Ask the Security Alarm and Monitoring Expert

Multiple Activation Analyses Standard
What is MAA and what is it geared towards?

A: CS-MAA-01, currently on the CSAA's Standard's committee agenda, stands for "Multiple Activation Analysis." CS-V-01, probably incorrectly, uses the term "cross zoning," following the form of the SIA CP-01 hardware standard.

Multiple Activation Analysis is a substitute for the term cross zoning (thought to be a fire alarm term and, therefore, used incorrectly in a burglar alarm context). In addition, MAA will open up a new class of response.

MAA is particularly geared to a persistent false dispatch account. This customer continues to generate false dispatches and is in danger of being classified as "NO RESPONSE."

One solution, and hopefully the ultimate solution, is to classify this account as requiring "multiple activation analyses." The word "activation" is carefully used as a substitute for "alarm." It is attempting to change the definition of a signal from the premises to a central station away from "alarm" to an "activation" requiring further analysis before it becomes a "dispatchable alarm."

How this works is that first an agreement must be in place between the subscriber, the dealer and the monitoring company (if the latter two are not the same entity). A configuration must be put in place so that different, mutual exclusive signals are generated at the premises to the central station for motion on premises. In other words, sensors are placed on premises verifying that a human is there and moving about. Often, both signals are received in close time proximity.

With this configuration in place, it will allow the first signal to be logged as activation and not dispatched. A second activation from a different zone would then be required before dispatch. This, coupled with Enhanced Call Verification, is a powerful way to greatly reduce false dispatches.

Listed Central Station Receiver Usage
I am confused about listed equipment regarding the receivers at a central station. Do they always have to be used?

A: Listed central stations will always use listed receiving equipment as the interface from the premises communications channels to the central station computers. These receivers interface with multiple telephone or broadband lines, decode information and interface over serial or LAN data protocols to the station's computer system.

The practice of using receiving equipment is mandated in NFPA 72. These receivers are required to be "listed for the purpose." The computers are recognized by UL 1981 interfacing to listed receivers.

Underwriters Laboratories follows NFPA 72 for fire listings and has written UL 864 to agree with NFPA 72. So if UL were to change their standards to read that a central station no longer needed separate, listed receivers for burglar alarm monitoring, the dictates of NFPA would still require listed receivers.

Why would you consider eliminating receivers? The simplest reason is flexibility. A receiver-less central station would be able to more easily adapt to changing technology, both in the area of communications and information technology. It could grow more easily and put more computing down to the most basic part of the process?the decoding of signals.

Louis T. Fiore is a consultant from Sparta, NJ. He is Past President of CSAA (1997-1999) and President of L.T. Fiore, Inc. His practice includes the use of wireless and the Internet for alarm monitoring as well as regulatory issues for security systems in general. He also serves as Chairman of Central Station Alarm Association's (CSAA) Alarm Industry Communications Committee (AICC) and Standards Committee. He is the current chairman of the SIA's Security Industry Standards Council (SISC) and a long-time member of the Supervising Station Committee of NFPA 72. Send your questions to