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UCC hires former CVS leader

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07/30/2013

SAN ANTONIO—United Central Control, a provider of monitored security services based here, has hired James Beaty, formerly the general manager of central station operations at CVS, to head its business development initiatives, according to a company statement.

Missouri city the latest to outsource false alarm services

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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The trend of municipalities outsourcing false alarm collection services continues, and as in past instances, the most recent agreement involves Irving, Texas-based PMAM, a global IT firm with four U.S. offices and an office in Mumbai. Their slogan is “Around the World, Around the Clock,” so you can see why their false alarm tracking and billing services might appeal to cities hoping to nip the problem in the bud. 

According to an article from KSMU (Ozarks Public Radio) in Springfield, Mo., the police department in that city is the latest to do away with its in-house handling of false alarms, opting to transfer those duties to PMAM. Springfield Police Department dispatchers receive as many as 400 false alarm calls a month, the article noted.

Like any outsourcing move, the new arrangement saves resources, authorities say. In addition to being a drag on budgets, false alarms also stretch law enforcement in potentially harmful ways, sometimes preventing or delaying response to critical calls.

The advantage of outsourcing false alarm services to a company like PMAM is that, ideally, the IT giant has the capabilities to identify a false alarm, home in on the cause (an installation flaw or dated system is often the culprit), and then teach people how to avert future false dispatches, and the fines that eventually accompany them.

According to the article, the Springfield Police Department has received roughly 2,100 false alarm calls thus far in 2013. The city’s ordinance levies a civil penalty fee, between $15 and $50, for those who have at least four false alarms. The charges escalate with each additional violation, according to the article.

False alarms are both a fiscal and logistical drain on towns and cities. But some of the things that might mitigate false dispatches, including system upgrades and more regular maintenance, are not always at the forefront of many customers’ minds.

It seems that until there’s more public awareness of the problem, and more measured steps to cripple the problem at its roots, municipal bodies are going to continue seeking out IT behemoths like PMAM for false alarm damage control.     

Acquiring thy neighbor?

Best practices according to Jennings, Egan, Loud, Goldstein and Cerasuolo
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07/17/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—One of the best ways for security companies to build density is to acquire a local competitor, but there also are potential pitfalls when doing business in your backyard, according to five security company executives who have experience with these kinds of transactions.

Doing your due diligence

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07/17/2013

YARMOUTH, Maine—When a bank considers making a loan to a security company it goes through a standard due diligence process, so if you’re a security company looking to acquire a competitor, “you should look for the same things that we look for in your business,” according to Jennifer Holloway, managing director in the Security Industry Group at The PrivateBank.

New options driving connected home growth

Home safety products top homeowners’ wish list of additional features
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07/17/2013

DALLAS—A survey of consumers by Parks Associates found that the more features homeowners have in a home control system, the more likely they are to recommend the system to family and friends.

Valenteen returns to The Protection Bureau

Despite a serious ailment and medical procedure, Wanda Valenteen’s comeback to The Protection Bureau is complete
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07/17/2013

EXTON, Pa.—She’s back. A few things might have changed during Wanda Valenteen’s two-year hiatus from the monitoring world, but the evolution of the industry, no matter how difficult to stay abreast of, is nothing compared to her experiences away from the professional sphere.

Capital Fire & Security invests in mesh

Madison integrator building out network
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07/16/2013

MADISON, Wis.—Capital Fire & Security, an integrator based here, has built out a new mesh network in this market and it’s expecting the adoption to accelerate as it launches a campaign to let current and new customers know about this new offering.

Credit scores and attrition: Correlation?

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Monday, July 15, 2013

The quest to reduce the dreaded attrition rate remains a high priority for anyone in the monitoring space, and companies continue to explore new ways to predict and prevent cancellations. Companies don’t just track attrition rates; they look for clues, like usage patterns, that could yield information about whether certain customers may be more prone to stay or go. 

While usage patterns remain a valuable tool for evaluating customers and forming effective business strategies (conventional wisdom says upsell to active users, and reduce prices to the less engaged), it’s not the only predictor companies use. There is also a significant correlation between credit scores, or Beacon scores, and attrition rates, according to Michael Barnes, a partner in the consulting and advisory firm Barnes Associates, who in a response on the CSAA’s Accent forum, said his firm reviewed data on over 2 million accounts. Here’s a bit of what he had to say:

“Generally speaking, the correlation changes over four ranges of scoring. Below 600, the statistical experience is very bad. That is, the accounts have a very high cancellation rate. Between 600 and 650 the results improve dramatically, with a general inflection point around 620+/-, which is why so many dealer programs (and, in some cases credit facilities) have restrictions around this area of scoring.”

Barnes added that scores above 700, in terms of attrition and retention, tend to behave the same as scores around 800. Scores in the ballpark of 650 tend to have poor cumulative performance, with the rates of cancellation almost twice as high over the first four years, Barnes notes. Unsurprisingly, rates of “infant mortality’—cancellations within the first year of existence—were exceedingly high among those with sub-650 Beacon scores, according to Barnes’ data.

While the data sample is large enough to provide a thorough understanding of the relationship between credit scores and attrition, Barnes points out that some qualifications are needed, since a slew of factors can create exceptions. Some of these key variables include installation fees, services provided, pricing and payment method, and even geographic location.

The above graph, made for SSN in 2009 by the Edmonds Group, also charts the correlation between attrition rates and Beacon credit scores. 

iControl Networks sues Alarm.com, FrontPoint Security

Lawsuit seeks damages, injunction
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07/15/2013

REDWOOD CITY, Calif.—Home technology provider iControl Networks on July 10 filed a patent infringement lawsuit against competitor Alarm.com and FrontPoint Security, an Alarm.com customer.

Silent Knight offers MNS, CO detection training

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07/15/2013

NORTHFORD, Conn.—Silent Knight by Honeywell recently announced that its nationwide series of fire alarm training courses has been expanded to cover IntelliKnight’s mass notification and carbon monoxide detection capabilities.

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