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AvantGuard links false alarm spike with presidential alert

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

OGDEN, Utah—Last week, on Oct. 3, there was a test of the Presidential Alert system, which went out to televisions and radio as well as mobile phones. AvantGuard Monitoring, based here, noticed that there was a spike of false alarms—including glass break sensors and PERS button presses—linked to the test.

“Oftentimes, [when] we see a spike in a certain kind of alarms, they’re related to a storm or a localized natural disaster, and it generally affects a certain type of alarm like a security [system],” Justin Bailey, AvantGuard’s president and COO, told SSN. A simultaneous spike in security and PERS was very unusual for the company, he added.

The alert’s tone happened to match the frequency that some glass break sensors look for, AvantGuard said in an announcement, which caused the sensors to send false alarms. “It was a unique event for us. … As we started looking to see a common causality on the security side, an unusual number of alarms were [triggered by] glass break sensors. It’s not uncommon to have one of them in the buffer at the scale we have,” Bailey said. AvantGuard’s monitoring centers received about 70 glass break alarms that it can link to the presidential alert.

A member of AvantGuard’s team recognized the coincidence in the time of the alarms and the presidential alert, according to Bailey. “When you get a drop of signals, you know something is going on, because of the scale of how many alarms we received in that short time frame,” he said. “It was … part of our troubleshooting process to find commonalities and then get into causality. It was really just our good monitoring center leadership team that made that connection.”

AvantGuard received about 100 PERS alarms related to the presidential alert, as some seniors with PERS devices heard the sound of the alert and didn’t know what the alert tone was or if it was coming from their PERS device. “It was a matter of just talking to the subscribers as we connected to the two-way and—once we determined that they were ok—asking why it was that they had pushed their buttons,” Bailey said.

AvantGuard developed a system to address alarms that were likely false. “With the suspect alarms, we were able to partition them in a different queue, and then dedicate operators to work through those alarms that we believed were affected, allowing us to free up other operators to work alarms that we suspected … were actual, true alarms,” Bailey said.

“The reason we caught it and handled it so well is because we’ve already been prepared to deal with situations like that. So, I think it makes us more aware of challenges living in a connected world,” Bailey said.

News Poll: How do security companies prepare for natural disasters?

Fifty-six percent support the idea of a coordinated industry effort to help those affected
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10/25/2017

YARMOUTH, Maine—In August and September large weather events—Hurricanes Harvey and Irma—made landfall in the United States; Security Systems News asked its readers how they prepare ahead of natural disasters, and what can be done for those affected.

AvantGuard offers hybrid monitoring options

Options could provide transitioning phases between operating a monitoring center and contracting
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02/08/2017

OGDEN, Utah—AvantGuard Monitoring is now offering dealers several new monitoring options, including redundant monitoring capabilities, providing the back end to local operators, and part-time monitoring for an account base.

NFL’s Steve Young will keynote PERS Summit 2015

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06/04/2015

PARK CITY, Utah—Former NFL player and Hall-of-Famer Steve Young will be the keynote speaker for the 2015 PERS Summit, taking place here Sept. 29-Oct. 1, AvantGuard Monitoring announced June 2.

Where does the name 'Freeus' really come from?

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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Last week, AvantGuard’s CEO, Josh Garner, told me a story. He had recently heard of a woman recovering from a fall, one who was set up with a traditional PERS unit. After hearing that it wouldn’t work outside of the home, she hadn’t left the house for 15 months, he said. After a dealer heard of this, he set her up with one of Securus’ mPERS devices.

“Eventually, she took a walk to the garden, then she walked down the street,” Garner told me. “She would test her device in all of these scenarios, and realized that if something were to happen to her… it still worked.”

“She celebrated by buying a puppy [which] she walks around her block every day.”

Garner wanted to incorporate this sense of Freedom into the naming AvantGuard’s new sister company, Freeus, which recently acquired the PERS business built by Securus.

“We really liked having something that linked us to the past. Securus has had a legacy of innovation, developing products.”

Thus, “freedom” and “Securus” combine to make “Freeus.”

“It sounds crazy, but that story—to us—just epitomizes what our business is about, and it’s delivering freedom to individuals,” Garner said.

That’s where the name comes from.

'20 under 40' 2014—Troy Iverson

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10/21/2014

Troy Iverson, 37
Vice president sales and marketing, AvantGuard Monitoring, Ogden, Utah

AvantGuard dispatcher helps foil burglar

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08/13/2014

OGDEN, Utah—A dispatcher at AvantGuard helped stop a burglar from entering the home of a subscriber.

AT&T rolls out mPERS unit

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

AT&T has officially launched its mobile PERS unit, called the EverThere, a small wearable unit manufactured by Numera Libris. The device automatically detects falls, has two-way emergency calling, and will deliver both enterprise and direct-to-consumer solutions.

Chris Penrose, SVP, AT&T, emerging devices, shed some light on AT&T's plans for channeling the product to market. “In terms of end-users, unlike traditional PERS, which target individuals in their 80s, this mobile solution would offer true independence and freedom for the healthy aging population as well as those living with chronic conditions.”

For me, AT&T’s announcement has a touch of synchronicity.  For something of a niche offering, mPERS has come up quite a bit over the past two weeks, the topic surfacing in conversations with Josh Garner, CEO of AvantGuard Monitoring, and Kristin Hebert, dealer relations at Acadian Monitoring Services, who both said their companies have made strides with the fledgling offering. Though traditional units still comprise about 90 percent of their PERS account bases, the gains do represent some modest traction for a market that was essentially a non-starter some three or four years ago.

Unlike the market for traditional PERS, which consensus says is poised to explode, mPERS tends to have a few more skeptics. A common critique I hear about mPERS is that if you’re pitching the product to a healthy, ambulatory, active senior demographic, that very same demographic, by virtue of being healthy, ambulatory and active, will see no reason to pay for the unit. Another position I encounter is that cell phones, in all their ubiquity, have all but usurped the value of mPERS units.

This second point is worthy of consideration, but as AT&T’s device illustrates, the automated response provided by certain mPERS units or even professionally monitored mobile apps offers some differentiation.

As always, time will tell whether mPERS adoption will be buoyed along with traditional PERS, as the latter makes its projected rise in the market. As these markets become more valuable, I’ll be interested to see how some of the central stations fare as competition proliferates, both in the industry and outside of it.

AvantGuard adds new facility in Idaho

A year of rapid growth concludes with the company opening its third central station
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12/11/2013

REXBURG, Idaho—After growing its account base by 26 percent in 2013, AvantGuard Monitoring, based in Ogden, Utah, has opened a third facility in this farming community of 25,000 that sits in the shadow of the Teton Range.

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