Shaw Cease & Desist…

Shaw Cease and DesistI received a cease & desist letter the other day from Shaw (click on the image to the left for a bigger version)… they are upset with me for ‘unauthorized use of’ the Shaw Digital Phone trademark as well as using an image from their website.

The specific posts that they are upset about are …

Shaw Digital Phone and Alarms

Shaw Digital Telephone Services Affect on Alarms

To address their concerns, I have removed the image from the one post and added a (TM) mark to every instance where I refer to ‘Shaw Digital Phone’ (TM) throughout the blog. I’ve also added a note at the bottom of each post indicating that it is a registered trademark of Shaw Communications Inc.

I think that it is very telling that their response to my posts, in which I take issue with what I believe to be a significant misrepresentation of the negative impact that their service can have on alarm systems, is simply to tell me to stop using their logo and trademark. I would have thought that the more important issue would have been to address the concerns that I raised about their service and how it can impact a client’s alarm. I guess that wasn’t as important to them.

In any event, I certainly didn’t intend to infringe on their trademark… and trust that the changes that I have made will make it abundantly clear to the world that Shaw owns the registered trademark ‘Shaw Digital Phone‘. It’s all theirs. I have nothing to do with it.

With respect to the point that I was making, here is what I wrote on the topic back in 2006… (or click on the links above to read the post in its entirety)

After speaking with several very confused clients, three different Shaw installers (who each had different takes on the “facts”), a myriad of Shaw managers, several tests of our own and discussions with the Vice President of Marketing for Honeywell (the world’s largest manufacturer of alarm equipment)… here is what we know to be true about Shaw Digital Phone (TM) service as it relates to your alarm:

1. Most, but not all, alarm systems can communicate through Shaw’s network;

2. Different systems seem to send the data to us at very different speeds (in a few cases it took almost two full minutes longer than expected to receive the ‘primary’ alarm signals at sites with Shaw);

3. Most importantly, NEITHER SHAW NOR A SINGLE ALARM EQUIPMENT MANUFACTURER will guarantee that all alarm signals will be transmitted correctly or completely

What does this mean?

With the absence of a written guarantee from either the company whose network over which the communication occurs (Shaw) or any of the major alarm equipment manufacturers (Honeywell, DSC, GE) Provident recommends the following:

1. Maintain an analog phone line through Telus (or your local traditional telephone company) (although this solution would eliminate any ‘value’ of looking to VoIP in the first place); or

2. Have Provident install a back-up method of monitoring your alarm (either cellular or internet monitoring is available and supported through our monitoring station in Kerrisdale) * see below re: BLINK

If you do not want to do either of the above, we will require all clients who choose to switch to Shaw to sign an addendum to their contract indicating that they understand that there is no guarantee that we will receive an alarm signal from their premises.

Since writing that post, Provident now offers BLINK mesh radio monitoring. Using BLINK makes the entire monitoring over VoIP issue irrelevant… not only does BLINK send alarm signals in under 2 seconds (as opposed to up to 40 seconds over an analog telephone line or several minutes using Shaw Digital Phone (TM) or other VoIP service), BLINK is much more secure.

For the hundreds of our Vancouver clients who are now using BLINK, their telephone line is used as the back-up communication method rather than the primary. This means that our concerns about how much slower alarm signals are received using Shaw Digital Phone (TM) are not nearly as important… BLINK gets the signal to us almost instantly every time.

Our caution to clients remains the same in 2008… if you are interested in switching your Telus analog line over to Shaw, or any other VoIP provider, you should not rely on it exclusively for alarm signal transmission. My opinions about how Shaw has chosen to market this service are also the same.

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