AT&T Aiding Alarm Industry With VoIP


Telecommunications company AT&T is launching efforts to
better transition the alarm industry to voice over Internet
protocol (VoIP). Among those efforts are helping a company
launch a plug-in box to make all control panels compatible
with VoIP and installing VoIP phone services for the
internal use of the offices of alarm monitoring giant
Criticom Int’l.

Dave Albano, the vice president of sales for AT&T’s
Southern region, says AT&T, with its long history in
telecommunications, is a natural fit to help the alarm
industry deal with VoIP.

“Everyone talks about voice over IP. We look at it as
services over IP, and alarm systems are a great application
for this,” Albano says. “The expansion we see for us is
really services over IP.”

Under a $1 million contract with Criticom, AT&T will
provide new telephone equipment that will allow Criticom to
initiate VoIP phone service for its Manasquan, N.J., Wall
Township, N.J., Marietta, Ga., and Irvine, Calif., offices.
However, the VoIP service is only for Criticom’s internal
use and will have no direct bearing on its alarm monitoring
services for dealers.

Of more immediate consequence for alarm dealers and
integrators is AT&T’s deal to provide hosting services for
the launch of the U.S. subsidiary of Australian broadband
firm UHS Systems. UHS is bringing to America an IP-based
security alarm transport service that has found success
down under.

The as-yet-unnamed service from UHS involves a plug-in
device that can connect any alarm panel to VoIP that also
includes a wireless, battery-powered backup system to keep
service up even if power and VoIP go down. UHS says it is
currently conducting regional trials of the new service,
including a trial with what it says is a “very large alarm
company in the U.S.” before it plans wide distribution of
the device.

Jack McCurdy, general manager of U.S. operations for UHS,
says the device is not proprietary and should be compatible
with any alarm panel. He says the initial target for UHS
will be alarm companies than specialize in providing
systems for end users in retail.

“With cell phones and VoIP taking over, all phone companies
are looking into how to deliver services. What that means
for the alarm industry is 20 million monitored alarm
systems mostly on generations of dialers that have no
compatibility with VoIP,” says McCurdy, who adds alarm
companies need to accept that VoIP is in their future. “The
alarm industry’s defense for VoIP is essentially to educate
your customers not to buy VoIP, but that’s a losing battle.
Eventually, the alarm industry will be doing this, but it
needs to be a transitional medium and this is it.”

For more information on UHS, call (678) 343-2991.

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