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Tweet smart: Cashing in on social media

 - 
Wednesday, September 12, 2012

You don’t have to look very hard to find an alarm company that isn’t keeping pace with technology. It can be difficult to stay on top of the latest and greatest, and some people are reluctant—or even defiant—when it comes to saying goodbye to the tried and true in favor of the Next Big Thing.

That attitude often spills over to the world of social media. Facebook? Twitter? “Friends” and Tweets fly just fine for the junior set, but we’re adults here. Besides, who has that kind of time to throw around?

Maybe your competition.

Social media is rapidly becoming a must-have business tool, and companies that aren’t wielding it effectively risk selling themselves short in an increasingly aggressive marketplace. Exposure and name recognition can translate into accounts no matter where you’re based or how big you are.

That fact hasn’t been lost on the Central Station Alarm Association, which will host a webinar Nov. 7 on social media strategies and how they can affect your business. Teresa Brewer of System Sensor and Michael Kremer of Intertek/ETL will discuss how to use social media to acquire customers or get referrals, boost attendance at company-sponsored events, and increase inquiries via your website or over the phone.

For those who have a success story to pass along, email Brewer at Teresa.brewer@systemsensor.com or Kremer at Michael.kremer@intertek.com. Registration information for the webinar will be available soon on the CSAA’s website.

Welcome aboard: In other CSAA news, the group’s international board of directors has approved Jay Hauhn as first vice president of the Executive Committee and Peter Lowitt as secretary. Hauhn is CTO of Tyco Integrated Security; Lowitt is president of Hicksville, N.Y.-based Lowitt Alarms & Security.

“The CSAA Nominating Committee did an exceptional job in vetting these outstanding candidates, and the unanimous vote of the board of directors reflects the complete confidence of the board in both of these exceptional gentlemen,” CSAA Executive Vice President Steve Doyle said in a prepared statement.

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).

Sizing up the competition

Go small for better service and big for better pricing? It’s not always that easy when comparing central stations
 - 
08/07/2012

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”
That pearl of wisdom from baseball legend Satchel Paige could very well be applied to the world of wholesale alarm monitoring. The competition is fierce and getting fiercer, raising the stakes for central stations of all sizes. Dissatisfaction over real or perceived problems can prompt a dealer to jump ship, costing a company a chunk of RMR and maybe even a bit of its reputation.

Hottest security trend in the palm of your hand

Mobile devices top the list at a CSAA-sponsored webinar
 - 
08/06/2012

VIENNA, Va.—It should come as no surprise to anyone in the industry who owns a smartphone or tablet: That mother lode of technology you constantly find glued to your hand is the hottest trend in security.

Going mobile

The changing PERS market presents opportunities, challenges for central stations
 - 
07/25/2012

America’s elderly population is increasing and is becoming increasingly mobile, with health care technology advancing in lock step. That fact hasn’t been lost on the monitoring world, which is gearing up for new revenue opportunities that will accompany the growth of personal emergency response systems (PERS) and mobile PERS devices.

ASAP to PSAP: Full speed ahead

 - 
Tuesday, July 3, 2012

For central stations wondering if they’ll ever be part of ASAP to PSAP, there was good news from ESX 2012: Progress continues to be made.

Show attendees got an update on the protocol at a seminar led by Mark McCall of United Central Control, Glenn Schroeder of the Security Network of America, Pam Petrow and Anita Ostrowski of Vector Security, and Melissa Courville of DICE Corp.

While ASAP might not be advancing fast enough to satisfy everyone in the industry, the panelists in Nashville listed a number of bullet points that detailed the gains. Among them:

—A CSAA-owned message broker is up and running at the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (Nlets) facility in Arizona. The server acts as a scrubber for transmissions being forwarded from monitoring companies to public safety answering points.

—A trademark process has been completed to certify the ASAP name and logo.

—ANSI version 3.3 of the protocol is currently live in Richmond, Va., and it is scheduled to go online in other pilot project locations by the end of the year.

—ASAP leaders have expanded their outreach to the PSAP community in 2012, with presentations to groups including the Texas Police Chiefs Association and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.

The three municipalities involved in the pilot project—Richmond, Va., York County, Va., and Houston—are scheduled to be joined soon by Tempe, Ariz., and James City County, Va. On the monitoring side, Alarm Detection Systems and ADT are in line to join pilot participants Vector Security, UCC and Monitronics.

McCall, director of information technology and facility security officer at UCC, told the seminar audience that central stations planning to become part of ASAP may find that the requirements “are a little bit more than what your operation is used to now.”

“Remember what we’re connecting to,” he said, referring to Nlets. “We’re connecting to the same network that every police department, every fire department and every emergency agency is connected to. Nlets is responsible for the integrity of that network, and for us as an industry to play in their sandbox, we have to meet their security requirements.”

On the plus side, most of those concerns were alleviated with the deployment of the message broker, McCall said. Other ASAP issues involving the preparation of automation vendors and CAD providers are being addressed, and the CSAA is creating a new website—www.asaptopsap.org—to keep interested parties informed.

“The materials are continually being added to and the CSAA will let everyone know when [the information] is ready for public consumption, as it will be sending out ASAP-dedicated email blasts to confirmed charter members at that time,” said Courville, co-chairwoman of the ASAP to PSAP Outreach Committee.

In the interim, she said inquires about the protocol should be addressed to Becky Lane (membership@csaaintl.org) or Monique Talbot (communications@csaaintl.org) at the CSAA.

