Monitoring Industry Faces New Threat in Illinois

The monitoring industry is facing another threat in Illinois. Schaumburg, a community with 1200 commercial fire alarm systems, has passed an ordinance where the municipality prescribes that all commercial fire alarm systems must be monitored by a single local monitoring center of their choosing.

In the minutes from a recent public safety meeting obtained by Illinois ESA, a trustee asks about fixing various identified issues, and the fire chief responds: “The fault lies with their monitoring company that is failing to do the job the business is paying them for.” In another meeting record, the chief is cited as saying, “Remote companies hire minimum wage staff and aren’t diligent on how they do their job.” This leads to the mandate that the local municipality dictates who may monitor commercial fire alarms.

The IESA is working to engage the business community on this issue and will attend the next Schaumburg Board Meeting on October 11. CSAA leadership is closely involved. If you monitor in Illinois, please contact IESA Executive Director Kevin Lehan at for more information. Please direct any other comments or questions to Executive Director Jay Hauhn at

CSAA-Verisk Initiatives Deliver Great Member Benefits  

By Drew Doleski, Verisk Insurance Solutions

Two exciting opportunities are available to help security- and alarm-system providers find additional value from their data, and potentially expand insurance discount benefits to their customers, thanks to Verisk’s ongoing partnership with Central Station Alarm Association International (CSAA).

CSAA-affiliated system providers can participate in a CSAA-Verisk study that evaluates whether deeper insurance discounts are warranted for their customers beyond the ‘check box’ discounts provided today. System providers will also have an opportunity to participate in Verisk’s data exchange solution for the confirmation of current, active alarm systems. Homeowners insurers who participate in the exchange will be able to verify if a customer has an active monitoring subscription. This will potentially create additional recurring monthly revenue (RMR) opportunities for system providers and could also improve system retention rates by triggering deeper homeowner policy discounts that would make retention more attractive.

Insurance industry aggregate discount study

Now underway, the insurance research study will develop insights that help insurers determine the extent to which discounts should be adjusted to truly reflect the benefits of alarm systems. The analysis draws from the combined alarm system data contributed by the industry, as well as from Verisk’s proprietary policy and claims/loss records that span the United States homeowners market. Verisk will provide advisory information to insurers and insurance regulators that supports discount-level adjustments within the industry.

Status of the study

  • Verisk and CSAA have finalized the process to securely encrypt and transmit necessary alarm company data and are ready to begin the analysis.
  • Two companies, Vector Security and Alarm Detection Systems, have signed on to participate in the research initiative.
  • CSAA-affiliated alarm system providers are encouraged to support the study by contributing information—data volume matters and we need the support of the full industry!

Alarm system data exchange

Verisk is partnering with alarm companies to create a database that matches alarm system subscriptions with homeowners insurance policies. Insurers, who seek accurate and timely information on households, use this database to systematically verify that customers qualify for alarm system discounts. For every match, participating alarm companies receive a royalty for the use of their data.

“The potential benefits of participating in the exchange for alarm companies are decreased attrition and boosted RMR,” noted Pam Petrow, president of CSAA. “Interested members are encouraged to reach out to Verisk.”

The Verisk team will attend CSAA’s Annual Meeting in October and looks forward to meeting and speaking with anyone who wants to learn more about Verisk’s CSAA initiatives. For more information, please contact Drew Doleski, product manager for Internet of Things and the Connected Home, at


Capitalize Your Customers’ Experiences: Meet CSAA Annual Meeting Speaker Dennis Snow

Snow, Dennis- HR PhotoNoted speaker, trainer and consultant Dennis Snow is the author of the book Lessons from the Mouse: A Guide for Applying Disney World’s Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life. His customer service abilities were honed over 20 years with the Walt Disney World Company. There, he developed his passion for service excellence and the experience he brings clients and audiences worldwide. Today, Snow helps organizations including banks, universities and hospitals achieve goals related to customer service, employee development and leadership. He will present the featured session “Capitalizing Customer Experiences” at the CSAA Annual Meeting on October 25 in Marco Island, FL.

CSAATell CSAA members how you came to be interested in customer service.
Snow: My passion for the subject comes from my years working at Walt Disney World. The philosophy at Walt Disney World is this: “We’re not selling rides. We’re selling an experience.” And the service provided by every cast member is a big part of that experience.

