How Central Stations Can Make the Most of 2024

a computer showing an upward trend of data on a screen

The year ahead will bring many opportunities and challenges to our industry, and those who are responsive and adaptable can make the most of what’s coming next.

For central stations and alarm monitoring businesses, this means staying on top of current trends, technologies, and developments, and using them to your advantage.

Let’s look at what 2024 may hold for you and your business, and how you can leverage those insights to make this your best year yet. Which of these ideas will you implement first?

#1. Embrace the ANSI/TMA AVS-01 standard.

The newly-finalized Alarm Validation Scoring standard, developed by The Monitoring Association and accredited by ANSI, promises to standardize emergency communications between central stations and 911 centers. Participation in the AVS-01 standard is voluntary, but it can benefit your central station by modernizing operations and enhancing your credibility.

The goal of AVS-01 is to standardize communications and streamline the response to intrusion alarms. It offers a consistent way to score alarms based on five levels of urgency, from “Level 0” for “No call for service” to “Level 4” for “Intrusion alarm with confirmed threat to life.”

This scale empowers operators to better assess, identify, and share critical information about potential threats. That, in turn, helps law enforcement and emergency response teams better allocate resources and enhance the safety of their personnel and the public.

Ready to implement this important new standard? TMA will soon be offering free online training for central station operators, and UL Solutions already has an AVS-01 certification program.

a person running a training and certifications meeting

#2. Explore the growing potential of AI.

AI is revolutionizing the security industry, extending our ability to detect, predict, and analyze potential threats like never before.

Thanks to its ability to quickly sift through tremendous amounts of data and spot patterns or problems that might not have been detected by human eyes, AI is becoming a powerful tool for businesses in the security industry and beyond.

And its impact is only predicted to grow: Mordor Intelligence projected that the AI security market would grow to $25.22 billion this year and climb to $60.24 billion within the next five years.

As the potential of AI becomes clearer, businesses are integrating it into their everyday operations, with 22% saying they use it in their physical security environment, according to Genetec’s 2024 State of Physical Security report

Leading the way on this trend, Sentry AI has teamed up with Bold Group’s alarm monitoring platform, Manitou, to bring real-time, AI-enhanced video monitoring to central stations. AI-enhanced video analytics can reduce false alarms and help operators prevent or de-escalate events by responding proactively and in the moment.

AI has proven pivotal in quickly and accurately identifying objects, recognizing voices and faces, analyzing behavior, detecting fires and floods, and more. As this technology continues to grow, look for advances like AI assistants for operators or interactive AI customer support.

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#3. Stay alert to legislative developments. 

Standards, regulations, and new laws coming into effect can have a significant impact on your central station or alarm monitoring center.

That’s why we recommend staying informed of current public debates around technologies like artificial intelligence and concerns around data privacy–both of which can impact your business and its day-to-day functioning. 

SDM recently published an overview of legislative trends to watch in 2024, pointing out that while AI is bringing exciting advances to the security industry, it’s also spurring dynamic debates amongst legislators.

States are already studying what’s possible and proposing potential policies, and the Security Industry Association (SIA) has convened an advisory board to work with lawmakers on emerging AI challenges and opportunities.

Another issue SDM highlighted was the ongoing debate around data privacy, especially in the context of stronger data protection laws for biometric information and the move to give people more power over how their personal information is used.

Policymakers and citizens are debating issues like data breaches, cybersecurity measures, questions of consent, and transparency, and several U.S. states now have comprehensive data privacy regulations inspired by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) measures.

To follow developments around privacy in your state, refer to SIA’s helpful Guide to U.S. Biometric Privacy Laws.

an outside view of the capitol building in DC

#4. Lean into in-demand technologies.

Because central stations already depend on close-knit relationships with security dealers, it’s smart to work with them to track industry trends and ensure that customers get the security tools and technologies they want.

This requires keeping your eye on emerging consumer preferences and what’s possible in the security technology space as different solutions are developed. A great starting point is Genetec’s State of Physical Security report, which highlights the top 10 technologies users plan to invest in next.

Topping the list at 36% are access control systems, which are a high priority as situations like mass shootings continue to be a threat. 

The next most popular technologies on that list include cybersecurity tools (33%), video surveillance (28%), asset and people tracking (24%), incident management (20%), data visualization tools (19%), facial recognition (19%), intrusion detection (18%), digital evidence management (18%) and visitor management solutions (16%).

It’s also interesting to watch what security experts think will come next. According to Security Sales and Integration, industry insiders are excited about future growth related to technologies like mobile IDs and facial recognition; weapons detection systems; and presence detection and motion sensing via WiFi networks and connected devices.

How can you work with your dealer partners to make sure their customers are getting exactly the solutions they want–and that you’re prepared to respond to them as effectively as possible?

Your mission is to monitor information from a variety of alarms, video feeds, and calls, and doing that well means bringing all of these disparate systems together in a unified platform.

No matter what security technology consumers will want next, software solutions like Manitou from Bold Group can integrate a multitude of signals from many different devices, so you can monitor them all–and respond effectively–from a single platform.

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#5. Make the cloud your headquarters.

The cloud has been transforming data storage and computing for over a decade, although security businesses have been easing into it gradually and cautiously when compared to other industries.

This year, that’s changing as cloud adaptation surges forward and businesses blend on-premises operations with cloud solutions for everything from AI video monitoring and biometrics to frictionless access control.

According to the Genetec State of Physical Security report, 44% of physical security end users said that more than a quarter of their physical security environment was in the cloud or hybrid–that’s up from 24% last year.

Expect this trend to impact central stations and security monitoring operations, as well. With the fairly recent UL 827 certification standards in play, central stations became free to deliver cloud-based or hosted services rather than be tied to a central station operating site. 

Today, it’s easy for central stations to do everything from the cloud. Bold Group’s Manitou Cloud Services, for example, make it possible to operate in a hosted, cloud-based environment, complete with redundant data centers. And Bold Group’s partnership with OneTel Security ensures that central stations benefit from seamless, zero-interruption signaling and superior voice network capabilities.

Bringing it all together, Manitou monitoring software empowers central station operators to manage everything from a single unified dashboard.

If you haven’t made the switch, this is the time. Moving to the cloud eliminates the need for additional servers and equipment–not to mention maintenance and upkeep–and is more cost-efficient.

You only need internet access, workstations, and desktop phones to take advantage of alarm monitoring cloud software.

Ready to give it a try? See how Manitou and Manitou Cloud Services can transform your central station operations!

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What’s next for your central station in 2024?

This is the ideal time to take action and make 2024 your strongest year yet.

What will you do to enhance your central station’s operations in the coming months, and how will you make the most of the opportunities available today? 

Whether it’s participating in new standards, adapting to key legislation, or taking the lead on AI and cloud computing, there are multiple paths to success available for those who are willing to take the first step. Which one will be yours?