The best of ESX: And the winners are ...

 - 
Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Just off the show floor after a very busy Wednesday at ESX, starting with the CSAA Excellence Awards Breakfast. There were a number of great seminars throughout the day and the floor was abuzz with networking. I assume everyone saved a little energy for the ESX Crawl …

I’m about to get out there myself to sample a little of that Nashville hospitality, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the award winners who highlighted the day. For those who might have missed it:

CSAA Central Station of the Year: Vivint
Honorable mention: United Central Control

CSAA Central Station Manager of the Year: Amy Becht, Vivint
Honorable mention: John Williams, Alarmco

CSAA Central Station Operator of the Year: Gale Gordon, The Protection Bureau
Honorable mention: Jorge Rodriguez, Monitronics

CSAA Central Station Support Person of the Year: David Palacios, UCC
Honorable mention: Kate Brickner, Vivint

ESX also announced its Maximum Impact Award winners for 2012. Hats off to the following:

Overall winner: 2GIG Technologies Go! 2.0

Best Access Control/ID Systems—Access Control System: Interlogix TruPortal

Best Access Control/ID Systems—Biometrics: 3M Cogent MiY-Card

Best Access Control/ID Systems—Telephone Entry Control/Intercom Systems: Optex iVision Plus

Best Accessories & Aids—Dealer Company Software: DICE Matrix Tech Service

Best Accessories & Aids—Mobile Applications: SedonaOffice, SedonaFSU Web Edition

Best Accessories & Aids—Installation Tool/Tester: Salient Systems, Salient University eLearning

Best Alarm Equipment—Alarm Signal Transmission Equipment: Telguard Cellular Communications for 3G/4G Networks

Best Alarm Equipment—Annunciators, Bells, Sirens, Strobes: Metis Secure Solutions, Metis Secure ENS

Best Alarm Equipment—Enhanced Video Alarm: Videofied-RSI Video Tech, IP Upgrade Kit with Videofied Free

Best Alarm Equipment—Intrusion Alarm Control Panels: Interlogix Simon XTi

Best Alarm Equipment—Intrusion Sensors/Detectors: Honeywell Security Group 5816OD

Best Alarm Equipment—PERS Hardware: SilverFox Link Watch/Pendant PERS System

Best Alarm Equipment—Wireless Alarm Systems: 2GIG Technologies Go! 2.0

Best Central Station Equipment—Central Station Software: DICE Matrix Fire Inspection

Best Central Station Equipment—Remote Video Monitoring Equipment/Software: SureView Systems Immix Cloud

Best Services—Alarm Monitoring: Bold Technologies UniversalConnector

Best Services—Dealer Marketing Services: BlueStar Security Solutions FUSION

Best Services—Security as a Service (SaaS): Honeywell Security Group MAXPRO Cloud

Best Services—Video Monitoring Services: I-View Now

Best Video Security—Cameras: Altronix eBridge IP over Coax Adapters

Best Video Security—Video Analytics: CheckVideo, CheckVideo HD Megapixel IP Bullet Camera (CV135)

Best Video Security—Video Surveillance System: Axis Communications, AXIS Camera Companion

That’s it for now. The weather prognosticators are calling for a summer stew over the next couple of days in Nashville, so the ESX show floor will be the place to be. See you out there …

Tuning up, tuning in for ESX Nashville

 - 
Monday, June 25, 2012

Off and running shortly in Nashville for ESX, which promises to be the biggest and most informative edition in the event's five-year history. The show returns to its roots this year after stops in Pittsburgh and Charlotte, and people are already talking about the ESX Crawl. There will be a lot of business before the pleasure, though, and here are a few highlights:

—The ESA Eye-Opener Breakfast on Tuesday will shine the spotlight on Security System News' "20 under 40" Class of 2012, young professionals who are already making their mark on the industry and likely will continue to do so for many years to come. They'll share stories of how they've gotten to this point in their careers and talk about the people who have helped them get there.

—Later in the day, show attendees who want a backstage look at a CSAA Five Diamond central station will get their chance when ADS Security opens its doors for a tour of its monitoring facility in Nashville. The session is sponsored by Honeywell Security Group.

—Who will head home with the CSAA's Excellence Awards for 2012? Find out at the group's annual breakfast Wednesday morning, with awards for Central Station of the Year, Manager of the Year, Operator of the Year, and Support Person of the Year.

—Learn the latest on the evolution of ASAP to PSAP at a Wednesday morning session featuring Ed Bonifas of the CSAA and Alarm Detection Systems. Vector Security, UCC and Monitronics have taken the reins during the pilot phase of the program, but the CSAA had 75 other companies waiting to adopt ASAP at the beginning of 2012. It's an exciting time for exciting technology that is advancing every day.

That's just a taste of what ESX is serving up this year. There is a long list of seminars at www.esxweb.com, and there will be four days of networking on the show floor. And the Crawl, of course. I'll be doing my best to make the most of it. See you there ...

Mason Monitoring faces challenge over use of symbol, name

State Masonic lodge seeks 'appropriate remedy' against N.Y. company
 - 
06/13/2012

KINGS PARK, N.Y.--Mason Monitoring Inc., a Long Island-based company that has drawn attention for offering $2 burglar and fire alarm accounts, is being challenged over the use of a Masonic symbol and the word "Mason" in its marketing.

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