This year at TMA’s annual meeting in Napa Valley, I led a panel on telecommunication opportunities available through leveraging modern technologies while holding on and winding down older technologies to support legacy systems and communications.

Joining me was the perfect blend of the tier one carriers, the premier RespOrg (a Responsible Organization that has the legal right to redirect and move toll-free telephone numbers from one carrier to another), facilitators and an electronic security industry professional.

The industry has faced a challenge for the past several years — a growing but shrinking problem in the lack of consistency in legacy, digital alarm signal communications over existing telecom networks. Though SIP is advantageous both technically and economically, alarm signal communications over SIP or VoIP are problematic and result in a high percentage of non-communications. Even with communications over PRIs (primary rate interfaces), some centers tend to have losses in communications due to tandem carriers that sometimes long-haul long distance traffic over VoIP. It’s a growing problem because carriers are rapidly retiring analog paths and replacing them with IP communications. Thankfully it is also a shrinking problem because legacy security systems are shrinking due to attrition and upgrades to newer communications. 

Monitoring centers also must face the challenges that come with the desire to engage in SIP. Many centers are engaging in a hybrid approach, which takes advantage of the great advantages of SIP for pure inbound and outbound voice calls while leaving PRIs in place for legacy digital communications and maintaining themselves as their own RespOrg, should they need to move traffic from one carrier to another due to transmission drops or carrier outages.  

Maintaining a hybrid network of multi-carriers, multi-services such as PRI and SIP and becoming your own RespOrg allows for full control. Monitoring Centers maintain peace of mind knowing they can redirect all of their telephone numbers in six minutes or less.  

In addition to the diversity and redundancy of inbound and outbound calls, we discussed the great diversity for inter-office connectivity and wireless services. Utilization of Software Defined Networking (SD-WAN), MPLS and LTE are all used for diversity to ensure uptime. For wireless, specialty networks like AT&T FirstNet bring a new dimension to wireless uptime. With the new TMA approval process, certain monitoring centers, dealers and manufacturers have the ability to qualify for the utilization of FirstNet — a high availability, priority wireless cellular network.  

It’s a mindful approach to engage with multiple tier one carriers for voice, alarm communications and connectivity while maintaining your company as your own RespOrg. 

It’s all about control. Becoming your own RespOrg is easy and inexpensive, and allows you to create pre-set, carrier-redundant disaster templates with your service providers; control your own inventory and routing; search and reserve toll-free numbers directly from the SMS/800 database; take advantage of carrier rate variances for least cost routing; and use APIs to automate toll-free management and failover within your telco environment.