Contributor, IFSEC Insider

February 23, 2022


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Why intruder alarm installers and ARCs need to get on board with ECHO

In a recent IFSEC Global webinar, Mark Taylor, General Manager at ECHO (Electronic Call Handling Operations) and David Mair, Manager of Security Systems Unit at the Metropolitan Police, highlight the importance of implementing ECHO technology as the alarm industry continues to evolve.

In the session, which is available to watch on-demand now and was sponsored by CSL and BT Redcare, ECHO representative Mark Taylor and MET Police Security Manager, David Mair, provided viewers with an insight into what ECHO is, and why “every second counts”.

The roots of ECHO were first established as a police industry URN partnership that led to the number of false alarms reducing by 90%. After its implementation, alarm rates decreased to an all-time low, leading to immense savings to the public purse strings, and an increased belief in its professional approach.

Based on the success of the URN rollout, Police NPCC guidelines implemented the mandatory inclusion of a ‘collective’ framework, accredited certification bodies, approved installers and alarm receiving centres, and robust intruder signalling.

In 2015, the NPCC guidelines were reviewed, and it was decided that, from 1st April 2020, it would be mandatory for hold up alarm activations to be transferred electronically.

So, how was this going to be achieved?

Enter – ECHO.

Formed in August 2017, ECHO is a non-profit company. Its aim is to deliver a low cost, resilient, industry funded automated call handling service.

ECHO enables unified and automated call handling between ARCs and the police, to manage risks, increase speed and quality of movement, improve outcomes for life and property, whilst making better use of Police resources.

Transferring to ECHO will remove the need to engage with call handlers so that nothing is misheard, and the process is quicker and more accurate.

What’s in it for ARCs and installers?

Mark and David explained several benefits that installers and ARCs will see from the transition, including:

  • Increased efficiency
  • Reduced errors
  • Potential to open new technology in the future
  • Improved prioritisation of genuine alarms
  • Better service for approved customer alarms

Mark concludes: “The benefits ECHO brings to installers and ARCs are vast and separate them in the professional market against competitors. They can also benefit from increased speed, time-saving and increased accuracy. Installers and ARCs will need to be more and more aware of ECHO as time goes on – the sooner they can grasp a clear understanding of it the better.”

The presentation on ECHO is then followed by a live Q&A with both Mark and David, facilitated by James Moore, Editor of IFSEC Global.

Audience questions included:

  • How has ECHO been implemented by the MET? How is the process of shifting to ECHO going?
  • How has the industry taken to ECHO so far, from installers to ARC’s?
  • To ensure compliance, does our installer require ECHO certification, if so, how do we go about this?
  • Where a venue is very close to the boundary between jurisdictions, can ECHO also alert neighbouring police to the alarm, or will the police have to contact each other separately?
  • It doesn’t appear as though any new signalling hardware is required, can a company continue using its existing hardware?

This webinar originally took place in December 2021, you can watch it back on-demand now by clicking on the link, below:

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