Security Systems News

APR 2017

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briefs SECURITY SYSTEMS NEWS Ap RI l 2017 Monitoring 21 Guardian Protection Services' monitoring center now UL certified W A R R E N D A L E , P a . — G u a r d i a n Protection Services recently announced that its Western Operations Alarm Monitoring Center has earned UL cer- tification. Guardian's Western Operations Center located in Tempe, Arizona pro- vides business continuity to all mission- critical operations performed at its headquarters located in Warrendale, Pa. "The attainment of UL certification at Guardian's Western Alarm Monitoring Center furthers our strategic initiative to underpin key business operations to protect against any potential disrup- tion of service to our customers," Mike Overby, vice president of customer care operations, said in a prepared state- ment. "UL is a highly respected indepen- dent third party that has certified that Guardian's alarm monitoring centers adhere to the highest standards," Overby continued. The attainment of UL certification was an effort initiated by Guardian in January 2015 when it acquired the 35,000 square foot facility in Arizona, the company said. Guardian now oper- ates two wholly owned and UL certifi- cated alarm monitoring centers in the United States. The company made changes and upgrades to the infrastructure and inte- rior, including a voice and data network design to provide redundant communi- cation pathways, installation of a new exterior structure to house two diesel- powered generators and construction of a training center within the operation. CSAA announces two new committee chairs V I E N N A , Va . — C S A A r e c e n t l y announced two new committee chairs in the organization. Ron Rothman, senior vice presi- dent of sales & business development at AFA Protective Systems Inc., is the new CSAA chair for Marketing and Communications Committee. This com- mittee creates, coordinates and dis- seminates targeted information to the industry and general public to advance CSAA goals and strengthen its brand. Nigel Spinks, who has worked with Tyco Safety Products—now part of Johnson Controls International—for more than 24 years, is the new chair of the Associate Members' Liaison Committee. In his new role he will represent Associate Members on the CSAA Board of Directors. The com- mittee advises the Board of the needs and concerns of Associate Members, and it provides input to the Membership and Education committees on their out- reach and other projects. By Spencer Ives OGDEN, Utah—This week AvantGuard Monitoring is soft launching its new AvantGuard Chat tool, which opens a com- munication path for the contacts on an alarm's call list. After an alarm is signaled, contacts on that account receive a text message with info on the alarm and a link that brings them to a web-based browser. Through this tool, all of the contacts to discuss the cause of the alarm, Justin Bailey, AvantGuard COO told Security Systems News. "Also from within that web portal, you can request imme- diate dispatch by the authori- ties, or you can also notify the central station that it's a false alarm," he said. "This allows us to get notifications to available contacts more quickly than the traditional, serial-calling method does," Bailey said. Planning for this service was started in July 2016, Bailey said, and the Chat tool was developed in-house. The alpha test among users within AvantGuard went well, according to Bailey, and the company is now starting its beta test. The company antici- pates a full launch at ISC West 2017, where it plans to demo the offering. The Chat tool—which might be rebranded, Bailey noted— will be a free service for all of AvantGuard's dealers. "It's a no- cost opportunity. [Dealers] can New central station opens in Maine By Spencer Ives CARIBOU, Maine—Virtual Managed Solutions LLC recently opened a UL-listed, wholesale central station here. "I have wanted to develop a central station for a number of years," CB Smith, CEO of Virtual Managed Solutions, told Security Systems News. The development of the monitoring center started in September 2016, and Smith credited the company's VP and CIO Steve Boddy with much of the due diligence and technologi- cal setup. Virtual Managed Solutions, or VMS, has operated a contact center here since 2007 and will be the parent company to VMSCS. "We've had a couple of really good years of growth and financial sta- bility, so we've recently invested and we are online," Smith said. "We recognize that we have a skillset, we certainly have the network and we have the redun- dancy—of course—and now … the UL certification," Smith said. "We are, as I see it, able to pres- ent ourselves as an apples-and- apples comparison to any other wholesale [station] out there in the country." The center, which officially opened at the end of