8. Criminal background checks. Chwat said that around 20 industries and organizations have access to the FBI criminal background check database (the guard services industry is one), and ESA hopes to gain access for this industry. Why it matters: If you can’t check your employees nationally, you might have an employee in Texas that jumped over from another state where he/she was wanted or convicted of a crime.
9. Spectrum issues. Our industry uses radio spectrum to transmit monitoring information, and the ESA and the Alarm Industry Coaltion Committee (AICC) is working to keep our access to the radio spectrum we use. There were efforts federally that almost meant we would have loss the 450-470 Mhz spectrum, but it was preserved (Chwat was instrumental). They continue to watch these FCC types of issues.
10. Municipal monitoring. It centers around some towns in Illinois, but there are efforts from some cities to require that life safety monitoring be done only by the city’s own monitoring center. Where this has happened, companies have already lost hundreds of accounts. It pits cities against well-established services of the private industry. Mt. Prospect is one city that seems to be moving in that direction. Some states have pre-emptive legislation that blocks such efforts to infringe on private industry, but those states (Texas and Georgia among them) are rare.
11. CO detection. Together with the Security Industry Association, there are efforts to establish consumer product safety rules for carbon monoxide detectors.
12. POTS hanging by a thread. You’ve probably already heard about it already on SIW – some of the primary POTS line owners are interested in killing POTS and would do so sooner rather than later if given permission by the FCC. Being that most of our industry’s customers still rely on POTS for alarm monitoring, this is serious business. Yes, there are IP communicators and cellular radios, but installing those communicators and radios costs money and time. One idea is that if and when POTS is slated for death, there would be some federal health to pay for the conversion – much as there were low-cost and free set-top boxes to help convert analog TV subscribers over to digital a couple of years ago. The industry needs to be involved in the discussion of how (and when) POTS is killed.
So there you have it, 12 issues that really stand to impact your business. What do you do? Get involved. Write letters to representatives. Join your local association chapter and band together. Some other things you can do is join ESA for the Day on Capitol Hill (April 17-18, 2012) and attend an upcoming webinar from ESA and SIA about the credentialing issue for access to emergency zones (#7 on this list). Whatever you do, don’t put your head in the sand and pretend these won’t affect you, because these issues will!
(Many thanks to John Chwat for helping us explore these issues.)