TMA Excellence Awards Deadline March 31

The Monitoring Association (formerly CSAA) is now accepting applications for the 2017 Excellence Awards!

Is your company the best of the best? How about your staff? You can gain recognition throughout the industry for your efforts and success — apply now for the 2017 TMA Excellence Awards.

Sponsored by SDM Magazine, the TMA Excellence Awards recognize outstanding FM Global, Intertek/ETL or UL-listed monitoring centers and their exemplary personnel.

Award categories are Monitoring Center, Monitoring Center Manager, Monitoring Center Operator, and Monitoring Center Support Person of the Year.

Check out coverage of the 2016 winners in TMA Dispatch, SDM, and the TMA Blog. The 2017 winners will earn the same recognition following acknowledgment at ESX 2017.

The original entry deadline of March 24 has been extended to March 31 to accommodate requests from a number of companies. So if you haven’t started your application, there is still time! To apply, visit TMA Excellence Awards.

CSAA Becomes “The Monitoring Association”

The Monitoring Association Logo 2017VIENNA, VA (March 16, 2017) – The Monitoring Association (TMA) is the new name of the 67-year-old Central Station Alarm Association. The name change reflects an adjustment in mission and focus necessitated by growth and changes in the alarm monitoring industry.

In a letter to the CSAA membership, President Pamela J. Petrow noted that “our new name reflects our renewed commitment to our mission: to advance the professional monitoring industry through education, advocacy and public safety relationships. It also emphasizes our long range goals to grow the association beyond our traditional services to embrace the opportunities of our changing industry.” She added that the new name’s meaning “will be reflected in all future initiatives of [the] association.”

“Monitoring life safety events in the traditional central station model remains our core business,” said CSAA Executive Director Jay Hauhn. “That will not change. However, our demographics surveys show that members increasingly monitor more than traditional fire and burglar alarms – they monitor medical devices, access control, and other non-emergency but meaningful events. Our new name allows room for the association to encompass all the areas our members are beginning to monitor and any into which they may move in the future.”

The association’s new name was chosen by members at the June 2016 General Membership Meeting in Fort Worth, Texas. That vote was the result of more than a year’s work by leaders and members of the association, who found that members were quickly expanding into monitoring beyond security systems, and that the use of the term “Monitoring Center” was growing as a result.

“The term ‘Central Station’ no longer has wide recognition outside of our industry,” said CSAA Vice President of Marketing and Communications Elizabeth Lasko. “Our new name will facilitate our efforts to educate the public about the critical role TMA members play in public safety.”

This is the second time the organization’s name has been changed since incorporation in 1950 as the Central Station Electrical Protection Association; it was changed to CSAA in 1989.

“Our new name change reflects our evolving association,” said Shannon Woodman, COO of Washington Alarm and a member of the TMA Executive Committee. “Under Pam’s and Jay’s leadership, our association has made many positive changes that will help ensure we continue to grow into the future. Many of our members are monitoring much more than security alarms and fire alarms. Along with the name change, we will be looking to expand our membership to companies who are monitoring things such as GPS monitoring, process event monitoring and network monitoring.”

TMA’s website can be reached at www.tma.us. (The association also owns the domains http://www.tmaweb.org and http://www.themonitoringassociation.org.) Member ID numbers and login information for the website will not change. TMA staff will use the email suffix “@tma.us.” All emails to the previous “@csaaintl.org” address will be forwarded.

TMA members should expect to receive newly-branded membership materials in the coming months as the rebranding unfolds. Association programs including Five Diamond, Excellence Awards, Online Training, and the Annual Meeting and Fall Operations Management Seminar are also undergoing rebranding and will be re-launched under the new name.

“Times change, and successful organizations need to change with them,” said Bud Wulforst, a past president (2007-2009) of the association. “The transition to the name The Monitoring Association reflects our willingness to understand and address the evolving realities of our industry.”

Questions about the name change should be directed to Elizabeth Lasko, TMA Vice President of Communications, at ewlasko@tma.us.

