Identify an objective or goal the industry vitally needs to resolve.
False alarm reduction remains the most important thing on my plate. And not just burglar alarm, but fire alarm as well. In the last 10 years the number of systems installed has doubled. Yet, 10 years ago we were experiencing three dispatches per year, per system. Right now we have it down to .8 dispatches per year, per system. That is more than a 75-percent reduction. We have really made great strides.
That’s the burg alarm side. At the request of IAFC [Int’l Association of Fire Chiefs], the IAFC and CSAA formed a joint committee to develop a means of reducing false dispatches and several of the committee suggestions require changes to NFPA 72. They have been submitted during this code cycle. NFPA committees have a pretty diverse membership - integrators, consultants, insurance carriers, manufacturers - so the focused agenda of those various members can make consensus building challenging. They don’t represent long established opinions.
For example, it is a known fact that fire alarm systems that are well maintained and inspected have fewer false activations. There is empirical data to prove that; it’s not anecdotal. Yet the attempts we are making to codify the requirement to have contracts for test-and-inspection are being rejected by the committee. They think they are self-serving to fire alarm dealers because they would require contracts. That is ridiculous. Here we have the fire chiefs asking the industry for help.
Can a dealer remain oriented as a traditional-minded alarm company and expect to thrive in the years to come?
No. The implementation of technology is going to change the game. You are seeing that with the interactive products. Just as the commercial market has become more IP centric, similar changes are going to come to the residential space. If you take a look at ADT’s Pulse product, it is an extension of the burglar and fire alarm service. It gives the homeowner the ability to interact with their home in ways that weren’t practical only a few years ago.
In 10 years time, what might a typical residential account look like?
The key here is that we are becoming a video centric, wireless society. Video is becoming commonplace. Wireless is now the norm. Those two enablers together with other little pieces — software applications that use data, analytics and video analytics — are going to drive some incredible, interactive capability.
A lot of that is going to be driven by the absolute need to be green, to have energy conservation capability. That will put the financial oomph behind being green. Energy costs are going to continue to go up, so interconnecting all these things wirelessly and making them all interactive will lead to very innovative capabilities.
The convergence of physical security and IT that is happening in the commercial marketplace is going to happen in home systems, albeit on a smaller scale. If you think about it, IP is a world standard that enables interoperability. Futurists have been talking about smart home devices for decades — be it your washer, your dryer, your refrigerator, your oven, or even your front door.
Since most appliances now have processors in them, adding IP communications is easy and cheap and that is going to make the interoperability fairly simple. We are almost there. The financial rewards for getting these devices to talk together and the [green movement] is going to drive the application development.
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