February, currently monitors for about 150 accounts, Smith said. VMSCS is using Bold Technologies' Manitou Cloud Services for its automation system. In addition to traditional alarms, the company will do PERS monitoring and video as well. Smith said that having the contact center business, col- located with the central station, will allow the monitoring center to offer "quite aggressive" pricing. The company will be dedicat- ing employees to monitoring center services, separating them from other call center operations in VMS. Picking the right people was important to the company, Boddy told SSN. "We're looking for people that use customer ser- vice not as a job but as a career, because they're going to put people first," he said. "Business development is obvi- ously a big part of any busi- ness operation," Smith said. The company is starting to grow its account base through contacting local dealers, he said. VMSCS is increasing its marketing and has created a new website. "From there, it'll just be spreading our wings and going to different geographic areas of the state and then outside of the state of Maine as well," Smith said. Smith has a variety of experi- ence with the industry, work- ing with SimplexGrinnell, and Maine-based integrator Norris Inc., before working with VMS. "Since I opened this contact cen- ter with my team here, I've had a vision of coming into that world and working in that world. … I recognize the potential," Smith said. SS n By Spencer Ives MIAMI—Affiliated M o n i t o r i n g i s b r i n g i n g its Catalyst conference, focused on PERS sales and marketing, to Turnberry Isle here for its second year, May 15 through 17. "We already have more people registered to attend at this point in time than actually attended last year. So, we are expecting it to be much larger b y e v e r y m e a - s u r e m e n t t h a n 2 0 1 6 , " D a n i e l Oppenheim, Affiliated's VP, told Security Systems N e w s . A l l o f Catalyst's sponsor- ships are sold out for this year's conference, he noted. "Catalyst is a practical conference; it's about help- ing PERS companies grow their business and run their business smarter," he said. In line with this theme, the keynote presentation will be a conversation with Ken Gross, founder of Connect America, Oppenheim said. "[Gross] stepped through every phase in size—he w e n t f ro m h a v i n g z e ro customers, to having one customer, to having a thou- sand customers, to having Affiliated prepares for Catalyst 2017 decide if they want to monetize that, or whether it's something they want to offer as just part of their service offering." While the Chat tool will ini- tially be for traditional alarms, Bailey said that AvantGuard is also developing a usage for PERS alarms. The PERS functionality will likely be available in the second quarter of 2017, he said. "We live in an age where most everybody keeps their cell phone with them at all times, and when a lot of us aren't available to take a phone call in many parts of our day, this allows notifications and interaction to happen in a way that is a little more portable," said Bailey. "We're not the first industry to do this," Bailey noted. "It's going to be a great offering for almost any dealer to be able to provide to their customer another way to communicate with the cen- tral station—that improves the response times significantly pretty much in any scenario." AvantGuard Chat has poten- tial among both residential and commercial customers, Bailey said. Commercial accounts can have a longer call list, he noted, "I think it will improve the noti- fication and response times on the commercial side more often, or more regularly, than it will on the residential [side]." "I expect that it will have a positive impact on false dispatch- ing," Bailey said. SS n hundreds of thousands of customers," Oppenheim said. "I believe that a PERS company, no matter where they are in their size, or their growth, or their tra- jectory, will be able to learn from him." What is the one thing that you hope attendees of Catalyst 2017 walk away with? "If there's one thing that I would like them to walk away with is the appreciation f o r h o w e x c i t - ing it is to be in the PERS indus- t r y r i g h t n o w, " Oppenheim said. "Number two, I think I'd like them to walk away with a personal relationship with someone who is like them, and has the same challeng- es—someone that they can reach out to and collaborate with," he continued. "Number three is ideas; a c t i o n a b l e t h i n g s t o g o home and try," Oppenheim said. Affiliated hosted Catalyst 2016 in Naples, Fla. The s e s s i o n t o p i c s i n c l u d e d sales technologies available, building a multi-channel PERS business, and the trend for mobile PERS tech- nologies. SSn AvantGuard Monitoring announces Chat tool D. Oppenheim

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