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About The Monitoring Association
The Monitoring Association (TMA), formerly the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), is an internationally-recognized non-profit trade association that represents professional monitoring companies, including those listed by a TMA-approved Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory, such as FM Global, Intertek/ETL or UL. Incorporated in 1950, TMA is legally entitled to represent its members before Congress and regulatory agencies on the local, state and federal levels, and other authorities having jurisdiction (AHJs) over the industry. TMA’s mission is to advance the professional monitoring industry through education, advocacy, and public safety relationships. www.tma.us. For more information, contact Elizabeth Lasko at TMA, 703-242-4670 x 16.

CSAA Government Relations Activity Report

The CSAA Government Relations Committee has reviewed 31 legislative bills to date in 2017. Durinshutterstock_522456877g these reviews Chair Rick Sheets has collaborated with ESA Government Relations and CSAA members to gain insight on the effect these bills have on our industry.

Here are some bills the GR Committee felt had major impacts.

  • AL LRS2017-573 (Pre
    Introduction):
    Creates additional license classification and updates definitions, more information to come soon.
  • TX 85R HB 3115 FIL: Changes to TDPS Title 1702.061, Occupations Code, currently under review.
  • MD HB 1368a bill with significant potential impact to low-voltage electrical work, eliminates local licensing requirements for electrical contractors and pushes all licensing and regulatory control to the State Board of Master Electricians. A hearing is scheduled for HB 1368 before the House Committee on Economic Matters, March 6, 2017 at 1:00pm. More information to come soon.
  • CT SB 822: Adds protections to senior citizens, ending contract obligations at time of death, increasing contract font size and increasing time for right of recession for citizens over the age of 65.
  • NJ public notice 344(a): CEDIA has petitioned the Board of Electrical Contractors (Board) to amend N.J.A.C 13:31 – 4.1 to add a new exemption for the design, installation, integration, erection, repair, maintenance, or alteration of products that transport voice, video, audio, and data signals in residential premises.
  • OK SB 531: Reduces licensing hurdles for multiple licenses for companies and its employees to be able to sell and install home automation products that are controlled by a residential burglar alarm system.

“It is important that members are engaged in the process to protect their business and viability in the market place,” said Sheets. If you would like any additional details on these bills or have any input you would like to submit, he can be contacted at rs8486@att.com .

Nigel Spinks to Lead the CSAA Associate Members’ Liaison Committee

 

Nigel2CSAA announced that Nigel Spinks is the new chair of the Associate Members’ Liaison Committee. In his new role he will represent Associate Members on the CSAA Board of Directors. This committee advises the Board of the needs and concerns of Associate Members, and it provides input to the Membership and Education committees on their outreach and other projects. The committee has begun working on a universal billing template and TMA event promotion, among other initiatives.

Spinks, who was born and raised in London, England, is a sales management professional with more than 40 years in the security industry business. He has extensive experience in general management, manufacturing, product engineering and worldwide sales, particularly in the electronic manufacturing and telecommunication industries. For more than 24 years, he has worked for Tyco Safety Products, now part of Johnson Controls International, a multi-billion conglomerate with global operations.

Spinks previously was the SIA representative on the CSAA Board of Directors. The new representative will be announced soon.

Ron Rothman is New Chair of CSAA Marketing/Communications Committee

 

CSAA is pleased to announce that Ron Rothman, Senior Vice President of Sales & Business Development at AFA Protective Systems, Inc., is the new chair of the CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee. This important committee creates, coordinates and disseminates targeted information to the industry and general public to advance CSAA  goals and strengthen its brand.ron-rothman-headshot

“I’m looking forward to leading the Marketing and Communications Committee at this pivotal time in the association’s history  – as we transition to our new name, The Monitoring Association, and the next stage in our mission to advance the professional monitoring industry,” said Rothman.

Rothman joined AFA in 2015 and is responsible for Sales, Branch Development and M&A. AFA was the country’s first Central Station fire alarm business having been established in 1873. A full service commercial security company, AFA is a leader in the installation, monitoring, test and inspection of Fire, Access, Intrusion and Video systems through its 18 East Coast offices.

Prior to joining AFA, Rothman most recently served for 5 years as President of Honeywell International’s $3B Global Security and ADI Distribution Business. He started his career with ADEMCO (a division of the PITTWAY CORP) in the 1980’s. Subsequently, PITTWAY was acquired by Honeywell in 1999. During his 32-year career with the company, he had a progression of Sales, Marketing and Management roles with the industry-leading businesses ADEMCO, First Alert Professional, AlarmNet, Northern, FBII and Genesis Wire in addition to many international brands.