CSAA: What can CSAA Annual Meeting participants expect from your session, “Capitalizing Customer Experiences”?
Snow: They’ll learn about the core elements of an outstanding customer experience, tools for improving the customer experience, and how to engage their employees in continuous service improvement.

CSAA: What will CSAA members will take away from your presentation?
Snow: Specific tools they can apply in their organizations.

CSAA: Can you share a sneak preview of a data point that you use to help managers/companies evaluate their customer service? 
Snow: A study showed that 68% of customers who defect from a company do so because of poor service. When that 68% was asked to define poor service, they defined it as “an attitude of indifference on the part of the company.” We can never take our customers for granted. It’s the difference between doing our work with a task mentality (which makes customers feel processed) versus doing our work with an experience mentality (which makes customers feel valued).

Marco-Island-Logo_vertCSAA: What is something you have found really surprising in your work with companies in your career?
Snow: I think the biggest surprise is the number of companies that have never really defined what they want the customer experience to be. There’s no clear vision of what’s expected, and the result is inconsistent performance.

CSAA: Are you an alarm system owner? 
Snow: I’ve been an alarm system owner for 26-years, and in all that time have triggered the alarm accidentally only about four times. I’m very proud!

CSAA: Tell us something about yourself that drives or influences the way you do business.
Snow: I have many, many books about Walt Disney, and when I need a dose of inspiration I know I can always open any of those books to any page. Walt died when I only seven years old, but no one else (other than my family) has such a big impact on my life.

Register now for the CSAA 2016 Annual Meeting.



Guilford County PSAP Reports on ASAP Implementation


Guilford County (Greenboro, NC) is one of the most recent PSAPs to implement the ASAP service. We recently checked in with Clay Kennedy, Guilford Metro 911 Systems Administrator, on how the implementation went and what results he’s seen since.

ASAP: Why did your PSAP adopt ASAP?

Kennedy: We implemented this because Guilford Metro 911 looked at is as a revolutionary interface. Any time we can streamline calls with accurate information ruling out human errors is always a plus. This interface has already proven to be faster than the old way of reporting alarms to our 911 agency.

ASAP: What your experience with the process of getting connected?

Kennedy: The overall experience was good. The biggest issue was trying to implement a production and a training side. Within NC, this is not possible because the state switch only routes it to one ORI. Once we put this interface into production, we did not migrate it back to training. All test calls with new alarm companies were sent to the live side. Bill Hobgood is one heck of a consultant and is knowledgeable about how the setup is between our CAD system and the ASAP-to-PSAP interface. The most time-consuming piece is the address verification between our PSAP and the alarm companies of what they have in their database. With this being a newish interface, our CAD vendor’s implementation team had somewhat of a learning curve. Once it was set up and running, it was solid. We do have to restart our message switch if the State of NC does anything on their end that is state-switch related. Our alarm company, in the ASAP program, notifies us of failed responses from our systems when the State does switch maintenance.

ASAP: What have been your initial findings since ASAP has been implemented? 

Kennedy: Our agency’s calls via ASAP-to-PSAP average three seconds to route the call for dispatch. We currently have Vector Security; nine more are connecting to us soon. I would say we are still in our beginning stages to see a significant decrease in call volume. Our telecommunicators prefer the ASAP-to-PSAP method and we are keeping with the industry trends, resulting in a win-win overall.

ASAP: Any other thoughts on the process or outcomes?

Kennedy: Bill Hobgood does an outstanding job coordinating and communicating between the PSAP and the alarm companies. I love how the interface looks on SunGard’s end. The Nature Code Translation table is easy to set up and get to. If we want to create rejection rules for areas or specific calls then we can do so. Even though the phone call is not there in this interface, our telecommunicators, field responders, and Alarm Companies can communicate via messaging through the CAD system and across the PSAP and state message switches. Streamlining processes, cutting back on human errors, and faster response times with quality information are items that should be embraced in the field of 911 technologies.



Find out more about ASAP.


