Connected Homes Also Pose Threats

The more connected we’ve become around the globe with smart phones and wireless technology, the greater the potential for hackers to compromise our personal information. As the many incidents publicized in the news the past 18 months or so demonstrate, there is a criminal element looking to take advantage of you by stealing your credit/debit cards, personal data and more.

As the home and business security grows in size through the interconnectedness available through smart phone/wireless technology, we need to be extra aware during sales, installations and service to ensure these threats are minimized. We also need to focus on teaching customers the safe and proper operation of their alarm systems through these technologies to minimize unnecessary alarm activations.

Technology jumps quickly. Training and systems don’t always adapt as quickly. It’s simple for customers to use their phone to operate their alarm system, locks, lights, air conditioning/heating and video cameras. It’s much harder for the installing company to ensure that customer operates each of those systems carefully and with due diligence to minimize inadvertent alarm activations.

Networks can be hacked. That means vulnerabilities. SIAC encourages electronic security companies to continue refining your culture so that the most up-to-date technologies, training and data protection programs are part of your service offerings. To find out more how we can help your business improve alarm management practices, go to: http://www.siacinc.org.

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Another Successful ESA Leadership Conference

Leadership doesn’t just happen. The Electronic Security Association (ESA) demonstrated that again last week.

In Phoenix, for their annual “Leadership Conference,” ESA brought together experts from the security industry and other fields to share their knowledge and help give attendees a leg up on how to better prepare for the years ahead. SIAC attends this event every year, and we find it very helpful, but this past week, the sessions stood out more than usual.

Stan Martin had this to say: “It was the best ESA conference I have ever attended. It was well organized, the hotel was great and there were incredibly talented and professional speakers. Dealers who missed it will lack the insights gained by those who attended.”

A number of revealing statistics emerged during the sessions, including: Who is buying what particular products and why they make those purchases; understanding younger employees and customers – the dynamic differences between Baby Boomers, Gen-X and Millenials.

“The networking was incredible, with numerous key industry players and the top vendors on site. In my opinion, it would be nearly impossible for security dealers to gather all the information presented at the conference by themselves. The information presented is critical to the future success of their business,” Martin observed.

SIAC also would like to congratulate John Knox, winner of the prestigious Weinstock Award, and George Bish, who won the Sara Jackson Award, both well-deserving individuals who have dedicated the better part of their lives to this industry!

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Smart Homes Require Smart Alarm Management

If you’ve been in the electronic security industry for more than a few months, you understand how large the smart home looms in terms of our future. For the past 4-5 years, the interconnectedness of the smart phone and home has become a critical issue in terms of business growth for home (and business) security companies.

Similarly, as more services are offered through the smart home-phone c onnection, we have to remain aware of alarm management issues associated with wireless applications. Managing alarms effectively means using quality equipment (CP-01) in your installations, teaching the customer how to properly arm and disarm the system, and providing quality monitoring (including two-call – ECV – verification).

Smart homes are going to be integral in more and more new home construction and older houses that are retrofitted. Customers want security, along with temperature controls, remote features and an ability to turn lights on and off in their house regardless of where they are at the time.

SIAC encourages our industry to not only stay on top of this trend for the good of your company, but also to ensure we continue to improve the effectiveness of security systems to lower the rate of unnecessary alarm activations. Find out more on how we can help you: http://www.siacinc.org.

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Thanks to GLASAA and Bill Collins

SIAC thanks the Greater Los Angeles Security Alarm Association (GLASAA) and its President Bill Collins for their recent contribution to our alarm management efforts: http://siacinc.org/userfiles/file/GLASSA-2015.jpg. Their financial support year after year helps us support their efforts in communities like Chico, CA, other parts of California, states across the U.S. and the provinces of Canada.

Funding is essential since we sell no products or services, and we have no membership or dues – just donations. It may seem hard to believe, but SIAC is now going on its 15th year, which we hope demonstrates the continuous value we provide the electronic security industry. Demand from law enforcement for our free services continues to increase, another testament to the value we provide.

Without the support of Bill Colliins, GLASAA, and our other contributors, we would quickly fade away. Please keep your contributions coming. You can check on our Web site at http://www.siacinc.org/donate.aspx for more details.

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Good Alarm Management Practices as a Competitive Advantage

Most of our work at SIAC is spent educating others about how to improve their alarm management practices, and bringing different groups together to find out the best ways to do so. To get the word out, we do a lot of “teaching and training.” We’re in the field, meeting with state and local associations, sitting down in multiple forums with law enforcement, all in the name of better industry practices.

A point we probably don’t stress enough is talking about why good alarm management practices provide companies a competitive advantage. Making changes in how you select and install equipment, teach customers how to use the alarm system properly, and monitor accounts by including two-call verification all give you an advantage in the marketplace. It’s something you should talk about with current and potential customers

Here’s why: Companies whose customers have a lower alarm rate (the frequency of false dispatches) have more effective systems. That’s something customers can bank on. What does a customer want? They want an alarm system to operate consistently, effectively and in a timely way. Secondly, well run alarm systems reduce the potential of fines for customers from those unwanted alarm activations. That saves customers money.

So, as you do your share to better manage the systems you sell, install and service, remember to let your customers know about that advantage you provide them. It’s a competitive advantage you have. Use it. For more information on the benefits SIAC provides you, go to our web site at: http://www.siacinc.org/.

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Hacking Alarm Systems

The reality is, though we don’t like to admit it up front, that alarm systems are hackable. Thieves find ways to thwart the system. This happens very infrequently, and usually by an employee or “insider,” but it can occur, and we should acknowledge this in the electronic security industry, particularly in terms of the expertise we offer consumers and why they should bring their business to us rather than install a system themselves.

The experience, training and expertise offered by technicians in the electronic security industry provide huge benefits to the end-use customer. The individual consumer cannot match the knowledge or skill set of the technician. This greatly diminishes the opportunities thieves have to compromise systems, is a selling point for our industry and an important variable when it comes to improving alarm management.

SIAC supports high quality installations as a huge component in our best alarm management practices. We believe industry technicians are the most qualified to do these installations.

The next time you send your people into the field to sell, install or service an alarm system, remember the advantage you have. Talk to your people about the importance of their skills and experience and have them explain to your customers how that benefits them in terms of their alarm systems operating effectively, and reducing the frequency of criminals trying to attack the system and render it inoperable.

There never was a perfect security system, nor will there ever be. Our industry developed and evolved to reduce threats. A properly installed and maintained security system does just that. The best way for that to benefit an end-user is for the system to be installed by a security industry professional

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Civilian Outreach

Civilian outreach by law enforcement has been around for years. When police work more closely with citizens of the local community, public safety is enhanced.

SIAC supports these types of tighter relations. Resources in most government agencies are constrained, so when it comes to finding ways to best protect against crime, police chiefs and sheriffs have to find novel ways to stretch resources, introduce new ideas and use smarter approaches to solving problems.

We talked about an approach by the Carson City, NV Police Department last year that used citizens to help educate alarm owners about how to reduce unnecessary alarm activations. That’s a prime example of working together that benefits the police department and the local community by saving money and putting police in a better position to respond to higher priority calls.

That’s only one example. We’d like to see more “ride-alongs” for members of the public, even those of us in the security industry. It would help build bridges, teach us some of the challenges facing police, and help us better understand the day-to-day issues that the “cop on the beat” faces. That helps both sides work together down the road.

Get to know your local police officials. Shake a hand next time you see an officer working the local high school basketball game. They’ll appreciate it, you might make a new friend and find a way to open a dialogue to a bigger issue that helps your community. It’s a good way to start the new year.

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