Security Business

FEB 2019

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12 Security Business / / February 2019 SECURITY WATCH BY ANNA SLIWON, SECURITY ANALYST, IHS MARKIT Alarms & Monitoring Demand for Video Verification Technology on the Rise False alarm rates, smart home systems drive increased adoption False alarms are a major problem plaguing the intruder alarm and remote monitoring services industry; in fact, between 90 percent and 95 percent of alarms reported to central monitoring stations turn out to be false. These false reports strain police resources and could result in fines on customers – or even alarm service providers, as is the case in Sandy Springs, Ga. – depending on local regulations. Video verification solves these issues, offering an undisputed remote confirmation of the nature of the alarm in the shortest possible time, which helps speed the operator’s response process. Video images can be transferred in real time to the operator, so it can be assessed almost immediately, and so a response team or police forces can be sent with a much shorter delay. In 2017, nearly 23 percent of residential intruder alarm systems were sold globally with some form of video verification – including professionally installed systems, connected DIY systems, and MSO-installed systems. This penetration is forecast to increase to nearly 32 percent by 2022. Additionally, there were $43 million worth of passive-infrared (PIR) cameras sold globally in 2017 with the market revenues forecast to increase to $64 million by 2022. Smart home systems are becoming more popular. Cameras are usually advertised alongside smart plugs or smart lights, which gives users an extra level of control over what is happening in the house. Some cameras also offer smoke detection features to support traditional smoke detectors, while providing surveillance self-monitoring and verification to users. With alarm monitoring stations increasingly offering smart home monitoring services, the video verification market will receive a boost from this side of the industry. Many central monitoring stations offer video verification for an added fee. Adding video verification to a monitoring package reduces the likelihood the subscriber will cancel their contract or choose another provider. Video verification can also benefit installers and dealers who want to offer a broader range of services to their customers. Cloud hosting and support for video self-monitoring delivers greater value to customers. Installers may also find themselves closer to their customers than some remote monitoring companies, which makes it easier to increase customer awareness about new offerings. Partnerships between installers and remote monitoring stations can also increase revenue per user and provide a more stable annual income. Read the full report: Sandy Springs Battle Rages On The alarm industry is continuing its fight against an ordinance currently being enforced in Sandy Springs, Ga., which fines alarm dealers for false alarms caused by their customers. A lawsuit filed by the industry challenging the ordinance’s constitutionality was dismissed by a federal judge in December; however, the Georgia Electronic Life Safety & Systems Association (GELSSA), A-Com Security Co., and Safecom Security Solutions Inc., have announced they will file an appeal. In the district court, GELSSA and the alarm companies argued the civil fine scheme was not rationally related to a legitimate government interest –and therefore unconstitutional – because alarm companies do not have any sort of “master-servant” or “principal-agent” relationship with alarm users and are not in a position to supervise, direct or control a customer's actions. “There is significant federal precedent that supports our clients’ position,” says Brad Carver, a lawyer with the Atlanta firm of Hall Booth Smith, which is representing the alarm companies. “By imposing fines on alarm companies, the city is concerned with revenue generation rather than addressing the cause of the problem or the persons actually in a position to control it. Beyond constitutional concerns, this act of government overreach will make it cost-prohibitive for alarm companies to conduct business in this community.” Since the ordinance became effective, alarm companies have been subjected to tens of thousands of dollars in civil penalties for the actions of alarm users who have caused “false alarms” as determined by the city and billed by Cry Wolf Services, the city’s third-party alarm administrator. “We can’t allow this ordinance to become the industry norm,” says Scott Hightower, GELSSA President. “Passing customer fines on to alarm companies cannot be an option on the table.”

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