It looks like another big traditional alarm company has gotten into the medical alert monitoring business. I've blogged recently about traditional security companies getting into medical alert monitoring, and about other companies exploiting an under-served market. It just seems once you've got the equipment in place, medical monitoring, personal tracking--protecting people rather than locations--is a natural extension. Should more traditional alarm companies jump on the bandwagon? Should traditional medical alert monitoring companies like SafetyCare be worried? As Christopher Baskin of American Two-Way once said to me, "A rising tide floats all boats."
I just came across this blog post this morning, and I have to say, I'm a little disappointed, if not surprised. In trying to gather information for existing stories and even to just say hello and see what's new, I've come across the same hang ups, and the same very short behavior. In the preceding, linked blog post, this poor person was met not only with rudeness from her central station operator, but an overwhelming display of nonchalant unconcern. You can almost see the operator shrugging and staring off into space while jawing on a wad of gum like cud, as if to say "not my problem." A central station operator is the most important facet of an alarm system owner's interaction with the security industry. The operator is the liaison between the end user and everyone else. Most likely, when an operator is dealing with an end user the end user is going to be scared, worked up, angry, confused... the list goes on and on. It's an operator's job to be calm, kind, helpful, knowledgeable and accommodating. Training, training, training. It's just too bad this end user now has bad feelings about not only the security industry, but humanity in general, due to one operator's specific handling of an incident. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Just got this press release through my Google Alerts. Looks like the bad economy isn't hitting everyone. Well, there's some good news. And it's the first day of spring, so that's not so bad either. And if you're in the Wilkes-Barre region you've got free Italian Ice, which also rocks. Enjoy the day.
I was pleased to see get an email recently from John Sternal, proprietor of the Understanding Marketing website, concerning a new toolkit for small business owners, including security products professionals. According to the attached release:
Security products professionals need help promoting their services in this market but do not wish to hire a PR agency for increased media exposure. To help overcome this, Understanding Marketing [on March 17] launched the PR Toolkit, an affordable new e-Book that helps smaller firms generate their own public relations tactics to increase their client base. Authored by John Sternal, a seasoned PR professional of nearly 20 years, the new PR Toolkit provides insight to help small businesses leverage the power of media awareness to promote their companies and generate bigger profits. Understanding Marketing offers DIY marketing and PR information for small businesses and the PR Toolkit serves as an agency-in-a-box for any company looking to insource and get publicity on a shoestring budget.Well, any small business could use all the PR help they can get in this economy.
I love all the little extras you get with ISC West. Granted, this will be my first ISC West show, and I have no point of reference for how this one differs from years' past, but I'm just really wowed at all the promises of cool stuff there. I heard a while ago that Monitronics is going to have UFC champion Chuck Liddell on hand at their booth. I also just heard that Iveda Solutions will be sharing their ISC West booth with John Deere (yeah, the green-tractor people, or for those more into country music, the titular, colored tractor of the timeless Joe Diffie classic) and showing their proof-of-concept video of an impressive piece of hardware. I don't have a link for that one, but here's a bit of the news from Bryce Witcher at Iveda:
Our goal is to show off at ISC West and give people a taste of how their security applications will be facilitated in the future. (Actually, the future is now, as the data infrastructure that makes our solution so robust has already been built and is currently in use.) In addition to showing what we are doing, John Deere (the heavy equipment manufacturer) will be sharing space in our booth to show their latest proof-of-concept product, the R-Gator. It is a semi-autonomous vehicle designed for patrolling areas that might be dangerous or inefficient for people to patrol. This includes huge installations like wind farms and power plants, or even border patrol areas. It carries on-board cameras that can be connected to our data center via wireless broadband cellular or other connections to the Internet. This is a really cool application.My fearless editor Sam Pfeifle recently blogged on this same phenomenon. Cool stuff, cool stuff, cool stuff. For those a little less into action, less into ultimate fighting and cool, green, autonomous, border-patrol vehicles, Mission 500 will be there holding a silent auction to benefit needy children. There'll be lots there for everyone in the industry. I'm very much looking forward to it.
I came across this release from PRWeb in my google alerts this morning, and the first thing I want to say is kudos to Los Angeles-based S2-Security Solutions for being in the right place at the right time and helping make the world a better place through the cleaning up of our night time streets. I was interested in the headline of the press release: "Rising unemployment = rising crimes, mail thief caught red-handed in Sacramento." I blogged previously on this debate. Does a bad economy naturally force otherwise well-balanced and law abiding citizens into a life of crime? Or is it just that those who are going to steal are going to steal, and we're all more willing to look for and believe in bad news during tough times? Either way, fears of increased crime DO appear to drive the security industry, which can, especially in this case, be a good thing. My whole problem with the bad economy=more crime assumption is that the kind of guy who would break into an apartment complex mailbox bank and steal people's pension and social security checks, birthday cards, and mail order prescriptions is the kind of dirt bag who would do these things anyway, even if the economy was doing great. I mean, this guy wasn't any Jean Valjean , okay? He would stupidly steal people's mail (opening even one person's birthday card to fish for cash is a federal offense, by the way, Einstein) anyway, just like he would kick a box of puppies or kittens. Even if he were in a good mood. I suppose it doesn't matter whether the people perpetrating crimes are being forced into said moral backslide by the economy or by a drug habit. The important question is, do crimes go up in conjunction with unemployment and a bad economy. Hm... Well, in this case, it looks like they did. I'm just glad they caught this guy. Hurray for live video monitoring!
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.