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Need lower attrition? Balance price and value

Analyzing customers’ habits can be the key to long-term retention, says Devcon’s Brandon Savage
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05/07/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—When it comes to alarm services, customers can choose packages ranging from a Pinto to a Ferrari. If you’re lucky, they’ll pony up for a Ferrari. But will they get their money’s worth by putting it through its paces?

Barnes Associates/SSN wholesale monitoring survey finds accounts up nearly 11 percent in 2012

Michael Barnes calls results 'very positive indicator' for industry
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03/13/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—The wholesale monitoring industry posted surprisingly strong growth in 2012, with accounts increasing 10.7 percent and average RMR for alarm companies following nearly in lock step, according to a new survey led by Barnes Associates.

Monitoring America: All for one, one for all

Central station co-op going strong with formula of joint ownership and annual dividends
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03/13/2013

TULSA, Okla.—For the alarm company owners who pooled their resources to form the Monitoring America cooperative in 1989, the premise was simple: A sum is greater than its parts, especially when it comes to getting personal service from a central station and a return on your investment.

Checkpoint plans to sell CheckView, monitoring center

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03/06/2013

THOROFARE, N.J.—Checkpoint Systems, a global supplier of loss-prevention products and solutions for the retail industry, announced this week that it is planning to sell its CheckView business, including CheckView’s monitoring center in Minnesota.

Is your social media strategy up to par?

If it’s not, your bottom line and reputation could be suffering, experts tell a CSAA audience
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02/13/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Yelp.

If your alarm company isn’t familiar with these big hitters in social media, eventually it will be—whether you like it or not. The key is to embrace the tools that otherwise could be used against you, or at the very least used by your competition to profit at your expense.

Should you dread a UL audit?

Not if you’ve done your homework and you know what to expect, two specialists tell the CSAA
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02/05/2013

VIENNA, Va.—For central stations pursuing UL certification or expecting their first audit, there can be uncertainty and maybe even a touch of anxiety. It’s an important benchmark—will your facility be able to stand up to the scrutiny?

ASAP getting closer to reaching ‘critical mass’

Central stations stepping up to speed alarm notifications to PSAPs
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02/01/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—After big strides in 2012 that put an array of technical and logistical challenges behind it, the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol is getting closer to reaching “critical mass” nationwide, according to ASAP proponent Ed Bonifas.

Hertel to head new CSAA Video Committee, oversee subcommittees

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01/11/2013

VIENNA, Va.—Morgan Hertel, vice president of operations at Rapid Response Monitoring Services, has been named chairman of the new CSAA Video Committee, according to a statement from the organization.

New year, new urgency on AT&T's 2G sunset

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

One of the most newsworthy items for the alarm industry in 2012 was AT&T’s announcement that it will shut down 2G service by Jan. 1, 2017. Everyone knew the day was coming, but there had been a lot of speculation in the field about exactly when cellular equipment would need to be upgraded to stay ahead of the sunset.

With the uncertainty gone, the industry now faces the reality of swapping millions of devices that use AT&T’s GSM/GPRS network. Choices must be made that involve assessing the longevity, coverage and cost of competing technologies. The larger the company, the larger the stakes.

SSN covered developments on the 2G sunset throughout 2012, presenting opinions from industry experts and a few rebuttals about the best path for dealers to take. For those still unsure about which way to go, a summation of options is provided by Syed Zaeem Hosain, chief technical officer at Aeris Communications, in the latest issue of CSAA Dispatch. Here’s what he had to say:

Change service to T-Mobile. It may be possible to move service from AT&T to T-Mobile by swapping the SIM [card] inside devices. This requires a truck roll. Furthermore, T-Mobile will also remove 2G eventually. Thus, this option only delays the inevitable by about two years; however, it allows additional time for implementing other options. It could require two truck rolls: one to replace the SIM soon, and another to replace the 2G GSM device later.
 

Replace with 3G HSPA. Alarm device suppliers are making new 3G HSPA devices. However, the HSPA coverage is much smaller than GPRS and, in time, HSPA spectrum also will need to be swapped for LTE. Thus, there is likely to be an “HSPA sunset” starting in about seven to eight years. This sunset would be worse, since the number of deployed alarm units will be much higher.

Replace with 2G CDMA. Alarm device suppliers have not yet supported this option, though it is likely the best. CDMA carriers have committed to 10-plus years of service longevity, and the 1xRTT coverage is better than GSM. Given the lower cost of 1xRTT radios and the large number of deployed 1xRTT applications in other industries (notably automotive and trucking) supporting the technology, using 1xRTT for alarm units makes sense.

Replace with 4G LTE. Deploying LTE devices is not viable for the alarm industry today. Radio costs are very high, and coverage is simply not sufficient for national deployments. Both will improve in time, but not at a pace that makes it a viable replacement option today. Carriers have not yet worked out LTE roaming agreements—these also will take time. Most importantly, the spectrum fragmentation for LTE means that current-generation LTE radios are single band (dedicated for use on a single carrier when in LTE mode). This is too restrictive, since these units can never be moved from one carrier to another.

Whichever route is chosen, it should be noted that the four-year window is a best-case scenario. Frequency harvesting is expected to dilute AT&T’s 2G coverage well before the sunset, with constraints already being reported in some areas. While the best choice for dealers seems to vary depending on who—or which manufacturer—you talk to, one thing is clear: Procrastination is no longer an option.

William Cooper, chairman of multiple CSAA committees, dies at home

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12/13/2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky.—William “Bill” Cooper IV died peacefully at home on Dec. 4, 2012, surrounded by loved ones.

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