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False alarms, MNS to be features of SupDet 2014

Those are among topics of interest to installers at the Fire Protection Research Foundation’s 18th annual event
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02/19/2014

QUINCY, Mass.—The Fire Protection Research Foundation’s annual Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Symposium (SupDet) will take place March 4-7 this year and includes sessions useful for installers, such as ones on nuisance alarms and mass notification.

IQ Certification elects new board

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Members of the IQ Certification Program recently elected officers at the organization’s first meeting of 2014. While there’s considerable continuity from years past (several members earned reelection), the board of directors also reflects some changes, highlighted by the appointment of Lynn Comer as chairperson.

Another change was the election of Don Childers, COO of Statesville, N.C.-based Security Central, to the IQ Board. Earlier this week I spoke to Don about some of the key priorities for the certification program moving forward. Childers said that, as with any association, exploring ways to boost membership remains an overarching objective.

“We have to show the value of what we’re doing, then determine how to get the message out en masse so that those in the industry better understand what we’re trying to do,” he said.

One strategy for doing just that, Childers said, is leveraging big-name industry events—he cited ESX as an example—to hold sessions that perform the double-task of educating prospective members while promoting the business value of being IQ Certified. An education chair at ESX, Childers said he would be in favor of including a 60 to 70 minute seminar at the show.  

As far as other goals with the organization, Childers said he may suggest ways to streamline some of the application paperwork for the certification program, making it easier for non-central station members, whose application process tends to be more involved. Besides that, Childers’ near-term aim is to examine IQ Certification membership “from the business owners’ point of view” and to continue “learning the job as I go along.” 

Q&A with Axis co-founder Martin Gren

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02/18/2014

Martha: I just returned from the Milestone conference where partners, including Axis, extolled the virtues of the VMS. Why does Axis really need to develop its own access control product?

Fatal Quebec fire renews call for sprinklers in old age homes

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02/14/2014

MARKHAM, Ontario—A fire at a retirement home in Quebec on Jan. 23 that killed an estimated 32 residents has spurred renewed calls for the government to mandate the retrofit of sprinklers into existing old age homes.

Low-voltage contractor bill passes Georgia Senate

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I reported last week on a bill in Georgia that would expand the number of Georgia contractors licensed to perform low-voltage installations. Yesterday, that piece of legislation (S.B. 294) passed the Georgia Senate by a vote of 53-0. Three senators were not on the floor during the vote.

John Loud, immediate past president of the Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association, and an opponent of the bill, admitted the outcome in the Senate was disconcerting. But he believes the legislative battle is far from over; he and GELSSA members are now developing a strategy to put the brakes on the bill in the House. “There are seven steps through the House for us to put various stops or blocks to this,” Loud said. “We knew it had been fast-tracked through the Senate, so my original plan was to skip the Senate and get ready for the battle in the House.”

If passed, the bill would permit those licensed as an Electrical Contractor Class II—a high-voltage installation certification—to perform low-voltage contracting, which encompasses fire and security systems, without obtaining the statewide low-voltage license that’s currently required.

Loud says the bill could bring an influx of new contractors into the life safety systems space, and could undo much of the progress GELSSA has made over the past year in promoting legislation that reduces false dispatches. He anticipates that the bill will now be parsed by the Regulated Industries Subcommittee in the Georgia House.

There are two possible compromises that GELSSA would find agreeable, Loud said. One would be to give the additional contractors who would be eligible to install life safety systems a Low-Voltage General (LVG) license rather than a Low-Voltage Unrestricted (LVU). A general license would allow contractors to pull wires but not install, for example, access control or fire safety systems.

The other outcome would be implementing a CEU program and background check that would ensure contractors are qualified to install low-voltage life safety systems.

Loud believes the bill could have implications that extend beyond the borders of Georgia. “It’s vital to get all the folks in Georgia to listen up and understand the impact of this,” he said. “As we all know, what happens in Georgia or Michigan or Pennsylvania can easily be replicated in other states.”

IP video surveillance, VSaaS market worth $18b by 2020

Developers of IP cameras, video analytics and VMS systems could all be beneficiaries
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02/11/2014

PORTLAND, Ore.—The combined North American market for IP video surveillance and video-surveillance-as-a-service is forecast to expand dramatically in the near-term, rising from $2.4 billion in 2013 to more than $18 billion by 2020, according to a report from Allied Market Research, based here.

Honor women in security with nominations

Women's Security Council seeks nominees
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02/10/2014

YARMOUTH, Maine—Nominations are now open for the Women’s Security Council’s 2014 Women of the Year Awards.

Central station-specific education at NJ ESA symposium

The show can help central station personnel stay in tune with what dealers want, says NJ ESA president
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02/10/2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J.— The New Jersey ESA symposium has always attracted vendors and dealers in droves, but it’s also an event those in the wholesale central station space are marking on their calendars, Joe Parisi, president of NJ ESA, told Security Systems News.

Critical infrastructure security leaders: 'bridging the gap' with integrators

Panelists reflect on how to forge sound and lasting partnerships with integrators and manufacturers
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02/07/2014

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—Securing critical infrastructure is always a tall order, but add in the constraints of a tight budget and it becomes an even more daunting challenge.

Ohio city enacts alarm verification

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Plagued by an astronomical 98 percent false alarm rate for security systems, Akron, Ohio is following the lead of several other major American cities and introducing verified alarm response, according to a report from the Associated Press, and a news release from Sonitrol, an audio verification company.

The policy, adopted in larger cities such as Detroit, Las Vegas and Milwaukee, is simple: If an alarm goes off, a possible crime must be confirmed prior to law enforcement dispatch.

There are several causes of false alarms—outdated systems and installation flaws are among the most common culprits. But whatever the cause, the torrent of towns and cities taking measures to address them suggests that municipalities and police departments have had enough. In addition to being a budgetary drag, false alarms can potentially have dire consequences if they delay police response to more critical calls.

To some, enacting policies designed to confirm crime prior to police dispatch sets the stage for greater cooperation between the industry and law enforcement. But according to the AP report, not everyone is sold on these measures being the best means of ensuring maximum public safety. David Margulies, spokesman for the SIAC, was quoted in the report saying such policies are "basically putting the public in danger." To be sure, there is a fundamental tension between the need for municipalities to save resources by reducing false dispatch and certain ideas about the best policies for responding to alarms. In the coming days, I hope to gather some opinions on both sides of this debate.

I’ll be interested to hear how municipal measures to curb false dispatches through verification policies modify the demands of central station personnel on the ground level. As such policies become more widespread, how will the industry change? Does the future of monitored alarms involve video or audio verification becoming de rigueur?

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