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Comments on Central Station operators working from home/ Register for Webinars
September 14, 2023
Comments on Central Station operators working from home   
          Maybe I don’t thank you enough and I certainly don’t say thank you in every email. You and I disagree more than most of your readers may think, but our relationship has never been stronger in the 38 years you have been my Corporation Council. I was a Concierge Client before there was a program.  Your readers also know that I almost never agree with Jeff Zwirn, and never with Lee Jones, but in your response on this topic not only am I in agreement with you but the general premise of Jeff Zwirn.
          USA did not during Covid and does not today operate as a normal course of business with operators working from home.
          What we did do on the first day that we acknowledged the pandemic was to send a 34 year employee of ours, who had respiratory issues already to take his phone and desktop to work from home and not comeback until we told him too. This employee’s name was Don, and was the backbone of our dealer support services, and was loved by our dealer customers. He retired last year with 37 years of service to USA.
          Compassion and concern for our team members is as important to us as is the service we deliver every day for the last 41 years to our dealers and their end-users. There are more than a few central stations out there that don’t have the well-being for their employees like USA does, but there are even more that don’t have concern for the end-user experience either. Alarm company owners need to accept that if the operational costs for their alarm company continue to rise it only makes sense that the same is occurring for their central station provider as well. There is no section of the United States that is not affected by inflation or the costs of employee benefits. If there was such a place and they had a large pool of qualified new employees, the whole monitoring industry would be opening centers there today.
          But I for one is wondering when one of my competitors is going to step up and accept the challenge from Jeff Zwirn; that would be a must see webinar!  
          My statement to my competitors -  because our competitors know who they are that are using a vast majority of their remote workforce – take the Zwirn challenge and defend your business decision.
 Bart A. Didden, President
U.S.A. Central Station Alarm Corp
          So, the Rapid Response president states they DO NOT WORK FROM HOME – good.
          However, the Rapid Response representative serving on UL’s CSDS committee – the committee who approved PERM WORK FROM HOME - votes YES for work from home.
          What’s your take on this Ken?
Feel free to include my details.
Stephen Harper
Dispatch Center, Ltd
          I think that Jeff Atkins has said it all about central station monitoring facilities versus at-home monitoring; since we are past the Covid 19 pandemic, which might have possibly required some at home monitoring, that is long past and why UL still allows it, is a mystery- they should be invited to the seminars to give their point of view as to how the in-home monitoring of signals does not degrade the level of service received from a central monitoring facility.
          Additionally, Jeff makes an excellent point about the consequences of not notifying the consumer of the service that the service has changed significantly; not only does it present possible unfair business practice issue as Jeff mentioned,, but also may present an issue as to the enforceability of the contract, including the limitation of liability clause if there were a loss at a premise monitored at an in-house facility versus the contract which usually states that signals will be monitored at a monitoring facility.
Dennis Stern,Esq
Of Counsel to Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
          Regarding at home central station operators:
          So the biggest thing that comes to mind whenever I hear this, and I understand it’s been a heated discussion for a while, is that the central station is the hallmark of our industry. 
          There are significant pros and cons to remote central station workers. The number one thing that comes to my mind whenever I hear about remote central workers is I highly doubt that an operators home has the same level of scrutiny that a UL listed central station has with redundant power, redundant Internet, redundant phone line, and so I would propose that there be a standard of a percentage of load be required to be supported at the central station with ancillary operators, able to work from home more of a hybrid model. This will allow additional resources to spool up rapidly and maintain the integrity of the central station. 
          What I don’t want to occur is for 100% of my operators to be at home with a barking dog and screaming kids in the background when someone’s having the worst day of their life. If we’re going to change the model, it should be extremely clear that that is what is being offered so that way dealers have the ability to opt in or opt out.  
          In my mind it is a significant risk for operators to be operating at home and frankly, if that’s the case, I need to bump my insurance up.
          I of course am 100% in support of a central station remaining a central station. The very definition of a central station is a central location for the routing of everything. Is it really even a central station if it’s not a centralized command center? I guess it should be renamed a decentralized station that would certainly help avoid confusion across the industry.
          Of course thanks to the shelter in place situation when Covid occurred and having the means for operators to operate from home in an ancillary capacity could greatly strengthen the stability of a central station from a staffing perspective.
          I would propose that Home operators have a designated space free from distractions with a door that can be closed with the understanding that there is no higher priority than what occurs in that room that operator should be free from the responsibilities of anything occurring at the house. This should be reserved for veteran operators with a proven track record over a multi-year career. 
          There should be a checks and balances system with it something equivalent to a dead man switch where the operator has to verify that they are logged in at the desk and ready to receive a call. From a cyber security perspective they should only be able to connect to the central station via a VPN. It should be a machine provided by the central station that is locked down to only be able to conduct central station activities. 
          The last thing that we need is somebody accessing central station from a home computer which may or may not be security compromised.  Just lots of things to consider and if we’re going to go that direction if progress demands it then there’s no stopping at what I would prefer instead of the whining of it’s not fair and I don’t want it is more of a helpful tone of if this is the way that it’s going to go, let’s put processes and procedures in place to make sure that it is not a botched transition.
Anthony Vanhorn
The Security Guy
          This is a hot topic and the lines are drawn in the sand, work for home, do not work from home. Some Central Stations have gone on record that they never did and never will permit work from home operators; Rapid Response has made clear it does not permit work from home for operators.  As far as its “representative” having voted to at UL to approve the practice, that is easily explained.  He was certainly not advancing Rapid’s position nor was he there as Rapid’s representative; he wears or wore many hats and one of them was president of the Monitoring Association.  I am not sure if he was even speaking, or voting on its behalf.  There could be many reasons why he voted to approve the work from home rule and to engage in speculation and conjecture is not productive.  It was Covid, staffing operators was a problem and his vote definitely did not reflect Rapid’s policy; that is obvious now as it was then. 
          Other central stations have not been as transparent as Rapid.  Not one central station has accepted Jeff Zwirn’s challenge to debate the side of permitting operators to work from home. K&K has scheduled webinars by central stations starting in mid-October.  As I write this article [beginning of September] only 7 central stations have signed up for the webinar series.  Work from home is sure to be a topic and every central station will have to be prepared to address the issue, either in the presentation or when the questions are presented.  No comment is not likely to cut it. 
          Where am I on the issue?  Work from home operators is likely to increase risk of something going wrong.  But, I am not knowledgeable of what technology is available and in place or what each central station may employ to ensure reduction in risk.  That is an important consideration.  Keep in mind that the work at home policy was, presumable enacted as a Covid measure response.  Why it remains today is a good question because labor force problems can be, in my mind, the only factor to support the continued practice, and measuring the increased risk needs to be accessed.
          For the central stations who have decided to sit this webinar out, shame on you and you deserve all the push back from your dealers that you’re likely to get.  Dealers need to know what their central station’s policy is on this issue and dealers need to consider if there is an increase in risk, and perhaps whether that increase in risk is worth it because otherwise the central station would need to raise rates to increase operator compensation.  That’s a mouthful, I know.  But this is a vital consideration and I am going to tell you why, again.  The added risk is really on the dealer because every central station dealer agreement requires that the dealer indemnify the central station for claims and damages; an operator error that ends up costing damages is more than likely going to end up on the dealer’s lap.  If you think work from home increases risk then just realize it’s your risk, not the central station’s risk. 

