industry through the work of the three associations. Past winners include Stan Martin, Charlie Darsch, Marc Mineau, and Ralph Sevinor. Forman won SIA's George R. Lippert Memorial Award in recognition of his contributions to SIA and the security industry. Congrats to both for careers well-led and well-recognized.
The CSAA has announced its Five Diamond program has reached an important milestone. Acadian Command Central, one of the central stations of Acadian On Watch, was the 100th central station to receive Five Diamond certification. Also this week, Per Mar Security Services of Davenport, La. announced it had renewed its Five Diamond certification. Congrats to Acadian Command Central and Per Mar! The CSAAâ€™s Five Diamond Certification program is designed to create standards of excellence for the industry. In order for a central station to earn its Five Diamond Certification, all its operators must undergo the online training course and pass a test, demonstrating proficiency in: alarm verification (reduction of false alarms); communications with public service answering points such as 911; electronic communications equipment; the codes and practices of such standards organizations as Underwriters Laboratories, Factory Mutual, and the National Fire Protection Association; the handling of a wide scenario of emergency preparedness situations. And for those central in Canada or South America who speak French or Spanish, the training, as I noted in a recent story, is now available in multiple languages with the cooperation of CANASA and ALAS. According to the CSAA, there are over 2,700 central stations in the United States, and of this group there are now a little more than 100 central stations that have undergone the process and achieved certification.
I came across this story from azfamily.com this morning and thought it was an interesting example of altruism in the industry, the more so because when I called Central Security Group seeking comment, the central station manager I spoke with had no idea what I was talking about. I relayed the story to him , and he checked their monitored account database and confirmed. "We're monitoring them, all right," he said, and promised to escalate my call to higher ups and see if I could get some more commentary on why Central decided to help these poor people out. It sure is nice to see people doing the right thing and not publicizing it; doing the right thing because it's right not because it will win them the recognition of news outlets like 3 On Your Side and SSN, who notice when people do the right thing. It's nice to see people in the industry doing nice things to keep public perception of the industry from tarnishing, even if it means they're eating the cost of some monthly RMR. I called PCA Security to try and get some input from them on what happened, and (actually, this is kind of funny) the same girl who answered the phone for poor Dawn Stapley when she tried to follow up with her alarm company answered my call. Just as in the azfamily story, the girl answered "Security, please hold!" before putting me on hold, which came complete with loud and--to my mind--unpleasant guitar rock music. She did eventually come back, though, and, after hearing why I called, asked me to call back later and speak with the boss, which I will do. I'll follow up on this story as more input becomes available.
The Alarm Monitoring Services 2009 Dealer Conference exceeded expectations as AMS dealers gathered together in New Orleans for three education-filled days, according to a release from Richard Hahn and Associates. I think it's a good sign that conferences appear to continue to do well, despite a poor economy. An industry needs investment in the form of educational endeavors, of which there were many at the 09 AMS Dealer Conference. Conference speakers included AMS' dealer services manager Brad O'Malley, Stiel Insurance's Marvin Brosset, C.J. Bruno of Compass Capital Management, industry lawyer Ken Kirschenbaum of Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum, PC, Roger Wahden of Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc., Louisiana-based CPA Pat Buckley, OzVision's Stan Silberstein, and AMS' own Rick and Dera Jolet I've written about it before: Keep participating, keep learning and continue to be good stewards of the industry. Plans are already in motion for next year's event, which will also celebrate Alarm Monitoring Services' 30th anniversary.
I just came across this story from ScienceDaily, and I thought I'd put a link up. The story cites security as one of the potential benefactors of the new storage medium: "They would be valuable for storing extremely large medical files such as MRIs and could also provide a boon in the financial, military and security arenas." Storage is becoming such an issue in the security industry with the continuing conversion to IP, I thought security readers at SSN might find it interesting. Maybe advances such as this will help bring the high price of video storage down. I can't imagine: 2,000 times the storage capacity of a normal DVD. Wow. That's a whole lot of archived video on one disk.
I got a press release from SIAC the other day. It's available here. SIAC Law Enforcement Liaison Glen Mowrey, with whom I've chatted on various occasions, summed it up best when he said "There's a tremendous amount of positive energy generated by these committees because people are coming together from different disciplines and sharing their best ideas and effective practices." It's all about team work and realizing that at the end of the day, we all want the same thing: We want the product/service to function efficiently, the way it's supposed to, so that the protection of life and property is assured. Mowrey continued: "I expect the number of these committees to continue to grow as alarm management practices are refined and improved nationwide." Let's hope so. I've written about it before, and it's true: everyone wins when we work together. Also from the release, Don Williams of the Mississippi BFAA noted that "Understanding that both law enforcement and alarm companies have different ideas on how to define success is the first step in creating a cohesive working environment. We both want to provide residents and business owners with the highest level of protection. Through mutual cooperation we can make this happen." Amen to that.