Is 'Listen In' on the way to the masses?

Could it be that the technology originated by Sonitrol Corp. decades ago called ‘listen in’ will finally have its day? It will if Stanley Convergent Security Solutions Inc., Naperville, Ill., has its way.

In a world filled with ever increasing response times and areas where alarm verification is a requirement before dispatch, it may be that its time has come.

The company, which recently acquired two Sonitrol Corp. franchisees, is building the business, making it an integral part of its offerings. At the end of August, Stanley bought Sonitrol of North Georgia, and in April, it purchased Sonitrol Corp.

The audio verification technology is a perfect fit for commercial customers, who increasingly are looking for ways to authenticate alarms at the protected premises. And the numbers don’t lie: some 160,000 criminals have been apprehended as a result of the technology. The product uses audio and glassbreak sensors which are highly sensitive microphones.

Tony Byerly, chief operating officer of Stanley CSS, told SD&I during an exclusive interview held at the 2009 ASIS show that new, much lower price points for equipment and monitoring will drive the technology to mainstream—and that’s just what he intends. And no surprise here: IP is now part of the solution, with the SONIP, which uses the Internet to communicate with the central station.

One of the prohibitive factors may have been the cost, but with that barrier gone, it may convince more customers to use the technology. “We are driving down the price points and driving down the monthly monitoring costs for the technology as well,” said Byerly

How audio works

With audio impact technology, once sound of an intrusion is detected, the audio is immediately sent to the central station where audio monitoring specialists can listen live and review the recording of the local premise. Law enforcement gets the additional benefit of having live updates from the operator on what they hear and what is happening as the break-in occurs. For example, the Sonitrol technology allows the operators to hear not only the shattering glass of a window breaking and the doors being broken open, but also more detailed audio such as the voices of intruders and even, at times, the names of the intruders which greatly facilitates the capture of the intruders.