Way back in 2011, Monitronics was one of three central stations who were charter members for the Automated Secure Alarm Protocol (ASAP) program. ASAP streamlines emergency communications by transmitting data electronically to a Public Security Access Point (PSAP). Information such as name, address and type of alarm is digitally compiled and sent digitally to 9-1-1 dispatch centers. This not only reduces the potential for human error, but also cuts the communication time between the central station and the PSAP from minutes to seconds.
In the past three months, major competitors have gone live with ASAP to PSAP. Their participation is a long-awaited boost to the program – anything that’s good for the consumer is good for the industry – but it’s worth noting that Monitronics was way ahead of the curve as one of three charter members of the program.
It’s actually good for other major companies to follow our path. Jay Hauhn, executive director of the Central Station Alarm Association, believes that as more national companies sign on to the program, more PSAPs will be encouraged to participate.
“We cannot get PSAPs to get excited until we have more centrals online, and we have trouble getting central stations online until the PSAPs are online,” he recently told Security Systems News. Hauhn is hoping for a “domino effect” that will accelerate adoption of the protocol by PSAPs.
As of July, there were 11 PSAPs participating in the program, with eight others in the process of taking the necessary steps to participate. Some of the biggest participants, by population, are:
- Houston, Texas (2.2 million).
- Denton County, Texas (728,799).
- Washington, D.C. (658,893).
- The Arizona cities of Chandler (248,264) and Tempe (172,816).
- A number of cities in Virginia, including Richmond (214,114).
Using Houston as an example, city officials estimate a savings of around $400,000 annually, with a 20 percent call reduction from alarm companies each month. They project that as more alarm companies adopt ASAP, the annual savings could swell to more than $1 million. It’s a win-win: Central stations save time and money, while cities and other municipalities make the most of their precious resources.
So when it comes to the competition, the best we can say is better late than never, but thanks for climbing aboard. Just remember: We were first.