Serving the Security Industry

You may not have seen us recently at your alarm association meeting, but our SIAC reps are out there. We listen to your needs, and provide materials, advice and training as necessary to help improve the way our industry collectively handles alarm management issues.

In just the past two weeks, for example, our staff have visited and met with alarm industry officials in 22 communities. That’s 11 per week between our core members of Tom Sweeney, Steve Keefer, Jon Sargent, Ron Walters and Glen Mowrey.

Where have we been? Here are some of the bigger names you may recognize from those two weeks: The Alarm Association of Florida; AIREF (the Alarm Industry Research and Education Foundation) Research Project; Alarm Association of Florida – How to Work with Law Enforcement and Build Practical/Lasting Working Relationship; California Alarm Association ; Nevada Security Association.

Sometimes we join you on a conference call. Sometimes we testify for your local association in front of the city council. Sometimes we meet with you personally. And at others, we give a presentation to your state or regional association. We’re out there for you, traveling, sharing information, giving you quality information on the lessons learned across North America. Call us if you need help, and if you’d like to help us out with a donation, click here, and remember we are a non-profit organization and survive on your contributions: http://www.siacinc.org/donate.aspx.

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Grow Your Existing Client Base

There are many ways to expand your business. New products and services are a logical choice that most electronic security companies select. You look at what others are selling, or what is making them successful, then seek to emulate that.

Certainly, it’s a winning formula. You find out what your customers want, then deliver.

At the same time, growing your client base can be overlooked. It’s worth additional focus, particularly when you consider your alarm management program. If you have a high quality alarm management program, that is a selling point to expand your list of customers.

You should publicize this. Let potential customers know why a high quality alarm management program is important and how that sets you apart from your competitors. And while you’re at it, take a look at the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award program, and consider putting an application in: http://www.siacinc.org/PDQAwards.aspx. Time is growing short, and if you win, it will be one more way you grow our business.

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PDQ Deadline Extended; ESX Innovation Award Entries Sought

The Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) award deadline for submissions has been extended to March 31. In its 10th year, the award recognizes the best-in-class alarm management program for a security systems integrator and/or monitoring company. Past winners include: Monitronics; Vector Security (Pittsburgh); HS Technology Troup; Custom Alarm; Broadview Security (now ADT); Atronic Alarms (Lenexa, KS); Alarm Detection Systems; and Brink’s Home Security.

Information to enter can be found on SIAC’s Web site:
http://www.siacinc.org/PDQAwards.aspx.

Similarly, with ESX coming up in Baltimore this June, entries are being sought by April 1 for their Innovation Awards. They were formerly called the Maximum Impact Awards.

This year there will be 15 categories, along with several new sub-categories: DIY Security, Secure Wireless Communication Technology, and Activity Sensing/Medicine Management. For a list of ESX 2015 Innovation Award categories and submission forms, visitwww.esxweb.com/innovationawards or contact Allison Avril at 774.203.6394 or Allison.Avril@ESXweb.com

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SACOP and Alarm Management Committees: Making it Happen

One of the reasons Alarm Management Committees are growing and becoming increasingly active and effective is the involvement of the State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP). These committees, now operating in 15 states, bring together key leadership from police chiefs in the state and members of the alarm industry. The goal is to work together and find cooperative solutions to improve the management of alarm systems.

The SACOP Spring Meeting just concluded in San Antonio, and we were pleased to have SIAC Law Liaisons Glen Mowrey and Steve Keefer (both retired police chiefs) in attendance. They were able to network with Executive Directors of the SACOP chapters and their leadership presidents or representatives (chiefs). SIAC proudly served as a Silver Sponsor of the event.

This event and other SACOP meetings help us reaffirm to our law enforcement partners the electronic security industry’s commitment to the alarm management committee concept. We also seek to establish new committees during our time meeting with officials. This past week, Glen and Steve spoke with representatives in many states, including Utah, Colorado, Arizona and California.

SIAC invests considerable resources in SACOP because these are the folks that make it happen in their respective states — setting up committees leads to long-term communications between local alarm industry state representatives and law enforcement, which leads to state-approved model ordinances and often state legislation to mandate ECV (2-call verification) and/or use of control panels utilizing the SIA ANSI CP-01 Standard.

This helps accomplish one of our primary goals — to seek long-term positive relations with law enforcement and distribute model ordinances that utilize well-proven best practices. Well-managed alarm programs benefit law enforcement, citizens in the communities and ultimately the security business. SACOP meetings and the relationships SIAC builds with officials during those meetings go a long way to getting us there.

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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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