He currently serves on the Board of ADS in Nashville and previously served on the Boards of CSAA and SIA. He is a member of the SSI Hall of Fame, is a recipient of SIAC’s William N. Moody award and ESA’s President’s Award.

– Elizabeth Lasko, February 22, 2017

Five Questions for Renova CEO Jonathan Pine

CSAA welcomed Renova Technology as a new member earlier this year. We asked President and CEO Jonathan Pine to share something about himself and the company with other CSAA members.

jonathan-pine-renova

Jonathan Pine, President and CEO, Renova Technology

1. What is your company’s mission and how does it intersect with the alarm industry?

Ever since I founded  Renova Technology in 1996 , our mission/vision  has always been to deliver high-end technical repair services emphasizing quality, reliability and customer service. These best practices, when applied to the commercial security and alarm industry result in much higher and reliable levels of security for customers and of course fewer false alarms (which I will explain below). I also became very passionate about environmental responsibility as a result of my 3 sons’ influence and by observing first-hand the harmful effects of dumping non-working electronics in 3rd world countries.  I am proud that as a result of our repairs, we have prevented over 8 million pounds of electronics from entering landfill or cooking pots used for both metals reclamation and later dinner by children in Africa. I have actually seen that occur. The thousands of commercial security devices we now repair monthly were all being thrown in the dumpster before we entered the industry in 2014 .

2. Share a personal experience you’ve had with alarm monitoring or public safety.

Fortunately I have never personally experienced a break-in nor the direct effects of challenges to public safety. I am a firm believer in the proliferation of cameras/monitoring throughout our communities.  I was truly awakened recently to the financial effects of poorly maintained alarm systems upon our community. I returned from a trip overseas only to discover that my home alarm system generated over 50 false alarms due to malfunction. Despite my overseas calls to our service provider of 21 years, they did not remotely turn off our system nor disregard the alarms.  I was fined over $1,000 by my county and I am sure that this cost the police substantially more money and time – which should have been utilized elsewhere.

3. What are your goals for your membership in CSAA?

Renova repairs high end commercial security equipment – DVR/NVR, Cameras, and Access Control Panel Boards for 4 of the 7 largest integrators in the country – as well as for many super-regionals and smaller integrators. Our customers enjoy average savings of $2,000+ on each of our repairs –rather than by replacing the equipment. Our goals for joining are (1)  to continue to learn more and contribute to this important and growing industry, and (2) to begin working directly with self-maintaining enterprises – those retail and other establishments that service their own equipment. We understand they comprise an important segment of the membership and we want to reach out to them. I believe that Renova can help them lower their service costs and increase loss prevention – not by investing money, but by repairing rather than replacing expensive security equipment.

5. What makes your company special?

Firstly: our employees.  Our company is comprised of employees from over 10 countries, that have been with Renova for 10+ years on average.  Many of our engineers grew up in environments where they had no choice but to repair the electronics they had.  So they also share a passion for quality repair and that is one of the reasons why our repair yields (96%+) are so high. We are unique also with the wealth of data we capture about each repair, and the associated data analytics which are used to drive down our customers service costs, increase efficiencies, and promote brand loyalty.  Beyond the OEMs, there may be only 2 other companies that do what we do in the Security Industry.

5. Tell us something about yourself that drives the way you do business. 

I have to admit that my favorite business and inspirational book has always been Og Mandino’s  “The Greatest Salesman in the World.” The most important message of this story is “Only by persistently serving quality to others can we succeed in business.”  I am also a musician now for 55 years and play many stringed instruments and have a passion for foreign languages (of which I speak 3).  I have a background in counseling and spend time each week coaching others outside of my company.

Find out more about Renova in this short presentation. (Takes a few minutes to download.)

 

 

 

 

Alert for Alarm Companies: Websites and Mobile Apps Must Be ADA-Compliant

WEBSITES MUST BE ACCESSIBLE TO BLIND AND VISUALLY IMPAIRED CUSTOMERS

The Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., better known by its acronym (the ADA), is being used with increasing frequency to capitalize on unsuspecting companies whose websites are inaccessible to persons with disabilities. Last year was a record setting year for website accessibility litigation and there is no sign of abating as we move in to 2017.

