Convergence Channel: Managing the Impact of False Alarms

The “convergence” of newer technologies, new competitors and new customer preferences require business owners in the security industry to rethink their business strategies in the future. Learn how to save the environment, your business environment that is.

<p>The next generation of Wi-Fi enabled alarm users may find DIY systems very price attractive. Alarm verification here may require the customer investigates a break-in to verify. Anyone think that’s a good idea? Photography ©istockphoto.com/MachineHeadz</p>$$ An integrated sensor package that combines a chip camera and detection technology — This allows a single sensor installation to both detect intrusion and send a low-res video clip so central stations can “verify” an alarm before dispatching police. More expensive than just a dual sensor PIR but there isn’t any real installation labor involved. Video is typically poor quality and could rarely be used for prosecution, but does verify the presence of intruders. This approach is best suited for residential or small business customers.

$$$ Integrating discreet security systems — A more sophisticated approach that combines separate intrusion and quality video systems to work in concert with higher quality results. The initiating signal (intrusion) is then verified with a variety of video feeds from the surveillance system at the central station. The ability for central station software to relate different actions, zones and video feeds make this an effective tool for apprehension and prosecution. More quantity and quality of security data translates to better decisions and safer apprehensions.

$$$$ Outdoor detection — False alarm verification with these systems has always been a huge challenge for systems integrators and end users. In the past, “layering” multiple detection technologies built upon an “if, then” validation design was often used. Today’s converged technology on the higher end uses sophisticated video technology to analyze and discern between normal and abnormal conditions. This approach moves decision making to the edge of the network; however, it does not work like a conventional alarm system that can be armed or disarmed, which could potentially cause more false alarm problems than it solves if not properly managed by the end user. This technology is improving as software becomes more sophisticated and field experiences guide manufacturers.

Simplify By G
oing Back to Basics

Let’s not ignore the fundamentals in reducing the impact of false alarms on our community or industry. The three elements that can help manage this situation include: 1) A quality system design and professional installation that leverages verification elements; 2) proper service and maintenance processes to quickly identify and resolve sources of false alarms; and 3) training the customer(s) who will be responsible for the system and it is their responsibility.

To help with the last point, take a look at an excellent video available from the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA) at faraonline.org/alarm-use/alarm-user-information that you may want to include as part of your customer training process.

Want to reduce customer-generated false alarms (the vast majority), build more RMR and incremental sales revenues? Then I strongly recommend you add a second training session with new customers about 10-14 days after the initial or upgrade installation by the sales team. I know the sales team may gripe a little, but hey, they do depend on self-generated referral leads, right? It’s a great sales process strategy for gaining commitment to add-on recommendations that may have been declined in the initial contract.

Paul Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is principal of Canfield, Ohio-based Matterhorn Consulting. He has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience.

About the Author


Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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