5 Key Monitoring Impacts for Dealers to Consider

The Monitoring Association’s executive director looks at how monitoring companies can overcome challenges and embrace opportunities.

5 Key Monitoring Impacts for Dealers to Consider

The landscape of today’s professional monitoring industry is quite diverse, with large full-service company providers, third-party contract providers and proprietary centers delivering a full range of services to commercial, government, and residential customers.

The challenges and opportunities for each sector vary to a degree, but there are some common, overarching factors influencing key business decisions and impacting short- and long-term success for all monitoring companies. Following are five areas to monitor:

Tech Opportunities, Challenges

With the introduction of new security technologies, particularly in the areas of video and AI, monitoring centers can expand their service offerings and, in turn, increase their ROI.

These new technologies are introducing powerful and often complex new features and functionalities to monitoring centers. Higher-level services such as access management and daytime video patrols among others open new revenue-generating options.

New products and technologies, though, can be costly to purchase and implement. Staying current with technology is difficult. In tandem with introducing new produces and services is often the need to hire and train new employees to operate the new systems.

A tight labor pool, especially finding IT staff to maintain network infrastructure, is a challenge for many monitoring centers. Rising operator costs are making it difficult to offer customers the reduced monitoring costs that are being sought.

Public Safety Partnership Pluses

TMA’s Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) service is designed to increase the efficiency and reliability of emergency electronic signals from monitoring companies to public safety answering points (PSAPs), which are now referred to as emergency communications centers (ECCs).

With ASAP, critical life-safety signals and accurate information are processed in seconds, not minutes, through the Nlets system of state-to-state PSAP/ECC communications.

Today, more than 130 ECCs across the U.S., protecting more than 48 million people, live in areas covered by the ASAP service. This number continues to grow exponentially each year.

TDM Sunset Looms Large

TDM phone lines and services started to sunset many years ago. However, the technology’s end is now coming quickly. On Aug. 2, 2022, an FCC order released local phone companies from the obligation to provide subscriber copper loops to their competitors, which has caused the canceling and increased pricing of POTs lines. At the end of last year, Verizon announced that they would cancel all its TDM business services by the end of 2023.

On May 5, 2023, AT&T filed papers before the FCC advising they will discontinue AT&T toll-free MEGACOM Service, as well as Access Channel Services and Inter-Office Channel Services. All of AT&T’s TDM services will be retired by October 2026.

Installers will need to do their due diligence and communicate with their end customers to make sure that the services that they are changing also support alarm signaling.

‘Right to Repair’ Raises Concerns

TMA’s Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC), in partnership with ESA and SIA, has continued to raise concerns about “Right to Repair” legislation that can potentially compromise alarm systems by requiring the disclosure of lockout codes, passwords, system design schematics and other information to customers and third-party contractors.

The AICC has also opened a dialog with the relevant members of Congress and the Senate to urge protection of alarm systems in the Federal Fair Repair Act, which is expected to be reintroduced this year.

Standards Streamline Alarm Communications & Active Threat Response

In December 2022, TMA received ANSI accreditation for its Alarm Validation Scoring Standard (TMA-AVS-01), which provides a standardized method for calculating an alarm score, or classification level, that results in a repeatable metric that estimates the validity or potential threat level of a burglar alarm activation using historical and real-time data.

Once implemented, calls for Service to Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs)/Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) will receive a standardized scoring metric that will assist public safety departments with their alarm response policies.

TMA is in the process of developing targeted online training for monitoring center personnel, law enforcement, and ECC/PSAP staff. Additionally, discussions with monitoring center software and automation providers have been initiated to provide them with information related to the standard’s validation and scoring classification.

In the spring of 2023, TMA initiated work on a new proposed ANSI standard – Monitoring Center Notification of Active Threat Detection (TMA-ATN-01). Monitoring centers are increasingly monitoring shot detection, weapons detection, manual lockdown notification, as well as other threat technologies. These events require immediate notification to public safety.

Celia T. Besore is the executive director of The Monitoring Association (TMA).

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