AVS-01 is a new ANSI standard being developed by The Monitoring Association (TMA) and is currently in a preliminary industry comment period. Once completed it will move to public comment as required by the ANSI process. 

Alarm Validation Scoring (AVS) is an intrusion alarm classification standard. The standard defines intrusion alarms based on various threat levels and the process to determine a corresponding alarm level. This process can be done manually by a central station operator or can be adapted by automation providers or other parties for automated processing. 

It also includes language on communicating these classified or scored alarms to public safety through emergency communication centers (ECCs), as well as language regarding compliance for central stations. 

There are five alarm levels: 

Alarm Level 0: no call for police response. 

Alarm Level 1: police response request with no or limited additional information. 

Alarm Level 2: police response request with confirmed or “highly probable” human presence with unknown intent. 

Alarm Level 3: police response request with confirmed threat to property. 

Alarm Level 4: police response request with confirmed threat to life. 

The standard in no way tries to impose or imply a specific response type by police based on the alarm level. However, the hope is once the standard becomes more established and trusted with greater alarm information confidence, public safety will adapt their response as they deem appropriate to the different alarm levels. 

One of the primary goals of the standard is to enable flexibility. When drafting the language, great care was taken to be technology agnostic. The technology being used doesn’t matter so much, as long as the proper classification is reached. However, it’s easy to see how video-related technology can play an important role in event classification. 

Prior to AVS-01, video as well as other verification technologies played a large role in better situational awareness for law enforcement. If a central station were to inform an ECC operator there was video of the onsite presence of an unknown or unauthorized person, police would likely respond with a higher sense of urgency, certainly with a different enhanced and informed awareness. 

"Instead of a generic alarm notification devoid of more detailed information, AVS-01 creates a scaled metric of observations for reporting."

By following AVS-01 protocols, the key difference is that information will be passed along in a standardized format. Simply, if an unknown person cannot be verified by the call list and is determined to be on site, the incident will always be reported as an Alarm Level 2. A subsequent report will include whatever added information is available that the central station operator is observing or had observed. 

As other video technology and analytics or artificial intelligence (AI) is added to the mix, much more detailed data can be captured and could escalate or deescalate the alarm classification. Imagine analytics determining a weapon is drawn and is displayed in a horizontal fashion, then is presented to the operator as an initial Alarm Level 4. The operator would still be expected to observe, follow proper procedures and make a final assessment as to the Alarm Level prior to reporting to the ECC. 

The benefit to central stations is the standardization of observe and report components as identified in the standard. The benefit to public safety, including the ECCs and law enforcement, is improved information that can be applied to determine the levels and logistics of response. Instead of a generic alarm notification devoid of more detailed information, AVS-01 creates a scaled metric of observations for reporting. This process heightens what public safety refers to as actionable information. This further enhances greater credibility and confidence. 

Although the standard will be voluntary for central stations, it is the hope that AVS-01 will be embraced and become institutionalized as a best practice for the industry. TMA and the Partnership for Priority Verified Alarm Response (PPVAR) are in the process of providing information sessions to industry and public safety audiences as a part of the AVS-01 introduction.