ADT Ups the Alarm Management Ante With Signal Chat

ADT earned a TMA/SSI Monitoring Technology Marvel Award runner-up honor for its Signal Chat solution, an alternative method of burglar alarm notification.

ADT Ups the Alarm Management Ante With Signal Chat

ADT owns and operates nine professional monitoring centers within the United States, and serves more than 6 million residential, small business and larger commercial customers.

False alarm challenges are as old as the electronic security industry itself. No one knows that better than the nationwide installation and monitored services leader that has been there through it all — ADT.

Founded 145 years ago, ADT has spent the 21st century in particular innovating and advancing new technologies to deliver the best possible security outcomes to its millions of end-user customers as well as its couple hundred dealer program partners.

ADT’s Signal Chat is an alternative method of burglar alarm notification in which customers receive a SMS text message with a link to a Signal Chat session. No app is required, and all smartphones are supported.

“Breakthroughs in areas like biometrics, artificial intelligence, robotics, analytics, IoT and 5G are all big trends that we will have to accommodate in the future. Some of them will be actively incorporated through our products, services and processes. Others, like 5G, we will have to adapt to as an industry. Currently, ADT is investigating each of these technologies because they will all play a role in what security will look like in the future,” says Tom Nakatani, vice president of IT, ADT Customer Monitoring Technology.

The company is applying that type of forward-thinking to reducing police dispatches that are the result of false alarms being triggered and signaled into ADT’s nine U.S.-based monitoring centers.

The firm’s research has shown that 98% of burglar alarms are false, and roughly 70% of the calls from the monitoring center to the customer to cancel or verify the alarm go unanswered. So ADT has devised and rolled out an elegant and convenient solution, and been recognized as a runner-up for the 2020 TMA/SSI Monitoring Technology Marvel Award.

Launched in February, ADT’s Signal Chat is an alternative method of burglar alarm notification in which customers receive a SMS text message with a link to a Signal Chat session. No app is required, and all smartphones are supported.

Upon alarm activation on a Signal Chat site, the text message is sent to all Signal Chat contacts on the responsible party list.

After the end user is instantly notified, the alarm is held in a queue for 60 seconds to allow time to cancel or verify the alarm. If more time is needed, the responsible party list has the one-time ability to add 30 seconds to the response time. If the end user does not respond, the alarm rolls to the monitoring station and standard operating procedures apply.

ADT says the service connects end users, monitoring stations and emergency personnel for better information and use of resources during emergencies. According to the company, during the first month of piloting the technology to its most highly active customers, 47% of the alarms generated were cleared without an agent having to access the alarm.

ADT intends to further enhance the offering by soon also delivering available video from the alarm site, including a clip of what caused the alarm, with the ability for the end user to choose to provide the operating agent permission to pass that video directly to the public safety answering point (PSAP).

“The further implementation of our alarm verification tool, Signal Chat, will continue to decrease our false alarm/dispatch rates. We anticipate a significant reduction in alarms from our high activity customers with this service,” says Nakatani, who elaborates on the firm’s other alarm management techniques. “ADT performs Enhanced Call Verification, alarm permit assistance, user training and follow-ups with accounts that are inclined to frequent false alarms, as well as other best practices like acclimation testing. A key facet of ADT is that we are implementing end-to-end verification technologies, such as requiring our panels to be compliant with the SIA Control Panel Standard CP-01.”

Signal Chat is just one of the products and services keeping ADT on the industry’s leading edge of technology. Along with its core residential and commercial offerings, the company also provides DIY home security solutions through the Blue by ADT brand, cybersecurity, PERS, a standalone mobile safety app (SoSecure) and mobile safety platform (Safe by ADT), which has forged partnerships with the likes of Lyft and Instacart.

Nakatani offers a glimpse into what’s next on the roadmap: “ADT and CellBounce are developing a solution for the home security industry’s need to adapt to the AT&T 3G network sunset, which is scheduled for February 2022. CellBounce is a plug-and-play conversion technology designed to solve one of the industry’s biggest logistical and financial challenges by eliminating the need to send a service technician into customers’ homes. The technology and product could apply to most of the six million 3G-powered home security systems in the U.S. operating on AT&T’s network.”

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is the marketing director for Elite Interactive Solutions. He is the former editor-in-chief and associate publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He can be reached at [email protected].

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