SIA Seeking Education Experts

If you have strong experience in the security field, the Security Industry Association (SIA) can use your expertise. In a recent announcement, SIA issued a call for online education content assistance.

SIA is strongly involved is setting some of the highest standards for our industry in terms of technology and field installation. Our industry is stronger because of their programs.

One of the advantages of joining this SIA initiative is being able to ensure high standards for all companies. But it’s also an opportunity on a personal level to meet with other experts and learn from them. That’s a benefit to your business, and to you personally.

They are looking for project management experience, with field operations experience being a plus. If you’d like to contribute, contact SIA’s Kimberly Roberts, who is their Manager of Education, 301.804.3708.

You’ll be developing course content for SIA’s online education initiative. The courses will be designed for Project Managers (PMs) and those who aspire to that position. It’s a great opportunity. If you have the background, SIAC encourages you to participate.

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CSAA Extending the Benefits of ASAP

The Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) provides many benefits to the electronic security industry. In one of their recent efforts, CSAA is going beyond its membership to help improve alarm response efficiency and quality. SIAC salutes them for the steps they are taking to extend the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP), which was developed jointly by the Association of Public-Safety Communications Officials (APCO) and CSAA over the course of several years

Approximately 100 CSAA members have helped fund the program, allowing them to contract and connect to the system. In short, they are able to send electronic responses from their monitoring stations to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs). This eliminates some of the human errors that could occur in placing calls to local law enforcement to let them know of an alarm activation at a customer’s home or business. Sending the notification electronically also speeds the process of informing the local agency.

There are a number of issues that still must play out. Cities must enroll in the program. Monitoring companies must also take advantage of the system. Recent numbers indicate that over 40 companies are on board with ASAP, though the system is not active for every jurisdiction.

The two largest cities deploying ASAP are Washington, D.C. and Houston. Over the next year, according to CSAA, Boston and Seattle expect to add the protocol, along with the entire state of Delaware. That’s good news for all of us in the electronic security industry.

If you’d like to find out more about ASAP, contact CSAA at:

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The PDQ and Why You Should Apply

The Police Dispatch Quality Award (PDQ) has, in just a few short years, become one of the most sought after honorariums in the alarm industry.

The PDQ award is sponsored jointly by SIAC, Security Sales & Integration, FARA, IQ and Honeywell. It was initiated to recognize the one company each year that exemplifies the most significant impact in the alarm dispatch arena. Think about that. The ONE company that rises above very other company. In fact Honeywell presents a $1,000 check to the winner to offset the cost of traveling to ESX to accept the award. Additionally, your company will receive special coverage in Security Sales & Integration magazine which includes color photos and a nice write-up!

In the inaugural years, applicants pretty much had to be an installing company with their own monitoring facility. However, today the grading has been altered so that whether you provide your own monitoring, use a third party or even if you are a third party monitoring provider you can apply and have an equal opportunity to win.

As with anything worthwhile applying for, the award takes a time commitment and full documentation. In fact one of the more common mistakes is not giving yourself enough time to fully complete the application.

We’ve learned that some dealers have not applied because they believe they must be 100% compliant in every scoring area. Now it’s true, if you don’t answer a question you get no credit and stand little chance of winning. Example: Use of CP-01 panels in all installations. Rarely can anyone claim that to be 100% true, so give us the percentage of panels you do install and you’ll receive a proportional number of points. Send your submittal in the form specified on the application. While a professionally bound submittal looks nice, it will not improve your score. In fact, we now discourage hard copies and prefer a well-organized PDF file.

The judging panel wants to fully consider every application, but those that don’t follow the instructions run the risk of not even being considered.
Make certain that you DETAIL your involvement in industry trade associations, civic groups and especially your involvement with law enforcement in at least one jurisdiction. List positions held and committees served on even if they are in the past.

You need to have marketing materials even if it just a section of your Web site assessable to end users. You must show how you promote alarm reduction both within your company and to your customers.

Finally we want you to win, so start early and get that application submitted. The deadline for the 2014 entries is March 31st, 2015. More details here:

With the new grading criteria, any company has the opportunity to win this prestigious award, but only if you apply.

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The Alarm Doesn’t Work if you Don’t Set it

Alarm systems don’t work if you don’t use them. It’s a point that may need reinforcing in the security industry if we want to ensure the long-term effectiveness of the systems we install.

A recent study in the United Kingdom (UK) found that close to a third of installed systems are not used by the owners. This is most pronounced in 18-24-year-olds. We have no reason to believe the statistics are not similar in North America.