         With all the discussion, and dissatisfaction, about management software our first webinar series is by software providers offering comprehensive software programs for the alarm industry.
Title:  Fieldhub: All In One Operations and Accounting Software For Security and Fire Integrators
When:  October 3, 2023  noon ET
Why attend:  FieldHub is a comprehensive software program that integrates proposals, planning, warehouse inventory management, scheduling, field technician mobile applications, invoicing, accounting, tracking systems and devices, creation and linkage of a central station account, and much more
Who should attend: managers and owners
Presented by: Miles Fawcett, Founder and CEO of FieldHub Inc. 202.417.8196;
Hosted by:  Ken Kirschenbaum, Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Register here:
Title:  Innovative Business Software:  operating software for central stations
When:  October 5, 2023  noon ET
Why attend:  Innovative Business Software is central station solution to smooth operation and integration
Who should attend: managers and owners
Presented by: Jen Kolind, President and CEO of Innovative Business Software Inc. 469 556 2822;  
Hosted by:  Ken Kirschenbaum, Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Register here:
Title: WorkHorseSCS
When: October 11, 2023 noon ET
Why attend: Alarm business operating software solution for Sales, Field Service, Customer Service, RMR (Recurring Monthly Revenue), Electronic contracts and Digital Signatures, all conveniently housed in one unified platform. Streamlines your alarm company's processes with Single Point of Data Entry solution. Integrates with over 40 Central Stations, along with leading platforms like, Alula, resideo, SecureCom, and SecureNet.
Who should attend: Managers and owners
Presented by: Steven Hayes, 941.229.8200
Hosted by: Ken Kirschenbaum, Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Register here:

Central Stations series: Why You Should Be Monitored BY Our CS
Hear from the leading central stations and “Why you should be monitored by” that central station.  The topic of remote operator monitoring from outside the central station facility and the dynamics that issue presents is sure to come up.  The question you need to be asking is why isn’t your central station participating and why are you still using your central station if it’s not participating?
October 17, 2023 noon ET, Emergency 24
Registration Link:

October 18, 2023 noon ET, Statewide Monitoring Corp
Registration Link:

October 19, 2023 noon ET, Legacy Security Services
Registration Link:

October 24, 2023 noon ET
National Monitoring Center
Registration Link:

October 25, 2023 noon ET, Dynamark Monitoring
Registration Link:

October 26, 2023 noon ET,  COPS Monitoring    Registration Link:

October 31, 2023 noon ET, Rapid Response Monitoring Center

Registration Link:

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301