By John Roach
Today’s smart home security systems have all the bells and whistles of modern convenience, from thermostats that keep homes comfortable without wasting energy, to smartphone apps that let people lock and unlock their doors. at the other end of the world. But at the end of the day, people always buy smart security systems for one simple reason: security.
“In an emergency, customers want the right public safety agency to respond with the highest priority based on their type of emergency,” said Larry Folsom, vice president of surveillance technology at ADT. “They want to know that the police car, the fire engine or the ambulance is sent to the right place, with the right information, as quickly as possible.”
Here’s the catch: for all the convenience that modern smart home security technology has unlocked, the workflow of monitoring and responding technology has changed very little since the 1970s. The process would go like this: an alarm is triggered, a basic message is sent to a monitoring station, an agent calls the customer to verify the alarm, and if no one answers or cancels the alarm, the agent calls the appropriate utility. security answering point (PSAP) – a dispatch call center such as 911 – to request assistance from first responders.
Historically, about 98% of alarms that ring until dispatch are false or unverified, according to data from the International Association of Chiefs of Police. This is partly because approximately 70% of alarm monitoring service verification phone calls to customers go unanswered because customers do not recognize the caller’s phone number.
ADT is working to change that narrative with the introduction of the ADT System Monitoring and Response Technology (SMART) platform, which adapts the alarm industry to the digital age – helping to make alarm responses more effective. ADT’s SMART Platform is actually several new technologies that, when combined, help reduce false alarms, enable verified alarms and priority response, and dramatically increase the accuracy and speed of transmitting alarm information to 911 centers.
The change began in February 2020 when ADT launched Alarm Messenger to notify customers and their emergency contacts of burglar alarm events. When an alarm is triggered, instead of a monitoring agent calling the customer, Alarm Messenger sends the customer and their emergency contacts a link to an interactive portal via SMS or email. The portal allows those who received the link to quickly view alarm information, chat with each other, and verify or cancel the alarm with ADT directly from their phone, without the need for special software or hardware. ‘a phonecall.
In just two years, more than one million emergency alarm responses have been averted by allowing ADT customers to use Alarm Messenger to interact with ADT monitoring centers. There are now more than 3.4 million ADT customers registered with the service. This has reduced false alarms from these customers by 54% since the start of the year.
“Alarm Messenger works great,” Folsom said, pointing to the reduction in calls ADT agents spend dispatching now that people can identify false alarms with their smartphones. “But we’re very excited about the future, as we’ll be able to integrate audio and video into the workflow, which will help give the customer, and potentially the dispatcher, infinitely more information about what is happening at the source of the alarm.”
Video sharing capability is expected to roll out this year for ADT customers who choose to share data from their Google Nest cameras with Alarm Messenger. All data that customers share with ADT is securely stored in ADT Lockbox, an alarm event data storage service in Google Cloud Platform. Access to the Lockbox is traced and limited to authorized and authenticated persons.
Including video data in Alarm Messenger sessions will allow customers to verify if a person is on the premises and if that person is known or stranger. Video data can also reveal evidence such as a broken window, the neighbor’s cat, or smoke and fire – all types of information that can help people determine if the situation warrants a first responder.
“Our goal is to have a two-way communication relationship using modern technologies and bring additional information flows to our customers, officers and public safety partners,” Folsom said.
Alarms verified, priority response
In the future, 911 call centers can begin using The Monitoring Association’s Alarm Validation Scoring (AVS-01), a new standard for alarm prioritization. This standard ranks the urgency of a given alarm on a sliding scale based on contextual information about the alarm that monitors share with dispatch.
“We’re able to use this standard and the ADT technology that supports it to tell first responders, ‘Hey, hit the gas pedal on this one because it’s a priority,'” said Don Young, COO of ADT.
ADT will leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to combine and process data from traditional security cameras, audio devices and security sensors to mark alarm events with the AVS-01 standard. Implementing this standard will be a game changer for how the security industry responds to alarm events and communicates with first responders, according to Folsom. AVS-01 should be launched with different levels of alarm priority depending on the validation of a person, a threat to property and a threat to life.
next generation 911
When an alarm is triggered today, a monitoring company places a 10-digit phone call to a 911 center requesting emergency response. This process can introduce transcription errors, encounter long wait times for agents, and immobilize both the ADT and 911 agents, among other challenges, ultimately delaying response time to an emergency.
To address these challenges, ADT has developed services called ADT Next Generation 911 Message Brokers, another component of the ADT SMART platform. With these services, ADT can electronically send alarm information to 911 centers without the need for a phone call. Additionally, ADT’s patented process may include a link to additional data, such as video and audio, for first responders, with customer permission.
ADT’s first partner for this service is Intrado, an established 911 services company. Intrado is currently deploying this technology across the country, and it is expected to be available to three-quarters of ADT’s customers by the end of 2023. .
“Our mission is better information for better choices,” Folsom said. “The transmission of electronic alarms to public safety is an integral part of permanently changing the way we empower people to protect and connect what matters most.”