Title III of the ADA, with a few narrow exceptions, prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability in places of public accommodation and requires that such places afford individuals with disabilities access to goods and services equal to that which is provided to those without disabilities. The ADA does not specifically address whether commercial websites are considered places of public accommodation. However, most courts have determined that Title III’s accessibility requirements apply to commercial websites of places of public accommodation, reasoning that website accessibility is the functional equivalent of inaccessibility to the physical store. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ), which is responsible for publishing ADA guidance, has recently extended this reasoning to mobile apps, filing lawsuits against retailers with non-compliant mobile apps. The DOJ has not yet published website accessibility guidelines (though it is noteworthy that the DOJ has incorporated W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (“WCAG”) in some of its website accessibility consent decrees).  According to many commentators, the DOJ is expected to issue guidelines in 2018 though DOJ’s rulemaking process has been delayed several times already.  As a result, there is a great deal of ambiguity surrounding website compliance obligations – ambiguity that has generated litigation with increasing frequency.

Even the court system has struggled to identify the outer limits of website compliance obligations. Courts in the Third, Sixth, Ninth and Eleventh Circuits have required plaintiffs to show there is a “nexus” between a company’s website and the enjoyment of goods and services offered at a physical location of the company. In National Federation of the Blind v. Target Corp., 452 F. Supp. 2d 946 (N.D. Cal. 2006), for example, the court found that Target.com violated the ADA because the website was not accessible to visually-impaired individuals and prevented them from enjoying goods and services of Target’s physical store, such as ordering prescription refills, photos, or purchasing products. Notably, courts in the First and Seventh Circuits have demanded website compliance without regard to whether companies operate a physical location that has traditionally been considered a place of public accommodation.

Notable cases from 2016 include the following:

  • Marett v. Capital Grille Holdings, Inc., No. 1:16-cv-08913 (S.D.N.Y. 2016). Plaintiff brought this case as a class action on behalf of a group of similarly situated (blind) individuals.  Plaintiff was allegedly unable to make dinner reservations on The Capital Grille’s website. Plaintiff claimed defendant’s website was inaccessible, in relevant part, because it was an “entirely visual interface” and that it was unable to interface with assistive screen-reading software. The case is ongoing.
  • Marett v. Rosewood Hotels and Resorts, L.L.C., No. 1:16-cv-08877 (S.D.N.Y. 2016). Plaintiff brought this case as a class action on behalf of a group of similarly situated (blind) individuals. Plaintiff was allegedly unable to make a reservation, read testimonials, or provide the same through the hotel’s website. Plaintiff asserted that that the website was not compatible with the use of special keyboards and screen reading software and that the website failed to use alternative text, accessible forms, descriptive links, resizable text. The case is ongoing.
  • Jahoda v. Nat’l Basketball Assoc., No. 2:15-cv-01462 (W.D.P.A. 2015). Plaintiff filed a class action lawsuit against the National Basketball Association (NBA). Therein, it was alleged that the NBA’s website violated the ADA because visually-disabled individuals are unable to access all of the website’s features, even with the aid of assistive software. Plaintiff sought to have the NBA create and utilize an internal management team that would develop web-based content in an accessible manner. The case settled in 2016 before a decision was reached on the merits.
  • Dudley v. Miami University, et al., No. 1:14-cv-00038 (S.D. Ohio 2014). Miami University entered into a Consent Decree with the DOJ requiring the University to ensure that its web content and other technologies comply with the WCAG 2.0 standards. The decree also required the University to revise its technology procurement standards to ensure future compliance.

As 2017 begins, there is no sign that ADA website accessibility litigation is abating.  Companies should consult with their attorneys to determine whether or not they are considered a place of public accommodation under the ADA.  They should also audit their website(s) to determine whether they should remediate accessibility barriers; whether they should conduct ADA training for responsible stakeholders; whether they should update their ADA policies and procedures; as well as taking other important steps to put them in the best possible position to defend against website accessibility litigation.

–Contributed by Kelly H. Kolb, Esq., of CSAA member Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, PC. Kolb participated in the panel discussion “The Impact of the New Overtime Rukolb_kelly_189x186le and Minimum Wage Increases on Your Business” at the 2016 CSAA Annual Meeting and is a contributor to CSAA Dispatch.