The VoIP Challenge for Alarm Systems Dealers

A look at what dealers, monitoring companies and manufacturers are doing to face the issue of VoIP and alarm system incompatibility


"The way to fix this problem is through standards organizations," says Hope. "At the ISC show we tried to pull some of the manufacturers together. We're offering the cable providers free equipment to let them test and to make sure their stuff will work with our equipment."

But the plan is more extensive. By involvement on the AICC, security industry leaders are planning meetings with groups like the CSAA, SIA and the NBFAA and cable organizations like the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and CableLabs, a group that is working to set standards and define the technology that's used in the cable modems that power the Internet and communications to VoIP-enabled homes and businesses.

Hope says that initial reaction of meetings between the cable industry and the security industry has been positive, but that a solution will take more effort.

For now, however, the issues of liability give execs in the security industry a bit of frustration and lot of hesitancy. "It's going to take high-level industry-to-industry communications to solve this," explains Hope.

Until then, the temporary solution is to watch your back and be wary of what commitments you make to consumers using VoIP. Hope doesn't like the current picture.

"At Honeywell, we are recommending that dealers don't connect with VoIP," he says. "It's a moving target, and we know some of it works and some of it doesn't."

LEARN MORE

Visit the websites of the following organizations involved in the issue of VoIP and alarm system compatibility:

AICC: http://www.csaaul.org/AICCCommittee.htm
SIA: http://www.siaonline.org/index_sia.asp
CableLabs: http://www.cablelabs.com/
NCTA: http://www.ncta.com/
NBFAA: http://www.alarm.org/
MBFAA: http://www.mbfaa.com/