I was working on a dealer consultation recently, and John the owner of the dealership mentioned these thought provoking words. Immediately my mind started working on how comfortable we have become packaging all security alarm mishaps into the
Not too long ago when the alarm industry was just beginning to enter the residential boom, the technologies available were not sophisticated enough to keep up with the volume of users that were installing systems.
The available technology was "Relay Logic" which simply put, was a set of low voltage relays that would open and close when devices were violated. This simple technology had many drawbacks such as opening the relays during power surges and reverting to an open relay position when power outages were restored causing a false alarm.
Due to the many false alarms that were created during these early days of sirens and bells going off for undiscovered reasons, the words
Today even the least expensive systems rely on central processing units with an array of microchips and artificial intelligence to process the signals from your home or business. It is rare that alarms go off for no particular reason and the majority of alarm users can boast never having experienced a false alarm.
Instead of false alarms what we are experiencing these days, are a much greater number of users depending on today's alarm systems to protect their family's and themselves and their homes or business from an abundance of crime. Due to an increase in use, we are also seeing an increase in mistakes made by the system owners. We refer to these mistakes as
in the industry, and they are a result of poor training on how to use the system or user complacency.
Some examples of these types of errors are:
Not giving a guest code to a domestic helper, realtor or repairman.
Letting your pet out while the system is armed.
Taking too much time to leave the protected area when arming and than driving off.
Taking too much time when entering the protected area to enter your code.
Accidentally pressing a wireless panic button while rummaging through your purse.
Not knowing your password when the monitoring station calls.
These user errors and many more examples that are not listed here will cause a dispatch for an alarm that has not been violated by a burglar. When dispatch is made for these reasons we should not blame the system for doing what it was supposed to do, by calling it a false alarm. Instead we should label it a false dispatch, so that we can begin looking in the proper direction to correct the problem.
As soon as we get use to separating
, alarm companies will begin to take more time to properly educate the end users on the use of their systems. End users will also begin taking responsibility for their user errors and understand that just as they rely on their systems to help protect themselves and their loved ones, they need to help protect the integrity of the alarm industry so that the authorities will continue to respond rapidly to their calls for help.
Matthew is a 22 year veteran of the alarm industry. He has served as an installer, salesman, licensed alarm company owner, monitoring station designer, promotions and marketing director with one of the worlds largest security dealers. He now works as a consumer advocate, teaching consumers how to buy or get systems for free (without being taken). He also consults alarm dealerships on how to market to the educated consumers that today's alarm dealer is finding. He is committed to being unbiased.
His web site is