How Real-Time Data Will Improve Alarm Response

The Monitoring Association has initiated work on a new American National Standard, AVS-01, which will use data applicable to alarm activations at protected premises to create an alarm validation score.

How Real-Time Data Will Improve Alarm Response

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Two decades into the 21st century, technological advancement continues at an unprecedented pace. Innovative business and end-user applications continually enhance the security services provided by monitoring companies. One of the primary enablers for these advancements is the collection and use of data.

Security industry service providers, as well as public safety organizations, are increasingly leveraging data to enhance the protection of life and property. Advanced Automatic Crash Notification (AACN) is a great example of public safety use of real-time data.

Telematics-enabled vehicles involved in accidents transmit data that is used to estimate car-occupant injury to assist in determining the level of emergency response. The AACN model of using real-time data to evaluate urgent situations is naturally applicable to alarm activations.

Consequently, The Monitoring Association (TMA) initiated work on a new American National Standard, TMA-AVS-01: Alarm Validation Scoring. AVS-01 will use data applicable to alarm activations at protected premises to create an alarm validation score. The score will be an important piece of information provided when an alarm monitoring center contacts an ECC/PSAP to generate a burglar alarm call-for-service.

As with AACN, Public Safety will use the information to assist with their alarm response protocols. The AVS-01 Committee, chaired by STANLEY Security’s Mark McCall and co-chaired by ADT’s Larry Folsom and David Holl, director of public safety, Lower Allen Township, Pa., has a broad scope of professionals spanning various sectors of the security industry from monitoring companies, manufacturers, consultants, to NRTL representatives.

Public Safety is represented by ECC/PSAP leaders, law enforcement and fire service professionals. As work has proceeded, we have welcomed additional members. Two workgroups were established to leverage the diverse capabilities of committee members. The Public Safety group is chaired by Holl.

Its primary focus is ensuring the standard is created so public safety will gain true benefit when they adopt it. It immediately established guidelines for the recommended output of the scoring algorithms. With the output defined, the second workgroup could start their efforts.

The Public Safety workgroup also established guidelines for how the score would be provided to an ECC/PSAP when monitoring centers create a burglar alarm call-for-service. Those guidelines emphasized adhering as much as possible to existing ECC/PSAP protocols, simplifying eventual adoption of AVS-01.

The second workgroup, chaired by Folsom and Rapid Response Monitoring’s Morgan Hertel, is focused on data. Data is the heart of AVS-01. To create a valid scoring methodology, empirical data related to alarm activations is essential. An initial collection of information related to 1,502 actual alarms and 18,595 false alarms was provided by alarm companies for review.

That enabled a scientific look at patterns for alarm incidents in both residential and commercial properties. This data is core to creating the scoring metric process. Data indicators can be singular information that indicates a high probability of a crime in progress, as well as a compilation of separate datapoints that raise the alarm score.

Conversely, there are also singular or multiple datapoints that lower the score, as well as eliminate the need to create a call-for-service. Throughout the process, TMA has continually sought input from the public safety community.

Holl and the Security Industry Alarm Coalition’s (SIAC) Stan Martin led multiple efforts to survey law enforcement and ECC/PSAP professionals to determine what data was important to them and what incident data provided them with a level of confidence that there was a crime in progress.

Once the initial draft of the standard is finalized, TMA will follow ANSI guidelines to move the standard forward. A 30-day comment period will gather public input on the draft document. The comments received will be evaluated to determine if changes to the draft document are warranted. Changes made as a result of received comments would necessitate a second public comment period. Ideally, release would follow soon after.

For more info or to get involved, visit or email

Celia Besore, MBA, FASAE, CAE, is Executive Director of The Monitoring Association (TMA).

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