For TMA Members: February 2018 Updates From UL

AlarmHUB, UL’s new Certificate management and verification tool, is now in beta testing with volunteer monitoring stations and alarm service companies. AlarmHUB will bring new features and enhanced functionality to UL’s compliance management portal. AlarmHUB will be available for all UL customers mid-2018.  To learn more, visit

The TMA Standards Committee & UL are collaborating on a pair of revision proposals to UL827, Central Station Services.

  • The first, dated 11/17/2017, provides requirements around use of automated processing of low level signals, performance based requirements for protection of windows in an operating room, and new options for fire protection of unoccupied station spaces.
  • The second, dated 12/8/2017, provides additional detail around security of remote connections to a station’s automation system

Both proposals were made as preliminary requests for comments and are being further developed based on feedback received.

UL’s collaborative standards development system is open to the public. Voting rights on proposals are reserved for formal members of the Standards Technical Panel, but anyone can open an account to make proposals, comment on or follow the development of those submitted by others. Visit to learn more.

Redesigning the UL Burglar Alarm Certificate Program

UL is working with a focus group of stakeholders in the Burglar Alarm Certificate program on ways to  reshape the Service to better fit contemporary security market needs. Objectives include preserving what works, revising requirements to accommodate service delivery outside current service territory definitions, recognizing & including forms of electronic security in addition to intrusion detection (video surveillance, access control, etc) and simplifying the system so that risk managers and service subscribers better understand the protections provided. Proposed revisions to Standards and UL Program requirements are expected in late Q2.


–Contributed by Steve Schmit, Program Manager, UL LLC, February 22, 2018

2017 Fall Ops Brings Industry Professionals Together

TMA’s Fall Operations Management Seminar, “the one industry event for monitoring center personnel presented by monitoring center personnel,” took place November 5-7 in Rosemont, IL. The event’s education program, with the theme “Evolutionary Monitoring,” focused on best practices in monitoring centers, including updates on the latest industry standards, staff management, software and equipment news, and other operational best practices, processes and procedures. Participants were also treated to two extraordinary tour experiences: UL headquarters and testing laboratories and Walgreens’ Security Operations Center.

Scroll down for photos

“The visit to Walgreens Central Station was one of the main reasons for coming,” said Elizabeth Wargacki, Vice President Merchants Alarm Systems. “It was a great opportunity to see firsthand how other stations have set up and how they operate. The HR and Employee training sessions were great training programs. It was also good to hear how proprietary companies (like Wegmans) and large monitoring companies (like Vivint) deal with HR issues, employee training, etc.”

“Along with the good advice/training, the networking opportunities were outstanding,” said Scott Ludrick, Kroger Central Alarm Control Management Team Member. Wanda Griffith, Central Station Manager, The Protection Bureau, agreed: “I enjoyed seeing old faces and reconnecting. The networking opportunities [at Fall Ops] are priceless.”

“As a relatively new SOC Manager, the opportunity to get insights on how others are dealing with situations similar to mine is invaluable,” said Brian Ridge, SOC Manager, Interface Security Systems. “This was my first time attending and I look forward to hopefully returning next year.”

The dates and location for the 2018 Fall Ops will be announced in the coming weeks.



Why Monitoring Center Personnel Should Attend TMA’s “Fall Ops”

By Chris Newhook, Central Station Manager, American Alarm

The Monitoring Association (TMA, formerly CSAA) is my number one resource – my one-stop shop — for industry feedback, as well as educational and operational best practices. As if this wasn’t enough, it also serves as the backbone of my peer network.

While its strength lies with its members, it is TMA’s sustained commitment to actively listen to that membership, gather the insight and effectively channel this wealth of knowledge into a platform for industry growth and development that serves as the organization’s greatest triumph.

For me, the culmination of its collective efforts manifests itself each year with the TMA Fall Operations Management Seminar.


Chris Newhook (pictured second from right with trophy) was TMA’s 2014 Monitoring Center Manager of the Year.

The 2016 “Fall Ops”, with its theme Monitoring Excellence, was no exception!

TMA focused its usual world-class coordinative talents last year, directing a stellar line-up of speakers and timely topics ranging from ASAP-to-PSAP, PERS monitoring, UL Standards updates, and a real show-stopper on cybersecurity. The event was thoughtfully balanced with a selection of dynamic round-table exchanges and lively break-out group discussions.

The TMA Fall Operations Management Seminar is my annual reload – a getaway to assess my current objectives, develop my goals and rethink my direction; all in the company of the industry’s best talent.