Cyber Security is Focus of Just-Announced Technology Session at CSAA Annual Meeting

Don’t miss this just-announced technology session at the upcoming CSAA Annual Meeting. Haven’t registered yet? Early bird rates end September 9 — register today!

Cyber Security is a Business Risk (Not Just an IT Risk)

Wednesday, October 26
10:45 am–12:00 pm

Presenters: Justin Bailey, COO, AvantGuard; Todd Neilson, President, Secuvant Security Services; Sascha Kylau, Vice President of Central Station Solutions & Service, Onetel; Steve Butkovich, Chief Technology Officer, CPI Security Systems

When your security is compromised, it’s not just an IT issue, it’s a business issue. Poor security management can lead to loss of business revenue, profits, customers and reputations. The costs to mitigate a breach, address potential lawsuits, provide proper notification, and pay fines can be painful. You need to be prepared!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Many business owners are in the same situation. This session focuses on how to get started on building an effective cyber security plan for your business. Technology helps us identify and manage many of these issues, but is only a portion of your overall security maturity or posture. Effective cyber security is also dependent on security policies, awareness training, insurance protection, incident response plans, effective data storage backups and access to security experts when needed. Our four experts from the security industry will share their knowledge about these elements and help you prioritize and develop an action plan for your business.



JBailey (2)Prior to entering the security industry, Justin Bailey spent more than a decade developing technologies for some of the largest companies in the world including Walmart and Honeywell. Since joining AvantGuard 6 years ago, he has learned the industry through experience in both technology and operations. He led the technology teams responsible for creating the state of the art redundancy employed among AvantGuard’s locations, and he guided the central station through a marked improvement in operational efficiency while more than doubling total accounts monitored.  In March 2014 he was named the COO of AvantGuard and is now responsible for all functions.

Steve Butkovich headshotSteve Butkovich is a security and information technology leader working for CPI Security Systems headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.  As a 16-year veteran of the security industry and current CTO for CPI Security Systems, he has directly managed Service Operations, Customer Care, Central Station and Information Technology Teams during his tenure at CPI.  Today Butkovich works to manage technology service providers, vendors and manufacturers to identify, develop and maintain technology solutions allowing CPI to better serve its customers with superior service and high value security and home automation solutions for their homes and businesses. He understands the importance of technology to all facets of the business and works closely with CPI Leaders in Accounting, Marketing, Sales, Installation, Monitoring, Quality Control and Service to utilize and implement new technology tools and solutions to support the goals of the business.

Sascha Kylau headshotSascha Kylau has 18 years of experience in the security field specializing in communication technologies. He started as an engineer with Sur-Gard and held various positions including sales engineer, global product manager and global sales manager. He recently joined Onetel Security, a services company which builds custom voice and data services for the central station market. He is a seasoned public speaker on such topics as central station receivers, VoIP, IP Technology and telecommunications. Kylau is keenly involved in the security industry and participates as an active member of AICC (Alarm Industry Communications Committee), SIA (Security Industry Association) and CSAA (Central Station Alarm Association). He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronics Engineering.

Todd Neilson is the Co-founder and President of Secuvant Security Services located in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Secuvant is an independent cyber security serviceTodd Neilson Head Shots firm specializing in risk management, business enablement and managed security services for the SMB and mid-market.  Neilson has been a security professional for over 30 years working for Sprint, US West, Nokia, Computer Associates and IBM.  Prior to co-founding Secuvant, Todd was the VP of North America for CA Te
chnologies Security Practice, advising Fortune 100 clients around the world on their Cyber Security needs. Neilson has many certifications, recognitions and awards including being a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).







CSAA Committee Meetings Schedule at 2016 Annual Meeting

CSAA committee chairs have expressed their desire for more cross-communication between committees. To accommodate this request, at the upcoming CSAA Annual Meeting several committees will meet jointly.

The committee meeting schedule is:

Sunday, October 23, 2016,  9:30am-12:15pm

9:30am – 11:00am           Membership/NRTL/Five Diamond/Marketing & Communications
9:30am – 11:00am           Education/Legal Affairs/Technology
9:30am – 11:00am           Government Relations/PSLC/Standards
11:15am-12:15pm             Associate
11:15am-12:15pm            ASAP Outreach/Business

Still need to register? Visit CSAA Annual Meeting.