Central station monitoring fostered the electronic security industry. Where once the market was limited to only high-risk premises and alarm systems were provided by a limited number of companies, rapid developments in electronics and telecommunications has made central station monitoring a...
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The Central Station Alarm Association is the professional association for central stations, and they recommend the standards and coordinate the training and trade activities for the centrals, much the same as ALOA does for locksmiths. Does your shop strive to achieve certification for all your mechanics? That's what the CSAA does for the centrals. Bear in mind that some states require that a central be registered, and all employees be state certified in order to provide monitoring services.
Explore the available alternative alarm reporting technologies available in your geographic area. These include Digital Cellular products, Long Range Radio Services, and now Internet based technologies. The differences, benefits, and availability of these different products is too involved to go into in this article, but while you are evaluating a central station, you should ask which of these they provide and which they prefer and recommend.
A final thought is to try to keep it local. Pick a central that is nearby.
Did you ever PING? It's a test you can perform on an Internet or network connection to test its speed and route the path between you and another location. You can't PING a telephone line. With the complexity of the PTSN and Internet, it actually impossible to predict how any one communication event will be routed, even of the source and destination are within the same area or same area code, but it's common sense that the closer the two are, the better.
If a central station is UL listed, but all its equipment is in one location, and all its phone lines route through the same switch, it is obvious that should the area of the country where the central is located is the victim of a crisis, it will no longer be able to protect your customers.
Some central stations have strategically located alternate fallback locations with automatic forwarding of incoming signals so one of them is likely to survive even if one location or one element of the PSTN or Internet are disabled by a natural disaster or terrorist attack.
Recently a prospective client, upon learning that the central station we were offering with our alarm system was located in Florida, asked; "What if there is another hurricane there?" Good question! While I was an alarm dealer on Long Island, my central was up the road about five miles, and I used a long range Radio Network for backups. In 30 years, I never had a situation where the alarm failed to communicate with the central due to line or radio failure. But that was before 911, 800 centrals and Katrina.
Electronic security is all about maintaining relationships with the account and earning the recurring revenues from the monitoring, servicing and programming.
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