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Comment on making trouble signals low priority  
November 29, 2023
Comment on making trouble signals low priority from article on November 21, 2023
          I think it is risky to make trouble signals a "low priority, log only" event at the Central Station, especially for commercial sites.  What about the scenario where a trouble signal could be the result of nefarious activity such as power failure or loss of the communication link, including loss of dial tone or internet?  Was the power interruption or loss of communication intentional?  If so, what back-up power is available?  Can the back-up power support the system over a 3-day period, such as a weekend with a holiday, where the battery could die on the third day leaving the site without a working alarm? 
          Assuming everyone is using or Alarmnet for back-up and remote notifications is foolish.   Many sites are still using POTS or unsupported VOIP for reporting, against the advice of the alarm company.  
          Some Central Stations are using an automated text service to notify people on a call list of burglary signals.  This should be expanded to include trouble signals too.  There would be some objection about people receiving trouble signals in the middle of the night, disturbing their sleep, so this could be an option for the subscriber to choose.  I can see where some sites, commercial or high-risk residential property, would demand call-list notification, not only by text, but a phone call too if the text is not acknowledged within a certain time.
  Anonymous please
another comment
          There is a difference between reporting and reporting, but it stems back to who is responsible to whom.
          The message from the central station that the SOP is changing is a direct result of an industry that has not had a price increase in decades and the monitoring industry only has itself to blame.
          I suggest that everyone go back to the post of June 5th, 2023:
          I asked “when did the central station become the ……..step child in the operations pyramid?”
          In the 1970’s, the wholesale central station was receiving 50% of the RMR, but today, the central station is receiving 10 to 15% for the monitoring function that has exploded in complexity and variety of signal traffic and for who’s benefit? Not the central station as it makes no difference if we report a zone description or a general alarm and allow the responding agency to figure it out or view the annunciator at the premises upon arrival.
          In the current atmosphere of inflation, the government officials are touting that inflation has dropped 40%, well they are full of crap. The rate of inflation has dropped 40% but the only item that has gone down is gas and fossil fuels. No producer of goods or services has rolled back any pricing and we are all feeling it at the supermarket, auto repair shop, new car dealer, everywhere!
          I have a prediction, central stations (just like any other employer) are facing increasing labor, government fees, healthcare costs besides all the other operational costs and as an industry we are going to keep automating until there are no more operators and when there are little to no margins left, sell out to the likes of Google or Amazon where there is no one to even complain to.
          So for the famous “Anonymous” in your posts, if you don’t want to pay more, you will get what the central station gives you and you will like it. Besides you will need to pick up the slack if you don’t notify your customers to the changes or becomes the central station live operator and track them down that they need a service call.
          WOW, think of that, trouble signals can drive more service revenue into your company, but it only means something if you charge like the HVAC or kitchen appliance repairperson and not an alarm company.   
          Well that’s all from the tough love tour for today,
Bart A. Didden, President
U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp.
Port Chester, NY
Milford, CT
St. Paul, MN
          I think notice of trouble signal is appropriate too, and I agree that most forms of notice would be sufficient, such as text. Not so sure about email because that may not be monitored.  Probably some alarms should have a call notice.
          It’s important that customers are informed what signals will be communicated and how.  Keeping them in the dark or leaving it up to them to determine the appropriate response and reporting times will only lead to dissatisfaction. 
          Is it OK to get customers opt-out of certain notices? Sure, especially if the alarm system is completely voluntary.  Customers should be able to opt-out of fire alarm notifications when fire detector devices and monitoring are required by law.
          These issues are addressed in the Fire All in One and Residential All in One.  Opt-outs should be in the contract and the Disclaimer Notice.
      Regarding Bart's comments, central stations of yesterday [and too many are still in that category] simply don't look like "todays' central stations; they can't possibly offer all the technology and services that the major central stations offer.  The old adage that "you get what you pay for" applies to your central station services - your dealer services too.  Sure you can blame your customers, claiming they won't pay more, but if you can't more for your security services now, in today's political climate, I don't know when you will be able to.  
       You know who else doesn't charge enough?  Lawyer's, especially the number  one lawyer servicing the alarm industry.  Unfortunately that isn't likely to change soon.

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Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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