There are many reasons installed alarm systems are not used, but we believe the primary one is a lack of initiative by the home or business owner. You can get lazy; you can forget about it; you can get lulled into complacency because you believe your neighborhood is not one that will be burglarized.

A point we believe worth emphasizing with your sales reps and technicians is to have them spend extra time with customers to discuss the “value” of the alarm system (why you should activate it regularly). This not only helps them understand why they should turn the system on, but also will show how it provides protection for their home and value to their business bottom.

Oh, and while your employees are at it, have them discuss proper alarm operation with customers. Customers who understand their systems and are comfortable with it will greatly reduce the number of inadvertent alarm activations. They will feel comfortable arming and disarming the system. When they use the system, they’ll be more likely to deploy additional features, all of which helps keep their premises safe.

That’s good for your business, and good for your customers’ security. And, by reducing inadvertent alarm activations, you’ll be helping all of us in the electronic security industry.

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Habitec: Staying Ahead of the Curve

Enhanced Call Verification (ECV) keeps you ahead of the curve when it comes to curbing unwanted alarm activations. Habitec, a full service electronic security company headquartered in Toledo, OH, and ranked 62nd on SDM’s Top 100 list, recently published additional proof of ECV’s value.

Three years ago, Habitec implemented ECV, which is the process of placing two calls from the monitoring center to alarm owners to see if there is a reason for the activation before contacting law enforcement to reduce any unnecessary alarm dispatches. The immediate reduction for Habitec was a 20% decrease in the number of those calls for service to the police department.

But that wasn’t all the company did. They stepped up and put together a number of additional measures, including working with SIAC and the Toledo Police Department on an effective alarm management program. They also implemented a false alarm abuser mailing campaign, developed internal alarm procedure changes to decrease false panic alarms and false exterior motion, and added video alarm response to improve the integrity of the system. This accomplished a number of positive things for Habitec, not the least of which was a reduction in overall alarm dispatches of 57%.

More than that, Habitec’s sensitivity to police response issues has built a bridge for the company, and that yields dividends down the road in terms of branding both their company and keeping our industry in a positive light. When police are being asked to do more with less, it’s good to see leading companies like Habitec step forward to show what the security industry can do to help lighten the load.

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Making Technicians Less Technical

Guest Column from SIAC’s Ron Walters:

This doesn’t only sound like a broken record; it is a broken record, for those of you who remember what a record is.

This is a pretty basic concept: Alarm users cause 75% of all false alarms and false dispatches. So why does it seem like the industry feels it isn’t something they need to deal with?

The truth is that far north of 90% of all customers are trained by an installer or service technician. This training is most commonly done at the end of the installation, which is also most likely to be at the end of the day. Not only is this technician tired, so is the customer. And technicians have that title for simple reason: They are technical. They are not schooled in communications.

Very generally speaking, technical people have a tendency to believe that everyone knows at least the basics about alarms and their installation, but truthfully more often than not a new customer is looking at an alarm arming station for the first time. Even if they’ve previously had a system, what is the likelihood that this one functions like the last one?

Over two years ago SIAC developed a complete training program to train technicians on how best to train alarm users. We know this material is over 90% effective, not because the industry has applied it. We know it is effective because law enforcement has embraced it and taught our customers how to use our systems.
These materials are FREE to you and we encourage you to not only use them, you are welcome to brand them with your company name. Please at least review them and give us some feedback.

Follow this link to receive your FREE copy of end user training. Make sure you download both the support documents and the Power Point presentation.

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Securing New Ground set for October 29-30 in NYC

There are several major conferences throughout the year that SIAC believes serve important functions for security industry professionals. “Securing New Ground” (SNG) is one of them. It is set for October 29-30 in New York City (NYC):
SNG is a Security Industry Association (SIA)-run event. This year, it will include two separate tracks – one for commercial and one for residential security markets. Setting the tracks up this way is designed to connect integrators, dealers and installers directly to the end user.

SIAC recognizes not every company in our business can attend every conference. We all work on budgets and we all must determine the types of events to attend that benefit the bottom line for our organizations and employees. Though it may not be best suited for small alarm dealers, if you are a new entrant, a manufacturer, system integrator, dealer, installer or end user, SNG is a good choice help provide you with valuable information on industry trends and networking opportunities. It is attended by top industry people.

SNG will give up you an opportunity to learn about issues that impact your business from leaders and colleagues in the security industry. Gaining a better understanding of trends, research and strategies arms you with information to improve your bottom line. If you don’t make it to SNG, we encourage you to continue looking for other events or conferences that cover the full range of issues the security industry will face in the years ahead, including ESX, ISC East and ISC West

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