TMA Fall Ops Tag 2017Register now for the 2017 Fall Operations Management Seminar, featuring tours of UL Headquarters and Walgreens Security Operations Center, November 5-7 in Rosemont, IL. Visit .

CSAA Steps Up UL Dialogue at Marco Island Meeting


UL’s Steve Schmit leads the UL827 discussion at the CSAA Annual Meeting. Photo by Elizabeth Lasko.

In the early morning of the last day of the 2016 Annual Meeting, CSAA members met with Steve Schmit, UL Engineering Manager, for an “Open Dialogue.” Despite the scheduled time of the meeting, and its billing as an opportunity to discuss “inspecting and validating provisions of Section 17.12.6 of UL827, Central Station Services”, a large and engaged group came together. They took advantage of the opportunity to expand discussion beyond a specific detailed requirement and into the broader topics, including overall network security and how UL and CSAA members can work together more effectively on Standards issues in general.

Discussion Starter

Section 17.12.6 addresses physical security for areas housing terminals at dealer or branch office locations that make temporary connections to a monitoring station automation system. These areas are required to have limited access when occupied and a monitored intrusion detection system when unoccupied. Pre-meeting concerns surrounded the ability of a monitoring station to assure compliance on the part of dealers and/or branch offices they serve. In addition, it wasn’t clear how the current requirement would apply to today’s proliferation of mobile devices.

UL’s research showed that the current language is essentially unchanged from its first use in UL1981, Central Station Automation Systems, in the mid-1990s. During the UL827/UL1981 restructuring initiative in 2013, the language found its way into UL827, 8th Edition. This was despite the fact that an Industry Working Group developed the material, it went through public review, and was adopted by an ANSI balanced-interest standards technical panel.

Two Discussions

First, based on input from meeting attendees, UL will develop alternative language that’s a better fit for today’s environment. Tools such as Certification Requirement Decisions will be used to clarify UL’s approach to compliance within their Certificate Service Program. UL will also propose a revision to UL827 so that all users of the Standard can take advantage of language improvements. Given the Jan 2018 requirement effective date for the current language, diligence will be important.

Second, the group discussed closer UL/industry collaboration as key to developing effective Standards in a rapidly changing environment.

The ANSI balanced-interest committee approach is critical to the public’s acceptance of a Standard. However, the stakeholder diversity of a balanced-interest group can make it difficult for the members to appreciate the details/nuances of technical issues and their impact on industry’s ability to deliver valuable services at economically feasible cost.

UL’s Collaborative Standards Development System allows any person or organization to make Standard revision proposals. Schmit suggested an immediate future where UL and CSAA, through its Standards Committee, could leverage our collective understanding of technology, the business, and compliance assessment processes to make timely, relevant, closer-to-complete revision proposals for the Standards Technical Panel to consider.

Action Plan

Earlier this year, UL provided the CSAA Standards Committee a list of UL827 requirements that audit experience suggests need improvement to meet contemporary business practice and technology use. Sub-committees were formed for each, effectively breaking the work into smaller parts that can be worked from initial scoping to proposal as rapidly as possible.  Issues include:

  • Protecting accessible windows in the operation room
  • Supervised sprinkler system in lieu of an automatic fire alarm system in parts of a monitoring station
  • Alternate of secondary power supply configurations
  • Industry best practices on alarm verification
  • Push notifications and other communication techniques in lieu of human operator phone calls
  • Network Security Measure (aka Cybersecurity)

Schmit noted that well-crafted Standards can provide a common language and set of expectations that help build a bridge between monitoring service providers and the community of stakeholders that rely on them. All CSAA member companies are encouraged to make people and resources available for this important work. Contact to get involved.

Thanks to Steve Schmit for contributing this article.

UL827 Certification Requirement Decisions

Today, UL published two Certification Requirement Decisions (CRDs) that facilitate acceptance of contemporary technology and business practice in the professional monitoring industry.  Collectively, they:

  • Provide requirements that address virtual technologies so they can be used to help provide resilient, economically feasible delivery of services
  • Recast automation system resiliency requirements in performance terms, enabling industry to make use of the latest technologies without the need to change prescriptive solutions enumerated in a Standard
  • Provide a framework for collaborative partnering and resource sharing between service providers  that leverages the latest NIST Cloud Computing recommendations

Publication of these CRDs gives UL’s customers immediate compliance options – essentially a parallel path to compliance. They express UL’s interpretation of the intent of current requirements in a manner that may be more conducive to application in contemporary monitoring centers.

UL customers can download the CRD documents through their regular UL Standards library accounts.

Additional insight and rationale can be found at :