End of analog could affect security systems

Lawton_Security systems are supposed to keep you, your home, and your business safe.  But, since we're at the end of the five-year plan laid out by the Federal Communications Commission to phase out analog, problems with some systems could start occurring soon.

Some systems still run on the outdated signal, and security officials say the changeover could affect more than 400,000 security system customers in the state of Oklahoma.  An alarm system is a valuable tool for any business, especially for a jewelry store.  But, today could be the day some businesses will be left defenseless as the FCC is allowing cellular service providers to shut down their analog signal networks.

Some personal alarm systems still use the analog signal to alert police after they are triggered.  Security Industry Association CEO Richard Chace says it is potentially dangerous.  "Their service could face interruption," he says.

He says the analog service will not be disconnected immediately.  "What will happen is with signals that'll be sent from a control panel, there'll be intermittent interruptions," he says.  "It will be looking for signals or looking for a connection that doesn't exist."

Helm's Jewelry owner Dwight Stodola was prepared for the changeover to digital.  His alarm system was analog, but the alarm company provided him with necessary upgrades well in advance.  "The changeover was invisible," he says.  "Once they did it, once it was installed, we never noticed anything different."  However, now he has a better security system.

Chace says it's important to determine what type of signal your alarm has, and to make sure you upgrade from analog, or else your alarm system is useless.  "The best thing that a customer can do is contact the alarm company," he says.  "They're going to give you the best answer.  They have the latest information.  They'll come out and do the proper assessment and give you the best information possible."

According to alarm companies, an analog alarm will probably beep at you in the night.  If so, you may need to call your provider.  Cellular providers say they are more likely to turn off analog networks during the middle of the night - their peak hours.