Data is important. Reliable data is key!After many years of service in the alarm monitoring industry, I understand the prevalent concern about subscriber data accuracy. There seems to be some confusion about why there are data problems. In my opinion, it’s simply a matter of misunderstanding.
Unfortunately, many people have had negative experiences with telemarketers, compromised identity issues or other privacy concerns. When alarm companies’ customer service or sales agents ask for required information, subscribers may not understand that the data is necessary and stored in their monitoring account to actually help their alarm company keep the SAFE in the event of an emergency.
The lack of accurate, actionable contact data may compromise the ability of the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) to respond to a subscriber’s alarm activation. Here are some things for alarm companies to think about when processing subscriber data:
- The subscriber’s mailing address may be different from the address that the AHJ uses to find them; subscriber addresses should be validated against what is known as the master street address guide (MSAG).
- The subscriber may have recently moved into a new property and may not provide an accurate address to the alarm company.
- Subscribers, or their legal representatives, may neglect to inform the alarm company when the phone number for their monitored location is changed.
- Company acquisitions pose an additional problem with location and contact data; subscribers may not understand HOW to update their information with the new alarm company.
- In certain circumstances, the subscriber’s address may change due to municipal realignment or renaming, annexation, incorporation, etc.
New technology that can help alarm companies understand and provide “AHJ-valid” address or location of subscribers is now available. “Bad” addresses are identified while an account is still new – before an alarm is activated. Additionally, the systems identify jurisdictions of police, fire, medical and PERS AHJs, supplying alarm companies with accurate subscriber location data in spite of information they may have received otherwise. In turn, this accurate data identifies the customer’s location for the AHJ, enables the alarm company to contact them and improves the probability that the AHJ will respond to their alarm activation.
True security is built upon a foundation of reliable data.
Mary Jo Lakhal is Sr. Program Manager at Intrado, specializing in emergency response concerns for the alarm industry.